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Larry King Live

How Are People Reacting to President-elect George W. Bush?

Aired December 19, 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, after weeks of legal battles, the winner and loser finally meet face-to-face. And in the world's most famous office, two men going separate ways talk changing of the guard. Some of radio's top talkers want to hear from you.

Joining us to take your calls, in Atlanta, syndicated radio talk- show host Neal Boortz; in Washington, Diane Rehm of National Public Radio; in New York, the former mayor of the "Big Apple," Ed Koch, host of "The Voice of Reason"; and back in the nation's capital, George W,'s cousin, Billy Bush, host of "The Bush League Morning Show" on Z104. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin first by congratulating Diane Rehm. This is her 41st wedding anniversary, and she gave up going out to dinner tonight to do this show. But her husband will make up for it tomorrow night.

DIANE REHM, RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: Tomorrow.

KING: I congratulate you, Diane.

KING: He better.

REHM: Thank you. Thank you.

KING: Billy, did you get to talk to your cousin while he was in Washington?

BILLY BUSH, RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: I did not get to talk to him. I was expecting him to call in, but he did not.

KING: Have you talked to him since the election?

B. BUSH: I have not. He's unfortunately had a very busy schedule.

KING: Are you close cousins, Billy, or is there a rift?

(LAUGHTER)

B. BUSH: There may be after he moves to town. But no, there's no rift. Very close. And I expect that we will have him on at least for -- in the beginning. I expect to have him call in and say and admit that he rode into town on my coattails.

KING: Your father is President Bush's brother, right?

B. BUSH: Yes, sir.

KING: So your first cousin of George.

B. BUSH: Yes.

KING: Of the new president. All right, let's go around. Neal, what are you hearing in Atlanta about the aftermath of this election? All the polls are saying everybody's happy. Is that what you're hearing?

NEAL BOORTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I -- no -- no disgruntled callers. I mean, sure, there are the Gore supporters that wish it had gone the other way, and they're still people a little bit amazed at the debacle we've been through for the last six weeks. But by and large, it seems that people are sitting back and saying, OK, so this is the president-elect, let's see what he does, let's see what the policies are, and above all, let's see if he gets any cooperation at all from the other side of the aisle in Washington.

KING: So no whiners or naysayers or we-were-robbed kind of calls?

BOORTZ: I love those kinds of calls, Larry, and I'm not getting enough of them. I mean, if they would...

(LAUGHTER)

I feed on those. Please, let the whiners and the naysayers call. Let's make the show better.

KING: Diane, what are you hearing?

REHM: Well, Larry, I'm hearing a mix, and the fact of the matter is that the analysts, the pollsters, the talk-show hosts may be ready to move more quickly than the people themselves.

I'm certainly hearing from a lot of people who continue to feel that this election was not conducted fairly, that there were a lot of people refused at the polls. We hear from those who are quite happy as well.

But I think that talk, the aftermath of the election, is moving a little more quickly than resolving the feelings that are still a part of the election.

KING: Ed Koch, you've been doing it a while. Do you think talk radio is a pretty good reflection of what people are thinking and what are you hearing?

ED KOCH (D), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK/RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: Actually, I don't think it's a good reflection, because what you have on talk radio -- at least on my show; I'm on every day at 4 o'clock -- you have many of the same people calling day after day, and there is a coterie. I was for Gore, but the other guy won, and now let's hope he's the best president the country's ever had, then we do better. But there will be a coterie of people who keep calling in and maligning him, and I generally refer to them as wackos on air, which gets them a little upset.

I believe that he won, it's over, that as soon as he enters the White House people are going to be standing in line to get tickets to go through it. And if they see him, they're going to want a picture with him. And I...

REHM: Ed Koch -- Ed Koch, I wanted to say something to you.

KOCH: Sure.

REHM: If you've got the same callers day after day, maybe you've got a problem. We have a once-a-month rule on my program.

KOCH: We don't. We don't edit the callers

REHM: But why would you want the same callers day after day? I'm not editing the callers either, but I am saying to them call once a month.

KOCH: You have a rule. You just told me -- you just told me you have a rule once a month.

REHM: Right.

KOCH: I'm telling you I don't edit callers, so they call...

REHM: I don't edit callers either.

KING: All right. We'll move to that aspect of talk radio...

KOCH: You obviously do.

REHM: No.

KING: Let's stay with the election -- in a minute.

Billy Bush, what are you hearing?

B. BUSH: I'm hearing, let's all go and enjoy our Christmas with our families, and I'm hearing, let's get over it. Let's -- I don't think I'm talking to real America and I don't think anyone on this television show right now is talking to real America. I think you're talking to the people that have generally grown close to you, have grown attracted to you.

Diane, I don't think that, you know, the callers that are calling Diane are from all across the spectrum, as much as we'd like to think they are. The people who are calling Rush Limbaugh, the same thing. Neal, same thing.

