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Larry King Live
Don Imus Discusses Campaign 2000Aired August 11, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the always opinionated, always interesting, funny radio star Don Imus from his New Mexico ranch for the hour, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
No, this is not a repeat of the show we did a couple weeks ago when he fell off the horse's and did his first interview with us after coming back. This is a new show completely separate from that. We are going to talk a lot about politics. I-man is always in the news. And he comes to us from his ranch for ill children who work on that ranch. The Ranch is in Ribera, New Mexico, but it's really Reader's Digest, New Mexico.
DON IMUS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Yes.
KING: New group of kids...
IMUS: We put up a million dollars. They arrived last night.
KING: Well, first, let's get an update. How are you, and how goes the recovery?
IMUS: Well, I think, since I saw you, I flew to New York and had my shoulder operated on, because when I got injured, you know, I broke all of my ribs and my lung collapsed and I broke my shoulder and my collar bone. And it was starting to heal back. And I got up, took a nap on Saturday afternoon. And I got up and a bone was sticking through my skin. So I called Dr. Michael Bronson (ph) in New York and I said: I don't think this is right. Should I try to shove it back in or -- so, I -- so, five hours later, I was at Lenox Hill and they operated on it. It's much better now.
The only problem is my left hand is numb. And my arm is numb. And I got a letter from Bo Derek, you know, who has been on your show a number of times...
KING: Yes, sure.
IMUS: She sends me a letter and it's a picture -- the letter is written over a photograph of her riding a horse and stuff. And she was telling me how sorry she felt for me when she saw me on your show wearing this nose thing and all this -- but a very nice letter. But it was disconcerting to -- because I hadn't been back on a horse at that time -- and it was, you know, troubling to see her flying along on a horse. KING: What is it like to see a bone sticking out of your skin? What is that feeling like?
IMUS: Well, you know, it looked as though it was going to do that for a week or so. And I kept saying to the various doctors here -- and there are doctors here with the kids, you know. They're oncologists, but still, I mean, they're doctors. So I said: This really doesn't look right, you know. And they: Ah, it will be fine, don't worry about it.
And it didn't hurt at all. But man, it's scary. So, it turns out that there had been a bunch of chips had broken loose. And one of the chips had worked its way through, so -- that was even more troubling, because the other chips could have punctured a jugular or anything.
KING: Are you...
IMUS: But I'm much better.
KING: Glad to hear it. Are you riding a horse again?
IMUS: Well, 49 days after I was hurt, I got back on a horse, yes. So, yes, I am.
KING: Not the same horse?
IMUS: No, not yet, no.
KING: Were you nervous?
IMUS: Yes, you know, I actually was, because I can't use my left -- my left hand and arm are numb. So I had to get a little stool to get on him, although this horse will actually kneel down to let you get on him if you want. But when I put my foot on the stirrup for a second, yes, I was scared, but I mean, I had to do it, so...
KING: It's logical. All right, Don, let's discuss some various things. And the thing most prevalent occurred today and yesterday on your program. Now, I want to see that we got this right. On Thursday, you said that Joe Lieberman was banned for life from the "Imus" show because the senator didn't come on after about Gore picked him.
KING: You called Lieberman a sniveling coward, said that he had sold out. He appeared on this show first, and then he did the morning shows. And today, Lieberman phoned in and all is OK. What's the story of the I-man and the senator?
IMUS: Well, we go back, you know. I mean, he was -- nobody knew who he was and we plucked him from the abyss obscurity when he was in Connecticut about 10 years ago. And he's been on the show. I mean, I didn't look at my computer, but I make little notes and stuff when I have these folks on. And he's gone on probably 100 times. So our position, half kidding, was that -- in fact, we talked about the fact he was going to be on your show that night which was fine with us. I mean, but we thought the next morning, he should be on our program because of all the times that he had been on, we had a good relationship with the guy.
And but -- so really, what it did was it gave us an opportunity for a lot of material, which...
KING: Which you
IMUS: Yes. So he ruined it this morning by calling, you know. Actually, we had Senator Chris Dodd booked. And so Senator -- and this was at 7:23 Eastern time this morning -- so Dodd is on the phone. And then Bernard (ph), my producer, on the intercom says: Lieberman just called. And he's on the phone. So I -- so at first, it was Lieberman and Dodd talking to each other, Dodd explaining to Lieberman that he doesn't have to put up this -- with anything with this moron in a cowboy hat, that he can just go back to Nashville.
And Dodd said: I can do a job of defending you. You don't have to talk to this guy.
KING: Now, you know -- I know you got mad -- I heard you say you go mad -- not that he was on our show and you were fine about that and everything -- you got mad that your producers were referred to the Gore campaign. You felt that was a slight. But every vice presidential candidate answers to the presidential campaign the minute he's selected.
KING: So Lieberman had no course but to go where he was told to go.
