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Larry King Interviews Magician David Blaine and Daughter of The Vice President, Mary Cheney

Aired May 10, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Mary Cheney, here to set the record straight on the controversy over her personal life, the vice president's shooting accident and a lot more. Mary Cheney will take your phone calls too.
But, before that, David Blaine in his first primetime, one-on-one since he spent a week underwater and then tried to set a new world record holding his breath and got rushed to the hospital after nearly drowning himself.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We'll meet Mary in a little while. Let's start first in New York with David Blaine, the internationally famed illusionist and performer of feats and endurance, a "New York Times" best-selling author, been on this program previously. In fact, we once did a kind of feat along with him. First, how are you feeling?

DAVID BLAINE: I feel not so bad. I've had better days but I'm OK. I did get...

KING: Why...

BLAINE: I did get...

KING: Why do you do these things David?

BLAINE: Oh, I love doing them. It's what drives me. It's like, it's just a dream that I had and then I go forward with it no matter how ridiculous it is and achieving the goal is the payoff. But, there are certain things I didn't prepare for.

For example, the sphere was like a magnifying glass. It intensified the sun and radiated my body, so the whole time I was in there, of course, I was not aware of it during the time because I was in water but now my whole -- all of my skin is blistered and painful and it's very difficult to move in any direction, things I didn't prepare for.

KING: How did you do normal bodily functions?

BLAINE: Well, I didn't eat for a week before the stunt, so I didn't have to do -- I had no body waste inside of me so I didn't have to use the bathroom that way. And then as far as the number one, I had a catheter that went into a filtration system. KING: Let's watch the scene when they're pulling you out of the sphere. Let's all watch this and then ask David about what happened. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax. We got you David. You're all right. You're all right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're backwards. We're in the sphere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, David, just relax. We've got you. Come on out. You're OK. You're OK.


KING: What did you prove? David?


KING: What did you prove?

BLAINE: Well, I felt like I failed from achieving my goal which was to hold my breath as long as nine minutes but in retrospect I think the only thing that would mean failure would be to stop doing what I love doing. So, the idea of looking at it as a failure instead of something to keep pushing me to drive myself as far as I can, I think that would be the failure.

KING: The person who has the record of holding their breath, eight minutes and 58 seconds, was that set underwater?

BLAINE: Yes, his name was Tom Zitas (ph). He did it in a swimming pool but, of course, he wasn't submerged for any length of time before he did it.

KING: Is he still around?

BLAINE: He's still around. I heard that he actually thought that it was a really intense moment on television and he really liked it, which was surprising for me to hear.

KING: What of the whole thing was the toughest for you?

BLAINE: The toughest part was dealing with being in that water and falling asleep for less than two hours a night and waking up with the water over my nose and over my mouth like a nightmare. I'd have these awful visions that I was drowning and I'd jump up and I'd still be in water. Then I'd remember to clear the mask up by purging it and then I'd be able to breathe and it was horrific.

And every time I would jump up because I was weightless my muscles were atrophied because I wasn't working them out for a week and I wasn't eating so they were really breaking themselves down. So, I would get sharp shooting pains throughout my whole body. So, I'm suffering now from that pretty seriously. KING: There are naysayers who think that you're going to do this just to lead up to doing it again, to break the record, to increase the audience.

BLAINE: No, I'm not going to do this one again. But in the sphere I did dream up something incredible that I really do want to do but...

KING: What?

BLAINE: I'm not going to say it because I don't want to talk it away but this time there will be no safety involved. It will be from point A to point B. Either you make it or you don't.

KING: Wait a minute, come on. You're not going to get -- you will go from a point to another point, no safety involved.

BLAINE: Right.

KING: In other words you could die?

BLAINE: I'm not going to die because I'm going to prepare and train and be as serious as I can and I'm going to enter with the attitude that I need and I'm not going to, you know, do anything ridiculous. But, I'm going to make it so you have to hit your mark perfectly or else there's no safety net.

KING: How much training for that?

BLAINE: I'm going to start right now and figure out how much time I need to make it perfect and then that will be the amount of time that I have.

KING: Do you have any special after care now? Do the doctors have to look at you?

BLAINE: They keep checking me to make sure I'm OK but I've just figured that if I eat slowly and keep on a somewhat reasonable diet and relax a little bit and do the right thing I'll heal pretty fast. And my hands and feet, which were the worst before, were the fastest things to heal themselves.

KING: What was the hardest part, Mary Cheney thinks she could do a minute, I don't think I could do 20 seconds, what was the hardest part about holding your breath?

