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Reaction to President Bush's Speech

Aired September 20, 2001 - 22:00   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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depends on us. Our nation, this generation, will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire. We will not falter, and we will not fail.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, an historic speech from President Bush. We'll have reaction from four members of the U.S. Senate. Plus, Lisa Beamer, whose husband was one of the heroes on flight 93, she was in the House chamber for the address. We'll talk with her, as well ad in New York, World Trade Center survivor Michael Hingson. Blind since birth, he walked down from the 78th floor with his guide dog. All that and lots more next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We're with you an hour late, of course, because of this historic address tonight by the president. Back at our regular time tomorrow night, and we will be live throughout the weekend as well.

We begin with, on Capitol Hill, Senators Joseph Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee and a vice-presidential candidate of his party. Senator John Warner, Republican of Virginia, ranking member armed services, former secretary of Navy. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, member of select intelligence committee, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, ranking member of the Commerce Committee subcommittee on aviation.

Senator Lieberman, we'll start with you. Your reaction to the speech.

All right, I can't hear. Senator, we'll have to fix your microphone. Senator Warner, can you hear me?

Yes, very clearly.

KING: What's your reaction? SEN. JOHN WARNER (R-VA), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: When you look back over the 200-plus year history of our nation, no president has ever faced a more complicated or challenging foreign policy national security decision. And tonight, George W. Bush gave the speech of his life, and maybe the greatest speech ever given by any president.

KING: Strong words. Senator Hutchison, you're reaction to the speech just given by the president.

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: I thought the speech really hit the mark. He needed to tell the American people what we're in, what kind of war is this, and what are we going to do to pursue these terrorists and avenge what has been done and also protect every American, whether they live in America or anywhere on earth, and I think he showed the American people exactly what the game plan is. And I think he showed the resolve to pursue it.

KING: Senator Lieberman, are you OK? Is our mike OK with Senator Lieberman?

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN: I'm OK. Can you hear me, Larry?

KING: You're fine, Joe. What's your reaction?

LIEBERMAN: I thought the speech was stirring. The president really rose to the occasion. He spoke to the principles that are underneath our desire to wage a war against terrorism: freedom. And he spoke particularly clearly about who these terrorists are. Sometimes when you say we are going to wage a war on terrorism, people say, well, who are they we are going fight? He spelled it out. We know who they are, and we know which countries are harboring them. And I think the president made that clear tonight.

And I'll tell you, I think the terrorists and the leaders of the countries that are harboring them are not going to sleep very comfortably tonight, and that's good news.

KING: Senator Feinstein, are you going make this unanimous?

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), SELECT INTELLIGENCE CMTE: I'm afraid I am. I think as a speech it was a 10. He put forward a battle plan, he inspired Americans. He brought us all together. I think we find ourselves committed. I think the enemy that we have is one that resounds so negatively among the American people, that it's probable that never before have we really had as unanimous a feeling across this land.

And I think, with our allies, and his clear statement that you're either with us or you're for terrorism, created that clear divide that the world needs to march forward, because it's only going happen with all of us together, and with an arsenal of different kinds of diplomatic, financial, special operations, intelligence, that's going to be very unique, I think, in our history.

KING: Were you surprised at all, Senator Warner, at the selection of Governor Ridge to handle this unique job?

WARNER: A very able man. We've all known him. He was on everybody's list during the course of the cabinet selections. He will do a good job.

You know, Larry, the theme of this speech tonight, for me, was justice. Our nation is founded on the rule of law, and our president said, we're going to bring these terrorists, wherever they are, before the bar of justice so that the world can see them and see what they have done against mankind, here in our nation and elsewhere in the world.

If we stamp this terrorism out using the rule of law and justice and such military force as necessary to back it up, I think we will ensure freedom and justice for another century for all.

KING: Senator Hutchison, do you expect the Taliban to respond in the affirmative to the demands?

HUTCHISON: I think that certainly they seem to be taking steps in that direction, and I think we want to continue to pursue it. But I think that we have laid down the gauntlet now. We have said that there will be no tolerance for harboring these criminals or -- and that's not just in Afghanistan. That's in our countries where obviously we know that this organization network is.

