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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Bush Nominates Miers to Supreme Court; Interview With Kyle Maynard

Aired October 3, 2005 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, he's a male model, a champion athlete and born with no knees and no elbows and makes no excuses, the inspiring, amazing Kyle Maynard how he overcomes incredible odds every single day and how you can too.
But first, President Bush nominates White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Her long-time friends and colleagues tell us who she is and how she could impact America's highest court.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

In a little while, the amazing Kyle Maynard but, first, let's get into the selection of Harriet Miers to be the next Supreme Court justice.

Joining us in Boston is David Gergen, White House adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, editor-at-large "US News and World Report" and professor at Harvard's JFK School of Government.

Jerry Clements is a -- she's in Dallas is a personal friend and long-time colleague of Ms. Miers. They worked together at Ms. Miers former law group.

In Washington is Noel Francisco, former White House associate counsel when Harriet Miers was then staff secretary. He also served as deputy assistant attorney general when Ms. Miers was White House counsel.

On Capitol Hill is old friend Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, who will have to be one of the judges of Ms. Miers. He's a member of the Judiciary Committee, as is from Chicago, another friend, Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, member of that same committee.

David Gergen, were you surprised?

DAVID GERGEN, FMR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER TO PRESIDENTS NIXON, FORD, REAGAN AND CLINTON: Yes, startled actually. Her name had been in circulation and by all accounts, and I hope we'll hear more tonight, she seems like a very fine person, well educated at Southern Methodist, a good school, went on to practice law in Texas in an admirable way, broke many records as a woman.

But when you look at her credentials to go to the Supreme Court, the Mount Olympus of our judicial system, I must say, Larry, it was a startling choice. She has perhaps the thinnest credentials of any nominee we've seen for the high court in decades, if not at least a half a century.

KING: Jerry Clements, you're a personal friend, a long-time colleague, how do you react to Pat Buchanan saying that she has -- her qualifications for the court are non-existent?

JERRY CLEMENTS, ATTORNEY: Well, obviously those of us that know her disagree with Mr. Buchanan's assessment and we think when people do learn more about Harriet Miers and the outstanding record she has as a practicing lawyer here in Texas with so much practical experience in our day-to-day judicial process that hopefully Mr. Buchanan will come around. We certainly think so, those of us who know her.

KING: Jerry, why do you think so many conservatives are concerned?

CLEMENTS: I'm not sure. I think that when President Bush appointed her he obviously knew what her philosophies were and how she would be as a jurist and has confidence in her as a conservative.

I think perhaps that the folks that are raising questions right now in the conservative side of the party just don't know her as well as some of us do but, again, I'm convinced that once more information comes out about Harriet and her record and all of the things she's done as one of the women trailblazers in the legal profession in Texas and the country that they'll see what an asset she can be to the Supreme Court.

KING: Noel, you know her well. You served with her. There's stories also that she's quite the evangelical. Should that concern people?

NOEL FRANCISCO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ASSOC. COUNSEL: Well, you know, I don't think that should concern people at all, Larry and, with all due respect to some of the dyspeptic views that I've heard coming from many of my conservative brethren, I think a lot of these concerns are seriously misplaced.

We have a president who has run clearly in two elections on his judicial philosophy and that's a commitment to judicial restraint, to the strict application of the law and to principles of the rule of law.

Harriet Miers is the president's handpicked individual to help him implement that vision of judicial philosophy and she's consistently done that. She's done that not just through her influential role in the nomination of John Roberts to be the chief justice of the United States but in her role in assisting the president and others in breaking the Democratic filibuster of the president's conservative judicial nominees.

I just don't think at this day -- this stage in the day anybody can seriously question Harriet Miers' commitment to the principles to judicial restraint and the rule of law, nor do I think that anyone on the left can take aim at any of her personal views and her personal morals and her personal religion. This is a person who knows how to separate policy from law and knows that in our society judges must be severely circumscribed by the rule of law.

KING: Senator Hatch, are you personally, have you already made up your mind? Are you for her?

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Well, some of my fellow conservatives have a great deal of angst about Harriet Miers but I don't. I've had a lot of experience with her. I'm really quite impressed with her.

You know she broke through the glass ceiling for women way back in the '70s, rose to be managing partner of a firm that now has 400 attorneys. That's no small achievement and, of course, has worked extensively in this White House in very high level positions, now the White House counsel.

She's an exceptional person. I suspect that -- I suspect that my conservative friends are going to be very happy with her in the end and I really believe that my friends on the other side of the aisle are going to find a very strong, good woman who is a pioneer for women in not only the legal circles and law but also in the federal judiciary when the time comes.

KING: Senator Durbin, are you impressed that your own majority -- your own minority leader is staunchly for her, Senator Harry Reid?

