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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Are the Democrats Tearing Themselves Apart?
Aired March 25, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Tonight, are the Democrats tearing themselves apart?
Will the Clinton/Obama slugfest leave them the nominee too damaged to battle McCain? How down and dirty will this fight get?
Plus, home prices are way down, Social Security is running dry. You might not have a nest egg unless you do something now. Suze Orman helps you get a grip. And she'll take your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We have an outstanding and, you might say, relevant panel to begin with. And then in a while, we'll meet the brilliant Pulitzer Prize winning "New York Times" op-ed columnist, Maureen Dowd. Then Suze Orman.
With us to kick things off in Washington is Sharyl Attkisson, the CBS News correspondent who used to work around these parts. She covered then First Lady Hillary Clinton's march on that trip to Bosnia -- in March of 1996.
On the phone is Sinbad, the famed comic who traveled with Hillary on that trip, as well. He, by the way, is supporting Obama for president.
Also here in New York is ambassador John Menzies. He was the United States ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time of Hillary Clinton's trip.
In Los Angeles is Stephanie Miller, the progressive talk radio talk show host and a backer of Barack Obama.
And here in New York is Representative Anthony Weiner, Democrat of New York and a supporter of Hillary Clinton.
Sharyl, you were on that trip. What did you make of it when she said I took sniper fire?
SHARYL ATTKISSON, CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS, IN BOSNIA WITH CLINTON IN 1996: Well, I thought first, perhaps, she had been taken out of context, so I wanted to read her quotes and look at her sound bites carefully, because I was wondering was she on the same trip that I was on?
We landed on that C-17 cargo plane. To be sure, we were going to a country where there had been hostilities and we were warned that there could be dangers, as any time you travel to a place like that. But we landed without incident, sauntered off the plane.
There was no particular risk there. I don't believe any of us wore our bullet-proof vests at that point in time. There was a ceremony on the tarmac. There were children there. Mrs. Clinton took her time, with Chelsea beside her, to greet them, to greet the Bosnian dignitaries who were there, to greet the U.S. officials. The idea that she had to somehow duck and run to an armored car under sniper fire, that just didn't happen.
KING: All right.
Ambassador Menzies, you met that flight, right?
JOHN MENZIES, WAS U.S. AMBASSADOR TO BOSNIA IN 1996, GREETED CLINTON AT AIRPORT: Yes, I sure did.
KING: What did you make of it when you heard her say what she said?
MENZIES: Well, what I made of it was that amidst all of the noise of gunfire, what's eclipsed is that this was a diplomatic mission which was a solid home run. She did everything she needed to do and it was hugely successful on the ground.
KING: So she didn't need to boast, in a sense?
MENZIES: No. She was so successful in what she did on the ground that it didn't require the gunfire.
KING: Sinbad, you were on that trip, as well.
What did you make of it when you heard her say what she said?
VOICE OF SINBAD, IN BOSNIA WITH CLINTON IN 1996: I didn't understand -- just like he says, I didn't understand the need to embellish it because like you say, there was -- I mean it had been a place that was a hot spot but there was no need to add to the story because she was in Bosnia. We were there. We were visiting the troops.
We had seen people and we had been places. But I don't understand the need to say that were in danger, we were in the gunfire, we did a corkscrew landing.
KING: All right, here's what she said. She -- this was her correction, so to speak, and here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some of kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. We were, you know, very much told by the Secret Service and the military that we were going into a war zone and that we had to be conscious of that. I was the first first lady taken into a war zone since Eleanor Roosevelt.
And, you know, I think that the military and the Secret Service did a terrific job. But we certainly did take precautions. There is no doubt about that. And I remember that very clearly. But I did make a mistake in talking about it, you know, the last time and recently.
But, look, this is really about what policy experience we have and who's ready to be commander-in-chief. And I'm happy to put my experience up against Senator Obama's any day.
I made a mistake and, you know, I had a different memory and my -- you know, my staff and others have, you know, all kind of come together trying to sort out -- so I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I'm human, which, you know, for some people is a revelation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Congressman Weiner, a mistake or misleading?
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK, SUPPORTS CLINTON: Look, I think -- I agree with just about everything that's been said so far. I think the ambassador is right. She was there as part of an important diplomatic mission. That's where she was in 1996. It was a war zone -- the first time a first lady has ever gone into a war zone, I think, since Eleanor Roosevelt.
And I think it highlights a very important discussion we should be having in this campaign. I mean, frankly, compare where Hillary was and the Hillary -- the discussion we're having about her experience right now to where Barack Obama was in 1996. I think he was practicing law perhaps.
KING: But what do you make of saying...
