Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Don, Deirdre Imus
Aired May 5, 2004 - 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, Don Imus, the always outspoken radio giant takes on all the news of the day and a lot more and we'll take your calls as only he can. And his wife Deirdre is here too. They've got a hit book. Don and Deirdre Imus next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: She's the author of the bestselling new book "The Imus Ranch, Cooking for Kids and Cowboys." Great new read. She's also a co-founder of the Imus Ranch and founder of the Deirdre/Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology at Hackensack University. There you see the cover of the book. He, of course, is the host of the highly rated radio show "Imus in the Morning" which is also seen on MSNBC. He's also co-founder of the Ranch and he's very lucky to be her husband. Before we start anything, they told me this morning you said this could get ugly tonight because you're not in a good mood and not feeling great.
DON IMUS, HOST, "IMUS IN THE MORNING": You already described the book as a great read.
KING: I got it home and my wife...
IMUS: It's cookbook. What did you read?
KING: My wife -- first of all, I read...
DEIRDRE IMUS, AUTHOR: What about the 40-page...
DON IMUS: What did you read?
KING: It's an excellent...
DON IMUS: You read recipes? What are you nuts?
DEIRDRE IMUS: You said your wife made a couple of recipes?
KING: My wife made a couple of the recipes already. I read the whole forward. Who wrote that, you?
DEIRDRE IMUS: No,. He didn't have anything -- Charles McCoy (ph)...
DON IMUS: And David Vondrell (ph) from the "Washington Post." KING: But are you in a bad mood, are you going to be difficult tonight? Just let me know.
DON IMUS: No. I'm not in a bad mood.
DEIRDRE IMUS: To get over here, you would have to have been at our house. It was awful.
DON IMUS: That's not true.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes, it was, honey. You had headache. You don't feel well. You don't know if you wanted to come. I don't know if this is going to work out. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The whole bit.
DON IMUS: I didn't say I didn't know if I was going to come. I'm here to support you. It's your book but don't scare us to death. Larry and I...
DEIRDRE IMUS: I'm not going to scare anyone. With what?
DON IMUS: With all this vegetarian stuff. Larry and I have 20 minutes to live. Can we have a steak?
KING: You are a vegetarian, right?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes. I have been for 17 years.
KING: Have you turned him into a vegetarian?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes. By his own free will though.
KING: Come on, Don, really?
DON IMUS: Yes.
KING: You could bring home steaks if you wish?
DON IMUS: No, I could not.
KING: You couldn't. See?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well, he could cook them in another kitchen.
KING: Can you tell us why?
DEIRDRE IMUS: It started as being an athlete and playing sports. I've never been on a diet. So this isn't about diets or what diets work or don't work. It's just about, for me, at least, eating a healthy. And the most important thing goes beyond whether you eat meat or not. It's eating organic food and eating whole food.
KING: But this is ranch food, you bill it as cowboy food, meaning. Because cowboys are associated with beef. This one's for dinner.
DEIRDRE IMUS: That hasn't changed except for at our ranch. These cowboys that work on the ranch, they don't have to stay for lunch and dinner. They want to be there. They eat lunch and dinner with all the kids. They love it. They love the food. They still eat their steaks and hamburgers and everything else.
DON IMUS: She's not against people. All of our friends are cattle ranchers. We're not opposed to people eating meat.
DEIRDRE IMUS: I don't have any vegetarian friend and I hate most vegetarians.
DON IMUS: All these recipes in the book, if you want to substitute -- when it calls for a meat substitute or...
DEIRDRE IMUS: I polled -- 125 recipes got in the book.
KING: On your own?
DEIRDRE IMUS: My own work with the chefs we had in the kitchen.
DON IMUS: Wait a minute. What are you trying to say? What do you mean, on her own?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I have chefs.
DON IMUS: Do you think she stole them from somebody?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I think you want to know if I've actually done the dishes myself.
DON IMUS: Is this a Janet Cook (ph) deal?
KING: What's the other guy's name?
DON IMUS: I forget.
KING: Jayson Blair.
DON IMUS: Jayson Blair. That's right.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He helped me on it.
KING: Did you cook all the things that are in this book?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes, I've made all those dishes.
DON IMUS: She can cook. She doesn't cook it but she can.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well, I'm with the kids all day. I have a chef in the kitchen at the ranch.
KING: It should be explained for those who don't know and I imagine millions already know. This ranch is for kids with cancer or kids with...
DON IMUS: Kids with cancer, serious blood disorders, a lot of sickle cell kids. It's also for the siblings of kids who have cancer and it's also for the siblings of kids who have died of sudden infant death syndrome. We take their parents...
DEIRDRE IMUS: We take one session of parents.
DON IMUS: This summer, the first or second session we'll hit our 500th kid and we take them ten at a time and they come and they live in our house with us. We take one group after another.
KING: You pay their way there?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Everything. I mean, they could show up with just the clothes on their back, that's all they have to have.
DON IMUS: They get Resistol (ph) cowboy hats, they get Wrangler jeans, they get Justin boots. We don't ask them to wear anything that we wouldn't wear.
KING: And as you've said, it's a working ranch.
DEIRDRE IMUS: It's an authentic working: cattle ranch. Nothing at all that resembles a camp, no counselors. In fact, they're stuck when they get to the ranch, with me and Don, Wyatt (ph), our son, a couple of ranch hands and cowboys. That's all they're with.
KING: We're scenes of it now. Do you need psychologists there? These kids are not in the same shape as other kids are in. Do they need...
