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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interviews with Dominick Dunne, Bill Maher

Aired November 1, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a royal revelation from the queen stops the trial. Princess Diana's butler is cleared of charges that he stole over 300 personal items from Diana's estate, which he claimed she gave him. For the latest on this sensational courtroom drama, we're going to go to London with best selling author Dominick Dunne, who is there covering the trial for "Vanity Fair."
Then, exclusive, Bill Maher, in his first live interview since the end of the show that ABC decided was too politically incorrect. He shoots from the lip on all the news of the day, including the queen and Di's butler. And he'll take your calls, and it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Covering this trial as special correspondent for "Vanity Fair." He writes a monthly column in "Vanity Fair." His most recent book was "Justice," now available in trade paperback. He also hosts his own program on cable TV. The guy is everywhere, and it's always great to have him with us.

All right, Dominick, what happened?

DOMINICK DUNNE, COVERING ROYAL TRIAL FOR "VANITY FAIR": Larry, I mean, this was one of the great days of all times. He was cleared of all charges. I mean, it was just -- but you know, yesterday I said to somebody, "this case is going to collapse tomorrow."

And you know, the jury hasn't sat for three days. The prosecution that we knew it was something from the prosecution's side, the judge and the prosecution have been locked in. The defense team has not been part of it. They didn't know what it was, and now it turns out -- you see, the whole prosecution case was built on the fact that he had stolen over 300 things from Princess Diana and had never told anybody.

Well, the fact is, he had told someone. He had told Queen Elizabeth. And he was a favorite of hers. You know, he worked -- he was her footman. His first job started at 19. He was with her for about 10 years, she was very, very fond of him.

He had gone to see her and told her that he had taken things, because I think the reason was that Diana's mother, from whom she was estranged at the time of her death, was using a shredder and destroying a lot of her private papers and things, and he wanted to save as much as he could. Now, what happened is this -- let me just say, this past week there was a memorial service at St. Paul's Cathedral here for the victims of the terrorist act in Bali, and in their Daimler driving to the service, were the queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles. And in their conversation then the queen said that she knew that he had taken the stuff because he had told her. After the service was over, Prince Charles called the police, told them, and the whole prosecution case fell apart. They had no case, and he was cleared of all charges.

KING: All right. A couple of things, obviously, come to mind. Why did you think it was going to end today?

DUNNE: Well, because the fact is that when a jury doesn't sit for three days, there's something wrong. And when the -- you know, I've gotten to kind of know Lord Carlile, who is the defense attorney representing Paul Burrell. He is a terrific guy. And he was really angry. He said in 32 years, I've never seen anything like this, that he didn't know what was going on. and they have the same thing as we have of reciprocal, you know, each side gives the other side, but he didn't -- he didn't have this.

So, you know, I just thought this case is going to fall apart.

KING: OK, now, why didn't Paul Burrell tell everyone the queen knew?

DUNNE: Well, that's one of the mysteries. And the other mystery is, which is even more important, is why did the queen wait so long to come forward and say this? And she's going to have -- you know, she could have -- the thing that's always fascinated me is why this case ever went to trial, why this case was not settled between the people, and -- which it easily could have been. And it's very odd that the queen, you know, didn't come forward earlier.

KING: And what...

DUNNE: And it's very odd that he didn't tell his own lawyers that he had told the queen.

KING: Did you speak to him at the end of the trial?

DUNNE: I sure did. And you know, he's actually a nice guy, Larry.

KING: I know. He's been on this program. He is a very -- what did he say to you?

DUNNE: Let me tell you, I've been talking to him every day during the trial, you know, briefly, a little good morning. The other day he said, "Happy birthday one day late." And you know, I don't go around talking about my birthday at my age. And I said, "How do you know it's my birthday?" But he knows stuff like that.

And so today I came out of the courtroom right after he was acquitted of all charges, and because I wanted to watch the scene as they all came out. And he was surrounded, absolutely surrounded by police and whatever, whatever, he was in the middle of this force moving out, and he saw me and he broke away from all the people and he came over and he shook hands with me, Larry, and he said, "Thank you for your support during this trial." And I said, well, "I just want to tell you I'm thrilled for you, I'm so happy for you," and he had tears in his eyes.

He had cried in the courtroom, I mean, when it was announced. He cried and he leaned on the shoulder of Lord Carlile, very quite -- very moving.

