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Larry King Live

Will Dick Cheney Help Bush Win the Election?

Aired July 24, 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, George W. Bush makes his vice presidential pick, and sources say it's Dick Cheney. His father's former defense secretary.

With us from Austin, Texas, the Bush campaign's communications director, Karen Hughes, And then, joining me in Washington, Bob Woodward, assistant managing editor of "the Washington Post," Republican strategist Ed Rollins -- he's worked with Cheney politically and knows him personally -- Tucker Carlson, staff writer for "The Weekly Standard," contributor to "Talk" magazine. In New York, CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield. And in Atlanta, Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder and pastor of Potter's House in Dallas.

They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin the program with Karen Hughes, the communications director of the George W. Bush campaign for the presidency. She's been with the governor for some time. If he's elected, you're going to be seeing a lot of her over the years, as she'll be a fixture here in Washington.

Karen, was the cat let out of the bag? Everyone's reporting that it's Cheney.

KAREN HUGHES, BUSH CAMPAIGN: Well, the cat was certainly not let out of the bag by the one person who counts, and that's Governor Bush, Larry. The governor spent the weekend, as you know, at his ranch near Crawford thinking through this decision.

He told me tonight that he has, in fact. made a final decision but has not told anyone else about that decision. And as much as I'd like to announce it here on your show, and as much as I know you'd like me to announce it here on your show, the governor thought that he might just tell the person he's selecting first, and he's not going to make that call tonight. He'll be making that call tomorrow morning.

KING: He's not calling the person tonight, he's going to call him in the morning. And when will we know?

HUGHES: Well, I imagine soon thereafter, Larry. He plans on making the call tomorrow morning and asking a new partner to join him in a Bush administration and in a Bush campaign. And then after that, I expect him to call several of the other people who he considered and who he did not select. And then I imagine he will tell members of his staff and others, and then he will let me know sometime tomorrow that he's made that call and that he's prepared to make an announcement, and then I expect that at that point we'll let all you know when and where we will make the announcement.

KING: The announcement will probably come from Austin. Would you expect that that person will be with him when the announcement's made?

HUGHES: I think I would expect that yes, that they would be the together when the announcement is made. Again, knowing that the governor has not made the call and that he has to make the call and that the person has to accept.

KING: Can we say that Karen Hughes knows who it is?

HUGHES: Well, Larry, obviously I've been with the governor for some...

KING: You can tell us that.

HUGHES: Well -- no, I think you can say that the governor has not made the call yet. Now I have had some idea. I think many of us who've been around the governor, who've worked with him, have some idea of what he is thinking. But again, he has not placed that call. And until he has, I really don't think anyone knows for sure.

KING: Were you surprised at that announcement today that Colin Powell was back in the picture? The fact that Mr. Powell's office, the general's office had to issue a denial?

HUGHES: I was surprised by that, Larry, because I think that General Powell has been, at least from Governor Bush's perspective, quite clear and quite unequivocal. He indicated to the governor that he did not wish to be considered and he was pretty unequivocal about that.

KING: This ticket will campaign how, do you think? You think it's going to be a vigorous campaign as they go to Philadelphia?

HUGHES: Absolutely. In fact, later this week, as you know, Larry, governor will leave Austin on Friday. We've got a tour to Philadelphia going through Arkansas and Kentucky and Ohio and West Virginia and on into Pennsylvania. Those are all states where we're sending a symbolic signal by going through those states. Those are all states that Republicans have not carried since 1988. President Clinton carried those states in 1992 and 1996, but we don't intend to cede that territory. We intend for Governor Bush and his new vice presidential nominee to carry those states.

And we're on our way to Philadelphia. We're excited about the convention. This is an exciting time for all of us in the campaign. It seems like this has been a long time coming, the week when the governor would select a vice president and when we'd head to Philadelphia for the convention that will nominate him as the next president of the United States. So we're all looking forward to that very much. KING: A couple other things, Karen. Will the vice presidential person that he selects be going with him to Philadelphia starting Friday?

HUGHES: Larry I don't know that yet. That's something that we'll have to talk with the new vice presidential candidate about.

KING: You would think that that might be the kind of look that Governor Bush would want, of the two side by side going into the convention.

HUGHES: Well, I'm sure the vice president will join us at the convention, for sure. And as you probably know, we're doing something rather unique at the convention this time. Typically, the vice presidential speech is on the same night as the presidential speech, on the Thursday night of the convention. And it's usually somewhat overshadowed by the speech of the president.

We decided that we knew we were going to be so proud of our vice president that we wanted the vice president to have a speech on a night all of the vice president's own. And so the vice president will be speaking on Wednesday night at the convention.

KING: And finally, when we saw you last week in Austin, he was still working on his speech, the governor, that he will deliver next Thursday night. Is it finished?

HUGHES: No, I -- it's still in the editing process. We're getting closer. He is -- Larry, he's still working on it. In fact, a little while -- about an hour ago, he did a read-through of it in the library at the governor's mansion and missed all the phone calls and all the speculation and all the flurry of interest he was very focused because he knows this is a very important speech and he wants to talk about why, at this unique moment in our nation's history, he is the unique lead who should be our next president and help solve some of the tough problems facing our nation.

