Current and former White House aides on Thursday rejected demands by a conservative group that a Super PAC supporting President Obama refund a $1 million check from comedian and talk show host Bill Maher because of coarse comments he's made about Sarah Palin and other Republican women.
While Obama earlier this week denounced similar comments that radio talk show host made about a college student, Sandra Fluke, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the president is not going to get involved in the Maher battle.
Carney said "language that denigrates women is inappropriate," but it is not the President's place to be the "arbiter" of every controversial statement.
"He chooses to lead by example or tries to," Carney said of the president, adding that "he chooses to try to practice that civility himself and he calls on everybody to do just that."
Earlier on Thursday, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew charging Maher is a "serially vile misogynist" because of a list of nasty comments directed at conservative women.
Nance noted that since Obama recently reversed his own opposition to Super PACs by giving his public blessing for Democrats to donate unlimited sums to Priorities USA Action, he should direct that the Maher contribution be rejected and tell top White House aides like David Plouffe to stop raising money for the group.
"As I am sure you understand, President Obama cannot put forth the eloquent position he announced on Tuesday, while sending administration officials out to raise money for an organization that not only counts a vile misogynist as its largest single donor, but whose executives actively boast about that vile misogynist's support," Nance wrote to Lew.
She wrote that the president needs to "publicly disassociate himself" from the PAC until they return the HBO host's money, adding: "If Priorities USA prefers to donate Mr. Maher's contribution to charity, my organization can recommend a list of charities that serve victims of domestic violence and abuse."
Bill Burton, a former White House aide in the early part of the Obama administration who now runs the Super PAC, also said Maher's comments have been "vulgar and inappropriate" but claimed it's different than the comments from Limbaugh.
"The notion that there is an equivalence between what a comedian has said during the course of his career, and what the de facto leader of the Republican Party said to sexually degrade a woman who engaged in a political debate of our time is crazy," Burton said in an interview on MSNBC. "There's no similarity about what Rush Limbaugh said, lying about the argument that Miss Fluke was making, a law student at Georgetown, and what a comedian has said in the past."
Ed Henry currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) chief White House correspondent. He joined the network in June 2011. His latest book is "42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story."