Biden's 'The View' Interview Tougher Than Obama's, But Why?

Although there are few tough interviews on ABC's "The View" – this was an exception to the rule – Vice President Joe Biden received a surprisingly more serious reception than did President Obama on the daytime celebrity show. He even had a snide remark for Whoopi Goldberg about high taxes for the wealthy.

As Newsbusters reported, President Obama's interview was essentially a rousing festival of praise for the administration and Obama's family. By contrast, Vice President Biden's interview, although by no means tough, was missing the slew of softball questions that Obama enjoyed. There were even some awkward exchanges between Biden and co-hosts Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg, on the issues of foreign policy and taxes, respectively.

While the show's hosts continually fawned over President Obama, token conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck soon brought up Biden's infamous F-bomb gaffe at the health care bill's signing. Sherri Shepherd followed up by asking about the administration's answers for angry Tea Partiers, and Whoopi Goldberg then pressed about the problem of high taxes.

Biden quipped, "You have a lot of money, that's why it bothers you," before assuring Goldberg that he was kidding.

That didn't suffice for the comedian and actress, who continued to press the issue. "People do assume – they see somebody and say 'They have a lot of money, so take it from them,'" Goldberg pointed out. "But no one says, 'Well what are they doing with their money, and how are they working? Are they taking care of their family?'"

"If we're going to start talking about a national sales tax, on top of everything else, what taxes can you guys remove?" and exasperated Goldberg demanded of Biden.

"I think that they're worried, too, about how [their money] is being spent," Hasselbeck remarked about Americans frustrated with the administration. "I think that's a main issue, not just how it's being taxed, but how it's being spent, and it's astronomical right now."

Veteran journalist Barbara Walters later pressed the Vice President on foreign policy, resulting in another mildly tense exchange.

You can view the questions for President Obama's interview on "The View" here, and compare it with Vice President Biden's questions, which are listed below:

ABC THE VIEW 8/9/10 11:23 a.m.-11:49 a.m. EDT

JOY BEHAR: I was wondering, why did Dick Cheney never want to come on? Was it something I said?

...

BARBARA WALTERS: Mr. Vice President, you have the second most powerful job in the country, and I'm going to ask you a very simple question that may sound like a very simple question. But most people have no idea what the Vice President does except for ceremonial things.

Vice President JOE BIDEN: (Unintelligible) (Laughter)

WALTERS: Well, that's why I asked. You know, you break the tie in the Senate, but do you have any power, I mean, what do you do every day?

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ELISABETH HASSELBECK: You mentioned relationship with the President, and it obviously is very good, too. You know, it's – he's been in the past talking about words, you know, he's told us that there are certain words that, as America, we should kind of stay away from. The "War on Terror," "radical Islam," etc. You get up there, health care bill signed, and you throw the F-bomb, and I'm thinking "Oh man! That might be one we shouldn't say, too!"

(Laughter) So were you surprised that you got the pass from him on that?

(Laughter) BIDEN: I was just thankful my mother couldn't hear or see it. And it was a little embarrassing.

JOY BEHAR: Did you realize there was a microphone?

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BEHAR: You know, there seems to be a lack of decorum in politics these days. (Laughter) You know, somebody yells out "You lie!", another person calls Stupak a "baby killer," and then there was a thing out of your office, Rahm Emanuel, saying that these liberal guys were a bunch of "retards," my quotes are there. What is going on? And is it dangerous, and is it different?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Well what about the – you know, we have these Tea Party – the Tea Party people now, they're protesting big government, health care, uh, spending --

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Taxes –

SHEPHERD: And your administration – taxes – is saying that they're these far right lunatics. I mean, why haven't you addressed any of their –

BIDEN: Well by the way, the President and I haven't said they're far right lunatics. Look, I think there's an awful lot of people out there are frightened and scared. It's a very difficult time. I travel all over the country, I've been in over 60 cities, people have lost their jobs, they're unsure if they're going to keep their homes, they're not sure that the jobs they have they'll keep, can I get my kid back to college, etc.? And they're very worried. There's fringes in every outfit. But the vast majority of these people, I think, are just frustrated. And what they don't get yet, and I understand it, is they're going to see that we've spent our time cutting taxes. We've given the largest tax cut in the history of America to middle class people. We're actually paying for what we do.