KING: Why do you think -- this would be merely a guess but in your case it's an educated guess -- the queen didn't say anything until now? I mean, she could have prevented the whole thing.

DUNNE: She could have stopped the whole thing. You know, they say she was in Canada for the thing and so forth, but this meeting between them took place very soon after Diana's death. So, I mean, I don't know. The fact is, Larry, I knew he had told the queen this, because somebody close to the royal family told me. So I figured if I knew, how come -- you know, why wasn't this out there? This is something I don't understand.

KING: There are some that suggested that the royal...

DUNNE: You know, I think that...

KING: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

DUNNE: Go ahead. No, no, go ahead.

KING: Some are suggesting that the royals stopped this because they feared that embarrassing things would come out if it went on.

DUNNE: Well, I think that's very, very true and very, very possible.

And the thing that's so interesting dramatically is that this trial ended on the very day that Paul Burrell was to take the stand. Now, Paul Burrell, you've got to understand, there is nothing he doesn't know about what went on in Kensington Palace. She was very, very alone in the last year of her life.

And you know, her kids were at school. Divorce had gone through. She was estranged, she hadn't talked to her mother. Lord Carlile says for six months, Mrs. Sean Kitts (ph) said four, I believe the six. And letters returned. She had asked her brother if she could have one of the houses on the old family Spencer family estate. He turned her down. She was not on good terms with her sister.

So she was alone. She was alone, and he was there for her. It's an interesting relationship. It's a complicated relationship. She was too familiar. He probably in some strange way was in love with her, and, you know, I don't mean physically in love, but kind of worship of -- he loved the fact that he worked for the most famous woman in the world.

KING: We'll be right back with more. Dominick Dunne, our man on the scene, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How's it feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you feel?

PAUL BURRELL: I'm very happy, thank you. Where's the taxi?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this what you expected?

PAUL BURRELL: Of course it is. I'm very happy to go home to my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Dominick Dunne discussing the extraordinary end of the Paul Burrell trial. Who was inept in this? Were the police inept? The prosecution inept? The whole thing seems fiasco.

DUNNE: Well I think that the police were seriously inept. You know, the gang that couldn't shoot straight. I mean, when they went to raid his house and to look at his house, you know, they didn't bring a camera, either a video camera or -- you know to photograph the scene. They told things to Prince Charles that weren't true.

I mean, they said there was a photograph of him, Paul Burrell, wearing one of Princess Diana's evening dresses. Well, that was just absolutely not true. And so, yes, there was a lot of ineptitude on their part and it just seems to me that it was odd that the prosecution did not know about him having gone to the queen.

KING: The palace has issued a statement, Dominick. It says, "The decision to drop the case against Mr. Burrell was entirely a decision of the prosecution. The queen was not briefed on either Mr. Burrell's defense case or the prosecution case against him."

What do you make of that?

DUNNE: Well, that's a little different from what the papers are saying and -- well, anyway, I hadn't heard that before.

KING: What about the...

DUNNE: I mean, listen, everyone seems to be behind him. I mean, it was just fascinating on the outside the Old Bailey today, hundreds of people cheering him, cheering him.

And you know, he's -- you know, this guy was so loyal to her. You got to remember that when she was killed in that crash, he went to Paris. He took care of her body, cleaned her, dressed her for the casket, maintained a vigil, a prayer vigil for her. I mean he was her rock, as she called him. Now, when Mrs. Shankid (ph), her mother was on the stand, she minimized that. And she said, Oh, my daughter called everyone her rock. Well, you know, that may be, but he was a special rock to her.

KING: Dominick, what happens to all of the stuff, over 300 items that he has? Where is it? Who gets it? What happens?

DUNNE: Well, I'm sure it will all go you know, I'm sure the photograph albums and so forth will go to the Spencer family.

Now, there is such a hatred between the Spencer family and the royal family. And now whether it started at the funeral with Lord Spencer's eulogy or not, I do not know. But it is a hatred between the two families and it extends, my sources tell me -- close to the royal family tell me that the two princes, William and Harry do not see their cousins the Spencers, that William has never seen Lord Spencer since the funeral. Harry has seen him twice. So there's a lot of tension between these two houses.

KING: And what's Burrell going to do?

DUNNE: Well, that's going to be interesting. I'm sure he ain't going to go back to the flower shop where he's been working. He's become a national -- he's front page news this guy.

And, you know, people came up to me today after they saw him come and speak to me and say, Is it true that you're going to write Paul Burrell's book? well, it's not true at all. And I'm not. And it wouldn't interest me to write it.

