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Larry King Live
Republican National Convention: GOP Salutes American Veterans, Three Former Occupants of the Oval OfficeAired August 2, 2000 - 0:00 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the GOP salutes American veterans and three former occupants of the Oval Office.
We'll hear from President George Bush, one very proud father, plus another exclusive sit-down with President Gerald Ford.
And then, some partisan commentary from the honorable Ann Richards, the former Democratic governor of Texas, and Jack Kemp, co- director of Empower America and Bob Dole's running mate in 1996.
Also with us is Pat Robertson, founder and president of the Christian Coalition, and Art Linkletter, spokesman for the United Seniors Association.
They're all next on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE at the 37th National Republican Convention.
Good evening, and welcome to part two of LARRY KING LIVE. We have two shows every night at 9:00 and, tonight, a little past midnight.
We're halfway through the GOP convention here in the City of Brotherly Love. Included on tonight's agenda, tributes to Republican President Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush.
I sat down for a one-on-one with former President Bush earlier today. The first question: Is he nervous about Thursday night?
GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yeah. I am, Larry.
KING: Yeah, it figures.
PRES. BUSH: I'm not nervous that George won't do well, but I'm just nervous as a father, I mean, about the whole thing.
KING: What do you make of all -- I mean, to come back to town and your name is the featured name, a Republican...
PRES. BUSH: It's exciting.
KING: ... convention, Bush is the headliner.
PRES. BUSH: It's exciting, and I wouldn't have predicted it several years ago, but -- but what seems to have happened here in Philadelphia is the party is together. You don't see a lot of divisions there on the floor, a lot of -- a lot of controversy, and I think George so far has done a wonderful job in uniting the party and then reaching out, and so I -- I think that's kind of the mood.
And I just love to be sitting about row six watching our son. Last night, it was our daughter. Daughter-in-law. And then I sat next to George's twins, and one of them had tears in her eyes, and the other was a little nervous, and -- you know, it's a family thing.
KING: If I'd have said 10 years ago your son is going to run for president, would you have said Jeb?
PRES. BUSH: Ten years ago -- let's see. Ten from 2000 would be 1990. Well, I would have said that right after that when the two of them started running for governors, maybe seven years ago, that -- that maybe Jeb had the better chance and, thus, would have been projected on to the national scene sooner if he wanted to be. Jeb is minding the store in Florida and doing a superb job, and voters say that. But maybe so. Maybe so because George would have -- was up against an icon, Ann Richards.
KING: Ann Richards.
PRES. BUSH: Yeah.
KING: No slouch.
PRES. BUSH: Yeah.
KING: As you know.
PRES. BUSH: Remember the Ann -- I don't want to get into that. I've been told to stay out of controversy, Larry.
KING: So you can't call him "my boy" anymore.
PRES. BUSH: Can't do that. Yeah. You know what? For -- done that all my life. I did that, and then...
KING: What did they get mad at? He's your boy.
PRES. BUSH: It wasn't mad. It was just kind of a bunch of people wanted to use that against him for some reason, but we've overcome that. Now they've got a kind of muzzle on me. I got instructions coming down here from Barbara, your big admirer, and she says, "Don't you get Larry taking you in any controversial stuff." "Don't worry about it."
KING: OK. It won't happen.
PRES. BUSH: I'm going to have...
KING: The big story is that you called Colin Powell and asked him to run with your son.
PRES. BUSH: Wrong. Wrong. Total 100-percent fabrication. Why? Because Colin made very clear to me and subsequently to George that he wasn't interested in running for vice president. That was, oh, two years ago, and so, no, that just did not happen.
KING: What did you make of his speech?
PRES. BUSH: Loved it. Loved it. And what I liked about it -- the -- you know, on an item in the speech -- was the way he adopted these new ideas and forcefully advocated these new ideas for education. I thought it was wonderful. Voucher. School choice. Can -- teachers are failing these kids. Support the good teachers. Help make those inner-city schools better. And it's all right in line with what our son is thinking and what he's doing in Texas.
KING: Is this a new party?
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, it is. It's better, it's more inclusive, and -- I think it is. I'm wondering, Larry -- now this may get me in trouble with Barbara...
KING: Go ahead.
PRES. BUSH: ... but I wonder whether the Democrats are going to have an inclusive campaign in terms of -- well, take the sensitive issue like abortion. I mean, heavens, they wouldn't even let the governor of Pennsylvania speak at the Democratic convention. Why? Because he happened to be on the other side of the abortion question from then President Clinton.
