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Larry King Live

The Women of the Senate Discuss 'The Women of the Senate'

Aired July 26, 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, they have changed the face of the most exclusive political club in the world: the nine women of the U.S. Senate, All here in Washington: Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas; Senator Barbara Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland; Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California; representing the same state and the same party, Senator Barbara Boxer; from the state of Washington, Democratic Senator Patty Murray; one of Maine's two women senators, Republican Olympia Snowe; and Maine's other GOP senator, Susan Collins.

Also with us is Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana. And Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas. And they are all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We're almost out of time, so we better move it along. This is the first time I have ever interviewed an entire baseball team in one sitting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly right.

KING: And these are female members of the United Senate. I don't think we have ever had nine people -- nine women in United States Senate ever. They are all involved in a new book called "Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate." There you see its cover, written with Catherine Whitney. The proceeds from the book sales go to Girl Scouts of the USA.

All of them appeared today at book signing at Washington's Union Station. They were mobbed, sold over 400 books, and signed them all. We thank you all for coming. Before we get to the genesis of the book -- well, let's get to that first. How did this come about, Kay?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: Barbara Mikulski had a group of women from Northern Ireland -- from both factions -- and she asked us to come in and talk to them about how we worked together as unifiers, even though we are different parties, different backgrounds, different states. And it was so inspiring that I got with Barbara Mikulski, and I said: I think we should do a book for American women and girls that encourages them that they can overcome obstacles, that they can have leadership styles that contribute. And that is how it started.

KING: And Senator Boxer, each of you write a chapter. Is that the way it lays out? SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: We were all interviewed by Catherine. And it was really interesting, because she would hit us with questions. And we would think back to the days when it was quite different than it is today. I think what's wonderful about the book -- and I really have to thank Kay and I have to thank Barbara, because they really pushed us to do it -- is that, even though we are so different, we all have struggled to get where we are today -- and overcame different obstacles -- personal, political.

And it has made me really admire these women so much. I really have developed, well, kind of a love for them if you want to know the truth.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes we get mad at each other, but it has been a great experience.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

Senator Snowe -- so, therefore, the chapters are basically the result of the interviews with you, formed into your words.

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: That is exactly right -- and talking about different issues, whether it is triumphs, or balancing acts, or what motivated us, our backgrounds. And that's interwoven with examples from our personal backgrounds and, you know, professional and political experiences. So it gives people an idea of how we came to be in the political process. And each of us, I think, you know, catapulted into the political scene from different perspectives, a different frame of reference.

And I think what makes it interesting. You know, we are not politically cohesive obviously, if you look at us from a philosophical standpoint, but we are personally cohesive.

KING: Senator Feinstein, the concept of the book's going -- the proceeds going to the to Girl Scouts, was that sort of a -- you sat around saying: We want to give so it someone? We don't want...

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: That was a mutual agreement. I mean, we are all trying to find a group which represented upward mobility for young girls. And certainly the Girl Scouts does a wonderful job, so we were all just delighted with that.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Senator Mikulski, were you all Girl Scouts?

(CROSSTALK)

SENATOR BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: I was a Brownie and flew up to being a Girl Scout, and flew up to being senator. Now, we're working on even other badges.

KING: You were a Brownie? MIKULSKI: Yes.

KING: Do you remember your Brownie song?

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: I have something in my pocket.

KING: Go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

MURRAY: I have something in my pocket that belongs across my face. I keep it very close at hand in a very convenient place.

MIKULSKI: On my honor, I promise I will do my best.

KING: All right, you are the dean of all this, so we will start with the newest member of the Senate. And this will be same question for all of you. What entertained the idea of joining what has been called the greatest men's club in the world? Senator Lincoln?

SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN (D), ARKANSAS: Well, for me, I served in the House for four years prior to coming to Senate. But, basically, it was my upbringing. I was raised about two very, very active parents, who taught me early on: Don't complain about things you are not willing do something about.

KING: But as a kid, you saw Senate was pretty much with -- what --- Margaret Chase Smith was the exception -- was male.

LINCOLN: Yes. Well, we had a woman from Arkansas in 1932 -- Hattie Caraway was one of the very first women. She followed her husband, her deceased husband, and then went back and ran -- with Huey Long's help -- to be reelected, actually.

KING: Was it a goal, Senator Landrieu, of yours to be in Senate?

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Not only wasn't it a goal, it wasn't even a thought. I mean, I really didn't think when I growing up that I would ever be in elective office, let alone be a senator. So it sort of happened, Larry, as things do in life, kind of by accident. You know, an opportunity presented itself, you walk through the door. Before you knew it, another door opened. I got elected at early age, loved politics, loved government, thought I could make a contribution.

Before you know it, there was a race for Senate. I got in it and won -- so, happy to be here and to join all of these wonderful women.

