Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Jim and Nancy Baker
Aired May 2, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Four years ago, our hearts were really broken and that's when our 7-year-old lost her life in an accident really that need not have happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, former Secretary of State James Baker speaks out for the first time on the accidental drowning of his beautiful 7-year-old granddaughter in a backyard hot tub.
Also with us, the little girls' mother Nancy Baker. Can their devastating loss help prevent future tragedies. An emotional hour of heartbreak and hope is next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Quite a night ahead tonight, joining us in Houston, Texas at the James A. Baker III Public Policy Institute is former Secretary of State James Baker, the 61st secretary of state of the United States, recently designated to head the congressionally mandated Iraq Study Group. His granddaughter, Virginia Graham Baker, died in a tragic drowning four years ago.
And, in Washington, Nancy Baker, the mother of the 2004 drowning victim, she's advocating for pool and spa safety legislation. She is James Baker's daughter-in-law.
Before we talk about the incident, Mr. Secretary, why now? Why have you decided to talk about something you haven't talked about at all?
J. BAKER: Well, Larry, I think it's important to alert people to what is really a hidden danger. Our little Graham was entrapped in a pool. The suction from the drain held her to the bottom of the pool and drowned her. And very few parents and grandparents for that matter I think are aware of this risk.
So, if there are some things we can do by highlighting this problem and alerting others to this type of tragedy, perhaps others can avoid the pain and devastation that we went through.
So, that's the main reason. And also because we today have a piece of legislation that is going to be introduced in the House of Representatives, a Pool and Spa Safety Act that I think would go a long ways towards stopping these kinds of problems. It's a legislation that is not a federal mandate. It doesn't mandate anything from the states. It provides the states with financial resources if they are willing to legislate safety requirements and, frankly, those safety requirements are not onerous. You can put a drain in one of these pools. You can buy one for $63 that will prevent children under 14 like this from being entrapped.
KING: Let's go back to that day, Nancy. Graham was a twin was she not, Nancy?
NANCY BAKER: Yes, she was.
KING: How is her sister doing?
N. BAKER: Her twin sister is beautiful. She's courageous. She struggled. Tonight she's home watching the show. She's saying -- I mean it's been a long road but she's doing well, thanks.
KING: Now, just for the record, while you all are very close you are no longer married to the secretary's son right?
N. BAKER: No.
KING: But you're very close to Secretary Baker?
N. BAKER: Yes.
KING: What happened four years ago?
N. BAKER: We had gone to a graduation party celebrating our oldest daughter. Rosemary was graduating from high school and this was a party around a pool, a barbeque. There were many, many people, lots of music and my three youngest daughters, one was at the time eleven, and the twins, Jackie and Graham, were seven and a half and they all got in when we first arrived.
At one point, I recognized that Graham wasn't in the water. I saw her two sisters playing. And, I scanned the water, the bottom of the pool and I didn't see her and I made an assumption that she'd gone inside and that's an assumption, you know, today as I look back, I deeply regret because she was actually underwater.
I don't know if I had seen her when she got in, if I would have noticed that she didn't come up. Simply the bubbles on the surface of the water obscured that hot tub so that you couldn't see what was beneath it and it was her twin who discovered her there and her 11- year-old sister ran to me and said, "Mommy, mommy, Graham's in the hot tub." And I got in and I saw her underwater and I pulled and I pulled and I couldn't bring her up.
KING: What was she stuck in?
N. BAKER: Well, at the time I didn't know what she was stuck on. I thought she was wired down. It was unfathomable to me. I didn't understand what was keeping her down but I knew I couldn't bring her up and I kept coming up for air and screaming for help. And, eventually I got out, gave up and collapsed in the yard. It was adjacent to the pool and I saw two men jump in that hot tub, two people and they pulled her out. And then I saw efforts that were being made to resuscitate her.
And she was flown to Fairfax Hospital and I drove there with the paramedics. And next time I saw her she was in the trauma room and they told me that they'd done everything they could but that she had lost her life.
J. BAKER: Larry, let me add.
J. BAKER: Larry, let me add that the suction in these cases is so strong that in this case, as Nancy just told you, it took two grown men to separate Graham from the exhaust or the drain in the pool.
KING: How did you hear about it, Jim?
J. BAKER: Well, I was in London with Susan. We were on our way actually to join some friends on a ship in the Mediterranean and we were I think either just getting up or maybe it was very, very early in the morning in London when we got a call that we couldn't believe. And, it was a call telling us that Graham had been trapped and had drowned and that they could not resuscitate her. And so, we lost our beautiful little angel.