And I think tying all that together is going to be difficult, and I think the president is laying the predicate for it taking some time and it not being just one hit. And I think the American people now know, OK, we know what the game plan is and we're going to support it 100 percent.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back with some more moments with our senators and lots of other guests to come. Speaking of those demands on the Taliban, here's what the president said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: ... close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist and every person in their support structure to appropriate authorities.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Mayor Giuliani and Governor Pataki are speaking now on Capitol Hill. Let's listen.

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: ... the American people to how different this war is going to be, than what we were used to in the past. And I'm just very, very proud to be an American, and I'm very glad, and I thank God that George W. Bush is our president.

GOV. GEORGE PATAKI, NEW YORK: I thought it was a very, very forceful speech by a strong president rallying a strong country. And what he did was lay out the nature of the terrorist threat that we face in very clear terms so that the American people can understand it, and also outline the steps that were necessary to eradicate this threat, not just to America, but to the rest of the world.

And I think it was inspirational, certainly, to all of us, as Americans, because of his leadership and our patriotic resolve to defeat these terrorists, but I also thought it was an effective way of reaching out to nations and peoples around the world, countries, calling on them to either be with us or to be against us.

He made a brilliant distinction between Islam and the fundamentalist radicals that we are fighting in this new crusade for freedom, so I just thought it was exactly the message to rally America, and to rally the world to the cause of freedom and the cause of tolerance, at a very critical time.

KING: Are we going to carry a whole press conference here?

That's two of the heroes of America these days, Governors Pataki and Mayor Giuliani, speaking tonight following the address by the president. We go back to our senators.

Senator Lieberman, you have a hearing tomorrow. Your governmental affairs committee, hearings on homeland defense. What's going to happen?

LIEBERMAN: Well a funny and great thing happened on the way to that hearing, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

LIEBERMAN: The homeland security agency, the president endorsed the idea and I actually -- apparently intends to create the department by executive order at a Cabinet level, which is just what we had hoped would happen, and has appointed Governor Ridge to lead the department. We're going to now begin to negotiator work with the administration.

I think it ought to be done, if it's going to be done, by law, so it's permanent. And we probably want to have this hearing tomorrow, particularly led by Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, who proposed earlier this year.

KING: Years ago.

LIEBERMAN: Years ago, and then came out with it formally in a report this year. We're going to hear from them tomorrow morning about what agencies they think should go under the new Homeland Security Department. They have recommended that the border patrol, customs and the Coast Guard all go under, and I think that's a pretty good idea. So the details are going to be worked out, but what seemed like an idea a short while ago looks like it's rapidly on its way to reality. And that's exactly the kind of speed and purpose we need right now to beat this enemy.

KING: Senator Feinstein, do you think there will be almost unanimous support for that idea, even though the president, by executive order, doesn't need it, right?

FEINSTEIN: As a matter of fact, the intelligence committee, Senator Graham and I tomorrow have a press conference scheduled to introduce very similar legislation, so I think the president is right on.

But let me say one other quick thing that I think the president did, was extraordinarily important. He separated the Taliban from the Afghani people, and he showed the Taliban, I think, to be the despotic dictators that they are. Last night on your show, one of your reporters had a hidden camera and was able to show the Taliban -- as a matter of fact, I'll never forget this image, of a Moslem woman in her burka (ph) on her knees in a football stadium being shot in the head by the Taliban, talking to a family when they just shot their three- year-old child.

So the despotic, Fascistic kind of regime that has decimated the Afghani people, I think the president made clear. And I think that's very helpful, so that people know that our enemy aren't Muslims, our enemy isn't the Taliban. Our enemy isn't the Afghanis. Our enemy is the Taliban, unless they turn over Osama bin Laden and his people.

KING: By the way, Senators Graham and Shelby, the chairman and vice chairman of that intelligence committee, will be on this program tomorrow night.

Senator Warner, based on that, though, praising the people of Afghanistan, attacking the Taliban for harboring terrorists, should people in Afghanistan be worried tonight? Ordinary citizens be worried tonight?

