The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Interviews With Jay McGraw, Sol Wachtler, Donna Summer, Andrew Cuomo

Aired December 7, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Jay McGraw tackling an American epidemic as only Dr. Phil's son can and then...

DONNA SUMMER, SINGER: So let's dance. Come on. Let's dance. Come on, let's boogie now.


KING: legend, Donna Summer. She was the sexy queen of disco. But behind the glitter and the glamour, a woman in pain, plus, Andrew Cuomo, the son of the former New York governor, Mario Cuomo, and former Clinton cabinet member, on why America is at a crucial crossroads. And then, Sol Wachtler, the former judge who's done jail time, uniquely qualified to write legal thrillers. They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Welcome to a very special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. A return visit as we begin things with Jay McGraw, the author of the new book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens" with seven keys to weight freedom. It includes a forward by his dad, Dr. Phil. His previous book, "Life Strategies For Teens" was a "New York Times" best seller.

Thanks for coming back here.


KING: Is this connected with your father's weight loss thing on television?

J. MCGRAW: It is very connected. Most of what he's doing on the "Dr. Phil Show" and with his book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution," you know, he -- I really think he did broke the code when he wrote that book and created the seven keys. And I was very careful not to lose the content and the integrity of the message that he had in those keys. When I wrote "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens," I just wrote it in a little bit different language so that teenagers could relate to it.

KING: Were you doing it simultaneously?

J. MCGRAW: No. He wrote his and I read it. And I said, OK, you know what? I've talked to a lot of teenagers on the show and when I was at the University of Texas working on my undergrad in psychology, and I dealt with that a lot. And I said I think that you got something that definitely translates to teenagers, but it does need to be translated.

KING: Do -- I know pediatricians tell me that little children aren't adults. They're different. Are teens different?

J. MCGRAW: They are. And it's a very different world that we live in. And that's one of the things that I focus on in "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens" because if you think about we spend most of our time at school, which is a very social environment, you know its' -- I mean kids more about what kind of backpack they're carrying versus what's in the backpack. And when you're walking down those halls, being different is a bad thing. And if you're physically different, in terms of your weight and things like that, it makes you a real easy target to be picked on.

KING: Is it different to write for teens?

J. MCGRAW: Well, it's the only thing that I know. You know that's what I...

KING: But you're not a teen.

J. MCGRAW: I'm not. I'm -- I just turned 24 and -- but I am still in school and I do understand that much better than my dad does. And so, you know, I said, let me take my experiences -- because a lot of family growing up was very overweight. A lot of my friends were very overweight, and so, I understand to a certain level what that means to young people, you know, how it is to grow up like that. And I took that and I've done a lot of research in preparation for this book. I put together a great team of doctors. And I really delivered the message that they need to hear in a way that they'll -- it's entertaining enough and relative enough that they can understand it.

KING: How big a problem is it, obesity and teenagers?

J. MCGRAW: It's a real problem.

KING: Do you know?

J. MCGRAW: It's a real problem. And you know, one of the things that I gauged on was not how many people are overweight, but more importantly how many people consider themselves overweight. And...

KING: Perception's reality?

J. MCGRAW: Perception because, you know, I -- in one of the studies, 81 percent of 10-year-olds think they need to lose weight.

KING: Ten year olds?

J. MCGRAW: Ten year olds. That's scary. Ten-year-old kids think they need to lose weight. And so, I said, you know, let's not necessarily deal with maybe the number on the scale, but importantly how they feel about their body. And I talk a lot -- and I went to the bookstore when I sat down to write this book and I looked at what was out there. And nowhere in those books did they ever discuss how you feel about yourself. And I really focused on that in "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens" because, you know, you can diet and lose weight and gain weight and all that, but what it really boils down to is how you feel about yourself and how you perceive yourself.

KING: Doesn't the problem begin with how the teen is raised?

J. MCGRAW: It can. It can.

KING: Doesn't it if you were fed French fries and milkshakes and you grow up on French fries?

J. MCGRAW: Absolutely, and how your parents dealt with their weight. You know if your mom was always asking if her shorts make her butt look big, then that teaches teenagers to obsess about their weight. And...

KING: Not parents smoking.

J. MCGRAW: Yes, exactly. I mean it's just modeling. And you have to take that into account and you have to take our culture into account. You know we have super size as one of the words in our vocabulary now. You know we have more food given to us and we get bigger. It's not a mystery.

KING: But shouldn't it be combated by this desire to be thin? Thinner is better. People see all the models that are thin. Everybody looks thin. Movie stars are thin.

J. MCGRAW: You know that really makes the situation much worse. I did a -- I interviewed and did a survey with 10,000 students in conjunction with the University of North Texas. And 68 percent of the kids that I talked to said that either Britney Spears or Barbie has the perfect body. And that's an unrealistic goal because, you know, they've been portrayed differently by the media. And so, if you step back and say, OK, that's what they're going for at the same time that puberty's kicking in and their body is going in the opposite direction, then there's going to be a problem. I guarantee you; every teenager is going to want to do something about their body at some time. And you as a parent have a choice to make. You can either have the answers, to tell them what to do to get where they want to go safely and effectively, which is what I provide here in "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens" or you can roll the dice and let them figure it out on their own. And you know quite frankly I looked around and there's a lot of bad information out there. I mean there's Web sites that literally teach your kids how to develop an eating disorder. And that's not something that you want them to be out there looking at.

