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'The View': Does Elisabeth Hasselbeck need a lifeline?

October 1, 2008 | 12:42 pm

Just two days after the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Elisabeth Hasselbeck “was really upset” with her liberal co-hosts, who’ve deliberately been on the political attack during this election year, Hasselbeck this morning received another verbal beat down from her co-hosts after she tried to defend Gov. Sarah Palin.

(During Tuesday's episode of "The View," Hasselbeck sat through Bill Maher's take on the Alaska governor: "I’ve seen her twice try to speak. The sentence to nowhere is what comes out of her mouth," Maher said. "If Joe Biden had made some of the comments she made to Katie Couric, we would think he had brain damage.")

Today's battle started when co-host Joy Behar called Palin out for her crack about opponent Sen. Joe Biden's age. "I’d been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in like second grade," Palin said during a campaign stop. Palin later said in an interview with Couric that the comment was a joke.

"To be so disingenuous as to say you didn’t want to get a laugh and that you didn’t mean it ... it’s just baloney," Behar said.

Hasselbeck initially tried to keep her cool. "I love how shook up in your boots you get over Sarah Palin," she told Behar. Barbara Walters said she didn't like reading about all the study and prep-work Palin is having to do as a vice presidential candidate, in place of having actual experience, equating it to cramming for a test in school.

"It bothers me that one has to be prepped so much for a debate and crammed full of material. I’m not sure -- and I’m talking about everybody -- that prepping so that you just pass a debate and don’t make a huge mistake is necessarily what makes a great president," Walters said.

"To say that, to reduce [Palin] to that level of mind, I think is unfair," Hasselbeck replied.

But it was only when Walters asked Hasselbeck to defend Palin and point to her presidential qualifications in specific terms that Hasselbeck turned testy:

Walters: Every day, let me say this, I’m so glad you’re on the program. We love you on the program.
Hasselbeck: Thanks, Barbara.
Walters: You are the counterpoint. But every single day, you never ever say, maybe there’s another point. So this is your chance. ...Tell us now, why you think Sarah Palin would make a very good president.
Hasselbeck: Well, since I’ve been studying for this pop quiz forever, tell me why Barack Obama is qualified to be president. ... Give me three tangible things he has done to prove that he can be president of the United States.
Walters: We’re not talking about Obama. We’re talking about Sarah Palin.
Hasselbeck: She has been running the state of Alaska.
Walters: OK.
Hasselbeck: She is an expert in terms of energy. She has been in charge of a National Guard in time of war.
(Walters makes a "so-so" hand gesture.)
Hasselbeck: She has been. She’s actually governed.

Before things got too heated, they cut to commercial and the issue was dropped. Hasselbeck even got a hug from Walters after the break.

But perhaps the damage is already done? Hasselbeck is rumored to be thisclose to taking her political perspective elsewhere -- her own show on FoxNews, perhaps?

-- Denise Martin and Maria Elena Fernandez

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