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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Financial Bailout Stalled; Interview With Chris Rock

Aired September 25, 2008 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, deal or no deal?
Talks on that mega billion dollar bailout plan get messy.

First, word an agreement was reached. Now it's sounding unglued.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe we have an agreement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: McCain and Obama sat down for an emergency economic summit at the White House just hours ago -- same table, but far apart.

Will they come together for tomorrow's presidential debate?

And Chris Rock joins me.

You want to mock the vote, he's your man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: On the agenda, Letterman unloads on McCain for a late night show cancellation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN," COURTESY WORLDWIDE PANTS INC.)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: It makes me believe something is going haywire with the campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Sarah Palin makes Katie Couric a promise about her running mate's record.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC," COURTESY CBS)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC," COURTESY CBS)

KATIE COURIC, ANCHOR: Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And Bill Clinton says those who think his backing of Obama is not so hot missed the political point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm glad he's got people that love him that much, but those are not the people that hold this election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All that, with Chris Rock's campaign riffs, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Let's begin with an outstanding panel.

Here in New York, Paul Begala, the Democratic strategist, author of the new book "The Third Term: Why George W. Bush Loves John McCain.

In Washington, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, member of the House Financial Services Committee. She has spoken, by the way, one-on-one with Treasury Secretary Paulson.

In Washington, as well, is Hilary Rosen, editor-at-large of HuffingtonPost.com, a CNN political contributor and supporter of Senator Obama.

And in Washington, Kevin Madden, Republican strategist, senior vice president of the Glover Park Group, former spokesman for Mitt Romney.

All right, Paul, what went wrong?

I guess nothing is happening.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Well, yes. It was an economic meltdown, apparently, earlier this week on Wall Street.

KING: I mean tonight.

BEGALA: A political meltdown in the Cabinet Room of the White House. You know, the -- all the players came together. And apparently -- and this is from sources who were in the room who I've been talking to -- the speaker of the House traditionally begins this, because she's the senior most legislator there, after the president welcomes everybody.

She deferred, as did Senator Reid, to Barack Obama. And Obama apparently laid out the Democratic position with no notes. He's a smart guy. And so then they turned to Senator McCain. Well, where's the Republican position?

McCain said, I defer to my more senior colleagues. I believe in the seniority system, he apparently said.

And so then he sat silent while other Republicans and Democrats debated this issue and fought pretty contentiously. For 43 minutes, McCain had nothing to say, until finally Barack called on him.

It's bizarre. I mean there's something erratic going on with McCain right now. He suspends his campaign, it's a giant crisis. Then he comes to the meeting and he's got nothing to say.

KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, are we near a deal?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: You know, Larry, we never had a deal. We haven't had a deal at any point because not all parties have been brought together. House Republicans were not a part of this. And all four caucuses -- Republican, Democrat in the House, Republican, Democrat in the Senate -- need to put up a full majority of each caucus. We were never involved in this deal.

So it's important that all the parties come together. There never was a deal.

KING: Hilary Rosen, if true, does that surprise you?

HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Well, it's not true. I mean Congressman John Boehner, the Republican leader in the House, and Senator Baucus, the Republican ranking member on the Banking Committee, have been involved. Senator Shelby, in the Senate side, the Republican leader there, said, essentially, I don't want to play. So he wasn't very involved.

But it's sort of irrelevant. I think the point that Paul made bears more elaboration, which is you set out a series of principles for this mess that, frankly, a lot of people think that the lack of leadership in George Bush and the Republican Congress got us to -- and then you say, OK how do we get out of it?

And the set of principles that the Democrats laid out and then John McCain agreed to was let's have oversight of any rescue plan, let's help regular homeowners with their own mortgages...

KING: All right.

BACHMANN: And let's cap CEO pay. Well, those were starting to come together...

KING: Tell...

BACHMANN: ...based on good leadership. And then it seems to have gotten blown up because John McCain needed a rescue plan for his campaign, not for Wall Street and homeowners.

KING: Kevin, they're saying it's political only.

KEVIN MADDEN, GOP STRATEGIST, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Oh, it's shocking to me that there would be politics in Washington. I mean this is exactly why I think the American public is looking at this and they're starting to really turn against Washington. They're not turning against Democrats. They're not turning against Republicans.

Instead, what they are is sick of the status quo in Washington. And I think John McCain is going to come out ahead on this, because he was the one that actually decided to go and, quite frankly, kick over some tables in Washington to try to get an agreement. And, ultimately, I think that he's probably been in the best position, on side of the taxpayers, in this whole debate.