IMUS: Well, the guy wasn't locked in a room, Larry. I mean, he can pick up the phone and call me.
KING: So, how did...
IMUS: I bet he's been on 100 times, I mean...
KING: So how did the make-up go today? Was everything cordial? Did you accept -- did he apologize?
IMUS: Well, yes, but I mean, he was on for a half an hour. It went great. We need too -- I love the guy and we have a great relationship with him. We talked about all of the various issues. I mean, I don't ask embarrassing questions like you or Russert do. But, I mean, I asked, you know -- I asked some -- we talked about
KING: You ask very good questions.
IMUS: Yes, it was great. The guy was -- he has a wonderful sense of humor, and so I think all is fine. In fact, someone -- I think somebody asked Gore out on the stump today whether he knew about it or how he felt about it or whatever. And Gore said that he would come on again, but he is banned for life, so...
KING: Now, when you -- the audience should understand that when you call someone a sniveling coward...
KING: ... you're doing a lot of that for show business. Why don't you think people understand that?
IMUS: I don't know. Well, when you read it in a newspaper, it really looks harsh. But when I said it, I mean, it was there the context of -- I mean, the guy obviously is -- I mean, he has abandoned some of his principles, and his moral compass has gone awry.
KING: You won't let go, will you, Don? We are going to take a break and we will be back the irrepressible I-man. We will take your calls too -- some surprises as well. Don't go away.
KING: We are back. Tomorrow night, we will be live at the Staples Center here in Los Angeles with a preview of the upcoming doings of the Democratic convention. And then all next week in, Monday through Thursday, two shows, two live shows nightly. Normally they repeat this program three hours later. Monday through Thursday, there will be two separate and distinct shows at 9 and midnight, and Hillary Clinton will be one of the guests Monday night.
Our guest is the I-man.
California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez got bumped from speaking at next week's Democratic convention. The reason: She's hosting a political fund raiser at the Playboy Mansion. Party officials say she can speak if she just moves from the mansion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY")
REP. LAURA SANCHEZ (D), CALIFORNIA: It's never been about the Playboy mansion. It is about putting on a good event and it's about raising money. And so if someone can find a different venue, and they can guarantee that it will have that kind of cachet that people will come and donors will come and we'll continue to be able to raise the money that we need for those efforts, then it's quite possible we could put it someplace else. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: All right, Don, Hefner has contributed to the Democrats over the years. Is this hypocrisy in your opinion?
IMUS: Well, a little. I'm surprise the president wasn't holding a fund raiser there as opposed to her. Isn't she the woman that beat Bob Dornan.
KING: Yes, that's the lady.
IMUS: Yes, she is. Well there's a certain irony in wanting to do it at the Playboy mansion, I guess. Yes, it is.
KING: But, I mean, what do you make of the Democrats being a little frightened of being associated with Playboy?
IMUS: Well, I mean, I think it's understandable in light of, you know, they can't get rid of the Clintons. And I guess they're both out there -- well you're going to have her on Monday night, you said. So...
KING: I'll ask her.
They, by the way, have decided to move the fund raiser. They gave her a suitable location, so nothing will happen at the Playboy Mansion.
IMUS: Where's this one going to be, at a Buddhist temple?
KING: Apparently at Universal Citywalk. That was funny, though. We have to be logical here. They're telling me exactly where it is. Anyway, that's another moment of controversy.
What did you make of the Republican convention?
IMUS: You know, it looked like a bunch of fat, pink guys who are the guys at the bank who, when you go in, they always say no. You know, it's all -- the whole convention, that's what they look like. And the Democrats look like guys who're going to sell you some jive dot.com stock, you know, that's worth nothing, so...
You know, I didn't have a -- being down here at the ranch, I didn't have a lot of opportunity to watch it. But on a serious note, I mean, I thought they -- everybody knows what it is now, and so anybody walking around looking for news, I mean, that obviously wasn't the point.
I thought they did a pretty good job of presenting, you know, their ticket and whatever their message is this week. So...
KING: Is this...
IMUS: ... It's back to being compassionate conservatism or whatever they are.
KING: Are you impressed with Governor Bush? And we know, I'll do as an aside, Imus is not impressed with a lot of things.
IMUS: Well, I -- he's also banned for life, by the way, but that apparently...
IMUS: ... was by his choice because -- well, it's by his choice because we can't even get a return phone call from him. So I don't know that much about him. You now, Paul Begala has a new -- Have you heard about Begala's new book?
KING: I heard. I heard you talking about it the other day, a book that's critical, right, of Texas, what happened in Texas?
IMUS: Well, it's Paul Begala. There's nobody more -- closely more aligned with Bill Clinton than Begala, who wrote speeches for him and was an aide, as you obviously know, for years. And it was he and Carville who engineered the '92 election.
