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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Miners Trapped in Utah; Roe Messner Interview
Aired August 7, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KING: Tonight ...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know whether the miners are alive or dead. Only the lord knows that. We'll know in three days.
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KING: A desperate race against time to reach six men trapped more than three miles inside a collapsed mine. The latest from Utah. Plus, Tammy Faye's last words.
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ROE MESSNER, TAMMY FAYE MESSNER'S HUSBAND: Just before she died, she said ...
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KING: Her grieving husband Roe Messner on what it was like to be there all the way to the end with the larger than life woman whose courage in the face of death amazed us all.
And then Oprah's good health guys. Dr. Emmett Oz and exercise guru Bob Greene together taking your calls all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Good evening. We'll get to Roe Messner and Oprah's health and fitness gurus in a minute but first to Utah and the ongoing drama of six miners trapped underground. The race against time started in the very early hours yesterday morning. There's still hope tonight, but at the same time bad news from the mine's owner Bob Murray. Take a look and listen at part of what Murray said just moments ago.
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ROBERT MURRAY, MINE OWNER: What has happened on the bad news side is that we continue to have aftershocks from the earthquake. The seismic activity and the tectonic forces that are resulting from that underground have totally shut down our rescue efforts underground, but, unfortunately, all the work that we have done since yesterday morning, and you being here with me, was wiped out by this seismic and tectonic activity underground. We are back to square one underground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Joining us in Canyon View Junior High School in Huntington, Utah is our reporter Ted Rowlands. Also in Huntington is Allyn Davis, director of the Denver Regional Office for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, that's MSHA and on the phone from Buckhannon, West Virginia is Greg Phillips, a former West Virginia miner, former mine supervisor who lost a cousin in the Sago Mine disaster early last year. Ted, I guess we just heard it's going to take up to a take up to a week to get to them.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Really bad news. The family were just told this within the last hour. Basically what happened is that the progress that they made going towards the miners was all lost because of the forces within the mine. Basically it's just too unsafe, and they are going to have to start over and do it this time reinforcing as they go with wood and metal beams and chain link fences. As you heard Bob Murray say it's going to take a week now to get to these miners.
The good thing that we have to report tonight is that they have installed a large drill in a hillside, and they think in two days they will have an eight and five eighths of an inch hole into where the miners are. That will provide communications, food and water. If the miners are alive they're still only two days away from getting sustenance which will keep them indefinitely or at least until they can get to them and that will take a week. So it's not all lost by any stretch of the imagination but these family members got some bad news jut within the hour.
KING: Allyn Davis from what we heard earlier, they can stay alive for quite a while as long as the earthquake didn't fall on them, is that right?
ALLYN DAVIS, MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION: Well, that's correct. Our hope is that the area where they are was not as severely affected as the area out by where they are located and that they have ample room to be in there with sufficient air in the entries.
KING: Greg Phillips, the former West Virginia miner is with us on the phone. What keeps them going, Greg?
GREG PHILLIPS, FORMER MINER: Well, it's just endurance and pride. Miners are a different breed than a lot of people. They watch each other's backs. It's almost like being on the front lines in combat. Each and every one of them are fighting to stay alive, and they are fighting for each one of them to stay alive, and their families should know that they are strong and well will-powered and by the grace of God what we need to do is just sit tight and let them get food and everything to them and I'm sure they will be rescued.
It's situation a little bit different than we had in Sago. Our governor, of course, came to the site when we had the problem there, and he's also worked with all the people that was -- that was devastated by the accident here in West Virginia at Sago, and he had each one of them had someone that they can talk to, and that's what these people need, the families of the miners that are trapped, need to be securely given the information directly to them.
They need to be taken care of, they need to keep up, have everything kept up with them and they need to pray with all of us that we can get it accomplished.
KING: Thanks, Greg. Ted, have you spoken to any of the relatives?
ROWLANDS: I talked to a couple of different acquaintances, good friends, and they are all, you know, as just explained. This is a very tight-knit community. They all look after themselves and they are protecting the families. They are basically sequestered, protecting them from the media and giving them anything that they need but what we hear is the families are dealing with it in a very strong fashion but the bottom line, with the news they heard today they will not be able to see or hug their loved ones for at least a week. Hopefully they will get word that they are alive within the next two days.
KING: Davis -- Allyn, do you have any reason to feel optimistic?
DAVIS: Well, yes, I certainly do. History has shown us that bumps of this magnitude in coal mines in this part of Utah are generally not of an extent that would extend all way from where we know the damage begins into where the men are, so we have a -- we have hope that they have not suffered as much from the mine damage as we're seeing outside.
