Walters Pushes Brown from the Left, Wonders if Kennedy 'Disappointed' by His Victory?
Barbara Walters began her This Week interview with Massachusetts
Senator-elect Scott Brown by reciting his "fascinating resume,"
including how "at 12 you were arrested for shoplifting" and "at 22 you
posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine," before she proceeded to press
Brown from the left to distance himself from, or denounce, the
Republican Party positions on abortion, same-sex marriage and "don't
ask, don't tell." She pushed him: "Are you out of step with your party, or do you think that the party has to broaden and change its platform?"
Given "Massachusetts requires that all residents purchase health insurance" and "you voted for that plan," a befuddled Walters wondered: "So why doesn't it make sense that all Americans have health insurance? Why isn't what's good for Massachusetts good for the whole country?" When he affirmed opposition to the national Democratic plans, an astonished Walters pleaded: "Goodbye to the whole plan?"
Walters recited President Obama's contention his administration has captured or killed more al-Qaeda than did the Bush administration in 2008, so: "Do you think that the President has made the country more safe?"
She soon informed Brown that "you replaced a beloved figure," as she ruminated: "How do you think that Senator Ted Kennedy would feel about your election? Do you think he'd be disappointed?" (MP3 audio of this question; video below)
Toward the end of the pre-recorded session, Walters returned to the
1982 Cosmopolitan magazine, holding up a copy of the actual magazine
(which also featured an article about Walters), prompting Brown to
quip: "Do you want me to sign it?" Walters pivoted to whether it makes
Brown "a joke," as she proposed:
At the economic conference in Davos, some of the foreign leaders - that just took place last week - were referring to you as that "nude magazine guy." Were you worried - or are you worried that this can make you a little bit of a joke?
The questions from fill-in This Week host Walters to Brown from the
interview conducted on Saturday in Massachusetts, as aired in an
18-minute segment at the top of Sunday's This Week on ABC:
> So you have a fascinating resume. Let me - and just in case some people don't know it. At 12 you were arrested for shoplifting? At 22 you posed nude for Cosmopolitan magazine. For the past 30 years you've been in the National Guard, and you have the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The past six years you've been a state senator, and now as the newly elected Republican Senator from Massachusetts you are the new star. I just saw that when I traveled a little bit with you. What do you most want to accomplish? What's your passion?
> Well you know there was - when the President had the meeting with the Republicans and that back and forth. And the President talked about the fact that both sides demonized the other. But it seems to be working for the Republicans. Are you - do you feel pressure that as the 41st you'll have a tough time voting Republican all the way?
> It has been said all over the country that your election was more about disappointment in the President than it was about voting for you in particular.
> You know when I was with you just a little while ago with the crowd, one of the woman said - behind me - said, "President 2012." And you said to me - or under your breath, "that's silly." But do you rule it out?
Let's talk about another rising star in the Republican party - Sarah Palin. Do you think that Sarah Palin is presidential material?
> Let's talk about some of your specific views. You are pro-choice, yes? And gay marriage is legal in the state of Massachusetts. But the Republican party platform language calls for the overthrow of Roe v. Wade, and they want a federal ban on gay marriage. Are you out of step with your party, or do you think that the party has to broaden and change its platform?
> But you're still pro-choice?
> Well, there is the debate now in the Republican Party as to whether it should be more conservative or more moderate. Which direction do you bend?
> And social issues, a little more moderate?
> OK. Let's talk about the President's State of the Union. Do you see any evidence in his speech that he got a message from your election?
> President Obama has asked for a spending freeze on almost everything except matters like the military, Social Security, and Medicare. He says he's gone line by line through the budget. Now, you have said that's not enough for you; that you want to cut spending and not just freeze it. So what are the first three items that you would cut?
> On Friday, President Obama announced what he called the "best way to promote hiring," talking about jobs especially for the small businessmen. A $5,000 tax credit for each new employee added and tax relief for those companies that add to their payroll. A total cost is $33 billion dollars. If and when this became a bill, would you vote for it? Yes or no?
> Health care. Massachusetts requires that all residents purchase health insurance. You voted for that plan. So why doesn't it make sense that all Americans have health insurance? Why isn't what's good for Massachusetts good for the whole country?
> Do you think the whole plan should be scrapped? The whole plan? [BROWN: Yes.] You don't see that there could be some things that could be - goodbye to the whole plan?
> Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is on the hot seat. Should Tim Geithner be replaced?
> You have been a member of the National Guard for 30 years. You've talked about how important that service is. You're a Lieutenant Colonel. On Wednesday the President announced that he wants to work with Congress to repeal "don't ask, don't tell." What's your view?
> But Senator, your own view....So you can't say whether you're for or against it?
> President Obama said that in the last year there are more al-Qaeda terrorists including leaders captured or killed than in 2008. Now, obviously there are incidents like the one on Christmas Day. Do you think that the President has made the country more safe?
> You know, as we've been talking, you've expressed several time the idea of working together, Republicans and Democrats working together, and your knowledge helping the President. Do you feel now that there is going to be this kind of cooperation or reconciliation? There's so much - there's been so much anger and so much conflict. Do you think it's going it change?
> So your election may bring the two parties closer together?
> You know, you replaced a beloved figure. [BROWN: Yeah, he was a great guy.] How do you think that Senator Ted Kennedy would feel about your election? Do you think he'd be disappointed?
> I'd like to talk a little bit about your growing up, your youth. Your parents divorced when you were a year old....Each of your parents were married four times, and you've described them as having a violent marriage. At one point, you talked about when you were five or six years old having to feel you had to save your mom, and your dad wasn't around very much. Difficult childhood. How did this shape you?
> In an interview to the Boston Globe back in 1982, you said, "Sometimes, I think I'm being tested by a higher being. When things are going great, I think of it as a reward from heaven." Do you still think your winning was a reward from heaven?
> The Cosmopolitan magazine. Well it just so happens, I have it....[BROWN: Do you want me to sign it?]...But at the economic conference in Davos, some of the foreign leaders - that just took place last week - were referring to you as that "nude magazine guy." Were you worried - or are you worried that this can make you a little bit of a joke?
> What would you say if one of your daughters came to you and said, "Dad I want to pose nude?"
> You know some women have said to me, "If a woman did a nude centerfold spread" - even if it was more than 20 years ago - they're not sure that she would be elected Senator, because there's a double standard. What do you think?
> Your daughter, Ayla, was a contestant on American Idol in 2006, at which time Simon Cowell described her performance as [BROWN: Robotic.] You remember. Robotic, and empty. Here's your chance. What would you like to say to Mr. Cowell?
> Senator, I have one final question. You and this beloved truck. Will you be getting a new truck?
The ABCNews.com transcript, which I've corrected above in parts, and which includes portions not aired on This Week.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center