KING: And Senator Collins, was Senator Snowe kind of your heroine getting elected two years before you?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: She certainly was. I think Olympia and I were very lucky, because we grew up in a state that was represented by a woman senator, the legendary Margaret Chase Smith.

KING: She was the one.

COLLINS: She was. And I realized, in talking to my colleagues, how lucky we were to have that role model. Margaret Chase Smith was senator the entire time I was growing up. And like my colleagues, I also was fortunate to be raised in a family where both my mother and my father were very active in the community and in state service.

KING: Have we gone past it now, Senator Murray? Do you think it now doesn't matter?

MURRAY: I think that there are still challenges for women out there, but I think the statistics, are really amazing, that in the history of this country, only -- well, 1851 people have served in the Senate, There has been only 15 women who have actually have been elected to six-year terms. You are sitting with nine of them.

KING: And there have never been nine.

MURRAY: Never been nine before. We are the first nine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never in all of American history.

KING: We will a break and come back. We will get to issues and lots of other things. They are all very friendly now. Wait.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The book has a unique beginning. One of the brightest men ever in American politics senator Adlai Stevenson said once:

HUTCHISON: "In America, any boy can grow up to be president."

KING: And he said that in 195...

HUTCHISON: '52.

KING: ... 2, when he was running for president.

HUTCHISON: Yes. And then, in the book, it takes each of us and where we were in 1952 when we were not tapped in his -- quote...

KING: Senator Mikulski, when you were a kid, and you were interested in politics, and you looked at things like the Senate, did you ever say: I could be in the Senate?

MIKULSKI: I didn't even think about it, Larry. In 1952, in Baltimore, everybody in politics was old, wore bowler hats, and had pot bellies, had names like Tom, Dick, Harry. They didn't have names like Barb and Blanche.

KING: But women didn't think, as teenagers: I'm going to be in the Senate?

MIKULSKI: Well, I think we admired Margaret Chase Smith. And we admired Claire Booth Luce. But, really, what I admired were the women in own my family who were in business. Mom helped run the grocery store. My grandmother had the best polish bakery -- the nuns, who encouraged us to go out and be active in our community.

KING: But the Senate wasn't in your mind?

MIKULSKI: No, the Senate, but being active in the community was. And this is what you are going to read about in the book. Just about every single one of us got started in politics not because we had a game plan or tickets to be punched, but because we wanted to go out and make a difference in our community.

KING: When did you think, Dianne, I could be...

(CROSSTALK)

FEINSTEIN: Well, I ran for governor. I didn't think. And, you know, if you are mayor of a big city...

KING: Which you were.

FEINSTEIN: It's kind of a dead-end street for most. And that is just the way it is, particularly in the '70s and '80s, that they were tough decades. I ran for governor in 1990 -- didn't make it, but came very close. And all of my people came to me and said: You know, you really shouldn't stop here. You should go for the Senate. And I thought long and hard about it, because it was a real change, and leaving family, developing two lives, moving away from a state and city I loved -- and decided to do it.

And it becomes a fundamental change of perspectives, of issues, of lifestyle, of everything.

KING: Senator Boxer, when did you say: I can be a senator?

BOXER: Ha, when I was 12, when a Adlai Stevenson made that comment -- and now you are all adding up how old I am -- I wanted to Debbie Reynolds, to be honest. I mean, being a senator, that wasn't on the horizon. My mother, a good Democrat, loved Margaret Chase Smith. She said: Imagine what it must be like for her. But, believe me, my mother didn't think that I would wind up there. Nor did I.

And it truly happened, as Barbara Mikulski said, getting involved. In my case, it was the Vietnam War, which I was very concerned about. I had little kids at the time, and I said: This is a mess. And I looked at the kids and I said: I don't want them to grow up and have to go to war like this -- truly like that.

KING: And you thought Senate?

BOXER: And one front foot in front of the other. No, I didn't think Senate. I thought Board of Supervisors...

KING: Something.

BOXER: ... then House of Representatives, and then Senate. MIKULSKI: We all thought things like city council, state rep.

HUTCHISON: Sometimes, it's taking a failure and turning into it something that is better. I graduated from law school, couldn't get a job in a law firm, so I became a television news reporter, covering legislature, because I was a lawyer. And because I had name identification, I was asked to run for the legislature. I would be a partner in a law firm today if my dream had come true. But it didn't.

MIKULSKI: I was on my way...

KING: Which is one reason she doesn't knock the media a lot.

MIKULSKI: I was on my to get a doctorate in public health and got into a fight to stop a highway going through the neighborhoods of Baltimore -- helped save community and put me in the city council.

KING: Senator Murray?

MURRAY: I got mad. I got mad at the....

KING: You got mad.

MURRAY: I got mad. I got mad at a legislator who told me I couldn't make a difference because I was just a mom in tennis shoes. I went out to prove him wrong.

KING: Senator Snowe?

SNOWE: Well I served in a legislature back in 1973 after my first husband died.

KING: That the woman's place. We allowed you in the...

