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Larry King Live Weekend

George W. Bush Takes the Oath of Office and Clinton Says Farewell

Aired January 20, 2001 - 9:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, George W. Bush has taken the oath of office and Bill Clinton says farewell to D.C., at least for now. The nation's 54th presidential inauguration is history.

For partisan perspective on the transfer of power, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, head of the congressional committee that oversaw today's swearing in, and Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the minority whip. Then inaugural observations from Ben Bradlee, vice president at large of "The Washington Post." With him is journalist, author and keen observer of the Washington social scene. Plus "TIME" magazine contributing editor, presidential columnist Hugh Sidey. We'll also hear from the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, and we'll take you inside some of the top inaugural balls.

All that next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

A quick reminder: LARRY KING WEEKEND now airs two nights, Saturday and Sunday night. They'll both be highlight shows. Tonight's is live. LARRY KING WEEKEND now Saturday and Sunday night.

And we welcome senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid. If you watched the inauguration today, you know that you were the emcee.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: I was.

KING: How do you get that job?

MCCONNELL: Well, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee traditionally has presided over the inauguration, and it was a thrill. It was...

KING: Yes, what was it like?

MCCONNELL: It was a great experience. Despite the drizzle -- I had a little water on my glasses. KING: You didn't flub a line, though.

MCCONNELL: Well, tried not to. I thought that President Bush did an outstanding job. Really a terrific job.

KING: Were you there, Senator Reid?

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: I was there. In fact, Larry, I brought my granddaughter, my 10-year-old granddaughter. She sat next to me. As people know, I didn't support President Bush in the election, but I thought it was important for my granddaughter to find out what our government is all about. And that's what it's all about today, learning that we have a peaceful transition no matter how close the election is.

KING: It's almost incredible to watch it and to be a part of it. Did you ride in the car with Clinton and Bush?

MCCONNELL: Yes, there were five of us in the car: Senator Dodd, Speaker Hastert and myself, President Clinton and President Bush. And it was an interesting experience.

KING: What did they say?

MCCONNELL: Well, they were -- one of the things they had in common of course was their experience with protesters. So both of them made some rather humorous remarks, which I don't think I can repeat, related to the signs that were out for and against both of them.

KING: Was it comfortable or tension?

MCCONNELL: I think it was remarkably comfortable. I thought it would be a lot more tense than it was, but President Clinton was quite talkative and seemed quite relaxed. I guess that makes sense when you're on the way out. But President Bush was comfortable and funny.

It was an easy conversation. It could have been quite tense, and frankly, that's what I expected.

KING: And in the past, that has happened.

MCCONNELL: I understand that it has. Probably Truman and Eisenhower.

KING: Didn't talk.

MCCONNELL: Oh, is that right?

(CROSSTALK)

But it was -- it was really quite comfortable.

KING: And Senator Reid, observing, how do you think Al Gore handled it? REID: I watched him a lot. I was directly across from him. He handled it very well. He looked good. And as I -- I just reflect a little bit on the two men that were in the car with Mitch. I mean the people of Nevada like both of them. And I think that's the way the country's broken up.

We have half for him, half against him, and I think if there were ever a mandate, we've got one to work together, because that's -- the American people have told us we better, because everything's 50/50 back here.

KING: How do you explain it, both of you -- this is first for you, Senator McConnell -- how well this works despite the heated feelings?

MCCONNELL: Well, we have a long and respected tradition, an orderly transfer of power.

KING: But nobody takes over, nobody...

MCCONNELL: We understand the rules, and it's widely accepted in this country, and every four years we've had a peaceful orderly transfer of power. And this one, after such a contentious election, it makes you doubly appreciate that strong tradition that we have.

KING: We also like the pomp and circumstance, don't we?

REID: Yes, but it's the miracle of our Constitution. Think about that. We had -- a man took office today who got 600,000 votes less than the person that he beat. We have the close election in Florida. Not a single person has been arrested, no physical violence. And we had a celebration today, and that's what it should be.

KING: And even protesters, I guess -- that's part of the scene, too, right?

MCCONNELL: Sure.

KING: I mean, that's what the country's...

MCCONNELL: It's sort of like what Claude Raines said about gambling in "Casablanca" -- we have protests in Washington.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: No kidding!

All right, Ashcroft, is he going to go through?

REID: Well, it appears so. There's of course 50 Republicans, so he's got a pretty good jump right there. And it would appear we have Senator Byrd and a number of Democrats who have already come out for him. So it seems a sure thing that Ashcroft will get the nomination.

But I think it's something that's going to take some debate, and there will be some votes against him. It's a question of how many. KING: You're watching vice president -- I was going to say elect -- Vice President Dick Cheney being introduced at the Florida ball tonight, a chad ball I guess you could call it, right?

(LAUGHTER)

When do you expect the Ashcroft nomination to come up?

REID: Mitch and I were talking about that. It will be late next week or the following week.

KING: Oh, it won't -- definitely you think it could go through next week?

REID: Well, it could, but I think it'll start maybe next week and go over into the next week. There will be a couple days of talk...

