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Senator Clinton Makes Plans to Quit the Race; Many Clinton Supporters Express Willingness to Help Obama Campaign

Aired June 4, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Hillary Clinton is quitting the race. Her campaign to become America's first female president is all but over.
Will she endorse Barack Obama?

They are saying she will.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And I just spoke to her today and, you know, we're going to be having a conversation in the coming weeks.


KING: About what?

The details still developing right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

Every time you think the big news days are over they ain't. We'll meet our outstanding panel in a moment.

But first, let's check in with Candy Crowley, CNN's senior political correspondent, in New York.

Now, what is this story, Friday, Saturday, what?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's Saturday. She will have her day with her supporters. She intends to suspend her campaign, which actually is a difference here between just quitting. It means that she's entitled to keep a hold of those delegates. She has more delegates -- accrued more delegates than any other second place candidate for the nomination in history.

It's a lot of power, Larry. She may, in fact, want to use some of that as a bargaining chip. But mostly, I am told, that she's quite interested in the history of this. You heard her talk last night about the 90-year-old women who would come and talk about how they were born before a woman could vote and they wanted to see a woman in the Oval Office, about the fathers who would bring their daughters, that kind of thing.

KING: So...

CROWLEY: So the history is really important to her and she may use those delegates and may want to have those delegates at least cast a vote at the convention for her, not to change the outcome, but to make the history.

KING: So, can we say she is dropping out?

CROWLEY: Yes. For all intents and purposes, that's true. Absolutely. She will not be campaigning. She will not in any way try to get the nomination from him, because, frankly, she can't. This just really is a matter of how you wrap this up now.

KING: Thanks, Candy. You've had a busy day and it gets busier.


KING: Candy Crowley always atop the scene.

Let's meet our panel.

In Minneapolis, Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, the best-selling author. His latest book, "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me".

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, our friend, Governor Bill Richardson, a Barack Obama supporter. He served as energy secretary and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. President Clinton.

And in Washington, another old friend, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, and a supporter of John McCain.

Jesse, what do you make of the developments last night and today?

JESSE VENTURA, INDEPENDENT, FORMER GOVERNOR, MINNESOTA, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Well, you know, as an Independent and part of the 40 percent majority of Independents, as you know, Larry, you know, that Democrats usually get about 30 percent, the Republicans get roughly 30 percent and then 40 percent of us are leftovers -- Independents who do not belong to either party.

I really have no one to vote for, because Barack Obama is going to raise my taxes. He's already stated that and I think that's the wrong thing to do. As a governor, economically, when you're on the brink of a recession or you're in a recession, it does no good to have the government taking more money from the private sector to expose more government programs.

KING: All right.

VENTURA: And with John McCain, I can't vote for him either because of the war and his support of it. I don't like it and I don't like my money going over there, either.


Senator Richardson, what do you make of the way Hillary -- Senator Clinton has handled this? GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Well, I'm pleased that she made the statement today of suspending her campaign. She ran a remarkable race. She's a major player in the party. But I would want her to go to one step further. And that is to say, one, that she enthusiastically supports Senator Obama, because it's going to be a tough campaign. And, secondly, that it was a fair process.

I think her continuing to talk about how she won the popular vote, that Michigan and Florida were disenfranchised, is not helpful. This is a time for the Democrats to come together. And her magnificent showing, coupled with Senator Obama's openness, his integrity, his ability to bring people together, we're going to have a very, very strong presidential candidate.

KING: Senator Hutchison, you sit in the Senate with both of these folks. What do you make of all of this?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Well, I think no one could say it wasn't interesting. It has been interesting.

But I do think that a lot of the talking heads just assumed that because the Democratic primary was so interesting and they were debating each other on not very much difference on the issues, that that's going be the same for the general election. And I think that the general election is going to be very different -- talking to mainstream America, talking to the Independents that Jesse Ventura just mentioned.

We're going to have real differences on the issues. And I think the people of America are going to have a much bigger choice than we have seen in this very interesting, but not very illuminating, primary, when you look at the issues differences.

KING: Jesse, since you have no one to vote for, who do you think is going to come out on top?

VENTURA: I have no idea. You know, it's -- it will be interesting to see. I think Obama has great momentum. He was in St. Paul to announce his victory and he drew 17,000 people there and they turned away 15,000. He actually outdrew the Minnesota Twins. And, you know, he's charging forward on a change campaign which is brilliant and good. But I question whether it can be delivered upon because he's still ultimately a Democratic. And, you know, it will be the same old same old, in my opinion, no matter who wins.

