Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
CBS Fires Don Imus; Interview With Elizabeth Edwards
Aired April 12, 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, Don Imus is off the air completely. Today, CBS fired him from his radio show over his racial remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. One day after his TV simulacast was canceled. Meanwhile tonight, Imus meets with the Rutgers women's team.
We've got reaction to all of this from tennis star Serena Williams. She was the target of some nasty remarks by a sports writer on Imus' show several years ago; the Reverend Al Sharpton, who met with CBS today before they fired him; Court TV's Ashleigh Banfield, target of offensive comments by a former MSNBC host while she worked there; and actress Della Reese, and more.
And then, Elizabeth Edwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOHN EDWARDS: John was saying that last week, people asked him how I was doing and he said, "She's cancer-free." It turned out not to be the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Her first live prime time interview since announcing her breast cancer is back, it's spread and it's not curable.
How are she, her husband and children dealing with this life- changing news?
It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Imus is now out of work.
We begin discussing this with Serena Williams, the tennis superstar, multiple major tournament winner. Her sister Venus is also a major tennis star. She was the victim of negative comments on the Imus show by a sports reporter in 2001.
In New York is Ashleigh Banfield, the Court TV anchor who was the target of offensive comments by the former MSNBC host, Michael Savage, when she worked at that network, and she's been a frequent guest on the Imus show.
What was your first reaction to all of this, Serena?
SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS STAR: Well, my first reaction was I couldn't really believe that this was actually something that was allowed to be said on air. And not only that, I just think that it was -- these girls had done so well and their efforts to do so well in this championship was -- is kind of overlooked by the comments that Imus said.
KING: But they've come back strong, haven't they?
Those girls now have a tremendous image in this country.
WILLIAMS: They have. They've come back strong. They reacted well. You know, I think they've had some great support and it's good for them to have this good support because, you know, they need it. And they are positive girls and they seem to have positive images. And, most of all, they're really young and you have to imagine someone at this age shouldn't have to withstand such comments.
KING: Ashleigh, what was your first reaction?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, COURT TV ANCHOR: Here we go again, unfortunately. And at the same time, I thought I'm sorry for Don Imus. I liked him. I always worked well with him. At the same time, I was disappointed frequently in the things that he said, the way that he said those things.
But I think it's a bigger picture here, Larry. The discourse in cable and on radio is devolving pretty quickly in America. Maybe this is a big check and balance.
KING: Is Imus just what -- could we say -- a very complex person?
BANFIELD: I think to say the least. That would be putting it mildly. I don't think anyone will disagree with that. But you can be complex and you can be acerbic and you can be entertaining. You don't have to cross the line. You don't have to hurt people to the depth that he has.
KING: I'll tell you what happened to Serena. She was the subject of very offensive comments made on the Imus show by Sid Rosenberg during a sports segment in 2001.
Rosenberg, who was the sportscaster for Imus, said the Williams' sisters were too muscular. "They're boys," he said. Rosenberg also said the sisters had a better chance of appearing nude for "National Geographic" than for "Playboy."
What did you think when you heard that?
Now, Imus declared him a moron when he said it, in all fairness to Don.
WILLIAMS: Well, I think, honestly, I don't -- as I've said in most of my interviews, I don't really read the papers and I...
KING: But you knew about this?
WILLIAMS: Yes, obviously I knew about that. But this is the very reason why I don't, is because of comments like this. They're just -- they're really just outrageous. In 2001, at the time, it puts me at, you know, 18, 19 years old. And to take a shot at a teenager is unacceptable and it's just -- quite frankly, it's outrageous.
KING: Michael -- what did Michael Savage, who is outrageous as a radio talk show host, what did he say about you, Ashleigh? And what did the network do?
BANFIELD: He called me a slut and a porn star, and a couple of other choice things, like the accomplice to the killing of Jewish children, I think. And I was watching. I was working at the network at the time. And so I -- my first reaction was I don't think you can say that in the hallway of a workplace to your work colleague, let alone live over the airwaves.
And so I marched down the hall to the president of NBC News at the time, who is no longer there. And I asked for some action. I said an apology, something, anything.
And I was sort of summarily dismissed and told that I was being the equivalent of a nuisance. So nothing happened. Absolutely nothing happened.
And I will say this, Larry, that the first person I encountered in the hallway after that was Steve Capus, who is now the president of NBC News. And he hugged me. He took me into his office and he told me that this was a terrible injustice and it shouldn't have happened.