KING: Does Bush have any clout, Paul, real clout as a lame duck?

BEGALA: No. You know, he's dead duck. He's not even a lame duck. You know, he spoke to the nation the other night for 12 whole minutes. You know, I don't know how many billions per minute he wants to spend -- $700 billion. He gives us 12 minutes of his time. And maybe he should have only done 12 seconds, because it did no good. It didn't build any public support for this turkey that he's asking the taxpayers to bailout...

KING: But this is a turkey that Obama has been a supporter of.

BEGALA: He may well have to. But I think Hilary Rosen makes a good point, that, you know, people keep saying the house is on fire. Well, yes it is. But this wasn't a lightning strike. This was arson. Somebody set the fire.

Conservative Republican, Bush/McCain policies, in the eyes of most Americans, certainly Democrats, caused this, right, by letting Wall Street run free, by walking away from their responsibilities and I think that's (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, how do you deal -- the general public opinion is that -- a majority think the Republicans caused this.

BACHMANN: Well, and actually Freddie and Fannie were created back in the Depression era under FDR. The Community Reinvestment Act was passed under Jimmy Carter and enhanced under Bill Clinton. So the two biggest policy that put us into this mess happened under Democrats.

But that's, at this point, honestly, what we need to do is be forward-thinking and solution-focused.

We do have some solutions that are outside of the box. One is we've got a very big problem. We could make the problem smaller. I'm a federal tax lawyer. One thing we could do is we could change a very simple accounting rule called Mark to Market. If we suspended that accounting rule from 2007 to 2000 -- from 2003 to 2007, we could make a big problem a lot smaller and deal with it, I think, in a more measured manner.

ROSEN: You know, what...

KING: All right. Let me get a break. Hold it. And we'll pick up with Hilary.

We'll also get into some straight political talk away from what's going on in Washington, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I am a betting man. But I'd like to say that I'm very hopeful.

I'm very hopeful that we'll get enough of an agreement tomorrow that I'll be able to make this debate. And again, I would urge Senator Obama to do what I asked him to do, and that's engage in 10 town hall meetings. And he has never accepted a single request.

But I hope to be in Oxford tomorrow night and I'm very hopeful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It looks like it's going to happen.

All right, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are meeting with key Democrats and Republicans on Banking Committees.

We'll bring you news from that as soon as we get it. There's where it's taking place.

John McCain was supposed to be a guest on Letterman last night. He canceled. But we know what it feels like here at LARRY KING LIVE, because it happened to us a couple of weeks ago, when a spokesman didn't like some of the questions being asked of him on one of the CNN programs.

Letterman got little ticked, too.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN," COURTESY WORLDWIDE PANTS INC.)

LETTERMAN: When John McCain -- and he was nice enough to call me on the phone and said he was racing back to Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LETTERMAN: And our people here were told so serious, he's getting on a plane immediately and racing back to Washington. And now we've just been told -- here, take a look.

Do we have it on the thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just in?

LETTERMAN: This is going live. This -- there he is right there.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

LETTERMAN: He doesn't seem to be racing to the airport, does he?

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: This just gets uglier and uglier.

(CROSSTALK)

LETTERMAN: I'm feeling bad for the man to have participated in this. I mean -- and, first of all, the road to the White House runs right through me. It always has. It always has.

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: Let's just see what he has to say here. This will be interesting. I wonder if he'll mention me.

Hey, John, I've got a question.

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN: Do you need a ride to the airport?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right.

Hilary, do you think McCain was badly hurt by that or it was just passing trivia?

ROSEN: Well, I think, actually, the rest of the clip is interesting, too, because Letterman went on to say what a lot of people said this morning, which is um, can't you, um, chew gum and walk at the same time?

But, you know, if you're going to be president, you ought to be able to do more than one thing at a time. If there's going to be a crisis, you've got to face up to it.

And at the same time that he was saying he had to come back to Washington, you know, of course, Congressional leaders were saying no, you don't -- he doesn't have to run back here, things are moving along

But we should go back just to the bigger picture. It's possible that John McCain comes out tomorrow and says no matter what happens, I'm going to be against this thing. And, you know, if that happens, there probably be won't be any bill, because if somebody is going to start to play politics with this, there's no reason for the Democrats to clean up this mess, for Barack Obama to take this on. Everybody is unhappy about this. And so, really, it's going to take sort of the grown up John McCain to come back to the table and say you know what, you've met the principles I laid out earlier in the week, you know, maybe we ought to do this.

If he doesn't, I think it falls apart.