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I spoke to Harry today and he said and he told me as much last week that he had a very positive impression when it came to Harriet Miers.

But he also told me, and I think most Democrats feel, we have a responsibility here. This is a critically important vacancy on the court. It is the swing seat on the court, a court that has in the last ten years had over 130 decisions, 5-4.

This vacancy once filled could tip the balance one way or the other on critical issues of civil rights, human rights, workers' rights, the rights that we hold dear and look to the Supreme Court to protect. So, we have an obligation, not only to look at her fine resume, and it is a good resume, but also to ask questions about her values.

And, as I hear so many people assuring the right wing of the Republican Party, they need not be concerned about her political ideology that gives me some concern because I don't think we really want to put someone on the court who brings a strong political ideology to the job.

KING: David Gergen, I believe Senator Reid is pro-life. He is a Mormon and even though he's a liberal Democrat, he is pro-life, correct?

GERGEN: Yes. My sense, Larry, is that his -- his embrace of her comes from his exposure to her, just as with Senator Hatch. She has impressed a number of Senators on Capitol Hill with her character and they have enjoyed working with her. She has a strong, good, professional relationship with them over the Roberts nomination and over other issues.

But I think -- I do think two questions are still outstanding. She has never worked in the area of constitutional law. Does she know anything about it? You know, is she going to bring the kind of experience and understanding of the law to the highest court in the land?

And, secondly, what are her views? You know she's a stealth candidate right now. We're hearing from the right well she's one of us but when they enter into the hearings they'll say don't answer any questions.

And so, the country is going to come out of this, likely to come out if we have another hearing like we've had, you know, with the last two, both Democratic and Republican type hearings where people duck questions, we're going to have somebody nobody really knows we're just taking on faith. Do we really want a stealth candidate to determine what the future balance of the court is? I think that's going to be a hard question for the Senate.

KING: Jerry Clements, the prominent conservative Bill Kristol of "The Weekly Standard" said he is disappointed, depressed, demoralized and said her selection will unavoidably be judged as a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president. It doesn't look like he's going to back off from that.

CLEMENTS: Well, Larry, I disagree again with Mr. Kristol. I think Harriet has an outstanding record from her practice of law in the state of Texas and the work that she's done in the community, in the legal profession in Dallas and the state.

And I think that, again, when people learn more about her and the reason that she has been working with the president for all of these years and close to him, then I think the right will feel better about Harriet.

By the same token, I think that this is a person who will come to the Supreme Court with a belief that her personal views really are not as important or as critical to the decisions as the issues of the facts of every case, the law and the precedents that come to her and a detailed study and analysis of those facts and I think that's what's going to be controlling for Harriet Miers when she gets to the court. I think other...

KING: Noel -- Noel, do you expect her to be confirmed?

FRANCISCO: Absolutely. I think that once the Senators have a chance to review her stellar record, and I would take issue with any suggestion that she's not been involved in the important legal issues of the day.

She spent her entire career as a top-notch litigator in the state of Texas. She's now risen to the level of the head of the Texas State Bar, the head of a major law firm in Texas and, most importantly, the counsel to the president of the United States.

This is the attorney who day in and day out the president turns to on the most vital, legal issues of the day and Harriet has proven herself in every job she's ever had. I believe that once the Senators review this record and her entire career, they're going to find this is an extraordinary candidate.

KING: Senator Hatch, do you think it's going to be a tough hearing?

HATCH: Well, they're always tough hearings because I think it's the right and the obligation of Senators to, you know, to correctly ask as many questions as they can.

Now, I happen to really care a great deal for David Gergen. He's one of the best journalists and one of the best thinkers in the business. But I have to say, David, when somebody has been in the White House for five years, an associate White House counsel, has dealt with not only executive but the legislative branch of Congress on a myriad of constitutional issues, which she has done, the fact that she may not have been a jurist before is not irrelevant but it's certainly not as important as some people may think. And some of the greatest jurists and justices in the history of the court have been people who have never held a judicial position before.

KING: We're running close on time, David, do you want to respond?

GERGEN: Well, it's a mutual admiration society, as you know. I think the world of Orrin Hatch. I just believe, if you look at her record in the White House, she came in as a staff secretary. Her highest job in Texas was she ran the Texas Lottery Commission. Those are not ordinarily springboards to the Supreme Court.

KING: And, Senator Durbin, do you expect a tough fight?

DURBIN: Well, I just want to get back to the point of Orrin Hatch. If we are going to rely on her experience in the White House, I certainly hope the White House will produce documentation to show that she has really looked into these tough issues.

They didn't give us much to work with when it came to John Roberts and we have very little to work with in this nominee. We need evidence to make an informed judgment about a woman who is seeking a lifetime appointment to the highest court of the land.

