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Larry King Live

First Lady Makes it Official in New York Senate Race

Aired February 7, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the first lady makes it official in the headline Senate race of election 2000.

Joining us from Buffalo, New York, Hillary Clinton's campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson; then in Washington, Congressman Charles Rangel, Democrat of New York; in New York, Empire State Republican Congressman Rick Lazio; In Palm Springs, the former mayor of New York Ed Koch; and in Washington, former federal prosecutor Barbara Olson, author of the best-selling "Hell To Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton."

They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with Howard Wolfson. He is with Hillary Clinton in Buffalo. He is Hillary Clinton's press secretary.

Why did this campaign kick off in Buffalo, Howard?

HOWARD WOLFSON, HILLARY CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the campaign actually kicked off yesterday in Westchester, and...

KING: I mean, first stop after the announcement.

WOLFSON: Well, upstate New York is going to be very important. Hillary Clinton has made more than 30 visits upstate since the start of the listening tour. This is, I believe, her fourth visit to Buffalo. And she's going to keep coming back and back. Today we unveiled a plan that'll help bring economic prosperity to western New York and upstate New York. It calls for deregulating electricity, for reducing the cost of airfare, for lowering taxes and for linking up Buffalo to the Internet through high-speed connections.

So Hillary Clinton is going to work as hard as she can to travel around the whole state, but upstate New York is a very important part of that strategy.

KING: That's a big state and a state you have to cover and a lot of cities in it, a lot of big cities in it. Does she intend to be on the trail almost all the time?

WOLFSON: Well, as she said yesterday, she is going to work her heart out for this. She is going to get up every day, she is going to make her case to the people of New York. She knows she has to earn this and she intend to. KING: There were some people, Howard, who thought she wasn't going to enter. Was there ever a time when she express and doubt or second thoughts?

WOLFSON: Well, I think it was an evolutionary process for her. You know, when she stepped out on Senator Moynihan's farm on that day in July, she said very clearly that this was going to be a listening and a learning process. She's listened quite a bit, and she's also learned a few things. And I think -- I don't know if there was ever a moment of epiphany, but I think each day brought with it a growing realization that this is what she wanted to do to continue her life's work on behalf of children and families.

KING: Why the choice -- and we'll see a little segment of it later -- of an 18-minute autobiographical video on Hillary in that opening presentation?

WOLFSON: You know, we've been surprised and Hillary's been surprised that New Yorkers don't really know the full story of her life. They don't know that she was one of the hundred most- influential attorneys in the country, they don't know that she was one of only two women to serve on the Watergate committee, they don't know she led the fight in Arkansas for tougher teacher testing and school standards, they don't know that after health care in 1994 she rolled up her sleeves and got back to work to pass legislation extending health insurance to more children and reforming adoption laws. So we wanted to make sure people got the full story of Hillary.

KING: She was also once a Republican, once a Goldwaterite?

WOLFSON: Yes, she was a...

KING: She was a Goldwater girl, right?

WOLFSON: She was a Goldwater girl. I believe when she entered college she was a Republican, but she came to see the light.

KING: Was she surprised that Mayor Giuliani went on all the Sunday talk shows?

WOLFSON: You know, we can't pay attention to what he does or doesn't do. You know, we were focusing on our day. She gave a great speech, and we were very happy with the outcome.

KING: What is the intent with regard to debates?

WOLFSON: She looks forward to them. Maybe...

KING: Are there any scheduled yet? Well, Rudy hasn't formally announced yet, right?

WOLFSON: No.

KING: He may not formally -- you don't have to formally announce, do you? WOLFSON: You know, no, you don't. And I can't say I know exactly what his intentions are. You know, we look forward to them. I expect that they will occur, and I think they'll be very exciting. I think they'll get a lot of interest in the state.

KING: Now what's it like being press secretary in a Senate race that's more than a Senate race -- I mean, like press credentials and how many people want to cover this? What's it going to be like for you?

WOLFSON: Well, we had an enormous amount of interest yesterday at the announcement. We had press from all over the state, all over the country and around the world. And I think it's a testament to the kind of interest that Hillary sparks that we have that kind of press magnitude. You know, this is a woman who really inspires people, and people are very interested in her and what she has to say.

KING: How much campaigning will the president do for her?

WOLFSON: I suspect that he'll be helpful. He is very supportive of Hillary's candidacy. He was very excited to be there yesterday. And he's very popular in New York. He's done a great job for this state, and I know that he'll want to be as helpful as he can.

KING: They have kept Chelsea well out of the limelight for seven years. Is Chelsea going to get involved in this campaign?

WOLFSON: You know, I don't know. I know that she too was very happy to be at SUNY Purchase yesterday to support her mom. She's very excited about the race that Hillary's making?

KING: Now what's the schedule from here in the next few days? Is she going all around? Continuing the trek?