KING: Thank you all very much. We'll stay, of course, right on top of this at CNN around the clock.
Coming up, touching moments with Tammy Faye Messner's husband Roe who will be other to talk about his wife's strength, her legacy and her last minutes. Don't go away.
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R. MESSNER: We took her back to the bedroom and she lay down and in just a matter of two or three minutes she died.
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KING: Welcome to LARRY KIGN LIVE an old friend, Roe Messner, the widower of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner. Tammy Faye was on this show. After a long battle with cancer she died that next morning. She was 65. The world last saw her in that remarkable interview she did for this program. How are you doing, Roe?
R. MESSNER: I'm doing very good, Larry, considering everything. I think the loneliness has started to set in a little bit.
KING: Sometimes there's a delay in that.
R. MESSNER: Yeah, mm-hmm.
KING: How are the kids, Jay and Tammy Sue?
R. MESSNER: Jay is doing good. Tammy Sue is still having a real hard time. She took it real hard. KING: Were they both there when she passed?
R. MESSNER: No, they weren't. Tammy passed away at 4:00 in the morning.
KING: The night after the appearance on this show in.
R. MESSNER: Right after the appearance, and the kids didn't get there until about 11:30 on Friday. She died at 4:00 in the morning.
KING: Were you with her?
R. MESSNER: I was there, mm-hmm.
R. MESSNER: Yes.
KING: Tell me about it.
R. MESSNER: Well, about a quarter till 4:00 Tammy said she was hungry, and so we put her in the wheelchair, took her out to the kitchen, and she wanted to eat some Frosted Flakes, and so we made her a bowl of Frosted Flakes, and she tried to eat them and she couldn't eat them and she loved peanut butter, and she said, Roe, take a spoon and give me some peanut butter. She loved to take it just out of the jar, you know, and so she tried to eat some peanut butter and she couldn't swallow it, and so we took her back to the bedroom and she laid down, and in just a matter of two or three minutes she died. She just ...
KING: Just like went to sleep.
R. MESSNER: Mm-hmm. She sort of gasped for breath one time and then she was gone.
KING: Did she say anything?
R. MESSNER: Just before she died she said, "I'm in the hands of Jesus," is what she said, just before she died.
KING: Her final interview was on this show. That was less than 48 hours from her death. She seemed more concerned with you and the children than about herself. Let's take a look.
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KING: Are you still a little scared?
TAMMY FAYE MESSNER, DECEASED TELEVANGELIST: A little bit, for my children mostly.
KING: But it would not be for yourself?
T. MESSNER: For myself I know where I'm headed, but I know the sadness, you know, that comes with those that care about you. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How do you feel when you watch that?
R. MESSNER: It really -- it really broke my heart to tell you the truth. We knew Tammy was dying, but it's really so hard to really accept it.
KING: And she looked really bad.
R. MESSNER: She did.
KING: Why did she want to do that? Why did she want to come on here?
R. MESSNER: She basically wanted to say good-bye to all of her friends, I think, Larry. I think that's what it was all about.
KING: And that was kind of the easiest way to do it?
R. MESSNER: Yeah, mm-hmm.
KING: You were at her side for the interview. What was going through your head while we were talking with her?
R. MESSNER: Well, Tammy was really struggling. She had a very difficult time doing it. As a matter of fact, about 12:00 she said, Roe, I can't do the interview, and I said, well, why don't you go lay down and let's make a decision about 3:00, so 3:00 I went in there into the bedroom and talked to Tammy, and she said I'm going to do it, and the car picked us up about 5:00 to take us to the studio and she was hurting so bad, Larry. She was in so much pain. She just couldn't hardly make it at all, and her voice was just almost gone, and after we left the show she never talked above a whisper after we left the show.
KING: Did she watch the tape when it played?
R. MESSNER: Yes, she did.
KING: What did she say?
R. MESSNER: She was pleased with it, Larry. Overall she was pleased with it. She didn't really say much. Tammy never liked to watch stuff back.
KING: Yeah. Nobody does who does television.
R. MESSNER: But she did watch this back, and she was happy with it.
KING: Were you surprised she had the strength to do it at all?
R. MESSNER: I was very surprised because she was in so much pain, Larry, those last three or four months you can't believe how much pain she was in.
KING: It's a bad disease. R. MESSNER: She was taking a lot of morphine, and it was -- it was very difficult time.
KING: As you might expect, we got an incredible reaction here.
R. MESSNER: Yeah.
KING: What did you hear from people?