But Begala told me, he said, you know, I used to like Bush -- and he lived in Texas and he said he thought he was a pretty good governor -- until he got to examining his record and what he actually did. And the title of the book is taken, it's a direct line taken from a Bush speech, and it's to look at, initially, you know, the education positions of Governor Bush. And the title of the book is, "Is Our Children Learning To Read?"
Apparently it was -- I would only observe that apparently the Bush's understand what the word "is" is, but (OFF-MIKE) it's kind of embarrassing.
IMUS: I would only observe that bush understands what the word "is" is. It's kind of embarrassing.
KING: Why do you think he doesn't want to go on your show? I mean, you're not really -- when you go on your show, that's not hostile country. Why would he not...
KING: ... do you think, not want to go on?
IMUS: Well, I mean, I think there have been some controversies that surrounded the program. I mean, you know, my defense of the program is to ask people to listen to it because we aren't racist, we aren't bigoted and all you have to do is listen to discover that. But I think -- I mean, I think -- he wouldn't get asked the same kinds of questions -- I mean, I don't know what I'd ask him -- I'd have to think about it a few minutes -- but he wouldn't get asked the same kinds of questions that he might get asked from you or from Russert, and it might be a little sillier and...
KING: So what's wrong with that?
IMUS: What? KING: Why be afraid of that? He's got a nice sense of humor, he's very -- he's certainly a kind of guy that's easy to get along with. I think you'd have a ball and he'd enjoy you. Maybe he should reconsider. Would you lift the ban?
IMUS: Well, you really put me on the spot her, but -- well, you know, I'm a recovering, as you know, a recovering alcoholic and cocaine addict, so right away we have something in common.
KING: We'll be right back with more of the I-man from Readers Digest, New Mexico at the Imus ranch.
Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Imus.
We have a little surprise for the I-man. With us on the phone from Seattle, Washington, is one of his stalwart friends through thick and thin. Despite the fact that this man is oft been criticized, oft praised, he remains a fan of the I-man, Senator John McCain of Arizona.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: How you doing, I-man?
IMUS: Hi, Senator McCain, how are you?
MCCAIN: Fine, Don. How do you feel? You been riding?
IMUS: Well, actually I have. And I -- today I was actually out on a trail for a couple of hours. I went out with Carlos -- I don't know if you got a chance to meet him or not...
MCCAIN: Yes, yes.
IMUS: We rode up to Mesa. You know the thing I noticed, Senator McCain is that you didn't make your bed when you left.
MCCAIN: Oh, my God. That just shows a classless guest. That will probably guarantee I'm never brought back. And I'm glad you checked, though, you anal...
KING: Hey, John -- Senator, first, what did you think of the ranch?
MCCAIN: You know, it's truly magnificent. The thing is really magnificent. It isn't just there for Don and Deirdre and Fred and his wife...
MCCAIN: ... it's really for...
IMUS: I'm on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Hold on, John, he's got a cell phone call.
I-man, you shut off cell phones when you go on live television, OK?
MCCAIN: Don, it's a lovely place...
IMUS: My brother just called me and said, what...
MCCAIN: It's a lovely place, and these kids that are quite ill have the experience of their lives. So it's a great and wonderful thing. They tried to get me up on a horse named -- I think one of them was named White Tornado, another one Lightning, another one Diablo. I think they were trying to kill me. Finally found one named Woody, thank God. I was hoping for Lucy. At least...
KING: You're funny, you know?
MCCAIN: ... I didn't get up there and get killed, you know?
KING: Before I ask the next question, who called you I-man?
IMUS: Just a friend of mine.
KING: OK. John, why do you like Don Imus?
MCCAIN: I think he's irreverent and I think he's well informed. I think he combines a rare degree of entertainment and information that makes him unique.
An interesting thing happens to me going through airports. I have people come up to me all the time, kind of sidle up and nudge me in the ribs and say, hey, I hear you or see you on Imus -- I hear you on Imus, you know?
And I say, great, you know? It's like we're in some kind of fraternity. And then the second thing they say is, what's he like? I mean, they always say, what's he like? And I always say -- of course, I have to tell the truth -- I say, he's a real jerk. But...
IMUS: You know, I was thinking...
MCCAIN: It's a remarkable how many people -- of all the shows, obviously, that I've been on, because of my failed campaign, is people -- more people come up and mention that they see or hear me on Imus than all the other programs combined.
KING: Except LARRY KING LIVE.
MCCAIN: Except LARRY KING LIVE, of course.
KING: Don't pain me, John. We praise you.
IMUS: You know, I was just...
KING: What were you going to say, Don?
MCCAIN: What's that?
KING: Don was going to say something.
IMUS: I was just thinking, if the president ever comes out, Woody would be an appropriate horse for him to ride.
KING: John, should Governor Bush do the Imus show...
KING: ... and would you ask him to?
MCCAIN: Yes and yes.
KING: I'm booking him here.
