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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Former House Pages Speak Out; Interview with Olivia Newton- John

Aired October 6, 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)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, former House pages speak out. One of them was sponsored by disgraced Congressman Mark Foley, as the Department of Justice and the House Ethics Committee investigate who knew what and when about this lurid e-mail scandal. We'll ask the ex-pages what they knew and when.

And then, her long-time boyfriend still missing, unaccounted for, 15 months after he mysteriously vanished, Olivia Newton-John, does she hold out hope he might still be alive?

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're in New York and our congressional pages have gathered here. They are Jason Gross, Jason is the former congressional page; he was sponsored by then Congressman Mark Foley. The other pages are Trisha Bailey; Bryce Chitwood who is president, by the way, of the 2002 class of pages; Samuel Burke; Brad Wilson.

But let's check in first in Washington with CNN's Senior National Correspondent John Roberts for an update on all of this -- John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Larry.

There haven't been any new revelations in this case over the last few hours but the Republicans continue to engage in what they call in Washington here a circular firing squad, pointing fingers at each other, laying blame wherever they can lay it, while a lot of Republican leaders, including President Bush, are outwardly supporting House Speaker Dennis Hastert saying he should not step down in the wake of all of these allegations surrounding Congressman Foley. People like senatorial candidate in New Jersey Thomas Kean, Jr. continuing to say "I think Hastert should step down."

You mentioned a couple of investigations, Department of Justice, the House Ethics Committee, the FBI also looking into this, as well as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

And, Larry, earlier on today I had a lengthy conversation with Stephen Jones, an attorney from Oklahoma, who you'll probably remember defended Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. He is now representing Jordan Edmund, who is the page who is believed to have had that lurid instant message exchange with Mark Foley.

Stephen Jones will not confirm that, in fact, that conversation took place. He said he's looking at the transcripts. He's trying to verify that it did take place. He does say, however, that Jordan Edmund knew Mark Foley, knew a lot of the Republicans in the House he said, by the way.

And he also confirmed that Mr. Edmund is probably going to talk to the FBI, Larry, sometime next week, so that's something that everybody is going to be watching for to see what might come out of that meeting between Edmund and the FBI.

KING: Thanks, John. John Roberts will be back with us in the final segment in this half hour.

Jason Gross, you were sponsored by then Congressman Mark Foley. How does that work?

JASON GROSS, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: Basically, Congressman Foley sponsored me after I went through a rigorous application process and I was then approved by the speaker of the house's office in Washington, D.C. and I served as page for the Republican side in the summer of 2002.

KING: You live in Florida?

GROSS: I do.

KING: And that's how he came to sponsor you?

GROSS: That's right. He was in my district. He was the congressman for my district at that time.

KING: Trisha, when you're a page, you're a page for how long?

TRISHA BAILEY, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: Well, if you're working in the summer, you're a page for about two months and, if you're working during the year, you might as well ask these folks over here maybe they would know better than I but...

KING: You worked in the summer?

BAILEY: Yes, I did.

BRYCE CHITWOOD, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: It's a nine-month stint for year-long pages.

KING: Right, so the pages are not paid?

CHITWOOD: No, pages are paid.

KING: Oh, they are?

CHITWOOD: Yes, we're paid a very minimal salary...

KING: How much? CHITWOOD: ...that sort of keeps us going. After taxes, after everything is sort of boiled down, most checks are around $600 a month and that just pays for the basics of trying to live and work and have a good time in Washington, D.C.

KING: Do you all live, Samuel, in the same housing?

SAMUEL BURKE, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: We all live in the United States House of Representative page dorm, which is right near the Capitol and right near the Library of Congress, where we go to school.

KING: And, Brad, you're a page for how long?

BRAD WILSON, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL PAGE: I was a page for a year. It varies on what side you're on and...

KING: What do you mean what side you're on?

WILSON: The Democratic pages when I was there stayed for a semester and the Republicans stayed for the whole year and then, of course, there are summer pages like Trish.

KING: Are there any pages who stay, Jason, over a year?

GROSS: Well, I served just in the summer, so I was just there for over a month.

KING: Since you were sponsored by the congressman, what did you make of all this?

GROSS: Well, it was surprising and I was disappointed, of course, and overall my experience was very positive. I learned a lot about how the legislative body functions in the U.S.

KING: But did you ever hear from him?

