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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Democratic National Convention Day 2 Wrap-Up
Aired August 26, 2008 - 23:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHELSEA CLINTON, HILLARY CLINTON'S DAUGHTER: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): She's not going to be president or vice president this time around, but Senator Hillary Clinton commanded the stage, delivering a speech that could determine who the next president will be.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Let's elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden for that future worthy of our great country.
KING: Hillary Clinton brings down the house in Denver.
But will it help Barack Obama into the White House?
Republican insiders let loose, next, on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: What we will be doing all week is presenting in this hour the loyal opposition on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. And therefore repeat visit from last night with Tucker Bounds. He is in Denver. He is the McCain County spokesperson.
Hillary Clinton was the star of tonight's Democratic show in Denver. We're showcasing the opening lines of her primetime speech in tonight's "King's Convention" clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. CLINTON: I am so honored to be here tonight. No. I'm here tonight as a proud mother, as a proud Democrat.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
H. CLINTON: As a proud senator from New York.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
H. CLINTON: A proud American, and a proud supporter of Barack Obama.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: OK. Tucker, on hand in Denver, what did you make of her speech?
TUCKER BOUNDS, SPOKESMAN, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN: Well, you know, let me first say, Larry, that, you know, John McCain has -- throughout this campaign -- voiced his respect and honored the contribution that Hillary Clinton's made on the trail.
She's been a pioneering figure and I think it's important that everyone takes and note that this was an important speech tonight.
At the McCain campaign, the one thing that we took away, and I'm sure that the pundits will pick apart every word of every speech that's delivered at the convention. But the one -- the one thing that we couldn't help but miss were the things that she didn't say.
Her largest and most striking criticism of Barack Obama throughout her primary candidacy was his lack of experience and his failed judgment on foreign policy on key issues that affect working family.
And she didn't do a whole lot to step away from that criticism. And I think what that does is embolden our argument as we more toward election day to make clear to voters that there is a choice -- there's a choice between strong leadership in John McCain with a record of reforming Washington and there's Barack Obama.
KING: But, Tucker, this wasn't her only speech. This is the start of a campaign. Isn't she going to get around to that, don't you think?
BOUNDS: Well, I'm sure she will, but I don't think she's going to deliver a speech from here through election day that's going to have as many high balls on it. This was a very prolific speech. This was a time for her to make the case for Barack Obama, to stand strong and say exactly why the criticisms that she made didn't ring true.
And I don't think that she could do that. And I -- and it's not a fault of hers. It think what it does is validate the argument that not only she made, but that we're making which is that the American voter does have a choice.
Choose experience with John McCain or choose an inexperienced rookie to put in the White House during dangerous time.
I think that we launched an ad this morning. We've launched a couple of different television advertisements that denoted that very same message. And it's an important one to get across. We're probably going to be talk about it through election day because it's very effective.
KING: Aren't the Democrats going to respond by saying, what does experience mean if the experience produced bad results? BOUNDS: Well, they could say that, except when they're running against John McCain, Larry. His experience has produced good results. He's worked across the aisle. He's been a very bipartisan figure on Capitol Hill.
There are Democrats that have been for years saying very strong and positive things about John McCain's leadership, because whether it's campaign finance reform, whether it's fighting for global climate change, whether it's working against wasteful government spending, he's worked with Democrats.
He's reached across the aisle to work with people like Hillary Clinton, like Joe Biden. These are people that have a lot of respect for him, and I think that voters, in the back of their minds, after they get through all the Barack Obama -- he's -- he's another term of Bush talking points, they'll be able to recognize that this is a real leadership that -- out of John McCain that's independent and has its own identity.
That's what we're counting on and that's the campaign we're going to be running.
KING: Are you saying this was a bad night for Barack Obama?
BOUNDS: Well, I'm saying that it is a night for Barack Obama because it is his convention. But it certainly could have been a worse night for John McCain. We saw our criticisms of Barack Obama's record and his inexperience validated by his strongest critic during the primary and a very powerful figure in the Democratic Party.
That's pretty reassuring to us. But also, it should also be reassuring to Americans that we're making a legitimate argument in this campaign that if you want an experienced leader in the White House, John McCain is a candidate that can provide it.
KING: Last night you said on this program, that Democratic criticisms were going to get sharper as the convention rolled on. Did you see that starting tonight?
BOUNDS: Yes. You know, I think we did. I think there were a number of sharp criticisms whether it came out of Brian Schweitzer or some of the other speakers. But, you know, what we did see was a lot of flimsy sort of criticisms which, I guess, you can expect in politics to a certain extent.
