Bill Burton, the former White House deputy press secretary and head of the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA, says the PAC will not return Bill Maher's $1 million donation even though Maher has used misogynistic rhetoric toward women. The Washington Free Beacon has the transcript of Burton's MSNBC interview this afternoon:
ANDREA MITCHELL: There’s been a suggestion that you should return the $1 million contribution from Bill Maher, that if you’re going to–if liberals are going to go after Rush Limbaugh for the outrageous things that he’s said about Sandra Fluke, that you should return the contribution from Bill Maher because of things that he has said about Sarah Palin.
BILL BURTON: Well, a couple of things. 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.
MITCHELL: Isn’t that what Mitt Romney said about Rush Limbaugh? “Not language that I would use”?
BURTON: Right, 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 Party said to sexually degrade a woman who engaged in an important debate of our time is crazy. There’s just no similarity about what Rush Limbaugh said, lying about the argument that miss Fluke was making, a law student at Georgetown, and what a comedian has said in the past.
Limbaugh is certainly a more influential figure than Maher, but both men portray themselves as entertainers. As Kirsten Powers has written, "the grand pooh-bah of media misogyny is without a doubt Bill Maher—who also happens to be a favorite of liberals—who has given $1 million to President Obama’s super PAC." She recounted some of hte truly degrading words Maher has used to attack women:
Maher has called Palin a “dumb twat” and dropped the C-word in describing the former Alaska governor. He called Palin and Congresswoman Bachmann “boobs” and “two bimbos.” He said of the former vice-presidential candidate, “She is not a mean girl. She is a crazy girl with mean ideas.” He recently made a joke about Rick Santorum’s wife using a vibrator. Imagine now the same joke during the 2008 primary with Michelle Obama’s name in it, and tell me that he would still have a job. Maher said of a woman who was harassed while breast-feeding at an Applebee’s, “Don't show me your tits!” as though a woman feeding her child is trying to flash Maher. (Here’s a way to solve his problem: don’t stare at a strangers’ breasts). Then, his coup de grâce: “And by the way, there is a place where breasts and food do go together. It’s called Hooters!”