CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interviews With Tom Ridge, Dianne Feinstein, Christopher Shays, Dr. James Dobson
Aired June 6, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: the president addresses the nation, saying we need a new Department for Homeland Security. Will a huge government overhaul keep Americans safe?
Joining us from the White House, the current homeland security director, Tom Ridge.
Plus: Will Congress go along with the president's plan? We'll hear from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Subcommittee on Technology and Terrorism, and a member of the Select Intelligence Committee.
Also in D.C., Republican Congressman Christopher Shays, chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security.
And then, another young girl stolen from her home. The father of a murdered 7-year-old says his drug use and sex life are irrelevant to his daughter's fatal kidnapping.
And the Catholic Church struggles to deal with sex abuse by priests. The founder and president of Focus on the Family, Christian conservative Dr. James Dobson says America's children are desperately at risk. We'll get his views on what parents need to do and take your calls, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We begin in Washington from the White House with Governor Tom Ridge, the current director of homeland security.
The obvious first question, Tom, is: If offered this post of the permanent director, so to speak, of a Cabinet rank, would you take it?
TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: Larry, I've got a job right now as an adviser to the president, and one job at a time, Larry. Maybe we'll have an opportunity to deal with this later. But I still have a job on a day- to-day basis to do what the president asked me to do on October 8. And until we get the new structure up, until we get the new Department of Homeland Security, I have one job to focus on, and that's where the energy and commitment needs to be.
KING: On this program some months ago, when you were asked about the idea of a Cabinet post, you said there would have to be realignment of government agencies and departments, and you didn't think the job should be elevated to Cabinet secretary level. What changed?
RIDGE: Well, I'd like to revisit that with you, because I've tried to keep the option open, because the president from day one said, we consider as part of our task to consider the structure of government as it presently exists and determine whether or not it is adequate enough to meet a new threat, and that's the threat of terrorism.
Maybe I wasn't as artful as I could have been that night to say to you that I think, if there is a reorganization -- and clearly the president's vision is that we need one -- and I believe that he'll find great support and leadership on the Hill from Republicans and Democrats.
The president would still need an adviser, and I think he'd like to preserve that option for himself and future presidents to have an adviser in the White House; but also to reorganize the federal agency so that one mission, the primary mission of the president, that is to protect America and our way of life, can be established within the Department of Homeland Security.
KING: How about the nature of the human being? Are you asking -- you're going to ask bureaucracies to give up what they do? That ain't easy.
RIDGE: Well, Larry, I think these men and women that work at INS and Customs and the Coast Guard and FEMA, first of all, I think we have to understand they're patriots and they're public servants. And when they go to work on a day-to-day basis, many of them have focused on homeland security issues for years, if not decades.
But they've focused on that mission, on that task in agencies that were not designed around the primary mission of protecting America and providing safety to citizens and preservation of our way of life. Now they can take that mission and their professionalism and their patriotism to an agency whose primary concern, primary focus is to protect the homeland. And I think they'll respond very favorably to it.
KING: The president said tonight that we're winning the war against terrorism. Isn't this forming of this agency in conflict with that statement? If we're winning, why do we need it?
RIDGE: You know, it's an interesting question, Larry, because some people asked after we won World War II, why did Harry Truman, after we won a war, reorganize the defense establishment? And the reason Harry Truman reorganized the defense establishment, in spite of winning, is because he saw a new threat.
The parallel to what the president said -- announced tonight, I think, is very similar. I think to date we are winning the war in Afghanistan. We've got allies that are helping us on the ground, and our troops are located around the world. We've interdicted, and our allies have helped us arrest people. We've done a great deal to disrupt their activity and influence the flow of money. But we still need to reorganize government because the new threat of international terrorism is an enduring threat. It's a permanent vulnerability, and the president appropriately has asked the Congress to work with him to permanently reorganize to deal with the new, 21st century threat.
KING: So much in the news lately about the conflict between the CIA and the FBI. Under this, the president's concept, the head of this agency, whether it's you or whomever, will have what say over those two bureaus and agencies?