R. MESSNER: We literally got hundreds of thousands of e-mails. The computers crashed we got so many, and we got so many letters and cards. You just can't believe how many we got. We got them by the thousands, and our house looks like a florist shop. I think I can go into the florist business now with so many flowers.
KING: People loved her.
R. MESSNER: People really loved Tammy, and we've had so many people say, Rroe, what can we do, and I'll say, well, quit sending me flowers, and a lot of people said why don't you set up some kind of a memorial or trust fund so we can do something for Tammy?
R. MESSNER: And we have done that, Larry.
KING: What do we have?
R. MESSNER: We set up a Tammy Faye Memorial Trust Fund for people that want to give some money for a memorial for Tammy.
KING: You're going to build a memorial to her?
R. MESSNER: It depends on what comes in. If a little bit of money comes in we'll just have a very small memorial, but if a lot of money comes in, then we'll build a chapel or whatever we get.
R. MESSNER: We don't know. You know, Tammy lived a long time in Palm Springs, several years.
KING: And that's where the memorial service is going to be, right?
R. MESSNER: Right, and also Atlanta. There's going to be one in Atlanta on October the 6th, and one in Palm Springs on October the 14th, and it will be good to have it in Palm Springs. That might be the best place to have it. That decision hasn't been made. There will be a board of trustees that will make that decision, and they will also be responsible for all the funds that come in.
KING: Knowing you, you'll be the builder.
R. MESSNER: Well, would I like to be the builder.
KING: I bet you would. This is not easy to raise, but there has been some tabloid speculation, there always is, that she may have been given an overdose of morphine at the end, that she may have determined to take her own life.
R. MESSNER: No, absolutely not, Larry. That is absolutely not. That's the first time I've ever heard that.
KING: It's been printed already this week.
R. MESSNER: If it was in the tabloids you can't really go by that, but that positively did not happen.
KING: So she died naturally and not induced.
R. MESSNER: She died naturally, yes.
KING: The decision to not publicly announce it right away. Why did you hold back?
R. MESSNER: That was my decision, Larry, totally 100 percent. It went a little bit against Jay and Tammy Faye's -- Tammy Sue's wishes because they wanted time to bring in the grandkids and everybody, and I said, no, that's not the way we're going to do it. We had a circus out there in front of our subdivision where we live with the press, and I made the decision that we were going to have our own private funeral without the press being there and so we had Tammy cremated about noon on Friday, per her wishes, and then we had the funeral the next day on Saturday, and I told my manager, Tammy Faye's manager, to call you after the funeral. I said just about 6:30 you call Larry and ask him if he'll announce it on his show.
KING: Who attended the funeral?
R. MESSNER: My children and some of my grandkids and Jamie (ph) and Tammy Sue and three or four other friends and that was all.
KING: Did they ask Jim Bakker to come in.
R. MESSNER: No, they did not.
KING: Where are the ashes?
R. MESSNER: The ashes are buried in the cemetery, and Jay has a vial of ashes and Tammy Sue has a vial.
KING: And more in the cemetery.
R. MESSNER: And the rest of them are in the cemetery.
KING: More with Roe Messner when we come back. As we go to break, more from Tammy Faye's final interview. In this clip she talks about heaven. Don't go away.
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KING: Now, you've always been so upbeat, the feeling of God being with you. Does that remain? T. MESSNER: That remains to this instant. I talk to God every single day, and I say, God, my life is in your hands, and I trust you with me.
I believe when I leave this earth because I love the Lord I'm going straight to heaven.
KING: We're back with Roe Messner discussing the passing of Tammy Faye Messner, one of the more extraordinary and popular guests ever to appear on LARRY KING LIVE and on any other program she may have appeared, one of the most popular guests on "Nightline" with Ted Koppel. Did she plan her own funeral, internment? Did she say here's what I want done?
R. MESSNER: The only thing Tammy specified is she wanted to be cremated and she said, Roe, you take care of everything else.
KING: Is that a difficult process, by the way?
R. MESSNER: It's very difficult, Larry. I bought a plot for Tammy and I, and Tammy's buried next to my mother.
KING: Buried next to your mother.
R. MESSNER: And then my dad and my little brother, and I'm going to be buried next to Tammy.
KING: So they do take the ashes an put them in the ground.
R. MESSNER: Yes, they did.
KING: And where is the cemetery?
R. MESSNER: The cemetery is in Waldron, Kansas.
R. MESSNER: That's where I grew up. That's where I come from. That's where my parents are buried and where a lot of our family is buried.
KING: Is that a remote area in.
R. MESSNER: Very remote.
KING: We have an e-mail question from Deborah in Waterford, Wisconsin. "My deepest sympathy on the loss of your life. My question is did Tammy Faye feel badly about all the spending she did when she was married to Jim Bakker? Did she regret the lavish lifestyle when so many others were in need?"
