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Interview with Al, Tipper Gore

Aired November 19, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight on LARRY KING LIVE: they're expected. They're on the way. But -- one of the problems in working live, and I love working live, is that sometimes traffic difficulties get in the way. And Al and Tipper Gore were in Los Angeles.
Pretty humid in L.A. today. I don't know if that had anything to do with it. Temperature's in the mid 80's. But the Gores have not yet arrived. We were told at 5:00 Pacific time they would be here at 5:15, then 5:30 and 5:45. And the last we were told is they're three minutes away.

So we decided to spend those three promised minutes with my two kids and my wife. Today is my 69th birthday, so on the left on your screen is Chance King. He is 3-and-a-half years old.

In the middle is Shawn King. She's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) years old.

On the right is Cannon King. He's 2-and-a-half years old. And I thought maybe we could sing "Happy Birthday."

CHANCE KING, SON: I want to do a Halloween song.

KING: OK, a Halloween song. Which one?

CHANCE KING: And Halloween and Halloween and Halloween.

KING: OK. And what do you want to sing, Cannon?


KING: A ghost song. Sing.


KING: All right. Go ahead.


KING: Look at that face, folks.

Wouldn't it be great if the numbers were bumping up and up and then the Gores come on and then they go down. Wouldn't that be wild?

OK. Can we sing "Happy Birthday" to daddy? It would make me feel so good. The whole world's watching.

CANNON KING: Happy birthday to you SHAWN KING, WIFE: All on three. One, two, three.


KING: A star is born. All right.

Chance and Cannon King were both born in Los Angeles. He 3-and- a-half years ago, he 2-and-a-half years ago. It may seem strange for someone my age to have children this young. I do have three older children, who are grown up. And Shawn has a child as well, who is 21- years-old. And my other children are in their late 40s, early 40s and mid 30s. And they're having these two boys now go to school -- preschool. And trying to raise them to be good kids in a difficult world.

I tape -- I want to try to say shhh.

SHAWN KING: Let daddy talk. Daddy's working.

KING: We taped an interview earlier today with Bono. It's going to play on World Aids Day on 1st of December. It was an extraordinary hour. And I asked Bono if having children made any difference in his life. And he said, Yeah, it made him more serious about the world. It made him think about things differently.

These kids make me think things differently. I think my greatest hope on my 69th birthday would see that they grow up in a safe, sane world without people harming people. I hope that we're going to be talking with the Gores in a moment about possibilities of going into Iraq and nuclear weaponry and disarmament. Wouldn't it be nice if little Chance and Cannon could grow up in a world with no fear of any of that? Only know that they can make their own legacy in their own time.

It's a joy being 69-years-old and having kids this young. It makes me feel virile.

And Shawn, I know you don't have a microphone on so if you could speak over Chance's microphone.


KING: Is this hard for you to be married to an older man with young kids? Is it hard?

SHAWN KING: It has its moments -- but no, actually there are a lot of good things about it because we're in a different stage in our lives. When we both had kids when we were younger and there's more time.

KING: All right. We are told the Gores have arrived so we'd like you boys to say good night. Say good night.

CHANCE KING: Good night.

KING: Wave good night. The Gores are next on LARRY KING LIVE. A historic edition. If you missed it, watch the repeat. We'll be right back.


KING: Now the adult time for LARRY KING LIVE" as we welcome to the show -- and they've been on quite a few times before. The former vice president of the United States, Al Gore. His lovely wife Tipper. Two books are here in conjunction with their appearance. "The Spirit Of Family" by Al and Tipper Gore. An incredible collection of photographs.

And "Joined At The Heart: The Transformation Of The American Family," also by Al and Tipper Gore. Both are published by Henry Holten. In a while we'll get to that.

But first, obviously, we wait with baited breath. What happened? Where were you?


KING: Was it just traffic?

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. Misjudged the time perhaps. We came from the East Coast today. We wanted to give your kids a chance to have their network debut.

KING: But in the old days would have been a flashing lights and you would have had...

A. GORE: You kind of remind me of Dave Garaway there for awhile.

KING: Do you miss that? Do you miss the trappings? You would not have been late if you were vice president. They would have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- or president.

A. GORE: Oh, yeah.

T. GORE: That's right.

A. GORE: Oh, believe me.

KING: I mean, what's it like to come from the life of that to not having the life of that?