BLAINE: The hardest part is when -- well, first of all being in such a weak state not knowing if you're going to reach your mark and knowing that there is that possibility of drowning obviously but the hardest part started to come when I got to like the five minute mark and I knew that I wasn't even, you know, three -- I wasn't even near where I needed to be and it was starting to get tough.

The contractions started coming and it starts to overwhelm your body and you feel like -- you feel like you're about to die and it starts to get more and more horrific by the second but I did not want anybody to jump in and I felt that they did the right thing by jumping in when they did to save life but I was disappointed.

KING: Your trainer, Kirk Krack, said that you were unconscious and convulsing at the end of the stunt, true?

BLAINE: That is true but I also think that I could have gone a little bit further because when they first went jumping in I held my finger up saying "Please, just give me a little bit more time."

KING: So you think you could have done longer?

BLAINE: Not much longer maybe a couple, you know, ten more seconds.

KING: When do you -- you start preparing immediately for this next stunt?

BLAINE: I think I'll try to regenerate all of my muscles and heal as fast as I can and start right away.

KING: How far away is it do you think?

BLAINE: I don't want to say anything yet because I don't want to talk it away but it's the only thing I can think about.

KING: Thank you, David, as always. Good luck. Good health.

BLAINE: Thank you, Larry.

KING: David Blaine out and safe and going to try something else.

And when we come back Mary Cheney will join us, the daughter of the vice president. Don't go away.


KING: It's a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, Mary Cheney, the daughter of Dick and Lynne Cheney, the author of the new memoir "Now it's my Turn, a Daughter's Chronicle of a Political Life." There you see its cover. You have always been to everybody's knowledge a very private person, why now?

MARY CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: A couple reasons, I wrote this book for a few reasons. One of the big ones was because there are so many misconceptions out there about my dad, you know.

I think something happens when you're in the public eye. A lot of times people caricature you or try and stereotype you and I really wanted to tell the stories about what it's really like to grow up inside my family and real stories about my family and my dad.

KING: That was a big incentive then?

CHENEY: That was a huge incentive.

KING: But then knowing that you knew you would have to come out yourself in a sense. CHENEY: Well, I was already out.

KING: No, I mean come out and talk about it.

CHENEY: I did know that I was going to have to do that and I figured that that was just part of the deal and I'm happy to do it.

KING: Was it difficult?

CHENEY: You know, writing it was actually a lot of fun. I really loved writing this book. I think I probably got more of my mom in me than I thought I did.

KING: Who writes a lot of books.

CHENEY: Who writes a lot of books and is a very good writer. But, I just I loved the whole experience of writing a book. I always wanted to write one and this seemed like a great one to write.

KING: We'll set some records straight about your dad.


KING: I know that you hunt and fish with him.


KING: Where were you when the accident happened?

CHENEY: I was home at my home in Great Falls, Virginia. I was not with him.

KING: Who called?

CHENEY: The first person I heard it from I think was my mom.

KING: What did you make of it because he's a veteran at this right?

CHENEY: He is and my dad, I have to say, is one of the safest people I have ever hunted with. He is always, you know, conscientious about the rules of hunting, making sure he knows where everybody is. But, you know, hunting is a dangerous sport and accidents do happen.

KING: What did he say to you about what happened?

CHENEY: He was just upset as everybody was but especially my dad. He accidentally shot his friend Harry Whittington and his main concern was making sure that Harry was going to be OK and making sure that Harry's family got down to the hospital and that they had all the information that they needed and, you know, making sure that that family was OK.

KING: Did you talk to him soon after?

CHENEY: I did and I'm not sure exactly when after but sometime in the preceding hours or day or so. KING: You're in the PR business. You've been in PR.

CHENEY: I've been in PR yes.

KING: Represented Coors beer.


KING: Did somebody handle this wrong?

CHENEY: I don't think so. I mean, Larry, because if you think about it, you know, I actually think my dad handled it just right. His main concern was making sure that Harry was OK, making sure that Harry's family was OK and making sure that he had all the facts right.

You know and the story did -- he is the one who put the story out. I just, I think making sure that Harry was OK certainly should take precedence over whether or not somebody in the White House press corps knew about it.

KING: He appeared shaken. Is that a fair description?

CHENEY: I don't know how you could go through something like that and not be shaken. I would have been very disturbed if my dad hadn't been shaken by that.

KING: And I've known him a long time and we shared common bonds of the (INAUDIBLE) club, et cetera.


KING: But what do we perceive wrongly?