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes, we have -- they all travel with two child life specialists, a doctor, a nurse and medics and then we have paramedics and EMTs full time on staff at the ranch.
DON IMUS: The fundamental concept at the ranch is to treat kids who don't feel that they're normal because they're sick, normal. Nobody on that ranch ever even alludes to or mentions the word cancer or any other ailment.
DEIRDRE IMUS: It's a rule we have.
DON IMUS: These kids are treated as normal kids. Because they are normal kids. I mean, you have a heart problem, I have a lung problem, everybody has something. These kids have cancer but they are normal kids. They just don't get treated like that, probably appropriately so by their doctors, by their peers, by their parents. You got a kid with cancer, you're going to baby the kid. We don't baby them.
KING: Are there doctors there though in case a kid gets sick?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes. Every session we have a doctor and nurse.
KING: How did the idea come about to do a cookbook? DEIRDRE IMUS: Actually "Rodell" approached me.
KING: South Beach diet.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Exactly. That phenomenon.
KING: I think they are the largest health publisher...
DEIRDRE IMUS: It made sense because everything they do is geared toward health and a better way of living. And Rodele, the grandfather goes back to organic farming. He really coined the phrase organic farming. They came to me about doing a book about anything to do with health because they knew what I was doing with the ranch and how I built everything non-toxic.
KING: So you came up with the idea of cook...
DEIRDRE IMUS: We talked together and I thought, gee, if we're going to do a book, why don't we do a book about the ranch and these kids and what we're doing.
DON IMUS: Here's what we noticed. Because she insisted on this vegetarian/vegan diet -- it has nothing to do with (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But because she insisted on that, then they developed all these recipes and got these chefs that could fix it up and make it actually taste good. But what we noticed is the kids have to eat it. Because they're 50 miles from town. After three days, they'll eat dirt. What are they going to do. Then we noticed that the cowboys started coming down for lunch. They can go to the bunkhouse, they don't have to come for lunch. They could go to town if they want. That's kind of weird. Why would they be coming down to eat? Because it is good. She is not some vegetarian terrorist telling everybody what they got to eat. That's not where we're coming from. It's what we do at the ranch and what works there. That's where the idea came from. If kids -- if the two most -- people with the most finicky palates on the planet, kids and cowboys, will eat this crap, anybody will.
KING: I want to compliment you on the layout of the book, and the cover. You did a great job...
DEIRDRE IMUS: I have to say Rodele did the book, and Margot Chef, my editor -- no, she's great, I love her and Kathy Guntierre (ph) our publisher who is your publisher for your book...
KING: They're going to do my hard book in June, yes.
DEIRDRE IMUS: They've been great. I love working with them.
DON IMUS: You do a book with Rodele, you know what you need, an attorney.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Don, you're being ridiculous. If it was Simon and Schuster, you would be saying the same thing if not worse.
DON IMUS: Simon and Schuster. Those people should be in prison.
KING: Are you giving the proceeds to the ranch?
DON IMUS: 100 percent.
As a matter of fact, she gave the advance which was in the six figures. The Ranch which is a public foundation owns the copyright to the book. So it's not one of those deals, where they do a fifth or sixth edition and suddenly she gets the money.
KING: I'm giving my proceeds to the Cardiac Foundation. You feel better. You feel good when you give.
DON IMUS: You do good stuff, surprisingly. Maybe not surprisingly.
DEIRDRE IMUS: I think this is the surprising one here, isn't it? Everyone's surprised about you doing something nice.
KING: People know the real Imus, one of the most charitable men on the planet.
We'll take a break and come back. We're also going to talk about the news. If you have opinions, you can throw them in too.
DON IMUS: Please don't ask her for her opinions about anything.
DEIRDRE IMUS: This is what I have to live with. Don't you feel sorry for me?
KING: Let me get a break. He's become the most influential morning host in America. Famous people come to him and he makes news. And we'll be right back. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON IMUS: I saw a great editorial called "Tune" that showed the vice president -- showed the president and vice president sitting at table and the vice president says, the president is now going to answer a question while I drink a glass of water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go.
DON IMUS: The truth is, the president can answer all the questions himself. So why would they -- why would they subject themselves to people like you saying what you're saying?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I have absolutely no idea. It looks terrible. He's the president of the United States. He ought to be able to answer the questions by himself.
(END VIDEOTAPE) KING: We're back with Don Imus and Deirdre Imus. The cookbook from the Imus Ranch, "Cooking for Kids and Cowboys." It's available everywhere. It's already on the best selling article. There's also an article by Deirdre on the ranch in the current edition of "Town and Country" magazine. Whoever would believe that I-man would make "Town and Country." In February (ph) they were opposite polls -- the I-man and "Town and Country."
DON IMUS: Do you like Edwards?
KING: I do. Do you like him?
DON IMUS: I love him.
KING: Good guy. Do you think Kerry should pick him?
DON IMUS: I don't know -- I guess.
KING: You've already endorsed Senator Kerry?
DON IMUS: Right.
KING: What brought this about?
DON IMUS: I like him. I don't dislike President Bush. I don't think President Bush is a horrible person. I think he's surrounded by a bunch of war criminals. I do. I mean, I really do. I think that's -- I just think Senator Kerry would be a better president.
KING: You've had him on for years?
DON IMUS: 50 times.
DEIRDRE IMUS: I think his wife is great, Teresa Heinz.
KING: You had her on, too?
DON IMUS: No.
KING: Why didn't she do your show?