So I think he is doing something he truly believes in. He believes in his employees and how they feel about this. And I think when he says he canvassed them to ask what he should do, he meant it, and he did.
KING: Serena, do you think these things are said just for shock?
WILLIAMS: You know, I don't think these things are said just for shock. I think these things are said sometimes out of ignorance. Maybe you don't -- they don't really understand what they're saying. And maybe they're just saying it because deep down maybe that's just the way they feel.
But I think it's a little bit of both. I think it's the fact that I'm going to say this comment, but I'm not exactly sure what it means, but it seems cool. It seems -- it seems like it's going to be funny. It seems like it's going to get a laugh. When in all actuality, there's no humor to it at all.
KING: Ashleigh, do you think Michael Savage meant that about you?
BANFIELD: Oh, yes, I do. I think he had a pretty mean spirit. And nothing happened when -- when that was said about me, but just several months later, it took him calling a gay caller -- or telling a gay caller to get AIDS and die for the network to -- to finally take action and fire him.
He sounds very intelligent.
BANFIELD: Yes. I think you can say that he hasn't had a lot of popularity after those kinds of comments. But, you know, it just goes to show you that, again, some people dance to the line and other people -- other people just bust right through it, like bulls in china shops.
And that's where we have to watch ourselves. I police myself every day on the air. I try to be very careful about what I do. And at the same time, I try to entertain and I try to stimulate and foster interesting conversation and opinion.
But you've got to watch yourself. You've got to be careful. You've got to be respectful.
KING: Serena, do you think this might tend to improve race relations in this country, by just -- by the fact that we're talking about it?
WILLIAMS: You know what?
I think it is. I think it's hard to say. I think this is a step in the right direction. And we, as a people, have come a long ways. And, you know, we're going to continue to try to make those steps forward. And if we were just to sit back and just let anything happen, then, you know, people could continue to make such derogatory comments.
But I think it's important to come out and speak your feelings and talk about it.
KING: We'll take a break and come back. And Serena and Ashleigh will remain with us. And we'll be joined by Bo Dietl, James Carville and the Reverend Al Sharpton. By the way, Sharpton met with the head of CBS today, just before they fired Imus.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON IMUS, TALK SHOW HOST: I'm a good person, but I said a bad thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY NBC)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Tonight, he remains under heavy fire because of what he said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY CBS) KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS: There will be no "Imus In The Morning" tomorrow morning. CBS today fired nationally syndicated radio host Don Imus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY WFAN RADIO)
DON IMUS, TALK SHOW HOST: I'm not whining about this, but we wouldn't be here had I not said it....These bastards went after me. They got me. But they didn't catch me asleep.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was Imus this morning on WFAN.
Serena Williams, the winner of 28 singles titles, remains with us; as does Ashleigh Banfield.
We're joined now by Reverend Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist who called for CBS to fire Don Imus, who, indeed, met with Les Moonves, the head of CBS, today; Bo Dietl, the chairman of Bo Dietl & Associates, a friend of Don's, a frequent guest on his show; and James Carville, CNN political analyst and Democratic strategist.
Here's part of the statement released by Les Moonves today: "This is about a lot more than Imus. A lot has been widely pointed out. Imus has been visited by presidents, senators, important authors, journalists from across the political spectrum. He's flourished in a culture that permits a certain level of objectionable expression that hurts and demeans a wide range of people. In taking him off the air, I believe we take an important and necessary step not just in solving a unique problem, but in changing that culture which extends far beyond the walls of our company."
When you met with him today, Al Sharpton, did Les Moonves tell you he was going to fire him?
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: No, he didn't. There was a -- a wide range of us in the meeting -- Kim Gandy from NOW, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Marc Morial.
He listened. We were very direct, very blunt, because this was about sexism and racism on the airways. This is not about Don Imus. I don't think the issue is to tear down Mr. Imus. It's to really lift up a standard in America that protects people on federally regulated airways.
And I think he understood after a while that's what we said. NBC understood it yesterday. I think they came forward. I think that, also, we have to give a lot of credit to the National Association of Black Journalists, who first raised this, and to those women and blacks in NBC and CBS who, at risk of making the culture difficult for them, went to their bosses and said... KING: Yes.
SHARPTON: ... I don't want to be identified with this.
KING: Bo, is...
SHARPTON: Bruce Gordon on the board.