GROSS: I did interact with him on several occasions.

KING: Nothing of a sexual nature?

GROSS: No.

KING: Nothing even approaching it?

GROSS: Nothing even approaching it.

KING: So you were totally shocked by all this?

GROSS: Totally shocked.

KING: What's your reaction Trisha?

BAILEY: I'm also very shocked. I had very peripheral, superficial interactions with Congressman Foley but really nothing out of the ordinary that I, myself, noticed in his interactions with others and myself. KING: Are you a Republican sponsor too?

BAILEY: Yes.

KING: What does a page do, Bryce?

CHITWOOD: A page works primarily just to make sure that things are functioning at a steady pace for the House of Representatives. We have pages that sit at the documentarian desk. On the floor, we have pages that run errands all over Capitol Hill. We have pages that work in both cloakrooms in making sure that members of Congress have their questions answered.

KING: What might you be asked to do, Samuel?

BURKE: For example, just bring a congressman a poster, who is about to make a speech, like we see them on C-Span so often talking, you know, addressing the people. They might call you to just help them set up their poster before they make their speech or just...

KING: Poster meaning?

BURKER: Like a poster. They'll have a poster that has statistics about the issue which they're addressing. But usually it was just running papers between their offices and the House floor.

KING: If you're a Democratic appointee, Brad, do you still work for all of Congress?

WILSON: You just work for the Democratic side. I was a Republican appointee and I worked in the cloakroom, so I had to memorize all the Republican members and the Democratic pages in the cloakroom memorized all the Democratic members, so you work for your specific party.

KING: Trisha, are you more embarrassed being a Republican appointee?

BAILEY: Am I more embarrassed?

KING: Yes, well it's a Republican scandal.

BAILEY: No, I wouldn't say that I am. I identify myself with the entire body of the House of Representatives personally.

KING: You do?

BAILEY: Yes.

KING: Do you feel the whole body has come down?

BAILEY: I do. I think that this really adds to the cynicism about Washington and politics that's going on right now and it's extremely unfortunate.

KING: Has it increased your cynicism, Bryce?

CHITWOOD: Absolutely not. KING: Not?

CHITWOOD: No. I have a great respect for the page program, as I hope all of the people sitting at this table do. We all gained incredibly valuable experiences. There's nothing wrong with the page program. It's an excellent program run by outstanding people, who really work hard to make sure that pages are safe.

Sure, there are going to be predators. There are going to be people in Congress who do things that are inappropriate. But as long as we keep that positive nature, which I think is something that we all did as pages, then we can really look forward, so no.

KING: Can you say hypothetically, Jason, what you would have done had you received the kind of things we're hearing that Congressman Foley had sent?

GROSS: Well, I would have reported it immediately and I wouldn't have tolerated any -- any kind of inappropriate behavior on that part.

KING: You wouldn't have responded to him?

GROSS: Would not.

KING: You would have reported it immediately?

GROSS: That's right.

KING: If nothing happened when you reported it, would you have been shocked?

GROSS: I would have been disappointed and I would hope that if something of that nature were to come to the attention of the leadership something would be done about it.

KING: Do you get to know, Samuel, the speaker?

BURKE: No, you don't usually get to know the speaker. You might have a little bit of interaction with him. But you do get to know other congressmen. There are certain congressmen and congresswomen who like to interact with the page and really quickly you get to know who they are and you get to know those Congress people pretty well, what their job is like. Maybe you'll learn a little about their family and a little about them.

KING: Back with more on the Foley scandal when we return.

As we go to break, here's Republican Congressman Foley on the House floor in June of 2002. He's addressing the class of departing pages.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. REP. MARK FOLEY (R), FLORIDA: Cherish your youth. Cherish this experience. But, above all, cherish your families. Let them know how much you appreciate them giving you this chance. And, let them know how much you appreciate their love to make you the people that you are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS HASTERT, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When you talk about the page issue and what's happened in the Congress, I'm deeply sorry that this has happened. And the bottom line is that we're taking responsibility because ultimately, as someone has said in Washington before, "The buck stops here." Our children need to be protected and we're going to do everything we can to protect them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Brad Wilson, do you take him at his word?

WILSON: No, I don't. I don't think that he acted very well to protect the pages at all. In my opinion, I think that Speaker Hastert should step down. I think the investigation should continue first but I think that if it's revealed that he knew about the letters in late 2005, that he should step down as speaker.

