Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Larry King Live on CNN, comedian Bill Maher picked up on a recent contention by Newt Gingrich that President Obama is motivated by anti-colonialism which his Kenyan father felt as the Real Time with Bill Maher host smeared the potential 2012 Republican presidential field as racist:
How are they going to out-firebreathe each other? I mean, where this rhetoric has gone to at this point. It’s only 2010, and we’re having Newt Gingrich, as we were talking about before, calling him an anti-colonial Luo tribesman. ... That’s the new Kenyan, Larry. And Kenyan, of course, was code for n*****. But that’s where they are. They can’t say it out loud. But that’s where this whole campaign is going to be. You asked about racism. It’s all about racism. They cannot fathom this idea that there is a black President. And that’s what they are going to fight about.
Maher also declared that, while he personally likes Delaware GOP senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell because she is a "nice person" who used to be a frequent guest on his Politically Incorrect show in the 1990s, that he was also cheering for her and other "tea baggers" to win GOP primaries, declaring that "she's going to get her Christian ass kicked in the general election."
And, as the topic turned to the Ground Zero mosque, while Maher acknowledged that there is a substantial amount of Islamic extremism in the world, he believed using the military against it makes it worse, and suggested that, because 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has already been captured, America should declare victory and New Yorkers should "forget about it." Referring to the 9/11 mastermind, Maher declared:
He was not really al-Qaeda. He went to bin Laden for financing. Bin Laden was like the studio. You know, he gave notes, but he gave financing, and he did his own thing. Okay, we got this guy. We water boarded him 183 times in one month. He’s behind bars. Why can’t we just say, okay, we got the guy who was behind 9/11, now, hey, New Yorkers, forget about it. Not forget about it entirely, but, you know, we’re the land of the free and the home of the brave. We should act like it.
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Tuesday, September 14, Larry King Live on CNN, with critical portions in bold:
LARRY KING: Bill, I know you have a personal interest in Delaware, which is, could be the big story of the night because the Republican establishment figure looks like he’s going to get beat. The Republican establishment saying they won’t support the woman who’s going to beat him, a Tea Party person, who you brought us.
BILL MAHER: I really did. I mean, Christine-
KING: Tell us.
MAHER: -O’Donnell was one of our most frequent guests on Politically Incorrect. People who may not remember Politically Incorrect because they’re too young or they were watching Johnny Carson or something, no, I guess JJ was there in the ‘90s, may not remember that we created people like Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham. Oh, I could go on about the number of female-
KING: How did you find them?
MAHER: We used to, we liked to book, I don’t know. I drank a lot in those days, Larry. But we did like to book a lot of female conservatives. They were good press and they were good for the show. We loved Christine O’Donnell. I still like her. You cannot not like her. She is such a nice person. We have a great clip that used to be in our highlight reel of Ben Affleck on that show just saying, "Please, Christine, shut up." Because I guess she would just go on. She was known back then as the girl from SALT. SALT being the Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth. And I guess that’s still the shtick that she’s-
MAHER: Right, absolutely. So part of me for sentimental reasons is rooting for Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. The other part of me is rooting for her because she’s going to get her Christian ass kicked in the general election. This is the great thing about the tea baggers and the Republican party. A year ago, we were debating whether tea baggers were even Republicans. Remember? They were very independent, and then a poll came out and we blew the lid off of it, okay, they’re really Republicans. Yeah, they’re really Republicans. And they’re taking over that party.
KING: So who should worry about them more, Republicans or Democrats?
MAHER: Democrats should be very happy that people like Christine O’Donnell are winning elections because in the general election, I think, now, of course, the Democrats are going to lose some seats, probably a lot. But not as many as they would have if the tea baggers weren’t winning the primaries because I think voters are generally conservative. And when I mean, when I say conservative I mean they’re not comfortable with people who are out there on the left or the right. And these tea baggers are out there. I've said it before probably on your show. When people get in a voting booth, it’s like when they go on an aeroplane. They get scared. They tend to do things that are conservative in nature, even if they’re liberal. And I don’t think even conservative voters will look at people like Sharron Angle or maybe Joe Miller in Alaska, although Alaska is a separate case because they’re very conservative there. But certainly Christine O’Donnell could not win in a state like Delaware because she’s just crazy. Even people who know-
KING: How out there, when you say crazy, give me an example.
