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Larry King Live
What Does the I-Man Have to Say About the Clinton Scandals?Aired February 22, 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, Bill Clinton is still making headlines. And none of them are good. So what's there to say? Plenty, if you are the I-Man. Radio host Don Imus joins us for the hour. We will be taking your calls -- and lots of them -- next on LARRY KING LIVE.
A couple of notes before we begin: It is always a great pleasure to have the I-Man with us. In the interest of fairness, we had extended LARRY KING LIVE invitations to Bill and Hillary Clinton, Hugh Rodham and his attorney, plus former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and former Clinton adviser Bruce Lindsey. The invitations were to take part in tonight's program -- individually, collectively. They were all declined.
Hillary Clinton held a press conference this afternoon. Here is one quick clip, and then a response made earlier by a former president. And then we go to the I-Man. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: If I had known about this, we wouldn't be standing here today. I didn't know about it. And I'm very regretful that it occurred, that I didn't know about it. I might have been able to prevent this from happening. And I'm just very disappointed about the whole matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: All right, Mr. I-Man, host of the top-rated "Imus in the Morning" program on WFAN, the most successful radio station in America and therefore the world -- also seen on MSNBC -- nice to have you without a jacket -- going to have a Larry King look.
DON IMUS, TALK SHOW HOST: I brought a jacket with us, but it is cold in this studio where they have me. And, by the way, I am staying in this studio and I am not leaving until CNN rehires Flip Spiceland. That is outrageous. We are outraged by the firing of Flip Spiceland. And I'm not leaving the studio.
KING: So that's -- you are going to border yourself into that studio until...
IMUS: Yes, I'm here.
KING: I hear Flip was just hired at a big station in Atlanta.
IMUS: Yes, but it's not CNN. I mean, come on. He's going to work in Atlanta. There are five people in their trailer watching him in Atlanta -- and, meanwhile, versus CNN where you they can see him all over the world.
KING: I shall memo that.
IMUS: How do I get some coffee in here?
KING: They will bring it to you, Don.
IMUS: Oh, OK.
KING: OK, what's your read on all this? Because we want to spend a lot of time talking about it, because you are now one of the foremost critics in America and people listen to what you say. It's sort of like the stock brokerage firm. What do you make?
IMUS: Well, you know, I was talking to Howard Fineman of "Newsweek." And I thought it was interesting that neither "Newsweek" nor "Time" nor "The New York Times" or the "Washington Post" got the Hugh Rodham story, that it was the "National Enquirer" who broke the story.
But I said why do you think -- talking about the president -- why do you think he did this? And they had to know that we are going to take some heat for all of this. And he said that he thought -- Fineman said he thought that the president thought -- Clinton -- that when he left office, they were going to shut lights off and nobody was going to pay any attention to him. But if you get to thinking about it, it was not like when Ford went back to Palm Springs or Jimmy Carter went back to Plains, Georgia, or Nixon went to San Clemente, or George Bush went to Houston.
I mean, she is the senator from New York. And he comes to New York City, which is the media capital of the universe. So whatever they did, if it he went a Knicks game, it was going to get covered. So, I mean, I don't know how they could expect anything other than what happened. A sense of why they did it, it is -- I mean, I
KING: Well, why do you think? I mean, you have been critic of his, but you have certainly never said that he is stupid.
IMUS: Well, no. I mean, I don't know. I mean, I guess maybe they just thought they could get by with it. I think he thought he could stay under the radar, as apparently one of them said -- I think Jack Quinn or Podesta or one of them said, when the whole thing with Rich was going down,
But, I mean, it is almost -- it almost requires psychoanalysis. I mean, it's crazy. So...
KING: Now, he said concerning Hugh Rodham: "Neither Hillary nor I had any knowledge of such payments. We are deeply disturbed by these..."
KING: "... and have insisted that Hugh return any monies received."
And I understand the monies have been returned. You are laughing because you don't believe that, is that it?
IMUS: Well, of course. I mean, that is crazy. First of all, Hugh Rodham was living at the White House the past -- the final week or two of the -- of his presidency. So what did they talk about? You know, the Duke rice diet? I mean, who...
IMUS: I mean, that is insane. Of course they knew about it. They may not have known that he got $400,000. I mean -- but, you know, if you are somebody and you are going -- you are talking -- you are looking for an attorney, you are looking for David Boies. You're not looking -- or one of those guys -- you are not looking for Hugh Rodham.
There is only one reason you are going to go to Hugh Rodham. And that's because he is the brother-in-law of the president and he can get you a pardon. So they -- obviously, he said something about it. So it would -- you know, it would just figure. Other guys have done that. Other attorneys have taken fees to get people pardons: Ted Olson during the Bush administration, that whole thing with Armand Hammer.
So I don't know how much he got or if he got anything. But I don't imagine it was a pro bono deal with Armand Hammer. Do you?
KING: No. Were you at all impressed with Bill Clinton's op-ed piece?