KING: Your party did turn down even a statement in the abortion question, "We accept all views."
PRES. BUSH: Well, listen, you're going to have people that are -- as Colin said, pro-abortion and pro-life or pro-choice all speaking. Will the opposition do that? I loved an editorial in "The New York Times," said, "This is George Bush's opportunity to show a big tent," meaning pick a pro-choice person. Now will the editorial still say the same thing, "This is Al Gore's opportunity to show a big tent," pick somebody that favors life?
KING: Who do you think...
PRES. BUSH: It's going to be interesting.
KING: Who do you think he will pick?
PRES. BUSH: I don't know.
KING: What's the back-room political talk?
PRES. BUSH: I'm so far out of the back room I don't know, and I don't think any of the speculation that you're reading about is really knowl -- based on knowledge, just as the speculation in -- in -- saying, "We know who George W.'s going to pick" -- it was wrong. KING: Were you glad it was Cheney?
PRES. BUSH: Yes. I think it's a superb choice, Larry.
KING: Your guy.
PRES. BUSH: Well, he's everybody's guy. He was a fantastic congressman, great chief of staff in the White House, fantastic secretary of defense, steady, knowledgeable, respected abroad and at home. I mean, this is a great choice, and most people are playing it that way. Most -- except, you know, if you're on the other side, you've got to carp, and you've got to criticize.
KING: Well, it's fair.
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, that's right. We're going to go after who their guy is.
KING: What are you going to do in the campaign?
PRES. BUSH: Stay the heck out of it.
KING: You're not going to...
PRES. BUSH: No.
PRES. BUSH: I am not going to -- well, what we've done is help on fund raisers. Quiet...
KING: But you're -- you will not be making a speech in...
PRES. BUSH: No.
KING: ... Louisville before...
PRES. BUSH: Nothing. No.
KING: How about Barbara?
PRES. BUSH: Hey, listen, I'm the guy that -- for whom it's said that English was a second language. They don't want me out there.
KING: How about Barbara?
PRES. BUSH: We might unleash her.
PRES. BUSH: We might unleash her. You ought to get her on here. You want to somebody who's -- to sit and make a little news? Barbara will be more frank than I am.
KING: When is she going to come on?
PRES. BUSH: Get her going. Fire her up.
KING: Yeah, she'd be good.
And your health -- I mean, you look -- you're 76. You do look amazing.
PRES. BUSH: Come on, Larry.
KING: You don't do anything, right? No surgery? Nothing? How do you do it?
PRES. BUSH: Well, I'm going to. I've got a hip problem. I can't -- I can't move too well.
KING: When are you going to have...
PRES. BUSH: I feel good. Well, probably in Dec -- early December. It was -- it was going to be August 5th, and I said, "I can't do this." We've got George P. and Jeb coming up to Maine. We've got George's twins. We've got the rest of the family, and I'm not going to be limping around there on a crutch when they're all out there.
KING: And what are you going to be like, knowing you, election night?
PRES. BUSH: Election night? Probably a...
KING: Basket case.
PRES. BUSH: Basket case is what I was looking for, Larry. Thank you. No. Really. It's too much.
KING: More than when you ran, right? It's -- a son...
PRES. BUSH: Well, more than when I ran, yeah. Of course, a lot depends on how it's looking. I mean, I think Mary Matalin and I were the only two people in the world that thought I was going to win on election -- only, but I -- so I think a lot depends on how things are looking then.
But, in any event, with George and Laura out there, I will be a very, very nervous dad, and so will Barbara. That's what it's about. It's not -- it's not about these issues, believe me. Nobody -- everyone thinks it's a legacy thing or entitlement or...
KING: The Adams family.
PRES. BUSH: The Adams family. Which one? No, but -- no, they...
KING: The Adams. The Kennedys. The Bushes. American...
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, I don't like that. I mean, I have great respect for families and all, but I just don't -- we don't feel entitlement. We don't feel the legacy thing. You know, hey, these -- both these sons are in the arena. They're doing a great job. The voters approve of them, and I -- they don't need me burdening them with my views or my jumping in to criticize.
KING: Taped earlier with former President George Bush who was honored tonight, as were former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, and as we go to break, here's a scene from that -- from -- from -- I think we have a scene. Anyway, we'll go to break -- and we'll be right back with President Ford -- as we see a standing ovation for former President Bush.
KING: Gerald Ford, 38th president of the United States. We talked earlier today. I reminded him of an interview we did eight years ago during the GOP convention in Houston when Ford told me he believed the Republican Party was leaving people out. So my question is does he think the party is more inclusive now?
GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm very impressed, Larry. This year, I see a major effort being made by George W. and his associates to bring people in. They made an effort to get Colin Powell. They brought Dick Cheney in. They're bringing in some of the governors that have a fine, fine record. He's gone to the NAACP, made a speech that was a welcoming one. There isn't a single area so far that he hasn't reached out to bring people in under the umbrella.
KING: Do you enjoy coming back to these conventions? You've been now -- you've been to so many Republican conventions.
FORD: I've been to 11 Republican conventions...
KING: That's one-third of all of them.
FORD: ... out of -- out of 14. I came here in 1940. I was one of those young turks that ran around the arena. "We want Wilkie (ph). We want Wilkie." And we got him. The only three I missed was when I ran for Congress myself. I thought I could do better for my campaign to campaign home. I missed the one for Eisenhower when he was overwhelmingly reelected, and I missed one when I was way out in the Pacific fighting a war.
KING: You -- you mentioned Dick Cheney. Were you disturbed by some of those early votes?
FORD: Not at all. I served 25 years in the House, so I know that a member of the House, to get reelected, has to reflect the views of his constituents, and Wyoming is a conservative state, and they have certain resources that have to be protected. Dick Cheney was following the mandates of his own constituents, and that's a very legitimate role for a member of the House to play.
KING: You are pro-choice.
FORD: Yes, sir.
KING: Is this party open to pro-choice believers?
FORD: Well, they've accepted Betty and me. I guess they...
KING: But the platform discounts you.
FORD: We understand that you have to make major concessions. We're pro-choice and proud of it, but we don't condemn the people who feel otherwise. That's a legitimate ideological view. I wish we could get abortion out of the political arena, but -- if we did, we could solve it more quickly and, I think, more successfully. But the fact that George Bush welcomes people like myself and Betty who are pro-choice is indicative that he's building the tent that will give us a victory.
KING: You're 88 years old. Are you going to do any campaigning?
FORD: I will do whatever George W. and Dick Cheney ask me to do. I will not go on a week-long, day-after-day, campaign jaunt, but if they want me to go to a certain area where maybe my view, my opinions might be helpful, I sure will go because I think it's a classy ticket. First class.
KING: You like George W.
FORD: I like him very much. I think he's a better candidate -- or he's running this campaign -- I'll put it that way. I think he's running this campaign better than the one run by his father a couple of years ago. George has learned from the mistakes that were made in the last Bush campaign, and, so far, I think they're producing good results.
KING: What do you think of Al Gore?
FORD: I have known him...
KING: A long time.
FORD: He was a little boy because, when I first went to Congress, his father was a very prestigious member of the House of Representatives. He was probably one of the finest orators in the Congress at that time, very liberal. He was much too liberal, as it turned out, in his home state of Tennessee because he was beaten by Bill Brock. But Al Gore, Sr., was a person that had the attributes to run for president himself.
KING: First-rate guy.
FORD: He could give you a stem-winding (ph) speech that would knock you cold.
KING: What do you think of his son? FORD: Little too mechanical. I compare him to his dad. His dad, you know, would walk into a room and would dominate it by his talent and his showmanship. Albert, Jr., I think, is a little too mechanical, not as spontaneous as he ought to be.
KING: Do you have any thoughts as to who might he pick as vice president?
FORD: I am not on the inside, Larry.
KING: I know, but be a pundit.
FORD: My -- a guess would be George W. Mitchell from Maine, former governor, former Democratic leader in the Senate. He would be a tough campaigner for the Gore ticket and would tend to offset the -- the assets that Dick Cheney has.
KING: And do you expect a close race?
FORD: Absolutely. These polls are interesting because they're close. So I think you're going to see a race that will come right down to the -- the last votes that are being counted.
KING: We'll be up late that night.
FORD: I think so. As you may remember, I lost by 1-1/2- percentage points, and we didn't concede until the next morning...
KING: I remember.
FORD: ... because there were some states that were coming in. We -- if we had won one or two, we would have won.
KING: And, finally, how is your health? You're 88.
FORD: I should correct you. I was just 87, Larry.
KING: Oh, good. Live longer.
FORD: I'm looking forward to it. But, anyhow, I couldn't be healthier. Betty and I are having a magnificent life. Fifty-two years of married life, and four great children, 15 grandchildren. Everything is breaking just right, and I'm delighted to be here at this convention after going to so many for so many years. It's -- it's a thrill to come back to Philadelphia.