R. MESSNER: I would say she probably did, Larry. They lived good, you know. But not any better than anybody else, really.
KING: You don't think so.
R. MESSNER: I don't think so.
KING: Did she leave a will?
R. MESSNER: No, she did not.
KING: Did she leave much of en estate?
R. MESSNER: Tammy didn't own anything. Everything was in my name. She had her clothes but that's all Tammy had.
KING: Did she ever make a ton of money?
R. MESSNER: Tammy never made any money at all, you know. Most of the shows that you go on, they pay you scale. You get $700, $800, you know, to do a show. That doesn't pay your expenses coming back and forth, really.
KING: Didn't make money from singing?
R. MESSNER: Not really. You know, back in the PTL days she had two gold records. She had "You Can Make It" and "We're Blessed" but all of that money that came in was given to the ministry. If Tammy would have kept the money that she earned on all of her records, she did about 25 albums, all that money went into PTL. She did not keep any of that money at all.
KING: Tammy Faye wasn't just an inspiration to friends and family but also to TV viewers who had come to know her over the years. Watch this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: So many people watching and listening care about you so much.
T. MESSNER: Thank you, Larry.
KING: What would you like to say to them?
T. MESSNER: I would like to say that I genuinely love you, and I genuinely care, and I genuinely want to see you in heaven some day. I want you to find peace. I want you to find joy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Did she ever -- she was so upbeat and positive. Did she ever have any regrets in her life?
R. MESSNER: Not that I know of. We certainly didn't have any all the 14 years we were together. Tammy was always so positive and so upbeat, Larry. No, I don't think she did.
KING: Now, how are the memorials going to work? What's going to happen? R. MESSNER: Well, it's going to totally depend on the amount of money that comes in. If we'll have a little money we'll have a little bitty memorial and if we have a lot of memorial we're going to have something really nice.
KING: How do people help in the memorial?
R. MESSNER: They mail it to the Country Club Bank at 13451 Briar Street ...
R. MESSNER: Yes. Leewood, Kansas.
KING: And it's made out to who?
R. MESSNER: Made out to the Tammy Faye Memorial Trust Fund.
KING: And a zip code?
R. MESSNER: I've got a zip code right here. It is 66209.
R. MESSNER: Mm-hmm.
KING: And that's tax-deductible, right?
R. MESSNER: Yes.
KING: Now the memorials that have going to take place in Atlanta and in Palm Springs. I'm going to come to the one in Palm Springs.
R. MESSNER: OK.
KING: What are we going to do, have services?
R. MESSNER: We're going to have a party.
KING: That's what she wanted.
R. MESSNER: That's what Tammy wanted. She said Roe, I don't want anybody crying. I don't want any sad faces there. She said I want lots of balloons and a fun time, and Tammy will be smiling down from heaven looking at us and just having a great time. That's what I really believe.
KING: Did you cry, Roe?
R. MESSNER: Do I?
KING: Did you?
R. MESSNER: Yes. I sure did, Larry. It was a very hard time that first week. It was extremely hard on me.
KING: Even though you knew it was coming. You knew it was coming.
R. MESSNER: But you are never prepared for it. See, the doctor told us that Tammy was going to die last August, but Tammy had such a strong will to live, and she just would not give up.
KING: Another e-mail from Jane in East Liverpool, Ohio. "Other than her strong faith and love of people, what quality did Tammy Faye possess that most stands out in your mind? How are you going to best remember her?"
R. MESSNER: Her ability to love and forgive people and to care about people. I think that's what real stands out about Tammy and her tremendous faith in God. It's very strong.
KING: That never dimmed, did it? She was scared, she admitted she was scared but she never lost her faith.
R. MESSNER: She never lost her faith. She knew she was going straight to heaven, just like she said that in the interview, Larry. And I believe that with all my heart. If anybody is in heaven, Tammy Faye is there and my mother is there. I'll guarantee it.
KING: Do you think she knew she was close to dying?
R. MESSNER: I believe she did, but Tammy would not -- did not want the doctors to tell her how bad she really was and how much time she had left. She says I don't want to know that.
KING: We'll be back with a few more moments of LARRY KING LIVE, but we thought a good way to end this portion of the show was with Tammy Faye Messner talking about a childhood prayer that took on a whole new meaning when she was diagnosed with cancer.