KING: Did -- now, you're talking about the kids' perceptions of themselves. Those teens that are obviously obese, are they outcast in and among their peers?

J. MCGRAW: They are treated differently. And that's one of the points. You know parents say, well, it's -- you know, isn't it going to be embarrassing for me to give my kid this book? The fact is they're already embarrassed about where they are. This is only going to make the situation better. And I wrote this book for teenagers so that they could read through it and get the answers that they wanted. But at the same time, parents can read this book and say, OK, not only here are the answers that they need, but this is how you talk to your kids about this topic. These are the things that are important. This is the things that they have in mind so that they understand what you're talking about.

KING: Is there a danger, Jay, that this book could create dyslexia or bulimia, such a desire to loose that they overwhelming lose?

J. MCGRAW: I don't think so.

KING: Any fear of that?

J. MCGRAW: I don't have a fear of that at all. In fact, I deal with eating disorders in the book and I say...

KING: Oh, you do?

J. MCGRAW: know, if you have an eating disorder -- if you're in the depths of an eating disorder, then you need to go talk to a doctor or a parent or a teacher or somebody about that immediately. But if you do want to do something about your weight, which every kid that I talked to either has one or two or just currently want to do that, here is a safe and effective way to do it.

And you know one of the keys in the book is you need to set a realistic goal. You need to -- you need to say OK, I'm going to look at my body's height and I'm going to get to the best version of me. I'm not going to try to emulate something that I see on TV. I'm not going to emulate my friends or things like that. I'm going to be the best version of me. And I really focus on that.

KING: Our guest is Jay McGraw. His father, Dr. Phil, wrote the forward. The book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens." He wrote "Life Strategies For Teens," which was a "New York Times" best seller. He's a law student at SNU. He's Jay McGraw and we'll be right back.


J. MCGRAW: And in the society that we live in the media is a huge influence. But what nobody realizes is that a third of the TV stars, the female TV stars, are underweight.

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, FATHER: But yet only five percent of the population is underweight.

J. MCGRAW: And three percent is -- on TV are obese and 25 percent of our general population is obese.

P. MCGRAW: So we got unrealistic models?




J. MCGRAW: You said that if you lost 50 pounds your life would be perfect. Is that really how you feel?


J. MCGRAW: OK. Well, I want you two girls to stand up real quick. She says that if she lost 50 pounds her life would be perfect. And you don't have 40 or 50 pounds to lose, is life perfect? What do you think?


J. MCGRAW: Well, why not? And in what way?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're still concerned about your body even if you do lose your weight. I, you know, am concerned about my body.


KING: We're back with Jay McGraw, author of "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens". I said dyslexia. I mean anorexia.

J. MCGRAW: I know what you meant.

KING: Yes, but, hopefully, my audience also. Parents play a big role?

J. MCGRAW: They do. You know I -- in the research that I did one of the things that was very promising to me is that the number 1 place teenagers turn for answers about this topic is their parents. And that's great because you can arm yourself with the knowledge that you need to get your kids where they're going safely. And so, they play -- parents play a huge role in this.

KING: How do you fight the overwhelming advertising of the fast food places that are knocking them all day long?

J. MCGRAW: Well, it's definitely...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Kentucky Fried Chicken saying it's healthy.

J. MCGRAW: And not only that they say eat it and we'll give you a toy. I mean it is blatantly trying to kids in there and then get them almost addicted to the food because, you know, with the sugar and the salt and all that it really is almost addictive. And so, you're never going to fully get away from that especially as a teenager because that's just one of the things that teenagers do socially. They go eat at fast food restaurants with their friends. So what I've done is I've provided basically menus in the back of the book to say if you're going to go to a fast food restaurant, here are all of the different foods at the different restaurants so that you can better bad choices.

KING: So you can go to McDonald's and still make a good choice?

J. MCGRAW: Absolutely. I mean you're not going to get teenagers to not hang out with their friends and not eat fast food. It's -- I mean that's an unrealistic expectation. So instead let's say, you know what, meet them where they are in their life and just help them make the best possible choice.

KING: Jay McGraw, like his dad, gives these steps. He has steps. You have steps. The seven keys to weight freedom -- number 1, right thinking, success from the inside. Now you're dealing psychological there, right?

J. MCGRAW: Well, sure, because it doesn't...

KING: Let's not eat a tomato.

J. MCGRAW: Well, no, it's not because this isn't a diet book. You know teenagers aren't going to go on a diet. In fact, I looked at a study that said teenage girls who do diet gain an additional two pounds per year versus the ones that don't because they -- and it said that the reason is they're much more likely to binge. If you restrict what they eat, then they're going to sneak off and they're going to, you know, inhale five candy bars. And that's going to -- and that's a problem. So it's not a diet book. It's just a lifestyle book that says you have to rearrange the way you're doing things, your life. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do or not do anything you don't want to do. Just do it in a different way that it makes it lead to the results you want.

KING: Key number 2 is healing feelings, the end of the eating emotionally, purging or doing other unhealthy things to your body. How do you teach them to do that?

