Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh has been criticised in political and media circles after controversial comments made in a radio interview last week (Reuters)

Famous US talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been condemned for using rape as an analogy when arguing against changes in the U.S. Senate surrounding the filibuster rule.

Previously, a super-majority of 60 votes was required to lift or avoid a filibuster but now only a smaller majority of 51 votes is required.

This led to Limbaugh, during a radio broadcast last week, bizarrely comparing the Senate change to a room of mixed-gender people deciding whether women could be raped or not.

"The simple fact is when the majority in any group of people, when the majority can change the rules at any time, then there aren't any rules," Limbaugh said.

"Forget the Senate for a minute. Let's say, let's take ten people in a room and they're a group. And the room is made up of six men and four women. Right?

"The group has a rule that the men cannot rape the women. The group also has a rule that says any rule that will be changed must require six votes of the 10 to change the rule."

He continued: "Every now and then some lunatic in the group proposes to change the rule to allow women to be raped. But they never were able to get six votes for it.

"There were always the four women voting against it and there was, you know, two guys. Well, the guy that kept proposing that women be raped finally got tired of it.

"He was in the majority and he said, you know what, we're going to change the rule. Now all we need is five.

"And the women said, 'You can't do that.' 'Yes we are, we're the majority, we're changing the rule.' And then they vote. Can the women be raped?"

His comments have led to strong criticism in both the political and media spheres with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeting: "Limbaugh, once again proving he's a disgrace."

Other tweeters have criticised the broadcaster by using the hashtag #rapeyrush and appealed to advertisers to withdraw their business with Limbaugh's show.

Limbaugh is no stranger to controversy having claimed that Michael J. Fox was exaggerating his Parkinson's Disease in a TV ad in 2006. He also landed himself in hot water in 2007 after calling war veterans opposed to the Iraq war "the phony soldiers".

The Senate voted 52 to 48 last week in favour of a ban on the use of the filibusters to prevent the confirmation of nominees.

The vote took place in the Senate after Democrats accused their Republican counterparts of using the filibusters to prevent the president from appointing new judges and executives, leading Barack Obama to call it "an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in Congress".