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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev; Interview With Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili

Aired August 14, 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: Breaking news tonight -- and only on LARRY KING LIVE. Mikhail Gorbachev warns of a new cold war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER SOVIET PRESIDENT (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I think that the signs of a cold war are present.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The former Soviet president says Georgia ignited a conflict with Russia that threatens world stability.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): This was a barbaric assault.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And he puts America on notice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Outside interference pushes things in the wrong direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Are we at dangerous crossroads?

Plus, the presidency -- is there still a chance for Hillary Clinton?

A deal is in the works to put her name on the convention ballot. Now, is the top spot still a possibility or a power play to steal the spotlight?

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

Tensions are high as the conflict between Russia and Georgia builds. Georgia's president claims one third of his country is now occupied. You'll hear from him later in the show.

But first, I sat down a little earlier today, with former Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, and asked him about the crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING: President Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union -- he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize back in 1990 -- wrote a "Washington Post" op-ed earlier this week titled "The Path To Peace in the Caucasus."

Mr. President, thank you for joining us.

We'll get right into it.

The president of Georgia told CNN yesterday that we've been witnessing the past few days "the brutal, calculated, cold-blooded, premeditated murder by Russia of a small democracy."

How do you respond?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, this is all lies from beginning to end. And I am -- really, I really think this is really beyond comprehension. I have heard the opinion of Eduard Shevardnadze. He knows what the situation is on their side.

So it was all at night, a little past midnight, when the city was asleep. Then from all sides, it was shelled with shells of enormous power. They used artillery. They used aircraft. They used all weapons of killing. And this is really amazing.

Tskhinvali, in fact, was devastated by fire from multiple rocket launchers against people, against housing, against hospitals, against water and sanitation, against the energy and communication infrastructure. All of that was destroyed. The old monuments were destroyed. And they were among the oldest in the Caucasus. The ancestral graves were ruined -- were then trampled by tanks.

KING: Mr. President, excuse me, you are saying that Georgia started this?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Yes, indeed. There is no doubt about it.

What is more, the response required the movement of additional forces into South Ossetia because Tskhinvali was attacked by a powerful force, by an armada. And I remember the Second World War. I remember the front. I remember the occupation. I saw terrible weapons used. But this was the use of sophisticated weapons against a small town, against sleeping people. This was a barbaric assault.

KING: One of our candidates, John McCain, the senator, I'm sure you know, he calls this regime change. He said Russia's true objective is to change regimes.

How do you respond to that charge?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): No. Russia was responding to what happened in Tskhinvali. Russia needed to address this. Russia could not avoid addressing this assault and this devastation and the killings of people, the devastation of the city. The peacekeepers had been there for some time. There were all kinds of things happening. But there were still possibilities for dialogue. And there was some dialogue going on and they were considering certain options and possibilities.

So Russia was ready to continue to fulfill its functions. There is just no doubt about it. And I don't know why it's happened that it has been presented that Russia invaded Georgia. This is really disinformation. This is all lies. It means that this plan -- there was a plan to attack Ossetia...

KING: OK...

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): ...and also to misinform people. It's a kind of information war. I think now that they are showing the city, it is becoming clearer what happened.

KING: Do you think, Mr. President, that Russia plans to stay in Georgia?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Russia has a mandate. And after events like these, Russia should stay, but certainly within the mandate, within the peacekeeping mandate.

KING: The foreign minister, Lavrov, has asserted that the president of Georgia "can no longer be our partner in negotiations. It would better if he went."

Do you want a change of leadership in Georgia?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, I think that what is really important is -- well, we can understand what people are saying and what people are saying with regard to Saakashvili, because Saakashvili had misled Europe. He misled the United States, unless were to think that it was all an American project and that Saakashvili just implemented it.

This was a total surprise as regards the peacekeeping contingent there. So he's a person who certainly does not deserve trust. But this is for the Georgians to decide.

KING: You know, there's a lot of questions in the United States.

Who in -- Mr. President, who holds the power in Russia?

Is it President Medvedev or is it Minister Putin?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I think that both have powers in accordance with the constitution. In accordance with the constitution, their powers, their competence is constitutional. Those are people who have known each other politically and in human terms for 15 years. And so no one should expect things in Russia to kind of go haywire.

