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Larry King Live
Paula Jones Discusses Why She's Posing for 'Penthouse'Aired October 24, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, she's gone from the pages of presidential history to a pictorial in "Penthouse": Paula Jones joins us from New York.
And then, just two weeks to go in campaign 2000, polls still read too close to call. We'll chart the political landscape with Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey; with him is the former mayor of New York, Ed Koch; in Washington, longtime political strategist Ed Rollins; and our own Tucker Carlson, a staff writer as well for "The Weekly Standard." They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
The December issue of "Penthouse" magazines is on the stands, and Paula Jones is the feature of this edition. She has posed for this periodical in a lot of dramatic pictures, we'll be showing you some of them.
But before we start, Paula, this is a interview with you on May 23, you were on the "Hannity & Colmes" program on Fox, and here is what you said. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "HANNITY & COLMES")
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Paula, let me just show you -- I'm going to put up on the screen what Bob Guccione said recently here on Fox News on Paula Zahn's program, then I want to get your response. Here is what happened.
BOB GUCCIONE, "PENTHOUSE" MAGAZINE: It's about to be signed, I think it's going to go through. We have been talking to her for some time now. Last word is that she has agreed everything in the contract. So I think it's a go.
COLMES: All right, so yes or no, will you pose for "Penthouse" magazine?
PAULA JONES, SETTLED LAWSUIT WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, first of all, he lied because I haven't agreed to anything in any kind of contract, and I just received the first contract today. And let me tell you, this is the first time I have said this publicly and I want to say it on your show...
JONES: I will never pose nude for any men's magazine -- never. And that's all I have to say about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What happened, Paula?
JONES: I -- and I meant it at the time, but I changed my mind.
JONES: Any woman and anybody in the world has a right to change their mind at any point in time, and at that point in time I meant what I said, but I changed my mind.
KING: But the question, Paula, was why did you change it? What caused you to change your mind?
JONES: Well, I wanted...
KING: Everyone can change their mind, but usually we have a reason.
JONES: Oh, I know, and everybody really makes a big deal out of it when somebody like me changes their mind, and I understand. At the time, I thought it was the best choice to make for the future of my children and hopefully to secure their future, and everything. So, I wanted to hopefully do that for my children.
KING: You knew when doing it, though, that a lot of your friends, and supporters and people who stood by you would be outraged.
JONES: None of my friends, first of all, Larry, are outraged, none of my friends, because you know what? If you have true friends in life, they will always be your friends no matter what decision that you make in life. They are going to love you, support you, they don't have to agree with it, but they can support you and love you and stick by with you, and I have not had a problem whatsoever with any of my true friends.
KING: All right, but how about those people who are out with you, your lawyers, when you appeared on television, your friend that went on all those shows for you, do you think they are disappointed in this?
JONES: My lawyers?
JONES: Are you talking about the ones -- I haven't heard anything from any of my lawyers, I don't know how they feel about it, and it's not for them to -- you know, they can have their own opinion just like anybody else can.
KING: What was it like to do it?
JONES: Well, it was an adventure, you know, it's something I usually don't normally do, but at the time it was offered to me, I was -- I thought it was the best thing for me to do at the time, because I needed to secure the future of my children.
KING: I mean, what was it like to pose nude?
JONES: And I had taxes to pay.
KING: What was it like as an experience?
JONES: Well, it was an adventure, it was something I usually don't do, but I don't think that they are -- they are not vulgar pictures, they are not disgusting pictures, I think they're very tasteful. And it was an adventure, it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
KING: All right, when we -- and we are showing some shots of them now, and you do look rather good.
JONES: Well, thank you, Larry.
KING: But was it embarrassing?
JONES: No, not really. I mean, I'm an adult woman, and I made the choice to do so based on the fact that it was something that I needed to do to -- I thought it was in the best interests for me and my children, and to help secure -- and of course, it was -- the money had something do with it, you know. I mean, I was...
KING: Well, you wouldn't have done it for nothing.
JONES: No, absolutely not. And any other time I would have never chose to do this, but it was a point and time in my life that I needed to pay taxes, I had legal funds -- had taxes to pay. I had different things that needed to come up, I'm a single mother now with two little boys that I really need to support, and hopefully, I'm wanting to put them through college and maybe set up a college fund. And why not do it? I mean, you know, why not?
KING: You had the chance, though, Paula, to get quite a bit of money in September of 1997. You were offered an out of -- or late August of '97 -- an out-of-court settlement probably in the -- maybe more than you would have gotten from "Penthouse" -- I have no idea the figures -- why didn't you take that?
JONES: Because I was told by advisers and stuff that were surrounding me, and attorneys, that there was not a settlement on the table, that there was never a settlement -- and I have stated that so many times -- that there was not a settlement offer out there to take. So then if I had accepted it, I would have lost my attorneys in the first place, which I did anyway. So it doesn't really matter now, does it?
KING: No, but the other side said they had made some offer, didn't they, didn't they say that an offer was transmitted?