WEINER: I think that, look, you know, you can read it in her book. What was puzzling about this is she wrote in her book a detailed account, which is pretty riveting, of this trip. And they talked about, you know, the need -- they did say take off your flak jacket and put it under your seat because that's where the sniper fire might come from. There's no dispute she was flying into a war zone.
And that's a pretty dramatic story to tell. And I think that it highlights something about Hillary's life and that during those years, she traveled to more than 80 countries. She was engaged as part of our foreign policy. And I think it's important.
Did she overstate this? She said she did. Everyone on this show probably agrees that she did. But what should not be overstated is how much foreign policy experience she has more than her opponent.
KING: And, Stephanie, what do you make of it? STEPHANIE MILLER, HOST, "THE STEPHANIE MILLER SHOW," SUPPORTS OBAMA: As you know, I dodged ninja stars on the way into the studio here in Hollywood. Steven Segal gets very aggressive this time of night. You work here, as you know.
Larry, there is no way to overstate when something is already on tape. In all deference to our esteemed guests, I think that this goes to the Obama campaign's, you know, point that she is overstating her foreign policy experience. It is just something that she has been caught in this particular time, you know.
And I think the more glaring thing is her saying she's always been against NAFTA. And what's come out is that she campaigned for NAFTA during the -- you know, the Clinton years. So I think that's the larger point that is found here.
KING: While Senator Clinton called her sniper fire story a mistake and a minor blip, last week was not the first time that she offered the harrowing description.
Sharyl had a follow-up report on that on CBS News. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY CBS NEWS)
ATTKISSON (voice-over): We have found several times in the past few months when Senator Clinton used the Bosnia trip to try to show her international experience.
December in Iowa.
CLINTON: And we landed in one of those corkscrew landings and ran out because they said there might be sniper fire. I don't remember anybody offering me tea on the tarmac when that was happening.
ATTKISSON: Then in February.
CLINTON: The welcoming ceremony had to be moved inside because of sniper fire.
ATTKISSON: And last week.
CLINTON: I remember landing under sniper fire. We basically were told to run to our cars. Now that is what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Isn't that a bit shocking, Ambassador?
MENZIES: Overstated, but remember that they had been briefed by their security people. Sometimes you can hear a balloon pop after you've been briefed by them and think it's a gun.
The truth is that her diplomatic mission was hugely successful. She made a difference. The important thing was that...
KING: Why not just say that? MENZIES: I don't know. I can't answer that. But I want to focus on the fact that she was successful. Don't let the noise drown out that -- that fact.
KING: What's the damage to her candidacy, Sharyl?
ATTKISSON: Well, I think that remains to be seen, whether this continues to sort of eclipse any other message she tries to get out or simply acts as a temporary counter balance to some things that have come out about Senator Obama.
But the puzzling thing, as you started to point out, that we discovered at CBS News was there seems to be a concerted effort, after 11-and-a-half years of her not making these claims, a concerted effort, for some reason, in the past couple of months, to go to this theme of sniper in Bosnia without really an explanation as to why she's doing that and why all of a sudden this has reared the head in the last couple of months, when it had never apparently mentioned before.
KING: We will take a break and be back with more.
Hillary Clinton made more news today with remarks about Barack Obama's pastor. We'll discuss that with our panel.
And then still ahead, the financially swift Suze Orman and Maureen Dowd.
Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: You know, I'm just speaking for myself. And I was answering a question that was posed to me but I think given all we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Stephanie Miller and Congressman Anthony Weiner.
One other question, quickly, for Sinbad. Do you hold this against her, Sinbad?
SINBAD: You know, I'm like this. This is how I feel about this whole election. They're fighting so hard and everyone is trying to put the other one down. And I think Barack fought it -- like at first, I wanted him to fight more, because she lashed -- she had lashed out.
And she used the Bosnia trip numerous times, I mean numerous times as a reason for her support foreign policy and being out there. And no one is putting down the fact she went there and did a good mission. I'm not saying -- but why did she have to lie? There was no need to lie. And then after lying about it, you don't even jump back to the lie. You just keep on going forward like it was a blip, like it meant nothing. And I'm shocked that...
KING: So you think it does hurt her?
SINBAD: (INAUDIBLE). Huh?
KING: You think it does hurt her?
SINBAD: I think it does. We're talking about credibility.
SINBAD: What are we talking about in this country right now? We're talking about credibility.
KING: You're right.
SINBAD: We're talking about making a change. Of course it hurts her.
KING: Thanks, Sinbad. See you again soon.
Stephanie and Congressman Weiner, after days of declining to comment about Barack Obama's long-time pastor, Jeremiah Wright, Senator Clinton took on the topic today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: He would not have been my pastor.
QUESTION: After that you would have immediately...
CLINTON: You know, you don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend. And, you know, I spoke out against Don Imus. I gave a speech at Rutgers University saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting and I believe that.