A. GORE: I've joked about it a lot, but the truth is, there is -- it's great to be out of the so-called bubble and to be able to go on your own. There are disadvantages like being late here. I'm sorry.

KING: Don't you miss it, Tipper?

T. GORE: But it's real life. I mean, we were just caught in traffic trying to make our way.

KING: Don't you miss the trappings? T. GORE: No. No, not at all. It was a privilege when we had them and when Al was vice president. And it was a privilege and it was great. But no. That's over with. We've moved on. And it's nice to have our freedom back and be able to, unfortunately, you know, get lost or be in traffic.

KING: I saw you for a few times during the first six months after the -- and then you had secret service protection, right? How does it work?

T. GORE: Tell him how it works, al.

A. GORE: Under the law, former vice presidents are not entitled to it but according to tradition and custom, they're afforded it for the first six months. We gave it up early because we wanted to be off on our own.

KING: When you watch the president or see the president -- do you honestly say -- you must say to yourself, I got more votes than him. More people voted for me. No?

A. GORE: The country has moved on. I've moved on. People -- that's an old story.

KING: It doesn't ever enter your mind?

A. GORE: No. Not in that sense. I'll tell you what does...

T. GORE: He's part of the MTV generation. Go on.

A. GORE: Short attention span.

What does enter my mind is when I see a particularly difficult challenge the country's facing and I see something that I disagree with, I think, Gosh, I wish I could sink my teeth into that.

Sometimes I do feel that, for sure. But the election of 2000 is history, over, done with.

KING: Was it bitter for you, Tipper?

T. GORE: No. It was certainly unusual.

KING: No, I mean, Rosalynn Carter still hasn't gotten over it. She admitted that the other night. Defeat.

T. GORE: You know, I heard about that show. I was traveling. It was a very good show you had -- we admire the Carters very much.

A. GORE: I'm so happy he got the Nobel Peace Prize. That was just fantastic.

T. GORE: Well deserved.

KING: She still bears it, after all these years, it still hurts her. T. GORE: Well, I think that you have to move on -- for myself. Sure, I mean, I know what the facts are, and I think American people do, but you have got to move on. So much has happened since the election to our country, to individuals, and we're happy to have the time to focus on each other and our two grandchildren.

A. GORE: We've got new challenges as a country, all of us do as individuals. Why dwell on the past?

KING: What kept you so quiet, since...

A. GORE: I needed time off, and I wanted to do some other things after a quarter century in public service. Also, I felt like -- after the divisions of the election and particularly the disputed outcome, and the 36 days that the best thing for the country was to -- for me to withdraw a little bit, but I wanted to anyway, and I did. But I'd do it over again.

KING: Because you've been in public life all...

A. GORE: Twenty-four years...

T. GORE: Twenty-four years.

A. GORE: ... in elected office.

T. GORE: We needed to take a long vacation, which we did, and Al began teaching a course on family centered community building.

A. GORE: Stopped shaving for a while.

T. GORE: Stopped shaving.

KING: Yes. What was that all about?

A. GORE: Well, I have always grown a beard on vacation. I just never had such a long vacation.

KING: Did you like the beard?

T. GORE: I did like the beard. Absolutely. I don't think he would have had it if I didn't like it.


KING: I wouldn't know much. I get very light stubble. I don't think -- it would take me a year to grow a beard. I don't think it's me.

T. GORE: Took him...


KING: ... kind of funny.

A. GORE: No... KING: I'll get to the books in a while.

A. GORE: If I known you were sensitive, I wouldn't have brought it up.

KING: With all that's facing the world, one has to ask, where were the Gores on 9/11?

A. GORE: I was overseas in Europe, preparing to make a speech on technology. And as is my custom, I'm not saying this as a throw away because I'm on CNN, but it's normally my custom to turn CNN on in the hotel room to keep in touch with back home, and the television was on, and my hosts were coming in to brief me on the speech I was about to make, and CNN turned to the first tower and we were watching when the second tower was hit.

I had trouble getting through. My first thought was for the fact that my grandchildren live in New York City, and how were they, and Karenna, our daughter, and our son-in-law, Drew. And then, when the plane hit the Pentagon, Tipper was just a mile from that impact site. Had trouble getting through, but...

KING: Where were you in Europe?

A. GORE: Vienna, Austria. There were some young Internet whizzes from Europe there who patched up a connection through the Internet that enabled us to communicate, and Tipper assured me that everybody was all right. I knew right away it was Osama bin Laden. Anybody in...

