CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Ed Bradley With Steve Kroft Discuss Con Man Stories
Aired January 14, 2003 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight.
ED BRADLEY, CBS "60 MINUTES": I'm Ed Bradley.
STEVE KROFT, CBS "60 MINUTES": I'm Steve Kroft.
KING: They're from "60 Minutes." They're here to talk about the uncertain future of a legendary show, the prospect of war in Iraq and a great new book and more, and they'll take your calls. Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft, the "60 Minutes" men for the next 60 minutes on LARRY KING LIVE.
Simon & Schuster's just published an extraordinary new book called "Con." It's from 60 Minutes Classics and it's fascinating profiles of swindlers and rogues from the files of the most successful broadcast in television history. Our friend Mike Wallace wrote the introduction and this contains highlights of shows where -- kind of gotcha shows, where people like Bradley and Kroft nab people.
We'll talk a lot about the book in awhile, but first though let's get -- Ed, what's your definition of con men?
BRADLEY: Oh, I think somebody who can make you believe that what they're telling you is the absolute truth, bar none, when you probably know that it's not.
KING: In other words, short for confidence, right? Build your confidence and take advantage.
BRADLEY: Oh yeah. I mean, I think we've done a number of -- we've done some con men on "60 Minutes, " some of who have been so good that when I finish a story, I still wanted to believe them.
KING: Same with you, Steve?
KROFT: Absolutely. And most of them are bold and you kind of come away with the idea that even they believe what they're saying.
KING: Why do they go on?
KROFT: Well, I think Morley Safer always had the -- a great line saying that a con man feels that he hasn't made it until he's been on "60 Minutes, " for one.
And I think that, also, if you show up at their door, I think in many cases they feel challenged. They want to see if they can...
KING: Con you.
KROFT: Con you.
KING: Why, Ed -- and I've had this said to me in the past, doing radio interviews with people from the FBI and others -- why do we like them?
BRADLEY: Because, I mean, the very nature of being a con man is being someone who can take you into his confidence. Not just to con you, but take you into his confidence to make you believe him. And that, by its very definition, has to be a person who is likable, who you want to believe who you feel comfortable with, whose stories you like, who put you at ease.
And that's the kind of person that you like. That's the kind of person that you enjoy being around.
KING: And we'll be showing during the program tonight excepts of some of the cons.
Did you play a part in the book, Steve, the selection process?
KROFT: Not really. Not really. We got our first look at it about a week ago. And I have to say they did a great job with it.
KING: They did. They picked out the right spots and we'll be showing excerpts.
Let's touch some other bases before we move to that. Speculation about Don Hewitt leaving. We'll start with you, Steve. What do you make of it?
KROFT: I think that the person you need to ask that question is to is Andrew Heyward, the president of CBS News. I think the situation is sort of well known. I think that CBS would like to put into play some sort of a transition so that everybody knows what's going to happen after Don leaves. I think Don is not -- doesn't feel like he's ready to go.
KING: You're the youngest member of the crew, aren't you?
KING: The newest and the youngest.
KROFT: Not the newest. Leslie is newer.
KING: Leslie's newer than you?
KROFT: Right. Boy, am I going to get in trouble by saying I'm the youngest?
KING: But you are the youngest.
Ed, would it sadden you if Don left?
BRADLEY: Oh, if Don left today, of course it would. But I mean, eventually Don has to leave. I mean, he's 80 years old. He's been around since this broadcast started. And he is still a very valuable player at "60 Minutes."
I mean, Les Moonves, who runs CBS, said just this week that Don is a confident, valuable producer, executive producer at CBS News. He said that don is someone who will die at his desk and will be around forever; that he will always be part of "60 Minutes." I mean, so I take Les Moonves at his word, that Don is valuable and that he will be around in some capacity for as long as he wants to be part of "60 Minutes."
KING: Here's a clip of when I talked to Don recently. And we'll get Steve to comment. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
DON HEWITT, EXEC. PRODUCER, CBS "60 MINUTES": I still intend to die at my desk. I never said where that desk was. I would like it to be at CBS. I think it will be at CBS. If it's somewhere else, it will make me very unhappy and I would like to believe it will make them very unhappy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Steve, what about this story, they want emphasis on youth more, more younger stories stories? Even though last Sunday you got the highest overall rating of the season, 12.1 household, 18 share, finished No. 7 for the week.
