Skip to main content
CNN.com /transcript
CNN TV
EDITIONS

CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Ed Bradley Discusses His Interview of Timothy McVeigh

Aired April 16, 2001 - 21:00   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he scored a slew of exclusives, including the only on-camera conversation with condemned Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh after his conviction. And even though Ed Bradley of CBS News, "60 Minutes" and "60 Minutes II" likes asking questions more than answering them, we have nabbed him for a rare interview and we'll take your calls.

But first, how would you cope if your teenaged daughter was kidnapped by a federal fugitive? Anne Sluti's parents endured that for nearly a week. They'll join us from Kearney, Nebraska with that very gripping story. Elaine and Don Sluti next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

Welcome to another edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Ed Bradley will join us in a little while. We begin with Don and Elaine Sluti. They are in Kearney, Nebraska, the parents of 17-year-old Anne, who survived 6 days as hostage of a federal fugitive.

Don, how was your daughter abducted?

DON SLUTI, DAUGHTER ABDUCTED: Well, she was abducted from a local shopping mall at 6:00 in afternoon, went up there to do a little shopping, and, apparently a man assaulted her so we are told, and drug her in his truck, and that was it.

KING: Elaine, when did you know that your daughter was missing?

ELAINE SLUTI, DAUGHTER ABDUCTED: I was up studying and the doorbell rang, Don answered it, he was talking to someone, and shortly thereafter he called me down. I came down, I saw two unformed officers on our doorstep, and, this was fear from then on.

D. SLUTI: About 7:00.

E. SLUTI: About 10 after 7:00.

KING: Don, did you hear from the abductor and your daughter during these six terrible days?

D. SLUTI: We only heard from our daughter through the recorded messages until very near the release time, but, we hadn't had personal contact in any of that time, and, as far as I know, we had no contact with the abductor.

KING: Do we know why -- I know he is going to be brought to trial, and so we can't prejudge that case, but do we know why, Elaine, she was taken?

E. SLUTI: That is something that we do not know.

KING: There were no ransom asked for, no give me this and I will give you her back?

E. SLUTI: No. We had none of that whatsoever.

KING: When -- how was she returned, Don?

D. SLUTI: Well, we actually flew up -- a local business lent us their Lear jet and flew us up to Montana and we met her there in Montana, and we met her at the airport. They put us up in a motel. So we flew back with her, so by return, we got as the family to return with her, a local business Lear jet.

KING: How, Elaine, is she doing?

E. SLUTI: She seems to be doing surprisingly well, she seems like our Anne, the Anne that was taken from us a week ago, she seems very good. She is -- we have had a lot of her friends and neighbors and well-wishers in the house, there is a lot of laughter, and she is just enjoying it and it just seems very good.

KING: Does she know why she was abducted?

D. SLUTI: No. No. She -- I think she really knows this was pure random act, wrong place, wrong time. Could have been anyone.

KING: Was she bothered sexually at all during those six days?

D. SLUTI: I really am not -- that is something that any -- particulars of the case really, we don't feel is appropriate to discuss right now.

KING: Elaine, was there times you felt you might have lost her?

E. SLUTI: Yes. That feeling was also with us. Initially when she was taken, I have really felt that we may have lost her, the fear was always there. It is very electric, very with us all the time. Almost despair kind of wanted to creep in but, we just had to keep that away.

But we knew it was a very dangerous situation, we are grateful to have her back.

KING: Don, when this goes to trial, she will of course have to testify. She is the prime witness. Are you concerned for her emotionally at that time?

D. SLUTI: Truthfully Larry, no, I know my daughter. I guess I know even better now that I know how surprisingly strong she is and she will do what she has to do. And I think she is emotionally strong enough to take what it takes to go through this, to relive it. I'm quite convinced that she will do it and do a fine job of it.

KING: Were you happy with the way the media, the police, the authorities, and everyone handled this, Elaine?

