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Larry King Live
What Was Tony Rodham's Role in Pardons Granted by the President?Aired March 2, 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, an exclusive interview with Bill Clinton's brother-in-law Tony Rodham. What was his role in pardons granted by the president? We're going to get the inside story. We'll ask him about his sister, Hillary, and his brother, Hugh Rodham, too.
Also in the nation's capital, "The Washington Post's" Bob Woodward. We'll get his thoughts on the whole controversy. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE
We begin with Tony Rodham, the brother of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and brother of Hugh Rodham as well, brother-in-law, of course, of former President Clinton. And with Tony in our Washington bureau is Tony's attorney, Glenn Lewis, a very famous Washington lawyer, who represents Tony in this and other matters.
Tony, you are a practicing lawyer in Florida, correct?
TONY RODHAM, HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON'S BROTHER: No, I'm not. That's my brother. My brother is a lawyer.
KING: OK. You have never been a lawyer?
T. RODHAM: No, no, no. Wouldn't want to be lawyer, Larry.
KING: What is your business?
T. RODHAM: I'm a consultant.
KING: To all kinds of businesses?
T. RODHAM: All kinds of businesses. I'm a general consultant. I just bring different peoples together. I help them negotiate deals. I solve problems for people.
KING: And one of the people you helped was the couple that got the pardon back in March of 2000. Will you explain the circumstances of that pardon? We haven't heard from you yet. We've heard from everyone but you.
T. RODHAM: OK. Well, it was a very simple thing. They had gone through the process. They filed their application with the Justice Department about 18 months or 16 months -- I forget which one it is -- before the pardon was granted. The pardon was looked at, vetted, taken care of by the Justice Department, and done everything that the Justice Department needed to it do.
It was submitted to the president, the president looked at the pardon, saw that the merits of the pardon, and figured that they deserved it.
The Gregorys are the kind of people that the pardon system is made for.
T. RODHAM: They are people -- well, they're tax-paying citizens. They've been involved in different charitable organizations. They do a tremendous amount of help in their community in Nashville and throughout the rest of the country.
Florida, where they do the Florida State Fair every year, they do a tremendous amount of money every year. They do a tremendous amount of money that has gone into the Florida state government's coffers.
They are just what the pardon system is designed for. And I was very happy that they received their pardon.
KING: They were convicted of bank fraud, and we're told that lawyers at the Justice Department opposed the pardon. Is that correct?
T. RODHAM: I have no idea. The only thing I know about that is what I read in the newspaper. I didn't get involved in anything that the Justice Department did. I didn't get involved in anything that anybody did. I just helped.
KING: Was it filed -- were the procedures done correctly? I mean, did you go through the...
T. RODHAM: Yes, sir.
KING: ... proper channels?
T. RODHAM: Yes...
KING: You didn't go over anybody's head or anything?
T. RODHAM: No, what -- well, you know, and that's kind of funny is everybody has made that assumption about me. And if I was going over somebody's head, it wouldn't have languished in the Justice Department for 18 months, because I have no, no idea what to do with that.
It was submitted within the Justice Department, it was vetted through the Justice Department. The FBI did their investigation of the Gregorys. You know, as the president said, it was something that, you know, it was 20 years ago, and they deserved the pardon on the merits.
KING: So you...
GLENN LEWIS, ATTORNEY: Larry -- look, Larry...
KING: You were acting as -- hold it one second, Glenn.
KING: Were you acting as a friend or a paid consultant?
T. RODHAM: I was acting as a friend. They're my friends.
KING: So they didn't pay you any money. There was no quid pro quo for you?
T. RODHAM: No, sir. No, sir. I work for them, I do other things for the Gregorys. But on the pardon issue, I never received a dime from them, I never asked for a dime, I never was offered any money. I would not have done that.
They are my friends. They're also my -- I work with Ed. I've done a lot of different deals with Ed. And I've helped him out in many different aspects whenever he's asked me.
LEWIS: Larry, the context...
KING: I'm sorry. Go ahead, Glenn.
LEWIS: Yeah. The context for the Gregory transaction that's been talked about, which doesn't exist, is a great illustration of the kind of reporting that's taken place and the reason that I think it's important for Tony to say what he just said. Ed and Joe Gregory met Tony after they had already met the president of the United States. Now you wouldn't know that by what you've been watching or listening to for the past few weeks.
The Gregorys didn't get access to the president through Tony Rodham. They met Tony Rodham after they knew the president.
Now, that should end everything. But it doesn't.
KING: All right.
LEWIS: ... Tony met the Gregorys early in the first administration, and a pardon application was processed in 1999. And the conviction took place two decades ago.
So the math tells you that if there were any reason to be moving on this at the time he met them or favor was being curried with Mr. Rodham, he would have moved on it seven years earlier than he did.
KING: You -- were you the lawyer for the Gregorys at all, Glenn?
LEWIS: I've never represented the Gregorys. KING: OK. Tony, did you -- did you attempt -- did you mention it and plead to your brother, or your sister, to help them get the pardon?
