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Coverage of the Republican National Convention

Aired September 3, 2004 - 00:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: John Kerry, a live speech in Springfield, Ohio. LARRY KING LIVE will immediately follow the speech with our panel. Back to Senator Kerry.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead our country.


Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this country.


Letting 45 million Americans go without health care for four years makes you unfit to lead this country.


Letting the Saudi royal family control the price of oil for Americans makes you unfit to lead this country.


Handing out billions of dollars in contracts without a bid to Halliburton while you're still on the payroll makes you unfit to lead this country.


That, my friends, is the record of George Bush and of Dick Cheney and that only begins to scratch the surface. I think that you believe, as John and I do, that it's time for us to have a different kind of conversation in this nation of ours.

This president has misled American works and misled the American people. And I think all of you out there, you watched our convention. Four days -- I want you to just think about what Barack Obama said to our country as he stood up and spoke about one nation and about the positive vision that we offered.

Four years ago, George Bush offered America a plan for our economy. But, once again, he misled America, because he told you four years that, if we had these great big tax cuts, he was going to create 5.6 million jobs. He told you that he was going to create -- he was going to create 266,000 jobs right here in Ohio. Ohio lost 230,000 jobs. Ohio lost 112,000 jobs from the date after the recession ended, after he had promised a new round of a million jobs. My friends, it's too late two months before an election to come leaping into a convention and make a bunch of promises when you haven't even kept the promises that you made before.


And I'll tell you what John Edwards and I know. I've met workers out here in Ohio who've not only lost their jobs and watched them go overseas, but who've actually had to unbolt the equipment that they worked on and put it in a crate and send it to follow the job that went overseas.

You didn't hear anything about that tonight, but let me tell you something: When John Edwards and I get in there with your help we're going to take that tax code that you're paying for and we're going to change what they're supporting and encouraging which is asking you to actually reward those companies that take the jobs overseas.

When John Edwards and I are in there, we're not only not to reward the companies that take the jobs overseas, we're going to close that loophole. No American worker will ever be asked to subsidize the loss of their own job.


And you know what else we're going to do? We're going to do something that makes common sense, which is what we need to restore to the main street of America. We're going to actually take the money that now goes to the companies that go overseas and we're going to reward the companies that create the manufacturing jobs right here in the United States of America. That makes sense.


Let me tell you what else we're going to do. We're going to start to do what America does best. Every single one of you knows the power of our country comes from our spirit, from the American spirit of ingenuity, of creativity, of exploration, of science.

And John and I are going to recommit America to the discovery and the creation of those new jobs that pay you more than the $9,000 less for the jobs that are going overseas. We need a president who fights as hard for your jobs as he fights for his own job, and that's exactly what we're going to do over the course of these next years.


We're going to -- we've gone four years -- you've gone four years, and all across America, as John and I travel with Elizabeth and Teresa, we're meeting families who look us in the eye and say, "I can't afford it anymore. We can't get health care. There's no way to continue to pay the increasing premiums that have gone up 50 percent."

Tuitions have gone up 35 percent. Gas prices up 31 percent. And wages have gone down. I'll tell you this: When I'm president of the United States, that tax code that belongs to you, that's 17,000 pages long today and you don't have a page of it, we're going to put that back in the scrutiny of all Americans and we are going to make America's workplace fair again so it works for the average American.


And George Bush talked about health care four years ago. He talked about health care for the last four years, talked and talked. But the fact is that, on the last year, 1.4 million Americans lost their health care. In the last four years, 5 million Americans have lost their health care. We're now up to $45 million Americans who go to bed at night worried, don't know what to do, pray they won't get sick, don't know where to turn.

And only John Edwards and John Kerry have put before America a plan that says your family's health care is just as important as any politician in Washington, D.C. We're going to provide health care to all Americans.

We've also seen George Bush make America more dependent, not less, on fuel oil that comes from other countries. God only gave three percent of the world's oil reserves, folks. That didn't change during the time George Bush has been president. And we import 61 percent of our oil.

Yet, we're still not moving down the road of discovery which would create millions of new jobs in this country. We need to change the president and have a president who understands no young American in uniform should ever be held hostage to America's dependence on oil in the Middle East. We're going to liberate ourselves. We're going to make ourselves energy independent.


