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Interview With Ted Koppel; Interview With the Syriani Family

Aired November 7, 2005 - 21:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is ABC's Nightline, reporting from Washington, Ted Koppel.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, his show has been an institution for a quarter century now, a rare sit down with Ted Koppel as he prepares to leave "Nightline."

Then later, four children inspired by the spirit of their murdered mother to make peace with the man who killed her their father. And now after shunning him for years they're trying to save his life from execution next week, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with an old friend and a great journalist Ted Koppel, the anchor and managing editor of ABC News "Nightline." His last show is scheduled for November 22nd. He'll feature highlights from interviews with one of his favorite guests, the late Morrie Schwartz. Why are you leaving, Ted, on a Tuesday night?

TED KOPPEL, ABC NEWS "NIGHTLINE" ANCHOR: What, Monday would have better or Thursday?

KING: No, Friday. You'd think the end of a week.

KOPPEL: Well, it's coming up to Thanksgiving and it was a question of either leaving on a Friday or spending Thanksgiving with my family. I'd rather spend Thanksgiving with my family.

KING: Why now? Why leaving?

KOPPEL: Why not? It's, you know, 42 years with ABC, 26 years of "America Held Hostage" and "Nightline." I'm not sure there would ever be a better time or a worse time. You know, you can always ask why now? It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

KING: Were you getting tired of it, Ted?

KOPPEL: No. I've never gotten tired of "Nightline" and, Larry, look this is something you do every night. The difference is sometimes, you know, I travel and go on assignment but basically it's the same thing.

You and I ask ourselves or our producers ask us or we ask our producers who's the most interesting person to talk to? What's the most interesting place I could go to? What's the most interesting thing going on in the world today? And, for that they pay us a great deal of money. I mean that's not a bad deal.

KING: Not bad.


KING: You then obviously know you're going to miss it.

KOPPEL: Well, I'm not going to miss it because I'm going to keep doing it. I'm not going to be doing it as regularly as I was doing it before but I'm still going to be working. I'm going to take about five or six months off after I leave ABC and then there will be a new gig.

KING: Yes but will it be a nightly gig?

KOPPEL: No, it won't be a nightly gig but then "Nightline" has not been a nightly gig for me for quite some time now. I did it every night live for about 13 years and then finally my wife said, you know, it really would be nice if every once in a while you could be home for dinner. So, we went from five nights a week to four nights a week.

And then there came a point when quite literally about five years ago my friend Tom Batag (ph) and I went to our bosses, both at ABC News and at the network, to David Weston and to Bob Iger and said, you know, we really should be planning for the day when the two of us are going to leave.

And, we thought and we had hoped that Tom would be replaced by our friend Leroy Sievers (ph), who was executive producer for a number of years and I thought and hoped that I would be replaced by my friend Chris Bury, who has been doing that job.

But, you know, those are decisions that are made by other people and, you know, one of the reasons that I stepped back to three nights a week was to make the transition a little bit easier.

KING: But there will be nights when a big, big story breaks and, knowing you, you're going to want to go in.

KOPPEL: I'll just come on your show.


KOPPEL: We'll talk about it together.

KING: We'll count on it. You will. We can count -- we'll make you a regular.

KOPPEL: There you go.

KING: Do you have something lined up? I know you're not going to say anything but is there something in the wind?

KOPPEL: Yes, a couple of things lined up.

KING: That we'll see you regularly on television again?

KOPPEL: You will do that and you will see me in a couple of other places too.

KING: Other than television?

KOPPEL: Other than television.

KING: Radio?

KOPPEL: We're not going to play 20 questions here, Larry. You'll know soon enough.

KING: All right, was any part of this -- we know how bugged you were a couple of years ago at the Letterman thing. Did that play any part in this when your network was presumably talking to Letterman about coming over?

KOPPEL: Well they were talking to David and, you know, David and I are old friends and, look, I've been in this business long enough, you've been in it as long or even longer than I have, I have no problem with the notion that we work for companies that have to make a profit.