But, Brian Schweitzer, for example, made an argument that John McCain didn't support alternative energy. And that was a false, disingenuous argument. What he was doing was hitting John McCain for voting against the Bush/Cheney energy bill that Barack Obama voted for.
The reason John McCain voted against the Bush/Cheney energy bill was because it was chockfull of giveaways for big oil. And it gave subsidies where they weren't needed. He stood on the floor of the Senate and he spoke out against the big giveaways for big oil. And here we are getting hit by Democrats for making a principled stand. It's disingenuous, it was flimsy, and that's the type of thing that you can expect -- out of a convention that seems to be running low on a real message that resonates with the American people.
KING: And Bill Clinton speaks tomorrow. What are you expecting?
BOUNDS: Well, you know, it sometimes can be tough to have a good idea about what you'd expect from President Clinton. But he's a two- term president of the United States of America. He's one of the principled people inside the Democratic Party. He will have things to say, I'm sure, all criticisms of John McCain.
And we're open to those criticisms. But we'll probably remind voters that he said very good things about John McCain's work on climate change. He said very good things about John McCain's bipartisanship.
BOUNDS: He said very good things about John McCain's character. So we'll probably remind voters that Bill Clinton, while he has a few criticism because he's at a largely partisan Democratic convention, he also said some very strong, good things about John McCain.
KING: Thank you, Tucker. Probably see you again tomorrow night.
BOUNDS: (INAUDIBLE). Thanks, Larry.
KING: Tucker Bounds, the McCain spokesman, on the scene in Denver.
Not everybody went wild over Clinton's speech. Back with more critics, next.
KING: Hey, a quick note about tonight's panel. Yes, they're all Republicans or John McCain supporters. But don't think we've lost our partisan balance. Next week, we'll have reaction to the GOP convention with Democrats and backers of Barack Obama. So keep watching.
Joining us in Dallas is Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Republican of Texas, author of "Leading Ladies: American Trailblazers." She has a primetime speaking spot next Wednesday at the Republican convention in St. Paul.
In Denver is Dennis Prager, a frequent guest, nationally syndicated talk radio host, and a best-selling author. In Minneapolis is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, a Republican in Minnesota and a supporter of John McCain, as well as Kellyanne Conway in New York, Republican strategist and pollster, supporter of John McCain.
What did your fellow -- Senator Hutchison, what did your fellow senator -- or how do have you think your fellow senator, Senator Clinton, did tonight?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Well, I think she made a good speech. And I think, certainly, she was well- received in the audience. And -- but I think the pundits that I've been hearing have made a point that she never quite said that Barack Obama was ready to be president.
And so I think that's what the focus really has been. I think she said all the things that she needed to say for the possibility of keeping her options opened for the future. But I think that the issue of inexperience is still there.
KING: You didn't come away with a question, did you, Dennis Prager, as to who she's supporting?
DENNIS PRAGER, TALK RADIO HOST, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: No, not in the least. In the sense that if you read the words and see what she said, of course, she's supporting the senator. Do I believe that in her heart she would like John McCain to win so she becomes president? That, I do believe.
But that's not a criticism of her. That is just -- that is just her greatest single ambition and it would be thwarted, I believe, by a Senator Obama victory.
But I will tell you this, and I feel, perhaps, that I am a minority here, even among Republicans. I actually left her speech depressed. And I'm not saying this for partisan reasons.
The notion that government will save the American people, which is the repeated notion at this convention -- I've watched virtually every speech.
Larry, it is so not the way America has run itself or its history. We take care of ourselves and for the few that can't, of course, the government will help. But the idea that the government will help you from birth to death, and take care of you and feed you and clothe you and educate you -- this is not the America I grew up admiring.
It's a different America that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton portray.
KING: You're talking about the -- you say the administration of Franklin Roosevelt?
PRAGER: Well, the administration of Franklin Roosevelt initiated certain plans which it thought would be temporary after a depression for a certain amount of American people.
KING: That's still in vogue.
PRAGER: And still it was. But it -- it is in vogue an it's very depressing. I will admit it.
KING: All right. OK. PRAGER: That mentality that the government will take care of you is depressing.
KING: We'll move to -- that's a great opinion.
To Congresswoman Bachmann in a moment. As we've said tonight was Hillary Clinton's time in the convention spotlight. Beyond repeating her support for Barack Obama, she did take on John McCain.
Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. CLINTON: Well, John McCain says the economy is fundamentally sound. John McCain doesn't think 47 million people without health insurance is a crisis. John McCain wants to privatize Social Security and in 2008, he still thinks it's OK when women don't earn equal pay for equal work.