KING: Bill Clinton, on this show, a couple weeks ago -- he was in Australia -- said as soon as he saw it, he said, Bin Laden.

A. GORE: Absolutely.

KING: You said it too?

A. GORE: Said it to the people there with me. No question about it.

KING: How quick before you got home?

A. GORE: Several days. I -- all the airplanes were shut down, and I didn't have Air Force access, and so it was a little bit like the movie "Ground Hog Day." Every morning, I'd wake up, try to get a plane back to the U.S.

Finally I said, If you can just get me to North America, I'll take it from there. Canada, Mexico, wherever, and I finally got a flight into Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police got me across the border, which was backed up for seven miles, and then I rented a car and started driving south.

KING: By yourself?

A. GORE: No, I had one aide with me, and we had planned to drive all night to get to the memorial service at the National Cathedral the next day, President Bush had invited Tipper and me to join them and others there.

KING: Where were you when it hit?

T. GORE: I was at our Arlington, Virginia house, the one that's been in my family for years, and I was in my study. Actually, Jodie Cobb (ph) called me up, one of the photographers in the book, and she said, Tipper, turn on the television right now, and I did.

And I called Karenna immediately, and found out that they were all right, and Al got through. I went down to the end of the street, my brother-in-law showed up. We walked down, and could see the Pentagon and the damage even before the fire -- the rescue people got there. It was quite a traumatic day for everybody, to say the least.

KING: And now from that, we have come to this, on the brink of war. Think it might happen?

A. GORE: War with Iraq?

KING: Or an offshoot of this.

A. GORE: I think the odds are that it will. I think that in recent weeks the administration sort of shifted direction a little bit and invested in the United Nations and got the unanimous Security Council resolution. I think that was good. I don't know where it goes from here. I think it's unlikely that Saddam will cooperate, and he does need to be removed from power. I have expressed some misgivings about the way this has been done, and when you put it the way you just did, we go from 9/11 to this war with Iraq...

KING: Isn't it one step to another to another?

A. GORE: I don't think there is a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. If there is, I'd like to see...

KING: You never saw any information...

A. GORE: None whatsoever. Quite to the contrary.

KING: You think there is none?

A. GORE: Well, you know, if there is, I'd like to know it. It would change a lot of my thinking about it. I think that the administration lost focus where the war on terrorism is concerned, and I think that was a serious mistake. I think that the goal of removing Saddam from power is a worthy objective. I support that. I do think that we should have built the international coalition first, instead of distracting attention and shifting time, effort, and energy away from the war on terror.

Look at what's happened now. Osama bin Laden is back making threats at us. Al Qaeda is back posing just as serious a threat as it did during the weeks leading up to 9/11, according to our intelligence agencies. The war lords are back in power in Afghanistan, and the Taliban is back in Afghanistan. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff said we're losing ground there. The CIA folks are complaining that resources have been diverted away from the war against terrorism to the war against Iraq. I think that...

KING: So what do you do? If both cases are correct, that is all existent, and Saddam Hussein is a definite menace?

A. GORE: Both are important objectives, but if you've got a group of people out there trying to kill you and publicly threatening to do so, don't you think that ought to be the No. 1 priority? I do.

Saddam Hussein is a bad guy, and needs to be removed from power, but he's not the one that attacked us, and he's not the one that is publicly threatening to destroy us. Al Qaeda is. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are not one in the same. The president said they're virtually the same. Well, they're not, and I think it was a mistake to lose focus on the war against terrorism.

KING: So you would put Iraq aside?

A. GORE: I would build the coalition, and if you're going after Jesse James, you ought to organize the posse first, instead of riding off by yourself. I would put top priority on winning the war against terrorism, and not divert resources away from that war toward a new war.

KING: We'll be right back with Al and Tipper Gore. They've got joint books out simultaneously, which is almost unheard of. We'll ask about that in a while. We'll cover some other bases, try to include some of your phone calls, too. Don't go away.


A. GORE: Thank you very much. Thank you.



KING: Al Gore has finally made it not as a senator, Vietnam veteran, vice president, he's going to host "Saturday Night Live" on December 14.

You really looking forward to this?

A. GORE: Yes

KING: You going to do skits and everything?

A. GORE: I'll Come to play.

KING: You going to rehearse?

What do you think of this, Tipper?