KING: Bryce, was it your job as president of the 2002 class to call the pages and tell them to be forewarned here at all?

CHITWOOD: No. I did have some contact with my class and we talked about the media, possible backlashes. But, the one thing that I keep getting time and time again is "We have to fight for the program that we love."

KING: You don't want to see the page program end as the congressman from Illinois has suggested?

CHITWOOD: Absolutely not. This program has provided an invaluable experience for 16 and 17-year-olds since the mid-1800s and I'm sure everybody at this table can testify to that fact.

KING: None of you would end it, right?

WILSON: That's right.

GROSS: Absolutely not.

BAILEY: Absolutely not.

KING: Brad, you said that -- is it true that a friend of yours was contacted by Congressman Foley?

WILSON: No, this was -- this was on the House floor. It was not an after work contact.

KING: What was it? What happened?

WILSON: He said something to the effect of he asked when he was coming to Florida and my friend didn't reply. And then he said, "Well, when do you turn 18 because that's the magic number?"

KING: Well that's more than suggestive, right?

WILSON: I would say, yes.

KING: How did your friend react?

WILSON: I can't remember. I think that he just left. He didn't report it.

KING: How did you react?

WILSON: I tried to stay away from Foley from then on. I thought that he was peculiar after this.

KING: Even before that?

WILSON: Yes.

KING: Was there any word out about him, Jason? Were there any hints about him?

GROSS: There were rumors that he was gay but there was never any warning to me by GOP staffers, Democratic staffers, anybody in the Congress that he had any -- any of this inappropriate behavior in his past.

KING: As Donald Trump, who will be on our show Monday, told me that all of Palm Beach knew he was gay, Trisha.

BAILEY: It could be. Those rumors were flying around at the time. That's pretty much all I knew of him.

KING: You said something, Samuel, during the break that bears repeating. You said Congress is like high school. Elaborate.

BURKE: I use that analogy all the time. Congress is like high school in, and I don't mean it in a bad way, I mean it in a good way, there are congressmen who are brilliant. Really on both sides of the aisle you realize that there are congressmen who are into philosophy, who are really preoccupied by the well-being of this nation.

And then you realize that there are some people who aren't very smart. There are some people who aren't well-spoken. There are some congressmen who are really popular and sometimes you just can't figure out why. And so in a lot of ways it was -- it had a lot of similarities to high school.

KING: You're referring to both sides of the Hill?

BURKE: I'm referring to both sides.

KING: Bryce, do I see you saying no?

CHITWOOD: I guess I have to agree to some extent. I just don't like the way that Samuel is saying it. We're taught as pages to have a very high amount of respect for the institution and for the members that we serve.

And so to call it like high school sort of takes me back to my days as a page and to think about him calling the House a high school on the House floor and the reaction that he would have received from Congress members, as well as people in the program.

KING: What does the Foley episode do to your respect issue though?

CHITWOOD: Like I said before, there are predators. There are people who are corrupt in every walk of life. Something that people have said time and time again is, "Oh, I would never send my 16-year-old to Washington." There are predators in our backyards in our hometowns all across America and the page program makes sure that these people are protected.

KING: What, Trisha, do you think this will do to the future of the program? Do you think parents will say no?

BAILEY: I hope that's not the case and I don't think it will be because for me the page program really defines civic engagement. It defines me getting involved in something that I'm very passionate about, which is politics. And that experience is worth any isolated I think instances of corruption that may happen outside of the program itself. The program is extremely strong and was extremely informative for me.

KING: So, all of you found it rewarding?

BURKE: Yes.

GROSS: Absolutely.

CHITWOOD: Absolutely.

KING: Would recommend it to people?

CHITWOOD: Absolutely.

BAILEY: Yes.

BURKE: Absolutely, it's the experience of a lifetime.

KING: Well, you've made a great impression here tonight and I thank you all for coming.

CHITWOOD: Oh, well thank you.

BAILEY: Thank you.

KING: Jason Gross, Trisha Bailey, Bryce Chitwood, Samuel Burke, and Brad Wilson.

When we come back, we'll have a three-member panel to discuss what they've just said and the future of the whole program with John Roberts, Michael Isikoff, and Lanny Davis. That's next. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. I'm in New York. Our panel is in Washington. They're John Roberts, CNN Senior National Correspondent; Michael Isikoff, Investigative Correspondent for Newsweek; and co-author of "Hubris, the Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War," there you see its cover; and Lanny Davis, who served as White House special counsel for President Clinton and author of "Scandal, How Gotcha Politics is Destroying America."