KING: Did you fly right home?
J. BAKER: We flew right home, yes. We cancelled the trip, of course, and we flew right home.
KING: Nancy, were you in addition to being hurt were you mad?
N. BAKER: Initially I wasn't mad. I mean initially I was too devastated. It was to get up in the morning, I couldn't get my head around it. It's unfathomable.
N. BAKER: And, my attention was really on her sisters because I was concerned obviously that, you know, they were traumatized and devastated and I was just trying to make it. And, I have moments now when I'm mad. I certainly got angry as I learned more and more about entrapment. Yes, I did get angry.
KING: We're going to talk a lot about that.
N. BAKER: Good.
KING: Before this tragedy, Jim, were you at all aware of the potential risks?
J. BAKER: Of entrapment?
KING: Of drain entrapment or entanglement? Did you ever think about it?
J. BAKER: No. No, Larry, I was not aware of it and I really never thought about it and that's why I said when you asked me that first question that I think there are a lot of people out there that are not aware of the potential for drowning by virtue of entrapment in these pools.
And, you know, the safety devices that can be put on are relatively inexpensive. A drain cover that would prevent entrapment I think costs something in the neighborhood of $60. And, of course, you can't put a dollar value on the life of even one child.
KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, we'll find out what the proposed legislation says. Is anybody opposed to it? Where does it stand? And, what will it mean?
We'll be including your calls later too. Don't go away.
KING: This is hard to take. Nancy, before we ask Secretary Baker to tell us what the legislation will say, would you explain pool or spa entrapment? What is that?
N. BAKER: Pool and spa entrapment is something that occurs when a body part, a limb, your hair, becomes adhered to a drain. There's a force that as the water is being pumped back to the pump from the pool and circulated.
When you think about it, it's this tremendous amount of water going into a small pipe, being drawn by a pump. And, if you seal it, it creates a vacuum so that the air is being drawn through the pipes.
And, what happens when there's no longer water being drawn through the pipes, in other words the drain is blocked, that object is held down by hundreds of pounds of pressure due to the strength of the pump.
KING: And this could be a hot tub, a pool, right, anything?
N. BAKER: Hot tub, pool, spa, wading pool, all of those scenarios and it can be limbs, fingers, hair. With Graham it was her buttocks, any number of scenarios. It can be your jewelry.
KING: Wow. What does the legislation say, Jim?
J. BAKER: Well, the legislation has been introduced by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida. And, it basically simply says that the federal government will provide the states with a modest amount of money, I think it's $25 million in the first year, provided those states will implement safety standards for pools and spas, the kind of drains I referred to, safety fencing and things like that.
The $25 million is I think the total programmatic amount for all the states in the first year, so it's not a mandate. It's not a federal mandate. It's giving the states incentive to enact this safety legislation.
KING: Are you saying, Jim, that right now there is no legislation covering this?
J. BAKER: There is legislation, as I understand it, Larry, and again I'm not an expert on all this legislation but there is some legislation in some of the states. Some states have passed legislation that does cover this. And what this would do is put the federal government on record in favor of saving the lives of innocent children who can be entrapped and drowned by providing a modest amount of money to the states that have not enacted safety legislation.
KING: Could anybody be against it, Jim?
J. BAKER: It seems to me pretty hard to understand how anybody could oppose this bill. I suppose you might say, well it's -- you oppose it on budgetary grounds but it's a very, very modest amount of money in the federal budget that we live with in this country.
KING: Drowning, by the way, is the number two accidental injury- related killer of children age one through 14. It's the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages one through four.
This death occurred in where, Nancy, Virginia?
N. BAKER: In MacLean, Virginia yes.
KING: I used to live there.
N. BAKER: Yes.
KING: You had no knowledge of -- this has to be asked. How do you deal with it? How do you deal?
N. BAKER: How do I deal with it?
KING: The loss of a child, especially like this. I mean well not especially, any child lost is a loss but something as tragic and uncalled for as this and preventable.
N. BAKER: Larry, sometimes I think I've told a number of people well what choice do I have? I mean you woke up -- I woke up every morning and I was still breathing and I had four girls at home and a devastated family and the way I've coped with it is I have fabulous friends and much love and faith.