J. MCGRAW: Well, you have to replace that bad behavior with a new behavior that is not going to lead to an undesirable result. So if you're having stress because of finals, you know, for me -- I'm law school and when finals come around, you know, you can eat. You say, well, I got to eat. So we give ourselves study breaks to eat. Instead, you know, my friends and I, we brought a football up to school. And instead of always going to eat when we were on a break, we play catch and things like that. You just have to replace eating as a coping mechanism with something else. And I give a lot of examples of how to do that.

KING: Your first book was wonderful. And this one is...

J. MCGRAW: Well...

KING: ... this is -- by the way, a copy we have here -- this is the advanced. It's a hardcover book, right?

J. MCGRAW: No, it is a soft cover book. You know I... KING: Oh, really?

J. MCGRAW: ... wanted to keep the price down so teenagers could buy it.

KING: So it's published in soft cover?

J. MCGRAW: Absolutely.

KING: All right, number 3 is a no fail environment, cruise control for getting fit. Meaning?

J. MCGRAW: Well, you know, I talked to a girl on the show -- on "The Dr. Phil Show" and she said, "It's hard for me to lose weight because every corner I go around there's either a jar of cookies, a box of Snickers bars, or a Playstation that makes me sit down and be inactive." And so, you have to recognize that and get that stuff out of there. Instead of sitting down and playing video games, you know, go out and play basketball or something.

KING: Reduce temptation?

J. MCGRAW: You know you got...

KING: Or don't have the cookie jar there.

J. MCGRAW: Yes, absolutely. It's real hard to stare at a jar of cookies and say I'm not going to eat any. It's much easier to just get rid of them and not have to make that decision at all.

KING: How about all of the foods available like the low-fat cookies or the cookies without sugar or the cookies made with substitutes? There are many substitutes on the market out there.

J. MCGRAW: Sure. And you can't -- you know it's not -- I'm not saying -- and look, eat, you know, tomatoes all the time. You just have to make better choices. And if you've got -- if you've got Snickers bars in your lunch every day, you know, you're going to eat them. Don't -- just don't put yourself in that situation.

KING: Don't be prey to it?

J. MCGRAW: Absolutely.

KING: All right, number 4, is a mastery over food, getting it together. No more bad food habits. You train yourself to do that.

J. MCGRAW: Yes, you get used to it. I mean I think that a lot of the bad foods that we eat are -- they are basically -- you know, they're the sugar and the salt and all that. You just...

KING: It tastes better.

J. MCGRAW: Yes, once you -- once you get there it's hard to stop doing it. You've got to retrain yourself.

KING: Number 5 is Jay's portion power plan. Warning, this is not diet territory. Meaning?

J. MCGRAW: Well, I looked at the food pyramid that we've all been taught to eat when we're growing up. And the fact is it's no different than the make-up of calories and carbohydrates and proteins that they feed to cattle to fatten them up for slaughter. And so it's obviously going to make you gain weight. We have to get away from that. And then I said, OK, what is the thing -- you know, where do we need to go? What do we need to eat? And they're saying eight ounces of this and 7 ounces of this and 12 ounces of that. I got no idea how big that is. So I took the type of foods you need eat and made them -- and related them to things that we do know, like, you know, eat something the size of a baseball or the size of a computer disk and things like that so that you can say OK, I know how much that is and I can go out and make my decisions accordingly.

KING: Six, intentional exercise, the fun factor in fitness.

J. MCGRAW: I think that it's because of P.E. -- I'm not sure -- where they made us work out in the middle of the day and then go back to class sweaty. And so, at some point we all decided that exercising wasn't any fun. We got to get away from that and say I'm not going to exercise just to exercise, but I'm going to make it more of a social environment. My friends -- me and Anthony and Steve, we work out together every day.

KING: Go to the gym together?

J. MCGRAW: Yes, and it's as much fun socially as it is beneficial in terms of working out.

KING: Our guest is Jay McGraw and the book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens: The seven Keys To Weight Freedom." We'll get into key number 7 and discuss some other aspects as well. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you're not happy with the way you look, you make a bad first impression.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whereas teenagers, nobody's happy with the way they look. You know what I mean?

J. MCGRAW: You're pretty thin. Do you want to be thinner?


J. MCGRAW: Really? Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just -- it's -- I'm a girl.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because people (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at you even though you -- if you're big or if you're small.

J. MCGRAW: Do people call you names because of your weight?


J. MCGRAW: Like what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They call me like hippos and Allivesta (ph). It's not friendly to me.

J. MCGRAW: So how does it make you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It makes me feel sad because that don't -- they need to know what we feel.


KING: We're back with our final segment with Jay McGraw, the author of "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens: The Seven Keys To Weight Freedom," including the forward by Dr. Phil. His previous book was "Life Strategies For Teens," a "New York Times" bestseller.

Number 7 was your circle of support; friends are for helping and keeping you accountable. This is like AA.

J. MCGRAW: This is very important for teenagers because, you know, our parents buy the groceries and fix the meals. And we spend a lot of time with our friends. And if you want to be successful in this plan and in this plan you will be successful if you follow it. And one of the last things that you have to do is create a circle of support. Get your parents involved. Tell them what you're doing, ask for their help, so when they go out to buy the groceries and prepare the meals and all that thing -- those kinds of things they really do support you in what you're doing. And your friends are no different. Get them involved. Make it something that you do together. It's -- you know you don't have to -- this can be fun, you know. You can make it something that you're doing that is enjoyable. It doesn't have to be hard to do in a miserable existence.