Michael, what did you think of our young pages?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NEWSWEEK INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I thought they were very poised and well spoken. It was interesting that all of them were so supportive of the page program. There have been calls to shut down the page program and this seems to be at least that the kids going through it seem to think they're getting a beneficial experience.

But really, look, at the end of the day this is about the political fallout from this and the possible price, potential price that the Republicans are going to pay for not curbing what were clearly the abuses of this one member, Mark Foley.

And, I think the stakes have been raised dramatically just in the last week where, just in the last few days where you have new allegations, new claims that there were warnings and red flags out there and the House leadership didn't act on it. And, I think that's where the traction is on this right now.

KING: Lanny, what went wrong?

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL: Well, it's a classic case of crisis mismanagement by people who are in politics who should know much better. Speaker Hastert, I still take him at his word that he didn't know the extent of the problem but the way he reacted initially by only consulting with Republicans and not even telling the Democratic member of the House Page Committee, he clearly should step up to the line and simply say, "I made a misjudgment" and reach out to the Democrats and have a bipartisan process.

Instead, what does he do, Larry? He actually thinks that Louie Freeh, who is still perceived by those of us from the Clinton White House as one of the most partisan Clinton-hating people around that this is something that he should do for, what, a bipartisan approach to solving the problem? So, if he's still thinking that way, he's not handling the crisis the way he should.

KING: John Roberts, does the fact that Mr. Hastert remains, does that help continue the problem?

ROBERTS: I don't know if it does, Larry, because there are just as many people who say it continues the problems as would say getting rid of him continues the problem or exacerbates the problem.

There are a lot of Republicans, most of them died in the wood, fight until the death type of Republicans who say they don't get any credit for sacrifice. They didn't get any credit for Tom DeLay's resignation, Trent Lott stepping down as the Senate majority leader. They didn't get any credit for Newt Gingrich going away. And so why would they get rid of Hastert?

They're weaker. It's a weaker party without the three people that I just mentioned. It will be weaker still if Hastert goes. They say what they need to do in the Republican Party is to fight, fight, fight and to not capitulate to the mob.

So, you get this, as I said earlier, it's like a circular firing squad. You get people firing in all directions. They're hitting each other. It's really interesting that for a change the Republican Party is acting like the Democrats and they're falling all over themselves trying to get this straight. It's amazing to see this discipline break down.

KING: Michael, this would have to be a guess, of course, but in your case it's an educated guess, what's the spillover into the election?

ISIKOFF: Oh, well look, I mean there's no question that if the -- that the Republicans have taken an enormous hit on this and, if the election were taken today, I think the polls clearly indicate the Democrats would probably take back control of the House and possibly the Senate as well.

How things are going to play out over the next few weeks, it's very hard to say. It is probably true that in the short term, had Hastert resigned this week or said he was going to resign this week, it would have made this story even bigger than it already is in the short term.

The risk here is that over the next few weeks, as this plays out and it's very much going to be driven by the details, by the facts and you had Mark Foley's former chief of staff publicly say, Kirk Fordham say this week that he had alerted Hastert's chief of staff several years ago about complaints about Foley and that he learned that from the clerk of the House.

So, the clerk of the House reports to the speaker, as does obviously the chief of staff. Was nobody alerting, none of Hastert's own aides alerting him to what they clearly viewed as problems? Certainly the clerk did because he brought it to Foley's attention. So, I think those are the kinds of details that people are going to be exploring and are certainly going to be the heart of this House Ethics Committee inquiry.

KING: Lanny, why should the actions of a Florida congressman affect a congressional race in Wisconsin?

DAVIS: Well, it depends on whether the Republican leadership takes on this problem and doesn't appear to be forthright in addressing it or whether they distance themselves from it. It shouldn't affect the race.

And so far the Democrats have been pretty restrained in avoiding rhetoric that extrapolates and brandishes all Republicans as having a problem because of this one matter. But it does come down to how Mr. Hastert and his colleagues have handled the matter.

If it was not the fact, as I said earlier, that Mr. Hastert has not stepped up to the line until just recently and used the expression, "I take responsibility," I think they made this much worse for themselves by not just simply saying "We made a mistake and now we're going to fix it."