And, finally, there is this issue of Iraq. We deserve a president -- this is the most serious issue we face right now. And this is not an issue -- this is not an issue that ought to be the subject of Democrat, Republican. That's not where it comes from.

This comes from the heart, the gut and from the head, the common sense of Americans. This president misled America into this war. This president told Americans that Iraq had reconstituted a nuclear plan, but they hadn't. He told Americans there were those weapons of mass destruction, and people believed him. There weren't.

He told Americans that this war would cost us $1 billion and the oil from Iraq would pay for it. $200 billion later, and tragically, tragically, too many lives later, Iraq is a mess and the world is not at the side of the United States of America.

I pledge to you, I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president of the United States of America.


AUDIENCE: Kerry. Kerry. Kerry.

KERRY: Our soldiers are doing an extraordinary job. These are the best and the brightest, the most remarkable people in the military that I've ever seen. I visited a hospital the other day and met a couple of young soldiers that'd been wounded. I've never seen spirit like that. They're amazing.

But they deserve leadership that helps them to do the job right, that helps America to reduce the cost to the American taxpayer, that helps America to have allies at our side so we're not carrying 90 percent of the casualties and 90 percent of the cost. We need to get this war out of the pocket of the American taxpayer and we need to get the target off of the front and back of the American soldier. And I will do that.


So I don't think the agenda has ever been as clear as it is today. And I think that's why so many of you have come out here tonight. And wherever we've gone across this country, John and I have met people who just want simple things like the truth.

They just want people to stand up and talk to them about real things that make a difference, like how we raise the wages of workers, how we make the workplace fair, how we don't go backwards on a 40-hour work week and continue to pay people overtime that they deserve, how we create the jobs of the future.

People just want to know that health care isn't reserved for the wealthy, and the connected, and the elected. It's not a privilege in America. It's a right. And when John Edwards and I are there, we'll make it a right that's available to every single American.

KING: A rip-roaring John Kerry in Springfield, Ohio. This is live tonight. And, when we come back, we'll assemble our panel, get our thoughts on the president's speech, and this extraordinary response. I think it's unheard in American politics on the night of a one party closing its convention have the standard-bearer of the other party respond in kind.

We'll be right back.


KING: Cheer up, Madison Square Garden. Both conventions are over, and we swing into the campaign which kicks off -- has kicked off already tonight.

Let's meet our panel, all in Madison Square Garden. Jacque Reid, anchor of "BET NIGHTLY NEWS," Alan Simpson, the former United States senator, Republican of Wyoming, Mario Cuomo, the former Democratic governor of New York who gave one of the great keynote addresses ever at the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco, and he's the author of "Why Lincoln Matters Today More than Ever."

Gideon Yago is up in our booth. He's the key correspondent for MTV's "Choose or Lose" coverage of the 2004 campaign. He's hosting a "Choose or Lose" special Monday night on MTV. Tucker Carlson, the co- host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE," our political analyst and the host of "TUCKER CARLSON UNFILTERED" on PBS. And roving the floor, our man, Mo Rocca, wearing his final whites of the summer, our roving reporter for this convention.

Let's start with Governor Cuomo. This extraordinary night, what did you make of the Bush speech and now the Kerry speech?

MARIO CUOMO, (D) FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: I think this convention maybe the best thing that could've happened to the Democrats. The effect it's had on John Kerry, the way it ignited him, and it has produced something that I was praying for and Kerry was asking for, and that is debates.

The president of the United States does not want to debate John Kerry or anybody else. But, tonight, there was a debate, whether he liked it or not, because the president spoke and then John Kerry spoke. And it seems to me John Kerry did very well. There's no reason they can't continue to do this for the rest of the campaign.

KING: Was it bad form to go on immediately following...

CUOMO: Was it bad form to spend four days tearing this guy's reputation to shreds? I don't think it was -- I don't think it was bad form for him to defend himself.

KING: Alan Simpson?

ALAN SIMPSON, (R) FORMER SENATOR FROM WYOMING: Well, you know, Mario and I -- politics is a contact sport.

KING: I've heard.

SIMPSON: The battle is joined. Now, I want to hear the commentators talk about this stuff Kerry just gave. If that wasn't an attack, I've missed everything. And last night, I heard, well, let's see, Zell Miller attacked here, and George Bush attacked. I mean, pal, I just heard this stuff.