E. SLUTI: Yes, extremely happy with every aspect from every law enforcement agency that we dealt with. We were treated very, very well, our family was treated with respect, they worked very hard -- all the law enforcement volunteers, everyone. They just were very focused, and, very happy with every detail.

KING: Don, what does this -- was reported that you saw a missing person's poster of your daughter?

D. SLUTI: Well, I said it -- you -- the most -- one of the most tearing things at you. I went to the grocery store to buy some food during -- during this, and there was on the door the grocery store a missing persons poster for my own daughter, and, you can't imagine the feeling, Larry. You just can't imagine how bad that is.

KING: Elaine, how were you told she was OK? How were you told she was free?

E. SLUTI: There was several hours of negotiation going on, just prior to her freedom. We were kept abreast of every detail as it went on, and it was through the authorities here that were right here in our home that we got word, they told us that Anne was free, her captive was -- her captor was in -- in custody, and -- that is how we knew.

KING: She is 17. That's approaching adulthood. Don, is she afraid to go out alone? Any repercussions? Any things like that occurring?

D. SLUTI: I don't think so. I think she will be a little weary, naturally, but, I would expect that what we have seen so far, that she will be going out alone. This is not a dangerous area, Kearney, Nebraska -- this is a quiet rural city, small city, and, there is no need to worry and I think she knows that.

KING: You know, Slutis, when people hear a story like this, they fear the worst based on past history, you have to think the worst, we can only feel so happy for you.

D. SLUTI: Well, thank you, because we...

E. SLUTI: Thank you very much.

D. SLUTI: ...we do know that most of the times, this does not turn out to be happy ending and we just feel so blessed, just so blessed that we have this wonderful person back in our home.

KING: Give all of our best to Anne, too.

E. SLUTI: We will certainly do that. Thank you very much.

KING: Don and Elaine Sluti from Kearney, Nebraska with their safely home daughter Anne back home.

When we come back, Ed Bradley. He did the only interview with Timothy McVeigh, after Timothy McVeigh was convicted. He's also got a special segment on "60 minutes II", tomorrow night about Columbine. Ed Bradley is next. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We now go to Ed Bradley in New York, the co-editor of "60 Minutes." This year he celebrates his 20th anniversary on that program, he is a CBS News correspondent, of course. I said segment, tomorrow night on "60 minutes II" on CBS, it's the whole show dealing with his special on Columbine.

Before we talk about that, how Ed, did you get the interview with McVeigh?

ED BRADLEY, CBS NEWS: Well, we worked on it for an awfully long time. Michael Ruduski was a lead producer talking with McVeigh lawyers at the time. And it was just a matter of convincing, one, the lawyer, and then convincing McVeigh, that it was in his interests to sit down and talk with us on the air.

KING: Was it, for want of a better word, eerie?

BRADLEY: No, I wouldn't call it eerie. I mean, we have all done a number of interviews, in prison, so, you are used to going -- as used to it as you can be. I, for one, have never totally at ease in prison but...

KING: Nor I.

BRADLEY: ...it wasn't unlike any other prison interview. I wouldn't use the term "eerie" but it was odd at times, because you sat there in front of McVeigh, you know, just two feet in front of me, and, you had the impression sometimes that you were talking to someone who was like maybe somebody who lived up the street from you or someone you had met before. He just seemed very much like a nice guy.

And then there was that sudden realization of what he had done in Oklahoma City. And you had that duality there that you are dealing with. On the one hand someone could seem so rational and reasonable, at some points in conversation. And then, on the other hand, someone who did something that caused so much damage, so much death, so much hurt for people that still exists today.

KING: How do you explain him to you?

BRADLEY: I can't. I can't explain Timothy McVeigh to me. I mean, I -- I can't imagine how -- I can't imagine the circumstances in which I would take someone's life without my life being threatened. Or defending myself or my family.

KING: Does he rationalize at all?

