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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Politics and Morals in the Case of the Missing Intern

Aired July 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, a 20-something intern, a powerful politician, an affair denied then finally admitted. Have we been through this before? William Bennett, co-director of Empower America speaks out for the first time about Gary Condit's behavior in the Chandra Levy mystery. Also joining us, the chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee and a friend of Congressman Condit, Julian Epstein.

Then, a Texas woman confesses to a horrible crime, killing her five children. Her husband struggles with grief and guilt. David Smith understands from tragic experience what Russ Yates is going through. His ex-wife, Susan, drowned their two young sons in a South Carolina lake in 1994. David is here to talk about living with a heartbreaking loss, and he will take your calls.

And they are all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Always great to have William Bennett with us, he is in Chicago, the co-director of Empower America, best-selling author, he's also -- his latest project is an on-line education venture called "K-12." It's aimed to provide a broad curriculum for home schooling families, information for parents dissatisfied with children's public education. One day we'll do a whole show on education. Bill will talk about that specifically.

Tonight we are here to talk about what's going on with politics and morals and the like. His last book was called, "The Death of Outrage." Do you think that book keeps ringing true?

WILLIAM BENNETT, EMPOWER AMERICA: Well, I'm afraid so. I had a postscript in that book, Larry, which said that lessons would be learned out of that incident, and I was afraid that one of the lessons that would be learned -- and I don't want to really talk about Bill Clinton tonight -- one of the lessons that would be learned, if you're facing some difficult situation in which you have acted in a way that is inappropriate, I'm afraid the lesson out of the last two years was to stonewall, deny everything, try to hide it, make fun of your accusers, try to shift the blame somewhere else, rather than come clean and tell the truth.

And it looks like we have had some of that here, so I'm afraid this pattern is very much present.

KING: Why do you think, Bill, that people, especially in politics, in all -- we are talking conservative, liberal, when they're faced with something, do that? Why do they -- when they know eventually it is going to come out, why not let it out and then get rid of it?

BENNETT: I don't really know. I have talked to some lawyers in Washington -- I'm related to one and I know many others -- who handle some of these cases, and it seems to me the best thing to do would be to put sunlight on your problems, unless they are problems of such a dimension that the light would burn. Now, that you couldn't get them out.

But this strategy is obviously not very smart, in addition to being very suspicious, and a lot of people have pointed that out. In addition, to that, Congressman Condit has done is potentially criminal, if not criminal, it is certainly very culpable. He has not -- did not come clean for a long time. And he was obviously a very important person in Chandra Levy's life, maybe still is a very important person in Chandra Levy's life. We shouldn't assume the worst.

And he had an obligation to come clean right from the start. His lawyer makes the ridiculous claim -- and I have to say, you know, from week-to-week the American public's view, whether they dislike the media more or lawyers more, it varies. This week I think the lawyers take the bottom place, at least because of the behavior of some -- him saying he is protecting his privacy, he is protecting his dignity.

Well, privacy and dignity yield, it seems to me, at least, to a certain degree, when we are talking about a missing person, a potentially criminal act, and the fact that this young woman who was involved with Congressman Condit is nowhere to be found. He has to give up some of that privacy, particularly when, as the facts have it, he knows a good deal about Chandra Levy. And may have a lot to do and a lot to say about the current situation.

KING: Bill, you have written eloquently about morals. What about seeming hypocrisy -- a congress -- Former Congressman Rick Lazio said today that he took a Bible study course with Congressman Condit, and he is -- this is the most shocking to him, that Condit would involve in this. And there's a lot of people are saying, this guy, he's a Blue Dog Democrat, that is the conservative wing of the Democrats. He stood with President Bush when he signed the tax relief bill, what -- why?

BENNETT: Well, look, hypocrisy is better than no standards at all. If you don't have any standards at all, you can't be hypocritical. Barosh Vicaul (ph) said hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. And it's better to profess standards, to try to live up to them, and occasionally fail. I think what bothers us is the continuing public protestation of Congressman Condit and others, and the kind of tone deafness of a lot of people in Washington about these things.

