CNN Europe CNN Asia
On CNN TV Transcripts Headline News CNN International About Preferences
powered by Yahoo!
Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Barbara Walters

Aired November 14, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, an in-depth interview with my gal Barbara Walters. Now usually, she asks the questions. This time it's the answers about all the big names she's interviewed and lots of other things and big stories in the news.
It's Barbara Walters for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

KING: It's always a great pleasure to welcome Barbara Walters to this program, the ABC News anchor and correspondent, the host of "20/20" and Barbara Walters specials, the creator, co-host and executive producer of "The View."

Tomorrow night, Barbara has an exclusive interview with Al Gore and his family. It will air Friday night at 10 p.m. Eastern on ABC's "20/20." The Gores will be on this program next Tuesday night and actually, Barbara got them first.

But before we talk about the Gore interview, and we'll show you some clips from it as well, let's get right to what's on everybody's thinking. Is this the future, you and me on the ABC/CNN channel?

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: Wouldn't it be nice, Larry? I mean, we could finally be together?

KING: Yes, for real.

WALTERS: Well, this is -- what you're talking about is the possibility of ABC News and CNN merging in some way. I don't know how you feel, and I'd love to hear it, since we have time to talk about it...

KING: I wonder how it will work. I'd like to know how it works. Then I'll tell you how I feel. I mean, off the top, this sounds terrific, but...

WALTERS: Well...

KING: ... do I do "Good Morning America"? Do you do "LARRY" -- I mean, what happens?

WALTERS: Well, it seems to me, you know, I don't know. So I'm talking really off the top of my head and only from pretty much what I read in the papers. I think that our programs stay the same.

That is, LARRY KING stays where LARRY KING is, "20/20" stays where "20/20" is. Paula Zahn does her morning show, Charlie and Diane -- Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer -- do their morning show. "Primetime "stays where it is; that is, the major programs stay where they are.

What gets joined, or merged, is different bureaus around the world, a certain number of producers, but I don't think that suddenly, you're going to be doing "20/20" and I'm going to be doing LARRY KING.

: But in a pinch, though, you know that may be the premise, but in a pinch they'll tend to say, "Well, why not? We've got all this talent. Why not use him here, use her there?"

WALTERS: Well, I don't think that's bad for us. I mean, for example, if I do an interview, you know -- more and more people now, when you start to try to book them on a show, they say, "How much time am I going to get?"

KING: Yes.

WALTERS: I mean, heads of state have become so sophisticated. "What's your rating? How much time am I going to get? Well, am I better with Larry or Barbara If I do Larry first, does that mean I don't get Barbara?" You know, they're very sophisticated.

So what it would mean to me is that if I do an interview, I can also say, "It's going to be played on CNN." Or, "It will be longer on CNN." When you have someone like Fidel Castro who takes 40 minutes to answer the first question -- so it gives that opportunity.

It may very well be that LARRY KING then gets played on ABC if they have openings in places for it.

So I think that's very good. I think the big question is who is the No. 1 person in charge? And that's not in your hands or mine.

KING: What is the buzz at ABC about it?

WALTERS: About who's in charge?

KING: About the whole thing. What do they say at, you know, at the coffee cooler?

WALTERS: You know, isn't it funny? I haven't heard a lot of people talking about it at the coffee cooler.

KING: Why did I say coffee cooler? Well, where they get iced coffee.

WALTERS: Whatever it is. I really have not heard that much conversation. I think it's just sort of wait and see. I was talking to one of the heads of your company the other night at a dinner, and I thought that it would be, like, three years before this happened, by the time you go to the FCC and they examine everything, and so forth. And his feeling was that it can happen very much sooner than that. Maybe it could happen within a year.

But I think it's very good for us. I have missed, on ABC, not having the international thrust that you have. I mean, you go to Europe, you go to any country not just -- you go to China, wherever, and there is CNN. We don't have that. So I think for us it's very good.

And I'm sure there are downsides. I'm sure some of the bureaus are going to merge. People, you know, will be let go. That's never very good. But if, indeed, have the both of our companies do better, make more money, which is the name of the game these days, isn't it? Then it's probably a very good thing for us.

KING: And finally, I do -- I agree completely with everything you said. And it would be kind of nice if maybe you and I do something together once.

WALTERS: We have wanted to do...

KING: I know. We've talked about this a lot. But it might work. I could kick -- maybe we're kicking it off tonight and we don't know it.

WALTERS: Well, I don't know. I've always thought that you and I are a very good team. Now let's see, we could do it -- "W" comes after "K" "Larry King And Barbara Walters"...

KING: No, "Barbara And Larry."

WALTERS: Thatwould be good. We start with a B.

KING: All right, tell me about...

