Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Biden Selected as Obama VP Candidate; Convention Preview
Aired August 23, 2008 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight we broke it. Let's go to John King who has some "Breaking News" -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Barack Obama tonight offered the number two spot on the Democratic ticket.
L. KING: Now we'll break it down, is Biden the right choice? And can he help Obama win? And will comments like this come back to haunt him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're asked if you're ready, you said, I think he can be ready but right now I don't believe he is.
SEN. JOE Biden, (D) DELAWARE: I think I stand by the statement.
L. KING: We'll pick apart the picks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Live next on a special "LARRY LING LIVE."
We're live with a Saturday night special. And three of the -- we'll have lots of guests throughout the evening, but three of the best journalists in the business will join us to kick things off: in Denver is John King, CNN Chief National Correspondent, who broke the news earlier this morning on this program about the Biden pick.
In Springfield, Illinois is Candy Crowley, the CNN's senior political correspondent and in Boston David Gergen, CNN's senior political analyst and former advisor to a number of presidents.
Let's start with Candy, you were there in Springfield today; what was it like?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was an awful lot like 19 months ago when Barack Obama was here announcing his presidency, save about a 70-degree difference. He was here in Springfield in the middle of February and it was about 18 degrees.
It was very hot here today, but the same, you know, enormous crowd, remembering that this is a hometown candidate, at least from Illinois.
It was in fact a really interesting time as they both really talked about each other's biographies. And what became very clear Larry, when you listen to them both together, was that their main theme as they go out of here is that while they are very different, they were raised in very different parts of the world in very different families, they both are the embodiment of the American dream that they want to give back to the voters. That is the sort of umbrella of their pitch.
L. KING: John King, what's been the next day reaction?
J. KING: Well, Larry, the words you hear over and over and over again from Democrats is reassuring. They think what Barack Obama did in picking Joe Biden, an elder statesman in the party, somebody who has more than three decades of experience in Washington, has reassured Democrats who had some jitters that he would fight aggressively in the fall.
And perhaps they hope put a down payment on reassuring the voters out there who are still holding out, who see a 47-year-old African- American only on the national stage for four years and they're saying, is he tough enough? Can he deliver on his promises? Is he really ready to be commander-in-chief? Can I trust him?
Those are the big questions Barack Obama has to answer to become the next president. And a lot of Democrats tonight, they know it's Barack Obama who has to win. Vice presidents don't win elections, the man on top of the ticket does. But they think this is a down payment and most Democrats think a pretty good one on answering those big questions still confronting Barack Obama.
L. KING: David Gergen, what was your reaction to the selection?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well Larry, I must tell you that I thought that the game changer here would have been Hillary Clinton. And I don't think she was seriously considered at the end of the day, but among the candidates who were still standing, I think that Joe Biden was by far and away the best choice.
He does bring not only the best experience that's going to send a message to the country that you're not taking as much of a risk with Barack Obama as perhaps you thought you were, that the government will be in good hands, experienced hands if he's elected. I think that's very important.
I think he gives coverage for Barack Obama on any foreign policy crisis that develops between now and the election. We've already seen it with the Russian dustup with Georgia here in the last few days, how much that helped John McCain. So Barack Obama needed that.
And I think very much it brings us tighter to Barack Obama's side Larry, who can take the fight back to the Republicans. It's clear that Barack Obama is not overly comfortable doing that. He needs somebody -- this has turned into a knife fight -- He needs somebody who is going to pick up a knife. And Joe Biden loves a great brawl.
L. KING: Candy Crowley, you know the Senate as well as anyone. We know that Biden and McCain are quiet friendly. Will Biden take off the gloves? CROWLEY: Well, if we can judge by what he said today absolutely. He hit him on the whole idea of McCain having seven houses. He said, listen, basically he just sort of sold out to the right wing and joined the sort of swift boating that he used to deplore.
So there's going to be no holds barred here. I mean, -- there is not bean ball as they say. And Joe Biden is the guy who really can take it to McCain. I think what McCain is going to have to do is try to ignore Joe Biden because remember there is, you know, a difference in status here. One is the presidential candidate, one is the vice presidential candidate, but it is definitely Biden's job to go after McCain.
He did that today in this very interesting way because what he does is either with a smile or with a sort of note of regret in his voice saying, well, my friend John McCain has really changed. So it's delivered softly, but they are heavy punchers.