Look, isn't there one thing that is pretty straightforward here, Larry? All this stuff about, you know, congressman talking to him, what do they think and what can we do -- could we have an ethics provision that says no more, you know, poaching of interns, no more fondling of interns -- and if we need to lay out long definitions of what fondling means and what sex means, I'm sure that can be done.

How about members of Congress and public -- officials, no longer regarding interns as personal poaching property. Wouldn't that make some sense? Is this too strenuous a requirement for them? Or are we just so beyond that in this age? There is a lot of criticism of people salacious interests in this, and there obviously is salacious interest in these facts.

But I'll tell you, there is a genuine, real and important interest in this, too. Parents send their kids to Washington, they send their kids off to college, they send their kids away from home. And in hopes, you know, that the kids whom they have raised will not be seen as targets -- as marks for powerful people. And, increasingly, the cynicism and worry of the public has been justified.

KING: Even if the intern is over 21?

BENNETT: Sure. I mean, Larry, we all know people over 21, and the difference between a 23 or 24-year-old kid, boy or girl, and a mid 50-year-old experienced member of Congress is -- I know it is the age of consent, I know it is the age you can vote, but there is still a degree of innocence versus a degree of sophistication.

This was sexual exploitation. I think I could bring Barbara Boxer and others, if there would be true their own words, as witnesses in this case, saying, when, in a workplace situation, you know, when a man is the boss or a member of Congress or superior and a girl is an intern, as we have had in many circumstances, or the woman is intern, it is a situation of unfairness, and rife with exploitation. And consent is really in some ways a kind of a muted issue.

KING: And certainly taken advantage.

BENNETT: Of course, that is the other thing, common sense here. The other thing that I have heard some lawyers do, it just violates common sense, you know. Mr. Lowell says he has been cooperating fully. Of course he hasn't been cooperating fully. If he has been cooperating fully, the police would not go to him three times. He has been stonewalling.

And meanwhile, two months have gone by and we don't know where this girl is.

KING: We will take a break and come back with more of William Bennett, and then we will be joined by Julian Epstein, who may have some contrary opinions. And then later we will meet the tragic story of David Smith, who, it was seven years ago that his wife killed their two children. You remember that story.

Mariel Hemingway joins us tomorrow night. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S FATHER: Well, that is what we do now, but you know -- 10 weeks ago would have been a good time, I think. Like I told the police that time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Dr. Levy this afternoon, talking about his daughter.

William Bennett, the co-director of Empower America is with us. He is also involved in the online venture project called K-12. How about if we took this standpoint, Bill: No crime has been committed, no crime has been charged. And this congressman, while he did lie about having an affair -- I guess thousands of Americans have lied about such a thing -- what's the rub?

If his private life is his own, if his wife isn't divorcing him, what's it our business if he is not involved with the missing girl? I mean, had nothing to do with why she is missing?

BENNETT: Well, we don't know if he who does anything do with it or not. I mean, just reverse it. Look, now that we know that he had an affair with this young woman, which took a long time to come out, and again which I think probably impeded the investigation -- maybe, maybe not.

Now that we know that, if that is all that is involved, which is the premise of your question, and the premise of people who are defending him, then what's the problem with coming out publicly and clean? You know, OK, I had an affair, you all know that, I had two other affairs, and that is it. And then it is over.

Why not come forward publicly now, unless there is still something to hide? See, I still believe in this kind of circumstance that if you are hands are clean, you come forward and you show up your hands, you shout it from the rooftops, and you say, "this is it, this is what happened."

Let's just concede, for the sake of the argument, all he was trying to do was to keep this affair private and secret. All right? That is gone, that is over. If that is all that was involved, he loses nothing by going public with the Modesto paper or with -- on LARRY KING LIVE, and then, he is fully disclosed that it's over. But he does not want to come forward, he does not want to be public, and this continues to raise suspicions.

Also, again, common sense, Larry. If the young woman had a serious drinking problem then disappeared, you would check the bars, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE). If she has had a drug problem, you check the alleys and you talk to the dealers.