WALTERS: See, we've already worked that out, right?

KING: And he'll be here Tuesday night with his wife. I understand you have him on with the whole family.


KING: And this is in relation to two new books out. How did -- was this a tough process, to get him first?

WALTERS: Well, it's not just the two new books. I mean he -- yes, indeed, he does have two new books out, but both have to do with the family. One is called "Joined at the Heart," and the other, I think, is "The Spirit of the Family," which is a photographic book. OK. And I think he'd like to sell these. These are books about the American family.

However, what does everybody want to know? Especially since the Democratic debacle of last week? Is he going to run again? Is he a different man? Is it the same Al Gore that we saw two years ago?

And what I found, and I think that you will as well, is that he has -- He's much more relaxed, because, as he said to me, "I've got nothing to lose."

He is funny. He takes a lot of the blame for things that have happened. You ask him about the debates and he will -- He said to me, "I think they did me harm."

You ask about was he too close to his family in taking advice? And he takes -- He stands up to that.

So it is a chance for him to look back, at least on our program and I'm sure on yours, on what it was like for him those terrible days when he was waiting for the count and the recount. The recount and the chads and the dimples, chads and so on.

And then to talk about the campaign and to talk about the future.

I found him easy-going, as I said funny. He even sings. And he was in -- They've moved to Nashville to a white house with columns. And I said, "Do you think this looks a little bit like that other White House with columns?" It never occurred to him.

KING: Is it the whole show?

WALTERS: Pretty much the whole show, yes. We got into the past and the campaign and the family and the books and why he wrote them and what he has to say about the American family. And then, the future and possible running mates, you know.

KING: Well, you have to -- did he say if he's going to run?

WALTERS: I'm not going to tell you, Larry. Tonight.

KING: Just tease me and then run...

WALTERS: I always want to tease you. That's why we'd be great when we merge, because we tease each other.

KING: All right. You mentioned a sense of humor. Everyone who knew Al Gore for years knew he was funny. Why wasn't he funny on stage?

WALTERS: There is something about the way he talks that is earnest and maybe slow, you know, that even when he's funny somehow you don't realize it. What he's been saying now, when he was campaigning for candidates, he has a wonderful line, which was, "I'm Al Gore. I'm the man who used to be the next president of the United States." You know?

KING: Barbara Walters is our guest. Tomorrow night, she and the Gore family on ABC's "20/20." It will air at 10 Eastern. The Gores will be here next Tuesday night.

We'll be back with more of Barbara Walters on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Tomorrow night, Nobel Prize winner, former President Jimmy Carter.

Don't go away.


WALTERS: The Senate is now in Republican hands. The House is now in Republican hands. The president is a Republican. What does this say about the Demorcratic party?

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I don't think that we should be in denial about the nature of the loss. It was a massavie defeat for the Democratic party and we have to accept that and come out fighting as the loyal opposition, not just in name but in reality, and fight for the average families in this country who are, in many ways, under more economic stress than they have been under in 50 years.



KING: We're back with Barbara Walters.

You interviewed the Gores during the election run. Compare them then and now, as a group. Are they different?

WALTERS: I interviewed Al Gore and the family after the elections, so that they were very much aware of what had happened. Are they different?

Well, we interviewed the two oldest girls, Karenna and Kristen. Kristen, by the way, is a comedy writer and has done a very funny cartoon show with her father, his head popping out of a box. It's very cute. You'll see that.

I think that they are as close as they ever were. I think that they are not bitter. You see, that surprised me. I said to him, "Why aren't you bitter? I mean, you came this close. Why aren't you mad?" They have gone through all of that.

He was not critical of George Bush right after 9/11. He is far more critical now. And he feels very strongly that the Democratic Party has to finally say something and show something.

KING: It does.

WALTERS: And there have been polls that just came out that show even at the height of George W. Bush's popularity, they are something like just 10 points apart now.

So that probably, at this point, if he wanted the nomination he could probably get it. Then comes the next question. "Can you win?"

But so many things can happen, Larry...

KING: Yes, of course.

WALTERS: ... in two years.

KING: Right. Does he go around saying, "I got more votes. I beat him by more than Clinton beat -- by more than Kennedy beat Nixon in '60, and more than Clinton when he won the first time. I got a bigger margin."

WALTERS: I say that. You know, he wasn't a statistician. But he is not saying, "Why not me? It should have been me. Why didn't I get it?"

You know, there have been presidents who left office after four years and eight years who went into deep depression. This was tough for him. That's when he grew the beard. That's when he put on a few pounds.

This is a man who believes in fair, who believes in moving along. And I mean, at one point I said to him, about his concession speech, and I said, "You know, it probably was the best speech of your life."