T. RODHAM: I mentioned it to the president, yes, I did. And I have no problem saying that I mentioned it to the president. I worked for the Gregorys. I've been in their employ. And it was something -- see, everybody is missing the fact that one of the reasons why the Gregorys have decided to do this.
First -- there's a couple of reasons. The first reason is it was beginning to affect their business, because they do carnivals and they do the best carnival there is in the United States.
KING: They did one at the White House, right?
T. RODHAM: They did two at the White House, and I think you might have been at one of them. They had a press party. In fact, you know, a bunch of the people that are writing about us had a good time that were at the press -- at the carnival.
It's a lot of fun. The Gregorys are the singularly -- that I know -- the most successful carnival company in the United States. So as time went on and a lot of the different states started to write provisions into their contracts that would have prevented the Gregorys from putting on their carnivals. And that's one of the reasons.
KING: Because they were convicted felons.
T. RODHAM: Exactly right. And that's one of the reasons...
KING: So a pardon would have helped them get those contracts again.
T. RODHAM: Yes, it does, and it has helped them, because, you know, everybody that -- every fair that they have done, they are invited back over and over and over again because they do such a good job. He just...
KING: Once -- Tony, once...
T. RODHAM: ... got done with the Florida State Fair.
KING: Once you saw this thing break with Marc Rich and then Hugh Rodham's involvement in the other thing, did you know this was going to get attention?
T. RODHAM: I -- I didn't, but I thought, you know, as it went on and on and on got dragged out, I began to wonder about it. But there was nothing that was wrong with it. There was absolutely nothing.
You know, I've got one other point for you, Larry, is, as you being a new father, Greg -- Ed Gregory and Joe Gregory have a great love of their family. And one of the things that he wanted to do with this pardon was to erase the stigma of being a convicted felon so it would serve his family, his children, and his grandchildren, and hopefully one day his great-grandchildren.
KING: And the stories, Tony, of you and Hugh having almost free run of the White House, true or false?
T. RODHAM: Well, yeah, I guess we did. You know, we could -- I used to go and visit a lot. My mother would come up. You know, I would bring Zachary over to the White House. Zachary is my little 5- year-old boy.
Yeah, I -- you know, if I needed to go over there for something or if I wanted to go see somebody that was in my family that was there or one of the guests that was staying there, you know, yeah, I could go there. It's much like any family member within the presidential. They have the access to come and in out. We're not a threat to, you know, national security, because we're not going to cause any harm.
KING: Glenn, wasn't it logical, though, for people to think when these kinds of stories break that a relative has some influence a nonrelative would not have?
LEWIS: One of the ironies, when you think about some of the accusations, that a brother stays in the White House or speaks to the president of the United States, the people saying this have to reflect on their own families. Do you talk to your brother-in-law? Do you talk to your sister? If you're visiting their home, does your son play with them? Do you discuss what goes on in the world like anyone else would?
In fact, the irony -- the great irony here is -- I can't speak for Tony. He can tell you the answer. But I'm betting that the president did not sit around talking about matters of state. From what I understand, they talked about Arkansas football and Arkansas basketball.
The reporting, though, on their relationship with the Clintons and the access they had to the Clintons has been terrible. It's been false, and it's been misleading, and it's set up this situation we're now in.
Mr. Rodham has been vilified, his brother's been vilified, and they've really at this point, the only accusation is they have a relationship to the president of the United States, and the president of United States' wife, who happens to be their sister, and that they, for some reason, that they did anything different in fact than anybody ever did in a first family.
The idea that there has been pardons, there's been less pardons in this administration than there were in quite a few others...
KING: All right, let me -- let me get a break and come back, and we'll ask about that family concept and how Tony has dealt with all this. Later Bob Woodward. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Monday, Walter Cronkite. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGH RODHAM, BROTHER OF HILLARY CLINTON: Now, I can't talk about this. I won't talk about it. And it doesn't matter how long you guys sit out here, it is not going to make a difference. And you know that that is true. And I know it is true. And the whole world knows it is true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest is Tony Rodham. And that was his younger brother, Hugh Rodham.
What do you make of all that has happened to him?
T. RODHAM: I think it is a disgrace. I think my brother -- my brother is a wonderful person. I love my brother dearly. I think, you know, that what the press has said about him and the things that they have shown about him, they tried to show him in a light that is unfavorable. My brother is a wonderful human being. He's lovable.
KING: But was he wrong? Was he wrong to take $400,000 -- if that is true -- for the...
T. RODHAM: I'm sorry. I can't...
KING: Can you hear me OK now? Can you hear me?
T. RODHAM: Now I can, yes.
Was he wrong, as your sister said, to take that money for that drug dealer?
T. RODHAM: Larry, that is not for me to decide. I will not talk about anything about my brother other than the fact that I love my brother dearly. And, you know, I'm always there to support him. And I will help him in any way I possibly can.
KING: And we understand the love. But your sister also loves him. But she publicly criticized -- she didn't think he should have done it.