WARNER: Well, that's a very good question, Larry. Our intention is not to injure or hurt innocent people. We have no recourse, other than to go after those nations which have harbored these terrorists, and which continue tonight to harbor bin Laden and his lieutenants. We've got to go round them up. And let's hope innocents are not hurt in the meantime, but we've got to do it.

And let us also keep in mind tonight in our hearts and minds, the men and women of the armed forces of the United States, who are leaving their families as we speak, who are embarking for unknown destinations. The president issued a very clear set of orders tonight, and if I can say, they're up to the job. I have worked with the Department of Defense every day this week. They are ready. They are trained, and they have the commitment to carry out those orders.

KING: And we're going to meet some of those Navy men before they leave tomorrow. We thank you, Senators Lieberman, Warner, Feinstein and Hutchison. We'll be calling on you again, of course. We're going to take a break. Lisa Beamer will be with us. And also, we're going to return a visit with Michael Hingson, two great stories to come out of tragedy that was the bombing and the hijacking as well in Pennsylvania.

As we go to break, here's more from President Bush's address tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Every nation and every region now has a decision to make. Either you're with us, or you are with the terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Joining us now from Capitol Hill is Lisa Beamer. She was with us earlier this week. What a story. This is the young lady -- well, first President Bush acknowledged her tonight. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: In the normal course of events, presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people. We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists, to save others on the ground. Passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer, and would you please help he welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight?

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Lisa, what did it feel like?

LISA BEAMER, HUSBAND TODD WAS FLIGHT 93 HERO: It felt amazing. I already know that what Todd did and what those other guys that led to their ultimate death was not in vain, but to see the Capitol building standing here tonight, and to have so many people look up and say, "Thank you, because I was in the Capitol that day," was just such an source of inspiration and encouragement to me tonight.

KING: And to refresh the audience's memory, you found out about all this through a GTE operator, right?

BEAMER: That's correct.

KING: Briefly tell us what happened.

BEAMER: I just got a call on Friday night that GTE had let United Airlines know that Todd had made a call from the air. And the next morning, Saturday, I spoke with the operator who had taken that call, and she walked me through the information that Todd had given her. And she told me about his words and his countenance at the time, and what he had done, and ultimately found out that he had been involved in planning this rush on attackers, and decided with the other guys that they were ready and just did that, "Let's roll," which we've heard a million times, but -- he said, "Let's roll," and started their operation, which probably led to me standing here tonight in this Capitol building, which is still standing.

KING: Boy, I -- what a thrill, the sadness and the thrill at the same time. Have you spoken again to that operator since?

BEAMER: I have not spoken to her, but I will speak to her in the future.

KING: Now, you have two young sons, right? David and Drew? And you've got another baby due, right?

BEAMER: That's correct.

KING: How are you holding up? I know there's a part of this, with all the attention and the heroics involved, but you said the other night it's your faith that keeps you through, right?

BEAMER: That's right. Like I said, I know that Todd's death was not in vain. I see evidences of it all over, with people who have came up to me and said, "What an inspiration." His faith and my faith have been to them, and I just hopes that it leads to a revival of faith in this country and this world. It's clear that that's what we need right now, and it's the time for that for our country.

KING: What did you think of the president's speech?

BEAMER: It left me walking away feeling confident that he has his arms wrapped around this problem. It certainly is not going to be an easy problem to solve, but they already have taken specific actions, like the new cabinet position, which will make it easier for us to fight this battle than it has been in the past. And I have every confidence that this administration will take care of the problem.

KING: And one other thing, Lisa, you seem to be dealing remarkably with your grief. How do you explain that?

BEAMER: I just explain it by the fact that I know that Todd is in heaven right now and I know I'm going see him again, and I know that his death was not in vain and it was part of God's plan. And the evil in this world ultimately be conquered by God, and he used Todd to be a part of that. And it's something that I can hold onto in the moments when I'm not this calm, cool and collected, which there are many of, I assure you.

