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Obama 'was thinking of daughters when he called Sandra Fluke'


March 7, 2012 - New York

Obama said that concern for his two young daughters drove him to reach out and comfort Sandra Fluke, who was labeled a "slut" by Rush Limbaugh.

The US President discussed his reasons for calling Sandra Fluke at a news conference on Tuesday at the White House.

He said that he wants his children to engage in issues they care about without them being called names.

"One of the things I want them to do as they get older is engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on," the New York Daily News quoted the President as saying of his daughters, Malia and Sasha.

"I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way. And I don't want them attacked or called horrible names because they're being good citizens," he said.

Obama said he also wanted Fluke, a third-year Georgetown law student who previously lived on the upper West Side, to know that her parents should be "proud of her."

He explained he was trying to promote a civilized discourse about the contentious issue of contraceptives.

"We want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate.

"And we want you to be engaged, and there's a way to do it in a way that doesn't involve you being demeaned and insulted," Obama said.

Obama, touching on whether Limbaugh's apology was genuine, said he could not address what was in the radio host's heart when he launched into the verbal assault - and then backed it up with another controversial comment the next day.

Limbaugh again apologized to Fluke on Monday as some of his advertisers threatened to jump ship.

Fluke has said his apology doesn't quite cut it because she will always be associated with the firestorm his comments caused.

"I don't think that a statement like this, issued saying that his 'choice of words was not the best,' changes anything," she said on ABC's 'The View' on Monday.

The flap began last Wednesday when Limbaugh attacked Fluke on his radio show after she testified before a Congressional panel in favour of the Obama administration's initiatives to have insurers cover birth control for women - an issue that has prompted a backlash from some parts of the religious community. After calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute," he then said that women should have to have sex on video if they want the coverage.

After Obama's phone call on Friday, Fluke said she was most touched by the President's statements about her family.

"He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women. And what was really personal for me, was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud," she said last week.

ANI

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