But this guy has got a book, a major book in him and he could do a book, make a million bucks and not in any way -- it doesn't have to be a tattle tale book.

KING: The whole thing is kind of -- I mean, the sense that it's laughable.

DUNNE: It is. That's absolutely right. It's laughable that it went to trial. It's laughable that a million and a half pounds have been spent on the police investigation. Yes, I think that's laughable.

I mean, because what was the crime really? He didn't take her tiaras. He didn't take her bracelets. He didn't take her necklaces. He took -- he took, you know, photographs and letters and stuff. And apparently there is -- there are some letters from Prince Phillip in there that I suppose they'll all be returned.

I mean, the case is over. I'm sure he doesn't want to keep the stuff anymore.

KING: By the way, his December Diary -- we're talking with Dominick Dunne column for "Vanity Fair" -- included an observation on Michael Skakel's sentencing for the murder of Martha Moxley. That issue will be out next Wednesday. It wasn't in the past issue because they devoted the whole thing to music, as I remember and Dominick Dunne presents "Murder in Greenwich," which is based on Mark Fuhrman's true best seller -- the best-selling author of the most recent book "Justice" will present that on his own program "Murder in Greenwich." Is that correct Dominick or have I got that right?

DUNNE: Yes. That's right.

KING: Concerning -- concerning -- let's discuss a couple of other things before you leave us. Bill Maher at the bottom of the hour. The Michael Skakel sentencing, things have been going on, attempts at appeals and the like. Where does that stand now? Do you think he's going to serve a long time?

DUNNE: Well yes, I do. I do. You know, they're working on an appeal but that probably won't even come into court to talk about it for a year. And -- but, you know, I don't think they're going to overturn that verdict at all. I really don't think so. And that's all. That's all I know about it.

KING: He -- you wrote...

DUNNE: You know, I did have...

KING: Go ahead.

DUNNE: I wrote in this next "Vanity Fair" about an extraordinary experience I had on the coast of Maine when a man, whom I -- who must remain anonymous but who certainly was telling me the truth, you know, we always thought -- I always thought that it was Tommy Skakel who helped clean up after the murder but there were four of them.

And four of the people were -- four people were involved, not in the murder but in the cleaning up, the moving of the body and the washing of the clothes. The clothes were washed and bleached all night long. And whether that comes up or not I don't know.

KING: We'll have our remaining moments with Dominick Dunne in just a moment, touch some other bases with him, get his thoughts on the snipers' story over in London. Then we'll meet Bill Maher.

And by the way, on Monday night, Rod -- on Sunday night, rather, Sunday night -- Rod Stewart. Monday night, Election Eve, Dan Rather. We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW SHAW, BURRELL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He's happy and relieved to have been acquitted on all charges after the terrible ordeal over the last 21 months. He has always maintained his total innocence. The prosecution was based on numerous errors.

For example, it was never accepted that Mr. Burrell was the princess' most loyal and close confidant as well as her servant. The evidence in the trial has shown up many mistakes on the part of the police. It's a matter of regret that no proper investigation was carried out into the accuracy of the 39-page statement given to the police on the 16th of August 2001.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Dominick Dunne. The column in "Vanity Fair" on the Skakel case will appear next Wednesday. "Murder in Greenwich" will appear on his own program, "Dominick Dunne Presents." You and Mark Fuhrman have become quite friendly, have you not?

DUNNE: Well, yeah. I'm very fond of Mark. And you know, I brought him into that case...

KING: I know.

DUNNE: ... and -- when I got the Sutton (ph) report, and yeah. I mean, you know, I didn't know him during the O.J. trial. I was in the courtroom every time he took the stand and I did not admire him at that time. But subsequently, yes, we have. We have. And I admire him. I think he's one of America's great detectives, and he's a good guy also.

You know, Larry, I just wanted to tell you one other thing that Paul Burrell said when he -- his comment today when he left and the -- Old Bailey for the last time. He said, "you know, I've always had admiration, trust and respect for the queen, and that lady has come through for me."

KING: Cannot deny that. Dominick Dunne, last time you were with us, we talked a bit about the attention the sniper case got in London. You told us it was all over -- it was big news there. What's been the story of the capture of the accused? What's it been treated like?

DUNNE: Well, I mean, much less. I mean, you know, this Burrell case has kind of taken over, and then they've got a lot of -- they have a lot of television hosts over here, there's three of them, who are all being fired for rape and sexual things -- and anyway, that's the front page news these days.

