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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Senators Jon Kyl and Evan Bayh on Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, Larry King interviews Giorgio Ra'shadd, Pfc. Lynndie England's attorney, close friends of the Berg family.
Aired May 12, 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, can the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal get even worse? Lawmakers are privately shown graphic new photos and videos some say depict sexual acts. Should the public get a look? We'll ask two senators who did see them, Jon Kyl, a Republican of Arizona and Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana. Plus the lawyer for one of the soldiers accused in the abuse scandal who says she was just following orders.
And then who was Nicholas Berg, the American beheaded in Iraq and why was he there? We'll ask Dan Stick, a close friend of Nick's friend from their high school days and Bruce Hauser, a friend of the Berg family in their hometown, West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Plus exclusive. John and Patsy Ramsey, how did the still unsolved murder of their daughter JonBenet figure in his big announcement yesterday. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: We start with Senators Kyl and Bayh in Washington and we'll bring in Giorgio Ra'shadd who is Pfc. Lynndie England's attorney but first the reaction of the senators to what they saw today. Senator Kyl, what are your thoughts?
SEN. JOHN KYL (R), ARIZONA: Well, Senator Bayh and I were just saying it's almost impossible to express what we saw. It's disgusting. I think I would say one thing, though. What you've seen on television is pretty representative of what we saw. I think what we saw included some video that was more graphic and involved some physical contact not depicted on the still photos, when you see it without the visual doctoring that occurs on television, it's much more graphic and more despicable. There is also a fair amount of photography of American service people engaging in sex acts that obviously are not needed to be shown on television.
KING: Senator Bayh?
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: Larry, it's not often you find two members of the United States Senate almost at a loss for words to describe something. There were sexually degrading scenes, physical degradation, that kind of thing. I think it's important for your viewers to know that these activities went way beyond anything that is even remotely permissible in the code of military conduct in the way we run our prisons and allow interrogations. There are 15 specifically approved interrogation techniques. In none of them do they approve stripping down and making naked of prisoners, the kind of acts that we saw in these photographs and that you've seen publicly. There are a few other approved procedures you need to get special approval for. Even those come nowhere close to the scenes in these pictures.
KING: Gentleman, we're going to bring in from Fayetteville, he has to leave us shortly. Giorgio Ra'shadd, he is Pfc. Lynndie England's attorney. Pfc. England defended herself, by the way, in a recent interview with a Denver television station KCNC. Here's a look at part of that interview before we talk to Giorgio. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PFC. LYNNDIE ENGLAND, U.S. ARMY: We all agree we don't feel like we were doing things we weren't supposed to because we were told to do them. We think everything was justified because we were instructed to do this and to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Giorgio Ra'shadd, is that a defense if someone is instructed to do something they know is wrong?
GIORGIO RA'SHADD, ATTORNEY FOR PFC. LYNNDIE ENGLAND: Well, Larry, it becomes a matter of whether you believe that the instructions you're being given by the only chain of command that now exists is illegal or wrong. Every soldier has to make that judgment. When they feel they have to make that judgment, they're obligated to go to their chain of command and address them with their concerns. In this instance, General Karpinski was the commander of that unit but she wasn't allowed to go in that section because O.G.A and M.I. took over that section and excluded her there.
So in effect, O.G.A. and M.I. became the de facto commanders. To the extent that those individuals are seen in pictures directing, manhandling people and giving these soldiers instructions what they need to do to soften up prisoners so that O.G.A. and M.I. can then extract information about roadside bombings and the like. It isn't a fact that it's a defense, it is an explanation.
KING: Senator Kyl, what do you make of that and anything you want to ask Mr. Ra'shadd?
KYL: Let me just say this, first of all, one should not jump to conclusions based upon the photographs that have been seen and perhaps will be seen soon on television. They don't tell you anything about whether these acts were done under somebody's orders, if so, how far up the chain of command those orders went or whether they were simply done by a group of people that were not acting in accordance with proper procedure.
In addition to that the words from attorneys such as this gentleman and some of the family members from people who are charged understandably point the blame to someone else. That's typical. We don't know whether that's true or not. The government, military will not be making their case on television. All I caution is that people not jump to premature conclusions about any of these things until the investigations are complete and in some of the cases, the court- martials have been concluded.
