Gingrich uses Limbaugh controversy to attack Obama

Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks at a debate watching party Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

HAMILTON, Ohio - Newt Gingrich on Saturday used the flap over Rush Limbaugh's controversial denunciations of birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke as a way to attack President Obama for acting "opportunistically" when he called the Georgetown University law student to express his disappointment over Limbaugh's comments.

After Limbaugh described Fluke as "slut" and "prostitute" for advocating for subsidizing birth control, Obama contacted Fluke personally. Numerous conservatives and other GOP presidential candidates have rebuked Limbaugh to varying degrees, but the former House speaker said he saw the issue much differently.

"I think the president will opportunistically do anything he can," Gingrich said in response to a reporter's question after a rally Saturday morning in Hamilton. "I think the most important use of language in the last week has been the president's apology to religious fanatics, and I want to stay focused on what the president has said, and I think what he said was inexcusable and is exactly the wrong policy at a time of life and death, and playing political games is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned."

Gingrich said the debate over requiring certain institutions to provide insurance coverage to cover contraception -- something that prompted Fluke's complaint involving Georgetown, a Jesuit-run institution -- should be over governmental interference in religion.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

"It's not about contraception. It's about religious liberty," he said. "It's about the attack on the Catholic Church, and the attack on every right-to-life institution and whether or not the government has the power to dictate to religious organizations."

Gingrich, who is devoting most of his time and resources to winning the Georgia primary, made his final and lone trip to Ohio this week, three days before Super Tuesday. Gingrich also is scheduled to participate in a forum hosted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, make remarks at a National Rifle Association meeting in Findlay and speak at the Ohio 5th Congressional District Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner at Bowling Green State University.

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    Sarah Huisenga is covering the Mitt Romney campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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