KING: Governor Richardson, you've been mentioned on the list for vice president.

One, would you want that?

RICHARDSON: Well, obviously, you can't turn away from something like that. But I'm very happy being governor of New Mexico. I love what I'm doing. At the same time, I think that Senator Obama is the person that needs to make this choice. He shouldn't be pressured by anybody through petitions. This should be something that is deliberative. After all, vice presidential candidates usually are named during the convention to sort of dramatize and get some pizzazz in the convention.

So I think Senator Obama has plenty of time and he should not be pressured by anybody...

KING: But...

RICHARDSON: ...on how he's going to do it or who he's going the pick.

KING: But if asked, you wouldn't say no?

RICHARDSON: Well, you know, it's very hard to say no to say something like that. But I'm not pining for it. I'm not campaigning for it. I'm happy being governor of New Mexico and being on your show with Governor Ventura and Senator Hutchison. I'm happy where I am.

KING: Senator Hutchison, speaking of that, one would think you would be an ideal vice presidential candidate, in this year of the woman, to run with Senator McCain.

Would you?

HUTCHISON: You know, I really -- I don't want to be vice president. I do think he has some very good choices. I think he is going to be looking at a person that he knows can be president. That will be the major factor in his decision. And I think there are a number of very strong people who could do that. And I think he has choices. I hope it's not (INAUDIBLE).

KING: But if asked, you would have to consider it, right?

HUTCHISON: Well, I've never -- I've never really gotten that far because I'm certainly not in a position to do that. I'm just not.


Can our guests imagine Hillary Clinton as vice president?

We'll ask them when we return.



OBAMA: Because of you, tonight I can stand here and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States of America.



KING: All right, Jesse, would Senator Clinton -- would she be an impressive vice presidential candidate, if asked, and if she took it?

VENTURA: Well, I think it's smart move by the Democrats if that were to happen, because let's face it, they two -- they both have two massive armies of Democrats and they need to unite them. And there's a bit of hostility right now. And, you know, so I think it would be a good move.

Not only that, Larry, but it would continue the legacy of our dual monarchism here.


VENTURA: If Hillary is on, we've, since 1980, we've only had Bushes or Clintons in the administration all the way through until today. Maybe John McCain should pick out Jeb Bush and then for sure we'd know there would be a Clinton and a Bush still in the administration for another four to eight years.

KING: Jesse is never dull.


KING: His new book, by the way, is "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me".

Governor Richardson, what do you think of Hillary as a vice presidential selection?

RICHARDSON: Well, my first thought is that Senator Obama should be given this opportunity to enjoy this historic moment of being nominated for president.

And on the vice presidential issue, Senator Clinton obviously has millions of voters behind her. She would be a huge asset. She would be a formidable vice presidential candidate. But, again, this is Senator Obama's decision to make.

KING: Right.


KING: But we're just asking your opinion.

RICHARDSON: shouldn't be made on the basis of pressure. It's Senator Obama's decision, not Senator Clinton's. And what needs to happen, Larry, is I think Governor Ventura mentioned something that's important. A president and a vice president need to get along. There's been a lot of animosity in this campaign.

Is the chemistry right for them to be able to serve together?

That's another question that only the two of them can answer.

KING: Yes.

Senator Hutchison, you've served with Senator Clinton now for a number of years. Were you surprised by her tenacity and the way she campaigned? HUTCHISON: Oh, not at all. I think that she has always shown that tenacity. When she is on the Senate floor and she has an issue, she doesn't give up. She tries to put her position forward. I was not surprised. And we have seen President Clinton and Senator Clinton both show their tenacity during the years.

So I think that for sure, I think when Obama -- when Senator Obama is looking for a vice presidential candidate, I think he will have to determine if he does have to bring the party together, or if the party is behind him and he wants to add something to the ticket that has not already been shown through the Democratic primaries to be someone who would just appeal to Democrats.

I think -- I'm sure they're going to be doing a lot of focus groups and polling to determine what he really needs to get his vote out.

KING: Jesse, are they smart to hook -- are the Democrats smart to hook McCain with Bush?

VENTURA: I think so. Larry, you never asked if either candidate would consider me, an Independent.


VENTURA: Anyway...

KING: I -- you know, you...

VENTURA: Getting -- no.

KING: You know, you've opened up the...

VENTURA: No, getting back to the question...

KING: Jesse.