KING: Was there attention paid to the snipers' capture, the accused's capture?

DUNNE: Yes, yes, there was attention paid to it, and certainly a lot of attention paid to it, you know, during the three weeks of it. But, I mean, it's not a big story now over here.

KING: Can we count it as almost...

DUNNE: I mean, I don't think there's anything new.

KING: Will it be definite...

DUNNE: What?

KING: Will it be definite that Dominick Dunne will cover that trial?

DUNNE: Oh, I hope so, Larry. I would really like to cover that trial. And we don't know yet where it's going to be, though, do we?

KING: No, they haven't decided who goes first and what the charges are. And what about the...

DUNNE: Who goes first.

KING: What are your thoughts, by the way, on underage boys and murder? Should they be treated as an adult?

DUNNE: Yes. I mean, you know, there's underage and underage. I didn't think those little kids in Texas, you know, those little brothers. I don't mean that.

KING: In Florida, you mean.

DUNNE: I'm talking about this guy is 17 -- yeah, those two little guys, you know, where the verdict was overthrown on that. But I'm talking about the 17-year-old in the sniper case -- of course he should be tried as an adult. Of course.

KING: Because?

DUNNE: Well, because, look what he did. I mean, this is no kid's act. This is the act of an adult. And you know, just look at the car that they had rigged up. I mean, they were out to kill, out to murder, planning. I don't have any sympathy, I don't care how young that guy is. I have no sympathy for him at all.

KING: A couple of other quick things. Did you have any sympathy for Mr. Skakel?

DUNNE: Yes, I did. Yes, indeed, I did. You know, if this is the right verdict, I think this is the right sentence, but of course. I mean, you can't help but -- I mean, this is a guy 40 years old, he's got a 3-year-old child whom he loves, and he's doing big time.

And there's something always sad about that. I mean, you know, the one thing about that case is nobody was licking their chops and saying, you know, great, you know. You know, that just didn't -- that just didn't happen. I mean, this is the right thing but it's also a sad thing.

KING: And what is -- back to Paul Burrell in our closing moments, what would you say his mood was today? Relief? Very happy?

DUNNE: Well, first, oh, please. I mean, at first, I mean, to see a guy cry like that, I mean, he just sobbed at first. And then when he came out, he was still kind of teary when I was talking to him.

But then, when you saw him half an hour later, leaving the Old Bailey for the last time, getting into the car, responding to the -- this was a guy who was delirious. And you know, he was facing seven years, and it's over. It's all over for him. He's got a new life ahead of him.

KING: Did the prosecution make a statement?

DUNNE: Yes, they have, and I can't remember what it is, Larry. Excuse me for that.

KING: Had you talked to any of the prosecutors?

DUNNE: I have not talked to the prosecutors. I've only talked to the defense attorneys.

KING: Will you try -- I know...

DUNNE: But the prosecutors didn't do a good job.

KING: I know this will probably be in the next issue of "Vanity Fair" that you will do a story on this.

DUNNE: Oh, of course.

KING: And that will include -- will you try to get to the prosecutor and everyone you can reach before you wrap it up?

DUNNE: Oh, yeah. I'm going to stay here for several more days. I'm not going to go right home, because I think there's going to be more stuff coming out in the newspaper. I think more people are going to start to talk now.

KING: Like? What's your -- talk about what?

DUNNE: Well, you know, well, I mean, several people have called me and say right after the case, there's something you should know. There is something -- after I take the stand, there's something you should know. And I'm going to spend the next few days meeting with all these people who have made such calls to me.

KING: Dominick, I thank you very much. It's always great talking with you, and thanks for staying up late for us.

DUNNE: Thank you, Larry. I love being on your show.

KING: Always love having him. Dominick Dunne in London, special capacity for "Vanity Fair." His "December Diary" column will include observations on the Skakel sentencing next week. The column after that will be all about Paul Burrell, and "Dominick Dunne Presents," his TV show, will be "Murder in Greenwich," based on Mark Fuhrman's best selling book on the topic.

We thank Dominick Dunne. We remind you, Rod Stewart is going to be with us on Sunday night. Monday night, Dan Rather. Election night -- my role will be to in disperse amidst all the coverage. We're going to have seven, eight hours of coverage, and in every hour, I'll be there for about 10 minutes, interviewing various people with their thoughts as the night rolls on. And you know, elections night can really roll on in this country.

