HLN's Joy Behar and guest Rachael Ray fawned over former President Bill Clinton on Monday. "They don't just hand out those Rhodes scholarships for presidencies," remarked the Food Network's Ray, who also called Clinton "incredibly charming" and "so honest with people."
Behar was especially enamored with Clinton. "I find him extremely sexy, don't you?" the HLN host asked Ray, adding that Clinton was "brilliant." She even compared his presidency with Reagan's.
"I think people are going to look back on his presidency the way they look at St. Ronald Reagan," Behar raved. "They'll say St. Bill Clinton eventually. Because he had his problems during his administration, but in retrospect he did a great job.
"But he left the country with a surplus of money and goodwill," Ray chipped in. "Yes, he did, which was squandered," responded Behar.
The two were discussing Ray's project of countering the rise of child obesity. Behar hyped the fear that Republicans will cut funding for public school food that needs to be "offered for 12 months a year," according to Ray.
[Video below. Click here for audio.]
"I hope that just because we're going through now and going through these systematic cuts where everything seems to be back on the table, that we don't look at that as one of the things that's being targeted," Ray fretted.
"The Republicans will want to cut that," Behar noted ominously. "But you know, they can't," replied Ray, who argued that healthy food for children will help prevent the rise of healthcare costs in the future.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 19 at 10:44 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
JOY BEHAR: It was a very funny mockup. Now, you and Bill were quite cozy. Did he come on to you?
RACHAEL RAY, host, Rachael Ray: President – no. President Clinton was there the day we launched, in all seriousness, the day we launched our children's initiative. I launched a charity four years ago now that had three goals – to eradicate hunger; the next door neighbor to hunger is childhood obesity.
RAY: So we have a huge childhood obesity awareness campaign.
BEHAR: Right. Which I will talk to you about in the next segment.
RAY: OK. And then -- that's how we originally met, was our common ground with childhood obesity and we also have a scholarship program. We are partners with his Alliance for a Healthier Generation. So every once in a while, the president comes by to give us his check-up on where we're at with the obesity issue. While he's there, he is gracious enough to take audience questions and do some Q&A. And that clip there when he's talking about who will play him, somebody said well, why didn't you say George Clooney? And he said, because he's playing a candidate in an upcoming movie. And I'm a politician. I want to see how people react to that first.
BEHAR: I find him extremely sexy, don`t you?
BEHAR: Bill Clinton.
RAY: Well I think that –
BEHAR: George Clooney, of course, that goes without saying.
RAY: You know what I think it is? I think that he is incredibly charming. And he looks –
BEHAR: And he's brilliant.
RAY: They don't just hand out those Rhodes scholarships for presidencies. But you know what it is, is whether he's talking to a young person who's struggling with some weight issues or he's talking to an audience member, or he's talking to his interviewer, whoever – he has that charisma, you know, it's like a tractor beam. He really looks straight into your eye and he remembers every single thing he's learned about you or read about you. And he's just so honest with people. He's very direct with the audience. And that's why I just enjoy his visits so much. And I think tomorrow's visit is actually the most candid he's ever been.
BEHAR: I think people are going to look back on his presidency the way they look at St. Ronald Reagan. They'll say St. Bill Clinton eventually. Because he had his problems during his administration, but in retrospect he did a great job.
RAY: But he left the country with a surplus of money and goodwill.
BEHAR: Yes, he did, which was squandered.
BEHAR: I'm back with Rachael Ray. We're talking about the new season of her show and also something near and dear to her heart, kids and food. Okay. How are we going to get these kids? They're on a very bad track.
RAY: I think that the only level playing field to both eradicate hunger among American children and to lower our childhood obesity rates, and all of the related disease rates in this country is through our school food programs program, our public school foods. They need to be offered 12 months a year. We need to improve the quality. We just got through a big increase, the first one, in a very, very long time. And I hope – I hope – we discussed this with President Clinton in tomorrow's episode – I hope that just because we're going through now and going through these systematic cuts where everything seems to be back on the table, that we don't look at that as one of the things that's being targeted.
BEHAR: The Republicans will want to cut that.
RAY: But you know, they can't. No one in this country can afford the catastrophic health care costs of today. Multiply that times kids that are going to grow up and already at 9 and 10 years of age they're on heart medication, they are on cholesterol medication. They are taking all of these adult drugs.
BEHAR: Blood pressure.
RAY: That's right. You want to do the math – we can either pay now, and give them a few pennies now, and a little bit more time –
BEHAR: I don't think that's how politicians think. I think that they think, oh, let's just save money now. If they were worried about the future, we wouldn't be in the mess that we're in.
RAY: That's why you have to be really loud. I mean, the one thing I learned from spending last summer doing a lot of lobbying, is that the loudest wheel, if you give them the voice, they will use it.
BEHAR: But what they will say, Rachael, is why don't the parents worry about this? Why does the school have to worry about it?
RAY: They do. And it's also a byproduct of poverty. And there is a lot of people that will show you the math between hunger and the very next step up is obesity because it's the only quality of food they've been able to afford.