Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS



The Anthrax Scare

Aired October 23, 2001 - 21:00   ET





LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, anthrax in the White House mail system. President Bush says he's confident he's safe when he goes to work. What about the rest of us?

We'll hear from the secretary of health and human services, Tommy Thompson, testified before a House subcommittee about bioterrorism earlier today. Joining us from Washington, the man who chaired that hearing, Congressman Christopher Shays of the National Security Subcommittee. And with him, Senator Bob Graham, chairman of the Select Intelligence Committee.

Also in D.C., the president and chief operating officer of the country's only licensed maker of anthrax vaccine, Robert Kramer of the BioPort Corporation. We'll also talk with his serene highness Prince Albert of Monaco about his visit to ground zero and Olympic security concerns. Plus Maria Shriver of NBC News, just one of the media outlets touched by anthrax anxiety. And Broadway star Linda Eder sings us a beautiful song about heart and hope, and they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. Anthrax spores were found at a military facility that screens all the mail for the White House. That was found today. Officials say that no anthrax actually reached the executive mansion.

Concerns about anthrax attacks continue to rise. When I spoke to the secretary of health and human services, old friend Tommy Thompson, who, by the way, allows me to call him Tommy, about how serious the anthrax threat really is and who might be behind it.


TOMMY THOMPSON, HHS SECRETARY: Well, I think that right now it's too early to say. But I think certainly the cynic can say that this is wider than just one individual. And I think you can certainly assume that this thing has been somewhat orchestrated. And hopefully, we're going to be able to come to conclusions with it relatively soon. KING: On a personal basis, we know of your lifetime interest in health. It was a major facet of your governorship. But nothing could have prepared you for this.

THOMPSON: No, there certainly isn't. Larry, it's unbelievable to leave the governorship of Wisconsin and come out here, and the first part of my term is taken up with embryonic stem cells and the last several months been taken up with bioterrorism.

But it's something, you know, that we have to face. America's never had to face this before. And now we have to realize that things that we've seen in Iraq and Middle East and in Northern Ireland are things that are coming home here in the united States. We have to get prepared. And I believe that we're able respond to any type of bioterrorism that comes toward us. We've got some problems, but we're fixing those problems and getting stronger each and everyday.

KING: But you had no point of reference. No previous secretary was faced with this.

THOMPSON: No, it's completely new. And we're learning and we've got some wonderful people. The people at CDC in Atlanta are some of the best epidemiologists in the world. We've got great doctors and researchers and scientists up at NIH. So I've got a real cadre of experts and professionals that are wonderful individuals, that are able to advise me what we should be doing.

I also, as soon as I got in as secretary, I decided that bioterrorism was something that we may face during my term. And I don't know why I thought that. I just had a hunch. And I asked Scott Lillibridge, who's an epidemiologist from Atlanta, Georgia, to come in and head up my organization. And I put him in an office right across from the secretary's office, and he has pulled together a great team.

And we started working on this clear back in May of this year. So we were a little bit better prepared than a lot of people thought we were.

And we keep getting stronger each day. We've got new people coming in and looking at the situation, advising us, and getting us prepared for any future outbreaks of bioterrorism, whether it be chemical or biological.

KING: And your surgeon general is certainly on top of things.

THOMPSON: Oh, he's a wonderful man. David Satcher has been on your program, I know, a couple of times. And he was with me in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday, where we were talking to the American Public Health Association about the need to work together in a cooperative fashion with the local and state and the federal agencies.

We haven't invested enough money in the past in our public health system, and now we have an opportunity. I've told the organization in Atlanta, as did David Satcher, that we have not invested in our public health system in the past like we should have. But every -- out of every evil comes some good. And out of the September 11 terrorist attack, we now recognize some of our failures, and now we're going to fix some of those with a bipartisan attempt in Congress.

KING: All right. Let's get some current updates. Any difference between our response to congressional anthrax as opposed to post office anthrax?

THOMPSON: No. We just have to move more aggressively. When we find an outbreak, whether it be in Congress or in the media or anyplace, what we're going to do from now on, Larry, is we're going to go in and trace that letter back through all the postal offices. And we're going to go in and do a quick investigation. And we're going to start placing those individuals that need the help and who have any kind of symptoms whatsoever on Cipro or some of the other antibiotics that also are able to treat anthrax.

KING: This morning you said, "We're going to err on the side of caution in making sure people are protected." Does that mean that the previous response was inadequate?