KING: It won't be -- it won't be a one-day thing?

REID: I don't think so.

MCCONNELL: The main thing, though, is he is going to be confirmed. It's been an experience for him, but he's going to be...

KING: And Ms. Norton as well?

REID: We confirmed -- Larry, we confirmed seven today.

KING: Seven today. Ms. Norton as well?

MCCONNELL: Yes, she'll be confirmed as well.

KING: And your wife -- she's out here with you tonight. We would have invited her on, but she hasn't gone through the confirmation.

MCCONNELL: No. The transition people like for them to -- to not deal with the press until after they're confirmed. Her hearing is next Wednesday, and we're hopeful.

REID: They all should have it as easy as Elaine Chao.

KING: What does it feel like to have a wife who's going to be in the Cabinet?

MCCONNELL: Well, I'm immensely proud of her, but beyond that, Larry, you know, she's the first Chinese-American to ever be in the Cabinet. So among the Chinese-American community, this is a huge thing, and she's a symbol of their assimilation and their success. And I'm immensely proud of her and they are, too.

It gives you sort of the extra dimension.

From a Kentucky point of view, by the way, it's been 55 years since we've had a member of the Cabinet. So at home, people are just...

KING: That's funny. It's been 55 years and the first one you get is Chinese-American.

MCCONNELL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

How do you like that?

KING: Not even from the horse-racing end.

All right. How well -- a couple other quick things -- is this Senate going to get along, Senator Reid?

REID: Well, as I said earlier, I think if we have a mandate it's a mandate to do something together. We have 50 Democrats, 50 Republicans. If there were ever a formula for working together, that's it. And I think we're going to surprise the American people by passing things dealing with education, health care. We're going to do things with workers rights, the environment. I think we're going to do a lot of good things.

KING: You agree?

MCCONNELL: I agree: 20 of the Democrats come from states that George Bush carried. I think that's a core of people who will support him from time to time. I think he's going to be remarkably successful.

KING: And one other thing, Senator McCain is meeting with President Bush I think on Wednesday. He's going to try do bring up campaign finance reform. You're his biggest foe in that area.

MCCONNELL: Well, I have been on the merits, but I think this year we ought to have a full debate on it, and I think we agree on that, that we have a full, couple-of-weeks debate, give everybody an opportunity to offer their amendments. We have a different administration now with a little different point of view about that issue, and I think the chances of advancing the ball in the campaign finance area are a lot better than they used to be.

KING: Does that surprise you?

REID: No, it doesn't. Remember, Mitch is a legislator. Legislation is the art of compromise, and this is the time to compromise, to build consensus.

KING: Thank you both very much. We'll be seeing a lot of you.

MCCONNELL: Good to see you.

KING: A lot of both of you. Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Harry Reid.

When we come, three of my favorite people: Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn -- she's Mrs. Bradlee as well -- and Hugh Sidey. We'll also be checking in at various balls around town. There's Dick Cheney in Florida -- at the Florida ball right now.

We'll be back. Don't go away.

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our new president, George W. Bush, and his wife, Laura.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear...

WILLIAM REHNQUIST, CHIEF JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: ... that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States...

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

REHNQUIST: ... and will to the best of my ability...

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

REHNQUIST: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States...

BUSH: ... preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States...

REHNQUIST: ... so help me God.

BUSH: ... so help me god.

REHNQUIST: Congratulations...

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back on LARRY KING WEEKEND. The inaugural parade today held in very inclement weather. There's no way you can -- you can't elaborate. You can't make it any better than it was. It was terrible. It was misty and cold and yucky.

And we now welcome to LARRY KING WEEKEND, Ben Bradlee, vice president at-large "The Washington Post"; Sally Quinn, journalist, author, one of the keen observers of the Washington social scene; and our man, Hugh Sidey of "TIME" magazine. He's Washington contributing editor, author of the presidency column, and president of the White House Historical Society.

I wonder how many inaugurals we have combined in this panel. How many...

BEN BRADLEE, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, since '50, probably fifty...

KING: Two -- Eisenhower?

BRADLEE: ... three. No, I was out of there.

KING: '53.

HIGH SIDEY, "TIME": (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: Sally?

SALLY QUINN, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, the question is many inaugural balls have we been to. That's a different subject. That's...

KING: That's more important to you, right?

QUINN: Well, yes, because anybody who's been to one doesn't ever go again.

KING: You're the expert. Has there always been inaugural balls? Did Washington have an...

SIDEY: I've been through 11. I -- '57 was my first one, and that was Eisenhower, and that was rather restrained. But it was Kennedy that had 10 or something. We went to all of them.

BRADLEE: I don't know if I should tell this story, but the first...

KING: Go ahead.

BRADLEE: ... the first presidential election to have more than one inaugural ball was Ike, and there was a famous story about Larry Laserd (ph). Do you remember Larry Laserd, the old radio man?

KING: Sure. Larry Laserd, CBS News.