KING: You majored in psychology/pre-law. Now, you're in law school.

J. MCGRAW: I am.

KING: Do you want to keep on doing these kinds of books or do you want to -- what do you want -- do you want to practice law, what?

J. MCGRAW: I don't think I want to practice law. I really enjoy what I'm doing now. I really enjoy doing -- you know I feel very advantaged and very privileged to have grown up with parents as great as mine. And my mom and dad both provided me with a lot of resources. And I enjoy giving some of it back to teenagers that may have not grown up in the similar environment. And I'm going to keep doing that for a while because it's...

KING: Do you want your own show some day?

J. MCGRAW: I enjoy television. And I'm going to, you know, see where that goes. I don't know if I'm going to do my own show.

KING: So why stay in law school?

J. MCGRAW: I love law school. I love the community there. I've got great friends, both students and faculty.

KING: And it can never hurt you, right...

J. MCGRAW: Right.

KING: ... the knowledge of the law?

J. MCGRAW: It's very interesting. I really enjoy it. And so, I'm glad to do it. And I'm in my third year, so I'm almost done.

KING: You're doing well?

J. MCGRAW: Well enough.

KING: Is the Texas bar tough?

J. MCGRAW: They say it is. I'll tell you in a few months.

KING: Jay, you've become a national figure. There are other things you do. You're a licensed pilot?

J. MCGRAW: I am. I love flying. It's a lot of fun.

KING: What are you checked out in?

J. MCGRAW: I can fly any single engine airplane.

KING: Any one?

J. MCGRAW: Any single engine.

KING: Do you want to go into jets?

J. MCGRAW: No. I just do it for fun. And it...

KING: Do you have a plane?

J. MCGRAW: No, I don't have a plane. I don't fly enough to justify it. But I love it. I love doing it.

KING: You have a black belt in Tai Quan Do?

J. MCGRAW: Yes. I got it when I was 12 years old, I think.

KING: And do you use it?

J. MCGRAW: A few times.

KING: Certified SCUBA diver?

J. MCGRAW: It's great. I love it.

KING: Avid golfer.

J. MCGRAW: It's -- you know what, I'm not any good at it, but I give it a shot now and again.

KING: You're 24. Do you associate with teens a lot?

J. MCGRAW: Yes. My brother is 17 and...

KING: Is he a good model for you?

J. MCGRAW: You know what, I spent a lot of time with him and his friends. And they're no different than me and my friends. It's...

KING: Just younger?

J. MCGRAW: Just younger, yes.

KING: So you get the same kind of feedback working with 23 years olds as you do with 17 year olds?

J. MCGRAW: Well, my brother is a great focus group for -- you know you say, I want you to read this chapter and see if you understand what I'm talking about. And you know, he does it. He's not big on reading.

KING: How's his weight?

J. MCGRAW: Fine. He's -- you know he's fine. He's very athletic. And he doesn't have any issues with that.

KING: Is it so much emotional that if you -- let's say, I perceive you as overweight, but you don't. You're OK. Or is it -- you're 20 pounds overweight and I think boy, he's overweight, but you don't think you're overweight. Is that OK?

J. MCGRAW: You know what, I -- there's a problem when people confuse their self image with their body image. I talked to a lot of kids on "The Dr. Phil Show" and I said, OK, describe yourself. And they say, fat, overweight, ugly, not I look fat or I need to lose weight, but I am a fat person. And that's not OK. You have to -- and your body image is one thing and your self-image is the other. You have to be a confident, happy person that may need to lose some weight, but you can't let those two things get intertwined because that's where you start running into real problems.

KING: Thank you, Jay.

J. MCGRAW: Thank you.

KING: Always good seeing you. J. MCGRAW: I appreciate it.

KING: Jay McGraw, the book is "The Ultimate Weight Solution For Teens: The Seven Keys To Weight Freedom." The forward by his dad, Dr. Phil.

Donna Summer is next. Don't go away.


J. MCGRAW: Why is this important to you all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the standard of beauty in this culture and it's you're holding yourself to this standard of what everybody thinks is attractive. And when you're in school and you hear the guy next to you talking about how hot this model is, this singer is, you feel like you have something to live up to.

J. MCGRAW: And what happens then? I mean what's -- why is that a big deal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, do you want to be attractive? And if that's what's attractive, that's what you...




SUMMER: Oh, let's dance. Come on and dance. Let's dance. Come and boogie now. Let's dance. Let's dance. Let's dance tonight.


KING: Now, it's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, an old friend, Donna Summer, the famed singer/songwriter. Her music has earned five Grammys. She's the author of a very candid memoir, "Ordinary Girl: The Journey." There you see its cover. Her latest CD is "The Journey: The Very Best of Donna Summer."

Why are we hung on the word "journey"?

SUMMER: Well, I think it's because life is a journey and it's easy -- a way to impart what it is. I mean I don't -- you know, to me anyway.

KING: It's a good word.

SUMMER: Yes, I like that.

KING: What did you do the book?

SUMMER: Just because it was time to do something different and I was bored. And it -- you know I was working on the musical and you kind of needed the book anyway. And so, I just decided let's do it. KING: You mean you were doing it -- working on the CD and the book?