It started when our prime minister was in Beijing during the opening of the Olympics. The president was taking decisions. He acted confidently and calmly, although this was a difficult emotional experience for him.

We have now seen what happened. Western television didn't show what happened in Tskhinvali. Only now, they're beginning to show some pictures of the destruction.

So this looks to me like it was a well prepared project and with any outcome they wanted to put the blame on Russia. I believe I can say responsibly, and I have a person who has a moral right to say so, Russia, in this situation, acted in responding to Georgian aggression.

KING: Can the United States trust your two leaders?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Certainly. Certainly, yes. And I have to tell you, I am pleased that even though dramatic and tragic things happened, there are still human relations between Russians and Georgians. And that mutual affection that developed over centuries is still there. It's now up to the politicians.

KING: We'll be right back with President Mikhail Gorbachev on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My call, of course, is for the territorial integrity of Georgia to be respected and for the cease-fire agreement to be honored.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with President Mikhail Gorbachev.

He is in Moscow.

Do you fear, Mr. President, that the world is moving toward a new cold war?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, you know, it's been some time, for a couple of years, two or three years there's been talk about this, because we have seen -- we are seeing what is happening in Europe, in the Middle East and some other regions. We also see some things that are happening in the south, in Asia, in the south of Russia. And this is of some concern.

And what is of particular concern to me -- and this is something that I will be writing about in a special article -- and that is that we are witnessing -- definitely witnessing a process of militarization in the world today. And this is a big danger.

Military budgets are growing. Weapons trade is going on at a hectic pace. Look at Georgia. Had Georgia not been armed to the teeth, it wouldn't have done what it has done. A small state has a $1 billion military budget. All kinds of countries participated, but particularly the United States armed Georgia with sophisticated weapons -- aircraft, land weapons. Mountains of weapons were supplied to Georgia.

And I think that this is the inevitable outcome, when weapons budgets -- military budgets grow, when weapons pile up, it works one day. It actually shoots one day. And this is what happened.

So I think that the signs of a cold war are present. But we still have time to prevent it.

I wanted to add that I am greatly concerned about something that I've been watching. And, of course, I've been visiting the United States. I've been talking to people there. I've been talking to large audiences, groups of thousands of people. But I've been also talking to policy makers, business leaders and others. And I've been saying that we have not been able to establish a sound relationship between Russia and the United States after the end of the cold war.

I believe that the United States has made mistakes for which the people have to pay. For example, the military budget of the United States is over $600 billion. That's about half of the world's military budget. And I would say that we need a new agenda in relations of our two nations. There have been some attempts, some talk, but we've not been able to move things off the ground to sort out our relationship.

Often, under the guise of promoting national interests, so everything is forgotten. Everything is forgotten, such as the new realities of the world today, the interests of other countries. And then we see situations that lead to conflict.

Would Saakashvili have mustered the courage to create a situation that actually threatened a clash with Russia without support, without protection?

There was support and protection. And even now we see that the United States is trying to support and justify Saakashvili. I think you shouldn't be doing this, because this could cause even more complications. There is a chance for our two countries to develop a new agenda for cooperation so as to promote both U.S. and Russian interests, and the interests of other countries, and the interests of stability, particularly in the hot spots in different continents. And I welcomed the idea of creating a bipartisan commission on relations between Russia and the United States. I believe that this is a good idea and it will be useful for both of our countries.

KING: Mr. President, where is all of this going?

Are you at all optimistic?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, if things just are allowed to go on, if all of us just continue along the same lines of mistakes and illusions, without seeing the new realities to which we should adjust our policies -- I think we should do it on both sides. But if we don't do it, then it could really cause very severe complications.

The United States should not think that the attempt to decide every issue militarily will work. I believe that the United States -- the United States people don't want this. I wrote an article for "The Washington Post" and I have seen some of the more than 400 opinions of the people about this. And I was surprised that people are really seeing very clearly how important the relationship between Russia and the United States is. So let's listen to the people.

KING: We're almost out of time.

Do you expect Russia to withdraw from Georgia?

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, Russia doesn't need anything from Georgia. We just want this nation -- the people with whom we have been living for 300 years as friends and brothers, this friendship still continues. We don't want problems from there.

I don't think we have problems between our two nations. But outside interference pushes things in the wrong direction.

Of course, it's a big crossroads -- oil and oil pipelines, etc. And so we see competition. And I don't think that there's a need for so many weapons there and for conflicts.

