Liberal TV talk show host has accused several top Democrats of running “shadow campaigns” for the 2024 election while refusing to admit that will challenge President Joe Biden.
Maher also credited Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) for formally launching a primary challenge against Biden last week.
Maher heaped praise on Phillips, who appeared as a guest on his HBO show on Friday night, for entering the Democrat primary.
While he stressed to the candidate it wasn’t necessarily an endorsement, the “Real Time” host told the 2024 hopeful he “could” eventually endorse him.
“I endorsed the idea,” Maher said Friday.
“Because I did an editorial a couple of 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.”
“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.”
Phillips has been outspoken in encouraging other Democrats to enter the primary.
He pointed out how there are “21 of us on the ballot in New Hampshire.”
The congressman told Maher that 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.
He continued by claiming Whitmer would make “an outstanding president.”
“And she’s one of those who’s running a shadow campaign,” Maher interjected.
“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.”
Maher continued by offering 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 responded by reiterating “the more the merrier” as far as potential Biden challengers.
“It’s still not too late to jump into this race,” Phillips said.
“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.
“I called candidates who I say are more proximate to the race.
“They wouldn’t take my call,” he said.
“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.”
Maher was previously a longtime defender of Biden’s.
However, he recently began expressing his doubt about the president’s chances in the 2024 election during his “Club Random” sit-down with Democrat strategist James Carville.
Carville, a former top Bill Clinton advisor, 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.”