For me, I do a different -- I'm a light fare. I play parody songs. The recent -- I play -- I tell jokes about my cousin, about Al Gore. I try to bring a light fare. And basically, I think what people really want right now is that.

KING: Neal, do you -- do you get the feeling sometimes that you're preaching to the choir? If you're conservative, the audience is conservative; if you're liberal, the audience is liberal?

BOORTZ: Well, I think sometimes, sure. The callers -- the callers want, some of them, they want to be liked by the host. So they're going to try to agree with the host. I have a -- I have a policy that I think that works pretty well. If a caller disagrees with what I'm saying, they go straight to the head of the line. They're held to a pretty high standard of conduct once they get on the air, but we put them straight.

I think any talk show sounds better if it doesn't turn into a love-fest between the callers and the host. So I -- I try to -- I try to get the people on the air that disagree with me.

(CROSSTALK)

And it really makes for an interesting show.

KING: One at a time. Anyone can jump in, but one at a time. Who was saying...

KOCH: Well, let me just say this: I get callers who agree, disagree. But I like to think of my show as both entertainment and educational. And I use the newspapers at the top of the show to bring to the audience's attention about five or six major news stories.

Some of them shock them. For example, today, "The New York Times" had a very big story on males that they interviewed -- black, white, Hispanic, who are anywhere from 14 to early 20s -- and their views on oral sex, which overwhelmingly most of them believe is not sex. And I asked the radio audience, do you think that's pre- or after Clinton's involvement that they came to that conclusion, or was he reflecting what half of America in that adolescent age group believes?

REHM: Well, I have to tell you, Larry, I think that that kind of a program is amusing. It may amuse some listeners. It doesn't really inform me.

I know about oral sex. I don't want to talk about it.

KOCH: You do? You?

(LAUGHTER)

You know about oral sex?

REHM: You bet. You bet I do.

KING: Hold on, guys. Hold on. Hold, hold on.

REHM: Now...

KING: Hold on. We're losing concept. Let me get a break and we'll come back. I understand where we're going.

We'll be back with our panel of radio talk-show hosts, and I'll just be here, folks. Trust me. We'll be right back. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Such a huge honor to come as the president-elect, and I don't think I'll really fully realize the impact until I swear in. I expect the president would say the same thing.

I am humbled and honored, and I can't thank the president enough for his hospitality. He didn't need to do this.

QUESTION: Yes, he did.

(LAUGHTER)

It's protocol.

GEORGE W. BUSH: I hadn't quite finished yet.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

GEORGE W. BUSH: And I'm grateful, and I look forward to the discussion. I'm here to listen. And if the president is kind enough to offer some advice, if he is, I will take it in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How are you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The victor and the vanquished. That's the vice president's house. They met for 15 minutes today.

George Bush, by the way, landed a little while ago back home in Austin, Texas, where tomorrow he's expected to name the secretaries in agriculture, commerce and housing.

Neal Boortz in Atlanta, how has the -- what has been the reaction to Colin Powell's appointment?

BOORTZ: Oh, it's been very positive, but it's no surprise. I mean, people were expecting that for a long time. A lot of the callers are extremely impressed with Condoleezza Rice and her credentials as national security adviser. So thus far, I haven't heard any negative comments about the way Bush has started out in his transition moves. I did, Larry, want to drop this in: not moving back to the previous subject. But one thing about entertainment or information...

KING: Yes.

BOORTZ: One thing I think all of us, in our hearts, we realize -- we may not state it publicly -- we're not here as talk-radio hosts to be the great information source for America. Our job, when we get back to that -- behind that microphone, is to do one thing, Larry. We attract listeners so that we can play commercials for them. And the way we do that is to be entertaining.

And if you try to be a schoolteacher or a college professor and be in -- of course, some of us don't have to play commercials and our jobs don't hinge on attracting listeners.

KING: Diane is lucky.

BOORTZ: I hear her...

REHM: Yes, right, right, right.

BOORTZ: ... I hear her cackling in the background.

REHM: Right, of course you do.

KING: But Billy Bush, do you -- do you think radio personalities sometimes get an exaggerated sense of their own importance, truthfully?

B. BUSH: Yes. I think one thing that -- for example, if you drive home and you listen to Rush Limbaugh, he takes very few callers, and that's good, which we touched on a second ago. But you know, Rush Limbaugh, they're all calling to say mega-dittos, Rush, and you're the man. So he takes very few of them, and for him to take more would be, you know, just a great big ego stroke.

I think that's why I enjoy listening to him, because I don't want to hear those people call in.

So I think it's easy to -- callers can do that.

(CROSSTALK)

BOORTZ: One of the reasons he takes few callers is because he's more entertaining than the callers are.

REHM: But Larry -- Larry...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Diane, yes. One at a time, Diane.

REHM: All right. Larry, are we here to talk about the elections?

KING: Yes, we are. I'm trying to move to that.

REHM: Or are we here -- yes, exactly.

KING: But you took us off the track.

REHM: I took you off the track?

KING: You did. OK. I'm back to the elections.

REHM: OK. All right.