Well, what was this young woman's life about the week before she died? What was her preoccupation? What was her obsession? This is why Gary Condit is in the spotlight, and he can't deny that that is a plausible way for people to think about this.

KING: Do you think he should take a lie detector test?

BENNETT: Sure! Sure he should! And I think he should probably offer to do more. Now, Abbe Lowell has come forward and said that will be arranged. But again, I guess I just don't understand why he didn't come forward earlier. But if he didn't want to do that for whatever reason, now that apparently all that is to be known that was potentially embarrassing is known, then why not come forward?

KING: What do you think this story does to the overall view of politics and politicians, left and right, Republican and Democrat? Is it a sin on all thy houses?

BENNETT: Well, more cynicism, sure. More cynicism. You know, I have been on your show several years, since we had that, you know, a curse on the folks who bring more cynicism about politics, and this adds to it. And you know, this includes -- Republicans have their culprits here, and Democrats do, too.

But, you know, members of Congress like to talk about what they do, what they believe, and their values, and how they well represent the people of America, and then when you get them in a tough situation, you see how people really behave, and it encourages cynicism. We should not have so much cynicism about the political process.

And I will say again what I have said 1,000 times on your show: There are honorable men and women in this town, in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party, and I think they should be the toughest ones on their colleagues when they contribute to this cynicism of the people.

KING: There is, is there not, Bill, sometimes an arrogance of power? I can get away with it because I got the job?

BENNETT: Well, I think it's fair to say that, you know, if this were, you know, Joe Six-pack, you know, who was cheating on his wife with a young girl and she disappeared, the treatment might be a little different.

But you know, when you talk to members of Congress -- and again, you talk to the lawyers who have represented members of Congress -- many of them will tell you they believe that if, you know, that everybody loves them and that -- they are not really answerable for this, and that private life and public life are fully and completely compartmentalized, except when they want to trot out their families for, you know, photo-op.

KING: That's the hypocrisy.

BENNETT: ... or say how much they care about family values. Yeah, that is the hypocrisy that I think -- that I think rubs, because that is -- that is more than hypocrisy. That can be a lie.

KING: William Bennett, and when we come back we'll be joined by Julian Epstein, chief minority counsel of House Judiciary Committee who knows Congressman Condit pretty well, and is a close friend of the aforementioned Mr. Lowell as well. We'll be right back. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN LEVY, CHANDRA'S MOTHER: There are certain things that Mr. Condit did not come forth in very beginning in this when I first called him on a specific line, and I asked a specific question. And I don't feel he has been very truthful to me, and I think someone out there knows the truth. Someone knows where my daughter is, and that is all I can say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: By the way, we asked Congressman Condit's attorney Abbe Lowell to join us on the program tonight. He declined. And we also, of course, have a standing invitation with the congressman himself.

William Bennett, the co-director of Empower America is with us in Chicago, and joining us now from Washington, Julian Epstein, chief minority counsel, House Judiciary Committee, who knows Congressman Condit as well, knows Mr. Lowell as well.

Any comments -- what in essence, Mr. Epstein, has Bill Bennett said so far that you would disagree with?

JULIAN EPSTEIN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE COUNSEL: Well, I agree with some of the things and I disagree with other things. The thing that he said at the outset of the interview, Larry, I disagree with. The notion of trying to hang this episode on the doorstep of Bill Clinton, I think is a little bit facile.

Look, there have extramarital affairs going on since the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans, and they've been trying to cover it up since the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans. There is a long list of presidents, Republican and Democrat, who were, as you know, accused of having extramarital affairs, many members of Congress, Republican and Democrat -- I don't know that the statistics exceed the general population, but this syndrome occurred long before Bill Clinton was around, and I'm sure will continue to occur long after he is gone.

Now, I agree that the similarities, the superficial similarities to the impeachment episode are a little bit eerie. I doubt that Shakespeare could design a sequel with more irony. But the notion that Gary Condit is somehow sitting back and looking at the playbook, page 13 of the Clinton playbook, and saying, well, what should I do now, I should try to deny the affair -- I think is absurd, because the Clinton playbook failed, and everybody knows it.