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T. MESSNER: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. And this is what we prayed as kids. God bless mom and dad, Tammy, Donnie (ph), Larry, Judy (ph), Danny (ph), Ruth (ph) and all the little children all over the world and I would always put in and take care of all the little animals but we prayed that every night, and all of a sudden this prayer has become so real to me because I don't know if I'm going to wake up in the morning.
LARRY KING, HOST: We're back with our remaining moments with Roe Messner, the widower of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner. We did a special reunion show a few years back with Roe and Tammy Faye, her ex-husband Jim and his new life. One of the highlights was Tammy talking about her love for you. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMMY FAYE MESSNER, FORMER TV EVANGELIST: I had always liked Roe. I thought Roe was a really neat man. And I began to love Roe as I began to know Roe. He -- that's when the spark happened to me when we really started getting to know one another.
KING: And Jim was in prison at this time?
T. MESSNER: Yes and I was already divorced.
KING: Were you shocked, Jim, when you heard that Roe and Tammy were together?
JIM BAKKER, FORMER TV EVANGELIST: Yes.
KING: Just because you knew they didn't know each other. No, I mean this is fascinating but Laurie is a newcomer here.
BAKKER: It's over. It's in the past. I mean I don't live there anymore so I haven't even thought about the answer.
KING: Were you surprised?
BAKKER: Yes, yes, of course.
KING: And then accepted it?
BAKKER: Yes, absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Have you heard from Jim?
ROE MESSNER, WIDOWER OF TAMMY FAYE MESSNER: Yes. Jim sent flowers and came by the house. And he's been very supportive.
KING: How do you explain the public's feelings for Tammy Faye? I mean she was involved being honest in the scandal although no one blamed her.
R. MESSNER: Right.
KING: How do you explain it?
R. MESSNER: Tammy was just a few unique person. She was so honest, so up front in everything, Larry. She never tried to cover up or anything. She never tried to hide anything. And the public appreciated Tammy's honesty and how she would always come out with everything and not try to hide anything. KING: Yes. You're right. What are you going to do now?
R. MESSNER: Continue doing what I have always done. You know I build churches. And I'm known as America's largest church builder and I plan to just get more involved really.
KING: In architect?
R. MESSNER: I'm not an architect, Larry. I hire architects that work for me. I'm actually a general contractor but we design and build churches.
KING: How come you specialized in that?
R. MESSNER: It's just a niche that I fell into 50 years ago. I built my first church in 1957 and it just worked. And I've just had that little niche market all these years.
KING: You did work for Billy Graham, didn't you?
R. MESSNER: Yes. I've done work for Billy. I've done work for all the major ministries in America almost.
KING: And you still continue to do that?
R. MESSNER: Yes.
KING: Do you have your own company, is that it?
R. MESSNER: Yes. Our company is Commercial Builders and Architects out of Charlotte, North Carolina and we've completed over 1,738 churches in 47 states.
KING: And your own health? You have prostate cancer, right?
R. MESSNER: I have prostate cancer but I'm in very good health, I think. I stay away from the doctors.
KING: You don't treat it?
R. MESSNER: No.
KING: There's a school of thought that says leave it alone, that some think that.
R. MESSNER: That's the report that I have accepted. You'll probably die with something else, heart disease or stroke or something else. And I've chosen not to do anything and I'm going to live by my choice.
KING: How old are you, Roe?
R. MESSNER: I'm 72.
KING: Would you remarry?
R. MESSNER: I don't know, Larry. It'd have to be the right person. Tammy and I had a magic. I've never -- we had a one in a million marriage. We never had a disagreement, never had an argument in all those years we were together. And we were totally opposites. I liked to golf, to hunt and to fish, total athletic type, you know. Tammy was the opposite. She was the girly girl. She loved to shop, do all that kind of stuff.
And Tammy and I made an agreement right when we first got married. I said, "Tammy, you don't have to go golfing with me if I don't have to go shopping with you." And so that was our deal we made and it worked good for us.
KING: Did you know her while she was married to Jim?
R. MESSNER: Not -- well, I knew of her, but I didn't know her. Tammy and I never had a conversation all those years I worked for Mr. Bakker, not one time.
KING: Not once?
R. MESSNER: Not one time. Now, you know, people speculate all kinds of crazy stuff, but Tammy and I never had a conversation. Jim would have me on the set once in a while and I would I say, "Hi" when I walked on the set. And that was the extent of our conversations.
KING: Thanks, Roe.
R. MESSNER: Thank you, Larry.
KING: Thanks for coming.
R. MESSNER: I appreciate it.
KING: I appreciate you giving us the time.
R. MESSNER: Thank you.
KING: Roe Messner on the incredible life and times of his late wife, hard to say that, Tammy Faye.
