In the wake of the controversy over Rush Limbaugh's derogatory remarks about Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, conservatives have accused the left of hypocrisy in not condemning comments made by liberal political satirist Bill Maher.
Maher, who donated $1 millon to Obama-supporting super PAC Priorities USA Action last month, used a sexual epithet to refer to Sarah Palin during his stand-up act in 2011. Palin and other conservatives have demanded that the group return Maher's money.
But on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" on Thursday, Priorities USA chairman Bill Burton rejected the idea that comments made by Limbaugh and Maher were equivalent to each other, saying that the argument distracted from larger issues
MITCHELL: There's been a suggestion that you should return the $1 million contribution from Bill Maher, that if liberals are going to go after Rush Limbaugh for the outrageous things that he's said about Sandra Fluke, that you should return the contribution from Bill Maher because of things that he has said about Sarah Palin.
BURTON: Well, a couple of things. First of all, obviously, some of those things were vulgar and inappropriate and said over the course of years of a comedian's life. It's not language I would use or language we would use at Priorities USA.
MITCHELL: Isn't that what Mitt Romney said over Rush Limbaugh's language? "Not language that I would use."
BURTON: But the notion that there is an equivalence between what a comedian has said over the course of his career and what the de facto leader of the Republican Party said to sexually degrade a woman who engaged in an important political debate of our time is crazy. There's no similarity between what Rush Limbaugh said, lying about the argument that Miss Fluke was making, that law student at Georgetown, and what a comedian has said in the past. And then finally, if we want to have this debate where we're stacking up what supporters of candidates have said over time, Mitt Romney begged Ted Nugent for his endorsement and he gave it to him and he embraced it and his campaign was bragging about it. I mean, you look at some of the things he's said. But this is all distraction from the fact that there are real differences in this race between Mitt Romney and President Obama on key issues, and that's what's important here. Where do they stand on contraception? What kind of Supreme Court justice is Mitt Romney going to put in place? An Antonin Scalia or an Elena Kagan? That's the argument that I think is important here.