I have no problem with the notion that ultimately those companies are going to make decisions based on where they can make the most profit. The only complaint I had about the way that happened was the way that it happened not that it happened.

KING: What in retrospect has been the success of "Nightline"?

KOPPEL: I think the fact that it has been the only program that is on commercial television that is consistently on the air night after night after night with half an hour on one single subject. Sometimes half an hour is a little bit too long. Sometimes half an hour is not long enough.

But I think the general notion is that there are stories of such importance in the world today that we felt and I think have been able to demonstrate over more than 25 years now that it's worth doing a half an hour on those programs. I understand that, you know, there are other ways of doing the program and there will be another way to do it now and I hope it succeeds.

KING: What do you make of the idea of -- let's see we have Martin Bashir, Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran, a triple host.

KOPPEL: Good people. They're all good people and we'll see what happens. It's sometimes a little bit difficult to have more than one anchor because an anchor and an executive producer can work together on making a program the best they possibly can.

I hope it doesn't end up being such a competitive situation among the three of them that the thrust of the program is in any way diminished but that's really up to the executive producer and them and they've got good people doing it and I have every reason to hope and believe that the show will be a success.

KING: How did the idea happen for you when you had a single guest, like to have them in the next studio?

KOPPEL: Actually it began not so much with the idea of a single guest but when we had two or three guests at the same time. As you may recall, in the early years of "Nightline" there was -- we had a promotion writer or someone in our promotion department who came up with a wonderful slogan for "Nightline" back in 1980 and it was "Bringing people together who are worlds apart."

And, often we had guests, one guest in Tehran, one guest in Moscow, one guest in Washington. The guest in Washington could have been in the studio with me but that would have given that guest a particular advantage over the ones who were joining us on a satellite remote. So, we just made a general rule that all of the guests, whether we had two, whether we had three or even when we only had one would be in a remote location.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back with Ted Koppel. We're going to miss him but we're glad to know that he's coming back somewhere. The host of "Nightline" their final program with him as host is Tuesday night, November 22nd.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.


KOPPEL (voice-over): The media is bored by the repetitive speeches and everyone is showing fatigue except Bill Clinton.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I had a little last minute campaign argument with my staff about that.

KOPPEL (on camera): About whether to come here?

CLINTON: Yes, because they said but it's not a big medium. I said "You don't understand."

KOPPEL: This is a man nursing a commanding lead who expects to win his party's nomination. Is there such a fundamental vanity that says I really could do a better job at leading this country than any of those other turkeys that I see out there?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm sure there's somebody better out there. They haven't chosen to run.




KOPPEL: You can all do arithmetic. We have about less than 15 minutes by the time we get all the rest of our business done in this program. Very good, one minute, yes, you will get a chance to respond. I want you all to understand and I want our audience at home to understand we're trying to be responsive to everyone out there and everyone up here who wants to get in. It cannot be done.


KING: The historic Middle East show. What was that like for you?

KOPPEL: It was an amazing broadcast, Larry, because what happened is about six hours before we went on the air our booking producer, a wonderful young man by the name of Gil Pimentell (ph) came back and said, "You know, the Palestinians will only come on the show if we have separate booths for them so that it doesn't look at though they're talking to the Israelis" and we said "Absolutely not."

And then he came back a little later and said, "All right, they've changed their argument now and they're prepared to come on if you will roll a huge roll of razor wire, barbed wire down the center of the stage." And we said again, "Absolutely not."

I don't know what we would have done if they hadn't come back with a third proposal. They said, "Give us just a little wall," so we built this tiny wall and I spent half the program on one side of the wall and the other half of the program on the other side.

KING: I know you've been many places. What was it like in Iraq?

KOPPEL: It depends when. I've been in Iraq a number of times.

KING: The last time.

KOPPEL: Well, the last time I was there was just about ten months after the invasion of Iraq and what my colleagues and I did was to take a car and drive from the Kuwaiti border and retrace the path that the 3rd Infantry Division had taken up from Kuwait to Baghdad.