JONES: Well, I do believe that Bob Bennett made the statement on CNN, I think on -- maybe not your program, but another program that he did state a few days or so after everything -- or whatever -- after they quit or something, that they never did have any talks of settlement at all. But that's what I was told, and that's what those -- my attorneys are hired to do, to advise me to do what's in the best interests for my case, or whatever.
KING: Would you have settled?
JONES: Absolutely. Through the whole thing, I wanted to settle, all the attorneys knew that, that was something that I would want to do, is to try to get the thing settled, you know, at any point in time. Of course, you know, to go to trial as well, but if at any time, if there is going to be any kind of settlement talks, I was all the more willing to listen to them and to try to get it settled.
KING: Those advisers, were they more than just advice -- I mean, were they involved -- were they trying to control you in any way? Did you ever do anything you were uncomfortable with? Was the whole thing difficult for you?
JONES: Well, I think some people tried to make up my mind and tried to push me to go this way or that direction, which maybe, in fact, that I didn't want to go that direction, but then I thought OK, well, maybe they're smarter than me because they're more educated than me, you know, they're attorneys, or they're this person or that person, and I thought, well, maybe they know what are they talking about. So, yes, I was pushed a little bit to make decisions that I did not want to make.
KING: Were you out to hurt the president?
JONES: No, absolutely not. I have never -- it's never been about that, it's been about getting back something that was taken away from me, which was -- people were lying about me, and he was lying something that never happened, and I wanted to prove that it did happen, because it did hurt me, and I think -- and I don't regret it. You know what? Because I think it has opened a big -- you know, opened up something big for women in the workplace, about sexual harassment, so I don't have any regrets about it.
KING: So no regrets that it -- the effect it had on him, leading to Lewinsky, leading to all the rest, you don't feel -- you don't lose sleep over that?
JONES: No, that's not my problem, that's Bill Clinton's problem. I mean, you know -- I mean, why should I have to worry about all the other women, I was just based -- going on what happened to me.
KING: Now, you eventually got an $850,000 settlement, right?
JONES: Yes. That's correct.
KING: Is that pretty much gone?
JONES: I only got just a very small portion of that, and the rest went to -- all to pay attorney fees. And as a matter of fact, I still owe some attorneys some of the money, some more money.
KING: Wasn't there a fund to raise money for your fees? JONES: For expenses that were acquired...
KING: But not for the lawyers' fees?
JONES: I don't believe so. I think it was just expenses, legal expenses that were incurred in the case and everything.
KING: Are you still friends with Susan Carpenter-McMillan?
JONES: Well, I considered myself, you know, still her friend, but I don't know -- yes, I'm -- I think so, I'm still her friend. I consider myself her...
KING: Have you heard from her since the "Penthouse" thing?
JONES: Well, have you heard from her, Larry?
KING: No. But she isn't my friend, she's your friend.
JONES: I thought maybe you knew something I didn't. I thought maybe you heard something.
KING: We'll get a break and come right back, spend some more moments with Paula Jones, and then meet our panel. It's the new issue of "Penthouse" and she is in it. And we'll be right back.
KING: We're back with Paula Jones. She's the main feature in the December issue of "Penthouse." Some in the anti-Clinton cause, if it can be called that, feel that you've damaged the reputation and hurt that cause. I'll give a quote from Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator, who said: "I totally believed she was the good Christian girl she made herself out to be. It turns out she's a fraud, at least to the extent of pretending to be an honorable and moral person. Now, she's just as gross as Monica."
JONES: That's her opinion, and I hate that she feels that way, because I feel like, you know, here's the point: Everybody, even including her, you know, they all wanted to rally around me to -- during the time of the lawsuit. And all of a sudden, I didn't hear from anybody after the lawsuit had been settled or whatever to say: "Paula, how are you doing? Do you need some help or is anything going on in your life that we can help you out with? How's your day going?"
Nobody bothered to do that whatsoever. I was on my own. It's almost like they were gone and lost and no longer wanting to be my friend or contact me or anything. So -- and I'm sorry she feels that way, because I don't see how that can make me an immoral person, because I'm doing something that's going to benefit my children's future, because I'm a single mother now, and that -- and pay for taxes. And what's wrong with that?
I haven't been out doing anything and trying to make a lot of money. I haven't been offered a book deal like everybody else in this huge thing has done. Ann Coulter's done books. I haven't seen her call me up and say: "Paula, would you like for me to help you write a book, a really nice, decent?" I haven't had any help from anybody whatsoever.
And so why is it so bad for me to make a decision based on somebody offering me something when I knew I needed help? And why is that so awful for, you know, posing for -- I mean, I could have did something a lot worse, and I wouldn't do that. So -- I don't think there is -- that's her opinion.
KING: Santa Monica, California, let me take a call for Paula. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Ms. Jones.
CALLER: My question for you is I'm wondering if you think it undermines your credibility when you say that you were shocked and surprised by President Clinton's advances and that it damaged your reputation if you pose -- by posing in "Penthouse"?
KING: Do you think it will hurt your reputation?
