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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Peterson Hearing: Day 4; Interview With Andy Rooney

Aired November 3, 2003 - 21:00   ET

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

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: inside day four of Scott Peterson's preliminary hearing. Will that human hair found in his boat be allowed in as evidence? And how about the report there may be a connection between the body of his murdered wife, Laci, and duct tape used to put up missing-person fliers to find her?
We'll ask Ted Rowlands of KTVU, who broke the story and was inside the hearing. Plus, Dr. Lee, the forensic legend, who's consulting with the Scott Peterson defense; veteran journalist Bill Kurtis, host of the A&E network documentary, "Who Killed Laci Peterson?"; high-profile defense attorney Chris Pixley; and Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro, the district attorney of Westchester County, New York.

And then, the one and only Andy Rooney. Love him or hate him, he's got an opinion on everything. We'll ask him about Scott Peterson, the media blitz by Elizabeth Smart's parents, the fuss over that CBS mini-series on the Reagans and more. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's a great pleasure to welcome you to LARRY KING LIVE. We're in New York tonight. We'll be back in Los Angeles tomorrow night. One programming note. Wednesday night, exclusive, David Blaine will be us, the illusionist who went up in that box up there in London, England, stayed there without eating for over 40 days. David Blaine on Wednesday night.

Bill Kurtis, what do you make so far of this whole Peterson matter into the hearing.

BILL KURTIS, HOST, A&E'S "WHO KILLED LACI PETERSON?": First of all, it's a preliminary hearing, so I think that what is happening is the prosecution is accumulating a good circumstantial case. That makes it a little more difficult for the representing the defense to come to the defense of Scott Peterson. But I think we are also seeing -- and I enjoy watching the give and take between prosecution and Geragos, a terrific defense attorney -- the holes that he can try and break in mitochondrial DNA. It's still DNA, but he is creating a reasonable doubt, even in our minds. So he's good.

KING: Ms. Pirro, Jeanine, will you explain something to us?

JEANINE FERRIS PIRRO, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, WESTCHESTER CO., NY: Yes. KING: Why this long a hearing? Why don't we just present some evidence? You know he's going to get bound over. Is this just for show? Why are we doing it?

PIRRO: Well, I think that there's a lot more that we're seeing in this hearing than we would see in a normal hearing. But you know, we're in a different era. After the Kobe Bryant case, I think all prosecutors realize this is an opportunity to get their word out and to get the case out. But I think most important here is the mitochondrial DNA is very important because it is the one piece of forensic evidence that connects Laci to the boat itself.

KING: Is it the only piece that connects her to the boat?

PIRRO: Well, we'll see.

KING: We don't know.

PIRRO: But right now -- we don't know yet. But clearly, this forensic evidence is huge, and that's why there's such a to-do over it. But I think that Amber Frey will offer testimony of what the defendant said that will further incriminate him or inculpate him. I think that this is going to be a solid case. And when we're finished with the hearing, we'll be more convinced than we were before.

KING: That it's a solid -- it looks...

PIRRO: That it is a solid case.

KING: ... good from the prosecution standpoint.

PIRRO: Yes. And every day, Larry, we see another lie or another inconsistency on the part of Scott Peterson.

KING: Chris Pixley, what's your assessment to this minute?

CHRIS PIXLEY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I agree, actually, with a lot of what Judge Pirro is saying about the importance of fighting the fight over the one single piece of forensic evidence that the prosecution may have. The problem, though, is that they have chosen now to spend a number of days focusing on a single strand of hair. And unless Amber Frey takes the stand, Larry, this is going to be the dominant story in this preliminary hearing.

And that's not necessarily good for the prosecution because while it does potentially link Laci to the boat, there are a thousand other explanations for it. And the defense is going to point out it's not like blood evidence. It doesn't put a dead body in the boat. And it doesn't really prove much of anything.

KING: And by the way, Bill Kurtis -- I should have mentioned this -- this Wednesday night, A&E will be broadcasting another Bill Kurtis special, "Hunting the Washington Sniper." And he recently hosted "Who Killed Laci Peterson," a Bill Kurtis special. He does so many wonderful things for A&E, by the way.

KURTIS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Dr. Henry Lee is in Salt Lake City tonight, addressing a group. He's author of "Blood Evidence: How DNA Is Revolutionizing the Way We Solve Crimes." He's the former Connecticut state commissioner of public safety. He's consulting with the Scott Peterson defense team. And he's one of the world's foremost forensic scientists.

Will you be called upon in the preliminary hearing, Dr. Lee?

DR. HENRY LEE, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, CONSULTING WITH DEFENSE: No. not that I know. And of course, you know, my belief in DNA, we've been use DNA for many, many years. So DNA's a reliable technique.

KURTIS: Even mitochondrial?

