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JOY BEHAR SHOW
Tragedy at Fort Hood; Queen of Southern Cuisine
Aired November 9, 2009 - 21:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOY BEHAR, HOST: Tonight on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, the rampage at Fort Hood leaves us with a lot of questions but not a lot of answers such as what triggered this incident and could it have been averted? We`ll try to shed a little light on the situation.
Then Paula Deen bounced back from personal tragedy to make it big. We`ll talk with the Queen of Southern Cuisine in an interview that`ll probably go right from my thighs.
Plus, Robin Roberts, co-coast of "Good Morning America" staying up late to discuss who might be joining her on the GMA couch. Rumor has it, it might be a man. We`ll there goes my shot. Like I need I another job.
All this and more starts right now.
Tonight I want to begin with the tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas. The man suspected of opening fire and killing 13 people and injuring dozens more regained consciousness today and is now talking. But what set Major Hasan off is still the subject of a lot of speculation.
Joining me now to discuss, is Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America; Zudhi Jasser from the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and former Navy officer.
But first let`s go to Samantha Hayes, CNN correspondent who is on the scene. What`s the latest, Samantha? Give us an update.
SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joy, Major Hasan as you mentioned is awake and apparently he`s talking. And you also know that he was shot four times. He is being treated in a hospital in San Antonio, Texas. And staff members there tell us that he has been communicating with them, although an official hospital spokesperson would not tell us whether he has been communicating with investigators as well.
Back here at Fort Hood, in an afternoon press conference, Lieutenant General Robert Cone, the Fort commander, talked about how he feels that in this tragedy, they`re moving on to a new phase. And he said part of that is for the Army to re-evaluate itself, re-evaluate its procedures to make sure that if there are other soldiers who are harboring the same kind of discontent that Major Hasan was, that they don`t dismiss those indicators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. ROBERT CONE, COMMANDING GENERAL, FORT HOOD: We are going to take a very hard look at ourselves and look at anything that might have been done to have prevented this. And I think what`s really important is that Hasan you was a soldier. And we have other soldiers that might have some of the same stress and indicators that he has.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cone also talked about how there were really hundreds of people who were directly affected by the mass shooting on Thursday. Soldiers, of course, but also many civilian workers who were there at the time, as well as medical professionals and law enforcement personnel and that he felt that the soldiers in some ways, he wasn`t worried about as much. Because he said they had had stress training where as many other civilians and other people who are affected by this do not. And he wanted to talk about how the Army is trying to make every possible service available to those folks in their recovery -- Joy.
BEHAR: Are they coming forward to say what happened? The wounded? Are they forthcoming with all the information...
BEHAR: ... as much as they can?
HAYES: Joy, some of them had. And you know when this first happened, there were so many people who were being treated in the hospital.
And CNN, we were fortunate to be able to talk to Private Joseph Foster this morning. He was shot in the hip. And he, of course, is recovering but he was able to speak to us this morning and he said something very interesting about what he heard the suspect say before Hasan allegedly opened fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PFC. JOSEPH FOSTER, U.S. ARMY: I was sitting in about the second row back when the assailant stood up, yelled, "Allahu Akbar" in Arabic and he opened fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Is it possible that he didn`t really hear right? Is it possible? Is this a rumor or is it really something we have to take at face value? What?
HAYES: Well, this has come out in several different reports now, Joy. We`ve heard this from this private and it`s also been reported from, for instance, people who were on the phone right before the shooting happened or during the shooting.
I think earlier there was a report from a father who is on the phone with his daughter who was in the processing center at the time that this happened. And she mentioned to him later on that she heard that, too.
Now, this is not something that`s sort of being officially talked about by the Army or by any unit that`s investigating this but it has come out in several reports and this was the first time we had heard it from a victim who had been injured.
BEHAR: Ok, Samantha, stay right there.
I would like to bring in my panel. Zudhi let me ask you something. Would you say that Fort Hood is more like -- after this incident -- more like Columbine where somebody goes berserk or is it more like 9/11 where there is a planned terrorist attack involved?
M. ZUDHI JASSER, AMERICAN ISLAMIC FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY: Well, Joy, I think if this was an isolated incident, you`d able to say that it`s Columbine. But by no means is that isolated. We saw an attack on a National Guard post in Arkansas, we`ve seen a number of terror assaults from radical Islamic sects come out of New Jersey, North Carolina, we`ve seen out of Dallas and Chicago.
And there has been 40 attacks prevented since 9/11. And the only thing all these attacks have in common, none of them were really communicating with one another. It`s just -- it`s an ideology of radical form of a faith that I love that has a political version that is militant, that is radicalized and hates western society, that separates church and state and separates mosque and state and it`s a different type of Islam.
I mean, this is the issue, is who`s Islam or which Islam? The Islam I was taught and I love, my parents came here because we could celebrate and practice our faith more freely in America than anywhere else in the world. The Islam Dr. Hasan ended up practicing is one that is truly an enemy within.
