Disgraced New York Congressman Anthony Weiner may currently be lacking in Democratic allies on Capitol Hill, but he at least has one on ABC's The View. Co-host Barbara Walters held hope Thursday that Weiner can survive his scandal and be an "effective" congressman.
"He was a good congressman, and maybe he can weather this all and be effective," Walters offered on Thursday's edition of The View.
Walters, who revealed in her memoirs that she herself had an affair with a married politician, hinted that Weiner could become another heroic Clinton. "[W]e had a president named Bill Clinton who went through a great deal of trouble, weathered the storm and is now not only respected, but he's beloved by many people with a very good marriage," she gushed.
Walters proposed that the congressman merely be rehabilitated rather than face the consequences of his actions. "I think the pictures are disgusting. But I think he has hit rock bottom, and this may be what he needed so that he changes his life. He has been a good and effective congressman."
Walters remarked that she seemed to be the only member of the panel not urging Weiner to step down. She did acknowledge later that "maybe" Weiner should be held to the same standard of other political sex scandals - resignation.
As expected, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck held the strongest position against Weiner. "This is an elected official, that he should be operating in an honest way, and that if we had to vote today, I believe that most people would not re-elect him."
Hasselbeck was joined by fellow co-host Whoopi Goldberg who pointed out that Weiner should be held to the same standard as ousted Republican congressman Chris Lee. Lee, who was married, resigned in February after sending a shirtless picture of himself to a woman via e-mail. "If we do this with one, I think we have to do it with all of them." said Goldberg.
A transcript of the exchange, which aired on the June 9 edition of The View at 11:01 am EDT, is available below.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Hey, hello, hello and welcome to The View, welcome to The View. You know, a lot of news has been breaking about the Anthony Weiner scandal in the past 24 hours. But, Barbara, you weren't here yesterday and you wanted to weigh in on a point we made.
BARBARA WALTERS: Yes, I do. I love you all very much. I watched yesterday. You were unanimous in saying that you thought that Anthony Weiner should resign, and that seems to be what a great many people are saying. So I don't think so. I think what he has done is unfathomable. I think the pictures are disgusting. But I think he has hit rock bottom, and this may be what he needed so that he changes his life. He has been a good and effective congressman. His wife, whom we now know is pregnant, has said she's going to continue with the marriage. His constituents want him. The Ethics Committee can investigate him and chastise, but not necessarily throw him out. And we had a president named Bill Clinton who went through a great deal of trouble, weathered the storm and is now not only respected, but he's beloved by many people with a very good marriage. So, I think Anthony Weiner should hang in there. He was a good congressman, and maybe he can weather this all and be effective.
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: If - if he were - if he were an electrician and he came in and I had all my lights out, I wouldn't want him to come and change a lightbulb.
WALTERS: I heard what you said yesterday, I'm just giving the other side.
HASSELBECK: Right. I still think though, I do believe, and I respect that because I think, in terms of his work. But I do think, that if you are operating under the umbrella of - no, just dishonesty -
WALTERS: But this is what you all said yesterday.
HASSELBECK: I do feel as though, you know, I don't care what he does for a living. This is an elected official, that he should be operating in an honest way, and that most - if we had to vote today, I believe that most people would not re-elect him.
WALTERS: Everybody agrees with you, I seem to be the only dissenter.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: No, No Barbara, but - but I think we do have to make a very special point because the congressman or senator from upstate, remember, who -
JOY BEHAR: Chris Lee?
GOLDBERG: Chris Lee, who showed his chest. We said, you know, you can't be doing this as - as one of the elected officials, and either we have to make a - and he's gone. He - he was removed. He said I'm out because it wasn't right. So, if we do this with one, I think we have to do it with all of them.
WALTERS: Well, maybe we do. And there have been different cases. I mean, I didn't give a whole list in the past of senators and congressmen who have done various things and stayed. I don't think that there can be a blanket - I know that what I'm saying is not what most people are saying. I just think that he was a good congressman. Maybe we can hope that he weathers the storm.
- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.