In order to work things out, we need to reestablish trust and then we will be able to solve any problems. Without trust, no, that will not work. If we just have individual steps, that will not work.

In the second half of the 1980s, we worked together in a -- we created a new situation. We created trust. And based on that, we started to eliminate nuclear weapons. We started to reduce conventional weapons in Europe. We opened the way for people to choose -- to choose what they want to choose -- their regimes, their government, etc. And most of the regional conflicts were settled at that time, with the exception of the Middle East.

So trust is the key word.

KING: Mr. President, thank you.

Good seeing you again.

GORBACHEV (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Larry, I cannot see you, but I was very pleased to have a talk with you.

KING: And when we come back, Georgia's president, Mikhail Saakashvili, will respond.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE, from Tbilisi, Georgia, the president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili.

Thank you very much for joining us, Mr. President.

What's your overall reaction to what president Gorbachev had to say?

He said that you were the aggressor.

PRES. MIKHEIL SAAKASHVILI, GEORGIA: Well, you know, I'm not shocked to hear it from former KGB operatives like Vladimir Putin or his former defense minister, Sergei Ivanov. Those people come from the Orwellian world, where lying is just an instrument of communication.

But I'm profoundly shocked that somebody like Mikhail Gorbachev, for whom I had lots of respect in the past, well would use his appearance on your show for basically vindicating lies and deceptions.

This is the man, Gorbachev, who brought out tanks from Europe. And he is the man who is justifying bringing in 1,200 Russian tanks -- more than they ever brought to Afghanistan in the initial days of the invasion, or Czechoslovakia, into my country.

This is the man, Mr. Gorbachev, who helped to drag -- you know, bring down KGB kingdom. And he is the one who is, you know, justifying the KGB -- what the KGB people are doing right now in my country.

This is the man who has Nobel Peace Prize. And I guess the Nobel Peace Prize is given for some -- for things perpetuating peace and perpetuating human rights.

KING: So...

SAAKASHVILI: And this is the man who is justifying crimes against humanity taking place as we speak. And this is not like my words versus their words. This is human rights report...

KING: OK...

SAAKASHVILI: ...Human Rights Watch reported it.

KING: OK. Mr....

SAAKASHVILI: I have it in front of me -- crimes taking place in my country.

Just a second. So, Larry, my comment on Mr. Gorbachev is that -- I mean this is the guy who dealt with Reagan, took out the missiles, SS-20, from Europe. They shot us -- at us SS-21 missiles continuously at the residential areas.

So shame on him. Shame on you, Mr. Gorbachev, for perpetuating the very regime you helped to defeat and you put against at the head of the Soviet Union.

KING: All right, Mr. President, what do you make of it?

Why do you think he's speaking this way?

Assuming he's saying what he feels, what do you make of it?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, I think -- I think what's happening now, this is the man that brought down the Soviet Union. And Soviet Union is coming back. Vladimir Putin, remember he said the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. And basically he's always thought that once Russia would get more weapons, once they would have more money, they would resuscitate the Soviet Union.

And that's exactly what he is attempting to do. That's what he was trying to do with my country for the last several years. And our only crime, Larry, was not to do something in one or this region of Georgia or the other region of Georgia.

For the last several years, the only reason why Russia has introduced an all-out embargo on all our exports, the only reason why they've bombed us continuously -- it's not the first time we are bombed. The only reason why they have done all kinds of provocation and also a media war against us was our desire to live free, as free men in a free society and to have our freedom of choice.

This is the only thing for Georgia -- for which my small country is being punished and butchered right now.

KING: What, then, do you think, Mr. -- what's going to happen?

Is Russia going to leave?

Are they going to try to force you out?

What's next?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, in first place, it was never about some region in Georgia, you know?

Russia made it very clear they wanted regime change in Georgia. They did it very officially. They tried to do it for economic embargo, through all kind of other facts. They didn't achieve it because people got united, where we have democracy. Like Russia, we have -- unlike Russia, we have the democratic system. We have free elections. We have free media. As we speak, even now, when my people are so united, there is criticism on Georgia media. This is normal.

This is not like Russia, where a propaganda machine. But what they are doing right now -- and you asked me what's next -- I don't know, because it's not only the Russian Army that came in. And we have tens of thousands of Russian soldiers going throughout my country right now. They occupy more than one third of my country.