BRADLEY: Well, his rationalization, is because of the policies of this government. And it keys on what happened at Waco, and I guess Ruby Ridge, and I mean that is what he thinks is wrong with this government. And that this government is working against people he would regard as patriots.

KING: Are you surprised that he has waived all appeals, and now wants to die?

BRADLEY: I'm not. I think that -- I think that he feels that this is the best way for him to go. I read something of what he planned to say -- at least, what he has said he plans to say before he dies in his last words, that he is the captain of his ship. He is the captain of his fate. And in that sense, in that he has said, I'm going to waive all my appeals, kill me -- in that sense he feels that he is deciding his fate.

KING: A couple other things. Do you expect -- did you expect criticism for doing the interview? And how do you respond to any that might say, why give this person a voice?

BRADLEY: There was criticism. I mean, when we do a story and the mail is -- half of the mail says, you know, how could you do this story? The other half says, thank you for doing that story, we have the feeling that we have done a good story at "60 Minutes." That is pretty much, the way the mail was for the Timothy McVeigh story.

I think there were people who wrote in and said, how can you give this guy a platform, to spew that venom? And to just sit there, the way you would interview someone else. And then, there was other mail including mail from people who lost loved ones, family, friends, in the Oklahoma City bombing, who said, thank you for helping to give us some closure in seeing who this guy is, how he thinks and how he talks, because, they didn't really the at the trial.

KING: Do you agree with the closed-circuit telecast into Oklahoma City?

BRADLEY: You know, that is a difficult question. I don't know where I stand on that. I mean, I -- I certainly empathize with people who lost loved ones there, and want to see this man die. The other side of that is that, I don't know that that is something that in their position I would personally want to see.

But I also know that there are people who didn't -- who weren't directly affected in Oklahoma City, in that they didn't lose relatives, they didn't lose loved ones, but they were also hurt by this, because of what it said to them about our country, about our government, and about our policies, who also want to see him put to death and want to see it on television.

So you have these camps who want it, and are directly involved and some who are only indirectly involved and then you have people who are absolutely posed to it. I don't know where I stand on it.

KING: I want to get a break and then talk about Columbine, but do you think the execution should be telecast?

BRADLEY: I don't know. It is a difficult question, I haven't made up my mind on it. KING: Our guest is Ed Bradley. He's got a special tomorrow night on Columbine. One would think we have heard all there is to hear about that tragedy. Let's find out what Mr. Bradley has when we talk about that, when we come back. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES")

BRADLEY: ...for some people to come to grips with you, as the same person who was commended by the Army, who received a bronze star, who received a combat medal, as being the same person who was convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing. It can't put the two together. You understand that?

TIMOTHY MCVEIGH: I do understand. They perceive -- and, many people have thrown this at me. They say well, Tim, -- if we think you are guilty, imagine the paradox in the Gulf War, you were given medals for killing people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADLEY: According to Nate, Harris and Klebold even made video tapes of them shooting their guns, and brought those tapes to school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They shot video when they were editing it in our Video Productions class.

BRADLEY: What did you think they were going to do with these guns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had told me it was for target practice.

BRADLEY: You wouldn't use a sawed-off shotgun for target practice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't, and that was odd, but they -- Eric was an extreme person.

BRADLEY: All of these things that people are pointing to now as red flags, the video in classroom, the pipe bombs, the guns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I figured, if -- if teachers are seeing this, and numerous students are seeing all these signs, somebody else should be worried about this. If nobody else is seeing anything wrong with this, you know, why should I?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: "60 Minutes II" will air a complete hour on this tomorrow night about the tragedy of Columbine -- wow! What led you to even look into this? I thought we heard the whole story, Ed.

BRADLEY: Well, if you remember going back, I guess, almost two years, Larry, I was on your program the day that Columbine happened. I was on to talk...

KING: Correct.

BRADLEY: ... to talk about another story, and Columbine has just swept all of us away. I mean, we had never seen anything like that in this country. And we thought that it was pretty much over, but someone gave us a call and said: "Talk to one of these parents out there." And the producer of this unit that I have at "60 Minutes II," David Gelber, talked to one of the parents, and came back and said: "I think that there is more to Columbine than we are aware of."