BRADLEE: He was in -- in New York, masterminding the whole thing, and it came time to shift down to Washington. So he said, "And now we take you to Washington, where both presidential balls are in full swing." And he broke up.

(LAUGHTER)

And he then -- he then switched to Washington, and there was no noise in the studio at all except everybody in the studio was just breaking up.

KING: There are the Cheneys dancing at the Florida ball. What did you make, Hugh, of the inaugural setting today...

SIDEY: It was quite good.

KING: It was Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush and Bush parents -- I mean, it was an incredible story. SIDEY: It was very good. It was very good. But you know, we're a society that is sated with spectacles. So each year, it probably diminishes a little in our perception, because, you know, we've been through Kennedy and the blizzard, and we've been through Reagan, who moved it to the west side of the Capitol, and we've been through rain and all of that sort of thing. And it was very good.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ... sat with the president, the president's son, the guy he beat.

QUINN: This one had so much poignancy. The poignancy...

KING: You couldn't write this, .

QUINN: ... with the Gores, you know, what a tragedy for them this was and how difficult it must have been for them to sit there and watch this, and know that he got a majority of the popular vote. And then to see the father and son, and watch them tear up. There were just so many different tensions and so much emotion there on that platform.

KING: Now, you're the social...

QUINN: Person.

KING: ... expert. Not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) woman. That's your bailiwick, too. Are the balls for party supporters only?

QUINN: Well, yes. I mean, you...

KING: In other words, Democrats shouldn't go to these balls?

QUINN: Well, I can't imagine why a Democrat would want to go and celebrate a Republican administration.

KING: So it is just a celebration?

BRADLEE: Jammed, jammed, jammed with people. You can't move around.

SIDEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a lot of Democrats.

BRADLEE: What?

SIDEY: A lot of Democrats.

BRADLEE: It's a party, you know. What the heck.

(CROSSTALK)

QUINN: No, I think it's a lot of people from out of town, because I really do think that most people in Washington, if they have been to one ball, probably won't ever go again unless they absolutely have to.

KING: Is it like at the circus? QUINN: It's worse, oh my god. It's the worst possible experience you could ever...

KING: Because?

QUINN: Because it's freezing cold, you can't find a place to park, you can't find a place to check your coat, you can't get anything to drink, you can't get anything to eat, it's too crowded to dance, your feet get trampled on, you don't ever see the president. Then, of course -- then you can't get your coat...

(CROSSTALK)

... and you could wait for three years to get your coat back. And then you can't ever find your car when you get out. And...

KING: Have you been to them, Hugh?

SIDEY: I've covered them. I've been probably to more balls than anybody, because for many years I went -- I went around with the presidents and we would stop at all of these things. And then I tried a few on my own just as a guest, you know, and they're hideous. But -- but...

(LAUGHTER)

But the fact of the matter...

QUINN: Hugh, then why did you go to more than one?

SIDEY: Well, I had to. It was my line of work, for heaven's sakes.

KING: Why do people like them?

BRADLEE: Well, I bet you the Texas crowd that comes up, they want to...

KING: So even though they're stomping on each other...

BRADLEE: ... want a spectacle for their dollars. They're spending a lot of money up here, and they like to go to a party. They like to be able to say they've been there.

QUINN: You want to go so you can say you've been. That is why...

KING: I was there.

QUINN: That's right.

KING: We'll be right back with Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, Hugh Sidey. Pat Sajak is covering a ball tonight, and we'll check in with him. Hey, there he is. And along with him is the very lovely Cynthia Steele Vance, who is a prominent member of Washington society. Sajak and Vance, we'll go to them after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. The site you're looking at is the Florida ball, where we just saw Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney do their dance. Covering things at the California ball is Cynthia Steele Vance, public relations director, a former broadcaster herself, and a veteran TV journalist. And with her is Pat Sajak.

All right, set the scene, Cynthia. What's going on in the California ball?

CYNTHIA STEELE VANCE: Well, it's quite a scene. We've rounded up Pat Sajak, and we are really pleased to have him. It's been quite an event so far. They've sold about 4,500 tickets. They were really packed to the rafters and the president sort of swept in, and I will say he swept in on time, which is a little unusual.

PAT SAJAK: Well, I was having a wonderful time until Sally Quinn told me how miserable I was. Now I can't wait to get out of this hellhole!

(LAUGHTER)

VANCE: He's been trying to cut out on me for the past 10 minutes, but I won't let him go. Tell me what you did today.

SAJAK: Well, actually, I was out at the parade. I was a PA announcer. I was actually right across from the presidential viewing area, and I did loudspeaker stuff and froze my little body parts off. But it was -- it was -- you know, it's quite an event. It's my first inaugural, and I don't care what party affiliation you are, what your politics are, you can't help but get swept up in -- in the significance of it within our history.

And you know, people have talked about the peaceful transition of power -- it's a pretty amazing thing to see.

VANCE: What was your best memory from today?

SAJAK: Thawing out afterwards was actually the best part.

(LAUGHTER)

That was my favorite. No, I think when the president arrived. I didn't know he would be walking around. I didn't know until we got there. And that was -- that was quite moving to see given...

