Andrea Mitchell asked Obama Super PAC head Bill Burton about calls by Republicans for Priorities USA to return the $1 million donation Bill Maher gave to his organization after some of the sexist remarks Maher made about Sarah Palin and Michele
March 8, 2012

Andrea Mitchell asked Obama Super PAC head Bill Burton about calls by Republicans for Priorities USA to return the $1 million donation Bill Maher gave to his organization after some of the sexist remarks Maher made about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Burton never directly addressed whether the money should be returned or not, but shot back at the notion that there's any equivalence between a comedian's remarks and "the de facto leader of the Republican Party."

Burton also pointed out that this is probably a debate the Romney campaign would prefer not to have after he embraced the endorsement of Ted Nugent after some of the horrible things he's said about Hillary Clinton. Personally I think Maher made himself look completely ridiculous for defending Rush Limbaugh and saying he'd "apologized" for his remarks about Sandra Fluke. Maher apparently doesn't understand what the definition of an apology is if he thinks what Rush said qualifies as one.

And for the record, I thought Maher should have apologized to them, even though I took a bunch of hell for it at the time. I agree with Burton's sentiments here though and there is no equivalence between the position Rush Limbaugh holds in the Republican Party, what he does and has done for three hours a day for the last twenty years, day in and day out, with insulting women, minorities and everyone under the sun other than the crusty old white racist men that listen to him, and Bill Maher making a few remarks, saying something insulting about a couple of women who are in positions of power, and who both had done a lot of damage themselves to the women's rights movement. It is just not the same and they should let the Republicans continue to whine and keep the donation.

Here's more from The Hill on Burton's interview -- Obama super-PAC head: Maher remarks ‘vulgar,’ but not comparable to Limbaugh:

Bill Burton, the head of the super-PAC supporting President Obama’s reelection effort, said Thursday that while some of comedian Bill Maher's comments "were vulgar and inappropriate" he did not believe they were similar in tone to controversial statements last week by radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time," recently announced a $1 million donation to the Priorities USA group helmed by Burton. But conservatives have argued the group should return the donation because some of the comedian's past statements have been as controversial as remarks made by Limbaugh and denounced by the president and leading Democrats. [...]

MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked Burton, a former Obama campaign press secretary, if that was a double standard, a charge Burton deflected by arguing that Maher was a comedian, not a political commentator.

“First of all, obviously, some of those things were vulgar and inappropriate and said over the course of years of a comedian’s life. It’s not language I would use or language we would use at Priorities USA," Burton said. “But the notion that there is an equivalence between what a comedian has said over the course of his career and what the de facto leader of the Republican Party said to sexually degrade a woman who led in a political debate of our time, is crazy.” [...]

"If we want to have this debate where we’re stacking up what supporters of candidates have said over time, you know Mitt Romney begged Ted Nugent for his endorsement, and he gave it to him, and he embraced it, and his campaign was bragging about it,” Burton said. [...]

Burton said that, ultimately, the outrage over individual comments wasn't relevant to the presidential campaign.

"This is all distraction between some of the real differences in this race between Mitt Romney and President Obama on key issues. And that’s what’s important here. Where do they stand on contraception? What kind of Supreme Court justice is Mitt Romney going to put in place? An Antonin Scalia or an Elena Kagan? That’s the important [thing] here," Burton said.

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