CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND
Interviews With Victoria Principal, Sumner Redstone, Michael Deaver, Daniel Schorr
Aired June 10, 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: "Premiere" magazine says he's the most powerful person in Hollywood. He says he has a passion to win. We'll talk with the incredible Sumner Redstone, Chairman, CEO of Viacom.
And then, she's fantastic at 51, ready to tell you how to look and feel your best at any age. Actress, best-selling author, entrepreneur Victoria Principal.
Plus, he's known Ronald Reagan for more than 30 years; a top aide, a close friend. Now Michael Deaver authors a personal portrait of the former president he says has always marched to a different drummer.
And a man who's been covering news for more than six decades. Maybe the only reporter ever investigated by both the FBI and the KGB. Dan Schorr tells us about staying tuned, his life in journalism. Four great guests, all next, on LARRY KING WEEKEND.
Good evening and welcome to another special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND. Four terrific guests tonight.
We start with Sumner Redstone. He's with us at our studios in New York. He's the Chairman and CEO of a media conglomerate, Viacom. They own CBS -- they own a lot of things. He's been ranked the No. 1 on "Premiere"'s 2001 Hollywood Power List and author of a terrific new autobiography, "A Passion to Win," written with Peter Knobler.
You've always have been a kind of private guy, Sumner. What led you to write an autobiography?
SUMNER REDSTONE, VIACOM CHAIRMAN & CEO: Well for a long time, Larry, some of my business associates and friends had suggested that the story of someone who was born in a tenement and got to control the second-largest -- but clearly the best, as you know -- media company in the world, was worth telling. And I was still skeptical.
But actually Simon and Schuster persuaded me to write the book. They said the story was -- and this is their word, not mine -- inspirational and that people could learn something from it. So, I did what my executives told me to do, as I usually do.
KING: So it becomes both a story of you and a primer, right? REDSTONE: In a way.
KING: Because you're writing something, "A Passion to Win" about your own -- do you think people can get something out of this for themselves?
REDSTONE: I would like to think that it's possible. That they can learn some things. They can learn that there is no chance of winning, as you know, unless you have an obsessive drive to win, an obsessive drive to be No. 1. That doesn't mean you necessarily are, but you have to be committed to trying. Otherwise you can't be a winner.
KING: You almost wouldn't have been here tonight, right? You survived an incredible fire in Boston, and you write in detail about it.
REDSTONE: Yes, that's true. I actually never speak about it until I'm asked, although Simon and Schuster thought it was important to the story.
KING: Well, I think it was too. You saved it by, what, hanging out the window, right?
REDSTONE: Yes, as a matter of fact. I made the classic mistake, opened the door. Fire swept in, I was burning alive. Got to a window, it wouldn't open. Another window; and I hung on with my right arm. And just sort of kneeling on a tiny ledge. I wasn't supposed to live that night, and I was never supposed to walk, and now I run faster than I ever have on the tennis court. So, it had a happy ending.
KING: Now you grew up in a tenement world of Jewish families...
KING: The odds were against those people making it. What do you think was the ingredient? Do you think it was inborn? Do you think you applied knowledge? What made you work?
REDSTONE: It's hard to say. I, from my earliest days, I had a tremendous drive. It's true I was born in a tenement, but I never felt deprived. I never felt disenfranchised. I felt like -- just like anybody else. I think my competitive juices were stirred for the first time at Boston Latin School.
KING: That famous high school...
REDSTONE: It was a great school, and it was a wonderful school, a lot of competition. And I learned to live with competition in those days.
KING: There's so much in this book. The World War II experience, Sumner Redstone, you helped crack Japanese codes. And they were tough to crack, were they not? REDSTONE: They were the high-level Japanese diplomatic and military codes, the kind of which had never been cracked. But keep the record straight, I was one of a large group.
KING: Now, you graduate Harvard law class of '47. Did you practice law?
REDSTONE: Yeah, I actually practiced law for about a year. First I was a clerk in the United States Court of Appeals. Then I was a young special assistant to the attorney general for the United States for about six years, arguing lots of cases. And then I was a partner in a Washington law firm.
KING: So how did this take you to this giant in entertainment?
REDSTONE: Well, you know, I practiced law like a lot of kids did then. Very idealistic, thinking I was going to make the world better. But when I found out that the law was just another business, and it was, I decided to go in business for myself.
At that time my father had a couple of drive-ins. I left a very lucrative law practice to work for about $5,000 bucks a week. Out of that little company, we grew it to 400 screens and a small 400-screen exhibition company swallowed Viacom. And the rest is history. Viacom, to Paramount, to Blockbuster, to CBS.
KING: And interesting tales along the way, very honestly told in this book. You also saw the coming of the end of the drive-in, right?
REDSTONE: Yes I did.
KING: What killed that?
REDSTONE: Well, what killed it was several things. In the first place, when there was a drive-in the only place you could see a movie in the suburbs was in a drive-in theater. But the multiplexes provided comfortable movie viewing in the suburbs.