And we decided to take a look at it. And we spent, I guess, a good part of the last six months in and around that area, Columbine, the Denver area, Littleton, Colorado, trying to sort out what happened, who knew what when, who did what when. And there is information that just hadn't been public knowledge before.

KING: What of what you learned surprised you the most?

BRADLEY: You know, there were a couple of things. One is that almost, I guess, more than a year before the Columbine massacre, there was a threat on a Web site, Web site that belonged to Eric Harris, in which he talked about blowing up the city, and he threatened specifically to kill a kid by the name of Brooks Brown.

They had had problems with Eric Harris before. His parents were so concerned that they went to the police, and took the pages they printed out the pages from the Web site, and took them to the police. And the police said that they would look into it.

The police actually worked up an affidavit, an affidavit for a search warrant that was never carried out. But one of the police officers actually found a pipe bomb in an area that was sort of halfway between the Harris home and Dylan Klebold's home. So he put the two together. The police went to the school told the deans at the school that you have a kid here who may be messing around with pipe bombs.

Now what did the school do with that information?

KING: What?

BRADLEY: That is one of the things that is difficult to ascertain. They say they were keeping a closer eye on him. Yet they admit to us that keeping a closer eye did not involve calling his parents in, it did not involve talking to his friends, it did not involve talking to the teachers he was with in class throughout the day.

So I'm sort of at a loss -- if you are keeping a closer eye on this kid, who is it that you are keeping a closer -- how are you doing that? The other thing -- the other thing...

KING: i want to ask the other -- OK, go ahead.

BRADLEY: The other point is that the police made this connection with the affidavit. All they had to do -- forget a search warrant, they could have gone to the house and knocked on the door and talk to the parents. They didn't do that.

KING: Boy! This special airs tomorrow night. We will be right back with more of Ed Bradley. He's with us for the rest of the hour. We will include some phone calls later.

Laura Bush from the White House on Wednesday. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES II")

BRADLEY: In December of 98, you went to an assistant principal at the school and told her that you had been threatened by Eric Harris.

DEVON ADAMS, COLUMBINE STUDENT: Yes.

BRADLEY: What did say to her?

ADAMS: I told her that Eric was intimidating, that he was threatening, that other students were feeling threatened by him, they did not feel safe in school around him. That it was not a safe environment when he was around.

BRADLEY: And what did you want her to do? What did you think she would do?

ADAMS: I wanted her to call Eric in, maybe call his parents and just talk to him.

BRADLEY: And?

ADAMS: And I don't think it ever happened.

BRADLEY: But that assistant principal denies Devon Adams ever spoke to her about Eric Harris.

ADAMS: I made an appointment, sat down, and I talked to her. I was serious, and she should have known that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with Ed Bradley. We'll also learn on this program -- is it true that they had a security plan in place because of some shootings previously in Paducah and that it was never implemented?

BRADLEY: It was never implemented. It was a security plan that was drawn up by two of the men who were responsible for security -- not just for Columbine but all of the schools in district. After the shootings in Paducah, Kentucky and I think Jonesboro, Arkansas, they sent out and asked themselves, where are these shootings likely to take place? And they looked at them and said, they happen in largely suburban areas, mostly white areas, mostly affluent, upper-middle to upper-middle-class areas, and they said, hey, we are talking about our own school district here.

So they drew up a plan that had one provision in it, among others, that if there was any threat of violence, not just a threat to kill someone, but if there was any threat of violence by a student, there were certain things that should be implemented. That would include bringing in the parents, bringing in the police and bringing in the counselors in the school.

So, as you saw this young woman Devon Adams who said that she felt threatened enough that she went to the assistant principal. If that plan had been implemented, and they would have brought in the parents, they would have brought in the police, they would have brought in the counselors, then would have been made aware that, hey, this is a kid who has threatened to kill another child, another student, this is a kid who has been detonating pipe bombs and making threats on his Web site to blow up the city. Maybe we need to do something here.