Coming up the guys who keep Oprah fit and healthy, Dr. Oz and Bob Greene. They'll take your questions and a question or two from some stars when we come back.
KING: Going to help save some lives now. Dr. Mehmet Oz joins us along with Bob Greene. He -- Dr. Oz is the health expert on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "New York Times" best-selling author and he directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complimentary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian; and Bob Greene, also a regular contributor for Oprah, "New York Times" best selling author as well. His books include "The Best Live Diet." He's an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer.
Every year about 1.1 million Americans have heart attacks. I'm one of them. About 460 of them die. With all of that we now have a new DVD. It's free. All you've got to do is go to heartfeltforlife.com. GlaxoSmithKline provided the funding for this. They don't take credit for it. They just make it available. They're the drug company, of course. The DVD is not a branded product but there it is, "Heartfelt for Life."
What's the concept, Dr. Oz?
DR. MEHMET OZ, HEALTH EXPERT, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": Well, the concept is there. I sit across from folks in my office just like this and time after time after time I emphasize to folks that as proud as I am about how I can make new bypass grafts for your heart as you had done, or put stents in there. The reality is the major driver of how long you will live is actually based on things you'll do, the foods you'll eat, the medications you'll hopefully take, fifty percent of folks stop their medications halfway through the first year, and exercise. And what's unique, and this is the first of its kind of what Bob has created, is a program you can do at home. It's simple to do and gets folks to appreciate how important the exercise component is.
KING: Don't they know that, Bob?
BOB GREENE, EXERCISE GURU: They may know it but the fact is what I do for a living instruct to do and motivate them to do the things they're not doing. And like Mehmet said, they're not taking medications that they need to take. They don't exercise for sure, and most likely don't eat the foods that they should and eat the foods they shouldn't be.
KING: Why so many heart attacks?
OZ: Well, the irony is we have more heart attacks but less deaths from heart disease. The number of people dying of heart disease has dropped 60 percent over the last 30 years. It's a wonderful tribute to high-tech medical advancement. But we have a...
KING: And what they do after you get the heart attack by keeping...
OZ: Bingo. But once you develop chest pain on the set, they whisk you off and we can open your arteries. But the reality is that the drivers of the rusting of our arteries, and that's by the way what causes the aging, our number one, high blood pressure. It's not cholesterol actually it's the high blood pressure that's the number one driver and cigarettes which we're making some dent on, plus the kind of dietary habits we proclaim.
But guess what? At the end of the day if you don't exercise you can't drive down those risk factors.
KING: And we keep hearing exercise, exercise, Bob. How important is the type of exercise? What if I walk, he runs and he climbs?
GREENE: It's really important to distinguish there are different types of exercise. In particular, there's cardiovascular exercise which is walking and repetitive-type movements. That's going to help you strengthen the heart. It's going to strengthen the delivery of oxygen -- all really important when you're recovering from a heart attack. But also the strength training exercises are important to combat the effects of age and prevent muscle loss.
KING: We have a lot of e-mails. We also have some celebrity questions. We asked celebrities to commit their good health questions to Dr. Oz and Bob Greene. Here's one from our pal Ed McMahon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED MCMAHON, TV CELEBRITY: Larry, I'm all set and I've got my questions here. I hope they are good ones what. What are the pros and cons of natural hormone replacement therapy? What are the fundamental differences between synthetic versus natural hormones? How popular has this therapy become in the United States and is there a controversial aspect to it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Good questions -- Dr. Oz.
OZ: Well, there are hormones that are synthetic because they have been chemically produced to make themselves more available to you. The natural hormones we think are better sometimes. But in reality what you really want is a bioidentical hormone. You want the exact same hormone that your body naturally makes.
There are hormones I don't think we should get involved in but rather rely on natural approaches to them. Take growth hormone as an example. Here's a hormone that yes, your body naturally makes more when you're a young person so you feel vivacious and sexy and hot. But when it drops as you get older and you give it by needle back into the body, it doesn't get quite the same results. Sleep though, by the way, will rebuild it by itself.
KING: Is it true that sometimes a minimum amount of exercise will work?
GREENE: No question about it. It stimulates a lot of the release of the hormones that we...
KING: A good walk.
GREENE: A good walk, exactly. A good walk also stimulates and improves your sleep. And again, as Mehmet said, sleep is one of the number one things you can do to improve your health.
KING: Still to come, an e-mail about colon cancer, how to prevent it and a question by an Oscar winner who's really bugged by pesticides. Don't go away.
KING: Don't forget, go to heartfelt.life and you'll get this free DVD. Dr. Mehmet Oz and Bob Greene with us.