SUMMER: Well, the musical not -- the musical to "Ordinary Girl" was written several years ago.


SUMMER: And we've been sort of trying to get a book together for it, but it was difficult because nobody -- I didn't have all the information. And I always had to be there. So writing the book was sort of a way to get everything down so someone can the book for the show.

KING: Was it cathartic for you?

SUMMER: Yes, definitely. Definitely. Painfully cathartic, but nonetheless cathartic.

KING: Because it's hard to get out painful things, isn't it?

SUMMER: Yes. Well, I think that the difference is when you write a book -- when you live life, life is over a long period of time. And then when you write a book, it's all condensed into one period. So you suffer the -- like, the death of your mother or the this or that or the other thing all, you know, in whatever period of time that is. And that's the difficult part, I think.

KING: Memory ever leave you?

SUMMER: Of my mom?

KING: No, forget things.

SUMMER: Oh, you know, sort of technical things, yes, like business kind of things, like I have people doing research for me.

KING: But you've been involved in everything, right? You've suffered from depression?

SUMMER: Definitely.

KING: You were in an abusive relationship?


KING: You didn't have to tell us all these things. Does it help you then, I guess?

SUMMER: I think -- I think more than even helping me, I think, it's time to help other people. And I think that it is -- I don't think this book is about me. It's really -- somebody would have to be a mirror because I -- if people are in abusive relationships, I think they need to get out of them or at least get help. And I think knowing that somebody that you maybe look at and admire has been in an abusive relationship, so, like Tina Turner. And the show is not to die, not to go to that level. But I could have gotten killed.

KING: Why do people stay in them?

SUMMER: Fear because they're afraid of the person, that the person will come after them and kill them, that the police -- that if they go to the police, they really won't the help they need and they'll be vulnerable all over.

KING: What affect did it have on your career?

SUMMER: Well, to me, it -- I mean thank God, this person was from Europe so they were deported. And then, I was able to sort of be free, but I was afraid for years. So...

KING: Did you sing as a kid?

SUMMER: I sang since I was 8 years old.

KING: You were raised in a very religious household, right?

SUMMER: Yes. My grandfather was a minister. My dad was a deacon in a church. And so, church was -- you know I was in church several days a week. It wasn't foreign for me to be in church.

KING: Was what your break? What broke it out? How did we get to know you?

SUMMER: Well, I think -- I auditioned -- when I was in my teens, I auditioned for "Hair". I was in a band, a rock band, and I went to New York. And I met a man and I auditioned. And I got on the show and I went to Europe and sort of in the...

KING: You were in the European version of...

SUMMER: Of "Hair".



KING: A great show to do, wasn't it?

SUMMER: Yes, it was. It was fun at the time. And -- a night -- I stayed over and did about four more shows. And then I had a hit record and came back to America.

KING: What was your first hit?

SUMMER: Well, "To Love You Baby," you know?

KING: And that took off right away, right?


KING: And our mutual friend, Bruce Roberts, he wrote songs for you, right? SUMMER: Yes, he sure did. And he still does. I mean we're -- we have actually just wrote another song called "Gotcha on Love" and I think it's going to be on my next album.

KING: Do you write a lot of your own stuff too?

SUMMER: Yes, I've written for many years, not everything, but I write a lot of my own songs or co-write a lot of my own songs.

KING: Having a hit, was it early like when you -- like when that record broke out, were you...

SUMMER: Well, I was in my early 20's -- sort of like almost in my mid 20's. And I...

KING: Were you able to handle it well?

SUMMER: Not really. It was tough. I think success is always a surprise, you know.

KING: Yes, and it can lead you into...

SUMMER: yes, into everything that's in that book.

KING: Wayward paths?

SUMMER: Yes, definitely.

KING: What was the hardest part to write about?

SUMMER: Well, I think writing about personal things, actually, were harder than writing about certain other things like the fact that I used to wet the bed. That was a really difficult thing for me to write, but it -- that was cathartic because it was a point of shame for me for many years.


SUMMER: Even until -- I know, but even until now, until I wrote it and then it was like, OK, now everybody knows, you know.


SUMMER: It's OK. But then there's going to be other people out there that are going to have that problem as a young kids and when they read it, they're going to go, well, she became famous and she wet the bed. And this isn't going to have to stop me for the rest of my life because I thought that would stop me.

KING: Did you have any problems with the image of the sex queen, the diva image, with the girl who was raised in the church?

SUMMER: Oh, I think that's a big -- that's a big complex. Yes, it was a big complex and the image was sort of created around me. I was sort of there, but not consciously there. And I didn't have anybody sort of on my side at that point, fighting for me, except for me, being in the middle. And then people would say, you know, "Lay down here and do this." And you know, whatever. I wasn't doing...

KING: Were you poorly managed?

SUMMER: Well, at the time, I didn't even have a manager when I first started. I just -- you know, I was sort of just with my producer and...

KING: And they said, "Pose this way" and you'd pose...

SUMMER: Yes, we'd go to, you know, a photographer. And I was new to that stuff. It wasn't something that I've done for my own career at that point. Most of the things I'd done was...

KING: But conversely, it didn't hurt you, did it?

SUMMER: Well, it didn't hurt my -- well, it's sort of like this -- it hurt -- it certainly hurt my personal image as far -- and my self esteem was changed. But I think that it helped me in my career.

