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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Live from Republican National Convention with Guest Panel
Aired September 1, 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: Yes, hey Wolf, we're playing in the big leagues. Tonight, it's the night before the final night of the Republican National Convention. Our regular panel is assembled in Washington.
Bob Woodward, the reporter and editor of "The Washington Post", Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, his book, "Plan of Attack", still a major bestseller.
Bob Dole, who was with us here last night with his wife, has returned to the nation's capital, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996.
Our other regular panelist is George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader. We have two former majority leaders with us every night, former chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and international peace negotiator.
On the floor is Jacque Reid, anchor of "BET NIGHTLY NEWS." And our special guest as we kick things off is Senator John McCain.
He addressed the Republican Convention Monday night, a onetime rival of President Bush, former Vietnam POW, decorated veteran and bestselling author. The most recent book, a terrific work, "Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Lifer."
Belated happy birthday.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thank you.
KING: And a great party, you're 68.
MCCAIN: Thank you very much, getting old. Not as old as Bob Dole, though.
BOB DOLE (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, you're not old, no you're not.
KING: Are you still thinking about four years from now, come on?
MCCAIN: No. I'm thinking about getting elected to the Senate and from Arizona and re-electing George Bush.
KING: So when are you up for re-election?
MCCAIN: This fall.
KING: Do you have an opponent?
MCCAIN: Yes, sir.
KING: Do you run like you're behind?
MCCAIN: You better run like you take it seriously and that you're behind because otherwise, a lot of -- as George and Bob will tell you, there's a lot of very good people that took things for granted and found themselves television commentators.
KING: We'll have questions of you from our panel, but a couple of quick ones from me. I moderated that famous South Carolina debate, you, Alan Keyes and George Bush.
KING: A lot of anger that night. Vituperativeness. Has it been hard to get past that?
MCCAIN: No. I got past it two months after the primary in the yeaer 2000. I campaigned vigorously for President Bush's election. I've been campaigning for his re-election since last January.
Larry, you can't hold a grudge in politics. Your two regular panelists, George Mitchell and Bob Dole will tell you, you have got to move forward. It's a disservice to your constituents if you look back in anger and allow that to affect your behavior. And I'm supporting George Bush's re-election and we have a very good relationship.
KING: Isn't it hard, though?
KING: Not hard?
MCCAIN: No. Because you've got to put it behind you. You have got to be a big enough person to move on. All of us when we're in politics suffer real or imagined slights, insults, whatever, but the fact is they were bad things.
But look, I'm a guy who stood fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy and was able to run for the president of the United States. It shows that anything can happen. The most wonderful experience of my life was running for president of the United States.
KING: OK. That's understood. Is it hard when you have a friend like Bob -- John Kerry in the Senate, a friend of yours...
KING: ... another decorated war hero like yourself, is it hard to attack him?
MCCAIN: I don't. I will not attack him. I will not attack him and I haven't and I've defended him when I think he's unfairly attacked. I think that's what friends are for.
KING: So in other words, you're for Bush, you're not against him in a sense.
MCCAIN: Absolutely, absolutely.
KING: You just think Bush would be the better man to be president at this time.
MCCAIN: Because I believe he has proven his leadership for this nation with strength and clarity after September 11th.
KING: Let's start -- we start with George Mitchell. You have a question for John?
GEORGE MITCHELL (D), FMR. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: John, you strongly condemn the Swift Boat Veteran ad...
MITCHELL: ... and you said -- you defended Kerry in that circumstance. You said at that time that you would speak to the president about it. Have you spoken to him and can you tell us what that conversation was?
MCCAIN: Well, yes, I'm sure you'll appreciate, George, that I don't give details of conversations with the president, but I did, sure. I spoke to the president. He has condemned the 527s and is ready to go to court.
He's ready to act legislatively and there is some legitimacy to his comment that he has been viciously attacked by the 527s on the other thing. You and I and Bob know it's the Federal Election Commission which is corrupt and not enforcing the law.
They are a political body, not an enforcer of the law, and that's what we have got to fix. But no, the president will not specifically condemn that. I talked to him about it and now it's time to move on.
KING: Is it a weakness in McCain-Feingold?