You get into a situation like this, where there is a legal investigation -- when you try to fib, when you try to parse, you end up getting caught.

I have a different theory for you, Bill. What happened, I think, was wrong, but in some sense it was a human reaction. He panicked. He freaked out. He got into a situation, he was having an extramarital affair he shouldn't have been having, and amazingly with a woman who then disappears, and he froze.

And I think what he did was wrong, I think he should have come clean earlier, but this notion of trying to make this partisan by pointing fingers at past -- President Clinton -- when there are so many others that have been in this type of situation, I think it's just -- doesn't help the conversation.

KING: Bill, let's stick on that point on the panic part. Or do you want to comment on other issue?

BENNETT: Let me just say I would respond to those charges if they were true. I think I said early on, Larry, you asked me about my book and whether there was any lesson, and I said yeah. One lesson is, you know, a piece of advice people seem to be taking which is often counterproductive, is stonewall. And I think Mr. Epstein and I both agree that is wrong to stonewall.

I also said Republicans, we have the Bob Packwood situation, we have other examples and I think I mention that. Look, my worry here that is the precedent isn't Clinton, the precedent is Kennedy. We may have a woman who is dead here, and I don't know what happened to her. But there were a lot of things said during the Clinton-Lewinsky period, but none of them was ever "Monica Lewinsky is missing." This is a very serious matter. I'm not accusing the congressman of this, but it is a very serious matter, and potentially a very serious criminal matter, but indeed sins on all sides.

Now, I think Mr. Epstein's right. I am sure he panicked and choked and pressed, and therefore didn't come forward. But one hopes that sounder heads would prevail, that he would get good advice, and that before two months elapsed that he would have come forward. Because it is not just his state of mind that we have to be concerned about, I mean, too bad about state of mind. We have a missing young woman! Get a hold of yourself, Gary, and go to the police and tell them what you know.

EPSTEIN: One place I do agree with Mr. Bennett is I think that in the impeachment process I think a lot of people on the conservative side of the argument lost the support of the American people because they were perceived as dragging the matter, the extramarital fair of the former president, through mud. Here I agree with Mr. Bennett that there is something different.

There is somebody that is missing. There is a high likelihood of a crime and I think the notion of personal privacy you do sacrifice. Nobody argues that he should have come forward earlier, but I think that the police have said, and they have repeated, it's not just Abbe Lowell, Mr. Condit's lawyer, the police have said that he hasn't misled them in any way, and now I think he is taking the extra steps. He is saying, he is saying...

BENNETT: Mr. Epstein, you don't expect the police to come forward in public and say, you know, we think he has misled us and he is a suspect? You don't really think the police would that say if they believed that, you do? EPSTEIN: But I don't think the police would come out and say that they believe that he has been fully cooperative, he's answered every question, but I think what's important now is I think -- we all agree, Bill, we all agree that he has made mistakes, we all agree he that he panicked, we all agree that he did what he shouldn't have done.

The question is what he does right now. I think, if he in fact agrees to the third interview, now he agrees to take a lie detector test. He agrees to open up his apartment without a warrant. I think one of the important things on your program last night, Larry, was the invitation from Billy Martin, billy's a superb lawyer, another person in this matter that I know, the invitation that Gary Condit should go and give a full accounting to the family. I don't think anybody really suspects Gary Condit of having been involved in this, but I think a lot of people think he hasn't behaved properly.

(CROSSTALK)

EPSTEIN: ... rectify that and how he should rectify that is i think he should go and see the family.

BENNETT: Look, I don't know what happened, but I don't think your ear is very good, if I may, Mr. Epstein, in terms of public opinion, if you don't think -- anybody thinks -- he didn't have anything to do with it. If you talk to people around this country the way I was talking to people in Chicago today, most people think Gary Condit had something to do with it. EPSTEIN: I disagree with that.

BENNETT: Well -- well, I'm sure there are polls on it.

(CROSSTALK)

EPSTEIN: I don't think anybody that's watching this very closely think that's true either.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Let me get one break. We'll come right back.