My country, before their invasion, was a very prosperous, economically developed country. We don't have oil and gas, but we had freedom and we had a corrupt -- a corruption-free system.

Now, what they are doing, they brought with them a huge group of irregulars. These are people who are going around in military fatigues, heavily armed, most of them drunk or other kind of intoxication. You know, these are reports we get from different media outlets. They target journalists. They target people.

And here what is happening, from Human Rights Watch Report, Human Rights Watch watched -- witnessed a terrifying sense of destruction and looting by militias in the Georgian villages.

There are people thrown out from their houses and the remaining residents, incapacitated old people of these destroyed Georgian villages are facing desperate conditions with no means of survival -- no help, no protection and nowhere to go.

That's exactly what Mr. Gorbachev perpetrated. And you know when they talk about guilt, the Russian propaganda machine, supposed -- allegedly by the Georgian Army. Here, again, what this respected international human rights organization says: "The figure of people killed given by the Russians is very he doubtful.

Our findings so far do not in any way confirm the Russian statistics. On the contrary, they suggest the numbers are grossly exaggerated."

That's what independent observers are saying here.

But you know what, they're lying. And that's, again, in response to Mr. Gorbachev. These -- they are not lying just for fun.

Here, again, the Human Rights Watch says the torching of houses in the Georgian villages is, in some way. A result of the massive Russia propaganda machine, which constituted these claims of genocide and exaggerates the casualties.

That is then used to justify retribution. That's what Mr. Gorbachev and the other Russian, you know, propaganda instruments are perpetuating right now.

And these are not my words. This is not the blame game. That's what people who are present and brave people who are there on the side are saying.

KING: The United States secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, is in France. She's making a formal cease-fire agreement for Georgia to sign.

Will you sign it?

SAAKASHVILI: Well, you know, the country got invaded. I'm provoked because we were, after continuous, you know, provocations, when we already saw that they were, you know, killing lots of people and when Russian tanks were already going through our border, we had to respond. And now they come in and certainly they want to get some kind of arrangement. Of course, we have very good contacts with U.S. administration. I -- yesterday, President Bush's very strong statement, I think, helped to deter direct Russian attack.

KING: Will you sign her --

SAAKASHVILI: Right now, we'll have to see what she has to bring. We are still in negotiating process. But one thing should be made clear" Russians are trying to justify their invasion and to legalize their presence in Georgia. As with our genuine international peacekeepers, with our genuine international transparency, these people are going to make much more trouble for us and for the rest of Europe. I think we should take a closer look at it.

KING: Thank you, Mr. President.

Next, is the presidency still a possibility for Hillary Clinton? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. The Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns have announced that Senator Hillary Clinton's name will be placed in nomination in Denver at the convention. Joining us here in Los Angeles, Stephanie Miller, talk radio host of her own program, a supporter of Obama, and in Washington, Maria Cardona, former senior adviser to the Clinton campaign, now, of course, supporting Obama.

Marie, do you think this is a good idea.

MARIA CARDONA, FMR SR CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I think it's a fabulous idea, Larry. I think that moving forward, it's the best way to unify our party. It's something that Senator Obama's campaign and Senator Clinton's campaign have been working on since June. They've been talking almost every week. Their campaigns have been working side by side on this. I think that it is going to demonstrate that both Senator Obama and both Senator Clinton are completely committed to taking back the White Houses in November and making sure that the 35 million voices who supported both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton in this historic campaign are respected and heard in Denver.

KING: OK. Stephanie?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, yes, Larry. I think it's a great idea.

KING: You mock her?

MILLER: I mock a little bit. Maria, you swear there's not going to be a trick.

CARDONA: No trick here.

MILLER: Maria, I don't think conventions are for catharsis. I think they're for moving forward. They're for excitement. I'm a little nervous here.

KING: About what?

MILLER: This is a little unprecedented, isn't it.

CARDONA: This couldn't be more exciting, Stephanie.

MILLER: I am excited and I honor what Senator Clinton has achieved, but why do we need to put her in nomination? Don't we all agree that Senator Obama has won?

CARDONA: We all agree that Senator Obama has won. We all agree that he is our nominee. But, you know what, he's the one who urged her campaign to put her name into nomination. And to his credit, I think it's a great way to make sure that all the voices here are heard and that we move forward as a strong unified party.