KING: Senator Bayh, would you not say to attorney Giorgio Ra'shadd that if you are told to take a man around on a leash while he's nude it don't have to tell you much to tell you that that's wrong.
BAYH: I think that makes sense. His client is entitled to a fair trial. The reason we have a criminal justice system in this country is to get all of the facts. We're in the process of doing that now. I'd say three things very quickly. All of these guards were supposed to receive the appropriate training in the terms of the Geneva Convention. What was approved or disapproved. I don't know whether this young woman received that training or not but she should have. Secondly, General Taguba found there was a gross lack of oversight and leadership on the part of the commanders of these MPs so perhaps they weren't following up and reinforcing the kind of instructions. But we were told they were posted in the prison about what you could and what you couldn't do.
The final thing is the attorney mentioned that the military intelligence and the other people were taking charge of that part of the prison and giving orders. They weren't empowered to do that. They technically had control over the facility but were not in the chain of command over the MPs, so they shouldn't have been following their orders if they were being given. I can understand why confusion might exist but as you pointed out, common sense would dictate against doing the kind of things that were depicted in those pictures.
KING: Giorgio, how would you respond?
RA'SHADD: I think it's unprecedented in the history of the American military that the civilian intelligence infrastructure has been allowed to hijack the chain of command. You heard from General Karpinski, you've heard from the Taguba report that in fact General Karpinski was excluded from that portion of the facility. The leadership was removed. The actual military command structure was removed and replaced by civilian contractors and civilian intelligence officials that were then giving encouragement, thumbs up and actual directions of what to do to enable them to more easily extract information about possible roadside bombings.
KING: So you're saying your client was between a rock and a hard place?
RA'SHADD: I'm saying if the military command structure allows civilians to exclude them from the structure and hijacks it, and there's no military person there that is willing to take charge and take responsibility, then a bunch of young kids, who are given instructions and encouragement to help facilitate information to protect forced structure will probably end up doing some of the things they're instructed if there's no one else to overwatch the civilian intelligence infrastructure. KING: What is she charged with, by the way?
RA'SHADD: There's very detailed, long specifications, but there are three specifications. Larry, they're very thick, so I could not recite them from memory at this point.
KING: You will defend her at the court-martial?
RA'SHADD: The first step is a -- essentially what civilians know as preliminary hearing, an Article 32 hearing. At that hearing there will be another individual who is a former JAG along with me and along with the detailed military JAG who will be providing the defense. We'll be backed up by two additional civilian attorneys. So once there's a determination made at the Article 32, then we'll know whether there's going to be a court-martial.
KING: I got you. Thanks so much for joining us. We'll come right back with Senators Kyl and Bayh and what they make of blame here and how high up does it go. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ENGLAND: I was instructed by persons in higher rank to stand there, hold this leash and look at the camera. They took a picture. That's all I know. Told to stand there and give a thumbs up, smile, stand behind all of the naked Iraqis in the pyramid, take a picture.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who told you to do that?
ENGLAND: Persons in my higher chain of command.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUMSFELD: I understand concern, by golly, I've got it. But I look at Afghanistan, 25 million people liberated, women voting, able go to a doctor. And I look at Iraq and all I can say is I hope it comes out well. And I believe it will. And we're going to keep at it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Jon Kyl, Senator Warner says no. Should we, the public see what you saw today?
SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: Larry, I think it's going to be a moot point. It seems to me the pictures broadcast are part of what we saw today. My guess is all these pictures are in the hands of the media. In one way or another, the ones that deal with the prison should probably be shown on television. There are some that might not be I described those earlier and those that may well have been killed in combat that don't need to be shown. As to the photographs at the prison, if it is done with discretion, I caution you about that because some of the video is not going to be fun for anybody to watch. If it's done with discretion and perhaps in some cases described rather than shown, then I think all of it needs to get out one way or the other. But I would urge people to use discretion on it.
KING: Senator Bayh, are we saying sexual acts were performed on the prison or by the captors for the prisons themselves and them to watch.