SNOWE: Yes. That is exactly right. And I was interested in politics growing up, but I had never planned to run for public office. I wanted to do something to help others. And one thing led to another. And I served in the House and State Senate. And then ran for Congress in '78, and...

KING: Senator Collins, are there times you pinch yourself -- and I say that as -- not just if you were a woman -- I would say it if you were a guy, I'm in the Senate.

COLLINS: Absolutely. Like Dianne, I ran for governor first. But unlike Dianne, I did not come close. I lost rather badly. And went on to work at a college in Maine. And when Bill Cohen decided not to run again, I had hundreds of people call me, who had supported me, and say: Go for it. And I was willing to take the risk, because I really wanted to serve the people of Maine.

KING: Senator Landrieu?

LANDRIEU: Like Susan and Dianne, I ran for governor and lost the race and was ready, after 16 years, to maybe think I should do something else -- and then ended up being encouraged to run for the Senate. But, you know, I come from a political family

KING: Of course.

LANDRIEU: But I grew with my father being in public office, my mother home with nine children she had in 11 years. And I thought I would grow up and be like my mom -- marry someone in politics and have nine children. Thank goodness that that did not...

KING: So, all of you obviously overcame obstacles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: Senator Lincoln?

LINCOLN: Well, unlike these, I didn't. My first elected office I ran for was the U.S. House of Representatives against a 24-year Democratic incumbent in a primary. So I kind of just jumped out there.

KING: And won?

LINCOLN: Yes, and was successful -- defeated the Democratic incumbent, and went on to win the general election and served two terms, and then...

KING: And as a rule of the Senate, do you keep quiet in the early years? Is that still a rule?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: It doesn't work with this group. We'll be right back with more. We're going to get into some -- it's starting -- we're going to get into some current issues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Dianne Feinstein correctly pointed out, all of these people started at local levels, right -- staffing, local jobs.

FEINSTEIN: Yes. Well, and cities councils, boards of education.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Boards of supervisors.

FEINSTEIN: And Larry, if I could say one thing. You make a long-term commitment to care about people, to work in public service. I know how disappointed I was when Shirley Chisholm, a member of the House, ran for president. She didn't win and she dropped out. And I thought at the time, what a loss. And I think here the commonality among all of these women is that they have earned their spurs, that they have worked their way up. And now, they are part of greatest deliberative body in United States.

KING: And three of you are up for reelection. The rest are not. And there's -- assuming the three up for reelection win -- for assumption's sake --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's true.

KING: The nine return. There are four other women running nationally in other states that could win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: What if one of them is Hillary?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: No, let's say Hillary is in the Senate. Obviously, she is going to get a lot of attention. She will be the only senator with Secret Service protection. How that will affect, do you think, the other women?

HUTCHISON: We'll want Secret Service protection.

KING: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: What effect that will play?

MURRAY: Larry, Larry. Barbara Mikulski, when each one of us came in -- she was here before any of us.

KING: She is the only one from the '80s.

MURRAY: Right. And when we came in, she invited us to her office, showed us the ropes, invited everybody else to be part of it as they came, I'm sure she'll treat any woman -- and both bipartisan to do the same. We have dinner once a month, and she will be invited.

KING: Do you expect -- let's -- we're using Hillary as hypothetic -- Hillary to join that crowd, or be regarded as above it?

SNOWE: No, she'll be part of it, because you have to work in the Senate. And it is a very personal...

KING: You can't start at the top?

SNOWE; No. It's one-on-one. It's informal. You have rules. It's a great equalizer.

(CROSSTALK)

SNOWE: Exactly. You have to get along.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it doesn't matter whether you come from the first family...

KING: But would you bothered if she got all the attention?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. (CROSSTALK)

HUTCHISON: We are experts. And I don't think that there will be that kind of encroachment. Now, she will have her issues and she will speak. But I think there is a question. I think Rick Lazio is running a very good race and is.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: This is all iffy.

MIKULSKI: But every Democratic woman that I have talked to that's running all ask me the same question: How do I get started? How do I be effective. And meeting with Hillary, she had the same set of questions that the Debbie Stabenow had, the two women in your state. But I think that is one of the things that keep in mind.

KING: Do you all get along?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: I mean, whether you are politically apart. Have you argued on the Senate floor...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: Do you argue off the Senate floor?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: But it is -- you vote against each other, but it is a kind of club in that -- this I know for fact -- very often you will root, even though you may say other things publicly, for members of the other party to win, because you've gotten friendly with them.

(CROSSTALK)

SNOWE: Well, that we can work together, as well.

FEINSTEIN: Kay and I just sponsored a bill to reauthorize the breast cancer stamp, which all of us supported. We worked across party lines and...

(CROSSTALK)

HUTCHISON: We worked across party lines... $14 million for breast cancer research already, and we are extending the stamp now for two years, working together across the party lines.

KING: How are you treated generally, senator, by the male majority? That is a general question.