KING: All right, Pat...

SAJAK: ... some of the problems going on.

Yes, Larry.

VANCE: Go ahead, Larry.

KING: Since this is your first ball -- Cynthia, you've been to others, right?

VANCE: Yes.

KING: OK. Pat, is it as sally said? Be honest.

SAJAK: Well, root canal...

KING: Come on.

SAJAK: ... isn't as bad as Sally said.

(LAUGHTER)

No -- no, she's right. And -- but I knew that going in. I mean, I was warned that it would -- we would not be having intimate canapes (ph) with the undersecretary of agriculture. It, in fact, is very crowded and very noisy. In fact, I have no idea what I'm saying to you right now.

VANCE: I will say -- if I could break in a minute, I have worked these balls and I've also attended personally as a guest. And I do prefer working them because you have a much better view, wouldn't you say?

SAJAK: Oh, absolutely. And you know, Larry, I'm happy to say, if I may plug something...

VANCE: Please do.

SAJAK: ... that I will be sitting -- I'll be sitting in your chair I think Friday.

KING: Next week.

SAJAK: Yes, Friday night. And you know, Larry has a very -- quite a varied guest list. I don't know who my guest will be. But we have it narrowed down to the U.S. ambassador to Senegal or Bobo the Clown. We don't know which it will be.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Thank you. We'll check back with you later. Stay there, Pat. Cynthia, thanks.

Cynthia Steele Vance and Pat Sajak at the ball. But he said you were right.

QUINN: Well, you know, he's -- I'll tell you, she's right about the fact that if you're covering it, you have a much better time. I was the pool reporter for Jimmy Carter, and I went to all the balls with the Carters in the motorcade. And I wore literally hiking boots and a black dress that was indestructible, fake pearls.

KING: Is anything about this fun to you, Ben, now at this point?

BRADLEE: Oh, I -- I had a wonderful time today. I had a wonderful...

KING: You were there?

BRADLEE: Yes, I was there. And I...

KING: Nice to hear. You didn't stay in the confines.

BRADLEE: No, no.

KING: You (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

BRADLEE: I went out there. And I thought that it's good for the city. This city was getting a little OD'd on the other...

KING: Clintons?

BRADLEE: Yes, they were. They've been around too much. And it was a time for this rejuvenating process that's very good for journalists.

We now have got to get, you know, get -- put our nose down and find out who these people are.

KING: Now, we're going to take a break. We'll come back, we're going to ask these folks about Bill Clinton and his exit today with pardons and Air Force One, now called 2888, because the president wasn't on it. He's going -- he's going to have a rough time, watching him on the shuttle.

And as we go to break, hear was George Bush attending earlier tonight the California ball, as both of our guests mentioned. They swept in and swept out. We'll sweep out right now. We'll be right back. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This is the scene at the Texas ball, as Sally has explained to us. Last night was the Texas party, with all the entertainers and the like. This is the Texas inaugural ball, and President Bush is expected there in about 20 minutes. We're with Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn and Hugh Sidey.

OK, we'll start with Hugh. What did you make of the Clinton exit today?

SIDEY: Well, that was about as graceless an exit as I've ever seen anybody at that level of power make? It's kind of sad. I...

KING: He shouldn't have spoken at Andrews?

SIDEY: Well, I think he should have gotten out.

KING: Just go?

SIDEY: Sure, just quickly, just go quickly, and not do this sort of thing. And then I -- you have to wonder all of this action at the end -- where was he in eight years on putting the acreage in the national parks or in protection? Where was he on the declarations on civil rights? All of these things that have come in the last...

KING: Profiling.

SIDEY: ... in the last...

KING: What did you make of the way he left today?

BRADLEE: Well, I think that's the nicest way to describe it I've heard yet today. I mean, it was -- it was embarrassing.

KING: Here we see the scene.

BRADLEE: Classic -- classic forgotten but not gone.

KING: Why? Why, Sally? It's just he can't get off-stage?

QUINN: Well, it was so over-the-top. I mean, there was this sign saying, don't go, at Andrews, and he's saying, I'm not going. And you know that he's not going, he's there forever.

Well, it did -- I thought it was Bush's day and that Bush should have been allowed to sort of have the main -- be the main event.

BRADLEE: He split the screen on television.

SIDEY: He's so self-absorbed, Larry. He just can't seem to get away from himself. His speech was about himself. Everything -- his self-adoration that comes out all the time. And you know, he leaves the others in the dust, tramples them.

KING: You think they'll keep covering him, too?

BRADLEE: Well, I guess for a while, until -- until...

KING: Most presidents just fade off. Not him.

Let's go back to the California ball. Cynthia Steele Vance is now with our old friend, Marie Osmond.

VANCE: Yes.

MARIE OSMOND, ENTERTAINER: Hey, Larry, how are you?

KING: How are you, Marie? What brings you here?

OSMOND: At the ball? I'm hosting with Meatloaf.

KING: You and Meatloaf are the hosts of the ball? Only the Republicans...

