The comic was appearing on one of the last Primetime shows in current form. From February 12, the show will air at 11.35, not 10pm.
Maher said the president’s new populist tone worried him. “He’s not a populist,” Maher told his host, “he’s an elitist, that’s what I like about him – he’s smarter than the rest of us.”
Maher criticized Obama’s trip around the country where he is taking on the middle class concerns about jobs. “He’s demanding to see his own birth certificate!” he laughed, continuing: “I just don’t want to see him start bowling again. Remember that, when he hit a 37? Anne Coulter offered to lend him one of her balls.”
He complained the Democrats were cowardly, though he singled John Edwards out for ironic praise. “They are so impotent – not John Edwards, of course – they’re so pathetic.”
“They couldn’t sell healthcare. This is something that the American people wanted. This is something that would save lives, save money. And they couldn’t even sell that.
“They couldn’t sell a cubscout to a pedophile,” he added.
Maher praised Obama’s State of the Union address, saying he liked his attack on the Supreme Court’s decision to allow unlimited corporate funding of political campaigns.
“People say why is the system broken ... I’ll tell you why, money,” Maher asserted. “It’s exactly this kind of stuff, money. There’s too much money in the system. Everything works backwards.
"If the first primary was in Vermont we would be putting maple syrup in our cars.”
Maher also teased Leno about the recent furore between his show and that of Irish American frontman Conan O’Brien.
“When this show went on the air, liberals were still behind Obama, Tiger Woods was still a role model, and having something exploding in your underpants was a good thing,” Maher joked.
“Now you can’t argue with me, now that you’re Mr. Vulnerable,” he later said.
Clasping Leno’s hand, he said, “You’re holding up so well, Jay. Isn’t he holding up well?”
NBC recently switched Leno’s Prime Time show to a later slot, and in response O’Brien left the network.