President Obama calls Sandra Fluke, thanks her for speaking out

Updated
President Barack Obama makes phone calls to 10 American service members stationed around the world from his vacation rental home in Kailua (Dec. 26, 2011).
President Barack Obama makes phone calls to 10 American service members stationed around the world from his vacation rental home in Kailua (Dec. 26, 2011).
Rex Features via AP Images

BREAKING:  The White House confirms President Barack Obama telephoned Sandra Fluke from the Oval Office for several minutes this afternoon to offer her words of encouragement amid a controversy involving Rush Limbaugh’s disturbing insults toward her and women in general.

The Georgetown Law School student is an advocate of insurance coverage for female contraception.

Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” on his program on Wednesday because, he said, by asking for access to birth control subsidized by an insurer, she was essentially asking to be paid for sex.  

Then yesterday Limbaugh continued the string of insults by demanding that Fluke post sex tapes online so he could watch.

“So, Miss Fluke, and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal,” Limbaugh said.  ”If we are going to pay for your contraceptives . . . we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

@SandraFluke took the president’s call today in the msnbc green room at about one o’clock EST, shortly before an appearance on msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell Reports.

“He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women,” Fluke said in her description of the call.  “What was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud.”

Fluke told Mitchell all about the call from Obama today on msnbc: 

After appearing with Mitchell, Fluke tweeted out her appreciation to President Obama:

Obama called Fluke because “he wanted to offer his support to her. He wanted to express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks and thank her for exercising her rights as a citizen to speak out on an issue of public policy,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

The president’s call of encouragement came the day after Fluke appeared on The Ed Show, responding for the first time on TV to the ugly, sexist insults from conservative radio talk host Rush Limbaugh.  

Here’s the video of Fluke’s Ed Show appearance last night:

Fluke tweeted out a thank you to The Ed Show last night after her appearance, which we appreciated very much!

Democrats have criticized Limbaugh for the remarks.  And a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner labeled Limbaugh’s comments “inappropriate,” but also went after Democrats for “trying to raise money off the situation.”

Rick Santorum called Limbaugh’s comments “absurd” this afternoon, but Mitt Romney has been silent so far.

Fluke became an unwitting figure in the middle of a political battle over access to contraception that has ensnared Washington in recent weeks.  

As you’ll recall, House Republicans wouldn’t Fluke let testify at a contraception hearing on Feb. 16.  Fluke did, however, “testify” that evening during an exclusive live appearance on The Ed Show.  

She also testified at an unofficial Democratic House hearing a week later, both times advocating better access to female contraception for birth control and medical conditions, such as the prevention ovarian cysts.

Ed will have full coverage of these developments and more tonight on The Ed Show at 8pET on msnbc!

Sandra Fluke and Barack Obama

President Obama calls Sandra Fluke, thanks her for speaking out

Updated