KING: Karen, we thank you very much. You've been a wonderful help to the program and we appreciate all you do. And we will look forward to seeing you on the trail and in Philadelphia.

HUGHES: Thanks a lot, Larry. Look forward to seeing you a lot there in the next couple weeks.

KING: Karen Hughes, the campaigns director for the Bush campaign. Again, the person, the designate -- the rumors are it's Mr. Cheney -- will not be told or asked will until tomorrow morning. The rumors were that it would be tonight. It will be tomorrow morning.

We'll be back with our panel.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The main criterion is can the person be the president and can we get along, and can the person be added value? In other words, can we work together? And I will tell you, there's been some great examples of people being able to work together in recent history. I think President Clinton and Vice President Gore have had a good relationship.

I know my dad and President Reagan did, and Vice President Quayle and my dad did. It all started, really, with Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, redefining the relationship...

KING: He boosted the office.

BUSH: He did. And I'm going to do the same -- I'm going to have that same spirit of not only cooperation but counting on the vice president to bring some, you know, an interesting dimension to the administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Let's meet our panel. They'll be with us the rest of the program.

They are Bob Woodward, the assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post," Pulitzer Prize-winning, best-selling author; Ed Rollins, one of the best in the business at strategy, the famed Republican strategist; Tucker Carlson, staff writer for "The Weekly Standard," contributor for "Talk" magazine, a regular on CNN. In New York, our CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield. And joining us from Atlanta is Bishop T.D. Jakes. He's founder and pastor of Potter's House in Dallas. He and George W. -- where George W. Bush has attended services, by the way. He is also a best-selling author and entrepreneur and was the subject -- part of the subject of a major article in "The Washington Post" today on George W. Bush and religion. And we'll get his aspects on that as joins the panel as well.

Let's go around. We'll start with Mr. Woodward.

This a surprise to you, assuming it is Dick Cheney?

BOB WOODWARD, "WASHINGTON POST": I think we -- I think it's fair to assume that it's Cheney, but anything can happen in politics. Notice Karen Hughes said she was surprised by the possibility of Colin Powell, and they knocked that down totally. She is not surprised by the speculation of Cheney, and they certainly are not knocking that down.

I think the interesting fact here is that Cheney in his long political career is such a methodical person. As the person assigned the job of going out and finding a vice president for Bush, you can see him -- and I think unintentionally -- developing the criteria that meet himself, in other words somebody with lots of experience, a tendency toward aggressive loyalty, somebody who's had lots of reincarnation, congressman, Ford's chief of staff, somebody who had business experience also.

KING: Jeff, were you surprised -- are you surprised?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Yes, not surprised that Governor Bush would reach to Washington, because with the single exception of Tom Dewey in 1948 who chose Governor Warren of California, when governor's get the presidential nomination they reach toward Washington as an act of reassurance. It's what Jimmy Carter did with Mondale, what Reagan did with Bush, what Clinton did with Gore.

But I think the idea of picking someone who is -- Bob's got a good word there, "methodical," but more than that, someone who is not really political is almost unprecedented. You know, even though Cheney was elected to the Congress from Wyoming, he's much more known as Ford's chief of staff and Bush's defense secretary. And in that sense, I think it ought to be seen as an extension of what Governor Bush has been trying to do all along, as in his foreign policy gathering, when he put behind him Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger as if to say, don't worry that I'm from Texas and may look a little, you know, a little young or something. I'm solid.

KING: Good point.

Ed Rollins, we don't know who Dick Cheney campaigns, do we? His congressional race in Wyoming didn't get national attention.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: They weren't particularly good campaigns. They didn't have to be. He was like a -- he was a...

KING: A shoo-in.

ROLLINS: A shoo-in. But I can tell you, I've known Dick Cheney a long time. I don't think any man is more qualified to be president of the United States. And I would have supported in 1996 along with a lot of other people who know him.

KING: Had he run then

ROLLINS: Had he run. He grows on you. He is someone who I think is the most articulate Republican we have. People say he doesn't excite people. I think he's calm on television, he's knowledgeable. I think it's a tremendous decision, and I think people are going to -- first of all, it's made all the losers, all the second-tier type people -- you can't basically step back and say, gee, I lost to another governor when I'm just as good. What they can say is, listen, this guy is -- this guy is, you know, next to Colin Powell, he's probably the most significant player to come out of the Gulf War.

KING: Tucker, on this program Governor Bush said that he didn't want to make this harsh. He didn't want someone attack-dog kind of thing. You don't -- do you see Cheney as someone rapping the opposition apart, taking them apart, or do you see him more above that??

TUCKER CARLSON, "WEEKLY STANDARD": Hard to imagine him doing a Carville routine, and that's part of the criticism people make. You know, Cheney's boring, plodding, particularly after the two previous stories of the week, the idea that first McCain and then Colin Powell were going to be tapped. On the other hand, I mean, there just aren't that many rock stars in national politics basically. And those there are tend to be flaky and unreliable. And Bush has made it really clear, if nothing else he doesn't want somebody who's going to, you know, hold press conferences to contradict him. And so I think a choice like Cheney was inevitable.