BAYH: There was certainly sexual degradation of prisons, Larry, how much of that was simulated and how much was real is difficult to discern from the pictures in the video. As Jon was saying, this not PG stuff. Look, it was not per miserable for this to take place. I'm of two minds who to make it public. On the on hand, in a free society you air on the side of making things public. And one of the problems we had here, we didn't get out in front of the story. We allowed it to break without us showing we were on top of it without getting to the bottom of it and correct it. If there's any risk we will run, endanger soldiers, highlight tensions and run the risk of other lives, I would err on the side of not doing that. I think, having seen the pictures you've already seen, if you use your imagination what else might be out there.
KING: Jon, how high is this going to get?
KYL: Well, that's the question. Unfortunate they, there are two studies under way to determine precisely at what level command were given that -- or not given that might have resulted in the deterioration of conditions and command and control at the facility. One, is the oversight group that former defense secretary Schlesinger and Tillie Fowler are chairing. And the other is the work that's being done on the ground to supplement the investigations as part of the court's martial. And those two together should tell us who was in command, precisely, who gave what orders and therefore how far up the chain of command that people can be held accountable.
KING: And how much would you suspect this is widespread, Senator Bayh?
How much don't we know?
BAYH: The only complaints we have to date, Larry, thankfully, relate to this one facility. I suspect now that this has come to light there will be a pretty thorough scrubbing of everything. Look, this again, your viewers need to know this violates our military code of conduct. And I think there will be a vigorous effort both on the military side and intelligence side to make sure this kind of thing does not happen again, that people are trained and constantly reminded of the appropriate procedures. And the last thing I'll say, this info way excuses the underlying behavior. But conditions in prison were god-awful, it went from 2,000 prisoners to 6 or 7,000 prisons in a short period of time. They overwhelmed, there were insurrections within the prison, they were being fired at from outside the prison. They were being pressured to get information from these people so we could fight the insurrection. So, it doesn't excuse the behavior but I think it explains the atmosphere that gives rise to the aberrant behavior. KING: In a moment the matter of Nicholas Berg. Our senators will remain with us. And we'll meet two friends of the late Nicholas Berg, who's body is now in Dover, Delaware. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUMSFELD: All we hear about are the problems. And there are problems. And I've got to tell you there are going to be more revelations of abuse that will come out in the days and weeks ahead because we have six and eight investigations looking into all of this. They will not come out because of the media being so wonderful and investigating and everything. They will come out because the United States military investigations will let them out and they'll announce them. And that's a good thing. And that tells a whale of a lot about our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Staying with us in Washington, Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona.
Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana.
Joining us now in Washington, Dan Stick, a friend of Nicholas Berg, the American beheaded in Iraq. He knew him in school.
And in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Bruce Hauser family friend, who's also been kind of a family spokesman.
We understand, Bruce, that you recently met with the parents. What did they have to say?
BRUCE HAUSER, BERG FAMILY FRIEND: I met with the parents just about an hour and half ago. I sat with them, my wife and I. We've been going over to the Berg family home on several occasions throughout each passing day. We want to comfort the family as much as possible.
As you realize, the family is in a very devastating sense of mind. They're trying to reason why this had to happen to Nick. I've known Nick ever since he was a young child, probably around the age of 4, watched him grow up to be an adult. If you would know the Nick Berg that I have known, you would say to yourself, why did this happen to such a nice young man.
KING: The horror of its happening, and then the double thing of the -- the horror of its happening then the father complaining that the government could have gotten him out, that the government held him captive. Let's listen to the part of a radio interview that Nick's father recently gave. Listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BERG, NICK BERG'S FATHER: That's really what cost my son his life, was the fact the United States government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of his due process or civil rights and release him when they were good and ready.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Kyl, the government denies that. The FBI agents say -- the FBI issued a release today saying they questioned him. He was kept by Iraqi people for a while, because they didn't know what he was doing there. And then they offered him safe exit out. What do you make of this?
KYL: That's my understanding of the government's version of events, that it was the FBI that offered him -- in fact, offered to make sure he could be flown out of the country safely and urged him to leave.