T. GORE: I think it's great. I just never know what he's going to do next.

KING: Did you admit, Al, did you admit as some have said. People who really know you know how funny, we were discussing this the other night, know how funny you are, off the cuff you are. You're a practical joker, and you can be off the wall. You showed none of that during the campaign. Was that a mistake, that there was part of Al Gore public didn't see?

A. GORE: Well, I think that the older I get, the more comfortable I am in just letting my hair down in all settings. I come out of a political tradition in middle Tennessee that my father was part of, that Cordell Hull before him was part of, that has a more formal public way. I think that was a failing of mine, sure.

KING: Maybe that doesn't work any more with modern day.


A. GORE: I think that's right. I think that's right, and...

KING: Tipper, did you ever tell him, loosen up?

T. GORE: Yes. I did everything in my power.


A. GORE: I remember the night when I was on your show, and we got a telephone call...

KING: From a woman.

A. GORE: ... from a woman, whose voice I didn't recognize, who asked me for a date, said I looked cute, and my jaw dropped. And you stepped in and said, no, he won't go out on a date with you. And then your producer sprang it on both of us that it was Tipper on the line disguising her voice. When you say I'm a practical joker don't leave her out.

KING: You -- there's a side of you, you admit that you should have shown it.

When you look back do you say here was my biggest mistake?

A. GORE: Oh, I made a lot of mistakes.

KING: Was there a biggest?

A. GORE: I take full responsibility. I think one of the things that I have learned from the campaign is, that it's always a mistake to hold back in any way, and just let it rip, and let the chips fall where they may. At least whether I'm a candidate again or not, that's what I intend to do rest of my life. And I hope to be able to play a public role in some way.

KING: Would you like him to run again?

T. GORE: I would just like him to make the best decision for him. I will support him either way.

KING: Would you expect to have pact in the issue?

T. GORE: I will give him my advice. He's set a deadline. The time will come. And actually, the family already voted, didn't they? We're waiting for the recount.


KING: Chad didn't rip off, right?

T. GORE: Right.

KING: What will be -- when will the decision be made, by what date?

A. GORE: Over the holidays.

KING: OK, and what will be the determining factor?

A. GORE: There will be a lot of factors. I'll wrestle with those when I have the time to do it, sit down.

T. GORE: Tell him, he's going to flip a coin.

KING: You owe it to the other candidates. You owe it to Joe Lieberman.


A. GORE: Yes, to do it in a timely way, yes.

KING: Are you impressed with those who have said they are going to run?

A. GORE: Yes. I think there are a lot of good people out there. And the fact that they're not as well known to the public is something that is not unusual, because over the course of a campaign, candidates do become known.

KING: Senator Lieberman is well known.


A. GORE: Great guy. I think that was one of the best decisions I made in the campaign of 2000, to pick him as my running mate.

KING: Would you like to see him get into the fray? Let's say you didn't.

A. GORE: If I don't run there's no question that he will. No question. I think he'll make a positive contribution to the campaign. Will be a very strong candidate in the event that I don't run. Course, you know, he's free as far as I'm concerned.

KING: I think he said he wouldn't run against you. A. GORE: He did. Some people interpreted that as a pledge to me that I hold, and you know, it's up to him completely.

KING: Should you have used President Clinton more?

A. GORE: I don't think that was among the mistakes that I made. Because President Clinton has often said himself all campaigns are ability the future and not the past. And I think that the popularity of one person very seldom is transferable to someone else.

I think you have to go out there and present yourself, and your own program and your own policies. And I have bragged at nearly every opportunity about the economic successes during the Clinton-Gore years. If I run again, you'll probably hear a lot more of that. But -- and I do think our country would be a lot better off if we had an economic plan, that was more like the Clinton-Gore economic plan today, 'cause what they're doing now is not working.

KING: You don't like the tax cut?

A. GORE: No, it was aimed at the wrong people. It should have gone to the middle income Americans who are actually -- most of them are actually due for big tax increases under this plan, because of the way the alternative minimum tax works.

So, no, I think it's been a huge mistake. Big tax cuts for the wealthiest in our society do not add up to an economic plan. They ought to rip it up, and start over from scratch. And personally, I think they'd do the country a favor if they replaced every single one of the economic team that's there now. There's not a strong person in the bunch.

KING: O'neill too?

