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Larry King Live
What Is the Kennedy Legacy?Aired August 15, 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: And welcome to another edition of LARRY KING LIVE, night two of the Democratic National Convention, Jesse Jackson about to wind up his rousing remarks here. And lots more to come tonight. Tomorrow night, the speech from the vice presidential nominee. And on Thursday night, Al Gore, in a big campaign address for him as he kicks off his campaign and takes over this titular head of his party, vice presidential running mate for four years ago and eight years ago will now be the presidential candidate by himself, in the year 2000. We'll be with you twice nightly as we do every night at conventions. Back again tonight at midnight, with the man you'll be watching speak in a little while, doing the keynote: Congressman Harold Ford will joins us.
We begin with Lieutenant Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She's the lieutenant governor of Maryland, daughter of the late Senator Robert Kennedy, niece of the late president John Kennedy; and Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, son of Senator Edward Kennedy, nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy as well. And of course the Kennedys will be roundly received here tonight following this hour of LARRY KING LIVE.
Tell us about Mr. Ford, Patrick. You serve with him in the Senate -- in the House. What are we doing to see tonight?
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D), RHODE ISLAND: Harold is spellbinding. I went to campaign for him when he was first running for office, and was blown away by how articulate he was, and he hadn't been elected yet. And this is a guy who was still studying for the bar, and he was running for Congress at the same time. He had everybody on their feet. People were just so connected to him. I thought he would be like me, you know, struggling along, try to make sure he could come out of father's shadow and become his own person. Harold is his own person, and he's going to do a terrific job tonight.
KING: So he will be a rousing keynote.
PATRICK KENNEDY: Oh, he's going to be fantastic.
KING: Kathleen, what do you make of this Kennedy hour? How does that make you feel?
LT. GOV. KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think it's a real tribute to, first of all, what John Kennedy started 40 years ago, with this convention, and as you know, my father's campaign here in California, across he the country. But it's also a tribute, very frankly, to what Teddy Kennedy, Patrick's father, has done, because he kept that belief alive that people can make a difference and that government has a role to play to improve people's lives.
KING: And with Caroline, it's saying something about her late brother, too, isn't it?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: It is. And it's also -- it's very special that Caroline is speaking, because she doesn't usually come out and give public speeches, but she, I think, has been touched by how many Americans care so much about her, her brother, her father, what they stood for, what they cared about, and she wants to say thank you.
KING: Because of what happened here to Robert some 30-plus years ago, does that make this an auspicious place for you, Patrick?
PATRICK KENNEDY: Well, of course, it probably is much more of an issue for, I mean, for all of my family, but I know touches really closely for Kathleen, who is a young girl when her father was killed. I just can't even imagine.
KING: You weren't born?
PATRICK KENNEDY: I wasn't born -- I was just a year old in fact when my uncle Bobby was killed.
PATRICK KENNEDY: Yes.
KING: You remember it of course, Kathleen. Do you have funny feeling about this city?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: No. I have a good feeling about Los Angeles, because it has been so warm to my father and to my family. As you know, as you walk into the convention center, there's a great mural on wall of strong Democrats, Teddy Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, Cesar Chavez, and there's a mural of my father where he's looking up with a great deal of hope and curiosity, which reminded me of me of his willingness to reach out and to listen to people from wherever they come from, from whatever walk of life. And the fact that you can walk into to convention center and see that picture reminds me that that spirit is still alive, and I think reminds a lot of people.
KING: What is about it your family, congressman? I mean, do you feel like you are destined to run for office or be a public servant? Is this inbred?
PATRICK KENNEDY: We had a front-row seat to politics growing up, and it's an exciting thing to be part of. And we're very fortunate to have had the experience to be part of it. And, I mean, we're just very fortunate people. I think that what we do is try to transmit that to others who haven't had the good fortune of being at that front row seat of politics, and try to let them know that this is something that they'd enjoy and it's something that's really worth being part of, and they'll feel better about themselves and they'll feel more patriotic about this country if they get involved.
KING: You feel special a responsibility because of that front row seat?
PATRICK KENNEDY: Well, I also feel like many of my generation who watched "Saving Private Ryan," that there were young people, 19, 20 years old, that laid down their lives for this country, and the least that we can ask from our citizens today is to go out and vote, and if anything more, help out a candidate and get involved in their government. These young people died for their country. I mean, we have -- we owe them, you know, to get out and do something, to pay respect to their death, because it was not in vain. It helped save this country from tyranny. It helped save the world from dictatorship.
And what we have in this country is unique, it's special. I'm on the Armed Services Committee in Congress. I go all over the world, to see our Navy and the rest of our services. I mentioned Navy because it's headquartered in Rhode Island, we have a big Naval position.
KING: Never forget the home folks.
PATRICK KENNEDY: Anyway, I am constantly amazed by how many other places in the world are just struggling to be like us, and yet we're sitting back, taking for granted oftentimes what we have, and that's what this election is all about; it's whether we're going to sit back and take for granted, that there is this we are all going to la di da, go along, or whether we're going to say, no, this doesn't just happen by accident, we need to make it happen, and that's what the president's speech last night was all about, and that's what this election is all about.
