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Chad Condit Defends His Father

Aired August 27, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive! Gary Condit son Chad speaks out for the first time about the Chandra Levy mystery and his father's fight to save his political life and personal reputation. Chad Condit, an exclusive interview, with phone calls later, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Chad Condit, the oldest child of Gary Condit. Chad is the son and the sister is -- Cadee is here as well, but Chad is the one that's on the air with us tonight. And by the way, during this program we'll be showing you pictures that the Condits made available to us, not been seen before, family pictures and the like. So when you see those, you know they were brought to us to by Chad and his -- his sister.

What do you do for Governor Davis?

CHAD CONDIT, GARY CONDIT'S SON: I work for Governor Davis in the Central Valley. I'm his Central Valley guy, so to speak. A lot of issues revolving around agriculture, education. The governor's made an effort to reach out to our part of the state.

KING: Were you attracted to politics because of your dad?

C. CONDIT: Absolutely. I'm in politics because of my dad. I believe in public service because of Gary Condit.

KING: Do you want to run some day?

C. CONDIT: Not anymore.

KING: What happened? You were going to run for the Assembly, right?

C. CONDIT: I was thinking about running for the Assembly. I was really torn, because I enjoyed my job with the governor so much. But this has, you know, if this is what public service is about, I don't -- I don't know that I would want any part of it.

KING: It has discouraged you?

C. CONDIT: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

KING: Your sister also works for the governor.

C. CONDIT: Yes, sir.

KING: And what's her job?

C. CONDIT: She works in the executive office, in his personal office, and handles a lot of his daily duties and...

KING: And the governor's a close friend of your father's, right?

C. CONDIT: Yes, sir. Yeah.

KING: Although today he did criticize him -- and I'll just get a comment from you. Governor Davis said, "I'm disheartened that Congressman Condit did not speak out more quickly or more fully."

C. CONDIT: Well, also in that interview he says he got his information from the news media. And so anybody that's going to rely on the news media on this story to give them information or rely strictly on that probably is going to get it wrong.

The fact of the matter is Gary Condit has been forthcoming with law enforcement folks from the very beginning. And there's no honor in kicking somebody when they're down. I -- I just -- I just disagree with the governor's comments and they kind of miss the mark.

KING: But you don't hold the governor in less regard?

C. CONDIT: I probably do.

KING: But you're still working for him?

C. CONDIT: Right this second.

KING: As of this minute.

C. CONDIT: Yeah.

KING: Why did you choose to come on?

C. CONDIT: I'm ready to tell it to the King.

KING: OK, good line. What has it been like for the -- for the family? I mean, the sins of the fathers do not come down on the son, and you're not responsible for anything. But what's this been like for you?

C. CONDIT: Well, you know, the -- it's been real tough. It's been hard on mom, dad, Cadee and I, and the entire family. But the Levy family's pain and grief and suffering, we just can't imagine that. So from that standpoint, our pain doesn't measure. But I think, you know, from a son's standpoint -- and Cadee and I are united in this. When folks start calling my dad a murderer or suggesting my mom and dad had something to do with the disappearance, that's too much, too far, unfair, and it's wrong. And somebody has got to say enough is enough.

KING: Let's go over this whole thing. Did you know about Chandra Levy?

C. CONDIT: Did I know about...

KING: Yeah, before this broke, that there was a missing girl.


KING: You didn't know?

C. CONDIT: No, I didn't.

KING: She worked for Governor Davis.

C. CONDIT: She interned with the governor, but I don't think I ever met her.

KING: OK. And you didn't know your father had any relationship with her, right?

C. CONDIT: I don't know Gary's -- all Gary's friends, but being in politics you make a lot of friends, old people, young people. That's what politicians do. They build relationships.

So I didn't know about this particular friendship.

KING: Well, what did you make of it upon learning of it as a son? Father you love, you're following in his footsteps, you want to be in politics -- something went on. You must have -- how did you feel? I don't want to put words in your mouth. You tell me how you felt.

C. CONDIT: I -- I just feel bad people are saying he had something to do with the disappearance.

KING: But I mean, how did you feel about the relationship aspect, when you heard about that?

C. CONDIT: I -- well, I -- I mean, I'm just concentrating on finding Chandra Levy. I -- I didn't feel one way or the other. I don't -- you know, the family knows the details of the relationship. We have chose not to go on the national news or the Connie Chung show and discuss those details. Out of respect for Gary's family, he's chosen to do that. And I think that's fair and that's the right thing to do. And by the way, it's the gentlemanly thing to do also. And my dad has always taught me to be a gentleman.

KING: But does it bother you that he might have had a relationship with her?

C. CONDIT: I trust Gary Condit. I have no reason not to trust him.

KING: What has he said to you?

C. CONDIT: What has he said to me about...

KING: All of this.

C. CONDIT: Now if I went and told you what he said to me about the relationship, then we would be getting to discussing the details, and I'm not going to do that, Mr. King.

KING: No, I'm not asking you -- I'm just asking you what the attention of it brought to you. In other words, how did you feel -- I'm trying to put myself in your boat. If it were my father -- my father's deceased...

C. CONDIT: The worst part about it...

KING: ... how I would deal with this.

