“Real Time” host Bill Maher took a swipe at prominent Democrats whom he accused of running “shadow campaigns” while offering kudos to Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who formally launched a primary challenge against President Biden.
Maher heaped praise for Phillips’ entry in the Democratic primary last week and while he stressed to the candidate it wasn’t necessarily an endorsement, he told the 2024 hopeful he “could” eventually endorse him.
“I endorsed the idea,” Maher said Friday, “because I did an editorial a couple weeks ago calling [Biden] Ruth Bader Biden. And look, we both struggle with the same thing. We like Joe Biden, right? And we think he’s done a good job. Ruth Bader Ginsburg did a good job and did not know when to quit, and that’s why you’re here.”
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“And it’s not like others are doing this in a — sort of a — shadow campaign,” Maher later said. “I mean, Gavin Newsom, our governor, seems to be all over the world.”
“I saw that,” Phillips smirked.
“You know, they’re going to the battleground states in the private — they’re really doing it, but I feel like at least you are honest, and you’re saying, ‘No, I’m gonna do it.’ Just do it.”
Democratic presidential candidate Dean Phillips tells “Real Time” host Bill Maher none of the Democrats who he tried urging to challenge President Biden would take his calls. (Screenshot/HBO)
Phillips, who has been outspoken in encouraging other Democrats to enter the primary, pointed out how there are “21 of us on the ballot in New Hampshire,” telling Maher all it takes is a $1,000 check and being a 35-year-old, U.S.-born citizen to “become a candidate for president in the United States.”
He also mentioned how in his failed effort to recruit another formidable challenger, he attempted to corral Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who he said would make “an outstanding president.”
“And she’s one of those who’s running a shadow campaign,” Maher interjected.
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“Everybody’s waiting until 2028,” Phillips said. “And I’m making the contention to all of you tonight that I’m not sure that we will have a 2028 election in the way that we expect to happen if the inevitable happens and it is President Biden against Donald Trump. I mean, the numbers are astounding everybody. If we don’t start to acknowledge that — there’s this bizarre and very dangerous culture of silence in Washington, in certain political-industrial complex circles, that is dangerous — I mean, dangerous. And we’re putting blinders on. It’ll make 2016 look like a joyful year.”
“Real Time” host Bill Maher took a swipe at Democratic Govs. Gavin Newsom and Gretchen Whitmer for running “shadow campaigns” while praising Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips for formally launching a bid against President Biden (HBO/Getty Images)
After Maher offered compliments to Newsom, who he said has to “move to the center,” and Vice President Kamala Harris, who has even worse polling numbers than Biden, Phillips reiterated “the more the merrier” as far as potential Biden challengers.
“It’s still not too late to jump into this race. I wish we had more competition instead of a coordination. This is not that difficult, and I don’t understand why people are so hesitant to do what the country needs so desperately,” Phillips said. “I called candidates who I say are more proximate to the race. They wouldn’t take my call. They had their political people take the call. They asked me not to use their names. You know, when I say every most of my colleagues talk about this every day in hushed tones in the hallways, it’s saying the quiet part out loud.”
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Polls continue showing the vast majority of Americans, even among Democrats, do not want President Biden to seek reelection. (AP/Jonathan Ernst/Pool)
Maher, who was previously a longtime defender of Biden’s, began expressing his doubt about the president’s chances in the 2024 election during his “Club Random” sit-down with Democratic strategist James Carville, who also is sounding the alarm based on recent polls.
“I think we’re on the same page with Biden,” Maher said. “Did a great service, but whereas in 2020, maybe he was the only one who could have beaten Trump, I think now he’s the only one who will lose to him.”
“He did great not just because he beat Trump, but, you know, a lot of stuff he did — Afghanistan, Ukraine he handled right, everybody else’s economy was worse than ours after the pandemic. These are some pretty big things,” he continued. “But he will lose because at some point, perception becomes reality. And look, do I think he can do the job? Absolutely. Government, as you well know better than anybody, is done in small rooms like the Oval Office, where people are talking quietly and decisions are made. I think he still can do that fine. He cannot run for president. He’ll look bad in the debates… I think, going to lose.”
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Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @JosephWulfsohn.