THOMPSON: No, I'm not saying that. We're just going to be much more aggressive. I have instructed people at CDC that as soon as there is another letter -- if there is one, and hopefully there will not be -- but if there is another letter that comes through, we're going follow that chain right back to where it started. And we're going to go into every one of those post offices and every person that's handled any mail during that trail, and we're going to make sure that those individuals are aggressively treated, just to make sure that no individual might have inhaled some of these very deadly anthrax spores.

KING: Concerning the anthrax vaccine, BioPort's the only company that makes it. There's a lot of controversy. In fact, they're involved in a major lawsuit now over previously apparently defective vaccine. What's the status of that?

THOMPSON: Right now, they have closed down their factory in order to rebuild it and remanufacture and retool it. They haven't completed that yet. And they just have filed for an application of certification from FDA, that is as of last Friday. And sometime during the first or second week of November, they're going to complete their remodeling and the re-work that needs to be done to bring it up to par, so they can start manufacturing again.

And we will go in and inspect that, Larry. And hopefully, if they've done the things that FDA has required them to do and the things that they have wanted to get done that's going to improve their manufacturing operation, that they could be up and running, hopefully, by sometime between the 15th and 22nd of November.

KING: Tommy, concerning Cipro. What would we wrong with doing as Canada did and letting the generic company make it? You'd have much more of it and it would be cheaper. THOMPSON: Well, Canada just backed off of that position, Larry. They entered into an agreement with Bayer to purchase the Cipro from Bayer for $1.30 a pill. And I want to tell you, I've negotiated with Bayer and we're going to buy it much cheaper than that.

KING: Oh, well, that's good news. So the news then is we will buy Cipro, but not at the rate of $300 for 60.

THOMPSON: Absolutely not. We're going to be under $1, I can assure you,Larry. I'm a tough negotiator from Wisconsin, and they are going to either meet our price, which is less than $1, or else we're going to go to Congress and ask for some support to go in and do some other business.

KING: Well, that's great news.

Concern about smallpox -- can you envision the entire population being vaccinated?

THOMPSON: No, I cannot. And nobody in my surroundings in the department really want to go into mandatory vaccination. The reason being, Larry, is that there are some side-effects to smallpox vaccination. One person in a million will probably die; five or six will probably have some mental problems -- some mental retardation because of the swelling of the brain, and so on. Those are the kind of side-effects. So most of the doctors that are advising me indicate that that's not what we should do.

We should have the supply available. And I want to tell all Americans that we are going to have a vaccine for smallpox with their name it for every American in America -- man, woman or child -- and every person in the military.

And that's why the president and the vice president have indicated that they would like us to go out and purchase enough vaccine to make sure that if we ever did have a smallpox epidemic that we would be able to have enough vaccine for every American. And that's what we're going to do.

KING: A couple of other quick things -- today, it was brought out by Dick Gephardt that he was frustrated with Tom Ridge's statement that Capitol Hill anthrax was not weaponized. Gephardt said the words are not helpful. This is weapons-grade material. Who's right?

THOMPSON: Well, I don't know. I'm just not sure that we should get into defining anthrax as weaponization, because right now the analysis is still going on, Larry, and nobody knows for sure. The FBI is looking at it, as well as the Department of Army and Department of Defense, as well as CDC and some private labs. And nobody knows for sure that it is. But it does not appear at this time that you would, in the classic sense of weaponization or weaponizing anthrax, that it would fit that definition

KING: And where are we, Tommy, in the area of what seems like contradictory statements when we hear the president, the mayor of New York and others say,"Don't worry; shop; go to ball games; come to our city; have a good time." And then on the other hand we hear, "Worry; take care; be careful" -- and the FBI, in some cases, issuing alerts.

THOMPSON: Well, I think, Larry, what the president wants, and I totally agree with him, we've got to lead our ordinary lives. We cannot allow the terrorists to so preoccupy us with fear that we cannot conduct our business, our business with our family, going out to eat, flying on an airplane. That's counterproductive. What we need to do is we just need to be vigilant.

And if you get mail that has a return address that's different from the postmark, be careful. If there's powder in it, go in immediately and wash yourself with hot water and soap, and then call 9-1-1. Be vigilant, but don't let the terrorists so preoccupy you that you can't conduct your ordinary lives.

KING: Always good seeing you, Tommy -- we hope under better circumstances.

Thanks for joining us.

THOMPSON: So do I. Thank you so very much, Larry, and have a good day .

