Published December 19, 2006
NEW YORK – Donald Rumsfeld is like Adolf Hitler?
"A little faux pas," according to comedian Joy Behar, speaking Tuesday about her stunning comparison a day earlier on ABC's gabfest, "The View."
"I don't think that Rumsfeld is an evil person, in his heart," Behar told the show's audience Tuesday, appearing to take a small step back from her controversial off-the-cuff remarks.
"I just think he did some terrible things in this war," she explained.
Behar's attempt to defuse the mini-firestorm came a day after the show's discussion of Time magazine's "Person of the Year" selection.
"You have to put, like, a Hitler type [on the cover]," Behar said in response to a question about whether the publication's selection of "You" was appropriate.
"Like, you put Donald Rumsfeld there, or something," she said.
The show's audience — even show diva Rosie O'Donnell — appeared shocked by the comment, and as many began to jeer, Behar feigned surprise, yelling back, "What's wrong with that?"
Behar and "The View" are no strangers to off-the-cuff controversy.
Last Thursday, in a discussion about Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery, Behar offered a bizarre conspiracy theory.
“Is there such a thing as a man-made stroke?" she asked. "In other words, did someone do this to him?”
Her co-hosts, including guest host Dari Alexander of FOX News, appeared mystified by the absurd suggestion, but went along with it.
“Maybe they gave him polonium,” Alexander joked, a reference to the ex-KGB spy who was poisoned last month.
But Behar didn't let it go. When asked by 'View' regular Elisabeth Hasselbeck, “Why is everything coming from the liberal perspective a conspiracy?”
Behar answered: “I know what this, that party is capable of.”
Next target, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, whose name was brought up by Alexander during a discussion of possible 2008 presidential candidates.
O'Donnell took the first foul shot in the two-on-none slam of America's top diplomat:
"No, I don't enjoy her," O'Donnell said. "I don't ... No. No. No. I'm not a fan of The Condi. I'm just telling your right now, I don't enjoy The Condi ... and I'm not going to apologize."
Bounce pass to Behar: "We don't know whether she's under his thumb or not, though. We don't know... I don't know where she's really at. I can't tell."
Back to Rosie: "I would love to have dinner with her alone one night, and force her to drink at least two glasses of wine and then I'll let you know if I like her."
Jump shot, Joy: "But, you know what, she's already drunk the Kool-Aid."
Slam, Rosie: "Well, that's a scary thing."