VENTURA: Getting back to the question, Larry, I think that, yes, you want to hook him to Bush, I think. Because let's face it, the president's numbers aren't exactly top notch right now. He's not very popular. His decision, you know, a lot of controversy. You know, I'm -- I don't understand the fact, when the Republicans say the McClellan situation is just old news?

Did I miss when the Republicans admitted they trumped up the war? Did I miss that?

Because it's not old news, it's new news. And in light of the fact that the -- you know, it seems the war got trumped up, I would be trying to tie John McCain to President Bush, absolutely.

KING: All right. We have an e-mail question for Governor Richardson.

It's from Lloyd in New York City: "Governor, should Obama beat McCain to the punch by announcing that he'd pick -- who he'd pick for his cabinet sooner rather than later? Could that help overcome the perception that he lacks international and national security experience?"

RICHARDSON: That is a good idea. I advanced it myself when I was running, that a presidential candidate might tell the American people ahead of time who his national security cabinet is going to be, at least -- secretary of state, defense, national security adviser. Those are very important positions.

I would advise Senator Obama to pick a bipartisan cabinet, to have Independents in there.

KING: I think he's already said that, hasn't he?

VENTURA: To have Republicans in there.

KING: He's already said he will.

RICHARDSON: And, by the way, he is very strong among Independent voters. He is the strongest Democrat with Independent voters in many years. And I hope that would influence my friend, Governor Ventura, to support Senator Obama.

KING: Senator Hutchison, what do you think this race is going to be like?

HUTCHISON: Well, talking about someone who appeals to Independents, I think John McCain is one who has shown his Independent streak time and time again. I would just say to Governor Ventura on the war that I think he has shown that he would part with President Bush in many respects, including how we went into this war and how it was handled and implemented.

So I think that he does differ. And I think he has so much experience in the military and in foreign affairs that it is going to be a long suit for him.

KING: All right.


KING: Hey...

HUTCHISON: ...I think the race is going to be change, what kind of change, higher taxes, higher prices of gasoline. Because the Democrats right now are not offering anything in energy that would produce more energy.


HUTCHISON: And we've got to have more energy if we're going to bring the price down.

KING: Thanks to Senators Hutchison -- Senator Hutchison and Governor Richardson.

Jesse Ventura will stay with us, as we add former Press Secretaries Myers and Fleischer.

Stay with us.


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Jesse Ventura remains with us. His best-selling -- the author of the new book, "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me".

We're joined now in Washington by Dee Dee Myers, who served as White House press secretary for President Clinton, a best-selling author herself, of "Why Women Should Rule the World".

And in Stanford, Connecticut, our man, Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary for President Bush, was succeeded in that post by Scott McClellan.

Before we got to any other place, Dee Dee Myers, what do you make of your former boss slamming your husband over his article in "Vanity Fair?"

DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, Larry, as you know, I love my husband very much. He's a terrific reporter. But he's a reporter and I'm a Democrat and sometimes our interests part. You know, it's one of those situations and I'm not going to have much to say about the article. But, again, you know, our interests are not always the same. And in two career families, sometimes those things happen.

KING: OK, are...

MYERS: It's been an interesting week.

KING: I'll bet.


KING: All right.

Ari Fleischer, what do you make of the developments of yesterday and today?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, PRESIDENT G.W. BUSH: Oh, I think it's absolutely remarkable. You know, six months ago, nobody ever thought that Hillary Clinton could possibly lose. And you really have to give Barack Obama credit for coming from behind, for doing this, for surging, really, right before Iowa to take Iowa and then for hanging in there and winning.

It's the end of a dynasty in America when the Clintons lose elections.

KING: Jesse, what do you make of the performance of Obama?

VENTURA: Oh, I think that he tapped into something that we Independents have been talking about for a long, long time, and that is change. But, again, I question whether it can be delivered because...

KING: But are you...

VENTURA:'re still...

KING: Are you amazed at the way he pulled this off?

VENTURA: Not really. I thought that it was wide open enough, that the Clintons carry enough baggage, that -- and they've been around a long, long time. And people are looking for a fresh face and new leadership. And Barack Obama provides that. So I'm not fully surprised -- that surprised over it.

KING: Dee Dee, what do you make of how Senator Clinton handled last night?

MYERS: Well, I think she surprised a lot of people. But I think it's important to keep in mind that she was running full speed right through the last primary. She really did. She campaigned her heart out in each of those last states as if it was the last state, which, of course, it was.