A. GORE: Absolutely, I don't want to single him out. I think he's a nice man, but I think he ought to be replaced too. I say all of them ought to go. Look what's happened, we've seen unemployment go up, as I have said before. I was the first one laid off a year ago January 20.

KING: Let me get a break. See, that's al. See. Little joke. Should have said more.

Al and Tipper Gore, their books are join at the heart, and they are "The Transformation of The American Family," and then the incredible collection of photographs including -- I'm going to show you one now as we go to break. Lets show this one. This was taken by Tipper in the photograph book. I believe we have it up. This is of -- we don't, I have it here.

Look at that shot. That's Al Gore reading "Snow White."

A. GORE: Now, that's the only picture of our family in the whole book. And Tipper and I went through 15,000 photographs to pick out 256, by the very best photographers in America all on the theme of family. (CROSSTALK)

A. GORE: It's gotten some tremendous reaction.

KING: Some nudes, too.

A. GORE: Marginally.

T. GORE: We did it, we know what's in there.


KING: We'll be right back with the Gore's.

Tomorrow night Liza Minelli returns. Don't go away.


KING: We're going to include your phone calls for the Gores. Let's spend a couple of minutes on the book.

"Joined at the Heart: The Transformation of the American Family." Meaning?

A. GORE: There had been such dramatic changes in the American family. They add up to a real sea change.

You know, a century ago the family was the center of everything. The most basic economic unit of production. It was the center of instruction, religious and secular. People made their own clothes, grew and prepared their food.

Now, most all those things are purchased in the market place and emotional intimacy is the sole bond remaining for many families. For the first time in history, family is defined by the inner experience of the relationship rather than the structure of the family.

KING: Meaning that brings us what then?

A. GORE: Well it brings new challenges and families are making their own families and their own structure and nobody has the right to tell you your family isn't the right kind of family. There are all kinds of new solutions.

T. GORE: Right. I mean, I think that to us, family values means valuing all families. And we wanted to give a realistic portrait of what the American family does look like today. And it is quite different from even five or ten years ago.

KING: And you wrote it together?

T. GORE: We did. We wrote together. We edited it each other.

A. GORE: And, also, if I could say one other thing on that, Larry. You know, the pressure that work is placing on family now has become nearly overwhelming. Americans are the hardest working people in the industrial world. We work on average three weeks per year longer than the average Japanese. Television is having a big impact. It's on eight hours day. Two-thirds of all families no longer have dinner together. And family conversations are being disrupted.

And yet families are thriving in spite of that. Some are under such pressure that we really do need to make changes. And we call for changes in personal attitudes and value systems, business responsibility, public policies need to be changed.

And we interviewed in great depth 12 families who share the most surprising, really incredible things about the inner experience of what a family is like. And...

KING: It's called "Joined at the Heart." And then the idea of spirit of family is what, a companion?

T. GORE: Well, it is. They're sold -- I mean, in the stores they're together but it's not a set.

But let me tell you, the reason we did the photographs is we -- the power of photographs to communicate is special and well established. And it is a narrative of what families look like, go through and it's formed with the idea of the circle of life.

KING: There are amazing pictures in there.

T. GORE: Thank you.

A. GORE: Here's one that you have up on your screen. This is a Palestinian-American family. This is a farm family where the young boy is not quite used to the branding technique yet. This is a baby coming home from the hospital and the dad getting acquainted. Here the siblings are...

T. GORE: New family. New family.

A. GORE: Greeting the new baby. This is a family in -- showing their pride and patriotism.

T. GORE: Yes.

KING: Wow. "Joined at the Heart" and "The Spirit of Family." We'll be mentioning them again. They're both published by Henry Holt and they're both available everywhere that books are sold.

Do you think you've been a little too harsh on the administration?

A. GORE: You know...

KING: In times of, you know, peril?

A. GORE: When -- after 9/11, I thought the president did a spectacular job. And I was not skimpy in my praise of him. I thought that he rose to the occasion and pulled our country together in a magnificent way.

And I would have used the national unity in somewhat different ways, maybe to, for example, reduce our ridiculous dependence on Middle Eastern oil, which is all wrapped up in the problems both with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. I think the U.S. is too beholden to the Middle East for oil.

Also, I think that after winning a terrific victory in Afghanistan, we should have supported efforts in the international community to put a big force of 35,000, 40,000 people there, soldiers, to impose the peace. Instead they vetoed that.

KING: So you don't think you've been too harsh?