And secondly, the value of the land under a drive-in grew so much that you could no longer rationally afford to operate a drive-in on that land. We learned a lot from -- go ahead.
KING: Go ahead, finish the sentence.
REDSTONE: I was going to say we learned a lot from that experience; owning your own land is a good thing. And as a matter of fact, had we not been big landowners, I doubt that we could have raised the money to acquire Viacom.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments with Sumner Redstone. The terrific new book, "A Passion to Win." I'm Larry King, don't go away.
KING: You write very eloquently, Sumner Redstone, in this book about taking head-on people like Terry Elks (ph) at Viacom, Barry Diller at QVC, Charles Dolan at Cablevision, Wayne Huizenga with Blockbuster, the famed John Malone. Do you enjoy those tete-a-tetes with the other biggies?
REDSTONE: No, no, I never -- you know I would prefer a lovable, kind, compassionate relationship with everybody. But here's the point, when you are trying to drive your company forward, you meet people who have vested interests and use those vested interests unfairly to prevent you from reaching your goal.
A good example is Time Warner. You couldn't see, you could not see Showtime in Manhattan because they controlled access and they had HBO. So we had to file a lawsuit. But he fact of the matter is, today John Malone and Jerry are among my closest friends.
KING: Jerry Levin.
REDSTONE: Jerry Levin.
KING: Do you ever -- I mean you are in it. There are some who worry about the Viacoms and the AOL-Time Warners and the Disneys as being too big, too much control.
REDSTONE: You know, I've heard that. I don't buy it at all. And I think my view is objective. Basically, the consumer decides what they want, what they want to see. And if you've got it, they want to see it. There's a lot of competition between these companies. It's the consumer who decides they want to see, by the way, "Survivor" or "CSI" or "Say (sic), Dear," or "Everyone (sic) Loves Raymond" or "Becker" or "JAG" -- the way you noticed, I mentioned only CBS programs.
KING: Is that union working well for you? Are you enjoying owning a network?
REDSTONE: Yes I am. But you know, CBS -- I would have been surprised if, two years before, if I thought about buying CBS. But when we got CBS, we didn't just get the network, we got a big radio, we got a big television operation. Today we're the No. 1 deliverer of local and national audience on television. We got King World. So we got a lot more than the network.
KING: Is movies still your favorite, personal favorite thing?
REDSTONE: Well, today I enjoy watching both the big screen, and since we've acquired CBS, the small screen. But I still have a great attachment to movies, and of course particularly to the best-run studio in the world, run by John Tolgent (ph) and Sherry Lansing, Paramount.
KING: Running a movie studio, I remember Ted Turner tell me, during the brief time that he ran MGM, that was like a kick for a little kid growing up in the United States, to run a movie studio. Is it for you?
REDSTONE: No, I'm not a stargazer. It's strictly a business. I tell you, I saw -- it was really the realization of a vision of mine. I wanted to create the No. 1 software-driven media company in the world. And I saw that if we married the powerful MTV networks to the Paramount studio and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) its television operation, we would accomplish that.
It was strictly a rational decision. Nothing about having fun or looking at stars.
KING: Why -- what keeps you going, Sumner? I mean, you don't need it. You could retire, obviously. Why do you stay in the hunt?
REDSTONE: Larry, why do you stay in the hunt?
KING: I love what I do, and it's a...
REDSTONE: And there you are, that's the answer I give you. I love what I do. I have a passion not just to win, I have a passion for Viacom. I love the company; I enjoy what I'm doing, and I have no intention of quitting.
KING: Is it therefore -- could this be toothpicks instead of dollars, and you'd still enjoy it?
REDSTONE: Dollars have nothing to do with this, and you know that. Most really successful people are not driven by the lure of the dollar, they are driven by a drive to achieve, to be the best at what they do, to be No. 1. And I'm not saying I always have been No. 1, but I can tell you this, I've always been driven to try to be No. 1.
KING: Was your father that way?
REDSTONE: Yes he was. My father had very little. He was supporting a bunch of families. I can remember my father carrying linoleum, peddling linoleum. But my father worked, really worked. And his work ethic, I'd like to think, was passed on to me.
KING: Sumner, it's an honor knowing you, and great having you with us, and much success with this book.
REDSTONE: Well thanks Larry. And it's been fun knowing you, and I did enjoy your party in California. It was sensational.
KING: We honored Sumner last week at the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. We had a great evening.
Sumner Redstone, a terrific book, "A Passion to Win."
When we come back, we're going to meet a lady who set a lot of her own pathways in the world of television: Victoria Principal. She's got a new book out. Victoria's next, don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND an old friend, a terrific lady, Victoria Principal. Actress, best-selling author, entrepreneur has a new book out called, "Living Principal: Looking and Feeling Your Best at Every Age."
This is like a stage book, how to grow older, better?