KING: You can't talk to Kennedys without talking about ambition, and that's very American concept. You want to be governor?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: You've asked that before, Larry.
KING: Yes, but it's getting close now, and you can't -- the governor can't succeed himself in their own two-term limit. You are lieutenant governor. I mean, it seems if it looks like duck and acts like a duck, it might be a duck.
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: You're so wise.
KING: I know. Comes from my schooling in Brooklyn.
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: Well, come to Maryland. I'm concentrating right now on being a very good lieutenant governor, reducing crime, strengthening education, creating jobs, protecting the environment, and as Patrick pointed out, getting lots of young people involved.
Let me just tell you, in the Maryland delegation, we have 45 young Democrats, it's largest number of young Democrats of any state, because we have made a real effort to reach out to young people, and we've got a terrific leader in Melody Miller. It's so exciting to see what can be accomplished... KING: Are you a delegate?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: I am a delegate.
KING: Is she going to run for governor?
PATRICK KENNEDY: I hope she does. I'm there for her if she does.
KING: Would you campaign for her?
PATRICK KENNEDY: Absolutely, if she allowed me. I think she'd be a fantastic governor. What she's done in Maryland in terms of encouraging a lot of young people to get involved is a real tribute to -- excuse me.
KING: Nothing, I was going to...
PATRICK KENNEDY: You -- warmed up.
KING: I warm into things.
PATRICK KENNEDY: I did not run for Senate. I had chance to run for Senate last time. I chose not to. I like House. It's more hurly-burly. The people are real. They're less aloof and into themselves, as they often are in the Senate, I can say, because I've been there, watched my dad. He's more engaging than a lot of others, but the fact of the matter is, the House is just much more, you know, alive. I like the House. The turnover is great. I hope to, you know, make a career in the House, if my constituents allow me.
KING: We'll be right back with Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Representative Patrick Kennedy. Still to come, Mario Cuomo, Christopher Reeve with us.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
SEN. JOHN F. KENNEDY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me say, first, that I accept the nomination of the Democratic Party. I accept it without reservation, and with only one obligation, the obligation to devote every effort of my mind and spirit to lead our party back to victory and our nation to greatness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Is this, Lieutenant Governor Townsend, the moderate wing of the party taken over? Is it now official, with the vice president and presidential nominees?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: I think it is wing of the party that is saying: We need new ideas, new solutions to old problems. The values are the same, but I think what my father said, what John Kennedy has always said, is you've got to look anew at each year. What are the problems we are going to solve, how we are going to do things differently?
KING: And you have proudly said you have been one of the leaders of the centrist movement of that party?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: Yes, I have been, you know, I have been the chair of the DLC meetings. And I think it is important. And I think what we have done with that kind of new leadership is we have been able to have welfare reform. Now it is not part of the national agenda in terms of party. We are really trying to solve problems. We have also been able to reduce crime to the lowest levels because we focused on these areas.
We have asked for results from government rather than to judge ourselves by how much money we put into it. We have looked at new ways of solving issues. And what is the advantage of that is when you made sure that people come back to the Democratic Party, you have a sense of hope and confidence about what we can accomplish together. The old ways weren't working. And what is important, when you have a political party, is to make sure things work.
KING: You in that wing, too Congressman?
PATRICK KENNEDY: I don't know what wing I'm in, although I know that being in the minority in the House means that we are all together, because we are all in minority. We can't worry about whether we are in the left wing or the right wing, because we are all in the minority. That is why we are working to get the House back. And I'm very confident that we will be able to take the House back this fall.
If people know the difference between our parties, the one thing that shouldn't he be mistaken for what Kathleen is talking about in terms of a new approach to problems, is the fact that there are some very real differences in the selection between Democrats and Republicans. Even the most moderate or conservative Democrat, if you will, is right on board with this agenda of making sure we pay down the debt, invest in education, and provide a solid and secure retirement for our seniors, in addition to a prescription drug benefit
KING: ... opposition?
PATRICK KENNEDY: I hope I don't. But...
KING: You don't know yet.
PATRICK KENNEDY: No, but I -- he is campaigning now, but I feel confident about the support I have received from my constituents. I'm not taking anything for granted. I need their vote. I would like the 1st District of Rhode Island's support in this election.
KING: Are you going to campaign around the country?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: I will. I campaigned in the primary for Al Gore. I really think it is an important election. One of the issues is people think we are doing so well economically that this just happened. But it isn't an accident. It takes leadership. And it takes an ability of everybody to go out and make the case. Too often, we get lazy. And that is when we make our biggest mistakes.
KING: You will be out there.
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: I will.
KING: And we know how you feel about Senator Lieberman. You were on with us the other night.
How do you feel?