CHENEY: I think one of the images and I talk about it a little bit in the book is that people have this idea of my dad as Darth Vader, as this force, and he's really just a great guy, very funny, very smart, tough, very caring. He's a great dad and a great grandfather. If you ever saw him with my sister's kids, you'd see what a doting grandfather he is.

KING: All right, so why does the image play wrong then?

CHENEY: Because my dad is one I think...

KING: He is tough.

CHENEY: He is tough. I certainly don't deny that. I admire it about him. And one of the other things I really admire about him is he focuses his attention and his effort on doing what needs to get done, on worrying about what is right for this country, worrying about how he can help this country and help further President Bush's agenda. He spends a lot more time worrying about that than he does about whether he's politically popular at the moment.

KING: Does he have an ego?

CHENEY: That's not actually how I would put it. He is probably...

KING: In other words, do you think it hurts him?

CHENEY: No, I mean he's really focused on doing what's right. And one of the things that both he and my dad and I talk about it in the book that both he and President Bush do is they really take the long view of history that they are focused more on doing what is right and doing what they know is right rather than worrying about what's politically popular or politically expedient at the moment.

KING: You discuss a lot your own sexual preference in the book. When did you know you were different if that's the correct term?

CHENEY: I don't think I could point to a single moment in time that a light bulb suddenly went on. I guess it works that way for some people. It didn't work that way for me. From my own perspective, I just kind of always knew and probably about the time I got to high school was when I knew that I was gay.

KING: But you didn't know why right? No one knows why.

CHENEY: No one knows why, yes.

KING: Heterosexuals don't know why they're heterosexual.

CHENEY: And one of the things I've said before is I don't know why I'm gay anymore than I know why my sister is straight. It just it is.

KING: How did you tell your parents?

CHENEY: Well, first I'd wrecked the car.

KING: Diversion.

CHENEY: Diversion, no. I had just -- I was a junior in high school and I just...

KING: So you were like 16?

CHENEY: Sixteen. I had just broken up with my first girlfriend and as many teenage girls do decided that the best way to deal with the issue was to go drown my sorrows in chocolate and sugar. So, I skipped school and drove down I think to a donut shop and on the way back to school didn't see the red light until it was too late and got into a car accident. So, after I got everything all worked out...

KING: This was in?

CHENEY: In Virginia and after I got...

KING: Your father was then working with?

CHENEY: He was in Congress.

KING: OK. CHENEY: And after I got everything worked out with the accident, I decided that I needed to talk to somebody because I was so upset and the two people that I always talked to when I'm upset are my folks, so I went home and told them.

KING: How did you say it?

CHENEY: I wish I could remember the exact words I told my mom or my dad.

KING: Were you sitting in the living room? Were you...

CHENEY: I think we were upstairs. We were in our house in MacLean and I just told her "I'm gay." And at first she pretty much thought it was an amazing excuse for a car accident. It would have been a good excuse for a car accident.

But once she figured it out that I was telling the truth she just said, you know, she burst into tears. She hugged me and she burst into tears and was immediately worried and I think the line she said was "Your life will be so hard."

She was worried that I think most mothers have this idea that their children can accomplish anything and she was worried that my being gay in a prejudiced society...

KING: Which it is.

CHENEY: Yes, would limit my ability to achieve my goals.

KING: What did your dad say?

CHENEY: And my dad is just, you know, my dad and he just hugged me and said, "You're my daughter and I love you and I just want you to be happy." And I wish, you know, more people could have that experience with my parents.

KING: Did that reaction surprise you?

CHENEY: No, not at all. If I had -- I got friends and I know people who have come out to their parents over the years and who have had very negative reactions. One of my best friends her father didn't talk to her for over ten years after he found out that she was gay. But I never even thought that that was a possibility with my folks.

KING: Despite the fact they're from Wyoming and Texas and that isn't exactly...

CHENEY: Well, I certainly, I would not -- I would hate to, you know, stereotype the people of Wyoming.

KING: No but it's famous as a place that's a little more rigid, a little more, it's a red state.

CHENEY: It's a red state but that doesn't necessarily mean rigid. Wyoming is a great state and it is a state that has this wonderful western attitude of...

KING: Openness?

CHENEY: It's openness. It's just you judge people because of who they are. You just people by what they do and by the character that they exhibit and I love Wyoming.

KING: I'm glad to hear that. We'll be right back with more of Mary Cheney. The book is "Now it's my Turn." If this isn't a best seller the world's rocking. Don't go away.