Bill Maher, who might have some thoughts about that, is next. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: An extraordinary new book has just been published by New Millennium Press. It is "When You Ride Alone, You Ride With Bin Laden: What The Government Should Be Telling Us To Help Fight The War On Terrorism." The author is Bill Maher. And we also have the same book released on New Millennium Audio read, of course, by the author.

BILL MAHER, AUTHOR: Right.

KING: Mr. Maher, it's always a great pleasure to welcome you to LARRY KING LIVE for a return visit.

MAHER: Thank you, Larry, I...

KING: Last year, on May 24, when "Politically Incorrect" was going...

MAHER: Down the toilet?

KING: Did you write the book since then?

MAHER: Actually, I didn't even think of it until the next month. I thought of it in June. This New Millennium Company has done an incredible job getting this book out this quickly because I said, This is changing stuff. You know, I wasn't even sure when I started it if bin Laden would be alive or found dead by the time it came out. I wish they did find him dead. I'd certainly give up that title. But they haven't.

And, by the way, you know, whether they -- if they find him dead or not, it doesn't really matter. People -- they focus on him, they focus on Hussein. The point is, like that bombing in Bali, I think it would be more frightening if we found it wasn't al Qaeda. Because it would mean these Muslim terrorists, the fundamentalist guy, they're operating on their own. They got the idea and they don't need the leadership. They don't need the OK from the front office.

KING: You'd like the sniper to be an al Qaeda guy.

MAHER: I think the al sniper -- the sniper might be an al Qaeda guy. It's the big elephant in the room with the sniper guy. Nobody's talking about the fact that his name is Muhammad. A little coincidence there? Oh gee, about a year ago we were attacked by people who believe in Muhammad and his name is Muhammad...

KING: I want to -- let me get one concept of this book before we get into some current things. The concept is to take old kinds of ads that were done, some from World War II...

MAHER: Well, posters, yes. The government used to...

KING: Reprint the poster...

MAHER: No, these are new ones that I created in the spirit.

KING: Based on spirit...

MAHER: Yes, I was looking through this old World War II poster book. You were probably a very small child.

KING: I was a child. I remember a lot of it. We're showing some of them now.

MAHER: OK. And, you know, my parents met in World War II. I'm a World War II product sort of. And I have this book of World War II posters and it's brilliant artwork. And what they were doing is they were was encouraging people on the home front to take part. That was the idea back then is that we're all in this war together. But our government hasn't done that. Our government told us to shop and eat out and travel. You've done enough. Let us handle the war.

And I thought, no, that's not the way we handle this war. It's certainly not the way we win this war. So I think this is a very patriotic book. It's, as I say, what the government should be telling us to help us. Because people want to do something. They want to be told what to do. Nobody's doing that.

KING: Just as a personal note, I read it in galley form, it's terrific.

MAHER: Thank you.

KING: And in concept it even comes out better because of the way it's laid out and printed. The photographs are terrific of the posters. And the writing is both funny and hard. Serious. You get pretty rough in there.

MAHER: Yes, same as my show. You know, I don't know how to do it any other way. I start to make a serious point and by the end of the sentence I'm a comedian. But, you know, I think that helps leaven it a little because some of the subject matter is serious. But this is stuff we should be taking seriously.

KING: Who came up with the title?

MAHER: The title was come up by a World War II poster. I stole that directly from the one that said "When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler." They had the same exact poster but with Hitler instead of bin Laden. And they were trying to get people to do car pooling. So don't ride alone.

I also think ride alone -- I like that title, because in a bigger sense, when we ride alone, when we're selfish, when we don't act in concert as a team, we don't help the war effort.

But the idea back then that oil was a weapon in this war is certainly true of this war also.

KING: How do you like being an author?

MAHER: Well...

KING: You're on a book tour now.

MAHER: Yes.

KING: A star in a different vane. Do you miss being on every night?

MAHER: I haven't so far because I got so wrapped up in this book. I think when this book is over I'll finally get a vacation and I may very well miss it. I certainly missed it in the last month when there was stuff to talk about like the sniper and Iraq, stories like that. This queen story I could have done without.

Your producer says do you want to comment on the queen? I said, I'm very proud that I know nothing about the queen and the butler.

KING: Are you telling me you don't like the royals? You have no interests in the royals?

MAHER: I'm saying I -- yes, I have no interest in the woyals and I have no idea why -- woyals?