LEE: Well, mitochondria, that's a different ballgame now. We're talking about maternity link DNA. Nuclear DNA or genomic DNA can link to a person beyond reasonable doubt. Mitochondria DNA, in this particular case, 1 in 122, which is not conclusive answer. Of course, that's just one of the issue of mitochondria DNA. In addition, the hair -- if the hair, in fact, was Laci Peterson's, doesn't mean Scott Peterson is the murderer, nor means the pliers the weapon. So we are talking for different levels of forensic identification reconstruction here.

KING: Ted Rowlands is now with us from Modesto, California, of KTVU-TV. Can you give us a summation of today at the hearing?

TED ROWLANDS, KTVU-TV: Well, it was more DNA, mitochondrial DNA. This time, it was Mark Geragos's legal experts' turn to take the stand, and it was six long hours of, first, another lesson, this from a different perspective, but the same basic lesson about DNA and mitochondrial DNA. This expert basically poked holes in the forensic science, and then he also went on to poke holes in the way that the FBI uses data to articulate statistical probabilities using mitochondrial DNA.

The prosecution hammered away at him for the afternoon session. At one point, the judge had to tell the expert to, quote, "settle down" because it was getting a bit tedious during one of the exchanges between the prosecutor and this expert. At the end of the day, this expert seems to be done. However, the prosecution says they will bring one more DNA expert into this.

Clearly, both sides are fighting very hard over this hair that was found in Scott Peterson's boat.

KING: Can you tell us, Judge Pirro, based on your experience, whether the judge will allow this?

PIRRO: I don't think there's any question but that the judge will allow that one hair and the mitochondrial DNA. And what's interesting about the defense expert that we heard from today is that he has admitted that he never personally extracted mitochondrial DNA in a lab sample. And that's pretty unusual. I mean, you get the sense that he's a hired gun who doesn't really have the experience. He's there just to attack the prosecution.

But as Dr. Lee said, this is the kind of evidence that has been admitted for 20 years. This is how we identified the victims in the World Trade Center, Larry.

KING: But he also said it doesn't mean, even if it's her hair on the pliers, that it doesn't mean the pliers was the weapon or her hair was involved in the murder, right?

PIRRO: But it's another piece that maybe Laci was on that boat. It's just another piece of evidence putting Laci on the boat.

LEE: Jeanine, You're right. But on the other hand, maybe that's a secondary transfer. But we get together...

PIRRO: You know what, Doctor...

LEE: ... my -- your hair get on my clothing, and subsequently, when I went home, that hair deposit on my bed. Doesn't mean you and me have something going on, right?

PIRRO: I don't think so!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That's true, isn't it?

PIRRO: But isn't it, Dr. Lee -- isn't it true, though, even though hair can transfer, like my hair can transfer to Bill right here -- but isn't it true that the hair was kind of wrapped around the needle-nosed pliers, that it wasn't something that was just on the pliers?

LEE: Well, we don't know. You know, I cannot comment on the case directly. We don't have picture shows when that collected, the hair was, in fact, wrapped around the plier. So we just a description. So when you have a description how the hair was wrapped around, you have to now question yourself, say how the hair got transfer and wrap around. Somebody intentional? Why just one hair? Or so, if this hair has not the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hair (UNINTELLIGIBLE), it's not from pulling, it's a nature-fall hair, and you even have to question more now.

PIRRO: But aren't we used to seeing -- if there were a blood -- for example, a drop of blood on the boat...

LEE: That's much, much more...

PIRRO: ... blood is not as specific as mitochondrial DNA. If mitochondrial DNA is 1 out of 112 people, the possibility, blood or serology tests is only five or six different categories. So in some sense, it's even more specific than the blood type, isn't it?

LEE: ABO typing. But a drop of blood, we're going to have about 1,000 to 2,000 nanograms of DNA, can do (UNINTELLIGIBLE) STR. You can say 1 in 50 million or billion level. KING: Let's not get too technical. The host is getting confused.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We'll take a break and we'll come back. We'll be including your phone calls. Andy Rooney later. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK GERAGOS, SCOTT PETERSON'S ATTORNEY: Well, if I had two trials, it would be unfair, but I'm doing a trial and a prelim. It's standard operating procedure in the criminal law that as soon as you're done with one trial, you're no longer technically engaged for purposes of a continuance. So I couldn't have moved under California law for a continuance of Scott's because I was no longer engaged in the trial. But I am, at this point, with Scott's blessing, going to return to Los Angeles so I can make the argument, or in opposition to what's going to be instructed to the jury.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So that means, Chris Pixley, that Mark Geragos will not be there tomorrow. Will that mean another lawyer will be involved or the hearing's going to be postponed, what?

PIXLEY: Well, that's a good question. I think, given the fact that the hearing has been dragging along, the judge is most likely to force it forward. And you've got Kirk McAllister and another number of attorneys that are part of the team that will be involved. So I expect it to go forward. But actually, I haven't heard any news otherwise on that today.

KING: It is going forward, apparently. Does that mean, Chris, that the trial holds precedence for Mr. Geragos, right?

