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Larry King Live
Will Hillary Clinton Make a Good Senator?Aired January 3, 2001 - 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, Hillary on the Hill: The most controversial first lady in U.S. history takes an unprecedented position in the world's most exclusive club.
Joining us to talk transition politics: ABC News Washington correspondent Ann Compton; also in D.C., the best-selling author of "Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton," former federal prosecutor Barbara Olson; in Los Angeles, former Clinton White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers; back in the nation's capital, a congressman from Mrs. Clinton's new home state of New York, Democrat Charles Rangel; and one of Mrs. Clinton's new colleagues in the sharply divided 107th Congress, Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas.
They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We'll start with Charlie Rangel in New York. Congressman Rangel, who I believe was the first one to ever suggest that Hillary run for the Senate, did you really expect to see this day?
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, I tell you that I don't know whether I was the first. I know I was first go public with it because I saw the excitement and the glitter in her eye, and I didn't know what I was talking about when I first asked.
But I knew I had a candidate when I finished, and when I went to see President Clinton on what I thought was a very, very important legislative matter, and I stayed up all night studying my materials, and he asked me, how do think Hillary would do? Then I knew New York state had a candidate that could win.
KING: Barbara, I know you're a critic and you wrote a very strong book about it, but there was a time you thought she wouldn't run. Are you surprised at this day?
BARBARA OLSON, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR/AUTHOR, "HELL TO PAY": Not at all, actually, Larry. I mean, one of the reasons I wrote the book is I've also always thought Hillary Clinton was a serious political entity. I didn't think people were taking here seriously.
Of course, when I wrote the book back about a year ago, I didn't realize she was going to be the next senator, but I've always thought that she was going to seek higher office, and that she was the more serious of the couple for political ideology, and we're seeing it play out as we saw today.
KING: Dee Dee Myers, are you surprised at today?
DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Two years ago, I would have been surprised. I didn't think -- I certainly thought she could be a terrific and strong candidate for public office. I didn't think she'd choose a public path like running for Senate when she had a whole world of opportunities and options open to her. But once you got into the race, it was clear she was going to be formidable candidate and once Rudy Giuliani got out, I never thought Rick Lazio was going to be able to win that race.
KING: And Senator Hutchinson, what does it mean to you? You're a member of the opposition and she sits in the same house with this hundred select folks.
SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Well, I think she'll probably be on the Health, Education and Labor Committee so it's going to make life very interesting and...
KING: That's your -- you're on that committee; right?
HUTCHINSON: I'm on that committee. You know, we always said in Arkansas when President Clinton was governor that the wrong Clinton was running, and we always thought she'd have political ambitions and run some day. And so I'm not at all surprised, and I think she'll be a very forceful, articulate advocate for viewpoints. That Health, Education, Labor Committee is a very philosophically polarized committee, so it's going to be ever more exciting with Hillary Clinton on that committee.
KING: We just see her gave a love touch -- touch Senator Orrin Hatch, an oft-critic of her husband. Ann Compton, as a journalist now, repertorally, what does this mean?
ANN COMPTON, ABC NEWS: Well, if Hillary Rodham Clinton didn't exist, the media might have to create her. Can you imagine anything more dramatic after the election year we've just been through to have a first lady not only run for the Senate, but now her name number one out there among the Democrats as potential presidential candidate in the year 2004. I mean, it just defies description. What's going to be fascinating is to watch not her swearing in, but her first votes.
KING: Is that jumping things a little, Congressman Rangel, to already talk about president when she hasn't sat one day in the Senate yet?
RANGEL: I think it is, even though I think these senators put something in water. Once they get over there, they all start thinking about becoming president, and so I don't think you can stop her. But the truth of the matter is that coming from a great state like New York when all our problems and hopefully able to find some solution, I think she'll be able to be considered presidential material.
But it's going to be a hard road. They're going to be looking at her with a magnifying glass, and I think that she'll have enough on her plate just being a good senator for a couple years.
KING: Barbara Olson -- by the way, Barbara Olson is the wife of -- you may not have known him that well earlier on, but she's the wife of Ted Olson, who was the lead election attorney on the federal level for George W. Bush's successful candidacy. You ought to be very proud of Ted.
OLSON: I am very proud of him. It was a tough few days. Didn't see a lot of him in the month, but I'm very proud of the way he operated and very proud of the work that the entire team did. I think it was something that everyone would be proud of, and the way that the issues were presented on both sides, and obviously I'm very happy with the way that the Supreme Court decided the case, and what ultimately happened.
KING: Back to Hillary, is it a leapfrog to already talk about the presidency? Is that a bit much?
OLSON: Well, you know what, Larry? I mean, do you remember back, and I'm sure you do, back in '92, two-for-one. We had in the blue plate special. Hillary Clinton did come in as the co-president. We all knew that watched the candidacy that she was very instrumental in bringing people into the campaign back in Arkansas. When Bill Clinton lost the governor's mansion, she brought in Dick Morris and a lot of the people that stayed with him.