Obviously, I don't know the facts. But I can understand the grief the family would feel. There's a tendency to try to want to explain this some how. But I do think, again, we need to wait until the facts are out before trying to cast blame here.
KING: Senator Bayh, isn't this another continuing puzzlements of this whole Iraq war?
BAYH: Larry, it's just one more puzzle after another, and obviously, we need to get to the bottom of how Nick Berg was handled. But look, our hearts go out to the family and friends. It's a horrific situation. And I think it's important to note, Larry, that Jon Kyl and I was just saying we some pretty rough photographs today, some pretty shocking things. In my estimation nothing as barbarous or shocking as what happened to Nicholas Berg.
KING: Dan, how well did you know him?
DAN STICK, FRIEND OF NICHOLAS BERG: I knew Nick pretty well when I was in high school, because we competed in a science competition together. After he went to college and I went off, I lost track of him and saw him once or twice after that.
KING: What kind of guy was he?
STICK: He was a great guy. Everyone wanted to be around Nick. He was always fun, he was just an entertaining person. Something was always happening around him, because he was a great people person. There are countless stories, where he did something funny, and just a tragedy what happened to him.
KING: He went there, to your knowledge, to try to start a business, right?
STICK: Yes, that's what I heard. My belief was that his motives were 99 percent humanitarian. Nick wasn't -- I don't think he was interested in making a lot of money in Iraq. He always had various practical schemes and engineering ideas he thought could help other countries. I know he did something similar to that in Africa. I hear what he was trying to do in Iraq with the communication towers.
KING: In other words, a good guy? STICK: Yes, he was, definitely.
KING: Now Bruce, what is the dilemma like for the parents, the horror of the way their son died and at the same time, blaming their own country, in a sense. How are they living with that?
HAUSER: Well, I think the parents themselves feel some what guilty of what has happened. I'm sure like any other parent, they tried to talk to their son out of going. I have two children of my own who are in their early 30s. And like any other parent, we give our children advice but they tend to make up their own minds.
I'll say this about the Berg family, they're a genuine family. They have loving children. They're concerned. They're trying to bring all this together and understand why this happened.
The neighborhood's saying the same thing. The Bergs are an excellent family. They raised their children to be mannerable children, very respectful people. And the neighborhood, everyone's talking and in tears just trying to figure out why this happened.
KING: AND it is the berg's contention it could have been prevented by this country?
HAUSER: That's what I'm hearing.
And I've known the Berg family for nearly 23 years. This is a genuine family. And believe me, they're not a family that's going to make up a story. If they're saying this is what they heard from their son, I'm going to stand behind the Bergs, because I've known these people, they have no reason to lie about or to the government.
KING: Senator Kyl, what's your over view of this? What do you make of it?
KYL: Well, I do think it's important to move back and look at the perspective of who committed this heinous crime. This guy Zarqawi, and his voice has been confirmed to be that on the tape, is one of the most dangerous people in the terrorist organizations now, that we face. He's affiliated with al Qaeda. He's significantly involved in Iraq right now.
This is the kind of people that we're facing. This is what we're dealing with on this war on terror. This is why we've got to prevail. Because, while we are understandably concerned about the abuse of the prisoners and trying to do something about that, we've got these terrorists who revel in this king of heinous act.
And they will do more of it, primarily I think, to demonstrate to their fellow terrorists it's time to stick with them, because they represent the strong horse and the United States and the West is the weak horse. We can't allow ourselves to be put into that position.
KING: Senator Bayh you think they did this because of what happened in the prison or they would have done it anyway? BAYH: Larry, I think they would have done it anyway. These are the same kinds of people who beheaded Danny Pearl, they're the same kinds of people who are blowing up our soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians wanton across that country. These are bad, barberous people, Larry. And if you had any doubt about the moral equivalency, when we have people who do things they shouldn't do we bring them to justice. And if they're guilty, they'll be punished. These people do it to try and further they're own cause and gather support. There is just no moral equivalency between these two situations.
KING: Bruce, when will the body come home?
HAUSER: The way I understand it, the body has arrived at the Dover Air Force Base. And I believe the mortician has gone down to receive the body. Any more than that, I don't know.