KING: Kevin, do you think, based on what we just saw Senator McCain say, it looks like we're going to have a debate, doesn't it?

MADDEN: It does, you know -- and, you know, I was joking around today. Somebody asked my prediction. I said I think there's a 50 percent we will have one and a 50 percent chance we won't have one. But, look, I mean that's why you have commissions. They take the emotion out of it. They take the suspense out of it. You make an agreement between the two candidates to have a debate.

So I think that all the body language coming from the Commission on Presidential Debates points to the fact there will be one. You heard John tonight. It seemed like he was -- I'm sorry Senator McCain. You heard him tonight leaning toward the fact that there will be a debate.

And you know, quite frankly, I think the American public is really looking forward to a debate.

KING: Don't you agree, Paul, this has to happen (INAUDIBLE)?

BEGALA: I think it does. In fact, I would argue to Senator McCain and Senator Obama -- Obama is committed to the debate no matter what. So he's going to Ole Miss -- that the most important thing they can do is not to go to meetings at the White House and gum up the process with the men and women who have been negotiating this for weeks, but to publicly debate the issues.

Get it out of the closed doors. Some people have got to meet behind closed doors. They're the workhorses of the Senate and the House. Obama and McCain now are the show horses of the two parties. They should represent their parties.

This is a real deal. You know, this is not just P.R.. I was telling you during the break, I need to make sure people know I have done P.R. in private practice and one of my clients was Freddie Mac, which is a big part of this mess. People should know that.

But this is not a P.R. problem. This is a real problem. We have peoples' fortunes, their savings, their jobs, they're at risk here. And there are two very different views of how to handle it that McCain and Obama have and I think they ought to go debate it at Ole Miss.

KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, Sarah Palin remains to get a headline -- almost gets a headline a day. During her third TV interview, the one with Katie Couric -- well, let's watch it and get a comment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE CBS EVENING NEWS WITH KATIE COURIC," COURTESY CBS)

COURIC: You've said: "John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business. Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us anymore examples of his leading the charge for more oversight?

PALIN: I think that the example that you just cited with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie, that's paramount. That's more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

COURIC: I'm just going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point, specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

PALIN: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, Congresswoman Bachmann, was she weak there?

BACHMANN: Well, she didn't have specific examples of additional regulations that John McCain had either challenged or championed. But I think the more important point is that Sarah Palin understood that John McCain understood the heart of this problem. It's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. All roads lead to Fannie and Freddie.

And John McCain, three years ago, stood on the well of the Senate and told the American people and his colleagues this was a huge problem. He clung the bell.

What was Barack Obama doing?

He was busy penning his second autobiography, because I guess one just wasn't enough.

So John McCain was on the ready, sounding the call.

Would that his fellow senators would have listened to him and would that they would have stopped Fannie and Freddie before this meltdown occurred.

ROSEN: There was -- BACHMANN: But John McCain was right.

ROSEN: Actually, I don't know, with all due respect to the Congresswoman, John McCain actually didn't do anything in the entire last Congress. He didn't introduce a single bill affecting the banking or regulatory structure of Fannie or Freddie, or of the banking industry.

Barack Obama introduced five pieces of legislation to deal with this problem. And he made several key cornerstones of his campaign on this same issue.

So this notion that somehow...

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: ...he's been there all along...

BACHMANN: Well, I think it's real clear...

ROSEN: ...this is nonsense.

BACHMANN: The one who has been sounding the call and the one who has been actually trying to do something about this was John McCain, far earlier than Barack Obama was. Remember, it was Barack Obama who hired for his vice presidential search committee the former head of the Freddie and Fannie.

ROSEN: Oh, we're not going to start...

BACHMANN: So, you know, Barack Obama has a lot of associates...

(CROSSTALK)

BACHMANN: ...that were right in the middle of this and this doesn't look pretty for Barack Obama.

KING: Let me get a break and we'll come back with more.

Paul Begala, Michele Bachmann, Hilary Rosen, Kevin Madden.

And Chris Rock still to come.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE: One of the concerns that I've had over the last several days is that when you start injecting presidential politics into delicate negotiations, then you can actually create more problems rather than less. It's amazing how much you can get done when the cameras aren't on and nobody's looking to get credit or allocate blame. And I think both myself and Senator McCain need to be very careful in terms of how we inject ourselves in to this process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Just in, JPMorgan Chase and Company has acquired the banking operations of beleaguered thrift Washington Mutual Inc.