Now, would that have prevented what happened at Columbine? That is a question that no one can answer. But that plan was drawn up for a reason, and it was never implemented. According to the two men, Howard Cornell and Joe Schallmoser who drew it up for the district, they say it I was never implemented by Columbine.

KING: We will take a break and come back. We'll have more on what they are going to do tomorrow night on "60 Minutes," and we'll also take calls. We'll be back in a moment with Ed Bradley.

By the way, you can log on to my Web site and test your knowledge on Ed Bradley, at cnn.com/larry king. The answer will be revealed later in the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES II")

LARRY GLICK, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL TACTICAL OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: There is not one officer that I know that responded there that would not have given his or her life for any child or teacher in there.

BRADLEY: But just in terms of common sense. Here is what you know: you have got kids dead and wounded outside, you have got at least two shooters inside with who knows how many unarmed kids. You have got armed cops outside. Aren't those kids -- aren't they better off if the armed cops go inside? Isn't that just common sense?

GLICK: Well, it is -- it seems like it's common sense, but early on they believed that they really had six to eight armed individuals inside there. And if you were in the shoes of those officers, they felt that it was more reasonable to wait until additional personnel responded to move in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Thirteen people were killed, 23 more injured at Columbine. That's the subject of a special tomorrow night on "60 Minutes II," the full hour devoted to it. It's hosted by Ed Bradley, who -- when in this, in the get-going did you know you had a story here? Early on?

BRADLEY: I don't -- no. To be honest, David Gelber knew early on, and I resisted it. I thought, you know, I looked at what we had, and I said: "I think we have got one good segment here, not three segments." You know, typically, "60 Minutes" and "60 Minutes II," we have three pieces.

I saw one story. And then, eventually I saw two stories. So, I came to it late. I mean, David really had to convince me that we had an hour here. And the bottom line is, we have -- I mean, we have an hour that has an awful lot of material in it, that tells a very sad and very gripping story.

KING: Did you attempt to get the parents of the shooters?

BRADLEY: Yeah, they wouldn't talk. We couldn't get to first base with the parents, Harris or Klebold.

KING: Do you think that other schools watching tomorrow can learn?

BRADLEY: Oh, I think they can, and I think other schools have already learned. You just listened to the video clip that you had of Larry Glick, who trains national -- who trains SWAT teams around the country. He said there was not an officer who would not have wanted to go into that building. The fact is they didn't.

Today, I think the training has changed. You have to ask questions, why didn't they go into the bidding? And he says that they weren't trained to that that then. They were trained to wait until the SWAT teams arrived.

I got a letter today -- an e-mail from a retired warrant officer who had been in the United States Army in special operations, working with counterterrorism. And just to quote what he said here, he said: "Once the shooting started, the officers should have reported: 'Shots fired. I'm entering from the east side of the structure through the gym.' Just as in counterterrorist operations, they had only one mission at that point, and that was to take out the bad guys."

Well, that never happened. You had police officers who exchanged gunfire with one of the two shooters, who shot at him as he went back into the building, but they didn't pursue him into the building. Why? I can't answer that question, but I can tell you that if that happened today, they would go in that building after the shooters.

KING: You report that his teacher, Dave Sanders, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rescuers and paramedics lost precious time because of confusion and misdirection, implying that they might have saved his life?

BRADLEY: He was alive, Larry, for well over three hours. If they had gone to where he was, I mean, there were students there who said, let us bring him out, and they said no, you get out. Then, when the SWAT team came in, they said -- they finally got there three hours later, let us carry him out. They said no, the paramedic is coming in. Well, it took another 42 minutes for the paramedic to get in. By that time, he was dead.

KING: Let's take a call for Ed Bradley. This airs tomorrow night. Oklahoma City, hello.