COLLINS: I think that each one of us is respected by our male colleagues, but we had to earn our stripes, we had to prove we could do the work. I think that's the difference. I think with -- when men come into the Senate, it's assumed they are and can do the work, whereas women have to prove it, but each of us has done that, and enjoys the respect of our colleagues.

MURRAY: We've been very welcomed, and I think that we -- you know, really, I want to say on behalf of men of the Senate, I think that they have, you know, treated us equally and respected us.

KING: See no macho scenes or anything?

LINCOLN: No. They -- I think they have been very quick to, you know, to receive us, but I think Susan is right, that you definitely have to earn your stripes. When I first came, being the youngest women in the history of our country in the United States Senate, and one of our senior male colleagues came up to me and said, "You know, you're the age of my granddaughter." And I said "Yes, sir, and I bet she is glad I'm here." And he said "Yes, as a matter of fact, she knew about you."

But, Larry, remember, any senator, because of the rules of the Senate, can shut down the Senate. So each of us, we have to be treated equally, because you know, you just have to do that. And, you can really have that equality. I wish every woman was in a job situation like we are, where the power of the job means you are in equal footing.

KING: We'll be right back with more of the ladies of the Senate. The book is "Nine and Counting: The Women of the Senate." "Counting" means they expect more.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The book is available everywhere, by the way, and now we'll get into some political questions.

Senator Hutchison could not have been asked, because you're from the same state. Senator Snowe, were you questioned by Dick Cheney about a possible vice presidential nod?

SNOWE: No, I was not.

KING: Why not?

SNOWE: I was not.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's my candidate.

SNOWE: Well, thank you.

KING: Senator Feinstein, have you been questioned by the Gore people?

FEINSTEIN: Yes.

KING: You have. So are you on the list?

FEINSTEIN: Oh, I don't believe I am, but I have been questioned.

KING: Vigorous questioning?

FEINSTEIN: I don't know if the question was -- questioning was vigorous, but I have been questioned.

KING: OK, let's get into the selection by Mr. Bush of the man by the way who -- by the way, the guest here last night Dick Cheney -- Dianne asked me a good question before we went on.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: ... would they have been bumped of course, and the answer is, of course they would have been bumped. This was the new vice president. This is his first interview, are you kidding?

(LAUGHTER)

LANDRIEU: Nine women bumped for one man.

KING: Nine men would have been bumped, too.

MIKULSKI: No, Larry, usually on Wednesday night, I'm watching "The West Wing," but tonight we're on with you, maybe this is a rehearsal.

KING: OK, what did you think of the Cheney selection, Senator Hutchison?

HUTCHISON: I was very pleased. I think he has a stability. He complements Governor Bush. I think they are a very good, solid team.

KING: Senator Collins.

COLLINS: I think it is a great team also. He brings foreign policy and defense expertise, and that makes the ticket even stronger.

KING: Senator Snowe.

SNOWE: I think he's a terrific choice. I served with Dick in the House of Representatives. We were in the same class in 1978, so I got to know him, and I think he's outstanding, and I think he's going to be a great running mate for Governor Bush, not only for loyalty, but also, most importantly, qualifications.

KING: And what does other side think, Senator Mikulski?

MIKULSKI: Well, I served with Dick Cheney, both in the House, and then knew him as secretary of defense. I think he was just really a swell guy personally. But I certainly didn't like his voting record, guys like voting against Head Start.

KING: He said last night because it was budgetary.

MIKULSKI: Well, but he still voted against it, and that's really the way we get our children started in our society. Also, his position on choice was far more narrow than I think mainstream America. But I think America will get a look at him, and they'll make up their own mind.

KING: Senator Landrieu?

LANDRIEU: I think it's a good balance for the governor, you know, who perhaps needs a strong foreign policy person, which he obviously brings. So I think they all look a for balance. In this case, he might have found that good match for himself.

MURRAY: I think our Republican colleagues answered U.S. Republicans. He's a good choice for the Republicans, and I think all of the Democrats here believe that we will have a better candidate for the Democrats.

KING: Are you happy that he was chosen?

MURRAY: I think it shows a real contrast between Democrats and Republicans. But I think the interesting thing is you're asking us a partisan question, and we all really respect each other. We wouldn't be have written a book together, be here tonight, if we didn't.

KING: Obviously.

MURRAY: And I think one of the things that really shows up as women, is that we can talk about these issues and show respect for each other, and be friends at the end, and I think that is an important component that women bring to this.

KING: It's important, don't you think, Barbara, for the public to understand that, that you can disagree and not make it a radio talk show?

BOXER: Absolutely. We've disagreed among ourselves as Democratic women on certain cases, and we've had disagreements across the party line, but it has nothing do with the way we respect each other and like each other.

KING: Now on the other side -- and we can pick this up after the break -- if you got a call right now from Vice President Gore, saying who do think I should have run with me, what would you tell him?