KING: Gerald Ford, honored tonight as was the other former Presidents Reagan and -- and Bush at this second night of the 37th annual convention.
When we come back, Ann Richards and Jack Kemp. And there is Gerald Ford as the crowd salutes him and Betty. We'll be right back with the former governor of Texas and the co-director of Empower America, former vice presidential candidate next. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: Later on, Pat Robertson and Art Linkletter and Bill Schneider will join us for a unique, eclectic group.
Speaking of eclectic groups, Ann Richards, the former Democratic governor of Texas -- she's in Washington -- Jack Kemp, the co-director of Empower America, former congressman, great quarterback star, is here with us in Philadelphia.
JACK KEMP, CO-DIRECTOR, EMPOWER AMERICA: Thank you.
KING: How did night two...
KEMP: That was the price you paid.
KING: How did night two go?
KEMP: Oh, well. Condoleeza Rice -- fabulous.
KING: Was it her night?
KEMP: Oh -- well, John McCain and Condoleeza Rice and the ex- presidents, but I think it bothered some people that the Republicans are totally unified and united and have a good message and get it across, and particularly with Colin Powell last night -- I think I've mentioned last night with Ann Richards, and when the American people saw Colin Powell and then Condoleeza Rice, they would see a team that George Bush and Dick Cheney have put together that can help lead this country into what I'm going to call the possibility of a golden age of democracy for the world.
KING: Ann, the -- it's been said that the Republicans were the white bread party, yet if elected, you may have a black secretary of state and black national security adviser.
ANN RICHARDS (D), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: Well, if you do, I -- that would real -- be real progress, and I would congratulate the Republicans. Johnny-come-lately.
I've been thinking about this whole business about -- what would the Democrats do, you know, to -- to show that somehow they were a different and new party? We would hardly want to exclude people just to prove that we -- we were different. We've been inclusive in our entire history, but -- and the best thing I've seen about tonight is that jacket that Jack Kemp's got on.
KEMP: Thank you.
KING: Oh, you like that.
KEMP: I like your red dress, too.
KING: Were you impressed with the way they're getting off at 11:00 Eastern time, Ann? I mean, this is a well-run operation. RICHARDS: Oh, come on, Larry. This thing is so sanitized and -- no pun intended -- whitewashed, you know. I feel like -- I like feel like I'm -- I'm sitting here watch -- oh, watching some masquerade ball with everybody dressed up in their suits, and they -- you know, Cheney and Bush -- neither one of them have been in the armed services, and by association, they're trying to...
KEMP: You better be careful, Ann. You're talking about your own party now.
RICHARDS: I -- hey, I'm not complaining. Let me tell you what. I sat here tonight, and I seriously thought about my father who served in World War II, about the toughness of that war, about my dad saying to me when he was at the naval hospital in San Diego -- he said, "Man, I have seen boys shot up so bad." He said, "I don't ever, ever, ever want to see anything like this again," and I think you have to be really careful the further you get away from war, Larry, to extol the virtue of war instead of...
KEMP: I think, Ann -- with all due respect to the governor, I -- I don't think there was anyone tonight or last night that was extolling the virtue of war. What basically Condoleeza and certainly Colin Powell and General Schwarzkopf and John McCain were saying -- the answer to peace is to be strong, to be direct in your foreign policy, that wars are needless, and they can be stopped before they begin, and I -- I really believe with all my heart that we need that we need a new foreign policy not based on bombs and bombastic statements, but based upon democracy and trade and freedom, and bring into the world an open mind and an open heart by the United States of America.
So you're - methinks the lady protests a little too much about color and Republican Convention...
RICHARDS: I am simply telling you...
KEMP: ... for so long - just a minute, Ann...
RICHARDS: ... that that's what I thought tonight in reference to...
KEMP: I appreciate that. With all due respect, all I wanted to say was...
RICHARDS: And I think a lot of people thought that.
KEMP: ... Ann, Ann - I respect that...
RICHARDS: Jack, Jack.
KEMP: ... Well, I was going to say that for so long the country has been divided over the issue of race and color. And we admit that.
What George Bush is trying to suggest tonight is that we're going to compete with the Democratic Party for every single vote. That ought to be good. It's good for democracy, it's good for black folks and brown folks...
RICHARDS: I hope so, I hope so...
RICHARDS: ... will follow it, Jack.
KING: All right, let me get a break, and we'll come...
RICHARDS: ... not just that you'll show case them...