The extraordinary thing is that back then almost a year after the initial invasion we were able to do that and, while it was dangerous, it was not as dangerous as it is today. You could not possibly do the same thing today.

So, sometimes when I think about how much progress we have or have not made in Iraq, I think back to that and by that simple rule of thumb can you drive today where you could drive a year after the invasion the answer is no.

KING: When did things turn there, Ted?

KOPPEL: I think it turned very soon or at least began to turn very soon after the invasion. The invasion, as you recall, was a huge success. Saddam's armies collapsed. The level of coordination between the U.S. Air Force and the ground troops was absolutely extraordinary and they just, you know, cut from Kuwait up into Baghdad in the most extraordinary fashion. I mean it was the furthest and fastest that an army of that size had ever gone in the history of warfare. The problem is if there were any plans for what to do after the invasion, what to do after that initial victory for some reason or another those plans were never implemented or at least weren't implemented as well as they should have been.

And quite frankly, as many people were saying before the invasion, there may have been enough troops to invade and conquer Iraq. There weren't enough troops to occupy and hold Iraq.

KING: Why was there so much criticism of you on those nights when you just read the names of the dead?

KOPPEL: Because I think it was seen as an anti-war act, which it really was not. I mean let me explain again why we did that and we've done it a couple of times.

I have long felt that a country should not go to war unless the entire country understands what the purpose of that war is and it also should not be a sacrifice that is just limited to a small segment of the population, in this case the men and women who were over there in uniform, their families and their friends.

The rest of us after all could for most of our lives pretend that the war wasn't even happening. If we didn't see it occasionally on the front pages of our newspapers or in our evening newscasts, it really has very little impact on the rest of us.

I think that's wrong. I really do believe that when a nation is at war everyone has to sacrifice a little bit even if it's only to the extent of paying additional taxes to underwrite that war.

KING: Is the war the thing that is hurting the Bush presidency the most?

KOPPEL: I think the sense that there is no particular end in sight is certainly hurting them. I think they are hurt by a number of other issues. I mean the fact that there appears to be a lack of coordination at the White House, which was certainly there during the first couple of years I think that's hurtful to them. But, yes, I think the war is one of the things that is beginning to hurt.

Having said that, Larry, I must tell you I don't believe that the United States can afford to pull its troops out of there certainly cannot do it precipitously and that means we probably can't do it for some years to come. Now that we're there we absolutely have to stay there until some form of stability comes to Iraq.

KING: Why do second terms fare so poorly?

KOPPEL: I think because certainly the people around the president tend to become a little bit intoxicated by their own power, tend to believe that they can do almost anything and that it can be done perhaps without engaging as much with the folks up on Capitol Hill as they did before, without caring what is written or said in the media, without worrying about what some of their own strongest supporters believe they need to do.

Basically, it's a little bit of hubris that sets in with power and, you know, it's an old Greek word and it goes back several thousand years and nothing much has changed in human development since that time. People get intoxicated by their own power.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Ted Koppel. We're all going to miss him. But, as he said, when big stories break he'll be here.

We'll be right back with the host of "Nightline." Don't go away.


KOPPEL: I was trying to think of something that would be appropriate to say on an occasion like this and as is often the case the best you can come up with is something that Shakespeare wrote for Henry V, "Wreak havoc and unleash the dogs of war."

Please excuse the sunglasses but once again we're being plagued by sandstorms. Have you ever gone and had a couple of beers with the guys?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm too young to drink sir.

KOPPEL: Oh, you're too young to drink?


KOPPEL: All of a sudden (INAUDIBLE) started blaring and then started making this signal and yelling gas, gas, gas.

Oh, another incoming round, very close.




GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you want to start back over with the rationale of why we didn't think it was arms for hostages?

KOPPEL: No, no, I understand. I understand the rationale.

BUSH: We -- let me just -- well I think I'm entitled -- well but you just don't like my answer.

KOPPEL: No. What I'm saying is I find your answer...

BUSH: You asked the question but you don't like the answer. What do you want me to say?