Can I say something, Larry, please?
KING: The memorial service this Sunday. Quickly, if you want to add something, Bruce.
HAUSER: Yes. One thing I'd like to say is America needs to know that I personally don't believe we've seen the last. We realize we've gone through 9/11. Everyone was saying God Bless America. I heard that and I kept saying to myself, when is America going to bless god? We have prayer taken out of the school, we're talking about taking god out of the pledge of allegiance. America should not be shocked as to what has happened, and I don't think we've seen the end. We need to come to grips with what's going on in this country.
KING: Thank you, Bruce Hauser. Thank you, Dan Stick. The memorial service is this Sunday. Dan, by the way, you going to go?
STICK: Yes, definitely.
KING: And Senators Jon Kyl and Evan Bayh, as always, thank you very much for your thoughts and insights.
We will take a break and come back. An exclusive tonight, John and Patsy Ramsey. John is going to run for office, Patsy's had quite an illness. Take some calls for them too. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. BERG: He just really wanted to be part of something that was important. He supported the administration's being in Iraq. He supported everything that they were doing. And he wanted to help and he wanted to help in a positive way by building, rather than breaking down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, good to see them again, Antrim City, Michigan, John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of JonBonet Ramsey who was found strangled in the basement of their home in Boulder, Colorado,
Seems hard to believe, December 26, 1996. The Ramsey's are joining us tonight from Stone Waters Inn in Bell Aire, Michigan, where John has kicked of his campaign for a Michigan House seat.
Why, John, why politics?
JOHN RAMSEY, PARENTS OF LATE JONBENET RAMSEY: When we lost JonBonet, our life changed. Certainly that changed a lot of what was important to us. We realized a lot of things we thought important weren't important. But any parent who's lost a child knows what I'm talking about. More, in addition to that, through the next four or five years, hundreds and hundreds of people reached out to us with compassion, caring, sympathy. People took time out of their lives to reach out to us. And what we realized, were these people fellow strugglers, they were dealing with difficult issues in life. It opened our eyes to a different world than we had really been sensitive to. I think those two events really gave me a compassion to try to help my fellow man. All of a sudden I realized selling computers wasn't that important. And -- as we tried to work through that issue, how do we do that?
This door opened, let's go through it and see if that's what we're supposed to be doing. As we look at it, it's a way we can serve our fellow citizens, make a difference here in northern Michigan and so far so good.
KING: Why Michigan, is that where you grew up?
J. RAMSEY: Well, I did. Most people think of me, don't know me otherwise as the guy from Colorado, but we actually only lived there four years. I moved to Michigan when I was 12, went to junior high school, high school, college here, went off to the navy, came back for a master's degree and than left to find my fortune. And that's frankly a problem we have in Michigan, we export a lot of our youth. That's one of our objectives is to see if we can help with the issues of jobs and job retention. That's not a unique problem toward Michigan but the rest of the country as well.
KING: Patsy, John mentioned the loss of a child, one can only mention how tragic that is. But you had a double thing going, not only did you lose a child, but you're accused by many as being the cause of the child's death.
Is this going to help coming through that?
PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: I think we've already coming through that. Naturally, we're still hopeful and have every hope that the killer will be caught. But we have to get on with our lives. Like John said yesterday, we will not let evil prevail. This family has a lot to live for. We have a lot to contribute. We have coming through some difficult times. And the people of northern Michigan have stood the test of time with us. They have been walking side by side with us for years. And we just love Charlevoix, and the whole northern Michigan area so much, so John is really committed to these people, to return some of the good that they've sent into our lives over the past seven years.
KING: In that matter what do you make of the story today, Patsy, the tabloids may be changing. They used to attack you all the time. Now, there's a big story in one, the killer was actually -- they found the killer and he committed suicide.
How do you react to that?
P. RAMSEY: I tell you, I really don't read the tabloids. I really, don't put a whole lot of faith in that. I really think they just sometimes write things to sell newspapers. But we have more important things to deal with than reading the tabloids everyday.
KING: You're not hopeful in that regard maybe the killer was found and maybe he has passed away, maybe this is a conclusion.
