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'Family Ties' Mom Tells Matt Lauer 'I Could Have Been a Republican...Thank Goodness I'm Just Gay'

Actress Meredith Baxter, best known for her role as Elyse Keaton on the '80s NBC hit Family Ties, returned to the Today show set where, back in 2009, she announced she was gay and told Matt Lauer, on Tuesday morning, that her self-revelation could've been something, in her view, much more shocking - she may have realized she was "a Republican." On to promote Untied, Baxter was asked by Lauer if she had "come to terms with everything" after having written the book, to which she responded: "I realized I was so un-self-examined I could have been a Republican, but you know, thank goodness I'm just gay. So that's much better, don't you think?"

(MP3 audio)

The following is the relevant exchange as it was aired on the March 1 Today show:

MATT LAUER: If I had been interviewing you, at the time, I probably would've asked you one of those weird television questions. How, how did you find comfort in your work and the cast mates of Family Ties? And yet, as I read the book, I realized that actually wouldn't have been a ridiculous question because you did find comfort in some of the people you worked with and some of the relationships you developed on that show?

MEREDITH BAXTER: Well you learn to compartmentalize. You know? When, as soon as I got to the studio, house, my home life was just not happening. I never talked about it knowing, knew anything-

LAUER: Didn't socialize with any of the people on the show?

BAXTER: How do you have a social life? I didn't have a social life. I did my work, I went home. I had all these kids. I wanted to be there with the kids.

LAUER: Come to terms with everything now? Has, has the book been a way for you to say "Okay that's now the past. It's all about the future?"

BAXTER: Only except I have to be informed by the past all the time. I have to remember the lessons I learned. I have to say, "Am I telling myself a story about what's going on here? Am I making something up?" Because that's what I would always do. Because I was so, I was so un-self-examined as a child. And in my relationship with, with, you know, all of my marriages. Because I was always trying to keep my head above water. So I had no sense of who I was. You know I was just, I was just trying to save my life on a daily basis. And so, people have said, you know, "You had to have know you were gay." I realized I was so un-self-examined I could have been a Republican, but you know, thank goodness I'm just gay. So that's much better, don't you think?

LAUER: Still in a relationship with Nancy?

BAXTER: Absolutely. Nancy's the best.

LAUER: Well you seem like you're in a really good place.

BAXTER: Thank you.

LAUER: And it's nice of you to come back and talk to us. I really appreciate it.

BAXTER: I'm so grateful you had me. Thank you.

LAUER: It's a pleasure, come back often. And the book is titled Untied. Meredith Baxter.

- Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here