KING: Thank you, Lisa. Lisa Beamer from Capitol Hill.

Let's swing now to our New York bureau and Michael Hingson. He's been blind since birth. He guested with us a week ago last Friday, told a dramatic story of being guided down from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center, 78 floors down, by his dog, Roselle, who you see with him onset, and a colleague.

Michael, did you watch the president's speech?

MICHAEL HINGSON, BLIND SURVIVOR OF WTC: I did indeed.

KING: What did you think?

HINGSON: I was very impressed. There were several things that I was very pleased about, and I think most everyone in the world who is peace-loving has to be pleased about. I think the most important thing that he said tonight, in terms of where we go from here is, we are going bring our enemies to justice, or we are going to bring justice to our enemies. So he's made it very clear that one way or another we will address this.

KING: Michael, do you feel lucky?

HINGSON: I feel very blessed. I feel blessed to have survived and come down, to have a dog like Roselle, and to hear the speech tonight and to hear no more bickering, that people are unified. We need that.

KING: It's been a week and two days. Have your feelings changed at all? What a beautiful dog. Have your feelings changed at all about the attacks?

HINGSON: No. I am -- I am sure that we're going to bring the right people to justice over this. It's a very sad situation. I still mourn the firemen and all the people who were lost. I rejoice that we have the ability to deal with this. And we will, I know.

KING: You know, so many Americans, Michael, are scared and anxious, and the president maybe held that tonight in such strong fashion as to alive that fear somewhat, but how do you feel? I mean, being blind adds to the circumstances of -- are you scared?

HINGSON: I think that it would be silly for any of us not to be scared for the entire world. I think that having concern and having some fear about all of this is certainly a natural thing, but I also think that we must also have the confidence and the conviction of knowing that our fear is well placed. And if we are concerned and afraid about the right things, and know that we can move forward from here, and know that we have the will and the conviction for the long haul, then we can see ourselves through our fear.

KING: Did you notice any wear and tear on the dog from this experience?

HINGSON: I have not. She's done extremely well. I talked to some of the people from Guide Dogs for the Blind (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about her and the whole issue of what kind of lasting effects can a dog have, and as they pointed out, dogs tend to focus on the moment and don't analyze like we do, so she really isn't going back and thinking about, "what about this World Trade Center thing, if I go back into New York sometime?"

KING: How did you obtain her?

HINGSON: She's my fifth dog, actually, from Guide Dogs. There's a training process that we go through, and when the last dog, Linnie, retired some two years ago, I had scheduled a time to go back up to San Rafael and get her.

KING: And Michael, I understand you spoke to some Japanese journalists today, and it was rather spiritual, right?

HINGSON: It was. They asked a lot of spiritual questions, and I think you touched on some of it just a moment ago, about faith keeping us and seeing us through. And they asked some of the same questions, about, "Where is God in all this?" and "do you believe that God blessed you?"

And my response was, "I believe God blessed me and that God is with all of us, in our own ways and in his own way, for each of us."

KING: Thank you, Michael. Be well.

HINGSON: Thank you. I will. You too.

KING: Michael Hingson.

We're going to take a break, and when we come back, General Alexander Haig, former secretary of state under President Reagan, and Samuel "Sandy" Berger, the former national security adviser under President Clinton. You're watching a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: They are the errors of the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to certify their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of Fascism, Nazism and Totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends, in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We now welcome two distinguished American public servants. They are both in Washington. General Alexander Haig, U.S. Army retired and secretary of state for President Reagan, and Sandy Berger, national security adviser to President Clinton.

General Haig, what did you think of the speech?

RET. GEN. ALEXANDER HAIG, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think it was brilliantly written and superbly delivered, and I think we saw the real George Bush tonight, which I welcome very much. And finally, I think he touched every button that had to be touched in the speech at this time.

KING: Sandy, one of our earlier senators said it was a 10. Was it a 10?

SAMUEL BERGER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think it was a very effective speech, Larry. The president conveyed strength and reassurance and firmness, without bombast, without posturing. He's speaking here to a multiple audience. He's speaking to bin Laden and the Taliban, he's speaking to the American people, he's speaking to allies both strong and not so strong, and I think he struck a very skillful balance.