KING: Tommy Thompson, the secretary of health and human services.

Back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.



BUSH: There's no question that anybody who would mail anthrax with the attempt to harm American citizens is a terrorist. And there is no question that al Qaeda is a terrorist organization. So it wouldn't put it past me that they are -- you know, it wouldn't surprise me that they -- that they're involved with it. But I have no direct evidence.



KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, both in Washington, Congressman Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut, chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs and International Relations -- Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, just with us, testified before that subcommittee today -- and Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, who is chairman of the Select Intelligence Committee.

Congressman Shays, based on what Tommy Thompson said here tonight and today, do you have -- does he have your full confidence?

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R-CT), CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE: Oh, he has my full confidence. I mean, this is a very experienced governor who has come to Washington. He is very energetic. He does see the glass half full when it's -- some could say it's half empty, but he's determined to fill up that glass. I love the guy.

KING: Senator Graham, you can not -- do you get into your office or not?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), CHAIRMAN, SELECT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: No. We have been out since 8:00 p.m. last Wednesday, Larry.

KING: Any expectations of when you get back?

GRAHAM: It's a day-by-day situation, we know we are not going to be back in tomorrow.

I appreciate the fact that such care is being taken to assure that there are no remaining anthrax spores. We are on the fifth floor of the Hart Building, which is the same floor as Senator Daschle's office. And so I think we have been subject to particular close scrutiny.

KING: Congressman, what do you make of the Justice Department releasing those letters sent to NBC and also to Senator Daschle's so that the public can get a look at them and maybe have some information?

SHAYS: Well, I think anytime you can give the public information, we should. I mean, tell the people the truth and they'll have their government do the right thing. So these are things that we should share and I think it's helpful.

KING: Do you favor it too, Senator Graham.

GRAHAM: Yes, and I agree with precisely what Christopher just said, that we've got to treat the American people with respect, give them information upon which they can make good decisions.

Any course other than that erodes the credibility of the government so that when there really is important information to convey, the public won't accept it.

KING: Congressman Shays, anthrax hit the Capitol and it hit the postal department. And many in the postal department are saying the Capitol got faster and better treatment.

SHAYS: You know, I'm not sure I'd agree with them, but in the end, we've had two postal employees who have died and that's just horrific. So, our hearts go out to them.

I think that's there is no question that we are all learning in this. In the beginning, we thought the Capitol was under siege and it didn't -- you didn't see action really until you saw 27 people in Senator Daschle's office and the thought that it was in the air ducts.

I think there was a sense that the -- if the mail wasn't opened, it wasn't dangerous. So I think, intuitively, we thought it's when you open the mail that you've got a problem. And so obviously, a lot of us were wrong in what we thought.

KING: Senator Graham, what do you make of the argument of the postal workers?

GRAHAM: Well I was very pleased at what Secretary Thompson said, which was that we are now going to treat every one of these cases as a potential, backstream situation. That is: We will track the mail through all the steps that led to its getting into the office where it was eventually opened.

We have been following the practice of waiting until there was an actual incident, such as the opening of the mail, to define a hot spot which required the kind of intensive public health and Centers for Disease Control intervention that occurred in Senator Daschle's office, at NBC and at the newspaper office in Florida.

KING: Congressman Shays, there is no doubt that you have been ahead of the curve on this for a long time.

Without being alarmist, many experts are suggesting the United States only has qualified preparedness for bioterrorism, not the kind of optimism they are expressing. What do you...


SHAYS: The honest answer is that there is not a question of if, it's when, where and of what magnitude.

We have the ability to respond to most attacks. The ones that would be of extraordinary magnitude, then the system would break down and we are working overtime to get caught up. The likelihood of the 100-year storm is remote but it is still there and we have to deal with it.

But I just want to say we're at war and we are in a race with terrorists to shut them down before they get a better delivery system on chemical and biological agents, before they get nuclear waste, or heaven forbid, before they get a nuclear weapon. That's what this war is all about.

KING: Well, Senator Graham, you are chairman of the Select Intelligence Committee. Is intelligence getting better?

GRAHAM: Yes, it is.

And it is going to get better, still, when we pass the budget that is currently before the Congress and the anti-terrorism bill, which will give to the intelligence agencies significant additional capabilities.