JONES: I don't think so. I mean, how does that, one thing have to do with the other thing? This is something that I chose to do and made a decision as an adult woman. And how can that be anything to do with something that Bill Clinton did to me unwillingly that I did not ask for? That -- how can that even be based on that issue at all?
KING: Do you think you've been used by people, Paula?
JONES: Yes, I feel that way, because there's -- nobody's around me anymore. Nobody's surrounded Paula Jones anymore. All of a sudden, they were all around me, wanting to know how I'm doing, this or that, whatever. But since it's been gone, nobody cares anymore. They're the ones...
KING: Well, they didn't like Clinton...
JONES: ... that were supposed to be my good -- my good friends and people who really cared about me and what was going on in my daily life and everything, and that just doesn't happen anymore. So really, I do feel that way, because if they were my friends and true friends to be for the long haul and to be future friends, they would have stuck around with me.
KING: Well, they didn't like Clinton and you were a road to knock Clinton off his pedestal. Correct?
JONES: No, no. You're talking about the people that supported me. KING: Yes.
JONES: Right. Well, I mean, I feel that a lot of people did use me for a venue to get out in public to voice their opinion of how they felt about Bill Clinton. Absolutely.
KING: How do you feel about the election?
JONES: I don't really keep track of it, Larry. I really don't. I'm not that much into politics.
KING: Who are you voting for?
JONES: Well, I mean, it's my right to say, and I would say, I mean, I would vote for George Bush.
KING: And what are you going to do now? This is, of course, a source of income. Are you working?
JONES: No, I'm not. I haven't worked for 10 years. I mean, I was married, a housewife and a mom of two little boys. I still am. And I have to solely support them, and I have one that's in school, one that's out of school. And I -- I haven't worked for 10 years because I moved to California to be with my husband when he moved me out there.
KING: And where's home now?
JONES: In Arkansas, and I love it. That's where my heart is.
KING: Thanks, Paula. Thanks for joining us.
JONES: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Paula Jones, she's featured in the December issue of "Penthouse." It's called "The Perils of Paula Jones."
We'll be back with our panel and get their thoughts about her, and everything that's happening in the next two weeks as we head toward election 2000.
I'm Larry King. Tomorrow night, humor and politics with a panel headed by the one and only Dave Barry. Don't go away.
KING: And now we welcome our panel. Our Gore folk are in New York, our Bush folk are in Washington. In New York, Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, and he's chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He raises the money for all the Democratic candidates for the Senate. Ed Koch is the former mayor of New York and he's the host of "The Voice of Reason" on WEBD Radio in New York. In Washington, Ed Rollins, a longtime GOP political strategist. He served in the administrations of Nixon, Ford and Reagan. And also in Washington, our very own Tucker Carlson, staff writer with "The Weekly Standard," contributor to "Talk Magazine" and political analyst for CNN.
Senator Torricelli, what do you make of this Paula Jones caper?
SEN. ROBERT TORRICELLI (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, you know, I know Paula Jones has become a fixture now in American politics. But whether she is pleased or unpleased with her handlers I think is of no particular moment. I'd like us to get her and assorted other people out of the American political lexicon and move on to some things that matter.
KING: Ed Rollins, what are your thoughts?
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think she's a tragic figure, and I think to a certain extent she was taken advantage of by President Clinton when he was governor. She was taken advantage of to a certain extent by the conservatives who were Clinton's enemies. And she may very well have been taken advantage by her own attempt today to enhance herself financially.
She certainly has not enhanced her reputation, and just as the gentleman who fought Mike Tyson and quit after two rounds the other night will never be remembered by his name, always remembered as a quitter, she'll be forever remembered as a "Penthouse" model and not as a serious woman who challenged the president.
KING: In fairness to the boxer, he did have a concussion and a strained neck apparently.
ROLLINS: I'm an old boxer, he quit. He quit.
KING: Tucker Carlson, what do you make of Paula Jones?
TUCKER CARLSON, "WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, you know, I hate to admit it, but I think James Carville was on to something. There was a trashy quality to her. But you know, even people who live in trailer parks need to be represented. I mean, I thought that's part of what it means to be a Democrat, is to stand up for people like Paula Jones. And even people like Paula Jones deserve to be protected from lascivious governors.
She struck me as very childlike, and made me actually think less of Clinton after listening to her. I mean, all this -- every sentence sort of ended with, you know, you know, and something. You know, I mean, she seemed very, very young, and one felt sorry for her. I certainly did.
KING: Do you think, Tucker, though that she was also used?
CARLSON: Oh, of course, she -- of course, she was used. And you know, and she's obviously doing some of the using. I mean, this stuff about I'm doing it for the children, I mean, that's ridiculous. Can you imagine being one of those children? Can you imagine being her son, having your mother pose nude in "Penthouse"? I mean, it's -- it's revolting. But I agree with Ed Rollins, it's also tragic and sad, and the idea that Clinton would take advantage of someone that limited is pretty awful. KING: All right, Senator Torricelli, we're two weeks away. What's your read? It changes every hour, it seems, on the national election, on the presidential election?