And I think that, you know, everyone expected that she's going through a process of sort of sorting through what she was going to do. And there was a big expectation that she would make some profound announcement. And it turns out that she really hadn't had time to think about what she wanted to do. And she wanted to come home and spend some time with her family.

And she went to her campaign headquarters today and talked to her staff, and, I think, really wanted to go through a short, condensed process, but a process, to get to the place where she was ready to say I'm going to suspend my campaign.

So I think it's the right thing for her to have done. I think the party will now be able to start really coming together. I think she and Senator Obama will sit down together and figure out how to move forward.

It's hard to give up after you've come so close. It's like, you know, it's like, you know, you lost by two points in a triple overtime basketball game. It's just a really, really hard thing to do and she's done it.

KING: Ari Fleischer, what do you make of all of this -- of Senator Clinton suspending her campaign? FLEISCHER: Well, frankly, I agree with Dee Dee. This is a tough business, Larry. It's a business for these candidates -- it doesn't matter what party you belong to. They pour their heart and their soul into it. They don't see their family, really, in any meaningful way. Their entire life is spent on airplanes and before crowds and getting jammed and crammed with last minute information, trying to stay on top of everything, dealing with the press and a lot of pressure.

And she lost a superb -- an unbelievably close contest here. And it's not like there's one election day where you know it's over and you've lost. She's allowed to absorb this. She should take a few days.

What's vital now is that she's gracious and that she praises Obama when she gets out. She's got to start, for the good of the Democratic Party, to heal the wounds that have been exposed by the gaps between blue collar and white collar in the Democrat Party, white and black. A lot of damage has been done. It's damage that can and likely will be repaired.

But how much can be repaired? How much of an opening is there for John McCain?

Hillary's exit can start to set that into process to help the Democrats. But there's a lot for John McCain to work off of here.

KING: Let's discuss McCain's proposal for a series of 12 straight, once a week, town hall meetings -- just him and Obama, I think no moderator, just going at it. It's something that Kennedy and Goldwater were going to do after the campaign -- after the conventions, had Kennedy lived in 1964.

Jesse, what do you make of that idea?

VENTURA: I think there's great idea if there was a third party included. You know, again, I'm going to -- I sound repetitious on this, Larry, but 40 percent of America, to me, is not respected by the two party system today.

KING: Well...

VENTURA: And it's controlled by them. Who gets to debate is controlled by them, the two parties and all that. And until we break that down -- let's remember, I have George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in my corner. They warned our country about when the two parties would control our government and that's where we're at today. And we'd better heed the warning of our forefathers.

KING: Dee Dee, what do you make of the proposal?

MYERS: Well, you know, it's an interesting proposal. It's a bit of a -- I don't want to call it a stunt exactly, but Senator McCain believes -- and I think most of us who watch him believe that his best format is the town hall, where he can respond to questions, he can show his sense of humor, he can be spontaneous. That's what he likes to do. And that hasn't always been Senator Obama's strongest setting. And so, of course, he wants to draw him into a contest that shines a light on his strengths and not so much on his opponent's.

But, you know, I think Senator Obama, that said, is open to a number of debates, a good dialogue to try to keep this campaign focused on the issues that matter. The American people clearly enjoyed the 21 or so -- was it 21 or 22, I can't remember -- debates in the Democratic primary. And people at the beginning said oh, the public will never watch those debates. Well, they watched them all.

And so I think that's a great precedent for going into a general election where the two candidates will sit down with each other and actually talk about stuff.

KING: Ari, it would be historic to have these occur before the conventions, before the selection -- official selection of the candidates, wouldn't it?

FLEISCHER: I think it would be really interesting. In a year in which people really are clamoring for change, John McCain -- to (INAUDIBLE) today is a substantially new and changed way of conducting elections -- a lot more allowable for the voters to make measurements of these candidates. They don't have to rise to the level of those orchestrated debates, the three which take place each fall. There's an informality to this. There's a way for people to just pick up the sense of candidates. And that's a welcome part of elections, if Senator Obama will agree to it.

You know, one thing, Jesse Ventura accurately talks about Independents and they are always a key to election. If it wasn't for Independents, John McCain would not be the nominee. You know, Mike Huckabee actually won Republicans over to McCain in South Carolina and Mitt Romney won Republicans over to McCain in Florida -- the two states that propelled McCain to the nomination.

But McCain won enough of those who came out who are Independents that he won both states.

KING: Yes.

FLEISCHER: John McCain's base is Independent voters. And that's also what makes him such a strong candidate this fall.

