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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Analysis of John Kerry's Nomination Speech
Aired July 30, 2004 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: And welcome to the final edition of the live midnight show for this week at the Democratic National Convention. We've been on all week at 9:00 and midnight. We return tomorrow night to our regular, normal 9:00 hour.
And as we come on the air, we have some outstanding guests in this balloon festival. That noise you're hearing is they're puncturing the balloons in order to clean them up. However, we have told them to leave our balloons alone here on our set up. So we remain among the balloons. This may also be called, the failure of the balloons.
Anyway, we welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Permanent chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
New member of our group, Gideon Yago. Gideon is key correspondent for MTV's Choose or Lose campaign. He's interviewed both of the candidates.
Tucker Carlson is the co-host of CNN's CROSSFIRE, a CNN political analyst and the host of PBS's TUCKER CARLSON UNFILTERED. And somewhere on the floor, amidst the confetti, is Mo Rocca. He's our roving reporter for the convention, author of the forthcoming book "All the Presidents' Pets." He's a veteran of Comedy Central's THE DAILY SHOW.
Joining us in a little while will be John Cusack, and also, later, Senator Barbara Boxer.
Governor Richardson, your assessment of the Kerry speech?
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D) NEW MEXICO: A home run. A 500-foot home run that is still clearing the fences. It was unprecedented. I think it's one of the best convention speeches any candidate has ever given. He's taken the national security issue from the president, I believe, because of his Vietnam war service, because of all the crewmates that joined him, the generals that are backing him, the emphasis on national security and the war on terrorism.
We couldn't have expected anything better. Everyone's...
KING: Was it the best speech he ever gave, was it?
RICHARDSON: Well, it's the best speech he ever gave, and it's now the speech that is going to be the hallmark of this presidential race. He's got the troops energized, I believe some of the undecided, some of the younger voters will move our way with his appeal to youth, to patriotism, to optimism. It was an incredible home run, and it's one of those 500-footers that are still clearing the fences.
KING: Did you enjoy doing this, by the way?
RICHARDSON: Yes, I did. But I'm glad I'm no longer the permanent chair...
KING: You are now the unpermanent chair.
RICHARDSON: I've been terminated.
KING: Gideon, what did you make of the address?
GIDEON YAGO, MTV CORRESPONDENT: I thought it was great. I mean, it punctured a hole in a bunch of the stereotypes about Kerry, that he's longwinded, that he's aloof, that he's not emotional. I thought he did a good job of overcoming those obstacles, and he's selling himself to the American people, especially young voters, who, you know, maybe are taking a look at him for the first time.
KING: And you represent young voters, being on MTV.
YAGO: Yes, I do.
KING: Where the average age of your viewer is what?
YAGO: The average age of our viewer is, you know, it's a teenage audience, it's 18-24, which is...
KING: But they're voters?
YAGO: Which are -- they are voters. And you know, we think that there's going to be a lot more of them, actually, in this election, just given the fact that this war is being fought by young voters, young voters are having the toughest time cracking into this economy, and young voters have an extraordinary burden of debt by getting a college degree that their parents didn't necessarily need to have, but they need.
KING: Would you be guessing that he impressed those young voters tonight?
YAGO: Well, you know, most young voters that we talked to are not decided about this race. I mean, they really are kind of the swing vote. They're engaging, you know, in the issues that they think are important to them, but they haven't made up their minds about who they're going to vote for. So I think this did along -- this went a long way, in terms of making him come across as, potentially, the young voters' candidate, the MTV generation candidate, because, like I said, he popped a whole in those stereotypes about him being aloof and him being dispassionate.
KING: Tucker? TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST "CROSSFIRE": I thought it was pretty good. I mean, Kerry can be pompous. I didn't think he was pompous tonight. I thought there were a lot of crisp, declarative sentences in there. I thought his attacks on Bush were indirect and kind of clever. Some of them were unfair, but, you know, it's politics, people make unfair attacks. And I thought they were pretty effective.
I don't think that just because you serve honorably in Vietnam, as he did, that you have an effective plan on national security, and I thought that his descriptions of what he'd do in the economy were much more specific that his descriptions about what he would in Iraq, where he essentially said we're going to convince other people to fight our war. But, you know, overall, I thought it was pretty good.
KING: How well does a war record sell do you think?
CARLSON: Well, apparently, it sells pretty well.
KING: I guess this is the most ever referred to by a candidate, is it not?
CARLSON: Well, it's interesting to me. There's clearly -- you heard him, and you've heard other speakers say, we're not going to let other people call us unpatriotic. I followed this pretty closely. I actually don't hear that term thrown around very much. I don't think people one another unpatriotic that much in American politics, but there's obviously this deep insecurity on the part of Democrats that people think they're unpatriotic or something, and I think, to Democrats, his military record speaks to that. It makes it a little...
KING: But isn't it true that in the early days after 9/11, when people did speak out or question, they were vilified?
CARLSON: Well, I think that the president's press secretary at the time said something kind of stupid, and I found sort of obnoxious and offensive about Bill Maher, who is also sort of obnoxious and offensive in himself, but, you know, I don't think people -- mainstream politicians were not running around calling people unpatriotic. I watched it really closely. I didn't see that.
YAGO: I'm just kind of shocked to hear you say that, because, you know, they brought out Max Cleland to introduce John Kerry, and here was a guy who had an entire campaign that was run against him predicated on the fact that he was unpatriotic and un-American.
CARLSON: Well, that's not true. I covered that, and they criticized his votes. Some people thought it went over the line. Others didn't, but nobody called him unpatriotic. He was great tonight, by the way.
KING: He was. Before we call on Mo, what's your -- how do you respond to Tucker? RICHARDSON: The reality is that in the past voters have trusted Republicans more with national security, with defense issues, with going to war. I think Senator Kerry dispelled that, the fact that he's had a Vietnam war hero record, that, he said, 20 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that he has so many national security generals, his crew mates vouching for him. What we were trying to do is send the message that, under a President Kerry, national security would be handled by somebody that's been tested, experienced, and first-rate commander-in-chief.