KING: He's not a guy for surprises, is he. You don't expect this to change, do you?

CARLSON: He's not Mr. Stripper-pop-out-of-the-cake guy, no.

KING: Surprise, look who's here.

WOODWARD: No, he weighs things so carefully. During the Gulf War, leading up to the war, he looked at the war plan that the admirals and the generals developed and said, well I can't get in and tinker with the details on this, but I'm going to own it as defense secretary. So he insisted that all the colonels and admirals come up and brief him on every part of it. And he spent 15 hours listening to these detailed military briefings. And at the end, they gave him a little certificate saying he was now a qualified war planner.

ROLLINS: See, I think the interesting thing -- I made this comment several times -- and no disrespect to Newt Gingrich, who I worked for and worked with -- Dick Cheney would have been the speaker of the House if Republicans would have won and he hadn't been secretary of defense. And what a different world it was. He was the most conservative -- I remember when I was White House political director in 1981, '82. We looked at -- we ranked all the members of Congress. Dick Cheney was one of the most conservative, if not the most conservative, in those first couple years, but you never felt that about him. Even...

KING: He feels moderate.

ROLLINS: He feels moderate. And even a couple times -- he was the whip. He was the No. 2 guy in the House Republicans. Several times he voted against President Reagan, and you never knew in advance he was going to it, and he was the last -- one of the last votes to be cast.

KING: Let me get a break, we'll come back, we'll ask T.D. Jakes about Bush and faith. And more of our panel discussion as well right after this.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: There have been the time in the past where people -- I'm confident people said, well let's just pick the vice president. Pick so and so to be the vice president. Don't worry, we'll dump him once the -- once we get elected, in other words use the person just for the election vehicle.

I'm not going to do that. I...

KING: So it's not going to be selected because he or she is from a state or the whole...

BUSH: That would be helpful. That would be helpful if a person could bring a state. But that's part of the...

KING: As Johnson did for Kennedy.

BUSH: Absolutely.

KING: This state.

BUSH: This -- he sure did bring this state. It got him elected president of the United States. There's some question as to what their relationship was like afterwards.

KING: Yes.

BUSH: But -- and so those are the main criteria for me. And then there's all the political consequences, gender, where the person lives. There's a lot -- I've looked into a lot of aspects of different people's voting records, if they have one. And that's part of the consideration, you know, somebody's views on a different variety of issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: They're running a big series in "The Washington Post" on George W. Bush, and today was -- dealt with his applying a personal faith to public policy. And in that connection, we've invited T.D. Jakes to join us.

When -- Counselor, when did you meet Governor Bush?

T.D. JAKES, POTTER'S HOUSE: I actually first met the governor after Carla Faye Tucker was executed. I had an opportunity to have lunch with him and spend hours with him reflecting on his decision. And out of that, a relationship evolved. He's been to our church since then and was involved in the dedication of 400 acres of land that the Potter's House purchased there in Dallas. So we've encountered each other on several occasions.

KING: He told us last week that that was one of the roughest days of his life, her death. Did he express that to you at lunch?

JAKES: He seemed to be deeply disturbed and moved by it, and we shared -- and I understood why it was so disturbing for him, partially because she was so charismatic and so open and so believable. And I also shared with him that I, on the other hand, related to the 70 or so men who had been executed before her, who I related to and understood so well, many of which had also been converted. And we began to exchange about the difference of perspectives and some of the challenging decisions that have to be made in leadership for our country.

KING: And what, Bishop, is your take on George W. Bush and faith? Is he a very -- is he a devout man?

JAKES: As best I can tell, he seems to take his faith very seriously. He did so before he was ever began to pursue the presidency. It's no secret that down through the years that he has ascribed to some element in various degrees of faith.

One of the things that I noticed about him is he's been very transparent. He's been transparent about his alcoholism. He's been transparent about his fight back up on his feet.

And now he's very vocal about his faith as well, which is consistent with his personality. He tends to be outgoing and transparent, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of person.

KING: Jeff Greenfield, do you think faith will be a part of this campaign? Do you think we are going to discuss it with the effect of the Christian right and the like?

GREENFIELD: I think not as much as we have in other campaigns, partly because Al Gore also professors a faith, and also because I think the intensity of that as a political issue, at least in public, has been damped down. I mean, I think there's no doubt that if you look at evangelical Protestants who have been involved in politics over the last 20 years who have tended heavily -- at least the whites -- toward the Republican Party. I don't think that is going to change.

But one thing about Governor Bush is, I think he has been somewhat circumspect in insisting that the fact that he has a faith, that he is born again, ought not be taken to mean that he think that he's better than other people or that he's somehow at a different level. I really don't think it's going to be a major debate in this campaign, no.

KING: Is Cheney strong in the faith department, Ed?

ROLLINS: I don't think you think of him as a born-again. I think he's a personally religious man. He has a very strong pro-life voting record. But I don't think he's ever been identified with the religious right movement.