KING: Good point.

FLEISCHER: Obama's challenge now is to meet McCain in the middle. And that's where this election is going to go, Larry. McCain has to keep enough of his base, energize his base -- always a problem for a maverick like McCain. But he got -- he has a good head start in the center.

KING: Does...

MYERS: Well, interesting, Larry, you could say...

KING: Hold it. Hold it, Dee Dee. We'll come right back to you.

Does Obama need to resolve that Hillary V.P. issue sooner than later?

We'll put that question to our guests, next.



SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him. It's an honor to call him my friend.

OBAMA: She's an extraordinary leader of the Democratic party and she's made history alongside me over the last 16 months. I'm very proud to have competed against her.


KING: Before we ask about Hillary Clinton as vice president, Dee Dee was going to say something when we so cut her off rudely.

MYERS: I was going the make the point that I was saying how John McCain had been such a strong candidate among independents. If it hadn't been for independents, he would not have been the Republican nominee. I think you can make the same argument about Barack Obama. Had it not been for independents and, in a lot of ways, Republicans who crossed over to vote for him -- that strengthened him.

I think John McCain and Barack Obama have great appeal in the middle. In the end, that's where this race's going be won.

KING: We're going to have a big turnout this year?

MYERS: If the past is prologue, yes. Look at the primaries. We have had extraordinary turnout.

KING: Jesse, if asked, should Hillary run with him?

VENTURA: Yes, she should. I'm not a Democrat. I think they have some healing to do. Having come from the world of pro wrestling, and the world of acting and suspense and movies and all of that, I think he should wait until the convention, because it would have a far bigger impact of Kumbaya. They could all get together and hug each other on the floor, the two sides of the convention. It would be much more dramatic for them.

KING: Now or later, Ari?

FLEISCHER: I would wait for later. You always want to build suspense. Larry, he shouldn't ask her to be his running mate for two reasons. One is how can he be the candidate of change, if his first big decision is to go right back to the '90s. That doesn't represent change. that's status quo. Two, as president, the last thing you want to do is look over your shoulder, worried, is your vice president with you or not, is your vice president trying to protect her own political future in splitting with you?

I think Hillary Clinton's going to have a fine future in the United States Senate, where she can be her own free agent. It's too bad she put out the signals that she's interested in the game, because it's going to be an entanglement that Obama's going to have to deal with for the next -- who knows how long.

KING: Dee Dee.

MYERS: I think it's a decision that Senator Obama should make based on, you know, chemistry, who he thinks share his goals for the country, who he thinks he can work with. I think a lot of presidents are surprised as they go through the process by who they choose. I don't think George Bush -- Ari, correct me if I am wrong -- didn't expect to choose Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney was running the process of choosing the vice president, and President Bush realized, I'm so comfortable with this guy, he should be my running mate.

Same thing was true of Bill Clinton in 1992. I don't think Al Gore was at top of his list. They sat down together. They talked together. They realized they had so much in common, in terms of where they wanted to lead the country.

Moving away from the Bush agenda is change. Hillary Clinton has nothing in common with George Bush's agenda for this country. Putting her on the ticket would certainly represent continued change. We're not in the '90s. The last eight years have been the Bush years, not the Clinton years.

KING: Would you want her as a Democrat, Dee Dee, to go on ticket? Would that be a ticket you want to happen?

MYERS: I would be certainly would be comfortable with it. What's important is what Senator Obama's comfortable. That chemistry is so important, and to see the choice that the nominee makes based on what they think is in the best interest of the country and who they think they can work with, and trying to really bring together the message that they're trying to convey to the American people. I think it's a very personal choice.

That does say a lot about how this person makes decisions. It is a critical first test for the nominees. We'll see how both of them move through it.

KING: Jesse, would independents support that ticket?

VENTURA: Well, independents are forced to support the two tickets. We have no other choice out there.

KING: I know. Which ticket would they support?

VENTURA: I can't tell you. It depends on which side of the ledger they sit on. If they are anti-raising of taxes, chances are they will go to McCain. If they don't mind the taxes being raised, they'll go Obama. If they're anti-war, they'll go Obama. It depends how scale tilts as they focus in on November and which ones will become the big issues.

Remember this, though, Republicans spend just as much as Democrats. It's just that it's put on the debt, which they're both responsible for, which is now nine trillion dollars. You don't hear either side talk about that, do you? They don't dare.

