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Interview with Deanna Brown and Reverend Al Sharpton; Democrats Take Control of Congress

Aired January 4, 2007 - 21:00   ET


JAMES BROWN, ENTERTAINER: Ah-here's ABC's, gotcha.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, exclusive -- in her first interview since James Brown's sudden shocking death...




KING: His daughter shares emotional memories of her life with a legend, the "Godfather of Soul."


DEANNA BROWN, JAMES BROWN'S DAUGHTER: Moving one another (ph)?


Plus, the Democrats have taken over Congress.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER ELECT: The House will come to order.


KING: How will it change things on Capitol Hill?

And the latest on the desperate race against time to save an American sailor adrift at sea with storms closing in.

Can rescuers reach him in time?

It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. We begin with Deanna Brown. She's in Aiken, South Carolina, James Brown's daughter. And in New York, Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and former presidential candidate. He's described James Brown as having been like a father to him.

Brown, of course, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He went in with Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. He won multiple Grammies, including a lifetime achievement award and was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2003.

Deanna, thanks for being with us.

Where, in the pecking order of Brown children, where are you?

D. BROWN: Thank you very much, Mr. king.

I am, I guess you can say, the middle -- I'm the middle daughter. I am child number five.

KING: There's three ahead of you and two below?

D. BROWN: Yes.

KING: What -- how -- how have you been coping with the death of dad?

D. BROWN: It has not been easy. It has been a whirlwind of emotions. I cry every day, every day and I'm...

KING: Where were you when he died?

D. BROWN: I was on vacation. My husband and I were on vacation with our family. And Reverend Sharpton called to let me know that he was in the hospital. And I was -- I was upset to hear that, but then there was a part of me that was happy to hear it, because dad wouldn't go to the doctor. And he had been sick.

And I want to give a special thanks to Mr. Andre White in Atlanta, Georgia, who made him go to the hospital. I don't know what he told my dad, I don't know how he did it, but he went to the hospital. And I want to thank Mr. White for that, because at least he got the best of care. And when he did leave, he was in the hospital with -- getting care.

KING: But you did not think he was like near dying?

D. BROWN: No. No. Never that. No.

KING: How did you learn, Al Sharpton, how did you learn of James' death?

SHARPTON: Well, you know, I heard he was in the hospital and I called Deanna. I didn't know she was abroad, but she answered her international cell phone. Then when I called and got Mr. Bobbitt, who was Mr. Brown's manager and trusted aid, he said he's in the hospital. This is pneumonia. He'll only be here three or four days. I was getting ready to leave for South Africa. So I said well, when he gets out -- because I had just spoken with him a week before. We tried to talk every week. I said call -- let -- just tell him to call me so I know he's all right and let him know I called. He said, I'll do that.

Three in the morning Mr. Bobbitt called back and said Reverend Sharpton, your man is gone. I said, what do you mean? He said your dad. You called your dad James Brown? James Brown died an hour ago.

And I, literally, Larry, rolled over and went back to sleep, trying to tell myself I had a bad dream.

When I woke up, I realized that he was really gone and I rushed to Atlanta to meet Yamma, who is Deanna's sister, and the other kids. And by then, Deanna had flown in and we began trying to do what he always told us to do if something happened.

KING: Gather together and pray and love each other.

Unfortunately, controversy surrounds this. Last night, the woman, Tomi Rae Hynie Brown, was interviewed on this show, and had some pretty harsh things to say about her late husband and this whole situation.

I want to play an excerpt and get your thoughts.



TOMI RAE BROWN, JAMES BROWN'S WIFE: They hired Reverend Sharpton and then all of a sudden I was, from the stage, by Reverend Sharpton, told that this is not a place for your mess and told to move to second aisle with my son.

KING: Wait. I don't understand something.

T. BROWN: I've got the documentation if you'd like to see it.

KING: I mean you are the -- you are the wife.

T. BROWN: Yes, and they didn't ask me anything.

KING: Why -- why weren't you in charge of the funeral?

T. BROWN: Because they said that they know -- Reverend Sharpton said from the pulpit, from the microphone above my husband's body, that the whole family had a part in arranging this funeral and the whole family did not, because the whole family ignored me. They never called me. In fact, they never even asked if their little brother needed something to eat or a place to sleep.


KING: Deanna, Tomi Rae said that she thought you were all friendly. You'd had dinner together. And then suddenly, with his death, she's shut out.

How do you respond?

D. BROWN: I don't have any comment to that. I am here to talk about the greatness of James Brown, the man who he was, the father who he was. He will be remembered as the great man that he was.