She's always been the person who has been the serious ideologue behind the scenes, and so I'm not surprised and I don't think it's too early because Hillary Clinton always had national agenda. We saw a lot of her issues in New York. I think they are national issues.
I think New York was the perfect state to run for because it is a state that allows a senator to have those national issues, and if she does wind up on the Help Committee, as we call it, the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee, we'll see, I think, that national agenda going forward. If she's successful, 2004 is around the corner and people may not want to hear that, but I think the campaigning starts now.
KING: Dee Dee, you stood. You worked in that office. You must have seen a lot of her.
MYERS: I'm sure.
KING: Do you think it could go this far?
MYERS: Can she be serious candidate for president? She said publicly that she won't run.
KING: She said on this show. Absolutely not in '04.
MYERS: Right, exactly. She didn't say she would never run, she just said she wouldn't run in years, that she'd serve out her term. I take her at her word. I mean, Bill Clinton said the same thing in Arkansas back in 1990; went around and asked voters if they'd let him out of that commitment. They did, and he ran and won. Certainly, though, there will be a lot of Democrats who will urge her to get into the race. There is no front-runner at this point. I don't think Al Gore has a strong claim to the nomination in '04. He may choose to run again, but there will be a lot of Democrats, particularly on the liberal side, who will urge her to run.
She has charisma. She's a proven fund-raiser. She's extremely popular in the Democratic base. She has a national constituency, and like Barbara pointed out, she's got a platform of national issues, and I think she'll do great job defending New York.
KING: When we come back, we'll ask Senator Hutchinson how she'll be treated in the Senate. What's it like with Secret Service agents in the gallery. Ann Compton's thoughts as well, and we'll discuss the entire transition. We'll include your phone calls.
Tomorrow night, Ted Koppel will be with us. Next Tuesday night, N'Sync. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you God?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: It was a wonderful day. I was very honored and excited to become the junior senator from New York, and I'm looking forward to representing the people of New York and the best interests of our country. So, it's a great day for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Hutchinson, can we simply say she's one of 100. How is she going to -- there's never been anything like it, so we have no precedent. How's it going to work?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I think she's going to be received very, very warmly. How warmly she is received will partly depend upon how she respects the Senate and how she treats the institution of the Senate. But, the days of being a back-bencher and biding you time are over.
No one expects that she should not be very on the front and outspoken and involved in national issues. But I think that she'll have a -- she'll be not one of 100, obviously, but she'll be well- respected. She's still going to only have one vote no matter how much she leads the evening news, but she'll be respected by her colleagues and receive a warm reception.
KING: Senator, is it true what -- in other words, that freshmen are no longer expected, no matter who they are, to be quiet all the time?
HUTCHINSON: That's been changing for a number of years, and I think in the case of Senator Clinton. it will reach a new level. No one is going to expect her to quietly bide her time as the 97th in seniority, but there is certain, I think, expectations that she's going to respect the rules and the traditions of the Senate and I think she will be deferential to that.
KING: And what about covering her, Ann? What's it going to -- is she the first focal point when whoever covers the Senate goes to the Senate?
COMPTON: She may be number 97 in seniority but she's probably number one in name recognition, and during the darkest days of Whitewater and the scandals that followed, she could choose the days on which she kept her mouth shut; when she wasn't accessible to the press; but she couldn't choose those times in which we would naturally see her walking to the helicopter with her husband. We would see her out in public.
She's going to cast votes as early as on the nominees for the new Bush Cabinet, and she's going to have to explain those votes certainly to the New York press if not to national press. So, she may be able to control how she interacts with her colleagues and how she speaks on the Senate floor, but she can't control the incredible magnifying glass that the media will hold up to her.
KING: Charlie, what -- I mean, congressman, what concerns do you have for her in the Senate? What advice you would give her?
RANGEL: Well, we've had many, many conversations, and I don't know whether it was advice, but one thing is abundantly clear that she has deep-seated interest in health. She's proven that in the past and as the senator said, that she seeks to get on the health committee. Education is a high priority, whether you're Republican, Democrat, liberal or conservative.
It's important to our national security that we have a better educated work force, and the legislative body is one of the most exciting professions someone can enter because each and every day you're doing something that is so challenging, so that when she meets with the press, it will not have to be one of these scandals or some reporters that's trying to expose something, it would be something that's positive and good for the country, and give her an opportunity just to show how good she is for our country, for the Congress, and for New York.
KING: Barbara, how do think the Republicans in general, the Trent Lotts and others will treat her? OLSON: Well, I think they're going to go out of their way to be courteous. I think they're going to go out of their way to make her feel comfortable. As Ann, said everybody is watching. Everybody is looking to see if she's being treated with the same courtesy as every other senator, and I also do think they're going to try to treat her as every other senator because although she's the former first lady and she's obviously the number one person that people are looking for.