TORRICELLI: It really does change every hour. I think unmistakably going into the weekend George Bush had -- George W. Bush had an advantage, but I know from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, we're seeing every day now Al Gore is gaining modestly, but gaining almost every day. I think it's a dead-even race. The presidency may ultimately be decided by factors such as Ralph Nader tipping the balance in a state or two.
I also think that whatever has set this recent Gore in motion, there are several things it could be. One of them may have been the difficult international situation. I think people taking a last look at George W. Bush are feeling a little uneasy, and that has caused at least a modest movement to Al Gore.
KING: Ed Koch, I didn't ask you about Paula Jones either, so you can comment on that and then the national election.
ED KOCH, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I want to. I disagree -- I disagree with everything that was said about Paula Jones. I think she's a gutsy lady. She's taking care of two children. I don't think it is vile to be in "Penthouse," and the people who are vile are the ones who read it, not the ones who are paid and who need the money. And I'm sure there's lots of money involved. I think that the things that were said about her are reprehensible -- today, on this program. Today.
KING: By our commentators.
KING: You're always interesting, Ed, we must say that. OK, what do you make of the national picture?
KOCH: Well, I believe that Gore is losing, and I'm for Al Gore. Bush is surging. And I think that Al Gore is a fool not to bring in Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton -- you know, I used to think that he would be remembered with Monica Lewinsky and the opening paragraph of his real obituary. I don't think that anymore. He is going down in history as really one of the most able, effective presidents, and he's needed right now in a number of states. For Gore, as depicted in "The New York Times," to say he doesn't want him and to send out Fabiani, I think the guy's name is...
KOCH: ...to make it very clear I think is a dreadful error. If Al Gore wins, it'll be because the president is called in to make the case. The case is the Democratic platform and history and that which was accomplished over the last eight years.
KING: All right, Ed Rollins, what would you -- as an adviser, if you Gore asked you, should he have Clinton go around for him? ROLLINS: I mean, obviously -- Al Gore is losing this race, which is absurd. Here's a strong economy, a president who may be tarnished, but at the same time is still popular for his job approval. But when Al Gore has to fight for states like West Virginia, Minnesota, being five or six points behind in his home state of Tennessee, states that clearly -- when I ran Reagan's campaign, I wouldn't even have on our chart for competitive states, and he's struggling to win there.
I think the reality, as Maureen Dowd said so effectively in "The New York Times," he needs to bring the big dog in. But to certain extent, when you bring the big dog in, he pales by comparison just as he has paled face-to-face with Bush in the three debates. This momentum has all come about since they went head-to-head, three debates.
KING: Everyone says, though, Ed, he won on the issues.
ROLLINS: The country makes a judgment on the -- the issues all get decided by Republicans are for George Bush, Democrats are for Al Gore, and the independent voters today want leadership and integrity. Al Gore lost severely on the integrity issue, and what this presidency has suffered from for the last eight years has been a lack of integrity. And Al Gore reinforced the greatest negative Democrats have going for them, is that he's not a man of integrity, and people basically turned off to him.
KING: I'll ask Tucker Carlson about President Clinton's involvement right after this message. We'll be including your calls as well. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I need your votes and I need your support, but I want to ask you for something more than that. I want to ask you for something that's difficult, something that people hardly ever agree to give anymore. Specifically, I want to ask you to open your hearts and allow yourselves to genuinely believe that we can make a difference, that we can do the right thing and be the better for it, that I will fight for you with everything in my heart and soul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tucker Carlson, if the president's ratings is at 61 or 62, that's higher than Eisenhower, shouldn't he be out for -- beating the stump for Gore?
CARLSON: Well, he certainly should be. I'm, you know, I'm not convinced it would help. I think the most interesting thing, though, is the question, where did this story come from, the original "New York Times" story? It's so clearly a set-up that comes from the Clinton people to set the following storyline: If Gore loses, why did he lose? Because he didn't summon the master at the last moment. I mean, it really is -- sorry. KING: But if you were the Clinton people, what would you say? If he is not mentioning you by name, wouldn't you send out the same thing?
CARLSON: Are you kidding? I'd send out press releases, of course.
KING: So why do you make it sound nefarious?
CARLSON: Well, because -- it's not nefarious, but it's part of this larger trend that you see in Clinton where he's unable to sort of turn the attention over to Gore. You saw at the convention in L.A. where he gives -- the president gives this very good, but very long 45-minute speech where he talks about all of his achievements, basically reflecting all the light on himself, and at the very end said, oh, incidentally, there's this guy Al Gore, he's been among my administration, he's good at technology, and then back to himself again.
I mean, at some point, the president has to recognize Al Gore is running for re-election, and it's just deeply selfish, I think, and solipsistic and sort of mean to Gore not to turn the attention over to that vice president at some point.
KING: Senator Torricelli, what should the president be doing the next two weeks?
TORRICELLI: Well, I feel about this conversation the way Ed Koch felt about the Paula Jones conversation. I don't agree with any of it. And I think it's really very unfair.