KING: Do you expect to get that information, Senator Hatch?

HATCH: Look, look what he's asking for is the most confidential and privileged information that (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Yes, but how are you supposed to know what she thinks?

HATCH: Well, you have to ask her questions but you can't expect...

KING: What if she doesn't answer them?

HATCH: Well, I think she'll answer some questions. She's not going to answer questions that involve possible decision making that may come before the court in the future. She can't. That would be unethical on her part and, if you'll recall, even Justice Ginsberg and Justice Stephens said that Roberts followed what was called the Ginsberg rule during the Roberts hearings.

KING: Yes.

HATCH: And she's going to have to follow that as well. But the White House is not going to give up privileged information to us up here. They're going to have to ask the questions and hope she'll answer them.

KING: In other words, Senator Durbin, her White House experience counts but they're not going to tell you what the experience is.

HATCH: Sure they are.

DURBIN: So what do we have to work with? She's not been a judge.

KING: Well, wait.

DURBIN: She doesn't have to be a judge but the fact is now that her experience in the government, which we could turn to to find out what she really believes when she seeks this spot, we're being told we won't be able to see it and we know when it comes to John Roberts there were precious few questions that he would answer. How can you make an informed judgment on that basis?

KING: All right, we're going to deal with this a lot more in the months -- rather weeks ahead. It will take a while to get this through and we'll have both Senators Hatch and Durbin, in fact our whole panel will come back as well.

When we come back the extraordinary Kyle Maynard, if you haven't seen him you're not going to believe this. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

We're going to meet a daredevil of sorts. Let me tell you. I got a little information we learned today.

Evel Knievel suffered a mild stroke over the weekend we learned from his sister Loretta Young. He suffered it in St. Louis. He's receiving treatment there and expects to get totally well. Evel's an old friend of ours. We hope to have him on when he's all better. We wish him nothing but the best. He's an earlier daredevil.

Here's a daredevil of a different sort. It's Kyle Maynard, incredible Kyle Maynard, born with congenital amputation, wrestler, motivational speaker, model and author of the just released book "No Excuses," published by Regnery. He's an old friend and the true story of a congenital amputee who became a champion in wrestling and life, a return visit.

He was on this program last November. In fact, you write in the book you got an e-mail after the show from somebody that was thinking of killing themselves?

KYLE MAYNARD, CONGENITAL AMPUTEE: I did. Actually the, you know, I know that the interview that we did changed my life but I had no idea how much it changed other people's lives, the feedback that I got from people was just, it was unbelievable.

Actually, then the one person in particular made a huge impact on me. They said that they were writing their suicide note as they were watching the program and it changed their perspective. You know, it had that kind of impact. It was just -- it was an incredible experience.

KING: How did the interview change your life?

MAYNARD: After the interview came about, about one month later I got in contact with Regnery Publishing Company and then that's how I came about to do the book.

KING: That's how the book came about?

MAYNARD: Exactly and it just, it's been a wild ride since then. It's been -- it's been a blast but really, you know, you have really changed my life in that respect.

KING: Are you still wrestling for Georgia?

MAYNARD: I am. I'm taking a semester off of school to do the book tour. When I wrote the book, I wrote it myself instead of using a ghostwriter and I was going to school at the same time, so that was tough, so I just decided to devote this time to doing the book, to getting that "No Excuses" message out there.

KING: You write with your teeth?

MAYNARD: No, I typed up the book just with the ends of my arms and...

KING: You can't write with a pen though, right?

MAYNARD: Yes, I can write completely normal with a pen. I'll sign the copy of the book for you.

KING: Gees. Oh, thank you for the kind words.

MAYNARD: Thank you for everything you've done for me.

KING: If you can see that.

OK, Kyle, what is congenital amputation? MAYNARD: It was a disorder I was born with and it was -- in a lot of cases some people are born missing a thumb or a toe or something like that, maybe a, you know, a necessary internal organ or something. For me it was all four limbs were affected down to my elbows and I've got legs that end at the knees. And, I was born with it, so I've always said that I have no excuse to not go out and achieve my dreams.

KING: You have brothers and sisters?

MAYNARD: I've got three little sisters.

KING: All OK?

MAYNARD: Oh, yes, they're completely normal. They cheerlead, play basketball, softball, everything.

KING: How do they explain you then? What happened?

MAYNARD: Doctors really had no idea what caused it to happen. They, you know, I believe that it was just God's will in my life. I want to go out there and, you know, now I've got a message to get out.

KING: How early did you know you were different?

MAYNARD: I'd say by the time I really started to go to school. My friends when I was little always treated me as normal. I played street hockey in the yard, in the street with friends.