PIXLEY: Yes. Yes, it does.

KING: A trial's more important than a hearing?

PIXLEY: Well, the -- you know, that's relative. I think to each of your clients, their case is the most important one. You know, there really isn't any precedent on that issue. And you know, we follow ethical standards. Once we're engaged in a trial, we have an obligation to see it through. And I think that that's really what Mark is focusing on here. And he has support, with other excellent attorneys who can pick up for him one of the days of the preliminary hearing, and I expect to see him back on Wednesday.

KING: Ted Rowlands, do we know what's going to happen tomorrow?

ROWLANDS: Yes. Mark actually argued to postpone tomorrow's proceedings and have a dark day in court, but as you mentioned, because of the pace so far, the judge hedged on that and said, Listen, we've got to get something done. And what is going to happen tomorrow is that Kirk McAllister, the Modesto-based attorney for Scott Peterson, will handle cross-exam of Lieutenant Evers (ph) from the Modesto Police Department, or Detective Evers from the Modesto Police Department. This is basically a continuation of where we left on Friday.

After the Evers testimony, however, they will go dark for the rest of the day and then resume on Wednesday, when Geragos returns to Los Angeles because Mark Geragos said he was uncomfortable with just letting his other legal defense team handle whatever was next because he said he quite frankly didn't know what the prosecution was going to spring on him next.

KING: Bill Kurtis, Amber Frey is expected to testify, right?

KURTIS: I think so.

KING: Will she be one of the principal aspects of this hearing?

KURTIS: Well, she certainly will. I think she gave -- if we assume for a moment (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that Scott Peterson is guilty, she gave him motive. Love relationship is a complicated emotion, with hate and envy. And that gives him motive. He certainly had the opportunity. He lived in the same house. Connecting it to the boat, which the hair strand does, if it stands, could be a very important chain.

KING: How, Chris Pixley, do you cross-examine someone like Amber Frey, who appears to be a victim?

PIXLEY: Yes. Yes. Well, under normal circumstances, Larry, you would do very little cross-examination at this preliminary hearing. You don't want to tip your hand. Your job is really, at this point, with a key witness of this kind, to elicit some testimony, lock her down on certain facts that you think you may be able to impeach her on at the time of this trial, through your own witnesses' testimony. But you would stay away from her.

What changes everything are the circumstances of this case being covered so heavily in the media. I think it's the reason that Amber Frey, if she does get up on the stand during the preliminary hearing, is there in the first place. And I think it will force Mark Geragos or whomever cross-examines her to take a different tack. And I think that they will be polite.

But quite honestly, there are a lot of very reasonable questions that need to be directed to Amber Frey that focus on the limited nature of the relationship, the time period, the lack of an intimate relationship, based on the number of times they were together. And you can do all of that without really making the witness look bad, without beating them up and making yourself look bad in the process.

KING: Do you agree, Jeanine?

PIRRO: I do agree with Chris on this, Larry. I think that, you know, it's a very delicate line. But Amber Frey is huge. She's huge because when Scott meets her, he says he's a widower, that his wife has been dead for a year. He's either a fortune teller or involved in wishful thinking.

KING: Or he's just a cad who's...

PIRRO: Or just a cad, right. But you put it together with the question that she asked him, which is, you know, Do you know what happened to your wife? Did you kill your wife? And supposedly, he says, I didn't, but I know who did. You put that together with the fact that he's publicly grieving and at the same time telling Amber, after his wife is missing and may be dead, that he still loves her. There's something going on here. And I think that Amber Frey is going to expose a different kind of Scott Peterson to us.

KING: Take a call. Montreal, Canada. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. I'd like to know how her testimony can be damaging to Scott's case.

PIXLEY: I think there are a number of ways it could be damaging...

KING: Chris?

PIXLEY: ... Larry, and I don't really want to put them out there. But the fact is -- Jeanine mentions the issue of whether or not he did, in fact, say on the telephone to her, Listen, I didn't kill my wife, but I know who did. If that's a true statement, if that statement was made, it comes out through Amber's testimony or it comes out through wiretap evidence or both, and if, in fact, it came before Laci's body washes up on the bay, before she, in fact, is found, then the question is, why does Scott know that she was dead, when the rest of us are still looking for her?

Additionally, I think the judge's point regarding the widower comment -- it has been potentially one of the most devastating statements for Scott Peterson. It doesn't mean anything more than the fact that he was seeking sympathy or that it was, you know, a play on her emotions. But given the circumstances, it is, I think, one of the stronger pieces of evidence. And I think, in many respects, it's a better piece of evidence, much better than the hair, because there isn't really any way of talking yourself out of it. And Scott's not going to be put on the stand to explain what was going on in his mind when he made that statement.

KING: Akron, Ohio. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Does anybody know who Scott Peterson was scheduled to play golf with that next morning?

KURTIS: I do, but I've forgotten. But I think a well-known golfer, wasn't it?