KING: Bo Dietl, to your knowledge, is Imus still meeting with the Rutgers team?
BO DIETL, CHAIRMAN, BO DIETL & ASSOCIATES: Well, this afternoon he left for it and it's obvious that everyone knows about it now.
But he went over there to meet with them. We heard what happened to the governor, who was in a serious accident.
KING: I know.
DIETL: He was airlifted out.
And he went to meet with the families and also the coach and all that.
Now, the thing that I'm a little upset about is that there was an agreement made by CBS Radio that they were going to let him finish his telethon.
We're in the middle of a radiothon raising money for children with cancer. They could have fired him at the end of the radiothon, but they fired him today. That's in the middle of raising money for cancer.
And what upsets me is that Mr. -- the head of CBS, Mr. Les Moonves...
DIETL: ... wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt. He was going off the air after the show tomorrow at 10:00. We had a two week suspension. At this time right now, I can tell you, effectively, I've talked with the Reverend Floyd Flake, who beat me for the United States Congress, one of the most respected men in the black community. I have spoken to people, ministers from New Jersey, including mayors from New Jersey, black mayors.
What I wanted to do was to use this for a strength to develop that this will never happen again. We bring people's ideas behind it.
But to slice off this thing so fast without discussing the issue, every racist out there -- real racist, not Don Imus -- real racists out there now are getting energy to have hate in their mind and in their thoughts.
KING: All right... DIETL: We have -- I know what the reverend says about Don Imus. It doesn't make any difference what he did. But you tell the families that are coming back now with a half a million dollars worth of death benefits. You tell the kids with autism, the families of the kids with autism that now have a bill, you tell the amputees that I was with them in San Antonio that he helps these people.
I agree what he said was disgusting, Al, the worst thing I ever heard. And if you say that to my daughter, I'd knock you on your butt.
But the point is we have to reflect and we have to try to heal.
KING: All right, let me get another thought in.
James Carville, what do you make of what CBS did?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, you know, it's done. And I've been on Don's show. I was on there this week. And what's done is done. He's a guy in his mid-'60s and he -- I think he has con -- more contributions to make. He's a man that said a remarkably stupid thing.
But to be fair to Don, he's done some remarkably good things. And I think for him and the people that know him, we have to find out how to go on from here, and he does, is how he can continue to do some remarkably good things and never say anything this remarkably stupid.
And I'm not -- I do know -- and there were a lot of people that felt this way, and not just Al, but real close friends of mine -- (inaudible) like Michael Wilburn and Clarence Page and Gwen Ifill. And this is a decision that's been made.
But I, for one, believe that Don is -- has a really good side to him. I think he has a -- he has a contribution that he can make. I mean, that -- the way (inaudible) -- he is a guy in his mid-'60s. I mean, I'm 62. I think he's got -- I think we have to figure out a way...
KING: All right...
CARVILLE: ... to keep him to keep doing these good things that he's doing and to learn and let us all profit from this.
KING: Serena, should...
CARVILLE: But there's people who felt very strongly about this.
KING: Serena, should his career be over?
WILLIAMS: You know, I can't answer that. I think he's done a lot of good things. I mean he's done a lot of great charities. And I think that this should by no means stop him from continuing to do good things.
KING: What do you think, Ashleigh? Should he deserve a chance somewhere?
BANFIELD: Everybody deserves a second chance. I think Don Imus is a very powerful force and if he comes back and tries to use this for the betterment of society and perhaps create a new foundation, give certain monies to charities that he hasn't given to before because perhaps he hasn't thought of it before, yes, I think he can have a tremendous effect.
The other thing is I've got to say that being wrong is one thing. It hurts if you're the victim of this stuff. But it hurts doubly when no one has your back.
So I think the actions of CBS and the actions of NBC will help to heal this. I think actions going forward by Don Imus could also help immensely to heal this.
DIETL: Larry, Larry, let me say something to Serena. As soon as Sid made that disgusting remark about you, he was fired off that show. Don Imus had him taken off that show because that was a disgusting remark.
All I have to say is I would want to try to build the power that Don Imus has with all these senators, all these corporate heads, why can't we build together and see what we did wrong?
Again, these young ladies that worked for that championship did not deserve, by anybody, to take them down like that. I was angry when I realized who he was talking about -- these innocent little ladies there that worked their way up to the national championship.
KING: I've got to take a break...
DIETL: But why not build on something...
KING: ... Bo.
