Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Tony Snow's Cancer Returns
Aired March 27, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, White House spokesman Tony Snow's colon cancer is back, and it's spread to his liver.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: His attitude is he is not going to let this whip him. My attitude is, is that we need to pray for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: This, just days after Elizabeth Edwards announced her cancer has returned. Now, cancer survivors Joel Siegel of "Good Morning America" and actress Fran Drescher tell what Tony Snow needs to know to face the battle ahead.
And Tammy Faye Bakker Messner's son James Bakker updates us on his mom's fight for her life against inoperable cancer that has spread from her colon.
Plus, talk radio stars sound off -- should Attorney General Alberto Gonzales keep his job?
Are John and Elizabeth Edwards doing the right thing about her cancer?
And why does Senator Jim Webb need to carry a loaded pistol?
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Never dull, is it?
We have an outstanding panel.
In New York, Joel Siegel, the Emmy award winning film critic and a man diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997.
In Washington, Fran Drescher, survivor of uterine cancer, award winning actress, best-selling author of "Cancer Schmancer." She started her own movement in that regard and left a charity event regarding it tonight to be with us.
James Bakker is in New York, the son of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner and Jim Bakker. Tammy Faye has colon cancer, which has spread to her lungs.
With us here in Los Angeles is Dr. Randy Hecht, director of Gastrointestinal Oncology, UCLA Medical Center. He's also a clinical professor at UCLA.
And in New York, old friend Ari Fleischer, who used to have the White House job that Tony Snow now holds. He was press secretary for President Bush from January 2001 to July of 2003.
We'll see what Dr. Hecht.
What is this?
DR. J. RANDOLPH HECHT, DIRECTOR, UCLA GASTROINTESTINAL ONCOLOGY PROGRAM: Well, first of all, I can't speak about -- about Tony Snow other than to really just give him -- tell him that I hope he does well and give him our...
KING: Well, from what you know of the diagnosis as has been published, what is it?
HECHT: Well, I think what you can do is try to generalize, Larry, because I don't -- I don't have all the information and there's nothing scarier...
KING: Well, we know that his...
KING: We know that the colon cancer has returned and has spread to the liver.
HECHT: Well, colon cancer, first of all, is usually a curable disease. First of all, it's a preventable disease. And, in fact, we can prevent the vast majority of colorectal cancers.
In patients who are diagnosed with cancer, particularly if it's found early, it's usually a curable disease.
Now, the way that it's curable is by cutting it out. And sometimes by adding chemotherapy, by adding drugs, we can increase the cure rate.
Now, when it comes back, it can either come back in one or -- you think of, you know, if you have a kind of a lump in one or two places. Either it can come back in a place that can be cut out or it can come back in places that can't be cut out, where the patient can be treated and I think we improve their life expectancy, we improve their quality of life, but we can't cure them.
And from what -- excuse me -- what I've seen in the press reports is that, you know, if someone's cancer has only come back in the liver, those we can cut out for cure sometimes. If it comes back outside the liver or sometimes the lung, we can treat those patients and improve their life expectancy, but we can't cure those patients.
KING: Joel Siegel, what happened to you?
JOEL SIEGEL, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Two weeks to the day after we found out we were pregnant, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, and the cancer was worse than they thought, stage three, possibly stage four.
I reacted horribly to the medication. The medi -- the chemo and the radiation worked on the cancer, but it also worked on me. I was sick as a dog. Like Tony Snow, three years later it showed up again, with me in my left lung. I've lost half of my left lung.
A year later, I lost a third of my right lung. I've been through five bouts of chemo, two bouts of radiation, three hospitalizations for other reasons.
But the good news is I've been here through all of that.
KING: And you look rather good.
Fran, what happened to you?
FRAN DRESCHER, ACTRESS, UTERINE CANCER SURVIVOR, AUTHOR, "CANCER SCHMANCER": Well, it took me two years and eight doctors to get a proper diagnosis of uterine cancer. And how many people are -- go for a second opinion when they're told they're basically OK?
And I went for seven second opinions. And thank god I did, because that's why I'm alive today.
But all too often, late stage diagnosis is the reason for mortalities. And that's what the "cancer schmancer" movement, which is what I'm launching right now, is dedicated to ensuring, that all Americans get diagnosed in stage one, when it's most curable.
We're all told early detection equals survival and yet we're not given the tools to discover the cancer early enough. We don't...
DRESCHER: We're not educated on what the early warning symptoms are...
KING: I'll get back to that.
KING: All right, I want to -- Jay, what's the condition of your mom?
JAY BAKKER, SON, TAMMY FAYE MESSNER: Well, she's got stage four cancer. It's inoperable and she's not doing very well. We've started hospice and it's -- it's the toughest thing the family has ever been through, and we've been through quite a bit.
KING: Are they saying it's grave?
BAKKER: Oh, yes.