The last thing that my dad did before he died, he came out in the cold rain with pneumonia, Friday, December the 22nd, to the Imperial Theater on Broad Street here in Augusta, Georgia, to give out toys to underprivileged children.

It was pouring rain and he was sick and he still came. That is the type of man that my father was.

A month before that, he was in the pouring rain again giving out toys -- I mean turkeys -- to people who couldn't afford to buy turkeys. We gave out over 1,000 turkeys here. So thousands of people were able to eat. One lady told me that if it wasn't for your father giving me a turkey, I wouldn't have one.

Those are the things that my dad did. That is what he was about. And that is what I want people to know and to remember him by...

KING: But don't you think...

D. BROWN: He was a giver.

KING: But don't you think it's sad, Deanna, to see controversy develop at his death and in not commenting, don't you -- by that, it lends more truth to the controversy.

SHARPTON: Well, Larry, let me say this. I think that what -- the comments made, people can say what they want. The country saw the funeral and Tomi Rae spoke at the Apollo. In fact, she was the only family member to speak at the Apollo. She sang in Augusta at the last funeral. You played it last night. So I don't know what shut out means.

I think that what she got concerned about was when she demanded I say she was the wife. I can't get into that dispute. Mr. Brown annulled the wedding. As you said last night, he bought an ad announcing that. And these things have to be sorted out in a court if she says he later revoked it and all, and that the statement she signed was said in August was not -- was revoked. She has to sort it out in court, certainly not on the pulpit of his funeral.

This was a man hundreds of thousands of people came out for in New York; tens of thousands came out in Harlem. They came to praise a man who changed music, who changed how we dealt with our humanitarian efforts. And clearly we were not going to have a debate on the annulment on the -- on the stage there.

None of the kids annulled this wedding, I didn't, anyone didn't.

And as far as being hired, I was like his son. He would have me come -- when they just changed the James Brown Arena, Mr. Brown had me come do the speech. He had me speak when they raised the James Brown Statue a couple of years ago.

We all grew up together. So no one has to hire me to honor a man that I considered to be my father. There's nothing about hiring. It's about raising -- having James Brown raised to the level that he instructed us to do if, by chance, we were around when this happened.

KING: We'll be right back with some more of Deanna Brown...


KING: We'll pick right up with you, Deanna, with Deanna Brown and Rev. Al Sharpton, right after this.


SHARPTON: And the whole world changed their beat because of James Brown. Rap started from James Brown. Hip hop started from James Brown. Funk started from James Brown. We got on the good foot because of James Brown. J. BROWN: So good, so good, I got you.




SHARPTON: We didn't have a star until we had James Brown. James Brown wasn't smooth and wasn't acceptable. He wasn't tall and light- skinned with good hair. He looked like us. And he made the whole world see how good we could be.


KING: Deanna, I know you wanted to say something.

I was going to ask you, isn't it sad that it's come to this?

D. BROWN: Mr. King, my dad was a very private man and I did not discuss his personal relationship. And he did not discuss his personal relationship with me. So whatever went down between my dad and Tomi Rae is between my dad and Tomi Rae.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Jernelle (ph) in Houston, Texas: "I know Mr. Brown had children with different wives. Did the kids all grow up together or did you only get to meet as adults?"


D. BROWN: No, we did not all live together, but we all knew one another and we all communicated with one another.

KING: An e-mail question from Mark (ph) in Nashville: "Did Mr. Brown ever relax? If so, what did he do to unwind?" (LAUGHTER)

KING: Al, what did he do to take it easy?

SHARPTON: Go to the next show. I mean I met James Brown when I was 16. I was close with his son, who was my age, unfortunately, that was killed. Teddy would have been his oldest child.

So for 34 years, I knew James Brown and I used to go on the road sometimes with him.

Relaxing to him was doing a five hour show and then going to the studio after and recording a song he thought of in the middle of the show and really innovating.

You know, one of the things, also, that was striking, Larry, you never would go to his room and see music videos. He'd be watching the news. He'd always be telling me, Reverend, you all need to be dealing with this issue or that issue.

He never relaxed in the way that most people think, laying out by a beach. His relaxation was helping people and continuing the creativity that really changed music all over the world.

KING: Deanna, what kind of...

D. BROWN: Well, we knew he wasn't going to go to the beach. We knew he wasn't going to go to the beach, Reverend Sharpton, because that would mess his hair up and he was not going to have that.

SHARPTON: Now, you're not supposed to be talking private stuff, Deanna.

KING: Deanna, what kind of father was he?

