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Behar to Barack: 'Are You Related to Brad Pitt?'

Behar to Barack: 'Are You Related to Brad Pitt?'
From left: Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Sen. Barack Obama, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, on Friday's The View
STEVE FENN/ABC

03/28/2008 AT 09:00 AM EDT

Joy Behar got right to the heart of the matter that could ultimately decide the election.

"I understand," Behar said to presidential candidate Barack Obama, "that you’re related to Brad Pitt, in some way."

What The View host – who, along with her colleagues, welcomed the Democratic Illinois U.S. senator to the ABC daytime show Friday – was referring to was a claim by the New England Historic Genealogical Society that Pitt and Obama are distant cousins, linked by one Edwin Hickman, who died in Virginia in 1769.

"Are you related to Brad Pitt?" pressed Behar, according to clips provided by ABC.

"I guess we're ninth cousins, something, removed – or something," said Obama, 46, adding modestly, "I think he got the better-looking side of the gene pool."

The comment prompted the show's matriarch, Barbara Walters, to tell the senator: "We were saying just before you came out – maybe we shouldn't say this. But we thought you were very sexy looking."

'Skinny, But Tough'

Behar also asks if Obama is tough enough to withstand the rigorous attacks that can come in a presidential campaign.

Says Behar, "When John Kerry was running for office, I said to him, in a similar situation, ... 'John, are you going to be able to withstand the attack machine on the Republican side?' ... And he said yes. And then he was Swift-boated. And, as you can see, he's not our president."

"I noticed," replies Obama.

"I ask you the same question," says Behar. "How tough are ya?"

"You know, I'm a pretty tough – I'm skinny but I'm tough."

After the audience laughter subsides, he says, "I think that the way to handle attacks, wherever they're coming from – and, you know, there've been some tough punches thrown in this Democratic primary ... – the way I like to handle attacks is to answer honestly, swiftly, forcefully and truthfully. I think the truth is a powerful weapon."

Controversial Pastor

The show's Elisabeth Hasselbeck also asks about controversial remarks delivered by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor of 20 years, who railed in a sermon that America is responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

"It was a snippet of a man," Obama replies. "I think he's saddened by what's happened, and I told him I feel badly that he has been characterized just in this one way – and people haven't seen this broader aspect of him."

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