ABC's 'View' Crew Went Soft on Obamas, But Thumped Ann Romney With Abortion, Contraception, and Draft Evasion
On September 25, the Obamas came on The View and drew questions about whether the president was romantic, about their first kiss, and whether he tucks her in at night.
Three weeks and a day later, Ann Romney appeared, and the difference in aggression was stunning. Barbara Walters asked about Romney flip-flopping on abortion. Joy Behar asked about "access to contraception and abortion." Whoopi Goldberg asked how she would talk to families who've lost loved ones in combat when her husband and sons never served. Then Walters asked her son Josh (sitting in the audience) if he agreed with brother Tagg that he'd like to take a swing at Barack Obama. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Co-host Sherri Shepherd asked the president "President Obama, are you a romantic kind of husband?...I heard there's a plaque in Chicago marking the site of your first kiss. Tell us about that first kiss." And to Michelle: "You go to bed at 10:00 in the evening. Your husband comes to bed at 1:00 in the morning. But you have a ritual where he tucks you in at night?"
There were slightly more substantive questions. Walters asked "Would it be so terrible if Mitt Romney were elected? He was governor. He will probably be a little more moderate....My point is would it be disastrous for the country if Mitt Romney were elected?"
Whoopi Goldberg asked about Libya -- still bowing to the false narrative about it being caused by an anti-Muslim video. "Because whether it was terroristic or not in Libya, something stirred folks up and these other folks around the world protesting, they're angry. So how do we, as Americans, how do we, like, figure out that sometimes things we say have terrible consequences as they did in Libya?"
Walters began the Ann Romney interview by noting her husband "he was not sure he wanted to come on with us because we're high-risk and we're sharp-tongued." Mrs. Romney joked: "No, he said sharp and young." Walters reeplied: "But you know what, he's right. We'd love to have him on, but we are sharp-tongued."
Then she proved it.
WALTERS: So we've been talking primarily about the women's issues. And one of the things with your husband was that when he was a governor, he was pro-choice and now is against abortion except in the case of rape and incest and life of the mother. I wonder where your views are. Were you the same way when he was the governor? Have you changed? I'm sure you've had discussions about this.
ROMNEY: You know, the good news is, I'm not running for office and I don't have to say what I feel. But I am pro-life. I'm happy to say that. Mitt has always been a pro-life person. He governed when he ran pro-choice –but when a decision came across his desk
WALTERS: Okay, explain that to me.
ROMNEY: When a decision came across his desk to use embryos for experimentation –
WALTERS: That's stem cell research?
ROMNEY: He could not have the -- on his conscience, creating human life for experimentation. And that's when he came out with an editorial saying he was pro-life.
In the "Hot Topics" segment at the start of the show, Joy Behar ranted that "Women's issues like abortion and birth control are economic issues, because they will put you in the poor house if you have a lot of kids you don't want. And why do you want to bring children into the world that you don't want? It just creates terrible things for the society." She brought that up in the interview:
JOY BEHAR: Let me ask you something to the economic point. Do you think that access to contraception and abortion is an economic issue, as I was saying in the "hot topics"?
ROMNEY: You know, again, I would love it if you'd get my husband on the couch, joy and you could go –
WALTERS: I would love that.
ROMNEY: You can go down with that all you want. What I know is what I can tell you and what I can reflect about my husband and who he is as a person and how he'll respond and how he'll govern.
Whoopi Goldberg picked up on the same attack that Mike Wallace tried on 60 Minutes in 2007 -- whacking the Romneys for not serving the military. Obama's lack of service never comes up with these people. But Whoopi added in her misunderstanding of Mormon beliefs about military service:
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: As first lady, if you get the job, it's going to tell a lot of things and one of those things is going to be talking to the mothers whose children are coming home in bags, you know, from wars. Now, I know -- I believe that your religion doesn't allow you to go fight –
ROMNEY: No, that's not correct.
GOLDBERG: Okay, so…
ROMNEY: We have many, many members of our faith that are serving in the armed services.
GOLDBERG: Okay. Well, I say that because when i read about your husband, what i had read -- and maybe you can correct this -- is that the reason that he didn't serve in Vietnam was because it was against the religion. That's what I read.
ROMNEY: No that's not correct. He was -- he was serving his mission. My five sons have also served missions. None served in the military, but I do have one son that feels that he's giving back to his country in a significant way where he is now a doctor and he is taking care of veterans. So we find different ways of serving and my five boys and my husband did serve missions, did not serve in the military. But the thing that I love and I will tell you this, that when I have these boys, you all know, as mothers, that when you're raising children, that one of the most selfish periods in their life is about 18, 19, 20 –
GOLDBERG: You think that's it?
ROMNEY: Longer than that. But they're pretty selfish during that time and my boys all did serve missions and they went away for two years. And I sent them away boys and they came back men....
GOLDBERG: So the rest of my question is, I'm sorry I got off track. So when you are facing these mothers whose children have not come back, how will you explain to them that your sons haven't gone, or will you talk about the missions that they've gone on?
ROMNEY: I think probably I would say, it's probably the hardest thing that a president and a first lady probably do is to comfort those that have lost a loved one. And have gone in harm's way. I have seen my husband when he was Governor of Massachusetts, and I went with him -- I didn't go to every funeral, but he went to every funeral of a returning veteran...
Walters went into a commercial break promising to drag out the Tagg Romney scandal of the day among liberals:
WALTERS: Well we've had a lot of people during the convention who talked about the compassion of your family and the compassion of your husband. We're going to get to you, Josh, because your brother said, I think he said he'd like to take a swipe or a swap or a punch or something at the president.
JOSH ROMNEY: Swing.
WALTERS: A swing at the president. So I want to know, we all want to know how you feel. So you think you're going to have an easy ride here? Just stay right here. We'll be right back.
After the commercial break, Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked Josh Romney a newsy question about the recent scuttlebutt that the Romney family forced changes in strategy: "I know that there's been some sort of family like intervention in terms of campaign, new stuff that's going on and you're involved. What are those? And then also do you have aspirations of a political career at all?"
Romney denied the family distrusted the political staff, and denied any interiest in a political career. And then Walters swung:
WALTERS: Do you want to slug President Obama like your brother said he did?
JOSH ROMNEY: You know, that brother has slugged me a couple of times. I assure you, President Obama has nothing to worry about.[Laughter]....I think that was something he was saying off the cuff, and I assure you he didn't mean it.
The Romney family could certainly be miffed about the transparently obvious double standard in segments on "The View" with the Obamas and Mrs. Romney.
-- Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Tim Graham on Twitter.