RUSH: Let’s go to the audio sound bites. We’re gonna go now to ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. This is the roundtable, and they’re talking about Bill Maher’s remarks on Friday night about Ann Romney. The guest is Melody Barnes, former White House domestic policy adviser for Obama. So this is Stephanopoulos and Melody Barnes talking about Bill Maher.
STEPHANOPOULUS: I wonder if the president has a continuing problem with Bill Maher. You know, you saw his comments he made on Friday night. He’s given a million dollars. He’s the biggest single contributor to the super PAC aligned with the president. This has now happened a couple of times. Do you think the president is gonna have to cut ties?
BARNES: The language, the sentiment are problematic. And the campaign has — and the president has — said, “Look, civility is… It matters. The way we talk to each other matters.” I saw David Axelrod in earlier situations when comments have been made by Bill Maher say, “I’m not going on your show. I’m booking away. I’m distancing myself.”
RUSH: Okay, so I don’t think they solved anything there. That’s Melody Barnes struggling in vain for a cogent thought to answer the question. Because what she didn’t want to say is, “Yeah, the president ought to throw him overboard,” because they don’t want to get rid of the his money. They do not want to give back the million dollars. So they’ve gotta say, “Well, Maher, he’s not one of us!” It’s like Hilary Rosen: “She’s not one of us. She see works at CNN!”
So later during the roundtable talking about Maher’s remarks, they got Cokie Roberts of ABC News, Stephanopoulos and Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel from The Nation magazine.
ROBERTS: What Maher does and what Rosen did, even though I certainly know that you’re just talking on television, sometimes you say things —
STEPHANOPOULUS: You wish it would have come out a different way.
ROBERTS: We’ve all done it. But the fact is that it plays into an image of the Democrats as this out of touch with regular people, and elitist and kind of snooty.
VANDEN HEUVEL: But to pick up on what Cokie says, I think these discussions about Bill Maher and Hilary Rosen, Ann Romney, much of that plays into a view that our politics are failing to deal with the massive deep-seated problems this country has. There are people in this country who are looking, perhaps at us right now in this roundtable, and saying, “You’re not connecting to my problems or my life.” Let’s get with it. Forget Bill Maher.
RUSH: Right, right, let’s forget Bill Maher, but Rush Limbaugh, we’ll sit here for a month and talk about it and try to connect it with your life. Katrina, what do you want to talk about on your roundtable? What problems do people have that you don’t think you’re connecting with here? Is it Obama’s economy? See, they’re eager, they want to sweep Bill Maher away. Women are from Venus; Democrat women are from Bill Mahers. That’s the problem that they have here. They don’t quite know what to do. See, secretly, they think Maher is the funniest guy. When he comes out and he zings — oh! They love Bill Maher. When he does this, you know, they sit there, “Ah, gee,” they have to defend him. They can’t throw him overboard, because to them he’s way too valuable when you measure it on balance.
So this kept up. So we have Melody Barnes answering, saying nothing. Cokie Roberts, Katrina vanden Heuvel step in to say, “Everybody says things that come out wrong, no big deal. Let’s move on to the real issues.” By the way, who thinks — this is a quasi-important point, too, Cokie Roberts says that this plays into the image of the Democrats as out of touch with regular people, elite and snooty — who has that image of Democrats? Isn’t that the image of Republicans that Democrats put forth? Isn’t elite and out-of-touch with regular people, isn’t that Romney? Isn’t that what they say of Romney? Did Cokie let another cat out of the bag here inadvertently?
Now, these people live and die on polls, and particularly internal polls, and who knows what they’ve got there at ABC News and the Washington Post, but I will guarantee you there is polling data that shows that people think it’s the Democrats that are out of touch, that it’s the Democrats who are elitist and snooty, and I think she’s blown it big time by mentioning it, because that’s what the Democrats try to say about Republicans. All of a sudden she said that this Maher thing plays into that, makes the Democrats look that way? Everybody says things that are wrong sometimes, let’s move on? Really? Let’s not create a phony media feeding frenzy for a month? No, no, we’re outraged-out. Everybody knew what’s going on. There’s nothing to see here. Let’s move on.