L. KING: John King, do you expect any kind of furor when Hillary Clinton speaks on Tuesday?
J. KING: No, because the Clintons have worked very hard to manage this, especially Hillary Clinton but also Bill Clinton. Look, Larry, there is some lingering tension, some resentment, many in the Hillary camp say, ok, even if you weren't going to consider her, why didn't you reach out for advice? Why didn't you call Bill Clinton and say you went through this before, give me some tips.
So there's still some lingering resentment, but Barack Obama knows how important the Hillary Clinton relationship is to him politically, and to the Democratic Party, her voters as many of them still out on the fence.
And guess what, Hillary Clinton has a future in this party as well and she knows the last thing she needs is to somehow be blamed for making it harder for Obama in the nine weeks between now and the November election.
There are still tensions behind the scene. Some of them may spill out in public, but these are two grown ups. They know what they have to do here in Denver and all anticipations, all expectation is, they will do that.
L. KING: And David Gergen, what kind of bounce will Obama get out of the convention?
GERGEN: Well, Larry, I think that he's -- if he reframes the conversation in a way Biden started to do today, if he makes it more of a referendum on McCain and Republican rule under Bush and less about him, I think he's got a chance to not only stop the bleeding.
He was going down and the frontline was down and McCain was going up. And the question is he has to reverse that trend, stop it and then start going back up again. Can he get that? Yes, I think he can get that.
But then, right after that of course, comes the Republican convention, they know how to put on a great convention.
So the likelihood is that the candidates will be about where they are about three weeks from now, but the conversation may have changed -- been changed by one or the other parties and that could really push the next few weeks after that.
L. KING: Thank you, John King, Candy Crowley and David Gergen.
Everybody's talking about the Obama-Biden ticket including two United States senators from opposite sides of the aisle. They'll be here right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Joe Biden is what so many others pretend to be.
SEN. Biden: There's something about Barack Obama that allows him to bring people together like no one I have worked with and seen.
OBAMA: That's the kind of fighter who I want by my side in the months and years to come.
BIDEN: I have watched as he's inspired millions of Americans, millions of Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: We now welcome two distinguished members of the United States Senate to "LARRY KING LIVE." In Orlando, Florida, Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida who of course supports McCain, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and just released his autobiography, "A Sense of Belonging." And in St. Louise is Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri supporting Barack Obama.
Sen. McCaskill, are you disappointed that you weren't selected?
SEN. CLAIR MCCASKILL, (D) MISSOURI: Oh, no, not at all. I think Joe Biden is a terrific pick. He's a real pot roast and potatoes kind of guy; knows how to fight. I think he's really going to energize this ticket and I feel great about the selection.
L. KING: Senator Martinez, is it a little difficult for you emotionally since you served with both men running in the Senate? With Biden for a long time?
SEN. MEL MARTINEZ, (R) FLORIDA: Well, but I also served with John McCain and I have high regard for him and I think he'll make this country a great president. And, Larry, you know that the big problem for Senator Biden before he can really begin to make his case on behalf of Obama is going to be his first answer, that very difficult statement he made earlier when he considered that Barack Obama was simply not ready to be the president of to the United States.
L. KING: Senator McCaskill, how do you respond to that?
MCCASKILL: Well, you know, I can bring you a bushel basket full of quotes of Republican senators about John McCain. I can talk about some of the things Mitt Romney said about John McCain during the primary season.
When people are running against each other, it's tough stuff. But the bottom line is Joe Biden knows, he saw firsthand how capable, competent, what a great campaign Barack Obama ran. He understands that this country is ready for a change and by the way, this is pretty simple.
If you want four more years of what we have got, more tax rate breaks for the wealthy, more stuff for big oil, then stay with John McCain and the Republicans. If you think it's time for a change, I think the other side is ready.
L KING: Senator Martinez, the Republicans were ready for this pick, indeed they already have an ad out. Take a look and we'll ask you to react.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What does Barack Obama's running mate say about Barack Obama?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're asked if he's ready, you said I think he can be ready but right now I don't believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.
BIDEN: I think I stand by the statement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what does he say about John McCain?
BIDEN: I would be honored to run with or against John McCain if you think the country would be better off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: Senator Martinez, will that ad have legs?
MARTINEZ: Well, I think it does because it's an awfully strong charge that Senator Biden made in a very, very forceful way. And Senator Biden, most anything he says, he says forcefully.