Ari Fleischer, before we talk with you, let's show Tony Snow emotionally discussing his experience with cancer last May, his first White House briefing as the president's press secretary.
One of the reporters asked why he was wearing a yellow "live strong" bracelet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MAY 2006)
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's going to sound stupid, and I'll be personal here, but...
SNOW: No. No. Just having gone through this last year -- and I said this to Chris Wallace -- was the best thing that ever happened to me. It's my Ed Muskie moment. I lost a mother to cancer when I was 17, the same type -- the same type, colon cancer. And what has happened in the field of cancer since then is a miracle. I actually had a chance to talk today to Lance Anderson about this, because, you know what?
It's one of these things where America -- whatever we may say about our health care system, the technologies that were available to me that have me staying behind this podium today, where the doctor has said you don't have to worry about getting cancer, just heartburn, talking to these people. That's a wonderful thing. And I feel every day is a blessing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ari Fleischer, would it be doubtful that he'll resume activities?
ARI FLEISCHER, GOOD FRIEND OF TONY SNOW, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, no, I don't know that I would say that. It's not my judgment medically. But I know Tony and I know Tony is determined to get back and take that podium that's his. And I hope he's not watching tonight, Larry. But I'll say this -- I -- my heart goes to Tony every day that he's at that podium, but even more so now that he temporarily has stepped away from it.
My heart is with Tony Snow tonight.
KING: How tough a job is that?
He loves it.
FLEISCHER: Well, it's grueling. It's grinding, you know?
And -- but I talked to Tony on Saturday after I heard that he was going in for a check-up or going in to have a growth removed. I called him just to tell him I was wishing him well. He was on his way up to Camp David with his family to spend time at Camp for the last weekend, while he was there, before the operation.
And I said, "Are you still having fun?" And he said, "You bet. This is the funnest job I've ever had."
That's Tony and that's the go-getter attitude that he has. And I think that's exactly the go-getter attitude he's going to bring to fighting this and defeating it again.
KING: Coming up, Tony Snow's mom had it, now he has it. We'll talk about the colon cancer family connection, when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIE COURIC, ANCHOR, CBS EVENING NEWS: First Elizabeth Edwards and now Tony Snow, the White House spokesman. Both are now fighting cancer a second time and both vow to continue their work, though recurrences can be more serious than the first bout with cancer. In fact...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES GIBSON, ANCHOR, ABC WORLD NEWS: Good evening.
Today, another case of cancer returned. This time it is Tony Snow, spokesman for the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Spokesman Tony Snow, a man every American television viewer has come to know, has had a recurrence of colon cancer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: A high profile reminder today that cancer can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA PERINO, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Tony called us this morning and informed us that despite all of our best hopes and expectations, that his doctors unfortunately learned that the growth was cancerous and there has been some metastases, including to the liver.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Dr. Hecht, based on your knowledge, can Tony Snow make it?
HECHT: It depends on what you mean by make it. This is almost, you know, almost semantic. People...
KING: Live a long life.
HECHT: Unlikely, but possible for people with metastatic disease. When you take people where the cancer has spread, there are really two groups. There are some where it can be cut out and sometimes those people can actually be cured -- the cancer never comes back.
In places where it cannot be cut out -- and I think it's important for patients with metastatic disease to be evaluated about possibly cutting it out -- in places outside the liver or the lung where it cannot be cut out, modern therapy significantly improves survival.
And the percentage of people who are alive five years -- which I think is what you're saying making it...
HECHT: ... continues to increase.
KING: Joel, why are you here? Why are you alive?
SIEGEL: I -- I often ask that question. I -- I -- when I was diagnosed, there was a 90 percent mortality rate after five years. I am lucky. I'm very positive. I have a good attitude. But I really think it's mostly just plain luck. The stuff that they gave me, right down the middle of the road, and it worked.
I've been through an awful lot of stuff, in a lot of pain, in -- sometimes the side effects seem even worse than the disease.
But I'm here.
KING: And if we looked inside you now, what would we find?
SIEGEL: You would find some cancer in both lungs. You would find a lesion on my clavicle, my right clavicle. You'd find a lesion on my number eight rib down here. Tomorrow morning, I go in for chemo and the chemo I'm on, something called Erbitux, seems to keep everything in check. And these side effects aren't too terribly bad.
The worst side effects from Erbitux are my fingernails break. And that -- it's hard to get any kind of sympathy from someone because your fingernails are breaking.
KING: Now, Fran Drescher, you don't -- you didn't have colon cancer. You're a survivor.
Is your cancer gone? DRESCHER: Yes, god willing. This June 21st, I'll be seven years well. And I was lucky because I was still in stage one. You have to be lucky with what kind of cancer you get, too. And mine happened to be -- uterine cancer is a more slow growing, less invasive cancer.
So even though it took me two years and eight doctors to get diagnosed, I was still in stage one, thank god, and a radical hysterectomy seemed to do the trick.
And, you know, you have to be very diligent about your follow-up examinations and do whatever you need to do...