C. CONDIT: ... is not any allegations about a relationship or a friendship. The worst part is there are people on this station and other stations suggesting that Gary Condit had something to do with the disappearance. And they've even went so far to say Carolyn Condit might have had something to do with it. That's the disheartening part to me, and that's where we -- we've kind of crossed the line, I think.

KING: Do you...

C. CONDIT: And that's why I'm here.

KING: All right. Do you agree, Chad, that he played a part in his own problem by not speaking out more forcefully earlier?

C. CONDIT: Early on, political handlers came to him and said, you know, you need to do a confession or a denial. You need to distance yourself. Gary Condit is not about that. He's not about that at all. This was about trying to find Chandra, trying to help law enforcement.

He could have -- I mean, second-guessing, who knows? I don't know if it would have went away, if it would have been different. That is just a guess now. I don't know.

KING: If he'd -- if he'd gone on television early and said, look, I'm not going to discuss anything personal about me and Chandra, but I'm worried about her, I'm talking to the police every day, and if he had said that, don't you think that would have put it away early?

C. CONDIT: I don't know. I don't know if it would have or not. This has been a pretty much a media frenzy, and I don't know if that would have or not. Maybe that would have. Maybe that was the mistake we made not to go out and make this -- go on a news show like yours or do something like that. Maybe it would have went away, but we just -- we don't know.

He's the kind of American -- and he taught me to be the kind of American -- that you deal with the authorities when you have a case like that. And that's what he did. He didn't think he should go on shows and talk about it. And...

KING: He met three or four times. I mean, certainly he contributed to his dilemma. Whether that's right or not, whether it's PR or not, or whether that's what media is, it is what it is. And the media, you knew, once they became hounds on this...

C. CONDIT: Well, we didn't know...


I didn't know. I don't think that until you go through something like this you really know. But when the media points a finger at you, boy, God bless the folks that have to go through it. And I'm learning and our family is learning about that now. So -- maybe we could have picked a different PR strategy. I don't know. Is this is what this is about, a PR strategy? We're convicting Gary Condit about a PR strategy.

KING: Nature of the beast.

C. CONDIT: I don't know.

KING: We'll be right back with Chad Condit. As we go to break -- Chad has asked us to put this up and we will -- this is the number for the Chandra Levy tip line. If you have any knowledge of Chandra Levy, where she is, where she might be, any knowledge at all of the disappearance, the number is 800-860-6552. That's 800-860-6552.

We'll be right back with Chad Condit. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Chad Condit, the older son. There's a young daughter as well -- you see her on the right -- of the Condits and the pictures that were provided by Chad and his sister for showing tonight.

Why the media blitz now? You haven't liked the media all along and then suddenly bam-bam.

C. CONDIT: We still don't like the media, but it wasn't a media blitz to try to save Gary Condit's political life. We wanted to make sure that people understood that he cooperated from the very beginning with law enforcement, gave them all the information they needed. That was what we're trying to get across. But it was not a media blitz to save Gary Condit's political life. That's what this -- this has never been about that.

KING: Never?

C. CONDIT: Never.

KING: Has he made a decision about his political life?

C. CONDIT: I have been in public life for 30 years: never an allegation, never a charge. I don't know if he'll run again. My family vote would be that he doesn't. I don't think he deserves this. I don't think my mom deserves this. But that will be decided in the next few weeks. KING: So if he asked the family, you'd say don't?

C. CONDIT: I would vote -- I would vote no, yeah.

KING: Get out of the game.

C. CONDIT: Right, but he's done nothing to resign for, and I -- I don't think he should resign. But -- but this is not fair for someone that has given 30 years of his life to public service. And that's what he's done.

KING: Would you admit -- well, no, I won't ask it that way. How's this? How do you think he handled the Connie Chung thing?

C. CONDIT: He answered all the questions Connie Chung posed to him or asked him. We picked the wrong interviewer. We should have picked a Larry King or an Ed Bradley. We picked the wrong interviewer. He answered all the questions.

People that talk about being evasive because he didn't talk about the nature of the relationship or the sexual details, they're just picking on the wrong congressman, because he's not going to do that and our family is not going to do that. That's not what we're about.

KING: Were you shocked that all the public polls thought he came out terrible?

C. CONDIT: No, I wasn't shocked, because for four months, 3 1/2 months, between all the major networks, they've been bashing my dad for day in and day out.

KING: Do you think he was in a no-win?

C. CONDIT: Was in a no-win. He was in a no-win. He wanted to set the record straight about his cooperation with law enforcement.

KING: So but...

C. CONDIT: But Connie didn't -- I don't, you know -- this is just my personal -- I don't think she handled the interview right at all. When you ask you somebody, "Did you murder somebody?" like the second or third question, what kind of interview are you going to get? Not a very good one.

KING: Unless he confesses.


C. CONDIT: Well, he didn't do anything. He has nothing to confess to.

KING: This must, though, cause a turmoil in you.

C. CONDIT: Oh, yeah...

(CROSSTALK) ... someone I love, I respect.

KING: Has been diminished. Chandra aside -- we're going to get to Chandra in a minute. His reputation has been severely diminished. You're his son. Your feelings must be extraordinary. .

C. CONDIT: Right. Someone that I think the world of. And like I said, I believe in public service because of what he taught me. And it's not -- it's just not right, Mr. King. And I -- the interview -- you know, I just think we picked the wrong interviewer.