And he ought to do it, because an attack unanswered is an attack believed. The reason he looks so energized, he's been half-asleep for the last week. And now he's all spooked up, and, boy, I tell you, it's going to be combat. And I'm going to be loving to watch it.

KING: Gideon, what did you make of all this?

GIDEON YAGO, MTV CORRESPONDENT: I was just listening to hear what President Bush was going to say, specifically about the three issues that are most important to young voters, namely, the economy, paying for college, and getting us out of Iraq.

I didn't hear anything vastly different from his standard stump speech. When it came to education, he talked about community colleges. When it came to Iraq, I didn't hear anything conclusive about getting out of there. So, all in all, I think he had a great opportunity, but didn't do more than just preach the message.

KING: Jacque Reid?

JACQUE REID, "BET NIGHTLY NEWS": Well, I think the president had huge appeal inside the room, but I think he also made connections outside the room and across the country, talking about things like jobs, especially. He hit really heavy on that.

He talked about education and funding for higher education for a lot of less-fortunate students, and I think that that's going to make a difference with a lot of people. But will it bring people out to the polls? I mean, the president wrote a lot of checks tonight. Where's he going to get the money to pay for a lot of these programs that he's talking about?

KING: Are you surprised that Kerry coming on at midnight and...

REID: Well, the Democrats have been talking about it all day. They said they were going to take the gloves off at midnight. That's what they told me earlier when I talked to a lot of advisers for the Democratic Party. They said they were going to come out swinging.

They said they probably have made a mistake laying so low and not really coming out and defending Kerry and attacking Bush in a stronger, more forceful way. So, the gloves came off tonight at midnight.

KING: And as Kerry mingling with the crowd in Springfield, Ohio.

Tucker, what do you make of all this?

TUCKER CARLSON, "CROSSFIRE": Well, I think the president's speech was fine. It was pretty long, pretty darn long. It started off, I thought, slow. I didn't think it was that wise to start with a kind of State of the Union-y litany of policy suggestions. I think there were almost 20 of them in there.

But I thought it picked up speed. He made the point that, you know, we're in Iraq because it's our job to make the world a better place. Whether or not it's worth, you know, losing American lives to do that is a separate question. But, you know, that's his justification for the war, and I guess a pretty compelling one.

Kerry, I thought, you know, it was totally valid for him to respond to the speech. It was probably pretty smart tactically. He rambled a bit. I mean, Bush, you know, rambled too, I thought, but Kerry, you know, it really shows you why it's good to have the speech written down. Kerry was, I thought, only semi-coherent at times.

And then his line about how, you know, in the end, the difference between his Iraq policy and Bush's is, "I'll defend America," is really no difference at all. It's sort of hard to attack Bush's policy if yours is the same.

KING: Mo Rocca, what did you make of all this? MO ROCCA, RNC ROVING REPORTER: Gosh, I don't know. I think -- you know, John Kerry's just such a buzz kill. I mean, we were all having such a good time here.

No, Larry, I'm ready for it to end. I mean, I just feel so beleaguered after four days. It's sort of like, alright, I submit. 9/11 is the only issue. 9/11, 9/11, it's all that matters. When Bush got on top of a pile of rubble with a bullhorn, that made him Godlike. Fine. I agree. Go for it. That's great.

KING: Thank you, Mo.

We'll take a break and come back with more -- you've got to look at the other side of it.

Don't go away.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The freedom of many and the future security of our nation now depend on us, and tonight, my fellow Americans, I ask you to stand with me.




KING: Still a lot of police. We have people hanging around the Garden. And, of course, they've got to get this place ready because WNBA basketball is coming back here tomorrow. This is primarily a sports arena.

A couple of quick notes. President Bush is on his way to Pennsylvania. We will have extensive coverage of Hurricane Frances starting almost immediately this morning as it heads towards Florida. We'll certainly focus on it all day tomorrow and tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE. They'll be an appearance by Jerry Lewis, but a lot of time on the hurricane. And we'll do a live show Saturday night about Frances, as well.

Mario Cuomo, can we say now we are underway, or are they going to wait until after Labor Day?

CUOMO: No, no, we're underway. I'm looking forward to his respond to the Pennsylvania speech tomorrow. You know...