EPSTEIN: It would be interesting.

KING: Let me get one break, we'll come right back and spend some more moments with William Bennett and Julian Epstein on this continuing saga. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABBE LOWELL, CONDIT ATTORNEY: If the police say to me that they believe having a DNA sample for somebody who is not a suspect, maybe because they want to eliminate all the other men in the United States, well then that is something that I will receive from them, and Congressman Condit will cooperate.

(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILLY MARTIN, LEVY'S ATTORNEY: If he was having intimate relationship with her at the end of April and the beginning of May, he of all people, would know her state of mind. How we know that she was upbeat, from telephone messages she left, and we would like the congressman to tell us, not just when and where he met with her -- what they talked about, and what was her mood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Julian Epstein, legally, he may be correct but personally, morally, do you think that Congressman Condit should come forward in some public forum to discuss this?

EPSTEIN: Well, I think what he has to do is he has to not just do the minimal with the police. I think has to do the maximum. Even if it means carrying a lantern and looking under dumpsters and looking elsewhere. I think secondly what he has got to do, and the lie detector test, I don't agree with lie detector tests, I don't think they are accurate, but they've agreed to do that. That shows that they are trying to go the extra mile here.

I think what he also has to do is he has to make an accounting to family. They are asking for that, they are entitled to nothing less than that. The notion about whether he should make a public accounting, I think he does have to make one. The question is when. I think most people that have any experience whatsoever in these type of investigations say that you don't try these matters, you don't investigate these matters in front of the television cameras. Let the police do their work.

Don't discuss matters that then may make police leads dry up. At some point he needs do it. The question is when. Not in a way I think that would interfere in any way with the police investigation. There is a lot more can he do. He ought to do it.

KING: Would you agree, Julian, that every day that goes by puts himself in more of a hole, like people saying, got nothing to hide? Speak out.

EPSTEIN: Well, I think that if he passes the lie detector, even though there are unreliable in my point of view, I think that that will do a lot for his public relations. I think if he meets with the family and begins to assuage the families concerns, that will again take another burden off him.

At some point, I think some of the criticism is going to focus on the D.C. police. I think they have handled this matter a little bit too slowly. I think the fact that they waited for so long go in for the third interview, they waited for so long to actually go into the apartment. I think some of the criticism is going to start go now towards the police. At some point, yes, he has to give a public accounting, Larry. But the question really is when, and I don't think now is necessarily the time.

KING: We only have a minute left. We lost our satellite with Chicago, so we thank Bill Bennett. We certainly will have Bill on hopefully very soon again, but finally, for you, Julian, and it is a puzzlement, you know Gary Condit.

EPSTEIN: Sure.

KING: What, about him, should we know?

EPSTEIN: Well, I know him professionally. I worked with him when I was the staff director of the Government Operations Committee, now the Government Reform Committee. He is a very hardworking member of Congress. Republicans and Democrats say he is a guy who has been very above board. This something that I think was troubling to many of us that knew him.

But again, I think what happened was what I said at the outset, was he panicked, and he made some bad decisions and now the real test for Gary Condit is going to be how he proceeds from here.

Does he take the lie detector test? Does he meet with the family? Does he not only do the minimal things the police are asking him to do, but does he do the maximal types of things. I think he should be asking, for example, the D.C. police and for the Federal Bureau Investigation that are involved in this case to double the men and women that are involved in investigating this matter. He has got to do things to show that he really is distraught by the fact that she is gone, and wants to lead the search party trying to find her.

KING: Thank you, Julian. Always good seeing you.

EPSTEIN: My pleasure.

KING: Julian Epstein, chief minority council, House Judiciary Committee. And we certainly thank William Bennett, co-director of Empower America and the founder of this K12 idea which we will be talking more about in days ahead. We lost the satellite to Chicago there, that is life.

When we come back: David Smith. Remember that horrendous story? Ex-husband of a convicted child killer, Susan Smith. She drowned her two sons, said someone else did it. David Smith is next. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(AUDIO GAP)

KING: ...you came on this program in August of '95, and one of the reasons you wrote it, you said, you thought it was too much sympathy for her.