VICTORIA PRINCIPAL, AUTHOR, "LIVING PRINCIPAL": Well it's about hopefully using intelligence and grace in the manner in which you age. Yes, and enjoying every single day, and every single year of the process. And not being frightened, Larry. Because, as you know, a lot of women are frightened. I'm 51-years-old, and whenever I say that, I hear women gasp.
KING: What are they frightened of, looking bad or dying?
PRINCIPAL: I think they're frightened of someone thinking that they are past being desirable or worthy. I think that there is, culturally, that we've got something very, very old hanging on.
And that is, there used to be a time when a women needed to be 13 years old in order to create children, in order to give a man the children he needed to continue his name and to continue his business and his family line, right?
But that's really changed. And so our value is no longer on our ability to create children. It's one of the things that we do, but we can do it way beyond 13.
KING: I know. Not to get personal, my wife is approaching 42, and that's a panic age to her.
PRINCIPAL: Is it really?
KING: Yes, 42.
PRINCIPAL: By the way, 42 knocked me out. You haven't read my book, but in the book I talk about it...
KING: Just got it.
PRINCIPAL: ... the worst age for me was 42.
KING: It seems to be for her.
PRINCIPAL: It blindsided me, you know why?
PRINCIPAL: Well obviously Shawn is secure within herself. She's a beautiful woman. When she turned 40 she was fine about it, right?
KING: Pretty good.
PRINCIPAL: Had a great time. 42 -- suddenly I went, oh my God. I'm in my 40s, and it was like it really hit me. It was like for two years I'd been on a slide, I hadn't recognized that I was in my 40s. And it caught me off guard. And I was bummed about it. I was really bummed.
KING: So what advice -- I mean the book is a book of how to deal with this, right?
PRINCIPAL: It's -- if anything, in one sentence, the book is how to make over yourself inside and out. So that you can improve...
KING: So there's beauty tips and all that.
PRINCIPAL: ... improve the way you feel, improve the way you look, and improve the way you live no matter what age. So if you want to start using the tips at 25, 35, 45, 55, infinity.
KING: All right, does it, is it automatic to figure that if you look better, you'll feel better? Does look come first?
PRINCIPAL: You noticed I started with feel.
KING: You started with feel, but I was guessing look.
PRINCIPAL: I really, I believe that how you feel is very important to how you look. That healthy equals beautiful.
But I also believe that there are some days when you look in the mirror, and if you can do something to improve yourself on the spot about the way you look, that emotionally it affects you in such a way. You go, ah, I feel better. I look pretty good, I feel better.
KING: How do you get someone to do -- I mean, you obviously do that. You're bubbly, but someone could be looking and say, yeah, Victoria Principal, she's a success. She's got a beauty line, she's had a remarkable television-acting career.
PRINCIPAL: Success doesn't mean that you are healthy, success doesn't mean that you're happy, success doesn't mean that you're rested. Success is something that you work very hard for, and if you're lucky you achieve. But success really doesn't mean that you look good, or feel good, or are good.
And this book is about what I just -- it's about looking good, feeling good and being good. And what I ...
KING: So, how do you teach someone to feel good...
PRINCIPAL: To feel that?
KING: To feel good -- you can teach them to look good, that I understand.
PRINCIPAL: Well, because I have devoted chapters to, not only eating, and eating in a way that will increase your vitality, increase your health and your energy. But there are also chapters on hormones, on supplements, on anti-aging. Because anti-aging now is a huge science, and I don't know that it is available to every woman.
And information is available to me, so I wanted to share that. There's also a chapter on spirituality, and on joy, and finding 10 minutes of joy in everyday life. Because it is so easy to forget that this is good that we're alive. We should be enjoying this gift of being alive.
KING: Where did you learn this?
PRINCIPAL: Through trial and error; through trial and error.
KING: So you had your downs, you had your panics.
PRINCIPAL: Oh absolutely, I have the ability to go very low, just as I have the ability to go very high.
KING: And what gets you out of it on that downward trip?
PRINCIPAL: Well, I find that I don't get as low as I used to because I recognize that I will come out of the lows. And the best way is to pull myself out of it through enjoying each day. It's when I don't enjoy each day, and I don't plumb the depths or the opportunities of each day that I don't have joy, that I don't have -- it's a three letter word -- fun. That fun is so important to me, and almost every individual I know, in terms of enjoying every day and enjoying what you do and how you do it. And when you have fun, other people feel it.
KING: You do a chapter on cosmetic surgery, right?
KING: This is very important to people, only aesthetically? Or does it touch other areas?
PRINCIPAL: No; you know, if you're just good looking on the outside, if it's just pretty on the outside, then that's very shallow. And by the way, that's elusive, too, because eventually that will wear out.
This is where we live, and we want to take really good care of it. But if you try to do it just through cosmetic surgery then, in fact, it's going to be a very joyless way to live.
KING: You have an unusual thing you do: 10 minutes of joy.
