The ladies of The View gave John McCain a grilling on Friday, beginning with Joy Behar’s challenge to McCain to own his campaign ads — debunked far and wide – accusing Barack Obama of advocating sex education for kindergartners and the assertion that Obama called Sarah Palin a "pig," when he employed the "lipstick on a pig" colloquialism to describe the incumbent party’s "change" mantra.
Calling the ads "lies," Behar said, "then you come on and say, ‘I approve this message.’ Do you really approve them?" she asked incredulously.McCain said he did and added, with regard to the Maybelline pig comment, that Obama "chooses his words very carefully. And he should not have said it."
Apparently McCain doesn’t choose his words quite as carefully as Obama: Barbara Walters pointed out that McCain had used the very same phrase when talking about Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. But by then McCain had launched into what is now a common refrain from the Republican candidate: That the tenor of the race would be different if Obama had agreed to McCain’s proposal to hold a series of town hall-style debates.
At which point Behar chimed in that a series of town hall debates would be a "good idea" for Obama running-mate Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
McCain nervously embraced the idea. At which point Walters deadpanned: "We’ll ask Joe Biden. You ask Sarah."
Watch a clip below:
And on it went.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, saying he would get "no softballs" from her even though he has her vote, asked McCain to clarify his stance on Roe vs. Wade — which appears to differ from that of his running mate. (Even McCain’s wife, Cindy, couldn’t quite put her finger on where her husband comes down on the issue in a recent interview with Katie Couric.)
McCain said that he disagreed with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the 1973 case but that he believes in the sanctity of the Constitution. (The Roe decision stipulated that legislating abortion was a violation of the right to privacy guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.)
Goldberg asked if McCain agreed with everything in the Constitution, asking, "Should I be worried about being a slave?" (Apparently, she meant the pre-13th Amendment Constitution.)
But Walters, exhibiting her journalist’s talent for getting at the heart of the debate, asked the money question: Who or what, exactly, is Sarah Palin going to reform.
"Gov. Palin said that she was chosen by you primarily to reform Washington, to reform the government." said Walters. "She kept using the word ‘reform.’ You, Senator, have been in Washington for 22 years as a Congressman as a senator. The Republicans have been in power for the last 8 years. I can understand why the Democrats talk about reform. But who is it that Gov. Palin is going to reform? You? The Senate? The Congress? The Republican Party?"
After some consternation and murky back and forth about earmarks and line item vetoes, McCain said: "She’ll reform all of Washington."
Well done, ladies.
By Marisa Guthrie