DAVID SMITH, WIFE MURDERED THEIR TWO CHILDREN: Right.

KING: And not enough for the dead boys.

SMITH: Right.

KING: How did you react when you heard about that...

(AUDIO GAP)

SMITH: ...going to change in the next five minutes. And probably going to change in next 30 seconds.

(AUDIO GAP)

KING: ...does he think more as he misses the children, there will be times he will blame her? Even though....

SMITH: Sure.

KING: Something is you psychotic here, though, right? We are not doctors, but something is wrong.

SMITH: Right, something is wrong definitely.

KING: Were you shocked when you found out it was Susan?

SMITH: Absolutely. Yes, 100 percent.

KING: Do you hear from her at all? Do you hear about her at all?

SMITH: Don't hear from her and hear very little about her anymore.

KING: How do you rationalize it, David? How do you deal with it? After -- I mean you obviously miss the kids.

SMITH: Right.

KING: You love these boys.

(AUDIO GAP)

SMITH: ...but, how I deal with it. You know, I can't I can't give you, or any one a specific thing that I do with it. I just, I just get up and go every day, Larry.

KING: You just live out each day. Because it is impossible to understand the loss of someone, to die before you, and especially to die that way. Do you think there are ever moments when you say, Susan was a victim? I mean, she was what, raped, when she was a child by her own step father. She was child molested. Do you ever say to yourself, I have an excuse here for her? I have an allowance for her?

SMITH: No.

KING: Why not? Because that I would think would help rationalize it.

SMITH: Larry, I mean, we all -- in life, we all have some type of problem. And I'm not dare making light of anyone's problems out there. But what did Michael and Alex have to do with her past? They were innocent, they were still a baby, a small child. They didn't do anything wrong -- they didn't they had no reason why they had to die. Nothing Susan and Susan's past could have been so wrong to murder Michael and Alex.

KING: So there's no excuse for it, no matter what.

SMITH: Not in my eyes, no.

KING: OK. What was the impact on your life of all the media attention?

SMITH: Wow. Probably it caused -- it caused me not to grieve when I should have been grieving. Because all media was on me, and I guess, and one way it was -- it made it harder. Because the media wouldn't allow me to grieve, to miss my children.

KING: When you see them now, is it more painful? When you see Susan feigning sadness and there you are, and...

(AUDIO GAP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

D. SMITH: I would like to take the time to plead to the American public that you please do not give up on these two little boys and the search for their return safe home to us, and that you continue to look for this car, these two -- our children and for the suspect himself, that you continue to keep your eyes open, and anything that you see that might help the police, call and let it be known.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, you were -- what -- divorced from Susan then?

D. SMITH: We were going through a divorce.

KING: Going through divorce.

D. SMITH: Right.

KING: That had to make it doubly difficult, right?

D. SMITH: Right.

KING: And her mother was very critical of you, she thought you were out on a revenge factor. Did you ever iron that out with her?

D. SMITH: No.

KING: You ever see her?

D. SMITH: No.

KING: You still live in same city though, right?

D. SMITH: No, I moved one county over. I don't live in Union anymore.

KING: Do people run into you from that time, do you run into people who were around that ask about Susan, or do you hear about this a lot, or has it gone away?

D. SMITH: The most -- mostly what I hear, Larry, is people just approaching me at work and saying, you know, you know, "how are you, David," or "aren't you Susan Smith's ex-husband," or "aren't you Michael and Alex's father," that is mostly what I get, you know.

And it is always an instant reminder, and it is hard sometimes, because I might be having a bad day already, you know, because of the loss, you know, and then they will throw that in there. But I know inside that they don't mean any harm.

KING: I guess the toughest thing is how can you ever fathom a mother killing children? I mean, it is beyond any reason, right?

D. SMITH: Right. Beats me.

KING: To Lenexa, Kansas for David Smith. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, I wanted to ask you, David: seven years ago in hindsight, was there anything that would make you feel now that you could see that your ex-wife could have hurt your children back then? That there was any depression then, that she could have -- it's just not normal, we all know someone that would hurt their children, something has to be terribly wrong.

