White House shrugs off charges of double standard on Limbaugh

Olivier Knox

The White House appears to be unlikely to heed a demand from a conservative women's group that President Barack Obama repudiate "serially vile misogynist" comic Bill Maher.

In a letter to White House chief of staff Jack Lew, Concerned Women for America called on Obama to live up to his "eloquent" defense of Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut."

But Obama press secretary Jay Carney, sidestepped the issue.

"We are not, and cannot be, the arbitrator of every statement that everybody makes in the policy and political arena," Carney told reporters at his daily briefing. "As a general matter, obviously, language that denigrates women is inappropriate."

Obama "chooses to lead by example, or to try to. He chooses to, in the pursuit of a more civil discourse on our public space, he chooses to try to practice that civility himself. And he calls on everybody to do just that," the press secretary said, echoing Obama's own comments on the issue Tuesday.

Concerned Women for America had zeroed in on Maher's pledge to contribute one million dollars to Priorities USA, a so-called super PAC that supports Obama's re-election independently of his official campaign but has the White House's blessing.

"President Obama cannot put forth the eloquent position ... while sending administration officials out to raise money for an organization that not only counts a vile misogynist as its largest single donor, but whose executives actively boast about that vile misogynist's support," CWA President and CEO Penny Nance said in the letter.

"Obama needs to publicly disassociate himself from Priorities USA and cease all further fundraising in support of the organization, until they return Mr. Maher's contribution immediately. If Priorities USA prefers to donate Mr. Maher's contribution to charity, my organization can recommend a list of charities that serve victims of domestic violence and abuse," she said.

CWA has itself not escaped charges of hypocrisy in the kerfuffle over Limbaugh's comments, with the liberal People for The American Way calling out the group for its silence in the face of the iconic conservative radio talk show host's comments.

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