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Limbaugh tries to cap fallout from 'slut' comment

Excerpt

The following Reuters story ran on March 5, 2012. Political scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

March 16, 2012

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) - U.S. conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh said he had gone too far when he branded a birth-control activist a "slut," as he scrambled on Monday to defuse a controversy that has driven advertisers from his influential radio show.

In apologizing, the firebrand talk-show host couldn't resist taking a swipe at his opponents.

"I acted too much like the leftists who despise me. I descended to their level, using names and exaggerations," Limbaugh said. "It's what we've come to expect from them, but it's way beneath me."

Limbaugh's comments have amplified an election-year clash over President Barack Obama's plan to require health insurers to cover contraception.

Republican presidential candidates have cast the plan as an attack on religion as they court socially conservative voters before this week's 10-state "Super Tuesday" primary contest. But they have distanced themselves from Limbaugh's incendiary rhetoric as polls show that nearly two-thirds of voters support Obama's plan.

Limbaugh issued a written apology on Saturday for calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute," after several advertisers said they would pull support from his show.

The broadcaster said his "choice of words was not the best."

He apologized again on Monday, but continued to criticize Fluke's efforts to force the Catholic university to include contraception in its health insurance coverage....

"It's a dramatic loser for the Republicans, because the vast majority of American women use birth control at some point in their lives," said Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson.