Moments after receiving a call of support from President Obama, Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke appeared on “Andrea Mitchell Reports” to express her feelings on the recent disparaging remarks made against her by conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh. Fluke told Mitchell that during the call, President Obama “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, and that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me. So I just appreciated that very much.”
ANDREA: And what many see as a war on women’s health – a war on women's health rights, conservative radio host went after Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke after she testified to Democratic congress members about access to contraception.
[RUSH LIMBAUGH VIDEO]: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want.
ANDREA: And it got worse from there. Limbaugh today attacked her with language that we will not repeat on the air. We do not want to further embarrass or hurt this unintended victim. Sandra Fluke is a Georgetown University Law student, and joins me now. I have to say, you have shown grace through all of this.
SANDRA: Thank you very much.
ANDREA: You wanted to testify two weeks ago, was it two weeks ago or last week?
SANDRA: I have completely lost track.
ANDREA: I have as well. Let's talk about how you felt, first of all, you were in our green room getting ready to come on and the White House said we can reveal that you just got off the phone with the president?
SANDRA: Yes I did.
ANDREA: The stakes have been raised pretty high. What did he say to you?
SANDRA: 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, and that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me. So I just appreciated that very much.
ANDREA: I'm sure. This has been emotional for you. I cannot imagine. You try to testify, you are excluded from testifying. We see the all-male panel, which was an amazing picture and signal to the nation, the next thing you know, a man with a microphone, reaching millions people, perhaps the largest radio audience here in the country, is calling – vilifying you and calling you all kinds of names. And now, you have had a call from the president of the United States?
SANDRA: There have been highs and lows, yes. So it's been quite a journey, and I am just happy that what seems to be happening in the process is that America is hearing the voices of the women affected by lack of contraception coverage and who will benefit from this policy, that is really what is most important for me, and that is why I’ve been working on this for years honestly.
ANDREA: You are a student at Georgetown, which is a Catholic university, and there was a statement from the president of Georgetown today supporting you and embracing you. How important is that, he said “One does not need to agree with Sandra Fluke's substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression…Rush Limbaugh and commentators throughout the blogosphere and in various other media channels responded with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.” Your Catholic university has at the highest level come out and endorsed your civil discourse,which is really what we are talking about here.
SANDRA: Yes, and I appreciate it very much. It mean a lot to me, the support of the law school faculty as well as the president of the university has been helpful. And I think it’s really an example of what kind of model we should look to in our national discourse, because clearly the president of the university and i disagree about the issues but we are both able to handle it in a civil manner.
ANDREA: I know there's a lot of politics that have been involved, but the president of the United States, President Obama called you – I think it's fair to say that you got from his conversation that he was reaching out to you because you have been victimized here by an element of the media.
SANDRA: Yes, he did express his concern for me and wanted to make sure that I was okay, which I am. I’m okay.
ANDREA: What have your parents said about it? What has your mom said about it all?
SANDRA: Well, they were certainly hurt by the comments but they are very proud of me. And they are actually of a different political persuasion than I am, so that is emblematic of the fact that broadly Americans agree that women need access to health care to prevent medical disasters and to prevent pregnancy. So they are very proud, they agree with that position, and yeah.
ANDREA: So, how is this whole experience changing you, if you can sort through it. I know it's all very new, you just got off the phone with the president. Which is something that is pretty amazing right there. How has it changed you? You are graduating a law student, you have to take the bar and decide whether to be practicing law or continuing activism.
SANDRA: It has been a learning experience, I recommend hands on experience for law students. Not all of this experience i would recommend. But, yes, I’m still thinking about what I do next and it will be something protecting women and in one of these different areas, there's so many issues that are so important to American women so I’ll be working on one of them.
ANDREA: Sandra Fluke, we talked last night when you were here doing "The Ed Show" you had a lot of other things to do today, we thank you for your time. And the fact this has been a roller coaster for you and thank you for joining us.
SANDRA: Thank you for having me. I appreciate your coverage of the issue.