BEHAR: But what made him turn, do you think? Is it -- was it planned? What is your assessment of all that? I mean, he seemed to be a well-respected Army psychiatrist. And saying a few things that were very iffy, I suppose, and then all of a sudden this happened. What do you think happened to him?
JASSER: Well, I think we need to look at it as a slippery slope. Where the -- for example, the alcohol, let`s say, if it is drug use, substance use, ends up worsening him and that toxin is a political ideology that hates the West. That hates America and blames everything wrong with Muslims on a Western conspiracy theory. And he started to fall down that toxic ideology until he broke.
And you saw that he was handing out Korans and we can`t subscribe this to just being radical, just being a psychotic break. He had a political ideology.
JASSER: His Imam that was teaching him just put on the Web site, cried about him. I mean, this is part of the al Qaeda narrative.
BEHAR: Yes that was Anwar Al Awlaki...
BEHAR: ... who was an Imam. Now is he in -- is it Yemen? I believe he`s in Yemen now.
JASSER: Yes he was...
BEHAR: Yes and he`s saying that he admires the man.
Paul, let me ask you a question. do you think the intelligence community, the CIA, I guess and Army officials missed the whole radicalization that was going on with this guy?
PAUL RIECKHOFF, IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: It looks like they missed quite a few things. But we still don`t know what and I think that`s an important point we have to emphasize right now. We can`t jump to conclusions.
We don`t know enough about his -- the relationships he has externally, the relationships he had within the military. We`ve been urging everyone to just take a deep breath here and focus on the families at Fort Hood who really need the support of a nation right now.
We can`t rush to stereotyping soldiers. We can`t rush to stereotyping Muslim Americans. We`ve really got to urge folks to -- really focus on the family thing and keep that caution before we jump to conclusions about what this guy`s affiliations were, because most people just don`t know right now.
BEHAR: Well, there were certain signs that he was -- that he was showing signs that he was radicalizing and against the country. And no one seemed to pick it up.
Let me ask you something, Zudhi. Was this incompetence do you think or political correctness that nobody came in and intercepted when this guy was showing signs of being anti-American?
JASSER: Well, you know, our greatest asset and also our greatest liability in this conflict is this protection for religious freedom. And what`s happening, is as much as I love it in order to practice my faith and my personal faith of Islam, the public, the political Islam which this guy was expressing, people probably felt they couldn`t say anything about. Because he said things that presentations that were concerning and officers thought they were going to be labeled at Islamophobes if they said anything about him.
And I think it`s time to set aside political correctness and say, you know what? There is an ideology, no different than the Marxism that Lee Harvey Oswald practiced when he was in the Marine, that we need to know about and follow and track different from the personal faith of Islam that all of us -- and remember, one of the things I want to emphasize. Is that if we`re going to win this war of ideas and stop this virus that`s spreading, it`s going to be Muslims devotional practicing Muslims that defeat this. And therefore we can`t alienate our greatest asset in this battle.
BEHAR: A lot of people are saying that he was taunted as a Muslim. How do you think that that played into his behavior? Either one of you -- Paul.
RIECKHOFF: It must have added to his stressful, I mean, I think there are a lot of complex factors involved here. He was also a psychologist dealing with folks coming home...
BEHAR: A psychiatrist.
RIECKHOFF: A psychiatrist.
BEHAR: A lot of training.
RIECKHOFF: Yes and he`s also experienced -- exposure to a lot of folks coming home with severe mental health injuries. So he`s under a lot of stress in a lot of different areas.
I`m by no means making excuses here, but I don`t think we can look to one factor at this point in the investigation and say that`s the cause of everything.
RIECKHOFF: But the focus of -- hold original sir.
RIECKHOFF: The folks at Fort Hood here have been through a lot. You`ve got folks going through a fourth deployment coming up from the First Cavalry Division and those are repeated stresses being involved in this mental health community. That may be a factor, too. We don`t know.
I think a lot of folks like your other guest here point out or jumping to a lot of conclusions. We don`t know until the investigation runs its course.
BEHAR: Zudhi do you think...
RIECKHOFF: And at this point we`ve got to focus on this now.
BEHAR: Zudhi, wait, wait. Do you think that we should be monitoring mosques? Is that politically correct to do that? Or what do you think about that?
JASSER: Well, wait a minute. In this country, religious freedom is protected. And we have to be careful. When we say monitoring mosques, I think that if the FBI or Homeland Security is following an individual and he happens to go into a mosque, it shouldn`t be a sanctuary for him if they`re following him into it.
But remember, mosques are usually public places. So, I really -- in my mosque, I wouldn`t have anything to hide. But I don`t want our religious facilities to turn into basically places for quote/unquote "monitoring".
But the idea that they`re political, if they`re advocating for the Islamic state or Sharia law, which is a threat to the west, a threat to the individual rights that we so much protect and the human rights, we need to acknowledge that.
And I think that one issue about what he was mentioning about harassment, if it is not harassment, individuals like Dr. Hasan will blame American foreign policy, they`re going to blame Israel, the Jews, they`re going to blame something.
I would be careful to say that while harassment led to his acting this way something he was going to find to allow him, to sanction his actions.