Al Sharpton, I'll see you in New York.
Thanks for joining us.
When we come...
SHARPTON: Happy anniversary, Larry.
KING: Yes, thank you, Al.
When we come back, Della Reese will join us.
Up next, should Imus be cut any slack for all the good deeds?
Minister Reese has a word or two to say.
And Oprah spoke to the Rutgers coach and players today. She'll be our guest, Oprah, on Monday night.
Have a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "OPRAH," COURTESY HARP PRODUCTIONS)
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: Do you think that the fact that you all worked so hard and tried so hard and were so victorious has been overlooked in this whole process?
KIA VAUGHN, RUTGERS SOPHOMORE: Definitely. I think exactly what Essence said, you know, our moment was stolen from us. Instead of us coming here to enjoy what we accomplished and, you know, how far we came, we had to sit back and, you know, look at media asking questions about what he said instead of how did you feel, how was this experience, and you know, willing to be great for next year (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are now joined, in addition to the rest of the panel, by Della Reese, the actress, minister and founder of underlying principles for better living, the upchurch, as we call it, one of the great singers ever.
You've been dealing with racism a long time.
What do you make of all of this?
DELLA REESE, ACTRESS, MINISTER: I'm tired of it. I'm just absolutely tired. Every time you feel like you have some understanding, something like this comes up and gives those people who need a spokesman somebody else to say something stupid for them. And then the others who have been sitting waiting rally around and we're back where we always started.
It's been since I was this child's age. I would have thought by now it would have been over. All the things we've been through, all the things that we've accomplished that demand respect, we still don't get respect.
KING: Does Mr. Dietl have a point, though, in that -- and you're a minister -- does Mr. Imus deserve forgiveness?
REESE: Well, you have to forgive. Forgiveness is what Christ says for us to do...
REESE: ... to forgive. If he could hang on the cross with the nails and the sword in his side and he could forgive, there is no excuse for us not forgiving.
But we have to do something to get rid of it. It makes me feel like Moses going through the wilderness. It's like everybody's got to die before we're going to get to a place where we can step into the promised land. We have so much here in America. We should not be stopped for one moment with this kind of nothingness. We should be building things. It's wonderful that he helps the children and that he gives money for people with cancer. That's marvelous.
But that doesn't allow you a chance to set a whole race of people back.
KING: Bo, do you agree?
DIETL: Della, I'm a big fan of yours. I love your singing and I love your acting. I think you're truly an American hero.
I really believe that this -- what happened with Don Imus, the words that came out of his mouth are heard every day in this garbage music that's allowed to be on our airways. This could be the president's -- no schoolyard in America -- elementary, middle or high school -- should have to hear this vernacular going across the schoolyard...
REESE: I absolutely agree...
DIETL: ... when you talk to young ladies.
REESE: ... with you. I absolutely agree with you...
DIETL: And, Della, I'd like Imus...
REESE: ... on that particular point.
DIETL: I'd like, Della...
REESE: But with -- just a minute now.
KING: One at a time.
DIETL: I'm sorry.
REESE: With hip-hop and stuff like that, you choose to listen to that. We didn't choose to hear this gentleman --
DIETL: Well, I have a seven...
REESE: ... say what he said.
DIETL: I have a 17-year-old daughter that listens to it every day and I don't choose to listen to it.
My point is this could open up a venue as far as us to go in the right direction for our youth...
KING: All right, do you...
DIETL: ... for all our youth. And I think it should be dealt with.
KING: James Carville, do you think that can happen? Can this be a bad that turns to good?
CARVILLE: Well, I mean I think it depends on what people do with it. And I think people do have an opportunity to do this. I agree with Ms. Reese that, you know, people would have hoped -- and I'm 62 and, you know, grew up in Louisiana in the -- but in the '50s and '60s, so it's obviously something I'm familiar with.
And I do -- I would say to Ms. Reese, I think that young people are really much more tolerant than I could ever imagine. I know I see it in my own children.
I hope that -- I hope that some good comes of this and I hope that -- I'll make the point I made earlier, I think this is an opportunity for Don to do -- to continue his good work without saying the stupid things that he said.
And, but I think people can take this and make -- and try to make something good out of it.
KING: Ashleigh, who will give him the opportunity?
BANFIELD: Oh, boy. That's a tough one. I don't know. It just really depends on what kind of work he does leading up to that potential opportunity. But everybody loves a comeback, Larry. And, you know, it just takes a little time sometimes for the healing. So perhaps we need the healing first, then the opportunity second.