WOLFSON: Yes, it's a bit of a grueling stretch. Today in Buffalo; tomorrow in Rochester; Wednesday Syracuse; Thursday Albany; Friday, Saturday, Sunday back in the New York City area, suburbs and New York City itself. And it's the kind of earning of the support of New Yorkers that Hillary is setting out to do.

KING: And I guess in all of the up-to-the-minute polls she's about seven points behind. Are you surprise at that?

WOLFSON: Well actually the latest poll that came out the day of the announcement had us three points behind, essentially a statistical dead heat. You know, I think the campaign essentially started yesterday. The campaign essentially starts with Rudy and Hillary about dead even, and it's going to be a very exciting race. We look forward to making our case to the people of New York, why Hillary ought to be their senator.

KING: And, Howard, we look forward to seeing lots of you and her. Thanks so much.

WOLFSON: Happy to be here. KING: Howard Wolfson, the press secretary for Hillary Clinton, an announced candidate -- the only announced candidate for the United States Senate. Mr. Giuliani, the mayor, expected to be her opponent. And someone who was asked by the Conservative Party to be their candidate with us in a minute.

Great panel coming up to discuss all this -- your phone calls included.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK SENATE CANDIDATE: Because I believe we can meet these challenges together, I am honored today to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate from New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's meet our panel, Congressman Charles Rangel, Democrat of New York, first major public person to ask Hillary Clinton to run. And it all bore fruition, and he was at yesterday's announcement. In New York is Congressman Rick Lazio, Republican of New York. He's still considering a run for the Senate should Giuliani decline. He attended the New York Conservative Party conference in Albany over the weekend where he was encouraged to run on their ticket. Palm Springs, California, Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, co-founder of thelaw.com -- that's a new Web site offering free access to legal information -- and he supports the candidate of Hillary -- candidacy of Hillary. And in Washington, Barbara Olson, former federal prosecutor, author of "Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story Of Hillary Rodham Clinton" published November 7th by Regnery. It is now No. 9 on the "New York Times" best-seller list.

Let's start with Congressman Lazio. Would you consider to be on the Conservative Party ticket?

REP. RICK LAZIO (R), NEW YORK: Well, as I always said, Larry, I would never pursue the Conservative line without pursuing the Republican line at the same time. As you'd mentioned, I really did get heavily encouraged to get in this race over the last couple of days by the Conservative activists, the state chairman and the county chairman. But I've always made clear to both the Conservative Party and to my supporters at large that if I get in this, I get in it to win. I get in it because I think I stand for the right things, not because I want to be a spoiler.

But certainly the landscape has changed since New Hampshire. The Marist poll, which reflects a majority of New Yorkers want neither the first lady or the mayor, and the third major factor being of course the fact that even among independents and suburban voters, when I was in the race I was ahead of Hillary Clinton.

KING: Do we gather from what you have just said that you would take the Conservative Party nomination?

LAZIO: Well, I...

KING: I mean, it's a fair hypothetic. Apparently they're not going to give it to the mayor. Supposing they say to you, we want you as our candidate?

LAZIO: Well, I'm going to be giving it some serious thought over the next couple of days, and obviously time becomes a serious factor because of the amount of money that you need to raise to have a successful candidacy in New York and because of the organization you have to build. So at some point, time becomes the enemy.

KING: Yes.

LAZIO: And so my decision needs to be made very quickly. And as I said before, if I get into the race with the Conservative support -- and no Republican has won statewide in New York in 25 years without the Conservative support. That ought to be sobering, frankly, for the Republican establishment -- if I get in, I also would be getting in and seeking the Republican endorsement.

KING: Congressman Rangel -- so you'd be going for the whole pie?

LAZIO: Absolutely.

KING: Congressman Rangel, what do you make of what Congressman Lazio has just said?

REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: I hope he doesn't run. He'd be a formidable candidate. He's a charming guy, he's intelligent. We have a lot of disagreements legislatively, but he understands how the House and Senate works. The mayor -- you know, it's very interesting -- says he's not going to announce. Lazio says he's considering announcing. Ray Harding says he's not going to give him the Liberal Party endorsement, and now Giuliani is being denied the Conservative Party endorsement. And Pataki, who knows where the governor and former Senator D'Amato is? So, you know, I got a little annoyed that Hillary Clinton was exploring her candidacy to see whether or not she was going to run, but she may get it by default because it looks like Giuliani may have problems.

Barbara Olson, for a while you thought Hillary would not run. Why do you think she did?

BARBARA OLSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think she traveled around New York, I think she got good response, as most candidates do. I think she decided that she had the right staff. I mean, Harold Ickes and Howard Wolfson -- who was just on your staff -- Mandy Grunwald, a lot of Bill Clinton's '92 staff has come on to her campaign. And I think she believes now that she has an opportunity to win. And I agree. I think it's going to be a tough race. I think it's going to be hard fought on both sides. And it hopefully will come down to issues and who stands for what issues and not just platitudes but what these candidates really intend to do in our government.

KING: On three major issues they agree, right? On abortion, on gun control, on gays in the military?