So for me, if I had been a member of such a church -- well, first of all, if I had sat there for 20 years, I think you all would have a lot to say, if somebody gave comparable sorts of sermons. Because I just think you have to you have to speak out against that. You certainly have to do it, if not explicitly, implicitly, by getting up and moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Congressman Weiner, was this brought up today because of the Bosnia flak? WEINER: No. I mean, the senator was asked about it. And I think it's a question, frankly, a lot of people are talking about.
I found the Senator's explanation satisfactory. The speech, I thought, was a very good speech. But we have to remember, one of the things we're doing here as Democrats is trying to pick our strongest candidate going forward. And you can't help but to think what the Republican attack machine is going to do with this issue.
I, frankly, think that the senator's answer has been sufficient and it's fine that we move on. But there are a lot of people who are asking the question. A lot of them are the kind of voters we want to persuade.
And let's remember one other thing. You know, you can say a lot about Hillary Clinton. Her record is so well documented that if she makes a misstatement about where she was in Bosnia, we can go out and find out. There is so much that we don't know yet about Barack Obama. That's why this primary season is so important and that's why it's so important we have the rest of the primaries and we figure out who would be the strongest nominee.
KING: Stephanie, what do you make of her answer about the reverend?
MILLER: Oh, Congressman, that just does not pass the laugh test, I'm sorry. The reason we're bringing this up is because she's caught on tape in a lie about this Bosnia sniper fire thing. This is a week later to where they had nothing to say about this. Barack Obama has addressed it and now we're trying to revive this issue, which I think, you know...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's we?
MILLER: ...he put to rest with his magnificent speech that -- you know, many of us don't agree with what our priests or rabbis say or people that we love. My Republicans -- my relatives are Republican and they like Fox News.
Can you imagine the things they say?
I mean, you know, we all -- I think, you know, related to the things he said in his speech. And I think the issue has been put to rest. You can't take someone's 20 -- 20 years of sermons and take two or three incendiary comments that Barack Obama has strongly disavowed...
MILLER: ...and judge him just on that.
KING: Congressman, though, you believe it will be an issue the Republicans will bring up?
WEINER: Well, I think both of us do. I'd be very surprised if my friend doesn't believe that John McCain won't just say OK, this has been explained. I said -- I already stipulated that I think the answer was superb and I think he gave a very good answer. But we're trying to pick who would be the strongest candidate.
Do we really believe that the talk radio world, that the Republican hit machine isn't going to use this again and again? One of the things we're trying to do here is trying to learn who would be the strongest nominee for our party.
MILLER: Congressman, I agree.
WEINER: And I believe that this is a vulnerability.
MILLER: I agree. But John McCain -- Congressman, John McCain needs to answer, then, for Pastor Hagee, whose endorsement he went after, he said he's proud to have, he put it on his Web site -- who calls the Catholic Church a giant whore and, you know, New Orleans deserves Hurricane Katrina and all manner of hateful things. So, you know...
WEINER: That's why...
MILLER: ...but that's...
WEINER: I agree with you. That's why it's so important that we carefully think, as Democrats, who would be our strongest nominee.
MILLER: I agree.
WEINER: Who do we know the most about? Who has had 40 books about them? Who has a 30-year record?
You know, we saw today -- and while I think it was not good for my candidate -- we saw that I'm supporting a candidate who has such a carefully detailed record, you're not going to have surprises like this. Now, whether you and I believe it should be fair or not to talk about, you can't deny that this is going to be an issue...
WEINER: ...that's going to be played over and over again against our nominee if Barack Obama is that person.
MILLER: Except she proved his point about precisely what foreign policy experience do you have that better qualifies you to answer that phone at 3:00 a.m.?
WEINER: She had a...
MILLER: And this Bosnia story is a perfect example.
WEINER: She had...
MILLER: They can't count first lady. You just can't.
WEINER: She had a successful mission to Bosnia, we learned on this show. KING: OK. Yes, we did.
KING: Stephanie Miller and Congressman Weiner, thanks. We'll both have you back. We'll have you both back.
"New York Times" columnist Maureen Dowd will be here after the break and Suze Orman later.
Don't go away.
KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE one of my favorite people, Maureen Dowd.
She's in Washington, the Pulitzer Prize winning "New York Times" op-ed columnist. She is superb at what she does. She's a best-selling author, as well.
OK, I am interested in what you make of all of this sniper flak.
MAUREEN DOWD, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, it's interesting, Larry, because I was on the Clintons' trip to Northern Ireland. And I've noticed that progressively in the last year, she had been kind of filigreeing her accomplishments on the trip, too. I was with her. She had tea with a bunch of Catholic and Protestant women. And I'm sure it was a lovely tea, but lately she's been securing the peace in Northern Ireland.