A. GORE: I don't think so.

T. GORE: Can I just say something here? I mean, I don't think patriotism is silence. I think everybody has a duty -- our country is founded on, you know, freedom of expression and talking about the way we want to go and how we want to make decisions. And huge decisions like going to war in the name of America. The country ought to express itself. People should talk about it.

A. GORE: I went for a year without offering any criticism whatsoever. You know the story about the little boy who didn't talk until he was 6 years old? And then one day he said, this sandwich is terrible. And his mother said, You're talking. How come you didn't say anything before? He said, Well up until now everything's been all right.

KING: He wants the economic team out. What do you think of Misters Powell, Cheney, Rumsfeld?

A. GORE: I really have a tremendous amount...

KING: Rice.

A. GORE: ... of respect for Secretary Colin Powell. And I -- from what I know of their vigorous internal debates, I think that he's been more right than wrong. At least where Iraq is concerned.

KING: You know the others a long time. You've known Rumsfeld a long time.?

A. GORE: Yes, I've known them. I don't know him as well. I've known Vice President Cheney and Secretary Powell for longer than I have known Secretary Rumsfeld. They have a lot of divisions. They don't speak with one voice.

KING: Did you have divisions?

A. GORE: Oh, yes.

KING: So that's not unusual.

A. GORE: No, it's not. But I think that it is fairly unusual for the divisions to be as deep and as public as they have been.

KING: It's been reported that of the inner circle at the White House, you were the most hawkish. Would that be a fair description description?

A. GORE: Probably.

KING: OK. Just asking.

A. GORE: I was one of -- even before I went to the White House, I was one of a very few Democratic senators who supported the resolution to go to war against Iraq back in '91. Situation I thought was very different then.

KING: How many Democratic senators voted for that?

A. GORE: I think it's 10 or 11.

KING: We'll be back with more with Al and Tipper Gore, and some phone calls. Don't go away.





KING: We're back with Al Gore. Going to go to your phone calls. A keen observer here in our studio audience has a good question. Have you spoken to President Bush?

A. GORE: Have not. Not since the memorial service a few days after September 11.

KING: Have you spoken to anybody in the administration? Vice President Cheney?

A. GORE: No. They don't call me for advice.

KING: Would Colin Powell have been on any lists of your appointees?

A. GORE: Yes.

KING: He would have?

A. GORE: Yes. For consideration, sure.

KING: Grundy, Virginia -- hello.

CALLER: Yes, hello.

KING: Hi. Question. CALLER: Yes, sir, I do. Al, first I'd like to commend you and Tipper on being great citizens and for the great leadership that you did, along with President Clinton.

My question is this. I'm in the banking industry and my greatest concern, along with protecting our nation, is our economy. I think our economy is in a worse state than I have seen it in my lifetime...

KING: What's the question?

CALLER: ... and I'm 41. What do you think is the first thing that we need to do to get our country's economy back on track, and of course...

KING: What would be the first thing you would do?

A. GORE: I think I got your question. I think we need to restore confidence in our economic policy. I think the confidence here and around the world has been shattered, and I think that has hurt the economy. I would cancel the forthcoming tax cuts to the very wealthy, and focus them on middle income taxpayers instead, and I think we would do better to invest in improvements to our education system and job training and health care and give families the supports that they need.

KING: Seinesville (ph), Ohio -- hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Can you hear OK, Al?

A. GORE: Yes, I can hear.

KING: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

CALLER: Thank you, Larry. Al, Tipper...

KING: Go ahead.

T. GORE: Hi, how are you?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: My question to you, Al, is that as a former military, Korean pilot, been there, done that, what is your views and what would you really do over this Iraq situation over there?

A. GORE: Well, thank you for serving our country. I would patiently organize an international coalition. I think what President Bush has done in recent weeks at the U.N. has been a good thing. I think that we should put the war against terrorism in the first priority, and not lose focus on that. So that's the No. 1 thing that I would do.

And then, I would contain Saddam Hussein, as we have been doing, and build international support for his removal. KING: Do you think he's a threat to the United States?

A. GORE: I think he could be. If he got weapons of mass destruction, he would certainly be a threat to the region, and he would be a threat to the oil supply, and in that sense, he would be a threat to the U.S.

KING: Atlanta -- hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Hi. How are you?

KING: Fine. Go ahead.