D. BROWN: He was a very strict father. He wrote it in a song, "papa don't take no mess." He was a very strict father. Education was very important to him. He had strong work ethics that he taught us all. He was the hardest working man in show business and he was that all the way up until the day he died.

And he taught us to be hard working. Don't expect for anything. Open up the door, let somebody open up the door for you and go get it yourself. And that's what he did. He opened up the door for not just me and my brothers and sisters, but for many people. Because even if you was his employee, he was like your papa.

And he opened up the door for so many people to be able to live good lives and they are blessed because of James Brown.

KING: An e-mail question from James in Jacksonville, Florida: "Did James Brown have a musical mentor?"

Who did he look up to, Al?

SHARPTON: He came out of the gospel tradition and he would take a little gospel. He'd also like to talk a lot about the old bands. He would watch Count Basie and others. And he came out of a segment of the country, in Augusta, and South Carolina, that was very strong in its own kind of orientation and he made it popular.

But he would brag about how he really changed music from a two/four beat to a one/three, the half beat, which now hip hop and rap and a lot of music genres that we consider mainstream really started with James Brown.

So he took a little from a lot. He made his own mixture and made the James Brown sound.

And guess what?

That's the sound all over the world. That will be his legacy. Hundreds of years from now, when people are on the one, on that beat, they're doing James Brown. He gave the world that.

KING: Deanna, how much of his tempestuous lifestyle -- and he was the first to admit it. We discussed it often when he -- when I'd be with him.

How did it affect children?

D. BROWN: His children or...

KING: No. His children. Yes.

How did his tempestuous -- I mean he certainly had a tempestuous life.

D. BROWN: His...

KING: How did that affect you?

D. BROWN: Well, we -- we were never really in the spotlight. He kept us very private. I -- he put me out on the tables at The Cotton Club in Harlem when I was just three years old. And from that point on, I kind of stayed in entertainment. I worked in radio and television, doing, working for Radio One now as an afternoon jockey here in the area, here in Augusta.

And him and I talked about the music. He was very passionate, of course, about the way music was being portrayed these days, because he said if we don't love one another, we're going to end up killing one another. And a lot of the music that's being made today, in his mind, are killing children.

So it was important to him for us to be respectful, for us to be dignified and to have class about ourselves and elegance about ourselves. That was what he made sure was about us.

We could not go out of here looking any kind of way, our hair looking any kind of way or our clothes looking any kind of way. We had to look like we were James Brown children.

KING: And you certainly have that. You have done him well.

Deanna Brown and Rev. Al Sharpton, thank you both very much.

James Brown will live forever.

D. BROWN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: That's for sure. That's for sure.

KING: A little later, an update on that California sailor stranded hundreds of miles off the coast of South America.

But up next, a pair of radio talkers, an Internet blogger and CNN's own Lou Dobbs.

What have they got to say about today's political coup on Capitol Hill?

As we go to break, a touching final moment from one of James Brown's memorials.

We'll be right back.


J. BROWN: I'm just a prisoner, you'll never be a prisoner. What's the good of my caring if someone is sharing those arms but now with me? Although she has another and I can't have another...




KING: A historic day in America. The lady of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is the new speaker.

And we've got a panel to discuss all these changes. They are, in Fargo, North Dakota, Ed Schultz, host of his own radio show, nationally syndicated on the Jones Radio Network; Martha Zoller, host of her own show, on WDUN-AM, also heard on the Internet radio on; in Washington, D.C. Arianna Huffington, the founder and editor of, the best-selling author of "On Becoming Fearless"; and in New York, our own Lou Dobbs, anchor and managing editor of CNN's "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" and the runaway best-selling author of "War On The Middle Class."

All right, Ed, what's all this mean? Is the first thing on the table going to be a minimum wage increase?

ED SCHULTZ, RADIO HOST, "THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW": Well, I think that's a very popular thing that they've got out there, Larry.

I'm very encouraged. I'm positive. I think Americans ought to be encouraged. I thought Nancy Pelosi hit it out of the park today. She was presidential, if I could say that, very classy, very dignified. And, also, Nancy Pelosi said something that Denny Hastert never said, that she is going to be the speaker for all the people.

I think they're off to a good start.

KING: Martha Zoller, what do you think?

MARTHA ZOLLER, RADIO HOST, "THE MARTHA ZOLLER SHOW: Well, I might feel better if they didn't have all the same committee chairmen that they had the last time. It seems it's not 1994 and we're seeing the same people in power, although I will tell you, I'm willing to wait and see what Nancy Pelosi is going to do. She's more of a traditional woman in that she stayed at home until she put together her career, her political career. So I'm willing to watch.

