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Late Night: Bill Maher rips Rick Santorum, GOP on social issues

February 16, 2012 |  7:45 am

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Bill Maher paid a visit to "The Tonight Show" on Wednesday and, as usual, he had some provocative things to say about contemporary politics. His target this time? Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. 

After a very "dude"-oriented conversation about Valentine's Day -- women, amirite? -- Jay Leno steered the topic to the presidential campaign, asking Maher his opinion of the sweater vest aficionado and former senator from Pennsylvania. 

"He's a little conservative for me. Thinks life begins at erection, this guy," Maher said, prompting high-pitched hyena laughter from Leno.

Maher made light of Santorum's dogmatic stance on sex and procreation, and the "Real Time" host also seemed baffled by the Republicans' renewed focus on social issues, rather than jobs and the economy.

"Remember up until recently this election was going to be an election all about money?...Weren't they mad about the bankers and the bailouts?" he wondered, suggesting -- in his typically colorful way -- that they had been distracted by issues like the recent overturning of Proposition 8.

Maher argued that conservatives are making a strategic error by reigniting the culture wars. "I guess the Republicans haven't gotten the memo that this country has changed since 2004." Back then, Bush won reelection because gay marriage was put on the ballot in 11 states, Maher claimed. But eight years later, attitudes have changed dramatically. 

"Americans have gotten a lot more comfortable with gay, because of TV," he said. "Because of 'Glee' and 'Will & Grace' and 'Frasier,' all these gay shows."

Incidentally, Wednesday was apparently "trading places" night for TV talk-show hosts: Jon Stewart also stopped by "The Late Show," where he and David Letterman discussed whether Mitt Romney is more like a Pixar character or an underwear model. The jury's still out.

 

RELATED:

Jon Stewart rips Catholic church over birth control

Jimmy Fallon challenges Michelle Obama to potato sack race

Stephen Colbert says super PACs are 'publicly buying democracy'

— Meredith Blake

Twitter.com/MeredithBlake

Photo: Bill Maher on the set of HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher." Credit: Janet Van Ham / HBO.

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