T. RODHAM: I...
KING: Do you have opinion one way or the other?
T. RODHAM: No, I have no opinion. I have no opinion on that whatsoever.
KING: Did you know he was involved in getting a pardon?
T. RODHAM: I had no idea.
KING: He never discussed it with you.
T. RODHAM: No. No.
KING: What do you make of how far he has handled all of this?
T. RODHAM: I think it has been pretty tough on my brother. I mean, to come home, every time you walk out your front door to see, you know, 25, 30 people, and they will stick cameras in your faces and microphones and, you know, yell things at you, and make fun of you, and -- I mean, some of the things that they have done to my brother are -- I would -- I would say that they are unconscionable. They are wrong.
It is not right to do that. I understand the press that says they have -- you know, the people have the right to know. But to, you know, tell my brother that my mother had a heart attack and just to get him to call the press is ridiculous. I'm somewhat in the same situation. I have had some press people sitting outside my house. I have nothing to say to them. And, you know, there is nothing I need to discuss with them.
But you, as a parent, understand the fact. I have a 5-year old son who I love dearly, who is the biggest part of my life, that -- I am with my wife. We are separated. We are in process of a divorce. We have agreed, without a problem, on custody of our child. There was an article that was written in "TIME" magazine that came out this week that said Nicole and I are embroiled in a custody dispute. That is completely false.
Nicole and I have agreed that, for our son, the best thing that we can do is shared custody. And we love our child. She is a great mother to my child. I am -- she tells me I'm a good father. My son loves me. But I have a problem trying to walk out of my house, because I don't want him exposed to this kind of stuff.
KING: No one can like a thing like that. But you have to agree, Tony -- I mean, your mother-in-law is a famed United States senator. Your brother-in-law is a former president. Your sister is a United States senator. That is a big story.
T. RODHAM: Yes, it is. You are exactly right, Larry. My mother-in-law has a story. She is a United States senator. My sister is a United States senator. My brother-in-law is an ex-president of United States. What's my brother? My brother is an attorney who has a law practice in Miami.
What am I? I am a consultant living in Washington, D.C.. What is my ex-wife? She is a woman who is trying to raise a child. So why are we stories? We didn't choose to become the politicians. We get elected without getting voted on. It becomes a process of elimination. And, you know, it becomes a process of assumption through the press.
KING: Have you talked with your brother since all of this?
T. RODHAM: Yes, I talk to my brother all the time.
KING: And how is he taking it -- I mean, we know how obviously upset he was in front of the house when we just showed that clip. What does he say when he talks to you?
T. RODHAM: Just that, you know: Hang in there, that, you know, he didn't do anything wrong, and he is trying to get through all of this.
KING: Have you spoken to the president?
T. RODHAM: No, I have not. I haven't had the opportunity to speak to him. I have been traveling in -- you know, when they went onto Chappaqua on the 20th, he has been busy. I have been busy. And I just haven't had the opportunity.
KING: Do you think, in view of all this, maybe he should have called you?
KING: No, I mean, you are getting rapped all around the place. He did issue the pardon. And you are saying the pardon is very logical. You make it appear very logical. The couple deserved it. They had bank fraud. They have made amends. They tried to get a license to appear in other states. You are getting -- you are getting a lot of bad press. Maybe he should have called.
T. RODHAM: Maybe. But, you know...
T. RODHAM: Maybe.
T. RODHAM: I don't -- you know, maybe. I don't know. We would have to ask him that question.
KING: How about your sister?
T. RODHAM: She is good. She is good. She's...
KING: You've talked...
T. RODHAM: I have talked to my sister. And she -- my earpiece keeps falling out here. She keeps -- you know, she is like anybody else that is starting a new job. She is busy with her new job. She is getting acclimated to do the best job she possibly can to represent the people in the state of New York.
And you know what? When all this is over and said and done, you will see -- and the people in New York will see -- that my sister is probably the finest United States senator that they have ever elected.
KING: We will fix your earpiece in a minute. And we'll take a break.
But, Glenn, as a lawyer, and also as someone who practices in the nation's capital, do you understand the way the press has acted in this? Don't you -- do you understand that this is a big story?
LEWIS: It is a very big story, Larry.
I was involved in the Generate (ph) case in Parkinson (ph) all through the years. We had people with Thompson committee hearings. It is white hot. It becomes a feeding frenzy. The problem is proportionality.
Even the press has reflected in the last one or two years on some of the tragedies that have taken place because of the press feeding frenzy. It is momentum that is the problem. If a person says "no comment," it should be respected. When a police officer is told that somebody wants to invoke their Miranda rights, they stop asking them questions. There is no such right when somebody is interviewed by the press. I have great respect for the press. I have great respect for the First Amendment.
And it is important that people understand that this isn't about the press not doing their job. But, you know, Mr. Rodham can't leave his home. And he has a young child. Hugh Rodham, based on that video, whatever one feels about the decisions that he made in terms of the things he did, nobody should be treated that way. Nobody should be vilified and caricatured and assassinated that way. We've seen it happen in our nation several times in the past few years.