IMUS: Uh, well, I thought -- you know, what I thought was sloppy about it was to suggest that Leonard Garment and some of these other people had signed off on the Marc Rich pardon, when, in fact, that was not the case. And then one -- Joe Lockhart or somebody went onto "Meet the Press" or Sam and Cokie's show and said: Well, that was in the first edition of "The Times" and that was going to be corrected.
IMUS: That, in fact -- because they all immediately denied that they had signed off on that. And then I checked the Web site later in the day -- "The New York Times" Web site -- and I realized they laid off a bunch people. But they -- that is still -- that was never corrected to reflect, you know, exactly what Leonard Garment and those other people had said about it. And they clearly had not signed off on that.
KING: Would you have been impressed -- let's say, if you are making this decision -- and Israeli leaders are telling you: We would like this guy to be pardoned, and he helped us, and this is one of your strong allies. Would that weigh heavily with you? Or do you think this was all money?
IMUS: I don't think you can overlook the whole Denise Rich angle. I mean, she made -- according to fairly reliable sources, she made 100 visits to the White House. She was at the White House more than Wolf Blitzer was. I mean
IMUS: So what -- and every time -- and according to some of these records -- and I don't know if you can believe Dick Morris or not. I don't know if he is completely crazy. But he claims...
KING: Well, he is not exactly an objective reporter of the modern
IMUS: No, he's probably not. But, I mean -- but he and others say that every time she was at the White House, Senator Clinton was someplace else. So what was she doing there? Well, come on, you know.
KING: On ye of little faith, I-Man.
IMUS: Maybe he was -- maybe he fell in love.
IMUS: Maybe he did for love, you know.
KING: Another thought.
We will be right back with more of the I-Man. We will be including your phone calls. He is with us for the hour. Tomorrow night: Tiger Woods.
This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) H. CLINTON: I was heartbroken and shocked by it and, you know. immediately said this, you know -- this is a terrible misjudgment and the money had to be returned. And that is what we worked on. You know, these are -- these are very -- you know, this is a very sad matter to me, personally. It was -- it was a surprise. But more than being surprising, it was extremely disappointing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think there's any doubt that some of the factors in his pardon was attributable to his large gifts, some of which he gave to Israel, some of which he gave to other benefactors and -- and the influence of his former wife, who made major contributions to the Democratic Party and to President Clinton's library. So I think that -- that was, in my opinion, disgraceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON: Mr. Carter is someone whom I admire and respect deeply, and he has every right to express his opinion. And I believe that, you know, people will have to make their judgments based on the facts as they are available, and the vast majority of these pardons, so far as I'm aware, have not been subject to controversy, and the ones that are people will have to make their own decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest, one of the best broadcasters in America, Don Imus, host of "Imus in the Morning," the I-Man show. There's a call relating to this right now. So we're going to take a lot of calls tonight for I-Man.
San Leandro, California, hello.
CALLER: Hello. In regards to this pardon business -- it gets an awful lot of press these days -- I noticed that, well, last night Jimmy Carter was addressing a public audience there, condemning Clinton for the goings-on there and the influence peddling and all that sort of thing. But wasn't it Jimmy Carter's brother that tried to peddle influence in the Middle East and years ago?
KING: The late Billy Carter, I-Man, he represented Libya, did he not, I think as a lobbyist?
IMUS: Well, you know, we have a long history of these -- of the relatives of these presidents causing problems. Donald Nixon was a whack job. Lyndon Johnson had a brother who was a nut case. But Billy Carter was the best. Remember when he was out there taking a whiz on the airport runway. He was a real case, so. Yeah, the guy...
KING: But he wasn't -- but he wasn't arrested.
IMUS: Probably not, but I mean, the guy's got -- the guy's got a pretty good point, but sounded a little shaky on the phone, didn't he?
Maybe he's upset about the Flip Spiceland thing like I am. Outraged actually.
KING: You created a groundswell here, I-Man.
IMUS: Outraged by the Flip Spiceland deal.
KING: Hillary also says that she didn't know her campaign treasurer, William Cunningham, helped get pardons for two convicted felons.
I hate to laugh, but this does seem -- if you were writing this, no one would buy it, right?
IMUS: No. I mean, please! She should just be saying I'm happy I'm not as fat as my brother, yet.
I mean, that's -- that's...
KING: What is it...
IMUS: You know, but the thing with these people and the only -- the only solace that we all can have is to know that they are horribly, both, Mrs. Clinton -- and I don't feel as sorry for her as a lot of other people do -- and President Clinton, that they are probably two of the most unhappy people in the world.
I mean I know people I work with who are outraged that they're getting by with all this and they think they're getting by with stuff again. But when you get to thinking about the life that President Clinton has lived for the past -- well, who knows how many years, but certainly when he was president. I mean, if you're the president of the United States and you're -- it's 3 o'clock in the morning and you're on the phone having phone sex with an intern, I mean, your self-image has got to be fairly, you know, fairly low on the scale there. And if you're sitting in the Oval Office with your pants around your ankles, I mean, you can't have a good feeling about yourself.