The one other thing I would say, is while this was a speech with, I think, a good deal of eloquence, it was also a speech that was respectful the American people. He addressed many of the questions that are on people's minds, that people are asking, have been asking me over the last several days: Why? Who? What's at stake? And I think in that sense, brought some sense of clarity to the American people, and I think that's a good thing.

KING: General Haig, you, with your long experience have never faced a war like this -- a war, as aptly described by the president tonight.

What do you think happens next?

HAIG: Well, I would say two things. Tonight, the president talked about endurance above many, many things, in his clarion call to the American people. And this is going to be a key aspect of it.

Another one that I have great familiarity with is this home defense czar that we're creating. And, boy, I tell you that is a job and a half, one of the things that we have tried many, many times, without success because of bureaucratic infighting. We've tried it with drugs, we've tried it with intelligence and we've tried it with just home security at large. And this is going to be a job that's going to require bipartisan action of unprecedented nature, and I wish them luck and God bless us, we have to do it.

KING: And Governor Ridge, a good choice?

HAIG: Well, he's a superb choice. Rudy Giuliani or Governor Ridge would have been fine in my book.

KING: Sandy Berger, in your administration, you had missile strikes in the Sudan and Afghanistan. Sandy, did they not work?

BERGER: Well, we went -- we struck after the bombings of the embassies in Africa, based upon intelligence we had that there was a large gathering of bin Laden operatives that was to take place, perhaps including bin Laden. We went after them. We attacked them.

It's in the nature of predicting predictive intelligence that we got some, but not all, but this was an attempt to go after the perpetrators. And from that point on, we aggressively pursued bin Laden, did not have another opportunity. But things have changed dramatically, as of September 11th. There's been -- this is a new world. This is a turning point, and the kind of cooperation and support that we now can expect from front-line states, from allies, from erstwhile adversaries, I think, is far greater than anything we've seen before.

KING: By the way, does Condoleezza Rice talk to you?

BERGER: I spoke to her this afternoon. I think she and the team are doing a very, very strong job. And I think American people should have confidence in them.

KING: And, general, he didn't use the word "Operation Infinite Justice." Does that still stand, do you know?

HAIG: Well, no, I think they discovered that that offends some people, the term "infinite" and "justice" combined, and it's the Islamic world that it offends. So they've changed it and that's the right thing to do.

But I think another thing the president did tonight that's very, very important, and that is they're trying to avoid "bin Laden-itis," and you know, convince ourselves that he is the only problem. This is a broader, far more sophisticated problem, and what the president laid out for the American people is broad-based, multi-faceted...

KING: And long hall.

HAIG: Exactly.

KING: Thank you both very much. We'll be calling on you again. General Alexander Haig and Sandy Berger.

We're going to take a break, and when we come back we're going to talk to the commander of the U.S. Atlantic fleet, and the captain of a ship that will sail tomorrow. Going East, points unknown. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger, we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time, and the great hope of every time, now depends on us. Our nation, this generation will lift a dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire. We will not falter, and we will not fail.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: The number of missing at ground zero, by the way, is now 6,333, the biggest single-day catastrophe in American history. The U.S.S. Villa Gulf, part of the Roosevelt battle group, deploys tomorrow from Norfolk, Virginia. And a short time ago, late this afternoon, I spoke with her commanding officer, Richard Feckler, and the commander-in-chief of the u.S. Atlantic Fleet, Admiral Robert Nader. And my first question to the admiral was: What is this mission?

ADM. ROBERT NATTER, COMMANDER IN CHIEF, U.S. ATLANTIC FLEET: Well, the mission is to deploy on time with the T.R. battle group, the Theodore Roosevelt battle group, and proceed east, carry out the directions of the commander-in-chief and the secretary of defense.

KING: And what kind of ship is that, Captain?

CAPT. RICHARD FECKLER, USS VELLA GULF: Aegis cruiser, Mr. King.

KING: Meaning?

