WASHINGTON -- House Democrats have raised more than $1.1 million and collected almost 500,000 signatures with their "war on women" campaign, in just over a week. Now Senate Democrats want a piece of the action.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee launched an online petition on Thursday to rally supporters to denounce conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh for his attacks on Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student at the center of the contraception debate raging on Capitol Hill. Limbaugh called Fluke "a slut" and "a prostitute" for testifying before Congress in support of employers providing coverage for birth control. On Friday, he demanded that Fluke release tapes of her having sex in exchange for the contraception that she argued should be covered by employers.
"This is misogyny, plain and simple. And it must be called out. Will you sign our petition and stand with us against these vile attacks?" reads the Thursday email signed by DSCC executive director Guy Cecil. "Personal attacks on a student -- and all women -- simply can't be ignored. Stand with us, and denounce Rush Limbaugh’s vile attacks. Send Republicans the message that we’re not going to sit by and take it."
Senate Democrats also cast Limbaugh as representative of what the Republican Party has become. Their email features a picture of his face over the words: "Rush Limbaugh: The GOP Mouthpiece." It then links out to a petition that urges supporters to call out misogyny when it happens, "especially when it comes from a mouthpiece of the Republican Party."
The petition has already collected 100,000 signatures in less than 24 hours, the fastest the DSCC has ever collected so many signatures, according to DSCC spokesman Shripal Shah. On top of that, the DSCC has also purchased online ads on Facebook, Twitter and Google to draw in more people to its petition. The ads are expected to run for a few weeks.
Shah said Senate Democrats aren't raising money off of Limbaugh's remarks right now and wouldn't say how much the DSCC has raised amid the debate on contraception. But the group's campaigns are clearly gaining traction among supporters.
As a result of campaigning on the "war on women," Shah said, in February alone, "We saw our online fundraising nearly triple."