KOPPEL: I find the answer inconsistent with the evidence is what I'm saying, Mr. Vice President. BUSH: Well, that's your opinion.


KING: You like those kind of tete-a-tetes?

KOPPEL: Yes, hold on just a second. Before you get inundated by e-mails and phone calls I know I was wrong. It wasn't Henry V. It was Julius Caesar. But go ahead.

KING: I was going to correct you, Ted.

KOPPEL: I know you were.

KING: Do you like those kind of things when you go back and forth and the guest is taking you on and you them...

KOPPEL: Oh, sure.

KING: ...there's hostility in the air?

KOPPEL: I'll tell you when I like it. I like it when the other person is a powerful person. I think basically that's what we're, you know, that's what we're supposed to do and that is challenge power. And, you know, sometimes you get nailed. Sometimes they get nailed. It's no fun going after someone who has no experience on television but a really smart statesman and politician like George Bush, Sr., you bet.

KING: Let's take a couple quick calls for Ted Koppel. We're all going to miss him, St. Davids, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Good evening, Larry. I've enjoyed your show for a long time. Good evening Mr. Koppel too.

KING: Thank you.

KOPPEL: Good evening.

CALLER: My question to Mr. Koppel is I was wondering after this period of time how Peter Jennings' family is doing at this particular time. I'm also a watcher of "World News Tonight" very frequently and can't help but wonder about that.

KING: That was a great memorial, Ted. You were brilliant at it. Do you keep in touch?

KOPPEL: Well, what was extraordinary about it was the eulogies that were given both by Peter's son Christopher and by his daughter Elizabeth and they were absolutely amazing.

And, no, I told -- I told Peter's widow Kayce that I was going to leave her alone for a couple of months and then after all the phone calls, because I knew there would be an awful lot of them that I would be in touch with her later and it's just about time. But, no, I have not been in touch with them over the last couple of months. KING: What's the future of network news?

KOPPEL: I don't know. I mean clearly we have all been affected and changed by the competition that you guys and cable have brought to us. When I began at ABC 42 years ago basically there was very little competition. There was NBC. There was CBC. And then we were kind of fifth in a three network race. ABC was far, far behind.

But with the arrival of CNN and FOX and CNBC and MSNBC and all the others that are out there it has clearly changed the landscape. The one thing I worry about, Larry is as long as news divisions, wherever they may be, keep covering the news because they believe something is not only important but is going to have a tremendous impact on the American public, we'll be fine.

If news programs begin to evolve based purely on which segment, which demographic of the audience a news department is trying to reach, then I think we're going to be in trouble.

KING: Augusta, Georgia, hello.

CALLER FROM AUGUSTA, GEORGIA: Thank you so much for taking my call. Mr. Koppel...

KOPPEL: Yes, ma'am.

CALLER: ...I watch "Nightline" religiously and love you dearly. I'm going to have severe withdrawals when you leave. Is it possible for ABC to release some of your favorite "Nightline" broadcasts on DVD?

KOPPEL: Oh, I think -- I forget what it is. I think it's about 1995. You can have them all. There are 6,500 of them. Write them a check. They'll send you all the DVDs they've got.

KING: Are they going to release boxed sets though do you know as they do with...

KOPPEL: I have no idea. I mean if there's a buck to be made I'm sure they will.

KING: Are you planning the last night as -- will Morrie Schwartz be the only interview you're going to show or will there be clips of others?

KOPPEL: No, actually it will be Morrie Schwartz and about Morrie Schwartz. I did an interview with Mitch Albom who wrote that wonderful book "Tuesdays with Morrie" and he indeed was reminded of his old professor when he came back I think from covering some sports event for the Detroit newspaper that he worked for and "Nightline" was on in his -- in his motel room and that motivated him to call his old professor and then revisit him and revisit him always on Tuesdays and write that wonderful book.

We are doing that as our last broadcast because of all the broadcasts we've done, more than 6,500 of them over 26 years that has been the most requested broadcast.

KING: And what was it to you?

