On the Friday broadcast of HBO's Real Time, host Bill Maher told Anthony Weiner what he did "wasn't that awful" and that the country "needs to grow up." Maher lamented that the Democratic party has lost "too much talent" due to sex scandals.
"Look at the number of talented political people that we have lost," Maher said. "Spitzer, Weiner, John Edwards, Bill Clinton's second term. Ted Kennedy, you could say. I mean, this country needs to grow up a little. We are losing too much talent."
BILL MAHER: I heard that your doorman -- today, when you were leaving your building to go to the airport and come here -- said, 'What are you doing going out to do the Bill Maher show? He's been so tough on you.' Please tell your doorman he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. I think I have been the one person who has been saying that it's so much more offensive, the self-righteousness, than the crime itself, if we can get the elephant out of the room away.
And, you know, I was going to ask you, has this been tough on friendships? I know that it's tough on your career, tough on your family. But, I had a big feud with Chris Matthews because I was criticizing him for criticizing you when he is so in love with John F. Kennedy. I said, 'where is the perspective here?' What John F. Kennedy did was so much more dangerous and so much more consequential for the nation and Clinton, too. Do you understand what I am trying to get at?
ANTHONY WEINER: Well, it is hard for me to do any meta analysis of this thing because I have done so much damage and, frankly, I take responsibility for all the things that I did. And it's hard for me to do analysis of it when I have let so many people down. Look, I did these things. The final analysis, it's not so much -- people can look at it through whatever lens they want. I did them. I wanted to give the voters a chance to hear what I wanted to do for the city. But ultimately the judgment that they passed was that 'you're wrong,' what I did was pretty bad --
MAHER: But even the way you're talking about it -- 'I did these things.' Like, it wasn't that awful what you did. This is what I'm saying, there's no perspective in this country. Are you kidding? I mean you had a hobby that was a little offbeat.
MAHER: You know, I get it. And also, the way people act like -- 'he did it once and then he did it again.' Like no one has ever relapsed to a bad habit. It took me eight years to quit smoking. I mean, everybody who has ever been a drunk, a gambler or a cokehead knows that it doesn't happen the first time.
I'm not saying do it again. I'm just saying that, you know, I just feel -- look at the number of talented political people that we have lost. Spitzer, Weiner, John Edwards, Bill Clinton's second term. Ted Kennedy, you could say. I mean, this country needs to grow up a little. We are losing too much talent.
MAHER: I look at this mayor in Toronto, Rob Ford. His approval rating went up. Come on. Alright, I got that off my chest. It's really more about me than you.
WEINER: Look, I appreciate that sentiment. I'm a little too close to it to kind of put it in that kind of context.
MAHER: Well, I'm trying to give you some perspective.
WEINER: Well, I appreciate that. Thank you.
MAHER: I mean, I love Lawrence O'Donnell too. But when he was like, 'what is wrong with you?' Like, what is wrong with you? Could we just stand back from this and take a breath? (HBO's Real Time, November 8, 2013)