MCCAIN: No, it's a weakness in the Federal Election Commission. The original campaign finance law of 1974 says any organization that engages in political campaigns for partisan purposes are subject to campaign contribution limits.
We're not trying to get rid of 527s. We're trying to get them to play by the same rules which were upheld by the United States Supreme Court. And that is contribution limits.
KING: Senator Dole, do you have a question or a comment for Senator McCain?
DOLE: Well, John McCain is one of the great American heroes and we have a lot in common. One thing in common, we were both Bush- whacked. (LAUGHTER)
DOLE: I was Bush-whacked by 41 and he was Bush-whacked by 43. But John is a great friend, a great American and I'm so pleased he's out there working for President Bush because I agree with him that it's abouted leadership and about leadership at this time in America. And I think President Bush can get the job done, has done a good job.
KING: Was it hard for you, Senator Dole to criticize Senator Kerry?
DOLE: Well, I hoped I didn't -- you know, I sort of took the same position that what I was criticizing, I thought at least was what happened after he got home. I haven't criticized his medals, the Silver Star. I did tweak him a little on the Purple Heart.
But I primarily questioned what he said when he came back here. I was in the Senate then, in 1971. And he met with five or six or seven senators and said some things, even though they were hearsay, and hearsay is not admissible in the courtroom, and John shouldn't have been out there making these hearsay statements about all of the war crimes being committed by Americans in Vietnam.
That was a big mistake on his part and I think that's the thing that really, if anything hurts him now, it's that testimony he gave in the United States Senate on April 21, 1971.
MITCHELL: But Bob, really in fairness, the first Swift Boat ad that John McCain specifically condemned nothing to do with his testimony on his return. It was statements made by people which were false, claiming that he falsified his record to get the medals.
DOLE: When I went on with my friend Wolf Blitzer, my former friend Wolf Blitzer...
DOLE: ... I said, you know, you started off that way. There is a conduct after he arrived. I think Senator McCain said as recently as yesterday he's not going to fault anything John Kerry did in Vietnam, but we have a right to question what he did when he came home. And that's what I tried to do, I didn't do a very good job.
KING: Anyway, Bob Woodward, do you have a question for Senator McCain?
BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes. Senator McCain, you obviously have achieved this kind of near-icon status in American politics with this trademark "straight talk," truth-telling, I remember running into you in the White House a couple of years ago and you said something to me which I won't repeat, but it was "straight talk."
And the question is, other politicians in either party seeing what you have done with this, simple question, why isn't it catching? Why don't we get more "straight talk" from politicians? DOLE: They caught it from me and Mitchell.
WOODWARD: Well, maybe. I mean, it's his own brand and why hasn't somebody else picked up and seen the immense benefits that accrue. First of all, you can say what's on your mind. You don't have to game it (ph).
KING: That's a great question. Why?
MCCAIN: I don't know the answer to that, Bob, and perhaps George and Bob Dole know better. The two most effective leaders -- I've been around the Senate for about 25 years, the two most effective leaders in the United States Senate, George Mitchell and Bob Dole and I...
KING: ... straight talk?
MCCAIN: Straight talk. Look, George Mitchell was a tough partisan guy, but he was always fair; Bob Dole was a tough partisan guy, but he was always fair, whether they were in the majority or the minority. And frankly, we need more of that in the Congress of the United States.
We have got to treat each other a lot more fairly than we've been doing. My answer to your question, Bob, I don't know the answer. I'm hoping that there's a younger generation I see some coming into the Senate on both sides of the aisle that are engaging in a little more of that. And I encourage them every day, but you always take a risk, as you know, of alienating one of your constituencies. And by the way, I think money does play a role in this caution.
KING: Speaking of younger generations, Jacque Reid of BET NIGHTLY NEWS, do you have a question for John McCain?
JACQUE REID, BET NIGHTLY NEWS: I certainly do. Senator McCain, I just wanted to ask you, you were one of many moderate Republicans to address this convention, but we're not really hearing moderate issues that folks like you embrace -- politicians like you embrace. Do you think that's going to hurt this party when it comes to swing voters after this convention?