First, Al Gore never did better in this campaign than at and after the convention when he established himself on his own as his own man. His independence and his own sense of where he wants to take country is very important in this race. But it also is simply not true that President Clinton is not part of the campaign and is not helping.
He has done a great deal of the fund raising for the Democratic National Committee. He is for -- he's helping our Senate candidates all over the country. And I think in the final days, you will see him helping Al Gore with getting the vote out in major urban areas. He's going to be here in New York extensively, obviously, for Hillary. We've asked him to go to a number of states for Senate candidates. And I think you will see him in the final days helping Al Gore. But this is a Gore campaign, and it has to be defined and led by Al Gore.
KING: But isn't it also an affirmation of the Clinton presidency? Shouldn't he desperately want Gore to win, senator?
TORRICELLI: Oh, I think he should and I think he does. I think not only because of -- not only because of his own pride, because this is a referendum on his eight years of stewardship, but because Bill Clinton, if there's one thing you can say about him, is he cares about policy. He cares deeply about the country and many of these issues. And I think he thinks that all that he fought for in protecting the environment, the 100,000 teachers, increasing the size of police departments, the federal surplus, that all of that with George W. Bush would be in real jeopardy. The Republicans clearly will reverse his education and environmental initiative, and based on the Bush tax plan, we clearly will lose that federal surplus. So I think Bill Clinton has plenty of reasons to be out there that are both personal and substantive.
KING: We'll ask about the Ralph Nader effect and other things. We'll ask about the Senate campaign in New York as well. We'll reintroduce our panel and be right back with them right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: If he decides he can't help himself and starts getting out there and campaigning against me, the shadow returns.
I may say something in defense of my record. But it's time to move on, This race is between the vice president and me, and that's the way it's going to remain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ed Koch can -- let me reintroduce the panel first. Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, he's with us, he's in New York; as is Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York; in Washington is Ed Rollins, the longtime GOP strategist; also in Washington is Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard," of "Talk" magazine, and of CNN.
Ed Koch, is Ralph Nader a factor here? Could he elect George Bush?
KOCH: Well, apparently in some of the states, particularly out in the far West, he is a factor. But what I would like to say is the following: this is not a race simply between Gore and Bush. This is a race overwhelmingly on issues, and that's not what is coming across, and the Democrats are the best on the issues, if you are talking about saving Social Security and Medicare.
KING: Well, if they are, then why aren't they ahead?
KOCH: They're not ahead because Gore has not been able to make the case like Bill Clinton has from day one, and that's the difference.
KING: But, Ed, you know you've got make the case, right? If you have a better mousetrap, you have to tell the world?
KOCH: I -- now, look, I believe that Al Gore is a fine candidate and will be a great president. I also believe that some people are gifted by virtue that God gave them the ability to convey what is important: that's Bill Clinton. And what Bill Clinton ought to be out there doing is talking about the preservation of Social Security and Medicare, and fair taxation, and expanding medical coverage to the uninsured. Those are the key issues, and Gore has not been able to make the case the way Clinton can.
KING: OK, but can -- Ed Rollins, you can't change that in two weeks, can you, unless Clinton takes the stump?
ROLLINS: No, it's -- well, it's -- no, it's -- I mean, first of all, you have to remember, Bill Clinton, as powerful a communicator as he is, received a plurality in his two victories. He didn't win a majority of the vote, he didn't win an overwhelming majority. So I think the reality is that even though -- and I think in the last election he didn't exactly run as this left-wing liberal that Koch and Torricelli might run as.
KOCH: I'm not a left-wing liberal, and I don't urge people not to go and vote by talking to their ministers.
TORRICELLI: And I've never heard myself described that way either, but you would help me in the Democratic caucus if they would hear that tonight.
ROLLINS: Well, the reality is both of you have your own records to defend.
TORRICELLI: We are to the left of you, which includes almost everybody in America.
ROLLINS: Well, I would certainly hope that you were to the left of me.
Let me make my point here.
TORRICELLI: You can be assured.
KOCH: That's not hard.
ROLLINS: Let me make my point here. Gentlemen, I have great respect for your abilities to get elected, and it's always amazed me by the generosity of voters in America. But the reality in this particular election is Al Gore had an opportunity after the election, he had a lead.
KING: After the convention.
ROLLINS: At the convention, he had momentum, you had a strong economy, he's not made his case to the American electorate. And I think the fact that you may all argue that Bush is ahead by a few points, but the momentum is going his way, and I will predict to you today that George W. Bush is going to be the next president of the United States, and no matter what the margin is, he's going to be the man who can implement his programs. KING: All right, Tucker...
TORRICELLI: Well, Larry, I strongly disagree with that. I don't think that is going to happen. And this is not any -- what has happened here, I think, is relatively simple. George Bush has convinced the American people that no matter who wins this election, that the positions of the parties are the same on prescription drugs, on Social Security, and on the surplus, and on the patients' bill of rights.