PRINCIPAL: Ten minutes of joy every day.
KING: You say it's going to do it at 1:10 p.m., or...
PRINCIPAL: you can do it any time of the day you want, although it's better, probably, to do it earlier in the day than at the end of the day, although...
KING: And what do you do in those 10 minutes?
PRINCIPAL: It's so individual, but some examples of things you could do -- this morning before I came over here, I wanted to have 10 minutes of joy. I made myself a cup of jasmine tea, and I went out in -- with my pajamas, into the garden with my dogs -- that's five -- and walked around the garden smelling the flowers. They were just starting to open, because the sun was just warming them. And I had my tea, and my dogs, and the garden, and it was utterly quiet and peaceful. And for 10 minutes, I felt so connected to the earth...
KING: That makes your day better.
PRINCIPAL: It made my day better.
KING: Victoria Principal;s new book is "Living Principal: Looking and Feeling Your Best at Every Age." Back with more after this.
KING: We're back with Victoria Principal.
You're still producing television shows, by the way? You're still...
PRINCIPAL: When I find something that I love.
KING: But you don't need it financially, right? You've done very well.
PRINCIPAL: No, I'm -- thank you, yes.
KING: You still have your own care line -- skin-care line?
PRINCIPAL: Skin-care line. Love it; just love it. I think I'm so lucky that -- there are two things in life that I really wanted to do: to be an actress, and to be in skin care, and that I've gotten to do both of them.
KING: Is think that important?
PRINCIPAL: Thin? Healthy is more important. And I think for each one of us, that weight is very individual. Even though there may be guidelines that are provided by your doctor, nevertheless, I think that where you feel the strongest and where you feel the best is what's most important.
And I know that, as the years go by, I've added a few pounds on, and I like it.
KING: Like it?
PRINCIPAL: I like it, yes.
KING: Did you have to mentally tell yourself you were going to like it? Because most people who are thin want to be thin-thin all the time.
PRINCIPAL: No, in fact, I like it that I look a little softer. I think that when I was younger I looked a little tense, because I was thin and I looked maybe a little finely tuned. And I think as I've gotten older -- and I still work out, I still take care of myself -- but I've gained a little weight, and I like it. I like the way it looks, and I like the way it feels.
KING: DO you think on e of the principal worries...
KING: ... no pun intended -- that women have is that -- the loss of sexual attraction?
PRINCIPAL: Oh, absolutely. I think that women -- it's in the book. There's a whole chapter about sex.
KING: Will that guy -- will he dig me?
PRINCIPAL: Well, and I talk about in the book -- Ii wondered that, when I turned -- when I became a mature woman, when I put both feet firmly on the side of maturity -- I call it the "M" word: middle age. Would my husband still find me as attractive, since he met me as a girl? He married me when I was 35; I still had one foot securely in girldom.
And it was something I discussed with him, and something I discussed with my girlfriends. And we all discussed the fact that we were stuck with this numbers game going on in our heads. When you turn a certain number, does that mean that you're no longer as sexual to other people, or even to yourself?
KING: Wasn't 50 tough?
KING: That's such a -- that's the...
PRINCIPAL: It wasn't for me.
KING: ... age was for men.
PRINCIPAL: You know something, I didn't have the 50 thing. I did it at 42. I did it -- I really...
KING: But 50 didn't do it to you?
PRINCIPAL: I think 42 was so bad, 50 was a breeze.
KING: 42 could be middle age, 50 is not. 50's a little beyond middle age, unless you make it to 100.
PRINCIPAL: Well, yes. Maybe 52. You know, why don't we speak in January, I'll be 52 and we'll see.
But, no, 50 -- had a great party, had fun.
KING: You're eligible to join all the senior citizens' organizations. You get the letters now. PRINCIPAL: You know something, I enjoy speaking to other women about turning 50, and how we can enjoy it, and how we can explore it. And, in fact, that even though it's supposed to be the "M" word, middle age, that there's a way now to have vitality and energy and keep everything working so that although, yes, you're past the midpoint of your life, you don't feel or look or act that way.
KING: Still active in causes?
PRINCIPAL: Yes. I'm co-chair of Victory Over Violence in California, and I'm very, very dedicated to the environment. This planet means so much to me. I love this planet. And Unless we keep this planet healthy, everything else is for naught.
KING: Are you disappointed in this administration so far?
PRINCIPAL: I'm very disappointed, yes I am. I'm very disappointed. And I'm frightened; I'm frightened for this planet. I hope this administration will wake up. And it's very hard, I think, for this administration to recognize what we need environmentally when it's being led by people who have not recognized the environment.
KING: What is Victory Over Violence?
PRINCIPAL: Victory Over Violence is an organization that was created to help fund shelters for women and children...
KING: For women who are battered and...
PRINCIPAL: Yes. And also we provide a visiting nurse program, and we also make pamphlets to pass out to schools and temples and churches to help educate children and teachers.