KROFT: We've been in the top ten a number of times this year and...
KING: So why are they...
KROFT: And we're very close -- I don't know what -- we're probably somewhere around 13, 14, 15 for the season.
Well, the answer to that question lies in the advertising world and not the journalism world. Primarily, the networks get more money for selling spots that reach younger people, 18 to 49-year-olds. The news audience is older. People talk about our aging audience. But all of the news magazines skew pretty old. It's not something that -- it's very difficult to attract young people to watch at 7:00 on a Sunday night.
KING: What do you do, Ed? What is so darn special about "60 Minutes?"
I know you're part of it, so take a step back. What do you do that other magazines -- I know you do it differently -- that other magazines do.
BRADLEY: You know, I think that we do -- I think we do stories better than other magazines do. I just think that we tell a story better than anyone else does. And I think we also tell stories that some of the other magazines wouldn't do.
I mean, I think if you take a look at this broadcast last week that was rated so highly, you had a piece that Steve did on Sheryl Crow, which was spectacularly good, and you also had a piece that Morley did on people who were 70, 80, 90 years old and still working.
I mean, so you had a piece -- you had one piece that appealed to a younger demographic, another piece that appealed to an older demographic. The truth of the matter is that they appeal to every age group, because everybody's going to get old, you know, good Lord willing.
And I take -- you know, I like to argue with these advertisers, because frankly, I don't understand how they come to the conclusion that they want to sell to someone who is younger than, say, you know, that 25 to 40 age group.
People who are 60 years old and older have a telephone, drive cars, eat food, buy Kleenex, buy other paper products, fly in airplanes and probably do more of that than people who are younger. They have more disposal income.
So what's wrong with trying to reach them?
KING: Steve, what do you think the show does that other shows don't do? What would you add to what Ed said?
KROFT: A friend of mine, former colleague, who now works for ABC News, said about "60 minutes" that it makes you feel smart to watch the show. We tend to take on ambitious projects, and I think primarily through Don's editing, and he is one of the great editors of the 20th Century, have developed an ability over the years to take complicated, serious material and make it understandable and interesting. And I think that people feel smart watching the broadcast. And I think a lot of the shows, magazine shows on television, don't do that, don't know how to do it, can't do it and go for the glitz and the pop stuff and sort of the traditional, formulaic newsmagazine stories. And I think that's what sets us apart.
KING: Our guests are Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft, both a part of this new book from 60 Minutes Classics, published by Simon & Schuster. "Con Men: Fascinating Profiles and Rogues from the files of the Most successful Broadcast in Television History."
And as I said, we'll be showing little clips from some of the cons and getting Ed and Steve to comment on them. We'll include your phone calls as well. Lots to cover. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
BRADLEY (voice-over): Before he agreed to sit on his tribal throne wit his scepter and talk with us, Blamesa (ph) said he had to carry out an old tribal custom: to vow to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. (on camera): Have you defrauded people?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not.
BRADLEY: That Oman Gannafran (ph) is real?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is real. And they're in pain.
BRADLEY: It contains billions of dollars?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct.
BRADLEY: And these people will be paid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will be paid. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). When I promise you that after giving me $100,000, I'll give you $1 million, I will never, never, never, never, disown it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes." That clip that we just saw with Dr. Blemisa (ph). He's one of the characters in "Con Men." Mr. Bradley is laughing.
What was his con? What was that all about?
BRADLEY: He's one of the guys who I said, he is the best I have ever met. I mean, he was so good that when I finished the interview, if I didn't have to live by the rules and guidelines at CBS News, I wanted to kick in some money to his fund.
KING: How did it work?
BRADLEY: He had a fund. He told this story, that he was either a cousin or nephew of the first prime minister of Ghana. And that they had taken all of this money from the cocoa profits and put it into gold. And when gold was at a time when gold was $32 an ounce. Then when gold went to a free market, the price just exploded. So that he had billions of dollars, $32 billion in his trust fund and when Qwamie (ph) and Croma (ph) died he had the keys to the trust fund. So he would be the heir to it.
But it would cost him some money to unlock the fund. There were certain requirements he had to meet. And he needed money to pay off certain Ghana officials. For example, he needed a passport that was numbered 0013. But it would cost him $50,000 to get that passport. He talked someone into getting him -- to putting up the $50,000 by promising them a return on their investment of $1 million. And then he would come back in six months and he'd show them that passport.