KING: Certainly more parents in America have had to deal with what is now considered an almost every day occurrence of people having different opinions or sexual proclivities than other people. Was it hard for you?

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When it first came up, sure it's not anything you expect as a parent but Mary is a remarkable young woman.

KING: Boy is she.

D. CHENEY: I was tremendously impressed with how she handled it because it was difficult for her too but we love her very much. She's an integral part of our family.




SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody it's not choice.


KING: We're back with Mary Cheney, who criticized those remarks in her book. David Wade (ph), who is the spokesperson for John Kerry has said today, "She'd be more credible if she pushed dad's administration to support hate crimes legislation and equal rights for gay Americans rather than inflecting for the most anti-gay administration in history." How would you respond to that response?

CHENEY: Yes, I was on a plane all day today flying out here to be with you.

KING: So you didn't hear this?

CHENEY: Well, I'd heard that Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards both responded to my book and I got to admit I'm actually really surprised, you know, particularly with Senator Kerry because he is a Senator and, you know, we are at war in this country, so I'm thinking usually you should have some bigger things to worry about than my book.

As for a reaction, quite honestly I think I'll probably wait a day or two to think about reacting to it just because it's John Kerry and quite honestly he'll probably change his mind by the time we get there.

KING: Senator Edwards said, "What I did was express my respect and admiration for the way the Cheney family, along with millions of other families, have embraced members of their family. And, if I remember, the vice president was very gracious in reacting to it."

CHENEY: Well, if you look at the video, and I don't know if you actually have the video, but if you watch the video of that debate it's pretty obvious to anybody who knows my dad that he's angry and my mom and my sister and I obviously all were primarily just because, you know, John Edwards doesn't know us and John Edwards, if you...

KING: But he wasn't attacking you.

CHENEY: No, but if you read John Edwards or watch John Edwards' comments the first thing, the first words out of his mouth are, you know, "I think the Cheneys love their daughter."

Well, I certainly appreciate Senator Edwards' opinion but, you know, I don't really understand what would give him the right to comment on my family and, of course, the implication would be that because I was gay maybe they don't.

KING: Let's watch a little clip of that, of John Edwards.



SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Let me say first that I think the vice president and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And, you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children who want their children to be happy.

D. CHENEY: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the Senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that very much.


D. CHENEY: That's it.


CHENEY: You know, Larry, one of...

KING: What's a big deal? CHENEY: One of the things that is so interesting about watching that videotape is what strikes me is how smart my dad was. He knew that -- we knew and I talk about in the book we knew going in to that vice presidential debate that one of John Edwards' goals was going to be to try to get my dad to lose his temper. And, I honestly think that that was what Senator Edwards was trying to do and my dad was just too smart to take the bait.

KING: Do you think it is a fair political issue at all?

CHENEY: Yes, I think that gay rights is an issue, are issues that we as a country really need to debate and discuss that we should be having substantive discussions about.

And, I frankly think it's a little disappointing that when both John Edwards and John Kerry had the chance to talk about the substance of the issue, to talk about, you know, their own positions, that instead of doing that they, you know, decided to score some cheap political points.

KING: Isn't their own position though more progressive than the administration's both of them?

CHENEY: Well you're going to have to figure out what John Kerry's position is. But, you know, I've made it clear in my book that I don't support the president's position on a lot of gay rights issues, particularly...

KING: Nor does your dad right?

CHENEY: ...the federal marriage amendment. My dad...

KING: I think your dad has said he doesn't.

CHENEY: My dad has made his position very clear that he does not support the federal marriage amendment. I think that's pretty progressive myself.

KING: Have you tried to change them?

CHENEY: Change who?

KING: The Bush administration people? In other words, do you discuss it or does your father ever say, "Listen to this point of view"?

CHENEY: My dad is actually very hesitant and has a pretty hard and fast rule that he doesn't talk about conversations that he has with the president and I certainly don't know what conversations he's had with the president. I have not talked to the president. I'm sorry, I have not talked to President Bush.

KING: What's been the toughest part of growing up gay?

CHENEY: I'm not really sure there was a toughest part.

KING: Didn't see prejudice? Didn't see condemnation? Didn't see... CHENEY: I've been called lots of names by people on both sides of the aisle.

KING: Alan Keyes (ph) said you were a selfish hedonist.

CHENEY: And Senator Keyes or, I'm sorry...

KING: Not Senator.

CHENEY: Senate candidate Keyes, you know, is entitled to his opinion. One of the great things about this country is we don't have to agree. I would hope that we could, you know, come to some sort of position of mutual respect but (INAUDIBLE).

