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."
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