You could see the guy counting the million dollars. And he would say well, we're almost there, but there's another complication. Because we need the approval of these tribal chieftains. He would say, Larry, I know you've put up $50,000 here. I don't want to ask you for more money, but maybe you have some friends, we're going to have to pay off five tribal chieftains, $50,000 each at a cost of $250,000. I know I said I'd give you $1 million. Now I will give you $3 million for each $50,000.
KING: What happened to him?
BRADLEY: People put up so much money. We showed that this guy had collected about $125 million from investors. And what happened to him is that eventually, he died. But to show you how strong the belief of these investors -- how strong their belief is, Blemisa died eight, maybe nine years ago. His body was frozen and is still in Geneva where some of these investors are still trying to unlock the keys to that fund of Ghana fund.
KING: That's a great story.
BRADLEY: He was good. I mean, he's the best I have ever seen.
KING: We're hop-scotching a bit because we have various clips. This is all from the book "Con Men." We'll go back and for the from current events and the book. We'll Kroft clips as well.
On the eve of Chief Hans Blix, the inspection chief's trip to Iraq, you spoke with him.
KING: What did you come away with?
KROFT: I came away with the feeling that he was a very smart guy. Underestimated by many people, I think, perhaps. But the main criticism of him is that he is sort of a U.N. career diplomat, more diplomat than he is somebody who would be likely to upset people or step on toes. He was maybe the wrong guy for the job.
KING: Are you frankly expecting a war?
KING: What's the gut instinct? Is that where we're going?
KROFT: I think so. I think the only way that it's going to be avoided is if somehow people can persuade Saddam Hussein to leave or someone helps him make that passage. Then I think a war might be averted. We're sending all of those troops. Spending huge amounts of money. There's no way that we're just going to bring them back without the job done.
KING: Ed, what do you think?
BRADLEY: You know, I'm hoping against hope that there won't be a war. But every indication I see is that the president and his national security team are determined to go down that road to war, to have what they call regime change in Iraq. There is a lot of pressure growing overseas from our allies. The people who live in countries listed as our allies, Britain particularly, don't want a war. I mean, Tony Blair is going against popular opinion in his country with his very strong support of President Bush.
Turkey, the people of Turkey don't want that country to open their bases to the United States. But I agree with Steve that given what has been put in place with so many troops there or on their way, so many resources, in terms of manpower, ships, personnel, that it would -- I don't see how he backs down that is the president backs down, unless there is some kind of legitimate change in Iraq.
KING: What if the inspectors say, Ed, Steve, both of you that we didn't find anything?
KROFT: I think it was set up, and one of the things that we were told by weapons inspectors at the time that we did the interview with Blix. That this time they did not make the mistake that they had made previously. They passed a resolution that requires him to account for all the weapons of mass destruction, all of the programs. And to essentially provide a history of all of the weapons programs that Iraq has.
And that we have, through the previous inspections, documents, stacks and stacks and stacks of documents and files about every conceivable facility. And that it was going to be inevitable that we would find that there would be inconsistencies, there would be things that he would not be able to answer, that he would not be able to account for things that he had in the past and in fact he was lying. And I think that if nothing is found the administration will try and use that and say it's enough.
KING: So, Ed, you're hoping but you're not sure?
BRADLEY: Oh, I think we're inevitably moving down the road to war. I think that only something, some kind of huge change can prevent a war. But what we're seeing, and I have just come back from a trip to the Middle East and had a chance to pass through the U.K. So I'm seeing public opinion and sampling public opinion in other parts of the world. People that live in other parts of the world have a longer timetable than we have in this country.
The president is looking for the end of January, and people are talking about everything being in place for after that period in the middle of February when so many -- I think there's some 2 million Muslims who will be going to Mecca for the Hajj. And the conventional wisdom is they won't have a war during that period. So people are going to the end of February, beginning of March. Many of our European allies are saying that it will take a lot longer than that to determine if Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and where are they, if we can find them?
KING: We're going back and forth with Steve Kroft and Ed Bradley looking at the book "Con Men" just out, and discussing things of current events. Another con coming right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
MIKE WALLACE, "60 MINUTES": You're an economist?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a Ph.D. --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In economics and one in philosophy. And I all am a full-time licensed ordained minister of the gospel. My two Ph.Ds, one came from the Tennessee University and from...