DON IMUS; I didn't ask her, what are we going to ask her, about the shawl she wears, that dopey ketchup?
DEIRDRE IMUS: She's very unique.
KING: She might be the first lady.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Highly intelligent.
DON IMUS: She's welcome.
DEIRDRE IMUS: A real leader. She's done a lot with the environment. She's a great lady.
KING: What do you think about the mess in Iraq, the current mess?
DON IMUS: I'd be a lot happier if all of these Iraqis were humiliated and upset, would have been as humiliated and upset when they were dragging the guys out of burning vehicles and walking them up the bridge in Fallujah. Because they're walking around and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) looks like Hugh Heffner in the '60s, calm down.
KING: Wait a minute. You're not saying, because the atrocities committed, it's okay for us.
DON IMUS: I didn't say it was OK. I don't understand the concept of how humiliated and upset they are, and everybody is wringing their hands. Should it have been done? Well, of course it shouldn't have been done.
I understand the ramifications. But what, are they hate us more or kill us more? They already hate us. And al-Jazeera and those other clowns are already going to make up stuff. If they don't have these pictures, they will show something else.
DEIRDRE IMUS: We love to show the pictures, too. Every time you turn the TV on, they keep showing the pictures on everything.
KING: What's your whole solution to everything? Do you have thoughts on this inclusion into Iraq?
DON IMUS: Well, that's way above my pay grade.
KING: You've had so many guests on. You've had a chance to ask so many questions. Have you formed...
DON IMUS: Well the whole idea -- when the president ran for office, he was opposed to nation building. And now we're over there trying to win their hearts and minds. It's insanity. That's not going to happen. They made some horrible mistakes. It was horrible planning.
You know, here's what I also find interesting. Bucky over there, the National Security Council and some of these other clowns are unwilling to apologize for the 3,000 -- for dropping a ball, we have 3,000 people die at the World Trade Center and they're falling all over themselves apologizing to these nitwits, because they have a bunch of them in a pile naked. It's outrageous.
What is the solution? Tom Friedman, who is a genius, foreign affairs editor, op-ed...
KING: One of the best writers in America.
DON IMUS: He said this from day one. He said there's two ways this going to go, the way Dick Cheney said it was going to go, which was, jive, or the way it's going. There's no way to solve it. If you get out, it's a mess, if you try to resolve it's...
KING: Do you have an opinion about this?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I'm surprised. I haven't seen you upset about this, all riled up.
DON IMUS: I'm trying to be animated for Larry's show.
KING: Are you faking it?
DON IMUS: I'm not upset about it, sorry we have kids over there dying. I'm upset about that. But I want to be a little animated, act like I'm happy to be here with Larry.
KING: Faking it.
DON IMUS: You're the one that doesn't like Larry.
DEIRDRE IMUS: What? Where did that come from? Where did that come from? I love Larry. I watch him every night even. If I'm watching Larry, I tell you who's on, even. You're nuts.
KING: Do you think Rumsfeld is in trouble?
DON IMUS: Well, I don't know. How about the Joint chiefs of staffs, Richard Myers, is there anybody more clueless in this country, he has no idea what's going on. He's hammering you guys at CNN for reporting they're pulling out of Fallujah, well guess what, CNN was right. He had no idea what was going on.
And now, they're going to fire this poor woman who going around this reserve general, you talk about somebody being clueless, she's the next chief of staff if we re-elect Bush. They have to fire all those people. They have to get rid of them. Somebody has to be held accountable. Somebody does.
KING: Who do you like in this administration?
DON IMUS: I don't -- Colin Powell is a sniffling weasel.
KING: He was on last night. He was very good.
DON IMUS: Well, I'm sure he was good. Who are you going to believe, Bob Woodward or Colin Powell? You know who I'm going to believe, Bob Woodward. I mean, Woodward says I talked to him six times. He was on this show, I talked to him 6 times. I've got transcripts that run 30 minutes. Colin Powell said I had a couple of conversations. Get out of here.
KING: When he's on the air ranting, are you listening?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Always.
KING: How do you react to him? There's no one quite like him.
DEIRDRE IMUS: I know.
KING: How do you react to him as a viewer and listener at home?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I don't know. I love it. I know his sense of humor. KING: You know his schtik?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes.
KING: You know he's doing a lot of schtick, just for schtick right? You know he doesn't believe it?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Not really.
KING: You don't hate everybody you say you hate?
DON IMUS: Who said I hated anybody?
DEIRDRE IMUS: In that moment -- in that moment, he does.
KING: You call Tim Russert like fat? You've called him fat. But you like Tim Russert.
DON IMUS: I love Tim Russert.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He and Tim have a good relationship. They talk about stuff like that.
DON IMUS: I love George Stephanopoulos. I love Bob Schaefer.
KING: You can not not -- we did that game.
DON IMUS: There's no better person on this planet than Bob Schaefer.
KING: I would agree. Let's take a break and come back with more. We'll include your phone calls at the bottom of the hour.
DON IMUS: I just love talking to these shut-ins who call you. Hello, Larry, let me talk to Mrs. Imus. Is it all right to eat this? Yes, lady, you can eat that.
KING: We'll be right back. Television taking a step backward tonight. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to tell the people of the Middle East that the practices that took place in that prison are abhorrent and they don't represent America. They represent the actions of a few people. Secondly, it's important for people to understand that in a democracy, that there will be a full investigation. We want to know the truth. In our country, when there's an allegation of abuse, more than an allegation in this case, actual abuse, we saw the pictures, there will be a full investigation and justice will be delivered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Was it a good idea to go on television direct to the Middle East today -- do you think?