KING: The woyals.

MAHER: I'm doing Barbara Walters.

MAHER: The -- I have no idea why it's news. But there have been stories that I really did want to cover.

KING: Like Iraq?

MAHER: Like Iraq and this sniper guy. I don't think -- like I said, I don't think people are getting at this notion that this guy could be connected. Muhammad. I mean, please.

And you know he's kind of the worst of both worlds. Because he expressed sympathy for the terrorists. So it's kind of a jihad but I also want $10 million. I'm also an American, OK? So, I want the 72 versions in Antigua.

KING: You were always kind of -- we couldn't read you. I mean, some people thought you were liberal, some conservative, some a little libertarian. But you were a pro war kind of guy. I mean, you were a guy let's go get 'em.

MAHER: Yes, I do believe in more ass kickings by the United States. Military...

KING: So you favor Iraq?

MAHER: No.

KING: No?

MAHER: Not right now because as I said to my friend Mr. Leno the other night, when he was pilfering me about it -- I said, you know, Iraq is a case of herpes that is now suddenly being treated like it was cancer. I don't think in the last 12 years it became cancers. It was a disease we were containing.

And it smells awfully funny that just after an election issue is needed -- you know, the Bushes, excuse me, are very good at creating an issue when an election comes around. You remember the American flag issue, the pledge, that nonsense that George Bush won on in 1988? OK, so three months ago the issue was going to be the fact in the last two and a half years the American economy has lost $8 trillion of wealth, which is going to run into real money, Larry.

KING: Keep counting up.

MAHER: And suddenly that issue got thrown away because -- because we're going to get mustard gassed by Satan.

KING: This is like a setup?

MAHER: I -- Andrew Card wrote a memo or said to a reporter you don't bring out the new products until the fall. I mean, they're blatant about it.

Politicians are paid to change the subject. That's what they do. The subject is this, we change it to this. This is -- as I said last time I was on your show, the real Axis of Evil in this county is the genius of the marketing combined with the naivete of the people. You can sell them anything.

They work on two tracks. Here's what we're actually going to do and here's what we're going to sell them. I mean, do you watch these negative campaign ads during election season?

KING: Yes, sure. Can't miss them.

MAHER: Do any of them have anything to do with what's going on in the world or what the issues are? Of course not. And it works. That's the sad part. And the Iraq campaign is working.

KING: Do you agree with Menken (ph): No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people?

MAHER: I think it's only gotten worse. I really do. I mean, everything that they're selling is about Iraq -- bin Laden is not in league with Saddam Hussein.

KING: You criticize -- you call the American people, you call us spoiled and ignorant. Pretty rough stuff for a people that basically helps you make a living.

MAHER: So I should...

KING: You're knocking the hand that feeds you, Maher.

MAHER: No. I love my country, that's why I criticize it. People say to me, you know, Why don't you criticize them? Because I'm not one of them. I don't care about their society except as far as I can improve our society so they don't hate us so much that they attack us. This nonsense that somehow if we change anything about ourselves, they win. No, if they change for the better, we win. And yes, I think we are the better country.

There is a -- the last essay in there is titled "Not Just Different." And when I say that, I mean we're not just different from the Muslim society, we are better. Rule of law, representative democracy, equality of the sexes, these sorts of things, free speech. They are not just different than autocracy and beheadings, they are better.

KING: The book in hard cover and in audio. It's coffee book style, terrific read. "When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden." The author, Bill Maher. The subtitle, "What the Government Should Be Telling You to Help Fight the War on Terrorism." When we come back, I'll ask him, what should they be telling us? Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: The subtitle of Bill's book is "What the Government Should Be Telling Us About Help Fight the War on Terrorism." Like?

MAHER: Well, oil is the one that I mentioned. That's certainly the one in the title. I mean, when I see these ads, I just saw before, as I was sitting here, right before we were about to go on the air. "Drugs fund terrorism." That is such a huge lie. It's amazing that people are not outraged by that lie. I've always been amazed that the one lie that they can't get over was, "I didn't have sex with that woman." That's the one that just broke the bank.

When they're basically taking the heat off the oil companies by blaming it on drugs, until they can find a way to blame it on the smokers, I'm assuming.

KING: And the oil companies cause terrorism how?

MAHER: Well, where do you think al Qaeda gets the money to fund its operations? It doesn't get it from the Medellin cartel. Saddam Hussein...