KING: Ari, the race issue. It's not talked about enough. But do you think it's still an issue, in that, a lot of people might vote against Obama only because he's black.

FLEISCHER: No, I think America better than that. I think we have substantially moved beyond those issues that were prevalent 40, 50 years ago. The bigger problem Barack Obama has is an old fashioned values issue. The Jeremiah Wright issue has hurt him. It's damaged his image. It's hurt his reputation, particularly because he's such an unknown character, mostly as state senator and united states senator, with about one year of experience before he ran for president.

People's first impression of him for many Americans was his ties to Jeremiah Wright, his not wearing the flag pin. The old-fashioned values kind of thing, where people form quick judgments about who you are, based on these amorphous qualities that lead to people saying, I trust that person; I want him in the Oval.

Very exciting, on the other hand, that's Obama's strength, his attraction. He's going to have a value issue he'll have to address this summer

KING: If they ever make the movie, the Ari Fleischer story, there can be only one star, Kevin Spacey. Look, who else could play it?

FLEISCHER: He's got too much hair. They wouldn't give him the part.

KING: Ed McMahon and his wife will be with us tomorrow night. The mortgage problem has come to the front page. Obama has just commented on Hillary preparing to concede. We'll tell you what he said after the break.


KING: At an event tonight in New York, asked -- the presumed nominee was asked how he feels now that the last person in America, referring to Hillary, now appears to acknowledge that he'll be the Democratic nominee. Obama said, quote, truth is, I haven't had time to think about it. This weekend, I'm going home, talk it over with Michelle and we're going on a date."

Does that tell you anything, Dee Dee?

MYERS: Yes, I think it tells us that this has been a long, hard process. You know, this thing is so emotional that it's finally over and the thing that Senator Obama wants to do is go home and see his family, which I totally understand and respect. I hope they have a great time. Let us know where you're going, Senator Obama. We'll send you a bottle of champagne. I think it's great. He's worked really hard to get to this point. He must feel great about it. It's a lot to process and it will take him a few days.

KING: Ari, is there a lot of relief now, do you think?

FLEISCHER: Oh, yes, for Senator Obama and his team. I remember that feeling in 2000 when George Bush clinched the nomination. It was in March of 2000. It is really a sense of fulfillment. His people are entitled to it. Hillary people are entitled to a little space and respect because it's tough to lose. This is a serious business. It's not a class presidency people are running for.

And at the end of the day, we kind of come together as a country despite the divisions. This is one of those times. This is a time where you should allow him to rest, recuperate. He'll have to have his legs under him for a tough general election campaign. This one went way extra innings and he's entitled to some time off now.

KING: Jesse, your book is "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me." Do you expect to see a peaceful revolution in this country?

VENTURA: I would hope so. I hope we can start by shortening these elections. I kind of laugh about it. When you look and you have three senators running. They all spend two years running for the presidency, when they're supposed to be in Washington voting as senators. I would love to see a law passed in this country that you're not allowed to campaign until the year of election, until you're allow to file. If they want to move filing up to January, that's fine.

These things are all together too expensive. Look at all the money and the things we could have done with that money, that we spent on this two-year long campaign to find out which Republican and Democrat would come through the wash.

KING: Dee Dee, isn't one of the things they're paid for by us is to vote?

MYERS: Yes, and I think the public gets to have a chance to have a referendum on that. If the candidates go out there, if they don't like the fact they are running for president while they are sitting in the Senate, they don't have to vote for them.

I do think these elections are a bit long. On the other hand, we have never seen so much enthusiasm around a campaign as we have had in this Democratic primary. Jesse, you're laughing, but 36 million people turned out to vote for these two Democratic candidates. That's never happened in the history of our country. Voters in 50 states, plus territories, got a chance to weigh in. I think a lot of Americans feel really good about that.

Yes, a lot of money was spent. There's no question this broke all records. But Senator Obama, in particular, proved you can do that in small donations. The average size of his donation is well under 100 dollars. VENTURA: Wait, maybe finally we'll get 50 percent of the public to vote. That will be a natural thing, won't it?

MYERS: We're on the way. This is better than it's been.

FLEISCHER: If you could extend the dates and make it everything take place later, that would be fine with me. At the end of the day, Larry, I don't think it matters that much. I think the fact of the matter is we have a pretty well functioning system. We have a self- correcting system. The people get to have their say. Interest is way up.

The amount of money doesn't bother me one bit. We spend a lot more money on soap commercials than we do for the presidency of the United States. It's part of the capitalistic democracy.