KING: There are women who really could use your book, right? Those who have been victimized, as well as -- they get older, and they're victimized as well.
PRINCIPAL: Yes; and, in fact, I want to get involved in helping those women learn about some of the things that I know that I can share with them and teach them, and some of the things from the books.
But part of the funds that we make from my catalog business, in fact, goes to Victory Over Violence.
KING: Great having you with us.
PRINCIPAL: Oh, it's always good to see you.
KING: Victoria Principal. The book is "Living Principal: Looking and Feeling Your Best at Every Age."
Michael Deaver, with an intimate portrait of his friend Ronald Reagan, is next. Don't go away.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Our next guest on this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND -- what a lineup tonight -- is Michael Deaver, old friend, one of Ronald Reagan's closest advisers in both Sacramento, when he was governor, and Washington, when he was president. He was former White House assistant to the president, deputy chief of staff. And has a new book out, "A Different Drummer: My 30 Years With Ronald Reagan."
It can safely be said no one knows the president -- perhaps second to Nancy, but no one else in that league.
And what do you mean, Michael, by "a different drummer," since I thought Reagan was as plain as motherhood and apple pie.
MICHAEL DEAVER, AUTHOR, "A DIFFERENT DRUMMER": Well, I'm talking about the voice he listened to. Others who have written about Reagan always said they couldn't figure him out, and so this was my attempt to try to set that straight.
And part of the way through writing it, it occurred to me that he was different because he listened to a different voice than all the rest of us. And it was something within him that he marched to, regardless of what anybody said to him or what else was going on around him. And I think that's what made him different.
KING: Was that a spiritual voice?
DEAVER: Absolutely, a spiritual voice. And it was sort of, you know, lessons of the ages. He was always a guy, always has been a guy who was looking at the long view. I mean, the rest of us were sort of reacting to what was happening in the 24 hours we were living in, and he was -- he would always just smile and sort of say, well, I think we ought to do it this way.
Which was, you know, baffling to us at times, but we look back on it -- or as I look back on it, it was clear he had a different perception, a different voice he listened to.
KING: Michael, in your opinion, why did so many critics read him wrong?
DEAVER: Well, I think, partially because he came out of the movie industry. And there was just an impression that people assumed instantly that there wasn't anything there, that this was a guy who read from scripts, that he was told where to stand all of his life, and that there wasn't anything beyond sort of the plastic one- dimension of him.
And they were wrong, wrong, wrong for years.
KING: Others have said he did not have intellectual curiosity. Is that wrong?
DEAVER: Well, I think so. I mean, this was a guy who spent most of his, whatever free hours were in the 30 years that I knew him, reading, studying stacks. I never saw him, on the thousands of miles we logged in together on the plane, reading a book for pleasure. It was always trying to get more information.
KING: We always do this when we talk about Ronald Reagan, we say "was." It is sad, the disease he has. You become a kind of "was" with Alzheimer's, don't you Michael?
DEAVER: Yes, I'm afraid so. And it's -- I have to catch myself, like everybody else, because he is. He is not what he was.
KING: When was the last time you saw him?
DEAVER: I saw him about three years ago, four years ago. Closer to...
KING: Was he entering the further stages then?
DEAVER: Oh yes, yes. He didn't know me. And I describe the scene in the book where I came into his office, and I knew this was going to be the last time because Nancy had, rightfully, decided that she was going to shut off people seeing him any more.
And he was seated at his desk looking at a book. And I sat down, and said, what are you reading? And he very, very slowly looked up at me and said, a book.
And when I looked at it, it was a book of horse pictures, and he was -- had his hand on the picture -- fingers on the picture of Traveler, Robert E. Lee's horse. And I tried to have a conversation, but he was in another world at that point. Someplace else.
KING: How did you first meet him, Michael?
DEAVER: I met him -- actually saw him first at the Ambassador Hotel in Las Angeles in 1965, right after the Goldwater defeat. I was a young Republican Worker. And met him for the first time about four months later when he was out running around the state on his tour to see if he was going to run for governor.
And I was very -- I was not impressed when i saw him in the Ambassador Hotel. I didn't have a chance to talk to him because he basically looked like Hollywood incarnate. You know, there wasn't a hair out of place.
When I finally got a chance to listen to him -- ask him questions and hear others question him, I could see that there was a lot there. I was much more impressed.
KING: And very taken, were you not, and close to Nancy?
DEAVER: Oh, yes. Nancy and I became friends. I think it was clear to both of us from our first conversations that we had something in common, and that was that we wanted to make him succeed at whatever it was he wanted to do.
KING: Mistake -- you write of this, to think that he was a person who was handled by his handlers. DEAVER: Well, you know, if there were people around him that he trusted, he would go a long ways in letting us set certain things up. But this guy was not a creation of other people. As I say in the book, we were a creation of him; I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you today if it wasn't for my relationship with Ronald Reagan. He isn't famous because he knew Mike Deaver, it's the other way around. We didn't create him, he created us.