KING: John, has the strong presidential support of Hastert mattered?

ROBERTS: I think it's an indication that they're still standing behind him and that he's probably going to survive, at least through the election, if not beyond that. He claims that he's going to stand for election again if the Republicans hang onto the majority and I imagine he will. There are some people who think, though, that he might not serve out the entire two years.

But here's a reason why this matters in places like Minnesota. It's because in the year 2000 election for president, four million Christian values voters on the Republican side stayed home and they are upset at this Congress. They're upset at this president for not showing fiscal restraint. They believe that the party has strayed from its core values, traditional family values.

This is a further indication of that straying from those conservative traditional values and so many of these people are saying they are going to stay home again in 2006. They want to put morality and ethics above politics. They think that the Republican Party is just playing politics with this.

And, I'll tell you, Larry, I've talked to a lot of these conservatives and they say "We need to teach them a lesson and it doesn't matter if that ends up with the Democrats taking control of Congress."

KING: And, Michael, one quick question on your book, we'll be doing a lot more on it in days ahead, on "Hubris," a bad week on the Iraq front, major U.S. troop casualties. Senator Warner says now he's gotten serious issues about the war. Where's it going?

ISIKOFF: Well, nowhere. It's not going well, I mean that's clear. I mean in the last week, 21 American soldiers were killed in the last week in Iraq. That is the highest number in quite some time and it's a pretty graphic illustration that all the claims of progress that have been made by the White House and the administration over the past year are looking more and more hollow.

And, I think that's the broader context here that Republicans are facing, that the White House is facing. It's core credibility issues, I mean, and this relates directly to the Iraq story right along as we document it in "Hubris," which is all about the very major credibility issues that the White House -- that can be raised about the White House from the beginning about the way they sold the war, about how dissents were suppressed, about how alternative views were concealed from the public. And then, later on as more and more comes out the public learns.

I mean we talked about in the book then House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who had directly warned the president in a meeting in September, 2002 that he was risking getting -- getting the country involves in a quagmire that would derail the domestic agenda for the rest of his presidency.

Yet, Armey was prevailed upon to keep silent by the vice president and the president and that drives directly into people suppressing doubts about and warnings all along.

KING: Thank you, Michael and thanks John Roberts and Lanny Davis as well, Michael Isikoff as well.

When we come back Olivia Newton-John on her new CD, fighting breast cancer and the incredible story of her missing boyfriend. That's next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT EPPERSON, P.I.O., U.S. COAST GUARD: This is still being treated and investigated as a missing person's case. We have received no information thus far that has seared it off that kind of case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE and welcome to this program to the delightful, beautiful and talented Olivia Newton-John. The four-time Grammy winner, star of "Grease," the top money making movie musical of all time. She's a cancer survivor, an advocate for breast cancer awareness, her new album is called "Grace and Gratitude." There you see its cover. It's available exclusively at Walgreen's. I know we have to ask some of these and we'll get through them. Does this album, is it a kind of therapy over the disappearance of your boyfriend?

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: It was a healing for me, definitely. I wanted to -- music is healing for the spirit and healing for the soul. It definitely is for me. So -- yes Patrick inspired a lot of the music in here, but in a good way, in a positive way. Out of my love and for him and I'm moving forward in a positive way with the CD along with my breast self exam kit and the supplements at Walgreen's and we're partnering to help some wonderful charities with the money that we're raising from it.

KING: And we'll get to the album in a little while. And by the way, Olivia will sing a song from it at the end of this program. Is loss difficult when there's no closure? We don't know. Is he dead, is he alive? Isn't that harder?

NEWTON-JOHN: It's very hard to live with that.

KING: But missing in action.

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes. I've never experienced anything like it. But I think it's probably the hardest thing I've ever experienced and I've been through a lot of things. I've been through a divorce, I've been through breast cancer. But this was the hardest thing, because it's ongoing, there's no answers and you'd have to live with that. So it's amazing how we as humans find strength. I know there are lots of other people out there suffering and going through a lot of things just as difficult. But you do find strength through it and I'm lucky I have my music.

KING: Do you guess about it? Do you sit up and think, he's here, he's there, what happened? Did you blew out of that?

NEWTON-JOHN: I've gone through many scenarios but I just have to find an inner peace and whatever is, is and I hope one day I'll have the answers.