P. RAMSEY: You can say maybe, maybe, maybe this, maybe that. We know the DNA evidence is very strong. We have been told they've the killer's DNA and that the killer can be found and will be found. So, there's no reason to speculate until the time that the people in authority and the district attorney's office say that they have apprehended the murderer.
KING: Do you keep in touch with them John, on a regular basis?
J. RAMSEY: They update us periodically, which we're very grateful for. And we certainly tell them anything they need from us, we will comply with instantly. But not on a daily basis. You know, once very month or so.
KING: Patsy, how you doing?
Reports you had a serious illness. You have cancer. Get us up to date.
P. RAMSEY: I had a doctor's appointment today. A really great report. No change of the last CT scan. I do have a recurrence ovarian cancer. My CA-125, for those of you who know about the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer, the CA-125 was an 8, which is very, very good. And I feel so good I've been working everyday in my new business. I started a new business in Charlevoix, webbookusa.com. And I'm in there everyday working. It's a Web site directory online and in print that brings local focus to small to medium companies much like the ones that are here in northwest Michigan, specifically like the Stone Water Inn we're here in Belliare tonight. We discovered on webbookusa.com. So...
KING: Isn't ovarian cancer most of the times a killer?
P. RAMSEY: Well, cancer is not a death sentence any longer. Fortunately we have wonderful medications. Chemotherapy is a tough road to hoe, I have to tell you that. But it is -- I'm grateful we have it. I respond very well to chemotherapy. I have a genetic form of ovarian cancer and do respond very well. So, that and the power of prayer. I believe God is still in the healing business, and he has a lot left for me to do on this earth. I will leave it in his hands. KING: What's -- what's the prognosis as of today?
P. RAMSEY: Larry, I say to everybody that asks me what is my prognosis, I say, it's the same as yours. Everybody's going to live until they die. Nobody knows that until God decides when that is.
KING: We're all terminal.
P. RAMSEY: You're absolutely right.
KING: We're going to take a break. I'm going to ask John Ramsey about running in a race, how he thinks the race might play out, what people might say about him or opposed to that. We'll also see a sample of his commercial. We'll also include some of your phone calls with the Ramsey's.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. RAMSEY: I've very excited to tell you, we have filed the paperwork today and we're off and running for the opportunity to serve the citizens in northern Michigan as your next representative in state legislature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: By the way, just to get things up to date, the status of the murder investigation, a federal judge and new Boulder D.A. have said that the weight of the evidence now is more consistent with the intruder theory than any other theory.
John is running for public office. He's running for the statehouse in the state of Michigan. Here's a sample of that campaign. Let's look at a TV commercial. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. RAMSEY: My name is John Ramsey. I'm running for state representative from Northern Michigan. My family has been in Michigan for nearly 50 years. But sadly, most of you know my name only from the tragic death of my daughter JonBenet. Were it not for our faith, the grief of that event and the veil of suspicion cast upon us would have destroyed our family.
The federal judge, the district attorney and new DNA evidence have confirmed that these accusations were groundless. But we were left to pick up the pieces.
This episode gave me a great sensitivity to the plight of so many other families, here in our community and across the country. People victimized by crime, people who lost their jobs, had their dignity stripped away, young already people disillusioned by government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And of course, the supportramsey.com is that bullet point at the bottom of the commercial.
John, how do you think that will play? The death of your daughter, how's it going to play in this race?
J. RAMSEY: You know, we think that -- we hope that most people understand the facts of this case now, a lot of significant changes took place about a year or so ago. Certainly, there was an avalanche of accusation for a number of years.
What we found, we found this really for the last eight years, people treat us wonderfully, with compassion, with sympathy. People asked us long ago, what's it like to be out in public. It's wonderful to be in public, people are so kind.
So, we have never, with rare exception, felt anything but compassion from our fellow man. How that plays out in an election, I don't know. My task, I think, is to let people know what I would like to do, and how I think I can help. If they choose that for me, they can do that, great. So -- go ahead.
KING: Couldn't one have easily said, John, why not just go away? You go into the night, start a new life, your wife is ill, fighting through that, live a life out, why go back into the public eye.