KING: Did you see a sign?

D. SMITH: No. I did not, Larry.

KING: None at all? It must be on your mind a lot when it first...

D. SMITH: Oh, yeah. I ran it through since these years passed, but Susan was Susan, as I have stated all along. She was a good mother up to that point.

KING: You never saw her unduly get angry or hit the children?

D. SMITH: No. No. No signs of, you know, depression. It just totally took me by surprise, Larry.

KING: The reason that something to do with another man? Or what was eventually discovered as the reason she killed those two kids?

D. SMITH: Well, I don't know if anything was ever proven, you know, during the trial. But after all these years, Larry, running through my mind 1,000 times, always come back to out of greed. She wanted to be with this boyfriend.

KING: That's what I mean.

D. SMITH: Right.

KING: And this boyfriend didn't want the two kids.

D. SMITH: Right. Right.

KING: So, it was the need for him overwhelmed the need for the two kids.

D. SMITH: I think eventually, yes, it overtook.

KING: So, do ever you think, why didn't she call you and say, look, I'm in this fix, take the kids?

D. SMITH: Sure.

KING: You would have taken them in a second, right?

D. SMITH: In a heartbeat, Larry.

KING: Mountain Home, Arkansas, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello. David, have you or can you forgive Susan for killing your two sons?

D. SMITH: Yes, I have forgiven Susan for what she did. Yes, I have.

KING: Forgive but not forget.

D. SMITH: But not forget.

KING: So, the hatred is gone.

D. SMITH: Hatred is gone.

KING: What if she got paroled some day?

D. SMITH: I will be right there to make sure that she doesn't.

KING: Doesn't get paroled?

D. SMITH: Doesn't get paroled.

KING: So, you have forgiven, but not to that extent?

D. SMITH: Right.

KING: We'll find out why in a minute and take some more calls. We'll be right back with David Smith. Mariel Hemingway tomorrow night. On Thursday night, we are going to have the attorney for Paula Poundstone, it will be his first appearance discussing that unusual case, and spend a lot of time as well with Pat Boone, who is going to ask you to pray for a very sick grandson. And Catherine Zeta-Jones will be aboard on Friday. We'll be right back with David smith, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Susan Smith has been arrested and will be charged with two counts of murder in connection with the death of her children, Michael, 3, and Alexander, 14 months. A 1990 Mazda, driven by Smith, was located late Thursday afternoon, in lake John Delong near Union. Two bodies were found in the vehicle's back seat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN SMITH, CONVICTED MURDERER: I just can't express enough. I have been saying Lord's prayers every day with my family and by myself, with my husband. It just seems so unfair that somebody could take your beautiful children. I don't understand -- I have put all my trust in praying to the Lord, that he's taking care of them, and he will bring them home to us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: In the Yates case, at least the woman came forward right away. Boy, that was...

D. SMITH: Nine days, Larry.

KING: By the way, is the hesitancy in people are asking about this to marry out of just being wary of something might happen?

D. SMITH: Yeah.

KING: Are you thinking, though, maybe you ought to?

D. SMITH: Yeah.

KING: Just for Savannah's sake.

D. SMITH: Yes, yeah. Sure do.

KING: Being wary is very understandable. If anybody could be wary, you could be wary.

D. SMITH: I can't help but be wary.

KING: Why would you oppose her parole?

D. SMITH: She doesn't deserve to be free. She doesn't. Larry, you know, in essence all she got was 15 years per child, and that is not enough for Michael and Alex's life. KING: College Station, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, thanks for taking my call.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I wanted to ask Mr. Smith if he thought his wife should have received the death penalty. And secondly, if he thinks the Yates lady here in Texas should get the death penalty?

You know, it has been reported that the fifth child that she killed was her 7-year-old that she had to drag down the hall. I imagine there is skin underneath his fingernails -- autopsy reports have not come out yet, but I mean there was a massive struggle. Can you let me know, and I will hang up and listen to your comments?