So -- so if there's -- if there's anything to take out of this at all, it is that they're about as miserable as they've made everybody else. And when you look at how they've treated all of their friends and it goes back to -- I mean, they don't -- poor old Webb Hubbell, I mean, there was a guy -- I realize he stole money from the law firm apparently, but I mean, there was a guy who probably should have got a pardon. And look at the way they treated Lani Guinier. I mean, the list is endless.
So -- so they use people until they use them up, and those chickens are coming home to roost, too.
KING: Do you think there's an arrogance then about them?
IMUS: Well, I think there is, but I think it goes deeper than that. I think it takes somebody a lot smarter than me to figure it out. But I really think it's probably a psychological thing.
They're two lost souls really. I mean, it's almost sort of sad, you know.
KING: Boston, Massachusetts for the I-Man, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry.
CALLER: My question is, why should we continue to focus on Bill Clinton? Shouldn't we be concentrating on more important issues, like tax cuts and espionage and the bombing of Iraq?
IMUS: Well, no, we want to revel in the agony of these people. So I agree with you. Those are more important issues, obviously. But you know, the point is that these people are suffering and we want to -- and we want to delight in that. So, that's what the whole country is about, what the media is about.
Who would get more viewers tonight if they were doing live interviews one-on-one, Clinton or George W. Bush?
IMUS: Oh, come on, please!
KING: Clinton would get more, right? Yet...
IMUS: Oh, absolutely!
KING: ... he would have no effect on your life tomorrow. George W. Bush will affect your life tomorrow. There's something out of whack.
IMUS: Yeah, well, well, there is. Well, it's a whole -- it's a mentality of our society, and beginning with people like me.
KING: In other words...
IMUS: We delight in the misfortune of others.
KING: ... like (UNINTELLIGIBLE) said, "We have the enemy and he is us."
KING: We'll be right back with the I-Man, who in addition to all the great work he does on the air, he also has that wonderful camp for kids in New Mexico that takes kids who are severely ill and gets them around horses and things, one of the really great organizations, great ideas, going to enter their second year this year. We'll be right back with more and more of your phone calls for Don Imus, after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Senator, was your brother a guest at the White House for the final two weeks of your husband's administration?
HILLARY CLINTON: He was a frequent guest at the White House, you know, he's my brother. I love my brother. I'm just extremely disappointed in this terrible misjudgment that he made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest is the I-Man. All right, Bill Clinton is a former president, he can do anything he wants, and we'll talk about some of the things he's going to do in the city you live in.
But what about Senator Clinton? What does do to her? What's the effect on her as a senator? What's the long-range view?
IMUS: Before we get that out, I just called my wife -- I live here in Manhattan, where we are tonight.
IMUS: And I said do you -- I said, do you have Larry King's producer's phone number? She said no. I said, well, can you get ahold of somebody here at CNN and get me a cup of coffee? I can't -- I can't get coffee.
KING: Wait a minute, you still haven't gotten coffee.
IMUS: No, I'm in this room by myself where -- by the way, I'm not leaving, and there's nobody here. I can't -- I've been hollering.
KING: We have a full staff.
IMUS: There's nobody around. I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) people all over the place. I can't get any coffee. I can't get a sandwich. I can't get anything. I'm not going to answer any questions until I get some coffee. This is crazy.
KING: All right. You'll have to implore on our friendship that I will assure you, you will have coffee shortly.
IMUS: All right. KING: OK. I'm just -- I'm promising you. Now, they've got to come through for me. And by the way, they have pretty good coffee in New York.
IMUS: I want to say hi -- I want to say hi to my son Wyatt. Hi...
KING: Is he watching? Hi, Wyatt.
IMUS: He was going to come down, but he said, I'm not coming down unless I can be on for the entire show. I said...
... well, you're -- that's exactly what he said. I said, you're 2 1/2 years old. I don't think Larry wants to talk to you for an hour.
The other night, he's standing up in a bathtub. He's standing -- listen, I swear to god this is true. He's 2 years 8 months old. He's standing in a bathtub. I was giving him a bath. And he says, look, daddy, I'm playing with my penis. And I said, well, first of all -- his mother got mad at me, by the way. I said, first of all, you're not playing with it properly or fast enough.
Well, I said, by the way, you'll be doing that when you're my age, so...
... I was asked to leave the room. Anyway...
KING: Children are the best, though. There's nothing like it.
IMUS: How are your -- how are your kids?
KING: Oh, they're great. Little Cannon is going to be 9 months, and Chance will be 2 years old in two weeks, March...
IMUS: We have a house up in Connecticut, and it's right on the ocean there. And so the guy who lives next door to me, Walter Levine (ph), who, by the way, would make a great guest. This is a guy who -- he's some rich guy, and I don't even know what he does, but he makes -- he has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it.
But nine years ago, he was told he had cancer, and it was some sort of exotic cancer and it consumed his entire body. And I believe he was over at Mt. Sinai or Cornel or someplace, and they -- they had exhausted all of his insurance money and they said, you've got -- this is nine years. They said you've got three months to live.
And he said, let me tell you something, he said there better not be an answer anyplace in this world for my problem or -- I don't know what he was going to do. I guess sue them or something.
