Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been gaining momentum in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. He is scheduled to appear on “Real Time With Bill Maher” on HBO tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
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Pete Buttigieg HBO Interview Preview
Pete Buttigieg is the top-of-show interview guest for tonight’s “Real Time” episode. For those unfamiliar with the format, Bill Maher typically speaks with the first guest on a variety of issues for about 10 minutes prior to moving over to the round table for the panel discussion. The panelists for tonight’s show were listed as political commentator S.E. Cupp, Rep. Elissa Slotkin from Michigan, and journalist Andrew Sullivan. Preet Bharara, the former U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York appointed by President Obama, is the mid-show guest.
Buttigieg’s appearance on the program comes amid his rising popularity and name recognition in the Democratic race. When he entered the race in January, few people outside of South Bend, Indiana, knew his name and he barely registered on any polls. That is beginning to change. A national Quinnipiac University poll released on March 28 shows Buttigieg with 4 percent of the vote among Democrats nationwide, behind former VP Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Kamala Harris. A state poll released the same day by Emerson College had Buttigieg ahead of both O’Rourke and Harris in Pennsylvania. Buttigieg’s numbers are still quite low but his recent upswing has thrilled his fan base and it could be an indicator of long-term potential as a candidate.
Bill Maher is an outspoken liberal Democrat known for being tough on members of his own party. Most recently, Maher has criticized Democratic lawmakers who shy away from appearing on Fox News programs. Two weeks ago, on March 15, Maher slammed the DNC for refusing to allow Fox News to host a primary debate. He argues that it is important for Democrats to speak to audiences that do not necessarily agree with them and to “get inside the bubble.” Maher also praised Republicans for being unafraid to appear on “Real Time,” even though Maher primarily attracts a more liberal audience.
That being said, Maher will likely praise Buttigieg on this issue because Mayor Pete recently accepted an invitation from Fox News’ Chris Wallace. Buttigieg appeared on “Fox News Sunday” on March 17, fielding questions on all topics including health care, climate change, adding justices to the Supreme Court, how he would appeal to Midwestern states that voted for President Trump, and why his status as a millennial (he is 37) is a positive attribute. You can see that entire interview embedded above.
The first challenge Bill Maher may have in conducting tonight’s interview is whether he can properly pronounce Mayor Pete’s last name. On March 15 during the “Overtime” segment, embedded above, Maher struggled to say “Buttigieg.” (That moment happens at 3:04 into the clip). The question posed was, “What do you think of Pete Buttigieg’s suggestion that Democrats pack the Supreme Court?” Maher commented that President Roosevelt suggested doing that and that it “didn’t work so well.”