KING: Ted Rowlands, do you know?

ROWLANDS: No. In fact, I've not heard that there was something set in stone for him to play golf. But I know that he told his sister and his sister-in-law, and presumably his wife that night when they were getting their hair cut, that his plans were to play golf at the country club.

PIXLEY: But it's a wonderful question, still, because the fact is, we haven't seen, at least to date, any evidence presented at the preliminary hearing that he had a tee time, any evidence that he did have a golf buddy that he stood up or that he called late at night or early in the morning to change his plans. And that does matter.

KURTIS: Yes, but like the caller, I have heard a name, and it came through sort of the rumor mill. I flashed on it.

KING: Can't remember...

KURTIS: I said, Boy, that's interesting.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTIS: ... we'll be off the air, but I can find it out for you.

KING: Ted, tell me about this possible importance of duct tape.

ROWLANDS: Well, basically, somebody with very good knowledge of the case that's being built against Peterson says that investigators have run some forensic fiber tests, basically, on some tape that was found with the remains of Laci, to a piece of duct tape that was found on a missing Laci Peterson poster, which has Scott Peterson's fingerprint on it.

Of course, the probability that those two pieces of tape could be linked together seems very remote, especially given the fact that the tape that was wrapped with Laci's body was in the bay for four months. However, it is something that we're being told that investigators looked into, and they're forensically looking at that possibility. Whether there's anything to that or not, we'll have to wait and see.

KING: Dr. Lee, what do you make of forensic evidence from duct tape?

LEE: Larry, I cannot comment on this particular issue, specifically. But duct tape comparison, we do every week. Basically, we look at the fiber content, type of adhesive, the measurement. We can trace to a company, but we cannot say definitely from the same roll, unless the cut edge we can do a physical matching. Now, I just learn, say I have a fingerprint. Was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a fingerprint on the flier, on the tape? That's two different things. If it's on the flier, if he, in fact, touched the flier, the value is much less than, say his fingerprint on the tape.

PIRRO: Oh, I don't think there's any question, Dr. Lee, that he might have put up one of the posters. I think the question is...

LEE: Exactly.

PIRRO: ... what would the impact be of the tape that's been in the water? And can it possibly be analyzed and compared to the duct tape that's maybe on the tree or on the poster?

LEE: Yes, that's a good question. You know, the number of fiber count going to be still the same. The type of fiber going to be the same because each manufacturer have a different design. The type of fiber, the type of adhesive may be changed to a less amount. However, the basic ingredient, you still can do an instrumental analysis.

KURTIS: Dr. Lee, didn't you take a look at some tape in the JonBenet Ramsey case, reexamine it?

LEE: Yes. Yes, I did. Yes.

KURTIS: And there was nothing became of that.

LEE: Well, that's a two-inch tape and it's been used. It's not like the Laci Peterson case, which, as I say, I cannot comment too much on that.

KING: Let me get a break and come back. We'll be back with our remaining moments with the panel. Then Andy Rooney. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. I would like to know if anyone knows exactly when Scott Peterson bought this boat. And I also want to know, how does -- and how did he make so much money to have this house, lots of different automobiles? And who is paying for this house now, with his family living there also.

KING: Chris? Well, I know that the Scott -- the Peterson family is fairly well off. The parents are not poor. You want to respond, Chris, on the boat?

PIXLEY: I don't know. And maybe Ted knows the date that the boat was actually purchased. We do know it was a matter of weeks before Laci's disappearance.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTIS: He was a fertilizer salesman, and he did pretty well. He was an upstanding, successful young man.

KING: Ted, do you know about the boat

ROWLANDS: Yes, it was a few weeks before Laci was reported missing. And as far as his financial status, we're hearing he wasn't in debt, by any means. So it wasn't a case where he was overspending. And whatever he has been able to accumulate, it seems as though he's worked for. And as you mentioned, I think the Peterson family is not necessarily wealthy but well off enough.

KING: Are you surprised, Judge, that the father didn't know about the boat? PIRRO: Oh, I'm very surprised he didn't know about the boat for several reasons. He was his fishing partner. And I think the most crucial thing that came out with respect to the boat on Friday is that Lee Peterson, Scott's father, takes the stand and says that he spoke to Scott between 12:00 and 2:00 on Christmas Eve, December 24. Scott says he gets to the marina at 12:00 o'clock, and he's home by 4:30. What that means is if Scott fished for two hours, he should have been talking to his father at exactly the time his father called him. He should have said to his father, I'm on the boat, I'm fishing, it's cold out here, I can't get any sturgeon, whatever. They spoke at the exact time that Scott was on the boat. That's a real problem.

KING: Trenton, Ontario. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. I love your show.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: And I just had a question about -- have they found any more information about when Scott Peterson took out the insurance policy on his unborn child and his wife, and why there isn't more questions on it as a motive?

KING: Will that come up, Bill?