And, of late, I've been inspired by efforts that I've seen, in particular when I took this story to Safe Kids Coalition, Safe Kids Campaign. It's now called Safe Kids Worldwide. Their programs are everywhere. They have coalitions all around the country.
And, I asked them if they could help me. I wanted to educate people. I didn't want people to be blindsided by something like this and simply how can you protect your child from something that you're not aware of? And so, I began to feel like it was my job, my responsibility, to attempt to educate people. That's all. And, Safe Kids has taken this on. Their sponsor is Johnson & Johnson. They're sponsoring Safe Kids Week this week. There are coalitions that are educating all around the country this weekend and that's -- that makes me know that she'd feel good.
KING: We're going to take a break.
When we come back, we asked the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals for a statement. They gave us one. We'll give it to you after and have the Bakers comment.
We'll be right back. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. BAKER: Looking back now, I recognize that little Graham was an angel on loan to us for seven years. Her short life provided us with a treasured love that we can never, never replace, though her smile and her joyous nature will, of course, always remain in our hearts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: LARRY KING LIVE asked the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, which bills itself as the voice for the recreational water industry, for a statement on the pool safety issue and the proposed legislation. This is their response.
"Safety is a core belief and commitment of the pool and spa industry. We deeply regret the Baker family loss and our goal is to prevent these tragic incidents from happening.
We respect and support what the Baker family is doing to elevate public awareness of pool and spa safety. There is a set of approved pool and spa safety standards that are more comprehensive than the proposals being put forward.
We'd like to work with the Baker family and others to have these standards adapted into law in all 50 states. We look forward to testifying with Nancy Baker on those issues tomorrow before the United States Senate" -- any comments, Secretary Baker?
J. BAKER: Well, I'm not familiar with that statement, Larry. One good way to start would be to testify with Nancy tomorrow at the educational hearing that Senators Allen and Mark Pryor I think, George Allen and Mark Pryor are going to hold in the Senate.
But an equally good way would be for them to sign on to this bill that Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz is going to introduce that at least begins to take steps in the direction that the association says they want to go. So, it might be interesting to know whether or not they're willing to sign on to that bill.
KING: Nancy, they say there's a set of approved pool and spa safety standards that are more comprehensive than what you're proposing.
N. BAKER: Well, I'm not proposing them. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is proposing them. And, I'm supporting her proposals. And, if there are standards -- there were standards in place. They were voluntary standards.
J. BAKER: There were voluntary guidelines, Larry.
J. BAKER: I think that must be what they're talking about.
N. BAKER: Issued, yes.
J. BAKER: What they're talking about is there are voluntary guidelines...
N. BAKER: Issued by...
J. BAKER: ...that nobody has to -- there's no incentive to necessarily to respect, so I think that's what they're talking about.
KING: Nancy, you agree that that's what it seems like to you?
N. BAKER: I only know that the CPSC, the guidelines that I'm aware of are voluntary. I know that certain localities have building codes that do address certain -- some of these layers of protection which are meant to save kids' lives. It's not just the drain covers. It's also if you're building a pool that you have multiple drains.
It's also that you have a device that's attached to the pump, called a safety release vacuum system. It shuts down the pump in the event someone is pinned and it releases that victim.
And I also know that this legislation addresses a really important thing, which is barrier fencing. In this country, 800 kids lose their lives every year in swimming pool accidents and the vast majority of those happen in backyard pools.
We can't any longer allow our kids to have access to pools in our backyard from our own back doors. We've got to have a fence that goes totally around the pool and separates our children or children visiting our home from that body of water that they're drawn to.
J. BAKER: Larry, for the record, the CPSC that Nancy referred to is the Consumer Product Safety Commission because there will be a lot of listeners who won't know that.
KING: We're going to take calls at the bottom of the hour.
Jim, no one's more a veteran of the political scene and the diplomatic scene than you and a long and distinguished service to this country. Can you explain something to me that's puzzling? Why are we always after the fact? Why did Graham have to die to have this happen?
J. BAKER: Why have all these other young children had to die, Larry, before we face up to the problem? I really can't answer that. You know I guess there's nothing like a tragedy to force action and it may take, unfortunately may take that kind of impetus but beyond that I really can't answer your question.
KING: I guess no one can. What are your memories, Jim -- we'll be breaking soon and go to calls -- what are your memories about your little beautiful granddaughter?