KING: Sounds like a "been there" person.
RICHARDSON: That's right. And this is something we haven't had before.
KING: Let's go to the floor, and our man, Mo Rocca. Where are you Mo?
MO ROCCA, THE DAILY SHOW: Oh, sorry.
I am where the Massachusetts delegation was, and Larry, this was a big party. I mean, the biggest party Boston has seen since a bunch of drunks dressed up as Indians and threw tea in the harbor. I forget exactly what happened. You can feel the excitement all around me, or at least I can. My feeling on the speech, I liked the line about, you know, referring to Lincoln, saying, "We should pray that we are actually on God's side." And I think he used that section of the speech to explain his sort of WASPish reticence on the subject of religion. I thought that that was actually a very interesting part of the speech.
But the whole "help is on the way."
KING: Didn't like that?
ROCCA: It didn't work for me. Because, you know, Edwards had "hope is on the way." And hope is a big work. Help is just so small. It sounded like he was going to start a temp agency. It's, like, "Hi. My receptionist is sick today. Can you help me?" "Help is on the way." Thanks, John Kerry.
I mean, it's just...
KING: Well, you don't like it?
ROCCA: I don't know. Too small to me.
KING: A little thing. Mo doesn't like it. Do you like it?
YAGO: Oh, I liked it. I mean, look, you know, I got a lot of people my age over in Iraq, over in Afghanistan, you know, who are writing home, you know who are writing us at MTV, and, you know, are kind of curious about when they're going to come home. And I think, you know, that's a reassuring message.
KING: What do you think of it, Bill? RICHARDSON: Well...
KING: Governor, I'm sorry. I know you so long I call you Bill. And it's late.
RICHARDSON: You know, I've spoken to a lot of young people. They're worried about the draft. They're worried about their jobs, their education. They want to shift priorities home. They see $200 billion going into Iraq when we should be spending that money on education, on health care, on protecting the homeland, our people here, our firefighters.
KING: So you liked the theme?
RICHARDSON: Oh, absolutely.
KING: Is it going to be theme?
RICHARDSON: Well, I believe the theme is going to be that Senator Kerry has a plan to improve the economy, stronger at home...
KING: But it will be a line theme?
RICHARDSON: ... and then respected overseas. That we'll keep our alliances, that we'll respect NATO, that we won't go it alone, that we'll bring the U.N. in. If it doesn't work, we do go it alone...
KING: And we will -- will we see a lot of bumper stickers?
RICHARDSON: ... internationalist foreign policy.
KING: "Help is on the way."
RICHARDSON: Well, help is on the way. It means that there's hope, there's optimism...
KING: Is it going to be the theme?
RICHARDSON: Yes, it's going to be a big part of the theme, that we're not going to sit back and not propose solutions. This is why we wanted to keep the convention positive, talking about what we're going to do, what we're going to do about making schools better, what we're going to do about Social Security. You had a litany of this specific policy proposals by Senator Kerry.
CARLSON: Well, I think -- I mean, I think it's a fine slogan. But it speaks to something that you haven't heard from the podium but you've heard a lot if you wander around and talk to delegates, and that is, a lot of Democrats, at least the ones I know, feel like the country's out of control, that we're in a crisis, Bush is scary, that he's turning it into some sort of police state, authoritarian state, compare him to Hitler. I mean, there really is this feeling that he is dangerous. And I think it's reflected in Michael Moore's movie. I personally think it's paranoid and kind of weird. I mean, you might not like -- but that seems an overstatement. But it's still a real sentiment. "Help is on the way," I think, speaks to people who feel like, "Oh my God, we need help from Bush." And there are lot of Democrats who feel that way.
KING: We'll take a break and come back and get more comments on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Bill Richardson will remain with us and then the last segment of this hour, John Cusack joins us. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with the second edition of LARRY KING LIVE on this closing night of the Democratic National Convention. If you've joined us late, they have nominated Kerry and Edwards, Kerry's acceptance speech tonight. The sound you're hearing of people breaking balloons, had a little balloon malfunction. What kind of -- speaking of balloons, watch this transition. What kind of bounce is he going to get tonight, Governor?
RICHARDSON: You know, you always want to be restrained when you talk about bounce, but he's going to get a good bounce out of this. This speech was a major, major hit, and I believe that's it's going to really connect with the American people, particularly the hope and opportunity and patriotism, the reassurance of the American people that Senator Kerry is somebody they can trust, they can see as president. That was the major objective of the convention.
KING: How big a bounce?
RICHARDSON: Well, I don't know. I don't want to get into numbers.
KING: Have you talked to people yet?
RICHARDSON: Well, I'm just hearing from a lot of people, I've got some calls from New Mexico, individuals that I respect that are on the fence, and they think it was a big hit. This can only help but the worst thing we can do is leave this convention, go to sleep for the month of August. We've got to work very hard. Senator Kerry's going to have a very intensive schedule...
KING: Well, not tomorrow. That's for sure.
RICHARDSON: ... in August. He's going to go all battleground states. He'll be in New Mexico. He'll be in Arizona and Colorado. It's a very intense schedule. He's not taking this race for granted, and we've got to keep our momentum going.
KING: Tucker, what kind of bounce?
CARLSON: Well, I mean, it was a highly disciplined convention. I think, tacitly, it was probably a great convention for the Democrats. Nobody said anything scary, all the whackos were kept locked away somewhere. I think it could -- you know, it's going to help Kerry. The question is, who is going to bounce with? There aren't so many people who are undecided, as you know. I mean, it's not like there's, you know, 20 points of the electorate that is uncertain of what to do.
KING: So what would be an impressive bounce to you?
