In only moments, John McCain takes the center spot on the cozy curved couch that cradles the View gals (stay tuned for our thoughts!), and last night at a special chat at the Paley Center, les demoiselles de la Vue talked about what they wanted to ask him. Joy said she'd ask him how he's different from Dubya, because "I have the impression he's very much a clone." Whoopi, right up there on the issues that will shape our future, said she'd ask him why, in the eighties, he supported Arizona's not recognizing Martin Luther King's holiday. Barbara promised not to flirt with him, as she did a few weeks ago with Obama. (She "just wanted to make him feel comfortable" when she told O. he was sexy, she said, shortly afterward flexing her ick muscle yet again by joking that her forthcoming memoir, Audition, would include nude pics. Barbara, ick, not even funny!) Moderated by Paley head Pat Mitchell, who speaks in a fantastically mannered mid-Atlantic, mid-century accent, the View ladies mostly sat there for an hour congratulating one another on their show's immense, eleven-year success, even if, not surprisingly, Sherri said nary a word, finally earning the lamest of props from Joy: "Everybody loves Sherri, because she has a good heart and she means well."
The best part was definitely the questions from the audience, consisting mainly of middle-age women with various New York accents. One lady chided the View gals for not focusing more on the plight of women around the world, which sent the View Five into awkward paroxysms of self-defense and self-justification: Elizabeth called the show "a daily way of celebrating our rights" to speak out as women, Whoopi said that explaining complicated world affairs took up too much airtime when it's all about "a choice of how to get the most bang for our buck," and Barbara imperiously reminded that Mia Farrow had come on to talk about Darfur. Then there was the woman who scolded Sherri about her politically oblivious Jehovah's upbringing: "You belonged to a religion that didn't vote?" Sherri — who, frankly, we're overjudging for her gaffes because, well, she has a good heart and she means well — talked good-heartedly and well-meaningly about what an amazing political education she was getting from her policy-wonk colleagues. But when the audience member's patronizing stare persisted, Sherri finally snapped: "Don't shake your head, I'm learning, girl!" And you are, Sherri. Don't stop now. —Tim Murphy