And he said, "That's what I said to David Letterman, that it was the best speech of my life, and then Letterman said, 'Great timing, Al.'"

KING: Barbara, when I said...

WALTERS: He's able to do that, you know? He's able to make fun of himself.

KING: When I said it was close, it was the -- he beat Bush by more than Kennedy beat Nixon and more than Nixon beat Humphrey.

WALTERS: And won the popular vote.

KING: Yes.

WALTERS: And who knows? I mean, had it not been Jeb Bush's state, had it not been for Katherine Harris and certainly, had it not been for the Supreme Court, we don't know what the result would have been. But we asked him about all those things.

KING: What does he say about Clinton?

WALTERS: He says that, you know, there had been all of this business about the reason he didn't ask Clinton to run with him was because of the -- He didn't want Clinton's sexual, what should I call it ? -- escapades to spill over. He said that's not the reason.

And Tipper becomes -- Tipper's very forceful and because she's been accused of being the one who had said, "This is horrendous what happened with Bill Clinton." And "stay away." Tipper says, "I never said that. I know it's been quoted. I never said that."

He talks openly about what happened after the election when he and Clinton were fall apart and blaming each other and that they are now very close. He said, "We've gone through a great deal together." And so the relationship now is a good relationship.

But all of this in more detail than I'm giving, he talks about.

KING: We won't -- I'll keep repeating it. It will play tomorrow night at 10.


KING: He'll be here on Tuesday. So I won't get you in a position where you'll have to keep saying, "I'm not going to be able to..."

WALTERS: Well, all the questions, Larry, that I forgot or didn't ask or should have asked, you know, I torture myself when I do interviews sometimes with what my producers call "shoulda, coulda, woulda." So whatever I "shoulda, coulda, woulda," you can ask on Tuesday.

KING: All right. I'll "coulda, shoulda, woulda" what you didn't "shoulda, woulda," but you're pretty good Barbara. I won't get...

What do make of President Bush's -- do his opponents underestimate him?

WALTERS: I don't think they do now.

First of all, I don't think they underestimate the power that this man was able to generate, and remember, the last days of the campaign, he was an old-fashioned politician. He went from state to state to state, you know. There was almost nothing that he didn't miss.

He certainly went down to Florida: what, five times? It had to -- he had to win that state. His brother had to win that state for the whole, the whole feeling about his reputation.

Now there are people who are saying, Well, the reason that he's already announced that Cheney is going to be his vice president should he run again, and we assume he will, is because Cheney won't be the presidential candidate the next time and that leaves door open for...

KING: Jeb.

WALTERS: ... Jeb. I mean, now we're talking about the Bush dynasty. And when you are with him, Larry, and I know you have been with him, he's very charming.

KING: Very.

WALTERS: He's got a wink, he's got a twinkle. He was in Maine, and my daughter is in Maine where, as you know, she runs a -- I'll get my little plug in for her -- a wildenress program for adolescent girls in crisis, called New Horizons Wilderness Program. OK.

So the president heard that she was there, and somebody asked if she'd like to meet him. And she said, "Oh, I don't know," you know. She's not political, you know. She was doing me a big favor by going to meet him.

I talked to him in the late -- talked to her in the late afternoon and I said, "What did you think?"

And she said, "Mom, he was adorable."

"Adorable? President Bush?" But he was so nice and easy and warm with her, and people do have that feeling when they see him.

KING: And why -- Well, up to last week, why do people underestimate him?

WALTERS: I'm not sure they've been underestimating him, even before last week. I don't think that they expected, perhaps, this kind of a sweep. But I think, since 9/11, the way he did take charge, people did not underestimate.

The criticism now, the economy. I mean, why isn't this country doing better than it is doing, if indeed these tax cuts were such a stimulation? What happens to Social Security?

What happens to the economy in the next two years if it does go down? What does this mean to the Democrats? The fact that Osama bin Laden is still alive, of all of our war on terrorism and so on.

So that there are certainly questions to be asked.

You know what interests me, too, Larry, when we talk about television and so on? We keep talking about a war on terrorism, and what is it that we want to see? I mean, I did Justin Timberlake last week in a special edition of "20/20." It went through the roof.

I did the Osbournes. People wanted to see it so much we're repeating it next Thursday. I'm not doing this to get a plug. I'm saying, you know, these are the things we're looking at, you know? Tabloids and rock stars and Winona Ryder and the butler and, you know...

KING: Crazy. But it is what it is.

We'll be right back with Barbara Walters. The Gores will be on tomorrow night, and they'll be here on Tuesday. We'll come back with lots of other areas to cover. Don't go away.


WALTERS: How will you know, in your own words, when we have won? It's not going to end, we now know, in Afghanistan.