But Larry, it's not only this particular statement, but it's also Senator Biden's 35 years in Washington. And when we're talking, Senator McCaskill has done a lot of talk today about fighting and about fight and about knife fight and about going after the Republicans.
I thought senator Obama was about change, I thought it was about changing politics. He now is running with someone who defines the politics of Washington after 35 years in Washington.
MCCASKILL: Well, you know -- L. KING: want to respond, Claire?
MCCASKILL: Yes, I kind of disagree with that. That quote is a good example. Joe Biden is the kind of guy who says, hey, I can work with John McCain. Barack Obama has worked with many Republicans as Mel Martinez well knows.
These are two men who understand we have got to come together and quit playing the game. And this is what this really is, Larry, this is a game trying to nail Joe Biden with a comment he said about Barack Obama during the primary.
I think everybody in America understands that Joe Biden supports the priorities of Barack Obama and that is the priority of changing the way we have done government in Washington for the last seven years. That these guys have driven us into a ditch, with high spending, tax breaks only for the wealthy. Barack Obama and Joe Biden know that we have got to give tax breaks to the middle class for can change.
L.KING: Senator Martinez, what do you think of Senator Biden and what do you think of the pick?
MARTINEZ: Well, I think Senator Biden's a fine person and I certainly have enjoyed my dealings with him in the Senate. As a person I like him, but in terms of the pick, I don't think it quite does what Senator Obama was hoping it would do.
He's trying to shore up a real glaring deficiency in his record which is a lack of foreign policy experience by bringing Senator Biden in and with Senator Biden's prior record of -- not only once but on more than one occasion -- making those very strong statements. I think it's very difficult to do that.
Larry, one other thing that I think is important to also note. Senator Biden as the chairman of the judiciary committee had very contentious times on an issue that is really important to a lot of Americans which is judicial confirmations.
And I think frankly that record there which I think was really something that left a lot of Americans wondering about his ability to work with others, about reaching across party line and all of the things we're talking about, I think it's something that when reminded, many Americans will have serious questions about Senator Biden's ability to breach that partisan divide that John McCain has had a history of doing.
I mean we're talking here about a fellow in John McCain who offers a real contrast and an alternative. He's been called a maverick because he doesn't just play the partisan game. He doesn't just go along with what the party line might be. He does his own thing. And that's the kind of leader we need.
L. KING: And you like that?
MARTINEZ: I think it's an important consideration.
L. KING: Senator McCaskill, you want to respond to what Senator Martinez said?
MCCASKILL: I think Joe Biden has shown a remarkable ability to work with people of all persuasions, a remarkable ability to get things done. I think he was a principal chairman of the judiciary committee. And by the way, we need some principals right about now in that area after this Justice Department has politicized justice in this country from top to bottom, hiring cronies in the Department of Justice, unheard of in America.
It is time for a fresh start. And Joe Biden is going to be able to reach out and campaign with Barack Obama in a way that's going to lift people up instead of just playing the same old game.
L. KING: We'll have you both on frequently throughout this campaign.
Up next and straight from the West Wing, the man who was on the Biden bandwagon from the very beginning, when this special edition of "LARRY KING LIVE" returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I've searched for a leader who is ready to step in and be president. Today I have come back to Springfield to tell you that I found that leader. A man with a distinguished record, a man with fundamental decency and that man is Joe Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
L. KING: And don't forget about our quick vote, go to CNN.com/larryking and right now and tell us, are you pleased with Obama's choice for vice president.
We welcome to "LARRY KING LIVE" a man I've greatly admired, Richard Schiff, he campaigned for Biden during the primaries and a supporter of Obama now. The actor, of course, best known as Toby from the West Wing. How well did you get to know Biden?
RICHARD SCHIFF, ACTOR, SUPPORTED BIDEN DURING PRIMARY: Very well for the short amount of time that we spent together. I planned to start in Iowa and then go forward from there when my schedule allowed, of course, Iowa was the last stop. But we got to know each other very well.
L. KING: Were you surprised that Obama picked him?
SCHIFF: No. I knew he was on the short list. And he made a whole lot of sense to me in many ways. So, no, it didn't come as a surprise at all.
L. KING: What did you like about him?
SCHIFF: First and foremost, is the personal nature of his personality and the way he talks to people. He's the first politician, if you will that I met and had a conversation with that was a dialogue. Where he asked me questions and was curious about what I was concerned about.