But I tell you, I'm not encouraged by who I'm seeing heading up these committees, because conservative Democrats won this majority for Democrats and you see liberals heading up these committees.

KING: Arianna, what do you think?


I was on the Hill all day and seeing the way Nancy Pelosi -- before we talk about the politics -- brought together who she is as a woman, as a mother, as a grandmother, together with who she is as a leader, it was very inspiring to millions of women, whether they are Democrats or Republicans.

The fact that she had her grandchildren surrounding her on every occasion, from her grandson introduced her at the mass yesterday morning, her granddaughter, eight years old, introduced her at the tea.

This is not just a photo opportunity, this is who she is. And plus her husband of 43 years. All that is part and parcel of who she is. And that's why it's been so hard to demonize her as a so-called San Francisco liberal.

KING: Lou Dobbs, is this the -- something you've looked forward to for a long time -- is this the coming together of American politics?

LOU DOBBS, ANCHOR, CNN'S "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Well, I must say that the first woman speaker in the history of this country spoke eloquently about partnership and avoiding partisanship. And that's certainly positive. And I thought, frankly, inspiring.

Whether this is the change that is required, it is certainly a welcome change from a Congress that did literally nothing positive over the course of the last two years.

President Bill Clinton said that the Democrats did not win a mandate on November 7th, 2006. He said they won an opportunity. That is precisely what they have won.

I am hopeful that they will seize the opportunity. But that means that one has to resist experience and the experience of the last 30 years is that neither party fulfills the aspirations, the hopes and the needs of working men and women in this country.

I hope we're about to see that change. I hope we're about to see a government begin fixing problems rather than perpetuating them.

KING: All right, Martha, in that regard, what's the first change you expect?

ZOLLER: Well, and I've got to tell you, Larry, the real thing that everybody has to watch is the fact that in 12 years, people tired of Republicans. It took 40 years the last time with Democrats. The American public will want to see action immediately.

And I've got to tell you, the minimum wage issue is going to be a very popular issue. I don't myself support increases in minimum wage because not that many people actually make minimum wage, if you look at the numbers.

But if she goes with things that 80 percent of the people support -- that's what Newt Gingrich did with the Contract With America -- he took things that people supported -- then she will be successful.

But she has four to six years to do what the Republicans did in 12.

KING: Ed Schultz, the president seemed to hint that --

SCHULTZ: Well, wait...

KING: Ed Schultz, the president seemed to hint that he would support the minimum wage increase.

SCHULTZ: Well, 80 percent of the American people want that, Larry.

If you look at the agenda that the Democrats have got on the table, it is, you know, they're -- all of these issues are polling favorably. This is what the American people want. They want stem cell research. They want federal funding for it. They want minimum wage. They want border protection. You know, they want ethics reform -- no more corporate jets, no more golf trips.

KING: Right.

SCHULTZ: They're going to clean it up. She's going to drain the swamp. I think that's positive and she's willing to say OK, let's work together.

So I think before we throw all this negative tone on it, let's let the Congress have an opportunity to go back to work. I think the Democrats have got a very short and small window of opportunity to make something happen here, because of the '08 election coming up. KING: Lou, what are you hopeful about?

DOBBS: Well, I'm -- first of all, I think Ed is right about some of these elements being relatively easy because of the popular support.

But remember, this Congress, for a decade -- the previous Congresses -- had, in point of fact, resisted the popular will and refused to raise the minimum wage in this country to the point that the purchasing power of the minimum wage right now is equal to that of 1955. That's unconscionable.

At a time when the U.S. Congress raised its own pay eight times, it refused to raise the minimum wage. I think it's powerfully symbolic as well as important to this economy.

I am hopeful that they will be able to do that.

But most...

HUFFINGTON: And also...

DOBBS: ... most importantly, if Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid can succeed in putting a bill on the president's desk rolling back the awesome, all but total power of corporate America and special interests in dominating the legislative process, we have a chance for the people to take back this government.

But if -- and, frankly, I will judge this Congress, these Democratic leaders, on that basis.

KING: All right, let me get a break.


SCHULTZ: Well, Larry...

KING: We'll come right back and hook up with Arianna.

Hold it.

We'll pick up with Arianna on this lively discussion.

Don't go away.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER ELECT: And today I thank my colleagues. By electing me speaker, you have brought us closer to the ideal of equality that is America's heritage and America's hope.

This is an historic moment and I thank the leader for acknowledging it.

Thank you, Mr. Boehner.

It's an historic moment for the Congress, it's an historic moment for the women of America.