J. RAMSEY: Well Larry, we have to keep swinging until they haul us away in box. That's one of my fundamental philosophies in life. We're not going to give up. We're not going to make the highlight of our day going to the post office. I think we've got more to contribute than that.
And I think the real question for us is how do we contribute and how do we make as significant contribution as we can make.
You know, I've really changed in from being focused on really personal success to how do I make a difference in the community that I live? It's not matter of what used to be important to me. I'm not interested in building a company again, or rebuilding assets or getting a bigger home. Life's gotten a lot more sober for me, but a lot more real. That's a gift that my daughter's gave me.
KING: Let's take a call for the Ramseys. Salt Lake City, Utah hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thanks for having me on.
CALLER: Mr. Ramsey, you talk about giving back to the community, in your book "Death Of Innocence," you talk extensively about the JonBenet Ramsey Foundation. That foundation was closed, virtually did nothing. Yet in the book, it still says the proceeds from the book sales are going to the JonBenet Ramsey foundation. I wonder if you can explain that. And also, could you please tell everybody that in the civil case, the judge was only presented what Lynn Wood, your civil attorney showed him -- showed her -- and without benefit of the actual police files. I will hang up and listen. Thank you so much.
J. RAMSEY: I'm sorry. I didn't hear the second part of that question. But regarding the foundation we set up for JonBenet in her honor, we did the same for our daughter, Beth, when she died in 1992. It's a compassion that just, I think, flowed out of us. We weren't sure what we were going to do with it, but we wanted to do something to honor her name.
With Beth, our plan was to get the family together once a year and make a decision of what we could do with what we had available to give and make that a family decision. Certainly we set that up with JonBenet. That was our plan as well.
We have done some of that, not to the extent that we hoped. Frankly, we had hoped we could recover substantial damages from a lot of the very slanderous and wrong stories put out there about us. We did recover some things, but most of those were on behalf of our son, Burke. And so we've not yet, I think, done justice to what we had intended in our hearts for that to be.
P. RAMSEY: This week, however, we did present $1,000 worth of scholarships to Mount McSauba Day Camp here in Charlevoix, Michigan, where JonBenet and Burke both attended day camp. JonBenet was the camper of the year one summer. And we were very happy that the foundation was able to provide some scholarship money for campers this year.
KING: How is Burke doing?
J. RAMSEY: Burke's doing great. He's a junior in high school here in our hometown in Charlevoix. He just got his driver's license a couple of weeks ago and has hit the road.
KING: Venice, California. Hello.
CALLER: Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, I just was wondering, do you worry that the voters might think you're exploiting the infamy you got from your daughter's death by running for office?
J. RAMSEY: Listen, we're not doing this for money, we're not doing it to be on television. We've had enough of that. Yes, we've been given a platform of sorts. People would not known us otherwise, had we not lost JonBenet.
The real challenge for us, how do we make that horrible evil work for good? What should we do with this unusual platform we didn't ask for it? We would rather not had it. We certainly would give anything to have our life back before this all happened in 1996.
But given that, how do we make something good come out of this? I think JonBenet would be proud of us. I know she's proud of us. I know she's watching us right now. And we're trying to make good come out of that horrible tragedy. And we'll do the best we can until we can't do it anymore.
KING: Patsy, you have the faith to know that -- therefore you believe you'll be reunited with your daughters?
P. RAMSEY: Oh, absolutely. We have a promise through Jesus Christ there will be life eternal. He said this life will not be easy. There will be tribulation and people will revile you and slander you, but he has overcome and that we live for that.
We have hope, like those who have no hope, that is the real tragedy. I know JonBenet believed in Jesus, and she is there with him and with other family members who have gone on before. And I know that we will join her one of these days, and that gives us hope.
But until that time, we've got a beautiful life to live, and a lot to live for and a lot to do on her behalf. She would have been a great contributor to this country. We don't want to let her down.
KING: Darien, Connecticut, hello.
CALLER: John Ramsey, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey. John, I like what you said about contribute to society, very motivational, uplifting. Patsy, will you then go around speaking about ovarian cancer, as a platform, which would be fabulous?