LINCOLN: Who do I think?

KING: Just give me some input.

LINCOLN: Well, I think there are some fabulous popular...

KING: Anyone jump out at you?

LINCOLN: Right at the moment? We have some great colleagues -- Dianne Feinstein. KING: You all want Dianne. All of you would want Dianne to be chosen, right?

LINCOLN: Yes. She'd be a great addition to the ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She certainly would, certainly.

KING: She's got eight votes right here.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll be right back. We'll reintroduce our panel. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back.

Let's reintroduce our panel. They're the coauthors of "Nine and Counting: The Women of the U.S. Senate" on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. And they are, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, the dean of the women in the Senate, first elected in 1986, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, elected in 1993, the first Republican woman in the Texas legislature; Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, elected in '92, and she was the former mayor of San Francisco as well; Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, elected in 1992; Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, elected to the Senate in '92 -- she campaigned as the mom in tennis shoes; no, she is not wearing them tonight; Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine, the only person to serve as the state's first lady and one of its senators at the same time; Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, elected in '96; Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, the youngest women ever elected to the Louisiana legislature -- she went to Senate in '96; and Senator Blanche Lincoln, Democrat of Arkansas. In '98, she became the youngest women ever elected to the U.S. Senate.

Senator Boxer, you were telling us that the Gore people, Warren Christopher, quizzed you about Dianne.

FEINSTEIN: Oh yes. He quizzed me about my ideas. First on my list, my buddy, Dianne. And we'll see what happens.

KING: OK, let's get to some concepts in the news and what you think. The failed peace talks; start with Senator Landrieu.

LANDRIEU: Well, we were all disappointed. It would have been, you know, it would have been a wolf step to take. I really admire the president for the time that he spent on the issue, and for both leaders, but you know, it was a real disappointment, because this is a part of the world that is, you know, that is very important for stability and peace everywhere. So we hope that, you know -- the next couple months are going to be critical, and we hope to not lose some of this momentum, and pick up.

KING: Senator Snowe, President Clinton said this tougher than Ireland and England, tougher than anything in Bosnia. This is tough.

SNOWE: This -- yes, obviously, and I think we all recognize that it would have been very difficult to reach an agreement, but I think it sets a foundation. Even though they weren't able to achieve anything specific in this agreement, but, perhaps, it made, you know, some steps forward, in the process. And, you know, at outset, it might have been helpful to have set some, you know, benchmarks even though they may not have been able to agree in the overarching issues, such as Jerusalem, for example, but perhaps some little milestones that might have helped to move it forward even.

KING: Apparently they've done that.

Senator Hutchison, if the Bush team is elected, do you expect him to continue in the same vein with regard to the Middle East, being an activist, being involved?

HUTCHISON: I certainly think that President Bush would want to try to be a part of bringing peace in the Middle East. I think that he would want to make sure that the parties came together, and that it was in their interests, and at their instigation that we would try to forge something. I don't think he would ever want America to force something on either party, but he would like to see peace, and I think he will certainly take the next step.

KING: Senator Murray.

MURRAY: I think whoever's elected president has a responsibility to keep trying to bring this region to peace, and I don't, you know -- I think we're all disappointed that the talks didn't result in, you know, a major settlement, but I think all of us here have negotiated very tough deals on bills, and know that any talks you have,are progress. You have laid some kind of foundation, as Olympia said, for the next step.

KING: You've had a deal with defeat, right? All of you have...

UNIDENTIFIED SENATORS: Yes. Yes. Yes.

KING: ... to deal with knocking down one? Is that one of the tough aspects of the whole political game, not handling the winning, handling the losing?

FEINSTEIN: As they say, winning may not be everything, but losing has nothing to recommend it, believe me. I've done both, and I know which I prefer. But life is filled with defeats, and you just pick yourself up, and you go on. I mean, some of us, we've worked on bills, we've worked our hearts out on bills, and then go nowhere, and it's very frustrating. Political defeat is very hard, because you've got a lot of people that believed in you, and I think that's -- you know, it is very a hard.

KING: Is compromise, Senator Mikulski, the toughest part of your job?

MIKULSKI: No. Compromise is... KING: You have to compromise, don't you?

MIKULSKI: Of course you have to compromise, and try to find a common ground to be able to move an agenda forward. Sometimes you're successful, sometimes you're not, but you get out there and you try. But you see, I think this goes, what Dianne just said about defeat is one of the reasons we wrote this book, Larry. People come to see us in the Senate, and they say, oh, nine women in the Senate, they think we have limousines, they think we have mansions, they think we have powdered wigs -- we don't have time to powder our nose.

And what we wanted to do in our book was to show, yes, we are successful, lessons learned on how to be successful, but at same time, how we've had to cope with everything from child care to elder care, how we've had to deal with life's disappointments, how to balance work and family, that we are kind of the life of every woman, and we wanted to encourage others to really get involved in this.