WALLACE: University of Tennessee?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, the Christian Tennessee University. And I got one from Florida -- Tennessee -- let's see. Trinity Christian College in Florida.
WALLACE: Oh, you have them over here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. There's my two degrees.
WALLACE: I see. Why don't we go over and take a look. Where is that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in -- I believe that now they're presently in Florida. I believe it's in Fort Lauderdale.
WALLACE: Well it says here it was signed and sealed in Brownsville, Texas back in 1973.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That was a branch of that operation, you see.
WALLACE: And this is the Tennessee Christian University. And where is this university? What town?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's -- I believe that one is close to -- let me think of the name. Just a minute. Chattanooga.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KROFT (voice-over): The Kimes' say they have been framed by the police, treated unfairly by the judge and convicted in the press. They want to tell people not to believe everything they read.
KENNETH KIMES: I mean I've even heard rumors of how I don't love my mother, how I hate her and other bizarre, bizarre comments that are so tabloid based. Just so full of hate.
KROFT: Kenneth Kimes says before their arrest he was just a normal guy. He even made an appearance on a dating game show on MTV.
KIMES: Hi, Candace (ph). My name is Ken. I want to be the big guy in your life.
KROFT: And he was doing all right at the University of California Santa Barbara when he left in 1996.
(on camera): I mean we saw your college transcript and I see you got an "A" in acting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop, stop. Come on. That's not a fair question. This is it.
KROFT: I didn't even finish the question.
(voice-over): And with that the interview was over.
KING: I had the dubious distinction of interviewing the Kimes later at Riker's Island, separately. They brought one in -- they wouldn't let them be together. Based on what you did, they wouldn't let them be together. So they had her and then him.
All right. Mr. Bradley laughs along, too. What do you make of that interruption, that whole scene?
KROFT: I think that -- first of all, I think that the Kimes' are the exception that prove the rule, Ed's rule about being sort of...
KROFT: ... likable. They were not particularly likable. And I think pretty dangerous people.
My impression was, we got very -- I'd say this whole interview went less than one tape before the lawyers broke it off. And I -- my theory was that the reason that they went ahead and did this -- because they were facing murder charges. The only reason to sit down with "60 Minutes" was to be in the same room with each other.
I think that they had a very, very strange and strong relationship. Many people have suspected or alleged that it was a sexual relationship. And that they wanted to be together. They held hands throughout the entire interview. It was very, very strange.
KING: These kind of stories, Ed, that you like doing?
BRADLEY: They're great stories to do because it's one of those when you can say -- when you can clearly say, I gotcha. You know? And there's nothing better than an "I Gotcha" story. And most of the time it's not so much that you get them. It's that you just lead them down a path that allows them to get themselves.
I was looking at that interview -- the clip you had from the piece that Mike Wallace did. And the guy's sitting there obviously lying. He has no idea where these degrees came from. Mike just says, Let's go over here and take a look at it. And where was this town?
And the guy says, Well, I think that was -- Chattanooga. You know this guy's just a liar.
And it's -- when Steve says to the guy, So you got an "A" in acting? You know? Said, OK, interview's over.
KING: That's a little bit higher, I see, when you know you've got them. Are you going in to get them? Do you have an agenda in these -- in fact, does the program have an agenda?
KROFT: Well I think by the time we go in with the cameras we have reported the story. We always -- except in rare occasions, do we ever ask a question that we don't know the answer to. We're always incredibly well prepared. And that's one of the things that I think con men and people that do "60 Minutes" in general don't expect the level of research that we do. We just know. And it's very easy. You just lead them into a trap...
KING: They can take you, right?
KROFT: They think that they can take you.
KING: We're going to take a break and come back. We're going to include your phone calls. The book is "Con Men." It's now available everywhere. The guests are Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft.
By the way, tomorrow night Paul Burrell, the former butler and chief assistant to Princess Di will return and this time with his wife. And that her first television appearance. Paul Burrell and Maria Burrell tomorrow night.
And Friday night, one of Steve and Ed's co-partners, Dan Rather will be with us live from Iraq. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
WALLACE (voice-over): It all began in the brain of an illiterate ex-holy roller preacher named Kirby Hensely (ph), or Bishop Kirby Hensley, who refers to himself as the Modesto Messiah.