KING: What's it been like when you saw prejudice? You had to have seen it.

CHENEY: I have. I think prejudice is a horrible thing and, you know, I think this country is founded on the notion of all people being equal and that people should be allowed to go as far in their life as they can based upon their merits and their abilities. I think that is a hope and a goal that we all share. I'm not sure we're there yet but I think we've gotten a heck of a lot closer than anybody else.

KING: Would you like to marry your partner?

CHENEY: From my perspective, Heather and I are married. We have been together for 14 years. We have built a home and a life together. She is the person I'm going to spend the rest of my life with.

KING: What does Heather do?

CHENEY: Heather is actually renovating our house. We bought this great house in Northern Virginia that is wonderful but is very confused and is undergoing major renovation.

KING: Either of you want to have a child?

CHENEY: That is a discussion that, you know, I think that's a decision that Heather and I are going to have to make before I share anything with the world.

KING: Do you think your parents would like it?

CHENEY: I honestly don't know. My parents have always said that they just want us to be happy.

KING: Because you said they love being grandparents.

CHENEY: They do love being grandparents and my sister has now got grandkid number five on the way.

KING: One boy?

CHENEY: One boy, three girls.

KING: And number five on the way?

CHENEY: And number five on the way.

KING: How does your dad feel about the boy, finally a boy?

CHENEY: My dad loves all the grandkids. There is something about grandsons but if you see him with those little girls, you know, he goes to their soccer games. We all went to my niece Kate's (ph) championship basketball game a month or so ago. He is just a doting grandfather all the way around.

KING: Do you expect him to finish out the term?

CHENEY: Yes, most definitely.

KING: There are some who said that -- no doubt, no question?

CHENEY: No doubt.

KING: We'll be right back with Mary Cheney, this extraordinary book "Now it's my Turn," now available everywhere books are sold. We'll be right back.



CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM REHNQUIST: I, Richard Cheney, do solemnly swear.


REHNQUIST: I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

D. CHENEY: I will defend and support the constitution of the United States.

REHNQUIST: Against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Against all enemies, foreign and domestic.


KING: Mary Cheney is our guest. What was that like?

CHENEY: It was amazing, to stand there on the steps of the Capitol and to hold The Bible while my dad took the oath of office. It is incredible. It is such a huge honor for my whole family.

KING: Areas you disagree with your father? You write about gays in the military. You disagree with him there?

CHENEY: I do. My dad has always made it very clear he doesn't think the military role is to serve as some sort of social experiment. I personally believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military

KING: Did you consider quitting the 2004 campaign over the issues?

CHENEY: I did. I wrote about it in the book. When President Bush endorsed the federal marriage amendment I gave serious consideration to quitting the campaign. It was such an important election. I believe so strongly in my dad. As strongly as I feel about same sex marriage, in 2004, I didn't have the luxury of being a single issue voter on that issue.

There are so many important issues, national security, the war on terror, that face this country today, that when push came to shove, I had to support the candidate that was going to be the best job of defending this country.

KING: In that area, what do you make of what's happening? The polls, have an all time low, it's reflecting public opinion. You have to have some concern.

CHENEY: The way I look at it, is you have to take the long view of history, you have to look at it through -- quite frankly in 15 years, if you and I are sitting here, Larry, I think we are going to look back on this time in our country's history and what we're going to see are things like, we haven't been hit by terrorists in five years. We have an economy that is growing and creating jobs. In the last five years, 50 million people are free today in Afghanistan and Iraq who were not free five years ago. Those things don't happen by accident. They happen because of strong and determined leadership.

KING: But you could take the long view. What if you lose the House and Senate in the meantime?

CHENEY: I certainly hope we don't.

KING: You can't take that view anymore?

CHENEY: You can take that view.

KING: You can have the view but you'd be in the minority?

CHENEY: You can take that view but you'd still be in the White House. I certainly hope that the Republicans maintain majorities in both the House and the Senate. It is going to be a tough mid-term election.

KING: Are you going to be involved?

CHENEY: Right now I have no plans to.

KING: You work in hockey?

CHENEY: I work for AOL. We're cousins.

KING: It's the same people. We're owned by the same people. You work for Ted Leonsis? CHENEY: I work for Ted Leonsis at AOL.

KING: You do sports?

CHENEY: I'm his chief of staff. I do mostly communications for him.

KING: He's a great guy.

CHENEY: He's a great guy.

KING: Caps going to get better?

