Bill Maher weighed in on both Democratic debates on HBO’s “Real Time” Friday night, and suggested the immediate exit of half the field of candidates.
“Look, there’s too many people in this race, right?” Maher asked, holding a stack of the candidates’ headshots. “I’m going to get rid of ten of them right now.”
The ten presidential hopefuls he told to “get the f–k out” were: John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, John Delaney, Tim Ryan, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke and Bill de Blasio.
Some, like Hickenlooper and Delaney, got off easy; Maher had nothing more to say other than they were “nice guys.” Addressing Gillibrand, Maher said “Al Franken says hello” (she led the charge for his resignation), and described Swalwell as “too young” and said that he “looked like he was wearing a toupee.”
Maher wasn’t a fan of the large 20-person field, nor the two-night format. Guest Seth MacFarlane agreed. They both believed that the live audience chewed up precious debate time and forced candidates to prioritize showmanship over substance.
“The audience have to go and f–king now,” MacFarlane argued. “First of all, the number of candidates is through the roof so every second counts … everything gets a standing ovation.”
Maher, who described the debates as “Thunderdome” agreed, stating “this is NOT the way to pick a president.”
“Everyone’s putting on a show,” MacFarlane added.
In Maher’s opening segment, he sat down with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, another presidential candidate. Aside from her, the candidate Maher and his panel discussed the most was South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“Pete could be the guy. He was the youngest guy on the stage and acted the most mature. He’s the smartest kid in the class,” Maher said. Both he and MacFarlane agreed Buttigieg seemed least affected by the audience.
“The only thing I ever wanted out of politics was the president to be smarter than me,” MacFarlane said.
The panel also praised Buttigieg for owning up to not integrating the disproportionately white police force in his city by admitting “I couldn’t get it done.” But panelist Joy Reid pointed out — as she did in her MSNBC analysis after Thursday’s debate — that Buttigieg did not use his executive powers as mayor to fire the city’s police chief in response to a white officer fatally shooting a black suspect. Reid said that failure has cost Buttigieg the support of black voters.
Although she was in his “get the f–k out” pile, Maher praised Williamson for her criticisms of America’s healthcare system, which Williamson called a “sickness care system.”
“Real Time With Bill Maher” goes on hiatus for a month and will return on Aug. 2.