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Democrats sign Bill Maher for fundraiser as Obama urges civility

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Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Alabama’s Democratic Party has recruited controversial comedian Bill Maher to headline a fundraiser March 17, amid calls by President Barack Obama and other Democrats for greater civility in public debate.

Maher has donated $1 million to aid a superPAC that is aiding Obama’s re-election campaign. He is popular among Democrats, but is reviled by many GOP advocates for his frequent sexually-themed insults of Republican women.

Last March, for example, he called Gov. Sarah Palin a “c*nt” during a live show in Texas and a “dumb twat” during his HBO TV show.

The Alabama Democratic Party’s website advertises the Maher fund raiser. Ticket prices are $100.

Yesterday, Palin used Twitter to urge Obama to back up his calls for civility by returning Maher’s $1 million donation. “Why doesn’t his super PAC return the $1 million that he got from a rabid misogynist?” she asked.

Obama urged greater civility Mar. 6 while focusing media and Democrats’ attention on radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh has been targeted by the media and the Democrats since he insulted a Democratic activist, Sandra Fluke, as a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Fluke is the experienced Democratic activist and Georgetown University law student who demanded on Feb. 23 that the federal government force religious organizations to provide her and others with free contraceptives at a cost of roughly $1,000 per year.

After she made the demand, Limbaugh called her a slut and a prostitute, but then apologized on March 3.

Obama called Fluke on March 2, spurring further media coverage of Limbaugh’s insult.

He made the call, Obama said at the press conference, because “we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate, and we want you to be engaged, and there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted, particularly when you’re a private citizen.”

Obama also said he called Fluke because, “I thought about Malia and Sasha, and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on, [and] I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way.”

“And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens,” he added.

Palin’s tweet highlighted Obama’s use of his daughters.

“Pres. Obama says he called Sandra Fluke because of his daughters. For the sake of everyone’s daughter, why doesn’t his super PAC return the $1 million that he got from a rabid misogynist?”

At the press conference, Obama recognized, but refused to answer, a question about liberal commentators’ language, and also The Daily Caller’s impromptu question about Maher’s language.

“Should Bill Maher apologize for what he said about Republicans?” TheDC asked.

Obama responded by saying “Thank you.”

Democrats have used Fluke’s testimony, Limbaugh’s insults and Obama’s statements to draw media attention away from the religious communities that have vociferously opposed a controversial birth control mandate imposed by Obama on Feb. 10.

The religious groups say the mandate isn’t needed, violates a 1993 religious protection law and the Constitution’s First Amendment, and also forces them to fund behavior that some believe to be sinful.

The mandate would force religious groups’ charities and schools to fund contraception and some abortion-linked drugs for their employees. Churches would be exempt from the mandate if they pass a four-part federal test.

By focusing on Limbaugh and contraceptives, rather than federal regulation of religion, Democrats hope to spur November turnout by Democrat-leaning women and to minimize anger among religious believers upset by the imposition of unprecedented federal regulation.

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