OSMOND: They know. I stepped up from Donnie.

(LAUGHTER) VANCE: She's been doing a great job, and I might add looks absolutely beautiful. It's been great to sit here and meet you and talk with you. What did you do today?

OSMOND: Well, we did a lot of things. We did the parade, you know, all the different events. We were at the event last night, the -- the Black Tie...

VANCE: Black Tie & Boots...

OSMOND: ... Black Tie & Boots.

(LAUGHTER)

Yes, as a matter of fact, I was with Drew Carey in the parade today, and we were saying, hey, that's not confetti, those are chads that they're throwing.

(LAUGHTER)

VANCE: What was your best memory from the parade?

OSMOND: Oh, you know what? It was cold, it was fun. I think the most important thing is that everybody that was there, whatever their voting was, whatever they did, they were there to unite the country, which I think is really important right now: that we come together, that we're supportive. That -- where else -- I was saying today -- where else can power be handed over so smoothly when you see, you know, Clinton and Gore standing there, and then you see, you know, Bush and Cheney standing there? And within, you know, one day it's transferred peacefully, and it really says a lot about our country and the things that we should be proud about.

VANCE: Let's talk a little bit...

KING: I've got to take a break. Hold it, Cynthia. Cynthia -- stay right there. We've got to get a break. And when we come back, we'll be joined on the panel by Governor Jim Gilmore, Republican of Virginia, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee.

As we go to break, Jeb Bush is now at the Florida ball. He is, of course, that state's governor. There is Jeb right in the middle of things. Governor Gilmore joins us right after this. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: This was a great tradition this morning as the Bushes come to the White House for coffee with the Clintons before they go together to the inaugural proceedings at the capitol. This happens every time except once -- Harry Truman waited inside, but Eisenhower would not get out of the car to come in for coffee, which ticked Harry off.

Joining our panel now for some brief moments -- it's always good to see him -- is Governor Jim Gilmore, Republican of Virginia, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee. How are you going to wear two hats here?

GOV. JIM GILMORE, RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I'm just going to do it. I think that a manager is able to do that -- I'll be using good people in Richmond to be governor and using good people in Washington to be chairman of the RNC. The president-elect has confidence -- excuse me, the president of the United States, has confidence in me and I'm looking forward to the challenge.

KING: Do you do a lot of hopping around, because the RNC guy's got to go around the country a lot, too, right?

GILMORE: You bet; but we've picked a good co-chairwoman from -- the chairman of the Republican Party of Missouri, Ann Wagner, and we'll have a lot of other people, too. The governors want to help, the congressmen want to help. We're going to have a big, unified party that's going to really reach out to a lot of people.

KING: What balls are you going to?

GILMORE: Tonight, the Virginia ball and, I hope, the Hispanic ball if I can get there.

KING: There's a Hispanic ball?

GILMORE: There sure is.

KING: What has been the fallout, do you think, from this election? You saw, I guess, more protesters today than at any other inaugural parade.

GILMORE: You know, I'm not too concerned about that. We seem to live in an age of protest. It seems like that, for years now, that everyone has decided that they wanted to get on camera and get in their two cents.

I think today is really about new beginnings. It's about the reaffirmation of the democracy and freedoms of this country, the salvation and the saving of the republic as it goes along year after year after year. I'm excited about the message that the president has given today -- one of civility, which is something I think we badly need in American society today; one of bringing people together, unity.

KING: Did you like that speech today, guys?

SIDEY: Good speech, very good speech.

QUINN: The writer, I gather is, according to the people at "U.S. News and World Reported," where he -- Gerson is one of the best young writers in the country today.

BRADLEE: I though it was said well; sentences were short.

KING: Crisply written, he delivered it well.

BRADLEE: Delivered it well.

QUINN: It was a beautifully written speech.

SIDEY: And this idea that people are responsible -- you know, we've just got to get that back in this country, and he did that wonderfully.

QUINN: It had a little Kennedyesque part in there about -- it was sort of -- ask not what you can do for your country part that I thought was...

KING: You have urged your party to reach out more to minorities. He did very poorly in the election -- certainly in the black communities of America. How do you change that?

GILMORE: Well, I think we've been reaching out a long time in the Republican Party. I've been impressed by all of the work and the effort. And yet, nonetheless, it was about 95 to five. So I think, as a party we have to do a lot of thinking.

We've had some success in Virginia; I had about 20 percent of the African-American vote; and Governor Bush has done very well in the Hispanic community. We have to now -- and he has asked me, as party chairman, to find ways to really reach into the communities.

But I believe that the one thing we have to do is get out and talk to more people, get to know more people; reach into more and more leadership in all these communities and do a little listening, I think, and listen to what the concerns of people are. But I am convinced that the Republicans are the ones who have the right principles and the right messages, Larry. We're the ones that are -- believe in success and opportunity and education and jobs.

KING: You think they can get them back? You used to have them.