KING: Aren't, Stephanie, some people calling it wimpy?

MILLER: I think that's what your therapist is for, is for catharsis. Larry, I had an alternate idea. She could come in on roller skates like in Xanadu, maybe have male dancers, maybe a Bob Mackie head dress, anything -- fly in like Sandy Duncan, anything she wants. But to put her name in nomination, why is that necessary?

KING: Do you think a coup is going to occur?

MILLER: Maybe. Maybe there's going to be a Trojan horse coup.

KING: We've had near stampedes, Maria. In 1960, there was a near stampede for Adlai Stevenson, whose name was placed in nomination and the conventioners went wild.

CARDONA: You know what? This is going to be a marker history. We all have to remember the historic nature of this campaign. Senator Clinton brought in so many people into this process, seniors, women, Latinos, working class people, and those are all the people whose voices are going to be heard. Frankly, Senator Obama, to his credit, is encouraging this and she has left the American family with one treasured thing, and that is the knowledge and the proof that their daughters can achieve anything they want. And with Senator Obama there, we all know that our children can achieve anything they want, no matter who they are or where they come from.

This is a historic time and we're going to move forward and we're going to defeat John McCain in November.

MILLER: Maria, if you promise me that we're going to do shots at the bar after Obama gets the nomination in Denver, I am so down with this.

CARDONA: My treat, Stephanie.

KING: Both of our guests will be back in a couple of segments. We've got more ahead. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Joining us now in New York, Mark Halperin, senior political analyst, editor at large "Time Magazine, in Washington, Joshua Green, senior editor of "The Atlantic," author of the online article "The Front-Runner's Fall," posted at Atlantic.com. Mark, what do you make of this? Is this a coup attempt or a coming together of a party?

MARK HALPERIN, "TIME MAGAZINE": Well, I think it's a negotiated settlement. This is good news for Barack Obama. I truly believe this is one of these cases where the press is not making up something about the Clintons or making a bigger deal of the soap opera that exists. This is a big deal for Obama. I think his campaign continues to underestimate how difficult it is to deal with the Clintons. Make no mistake, this isn't one big, happy family. This is a negotiated deal that will smooth away some of the problems, but not all of them.

KING: Joshua, smart on the part of Barack.

JOSHUA GREEN, "THE ATLANTIC": Yes, I think it's very smart. As Mark pointed out, the media is going to cover this regardless of what transpires between now and the convention. So if you're Barack Obama's campaign, you know, you might as well put Clinton's name into nomination, get credit for being gracious and help smooth over this divide.

KING: Mark, any risk of want of, for want of a better word, stampede?

HALPERIN: I don't think so. I think the Obama campaign, in its normal, meticulous way, went through very carefully and surveyed some delegates. I think what they found was a lot of people wanted this to happen. This is a good move for them because it takes away one potential problem.

Larry, I have to say, I like everybody to get along. I'm struck through this day, as has been true for months, if you talk to an Obama person, they say this is all the Clinton's doing. It's a soap opera that they bring. They point out that Obama and his people seem to get along with almost everybody else in the party pretty well. You talk to the Clintons, they say why can't the Obama people be more gracious? Why aren't they helping us raise more money to pay down her debt? There's still a lot of hard feelings, but Obama wouldn't be allowing this if he thought it could get away from him.

KING: Joshua, how deep is the bitterness?

GREEN: It's very deep. The piece we put up this week on the website, based on all these internal Clinton memos and documents, sort of gave an idea. That was just about the internal bitterness in the Clinton campaign. Certainly, this spills over toward Barack Obama. You know, so many of these supporters are out there, still feel slighted. Even Clinton's attempts to address them last week wound up causing controversy. And so I think the only thing they can do is try and smooth this over in a national public setting like we're going to have in two weeks, you know, and hope that as we go forward to November, it doesn't become a real sideshow.

KING: Mark, didn't Howard Wolfson hurt things, the former Clinton campaign manager, when he said after the Edwards affair broke that had the Edwards affair not broken, she would have been the nominee?

HALPERIN: There's no question. And in Chicago in the Obama campaign, they looked at that not as an accident. They looked at it as a pattern where the Clinton people seem to be using every opportunity to put a thumb in the eye. On the Clinton side, it's a tale of two different views on almost everything that happens. The Clinton people said, what's the big deal? Why was that statement, just some analysis, seen as a way to try to tweak Barack Obama?

