In 2002 Maher was the subject of controversy when on his original "Politically Incorrect's September 17 show, had guest Dinesh D'Souza disputing the Bush's label of calling the 9-11 terrorists, "Cowards". She said the terrorists were warriors. Maher agreed and replied "We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it's not cowardly".
His show was canceled on ABC and Real Time premiered on HBO on February 21, 2003