KING: But you saw they had arms and legs.

MAYNARD: Yes, I did. I knew that I was -- I was different but I never really believed that. My parents never -- they never taught me to believe that. When I went to school I first went to school and I was wearing prosthetics and I remember one instance in particular my mom came and watched me play with my toy in a show-and-tell class and I was fumbling around because I couldn't use these -- the toy that I was playing with, with the prosthetics on. So, after that I decided to throw them off and I haven't used them since.

KING: You're better without the prosthetics?

MAYNARD: I believe I am. I think that prosthetics do amazing things for people but for me they were disabling, so there's no reason why I shouldn't just go out and do it without.

KING: We'll take a break.

When we come back we'll ask Kyle about how he got into wrestling, how he came to write -- look at him as an infant. We'll be right back with Kyle Maynard. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYNARD: This is how we do our shopping. You got to contemplate before you he makes a purchase. Sour cream guys where it's at. Skim milk is 15 cents cheaper. Definitely went down the wrong aisle. I mean we need toilet paper. Anybody see sour cream? Isn't that here? (INAUDIBLE). This stuff folds up tough. I need some sandpaper. That's creepy. I guarantee there's like a security guard behind there messing around with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Kyle Maynard, the book is "No Excuses."

First you played football, right?

MAYNARD: I did, started out playing football.

KING: For what high school?

MAYNARD: It was through middle school. I played sixth through eighth grade.

KING: What position?

MAYNARD: Nose tackle, I wanted to be down there and mixing up with the guys in the defensive line. I had someone I got to hit every single play, got to make (INAUDIBLE) tackles.

KING: Did they block you too?

MAYNARD: Oh, yes, they came down after me. There was one time where like one of the opposing coaches said to my coach that he's going to take it easy on me and my coach said, "There's no way." So, the first play they ran it right at me, plugged the hole, did my job and made the tackle.

KING: So, when you think of yourself you don't feel handicapped? Is that a word you don't use?

MAYNARD: No, it's just I don't believe in having a disability. I think that everybody goes through life and everybody's got challenges that they face. Mine are physically apparent. You can see it. Other people go through things internally and, you know, I just believe in breaking through obstacles instead of worrying about how they're going to get me down.

KING: Are you envious of people who have what you don't have?

MAYNARD: No, because I think that...

KING: I mean you don't say to yourself I'd like to have hands?

MAYNARD: In some cases maybe but really where I can prove myself is on the wrestling mat. (INAUDIBLE).

KING: And how did you find wrestling?

MAYNARD: My dad was a wrestler and a football player. I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to grow up and do those things because I never was -- I was never taught that I couldn't. So, my mom, she was the one who made the call to the coach initially to get me on the wrestling team and said I was going to come out.

KING: Is that high school wrestling?

MAYNARD: Yes, I wrestled, I started in sixth grade and I've wrestled all through high school and now for the University of Georgia.

KING: Now when you enrolled in the University of Georgia and you show up at wrestling tryouts...

MAYNARD: Right.

KING: What was that like? What did the coach say the first time he saw you?

MAYNARD: Well, by that time I had...

KING: They knew you?

MAYNARD: Yes. In high school it was really a lot of times where I had to break out and the coaches they hadn't seen me before and a lot of kids didn't know how to react. They didn't know how to wrestle me. A lot of kids would try to stay away. Some kids would come in and try to bull me over and everybody's got a different strategy in how they're going to try to beat me.

KING: Are you on scholarship?

MAYNARD: No, I'm on a half academic scholarship right now. It's a lottery-funded program in Georgia.

KING: Do you wrestle for the varsity?

MAYNARD: Yes, we actually because of certain things that I discuss in the book, even in Title IX it's cut a lot of varsity wrestling programs. There are actually almost three times as many club wrestling programs as there are varsity programs now. And so, we compete against other NCAA schools that can't go to the nationals.

KING: All right. What's the trick? For want of word, trick, what makes you a good wrestler?

MAYNARD: I think I just like to go after guys and I just don't stop.

KING: How do you pin them though?

MAYNARD: I grab a hold of their arm, bar it up, put them in a little bit of pain and put them on their back. On the mat, I kind of -- you flip a switch and my intensity goes (INAUDIBLE).

KING: What's the toughest obstacle they face in wrestling you?

MAYNARD: I think trying to...

KING: Get a hold?

MAYNARD: Yes, get a hold of something or maybe strength too. I think that I've got an advantage in strength over the guys that wrestle because I don't have the extra weight in the limbs.

KING: So you're stronger than they are?

MAYNARD: I feel as though through my training and through the fact that, you know, I wrestle at 125 pounds now for UGA. I can pack more into that 125 pound frame than a lot of other athletes can.

KING: But they can stand and move around.