We have two weeks left to convince people that this me-too-ism is not real. George Bush does not represent those things, the Republican Party has fought those things for years, and it will be our undoing on all those issues if he wins. Now, it may be Al Gore by himself, or it may be Al Gore with Bill Clinton, but in the week that remains, I think the American people will go through a sobering experience to realize, as Ed Koch says, this is ultimately not about which of these personalities you like, but those very fundamental issues.
KING: All right.
TORRICELLI: And I give Bush all the credit in the world that so far he's blurred those, but I don't think that blurring can last until Election Day.
KING: Tucker, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Goldberg, writing in "The National Review" says "if you are an undecided voter, you are for the most part lazy, ignorant, or dumb." Do you agree with that?
CARLSON: I -- yes, I think that's fair. But let me just say -- I must say listening to the senator, it's -- it is delightful to hear Democrats complaining about Republicans stealing ideas from the other side. It was interesting, we saw that clip of Gore a minute ago when he points to his chest and says, you know, in my heart, let me open up my heart to you.
I mean, it's as if, you know, he and the campaign staff have been sitting around watching films of George W. Bush. And you saw the same thing at the debates, when Gore turns around and accuses Bush of growing government in Texas. So, I mean, I think they're both engaging in political judo, it's just that Bush has been more effective at it.
KING: On the undecided, Tucker, you agree with that statement, "they are lazy, ignorant, or just plain dumb"?
CARLSON: Well, I mean, that's pretty mean. But think of it this way, what does it mean at this point to be an undecided voter when the campaign has been going on...
KING: Neither man impresses you and you don't know how to go.
CARLSON: Well, there's nothing wrong with that. I guess -- I mean, there is nothing -- you know, Americans, I don't think, are under any obligation to vote. Government is complicated. People have busy lives. I don't think the average person ought to feel obligated to vote. The trouble comes when people who don't know what they're voting for vote. I mean, if you were asked to make a judgment in a murder case without hearing the evidence, you would say on its face that's irresponsible, I won't do it, and yet people encourage voters who don't know anything about what they're voting for to vote, and I just -- I think that's wrong.
KING: We'll ask about the New York Senate race, we'll take phone calls as well. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: I know my opponent would like to run against a mythical, big spending, big government candidate, a cartoon image from campaigns past. Maybe he should take a look at the facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ed Koch, you're the New Yorker in the bunch. How does Clinton-Lazio look in your state?
KOCH: Well, I believe that Hillary is going to win. You never take it for granted, but I think she has done well in those areas where her support and major base is. They said she couldn't get the Jewish vote; she now has, I think over 60 percent of it and she's entitled to it. And she has energized the black and the Latino vote. And she's doing well with whites upstate. Nobody thought that a candidate of the Democratic Party would do as well upstate.
She's had a problem in the suburbs, but there the issue of abortion is going to cause all of those women who are going think about the Supreme Court and what Bush is going to do in eviscerating not just abortion but a whole host of laws that protect people, and they're going to come back to Hillary.
KING: Ed Rollins, what do you make of the New York Senate race?
ROLLINS: Well, she's below 50 percent in a state which Gore is probably going to win by a million plus. As the mayor understands the state much better than I do, I'm not sure the Jewish voters will be there for her in the final analysis when the Middle East crisis is -- which has been a terrible situation, and people remember that she was a supporter of the state of Palestine and she was a supporter of Mrs. Arafat just a year ago before she became a candidate. That may defect some of the voters.
I think the last two weeks of this campaign Lazio has got to basically make his case: He is a New Yorker; his children are New Yorkers; he understands what New York is all about. He served them very effectively in the Congress and she never has.
KING: Senator Torricelli, how does that race look from your viewpoint, which is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign? TORRICELLI: Well, I should start by saying that what's remarkable, everything that Ed Rollins just said is -- none of it's true. Indeed, in our polling, Hillary is now over 50 percent. She leads by six or seven points. Al Gore will probably carry the state of New York by over a million and a half votes.
She worked this race like Lazio never could or never would. She -- upstate, county-by-country, town-by-town. She's dominated the issues on education and health care.
I think when the two of them stood side-by-side is when the race really was won. Rick Lazio just did not look like he had the stature to be on the stage with Hillary Clinton.
ROLLINS: She never supported -- she never supported the state of Israel?
TORRICELLI: And because she greeted Mrs. Arafat did not make her a supporter. Indeed, Ed, you can't have it both ways. You blame her for things that the administration did wrong. In the long history of Israel, no one has been more supportive of the state of Israel than Bill Clinton, militarily, politically and financially. If you're going to blame her for the things that went wrong in the administration, then give her this credit: Bill Clinton has worked his heart and soul out for Israel. And Israel's been the better for it, and she deserves some of that credit.
ROLLINS: She made it very clear that she was not her husband. She made it very clear in front of a group of Jewish supporters a couple of weeks ago that it was Bill Clinton's administration that vetoed...
TORRICELLI: Yes, because she said...
ROLLINS: ... did not veto this resolution and that she was totally independent. She was the one who basically...
TORRICELLI: All right. So let's take that.
ROLLINS: ... supported the Palestinian state a year ago.
TORRICELLI: Let's take that. Let's take that, Ed.