KING: What are you hearing on these Cabinet -- for example, he got 9 percent of the black vote. His first two appointments are black. Diane, is that being well-received, do you think, in black America?

REHM: I think it is being well-received. I think there is still a wait-and-see attitude as to whether Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice represent the thinking of those who feel they were disenfranchised during this election.

I think you've got a long way to go, Larry. And for -- you know, I hear Ed Koch in the background saying, well, the same people are calling in every day and they're the wackos. Too bad, Ed, I think you're talking to the wrong people.

KING: Diane, you're doing it again. We're talking about the election.

(CROSSTALK)

KOCH: Look, I'm going to ignore Diane and just talk to you, Larry.

REHM: OK.

KOCH: So let me just say this as it relates to what he has done to date with respect to his appointments. They have been brilliant. And what, in fact, is the situation is that the people he's appointed -- three minorities, one as a special counsel, who's Hispanic, and two African-Americans, Powell and Rice -- I think the third one is Mr. Gonzales, that -- they are substantive appointments, because they all have superb records, but they are also symbolic appointments.

And actually, the percentage of blacks that voted for him according to "The Times" is even less. It was 8 percent.

I think that many of them were of the belief that the Bush administration, if it were to be elected, could never respond to them. He will change their opinion.

Now, I am a -- a hard Democrat. I vote Democrat. Occasionally I cross party lines. I supported Al Gore. I thought he ran a terrible campaign. I thought Bush ran a splendid campaign. But the campaigns are over.

REHM: Yes.

KOCH: I want Bush to succeed, because if he succeeds, the country is better off.

BOORTZ: Larry, if I could --if I could interject one thing about Condoleezza Rice...

KING: One at a time.

BOORTZ: ... and about Colin Powell. One thing I haven't heard, a call I have not received on the air, not one person has yet suggested that either one of those appointments were made because of skin color. Everybody, or the people I'm talking to and listening to, are absolutely in agreement that those appointments were made because of qualifications and merit. And that's a refreshing change in some respects.

B. BUSH: Neal, I think...

KING: Billy, can we count something that they were the first two announcements?

B. BUSH: Yes, let me just say, you know, George W. Bush, I can tell you this as a -- he has -- the color of their skin is so secondary. He absolutely is positive that he has the best people in those jobs.

And look, this is his style of leadership. This is his style of management. This is the way he team-builds. This is how George W. Bush operates.

He gets the very best people. He surrounds himself around them, and he supplies a great winning atmosphere. He inspires people.

And let me tell you something. Look, Alex Gonzales is -- is a longtime Bush ally. Condoleezza Rice has been with him. And if you had no idea that Colin Powell was going to be secretary of state before he got elected, let me tell you something, you weren't paying any attention.

(CROSSTALK)

BOORTZ: But Billy...

REHM: Well, but I think that...

KING: He would have been appointed by both of them.

All right, let me get a break and we'll come back.

Hold it. We'll get a break and come back, and when we come back, we'll talk about the election process, what our four guests think of it, what's going to happen next time around, how closely will we look at Florida, and what's going to happen when "The Miami Herald" and others count the vote. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This was yesterday when the weather was nice in Washington. By the way, it's 80 degrees here in Los Angeles. Don't like to bug you, but it was beautiful yesterday in Washington, as you could see. The outgoing first lady, the incoming first lady. The outgoing first lady is the new United States senator from New York.

We go back to our panel, and we'll start this time with Diane Rehm. OK, are we going to -- are elections going to get better?

REHM: I think that's a good question. I think that there are a number of members of Congress who already are looking at the idea of establishing commissions, of examining just how this election went, and what kinds of changes need to be made: perhaps establishing some kind of floor for not putting federal standards on states, but establishing some kind of floor so people understand what is and is not a legitimate vote, which is something we did not have in this election.

KING: Neal -- Neal Boortz, do you expect -- for want of a better word -- improvement?

BOORTZ: Well, no. I'll tell you why in a second. First of all, anybody that does not understand what is and is not a legitimate vote is better off staying away from the polls in the first place.

REHM: Oh, come on, Neal. Give me a break.

BOORTZ: We don't need decisions being made by people that can't follow simple instructions. Now, as for whether or not we are going to get any reform, I don't think you are going to see a very willing Democratic Party when it comes to voter reform, because this is a party that has thrived for decades on voter fraud.

REHM: How about Republicans?

BOORTZ: Diane, I would like to answer the question, then I'll address anything you want.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Diane, let him finish.

BOORTZ: Thank you very much, ma'am. I will extend the same courtesy you.

REHM: Thank you.

BOORTZ: This -- the Democratic Party is the party that objects whenever there is a suggestion made that voters ought to show I.D. to prove that they are in fact a registered voter. Larry, I do not think you are going to see much cooperation from the Democrats -- Democratic Party at all when it comes to...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Before we ask the others, Neal, do you agree that if someone pushes through a chad and the machine doesn't count it, something is wrong?