RIDGE: Well, Larry, I feel, when I pick up the paper or listen to someone comment that there's conflict between the CIA and the FBI, I mean, it just -- it's not the reality that I deal with on a day-to- day basis. I mean, we meet. And we meet with the CIA Director George Tenet, and I meet with the FBI Director Bob Mueller. And they have got a very close relationship. It has gotten better and stronger every day that I've had the opportunity to work with them since October 8. As a matter of fact, Director Mueller has a new organizational path. He wants to do a better job in pulling in information and analyzing it.
So at the end of the day, with the new Department of Homeland Security, the president wants the CIA and the FBI to do their job. But this new department will become a consumer, become a customer. We'll want the information that they pull in, but we'll want this new department to pull in information from the INS, from Customs, from the Coast Guard, from the drug enforcement authorities, from the state and local police.
We'll want them to pull in all that information and sort it out between rumor and suspicion and fact and speculation and misinformation, and do an assessment, do an analysis, and then communicate it -- if it's a real threat, communicate that to state and local governments.
KING: So he or she in the agency will be chartered to -- when it asks, it gets?
RIDGE: Well, I think that's exactly right. And more importantly, if we see, based on -- if the agency sees, based on its analysis of the overall threat information that they want the FBI to go back and pursue another investigation or pursue another path, they won't have the capability to do that, they would use the resources that the FBI and the intelligence community and law enforcement community generally would bring to the table. So we'll be consumers and we'll be customers. But this new department or agency will be working as closely with the CIA and the FBI as our office has been working since October 8.
KING: We are going to have a prominent member of the Senate and a prominent member of the House following you in a couple of minutes.
Have you consulted the leadership prior to this announcement?
RIDGE: It's a wonderful question, because during the past several months I've been up on the Hill, and I know Senator Feinstein is one of your guests, and she and I have talked about border reorganization. And we've talked about just the whole notion that in order to deal with the threat, whether it's at the border, whether it's information analysis and sharing, that we probably needed to do something differently in the 21st century because it's the new threat, the dominant threat of the 21st century. We've talked to -- been up and briefed and spent time with Congressman Chris Shays and the Republicans and Democrats on his committee as well.
So we've had quite a few very good and very positive conversations with both Republicans and Democrats. At the end of the day, times of crisis, we need leadership at the presidential level, we need leadership at the congressional level. And I think your two guests tonight will provide some of that bipartisan leadership we need in both chambers.
KING: We'll find out in a couple of minutes.
Do you expect easy sledding on the Hill?
RIDGE: Larry, you know I was privileged to serve up there for 12 years, and there are 88 committees and subcommittees that technically have a piece of the homeland security puzzle, and not the president or anybody in the executive branch is not inclined to give any guidance or instruction to the House or the Senate as to how to deal with it.
But they're patriots, all. They want to help. And I believe that they'll work their way through that maze of committees and subcommittees and end up providing the kind of leadership we need at the congressional level in order to get the job done.
KING: Leaders like Rumsfeld and Cheney and others have said, not will there be another attack on this country, but when, and in what form it's going to happen. Do you share that view? Is something going to happen?
RIDGE: Larry, I would say to you that in a world where we know that there are literally thousands and thousands of al Qaeda terrorists, and there are other terrorists and other organizations, in a world that's as complex as it is and as challenging as it is, and in a country that is as large and as diverse and as open as ours, I think we should anticipate the fact that we will be a target.
We know we are the number one target, and I think we better plan for that eventuality. It is that whole notion, the fact that for the time being, for the foreseeable future, the new threat isn't from necessarily traditional enemies. We're making a tremendous relationship change with the Soviet Union. But the dominant new threat is international terrorism. It's the 21st century threat.
And that's why, with the president's leadership and congressional leadership, I think we can reorganize much of the government to deal with the new threat.
KING: And one other thing: Is this going to need a building somewhere, or two, in place by January 1? RIDGE: Larry, as you know this new agency we'll have nearly 175,000 people. But most of these men and women are outside of Washington and doing their job and doing it well every single day.
So right now the logistics of a new building are not as important as consolidating command and control, giving specific direction to the Department of Homeland Security and to these agencies to make sure that we fulfill the president's commitment to keep America as safe as possible.
We can never guarantee that there will be no surprises, but we can say to the citizens we are obliged, and seek to help and protect and defend, that we'll do everything we can to make sure that we've done the best job we can to make sure the federal government, the state government, local government and everybody's engaged in providing greater security and safety.