KING: Yes. So...

SUMMER: Sex sells...

KING: ... sex sells.

SUMMER: know.

KING: You are happily married now, right?


KING: Three children?

SUMMER: I have three daughters. And one of them is on TV.

KING: She is?

SUMMER: Yes, Brooklyn. She's on "My Wife and Kids."

KING: Why did you name somebody Brooklyn?

SUMMER: Because my husband, Bruce, is from Brooklyn. Aren't you from -- aren't you from Brooklyn?

KING: You bet your life I'm from...

SUMMER: Yes, right.

KING: That's a great neighborhood.

SUMMER: Yes. Brooklyn, because it's a great name. It is a great name and we never had any another name for our child except for -- for that particular child except for Brooklyn.

KING: Did you interrupt the singing? SUMMER: You know I never totally interrupted it. I think people think that I stopped at some point, but I never stopped singing. I -- actually, when I'm on the road, I can't work in Europe when I'm here and everything's going strong. So I usually take the time -- when I'm having down time here to go to Europe and to South America. So I've been working.

KING: Are you as big there?

SUMMER: Yes. Yes. My success was pretty much worldwide when I was successful. So I'm picking up the slack of all the years I didn't travel.

KING: Has what modern radio's playing now suit you?

SUMMER: Oh, some of the songs are great. I love -- yes. I mean music is always good...

KING: Do you any good song could break through?

SUMMER: Oh, yes, I think so. I -- you know this young kid, John Mayer, he had a song that was on the Internet and my daughter was listening to it. And she made me listen to it on the Internet. And then he, out of nowhere -- you know they discovered him. He got a deal and bam, he was huge. And he is huge. So...

KING: Now, tell me, the book is called "Ordinary Girl". I love that (UNINTELLIGIBLE), like you were an ordinary girl.

SUMMER: But I am.

KING: Yes, sure.


KING: But tell me about the CD.

SUMMER: The CD is a culmination of...

KING: There are 20 songs.

SUMMER: ... yes -- of most of the hits from career and I think two or three new ones. And basically for those people that don't have my albums and want to play the music with the book -- a friend just called me from Saint Bart so -- before I came here -- and she said, "I'm listening to the record and reading the book at the same time." And she says, "That's what you need to do. You need to do it spoken and have the music going on behind it." So I think that she got the point.

KING: What are going to do next?

SUMMER: Well, I'm working on another album and I probably go on tour next summer or something, and continue to promote the book and the album. And I'll get into the studio and start recording soon.

KING: Why is this happening to you now?

SUMMER: Life is full and happiness is what you make it.

KING: It's relative.

SUMMER: Yes, it sure is.

KING: But it's about time.


KING: Thank you, Donna.

SUMMER: Thank you. Thanks, Larry.

KING: Donna Summer. The book is "Ordinary Girl: The Journey, Donna Summer". It's published by Valarde (ph). And the CD is "The Journey: The very Best of Donna Summer."

When we come back, Andrew Cuomo. Don't go away.


KING: Now, a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, an old friend, Andrew Cuomo, the editor of a new book, "Crossroads: The Future of American Politics." There you see its cover. He was secretary of housing and urban development under the -- in the Clinton administration. Many considered him maybe the best member of that candidate, and the son of the former New York governor.

What's the concept of this book, Andrew?

ANDREW CUOMO, FORMER HUD SECRETARY, SON OF FORMER N.Y. GOV. CUOMO: Well, good to be with you, Larry. The book, I wrote after the gubernatorial race here in New York. And I wanted to have a sober, intelligent debate of political issues because so much of the political campaigns nowadays tend to get very negative. They tend to become hyper-rhetorical and they turn people off. And I wanted to say, let's have a real discussion. The country has serious issues and let's do it without the hype of a campaign. And that's how it started. Democrats and Republicans talking about real issues in a serious context.

KING: How'd you pick the title?

CUOMO: "Crossroads" because the country's at a crossroads. You have people who are really turned off to the political system. Voting is down, especially young people, which is something I get out in the book. And at the same time, we have very big issues. We have significant domestic issues. We have international problems. And it's this confluence of events, this crossroads -- this domestic, international and discontentment with the political process, that's what causes the crossroads.

KING: Now, you got 41 essays in here from a diverse group of people. How did you choose the people -- like -- because you got P. Diddy Combs and you've got Russell Simmons? You've also got Dick Gephardt, the Democratic -- how'd you pick all of these?

CUOMO: I wanted to get the full spectrum, Larry. So you have Republicans. You have Democrats. You have the full spectrum of Republicans, right, from the conservative to the more moderate Republicans. And then one of the issues in the book is how do you reach young people and it's something that I worked in the campaign on and something I'm still working on. And P. Diddy Combs, Russell Simmons, they know how to speak to young people in a way politicians don't, frankly. If the politicians could communicate the way they could, we wouldn't have the problem in the first place. And that's an issue that the book develops -- how do you get young people back into the process and how do you get people who've never participated. You have a whole generation of young people who've been turned off to politics. They had no heroes. They had no major issues and they've never gotten engaged. And this hurts both parties. It hurts the whole process. And P. Diddy Combs, Russell Simmons, their thoughts on this, I thought were very relevant.

KING: Were you turned onto it because you grew up in it?