KING: You think he'll get a shot somewhere, Serena?
WILLIAMS: You know, it's really hard to say. I think I agree with Ashleigh, sometimes it, you know, it takes time for the healing process and, you know, we -- you just have to wait and see. I honestly can't answer that.
KING: Bo, do you know when that meeting will end?
KING: Is it still going on, to your knowledge?
DIETL: No. But I think it's very important to realize the victims of this were those young ladies, those beautiful young ladies. We'd -- I'd like to know what he said, what they feel, if they give him forgiveness or not. They were the ones that were victimized, not Al Sharpton, not everyone else. They were the ones that were victimized, those lovely young ladies.
And I'd like to know what happened there tonight before you start chopping heads off. Maybe they gave him forgiveness. If those young ladies were able to give forgiveness and they were the targets of this terrible language, then I think we should try to understand how we make things better.
Let's go in the right direction and build instead of taking apart.
KING: All right, Della?
REESE: What about the little girl that didn't play and was at the television, who doesn't have much self-worth feelings for herself?
DIETL: It's disgraceful, Della.
REESE: And she hears this man on television who has this great position and he says that these athletes that she admires are whores?
What about her, that we don't get to hear about her?
We don't get to talk to her. We don't get to know how she feels. I know as a child, some of the things that were said about the people hurt me and I carried that with me for years, you see?
And so it's important for people who are in the public's eye to -- and have as much power as a radio station or a television station, to speak to that they consider the people other than themselves, those people who never get a chance to speak up and already have enough problems without that.
KING: Thank you very much.
Ashleigh, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
BANFIELD: Thanks, Larry.
KING: Thank you.
And Bo Dietl, we'll see you again soon.
Thanks so much.
DIETL: Happy anniversary.
Thank you very much.
KING: Thank you, Bo.
When we come back, can any of what Don Imus said be blamed on segments of the African-American community?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY WFAN RADIO)
IMUS: I did a bad thing, but I'm a good person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIVIAN STRINGER, RUTGERS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM COACH: My team and I did nothing to deserve neither Mr. Imus nor Mr. McGuirk's deplorable comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
B. WILLIAMS: Last night, we announced he lost his television job on MSNBC. Tonight, CBS has announced Don Imus is out of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We are joined in New York now by Dr. Robin L. Smith, motivational speaker, best known as a contributor to the "Oprah" program, hosts an X.M. radio show of her own, and author of "Lies At The Altar."
Dr. Smith, is this more than Don Imus?
DR. ROBIN L. SMITH, PSYCHOLOGIST, BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: It's a whole lot more, Larry, than Don Imus.
When I thought about this -- and I've been listening to tonight's show and the news -- that the real issue is this. You're trying to put a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. And what really needs to happen here is that we see this as a systematic issue.
And what I mean by that is, Larry, when you go to the ATM machine and you try to withdraw money, how do you take money out that you haven't put in?
And so what came out of Don Imus is the same thing that was put in him. But if we make this just about Don Imus, then we miss the real learning opportunity that says, you know what, this is also about you and about me. It's about the ways in which healing needs to happen. But it can't happen, as Miss Reese said, unless you begin to deal with what's happening at the root.
Cancer, if someone has cancer, what do you do? You don't just skim the surface of the issue. You go in, you go to the core of the sickness and you take the whole thing out.
KING: What about, Della, the responsibility of the African- American community to push back on the hip-hop artists and the like?
REESE: We want to do that.
KING: Does that play a part?
REESE: We're trying to do that. We initiated that with the young people and initiated that because they had no other music to go into. And we've been trying to stop it for 20 years. Hip-hop didn't start this morning. We have been trying to stop it -- not stop them from doing it, but change the lyrics, have them say some nice things about women.
KING: Do you think it'll work?
REESE: We're working on it. It's much better. It used to be from beginning to end, it used to be about how low and how dirty we were and how nothing we were. Now it comes up after a rhyme.
KING: Do you still face racism when you play?
WILLIAMS: Yes, there's definitely some -- I just had a heckler not too long ago in Miami where I faced a guy saying some obscene things to me in the crowd that just -- I had never heard before and it was just outrageous. As the Doctor said, it's just like putting a band-aid over a wound that we just really have to correct the problem from the start.
KING: James, you grew up in Louisiana. How did you overcome the burden of what must have been a racist youth?