MCCAIN: Yes and yes, and I think it would be a very good and informative program. I think he's got a vision and a view for America that he could obviously talk a lot about.
When people like Joe Lieberman and John Kerry and others are on, as well as the Andrea Mitchells and the Claire Shipmans and the Jeff Greenfields, the conversation is one that's worth listening to. They talk about issues, they talk about the politics of the day. And yes, there's a lot of irreverence and humor, but I think a lot of people that I know on Capitol Hill listen because they want to hear these informed people. And I think that George W. Bush would be well served to come on.
KING: John, can you remain a couple minutes more?
MCCAIN: Sure, sure.
KING: OK, because I wanted to take a break.
And when we come back, Bill Maher was on this show last Friday. He's a fan of yours, John, but he was critical of you. And I want to play what he said and I want to get your reaction and the I-man's reaction.
We'll be back with our hour with the I-man. John McCain's on the phone.
Don't go away.
KING: John McCain's on the phone and I-man is our guests, and he's at the I-ranch.
And here's what happened last Friday briefly with Bill Maher talking about John McCain -- watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL MAHER, HOST, "POLITICALLY INCORRECT": My issues are the issues of that shadow convention. Campaign finance reform, you notice that was noticeably absent. Even John McCain, whose issue it was...
KING: You disappointed in him?
MAHER: Very much, because he decided, you know what, I might want to be president in four years, so I'm going to eat crap right now, and talk about George Bush, not mention my issues. So he's a little more of a politician than he lets on.
KING: But he did address the shadow convention when he did discuss it...
MAHER: He walked off.
MAHER: No, he got booed, but...
KING: He did?
MAHER: He walked off. He didn't -- yes, they booed him because he wasn't talking. He was talking about Bush even there. I mean, somehow this guy who hates Bush -- I mean, let's be honest, he hates him deeply, I mean with an unabiding fervor, he is...
KING: Campaigning with him in California this weekend.
MAHER: Yes, they all play the game, you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: All right, Senator, before the I-man remarks, what is your response to that?
MCCAIN: Just very quickly, I'm a great admirer of Bill Maher. He injects humor into a sometimes humorless business we're in.
The fact is, I didn't walk off. When I was being booed, I turned to Arianna. I said, do you want me to go or stay? She quieted them down and I finished my speech.
KING: I remember that, yes.
MCCAIN: That's on tape, so Maher's wrong there.
Second of all, my speech at the convention was very clear about the need for reform, about people's contempt for the government, about alienation of young people and the need to get Americans riled up a bit. I didn't have to specifically say campaign finance reform any more than I had to say tax cuts or NAFTA. But my message was clear. My advocacy for campaign finance reform is clear, and I have said, including on IMUS, that the Senate will not proceed next year until we address this issue. So there's no doubt about that.
Finally, look, Americans don't like a sore loser. The fact is that we fought a good fight and I'm proud of it. The fact is that I have always said I would support the nominee of the party. I believe that George Bush has been running a centrist, inclusive campaign, and I'm very pleased to be a part of it.
KING: I-man, you have a comment?
IMUS: If you're not as funny or as smart as Dennis Miller, I don't respond to any of your comments.
MCCAIN: Next time, I promise to make my bed.
KING: Do you think that -- do you think -- boy, this is great. I-man, do you think the senator has gone too far in his endorsement of George Bush, as they had such a rough primary?
IMUS: Well, I asked him that, and he explained to me the -- why he did that. And it makes sense to me. And I think, you know, I mean, I don't think the senator tongue-kissed him, so -- but I mean -- you know, what else is he really supposed to do? I mean, I think if you want to remain a Republican, if you want to remain effective in the United States Senate where he's going to be, obviously, and they're going to -- I mean, whether anybody thinks so or not, they're going to sell this campaign finance reform. I mean, they're very close. They've got the votes in the House, I believe, and they're very close in the Senate.
So it's very easy to take a cheap shot at the senator and say, well, they're playing a game and all of that. But I mean, I think you also have -- I mean, and I'm one of the people who didn't think he should have endorsed Bush. But I think he's got a good explanation for it, and you're either a Republican or you're not. And we've got a great tradition in this country of people who, they get into elections and they lose, and then they support the nominee of the party. I mean, that's a tradition of politics in this country.
Nobody, I mean the worst thing Bob Dole did was when he lost whatever it was in New Hampshire, when he was whining about George Bush lying about his record. I mean, nobody -- the senator -- Senator McCain is right. Nobody likes a sore loser, so...
KING: No, nobody does.
IMUS: ... I don't have any problem with that.
What I'm looking forward to is I'm looking forward to this big weekend coming up, starts tomorrow at Senator McCain's ranch, when it's going to be Senator McCain and his wife and George Bush and his wife. And the senator says he's going to take Governor Bush on a hike. So if the governor returns -- if the governor returns from the hike, I think we've got a story, you know.
