Rush Limbaugh has dominated the news cycle since late last week, when he called Georgetown law student and birth control advocate Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his syndicated radio show. The insults -- extreme even by Limbaugh's standards -- have led to a widespread backlash and an exodus of sponsors from the show.
Predictably, his words also have become fodder for Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, who took aim at the bloviating radio host on Monday night.
Calling Limbaugh "the poster boy for contraception," Colbert said he was most concerned about two things. First, that Limbaugh's statements (e.g. "Have you ever thought of not having sex so often?") suggested a tenuous grasp of the basics of contraception.
"Yes, because that's how the pill works -- there's one for each sperm. They act like little baby deflectors," Colbert said sarcastically. "Rush knows what he's talking about, because every time he's had sex with a woman, he's had to slip her a pill first."
He also criticized Limbaugh's halfhearted apology, in which the radio host expressed remorse for using the words "slut" and "prostitute" but did not address the numerous other insults he lobbed at Fluke -- such as wondering how she procured condoms "back in junior high."
"I don't understand why this man has gone through four wives," Colbert joked. He also suggested that it's Limbaugh, not Fluke, who behaved like a prostitute. "He only apologized to keep his advertisers, proving Rush will do anything with his mouth for cash."
Over on "The Daily Show," Stewart also wondered about Limbaugh's understanding of birth control. "He seems to believe anyone using contraception is automatically having a ton of sex, and that contraception is something a woman has to pay for every time she has sex," he said.
But unlike Colbert, Stewart argued that Limbaugh wasn't worthy of so much media attention: "Personally, I don't get too worked up about the things Rush Limbaugh says because he is, and has been for many years, a terrible person."
Nevertheless, Stewart proceeded to spend the rest of the segment debunking Limbaugh's claims, while also criticizing the Republican presidential candidates and Fox News personalities who agree with Limbaugh's reasoning, if not his inflammatory word choice.
According to Stewart, they all object to the birth control mandate in the federal healthcare law simply because it means paying -- albeit very, very indirectly -- for something they don't support. "Everyone pays for [stuff] they don't want to all the time. Reimburse me for the Iraq war and oil subsidies, and guess what then? Diaphragms are on me," he said, eliciting huge applause from his audience.
So, who do you think won the night? Colbert, Stewart ... or Limbaugh?
Late Night: Jon Stewart mocks birth control hearings
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-- Meredith Blake
Photo: Rush Limbaugh. Credit: Brian Jones / Associated Press.