Elections
              President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 6, 2012.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
              President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)   

Obama shrugs off supporters’ sexual insults of GOP women, bemoans Rush’s rhetoric

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama today declined to criticize his supporters’ sexually themed insults of female GOP politicians, including recent comments from comedian Bill Maher and a band called The Roots.

The Daily Caller asked the president about those insults during an afternoon press conference, his first of 2012.

“Should Bill Maher apologize for what he said about Republicans?” TheDC asked. “Should The Roots apologize [for] what they said about Bachmann?”

The off-the-cuff question, which was noticeably absent from the official White House transcript, came just after Obama criticized radio talker Rush Limbaugh for insulting Democratic activist and law student Sandra Fluke.

During congressional testimony on Feb. 23, Fluke urged the federal government to force religious organizations to provide her and others with free contraceptives. Obama phoned her on Mar. 2 to express his support.

“The reason I called Ms. Fluke is because I thought about Malia and Sasha, and one of the things that I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about — even ones that I may not agree with,” he said at the White House Tuesday.

“I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens,” Obama added. (RELATED: Full coverage of the Obama presidency)

Limbaugh, who called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute,” apologized Mar. 3 for the insult after some of his advertisers withdrew their support.

Obama, however, declined to condemn TV comedian Bill Maher for calling former Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a “c*nt” during a live show in Dallas.

Maher told his television audience that he could use that language because “I don’t have sponsors — I’m on HBO.”

Last week, Maher announced he was donating $1 million to a super PAC supporting Obama’s re-election campaign.

Obama also declined Tuesday to criticize The Roots for playing a song called “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” when Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann walked on the stage during a “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” taping in November.

The band did not sing the widely known lyrics, which include the words “You’re nothing but a little lyin’ ass bitch … slut trash can bitch.”

The Roots played at an Obama fundraiser last week.

In November, when the band made the choice to play the Fishbone song to introduce Bachmann to a national audience, she was a leading player in the GOP presidential primary race. Bachmann remains an elected member of Congress and a mother of five. She has also provided foster care to 23 youths who lacked families.

Before declining TheDC’s question about Maher and The Roots, Obama had declined to answer a related question about political double standards.

That question, from a USA Today reporter, cited Limbaugh’s insults and asked if there was a double standard when liberal commentators have made “provocative or distasteful statements and there hasn’t been such an outrage.”

Obama declined to answer, prompting TheDC to repeat the question, citing both the band and the HBO host.

The president again declined to answer — saying only “Thank you” — before inviting a question from another reporter about Democratic claims that Republicans are waging a “war on women.”