As an example, in the past, there have been legal prohibitions on law enforcement sharing with the intelligence agencies information, which law enforcement might gather in the course of a criminal investigation. That has meant that our ability to be proactive, to try to interdict terrorist activities before they struck has been limited. Once we pass this new anti-terrorism legislation, we'll take off those shackles and intelligence and law enforcement will both be better for it.

KING: Congressman Shays, what do you fear the most? Do you fear food system interruptions, agriculture, what?

SHAYS: I think I fear a sense that, over time, this isn't a big deal, that we are going to be able to deal with it.

I think my biggest fear is that the public won't know that we truly are at war, that it's going to have a duration, not dissimilar to the Cold War, but that it is going to be hot. And that there are people who will be at risk, but we need to get on with our life.

In other words, I drive an automobile, but I know that 40,000 people a year can lose their life driving on our streets, but I drive on my streets. But I'm not going to be shocked when I learn that someone had an accident.

And I think, ultimately, reports about anthrax are going to become like weather reports, or like the traffic report. We are going to just know it happens and we are going to deal with it. It is not pleasant, but that's what I think is going to happen, I hope.

KING: Because that's the usual human condition, right? We can't name our astronauts.


KING: Space travel used to be uncommon. When it becomes common, it becomes less talked about. Although, that is a different story isn't it?


I would like to say to you that I think there is a sea change happening in Washington and obviously, you know, September 11 changed all of our worlds.

But I think the senator, if he could get it into it more, would tell you that the information between the FBI and the CIA, it is going to be a total and complete exchange, that the culture of the CIA which is different than the FBI they are going to find ways to integrate. We are going to start to fuse our information together and we are going to learn a heck of a lot and we are going to be able to deter a lot of the crimes that -- and I don't call them crimes -- these acts of war that are taking place.

KING: Correct, Senator?

GRAHAM: And Larry, we are going to do some things that will be beneficial not just in the fight against terrorism or bioterrorism but will benefit us in many ways. As an example, as Secretary Thompson said, we need to rebuild our public health service.

In the 19th century the public health service was the means by which we rolled back many of the most serious diseases that have ever afflicted mankind. But in the 20th century we allowed that system to degrade. We now need to rebuild it. We need to have this strong office of Homeland Security, the office that Governor Ridge is now going to be heading.

And I believe it needs to be strengthened by statutory provisions that will give it increased budgetary authority, increased ability to require agencies which may be in the past as the FBI and the CIA, had not always been operating off the same page, to come together to defend the nation at a time when we just learned that America is no longer invulnerable from domestic assaults.

KING: We thank you both very much. Congressman Christopher Shays of Connecticut, Senator Bob Graham of Florida. When we come back Robert Kramer will join us, the president and chief operating officer of BioPort! That is the corporation, the only licensed manufacturer of anthrax vaccine in the United States. He is next, don't go away.


KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, joining us from Washington, Robert Kramer, the president and chief operating officer of the BioPort Corporation, the only licensed manufacturer of anthrax vaccine in the United States. He testified today on Capitol Hill.

What are your thoughts, Robert, first off on this ongoing anthrax scare every day?

BOB KRAMER, PRESIDENT & COO, BIOPORT CORP.: Well, I guess my thoughts and concerns first and foremost, Larry, are for the people who may be exposed to anthrax. We have all seen over the last couple of weeks that this is a very serious and potentially deadly disease. And right now that is the only reason that we are in business at BioPort is to produce the only FDA licensed vaccine to prevent anthrax.

KING: Why is that? Why aren't there other companies doing it?

KRAMER: Well, I think if you look back at the last several decades, the vaccine industry has been very effective at knocking out a number of diseases. And we have been pretty much a victim of our own success. Secondly, that the economics of being a vaccine manufacturer are not as they used to be. The heightened regulatory requirements by the FDA are certainly a challenge, but it is a challenge that we at BioPort agreed to meet and comply with, and staying prepared to make sure that this vaccine is available to the people who need it.

KING: Would you comment on that lawsuit filed Friday on behalf of U.S. soldiers who alleged they were harmed by the vaccine? KRAMER: Well, I can't unfortunately, Larry, because I have not seen it yet. We have not been served with that lawsuit. So unfortunately I can't comment on it at this time.

KING: Has there been a problem with the vaccine to your knowledge?

KRAMER: There hasn't. There has been, I think, a misrepresentation of the safety of the vaccine. However, the safety has been proven in over 18 independent studies over the last several decades. Typically with vaccines you have normal side effects at the injection site in terms of redness and swelling and occasional low grade fever.