With us on the phone is an old friend, the great comedian, George Carlin.
George, what's the question?
GEORGE CARLIN, COMEDIAN: Hello, Larry, hi, Bob.
CARLIN: The question involves failure. It's more of a general question but I have one specific part of it to ask. As you know I was in the hospital for heart failure last year and the year before and I know that you can check the BNP when you do a blood test, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) peptide. Tell me about fluids and why and how they gather when the heart isn't pumping fully efficiently. I know why they go to the feet because of gravity but what are they doing in the lungs.
KING: George? Good question, George -- Doctor.
OZ: Can I just say something? George Carlin who I've gotten to know a little bit is the classic example of a smart patient. Not only is he wonderful at remembering jokes...
KING: He's a smart guy.
OZ: ...he knows every medication he's on, when he started it and what benefit it had for him. And a smart patient is someone who asks these kinds of tough questions. So real quickly, the heart drains blood from the lungs and pumps it back to the rest of the body. When you have too much fluid in the body because the heart can't keep up with you, the blood actually backs up into the lungs. The lungs are like a sponge. They're normally moist -- I mean rather dry and they're fluffy. But when they get moist they get bogy and they are no longer able to perform their function.
So one of the things that we measure is something called BNP, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) peptide. All it does is really tell us at the level of the hormone how struggling the heart really is, how much of a challenge is it facing as it tries to push that blood forward. And in heart failure, in folks who have valve problems who have had heart attacks, sometimes it becomes a problem.
KING: Do you -- have you seen over the years, Bob, improvement in people's health?
GREENE: I think we...
KING: Then when you started?
GREENE: ... you know I actually see improvements started on the eating side of the equation because I think we're inundated with good information. I start to see some improvements at the retail level where we're starting to offer lots more whole grains...
KING: Do you see health clubs everywhere though and... GREENE: The problem is a good study came out that about 12 percent to 13 percent of the population gets enough exercise and that's an alarming statistic.
KING: An e-mail from Stella of Lake Oswego, Oregon: "What can I do to lower my blood pressure without medication? I'm overweight. I'm active."
OZ: Stella, I love you. That's the question. That is the question. And how do you stop the number one driver of aging and the answer to that is pretty clear. Number one is get rid of the belly fat. The belly fat is caused by fat that's deep inside of you. It's not the fat in your thighs and your neck that's the problem; it's the fat in your belly because it pushes on your kidneys and forces...
KING: I think we haven't hung up on George yet. Go ahead.
OZ: ... and the second thing that you've got to do is exercise because the things that Bob is teaching in the Heartfelt for Life video and other sources allows us to challenge our arteries. You get your arteries to relax to open up a little bit and the blood pressure drops down. Believe it or not, for most Americans that's the way they should be approaching this. For some folks, they need to take medications. And by the way it's going to be life long if you do that but it's only with all three together that you'll get the treatment you want.
KING: We've got a question. It's about the do's and don'ts of feeding young kids from actor Fred Savage. You may know him as Kevin from "The Wonder Years."
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FRED SAVAGE, ACTOR: My son just had his first birthday and there's always all these foods you're supposed to avoid, you know, dairy, raspberries, eggs. Now that he's one I hear all bets are off. What foods should we still try and avoid even though he's 1-year-old?
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KING: Who wants to take that, Bob?
GREENE: I'll take that. Pretty much it's more important to stress the things you should be eating. You can't go wrong with a vegetable. If it comes out of the ground you can't go wrong with it. Fruits, vegetables, you can't go wrong with.
KING: No matter what age.
GREENE: No matter what age, absolutely. Things like whole grains start to replace the refined flours for sure. You need to start reducing simple sugars. You need to reduce salt, even at young ages, very important, and incorporate the good things that grow out of earth.
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is not salt. Is pepper OK? GREENE: Pepper is OK.
KING: But salt gets a rap.
OZ: Well, yes. But salt should have a rap. We lose a lot of people from too much salt. And by the way every preserved food you eat pretty much has salt in it. And most folks don't realize it's that salt that causes the problem.
Can I just add one little tidbit? We're actually doing a big show with Oprah on September 17. It's called "The Truth About Food." We took 40 different experiments, myths, like how do you get a kid to eat the right food? And here's the big secret, kids have to see a food at least a dozen times before they'll begin to adjust to it and get comfortable to it. One of the big problems we have in America is we have tantalized our taste buds. We start feeding 18-year-olds the food that 3-year-olds eat and they get used to eating those foods. We have to change that sensitivity.
KING: I don't know how it relates to this topic but we have a question about insect pests from Cuba Gooding Jr. Watch.
