Behar Panel Trashes GOP Field, Press: Cain Should Have Had Affair While Wife 'Dying of Cancer'

On Wednesday's Joy Behar Show, HLN host Behar was joined by liberal guests Bill Press and Hilary Rosen to trash the GOP presidential field as the group discussed the latest sexual accusations against Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich's rise in the polls. Press took a shot at Gingrich early on as he cracked that Cain would be the frontrunner now if he had had an affair while his wife was "dying of cancer":

BILL PRESS: I feel a little sorry for Herman Cain. You know, if only he had waited until his wife was dying of cancer before he had an affair, then he could be number one in the polls today, Joy.

BEHAR: That was a, for those of you who don't know, that was a direct hit on Newt Gingrich. But I don't think that the wife was dying of cancer. She was in the hospital, but she had a benign something or other. But he did go to the hospital, Newt Gingrich, when she was ill, and he told her I want a divorce. So you're right about that.

Press later hit Tea Party activists, still using the tired "tea baggers" label:

So these tea baggers are saying, all right, now, look, we're going to walk away from Herman Cain because he cheated on his wife, so, instead, we're going to go to the guy who cheated on at least two wives that we know about.

The group noted that the Obama campaign may have helped keep Mitt Romney's numbers low by running ads against him, and Rosen credited Gingrich's debating skills for his rise in the polls.

Behar then took at shot at former President Reagan, suggesting that he was not "articulate," but got elected anyway. Behar:

Wait a second. Don't you remember when Ronald Reagan said, "There you go again," and he won the election. Why do you have to be articulate when you're a Republican? Since when do you have to be articulate?

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, November 30, Joy Behar Show on HLN:

JOY BEHAR: With Herman Cain still reassessing his campaign in the wake of affair allegations, the GOP presidential race is shaping up to be a battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. And as a Democrat, I couldn't be more thrilled. With me now to talk about this match-up and their chances against President Obama are Bill Press, radio talk show host and political commentator, and Hilary Rosen, CNN political contributor and managing director of SKD Knickerbocker... Bill, let me start with you. Is it just a matter of time before Cain drops out of the race because he's still reassessing?

BILL PRESS, TALK RADIO HOST: Oh, come on. Hey, Joy, by the way, good to see you and Hilary, too. Look, it's all over for Herman Cain. There's nothing to reassess. I mean, he started out with 9-9-9. I mean, now he needs 9-1-1. The only thing, I think, but I got to tell you, I feel a little sorry for Herman Cain. You know, if only he had waited until his wife was dying of cancer before he had an affair, then he could be number one in the polls today, Joy.

BEHAR: That was a, for those of you who don't know, that was a direct hit on Newt Gingrich. But I don't think that the wife was dying of cancer. She was in the hospital, but she had a benign something or other. But he did go to the hospital, Newt Gingrich, when she was ill, and he told her I want a divorce. So you're right about that.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, and now he's got his daughter out there saying that that whole story-

BEHAR: Gingrich?

ROSEN: Gingrich, that that whole story isn't true, so you know that-

BEHAR: Well, who made that story up?

ROSEN: It came out very early on, and it was well reported. And, you know, Newt Gingrich has a long laundry list of why, you know, all of my personal failings are no longer personal failings, they're actually advantages and why I should be President.

BEHAR: Right, he can spin anything, but what about the family values group? I mean, they were pushing Cain, who has the sexual harassment allegations and now the affair. And Gingrich with his sexual peccadilloes over the years. How come they don't care about that, Bill?

PRESS: Well, first of all, it's unbelievable, right? So these tea baggers are saying, all right, now, look, we're going to walk away from Herman Cain because he cheated on his wife, so, instead, we're going to go to the guy who cheated on at least two wives that we know about.

I mean, you know what the bottom line is: I don't think they stand for anything. They're just sort of like Newt, they're willing to look over all of his ethical failings. Eighty times there were ethics charges filed against him when he was Speaker. He paid a $300,000 fine for his ethical violations as Speaker. They don't care about that. They just want to beat Obama.

ROSEN: That's exactly right. The only thing they care about now is beating President Obama, and they're convinced that Mitt Romney is too weak a candidate to do it. And they like the fact that Gingrich is in there fighting.

And I think what they've seen is that over the last few weeks, look, the White House has taken off after Mitt Romney, and the Obama campaign has set Mitt Romney in its sights, and it's had an impact. And it's not only kept Romney's numbers down in the Republican Party, it's turned independents against him. And so they are just desperate to find an alternative. And right now, Newt Gingrich is more practiced.

You know, the Cain issue was so interesting because everybody is always looking for like the candidate who is not the lifelong politician, right? The new fresh face.

BEHAR: Pizza man.

ROSEN: The Pizza man, the Donald Trump, the, you know, some savior out there. But you know what, the fact is this is hard work, it's substantive policy stuff, Herman Cain wasn't ready, kaput. The lifelong politicians tend to do a little better here.

BEHAR: Will the Democrats now go after Newt Gingrich the way they went after Mitt Romney? They're going to have ads about him now, right? And won't that hurt him?

ROSEN: Oh, my God, I just, I mean, if we could get lucky enough for Newt Gingrich to be the nominee.

BEHAR: You want, it right?

ROSEN: You want it. Of course, you want it.
...

ROSEN: The reason people are liking him because he's articulate. He actually could stand. He could debate President Obama pretty well, I think. The problem is he has such a history of saying crazy things and doing crazy things that the American people are not going to judge him on that debate.

BEHAR: Wait a second. Don't you remember when Ronald Reagan said, "There you go again," and he won the election. Why do you have to be articulate when you're a Republican? Since when do you have to be articulate?