H. CLINTON: Now with an agenda like that, it makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Congresswoman Bachmann in Minneapolis, did she score there?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: I think that she did make a score. I think especially with her tangerine colored pantsuit. I loved her pantsuit. I thought she looked great tonight.
But I though -- it really says a lot about Barack Obama, the fact that for Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, the Democrats seemed to be on the defensive. They had to have Michelle Obama lead off last night because there's questions about her patriotism to the country. Tonight they had to have Hillary Clinton on. Tomorrow night they'll have to have President Clinton on.
So three-fourths of the entire convention is really coming from the defensive posture. And it reminds me, frankly, Larry, of John Edwards who said we are two Americas. The Democrat party seems to be two Democrat parties -- the party of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the party of Barack Obama.
The question is -- well, really the -- kind of the main thing here is the fact that Barack Obama hasn't put the party together yet, and we're looking at September 1st. That's interesting.
KING: But she did hook...
BACHMANN: They need unity.
KING: She did hook, did she not, McCain and Bush? Isn't that going to be effective?
BACHMANN: Well, we'll see. She made -- she made a good statement, I think, tonight, when she did that. It's really cute about the Twin Cities. We're very proud of Minneapolis/St. Paul. We're going to have a great convention.
KING: OK. And Kellyanne Conway, you -- we're going to play a video for and want you to comment.
While Hillary described the 2008 presidential campaign as a fight for the future she harkened back to a very familiar part of the past in making the case for Barack Obama.
Take a look and we'll ask you to comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. CLINTON: Barack Obama began his career fighting for workers displaced by the global economy. He built his campaign on a fundamental belief that change in this country must start from the ground up, not the top down.
And he knows...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
H. CLINTON: ... that government must be about we, the people, not we, the favored few.
And when Barack Obama is in the White House, he'll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America and meet the global challenges of our time.
Democrats know how to do this. As I recall, we did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats. And if we do our part, we'll do it again with President Obama and the Democrats.
KING: Kellyanne Conway, effective?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, GOP STRATEGIST, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Oh, very. I have to say, as a Republican, this is a very strong speech. She answered the call and Senator Obama owes her big time.
She went so much farther than Ted Kennedy went against Jimmy Carter in his convention speech in 1980. So much farther than Al Gore went he conceded to George W. Bush in 2000.
And this is a full-throated I'm-a-good-Democrat-and-an-even- better-liberal speech tonight by Hillary Clinton. I had to laugh, though. The only one time she even mentioned her husband was in that reference to President Clinton. She somehow always forgets that that is part of her path to power.
But I have to tell you something, Larry, I think her speech was so good to some Democrats in that convention hall that they left their scratching their heads as to why she's on the team, but not the ticket, that she was passed over for the presidency and she was passed over again by Senator Obama for the vice presidency.
This is a woman who won 18 million votes across 14 states -- big- time states that are going to decide who the next president is. And I wonder if it's enough for her who, like the rest of us on this panel, and you, Larry, or one voter -- I wonder if it's enough for her to say, I'm voting for Senator Obama to really smooth some of those prickly feelings that people have about the fact they feel that they voted for Hillary Clinton, not just to make history with the first female president, but because they have doubts about Senator Obama's experience...
KING: OK. I got to get to break.
CONWAY: ... and readiness. And that doesn't...
KING: We'll be right...
CONWAY: The speech doesn't -- the speech doesn't do away with that.
KING: We'll be right back after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H. CLINTON: That President Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly, bring our troops home and begin to repair our alliances around the world. And Barack will have with him a terrific partner in Michelle Obama.
Anyone who saw Michelle's speech last night knows she will be a great first lady for America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Senator Hutchison, have people forgot that Senator Mark Warner was the keynote speaker tonight?
HUTCHISON: Yes. Absolutely. I think...
KING: This was Hillary's night?
HUTCHISON: It was. It really was. And I thought that the Twin Cities line really brought the house down. And it will be repeated and repeated and repeated, because it's right along their theme, trying to put President Bush and John McCain together, which, of course, John McCain has made such a point of being an independent and that is one of the great things about him.
He really calls his own shots and he agrees with you when we really does and he's willing to disagree if he doesn't with anyone. KING: Speaking of the keynote speaker, Mark Warner, a former governor of Virginia, only mentioned John McCain's name a couple of times in his speech.
Let's take a look at one of them and we'll ask Dennis Prager about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK WARNER (D), FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: This administration failed to believe in what we can achieve as a nation when all of us work together.