KEMP: ... talking to somebody who has lived it and walked it.
RICHARDS: Affirmative action is a perfect example...
KING: We'll be back. Hold on, guys. Hold on.
RICHARDS: ... of where the Republican Party is out of step.
KING: We'll be back with more of "Crossfire" right after this. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZA RICE, BUSH GLOBAL POLICY ADVISOR: George W. Bush challenges us to call upon our better selves, to be compassionate toward those who are less fortunate, to cherish and educate every child, descendants of slaves and immigrants alike, and to thereby affirm the American dream for us all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. Tomorrow, by the way, they'll be back in the 9:00 period. We certainly appreciate their staying late.
In a couple of minutes, Robertson, Linkletter, and Schneider, as we said, a very eclectic group.
John McCain tonight, how did he do, Governor Richards?
RICHARDS: Well, I thought he was terrific. And I couldn't help but think when he came on that, boy, would this be an entirely different race if John McCain were on this ticket. But obviously he is not.
I think he's a great guy. I also remember what he said this spring. And that was that in foreign policy and in defense, you needed some experience, and that briefing papers and advisors weren't going to do it. And he was talking about George Bush when he said it.
And I want to tell you frankly that I felt that no one is going to have to go on the podium at the Democratic Convention and explain why Al Gore is qualified to conduct foreign policy and defense. No question about...
KING: All right, what did you make of it?
RICHARDS: ... the fact that he knows how to do that.
KING: Jack, what did you make of McCain tonight?
KEMP: Yeah, I thought he did a terrific job.
KING: It wasn't a rip-roaring. It was reflective...
KEMP: Well, he - they were sincere. It was very positive for George Bush. He made it very clear where his heart is.
They ran a tough race against each other. And Ann is from the state where Lyndon Johnson joined John F. Kennedy in 1960. And that was a marriage that was not made in heaven. Let me put it that way.
So clearly, McCain did what he should have done for his future. I'd like to see him secretary of defense. Put Powell and Rice and McCain and Cheney together. With George Bush's leadership, you've got a great team.
KING: This is, you would certainly admit, Ann, a very strong ticket coming in, don't you think? They're ahead in the polls. Cheney gave them a bump.
RICHARDS: Yeah, they're ahead in the polls now. I heard some numbers today that sort of made me feel good, though. So we'll see what happens with the bounce after this convention and what happens going in.
But one other thing I want to tell you, Larry, that no one mentioned tonight. And that is if the Republicans get all the tax cuts that they've proposed, there isn't any extra money for defense.
KEMP: Oh, come on, Ann. That is...
RICHARDS: I'm just telling you that...
KEMP: You and Mario Cuomo say that every single time...
RICHARDS: That is an absolute fact.
KEMP: ... This government is awash in a surplus. And we can afford to cut tax rates on marriage, on dying, and on income from working. So don't worry about it...
RICHARDS: And if you use all the tax cuts... (CROSSTALK)
RICHARDS: ... you will not have a dime...
KEMP: That's what you said about Reagan...
KEMP: You said the same thing. And revenue doubled.
RICHARDS: You can holler all you want to, Jack...
KEMP: In eight years, revenue doubled.
RICHARDS: ... There's only so much.
KEMP: We cut the...
KEMP: Wait a minute...
RICHARDS: You're not going to have defense money.
KEMP: ... Oh, give me a break.
KING: OK, I'll tell you what, guys.
RICHARDS: I would, I would if you were right.
KING: All right, tomorrow night, they'll be on earlier, and it might even get hotter.
Thank you both very much.
KEMP: Oh, it was a pleasure.
KING: Thank you, Jack. Thank you, Ann.
RICHARDS: Good night, Larry.
KING: Reverend Pat Robertson, Art Linkletter, and William Schneider. You figure the next one out after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Republican, Democrat, or independent, if you believe America deserves leaders with a purpose more ennobling than expediency and opportunism, then vote for Governor Bush.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Sometimes we like to bring you unique pairings. This could be it.
Reverend Pat Robertson is president of the Christian Coalition, a one-time presidential candidate back in 1988. Art Linkletter, the ageless one, a spokesperson for United Seniors Association. He was head of the President Reagan commission on fitness and physical education and a former ambassador to Australia. And our own William Schneider, CNN senior political analyst, who has been confused with Dick Cheney. Is that true?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. The Democratic Party put out a flyer showing my picture and Dick Cheney's picture. And the caption was "separated at birth" question mark.
KING: Look at this.