KING: And quickly, January 1 reasonable?
RIDGE: I think it is. I've had so many conversations, again, with congressional representatives and senators who want to be helpful, who believe in different parts of the broad reorganization plan that the president is offering tonight, and I'm confident we're going to see great leadership, bipartisan leadership on the Hill to work with the president to get this done for America.
KING: Thank you, Tom, as always.
RIDGE: Nice to be with you again, Larry. Thank you very much.
KING: Governor Tom Ridge, the current director of homeland security.
When we come back, he's already mentioned them. Senator Feinstein and Congressman Shays. Then James Dobson. Don't go away
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As Governor Ridge has worked with all levels of government to prepare a national strategy, and as we have learned more about the plans and capabilities of the terrorist network, we have concluded that our government must be reorganized to deal more effectively with the new threats of the 21st century.
So tonight, I ask the Congress to join me in creating a single permanent department with an overriding and urgent mission: securing the homeland of America and protecting the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We now welcome two key legislators, senators Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, a key member of top intelligence committees and chairman of a major subcommittee, and Congressman Christopher Shays of Connecticut. He's a Republican. He's also in that same position on key committees, chair and member.
Senator Feinstein, you heard Governor Ridge say that he's talked to you a lot about this. He's expecting cooperation on the Hill. Is he going to get it?
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), TERRORISM SUBCMTE. CHMN.: We certainly have talked. This is a huge proposal, Larry. It's a mega- agency, and we've got to take a look at all the ramifications. Having said that, I think it's a step in the right direction, and beginning tomorrow, the chairman of the judiciary committee, on which I obviously serve, Senator Leahy, the ranking member Senator Hatch, Senator Kyl and I, as the chairman and ranking member of the terrorism subcommittee, our staffs will begin to meet to discuss the legislation and begin to formulate it.
There are really -- for example, it takes the whole Immigration and Naturalization Service, and it puts it in this agency. It takes the whole Coast Guard.
There are real questions about what the intelligence agencies -- what role they play in this. So it's going to take a lot of discussion. We're going to have to look at the pros and cons. But having said that, what it does, the cabinet level -- right. Giving statutory, budgetary and congressional oversight authority is the right way to go.
KING: All right.
FEINSTEIN: The only question is how big should it really be, and what are the ramifications of separating enforcement and service in the INS Department and taking the whole thing and putting it in homeland defense? That's something to look at.
KING: Congressman Shays, Governor Ridge said as well with you. He's talked with you about it. He expects good times in the House. Will he get it?
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: I think he'll get a lot of cooperation. Tom Ridge was instructed to look at the terrorist threat, to develop a strategy, and then to reorganize our government based on that strategy, and that's exactly what he's doing. It's a stunning proposal. It's quite elegant, actually.
It's going to be one department that the first responders can turn to, one department that will basically coordinate our strategy against terrorism. And we need to put in context where we're at. We're in a race with terrorists to shut them down before they use weapons of mass destruction against us.
KING: Do you share some of Senator Feinstein's concerns?
SHAYS: I find myself, having thought about this a long time after 25 hearings, saying that what this president has done is basically taking care of the one problem we had with the Hart-Rudman proposal, with the Lieberman-Specter proposal, with the Thornberry- Harman proposal, and that was, it was a reorganization, but it was only a part reorganization. He's been able to capture the whole effort, one department that can to do it, and I think he's done it in a very effective way.
KING: Senator Feinstein, has he got a point?
FEINSTEIN: Well, I mean, I'm not closing any doors. I've got a wide open mind. I have a great respect for Tom Ridge. I think he's a good executive. He is strong. He is positive. He's got what it takes to move the chessmen on the board, that's clear, and that has to be, and he'll get the authority with this to do what he has to do.
It's not -- it's not that simple. I mean, you've got -- because many of these agencies have experiences and services outside of the area of homeland defense. It makes sense to have all the border agencies, for example, border patrol, customs -- it makes sense to have Coast Guard in this agency.
Some other -- the intelligence aspect of it is something that I want to look into, because as I see our intelligence world, our weakness is in the analytical part of putting the pieces together and having the communication between agencies to do this. Now, whether this is going to be reporting intelligence, whether it's going to be all source analysis intelligence, where the FBI fits in, where the CIA fits in, where the State Department fits in.