And I think, in a way, this whole thing boomeranged back on her, because she was using the "Saturday Night Live" skit and hectoring reporters to be harder on Obama, thinking he was getting a free ride. And then once they began being harder on Obama, then Obama said well, why don't you be harder on her?
And they began investigating all of this foreign affairs claims, which really Obama and Edwards had kind of let her get away with during all those debates.
KING: What do you make of it? Why -- why tell a mistruth about sniper fire? Why?
DOWD: Well, I think that what she has going -- what she has going for her against Obama is experience. And the funny thing is really the experience that has held her in good stead in the beginning of the campaign was her campaign experience. You know, she dominated in all the debates and she was tougher.
But in her mind, it had to be the foreign affairs experience. And I think that's what's gotten her into trouble. And that's what's got her into trouble on the Iraq War, too. Because she thought she had to vote for that without even reading the intelligence reports because, as a woman, she couldn't be seen as being a peacenik, you know. KING: During a question and answer session today at Butler University, Chelsea was asked about her mother's credibility --whether and how badly it had been hurt during the Lewinski scandal.
Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF HILLARY CLINTON: Wow! You're the first person, actually, that's ever asked me that question in the -- I don't know -- maybe 70 college campuses that I've now been to. And I do not think that's any of your business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Was she right?
DOWD: Well, actually I think the Clintons' marriage during their term had a huge impact on policy. They tried to say it didn't, but I think Bill Richardson addressed that with you last night when he said that people are really afraid to go back to that Bush/Clinton and Bush/Clinton thing because, you know, it's such a -- they bring such a mishagos (ph) -- am I pronouncing that right?
DOWD: With them. And, also, you know, because of the -- she released her first lady papers, Monica has been in the news, because in the papers, it was shown that Bill Clinton had three trysts with Monica in the White House while Hillary was in the East Wing, which I would be too scared to do, but he managed it.
KING: So it was fair to ask Chelsea about it?
DOWD: Well, I think Chelsea, you know, again is trying to set this zone of privacy. But I think the fallacy in that is that the Clintons' marriage does end up having a large effect on public policy, so.
KING: All right.
All right, what's your read on the Reverend Wright story?
DOWD: Oh, the Reverend Wright story. Well, I think Obama made a brilliant speech on race. But the problem is that Wright is going to come back to haunt him in a lot of other ways. Some of Wright's comments were about patriotism. And, you know, if you watch Fox News, they have got all these things strung together with really scary music and they combine it with Michelle's kind of aggrieved comments about how she was never really proud of her country. And I don't think Obama has gotten past the Wright problem.
But the Bosnia thing, for the moment, has overshadowed it.
KING: Are you saying Fox News is partial?
DOWD: (LAUGHTER) Oh, fair and honest, yes.
KING: All right, how about on the McCain side, the shifts back and forth on various issues?
KING: Fair game?
DOWD: This -- on which issues?
KING: Well, the issue of Iraq, the issue of taxes.
DOWD: Oh, yes. Well, I think everything's fair game. I mean, I'm journalist. I think we should be pressing these guys. We want to know -- we've gone through, you know, 16 polarizing years and eight years, I think, that will go down as one of the worst presidencies in history.
And so I think it's really important for us to know everything this time. And McCain is running -- you know, the trouble with McCain is that he will be cast as running for the third term of W. and that's a far different thing than Bush One running for the third term of Reagan.
KING: Now, the turnouts thus far have been incredibly large. Would that favor the Democrats?
DOWD: Yes. I mean it's amazing. No one, you know, in my generation ever seen these 16,000, 19,000 crowds that Obama attracts. And it was funny because I was at a big Hillary rally in Texas and one of the volunteers came up and not realizing I was a reporter, kept insisting that I go and stand behind Hillary, because they were trying to gather all the people behind her so the crowd would look bigger on TV, you know?
DOWD: Which you can actually make eye contact with Hillary at a Hillary event.
KING: There -- I would imagine there is no race in your past you could compare this to.
DOWD: No. I mean there are so many amazing things. You know, the first black with the chance of winning and the first woman. And the first woman who was married to a guy who thinks he was the first black president. And now the race might be decided by white men. I mean it's just got everything.
KING: You watch -- do you have a -- do you think there's a favorite, if you were a betting woman?
DOWD: No. I think this race is so volatile. I mean I don't like to predict anyway. But the race is so volatile, anything could happen. You know, Hillary has thrown the kitchen sink at Barack, but who knows? Maybe, you know, she's going to throw the boiler and other things before we're done.
KING: Thank you, Maureen. Always great seeing you.
DOWD: Thank you, Larry.
KING: See you Washington in the end of April.