KING: All right. You can call me Larry.

C. CONDIT: Yes, sir.

KING: Now when he said he made some mistakes, did you imply those mistakes to mean what the public seemed to imply them to mean?

C. CONDIT: I didn't imply anything. I just implied that everybody makes mistakes. He acknowledged he made some mistakes in his life. And that -- so be it.

KING: How did you react when other stories started breaking? The stewardess, the other girl, that kind of thing. How did you react to that? Had nothing to do with Chandra, but it was news, it was in the news. How did you react?

C. CONDIT: It had nothing to do with Chandra was my reaction.

KING: But how did you feel about your dad when you heard about the stewardess?

C. CONDIT: The exact same way I feel today.

KING: Didn't hold him in any less regard?

C. CONDIT: No less regard. You know, frankly, the way he's conducted himself to me has been a gentleman, a true American citizen that wants to cooperate with law enforcement. I hold him in higher regard, if that is possible, today than I ever have.

KING: If she said they had...

C. CONDIT: And that goes for my mom as well, because my mom is part of this.

KING: Yeah. How does she feel?

C. CONDIT: Mom's doing well. She's doing really....

KING: How does she feel about Gary?

C. CONDIT: She loves him.

KING: that has not wavered.


KING: Well, if the -- he said the stewardess was -- that was not true, that he did not have that kind of relationship, the stewardess was lying, did you did you complete him on it? Do you agree with that? Because she has now -- she didn't file a lawsuit today, but she certainly took actions today.

C. CONDIT: Look. Is it Dick Robinson, the attorney?

KING: Jim.

C. CONDIT: He's going to figure out a way to get on "Geraldo" one way or the other. He's going to do that. And we accept that. But that's what it's about. It's not about finding Chandra Levy. So, that's just how it is.

KING: Is your father uncomfortable as an interviewee?

C. CONDIT: I don't know. He's always done real well.

KING: Has he always done a lot of interviews?

C. CONDIT: No, not a lot.

KING: But when he has, he was comfortable?

C. CONDIT: Well, how comfortable can you be when the objective of the interviewer is to prosecute you for either murder or sex?

KING: Well, there's a lot of ways you could have handled it.

C. CONDIT: Well, you would have handled it differently. I understand.

KING: Well, every interviewer does it. You have to do your own style.

We'll be right back with Chad Condit on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We will include some of your phone calls, and we'll return right after this.


KING: We're back with Gary Condit. Let's run down some things. CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll done August 24th through the 26th. The majority say, in their opinion, Gary Condit is dishonest -- this is a majority of Americans -- immoral, uncaring. Nearly two-thirds think it's likely he was directly involved in the disappearance. And his own district, 48 percent now -- even more than that -- say they would not -- they believe he was involved, and over 60 percent said they wouldn't vote again for him. So obviously, he is in a complete down period now. How do you react to those polls?

C. CONDIT: Well, I mean, I think that just...

KING: Did I call you Gary again? C. CONDIT: You did call me Gary. That's fine.

KING: Easy to do. You're Chad.

C. CONDIT: I don't know how the polls could be any different. You know, when you have a 24-hour cycle of, you know, associating Gary Condit with the disappearance of Chandra Levy, what else do we expect people to think? So I -- I mean, I'm not surprised by the polls. But that's why I'm here tonight. I'm here to tell the American public Gary Condit had nothing to do -- or Carolyn Condit -- had nothing to do with the disappearance.

He doesn't know where she is, what happened to her or anything of that nature. He's told the police everything he knows.

KING: What about him don't we know?

C. CONDIT: Well, he's a good man. He's a kind man. He's a good grandpa. He's been a good dad. You know, baseball coach (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we can go on and on about ways he's been involved in my life or Cadee's life. But he's just a decent citizen that would never ever hurt anybody.

Matter of fact, I would almost classify him as a pacifist that would turn the other cheek in every case, because he's always taught me do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And the public is just has a misnomer out there that I think the media has created.

KING: If those mistakes were mistakes that did involve -- this is purely hypothetical -- other women, would you forgive him?

C. CONDIT: I would forgive my dad, yes.

KING: So no matter what it is, you're in his corner?


KING: That's what I mean. It's a fair question to ask.

C. CONDIT: But the next question is, OK, well, you're covering up for some disappearance question. He didn't have anything to do with it.

KING: You...

C. CONDIT: I know that. I know that.

KING: You know in your heart?

C. CONDIT: I know in my heart, but my mom was in town. The police know where he was at. He was meeting with the vice president at 12:30 or 1:00 that afternoon. We know he didn't. So not only in my heart -- sure, I feel that in my heart. But we know that he didn't and the police know that, too. And what the -- and the detectives that have worked on the case have been very hardworking. I think their interest is Chandra. But what the police has been able to do because of the media, Larry, is every time they start catching a little heat, or kind of get questioned about you know, solving this case or that case, they need to point the finger at Gary Condit and say it was Gary Condit. That's unfair. That's not right.

KING: It may -- he played a part in it though, didn't he?

C. CONDIT: In what?

KING: In the way this has been handled, by not come forward. .

He came forward to the authorities by not coming forward to the public. This is a public...