OLSON: They do, but where -- there's a huge difference. First of all, Hillary Clinton has to look at her record. We all know about universal health care. But one of the issues that is a centerpiece of Mrs. Clinton's campaign has been education. And I reviewed the education platform that she championed in Arkansas -- as a matter of fact, she made two mentions of it yesterday in her speech. And if you look at what she did in Arkansas, she raised taxes on the citizens. She said that there was going to be teacher testing. Ultimately, the teachers were tested, retested. None of them were really dismissed. And in the end of the day Arkansas education system remained at the bottom of the wrung, and the only thing that the citizens had for all of her work was more taxes and more government over the education system.

RANGEL: Hillary raised taxes in Arkansas? She's fantastic at being able to raise taxes, She's only the governor's wife.

KING: All right, Ed Koch...

OLSON: It's always been a co-presidency.

KING: Ed Koch, what do you make of all of this in view -- especially in view of what Congressman Lazio just said?

ED KOCH, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Well, I like Rick Lazio, and my advice is run. Because I think you can defeat Giuliani in the Republican primary.

KING: You do think that?

KOCH: Oh, I do. I do believe it because I think people are upset that he was cut out of that opportunity. I want to make it very clear I am a supporter of Hillary, and I would look forward to a campaign, whether it's Rudy or Rick, when Hillary would be able to defeat either of them. But fairness, in my judgment, would require an opportunity for Rick Lazio -- he's a very decent man -- to run.

KING: Do you think Rick Lazio would give her a tough run?

KOCH: Well, I believe, frankly, that Rick Lazio will -- would do better than Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani in my judgment is going to fall apart. Let me tell you why. You know, he will say at this moment, well, my position on abortion -- and abortion is going to be the overriding issue in this election...

KING: But they share the same view.

KOCH: But the difference is this: that the next to president, and assume he's Republican, will fill three vacancies on the Supreme Court it is expected. And you can be dead sure that Rudy Giuliani is not going to vote against a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court. And that nominee will have to pass the litmus test. Are they opposed to Roe v. Wade? Will they cut it back? So that you will have Giuliani, who will say, well I personally support abortion. But he's not going to take on the party leadership and lose the possibility of advancing in the Senate...

KING: And so you don't think that's his...

KOCH: And he will join Jesse Helms' army.

OLSON: Oh, that's...

KING: You don't think that's a stretch?

KOCH: Not at all. I think it's absolutely correct.

KING: We'll have Barbara respond. We'll get into it with our complete panel. We've got a long way to go. They're with us the rest of the way. We'll be including your phone calls.

This is LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")

MAYOR RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: Here I am in the last year of my term as mayor of New York City and I'm running for the Senate. And I would never have anticipated that three years ago. And I am not...

TIM RUSSERT, HOST: So why can't they say...

GIULIANI: I am not...

RUSSERT: ... Rudy Giuliani is using his Senate race as a stepping stone for higher office?

GIULIANI: Because I'm not. I'm going to run for the Senate. I hopefully am going to win and I'm going to serve there. But how do I know what's going to happen three or four years from now to me personally? I think when politicians do that, as politicians have all the time, they play the usual political game. They tell you what you want to hear and they don't tell you the truth.

There's no way I know, she knows or anybody else knows what's going to happen in the future. It is my fervent desire, my wish and my intention to serve out six years in the Senate and do the same thing for all of New York state that I've been able to do for the city of New York.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with a great panel.

You know, campaign videos certainly helped shape Bill Clinton's image. Remember "A Place Called Hope"? Now his wife's Senate campaign is showcasing a 18-minute mini bio that profiles Hillary Rodham Clinton's life and achievements.

Here's a short sample. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN AD)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Hillary Clinton I know is not the Hillary Clinton I have seen portrayed in the media.

H. CLINTON: I make a mean tossed salad and a great omelet.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Her focus is incredible.

BETSY EBENA, LIFELONG FRIEND: She has terrible eyesight -- terrible. In fact, she called me her seeing eye friend in high school.

H. CLINTON: I can't sing or carry a tune at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She doesn't sing well.

EBENA: You don't want her to sing ever, ever -- but if you want a friend, that's the one you want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Congressman Rangel, is that effective? Does that mean anything?

RANGEL: I think it does. She's not from New York -- very few New Yorkers are. And so you do get a chance to know something about her background. She's been dedicated to public service one way or the other as a kid, and I first met her when I was on the Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment. I think she's a remarkable woman. I think we're fortunate to have a candidate, a Democratic candidate, that knows world politics, knows national politics, and is willing to serve us in New York state.

Barbara Olson, what did you think of that video?

OLSON: Well, I watched it...

KING: Is it effective? Does it work or not?

OLSON: It depends on how much you know about Hillary Clinton. And I watched it listening to what was being said. I watched it listening to Hillary Clinton being talked about as one of the most brilliant lawyers in America and her work on gender bias. And she did work on gender bias in the courtrooms, which now have judges supposed to look at women and see how many women are winning cases and how many women are in the courts. She has been the politics of gender since the beginning.