KING: Do the police keep you informed?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, they do.

KING: This happened where?

NEWTON-JOHN: This happened in California, in San Pedro area.

KING: On a fishing trip?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, he went on a fishing trip, yes.

KING: Weren't there reports somewhere that he turned up or was that totally misleading?

NEWTON-JOHN: There have been reports and of course, I always pray that they're true but on the other hand I also believe that he would never leave his son deliberately. So we don't know what happened. I hope one day we have some answers because it would be wonderful.

KING: I feel contact in this because I have a 7 1/2-year-old boy named Chance.

NEWTON-JOHN: Right.

KING: And I love that name. Patrick's son is named Chance, right?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes.

KING: Do you see Chance at all?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, I've become very close to his ex-wife Yvette who is a wonderful person and we've become good friends and I see his son and he's thriving, he's doing well.

KING: Don't want to dwell on it anymore. One other thing, there were reports that he had a tough time financially and that he either might have gone away just to escape that or harmed himself.

NEWTON-JOHN: Again, I don't know, Larry. But he was a very proud man and a very private man. I would like to honor that with him and I don't know. I really don't know the answers to those things. But I don't believe he would leave his son. I really don't.

KING: You were very much in love, right?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes.

KING: And do you ever get -- does the phone ever ring where you run to it and you think this could be it or is that past now?

NEWTON-JOHN: I went through that in the beginning. You know, in the early part of it. And now your heart leaps too many times so I'm kind of centered now. And if it happens, I'll be thrilled but I'm not thinking that way anymore.

KING: And you hired our good friend Gaven Debecker to help, right?

NEWTON-JOHN: I did, he was wonderful.

KING: He's a good guy, old friend of mine. Is he still running down leads?

NEWTON-JOHN: No, Gaven's there if I need him. But you know there haven't really been any.

KING: Let's all hope.

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes. I hope that -- we have some peace out of it for everybody's sake.

KING: When did you discover you had breast cancer?

NEWTON-JOHN: That was 1992. And --

KING: How did they tell you?

NEWTON-JOHN: I got a phone call. Actually it was on holidays. It was July 4th weekend and I was in -- away on vacation.

KING: Were you married then?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, I was married then. My husband told me -- husband at the time, we're still good mates, Matt and I, that the doctor wanted to see me. So I kind of had a feeling something was up.

KING: Had he done a biopsy?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, he'd done a biopsy. And I had had a mammogram and I don't say this to scare people. But I had a mammogram that was negative and I had a needle biopsy that was negative. But the doctor had a feeling there was something up so he did a proper biopsy and found the cancer.

KING: And he was right.

NEWTON-JOHN: He was right.

KING: And what did he do?

NEWTON-JOHN: I had a radical modified mastectomy and I had chemotherapy for about eight months.

KING: Was that tough emotionally when a so strong, a physical part of the woman's body is the breast?

NEWTON-JOHN: You know, I was just grateful that I was going to be ok. I mean, I -- that's just a part of me that's not who I am. And I try to tell women that, you know, that it's just -- that's a piece of us but that's not who we are. So luckily I wasn't that attached and I was also very fortunate that they did some reconstruction right away. So I didn't have to wait for a long time so it was -- you know I lost some pieces but it's ok, I'm here. That's all that counts.

KING: And no chance of recurrence after this long time, it's fine?

NEWTON-JOHN: It's 14 years. In my mind it's gone. You know, I don't -- people talk about remission but, nah, it's gone, I'm fine. Now I want to help other women because it was early detection that helped me and I want to encourage women to self examine on a regular basis. That's why I was so thrilled when I was approached with this self exam kit which carries my name, I'm very proud to say.

KING: And I want to take a break and come back and discuss it. It's the Olivia breast self-exam kit. As we go to break, much happier time in Olivia's life. One of the great moments in movie history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

sandy!

tell me about it, stud.

NEWTON-JOHN: I love the end of the movie, especially, because it was so much fun.

JOHN TRAVOLTA: I like the end, too.

NEWTON-JOHN: The end when he switched for me and I switched for him and it's like this total reversal, we're both trying to be what the other one wants.

TRAVOLTA: I think that last number is truly American.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: I watched "Grease" 100 times. Did you hear from John Travolta through the years when you had breast cancer, when Patrick went missing, have you heard from him?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, he's a good friend and he's there. I don't see him very often but when I do it's great, it's like no time's gone by.