His disciples may take it all seriously, but he readily admits he's a con man. His mission is to make every American a minister. A tax exempt minister.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a con man. Every other fellow that I come in contact with is a con man. When I give a fellow an honorary doctorate of divinity, it's just a little piece paper. It ain't worth anything (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as far as value.
I have got them hanging on my wall. You can pack them up in a truck (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I don't use any of them. Do you see what I mean? Because they're just useless. It's not what you have or what you got, it's what you are that counts and what you do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
KROFT (voice-over): The attendant is taking a bottle from his pocket and will hide it in his rag. In that bottle is oil.
Now he is going to the side of the car furtherest away from the station house and when he bends down, he will be hidden from the passenger's view.
Now he is squirting oil on to the shock absorbers. By the time he gets up, there will be an oil puddle on the ground.
(on camera): Well, I'll you what the problem is for us. We've been running cars back and forth, and...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Get the hell out of here.
KROFT: Well, if you hold on just a second I'll tell you who we are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't even want to talk to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Boy, they do it, don't they?
The book is "Con Men." The guests are Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft.
By the way, Friday night is the 20th anniversary of the Betty Ford Center and it will be my honor to be the toastmaster at dinner honoring Betty Ford in Palm Springs. So we're going to tape Dan Rather Friday morning and play it that night. I mentioned it would be live; it will be on tape; taped earlier that day.
We're going to include phone calls for Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft. The book is from all of the folks at "60 Minutes," called "Con Men."
And we go to Centreville, Virginia, hello.
CALLER: Yes. Good evening, gentlemen.
CALLER: All three of you do excellent work. Ed and Steve, I've been watching you for almost 35 years trying to get you every Sunday night. Here's my question.
One of you two gentlemen should take an hour some Sunday evening and explain to me the catastrophe in Diely Plaza (ph) back in 1963.
KING: Is that story closed for you, Steve?
KROFT: No. KING: You still think it's...
KROFT: No, but I don't think it will ever close. That's one of the things that I don't think that we've ever gotten to the bottom of it. I know there are people now who think that it's been done, it's been told.
KING: Everybody's dead. Yes.
Ed, what do you think?
BRADLEY: Yes, I agree with Steve. I don't think we'll ever have in our lifetime anyway, because I think that the documents that are sealed and that won't be released in our lifetime. I certainly don't expect in my life time to have a definitive answer to know everything that happened there.
KING: Rome, Georgia, hello.
Rome, Georgia, hello.
OK. Rome, Georgia's not there. We leave Rome, George and we head for Ellijay, Georgia.
CALLER: Yes, it's Ellijay and I'd like to -- great show, Larry. I'd like to as Ed and Steve, with the economy and stock market down, do they think the Bush tax cut plan will energize both the economy and the stock market?
KING: You're making economists of them. They're journalists. But they may have an opinion.
Steve, he went down some percentage points today, Mr. Bush.
KROFT: Did he?
I think that it probably will have some effect on the stock market. I think that's what everybody says. Whether that will translate into anything for the most of the men and women out there, the working people, I don't know.
KING: Anything into that 7 point dip in popularity according to CNN/"USA Today" Gallup, Ed?
BRADLEY: Well, I think it's a reflection of two things, clearly.
One is the economy. I think that we've been hearing for over a year now that the economy has bottomed out and we're on our way back up and there's very little evidence of that. I mean, it's a very flat recovery. And I think a lot of people are antsy.
And I also think the other factor is the war; that it seems that we are headed towards war. It seems inevitable. And I think there are lot of people concerned and a lot of people asking questions.
KING: Doesn't war increase the popularity of a president, Steve, unless it's Vietnam and drags on?
BRADLEY: Yes, but we're not there yet.
KROFT: It did for George Bush in the Gulf War.
KING: Sure did.
KROFT: And then the economy came back.
BRADLEY: Yes, I think...
KING: Sag Harbor....
BRADLEY: .. I think -- Larry, if I may just add. I think that if there is a war, when the first bomb is dropped, that people will rally around the president. But I think until that point, there is a growing sentiment in this country where people are saying let's give the process a chance and let's see what happens.
But I think once there is a war, that people will rally around the president.
KING: Sag Harbor, New York, hello.
CALLER: Mr. Bradley, what attracted you and your wife to the east end of Long Island, to the Hamptons, as others would know it? We're so happy to have you here.