CARLSON: I don't know. Four or five, six, that would be big, I mean, considering the small, the narrow band, that hasn't made up it's mind. Yes, that'd be huge.
KING: Are the Republicans going to hide their whackos, too?
CARLSON: I like the whackos. As I've said before, I like the people who actually believe what they're saying, and I think both parties ought to say exactly what they think, in public in prime time.
KING: Even if they're wacko?
CARLSON: Look, I mean...
KING: You brought it up.
CARLSON: You're absolutely right. Yes. Even if people think it's crazy, you ought to say it, you know?
KING: All right.
KING: Yes, Mo.
ROCCA: Yes. I have to believe that the Republicans are upset that some of the so-called "fringe element" didn't come out, because that imagery would have been very important to them. I think what they wanted to see is Michael Dukakis performing a same-sex marriage with Willie Horton as best man, or something like that, and Jane Fonda, you know, throwing rice or something. They didn't get that.
I just want to take this moment to ask Governor Richardson why he hasn't thanked me for shilling his salsa, which I did last night.
KING: He did a major promo for your salsa.
ROCCA: I did a major push on your salsa.
KING: He pushed it...
RICHARDSON: Well, I appreciate it very much. I'll send you a whole bunch...
KING: You owe us.
ROCCA: I don't want -- I want you to take me on a vision quest.
RICHARDSON: Did you notice my high school picture on the salsa? I wanted you to...
ROCCA: Your high school picture? My God, you're frozen in time, then.
RICHARDSON: Well, that's what they say about me. But thank you for plugging it. I appreciate it. New Mexico appreciates it.
KING: He loves it.
What kind of bump, Gideon?
YAGO: I don't think -- I mean, I don't want to pontificate on that. I don't know. I'm not a professional pollster. But I'll tell you one thing that did change. Before the break, you were talking about what's going to be the bumper sticker that comes out of this, and, you know, up until this point, most of the Democrats have had bumper stickers that, you know, are all against Bush, it's everything against Bush. You know, "Hail to the Thief," "Not My President," but I think that message of "We can do better," that positive message, is now going to transfer out, and I wouldn't be surprised if you see that winding up on fenders for the next couple of months.
KING: Was it effective when he addressed President Bush personally, in a sense, Tucker?
CARLSON: Yes, I think -- I mean, it was, again, it was kind of clever, as all the attacks in it were. You know, I'm the optimist here, said John Kerry, who's been trying to convince us for the past nine months that we're in a global depression. You know, "I'm the optimist, you're the dour character." And I also thought it was clever, as Mo said, his use of Lincoln's line about being on God's side, and try reaching out to the faithful. I think if he would moderate his, by any measure, pretty extreme position on abortion, he's have a shot of winning some of the people he's shooting at.
KING: You're seeing John Kerry over with the Boston Pops in concert, as they celebrate their very successful, as everyone agrees, convention. Elliot Richardson -- Bill Richardson. I knew Elliot, too. You're really starting to get to me.
KING: He's not doing too well.
RICHARDSON: He was a great man, but he ain't doing well.
KING: I know. And I liked him, too.
Governor, I know you're tired, you've been here ten days. Are you going to campaign extensively?
RICHARDSON: Yes. I'm going to campaign in the Southwest, in New Mexico, battleground states where the Hispanic voter -- we believe that this convention was an unmitigated success. But we've got to keep the momentum. If we just sit back and basically post, we won't take advantage of the positive feeling that this convention has generated.
KING: You've done a great job. You're a great host.
RICHARDSON: Thank you very much. Thank you.
KING: Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico will be leaving us.
When we come back, John Cusack will join us. Gideon Yago and Tucker Carlson and Mo Rocca remain. And you're seeing John Kerry and his running mate and their wives at the Boston Pops, the most famous Pop orchestra in the United States. And again, we had a lot of pops going on here tonight, popping balloons. In fact, some are still coming down. We'll be right back.
KING: We're back. That's the presidential nominee with the famed James Taylor, with the Boston Pops tonight, playing late. The Boston Pops doesn't usually play at 20 after 12 with fireworks in the Boston sky.
We welcome John Cusack, one of my favorite actors, screenwriter, producer, special guy, special sister, and a big-time Democrat, right? You are big D Democrat.
JOHN CUSACK, ACTOR: Yes, I think so. I mean, I consider myself more of an independent who votes Democratic.
KING: What's the difference?
CUSACK: I don't know. I mean, I think I would, given the right circumstances, I would vote for a Republican. But I've always voted Democratic. I like to consider myself more independent.
KING: What'd you make of this speech tonight?
CUSACK: I agreed with the senator from -- or, the governor of New Mexico. I thought it was a home run. I really thought it was the first time I'd seen him be that passionate on such a stage and connect his passion to the idealism. So I really felt he sort of came into his own.
And I think it's everything that all the people who are working hard to get Bush out of office, I think, I think it's everything they hoped for.
KING: What do you make, John, of the criticism of the Hollywood involvement? CUSACK: I think that's kind of like a silly kind of B-league wedge issue. You know? I mean, we're citizens. We think, we read, you know, we write. It's not all the people on television who are spinning, like, work for the Brookings Institute or the Republican, you know, equal.
CUSACK: Who said that?
KING: That was Mo?
CUSACK: That was Mo?
KING: Yes, understand Mo...
CUSACK: So I think, you know, if you're a responsible citizen, you know, you have a right to your opinions.
KING: Tucker, why do they pick on -- George Bush mentions Hollywood a lot.
CARLSON: Well, because it's fun. I mean, beating up on Hollywood is fun. I mean, it's the equivalent of, you know --
KING: But Hollywood appeals to so many Americans.
CARLSON: I mean, John Kerry -- Well, it's a cultural thing. I mean, John Kerry says tonight, you know, they take money from your children's mouths to give Enron tax breaks. And the point is, they're on the side of the elite over ordinary people like you. And that's exactly the point the Republicans are making when they say Barbra Streisand doesn't share your values, which she doesn't, actually. I mean, it doesn't -- you know, objectively, rich people, whether they're in Hollywood or anywhere, do have different cultural values than ordinary people, and both parties make that point. They just different...
