A few days before American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken lost the November election, Bill Maher slammed the singer’s North Carolina congressional campaign because the openly gay candidate said that gay marriage “isn’t an issue that is really on the radar” for his constituents.

“And this is why Aiken is definitely going to lose — he is having trouble getting the Clay Aiken vote,” Maher said then.

Image (1) EsquireNetwork__130220171652.jpg for post 435023It wasn’t the only Aiken issue that Maher went after like a pit bull, but it’s the one that popped up again at TCA as Aiken and EPs Jonathan Chinn and Simon Chinn took the stage to talk about Esquire Network documentary series The Runner-Up.

Aiken defended his campaign, saying he never has distanced himself from the gay marriage issue. “My position on gay issues has been on the forefront since I came out,” said Aiken, who added that he supports same-sex marriage. “I didn’t run for Congress for specifically gay constituents.”

The questions persisted until one of the producers begged for journalists to “cut a little bit of slack on this” and get back to discussing the documentary series. Jonathan Chinn said Aiken’s celebrity and the fact that he was an openly gay candidate in the South are “a couple of the myriad reasons this was a fascinating race.”

What’s next for “runner-up” Aiken? He’s not sure the next step is more politics, but “I don’t think what I tried to do I am finished being able to do. I’m not sure what the path his any more than I did on November 5. “

Aiken said he spoke to Rosie O’Donnell, who encouraged him to use his celebrity while he has it. “(She said), ‘Listen, we are all waiting for obscurity.'” He added that he’d like to find a way to focus on veterans issues and homelessness in North Carolina. “I’d like to figure out a way to keep using my voice, so to speak,” said. “I know — that’s a silly, silly pun.”