KING: A neighbor. A little personal note here on LARRY KING LIVE. What attracted you to the place when we were kids in Brooklyn, we couldn't even say the word, Hampton. It was too rich.
BRADLEY: Yes. I'm closer to Steve in North Haven and to Sag Harbor than I am to East Hampton.
So, I live in a place -- I have a house -- we have a house and a place that when there's a paper here called the "New York Observer" that said "Ed Bradley Buys Land." And it put "ugh" north of the highway. So we're in a very unfashionable area. But we're right on the water.
So I mean, you know, it's six, seven acres next to a nature preserve right on the water, and if it's an unfashionable area, it's very beautiful, it's very tranquil, it's very peaceful, and sometimes it's just nice to get away from the city.
KING: Where does Mr. Kroft live, now that we're into home sites?
KROFT: I have a house in Sag Harbor. But I actually didn't know the answer to Ed's question and it's -- believe me, it's not an unfashionable part of anything.
KING: So he's lying. He's conning us? KROFT: Yes. He has been going out there as a house guest with various people for 15 years. I think they finally just told him, Look, it's time to buy something of your own.
KING: So you live in Sag Harbor.
Ocala, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, gentlemen.
CALLER: My question is about North Korea and I'd be interested in both Steve and Ed's opinion on the following question. Does it seem like President Bush is speaking out of both sides of his mouth when he says, We won't be blackmailed, but if you give up your nuclear weapons, we'll give you money for energy?
KING: Who wants to go ahead? Steve, you want to go first?
KROFT: I'm not...
KING: Good question.
KROFT: I'm not as well schooled in the North Korea issue right now. It's not something that I have really done a lot of research on. But I think our options -- I think he's casting about. I think our options there are very limited. We have powerful friends in the region that -- the Chinese...
KING: It's kind of hit him all at once, didn't it?
KROFT: Right. We've got people that want us there; that demand that we be there. And we've got the South Koreans, who don't seem to want us there right now, and I think they're trying to do anything and say anything that will keep the process alive.
KING: Quebec will be the next caller, but Ed has to answer it, too. I'm sorry. We'll go to Quebec in a moment.
BRADLEY: Larry, I don't think -- in response to the gentleman's question -- I don't think it's blackmail. I mean, I think it's what we were doing before -- as providing some assistance to North Korea. And I think it's a good policy.
If the other prices that they're going to have weapons of mass destruction and threaten not just an ally in South Korea, but to destabilize a region, that involves China and Japan, that it's in our interest, if we can provide assistance to them, which is also helping a very impoverished nation.
And, I mean people, many of whom are starving to death in North Korea, that it's in our best interest to do that.
KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more calls for Ed Bradley an Steve Kroft. The book is "Con Men" It's from 60 Minutes Classics. It's published by Simon & Schuster "Fascinating Profiles of Swindlers and Rogues from the Files of the Most Successful Broadcast in Television History." And it's a hell of a read.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
BRADLEY: You say in your deposition -- you are asked, Was it an operating company? No. Was it a manufacturing concern? No.
Now they both can't be true, Bill. But you said them both. This is signed, your letter, your name. Your deposition, your sworn testimony. Which one is true?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quite obviously I'm not concerned about which of these three is true.
BRADLEY: But I am. Be honest with me, Bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not being dishonest with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes". The book is "Con Men."
The caller is from Cote St. Luc, Quebec.
CALLER: My question for Steve and Ed. Of all the stories that you have done over the years, which ones have left the greatest impact upon you, were the most controversial?
KING: OK, fair question. Let's start with Steve.
KROFT: I would say probably the interview I did with Bill and Hillary Clinton after the Super Bowl in 1992.
KING: One of the most watched shows in history. It was when it broke about Gennifer Flowers.
KING: How difficult for you was it?
KROFT: It wasn't particularly difficult. We had a short time to turn the interview around. It would have been nice if we had more time. We had a fairly small window after the Super Bowl. But it was controversial for a long time because I think people thought that I'd been too tough on him.
KING: To harsh? How did you feel?
KROFT: To harsh. That the tone was wrong. I thought the tone was right at the time that I did it. I thought it was my job since this was the only interview they said that they were going to do, to build a record. To ask him every question to, push him on everything, to build a record. And then as it turned out, when he testified before the grand jury and acknowledged that he had had the affair with Gennifer Flowers it was indication that he had been less than honest with a lot of people.