MCCAIN: Well, Jackie, first of all, I think that the reason why you heard from -- at least Schwarzenegger and Giuliani, is because they're popular. We're competing for viewers. There are people that have this channel changer and they can surf through 500 channels in some cases. And we want people who will speak, who people will tune in to.
Second of all, I believe the overriding issue clearly is the war on terror. And I think that America's security is important, but I also think that you're going to hear from the conservative side, certainly tonight and again tomorrow night.
But I think your point is well made, but I don't think there was a calculation on the part of the people who set up the convention, we're going to have moderates, they're going to say, who will people watch? Certainly Rudy Giuliani and the Terminator will fit into that category.
KING: We're going to get a break and be right back with more of LARRY KING LIVE if you can hear me. Don't go away.
KING: We're back at the Republican National Convention. Michael Reagan will be coming out shortly, the son of the late Ronald Reagan to introduce a film saluting the late president. Let's check in for a moment or two in Telluride, Colorado with Dan Quayle, the 44th vice president of the United States. Why aren't you here, Dan?
DAN QUAYLE (R), FMR. VICE PRESIDENT: I didn't have any official role -- speaking role at the convention. I'm enjoying myself here. It really is a -- it's a media show. I can join you from Telluride, Colorado and it's really for the party faithful.
So I decided not to come this year, but, heck, appearing on your show with John McCain, Bob Dole, George Mitchell, Bob Woodward, heck, that's as good as attending the convention.
KING: Is this going to be a very rough campaign?
QUAYLE: It probably will be. I think what's going to happen, Larry, is that President Bush is going to get, I think a better bump than John Kerry did and next week, I think it will be ahead, in most of the national polls anywhere from five to eight points and then that will sort of...
KING: All right. Dan, I'm going to have to cut you. We'll come back to you. I'm going to have to cut you and come back to you. I'm sorry. Michael Reagan, the son of the late Ronald Reagan's coming out to introduce a film about his father. We're going to carry that film. Thank you, Senator McCain for joining us. We hope we can get back to Dan Quayle. We'll be right back. Here's Michael Reagan at the podium.
MICHAEL REAGAN, SON OF LATE RONALD REAGAN: I knew if I waited long enough, the Republican Party would rock, and it's rocking tonight. It's good to be here.
My fellow Republicans, good evening to you, each and every one of you. I am truly the luckiest man in the world. I am lucky for so many, many reasons.
First of all, I'm lucky because my mother, my father, my birth- mother and my birth-father all had something in common. You know what it was? They were all pro-life.
And they were pro-adoption.
(APPLAUSE) Because they were, I stand before you tonight as Michael Edward Reagan.
I've come tonight to honor my father, not to politicize his name.
REAGAN: I'm here to introduce a video tribute to my father, Ronald Reagan, who was not just a great leader, but also a great dad.
But first of all, on behalf of the Reagan family, I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone here and everyone at home across America for all you did during the week that we laid my father to rest.
It was your faith, it was your love, it was your support that truly sustained each member of our family. So many of you stood in all-night vigils, stopped your cars and trucks, waved your flags or just placed your hands on your heart as our cars drove by.
One gentleman, by the name of Jorge Ponce-Rodriguez, left his passport with a message to our family there at the library in Simi Valley. He said, because of President Reagan, "my family and I were able to achieve the American dream. God bless Ronald Reagan."
Why did my father -- why did he evoke such an incredible gratitude and goodwill?
Was it his personality? His sunny optimism? His humor? That twinkle in his eye?
REAGAN: Was it the fact that he was a great communicator? Or was it all of that and something more?
Ronald Reagan, you see, did not break the back of Soviet tyranny and then and ignite the most powerful economy in our history with just funny stories and beautiful words. He wasn't just a great communicator. You see, my father communicated great ideas. Where did these ideas come from?
Where did they come from? They came from his beliefs. He believed, as Thomas Jefferson said -- and remember Thomas and my dad played together as children...
... that God who gave us life, and he did give us life, also gave us liberty at the same time. My father believed that God had a plan for his life and for every life and for the life of our nation. (APPLAUSE)
He believed America was placed between the oceans to be a beacon of freedom for the whole world, the place where man was not beholden to government, but in fact government was beholden to man.
And because of him, we are that "Shining City on a Hill," and we shine a little bit brighter tonight.