KING: So this is going to be back and forth?

CUOMO: I would hope so. I would hope so. What's wrong -- look, the best convention in the world -- conventions are exercises in political narcissism. They're all imagery. They're not information objectively given. I would rather see a great three-day convention all debates. Colin Powell against Joe Biden. You know, Rumsfeld against General Clark. Bob Rubin against John Snow, and then vice president gets one and the president gets -- that's what we might have now.

KING: Why can't that be possible? Alan, you're a veteran of the -- Barry Goldwater told me that he had a deal with John Kennedy, whether it would've worked out, to have a debate every other day in the '64 campaign. And they travel together to cut costs, Lincoln- Douglas.

SIMPSON: And I was on the commission on presidential debates. I had to resign because I would go out on the road with Cheney occasionally when he asked. So I dropped. But we set this all up. And the cost of what it takes. You see, that's the part of -- the television, the setting up. I think every site had to guarantee that they could produce several millions of bucks.

KING: In other words, you couldn't do it logistically.

SIMPSON: I think you could, and I think it would be great. I mean, I always love the debate. I never turned down a debate. That's the fun of politics. And, don't forget, guys like us get in it because it's fun.

KING: Gideon, why wouldn't all politicians debate all the time?

YAGO: Because I think it's so much about controlling message in a mass media environment these days. You know, if you say the slightest thing that somehow varies away from, you know, that core message, your opponent will catch you on it and basically hang you out to dry by it.

So I think -- and this is where Bush really has the leg up on Kerry is his ability to stick close to message and not say anything. And you didn't hear at his convention speech tonight that his opponents might be able to pick up and try and use as an argument against him.

KING: Jacque?

REID: Well, I think that's where Republicans are so strong. They give a quick and simple message that is effective. It was effective this week. They have been simple and strong about where President Bush stands in the war against terrorism, and they tore down Kerry. They really tore him down so he had no choice but to come out at midnight and do something to repair his image.

KING: Tucker, do you like the idea of more debates?

CARLSON: I love it. I think it's outstanding. I mean, they don't do it, because you can get really hurt in a live debate. I mean, I work in a debate show, and, you know, people are afraid to come on. There's very little upside. You can't control it. I mean, people say weird and off-message sometimes bizarre things under pressure in an environment like that...

ROCCA: James Stockdale.

CARLSON: Yes, right, exactly, much to the delight of the rest of us. I think it's completely instructive, but, you know, if you were managing a candidate like that, you wouldn't want him in that situation. Always the challenger wants debates, obviously, and the incumbent doesn't because he's got the most to lose.

KING: We'll go Mario and then Mo.

CUOMO: Maybe Alan can tell us. You could change the law, the campaign finance law, to provide that some of the money is used for debates.

KING: Yes, you can.

SIMPSON: Yes, you could do it. I don't know that there's any limit in the commission bylaws that would prevent discussion toward that end.

KING: What do you think, Mo?

ROCCA: Do I think there should be more debates? Yes. Sure, I think more debates are good. I mean, as long as people know, you know, that, whether Poland is Communist or not, yes, there are lots of pitfalls in debates. You can have a lot of problems in debates.

KING: Mo...

ROCCA: And just remember that the shorter candidate, that's a time when height differences are really apparent. And Bush is, I guess, five inches shorter than Kerry who would tie with Lincoln as our tallest president if he won.

KING: Where are you?

ROCCA: I am in Ohio, actually, where Ohio was. I actually have a question for Senator Simpson and Governor Cuomo right now. I wanted to hear from them how high they think the stakes really are.

And the reason I'm in Ohio is because, when James Garfield ran for president in 1880, he, like a lot of the presidents of that era, the Republicans told people that, if a Democrat in that case won, a Democrat which was synonymous with a Southerner, the Civil War would break out again.

In fact, his campaign song went something like this: "If the Johnnies get into power again, ah ha, ah ha, if the Johnnies get into power again, ah ha, ah ha, our laws (UNINTELLIGIBLE) our flags they'll flout, they'll try to turn our officials out, and we'll all gray if the Johnnies get into power."

KING: Thank you, Mo. That was a great question for both Alan and the governor, and we'll have them respond when we come back. We'll also include your phone calls.

We're going to carry Rocca out. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch.