John McCain promises more of the same -- a plan that would explode the deficit and leave that to our kids. No real strategy to invest in our crumbling infrastructure and he would continue spending $10 billion a month in Iraq.
I don't know about you, but that's just not right. That's four more years that we just can't afford.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How did he do, Dennis?
PRAGER: Well, I think you and the panel have already said how he did. Nobody remembers that he spoke, let alone that he was the keynote speaker. I mean so -- I think that pretty much summarizes how he did.
As for the point that we can't afford -- that this is not the America that spends money to win a war, well, the America that I believe in does spend money to win a war. So we really do. We have parallel universes often between Democrats and Republicans, and that lying pretty much cap and capsulated it.
KING: Was he between a rock and a hard place on a Hillary night?
PRAGER: With regard to what? On who -- on who's he'd be endorsing?
KING: (INAUDIBLE), how is he going to be -- normally the keynote speaker...
PRAGER: Yes, well...
KING: ... winds up the evening.
PRAGER: Well, it's already been said. Yes, well -- that's right. Oh, in that sense he was absolutely -- you're right. Unless he could give a truly stirring speech, which he happened not to have, and I don't know exactly why they chose him, but they did choose him.
And it was not particularly stirring. I didn't find many of them stirring but it might be the fact that I didn't find the content at all -- at all uplifting. Change, change, change, change. I'm not sure I want all that amount of change. I think I live in the best country in the world right now. It has problem, period. End of issue. It's fighting a war, a war that has been -- not been mentioned at all in two nights of one of the two parties' conventions.
It's astonishing for me. We are fighting the greatest evil since communism and Nazism and has not been mentioned once, not a single Democrat mentioned it in a Democratic debate.
We live, as I said, in different universes and...
KING: OK. That's...
PRAGER: I hope that the McCain campaign makes that clear.
KING: It's called -- called politics.
Congresswoman Bachmann, who do you think John McCain's going to pick as his running mate?
BACHMANN: I think he's going to pick the right individual to help him lead the country. I have no doubt about John McCain's ability to lead the country but also to make a great pick.
He may pick our own governor here in Minnesota. He may pick Eric Cantor from Virginia. He may pick Mitt Romney from Massachusetts. He -- no matter who the pick will be, I have full confidence in his judgment.
That's what the American people love about John McCain. He has great judgment. He has experience. They trust him. And that's the weakness for Senator Barack Obama.
Barack Obama hasn't even closed the sale yet with 30 percent of Democrats. 30 percent of Democrats aren't eager to support Barack Obama. I don't know that tonight has yet closed the sale. We'll see what happens as the week progresses.
KING: Kellyanne, is John McCain a globally popular Republican nominee?
CONWAY: Well, sure. Absolutely. And actually he gets about...
KING: And there's not a lot of Republicans against him?
CONWAY: No. Actually, Larry, in all the polls he gets 85 percent to 87 percent of Republicans right now which is...
KING: That's 15 percent against you.
CONWAY: Well, pretty much. And it's a pretty good place to be, though, because Obama's hovering around the same figure. Actually he's a little behind only because of all these Hillary supporters and, look, let's go back to the Hillary supporters in the primary for a moment. I think so much has been made of the fact that they voted for her because they're women of a certain age and they wanted to make history. Look, that may be part of it for some of them, it may be all of it for some of them, but for many they really doubted Barack Obama's readiness to be president.
These are Democratic primary voters, folks. If they feel that way, and how in the world can he convince the independent, the uncommitted, the fence sitters that he is ready and he's experienced to be president if people of his own party in voting for Hillary Clinton voted against him?
Here's the thing about McCain in the VP pick, Larry. He's got a lot of latitude. He isn't embarrassed in (INAUDIBLE) because he just shouldn't do what Barack Obama did. Barack Obama went and picked someone more like McCain than Barack Obama in terms of age and experience and Washington insiderness.
And I hope that John McCain doesn't feel like he has to pick somebody who's young and inexperienced so that his number two looks like their number one.
Look, if you've got to look down the Democratic ticket to Joe Biden, to look for the experience and leadership in the foreign policy gravitas, just go to the number one on the Republican side. You need look no further than John McCain.
KING: OK. We'll be -- this panel will return with us in a little while.
What's a NObama Democrat? We're going to meet one right after the break.
KING: We're back. We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Elizabeth Joyce. She's in Denver, a member of Just Say No Deal. That's a coalition, a group of staunch Hillary Clinton backers who are not supporting Barack Obama.
She's co-creator of HigherHeels.com, which described itself as a forum of power chicks for Hillary.