FECKLER: Primary mission air defense for the battle group, but we can conduct warfare across all warfare areas in the Navy.

KING: Do you know, Admiral, where they're -- you're not going, are you, Admiral?

NATTER: No, unfortunately, no.

KING: You wanted to go.

NATTER: I would love to go.

KING: Do you know where they are heading?

NATTER: They are headed to sea to the east, and then they'll carry out directions, according to the president and the secretary of defense, Larry. Other than that, they can go anywhere in the world.

KING: So how does that work, Captain? You leave port tomorrow heeding East, and then what? You get commands while you're at sea?

FECKLER: Well, we depart tomorrow morning, and we will rendezvous with the rest of the battle group sometime soon thereafter, and then we're -- probably the most-asked question by the crew today, "where are we going?"

And my comment is, "We're headed east."

KING: And do you know, Admiral, how long they will be gone?

NATTER: No is short answer, Larry, not in this days. Normally, these deployments last about six months but, in this day, after Tuesday's attacks, I think there are no guarantees.

KING: And, Captain, that is a fighting ship, right? That is not an escort, that's built to fight. FECKLER: Yes, sir, built to fight. One-hundred percent ready to fight.

KING: Today the secretary of defense said that this is not world War II, it's not Korea, it's not Vietnam, it's the Gulf, it's not Kosovo, it's not Bosnia. You've got to throw all previous words out. What -- how do you react to something like that? Admiral, starting with you.

There's never been anything like this.

NATTER: That's true. But these are very versatile warships. We can conduct everything from missile strikes to launching of unconventional forces, aircraft, of course, from the Theodore Roosevelt flight deck, helicopters from the amphibious-ready group, the Bataan R, and they embarked 2,200 Marines onboard, so we can cover the entire gamut of warfare.

KING: Captain, how many men onboard the ship?

FECKLER: Four-hundred. Crew of 400, Mr. King.

KING: And the men behind you -- now, there are men must be getting leave tonight, right, to be with their families leaving tomorrow? Who are those behind you?

FECKLER: The individuals behind me are crew members that had the duty this evening. They are crew members that will stay onboard and prepare the ship to be under way tomorrow morning.

KING: Are they nervous?

FECKLER: I would say they are well-trained and prepared to sail, but there is a degree of uncertainty because, quite honestly, as of Tuesday, "headed east" is probably the best answer. Prior to that, we had a good idea of what our schedule was, and right now, we do not.

KING: Admiral, do you address them before they go?

NATTER: Yes, we try and visit most of the ships as they deploy. We've visited the ships in the Bataan amphibious-ready groups, the Theodore Roosevelt yesterday, and our secretary of the Navy came down. And these men and women, as Cpt. Feckler said, are ready to go. They're well-trained. They've been preparing for this deployment for quite a while, and as the president said, our military has got to be ready. And I'll guarantee you, this Navy is ready.

KING: Captain, With the event concerning the USS Cole, 17 Navymen killed, does that give you concern about possible terrorism on your way?

FECKLER: Mr. King, we've been preparing for this deployment now for almost two years, and we've done some extensive work-ups, and we've focused heavily on anti terrorism enforced protection, and I think we are well-prepared, and we will ensure that our defenses are up, and we can handle any situation. KING: Can the boys behind you, can you extend our best to them and wish them all the best, and -- is the term they still say, "God speed"?

FECKLER: Yes, sir.

NATTER: "Fair winds and following seeds," and I must add, there are men and women behind us, and actually, most of crews of this battle group.

KING: Maybe you could turn around, have them all wave.

NATTER: I think they all want to say hi to mom.

KING: OK. Say hi, guys and gals.

FECKLER: Wave, guys.

KING: Good luck, fellows. Thank you all very much.

Admiral Robert Natter, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, on your left, and on the right, Captain Richard Feckler, who sails with his crew tomorrow, the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Vella Gulf. Good luck! Thanks, guys.

FECKLER: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Still to come, Sheryl Crow is going to be entertaining as part of a major telethon tomorrow night, unprecedented in American history. But now we're in Washington by Bishop T.D. Jakes, senior pastor and founder of "The Potters House," best-selling author. He and other religious leaders met with the president today.