KING: At the top of the hour we'll repeat the earlier proceedings, including our interview with three generations of the Bush family.

Let's go to some phone calls for our panel, San Francisco, hello.



CALLER: I have a question for the panel on Bush's domestic policy. Tonight, he made the same domestic promises he did in 2000 when we had a surplus and now we're in a deficit in 2004, so I'm wondering how hopeless does the panel think his domestic policies are given the current economic terrain of the country at this time?

KING: Tucker. Let Tucker start with that.

CARLSON: Well, I don't know. I mean it's -- it's hard to know because they weren't very specific. I mean I was -- I was most interested in his definition of compassionate conservatism, which has sort of gone undefined and it was something like this.

Compassionate conservatism wants government to improve your life rather than run your life and I think it's an open question as to whether you can one without the other, whether, you know, government can really do anything to your life without running your life in the process. It's just kind of the nature of government.

KING: Alan, didn't Republicans used to hate deficits?

SIMPSON: I believe I remember that, yes.

KING: And then you say Democrats liked them and Republicans hated them.

SIMPSON: And one man's junk is another man's treasure if we're playing that game.

KING: I don't think -- deficit wasn't mentioned.

SIMPSON: Deficit was not mentioned. He's talking about growing your way out of the deficit. The biggest problem in America, it doesn't matter who's in the saddle or the entitlements program, the word itself is killing us that you're entitled to something regardless of your net worth or your income. They either start affluence testing these benefits or your grandchildren will be out picking grit with the chickens.

KING: Governor, good point?

CUOMO: Yes. No, that's a very good point. I think on the question asked, the president loves this expression about the soft bigotry of low expectations. It's very political but the speech he gave tonight wasn't part, it seemed to me, the hard cynicism of phony promises.

The notion of a president of the United States just finishing four years ignoring his own record and pretending he's starting all over again and suddenly announcing 18 new programs that he never mentioned to the Congress in the last four years, this is what I'm going to do next year.

Reagan was right, President Reagan, may he rest in peace. He said, "Your test as an incumbent president, President Carter, is are we better off now than we were four years ago?" That was the question for George Bush. He's refused to answer it because, if he does, the campaign is over.

KING: How would that be answered? Hold on -- Jacque.

REID: I wanted to say this, Larry. You know, Bush did not mention anything about health care, about child care, not much about health care, about child care, about single parent homes and those are kinds of things that resonate again with those undecided voters and with African American voters.

And, he did reach out to Hispanic Americans, even speaking Spanish in part of his speech, and I think there's a desire among the African American community that he would show a bit more comfort with them.

KING: OK. Who wanted to say something was it...

ROCCA: I did, Larry.

KING: Yes.

ROCCA: I just wanted to say that, you know, nostalgia is hot these days, so it was kind of like a stroll down memory lane. I kind of liked it hearing the same proposals repeated again. Do you know what I would have loved? I would have loved if George H.W. Bush had parachuted out of the box onto the stage. That would have been very cool.

KING: To Toronto, Canada hello.


KING: Hi, are you meddling in our election process? I'm only kidding, go ahead.

CALLER: Oh, no I think it's very interesting. I have a question. I wondered Mr. Bush repeatedly referred to spreading liberty nation by nation and he said it in several ways and very strongly and is he planning on taking -- like he said before democratizing the world. Is he going to do a whole pile more wars like this because...

KING: Gideon, what do you expect?

YAGO: I don't think so because I think right now America's troop strength is stretched very, very thin. There's a stop/loss policy in effect that's keeping a lot of people who served even tours of duty in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

They're losing massive amounts of troops in Germany and South Korea and I think engaging in a really broad long term re kind of construction of places in the Middle East or around the world to create democracies would require, as we're learning in Iraq, an immense amount of force and an immense amount of spending.

And I'm not sure if that would be popular in this country and, as we've seen from this White House, they do really act on what is politically better than what is policy.

KING: Tucker, do you want to say something?

CARLSON: Well, I mean which is just yet another argument, as if we need another, to liberate Canada. I mean this is a country that -- that actually, you know, is pretty stable already, in desperate need of liberation, pretty polite population. I don't know. We need the satellite parking. I'm totally for it.

ROCCA: Is it liberated or civilized?

CARLSON: Both and subdued.

KING: OK. We're starting to get giddy.