J. BAKER: Well, you heard me say it that little clip you ran from the press conference we had today in Washington at the reflection pool in front of the Capitol, I think of Graham as a -- she was a -- she was the sweetest child you've ever seen. She was lovely. She was a great athlete. She was a good swimmer.
And so I've convinced myself and I've come to the realization, I guess you'd say, that she was an angel on loan to us from God for seven years and that was her -- that was the (INAUDIBLE) as far as Graham is concerned. What a lovely child and what a tragic, terrible loss.
KING: Nancy, is it at all helpful that she was a twin that you have a part of her?
N. BAKER: Absolutely. It is helpful and it's also painful. I mean when I see twins on the street, you know, and I see that pair together, I have to tell you it hurts. Then I feel, you know, that loss of that. There's something magical about having twins, multiples.
It's a wondrous thing from the moment they're born and you're just trying to figure out how to feed them and diaper them. And then the joy of seeing them decide they're not going to wear the same clothes and make that fight for their independence.
And, right before she died, Graham was getting to the point where she declared, "No, I'm not going to take a shower with that sister of mine" and her twin didn't like that and I miss that.
N. BAKER: But yet I have -- what I worry most about is that Jackie might as she gets older really not remember her like we do.
N. BAKER: And that's -- so we try out best to remind her. I think she'll always feel her. I believe that about twins.
KING: Yes. We'll take a break.
J. BAKER: Larry, the important... KING: Go ahead, Jim.
J. BAKER: Before you go to the break, the important thing here and let me say a word of thanks to you for having us on the program and having the program focus on this problem because the important thing is that other families are alert to this hidden danger and that they are spared the pain and the devastation that we went through. And, your calling attention to this problem will go a long way in that direction.
N. BAKER: That's for sure.
KING: Thank you. We'll be right back with James Baker, the former secretary of state, and Nancy Baker, his daughter-in-law on the subject of the death of his granddaughter and her daughter in a tragic pool accident.
We'll be taking your calls. We'll return after this.
KING: We're back with James Baker, the former secretary of state, recently designated to head the congressionally mandated Iraq study group, and Nancy Baker, the mother of the 2004 drowning victim, Virginia Graham Baker, they all called her Graham. Let's go to some calls. Houston, Texas.
CALLER: First, I'd like to extend my condolences to the Baker family. I'd like to extend my condolences to the Baker family. I'm an identical twin and know how difficult this must be. I'm a certified teacher and I run my own aquatics business. I'm so grateful you guys are putting this bill together because it is rampant, it happens all the time, accidents in pools and hot tubs and people are just unaware how dangerous they actually are. How long do you think this is going to take?
KING: Good question, Jim?
BAKER: I have no idea. I really can't predict that. As more and more people become aware of this problem, as you are aware of it, I think things will move. They're not going to move until people say we ought to take care of this problem, we ought to do something about it. This legislation, we've been talking about, The Pool and Spa Safety Act, is a very fine first step.
KING: Philadelphia, hello.
CALLER: Hello. This tragedy certainly was a foreseeable event. Did the manufacturer ever acknowledge how many similar types of incidents like this occurred prior to your accident? Have you instituted litigation?
N. BAKER: Not the manufacturer, they didn't give us those numbers. The CPSC has documented 36 deaths by entrapment and 147 incidents. Yes, we did pursue litigation.
KING: Is that still in process?
N. BAKER: There was a settlement, mediation that resulted in a settlement with one defendant and we're delighted because that has enabled us to go on and given us the opportunity to pursue this whole educational program.
KING: New Jersey. Hello.
CALLER: Hello. First, I want to say my heart goes out to the family on this tragic loss. I do want to ask a question. Anyone who has a pool that I know, there are requirements that you do need to fence the pool area. Why was this not -- the pool where the family had the party? Why was that not fenced? And also why is there not parental responsibility to watch out for your children?
KING: Fair question. Why wasn't the pool fenced and what is the responsibility to parents to watch the pool?
N. BAKER: Now, we were guests at that pool. So there were many, many people there. And it is the responsibility of a parent to watch the child. I think I explained that earlier on and said I didn't see her. She was attached at the bottom of the spa, and the bubbles and the dark water obscured -- standing over the hot tub, I couldn't see her body.
What I -- she was an adept swimmer, and I made an assumption that she -- I was standing on the deck, I was watching all of them, there were kids everywhere, music, food, distraction. The fact of the matter is parents and people do become distracted. In terms of -- this legislation is meant to put certain safety measures in place, so that when parental supervision lapses, and it happens, that child is protected from the water, or from the drains.