And this is just one more example. And it is kind of like -- it is not just for 15 minutes. But it's like this shark pool. It's hot as it can be, and then suddenly it goes away and goes to someone else. And it's like: Who has got the ball? And it's not really based upon what's newsworthy. It is based upon where the action is.
KING: We will take a break. We will be right back with Tony Rodham and his attorney Glenn Lewis.
Over the weekend, on "LARRY KING WEEKEND": Saturday night, Jay Leno; Sunday night, Nancy Reagan.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. RODHAM: It is none of your business. I'm not talking about this. I'm not talking about my family. You want to talk about golf, you want to talk about football, talk about weather, I would be happy to. I'm not a hard guy to get along with. Some of the great little tricks that have been played on me by you people -- not you guys specifically -- I mean, calling up and telling me my mother had a heart attack and leaving a phone number, that was a real peach. Now, that was really fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Senator, was your brother a guest at the White House for the final to weeks of your husband's administration?
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: He was a frequent guest at the White House, you know. He is my brother. I love my brother, I'm just extremely disappointed in this terrible misjudgment that he made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How, Tony Rodham, did you react to your sister's statement?
T. RODHAM: That's a good question. How did I react to Hillary's statement? I can understand it, you know, she was disappointed, and, you know, my sister is -- is that's a tough question, Larry.
I don't really know if I had a reaction to it, because I have been around with -- with my sister, and you know, I'm thinking it hurt her -- it hurt her that she found out about all of this stuff, but, you know, she loves her brother, and we are still a family.
And you know, everybody has -- in families, everybody has problems.
KING: Does it bother you that a lot of polls don't believe her when she says she didn't know that he had received anything, or that he was pressing for this pardon?
T. RODHAM: Well, it does bother me, for simple fact is I know my sister didn't know. You know, we just -- in our family, you don't talk about your business. It is your business, and you don't spread it out anywhere, and I know, for a simple fact, that my sister had no idea...
KING: You know that?
T. RODHAM: ... what was going on. Yes.
KING: But she did know that you were seeking a pardon back in March for the Gregorys, because you said you spoke to her and to Bill.
T. RODHAM: Yes -- she -- I talked to her about it.
T. RODHAM: You know, I wanted to let her know.
KING: But you don't think she knew about Hugh's involvement in the -- in the other case?
T. RODHAM: I know she didn't. I know she absolutely didn't. And I believe...
KING: Did you have...
T. RODHAM: I'm sorry?
KING: Did you have a reaction to the Marc Rich thing?
T. RODHAM: No. Because it is not my business. You know, it is -- it is -- it is just not my business. I don't have a reaction to any of those things. It is not something that I had anything to say about, nothing I was involved in, nothing I knew anything about, you know. As -- only thing I know about him is what I had read in a newspaper, and seen on TV.
KING: Congressman Burton mentioned you in his opening statement yesterday. Has he asked you at all for any information, did he ask you to appear before the committee?
T. RODHAM: No, sir. All the -- and all information that, you know, about me is out there. So, no, I haven't talked to anybody.
KING: Have you spoken to the Gregorys?
T. RODHAM: Yeah, I have.
KING: And how have they reacted to the rap you're getting?
T. RODHAM: Well, they are not -- they think it is a bad rap. They -- you know, they are getting the same kind of treatment. They are, you know, they are besieged by the press, and, you know, they have had more requests for people to come and talk to them.
They are -- and people have to understand that Ed and Jo Gregory are good solid American citizens. I mean, he is a big fan of country music...
KING: But he was a convicted felon.
T. RODHAM: Yeah, well, he was. But you know, everybody -- I read "The Times" just like everybody else did, and I find it hard to believe that they were involved in the biggest banking scandal in the history of Alabama. I think that was a little bit of an exaggeration. And you know, from what I know about it, it wasn't something that they're really responsible for.
LEWIS: Larry, as convictions go, this was pretty much as light as it gets. They were convicted on the thinnest of cases, and then it went to the 11th Circuit, which reversed the case and sent it back to the federal court to be retried.
A whole new group of prosecutors decided to bring it again. And at that point, they were offered the opportunity to go through another trial or plead with no possibility of a fine or jail. And this is -- this is -- this is the, quote, conviction that everyone is dealing with. It is a...
KING: So, they never did jail time?
T. RODHAM: No.
LEWIS: Never did a day, and were never sentenced to day. And never were fined a dollar. Again, if that isn't pardonable, what would be, is really the question.
KING: So, you think that nothing would have been made of this were not Tony Rodham involved?
T. RODHAM: No, it wouldn't even be newsworthy.
LEWIS: It's hard to believe it would even be mentioned.
KING: I guess the suspicion, Glenn, is did Tony use his influence with his brother-in-law and his sister, and did the Justice Department say no, and did the president overrule the Justice Department?