SCHNEIDER: Well, I'm not sure we look exactly alike. But we do use the same hairdresser.
KING: That's Cheney on the left, by the way.
KING: Pat Robertson...
PAT ROBERTSON, PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN COALITION: Yes.
KING: ... how is this convention going?
ROBERTSON: It's prepackaged. It is slick. It is homogenized. It is pabulum. And I hope it accomplishes what the guys want it to do. But it's not going to energize the base unless they change something in the next day or two.
KING: Do you feel left out in a sense?
ROBERTSON: Well, not particularly because I understand the game. But there are some good guys in the Congress who aren't having a snip at this convention. And I think there are going to be some injured feelings before it's all over with.
KING: Art Linkletter, what's your read?
ART LINKLETTER, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED SENIORS ASSOCIATION: I am an optimist. What I see, I believe. What I heard...
KING: You sit there and say yes.
LINKLETTER: ... I thought it was just great. What do I know? At 88, I...
KING: At 88, anything is great.
(LAUGHTER) ROBERTSON: One more day is great.
LINKLETTER: The most startling thing that's happened to me at the convention, I was going through security today. And the guard passed, says, "Come right in, Senator." And I said, "Senator who?" He said, "Aren't you Senator Strom Thurmond?"
KING: You got confused with - oh, you're...
LINKLETTER: That's the truth. And I walked right in, sat down in the senator's seat...
ROBERTSON: And joined the South Carolina delegation.
KING: What do you make of this convention, which as you pointed out to me earlier, Bill Clinton has not been mentioned, impeachment has not been mentioned?
SCHNEIDER: Al Gore has not been mentioned.
KING: Al Gore has not been mentioned.
SCHNEIDER: My God, he's running against Al Gore. And it's like he doesn't exist.
KING: What's the point? The point is we want to include everyone.
SCHNEIDER: We want to include everyone. And I called this. And I agree with Dr. Robertson. This is the de-Gingriching of the Republican Party. What they're trying to say is, "We're not mean, nasty guys. We're not divisive, harsh, confrontational. Forget that Republican Party."
The Gingrich revolution, the Houston convention. They haven't mentioned impeachment. My God, they drove the impeachment thing.
KING: And do you therefore think that that's throwing out the base or avoiding the race?
ROBERTSON: I don't think - the president is so popular that there's no sense in going to the impeachment game. They've played that card. Don't do that again.
But you have to give people a reason why this party is different from the other party. What we're saying is we're the good Democrats and they're the bad Democrats.
That's what we're saying, really. And people look at this, and they say, "What is this?" And I really believe there has to be some difference.
Larry, back in '92, I begged - and I've used that term advisedly - begged the Bush campaign, I said, "Please get tough on Clinton." He's very vulnerable. The state of Arkansas is in appalling condition. Get tough on him. And they wouldn't do it. And they played right into that "it's the economy, stupid." They played right into their hands. And the economy was going in some bad shape.
Now the economy is very good. And Gore is going to trumpet the fact that it's a good economy. And we've got to have some differences with the Democratic Party.
LINKLETTER: Well, of course, the president doesn't make the economy good. Congress gets a lot of credit. The make the payments. They make the appropriations. And they pass the bills.
Clinton deals out what money he can in various ways. I think that the Republicans are off to a good start. And I disagree with you in effect because I think that you can't promise everything that you want and get away with it. You want more things than...
ROBERTSON: I don't want to promise them - I just think there has to be some delineation of how come we want to vote for this guy besides the fact he's just a wonderful human being, and he's got a lovely wife, and a great father.
KING: This is not a strongly conservative guy. The platform is conservative in some areas. But basically this is - as he might say, right? - this is a wing of the Democratic Party. Inclusive, let's all get everybody up.
SCHNEIDER: Bush has a very interesting technique that seems to be working. When he deals with conservative issues like abortion and gay rights, he endorses the conservative position. But he also embraces their adversary. So that he refuses to sign a hate crimes bill, but he welcomes gay Republicans to Austin. He supports a hard line position on abortion, which I don't think you could complain about...
ROBERTSON: Not (INAUDIBLE), that's right.
SCHNEIDER: ... on the party platform, but he says people who support abortion rights are welcome in the Republican Party. Colin Powell appears before the convention. He supports abortion rights, affirmative action. The polls show most of these delegates disagree with Colin Powell, but they embrace him.
He endorses their positions. He embraces their adversaries. I'd call that smart politics.
KING: It might be called Clintonian.