KING: We thank Jesse and Ari so much for being with us. They will be back frequently. Dee Dee will remain. What will Hillary Clinton do for the campaign if she's not on the ticket? Should she have a role? We'll ask next.


KING: Dee Dee Myers remains with us. We're joined now in New York by Lisa Caputo, a Clinton adviser who was press secretary for the first lady Hillary Clinton, and deputy assistant to President Clinton.

Good seeing Lisa again.

And in Ft. Lauderdale, Paul Begala, CNN political contributor, Democratic strategist, also a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Lisa, if she's not on the ticket, what her role be in the campaign, do you think?

LISA CAPUTO, CLINTON ADVISER: I think she'll campaign her heart out for Senator Obama. No doubt about it. In fact, I think if the Obama campaign were smart, what the Obama campaign should do is lift her women's operation out of her campaign, a great political operation they ran. Let's not forget, Larry, she has an enormous base of support of women, of Hispanics, of older voters, of working class blue collar workers. They've got a fantastic operation as it relates to women that sure would be a great transfer success to some of the other segments of the population, if Obama could lift that model right out of the Clinton campaign.

KING: Paul Begala, do you agree?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. In fact, let me amplify that a little bit. One of the fastest growing segments of the American electorate is adult single women. In fact, for the first time in American history, more adult women today are single than married. I've offered to set up a polygamist compound of my own, Larry. Lisa and Dee Dee can join. That's the reality.

Hillary has enormous appeal with those women. They love her. She's been their voice in this campaign. I suspect Senator Obama will be asking her to campaign hard with them. Then also Hispanics. The Republican share of the Hispanic vote has dropped in the last two elections from 44 percent in '04 to just 26 percent in '06. You know, it could go back the other way, because Senator McCain has a pretty liberal position on immigration. A lot of Hispanics like that.

Hillary cleaned up in the Hispanic vote. I think the Obama campaign will be leaning on her in that community.

KING: Dee Dee, are you going to make it unanimous?

MYERS: Yes, I think Hillary Clinton will be a tremendous asset to the Obama ticket throughout the general election campaign. I think Paul and Lisa have certainly amplified two areas where she brings particular strength. She's a great campaigner. We have all seen that. She's tireless. She fights her heart out. I think she'll take all that energy that she's put into her own campaign and put it into electing a Democrat in the November.

KING: Let's take a call from Eugene, Oregon -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, I would like to know why there so much pressure for Obama to choose a vice president, but not as much on McCain?

KING: OK, Lisa. You want to grab that, Lisa? Why don't we talk about McCain and vice president?

CAPUTO: I think it's an excellent question. I mean, it's because Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are dominating the headlines clearly. I think you saw it in today's news, where Senator Obama increased his committee from Jim Johnson to Eric Holder, who worked in the Clinton administration, as well as Caroline Kennedy. I think there's not been as much coverage of Senator McCain because people are fascinated with the Democratic primary race.

When you have Democratic voter turnout unprecedented, as we have seen with 36 million people coming out to vote for these two candidates, and, by the way, Senator Clinton winning the South Dakota primary last night as Barack Obama hits the magic number. All eyes are on Obama and McCain's not really in the news. In fact, he's trying to get into the news by challenging Obama to a series of town halls.

KING: In that regard, Paul, as a political veteran of the wars, should Obama accept?

BEGALA: Yes, should he accept those town halls? Sure.

KING: Starting next week?

BEGALA: Yes, that match up is tailored made for Barack Obama. Senator McCain has a lot of gifts. When you think about change, does the mental image that comes to your mind -- is it a 72-year-old white guy who has been in Washington 26 years and has 128 lobbyists running his campaign? I don't think so. I think people are going to look at those two standing side by side and go, I get it; I'm for change. I'm for Obama.

KING: Dee Dee, should he accept this early to start town hall meetings?

MYERS: I don't think there's any downside to starting it this early. I think Paul's right. Having them in the same venue really works in many ways to Senator Obama's favor. I would look at the fine print a little bit. The Obama campaign's going to want to back and tweak it a little bit to make sure it works in their interest.

They probably won't accept the McCain offer as is. But I think will end up with a lot of joint appearances, probably less formal many than of our traditional ideas about general election debate. I think that will be great for the country.

KING: Barry Goldwater told me that he and President Kennedy had agreed to a series of debate. They would travel together around the country to cut down costs after the convention and to see -- just lay it out. It might happen again. Jimmy Carter says an Obama/Clinton ticket could be the worst mistake that could be made. We'll ask our guests about this when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


KING: OK, panel, we'll start with Lisa Caputo. Jimmy Carter says a Clinton ticket, where she's the vice president with Obama, would be the worst mistake they could make.