I think when people want to hear the Democratic side they're going to want to her Hillary Clinton and it's same that reflects on the Republican Party.
But what I think will be interesting is the campaign promises. Hillary Clinton toward the last of her campaign, was real careful to try to run a New York campaign because she realized she had to win in New York. And she said her first bill was going to be to help the upstate economy in New York state.
She obviously has education, health care issues on her plate, but it'll be interesting to see how many bills she puts forward that are New York specific, because we all know the senators from New York are very mindful. Senator D'Amato always had bills where New York state was front and center for what he was doing.
KING: With all this microscope, Dee Dee, no senator ever had this, can we safely say? No senator has ever -- maybe Bobby Kennedy had a little of it.
MYERS: Yes, I think Bobby Kennedy's probably the closed, but you're right, no senator has ever gone in with her profile.
KING: How's she going to handle it?
MYERS: Well, she's used to it. She's used to living under the glare of an incredibly...
KING: But not with 99 other people around.
MYERS: No, and you know, Senator Kennedy gave her some advice today. He said, work hard, respect the opposition, and do great things for New York.
And I think, you know, she'll clearly work hard. She's worked hard every day she's been at the White House. Respecting the opposition will be interesting because it's not something she's done as well, and the opposition, quite frankly. hasn't been that respectful of her and we'll see how that unfolds and do great things for New York.
You know, again, I think she has to do that. She understands that New York is not only her home constituency, it's also a great platform to make news for the rest of the world. You know, the media world is still centered in New York.
KING: All of her votes are going to be news? MYERS: Virtually. I mean, on any controversial bill. I mean, you know, there's a lot of throwaway bills in vote every day -- not throw away but less...
KING: We're going to move to transition now: Her vote on Ashcroft.
MYERS: Hugely, hugely watched.
KING: We'll get...
MYERS: And her comments, you know, about it as the process moves forward.
KING: She will be expected to say something. We'll get the thoughts of all of our panelists beginning with the John Ashcroft as attorney general and then others and your calls as well. Former President Jimmy Carter on Monday night. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: It was really a very moving moment for both of us. I kept looking at him up in the gallery with my daughter, and I -- you know, it was very emotional for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Hutchinson, would you agree that now former Senator John Ashcroft will be the big story of the transition in the process of confirmation?
HUTCHINSON: Oh, I think the opposition is trying to focus on him, and to the extent they're going to Bork someone, they're going to try to Bork John Ashcroft. But I think he's going to be confirmed. I think he'll be an outstanding attorney general. He is a man of great integrity and honesty.
The question -- the question that's been raised about his stance on civil rights, I think, is an absolute red herring. Here is a guy who voted for 90 percent of the African-American nominees to come before the U.S. Senate; who had a great record as governor of Missouri; whose wife, Janet, has taught five years at Howard University, a traditional black university. This is a good man, and will be a great attorney general -- the kind of person we need in the Department of Justice.
KING: Ann, from a media standpoint, is he the story of the transition coverage-wise?
COMPTON: Oh, I think so. There's always a lightning rod or two. Linda Chavez, who is one of the nominees for Labor as well, is undoubtedly going to be something of a something of a lightning rod. But remember what happened to Bill Clinton when he was -- when he first became president. I remember was it Election Day or I mean, Inauguration Day, the day after, we were still looking at some of the nominees falling by the wayside because their background checks turned up nanny taxes that hadn't been paid.
So, the story isn't completely written yet, but every Cabinet crowd has a lightning rod or two, and I think the rest are going sail through just fine.
KING: Congressman Rangel, did any appointment surprise you?
RANGEL: Yes, Norm Mineta was a real Democrat, and that really pleasantly surprised me, and actually, I thought that the Ashcroft's, the nomination was controversial. I'm glad to hear from Tim that he probably will turn out to be a civil rights leader, but for those of us who've been monitoring his career, we really thought that Governor Bush went out of his way to have it his way and our way, but I think with all of the color and the culture and the diversity that he really got, and I think he's gone out of his way do this and the appointment of his Cabinet, we still have to find out where the policy folds out in all of these things, and I think that's where the Senate is going to have most of its problems.
KING: Barbara Olson, as a conservative Republican, did any nominee disappoint you? There are conservatives. Can't be happy with everyone.
OLSON: Well, you know, Larry, conservatives have a tendency to dislike the nominee because we're in search of the perfect, but I don't think that's the case here. I think the nominees are qualified. I think they're good people. I think they have deep, deep backgrounds in their areas.
There is no one who has been nominated where you can say well this just a political nominee. All of these people have worked in their fields. Linda Chavez, whether you like her or not because of political affiliation, have to say she's one of the most qualified people in the labor field. She's worked many years, and the same thing with Senator Ashcroft.
I mean, when I served as a staff in the Senate, there's not another senator that people would say was not a better senator, more on judicial issues and to have him head of our judiciary and head of the Justice Department is a wonderful nomination when you're looking for someone with background.
