I thought Rielle Hunter was loopy and strange when I saw her interviewed by Oprah recently. But John Edwards' mistress has nothing on Sarah Ferguson when it comes to saying strange things to the queen of daytime television.
I felt sorry for Ferguson when I first saw the "News of the World" hidden video that showed her accepting a $40,000 bribe to introduce a "businessman" to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew. (The businessman was really a reporter.)
I was first shown the film on CNN's "Reliable Sources" on May 23, the morning it broke in the U.S. I think the discussion about it between me and host Howard Kurtz was one of the first on cable TV. And what I remember is how sorry I felt for Ferguson as I watched an excerpt.
But after seeing the Oprah interview today, I have no empathy for the Duchess of York. She is as good at rationalizing away accountability and guilt as Edwards and Hunter combined -- and I think Edwards is one of the lowest forms of life on this planet.
Ferguson said that she only met with the businessman because she had a friend who "urgently needed" $38,000. That seemed to take even Oprah aback.
But the strangest thing about the interview was Ferguson's attempt -- or maybe ability -- to disassociate herself from the person in the film who is shown peddling influence with all the sleaze the term suggest.
"Actually, I feel really sorry for her," Ferguson says of the person on the screen, who happens to be her. "She looks exhausted...It's sad."
And when Oprah says to Ferguson that it's "interesting" (as only Oprah can something is "interesting") that she speaks of herself in the third person that way, Ferguson launches into a psych-talk spiel about how she spent her whole life trying to be "perfect," and she acted the way she did in part because she had been "on the road" for months and "working so hard."
A lot of us get exhausted and work real hard, Sarah, but we don't try to sell access to our ex for a bag with $40,000 cash in it and a pledge from our new business friend that he will wire another 500,000 pounds to our bank account at a future date.
Oprah, who is a very good interviewer, asked her about the extra 500,000 pounds.
"I just took a long shot," Ferguson said.
At least, Ferguson didn't put it in the third person and say, "That poor, exhausted, but generous woman who only met with that sleazy reporter because a friend needed $38,000 just took a long shot."