C. CONDIT: To the media?

KING: Yes.

C. CONDIT: So the media has a role in it.

KING: Sure, don't they?

C. CONDIT: Well, if that's where we're at in American history, I have to come here and talk to you, that the media needs to be involved in every part our life if they want to be, when they want to be, then maybe we ought to, you know, analyze where we are at.

KING: Chonnie Kung -- Connie Chung was quoted in "The New York -- I'm getting every name mixed up tonight -- as saying her impression is the family called the shots on what Gary Condit said. "Despite how much I push, he could only say what his family agreed upon." Was this all a family discussion before he went on...

C. CONDIT: We're a tight family. We're a tight family. But we concur that the nature of the relationship shouldn't be discussed on national TV, yes.

KING: Were you surprised at her saying that?

C. CONDIT: That the family called the shots?

KING: Yes.

C. CONDIT: Well, if the family would have called the shots, she would not have got the interview.

KING: Oh. All right. Did your father ask you to come here?


KING: This is all of your own.

C. CONDIT: No, I went to Gary and told him I was going do it, I felt like I needed to do it. And he kind of discouraged me from doing it.

KING: Really. C. CONDIT: Yes.

KING: Because?

C. CONDIT: Well, he just didn't want me to draw any fire that was unnecessary. But, you know, he is my dad.

KING: We'll be right back with Chad Condit on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Chad Condit. You're looking at family photos of earlier-on days. Family liked to take a lot of pictures, huh? That's real nice.

OK, reaction when the story broke. When the family got together for the first time after this broke. We have a missing intern, we have someone who knew your father.

C. CONDIT: Right.

KING: What had happened there?

C. CONDIT: Well, we came together and my granddad, who is a chaplain in Modesto, a former Baptist preacher, he kind of led the family in prayer about -- it wasn't about us. It was about we need to find the girl. That was the reaction of the family. We were supportive of Gary, but that was the -- what we were about, is we need to find the missing girl. And those were the prayers. We still have those prayers today.

KING: You call your father Gary?

C. CONDIT: Occasionally.

KING: Have you always done that?

C. CONDIT: Cadee started it, I just picked up on it.

KING: She calls him Gary too? Does he like that, rather than "dad"?

C. CONDIT: He goes by either.

KING: Do you call your mom by her first name too?

C. CONDIT: Carolyn or mom.

KING: Yeah?

How has she braced all of this now? Whether allegations are true or not, she is the one that's been on the receiving end. I mean, she -- you get hit with both barrels. How has she dealt with it?

C. CONDIT: It's been hard. It's been tough. It's been the most difficult thing I have ever seen in my life, to deal with. But she is one of the strongest women, just gracious people I know.

KING: Does she go out? Does she have lunch with friends? Does she -- is she followed around? What are you? Are you followed around a lot?

C. CONDIT: We've been followed around a little bit, sure.

KING: Your mother too? Your wife? Do your kids get followed around?

C. CONDIT: We get followed around. I mean, I think they think we're going to go meet Gary somewhere or do something, but certainly the tabloids are out there and it's a mentality that we're just having to figure out how to deal with. We're new at this, but this is a story everybody is kind of hanging on to.

KING: Your mother had no anger over this?

C. CONDIT: No anger.

KING: At your father?

C. CONDIT: At the allegations?

KING: Yes.

C. CONDIT: Mom and Dad are fine. They're strong, they are staying together. There is no news media story or allegations that can split Gary and Carolyn up.

KING: None.

C. CONDIT: None.

KING: Or cause you to have any less feelings for your dad?

C. CONDIT: No, not in a million years.

KING: When you say that he was -- that your interest is Chandra, much of the criticism has been that he has not shown a great deal of public involvement and caring for someone who, for want of a better word, was his friend.


KING: Your friend is missing, I'd be aggravated. I would tell you, I'd be out there every day. Calling the police, looking for her, doing anything I could. If I had access to public media I'd be on every day.

C. CONDIT: You'd probably do the same thing Gary did. He called the police in the first...

KING: But I would have gone on the media, too, because I would have wanted to try to find her. I'd have talked about her, I'd have told habits -- things she liked to do, things we might want to look for.

C. CONDIT: Who would you have told that to?

KING: The public, because I'm trying to find her.

C. CONDIT: Right. Well, he told law enforcement about it.

KING: Yes, but if you tell the public and she's missing, someone may spot her somewhere. In other words, anything information helps. That's what I might have done.

C. CONDIT: OK. Well, that's a fair criticism, but you know, from our view he has told everything to the people that have the responsibility of finding Chandra Levy. That's what he did. That's what he felt the right course was.

KING: Do you have thoughts as to what happened?

C. CONDIT: I don't know. I don't -- I have no idea.

KING: How do you react to these stories about him being a motorcycle and she might have gotten on a motorcycle and motorcycle people being involved?

C. CONDIT: It's ridiculous. It is ridiculous.

KING: Because?

C. CONDIT: Well, because he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

KING: However, maybe a friend of his.

C. CONDIT: Well, a friend of his that he told, or...

KING: Picks her up on a motorcycle -- I mean, you hear so many stories. See, when people don't speak, all we have to do is -- you know, you get -- that's what happens in this world. You get into this.