CALLER: Yes, my question is for Ed Bradley.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: The question is, do you think that the consolidation of so many smaller schools into a larger school campus might have some effect on this? I have a child that is teacher in a school system here, and it's possibly they're depersonalizing the school systems with the larger campuses.

BRADLEY: I don't think that size has so much to do with it. I think it's the alienation of kids who are within the school. Now, does size alienate the kids? I can't answer that.

I started, Larry, many years ago, as a schoolteacher. I taught in the upper elementary grades. And I was shocked at what happened at Columbine and what we have seen in Paducah and Jonesboro and more recently in California.

When I taught school -- and this is going back to the mid-to- late-60s -- the major problem was talking in the hallways, or occasionally a fistfight after school.

KING: Yeah.

BRADLEY: I mean, our world has changed today, and we have too many kids, one, who are alienated and, two, who have access to guns.

KING: Now, what to do, though? Everyone keeps pointing out that this kid, they knew he was a loner, this is true in all the schools, and that he was disturbed. What can the school do? You can't take a child out of the system because he looks like he's alone. I mean, what can you do?

BRADLEY: No, but you can -- if you see red flags, you can ask questions. If you learn in a school, for example, that a kid is making pipe bombs, you start to ask some questions. If you learn in a school that a kid has threatened another kid, you start to ask questions. You put all of these things together. You bring the child's parents in. You talk to counselors. You keep a closer eye.

And I don't know how you keep a closer eye on someone as the people at Columbine say they were doing without talking to the parents, without talking to the teachers he sees every day. I mean, it's common sense if you are keeping a closer eye on a kid, you say to the teachers that child sees through the day: "Hey, we are keeping a closer eye on this boy or girl. Let us know if you see anything that you think is untoward." That's common sense.

KING: Our guest is Ed Bradley of CBS "60 Minutes" and "60 Minutes II." The special airs on Columbine tomorrow night. Back with more and more of your phone calls after this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES II")

BRADLEY: You said that when you heard those tapes, you began to doubt that the sheriff's department had done everything it could to save those children. What made you think that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was no one in that school that had a gun other than the two killers, and no one pursued them. No one tried to engage them. No one tried to keep them from the random murdering that they had just seen happen outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In essence, they chased them into the school. And then let them just kill -- well, knowing they were killing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For almost 20 minutes, she waited. Twenty minutes. That's a long time for someone to have the opportunity to come in and make a difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with one terrific journalist, Ed Bradley, and we go to Manassas, Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, I have a two-part question. I have not heard talk about the principal. I would like to know Ed's opinion about his responsibility or culpability in all this.

And the second part of my question is, if you walked into Columbine High School today, are there significant changes that have taken place and what is the atmosphere like there?

KING: Two great questions -- Ed?

BRADLEY: First of all, we were not allowed to walk into Columbine High School. We couldn't shoot there, and we were not able to talk to the principal on camera. He was scheduled to do an interview with us and the day before the interview, he canceled. I can't -- I don't know what his responsibility --

KING: Why?

BRADLEY: If I knew the answer to that, Larry, I certainly could tell you.

KING: I mean, that's a public school. They have the right not to let you in?

BRADLEY: Sure. I mean, listen, I asked one teacher, you know, just an easy question. I mean, how did you know Klebold and Harris? She had them in her class, and this teacher totally went to pieces. I mean, it was just a nervous wreck from a simple question like that. It was after that. It wasn't difficult, it wasn't penetrating, it wasn't a hard-ball question.

It was just, how did you know Klebold and Harris? And it was after that, that the principal said, he didn't want to talk to us.

KING: What's the community like?

BRADLEY: I think many people there have had enough of Columbine and said they didn't want to hear any more about Columbine. You probably know Dusty Saunders, who was a long time critic for the Rocky Mountain news.

KING: Sure do.

BRADLEY: I talked to him over the weekend and he said look, I'm one of those people that had it with Columbine. I have just had enough. But he said, I heard things in this hour that I had not heard before. And the way the story was told, just presented it in a way I had not seen before.