And we had a very long intense discussion in South Carolina after the very early South Carolina debate, I think over a year ago. We ended up hanging out in the courtyard of his hotel until about 3:00 in the morning just talking and talking. He was very curious about a lot of things and I found that to be unusual in a president.
L. KING: Why didn't his campaign work?
SCHIFF: Because I was the only one out there working for him partly.
L. KING: He didn't have a lot of people.
SCHIFF: He didn't have a lot of people. I think he wasn't the big story of the particular cycle. He was at the time the most capable, but he didn't have the media behind him. And the media will follow the big stories and I think Hillary and Barack were the big stories.
L. KING: So he ran into a buzz saw there?
SCHIFF: I think he did, yes.
L. KING: As an actor, you know how, of course, to stick to a script. Biden's been known to go way off script and the results aren't always good. Do you want him to play ball or would you let him be Biden?
SCHIFF: Me, personally, I loved the characteristic that he kind of goes where the wind takes him sometimes and follows the beat of his own drum. To me, that's significant of someone who thinks for himself and is a bit of a free spirit -- that's not quite the right word -- but someone who is always thinking and reacts to what's happening at the moment.
I like that in a person. I trust people who are not so strict and regimented in the way they communicate to other people. And that's going to leave him prone to some mistakes here and there, but he's never made a mistake he couldn't easily recover from.
L. KING: One of the things you liked about Biden was his experience. Are you therefore a little thoughtful about Obama's experience
SCHIFF: I certainly was. I am certainly willing to admit that. It's one of the reasons why I went and supported Biden early on.
I think the campaign has been a great litmus test for anyone. It's like if I were to have to audition for a role and the audition process would last a year, I think I would be pretty ready by the time it started.
So I'm pretty comfortable with what I have seen from Obama over this campaign and his ability to communicate to people, to bring people together. And I think the fact that he picked Joe Biden as his running mate shows his wisdom.
L. KING: You're going to the convention, right?
SCHIFF: I am, yes, tomorrow.
L. KING: Biden will get you a good seat. You got a lot of clout now.
What do you expect? I mean if the outcome is known?
SCHIFF: The outcome is known. I'm curious to see how some of the Clinton stragglers, if you will, are going to react. I'm very curious to see how her speech is going to come across and how -- what kind of an effect it's going to have on her hard core supporters and one of whom lives in my house is very concerned about the way she was treated in this campaign
And I'm interested, very interested, just for the sake of drama to see how this rift, or what's left of it is going to be mended.
L. KING: Your wife was a Hillary supporter?
SCHIFF: Very much so, yes.
L. KING: So there was discord in the home?
SCHIFF: Discord, yes. And we try to keep it well before bedtime.
L. KING: Will Hillary pull the troops together? Will she get all her supporters to come out for Obama?
SCHIFF: My wife has been saying that she's been getting e-mails from the Hillary camp and from Hillary herself saying these are the reasons why we should get behind the candidate, Obama. And I think she's capable of doing it, I think she's a great communicator. I think it behooves her to make every effort to do it as well as her husband and I hope that it's achieved.
L. KING: You've got a role coming?
SCHIFF: I have been taking a bit of a break. I have done a couple of movies, one with Dustin Hoffman that's coming out soon called "Last Chance Harvey." I've just taken -- I did a play in London, one-man play in London last year on the West End, and I'm doing another play, the revival of "Laughing Wilson's Tally's Folly" (ph) at the McCarter in Princeton.
L. KING: Do you miss the "West Wing"?
SCHIFF: I don't. I'm very proud of the seven years. I had a great time. It's a fascinating seven years but it was a grind and seven years doing one character was just a bit much.
L. KING: It was so well written, wasn't it?
SCHIFF: Beautifully written and so well thought out and it's the way I got to meet and be educated on the way the system is supposed to work. And I had the opportunity to meet a fascinating group of people. Some of whom worked on the show and through the show, people like Senator Biden and others.
L. KING: Have a great time in Denver, man.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Larry. It's a pleasure to be here.
L. KING: My pleasure. Richard Schiff, he campaigned early for Biden, now supports the ticket, heads for Denver.
Coming up, Barack Obama's senior campaign strategist and one of John McCain's top advisors next.
L. KING: We first welcome Linda Douglass to "LARRY KING LIVE". She's in Chicago, Obama campaign's senior strategist. Speaking of strategy, did that announcement strategy work? Can you hear me, Linda?
