CHARLOTTE — Sandra Fluke makes professional conservatives go insane every time she opens her mouth. At 31, she has become the youngest visible general fighting against what Democrats call “the war against women.”
So after her prime-time speech on Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention here, the fusillade of ridicule started up again. Political strategy gadfly Roger Stone tweeted that he “wish[ed] Ted Kennedy could have taken her for a ride.” Jonah Goldberg wondered if she had “ ‘Birth Control Martyr’ business cards.”
She was a known name only because Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” after she was denied a chance to testify at a congressional hearing to advocate for birth-control coverage in the Affordable Care Act. She was the ruination of feminism. Ann Coulter tweeted, “Bill Clinton just impregnated Sandra Fluke backstage.”
The former president did ask to meet Fluke backstage after her address, she said Thursday.
He told her she did a great job, asked if she had been nervous, then volunteered:
“I’m nervous. I’m nervous about going out there and getting it right for the president,” Fluke said. To which she responded, “Sir. Please.”
Within the secure perimeter of Dem World here, Fluke is an official star: recognized by the partisans who saw her in the convention center or on TV the night before as she described a stark choice for women between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. They wanted a picture, or a handshake, or to offer their thanks as she made her way from one media appearance to another.
She is learning that it takes a long time to traverse a city block that way. She is learning that she has to avoid literal missteps, immediately jumping off a grate that blew up her dress in Marilynesque fashion. When her body man offered to give her a piggyback ride because her ankles were hurting, she smiled and said no.
Yes, Sandra Fluke now has a body man. He is her longtime boyfriend, Adam Mutterperl, a comedy writer and producer in Los Angeles — the guy who did the “JibJab” cartoons on “Saturday Night Live.” They got engaged this past spring, right before she graduated from law school and took the boards.
In jeans and a “Sesame Street” T-shirt, he was giving her cough drops when her voice cracked from so much talking. “I love being a body man, actually,” he said Thursday. “I can watch, read the signs, say, ‘It’s time to get her out of here.’ ”
She also is getting pro bono representation from the Democratic strategy firm SKDKnickerbocker. Her debt is piling up, she said, because most of the nonprofits to which she speaks can’t afford to pay her.
Fluke received the call from the Obama campaign two weeks ago to speak at the convention, while she was in Sacramento marching with domestic workers for a bill of rights, which she had worked on as a lawyer. “And I was marching with a suitcase, because I was going next to the airport” — to talk to Democrats in Manhattan — “and so it was a pretty chaotic phone call,” but she got the gist of the request.
She has been gratified, she said, by the number of men, young and old, who have voiced their support. “I get frustrated sometimes with young women. They never for one minute considered that women’s health policies might be limited. They say, ‘Oh, they won’t really roll back Roe v. Wade. They wouldn’t do that,’ ” Fluke said. “And I have to say, ‘Look at what they’ve already done.’ ”