P. RAMSEY: Well, I have, thank you. I have actually, through the National Speaker's Bureau, been give an lot of opportunities to speak with the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and talked, quite a great deal, about the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer.
It's a very elusive type of cancer, very deadly. It's deadly only because it's difficult to diagnose in the early stages. In my case, I was stage 4 when it was diagnosed in 1993.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more moments with John and Patsy Ramsey. We'll ask John, by the way, why he chose the state legislature as his first shot at office, why not city council. We'll be right back.
KING: John Ramsey, why the state legislature? Why not local office?
J. RAMSEY: Well, first of all, I believe in watching for doors that are open and walk through them and see if that's where I'm supposed to be going. Certainly, there was a door open here. We knew of the seat that was open. A friend of ours was going to run for it and chose not to and encouraged me to do so. More importantly, I think that the part I've gotten passionate about is really based on my background, which was business. That's an issue here in northern Michigan. How do we get more jobs into the area? How do we prevent jobs from leaving the area? Those kinds of things, I believe, are best impacted at the state level. We are a society of states. I think that's where -- what I can bring to the table the best would be most effectively used. KING: Is the presidential election going to be close in Michigan?
J. RAMSEY: Well, we hope not. I think -- I'm a big fan of George Bush. I think he's the right man for the time. I know that the Michigan Republican party is working very hard to see that he stays where he's at and runs the show.
KING: LaGrange, Kentucky, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Patsy, this is Marlene Irley (ph).
P. RAMSEY: Marlene! Oh, my gosh, how are you?
CALLER: I'm fine. I just wanted to know if you were still taking treatment at NIH?
P. RAMSEY: I am. Marlene. I met Marlene and her husband, her dear sweet husband was taking treatment at NIH when I was. And unfortunately, she lost her husband to cancer. He was a wonderful man. I appreciate you calling. I had a great check-up at the doctor. I've had three recent treatments and I'm great. Thank you for your prayers. It's great to hear from you.
KING: Santa Barbara, California, hello.
CALLER: Mr. Ramsey, besides the creation of jobs, what will your other priorities be if you are elected to office?
J. RAMSEY: There's a lot of local issues I've learned about. The bigger issues are there as well, healthcare, it's an issue for all of us. How do we keep the cost of healthcare down? How do we lower it? I think there's some things we can do at the state level that can get us started in that direction. It's not an easy problem to solve, but something our country is way behind on fixing. That's an issue. School funding. There's nothing more important in this country than our children. Our schools here are great schools, by and large, but they're struggling with funding. And that can't be a second priority item for us.
KING: How much money are you going to have to raise, John?
J. RAMSEY: Well, what I've learned is campaigning is expensive. We're hoping to raise about $200,000 to complete this campaign through November. It shouldn't be that way. It shouldn't be that expensive. Unfortunately, it is.
KING: Patsy, are you going to be very active in this campaign?
P. RAMSEY: I hope to be. I hope to be. I'm his biggest cheerleader. I really do. Between that and the new business, it will keep me busy and getting Bert (ph) through high school.
KING: It's no easy task, asking people to vote for you, is it? Not an easy journey. J. RAMSEY: It's -- no, it isn't. It's hard to do that. It's easier when you can tell them what you believe in and then ask for their support. It's very hard to ask people for monetary support. That's something I've never had to do. It's tough.
KING: Thank you both very much.
J. RAMSEY: Part of the process.
KING: We'll be keeping tabs and watching out in November.
J. RAMSEY: Thank you.
KING: John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of the late JonBenet Ramsey, coming to us from the Stonewater's Inn in Bell Aire, Michigan, where he enters the race for the state legislature. I'll be back to tell you about tomorrow night another interesting show coming up then. Right after these words.
KING: Tomorrow night, more on Iraq and a visit with Dr. Phil. Our own Dr. Phil here at the network is Aaron Brown. If we have problems, we contact Aaron Brown. Oh, he's in Washington tonight. That ain't New York City behind you.
AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": No, it is not.
KING: Mr. Brown, the stage is yours. Carry on.
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