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Interview With Stedman Graham

Aired September 22, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Oprah's called him her life partner. He's been her man for 20 years. He calls Oprah his pillar of strength. Educator, entrepreneur Stedman Graham here to tell us about something he says is critical to our future and he'll take your calls too.

And then, a week ago a young mother's throat is slashed, her newborn daughter stolen. That mom and her baby are reunited and they're joining us, along with Baby Abby's dad and grandparents to talk about the happy ending to a horrible ordeal.

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: It's a great pleasure to welcome a return visit with Stedman Graham, educator, entrepreneur and best-selling author, chairman and CEO of the management and marketing consulting firm S. Graham and Associates.

His new book, there you see its cover, "Diversity, Leaders not Labels, A new plan for the 21st Century." And, he told me right before we started that it's the best and most important book he's ever written, why?

STEDMAN GRAHAM, S. GRAHAM AND ASSOCIATES: Well, it teaches you how to transcend race and to be able to rise above it and get rid of a race-based consciousness based on understanding who you are as a person and to be able to get along with people in the workforce based on building good relationships and that's an internal process.

KING: Are all the leaders we're discussing black?

GRAHAM: Pardon me?

KING: Black, are they black?

GRAHAM: No, no this is what -- we're talking about all kinds of races and we're talking about...

KING: Oh, I see we're not just talking about black.

GRAHAM: No, we're talking about a diverse society. And, in the 21st Century that's what we're facing every single day, so when you talk about diversity we're talking about the new diversity, which is to focus on performance and excellence and it's more talent-based, Larry, and to be able to assimilate into the general market without giving up your culture.

KING: You write about talented people right?

GRAHAM: Absolutely, right.

KING: Including Oprah and, about her you say "Winfrey could have easily succumbed to her early challenges and difficult circumstances and said she saw possibilities for herself, and countless others, and strived to create a life (INAUDIBLE) that has since elevated thousands around the world to a road of self discovery." How did she do that?

GRAHAM: Well, she transcended race, number one. She's able to get along with anybody and she got that at an early age and she knows who she is as a human being. And she's bigger than race. She's bigger than gender.

You know it's not just about being a woman. It's about being a human being. So, you're talking about somebody who's an extraordinary person. I'm with her and I'm blown away by her all the time based on what she does, what she's able to accomplish and the way she thinks.

And so it's really changing the way that you think, which I had to do is I had to change the way I think to really understand the true meaning of freedom in this country, which is not just talking about "My Country 'Tis of Thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing, land where our father's died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside let your freedom ring."

Freedom is about a way of thinking. Freedom is about understanding that you can do anything that you want and freedom is about being able to take information and education and make it relevant to your own growth every single day. Freedom is not staying in the box. Freedom is not doing what other people want you to do. Freedom is not about -- not about not being able to think.

KING: By the way, how has your relationship sustained all these years?

GRAHAM: Well, I think it has sustained because we are in the same business. We do a lot of the same work, you know. She does it in the air on a show every single day. I do it on the ground. And we have a -- we have an enormous amount of empathy for people. And our purpose is to try to help people maximize their potential as a human being.

KING: And you're as close as ever?

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

KING: That's important because when you see all the tabloids, we'll get back to the book in a minute, when you see all that how do you deal with that? She broke it up. They're not together. He's together. She's together. GRAHAM: Well, you know, you have to know who you are and you have to be able to look internally within yourself to understand who you are and not -- and not get confused with the illusion that is really external.

So, you got to have a strong internal base and a strong foundation. And she has that and I've worked on that for years to be able to understand what I do well, what's unique about me, what do I bring to the table? What's my strength? What's my passion and to work on that and to disconnect myself from all the external things, you know.

She has her work and that's great. That's important for her but it doesn't have a whole lot to do with who I am. And so I have my work. It doesn't have a lot to do with who she is. So, you have to disconnect. You connect the disconnect based on who you are as a person.

KING: And how have you handled it, Stedman, when any relationship wavers?

GRAHAM: Well, I think you have to be positive.

KING: Even in down days?

GRAHAM: Even in down days. What you have to do is...

KING: That's hard.

GRAHAM: have to be able to move toward a higher place, which is really love and loving your fellow man and being able to figure out how you're going to not get into a negative place but more into more of a spirit of cooperation and that's really important. And you have to give up something to do that.

KING: Which is?

GRAHAM: Which is to sometimes eliminate those feelings that are, you know, that may be angry, that can be turned into anger or negativity. And it always gets better, you see, and you always have more strength when you're able to do it.