KING: So there is no doubt in your mind, Barbara, that he would prosecute fully those who may protest violently at abortion centers even though he so is pro-life?
OLSON: Senator Ashcroft knows he's moving to the executive branch and that is to execute the laws. You do not make the laws as a senator does, and I think that that is something that he is mindful of, as he was as a senator, when he was making legislation. He knew what the job was. It wasn't to make -- to execute the laws, it was to write the laws, and I think he will follow the laws as written.
KING: Dee Dee Myers, was Colin Powell the automatic? MYERS: Absolutely, I don't think anybody in America who's paying any attention was the least bit surprised, and I think both Democrats and Republicans were sort of happy about it.
KING: Were you surprised it was State and not Defense?
MYERS: No, I think there's actually prohibition against a former commander serving as secretary of defense for 10 years. So, I think he was technically barred.
KING: Will he be a good secretary of state?
MYERS: I think he'll excellent. I mean, I -- you know, President Clinton tried to get him to serve as secretary of state in his administration. Certainly, a president...
KING: That's true; right? He did want him.
MYERS: Absolutely, and president -- and he -- President Clinton didn't talk to him, but other people, Vernon Jordan did approach him about it. IF gore had been elected, I think he may have gone back to General Powell said listen, I know you're a Republican but would you consider serving in my administration?
I think he's that, you know, respected a public figure regardless of ideology. And he's not ideological, unlike Senator Ashcroft, who I think everyone agrees is a good man, but an ideological man. General Powell is a Republican, but he's not ideologue.
KING: We'll be right back with more. We'll be including your phone calls for our outstanding panel. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: The majority leader, Senator Daschle, is recognized.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President, on behalf of the entire Senate, thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Until the afternoon of January 20th, Tom Daschle is the majority leader. Senator Hutchinson, what do you make of the appointment of Mr. O'Neill, and I hyphen that with the stock market today.
HUTCHINSON: Well, I think it was -- obviously, the stock market responded well, so I think that's very good.
KING: Do you think O'Neill will do well?
HUTCHINSON: I think he'll do excellent, and I think he's going to reassure a lot of folks. And yes, I do. I think -- you know, I think Barbara said it very well. We've seen a very good transition; a very good team put together, and it's been done in a record amount of time. So, I think you're going to see pretty smooth sailing for the confirmations, and good marks on American people.
KING: Is -- Ann Compton, is as someone termed him today, is Dick Cheney the 101st senator and is he part president?
COMPTON: No, he's not vice president either, Larry. He's prime minister. He's running the show, isn't he? And what's really strange for those of us who are old enough to admit it, covering Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, and Paul O'Neill when he was -- I think he was number two at OMB.
I mean, we're looking at a cast of characters that looks remarkably familiar to what we covered back in earlier Republican administrations, but you're absolutely right, Dick Cheney is absolutely an administrator -- a prime minister is how I would describe him.
KING: What do you make of that? Rumsfeld, it's like the old names.
MYERS: It is. There are a lot of people making their second tours through Washington. I think that'll make confirmation process easy, and I have to say, living through the Clinton transition eight years ago, we made it look so hard. It was the Perils of Pauline every day. I think the Bush team has made it look easy.
KING: Secretary -- I mean, Congressman Rangel, John Ashcroft and your reservations aside, do you think they did a good job here?
RANGEL: Well, I think in such a short period of time, I think they have put together a team that has wide support in terms of being competent, and I just hope and pray that they have a feeling that they have a special obligation in view of the closeness of the obligation to deep feelings by some of us on the Democratic side that the outcome of election was not fair to make certain that when we talk about bipartisanship, we're not talking about picking off a half a dozen Democrats, but trying to find out what's good for America whether it's Republican or Democrat, and move forward with an legislative agenda.
KING: Barbara, are we getting a paperback copy of your book now coming out?
OLSON: Well, actually they called me.
KING: Timing would be good.
OLSON: Well, what happened was they called me after the elections. They were going to paperback and then called me back and said the hardback is selling again. So, they're not going to do the paperback.
KING: Will you write an additional chapter for the paperback?
OLSON: I've already written the additional chapter. I think it's going to have to be revised on day-by-day basis. I do think Senator Clinton is going to be very active, and, you know, I wanted to say one thing about the Vice President-Designate Cheney. I think, you know, he's wise. He's well-known in Washington. He's well-known for all of his service to government and I think he shows that just how comfortable President-Elect Bush is.
He's comfortable putting these people, as Dee Dee was saying, the wise people from prior administrations, elevating them. It's how comfortable he is with competency and bringing people into his administration. He had a very, very truncated transition period, and it's true he has done this in a record time with people that I think both sides of the aisle can be comfortable with, even if they would have liked Al Gore to have been there. They least know this is someone who's competent and can handle the job.