DON IMUS: As long as he's not going to apologize to the American people if he wants to apologize to them I guess it was, yes.
KING: He didn't apologize.
DON IMUS: Whatever, it's outrageous.
KING: To go on you mean?
DON IMUS: Absolutely. Talking about a full investigation. Why did we have to nearly impeach him to get him to convene this 9/11 Commission and then that dog and pony show with the vice president rump roast going down there and doing Charlie McCarthy act. I mean, I find it really offensive. I'm not trying to pick on him.
KING: You're not?
DON IMUS: No, I don't think I'm Michael Moore either. I do think it's outrageous.
KING: By the way, it should be important, one thing in this book I mentioned about reading. You discuss philosophy in this book, it's not just cooking, it's a philosophy of living you approach in this book.
You want to explain?
DEIRDRE IMUS: The whole philosophy of living a non-toxic life. And a big part of that was when we built the entire ranch, we built with the least toxic materials, using low VOC's for paints and the interior water based paints, sustainable woods, rather than pressure treated woods that are coated with formaldehyde and other toxins. The hacienda is the straw bell constructed hacienda, which environmentally friendly and one of the biggest energy savers. And then also all the land. We're on 4,000 acres, we spray nothing toxic. We use no pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, nothing. We show the children, because they work the land and they work in the greenhouse and the garden. Everything is bio-organically farmed. And it's all organic. And they work in the garden, pick all the vegetables. Last year, we were so excited, it's taken us five years to grow and sustain where we supply all the vegetables. All the vegetables now -- this -- last year so excited, because we got it -- it's taken us five years to grow and sustain where we are able to supply all the vegetables.
KING: So you sustain yourself?
OK, the book is dedicated to Devon Kurschner (ph)?
What was his story?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Devon Kurschner, passed away when he was 16-years- old. He was at the ranch, six months later, he died.
DON IMUS: This was a kid who grew up around our radio station in New York. His mother was... DEIRDRE IMUS: Suzy (ph) Kurschner.
DON IMUS: His mother was, executive assistant to the general manager. And from the time he was three or 4-years-old she would bring him around the radio station. He was just a normal kid, and he was befriended by Rob Bartlett, he was one of the guys that works on the show. He didn't have a dad or anything, you know. So over the years, they just developed this relationship. And just a normal kid growing up. And suddenly, he's 14 or 15-years-old.
DEIRDRE IMUS: It started when he was 13.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Brain tumors, and he had three operations. By the time they came to -- Suzy did, to Don and I, to ask if we knew of any doctors to help, he had already gone through two surgery. We finally got him to a doctor in Arkansas and unfortunately the tumors spread down his entire spine and through his body.
DON IMUS: That's a great facility down Little Rock by the way. What's the name of it?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well, the Arkansas Cancer Institute. Dr. Jamesson (ph) and Dr. Yasser Gale (ph) (UNINTELLIGIBLE), top doctors in the world. They specialized in these certain type of rare brain tumors, which is what Devon had. Unfortunately, it was too late by the time they saw him.
DON IMUS: You know, another thing that's kind of interesting...
DEIRDRE IMUS: I'm sorry.
DON IMUS: I'll make this brief. The kid came to the ranch. He was great. His head was swollen and he was self-conscious.
DEIRDRE IMUS: The first night at the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), he had seizures and the doctor had to stay with him.
DON IMUS: He was funny kid. And Rob is a comedian.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He did all he's material.
DON IMUS: He did all Rob's material.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He knew it all by heart.
DON IMUS: He might as well, Rob stole it from somewhere, no. So, the kid, he comes to the ranch, and then he's going to come back the next year. Sometimes we'll hire a kid who's been at the ranch to work at the ranch the following.
KING: You pay them.
DON IMUS: Well, sure.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Right, we've done it with four kids already.
DON IMUS: Anyway, he dies. I go in that morning to announce that he is dying. I had been talking a little bit about him...
DEIRDRE IMUS: Now you have to understand not just Devon being at the ranch, he was at that one session in August six months before he passed away. I became very close with him. I mean, four weeks before he died I was on the phone with him every night. And all he wanted was Deirdre, take me through -- his horse was Cody. And he took me through -- he wanted me to talk and tell him the entire day, and take him through the ranch. And he was on his horse riding.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes. Yes.
DON IMUS: So, that morning I announced he had died.
KING: On the air?
DON IMUS: Yes, and our Lou Raphino (ph) is our engineer and has been for 15 years, he just decided, and I decided a good song to come out of my talking about the kid was "American Pie," Don McClain's song. So, we played about a minute of that. So, then my wife calls me and she said, did you know that...
DEIRDRE IMUS: I said...
DON IMUS: What are you on amphetamines? Calm down. Can I tell Larry this story or not?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Fine.
DON IMUS: She said, did you know -- what did you want to tell Larry?
DEIRDRE IMUS: You're such a jerk, you know that, you really are. You can't help himself on camera or off camera.
DON IMUS: Stephen Hawking (ph) couldn't calculate the kind of jerk you are. You are (UNINTELLIGIBLE) jerk.
DEIRDRE IMUS: You need to come up with some more lines.
DON IMUS: Well, whatever.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He's been talking about Stephen Hawking for 12 years now. It doesn't work.
KING: We want to get to the end of this.
DON IMUS: Well any ways, she said did you know that was Devon's favorite song?