MAYNARD: Exactly and then you got to give and take. That's why when I go out there and wrestle it's an even playing field and I think that it's all about desire and who wants it more.

KING: Is this book self help too? Are you...

MAYNARD: Oh, big time.

KING: ...telling people what they can do?

MAYNARD: Not only telling people what they can do but telling people what I've thought about my entire life. There are 13 principles in there and in the front of every chapter I hand wrote out these principles that I've just thought about my entire life and, you know, things that have carried me through tough times.

KING: We'll talk about some of those principles in a minute with Kyle Maynard. The book is "No Excuses." The publisher is Regnery.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll also include your phone calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYNARD: For me I'm working to take him down. He's trying to keep me in between his legs. I'm trying to pop over top and come around because in a fight I can do a lot more damage here than I can between the legs. (INAUDIBLE) submissions that I go for or around the neck, popping the guy's head up right here, sweep through and come across.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 -- 31 reps, give it up for Kyle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What were those weights?

MAYNARD: It's 210 pounds, 35-pound plates that I strap to the chains to help ground my arms.

KING: You lost your first 35 wrestling matches?

MAYNARD: I did. It was probably the most dark period in my life where I had to dig deep and wonder if it was even possible to step out there and win that 36th one but that's -- that's what that break through was about.

KING: What gave you the confidence to win that one?

MAYNARD: I had to just, you know, I prayed a lot about it. I wondered if it was going to be possible. I had a lot of support from my family and coaches, even though nobody really knew if I would be able to do it or not. And, I think I was the only one that deep down really believed that it was possible. I knew that I was comfortable out on the wrestling mat and it was a year and a half before I finally got that first win.

KING: Do you believe the wrestling mat is an equalizer?

MAYNARD: It completely is to me.

KING: Why is it a great sport?

MAYNARD: It's a great sport because you pit yourself against somebody else and it's a sport where it's desire. They say in a wrestling match there's three periods. The first period goes to the best technician. The second period goes to the guy in the best shape. The third period goes to the guy with the biggest heart. I was never pinned in a wrestling match. I haven't been pinned before. Every match I've had goes the distance.

KING: Wow.

MAYNARD: Unless I pin the kid.

KING: What's the jam breaker move?

MAYNARD: I like to get a hold of like people's -- right along the jaw line and just give them a good tug, get a hold of their head and crank it a little bit. But I've got -- my coach came up with a ton of moves to help me out.

KING: Ever get hurt bad?

MAYNARD: I broke my nose a couple of times my senior year. That was the only injury I really had to do but it was a big one.

KING: Ever hurt anyone badly? MAYNARD: Not too bad. I think I've, you know, not intentionally at least.

KING: What's your record now, you win more than you lose?

MAYNARD: Oh, big time, yes. I actually went from those 35 losses as a sixth and seventh grader to 35 varsity wins my senior year and took top 12 at a big national tournament.

KING: You even have a tattoo?

MAYNARD: I had -- I do, yes. I've got a...

KING: What does it say?

MAYNARD: Tattoo of a tiger that for me it's just a message to remind me to not back down to anything, to have that kind of mentality.

KING: You have a strong mental attitude right? Where did that come from do you think?

MAYNARD: I think it came from my parents because early on my dad he's -- he's told me he said that I was going to have to learn how to eat on my own or starve really. I mean he didn't mean that lovingly. He was going to put me in front of obstacles and let me deal with them myself because he said that the world wasn't tailored for my every need.

KING: So, you had -- most of this was finding things out for yourself?

MAYNARD: Oh, yes, big time and I do all kinds of stuff whether it's just random actions like for me opening up a Coke can is, you know, it's not an easy thing to do without a can opener, so if I got to ask for help then I can do that too.

KING: Arnold Schwarzenegger has said, "No Excuses will really pump you up. As a champion weightlifter and wrestler, Kyle Maynard is the real deal but a champion human being. He's one of the most inspiring people I've ever met."

Troy Aikman, "Significant achievement occurs for those who have the courage to overcome disappointment and setbacks to pursue their dreams. This is an inspirational book about the perseverance of the human spirit. Let Kyle inspire you."

And, our friend Stephen Covey, author of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," said, "Your inspirational story is about succeeding against odds most of us can't imagine. His title says it all, No Excuses. It's a habit we could all adopt from this great book written by a highly successful young man."

We do tend to excuse things don't we?

MAYNARD: I think so. I think that everybody is guilty of it, including myself from time to time but I wrote this as a message to -- to allow people to realize that it's not about the small things in life that, you know, you set a goal and you go out and achieve it, you know, have that, just open up your eyes, broad spectrum.

KING: How important is your faith?

MAYNARD: It's huge in my life.