KING: I see. Do you accept that, John? Fair?
CUSACK: No, but -- I mean, I think it's an interesting point, but I sort of feel like maybe they go at -- I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger's from Hollywood. Bruce Willis is from Hollywood.
KING: Ronald Reagan.
CUSACK: They never sort of attack the people from Hollywood who are Republicans or right-wing. And I came from Chicago, so I don't really spend time in Hollywood.
ROCCA: Larry, can I jump in here?
KING: Yes, Mo, before I get Gideon's opinion, what is yours?
ROCCA: Oh, sorry, I can't see anything there. I was going to say, you know, with all due respect to the Hollywood establishment, I don't think -- and John may agree with this -- I don't think that individual stars have that much power and can really change someone's vote. I mean, you know, if I were walking down 7th Avenue and Meryl Streep, you know, handed me a brochure to vote for Kerry, that would probably convince me in an instant, because, you know, she's a double Oscar winner. I mean, especially if she did it in a Polish accent, you know?
KING: So, in other words...
ROCCA: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that would be really cool.
KING: ...she wouldn't convince you either to buy Ivory soap?
ROCCA: Oh, she'd convince me if she did in person or Whoopi Goldberg, you know, called me on the phone from a phone bank telling me dirty jokes, that would be pretty cool, but she's calling me directly. But, I mean, you know, just like getting on TV or something, I think probably the power that Hollywood has is to raise money and, you know, perhaps draw attention to specific issues, but I think that perhaps the GOP endows Hollywood with too much power. It makes it almost like a bogeyman.
CUSACK: Yes, I also think that if anybody seems to be trying to get press just for themselves and they seem kind of like press whores, but I think that they're sort of open to ridicule no matter what party they're affiliated with.
KING: And there are some on both sides.
CUSACK: Yes, and I think that when you want to make a contribution or you want to, kind of, use your celebrity for a higher good, you have to walk that fine line of sort of over-exposure.
KING: What do you make of this, Gideon?
YAGO: I mean, frankly, I think, you know, it's easy for a lot of Republicans to attack Hollywood because they don't have a lot of Hollywood acts that get on their side. You know, if they want to create a division between saying, you know, if you're Joe Average and you live in middle America and you go to church, you know, vote Republican, but, you know, if you live in Hollywood and you live a fabulous lifestyle, you know, that's not mainstream values. And you hear that echoed again and again and again in Bush's campaign. You know, if the tables were turned and you saw a lot of Hollywood, I don't know, towing the Republican line, I definitely don't think that you'd have attack. It's politics and it's political expediency. It's like what you said, you know? Schwarzenegger's a governor of California. And nobody's...
CUSACK: What I find interesting about this dynamic here is that there's -- I've been walking around and talking to smart people, I find Michael Moore and Wesley Clark agreeing on a lot more than they disagree about about this current administration. When I find Paul O'Neill, I find Richard Clark, and I find a lot of, like Dennis Kucinich, more in sync with each other than they're out of sync on the fact that, you know, I think you're right. The Democrats do think Bush is dangerous, and I think a lot of Republicans think he's dangerous, too.
CARLSON: Well, don't you think it's so counterproductive to use words like dangerous, and maybe even a little paranoid even to feel that way. I mean, look, Bush -- to make the claim that he's evil seems to me a stretch. You do get to Michael Moore land really quick, where you're drawing connections between things that, in fact, aren't connected, and making claims of conspiracy that aren't valid, instead of just saying, "You know what? He made a mistake. He may be reckless. He may be not up to the job." But do claim he's evil, don't you think that's self-discrediting?
CUSACK: Well, I didn't...
CARLSON: I'm not saying you did. But many do. You know, that he's dangerous, he's diabolical.
YAGO: I think it's dangerous and diabolical to tell anybody that they don't have a place to speak their voice, and if they have a talent, and if they have a voice, and if they have the arena to do it, and I think, by all means, they have an obligation to speak up.
YAGO: Telling people just to pipe down because...
CUSACK: I agree. I think it's dangerous not to show the coffins coming back home. I think it's dangerous to manipulate information about a war, I think -- you know, Michael Moore, whatever you say about the film, the images of the actual dead bodies are very powerful.
ROCCA: But we did not see that there are images that were never seen.
CARLSON: But it's overstatement, though. We're not in a police state and we're not approaching a police state. And things may be off-track, but we're not -- this is not Nazi Germany. It's important to remind ourselves that we're actually still a pretty good place, still a free society.
YAGO: That's true. That's true.
CARLSON: I mean, get a little perspective.
CUSACK: ... or at least, not that I recall.
YAGO: No, I don't think anyone's making that argument. And I think the thing is, you know, when you look at the coverage of, say, the war in Iraq, or you look at the coverage of the war in Afghanistan, you don't see a lot of these images. And, you know, news cycles are myopic. You know, they're restrained with whatever's the headline in a given day. KING: But, in fairness, though...
YAGO: And he told a bigger story. He told a history. And, you know, I think, for a lot of people, that was something that they hadn't put together.
CARLSON: Who is? Michael Moore?
CARLSON: He told a history?
YAGO: Yes. I think that was his history...
CARLSON: He said that we invaded Afghanistan...
YAGO: ... history according to Michael Moore.
CARLSON: OK, but that doesn't mean it's true. And, in fact...
YAGO: But history is written by people who weren't there about things that never happened. It's written by the victors.
CARLSON: Good point, Gideon.
CUSACK: My original point was that Wesley Clark, who was, I thought, brilliant tonight, as well, has been saying a lot of the same things about the Bush administration lying about going to war and misleading the country as a guy like Michael Moore, so it's kind of interesting...