But what I thought was interesting was that there was a tone about her lobbying her husband -- this was Chuck Schumer who introduced her and several others -- talked about her accomplishments. And when you ask yourself, what has she accomplished? We all know about universal health care. We can read about Hillary and learn about the education work that she did in Arkansas. But all of the lists that she gave us, I was sort of left wondering when she did all of these things that she now says she accomplished.

I've watched her very closely, and I found out through the film that she now says that she did this through lobbying her husband. And, of course, only Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton can verify that.

KING: Yes, but that's all a first lady can do, right? That's all Eleanor Roosevelt did. She was a pretty good first lady.

OLSON: Oh, I -- Nancy Reagan made a huge difference in just say no to drugs. She's well known for that. Barbara Bush, the literacy program. First ladies have taken positions and been terrific advocates. Hillary Clinton is known for universal health care, but all of these issues that we were introduced to on Sunday, I have not seen anywhere. I have not seen her champion anything other than women's rights and gender rights.

KING: Ed Koch, is health care a big issue in New York...

KOCH: I think...

KING: ... and is she on the right target there or the wrong one?

KOCH: I think health care is the biggest issue in the country, and prescription drugs for Medicare recipients is the second issue.

And I think that her history is good, not bad, as Barbara Olson would seek to convey. When -- it is true that she wasn't successful, but when she undertook to deal with the issue and alert the country, there were 35 million people who were uninsured with respect to health. And today there are 45 million. So the issue is still there. The fact is that...

OLSON: But...

KOCH: Just let me finish, Barbara -- the fact is that she did make a mistake in not bringing in a lot more people who might have been of assistance. But she's learned from that. And I'm telling you that in terms of being the No. 1 expert on national health -- comprehensive health insurance, she is it.

And I will tell you this. Republicans hate the idea of comprehensive national health insurance, and we're not going to send to Washington, I hope, another Republican to join Helms...

KING: Let me get...

KOCH: ... in his army.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll see if Mr. Lazio would like to be that Republican to oppose universal health care in New York. And we'll get more questions and comments and your calls as well.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) H. CLINTON: Now I know some people are asking why I'm doing this here and now. And that's a fair question. Here's my answer and why I hope you'll put me to work for you. I may be new to the neighborhood, but I'm not new to your concerns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Congressman Lazio, if health is the No. 1 issue -- and that may not be the case -- is she on the right track?

LAZIO: Of course she's not.

First of all, let me just comment if I can, Larry, about her general presentation. The video, obviously, was a very slick presentation choreographed by Hollywood. But in the end, both her announcement and the video failed to reflect in any way what New Yorkers really do care about. On Long Island, people are suffering with enormously increasing home fuel prices. Seniors are really struggling with that. Upstate, dairy prices; pollution in the Long Island Sound; affordable housing in the New York metropolitan area. You have areas of the state that are really suffering, and I saw nowhere where the first lady addressed this.

And to further the point, if she is such a consummate insider, so influential in the administration throughout these last 7 1/2 years, why hasn't she done anything to alleviate these problems of economic development upstate, the struggling economy upstate? Why hasn't she done anything to help prime the pump for technology in the downstate area, improve our schools, help clean up the Long Island Sound. Do something right now about energy prices on Long Island because they're killing people.

On the health...

KING: Charles Rangel, does he have a point? On health care quickly, and then I want Charles to comment.

LAZIO: On health care, for example, I think the goal...

RANGEL: She -- she was...

KING: Hold it, Charles. Hold it. On health.

LAZIO: I think everybody ought to have -- and I think Republicans embrace the goal of having comprehensive health care and with the goal to make sure all Americans are covered. But here's where the devil's in the details. The Democrat plan and Hillary's plan would have everything run out of Washington, D.C.

The Republican plan -- and this was used last year in improving and extending health care to millions of children -- would help use the state system, would build on the state system so we'd get more value for our dollars, and we don't have cost control that helps undermine our ability to deliver and implement and develop new drugs. KING: But in that -- in that concept, Rick, if Mississippi does a better job than Arkansas then their kids get better health than Arkansas. Is that fair?

LAZIO: Well, listen, it's OK for the federal government to set some general standards, but in the end it's up to the individual communities. No bureaucrat in Washington in the end, Larry, is going to care more about our kids and our community than the people that live in that community...

KING: All right.

LAZIO: ... or in our state.

KING: Charlie Rangel, is he right about all those issues in New York?

RANGEL: No, because we've never had the mayor to come to Washington to meet with our congressional delegation for any help. And when our hospitals were in trouble...

KING: Never?

RANGEL: Never met with the New York City delegation in Washington. And when the hospitals were in trouble, it was the first lady that came to our assistance. And the American Hospital Association and New York State Hospital Association would let you know that.