KING: One would say why do you have faith? I mean if there is a God, he didn't give you the best break of all.

MAYNARD: Yes, I thought that too and really when I was going through that period of 35 losses when I first started out wrestling that's one of the biggest times I really -- I dug deep and thought about that.

But, you know, God's given me the gift to be able to go out and try to impact people and if my story, if through the book, through every speech that I give, through every interview and whatnot, if it can help one person then that's worth the fight.

KING: Have you ever had illnesses, serious illnesses?

MAYNARD: No, never before. I've been really healthy.

KING: I'm trying to think of something to confound you. How do you scratch when you itch?

MAYNARD: Roll around.

KING: We'll take a break, hey, and go to your phone calls for this extraordinary young man, Kyle Maynard, 20 years young, the book "No Excuses." We'll go to your calls right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYNARD: This is a special little device that I use to pull up zippers, just a normal lanyard with a hook, super glued the end to make sure it wouldn't come off, put the hook in the zipper and just lean back and pull it up like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYNARD: What's the name of the place?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Transpolitan (ph) or something like that.

MAYNARD: Cool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't remember. Actually, I'm going (INAUDIBLE).

MAYNARD: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's where it was.

MAYNARD: It's stuck. You have to put the seat up. It's hot in here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Boy are you self sufficient. How do you handle airports?

MAYNARD: I get around and just push myself in my push wheelchair.

KING: Drive an automobile?

MAYNARD: I do, yes. After we did the interview in November, I got a lot of responses from people wanting to help out, try to modify a vehicle. I was actually working with International to try to go and do something with their truck line.

KING: I heard someone was trying to get you a car.

MAYNARD: Yes. I was and it really for me I just had to do it on my own. I went and just threw a rope on the back of my wheelchair, threw a rope in the truck of a Jeep Cherokee and raised up the pedals and those are the only adaptations I've got on it.

KING: Yes but couldn't some car company make a special car for you?

MAYNARD: I think that they need to -- car companies really need to look at making special cars, not just for me but for people in general. There's only a few changes that need to be made to make them accommodate a lot of wheelchairs.

KING: Could they make a car for you and people like you?

MAYNARD: I think so definitely but for me just like the rest of my life, I'd rather be normal.

KING: Raleigh, North Carolina, as we go to calls for the amazing Kyle Maynard, hello.

CALLER FROM RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA: Hey, Kyle, I want to talk to you coming from someone who is also disabled and in the wheelchair.

MAYNARD: OK.

CALLER: I was wondering with all the discrimination and ignorance in the world what's one of the biggest things that stick out in your mind as far as a time that you've had to deal with discrimination?

MAYNARD: Well, I think the biggest thing that -- the biggest struggle I've had to deal with as far as not necessarily discrimination but just people that they don't really -- they don't understand where I'm coming from, a lot of people if I'm in an airport they don't know that I can jump out of my wheelchair and get to the seat on my plane. That's just something that I like to do. I don't like to use the chair where they strap you all in and it takes forever.

KING: Do they look at you weird like?

MAYNARD: Yes, they think that I can't do it but I'd rather show people by actions and not by words.

KING: Do people tend to pity you?

MAYNARD: I think, you know, that changes a lot after one wrestling match, after people are watching or certainly the guys that I'm going up against.

KING: Do people stare at you?

MAYNARD: It doesn't bother me so much.

KING: Do you get used to it?

MAYNARD: Yes, I mean it's -- a little bit. The best part is, is after all the media opportunity that I've had just getting to meet people on a day-to-day basis and hearing how the story has had an impact on them.

KING: What's the number one thing you can't do you'd like to do?

MAYNARD: Probably run a marathon, you know, do something like that. I'll do it eventually.

KING: Because you would.

MAYNARD: I will.

KING: You'll roll a marathon. You'll crawl a marathon.

MAYNARD: Exactly.

KING: Yes. San Antonio, Texas, hello.

CALLER FROM SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Hello.

KING: Hi.

MAYNARD: Hey.

CALLER: Kyle, I have to tell you, you are such an inspiration.

MAYNARD: Thank you.

CALLER: I am visually impaired and at a young age somebody asked me how do I deal with my handicap and I immediately said for me it's almost more of an inconvenience. And, I got to tell you, hats off to you. I mean that's -- you're an incredible inspiration, definitely show the handicap, you know, even in spite of such a really difficult situations we can really go out there and do things.

My question is what has been your biggest challenge? With everything you've done with the accomplishments you've made what -- you know, the book "No Excuses," what has your biggest challenge been?

MAYNARD: My biggest challenge was the challenges that I faced I think on the wrestling mat because it's really the toughest. I've tried to apply myself through training and through pushing myself as intensely as I can in practice and every single second then, yes, wrestling would definitely be that.