CALLER: Great. I'm wondering -- I have been watching you guys for such a long time, and I have been so pleased with the strong, very strong public image you have, and I was wondering how -- can you elaborate on how you became so great together as a unit?

A. GORE: As a couple?

KING: You two.

T. GORE: Oh, thank you.

A. GORE: Well, thank you.

T. GORE: Well, we fell in love, and we've stayed in love, and we've worked very hard when there were hard times to work it out, and not that we ever thought about divorcing or anything like that. I don't mean to imply that. I mean that I think people need to work it out.

KING: Was it toughest when you nearly lost...

A. GORE: That was real tough.

T. GORE: That was very tough.

A. GORE: That was real tough, yes.

T. GORE: But my point is that I think a lot of people sort of, you know, cut and run when the first problems come up, and I think the message ought to be that we need to know that you can work it out. You can get the counseling. You can work it out, work it out with each other. But we're in love, and we've stayed in love, and we're still in love.

KING: Did you expect that kiss the night of the convention?

T. GORE: No. Obviously, I didn't.

KING: Was that totally out of the...? A. GORE: Yes, and you know, if you go back with a stop watch, it's not all that long. I -- if she hadn't been struggling so much, it would have been longer.

KING: Wittenburg (ph), Pennsylvania -- hello.

CALLER: Happy birthday, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: What do you think about the homeland security becoming a cabinet position?

A. GORE: Oh, I don't think it's a bad thing to make it a cabinet position. I think that moving the boxes around on the organizational chart has limited benefit, but I think in this case, it can bring some limited but real benefits. I would like to add one other thing on this.

While making it a cabinet department is a good thing, and many other features of that bill are excellent, I am growing more and more concerned about the violations of individual privacy that are contained in the current draft.

KING: Like?

A. GORE: Well, they have a plan that this guy, Admiral Poindexter has been put in charge of in the Pentagon -- you know, he was the one in the Iran Contra business. It's called Total Information Awareness, and if carried out, this plan would empower the government to collect information on every citizen of the United States and keep it there, and then in the discretion of somebody in the administration, they could use it or not use it, presumably because they were simply focused on countering the terrorism threat.

But fear can cause people to make mistakes, and fear can cause great nations to make mistakes, and just yesterday, the news came out this morning of this secret court dramatically changing the standards for wiretapping American citizens, and giving the Justice Department the right to go in and use a much weaker standard to listen in on conversations. What in the world are they doing here?

KING: Couldn't they say -- I don't want to speak for them -- the fear is warranted?

A. GORE: Well, the fear -- the fear is warranted, but the remedy needs to be matched to the threat. And see, what is -- the objective of terrorists is to destroy our way of life. We should not give them part of their victory by destroying important parts of our own way of life.

And a right to privacy is a part of every American's right. And this whole -- you know, for many years going back to George Orwell and before, there have been these warnings that the new technologies of communication and wiretapping and everything create the possibility of a Big Brother-type state, and we've always pushed that away and said, No, we want nothing like that in the U.S. We will cast our lot with free speech and openness and the rights of the individual.

And now, step by step, we're actually getting into a situation where some of the things they're contemplating would take us big steps down the road to a Big Brother-type approach. I think there ought to be a lot of resistance to this. I think it -- that part of it ought to be defeated overwhelmingly.

KING: Do you think it will?

A. GORE: Well, I don't know. I hope so. One reason I'm speaking out on it here is to try to do my part to add...

KING: So you vote against the whole, or...

A. GORE: If they kept that part of it in, I would vote against the whole darn thing. Yes, I would.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with the Gores. The books are "Joined at the Heart: The Transformation of the American Family" and "The Spirit of Family."

Al and Tipper Gore. It's great to see them again. We'll be right back.



DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Now that you've had this time and other experiences, What is your perception your perspective, your impression of the election now? You must feel different about it now than you did two years ago?



Scared the hell out of me.

A. GORE: Well, I'm completely over it, Dave.


KING: See, that's how funny he is. He wasn't that way during the campaign.

T. GORE: OK, Larry, Larry, Larry. All right. We get it. We know. We weren't funny enough. We weren't funny enough.

KING: I'm an observer. A Jack Benny moment there.

T. GORE: Yes.

KING: By the way, another question from one of the faculty. If you don't run, what will you do?

A. GORE: Maybe be a sportscaster.

KING: No. What will you do?

A. GORE: I'm joking. The audience doesn't know that your faculty includes...

KING: Jim Gray is the one from behind coaxing.