BEHAR: Stress-wise though, there are only 408 psychiatrists in the army and they`re serving 550,000 active duty troops around the world. That is really a pathetic number.
RIECKHOFF: It is, it is.
BEHAR: These guys are really suffering from post-traumatic...
RIECKHOFF: The amount of resources we have leaned (ph) against post- traumatic stress disorder and mental health issues is woefully inadequate. As many as one in three folks are coming home from an appointment with post-traumatic stress and severe depression. And these folks separate from Maj. Hasan are under tremendous pressure and if there is a wake up call, that can come out of this is that we need more support for those troops and their families.
BEHAR: Thank you very much to my panel.
Back in a minute with the Queen of Southern Cuisine, Paula Deen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA DEEN, COOKBOOK AUTHOR, QUEEN OF SOUTHERN CUISINE: What I`m fixing to do is fry up the (INAUDIBLE) macaroni and cheese. I`m going to wrap it in bacon and we`re going to deep fry it. So here goes, y`all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: I just gained four pounds watching that. Paula Deen went from a poor wife and mother with agoraphobia to the Queen of Southern Cuisine. At first she couldn`t leave the house. Now she`s so busy she can`t get back to the house.
She`s a best selling cook book author and the star of several Food Network shows, including "Paula`s Home Cooking".
Hi Paula, welcome to the show.
DEEN: Hi, Joy. Thank you. I`m thrilled to be here. I`m so proud of you I watch your show and love it.
BEHAR: Thank you very much.
What`s for desert? Angioplasty?
DEEN: A quadruple bypass.
BEHAR: You know, your story, your personal story in your book, which I love...
DEEN: That`s my husband`s book.
BEHAR: That`s your husband`s book. He`ll be out later.
Your story is so relatable, I think, to so many women out. So I want them to know. There you were married at 18.
DEEN: Married at 18.
BEHAR: By 23, what happened to you?
DEEN: By the time I was 23, my mother and father both had died, who were so impactful on my life. And then they were gone. My security was gone. At 19, I started waiting to die.
BEHAR: You started waiting to die.
DEEN: Yes. Because I thought God had taken my mother and daddy because I was going to die and they wouldn`t have to see me.
Now, crazy, that sounds crazy. But I was raised Baptist where everything happens for a reason. And of course, now I know...
BEHAR: That nothing happens for a reason.
DEEN: No. Bad things happen to good people. And subsequently, my mother and father died young.
BEHAR: And you also had to raise your brother.
DEEN: Yes, my brother you was 16 at the time. So I had two babies under 3, a 16-year-old brother, and a husband to tend to.
But my big fear was death. I was frightened to death of death. That went on for 40 years.
BEHAR: Forty years?
DEEN: I mean, 20 years, until I was 40.
BEHAR: You were afraid of -- you were in that constant fear you were going to die for 20 years. This kind of paralyzing fear.
DEEN: Yes. I would get you up every morning and I would try to cough up blood. I would check my pulse. It was a terrible way to live.
And what was so bad about it, Joy, I wouldn`t share that with anybody because I was so ashamed.
BEHAR: What you were you ashamed...
DEEN: I walked around with a smile on my face and all these fears that would send me into panic attacks.
BEHAR: You had panic attacks.
DEEN: I was afraid I was going to die in public.
BEHAR: What were you ashamed of? That you felt this way?
DEEN: That that was not right.
BEHAR: There was something what -- unholy about it?
DEEN: There was something wrong with me. I had always been a pretty together girl.
And then all of a sudden, I had this big flaw.
BEHAR: Kind of like a breakdown in a way.
DEEN: Yes. But I did it alone. I didn`t share it.
BEHAR: Did you tell your husband?
DEEN: He was the only one that knew.
BEHAR: Did he help you?
DEEN: I`m sure others -- no. He didn`t know how to help me. He didn`t know how.
BEHAR: Let`s get to the upswing quickly because I don`t have a lot of time and I want to make sure people understand what happened to you. You were agoraphobic from 1977 to 1983.
DEEN: No, from 1966, my daddy`s death, until about 1986, `87. And I was what I consider a functioning agoraphobic. I could go out and put on a good face sometimes. But other times I couldn`t.
BEHAR: So you couldn`t leave the house.
DEEN: I couldn`t leave the house. I had to take my children out of any outside activities because I couldn`t take them. I couldn`t drive them.
BEHAR: How did you get out of it?
DEEN: It was just the damnedest thing. My husband came home when I was 40 years old and said we`re moving to Savannah. I was devastated. I said, "You know that some days, I can`t operate some days in my own home much less across the state."
And so anyway, we moved to Savannah. I went to bed for two months, just cried and got up long enough to go to the bathroom. One day I got out of bed and I said, "Sister, you aren`t going to die. Now straighten up and fly right."
The serenity prayer went through my head which is the greatest prayer ever written. And I realized that some things are inevitable. Death was certainly one of them.
I accepted my death that morning, my mother and father`s death, my children`s death, my family and friends. Death is a part of living. And I said but God has given me today. So why don`t you try to go out and live it.