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CUBA GOODING JR., ACTOR: Dr. Oz, I have this question and you've got to just -- it's more like a reaffirmation if this is the truth. We're doing a movie, "Daddy Day Camp" and a lot of kids were being bitten by mosquitoes. What I just find out, of course, after I finished the movie is that -- and they had a lot of -- they didn't like the smell of the mosquitoes. Is it true that if you spray it on your feet it'll stop the mosquitoes from coming because they come from the ground up? That's what I heard.
You don't have to do your neck and arms. You just do your shoes and your ankles. Is it true? And if it's not, I'm going to whoop somebody's butt when I finish this interview.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OZ: The anopheles (ph) mosquito -- it's funny that we have to learn this because we went to Africa together with Oprah and I learned a lot about mosquitoes. The malaria mosquito actually only bites you below your knee. It's very low to the ground and that's why kids get bitten by mosquitoes. And we about a million deaths in this world a year from malaria. So if you can spray your legs then you actually prevent the mosquitoes from getting you.
But I've got a bigger question. You see the hair there? Why do I have hair on my arms? Ever wonder why we have hair on our arms?
KING: I don't have much. I don't have a lot.
OZ: The reason is if your ancestors came from in an area that had a lot of mosquitoes and malaria; you have to have hair on your arms because the mosquitoes don't like the hair. So the other option you have is to grow some hair or at least the hair will warn you early on that you will not have mosquitoes.
KING: You will not find this in "Heartfelt for Life."
KING: But you go to heartfeltforlife.com. It's about heart disease. We'll be right back.
KING: We're back. This is stunning. Here's a fact. Lay it on me.
OZ: If you can't walk -- and this is for everyone to do at home, if you can't walk a quarter of a mile in five minutes, there's a one- third increase in the chance you'll have a heart attack in four years and die.
KING: One-quarter mile in five minutes.
OZ: Right. If you can't walk a quarter mile in five minutes, I don't care how you do it, but if you can't get that distance done in five minutes, the chances of your dying within four years goes up one- third.
KING: I promised you a colon cancer question which makes no sense related to this show but we have it anyway from Cynthia in Indian Wells, California: "Is colon cancer becoming more common?"
OZ: Well, colon cancer is more common, I think, because of the dietary habits we've achieved. You know the colon is the last place the food stops. So if the food you're eating isn't so good for you then you pay the price because it's toxic.
KING: Get a colonoscopy.
OZ: Bingo. At age 50 and every five years after it. And don't cheat on it. If you have a family history, get it earlier.
KING: One more celebrity question from Kate Flannery who plays Meredith on the popular series, "The Office" about heart disease. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE FLANNERY, ACTRESS: How to help someone who has a family of heart conditions and who's growing older, like how do you address that and take care of yourself in the process?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OZ: All right, so real quick. You want to know your numbers, blood pressure number one driver; number two is your cholesterol. But for women especially, the number you want to focus on is not your total cholesterol, don't even remember that, you want to know your HDL or high quality cholesterol. That's the number that drives most heart disease. That number should be more than 50. And the best way to get that number up is through exercise.
GREENE: And that's the ignored step-child is exercise. Nobody really wants to hear that but it's the number one thing you can do that you can...
KING: At all ages.
GREENE: At all ages. In fact, as you age, your benefits go up. You need it more. You have a natural protection at early ages.
KING: One more quick e-mail from Sharon in Wheaton, Illinois: "I love sweet and salty foods. I tend to overeat them. Can I cut a craving?"
OZ: You definitely cut a craving. One of the beauties by the way of any kind of change in habit is your taste buds are acquired most of the time. Yes, you have basic instincts but can you change by just altering your diet for two weeks what you naturally desire. Try it. Take the salt out of your food and see within a week or two if it changes your taste buds.
GREENE: If you take it out completely and you start tasting the natural sodium, broccoli has sodium in it, a natural sodium, and as you cut down on the salt shaker, you'll start tasting that salt.
KING: Thank you both very much. Dr. Mehmet Oz, health expert of "The Oprah Winfrey Show;" Bob Greene, regular contributor to Oprah as well. Both are extraordinarily successful and they both have participated in this excellent DVD, "Heartfelt for Life." You want to get it? It's heartfeltforlife.com.
A quick reminder, check out our website, CNN.com/LarryKing and you can send an e-mail or a video question to upcoming guests, participate in quick votes or download our podcast all at CNN.com/LarryKing.
If it's 10:00 Eastern, it must be Anderson Cooper "360" and the guest host tonight is my pal, "AMERICAN MORNING'S" John Roberts.
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