CARVILLE: Well, I mean, of course, I mean -- where I grew up, Larry, it was -- I would say 85 percent African-American. And it was -- we also in Carville, Louisiana, where I grew up, the home with a center for the treatment of Hansen's disease. We referred to it -- most people would know it as biblical leprosy. So it was a different kind of life, but race was the dominant issue in the south then.
I think at least my children don't have to grow up with that harping, constant issue of conversation. I agree with Della, it is that these things crop up is a shame that we have this time.
But you know I hope that we do go -- I say -- I want to be clear about one thing, when I say Don has more things he can do in his life, maybe it might not even be in radio. I mean there are other things that he can do. But I think each person hopefully parents and people will use this as a learning opportunity and to provoke a discussion that we need to have. At least that's my hope.
KING: Dr. Smith, doesn't Imus deserve another chance?
SMITH: Well, it's interesting, Larry, when you say "another chance." You know, when I think about that, another chance means that he would really get the lesson about what he did, what the issues really were. And what I've heard from him is a rebuttal. It reminds me of when parents want to bring their kids to my office and fix my child. Now, I don't want to come to therapy. I don't want to work out my stuff. I want you to fix them.
This is what's happening with Don Imus. He is a product of us. And when I say us, of a country that has a hole in its soul. And until we deal with the fact that Don Imus and, you know, the comedian Richard, who, you know, was making the racial slurs, and the list unfortunately is so long. We are producing -- this country is nurturing a level of hatred and of really an imbalance about what it means to share power, what dignity and respect really looks like. And so to defy Imus, and I think he needs to be held accountable, I think when he's still saying, well, you know, rappers are using the "n" word and that sounds to me like someone who has no clue, no internal soul place that said to him what I did was simply and profoundly injurious and wrong.
KING: Della, do you expect -- and the meeting is apparently still going on -- do you expect the Rutgers team to be forgiving?
REESE: No. I hope they will be forgiving, but there's that spot inside of you, when somebody has said this kind of thing about you, it lives in there. And they'll carry that for a while. I was looking at the young lady who said we don't deserve this at all. She never should have had to say that. So it must have had some effect on her, some effect that we're not seeing right at this moment
KING: You're an athlete, Serena. What kind of affect do you think it does have?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think if anything it should motivate them to work harder. I mean whenever I've ran into any problems, it's motivated me, you know, to do better and prove everyone wrong and just to be not only a better athlete but a better person so I can motivate other individuals who might have to go through the same thing. Unfortunately, like this basketball team and the other young children can learn from the positive they did from it and not, you know, stoop into anyone's level.
KING: Are you optimistic, Della?
REESE: I'm optimistic about our people. I'm optimistic about the black race becoming a better race than it is and doing better things than it is. But I'm not optimistic when all of the power, of communication, is in the hands of people who still have that old slavery plantation situation in their minds.
KING: Thank you, all, so much for an illuminating 45 minutes: Dr. Robin Smith, Della Reese, Serena Williams, James Carville and our guests earlier.
Up next, the woman who could be America's next first lady, Elizabeth Edwards, in her first primetime interview since she announced her cancer is back and incurable.
But first, we're in the middle of our suspender sweepstakes. Take a look at last night's question and we'll give you the answer when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Why did that show work because it was about nothing? It really wasn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Next week, CNN is kicking off a week long celebration of my 50 years in broadcasting. And this week you get a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles to see my show live and an autographed pair of my suspenders in "Larry King's Suspender Sweepstakes." How? Each night we'll run a clip from one of my most memorable shows. I ask the question, you figure out who the question is for and then you go to CNN.com/LarryKing50. Correctly identify the guest; you have a shot at winning the trip and the suspenders. You have until tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern to enter. So let's roll tonight's clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Can you tell us why you didn't sit in the back of the bus that day?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Want to see it again? Here you go. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Can you tell us why you didn't sit in the back of the bus that day?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Think you know who the guest was? Go to CNN.com/LarryKing50 and enter now.
And last night's guest was Jerry Seinfeld. Congratulations to the winners.
We now welcome Elizabeth Edwards to LARRY KING LIVE. It's always good having her with us. She's in Des Moines, Iowa.
Before we get into other relative things, the new "Time" magazine cover out tomorrow will be titled "Who Can Say What, What The Imus Implosion Tells us About The Boundaries of Acceptable Talk." What's your thoughts on all of this?