T. GORE: Yes.

A. GORE: Well, I don't know. I've enjoyed teaching and writing. I've enjoyed being in business here in Los Angeles. I have enjoyed spending more time with my grandchildren and family.

T. GORE: And me.

A. GORE: And with my co-author.

T. GORE: It's not so bad.

KING: You going run for the Senate? Hillary is in the Senate. Elizabeth Dole is in the Senate.

T. GORE: What about that?

KING: What about it? You going to run?

T. GORE: It's great. I think more women should run for office. Not right now. No, not now.

A. GORE: She would have been good. And may yet.

KING: May yet run. She almost did.

T. GORE: He was the supportive spouse. That's the morning that he shaved his beard. When I was deciding.

KING: Other candidates, would you ever consider run forge the Senate?

A. GORE: No.

KING: Wouldn't want to go back?

A. GORE: No.

T. GORE: We're going forward.

KING: Hammond, Louisiana, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Would you consider Hillary Clinton as your next running mate in the presidential election?

A. GORE: Look, I'm not -- I haven't reached a decision on my own candidacy much less a running mate. But I would not rule anybody out or rule anybody in. I would cross that bridge when and if I got to it.

KING: To Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi. My question is, would you have bombed Afghanistan after 9/11?

A. GORE: Oh, yes. More than that, I would have done what President Bush properly did, to send our troops over there to root them out and destroy the al Qaeda network.

And as I said earlier in the program, I would have stayed long enough to impose peace in that country and give them a chance to work things out. That's what we did in Bosnia and in Kosovo to get them talking to one another again and lower their blood pressure and build a frame work for a normal nation.

And the Afghans have once again been abandoned as they were in 1989 after they defeated the Soviet Union.

KING: What's your relationship with Bill Clinton now?

A. GORE: Fine, excellent. We are friends.

KING: Was there ever a rift?

A. GORE: There were tensions after the campaign partly because we had not been in as close personal communication. Just because I was out going 90 miles an hour all over the country and he was running the country.

We didn't talk regularly, so a back log had been built up. And I went in after the election and we kind of cleared the air a little bit and tried to lay the frame work, ground work for renewing the close friendship we had. And that's succeeded.

And you know, that night you were asking me about, when I was driving south from Canada toward Washington for the memorial service. On the telephone -- my telephone rang, my cell phone rang. When I was over in Austria a few days earlier, I had tried to reach Bill Clinton and he was in Australia.

And he was calling me back and I told him what I was doing and everything. And he said, Why don't you just come over to Chappiqua, where I am. The White house sent in a plane for me tomorrow morning and you can ride down with me.

So I drove on south and got there about 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. and we stayed up all night talking and then went to that service. And after it was over with, Tipper and I went over to their house in Washington to see it. And then Hillary went on back to New York with President Bush. And Bill Clinton came on over to our house and we spent the whole afternoon together. We're in touch regularly.

KING: There's a surreal aspect of this. You in the car driving from Canada, meeting him in Chappiqua at 2:00 in the morning.

Hillary goes back with President Bush to Washington because they're the two that work there.

A. GORE: That's right. That's right. That's right.

KING: One more call. Maryville, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: How's everything?

KING: Fine. We only got a minute. Go ahead.

GORE: How's everything in Blount (ph) County?

KING: Blount (ph) County?

CALLER: Mr. President? Mr. President?

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: You are my president. My black suits are all pressed. My sleeves are rolled up. When can I go back to work?

KING: What a great finish call.

A. GORE: Thank you very much for your kind words. And I'll take it as encouragement. I appreciate that very much.

KING: When you say during the holidays, just one quick thing. That might be when? About when can we...

T. GORE: The holidays are set, you know.

KING: Well, the holidays start next Thursday.

A. GORE: Yes, next Thursday and then Christmas and then New Year's.

KING: And then there's Easter.

A. GORE: Well -- No. It'll be right after the holidays.

KING: Around January.

A. GORE: Probably not between Christmas and New Year's, but probably the, you know, the very early part of January.

KING: "Joined at the Heart," "The Spirit of Family." Our guests have been the Gores. As I said, great to see them again.

A. GORE: Thank you very much. Great to be here.

T. GORE: Thank you.

KING: Tell you about tomorrow night when we come back. Don't go away.


KING: Tomorrow night, David Guest and Liza Minnelli return to LARRY KING LIVE.


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