These are things we have to look at. I think we do the people a disservice if we didn't take a good, hard look at this. Is it a step forward? I think it's got a lot of things to recommend it. Obviously the Senate is going to work its will on it, and many senators have definite opinions, and they will be taken into consideration as well.
KING: Congressman Shays, aren't those logical concerns?
SHAYS: They're logical concerns, but the stakes are high. This is like after World War II when we had a new threat, we had to develop a new strategy and we had to reorganize.
That's where we're at, and you have a different program that follows us that's not going to talk about this issue, but we are truly at war, and this war requires some very bold action. It's going to require Congress to reorganize itself, because just as we've had a stove pipe mentality in the executive branch, we have a stove pipe mentality in Congress.
KING: Harry Truman, though, had a rough time getting that through.
SHAYS: But he got it through.
KING: A lot of Republicans opposed it, certainly a lot of the bureaucracies in the Navy, and the Marines and the Army and the Air Force opposed it.
FEINSTEIN: Larry, I think one of the problems is there's been virtually no consultation, and that's hard when you get a proposal. This morning, people thought it was one thing, in the afternoon it was another, and we just got the report a half-hour ago. That's kind of a difficult way to go, with a body that prides itself on being deliberative and doing its work. The Senate never snowballs. I mean, you know, the Senate believes in taking its time and looking...
KING: Yeah, but you're at a war now, though.
FEINSTEIN: Listen, do I know that? Absolutely. I'm part of the Intelligence Committee, I know what we're doing. There's no question about that, but there also is no need to panic and do things that may be wrong in two or three years.
KING: Congressman Shays, is this going to pass and is it going to be up and going?
SHAYS: Well, I think it's going to pass. By the way, the president spent a very long and deliberate time dealing with this issue. And there was a lot of pressure from Congress for him to act more quickly. He took his time, and I think came up with a proposal that I think Congress ultimately is going to be quite impressed with.
KING: Thank you both very much. We'll be calling on you again. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Congressman Christopher Shays, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll stay atop of this story 24 hours a day, of course, here on CNN.
Dr. James Dobson, founder and president of Focus on the Family is next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Tonight I propose a permanent cabinet level Department of Homeland Security to unite essential agencies that must work more closely together. Among them, the Coast Guard, the Border Patrol, the Customs Service, immigration officials, the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Employees of this new agency will come to work every morning knowing their most important job is to protect their fellow citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: It's always a pleasure to welcome Dr. James Dobson to LARRY KING LIVE. He's the founder and president of Focus on the Family. Next month, that extraordinary program will celebrate its 25th anniversary. He's a best-selling author. His most recent book is "Bringing Up Boys." There you see its cover. "Practical Advice and Encouragement for Those Shaping the Next Generation of Men."
First, on what we've been talking about. Did you talk to anyone in government about this at all? I know they've talked to you.
DR. JAMES DOBSON, PRESIDENT, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Yes, I've talked to them this morning. I had a brief briefing. I didn't know it before that, so I haven't really had time to sift what's happened.
KING: What's your read?
DOBSON: Sounds like a good idea to me. I mean, obviously the government failed us on September the 11th, and any step in the direction of fixing that sounds like a good idea.
KING: You, as someone who has always tried to bring things together, are you puzzled about this rivalry about information that doesn't get through?
DOBSON: I'm not puzzled by it at all. You know, that is human nature. We all protect our own turf. We compete with each other. And if there is an incentive to do things differently, this is the way human beings act. This is the reason government is usually not very effective in what it does. And I'm not sure this is going to solve our problems either, but we've got to try.
KING: Are you also a little discouraged that corporate America (UNINTELLIGIBLE) effective either.
DOBSON: Well, you know, unless there is a moral consensus, Larry, and you'd expect me to say this, but unless there is a moral consensus, some of the base characteristics of human nature get us in trouble. And we have convinced ourselves that moral relativism is accurate, that there is no right and wrong, there is no evil, there's no good, there's no bad.
But there is. There is. And if that's what we believe, if we believe everybody does what seems right in his own eyes, then you're going to have all kinds of conflict.
KING: Have things gotten worse?
KING: Since you've been around?