CARLSON: It's late, Canada, give us a break.

KING: They're blowing the air-conditioning through the place.

ROCCA: Larry, do you know that Newfoundland is on the half hour, isn't that interesting? Isn't that really funky? It's true, Newfoundland's on the half hour. It's a half hour later there than it is here.

KING: Why?

ROCCA: I don't know. It just is. There are only a couple of places in the world like that. It's on the half hour.

KING: Hong Kong is too I think.

ROCCA: Oh, there you go.

KING: OK, there you go. We'll be right -- we'll be right back with more and our next caller when we come back is from Casper, Wyoming and we'll take that call when we come back. Don't go away. SIMPSON: I'll be gone.


BUSH: In a new term, I will lead a bipartisan effort to reform and simplify the federal tax code.



KING: I keep telling you how cold it is in here but we'll show you. This is an indoor arena -- Casper, Wyoming, hello.

CALLER FROM WYOMING: Hello, how are you, Larry, and hello Alan.

SIMPSON: How are you out there?

CALLER: Fantastic and we're so glad you're on tonight.

SIMPSON: It's fun.

CALLER: Last night Ms. Reid said that Vice President Cheney and the Republican Party are exploiting the terrorist issue. Then she went on to say that there are other issues. I put it to you that if the terrorist issue is not controlled the other issues are moot, are they not?

SIMPSON: It's interesting the question was just asked about the cost of liberating other countries and so on. I think if you put that little phrase out there every night of the campaign, just say, would you rather we take care of the slobs there where they are and get rid of them or would you rather have them hanging around in New York again or somewhere in the United States? So, I'll tell you where the American people will go with that one.

KING: Jacque, you want to elaborate?

REID: Yes, I do want to say that, you know, with many Americans, especially African Americans that terrorism is just not high on their list of issues. It comes -- it's jobs, education and when you -- especially for a lot of lower income African Americans living in these neighborhoods. They're dealing with their own kind of terrorism on a regular basis, you know, trying to struggle to take care of their families and losing jobs.

Based on a BET poll we did this summer, the number one issue for African Americans, jobs, education comes next, health care. Terrorism is on the list but it's not a high priority.

KING: Does that surprise you, Governor Cuomo?

CUOMO: No. You know, I think the irony here about terrorism is everybody knows how terrible it is and what a serious threat it is. I don't think President Bush has the slightest idea of a plan to fight terrorism other than to use force and a war. Just consider what he has said. We have to get them wherever they are. Where are they? When you're finished in Iraq, where are you going to go fight them next? You didn't finish the job in Afghanistan where you know they are. You know al Qaeda's there. You think Osama's there. You haven't finished there.

But what is your plan, one war after another? You said you'd justify the war in Iraq as part of the war on terrorism, although there were no terrorists there.

Well then are you going to say that about Iran, North Korea? They have dictators. So, he has no plan to fight terrorism other than the force of war. Now, you have to use force. We all agree but there must be something more.

SIMPSON: Want a more sensitive war like Kerry suggests?

CUOMO: Not more sensitive more intelligent. He hinted at it today when he said, "If we can make them free of oppression and give them jobs" OK, there are two programs that he added when he added preemptive war in the September strategy of 2002.

They're both with Colin Powell. One is to help the Arab nations in the poorer areas. The other is to deal with propaganda in madrasses. Nobody's ever put a penny in. Nobody but Colin Powell ever even mentioned that. So, he has no plan against terrorism, other than a possible other war. Where he fight it?

KING: Tucker, you said last night Iraq is the issue. Is it going to be the only -- not only, main issue? Is Iraq going to be the battleground?

CARLSON: Yes, I absolutely think it is. I mean it's more difficult because, again, the candidates don't have terribly different visions for the future of Iraq. We both want to stay the course. But, yes, I think it's the issue.

I will say, though, that everybody knows, I think or most people understand that the Arab/Israeli conflict is the root of a lot of terrorism in this world, including a lot of terrorism that's directed at us. And for some reason neither candidate says this. It's considered this very radioactive issue.

I don't think the president's done enough to engage in that and to tell both sides to knock it off immediately and I think he should and John Kerry should. He hasn't even mentioned it either on the campaign trail. It's not clear why because, again, everybody knows that's a huge part of the problem.

