Obama strategist: Rush Limbaugh's comments worse than Bill Maher's
President Obama's campaign senior strategist David Axelrod weighed in on one of the testiest political debates in recent weeks during an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett on Thursday: Was Bill Maher's ridicule of Sarah Palin as reprehensible as Rush Limbaugh's criticism of Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke?
Burnett asked Axelrod whether "to be consistent," Obama's Super PAC should return the million dollars the comedian recently donated to the president's reelection effort. Obama criticized Limbaugh's descripton of Fluke, who testified before Congress about the need for insurance coverage for birth control, as a "slut" and a "prostitute."
In past comedy routines, Maher has used vulgar, misogynistic terms for women to describe Palin.
"Understand that words Maher has used in his stand up act are a little bit different than -- not excusable in any way -- but different than a guy with 23 million radio listeners using his broadcast platform to malign a young woman for speaking her mind in the most inappropriate, grotesque ways," Axelrod said.
Axelrod then described Limbaugh as the "de facto boss of" the GOP.
While Axelrod didn't excuse Maher's comments, he said Limbaugh's comments about Fluke were "perverse."
In the days after Limbaugh's initial outburst and the resulting cavalcade of departing advertisers, some on the political right felt that Maher's strong words about Sarah Palin were equally reprehensible.
Photo: David Axelrod. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press