And at 42, I finished my completion in my head. I took total and complete responsibility for myself.
Because you know, I`m a product of the 40s, 50s and 60s where a man takes care of you because Lord knows you don`t have sense enough to do it.
BEHAR: I know, the Cinderella complex.
BEHAR: That`s the Cinderella complex.
DEEN: I was only good enough for ironing and washing and cooking.
BEHAR: You started to make sandwiches and sell them out of your house, right?
BEHAR: And that started you.
DEEN: Absolutely. I thought up this little business called the Bag Lady. I had these two beautiful young sons that didn`t know what they wanted to do. I pimped them out on the streets with my sandwiches. I said the women in the office buildings are not going to be able to resist these precious things. Sure enough, it was a success.
BEHAR: It worked for you.
BEHAR: That`s a wonderful story. When we come back, Paula will be joined by the man in her life. They met while her dog was pooping all over his yard. It`s very romantic.
Stay for that.
DEEN: Very romantical (ph).
BEHAR: I`m back with Food Network star Paula Deen and we are joined by her biggest fan, Michael Groover, the author of the book, "My Delicious Life with Paula Deen".
MICHAEL GROOVER, AUTHOR, "MY DELICIOUS LIFE WITH PAULA DEEN: Hi Joy.
BEHAR: Who was your inspiration for that book? Paula Deen.
BEHAR: Ok, let`s do a menage a trois now.
BEHAR: So Michael, I love the story in the book about how the two of you met. Tell us quickly what that was.
GROOVER: That was pretty exciting. I was standing out in my yard. Her dog, we were neighbors on a dead end road. We live right on a creek. Her dog is running around the yard.
DEEN: Running around this big wall.
GROOVER: Into my yard. She was in hot pursuit.
DEEN: And then you were in hot pursuit.
GROOVER: That`s right. The dog started pooping in my yard and she grabbed him and took off running.
DEEN: He scared me. He was mean-looking, Joy.
GROOVER: It was love at first sight.
DEEN: No, it was not.
GROOVER: So two weeks later, the same thing happened again.
BEHAR: It was meant to be.
GROOVER: And I already got to be buddies with the dog. We started talking. And one thing led to another and we`ve been together ever since.
DEEN: Look at this face, Joy. The only one that you`ll ever see like it; my big Santa Claus. He bites and poops all over the yard just like the dogs.
BEHAR: Was she the big star -- she wasn`t as big a star then.
GROOVER: Not quite. She had two restaurants...
DEEN: I had three cook books.
GROOVER: And she had done some RQVC (ph) work. But she hadn`t
DEEN: Didn`t have a show.
GROOVER: Hadn`t a show.
BEHAR: I read something interesting about you. They said sometimes you feel like Tom Arnold. You know, that Roseanne used to tell America that Tom Arnold has a small penis. Does that have anything to do with it?
DEEN: Oh, my goodness.
GROOVER: No, that`s not why I feel like him.
DEEN: So why do you feel like Tom Arnold?
GROOVER: Well, I guess because Paula is...
DEEN: Because I`m overweight?
GROOVER: Lord no. Because she`s a big star, and I kind of feel like I`m in her shadow a little.
BEHAR: Well, you`re the wind beneath her wings.
GROOVER: There you go.
DEEN: Absolutely he is. And Michael has a wonderful career; he is a harbor pilot, Joy. And there are only a handful of these men and women.
BEHAR: A harbor pilot?
DEEN: Savannah is the fourth largest port in the U.S. He gets on thighs 1,000 foot ships. He brings them in and he parks them there on the river. So I mean he is...
BEHAR: You have children, too.
DEEN: He`s the man -- none together. I`ve tried getting pregnant and it just has not worked out.
BEHAR: Really? Well, how old were you when you married him?
BEHAR: Well, that may be the problem. Although nowadays you can be 62 and you can...
BEHAR: I`m in management, not labor anymore.
DEEN: I would have to shoot myself. I would have to shoot myself.
BEHAR: And your children, did they love that the two of you are getting together?
GROOVER: Well, yeah. Not at first probably.
BEHAR: They weren`t? Why not? She is a gem.
GROOVER: Well, they were a team of three. Michael had custody of his children. He raised them. So I was an interloper at first.
BEHAR: How about now? Now they love her.
GROOVER: Oh, yes.
BEHAR: Of course, everyone loves you.
GROOVER: I love his children.
BEHAR: Everyone loves you Paula. Thanks so much.
We`ll be back in just a minute. Don`t go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Moments like this are why they sent us here. To finally meet the challenges that Washington has put off for decades. To make their lives better and this nation stronger. To move America forward. That`s what the House did last night when it brought us closer than we have ever been to comprehensive health reform in America. Now it calls on the United States Senate to take the baton and bring this effort to the finish line on behalf of the American people. And I`m absolutely confident that they will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Well the House bill may be historic but it doesn`t cover abortion for poor women so what good is it anyway? Here to help me make sense of all this, are Nancy Keenan president of NARAL Pro -- Choice America. California Congresswoman Maxine Waters who voted for the House bill. And Julie Menin, host of Give And Take and contributing blogger with the "Huffington Post."