He believed the founders' limitations on government helped create the freest, most prosperous nation ever known. Finally, he believed freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. With the blessings of liberty, we have responsibilities to defend it.
Today, the USS Ronald Reagan sits in a berth in San Diego, California, with 5,000 men and women for just that purpose.
Throughout his life, his belief in you and me and the American people never ever wavered.
And finally, in his farewell letter, he wrote: "As I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life, I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."
With pride, ladies and gentleman, I present to you a video tribute of the 40th president of the United States, my dad, Ronald Wilson Reagan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America bids farewell to a hero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States begins his final journey to the west. President Reagan's greatest legacy was giving America back its optimism and its sense of pride. He made us feel good about ourselves again. When that flag went by, we all stood a little taller.
RONALD REAGAN, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Ronald Reagan do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States.
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, FRM. NYC MAYOR: President Reagan was a statesman of the first order: persuasive, disarming, instinctive. He inspired America and the entire world with the clarity of his vision and a sense of direction and purpose.
MARGARET THATCHER, FRM. PRIME MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: We have lost a great president, a great American and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend. He inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, (R) CALIFORNIA: I was always struck by his style and grace, his strength of character. He brought hope to a dispirited world and he did it with incredible dignity.
DR. HENRY KISSINGER, FRM. SECRETARY OF STATE: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War.
REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The iron curtain came down for good and the special joy I felt was that the answer came in my own lifetime.
HOWARD BAKER, FRM. U.S. SENATOR: President Reagan was one superb negotiator. Indeed, he could charm the birds out of the trees, but it was his idealism and his endless strength and courage that put America and the world on the road to a lasting peace.
REV. DANIEL COUGHLIN, CHAPLAIN, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Ronald Wilson Reagan, with his style and grace he made it seem easy. With his compassion and sense of timing, he brought strength of character to the nation and kindled hope in a darkened world.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT, (R-IL) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: While others worry, President Reagan persevered. When others weakened, President Reagan stood tall. When others stepped back, President Reagan stepped forward. And he did it all with great humility, with great charm and with great humor.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ronald Reagan spoke of a nation that is hopeful, big-hearted, idealistic, daring, decent and fair. That was how he saw America, and that is how America came to know him. There was a kindness, simplicity and goodness of character that marked all the years of his life. And in this national vigil of mourning, we show how much America loved this good man and how greatly we will miss him.
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We never got tired of listening to him. He always spoke with such ease and good cheer and that smile, that twinkle in his eye: pure, vintage Reagan.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In a life of good fortune, he valued, above all, the gracious gift of his wife, Nancy.
REV. BILLY GRAHAM: President and Mrs. Reagan were the most loving couple you could ever be around. I never knew a couple so close as they were. And she loved him and they loved each other. They set a great example of how a couple can love each other through thick and thin.
REAGAN: I can't imagine life without her.
BUSH: Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when we're he belonged to us. We know, as he always said, that America's best days are ahead of us, but with Ronald Reagan's passing, some very fine days are behind us and that is worth our tears.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ronald Reagan believed in America, so he made it his shining city on a hill. He believed in freedom, so he acted on behalf of its values and ideals. As his vice president for eight years I learned more from Ronald Reagan than from anyone I encountered in all my years of public life. I learned kindness, we all did. I also learned courage, the nation did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We began this day and the sea and the heavens were weeping as we paid our farewell to your servant Ronald Reagan. We have come from sea to shining sea to this soil which he loved so much and where his body will remain.
NANCY REAGAN, RONALD REAGAN'S WIFE: I always knew how deeply Ronnie loved America and the American people, but I was so touched to see how much they loved him in return. People of all races and from different countries, people we knew and thousands we'd never met. All anxious to reach out to Ronnie one last time.
Our family's sense of loss is immense and it's difficult to put into words. From being governor of the largest state in the country, to being president of the United States for eight years, he somehow remained the same wonderful man.
REAGAN: We did more than just pass through, we got America moving again. We breathed new life into our economy and put more people to work than ever before in history. We rebuilt our military's strength and brought the world a little closer together in peace. But above all, more than anything else, we got America to stand tall again. And, you know, I like to think that maybe that's the thing I'm proudest of.
