CNN's Jake Tapper didn't ask guest Bill Maher once about his vile rhetoric against conservative women in a lengthy, two-segment interview on Friday's The Lead.
Tapper asked all soft questions of the liberal comedian who gave $1 million to President Obama's super PAC in 2012. He also brought up the Lewinsky scandal, which enabled Maher to laud Bill Clinton as "respectable" and a "great guy." This from a man who has a history of despicable vitriol against Republican women.
"Bill Clinton, let's be honest, at some point if you hang around long enough like an old building, they say, you become respectable and that's Bill Clinton now," Maher said. "Somehow the guy, who the Republicans accused of everything from rape to murdering Vince Foster and the most corrupt guy, he's great now. He's a great guy. They love him."
As NewsBusters has documented, Maher has received a warm welcome from the network before, including when Piers Morgan wished he would "remain gloriously uncensored on HBO."
Friday just marked the latest CNN welcome. Tapper asked Maher easy questions about his "new plot" to flip districts, if he would run for Congress, his "favorites for 2016," and his "frustration" with the administration's marijuana policy. Below are Tapper's questions (the question about Monica Lewinsky was incomplete due to a broadcasting issue):
[4:35 p.m. EST]
JAKE TAPPER: Why just hurl your comedic barbs from the sidelines when you can directly tamper with how Washington works? Well that's the new game plan, anyway, for liberal comedian Bill Maher host of HBO's Realtime with Bill Maher. He says this year his show will be entering into the exciting world of outright meddling with the political process by working with his fans to flip a district and knock a lawmaker of his audience's choosing out of power. I spoke with Maher and asked him to explain his new plot.
TAPPER: So Roll Call, one of the newspapers of Capitol Hill, asked some Republican members of Congress what they thought. Congressman Steve King, Republican of Iowa, he said you should run. He said quote, anybody that would put their name on the ballot is deserving of our respect. So let's see if I can start to respect Bill Maher. That was his thing. And then he said also, then all of the comedians can make fun of you. Have you ever thought about running for office?
TAPPER: So you were active, as you mentioned, in the 2012 election. You gave $1 million to Priorities USA, the pro-Obama super PAC. Do you have any favorites for 2016? Is there anyone you want to see run, not for comedic purposes but for leadership?
TAPPER: I remember a time when you were more of a libertarian and you didn't like either party. Do you think that you have changed in your politics, or do you think the parties have changed?
TAPPER: You're outspoken on the issue of marijuana. The President made headlines recently by saying that marijuana, in his view, is no more dangerous than alcohol. I interviewed him not long ago and I asked him about that. (...) So it is within the power of the Attorney General to change the classification. Are you frustrated, though, more largely, about the President's position on marijuana legalization, or do you support where he is because he has changed a bit?
TAPPER: You're still doing a lot of standup on the weekends, and you've got some dates coming up in some pretty red states. Greenville, Suth Carolina, February 22nd. And at the BJCC Concert Hall in Birmingham, Alabama, on February 23rd. When you go into these red states, how do the audiences receive you?
TAPPER: Finally, what is it like watching all this intense winter weather coverage from sunny Los Angeles?