KING: But he saved himself. Everybody thought he was going to drop out. But he hung in.
KROFT: He did. I think he was saved by his wife. It was the first time anybody in the country had seen Hillary. And she was great. It's interesting. When Gary Hart had had a similar problem, the previous presidential election, he appeared at the press without his wife. I think it was probably Carville's idea to have Hillary there and she really carried the day for him.
KING: Your story, Ed. Which one?
BRADLEY: Probably someone that most people would not remember. A kid by the name of Richard Jankey (ph). This is a story that goes back maybe 15, 16, 17 years ago. He was a young man, a teenager, who shot to death his father because for years he had watched his father physically abuse his mother. And then for a period of time watched his father physically and sexually abuse his sister. And he waited in his garage and he shot him. He went to jail for it.
I interviewed him in jail. And I remember thinking at the time, we were shooting film in those days, so you only had 11 minutes for each magazine and then you had to stop and change. Sometimes I would ask him a question and there would be a full minute before he would answer it. I mean, he was so gripped by what happened. It was just something that touched me very deeply because of obviously what he had been through was very, painful.
Tampa, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. My question for Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft is how do you feel Internet has changed the way news is reported and do you feel it offers more fraudulent news in the gather and report of the news?
KROFT: I think it's changed everything about our lives period, not just news reporting. And it's almost as though at least once a week I come across something or am involved in something that has been revolutionized by it.
KING: Do you think people accept the Internet as news?
KROFT: I don't think that -- I think that they do accept it as news. I don't think that necessarily it's a good thing to accept it as...
KING: It's been wrong a lot.
KROFT: It's been wrong a lot. I think it depends on the source, in the Internet. I think if you're going to a "New York Times or "The Washington Post" or "L.A. Times" website, you're going to get reliable information. If you're going other places then you take your chances.
BRADLEY: I think it speeded up the process. I think in speeding up the process it's made some people more interested in being first as opposed to being accurate.
KING: Yes, sad.
Marion, Indiana, hello.
CALLER: Hello, Larry.
This question is for Steve and for Ed.
If we do go to war in Iraq, will the do you expect CBS News to cover the war like it did in Vietnam or do you think it will be more remote coverage like we have the war in Afghanistan?
KING: Ed, do you want to go first?
BRADLEY: I don't think in no way, shape or form will it be like the war in Vietnam. In Vietnam, you often went out without supervision. You often went wherever you wanted to go and wherever you could reach. This war will have much more control than the Vietnam War did. But I think that this war will probably have at least from what we've been told in the planning stages, more access for reporters than we had in the first Gulf War. They are doing what they call embedding reporters with units so that people will go out with a unit and spend time with that unit, and then come back and report on what it is that they have seen. CBS News already has people in place. In fact Dan Rather is in Baghdad this week reporting "Live For The Cbs Evening News" from there. Other reporters are in the Gulf region. I'm going to the Gulf next week and I just came back from Beirut this past week. So, yes, we will be covering war.
KING: DAn rather will be with us Friday on LARRY KING LIVE.
What do you think about coverage?
KROFT: The Pentagon is promising much more coverage than the Gulf. That's good news. Because there was really no coverage at all of the Gulf until the end. But it's a different war. I think a much different war than Vietnam. I think that if the Pentagon -- if it goes the way the Pentagon officials believe it's going to go, I don't think it's going to last very long. I think they believe that most of the Iraqi units will surrender, throw down their weapons and that there may be a couple battalions that they have to deal with.
KING: We'll take a break, come back with our remaining moments. We're going to tape Dan Rather Friday morning and play it Friday night while we're at the Betty Ford dinner. Honor to do that. 20 years Betty Ford Center.
We're eel be right back with our remaining moments with the people involved in the book "Con Men." Steve Kroft and Ed Bradley. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not exactly legal, right? What's the down side? I want to know what the down side is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's not exactly legal, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to show you one thing. You know what's back there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's back there? no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a TV camera back there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been taping this whole thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good news is we're not cops.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I didn't think so.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bad news is, we're "60 Minutes."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CBS "60 MINUTES")
LONNIE ALI, MUHAMMAD ALI'S WIFE: I had enough of the Frazier fight in Manila.