LINDA DOUGLASS, OBAMA'S SENIOR CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Yes, I can, Larry.
L. KING: The question was, did the announcement strategy work?
DOUGLASS: I think it did. I think it built enormous suspense and interest all around the country.
Our goal really was to involve our supporters. This is a campaign that has been very, very attentive to the involvement of hundreds of thousands, really millions of Americans who haven't been involved in politics before who discovered that their small donations matter and that their little bit of volunteer work really makes a difference.
These are the people who are the insiders in our campaign. Those are the people we wanted to inform first, and we really aimed the whole strategy at them, and, for the most part, it worked.
KING: How did you keep it a secret?
DOUGLASS: Well, we have a very well run, disciplined campaign. And I have to say with great pride about this campaign, having been a reporter in my past life and seeing how eager campaigns are to talk about things that go on inside the campaign, this is a campaign that is really based upon making sure that Barack Obama's message of change and changing America's lives remains front and center - does not get involved in a lot of process and tactic conversations -- and that is why it did not leak. Nobody wanted to talk about it.
KING: Are you concerned about Joe Biden's sometimes tendency to commit gaffes?
DOUGLASS: That is something that is being raised by the Republican party. I mean, today they are just trying to throw everything at him that they possibly can.
It was very interesting to listen to John McCain earlier today say that actually Joe Biden was a great selection, he's going to be a formidable partner for Barack Obama.
This is what John McCain said, so this sort of criticism is the kind of thing that has just been flung out there by the Republican party in an attempt to sort of try to diminish Sen. Biden in some way -- something that is very hard to do given his extraordinary reputation as a leader in foreign policy and a fighter for working Americans and certainly, of course, as Barack Obama's partner in this effort to really change America for working Americans.
KING: Do you expect a bounce out of the convention?
DOUGLASS: Well, you know, one never knows how these things are going to work. The myth of the convention bounce is pretty much that.
In the last several conventions, because there's so much back and forth that goes on with both parties, it is less likely that there is going to be the old-fashioned convention bounce that you used to see maybe 20 years ago when all of America was tuned in to only the convention and that's all that went on.
The point of this convention is really to involve our supporters, to try to get ordinary people out there in front of the American people telling their stories, and to try to really get Barack Obama's message of change for working families front and center. That is what we hope to accomplish with this convention.
KING: Linda, have a wonderful convention. We'll be seeing lots of you in the months ahead.
DOUGLASS: Thanks very much, Larry.
KING: Linda Douglass, Obama campaign's senior strategist.
We now welcome, in Washington, Nancy Pfotenhauer. She is a McCain campaign adviser. How do you see the - how do you treat Biden? How do you go after him?
NANCY PFOTENHAUER, JOHN MCCAIN CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, I think we focus and keep like a laser beam focused on Sen. Obama and his policies.
We do believe that the selection is very revealing, and what it shows is that Sen. Obama and his campaign are well aware of what I would call the leadership gap, if you will, on Sen. Obama's lack of judgment and experience, particularly in foreign policy matters. And that's why he's reached for Joe Biden, who is actually one of the harshest critics of Sen. Obama's positions in foreign policy among the Democratic party, and so it is very, very interesting that Sen. Obama would feel such a need to close the gap that he would pull Joe Biden on, who is, of course, not exactly in keeping with his message of change, having spent more time in government than out of government.
KING: Will this selection affect Sen. McCain's selection?
PFOTENHAUER: I don't believe it will, Larry, because I think Sen. McCain is focused primarily on choosing an individual who will advocate his policies, share his view of where this country should go and would be able to step in on a moment's notice and serve as commander-in-chief, kind of be a leader from day one, if you will. So I don't think it's going to affect his selection. I think he is going to choose the best candidate, and he's got plenty to choose from.
KING: He is a maverick. Might we get a surprise?
PFOTENHAUER: You know, he's earned that maverick label, if you will, and so I wouldn't even pretend to try to call this one right now.
KING: Can you give us a hint as to how the announcement will be made?
PFOTENHAUER: We have said that we expect the announcement to be made near the end of next week. But, you know, campaigns are, if nothing else, unpredictable -- and so I wouldn't even sign that in blood.
I think that -- I would be surprised if we didn't make a very straightforward announcement in about a week.
KING: Do you expect this to be a very spirited, tough campaign?