KING: Do you at all, Nancy, ever feel any guilt? Do you ever say to yourself, would have, should have, could have.
N. BAKER: I always do. Why did I go to the party? If the weather had been 10 degrees cooler, if I had known about this, I wouldn't have let her in the hot tub, you name it, Larry.
KING: Logically, Jim, shouldn't every pool be fenced?
BAKER: Absolutely. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have that as a mandatory requirement in every state. One of the things that the Pool and Spa Safety Act would do is to give states funds if they enact such legislation, rather than having a federal law do it.
Let me say one other thing about a parental responsibility. Of course there's parental responsibility, but as I think has been explained here this evening, a $60 expenditure will put a drain cover on the discharge drain of these pools, which will prevent entrapment.
A safety shutoff system, and I don't know what the cost of that would be, but it's certainly not so expensive that it's certainly better than losing the life of a young child, those two things can almost -- could almost prevent entrapment, if we could get the states to mandate that on the part of pool and spa manufacturers.
That's really where this ought to ultimately go. The legislation we're talking about simply provides funds to the states if they're willing to legislate those types of safety standards.
KING: To your knowledge, Jim, does your good friend, the president, support this?
BAKER: I have no idea. I haven't talked to the president about this. The bill has not as yet been introduced. They're going to have an educational session in the Senate tomorrow, a hearing on this problem, which is chaired by Senator George Allen, who is a close ally of the president.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with more with Jim Baker and Nancy Baker on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: Before we take our next call, Nancy, do you worry now when you walk by pools and see children playing?
N. BAKER: Do I worry? It depends on what I see when I walk by the pool. If it's open, if all the back door's open, there's no pool alarms, there's no fence that separates the home from the pool, yes, I worry.
And I certainly worry when I see these drains, which are all over this country. I have been pool by pool, I've been at resorts where I've said, "You've got a very dangerous situation there."
Sometimes they look at me with their eyes crossed and other times, I've gotten calls saying, "Thank you, thank you, this pool was state-of-the-art 30 years ago. It's not any longer, it poses a terrible hazard, we thank you."
KING: Jim, what was the ceremony like today at the reflection pool?
J. BAKER: Well it was a little bit emotional for Nancy and me, as you would expect it might be. But it was a good -- there was quite a good turnout. And the people at Safe Kids did a -- I think, did a very, very good job of setting it up and organizing it and I think it was a good event, Larry.
KING: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hello. Larry, I love your show and I offer my deepest sympathies. I want to share an important story with you. My family and I traveled to the Dominican Republic this summer and we stayed at a well-named resort. We weren't even there an hour and a boy was caught in the drain on the bottom of the pool.
And I am so thrilled to tell you that seven guest members, as well as myself yanked this boy off this drain, and we saved him. We did CPR on him and I'm happy to say he is alive and healthy.
My question to you is this. Is there any national laws now that help protect guests at these resorts? This was a very frightening experience for everybody.
KING: Jim, do you know? Or Nancy?
J. BAKER: Not that I'm aware of, Larry. I don't think there are any.
N. BAKER: No, not I'm aware of. I know that there was an entrapment in Australia at a fairly new resort. This was in March, and I read that they needed to look at their laws and standards that they have in place.
KING: Summerfield, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Good evening, Larry. To Nancy and Secretary Baker, I just built a new home in Summerfield, Florida and I'm certainly concerned about this and the impact potentially on my grandchildren, who will be coming to enjoy the new pool/spa at my new home.
I know Secretary Baker alluded to some specific requirements or regulations that should be in place, but could he be more specific, or Nancy, about what should I be looking for in conversation with my builder, to ensure the fact that the pool and spa built at my home provides those safety protections for my grandchildren?
KING: Excellent question.
J. BAKER: Three things you ought to look for are three of the things that this Pool and Spa Safety Act cover. One, you ought to make sure that you have a fence that is child proof certainly, around your pool.
Secondly, you ought to have one of these devices that goes over the drain that prevents entrapment. Such as I've mentioned here a couple times on this show, a $60 I think, device, make sure your pool installer puts that in.
And thirdly, you ought to have one of these automatic safety shutoff system, that when the suction builds up to a certain amount, the suction shuts off automatically.