T. RODHAM: Well, let me answer that one.
LEWIS: Yes, sir.
T. RODHAM: Let me answer that one. If I used any kind of influence, why did it sit in the Justice Department for 18 months? Why did it go through the whole vetting procedure, why did the FBI go out and talk to all their friends and their neighbors and everybody else?
So, it is absurd to even say that I used any kind of influence. Yeah, I talked to my brother-in-law. I told him that Ed Gregory is a good guy, he is a guy that, you know, this was hurting his business. He needs it, his business, to support his family, and he is the kind of person that the pardon system was designed for.
KING: Let me get a break -- I got to get a quick break here. When we come back, we've got some more moments with Tony Rodham and Glenn Lewis. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAN BURTON (R-IN), CHAIRMAN OF GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: "The New York Times" reported that the first lady's older brother, Tony Rodham, helped get a pardon for someone who was paying him as a consultant. The Justice Department opposed this pardon, but it was approved anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tony Rodham, when you asked the president and your sister -- or mentioned about the Gregorys, did they say they would do something? Did they give you any affirmative answer, any -- either way?
T. RODHAM: No, they didn't. They said they were waiting for it to come over from the Justice Department, and they would look at the -- or not them, my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law is the one who made decisions on pardons, and he said he was waiting for the application to come over to take a look at it, and he would decide on the merits of the application, on what the Justice Department had done, and what the investigation had turned out about the Gregorys.
KING: When they got -- Glenn, when they got the pardon, how did you hear about it, Tony?
T. RODHAM: They called me up -- and they were in town, they were at their attorney's office that represented them in the pardon. And they came over, and, you know, we went out to dinner. It was a great night to celebrate for them. I was very happy for them.
LEWIS: Well, Larry, they were represented...
KING: ... the president.
T. RODHAM: I -- I did not, but the Gregorys wrote the president a letter saying, thank you very much. And you know, they were very, very happy about it. It gave them their life back.
KING: Sorry, Glenn, what were you going to say?
LEWIS: I was going to say that these people were pardoned by the president United States, and once again, they knew the president of the United States first, and Tony Rodham interceding would almost be an afterthought, because Mr. Gregory was a supporter of Bill Clinton -- as I understand it -- since the first campaign, meaning in 1992, when he came to Tennessee and sought votes in Tennessee -- from Arkansas.
He was embraced by this couple, and they chose him as a person they wished to support. They have a longstanding relationship with the president.
KING: Down the road, Tony, sometime after the pardon and after dinner and everything, did you or your brother ever comment about it -- did you every say to him, gee, that was wonderful they got the pardon, or did he say to you that Gregorys got pardon?
T. RODHAM: I'm sure did. I'm sure, you know, down the road, after it was over, I said, you know -- I'm sure I said thank you, because it was something that was necessary for the Gregorys.
And I'm still very happy, and if I would see my brother-in-law today after all of this controversy brought up, I would still say, thank you.
KING: Well said. We'll be back with our remaining moments with Tony Rodham and Glenn Lewis on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
Then Bob Woodward, Walter Cronkite on Monday -- we'll be right with you. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Tony Rodham and his attorney Glenn Lewis. We'll get one call in here.
Valliant, Oklahoma, hello.
CALLER: For Mr. Rodham, after all your family's been through, do you ever get the feeling that no matter what the president does, it's going to get investigated?
KING: Do you think you're a victim, Tony?
T. RODHAM: I think I'm a victim, yeah. I think my brother is a victim. You know, we are not the ones that got elected. But you know what, I honestly believe that caller from Oklahoma, that if Bill Clinton walked down the street, and you know, it started to rain, somebody would blame him for the rain and they'd investigate it somehow.
KING: But doesn't -- frankly, Tony, does he bring some of the blame on himself? Isn't there -- some of these questions are certainly -- deserve to be asked, don't you think?
T. RODHAM: Oh, I think they deserve to be asked, but not of me. It's -- you know, if you want to ask them, you should ask them to the president.
KING: What do you make when you hear things like, for example, earlier this week on this program Bill Bennett said the Clintons are corrupt, they're despicable, they're a disgrace to the country. Now, you're in the family. This your sister, your brother-in-law.
T. RODHAM: Well, you've got to -- you've got to consider the source. You know, it's Bill Bennett. He -- he makes a living out of saying things like that.
KING: So you don't -- you don't get pain from it?
T. RODHAM: No, you don't take it personally. You know, we -- we -- you know, I've been around Bill Clinton now for 27 years. And you know, he's somebody that is a bright, wonderful, progressive man who did a phenomenal job for this country for eight years, dedicated his life to public service. And there are a lot of people in this country that do not like Bill Clinton and will never like Bill Clinton, and you cannot change their views. You know, I think that Mr. Bennett is probably one of those that do not like Bill Clinton.
T. RODHAM: But I'll tell you this -- but Larry, I will tell you this. If he sat down and talked to Bill Clinton, he would like him.
KING: How is their marriage?
T. RODHAM: Their marriage is great.
KING: Everybody talks -- it is great?
