LAS VEGAS — Nevada Democratic U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley is launching a petition to pull the Rush Limbaugh show off the air after the conservative talk radio host's comments about a Georgetown University law student.
And in her latest attempt to link her opponent in a tight Senate race to national controversy over contraception, she's asking incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller to sign it.
"Instead of using his appointed Senate seat to be Rush Limbaugh's water boy, Dean Heller should put his money where his mouth is and join me in demanding his show be kicked off the air for his outrageous comments against women," said Berkley campaign spokesman Eric Koch in a Thursday statement.
Limbaugh called student Sandra Fluke a slut last week after she urged lawmakers to consider the importance of contraception coverage. He has since apologized, but has lost some advertisers in the backlash.
Heller spokeswoman Chandler Smith has said Heller thinks Limbaugh's comments were offensive and have no place in public discourse. On Thursday, she dismissed Berkley's latest effort as childish.
"While Nevadans are looking for jobs and a stronger economy, the seven-term congresswoman is running a juvenile name calling campaign. 'Water boy?' Sad," Smith said in a statement to The Associated Press.
The petition on the Shelley Berkley for Senate website calls Clear Channel Communications CEO Bob Pittman to stop giving Limbaugh "a national megaphone" for what she calls "hateful attacks against women." Representatives for the large media conglomerate did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Berkley's petition and challenge comes after several attacks on Heller's birth control views.
She called him "anti-women" last week for voting for a measure that would have allowed some employers to opt out of portions of the federal health care law, such as birth control coverage, because of moral objections. At the time, Heller said he supports religious freedom and noted that women already have access to birth control.
Berkley has also slammed Heller for opposing Planned Parenthood funding, calling his positions a throwback to the 1950s.
The congresswoman backed off the "anti-women" statement in a Wednesday conference call.
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