You give her -- you give them credit for then for when Bill Clinton was supportive of Israel. She then said she went beyond where Bill Clinton was and believed the resolution should have been vetoed. So not only is she as supportive as Bill Clinton, she was more supportive than Bill Clinton.
ROLLINS: How can you be both things? How can you be for a veto and against a veto?
KOCH: Let me throw my 2 cents in.
KING: I want to get Tucker in too, but go ahead, Ed. KOCH: OK, I am and was a supporter of an independent Palestinian state subject to demilitarization and all of the things that negotiation should ultimately produce. If I had been representing the United States on a platform where the wife the chairman, Arafat, begins to cry, I would have gone over and comforted her. That's the decent thing to do.
The first lady denounced what she said later when she was informed what the woman had said. But to comfort somebody that is weeping, don't be ridiculous.
ROLLINS: I would think you -- I would think you and everybody else what Arafat has done historically just as it's coming true right today. And I think to a certain extent it's very disingenuous to basically say, if she would have known. Anyone who has claimed to know so much about the state of Israel and the Jewish political community, certainly as you do, can understand where their positions were. And they weren't for a...
KOCH: You mean like Rabin?
KING: Hold it. Guys, guys, hold it.
KOCH: Like Rabin?
KING: Let's hear from Tucker Carlson -- Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, I mean, I think it's likely she's going to be elected, and obviously, you know, that's an American tragedy. But I think -- I think one of the great unwritten stories of this, though, is how she's going to be received by other Democratic members of the Senate. I mean, you know, these are people who have spent most of their lives in politics, you know, alderman to city council to congressman to senator, worked very hard in politics. Mrs. Clinton's likely to show up, be this instant rock star. And apparently, there's resentment about it even now.
Doubtless, Senator Torricelli won't confirm that, but I think it's true. She'll be...
She'll be a terrific fund-raising tool for the Republican Party.
But I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some resentment? She gives a press conference -- this a person who has -- you know, has essentially not had a paying job in quite some time. And I think it would be understandable for other Democrats to say, wait, hold on a second. How did she get to be the star of the Senate just, you know, two years after...
TORRICELLI: Well, let me just say, Larry. This is the most remarkable set of interviews I've ever seen. Ed Rollins is now attacking a position not of the Clinton administration, but he's attacking what has been the position of the Israeli government under Likud and Labor governments for 10 years in dealing with the Palestinians. This was unusual. Now, this is really unusual.
There isn't a Democratic senator in the United States Senate that has not either been to the state of New York or raised money for Hillary Clinton and hasn't fought for her election, because we desperately want someone of her stature to stand on the floor of the United States Senate and fight for women and fight for health care for children and fight for families and fight for gun safety and...
CARLSON: Her stature?
CARLSON: Her stature?
TORRICELLI: Yes, her stature. You know...
CARLSON: Oh, that is...
TORRICELLI: You know, you can be as arrogant as you want about it, but the state of New York is about to elect her. And in our process, the reason they are doing that is because she has a voice, she has a national platform that the state of New York wants.
I think it was best said by Robert Kennedy Jr. in an advertisement he's now doing for Hillary. Noting that people have come from all over the world to be in New York...
TORRICELLI: ... including his own family, his own father, and indeed, the reason they do...
CARLSON: Oh, senator, she's married to the president.
TORRICELLI: ... is because New York is a little...
CARLSON: Oh, senator, she's married to the president. I mean, she's a celebrity because she's married to the president. She's obviously an accomplished person in some way, but there are serious people in the Senate, as you obviously know.
TORRICELLI: You know, I love...
CARLSON: I mean, she's the president's wife. That's her fundamental qualification.
TORRICELLI: I hope that you're offending -- I hope that you are offending every woman in the state of New York.
CARLSON: Oh, please. TORRICELLI: She was on -- she was on corporate boards. She was voted one of the ten most effective lawyers in the United States of America. She practiced law for years. She's accomplished on major national policy issues. Because she postponed her own ambitions because of marriage for several decades does not mean she isn't accomplished.
CARLSON: Of course not. I mean, that's all terrific...
TORRICELLI: Many women have to do the same thing to raise families.
CARLSON: But to compare her to some of the people in the Senate who fought in wars, who've been elected to many, many offices over and over again, who've written legislation, it's not fair to compare them.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll come back.
TORRICELLI: Yes, and she raised -- she raised a family and she raised a child while she also had a career.
I hope women are listening to this.
KING: We've got to get a break. We'll be right back.
TORRICELLI: This is the attitude of Republicans toward women and their careers.
KING: We'll be right back -- we'll be right back with our group and we'll take some calls right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I'm running against a man who trusts Washington, D.C. to make decisions on behalf of Illinois folks.
He may try to hide from that philosophy, but that's what he believes if you listen to the policies. After all, he's a person who wants to increase the size and scope of the federal government, the largest we've seen since the -- since the '60s. He wants to increase the size and the scope of the federal government more than Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis combined. That's pretty big.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Raleigh, North Carolina. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
KING: Hi. CALLER: This is for Ed.