And, if you practice it enough, if you can move into a space where you're positive in the time that you feel that you're negative and transfer those feelings exactly when it happens and you practice that enough you'll be able to do it.

KING: What do you mean by leaders not labels?

GRAHAM: Well, what I mean is, is that in a society that's diverse and in our 21st Century today and our workforce we have to be able to be self leaders. We don't have anybody running around telling you everything to do now. And so, you have to control your own environment.

You know, and younger people today, you know, they may not have Social Security. They may not have a pension. They may have 17 different jobs. And so they have to be -- they have to, you know, establish somewhat of an ownership, you know, mentality.

And they may be laid off. They may be on the job ten or 12 years and may be laid off, so you have to be able to own yourself and own your own thoughts and invest, you know, take the money that you might make and invest some of it and put it aside because you'll be living a long time in today's age.

KING: You think it's tougher for a man in this diverse growth population to be with a powerful woman than it is for a woman to be with a powerful man?

GRAHAM: I think it's more acceptable and I...

KING: The woman's side.

GRAHAM: Absolutely, but I think, you know, when you have 50 percent of the workforce who are women and a lot of them make a lot more money than their -- than their significant others or husbands or whatever the case may be. And so you have to -- there has to be some adjustment made.

And this, you know, I think it's a myth that, you know, that man is supposed to be the superior being, you know, we're supposed to be the strongest one, you're strong when you're strong and you're weak when you're weak. It doesn't make any difference who you are or what you look like.

So, the idea of being able to develop a strength every single day based on having a core base and having a foundation that's a whole other deal. And, society doesn't teach you that because society puts us in a box. We end up doing the same thing over and over every single day and we don't understand how to maximize our potential because we are -- we are the routine.

And the educational system, I say this all the time, teaches you how to memorize, take tests, repeat the information back, label you with a grade. If I asked you what you learned two weeks later, you'd say "I forgot.

So, to be able to take information and make it relevant to your growth, I'm talking about growth, can you grow? Can you be a better person today than you were yesterday? You know it's tough sometimes to grow.

KING: Coming up, more about Stedman's new book. We'll also get his thoughts on Oprah's article about her special friendship with Gayle King.

By the way, Oprah will be here on Monday night. It's kind of Oprah/Stedman weekend, bring them together by putting one on one show and one on the other.

We'll be right back.



OPRAH WINFREY: The whole issue of him wanting to define himself as not being Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend, which I completely understand wanting to develop his own identity, wanting to have his own work, his own business and not, you know, just be identified as somebody who was, you know, a walker for me, I thought was very important for him and has been very important in the relationship.


KING: The new book is, "Diversity, Leaders not Labels, A new plan for the 21st Century." The guest is educator, entrepreneur, best-selling author Stedman Graham.

We mentioned the Gayle thing. Oprah recently said, she went on television and discussed that she did not have a sexual relationship with Gayle King. Was that a wise thing to do, do you think? Did she ask you about it?

GRAHAM: Well, we didn't discuss it that much. I didn't pay too much attention to it. You know, we have -- we have a rule. If you don't focus on something -- whatever you focus on expands, so the key is not to focus on it and so...

KING: So she had not brought it up?

GRAHAM: No, you don't bring it up. You don't focus on it. So, if you don't want something to expand, don't focus on it, whether it's negative or positive. You know if you want -- if you want to expand, you know, something that's positive then you can focus on that. If you want to expand something that's negative then focus on that.

KING: So, but though when rumors are swirling is it best to deal with them or not deal with them?

GRAHAM: What you focus on expands so...

KING: You're saying not deal with it.

GRAHAM: ...until -- if you -- two people, you know, one person arguing and you don't focus on it then it's hard to have an argument if one person doesn't want to argue.

KING: Of course.

GRAHAM: So, again we go back to the rule what you focus on expands.

KING: Do you like Gayle King? Do you get along with her?

GRAHAM: Gayle is wonderful. Imagine -- I can't imagine Oprah not having a friend she can talk to. I mean she can talk to Gayle every day and talk about anything that she wants to talk about. And so that's a very special thing. So, Gayle helps me in the relationship because Oprah's able to, you know, talk to her about a lot of things that, you know, sometimes she can't talk to me about.

KING: Were you bothered by the tabloids treating the rumors that way, I mean personally were you bothered?