So he -- he -- so the doctor said, well, wait a minute, let me make a call. So you know that -- that speaking of Arkansas and stuff. You know that Sam Walton hospital down in Little Rock, the cancer institute down there?
IMUS: Well, this guy went down there, and somehow has managed to now stay alive for nine years. Anyway, he lives next door to me. So he's got...
KING: That would be a great story.
IMUS: Oh, he's a great guy, and he's very articulate, and he's one of the most courageous people. Walter Levine is his name. You'd love the guy.
KING: And why do you -- why do you bring him up?
IMUS: Because we're sitting out in front of my house in a car waiting for Dierdre to come out and we're going to go someplace, you know. And Walter's got an owl hanging by a piece of rope on a tree. So who knows why. So -- somebody says to scare away the seagulls. I don't know what, so -- or good luck or something. So Wyatt says, daddy, why -- "What is that?" And I said, "It's an owl hanging from a rope." He said, "Why?" I said, "I don't have any idea." He said, "Make something up."
I said, "What?"
He said, "Make something up."
KING: That's a media kid.
IMUS: So I did a daddy. I said, "Well, it's a daddy owl, and the mommy owl's in the house." I mean, some stupid story I made up.
I mean, I'm not Shel Silverstein, so I didn't have a very good story.
KING: Let's take a call, Don. Bellefontaine, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry and Imus.
CALLER: I've got a question. KING: Sure.
CALLER: Is -- as president, he lied under oath. Why is the country going to believe now that he knew nothing about her brother or any of these pardons?
KING: Well, the country is not believing it, is it, Don? I mean...
IMUS: No, of course not.
KING: I mean, I haven't seen the polls today, but people are not believing it.
IMUS: No, but what else are they going to say? I mean, I'm sure -- I would suspect -- I mean, I usually have to guess. But I mean, I doubt that Hugh Rodham told his sister or the president that he was getting 400 grand. But they -- I mean, they're both lawyers. Senator Clinton's a lawyer, the president's a lawyer. They know that why would this drug dealer out in California and this snake oil salesman, why would they go to Hugh Rodham other than the fact that he had these connections with -- with President Clinton. And it's reasonable to expect that there would be some kind of fee paid. I mean, so they had to know with that.
They may not -- those -- they may not have had a discussion about it, but any reasonable person would think that, you know, they'd be willing to pay for that sort of influence. I mean, I would.
KING: What -- I asked the question earlier. We got off-track. What's the effect, do you think, of all this on the senator?
IMUS: Well, I don't know. That's a good question. I -- I don't know. You know, I think a lot of people thought she was actually going to be a pretty good senator, and she may still be. But I -- I really think this -- I really think this is a problem for her, because it's -- it wasn't as much of a problem until we got her brother involved.
And I mean, to suggest you don't know what your brother is doing is -- I mean, that's a little hard to believe, particularly when the guy is living in the White House and the president's out there playing golf with him. I mean, if they have some sort of strained relationship with him, it might -- it might be easier to believe.
But I think it's going to be tough for her. I mean, I think if she has any thoughts of running for the presidency in 2004, she should start looking at 3004, so...
KING: We'll be back with more of I-Man, who will be brought coffee now, following this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Did ask your husband whether -- what kind of contact they had?
HILLARY CLINTON: You know, I never talk about conversations with my husband, Vince.
QUESTION: But given that this is a question that's being investigated...
HILLARY CLINTON: You'll have...
QUESTION: ... you sat down at least -- even if you don't want to say what you talked about -- have you sat down with your husband and said, what went on?
HILLARY CLINTON: You will have to ask the president and his staff any specific questions about any pardons that were or were not granted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with the I-Man.
Chester, Connecticut, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. Hi, Don. All right, question, Don: earlier you said that you thought that they were crazy, that Clinton was crazy to do what he did.
My question is what do you think is going to happen to this guy? As far as I can tell, he's just going to walk and nothing more is going to happen. This will just die down.
IMUS: Well, I don't think anything is going to happen to him. I mean, it seems like everything else.
But I do think it just contributes to what was already a pretty shaky legacy. And if you have people like Jimmy Carter and Ed Koch -- I saw a clip of the former mayor of New York City saying that he had -- that he now had no respect for the presidency of Bill Clinton or him personally -- I think that's pretty tough. You lose people like Ed Koch and you lose people like Jimmy Carter, you probably lost everybody, you know.
KING: George W. Bush said today, "As far as this White House is concerned, it's time to go forward." He'd like this to end. Said he's got too much to do to be worrying about decisions made by a predecessor, and says he'll have the highest of high standards when and if he grants any pardons.
IMUS: Well, I'm sure he will. But, you know, he doesn't want it to move on. I mean, they're --
KING: You think they like this?
IMUS: Well, I don't think they mind. I mean, I think -- he's -- you know, he is -- you know, he's got a good start. He's doing fine. He's not giving us any material, unfortunately, but the other guy is, so -- by the time we run out of Clinton material maybe Bush will do something goofy.
KING: You count on this, don't you, I-Man?
IMUS: Well, we hope, yes.
KING: It's your career.