KING: To your knowledge, has he ever been -- we haven't heard of him in that regard, right?

ROLLINS: I have never saw him preach.

KING: Hey, Tucker. Took him 22 minutes to get (CROSSTALK)

ROLLINS: I don't think the House Republicans, at that point in time, when he was in the leadership were -- the religious right weren't quite as big a factor in the Party as are were today. KING: Bishop, do you consider yourself part of the religious right?

JAKES: I certainly do not. I have tried to remain nonpartisan. And I think it's very stereotypical to think that all Christians are religious right or left. There are many of us who have chosen to remain nonpartisan and chosen it as an opportunity to minister to both sides of the bird, and to care about the whole country at large.

KING: So you're endorsing no candidate this year.

JAKES: I'm not saying that I'm not endorsing a candidate. I'm more saying that I want to remain nonpartisan in my ability as a minister. Personally, certainly, we have our preference. But I don't think that the pulpit ought to be used to hurl preferences towards people.

KING: That's what I meant. So, publicly you will not endorse.

JAKES: That's exactly right.

KING: We will come back with more. We will be including your phone calls. We'll get back to the vice-presidential concept as well. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Bishop Jakes, I want to clear up something. You mentioned something about Governor Bush being alcoholic. Did you mean that, or did you mean he was a problem -- I don't think he has ever said he was alcoholic.

JAKES: No, no, what I meant by that, he has been open about drinking in the past. He has been very open not only about his positives, but about his negatives. And I don't think that he's using the Christian cliche to win both. I think he's just a transparent person that has been very open about pros and cons.

KING: I see. So alcoholic, you didn't mean it as such, like...

JAKES: No, exactly.

KING: You know, I have a relationship with Secretary Cheney in that he had heart surgery eight months after I had mine. And during the New Orleans convention in 1988, we sat on a landing on a staircase, and he had to know all about it. He had to know every detail of what I went through with the heart surgery as he was facing it two days later. We have interviewed him a number of times on this show. During a sit-down in early '95, we asked him why he had decided not to run for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LARRY KING LIVE, 1995)

DICK CHENEY, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: I gave it very serious thought, Larry. There were two pieces to the decision. The first piece really was the political piece of it. That was the question of whether or not I thought I had support. Could I raise the money? Did it pass the laugh test -- that is, when you say you're running for president, do people laugh or do they sign up? That piece of it looked pretty good.

The second part of it, though, really was the personal part of the equation. And that's the question of whether or not you're prepared to commit yourself to do all those things you have to do in order to run for president, and to sacrifice everything else for that one objective. And I concluded that I wasn't prepared to pay that price.

KING: In other words, you have got to want it bad enough.

CHENEY: You do. And you have to give up your personal freedom and your life for at least two years of a campaign -- and your privacy -- and put yourself and your family through a very brutal process. And to do that, you need to be certain that you're prepared to make the sacrifices necessary. And I'm not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Has he changed, Bob?

WOODWARD: Well...

KING: Assuming he accepts the vice presidency?

WOODWARD: Part of the reason he didn't want to run in '96, he knew that he would have to commit totally two years to raising money and going around the country so forth. Now, running as vice president, all he has to do is run for about four months.

KING: So, it's...

WOODWARD: And it's a big, big difference. Also, I think one of the personal factors is -- if I can tell this story -- in the '96 campaign book I did, "The Choice," in going into Cheney's decision not to run, it turned out that he has a relative who is gay an in examining the prospect he said, this is going to become part of the story. And he was very fearful of it.

KING: Close relative.

WOODWARD: I mean, I just wouldn't go into the details.

KING: Would it come out?

WOODWARD: But I did learn the details of it and was thinking of putting this in the book.

KING: And did not?

WOODWARD: And word got to Cheney. And Cheney called me up and chewed me out and said: You have no right to do that. It is unfair -- and in the course of the chewing out, convinced me that he was right. And I did not put in the details. ROLLINS: I, I...

KING: You know the story.

ROLLINS: I know the story. The story will get out. I don't think it matters anymore. And I think there's a big difference in running for vice president -- just as Jack Kemp didn't want to go through 200 fund-raisers and what have you -- and when he became the vice president, he went out and campaigned very effectively. Mondale didn't want to run for president, dropped out at one point. Gore dropped out at one point.

It's a very tough game you go through. And George Bush and Al Gore both deserve great credit. But that doesn't mean that Dick Cheney couldn't be a great president or certainly a great vice president.

KING: Do you agree, Jeff?

GREENFIELD: Yeah, I think the difference between committing two years and four months, as Ed says is, we have seen a lot of people go through that. I actually think what -- one of the things that makes this interesting is that a lot of times people say: The kind of person you want to be as president is not the kind of person who can get elected -- in part, because it requires such an investment of time an energy that relatively normally, well-adjusted people, it is said, won't do it.

Here's a case where Governor Bush, apparently, has picked somebody to run with him who, I think, a lot of people would look on with favor, but who may well not have had the political skills to actually win the office. And, as I say, that's what makes this choice so unusual. And I don't suggest, by the way, that it makes a big difference whether he's a terrific campaigner, because vice presidents, once they're picked, don't dominate the headlines. But it is really unusual in that sense.

