Joy Behar seemed to enjoy herself as she muckraked through exotic
comments made by Republican Delaware U.S. Senate nominee Christine
O'Donnell over a decade ago, refusing to leave them out of a serious
discussion about O'Donnell's candidacy. She even threw Sarah Palin into
O'Donnell, in a 1999 appearance on Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect," said that she "dabbled into witchcraft" in high school but never joined a coven. Behar lambasted O'Donnell, calling her "crazy" and wondering why she was running for office. "I think it shows you how crazy the girl is, doesn't it?" Behar asked incredulously. "How many crazy people do we have to have in office?"
Behar labeled O'Donnell as a "witch who doesn't masturbate." Meanwhile, the show's token conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck countered that if O'Donnell is under the gun for such comments, then President Obama should have been scrutinized more closely over his pastor of 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Even veteran liberal journalist and 'View' co-host Barbara Walters dismissed the notion of serious discussion of O'Donnell's comments from 10 or 20 years ago, and argued that her current views on social issues should be scrutinized.
Behar couldn't let the "witch" comment go, suddenly taking a
conservative stance on Satan worship. "Dabbling is not an acceptable
word, when you're into witchcraft and Satanism," the liberal show host
Hasselbeck replied to one criticism that O'Donnell is "unique," Behar
quipped "Unique or eunuch?" Walters soon closed the debate, saying that
"whether 20 years ago [O'Donnell] did this or she did that - I mean, it
makes for juicy headlines, but it really is unimportant." It still
wasn't enough for Behar, who wanted to throw Sarah Palin in with the
"But you know, isn't it interesting that Sarah Palin backs her up, and one of the reasons she got elected is because Sarah did those robo-calls to make sure that she got elected," Behar seriously pointed out. "And if I recall, wasn't Sarah exorcised in Alaska by a preacher one time? She believes in exorcism. These two are into it together. Talk about a coven. This is a coven!"
Hasselbeck dismissed the absurdity of Behar's logic. "Welcome to the politics of someone backing someone else. It's certainly not a coven. It's radical to say something like that."
A partial transcript of the segment, which aired on September 20 at 11:06 a.m. EDT, is as follows:
BARBARA WALTERS: Republican Delaware Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell - her past came back to haunt her over the weekend, and she defended herself against comments she made back in 1999 on Bill Maher's old show called "Politically Correct."
CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: (On "Politically Incorrect") I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven. One of my first dates with a witch was on a Satanic altar, and I didn't know it.
O'DONNELL: (Recently) I was in high school. How many of you didn't hang out with questionable folks in high school? But no, there's been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now.
(End Video Clip)
SHERRI SHEPHERD: But I think - you know, in this respect, because she says she's a conservative Christian, and the basis for being a Christian is you might have a former life - you let that go, and you don't do it anymore.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Do you think it's valid to then question this? Do you think this is even a valid thing to look at, that Bill's throwing out here on his show?
JOY BEHAR: I think it shows you how crazy the girl is, doesn't it? How many crazy people do we have to have in office?
HASSELBECK: Well let's start with this. In fairness, Joy, if we're going to investigate past religious affiliations or dabbles or high school trips here and there, why then wasn't Billy-boy over here so interested in where President Obama was for 20 years at Rev. Wright's church, so much so that - (Crosstalk)
SHEPHERD: Nobody let that go with him.
HASSELBECK: They absolutely brushed it under the rug. In fairness, in fairness - if they're going to dig into this, they should then open that up too.
BEHAR: Well here's a girl who says that, you know, she didn't masturbate - she doesn't believe in masturbating, either. And she wants to make public policy about other people's sex lives. She's a witch who doesn't masturbate, who has never had premarital sex. Why is she running for office?
HASSELBECK: Why do you call her a girl, but anyone who's powerful a woman? You can't just toss her off as a girl -
BEHAR: You can call me a girl anytime you want, honey.
HASSELBECK: No, that's not right.
BEHAR: I love being called a girl.
SHEPHERD: But are you saying that anything that anybody does back in high school should be held against them as an adult? What did you do in high school, Joy, that you might not want to talk about?
HASSELBECK: What about 20 years in a row? What about 20 years listening to a man who hates this country?
BEHAR: Dabbling is not an acceptable word, when you're into witchcraft and Satanism.
HASSELBECK: She wasn't into it. She went on a date with a guy who was at an altar.
BEHAR: She said she had - she did a Satanic ritual at an altar.
HASSELBECK: What about 20 years straight, calling someone your mentor, who then goes on to produce hatemongering across the country. 20 years, he's -
WALTERS: When you discuss past positions - and she's a very conservative candidate, she's a Tea Party candidate - the fact that she's now a candidate - were something that's surprising. Okay, so we're giving special attention. She has other views, I think, that she's -
SHEPHERD: Against masturbation -
HASSELBECK: She's unique.
WALTERS: She doesn't think that -
BEHAR: Unique, or eunuch?
WALTERS: Let me finish, okay? She doesn't think that using condoms - that using condoms could combat AIDS. She has other points of view, and a conservative point of view - I think those are the things, if you want to discuss them, you discuss them. This has to be thought of in future voting and whatever her philosophy is. (Crosstalk) But whether 20 years ago she did this or she did that - I mean, it makes for juicy headlines, but it really is unimportant.
BEHAR: But you know, isn't it interesting that Sarah Palin backs her up, and one of the reasons she got elected is because Sarah did those robo-calls to make sure that she got elected. And if I recall, wasn't Sarah exorcised in Alaska by a preacher one time. She believes in exorcism. These two are into it together.
HASSELBECK: Does she currently believe in exorcism?
BEHAR: Talk about a coven. This is a coven!
HASSELBECK: You know what, though? Joy, welcome to the politics of someone backing someone else. It's certainly not a coven. It's radical to say something like that.
- Matt Hadro is News Analysis intern at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here .