PATRICK KENNEDY: I think it is great for the ticket. I think there is a chemistry between Al Gore and Joe Lieberman that is really strong. And they say that the sum is greater than their parts. That is true of this ticket.
KING: How important is the Gore speech Thursday?
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: It is very important. It allows many Americans their ability to look at what Al Gore has to say, how he says it, how he makes this case to the American people, how he explains what it is that he wants to accomplish as president. I believe he will do a wonderful job. When there is a tough time for Al Gore, he always rises to the occasion. And I believe he will do it on Thursday.
KING: A great American family is going to be honored in the next hour. You are going to be both -- you were on stage earlier, I saw.
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: I was.
KING: Are you going to be back? Are they going to bring everyone on, do you know, Patrick?
PATRICK KENNEDY: I don't think so.
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: No, I don't think so.
KING: No, your dad will be on, though, right?
PATRICK KENNEDY: He will be there.
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: It is a large platform, but we are an even larger family.
KING: How many Kennedys are here?
PATRICK KENNEDY: Oh, I don't know. I didn't even know my cousin Bobby was here until I ran into him in the hallway.
KING: An amazing American story.
PATRICK KENNEDY: Thanks, Larry.
KENNEDY TOWNSEND: Hey, thank you very much.
KING: Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
In a little while, we will be meeting Christopher Reeve. We are going to get you an up-to-date on the tragedy in the Barents Sea. We are going to talk to a vice admiral, retired from the United States Navy. And Tom Clancy returns to talk about a submarine at the bottom of the ocean with live men on it. Don't go away.
KING: We're back.
The nuclear sub, the Kursk, a Russian nuclear sub, remains at the bottom of the Barents Sea.
Joining us now from San Diego is Vice Admiral Patrick Hannifin, United States Navy, retired in 1977 after nearly 35 years of submarine service. And our old friend Tom Clancy returns. He's in New York tonight, author of "The Hunt for Red October," and many Mays your best seller. The latest novel is "The Bear and the Dragon."
We have a bit of news -- and we'll get the comment from both gentlemen -- that the British mini-submarine and rescue team were ready Wednesday to fly out to the Barents Sea to help Russia rescue 116 submarines trapped in a stricken vessel. Russia has not formally asked for assistance. Can the British, do you think, pull this off, Admiral?
RET. VICE ADM. PATRICK HANNIFIN, U.S. NAVY: Well I'm not sure whether they are equipped to do it. In our case, the hatches of the Russian submarine are not compatible with our deep submergence rescue vessels. Our deep submergence rescue vessels can handle any of our NATO allies, but we have never had an agreement or an arrangement with the Soviets so that their hatches would be compatible with our DSRVs.
KING: So we don't know if the British will even do it.
HANNIFIN: I do not know how the -- no, I do not know.
KING: All right.
And, Tom, we know that a second attempt failed. Does the chances here look dimmer and dimmer? And you have become a submarine expert.
TOM CLANCY, AUTHOR: Well, I am not going call myself an expert with an admiral on the show. But as a practical matter, Larry, the scariest thing that I have heard today is there has been no contact with the crew aboard the Kursk since the initial incident happened. And if they are not banging on the hull with hammers or getting on the gertrude (ph) to talk to the ships that are overhead, it means they can't talk. And the only reason they can't talk that is they are dead.
KING: What does it say to you, Vice Admiral?
HANNIFIN: It sounds pretty grim. If the report is correct that the submarine is at about a 60-degree list, it would be very difficult, it seems to me, to put the diving pod -- or what we used to call a bell -- down and get it with a good tight seal on the submarine. And without communication, I agree with Tom, it doesn't sound very encouraging at all.
KING: How much time period are we looking at here, Tom?
CLANCY: Well, I mean, as a practical matter, the sub -- it is a very large submarine and only 100 people aboard -- so there's probably quite, you know, quite a bit of air for them to breathe if they are alive to breath it. It sounds -- it -- the fact that there's no noise coming off the submarine means that there is nobody making noise. If nobody is making noise, it means they're dead. And that's -- that's too darn bad. I mean, it is -- you know, I encourage all our viewers, when you hit the knees tonight, drop a dime on the Lord and maybe say a prayer for these guys, because that maybe all we can do for them.
KING: Will we be able, vice admiral, to go down and look?
HANNIFIN: I didn't quite understand you, Larry.
KING: Can another sub go down and look?
KING: Take pictures. Is that possible?
HANNIFIN: It would be easier to send down one of the robot vehicles, unmanned but tethered to a surface ship, with cameras and that sort of thing.
This is absolutely the submariners worst nightmare, to be in a sunken submarine with the possibility of being rescued, but the hope dimming as they hours go by.
KING: We are left, as Tom Clancy so eloquently said, with prayer. Thank you both very much, Vice Admiral Patrick Hannifin and Tom Clancy.
HANNIFIN: Thank you, Larry.
