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George Will Condemns GOP Over Sandra Fluke Response: 'Republican Leaders Are Afraid Of Rush Limbaugh' (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Katherine Fung  |  Posted: 03/04/12 04:05 PM ET  |  Updated: 03/05/12 06:15 PM ET

Rush Limbaugh

On Sunday, several pundits said they were dismayed by Rush Limbaugh's incendiary comments about Sandra Fluke, as well as Republicans for not repudiating his remarks more strongly.

Limbaugh sparked outrage when he called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who was not allowed to speak at a contraception hearing, "a slut" and "a prostitute." He continued to fan the flames the next day, and piled on even more inflammatory remarks two days after. Several advertisers pulled their commercials from his show. In a rare move, Limbaugh apologized for his comments on Saturday.

The controversy was a hot topic of political conversation on Sunday. Speaking on ABC News' "This Week," Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan called Limbaugh's remarks "crude, rude, even piggish," and "deeply destructive and unhelpful."

Panelist George Will went further, blasting Republicans for what he said was an inadequate response to the controversy. He said that House Speaker John Boehner's use of the word "inappropriate" to describe Limbaugh's language was more fitting for "using the salad fork for your entrée."

"And it was depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh," Will alleged. "They want to bomb Iran, but they're afraid of Rush Limbaugh."

ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd agreed. He alleged that Republican leaders lacked the guts to stand up to Limbaugh because of a "myth" that the radio personality influences a large segment of conservative voters.

"I think the problem is the Republican leaders, Mitt Romney and the other candidates, don't have the courage to say what they say in quiet, which, they think Rush Limbaugh is a buffoon," Dowd theorized. "They think he is like a clown coming out of a small car at a circus. It's great he is entertaining and all that. But nobody takes him seriously."

NBC News' Savannah Guthrie expressed a similar sentiment on "Meet the Press," calling out Mitt Romney for his response in particular.

"Mitt Romney potentially lost an opportunity to speak out forcefully against Rush Limbaugh," she said. "This was not a gray area. Look no further than the fact that even Rush Limbaugh apologized for it... It would have shown some political courage, some backbone, and ultimately I think that would have helped him among conservatives."

She said Limbaugh's attack was "personal" and "vitrolic," and used "words that anyone would find offensive."

Guests also weighed in. GOP candidate Newt Gingrich told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that Limbaugh had been right to apologize, though he also called "the elite media" out on the way it has framed the debate.

Speaking to CBS' Bob Schieffer, candidate Ron Paul criticized the sincerity of Limbaugh's apology. "He's doing it because some people were taking their advertisements off of his program," he alleged. "It was his bottom line he was concerned about."

Some of Rush Limbaugh's most controversial statements
  • Rush Limbaugh on Sandra Fluke

  • Rush Limbaugh mocks Hu Jintao

    Limbaugh mocked China's president Hu Jintao in nonsense, ersatz Chinese.

  • Rush Limbaugh's Michael J. Fox allegations

    Limbaugh claimed that Michael J. Fox was "exaggerating" the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in a political ad where he advocated stem cell research. Limbaugh said:

    He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. ... This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting.

  • Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" statement

    In 2007, Limbaugh was criticized for referring to veterans who support the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq as "phony soldiers." He later claimed that he had been referring to people who claimed to be veterans but never actually served in the military.

  • Rush Limbaugh: "I hope Obama fails"

    On the eve of Obama's inauguration, Limbaugh said, "I hope he fails." He later doubled down on those comments at CPAC 2009, and on his radio show a few months later, and in 2011.

  • Rush Limbaugh: "Barack The Magic Negro"

    In 2007 and 2008, Limbaugh played a song by "Barack the Magic Negro" that was written and recorded for his show. In the song, political satirist Paul Shanklin impersonates Al Sharpton singing that white people will vote for Barack Obama "'cause he's not from the hood."

  • Limbaugh laughs about Japanese earthquake victims

    In the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami in March 2011, Limbaugh said:

    The Japanese have done so much to save the planet. He's right. They've given us the Prius. Even now, refugees are still recycling their garbage, and yet Gaia levels them [laughs], just wipes them out. Wipes out their nuclear plants, all kinds of radiation. What kind of payback is this? That is an excellent question.

  • Rush Limbaugh dubs new Triple-Double Oreo the 'Obameo'

    In October 2011, Limbaugh described Kraft's new Triple Double Oreo as a "bi-racial cookie" and an "Or-Ba-Meo." This was not the first time Limbaugh has compared President Obama to an Oreo cookie. In a 2009 segment about food safety advocates, he said, "After that, they're gonna want the Oreos -- might have to put off until Obama's out of office."

  • Limbaugh: Media Can't Decide If Moochelle Obama Was Booed At NASCAR Race

    In November 2011, Limbaugh accused Michelle Obama -- whom he frequently refers to as Moochelle -- of "uppityism" after she and Jill Biden were booed by NASCAR fans.

  • Limbaugh: Democrats Behind Loughner

    Limbaugh said, "What Mr. Loughner knows is that he has the full support of a major political party in this country. He's sitting there in jail. He knows what's going on, he knows that... the Democrat party is attempting to find anybody but him to blame. He knows if he plays his cards right, he's just a victim."

  • Limbaugh: "Driving Miss Nancy" is Rep. Jim Clyburn's new position

    In November 2010, Limbaugh suggested that Rep. Jim Clyburn could chauffeur Nancy Pelosi if he failed to win the race for House minority whip. "He gets to keep the car. He gets to go everywhere she goes, parties and everything else," Limbaugh said. "He's not in the back of the bus. He's in the driver's seat, and she's in the back of the car being chauffeured. Solved problem."

  • Limbaugh attacks Michelle Obama over her weight

    Rush Limbaugh attacked Michelle Obama for her weight, calling her out for eating ribs on a trip with her daughters. "The problem is, and I dare say this, it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice," Limbaugh said. "And then we hear that she's out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving and 141 grams of fat per serving." He continued, "I'm trying to say our first lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue or of a woman Alex Rodriguez might date every six months, or what have you."

  • Rush Limbaugh: "You Had Better Look Like An Ethiopian"

    Rush Limbaugh was back with another hit out on Michelle Obama's weight, days after criticizing her eating ribs while on vacation. This time, his comment was even more incendiary. "The point is, if you'ree going to do this, if you are going to tell everyone to eat twigs and berries and gravel and all this other stuff, you had better look like an Ethiopian."

  • Rush Limbaugh: Herman Cain Could Be Our First Authentically Black President

    After Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll, Limbaugh said that if elected president, "Herman Cain could be our first authentically black president." After explaining the comment to a caller, Limbaugh turned to his call screen "Bo Snerdley" (real name James Golden) for an Ebonics skit. RNC chair Michael Steele later called the skit "stupid."

  • Rush Limbaugh On Democrats Having Abortions

    In February 2012, Limbaugh reacted to the national debate about contraception with on a long rant about contraception, abortions and women. He alleged that Planned Parenthood is "a money-laundering operation for the Democrat party," and said, "The vast majority of people having abortions are Democrat voters."