KING: We've only got a couple minutes here. Are you going to be on the stump? Are you going out and campaign?
CUSACK: Well, I don't know. I mean, I'm frightened I'll be attacked by the right-wing machine. But will I be attacked?
CARLSON: I don't know, man.
CUSACK: Will attack me?
CARLSON: I wouldn't be -- you know, John. I think you're tough enough to handle it.
CARLSON: I think you can.
CUSACK: I may. It depends.
KING: You got a film shooting?
CUSACK: No. I'm actually out of work, so actually maybe I should. KING: You're out of work?
KING: Maybe you'll get something tonight. Maybe someone will see you and say, "Maybe that guy can act."
Thank you, John.
CUSACK: My pleasure.
KING: John Cusack. Our rest of our panel will remain, and we'll be joined by Barbara Boxer of the state of California, a Democrat who's up for reelection. We'll be right back.
KING: It's pretty late but there's the fireworks show in Boston, accompanied by the Boston Pops, as we said the most famous pop orchestra in America. And there's the families of the candidates of the Democratic Party for president and vice president, Kerry and Edwards. They both go right on the stump tomorrow.
Remaining with us on this second edition of LARRY KING LIVE, Gideon Yago of MTV, Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE," Mo Rocco our roving reporter and, we're joined now by Tucker's favorite Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer, who addressed the convention today. She's a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
What did you think of the speech?
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: I think John Kerry had hit a home run. I do.
KING: This is a theme now everyone...
BOXER: I think he did. Well, I don't know. I'm an old baseball fan. I didn't hear anybody say it but he hit a grand slam and that ball is still flying over America. I am really excited.
KING: Were you surprised?
BOXER: I was thrilled. He had to do it. I knew he'd do it. I know him for 20 years. Kerry is the kind of person that has it inside and he reaches for it at the right moment and he does it.
KING: Someone said that today. He's a person who may seem like nothing's happening and then when something big happens he rises.
BOXER: He rises to the occasion and let me tell you, honestly this is going to sound corny and Tucker may get mad at me but I just thank him for running. He's got it. He's got what it takes for these perilous times and I think it came out.
KING: You mad at her, Tucker? CARLSON: Yes. I'm totally outraged. I mean I do wonder though, I mean at least Democrats I've talked to, maybe this is no longer a concern but have talked about the dinner test.
You know in the end in a totally divided country like this or very closely and almost evenly divided, maybe it comes down too who would you rather eat with in the end and did he come off tonight as the sort of person you'd rather eat with?
KING: Well, do you think he was -- if you didn't before he might have (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CARLSON: I think he is more charming in real life than he came off tonight.
BOXER: But, Tucker, if you listen to his children and you heard those stories as I did as a mom and you're a parent...
CARLSON: The hamster saving?
BOXER: I mean I'll tell you we had a hamster like story, not as exciting as that one but ours got out of the cage and was going up the steps and Stu and I were acting crazy, why, because our daughter Nichole (ph) was just hysterical about it but I think people related to that. I think those girls really helped him tonight.
CARLSON: They're charming.
BOXER: Absolutely did.
KING: They spoke well too.
BOXER: As far as I'm concerned dinner with John Kerry that would be great.
CARLSON: Well, his daughters like him. The question is, you know, do other, you know, will he seem appealing to other people? Maybe people don't care. Maybe when you're at war that doesn't matter. I don't know.
YAGO: Yeah, I mean I think that's the thing. It's, you know, it's not who you want to hang out and eat dinner with. It's who's going to take this country in a direction that you agree with?
I mean there's real stakes on the table this year, very, very real stakes. We're at war. It's a different time after 9/11 and I'm not sure if that dinner test really, you know, cuts the mustard to keep the metaphor going, Tucker.
CARLSON: But then I wonder though if, OK, then if what really matters is the war consider his critique of Bush's handling of Iraq. His critique is, night after night, everyone here said the same thing, Bush's personality, his personal sort of demeanor is the number one impediment to international cooperation in Iraq. That's just not true. BOXER: I did not hear that. I did not -- Tucker I did not hear that at all. He basically said before you take this country to war you better have your facts straight. You better level with the American people.
BOXER: And you better make sure you have a plan and this guy, Bush, didn't have a plan. Even Richard Lugar, who I serve with, who I serve with on the Foreign Relations Committee, he and Joe Biden were saying all along with many of us on both sides of the aisle where is your plan? What if they don't just come out and hug us and sing kumbaya with us and there was never a plan.
CARLSON: I agree and I think you should apply that same standard to John Kerry now and ask, and I think Democrats really ought to ask this. I agree with you that Bush didn't have a plan that was -- that has worked very well.
But the Democrats ought to be saying to John Kerry what is your plan? You say you plan to get moderate Muslim nations to, you know, add troops to Iraq so they can fight the war for us. What if that doesn't happen? Probably not going to happen. What then? How long do we keep the troops there?
BOXER: Tucker, this is really about leadership.
BOXER: This is what we needed.
KING: I'll come right to you, Mo.
BOXER: Bush got us into the deal. We need new leadership. It's a mess. Let's turn to John to get us out of it.
CARLSON: What's his answer?
BOXER: Well, the answer, the first thing is you got to win respect in the world. We do not have respect in the world today. That is a fact. It is a fact wherever you look in the world and John Kerry will fix it.
KING: Mo Rocca, you have something to bring to the table.
ROCCA: Well yes, Larry, I just wanted to point out that I supposed I missed something in the text. I didn't really hear an elaborate explanation for what he would do in Iraq. He talked about sending 40,000 I guess active duty troops but not to Iraq and I suppose that means to replace troops perhaps that are in other parts like Afghanistan and maybe send in reinforcements to Iraq. I don't know. KING: Mo you may have started a new concept in journalism and maybe at the Republican convention we can take advantage of this of having a lie down on the floor reporter.
ROCCA: Well, you know, Larry, I'm just exhausted. I mean I'm just trying to reserve my...