BRADLEY: What happened?
L. ALI: I don't know, I wasn't there. But ever since the Frazier fight in Manila, Muhammad will -- it's sort of like narcolepsy. He'll just start sleeping but he'll have flash backs. And he'll -- it's like nightmare and his face will twist up like he's boxing and he'll throw punches at people. And he does it at nights sometimes. Sometimes I have to get out of bed. Whenever he starts snoring heavily, I have to get out of the bed because I know it's going to start.
BRADLEY: So when he starts...
MUHAMMAD ALI, BOXER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). What's the next round?
BRADLEY: So he's not putting on...
L. ALI: No. It's actually happening. And the doctor told us not to really try to wake him if that does happen because he might end up with a heart attack because it might frighten him. So I don't. I just get up and move.
That's the hard part. You have to sort of...
M. ALI: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nobody like the champ. Nobody like him.
BRADLEY: That's a perfect example of a con -- of somebody who can con you.
BRADLEY: Muhammad Ali and Lonnie Ali conned me. Larry, they set that up over three days. Because I just got little dribs and drabs of the story. They just didn't come out and tell it all at once. Every day there was just a little bit. Just give me a little more hook in there. Give him a little more line. And then we had this lunch and she told me the story and, boom.
KING: By the way, do you have any qualms, Steve, about secret cameras? We saw that thing with the guy who was turning back his cars. Do you have any queasiness that I'm invading. I know I have got a good story, but I'm still invading privacy.
BRADLEY: It really requires the right situation. And since we did that story, there have been, I think it was the Food Lion case at ABC News and a case that went against ABC News and our lawyers have become much more...
BRADLEY: Hesitant about it. They really want properly controlled circumstances and make sure you're not distorting.
KING: Oklahoma City, hello.
CALLER: Hello. This question is for Ed and Steve. Have either one of you ever been harassed or threatened after a heated interview?
BRADLEY: I have been harassed and threatened after more than one interview.
KING: Steve? KROFT: The one thing people don't see is that they just see you and the person you're interviewing. What they don't see is two camera people on each side and two sound people on each side. We got more people...
KING: You're not going to get harmed.
KROFT: We got more people on our team than they have on their team.
KING: Last call, Santa Monica. Hello.
CALLER: Hi. For Steve. I think it was October 2001 on one of the late night shows you compared al Qaeda to the "Flintstones." Do you still feel the same way. I got great comfort from that?
KROFT: I was quoting somebody else. As we were talking about the primitive nature of the attack and how difficult it was to go after these people. It was kind of like going to war with the "Flintstones."
KING: Has 9/11 focused you so much that we're off the con man trail now?
BRADLEY: I'm sorry. What's the question?
KING: Ed, with 9/11 and the aftermath, only have a minute left, is "60 Minutes" still looking for the good con?
BRADLEY: You show me a good con man and I'll show you a good story I can do.
KING: So that will not go away?
BRADLEY: No, it will never go away. I think this war on terrorism won't go away for a long time. And there have been con men for as long as we've been around, and there will always be a con man as long as there's a man or woman on this earth.
KING: When you get one, like that odometer guy. He get mad at you?
KROFT: Yes. He didn't then. He got in his car. There was an interview that was done ten years later with him for a 25th anniversary special and he had some very nasty things to say about me.
KING: Life in the fast lane. Ed Bradley and Steve -- thank you very much, Ed. All good having you with us.
BRADLEY: Thanks, Larry. Good to see you.
KING: And Steve Kroft, as always.
Ed Bradley and Steve Kroft. Ed has been co-editor since 1981 at the most famous broadcast in American television history. Steve is 1989. I thought he was a baby but he was not. And The book is "Con Men." Fascinating profiles of swindlers and rogues from the files of the most successful broadcast in television history with an introduction by Mike Wallace.
I'll be back in a moment to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.
KING: Couple weeks ago Paul Burrell, who was butler to Princess Dia, was on this show, and we asked him if his wife would agree to come on. He said he would ask her, she's agreed. And they'll be on together tomorrow night. She was very involved in that story. So Paul Burrell and Maria Burrell tomorrow night. On Friday night, Dan Rather from Iraq that we'll tape in the morning and play at night.
As I was telling, Aaron, we get toastmaster that dinner honoring Betty Ford. The 20th anniversary of the Betty Ford Center.
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