Obama Adviser David Axelrod Pulls Bill Maher Show Appearance
UPDATED: HBO says that Axelrod was never confirmed to join.
Money can't buy you love -- or, sometimes, a guest on your TV program.
President Obama's campaign chief David Axelrod is not scheduled to appear on Real Time with Bill Maher, Politico reports. Axelrod was reported last week to be on the roster of upcoming visitors to the HBO political comedy talk show; the reported exit comes amidst criticism Maher has received for defending Rush Limbaugh's apology to Sandra Fluke for the mysoginist remarks he made on air. President Obama has strongly condemned Limbaugh's attacks.
At a time in which Hollywood is donating far less to Obama's campaign than it did the first go round, Maher has stood out for his support for the President. He very publicly donated $1 million to the President's re-election campaign and openly criticized his opponents, telling The Hollywood Reporter that "It’s a scarier group of Republicans than I’ve ever seen in my life."
Maher has gotten slammed by all sides for making what critics call a history of making sexist remarks. A conservative group has been using attacks Maher has made on Sarah Palin -- he has called her a c--t during his standup act and a t--t on Real Time -- in a video being circulated to raise money. In addition, a non-partisan group called Women's Campaign Fund has called on Obama to return the massive check as a stand against sexism.
“They’re absolutely identical,” Sam Bennett, the latter group's president, told Talking Points Memo. "It’s completely unacceptable when Maher said sexist things about Bachmann and Palin. It’s completely unacceptable when Rush called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut.' If you attack one woman, you attack all women, period. If it goes uncalled against, we’re saying it’s OK. It’s not."
Axelrod is a very common face on TV screens, and not just on straight news programs, either; he's appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Late Show with David Letterman, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, amongst others.
Stewart on Tuesday night addressed the Maher controversy, saying Fox News, which has been critical of the comedian/host, of having a double standard.
"So I guess by bringing up Bill Maher, Fox is saying, 'So we're even, right? Off-setting penalties," he said. "Let's just say we all get back to what really matters to Americans: whether Obama is a Sunni or a Shi'ite.'"
A spokesperson for HBO told The Hollywood Reporter played down the news, saying "We don’t consider anyone confirmed on maher until basically the Wednesday before our Friday show, because the nature of the booking is guests' schedules change, flights get canceled."
Asked whether high profile guests have started to avoid the show, the spokesperson responded, "It's business as usual."