WALTERS: How will we know? Will we ever know?

BUSH: I don't think there's ever going to be an end to evil. But I think the free world, the civilized world, the good people of the world, can strike a serious blow against evildoers.



KING: We're back with Barbara Walters. There's never no controversy surrounding ABC News. Now they've got exclusive rights to the first U.S. TV interview with Paul Burrell. The interview is done by Elizabeth Vargas, not Barbara. At the same time they won a bidding war for his video diary, and they insist, ABC, that buying the rights to the document has nothing to do with getting Burrell, and the reason Burrell did ABC is he has such respect for Barbara Walters. Although she didn't do the interview.

Give me the overall picture of this story.

WALTERS: OK. Paul Burrell, because that's how his name is pronounced in England...

KING: Got to correct me. OK. It's all right, all right. Burrell.

WALTERS: It doesn't matter. It's unimportant. But anyway, I've been calling him Paul Burrell, so I'll stick to that.

I knew him. I knew him when the few times that I had lunch with Princess Diana, he was always there. He was a very devoted butler. As a matter of fact, I guess a year or so ago when I met him, I wanted to interview him then. He was about to write a book about Princess Diana. And when we actually saw the book, it was sort of a cook book, you know, she makes plum pudding at Christmastime. Or made plum pudding at Christmastime.

And I said, you know, There's nothing here about Princess Diana. We can't do the interview.

And he said, I won't talk about her.

OK. So after the queen came to his rescue and said, No, I really knew that he had these letters and clothes and so on, he was the hero. Then, of course, he sold his story to the tabloids. And he was no longer the hero.

They made a documentary of him and there was a bidding war, CBS, NBC and ABC, and ABC won. And they did buy the documentary. They did not buy the interview. Now you can say, Would he have done an interview with another network? I don't know. He could have. Because he was at that point independent.

He wanted to do it with me. I was very tied up with the Gores. I mean, I had just gone there last week to do it; it's almost an hour show. I have an interview coming up next Friday with Leonardo DiCaprio. It's his first interview in 10 years. And Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg; they're making a film together. I had a lot on my plate.

I truthfully did not have time to do the kind of homework and everything else that was required. So I will open the show, because it's "20/20," and Elizabeth Vargas, I'm sure, has done a superb job. I haven't even had time to see it, Larry.

That's the story.

KING: Why is he a story?

WALTERS: Oh, Larry. Why are you talking about it with me? KING: I'm talking about it with you because the producers would book him right here. Why are the Royals a story? I mean we do them a lot, but I ask myself this, why...

WALTERS: We will see on Monday night how big a story it is. It certainly has rocked England. Here is the queen, who had her, you know, her jubilee, her 50th Jubilee and was such a heroine.

I keep talking about all these different programs I've dealt with, which is why I didn't have time for this, but in December we have a program called the "10 Most Fascinating People." We've been doing it every year. And one of our people was the queen, not that she did an interview, but we did a write-around. Moving, touching, there she is in her carriage.

We have to do it all over again, because right now the whole monarchy seems to be in jeopardy. It has rocked the Royal Family.

And you know, we've always been intrigued with the British Royalty. It's the only royalty that we really care that much about.

So it's scandalous, and it's juicy, and you know, we'd rather see that than an hour on Enron. So be it.

KING: Martha Stewart. Is she getting a bum rap?

WALTERS: I like Martha Stewart very much. We have done shows together. This woman has worked very, very hard. You know, I don't know what all the facts are, but again, when I see papers every day preaching, She was worth X, now she's worthless. Now she's worthless. Now she's worthless.

I mean, why? Why do that? The woman has done a very great deal with her career and with helping other people. Why slaughter her every day? You know, she was slaughtering that cabbage one day; well, that's what we've been doing with her. And I don't know the facts, but I think the kind of personal attacks just must be very painful.

And she's handled herself with dignity.

KING: Sally Jessy was here last Monday and then she was on "The View" the next morning, and she's suing the "Enquirer." Have you ever thought about suing?

WALTERS: I have never had any -- my life must be very boring. I have never had a reason to sue. I have had things that made me unhappy, especially at one point when they were writing about my daughter and me and saying things that certainly weren't true. That's painful to me; leave my family alone.

But I've never had anything that was so scandalous and that really might have affected my career so much. Sally Jessy certainly says it's totally, totally untrue. My stuff has been mild. I have a boyfriend; I don't have a boyfriend, you know.

KING: You're feuding with Diane. WALTERS: Oh, I'm so sick of that. I forgot to mention Diane's big interview last night with Jennifer Lopez, you know. My office is here, Diane's office is here. We see each other every day. Our biggest question now is what do we get for our joint Christmas present for all of the staff? It is such a, you know...