The truth of the matter is, Rick, that if the mayor endorses -- and the truth is that we don't even have a candidate. But assuming that the phantom candidate becomes a reality -- that if he endorses the Bush tax cut, if he endorses the Republican tax cut, you won't have the money to do these things we're talking about in health care. And so we're going to wrap that tax cut around the Republican's candidate's neck. And many people in our New York congressional delegation don't support the Republican tax cut.

KING: I'm going to ask Barbara Olson to comment on how the issue...

KOCH: Can I chime in?

KING: Yes, I want to get Barbara Olson to comment on how the issue breaks down and what will be the biggest issue in her opinion.

We'll be including your phone calls as well.

We'll be back with our panel after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: One of the attacks that they make every other day is, the mayor is too much of a fighter. He's too tough. The other attack that they make is, oh, gee, he's just going to do what Republicans tell them to do. Well maybe the reality is I'm an independent person, I believe in Republican principles, but I'm pretty good at advocating, I'm pretty good at getting for the people I serve the things that they need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We will be including your phone calls.

Barbara Olson, author of the hit book "Hell to Pay," you said at the beginning it's going to be issues. What's going to be the big issue in that, as you see it, close race?

OLSON: Well, I think what's coming out right now is certainly, if you listen to Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, is education. That is a huge issue in New York. We've got Rudy Giuliani coming out with a position on merit-based teacher pay, to end tenure, life tenure for teachers, that the teachers who do an excellent job will receive compensation for their excellence and the teachers who are clearly not doing their job won't.

Hillary Clinton has a very different position on that. She has got some sort of middle-of-the-road where teachers all get their raise and then there's a bonus on top of that.

And I think that's going to be an issue. And I think Hillary's history in Arkansas is one of the few areas where they can look at her record. And that'll be important.

KING: A big issue, in your opinion? Maybe the biggest?

OLSON: I think it is. Right now...

KING: Ed Koch, how big is education?

KOCH: Let me talk about education and also Giuliani. Giuliani's statement was that teachers wouldn't get any increase, not even for inflation. That's absolutely dumb.

Secondly, I am not suggesting that you give them more than inflation. But that they should get inflation? Of course they should. And you can get rid of teachers irrespective of tenure if they don't do their job. The question is to try to bring those hearings. They haven't tried.

And then finally with respect to Giuliani, he says people say that I'm tough and I am too tough. That's not what they say. They say, it's fine to be tough but you are mean. And mean-spirited people are not liked either in Albany or in Washington. He won't be able to get along with anybody down there. He couldn't even save the commuter tax. They went over his head.

That was...

KING: Speaking of mean -- speaking of mean, James Carville is the guest tomorrow night. (LAUGHTER)

Just thought I'd throw that in.

Congressman Lazio, Barbara says education will be a No. 1 issue. Would it be if you were running?

LAZIO: Of course. Education is...

KING: It would?

LAZIO: Of course. It's an absolutely pivotal issue, I think, and especially for those nonperforming schools. And I think we're finding a lot of low-income communities are becoming more and more sensitized to the fact that their children -- that it's immoral for their children to be condemned to having to try to be educated in a school that is not capable of educating them.

And so absolutely we're going to be spending a lot more time talking about a sense of accountability, getting value for our dollars, and frankly in the end providing some choice.

No student should be in a school where learning is not valued, where they're not learning, or where they're subject to violence. They should have the option to go to a school where they can learn and they can learn in a healthy environment.

KING: Congressman Rangel, do you agree that education will be a formidable issue in this Senate race?

RANGEL: No question about it.

KING: And that there is a clear delineation between the two?

RANGEL: There is no question about it. I don't know where Barbara got the research on Giuliani. Maybe it's the same file she had on the first lady.

But the truth of the matter is that Giuliani says we ought to blow up the public school system. He wants the vouchers, which comes away from the federal money, to be given to people to go to Catholic schools and to private schools.

The first lady, rightly so -- and she's had a tremendous -- made a tremendous contribution as relates to children and education -- believes that we should have qualified teachers. We should have lower-sized class, that we have to have...

KING: Everyone agrees with that.

RANGEL: ... federal funds for construction.

OLSON: Yes.

RANGEL: No. We've got these bills that are in Washington. If you listen closely to Rick, he will not be supporting the school construction bill. He would be supporting vouchers.

LAZIO: That's not true. That's not true.

RANGEL: He will also be supporting...

KING: He's saying it's not true.

RANGEL: It is -- individual savings accounts.

LAZIO: Charlie -- Charlie...

RANGEL: You see, they believe in Washington that we should blow up our public school system. The first lady believes we ought to repair it.

LAZIO: Charlie, if I can, Larry, on this, I mean, I'm a product of public schools. My two little girls are 6 and 7 years old. They're in public schools.

One of the things that we did, Republicans did, is to say that 95 percent of the money that we send to schools ought to go to the classroom. Is there anything radical about that? That seems like that's just assuring that our children are getting properly educated, that the money is being spent -- not ripped off for some bureaucracies or some special interests, but in fact they're getting to the classrooms for technology, for teacher learning, for mentoring programs. We agree with those things. We just want to make sure that our money is properly spent.