IMUS: Yes, I mean, it's like I was telling the lady from wherever she called from -- the whole idea sounds -- it sounds idiotic and sophomoric, and it is.
But, I mean, the whole idea is that these people entertain us and they're on this -- the whole stage -- the whole world's a stage and they're part of it and we revel in their agony and delight in their misfortune. I mean, I don't want any of them to get sick or anything like that, but you know what I'm saying.
When they have these kinds of problems, particularly ones that they bring on themselves, why, it's great entertainment. And it couldn't happen to two nicer people.
KING: We'll be back with more of the I-Man. We're only halfway through. Lots more phone calls and your comments and questions,
Don Imus is the guest. Tiger Woods tomorrow. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. CLINTON: I don't want you to try to you put words in my mouth. I knew nothing about my brother's development in these pardons. I knew nothing about his taking money for his involvement. I had no knowledge of that whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are back with Don Imus.
A reminder that on Monday Night, William Bennett will be here. And this is the first time Mr. Bennett will speak out on this issue in the public media.
Why have you put the jacket on, Imus? IMUS: Because it is freezing in here.
KING: OK. But you got your coffee, right? IMUS: Yes. You know what they did? They -- one of the technicians had to come in put black tape on it, because somebody out in L.A. said...
IMUS: ... you can't have a white coffee cup.
KING: Why didn't they give you a coffee cup, a regular mug?
IMUS: Well, who knows? I don't know. If my wife knew I was drinking out of a paper cup, she would be down here picketing. So, anyway...
KING: Fort Lee, New Jersey, for the I-Man, hello.
CALLER: I'm a long-time listener of the I-Man. Years ago...
KING: Me too.
CALLER: Years ago, when Clinton was first elected, Bernard and Charles used to try to get you to see the light. And you would always come back and say that you thought that he was a good person. Do you still believe now that he is a good person? You have been beating him up pretty good lately.
IMUS: You know, I don't know the guy, so -- but I always -- I subscribe to the analysis of people who know him. And I think there is a good Clinton and I think there's a bad Clinton. I mean, I think there's a part of him that cares about race relations and the world and cares about whether people are suffering, and -- but I mean, I think -- but I think -- but far outweighing that is this whole...
I don't really know how to describe it, whether it is ego or whether it's just the fact that they are tormented souls and that they are hideously unhappy, but the fact they are willing to expend people as they do, and to use people as they do, and to -- you know, you do kind of -- it does make you wonder whether, in fact, he is inherently a good person or not, I mean, because there's -- obviously, we all are capable of doing good things, even some jerk like me.
But, I mean, you know, so I don't know.
IMUS: I will tell you, that is a fair question at this point.
KING: Columbia, South Carolina, hello. CALLER: Hi, I-Man. Hi, Larry.
CALLER: I'm just wondering. Maybe I'm the biggest boob in the world, but why doesn't Bill Clinton just rescind the pardons? I mean, is this completely in stone? Or why doesn't he just rescind them any way he can and be done with it?
KING: Can you, Don?
IMUS: I don't know how that works, no. I don't know if you can or not. I guess he probably -- I don't know.
KING: We're not lawyers. We don't know. I have never heard of a pardon rescinded.
All right, what do you make, Don, of him moving to an office building in Harlem?
IMUS: Well, I -- I don't know. I mean, he wanted to bed in midtown Manhattan there in Carnegie Tower. And of course everybody raised hell about it. And, you know, the thing that was -- I guess it was Charles Rangel who actually called him and made the suggestion.
KING: Yes, he was.
IMUS: Yes, well, but that is not what the president said, though. The president, he goes up and holds this press conference in Harlem, and he says that while he was down in Florida -- down in Boca Raton or wherever he was -- playing golf at an all-white, segregated golf course that neither allowed Jews nor blacks to play, and that he knew that that was the case and the policy of this club, and played there on more than one occasion, he claims that while he is out there playing golf, he had this epiphany, and that if he could have an office any place he would want to have one, it would be Harlem.
And up to that point, he hadn't paid any attention. Well, I mean, that is so absolutely, patently, outrageously false that it is insulting. And then to go up there and for people to laugh it up and get hysterical and jump around so on -- and the sad part is that if, in fact, he does have an office there, it probably will be good for that particular section of New York City.
But the way it was represented was so transparent and dishonest that it was -- that it was repulsive.
KING: How about the gifts? Now, there is a lot of talk, there's back-and-forth that you are allowed to take gifts and you can kick them on loan. You could put gifts given to the government in your library, as long as they're owned by government and return them. Are they getting a bit of a bum rap here or is that deserved?
IMUS: I'm the wrong person. I mean, I started out as a rock 'n' roll disk jockey, Larry. I'm the wrong person to ask about gifts.
IMUS: I still owe Fats Domino and Del Vikings about 10 plays.
KING: Yes, don't bring that up, Imus. And don't bring up drunk driving with Roger Clinton, right? Pass.
IMUS: No, I'm ducking Mick Jagger and Jerry Greenberg's (ph) phone calls.
KING: Steamboat Springs, Colorado, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Mr. Imus.