I`m so agitated about this now. Maxine, Congresswoman, how you are you? Thank you for doing this
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D), CALIFORNIA: I`m fine. Thank you.
BEHAR: OK, now we know that you`re pro-choice and that you`re pro female and you would you do the best for all of us. Why did you vote for a House bill that restricts abortion coverage?
WATERS: Oh Joy; let me tell you, I was absolutely torn. Absolutely undecided. All during this process, as you know, I was the 218th vote. That means I did not vote early. I thought about it. And in the final analysis, I reluctantly voted because it covers 36 million people who have either been refused health insurance or who cannot afford it. And when you look at a district like mine, where you have so many people who cannot afford health care insurance, I have to make a decision of whether or not I was going to literally hold up this bill for the entire nation or whether or not I was going to go with it and reluctantly, I relented. And I supplied the 218th vote.
BEHAR: I mean it is really kind of sad that we cannot get women`s rights in these bills. I mean can`t we -- you now I`m hearing from the A.P. a little while ago, that the public option is going to be dead in the Senate. What are we going to get?
JULIE MENIN, HOST, "GIVE AND TAKE": Well this is really an outrageous issue. I mean basically we have this historic vote in the House on one of the most important entitlement programs ever, and yet, it excludes lower income and middle income women from abortion coverage. And they`re not excluded you now. What is so incredible about this Stupak amendment is it basically, regulates the private insurance market.
BEHAR: It tell people what that is Stupak -- .
NANCY KEENAN, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO - CHOICE AMERICAN: Let me jump in here. This Stupak amendment is very simple. It means that women cannot access insurance that would cover abortion care, even with their own money. In the new plan. And so it is not just about low income women. It goes far beyond what has historically been known as the Hyde amendment.
BEHAR: So in other words, the average -- a woman who has the money to have an abortion will not be able to get one?
KEENAN: That`s correct. In this you new plan, in this you new plan, she will not be able to buy with her own money, insurance. That would cover abortion care.
MENIN: And let me follow up on what Nancy says because she`s absolutely right. And what is so historic and important about his and why this is really a poison pill. Particularly for women Democrats to have to suffer is that it goes farther than what the Hyde amendment does. And that is what is so despicable about this. And what health care is supposed to be about was irradiating some of these disadvantages that women have. Right now women are paying more in premiums. We`re discriminated if we have a c-section, if we suffer from domestic violence. And now what this amendment does is that it basically excludes abortion coverage. It is really outrageous and people need to know about it.
BEHAR: Maxine? Maxine - go ahead.
WATERS: Yes. Yes. Well let me just say this. What they would have you believe is that women could pay for their abortions through a supplemental plan. But those of us who absolutely are just torn up about this don`t believe that insurance companies are going to offer any supplemental plans by which people can purchase abortion coverage.
MENIN: But they also have the right -- the problem with the writer is who knows if they will get an abortion? It is ludicrous for all of these men in conduct.
MENIN: Like him to say do you know in advance you`re going to have an abortion?
BEHAR: No one plans to have an abortion. That`s ridiculous.
KEENAN: Joy let`s keep in mind here it is unreasonable. Ridiculous. They think women will plan an unplanned pregnancy is ludicrous. But let`s also say that there was a promise here that women in this country that people in this country would not lose ground on this health care reform. And what happened to women in this last action in this Stupak amendment, women in this country lost ground. They presently have coverage, in insurance that covers abortion care. They lost that under the Stupak abortion plan.
BEHAR: OK let`s talk about the White House. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was pressed to weigh in on the amendment that cut abortion rights right out of the House health care bill, let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, PRESS SECRETARY OF WHITE HOUSE: I wish we were having this conversation as the last part of this process. But as your network and others have pointed out they`re miles before to go before we sleep.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Now Obama, President Obama pledged, in the Presidential campaign that he would protect the woman`s right to choose. Why has he woos out on this, Maxine? Would you answer that?
WATERS: Well let me just say what I think about all of this. First of all, the Conservatives, the Blue Dogs have too much power. In the House of Representatives. And the Progressives are losing at every turn because they stick together. They threaten and they`re getting what they want. That`s number one. And we`ve got to understand that and women are going to have to go after some of these people. Because, again, they are leveraging that vote. And that`s what they did.
As for the President, the President wants a bill no matter what. The President says he will sign basically whatever we send him. And that`s that. He believes that having health care reform is crucial to his re - election, and I don`t think you`re going to see him getting involved in any way to fight for any aspect. Don`t forget. On public option, what we have to do was keep pressing, pressing, pressing, and we still didn`t get the kind of robust public option that we really wanted to have.
MENIN: Joy, if there is -- I disagree. I think first of all that Liberals and Progressives really lost out. We tonight have a robust public option. We do not have a woman`s right to choose protected. And these are real issues. And the problem we have now, we`re never going to be able to get to that point. Hopefully health care is passed but we`ll never get the great options that we really needed to have.