KING: We'll be back with some more moments with Michael Deaver, author of "A Different Drummer: My 30 Years With Ronald Reagan."
Still to come, Daniel Schorr. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 12, 1984)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is quite an assembly. I know there are dozens of senators and representatives, and I believe that virtually the entire Cabinet is here, which explains why Mike Deaver has gone to sleep already.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Michael Deaver.
Another thing you write about with eloquence is that, as opinionated as he was -- and he was certainly opinionated -- he never made it personal, right?
DEAVER: No. He, basically, liked people. He was, I say, and have said, he was almost kind to a fault. And he would argue with people, but he had that belief in him that you had a right to believe something. He wasn't going to dislike you because you disagreed with him.
And I think it's one of the reasons why he was such a success, and particularly in politics.
KING: Is he a great president?
DEAVER: Well, I think he's a great president. When you stop and think that he changed the dialogue in this town that had been there for 50 years about how much we were going to spend to how much we were going to cut. I mean, it was only a month ago that we watched Hillary -- Senator Clinton and Senator Kennedy high-fiving on the floor of the Senate because they kept the tax cut to $1.3 trillion. That was their victory.
That's 20 years later. It still is a debate in this town about how much we're going to cut, not spend. That's the first thing.
The second thing is, we ended the Cold War. The third thing is, I believe, after 20 years of Watergate and Vietnam and malaise, he made Americans believe in themselves again.
And those are not three bad achievements.
KING: Was he very supportive of you when you went through your difficulties with drinking, which you have publicly discussed many times?
DEAVER: Yes; you know, he had, in his own family, as we all know, a father who had -- was an alcoholic, and had a serious problem. We talked about that.
I don't think he had any idea that I had a problem until I finally came to grips with it myself. And as I say in the book, we came together after I went through my own recovery, and it was truly a joyous and spiritual meeting, again, for me, anyway.
KING: What do you think the country's feeling is -- we have, throughout this interview, and everyone does that, through no fault of their own, said -- use the word "was."
Do you think there is a forgotten aspect, or do you think, with all the public airports and like that, that doesn't go away?
DEAVER: Well, it's really remarkable. You know, I've been out across the country for the last month on this book tour, and I have never seen anything like it. I don't know of another former president who -- we have some great ones alive today -- who has this sort of emotional connection with people.
You start talking about Ronald Reagan and people get golf balls in their throats. I mean, it really is something that, I think, this country hasn't seen for a long time. People have an attachment to him, and we haven't seen that for decades in this country.
KING: Did he have many, many close friends, or not?
DEAVER: Well, you know...
KING: He was so tied to his wife.
DEAVER: I was just going to say, his closest friend to Nancy. And after he met Nancy, I don't think there was -- he didn't -- he wasn't looking for that sort of relationship. He had it -- everything he wanted in her. And I think that's true even today, in spite of the fact that his mind is, you know, wracked with Alzheimer's. It still -- she is the one that he still recognizes.
KING: Michael, do you miss being in the center of things?
DEAVER: Not at all.
DEAVER: Not at all, Larry. I have never missed being in the center of things. I do miss my pal Reagan. I miss having wonderful times with him.
KING: But you don't miss getting up in the morning and knowing what's happening before we did, and being -- listening in and involved in the decision-making process -- power?
DEAVER: No. I don't miss it at all. I really don't miss it at all. I really haven't missed it at all. I'm not sure that we got up every morning knowing more than you knew, anyway.
KING: By the way, Ronald Reagan handled leaving office very well, right?
DEAVER: He was able to go home and into the night calmly.
DEAVER: Well, he was elected when he was 70, so he had pretty much all of that -- and, you know, the interesting thing about him is, too, that he never changed. You know, from that first time running for governor of California until he left office on that cold day in January, he was still the same guy.
KING: Michael, thank you so much.
DEAVER: You bet. Thanks, Larry.
KING: Michael Deaver. The book, "A Different Drummer: My 30 Years With Ronald Reagan."
Daniel Schorr is next. Don't go away.
KING: Our final guest tonight on this special edition of LARRY KING WEEKEND is an old friend, a great reporter. Has got a terrific new book I just started, and I can tell it's going to be a problem putting it down. The senior news analyst with National Public Radio, Daniel Schorr. His career spans more than six decades; and the new book is titles, "Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism."
What took you so long to write this? I would have expected this from you 10 years ago.
DANIEL SCHORR, AUTHOR, "STAYING TUNED": That's a very a good question. I spent six years writing this; and the reason is, I discovered something about myself: I'm a news junkie. I'm much more interested in what's happening now than in what happened 20 and 30 years ago.
And as a result, I kept turning away from the book and say, hey, you hear this? Did they do this and that, and I had to find out about it and postpone the book time after time. Terrible.
KING: How old are you, Daniel?
SCHORR: I'll be 85 in August.
KING: How do you explain not getting jaded?