DRESCHER: ... because, you know, recurrence does occur with people.
Jay, how is your mother holding up?
BAKKER: Well, I mean, she's a pistol, you know?
She doesn't give up. She's had cancer now for 15 years and, as you know, she's been in remission and then got the cancer back.
But she's a fighter. I mean she still insists on going to the shopping mall at least once a week, even if it requires a -- a wheelchair.
You know, she's -- her attitude is really positive and sometimes it's even more than the family can bear because it's just so hard to watch her go through it. But she fights every day.
Ari, the Tony Snow you know, how do you think he will deal with it?
FLEISCHER: Well, I think he'll deal with it aggressively. And I think he's going to deal with it with optimism and with good cheer. That's just Tony's character.
He'll also deal with it with his family. Now, I don't know his family. I know Tony. But I talked to Tony at length about whether he should take that job or not, almost a year ago, I guess.
And his number one question to me is how much time will I really have to be with my kids and my wife at night, on weekends?
He's got his priorities straight, Larry. And I think that's tremendously helpful because it says you go about things in the right way and I think that's the same spirit he's going to take this on with.
KING: How important is attitude, doctor? HECHT: Attitude is always important. The -- there actually have been studies that show that people who are optimistic do better than people who are not optimistic. And -- and I think the optimism also comes from the knowledge that people are continuing to do better. They're doing better now than they were five years ago.
Also, what we don't know -- every person's cancer is different. And this is one of the fascinating things. I mean we treat people, to a certain extent, the same. Some people, like Mr. Siegel may do very well. Other people may not do well.
And, in fact, what the research is really going to is trying to individualize cancer treatment for each individual patient, because one person's cancer -- especially -- even colon cancer -- may not be like another person's colon cancer.
KING: We'll take a break and we'll be right back with more on LARRY KING LIVE.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: His attitude is, one, that he is not going to let this whip him. And he's upbeat. My attitude is, is that we need to pray for him and for his family. Obviously, a lot of folks here in the White House are, you know, worry a lot about their friend, as do Laura and I.
And so my message to Tony is stay strong. A lot of people love you and care for you and will pray for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY EIF/NATIONAL COLORECTAL CANCER RESEARCH ALLIANCE)
COURIC: My husband Jay died of colon cancer at the age of 42. If only we had known then what I know now. Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer, but if it's detected early, it has better than a 90 percent cure rate.
So don't end up saying if only. Talk to your doctor. Do it so the people you love can love you for a long, long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dr. Hecht was telling me that most of the people on the critical late stage list were not diagnosed early.
Were you, Joel?
SIEGEL: I was not diagnosed early. No, not at all. And I am a victim of 20th century America. I found out that there was colon cancer in my family in the recovery room at New York Hospital. I got a call from my Auntie Annie, a maternal relative, who said not only did she have colon cancer, but three of my mother's first cousins had colon cancer.
I grew up in a time when nobody had cancer because nobody would say cancer.
SIEGEL: And men didn't have prostates. Women didn't have breasts or uteruses. Nobody had colons. No one talked about it.
KING: Were you diagnosed early, Fran?
DRESCHER: Well, after two years, I was still in stage one, thank god. And that's why this is my whole life mission now, is to encourage people to take control of their body, to learn what the early warning symptoms of all cancers are and to know the tests that are available.
Because we're all victims of a medical community that's bludgeoned by insurance companies to go the least expensive route of diagnostic testing.
I mean looking at Katie Couric talking about her husband at 42, I don't know many gastroenterologists that encourage 42-year-olds to get a colonoscopy. Usually they say you don't need to do it until you're like 50.
And what I tell people is that, you know, the profiles for cancers are changing and you're really not too young for anything.
save your Christmas Club account for tests that insurance companies won't pay for, because the best gift you can give your friends and family is a long and healthy life.
KING: Jay Bakker, was mom -- was she diagnosed early?
BAKKER: I think she was diagnosed a little late, and so they weren't able to get it. But I'm actually going to be getting tested for colon cancer here in the next six months just to be careful.
KING: Ari Fleischer, just on a personal note, are you tested?
FLEISCHER: I am, Larry.
I have a doctor who tells me at my age -- I'm 46 -- that it's just part of the routine testing you should do.
KING: All right, so are we saying, Dr. Hecht, that most cancer is preventable?
KING: Most? HECHT: Even better than finding cancer early, where it's almost always curable, is that most cancer is actually preventable because standard screening starting at age 50 in people without a family history. It's important to talk to your family and find out what's your family history.
But just being an American, starting at age 50, I think Katie Couric has started that dialogue.
And by doing routine screening, we could prevent probably at least two thirds of all colon cancers.
She and her group, the NCCRA, through the Entertainment Industry Foundation, has brought -- have brought, really, thousands of people in to have colon cancer screening and save thousands of lives.
KING: John -- Ari, what do you make of the tie now between the Edwards and Tony?