KING: OK, Ed.
CALLER: And the paper that we have, the state paper today, the headlines were the Census Bureau, more mothers return to work. Sixty percent of women with young children re-entering the work force. And if you read down, it says the research shows that the majority would prefer if they had enough money to stay home with preschool children. This does not gel with this great prosperity that we're having, does it, Ed?
ROLLINS: No, I -- listen, there's no question that the vast majority of families would be better off if one spouse could stay home and take care of their children. We have an economy that clearly that's not prevalent. And I think to a certain extent, if Mr. Bush's tax plan went through, he gets elected, more money will be in families and maybe there's possibilities of that occurring.
KOCH: Can I comment on that?
KING: Ed Koch, isn't it weird, Gore is not -- you have a surplus today of 237 billion, twice last year. Why isn't he way ahead?
KOCH: For the reasons I've given you.
KING: This is in the Federal Record.
KING: But I want to comment on that tax that Ed Rollins just talked about. The Bush proposal is to give to 1 percent of the top taxpayers in this country, whose annual income is not -- never less than $319,000, to give to them 42.6 percent of the total tax reduction. They give to the country annually 33 percent of the total tax collected. If that isn't an outrageous give-away to the rich, to give them 1 percent of the people, more -- close to half of the total tax reduction, I don't know what is.
ROLLINS: You're the first Democrat I've ever heard ever admit that the top 1 percent pay a third of the nation's taxes. What Mr. Bush's tax plan -- you ought to go read it -- is to reduce all of the rates and to give back to everybody who pays taxes a percentage by lowering their rates, a percentage of the taxes.
KOCH: But why give them -- if they pay a third, why give them 42.6 percent of the tax reduction? That's absolutely correct. Don't dispute that.
KING: I've to interrupt. I've get to one more break in and we'll come back with some final comments. Don't go away.
KING: Tucker Carlson, could we have a popular winner different from an electoral vote winner? CARLSON: I think it's kind of hard to imagine. I mean, anything -- you know, if the national polls are showing one candidate leading by two points or more -- and I think that's likely to happen -- then the states -- then all the states essentially swing in behind him. I mean, I think elections are maybe more national than people say. Maybe it could happen. It'd be sort of, you know, an interesting example of the electoral college at work.
KING: Senator Torricelli, are you predicting a Gore victory?
TORRICELLI: Oh, I think tonight it's a flip of a coin. I think if the election were today, George W. Bush would probably win, but as I noted when I began, our polling is showing every day slight Gore movement. If you force me to do it tonight, based on the trends, I'd say a narrow Gore victory.
I do think it is possible, though, that one of them wins in the popular vote and the other wins in the electoral vote, because I think it probably is within 3 or 4 percentage points. And you have a couple of these states -- New York and California on the one side, Texas on the other -- with such huge margins that it skews the results some. It is possible that you could have an electoral college victory without a popular victory.
KING: Ed Rollins, do you see that?
ROLLINS: It's possible. It's not going happen. The momentum has been going Mr. Gore's -- against Mr. Gore for the last two or three weeks. I don't think there's anything that he can do in the -- bringing Bill Clinton, bringing Hillary Clinton, bringing Torricelli, Koch, anybody into this is going change the momentum. The American public has had an opportunity to look at this guy for eight years and have basically decided in a strong economy they still want someone different.
The difference is that when Bush gets elected, the legacy of Bill Clinton will be the economy will still be going oing strong, the Republicans will still know it. The best thing, if Hillary Clinton wins, is Mr. Torricelli can find he can move across the river and run for governor. Unlike his home state, Democrats from New York are more than willing to accept people from the outside.
TORRICELLI: The strange thing, Ed, my family is from New York. It just goes to show you can change state borders and run for office successfully.
CARLSON: ... right now. It's pretty good.
TORRICELLI: And actually, and Ed Koch -- and Ed Koch's family from New Jersey. We're both evidence for Hillary.
KING: Ed Koch?
KOCH: You want my final -- look, I believe that Al Gore will not win unless Bill Clinton is unleashed. And if Bill Clinton is unleashed to do the job that he's capable of, Gore will win, the Democrats will win both the House and the Senate, and there's no question Hillary is a winner.
KING: Is there a key state or states to look at, Tucker?
CARLSON: Well, first, you know, I don't -- Bill Clinton being unleashed is sort of, you know, kind of a scary prospect. Yes, well, sure, I mean, the Midwest, the fabled battleground states. I mean, gee, you know, the Bush people are talking about California being in play. I don't think it actually is. But even that people are saying that with a straight face tells you something, at least where they think the momentum's going, and I think they're right.
KING: Thank you all very much, Senator Robert Torricelli, Ed Koch, Ed Rollins and Tucker Carlson. Tomorrow night, humor in politics. Boy, has it taken center stage this year: Dave Barry will be with us and so will Chris -- and Elayne Boosler and Ben Stein, of course, and Chuck Booms is going to be here.
And Thursday night we're going to have veterans covering the scene, including Walter Cronkite. Thanks very much for joining us. Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND," and good night.
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