Orlando TV Anchor conducts 'unprofessional interview' of Biden
David Edwards and Andrew McLemore
Published: Saturday October 25, 2008

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"Are you joking?"

That was one of Sen. Joe Biden's responses during an interview with a Florida news station that the Obama campaign said was so "unprofessional" it canceled another planned interview with his wife, Jill Biden.

Barbara West conducted the interview for WFTV-Channel 9 and asked the Democratic vice presidential candidate if Sen. Barack Obama was a "Marxist," referenced a recent statement Obama made in Ohio to Joe the lumber about "spreading the wealth around," and was Biden "embarassed" about Obama's alleged ties to ACORN.

"You may recognize this famous quote," West said. "'From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs.' That's from Karl Marx. How is Sen. Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"

Biden did not immediately take the question seriously.

"Are you joking? Is this a joke or is that a real question?" Biden said. "It's a ridiculous comparison with all due respect."

For her final question, West asked Biden what he would say to the people "who are concerned that Barack Obama will want to turn American into a socialist country, much like Sweden?"

WFTV news director Bob Jordan defended the interview as hard-hitting journalism and rebuked criticisms of West as mere complaints that she didn't ask "softball questions," The Orlando Sentinel reported.

"When you get a shot to ask these candidates, you want to make the most of it," Jordan said. "They usually give you five minutes."

But the Obama campaign lambasted the station for its "100 percent false" statements that Obama worked for ACORN and for the "combative" nature of the interview.

Campaign spokeswoman Adrianne Marsh wrote a statement condemning the station for what she called a "disturbing attempt to associate Barack Obama with socialism."

West said her questions needed to be asked and were important given the short amount of time available.

"I don't think I was rude or inconsiderate to him," West said. "I think I was probing and maybe tough. I can't believe that in all of his years in politics, and all of his campaigning and such, that he hasn't run into some tough questions before."

ABC's Jake Tapper listed West's questions here.

This video is from WFTV, broadcast October 23, 2008.

Download video via RawReplay.com