T. RODHAM: Oh, it's great. They love each other immensely.
You know, Larry, they're together, they talk about things. They're whatever -- you know, now that my sister has her new job, you know, it makes a little hard, because she's commuting. But they love each other tremendously.
KING: Weren't you hurt for her during the scandal, though, Tony?
T. RODHAM: I -- you know, not really, you know, because...
T. RODHAM: My sister's tough, and you know what, she loved her husband, it was a problem that she needed to work out. I don't get into their personal lives. I love my sister, I love my brother-in- law.
KING: Now what's your life like? Are you -- are you doing consulting? Are people calling you for jobs? Is everything on-hold? What's your life like as of March 2nd?
T. RODHAM: Well, right now things are on-hold, and if anybody wants to call me, I do have time that's available that I can do a couple of deals for them. But you know, I've got a couple of projects I'm working on, and you know, it's -- it's -- you know, whenever something like this, it always takes a little while to hash out. And I don't like seeing my name in print, I don't like being on the television. I don't like doing any of these things. That's not how I make a living.
I make a living by going and working hard for the people that I represent and do the things that I need to do for them.
LEWIS: You know, Larry, Tony Rodham is the guy that -- he's blue-collar. He's not the typical, quote, "Washington person." He's not an inside-the-Beltway person. Tony has been supporting himself in one way or another since he was 8 years old. He had a paper route delivering papers in Chicago on a bicycle in the winter. He's had odd jobs. He's been a prison guard. He's -- a very colorful career, salesman.
Everything lawyers can't do basically in terms of working and making a living. And again, the president became the president nine years ago. There's an entire life before that.
KING: Tony, do you think your brother and your sister and your brother-in-law should come on somewhere to sit down and talk about this as you've done tonight? T. RODHAM: I think that's entirely up to them, Larry. You know, that's their business. I don't -- I don't presume to, you know, ask them what they're going to do, and you know, that's -- they'll do what's right for them.
KING: Do you miss the White House?
T. RODHAM: Yeah, we had some great times in the White House. You know, my -- when my -- I was married at the White House, and when my son was born, he got to go to the White House, and we had, you know, Christmases in the White House.
But I'll be honest with you, the thing I'm going to miss the most out of all of it is not going back to Camp David. Camp David is one of the most spectacular spots in the whole wide world.
KING: Did you get to take the family there, too?
T. RODHAM: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. You know, Zach knows every cabin that's up there and probably knows where every tree in Camp David is.
KING: Thank you, Tony. Thank you for coming here tonight. We appreciate it.
T. RODHAM: Thanks, Larry. Can I change one misconception?
T. RODHAM: I am the younger brother, not the older brother.
KING: Oh, I said older brother and I also said lawyer. So I was wrong. I've never been wrong in my life. This is a historic night, Tony.
T. RODHAM: No, not you.
T. RODHAM: It was Congressman Burton that said I was the older brother.
KING: That's right, he did. That's where I got that from.
T. RODHAM: That's right.
KING: The lawyer -- I sort of thought all Clintons are lawyers.
T. RODHAM: No, not this one.
Thank you, Larry.
LEWIS: It's not a slur to call him a lawyer. It's OK.
KING: And he got mad at the resemblance. Thanks, Glenn.
LEWIS: My pleasure, Larry, always.
KING: Glenn Lewis, Tony Rodham. When we come back, the thoughts of Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: It's always good to welcome Bob Woodward to LARRY KING LIVE, assistant managing editor of "The Washington Post," Pulitzer Prize winner. His new book, "Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom," keeps staying up there on the bestseller list. While Greenspan stays in the news, Woodward sells books.
All right. Before we talk about this whole concept, what did you make of Tony Rodham's argument tonight? That couple never spent a day in jail. They got overruled on their first trial. The second trial they had a plea bargain deal. That's the kind of people he says should get pardons.
BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, maybe. Obviously, the Justice Department agreed -- disagreed in a very substantial way. I mean, the interesting question kind of is, what's going on here with these brother pardons and the brother interventions?
Listening to Tony Rodham, as he points out repeatedly, he's not a lawyer. I think he really didn't understand the nature of where this might lead to trouble. And I think you have to look to President Clinton and say why didn't he protect his brothers -- his brothers-in- law...
KING: By doing what?
WOODWARD: Well, when Tony Rodham said, what about these friends of mine that I have a business relationship with, the Gregorys, can they get a pardon, a giant alarm bell should have gone off in Clinton's head in which he said, "Now, wait a minute, what sort of business relationship do you have?" Or if Tony didn't tell him he had a business relationship, the president should have inquired, and immediately realized, when there is that kind of situation where money is changing hands, that gee, Tony, you need to stay out of this. And Clinton should have made sure he looked really hard at it.
I mean, these are convicted felons. It was bank fraud. I was not persuaded, and I think probably people are not persuaded these are the kinds of people that the pardon system was designed for.
Now, maybe there are facts in that that would convince people, but we don't know.