I'll say, Larry, there was no signature of Bill Clinton on that statement today. And that Howard Wolfson statement is only going to be the tip of the iceberg once we hear from Bill Clinton, I predict, because his role at the convention is still not worked out.

KING: Any chance at all, Joshua, any chance that he picks her as a running mate?

GREEN: It sure seems like a longshot, especially with all the tension. There doesn't seem to be a reason why he would. But it's been a crazy two years and stranger things can happen.

KING: Mark, Kennedy picked Johnson.

HALPERIN: Right, because he felt he needed to in order to win. The Obama campaign feels just the opposite. They feel like Hillary Clinton would not help them win. She doesn't bring that thematic of change. I think, still, the biggest reason to go back to Bill Clinton, they envision winning this race, and they don't want the complexity of Bill Clinton on the campaign trail and in the White House, when and if they win. So I think the chances are, as your friend Brit Hume would say, de minimus that he chooses her.

KING: Thank you both very much. We'll be having you back frequently. Mark Halperin and Joshua Green of "Time Magazine" and "The Atlantic." More of politics when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Stephanie Miller and Maria Cardona remain with us. We're joined as well by Michael Reagan, host of his own talk show, a supporter of McCain, and, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Amy Holmes, CNN political contributor. She also -- she served, by the way, as a speech writer for Republican Bill Frist when he was Senate majority leader. We've been discussing this deal for the convention. What do you make of it, Michael?

MICHAEL REAGAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Having worked many conventions, as an adviser to a president, non-paid, this is what goes on in conventions. You and I sat in a yacht in Detroit harbor back in 1980 when John Anderson's name was put into nomination. George Bush's name was put into nomination. Ronald Reagan's name was put in nomination. This is what goes on. My dad won it, as Obama will win this nomination in Denver. It's done to placate and make her --

KING: Are you saying it will all be forgotten in a week?

REAGAN: This is all about her supporters, give her supporters something to hang on to. He needs her supporters to win the election. So he's doing it and he's right.

KING: Amy, is that a good point.

AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's a great point. I loved what Stephanie had to say earlier. I mean, this isn't "Dream Girls." She's not Jennifer Hudson, to give her big swan song. This is supposed to be Barack Obama's convention. It's supposed to be an infomercial for him and for him to persuade undecideds and moderate voters, people who haven't been introduced to him yet.

There's something else that's kind of interesting about this, that I think it could be a little tricky and a little dangerous for Hillary Clinton. Pew just came out with a poll that shows that Barack Obama has 72 percent of Hillary Clinton's supporters who expect to vote for him. So she talks about those eight million cracks in the glass or shards of glass, and a portion of those people --

CARDONA: Eighteen million.

HOLMES: Eighteen million, sorry, thank you. A portion of those people, they may cast their vote for Barack Obama at that convention.

KING: Maria, you were a strong adviser for Hillary Clinton. Why aren't they all going to vote for Obama? They certainly don't agree with McCain.

CARDONA: Well, you know what? The majority of them absolutely will. And this is something, frankly, that Senator Clinton, from the very first day that these primaries were over, she's urged her supporters to do from day one. And she's campaigning avidly for him, will continue to do that. She's raising money for him. She's completely committed to ensuring that he becomes the next president of the United States.

And I think what's interesting is that, you know, both the media and the Republicans love to try to, you know, put any sort of drama into this, because it makes you guys talk about it in the media and it lets Republicans talk about anything other than their very flawed candidate, John McCain.

MILLER: Right, but Maria, all I have to say is this is very gracious of Barack Obama. There are some Hillary supporters that are not coming along. And all I'm saying is we are watching you.

REAGAN: This is not gracious. This is the way politics happens, Stephanie. You go to a convention. People run for the nomination. She has a load of delegates. She has a load of supporters. This isn't about being gracious. He is doing the right thing because he needs to get those people solidified and to bring the party together. That's also what conventions are about, is bringing people together to go forward.

(CROSS TALK)

KING: Does Romney get placed in nomination at the McCain convention?

REAGAN: He may or may not be.

KING: Why not?

REAGAN: You're right. John Anderson -- Listen, back in 1972, Ted Kennedy's name was put in the nomination. Jesse Jackson's name was put in the nomination. This is what happens at these things. And you know something, afterwards they throw their support to the nominee of the party so it becomes unified at the end of it. It gives everybody a chance to cheer.