I said, I had no idea.
DEIRDRE IMUS: It was known to me at least.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes, he told me it was his favorite song. His mother used to tell me. It's common knowledge, anyone who knew Devon, that was his song.
DON IMUS: It wasn't common knowledge because I knew him and didn't know it.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well, you didn't have these conversations with Devon.
DON IMUS: I'm going to have a conversation with you when this is over.
KING: I'd like to be a stranger there.
DON IMUS: So then, we wanted -- she was going to dedicate the book to him and did. We wanted to use a portion of the song, Larry. We had to get Don McClain's permission.
KING: He gave it to you?
DON IMUS: Well, he happened to be listening that morning.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He was listening.
DON IMUS: You can't make that up.
DEIRDRE IMUS: I didn't know it cost money to use lyrics, so that was my dedication. And then Don said we have to get permission and this is going to cost money. And of course, he donated it.
KING: That may be my favorite individual single record ever made. You never get tired of it.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Never. A classic.
DON IMUS: Don McClain couldn't -- first of all, song writers and publishers get anywhere from 25 to 100 grand just to quote. I mean, it's an enormous amount of money.
KING: What did he charge you?
DON IMUS: Nothing.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Nothing. And he was so happy to do it...
DON IMUS: Not only nothing, he said I'll send you permission and FedEx'ed a letter the next day.
DEIRDRE IMUS: For anything. I mean, he was unbelievable.
KING: We'll take a break and come back. We'll include your phone calls for Deirdre and Don Imus. The book is the "Imus Ranch: Cooking For Kids and Cowboys." The author is Deirdre. We'll be right back.
KING: The book is "The Imus Ranch, Cooking for Kids and Cowboys." The author is Dierdre Imus. On the back, it is said a portion from the book, "kids come from all over to the Imus ranch. Some are cancer survivors, some are still battling cancer. Some have life-threatening blood disorders, and some have lost a brother or sister to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. You might imagine there would be a lot of sadness here, but there isn't. We welcome kids who have known too much sickness and too much death and we give them something they urgently need, a sense of independence and purpose, through healthy, vigorous living."
The Imuses, they're good people, but they're also the Bickersons. And by the way, if, I've mentioned this to Desudo (ph), if you are a marriage counselor, we wish we had a private number to get you, but we hope you get through.
DON IMUS: We don't need a marriage counselor.
DEIRDRE IMUS: We work everything out. If you've noticed...
DON IMUS: She just needs to be a little more respectful is all.
DEIRDRE IMUS: No, you do. But we do resolve things minute by minute, if you noticed. We don't let things go.
KING: You don't go to bed angry?
DEIRDRE IMUS: No, no.
KING: OK. Imperial Beach, California. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Just one of your shut-ins checking in. Anyway, I had talked to Mr. Imus as a recovering alcoholic. It's good work that he's doing, and Deirdre too, with the book. I'm wondering, Don, if your activities with the ranch have anything to do with the step having to do with making amends?
DON IMUS: Well, that's a good AA question. No, it doesn't. You know, neither my wife nor I are into self-deprecation or make any lame attempts to be self-effacing. The truth of the matter is, we really just stumbled into this. This ranch -- the idea of a working cattle ranch for kids with cancer was not born out of any, thank God, personal tragedy that affected our family or even anyone in those days that we knew, other than the kids we were raising money for. The -- but we -- once we came up with the idea, and having -- me having been raised on a cattle ranch and thinking that that was a -- and both Dierdre and I noticing that these kids had low self-esteem and they didn't think they were normal, and we knew they were.
And one thing -- really, one thing just led to another. It's just a ridiculous story. I mean, the day -- from the day we came up with it, until, I mean, we raised, altogether, we raised $40 million. I mean, it was ridiculous. DEIRDRE IMUS: And half of it in hours.
DON IMUS: And the next thing you knew, we had this -- I mean, it's a world class facility there in New Mexico. And I don't know that we knew the time commitment that was involved, because, you know, we run it. We don't -- we don't...
KING: It consumes you, doesn't it?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yeah, we live there four months out of the year, and with these kids all these days.
DON IMUS: So it is...
KING: It's not a guilt trip.
DON IMUS: It's not making amends. So that's a good question, a legitimate question. But just don't ask anymore.
KING: Rockford, Illinois. Hello.
KING: Yeah, go ahead.
CALLER: This is Ed Fermanes (ph).
KING: Go ahead. Oh, I'm sorry, I hit the wrong number. But go ahead, Ed.
CALLER: OK. Don, I'm a big fan. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful.
DON IMUS: You know, we got married in Monument Valley, Utah. And we had to get a marriage license, and some little jerk water town -- in the county courthouse of some town in Utah. Not a jerk water town, but whatever it was.
CALLER: Well, does Dierdre like it...
DON IMUS: Howard Stern.
So, anyway, I walked in and said -- I told the clerk that I wanted to adopt her, you know. So she gets out that set of papers, you know. You can't do anything now.
KING: To now Rockford, Illinois. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry, you're such a gracious and wonderful host, and so patient. Am I on?
CALLER: Oh, I have a question...
KING: Who do you think you were talking to? Yeah, go ahead. CALLER: ... for you and for Don as well. Are you going to have ex-hostage Hamill on your shows?
CALLER: The ex-hostage, Mr. Hamill.
KING: Oh, Mr. Hamill. Sure. We're trying to get him. You are, too, aren't you?
DON IMUS: The guy with Brown & Root?