GRAHAM: What you focus on expands, so what I try to do is I try to ignore it. I don't read it. I don't get involved in it. I keep going based on what's positive.

KING: Isn't that hard?

GRAHAM: You have to practice that. And, you know what, I get lots of practice but it's a very important thing...

KING: Yes, you do.

GRAHAM: move into a place where, you know, you're not dwelling on the negative. This is very important. And I'll tell you a story. I was at Tiger Woods Foundation. He had this opening for his education center, a wonderful place. And I was with a good friend of mine Carl Rustin (ph).

And they had all the, you know, technology games and everything else. And they had this, you know, on the side of the wall here this little machine going back and forth with a string, on a string.

And, I said to Carl and he, you know, came from the same background I came from basically and I said, "Carl, what would we have done if we grew up and we'd have saw that, you know, little toy right there, you know, if we were kids?" We'd have taken that toy and thrown it up against the wall.

And, I remember that evening I was riding around in Orange County, which is a wonderful place, and I said "This is a beautiful place here. There's the beach, the nice hotels and everything is going in the right direction." I said, "Oh, I get it. I miss the spirit of the cooperation."

And I was so focused on negative things and destruction and I realized I grew up in a culture where, you know, African American and Native American culture where we were programmed to believe everything was negative.

And when you believe everything is negative you forget about the spirit of cooperation, so you can't get along with folks. You're in a team meeting and you can't, you know, you got to go against. You can't, you know, you can't accept success.

KING: But isn't that...

GRAHAM: And so it's the programming and if you -- if you program yourself to be negative then that's what you become.

KING: The angry black man, let's say, who just looks at society and the way he's been treated isn't that understandable?

GRAHAM: It's understandable. KING: To be negative is understandable.

GRAHAM: It's understandable but you have to try to move out of that. That's a hard thing to do. You're right. You know and we have about 60 to 70 percent black men in prison today and it's because of the negativity they have in their own hearts.

And whatever, you know, when you're negative it always comes back to you. So, it's really self destructive to you. And so, when I talk about the nine step process that I've created, you know, that I call, you know, steps to freeing yourself, it's about understanding who you are and it's based on your strengths, not your weaknesses.

And so, if you can focus on what you do well, and you're an example of that, you've been doing radio for 50 years, and you can only last 50 years because you love what you do, so if you focus on what you love, if you find out what you can do well and make that a strength that's your foundation for development.

If you miss that piece, then you take a job or you're all over the place and you don't really have a core foundation that you can go back to and that's the basic foundation you have to have in order to take information and enhance that, in order to self actualize your potential.

And so, you can grow from that. If you don't have that, if you just go out and say "Well I don't know what I'm going to do" or "I don't know who I'm going to become," then you miss the opportunity to really grow and then, you know, you go to vision and that allows you to see beyond yourself.

KING: We have an e-mail from Angela in New York City. And the question is, "Have you ever asked Oprah to marry you?"

GRAHAM: I asked her one time.

KING: And?

GRAHAM: And...

KING: She turned you down?

GRAHAM: No, she didn't turn me down but we canceled the engagement.

KING: Why? It's none of my business but...

GRAHAM: Well, it was -- it's none of your business, right Larry.

KING: She is so public and she is so (INAUDIBLE).

GRAHAM: Well it was personal so I really don't want to go into it.

KING: Didn't affect though the continuance of the romance?

GRAHAM: No, absolutely not. You know it's more about, you know, time and schedules and all of that so.

KING: So you didn't want to be a father, didn't want to have that bliss?

GRAHAM: Well, it just didn't work out that way.

KING: Our guest is Stedman Graham. The book is "Diversity, Leaders not Labels, A new plan for the 21st Century."

We'll be back with more.

Just ahead, Stedman's thoughts on the TV reality show that pits people against each other based on race.

Don't go away.


WINFREY: Yes, I was a little ticked I think back in July. I happened to be out of the country and there was an Oprah dump story and I was a little unnerved by that because it just was so false. It was the story was about how there had been some big fight between Stedman and I and the truth of the matter is we were all together on the Fourth of July, you know, having a picnic with his family. And so, I couldn't -- I couldn't fathom how they could come up with that story unless somebody had personally fed them that story.




KING: Is your private life the public's business?

GRAHAM: It really isn't but I happen to be the kind of person who is just, you know, open and, you know, I have nothing to hide about anything. And so, I recognized if you've watched over the past several years I don't mention his name hardly at all.

KING: I know.