KING: We all are.
ROCCA: I'm trying to reserve my energy because all the delegates we're all going to get together and get back on that Carnival Cruise ship and, you know, we're heading down to Aruba next and I want to have fun on the trip, so I'm just trying to conserve my energy right now.
KING: You ever been on the floor when the balloons went down before, Tucker?
CARLSON: Yes, oh, yes.
KING: I never have. I've always been up in a box.
CARLSON: You know I think the Secret Service has probably been going bananas all night with people going around with sticks popping them because it does sound, it sounds like something horrible is happening, yes.
KING: Every pop sounds (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BOXER: It was fun though. It was fun to see that.
KING: Yes, but they blew the -- the balloons are still coming down.
CARLSON: Yes, they really blew it.
YAGO: It took them a minute. It took them a minute. It took them a couple minutes.
BOXER: I think it was exciting. I've gone to conventions since '84. This is the most unified I've ever seen the Democrats. We really are a big tent and tonight it was just all behind our guy and it's a nice feeling I got to tell you, someone who's, you know, kind of hat the brunt of it when we were divided in the past.
CARLSON: Where -- I missed the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
YAGO: I guess the congratulations are though in, you know, to your party in that, you know, you've had four whole days that basically pulled off like clockwork except for, you know, the last five minutes with the balloons coming down.
BOXER: Yes, we'll take it.
YAGO: OK. BOXER: You know considering all that could have gone wrong. It's a wonderful - it's been wonderful but, John, I'll tell you I am so grateful to him. He just was so comfortable in delivering this speech, you know. I think he was conversational. You could tell he was comfortable in his own skin and I think that came across.
ROCCA: Senator Boxer, can I ask two questions?
ROCCA: Is Senator John Edwards going to legally change his name to son of a mill worker? I just wanted to know because that came up again in the speech tonight.
BOXER: You know whatever works is what I think.
CARLSON: I'm curious. It would make it easier. Here's my question though, Senator. Whatever happened to Halliburton? In every Democratic speech I hear...
KING: They got one mention tonight.
CARLSON: They got one mention but usually it's 100 mentions there.
CARLSON: And it was a trilateral commission and Satan to oppress us or something but nobody mentioned it. Why is that this whole convention?
BOXER: I should have. Now I'm really mad. I had my three minutes in the sun and I should have. Halliburton is a stain on this administration and the whole -- I thought when John Kerry said he's not going to have a vice president who has secret meetings with the energy companies that said a lot too. I mean that's not the way to run a country.
CARLSON: But I guess my point is the activists, the ones who allege conspiracies and even, you know, the regular activists, gay rights activists, abortion activists, environmental activists, they weren't at the podium and I guess I just missed seeing that. I had to go out to the parking lot to see them.
YAGO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) strategy for the Republican National Convention in New York City. I mean I think you'll just see them all out in full force.
BOXER: Excuse me. I'm an activist when it comes to after school programs and a woman's right to choose and the environment. Here I am. Look at me. I am. I believe in activists.
CARLSON: But you're so clean cut and non-threatening. I'm talking...
BOXER: Oh, Tucker, get past those things. ROCCA: Tucker, Tucker, Tucker stop hitting on the junior Senator from California.
CARLSON: I'm sorry, Mo, I can't help it.
BOXER: I'm old enough to be your grandma almost, not quite.
ROCCA: So here's to you Mrs. Boxer.
KING: OK, on that note we're going...
BOXER: Thanks for the compliment.
KING: We're going to take a break. We'll be right back. Look, you get a little giddy when you're here for five days. You get a little whacked because by day two you sort of had enough and then the rest is all just more and more and more until you begin to not like it and then you get up again for the next convention and then you go through the same thing.
YAGO: How do you really feel, Larry?
KING: No, I enjoyed it.
BOXER: Are you ready for the Republican convention?
KING: Sure, it's New York, eh, New York, what are you kidding?
BOXER: Are you going, Tucker?
CARLSON: Of course I am. I go to every...
BOXER: Are you (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CARLSON: I will go to the Ralph Nader convention and cheer him on because there's a man who says what he believes.
BOXER: I don't blame you. Oh, please.
CARLSON: He does. He's a true believer and you must respect him.
BOXER: And John Kerry tonight -- John Kerry -- I don't because I feel that if he truly wants to beat George Bush he shouldn't be running, so I don't respect that but I'll tell you something.
CARLSON: His ideals are getting in the way.
BOXER: John -- no. I think that his ego is getting in the way but that's his choice. It's a free country. But I think John Kerry proved tonight that he believes in what he says. He reached down and he came out with it and you know what he did. He reclaimed the flag for all of us. He reclaimed religion for all of us. He reclaimed family for all of us and for that I'm very grateful.
KING: We'll take a break and be right back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. I'm really having a good time. It's just I'm a little tired. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will be a commander-in-chief who will never mislead us into war. I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will have a secretary of defense who will listen to the advice of the military leaders and I will appoint an attorney general who will uphold the Constitution of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: We have it in our power to change the world but only if we're true to our ideals and that starts by telling the truth to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back at the Fleet Center. Trent Lott, Tucker, said Kerry is a French speaking socialist. Is liberalism going to be a big play?
CARLSON: Well, I just can't get over how conservative Democrats seem and have seemed here. I mean intentionally, self consciously, not just because they kept all the activists locked in the basement but also by the things they talk about. It's just, as Mrs. Boxer said, faith, family.
John Kerry tonight promised tax cuts, not just for the middle class but also for small business. He went, you know, on about how fiscal restraint is at the very center of our economic system.
BOXER: Tucker, this is a man...
CARLSON: These are conservative ideas. I mean they are.
BOXER: Tucker, get over this.
CARLSON: It's true.
BOXER: There's not two Americas. There's on America. Let me just tell you something about John Kerry.
CARLSON: I agree with you but there are different sets of ideas though.