KING: So are we saying there's a possibility of Cheney moving up on the ticket, John?
MCCAIN: No accident will befall Governor Bush, I can assure you.
KING: Senator McCain, before you leave us...
MCCAIN: Sure. KING: ... quickly...
KING: ... you're a friend of Joe Lieberman's.
MCCAIN: Yes, I was...
KING: You think that was a good pick?
MCCAIN: A worthy opponent, a very decent and fine man. And I think that we Republicans should be glad that a person like Joe Lieberman is there, because it will make for a more interesting, informative campaign, including the debate between him and Dick Cheney. I think it will be worth watching.
KING: And are you glad he's back in the good graces of the I- man?
MCCAIN: Yes, I didn't think it would last too long because Joe's a remarkable guy.
KING: Thank you, Senator. Thanks for calling in.
MCCAIN: Thank you. See you, Don. Thank you -- bye.
IMUS: Thanks, Senator McCain.
KING: See, I-man? That's clout.
We'll be right back with the I-man, your phone calls and lots more to go. He's one of my favorite people -- both of them are.
We'll be right back.
Don't go away.
KING: Before we take some calls for the I-man, were you impressed, Don, with the president's speech -- not speech -- his interview yesterday with those ministers and the contrition he went through?
IMUS: You know, here's the problem, Larry. I had my earpiece out. It fell out of my ear.
KING: Is it going back in now?
IMUS: It's back in now. So what -- I'm sorry -- what did you say?
KING: What I asked was -- before we take some calls, what you made of Clinton's appearance yesterday before all those ministers and the contrition he went through? IMUS: Well, not much. I -- you know, people like Jonathan Alder and other people who I have talked to said that they -- and I think even Jeff Greenfield -- said that they thought that he was going to have to do something like that in his speech at the convention. But, I mean, there was almost a consensus of reaction from Democrats: God, would he just shut up about it -- I mean, enough. So, who knows?
I mean, I don't think the guy thinks he did anything wrong, you know. I'm not sure I think so anymore, by the way. I mean...
KING: Everything is changed? Anything goes?
KING: All right, let's get a call in. Anderson, South Carolina.
CALLER: I was -- just wanted to go call and thank you for taking my call, number one. And I'm so glad that you're doing much better, Don. I go through withdrawal when you're on vacation.
IMUS: Thank you.
CALLER: I was wondering if we can expect to see more of John McCain at the ranch in the future. And I know I sure would like to see video of Dierdre, Wyatt and Fred enjoying themselves and working at the ranch.
IMUS: You know, one of the things I thought was interesting is that it was an Arizona senator who was the first elected official to attend. What this ranch actually would be a crown jewel of New Mexico, because it's a fabulous facility -- but we understood that Pete Domenici couldn't get out of his hotel suite at the El Dorado or he would have come out.
As far as whether John McCain will be here anymore or not, it was a great honor for us to have him. You know what was interesting is, from where I am at the main ranch facility, out to the main gate, is about three miles. And it's just a dirt road. And the ranch is 50 miles northeast of Santa Fe, so we literally are in the middle of nowhere. So Dierdre and I go out to pick up Senator McCain. And he's arriving at 5:00, and I believe it was Monday or Tuesday evening.
So we expect, you know, he's going to pull up with -- in a limo with an entourage and a motorcade. A car pulls up I don't recognize -- looks like a beat-up old Studebaker and out gets Senator McCain in an Auto Body Express t-shirt. And he's got his duffel bag with him and a briefcase and it was just him. And he comes and he walks in the gate. He throws his stuff in the back of the pickup. And we brought him to the ranch. So, he showed up entirely by himself.
We had to put him in one of the wrangler facilities here, where -- it's about a quarter of a mile from where we are. So he slept in this building about a quarter mile away from everybody, all by himself. It was startling to see a guy who was that close to being president show up. I guess he hitchhiked here. I don't how he got here. But I mean...
KING: Tells you a lot about him though.
IMUS: I mean, he shows up by himself in a t-shirt with a duffel bag.
KING: Tells you a lot about him.
KING: Port Charlotte, Florida, for the I-man, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I-man, I'm an admirer of yours. And I miss your show.
IMUS: Thank you.
CALLER: We do not get it in Port Charlotte, unfortunately. I got it in Tampa Bay on MSNBC. And my question pertains to the convention, the fact that the Clintons may be overshadowing the vice president, Gore, here with all their fund raising. And I really would like to know what your opinion is of that.
KING: Yes, the president has a major fund raiser for his wife here tomorrow night. It's going to be an all-star show at a big ranch in the Los Angeles area. And then there will be more appearances Sunday. And then he speaks Monday night. And then he does leave -- so does Hillary -- on Monday night. What do you make of that, Don?
