CLEVELAND -- Mitt Romney on Friday lamented conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh’s controversial labeling of birth control activist Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” – but not in strong enough terms for President Obama’s chief re-election strategist.
Limbaugh made his now-infamous comments after Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, testified during an unofficial Democratic committee hearing about how a friend had been unable to pay for the birth control needed to shrink ovarian cysts and help preserve her fertility. Several leading conservatives, including House Speaker John Boehner, have rebuked Limbaugh.
“I'll just say this, which is, it’s not the language I would have used," Romney told reporters after an event in Cleveland. Instead, he said, "I’m focusing on the issues that I think are significant in the country today, and that’s why I’m here talking about jobs and Ohio.”
Ron Paul, a GOP rival of Romney called Limbaugh's comments "a little crude." Rick Santorum, another competitor, called them "absurd."
Upon learning of Romney's response, David Axelrod, senior advisor to the Obama campaign, issued a sarcastic tweet: "Wow. Profiles in Courage" as well as "What about the spirit of what Rush said? Was that OK?"
Lindsey Boerma contributed contributed to this article.