KING: By the way, we've had a number of viewer e-mails and calls in recent times asking why we haven't done an interview with Senator Hillary Clinton. We want you to know Senator Clinton has a standing invitation from this show any time, anywhere. We'd welcome her as a guest.
We've already had one-on-one interviews with Senator McCain and Senator Obama. We hope that Senator Clinton will accept our invitation in the very near future.
The economy is the number one issue on Americans' minds. We'll be back with the finance expert Suze Orman. She's so money.
Don't go away.
KING: She's one of our favorite guests and couldn't be more timely than now, Suze Orman, the personal finance expert, Emmy winning TV host, the number one "New York Times" best selling author of "Women and Money." That's been a best seller for a year.
A revised and updated version of here book "the Road to Wealth" is now available. And that volume is in front of me right here. You're seeing a different one on your screen.
OK, Suze, how bad is it?
SUZE ORMAN, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: Not so bad.
KING: Not so bad?
ORMAN: Not so bad.
KING: You are the only one saying it.
ORMAN: What's new? I think we have gotten through the worst of it, believe it or not. When you see the government stepping in, the Treasury stepping in, to save things like Bear Stearns, the public now is seeing the government; they're going to back this. They're going to save us in case something happens.
KING: Are they going to save the little guy?
ORMAN: It is going to be very difficult to save the little guy and that was evident today by the consumer confidence being the lowest it's been in years.
KING: So why are you optimistic?
ORMAN: I'm optimistic because where the little guy really gets hurt the most is in housing. You saw that housing -- sales of housing increased by about eight percent. However, the price of housing has been decreasing dramatically, which is good, because for the thing to come to an end with housing, the prices of houses, Larry, have got to go down, down, down.
KING: You know, there are some financial experts predicting depression?
ORMAN: I know there are. However, I don't think we're going to quite see that. With the little guy, however, the normal human being, is it rough for them? I'll be the first to say it could not be rougher if it tried.
Price of pizza is skyrocketing. Why? Because the bakers can't afford to buy the flour to make the pizza. What are we doing with all our wheat and everything? We're exporting it over seas. We're getting more money there. We're using it for -- it is all -- it is all screwed up what's happening here.
KING: But still you have confidence.
ORMAN: I have confidence because, again, we're closer to the end than we were six months ago or a year ago.
KING: Home scales rose in February.
ORMAN: Yes, dramatically, about eight percent, but the only reason they rose is because the price went down so dramatically. So if prices continue to go down, sales will continue to go up, which then starts to put things more in equilibrium. But that has to happen.
KING: We have an e-mail question from Elizabeth in Glendale Arizona, "I'm behind four house payments. The mortgage company won't work with me because I've lost my job. Should I take my money from my 401(k) to make the payments? If I sell the house, I'll lose around 150,000."
ORMAN: Are you out of your mind? If you take money from your 401(k), whether it's a loan, whatever, however you get it, and you put it into your home, chances are you're only going to postpone them taking your home anyway from you.
If you end up in a situation not only with your home, but let's say you had to claim bankruptcy, you have lost everything. Please listen to me, everybody, money in an IRA, money in a 401(k), it is protected from bankruptcy. So don't take money out of there to put into something else that's going down, and then you lose it all. Then what do you got? Nothing.
Don't you touch that money. Don't you touch the money. You lose 150,000, fine. But I don't want you to lose 150,000 and the money in your 401(k).
KING: Volatility of the stock market?
KING: When is that going to keel out?
ORMAN: Not going to keel out for a while here. But, however, again with the stock market, people are feeling -- the traders are feeling a little bit better. Here's the problem with the stock market, Larry: normal human beings don't buy a stock for three days and then sell it, one month and then sell it.
You buy it and you keep it for three, four, five years. What you keep hearing on television all the time are the traders, are the people that are buying stocks, selling stocks. They're buying this -- they're buying and they're selling and that's not the ordinary human being.
So what happens is that the viewers look. They hear gold goes down. They hear gold goes up. They hear this bank's stock goes down, it goes up. They are trying to get in. They should just stay on the sideline for a little bit here until they know exactly what they need to do with their money.
KING: But the Conference Board says the Consumer Confidence Index nose dived to a five-year low.
KING: In other words, the public isn't too happy.
ORMAN: No, the public is extremely unhappy and they should be extremely unhappy because look at when's happening to them. They're afraid to go into the stock market. They're afraid to go into the real estate market.
Where are they putting their money? They want to keep their money in a savings account. They want to keep their money in a CD because the Feds are lowering the rates to save everybody else and save this economy. The ordinary human being is going from a five percent interest rate on their savings account, down to four, to three. Now they're at two, 2.5 percent, and it's going to continue to go lower.
So they have no place to even keep their money to earn a good interest rate. So they are in trouble.