IMUS: Well, you have to understand that the more chaos and the more disruption, I mean, we were praying for just smoke in the streets in Philadelphia. So the more that goes wrong with any of these events, the better we like it. So, you know, I really wish the president had held a fund raiser at the Playboy Mansion, frankly. And we have 100,000 demonstrators out there, so we are hoping for the absolute worst.
So, I think it's great, you know. The more agony it causes Al Gore, the better.
KING: Why don't you like Al Gore?
IMUS: Well, I mean I don't -- I mean, I'm sure he's a nice guy...
KING: He came on your show. He was very nice to you.
IMUS: Well, fine. But I mean, I think the guy is a phony, you know, I mean. And I have great trouble, as do many people, in some of the instances where he's used -- in a couple instances -- where he's used these family tragedies and misrepresented the facts -- certainly in the case of his relationship with tobacco and his sister -- which I thought was disgraceful -- for whatever -- well that was at the convention -- for some sort of political gain.
I mean, I don't think he's been truthful about fund raising. I don't think he was truthful about -- I mean, whether the no controlling legal authority is just jive. I think, you know, I mean, all of that stuff, changing outfits every 20 minutes. I mean, one week it's Joseph Aboud (ph), the next week, it's some other -- I mean, it's absurd. So, I don't think the guy is a genuine guy. I think he wants to be president because he thinks he has to be president. Or somebody told him to do it, his dad or something. And I mean, I -- so, I mean...
KING: Other than that, you're crazy about him.
IMUS: I think the guy is a phony. No, I mean, I think the guy is insincere. And I don't think he's truthful, so...
KING: Clara, Mississippi, hello. Are you there?
KING: Yes, go ahead.
CALLER: Let's see.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, I have a question regarding Bo Dietl.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Is there something relationship with Bo Dietl that has come up that has prevented him from being on the show recently?
KING: Yes, where is he?
CALLER: ... have him out at the ranch at all to talk to with the kids?
KING: Yes, Don, where is he?
IMUS: Well, Bo Dietl is a former cop, a New York City cop, who was a hero cop. In fact, he broke one of the huge cases in New York where these punks broke into a monastery up in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and raped these nuns. And it was Bo Dietl and his partner -- and obviously other members of the New York City Police Department -- but essentially, Bo Dietl who broke that case. And he has since retired. And he has one of the most successful private investigative firms in the country.
And he's been appearing on our program for a number of years. But he says things that I've asked him not to say on the program. And so every time he does, I get an ad there the "New York Times" and article in "Time" magazine. And finally, I told him to stop saying it. And if he didn't stop saying it, he wasn't going to be on the program. So he promised me now -- he's been reinstated, by the way. You just missed his appearances. He was on this past Monday.
So, he's back on the program. But he's...
KING: He's forewarned.
IMUS: He's right on the verge of being just disciplined again, so...
KING: We will be right back.
IMUS: Because if I'm going to take heat...
KING: I'm sorry...
IMUS: Well, if I'm going to take heat for stuff that is said on the program, then I want to say it. I mean, I can't have people making outrageous statements and then some moron writing an article in "Time" magazine. I mean, I don't need that, so...
KING: We will be right back.
IMUS: But I mean, he is still my friend.
KING: We will be right back with the ever-angry I-man -- he's also a good guy -- right after this.
KING: We are back with more of the I-man from his ranch, the Imus Ranch, which helps children who really get to do work chores. Maybe at the end of the show, we will see some more again. He's in Reader's Digest, New Mexico.
Before we take the next call what do you make of what's happened to the Reform Party? We now have apparently two Reform Parties and two candidates.
IMUS: Well, the bigger mess the better, like I told the lady from Florida or wherever, I mean, the bigger the mess, the better. So I, by the way, am today, I'm supporting Ralph Nader.
KING: You're coming out for Nader?
IMUS: Yes. In fact, Nader is going to be on Monday. He was on before, and I tend to think of the guy as just being some whining liberal screaming about seatbelts and trees and stuff, but God -- I know you know him, but I mean, he's a great guest. He has a great sense of humor, says a lot of things that make sense, so Nader is our guy.
KING: So, the I-man throws his hat into the ring for the Green Party. We go to Lexington, South Carolina -- hello.
CALLER: Hey, Larry, thanks for having me on.
CALLER: Question for I-man. I thought caught your show on MSNBC, and I have a question about something Christopher Dodd, Senator Dodd, said back to you in response to something you said to him. You asked Sen. Dodd the same question you'd asked Sen. Lieberman, about people voting for Sen. Lieberman or the Democratic ticket, when according to you, the way you said it, about 95 percent of the American people professor faith in Jesus as God's only son, and you were wondering how they would vote for a Jewish person. And Senator Dodd seemed to come back very critical about Christians, or people who hold the belief in Jesus as a way of salvation, and he even condemned any religious system. And I'm paraphrasing here, but he seemed to condemn religions that hold to one way of salvation. I was kind of shocked at that, that he would do that on national TV and radio show, on a show of your stature. How do you feel about that, and was I hearing him correctly?