KEENAN: Joy, let`s keep in mind though who the real enemy is here. And the real enemy is these anti-choice politicians who wanted to hijack health care reform and keep in mind, that their goal here is twofold. To hijack health care.
BEHAR: What you can you tell American women who are watching my show right you now? What should they do?
MENIN: They should write Bart Stupak. They should write to Stupak, a Democratic - people need to understand these are Democrats who did this. Not Republicans, these Democrats who insisted on this amendment.
WATERS: No - a -
KEENAN: But the fight is not goes to Stupak, the fight goes to the Senate.
WATERS: No, no. No. No you are not going to the Senate, Stupak -- what you need is, you need a commitment from the President and the Speaker and the Women in the House that they will not support a bill that comes out of conference that has this kind of language in it.
KEENAN: True, Maxine.
WATERS: You`re not going to change those anti-choice Democrats.
KEENAN: That`s true. So Maxine, the fight goes to the Senate. For women of America, you need to be calling Senator Harry Reid. You need to be calling every U.S. senator across this country and saying it is unacceptable.
BEHAR: Everybody knows who their Senator is.
KEENAN: That is absolutely right and they don`t them can call us.
BEHAR: It`s not that hard to figure this out.
KEENAN: But that fight has to happen there. That it is unacceptable. Unacceptable.
BEHAR: OK, thank you very much -
KEENAN: That language is included.
BEHAR: Thanks very much, ladies. Maxine, we love you. Coming up, who will fill Diane Sawyer`s shoes over at Good Morning America? I`ll ask Robin Roberts next.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
I am not my hair. I am the soul that lies within. And that`s it, no more wigs. That`s it. Not going to do it.
And how did you decide to do it - was there a particular reason?
I was finally strong enough. Hair keeps us from doing what we ought to do. And I realized that there was a part of me that was holding on desperately to the old Robin. Holding on desperately to how I look.
Do you believe us when you say that you are beautiful? Because you are.
Because you really are.
My mom says I look like a little Greek boy, so I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: A tall Greek boy actually. Robin Roberts has certainly gone through her shares of trials over the years on ABC`s Good Morning America but they`re not over yet. Now her bosses are looking for a co-host to replace the legendary Diane Sawyer. Joining me is the Emmy`s winning best- selling author and co anchor of Good Morning America, Robin Roberts.
ROBIN ROBERTS, CO HOST OF GOOD MORNING AMERICA: What are you doing? Do you want another job?
BEHAR: Well, you know, I have between 7:00 and 9:00 I`m available. Why don`t I just work 24/7?
ROBERTS: But you`re doing well here. This is like a reflecting pool you have in front of you. It is so big.
BEHAR: It`s a beautiful set, tool we all look gorgeous here. Let`s talk about this. That Diane? -
ROBERTS: I didn`t distract you enough?
BEHAR: No. I want to go back there because that`s what America wants to know. And here I`ve got you.
ROBERTS: What do you want to know?
BEHAR: I want to know what you think. Who will get the job?
ROBERTS: I really don`t know.
BEHAR: How about Levi Johnston? He`s cute and mute.
ROBERTS: Oh that`s true - I love -- give me some other names. Do you have anybody else out there?
BEHAR: George Stephanopoulos. He`ll to have sat on your lap but still. ROBERTS: Oh come on Joy! Joy you were doing so well there with Levi. And then you do that. He`s a great interviewer -
BEHAR: He would be great. They`re looking for a man or a woman?
ROBERTS: We`re looking for the best available person. I mean -
BEHAR: The best available person? We have a security guard down the hall.
ROBERTS: I feel like an athlete when you say you know the best available in a draft. Draft by position interesting best available athlete. Look let me just say this in all sincerity. I have had -
BEHAR: Oh don`t get too sincere.
ROBERTS: No, no, no -- I`ve had the time of my life sitting next to Diane. And I have learned from her and I am so grateful for that. So it`s going to be difficult for any one - there`s no one that`s going to be able to replace her. And so we`ll find out you how we`ll move ahead. It`s about Good Morning America. It is. It always has been and it always will be no matter who is sitting there. OK that was good.
BEHAR: That was pretty good. That was pretty sincere.
ROBERTS: Thank you. It was sincere.
BEHAR: Are you part of the discussions? You are you like Jay Leno hiding behind the closet listening to the negotiations?
ROBERTS: We have a very open door policy there. We do have discussions. I think that we all have a say. I don`t know who will have the ultimate vote but I think that absolutely. They listen to us because, and we listen to our audience to see who they want from us -
BEHAR: What you have you heard from the audience?
ROBERTS: Not much, actually. So please, let us know - go at our shout out board. The audience, they like family. People don`t like change in the morning. You have your routine in the morning. I have my routine in the morning. Anything --
BEHAR: It has always been painful when we`ve changed the cast of The View. Because it goes through growing pains and it has to -
ROBERTS: How have you all been able to do it? Because you`ve made a lot of changes, and no but seriously, you all have made a lot of changes. But yet you`ve been able to maintain what it is about the View. How you have you done it?