DOBSON: Yeah. Yes, as a matter of fact. When I left USC School of Medicine and I started Focus on the Family in 1977, I did so because I saw the family starting to disintegrate, and hoped that I could do something about it. I think I've helped. I think our organization has reached out to millions of people, but the families are in worse shape now than it was then. And it is steadily deteriorating.
KING: Does it ever make you feel then you're failing?
DOBSON: No. If I can save one, I'm happy. If I can protect one child, if I can make a contribution to one home, one family, it's worth my having lived.
KING: Speaking of atmosphere, this case in San Diego, the girl that was abducted and the man accused, he is accused, we don't know if he's guilty or not. Bringing up the life of the parents, and we've discovered some disturbing things about that life, sex in front of each other, et cetera, with other parties. Do you think that lends a climate?
DOBSON: Sure it does, Larry. You know, there is a linkage between the first part of your program and this one.
DOBSON: Yeah. Well, I was watching in the green room, and I was thinking about homeland security. We're really talking about the security of children at home. Now, you can't even protect your kids in your own house anymore. I think about that little girl, Elizabeth Smart, in Utah. What a disaster. You know, another beautiful child who's out there, we don't know what happened to her, but we can probably guess. I hope we're wrong, but when you see that kind of thing take place -- you know the last time I was here with you, you asked me about Danielle van Dam, and we talked a little bit about that.
And I said then we don't know much about, you know, how this happened or who did it, but I'll bet you when it's known there will be pornography in the home of the perpetrator.
KING: You were right. The alleged perpetrator...
DOBSON: That's right. It's always there. Eighty-six percent of convicted rapists say that they were heavily into pornography.
KING: But isn't the First Amendment moral? Isn't free speech very moral?
DOBSON: Yes, but the Supreme Court has dealt with that repeatedly and has said there is a limit to free speech. You can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater. And in 1973, it said that not all pornography is covered by the First Amendment. There is something called obscenity, which goes beyond that.
And when it comes to child pornography, there ought to be zero tolerance. I mean, zero tolerance. I'm very disturbed at what the U.S. Supreme Court has done just in the last couple of months...
KING: With this virtual thing?
DOBSON: Oh, that's horrible. Virtual child pornography..
KING: Meaning they didn't use a child.
DOBSON: Yeah, but you can simulate it, and virtual child pornography is child pornography. And if you make that stuff available out there, some men, particularly -- almost exclusively -- will get heavily hooked on that, and they'll take it out on a child. Some of them will.
KING: Have you ever studied predators?
DOBSON: Yes, I have.
KING: Do you know what drive -- what makes them -- they're not the criminal type -- you know, they're not bank robbers. What is it?
DOBSON: No, they are following a different set of drums. You know, there is this sexual passion to control, to own, to abuse. Sometimes it comes out of anger, anger at their own experiences. Many of them were abused themselves. That's just passed on from generation to generation. And they're a sad lot, too, but our sympathies have to be with the child.
KING: We'll ask about the Catholic Church and other things. We'll take your phone calls as well. Dr. Dobson's new book and Focus on the Family -- 25 years already. I remember when you started.
DOBSON: I was on your show in 1983.
KING: He's a best selling author, the most recent book, "Bringing Up Boys." We'll be right back.
KING: We're back with Dr. Dobson. We've talked about Utah, San Diego, the Catholic Church I want to ask. What's happening to children?
DOBSON: You know, Larry, I've been working with or on behalf of children all my life. I'm deeply committed to children, and I've never seen a time when children were being warped and twisted and abused and neglected like they are today. It absolutely breaks my heart to see what's taking place.
There was a panel of child development experts a few years ago that looked at the well-being of children, and they issued a report called Code Blue, which gives you a hint as to what they said. They said there's never been a generation less cared for, less healthy and less prepared for life than this generation of kids. And some have even said this may be the most mismanaged generation in history.
KING: Can't we also make a case there's never been a generation smarter, had more equipment to deal with it.
KING: Use of information and technology incredible. The 3-year- old today knows much more than you and I knew at 3. So is this a contradiction?
DOBSON: Well, if you look at the statistics from school, I'm not sure that we can say that children do know more than in the past. They've had more...
KING: They have more access.
DOBSON: They've had more opportunity, but 60 percent of high school seniors have only the slightest evidence of history and understanding of history. I mean, today is D-Day, you know. I wonder how many kids today know what happened on this day, on June 6, 1944.