CUOMO: Politics in general?

KING: Yes.

CUOMO: I think so. I think so. And also from my generation, there were more relevant issues. It was just post-Vietnam for me, so there was some connections. The generation today, there are no major issues in their opinion that really get them engaged. And what you hear over and over again is they're just turned off to the process. They're turned off to the politics and the money and the negativism. And they feel that nobody is talking to them.

KING: But do ideas do it or is it people because the same thing was said in '60, and then Jack Kennedy came along and they had a tremendous interest in young people wanting to work in Washington because of him?

CUOMO: Yes. No, I think it's a good point. I think it's both. It is the -- both the message and the messenger. It's the issue, the idea, and then you need someone to communicate it and someone to connect. And you have a vicious cycle right now. The young people will say they're not voting. And by the way, the voting numbers are way down. They're not voting because the politicians don't talk to them. The politicians will say they don't talk to them because they don't vote. And we have to break that cycle.

KING: A catch 22?

CUOMO: It is. It really is.

KING: Do you plan to run again, yourself?

CUOMO: I love public service, as you know. I've done it all my life. It's a great way to make a significant contribution. I'm now in the private sector. I'm having fun. I'm having fun with the book. I'm doing some lecturing up at Harvard, so I want to keep all options open, Larry, and take it one day at a time now.

KING: Do you miss being in the cabinet?

CUOMO: Oh, yes. That was a great experience. Being head of HUD was really for me a dream come true because it's all the issues that I'm concerned about. It's urban issues. It's racism. We did a lot on economic development. It was all over the country. It was all over the world. And it was a fascinating period to be in Washington. I mean you remember the Clinton days. We really -- we made a lot of news. We did a lot of good things and we faced all sorts of issues. We did welfare reform. We had the impeachment. So it was just a great education and a great period. And we made a big difference. And it reaffirmed for me, Larry, that you can really make a big difference in people's lives with government. And that's what it's all about.

KING: One of your essayists is Howard Dean. What do you make of the Dean story?

CUOMO: Well, I think -- I have all the Democratic presidential candidates in the book except General Clark, who wasn't a candidate when I did the book. But I think the Governor Dean candidacy is interesting. It's an outside of Washington candidacy. It's an outside of the Beltway candidacy. He has the issue of the war and being against the war, if you will, which I think was a key issue for the Democratic Party. And I think that really worked for him.

He turned out to be the progressive in the race. Why? Basically, because of his position on the war. And I think, frankly, that points -- that was a lesson for the Democratic Party, that as the loyal opposition, we could have raised more questions initially on the vote with the Iraq war and the questions that you now hear every day. Why did -- how do we get out? How much is this going to cost? How do we put together an international force? These are questions that could have been raised earlier in the debate. I think everyone would have been served better and that's what Governor Dean has tapped into. And he's also done a very interesting thing in reaching out with the Internet and getting people engaged and really infusing the whole process with energy. That is quite an accomplishment.

KING: You're a big bee Democrat. Is the president defeatable?

CUOMO: Oh, sure, he is. Sure, he is. Remember, first of all, that we're still in the Democratic primary process. And that is an intramural debate and it's Governor Dean versus Clark versus Carey. So you don't really have one Democratic voice. But Larry, once you get past these primaries and you have one Democratic voice, and you make the Democratic case, if you will, and you talk about this economy and the three tax cuts to the richest Americans and we lost two million jobs. It was Reagan redux.

We have the greatest deficit in history again. After Bill Clinton won and we brought that deficit down to the greatest surplus, we've done a 180 economically. You start to raise questions about the strategy with Iraq and what we could have done or should have done. This is -- this is going to be, at best for Republicans, a very, very difficult race. KING: Did you have trouble being Andrew Cuomo getting Republicans to contribute to the book?

CUOMO: No, I just said that I was Matilda Cuomo's son, Larry. They gave me no problems. No, I think they -- I was, frankly, surprised and gratified by how many Republicans wanted to be a part of it because it's not a partisan debate.

KING: No, it's not.

CUOMO: It's very equal. It's Democrats and Republicans, everyone answering the same issue. I was the editor. I also contributed an essay. But it was an honest, sober discussion. And I think, frankly, people welcome that because there's too little of that in politics now. We have these major issues and we get into these shouting matches and campaigns. We turn off the voters. And we don't accomplish anything.

KING: It's a terrific book, Andrew.

CUOMO: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Andrew Cuomo, the book is "Crossroads: The Future of American Politics". Thanks for being with us, Andrew, always good seeing you.

CUOMO: Thanks for having me, Larry.

KING: Next, is Sol Wachtler, the former chief judge for the State of New York and the New York Court of Appeals, who has a terrific new novel out called "Blood Brothers". Sol Wachtler is next. Don't go away.


KING: There's a terrific new novel out. The title is "Blood Brothers." There you see its cover. Its co-author is Sol Wachtler, former chief justice of the State of New York and the New York Court of Appeals. He's written the book with David Gould. How do you co- write a novel, Sol?

SOL WACHTLER, FORMER JUDGE AND CO-AUTHOR, "BLOOD BROTHERS": It's a great way to put two minds together. And we were able to do that. David was a prosecutor, a former U.S. attorney from the Eastern District of New York and a Princeton and Harvard Law graduate, and my law clerk. And we would both overwrite each other until a point where, as they say it, I think it becomes seamless.