IMUS: No, I don't think you heard him correctly. I know what Sen. Dodd said, is he believes the way I believe. I'm a Christian. I believe Jesus was the son of God, but I also believe that if you're Jewish, or if a you're Muslim, you have the same opportunity for salvation as I do, and I'm at odds with a lot of Christians, and a lot of Christians don't people that way. A lot of Christians feel that Jesus is the only answer, and I think Jesus is one answer. And I think the Jews have another answer. And I think Muslims and all the other religions have their own answer, and I think their answer is as valid as ours as a Christian.
KING: What did Dodd say?
IMUS: That's essentially what Dodd said. Dodd said, you know, God is like a river running through the land, and all of these various religions are like cities along the river, and you know, we all contribute to the river, and we're all going to wind up the same place.
And so, no, he did not disparage, certainly didn't disparage Christians or the idea that it was preposterous to believe in only one salvation.
Now I have a guy I work with who for 30 years who is a Born Again Christian, and he believes that that is the answer. I have enormous respect for him, but I mean, I just hold a slightly different view.
KING: Well said.
MacPherson, Kansas, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: Hi, Don.
IMUS: Hi, how are you?
CALLER: I'd like to know how long your recovery time is going to be?
KING: How long until you're fully recovered, Don?
IMUS: I guess around the first of the year, something like that. I got busted up pretty bad, so. But I was back -- I would like to point out I was back on a horse in 49 case, and I would have been back on sooner had it not been for Mrs. Imus, so.
KING: Who wouldn't let you?
IMUS: Well, I mean she's a pretty good cowgirl herself, you know, and knows a lot about horses herself, and I think she thought, as did my brother, that it might be better to wait a while.
KING: What's the most uncomfortable think about it now? Where is there pain? What's the hardest thing for you to do?
IMUS: Well, I don't have any feeling in my left hand or my left arm. I still have significant pain in my shoulder, which is recovering, and all my ribs are broken, and my back is -- so I'm not taking pain pills every 20 minutes anymore, but I mean, but you know, it's not a big a deal as we're making it. I mean, I don't have cancer. So I'm going to recover, and I'm going to be fine. And you know, I made a slight mistake with a horse, but it's not life- threatening, or like, I guess it was at the time.
But I'm going to be fine. It's very nice of you to ask, ma'am, I appreciate it. But probably sometime around Christmas, I ought to be fully recovered.
KING: We'll be right back with more of the I-man, more of your phone calls. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Tomorrow night, top Democratic officials will be at the Staples Center in the CNN booth, and then Monday night, Hillary Clinton among the guests when we do two live shows nightly at 9:00 and midnight Eastern Time from the Democratic convention for four consecutive nights.
We'll be right back.
KING: We're back with the I-man.
As we approach the Democratic convention, what are your thoughts? Now that Lieberman is in, do you think that's going help Hillary in New York? You don't vote in New York, do you? You vote in Connecticut or New York? Where do you vote?
IMUS: No, I live in Manhattan. I vote in New York.
KING: Because I know you have a place outside as well. IMUS: I'd liked to be able to pay taxes, but no, I live and work in New York. But I think it's going to help her a lot. It's going to help her a lot to raise money. I think it's going to make it a tighter race than it was. I think Lazio probably will still win, but that's certainly not a guarantee. So I think it makes a much tighter than it probably ordinarily would have been. I mean, I think if Gore had picked anybody but Lieberman, it was pretty much a lock for Bush.
But I think it's great for the country, you know. I was talking to Jeff Greenfield, CNN's Jeff Greenfield, obviously, who I love to death.
KING: By the way, he's doing a special right after us.
IMUS: When I, not to patronize him, but when we want to know what these various people think about things, we talk to him or we talk to Russert, but Greenfield, he was the one who initially made the observation, and he went to school with Joe Lieberman, and Jeff, obviously, is -- maybe not so obviously, is Jewish.
But anyway, he posed the question, and I know there are a lot of Jewish senators, Jewish congressman, governors and so on. But his question was, will the country, 95 percent of whom believe, as I was telling the guy wherever he was from, believe that Jesus was the son of God and hold that and don't hold any other views, but probably vote for somebody who's Jewish, who is likely to be president? And he thought there was a question that, obviously, there was no answer to it, and what do we know.
And I believe that there's a deeper reservoir of anti-Semitism in this country than people realize. And, I mean, I live in Manhattan. I've lived there for 30 years. And there are buildings on Park Avenue, and on Fifth Avenue and in Central Park West that if you're Jewish, you cannot get an apartment. They don't say, well, you know, you're Jewish, you're not going live here, but I mean, they find some way. I had a guy from "The New York Times" say, well, which building? Well, I mean, it's not that simple. It's all very subtle. I mean, thank God we don't have people burning -- desecrating synagogues, although I guess we do. But whether there are enough of these people to affect this, hopefully not.