KING: You do motivational speeches right?

MAYNARD: I do, I speak...

KING: You're going from here to speak.

MAYNARD: Washington Speaker's Bureau, yes, and going to Michigan to go give a talk tomorrow and in Illinois on Wednesday.

KING: You do a lot of that. You talk about your own life?

MAYNARD: I haven't yet. It's just like the book. It's kind of an autobiography with the motivational things that I've used thrown in there.

KING: What happened to your girlfriend? She was on the last time you were on.

MAYNARD: She was. We were together for about, it was about seven months. She's an awesome girl. We're still great friends. It's just I would like to be a really romantic guy and if I'm going to devote myself to a girl, then I'm going to devote myself completely. And with the book, and when I wrote it myself, it took about four and a half months and it was a long time to give up that relationship.

KING: And you have a normal romantic life?

MAYNARD: I do.

KING: Naples, Florida, hello.

CALLER FROM NAPLES, FLORIDA: Hi. This is Lisa (ph) and I was just calling to let you know that I work with your Grandma Carla.

MAYNARD: Oh, wow.

CALLER: Down at Rick's Island (ph) Salon and we are so proud of you.

MAYNARD: Thank you very much.

CALLER: And your grandmother is so proud of you and we all love you dearly and we cannot wait until you come back to see us.

MAYNARD: Thank you. I'll see you guys on Thanksgiving. CALLER: Oh, great. Make sure you come into the salon.

MAYNARD: I will.

CALLER: We love you down here.

KING: Thank you.

What do you live like? Who do you live with?

MAYNARD: I live with three great friends. I got a townhouse and I've said before like the way that they treat me is normal. They -- they gave me the smallest room upstairs because I was the last one to show up. I'm not getting any special treatment from those guys.

KING: In Athens, you live in Athens?

MAYNARD: I live in Athens, Georgia, yes, they're awesome guys though.

KING: Home of the bulldogs.

MAYNARD: Exactly.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Kyle Maynard and more of your phone calls. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just saw you on TV last night.

MAYNARD: Oh, really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

MAYNARD: Very cool.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that little old butt sticking up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYNARD: Here we are. Here we go. Here you go. Where's it at? Come here little piggy. Come here. Run boy. Come on. There you go. You know you want it. Bye bye. Oh, God (INAUDIBLE). It will be over quick. Just grit your teeth and bear it. Take it like a man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kyle wins, 25-2, what do you know?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A lot of things you may not know about Kyle. He was inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame last June, won the world record in the modified bench press last march, received an ESPY in 2004 for the best athlete with a disability. There's a movie of his life in the works. You're going to play yourself? No, who's going to play you? Al Pacino can't play this part. How's that coming along?

MAYNARD: We're working on it right now. We'll have to see. I've got a great manager that I'm working with, Tony Marinozzi (ph). He's helped me a lot lately but there's -- I'd like to keep a lot of things in the oven.

KING: What's with the Ju-Jitsu?

MAYNARD: It's just like wrestling. I've been competing in it lately, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. It's become my life the last six months.

KING: Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.

MAYNARD: Yes, it's like wrestling where there's chokes and submissions, arm locks, leg locks, stuff like that. I've had a blast competing in it. Actually, I trained with -- at the Hardcore (ph) Gym in Athens with one of the top ultimate fighters in the world. Right now he's fighting in a pay-per-view event Forrest Griffin (ph) this Friday.

KING: You also did modeling?

MAYNARD: I did yes, for Abercrombie & Fitch.

KING: What did you model?

MAYNARD: Nothing, no it was just jeans.

KING: Jeans?

MAYNARD: Yes, it was some jeans, yes, some shorts.

KING: Cutoff jeans?

MAYNARD: Cutoff shorts, yes.

KING: Pittsburgh, hello.

CALLER FROM PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA: Hi. Kyle.

MAYNARD: Hey.

CALLER: I just want to say I'm a mom of a 5-year-old who suffered a major stroke about two years ago and she has lost a lot of function on the left side of her body. And, I really find you inspirational because as a parent I really try every day. I hide some of the, I guess the loss that I feel for her as a child in having to deal with -- with other children her age.

And I just wanted to know if there was any kind of advice that you would have for children, maybe also if you could speak about the difference if you thought you were growing up as a girl with a disability if you would have had maybe some other challenges. And, what kind of advice you would give to a child starting school and having to encounter other classmates with differences.

MAYNARD: I think that the best thing in that situation is just to try to teach your child the way that my parents taught me is that anything you want to do, you know, is truly possible as long as you believe it to be and, you know, it becomes that way. It's all about perception.

KING: Does it matter male or female? A female has it a little rougher don't you think?