CALLER: One quick question for you: Is America first going to lose their interest in Clinton or are they just going to fade away?
IMUS: Oh, I think this will play its course. I mean, -- who knows how it will end. But...
KING: Doesn't talk radio depend on them?
IMUS: I think a little bit. But stuff happens. And it -- you know, some athlete will do something or, you know -- so, I mean, this can't go on for, I wouldn't suspect, much longer. It depends what happens. I mean, I guess there's probably -- I mean, I have heard a number of people say that there is a lot more here than -- there is a lot more that went on in the White House.
I mean, I think people like David Broder and people who you can really respect are suggesting -- and William Safire and folks like that are actually saying that there is a lot more here than we all perhaps -- or then we certainly do know about now. So if that proves to be the case, I guess this could go on for awhile. And then the U.S. attorney for the Southern District here in New York City, Mary Jo White -- whether she is blowing smoke or not -- but she is threatening this criminal investigation and may in fact be going ahead with that.
So, I mean, it could get ugly. I mean, if there is more there, it could it get ugly. And it could be a continuing story, you know. So...
KING: Although quid pro quo is hard to prove.
KING: If you have got a payoff as a disk jockey, that's hard to prove.
IMUS: Yes, Larry, it is. Yes, it is very hard to prove.
KING: Which is why you are still sitting here.
IMUS: That is why we are talking. No, no, I never.
IMUS: ... took anything.
KING: But a quid pro quo is -- that's the hardest thing to prove.
IMUS: You will notice every time the president talks about it -- President Clinton -- he talks about: Well, there is no evidence.
Well, we know there is no evidence, you moron! But, I mean, did you do it or not? I mean, that is -- I mean, I can see why -- I don't hate the guy. I don't hate her either. But I can really see people like my wife and other people are absolutely just -- you know, they're pretty smart people -- are outraged.
KING: But in the past, though -- in the past, they have been helped by the haters, people who hate him and her every day. It eventually turned in to help them. And they used the haters.
IMUS: Well, of course, because they have been -- they have been people like -- you have somebody, some phony like Newt Gingrich, who is having an affair with some bimbo while he is railing against Clinton for fooling around with the intern. I mean, they make fools of themselves. So the people he has had against him have been their own worst enemies.
But when you -- but I go back to -- again, when you lose people like Tom Daschle -- I mean, I don't care whether you agree with Tom Daschle or not, but that is a fairly respectable guy -- and the same with Jimmy Carter. And you start losing people like that, or you lose John Kerry or...
KING: Senator Schumer.
IMUS: Yes, you lose Chuck Schumer, I mean, that takes a lot of guts for the senior senator from New York to speak out as he has. I mean, that has got from to produce some strained relations just between him and Hillary Clinton.
IMUS: But you lose those people, you know -- well, you know...
KING: Back with more of the I-Man.
Tiger Woods tomorrow. Bill Bennett speaks out for the first time on this on Monday. A retrospective of interviews with Regis Philbin on LARRY KING WEEKEND on Sunday.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Sir, have you worked out a plan for victims of the earthquake?
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope so. We are working on it.
H. CLINTON: Hello, everybody. How are you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Senator, do you think your husband made a mistake in pardoning Marc Rich?
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: You know, I know that other senators have commented on this, and I think you might understand why I'm not going to have any comment on any of the pardons: on the merits, or demerits, that might surround any of these pardons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Before we take another call, I-Man, do you think Hillary was involved in the pardons at all, or it just would be a guess?
IMUS: It would be hard to say -- just be a guess, but I mean, for her to say she didn't know what her brother was doing and had no conversation with her brother living there at the White House -- I mean, they appear to have a pretty good relationship. She didn't know he was -- I mean, to suggest that he -- I mean maybe she told the truth -- one of the first times she was telling the truth -- I mean it's just outrageous for her to suggest -- the arrogance to suggest to us, that she didn't know her brother was lobbying on behalf of this cocaine geek, and, this snake oil salesman down in Florida. By the way, the guy was selling -- you know, the product of his -- he was selling a product, Larry...
KING: Yeah. Grew hair.
IMUS: Grew hair, increases your breast size, and something else, but, here is what I'm wondering -- it grew hair, increased breast size, and did something else, what I'm wondering is, that if you -- if you say you -- say you wanted to grow hair, your breasts were fine, and you drink the stuff or whatever you did with it. How does the stuff know what to do? KING: You wind up with hair and huge breasts.
IMUS: You know, you wind up looking like, I don't know, Dolly Parton and -- I don't know. Did you watch the Grammys last night, by the way?
KING: I watched the end of them -- I got home and watched the end. What did you think?
IMUS: It was awful. I mean, some of the people I like, but nobody won who I -- I wanted Paul Simon to win and I'm glad...
KING: What do you think -- you like Eminem?
KING: Scranton, Pennsylvania, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Mr. Imus, usually when someone dies, we recognize what great of a person they were or what great things that they did. If Clinton died tomorrow, what great things would we be saying about him?