Bill Clinton was on this program a couple of nights ago. He had this to say about Sarah Palin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think that she and her husband and their kids come across as gutsy, spirited and real. You know, I have significant disagreements with her about any number of social and economic issues. But I find her an appealing person.

And I think that it's best to say that Senator McCain looks like he knew what he was doing. And he picked somebody that give him a lot of energy, a lot of sport.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Paul, what do you make of that?

BEGALA: I think my boss is being exceedingly generous. He's a kind man and he doesn't want to speak ill of anybody. You know, he's running his Clinton Global Initiative this week, which is very non- partisan.

But, look, the truth is nobody in their right mind thinks she's qualified to be the president of the United States, to be a heartbeat away.

I'm more interested in what this says about John McCain. All right, he chose somebody he had only met once two years ago. Now, like when you're meeting with the lawyer and you think, God forbid, who should raise the kids if I die, do you say God, I met the neatest woman in Juneau two years ago, honey. Let's leave the kids to her.

It was shockingly irresponsible. And this is McCain again who says country first?

This is clearly campaign first.

KING: Congressman Bachmann, does he have a point?

BACHMANN: No, he doesn't have a point. I think President Clinton has very good taste in Sarah Palin. Take a look at the people of the State of Alaska. They believe that she's imminently qualified with her approval rating. And look Sarah Palin's approval rating across the country.

If you look at former President Clinton and his preparedness on foreign policy when he ran for president -- not a heartbeat away -- he had no more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin has. So it's very difficult to make that argument.

She is a heartbeat away. She's a quick learner. No, she doesn't have as much foreign policy experience as Joe Biden. But this is a woman who has something on the ball. And the main thing is America trusts her.

KING: Hilary?

ROSEN: Well, I don't even know where to go with that. I just think that -- I don't just look at foreign policy. I'm looking at where we are this week and imagining -- you know, my guess is that Sarah Palin probably could have given a better speech than George Bush did the other night and -- but that might be about it.

I think, you know, when you want leadership, you want somebody with a sense of command. You want somebody who, frankly, acted like Barack Obama did, saying I've got a set of principles. This is how we're going to do it. I'm going to bring people together to make it happen. I just think that inspires confidence.

I just -- I agree with President Clinton, she seems awfully compelling, but she doesn't inspire confidence.

KING: All right. And, Kevin, I guess you're going to go the opposite of Hilary?

MADDEN: Well, look...

(LAUGHTER)

MADDEN: Look, John McCain made very clear that he wants to shake up Washington. He wants to reform Washington. He wants to change the way it looks at the problems of -- that everyday Americans are facing.

And who better than -- and the McCain campaign will make this argument -- who better than somebody who is a chief executive, somebody who is an every mom, somebody who identifies with the everyday anxieties that Americans face across this country?

And that's why he chose Sarah Palin.

And, you know, Larry, I can only turn to my very accurate, my very esteemed personal focus group of my mother, my sister and my wife -- two of them which are Democrats -- and they identify with Sarah Palin on a lot of these issues -- these economic issues and these social issues that are very important to voters.

KING: All right, Paul, what's -- you said they might be up all night with the crisis.

BEGALA: Yes.

KING: You want to give me a thought of what might happen?

BEGALA: I think they're going to burn the midnight oil. I think they have to put this thing back together. I think the combination of the presidential campaign pressure of McCain showing up and Obama showing up helped to blow this thing up.

But Congresswoman Bachmann and her colleagues are going to have to decide, on the conservative faction of the Republican House Conference, what is it that they want?

There's a report from Bob Schieffer of CBS -- he's a good news man -- and Mark Ambinder of "Atlantic" are saying that Senator McCain and perhaps the House conservatives are calling for, as the solution, get this, less regulation on business and investors and suspending all taxes on wealthy investors.

Is that really the Republican response this, Congresswoman?

BACHMANN: The Republican response to this is a free market response. What we don't want to do is what the Democrats have been calling for, and that's full bore socialism. That's not where we want the economy to go. We don't want to be France. We don't want to be Mexico.

We want it to be a free market economy. And thank goodness for the House Republicans that have stood strong. We have been the voice crying in the wilderness on this. Let's go with a free market solution.

KING: All right...

BACHMANN: We've got one...

ROSEN: But what...

BACHMANN: ...and we can get there.

BEGALA: This is a Bush deal.

BACHMANN: And we can get this economy running again.

ROSEN: Let's be clear on what she means.

BEGALA: Do you want less regulation?

ROSEN: What -- Paul, let me...

BEGALA: Do you want less regulation?

Is that...

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: Well, let's be clear on what...