KING: We'll be right back. We'll reintroduce our panel and we'll go to your phone calls. This LARRY KING LIVE. Bill Maher on Friday; Ted Koppel tomorrow. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The chair will remind the Senate that boisterous demonstrations are against the rules of the Senate.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: It's obvious, Mr. President, that you have still maintained your sense of humor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The Vice President Gore being greeted today as the Senate convened and put 11 new members in there. There are now 13 women in the United States Senate. We are going to your phone calls; let's meet our panel again, they are Ann Compton, ABC News, White House correspondent -- Washington Correspondent, she has been everywhere, we can put Ann in any post and she fills it well.
Barbara Olson, best-selling author of "Hell to Pay; the Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton," a former federal prosecutor, and the wife of Ted Olson, George W.'s top election attorney.
Dee Dee Myers here in Los Angeles, former Clinton White House press secretary, contributing editor of "Vanity Fair" and the mother of nine-month old...
MYERS: Katherine Myers.
KING: Not bad looking little lady.
Congressman Charles Rangel, Democrat of New York. He's starting his 16th term, founding member of Congressional black caucus, and Senator Tim Hutchinson, republican of Arkansas, in his first term, member of Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, to which Mrs. Clinton may well be assigned. Let's go to some calls. Long Island, New York. Hello.
CALLER: How are you doing? I just wanted to quickly ask your panel how they were feeling about the purchase of her house in New York, and how transparent that may have seemed to a lot of New Yorkers, and you know, vying for the Senate position.
KING: Congressman Rangel.
RANGEL: Listen, we have learned in New York that you have to have homes in Washington, D.C., and you have to have homes in your home state, and so I don't know how transparent it is, you have to live somewhere. And I assume that they were looking for a place that they were accustomed to living in that type of a building. So, no. we are happy for her.
KING: Has anybody heard where they are going to sell that New York home and take an apartment or something?
MYERS: There's been a lot of speculation about it, but I don't think any transactions have taken place.
KING: Barbara, have your sources told you anything about the house in Chappaqua?
OLSON: It's been officially denied, although I have calls from every real estate person in the area guaranteeing me it is on the market, but they have denied it, so...
KING: Ann, what do you hear?
COMPTON: Oh, that they went antique shopping -- the Clintons did over New Year's weekend up near Camp David, and bought little things for the house here in Washington, and there is a story that I haven't checked out completely that Mrs. Clinton registered for new china for the new home, I think it was an on-line store or on-line catalog but, had to, of course, pull that back as of today, because, once you are a senator you can't take anything -- any gift over $100.
OLSON: The soup tureen was $244.
KING: They are going to live near where Vice President Cheney will live, is that correct, Ann?
COMPTON: That is correct. The little cul-de-sac on which this new house is, is right in the same neighborhood where, of course, Al Gore and Tipper Gore live now, but it is basically an embassy area -- lots of embassy residences, and right up the road from where Princess Diana used to stay every time she came to Washington.
KING: So, that big rumor about Georgetown was wrong.
MYERS: Now that you mentioned it: they looked at the big house there but they didn't buy it. KING: How could they have worked Georgetown?
MYERS: It would have been a security problem.
KING: Toronto, Canada, hello.
CALLER: Hi, thank you, Larry. Can you tell me whether the scandals like i.e., White water, travel office; will they haunt Hillary or will the republicans move on and get their work done.
KING: Senator Hutchinson, will the scandals stay with the former --the soon to be former first lady?
HUTCHINSON: I don't even think they became an issue in that Senate campaign in New York. I think it is already -- we have already moved on. No, I don't think that those will be brought up again. We are going to be looking at how she votes on the issues, and dealing with ideas, not with past issues and scandals.
KING: You're from Arkansas, senator. Do you know her well?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I -- I have more than a passing acquaintance with her. I served eight years in the Arkansas house. Governor Clinton -- Hillary was the first lady during those eight years, and the earlier caller asked about transparency on the purchase of the house; it's pretty transparent. She left Arkansas to find a more conducive state for her Senate run. Now that is the fact that her views are much more compatible in New York than they would be in Arkansas.
KING: Was it a contentious House with Clinton as Governor?
HUTCHINSON: No. Arkansas at that time was even more one party than it is now. And Clinton usually got his way pretty much with a overwhelmingly democrat House and Senate. He had more problems with conservative democrats than he did with a handful of republicans that were in the Arkansas legislature. That is changing, fortunately.
KING: New Orleans, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: I would like to ask your panel, Hillary Rodham Clinton won the senatorship of New York by more votes than George W. Bush won the presidency. Does that make her a more legitimate candidate in 2004?
KING: Is that a stretch, Dee Dee? She won by a bigger margin, of course, because Bush didn't win...
MYERS: Exactly. I mean, George Bush lost the popular vote by half a million votes, but that is not -- not half a million -- yes, half a million, but that is not how we choose presidents and I think we ought to accept the law. I think what troubles the Bush team and certainly, would be unnerving to anybody, the recounts going on by press organizations in Florida that may show -- although nobody will ever except his final results that he, in fact, lost Florida.