KING: When we come back, Christopher Reeve joins us and then Governor Mario Cuomo. This is LARRY KING LIVE part one. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we move into the future, the nominee of the Democratic Party, my partner and friend for the last eight years, understands where we are, where we're going, and how it will affect ordinary citizens more than any other public figure in this country over the last 20 years. He is the right person to be the first president of the 21st century, Al Gore!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back at the Democratic National Convention. We welcome friend, activist, actor, chairman of the board, Christopher Reeve, Paralysis Foundation. The man himself, Christopher Reeve. How are you feeling first?
CHRISTOPHER REEVE, PARALYSIS FOUNDATION: Very well. A little tired. I've been talking all day, but I'm fine.
KING: Still optimistic?
REEVE: More so than ever. In fact, a recent breakthrough's happened. And a scientist that we fund, Dr. Ira Black, has made a major breakthrough, which I put right up there with the invention of the wheel, and that is that he's been able to take cells, stem cells from bone marrow of an adult and with gene therapy turn them into nerves.
REEVE: And put them into the injured spinal cord and get recovery. It's phenomenal, and I'm proud to say that our foundation financed the work.
KING: So that furthers your belief you will walk?
REEVE: Absolutely, yes.
KING: And many others will walk?
REEVE: Yes, yes. And there are different kinds of spinal cord injury, but it's not only about that. It's about Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Lou Gehrig's disease, stroke, MS. This approach with stem cells, both human embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, means hope...
KING: Were you at the Republican...
REEVE: ... for the whole American family.
KING: Were you at the Republican convention?
KING: Because they're not listening to you, because you're a Democrat? Why?
REEVE: Well, basically because it was more difficult to get to Philadelphia.
KING: Because you would have been as welcomed there as you are here.
REEVE: No. I think I have a very good relationship with Republicans. In fact, there's been good leadership on the issue from Senator Hatfield when he was there, from Arlen Specter right now. Working together with Senator Harkin, they've doing great work, and Congressman Porter in Appropriations. So it really is a bipartisan effort. However, I believe that the Democrats really got a step up, and the reason tonight I came out to L.A. was to work on the plank and the platform.
KING: Which says?
REEVE: Which says that we have a commitment, firm commitment, to double the budget for biomedical research and to bring the disabled into the mainstream of society. And it was -- I just heard this afternoon it was adopted unanimously.
KING: Do you expect that would be something that would get bipartisan approval in the Senate and the House?
REEVE: Well, there is some resistance, you know, because it's expensive to make alterations, you know, to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. But we have to do it. You know, it's as important as education. There are just certain obligations that we really must fulfill.
KING: How many Americans are disabled by definition?
REEVE: Right now, either seriously ill or disabled are 54 million Americans. That's one-fifth of the population, and we have to do everything we possibly can to alleviate that situation.
KING: There's going to be -- they're going to honor you tomorrow, the Creative Coalition and "George" magazine, similar to an event held for Michael J. Fox. You've had a lot of these, right? Do they ever get old hat to you?
REEVE: Not at all, not at all. But I really feel that the people who have been doing the work at our foundation, the -- my hats are off to the scientists, because you don't really hear about them, and particularly Dr. Black, you know, has been working for years in New Jersey at the school of medicine on this theory that he could do this with the cells. And now...
KING: And of course....
REEVE: Now -- you know, he's never called attention to himself, and now he's made an incredible breakthrough.
KING: Of course, had there not been you, this wouldn't have happened.
One of the tragedies is we need someone famous to have something happen to them to get spurred on.
REEVE: Well, I think, you know, there have been a lot of people who have done similar work, Michael J. Fox, "Magic" Johnson, I think Mary Tyler Moore with diabetes. But really, the case that has to be made is we're talking about the whole country. And when I can get out there in front of thousands of people and say, listen, there is real hope on the horizon for people who have all these diseases, you know, then I'm not just speaking out of self-interest and I feel glad about that.
KING: When you were hale and hearty, did you ever think about the disabled?
REEVE: No. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't. I really -- you know, I'm quite guilty of walking down the street and not even taking notice.
KING: So how then do we get the message across since Christopher Reeve didn't notice?
REEVE: Well, simply by more people having the courage to appear in public, more people saying, wait a minute, I can work, you know, I can do things. And now that there are new therapies coming along, more and more people will be brought in from the margins of society and you'll get more used to seeing disabled people working now and then getting better.
KING: You're going to direct another film?
REEVE: Yes. But right now, compared to the fact that Dr. Ira Black just about, as I said, invented the wheel, my directing career doesn't seem very important to me.
KING: I look forward to meeting him and always great seeing you.
REEVE: Thank you so much, Larry.
KING: Christopher Reeve, they don't come any better, attending the Democratic National Convention.
My old friend, the former governor of New York, who eloquently spoke at the 1984 convention, one of the great keynote speeches ever made no matter what side of the aisle you agree with, Governor Mario Cuomo is with us next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've always looked to the future, and that's exactly what we're going to do in Los Angeles at the convention. I do think it makes sense to pause for just a moment to acknowledge the strong foundation that we've built over the last eight years, along with the American people, and the great possibilities that it brings to us.