KURTIS: Well, it will come up. We only know what we read, of course, in the press, and that he did take out the insurance on his wife. I'm not sure about the unborn child. And we don't have a date to go with that, but just sometime prior to the incident.

KING: We, of course, are staying on top of this case, and will nightly, as we can. Of course, other guests will be involved, as is tonight, when Andy Rooney follows. Thank you all very much. Ted Rowlands, Dr. Henry Lee, Bill Kurtis, Chris Pixley and Judge Jeanine Ferris Pirro.

Andy Rooney is next. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: It's always a great pleasure to come to New York. And one of the great parts about it is the chance to spend some time with Andy Rooney, one of our favorite people.

Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes." He, of course, hosts "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney." He's been a regular feature on the CBS new magazine since September of 1978. And he has a new book out, "Years of Minutes: The Best of Rooney from '60 Minutes.'" There you see its cover. And his recent bestseller,"Common Nonsense," is now out in paperback. And there you see its cover. Other bestsellers include the brilliant "My War" and "Sincerely, Andy Rooney."

You're -- you know, you're controlling things. You're everywhere you go. You go into a bookstore, you can't miss (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ANDY ROONEY, CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS "60 MINUTES": I don't know what I'm doing with writing all these books. I'm writing them faster than they're reading them.

KING: I saw the publisher of Public Affairs yesterday. We did a thing yesterday with Sid Caesar at the...

ROONEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

KING: Yes. Wonderful man. And he loves -- he said this collection for Public Affairs is the best they've ever put out. Did you make the selections?

ROONEY: Yes.

KING: Is that hard to do?

ROONEY: It's hard reading a much of your own stuff.

KING: You had to go over it all.

ROONEY: Oh, you know, I've been writing for so many years, and every time I read something that I wrote a few years ago, I would think, Jeez, I can improve on that. That's OK.

But then I write a column last week, and I read it this week, and I say, Jesus, that isn't very good. Here I am in my 80's, when do I get good?

KING: You are a writer who performs.

ROONEY: Yes.

KING: You're intrinsically a writer.

Let's talk about some current things and then get into how you write. And we'll take calls, too.

What do you make of the coverage of the Peterson case? Everyone's doing it. I know you know Judge Pirro and others. What do you make of it?

ROONEY: Larry, if I had been sitting home tonight watching your show, I wouldn't have seen me, because I would have left the show before it came on.

I couldn't care less about that. It doesn't interest me at all.

KING: Why do you think it's a story?

ROONEY: I don't know Laci Peterson from Kobe Bryant. I mean, I just don't know anything about it.

KING: Is Kobe Bryant a story?

ROONEY: Well, it's a story. But I don't -- I've read it.

KING: You're a sports fan. ROONEY: I'm a sports fan, but this isn't about sport. I mean, it's over. I know what the details of the story is. I don't want to read any more about it.

There is so much in every newspaper, every day, you've got to filter some stuff out. And that's the sort of stuff I just don't pay any attention to it.

KING: What do you -- the same thing with the Elizabeth Smart matter?

ROONEY: Oh, all over. I mean, I can understand why you do it. People are interested. But I don't know as people who are dumb enough to be absorbed in that stuff are smart enough to buy the products you advertise.

KING: That's a unique way of putting it, Andy.

And then what do you -- and your network and others, made for TV movies about all this, right?

ROONEY: Well, don't make me defend my network. I'll defend "60 Minutes, " but I won't defend my network.

KING: All right. Speaking of that, what do you make over the network's -- this series on the Reagans?

ROONEY: I don't know. Mike called me, and he's a great friend of Nancy's. And he was upset about it. But I haven't seen it. So I don't know.

I would not be totally surprised if they withdrew it. That would be interesting if they withdrew it this week. But I know very little about it.

But you know, somebody like -- I mean, it's unfortunate the physical condition he's in, the mental condition. But I think when you run for the presidency and make it, you lay yourself open to all sorts of criticism. And everybody around you has to take it.

KING: But you can't defend yourself in the position he's in.

ROONEY: Well, that's true. But he got so much approbation over the years, that you got to have -- you're bound to have -- I don't really know what's so negative about it. I haven't heard.

KING: You haven't seen the script or anything?

ROONEY: No, no, no, they don't ask for my approval on stuff like that.

KING: But they might -- there's rumors they may give it to Showtime, which is a network they own. Somebody owns everything.

ROONEY: I bet they do something like that, yes.

For one thing, there could be a great deal of negative fallout for CBS if they do do it.

KING: I think they're getting it already.

ROONEY: Reagan has a great of -- a great many admirers.

KING: And Nancy logically is very upset. And she's a wonderful lady in a very difficult situation.

ROONEY: Yes. Yes.

KING: It must be hard for her to sit and watch this.

ROONEY: Yes, I think America's aware of that, too.

KING: Are you saying politicians are fair game?

