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Rush Limbaugh: Apology to Sandra Fluke was "sincere"

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh said Monday his comments attacking a young activist as a "slut" and a "prostitute" because she is pushing for wider access to contraceptive coverage were "inappropriate and uncalled for," and apologized again for the remarks.

"Those two words were inappropriate," Limbaugh told listeners during his radio program. "They were uncalled for. They distracted from the point that I was actually trying to make."

"I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her," Limbaugh added, echoing an earlier apology posted on his website. "I do not think she is either of those two words. I did not think, last week, that she is either of those two words. The apology to her over the weekend was sincere. It was simply for using inappropriate words in a way I never do. And in so doing I became like the people we oppose. I ended up descending to their level." 

As a growing number of advertisers announce their decisions to pull sponsorshipfrom the conservative talk show host's controversial radio program, the host undertook damage control Monday -- though he did not back off the sentiment behind his position. He suggested that he made the comments because he "descended" to the level of those on the left. 

"In fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them," Limbaugh said of the left. "Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong, I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke. That was my error, I became like them and I feel very badly about that."

"The government has no business doing any of this - people's bedrooms, mandating that other citizens pay for other citizens' social activities and so forth," he said.

AOL on Monday became the ninth company to publicly cut ties with Limbaugh's program since he called Fluke a "slut" last Wednesday, citing the need for "integrity."

"At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity," the company said in a statement. "We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh's comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show."

On Monday, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain called the comments "totally unacceptable" in an interview with "CBS This Morning," adding that people on both sides of the political aisle should speak out against the statement.

"He has influence because he has a strong conservative base," McCain told CBS News' Charlie Rose. "I know that. But those statements were unacceptable in every way and should be condemned by everyone, no matter what their political leanings are."

Fluke, in an appearance on ABC's "The View" Monday, said Limbaugh's earlier apology doesn't change anything.

"I don't think that a statement like this, issued saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything," Fluke said in the appearance prior to Limbaugh's Monday remarks. "Especially when that statement is issued when he's under significant pressure from his sponsors, who have begun to pull their support from the show."

Brooke Schwartz and Walt Cronkite contributed to this report.

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