The question in this election is whether we are going to erode that foundation or instead build upon it, whether we are going to turn back toward the old ways of the old guard or move forward with purpose and pride.
America's done well, but I tell you, you ain't seen yet! We're going forward!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back at night two of the Democratic National Convention at the beautiful Staples Center here in Los Angeles. We'll be with you twice each night through Thursday. And tomorrow night, Tipper Gore is going to be with us. And later tonight, we'll meet the keynote speaker of this convention, Harold Ford. Frank Rich of "The New York Times" is going to be with us.
We're joined now from New York by the former governor, Mario Cuomo, made the keynote speech in 1984, was on the floor listening that night, also nominated Bill Clinton in 1992. Why are you not here?
MARIO CUOMO (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: Well, we have already a near glut of Cuomos at the convention. We have Andrew, the secretary of housing, we have Christopher, his young brother, who is at -- I won't mention the network -- and, Maria is on her way. So there will be three Cuomos there, and sufficient under the day of the Cuomos thereof.
KING: Don't you miss conventioning?
CUOMO: I do. It's the first time in 0 years that I haven't been at the convention, and, -- but although I miss it, you know, I feel good that Andrew is in the ascendancy and is getting an opportunity to show his wares there, and it opens a whole new exciting prospect for me.
KING: Mario, they are saying these are the New Democrats, the centrist Democrats -- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend just said, that's what we are. Does that mean that Cuomo Democrats are on the sidelines?
CUOMO: I hope not. First of all, you know, the Kennedy family is an amazing institution, it truly is. And I have been privilege, thanks to Andrew and Kerry, get to know them fairly well, and they make a marvelous contribution to this country. And what they are keeping a alive, is something that really Chris Reeve was talking about. You asked him a very trenchant question, when, you said Chris, did you ever think about the disabled when you were hale and hearty? And Chris said no, I apologize really now belatedly, because I never did. And what the Kennedy family has been doing for 40 years is playing the leadership role of telling us about the disabled, about the poor, about the people who otherwise would be left out, and that's a very important role of government, and it's the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. That's leadership, explaining to America what part of America is not in the circle of opportunity there.
There seems to be a general impression out there now that everybody is doing great, and so it doesn't make any difference who you have as president, we're going to all get rich anyway. There is more poor people in this country today than there were in 1989. And there is, Larry, one out of five workers in this country is high skilled. So rare that we have to import 200,000 computer engineers. That means all those others who are working, thanks to Clinton-Gore, they're all working, and getting little raises, but they are low and moderate skilled.
CUOMO: The average wage is about 42,000 dollars. Their wages are going up about 2 percent a year, tops. But the cost of housing, the cost of education, the cost of transportation and the cost of health care is going up faster. Which means most of America is either static or going downward. Nobody is going to tell that story except the Democrats. That's what Jesse is about. That's what Ted Kennedy is so great at. And that's not old politics. He's an old politician, I guess, Ted Kennedy, and so is Jesse, but what they're talking about is as new and as relevant as it ever was in this country.
KING: What did you think of the nomination of Lieberman?
CUOMO: I loved it. I loved it.
KING: Surprised by it?
CUOMO: I was surprised by it, but happily surprised by it. I had heard that other people were first choice, second choice, and so I was surprised, but absolutely delighted. You know, for all the obvious reasons, of course, he is a tower of strength in terms of morality, he's a cleansing agent, he's the first Jewish person, and when you acknowledge that it is belated that we have a Jewish person on the ticket, you are helping all minorities, and you're helping make the case for the integration of everybody in the society.
All of those things are wonderful. But he's something else -- he's a terrific communicator on the issues. And, Larry, that's secret to this campaign. You look at the polls, forget about numbers, look at one thing in the polls -- what do people say about issues now? Are they more or less interested in issues than they are in general character, and for the first time, there is a strong showing in the polls, they want to hear about education, they want to hear about Social Security. Joe Lieberman can make the case the way few other people can. He's got that nice Talmudic analytical ability, and that wonderful soft, but very cogent, direct-communicating delivery that is going to be dynamite.
KING: So finally, you're expecting an issue-oriented campaign?
CUOMO: Absolutely. And that is Al Gore's greatest strength. You know, I hear this -- I heard it in an NPR debate I had today with an author of a couple of books on Gore. Oh come on, you're always walking about rationales and issues, that's not the way people vote. Well, this will be a test of whether or not America can be fooled by a lot of superficialities, or do they want to hear about what their retirement will really be a like if you mess around with a 1.6 trillion dollar tax cut, what that will do to the deficit and debt. Will it bring it all back, or won't it? How do you educate?
Look, Larry, they're talking about Bush's education, plan, right? And he has got America thinking that he has a plan on education. I ask you this question, Larry: Does his plan include spending any federal money? And the answer is no. He talks about standards. He talks about what he did in Texas. What he did in Texas was spend money that Ann Richards taught him how to spend, that a court required him to spend, and he spent it, and he got the rate of reading up. That is what...