KING: Very small percent.
DOBSON: Yeah; 68 percent of fourth graders, fourth grade boys can't read.
KING: So the obvious question is why? What changed?
DOBSON: Well, there have been hundreds, if not thousands of cultural forces that are impinging on this generation of kids. I mean, we could spend two, three weeks just talking about this. But Internet pornography. Do you know that the average age of the first exposure to Internet pornography is 4 years of age? Which means half the kids see it prior to 4. It's a highly sexualized environment. These violent images that are there. Cringe rock or cringe radio, rage rock. Those that want to exploit kids for their own financial reasons.
KING: What's your answer? You can't change -- the Internet ain't going to go away.
DOBSON: No, it's not, but they need a whole lot more parental supervision than they're getting. See, I think the biggest problem with families today is the fact that they're exhausted. They're just worn out. They don't have time for each other, much less their children.
You know, 59 percent of kids come home to an empty house every day. And you know what a creative boy can do without parental supervision? Two, three hours an afternoon? If parents are thinking about something else, not all of them, there are many great parents out there, but many of them, especially those -- and this is controversial stuff, people are going to get mad at me, but that won't be new -- the two-career family, where you have both a husband and wife who are deeply committed to their own careers usually don't have a whole lot left over. And the children are somewhere in between.
KING: But there are strong records about, especially in the black community, the single black parent, the woman, the strong woman, may be the strongest influential person on the growth of the child in this country.
DOBSON: She is, and my hat is off to those single mothers.
KING: Oh, yeah.
DOBSON: I mean, they are really carrying a heavy load, trying to earn a living. And now with welfare reform, they're working more than they were in the past. And they -- many of them are doing a great job. But 70 percent of black babies are born out of wedlock. That means, what do you got, 30 percent left that even have a man on the scene. And how many of those 30 percent are gone? What percent of them are uninvolved, don't care?
KING: I want to ask you a minute the difference in bringing up boys, why you would make a book about boys, but what do you make of this Catholic Church dilemma? DOBSON: I'm very concerned about it, as is everybody. It's a tragedy. It's especially a tragedy for the children and teenagers that are involved. I mean, that's just awful. Every one of those kids...
DOBSON: No, they didn't. And you know, the priest is a symbol of one who speaks for God. Imagine the damage that's done in that way. And then of course, it's tremendously damaging to the Catholic Church itself. I'm not a Catholic, but I grieve for my Catholic brothers and sisters.
KING: Can you understand not reporting to the police? Is that human nature, to protect their own?
DOBSON: Yeah, everybody is protecting their own thing. But I'll tell you, the American people are very forgiving people. They'll forgive almost anything if there's an attitude of repentance and remorse and a genuine conviction about the evil of what's been done. You know, with Richard Nixon, it was not Watergate that got him thrown out, made him resign, it was that he didn't repent. He never went to the American people and said, "this is horrible; it shouldn't have happened."
I'm waiting for the Catholic leaders to say something like that. I think...
DOBSON: Yeah, they've got a narrow window to get this done. But you know, who am I to advise the Catholic Church not being Catholic myself? But somebody needs to say, this was terrible. This is awful, this cannot be tolerated, we will not allow it to go on, we will root it out, and we will take of your children that you send to us.
KING: Is bringing up boys different than girls?
DOBSON: Oh, very. Very.
KING: What's the number one difference?
DOBSON: They are more rambunctious, they are more competitive, they are more likely to get in trouble. They are more likely to challenge the system. They need more supervision, they need more discipline, they need more time with their fathers.
Boys are just a different animal. Parents have known that for 5,000 years. In the late '60s and early '70s, you know, there was a political environment where we were told that there was no difference between males and females, except how we raise children. Now the scientific evidence is just overwhelming to the contrary. I mean, the new medical technology that allows us to look at the brain without opening the skull, you know, there weren't many volunteers to do that, now we've got that technology. And men and women, boys and girls' brains light up in different places to the same stimulation, because the structure is different. And you've got to understand boys if you're going to raise them properly.
KING: We'll take phone calls in a moment for Dr. James Dobson. The book is on the family, the most recent book, "Bringing Up Boys." This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: We're back with Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, the author of "Bringing Up Boys." Let's take a call. Crescent City, Illinois, hello.