KING: Ariana Huffington, let's move to the big story in the room. Is Iraq going to be significant -- is it going to change because of this new Congress?

HUFFINGTON: Well, it is, first of all, the big story in the room. And there is no question that there are many Democrats, including Harry Reid, with whom I met this afternoon, who wants to put forward a clear marker on the ground, as he put it, that this Congress is going to oppose any escalation in troop numbers and the proposal to do that tomorrow, including Jack Murtha, who actually blogged on the "Huffington Post" about the fact that they're willing to use the power of the purse, not to so-call disarm the troops, as the other side is calling it, but in order to fence the appropriations in Iraq so they're used to support the troops instead of supporting a so-called surge or an escalation of a war that is clearly not benefiting the American people or increasing our safety.

KING: Martha, what do you expect, vis-a-vis Iraq?

ZOLLER: Well, I tell you, we don't know what the president is going to say yet. And it is interesting to hear people already saying they're not going to work with the president on what he proposes. He is the only person that has been elected regarding foreign policy. They, of course hold -- the House holds the purse strings.

But I think that what's going to happen is that we're going to see -- we will see an escalation in troops. There are many ways that that can happen. And we're going to see some areas of improvement. And we're going to start to see some progress.

It was a bad year in 2006. There is no doubt about it. But we're going -- we're starting to see progress. And that's what I'm hearing on the ground in Iraq...

HUFFINGTON: What progress are you seeing?

This is absurd. This is an absolutely absurd statement.

First of all, how can you say we are going to see an escalation in troops when we've just seen the Democratic Congress make it absolutely and unequivocally clear they are not going to approve an escalation?

ZOLLER: Well, there are other ways to change the number of troops without the Congress appropriating for them.

KING: Let's -- hold it ladies. Let's get Lou in.


DOBBS: I think it -- President Bush -- there is a void of leadership which the Democrats have an opportunity to fill in Washington, D.C. President Bush is struggling for relevance now because of the defeat of his party in both houses. And paradoxically, because he has lost power through that election, Iraq is still his principle connection to relevance in Washington politics.

The issue is that we have 3,006 Americans dead in Iraq. This war has lasted almost four years. This president, his defense secretary, now departed, and the entire General Staff have not been able to articulate or to advance or to execute a strategy for victory.

Hopefully, when he makes that announcement next week, there will be -- that will all change. I'm not particularly hopeful.

But I do believe that we have to be very honest here about what is happening in Iraq. The loss in lives and for 20,000 wounded, more than 10,000 of them seriously wounded -- we have to look at the almost half trillion dollars that has been expended and ask ourselves and understand clearly how we got here.

And the Democrats have a responsibility, it seems to me, because as Nancy Pelosi said today, it is the principle reason that they won the election on November 7th. There is also unanimity on that view. They have a responsibility to not only stand back and discuss and to debate, but to advance ideas that will be in the national interest.

HUFFINGTON: That is exactly the point...

KING: Ed Schultz? Ed Schultz? Ed Schultz?

I want to bring Ed in and then back to you.

Ed, what do you think, vis-a-vis Iraq?

ED SCHULTZ, RADIO HOST, "THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW": Well, you know, Larry, I think it's going to be a very interesting 60 days. And I know we've heard a lot about timeframe and windows of opportunity. But there's two words you're going hear a lot of from the Democrats, and that's oversight and accountability.

And I think CNN did a great job today just reminding the people that here come the hearings. There was a story on your network about that today. And that's what this is about. There's still a lot about Iraq and a lot about the money that we don't know.

And I think when you get the Foreign Relations going after it and Intelligence going after it, you've got Senate Armed Services and you have these hearings, information about Iraq is going to come out and shorten the (INAUDIBLE) of opportunity for the president. He'd better...

KING: Ed, we're having a satellite problem. We're having a satellite problem. We'll get back to you.

Martha, I think you were going to say something.

ZOLLER: Well, and I think Lou makes a good point, that Democrats are going to have to put valid ideas forward. And this is really a good thing. This is what the Founders intended. They intended for the American people to speak and for power to be shared when the American people want that to happen. So I have no problem with that as a conservative.

However, I've been to Iraq. I'm going back to Iraq next week. We are going to be talking about those issues. And it's important for us to not only tell the negative side of what's happening -- and there's plenty of that. But there's also a lot of progress happening, too, as well as around the world on the global war on terror.

DOBBS: Larry, I think that, as Ed Schultz was saying, if this Democratic Congress falls into the partisan, political trap of holding hearings on the history of the mess that is Iraq -- and I think we have to be honest about it, whether you're a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, this is not a shining moment on the part of the military leadership of this country or its civilian leadership.