KING: A brilliant film depicting the life and times of Ronald Reagan. I know it must have been so appreciated by his wife Nancy, watching tonight in her home in Bel Air, California.
We'll be right back with Senator Bill Frist and our panel after these words. This is special first edition of LARRY KING LIVE, back again tonight at midnight. And by the way, George H.W. Bush the 1st will be with us tomorrow night with one of his sons and a grandson. Three generation of Bushes tomorrow night.
Right back with Senator Frist and our panel right after this.
KING: Welcome back to more of LARRY KING LIVE at the Republican National Convention. Our panel remains. Bob Woodward in Washington. Bob of the "Washington Post." He's one of our regulars.
As is Bob Dole, the former presidential nominee and majority leader in Madison Square Garden. With us as well is George Mitchell, former Senate majority leader.
On the floor is Jacque Reid, anchor of "BET Nightly News" and joining us now is Senator Bill Frist, Senate majority leader, Republican of Tennessee, co-chairman of this convention's platform committee. We are heavily laden with majority leaders tonight. Two formers and one regular. By the way, how is Howard Baker?
SEN. BILL FRIST (R), TENNESSEE: He's doing great. He had heart surgery as you know a few days ago. He's doing great. It wasn't emergency surgery. He had some symptoms, very mild symptoms, went in and had surgery today. Thank goodness, as you well know it's pretty routine and he's doing great.
KING: How's Tennessee doing? What's that look like in November?
FRIST: You know, Tennessee looks good. We had a fascinating four years ago where we had Al Gore, a favorite son run and George Bush, as you know won and he won quite handily there. The feeling there is just about the same. It will definitely go with Bush. We don't have any Senate races up. All the House seats are stable there as well.
KING: What's your role in the campaign? You're the majority leader. You wear a lot of hats doing that. What do you do in the race?
FRIST: Well, I have really two functions. One is to get mostly -- and this is where all the focus is -- is to get President Bush reelected. He's got to be and in my own field of health care whether it's prescription drugs, Medicare, he's got a great future and a whole concept of the way medicine should be practiced and what can be done.
Secondly though, the United States Senate where George and I have served, it is closely divided and one of my goals, obviously, is to pick up some Republican seats to make my job as leader a little bit easier. It's always a tough job. If I can pick up one or two or three more seats, then I think a lot of the filibusters will disappear. .
KING: Is the Senate very representative of the country then?
FRIST: You know, I think it is representative. I just chaired the platform committee as you mentioned. I was in New York all last week and I was with 110 delegates out of this party. That -- a very diverse group. But I would compare the two both in terms of process which is a very open and transparent process, our platform committee like the United States Senate and I think the Senate today is very reflective when you look at all 100 United States senators, it's right down the middle and that's why we see the presidential race very, very close.
KING: Senator Mitchell, do you have any questions for Senator Frist?
MITCHELL: Bill, the Senate is very close and I know you are working hard to elect Republicans. Of course it's kind of hard when you're working hard to elect Democrats. Do you expect that whatever the result, it's going to still be close one way or the other by a couple of votes?
FRIST: I think it will be close. The country is equally divided. I think the presidential race, again, nobody knows, has a good chance of pulling away because we have big defining global issues. As you know, most of the Senate races are based on the local politics and the local issues, previous voting records. The country is fairly evenly divided.
So I think -- you know, I would say optimistically, we could pick up several seats. Realistically, we'll pick up one or two seats. I think it's going to be very important for us to recognize that the world for a while is going to closely divided and that we really do need to work together across party lines. I think we've gotten fairly partisan as you well know in the last few years.
KING: Senator Dole in Washington, do you have a question for your old friend, the doctor from Tennessee?
DOLE: No, I think he's doing a great job in providing good leadership. Both Senator Mitchell and I know how difficult it is. I think they used to accuse George of agreeing too much with Bob Dole and they accused me of agreeing too much with George Mitchell. So I guess I assume, Bill, you and Tom Daschle are going through the same thing. I don't think Republicans have ever had -- I think the last time we had around 55 senators was back in 1929 when they still had 48 states. I think that's about right, so we haven't had a big margin in the Senate and, George, you had a margin of how many? The greatest margin.
