By Daniel Strauss - 03/05/12 05:28 PM EST
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh suggested on Monday that his apology to a Georgetown Law student over the weekend had nothing to do with departing advertisers.
After Limbaugh referred to the student, Sandra Fluke, as a "slut" and "prostitute" in response to her testimony at a congressional hearing in support of the Obama administration's new contraception rule, a number of Limbaugh's advertisers began to pull money from the radio host's show. Limbaugh was strongly criticized for his remarks, and over the weekend he apologized, coinciding with the advertisers' departures.
"I've always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program," Limbaugh said. "Nevertheless those two words were inappropriate, they were uncalled for. They distracted from the point I was trying to make and I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those words to describe her.
"I do not think she is either of those two words," Limbaugh said, stressing that the "apology was sincere."
"All the theories ... are wrong," he said.
Limbaugh shrugged off the former advertisers.
"What we're going to do is replace those that leave," Limbaugh said. "Fine, we'll replace them."
Limbaugh then used the statement to attack the left, saying he was acting like liberals.
"I acted too much like the leftists who describe me," Limbaugh said. "It's what we've come to know and expect from them, but it's way beneath me."
On Monday, AOL announced that it was stepping away from advertising on Limbaugh's show, making it the ninth advertiser to do so. According to published reports, the other companies are Citrix Systems Inc., Legal Zoom, Quicken Loans, Carbonite, ProFlowers, GoToMeeting, Sleep Number and Sleep Train.
Speaking on ABC's "The View" earlier on Monday, Fluke said Limbaugh had not called her personally to apologize.
"I think his statements on the air have been personal enough about me
so I'd rather not have a personal phone call from him," Fluke said.
—This story was updated at 12:46 p.m.