CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Contraception activist and former Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke attempted to demonize Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention by obliquely rehashing the incident which made hers a household name.
Speaking about the two futures that women could face depending on who wins the White House in November, Fluke charged that a Romney presidency would look “like an offensive, obsolete relic of our past.”
“In that America, your new president could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs,” she said — referencing, but not naming, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh’s late February misstep, when he referred to Fluke as a “slut” for advocating for free birth control by supporting the recent Health and Human Services contraception mandate before a Democratic House panel.
“Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party,” she added.
Limbaugh later apologized and Romney said at the time, “I’ll just say this, which is, it’s not the language I would have used.”
Fluke also made reference to President Barack Obama’s, in her eyes, more heroic participation in the scandal.
“We’ve also seen another future we could choose. … An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters — not his delegates or donors — and stands with all women,” she said.
When Limbaugh insulted Fluke on the radio, Obama personally called her to offer his support, and Democrats defended the then 30-year-old law student.
“And strangers stand up and lift her up,” she continued. “And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here and you give me this microphone to amplify our voice. That’s the difference.”
To Fluke, the choice is stark and dire, and it is Obama who will move America forward.
“Over the last six months, I’ve seen what these two futures look like. And six months from now, we’re all going to be living in one future, or the other — but only one: A country where our president either has our back or turns his back; a country that honors our foremothers by moving us forward, or one that forces our generation to re-fight the battles they already won; a country where we mean it when we talk about personal freedom, or one where that freedom doesn’t apply to our bodies and our voices.”