KING: I'm out of time, but let me tell you, we look forward to seeing much enough of you in this campaign. I'll see you on next trip to New York. I know you'll be out campaigning. We look forward to having you on quite often.
CUOMO: Issues, issues, issues
KING: Including in debate, Mario.
KING: Governor Mario Cuomo of New York.
When we come back, the former vice president of the United States, United States ambassador and the man who first ever to select a woman as running mate -- Walter Mondale will join us, and then, Ann Richards and Bill Bennett will go at it.
Don't go away.
KING: We're back. And as you can see, the vice presidential nominee of his party, Joe Lieberman, who appeared with us one week ago tonight in his first interview after being selected by Al Gore, is arriving at the convention hall, and has, therefore, taken everything in hand, and what is happening on the stage has stopped. The press is gathered around him, as you can see, and the delegates are standing and applauding the man who tomorrow night will address this convention, accepting its nomination as vice president, and beginning Friday, will go out on hustings, with his friend of longstanding, Al Gore, as the vice presidential nominee of his party, the first Jewish- American ever nominated to either presidency or vice presidency on a national ticket of the Democratic or Republican Party's, Joe Lieberman arriving in the hall.
A man used to groundbreaking is with us in studio, Walter Mondale, as he looks at this.
This has to be little ominous looking back to 1984 when he selected Geraldine Ferraro. First, did you feel a pang when Lieberman was selected, another first?
WALTER MONDALE (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a wonderful feeling to see this wonderful senator, and he is the first Jew to be on a ticket. I think we're going to win. We're going to open another big door in America. It's just a wonderful feeling.
KING: And the crowd obviously taking joy to its heart; a rousing reception down on the floor as Lieberman heads with the Connecticut delegation into his seat. He has altered things here, and the program has stopped for this.
MONDALE: I have a feeling the convention is happy about this.
KING: But were you surprised at the selection, Walter?
MONDALE: No, I wasn't. He was one of those I thought would be terrific. And I think Gore deserves a lot of credit, because this has really I think made big difference in this campaign, and it will be true in our government, too. He's got such a wonderful reputation in the Congress.
KING: When you picked a woman it was historic. Do you think we'll ever see woman soon on the ticket again?
MONDALE: I'm disappointed in the fact that there hasn't been any progress since then, because that's a door we need to open. Women have done quite well below the presidency and vice presidency, but there's been no progress since our convention in '84.
KING: Why is this ticket of Gore and gentleman you're looking at, Lieberman, in your opinion, so far behind in the polls now?
MONDALE: Well, number one, it's coming up in the polls. I suspect when this convention is over, we're going to be a little bit ahead, but I get your point. This is going to be a hard, tough campaign. I think the transition from the vice presidency is difficult. Gore has to show that he's on his own, he's independent, and he will do that, and he's ready, but that has to be made clear, and we've been around eight years, and you have to get with it, so people feel that we're worthy of a longer period, and that will do, too.
KING: Going to be involved?
MONDALE: Oh yes, I will help.
KING: Going to campaign?
MONDALE: I'll do it mostly in Minnesota, but wherever they want me go, I'll do it.
KING: How's life for you?
MONDALE: Having a wonderful time. Back home in Minnesota, Joan and I are having a great time and the children are there and I get to fish once in a while.
KING: And your daughter has become a star.
MONDALE: Yes. Wonderful.
KING: Always great seeing you.
MONDALE: Thank you so much.
KING: The former vice president of the United States, Ambassador Walter Mondale. Next, Bill Bennett and the honorable Ann Richards, and we'll go at it on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, part one.
Don't go away.
KING: We're back. The Democrats are, as they say, rocking, here in Los Angeles.
And we welcome the honorable Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, regular commentator for LARRY KING LIVE, and sometimes commentator William Bennett. He's the co-director of Empower America, former education secretary and former director of drug control.
When Bill Bennett was on this program a couple weeks ago, I threw out the name Lieberman, who was associated with you and Empower America, you said, you didn't think he's get it, but it'd be a great moment if he did.
WILLIAM BENNETT, CO-DIRECTOR, EMPOWER AMERICA: I didn't he'd get, he got it -- it's a great moment.
KING: Were you surprised?
BENNETT: Yes, I was surprised, I really was.
KING: Was it gutsy or good or?
BENNETT: I think it was pretty gutsy and risky in some ways we could talk about, because of some of Lieberman's very prominent positions. But I think he traded up in the world, you know, he traded one partner for another, and I think this is progress.
KING: And, Ann, you were with us on the late show yesterday, so you can give us reaction for the early viewers. You liked it too, right? Surprised?
ANN RICHARDS (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF TEXAS: Yes, I did. Well, yes, I was surprised, but I thought it was a tremendous choice. But you know something, Walter Mondale was just here talking to you. I got to go to the meeting of women who met with Walter Mondale to talk about the possibility of a woman being on the ticket with him, and I cannot tell you what an exciting and thrilling thing that was, to have a nominee for president of the United States sit down with a room full of women leaders, and say, well, what do you guys think?