C. CONDIT: Well, and you're right. And it's sickening that these kind of stories kind of resonate, from whatever means. And certainly, there are those that think keeping Gary Condit in this story gives the case -- keeps it on the front pages and keeps Chandra in the news. From that standpoint, our family, Gary, everybody is OK with that. It is when it...

KING: You understand the Levys, right?

C. CONDIT: It's when the Levys, or anybody else say if Gary Condit wouldn't have known Chandra Levy, she'd still be here.

KING: How did you react when she said that?

C. CONDIT: Well, I was just blown away. I wasn't totally surprised, because I think, from early on, some of the family members were very accusatory towards Gary Condit. And then we're supposed to have open communications and you've got people being accusatory. It makes it real difficult.

But from early on, there were phone calls between Gary and the doctor and Mrs. Levy. There was a meeting in June. Mrs. Levy could have asked him anything she wanted. The lawyers were there.

KING: Can you put yourself in their shoes, though?

C. CONDIT: I can't.

KING: You can't.

C. CONDIT: Well, I mean, I just can't imagine...

KING: What they must be going through.

C. CONDIT: Yes, I mean, it's just unbelievable.

KING: We'll be right back with Chad Condit. We'll include some of your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Chad Condit, the son of Gary Condit. Billy Martin, the attorney for the Levys, said he was authorized by Mrs. Levy to say that your father was lying if he claimed that she did not ask him whether he was having an affair with Chandra.

Now there you have the clash of two parents there, yours and Chandra's.


KING: How do you read into that?

C. CONDIT: I just know what Gary told me about the phone conversation.

KING: And what did he say>

C. CONDIT: Well, he said she didn't ask that question, and that she had mentioned several names in regards to this story. So -- but look, our sympathy and heartfelt prayers go to the Levys. I'm not going to get into it with the Levys. I want their daughter home, and that's where we're at. So I -- Mrs. Levy could have asked that question when they met in June, with Billy Martin and Abbe Lowell present. She didn't ask that question.

So -- I don't know what to say. The phone call was between those two. I know what Gary said. And the grief and the sorrow must have been overwhelming. I mean...

KING: We don't have to know the answer, but have you asked your father about the nature of the relationship? C. CONDIT: No.

KING: You haven't asked him.


KING: OK. So the obvious, why not?

C. CONDIT: I didn't -- I know he didn't have anything to do with the disappearance. I know he wouldn't hurt anyone.

KING: So it doesn't matter to you what the relationship was?

C. CONDIT: That is between the family.

KING: As long...

C. CONDIT: Between mom and him and us. But I -- no, I haven't asked him.

KING: That's something that doesn't involve your questioning him?

C. CONDIT: No. I shouldn't be questioning him.

KING: Dayton, Ohio. We include some phone calls for Chad Condit. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: hi.

CALLER: I'd like to know why Gary would not take another -- a second lie detector test. I know he's already taken one. We've heard all the details on that. But why won't he take another one as requested by the D.C. police? That baffles me.

KING: All right, Chad?

C. CONDIT: Well, the police kind of softened on that. First, they wanted it and then they didn't think there was a need for it. The guy that gave Gary the lie detector test trains the FBI. Now, it is a sad case in American history if we've got to go take a lie detector test in a case like this.

Gary Condit did not do anything to Chandra Levy. He took a lie detector given by the guy that trains the FBI. If that's not good enough for this caller or other folks, I'm sorry.

KING: When someone is missing, though, the first person that becomes under suspicion is those who were involved with her. I mean, that's logical from a police standpoint.

C. CONDIT: Yeah, from police standpoint.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) close friends, if she had lover, was the lover -- that's the first thing you've got to look at. So lie detector tests are not uncommon. Right?

C. CONDIT: Well, I guess. I don't know. I have never dealt with a lie detector test. I didn't know anything about them until this incident.

KING: The answer, I guess, what people would say is: What have you got to worry about? If you didn't do it, take the lie detector test.

C. CONDIT: I don't know enough about them to comment. I just know that Colvert, this guy that gave him the test, trained the FBI. I don't see anything wrong with going in and taking that test. And he did that.

KING: Has he received words of encouragement from friends and the like, or has this been jumping off a sinking ship?

C. CONDIT: We have thousands of calls and letters from supporters back home. But certainly, the barrage of media and negative visions of Gary has hurt. Yeah, it has hurt.

KING: Has he heard from political leaders?

C. CONDIT: Like?

KING: Like Gephardt criticized him publicly the other day after first defending him, and then saying...

C. CONDIT: Right. And...

KING: Mr. Gephardt.

C. CONDIT: Speaker Gephardt criticized him...

KING: You want him to be Speaker Gephardt.

C. CONDIT: ... criticized him for being evasive, and I guess is what that means is he wanted him to talk about the nature, the sexual nature of the relationship. We're not going to do that. They have the wrong congressman, the wrong family if they expect us to do that.

KING: But had he done that early on, if it were sexual -- and I give you a scenario. First, second day after she's missing and the stories are starting to leak -- I'm giving this as a scenario, if it were. Ladies and gentlemen, I made a mistake, and I had this relationship, and I've talked to my wife about it, and it ended, and we're still friends, and we were friends, and I care so much about where she is, and I want to find her. Do you think anyone would be mad at your dad today?