What do you make of that, Lisa?

CAPUTO: Well, I respectfully disagree with the former president. I think a Clinton on the ticket -- Hillary Clinton on the ticket could be a great way to unify the party. Let's remember there are a lot of emotional people today who are Clinton supporters, many of them women. Women are 51 percent of the population. What Hillary Clinton would bring to an Obama/Clinton ticket would be that strong base of support of women, most certainly.

Let's remember, Larry, they're very close on the issues, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So, I think it would be really quite an unstoppable ticket. She brings to the ticket depth of experience that I think could help affect change in the country

KING: Paul?

BEGALA: I think Lisa's right.

Barack Obama's such an inspirational leader. Hillary is such an operational leader. Frankly, you need both. A good government wants to both inspire its people to higher ground, but also have the road map to get there. I think they would be a terrific team. But senator Obama has to make this decision and in his own time. I'm not advising him. If I were, I would say, take your time here. Substantively, you don't want to get this wrong. Politically, I would like to see it closer to the convention to gin up excitement, the way Bill Clinton did when he picked Al Gore. KING: Dee Dee, I haven't got further information as to what Jimmy Carter said after that, as to why it would be the worse mistake. We don't have a reference point, other than that's what he said. What do you make of it?

MYERS: I think it would interesting to know more about his thinking. I think Hillary Clinton's totally qualified to serve as vice president. As Lisa and Paul both said, she brings tremendous strengths and tremendous following to any endeavor. Ultimately, it's up to Senator Obama. People are going to be looking to him to see not only what kind of choice he makes, but how he makes that choice.

Does he make it under pressure or does he take his time? Does he look at the candidate and try to find the person that he's most comfortable with and can work best with?

We as Democrats and we as Americans ought to give both candidates enough room to be able to do that. He has plenty of time. Let this process play out. The press's going to go crazy, as if, ultimately, the candidates are going to pick a V.P. and not going to tell us, and so there's going to be this huge game of trying to figure out everybody who has been talked to and everybody who has visited with both Senator Obama and Senator McCain.

Ultimately they'll both take their time and make their choice. Then they'll tell us.

KING: Logically, Paul Begala, wouldn't our guest earlier be a logical pick, Bill Richardson.

BEGALA: I don't know. There's a whole lot of Clinton people that are pretty upset with him. I watched that show when James Carville and Bill had that food fight.

KING: Don't we heal all wound?

BEGALA: Or we wounds all heals. I think -- I like Bill. I did not -- this is one of the few times that James's gotten into one of these brawls that I didn't jump in with him. I did not criticize him when he endorsed Barack. There's nothing wrong with endorsing Barack Obama. I thought tonight -- if I worked for Barack Obama, I wouldn't have very happy with Bill Richardson's performance on your show tonight. He was still hammering Hillary Clinton. He was in primary mode. He was still attacking Hillary.

He said, she's still fighting the fight. She's not. She hasn't run a negative in four or five weeks. Today, she went to AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby group, and essentially endorsed Barack. In a more powerful way, she, who has perfect 100 percent pro-Israel record, said to those folks at AIPAC, Barack will be strong on Israel just as I will be. I think there's no call for Barack Obama supporters to be criticizing Hillary the way Bill did tonight. I think that was him as a freelancer.

KING: Only have 30 seconds.

Quickly, Lisa, if asked, would you be involved in this campaign?

CAPUTO: Oh, sure, I'm an enthusiastic Democrat. I want to see a Democrat get elected.

KING: Dee Dee?

MYERS: Same do. I will do anything that the -- almost anything that the campaign would ask. I think all three of us will be there at the barricades.

KING: Paul?

BEGALA: Oh, sure. As soon as Hillary concedes, I'll write a check for the legal maximum to Barack Obama and sign up as a volunteer to do anything I can to help this guy. We need change.

KING: Thank you all very much. A sprightly session tonight. Don't forget to check out our E-mail all of our upcoming guests and download our current podcasts or sign up for text alerts.

We'll pick up the political discussion tomorrow, and also an exclusive with Ed McMahon, one of many caught in the middle of the mortgage crisis. And there's a chance he could lose his home. Ed McMahon tomorrow night, Thursday.

Right now it's time for Anderson Cooper and "A.C. 360."