SIDEY: Well, I think so. I think they can do much better; we'll see. The city, as you know, got terribly uptight. There was so much partisanship and so bitter -- and I think we're going to see that fade away somewhat. It's always going to be there, so -- and I think that there will be some healing, you bet. And I think some people will come back.

KING: Do you?

QUINN: Yes; I think one of the things that's important to remember is that partisanship is about two parties and, you know, there are the Republicans and the Democrats and they're there because they have different ideologies and different views of how to run the country, and that's not a bad thing.

So I don't think we should do away with it completely. I mean, the whole idea of having a discourse is healthy.

BRADLEE: I wasn't impressed by those protesters at all.

KING: Not? BRADLEE: No, I was not. There were only seven people arrested in the first place. I mean, you get that many arrested on a warm day.

GILMORE: I think there were more protesters by a long shot in '72 with Nixon.

SIDEY: So do I; so do I.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I know reports today -- they kept saying they've never seen protesters like this.

BRADLEE: And as soon as they were on television, they went away, they walked away. They got in the subway and went away. The protesters walked down, happened to -- I watched them walk down 15th Street, which is where "The Post" building is -- a can of black spray paint, you know, and they just sprayed the wall this way. They made a big -- a series of big "A"s, and I can think of one word that begins with an "A" that came to mind, but I don't know what that was.

KING: '72 was Vietnam, right?

SIDEY: Sure; it was also after Watergate. The election was...

(CROSSTALK)

(AUDIO GAP)

SIDEY: There was much -- really a lot of demonstration.

BRADLEE: I was not impressed with them, and they looked sort of sloppy and they didn't...

KING: A critic of protests?

BRADLEE: Yes, more and more.

GILMORE: You've got to have a real protest, and this is just very perfunctory. I think today is really about uplifting messages, myself; I think it's a new, fresh start. New presidencies always are. I think that Governor George W. Bush is going stick to his principles and offer opportunity to more and more people; and that's what our party is doing and is going to continue do. We're going to broaden the base of our party.

KING: We're going to be seeing a lot of you, governor. Thanks for dropping by; we'll see a lot of you.

You know, that's like a regular thing -- the chairman of the party comes here.

Republican Governor Jim Gilmore of Virginia, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee.

We'll be back with our panel; they'll stay with us the rest of the

(AUDIO GAP)

KING: ... as we go to break. We'll be checking back shortly at the California Ball with Connie Stevens -- and there's -- look at her.

Boy, they brighten up the screen with the lovely Cynthia Vance -- Connie and Cynthia after this; don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That was right after his inauguration -- that was President Bush signing the papers for each Cabinet member that officially certifies that he is their choice. Seven were then approved today in the United States Senate.

We are with Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn and Hugh Sidey. We're going back to the California Ball, where Cynthia Steele Vance has been covering things for us. She, by the way, is the public relations director for Saks Jandelle (ph), that company's only 113 years old -- very upscale women's clothing boutique in Washington. And with her is the lovely old friend of mine Connie Stevens, another -- you work hard for the Republicans, don't you Connie?

CONNIE STEVENS, CALIFORNIA INAUGURAL BALL: Well, I worked hard for McCain. I'm more of a moderate -- right. I campaigned with John McCain and that's how I actually ran into the Republican Party. I'm a registered Democrat -- or at least I was.

KING: So now you're celebrating, though, with the Bush group tonight?

STEVENS: I am; you know something, I've never been, I'm always working my head off, you know. And I got an invitation, and I had never seen anything like this. It's a beautiful, beautiful historic weekend for me, and I'm glad to be here.

KING: Cynthia, how would you describe what Connie is wearing?

VANCE: Oh, I think Connie looks absolutely spectacular. She's got these incredible diamond and emerald earrings and this fabulous pin. Where is that pin from, is it an antique?

STEVENS: Oh, yes, all antique. You just tell Badgley Mishka (ph) they owe me. I buy my own clothes and I wear my own jewels.

VANCE: The do owe her because she looks fabulous in it.

Connie did want to share a story with us, Larry. She was telling me about a beautiful afternoon she had yesterday with Vice President Cheney and the veterans.

STEVENS: Yes; well he gave a beautiful party for the veterans. It was very moving, Larry; I wanted you to be there because there were 101 medal of honor winners there and the Cabinet was there and General Powell was there and Chief Cohen was there and General Shelton and Bob Dole -- I've never met, you know, several of them. And it was so fun and very, very moving, of course, and they -- I'm so happy because you know I worked with a lot of military and I've entertained several decades of them and I think there's a new tone as far as the military is concerned.

You know, we don't need to have kids on food stamps; so I'm very happy to hear about that. I'm always glad to honor any veteran.

KING: Well, you look lovely.

STEVENS: Oh, thanks; thank you.

KING: Have a great time. Keep having a great time.

STEVENS: Yes; you were great the other night. It was really a wonderful opening ceremony.

KING: Oh, thank you; thank you. I had the honor of emceeing it.

STEVENS: OK, when you're through come hang out with us.

KING: OK, thank you.

Cynthia, we'll check back with you.

VANCE: All right; thanks Larry.