MITCHELL: 55 to 45 at its peak, Bob, for about two years and then it shrunk after that.
DOLE: And that makes a great difference. Just that 55 to 45, I think, as Senator Bill Frist mentioned might be the end of a lot of the filibusters, maybe more conciliation and more working together and more compromise.
MITCHELL: Even at 55-45, you can't break filibusters. 60 is really the magic number and as Bill said, there's really no prospect that either party is going to get to 60 at least in this year.
(CROSSTALK) DOLE: At 55 -- from 55 you've got a little leverage, a little...
MITCHELL: A little shy, though.
FRIST: I think the big thing to work on that we do -- both parties have to work on. Because we're not going to get 60 votes -- nobody has 60 votes -- is to work together in a civil way with mutual respect and trust and then 60 votes come real easy. If we can really work with that trust. I think that's something that after the election that we will be able to accomplish. It's certainly going to be a goal of mine, if I'm majority leader and I expect to be, that is something that's going to be a goal and something we're going to shoot for.
KING: Bob Woodward, a question for Senator Frist?
WOODWARD: Yes. Senator, I think the headline tonight is going to be Cheney's speech. He's really, as I understand, he's going to rip in to Senator Kerry saying they honor him, you all honor Senator Kerry for his Vietnam service, but then Cheney is going to kick off the votes that he thinks were wrong and it's a pretty blistering attack and I really want to ask you, are you comfortable with the vice president doing that? I know, normally, the attack dog role goes to that person, but this, at least to some, may seem a little over the line.
FRIST: Yes, Bob, I don't know what the reaction will be, but I think since we only have a little over 60 days in the campaign, it is very important to put -- look, first of all, ahead, what is that agenda, what is that vision?
Secondly, I think it is legitimate and very important to look back over the last four years and compare the record of John Kerry in the United States Senate. He was elected by the people from Massachusetts to be a leader, to be one of two U.S. senators from a very important state. What has he done? What bills has he supported and what bills has he passed?
Has he been able to work with the other side? Has he led with character and integrity? What are his votes? The American people today simply don't know what John Kerry's voting record really is.
So I think it's very legitimate to get the contrast out there. They know what President Bush's record is and of course we're celebrating that and we'll hear more and more about that. In the platform, we wrote about that as well. The real question is what has John Kerry done over the last four (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
KING: Is the tone rough, Senator Frist, though?
FRIST: I don't -- we'll have to see. I thought Giuliani handled it pretty well. That was pretty tough contrast. It framed the debate for the convention and I think that that was very useful. Yesterday was a much softer day, compassion, some courage, looking to the future. We'll have to see tonight how the vice president comes across. KING: Jacque Reid, you have a question for Senator -- Jacque.
REID: Actually, I do. Actually, I do. Senator Frist, I wanted to ask you about security here at the convention. As you know there have been some breaches. And some are saying that it could be because of these badges that we have that really don't identify who they belong to and that is how some people have been able to make it inside, some protesters, if you will. Are you thinking that maybe you should have tried a different security system for this convention?
FRIST: You know, I don't think so. In truth the protesters don't bother me. Every morning I've been running in Central Park really exploring this tremendous city, and there are some protesters. And I was out at Rockefeller Plaza today and somebody shouted and we see some protesters on the floor. You know, in truth this, is America and it's almost good to hear that expression in this country because you can't get it in others. Also the law enforcement here are unbelievable. I've had the opportunity to interact with the police. They are top notch and I respect them.
KING: I grew up here, a pretty good police force.
FRIST: Unbelievable. Unbelievable.
KING: We're going to take a break and come back. Senator Frist will remain with us, I know Senator Dole wanted to say something.
And we'll be back with this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE with another one coming at midnight Eastern. Don't go away.
KING: We'll ask about Senator Zell Miller in a minute. But Bob Dole wanted to say something when Jacque Reid was asking a question -- Bob.
DOLE: Well, I think, as long as I can remember, it's always sort of fallen to the vice presidential nominee or the vice president to challenge the nominee. In this case, you have Dick Cheney to challenge John Kerry. I think Al Gore did it to me pretty successfully in 1996. I remember 1976 when I was the running mate with Gerry Ford, he had the rose garden strategy, and he sent me out into the briar patch where I was supposed to go after Jimmy Carter. So I think as -- maybe Bob Woodward knows precisely when it started, but it's always sort of been that way.