MAHER: Well, I just think that people, they understand our country is in a lot of trouble. Even people who are angry understand that crazy people are not going to make it better. Christine O’Donnell like all these tea baggers has no plan, no agenda, no policy points. They have one advantage: They’re running against Democrats. That’s their big advantage.
KING: How did we get to this, though?
MAHER: Well, you know, I have a theory that the Internet makes people stupider. And Also Fox News makes people stupider. You know the Pew group did a study recently and they found out that 10 years ago, Democrats, Republicans and independents basically got their news from the same sources, probably more from CNN, for example. Then we had this polarity. And now, you know, John Edwards said we have two Americas. We do have two Americas. We have the America that’s living in reality, the people who understand that Obama is a centrist liberal from Hawaii who’s trying to dig us out of the hole we’re in. And then we have this other Fox/Matt Drudge/Rush Limbaugh reality where he’s a Muslim sleeper cell, Manchurian candidate who was sent over by his Kenyan father-
KING: What kind of intelligent person would believe that?
MAHER: Intelligent person? Larry, we’re broadcasting in America. How ridiculous. Well, no, I don’t think intelligent people do believe it. But, you know, then we’re going to get into partisan bickering because more than half of Republicans agreed with a statement that said Obama is trying to impose Islamic law on America. I mean, that is a very radical thing to believe. And it’s more than half of Republicans – not tea baggers, not radicals – the mainstream Republican people.
KING: Is there a racist tone in this? Is there a, in other words, is this racist, is this inherent racism? Where's it coming from?
MAHER: Does the Pope go to the bathroom in the woods?
(LARRY KING LAUGHS)
MAHER: Yes, Larry, it’s extremely racist. I mean it’s so funny because the tea baggers, the one thing they hate is when you call them racist. The other thing they hate is black people.
(LARRY KING LAUGHS)
MAHER: But they won’t say it. I mean, if you saw what Newt Gingrich was saying.
KING: Oh yeah, oh.
MAHER: Okay. For those who know, and I don’t even know if I can even recount it in a way that makes sense to people. But he was quoting from an article by Dinesh D’Souza who is, by the way, is an amoral person who was the guest on my show on the night six days after 9/11 when I got into all that trouble for saying that the people who flew planes into the building were not cowards. He was the one who started that discussion. He said it over and over. He, I was agreeing with him when I got thrown off the air. But he never ever came out and said, you know what, I started that, I should defend Bill Maher. Rush Limbaugh came to my defense and a lot of other people, but not the guy who actually made the statement. Anyway, Dinesh D’Souza, who said a lot of crazy things, he is saying now, and Newt Gingrich says this is what he believes, that Obama is getting his philosophy from his father who he spent about a month with in his whole life when he was eight years ago old. And that his father was a Luo tribesman from Kenya who was mad at white people. And so Newt says that he’s anti-colonial like that’s a bad thing. You know, like when George Washington was fighting the British.
MAHER: The girl from SALT, praise Jesus, has won the election. She will never win in November, by the way. That is an impossibility
KING: How do you defeat terrorism?
MAHER: You don’t. That’s the key, Larry. You don’t defeat it. You have to understand it’s always with us. It’s like saying how do you defeat crime? You can’t defeat crime. This idea-
KING: Violent crime is down in America. Three straight years.
MAHER: Down, right, and we’ve made terrorism go down. And, by the way, Obama has been President for 20 months and there has not been an attack. Bush was President for nine months when we got hit. So on that score, he’s kept us safer.
KING: But they’ll, you’re saying there will always be, a terrorist is born today?
MAHER: Of course. Especially since we do things like invade Muslim countries.
KING: Should we not have called it a war on terrorism?
MAHER: Exactly. We should not have called it a war.
KING: Because there won't be a victory day?
MAHER: There will not be a victory day. Exactly. And, you know, this war in Afghanistan, I never read a good thing about it. The longer we’re there, the stronger the Taliban gets. I mean, I read bad things about the government of Karzai. I read bad things about the Afghan army, about the Afghan police. I read bad things about our soldiers. And, of course, they’re put in an impossible situation and they’re doing the best they can and they’re very brave, but five of them are now up for murder charges. I read horrible things about what ordinary people in that country do. They stoned a woman a couple of weeks ago for eloping, for the crime of eloping. And this wasn’t just the Taliban. This was the whole village came out, her own relatives. That’s got to hurt when the rock comes and it’s from your mom. (KING LAUGHS) Mom, I’m-
(ACTS LIKE HE’S BEEN HIT IN HEAD WITH ROCK AND LAUGHS)
MAHER: You know. It’s not-
KING: And Pakistan? Where do we deal with that? How do we deal with them?
