Women’s Group Presses Obama on Limbaugh/Maher Double Standard

Mar 8, 2012 1:08pm
gty rush limbaugh bill maher thg 120308 wblog Womens Group Presses Obama on Limbaugh/Maher Double Standard

(Image Credit: PHOTO: Rush Limbaugh, appears during a news conference for judges, Jan. 27, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Actor Bill Maher leaves the 'Good Morning America' taping at the ABC Times Square Studios, Nov. 14, 2011 in New York City.)

After making a point of standing up for women during the Rush Limbaugh controversy, President Obama is taking flak from one corner for not speaking out against “vile misogynist” and liberal Obama supporter Bill Maher.

Maher, a comedian who specializes in politics, is also a $1 million contributor to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that supports Obama’s reelection.

Penny Nance, president of the conservative group Concerned Women for America, said in a letter to White House chief of staff Jack Lew that Obama “needs to publicly disassociate himself from Priorities USA” until it returns Maher’s money.

“President Obama cannot put forth the eloquent position he announced on Tuesday, while sending administration officials out to raise money for an organization that not only counts a vile misogynist as its largest single donor, but whose executives actively boast about that vile misogynist’s support,” Nance wrote in her letter to Lew.

Last month, in an about face, Obama approved support for Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing his campaign, allowing senior White House officials to appear at Priorities fundraisers.

The move also drew a $1 million contribution to the group from Maher, though he is not the group’s largest donor as Nance mistakenly noted. (Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg gave the group $2 million last year.)

Nance says Obama and his re-election campaign are advancing a double standard by singling out Limbaugh for criticism over liberal perpetrators of sexist speak.   Limbaugh has been taken to task and later apologized for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” for advocating for free coverage of birth control in employer health plans, which Obama favors.

What did Maher say that has drawn the protest from CWA?

Nance cites instances when Maher, a comedian whose show airs on HBO, reportedly called former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin a “dumb twat” and Palin and Rep. Michelle Bachmann “boobs” and “two bimbos,” and said of a woman seen breast feeding in public, “don’t show me your tits!”  The comments were made in a satirical setting, but Limbaugh has said he was joking, too.

A spokesperson for Maher declined to comment when reached by ABC News.

“It’s never appropriate to degrade women, no matter whose side you’re on,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt in an email.

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today that Obama has no direct ties to Priorities USA and cannot tell the group what to do with respect to Maher.

“As a general matter, obviously language that denigrates women is inappropriate,” Carney said.

“In the pursuit of a more civil discourse in our public space, he [Obama] chooses to try to practice that civility by himself, and he calls on everyone to do just that.”

This post has been updated from an earlier version. ABC News’ Matt Negrin contributed to this report.

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