C. CONDIT: I don't know. I don't know. I mean, but the real -- we still wouldn't have found Chandra. That has been what we're interested in, is finding Chandra.

And Larry, you might be right, that maybe we could have went out and did a denial or I did not have sexual relations... KING: And I'm worried.

C. CONDIT: ... or a confession or and I'm worried, but this has been heartbreaking to Gary Condit about this young lady missing. We have not taken it lightly.

KING: He has said that to you? He's -- he liked her.

C. CONDIT: I've seen it. I've seen it. He didn't have to say it. I've seen it.

KING: First hand?

C. CONDIT: First hand.

KING: He -- but you agree that he might have been more public?

C. CONDIT: Well, are you trying to get me to agree with you?

KING: Yeah. Why not?


C. CONDIT: You might have been right. In hindsight, which is 20/20, we should have been out. But we thought dealing with the police and making a spectacle out of it, whatever, was the right thing to do. And anybody in journalism or anywhere else that writes about or talks about the sexual relationships that Chandra Levy may or may not have had is a scumbag. There have been people that have done that, and it's wrong. People should not be profiting off of rumor of sexual relationships that a disappearing person has had. It's not right.

KING: How did you interpret "I have not been perfect," which a lot of people have made of because he's said it so much?

C. CONDIT: I interpreted it as he hadn't been perfect.

KING: Do you think he -- do you think that was a mistake to say it that much?

C. CONDIT: It may not have worked well in that interview. But I think he was trying to relay the point to people that he's human, he's made mistakes, and that's a fair thing to say.

KING: When you go to work -- do you still go to work every day?

C. CONDIT: Yeah, I'll tell you, the governor gave me a few weeks off to deal with the family issues, but yeah, I'll be at work tomorrow morning.

KING: You will? So...

C. CONDIT: Unless I'm not working for him anymore.

KING: Unless he fired you after the opening statement tonight. C. CONDIT: Yeah...

KING: But what do you -- what -- do friends -- how do people treat you?

C. CONDIT: I just see sympathy in their eyes. They just want to hug me and people tear up. It's just overwhelming.

KING: It's a tragedy?

C. CONDIT: Yeah.

KING: We'll be right back with Chad Condit, some more of your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. There is a picture of Chad Condit and his lovely sister, Cadee, who is -- oh, that's Gary Condit with his daughter. Your names are too much alike and you keep calling your father Gary and I'm getting lost in this whole thing. That's Gary and your sister, right?

C. CONDIT: Now you know why we don't go on shows.


KING: You get the names wrong. And if you want -- if you have any information at all about Chandra Levy, any, there is a tip line. We repeated it, we'll repeat it again. The number is 800-860-6552.

How about the aunt, who comes on and describes the whole relationship and everything that her niece was going through?

C. CONDIT: Let me just say...

KING: What do you make of that?

C. CONDIT: Let me just say, anybody that has suggested there was a five-year plan, kids in future, marriage, to me, that has impeded and slowed down the investigation more than anything.

KING: Because?

C. CONDIT: Well, because then you get people in the media and whoever to concentrate on that. And it didn't exist.

KING: Are you are saying the aunt is lying?

C. CONDIT: I'm saying whoever said that is lying.

KING: You mean if Chandra said it to the aunt, Chandra was mistaken or lying.

C. CONDIT: We don't know what Chandra said. I wish Chandra was here to tell the truth. But we don't know. But anybody that suggests there was five-year plan or kids is not being truthful.

KING: When you heard that, how did you feel?

C. CONDIT: I knew that it wasn't -- it was a lie. And it was designed to keep this in the media. And media bit as hard as they could bite.

KING: Well, wouldn't you? You've got the aunt of a victim saying something that is certainly newsworthy.

C. CONDIT: But if it's not true -- if it is not true, is it newsworthy?

KING: You don't know what to do. If you ran a television operation, would run that story of an aunt?

C. CONDIT: I hope not.

KING: You would not run it?

C. CONDIT: I hope not. I don't run a television show, but I hope I would be a little bit more responsible.

KING: How do you react when your father was quoted as saying Bill Clinton should have come forward and said everything early -- about whatever was wrong with -- what he was going through?

C. CONDIT: Which Gary covered in the interview a little bit. Connie let him discuss a little bit. It was apples and oranges. It was about releasing the "Star" report in its entirety. it wasn't about -- that's what Gary was for, releasing in its entirety and let's see it. And then Gary went on to vote four times against impeaching the president. So he would never, ever lecture the president about his conduct or anything of the sort.

KING: By the way, did he almost in '94 switch parties? There were a lot of stories that he was going to go Republican, because he is a very conservative Democrat, that he was going to switch to...

C. CONDIT: He's a Blue Dog Democrat, .

KING: He was never going to?

C. CONDIT: No, he was never going to.

KING: TO Pittsburgh, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Chad.


CALLER: Chad, I watched your father's interview with Connie Chung and found it very frustrating that he blamed everyone else for his problems. Now he is basically blaming the backlash from the interview on Connie Chung, saying, just as you stated at the beginning of the program tonight, that the wrong interviewer was chosen. My question is, what did you and your father actually think he was going to be asked? Did you and your father honestly think he was not going to be asked about the nature of his relationship with Chandra, or if he was involved with her disappearance?