KING: What do you expect of this early on, Ben?

BRADLEE: Well, I don't...

KING: What do you expect? Do you expect a lot of harmony? Do you expect discourse -- first 100 days?

BRADLEE: No, I don't think much harmony -- until you get rid of that 50-50, you know, distribution in the Senate, I don't see where you're going to amount -- you're going to get a lot done.

KING: You can only get rid of it by death.

BRADLEE: Well -- no. Excuse me.

KING: Don't jump on me. You've got to wait two years.

BRADLEE: Because a name comes to mind.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Sally, do you expect -- you are right.

BRADLEE: No, but I'll bet you that the majority of the Senate will change in two years without an election.

KING: OK.

QUINN: He's talking about death, I think is what...

KING: Here's Katherine Harris, who was with us the other night. She's at the Florida Ball -- where else would Katherine Harris be? You saw her the other night, Sally. Were you impressed? She was on this show for on hour.

QUINN: She was on this show for an hour and I -- she did much better than I expected her to do. I didn't know what to expect because she had become the butt of a lot of jokes; but I thought she handled herself quite well.

KING: What do you expect ahead, you? First 100 days -- Ben's pessimistic.

SIDEY: No; in the first place, this is not a time for heroism -- an heroic president. This is not Lincoln, this is not FDR, we don't have the Cold War, we don't have depression. I think it's going to be a workaday presidency, as it should be -- very quiet, subdued -- get it off the front pages if you can. Let it go to the governors and the mayors. Let it be quiet, calm; let it bore us to death for a little while and have him meet with these people and talk over these issues that no reporter wants to get into deeply. And I think it's going to work just that way.

QUINN: Larry, I don't think -- it's not going to be an issue of personality anymore. For eight years it's been about personalities, and I think now the Bushes are there, they're nice, they're quiet, they're calm. It's going to be very efficient, very buttoned-down. It's not going to be about them, it's going to be about the agenda and about the issues.

And whether George Bush gets his own way or not it's not going to be because people don't like him. I don't think he has a lot of personal enemies.

KING: Maybe it's because (UNINTELLIGIBLE) father -- his father, his grandfather growing up with it, he appears to fit very well into this.

BRADLEE: Comfortable; comfortable -- he looks very comfortable in this setting.

KING: In his setting. He's not in awe of this.

BRADLEE: No; and he's not full of mock awe.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDEY: Whether you agree with the issues of his father or the policies or his, even, there's honor in that family. It's a remarkable family and they've come down through those generations -- Ben probably covered press (ph) Bush as I did back in those days. (CROSSTALK)

SIDEY: ... but I mean there is, I don't want to call it a magic, but a marvelous quality about that family and I think we'll see that.

KING: And they are very, very, very, genteel, aren't they? I mean they write thank you letters?

QUINN: They do; and, I mean, they -- I have a sense that they're very gracious. They're very quiet.

KING: They're on time.

QUINN: I don't expect that it's going to be a wild, crazy time in the White House. I think it's going to be a lot of family events and friends coming up from Texas. I don't see a lot of major social events. But I, you know, as you say, if they bore us to death, how great.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn and Hugh Sidey.

And as we go to break we'll show you a little more of what we think of the Texas Ball going on; and the president is expected at this ball momentarily. He goes to each of the balls. He usually makes a quick appearance and he dances. He'll probably spend a little longer time at this one -- this is the home crowd.

By the way, this is now Saturday LARRY KING WEEKEND; there is now a Sunday LARRY KING WEEKEND. It debuts tomorrow and will feature highlights of our interviews over the years with Bill Clinton. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Once again, the Texas ball. Again, last night was the party, this night is the ball. They're awaiting the arrival of President Bush -- it could be at any time. If he's due at a certain time, he'll be there at the time because this man is prompt.

Dick Cheney's role -- Ben.

BRADLEE: Big, big, big; most important vice president because -- primarily because the president is going to let him be important. There were other important, strong vice presidents who didn't get a shot.

KING: Apparently Harvard -- part of the Harvard business management concept is to delegate, Right? Is that true, Hugh?

SIDEY: I've never been to Harvard.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You were some delegator. You knew the crossword puzzle. SIDEY: Cheney is one of the smartest men I've ever met in government. I knew him from the day he came up here -- when he came up with Ford and he worked in that, and then in Congress and then in the White House.

There is something about his intelligence and his knowledge of how government runs that I really haven't seen in any other person. He's remarkable, this quiet fellow. You saw it in the Desert Storm, when he analyzed the situation, when he talked to people, calling everybody. But he's remarkable and I think the whole Bush family -- I think -- Jeb.

KING: What do you think of the whole Ashcroft thing?

QUINN: Well, I always say -- I remember the day that...

KING: It won't be until late next week or the week after they said. It will not happen quickly this week.

QUINN: The day that Ashcroft was nominated and everybody started screaming and yelling we were having breakfast and both of us said at the same time, well you always have to have somebody to kick around. You have to have somebody to take the flak. And every president needs someone who can deflect all of the criticism and the anger away from him, and George Bush seems to be brilliant...