Our brave men and women deserve far better than they've been given. But if this Congress, this Democratically led Congress, instead of working toward the future and advancing ideas and policy and strategy, we're going to -- that will be more of the same. And I think will be rejected by Americans in two years.


KING: Excuse me, Lou, don't you learn, Lou, by looking at -- how do you learn unless you look back?

HUFFINGTON: But also...

DOBBS: I think we have looked back, Larry. I really do. I think if any of us are not disabused of the fact that there was a monumental intelligence failure, a horrible political failure, a failure of oversight by a Republican-led Congress as well as the leadership of this administration in declaring weapons of mass destruction and moving into Iraq. If this country doesn't fully understand that, I don't know what would be required.

KING: Ariana?

HUFFINGTON: First of all, you know, there's a lot we still don't know, Lou. But I agree with Lou that the priority has to be looking forward. And already, we have Jane Harman, for example, saying that one of the first things that we need to do is look at making sure that any appropriation about Iraq going forward is part of the budget process.

Do you know we've already spent $400 billion on Iraq and Afghanistan and only nine percent of that has been part of the budget process? The rest has been emergency, supplemental appropriations, which means that the American public doesn't really know how much money is appropriated, what it is being spent on...

DOBBS: Well, this network, Ariana, has been reporting...


KING: We've got to get a break, guys...

DOBBS: ... rather rigorously that we have appropriated $469 billion on the war, the war on terror, Iraq and Afghanistan.

KING: We have to get a break, Lou.


KING: ... we'll get a break and we'll come right back and pick up with you, Martha.

I'm sorry about the satellite problems with Ed Schultz. He's in Fargo, North Dakota. We'll try to correct that.

We'll be right back.


SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA): The election of 2006 was a call to change, not merely to change the control of Congress, but for a new direction for our country. Nowhere were the American people more clear about the need for a new direction than in the war in Iraq.




KING: I'm sorry due to satellite problems that we lost Ed Schultz. But Ed, as will Martha and Ariana and Lou, of course, be on frequently with us through the upcoming months ahead approaching the 2008 election.

Let's get a call in.

Bozeman, Montana, Hello.

CALLER: Yes, hi.

First of all, I wanted to say congratulations to our new senator, John Tester from Montana.

And this is a question for Lou Dobbs. Do you think the Democrats' solution to the quagmire in Iraq will result in actual legislation that opposes the troop escalation proposed by the White House? How can they stop it before it starts?

DOBBS: It's a terrific question. And it is one that already the leadership of both the House and the Senate are addressing, in saying that they will not under any circumstances constrain funding for the troops. And they will insist, as Ariana was discussing earlier, taking funding for this war away from emergency spending bills and putting it directly into the budget process, which is all to the good.

But the direct answer to your question is, one of the reasons I am hopeful about this change in leadership and control of the House and the Senate is that it is so incredibly important, as every American has learned over the course of the past five years, for there to be congressional oversight without the same party that's in the White House.

I believe that the -- if I can say this, the oversight will be somewhat more vigorous and enthusiastic than it certainly was under the Republicans. And that, while we have troops in harm's way, I think is an important, wonderful part of the genius of our Constitution and our form of government.

KING: Martha Zoller, what, as a Republican conservative, do you fear the most about this Congress?

ZOLLER: I fear the funding being cut off for the troops. And I know that they say that they're not going to do it, but the Democrats have done a very good job at separating Iraq from the global war on terror.

And we have to face the facts that London, Spain were hit. Bali was hit, which had a lot of Australians, who are also allies of ours. But we have not been hit since 9/11. And there has been progress in the global war on terror. And I'm glad that the battlefield is in Baghdad and not in Los Angeles. And I know that sounds trite, but it is very important that we keep this together. And I will tell you, I think that this -- we will see Democrats working with Republicans on this issue. And I think that's a good thing.

KING: Ariana, what do you fear?

HUFFINGTON: ... it is stunning to me we are repeating such cliches that have been completely disproven. The so-called theory that Dick Cheney has been proposing that because we are fighting over there, we don't fight them over here. There's absolutely no evidence...

ZOLLER: Just look at the facts, Ariana.

HUFFINGTON: ... there's absolutely no evidence at all that we have not been attacked here because we're in Iraq. And there is plenty of evidence that we are less secure here because we're not funding properly our homeland security. Instead we are wasting hundreds of billions of dollars and precious American lives fighting a civil war in Iraq that is not doing anything to protect our safety.