KING: Barbara, if Bill Clinton is indicted, a possibility, by Mr. Ray and the like, do you think that President George W. Bush would pardon just to get it out of the news?
OLSON: Oh, boy. I don't think President Clinton will be indicted, so it's hard to imagine, and go down that road. I agree with Senator Hutchinson. I think, you know, we are a party looking to the future, there is a great future for this country, and I think Bill Clinton has much more problems having to do with the committee down in Arkansas in trying to keep his license.
Independent counsel Ray passed on Mrs. Clinton and passed on the others and so I don't think that will happen, Larry.
KING: Bentonville, Washington. Hello.
CALLER: It's Bentonville, Arkansas.
KING: I'm sorry.
CALLER: That's no problem. Hi, Larry. Great guest list. I'm wondering if you and the panel think that the media is going to continue giving special attention to Hillary?
KING: Senator, we will start with you and go around.
HUTCHINSON I think that is without question, she comes in with star status, and, she will justify that, I think. I don't agree with her on most issues, but yes, I think she is going to continue to garner a lot of attention nationally.
KING: Charlie Rangel?
RANGEL: Well, it all depends on the subject matters. I assume the press would like to have newsworthy names of people, that are talking about issues that impact America, and so they will be coming to her more from than not, but I think to a certain extent, she would be able to control just which issues she would like to be known as a specialist in, rather than just commenting on everything that passes through the Senate.
KING: Dee Dee.
MYERS: Yes. I agree with what Charlie just said. She has developed, I think, a lot of savvy over how the press works. I think she will pick and choose her moments, but there'll be a tremendous amount of attention upon her, and she will be able to choose to speak out on any issue that she wants.
COMPTON: Absolutely -- I have got to disagree for two reasons: one, she is the former first lady, she has the biggest name identification of anybody in the U.S. Senate, second, you know, anytime your name is dropped as a potential presidential candidate, sometime in the future, for both those reasons, every move she makes, every vote she casts, is fair game.
OLSON: Well, I was going to add, too; Hillary has always been interesting since we were first introduced to her on a national level. She's been interesting since Bill Clinton walked into the White House. The early interviews that she did with the media, where she answered certain questions and didn't answer others; the media is going to be pushing her, they're going to want her to answer, she is a candidate, in her own right.
I found her interesting. I spent a year of my life researching and talking to people, and the more I studied her, the more interesting I thought she was, and the more I thought she was underrated, so I think the media is going to want to see what is there. We know her debacles, and she comes back. There is no disaster that Hillary -- Mrs. Clinton -- now Senator Clinton, doesn't come back from, so I think that is going to continue.
KING: We'll get a break and pick up with Dee Dee and we'll take more calls right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NOVEMBER 7, 2000)
CLINTON: We started this great effort on a sunny July morning in Pindars (ph) Corner on Pat and Liz Moynihan's beautiful farm, and 62 counties, 16 months, three debates, two opponents, and six black pants-suits later, because of you, here we are!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back. You were going to add something to what Barbara said.
MYERS: Oh, I was just going to say that I think she's -- Mrs. Clinton has learned over years how to deal with the press, how to speak on issues she wants to speak on, how not to speak out on issues she doesn't want to speak on. We saw that certainly throughout the impeachment process, and I think she'll try not to get her head up too much so as not to offend other senators, although that will be difficult, because of her status, as everyone pointed out.
KING: Suffolk, Virginia.
OLSON: You know, what, Larry...
KING: Sorry. Go ahead, and then we'll take Suffolk. Go ahead, Barbara.
OLSON: I was just going to add, one of the issues that we haven't talked about is Senator Clinton has a book that's going to come out, and this is going to be in the middle of her term.
OLSON: And this is a book that she's gotten $8 million to sort of tell it all. And so, that's going to be politically very interesting, what happens, how she writes that, how she deals with that as an author and a senator.
KING: Well put. Suffolk, Virginia hello.
CALLER: Good evening. My question for the panel is, since Ms. Clinton is out of the White House now, she'll still be having Secret Service protection. Does anybody feel that'll be particularly troublesome in the Senate chambers at all?
KING: Well, you don't get as much when you're the former first lady. Former first ladies generally get about two to three following her around.
They'll be in the galleries, is that right, senator?
HUTCHINSON: That's my understanding. They've negotiated with the Secret Service, and I think everybody's pretty happy that the decorum of the Senate will not be disrupted and she'll be able to have the protection that she's afforded.
COMPTON: It goes beyond that, though, Larry. The first ladies before, of course, have Secret Service for the rest of their lives if they want it.
KING: Yes, but they don't have -- they don't have 52 people. They don't stop.
COMPTON: Well, no, they have...
KING: But they don't go through red lights, they don't have sirens.
COMPTON: They have -- they have a delegation.