KOPPEL: Oh, it was -- it was a truly moving and wonderful experience because the fact that Morrie was dying from the moment that I first met him until the moment we did our last interview together meant that everything was sort of foreshortened.

We realized we didn't have a whole lot of time and so we became friends much more quickly than I think we would have if he had still had two or three or ten years left to live. And so it became what initially just struck me as an awfully good story became a series of conversations then with a friend.

KING: Was he a sage?

KOPPEL: Certainly a wise man. I don't know whether you would call Morrie a sage. There was -- there was an inherent wisdom in his willingness to confront death and what it meant.

If I may be just a little bit crude, we did it on the air together, we spoke at one point about what we called the ass-wipe test, when the point came that he was no longer capable of wiping his own behind. And Morrie somehow turned that into the most exquisitely beautiful story because he talked about the friends of his who would come by and do it for him.

And he said, you know, in a strange way what greater love is there than to do that for a friend? And it reminded him in some ways of what it must have been like when we were all babies and our mother was doing that for us. So, he took one of the most elemental and one of the most basic facts of life and turned it into a beautiful story.

KING: Ted, we wish you, as you know, nothing but the best.

KOPPEL: Thank you, my friend.

KING: Known you for a long, long time, look forward to many visits with you and wish you success whatever you choose to do.

KOPPEL: That's very nice of you, Larry. Thanks very much.

KING: Ted Koppel, the last "Nightline" show with him as host will be Tuesday night, November 22nd, two weeks from tomorrow and the featured guest will be the late Morrie Schwartz.

We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're narcissistic.

KOPPEL: I'm narcissistic?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not really.

KOPPEL: I'm too ugly to be narcissistic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought you were a narcissist when I saw you on TV.

KOPPEL: Really?


KOPPEL: Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you acted as if you knew everything and I said to your crew today this is going to be a tough one for him because he doesn't know anything about dying.

KOPPEL: That's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I know more than you do.



KING: The crime occurred in North Carolina, but the family all joins us where they now live in Munster, Indiana. They are Rose Syriani, the oldest child of the Syriani family. She was in her early teens when her father fatally stabbed her mother. Also there is Sara Syriani Barbari, the Rose's youngest sister, John Syriani, who was 10- years-old when he witnessed his dad stabbing his mother and Janet Syriani, the baby of the family. She was only 8-years-old at the time of the murder. She's currently a sophomore in college.

Here's the Syriani family story. It is summer 1990, Rose, Sara, John and Janet's father Elias stabs their mother 28 times with a screwdriver. The mom Theresa died 25 days later. They testified for the prosecution at trial. And their dad was sentenced to die. Now 15 years later and just days from the scheduled execution, November 18, they're hoping that North Carolina governor Mike Easley will reverse the death sentence.

Let's start with Rose. Why do you want your father to be commuted to life?

ROSE SYRIANI, MOTHER FATALLY STABBED: Well, I have to start off by telling you the past 15 years has been a struggle. And recently in the last two years, we have been able to put to peace, some sort of peace, you know, by having some sort of contact. And this miracle that's happened by forgiving our father.

I can't stress enough this has been such a difficult time for us. And the days leading up to the execution date, we're just hope hoping that this execution does not get carried out. For my own reasoning -- I feel that at some point now I'm able to close the book, close a piece of my past that was always a black hole, that was always a black hole in my heart. And I've been trying so hard to move on.

And these past 14 years before meeting my father, before forgiving my father, before seeing his sorrow and his love for us, I was just an absolute wreck. I mean, I just wanted so bad for my own personal self just to close the chapter. And I'm just -- I can't imagine this happening to us right now. I mean it's just so important and...

KING: John -- finish, dear.

John, you were 10-years-old. You witnessed the stabbing, right?


KING: Why do you want to forgive?

JOHN SYRIANI: Well, basically before this happened, me and my father were best friends. We were inseparable together. We were always going fishing. He was basically always guiding me the right way.

God taught us to forgive. And that's exactly what I did.