ROONEY: I do. That's -- I do think they are, in exchange for the power they have. I mean, the aphrodisiac for a politician is power. And certainly Ronald Reagan had it for many years. And this is some kind of a..

KING: But it ought to be fair.

ROONEY: It should be fair. I have no idea what this is.

KING: What are your thoughts, Mr. Rooney, on Mr. Schwarzenegger?

ROONEY: Well, I am surprised. I find him quite bright and charming. I mean, I....

KING: The Terminator can think.

ROONEY: Yes. I mean, I never saw many of -- any of his movies. But he's been -- and I thought he seems to have a good sense of humor. I must say, he's won me over.

It was a dumb thing for California to do. I mean...

KING: You mean recall?

ROONEY: Oh, one of the things about this country is that, once we all take a position in an election -- but once somebody is elected, if we're good sports about it, we say, OK. You know, like Bush is my president. He won the election, and it's over.

And to do what they did in California is really wrong. I mean, they should have swallowed it. Davis was not a good governor, but they elected him. And he should have served out his term. You can't do that. I mean, we would have reelections every 10 minutes in this country if we start doing that.

KING: Do you think it could start a craze?

ROONEY: I do think it could. Although craze is more apt to happen in California than most states. KING: Andy does not do blurbs for books. But you have blurbs on your book. The new book -- on Andy bookjacket -- It's not the usual thing. I'm one of the blurbs, but I don't remember saying this.

Tom Brokaw -- "Andy is part of the greatest generation. The exception proves the rule."

Walter Cronkite said, "I've been too busy being retired to read it."

Mike Wallace, "I haven't finished his last book."

And they quote me as saying, "Andy Rooney is one of the best writers in television, unfortunately."

ROONEY: Well, I wrote all these.

KING: I gathered that. You do not do blurbs for books.

ROONEY: I don't do jacket blurbs. I mean, I am asked three or four times a week and I don't write blurbs for other people's books.

KING: Because?

(CROSSTALK)

ROONEY: I am not a salesman. I don't sell anything. I won't -- I don't do promotional work for CBS and they resent it. I just don't do anything like that. I think it's wrong for anybody in my position to do that sort of stuff.

KING: You will promote your own book, though, right?

ROONEY: Well, I'm embarrassed about that, to tell you the truth.

KING: Really?

ROONEY: I am. I mean, I want to sell the book. And I like being on with you. It's always fun.

KING: And we've had you many times when there wasn't a book.

ROONEY: But isn't it enough that I wrote the damn book? Do I have to go out and sell it, too? I've said that to Peter Osnos (ph), often the publisher. You sell it, I wrote it. I mean, why do I have to go?

You know, I'm appearing in bookstores and making an idiot of myself, signing 500 books.

KING: Do you like that or you don't like it?

ROONEY: Well, it's not bad fun, as a matter of fact.

KING: Come on. It's -- the public loves you.

ROONEY: Well....

KING: You're a curmudgeon. They love you.

ROONEY: People come up to you, and invariably, they're people who's mother was your mother's bridesmaid or something always comes up with people who come to you in the line looking for your signature. The big thing is to keep them from asking, Would you please write, "To dad, with love, from Mabel," you know? Well, you don't have time to do that. I just put my name in it.

KING: We'll be back with more of Andy Rooney. We'll even include your phone calls.

And when we come back, we're going to show you a little bit of a piece Andy did last night. We're going to ask him about it.

The one -- the incomparable -- there's no one like him. If there weren't an Andy Rooney, someone would have to invent him.

The new book is, "Years of Minutes: The Best of Rooney from '60 Minutes.'" And the paperback version of "Common Nonsense" is now out.

You can find him everywhere.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROONEY: There are 10 Democrats who want the president's job, not counting Hillary. They would all like to be behind that desk in the Oval Office. Very crowded back there.

There's Dick Gephardt from Missouri, who's been an effective leader in the House for the Democrats. But we don't know whether he dyes his hair or not.

Joe Lieberman is a good and likable senator from Connecticut, and very religious, if you like that in a candidate.

Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, he's the most liberal candidate and a real doctor. You can ask him if Prilosec is right for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROONEY: Years ago I was asked to write a speech for President Nixon. I didn't do that. But I wish President Bush would ask me to write a speech for him now. Here's what I would write if he asked me to, which is unlikely. My fellow Americans, fellow includes women in political speeches, my fellow Americans, one of the reasons we invaded Iraq is because I suggested Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. No evidence that's so, so I wish I hadn't said it. I said we were going to get Saddam Hussein. To be honest, we don't know whether we got him or not, probably not. I said we'd get Osama bin Laden, and wipe out al Qaeda. Haven't been able to do that either. I'm just as disappointed as you are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right. Do you get flack when you're doing humor and satire, but you're really punching.

Oh, yes, I got a lot of never watch "60 Minutes again" phone calls today.

KING: Really?

How do they and you react?