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOHN EDWARDS' WIFE: I think that's actually a pretty good title. We see on shock radio, sometimes in the blogosphere, people trying to get more and more attention for themselves by saying outrageous things. And that crosses the line of decency and we need to be reminded every once in a while there are places, boundaries, for civil conversation that we can't cross.
KING: Did you or your husband go on the Imus show?
EDWARDS: John has been on it. I've never been on it. They've talked about me a little bit, not always in a flattering way. But I've never been on the show.
KING: Do you think he got the right deal?
EDWARDS: You know it's really hard for me to know. Honestly, you know, I've gotten that sort of headlines from it. I hope they made a decision based on what they thought was right and not just a market decision about the implications of it. But maybe it's a good lesson for all of us that both the bounds of decency and also a lesson about -- we still have a lot of work to do on race relations that maybe -- maybe we thought these issues were behind us and they're clearly not.
KING: Alright it's been three weeks now, Elizabeth, since you and your husband announced to the world that the cancer you were first diagnosed with has recurred. How are you feeling physically?
EDWARDS: I feel fine, physically. You know I've got two kids who keep me pretty busy. I was up at 5:00 with them this morning. So if I get worn out, it's probably more likely to be a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old than the recurrence of the cancer. I've had no side effects so far. No symptoms whatsoever.
KING: What treatment are you getting?
EDWARDS: I'm getting a bone strengthener that I take intravenously. It just takes 15 minutes. There's no apparent side effects and I'm taking a drug that is tailored for the kind of cancer I have, that I hope will be enormously successful in reducing it in my body and certainly keeping it under control.
KING: When someone says something you to like "inoperable" or "terminal" or those kinds of words, how do you deal with that?
EDWARDS: Well, I mean you've sort of been in this position too where you face something that's pretty serious.
EDWARDS: The truth is that all of life is terminal. We're all dying some day.
EDWARDS: So that's the prognosis for all of us. But Jonathan Alter said something to me, which was really right, he said, "You know you all are saying that this is incurable. When the real thing you should be saying is it's not curable at the present time" because as we know, the great strides we've made in medicine.
You remember when Magic Johnson made his announcement and we all thought in our heads if we didn't say it out loud, I wonder how long he has to live. It can't be very long, a year, two years. And in truth, what was incurable, maybe it's not -- it's still not curable, but it's completely manageable and he's lived a completely full life ever since that diagnosis. I hope to do the same thing.
KING: What did you make of all of the flack over the fact that your husband continued the campaign?
EDWARDS: Honestly, it didn't bother me for us. We're used to criticism. What it bothered me about was other people who are facing exactly the same kinds of questions we're facing and decide that what they're going to do is embrace their lives. They're going to continue the work that they thought was important yesterday is still important today and will be important tomorrow. And I was fearful that people took that as a criticism of them and the choices they made. For us, you know, it's water off our backs. We're used to criticism.
KING: How is Senator Edwards doing?
EDWARDS: He's doing great. He's been such an unbelievable support to me. You know I think people got a chance to see that when we made the announcement, how strong, how focused he is, how determined. They didn't get to see him in the hospital as I saw him, tender and compassionate, wanting to know, you know, what I needed from him, because he would give me whatever I needed from him. He waited really for me to say what I wanted to do before he said that he agreed that we would continue the campaign. He was extremely -- he couldn't have been a better husband then and every day since then, supportive in every conceivable way. And I think it was a window for the American people to see the kind of decent, strong man that he is.
KING: We'll be back with more of Elizabeth Edwards who is decent and strong herself right after this.
KING: We're back with Elizabeth Edwards.
Are you campaigning all the way with John?
EDWARDS: Well, today I'm not campaigning with John. Today I've been campaigning in Des Moines, Iowa, and in Ames, Iowa, on education, and opening the campaign office here. John, meanwhile, has been in New York and in Florida, doing rallies. I will campaign with him later this week and again next week. I hope to do a lot of campaigning with him honestly. It's more fun that way for me. But we'll also have our separate campaign schedules.
KING: You're opening an office in Des Moines? He's been in Iowa forever.
EDWARDS: Well, so has the office a little bit. But you know it's like they -- you get around to cracking the champagne bottle over the front of the ship. In this case, the ship's probably already made one trip around the world before we got around to doing it
KING: Have you thought that this might, though, affect you, it might tire you, tat this might be a tough ordeal for someone with breast cancer?