But our vaccine as well as other vaccines, these typically go away in a matter of days.

KING: Now, for the past two years, Tommy Thompson told us you have been rebuilding and retooling, and expect to be on-line in November. What was the reason it had to rebuild and retool?

KRAMER: Well, I think it is important to note that in January, of 1998, the Department of Defense and the state of Michigan who owned the facility prior to BioPort, made the decision to renovate about 3,000 square feet in which we manufacture the vaccine.

That renovation was completed in may of 1999. We resumed production at that time, and have been working aggressively with the FDA since then to get approval of this renovated facility. So we have been in production. We have amassed a considerable stockpile of vaccine that the Department of Defense owns, so what we have been in production we have vaccine available.

KING: Now, this is an unusual vaccine, right? It requires what, a number of shots, right?

KRAMER: The FDA licensed procedure is for six doses to be given over a total of 18 months. However, these safety studies that I mentioned earlier clearly suggest that there is a significant degree of the immunity or protection, if you will, that is built up only after two or three doses.

KING: Who should get the vaccine?

KRAMER: Well, I'm going to stick with the FDA labeled use for the vaccine, and that is persons who are at a high risk of exposure to anthrax, whether it be cutaneous or inhalation anthrax. That is what the FDA licensed use of the vaccine is.

It should also be noted that there is an advisory committee on immunization and practices, an expert committee made up of medical experts around the country, who have advised the Centers for Disease Control that on a post exposure basis, meaning people who have been exposed to anthrax, their recommendation is to use antibiotics for 30 days, and to use the vaccine for three doses.

And that combination of antibiotics and vaccine provides the best protection from anthrax.

KING: So, Robert, if this vaccine were being distributed today, everyone at the Washington post office would be getting it?

KRAMER: I think that is up, clearly, Larry, for the Centers for Disease Control, who are the medical experts to recommend the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. My colleagues and I at BioPort simply stand ready to make sure that this vaccine is made available when the Centers for Disease Control the FDA and the Department of Defense say it is ready to be used.

KING: You must have lost a fortune in two years making a product that no one was using.

KRAMER: Well, we certainly had our challenges. And we have agreed with the Department of Defense to continue to do this work. You know, this is the only FDA licensed product in the country to prevent anthrax. Its future is critical. We have agreed with Department of Defense not to earn any profit on our contract as we go through this approval process, and are committed to make sure that we honor our commitments to supply them with as much needed vaccine.

KING: Thank you Robert, we will be calling on you again. We appreciate your spending some time with us.

KRAMER: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Robert Kramer, president, chief operating officer of BioPort! In a little while Maria Shriver will join us. We will take a break and come back with Prince Albert, serene highness of Monaco. Don't go away.


KING: It's now a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE his serene highness Prince Albert of Monaco. It's a return visit. Always good to see him. He visited ground zero earlier today.

What was that like for you?

PRINCE ALBERT, PRINCE OF MONACO: Well, Larry, it was very emotional and it was -- it's almost overwhelming to actually see the site and to see the rescue efforts, and all the emergency teams working there around the clock. And just to see the devastation and the incredible area that it covers, and to think that there, unfortunately, are still bodies being recovered from there, and still bodies under there. It's -- it is just unbelievable.

KING: Having been there myself, television does not give it a right picture. Does it?

ALBERT: It's true. It's -- we went up in one of the buildings, overlooking the site. And you get a great perspective from there. Much better than from ground level. And it really gives -- it's chilling, you know, to see what happened and to imagine the force and the incredible destruction that went on there. KING: The Serene highness, you also met with Mayor Giuliani today. And I know that Monaco has raised money on behalf of the survivors and families. What was that like for you?

ALBERT: Yes, well that was -- it was a great honor and great privilege for me to present to Mayor Giuliani, not only the support and the sympathies from my family, from my father, and my family, but from the people of Monaco. And to present to the mayor, a check of a little over $700,000, stemming from private contributions.

And we had an auction from an event that was supposed to take place a few days after September 11 and was obviously canceled. And then, our local radio station, radio Monte Carlo, ran a radio fund, collecting some money from -- for this fund.

And also, we put in the same envelope, half of the proceeds from last night's Princess Grace Foundation, our annual gala that takes place right here in New York City. And so, half of those proceeds went also to this fund. And so, it was, I think, incredible gesture from the people of Monaco and some of our friends here.

KING: She would have been very proud of those efforts.