And I think that there are many people in the community who will hear these parents, after all, who lost children, at Columbine -- they are the ones most effected. And they are still trying to get questions from the people who know most about what happened at Columbine and why.

One, the people in the administration, the school authorities themselves, and two, the sheriffs department. I mean, the sheriffs department not only would not talk to us, but the governor of the state of Colorado organized a commission to investigate what happened at Columbine. The sheriff wouldn't appear before that commission to testify.

KING: Little Rock, Arkansas, hello.

CALLER: Mr. Bradley, one of my favorite interviews of all time was your interview with Muhammad Ali. What was that like and where does it rank on your list of interviews.

BRADLEY: I would have to put it near the top. It was an interview in which Ali, including a couple of other people, including the producer John Hamlin, and Lonnie, his wife and Howard played a trick on me, and they told me this story of how he sometimes falls asleep and gets violent and starts punching in his sleep.

And Lonnie said, when he starts to snore, I have get up and go into the other room, because he hurt me when he starts punching. So, we are all sitting there having lunch and, all of a sudden, Ali is sitting next to me and he sort of nods then I hear him start to snore, and I looked like that and he flinches a little bit.

All of a sudden, he shoots a fist at me and I jumped. I jumped. And he just fell out with peels of laugher, because he's a practical jokester and he knew that he's played the joke on me.

KING: He is. I first interviewed when he was an Olympic champion. He's been a practical joker all his life, and also a wonderful human being.

BRADLEY: He is. I think one of most touching things about him. Here's someone whose perception -- our perception of him certainly most people in America has certainly changed, because he was someone who was reviled by many people earlier in his career and now is loved by just about everyone.

KING: How do you like Don Hewitt's book?

BRADLEY: I just started it, and I have seen stories -- you know, Don is one of the world's great storytellers and he has great stories to tell. You never get tired of hearing Don's stories.

KING: You are the youngster there, aren't you? You're the kid?

BRADLEY: Listen, Lesley would kill me if I said she was older than me. Lesley is younger than me. I'm sort of in the middle. Leslie and Steve are younger. Steve is at the bottom then Lesley, than me, then Morely. and then, the old man is at the top there. Wallace. What is he? 85, 84?

KING: He's up there.

BRADLEY: He says he is 83, but I think he's cranked it back a year.

KING: His Social Security number is three.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We'll take a break and we'll be back with more calls with Ed Bradley. The special airs tomorrow night. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADLEY: Maybe when got out there, we can sit you down in a chair and you can talk.

Would that be OK?

MUHAMMAD ALI: Probably.

BRADLEY: Probably?

ALI: According to how I feel.

BRADLEY: According to how you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a way of communicating with people and I think he knows this. And that's one of the reasons why he really doesn't bother with the speech as much. He can communicate with the heart. With his face. And he knows that. He has the ability to love without ever opening his mouth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Ed, you looked a little different there. BRADLEY: I had more hair and it was a different color.

KING: It sure was. Ed Bradley is our guest. Let's get a call from Syracuse, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. This question is for Mr. Bradley. I know there's a lot of controversy about the book written by Timothy McVeigh and the fact that he shows no remorse for his actions. What are your feelings about this book? And after interviewing him, do you feel that maybe he is remorseful?

BRADLEY: First of all, I haven't read the book. I've only read excerpts and the stories about the book. From what I have read, I don't think see that he is remorseful. I think he believes that what he did was right in his mind. Someone who refers to children who were killed as collateral damage is certainly not remorseful. I don't think he's sorry at all for what he did. If he's sorry, he's probably sorry he got caught.

KING: When you interviewed Kathleen Willey and she was discussing how the president of the United States had fondled her, was that kind of a weird feeling to be sitting there in that meeting?

BRADLEY: Sure.

KING: A story like that, that you are part of?