KING: But the oil companies have to buy the oil where the oil is, so they buy it from countries that have the oil. What are you going to do?

MAHER: Yes, but if we got only three more miles to the gallon in our cars, we wouldn't need Mideast oil. We wouldn't have to deal with this royalist dirt bags that have polluted our air and corrupted our politics and made us say things like Saudi Arabia is our ally, when they really should be in the axis of evil.

The money that we put into the pockets of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the people we're about to go to war with, where do you think they get the money to pay suicide bombers? Or to support madrassas? Yeah? I mean, there is a direct connection. But of course, the administration doesn't want to point this out, because they also get money from oil companies. They get it to fund their campaigns. It's perverse the way the people sort of pay for their own bamboozlement.

KING: And it bothers you that they don't see it.

MAHER: The government sees it; the people don't.

KING: That's what I mean.

MAHER: Yes. Absolutely. The idea that drugs -- you know, the only drug that ever funded terrorism, by the way, is heroin, and the people who sell heroin were not the Taliban. They're puritans, they outlawed it. They're our allies. So if we really want to help the war on terrorism, start a smack habit.

KING: By the way, on election night, we're going to be -- we're going to spend about 10 minutes in each hour interviewing people throughout the night, and in the last hour of our coverage, which will be 11:00 to midnight Eastern time and 9:00 to 10:00 Pacific time, Mr. Maher shall return with his expert analysis of election night 2002.

By the way, are you a little worried about Florida and counting ballots? Are you worried about certain states, based on history?

MAHER: I'm worried about Florida always. But I'm not worried about the ballots. If they haven't learned their lesson after the last two, because they had a replay of it recently. I mean...

KING: Let's take a call. Knoxville, Tennessee for Bill Maher, the author of "When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden." Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Bill. Thanks for appearing at the Marijuana Policy Project conference this month. And...

MAHER: I just stumbled in. It was an accident.

CALLER: And I wanted to hear your views on the Nevada initiative to legalize small amounts for personal use, and whether you think it will pass.

MAHER: In Nevada? You know, Nevada is one of those states now where almost everyone was not born in Nevada, Las Vegas and so forth, one of the fastest growing regions we've ever had. So I don't know. It's hard to tell. They have a libertarian streak.

They should. They certainly should, if they take that philosophy seriously. It passed in almost all the western states. Certainly medical marijuana did. The fact that we're debating this, at this point in our history, that we're worrying about -- there is one of the posters in there, in the book, says "which stoner are you worried about?" And at the top, it shows an old lady smoking at a cannabis club, and at the bottom it shows a stoning, you know, the stoners, they're stoning (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

We have so many real problems, it's just ridiculous that we are still worried about the drug war. And as I said, it is not what funds the terrorists. And for the government to not make the connections for the people is one thing; for them to purposely make misleading connections is outrageous, and corrupt.

KING: You also get angry -- I love when you do this -- against people we call heroes. Like if you're trapped in a mine, you're trapped. I mean, it's a job you chose, it's terrible, we certainly care for you, but it's a stretch to say it's a hero.

MAHER: Yeah. There's a couple of posters in there that have to do with heroes. One has Ted Williams and Pat Tillman, the football player who recently quit his $2 million a year job to join the Army. And at the top it says, "sports heroes," and at the bottom it says "real heroes." It has them in their sports uniforms and then in their Army uniforms.

There's another one that shows a fireman and a teacher and a cop and an Army guy, and it says "we say they're our heroes, but we pay them like chumps," which I think we do. You know, we talk a good game about how they're our heroes, but somehow when it comes time to pay them a decent wage, we never do.

I never understand middle-class people cheering when George Bush talks about tax cuts and how it's your money. But they're not going to really see much of their money. It's also their money that's been lost in the stock market. And the reason why that stock market money was lost was because somebody was not watching over the thieves. When George Bush says we're going to hold business to the highest ethical standards, well, it's politicians like him who fought campaign finance reform. That's the reason why business has not been held to the highest ethical standards. He's championing people like Harvey Pitt and William Webster. So he talks a good game about it, but really, as I say, they work on two tracks. Here's what we're going to do, here's what we're going to sell them.

KING: We always love having Maher on to try to get him to say something relevant. Force an opinion (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MAHER: The queen, let's talk about the queen. What happened with the butler? Was it in the pantry? Was it...

KING: Shocking.

"When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden," Bill Maher, it's available on audio tape and in, of course, regular book style, coffee book style, beautifully -- the photographs of the posters are terrifically...