KING: He said he was surprised that no woman has been selected since. Are we going to see it?
BENNETT: Sure we'll see it. Sure we'll see it. We would have -- I think we would have had black president of the United States if Colin Powell had run in '96.
KING: Your friend.
BENNETT: Yes, I think. if he runs if future -- I guess he won't.
KING: He would be elected.
BENNETT: It'll happen, and we'll certainly have a woman presidential...
RICHARDS: And they'll name a woman as soon as they have the woman that they think can win, from either party.
KING: That's what it comes down to.
RICHARDS: It's all a matter of winning, yes.
KING: All right, how is this -- Bush's way ahead. Good thing for your side?
BENNETT: Sure. Better to be ahead than behind.
KING: Right, but it could be a Dukakis thing. Are you concerned at all? Can you be too far ahead sometimes?
BENNETT: Sure. Look, I'm not a surrogate, by the way, you know me, I speak my mind on these things. I think he's is way ahead, people seem to like him -- they do like him.
KING: That counts.
BENNETT: And he did a good job at convention. Gore has got several problems. I think the biggest one is those negatives. They are very high. There are -- "USA Today" said 47 percent of people polled said there was no way whatsoever they could vote for him. Seems they've made up their mind. Now it's early, and some of that is fluid, but that's what they've got to deal with and that's what he's got to deal with on Thursday night when he gives that speech.
KING: Do you agree, Ann, this is a very important moment for him?
RICHARDS: I think it is the biggest speech, in my memory at, a political convention. It will have...
KING: Watching Bush in 88?
RICHARDS: Absolutely. It will have...
KING: Similar situation.
RICHARDS: It will have more impact than any other single event, I think, on this election.
BENNETT: It's hard for him, I mean, it is hard, because he's not a natural speechmaker, I mean, I don't think that's just a fact. You had this piece of oratory tonight from Jessie, you know, the old-time stuff.
KING: Needs things like that.
BENNETT: Yes. And most people here love Clinton and think he did a great job, so it's a tough thing for Gore on Thursday.
RICHARDS: Let me tell you something I thought about just because on this show and talking to you, Larry. I been thinking about what do I think Bush's chief problem is?
KING: You ran against him, so tell us
RICHARDS: I think his chief problem is that he has a record. When I ran against him, the only record he had was that he was Bush's son and that he had been a part owner of a baseball team -- you know, there was nothing there to really talk about.
KING: So you think the Texas record is a debating issue?
RICHARDS: The Texas record is going to be a debating issue, and it's also a political and direct mail issue. They can really target a message.
BENNETT: He had a record when he ran against Ann's successor, and that record was sufficient to give him a win of 70 percent, with what, 65 percent support from Hispanic, 30 percent from blacks -- unprecedented numbers. And we heard the story of Texas, according to Jesse Jackson. We'll hear more of that. There is a lot to be said about Texas, and there is a lot of good things to be said about Texas as well.
KING: Governor Cuomo says that this should be an issue oriented race, not a personality race. Can it be, really?
BENNETT: They're always both. Look, there's a problem if dogs don't like the dog food, you know, they just don't like the person, or the person just turns them off, there's a problem.
KING: Nothing you can do about it.
BENNETT: That's right. But sure we'll talk about issues. The interesting thing for me now is -- you know, and I'm Lieberman's buddy -- is on some of these issues where Lieberman has spoken out, he has spoken out in a way that is against the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. He's talked about school choice, which is -- makes people scream in the teachers unions. He's spoken about race preferences. He's spoken about Hollywood. We're going to do this tomorrow at this meeting.
KING: Campaign finance.
BENNETT: Campaign finance.
KING: Will he get a lot of McCain supporters?
BENNETT: I imagine he will. KING: Crossover goes both ways.
BENNETT: And you will see those quotes from Joe Lieberman about what he said about the Clinton-Gore operation in the White House.
KING: All's fair.
RICHARDS: And the most important thing to remember is that all Democrats do not agree on all issues, and nor do the Republicans. And that was why it really was a noble choice that Al Gore chose someone that does not necessarily agree with him on every issue.
KING: This is for both of you. Why at neither convention did anybody even talk about, mention, or it seemed not to matter, the platform? They now boast, I didn't read it.
BENNETT: Well, you know, there are people asking questions in my party -- I imagine the Democrats -- do we really need these things? I think the is...
KING: Do we?
BENNETT: Well, when you get to the point where you don't talk about them at all and they don't seem to inform the speeches or the general campaign, it is a fair question. You still want some definition of what the differences between parties is, but there are other ways to do it.
KING: We'll get a break and we'll be right back with our duo of Ann Richards and William Bennett. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. The campaign is being entertained now by Luther Vandross, a very famous entertainer, and we're joined, of course, by Ann Richards, the Honorable Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, and Bill Bennett, the co-director of Empower America.