WINFREY: Because I realized, oh that's why people think I want to get married, people thinking me talking about him, just casually mentioning him, has something to do with, "Oh my God, I wish he would marry me," which is not the case. It's not the case at all.


KING: Oprah will be with us on Monday night. Our guest is Stedman Graham. The book is "Diversity, Leaders not Labels." What do you make of this race combination on the Survivor show, the reality show, where we're going to have white against black?

GRAHAM: Well, I don't know that much about it but I think it just reinforces stereotypes and, you know, of course people talking and all that but I don't think it does a whole lot for what we are trying to achieve in this country, to be able to get along and build relationships with all kinds of people.

KING: Do you ever wonder why there is racism, why people don't like people just for something like the pigment color? I never understood it.

GRAHAM: Power, power and control and influence and so, you know, we live in a world where people want to control other people. And so, it's a way to put people in a category or, again, put them in a box and then, you know, basically program them. And then once you program the mind, of course, once you believe that you can't make it because of the color of your skin then, you know, then you can't.

And you got millions of women who have been programmed to believe they can't make it because it's a man's world, wrong. Millions of African Americans in this country believe they can't make it because of the color of their skin, wrong.

Millions of people who are immigrants, who come over to this country and, you know, who are strong and who are very talented, they're programmed to think they can't make it, you know, because of the color of their skin, wrong.

And so it's just the programming. And what we're saying the new diversity has to be you have to re-program yourself. You have to say, you know what, "I have to re-program myself based on the thinking and change my thinking and change the way I think and feel about myself."

And there's a process for that. You just can't do that because you want to do it. You have to do it based on, again, your uniqueness and your talents and your skills especially in the 21st Century.

KING: How about events though that affect this, 9/11 and its effect on Arab Americans, ostracized in some places is that -- what can you do about -- is that a given?

GRAHAM: Well, I think what you have to do, you can't stereotype, you know, a whole group of people.

KING: But we do don't we?

GRAHAM: I understand that. I know we do. And so it's up to you. Nobody is going to give you the freedom. You have to take that and that's an internal process. We work so much on the external, you know. We let other people define us as opposed to us trying to define ourselves and nobody teaches that.

School doesn't teach you that. And, if you happen to have parents who understand that, they'll say, "You know what, don't listen to people, you know, based on how they define you. You take care of yourself. You work on yourself. You educate yourself. You get your own stuff. You own your own life. You know move from a slave mentality into an owner mentality. Move from follower to leader, you know. Don't follow everybody." KING: We have another e-mail. This is from Sara in Santa Cruz, California. "For kids of average intelligence, who don't excel in education, what can they do to better their future?"

GRAHAM: Well, again, everybody has -- brings something to the table. Everybody has their own strength and their own passion and so you got to find that something that they do well. I may be art. It may be music.

And a lot of times what we do is we try to steer the kid away from what their strengths are and we move them into, well math or science and that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that. You need to have that.

But you need to be able to focus on what you do well and then take the information and make it relevant, you know, build a whole culture around that because we are persons that are made up of many talents.

And so, the idea of being able to self actualize each one of those talents so that you become a whole person, I mean that is -- that's the freedom I found is the ability to be able to say, "You know, well you're not just this or that. You know you're made up of many different things that you can do."

KING: Where do you get the gumption to start that? You weren't born with this were you?

GRAHAM: Well, you have to learn that. I mean you have to learn that from other people and I'm fortunate. I mean I'm very fortunate to be with someone who understands that. And I'm very fortunate to have ten or 15 different role models who said "You know what, let me show you how to do this. Let me help you."

And, believing in yourself, being able to believe in yourself and understand that you can do it based on process, based on thinking, based on understanding how to do it.

A lot of folks tell you, "Well, go to work and get a job and go to school" but nobody really tells you how to accomplish the goals that you want based on who you are as a person and what you bring to the table.

KING: Stedman Graham is our guest. We'll have another segment with him.

And then, we'll look at that extraordinary case of a lady whose baby was taken and then recovered.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE and we'll be right back with more of Stedman Graham, some more e-mails as well, maybe a phone call or two.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WINFREY: Nobody makes it alone (INAUDIBLE).



KING: We're back. Stedman Graham's book is "Diversity, Leaders not Labels, A new plan for the 21st Century."

Let's take a call. Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Hello.

CALLER: Hi Larry, hi Stedman.

GRAHAM: How are you?

CALLER: Good, how are you.


CALLER: Good, Larry, not Larry, Stedman, where did you meet Oprah?