GOLDBERG: Okay. I like the idea of that. But when you look at how much taxation is going on in this country, you know, I 've been crutching about this from the beginning. Because I don't mind paying taxes.

BIDEN: You have a lot of money, that's why it bothers you. (Laughter) I'm joking.

(Crosstalk)

GOLDBERG: Here's the interesting thing. You may see somebody, and people do assume – they see somebody and say they have a lot of money, so take it from them. But no one says, well what are they doing with their money, and how are they working? Are they taking care of their family? Are they doing – so now, if we're going to start talking about a national sales tax, on top of everything else, what taxes can you guys remove?

BIDEN: Well by – we aren't talking about that.

WALTERS: The President is.

BIDEN: No, the President said he was open to listening about that. Look, we've set up a commission, a fiscal commission that is designed bipartisan, that is going to report after November elections back to us to say that "This is what we recommend is how to get control of the long-term deficit. And the President said everything's on the table, everything's on the table, from cuts, to even considering revenues. And so look, here's the deal. The question is nobody likes taxes. Nobody likes paying taxes. And I don't blame them. The question is, who deserves the biggest break right now?  From 2000-2007, the middle class lost ground in America. They lost ground. For the first time since 1929, you had one percent of the people making 23.5 percent of all the income.

GOLDBERG: Then why not hit – and I know this must be crazy – but you know, the communications taxes, you look on the phone bill – we are being taxed within an inch of our butt. Why can't we get some relief from those folk – people don't mind paying the federal and the state.

HASSELBECK: I think that they're worried too about how it's being spent. I think that's a main issue, not just how it's being taxed, but how it's being spent, and it's astronomical right now.

...    

BEHAR: Before we go any further, I must ask you – what is the appeal of Sarah Palin, exactly, do you think?

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HASSELBECK: Is [Palin] something that the administration's eyeing in 2-12? Or is she someone that they consider to be a legitimate threat again?

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WALTERS: Can I ask some foreign policy questions, okay? While we're at it? Because there's some important things. Last week Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the administration does not have an adequate plan to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The whole world is worrying about this. Why don't we have a plan?

BIDEN: Barbara, we do have a plan, and look, if, as the secretary said, when that, a reference to that memo was leaked. It was inaccurate, what was said, it does not reflect what the memo said, I've read the memo, I know the memo. We have, from the day we – actually before we took office, before we took office, one of the first things we did in putting together our national security team, was come up with a game plan as to how to deal with Iraq's – I mean Iran's – effort to get a nuclear weapon. We have clearly known exactly what we were doing, and –

WALTERS: Sanctions are not working.

BIDEN: No, no, no. Sanctions –

WALTERS: But you have China doesn't want to agree to have sanctions –

BIDEN: China will agree to sanctions. There will in fact be – this is the first time the entire world is unified that Iran is out of bounds. You have a – they're more isolated than they have ever been. They are more isolated with their own people, they are more isolated externally, they are more isolated in the region –

WALTERS: So is the next step sanctions?

BIDEN: The next step is sanctions.

WALTERS: And if they don't work?
        
BIDEN: I'm not going to speculate beyond that. It's not appropriate to do that.

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WALTERS: Also the Israelis are debating now whether they should attack themselves, without U.S. permission – attack Iran without U.S. permission. If they decided to do that, what are your thoughts?

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HASSELBECK: You know, I was reading, growing up they called you "Joe Impedimenta," is that correct, because of a stutter that you had? I mean, so many people do struggle with that. Exactly how did you overcome it over the years?

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WALTERS: And you still today, you work with the American Institute of Stuttering, I just want to mention that –

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SHEPHERD: One thing you're not embarrassed about, which is so great. You've been married for 32 years to your wife Jill. But – I love it, because – you asked Jill five times, five times to marry you. When she said no the other four, what made you keep asking?

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WALTERS: Why didn't [Jill] want you?

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HASSELBECK: A lot of people are in love with you, Mr. Vice President. Truly, you're a pretty cool guy, I have to say. I mean, we don't sit on the same side of the political aisle, but it's good to share the sofa!  We're so thankful that you are here. Thanks to the Vice President, and we'll be right back.
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014