BOORTZ: If the chad is pushed through, yes.

KING: Yes, but I mean: Can you swear you pulled every chad off?

BOORTZ: Oh, yes, I can, because I vote...

KING: Because I know some intelligent people who can't swear they did it.

REHM: Right. Right.

BOORTZ: Well, my vote means something to me. And I'm not a dilettante when it comes to voting. And I take the card out of the machine. And I look to see that the chads -- I didn't know what they were then -- I just called them little squares -- I look to see that they are punched through. If your vote isn't that important to you, why aren't you off somewhere else doing something that is, on Election Day.

KOCH: Larry? Larry?

KING: Ed? Ed?

KOCH: This is silly stuff. And I'm really surprised, Neal. And I don't want to get into a fight with you. But we are talking about elderly people, particularly in Florida. And to say that they have to have the same high standards and take out the card, as you do, is absolutely ridiculous!

BOORTZ: No, it is not, Ed. It is not high standards. It is...

(CROSSTALK)

KOCH: Don't interrupt.

BOORTZ: Sorry.

KOCH: Now the fact -- right. The fact is...

(LAUGHTER)

KOCH: The fact is that Republicans and Democrats, neither one of them are in the fraud business. I don't believe, for a minute, that there is much fraud in this country. I'm sure, in some places, there are. So, for you to attack the Democratic Party as desirous of having the power to engage in fraud is just ridiculous. I mean, that is so partisan, it makes you look silly.

BOORTZ: Well, listen, I didn't vote for George Bush. But 1960 Chicago: Was that Republican vote fraud? KOCH: Now, I want to tell you that, when they say that Nixon didn't challenge that, in fact, that was challenged. And the courts found there was no fraud.

BOORTZ: And Bill Clinton...

KING: Now, let's get Billy's opinion.

Billy Bush, are we going to see election -- are we going to see better elections?

B. BUSH: I think yes. I think you should. I think a lot of the Democrats are calling for a, you know, that a lot of people were disenfranchised. Oh, is everybody tired of that word. But, I mean, you know, so I think you got to call them out on it. I think, of course, there should be electronics -- electronic -- if the Democrats don't step up and support it, we've got a major, you know, double- standard working here.

REHM: I think...

B. BUSH: But I think -- I think one thing is for sure.

KING: Let him finish, Diane.

B. BUSH: Look at age we are. I mean, it's amazing. There are probably some counties in this country that are still doing it by messenger pigeon. The fact of the matter is, there should be, in this age, electronic voting: one touch on a screen and we are done. I mean, come on.

KING: You would think. ATM machine.

B. BUSH: Exactly.

KING: We'll be right back with Boortz, Rehm, Koch, Bush, and more of your -- and, by the way, we'll be including your phone calls in just a couple of minutes. They are with us all the way.

Tomorrow nigh: Mort Saul is going to join a panel that includes Joan Rivers and Tucker Carlson and Chuck Booms. And the I-Man, Imus is here on Friday. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Governor, what do you...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Kelly (ph), you up for one more term?

QUESTION: One more try. Going to get some good advice.

CLINTON: I just one want you to...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Ed Koch, how are the first 100 days going to go?

KOCH: Well, I think that he is pursuing it exactly the way he should. What caused his election, and that which will pervade his administration, is his personality and his character. And while issues are always important, if you don't have the character, the personality, you oft times will lose even if you are better on the issues.

And, so in the next 100 days, what I expect to see is that he will put on the congressional calendar his tax bill. I'm against his tax bill. But he ran on that issue. And while there will be moderation -- because you have a split Senate, and you need a Democratic senators to pass anything, and they can tie up the Senate with a filibuster if they want to -- nevertheless, they ought to allow -- if he wants it -- his tax bill to be voted up or down. I think it will be voted down.

KING: Now, Neal Boortz: You mentioned, Neal, that you did not vote for him. Even though you are conservative, you did not vote for President Bush -- president-elect George W. Bush. What are your expectations then?

BOORTZ: Well, the first 100 days, I think that we will see the Democrats initiate a Jihad against the Bush administration that will go on all the way to the congressional midterm elections. The tax bill, I hope it gets put up there. If it does, the media will remind us on a daily basis that there is no real mandate for a tax bill, which is no big surprise, because we have cleverly arranged our tax structure in this country, where the majority of taxes are paid by a minority of the people,

So where are you going to get a mandate: from people that don't pay taxes?

KING: If you voted against Bush, you wouldn't want to see that go through, would you? Or do you?

BOORTZ: Oh, well, now, wait a minute. Who do you think I voted for, Larry?

KING: I have no idea. You said you voted against Bush.

BOORTZ: Oh, I did not -- I said I did not vote for Bush.

KING: Oh.

BOORTZ: I voted for Harry Brown. I'm pretty much your doctrinaire Libertarian. I am disgusted with the highest level of taxation this country has ever had.

And, Ed, you are a nice guy. You really are. Shame on you for not supporting a tax cut for overtaxed Americans.