KING: Sure.

SMITH: Well, I definitely still feel strongly that Susan should have got the death penalty for what she did. As far as the lady, Miss Yates out in Houston. I -- I don't really want to go into whether she should receive the death penalty or not because that is, you know, that is something for the jury to decide, the powers to be to decide, it is something that I really don't want to go into.

KING: It is a different case though.

SMITH: Yes.

KING: The circumstances, a little postpartum depression, and -- although, the description of the killing of a seven-year-old had to happen that way.

SMITH: Right.

KING: You wanted Susan to die?

SMITH: Yes.

KING: You have forgiven her.

SMITH: I forgive her. But I still feel she should have had the death penalty for what she did. Because, I mean, Michael and Alex, you know, they didn't do anything wrong Larry, they didn't have a chance. What -- what can be so wrong in your life that you murder your children? What can be so wrong -- and again, I'm not making light of one's problems out there, because some people have some very serious, severe problems, but you don't murder your children because of your problems.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with David Smith, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with David Smith. When did you last talk to Susan?

SMITH: It is about 30 days after she was arrested.

KING: When was the occasion?

SMITH: I had gone to see her in prison.

KING: Because?

SMITH: I just wanted to see her and -- talk to her and see what she had to say about what had happened.

KING: What did she say?

SMITH: She basically was just apologetic for what she had done.

KING: Just said, I'm sorry.

SMITH: Yeah. I mean, of course, I asked her why she did it Larry but her comment was she didn't know why.

KING: Were you in court the day she was sentenced?

SMITH: Yes.

KING: When the jury came back, you were surprised she got life?

SMITH: To some degree but also no, Larry, not being a small town like Union and the jury from Union County. Not really.

KING: You mean, they took you think pity on her?

SMITH: Yeah, I do.

KING: Life goes on, right? David, I mean -- a piece of you will always be missing.

SMITH: Yes.

KING: Two little boys, and your little girl is going to grow up knowing about this, right?

SMITH: Yes.

KING: And having two half brothers that she will never meet.

SMITH: Right.

KING: Now, one more call, I didn't get the city. Boston, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Go ahead, Boston.

CALLER: Um, I'm calling from Brockton.

KING: Oh, Brockton. The home of Rocky Marciano!

CALLER: That's right!

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I didn't have a question, I just have a comment to David. I think that you should just live a good life, take care of your little girl, she is very beautiful, and that is what I was going to say right there, we love to see you smile. We hardly ever see you smile and I would like to see you smile.

SMITH: Thank you very much.

CALLER: Take care, David.

KING: You know that a lot of people got very close to you, during all of this because they tried to put themselves in your place. Very hard to do. Did you try to do that with Mr. Yates? Because you could put yourself in his place?

SMITH: I do. Yes, I do. That is that is my biggest thing, not so much what punishment his wife should receive. I just feel sorry for Mr. Yates, I have -- I ache for him. Because I can see the look on his face, what he is going through. And I know what he is going through Larry. I walked those in those shoes and it is tough. It is real hard.

KING: A lot of sleepless nights.

SMITH: Yes. It's a lonely road to go down. Really is. I just hurt so much for him.

KING: Thank you for coming, David. We know this is not easy. We appreciate it. We wish you the best of luck with little Savanna (ph), and with your girlfriend, hope everything works out, you want more children too?

SMITH: Sure.

KING: Like another boy?

SMITH: That would be great.

KING: David Smith.

Tomorrow night, Mariel Hemingway will be with us, we will discuss for the first time publicly about the death of her sister, and the surrounding incidents of that extraordinary Hemingway family.

On Thursday night, Paula Poundstone's attorney will be here talking for the first time about her arrest and what her situation is. And Pat Boone discussing his very ill grandson, and asking for universal prayer.

On Friday Night, Catherine Zeta-Jones will join us. We thank you very much for joining us. I'm Larry King speaking for all guests tonight, inviting you all to stay tune for "CNN TONIGHT," that is next.

And then, my man Jeff Greenfield a half hour from now. Thanks for joining us. Good night.

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

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