SNOWE: On the issues -- and then when you're talking about issues, I think it's also important to realize, by virtue of our presence in elective office, we have also been able to have an impact on policies that affected women and working families in America.

KING: All of you.

SNOWE: Essentially we discovered, you know, about a decade ago, that women were excluded from clinical study trials, in matter of life-or-death matters. Barbara Mikulski and I we teamed up on that issue alone. I mean, we discover that we were able to effect policy, and that makes a big difference. Society accepted deadbeat dads, for example.

KING: Do all of have you spouses?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most.

KING: Not all of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not all.

LANDRIEU: But you know, Larry, I was about to say, I mean., when we talk about issues like child care and elder care, we can actually come at it from a personal experience. I'm raising, Frank and I are raising two small children, 8 and 3. Blanche and Steve have two twins. When Patty came to Senate, she had a young child. So we're grandmothers, and mothers, and some of us taking care of older parents. So the issues...

KING: You're working mothers.

LANDRIEU: And while there are men who are parents, I think our roles are somewhat different, and we bring an interesting perspective and I think a much-needed perspective to those issues, education, child care, family issues. KING: Does a women in politics have to have more moxie?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I've got to get break, but I want you to answer this.

HUTCHISON: No. I think we bring our own styles to the table, and I don't think there is a mold that we have to fit into. But, I do think that perseverance is important. Of all of the traits we have in common, perseverance is the link, because...

KING: Do you need that more than your male counterparts?

UNIDENTIFIED SENATORS: Yes, yes.

HUTCHISON: Because we will have failures, we will have failures, and we have to have the guts to get back up and use it to be successful.

KING: May I ask you in a minute the worst part of the job, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back.

Senator Feinstein wanted to add something on the Middle East, and then I want get into...

FEINSTEIN: I was just going to say, I think this is particularly dangerous time. I think President Clinton is about as good a negotiator as one gets.

KING: He's an arbitrator here.

FEINSTEIN: And he's an arbitrator, but he really knows how to do this, and if there was a wedge, if there was an opening, he would have found it. I think the fact that this couldn't have been put together now, I think the fact that Yasser Arafat made the commitment to declare a unilateral state in September, makes this a very dangerous time and very precipitous time. And I...

KING: Iraq told Governor Bush told us, by the way, and Governor Bush told us last week, that Clinton worked 24 hours a day on this, that he never saw anyone work harder. So maybe, Dianne, do you think she might have a point here, Kay, that this -- is if it couldn't happen, it's a long way from happening?

HUTCHSION: Well, I'm of the view that there may be a base laid that we don't know, and that something could happen any time. It may be September, it may be January, may be two years from now or five years from now.

(CROSSTALK) FEINSTEIN: ... enormous chances in this negotiations. Prime Minister Barak basically has lost his majority over these negotiations. So that is an unparalleled opportunity for the Palestinians to get this deal done, and they didn't take it, and that...

LANDRIEU: But let me also say, this is very difficult, because the framework of this accord, you have to go into details of -- but you have to agree to all pieces before it can be all done. So they came to agreement on many of the pieces within the accords, but there were two particular. So it's tough. It's a tough area of the world, and Dianne is absolutely right, it's a dangerous time.

KING: Worst part of the job, Senator Boxer?

BOXER: I think not really having control of your schedule that much. And you can ask any of us before the show started, Kay, do you know when we we're getting out. We're getting out tomorrow? We're getting out Friday? We have families. Dianne, and I, Patty, we're going to the West Coast almost every week. And so I would have to say that's tough, you know. I love living in California. I love working in the Senate in Washington. So it is a tough life.

KING: What's the toughest for you, Barbara, who has just to drive here?

MIKULSKI: Yes, I commute every day from Maryland. I would say the -- one of the toughest things is the schedule, how to really balance being able to be with your constituents, work on your committees, and be able to have a life with your family. But in addition to the tough part, you know, you heard my colleagues just talk about the Middle East. Larry, one of the points we want to make in our book, even on your show, is that we think every issue is a woman's issue. There is not one issue here that we aren't prepared to really discuss, whether it's the economics security of the United States, the national security. Three of our colleagues are on the Armed Services Committee.

So sometimes when they think about women in the Senate, are we going to take three basic issues that are traditionally women's issues? You bet we are. But at same time, we really, among ourselves, feel that every issue is a woman's issue and that's why...

KING: But you are separate and apart, or there wouldn't be a book -- there wouldn't be a book "Men of the Senate?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There might be. There might be now.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

SNOWE: I passed the Senate library the other day, and I saw Alan Drury, which is a novel, "Public Men."

KING: Worst part of the job for our freshmen or fresh-woman? You're not a fresh woman. What are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's a sweet woman.

(LAUGHTER)

LINCOLN: I have to say that coming from the house, you definitely appreciate the gain in flexibility in the Senate, but you lose all predictability, as Barbara says, in terms of your schedule, being able to maneuver through that schedule, with twin boys that are 4.