MAHER: They did a hell of a job illustrating.

KING: Published by New Millennium.

Back with more moments and more phone calls for Bill Maher. We miss him, don't we? Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: I love the posters in this book.

MAHER: There. That's the original.

KING: Close in on this. "When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler."

MAHER: And that's not an easy smell to get out of your car.

KING: You're not kidding.

Before we take another call a couple of other quick subjects. Mondale running in -- Lautenberg. What's happening?

MAHER: Remember 10 years ago it was all about term limits and we got to get new fresh races and suddenly Water Mondale who has not kept up. At his first press conference he asked, "Where's the beef?" I mean, come on.

KING: Lindale, Georgia. Or California, one or the other. Hello.

CALLER: It's Lindale, Georgia. How you doing, Bill?

KING: OK, how're you doing?

CALLER: Glad to see you back on TV, Bill.

MAHER: Thank you.

CALLER: I'd like to ask you a question. If President Bush orders the attack on Iraq -- seems he's going to do it -- what do you think Saddam as reaction will be? And do you think he will retaliate against his neighbors?

MAHER: Well, that's the thing I was getting at. It was something we were containing. But you can't win an election on something that you're just containing.

So we're saying it needs an operation and I'm not sure that by poking at it and having an operation we don't -- truly drive bin Laden and Hussein together as well as every other -- I'm worried about what the whole Muslim world is going to think about this.

And also, yes, I mean if this guy hasn't used this stuff in 12 years on us, wouldn't he have been using it when we were attacking him the first time if he was going to use it? We could force him to do this. I don't see him doing it any other way.

An also, you know, when you conquer a country, you have to think about the next day. Conquering a country is like going all the way with a girl. Then you're responsible if you're any kind of a gentleman. If you don't go all the way, there's no penetration, you don't have to call and you're not responsible. But if you do that, the next day...

KING: Hello.

MAHER: Well you got. Not just the next day. Be a gentleman. KING: Why do so many countries hate us? And you write about that.

MAHER: Yes. There's a few posters that have that theme because I think it's important. Because I think...

KING: We try to do good, don't we? I mean we're basically good.

MAHER: No. Not for the rest of the world. We take pride in being big charity givers. We're in fact dead last among the industrialized nations. We give an infinitesimal amount of our money to people around the world. I think what people around the world would say is it would take so little for this rich country to help and alleviate so much misery and even that is too much for them. We're oblivious to suffering.

KING: And so we are hated because of this?

MAHER: Yes, I think so. Iraqis, I think, feel if we drove smaller cars, maybe we wouldn't have to kill them for their oil because certainly the first Gulf War was about cheap gas. There's no doubt about that in my mind. It was about keeping gas under $2 a gallon. So I understand why that would make people feel like this is a country that doesn't care.

KING: We'll have you on Tuesday night in a segment when most of the results will be in. Do you have any forecasts for Tuesday? Senate going to change?

MAHER: I think people will vote the Democrats. I think they'll at least -- because I think that the history of the last 10, 20 years is people like gridlock. They understand these parties cannot be trusted and so the only hope we have...

KING: They intelligently create gridlock.

MAHER: They do. It's sad that that's the state of our democracy but it is.

KING: So the Democrats will keep control of the Senate, might get control of the House?

MAHER: I don't think they'll get control of the House. But I think Lautenberg will win, I think Mondale will win. I think there'll be a lot of surprises.

KING: Do you contemplate a return to the tube? I have to ask you because everyone's interested.

MAHER: Yes. I can't tell you anything about it but I'm not quite ready to go gently into that good night.

KING: So you will be coming back. You just can't be giving any details or when?

MAHER: I think I will. KING: Knowing you, Bill, the idea didn't come out of thin air just walk along one day and say, "I think I'll be back."

MAHER: Well when this queen story broke today, I said, I have got to get back on the air because I don't know what.

KING: It excited you so much. They dropped the charges. Dropped the charges.

MAHER: And what's going on with Winona Ryder?

KING: What do you make of that? You worried?

MAHER: Larry, let's talk about something light, please.

KING: Thank you, Bill.

MAHER: Always great to see you.

KING: Bill Maher. Folks, personal recommendation, I'm quoted on the back. It's a great book. "When You Ride Alone, You Ride With bin Laden: What the Government Should be telling us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism." Here it is in book size and it's available as well on audiotape.

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