KOCH: No, I support a tax cut, but one that does not give 42.6 percent of the reduction to 1 percent of the taxpayers, who only pay 33 percent of the tax bill. I believe in fairness.

KING: Diane -- Diane, do you think you are going to get much in the first 100 days, or do you think, as Neal thinks, that the Democrats are just going to stopgap everything?

REHM: No, I don't think the Democrats are going to stopgap everything. But I do think it would be reasonable on the part of George W. to perhaps moderate that effort. I think that Dennis Hastert has already signaled that he thinks the tax cuts ought to be incremental. And I think that that's the way to get agreement. I don't think there is going to be a blockade.

KING: Billy, what do you think? Billy?

B. BUSH: I think, first of all -- yes, first of all, just reflecting what Ed said, I'm just so tired of hearing this, you know, the largest percent goes to the -- you know, the 1 percent of Americans get the largest cut. There are two ways to look at this thing. Let's just call it for what it is. There is the -- you know, yes if you make more money -- those people, those 1 percent make a lot of money -- so, yes, it is going to end up being a bigger, you know -- the cut is going to

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Let him finish, Ed.

KOCH: Should they get more than they put in, Billy?

B. BUSH: Excuse me?

KOCH: Should they get more than they put in? If they get...

B. BUSH: That's impossible. And it's just the same argument, really. It's just the same argument: that the richest 1 percent -- look, the bottom line is, they are putting in more, so they're taking out

(CROSSTALK)

B. BUSH: The bottom line is...

(CROSSTALK)

KOCH: You're not listening Listen to this: 42.6 percent of the tax bill is what president-elect Bush wants to return to 1 percent of the people, who only pay 33 percent of the total tax.

BOORTZ: No, no. Mayor, the only way that

(CROSSTALK) KING: I've got to get a break, you guys. I've got a time break. Let me get a break. The question was: Will it pass? And we'll come right back. We'll include viewer phone calls. And we'll reintroduce our panel. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERALD R. FORD, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Gerald R. Ford

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY CARTER, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ...Jimmy Carter...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... Ronald Reagan ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ...George Herbert Walker Bush ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: ... William Jefferson Clinton...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: ... do solemnly swear...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN: ... that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

G. BUSH: ... and will to the best of my ability...

(END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FORD: ... preserve, protect, and defend

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... the Constitution of the United States...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: ... so help me, God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And it'll happen again on January 20th, one month from tomorrow. Our guests are Neal Boortz, syndicated radio host of "the Neal Boortz Show," based in Atlanta; Diane Rehm, host of "The Diane Rehm Show" -- Dan Rehm, -- "Diane Rehm Show" on National Public Radio; Ed Koch, the former Democratic mayor of New York, host of "The Voice of Reason" on news talk radio, WEVD in New York City; and Billy Bush, the host of "Billy Bush and the Bush League Morning Show" on Z104 radio in Washington. He is the cousin of the president-elect.

Let's go to some phone calls. Valliant, Oklahoma. Hello.

CALLER: Well, hi. I guess I'm not too wacky to call, but here it goes. Does the -- I mean, does the panel think that the press had a liberal bias in the coverage? I didn't see it, but what do you think.

KING: Diane, did you think so?

REHM: No, I really didn't. I know a lot of people have said that. I think the press was trying to report what was happening. I think they were very tough on Al Gore to begin with. They were relentless.

(CROSSTALK)

B. BUSH: He was in tough position.

REHM: He was in tough position, and I think late in the game -- they began asking questions of George Bush. I do not believe it was liberal press bias.

B. BUSH: Maybe not a liberal bias or maybe you believe so, but I'll tell you one thing they certainly are guilty of or were engaging in is instigating. You know, trying to stretch it out as long as they can. I really believe that, of course, it's in the interest of people on television and people, you know, doing the talk game -- no offense to the great Larry King -- but to keep this thing going on; to create suspense and to create -- there's one more issue. Seminole County...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: But was the media doing it, Billy? Was the media doing it --the courts and the Democratic Party -- were we just reporting or were we forcing Seminole County to recount?

B. BUSH: I mean, just look at way it's said. You know, there's like and there's one more opportunity. In the Electoral College, people may not cast the full 27. 1 keep it right here and we'll be back and maybe George Bush won't win. It's just sort of like give me -- I mean, I think there's depression in every news organization right now that this is over. you know, there's pain in country but there's depression in the news organizations.

KING: Neal?

BOORTZ: Well, I mean, we enjoyed the product. Larry, let me give you a couple examples. There was a four-three spit, Florida Supreme Court. It was on one of decisions. It was a five-four in the U.S. Supreme Court. The media -- sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court. Did they every say sharply divided Florida Supreme Court? No. "The Washington...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Yes. They never said that? They printed on the front page the majority opinion by the chief justice.

REHM: Sure they did.

BOORTZ: One more thing, Larry. This morning, in "the Washington..

KING: The chief justice's opinion was quoted more than any other opinion in the four-three decision and he was in the minority.

