October 29, 2023

Bill Maher declares support for Democratic primary challenger Dean Phillips

Doubts about President Joe Biden's reelection prospects seem to be emerging from all corners, and last week, liberal television personality Bill Maher revealed that his allegiance for the 2024 contest has now shifted to newly announced Democratic candidate Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, as Fox News reports.

The host of HBO's Real Time made his feelings known shortly after Phillips declared that he would mount a primary challenge to the incumbent president, and Maher's move could mark a real turning point in the political conversation as the next election grows nearer.

Maher backs Phillips

During the Friday installment of his program, Maher was effusive in his praise for Phillips' candidacy, characterizing the Minnesota lawmaker as “the new [House Speaker] Mike Johnson. In other words, the new guy I've never heard of in Congress.”

“Dean Phillips, he's from Minnesota. He's Jewish. He's 54! Did I mention he's 54,” Maher added, in a nod to his prior expressions of concern over Biden's age and seeming cognitive decline.

The host elaborated on why he supports Phillips' fledgling campaign, saying, “He loves Biden. He says exactly what I say. He did a great job, but don't do it again.”

Maher went on, “Family – self-made millionaire, the family's in the organic vodka business. Dean Phillips, I'm getting behind him for president of the United States. How about you?”

Tarlov: Not so fast

Though Maher's excitement about Phillips was palpable, one of his panel guests for the evening – Democratic commentator Jessica Tarlov – was not so eager to jump on the bandwagon, as Mediaite notes.

When asked by Maher whether she knows much about the nascent candidate, Tarlov replied, “Yeah, more than I knew about Mike Johnson. Two days ago.”

While agreeing with Maher that Biden has accomplished “a tremendous amount,” Tarlov indicated what she views as red flags regarding Phillips' bid, including the fact that Steve Schmidt of the Lincoln Project is one of the congressman's top advisers.

“You know, there are things about him that I don't like. I appreciate the enthusiasm, and these are issues we should be talking about. But every vote in 2024 is going to count,” she added, suggesting that Phillips' candidacy – which many on the left view as futile – will siphon votes from Biden and hand the Oval Office back to Donald Trump.

Skeptics abound

Tarlov is not the only Democrat questioning the wisdom of Phillips' announcements, with Biden campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond stating that the congressman doesn't “give a crap” about the party's prospects and that his candidacy is nothing more than “a vanity project,” as Fox News noted separately.

The Lincoln Project itself issued a statement indicating that its full support remains behind the Biden reelection effort and opining that “Dean Phillips is running a quixotic ego-boosting crusade that will only serve to weaken the president,” but whether voters in large numbers actually share Maher's take on the need for fresh blood on the Democratic ticket, only time will tell.

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