REID: And let me be clear, Larry, I want to say that when I'm speaking about terrorism not being a major issue, I'm specifically talking about African Americans.

KING: I know.

REID: Oh, OK. I just wanted to be clear on that. KING: You made that very clear.


KING: We're going to go to a break. Mo, you have a comment as we go out to a break?

ROCCA: Well, you know, actually hearing Ed Koch and Ron Silver, two people that spoke this week, it was very interesting and I think it's maybe the best hope that Bush has is Democrats who say, "Look, I disagree with him on every domestic issue but I want to live another day to fight those issues."

So, no, serious that's what Ed Koch said. I actually thought it was very compelling, so that's why I think that's all we heard this week is because counting on those. Those are the equivalent of the Reagan Democrats, the crossover Democrats are going to be those that think that way.

KING: And I also believe that Osama bin Laden was mentioned once this week by Governor Pataki tonight. I think that's correct.

ROCCA: And somebody in the earlier hour pointed out that Richard Nixon got more mentions.

KING: Yes, he got two.


KING: OK. We'll take a break. We'll be back with more. Don't go away.


BUSH: Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called walking.



KING: By the way before I forget, since we are approaching the last live moments from this convention, we're proud to have been part of it. I want to salute all the people associated with CNN, the technical people, the production staffs, not only for LARRY KING LIVE but for the entire network, for the yeoman-like work they did, the great diner, the CNN diner, which was a massive hit over on Eighth Avenue, also, the wonderful work done by the police force of New York and the Secret Service who made this a very safe convention and a very safe week in New York. So, if I don't get that in at the end, I'll get it in now.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, hello.

CALLER FROM NOVA SCOTIA: Hi, Larry, great coverage.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: I'm calling with a question for the -- actually for the Republican side of your panel and that is with the incredibly painful dredging up of the swift boat memories in the swift boat ads and just basically the painful memories for all who served in Vietnam and the stigma that so many of them faced when they came back being thrown in their faces again with those ads, I'm wondering why it is that more prominent Republicans, like Senator Simpson, aren't really pressuring them in a meaningful way, and I stress the word meaningful, to get those off the air once and for all. I'm terribly apologetic to all vets that they have to hear it.

KING: Alan.

SIMPSON: Well, I'm a veteran. Bill Bradley and I are co-chairs of a national commission to -- to reform campaign financing. Dear listener, there isn't a thing I can do about that. You inject your money. You escape the campaign laws.

I didn't have anything to do with it. I'm not a guy that lives with collective guilt. I didn't call anybody but that's what happens when you have an FEC, a Federal Election Commission that does nothing and is absolutely inept and money is poisoning the system. I could go get one of those little operations going and tear the fanny off of anybody out there and that's absurd.

KING: You can critique them or call for the end of them.

SIMPSON: But it isn't George Bush that did this. George Bush repudiated the truth group. He said, "I didn't have anything to do with it." What more do you want out of him?

CARLSON: Well, wait a second. Aren't these -- weren't you just calling, Senator, for, you know, people to express their political opinions? These guys are, you know, they're veterans, even if they're not veterans.

SIMPSON: Well, I've heard all that, the old First Amendment and all that stuff.

CARLSON: But actually it's true. I mean they're just saying what they think about John Kerry and that's, I mean that's guaranteed, isn't it?

SIMPSON: I think that's -- let them do it but I'm not responsible for it. I'm not going to call anybody. I'd spend all night on the phone trying to stop all the organizations that are battering each other.

KING: Gideon, what do you think of all this?

YAGO: I mean, if President Bush had a really big problem with 527s, why did he sign the McCain-Feingold bill?

SIMPSON: That wasn't what did it. It was the commission itself that escaped, that left the escape of 527. When he signed it, it was supposedly there, ask McCain.

CARLSON: But doesn't anybody find it creepy the idea the federal government would regulate political speech and prevent people from expressing their political views on television? I mean isn't that sort of -- isn't that a basic guarantee of the Constitution, right?

SIMPSON: You want to go back to that other stuff that was happening 30, 40 years ago?

CARLSON: No, I'm not saying it's a valid debate. I think it's a stupid debate. Who cares what happened in Vietnam? There's a war going on now. But I do think these guys should be...

SIMPSON: I think a lot of people care like the woman who's on the tube.