SCHNEIDER: Clintonian, exactly.
ROBERTSON: I think that's why Clinton is just absolutely going out of his mind. These shrill cries...
SCHNEIDER: "I'm back!" (CROSSTALK)
ROBERTSON: ... "What are you doing to me?"
LINKLETTER: Because Clinton has opted for every position that the Republicans started.
KING: And what he's saying is that's what Governor Bush seems to be doing.
SCHNEIDER: And isn't turnabout fair play? It worked for Clinton.
KING: It's not bad.
SCHNEIDER: It's not bad at all.
KING: We'll be right back with Robertson, Linkletter, and Schneider. Don't go away.
KING: We have many hardworking people here at CNN. This is just one of them. Robert, the jib cam operator. That's a jib cam. Robert is the operator. See that shot you're seeing now? Robert is getting that shot on the jib cam.
I'm trying to make this like the convention. Isn't that a good jib cam? That may be the best jib cam we've ever seen.
KING: And he's learning to be even better, right?
Art, this appeals to you because it's show business.
LINKLETTER: That's right. And the whole idea that I'm here for is to talk about something that was barely mentioned tonight. And that is the fact that in the last 50 years, the senior population of the American country has multiplied because of the age difference.
When I was born, you could expect to be 47. Now it's 77. And the USA, United Seniors Association, believes that unless there is an entitlement restructuring, our grandchildren are going to pay a terrible tax because...
KING: And this party is not talking about it yet?
LINKLETTER: ... Not really talking about it.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, I don't know. I think George Bush has come up with an interesting plan to... LINKLETTER: He's for it. I know that.
SCHNEIDER: ... He'd make changes in Social Security. What's interesting is those changes in Social Security, which is supposed to be very risky, they're very popular with young people. But the seniors are a little nervous about it.
LINKLETTER: They're nervous about anything that might change (INAUDIBLE).
KING: The stock market went down today. Will my Social Security check be less? How do you feel about this? Is it a two-edged sword?
ROBERTSON: It is. But they have to do that. The privatization of Social Security, at least partially for the younger workers, is so much superior. They earn max, Larry, two percent a year on their accounts.
And anything in the stock market or even in corporate bonds will go seven, eight, nine percent. And so they are losing an enormous amount.
KING: They can't lose by going even the...
ROBERTSON: Oh, no. I mean, over the years, we're talking about American industry, the overall American economy. And that's what you're really investing in.
LINKLETTER: I'd like to point out that on August 14, the 65th birthday of Social Security will occur. And so many things have happened.
When it started, there were 17 workers paying taxes for one retired person. Now it's three.
And of course, there has been all kinds of fraud and other things that haven't been followed very carefully. And if they don't either lower the benefits or raise the taxes, which will be going as high right now as 12.5 percent and could go to 20 percent, it must be done.
KING: Do you think Gore should praise this convention?
SCHNEIDER: I think he really should. I mean, the temptation, what they're doing is daring Gore to go negative, to attack. And they're already, the Democrats, Dr. Robertson said they're running ads.
ROBERTSON: In Philadelphia, oh, right now they're blasting Bush's record in Texas on ads all over Philadelphia television stations. I mean, nasty ads. I'm not talking...
KING: That's a mistake.
SCHNEIDER: That's a mistake. KING: Playing into their hands.
SCHNEIDER: Playing into their hands.
KING: Old Clinton trickery.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
ROBERTSON: It's inviting it...
LINKLETTER: And did you hear what George Bush, Sr. said the other night on the air? He said, "If Al Gore continues like this, call me in 30 days. This is my private phone number. And I will tell you exactly what I think of him and his Clinton and their personal records."
SCHNEIDER: I think the name Monica Lewinsky might come up there.
KING: Is it going to get messy?
SCHNEIDER: Yeah, I think it will get messy. You know, I don't know what Al Gore can do. He's got to convince people that George Bush behind the smiling face and the optimism that he's risky, that he's a radical change for America, and a direction Americans don't want to go.
Right now, Americans want a change of leadership. But they don't want a change of direction.
It's not like 1980 after one term of Carter when Reagan was elected or 1992 after one term of George Bush when they really wanted a change of direction. They want a new leader. But they don't want a radical new direction in the country.
And Gore is going to have to say, "If you buy Bush, you're going to get a lot more than you bargained for."
KING: We'll be back with more right after this on this second edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Pat Robertson, who would Gore pick that would cause you to worry?