But I think it's great for the country for all the other reasons people think it's great. I mean, I think as it was with Jack Kennedy, not the first Catholic, but when he was nominated and elected. And so whether Gore and Lieberman win or not, I think it's great for the country, because first of all, a lot of us will learn more about the Jewish religions, particularly Orthodox Judaism than we've known before, and that can't be anything by good.
You know, and Bob Jones was on your show last night, and I expected this nut to say anything, you know, and I assume he's being truthful, no reason to believe he wasn't. But I thought those were refreshing remarks that he made, about Joe Lieberman, about his candidacy, and about his religion, and you know, this is a guy who, you know, Bob Jones University, a pretty Devout fundamentalist Christian. So if you can get Bob Jones to go on LARRY KING and say stuff that, I think you've already won.
KING: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the I-man, Hello.
CALLER: Hi. I have a question for Imus. You're welcome at my house anytime, first of all.
IMUS: I bought my saddle in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
CALLER: People like Jesse Ventura that like him and actually believe that this guy has some intelligence and should be running a portion of the country here in the name of Minnesota, what is your take on that? What do you think about -- what are your feelings about those people that actually follow people like him?
KING: I've to take a break, coming up soon. Can you answer that quickly, what you think of Ventura?
IMUS: I like him. He's nowhere near as dumb as you might think he is, sir, believe me. I don't know the guy, but he's not a dummy, believe me.
KING: He sure isn't.
We'll be back with our remaining moments with the I-man on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Don't go away.
KING: We have a few minutes remaining, and our guests is the I- man.
We talked earlier about the ranch where he got hurt, and you see some kids behind Imus now. They don't have earphones, so they can't hear what we're saying. But for those of you maybe new to this, those of you in other countries that don't know, what is this all about, I? Who are these folks? What's the concept?
IMUS: Well, my wife, and I and my brother came up with idea for the ranch, and essentially, what it is a working cattle ranch, a genuine working cattle ranch, where we have Texas longhorn cattle and horses, and we bring these kids out, and we teach them in a week's time how to be little cowboys and cowgirls, and we teach them, and we have them to do chores -- in other words, we make them work. There are no recreational facilities here. They become, essentially, a part of the ranch.
And I got a letter, and I know it's tedious to read letters, but this is a great letter, and it takes about 50 second to read it, and I got it from a kid who was one of the SIDS Kids, and he said:
"I'm writing to thank you for the wonderful experience I had working at your ranch in New Mexico. While out there as one of the SIDS sibling with the C.J. Foundation. "Not only did I enjoy learning about and riding the horses, but I came to love the everyday work and chores of the ranch. Even though I may not be able to speak for all of us who went out that week -- as you know, some of the group were whiners -- shoveling manure, cleaning out the stalls and working in the garden and greenhouse all became pastimes of mine. The ranch chores were also a welcome escape from the attempts of the child-life specialists to bond with us by making us sing campfire songs about our feelings.
"I greatly appreciated the fact that you, your family, and all of the ranch hands treated us like normal human beings and not like some sick little puppies who needed to spew up deep emotional hairballs.
"You might recall how clingy the child-life specialists were. When Walter and I were on your show, one of them, Craig, invaded your studio to take pictures so he could remember how he felt when two kids -- who he, obviously, would only meet once in his life -- went on 'Imus in the Morning?' You proceeded to kick him out, by yelling get out of the God-blank studio. That was great.
"I probably am being a bit unfair. The child-life specialists were nice enough, but I liked your approach better of just treating us like everyone else.
"I know losing my little sister to SIDS was tough. I also lost my mother a few years ago, and some people need to talk about these feelings, but not all of the time. For me, it was best just to get away from my five sisters for a week and work with animals, which I love.
"Thank you again. I know you act like it's no big deal, but it is wonderful that you and your family extend your hospitality to all of us kids."
So that's really what the ranch is. We bring them out here, we treat them like regular kids. We don't ask them how they feel. We don't ask them if they're tired. We try to restore their self- respect, and their self-esteem and their sense of accomplishment, and the kids I have behind me -- Laura, Nicole, Matt, Nick, Sarah, and Christine (ph) -- they just got here last night, but we almost had to tell them to stop doing chores.
KING: Don, I will tell you. I salute you. If you never did a thing in your life, you can never top this. A very noble act, very well done.
Thanks for joining us. Thanks to the kids. Thanks for being with us I-man.
IMUS: Thanks, Larry. It was fun.
KING: Don Imus, from the Imus Ranch in "Reader's Digest," New Mexico.
See you tomorrow night from the Democratic National Convention.
Stay tuned for Jeff Greenfield and a special CNN "NEWSSTAND."
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