Well, all right, she lost. She favors everything Obama favors. So why are you voting against your self interest by not voting for Obama?
ELIZABETH JOYCE, MEMBER, JUST SAY NO DEAL COALITION: Actually, Mr. King, I need to be courted before I vote for any candidate, and Senator Obama has not earned my vote yet.
KING: Did Hillary court you tonight?
JOYCE: You know what? Senator Clinton promised to campaign staunchly for Senator Obama and she did so. And I think she did exactly what she said she was going to do tonight. That doesn't mean I'm going to change my mind.
KING: If you like Hillary so much, one would gather you favor her policies and you draw a line between what policies Obama has that you don't like?
JOYCE: Actually, it's more about principle, Mr. King. I was on the campaign trail since last winter and the way we were treated as Senator Clinton supporters it just didn't wash with me.
JOYCE: Meaning the vitriol on the blogosphere. When I was on the ground, I was harassed verbally. And I'm sorry. We're supposed to be the good guys. We're the Democrats. We don't treat people like that. We certainly don't earn votes that way.
KING: Let's say some people in the Obama camp treated you wrong. Is that the reason to have someone elected president whose policies you don't agree with?
JOYCE: All I'm saying is they need to earn my vote. I'm a good Catholic girl from Boston, Massachusetts, and I don't vote on the first date. Senator Obama is going to have to step up. It's really not up to Senator Clinton to court me. He has to do that. I get an e-mail from him just...
KING: What does he have to do?
JOYCE: Excuse me?
KING: I'm sorry. What does he have to do?
JOYCE: Well, he could certainly ask for my vote, first. All I get from Senator Obama and the DNC in my e-mail box are solicitations for money. I'd like to actually learn more about him as a person. And I'd like him to ask for my vote and not for a donation.
KING: Every time you've watched him speech he hasn't asked for your vote?
JOYCE: Well, I've actually seen him speak live, once, and that was in Indianapolis. And actually he was speaking do to a crowd he felt had already gotten his vote. He didn't ask me, no, or the Clinton supporters with whom I as standing.
KING: So what you're saying, Elizabeth, is you're open, right?
JOYCE: I am a tiny, tiny bit open, but I need to say, my ballot box is pretty closed, especially when I go home and I look at my computer and I see what hate mail I'm going to when getting for talking with you this evening. We're the Democrats. We're the good guys. We're supposed to embrace everyone. Those people who don't necessarily agree with us.
KING: All right. Was Hillary in the convention spot light tonight, although not in the role her supporters had hoped? She called on royal backers to rally around Barack Obama.
Watch this and we'll ask you to comment.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D), NEW YORK: And whether you voted for me or you voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.
And you haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months or endured the last 8 years to suffer for more failed leadership. No way, no how, no McCain.
KING: OK, Elizabeth Joyce, how did that impress you?
JOYCE: Well, obviously, Senator Clinton wants us to vote for Senator Obama. But Senator Obama has not yet seen my vote, nor has Senator McCain, by the way. And you were right. I really do not adhere to the same policies that Senator McCain might be for. I really am a staunch Democrat. But my vote is my own. My vote is my choice. My vote is precious, and it needs to be earned. Period. The end. I just don't give it away.
KING: We can help here. What can Obama do?
JOYCE: He needs to reach out. He needs to reach out more to Senator Clinton's supporters. We need to feel like we are included in the party. I am staying in downtown Denver. And what I have witnessed by people that are wearing Obama garb, they're not really including me if I walk through my hotel lobby with my Hillary pin on.
KING: They don't pay attention?
JOYCE: I think that they need to reach out just -- not so much. I mean, I honestly -- they certainly could each out to us as much as Senator Clinton wants us to reach out to them.
KING: OK, will a lot depend on Thursday night's speech?
JOYCE: I am actually looking very forward to hearing Thursday night's speech. I think that Senator Obama could, perhaps, mend some fences and he's going to have 80,000 people, plus people around the world watching. And I think that he should certainly reach out to us as Hillary Clinton supporters because the bottom line is, he needs us. You've seen the polls.
KING: And did Hillary impress you tonight?
KING: Did Hillary impress you?
JOYCE: I think Senator Clinton gave a lovely speech. She spoke from her heart. It touched my heart, actually. And -- but that doesn't mean I necessarily agree with her attack at this point.
KING: Gotcha. Thank you, Elizabeth Joyce, a member of Just Say No Deal, the coalition.