WOODWARD: Well, some people think it started with you.
DOLE: I had a lot of fun doing it.
KING: Well said.
WOODWARD: Because there was a sense that no one enjoyed it as much as you. DOLE: I did.
KING: Senator Frist, the key keynote speaker, your keynote speaker is a Democratic senator from Georgia, who supported Lester Maddox, Jimmy Carter, and was the keynote speaker at the nomination of Bill Clinton when he successfully became president. He's not going to say flip-flop tonight is he?
FRIST: I don't know. We'll see.
KING: Is this an unusual choice?
FRIST: You know, it is, but if you look at our platform a lot of people don't read the platform, but if you read the platform there've been some changes. We put in the platform for the first time that we're the party of the open door. Those hundred and ten delegates representing this body here today, we said diversity is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. And I think you're going to see, as you saw Schwarzenegger come in last night with this sort of very large theme and welcoming theme of immigrants reaching out broadly.
And you see a very strong Democrat who was proud of his heritage. Who does say the Democratic party has prove moved away from him, being the one person out here who is really being highlighted, it says to the American people, take a look, if you're independent or you're a Democrat, look at our principles. Look at what Ronald Reagan represents with freedom and opportunity and hope, and those principles that we just heard. And I think that's important and there may be a shift in the Republican Party. I think that's a theme of the campaign, and as I said, our 110 delegates voted in that direction.
KING: Do you want him to switch parties?
FRIST: I do. Bob Dole, that's right, you heard him. George, back here would say, no.
KING: Joe, why do you want him to stay in your party.
MITCHELL: Let me answer after him.
KING: OK. Hold on.
FRIST: The reason is, is really inside politics a little bit, in that our committee structure, you have 51 percent. You get 51 percent of the committee structure. You have 52, you get 52 percent, so every vote does count.
KING: George, we'll go down in a minute to floor.
MITCHELL: Many years, as the parties is realigned in the south, politicians have been elected as Democrats and shifted to Republicans. Senator Shelby and Senator Graham, others, but if Zell Miller who has been voting as a Republican and praising President Bush for years, if he switched to Republican a year or two ago, do you think he'd be giving the speech tonight?
He'd be just another Republican senator. So it's in his interest and in the interest of the Bush/Cheney campaign that he claims to be a Democrat, in fact he's Republican.
KING: Let's go down to the floor. Jacque Reid, is with Alan Keyes who will be the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois -- Jacque.
REID: That's right, he just came on board for the Republicans in Illinois, moving over from Maryland to take over this.
How's the campaign going?
ALAN KEYES (R), SENATE CANDIDATE ILLINOIS: It's going very well. We're getting an wonderful, warm, enthusiastic response from people in Illinois. And we've begun to take the issue to the people and to tell them the truth about Barak Obama, that he's really an extremist who has (UNINTELLIGIBLE) infanticide in the hospitals in Illinois. But also that we represent the kind of values, pro-life, pro-family. In favor of limited government, and bringing jobs to Illinois by protecting our businesses and attracting new business instead of taking measures, higher taxes and over regulation that drive business out of the state.
REID: Speaking of the issues that you embrace, you made a little bit of controversy speaking out about Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter calling her a selfish hedonist. Those were your words. Do you regret that?
KEYES: Actually, that was a situation in which I described what's involved in a gay sexual relations, and described it quite objective. Sexual relations with no other objective than that the parties involved some should derive pleasure from this use of the organs intended for sexual purpose. That is selfish, that oriented towards one self, hedonism which is the pursuit of pleasure.
REID: But even feeling that way, do you feel it was wrong to say it...
KEYES: I was then asked by the reporters would that apply to Lynne Cheney's daughter as a lesbian, in so far as she engages in that kind of sexual relation, of course, it applies. It is by definition applied to all those people who are engaging in sexual relations.
REID: So, you don't regret saying it here at this Republican Convention about the vice president who's running for reelection with the president.
