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Babs and Oprah: two queen bees spoonin' the honey

Power couple: Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey. Getty Images

Television's two most powerful women, Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey, did a little business with each other Tuesday.

Walters has a new, revelatory book to sell. Winfrey had a big interview to get. So Babs made her first promotional stop on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where the host primed the pump by telling viewers, "You know you've arrived when Barbara comes a callin' "

Babs came a callin' after being introduced as "The First Lady of Television," a title she holds only because she's been around longer than the still incredibly influential Winfrey.

Copies of Walters' Audition assuredly are already flying off bookstore shelves, in no small part because the most potent bookseller in the land -- Oprah Winfrey -- ordered her viewers at show's end to "Go get it."

She then bestowed a cheek-to-cheek hug after twice telling Walters, "Good job."

Yes, they definitely got the job done during a genuinely intriguing hour in which Walters decorously dished about Star Jones, Rosie O'Donnell, Donald Trump, her mentally challenged sister, Jackie and most important of all, her two-year affair in the mid-1970s with then U.S. Sen. Edward W. Brooke, who was married at the time.

Winfrey was one of the very first to know of this after getting galleys of the book in preparation for her interview with Walters.

"How did you pull that off at the time?" she asked.

"Were you surprised?" Walters rejoined, seemingly impressed with her ability to hide a dalliance that she's certain would have ruined both of their careers if made public.

Walters good-naturedly balked when Winfrey referred to her as Brooke's "mistress." No, a mistress is someone who's "taken care of" financially, she said. And Walters, now 78, already was drawing a nice paycheck as the trailblazing co-host of NBC's Today show.

She wouldn't tell Winfrey whether she loved Brooke. But in her recollection, Walters finally told him, "I can't sneak around anymore."

Brooke then told his wife of the affair, and their resultant divorce doomed his bid for re-election.

"Do you regret the affair?" Winfrey asked her.

"I regret that he didn't get re-elected," Walters replied. She's ever the pragmatist.

The guest wore white, the host wore light pink and the studio audience was kept at a distance. There were no questions from the rabble, just Babs and Oprah in their one-on-one element. Winfrey probed, but never harshly. She's good at this. Very good.

Walters says she's made peace with both Jones and O'Donnell, both of whom contributed mightily to The View before turning on her.

"In a lot of ways, Oprah, she (O'Donnell) began to think of me as her mother," Walters said. And you know how it sometimes can go with moms and daughters. Their relationship eventually came to a boil during "that terrible incident in the dressing room," which Walters otherwise won't detail.

To hear Walters tell it, she's incapable of holding a grudge, preferring to hold fast to the better angels in people she's known, loved and sometimes discarded.

Older and wiser now, she's learned that "you must be kind," Walters said at interview's end. "I'm not going to be a very good interviewer anymore. I'm getting too soft. That I know for sure."

As Walters herself would say, it was all very "fasssss-inating." Next stop -- tonight's (May 7th) ABC special, Audition: Barbara Walters' Journey. And on Monday, Larry King Live.