Barbara West, Best Known for Aggressive Biden Interview, Leaving Orlando’s WFTV

By Andrew Gauthier 

After 24 years, reporter-anchor Barbara West is leaving Orlando’s WFTV.  Her final day will be next Wednesday when she’ll sign off from the ABC-affiliate’s noon newscast, which she has anchored for nearly two decades.

West, 62, has seen her role with the station reduced over the past year. In September, WFTV replaced her at the 5:30 p.m. newscast with Vanessa Welch, who joined the station in 2007.

WFTV news director Bob Jordan tells the Sun Sentinel that the move is a mutual decision. “I’ve worked with a lot of anchors around the country,” Jordan said. “She’s one of the best.”

West received national attention in 2008 when she had a surprisingly pointed exchange with then-Senator Joe Biden during the 2008 presidential campaign.  In an interview with Biden via satellite, West pressed him on then-Senator Barack Obama’s connection to ACORN and then aggressively questioned him about Obama’s liberal platform. Underscoring her point with a quote from Karl Marx, West asked, “How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?”

“Are you joking? Is this a joke?” Biden asked.  West replied, simply, “No.”

Here’s West’s interview Joe Biden…

In an appearance on Fox News’ “O’Reilly Factor” following the Biden exchange, West explained that she went into the interview “with the mindset that we had some serious questions and some serious issues in this country that need to be answered.”

Besides working as a weekday anchor for WFTV, West also served as a health reporter, winning an Emmy for her coverage on women battling breast cancer.

Greg Warmoth, who currently anchors the station’s morning newscast with Vanessa Echols, will take over the noon anchor desk after West signs off next week.