KING: Yes, but you've got a six-year deal; you don't have to go back every day, you don't have to run.

LINCOLN: You still have to know what constituents are thinking. You bet I go back to Arkansas.

KING: But your constituents are the whole state.

LINCOLN: That's right. And I go home at least twice a month, if not three times a month.

LANDRIEU: Larry, there are different aspects of this job that are tough for all of us, but Blanche and I were laughing before the show. When Barbara was reading until midnight last night, I was reading "Balto, The Bravest Dog," and she was reading "Jack and the Beanstalk," so we have trouble catching up on reading at night sometimes with the kids.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll pick right back up with the women of the Senate -- all nine of them -- our- LARRY KING LIVE baseball team.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Senator Collins, looking at all of this, how well you all get along, what's with this one? Senator Boxer and Senator Hutchison, they don't agree if the sun rises in the east.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Let's be logical. Yet they -- everyone seems to genuinely like each other, and have a common bond.

COLLINS: We do have a common bond.

KING: Is that just because you're women?

COLLINS: It's because women who have gone through the process of running for office, regardless of our ideologies, regardless of our backgrounds, do have a common bond, and that does unites us.

MURRAY: There are only nine women in the whole country who do our job and understand the pressures and things we do.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: What's the worst part?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we get along.

HUTCHISON: One of the pressures that's helped us is we don't expect the others to vote our way. Barbara Boxer represents a very different state from mine. Mary and I are allies on issues that Barbara and I disagree on. So we cross lines, and we don't expect others to vote another way. So when we can come together, we are a powerful force. We have given homemaker IRAs, breast cancer -- paying for breast cancer mammograms by the age of 40, for insurance companies, mammograms standards, breast cancer standards. We've done a lot together. And when we do ban together, we're powerful.

KING: But there's that generic thinking that might occur, like, do you let emotions get carried away?

HUTCHSION: No.

FEINSTEIN: We all have emotions, but...

KING: There's no crying in the Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.

MIKULSKI: Not in public.

(LAUGHTER)

BOXER: Actually, there was crying in the Senate over Paul Coverdell, and it was men and women, yes you bet, and there was crying, by Phil Gramm, and I'll tell you, it moved my heart to see that.

HUTCHSION: But we don't cry over issues.

SNOWE: One of the things about getting together is that it sort of erases barriers. And you know, I'm sure this is where institution used to be, is that people got to know each other on a personal level, so they didn't allow, you know, the day-to-day differences and the arguments that would occur during debate during the course of the day in the Senate, to get in the way of getting along, which is changed, and that concerns me.

MIKULSKI: We will go over party lines to work together. When Kay and I worked on spousal IRA, eyebrows were raised that we were working together. That laid the groundwork, though, for convening the women for these dinners, where we have...

MURRAY: But the reason we get along we take the time to know each other, and we do that by getting together for dinner once every four or five weeks.

KING: Oh, you do? The nine of you?

MURRAY: Very informal. The nine of us.

KING: There will be a time this happens, and whether this is rough. OK, Senator Landrieu us up for re-election. There's a Republican running against her. Senator Hutchison, he'd like you, or she'd like you, to come in to your state and campaign against her.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: ... said something publicly about that, and I don't mind saying it here, that if my leadership asked me to go campaign against one of these women, I have told them I won't go.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So have I.

LANDRIEU: And I just feel strongly about it.

KING: That's very different from your male counterparts.

(CROSSTALK)

LANDRIEU: But we haven't had enough of us, Larry, and I sort of think that there is a way to handle that, but I really respect these women, and I know what they've been through, and, you know, we don't all agree on everything, but we agree on a lot of things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I couldn't do that either. I couldn't into a state and campaign...

HUTCHSION: I will campaign for Rick Lazio, because I know him, and he is my friend.

KING: And Hillary is not an incumbent.

HUTCHISON: But I will not campaign against anyone sitting here.

KING: You wouldn't campaign against Senator Feinstein?

HUTCHISON: I will not.

KING: None of you would campaign against...

MIKULSKI: I think we have to fair here. When Olympia was running the first time, George Mitchell asked us to go up.

KING: Well, but she wasn't in the Senate.

MIKULSKI: No, but we did. And I will tell you, it was one of the most melancholy things I ever did.

KING: Even though she wasn't in the Senate?

MIKULSKI: No, but I apologize to Olympia.

KING: For campaigning against her. MIKULSKI: Yes, and I will tell you, because this is a great woman, and we were asked by our party to do it. And it was an unusual circumstance. But I think we all learned a lesson from that, which is that we are not going to campaign against each other. We are going to duke it out in the Senate. We have different issues, different parties. But I think we all feel that every one of us has made a difference and we want to support that. When we have been together, we have brought about change. And we are proud of each other. And we don't want to campaign against each other.