Half of the musical duo Big & Rich is here. He'll tell us why he wrote McCain's campaign song. John Rich is next.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We call this convention to order to nominate a new leader for our times, Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
CAROLINE KENNEDY, DAUGHTER OF JOHN F. KENNEDY: I've never had someone inspire me the way people tell me my father inspired them. But I do now -- Barack Obama.
UNIDENTIIED MALE: We need such a leader, a leader who can heal the wounds of the last eight years. A leader who knows that what unites us is greater than what divides us.
SEN. TED KENNEDY, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Nothing, nothing...
KING: We're back on "LARRY KING LIVE." We are presenting, of course, the loyal opposition all this week. We'll do the reverse next week.
Joining us in Nashville, John Rich, one-half of the multi- platinum country music duo Big & Rich. He's hosted CMT's "Gone Country," and John McCain supporters.
I'll tell you how much of a supporter he is. He wrote the campaign song, "Raising McCain." Watch a little of it.
(VIDEO AND SINGING)
KING: John, how did you and -- how did you come to write the song?
JOHN RICH, BIG & RICH: Well, first of all, that song rocks, doesn't it, Larry?
KING: It does.
RICH: I'm pretty excited about John McCain. And I met the Senator a while back and have been so impressed about him throughout the years watching what an independent guy he is and what a maverick spirit he has. I really identify with that. In him, I thought, what could I do that would be the most impact for him, other than voting for him, which I'm going to be voting for him in November? I thought, well, I'm a song writer and the guy's got one of the most incredible life stories of anybody I've heard of as an American. I'll see if I can write a song about him and the election and about how I feel about him and something that's rocking like that. so I came up a little phrase, "Raising McCain," which down in the south and in Texas, we call it raising cane when you're excited about something and you're making a lot of noise about it. So I turned the words and made this song.
KING: Did you then offer it to him? You had written it first and then offered to them as a campaign song?
RICH: What I did actually was I MP3'd it to Meagan McCain, his daughter. I said, I just wrote this song. I said, if they want to use it, they're free to use it. Everybody really got into it and liked it. I put it up on johnrich.com for a free download as my gift to all of the supporters of John McCain out there.
You hear a lot, Larry, that people my age are not excited about John McCain. It's not true. There are tens of millions of young people around this country that are conservative and are going to vote for John McCain. This song is my way of giving them something they can all put in their car and blast.
KING: You campaigned with the Senator. you go out with him frequently. Do you like doing that?
RICH: You know what, I do? It's quite an honor. I never expected to be invited to any rallies or anything like that. This weekend I'm going to be in the Pittsburgh area with him on Saturday doing a rally. Then I'm going to be with him in the St. Louis area on Sunday, doing another rally and then heading up to Minneapolis to watch this incredible RNC go down this year.
KING: Are you going to play at the RNC?
RICH: I think I'm going to be playing the national anthem and playing that song, "Raising McCain" as well at some point. I'm not sure exactly when.
KING: Not a bad idea.
KING: If you're going to be with the Senator in Pittsburgh Saturday, you might well be with him and the vice presidential nominee.
RICH: Would that not be something? I'm excited to see who he's going to pick. One thing about John McCain, you can look throughout his history -- This is something I do and I urge all Americans to do this. It's as easy as going online and Googling John McCain. Google his voting record, his life story, go read a little about this guy. This is a guy that's upset as many Democrats as he has Republicans throughout the years. He's truly an independent thinker which I think makes a great American, somebody who can make decisions on behalf of the country, not necessarily what's even the best for them politically or personally at the time. All the way back to when he was a Vietnam veteran, to now, he's put his country first. KING: Who would you like to see him pick as a running mate?
RICH: I thought he might pick me, but I'm a year too young. I would like to see him pick somebody that believes in this country the way he does. And if he wasn't our president, for one reason or another, they would pick up where he left off. I don't think he needs to pick somebody that is against his core beliefs and core principles. I think that would be a big mistake. I think he will make that right call. He's incredible when it comes down to his judgment.
KING: See you Saturday in Pittsburgh. Good luck, John.
RICH: You've got it. Thank you, Larry.
KING: John Rich, one-half of the multi-platinum country music due Big & Rich and the writer and supporter of the campaign song, "Raising McCain." He'll be performing it again, of course, in St. Paul, Minnesota next week.
Back with our panel after this.
KING: As we return, Senator Biden is on stage at the Pepsi Center in Denver, checking out the microphone. This is standard forum. Go to any convention. All the speakers get the chance to come down the day before, sometimes the same afternoon. Biden will speak tomorrow night. And they get a chance to check out -- look at the viewers, check out the teleprompters. They've got to look both ways when they're reading. It can be tricky if you've never done it. Of course, Senator Biden has probably done is 100 times. Look down where the delegates are, who will be sitting where, where will Senator Clinton be, where's the New York delegation? There's the very familiar face of Joe Biden on stage at the Pepsi Center.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, our panel resumes. I
Senator, is the anti-Bush mode going to work?
SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, (R), TEXAS: I don't think so because John McCain is John McCain. And I think that his views will come out. But I have so say, I love John Rich. I had not heard that song, but I hope that John takes him everywhere. He's just great. He's so natural.
KING: Yeah. I agree. He's a good guy.
Dennis Prager is the -- if you ran against Bush is that going to work?
DENNIS PRAGER, TALK RADIO HOST: I don't think so because he's not running against Bush. He's running against McCain. Most Americans don't...
KING: I mean, if they ran against Bush, if they used Bush. PRAGER: Yeah, if they used Bush, I don't think it will work. That's what I thought I was responding to. And, yeah, I don't think it will work because of two reasons. One, most Americans know, whether they vote Republican or Democrat, that John McCain is truly his own man. I mean, so much so that as he jokes about himself that he never wins the Miss Congeniality award in the senate because he is such an independent.
Secondly, if anti-Bush sentiment is going to work, anti-Congress sentiment which is twice as great as anti-Bush sentiment should really work. By that reasoning the Republicans should take over Congress. Nobody thinks the Republicans whether take over Congress.
So clearly, anti-sentiment is not enough to win. Someone has to vote for Barack Obama because he actually is the person who should be president of the United States of America. I don't think that that's a possible argument in make.
KING: Some Democrat, many pundits criticized night one of the Denver convention for failing to bring the fight to McCain. Night two upped the amount of ante McCain jabs and red-meat rhetoric.
Here's a sampling and then we'll ask Congresswoman Bachmann to comment. Watch.
SEN. ROBERT CASEY JR., (D), PENNSYVLANIA: Now John McCain calls himself a maverick, but he votes with George Bush over 90 percent of the time. That's not a maverick. That's a side kick.
REP. STENY HOYER, (D), MAJORITY LEADER: But ladies and gentlemen, you can't expect change from a Senator who voted with George Bush 95 percent of the time this year.
GOV. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, (D), KANSAS: Now, I'm sure you all remember that girl from Kansas who said there's no place like home. Well, in John McCain's version, there's no place like home, or a home, or a home, or a home.
GOV. ED RENDELL, (D), PENNSYLVANIA: It's clear, the only thing green in John McCain's energy plans are the billions of dollars he's promising in more tax cuts to oil companies. And the only thing that he'll recycle is the same failed George Bush approach to energy policy.
KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, why you may disagree. Is it effective?
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN, (R), MINNESOTA: You know, I don't really think it is, Larry, because again, as Dennis Prager said, Nancy Pelosi has an approval rating of about 9 percent. Just think of what that is. And I don't think there's a 30 percent approval rating of President Bush who is out going, who is not on the ticket... KING: Do you think -- excuse me. Do you think Nancy -- you're not saying Nancy Pelosi will be defeated are you?
BACHMANN: No, I don't think she will in San Francisco.
KING: Why not.
BACHMANN: I think she's probably representative of her constituents in San Francisco.
KING: That's the difference between congressmen.
BACHMANN: However, I don't think she's representative of all of the United States.
KING: The difference between Congress, Kellyanne, and the presidency, is, everybody votes for the president but only San Francisco votes for Nancy Pelosi. That's why 97 percent of Congress is re-elected, right?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, GOP STRATEGIST: Yes, that, plus, I think people pretend they love change. They have this love affair with change but they're very pro-incumbent because inertia is the most powerful physical force in politics unless or until overtaken by friction.
The answer to your original question, Larry, lies in two things. You asked would this anti-Bush or linking McCain and Bush strategy really work? It didn't work in the Democratic National Convention hall tonight. All of these governors had to shout, you know, crazily shout just to be heard. Nobody was standing up and a round of applause when Ed Rendell said when he made about green. When Kathleen Sebelius was making some remarks. I mean this is a woman who was on the short list for VP. This was the way she presented herself tonight? It was so (inaudible).
And the other place it's not showing up is in the polls. If John McCain and Barack Obama, and everybody's polls are neck in neck, there's your answer. John McCain is outperforming the poor stand of the Republican Party now, meaning that in the generic ballot, he's out performing the president's bad approval ratings, out approving the disappointments the people feel in Iraq. He's already overcome so much of that. And he hasn't even had his convention yet.