RANGEL: Rick, I agree with you. I agree with you, Rick.

KING: Pittsburgh, I've got to get a call in.

RANGEL: But let me tell you this: I'm talking about individual savings accounts and vouchers are what the Republicans are standing for. No one argues with the money going to the classrooms.

KING: All right. Pittsburgh, hello. Pittsburgh, go ahead.

CALLER: Yes, thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I just wonder something. I hear an awful lot the past few weeks as I have been watching everything that Giuliani will not do well in the Senate because he's been a mayor and what kind of experience has he had working with people. I want to know what experience has Hillary Clinton had? She's had a bully pulpit the past seven years, has not really had to work closely with anyone. She's independent.

What experience has she had? At least Giuliani has met and has balanced budgets and has done a lot of work in the community. I want to know what has she done.

KOCH: Let me take that on. KING: Mr. Koch.

KING: Let me take that on. The first thing is it's a question of personality and character. Giuliani is not well-liked either in Washington...

KING: Somebody voted for him, Ed.

KOCH: He's not. Now just a minute I voted for him because of his opponent, who happened to be a left-winger. And I was not -- even after I had broken with him in the last election.

But let me just say this. He cannot get the things done that require cooperation. The city council can't stand him. The Congress can't stand him. The state legislature can't stand him. And he loses when he seeks their support.

The best illustration was the loss of $380 million when the state legislature rescinded the commuter tax. If there had been a desire to help the mayor of the city of New York, they would have said no. But there was no desire to help him.

KING: Barbara...

OLSON: Well, I was just going to say...

KING: Barbara, if you listen to this, it seems like no one likes Mayor Giuliani, which of course obviously somebody does. He's ahead in the polls.

OLSON: And obviously, he's been able to work with people, because he's done a pretty good job in New York. But contrast that with Hillary Clinton.

I know the campaign is trying to paint Rudy Giuliani as this mean person. Hillary Clinton has been known by everyone, even her fans, as a tough person. And the title of my book "Hell to Pay" came from a person very close to Hillary Clinton, David Watkins, who made the statement saying: "`We both knew,' talking to the chief of staff, `there would be hell to pay if we failed to follow the first lady's wishes.'"

Now this comes from someone who is on the record by numerous individuals talking about her actions with the secret police Dick Morris talks about, the hell to pay from her friends. Rudy Giuliani, I think, has got a record. Hillary Clinton has got one she's got to overcome in that area before she accuses Mayor Giuliani of being hard to get along with.

KING: We'll get a break and be back with more calls and more of our panel.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. Jim Carville tomorrow night. Bill Maher on Wednesday.

Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

H. CLINTON: Today, New York has the largest gap between the rich and the poor of any state in the United States. Therefore it is time for our friends in the rest of the country to return the favor and to change the way business is done in Washington to give New York it's fair share.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our panel. New Orleans, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Good evening, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: To anyone on the panel,,,

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I'm wondering -- I may have missed it -- but when is someone going ask Ms. Clinton why didn't she take her talent, her experience, and the things that she's learned here in Washington that put Bill and Hillary in Washington, why didn't she take that back to Arkansas and serve Arkansas instead of New York?

KING: I think she has said she wanted to live in New York. Is that your understanding, Charles?

RANGEL: Well, I spoke with her. They were talking about having her as a candidate in Illinois. Illinois asked her whether she would consider New York, and I saw some type of interest.

This lady was able to galvanize labor leaders, the entire Democratic delegation in the Congress. Yesterday you saw that she had the attorney general, the state comptroller, the state Democratic legislators. Don't tell me this lady is not well-liked.

And I believe that when you're looking for a spokesman, when you're looking for an advocate, you look for the best person.

I haven't heard anyone yet ask what state was someone born in, in the House of Representatives or in the Senate.

KING: What about the Jewish issue, Barbara? We had of course Hillary earlier when she didn't protest, openly protest the statements by Arafat's wife. And then we had Mayor Giuliani apparently at the same dinner with Joerg Haider, the head of the Austrian right-wing ultraconservative group.

Is that going to balance out?

OLSON: I don't think so. I mean, Mayor Giuliani was asked about that every talk show he was on yesterday. As he said, it was a huge dais with over a hundred people. He immediately said that he disagrees with his positions. He met the guy, didn't know who he was.

Hillary Clinton did include a statement about Israel and protection of Israel in her statement. I think she realizes that her actions have spoken louder than her words. And she's trying to stop that damage. We'll see if she can.

KOCH: This is ridiculous. May I answer that?

KING: Sure.

KOCH: Joerg Haider was mentioned by Roy Innis at the dinner, and it was in The New York Times that Haider was going to be there. You cannot tell me that Rudy Giuliani did not know that Haider was going to be there.

KING: Well, you're not -- Ed, are you saying that he was stupid enough to know who Haider was, knew he was going to be there, and still went up and shook his hand?