ALBERT: Yes. Obviously, we thought of her and we always do. But obviously, this -- the ties between the principality and this great country of are largely due to my mother.

KING: You're also chairman of the Monaco Red Cross. Have they been involved in any of this?

ALBERT: No. We did offer. We have a very small unit of emergency medical people that we have sent to different areas of the world for disasters and for disaster relief programs. And we offered this as part of a contingent from the French Red Cross. But we were told that that wasn't necessary. And so we did not send them. But obviously, we also -- there's also funds that came to us, to the Monaco Red Cross, that we then forwarded to the American Red Cross.

KING: Do you know that charities are being affected by all of this, so much giving into New York, not that there's anything wrong with that, but I know how charitably involved you are? ALBERT: Yes, well obviously, I think it's only normal that some part of whatever charity and whatever charity it is, whatever they raise in these times, that a portion of it goes to the families of the victims and fire fighters and all the emergency teams. I think it's a tremendous -- and I was told that it was tremendous help for them. So we're very, very happy to do that.

KING: I know you were just in Salt Lake City for some Olympic, pre-Olympic activities. You're a member of International Olympic Committees, an athlete yourself. Concerns over security come next February?

ALBERT: Well, I talked to several officials there, Larry. And the -- obviously, the security plans have been beefed up. And as you know, a package of $40 million has been allocated to improve security there. And I think that's only normal.

Obviously, and God forbid, any other tragedy should happen between now and then. Then obviously, maybe some further evaluation will need to be done. And some decisions will probably have to be made with the International Olympic Committee, but we're not there yet. I'm pretty confident that the games will go on without -- and they should go on. And it would be a tremendous message that the Olympic movement and its values can help in emotional times such as these.

KING: You don't join then those questioning whether it should be held?

ALBERT: No, I think it would be -- as I just said, Larry, I think would be tremendous message of hope, of peace, and of tolerance, that. And these are the values -- these are part of the values of the Olympic movement. And I think it can only help. And it can only prove that we can go on. And that we -- this is stronger than whatever warped and dark ideas that many terrorists might have.

KING: Because the senior Olympic official did question that today.

ALBERT: Well, I did not know that. Obviously, we -- the executive board of the IOC is going to meet soon, or is meeting. And we are not scheduled to have a full session. That is the full body of the IOC is not scheduled to meet until days before the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games.

KING: I think, they tell me it was Gerhard Heiberg who said that country, the countries at war, can't organize an Olympic Games.

ALBERT: Yes, that is true. Although, this is a very different kind of war. And these are different times. I really would need to hear what other officials and especially the president of the IOC has to say about that. But -- so we will monitor this. And obviously, whatever decision will be made by the IOC, I'll respect it.

KING: Are there are concerns in Monaco?

ALBERT: There are concerns around the world, as you know, Larry, and certainly around Europe that. And there were questions that, you know, when is the next terrorist act going to be? And there are prime and very sensitive targets of any major city in Europe.

And obviously, we are as concerned as anybody else is. We followed what our neighbors, France, are doing in terms of reinforcing security at major areas and major locations. And we have done that. So we have a security plan that is very adequate and very solid for us.

KING: Of course, you certainly would think would be an ideal, wrong choice of words, kind of target though?

ALBERT: No, we understand that. You know, the casino, Monaco, is world-renowned. KING: Yes.

ALBERT: The palace, these are buildings that are obviously prime targets. Sorry to use that kind of word, but they are. And we need to pay attention to that.

KING: You also, in addition to all your other things, you're president of Monaco's delegation to U.N., right?

ALBERT: Yes, I am. And we're -- I will be here, in fact, next month when the General Assembly that was supposed to take place in September and was postponed, and is going to happen next month here. So I will be here for that.

KING: Your Serene Highness, are you optimistic, despite all of this?

ALBERT: I think we have to be, Larry. You know, and when I see the people here in New York, when I see their spirit, and how they've pulled together. And I think trying times and tests like these, not only tend to pull people together, but make people stronger and more apt to deal with hard times.

And so, when I see this kind of spirit, I cannot believe that there is not hope and that we are not going to get out of this. We will. And I think it is essential that we do, and essential that we keep our spirit, and keep our keep our hopes up high. But we'll (INAUDIBLE) some day.

KING: By the way, does tie have any symbolic meaning?

ALBERT: This is a tie from that I kept from the 1996 Atlanta Games. And as you can see, it's...

KING: Beautiful.

