'Real Time' Bill Maher hosts Kerry Washington, Mark Foley, Frank Luntz this Friday

Friday night on HBO's chat salon "Real Time with Bill Maher" will feature a great panel of pundits.

The series continues its tenth season Friday, Oct. 5 (10:00-11:00 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT), exclusively on HBO, with an instant replay at 11:00 p.m. following the live presentation.

Allowing Maher to offer his unique perspective on contemporary issues, the show includes an opening monologue, roundtable discussions with panelists, and interviewswith in-studio and satellite guests.

The roundtable guests this week are columnist Will Cain, former Fla. Rep. Mark Foley and actress Kerry Washington; political consultant Frank Luntz and environmentalist Bill McKibben are interview guests.

If you remember, six-term Rep. Mark Foley resigned amid reports that he had sent sexually explicit Internet messages to at least one underage male former page.

Foley, who was considered likely to win reelection back in 2006, said in a three-sentence letter of resignation: "I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent."

Luntz is a masterful communications consultant hired by the GOP to hone their message. In a recent interview with PBS Frontline, he talks about the power of words and phrases. An excerpt:

What about replacing "global warming" with "climate change?"

On the power of language to cloud issues and affect clarity:

"Look, for years, political people and lawyers -- who, by the way, are the worst communicators -- used the phrase "estate tax." And for years they couldn't eliminate it. The public wouldn't support it because the word "estate" sounds wealthy. Someone like me comes around and realizes that it's not an estate tax, it's a death tax, because you're taxed at death.

And suddenly something that isn't viable achieves the support of 75 percent of the American people. It's the same tax, but nobody really knows what an estate is. But they certainly know what it means to be taxed when you die. I argue that is a clarification; that's not an obfuscation.

The language of America changed with the election of Bill Clinton, because with all due respect to my friends on the Republican side, Bill Clinton is the best communicator of the last 50 years. He felt your pain. Now, I'd argue that he caused your pain, but at least he felt it while he was causing it.

When Bill Clinton spoke, his words were so good, and they were spoken with such passion. And that biting of the lower lip and the squinching of the eyes -- you just couldn't turn away. Bill Clinton made Frank Luntz because Bill Clinton discovered the power and the influence of words.

Now, I'd like to think that I apply them to clients, to philosophies, to products and services and corporations that I believe in, that are good. I don't argue with you that words can sometimes be used to confuse, but it's up to the practitioners of the study of language to apply them for good and not for evil. It is just like fire; fire can heat your house or burn it down.

There are words that work, that are meant to explain and educate on policies that work, on products that work, on services that work. I'm not going to ever try to sell a lemon. I don't do that. I work for pharmaceutical companies because my dad was kept alive for a long time on medications thanks to companies like Pfizer. I work for a company like Federal Express because it allows me to get my packages there the next morning. It's a wonderful, innovative corporation. I work for a company like Merrill Lynch because I believe in the financial services and the quality of the product.

I believe in the people who work at the corporations that I work for, and the political people. The best example is Rudy Giuliani. What have I done that's wrong if I provide someone like a Rudy Giuliani or a corporation like a Pfizer language that helps them explain or educate? I've simplified the process for them which allows them to explain. What did they say in there [in the focus group]? They kept coming back to it again and again: What they want from their elected officials, from the CEOs, from the elite of America is clarity. They said it again and again: "Be clear with us. Be straight with us. Common sense; clarity; down the road, look us straight in the eye." That's exactly what I do. I help them do that."

Bill Maher has been favorite of subscribers since his first special on the network in 1989, starring in nine solo specials, including the hour-long presentations “Bill Maher…But I’m Not Wrong,” “The Decider” and “I’m Swiss” (both nominated for an Emmy® in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special category), “Victory Begins at Home,” “Be More Cynical,” “The Golden Goose Special” and “Stuff That Struck Me Funny,” and two half-hour stand-up specials, plus the specials “30 Seconds Over Washington” and “Comic Relief VI™.”

Maher was the creator and host of “Politically Incorrect,” which was produced by HBO Downtown Productions and debuted on Comedy Central in 1993. The series moved to ABC in 1997 and ran through 2002.

His latest book, “The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody but Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass,” was published in November 2011 and made the New York Times bestseller list. Maher’s 2006 book, “New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer,” also made the New York Times list, as well as bestseller lists across the country. He is also author of the books “When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism,” “Does Anybody Have a Problem with That? The Best of Politically Incorrect” and the novel “True Story.” Maher produced and starred in the 2008 feature film “Religulous,” the seventh most successful documentary of all time.

For more information on REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, please visit www.hbo.com/real-time-with-bill-maher. Facebook page: facebook.com/Maher. Twitter: @Realtimers.

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 7 (2:00 p.m., 2:25 a.m.), 8 (8:00 p.m.) and 10 (11:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Oct. 5 (1:40 a.m.), 6 (9:20 a.m., midnight), 7 (7:00 p.m.) and 9 (10:00 p.m.)

Further Reading on M&C

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