BRADLEY: I had interviewed people about President Carter, about President Nixon and about President Ford, about President Reagan, and about President Bush. I interviewed people about President Clinton. But I never interviewed anyone where the subject matter was so on the edge. And you have only one person's story there. Actually only two people who knew the truth of what happened there.

KING: That's right.

BRADLEY: One was Kathleen Willey and the other was the president who wouldn't talk to us.

KING: Our guest is Ed Bradley. This special airs tomorrow night on "60 minutes II," dealing with Columbine, a whole new look at that tragedy. We will come back with our remaining moments with Ed Bradley after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRADLEY: This is the east coast of Malaysia, the final destination of thousands of refugees fleeing Vietnam. Many don't make it this far. They're attacked by pirates, drowned or starve to death. Only a few fishermen help the boat people ashore. We joined in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: By the way, we are back with Ed Bradley. If you logged into the Web site cnn.com/larryking for the quiz on Ed Bradley, you can check now for the answer. Ed, is it true that you once told Don Hewitt as a gag were you going to change your name to Shahbib Shahabab (ph)?

BRADLEY: It was actually Shahib Shahab (ph). That was close.

KING: What did Mr. Hewitt say?

BRADLEY: He wasn't sure if I was telling the truth.

(LAUGHTER)

BRADLEY: But I had done it by sending him a phony memo, saying to the CBS payroll department, saying that I was going to change my name to Shahib Shahab (ph) and please let all payroll records, including my check reflect the change in my name.

And this was, I think, maybe my first year at "60 Minutes." And Don thought he should call -- he said, let me call Kate Cardella (ph), who was a TV critic in the "Daily News." I said, sure, give her a call.

Figuring I could head her off before she had to go to print, and then he realized that I was telling the truth, and he called Bev in and he said, what do you think this sounds like? I'm Mike Wallace, I'm Morely Safer, I'm Harry Reasoner, I'm Shahib Shahab.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Great stuff. Do you ever think of going back to doing other kinds of news, leaving "60 Minutes" and going back to reporting or anchoring?

BRADLEY: You know, anchoring has never had a lot of appeal for me. I sort of like going out and being a reporter, which is what I get to do now. Go out and report these stories. And working with the talented team of producers and associate producers, but essentially, you get to go out and ask people questions about issues and stories of day and that's what I enjoy.

You know, I think if I wasn't doing this, I would have to find something totally different to do. This isn't something that I would leave to go somewhere else. If I left this, I would retire.

KING: And the travel doesn't bother you?

BRADLEY: The travel bothers me. That's the only downside to this work that we do. You have to get to someplace to do it. You spend too much time on the road. You know, it comes with the territory. It's really very difficult. All of these stories you see, Larry, about planes that are late, passengers that are irritated, flights that are canceled, they are all true.

KING: The frequent traveler knows this better than anyone. Right? There's something wrong.

BRADLEY: Listen, I have all of these air miles, right? You get frequent flyer miles?

KING: You sure do. Got a lot of them.

BRADLEY: OK. You want to get on a plane and go somewhere? I mean, if you spend your life on the road, when you get some time off, you want to stay at home.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BRADLEY: And that wonderful air line food, you know? I'm in the habit -- I always carry a bottle of hot sauce with me when I travel, because it will make whatever the air lines serve, taste better.

KING: To camouflage everything. Hey, Ed, thanks very much. It's good seeing you, and best of luck. We look forward to that tomorrow night.

BRADLEY: Larry, thanks for having me.

KING: Ed Bradley, coeditor of "60 Minutes" and you will see him tomorrow night for an hour-long special on the Columbine shootings. It airs on "60 Minutes II" Tuesday night.

Terri Taylor from federal prison is with us tomorrow. Laura Bush from the White House on Wednesday. Barbara Walters on Thursday. And Friday Night, Jim and Sara Brady.

We thank you very much for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Stay tuned now for "CNN TONIGHT." Tonight, like right now, good night.

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

 Search   




MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 














Back to the top