PFOTENHAUER: I do. I think that you've got Sen. McCain, who has been a fighter all his life and has really, really believed that this election is about big things -- and whether you look at the economy or energy or health care, or the challenge we face in the foreign policy arena, you have very stark differences and approaches between Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama.
And so we have our country's future at stake really, and it's, do you choose a Sen. McCain, who's got a proven record of leadership in putting his country first, or do you kind of place a bet on someone like Sen. Obama, who is untested and whose policies, in my opinion anyway, would take this country in the wrong direction, particularly at such a challenging time?
KING: Do you expect that Sen. McCain will get as much media attention with his selection as Obama got with his?
PFOTENHAUER: We certainly don't expect it, and really, I think that...
PFOTENHAUER: ... the studies have shown that Sen. Obama seems to get significantly more media attention. But that's OK. We can play either way and believe that Sen. McCain and his running mate will be able to win the day in November.
KING: Nancy, thanks so much - good seeing you.
PFOTENHAUER: Thanks - nice to see you.
KING: In Washington, Nancy Pfotenhauer, the McCain campaign adviser.
Is Obama-Biden the Democrats' dream team? Our political insiders have something to say about that after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELEWARE: This may be our last chance to reclaim the America we love, to restore America's soul.
Ladies and gentlemen, America gave Jill and me our chance. It gave Barack and Michelle their chance to stand on this stage today. It's literally incredible.
These values, this country gave us that chance. And now it's time for all of us, as Lincoln said, to put our feet in the right place and to stand firm. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to elect Barack Obama president. It's our time. It's America's time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's meet an outstanding panel to talk about all of this.
In Fargo, North Dakota, Ed Schultz, the talk radio host, host of his program and a supporter of Sen. Obama.
In Fort Lauderdale is Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Democrat of Florida. She was national co-chair of Hillary Clinton's campaign and now supports Barack Obama.
In Washington, Terry Holt. He was national spokesman for Bush-Cheney in '04 as senior adviser to the Republican National Committee and a supporter of John McCain. And Amanda Carpenter of the national political reporter Townhall.com. That is a conservative Web site.
Ed Schultz, are you excited about this ticket?
ED SCHULTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He's a first-round draft choice, Larry. He is everything Barack Obama needs.
This is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- and I have caucused with the Senate Democrats at least a half a dozen times over the last four years, and I can tell you, when Joe Biden talks, his peers listen, and he has a very unique way of getting people to listen.
He's got a lot of energy, he has a lot of experience, he's got a lot of connections on the Hill -- and you talk about change and the Obama campaign and his vision for America -- you have to have somebody on that Hill who knows people that can drive that agenda. I think it's a home run.
KING: All right. Terry Holt, what do you think?
TERRY HOLT: Well, for a campaign who hates all things President Bush, this reminded me of President Bush picking the senior statesman Dick Cheney.
I think this is a safe choice for Barack Obama. It's not going to necessarily do him any harm. Of course, we'll see if Joe Biden can stay on the script. But ultimately, it's an admission that Barack Obama didn't have the credentials, that he wasn't really ready to take on the job of commander-in-chief, so he went out and got somebody that he could point to that might be able to be commander-in-chief, and ultimately I think that is probably not quite enough to sell the American people on this.
KING: Obama made a slip when he introduced Biden. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: We will restore that fair shot at your dreams that is at the core of who Joe Biden is and I am and what America is as a nation. So let me introduce to you the next president -- the next vice-president of the United States of America, Joe Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He first said "president." Congresswoman Schultz, is that a portend of things to come?
U.S. REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: That is just a human -- a wonderful human being that Barack Obama is being the human that he is. We all have stumbled over our words -- and it's not the first time, it won't be the last time.
And I have to tell you, Larry, that I think Barack Obama hit this one out of the park. The choice of Joe Biden is one that will be incredibly appealing to the women of America, to the working families of America, to the Jewish community in this country, and I think that this is a team that completely rounds out all of the things that Americans care about right now, and this is a campaign that will be operating on all eight cylinders, full steam ahead, for the next 73 days all the way to victory on Nov. 2.
KING: And, Amanda Carpenter, how do you see this ticket?
AMANDA CARPENTER, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, TOWNHALL.COM: Well, I think it's a little bit troubling, mainly for the reason that Barack Obama said over and over again through the primaries that Hillary Clinton's Iraq War vote disqualified her to become president because it showed bad judgment.