BOXER: John Kerry has staked out a position in the United States and for years being an advocate for small business. He voted for the balanced budget amendment when a lot of people in my party did not do that. So, you know, you're making things up (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CARLSON: No, I'm not. I'm really (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BOXER: And the problem -- and the problem you're saying -- you constantly say there are two Americas here. There's the blue states, the red states.
BOXER: Before you said we're very divided right down the middle. You said that.
CARLSON: No. I said polls show that about half the country plans to vote for Bush, half for Kerry. That's just an empirical fact. I'm not saying that...
BOXER: My point exactly. Well, my point -- whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What you're forgetting...
CARLSON: I'm with John Edwards. I'm with one America or two Americas, how many Americas are there? I'm losing track. He says two. You say one.
BOXER: But you're saying that people are divided down the middle, half for Bush, half for Kerry. That's right but there's a whole other group that never votes and you're forgetting about those folks.
BOXER: And I think -- yes, 50 percent.
YAGO: Absolutely and a lot of them are young.
CARLSON: But my only point, Senator, was that...
BOXER: So, it's 50/25/25 plus 50 that never votes, so he's going to go after them.
CARLSON: The Democratic Party is showcasing its more conservative ideas.
BOXER: Well, this wasn't a conservative speech at all.
CARLSON: It's more conservative than any speech I have heard in the last eight months of listening to Democratic speeches.
BOXER: What was conservative about it, Tucker.
CARLSON: All you have to do is listen.
BOXER: Give me one thing. Say it again.
CARLSON: Well, he emphasized -- the things one emphasizes in speeches determine the tone, as you know, so he emphasized faith, family, military service.
BOXER: Yes, yes, yes.
CARLSON: Adding more members of the military.
CARLSON: Doubling the size of the Special Forces.
CARLSON: Giving tax breaks not simply to the middle class but to small business.
CARLSON: And enforcing fiscal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) economic policy.
BOXER: And you think Republicans own those issues.
CARLSON: I don't think so at all. I'm merely...
BOXER: You did not listen to John Kerry.
CARLSON: I'm not even saying that. I'm merely saying it's interesting to note that those are the issue he's choosing to highlight. There's a message he's sending by bringing those up. That's all I'm saying.
ROCCA: Tucker. Tucker the point is that Democratic values are about wild deviant sex. Why didn't he mention that?
CARLSON: That's right and that has some appeal and I think he ought to press it.
BOXER: Go right ahead.
KING: It might, wait a minute, might put him over the top. You want to jump in on this Gideon?
YAGO: On wild deviant sex you go to the MTV guy. Thanks, Larry.
KING: Are they going to play the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
BOXER: Isn't it time to have someone else in this seat? (UNINTELLIGIBLE.)
KING: Are they going to play the liberal angle?
YAGO: You know I think the best angle that they can play is something actually that Senator Boxer talked about, which is bringing people into the fold, you know, especially young people but there's a big part of America that tunes out the politics, is turned off by politics, and feels as though politicians just ignore them and deliver nothing but empty promises. You know if you really want to take this country forward, if you really want to make this democracy work better you're going to bring more people into the fold.
BOXER: That's right.
YAGO: And I think that's one thing that John Kerry did exceptionally tonight and that the Democrats echoed over the last four days was talking about us as a country and what we share in terms of our values even more so than what divides us.
KING: Why don't we vote, Senator?
BOXER: Well that has been perplexing to me for so long and I have spent a lot of time going to high schools and I tell the kids, look, however you feel it's your country. It's your future. You know, I think when Bill Clinton laid it out the way he did it was so brilliant.
He said, "Look, if you like the way things are going now, if you think deficits are great, vote for Bush. If you think the war is going well, vote for Bush. If you think it's fine to send jobs, you know, out of the country, vote for Bush but there is another way and that's our way."
And we think that the young people in this country, and I didn't even mention a woman's right to choose, stem cell research, issues that I think the young people really get, so I think there is a chance this time that we could take that other 50 percent that doesn't vote...
KING: Get them out.
BOXER: Hopefully get a lot of them out on our side and run away with this election, good chance.
KING: Could one of these parties run away, Tucker?
CARLSON: Yes. I mean, well I mean, look, you know, based on what has happened in the past on the historical model the political people are always talking about, yes, that's what normally happens. Usually it swings one way at the end. I mean 2000 was an anomaly to put it mildly. Usually, you know, it breaks public opinion and hence voting patterns break for one candidate at the end.
CARLSON: It's hard to see how its going to, you know, anybody is going to win by a huge margin. I hope whoever wins, wins by a majority of the vote. That hasn't happened since 1988. Democrats always pretend, you know.
BOXER: Well, Al Gore did.
CARLSON: Wait, hold on. He did not.
BOXER: Al Gore got a majority of the vote. Remember?
ROCCA: No, he didn't get a majority because if you factor in Nader and Buchanan.
CARLSON: He did not get a majority of the vote actually.
BOXER: Oh, I see.
ROCCA: He got a plurality that's right.
BOXER: Let me say it again. He won the vote. He won the popular vote.
KING: You mean 50 percent plus one.
CARLSON: I mean the majority of the vote, the most people in America have not voted for one candidate since 1988.
KING: Who was the last candidate, Reagan?
CARLSON: George Bush.
YAGO: You know what, Larry, though even if this election breaks down. You know if we're talking about the plurality, you know the Bush versus Gore, you know, Gore gets roughly more than half. Bush gets roughly less than half but still almost half of the American people didn't vote in that election.
YAGO: And that's a crisis in democracy and that's a problem.
BOXER: I agree.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments and wind things up and even do some thank yous right after this.
KING: Right away in case I forget, the older you get the more you forget, I do want to thank people like David Gergen and Tucker Carlson and Mo Rocca and all the staff and Bob Woodward and Senator George Mitchell and Senator Bob Dole who have been regulars with us all week and they'll all be returning for the Republican National Convention the last week in August. That will happen right after the Olympics in Athens.