FLEISCHER: Well, you know, I think you could see when Tony took the job in the clip you showed earlier that this is something that's just a part of his life and it's something he -- he talks about. And I think that there is a bond that anybody who survives cancer or who deals with cancer has.
Those of us who don't have it, we don't quite understand how deep that bond is. And I think that's -- it's a wonderful thing, too, Larry. And it's why I'm glad you're doing this show tonight. People need to know there's so much of a life beyond politics. And even though people can disagree in politics, people who have health issues, there's such a bond in shows like this, that will make people aware, so that hopefully fewer will have to go through this. Maybe some people will go out and get a test tomorrow who might not have otherwise.
KING: Because the statement that Tony made about the Edwards' family and then the statement they made today about him...
KING: ... had nothing to do with politics.
FLEISCHER: You've got that right. And it's sad if it takes a health crisis to bring that out. Although, I will tell you, I think there's a lot more people who get along in Washington -- they just don't get any media coverage for working well together -- than people think.
But I was pleased to see Tony say what he said about Senator Edwards and his wife. They deserve everybody's best wishes.
And it's a reminder -- politics is important, but there are a lot many more important things.
KING: Joel, are you on any kind of danger list?
SIEGEL: Yes, this Friday I'm going to give a Disney movie a bad review on ABC. So, I think that...
KING: You didn't like that movie.
SIEGEL: No, I didn't. No.
KING: That's the one with the -- the meet the -- the -- what's their name?
SIEGEL: That was the cartoon. It's "Meet The Robinsons."
Yes, I didn't like it.
KING: You didn't like that?
SIEGEL: I didn't like it.
As for health-wise, they really don't know. I'm in a situation where I am so far off the charts -- I've had this for 10 years -- that they don't know what is going to work, what's not going to work, how long I'm going to be around. And it's something that we learn to live with. And I think something that's going to help Tony is the fact that he's a reporter. I think something that helped Fran is the fact that she's an actor. And we're used to...
SIEGEL: ... disassociating. We're used to being somebody else. So when we go in for treatment, it's not -- they're not treating Joel Siegel for cancer. Joel Siegel is looking at it.
I've done things as a reporter I would never do as a real person. As a real person, I am afraid of heights. As a reporter, I've hung off the Times Square building on New Year's Eve.
And I think that helps us. And I think family support helps a lot.
SIEGEL: And, also, one thing that -- a point I want to make. People will tell me how brave I am. I am not brave. When I am in the doctor's office, I feel like I'm a hostage. I'll do anything they want me to do. Stand over there, take your clothes off.
See this 12 foot of tubing?
Guess where we're going to put it?
And -- because the only way out of the room is to listen to what the doctors say.
KING: The big "C." We're going to...
DRESCHER: You know, Larry...
KING: Yes, Fran, we'll pick up with Fran on after the break. And when we come back, we'll discuss more on this topic and then meet our panel looking at the politics of the day.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SNOW: Senator John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth have announced that she has a recurrence of cancer and that they will still continue a full and vigorous campaign.
First, our thoughts and prayers are with Elizabeth Edwards.
Also, as somebody who has been through this, Elizabeth Edwards is setting a powerful example for a lot of people, and a good and positive one. She has been on top of diagnosis and follow-up. When you have cancer, it's very important to keep checking. She's being aggressive. She's living an active live. And a positive attitude, prayers and people you love are always a very good addition to any kind of medicine you have.
And so, for Elizabeth Edwards, good going. Our prayers are with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMMY FAYE MESSNER, EVANGELIST: And I found out that I had colon cancer. And felt like my health was much more important than entertainment. And everybody agreed, so I had to have surgery.
KING: And that's OK now?
MESSNER: That's fine now. I'm cancer-free, thanks to God.
KING: And we've been told just today that you have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
MESSNER: Lung cancer, yes. Doctor Lemontani (ph) said to me, "Tammy, I don't have good news for you. I have great news for you." He said, "I thought I was going to have to put you back on chemotherapy this month. But every bit of the cancer is gone."
KING: And now the news is that yours has what, returned?
MESSNER: Has returned.
KING: How did they find out?
MESSNER: They're going to have to start calling it The Lungs of Tammy Faye.
KING: It's the third time? MESSNER: It's the third time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: As the doctor points out, that's eight years that Tammy Faye has had that.
Fran, quickly, what does your charity do?
DRESCHER: The Cancer Schmancer Movement is dedicated to ensuring that all womens' cancers are diagnosed in Stage 1 when it's most curable by galvanizing and alerting Capitol Hill that the collective female vote is louder and more powerful than the richest corporate lobbyists. I really think that that's kind of the missing link.
There's a lot of people out there trying to find cures. But there's a lot we can do on Capitol Hill to see real change now.