ROBERTSON: I think Dianne Feinstein would be the best pick. He would be locking in California, which is in play with Ralph Nader, the Green Party. You know, he could really hurt Bush on that.
Of course, he's talking about Bob Graham. And I heard tonight something that's very interesting, that he might vet three choices and throw it into the convention and let them vote on one of three, which would make it a whole lot more exciting convention than this one.
KING: Boy, you're not kidding. We'd be...
ROBERTSON: Wouldn't that be fun? I mean, then...
KING: Stevenson did that with Kefauver and Kennedy, right?
SCHNEIDER: Yeah, that's right.
KING: In '56.
SCHNEIDER: He threw it open. But there's the risk that when you do that, chaos ensues. And it doesn't look like you're in control of your...
KING: So who would you like to - who would you think be his most effective?
SCHNEIDER: George Mitchell, former senator from Maine. He has stature.
KING: Before mentioned.
SCHNEIDER: Yeah. I think Mitchell would be a very good choice. Bob Rubin would be an interesting choice because he would be running on the economy. Rubin is one of the architects of the '80s economy...
ROBERTSON: Superb if he'd want to get into politics, I think maybe he's had...
SCHNEIDER: He's never run. He's never run for office.
KING: Anyone you like on their side?
LINKLETTER: I don't think it matters who he picks. The president of the United States has to do the job. Vice presidents, when the election is all over, kind of tend to be much less important to everybody. All this stuff about what they're going to do, and then they go to funerals.
SCHNEIDER: Dan Quayle proved for all time Americans don't vote for vice presidents.
ROBERTSON: You remember George? He said, "You die, I fly." He went to all the funerals.
KING: By the way, where is Dan Quayle?
SCHNEIDER: He's not here.
ROBERTSON: Out of the country or something. He's been studiously ignored in this convention. I mean...
LINKLETTER: Of course, the poor guy was summarily reduced to being an idiot because he couldn't pronounce a word right. You know, they say Bush said the wrong name for a member of the South American country. But people all over the country don't know much about any of these things who are very bright. I can show you some billionaires who don't know how to spell tomato.
KING: With an E at the end.
LINKLETTER: That's right.
KING: Where's Lamar Alexander?
SCHNEIDER: I don't know. Where is Steve Forbes? He spent, what, $40 million? And he doesn't even show up here?
ROBERTSON: He might come one day in the afternoon.
SCHNEIDER: I think you're going to have a losers' parade.
KING: He can't afford it.
ROBERTSON: He spent all his money.
LINKLETTER: He's rich, and he has a big magazine. But he lacks charisma.
LINKLETTER: Television punctures that.
KING: That's the most important medium of all.
LINKLETTER: Right, right.
KING: Who knows it better than Pat Robertson, right?
SCHNEIDER: Look, Republicans, the basic definition is Republicans are desperate to win. This is like Democrats I saw in 1992 when they nominated Bill Clinton.
I went up to liberal Democrats from New York. And I said, "You know, Clinton is for welfare reform. He's for the death penalty. What do you make of that?" And they said, "You know what? We can live with that." Because they wanted to win.
KING: To win. ROBERTSON: I think that's it. Desperately they want the White House back. And they're tired of seeing vetoes of their legislation over and over again.
KING: But Pat's a little disappointed by it because he's like him to be more on target, right?
ROBERTSON: Well, I just believe that I know the base. And the base needs to be activated. Now that's what a vice president can do. They can hurt you with the base. They can't help you with the general population much. But they can hurt your base.
KING: I've got 30 seconds.
SCHNEIDER: The base got the platform. The base got Dick Cheney.
ROBERTSON: That's right.
SCHNEIDER: Bush ran against John McCain. Isn't the base loyal to him?
ROBERTSON: It's very loyal right now. But you just need to keep them going. You know, it's...
LINKLETTER: Aren't you glad you're not running again?
SCHNEIDER: You want some red meat?
ROBERTSON: You have no idea how glad I am.
SCHNEIDER: I thought so.
ROBERTSON: I am...
KING: Thank you all very much. Pat Robertson, Art Linkletter, Bill Schneider, and of course our lookalike.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. Strom Thurmond and Dick Cheney.
KING: Strom Thurmond and Dick Cheney. Only you look like you.
KING: We'll be back with two shows again tomorrow, 9:00 and midnight. Lots of great guests. We'll get you up.
Hey, there's been other news in the world today. In fact, real news. And that's going to come right ahead on CNN.
Thanks for joining us for the whole crew and the new law firm here...
KING: ... Good night.
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