Joe Biden made that same call, and they already have other disagreements in terms of foreign policy, which is confusing to me because Obama seemingly chose Biden because of his foreign policy, yet they have disagreed in the Senate on war funding, they disagreed on whether or not to meet with other hostile nations and a number of other things. So I think there are going to be contradictions ahead.
KING: But, Amanda, you don't expect McCain's vice president to agree with everything in the past, do you?
CARPENTER: I don't, but Joe Biden has publicly...
KING: I mean, nobody agrees with everything. CARPENTER: ... criticized Barack Obama for wanting to meet with hostile nations without preconditions. I mean, these are all in the records - said that he's not experienced enough to be president. So I think there are roadblocks in the days ahead for these two.
KING: Is John McCain's hand forced in any way by the Biden pick? I'll ask when this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Joe Biden is that rare mix. For decades, he's brought change to Washington, but Washington hasn't changed him. He's an expert on foreign policy whose heart and values are firmly rooted in the middle class.
He's stared down dictators and spoken out for American cops and firefighters. He is uniquely suited to be my partner as we work to put our country back on track.
BIDEN: Barack has a vision, and what you can't forget -- you know his vision, but let me tell you something -- he also has the courage, the courage to make this a better place. And let me tell you something else -- this man is a clear-eyed pragmatist who will get the job done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Ed Schultz, do you think this selection will affect McCain's selection?
ED SCHULTZ: Well, it might, Larry, but Mitt Romney is going to play big into this process because of Michigan, because of his experience with the economy. So both teams are going to have real strong credentials in certain areas.
McCain is going to push himself forward as a guy - "Hey, I already know about foreign policy" -- and he needs somebody on the economy. But I'm not quite convinced that this is going to change McCain's thinking. I think he's already made up his mind, personally, and I think he's got to get Michigan into play.
But on the other hand, when you look at the Democratic ticket, this is a real middle class ticket. The AFL-CIO tonight put out a statement saying that they're really excited about it. I did a show yesterday in a town hall meeting in Columbus, Ohio. They're all about this ticket. They knew it was coming, and so I really believe that it's not going to change much for McCain.
KING: Terry Holt, do you have any insight into McCain's pick?
HOLT: Well, over the last two weeks -- to respond to the other guest -- the last two weeks, the Obama campaign has been hemorrhaging. In places like Michigan that were once thought to be solid Democratic territory, John McCain is surging. And so really, what's happened is that I think that McCain's success has influenced this Obama pick more than anything else. Joe Biden would not have been considered if it wasn't a fact that they were hurting on the foreign policy and experiencing the fact that Barack Obama is not ready to be president is changing the dynamic of this race.
I think John McCain is going to pick somebody who can be president on day one, that's going to put their country first. He's going to pick someone that probably will help him politically, and it will say something about his candidacy to the American people.
But I don't think Barack Obama's choice will have even the slightest impact on what John McCain does with his pick.
KING: Biden provided perhaps the most memorable moment from the primary debates this year. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Sen. Biden, words have in the past gotten you in trouble -- words that were borrowed and words that some found hateful. An editorial in the "Los Angeles Times" said, "In addition to his uncontrolled verbosity, Biden is a gaffe machine." Can you reassure voters in this country that you would have the discipline you would need on the world stage, Senator?
WILLIAMS: Thank you, Sen. Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Congresswoman Schultz, I guess that was near brilliant, wasn't it?
SHULTZ: It was, which demonstrates the brilliance that is Joe Biden. The reason that he has a lot of words come out of his mouth is because he has so much passion for improving the lives of working families, for championing the cause of people who have no voice, for standing up for the rights of women and civil rights and civil liberties.
There's so much that needs to be said sometimes it just all comes out at once. But we have no finer champion, no more passionate U.S. senator than Joe Biden to be the person that stands next to Barack Obama and helps us move the country in a new direction.
KING: Amanda, is he not very respected in the Senate?
CARPENTER: Sure, he is very respected, and, you know, I think a lot of people are really getting hung up on the way that he's prone to making these gaffes.
But I want to re-visit the point of his foreign policy. I mean, he is seemingly picked to bolster Barack Obama's foreign policy credentials, but I don't thing they are in sync on foreign policy, and I'm very curious to see if Sen. Biden is going to be pushing his very controversial plan to divide Iraq into ethnic sectarian enclaves that is opposed by even a lot of Iraqis. I'm curious to see who is going to fold on that plan, whether it's Barack Obama or Joe Biden.
WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: You know, Larry...