KING: And about Hugh Rodham, what do you make of that whole episode?
WOODWARD: Well, with $400,000 supposedly going to change hands, apparently the money is given back. Again, I think the burden is on Clinton. He has been through years of investigations, he knows the process. Again, he should have said, now why is my brother-in-law talking to me about these people, and in a sense, I think, it is the burden of the person who knows the most, and is the smartest -- and I think everyone agrees Bill Clinton's smart -- to protect the people who probably don't have a full understanding of the possible ramifications if this got out, as it has.
KING: Bob, what's your read on all of this? Marc Rich, the Rodhams, the whole -- the Hillary -- the whole -- to quote the Yiddish, mishigos (ph).
WOODWARD: That is exactly right.
I think what it's about -- it really is this scramble for this fund raising that Clinton, in a sense, became the fund-raiser in chief. Not just for his '96 campaign, which was heavily investigated and criticized, but then for Hillary's campaign, for the legal defense fund, where he literally had to raise millions of dollars, or get people to raise that money, and then for his own library, which is going to cost $100 million or $200 million.
So, what did Clinton do in the last five years as president? He did lots of things, but one of the things -- if you followed his schedule as I have -- he was going to these fund-raisers constantly. So he immersed himself in an environment of the Terry McAuliffes and the Denise Riches and Beth Dozoretz, people who became not only his friends, but in some cases his best friends.
And so, when they looked to him and they said, gee, Mr. President, we have these people, namely Marc Rich who would like a pardon -- I think lots of people who have looked at this, kind of said, now why is Clinton doing this? I don't think it was illegal, or a quid pro quo, based on the evidence we have.
I think what happened is he -- like all of us -- we become the victims of the circumstances we create. And he created the culture of the money rush, and those people wanted things and he said, yes. I think the Bill Clinton of the Arkansas years, or the Bill Clinton of the first year of his presidency would have been astounded that the Bill Clinton of the last years was doing this.
KING: Because he was a hard-line prosecutor, wasn't he?
WOODWARD: Well, you know...
KING: He had a reputation as hard-line attorney general. I think he did.
WOODWARD: Well, yes and no...
KING: Is it possible, Bob, that also this is part of his own victimization? He sees himself victimized, he therefore pardons others?
WOODWARD: Yeah, I think -- I think it is quite clear he is enraged at the criminal justice system, which came after him. He feels that there were lots of injustices directed at him, and so he is kind of looking around, and it is now clear he was scouring the landscape for people who could be pardoned. And I think he chose some of the wrong people.
KING: What kind of legs does this have? Legs as it leads to legacy?
WOODWARD: You know, you get remembered for how you enter the stage and how you exit the stage, and this is not a very brilliant exit.
KING: No. How do you explain him, Bob? I mean, we have tried so many times, we have had so many discussion over the years. Here is a man inordinately bright -- agreed?
WOODWARD: Yes. No question.
And, well, you know, again, I think he liked the glitz. I think he liked the money, and I think -- if you look at the balance sheet over the last five years, I mean, the financial balance sheet, they needed a lot of money.
He wanted to be reelected in '96, so he chased that money. Hillary wanted the Senate seat, chased that. As I mentioned, the legal defense fund, the library, and it is pretty heady if you can go out and give one speech a night, put on a black tie, be greeted as if you are savior of the country and rake in $1 million for the Democratic Party, or your library, or your wife's campaign.
KING: We'll be back with more of Bob Woodward. His book "Maestro: Greenspan's Fed and the American Boom" -- still a major best seller.
We'll include a couple of calls too for Bob Woodward of "The Washington Post" right after this.
KING: Let's take a couple of calls for Bob Woodward. Chatom, Alabama, hello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Larry, it's a pleasure to talk to you.
KING: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to ask Mr. Woodward, is all -- presidency -- the president's pardon power absolute, and when will we give Bill Clinton a break? Thanks, Larry.
WOODWARD: It is an absolute constitutional power. Look at this -- you know, your question suggests that it's unfair to examine this and have all of this furor over it. But the people who are most upset are, in fact, not the Republicans, but the Democrats. Lots of people who are in Democratic Party have kind of said, what was going on, why did this happen?
So, I'm not sure that this is not one of those things that really needs to be looked at, because...
KING: So, there's not, in your opinion, a Republican witch-hunt here?
WOODWARD: Well, Dan Burton all of a sudden in his investigations has a lot of credibility, and if you've listened to the hearings, a lot of the Democrats join Burton in condemning Clinton, or raising very serious questions about all of this.
KING: Tulsa, Oklahoma, hello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Mr. Woodward, I've enjoyed your book. But I'd like to ask you how you can explain to me why the press has defended everything Bill Clinton has done for eight years -- and I'm including Mr. King in the press.
KING: I have defended him? Give me quote.
WOODWARD: You know, it is interesting...
KING: That's weird.
WOODWARD: ... that the first caller said that the press does not give Clinton a break, and you are suggesting that he is only been defended.