And you know what? It is amazing when we see how little power we have to affect what's happening in Iraq, when we see that even the Saddam execution is being used by Shiites to revenge, basically, a lot of legitimate hatred against the Sunnis. This is really...

ZOLLER: There has been a minimal response to that.

HUFFINGTON: ... this is really why, unfortunately, the Democrats are the only way that this administration can be stopped from proceeding in the same way that they have gone along for so many years without changing the course in Iraq.

And let us also be very clear that not escalating the troops is only a tiny part of what needs to be done. The more significant thing is to begin to bring the troops home. And that's why Jack Murtha is starting hearings on January 17th about our troop readiness, to demonstrate to the American people that actually right now we don't have the readiness to withstand any significant threat on this country.

KING: Ariana, we're out of time.

We thank you all very much.

We apologize for not having Ed Schultz.

Good to see you, Lou.

DOBBS: Good to see you, Larry.

HUFFINGTON: Thank you.

KING: Lou Dobbs, Martha Zoller and Ariana Huffington. Earlier, Ed Schultz.

In our next segment, the southern California sailor who's in trouble thousands of miles away. Can he hang on until help arrives? We've got the latest video of his boat as it floats helplessly. And we'll get the latest from his family here in the States.

We're back after the break.





KING: Before we check in about our sailor in distress at sea, let's check in with our man in New York, Anderson Cooper, who hosts "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour.

What's up tonight, A.C.?


Actually, we came down to D.C. today. It is the Democrats' new day here in Washington. They clapped, they hugged, they patted themselves on the back. But they also made promises. And tonight we're keeping them honest. Can they keep to the 100 hour deadline they set for themselves to pass a chunk of legislation?

And if the answer is yes, will it have teeth and actually make a difference in your life? We'll look at that.

We'll also have a follow-up report to a story we brought you last night about congressmen convicted of crimes who are still receiving pensions, pensions that you're paying for. You won't believe what we found out today. Can anything be done to stop it? Find out on "360".

All that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: That's Anderson Cooper at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

The latest on the battle of survival unfolding hundreds of miles off the coastal tip of South America. Forty-seven year-old Ken Barnes, who set off from Long Beach in late October hoping to fulfill a long held dream of making a solo sailing trip around the world. On Tuesday he used his satellite phone to call his girlfriend to say he was in big trouble.

Joining us in Newport Beach is Ken Barnes, Sr., his dad, Teryn and Brittney Barnes, his daughters. and Cathy Chambers, his girlfriend.

And in Dallas, Texas is Debbie Scalling Kiley, the survivor of a harrowing ordeal at sea herself.

I know, Cathy, that you spoke with Ken this morning. What did he say?

CATHY CHAMBERS, KEN BARNES' GIRLFRIEND: Where is help? When are they coming to get me?

KING: How bad is it?

CHAMBERS: And it was a very short -- he has a gouge on his -- one of his legs, down to the bone. He had thought he was being rescued right away so had gotten rid of his medical supplies. And he's tired. He's probably very hungry. And he's hanging in there, though.

KING: He's been told to turn off his distress signal. Is that true?

CHAMBERS: Yes, I spoke to -- I forget who I spoke to, but they had told me if I talked to him again to get a message to him to turn off the EPIRB tonight, and then turn it back on tomorrow morning at 4:00 a.m. his time.

KING: Ken Barnes Sr., how are you handling all this?

KEN BARNES, SR., FATHER: Well, one hour at a time, Larry. That's all we can do. We're very encouraged by the fact that they found him. And they're going after him. Right now, our spirits are a lot better than they were a day or two ago.

KING: Who is going after him, Ken? Are there ships going to try to get to him? K. BARNES: There are three vessels en route, Larry. One is the one that's expected to pick him up tomorrow morning at 3:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. And that's a Chilean fishing vessel that will take him back to land. And another one is a 257-foot trawler that is en route from the opposite direction, but probably will not reach him before the fishing vessel. And then one other that's in the area.

KING: Teryn, is the weather OK?

TERYN BARNES, DAUGHTER: It's better than it was a few days ago, but it's still 12-foot waves. And that's 20 knots, so still pretty bad. It's not good. Definitely.

KING: Ken, you were going to say something else?

K. BARNES: No. Other than the fact that the fishing vessel is the one that everyone is keying in on, that is expected to rendezvous with him tomorrow.

KING: Brittney, is your dad very resourceful?

BRITTNEY BARNES, DAUGHTER: Yes, but like we said, he did get rid of a lot of his supplies, and a lot of things are wet. So he's basically living on what he has. So it's not much.