KING: He's doing "Hair Spray", he's playing a woman?

NEWTON-JOHN: I heard that. It's fantastic. He's so funny. He's the funniest guy. So I'm looking forward to seeing him.

KING: All right tell me about this Olivia breast self-exam kit which you get at Walgreen's, right?

NEWTON-JOHN: You get at Walgreen's.

KING: How does it work?

NEWTON-JOHN: Do you want to take it out the box I can show you.

KING: Go ahead.

NEWTON-JOHN: It's two layers of thin plastic with some oil inside. It's a special kind of oil that makes -- it's like a magnifying glass for your fingers. So when you put it on your breast and you go in circles it makes anything feel bigger than it is. So you can detect lumps --

KING: So it'll spot something.

NEWTON-JOHN: Now every woman is different. So her breasts are different, too. A woman needs to get in touch with what is normal for her and then what isn't. She'll notice more quickly, especially with this kit. It's just a great reminder. It's pretty. It's pink. It's easy to use. And you use it once a month. It has a little kit that you carry it in and a little box and a little -- here, carry it in this cute little bag so you can take it with you wherever you go as a constant reminder to do self exams.

KING: What do you do if you find a lump?

NEWTON-JOHN: Well you should get it checked out. This is not to replace your mammograms or your exams by your practitioner. This is an early indicator and reminder to do it.

KING: And what's the breast health dietary supplement?

NEWTON-JOHN: This is a wonderful thing because this is a new phase in breast health. And you know women have taken a multi-vitamin for our overall health but this is for breast health.

KING: Specifically for breast.

NEWTON-JOHN: Specifically for breast health. They've discovered through clinical trials that vitamin D, folic acid, the (INAUDIBLE) mushroom and green tea, those four key ingredients are very beneficial to breast tissue. So we've created this supplement and I take it. It's great.

KING: And you usually buy it in tandem?

NEWTON-JOHN: You can buy all these three things are in it --

KING: The album --

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes. This is the heart of the whole thing, is my music, but these things are to help women.

KING: Do you take special care of yourself in view of that?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes, but I always did. I was always healthy and I exercised and I ate well. So, you know, there's no -- it can strike anybody.

KING: Did you ever go through a why me period?

NEWTON-JOHN: No, I didn't -- I didn't actually. I wrote an album so I don't say why me. But talking of why me, there's a wonderful organization that I'm giving 10 percent and Walgreen's, we are partnering to give them 10 percent to a group called why me. They're a group who's mission statement is that no woman should go through breast cancer alone. And they have a 24-hour hotline. They have people that speak -- they not all speak 130 languages but between them there are 130 languages spoken and every person is a survivor that picks up the phone. So any time, night or day, there's a woman out there who's just discovered she has breast cancer and feels alone she can call the why me hotline. It's on the box, it is 800-221-2141. There will be somebody there to help you. So I think it's fantastic. So I'm giving some money to them and also to the City of Hope, there are a wonderful organization.

KING: Some more moments with Olivia Newton-John. We'll touch on some other bases on some things Australian, if we might. And then we're going to hear her sing a song from the album.

Right now though, let's check in with John Roberts in Washington. He will host "AC 360" as I believe Anderson heads home from Africa. John, what's up tonight?

ROBERTS: Hey Larry, thanks very much. And please pass along to Olivia that "Grease" is my son's girlfriend's favorite movie, she knows every word.

NEWTON-JOHN: Thank you.

ROBERTS: Tonight on "360," a dire warning about Iraq from a top senator who supports the war. We'll tell you why he's sounding the alarm now and we'll take you on the ground to show you what U.S. troops are really experiencing there. Plus, more of the fallout from the Mark Foley scandal and the so-called velvet mafia allegedly operating on Capitol Hill. Are gay Republican staffers actually going out of their way to cover up the sexual preferences of certain lawmakers, we'll investigate that. Plus a "360" special "The Killing Fields", a personal look at the crisis in Africa. Stories that you'll never forget. All that coming up ahead on "360." Larry?

KING: That's with John Roberts hosting "AC 360" at the top of the hour. 10:00 eastern, 7:00 pacific and we'll be right back with more. I love this word, queries.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Let's touch some other bases. Did you know the late Steve Irwin?