KEYES: If you don't mind saying so, this is a typical case of the media generating something with their words and then trying to put them in my mouth. What is proper, however is to apply the understanding of gay sexual relations, because what that means is that some sexual relations can't be a proper basis for marriage. Marriage requires a selfless commitment to the child and to the future.
REID: I understand that, but the Republican party is calling what you said inappropriate. Your response to that.
KEYES: Giving a clear and accurate definition of gay sexual relations in order to show why it is incompatible with marriage and why the Republican plank in the platform is in fact correct, it is not inappropriate. It is necessary.
REID: All right, I know you have to run. Alan Keyes, Republican candidate for senator in Illinois, thank you.
And I do, Larry, want to give thanks to CNN's Dana Bash for setting this up. We were over there covering what was going to from the podium and she set this whole thing up.
KING: Thank you, before we go to break and thanks to Senator Frist.
Was Alan Keyes embarrassing?
FRIST: Well, I tell you, I can't tell exactly what he said, but if he in any way, expressed hatred or intolerance it's inconsistent with the Republican Party.
KING: Good seeing you senator, keep up the good medical work. You go to Africa and do a lot of work.
FRIST: I was just there two weeks ago. Thank you.
KING; We'll be back with our remaining moments with our panel and then turn it back over to Wolf, and we'll be back at midnight, but more from the panel after this.
KING: That's a Sara Evans, a very famous star out of Nashville, Tennessee, performing. We have but a few moments remaining.
What do you expect, Bob Dole, from Dick Cheney tonight? Dick Cheney is coming up in the next hour, Lynn Cheney will introduce him. And Senator Zell Miller, the Democrat, will be the keynote speaker. What do you expect from Cheney, Bob?
DOLE: Well, I haven't had a chance to read his remarks. Bob Woodward just referred to some of the comments made. Obviously, he's going to make a very strong case for President Bush. He's going to expose the difference between John Kerry's voting record, maybe what John Kerry says or what John Kerry proposes.
It will be a fairly tough speech. And I think that's generally the way it is for a vice president who is seeking reelection, or John Edwards, for example, in the Democratic conventions.
But Dick Cheney has been around. He's smart, he's bright. I don't think he'll go over the top, but it will be a tough speech.
KING: What do you expect, George Mitchell?
MITCHELL: A strong attack on John Kerry.
KING: Which is par for the course?
MITCHELL: I don't think Edwards made it a particularly strong attack in his effort in Boston. But remember, the Democratic strategy was don't bash Bush, be positive.
KING: That was a wrong strategy on reflection?
MITCHELL: No, I think it was a right one for them at the time, because they wanted to be positive. I think the Republicans have decided they don't need to be positive on that issue and they're going to go all out against Kerry.
KING: Bob Woodward, you've obviously read the speech. How rough is this?
WOODWARD: It's tough. And, again, Cheney, sometimes has a tone that tends to soothe the words, but the words are harsh. I think people are going to be seeing Cheney and ought to remember that this is the most influential vice presidents ever. He is somebody who played a very dramatic role in the decision to go to war in Iraq. I asked President Bush about it and he said Dick Cheney was a persistent advocate for solving the Saddam Hussein problem.
Cheney is somebody to be reckoned with, somebody who Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, thought Dick Cheney had developed a fever about al Qaeda and Iraq. And Powell worried that Cheney had almost set up his own little separate government within the administration of conservatives who carried their causes over the barricade and pushed an agenda, very actively.
KING: Bob Woodward, as always, thank you very much for your outstanding contributions during this election campaign. We look forward to seeing you on election night. Same for Senator Bob Dole. It was wonderful seeing you here in person last night, to actually touch you and hold you and shake your hand.
DOLE: Oh, it's a dangerous place.
KING: Seeing you on election night. They loved you here, Bob. George Mitchell, we'll be seeing you on election night as well.
MITCHELL: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Thank you always for your help. And thanks for Jackie Reed, for terrific work on the floor.
We'll be back two hours from now with our wrap-up show. And on that program, we'll take your calls.
Tomorrow night, three generations of Bushes. President Bush the 1st, the 41st president of the United States, one of his sons and his grandson Pierce who started today at Georgetown University.
Wolf Blitzer and Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield are next. I'm Larry King. Thank you very much for being with us. The Republican National Convention, night three forges ahead. Don't go away.
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