SCHORR: I love news. I love what's happening in the world. You share a lot of that yourself. I can see you every night sort of looking and saying, yes, I never knew that; that's new, that's different and all the rest of it.
It is simply the thrill of not knowing what's going to happen next, waiting for it, and then trying to explain it.
KING: You must be thrilled with the reviews of this. I mean, you've gotten incredible reviews.
SCHORR: The reviews are very, very good. The reviews are very, very good; and I guess when you get to be old enough and you have a hammerlock on history that nobody else knows any more, you can use that and get good reviews. Yes, they were good.
KING: You were one of the proud Murrow Men, right? What was his special thing? What made Edward R. Murrow different?
SCHORR: He had two or three special things. First of all, he had a voice that was unimaginable. All of us would try, at one time or another, to sound like Murrow. None of us succeeded.
Also, he wrote like a dream. He had not been, originally, a journalist, but he got into it. And when he wrote a script to tell you about going into a concentration camp after the war, or during the war standing on a burning building in London during the blitzkrieg and all of that stuff -- nobody could do that. We all tried to imitate him, and we never did.
The other side of him that was very important, he was kind of the conscience of the newspeople. We'd go to him and say, would this be the right thing to do? Would this be the wrong thing to do? I don't know where we got it from; I don't know why we had that kind of awe and respect for him.
Third thing is his respect for correspondents. He made us feel good.
KING: And his loyalty to you, right?
SCHORR: And his absolute loyalty to us and -- the first time I appeared on his show, having come from Moscow, which was the year end -- New Year's. And he walked around, there was Howard Smith, there was Cronkite, there were all these very, very -- and I was there for the first time, wondering how I did with my coming back from Moscow, talking about the Soviet Union.
And he walked and looked at me, moment's pause just for effect, and he said Schorr, you'll do.
And I thought that was great.
KING: You were the maverick of the group, were you not? It was Daniel that was seemingly -- not only in the hunt, but he was always in trouble. By trouble I mean, you were on the air announcing Nixon's enemy's list, and you come to your own name -- one of the great parts of the book.
SCHORR: It's the most electrifying moment I spent in a very, very long career. We were ABC, NBC, CBS, with correspondents posted outside the Senate Caucus room. We were going gavel to gavel with the Senate Watergate Committee's hearings. John Dean, whom I, by the way, saw in Las Angeles the other night -- John Dean had submitted a memo saying, on screwing our political enemies, listing 20 names.
They hand it to me while I was on the air. Now, you know what happens when you get something and you're on the air, and here it is, and you read, and you haven't read it before. Here it is, memo to Haldeman on screwing our political enemies. There are 20 numbered names, one, two, three, four. No. 17: Daniel Schorr. Says here, a real media enemy.
I read on, and said Paul Newman is No. 18, No. 19 is Mary McGrory...
KING: Didn't make a comment.
SCHORR: I did not make a comment. I gulped, I think, and said, now back to you. I couldn't believe it, that I had suddenly become a part of the story I was covering.
KING: In effect, Daniel -- and I know you ran into Nixon later -- but in effect, were you objective? Can you say in yourself you were an objective -- they were wrong. The term "enemy" was obviously stupid, but were they wrong?
SCHORR: The term "enemy" was something I had never heard in politics before. We have adversaries, we have competitors, we have rivals; "enemy" comes from something of wartime. Somebody you must destroy. That itself, I though was so typically paranoid Nixon.
I was not wrong about Watergate. I've been wrong about a great many things, but everything we said about Watergate turned out to be true, and a lot worse than we said.
KING: Why did you leave CBS?
SCHORR: I left CBS in a very complicated business. I came in 1976, when I had gotten an advance copy of a report of a House committee investigating CIA misdeeds. Then the House decided to suppress that report, and I had the only copy. And I thought that I owed it to everybody to have that published, and did get it published.
CBS found itself stuck between the House of Representatives and me; suspended me, later tried to rehire me. I had that terrible time when they asked me where I got the report. Threatened to send me to jail for contempt of Congress when I didn't tell them where I got the report. Told them I couldn't tell them that. In the end they voted six to five not to cite me for contempt. But by that time, something was broken between me and CBS after 23 years.
KING: Would Murrow have fought for you?
SCHORR: Murrow? Yes. The answer is: Everything that went wrong between me and CBS was because Murrow was not there.
KING: Were you CNN's first hire?
SCHORR: Yes. What happened was, after a couple years after CBS I got a call from somebody for Ted Turner who said he was going to start some kind of a 24-hour-a-day news network for cable. I didn't know what that meant, even. And would I come to work for him? I met him in Las Vegas, and I said, what do you want to do? Do I have to read commercials? Nah. Do I have to do this? Nah.
He said, listen, write down that you don't have to do anything you don't want to do, and sign it here. And I signed it. After talking to lawyers. We went out to a press conference, announced we're going to create something in 1980, it's going to be called the Cable News Network. And I had signed the first contract.