When you talk about the politics of health care, we just successfully, along with many other concerned groups for women's health care, passed the Gynecology Cancer Education Awareness Act or Johanna's Law. And now I'm here in Washington trying to get funding for it. And it was totally a bipartisan bill that was sponsored by Senator Specter and Senator Levin.
KING: The name of the organization is Cancer Schmancer.
I want to take a call. Do you want to say something, Doctor?
HECHT: Yes, just one thing I think that's really important. Somehow in the past, it was felt that colon cancer, colorectal cancer, was a man's disease. Actually, this is the only major cancer that is really split down the middle. Almost exactly the same number of men and women will die this year of colorectal cancer.
KING: You should take the test at what age?
HECHT: Well, if you're an average American and you don't have a family history starting at age 50. And it's only a colonoscopy every 10 years. By doing something relatively simple, you know, a test every 10 years, you could prevent the majority of colorectal cancers.
KING: Woods, California, hello?
CALLER: Yes, my question is, is there any help out there with insurance? My husband has pancreatic -- stage 4 metastasized pancreatic cancer.
KING: Isn't that covered, Doctor?
HECHT: Well, it depends on whether you have insurance or not. We have an unusual health care system. Other countries, everyone is covered. But on the other hand, they may not get access to the absolute latest drugs.
KING: Isn't pancreatic death? HECHT: Well, some people with pancreatic cancer can be cut out for cure but the vast majority of people die from their disease.
KING: It's hard to pick up, right?
HECHT: Unlike the colon, which is easy to get to, the pancreas is kind of buried deep. And by the time it's found, it's almost always fairly light.
As I said, some people are cured with surgery but the majority are not. Once again, treatment can make people live longer.
Insurance, boy, that's -- I'm a physician. My job is taking care of patients.
KING: Dover, Delaware, hello.
CALLER: Hi, my question is for the doctor. A lot of doctors on your show have spoken about the genetic component of cancer. But I haven't heard much, and I know from personal experience, that there's an environmental potential trigger if you've already got the cancer genetic bug in your system. I had a colonoscopy at age 40 because I saw so many of my co-workers getting sick with cancer. And I took a proactive stance and found out I had a pre-cancer polyp. We were all working on...
KING: I'm running out of time, Ma'am.
CALLER: ...the environmental connection.
HECHT: You know Americans do have a relatively higher risk of colon cancer compared to some other parts of the world. It's been very difficult however to show whether it's due to diet or other factors. And in fact, when we tried to change people's diets, it doesn't seem to change the risk of colorectal cancer.
KING: I want to get to one e-mail we didn't get to, from Ginger in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. "Why were Tony Snow's blood tests and PET scan negative for cancer when his cancer had come back and spread to his liver?"
HECHT: The problem is that while our tests are much, much better than they were even 10 years ago is that our tests can only see down to about this big. And that's still a billion cells. And that's why.
So I mean a long time ago, the only way you could tell the cancer had come back is by feeling someone's abdomen. Really, our tests are wonderful but they're not perfect.
KING: Thank you all very much. More and more on this, we'll be devoting a lot of attention.
When we come back, four very proactive talk show hosts go at it next. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Cancer of what?
SHARON OSBOURNE, CANCER SURVIVOR: The colon.
KING: That could be a death sentence.
KING: Had you taken colonoscopies?
OSBOURNE: No, I hadn't.
OSBOURNE: Big mistake. Never used to go to the doctor. Never used to go for any test, nothing, ever.
KING: How did they discover it?
OSBOURNE: Ozzy made me go for a test.
KING: How did they tell you?
OSBOURNE: I was in New York with Kelly. She was working in New York. And I got a phone call from the doctor. And he said that I had stage two colon cancer.
KING: Just like that?
KING: First reaction?
OSBOURNE: I actually dropped the phone. I dropped the phone and just -- I went into the corner of the room and just curled up in a ball.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Before we get to the next segment, the results from our text vote from last night. We asked you about the Anna Nicole autopsy report. The question: "Do you believe it was an accidental overdose?" Fifty-eight percent of you voted no.
Tonight's question: "Do you think there'll ever be a cure for cancer?" Text your vote from your cell phone to CNNTV, which is 26688. Text KINGA for yes, KINGB for no. And we'll reveal the results on tomorrow night's show.
Four dynamic people join us in Portland, Oregon: Lars Larson, the nationally syndicated host of his own show. His website said he's right on the left coast. In Los Angeles here with us, not on my screen, but here with us is Stephanie Miller, nationally syndicated host of "The Stephanie Miller Show," former co-host of CNBC's "Equal Time." Also in L.A. Dennis Prager, host of the nationally syndicated radio show that bears his name. He's a best-selling author and lecturer. And in Fargo, North Dakota, Ed Schultz, host of his own national show as well, billed as America's number one progressive talker.
Let's talk about the Edwards matter. Is there any controversial here, Dennis, as to whether he should run?