KING: A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll survey shows 75 percent of those polled rate the economy as poor, but 60 percent think it's going to get better.
ORMAN: Because people are good people and they always hope for the best. And so, they think they have to think things are going to get better because otherwise it wouldn't be their nature. KING: OK. We are supposed to spend the rebate check, of course. Lewis Black had a hysterical time with that last night, as to what we're going to do. Do you think -- a recent poll shows a majority of tax payers do not plan to spend it?
ORMAN: Hopefully because they've been listening to me.
KING: But the government wants them to spend it. That's the point of it.
ORMAN: It's the point of it, but it's a stupid point. They never should have passed that stimulus package. They should never continue to count on saving this economy, because, again, the ordinary person out there is going to continue to spend. They can't continue to spend. They have credit card debt. They have car loan debt. They have mortgage debt.
KING: You're saying take the money and pay off bills?
ORMAN: Get out of debt. If you have -- if you get that money and you haven't yet funded your retirement account, put it in a retirement account. Do something so that little 600 dollars grows to 6,000 dollars and so forth, but don't go out and spend it. Stop it, people. Grow up already.
KING: But the government's case is: if you spend it, you stimulate the economy.
ORMAN: For a little bit. Can't they figure out another way to save this economy, except on the backs of the consumer who are so spent out it's not even funny? I mean, why would you even do that? Again, I could not be against this stimulus package more if I tried.
KING: Suze Orman's book is -- this is an update of an old publication.
ORMAN: It's an update. But the main reason I wanted to show that today -- tonight on your show is your picture's on the back.
KING: It is on the back.
ORMAN: That was the only reason.
KING: The book is "the Road to Wealth, the Answers You Need." There's 2,000 questions in this.
ORMAN: Yes, and 2,000 answers. But your picture is number one.
KING: And Oprah's isn't. Suze will be on Oprah on Monday. Right?
ORMAN: That's right. We're doing a live show.
KING: A live show with Oprah on Monday.
ORMAN: On Monday. Everybody, tune in. It's going to be great. KING: You don't have to tell them to watch Oprah. Are you better off financially than you were a year ago? That's the quick vote right now on our Web site, CNN.com/LarryKing. Head there now, have your say. We want to know how you're doing. More Suze after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ORMAN: Welcome to America today, everybody, the land of upside down homes. Upside down homes because all the mortgage lenders allowed you to get yourselves into this situation. But no, all these mortgage companies and these banks, they didn't care about you.
They just cared about their bottom line, their profits going up, so their stocks could go up, and they didn't care that your entire financial future would go down and everybody in the United States would follow you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Always amazes me. We show you, Suze, when Suze is here. Still don't get it. Anyway, an e-mail question from Peter in St. Simon's Island, Georgia: "My credit card information was stolen on two accounts last week. Should I close the accounts? If I do, will my credit bureau score drop? I feel trapped."
ORMAN: What you should do is you change the actual number of your credit card so that they can't use it.
KING: The I.D. number?
ORMAN: The I.D. number. You just call up your credit card companies and you tell them that your card was stolen. You should be calling them, not us. And that way they will issue you a new card and transfer it all over for you and make sure that you're OK.
KING: A King Cam question for Suze Orman. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, my question would be, when are they going to lower the gas prices? 3.74 a gallon is hard to make decisions on what are you going to do for the week, the weekend. I need some answers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ORMAN: You know, it's funny. It's hard to decide what you're going to do for the week and the weekend. It's true. You can't even drive to work anymore, and then you start hearing things like here in New York City, where they're thinking about actually raising the tolls to come into the city. How are you going to do anything?
That is the problem, ladies and gentlemen. The oil companies -- we said this last time. We were sitting right here. Record profits, yet they're charging you record prices. I don't understand it. I wish we could do something about it. It seems like we can't.
It seems like oil at 100 dollars is here to stay. So all I can say to you is you better get used to these prices, because they are here, which means you have to cut back on everything, which is why you're also upset.
Again, Larry, don't get me started on this. It makes no sense that oil should be this high. It makes no sense that -- that commodities should be this high, that wheat and milk -- doesn't make any sense, but yet it's here.
KING: Tax filing day. Is this your high of the year? To the financial expert, is tax filing day the big --
ORMAN: No, because there isn't a person out there that loves April 15, no matter who they are. The truth of the matter, to get the tax write offs for last year, you had to already do it prior to the end of the last year. So this time, it's just talking about things that maybe you could plan to do again for this year's taxes, and things like that but, no. Taxes are just taxes.
KING: Suze Orman is our guest. Her book is "The Road to Wealth" and standing by, I guess right down the hall, is Anderson Cooper.
He'll host -- you're here, right?
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": I'm in Los Angeles.
KING: Why? what are you doing? -- I -- that's my place.
