Barbara Walters and her sisters at The View welcomed Dan Rather to their couch today, with an especially warm welcome from Walters, who called Rather "one of the nicest guys in this business." Joy Behar piped up that he was "kind of a sex god," which seemed to tickle Gunga Dan pink. The warmth echoed the reception Rather got recently on "Morning Joe," perhaps meant to take the sting away from Rather's having been barred from the 48 Hours anniversary party at CBS HQ (owing to the matter of one $70 million lawsuit). They led with the election, obviously — Rather gave the advantage to Obama, but said he's keeping his eye on Hillary, saying 'The primary election has been reset" — and said he thought it might very well go to the convention (prompting Walters to let out a sound halfway between a sigh and a whoop, lending further credence to the "sex god" claim).
Surprisingly, Rather thinks it's actually more likely that Obama would ask Hillary to his ticket than Hillary asking him. ETP begs to differ; but that got old fast when Barbara brought up the CBS lawsuit. Rather thanked her for bringing up the (slightly awkward still, methinks) topic and said he wants to get the real story, the kind you can only get from people "with their hands up under oath."
The ladies also asked Dan about his latest report on HDNet, about the FEMA trailers laced with freaking formaldehyde in New Orleans. (Wrist-slap, HDNet, for not having it online! New media! C'mon, Mark Cuban!).
Finally Barbara, who led most of the interview, asked the, er, 70-million question: "Are we ready for a woman president...are we ready for a woman on network news, or is it just that there are personal characteristics...What's your view?" Said Rather: "I certainly think the public is ready for a woman in news...you as a pioneer of that, Barbara" (Pause for aws.) "I think the country's ready for a woman president, I think the country's been ready for a woman president for some while. I also think the country's ready for a president of African-American heritage. It depends on the person." Though he cautioned that racial prejudice was still alive and well in the country ("let's not kid ourselves"), he said that even so, it was time: "The country as a whole is ready if the candidate convinces them, 'I can lead.'" He did not elaborate if network news was ready if the candidate convinced viewers that I can read...the news'. (Sorry.) The full, 9+ minute clip is below.