I love my father. He's my flesh and blood. I just thought about it and put it in my heart to forgive my father for what he has done. Basically, I just want to let everybody know that I had to put in my heart to forgive my father.

And I know that it's a time of peaceful, and we need to basically get over this hump that we're going through right now. And we're just blessed with God. And we just want to wish that the governor can hear us and accept our plea.

KING: Sara, why did he murder his wife?

BARBARI: To be honest, Mr. Larry King, that's not a question that I could answer. I know from talking with my father that he lost it. Like I said, I really cannot explain. That's a question that would probably be more appropriate for my father.

ROSE SYRIANI: One thing, Larry.

KING: Go ahead. Anybody could chime in.

ROSE SYRIANI: I'm sorry. Yes. This is Rose.

You know, one thing that we want to share with you is the first day that we actually went in and decided to confront my father. All of us, you know, at some point were thinking about it for some time and we decided simultaneous -- we decided that all four of us would go and confront this man.

There were so many feelings that I personally had. I was angry and, you know, just scared of him. And, you know, so many of my emotions growing up as a teenager and not understanding where they came from and just by the grace of God we've stuck together, the four of us. And we've been able to get through this. For the past 13 years we've done it on our own.

And now this is the opportunity to save the only -- the sole parent that we have left. You know we had...

KING: Rose, did you want them to execute him originally?

ROSE SYRIANI: You know, Larry, we were kids. At the time I was 13. I was angry and upset and scared of him. And you know, there -- I can't really answer that. Because I just feel that, you know, the time that we've had now to kind of think about our family and...

KING: Let me get in a question in for Janet. Then we'll take a break and come back with more.

Janet, you were a baby at the time, only 8-years-old. How do you feel about all this? Do you have memories of your mother?

JANET SYRIANI, MOTHER FATALLY STABBED: I have vivid memories because of my siblings. They tell me stories. And now I just feel like I have the parent that I've always wanted. I was so young. I was only 8, obviously. So I just now need the parent figure that I've longed for all these years.

KING: How often do you see your dad? How often do you see him?

JANET SYRIANI: Since the past two years, about six, seven times. We try to go a few times a year.

KING: Let me get a break. We'll talk about the clemency hearing, what they plan to do. The Syriani family, an amazing story. Don't go away.


ELIAS SYRIANI, MURDERED WIFE: Almost all day, I am with my wife and my children all day.


ELIAS SYRIANI: Yes, and when I sleep sometime even I dream I wake up and I stay like that.




ROSE SYRIANI: We're just right now, living day by day, just trying to do what we can to stop this from happening. We're just begging that this does not carried out. And again, I mean, I said this is four lives. Four lives that will be destroyed.

KING: Sarah, when is the clemency hearing?

BARBARI: Thursday, November 9th. KING: That's this Thursday?

BARBARI: Tenth, I'm sorry.

KING: That's in North Carolina?

BARBARI: Yes, in Raleigh.

KING: Do you know who will appear supporting the idea of lethal injection?

ROSE SYRIANI: Well, we believe that we have the support of...

KING: No, no, not your support. Who's going to be on the other side?

ROSE SYRIANI: Well, you know, I'm not sure. I mean, as far as the prosecuting side?

KING: Yes.

ROSE SYRIANI: We're hoping, we've been told that they are willing to share their time with us. You know, this is a very unique case and in our opinion, it's not black and white. You know, we're not up here, you know, trying to save the world, you know, at this time.

This is something that is very personal to us that you know, we just want to be able to speak with the governor directly. At this moment, we don't have...

KING: Is the governor at the hearing?

ROSE SYRIANI: He will be at the clemency hearing. You know, the prosecuting side has some time and the defense side has some time. And we're hoping that he would share his time with us and, you know, allow us to speak and just share some of our feelings and, you know.

KING: John, what about your mother's family? Is anyone going to appear on -- is her sister living, your aunt or uncle or anyone?

JOHN SYRIANI: Right now, Larry, I'm not aware of who is going to be there. But, I really couldn't answer that question for you right now.