DENNIS PRAGER, TALK RADIO HOST, "THE DENNIS PRAGER SHOW": This is probably one of the rare times where I can't imagine a controversy. I know I've said on my own radio show that anybody who challenges his right to run or attacks him for doing so, that's his business. We already meddle too much into politician's private lives and life. And this is beyond the pale.
He has a terrible situation. I don't support him but I completely support his right to run and his wife to do whatever God gives her the rest of her life to do with him.
KING: Ed Schultz?
ED SCHULTZ, TALK RADIO HOST, "THE ED SCHULTZ SHOW": Well, I agree with Dennis on that. And I think the Edwards family is doing America a tremendous favor by showing tremendous courage going through this, Larry. We know one thing, that Elizabeth Edwards is one tough individual and she is very supportive of her husband. And she's going to give a lot of courage to a lot of Americans because, you know, not everybody fights cancer the same way. Some people need some encouragement.
When people like Tony Snow and Elizabeth Edwards are stricken with this, the way they fight it can be a tremendous encouragement to those who need help fighting it.
KING: So far we're agreeing. Lars?
LARS LARSON, TALK RADIO HOST, "THE LARS LARSON SHOW": No, no, no way. Number one, it's not his private business. He chose to take his family's medical issues public. That makes it public business. He could have chosen to keep it private. Reporters would have respected that.
But number two, John Edwards must be the only guy in America who could afford to stay home with his wife as she goes through what she describes as "debilitating chemotherapy" and chooses not to do that but instead pursue his own political dream, which is go out on the campaign trail.
KING: But if she wants him to do it, Lars?
LARSON: You know I don't think she has much choice. I mean here's the fact -- this is why I think our thoughts and prayers should go to Elizabeth Edwards because here's this woman who has just been hit with cancer for the second time in a couple of years. She's got to go through chemotherapy. She's got two little children that -- the other night they were talking about teaching them how to grow wings at age 6 and 8, my goodness. And then her husband says, "I'm going to keep on running for president even though I can stay home and take care of my family, which is the first job of a husband, not to run for politics.
STEPHANIE MILLER, HOST, "THE STEPHANIE MILLER SHOW": Wow! And that's your business how, Lars?
LARSON: Because he chose to make it public.
MILLER: Excuse me, but it must be hard to be on the same side as Rush Limbaugh these days. Really, put your head here and rest.
KING: Much against this, too?
MILLER: You know I mean this is -- to me, Larry, this is beyond the pale. When Rush Limbaugh says he's doing this as a political stunt to boost his political...
KING: Did he say that?
MILLER: Tony Snow had the good grace to say something nice about Elizabeth Edwards last week.
KING: Did Rush say that?
MILLER: Yes, Rush did say that.
And you know I don't know where we're at. You know my dad ran for vice president with Barry Goldwater. I don't know what either of them would think today of a party that produced Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter just called John Edwards a faggot last week. And Rush Limbaugh...
MILLER: ...because Rush Limbaugh politicizes it.
PRAGER: We had a rare reprieve.
MILLER: You know what -- no, no, wait, wait, I asked my listeners to pray for Tony Snow and his family today just like I asked them to pray for Elizabeth Edwards and her family last week.
You know I'm like Obama. I think that we really all want a better kind of politics.
KING: Rush thinks Tony Snow is being political?
MILLER: Not Tony Snow because he's a Republican, apparently.
LARSON: I don't think that Tony Snow is political. What I'm saying is John Edwards' first job is to take care of his family. He has the economic wherewithal, which most Americans do not, to stay home and take care of his family.
KING: I got you.
LARSON: He chose to make this public. And having chosen to make it public right before the March 31 deadline, I believe it is the kind of trick you would expect from a cheap, low-lying...
MILLER: How is that your business to decide something so personal for somebody? He's an inspiration to millions of Americans.
LARSON: No, he's not.
MILLER: What, you think most people should just go home and die?
LARSON: No, not at all. Not at all.
MILLER: This is their life's dream together.
KING: All right, let's move on.
KING: Should Gonzales resign?
PRAGER: I don't think he should resign even though Charles Krauthammer, whom I tend to agree with, has called for his resignation. There is something almost Orwellian here. When Bill Clinton became president, he fired all 93 U.S. attorneys.
KING: A lot of presidents do that.
PRAGER: Yes, exactly. And pretty much, that was it.
PRAGER: Well, nobody ever said...
KING: But not all 93 get fired.
PRAGER: That's right. Well, what Bill Clinton did was, in fact, unique. Nobody fired all of them at once.
MILLER: Yes, Reagan...
PRAGER: He did. No, Reagan did not. But in any event -- I'll show it to you. I have the data right here. But, in any event...
MILLER: Yes, every new president that comes in fires... PRAGER: No, that's not true. President Carter didn't do it and Reagan didn't do it.
KING: Some presidents fire their entire cabinet and then rehire some and not others.
PRAGER: That's right. But in any event, George W. Bush didn't do it. He did eight this late in his tenure as a president. And for this, he's getting flak from people who gave no flak to Bill Clinton for doing it to 93 at once.