C. CONDIT: No, we felt like those questions would be asked. We didn't know they would be asked over and over and over so nothing else could be discussed. We certainly knew those questions were coming.

KING: But you're not objecting to her asking it. You're objecting to her asking it eight or nine times.

C. CONDIT: Well, I kind of object to an interviewer kind of trying to act like a prosecutor instead of trying to have a conversation with somebody about what's going on, the way you would have handled it or somebody else

KING: But you weren't watching it through the same eyes as the public, agreed?

C. CONDIT: Maybe not. Maybe not.

KING: You're emotionally involved. Were you shocked by the polls?

C. CONDIT: No, I was not shocked. I don't see how anybody, after the coverage for three and a half months...

KING: He had no chance, then, is what you're saying.

C. CONDIT: No chance to do what?

KING: In that setting, to come out 70 percent favorable.

C. CONDIT: No, I don't think so. We weren't looking for 70 percent. We weren't looking for any poll numbers. What we were looking for is to tell the public that we've cooperated with law enforcement, we've done these things because we want to find Chandra.

KING: Were you angry that a police leak said that he never mentioned an intimate relationship until the fourth interview with the cops?

C. CONDIT: There has been different leaks from the police department, but the guys that have handled the case have been professionals. They want to find Chandra.

Certainly. There are only -- public information officer says their department leaks like a sieve. The mayor there is trying to turn the city around. Mayor Williams has done a great job so far, but the police department has some problems. And I think one of the problems is some of the guys in the top brass would rather be on Fox News than being at one of the interviews or -- you know, looking for missing people.

KING: This is a puzzling case, you will agree. Police all over America say that they never can remember a case that has apparently no leads.

C. CONDIT: Right. And every time the police catch heat, all they have to do, because of the environment the media has created, is point the finger at Gary Condit. And you -- and media is all over that. And that is not fair to Gary Condit or Carolyn Condit. He had do with the disappearance of Chandra Levy. Doesn't know anything, he's has given all the information he has. That is the bottom line. That is the truth, Larry.

KING: In retrospect, should he have called the Levys more?

C. CONDIT: He talked to the Levys May 6th.

KING: I mean, May 7th, May 8. maybe. Maybe May 9th, 10th, 15th, 23rd.

C. CONDIT: It's pretty hard when there is an accusatorial tone coming from their family. It's hard and -- sure, we -- if we could figure out how -- well, Gary has said he'll sit down with the Levys, him and the Levys, tomorrow. But we're not going to make a media circus or a lawyer deal out. If they want to sit down, he'll do that. He said that.

KING: You have three boys, right?

C. CONDIT: Yes, sir.

KING: If one of them were missing, you'd be berserk, right?

C. CONDIT: I'd be berserk. I would do...

KING: So you judge how people act when...

C. CONDIT: I'm not trying to judge anybody. But to say my dad had something to do with the disappearance is not right. I'm sorry. I would -- I wish Chandra would walk in right now. That's how the Condit family feels. We pray for her every day. But to call Gary Condit a murderer, or Carolyn Condit a murderer, is wrong. It's just -- and it's disgraceful.

KING: By the way, were you angry at the stewardess?

C. CONDIT: I don't know the stewardess.

KING: But when you saw her, were you angry?


KING: Not angry.

C. CONDIT: No, I know what that's about.

KING: You do.

C. CONDIT: Right. I mean, it's obvious what it's about. It's not about finding Chandra Levy. KING: But -- and your dad said it was about her making money. I don't see how she's made any money.

C. CONDIT: We don't know who's made money. There has been a lot of people making money off this.

KING: We'll be right back with Chad Condit on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Chad Condit. The Levys said they were outraged by your father and the Connie Chung interview. How did you react to that statement?

C. CONDIT: I mean, I'm -- my heart just goes out to the Levys.

KING: Were you disappointed?

C. CONDIT: Disappointed?

KING: In that television performance?

C. CONDIT: In Gary's performance?

KING: Yes.

C. CONDIT: No, I thought he told the truth. He did it the best he knew how to do it. And you're probably right, it just wasn't a good setting. But he told the truth and he answered every question she posed him.

KING: How about the rumors that were -- and again, we don't want to like to deal with this, but they were stated publicly -- that he would tell people that his wife was very ill?

C. CONDIT: I don't believe it. I mean, Mom has had some headaches in the early '90s, a real tough time for her health. They visited a couple health facilities through the years to try to figure out what's going on. But he would not go out and say -- to pick up on women. That is ridiculous, and it's just one of those things that people are making up.

KING: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Thank you for taking my call. I'd like to ask Mr. Condit, I appreciate the fact that he loves his father, but how can he possibly respect someone with -- who's treated his mother this way?

C. CONDIT: My dad has been good to my mom. My mom's been good to my dad. They've had a strong relationship: as has been stated, been married for 34 years. To me, that's a testimony of love, people stay together that long. They got married as young people. So I -- you know, that would be a question for Carolyn. She'd set you straight on that. KING: Yeah. Maybe we should -- maybe she should come forward and talk to some people. That would be, you know, nice to...