ROSE SYRIANI: It is important to mention that, my mother's side supports her children. We are the ones that have been hurt the most. And Larry, we're nervous up here, but this is really an extraordinary story. And it should be shared with everyone. And at this point, we're just hoping that our healing process is not stopped and that we regress another 15 years.

I mean, this is going to devastate us. And this is something that was a gift from my mother and a gift from God. I mean, my mother doesn't want us to fear, to hate. You know, we've been grieving for all this time. I know this is from her. And there's not a day that goes by that we don't think about her. And now for the past two years, we've been able to move on without feeling such grief. And we're just hoping that the governor will please look at this as a unique case and we're able to regain our past.

I mean, we have memories that my father is able to share with us. We don't get to see him very often, but my sister Janet, every day, she runs to the mailbox to see. He's able to watch over us, as much as he can. He'll send my brother a letter and he'll tell him, your sister is having a hard time in school, watch over her. I know we have limited time, but there's so many beautiful stories.

KING: I'm trying to not -- I'm trying to see that you don't get repetitive. You're making your point very well. I want to bring in some other members of the family as well, so we can hear from them.

Janet, what is it like when you talk to your father?

JANET SYRIANI: I have a father-daughter relationship now. He calls me his baby. You know? I have that emotional side that I've been wanting for so long. And like my sister said, you know, I was having problems with school. And just everyday life, you know. And he would write me letters and tell me that I was going to make it and I was going to make his dream come true.

KING: That's great.

Is he remorseful? Is he remorseful over the killing?

JANET SYRIANI: I mean, it's just unbelievable the way...

ROSE SYRIANI: For someone to hurt their child, I think has be.

KING: Hold on, let me get a break. I'll come back, hold it, let me get a break.

We'll be back with the Syriani family.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" has moved to a new time. It's two hours in length. It's at 10:00 Eastern, following this program. And there, he's not in a jungle somewhere. He's got a tie and a shirt and he's in a studio.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I know, I dressed up nice for you. I dressed up nice for you, Larry.

KING: I appreciate it.

COOPER: About 15 minutes from now, 10:00 Eastern, a two-hour edition of 360. CNN is now live until midnight. Here is what we have tonight.

The White House is in trouble on several fronts, but Democratic leaders don't seem to be reaping the benefits. We'll talk with former Senator John Edwards about what the Dems need to do for 2008. Also at 10 tonight, the ice man. That young flier who died 63 years ago, found frozen in the Sierra Nevadas. We'll have the latest on who he is.

And a cruise ship mystery. A woman disappears on an Alaskan cruise. The ship never notified her family. We'll find out why and what's the latest on that.

That story, all the late-breaking news, some good conversation, and a few surprised tonight at 10:00 Eastern. Larry?

KING: Thank you so much. Welcome to late night, Anderson. It's fun having you with us.

COOPER: I'm looking forward to it.

KING: "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at the top of the hour. We'll be back with more. Don't go away.



SARAH SYRIANI: I've always thought of him as a murderer that took my mom. But when I saw him for the first time, waving and smiling, like a kid in Disneyland, I saw my dad.

KING: Sarah, will your main argument at the clemency hearing be, we forgive him, therefore the state of North Carolina should forgive him?

BARBARI: I wouldn't go that far. I'm just hoping that more than anything that Governor Easley will look at these four lives and realize that it is us that is going to suffer.

My father has come to terms with his fate and what could happen to him. And the only fear that he has is that his children's hearts are going to break once again. And he's right, that is exactly what will happen.

I mean, it took us so long to come this far. You know, from hate and anger to forgiveness and love. It is just the most powerful thing that has entered our lives.

And just so much good has come out of it. I mean, we're all different people now and could live our lives whole and in peace and we just feel...

KING: Is this...

BARBARI: ...that if this is carried out that we are going to take a step back.

JANET SYRIANI: 15 years back. It was a long healing process.

KING: Rose, is this the last chance, this hearing? ROSE SYRIANI: Yes. Yes, it is.