ROONEY: Well, I'm -- like the people on the phone, if they give me an opportunity, but usually they're yelling at me. But I get a lot of best piece I ever did, too. So it works out. You can't worry about that. You can't worry about whether people are going to like you or not. You know, that's just not -- doesn't enter into my thinking when I'm doing a piece.

KING: Are you surprised at how venomous it can get?

ROONEY: Yes. Yes. But people are really, really vicious. I couldn't do what people do to me on the phone. Yes.

KING: Do you think Baghdad could be another Vietnam?

ROONEY: I don't. It's different. It's so different, that it's hard to compare. It's not looking good today. You know, this is the first time you can see the possibility that -- I keep thinking about all those people who didn't -- the people in Iraq who didn't dare come out on our side for fear Saddam Hussein would reappear. And we thought it was ridiculous at the time. Now it doesn't seem so ridiculous. I mean, if we ever decided to pull out, wow.

KING: Do you -- he's so resolved...

ROONEY: No, I don't think it will happen, no. But what do I know.

KING: He said today, the enemy in Iraq believes America will run, and that's why they're willing to kill innocent civilians, relief workers, coalition troops. America will never run.

Is this, therefore, always going to be a problem?

If we stay, is it self-perpetuating in a sense?

ROONEY: The trouble is, it isn't as if we had an enemy we could fight. There's the religion in there on both sides that is causing huge problems. I mean, we're -- Americans are predominantly Christians, and they're Muslim and they don't like each other. They don't believe in each other's religions. It's a natural dislike. And such basic, fundamental disagreements between the two cultures.

KING: What's your read on some people like Rumsfeld?

ROONEY: Well, he's awfully evasive. He's charming, but I don't -- I don't trust him. I mean, I don't think he's told us what he knows or what he thinks.

KING: Cheney.

ROONEY: Well, I certainly -- he's easy to fault with his involvement in the company that we send in there. He was chairman of the board of the company that is now rebuilding, getting all this money to rebuild Iraq. I mean, it's not right. It doesn't seem right to me.

KING: Colin Powell.

ROONEY: I like him a lot. I -- he'd make a great first black president of the United States. I like Colin Powell. I have a hard time faulting him. I think he's in a very difficult position. It would be wonderful to go home with him and hear what he tells his wife at night about what he thinks about this whole thing. But he's loyal. He's loyal.

KING: You did that funny piece about the Democratic field.

Does anyone jump out at you?

ROONEY: I think they don't. I do not see an outstanding candidate. And it certainly is one of their problems. I don't know who's going to come along. It's going to be for Bush to lose, not for the Democrats to win.

KING: Do you still get excited about upcoming political races?

You've been around for so many of them.

ROONEY: I do. Well, don't lay on that too heavy. Yes, I've been around for a few years, Larry.

KING: It is part of attribute to you. You age so well. Your mind is clear. You have no major diseases. How old are you?

ROONEY: Eighty-four.

KING: You've been through some -- you've seen them all. You remember Eisenhower in '52.

ROONEY: Yes, I was a great admirer of Eisenhower. I was working for Arthur Godfrey, when Tex McCrary you know who died recently, induced Eisenhower to run for the presidency. And he got Godfrey to help him as a politician with the American public. Eisenhower was a hero of mine, because I worked for the army newspaper, "The Stars and Stripes." And when Patton came along and tried to influence the editorial content of the paper, Eisenhower says -- he liked Patton, which I hated Patton. KING: Personally liked him?

ROONEY: I did. They were friends for many years before the war. But Eisenhower made Patton back off. Patton tried to inhibit circulation of "The Stars and Stripes" among his troops, because Bill Malden did a cartoon, they were standing -- the cartoon showed these two characters, one of them a general and another an assistant standing with this beautiful valley in Germany. And the officer obviously Patton turns to the assistant and says, is there one of these for the enlisted me, and Patton hated it. And he tried to get "The Stars and Stripes," banned from the army for that reason.

KING: And Eisenhower stood up...

ROONEY: Eisenhower stepped in and says, back off, George.

KING: Boy, that's -- you've got so many great memories of -- that's great. That's a great...

ROONEY: I've got some bad memories, too.

KING: I know. Your book, "My War," was one of the most -- that was tough to write, wasn't it?

ROONEY: It was tough to write. I'm glad it's out of there.

KING: Did you like being a war correspondent?

ROONEY: Oh, how can you not like it. I mean, as grim as the things you saw were, here I was, I could -- I was behind the lines, and every day I could get a picture of what was happening and go to where the action was. And be careful enough so I didn't get killed. You know, it was -- I had, along with about 25 other correspondents, I had one of the great looks that anybody ever had at World War II. Because I could go anywhere and see anything.

KING: Why isn't Arthur Godfrey better remembered?

ROONEY: I can't make that out. I went to see the CBS 75 Anniversary Show last night. And there were two figures hardly mentioned. Frank Stanton, who was almost as important as Bill Paley, he made the network mentioned once. Arthur Godfrey had about seven seconds. He supported that -- he was the most financially important person to CBS there ever was.