COOPER: Where are you? Are you in New York?
KING: I'm in New York.
COOPER: I came here to see you. I don't know where you are.
KING: I came here to see you. All right. It's "AC 360" time from Anderson Cooper in L.A. What's up?
COOPER: Larry, thanks very much. Big escalation in the war of words between Senator Clinton and Obama today. Today, Senator Clinton took a major shot at Barack Obama, revisiting the controversy over Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Senator Obama's former pastor. Senator Clinton said she'd handle things differently. We'll let you hear in her own words from her, and why her critics say she's trying to distract attention from her misstatements about her trip to Bosnia as first lady.
We'll also hear how Senator John McCain would handle the housing crisis, his plan. He talked about it today. It has a lot of differences from the Democratic candidates for president. A look at that very important issue tonight.
And a CNN special investigations unit report, where are the air marshals? You'll be surprised to hear how many air marshals are actually protecting you in the sky, or how few, perhaps. The air marshals are speaking out. We're keeping the government honest. That's 360, Larry, at the top of the hour.
KING: Thanks, Anderson. By the way, that's an extraordinary report. Watch it at the top of the hour. "AC 360," 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.
Did you love our Lewis Black show last night? Now you can get more of him. Head to our Web site, CNN.com/LarryKing and watch our Lewis Black web extra. It's everything you didn't see last night. And don't forget our financial quick vote, all at CNN.com/LarryKing.
Stay with us. Suze's back with more.
KING: We're back with Suze. Let's take a call. Montgomery, Alabama, hello.
KING: Hi. Go ahead.
CALLER: My question is when will be a good time to get into the stock market and is right now a good time to get into it?
ORMAN: Depends how long you can stay invested. So if you have ten years, 15 years, 20 years until you need this money, and you want to start nibbling right now, I don't have a problem with you doing that, but little by little every single month. In fact, one idea that you might want to think about is, because interest rates are so low right now and savings accounts and CDs, why not look at some good high yield dividend paying stocks?
If you did that, you could increase your return from two percent possibly in a savings account to five or six percent, in terms of a dividend on a stock that's at a 15 percent tax rate, versus ordinary income and you have possible growth. Many financials are doing that right now. But go slowly here, people. Go slowly.
KING: E-mail from Yoaquim (ph) in Queens, New York: "Suze, I'm 22. I go to college. I have little or no financial responsibilities. I'm about to inherit 100,000 dollars from my late father. While my values are to save more and spend less, I'm totally illiterate about finances, investing, et cetera. What do I do with this money long term?"
ORMAN: Long term is you have to think short term. So short term is this; number one, never talk yourself into trusting anyone. Do you hear me? Number one. And number two, it is better to do nothing than to do something you do not understand. So with 100,000 dollars that you just inherited, I would think, if I were you, what would my dad want me to do? Would he want this money to be able to buy a home for me, some place I could live? Pay off my credit card debt. Pay off my student loan debt. Maybe buy a car for me that I can buy outright. Doesn't have to be a new car. Should be a used car. Don't buy a new car. It's waste of money. Do something like that. Fund for a Roth IRA for yourself. Maximum for you this year is 5,000 dollars.
Keep the majority of it safe and sound, so when the time does come that you want to buy a home or something, you will have a down payment to do so, which will be the best investment you ever make in the long run.
KING: Let's take a call from Sacramento, hello.
CALLER: Hello. My question is, I have a lot of credit card debt, approximately 50,000 dollars and I had the credit card companies bump it up to 29.9 percent. I tried negotiating them for the last eight months or so, to get it to somewhere where I can pay it off. They won't do it and they're just driving me into the ground. Any suggestions?
ORMAN: The reason that your interest rate is almost 30 percent is chances are you have an extremely low Fico score. Do you happen to know what your score happens to be?
CALLER: It's gone from about 780 to about 600.
ORMAN: All right. So for those of you, again, as we always talk about on the LARRY KING SHOW, the Fico score is three digit number that determines the interest rate that you do pay on credit cards, so to speak. When it's low, you pay a high interest rate. When it's high, you pay a low interest rate.
Six hundred is not as low as it can go. Anything below 500 you are in a mess. You really want to have an Fico score about 760 or above. But because you have a relatively low score, in essence, you are in trouble that way. Here's my question for you; do you have money in a 401(k) plan?
CALLER: Yes, I do have a pension plan.
ORMAN: If you have a pension plan and -- here's some new advice for you that you could possibly borrow the money from to pay off an interest rate that's at 30 percent that is killing you, that is not tax deductible. In that particular situation, I might say to you, and only in that situation, that I wouldn't have a problem if you could borrow from a 401(k) to get yourself out of debt. You might want to look into that.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Suze Orman. Don't go away.
