With the McCain campaign’s new offensive on Barack Obama and his ties with William Ayers, "View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg, on the October 6 edition, suggested McCain is playing this card out of desperation and using the same failed tactics of Hillary Clinton.
Discussing Ayers, Whoopi "assume[d] that he rehabilitated himself." When Elisabeth Hasselbeck, outnumbered three to one, reminded that panel that Ayers expressed regret in 2001 that he had not done more, Sherri Shepherd wagged her finger in Elisabeth’s face lecturing "no you don’t Elisabeth." Shepherd retorted that Ayers’ remarks were not about September 11, something already known, but do they make Ayers’ lack of remorse any more defensible?
Barbara Walters, for her part, called such campaign tactics "smears" even as Elisabeth asserted that they are not smears, but true. Walters, also added that attacks on McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five scandal was a smear as well and such attacks distract us for the many challenges the United States faces.
The transcript follows.
GOLDBERG: Both campaigns have gone on the attack now. Palin has been accusing Obama of paling around with terrorists. And Obama’s accusing McCain of being involved with the Keating Five Savings and Loan scandal. Any thoughts?
WALTERS: Well, two things. The whole business about the terrorists is the relationship with-
HASSELBECK: William Ayers.
WALTERS: Which was-
HASSELBECK: Of the Weather Underground.
WALTERS: -years ago.
GOLDBERG: Forty years ago.
WALTERS: He was friendly with this man who’s life has changed. All of this was brought up during the Democratic campaign. There was, you know, there was, now it’s being rehashed and rehashed. We did it. It was discussed. That was in the past. His life has changed.
HASSELBECK: Why doesn’t it matter though?
WALTERS: Because we didn’t-
HASSELBECK: Just because it’s in the past, doesn’t- 9/11 is in the past. It’s still important.
WALTERS: Alright let me go on. I don’t also think there’s a reason to bring up the Keating Five, which is the other side. In case you don’t remember, Keating Five were five United States senators, one of whom was John McCain who was accused of corruption in 1989 igniting, it was a major political scandal having to do with the Savings and Loan. And they were accused of, I’m quoting, "improperly intervening on behalf of Charles Keating, et cetera. Now we can bring that up and dump that on John McCain now. Let’s discuss the economy for heaven’s sakes. Let’s discuss health care. Let’s discuss insurance for kids. Let’s not drag up just to discredit people on either side. [applause] There are much more important issues.
GOLDBERG: Here’s, here’s the other thing also. I mean, one of the things that, that no one has talked about is that, number one, Bill Ayers surrendered in 1980 to the federal government. He turned himself in to the feds. He, like a lot of us in a certain generation were pissed at the United States of America. Some were more radical than others. Some, some did stuff that, you know, they shouldn’t have done. And, you know, he turned himself in. He, I assume, rehabilitated himself because from 1980 to now, I don’t recall anyone saying in 2001, "oh we got to go get Bill Ayers. He’s a terrorist." I- wait no- let me just finish-
HASSELBECK: Sure, sure.
GOLDBERG: -because I know you have a lot to say. [laughter] I don’t think anyone has been looking at him as a terrorist until now. When someone’s past is in- we talked about this a little bit, so maybe yours wasn’t- maybe it was Bill. You know, there are senators and congressmen that had pasts. And at some point you have to say "forty years ago this is what you did. What are you doing now?" Because otherwise you have to say that the parents of the kids who are in his classes and the school itself and all of the faculty are carousing with the terrorists.
HASSELBECK: You know what? This terrorist-
GOLDBERG: And I don’t believe- I’m sorry- I don’t believe that, that is any better than John McCain being, having to rake over John McCain over-
WALTERS: 17 years ago.
GOLDBERG: 17 years ago. And the other thing, wait, let me just finish. And Barack Obama is not the terrorist. Let’s make sure that we’re clear [applause] that Barack Obama is not the terrorist. So linking him to people and link- we can link all of these guys to people. That’s- I’m done.
HASSELBECK: Okay, two things, one John McLean- John McCain was cleared of any charges. The ethics commission declared him- his actions cleared and his actions not improper. Number two, in terms of- and I wish Sarah Palin would come out specifically-
WALTERS: He was accused of it.
SHEPHERD: He used poor judgment.
HASSELBECK: They also found his actions were not improper.
WALTERS: He used poor judgment. It was lobbying.
HASSELBECK: Sure, but don’t you-
WALTERS: Keep in mind that both of them- can’t we get away from smears?
HASSELBECK: No, because some of these things are not-
WALTERS: Why no? Why no?
HASSELBECK: This is not about smearing. John McCain-
GOLDBERG: You don’t understand. You don’t understand.
HASSELBECK: John McCain has-
GOLDBERG: You can’t get away from smears.
HASSELBECK: I don’t believe that this is a smear. John McCain has been open about what happened with the Keating Five. And he was cleared. Number two, Barack Obama went to a party with William Ayers. And I wish Sarah Palin, when she addresses the crowds, would get specific and say not "my opponent," not "our opponent," and not "a terrorist." Barack Obama went to the house of William Ayers-
HASSELBECK: -who is a U.S. terrorist-
GOLDBERG: In 2002.
HASSELBECK: It doesn’t matter.
GOLDBERG: Oh my God!
HASSELBECK: After 9/11, William Ayers said he was unrepentant about his bombings and said that he wishes that he had done more.
SHEPHERD: No, no, wait, wait, no you don’t Elisabeth. When he made his comment it was about his book. It was not about 9/11. That book was about to come out. It was 40 years ago, when Obama was eight, there was a rabbi that was-
HASSELBECK: I don’t care-
WALTERS: Can I just ask you a question? You said you don’t care whether or how long, or he was friendly with him-
HASSELBECK: He has a history of this.
WALTERS: Well wait, wait, wait. Doesn’t it bother you, with everything that’s going wrong with this country, that either side is going back to smearing? Is that the way-
HASSELBECK: It’s the truth.
SHEPHERD: But Elisabeth-
GOLDBERG: The man is losing. The man is losing and he’s pulling out garbage that didn’t work for Clinton. It’s not going to work for him.
HASSELBECK: It doesn’t matter Whoopi. Here’s the thing. This is not about winning or losing. This is what bothers me truly about Barack Obama because when I heard him back, I really thought there was hope for him. It bothers me that he’s not open. Whether you agree with Sarah Palin or not, she’s open-
SHEPHERD: Why do you say he’s not open? He did-
HASSELBECK: He used to hide, he used to hide all of his radical connections-
GOLDBERG: You know what? That’s bullshi- oh!
HASSELBECK: He obviously does not want to address.
WALTERS: He has addressed it.