N. BAKER: And I think ...
J. BAKER: Go ahead, Nancy.
N. BANKER: .. an important thing -- thanks Jimmy -- I think an important thing is to direct people to the Safe Kids Web site, safekids.org. They have a lot of information on this. And you could give that to your pool builder and insist that it be done.
KING: That's a great idea. Calgary, Alberta, Canada, hello.
CALLER: Yes, I understand that that situation with Nancy and I do give my condolences. My best friend lost a 7-year-old daughter to a drowning in a lake circumstance, falling through a dock.
But in the hot tub situation here in Canada, or those types of things, you are not allowed to have children in those hot tubs or pools unless they are a certain weight.
I was just of commenting on Larry's point. Why does this never happen or why does nothing ever happen until it happens? And I think the certain weight circumstance might make a difference.
KING: Nancy, what do you think?
N. BAKER: I've never heard that. I mean, a child can be entrapped and it's usually children because of the way they play. They'll swim way down to the bottom of a pool. They'll swim down to the bottom just in the way that they play.
But it also can entrap an adult. And you have to understand that even with parental supervision, I have read many stories of a child being entrapped in a pool and spa with an adult in the pool with them and they can't pull them off. I think you did a clip of showing the pressure of trying to pull a ball off. And it's hundreds of pounds.
KING: Go ahead.
N. BAKER: So all the supervision in the world isn't going to help if a child becomes entrapped.
KING: We will be right back with Nancy Baker and Secretary Jim Baker. Right now let's go to downtown Los Angeles and check in with Anderson Cooper, who will host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour. What now?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, everyone knows the president is going through a pretty rough patch in the polls. Tonight though, some new poll numbers that go well beyond that and raise the possibility that Americans are getting ready to send a big message in November. We'll talk to David Gergen and our political experts, including Bill Schneider who say he's never seen poll numbers like these.
Also tonight, how easy is it for illegal immigrants to get a fake I.D. or criminals, or even terrorists. Well we found out for ourselves and what we found might just scare the daylights out of you. All that and more on "360" from L.A. tonight at 10:00 Eastern. Larry?
KING: Thanks, Anderson, good having you out here. Anderson Cooper, "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour.
Back with more with the Bakers right after this.
KING: Secretary Baker and Nancy Baker, we have a surprise caller on the phone. Senator Chris Dodd, the senior senator from the state of Connecticut and a Democrat. Chris, what are your thoughts on what's going on? SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Well Larry, first off, I think it's a great program. And my friend Jim and Nancy, I just admire you immensely for coming on and talking. As a father of a 4- year-old and a one-year, 2-month-old, just count me on. I don't know what committee that George Allen is having this hearing on, but if you need a Democratic co-sponsor, count me in. I will help in any way I can. I have great admiration for Jim and great admiration for coming on and talking about this kind of a thing. I can't imagine how difficult it must be. So I admire you for doing it.
J. BAKER: Thank you, Chris. Thanks very much. Nice to hear from you.
KING: So, Chris, your committee -- you're on the legislation?
DODD: Absolutely. And this is -- you need to encourage the states to do more of this, and Jim is right, you can't really mandate this stuff from the federal level. It's very difficult. But by providing some financial incentive, you can encourage states to take action here, and it just happens far too frequently, this kind of an accident. And so, Safe Kids is a great organization. I've worked with them for years, have great admiration for the stuff they do.
So this is really a modest thing to provide some help and encourage some activity at the local level.
KING: Chris, you worry about your kids?
DODD: I do, absolutely. I mean, we have neighbors next door in Connecticut that have a pool. And you know, we've got -- enforce strict instructions. You're not going out in that backyard without us, and we watch all the time. And it's just a lot of people aren't aware of the entrapment issue. And Nancy, you so eloquently talked about it here, and how difficult, even for adults it can be. So I just admire you. This is just public awareness. Larry, you're doing a great job by having people on. I don't want to tie you up. Other people have calls to make.
KING: Thanks, Senator.
J. BAKER: Thank you, Senator. Nice to hear from you.
N. BAKER: Thank you.
KING: See, Jim, that's what America is about, right?
J. BAKER: You got it. You got it.
N. BAKER: I think we need...
KING: A Democrat calls a Republican to endorse his legislation.
J. BAKER: Well, Larry, I'll tell you, it's pretty -- as you said at the top of the show, it's hard to understand how anybody really could be against this legislation. So I'm very hopeful that it will pass, and we'll just see what happens. KING: We have got a major co-sponsor here.
Avenel, New Jersey, hello.