GRAHAM: We met when we first got, both of us got to Chicago at a charity event.

KING: Just when she came from Baltimore?

GRAHAM: She came from Baltimore.

KING: You lived in Chicago already?

GRAHAM: I just had gotten there probably not long after that. So we met when she first got there.

KING: Where did you come from?

GRAHAM: Then we were friends for a couple of years, actually.

KING: Before it was romantic?

GRAHAM: Absolutely.

KING: Where did you come from?

GRAHAM: I came from Denver, Colorado.

KING: We have another e-mail from Dorothy in Bedford, Texas. What are your thoughts about this movement of Oprah being president?

GRAHAM: I certainly think she's capable and she deserves to be. I think that that's probably not what she wants to do, and she can do more, you know, as an independent person. She's building a school in South Africa, and she has the freedom to be able to decide what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. She's not confined.

So certainly, you know, that's a major opportunity for someone who has the kind of money that she has and also the platform, and she has the influence and people trust her. So I think that's probably not the best thing for her to be able to do.

KING: But she'd be good?

GRAHAM: Of course. No doubt about that.

KING: By the way, from Calgary, Stedman, speaking of Calgary, next week. What do you think of the controversy over Pope Benedict's recent reference to the ancient prophet of the 14th century, negatively characterizing the teachings of Mohammed that has caused a stir?

GRAHAM: Well, I go back to, you know, labels and, again, being careful about what you say. And a lot of people get in a lot of trouble today because of that. So I think you have to watch what you say and be careful. It's not always intentional. Again, I don't know the whole story, but I know what often happens with people in leadership positions and also people are offended now.

You know, you're living in a society where if you say something that you might think may be OK, when it's more sensitive to that particular culture. You have to be very, very careful. And so, again, in the book "Leaders Not Labels," we talk about each culture. We talk about what is appropriate and not appropriate in terms of name calling and how you, you know, address people in groups and all of that.

KING: Because there still is that tendency to group think?

GRAHAM: Oh, absolutely.

KING: Label everyone.

GRAHAM: And you still have the stereotypes. So again, you've got to be able to transform that, based on understanding more about yourself and what you're capable of doing, so that you don't put yourself in that kind of situation.

KING: But it's very hard when you're in the stereotype. Blacks are lazy.

GRAHAM: Well, yes.

KING: And you're black. They lump you.

GRAHAM: It's easy for somebody to put you in a category like that because, you know, it makes, if they believe it, it makes them less threatening to you, you know, to be able to categorize somebody. So, again, you know, it's more about self-examination and being able to understand what you bring to the table. Really, it's focusing on yourself.

KING: You think prejudice is fear?

GRAHAM: Oh, absolutely. No question about it. So it's, you know, afraid of -- it's a lot of internal things going on. And it's really difficult when you're in a leadership position to be able to lead a lot of people and then have that fear, you know, because that carries on to the people that you represent.

KING: And we have one more e-mail from Anthony in Stanford, Connecticut. Do you believe that with our varying socio-economic backgrounds, that it's possible for everyone to tap into the free market enterprise and live an American dream?

GRAHAM: I think everyone has the possibilities if they understand how to do that. I know in my own personal life it took me a long time to understand the American free enterprise system and how it worked. It also took me a long time to work through my own feelings. And it's about, you know, a lot of it is about building relationships and understanding more about what you bring to the table and focusing on what you do well. So you can kind of organize, you know, a vision around that or organize your space that you're going to work in and find those people who believe in the same things you believe in.

KING: Is labelling always bad?

GRAHAM: Well, I think that we just kind of do it naturally. I think what we have to do is be sensitive to other people's cultures and be open enough, again, focus on the positive as opposed to the negative and, you know, sometimes just not say what you think, but be open enough to learn.

KING: Take another call. Winnipeg, Manitoba, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Stedman.

GRAHAM: How are you?

CALLER: Great, how are you? I've always admired both you and Oprah. How would you describe your perfect day off? When you have some moments for the both of you, what would you enjoy to do?

GRAHAM: I think the perfect day off, especially for her, is reading for her. Of course, I love to play golf, and so I go play golf, and we spend some time, especially on Sundays, reading the "New York Times" and hanging out with the dogs. So that's a good day for us.

KING: Do you think it's possible to have a color blind society? Or is that pie in the sky?