BOORTZ: Chief justice, but in "The Washington Post" their own Ombudsman, either this morning or yesterday morning, "The Washington Post" Ombudsman was saying hey, our coverage was accurate, but it was biased. It was slanted to the left and it favored Al Gore. So was there left-wing slants to the media? I definitely think it was there and it was easy to spot.

KOCH: No, I don't think so at all. I think that normally the reporters in the field are liberal, and the publishers who control the editorials are conservative and talk radio hosts overwhelming throughout the country are far more conservative than liberal. But I thought that the press was relatively fair, and maybe fairer in this election than in some of the others that I've witnessed over my 76 years.

REHM: I agree.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Who, Neal -- who is the media, Neal? Is the media "The Washington Post" or is it you? Is it "The New York Times," Rush Limbaugh. The media is everything, isn't it?

BOORTZ: It's you, Larry. It's Greta...

KING: So, we're all the media.

(CROSSTALK)

BOORTZ: ... it's all of us, but I think that by and large...

KING: How can you therefore generalize it?

BOORTZ: What is it -- do you ever let a day go by without a good generalization, Larry. We need those. By and large, the media in this country does sway toward the left. That's one of the reasons, I think for the success of talk radio. It is about the only place you can go to get some balanced opinion.

REHM: Balance?

KING: We need a good generalization. OK, Toronto, Canada. Hello. Toronto?

CALLER: Yes. Because the attorney general is such an interesting and controversial position internationally, could the panel give their prediction as to who Mr. Bush will appoint?

KING: Billy, you're a cousin. You must be in the know. Who's going to be the next attorney general?

B. BUSH: I have no idea to that affect. Absolutely no idea. I think there are several candidates out there. I would never speculate.

REHM: It sounds today as though Montana Governor Marc Racicot could get the nod.

BOORTZ: Would be good one.

(CROSSTALK)

REHM: There's also talk of Frank Keating of Oklahoma, so you've got some really good prospects.

KING: Two very nice guys.

REHM: Yes.

KOCH: The attorney general will be someone who is very close to George W. Bush because you want someone there who you can totally rely on. He is, in fact, the president's real counsel, even though you have a presidential counsel at the White House itself, and that is why when they said they would take maybe Giuliani, I said that would be like taking a tarantula to bed. You don't want someone -- you don't want someone that is not a total loyalist and ....

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Neal, do you have a thought -- Neal, do you have a thought on the next attorney general?

BOORTZ: Well, I'm trying to imagine the mayor's experiences with tarantulas in bed right now, but it does look like it's going to be the governor of Montana and you're right. The attorney general is the chief counsel to the president. Haven't we learned that in the last eight years?

KING: We'll be right back with more of our panel. We'll try to get opinions out in the next portion after these words.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back to the calls. Honolulu, hello.

CALLER: Yes, how are you doing? Larry, thanks for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: Listen, there been a lot of argument going on here as far as the recounting and standards and all that. What I would like to know is what panel would think if just we had one machine in every state that's all the same. You walk in there, you push a button it says Bush and the machine talks back to you, if you can't write and it gives you a receipt if you can't see.

KING: All right, that's a good idea. What of a machine -- Billy, a machine that says you have voted sir, these are your votes. They're accepted. Good-bye.

B. BUSH: Like at the ATM machine, like you mentioned before, Larry. When you sign on, it says are you sure? Yes, positive. So you say you vote Bush and it says you just voted for George Bush, if this is OK, click good-bye.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Press yes and good-bye. Now why -- maybe we're stupid, Neal. Why can't that be standard?

BOORTZ: No, I think it can be and I think you've seen the last Vot-O-Matic machine in a presidential election, but really and I'm serious about this, there is no constitutional guarantee that everybody in this country has the right to vote. We need to get rid of some of the faulty voting equipment. We also need to move some of the faulty voters out of the voting places.

REHM: But Larry, there is question about federal standards being applied to state voting regulations. The states have always held that priority very close to their hearts, and for the federal government to impose that kind of standard is going to be very tough. (CROSSTALK)

B. BUSH: Unfortunately, there's no right voter and no wrong voter.

KING: Ed Koch, you ran a city. Is it possible?

KOCH: Of course, it's possible to have better voting machines.

REHM: Sure.

KOCH: And the way that the federal government is going to do it -- it cannot impose it. Diane is absolutely right. Under the Constitution, each state runs its own elections, but what it will do is provide that if you buy these particular voting machines, and we have wonderful voting machines that are 40 years old in New York that should be replaced because they break down, but you push a lever and you see the name of the person you voted for. I mean, it seems to me that's the kind of voting machine you should have.

B. BUSH: At least get rid of butterfly ballots.

(CROSSTALK)

KOCH: But what will happen will be -- just to finish -- will be that the federal government will say if you buy these voting machines, we will pay half of the bill and it runs into millions of dollars.

REHM: Exactly, and Mayor Koch, it seems to me that that's precisely what's needed is some money from the federal government to make sure that happens.