KING: 38 percent of their income, he was responsible for. And nobody talks about him. What a giant he was.

ROONEY: It's incredible. He had the number one show and number three show for about five years. And this was when Ed Sullivan was on. And Sullivan was number 10 when Godfrey was number one and three.

KING: He was simulcast. We'll be back with our remain moments with Andy Rooney. The book is "Years of Minutes: The Best of Rooney From 60 Minutes," and now out in paperback, "Common Nonsense."

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROONEY: Year after year, cookbooks and diet books are the biggest sellers -- how not to eat it, once you've learn how to cook it.

This is the most popular book these days, "The South Beach Diet Book." There's some surprises in here. It has a list of foods to avoid. And one of them is apples. Maybe that's because apples are bad for the doctor's business. An apple a day keeps the doctor without pay.

You've all seen the diet ads in the back of bad magazines, before, after. She took hydorxicut (ph) this to lose weight. Before, mid-point, after. Boy, she's had that bathing suit a long while.

If I really wanted to lose weight, I know what I'd do. I'd cut my eyebrows.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We'll take a call for Andy Rooney.

Palo Alto, California, hello.

CALLER: Larry, I'm not going to rave on you because I know I have a little bit of time.

Andy, I adore you. You are so awesome.

ROONEY: Very good question. I like that.

CALLER: I know. But being a curmudgeon, I thought, you know, I ought to throw that in there.

My question for you is, What do you think about a really, really strong third party in this country now? Is it a good time for a strong third country -- third party?

ROONEY: Democracy has worked best everywhere in the world with just two parties. Three parties screws up everything. It throws the balance off and the wrong group can get elected. I'm not in favor of three parties.

KING: Gray -- Gray, Indiana, hello. Hello?

Oh, I'm sorry, Gray, Tennessee, hello.

ROONEY: Brown. Try Brown, Tennessee.

KING: Are you there? Brown, Tennessee. OK. Maybe they gave me the wrong line.

ROONEY: What? Do you go to questions when you can't think of anything yourself?

KING: No, I like to just include the public. Stop that.

All right. You had a very successful book signing this weekend, I am told, at Colgate University, your alma mater.

ROONEY: I did, yes.

KING: You had expected it to be one hour, it last two.

ROONEY: I sold -- sold -- signed 546 books. That's a lot of times to write your name.

KING: Did you go back because it was your alma mater?

ROONEY: Oh, yes. You feel some affection for it.

KING: Why did you choose Colgate?

ROONEY: I went to play football. They played big-time football. I was captain...

KING: The Red Raiders?

ROONEY: I was captain of the high school football team. And so I went there. They had to drop that Red Raiders thing because of the Indian thing, connotation.

KING: One of the great football players from my high school, Ishy Sidenburg (ph), of Lafayette High School, went to play at Colgate.

Was that a big program then, when you prayed?

ROONEY: It was -- they played big time football bigger than now, yes.

KING: And what position did you play?

ROONEY: I was a guard. I was too -- I weighed about 187 pounds. But we played Syracuse, for instance.

I spoke at Syracuse a couple years ago. And I said, I played against Syracuse for Colgate. But that was back in the days when Syracuse used to let the students play. They didn't like that.

KING: You were a 187-pound guard?

ROONEY: Yes.

KING: Today, forget it.

ROONEY: I was a running guard. I was very fast.

KING: And do you -- are you still a pronounced New York Giant fan? ROONEY: Yes, I like the Giants. I mean...

KING: You're a season ticketholder.

ROONEY: Yes. But it's fun to root for a team because it doesn't make a damn bit of difference whether they win or not. You know, your life goes on. That's what's good about for rooting for a team, it's substituting all your problems and putting them on...

KING: It's so unimportantly important.

ROONEY: It's so important that it's fun, yes.

KING: But why does it affect our lives? Why do we get so depressed when our team loses?

ROONEY: Oh, I get depressed for about 10 minutes when the Giants lose. If I got depressed more often than that when the Giants lose, I'd spend a lot of time being depressed.

KING: What's your next book?

ROONEY: Gee, I don't know. I think I better get at writing my life story. I've got so many stories to tell.

KING: Like the Eisenhower story?

ROONEY: Oh, that. A million things. You do collect things. Something happens every day. And it's interesting.

KING: You better do it, Andy. Thank you as always.

ROONEY: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Andy Rooney, one of the truly special people. One of the people that make you proud to be in this business. Commentator with "60 Minutes." The book is "Years of Minutes: The Best of Rooney from "60 Minutes." And the best seller, "Common Nonsense" is now out in paperback. Andy rooney.

I'll come back in a minute and tell you about tomorrow night.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tomorrow night, we'll look more at the Scott Peterson case. And Wednesday night, David Blaine will join us.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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