How important is the Lieberman speech tomorrow night?
RICHARDS: Oh, I think it's important, because it's going to set a tone and it's going to give the people -- you know, it's sort of an introductory to get to know Joe Lieberman.
KING: The nation meets him tomorrow.
RICHARDS: So yes, he's got to be good. But listen, let me tell you, none of them have to be Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is in a category by himself.
BENNETT: Hopefully not.
KING: There's no more -- there's no more critical person of Bill Bennett than -- Bill Clinton than Bill Bennett.
BENNETT: Also of Bill Bennett.
KING: But does he -- one of the reasons that he bugs you is that he's so good at what he does?
BENNETT: I don't think he's that great rhetorically. I never thought he was that great. I thought last night's speech was one of the better speeches, though he took too much credit for too many things, not any -- no smiling face, no tree turned to the sun was not, you know, because of him, but he didn't take credit for, or responsibility, for what he did personally.
I think he should have -- I think he should have apologized not for the so-called "personal omission," but for the lying under oath, for bringing the country down, for being a bad example. It would have helped, it would have helped Gore.
KING: I mean by bug you, does it bug you that he remains so...
BENNETT: Sure. Sure, it bugs me. That's why I wrote "The Death of Outrage." I think people have given him a pass because the economy is good and he's got a lot of charm. But I still...
RICHARDS: Bill Bennett would get down on the floor and thank the Lord if was as good a speaker as Bill Clinton.
BENNETT: I'm not too bad a speaker.
RICHARDS: And we all would.
KING: He's not bad?
RICHARDS: And we all -- I've heard him, and he's good, but he ain't Bill Clinton and neither am I. You know? We speak all over the country...
BENNETT: I wouldn't trade virtually anything in my life for anything of Bill Clinton's.
KING: You don't like him, right?
RICHARDS: But that guy...
BENNETT: I don't like him because of what he did to the country. I'm not a Clinton hater. I wasn't a Clinton hater. I was an admirer of what he did in Arkansas. And I wrote him letters, and he's got them in his file. I learned to have the attitude I have toward Bill Clinton because of what he did to this country, because he lied to us, because he's a disgrace.
KING: Why didn't that really bring wounds that were savage to him?
RICHARDS: The reality...
KING: I mean, if I told you before the fact... RICHARDS: The reality is that, Larry, we cannot expect perfection from ourselves nor can we expect perfection from the people that we marry, and oftentimes they're going to be a grave disappointment to us. And that includes our elected officials.
Now, Bennett has the luxury of never forgiving.
BENNETT: No, no, no.
RICHARDS: I indeed run a life that's entirely different.
BENNETT: I don't want perfection. I mean, I don't expect perfection.
KING: That's right. You are a moral master.
BENNETT: No, but it's not perfection, Larry. I just -- my standard is presidents of the United States should not be felons. That's not perfection. They shouldn't be felons.
KING: And your -- even though he hasn't been...
... no grand jury has sentenced him?
BENNETT: He was found in contempt of court. He has obstructed justice. He has been impeached. He's going to be disbarred. God knows what else he's done.
RICHARDS: And he's been one of the best presidents we've ever had in our history.
BENNETT: Well, if you don't think that stuff matters...
RICHARDS: He has brought a time of prosperity to the economy of America that's unprecedented...
KING: Can you be all of the above?
KING: You can be apparently all of the above.
BENNETT: No, you can preside over a great economy and you can take credit for things that you've actually done.
RICHARDS: It is unbelievable that revisionist history is the only kind that Bennett remembers.
BENNETT: The record is clear. I've had Democrats all week long saying to me, "You're right about Clinton, you're right about Clinton."
RICHARDS: Anecdotal evidence is hardly what we need at a time that we're talking about... BENNETT: That's a quote. That's a quote.
RICHARDS: ... employment at the highest rate it's ever been. We have balanced the budget. We can pay down the deficit.
KING: Somebody did something right.
BENNETT: All right...
RICHARDS: Absolutely, for eight years they did.
BENNETT: Forget my words. Go to Joe Lieberman's words. I'll stand on Joe Lieberman's words.
KING: We thank you both very much. Mr. Bennett, you'll return in a couple of nights.
RICHARDS: Always a pleasure.
KING: You'll be back with Mr. Kemp tomorrow.
BENNETT: If Kemp is sick, I'll come off the bench.
KING: He's always ready. Stay tuned now. Bernie Shaw, Judy Woodruff, and a man, Jeff Greenfield, who got higher marks than Joe Lieberman in the same law class. Things you learn on LARRY KING LIVE that you never thought possible.
Greenfield is with us as is Judy and Bernie, and they're next, and they're going to be covering this whole scene for you. And we'll be back in two hours with people like Frank Rich of "The New York Times" and a man you're going to see speak, the keynote speaker, Congressman Harold Ford of Tennessee.
I'm Larry King. For our great crew out here in Los Angeles, for all the people involved with CNN, for our guests, thanks for joining us and stay with us for more top coverage.
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