KING: You mean it's kind of good -- it's smart to have someone like this?

QUINN: It's kind of good, yes. It's kind of good to have one person -- yes -- everybody gets it, you know. They can scream and yell about Ashcroft and they can, you know -- now this is not -- I'm not talking about the merits of Ashcroft of Ashcroft one way or the other. I'm simply saying that, you know, as a -- as a sort of governing philosophy, this is not totally bad. Not only that -- he gets points with the right wing.

And I don't think that a really zealous Cabinet member lasts. Usually they get themselves in trouble and they leave.

KING: There's someone we haven't discussed. He's at home, back home tonight in Arlington. First time he's been back in the Arlington house in eight years -- Al Gore. What goes on with him now?

BRADLEE: Well, I -- he's got to regroup. It's going to take him some time. I haven't heard any job. But let me say one think about Cheney -- Cheney now we call him.

SIDEY: Cheney.

BRADLEE: He...

KING: There he is saying goodbye. The Gores go right to Arlington.

BRADLEE: Maybe the genius of George Bush is going to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in that he lets Cheney be good.

SIDEY: I think he understands that.

BRADLEE: Because we never -- how many vice presidents were given a shot?

SIDEY: Well, in the process of selecting -- you see this was a remarkable kind of transformation. Here's the fellow that's supposed to serve up the vice presidential candidates and...

KING: He picked him.

SIDEY: ... and he picked him. And I know a little about the process. Just as he talked with him, it became apparent this guy knew more about government, had more experience, was sharper than anybody.

KING: Then why not him?

SIDEY: Yes, why not?

BRADLEE: And was comfortable...

KING: Will Al Gore -- will we see a lot of Al Gore?

QUINN: I think Al Gore is going to go into a sort of -- some kind of a retreat for a while and just sort of try to figure out what he wants to do. But I thought that one of the most -- the saddest part about it was that he was put in an absolutely no-win situation: trying to run with the specter of Bill Clinton's scandals hanging over him. He had to be loyal to a certain extent. He had to distance himself. I don't know who could have run a good campaign in those circumstances.

KING: So blaming him for a bad campaign is misguided?

QUINN: Well, I mean, you know, it was not the greatest campaign, but I think who could have run a good campaign in a situation like that?

KING: Let me get a break and we'll get Hugh's comments. We'll be back with Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, Hugh Sidey. We'll make one more check with Cynthia Steele Vance as well at the California ball.

This is LARRY KING WEEKEND. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back at the -- and the president has arrived at the Texas ball. Let's listen.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: I knew we'd finally make it to the Texas ball!

(APPLAUSE)

But before I talk about our home state, I do want to say something about the other state that is sharing this fantastic party.

(APPLAUSE)

That's the state of Wyoming.

(APPLAUSE)

Wyoming produced a really good man in the name -- by the name of Dick Cheney.

(APPLAUSE)

What a solid citizen. A man who is going to make a great vice president for all of us.

(APPLAUSE)

So I know my fellow Texans welcome the great state of Wyoming here tonight in this magnificent hall.

(APPLAUSE)

Laura and I are so thankful so many of our friends came up from the Lone Star State. We really appreciate you.

(APPLAUSE)

We really appreciate you coming to share in this majesty of an inauguration. It's a test -- testament to democracy and really the greatness of our country. It's a special day for all of us, and we're thankful that you came to share it.

I hope you're having a good stay here.

(APPLAUSE)

Because we sure are.

(LAUGHTER)

I'm looking forward to getting to work. There's a lot to be done.

But before we start to work, there's some dancing to be done.

(APPLAUSE)

For those of you who might have been at the inaugural balls in Texas in '95 and '99...

(APPLAUSE)

... I don't think I broke the 30-second mark in the dance with the first lady. So today, in honor of becoming the president...

(APPLAUSE)

... I'm going to spend -- my pledge is I'm going to spend more than 30 seconds dancing tonight.

(APPLAUSE)

But not many more than 30 seconds.

(LAUGHTER)

The point is I hope you all have a great time. I hope you will be safe and enjoy yourself.

Just remember that even though we have a temporary address here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Texas will always be our home.

God bless you.

KING: There they are, the dance at the Texas ball. He said it would be less than 30 seconds.

Let's thank all of our guests, because we're out of time. Ben Bradlee, Sally Quinn, Hugh Sidey, thank you so much for your observations. Appreciate having you. Always great seeing you, Ben. Try to come out a little more next time.

(LAUGHTER)

Cynthia Steele Vance with the California ball, thank you for doing a super job for us tonight. On behalf of all of us here at CNN, thanks for joining us.

We've got a special coming up on all of this, the proceedings today, that will immediately follow us. And don't forget we'll be back again tomorrow night with LARRY KING WEEKEND part 2. That will air every Sunday night.

For all of our staff and everyone here, it's been a grand inaugural day and terrible weather. But once again, this nation comes through.

I'm Larry King. For all of us, have a great rest of the weekend and 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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