KING: They don't have sirens.
COMPTON: They don't -- no, they might even have motorcades, small motorcades.
KING: I've never seen it.
COMPTON: But Barbara Bush walked out of the U.S. Capitol Building at the end of the Bush term, and at -- what? -- 12 noon, 1 o'clock in the afternoon, dismissed her agents she decided she did not want, and I think she went down to Houston and bough herself a Buick and drove herself around.
So Mrs. Clinton could cede her coverage if she wanted to, but -- and on Capitol Hill, they have lots of security, including a whole office of Secret Service. RANGEL: I think, Larry -- I think that that's going -- I'm sorry, senator. But I think that's going to have to be a consideration, because every week we from the New York delegation have to go to Ronald Reagan Airport and wait for the shuttle plane that takes us to La Guardia, and there's a long line, and there is no line- cutting.
And so if you're going to be in that line...
KING: You're right.
RANGEL: ... with three other agents, it's going to be very, very difficult to negotiate.
KING: I know that Nancy Reagan has told me many times she waits at airport lines. You stop at red lights.
MYERS: Sure, and I think that they'll be Mrs. Clinton's expectations, though. But I think she has been a tremendously polarizing figure. She's not an ordinary citizen certainly, and she's not even like 99 other members of the United States Senate in a lot of ways. And I think that's a decision she should make in consultation with the Secret Service about what's best for her to protect her and her family.
HUTCHINSON: Well, Larry...
HUTCHINSON: No one's going to dispute that she needs to be kept safe and she needs to have security. But we're walking back and forth from our offices to cast those votes several times a day, you're not going to be -- these senators -- I know my colleagues. We have pretty big egos, and they're not going to be shutting down those -- those aisles for Secret Service. There's going to have to be some accommodations, and I think there will be. I think it's going to work out OK.
MYERS: And I'm sure that's -- I'm sure that'll be worked out.
KING: We'll be right back with more and more phone calls. Don't go away.
KING: You are watching scenes of a reception at the Mayflower Hotel honoring Hillary Rodham Clinton tonight, the United States senator from New York, junior senator from New York. This reception is still going on. This tape is from a couple of minutes ago, and there she is with the president. She's being honored at the Mayflower Hotel as her first night as United States senator.
Fort Smith, Arkansas, hello.
Are you there?
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: My question is for Senator Hutchinson.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: I want to know if he believes that Hillary is going to stick to her platform or is she going to come in and be a bull in a China closet, and also I would like to encourage him to continue to look into the Dr. Phil Roberts matter.
KING: I don't know what that is -- do know what that is, senator?
HUTCHINSON: I'm not sure what that is either.
HUTCHINSON: But it's not one or the other as far as sticking to her platform. I think she will, but I also think that she'll do so -- do so in a way that she doesn't have to be a bull in a China closet. I don't think she'll do that. It certainly wouldn't be wise, and she's smart enough not to approach it that way. But I also think she'll be forceful and she won't be a shrinking violet.
KING: Ann, is she going to be the first senator that the Sunday morning shows want?
COMPTON: Oh, of course, and she's going -- and somebody named Larry King is probably going to want her on every once in a while, and the cameras around Capitol Hill at every corner are going to trail her around. But she's so used to this.
Dee Dee is absolutely right: This is a woman who has been in the public eye not just for the eight years in Washington, but for all the years beyond -- before that. And she's a woman who knows how to parcel out what she gives of herself. What she can't control is the intense scrutiny of everything she does. And there are always the external events that come in: the stories that arise, the books that are written. And those are what will be maybe most difficult for her to handle, is how do you explain all the externals.
She's going to have to have a very aggressive and a very good press staff on Capitol Hill.
KING: And Barbara, what does Bill do all day?
OLSON: I think Bill is going to be quite a happy man, and we already said that he -- I think he said he was glad that they got in a -- Hillary needed an address in Washington so we could visit her, which gave us a hint of what he was going to be doing, that he's not going to necessarily just be in Washington.
We know he's going to have an office in Manhattan and an office in Washington, and I would think he's going to be the most sought- after speaker of any ex-president we've ever had. So I would imagine he will have a foundation within a few months that he will work from.
RANGEL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that would consider a foundation. I spoke with him today, and I would think that he has been so helpful in bringing peace throughout the world. You can raise money here, you can hire a specialist. But whether you're talking about Ireland, the Middle East or Africa, he's an internationally known figure. He can really bring a lot of these virtues and qualities to world peace.
KING: Jimmy -- Jimmy -- Dee Dee, Jimmy Carter's here Monday night. Could he be like that?
MYERS: Absolutely, because as much as some of his political opponents in the United States hate to admit it, he's the most admired man on Earth, and he has, as Charlie pointed out, done great work trying to bring peace to troubled regions. And he's...
KING: He could be a great former president.
MYERS: He could be a great former president, and he has a long, hopefully healthy, life ahead of him. So yes, I think he can.