KOCH: Yes. Now listen, I want to tell you something. You know, I was mayor. You have an advance man who attends every dinner who comes and tells you if there are any problems. You cannot tell me -- the press had to be there. Of course, Haider was there.

What I believe Giuliani counts on is that he thinks he can do no wrong, that whatever he does, if he tells the people a story, they will accept it.

I do not believe that he did not know that Haider was on the dais.

KING: So therefore, he purposely then greeted him well.

KOCH: What I'm -- I don't know that he greeted him well.

OLSON: Well...

KING: He shook his hand.

KOCH: What we're protesting is -- well, I'm surprised at that. What I am surprised at is even more that he stayed at the dais. If he had gotten up and left -- he didn't have to make a scene although he's capable of making scenes -- he stayed at the dais. And I will not believe, based on The New York Times story, that he didn't know that Haider was sitting on the dais.

RANGEL: Larry, can I tell you about -- can I tell you about CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality, has not been in existence since the late Jim Farmer died?

If CORE, which is headed by Roy Innis, was to hold a national convention, it could be held in a telephone booth. You ask anybody about CORE, and they will tell you it died a long time ago.

So the mere fact that Mayor Lindsay (ph) would celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday at CORE shows that he wasn't thinking right.

KING: Mayor -- you mean Mayor Giuliani.

RANGEL: Mayor Giuliani.

OLSON: Well, if we're going -- Larry, but if we're going to tie people to individuals they shake hands with, let's talk about Hillary Clinton with Charlie Trie. Let's talk about Hillary Clinton with Ng Lapseng, who sells women into prostitution.

Let's give a little bit of balance here. And I don't think Hillary is going to want to go through the parade of people she welcomed into the White House and that she gave tours to who are now pleading guilty to crimes?

KING: Rick -- Rick Lazio, is it a wash or not?

LAZIO: Oh, I think it probably is. I mean, I think in the end -- the caller asked about why is she running in New York, and I think that in the end, people are going to go into the voting booth and they're going to be looking at, that sort of very subtle issue as a decisive issue for them.

What's the rationale? Is it about personal ambition?

I was watching last night -- I was watching the reruns of the announcement. The most exciting speaker in the end was Charlie Rangel at the announcement. He should have been the candidate.

We have 18 million people in New York. It strains credibility that we cannot field one qualified person in the Democratic Party for the United States Senate with all of the achievement that we have, all of the great people and wonderful entrepreneurs, including Mayor Ed Koch with the Law.com, which I congratulate him on. To have to go outside...

KING: By the way, I've got to...

LAZIO: ... and get somebody when...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I've got to get a break, Rick. Is the Liberal Party going to endorse Mayor Giuliani? Is that a given?

LAZIO: What I have -- what I have heard is there's a possibility they will endorse Fran Ryder (ph). So, that would be an interesting turn of events.

KING: We'll be right back with more calls for our guests and get more. We'll try to get everybody in. This is a volatile panel. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are pretty independent in this country, and they like to make their own decisions. And they don't want -- they don't -- they're not going to vote for her just because she's my wife, but they might vote for her because we share some values and some approaches to the issues. And they want to make their own judgment about it.

And I thought she was terrific when she announced. I was so proud of her.

And I'll be happy to be a member of the Senate Spouses Club. I hope I get to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CALLER: We're back. Providence, Rhode Island, hello.

CALLER: Larry, I would like to know if a panel helped Hillary in her speech yesterday to make her speech, if she had help with her speech.

KING: Do we know who wrote that speech? Does anyone know?

RANGEL: I don't know, no.

KING: Charlie, do you know?

RANGEL: No, no. But (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she had a lot of help with it.

KING: I guess every speech has help.

LAZIO: Yes, Larry...

KING: Yes, go ahead, Rick.

LAZIO: Yes, the only think I would say about that, it was pretty clearly not a New Yorker, because again she didn't hit on any of the issues that New Yorkers -- that, you know, are unique to New York: the dairy issue, the home fuel issue, transportation issues on Long Island, affordable housing. None of those. It was a Washingtonian speech.

So she has yet to get really her land legs in this campaign.

KING: All right. Barbara, you are not a New...

RANGEL: Rick...

KING: Hold it. Barbara is the only one on the panel that is not a New Yorker, yet you're going to be wrapped up in this.

OLSON: But I live there.

KING: I was born there. You're going to be wrapped up in this race. Do you think the country will? OLSON: Oh, I think the country is going to follow this race because it's a very interesting race. And I think Hillary Clinton has captured people's attention.

I mean, the people want to know who she is really and what she's really going to do. And it's interesting because Hillary Clinton says some of the right things, and then unfortunately she goes and does the opposite.

I mean, one of the things that Hillary Clinton said yesterday that stuck in my mind was she said she was against divisive politics of revenge and retribution. Now, for Hillary Clinton to say that when it has marked her years in the White House -- from the Travel Office firings, from the ushers being fired, various individuals who have said about Hillary Clinton's "Hell to Pay" -- it's interesting that she made that one of her platforms.