IMUS: Well, that is -- why, I don't know. I was talking to somebody, I think Michael Beschloss about, you know, his legacy, and I don't know whether we got into his obituary or not, but, you know, there is no great thing that you -- I was talking to Michael Beschloss, yeah. You ever have him on, Larry?
KING: Sure, many times.
IMUS: He's good isn't he? He's great, isn't he?
KING: Maybe the best at that.
IMUS: Anyway, I was talking about the president and then Michael Beschloss. You can't -- great presidents need great events, I mean; they need wars, they need some calamity in the country. They need, you know, the great -- whatever so, not defending him, but he had none of that, and, the economy that he enjoyed.
I mean you have to be fair about it -- it started under the Bush administration, Bush '41, so, I mean, so -- I so to answer your question, ma'am, I don't know what you would point to, other than the fact that he -- he really made a mess out of the presidency and his life.
KING: Niceville, Florida, hello.
Caller: Hi, I wanted to ask Mr. Imus, what he thought about -- with the Kennedys, with things falling off the backs of the Kennedys like it did. Just what relation he actually thinks that -- that ex- president, whatever his name is -- just what relation he thinks he is to the Kennedys because the Kennedys always -- everything just keeps sliding off of their backs, and he looks like the Kennedys, and, you know just -- KING: You run a comparison here between the Clintons and the Kennedys? I-Man.
IMUS: No. I -- I always think these people who call are drunk, don't you, Larry? Not drunk but -- I mean, I realize you want to be nice to your audience, and I'm not nice to mine; they understand we have a unique relationship and I hate them and they hate me, but that is pretty good question. I see what she is saying.
KING: Look, the Kennedys did some pretty wild things, and the family had some wild occurrences happened to them, and it seems to roll off; the Kennedys keep on keeping on.
IMUS: I always got the feeling about the Kennedys that they were one loyal to one another. The family.
IMUS: And that they were loyal to people who worked for them, I mean.
IMUS: You know, the Seigenthaler, Dave Powers, all of those people. Even Ted Kennedy -- you may or may not like the guy, but they are loyal people; now they have done some hideous things, and old Ted had his pants around his ankles on occasion as well, but I mean, the comparison in terms of how are they treated I think has a lot to do with the fact that the media was enamored of both of Kennedys and Bill Clinton.
I mean, you know, he is a roguish, kind of, attractive guy, and, so I think that is -- but that is probably wearing off as well. You actually have media figures -- these liberal lackies like Sam Donaldson and some of these other people, who are -- who are themselves becoming disgusted with Clinton which is a hopeful sign, you know.
KING: We'll be back with more I-Man to talk about some other things, including Roger; we haven't discussed him much. Right after this.
KING: Do you think, Don, there would have been fuss over -- I guess there is no fuss over Roger being pardoned, is there?
IMUS: Probably not. I mean, he seemed like a pretty harmless guy, and -- you know, just -- that is a sad case. There is a guy; just a completely devoid of any talent, jumping around like he's Don Henley. It's embarrassing, but a fat Don Henley I might point out.
KING: You are an expert on country music; he's not a good singer?
IMUS: He is awful, he is awful! He is just awful! He is beyond awful! He's worse than Tim McGraw and that's saying a lot. So...
KING: Try to have some opinions, Don. Hattiesburg, Mississippi, hello.
CALLER: How are you tonight? I would like to know if you are going to consider doing the famous Imus flip-flop in ever having Hillary Clinton on your show, and if you do, what would be your first question?
IMUS: Well, I would rather see something like Larry question her or Barbara Walters. I really would -- I'm not very good at that -- or Tim Russert. I'd like to see Larry go at her or Tim Russert go at her. I'm...
KING: You don't have any senators on your show, though. Senators or regulars on your Imus show.
IMUS: She will never appear on this program -- on my program. She will never appear on my program. She is banned for life!
IMUS: Well, I can't imagine that -- I can't imagine...
KING: If she called tomorrow and said, I will come on Monday to tell you everything I know, she is booked.
IMUS: And ask her any question? Well yeah, then I would put her on. If there were no restrictions, absolutely.
KING: Washington, hello. Washington, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, and Imus. I was wondering, what do you think the senators -- how do you think the senators in here in Washington will treat Senator Hillary once this is, you know, they are back in session.
KING: How is she going to do? Good question.
IMUS: That was good question? The woman was incoherent; what do you mean that was a good question.
KING: Are they going to defer to her? Are they going to be critical of her? Are they going to -- is she on same plain she was three weeks ago? It's a good question. How do you think...
IMUS: Well, yes, but the caller sounded like she was under the table over at Ben and Sally's. What are you talking about? She was incoherent, Larry.
KING: But out of that, I got a question.
IMUS: Oh, all right.
IMUS: Well, I think that -- I think, you know, that's a club with 100 people. And I think they have some sympathy for her. And they all protect one another. I think that's why Ashcroft got in. I think -- you know, I mean, she is lying about this particular situation with her brother, but that's not the first time she's lied. It won't be the last. And...
KING: Won't be the first time a senator lied.