DON IMUS: Halliburton? He worked for Brown & Root.
KING: Yeah. Sure. We're trying to get him. You have a question other than that?
CALLER: Don, I just want to tell you how wonderful you are.
DON IMUS: You really have some great people calling in, I mean. Is this part of thing where you have to take calls?
KING: No, I like it, because the calls are from the public.
DON IMUS: Oh, OK. Oh, that's fine.
KING: You take calls, too. I've heard you. Come on.
DON IMUS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it's usually the last hour.
DEIRDRE IMUS: His are brutally so insulting and rude, I don't know why people would ever even want to call on his show.
KING: Sherman, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Don. I'm a huge fan of yours. I watch you every morning. I'm a teacher, and I recently had a student who has been diagnosed with a cancerous malignant tumor on his upper arm. My question to you is, do you all accept only terminally ill children at your ranch? Or might they be candidates before they reach that stage? Thank you.
KING: Thank you.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well, we accept all different kids. The bottom line is they have to -- we go through their oncologist, and if their doctor says that they're capable of getting on a horse and working on the ranch and doing chores, then they can come to the ranch.
KING: They don't have to be near death or terminal?
DON IMUS: No. DEIRDRE IMUS: No, we've had all various stages. Some kids have been in remission for five years, some have just been off chemotherapy, you know, six weeks when they show up at the ranch. Some still have a bald head. And so it's really -- if they're able to get on a horse and do the chores, and the doctor says that's OK, then they're eligible for the ranch.
DON IMUS: It's a unique program. Like the Hole in the Wall Gang camp, which is a wonderful organization, Paul Newman (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It just doesn't get better than what they do.
DEIRDRE IMUS: We went and visited that before we built our ranch.
DON IMUS: In fact, one of the original doctors from the Hole in the Wall Gang, Dr. Howard Pierson (ph), he's been our doctor at the ranch for the past two or three years.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Pretty much our staff doctor, yeah.
DON IMUS: One of the most over-educated people in the world anyway.
KING: By the way, you have your...
DON IMUS: Radio-thon.
KING: Radio-thon tomorrow.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Tomorrow.
DON IMUS: But for example, the Hole in the Wall Gang camp, they can take kids who are severely handicapped. And the basic fundamental foundation of the ranch was to be able to take kids who can work and ride horses. And that means we can't take every kid, but we can change the lives of a significant number of kids, who, and as I said, we'll hit 500 this summer. And it's a remarkable program and does as much for them as almost anything in their life.
DEIRDRE IMUS: The purpose, again, to distinguish what camps are, and all these camps are great, but we're doing something totally different. And the whole purpose for this is to instill responsibility and a work ethic, and through doing that and all the work at the ranch and having responsibility, they're all assigned a horse. That horse that that kid has, they are totally responsible for it, to feed, to groom, and that's the horse they learn to cowboy on. And through that work ethic and responsibility, they start to gain their confidence, their self-esteem, self-worth, sense of purpose. And the 90 days they're there, it's amazing the transformation with a lot of these kids.
KING: The caller mentioned Howard Stern, just -- I want to get your thoughts on this plan to -- since the Janet Jackson thing, the FCC clamping down, Clear Channel canceling shows...
DON IMUS: It's an outrage. It's a witch-hunt. I mean, I'm no big fan of Stern's, but fair's fair, it's a witch-hunt. It's ridiculous. You know, first of all, if you look at a -- if you listen to Howard Stern's program, I mean, the intent is to be funny. Now, you may not think it's funny. That's subjective (ph) to me and you. One may not think it's funny, well, that's subjective.
KING: Right, of course.
DON IMUS: But to take a...
DEIRDRE IMUS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) porno channel. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Then it would be appropriate.
DON IMUS: To take a transcript of that and try and indict the guy or to -- that was a grand standing chump move on the part of Clear Channel to try to embarrass my boss when he had the chance to run (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It was outrageous.
If you don't like Howard Stern, don't listen to him. Listen to something else. There's nothing he's doing -- it might be offensive, it probably is offense it. It is offensive. But Is it indecent?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes.
DON IMUS: I don't think so.
KING: You favor the possible removal of him?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I don't know about that. I hear what he's saying, too.
DON IMUS: You shouldn't.
DEIRDRE IMUS: No, I don't. I just think the venue that he's on.
DON IMUS: We'd be selling the jet.
DEIRDRE IMUS: A different venue would be more appropriate for him.
KING: He could be next.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Where he still has a voice.
DON IMUS: She's not for that, believe me. We'll talk later. But she's not for that.
KING: We'll be back with the Imuses. Don't go away.
DON IMUS: Do you think that moron could send me a copy of Brad Cotter's record. Could he do that? No, of court not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did he send me?
DON IMUS: He sent me a stupid framed poster they must hang up around some goober bar in down there in Nashville. A framed poster advertising "Nashville Star" that's on every Saturday -- well, it's a not on now it will be on next year. What do they think I'm going to do with this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have rotating art.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could give it to somebody.
DON IMUS: I don't want...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-oh. Uh-oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Gimmick or heartfelt?
DON IMUS: No. I was annoying. Why would they send that to me?
KING: Nice gimmick, though.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He does that at home. Someone will send us a gift or something at our home and he's mad they sent it to our home and throw it away or smash it.
DON IMUS; One time I just -- horrible -- Loretta Lynn, one of the greatest country singers in the history of that music, she sent me, for Christmas, a plate. Well, it looked -- I got it from her PR firm, like Sandy Meddleson sent it to you.