BEHAR: Well, because Barbara and I are there. The kind of like the pillars, the twin towers are still there. You know? So that`s why maybe. Maybe if they took everybody off at once and changed it all at once, it wouldn`t work. Because it is gradual, it is not so bad.
ROBERTS: Well hopefully we won`t do that.
BEHAR: But don`t you feel you have to have chemistry when you`re sitting there with these people?
ROBERTS: Absolutely. Especially in the morning. There is something very intimate about morning television. People are there in their PHS, they`re watching you between their feet. And they want to feel comfortable. So yes, chemistry is important but just making the audience feel comfortable.
But at the end of the today, the you audience wants to be, especially in the morning now, a different world themselves want to be able to leave the tour and know what`s going. On that`s our main objective. Making sure we give them the information they need to arm them.
BEHAR: Right, right -- but not too much. So not so much that it will wake them up.
ROBERTS: Yes that they`ll put the covers over their head and say I won`t get up this morning.
BEHAR: Yes, you were talking in that little footage about your looks. I thought that was an interesting thing about how you know -- they had to shave your head. And you really had to go look in the mirror and say who is this woman, right? How tough was that?
ROBERTS: It was really very difficult, Joy. It really was. I mean many women will say they would rather lose a breast than lose their hair when it come to fighting breast cancer.
ROBERTS: Yes because - you know you can hide that. But you can`t hide the fact - and that was the first time throughout my battled when I lost my hair, that`s when I really felt I looked like someone facing cancer. Up until that point, I you know, wasn`t feeling well and people you knew I was going through something but when you lose your hair -
BEHAR: But you didn`t wear a wig.
ROBERTS: Only on the air because I didn`t want to distract. Because I didn`t want people looking like this -- it was an election year so it was very important. But around the streets of New York City, I was like, hey, how you are you?
BEHAR: What kind of a reaction --
ROBERTS: It was great. People were wonderful. People were just absolutely -- they embraced me. They told me their stories.
BEHAR: I think that people are in awe that you could do that.
ROBERTS: Because it really is something that you`re saying to the world like you know what? I`m so grateful that I`m here. I don`t care if I have hair or not.
BEHAR: And you`ve been through the health care system in this country now.
ROBERTS: I have.
BEHAR: How do you -- how do you think it fared for you?
ROBERTS: I was very blessed. I was very fortunate.
BEHAR: You have good insurance.
ROBERTS: Yes. That`s why I`m very grateful. That is why I decided to make my message. Because my mother said to me that she knew that I had a good chance - I had a job. I had health insurance. And that`s not the way it is for everyone. I cannot imagine facing cancer if I had to worrying about how I would pay for it. And worry about the care that I was receiving -
BEHAR: And many people do.
ROBERTS: And many, many. Too many people do. So that`s why I was really speaking out and just letting people, and not getting into the whole debate about universal coverage or anything like that. Just saying if you are going through something like this, that I cannot imagine going through it and having those concerns as well.
BEHAR: In your job, would you come out and say I`m for or against the public option?
ROBERTS: No. I would never -
BEHAR: You don`t do that. That`s not your job.
ROBERTS: No because my job -- that segment that you just did was great. You bring people out to talk about the subject. You let your viewers get the information they are supposed to make their informed decision based upon the people that you talk to. They don`t want to hear my opinion and my opinion doesn`t really matter.
BEHAR: Well, mine does.
ROBERTS: That`s why it is the Joy Behar Show.
ROBERTS: If I have my own show, I can have an opinion, but until that time, no. You`re good.
BEHAR: OK - let`s see -- what do you think --
ROBERTS: What else you have you got there? I`m a little nervous. Let me see that over there.
BEAR: Let`s talk about your upcoming interview with Janet Jackson a little bit. Tell me about that. When is it airing?
ROBERTS: It airs on the 18th. I was at her home in Malibu on Saturday. We talked about, because she has a new number one hit album coming out. She is working on a book. She is working on a lot of things. Of course talking to her about Michael she has not been on the record very much since his death.
BEHAR: No, she seem to have separated from that crazy family more than some of the others.
ROBERTS: Yes, you know I asked her about that - I did. I flat out asked her, I said, you know your father does he - come on, does he make you cringe sometimes? She loves her family. But when asking about her father in particular, who has made some statements that -
BEHAR: Are cringe -- worthy.
ROBERTS: Yes, cringe - worthy -- she said I love my father. But she did talk about like a lot of us when she first heard about Michael, we`re all like, no, she`s used to things about her family. That`s the first thing she said. Well you know it`s my family. People are always saying something. She didn`t even believe it at first when he was brought to the hospital. And to hear her talk about -
BEHAR: Did she think he was murdered?
ROBERTS: I did I ask her about that. I asked her about the doctor Covenbury (ph) in particular. I asked her about the conspiracy theory, if there is one, what the family feels. I asked her all those things.
BEHAR: And what did she say?
ROBERTS: I`m not going to tell you. Nice try.