ALBERT: And I thought appropriate to show this spirit today.

KING: Thank you so much, Your Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco for joining us.

ALBERT: Thank you.

KING: We'll be back with more on LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


KING: She's an extraordinary journalist, Maria Shriver of NBC News, contributing anchor to "DATELINE", author of the best-selling children's book, "What's Heaven?" Back on the list again, by the way, due to the current crisis. And her new book is, "What's wrong with Timmie?" And that book also applies to the current terrible goings- on.

She's covered this terrorism story as well. And since NBC's been part of it, before we ask about the new book, how are things there at the network?

MARIA SHRIVER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I was just doing the "TODAY" show last week. And I would say that things are very calm. People are going about their business. Obviously I think on Monday, they were concerned when this happened on Friday. But everybody there, I think, is well read. They understand that it's not contagious. They understand what the real situation is, and they're moving about their business.

KING: Do you have any personal concerns about you?

SHRIVER: No, I'm trying not to. It's, you know, nothing that applies to me at this point. And I find that just being nervous about it doesn't get me anywhere. So I'm trying to concentrate on being a good mother during this time, taking time to talk to my kids, and reassure them. I'm out trying to do my job the best way I can. And I'm out talking about this book, which is, I think for many of us, this a learning opportunity for the whole country.

And so, you know, when I talk about the book, which is about a little boy who has a disability and about acceptance of differences, I'm trying to tell children that whether a child is disabled or whether a child has a different religion or a different ethnic background, it's all about acceptance of difference. And that's what's really important.

And I think for those of us who are parents, this is a moment to try to talk to our children about things that are important, talk to them about citizenship, talk to them about responsibility, about being a leader, about reaching out to someone who might be in a Special Ed class and making that effort to say, you know, I can be your friend.

KING: So Timmie could be a Muslim boy.

SHRIVER: In my book, Timmie is a little boy with mental retardation, but he could be anything, anybody different. And I think children are very astute when a child is different. Whether that child be in a wheelchair, whether that child be mentally retarded, whether that child be a Muslim, whether that child be an Arab, whatever, they know when someone is different. And they ask their parents.

KING: And what do you -- I know you did a special on dealing with children, right? In times of crisis?

SHRIVER: Well, I did. I did a piece on talking to your children, what to do with a child about being a role model.

KING: Now when children start looking at television, they see all pictures of Arabic-looking people in the turbans and the like. How do you teach them not to go out and hate? SHRIVER: Well I think you have to say that, you know, the majority of people from who are Arabs, the people who are Muslim, you talk to them that they're peace-loving people, that they're, you know, they want the same things in life. Like I talk in the book about Timmie wanting the same things in life that every other child wants. He wants to be loved. He wants to be included. He wants to be accepted. He wants to be invited to all the same parties.

And that applies to anybody, whether they be black, Arab, whether they be in a wheelchair or mentally retard, they want to be accepted. They want the same things out of life.

And I think it's our job as parents, to take this time, when our kids are asking questions, to slow down our lives enough to try to find out what are you thinking of? Are you bothered by something? If you see that image on the television, do you have any questions about it? And to explain to them that the vast majority of people in this world are good people, peace-loving people that that is what we have to concentrate on.

How did your kids deal with this?

SHRIVER: Well they had a lot of questions. Obviously, about it, they were concerned.

KING: What are their ages?

SHRIVER: They're 11, 10, 8 and 4. And obviously, the older ones were more concerned about it. And they saw me working more. So that made them more concerned. When I went to New York last week, they were concerned that something might happen to me.

So I tried to take time to say to them, look at, you know, Mommy's going to do her work. It's important that I go to do my work. Nothing's going to happen. It's safe now. If you have any questions, you know I will call you everyday. But I didn't want them to see me stopping what I do, and me succumbing to some fear, that I might have.

Even if I was anxious, I don't want to send that message to my kids. And I think that, you know, the President, everybody else is asking us to get on with our lives. And the way kids see us get on with our lives is by getting on with our lives.

KING: But they also see that with media coverage, they see the tumult going on, right? What do you think of coverage?

SHRIVER: Well I think -- I have to say that I have said in the past several weeks since this happened, I've been proud to be a journalist. And I've said that I haven't always been proud to be a journalist in the last 20 some years that I have been a journalist.

But I thought particularly in the several days after the tragedy, I felt that, you know, everybody on television was very measured, wise, I thought in control. And I thought that pieces that were done were terrific.