GRAHAM: I think it's possible to, again, get beyond the race and get beyond what you look like, and if we could connect -- if I can connect based on your spirit, Larry, and say, you know what, I like you because of who you are. And you're open enough to do that. You realize it's not about race. It's about being able to be happy with yourself and focus on what you do well and develop your own uniqueness.

And when you're happy in your own life, you're happy for other people. So you're not threatened by all the other stereotypes and everything else you might come in contact with. It's being able to tap into a higher power, which is your spirit, which is your sweet spirit as Larry King. And so the ability to be able to understand that, to me, is the ability to be able to build relationships with people from all backgrounds all over the world.

KING: Was it tough to attain what you have attained?

GRAHAM: It's a process, and it takes a lifetime of work.

KING: Still going on?

GRAHAM: Still going on every single day because you're working on overcoming your fears. You have to examine, you know, your thinking. You have to, again, go inside, as opposed to going to the outside, to the external. You have to go internal and examine, you know, how you're going to deal with this situation and overcome it a lot of times.

KING: Great seeing you, Stedman.

GRAHAM: My pleasure.

KING: Stedman Graham, the book is "Diversity: Leaders Not Labels, a New Plan for the 21st Century." Always great to see him. Oprah will be here on Monday night. Still ahead, Baby Abigail. A week after being kidnapped from her crib, she's back with her family. They'll share the dramatic story of Abby's abduction and recovery when we come back.


KING: Welcome back. By now you've heard the incredible story, the 36-year-old Shannon Torrez standing accused now of slashing Stephanie Ochsenbine's throat and kidnapping her week old daughter Abigail. That was on September 15th. Baby Abby was safely recovered five days later, reunited with her family. Torrez allegedly tried to pass off Abby as her own.

Her sister-in-law ultimately became suspicious of the story and contacted authorities. Torrez has pled not guilty to charges of kidnapping, first degree assault, and two counts of armed criminal action. She remains behind bars.

Joining us in St. Claire, Missouri, left to right, Stephanie Ochsenbine, the mother whose baby was abducted and is now recovered. Next to her is Abigail Lynn Woods, also known as Baby Abby, one of the most famous babies in America. Holding her is James Woods, that is Baby Abby's father, Stephanie's boyfriend. Next to James is Raylene Ochsenbine, Baby Abby's grandmother. And finally to your right is Kenny Ochsenbine, Baby Abby's grandfather.

Stephanie, what happened that day? You were in the house with the baby? No one else there?

STEPHANIE OCHSENBINE, BABY ABBY'S MOTHER: Yes and she came in and took my baby.

KING: And she stabbed you?


KING: Were you able to see her?

S. OCHSENBINE: Yes, I could see her very well.

KING: Did she say anything?

S. OCHSENBINE: Well, she said she wanted my baby.

KING: What did you think?

S. OCHSENBINE: So many emotions, so many different things at the same time. I didn't know what to think.

KING: How did she get in the house?

S. OCHSENBINE: She came in through the front door.

KING: Door was open, and she just came in. Must have known you were there with the baby.


KING: Now, she slashed your throat, but it wasn't serious. Where was the damage?

S. OCHSENBINE: The damage was all the way down to my trachea, actually.

KING: But was never life-threatening?

S. OCHSENBINE: Almost, very close.

KING: Because you sure recovered quickly.


KING: How is Abigail?

S. OCHSENBINE: She's great. She's great now. She's very healthy.

KING: No worse for wear?

S. OCHSENBINE: No, she's great.

KING: James, where were you when all this happened?


KING: How did you find out? WOODS: I was picking up a bag of concrete, and one of my friends came and told me. He said, you better get to Stephanie. Somebody stole your baby.

KING: What did do you?

WOODS: I got in the car, and I drove.

KING: To the house? Did you drive to Stephanie's house?

WOODS: I drove to her uncle's house, and then I stopped and talked to the cops.

KING: And was Stephanie on the way to the hospital then?

WOODS: After I finally got to my house, she'd passed in the ambulance.

KING: She passed on the way?


KING: Where were you, Raylene?

RAYLENE OCHSENBINE, BABY ABBY'S GRANDMOTHER: I was actually having lunch with my husband. I'd just gotten off work, and we got the news and got there as quick as we could.

KING: What did you think?

R. OCHSENBINE: Well, I thought for sure that they had their wires crossed or something. I mean, I didn't think what was said was actually what it was.

KING: What do you mean?