IMUS: Yes. I mean, I -- she's a freshman senator, you have to remember. And, you know, she is going to have to -- there are rules. That's a pretty tough place to play.
KING: By the way, is Joe Lieberman back in your good graces yet?
IMUS: Yes. Yes.
IMUS: Yes, he is.
KING: Because you kicked him out for a while.
IMUS: Well, yes, because -- yes, because he -- but, I mean, I think he understands. And he came back. And everything is fine. He is...
KING: He crawled back to the I-Man.
IMUS: Yes, he has readopted his positions he held when he was a United States senator.
IMUS: And he -- he has a great sense of humor, and he realizes that I'm a moron. So, he -- and he has fun with us. And so he's part of -- like Bernard said, he's part of the family, so you know...
KING: The best thing about I-Man: does not take himself seriously.
We'll be back with our remaining moments with a great broadcaster. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. CLINTON: With respect to any of these decisions, you'll have to talk with people who were involved in making them. And that leaves me out. I don't know enough to answer your questions. And I don't want to say anything that leads you to believe that I either know something or don't know something, because I don't.
KING: We're back with our remaining moments with the I-Man.
One more call, Sam Clemente, California, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen.
CALLER: If each of you had only one interview left to do: Larry, who would you choose Imus to interview? And, Imus, who would you choose Larry to interview?
KING: Oh, each to choose each other?
KING: Oh, I'd give Imus Hillary, just for the fun of it. But I'd like to do the pope.
Who would you like to do, Don?
IMUS: I don't know. It wouldn't make any difference to me. I mean...
You know, somebody...
KING: Probably some country and western artist on a low-key label.
IMUS: I'd like to talk to George Jones, or Deborah McClinton (ph), or Kinky Friedman, or someone like that.
KING: Any -- did any -- couple quick minutes left. Any Grammy award you disagreed with?
IMUS: Well, I -- yes, the album -- the Steely Dan.
I mean, Steely Dan's fine but, I mean, here is an album, their album sold 800,000 records. And that album, by the way, all the songs devoted to rape, incest, threesomes, statutory rape, that sort of thing. Nobody ever said anything about that.
I thought either Paul Simon should have won -- I mean, I realize I'm a Paul Simon lackey, but I love Paul Simon. I thought Paul Simon should have won. And I also thought that the Eminem album should have won.
I think -- I'm not patronizing Dr. Dre or those people. I'm not pretending that I'm some -- that I'm part of the hip-hop community. I'm not. But I -- I do know what's going on. And I agree with Dr. Dre. I think they got robbed. The guy's a brilliant producer, ranking with people like Phil Spector for this age. He produced -- you got to remember, he produced Eminem's album. He also -- Snoop Doggy Dogg just came back. I'm not pretending I'm a big fan of his either, but Dr. Dre just produced his new album, which is a brilliant album.
And so, you know, because of the controversy surrounding Eminem, I think they got robbed last night. So that was -- if I had to disagree with anyone, that would be the one album -- the one award I disagreed with.
KING: Is Eminem a true talent?
IMUS: Absolutely. Brilliant. Kid is brilliant. He's a brilliant lyricist.
I mean, some of the stuff is pretty rough. I mean, we have -- as you mentioned, we have this cattle ranch out in New Mexico for kids with cancer. And I was riding around in a truck last year playing "The Marshall Mathers LP" -- these kids are all 12, 13, 14 years old. And it's very, very rough.
And I mean, I'd be the last person to suggest that we should censor anything. And I don't think we should censor that. But it's very, very rough stuff. And if you're 14 years old -- one of these kids said to me, he said, "Do you think Eminem hits his wife?"
And I said, "I don't have any way of knowing, but I would hope not."
He said, "I would hope not, too."
But so at least they're asking those kinds of questions. And I'm not one of those people who thinks that kids or anybody else listens to records and then goes out and murders somebody or whatever. So...
KING: I-Man, it's always great having you.
I look forward to seeing you on March 30th. Get to emcee that big dinner with all those baseball folk coming back and honoring your -- with the proceeds going to your setup in New Mexico.
IMUS: Going to the Tomorrows Children's Fund and the Imus Ranch.
Very nice of you to do that, Larry. They're having a big dinner March 30th.
KING: I'm looking forward to it.
IMUS: Getting the Giants, the Dodgers -- the '51 Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees all back together.
KING: What great idea, and I really look forward to seeing you. I thank you very much for being with us, I-Man. It's always a pleasure having you.
By the way, are you going to...
IMUS: I'm not leaving. KING: No, I know. You're staying.
IMUS: I'm not leaving until we retire Flip Spiceland.
KING: All right. There you have it from the I-Man himself. Good night, Don.
And bring him food at the New York bureau. He's not leaving.
Check out my Web site and send us an e-mail with your questions and comments: cnn.com/larryking.
Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT."
Tomorrow night: Tiger Woods!
Over the weekend, we'll have some great shows on "LARRY KING WEEKEND," including a retrospective of interviews with Regis Philbin, including the show one week before "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" went on the air, when Regis came on this show to predict its success.
Bill Bennett on Monday. Thanks for joining us. Good night.
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