KING: Ed Schultz, what do you make of it?
SCHULTZ: Well, there's a couple of things here, Larry. First of all, when you look at the situation that's unfolding, the Democrats aren't on the hunt to get anybody. What they're on the hunt for is the truth.
And now that you've got an underling or associate or assistant, whatever you want to call Monica Goodling -- I didn't know we were going to have another Monica in Washington, but I guess we do. Now that she has come out and pleaded the Fifth, this, of course, is going to open up a whole Pandora's Box. What is she protecting?
And Dennis, I think I should remind you that Bill Clinton didn't have anybody go to Capitol Hill and plead the Fifth. Why is she doing that? That's the question. This is going to open up more questions than it is answers.
PRAGER: Yes, that's the answer. And she said that was the reason.
MILLER: Scooter Libby?
PRAGER: Yes, Scooter Libby because...
MILLER: Oh, Scooter Libby got trapped in...
PRAGER: Yes, that is exactly correct. No, no not Scooter Libby.
SCHULTZ: Scooter Libby was trapped over obstruction of justice and was also convicted of lying.
PRAGER: Oh, all right. Well, that's the point. You can get anybody on lying. One talk show host told me at what time...
SCHULTZ: This is democracy at work, Dennis.
KING: OK, hold it, guys. Let me get a break in. And we'll ask what Lars..
SCHULTZ: This is democracy at work. KING: ...Let me ask what Lars think, and we'll get a break. And back with our very, very low-key, subtle panel right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no doubt that what has happened has had a very chilling effect on the United States attorneys.
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Unfortunately, the attorney general is dealing with a cloud hanging over his credibility, and the president is going to have to deal with that.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: But he has been wounded. He's going to have to come to the Senate and re-establish his credibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not carry a gun in the capitol complex and I did not give the weapon to Phillip Thompson. And that's all, I think -- we had three cars with one Friday that were being moved about because of my trip. And that is probably a reason that this inadvertent situation developed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We'll get to Senator Webb's story in a while.
Lars Larson, what's your thought on the Gonzales thing?
LARSON: I think Gonzales ought to be fired for not enforcing the nation's immigration laws. But he shouldn't be fired over the U.S. attorneys. The one in Washington State failed to investigate obvious fraud in the last election that elected a democrat governor on the third count. But these U.S. attorneys serve at the president's pleasure. And he has a right to fire them at any time he wants for any reason he wants.
SCHULTZ: So why plead the Fifth, Lars?
LARSON: You plead the Fifth?
SCHULTZ: Why plead the Fifth? Well, why is Goodling going to plead the Fifth and not tell everything she knows? Explain that one.
LARSON: I think there are times where both the president and the attorney general have to have the ability to talk with their staffs and keep that private.
SCHULTZ: She's not the attorney general. She's not the attorney general. The fact is there are other people...
KING: One at a time.
SCHULTZ: All right.
LARSON: If she believes she's committed a crime or is involved in a crime, she has a right to plead the Fifth. I don't know what the crime is.
SCHULTZ: Well, don't you want to find out?
MILLER: By the way -- yes, Lars, that's not suspicious at all. But one would not take the Fifth if one is not prepared to lie. I mean come on, it's Tuesday and that means Alberto Gonzales has said something again that doesn't match what someone else has said the day before.
KING: The protection against self-incrimination is a very important aspect in the U.S. Constitution.
LARSON: It is very important but the fact is these U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. Read the Constitution.
MILLER: Once again, this is the fifth story Alberto Gonzales has told.
PRAGER: He has mishandled it. But the larger issue really is that the president does have the right.
Look, take the attorney in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, Mike, Nifong. What he did with the lacrosse players is disgusting, is really horrible.
SCHULTZ: That has nothing to do with this, Dennis.
PRAGER: No, no, what it has to do with is the fact that we have the right to fire -- a president has the right to fire U.S. attorneys.
SCHULTZ: Dennis, do you think Alberto Gonzales is telling the truth? Dennis, do you think Alberto Gonzales is telling the truth?
PRAGER: I have no idea. That wasn't the issue here. The issue here was...
SCHULTZ: It is the issue. It is the issue.
PRAGER: No, no, that's true. Correct. But I don't know why. And I'm giving you an honest answer. All I know is what President Clinton did. MILLER: President Clinton -- pardon me, but people testified under oath because we had to find out who was paying the postage for Sock's fan mail.
KING: Aid to Senator Jim Webb arrested today. Phillip Thompson has plead not guilty to a felony count of carrying a pistol without a license. How big a story is this, Stephanie?
MILLER: Larry, you can't say that we Democrats are not pro-gun. My friend, Ed Schultz over there is a hunter. If any of you were in season right now, he would take you out with one shot.
KING: Well, what do you make of it?
SCHULTZ: No, I'm not Dick Cheney, don't say that, Stephanie.