And in San Francisco, the very Reverend Robert Schuller, senior and founding partner of the Crystal Cathedral -- founding pastor, rather. He met and prayed with President George Herbert Walker Bush shortly before the commencement of the Gulf War bombing.

Bishop Jakes, what was that like today?

BISHOP T.D. JAKES, MET WITH PRESIDENT BUSH TODAY: It was very, very exciting, from the standpoint of the diversity of clergy from literally all walks of life, that have come together just to share, to pray, and to hear the president's heart.

KING: What did you think of that speech?

JAKES: I thought his speech was very powerful, very profound. It also balanced very strongly with what I saw when we met with him in private chambers. He seems to be strong and resilient, and yet have a sensitivity to the challenges that are facing this country at this time, in a very profound and a definite way. He seems ready for the challenge before him.

KING: Reverend Schuller, is it kind of auspicious, difficult, to pray with the president? REV. ROBERT SCHULLER, FOUNDER, CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL: Not when the president honestly humbly wants it, when he closes his eyes and drops his head, and just opens up his heart, it's easy to pray with people like that.

KING: What did you think of his speech?

SCHULLER: I thought it was masterful. I think it's going to be historic. After that speech tonight, I looked at George W. Bush and said, "He is our president after tonight, in a very real and deep way." Especially with, so grateful that he called us to the realization, it's a battle between freedom and fear. And both of these are spiritual issues. He's a tremendous, spiritual person, as he spoke to us tonight, calling on prayer, calling for us to embrace faith. And that's where the battle is going to be won, and that means that every single living human being in America today can be a partner of warfare for good and truth, by building faith and abolishing fear.

KING: Bishop Jakes, how do you use faith, after a thing like a week ago Tuesday, how do you use that to cope with anger and grief, and bewilderment. I mean, isn't there the natural thing to say, God, where are you?

JAKES: I think that faith really becomes very prominent at a time like that, where we feel so out of control and so vulnerable. It is the grace of God and the healing power of God that enables a scar that medicine cannot touch, to be restored as we look to God for the strength to move forward.

Yes, there's a great deal of pain in what happened a week ago. And I think that there is a great deal of pain in the hearts of American people, as we anticipate the uncertainty a new war. And as we go into that uncertainty, faith becomes a firm foundation whereby we can look to God for strength and direction and protection. And the president reflected these opinions today in his willingness for to us pray with him and his reference to prayer today. He's called nation to prayer, and the nation has responded affirmatively.

KING: Reverend, I know that last week you had a Muslim cleric speak at your church. Did you like the idea that he called for tolerance here, with regard to Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans and the like?

SCHULLER: Absolutely. It's been my pleasure and privilege to become a close friend of the power Muslim leaders in the world. And they're positive, and they're people of peace. And I have written op- ed pieces, and using my -- whatever influence I had, to say, "For God's sake, don't blame what's happened on Muslims." This was not done by Muslims. If they call themselves Muslims, they are not. They are not at all. And I would pray that we come out of this -- I do believe, probably dealing with a lot of prejudice and lot of ignorance -- brighter, smarter, more intelligent, kinder, more loving people.

KING: I have to break, but let us pray. We're going to call on you a lot. Reverend Robert Schuller and Bishop T.D. Jakes, we thank you both very much. Reverend Schuller, who prayed with the current president's father, years ago before the Gulf war, and Bishop Jakes, who was with the younger Bush today at the White House with all the clerics, praying today.

When we come back, Sheryl Crow, brilliant entertainer. She's going to take part in the two-hour TV show, "America: A Tribute to Heroes," coming up. By the way, she lives in New York City. Sheryl Crow right after this. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat. I asked you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We're in our fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now from New York, as we look at the shot of this Capitol on this Thursday night, Sheryl Crow, great artist, musician, singer. She'll be taking part in Friday night's two-hour television show, "America: A Tribute to Heroes." How did they put that together.