KING: And then, Amy, they all stand on stage and raise their hands up high, right?

HOLMES: Hopefully. I'm sure that's the outcome that Barack Obama is expecting. I think we can expect that that will happen. Let's go back to this drama. This has been an unfolding drama. Earlier this month, Barack Obama said that we don't need catharsis. Now Hillary Clinton is saying oh, yes we do need catharsis. This is like a bad marriage and going into marriage counseling.

(CROSS TALK)

MILLER: Amy, anyone that's married knows what you're talking about.

(CROSS TALK)

MILLER: The woman always wins. It's OK.

KING: Let me get a break in.

MILLER: Fine, we'll have catharsis, honey.

KING: This is a mini convention. We'll be back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A couple other quick things. Any fallout from the John Edwards thing, Michael?

REAGAN: No, Except he won't be speaking at the convention. It's a fallout for him.

KING: Any effect, Maria?

CARDONA: You know, every time that we talk about this, I just always have to think about Elizabeth Edwards. And I know that everybody's heart goes out there her and prayers go out to her. The fallout is all going to be negative for John Edwards. I don't think that for a very long time he's going to have a future in the Democratic party. And it is very unfortunate. His betrayal was a big one to everybody.

KING: Was Obama's vacation in Hawaii a mistake?

MILLER: I don't think so. I love how the right wing is casting this as some exotic place, a foreign place. It's a state, you morons. It's a state. He's from there. His grandmother that can't travel is from there.

CARDONA: Absolutely. KING: You made your point. Amy, do you think it was a mistake?

HOLMES: No, I don't think it was a mistake. I think that Barack Obama, he needed the time off and, let's face it, it's great to see a candidate relaxing with his family, connecting with his core. It's also -- I mean, he looks terrific, that great smile, getting a tan, being out there, youthful, vigorous. I think these are great images for Barack Obama to be putting out.

KING: Michael, who will be your candidate's selection for vice president, even though I know you think it doesn't matter?

REAGAN: Anybody but Lindsey Graham. How about that? Anybody but Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham, part of the gang of five, with the gang of five of the Democrats, this whole thing with energy. I applaud the members of Congress who are back in Washington today, still asking for Nancy Pelosi to show up and have a vote on energy. It's about time the Republican Senate joined their brothers in the House of Representatives, about time the president of the United States did something like call for a special session.

KING: He's against it.

REAGAN: He's wrong.

MILLER: He's for crazy things like alternative energy, Larry, crazy, left wing, communist things.

REAGAN: We're for alternative energy also, but you need to drill. You need to be able to --

(CROSS TALK)

KING: The question was, who do you think will be his vice- presidential nominee?

REAGAN: I have no idea. I put my name into the running and he hasn't chosen me.

KING: Maria, who do you think Obama will select?

CARDONA: That's the question, isn't it, Larry. I think there are a lot of great candidates out there. And I think whoever he chooses, they're going to go on to make the winning ticket.

KING: Amy, who do you think McCain will select?

HOLMES: You know, I think that's very much up in the air. Let's remember that when Bill Clinton chose Al Gore, that was a huge surprise, a fellow southerner. Nobody saw the electoral advantage to that. And when George Bush selected his vice president, he chose the person who had been searching high and low, Dick Cheney. So the candidates can come up with some surprises.

KING: Who do you think, Stephanie, on your side? MILLER: I still say, I think he may go out of the box with somebody like Chuck Hagel. I'm from Hollywood and my psychic says Chuck Hagel or Bill Richardson.

(CROSS TALK)

MILLER: I think that Obama really is about reaching across the aisle. He's done it with Richard Lugar --

REAGAN: People vote for the top of the ticket, not the bottom of the ticket. The top of the ticket runs the country. The bottom of the ticket goes to funerals and sits in the Senate.

KING: Thank you all very much. Go to CNN.com/LarryKing for some great interactive features. And take the daily quick vote and download our ring tones and latest podcasts, check out or photo galleries. Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, an encore, our special salute to Bernie Mac. We'll have Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and D.L. Hughley. Plus, a fond farewell to their friend from Bernie's family as well. That's LARRY KING LIVE Friday. Bill Maher next week. Donald Trump next week. Rick Warren next week.

But right now, Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?

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