KING: So, that's the reason...

RANGEL: Read the book! Read the book!

KING: ... the United States is going to look at this race?

Barbara, the question was, will America look at this race with great interest?

OLSON: I think more so than even the presidential race. I think this is a race that really does divide the party, and people want to see who this woman, who this new...

KING: Even though -- even though most conservative Republicans would regard Giuliani to the left of them?

OLSON: Well, yes. Rudy Giuliani is by no means lock-step conservative or even a lock-step Republican. I mean, Rudy Giuliani votes what he thinks is right. And I think Hillary Clinton is coming across as someone saying, I want to do all of these things too. And so I think it's a race that we're going to watch, we're going to follow.

We've got a first lady for the first time ever running, and we've got someone who is saying, I'm going to fight. We know she's going to fight. We know that Harold Ickes is there.

And you said Carville is on tomorrow night, he has said he might be coming to New York. So America knows this is going to be a race.

KOCH: Larry...

KING: Ed.

KOCH: Larry -- Larry, let me show you -- let me show you Rudy does not act independently. Can you imagine a mayor of New York City saying he was not supportive of an increase in the minimum wage, which was what Giuliani said? Now the Republican Party has changed its position because it's shamed into changing its position. And now Rudy is for an increase in the minimum wage.

No mayor of New York City has ever taken a position comparable to Giuliani's with respect to the minimum wage.

KING: All right. We are -- we see how heated this is. We're going to take a break, come back for closing comments. We have not seen the last of this panel or this race, trust me. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: All right, Charles Rangel, what happens? What if -- what if our confrere Rick Lazio gets in? Do you give him a chance to win this?

RANGEL: Well, there's no question if he got involved in the Republican primary. But Rick is wrong if he says that his noncandidate is addressing the issues of New York state, because the first lady was talking about education, affordable drugs. She was talking about housing. She was talking about saving Medicare, Social Security. And these are the things that senators talk about.

But I tell you this: If Rick Lazio got in that race, it would be bad for us as Democrats because he can knock out Rudy in the Republican primary. And no Republican has ever won statewide office without conservative support.

KING: Rick? Closing thoughts? You said you're going to make your mind up in the next couple of days.

LAZIO: Really soon, yes. I don't want to be held to a particular time, because I'm a little bit superstitious about that.

But I will say that the greatest asset that both of these candidates have is the dislike of their opposition. That is bad news for New York. New Yorkers deserve something much, much better than better than that, a much more positive inclusive campaign that brings people together and talks about things that we agree about.

I mean, most of us do agree on tax relief and incentivizing work and the work ethic. Most of us agree with setting standards for great education and a clean environment.

We need to be focused on those issues and bring people together to have a winning campaign.

KING: Ed Koch, is this, if it's Giuliani and Clinton without -- without -- if it's Lazio, it obviously will be a different story. If it's Giuliani-Clinton, is it going to be a very negative campaign? Is it going to be a campaign of negatives?

KOCH: It will be negative on his part, because that's the road that he...

KING: Not on her part?

KOCH: No, because she will talk about the issues. It not in her interest to stoop to his level.

KING: So you think it will be negative one way. And if it's Lazio, it will be issue-oriented, are you saying that?

KOCH: Absolutely. Rick is of a different party, but he's a very decent man, and the issues will be what is important in that race. I wish...

KING: Barbara Olson, as a...

KOCH: ... him well in the primary.

KING: Barbara Olson, as a conservative Republican, would Lazio be more to your liking?

OLSON: I think Representative Lazio has been terrific in the House of Representatives. And the reason all the Democrats want him to get into the race is they know it divides the vote. They know that then we have a primary...

KING: But wouldn't he be more to your liking as a conservative? Wouldn't you agree with more of Lazio's philosophy than Giuliani's? Say on abortion?

OLSON: I like Rudy Giuliani's record in New York City. I lived in New York City. It has changed. The years that I was there -- and I was mugged when I walked down the street -- it's changed. He's got a record there.

KING: But in the Senate, wouldn't Lazio -- wouldn't Lazio fit your philosophy more in the Senate than Giuliani? Wouldn't he vote more for your way?

OLSON: The good thing about our party is it includes a lot of different people. And I support Rudy...

KING: That's not the question. Wouldn't he vote...

OLSON: I know you do, but I -- Rudy Giuliani is running against Hillary Clinton. Representative Lazio is terrific in the House.

KING: That wasn't the question.

OLSON: It would divide our party if he entered.

KING: All right. I asked a different question. But so bet it.

OLSON: I know.

KING: Our guests are Charles Rangel, Rick Lazio, Ed Koch and Barbara Olson. We thank them all for being with us.

Tomorrow night, James Carville and Bill Kristol.

I don't even have to be here, but I'll referee.

Thanks very much for joining us. Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND." Bill Maher on Wednesday. And Thursday night, Walter Matthau is back.

Good night.

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