EDWARDS: You know I certainly considered the possibility that my schedule would have to be curtailed from what it was in 2004. In the general election, though, I did -- I had an enormously tough schedule. I had four and five events a day, every day, you know, month after month, honestly. If I curtailed and did three or four events instead, I probably would be back where the rest of the pack is in terms of what spouses do. But I don't imagine doing very much restricting my schedule very much. Honestly, I get energized by the crowds. They feed me when I'm in front of them. They emotionally they feed me.
KING: With Tony Snow announcing that his colon cancer her recurred, with Fred Thompson announcing that he has cancer in remission, do you think this might put a new impetus on you with breast cancer, it might put a new impetus on health in this country? EDWARDS: I really hope that's what happens, Larry. There are sort of three things I hope -- three parts of the conversation I hope can happen. One is the need for universal health care because Tony Snow and Fred Thompson and I are going to get great health care. But the truth of the matter is, too many Americans across this country face these exact same diagnoses without the protections we have. So I'm very proud of John and his universal health care plan and maybe the conversation can turn to that.
Maybe also it can turn to the need for cancer research and other medical research that has been so under-funded in the last few years. It used to be that five and 10 grants requested the NIH work were given money. Now it's two and in 10 and existing grants are being cut back. You know those other eight that are being turned down, the answers could be somewhere in there to the problems we face. We need to do it.
And also, lastly, people will think about their own mortality. You know what John and I have decided to do is, you know, try to fight for the things we believed in yesterday, believe in tomorrow for a better country. And we want people across this country to think about -- we know what we're going to do tomorrow, but for them to say what can I do to make this country a better place tomorrow.
KING: In 1970, then President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer.
KING: And he was the only president ever to say it before or since. What happened to that war?
EDWARDS: Well, we've made enormous improvements. I mean the drugs I'm getting today were not available when Richard Nixon declared war on cancer. But a lot of people say, you know, if cancer were a foreign nation, we would have declared war on it again. And maybe the fact that this -- that cancer and high profile people across political lines may draw attention to it again and we can recommit ourselves to finding answers to this disease that threatens so many families and so many lives.
KING: Back with our remaining moments with Elizabeth Edwards right after this.
JOHN EDWARDS, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Both of us are committed to the cause. We're committed to changing this country that we love so much and we have no intention of cowering in the corner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Elizabeth Edwards. How are the children taking all of this? EDWARDS: They're great. They're great with the campaign. They seem to be, you know -- they probably don't understand the full implications of the diagnosis but we've certainly told them the words. And they're really great with the prospect of traveling with us this summer and in the fall campaigning. We're going to bring them with us.
And we'll also -- we'll combination of home school and tutor them -- have a tutor for them so they don't miss out on any school, but also get this great experience that we've had campaigning. So they're actually pretty enthusiastic about it.
KING: You said earlier today, Elizabeth that the 2008 presidential campaign so far has fallen into a cult of personality. What do you mean?
EDWARDS: Well, you know, you've been the victim of this some too. I think with -- in Hollywood, and in the entertainment industry, it's easy for people to fall into this idea of you know I'm interested in every move that Britney Spears makes, you know I want to know about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. And it's really kind of harmless.
But when you're talking about politics and people become obsessed with these little details, it detracts from the real business of politics, the serious business of politics. And I think it's all right in the early stages, but we need to keep pressing. The people in the campaigns need to keep pressing the conversation towards the serious issues, towards global warming, towards finding a solution to the mess in Iraq, to finding answers to the health crisis in this country and making certain our education policy is preparing our next generation of children to have a better life as opposed to a worse life.
So we've got these important issues and while we're talking about personality, we're not talking about those.
KING: What do you say to a woman who might today have been told she has breast cancer?
EDWARDS: There's no reason in the world to start dying early. You have to -- in every step of the fight against this disease, you have to believe you're going to win. You have to experience each day with as much joy as you can and never, ever give up hope until the time when there really is no room whatsoever for hope. Until then, you hold onto it as hard as you possibly can.
KING: Thanks so much, Elizabeth, continued good luck. We'll see you along the trail.
EDWARDS: Absolutely. It's great to talk to you, Larry.
KING: Stay healthy. Elizabeth Edwards is wife of the democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards.
Among my guests tomorrow night, Steve Standard. You know about him, the former sitting manager Largo, Florida fired because he's going to undergo a sex change operation. That's tomorrow night.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com