KING: Daniel Schorr. The book is, "Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism."
Paul McCartney Tuesday night. Don't go away.
KING: Daniel Schorr, were you always kind of a maverick? I mean...
SCHORR: I guess so; I guess so.
KING: Powerful people are afraid of you.
SCHORR: Well, afraid of me, or don't like me.
SCHORR: I don't know. Walter Cronkite, when he said a nice thing about my book, said Schorr has gotten into trouble with almost every president that there's been; you'll find out why in this book.
And I guess it simply is that I don't give up on things. I've got to know, and I've got to get to the end of it. And it doesn't matter to me if it embarrasses somebody very important. And if it does, that's too bad; that's what you've got to live with.
My problems with Nixon all came about because I analyzed things that he was doing and found they didn't add up to what he said he was doing, and he became very angry. He had a speech written by Pat Buchanan on education, I said on the air on the "CBS Evening News" that there was nothing there, it was all political rhetoric. They got very mad, and the called J. Edgar Hoover and tried to get something on me that way.
And it was always because I could not compromise with my idea of what the ultimate news was. It wasn't what people told me, but what they were hiding.
KING: KGB investigated you too, right?
SCHORR: KGB investigated me because when I was stationed in Moscow, they had official censorship. This was very soon after Stalin's death. They were censoring everything, and I didn't like censorship very well...
SCHORR: Very, very funny.
And I'd submit my script, it would come back butchered, and so on and so forth, and sometimes -- that's a pretty a good script, they shouldn't have done that. And so I'd get into the studio and I'd read things which they had cut out. And they warned me that they didn't like that.
And in the end they picked me up on the street for some cockamamy charge and held me, just for an hour, nothing very terrible. And then they took away my visa, and I couldn't work in the Soviet Union any more.
KING: What's that pin?
SCHORR: That pin is a Dutch decoration called an Orange-Nassau -- Officer of Orange-Nassau awarded to me by Queen Juliana. And I don't know whether you know why you're asking this question...
KING: I do not know why at all. I just looked at the pin, and it's a strange pin to wear. It's an unusual, beautiful little...
SCHORR: Very big story. When I was stationed in Holland, my first foreign assignment, I got onto a story -- typical -- I got into a story that queen Juliana was having a strange relationship with a faith healer who talked to God. And I learned about it. Talked to her husband Bernhard, who told me more about it. Wrote an article about it.
And then people said to me: You love Holland, Holland loves you, this is going to bring down the monarchy. You can't do this story. And one of the very few stories people talked me out of doing.
KING: You killed it.
SCHORR: I killed it. And when I left Holland, I got this decoration from the queen, it is believed, because I killed the story.
KING: Do you wear it all the time?
SCHORR: I like it.
KING: Do you ever think of quitting?
SCHORR: No; I don't know what you'd do. Do you think of quitting?
SCHORR: I know you're a lot younger than I am. You quit, and what do you do? KING: Retire to what?
SCHORR: You retire to what? Retire to looking at you on the air and saying, hey I got to tell him something that he doesn't know, or...
KING: We love having you as a guest all the time.
Do you enjoy National Public Radio?
SCHORR: It turned out to be the perfect, ultimate place. It may be the only job I won't be fired from, having been fired from a great many jobs.
First of all, at my age, radio is easier than television. Second place is that, because most of the people I work with are about a third my age, I know a lot of things that happened 75, 60 years ago that they don't know...
KING: They don't know Adlai Stevenson.
SCHORR: And they -- occasionally somebody will drop in my office and say, where were you, Dan, during the Spanish-American...
SCHORR: No -- oh, you didn't do that one? No, I did it. Oh, you did -- all of that.
I love it. I love to have a lot of knowledge and history in me that people need, and feel that I've got a monopoly on something. That is, I have a monopoly on the whole past early part of the century.
KING: You sure do. Do you see a lot of good journalism around?
SCHORR: Not as much as I would like.
KING: Was it better then, or is that one of those, the old days kind of thing?
SCHORR: Remember, Larry, that I was a newspaper person before television existed. I watched the first demonstration of experimental television at the New York World's Fair in 1939. And then I watched as television began to move in to what was news. And pretty soon, we people, the newspaper people, who learned things, reported things, were very worried about how we looked, what kind of makeup we had. And there was a new king of journalism coming in which occupied I think, I said at times, a small corner of the big entertainment stage.
I don't want to get too direct about this, because we're all part of it, aren't we?
KING: It's a visual medium.
SCHORR: It's a visual medium. KING: Daniel, I can tell you honestly, up-front, it's an honor knowing you; being in the same profession as you is an honor.
SCHORR: And I've watched you come along, and I love your success.
KING: Daniel Schorr. The new book is, "Staying Tuned: A Life in Journalism."
We had a great show tonight, hope you enjoyed it. See you tomorrow night. Paul McCartney on Tuesday. Good night.
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