CALLER: Hi. I wanted to ask Dr. Dobson, how old can an adolescent boy be before being left home alone during the day and for how long during the day?
DOBSON: Well, I think that's kind of a general question. Let me make it more specific. You really do need to continue to be very much involved with your teenager. You know, a lot of things can go wrong in the teen years. You just think of all the things that happen, drug abuse, and early sexual activity and all those kind of things. You really do need to be watching.
Now, I've heard parents say, well, you know, you just kind of let the youngster make up his own mind and do his own thing. He's likely to run off the road if you do that. And I can't give you an absolute number of minutes per day that you need to, you know, to -- or can allow him to be on his own, but you do need to be there.
KING: Do you like preschool?
DOBSON: No. I'd much prefer that the child be kept in the safety of his home.
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like the good old days.
DOBSON: Yes, because children are brutal to each other. They're really tough on each other.
KING: Yeah, but don't they also learn more about the world sooner?
DOBSON: They will get it. They will learn it. They learn it in the neighborhood, they learn it at church if they go to church, they learn it. But you don't have to beat them over the head with it. And children are so vulnerable in those early days.
KING: Because the new concept is they're a little smarter, educate them earlier, and get them used to relationships earlier.
DOBSON: That's not really new. When I got my Ph.D. at USC, that's what everybody was talking about it. Get them out of the home, get them into early education. It just hasn't panned out. Made real problems.
KING: Maynard, Arkansas for Dr. Dobson, hello.
CALLER: Yes, sir, Dr. Dobson, how are you tonight?
DOBSON: I'm doing fine.
CALLER: My question to you is how can we help you fight child pornography? I know Focus on the Family is based on that. How can we do, what can we do to help you fight that?
DOBSON: Well, I certainly appreciate the question, because that's what it's going to take. It's going to take the involvement of a lot of citizens to make a dent in this thing, especially Internet pornography.
I would suggest that you'd start with your own family and your own home. Do not put a computer or cable television or any other electronic device in the child's bedroom. You get it out where you can see it, where you can monitor it. You get whatever screening devices there are to keep the child from going into that stuff.
Unfortunately, they find it on their own, even when they're not looking for it, and then you let it be known in the world around that you just are not going to support those organizations that produce that kind of stuff. I'm not just talking about pornography, I'm talking about gross humor, I'm talking about movies, things out of Hollywood, I'm talking about the rock music industry, and you just simply have to take a stand on that.
KING: To Morgan City, Louisiana, hello.
CALLER: Yes, sir, Mr. King, I have a question for Dr. Dobson.
CALLER: Don't you think, sir, that we should have, the president should call for another national day of prayer at this point? That our real problems are not going to be solved in a military or -- no matter how many police you put out there, I mean, what's really got to change is the moral fiber of the country. And I'll let you comment.
DOBSON: Well, I certainly agree with your premise. Prayer is the key to everything. My wife is the chairman of the National Day of Prayer, and she has written a book called "Certain Peace in Uncertain Times," because that's the only real source of security for us.
As for the president, he did call for a national day of prayer in May, that was just a short time ago, May the 2nd, as a matter of fact, and there were more than -- I think it was 50,000 prayer gatherings around the country. So the president has done that, and I appreciate the fact that he has.
KING: You've criticized single mom celebrities, Jody Foster and others, Elizabeth Hurley. Why? Why can't a woman who -- if she isn't married, she's not in love with someone, would like to raise a child, why can't they be good?
DOBSON: Well, typically because it's just not best for children to bring them into a world when you don't have a man, especially if you have a little boy, you don't have somebody on the scene there. Raising children is a two-person job. Now, it doesn't always work that way, you often -- I mean, we have millions of single mothers out there, and they're doing the best they can, but it's not ideal. So for those in positions of leadership and visibility to imply that this is a reasonable alternative, I think is a bad role modeling.
KING: Back with more of Dr. James Dobson on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Before we take our next call, Ted Bundy was a mass murderer, he was finally executed, and before that execution, he met with our guest, Dr. James Dobson. Why?
DOBSON: He asked me to come to the Florida state prison just 17 hours before he was executed, and I had not only the last interview with him, I had the only interview with him after he had confessed to killing at least 28 women and girls, the last was a 12-year-old girl.