BEHAR: Come on. Give me a little something here.
ROBERTS: You, you, you.
BEHAR: Come on. A little taste. What about the film? This is it. What does she feel about it?
ROBERTS: Hasn`t watched it.
BEHAR: Did you see it? >
ROBERTS: No. I would like to. Not for the same reason she -- she does not want to see it. She said maybe at some point she hasn`t seen it now. Because like her brothers, her brother was a perfectionist. That wasn`t meant to be seen. That would be kind of like the outtakes of what we`re doing here and through it up on the big screen.
BEHAR: I know but even when he thinks he`s at the top of the game he`s still better than 99.9%.
ROBERTS: Exactly. But if you`re a perfectionist about the lighting, his shirt tail is out, those kinds of things you wouldn`t want. Absolutely, to the average person watching.
BEHAR: Are you a perfectionist in.
ROBERTS: No, not really. As you can tell. Not really. I`m kind of hanging out.
BEHAR: No, you look great.
ROBERTS: No I`m demanding of myself but I cut myself a lot of slack, especially post cancer. I mean I really --
BEHAR: There`s nothing like a near - death experience to snap you out of any stupid stuff you`re into. Right?
ROBERTS: It really is. As you put it like that. I really do look at life a little digitally now and myself included.
BEHAR: OK well stick around well I`m not losing you yet. Do you like Carrie Underwood? So does Ms. Roberts over here. More on that when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
I love your home --
Is it different when you`re a about to go out there, your old high school, have to face the kids here as compared to the gazillion fans you normally face in stadiums and theaters?
I`m nervous this morning.
You are nervous?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Carrie Underwood pays a surprise visit to her high school on In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts bright lights, big stars. All-access Nashville. That`s the longest title. I feel like I`m in post menopause now. The ABC special airs tomorrow at 10 p.m. I`m back with Robin Roberts. You know explain to me the outfits in the country music. They got the rhinestone belts and belt buckles. It`s like a giant gay bar in Nashville.
ROBERTS: That`s the old Nashville. It`s a little more mainstream. You have a little of that. It`s a little more mainstream. I want to go on record you said that.
BEHAR: OK I said that. I`ll take the -- a lot of country music I find -- I like it. I like it a lot. Some of it`s depressing. Like Stand by your Man can is a good one and you find out she has six husbands.
ROBERTS: That`s one of the all-time classics. I like sleeping single in a double bed that`s my personal favorite with Barbara Mitchell. I just love --
BEHAR: Those are great.
ROBERTS: Those are some great names. But I mean, country music - they - country music stars are phenomenal. They are so approachable.
BEHAR: I like them. We have them on all the time on the View.
ROBERTS: I know, yes, so it was neat to go to Carrie`s hometown, go with Tim McGraw back to Nashville, his 900-acre farm, that`s where his dad had his last days, Tug McGraw.
BEHAR: See what I mean? Depressing.
ROBERTS: I know I was going - but I could talk about his sky shoot -- somehow --
BEHAR: They might as well be Italian the way they carry-on. You know, you had a book called The Seven Rules To Live By. I was fascinated by this book.
ROBERTS: Thank you.
BEHAR: And then when it came out in paperback you added a rule. Now it`s eight rules. Why not ten? The magic number?
ROBERTS: Maybe I`ll keep going. Seven -- ironically when I released the book it was before cancer so I was going around the country asking everybody the rules to live by. People asked me to write a new book. I said, cancer is no more than a chapter in my life story. So I will add a chapter and it became my eighth rule, make your best your message. My mama says, my 85-year-old mamma in Mississippi, we all got something we`re going through.
BEHAR: So make your best your message?
ROBERTS: Find the message in what has happened to you and find out how it can help others. Be of service to others.
BEHAR: Oh I see, that`s very good. But some of the things you said -
ROBERTS: I can see you`re really moved by that.
BEHAR: No I am. I`m in tears. No seriously. I am. One of my rules is always hand wash your braziers -
ROBERTS: That should be your title, actually.
BEHAR: But you have one about don`t use the race card or gender card.
ROBERTS: Or any other card.
BEHAR: Ever? I like to use the gender card. Say George Clooney comes on the show. I`m using the gender card though I could be his mother.
ROBERTS: You`re going to use that gender card to get closer to Mr. Clooney.
BEHAR: Never, ever, ever, ever.
ROBERTS: No I can`t -- it`s a different world now. You can`t use it sometimes and then not others. I mean if you`re not going to - you just can`t go there.
BEHAR: If someone comes on Good Morning America and is using the race card, would you call on it?
ROBERTS: I would. I would in a very polite Southern way. That`s just my way. You know this, if someone is a guest I cannot force my opinion on them or my beliefs on them. They are guests of the show.
BEHAR: That`s right.
ROBERTS: If it`s something I don`t necessarily see eye to eye on, I do let them have their say.
BEHAR: Robin, we have to go, baby. We have to go.
ROBERTS: Oh come on, you said the title of my name.
BEHAR: Thank you for watching. Good night, everybody. We`re out of time.