MAYNARD: I think it might. I think a female might. I'm lucky to be a male who's involved in a combative sport like wrestling. It's an easier way to cope with that. I've always had a lot of friends.

KING: Your major is broadcast journalism?

MAYNARD: Yes.

KING: You want to be in this racket?

MAYNARD: I think I do.

KING: You want to be an on air personality?

MAYNARD: I think I do. I hope I could last maybe a tenth as long and be as successful as you have.

KING: Oh. Do you want to do news?

MAYNARD: Yes. A lot of people they said, you know, you'd be great at doing sports and I love sports but I really -- my passion is news, politics. I want to get involved in that and that whole scheme.

KING: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Halifax for Kyle Maynard, hello. Halifax, are you there?

CALLER FROM HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA: Hi. Hi, Kyle.

MAYNARD: Hey.

CALLER: I was just wondering what does it take to be or are you going to think about becoming a WWE wrestler?

MAYNARD: Maybe, who knows? I don't know. There's not really any professional wrestling careers beyond, who knows, the Olympics if they had a small weight class I'd push myself for that.

KING: You don't want to do any of the dumb pro.

MAYNARD: No, I'll be training the rest of my life though with the wrestling and with the Ju-Jitsu. It's something that I really want to stay passionate about. I'll eventually want to end up coaching teams too and teaching kids what my coach taught me.

KING: Ever want to run for office?

MAYNARD: I think so, maybe, we'll see.

KING: Want to marry someday?

MAYNARD: Oh, definitely.

KING: Have a family?

MAYNARD: I want to wait for the right time and the right woman who can look at me and see me without the disability at all.

KING: Would there be a danger that your offspring would have this?

MAYNARD: I heard not. I've heard from geneticists that there would not be but obviously in my situation it wouldn't be, you know, right to go into something like that without a small bit of trepidation.

KING: Because this was a strange anomaly?

MAYNARD: It is.

KING: We'll be right back with our remaining moments with Kyle Maynard. The book is "No Excuses." Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYNARD: So, come on pizza gluttons.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like your pizza face Kyle.

MAYNARD: This thing is vicious. Pass me one of those napkins please. If that goes on, I'm coming up to D.C. I'm practicing Ju- Jitsu.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking at your story from your childhood up to where you are now, you know, that's like I said it's got to be an inspiration for a lot of people.

MAYNARD: Thanks a lot man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it kind of puts things in perspective. We get up in the morning. We complain about this and then see somebody, you know, a story like yours like, man, I have no right to complain, you know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: By the way, happy new year from one Jew to all of my fellow Jewish people around the world and we're seen around the world. What is -- someone asked about are they calluses on the end of your -- what do you call that the end of the arm is that an elbow?

MAYNARD: Yes, it is. It's an elbow without the joint there.

KING: Was that supposed to be something?

MAYNARD: It probably would have been where the finger would have grown and then you have my arms are pretty callused up and rough just from pushing the wheelchair around and running. I run sprints on all fours on the wrestling mats.

KING: Oneida, Tennessee, hello.

CALLER FROM ONEIDA, TENNESSEE: Hello, Larry. I got a question for Kyle.

KING: Sure.

MAYNARD: Hey.

CALLER: Kyle, first of all, I'd like to tell you that you're an inspiration to people with disabilities and without.

MAYNARD: Thank you.

CALLER: And my question is do you travel very much?

KING: Do you travel?

MAYNARD: I do lately, a lot.

KING: A fan.

MAYNARD: I have been traveling a good bit. With the speaking it's been great and the book it's really changed my life and, you know, I've been really blessed.

KING: It's not a chore to get around?

MAYNARD: Not for me, no. I enjoy it. I enjoy going out there and spreading that no excuses message to everyone again.

KING: You went to Scotland right?

MAYNARD: Yes, we were out there. That was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

KING: Is that where your ancestors come from?

MAYNARD: Yes, they were, yes. We saw my family's castle. As we were leaving there was an enormous rainbow that covered it. It was just breathtaking. We also -- I also spoke out in Ireland this summer. I was in South America. I've gotten to travel and see some extraordinary things. KING: They watch you all around the world tonight. The best of luck with this book too, Kyle. You're an -- you're a true inspiration.

MAYNARD: Thank you very much. Thank you.

KING: I'm proud to be just know you.

The book is "No Excuses," the author, Kyle Maynard, the true story of a congenital amputee who became a champion in wrestling. And, as you've seen tonight, in life as well.

A couple of notes, tomorrow night Judge Judy returns to LARRY KING LIVE. It's been too long between appearances. Judge Judy returns.

And Saturday night Paul Reiser and Peter Falk with be with us. Columbo returns to the cameras. That's Saturday night.

Thank you very much for joining us.

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