I think if we had Clinton here -- and let's really have a fantasy about it -- and we had Clinton on sodium pentothal, the truth serum, and we asked him -- as somebody has suggested, it might require a lot of the drug -- but if we got to the point where he was really speaking about how he felt, about the treatment he has received from the press -- and I have heard this from many, many people, he feels it is totally unfair, that he has been vilified and investigated, perhaps more intensely than any president, including Richard Nixon, believe it or not. So...
KING: By the way, what should he do? Do you think he should do a full-fledged press conference, let it all hang -- what would you recommend?
WOODWARD: I mean, I don't give recommendations, happily, but as a reporter, I would love for him to answer all of the questions. And I am a great believer in putting out all of the information, even the undesirable information, in one day, make it a one-day story. These things drag on and drag on because there's a drip-drip quality to them.
KING: To Upland, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi. My question is, shouldn't -- or should all past president pardons be investigated?
(LAUGHTER) KING: Well, they're doing that. Your paper's doing it.
WOODWARD: Certainly, to give some context, to, you know, have what are the numbers, who was pardoned and so forth. Again, I -- the brother pardons are in one category, and I separate them. What really interests me is the Marc Rich pardon. Marc Rich conducted a year, you know, a campaign. He's spent a fortune on lawyers and accountants trying to justify what he did.
He was fugitive. And he got this pardon -- I mean, all of the people in the Clinton White House testified yesterday that they disagreed and recommended against this pardon.
I still would love to hear the full answer from Clinton about exactly why he did this, and I suspect, because he is a smart man, he would realize in the cool light of time that it was a mistake.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Bob Woodward. We've got to ask him one question about Mr. Greenspan and the economy, right after this.
KING: Bob, now that we're in this economic dip -- and you wrote the definitive book on Alan Greenspan -- is he analyzing it or guiding us through it?
WOODWARD: Well, I think he's surprised at the downturn. He is -- he has argued in lots of testimony that he has given recently that he thinks it will not be major, and basically, is quite optimistic about the economy in the long run.
We'll see where that goes, because he has been revising his optimism down...
KING: He has.
WOODWARD: ... as they say over the last several weeks.
KING: The -- is he good at predicting?
WOODWARD: I don't think he's good at predicting. I think he -- what he tries to do is look at the data, and he's driven by the data in a way. I think he's 74 years old now, and should when we reach that age we be as open-minded and inclined to look at all of the information available, and he does that and then makes his judgments based on that data.
I think he reads economic reports that the government puts out that not a single other soul even opens the book.
KING: Bob Woodward's book, by the way, is maestro, and it's a terrific read. One more call. Dallas, hello. CALLER: Yes, considering Clinton's history of lying in the last eight years and the fact that he was, you know, perjured himself in a grand jury investigation, why should we now all of a sudden trust anything the man says in regards to all of these pardons, the money in the background, and all of the brothers-in-law that are involved in this process? Why are we so surprised at all of this? And we should have him come forward and tell us exactly what he really did, because I don't believe one word the man says.
WOODWARD: Well, you're saying he should come forward and then you're saying you don't believe anything or you won't believe anything he says.
KING: Maybe he wants the sodium pentathol thing.
WOODWARD: Perhaps. I'll tell you, should Clinton speak on this matter -- and I think he should -- everything he says will be checked and see if it squares with the other information that's available.
I hate to keep drumming on this theme about campaign fund raising and fund raising, but the president shouldn't be a fund-raiser, and...
KING: Follow the money, right?
WOODWARD: Yeah, follow the money. But if you go back to Watergate, we wouldn't have had Watergate if there wasn't all of that loose $100,000 of campaign cash sitting around. There would have been no Monica Lewinsky in the White House, who was recommended by one of the big fund-raisers from New York.
KING: We have one minute. Is all this beneficial to or harmful to the presidency of George W. Bush?
WOODWARD: Don't know. It allows him to fly under the radar a little bit, but this will soon pass, and he will be at the center of the radar, which is exactly where he should be, because he's the president.
KING: And what about Senator Clinton? What's her process in the next six months?
WOODWARD: Well, I suspect and I have heard she's in a kind of turmoil, because she doesn't like this. I don't think she was -- I don't think there's evidence that, despite what some of the polls suggest -- people don't believe her. I have not seen evidence that she was involved in this.
And my study -- and I've done three books on Clintons and the White House and their campaigns and scandals -- she is generally the one to kind of raise the eyebrow and say, now, wait minute, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) should we go here.
KING: Thanks so much. Always great seeing you, Bob.
WOODWARD: Thank you.
KING: Bob Woodward, author of "Maestro." Check out my Web site and send us an e-mail with your questions and comments, cnn.com/larryking.
Over weekend on LARRY KING WEEKEND -- there are two LARRY KING WEEKENDS now -- Saturday Night, Jay Leno. Sunday night, Nancy Reagan. Monday night, live in New York with the dean, Walter Cronkite.
Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT." I'm Larry King. Have a great weekend and good night.
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