R. OCHSENBINE: When they said that -- well, when we heard it on the phone, they said that Stephanie had been cut and somebody took her baby. Well, I thought, she also has a dog named baby, and I thought they were talking about her dog because this ain't just something you hear every day. But when it dawned on us that they weren't kidding, this is serious.

I dropped my husband off at work very quickly, and I'm sure, if an officer would have been around, I probably would have been arrested for the amount of speeding that I was doing. But I got there as quick as I could, just in case it was worse than what it was.

KING: Kenny, frankly, did you think your -- that they would not get your granddaughter back?

KENNY OCHSENBINE, BABY ABBY'S GRANDFATHER: No, I had positive attitudes the whole time. I prayed to God, and I knew he was going to bring her back. We were skeptical at some times.

KING: Because the circumstances were certainly weird. A woman comes into the house, stabs your daughter, and runs off with the baby. How long was Abigail missing?

K. OCHSENBINE: Five days.

KING: And there was no point in that five days where you thought she wasn't coming back?

K. OCHSENBINE: Like I said, we were skeptical. We were skeptical at some times. You're going through this five days, it's hard to believe that you're even in it.

KING: I would imagine. Stephanie, were you confident you'd get your baby back once you knew you were out of danger?

S. OCHSENBINE: Yes. Yes, I just prayed to god. I knew he'd bring her home. I mean, we had a lot of prayers going out to us, and that's what brought her home.

KING: We'll be right back with the group. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper, the host of "AC 360." What's coming up at the top of the hour, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, lots to talk about tonight. The hunt for Osama bin Laden tops the bill. New questions about what our ally Pakistan is doing to find him. Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf went to the White House today. And a new report claims that the U.S. once threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age right after 9/11. Reporters asked President Musharraf about that, and his response? Well, it is not what anyone expected. You'll see that at the top of the hour on, Larry, on "360."

KING: Thanks Anderson. "AC 360" at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. Still ahead, Baby Abigail's birth mark and how it led police to her. We'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three days after little Abby Lynn Woods was abducted from her rural Missouri home, finally a face to put on the suspect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The victim wasn't completely happy with the sketch, but this is the best she could come up with at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby was just a week old when her mother was stabbed with a knife and had her throat slashed by a stranger. She said she was there to take the baby.

S. OCHSENBINE: If you have a heart at all, give her back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't want to know this feeling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve-day-old Abigail Woods is back with her mother this morning. Doctors say she's in very good health.

Shannon Beck, the suspect in the kidnapping, is now in custody. Police say Beck suffered a full term miscarriage on the same day as the kidnapping and allegedly took Baby Abby to pass off as her own.



KING: We're back with the family of Abigail Lynn Woods, also known as Baby Abby. Stephanie, you have a one-year-old child as well, right?

S. OCHSENBINE: Yes, Connor.

KING: And where was Connor during all of this?

S. OCHSENBINE: He was there through the whole thing, right there with us.

KING: And the suspect had no interest in Connor, right? She wanted a new baby?

S. OCHSENBINE: Right. She specifically stated she wanted the little girl.

KING: Raylene, the key here was the suspect's sister-in-law, right? Noticed the birth mark. Is that what turned this around?

R. OCHSENBINE: From what they tell me, and thank God.

KING: Because you got a lot of publicity, so people knew about the birthmark.

R. OCHSENBINE: That's the only reason why we done it.

KING: And the sister-in-law was gutsy enough to turn her in, right?

R. OCHSENBINE: Yes, thank God, or we wouldn't have our girl.

KING: As we understand it, Kenny, the suspect had a miscarriage and just wanted a baby. Is that the circumstances as we so far know it?

K. OCHSENBINE: I'm guessing as far as we know. I don't -- we haven't watched no media or no news or whatever.

KING: Do you feel, Stephanie, any -- may be weird because she cut you. Any sympathy for her at all?

S. OCHSENBINE: I'd rather not comment on that.

KING: How do you feel about her, James?

WOODS: About the woman?

KING: Yes.

WOODS: I just -- I feel she needs help too. KING: It's kind of sad. The whole thing is sad.


KING: Do you consider it, Raylene, kind of a miracle?

R. OCHSENBINE: A miracle that we got her back? Yes.

KING: Yes. I mean, the woman could have gotten on a train and gone to California.

R. OCHSENBINE: God would have found her. God would have found her and brought her home. There was too many people praying for this baby. Too many people praying for us.

KING: You have that much faith?

R. OCHSENBINE: I'm positive of it. I'm positive of it.

KING: James, are you and Stephanie going to get married?

