Wading further into an escalating contraception battle that has put Republicans on the defensive, President Obama on Friday called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student who this week was derided as a “slut” and a “prostitute” by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh for her defense of rules mandating that employer-provided insurance plans cover the cost of birth control.
The call by Obama -- a rare one from the president to a private individual -- comes amid an intensifying political fight over religious-affiliated institutions and contraception, a battle in which Democrats accuse Republicans of waging a “war on women” and Republicans say that Obama is working to curtail “religious liberty.”
The president’s call is a signal that the White House, like Democrats more broadly, believes it has the upper hand on a hot-button issue that does not appear to be leaving the political spotlight anytime soon.
Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) on Friday continued to distance himself from controversial remarks about contraception made by one of his top supporters.
Appearing on CBS’s “This Morning,” Santorum called the comments by supporter Foster Friess “a bad joke,” and said he shouldn’t have to comment on it.