NEWTON-JOHN: Unfortunately I didn't. But what a loss. What an amazing man. He did so much for the environment, he had such passion and he created such passion in other people for the environment.

KING: Great guy. Mel Gibson, any thoughts? Your fellow Australian?

NEWTON-JOHN: I think he's a really good person who just had a few problems. But I think he's a good man. He's a great actor, great director.

KING: You know him well?

NEWTON-JOHN: Not very well but I know him. Yes, he's a nice man.

KING: Did that get a lot of publicity in Australia do you know?

NEWTON-JOHN: Well, I was here. May I extend an invitation from Australia for you to come visit us, because you're saying before you've never been. You've got to come down.

KING: I can't believe I've never been. Never heard a bad thing. The people are wonderful.

NEWTON-JOHN: You would love it, come and do a special down there. That would be great.

KING: Tell them. I'll do it.

NEWTON-JOHN: Ok.

KING: When you help the "American Idol" team how difficult was it to tell an aspiring singer whether she was bad or not?

NEWTON-JOHN: I found it really difficult because I know that the moment they step up there all their dreams are in that moment when they step in front of everybody. And I found it very hard to not give them something positive. Sometimes you had to say, you know, you shouldn't be doing this. But most of the time you want to give them something positive.

KING: Are there thoughts of bringing you back?

NEWTON-JOHN: I don't know. It would be fun. I enjoyed it.

KING: Some of the press is saying that they might bring you back.

NEWTON-JOHN: Well, I had a good time. Yeah. I enjoyed it. KING: Do you do Vegas anymore? Do you do concerts?

NEWTON-JOHN: I do. I'm actually on a big tour, starting next week all around the country and I'm going to Vegas for three days. And I go there quite a lot. So yeah I do quite a lot of road stuff. I'm going out to promote the new album and I'm excited.

KING: This album is unusual in that it's continuous, right?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yeah, this whole album is one piece of music and it's healing and it's peaceful, it's meditative. And we've incorporated chants from Betten Buddhism and Japanese Buddhism. We have a song attributed to St. Francis (INAUDIBLE), we have some Islam, we have Hebrew. I believe that we're all looking for something, we all see God from a different way, there's a billion ways to find God but I think we're all poles on a chain, we're all attached somehow.

KING: What led you to all of that?

NEWTON-JOHN: Just from my searching and these songs are about an inner search, my relationship with myself, my relationship with others, my relationship with my spirituality and the more I explore it the more I realize how we're all really looking for the same thing, which is love and compassion and we could find it through music maybe. That would be a good way to heal and find peace.

KING: Do you still love singing?

NEWTON-JOHN: I do. I really do. I really found that it's been a wonderful solace for me and I really feel so lucky that I get to do what I really love because I thought to myself if I could do anything else, what would I do? And I realized there's nothing else I'd really rather do than what I do. So how lucky am I.

KING: Were you always a good dancer?

NEWTON-JOHN: No, I wasn't. I had two left feet when I was younger.

KING: Really?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yeah, Pat Carol used to have a double left and I was pretty hopeless when I was younger. I couldn't dance. But through time and through people helping me I got to be able to move quite well. It was more about confidence I think.

KING: Was it easy to dance with John?

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes.

KING: You would think someone that good might make it harder?

NEWTON-JOHN: No, no, he was great. He made it really easy, he's a natural. He wasn't really trained either. He's just a natural dancer. He's just got a natural gift. I don't think he's really trained as much as he's just like a Fred Astare, he's just a natural dancer.

KING: Boy, was he.

NEWTON-JOHN: Yes.

KING: He is something though.

NEWTON-JOHN: Yeah, he's fantastic.

KING: Didn't that make it a little imposing on you to --

NEWTON-JOHN: No, because when we made "Grease" John wasn't -- he was just on his way to becoming a huge star that he was. Because "Saturday Night Fever" was just coming out and so I wasn't yet intimidated. Maybe later.

KING: They came out back to back.

NEWTON-JOHN Yes, pretty close.

KING: Thanks, Olivia.

NEWTON-JOHN: Thank you, Larry.

KING: We have a special treat for you, the show ain't over yet. Because when we come back, Olivia Newton-John will sing a song from her new album which you can get at any Walgreen's. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: To close things out from the album, Olivia, here is Olivia Newton-John and "Love is Letting Go of Fear."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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