CARLSON: Oh, OK that's fine.


CARLSON: But regardless of the validity of the issue, people have an absolute, it seems to me, right to express their political views and the idea that you go to the FEC or any other government agency or body and try and get it pulled off the air kind of creepy.


KING: Baltimore, Maryland, hello, Baltimore, hello.

CALLER FROM MARYLAND: Hi. I would like just one person to define what victory on terrorism is now that we've got both candidates claiming they can achieve it. There have always been terrorists. There are always going to be terrorists. I don't know how you can beat them.

KING: OK. Governor Cuomo, I could probably state a terrorist is born today.

CUOMO: I think it was very convenient in the beginning to call 9/11 the beginning of the war on terrorism but using the word war was misleading because war is better used when you're talking about a specific group that you can identify, a specific geography that you deal with. This is more like the war on crime or the war on poverty or the war on ignorance. It will go on forever. It will never be over. Rumsfeld...

KING: What would you have called it?

CUOMO: Well, you can call it a war but you have to make clear, and the president did it the other day but did it with too much candor or -- or sloppiness when he said, "I'm not sure you can win this war."

What he really meant is it's going to go on forever. There will always be terrorism, so it's a question of controlling it and bringing it down to the lowest possible level. That's the accurate statement. KING: Does it mean, Jacque, that politically it's smart for any candidate to keep perpetrating it? If you're never going to win it and I got you in a war and I want you to elect me to fight the war, I'll keep the war going.

REID: Yes. I think it's unfortunate though because I think who gets hurt if you continue to do that as a candidate is the American people.

YAGO: Larry.

KING: Yes.

YAGO: It's -- sorry to interject here but a couple years ago Ami Ayalon (ph), who's the former head of Shin Bet in Israel, and he was one of the guys who was trying to broker these new round of peace talks in Geneva earlier this year, said that the only reason that there really was stability and peace relatively in Israel between the signing of the Oslo Accords in 2000 and this latest intifada was that there was a sense of hope on the Palestinian street and that more than anything else really did the best to combat terror at large.

Now, if America is presented with the same problem worldwide what are we doing that's going to give a sense of hope to really disenfranchised parts of especially the Arab world where radical Islam has taken hold and is just drawing recruits because they have no other alternative.

KING: OK. We're only going to have about a minute left, so just quickly I'll run by all of you. Mario, who's going to win?

CUOMO: I think the Independents, the non-committed are closer to 20 percent than two percent. If that's true, I think Kerry clearly wins.

KING: Alan.

SIMPSON: I think if George Bush uses the humility that he did here tonight that he will win and I think they're going to work very hard because after what -- after the little raw meat old Kerry threw into the coliseum tonight it's going to be a good one.

KING: Jacque.

REID: I think that Kerry can do it if he rallies his base and reaches out to African Americans. Many of them are registering. If they get them out to the polls, I think the Democrats can win it.

KING: Gideon.

YAGO: I have no frigging idea. I think most of America is only going to make up its mind a week or two before the election.

KING: And, Mo Rocca, with about 30 seconds left your candid thoughts. ROCCA: Schwarzenegger in 2012. They're going to get this constitutional amendment passed. He's a real star. Right now, you know, you have to be a citizen and you have to have been in this country for 14 years, not 14 continuous years and not the 14 last years, which means that Schwarzenegger is ineligible but Bobby Fisher is eligible to run for president. That's nutty. Isn't that nutty?

KING: That's nutty, and maybe so are you, Mo, but it was a delight having you.

ROCCA: Larry, it was great.

KING: My pleasure.

ROCCA: You know a year ago...

KING: We're out of time.

ROCCA: All right.

KING: Stay tuned. We're going to have a special, as we close things out a look back at this extraordinary week. See you tomorrow night.


RUDOLH GIULIANI, FMR. MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Thank God George Bush is our president.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker...

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Don't be an economic girlie man.

JENNA BUSH: Our parents are actually pretty cool.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: He treats every person he meets with dignity and respect, the same dignity and respect he has for the office he holds.

SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: U.S. forces armed with what spitballs?

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas. It makes the whole thing mutual. America sees two John Kerry's.

BUSH: I'm (UNINTELLIGIBLE) your support and I accept your nomination for the president of the United States.



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