KING: And that's where he said pornography affected him.
DOBSON: He did.
KING: Do you think he was looking for maybe a way...
DOBSON: No, that's what the media said, but that's absolutely not true, because he had confessed. I mean, the man had for the two days prior to my being there gone step by step with as many of those murders as he could remember.
KING: After previously saying he was not guilty.
DOBSON: Yeah, that's right. So I talked to him at the end of that. So he knew he was going to die. That's why he invited me there, because he knew this was his last message.
KING: And what did he say?
DOBSON: He said when he was 13 years of age he was rummaging around a dump and he found some pornographic materials and it excited him, and he began to get interested in that, and he got hooked on it, and then it got -- he had a desire for more violent and more explicit stuff.
KING: What do you take from that? Since I saw some weird stuff at 14, I didn't do that? I'm sure you saw weird stuff, you didn't do it?
DOBSON: Right. We vary, not everybody is going to respond in the same way. But I tell you, if you have five people per year who kill 28 women and children, you got a problem, and he was one of them. And it marched him down that progressive path until he was ready to try it. And he wanted to get that message out, and he didn't believe anybody else would tell it.
KING: Was it weird for you to be with him?
DOBSON: It was awful. It was one of the most terrible things I've ever been through. I walked out of that prison, there were 300 reporters there, 19 uplink dishes across the road and I had the only interview. And you know, I went through I think seven locked doors to get to him. It was just a bizarre experience.
KING: Was he remorseful?
DOBSON: Very, very.
KING: Solvang, California, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. I was wondering what Dr. Dobson's advice on parenting college kids is. They were raised on dare to discipline principle, good kids, but I'm just -- I know it has to change.
DOBSON: Well, you've got to let them go. You can't continue to play an appropriate parenting role when they are essentially gone. And they will resent it and you won't accomplish anything with it. So at that point, you're a friend to them, you answer questions, you give them advice, and you stay on your knees if you have a faith, and it sounds like you do, and you pray for those kids every single day. But don't get too heavy-handed. You've done your job, you've laid the foundation, and you have to let go.
KING: With what you know and what you write, would you rather have a girl than a boy?
DOBSON: No, I loved them both.
KING: ... making the case that boys are harder.
DOBSON: Yes, but I'm not as a parent looking for the easiest job. I mean, what a challenge, and how exciting to do both those responsibilities. I've got a boy and a girl, and I love them both equally, and enjoy them both the same.
KING: With all the down you're concerned about, would you say you're pessimistic?
DOBSON: About where we are now?
KING: And where we're going.
DOBSON: Yeah, I'm pessimistic about this generation of children, because we're really just distorting them in a terrible way, and I do hope we wake up before it's too late. I mean...
KING: You want them to be open, don't you?
DOBSON: Beg your pardon?
KING: You want them to be open, you don't want -- you don't want a rigid, closed, this is the way it is upbringing.
DOBSON: We're so far from that that I don't see that as a danger. You know, of course, we don't want to be rigid with our kids and oppressive with them, but there are also some things that are flat-out harmful, and you just ought to keep your kids away from that stuff if you possibly can. It's become more difficult, because our culture's at war with parents. You know, I talked earlier about the fact that parents are too busy for their kids, but they've got their hands full, because it is tougher to raise kids now than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago.
KING: So this is a compounding problem for many areas.
DOBSON: No question about it.
KING: For the parents, the children.
DOBSON: In fact, you know, when I was a kid, and that's been a long, long time, the culture tried to help parents reinforce responsible behavior. There was a consensus of what was right and what was wrong. And so there was -- you know, the libraries didn't have harmful stuff. Now they're peep shows for kids.
KING: We're out of time. Always good seeing you, doctor.
DOBSON: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Dr. James Dobson. Focus on the Family celebrates its 25th anniversary next month, and his new book is "Bringing Up Boys." And we'll be back to tell you about what's coming up tomorrow. Don't go away.
KING: Hesitate to say what's coming up tomorrow night, because so many things keep changing every day with breaking news. I know Chastity Bono is going to be one of the guests. She's got a new book out about her life and times, but there'll be lots of other things we're covering as well.
Meanwhile, it's time for NEWSNIGHT, and in New York that means only one thing -- it's time for Aaron Brown. Aaron, it's yours.
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