But I want to thank all of our technical crew, the people here who have worked so hard and everyone at the DNC who have been wonderful hosts and all of our technical crew in Atlanta and New York and Los Angeles. A very special thanks for a yeoman-like job. This is very unusual to be set up on the floor and it worked, right? It was fun.
YAGO: Nice vantage point, got to see it. KING: The audience got a chance to be sort of involved.
All right, Barbara, how's it going to come out?
BOXER: Oh, it's going to be great. We're going to do it.
KING: Are you going to win?
BOXER: We're going to win because the undecideds are women and they're going to break for Kerry. That's what I think.
KING: The undecideds are women.
BOXER: That's right, majority.
KING: You get a read yet Tucker?
CARLSON: Undecideds do tend to break for the challenger obviously. You know, I think Kerry could win because of Iraq. I mean Bush took a major gamble. He didn't do it for political reasons obviously because he thought he needed to and, if he, you know, if things aren't better in Iraq I think he could definitely lose barring some event, you know, that is unforeseen at this point.
KING: Mo Rocca, do you have a read?
ROCCA: Well, I'm not sure about the president. I think it's going to be very, very close but I do think that Teresa Heinz Kerry will win as first lady on that part of the ticket. She's the siren of the Serengeti. I mean she's irresistible.
My only disappointment, Larry, do you remember Joan Embry (ph), old Joan Embry from "The Tonight Show."
ROCCA: She published (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Teresa Heinz Kerry talked a lot about environmentalism and biodiversity. I think it would have been great if she'd delivered her speech with a lemer. I think it would have been so great if she'd have come out with a lemer.
CARLSON: You called her the siren of the Serengeti?
CARLSON: That is worth of the "New York Post," Mo and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
ROCCA: Well, Tucker I had said, no, no...
CARLSON: That's awesome.
ROCCA: Just like my good friend Zola Bud (ph). She as a child used to lope through the long grasslands of the Savannah of her native Mozambique. I mean she -- her story is really amazing. I mean the looks of (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the brains of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and, as I said, the scrappiness of Zola Bud. She's really got it all.
KING: Mo, where do you go from here? In your life where do you go until the Republicans?
ROCCA: Do I know where I'm going to?
KING: Where are you going?
ROCCA: I'm going to go rest, Larry. I'm going to get that cold compress you've been recommending.
KING: Oh and a hot bath.
ROCCA: Yes. That will be -- but, Larry, I just want to thank you. This has been amazing.
KING: Well, you were terrific, Mo. You've become a major hit. You deserve it.
ROCCA: Well, you know, who would ever -- who would have thunk that a crazy mixed up kid like me could become a convention correspondent for CNN? I mean...
KING: And son of a mill worker.
ROCCA: And the son of a mill worker. I want to thank you and I want to thank my agents at CAA and I want to thank my lawyer and my manager Don Epstein. I mean without them it would have been impossible. I want to thank my cousin Timmy who is suffering with the mumps right now. No, please don't make me.
KING: And, as Danny Kaye once said, I want to thank my urologist for sitting here through this. Anyway...
ROCCA: I don't have a urologist but if you have any names you can give me.
KING: OK. We got about two minutes left. Edwards a big aid?
BOXER: Oh, absolutely. He touches people. You know, he really moves people and he is a lawyer and he makes that closing argument and this is going to be a big fight.
KING: Is the fact that he's a trial lawyer going to be used against him?
CARLSON: I hope so. I mean I do. You know, I like John Edwards fine personally. He's a charming guy and he's got a lot to recommend him but I think what trial lawyers like he was do to America is really bad and it hurts people. I'm not saying (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: If people get injured they can't fight for them.
BOXER: Oh, listen, listen.
CARLSON: It closes -- literally hospitals and trauma centers across the United States have closed in the last five years.
BOXER: Oh, man.
CARLSON: That's just true.
BOXER: Tucker, if you need a lawyer you'll get one and you'll get the best. Trust me on that one.
CARLSON: Yes, but look...
BOXER: It's about our system.
CARLSON: It's about our system?
BOXER: And you're trying to put down someone who helps people, helps victims.
CARLSON: He made $7 million on somebody's suffering.
BOXER: You know what.
CARLSON: You can -- I mean that may be, that's legal.
BOXER: He dedicated his life to helping people and he's good at it.
KING: Yes, but they pay all the costs. The trial lawyer extends all the costs.
BOXER: Yes, exactly.
KING: It's the only poor way -- if you're a poor person and get hit by a truck how do you get recourse?
CARLSON: That may be true but you still end up taking millions of dollars from someone who's injured. Why not just take $100,000?
BOXER: Do you give back your pay, Tucker?
CARLSON: I don't know. I'm not taking $7 million off an injured person.
BOXER: Well, when you make $7 million on here will you give it away? I mean I don't get it.
CARLSON: I don't -- you know no matter what I make I never claim that it's a morally altruistic act what I do. I never claim to be Mother Teresa. I'm a talk show host, right? He's a trial lawyer but for him to get up and say, I am better than you. I'm morally superior because I...
BOXER: He never said he's better than anyone, Tucker.
CARLSON: Hold that up as an example of his moral purity that's ridiculous.
BOXER: You're making things up again. (UNINTELLIGIBLE.)
KING: So, this is the way it's going to be folks in the months ahead. Gideon, thanks. You were great, look forward to seeing you again.
YAGO: Thanks, Larry.
KING: LARRY KING LIVE returns at its regular 9:00 hour tomorrow night with one show only that's repeated at midnight and 3:00 a.m. Eastern rather than two live shows.
We've had a great time here in Boston, a wonderful city that have been great hosts to this convention. We thanked all the people already.
So, stay tuned for news around the clock on your most trusted name in news.
And from the Democratic National Convention in Boston for the whole crew at CNN, goodnight.
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