KING: We'll be back with your moments from our outstanding panel as we look at the loyal opposition all week long. Loyal and opposed to the convention in Denver. We'll be right back.
SEN. DENNIS KUCINICH, (D), COLORADO: This is the call for you to go from down to up. Wake up, America! Wake up, America!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who's going o land at the next president of the United States?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can not afford four of the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not four more years, four more months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all in this together. That's what this party believes. That's what this nation believes. That's what Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe.
CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF SEN. HILLARY CLINTON: My mother, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D), NEW YORK: The time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose.
KING: We're back. The McCain camp has revived the most famous ad of the Democratic primary campaign. Yeah, it's 3:00 a.m. again. Check this out.
AD NARRATOR: It's 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone? Uncertainty, dangerous aggression, rogue nations, radicalism.
CLINTON: I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience he'll bring to the White House and Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002.
KING: Senator McCain, is that going to work, playing it out again? I mean, Senator Hutchinson?
HUTCHISON: Well, I think that it's going to come down to the differences in issues with all of the rhetoric we're hearing? We differ completely on the three major issues facing this country -- the economy and how we get more energy and bring the price down, the war on terror that would tear down our way of life and whether we're going to fight for our way of life or just sort of pass it over. And then third, taxes. They were talking about tax cuts for oil companies. Oil companies pay billions of dollars in taxes. What we want is tax cuts for the American people and that's the difference between Republicans and Democrats and the people will be able to vote on that.
KING: Dennis, she didn't mention health care?
PRAGER: Who didn't mention health care?
KING: Senator Hutchinson. You mentioned the...
PRAGER: Oh, I see. She did in effect because she said that on economy it's one of the big differences. Senator McCain has the belief, which I think, in their hearts most Americans, when push comes to shove, also believe the idea of adopting the Canadian system, when Canadians come to our country for health care, is not a very good one. It's a utopian idea that 300 million Americans will be paid by one single payer in the government when the government is not terribly effective at making postage stamps. It's almost unbelievable how far left the rhetoric has become to be considered even in this issue.
When Hillary Clinton thought of this, it was dismissed by the American people when she was first lady.
KING: One correction, Dennis, the postal service is almost never wrong.
PRAGER: OK. That's fair.
KING: They are, right, a perfect record.
Congresswoman Bachmann, what's going to be the central issue, do you think, if there is one?
BACHMANN: The central issue, I think, will be the economy and energy. And when the American people go to the voting booth, Larry, they'll be asking themselves, do I want to pay $2 a gallon for gasoline or pay $6 or $8 for gasoline? Because Barack Obama is not going to drill. He's not going to increase American energy supplies. John McCain will. That's a big pocketbook issue. Will we have $2 a gallon gasoline or $6 or $8?
KING: Kellyanne Conway, are you expected much from Bill Clinton tomorrow. We asked about it earlier but I didn't get your comment.
CONWAY: Oh, sure. Bill Clinton can help us out. Most of the speech is going to be about -- drum roll, please -- Bill Clinton. It's going to be markedly different than Hillary Clinton's speech tonight. He's a gifted orator. I'm sure he will be treated with a king's welcome.
And just getting back to the issues, I think there are two themes really driving this election -- security and affordability. Those are really the two themes.
I've got to tell you, Larry, the attribute that's more important to people is leadership. I think the Obama people have tried to take likeability too far because of these silly polling questions, like who would you rather have a beer with, who would you rather go to the baseball game with, who would you rather have watch your kids on Saturday? That's not how people make their decisions. It's leadership, not likeability, that's the preferred value attribute.
KING: You think that McCain's scores there?
CONWAY: I think he's scoring now by virtue of the fact that he's tied in the polls. He's keeping Obama under 50 at a time when any Democrat should be in the mid-50s, and at a time when Barack Obama's having one of his best weeks at his convention.
KING: It's still early. We shall see. We shall see. CONWAY: It's very early. We can't forget that. 69 days to go. It's very early. Anything can happen.
KING: We thank you all very much -- Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Dennis Prager, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Kellyanne Conway, as we present the loyal opposition all this week.
You still have time to case your "Quick Vote." The question is about Hillary Clinton's speech. Did it unite Democrats or steal Obama's spotlight? Two to cnn.com/larryking now and tell us what you think.
Tonight we had Republicans or John McCain supporters as our guests. Next week we'll have reaction to the GOP convention with Democrats and backers of Barack Obama.
We'll be back tomorrow night with day three of convention coverage. Bill Clinton's in the spotlight. That should generate a lot of heat. See you then at "LARRY KING LIVE." That's Wednesday at midnight, 9:00 pacific. Good night.