SHERYL CROW, MUSICIAN/ARTIST: Oh, I cannot imagine how quickly they brought this thing together, with such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill, George Clooney, Tom Cruise -- just an amazing roster of artists are contributing their time.

KING: And all the broadcast networks are carrying it simultaneously, right?

CROW: They are. It's commercial-free, it's all time that has been donated, and now there are up to 31 major networks that are going to be carrying it, and 176 countries, I believe. It's really an amazing thing that's going to be happening, and it's completely live.

KING: And where will you be, Sheryl?

CROW: I'll be here in New York City. That's where I spend most of my time.

KING: I mean, but where are they are doing it -- at a theater, a TV station...

CROW: Oh, they're doing it actually at a sound stage here in New York City. And they're going to flip from L.A. to New York, they're going to keep flipping so they are able to save time by changing the sets while events are happening.

KING: And it is a telethon, right? They're raising money. CROW: It is a telethon, and they've set up a key donation site on www.tributetoheroes.org, which will launch tomorrow, and that's going to be the key donation point. And also, while the telethon is on, there will be flashing numbers and ways that you can contribute.

KING: Who put this together?

CROW: I think originally, the idea came about -- I think Jeff Zucker was the original...

KING: At NBC.

CROW: Yes, at NBC, the brainiac behind this. And he actually went to Interscope and there will be an album that's going to com out, and the proceeds are going to go to a long-term relief fund to help the victims that were -- the families, or those that were affected by the -- last week.

KING: So, it's a high-profile event, but they're not doing it in front of big audiences, right?

CROW: No, I think -- you know, obviously, security reasons. It's just easier not to have a huge audience. Also, I think there is a control factor when you're going live and you're in a studio, flipping between coast-to-coast with all these major networks, no commercial breaks -- it's just going to be easier in a more controlled environment.

KING: Sheryl, we're going to hear a number of yours leading out of this segment, but you live next to a fire station in New York City, right? And I understand some of those firemen are missing?

CROW: Yes, I do. Not to give my address away, but I live downtown, and probably, the guys in the fire station next to me, who I see frequently, were some of the first down there. I think they lost -- right now, there are 11 missing and a couple of really good buddies of mine, so...

KING: Where were you when this happened?

CROW: I was in Nashville, Tennessee, and I think I suffer what everybody else suffers, this feeling -- this need to be contributing to something. You know, the blood drive and the contribution thing doesn't feel like it's enough, particularly when you're in the Midwest. You want to be here in New York City, helping and getting your hands dirty.

And it's been a really frustrating thing, and I watched the whole thing on CNN, basically, for a few days there, not able to travel back to my home here. And it's really been a life changer.

KING: What did you think of president's speech?

CROW: I thought it was exactly what it needed to be. We have seen incredible leadership from Giuliani and lot of other leaders, and amazing heroism, but to hear that kind of confidence from the president was, for me, very comforting, and really needed.

KING: Tell me about this song, "I Shall Believe," which we're going to hear now over a montage of sight.

CROW: I think that "I Shall Believe" really is written from -- well, I wrote from the standpoint of somebody who has been very down, and is sort of reaffirming their faith.

KING: We look forward to seeing you tomorrow night on the telethon.

CROW: Thank you.

KING: Hope you raise a ton of money...

CROW: Yes, I do, too.

KING: It's often been said it's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Words to remember, as you watch these images and listen to the moving music of Sheryl Crow and "I Shall Believe." We'll be right back.

CROW (singing): Come to me now, And lay your hands over me, Even if it's a lie, Say it will be all right, I shall believe. Broken in two, I know you're on to me, That I only come home when I'm so all alone, but I do need me, Then not everything is going to be the way you think it ought to be, It seems like every time I try to make it right it all comes down on me, Please say honestly, You won't ever give up on me, I shall believe. I shall believe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That's if for this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE, back at our regular time tomorrow night, 9:00 Eastern.

Governor Ridge is going to speak, Wolf Blitzer is going to anchor an hour from Washington. So I'm Larry King, we'll turn it over to my buddy, Wolf -- Wolf.

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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