KING: Yes. We will get a break and think what Tucker thinks, and bring Mr. Jakes back in. We'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LARRY KING LIVE)

KING: Does everyone know they're on a list and a call is going to come or not come?

BUSH: I would suspect those that know we have been looking into their records and their backgrounds and collecting information realize that they're being considered. I haven't sent out an e-mail blast saying: Stand by your phone at such and such a time.

KING: Are you part of the process, Laura?

LAURA BUSH, WIFE OF GEORGE W. BUSH: A little bit. BUSH: Yes, she is.

LAURA BUSH: We talk about it.

KING: I mean, do you -- you value her input?

BUSH: A lot.

KING: If you were down to two people and it's a toss-up, Laura could say, I think this one's better, and that would have impact?

BUSH: Well...

LAURA BUSH: I doubt it.

BUSH: Thank you for getting me off the hook. She's got a lot of input. I trust her judgment a lot. Laura's got a -- Laura's got a common sense about her that I have obviously found appealing and still find appealing after all these years of marriage. I do trust her judgment. She's got -- she can read people well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Tucker, is Jeff Greenfield right? Is this an unusual selection in regard to the things he just ticked off about Cheney?

CARLSON: Well, I mean, Cheney chose not to run for president. And I think, in a way, that's probably reassuring to Bush, because I think, it says, among other things, he doesn't have a sort of over- weaning ambition that a lot of politicians do that lead them to freelance. And that's not what you want in a vice-presidential candidate.

I mean, in '96, you had this remarkable situation, where you have Jack Kemp, how is his sort of celebrity. I mean, I remember during the vice presidential debate, when Al Gore says to him: You know, the thing I like about you, Jack, is that, unlike most Republicans, you're not a racist. And Kemp says, you know: Thanks, Al. And it was just striking that Kemp seemed to sort of be running his own, separate and different campaign from Dole. And that's not what you want in a vice presidential candidate.

KING: How, Bishop Jakes -- I know you're not into endorsing -- or opening being involved in politicals -- does this selection hit you?

JAKES: Well, I think it's significant that Governor Bush has chosen someone who I think will accessorize his personality and his skills and bring a total package to the country. We are all excited about the possibilities that are laid before us in the coming days to see how much of it is rhetoric, how much is reality. Having interacted with Governor Bush personally, I found him to be a very believable, straightforward person.

I respect his opinion and his judgment. And I look forward to seeing what Mr. Cheney bring to the table. KING: What -- Ed, do you want to add something?

WOODWARD: I think he sends a very powerful message with this choice, The message is: I'm not afraid of strong people. This is the kind of -- this is the first public choice that he has made, And it basically is: These are the kind of people I'm going to put around him. His father, mistakenly, when he picked Quayle sent a message -- that didn't turn out to be true, because he did put a strong -- especially in foreign affairs -- but the message was, I'm afraid of the Doles, and the Kemps, and the other powerful candidates.

I think, in this case, he has basically said: Listen, I'm not intimidated by anybody. I'm going put the best guy I find on the ticket.

KING: On the other side, are you putting someone closer to your father than to you?

WOODWARD: No, not at all. I mean, here is another interesting aspect to the Cheney personality, and it is what Governor Bush has emphasized, and that is loyalty. If you look at Cheney's public statements during the Gulf War, he would go out and he would say the president has decided, the president has instructed, the president wishes. He never would get four sentences out without one of them saying, President Bush did this or decided the following. And the other part of Cheney is that he is really tough.

He was defense secretary I think eight days, and an Air Force general went and did something that he didn't like. And Cheney went public and said he's freelancing and threw two elbows in the guy's career.

CARLSON: But there is also, in a sense -- strong and tough as Cheney may be -- that he's going, in any way, contradict the nominee. He's going to contradict Bush. Whereas, you know, if you pick John McCain, there is probably every expectation that John McCain would be...

KING: Was that ever a real thing?

CARLSON: I don't think it was at all, and for the following reason: I mean, I think McCain, you know, it was always a possibility that he would show up on your show and start criticizing, you know, his running mate. They'd probably -- you know, he'd probably pick a fight a couple days into it. And so I think, again, as strong as Cheney may be, he fulfills the number-one criterion, which is, don't contradict the person who picked you.

KING: And he is, Jeff Greenfield, Cheney -- because I've seen them many times together -- very close to Colin Powell?

GREENFIELD: Well, they were in charge of the Gulf War together...

KING: Powell is going to like this selection?

GREENFIELD: You bet. But it is interesting to try to figure out what the Democrats are going to say about this.

KING: That's where we go now.

GREENFIELD: OK, well, you know, the Republicans -- the Bush campaign is already signalling folks like me: Go look at what was said about Cheney when he was up for defense secretary. And indeed, you'll find a senator named Al Gore praising him and saying, you know: We have enormous respect for you -- also Gore saying: We disagree deeply on the issues. And I think you're going to see that the connection with Bush and Ford and the conservative voting record is where they're going to go.