MAHER: Well, we’re not dealing with them. What, I mean because they’re a Muslim country who has nuclear weapons?
MAHER: And, well, that happened while we were trying to get the nuclear weapons that weren’t in Iraq out of Iraq. I think that genie is out of the bottle.
KING: Okay, Sarah Palin. I don’t have to say anything else.
MAHER: Well, I don’t either, you know. She’s got a show on the Learning Channel. That’s like me having a show on the Christian Broadcasting Network. (KING LAUGHS) I think she’s going to run for President, for one.
KING: Could win if there's enough candidates-
MAHER: Well, I’ve, I don’t know about that.
KING: I mean to win the nomination.
MAHER: I cannot wait to see the Republican debates in 2012 when you think about who is going to be on that panel. Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour, John Bolton, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney. How are they going to out-firebreathe each other? I mean where this rhetoric has gone to at this point? It’s only 2010. And we’re having Newt Gingrich, as we were talking about before, calling him an anti-colonial Luo tribesman. Luo tribesman. That’s the new Kenyan, Larry. And Kenyan, of course, was code for n*****. But that’s where they are. They can’t say it out loud. But that’s where this whole campaign is going to be. You asked about racism. It’s all about racism. They cannot fathom this idea that there is a black President. And that’s what they are going to fight about.
The other thing about Sarah Palin is that if you read that Vanity Fair article this month, if you read the Newsweek cover story a few months ago where she was praying on the cover, she’s a true religious nut. I know people are saying, oh there goes, Bill Maher. He’s always talking about religion. Well, read the article. Read about her. There’s a part where it says they were giving her books to study up on. And they came back and said, did you read any? She said, No, I haven’t looked at the books. I'm just reading the e-mails from my prayer warriors. Prayer warriors. These are people, and she’s one of them, who believe there are demons in the world. Everything in her world view is about demons or angels, people who are with us and people who are against us. You know, when liberals say things like, well, when you fight the mosque, building the mosque in New York, you’re just encouraging a war with Islam, they don’t understand, people like Sarah Palin want a war with Islam. That’s what it says in the Bible, bring it on, let’s get it over with. So that’s who could be running our country in four years, two years.
MAHER: And the third thing I would like to say is that when people say, and some liberals get mad when they say, that Islam is a religion that is more prone to violence, yes, we have to recognize that, too. I think I misspoke on Leno last night when I said what would happen if they burned the Koran – nothing. Well, no, plenty would happen. There would be protests. There would be probably deaths. People would die if we, if they burned the Koran. That’s not going to happen if they burn the Bible. Okay? We have to recognize that civilization-wise, the radical fringe of the Muslim religion is bringing up the rear. And it’s the duty of Muslim people to deal with that. ... Bush used that guy. Bush, that administration sent him overseas. Yes, that’s the way to fight terrorism. That’s the way to win the war, is to get those people on our side, not to alienate them.
KING: How big do you believe the Muslim fringe is?
MAHER: Bigger than our fringe. I think it’s sizable, but not the majority, for sure. I mean, the biggest population of Muslims in the world is Indonesia. They’re not crazy. The second biggest is India. There’s 150 million Muslims in India. They’re not crazy. But Saudi Arabia, they’re crazy. The Taliban in Afghanistan, they’re crazy. Parts of Pakistan are crazy. Hamas is crazy. There’s enough of them to worry about.
KING: How does a civilized world deal with crazies?
MAHER: Well, that’s a good question.
KING: That’s why I asked it.
MAHER: I would say, first thing is don’t use the Army.
KING: Don’t use the Army?
MAHER: No, because, I mean, we’re talking about, you know, how many al-Qaeda do they estimate are around now? Four hundred. And, by the way, 9/11 was perpetrated mostly by Mohammed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I used to call him Khalid Shake Shake Shake Mohammed. KSM, they call him. It’s interesting when you read about this guy. There’s an article in the New Yorker this week. He was not really al-Qaeda. He went to bin Laden for financing. Bin Laden was like the studio. You know, he gave notes, but he gave financing, and he did his own thing. Okay, we got this guy. We water boarded him 183 times in one month. He’s behind bars. Why can’t we just say, okay, we got the guy who was behind 9/11. Now, hey, New Yorkers, forget about it. Not forget about it entirely, but, you know, we’re the land of the free and the home of the brave. We should act like it.