FEINSTEIN: I want to say one other thing on that. This is a lonely place. Washington is a hard place. It is the most partisan place I have certainly ever been in. And there is a mean edge to that partisanship. Our solidarity, our ability to break through it, our ability to be human in each others' company, I think knits the kind of bond that, frankly, sets an example for the men.

KING: We are going to take a break, come back with our remaining moments -- we have flown by -- and we'll get some closing comments from each of our guests. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Are we going to see a woman president, Senator Boxer, in the nearly immediate future, do you think?

BOXER: I say 10 to 20 years, 50 women in the Senate, and a woman in the White House, or VP -- 10 to 20.

KING: Senator Hutchison.

HUTCHISON: I think in the next cycle that is open, one of our major party candidates will be a woman. And I think the next party that is open will have one as well -- meaning Republicans and Democrats will have a major candidate.

KING: You have a great name for it, Senator Lincoln.

LINCOLN: Actually, we like (CROSSTALK)

KING: Are you?

LINCOLN: My husband is, yes.

KING: Are we going to see a woman president?

LINCOLN: Oh, certainly, I think so in my lifetime.

KING: Yes, but your lifetime ain't my lifetime. You think so, Senator Collins?

COLLINS: I do, but I think what we'll see first is a woman vice president. And I think that will happen after George Bush has his two terms in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A dissenting view here. KING: Senator Murray?

MURRAY: Oh, I think we will. And I think what's happened is, as woman have progressed, and gotten into the U.S. Senate, and into governorships, we accept that more and more. And what it is really going to take is -- each one of us had to take a risk to run for the U.S. Senate -- it is going to take a woman who is willing to take that risk. And it's going to take women to get behind her. And when that happens, we will be...

KING: Is it going to be a rough race this fall, Senator Mikulski?

MIKULSKI: Oh, I it's think going to be a rough race.

KING: I mean, you've got a woman running, right -- vice president of the Green Party?

MIKULSKI: Yes.

KING: Nader's vice president is a woman.

MIKULSKI: Yes. But I don't think that will be the rough part.

KING: You're gaining some strength.

MIKULSKI: I think that -- I think that, really, you've got two pretty aggressive men running for the presidency. And, hopefully, though, that they are going to stick to issues, and ideas. And I think one of the ways we need to deal with cynicism is get off the prickliness.

KING: Hopefully. Do you think that is going to happen, Senator Snowe? Do you think it will be an idea-related race? Issue-oriented?

SNOWE: Absolutely, I do.

KING: You do.

SNOWE: Yes, I do, because I think that is what the American people want.

KING: Will the debates decide it, you think?

HUTCHISON: I think real issues differences will come forward. I think the Democrats and Republicans will talk about different issues. And I think they will have different views. And people will have a choice. And I think that is good.

KING: You are all attending your individual party conventions, right? Are any of you speaking?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. All the Democratic women are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will be there.

KING: The Republican women are not?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't that amazing?

(CROSSTALK)

HUTCHISON: Well, there isn't very much time, you know. The networks are...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on.

MIKULSKI: Larry, the Democratic women are opening the convention on Monday night on a family first agenda. You are going to see us live and in person.

KING: You are all -- you will be signing books at your individual (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: In Philadelphia -- and you will signing in Los Angeles, right? It's home town for you.

FEINSTEIN: Yes, San Francisco.

KING: Do you have worries about protesters?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: No, I mean, where it getting out of hand, any fear of...

LANDRIEU: Larry, we had got a great crowd today -- you mentioned when we opened. But we were really surprised. I mean, I walked into Union Station said: What are all these people shopping for? And they said: Mary, they are here for the book signing. And so, it was a wonderful crowd. People were excited, interested, so we are happy. The book is for them. The book is for...

KING: This is a wonderful book.

HUTCHISON: Larry, this is the first copy we have all signed for you.

KING: Wow! I'm really honored.

HUTCHISON: We think that there are some pointers that will help you here.

KING: Especially if I read the Republican side, right? No, this is for all of you.

(CROSSTALK)

HUTCHISON: That's right -- perseverance -- we want to persevere in your failures.

KING: Persevere in my failures.

HUTCHISON: That's the message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to read the child care part, too, Larry.

KING: Yes, you know about that, right? Ladies, it's been a delightful hour. I wish you every success. And I love the way you get along and go along.

HUTCHISON: Well, thank. You have made it interesting.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: My best to all of you.

MIKULSKI: And a special thanks to all Girl Scout leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That's true.

KING: And I don't think I have interviewed nine people all at once. I hope we all got somewhere a semblance of equal time.

Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, Larry.

KING: We thank you very much for joining us, as well. Another edition of LARRY KING LIVE tomorrow night. We will talk about talk show hosts and their influence and things they get into today on American radio -- Catherine Deneuve on Friday night -- and Saturday, live from Philadelphia. We'll be at the convention all next week.

For all of women of the Senate. Thanks for joining us. And good night.

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