KING: You give a present together?

WALTERS: Yes. We do give a present together.

KING: We'll be right back. See that, folks. We'll be right back with Barbara Walters. The interview with the Gores is tomorrow night. And we'll be right back with more. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Barbara Walters, the ABC News anchor and correspondent, the host of "20/20" and one of the most formidable figures in the history of television. A young industry, but she has been a stalwart in it for a long, long time.

OK. Are we going to go into Iraq?

WALTERS: Are we going to go into Iraq? Well, let us say that -- what do I know? What does anybody know?

But let us say that when Hans Blix, who is the head of the -- the head investigator going to Iraq. Let's say that they don't find something in three weeks or six weeks. They can keep going back; there is no time limit on how long they can stay in Iraq. So as long as they are there and looking, it's a policy of containment.

Now, will the president, our president, be content with containment? Or will he feel that that's not enough and they really have to go in and wipe him out? I do believe that there are two factions within the administration.

One which is less -- one which some people might consider more moderate. And I also hear from people, you know, who are very close to the president that no matter what advice he gets from Rumsfeld or Cheney or Colin Powell and so on -- Condoleezza -- that he does make his own decisions.

So we can't read his mind and we don't know how very much he wants to wipe this man out, or how he just wants to keep things as they are, as long as there's no possibility of Saddam Hussein building weapons of mass destruction.

KING: Bob Woodward is on the program on Monday night, and he's got a new book out that takes us right inside everything that happened since 9/11, extensive interviews with the president and others. And that should shed some light on this thing which you call a -- certainly a -- there is a clash inside the White House over this.

It's presumed to be Rumsfeld versus Powell, and apparently Powell won out when they did go the U.N. route. Would you agree with that?

WALTERS: Well, I think it would be very hard to declare war before there is a definitive answer, since the president did make that very effective speech at the United Nations and says, in effect, you know, "I'm with the United Nations and even though we can make our own decisions, the United Nations is very important."

It's going to be very hard to convince the American people that you go to war if, indeed, they haven't found anything at a certain point.

But, you know, all of this is so open, Larry, because we don't know what they're going to find. And it's very hard to believe that Saddam Hussein is going to say, "OK, guys. Here it is. Here are my weapons. I'm just to destroy them. Let's life happily every after." That's very hard to believe.

KING: Are you fearful of further activity from Osama bin Laden?

WALTERS: Since that tape?

KING: Yes.

WALTERS: Of course, the interesting thing about that tape is that it looks very likely that he did do it. And the White House has not said that he did not do it. My partner in "20/20," John Miller, is the only person I know who has interviewed Osama bin Laden.

KING: I know.

WALTERS: And he says it sure sounds like him.

Sure. Yes. I'm -- You know, on the one hand, it's what I was saying about our watching the same stuff on television. On the one hand, I think we're all frightened. I mean, I go through life saying, "This can happen tomorrow. What am I worrying about six months from now?"

On the other hand, we have become a little complacent.

And on the third hand -- anybody have three hands? -- I think we don't feel that the kind of precautions that are necessary have been taken, and we don't even know what they are. You know, we keep hearing about things coming in on ships that are not looked at, and luggage that's not looked at, and we don't know where it's going to come and how.

So I think we do live in this state of anxiety.

On the other hand, the restaurants are filled. People are driving in their cars. We're watching "The Osbournes." You know? It's a very schizophrenic appearance.

KING: You brought it up. What's the cultural explanation behind "The Osbournes" and their appeal? WALTERS: I think last year we'd never seen anything like them before. I mean, they were just so outrageous and I said when I interviewed them a few weeks ago, that it was the best "bleeping" interview I'd ever done in my life, you know.

And we just had never seen anything like this. This year, I don't know if it's really going to be the same, because in a sense the novelty is off. That they are -- I mean, Sharon is a very attractive figure, and she is even more outrageous than Ozzy. She told me in the interview that if she got mad at somebody that she was working with, because she's his manager and she decides everything that goes on the show.

And I said, "Is it true that if you really were angry with someone, you sent them feces?"

And she said, "Oh, yes, it is true, but in a Tiffany box."

When I wasn't sure whether or not she would love our interview, I thought, "Am I going to get a Tiffany box?" I said to the people, you know, in my office, "If that Tiffany box comes, don't open it." I got flowers instead, so there we are.

KING: Do you care about how your subjects feel about you?

WALTERS: If I like someone very much, I usually feel that it's reciprocal. Would I care about how Saddam Hussein felt about me? Not at all. I would hope that he would not. If he came away liking me, I hadn't done my job.

KING: Since everybody is rumored to be getting a talk show, the latest on the docket is Jesse Ventura. Do you expect that to happen? And how will it work?