KOCH: Right.

KING: Portland, Oregon. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, yes I just wanted to ask panel if they had had callers asking about Hillary Clinton's book deal?

KING: The Hillary Clinton book deal. Diane Rehm, what have you heard? Eight million dollars, maybe the largest ever.

REHM: Well, what I've heard is that some voters are questioning whether it's appropriate. Other voters are saying, she hasn't gone to the Senate yet. Neal, I'm sure, is going to talk about the fact that Newt Gingrich was reprimanded by own party for doing the same thing, but you have to remember that Hillary Clinton is an established author. She isn't the Speaker of the House. She has the right to make her own book deal.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Well, don't presume what Neal might think because Neal is a proven capitalist. Get what you can when you get it, right?

(CROSSTALK) BOORTZ: As matter of fact, Diane, if you'll contact me I'd love to send you a copy of my book, "The Terrible Truth About Liberals." You might learn something about...

(CROSSTALK)

REHM: Why, would you look to be on the show?

BOORTZ: Well, no, because -- well, yes. Absolutely, that would be -- but no, about the book deal. First of all, more power to her. She's not an established author. Her "It Takes a Village" was ghost- written. It may be the same thing with this book, but more power to Hillary. If she can get $8 million, that's great and as far giving some of it away to charity, only if you want to, lady. But the same Democrats that hounded Newt Gingrich on his book deal are going to take a nap on Hillary's. Just watch.

KOCH: I'll explain to you why Newt Gingrich got such a tough time. It was because he had attacked and brought down the prior Democratic speaker for the same reasons that he was brought down.

(CROSSTALK)

BOORTZ: Absolutely wrong, Mr. Mayor. Absolutely wrong.

KOCH: Let me just finish. Don't interrupt. Now, the fact here is that what Hillary should do in my judgment, just to protect herself, is submit a request to the Senate committee on ethics. The Republican majority leader has already said that it is not matter of concern to him. But from the safeguard point of view, the best thing would be to ask, even though she's not obligated to, for the Ethics Committee to pass on it.

(CROSSTALK)

B. BUSH: That's what I --

KING: Billy, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

B. BUSH: I'm sorry, Larry. That's what I -- what she could easily do is just exactly. Just to say, look, this is what I intend to do I'll just do it because it's such a nonissue, but I'll just quickly do it for you. If she doesn't do it, then, you know, -- you can easily shut these people up. And remember I hope it's not in her defense, not a large of money to other things because she's got some legal bills.

BOORTZ: I think it's important...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Neal, wasn't it a question with the book by Gingrich that Mr. Murdoch's company was the publisher and he'd business, committee business...

(CROSSTALK) BOORTZ: Well, yes, of course that is a concern and also Hillary's publisher owns -- or is owned by the same company that owns CBS and other media concerns, and they don't have business before Congress and let me say this. We certainly don't have time to go into the differences but any assertion that Newt Gingrich's book situation bore any resemblance at all to that of Jim Wright from Fort Worth, Texas is completely and absolutely erroneous.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: We'll take a break and we'll come back with more...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REAGAN: Very grateful, and appreciate it very much. Thank you, sir.

CARTER: Good luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Atlanta, hello.

CALLER: Hello, everyone.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I would like to know from the panel if they think that the Bush -- proposed Bush tax cut would benefit everyone equally?

BOORTZ: No, it shouldn't.

REHM: No.

B. BUSH: Here we go!

(CROSSTALK)

BOORTZ: Well, it shouldn't benefit everyone equally. When you have -- and now, Mayor Koch, I understand your 42 percent, but let's just talk income tax now, not the death tax and rest of them. You have over 95 percent of the taxes being paid by the top 50 percent of the income earners in this country. We're talking income tax. So, a tax cut should benefit them far -- to a far greater extent than it should those people, say, in the bottom 30 percent that pay none at all. Of course, it's not going to be equal. Taxation is not equal.

(CROSSTALK) KOCH: But they shouldn't get a bonus. I don't doubt for one minute that a rich person is going to get a larger tax refund than a poor person, because they've paid more. But in the case of the Bush proposal -- and he won the battle and he ought to have a right to put it before the Congress. I just think that they will voted down. You ought not to get in addition to the reduction in your tax a bonus over and above what your share was in the aggregate...

BOORTZ: Mr. Mayor, the only people that get more back than they paid into the system are those people on the lower end of the income scale that get this phony earned income tax credit nonsense.

KOCH: Listen, you are an extreme right-winger. That's not pejorative.

BOORTZ: Oh, please.

KOCH: It's just a fact.

BOORTZ: Oh, come on, you wouldn't know a libertarian from a right-winger if they turned your socks inside out.

KOCH: Well, libertarians think it's OK to sell tobacco.

BOORTZ: Absolutely.

KOCH: I know...

KING: Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, hello.

BOORTZ: And guns, and everything else.

