Barbara Walters: Stop Discussing William Ayers!

What may possibly be a peek into why the mainstream media has been less than enthusiastic in investigating Barack Obama’s background and associations, Barbara Walters, on the October 7 "View," called on all to "stop slinging mud around" with Obama’s ties and also John McCain’s past ties to Charles Keating. A noticeably distressed Elisabeth Hasselbeck, possibly out of exhaustion from taking on three or four opposing voices on her own every day, exclaimed that past judgment is important and raised concern that "he says he didn’t know these people."

When Elisabeth labeled Reverend Wright a "hatemonger," Whoopi scolded Elisabeth stating "you need to stop saying he’s a hatemonger." Following Whoopi’s line, Sherri Shepherd shouted to Elisabeth’s face about some of John McCain’s past infidelities.

At the end of the segment after Barbara Walters continually harped on the lack of focus on the economy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck placed the blame on much of the financial crisis on Democrats, notably Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. Joy Behar dismissed such a concern to "listening to Sean Hannity too much." Or maybe Elisabeth was listening to Alec Baldwin.

The transcript follows.

BARBARA WALTERS: I’ll tell you what bothers me. And I don’t know whether the town hall- and I think it bothers a lot of people. I don’t know whether the town hall format will preclude this because it may not be a question that come from the audience. But the fact that this is now getting so dirty and mean and things that are being dredged up from the past in both candidates. And some of them are each of them have their attack dogs, Sarah Palin is the attack dog for Obama. And Obama’s people seem to be the attack dog for McCain. It is so guilt by association. It is dredging up things that were discussed years ago and months ago in the campaign. Why does it have to be so dirty that I think everybody is disgusted? And I can give you examples of just what I heard this morning, but I, I think I want to add to it.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: What did you hear?

WALTERS: Ah, well, I mean, what did I hear? With Obama he is responsible for the economy. Why? Because he is so left wing. Why is he so left wing? Because when he was eight years old and Bill Ayers was a Weather man [sic] who is now a professor in a college. But with Obama’s associations, Reverend Wright has been brought up again. He is so left wing that it is his fault that the economy is back-

JOY BEHAR: You know what? The main thing again-

WALTERS: Now wait. Let me do the other side so it’s-

BEHAR: Alright, oh yeah, the other side, right.

WALTERS: On the other side the rumors are being of the whole business about the Keating Five, which was 17 years ago for McCain. Don’t we ever get beyond things? Can’t we ever just look at what’s going on in this country? I don’t know how all of you feel, but the fact that this campaign has gotten so dirty, I just, I just think it’s-

SHERRI SHEPHERD: It leave a bad taste in your mouth. Doesn’t it?

WALTERS: It’s awful. It’s sort of a pox on both your houses.

BEHAR: They’re doing more stuff that they can come up with. The main thing about McCain is a little confusing. He pulls out of Michigan, but he wants to stay in Iraq. [laughter and applause] A little confused?

SHEPHERD: Because he couldn’t win in Michigan.

BEHAR: I mean, shouldn’t it be the opposite?

HASSELBECK: I don’t know if it’s considered to be dirty when- I think the past does matter in terms of how you’re going to deal with the present and future.

WALTERS: Oh!!

HASSELBECK: I’m a person that believes that- but it does. I think that-

WALTERS: When is it over? When is it over?

HASSELBECK: But doesn’t it matter- I mean I think that-

WALTERS: Does what matter?

HASSELBECK: Doesn’t someone’s history matter or their alliances or what decisions that they-

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: I think if we went that way-

WALTERS: There’s a statute of limitations.

GOLDBERG: If we went-

HASSELBECK: Is there?

GOLDBERG: Yes there is and this is why I can say that. Because we had this conversation or maybe Bill and I had this conversation. One of the things that you don’t want to do too closely in Washington is go way back into people’s histories. Because in our Senate and in our Congress are Klansmen, anti-Semites, from the past. I’m not saying this is who they have been in the last ten years. But you have to be really careful and these are people you can point to and say this is your past, not this is somebody you have associated with. So we need to be really careful and decide when we say "okay, you seemed to have moved beyond that. You seem to have grown and let people get their act together. But I think we’ll stop tonight as I don’t think- I’m sorry I’m trying to make my mouth feel better. My face is on fire. I think that the people who are sitting in the town hall meeting will not allow them to get to that nasty place, which goes to your question.

WALTERS: There’s one more thing I want to say just on a personal level. And I say this because I wrote about this in, in "Audition" in my book. And I think many of us have had this same thing. My daughter wanted me to write about her past. It was a very difficult adolescence. She has so far moved on that she is now helping young women who were in the same problems that she had years ago. So is what she’s doing now is what is so wonderful? Isn’t that important then going back and, and dredging up stuff that no longer applies? I don’t know what your life is like. I know a little bit about your life. I would not want everything about your life or perhaps even mine judged by something that happened 26 years ago.