KING: We have an e-mail question for Suze from Lazette in Baltimore,: "What's the best path to starting a career as a financial planner of adviser?" ORMAN: Oh, think very carefully about it. Truthfully, what you might want to do is go to work for a firm. Usually a firm will hire a trainee and then you start learning, whether it's a Merrill Lynch or -- used to be Bear Stearns -- but a Merrill Lynch or something like that.
You start that way. You should always get your Certified Financial Planner License. I think every financial adviser should have that, a certification that says you're certified to actually practice. I think that's important. You start little by little, but you have to work for a firm.
KING: One of the most popular segments of your show is called 'Can I Afford It.' That segment and you were recently spoofed on 'Saturday Night Live.'
ORMAN: I made it. I made it.
KING: Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the Suze Orman show.
OK, Phil. Show me the money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I have two million in savings, 100 million in stocks, and 20 million in retirement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, and you want to go to Europe. An unskilled financial adviser would look at your profile and say, arivaderchi (ph) Phil. But, no, not me. You want to see all of Europe? Fly to Florida. Go to Epcot Center.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That was funny.
ORMAN: I loved it. I loved that.
KING: That was funny.
ORMAN: Yes, but you know, as I'm looking at that segment, it reminds me about -- we've been doing that segment every Saturday night now for like a year. It's the most popular segment on "The Suze Orman Show." But over the past year, people are calling in and they're asking if they can afford very small items. Can they afford a pair of regular shoes like Birkenstock shoes. Can they afford little things like 400, 500 dollars. Here's what's so sad, I'm looking at their finances, and most of the time they cannot afford it.
So I go, you are denied. You are so denied. But it's -- it's so -- when we first started doing it, it was big items, 50,000 dollars for a car 40,000 here. Now it's little items that people are calling in about. What does that say about the economy?
KING: We have one more King Cam question, I believe. Let's see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Suze. Love you. Hey, when's the economy getting back on its feet and everybody not being broke? Fat guys on top. Skinny guys on the bottom. The middle died out a million years ago. Kind of scary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ORMAN: Where did you find him?
KING: I like that guy.
ORMAN: Where did you find him? Well, you know, the economy is going to do what the economy is going to do. But here's what's important: what are you doing, everybody? What are you doing in spite of what they're saying about the economy? Are you spending money that you don't have?
If you are, stop it. Are you not saving money for emergency? You have to. You have got to plan for the worst, even if the best does happen, because then if something goes wrong, you'll be OK. That's what you have to do. Stop spending money you don't have, everybody.
KING: You're optimistic.
KING: What do you fear the most? What could go wrong? What could throw off the Suze Orman forecast?
ORMAN: That there's another Bear Stearns out there. That there's a lot -- when these mortgages really do start to foreclose, when things like that happen, it's a lot worse than anybody expected, and it just pulls us down and down and down, and then we are in serious trouble.
KING: That turn would have to take effect for you to be concerned?
ORMAN: I'm concerned. It's not that I'm not concerned. To be shaking in my boots -- if the Fed hadn't stepped in to save Bear Stearns, I would be shaking in my boots right now.
KING: Did Greenspan see this coming before he left?
ORMAN: Yes, listen, don't get me started about Greenspan. In my opinion, he started this whole thing. When he gave this talk a number of years ago -- I watched on TV and he said, the best thing all of you could do, adjustable rate mortgages. If you had gotten adjustable rate mortgage ten years ago -- this was a few years ago he said this -- you would have made so much more money than a fixed mortgage.
Everybody started to go out to get adjustable rate mortgages. That started this whole trend of people starting to think, the way to make money is adjustable rate mortgages versus fixed rate mortgages. If everybody had been in a fixed rate mortgage, we would not necessarily be in this situation today, along with the fact if the intuitions had simply asked for the truth about what somebody has, doesn't have -- remember the day you used to buy a house and you had to have 20 percent to put down. You had to have an income. Please, they did this to us. You should be aggravated with them all.
KING: Well put.
ORMAN: Thank you, sir.
KING: Thank you, as always.
ORMAN: Thank you.
KING: Say hello to Oprah.
ORMAN: I will on Monday, everybody.
KING: Suze Orman and the book is "Suze Orman, the Road to Wealth, the Answers to More Than 2,000 Personal Finance Questions."
Before we go, I want to remind you about Senator Arlen Specter's new memoir, "Never Give In, Battling Cancer in the Senate." He knows a thing or two about illness and politics. It's a hell of a read.
As always, head to our Web site, CNN.com/LarryKing. Download our podcast, Barack Obama, or participate in our financial quick vote. We've even got Lewis Black as a web extra, all at CNN.com/LarryKing.
Now, without further ado, we switch roles. Let's go to the West Coast. Here's Anderson Cooper and "AC 360," Anderson.
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