I think now, you know, there's obviously, a great concentration on anthrax, and what's going on. And I think it's people that I've talked to in television are really questioning how much do we do of this? Should we do other things like talk about books? Should we talk about movies? Should we talk about other things that are going on in people's lives?

And from everybody that I've talked to outside of TV, they say you know, please, do other things, as well. We want to see what else is going in the world.

KING: Speaking of that, are they going to release your husband's movie?

SHRIVER: They sure are in February, "Collateral Damage." And he's really good in it, Arnold. And I think it was the wise decision to hold it back because he plays...

KING: The story line is what?

SHRIVER: Well, he plays a fireman. And it's a story, his family's blown up in a terrorist attack. And he goes after the terrorists. And it's, you know, because he played a fireman, because his family was affected, there were so many people whose families were affected that he felt, and the people at Warners felt that it wasn't appropriate at this time, to bring it out.

But he's still behind it. And I think they'll bring it out. And a lot of people want them to do that.

KING: What's all this been like for you, Maria? Here is a woman, the Kennedy family, seen tragedy around you? All your life, there's been tragedy around you, tragedy to cover, tragedy to be part of it, you write book about heaven.


KING: About children and death. You write a book about dealing like "What's Wrong with Timmie?" deals with people who are different. You have -- what is it like for you?

SHRIVER: Well, I mean for me, I feel like what's heaven when I went down to the ground zero and I saw, you know, many of the children's letters to their parents. And so many people have written me saying that what's heaven has helped them in this situation.

KING: It's selling again, right?

SHRIVER: Selling again. And the kids who've lost parents. I've tried to donate as many copies of "What's Heaven: as I could to different fire departments.

KING: But how do you personally deal with?

SHRIVER: Well...

KING: I mean, violence has been around your life?

SHRIVER: Right, but I'm not concentrating on anything dealing with me right now. There are so many thousands of families. I've interviewed, you know, people who have lost children in this situation, people who have lost parents. That's what I'm dealing with. I have you know, there's nothing going on with me during this tragedy.

I'm doing my work as a journalist, but I have been humbled, really humbled by the people I have met who have lost loved ones in this situation and their strength, and the courage that they are showing by getting on with their lives.

And to me, that is a real example in this. You know, every day we see examples of courage playing out on television and newspapers and around us of people who have lost loved ones. And they're going on with their lives.

So I don't want to be sitting here saying, you know, this is difficult for me. This is not difficult for me. It's difficult for our country. And I feel that as an American, it's difficult to make your children feel safe. I feel that as a mother. But you know, this is, you know, has to do with the people who have lost loved ones at the World Trade Center and in Pennsylvania and in Washington.

KING: It's great dealing you a friend.

SHRIVER: Thank you, Larry. Thank you for talking about the book.

KING: The book is "What's wrong with Timmie?" Another major bestseller from Maria Shriver, who writes nothing but bestsellers and is a top journalist as well.

When we come back, we always close on a musical note. You're going to meet a terrific singer with a great new song, never heard before. Don't go away.


KING: Joining us now from New York is a brilliant talent, Linda Eder, who starred in on Broadway in "Jekyll and Hyde." She played Lucy. She was the toast of the town. She returns to Broadway and a one woman concert in December. Her husband, Frank Wildhorn, co-wrote the songs of "Jekyll and Hyde." She sings a lot of his works. And she's going to debut one tonight.

The song is "If I Should Lose my Way." You haven't recorded this yet, have you, Linda?

LINDA EDER, SINGER: No, we're just about to. It's from my new upcoming album on Atlantic, but I thought this would be a perfect song for it. We've done the demo. And I happened to be listening to it in the car shortly after September 11. And it blew me away, lyrically. So I thought it was the right choice.

KING: And Frank felt in writing it, that it would fit this concept now?

EDER: I think so. You know, I do mostly concerts. And so many of the songs that I sing seem all suddenly seem to be about this. But this one in particular, I think, fits it in a way that doesn't hit you right over the head. It's just -- it's healing and I think wonderful.

KING: And we're going to hear it right now for the first time. She's premiering it on this show. It was written by her husband, who's a genius. Here is the wonderfully talented Linda Eder and "If I Should Lose My Way".



KING: To learn more, by the way, about upcoming guests, you can log onto my web site at Tomorrow night, among other guests, the Solicitor General of the United States Ted Olson will be with us. We now turn the proceedings over to a special report.




Back to the top