Bill Burton, the former Obama 2008 campaign press secretary who went on to found the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show Thursday, trying to distinguish between the rhetoric used by HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher and conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. Maher recently donated $1 million to Priorities USA.
Mitchell asked Burton how Maher has gotten away with what he said about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin while Limbaugh was condemned for his own ill-advised remarks.
“Well, a couple of things,” Burton said. “First of all, obviously, some of those things were vulgar and inappropriate and said over the course of years of a comedian’s life. It’s not language I would use or language we would use at Priorities USA.”
Mitchell noted that was similar to what Republican presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said when he was confronted with the question about Limbaugh’s rhetoric. But Burton justified Maher’s attacks as those being from a comedian, not a political leader.
“But the notion that there is an equivalence between what a comedian has said over the course of his career and what the de facto leader of the Republican Party said to sexually degrade a woman who led in a political debate of our time, is crazy,” he said. “There’s no just similarity about what Rush Limbaugh said, lying about the argument that Miss Fluke was making — a law student at Georgetown — and what a comedian has said in the past.”
Burton went on to use the question posed by Mitchell to attack Romney, pointing out that Romney had also sought the endorsement of Ted Nugent.
“And finally, if we want to have this debate where we’re stacking up what supporters of candidates have said over time, you know Mitt Romney begged Ted Nugent for his endorsement, and he gave it to him, and he embraced it, and his campaign was bragging about it,” Burton continued.
“But you look at some of the things he’s said. But this is all distraction between some of the real differences in this race between Mitt Romney and President Obama on key issues. And that’s what’s important here. Where do they stand on contraception? What kind of Supreme Court justice is Mitt Romney going to put in place? An Antonin Scalia or an Elena Kagan? That’s the important [thing] here.”