CHENEY: Yes, I hope so. They have Alex Ovetchkin. He's a lot of fun to watch.

KING: What a player. Whoa. Boulder, Colorado, we'll take some calls for Mary Cheney. The book, "Now It's My Turn." Hello.

CALLER: Miss Cheney, I have a question. In an interview you did last week you had mentioned something about George Bush is kind of behind on the times on his thinking of gay marriage and gay adoption. My question is, don't you think your father would be able to have a little bit of influence on him, based on his knowledge of you and loving you, and wanting what's best for you, so if you speak up what you're doing, I think is great, if your father did, wouldn't that really have the influence over changing people's mind on bigotry and racism here in America where opposed to Joe Shmoe off the street, maybe his word wouldn't mean so much.

KING: Good point.

CHENEY: One of the things my dad did and got a lot of grief for in the 2004 campaign was he did stand up and say quite publicly he disagreed with President Bush on this issue. You also have to understand the role of the vice president. You can make your opinion known but ultimately, it's the president who sets the policy for an administration.

KING: Concerning health. Do you worry?

CHENEY: About my own? About my dad's? I really don't. He takes such good care of himself. He eats right, he exercises. He has regular check-ups with his doctor. I really don't worry about it.

KING: He has heart disease. We have heart disease.

CHENEY: He does. As you are a great example, Larry, it's a manageable condition. If you do the right things, there's no reason why you can't continue to live a full life.

KING: You don't live in a worrisome state?

CHENEY: My dad actually, one of the stories I tell in the book is he had his first heart attack when I was nine years old. One of the doctors who was treating him gave him some grade advice. That is that hard work never killed anybody. It's doing something you don't like, doing a job that you hate that will cause stress and that will kill you.

As long as you take the steps that are prudent, that's really what you've got to do.

KING: Mary Cheney is our guest. The book is "Now It's My Turn." We'll be right back with more of your calls right after this.


KING: We're back with Mary Cheney. You like politics, huh?

CHENEY: I do. It would be hard not to like it given how I've grown up.

KING: Ever sorry your father didn't run for president?

CHENEY: No. He thought about it long and hard in '96. It's something that you have to just have the fire in your belly to go do, and he didn't. It wouldn't have been the right call.

KING: What is the biggest misconception about him? What do we, the general we have all wrong?

CHENEY: The whole Dick Cheney is Darth Vader thing is pretty interesting to me.

KING: That's totally wrong?

CHENEY: I can say with complete conviction my dad is not Darth Vader. He is one of the smartest, most caring people you'll find. Since he doesn't spend a lot of time worrying about his public image, he spends more time worrying about what's right and getting his job done.

KING: In a modern era like this, shouldn't he worry about his public image? Isn't that part of the job?

CHENEY: I'd much rather have him worry about making sure that the things that need to get done are getting done than worrying about whether his hair's just right.

KING: Do you have any favorites, presidentially?

CHENEY: Myself?

KING: 2008? Any people you'd...

CHENEY: ... It's still two and a half away. I'm not even exactly sure who's running yet. I heard lots of rumors about lots of different candidates. I think it will be an awfully interesting race to watch.

KING: Senator McCain will be on this program next Wednesday.

CHENEY: He's a great man.

KING: Do you like him?

CHENEY: I think he is an honorable and good man who has -- who has spent his life in public service to this country.

KING: Do you agree with your father's position on listening in on phone calls?

CHENEY: The NSA stuff? You know, if -- I'm not really here to make policy statements on behalf of anybody else, but, you know, from my own perspective, if someone from al Qaeda is talking to somebody in this country, I sure as heck hope somebody is listening in. Don't you?

KING: So you have no qualms in that regard?


KING: Without a warrant?

CHENEY: The system as it's currently set up, I have no problems with the system as currently set up.

KING: Columbus, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Thank you, Larry. Mary, my question is in 2004, Ohio was ground zero and one of the main campaign tactics for getting out the vote here was also putting what we call the super defense of marriage act, not only an amendment to our Constitution that not only prohibits gay marriage but also can prohibit maybe something as extreme as domestic partner benefits. Can you comment on your involvement with the campaign and what could have been done to stop these amendments that really were beneficial more to your candidates? Thank you.

CHENEY: You know, one of the things, I actually give a lot more credit to our winning Ohio to the people of Ohio in term of get out the vote effort than I do to whatever...

KING: Gay.

CHENEY: ... Amendment was put on the ballot. I think that's actually kind of a disservice to the people of Ohio. I think they chose the right candidate, based on the characteristics that they saw in George Bush and John Kerry and ultimately they picked George Bush.