C. CONDIT: Boy, if she comes, I'm voting Larry King.

KING: All right. We're just trying to be fair, not asking. I'm just trying to be fair. But I mean, the concept of coming forward in this day and age of media -- I feel like an advice-giver here -- is always better. No comment today don't wash. Doesn't wash anymore. Maybe it used to wash, doesn't wash. "No comment" means something's a matter.

C. CONDIT: We didn't say "no comment." We just -- maybe we made a decision dealing with the police, not the media, was the wrong decision. Maybe that in hindsight, today in American politics, on a case like this you've got to go suck up to the media. Maybe we should have done that.

KING: The stewardess...

C. CONDIT: It's sad that we have to do that.

KING: That stewardess has asked for a criminal indictment. How do you react to that?

C. CONDIT: Gary Condit asked nobody to lie about anything. And the steward -- that has nothing to do with Chandra Levy. It's just a way for Dick Robinson to get...

KING: Jim Robinson.

C. CONDIT: ... Jim Robinson to get on "Geraldo." He'll figure out a way to get there. He's going to get there. But it has -- it doesn't help us find Chandra Levy. It doesn't do anything of the sort. Gary Condit had nothing to do -- let's just connect the dots for a minute. He had nothing to do with the disappearance. So how could he ask Marie Anne Smith (sic) or whatever her name is to lie to the police about this? He had nothing to do about -- he had nothing to ask her to lie about.

KING: That's right. But if, if, if he did, it certainly makes him look like there's something going on

C. CONDIT: He didn't.

KING: But I mean, the public would say, if he didn't -- or it's he said, she said.

C. CONDIT: Yeah...

KING: All right. But if the public says, we believe her, then they've got to think why -- what is it -- what is it -- people with nothing to hide don't tell people don't talk.

C. CONDIT: We didn't ask her not to talk.

KING: All right. You're standing by your dad in all -- in that aspect.

C. CONDIT: Well, I know -- I just -- he wouldn't say to anyone, he would say, cooperate with the police. If Marie knows anything about Chandra Levy or how we can find her, she should -- she should have come forward.

But Mr. King, they interviewed Marie Anne Smith a month ago. We have gotten no closer to finding Chandra Levy. She gave no information because she didn't know Chandra Levy.

KING: Chad, you're a great son. Is there anything you don't like about your father?

C. CONDIT: Is there anything I don't like about my father? You want me to share that here tonight?

KING: Yeah, anything. Could be anything.

C. CONDIT: I don't know. I mean, no. I mean, he's just a good guy. We've been friends, friend, father.

KING: Would you call yourself a friend as well as a son?

C. CONDIT: Yes, I would. Yes, I would.


I mean, he -- he can beat me in basketball, in Horse. I don't like that too much, but...

KING: At his age he still can?

C. CONDIT: Yeah, he's a sharpshooter. He can hit the 3-pointer.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Chad Condit on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Again the tip line for any information on Chandra Levy is 1-800-860-6552. Let's get in one more call. Jacksonville, Florida, hello.



CALLER: Chad, your father has been a politician his entire life. If he decides not to run again, what type of business venture do you think he'll embark on?

C. CONDIT: I don't know. He has -- he got into politics early, about 23 years old. I don't -- I don't know.

KING: They don't have a lot of money, right?

C. CONDIT: Pardon me.

KING: They don't have a lot of money.

C. CONDIT: Well, no, he's not -- we're not rich people.

KING: The question was what do you think he would do. If he takes the advice of the family and doesn't run again, finishes this term...

C. CONDIT: That's just my vote. Cadee and someone might have a different vote.

KING: I see...

C. CONDIT: I don't know. I mean, I have no idea where he -- what he might do after this. I -- he's a very talented guy. He can do a lot of things.

KING: What -- what he might be interested in, though, is purely guess on your part.

C. CONDIT: Purely guess. He was interested in serving his country.

KING: How distraught is he?

C. CONDIT: He's pretty heartbroken, pretty heartbroken. But he's not going to go out on Connie Chung and wear his heart on a sleeve.

KING: No. But are nights sad? Are things just...

C. CONDIT: Sometimes things are real sad. For people to call you a murderer or make accusations that you or your wife had something to do with the disappearance is pretty heartbreaking. Now, that doesn't compare to the pain the Levy family is going through. But it is -- could you imagine someone really believing you had something to do with a disappearance?

KING: Yeah, but see, it would have driven me nuts enough to go everywhere.

C. CONDIT: You've hit me on that several times tonight. I got your point.


KING: But to put it mildly, times are tough.

C. CONDIT: Sure. Sure, times are tough.

KING: It's changed your whole perspective on politics.

C. CONDIT: It has. It has.

KING: So from someone who might have entered the fray, forget it, you will net enter the fray.

C. CONDIT: I won't enter -- no.

As the Bushes say, I will not be in the arena.

KING: Thank you, Chad.

C. CONDIT: Mr. King, my pleasure.

KING: You never called me Larry once. That's military, right?

C. CONDIT: Yes, sir.

KING: You were in the Navy how long?

C. CONDIT: I was in the Navy four years. It was great.

KING: Chad Condit, the son of Gary Condit. We thank you very much for joining us. We'll see you tomorrow night with another edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We invite you now to stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT."

By the way, next week Oprah will be here. Good night.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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