WALTERS: The latest on the docket is Sharon Osbourne. And I think that might work quite well.

Larry, everybody feels they can do a talk show.

KING: I know.

WALTERS: I was talking about years and years ago, when I began on the "Today" show. So how many years is that? Thirty -- I don't even want to think. Pretend I didn't say that.

My friends used to say, "All she does is ask questions. We could do that too." It is very hard to do a talk show and sustain it and keep up the pace and keep up the humor and keep up the questions. It is very hard to be Larry King, even though people think, "Oh, he just goes on and he just asks what everybody wants to know."

I think Sharon Stone would probably -- Sharon Stone. Well you can see where my mind is. I think that Sharon Osbourne would probably do very well. I think that Jesse Ventura would have a more difficult time.

KING: Well put.

I want to -- we're going to take a break and come back and talk about kids and crime and the agreement they made in Florida, what she thinks of that and that puzzling King case.

Barbara Walters will interview the Gores tomorrow night. It's their first -- actually, she always has been first -- exclusive. The Gore family will be on tomorrow night with Barbara. The parents of the younger Gores will be on with us on Tuesday, the former vice president and his wife.

Jimmy Carter tomorrow night.

Right back with Barbara Walters. Don't go away.


WALTERS: Ozzy are you scared about Sharon's illness.

OZZY OSBOURNE, SINGER: I'm not scared. I'm absolutely horrified.

WALTERS: I don't even know how to ask this, but -- well, you just tell me how you feel. Tell me how you feel about him.

OSBOURNE: It's the worst thing that could ever happen.

WALTERS: It's going to be OK. It's going to be OK. It's going to be OK. It is. It is. It is. It is. Look how good she looks and she's feeling better.

SHARON OSBOURNE, WIFE: She's come on you hard.




DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW": What do you think of that Dr. Phil? Have you seen that show?

WALTERS: We just had him on...

LETTERMAN: What kind of guy is that?

WALTERS: We have a program coming up called "10 Most Fascinating People." We have him on that, because he'll be...

LETTERMAN: Dr. Phil is one of the "10 Most Fascinating People?"


LETTERMAN: You're kidding.

WALTERS: I'm not kidding. Because look what he has done in one year.


WALTERS: And he has the second most popular syndicated show except for Oprah. And you are -- you talk about him every single night...


KING: Now, Barbara, is David Letterman playing a game or does he really not like Dr. Phil? What's your read on that?

WALTERS: Well, he teases him every night on the program. I mean, you know, David always has somebody. You know, for awhile, remember, it was Oprah. And now it's Dr. Phil.

He's amazing, David is. He's such fun to be on with and the most shy person. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Johnny Carson, you know? The cameras come on and he is very open. And yet, he's basically a very shy and introverted man. It's a strange combination. A lot of comedians are like that, though.

KING: Reclusive.


KING: Now what do you make of -- maybe this just seems to be -- maybe it's because of the media attention that it seems to be more of a -- kids and crime. We have these two kids, one's going to do eight years, one's going to do nine years for murdering their father. Columbine. You've got a read on this?

WALTERS: Well, you know, now the thing is the kids seem to be younger and younger, but not too long back we had the very famous case of the Menendez brothers. And I recently interviewed -- talked with Eric Menendez from prison. So how old was he? He wasn't 8 or 9 or 10. He was 18 when it happened.

These crimes are always unbelievably shocking, and we do hear more about them now. But I think in general, you know I mentioned my daughter having a wilderness program for adolescent girls in crisis. You didn't hear about this 10 years ago.


WALTERS: Or 20 years ago. You had a daughter who was difficult, you said to her, You can't go out tomorrow night, or you know, We're not going to let you go to the prom. Maybe more than 20 years ago.

My daughter's feeling is that kids don't have enough boundaries. That both parents work, and I know I think about this all the time, and that when the mother and the father come home, all they want to do is have the kids love them. So there isn't the same kind of discipline and so forth that we had in our generations, 100 years ago. And there are drugs, and there are temptations. But there also is not the good family structure. And so we are seeing kids in all areas acting out, at what? Eleven, 12? That doesn't mean that they're killing their parents, but that's a ghastly situation. But we have a lot of very, very troubled adolescents.

KING: Does it make you pessimistic, generally, about our youth?

WALTERS: You know, there was never a time -- well, I can't say that it makes you pessimistic about our youth. It makes me sad that there are so many unhappy kids. It makes me troubled for their parents, because women do work now, and fathers also. Look at you with your little kids. I'm sure you spend much more time with them now then you did with your older children, because in those days Daddy wasn't supposed to diaper and stay home and have a connection with the children. Now fathers want to as much as women do, as much as mothers do.

