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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Maher’s Act Wins Laughs But Few Converts

<median Bill Maher came to the Grand Theater last Tuesday to rally support for Democrat Mike Obermueller, who is challenging Republican incument John Kline in the race for the second district state representative.

As a part of his midterm election campaign, “Flip a District,” Maher is traveling around the country, stopping at conservative and swing states to garner support for Democratic candidates. Almost one hundred Northfield
residents registered to vote as a result of Maher’s visit. However, even though Maher said he came to Northfield to talk to St. Olaf and Carleton students, tickets were only sold downtown and rapidly sold out, resulting in scant student representation in the audience.

During the event, Maher presided over a panel of three Democrats and three Republicans, who answered questions about their platforms and other pertinent political inquiries. Becca Wiersma ’17, president of CarlDems, described the event as “entertaining.,” and sophomore Alex Berlin ’17 said, “I think the point of this is to provide a public event. It was almost an obligation to draw attention to his own Democratic opinion.”

Maher himself admitted the event’s design to the audience. “I’m not going to say this isn’t serious because we really want to beat the guy, but this is kind of performance art, right?”

The audience was composed of primarily liberal supporters. Northfield News reported on Wednesday that “Anti-Kline demonstraters arrived early in the afternon Tuedsday,” holding signs highlighting Kline’s voting record and “percieved absenteeism.” These protesters flooded into the Grand, and throughout the presentation, many audience members booed the Republican panelists’ answers.

The show appeared to cater to these supporters’ political leanings. “I wouldn’t say that the discussion was one-sided, but it seemed weighted,” Wiersma said.

Maher made several false statements about Kline during his performance, including that “his strategy to win is just to hide” and that Kline had not been campaigning for the upcoming election. The Republican panelists attempted to correct Maher’s statement, but the audience’s booing drowned them out.

After the show,  Caroline Glazer ’17 said, “My opinion of Kline is the same as it was initially.”

The event will be televised  Tuesday, October 17 on Maher’s late night show on HBO.

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