I don't think they're going to go after Cheney -- at least publicly -- on any personal grounds. What happens on the health issue underground will be interesting to see. But they are just going to say: Look, look at this man's voting record. What Ed Rollins said admiringly, Democrats are going to say critically. This guy is a very able fellow who happens to believe the following things on choice, on guns, on a whole raft of issues. And that's where I think they are going to go.

I don't they are going to go and say anything terrible about him. They are just going to say: This guy stands for the wrong things.

KING: Bob, will health be an issue? I mean, is it going to come up?

WOODWARD: Indeed it will come up. An it's fair to examine it. I mean, you know as much about heart surgery as anyone.

KING: I never...

WOODWARD: I mean, you went through it at the same time. Do you have to go to the hospital? Do you have to get checkups?

KING: No, ten years later I needed a stint. I needed angioplasty. And they tell you that most people who have this -- and I'll ask Mr. Cheney about it -- I'm sure others will as well -- whether he has -- does he need acu -- not acupuncture -- does he need a procedure that's a two-day procedure using stints to open a valve if it closes? Generally, you need a workup at 10 to 12 years.

WOODWARD: He went through the Gulf War, which was a period -- and the build up to it -- of absolutely maximum stress, and work, and constant tension, and doubt, and reexamination, and there was no sign then that he had problems.

KING: We will take a break and come back and find out where the Democrats go with all this in their selection after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Let's include some phone calls before we talk about who Mr. Gore might select as his running mate.

Dallas, Tex -- again, all of this is presumptive -- the announcement is expected tomorrow -- Dallas, Texas, hello.

CALLER: There is a perception that Governor Bush has gotten where he is because of his father's name or his father. By picking Cheney, doesn't this feed into this perception that, you know, about Bush picking one of his father's old advisers. Doesn't that lead to that perception?

KING: Jeff.

GREENFIELD: I don't think so. I think you're going to hear some -- if there's any kind of sub rosa off-the-record snarling on the part of Democrats, it will be that, oh, he reached back into the past. But I -- I just think, having gone through the rigors of a campaign, Governor Bush has answered that question.

And by the way, I'm not so sure that George Bush the father is seen -- is seen as that much of a negative in America. Some of the dissatisfaction with this president's personality, I think, redounds to President Bush's advantage.

ROLLINS: Equally important, the great strength of the Bush administration was the foreign policy team, and this is a tremendously weak foreign policy team by any measurement. With Baker, with Cheney, with Scowcroft, they were viewed as real heavyweights, and I think the president was viewed -- if you're picking the treasurer secretary, Brady, but then maybe you'd have some problems. But I think the reality is this a good choice.

WOODWARD: And there's one story that's kind of interesting, when Bush and Cheney had to pick a new chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and they were looking at Colin Powell. Powell had been Reagan's national security adviser and then was back in the Army at a command in Atlanta, Georgia. Powell thought he was out of the running, and Cheney went down to interview him, And Cheney's very smart about politics. And what he was trying to find out is whether Powell had what Cheney called the Al Haig syndrome, mainly somebody who had served in the White House and felt they were God and untouchable, and discovered that Powell did not have this particular syndrome. And they made him chairman of the join chiefs.

KING: Los Angeles, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Has anyone thought about Mrs. Cheney? I find her quite strident, and I wonder, if people get excited about Hillary, are they going to go nuts over Lynn Cheney?

KING: A co-host of Sunday "CROSSFIRE," another -- a CNN graduate, Lynn Cheney.

Do you think, Jeff -- well, if you co-host "CROSSFIRE," you've got to be a little strident, right?

GREENFIELD: Well, it's -- yes, I guess it's a little different from C-SPAN.

KING: You don't get the job. GREENFIELD: I had actually heard, and I -- you know, Bob and his sources know this, that actually when Dick Cheney was first approached by Governor Bush that he actually suggested maybe Governor Bush wanted to look at Lynn as a vice presidential candidate. I don't know if you've heard anything like that.

ROLLINS: I -- I can tell you...

KING: Hey, that's not...

ROLLINS: I can tell you, though, when he left to go be secretary of defense, I was running the congressional campaign committee. The first choice to replace him Lynn Cheney. She could have been governor of Wyoming, she could have been a senator from Wyoming, she could have been the congresswoman from Wyoming. She was extremely popular and did a very effective job when she was chairman of the endowments.

CARLSON: But she chose CNN. What does that tell you?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Seattle, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: With all the coverage of Bush choosing a vice president, will Gore be pressured to give a name in the next few days?

ROLLINS: It would be foolish if he did.

KING: They were rumors that he might do it next Friday, the day after the Republicans.

ROLLINS: No, it would be foolish for him to do it. He has plenty of time to pick, and you have to run your own campaign. You can't let the other side run your campaign. And there's all kinds of speculation that he has to pick a George Mitchell or someone to offset. But bottom line is people vote for president; they don't vote for vice president.

He needs to pick a guy that he's compatible with, and the reality is he's got plenty of time to do that.

KING: Do you know -- do you know Vice President Gore, Bishop Jakes?