KING: It's a heck of a thriller. It also has deeper meanings. Explain the title.

WACHTLER: The title, "Blood Brothers," relates to two young men, both of them are outcasts in rural Georgia. And you know, outcasts are bound together with a kind of glue that -- you know long after the cheerleaders and the jocks stop seeing each other, they are still -- relate to one another. They're both outcasts because of them, T.C., is a -- considered by his classmates as poor white trash. And Luke, the other of the blood brothers, is a young Jewish man, an outcast because of his sensitivity about being a Jew in a place where there are no other Jews. And the two of them bond together as outcasts and they become blood brothers.

KING: Why did you pick a rural setting, as you're an urban guy?

WACHTLER: Well, I was raised in the south, actually. And having been raised in the south, I learned -- in fact, I was a young Jewish boy in the rural south.

KING: Where?

WACHTLER: So I don't -- well, in -- my father was a traveling auctioneer. So I lived in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. And I took Georgia -- by the way, everything in this book, Larry, is true. It's taken from facts. And the names have changed. The places are changed. As I say, we centered it in Georgia where actually the murder that's described, which is a brutal lynching, really took place in Florida, in the Everglades.

KING: It's a terrific book, Sol. "Publisher's Weekly" called it "absorbing and thoughtful." But what is -- they're a little bugged that you left the conclusion open-ended. I liked that.

WACHTLER: Well, you know, that was the -- that was to keep people thinking about the underlying theme, which is the difference between truth -- good truth and bad truth, good myths and bad myths. And it's a good story, we believe, without that, but that becomes something to cause people to think a bit more.

KING: You had a long and distinguished career. You had a downtrodden thing where you had to go to prison. You discuss that in a book that you wrote called, "After The Madness".


KING: Why turn to fiction?

WACHTLER: Well, first of all, the very bad experience I had a dozen years ago, which was a suffering from a bipolar disorder, which I still have and still have to treat -- but I wanted to get away, Larry, from thinking about things, which were, as Mario Cuomo said, "one page in a thousand page book". I wanted to do something, which would stretch my imagination and try to bring, of course, a story, which again, has some moral value to it, we believe. And that's what we achieved.

After these two young blood brothers separate -- one goes up north. The young Jewish goes to Princeton and Harvard, becomes a member of a white-shoe law firm. And T.C., the redneck who's left back in Georgia, becomes a member of the Klan. And 40 years later, they come back together where Luke represents T.C. in a trial, which we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a good.

KING: Do you like inventing characters? WACHTLER: Love it. But as I say, most of these characters are composites of people that either I knew or that David knew.

KING: When you say that you still fight the bipolar, are you going to go back to that in another book, looking at it in a different vein and your own troubles?

WACHTLER: I might. I might. I still spend a great deal of time lecturing around the country to mental health groups and trying to encourage those people who are afflicted with a bipolar disorder to seek medical attention and to try to remove the stigma of mental illness, which is something that keeps people from seeking treatment and from following up on treatment. And that's a great tragedy.

KING: Why do you think we love legal thrillers?

WACHTLER: Well, because it's almost like a sporting event, which you know so much about. You have a plot, which comes to an end with a trial. And after the trial is over, it's like watching the end of a ballgame. It's finished.

One thing that we try to do in this, and "Publisher's Weekly" points out, we try to do is to even after the verdict, we continue with the story, and again, try to maintain or retain the reader's interest.

KING: So you then understand the public's fascination with Scott Peterson and Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson?

WACHTLER: Oh, yes, and all of them. Michael Jackson, today, of course, is eclipse to all the other news because of people's intrigue with this -- with this real life story.

KING: Nothing beats that, right...

WACHTLER: Nothing beats that.

KING: ...the drama of people under pressure?

WACHTLER: Absolutely. And I can remember I -- you know I was a judge for over 20 years and I can remember when I was a trial judge, that every trial was a new drama. And again, a drama, which is finite because when the trial is over, almost like an election, you know who wins and you know who loses, and you go on to the next trial.

KING: What's the hardest part about being a judge?

WACHTLER: The hardest part about being a judge is try to divorce yourself from any biases or prejudices or any pretrial or during trial publicity, and try to just seek a just result. Today, with the manifest publicity that follows every criminal trial, for example, you're saturated to the point where you go in or most people could go in with some preconceived notions. Oh, that person's guilty or that person is innocent. That's something a judge has to be completely free of in order to do justice.

KING: And you may like one lawyer better than another, but...

WACHTLER: Oh, yes.

KING: ...that can't affect your ruling.

WACHTLER: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Or you might like a particular person, a witness who testifies, and endow that witness with greater credibility than he or she deserves. That's something you have to divorce yourself from.

KING: Sol, you're one of the best. Thank you so much.

WACHTLER: Thank you very much, Larry.

KING: Thank you for everything you do.

WACHTLER: Thank you very much.

KING: Sol Wachtler, the co-author of "Blood Brothers," a terrific read. I'll be back in a minute.


KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. A great line-up of guests and a great wind up with Donna Summer. Hope you have a great rest of the weekend. See you tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. For the whole crew here in Los Angeles and our CNN bureaus all over the world, the most trusted name in news, good night.



Andrew Cuomo>

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.