"The Speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation,'' said Boehner aide Michael Steel.
Boehner and other congressional Republicans have been accused by many Democratic officeholders and liberal advocacy groups of waging a "war on women'' because of the GOP's stances on family-planning funds, access to contraception, abortion rights and other issues. The topic has been cited often in recent fundraising pitches by many of the advocacy groups.
Amid this controversy, polls show that Obama's support among women has been increasing.
At Georgetown, more than 130 faculty members signed a letter praising Fluke for her "grace and strength'' and condemning Limbaugh's remarks. The university president, John J. DeGioia, did likewise.
He said Limbaugh and others responded to Fluke "with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.''
On Thursday, aware of the firestorm he had ignited, Limbaugh was unapologetic.
"I think this is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious'' he said on his show. "The left has been thrown into an outright conniption fit!''
On Friday, still defiant, Limbaugh scoffed at the concept of a conservative "war on women.''
"Amazingly, when there is the slightest bit of opposition to this new welfare entitlement being created, then all of a sudden we hate women! We want `em barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen,'' he said. "And now, at the end of this week, I am the person that the women of America are to fear the most.''
Longtime Republican strategist Terry Holt suggested voters might see Obama's response to an over-the-top radio host as "pure pandering'' to woo women's votes.
"This conversation seems to serve Rush Limbaugh and president Obama equally well,'' Holt said.
Fluke, in Washington, issued a statement expressing gratitude for the support she's received and resolve to continue speaking out.
"No woman deserves to be disrespected in this manner. This language is an attack on all women, and has been used throughout history to silence our voices,'' she said.
"The millions of American women who have and will continue to speak out in support of women's health care and access to contraception prove that we will not be silenced.''