CALLER: Hi. Jim, I'd like to ask you one thing. You said they have this device that goes over the pool, that costs $63.
J. BAKER: Goes over the drain.
N. BAKER: Over the drain.
CALLER: Why do we need more government legislation to tell us what has to be done if it's already out there?
J. BAKER: Well, because the pool and spa manufacturers don't put it in. It adds a little bit of cost to the pool and the spa, and so they're not putting it in, in many states.
I'm told, by the way, by the Safe Kids people that it costs $63. That's not my own figure. But it's just a little plastic thing that goes over the drain. And the suction is still there, but people can't get caught in the suction because it's a cone-shaped device that goes over the drain.
N. BAKER: Although...
KING: Nancy, you want to add something?
N. BAKER: Yes, if I could. I think that's part of the answer to entrapment. But it's not entirely that. People can be caught, even on these drain covers, which is why this legislation talks about layers of protection. It talks -- if you have a fatty -- this is the only way to describe it, a large part of the body, that can cover this convex drain cover, and entrapment can occur.
So the next thing is that you would have this -- it's called an SVRS in place, and that shuts the pump down when an entrapment occurs. It's really several things.
J. BAKER: It's a safety switch, right?
N. BAKER: It's a switch that shuts the pump down when it senses a change in the pressure in the lines.
And the third thing is if you're building a pool or a spa, that you always have multiple drains, two drains, which of course divides and lessens the pressure at each -- the suction at each of those drains.
So it's -- it's really several things to prevent entrapment altogether.
KING: I'm sure you're going to get wide support.
We'll be back with our remaining moments with Jim Baker and his daughter-in-law, Nancy Baker. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KING: By the way, the Internet address for Safe Kids is Safekids -- on word -- Safekids.org.
Just quickly, Jim, I couldn't let the hour go by without asking one question about -- you're going to head the Iraq study group. What's that going to do?
J. BAKER: Larry, that's a group that was formed at the urging of members of Congress to take a fresh look at the situation in Iraq. It's been welcomed by the administration, formed at the urging of Congress, to see if we can come up with any ideas or advice that might be useful to the Congress or the administration and thereby beneficial to the country. That's an a nutshell.
KING: And it's a bipartisan group?
J. BAKER: Bipartisan, Larry, and it's forward-looking. We're not going to spend any time wringing our hands talking about what might or might not have happened in the past. We're going to take a forward-looking approach to it. We have got five Republicans and five Democrats on the study group. Lee Hamilton is my co-chairman, very distinguished former chairman of the House Foreign -- International Relations Committee. The Republicans on the group that I have recruited are Sandra Day O'Connor, Rudy Giuliani, Alan Simpson and Bob Gates, who was the director of CIA under the first President Bush. And the Democrats are Leon Panetta, who was Bill Clinton's chief of staff, and Bill Perry, his secretary of defense, Vernon Jordan, and Senator Chuck Robb.
KING: What a group.
And by the way, Nancy, you testify tomorrow, and apparently that group is going to come -- they say they're going to come and testify with you. The statement from the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals.
N. BAKER: A number of us have been asked to testify. Safe Kids will be testifying. The Consumer Products Safety Commission is testifying. I'm testifying as a parent of a victim. The industry's testifying. We'll hear a lot.
J. BAKER: And Larry, I've submitted some written testimony. I can't be in Washington tomorrow.
KING: Well, I salute you both for coming forward tonight to talk about a very difficult subject. I think you're going to help save lives, and you can never do better than that, Nancy.
N. BAKER: No.
KING: You can't get her back.
N. BAKER: No.
KING: But if you save another, that's some solace.
N. BAKER: Yes.
KING: And, Jim, always good seeing you. You look great, by the way.
J. BAKER: Thank you very much, Larry. Nice to be with you.
N. BAKER: Thank you.
KING: Thank you, Nancy. The former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and Nancy Baker, the mother of the late Virginia Graham Baker.
And again, you can contact safekids.org, that's one word, safekids.org.
Tomorrow night, Dr. Phil returns to LARRY KING LIVE. Words of wisdom. Dr. Phil.
Speaking of words of wisdom -- you like that little segue? Let's go back to downtown L.A. Anderson Cooper standing by to host "360." Why don't you just stay out here? We like you here.
COOPER: I'll tell you, don't tempt me. It wouldn't take much. It's such a great city, Larry. Thanks very much.
KING: You bet. Thanks, Anderson.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com