KING: Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Yes. My question is for the panel, I would like to know if it isn't time to get rid of the electoral college votes. My -- I have -- I teach construction, I have a hell of a time to get my kids to sign up to vote, and they're pissed off because they don't think their votes counted.

KING: Diane, good point?

REHM: Well, Larry, I think...

KING: Well, technically he's got a point. If they voted in Pennsylvania, if you voted Democrat in Pennsylvania, your votes didn't count. If you voted Republican in New York, your votes didn't count.

REHM: I think there is going to be a discussion about the electoral college. It would take a constitutional amendment. I don't think the Congress is going to go there, because to do that would be to begin to unravel the entire election process.

KING: Now, the Democratic vote in Pennsylvania did count. The Republican vote in Pennsylvania didn't count, because they lost the election. So everybody in Pennsylvania who voted Republican ain't counted yesterday, right?

REHM: Right.

B. BUSH: There's just no way that you're going to get rid of the electoral college, because if you look at the -- you're not going to get these senators, whether they're Democrats or Republicans, to then say that essentially elections can be decided in Los Angeles and New York City and Boston.

REHM: And it is a small...

KOCH: You could change it. You could change it in the following way. It won't happen; they're not going to change it. But if you wanted to do, all you would have to do is to remove the two extra votes that each states get, representing the two senators, so that if the vote was conditioned simply on the number of members of the House of Representatives, it would basically be the vote that you have that Gore won.

KING: We'll...

(LAUGHTER)

Ed's got it figured out. We'll be right back with our remaining moments.

Mort Saul returns to television tomorrow night and he'll be here with Joan Rivers and Tucker Carlson and Chuck Booms. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: You'll be hearing all of our guests tomorrow at a radio near you. Neal Boortz, Al Gore's future, if it's possible to predict anything, what do you think he'll he's going to do?

BOORTZ: It's not going to be politics. He wasn't that well- liked by the Democrats anyway. He ran a hideous campaign, reinventing himself every -- every 2 1/2 weeks. His lifelong dream since he was raised on room service in a D.C. hotel has been to be the president.

B. BUSH: Oh my god.

(LAUGHTER)

BOORTZ: He didn't make it. So wherever he goes, it won't be politics.

He couldn't even carry his home state, Larry.

(CROSSTALK)

REHM: Hey, Larry, he wasn't -- he wasn't raised on room service. That's No. 1. No. 2, don't rule him out yet. I think that we've got a long way to go. Democrats have yet to decide who's going to lead the party. Could be Bill Clinton. Could be Al Gore. Don't rule him out. BOORTZ: Rule him out. Rule him out.

KOCH: I don't believe that Al Gore...

KING: Ed Koch.

KOCH: I don't believe that Al Gore will be the leader of the party in the coming two to four years, and I hope he doesn't become a lobbyist and I hope he becomes the president of some major university. He has served the country well.

REHM: Extraordinarily.

KOCH: He's not a good candidate. Bill Clinton still dominates the Democratic Party and was a superb president with the morals of an adolescent.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Billy, I know it's your cousin, but there are -- are there aspects of Bill Clinton you're going to miss just as a humorous host?

B. BUSH: Yes, I guess he kept it interesting. I never thought I'd say that George W. Bush might actually come across as boring, because he's a pretty exciting and dynamic guy, but after the Clinton soap opera for eight years, it may be that way.

BOORTZ: Well, we still have Hillary.

B. BUSH: Yes, that's right.

KING: Neal, are you going to miss having Clinton to knock around?

BOORTZ: Well, we have Hillary Clinton.

KING: Yes, but she's one senator.

BOORTZ: Oh, I know...

KING: Are you going to bring her up every day?

BOORTZ: No, she's going -- oh, absolutely. I'll invoke that name for ratings.

KING: Neal, that's what -- you're left with Hillary every day?

BOORTZ: She's the next Democratic candidate for president, Larry. We might as well start talking about her now.

B. BUSH: She's going to be on the bottom of a lot of committees. I don't think she's going -- you're going to see her as much as everyone would like to.

REHM: Oh, she...

BOORTZ: She will make sure...

(CROSSTALK)

B. BUSH: All the cameras -- the cameras will follow her.

REHM: I think she's going to do a first-rate job as a senator from and for New York.

KOCH: She's going to be a star. That's what Senator McCain said, and I agree with him.

REHM: Yes, I agree.

KING: Thank you all very much.

REHM: Thank you.

KING: Neal Boortz, Diane Rehm, Ed Koch, and Billy Bush, talk- show hosts, fine, all of them. No matter what your opinions are, they sing it out pretty good. Neal Boortz, Diane Rehm, Ed Koch, and Billy Bush. Stay tuned now for a terrific journalist, Perri Paultz -- Perri Peltz rather. Perri's the host of "CNN TONIGHT." Perri Peltz out of New York is next.

Tomorrow night, Mort Saul, Joan Rivers, Tucker Carlson, Chuck Booms. The I-man on Friday. Cuba Gooding Jr. Saturday.

Thanks for joining us. Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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