KING: Ed Schultz - yes? Who wants to answer that?
SCHULTZ: Oh, I can guarantee that Joe Biden will not set the agenda. It will be Barack Obama. Keep in mind that Joe Biden has got legislative successes. He knows how to get up on that Hill and get things done.
He's loyal, he will do what he has to do for the President of the United States -- and you can't change things unless you know how things work.
KING: Let me get a call. Los Angeles, hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CALLER: Hi, Larry. Thank you for taking my call.
CALLER: I think this lack of foreign policy experience is a bogus issue. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush had two things in common -- none of them had foreign policy experience when they ran, No. 2, they all became President of the United States. I'd like your --
KING: Terry Holt, is that a good point?
HOLT: Well, there are fundamental differences. After 9/11, our country went to war in an asymmetrical conflict where we could be attacked at any time by terrorist networks that don't wear a uniform, that aren't as simple as the bipolar world of the Cold War --
KING: But go to his original point - his original point that those candidates did not have foreign policy experience.
HOLT: They had executive experience, all of them. They had run states. They had that kind of leadership experience that Barack Obama as a member of the Illinois Legislature just doesn't bring to the table.
KING: We'll be back in a minute. What states will Biden help the ticket win? I'll get some thoughts right after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So let me introduce to you, the next president -- the next vice president of the United States of America, Joe Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Amanda Carpenter, does this ticket give you any concern?
CARPENTER: You know, we'll have to see how it plays out, but like I said, I think there are a lot of roadblocks ahead because they disagree on so many issues of foreign policy, and there is so much footage of Joe Biden harshly criticizing Barack Obama for lack of experience. So, I think they have a lot of difficult issues ahead. I think the Republicans were a lot more worried that Obama would pick Hillary than Joe Biden.
KING: Biden seemed impressed with Obama during the primary process -- was less than articulate in expressing it. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I mean, you got the first sort of mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Is that racist, Ed?
SCHULTZ: No, I don't think so, and I don't thing that Joe Biden in any way, shape or form meant it to be that way.
Look, this is a great ticket, Larry. This is a middle class ticket. You asked where this is going to play well. It is going to play well wherever there are wage-earners in America -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, North Dakota, Montana.
This is a great ticket -- and Joe Biden has been known to go to a Ducks Unlimited banquet and walk in and say, "I don't want your firearm." This is a great ticket. The unions love it, and I can guarantee you they are going resource this campaign, and they are going to get boots on the ground. This is trouble for McCain.
KING: Congresswoman Schultz, can this ticket win Florida?
WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ: This ticket can absolutely win Florida. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are a great team.
We have every corner of Florida, South Florida, the Jewish community, women, senior citizens -- they are all going to respond warmly to this ticket, and I think it is also important to note that the American people are sick of the George Bush "rubber stamp" White House.
We need to make sure that we have some mixing it up in the White House and a challenging of some of the decision-making that has gone on in the last eight years. We don't need any more rubber stamps.
KING: Let me get a quick call from Birmingham, England. Hello?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE CALLER: Hello, Larry?
CALLER: I've got a question for Ed.
KING: Go ahead.
CALLER: Where are the 18 million votes for Hillary Clinton going to go now? Because I can't see the majority of them going to Obama somehow.
SCHULTZ: I think Sen. Clinton has a very defined role going into this crucial convention. She needs to tell her supporters that this ticket is far better than going through what John McCain's going to put this country through the next four years if he gets elected.
So I think that Sen. Clinton plays a vital role here. She'll be a big player in this administration. They are going to lean on her for a lot of help, and she's a great Democrat.
KING: We're almost out of time. Terry Holt, is it going to be close?
HOLT: I think it is going be very close. This country remains very closely divided between fundamentally conservative people and very activist, very motivated Democrats who see an opportunity to win the White House. I don't look for it to be decided by millions and millions of votes. It's going to go down to the wire, Larry.
KING: Thanks to Ed Shultz, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Terry Holt and Amanda Carpenter. Thank you all.
Don't forget about our quick vote. Go to CNN.com/LarryKing right now and tell us, are you pleased with Obama's choice for VP?
CNN is on top of this story and will keep you up to speed all weekend. LARRY KING LIVE will return Monday with special coverage of the Democratic National Convention. We're on at a special time all week, too -- midnight Eastern, 9 Pacific.
It's time now for Rick Sanchez and the CNN Newsroom. Rick?