So, you know, there are mostly wonderful kids, but the children who are the sad ones, the lost ones, there do seem to be more of them.

KING: And in another area, tell me about the Fidel Castro -- First -- And NBC got mad. Did you say to him, You do us, you don't do them? What was the story there, over NBC pulled out of that interview, or he pulled out of NBC?

WALTERS: Well, let me tell you about the situation. First of all, I interviewed him 25 years ago. Twenty-five years ago, he talked to me for three and a half hours, blowing Cohiba, the cigar that he smoked, smoke in my face for three and a half hours. I didn't mind it. It's a different job.

And then I traveled around the country with him with a camera crew for like 10 days. It was a fascinating experience. I do know he's a dictator; I do know that there are people in prison. I do know that there's absolutely no freedom of the press. Yet it was a fascinating time.

Twenty-five years later, we go back. And we're looking at each other thinking, Did she get older? Did he get older? Now, he talks for three hours. He's given up the smoking, but I couldn't get a question in, you know? And I talk a lot. It was a difficult interview, in that sense, to do.

We had been told before we went down that he would not do other interviews. We did an interview on Monday and Tuesday. Our program, "20/20," doesn't air until Friday.

Evidently, he had also promised NBC, and my colleague, and she is wonderful, Andrea Mitchell, and we are friends. But she had not been told this, so that when we got down there and we reaffirmed that he was not going to do anything from Tuesday until Friday, NBC and Andrea said, This is not what we were told. I'm sure they were furious. You know, Take me to your leader and everybody says, No, we're not. And she went home empty-handed.

These things happen. She would have done it to me. This is not a question of friendship, then. This is a question of your job.

KING: So, that -- is Andrea going to be the closest friend in the world when it comes to the get -- the get counts?

WALTERS: Not if it was something that was really going to change Andrea's life. I would give up anything for that. But Andrea would have done it -- if she could have gotten the interview, she wouldn't have minded that hers came before mine. She wouldn't have said, Gee, Barbara's a good friend. I don't think I'm going to run that interview before her. She would have.

We all understand this in this business. And this is, thank God, not a matter of life and death. So you win some, you lose some.

KING: What do you make of the work of Katie Couric?

WALTERS: What do I make of what with Katie Couric?

KING: Her work.

WALTERS: I have always been a big admirer of Katie. I've often said that Katie, in the beginning, used to remind me somewhat of myself in those early days. I think she's so attractive and vital and she used to be called perky, I used to be called perky. Neither one of us were, you know, were movie star looking.

I think she's a big star, and I've always been a big fan of Katie. She knows that.

We had lunch before she signed her contract. She was talking about whether she should do a syndicated program, and I said, Don't do it, Katie, because you'll want to do news, and news doesn't make it in the daytime, and you'll be very frustrated. I said, You should do specials. She's now doing specials.

Guess who she's competing with for her interview specials? Moi. There's room for us both.

KING: We'll be back with Miss Moi, who's been Moi for a long, long time. Barbara Walters will be back with our remaining moments. Don't go away.


WALTERS: You feel socialism works. It seems that the tide in the rest of the world is turning away. We see people in you country hungry. We see people going on boats and risking their lives to leave this country. Does social work.

FIDEL CASTRO, PRESIDENT OF CUBA (through translator): Si, yes it does. Yes, out socialism works in out country.

Does capitalism work in Mexico when millions of Mexicans are putting their life at risk? When thousands die every year trying to get into the United States?

Now you say that socialism doesn't work here? Then capitalism doesn't work either.






KING: What was that all about?

WALTERS: That was on my birthday. I went to Sarah Lawrence College. My dorm was called Titsworth. It sounds like I'm talking about the Osbournes again. Do let me tell people, Larry, if you don't mind, that the Osbournes will be repeated a week from tonight at 9:00.

KING: Thanks a lot.

WALTERS: You're nice to let me say it. But that's part of "The View." And by the way, we're going to have a big announcement -- well, there's something very interesting on "The View" this Monday. But you know, anything goes on "The View" with those ladies.

KING: By the way, I will tell you, when I was on with the kids and we're going to come back with the kids...

WALTERS: Please.

KING: It was one of the best mornings I've ever had in my life. Because "The View" makes -- it's a terrific show to do.

WALTERS: Thank you. And your little boy is the biggest ham.

KING: Chance is a ham, and now wait until you see Canon. Maybe bigger than him, as a ham.

WALTERS: I think people love to come on that show because they can just be themselves.

KING: That's right. It's a wonderful show to do. But who arranged that whole Titsworth thing?

WALTERS: That was Bill Getty, who's my executive producer of "The View," the Viewmaster, as he's called. He also produces my specials.