JAKES: I have met him, yes.

KING: And are you impressed with him as well?

JAKES: Yes, I am. I think the two men are very, very different. I think one of the things that they have in common that intrigues me and excites me is that they both understand and appreciate that there is a component for faith-based entities to participate with the government in bringing healing to the community. Both of them are using that kind of rhetoric. It's going to be interesting in the days to come to see how much of that rhetoric becomes reality.

But I am excited about the potential that both of them are beginning to understand that there is a role that we can play, though they are very different in their perspective in working together with healing the community.

KING: Jeff, if Al Gore called you and said, "Who would be my best choice?" what would you tell him?

GREENFIELD: First, I'd tell him I'm a journalist and that he has very highly paid, skilled people who should advise him. But actually...

KING: But...

GREENFIELD: But having said that, I think Al Gore's problem is totally different from George Bush's, which is why I think the notion that Dick Cheney pushes Al Gore in one direction or another is just ill-founded.

Al Gore's, first of all, got a much narrower choice. Ideally he should pick a big-state governor from a swing state to match his Washington credentials. Except for Gray Davis in California, which is not a swing state, those states are all governed by Republicans. And if the idea is that Al Gore wants to change people's impression of him that has been built up over eight years as vice president, he would have to get somebody so amazing that I think it would be unprecedented.

I mean, he'd have to -- he'd have to persuade Colin Powell to run with him for people to go, holy smokes, now the whole campaign looks different. Maybe your fellow -- my fellow panelists disagree, but it's hard for me to even imagine who Al Gore picks that fundamentally changes people's impression of him.

KING: Doesn't Graham fit that, a governor and a senator from the state of Florida? He was the very popular governor and a very popular senator.

GREENFIELD: Indeed he is, and that's the one person you could see going to -- I mean, he's now a senator -- who might bring a state into play. But does it change the notion, people's notion of who Al Gore is?

CARLSON: Oh, no, it reinforces it. If there's any public, sort of politician on the national stage who's more meticulous and more sort of repressed it's probably Bob Graham of Florida. On the other hand, Bob Kerrey, who is kind of in some ways...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

CARLSON: That's absolutely right, sort of the John McCain of the Democratic Party, it could be an all-Vietnam ticket, you know, both of them would have gone to Vietnam. I don't know. I think he could be genuinely exciting.

KING: Let me get a break and pick right up where we left off. More on who Gore selects. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: OK. Strategist Rollins, this is -- now, I'm going to ask you to wear the hat of being a strategist. If Gore asked you who should he pick, who would be the best candidate to run this race with?

ROLLINS: He needs to step -- you know, he's been in the shadow of Clinton. So he basically needs someone who meets the credential of being able to step up and be president. It may help him with the Midwest states, someone like Governor Bayh of Indiana, which traditionally is a Republican state, Bayh has won two terms there as a Democrat. He would be a good choice.

KING: Good choice, Bayh, even though he probably doesn't know him.

ROLLINS: Doesn't matter. They get to know them real quick.

KING: Bob.

WOODWARD: But -- well, there's -- there's another factor here. In selecting somebody to be your vice presidential running mate, history shows in a sense you are picking a president some day, because most of the vice presidents go on to be president. So there should be one criterion. Who would make the best president of the United States if the presidential candidate was elected and something happened to him?

KING: So who?

WOODWARD: Well, I think what Gore is going to have to do is in a sense not follow the Bush model, but follow the criterion of who's totally qualified to be president: somebody who's had an immense amount of experience that again is not just in one area. Senator George Mitchell comes to mind.

KING: How about John Kerry, Jeff Greenfield? Tucker mentioned the all Vietnam ticket. That would be an all Vietnam ticket.

GREENFIELD: He's young. He's a good campaigner. He doesn't bring you anything geographically, because the Democrats, you know, carry Massachusetts. But this is the kind of thing that we'll be going through for the next or two weeks, because now that we think we know who the Republicans are it's all we've got.

I'll tell you, Larry, if he wasn't only 24 years old, Tiger Woods would be a hell of a choice. He's from four different -- he's from four different ethnic groups, and he gets the corporate vote because he golfs, which is the unofficial religion of America.

But you know... KING: And he resides in Florida, big state.

GREENFIELD: But I do think that, you know, it's going to depend on what Gore thinks his message has to be. I think the Bob Kerrey notion, because Kerrey backed Bill Bradley, because he's relatively independent, makes sense. A Joe Lieberman from Connecticut, who is a kind of model of rectitude, who has been very strong on social issues, squeaky clean -- that's somebody who sends a message.

But as I say that because the question about Al Gore is so focused on who he is, that at a time of peace and prosperity the incumbent vice president hasn't made the sale yet tells me that the vice presidential choice may not matter nearly as much to him as it would be for a less well-known figure like Governor Bush.

KING: Bishop Jakes, do you think a Jewish person on the ticket could be -- could help a ticket?

JAKES: I certainly don't think it would hurt the ticket at all. I think beyond the ethnicity or even the faith factor, the personal faith factor of the individual comes their ability to deal with the issues at hand.

