Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, tore into HBO show host Bill Maher for saying the tea party movement is all about President Barack Obama's race.
During Friday's episode of his "Real Time with Bill Maher" show, the liberal comedian began by condemning the tea party's stance on government bailouts.
Kristol reminded Maher that the bailouts happened in 2008 under the Bush administration — before the tea party was formed. The tea party was formed for different reasons, Kristol said. First, it was to challenge a mortgage bill, then Obamacare, Kristol explained.
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Maher interrupted: "It was about a black president. But let’s —"
And that was when Kristol exploded.
“That’s bull****! That'is total bull****!” Kristol said. “You think tens of millions of people, just out there, they just — even you don’t believe that. You’re just saying that.”
Maher said he completely believes the tea party is against Obama because he is black.
"It happened a month after he took office," said Maher. "Suddenly white people were very upset about debt, even though [former President George W.] Bush had raised the debt way more than Obama had.”
But Kristol said the tea party rebels against the establishment on both sides of the argument, and was angry with Bush as well.
Maher continued the argument, saying he doesn't remember the tea party movement under the Bush administration, but CNN political contributor Margaret Hoover, also on Friday's show, told Maher that Republicans were trying to get people to "fiscal issues were sexy for a really long time and finally they codified behind this mass movement to really rein in federal spending."
But Maher said he wonders if the tea party ever really cared much about the nation's debt, because he saw a tea party website that advocated impeaching Obama, and called for answers on the Benghazi terror attacks, and for repealing Obamacare.
Hoover said the movement has been "co-opted by more organized forces that, frankly, had less and less to do with fiscal discipline and more and more to do with … whatever their pet issue was."
The Maher-Kristol battle didn't end with talk of the tea party. After that argument was finished, the two dueled over the Pentagon's plans to cut spending.
Kristol saw the cuts as disastrous, and Maher argued that the cuts would not hurt the country's massive miltiary. He presented a chart by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation that's being circulated, asking why the country needs to spend more on its defense than the following 10 countries combined.
“Anybody who thinks that our defense is lacking is either lying or insane,” Maher said, but Kristol asked him if he meant people like Obama, Hillary Clinton or former Defense Secretary Robert Gates are lying or insane.
Kristol told Maher his arguments were "childish" as military spending is the lowest that it's ever been, and that he's supported military intervention by administrations in the past.
“Have you ever met a war you didn’t love?” Maher asked him.
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