So, I get this dopey plate. I was so -- I thought, it's got to be every country music disk jockey in America gets one of those plates. So, I took a sledge hammer and I broke it in about 50 million pieces on the air, you know.
And then a few months later here comes Loretta Lynn to visit. I felt like I couldn't be -- I had to tell her, you know. And she sat there and I don't know whether she was jerking my chain or not. She claimed that it was an heirloom and it was one of only five plates.
DEIRDRE IMUS: It was original.
DON IMUS: I think she was jerking my chain.
KING: I want to publicly thank you for playing my wife's Christmas record on your show. That record did super.
DON IMUS: I didn't have good intentions. I thought it was going to be awful.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He wanted some yucks.
DON IMUS: So, I was -- I didn't tell the guys who it was. I said I had this new Christmas record. Said it was your wife, you know. And I hadn't heard it. So, I didn't know it was any good or not. I just assumed it was awful. It had to be. DEIRDRE IMUS: And your wife is beautiful and the voice is beautiful.
DON IMUS: I play it. These guys are the most cynical people on Earth. That's terrific.
DEIRDRE IMUS: They liked it.
DON IMUS: It was one of the worst mornings ever because...
KING: You were rebuffed.
Monroe, North Carolina. Hello.
CALLER: Good evening. For Mr. Influential, when are you going to put the full-court press on our man here and force him to stand up for something we can vote for and not vote for Mr. Bush?
KING: He said, when are you going to put the full force behind Mr. Kerry and give us a reason to vote for him against Mr. Bush? They feel Kerry hasn't gotten untracked.
DON IMUS: Well, he probably hasn't. He's got to stop...
DEIRDRE IMUS: Following.
DON IMUS: By the way, the program I'm doing is not "Meet the Press."
KING: No kidding.
DON IMUS: I wouldn't place a lot of -- I wouldn't place a lot of...
KING: Bush is falling in popularity, but Kerry isn't gaining. And now they're even in the polls.
DON IMUS: I was talking to Paul Begala this morning, a pretty smart guy.
KING: What was he saying?
DON IMUS: And he said that he thought that was bad for Bush. Because he's such a polarizing figure for whatever reason in this country, and there are a number of them, that when people don't have a residual feeling about him to vote for him. All Kerry has to do is not fall off his bicycle again.
KING: Kingston, North Carolina -- or New York, I'm sorry. Kingston, New York. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. I think it's so psychologically smart of the Imuses not to molly coddle the kids on the ranch. And I commend them for that. But my question is, Mr Imus always displays a live and let live attitude on his show. And I wondered if he was always a tolerant person all his life or does that come with age? DON IMUS: Am I tolerant person?
DON IMUS: Well, I don't know. Well, a lot of the -- well I don't know.
DEIRDRE IMUS; I'd like to say you are. He's extremely tolerant. As much as he's so grumpy, he's the most honest person.
KING: He's tolerant and judgmental at the same time, though.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes. He'll kiss you and slap you at the same time.
DON IMUS: This is just -- this is just -- I forget what does George Carlin say?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I big circus.
DON IMUS: It's a freak show. The freaks and other people watch the freaks and people get paid to talk to the freaks. You get paid to talk to the freaks and so do I.
KING: This is -- must be asked. Why did you fall in love with him?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Why? I don't know. I don't know why.
KING: Did something strike you? Was it early on in the relationship?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I don't know. It was love at first sight for you, right, honey.
DON IMUS: This better be a good answer. That's all I'm saying.
DEIRDRE IMUS: It was love at first sight. Without sounding corny or getting into anything personal, It was love at first sight for both of us.
KING: Where did you meet?
DEIRDRE IMUS: On his show. I was a guest invited on his snow.
KING: To talk about?
DEIRDRE IMUS: To talk about anything, politics, current events.
KING: Why were you invited on?
DEIRDRE IMUS: I was invited on -- through my agency, I was acting at the time.
KING: You were booked on the Imus show? DEIRDRE IMUS: I was booked on the show with like 5 other women. He and Bernard was going on, you can't get a good looking woman who knows anything about sports and also politics.
KING: What happens when she walks in?
DON IMUS: It wasn't one of those things. She was a lot younger than I am. I thought this is absurd. So, I knew her for a couple of years. She kept chasing me around. What was I supposed to do?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Oh, god. Chasing him around. Do you actually think I'd be chasing you around. I never chased you around.
DON IMUS; What happened?
DEIRDRE IMUS: You can't run anyway.
DON IMUS: I could run in those days. What exactly happened?
KING: Wait a minute.
DEIRDRE IMUS: You were always riding around in your limo? You don't go anywhere. It's not like I would meet him somewhere, because the guy doesn't go out.
KING: Did you know each other for two years without dating?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes.
KING: So, what happened in those two years if it was love at first sight.
DON IMUS: She says it was love at first sight.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well it was for me. I guess maybe not for you then. You lied to me. You lied to me.
DON IMUS: When did I lie?
DEIRDRE IMUS: You lied to me then when you said you couldn't live without me.
DON IMUS: No, no, no. This is kind of interesting. How did I lie?
DEIRDRE IMUS: You're not a liar. I shouldn't say that. You're forgetting. You're forgetting, honey.
DON IMUS: I thought you were lonely. You were 14 years old.
KING: What happened during the two years?
DEIRDRE IMUS: It was an age thing. He really did think I was too young.
KING: Did you go out during those two years? DEIRDRE IMUS: No.