KING: On domestics -- what's the rule -- what's the law in Virginia?

CHENEY: Actually I'm not sure what the law is in Virginia. I should know that.

KING: Does your partner have -- if you're in the hospital, god forbid, does your partner have rights? CHENEY: My partner and I have living wills, regular wills, powers of attorney, everything that quite honestly any couple married or not should have.

KING: How do you parents like your partner?

CHENEY: They like her a lot, actually. Heather is just as a big part of the family as anybody else. We get together for Sunday dinners, Heather's right there. She and my mom has been doing a lot of bonding over the house renovation that we're doing.

KING: Has the president been there in their company much?

CHENEY: I can honestly say that whenever the president has been around me -- actually Heather's been there as well, and has been nothing but gracious.

KING: So you've never seen any hesitancy or any problem at that kind of level?


KING: Our guest is Mary Cheney. The book is "Now, It's My Turn." Now it's my turn to turn things over to Anderson Cooper. You didn't expect him to be in New York all week, not Anderson. Tonight he's in Salt Lake City, I can almost guess the topic. Anderson, what's up?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, tonight we're in Salt Lake on the trail of one of the FBI's 10 most wanted. The Mormon Church here is quick to point out that Warren Jeffs is a breakaway outlaw. He's a fugitive leader of a polygamous sect. Tonight we're going to go from Utah to Arizona to Texas and Canada. We have reporters all over the map digging deep into Warren Jeffs background. Why do his followers believe him and protect him, continue to protect him despite being on the FBI's Most Wanted List? We are keeping him honest tonight, following the money trail that keeps his church funded and in power. Larry, a lot to cover up at the top of the hour.

KING: Anderson Cooper, you bet. The host of "A.C. 360," live at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. We'll be right back with Mary Cheney, don't go away.


KING: We're back with Mary Cheney. How's Scooter Libby doing?

CHENEY: I haven't talked to Scooter in a bit. But he is -- he is such a good man. You've known him for a while.

KING: A long time.

CHENEY: I've known Scooter for probably 15 years. He is a class act.

KING: Wrote a good book, too. CHENEY: He did, he wrote a novel, actually.

KING: You want to do a novel, right?

CHENEY: I would love to. I actually started a novel at one point and got sidetracked by this thing called the reelection campaign.

KING: Do you think Scooter will come out OK?

CHENEY: I have no insight on what's going on with...

KING: ... Did your father take it badly?

CHENEY: We all care greatly about Scooter. He is a close family friend. You never want to see someone you care about go through something like that.

KING: And very loyal -- wasn't he loyal to your dad?

CHENEY: Scooter has been a great friend to the whole family.

KING: Atlanta, hello. Atlanta, hello? Is Atlanta there?

CHENEY: Apparently not.

KING: Gone, Atlanta. How do you feel about -- this question bothered many Americans -- the torture aspect?

CHENEY: You know, I am not an administration official. So I can't really speak on behalf of the administration.

KING: Just for yourself?

CHENEY: From my own perspective, I think that there are some pretty awful people out there who will stop at nothing to hurt this country. And I think you should be clear that we're not really talking about torture, we're talking about types of interrogation.

KING: You don't view it as torture?


KING: How long will you be out on this tour?

CHENEY: A couple weeks.

KING: How big a tour are you doing?

CHENEY: Not huge. Doing mostly media, primarily in New York and L.A.

KING: Book signings?

CHENEY: There are a couple in the works. I don't think anything's been finalized yet. KING: Do you like Secret Service protection?

CHENEY: I'm have a ton of respect for the men and women of the Secret Service. I think our whole nation owes them a great deal. They have an incredibly tough job, and they have been as easy to work with as they possibly can, but it is an odd way to live.

KING: Do they give your partner protection?

CHENEY: No. It actually -- it only follows blood lines. So, my sister and I have it.

KING: Your sister's husband doesn't have it?

CHENEY: No. Just Liz and I do.

KING: That's pretty -- drawing the line.

CHENEY: I don't make the rules.

KING: Do you get a lot of inquiries? Do people stop you and want to talk to you about your dad? What is life like for you away from the spotlight?

CHENEY: I think my life is actually pretty regular away from the spotlight. If I could do anything on an afternoon, it would be going for a bike ride or going kayaking down the river. I've got some good friends and love spending time with my family. If you read the book, you'll see my family is incredibly close. We really do like to spend a lot of time together.

KING: How's your mom doing?