WOODS: Yes, sir.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back, and we'll have some more moments, and we'll take a phone call or two for this wonderful family that went through horror for five days.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Oprah on Monday. Don't go away.


KING: Let's take a call for this happy family. San Diego, hello.

CALLER: Yes. I wanted to say something to the young lady. I wanted to ask Raylene and her boyfriend if she would take any precautions in the future, if -- what would she do?

KING: Raylene is the grandmother. But Stephanie, are you extra careful now?

S. OCHSENBINE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Definitely. Way more careful than I ever was.

KING: You keep the door locked?

S. OCHSENBINE: Definitely changed my life. Yes, yes. Definitely. The door is all dead bolted.

KING: By the way, what happened to your arm?

S. OCHSENBINE: Oh, my hand had gotten sliced all the way down. I have a lot of nerve damage, but it will heal.

KING: You mean, she didn't just slash the throat? S. OCHSENBINE: No, no. I have many wounds. Many stabs.

KING: Were you trying to fight her off?

S. OCHSENBINE: Lots of injuries. Oh, yes, definitely, 100 percent. I was giving it all I had.

KING: Let's take another call. St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Good evening, Larry. I would like to ask Stephanie if she ever knew the suspect from before.

S. OCHSENBINE: No, I never knew her before this.

KING: Did she live in your neighborhood?

S. OCHSENBINE: Apparently, yes. Supposedly, she lived five miles from my home.

KING: Do we know, Raylene, how the suspect knew about Stephanie and about the baby?

R. OCHSENBINE: Yes. That very well could be my fault. I put a "welcome home Abby" sign right out front, basically to announce to the world that we had a beautiful girl. I will never do that again. I don't suggest anybody in the world does that. For a second, if it puts your baby in danger, don't do that.

KING: You're right. That's a great idea. Yet a lot of people do it.

R. OCHSENBINE: I hope they don't.

KING: You see a lot of signs, welcome baby something.

K. OCHSENBINE: Yes, you do.

KING: Boy, that's a good tip not to, because, while it may seem joyous, all it is is a warning.

In a sense, Stephanie, the media helped you, didn't they, by focusing on this? By talking about the birthmark?

S. OCHSENBINE: Oh, yes, 100 percent. I mean, without the media and without everybody putting out flyers and without, you know, my parents going on stating how the birthmark was so defined. Yes, that's how it got out. And that's how she was found eventually.

KING: Did you hear from a lot of people, Stephanie?

S. OCHSENBINE: We did. We did. We had a lot of support from a lot of people.

KING: Friends contact you, James?

WOODS: Yes. Quite a few.

KING: How long were you in the hospital, Steph?

WOODS: I went in on the Friday, and I came home on Sunday.

KING: That's not bad. Raylene, were you ever worried about Stephanie's survival?

R. OCHSENBINE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. She hurt my baby. She hurt my baby pretty good. It's just Stephanie couldn't rest at the hospital, so I took her home with me. I can take care of her.

KING: What do you want to happen to the suspect, Raylene?

WOODS: Justice.

R. OCHSENBINE: Being the Christian woman that I am, I will not say.

KING: Also being the Christian woman, is it possible to forgive?

R. OCHSENBINE: God's helping me with that.

KING: It ain't easy?


KING: Do you think you will get justice, Kenny?

K. OCHSENBINE: Yes. I believe she'll get what's deserved.

KING: Stephanie, you want any more children?

S. OCHSENBINE: Oh, yes. Yes. We plan to definitely have many more, actually. We love our kids, and that's what makes our lives complete.

KING: And how's Connor?

S. OCHSENBINE: Oh, he's great. He's perfectly healthy. Little rambunctious, but, you know, what 1-year-old isn't?

KING: Thank you all very much. Congratulations. Stephanie Ochsenbine, Abigale Lynn Woods -- that's the baby. James Woods, the father. Raylene Ochsenbine, the grandmother, and Kenny Ochsenbine, the very happy grandfather, and you know, there aren't many happy endings in life. And this was one of them in very, very strange circumstances.

Over the weekend, tomorrow night Jim McGreevey, we'll repeat that interview with the former New Jersey governor. And Sunday night, Bill Clinton will be repeated. And Monday night, Oprah Winfrey and friends will join us for a very special hour of "LARRY KING LIVE."

Now another very special two hours of "ANDERSON COOPER 360." They're all special on CNN! Anderson, what's up? COOPER: Larry, thanks very much.


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