KING: No appeals, everything's gone.

ROSE SYRIANI: At this point, today, today we do not have, you know, an actual time with the governor. And we're just hoping that, you know, everyone that has supported us has been wonderful. And, now, we just -- we're reaching out. And we're just asking if the governor's watching tonight to just please just allow us to hear from us, that, you know...

KING: If he attends -- does he -- he's part of the clemency board, right, in North Carolina?

ROSE SYRIANI: Yes, he is.

KING: So he will be there Thursday.

ROSE SYRIANI: Well, he will be there Thursday right. But from my understanding with the governor's counsel.

BARBARI: We are requesting a face-to-face visit with the governor. As of now, we don't have that scheduled. So we're hoping that he will allow us to come in to, you know the conference room and meet with him face to face to hear us out, to know each individual. And, you know, to hear where we're coming from.

So as of right now, we don't have an actually one on one visit with Governor Easley. We're hoping that he'll change his mind.

KING: If he sits on the board, he will hear from you, will he not? If he's a member of the board? Do we know?

ROSE SYRIANI: That's what we're hoping. That's what we're hoping for, that we will have that face-to-face with him.

KING: Let me get a break. We'll be right back with more on this addition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


ROSE SYRIANI: We cry because we lost our mother. We cry because we lost our father. And we're blessed that we have these two people in our lives at the moment important time, where I learned so much from my father as the oldest and taking charge of the family and no matter what hard time we go through, we stick together as a family.




BARBARI: That first meeting with him, all of these hurt and anger and feelings just like floated away from me. JANET SYRIANI: I was looking through letters that he had written my brother and there was something that said, your sister is having a hard time. He's still trying to protect us.

ROSE SYRIANI: I don't think anyone can go from absolute hate to love in a split second if it didn't come from some place else.


KING: Sarah, you are pregnant, are you not?

BARBARI: Yes, I am. Five months.

KING: So if we keep him alive, it will be his first grandchild, right?

BARBARI: Yes, it will.

KING: I guess he's excited. Are you at all prepared -- Rose, we're running close on time. Rose, are you prepared for the worst?

ROSE SYRIANI: At this moment, we are focusing all of our energy and trying to do what we can to stop this. You know, I have to mention -- I have to say that it's very important. Fifteen-years-ago the state of North Carolina was protecting us. They saw these four children heartbroken, but 15 years later a miracle happened. And now we're asking the state of North Carolina to protect us again. I just -- I'm sorry.

KING: John, are you hopeful?

JOHN SYRIANI: Yes, Larry, I am very hopeful. I just pray every night before I go to sleep that God will listen to my prayers. And he's answered my prayers once before of getting all four of us and reuniting with my father. He answered that prayer for me. So, I'm hoping he'll do the same with this. I feel very positive about it and I just pray every night.

KING: Wish you the best. Janet, are you hopeful?

JANET SYRIANI: I'm definitely hopeful. Definitely. I can't wait to come and visit him and finally tell him that I made his dream come true and I've become a college graduate.

KING: Do you know if they let you know right away, Sarah, at the hearing or do they get back to you?

BARBARI: Well, to our understanding, just the way that Governor Easley has handled things in the past, I don't know how soon we'll find out.

KING: We'll stay right on top of it all day Thursday. Thank you all. And best of luck to you.

BARBARI: Thank you.

JOHN SYRIANI: Thank you very much, Larry.

KING: Thank you, guys. Good luck.

Before we go tonight, happy 87th birthday to one of our favorite people, the Reverend Billy Graham. There's a great musical tribute to the world's most famous evangelist from Pat Boone and friends called "Thank You, Billy Graham." Here's a clip.


KING: I'm proud to be on that special. Reverend Graham is one of our most faithful viewers. I hope he's watching as I say many happy returns of today. And come back here soon, OK?

Jennifer Aniston is our special guest tomorrow night.

Our special guest now will host the next two hours. The familiar face of Anderson Cooper. 360 has moved to a new time, and a longer time period. Anderson, go get them.


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