CHENEY: My mom is doing great. She just got back with my dad from their trip from Lithuania and Kazakhstan. She's actually -- she's doing great, she's having a good time.

KING: A former "Crossfire" host.

CHENEY: Former "Crossfire" host, former CNN employee.

KING: Does she miss those days?

CHENEY: I think she does. It always took a lot of time for her to prepare for things like "Crossfire," but she enjoyed it. And quite honestly, she was just so good at it. She was so much fun to watch.

KING: Tough.

CHENEY: She is tough. I'm not sure anybody would tell you Lynne Cheney's not tough.

KING: We'll be right back with some more moments with Mary Cheney. The book is "Now It's My Turn." Don't go away.


D. CHENEY: Actually, I'm feeling pretty comfortable up here. The lighting could be better. I can still see the whites of your eyes.


KING: That's funny.

Frederick, Massachusetts for Mary Cheney, hello. Hello? Is something wrong with our phones? OK, I didn't check that out very good.

Recently at a White House Correspondents Dinner -- we'll check it out tomorrow -- recently at a White House Correspondents Dinner, George Bush and a Bush impersonator poked fun at the vice president's hunting accident. Watch.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I agree with the press that Dick was a little late reporting that hunting episode down in Texas. In fact, I didn't know a thing about it until I saw him on America's Most Wanted.

STEVE BRIDGES, IMPERSONATOR: Cheney, what a goof ball. Shot the only trial lawyer in the country who's for me.


KING: Can't tell them apart.

CHENEY: I know, it was great. I was actually at that dinner.

KING: Funny.

CHENEY: It was funny.

KING: Good material.

CHENEY: It was good material. And those dinners -- one of the stories that's in my book is -- there are these series of dinners in Washington and the White House Correspondents is one of them, where you've got to walk this fine line if you're a politician because you can make fun of yourself and the press can make fun of you, but boy, you sure can't make fun of the White House Press Corps.

KING: What did you make fun of Colbert?

CHENEY: To be honest with you, I really didn't find him all that humorous.

KING: Where were you on 9/11?

CHENEY: Heather and I were on a scuba trip, we were out of the country. We were on the island of Bonaire, which is part of the Netherlands Antilles, right down there next to Curacao.

KING: Did you see it on CNN or what?

CHENEY: Well actually what happened is we got up that morning to go scuba diving and turned on the news and there was nothing happening, so we went scuba diving. As we came up from our first dive, here comes a car coming down the road and it had the Secret Service in it. And they screeched to a stop, got out, and one of them told me something's happened, we have to go now. And that's all they told me. So I thought something had happened to my dad. And we went back to the hotel and got there and turned on the T.V., pretty much just as the second tower fell. It was horrible, unbelievable.

KING: And then your father was kind of taken away.

CHENEY: To the undisclosed location, yes.

KING: What was that like for you?

CHENEY: It was hard, but you always -- I could always get a hold of him, so that was helpful.

KING: You knew always where to get him.

CHENEY: I knew how to get a hold of him, I didn't always know exactly where he was, but I knew how to get a hold of him. But you know, at that point in time, it was so important to make sure that we had continuity of government and that was just the best way to make sure that we had.

KING: Were you worried for him?

CHENEY: I was more worried for the country than I was worried for him. I'd seen my dad handle incredibly stressful situations and do it extremely well.

KING: First time you spoke to him after it?

CHENEY: It was several hours later. We actually had trouble getting a line into the United States. We had to relay a message through Puerto Rice.

KING: What did he say?

CHENEY: His first thing was, are you OK?

KING: To you.

CHENEY: Yes. And after he made sure that we were OK, I honestly don't remember much of the rest of the conversation.

KING: But you knew the world had changed forever?

CHENEY: Yes, immediately.

KING: Going to write your novel now? CHENEY: I sure hope so. I'm going to finish up this book tour and see how it goes.

KING: Are you going to run for office yourself?

CHENEY: That is one trait I did not inherit from my dad.

KING: No interest?

CHENEY: No. I respect everybody who is willing to go put their name on the ballot and go campaign for office. But it is not a bug that I ever got.

KING: Great seeing you, Mary.

CHENEY: Thank you very much for having me.

KING: Mary Cheney, and the book is "Now It's My Turn." Tomorrow night, Merv Griffin, we're going to have a lot of fun for an hour, looking at some of Merv's old tapes with some great people. Merv Griffin tomorrow night on "LARRY KING LIVE." Anderson Cooper is standing by to host "A.C. 360." Anderson, what's ahead?


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