I really respect the American people to the degree that I believe that they're able to look beyond ethnicities, personal faith, religiosity and so forth. And I believe that the campaign ultimately is going to be a very issues-driven campaign, and we're going to look for a team in the White House who reflects the issues and the concerns of the American people.

KING: Bob, you were going to say?

WOODWARD: Well, I...

KING: Would Lieberman help the ticket?

WOODWARD: I mean, that's a -- again, it's somebody who hasn't had executive experience as such, and I think it's very important when Gore announces or when Bush announces who he finally has picked as his running mate that you immediately say, yes, that person could be president tomorrow.

KING: That's the first thing you should say. We'll be back with our closing comments from each of the panel right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Get in one more call. Miami, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Should Governor Bush have any concerns by picking a man of Cheney's age and who's been in politics, a career politician? Should he have any concerns about alienating the younger voters, such as the 18-35 demographic?

KING: How old is he?

ROLLINS: Fifty-nine. I mean, he's -- us ball-headed...

KING: But he's selling...

ROLLINS: ... Us ball-headed heavy guys sometimes look a little older.

KING: But the 22-year-old probably doesn't have an association with this.

ROLLINS: They don't, but the truth of the matter is once again the presidential candidate has to turn on the voter. It's not the vice president -- no one's ever voted for a vice president yet. It's all -- Bush has to turn on the young voters or Gore has to turn on the...

CARLSON: I think even 22-year-olds might be a little taken aback if Bush picked a 22-year-old? I mean, that would be a pretty bold statement.

KING: But a vice president can win -- Lyndon Johnson won the election for John Kennedy. He brought him Texas.

CARLSON: Yes, it's probably, yes, one of the factors. But I mean, it's a different...

ROLLINS: The games are different today. I mean, no one controls a state like Johnson did or Daley did in....

KING: Is this race even, Bob?

WOODWARD: Best information is that it is.

ROLLINS: Absolute dead-even.

KING: Absolutely dead-even?

CARLSON: Yes, I'd say.

KING: Jeff, what caused that? I thought Bush was ahead by 10 points.

GREENFIELD: I will issue a mild dissent from that view, I think, because I think the national polls may be a little misleading. I think, if you look -- if I had to look at the terrain right now, I would still give the advantage to Bush because of where he is ahead in what states. But I think what basically happened is the Democrats put a huge amount of advertising on television. Gore's message become more traditionally Democratic, more populist. And two months ago Gore was getting a relatively smaller piece of the Democratic vote than Bush was of the Republican vote, and some of those Democrats have come home. I certainly agree it's close, it's competitive. It's not like '96 where the race never changed from April to November. We don't know who's going to be the next president. And you know, I'm -- for that I'm grateful.

KING: Are you going to watch the conventions, Bishop Jakes?

JAKES: Yes, I'm going to be watching them very closely.

KING: Do you think the public will watch them?

JAKES: I think we're all going to be watching. I think we're trying to find a blend between competency and character. That's why the issues that were raised in The Washington Post are somewhat significant, I believe, to voters, because we're trying to find someone who has both the competency to run the country and the character to maintain themselves and ford through the stream of adversity that will confront them as a president.

I respect the fact that both men have expressed a personal faith and yet hopefully understand that the presidency transcends our individual distinctions so they can represent all of the diversity in this country.

KING: Will the public watch, Bob?

WOODWARD: Yes, I think so, because people realize -- I mean, what the numbers are, who knows. But it really matters who's president of the United States. I think people are absolutely convinced of that.

ROLLINS: These are also two very good representatives of the two different parties today. Bush really represents the new modern Republican Party and Gore clearly is the new centrist Democratic Party.

KING: Tucker, do you think people will watch?

CARLSON: I...

KING: I mean, no, you know, ABC...

CARLSON: I mean, it's soft of the fashionable thing is to say, oh, it's all just a spectacle, but spectacles are important. People go to weddings. I mean, I don't know. All the pomp and circumstance and phoniness mean something ultimately.

KING: Jeff, do you think they'll watch? Most people are saying they won't.

GREENFIELD: I think fewer people will watch certainly than watched when conventions decided who the nominees are. I think people will tune in and watch the acceptance speeches, because they are the clearest messages the candidates put forth and still are one the thing that happens at a convention that at least in my view are really important politically. But I don't think we can kid ourselves. We at CNN will be there for those people who take this process seriously. But it's a different process than it was a generation or two ago.

KING: And we will certainly be there. I thank you all very much.

Thank you, Bishop Jakes and the rest of our panel...

JAKES: Thank you.

KING: ... for joining us.

Tomorrow night, we are -- I don't know how they're going to set this up: Nine women are in the United States Senate, Republicans and Democrats, and they're all going to be with us tomorrow night. Nine -- the nine women of the United States Senate will all be on LARRY KING LIVE tomorrow night.

Stay tuned for CNN. As the vice presidential announcements are made, you'll see them first right here of course as we stay on the scene. And of course, we'll be heavily involved in the conventions with two live editions of LARRY KING LIVE every night in Philadelphia and in Los Angeles.

Thanks for joining us and good night.

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