John Edwards meets Bill Maher: 'User Generated Politics' TV campaign stop

John Edwards: Must see TV?
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor on

Edition Number 18 in this Digital Markets Blog special presidential campaign 2008 series on what I am calling “User Generated Politics.”  

Bill Maher does not need to subject himself to a lie detector test!

His politically incorrect truth serum got him dismissed from ABC’s "Politically Incorrect" late night talk show.

HBO snapped Maher up for “Real Time With Bill Maher." 

Maher began his current season opener last Friday with a satellite interview of presidential candidate John Edwards.

Maher approached Edwards with his typical comedic probing. As Edwards was chatting live via Las Vegas, Maher wondered if what happens in Vegas really stays in Vegas, politically speaking. Edwards assured he was simply in “Sin City” for a wholesome game of basketball, NBA All-Star style.

Maher also chided Edwards about how Bill Clinton would routinely telephone Edwards with helpful advice during his vice-presidential campaign, asking if Bill still calls now that Hillary is also a contender. Edwards laughed and acknowledged he can no longer count on Bill Clinton to call with advice on how to win against Hillary Clinton.

Maher lobbed one pointed barb and Edwards happily dodged it. Pointing out the historic significance of a Hillary Clinton vs. Barack Obama battle for the democratic nomination (see “Barack TV vs. Hillary TV: Obama ‘08 announces saying ‘the campaign is about you’”),

Maher quipped: Do you think it is unfair baggage that you are a white man?

Edwards retorted: I’m not touching that one.

Edwards did not dodge what Maher characterized as forthright positions on health care and Iraq, however, and Maher extended his appreciation.

In typical Maher fashion, his acknowledgement of “straight talk” from Edwards was nevertheless qualified by a realistic observation:

Usually the guy that’s this honest doesn’t win!

Edwards suggested it is time to change such a dishonest state of political affairs.

In what I am calling the “User Generated Politics” campaign 2008, Maher believes more politicians need to reach out to individual voters via real, unscripted television appearances.

MAHER: Everyone is running for president, and when you're running for president, you need airtime. And you especially need free airtime. And, you know, I always try to make the argument to these folks that I know they read the polls and they have their focus groups, and, when you do that, you somehow have the urge as a politician to sound like the soulless automatons that we see.

But when they go into someplace where they can actually sound like a human being, I think they do themselves a favor. I think the electorate is always a little more sophisticated than they think. So I know our show makes politicians nervous, but I don't think it has ever hurt one. (as cited by “The Plain Dealer”)


More in this Digital Markets Special Series:
YouTube: Must see TV? ‘User Generated Politics’ presidential campaign 2008 and
Is Obama’s social network anti-social? and
Hillary Clinton trumps Barack Obama, on eBay!
Got $2500? Mingle with Obama, plus Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen
Yahoo: 36,147 people tell Hillary Clinton what to do
Joe Biden has 226 MySpace friends: Can he connect? and
Hillary TV: Will ‘User Generated Politics’ get Clinton to the White House? 

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