KING: Debbie Scaling Kiley is in Dallas, survivor of a harrowing ordeal at sea when a violent storm hit the yacht she was sailing on in the fall of 1982. She and four fellow crew members sought refuge in a life raft. There were injuries, no food or water, and there were sharks. Three people died. She's the author of the new book "No Victims, Only Survivors."

What are the chances here for Ken, Debbie?

DEBORAH SCALING KILEY, SHIPWRECKED AT SEA, SAW SHARKS EAT SHIPMATES: Well, today I spoke with a friend of mine in Newport, Rhode Island, Bill Belanga (ph), who is a world-class sailor, and he is also a Marine weather routing specialist. And he and I have spoken about this all day. We have charted the situation. He dealt with the situation similar to this some years ago when friends of ours' catamaran was rolled over just south of Cape Horn.

KING: And?

KILEY: And we feel that given the fact that his EPIRB is working, it's reporting his position, he's in a survival suit, he's still got his boat -- they were picked up from the time they turned their EPIRB on until the ship arrived, between about 12 and 18 hours. His chances are very, very good right now. We feel very good about it.

There is a storm or a low that is sort of brewing. It's about 96 hours out, hopefully. I feel like they'll get him before that. And I feel really good about it. And so does Bill, and Bill is a specialist at this.

KING: Cathy, that has got to make you feel a lot better.

CHAMBERS: Yes, it does.

KING: Should make you all feel better.

We'll be right back with Teryn, Brittney, Ken Barnes Sr., Kathy and Debbie Scaling Kiley. Don't go away.


KING: Debbie Kiley, you were with people when you were in that turmoil. Ken is alone. Ken is alone. Is that a greater problem?

KILEY: You know, I think when you're worrying about other people, it tends to add to the problem. Being alone, on the other hand, is a very scary feeling. I know as the people began to die, and there were only two of us left, it certainly lowered our odds.

I think he's probably really thinking about the future right now and trying to focus on staying warm and making the future a reality for himself.

KING: Cathy, does he sound optimistic?

CHAMBERS: Yes, he does. Now that he has more of, like, a definite idea of what is happening.

KING: Now, Ken, give us an update here. It's expected, if all things are perfect and the weather, that's -- the weather she reported was many hours away, when do you think that boat will reach him?

K. BARNES: Supposed to from what we're hearing from the United States government and Chile, the embassy there, that they will -- expected time of arrival for the fishing vessel is 3:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

KING: That's Friday morning.

K. BARNES: Friday morning. I have got it figured out that if they -- I've got it figured out, if they take two hours to pick him up and turn around and take him back to Chile, he'll get there at 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning. And then on home.

KING: Teryn, you ought to be very hopeful.

T. BARNES: I'm very excited. Hopefully, that second storm doesn't catch up with him and he can just ride it out for another day or two. So.

KING: And Brittney, how long does his cell phone hold out?

B. BARNES: I believe that the battery is dying right now. Cathy would know more about that.

KING: Cathy?

B. BARNES: I'm not sure.

CHAMBERS: The battery was dying, but I think last night, knowing how he is, he's very methodical about thinking how he can solve a problem, I think he must have rigged something on the boat to be able to charge that battery.

KING: Debbie, if we're taking bets here, you're betting he makes it?

KILEY: I'm betting he makes it. Like I said, with Bill Belanga (ph) and his advice and talking about it all day, I feel really good about it. I think that everybody is on board with the program. I think they have a plan. I think the boat is still afloat. I think he's prepared. It sounds like mentally he's prepared, physically he's prepared. And my bet is thumbs up. I feel really good about it.

I was actually going around Cape Horn this time of the year 25 years ago. I know what it's like. I've been there. And he can make it. I know he can.

KING: Cathy, Teryn, Brittney and Ken, you all ought to feel mighty up about all of this.



B. BARNES: Definitely.

K. BARNES: Very much so.

KING: And you know that so many, thousands and thousands of people are praying for you.





KING: Got to be a good feeling. He's not there alone.

K. BARNES: And we would also, Larry, at this time like to sincerely thank not only the support of the United States government, but in particular the Chilean government, that have gone out of their way to provide us with the assets and resources we needed to make this happen.

KING: Thank you all very much.

Before we go, we want to send our very best wishes for a swift recovery to my pal, former President George Bush. He underwent hip replacement surgery yesterday at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, just a day after he delivered that moving eulogy for Gerald Ford at Washington's National Cathedral. This is Mr. Bush's second hip replacement operation, so we know he knows what to do. You get well, pop.

Right now, let's head for Washington and Anderson Cooper, who will host "AC 360" -- Anderson.


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