MILLER: Only if you...
SCHULTZ: Come on now.
MILLER: ....if you were provoked.
SCHULTZ: Look, I'm excited that there's a Democrat on Capitol Hill that's got a firearm and is defending it legally. It was gays, guns and God in the last election. Now, we've got rid of one of the "g" words. I'm pretty fired up about that.
KING: Well, Webb has a concealed weapon permit in Virginia. He carries it concealed.
LARSON: Yes, but not in the District, not in the District.
KING: Where does this go, Lars?
LARSON: Well, it's going -- I wish they would investigate the Congressman because he's carrying in the District and that's still illegal. It ought to be overturned. I carry a gun every day but I carry it legally. Apparently, Democrats don't have to follow the law.
But I mean if he's carry illegally in the District, you know you should look at whether or not he's going to claim congressional immunity.
SCHULTZ: Lars, how could you put a former Marine in jail overnight? How can you support the troops like that?
LARSON: Former Marines still have to obey the law.
(CROSSTALK) MILLER: Let me just say I've heard your show you and I can see why you carry a gun.
KING: We'll be back with more and we'll have the end of it.
Dennis Prager starts on the weapon. Don't go away.
KING: Mr. Prager, do you know why Mr. Webb has the license to carry a gun?
PRAGER: I think a lot of people have licenses to carry guns that would shock a lot of their voters. I know there was a very liberal anti-gun columnist for "The Washington Post," who an intruder came into his house and he shot at him and people were stunned. The guy had been an anti-gun advocate. And Washington, D.C. has the most stringent laws in the country...
KING: Yes, very.
PRAGER: ...and the greatest crime rate in the country. But, of course, to some those are not correlating factors.
KING: Could you get it if Webb had a threat on his life ever? Could that get you a gun?
PRAGER: I don't know if that can -- in Washington, D.C., it's very, very hard to get a gun.
KING: He's in Virginia.
PRAGER: He's in Virginia. It's much easier to get a gun in Virginia than in Washington D.C. And I'll bet, unfortunately, it is not uncommon today to have threats on your life. Anybody who has Internet access could send a threat.
KING: What's the biggest issue on your program today, Ed?
SCHULTZ: The biggest issue has been the last week is Alberto Gonzales and the attorney general.
KING: I just want to get a snapshot here.
Lars, what's the biggest on yours?
LARSON: All the anti-war protesters who defecated on American flags, burned flags and burned soldiers in effigy in the streets of Portland, Oregon.
KING: That happened?
LARSON: Yes, sir.
KING: I didn't know that.
LARSON: It sure did.
KING: Stephanie, what's the biggest on your show?
MILLER: I would say Alberto Gonzales and the House and Senate today standing up to the president and fulfilling the wishes of 70 percent of the American people to get us out of this war.
KING: And Dennis thinks a big issue that we haven't covered nor have we discussed nor have I heard discussed in depth anywhere is Britain and Iran.
PRAGER: It's astonishing to me. It is by far -- it dwarves every other issue we have discussed, every other issue. Iran has made a war against Britain. And there is no reaction. This is the single greatest issue in the world.
KING: Britain has reacted.
PRAGER: Yes. Prime Minister Blair is annoyed.
KING: Not only -- well, because the defense Iran is offering is that they were in their territory.
PRAGER: Of course they are. But no, we have proof that they were in Iraqi waters and not Iranian waters. This was an act of war and nothing is happening.
KING: Now why do you think nothing has happened?
PRAGER: Because the west has become wimps. That's the reason. This is what we so worry about in the world today.
KING: Why do you laugh, Ed?
SCHULTZ: Because we got to have diplomacy. Why are we afraid to talk to the Iranians? Why are we afraid to talk to the Syrians? It may be an act of war but the Brits have got to deal with it first.
Dennis, you got to be honest about this. The fact is that Tony Blair is trying to do something diplomatically about this. He's got to take the lead with his troops. The United States can't take the lead for the British.
PRAGER: I didn't say the U.S. should. I said Tony Blair, unfortunately, has reacted...
SCHULTZ: It's an act of war against who, against the west? Is this an act of war against the west?
PRAGER: No, it's against Britain and it's against...
(CROSSTALK) KING: What do you think, Stephanie?
MILLER: You have to give them a break. This war presently in Iraq is going so badly, they're anxious to get on to our next war because why not.
KING: Lars, why what do you think?
LARSON: You know I don't want to pick a fight with Iran and create a shooting war that would close the Gulf and have tankers sinking in the Gulf. On the other hand, diplomacy and negotiating with people who have already announced their intent to destroy Israel and the United States, how do you negotiate with people like that?
KING: Thank you all very much...
SCHULTZ: Well, I'll tell you how you negotiate with them; you go over there and talk to them. You go over there and find out exactly where they...
KING: Lars Larson, Stephanie Miller, Dennis Prager and Ed Schultz, they are never dull.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com