HASSELBECK: But this is the election and this is to determine who is going to lead our country. And I think digging into relationships that say Barack Obama has had time and time again-

GOLDBERG: Or McCain.

HASSELBECK: Or McCain. But I’m saying to- you want to- I don’t think- Look, we looked at what McCain was involved in with the Keating Five. He was cleared of those.

GOLDBERG: We’re just getting into it. We’re just getting into it.

HASSELBECK: But what I’m saying is that time it concerns-

WALTERS: But we also, we also have looked into Barack Obama who was eight years old when Bill Ayers was a part of the Weather man [sic] who has moved far beyond it.

SHEPHERD: And also too, and also too, can I say with the Keating Five, he was cleared. But the man that he affiliated himself with was not. There are people that lost their money that will never get their money back from Charles Keating. So, Ayers was not convicted. He turned himself in. He was not convicted. But McCain’s friend, he was.

[applause]

HASSELBECK: I’m not- I’m actually not- You know what?

SHEPHERD: No, I let you finish what you had to say. I let you-

HASSELBECK: Thank you for that. It’s a nice thing to do.

WALTERS: No, I’m not sure they’re applauding you.

BEHAR: Can I just say something here?

HASSELBECK: No, no, no, I’m saying thank you for letting. I don’t think they were. I’m not used to anyone applauding me. I was just thanking them for a chance to finish what I was saying. I believe that what is concerning to me is not one connection that Barack Obama has had. It’s that time and time again he has- he didn’t really- he says he didn’t know these people. He didn’t realize for 20 years that Reverend Wright was a hatemonger. He didn’t- he said he didn’t-

GOLDBERG: No, he’s not a hatemonger. Stop that.

HASSELBECK: He didn’t realize-

GOLDBERG: Stop that. You need to stop saying he’s a hatemonger. This man did not like America.

HASSELBECK: The chickens are coming home to roost, hated America.

GOLDBERG: No, you know what? As a black person, we are very, very lucky. You don’t see where that’s relevant?

BEHAR: But what about this guy Hagee? Wait a minute.

HASSELBECK: You just said he hated- he did not like America.

GOLDBERG: He didn’t like America.

BEHAR: I don’t have to be here today.

SHEPHERD: Sit your behind down birthday girl.

GOLDBERG: You know what? None of us need to be here today if that’s the case.

BEHAR: I want a cake.

[laughter]

HASSELBECK: My point is, it’s not just Reverend Wright.

BEHAR: Where is my cake?

HASSELBECK: It’s not just Tony Rezko, a criminal. It’s not just William Ayers, a U.S. terrorist. It’s that time and time again Barack Obama has said "oh, I didn’t realize that William Ayers was a terrorist."

GOLDBERG: That’s baloney because what is- what do we care about?

HASSELBECK: Care or poor judgment.

SHEPHERD: But can we talk about judgment?

GOLDBERG: Poor judgment? Okay.

SHEPHERD: Can we talk about poor judgment? What about the woman that McCain, no, excuse me. What about the woman that McCain left, the woman that McCain left that didn’t even want him to know she had been in a horrible, horrible accident. And he came back, met another woman named Cindy McCain, left the woman that- can we talk about that? Can we talk about that?

[applause]

HASSELBECK: Is this personal?

SHEPHERD: No, but-

HASSELBECK: Wait a minute. When did this become personal? Wow!

SHEPHERD: No, I’m saying Elisabeth-

HASSELBECK: It’s personal now.

SHEPHERD: No, it’s not personal. It’s passion.

HASSELBECK: You’re making it personal right now Sherri.

SHEPHERD: No, I’m not making it personal.

HASSELBECK: Relax, relax, relax.

SHEPHERD: So when you talk about character, when you talk about character, when you talk about character-

BEHAR: Obama’s winning. Relax.

SHEPHERD: -when you talk about Obama-

BEHAR: He’s winning.

SHEPHERD: McCain still has some stuff too and he’s got some stuff in his past too. We can’t just keep looking at Barack.

HASSELBECK: So let’s just match them up.

WALTERS: Can I just say something please? Can we not, on this program, and I was talking about yesterday, can we not sling, stop slinging mud around? We are intelligent women. There are enormous issues in this campaign. The country is terrified. The world is terrified and worried about the economy. And these things I think are so irrelevant. Let us try to address their program for the future [applause] and not throw garbage around.

HASSELBECK: Both are important though. Both are important. And if we want to talk economy, Barack- people want to put it on the Republicans and this administration. It was the Democrats who were pushing these sub prime loans, Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, think about it.

GOLDBERG: Let’s, let’s do this. Let’s break and come back.

HASSELBECK: You don’t want to hear the other side.

BEHAR: Elisabeth you’re listening to Sean Hannity too much.

HASSELBECK: You do not- who are you listening to?