Former Obama adviser on Bill Maher's Ann Romney remarks: Uh, yeah, they're "problematic"

The president has a choice to make: Will he distance himself from Million-Dollar Misogynist Bill Maher or will he risk damage to his electoral chances by association with the classless comedian? Not only has Maher repeatedly demeaned conservative women, but he recently backed up Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s controversial remarks about Ann Romney. Maher’s defense of Rosen was typical — tasteless and crude. Unfortunately for the president, the comedian is widely known to have donated $1 million to the Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA. He might be an uninvited surrogate for the president, but he’s a surrogate nevertheless.

Former Obama adviser Melody Barnes hinted in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” that she thinks the president should distance himself from Maher. She called the comedian’s comments “problematic” for the administration and asserted that the president is really committed to civility.

“I listened to those comments, and my grandmother’s voice came in my head. I thought about the phrase, ‘Home training.’ You know, the language, the sentiment are problematic,” Barnes said. …

Barnes, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, added that the president and the Obama campaign have said that civility “matters.”

” ‘The way we talk to each other matters.’ And they’re going to have to, as you said, make a decision,” she said.

Barnes was responding to host George Stephanopoulos’s question on whether the president will have to “cut ties” with Maher. She told ABC that in similar situations in the past the White House has distanced itself from the television host.

Does the Hilary Rosen/Ann Romney episode somehow mark a turning point in the civility debate? For the first time in recent memory, we’ve seen liberals call out other liberals for a lack of civility.
Sure, David Axelrod and David Plouffe still sought to spin the whole episode in Obama’s favor, suggesting the president’s curt dismissal of Rosen’s comments indicated a bravery Mitt Romney didn’t possess during the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy.
By and large, though, the members of the Obama campaign haven’t tried to turn this one around on conservatives, haven’t tried to suggest that conservatives are nothing but uncivil, while liberals are infallibly golden-tongued.
Believe me, I don’t want to be naive — but I’d also like to think that the constant conservative illumination of the double standard employed by lefties on the civility issue might actually have opened some eyes. If the civility battles end with a uniform denouncement of incivility, then consider me soundly on the side of those who advocate polite public discourse.
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