KING: But like Carter doesn't do speeches for money.
MYERS: I think the President Clinton is planning to do some speeches for money, because he doesn't have any...
... resources. Paying a few bills and a couple of mortgages now. So...
KING: As they said in the movie, show me the money.
MYERS: Yes, show me the money.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Compton, Olson, Myers, Rangel and Hutchinson. Sounds like a law firm on K Street. Don't go away.
KING: Let's get another call. Franklin, Massachusetts, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: My question is, with so much media scrutiny already and that she seems to be a target of so many people, will she even be given a chance or an opportunity to see how she will represent the state of New York?
KING: Is she really between a rock and a hard place here, in a sense?
COMPTON: No. In fact, she's on top of the rock and the rock is the hard place. And the New York press corps, there's none more aggressive in the world, and everything she goes and everything she says and every position she takes, on the Middle East -- which is a hot area right now -- on foreign affairs, domestic affairs and on her personal life, all of that will be under scrutiny.
KING: Speaking of the New York press corps, we failed to mention at the time -- he was guest on this program -- a great writer who passed away much too young, a New York writer, Lars-Erik Nelson, who covered Washington for "The New York Daily News," and covered other things for "The New York Review of Books." He was a great man, and he deserves more mention than he got.
Charlie Rangel, is she going to pay attention to New York first?
RANGEL: She has to. New York is -- is -- it's a very jealous type of state, and we're going to hold onto her, and she's going to respond.
No -- she did so well in upstate New York, no one expected her to do that well. But she won in each one of the 62 counties, and so they love her.
KING: And Barbara, she owes them, right?
OLSON: Well, she made a promise in all of those 62 counties, and now I think people are going to look to see if she's going to live up to those promises. She did very well, but she also made a lot of promises to a lot of New Yorkers about the upstate economy, small businesses, utility prices, energy. And she's got a huge plate that she's got to fulfill just to fulfill those promises.
RANGEL: A lot of people don't know it...
KING: Well said.
RANGEL: ... but a lot of New York's problems are really national problems as well, you know.
KING: Senator Hutchinson, does she defer to Charles Schumer, the senior senator from New York, which you should do in the Senate, right?
HUTCHINSON: Right. I think she'll try to, but it's going to be very, very difficult because of the attention that she's going to receive.
You know, the hit on Hillary has always been that she had a political tip ear. I think it's going to be interesting to see whether she really has learned all of these lessons and whether she makes the mistakes which some of us think that the book deal may have been.
KING: Dee Dee.
MYERS: Well, but I think the thing that gets lost is what a serious policy person Mrs. Clinton is. I think she ran for the Senate...
KING: She's a policy wonk...
MYERS: Yes, she absolutely is. I mean, both Clintons are. And it's been sort of a rap against them. I think it's gotten somewhat lost in all the conversations about her stature.
The reason she chose to run for the Senate when she had a whole world of options, she likes getting into the nitty-gritty of policy, trying to solve problems. And you know, whether she has a political tin ear or not will resolve itself. But whatever else happens, I think you can be rest assured that Mrs. Clinton will be working very hard on the specific issues every single day, and riding her staff very hard.
KING: She'll be tough-driven.
MYERS: You betcha'.
KING: Ann, what's the public reaction to the $8 million?
COMPTON: Oh, I think that the public that's paying attention to that probably has some questions about it, but in the economy we're living in right now, I don't know that 8 million sounds all that high. I think the public...
MYERS: You know, when baseball players make $250 million, I don't think the public is up in arms that Mrs. Clinton...
KING: But she -- when you get 8 million you've got to write about, you know what she's got to write about.
MYERS: Well, and the proof will have to be in the pudding.
COMPTON: But it's not the public; it's the media that's going to say for $8 million let's see what you have to deliver. I think the American public and other women politicians are looking, can you name another woman politician who's had a really good shot at being elected president of the United States? Hillary Clinton is being looked to by women, and including the three states which as of today have two women senators, not just one.
RANGEL: I can't wait for the movie.
(LAUGHTER) KING: Thank you all very much. Ann Compton, Barbara Olson, Dee Dee Myers, Congressman Charles Rangel, and Senator Tim Hutchinson. It ain't going to be dull.
Tomorrow night, Ted Koppel. They've got a series coming, a special week on "Nightline" looking at the legacy and the years of Bill Clinton. We're going to talk about that with Ted tomorrow night. Charles -- Chuck Bury will also be along, who reports on that series.
And Friday night, our regular visit with Bill Maher of "Politically Incorrect," Monday night former President Jimmy Carter, and next Tuesday night 'N Sync. No fooling, all of them here, live, 'N Sync. They're already selling places on the street.
Stay tuned for my man, my main man, Bill Hemmer and "CNN TONIGHT." And then, don't forget the two daddies of the "CROSSFIRE," formally -- well, one of them is -- watch it in a half hour. Good night.
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