DEIRDRE IMUS: But what we did do, is we -- he wrote me letters at the time...
DON IMUS: This is not something that has to be talked about on Larry's program.
DEIRDRE IMUS: It's not personal. And books. We found we had a common interest...
DON IMUS: Oh, this is (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I sent her "Leaves of Grass."
KING: The book or real? OK. We'll be back with our remaining moments with the Imuses.
KING: We'll see them tomorrow on "Divorce Court."
DEIRDRE IMUS: Oh, God.
KING: Good night. Don't go away. We'll be right back.
KING: We'll get another call in for the Imuses. The book is "The Imus Ranch, Cooking for Kids and Cowboys" by Dierdre.
Lindenhurst, Illinois, hello.
CALLER: Hello. I was at a book signing last week. Congratulations on the book.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Thank you.
CALLER: It's obvious that the two of you are the reason why the kids have such a great time at the ranch. Do you wish you could clone yourselves so that you could take more kids on a weekly basis?
DON IMUS: We do, you know. We just did a spring session with a bunch of kids from Oregon. The age group of kids we can take are between 11 and 17.
KING: That's for insurance purposes you mean?
DON IMUS: Pardon me?
DEIRDRE IMUS: No.
KING: Can't (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
DON IMUS: Well, under 11, you can't really get on a horse. DEIRDRE IMUS: Yeah, they're too small to even get on a horse and do all the chores.
DON IMUS: Over 17, they take all the cowboy's dope. So. No.
DEIRDRE IMUS: We have problems with male and female after 17.
DON IMUS: We're restricted to taking kids when they're out of school.
KING: You mentioned during the break that one of the attractions you had for each other, you both being hermits? I-Man called me one day and he said, hey, it's the 50th anniversary of Bobby Townsend's (ph) homer, 1951. And there's going to be this big gathering in New York. Thompson (ph) and Brank (ph) are going to be -- the Thompson (ph) hit (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and all the living Yankees, Giants and Dodgers of that October are going to be there. It's big, big, and the support goes for the ranch. Would you emcee? I said, I'll be happy to, I look forward to seeing you. Oh, I'm not coming. I'm not coming. I said, wait a minute. It's your dinner. I know, but I don't go to dinners. Why don't you go out?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Right. That's typical.
KING: Why don't you go out?
DON IMUS: Well, I do. I'm here.
KING: I know, but...
DON IMUS: But there is no reason to go on (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: Do you two go out for dinner?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Never. We've been out for dinner, the last 12 years maybe a handful of times.
DON IMUS: Not even that much.
KING: Do you go to dinners?
DEIRDRE IMUS: No. Nothing.
DON IMUS: No.
DEIRDRE IMUS: We go to nothing.
DON IMUS: No.
KING: Why? There's a life out there.
DEIRDRE IMUS: I don't know. I'm just not interested.
DON IMUS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
DEIRDRE IMUS: I mean, first of all, he doesn't want to be around alcohol and drugs. And drinking.
DON IMUS: I do want to be around it, that's probably not a good idea.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Every social event, that's all that's around. And then -- that would be a nightmare. I mean, it would be a problem.
KING: And you don't mind that, not going out?
DEIRDRE IMUS: No, because I -- I -- well, no, I...
DON IMUS: No, she's -- believe me, even though she's (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
DEIRDRE IMUS: I'm probably worse than he is.
DON IMUS: She really is a nightmare.
DEIRDRE IMUS: A nightmare? I was talking about being a hermit, not a nightmare. Listen to that, wherever he can attack me, he will, Larry.
DON IMUS: No, it's not. How is that attacking you?
DEIRDRE IMUS: First of all, a nightmare, how am I a nightmare?
DON IMUS: Well, I don't think I meant...
DEIRDRE IMUS: Where did that come from?
DON IMUS: I don't think I meant nightmare. I just meant...
KING: What did you mean?
DON IMUS: You're eccentric.
DEIRDRE IMUS: He must love me, right? Because we don't go out, we don't socialize. We spend all of our time together. All of our time. We're with these kids all day long.
KING: When he finishes his show, he comes home right away?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Yes. I mean...
KING: And then what do you do all afternoon?
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well...
DON IMUS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
DEIRDRE IMUS: ... I run my center for (UNINTELLIGIBLE) too, you know, and then we run the ranch from New York when we're not at the ranch.
KING: I must tell you this, I've had the I-Man on many times, this has been the best hour because of you. Thank you, Dierdre. DEIRDRE IMUS: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Don, be well. The book is "The Imus Ranch..."
DON IMUS: If I dropped over dead here, you wouldn't care. You might care, but...
KING: I like you.
DEIRDRE IMUS: Well, it would be good TV for you, Larry.
KING: Would you do that?
"The Imus Ranch, Cooking for Kids and Cowboys," by Deirdre Imus. It's a terrific, terrific book, with a lot more than just recipes.
DON IMUS: It's a great read, isn't it, Larry?
KING: I'll be back in a couple of minutes to tell you about tomorrow night when we return to sanity. Don't go away.
KING: We hope you enjoyed the Imuses. That was a fun hour, to say the least. Tomorrow night, the first lady of the state of California, and of NBC. Maria Shriver joins us to talk about lots of things, including Alzheimer's, and her dad.
Right now, we turn it over -- even though we're in New York, we're still not together, because he's down at the old place and I'm at the new place, the Time Warner building where he'll be Monday. You're going to love it. Aaron Brown and "NEWSNIGHT."
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com