But the four ladies, those wonderful, crazy ladies -- Star Jones, Meredith Vieira, Lisa Ling, Joy Behar -- they were all in on it. And they tease me all the time, you know. They talk about my sex life; I wish they wouldn't. Or my lack of sex life.

You know, sometimes I'm in the position of a guest. I want to say to them, "Would you mind? Just lay off. Just don't say that." But anything goes on that show. KING: How long will the "get" keep being important to you?

WALTERS: I hate the booking. It's the part of all of this, but we all hate it. Who gets it first, who has it? It never used to be this bad. And with more and more programs, it is tougher and tougher for the "get."

You tell yourself it isn't important, and then your producer says it is. Who has it first? Who has it next?

I think the most important thing, always, is what do you do with the material and how interesting is it for the audience?

But you know, getting the "get" -- you know yourself, Larry. It's -- he booking is the toughest part of this business, and the part I like the least.

KING: And we're competing in the cable world, and so I tend to look at that I think we get the best guests on cable by far.

WALTERS: You do.

KING: And you certainly do it on network television. But getting it, you can't like it. You can't like the, "Listen, you've got to make that other call again."

WALTERS: Please call the lawyer; please call the agent. Please tell them that, well, they want to do LARRY KING because LARRY KING is seen in Bangkok.

"Well, it doesn't matter whether LARRY KING is seen in Bangkok. We're seen-- " You know, it's that sort of thing.

We all hate it, I think. I don't know anybody who -- there are bookers, they must love it.

KING: What do you make of the people who get in the grind every day? I have great respect for them.

WALTERS: Thank heaven. The producers, the associate producers, they're the ones who really are, I think, are the most important. I write, you know, my stuff and I'm very involved in the editing, and I'm very hands-on. But it would not happen without producers.

My executive producer on "20/20" is a man named David Sloane. Your executive producer...

KING: Wendy Whitworth (ph).

WALTERS: Wendy, she's absolutely a wonderful and very relentless, and we are lucky to have her.

KING: We sure are. And you wonder why they don't burn out.

WALTERS: I wonder why they do it at all.

KING: And how long are you going to keep on keeping on? Certainly, you don't need it financially.

WALTERS: You know, you and I -- You always say that you've got the best job in the world.

KING: I do.

WALTERS: I'm not sure that I think mind is the best job in the world, but it is stimulating. It is -- you know, to be able to talk to Al Gore one day, Ozzy Osbourne the next, Leonardo DiCaprio the next, and to have the kind of variety and to be this involved.

I don't know how I would feel if I had little children. And I don't know how I would feel if I had this great love in my life. There's no room for that right now. You didn't ask me, but I figured I'd tell you.

KING: There's no room for that, Barbara? You can't go out this afternoon and bump into someone on the street and he is it?


KING: Why not? You won't let it happen? You won't let it...

WALTERS: It's not that I won't let it. Larry -- you're in California. Come back to New York, we'll have lunch and we'll dish. I'm not going to do it on this broadcast.

KING: Well, no. Is it something you have no interest in? Because you're so vivacious.

WALTERS: It's just -- I don't think it's going to happen. I have many friends. I have a very full life. I have men that I see. But I just don't think that there's going to be the one that's going to take over my life, and I've gotten very selfish. I mean, I like the way I live.

KING: All right. Let's ask a fair question. Do you miss being in love? It's unlike any other feeling you have.

WALTERS: I'm not going to discuss this with you.

KING: Why not?

WALTERS: I don't know why not. Why -- so you're like the women on "The View." The next question you'll ask me is when did I lose my virginity, which they asked me one day.

KING: They did ask you that?


KING: Did you answer it?

WALTERS: No. I said it was so long ago I couldn't remember.

KING: Who's your all-time "get"? WALTERS: The all-time "get." You mean, the next "get"? The next one we'd want to get?

KING: Mine is the pope.

WALTERS: Yes, but the pope doesn't do interviews.

KING: I know.

WALTERS: The queen does not do interviews. Prince Charles and Camilla a possibility; I wouldn't turn them down.

KING: Neither would I.

WALTERS: But the next "get" is whoever is the next one, you know, we talked about Winona, you know?

KING: She's the next "get."

WALTERS: Well...

KING: Barbara, it is always a pleasure spending time with you. I kid you not. You're one of my favorite people in the world.

WALTERS: I feel the same way about you, and I hope that that merger happens so that you and I can play together.

KING: You said it; I agree.

WALTERS: Barbara Walters. Wouldn't that be something?

Tomorrow night she's on with the Gores at 10:00 Eastern, and they'll be with us next Tuesday. President Carter tomorrow night.

Barbara's old friend Aaron Brown hosts "NEWSNIGHT." He's next. Stay with us.


© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.