BACHMANN: What we want to do is not have the taxpayer on the hook.

ROSEN: What they're saying...

BACHMANN: That's what we're concerned about.

ROSEN: What they're saying...

KING: One at a time.

Hilary?

ROSEN: That they're saying...

BACHMANN: Not having the government own Wall Street.

ROSEN: What they're saying is a free market approach is closer to what Paul said, which is instead of loan guarantees where we might actually have some taxpayer equity in the outcome and the like, let's increase the tax deductions for other companies to try and -- who are maybe willing to buy some of these distressed companies. So let's make the rich people richer by reducing their taxes even more and...

BACHMANN: Hilary, I'm sorry.

ROSEN: ...hope that those markets...

BACHMANN: You don't understand our proposal.

ROSEN: No, wait. I do understand it.

BACHMANN: You don't understand our proposal.

ROSEN: And all that does is -- it doesn't matter whether you're spending money out the back or spending money out the front door, you are spending taxpayer money.

BACHMANN: That's the point.

ROSEN: That's the point.

BACHMANN: We don't want to spend the taxpayer money.

ROSEN: When you give a tax credit, you are spending their money.

BACHMANN: We don't want the taxpayer to be on the hook. I'm sorry. She doesn't understand the plan.

ROSEN: When you give another tax credit and another tax deduction, you are spending taxpayer dollars. It does not matter what you call it.

BACHMANN: That's not the plan.

ROSEN: It's spending their money.

BACHMANN: The plan that we want is to make sure...

ROSEN: Our money.

BACHMANN: ...that the American taxpayer is not paying for generation after generation for more socialism. We don't want government to own private business.

BEGALA: It's a Bush deal.

BACHMANN: We want to get government out of that business.

KING: Paul?

BEGALA: I'm just -- I'm amused, I'm sorry, Congresswoman. And you're a very bright person. But the notion that somehow George W. Bush is the Democrat here or the socialist here, this is the Bush proposal.

And, by the way, I will point out...

BACHMANN: We reject that proposal. BEGALA: I'm sorry for talking while you're interrupting...

BACHMANN: We have rejected that...

BEGALA: ...Congresswoman, but...

BACHMANN: We have rejected that proposal.

BEGALA: But President Clinton, who when he left office, he handed over to President Bush and your party an economy that was creating 23 million new jobs and was on a projected surplus of $5.3 trillion. Eight years later, with Republicans running the Congress for most of that time and...

BACHMANN: We're not running the Congress.

BEGALA: ...Republicans running the White House spokesman...

BACHMANN: ...Democrats are in control of Congress.

BEGALA: ...they've ruined the economy.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: All right, guys.

BEGALA: For 12 out of those 14 years, your party was in charge.

KING: Let's hope that something -- maybe something happens tonight.

Thank you all very much.

We'll have you all back again for sure.

Coming up next, Chris Rock is here.

You want to mock the vote?

Here's your man. There he is. No one is safe.

ROCK: I know nothing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "KILL THE MESSENGER," COURTESY HBO)

ROCK: Is that Zanax?

You ought to be ashamed of yourself taking an anti-depressant to come to a comedy show.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Great pleasure to welcome a return visit with Chris Rock, the Emmy-winning comic and actor. His first comedy special in five years, "Kill the Messenger," will premier on HBO this Saturday night at 9:00 Eastern. He is a supporter of Barack Obama. We'll touch a lot of politics. We'll also show you clips from the special. We had a bailout meeting at the White House today.

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Really?

KING: Obama and McCain at opposite ends of the table. What do you make of it?

ROCK: What do I make of it? If this was a boxing match, McCain would be holding.

KING: Holding on?

ROCK: Yes. It's like he got hit really hard in the stomach like, OK. I can't let him go. He's going to knock me out. So that's what appears to be going on right now. Just a hold. Don't --

KING: Has the financial crisis affected you?

ROCK: Larry, I drove a cab over here tonight. When it's over, I'm going to try to pick up some more fares. I'm losing everything, Larry.

KING: Really downtrodden?

ROCK: Yes, it's really bad.

KING: Have HBO paid you already?

ROCK: They have paid me, but the money is worthless now. Haven't you heard? Your money's worth nothing.

KING: You must be -- forgetting endorsements -- proud that at this stage in our history a black man is running for president on a major ticket.

ROCK: Um, you know what? I'm proud Barack Obama's running for president. You know? if it was Flavor Flav would I be proud? No. I don't support Barack Obama because he's black.

KING: I said just as a proud feeling. That's normal.

ROCK: It's a proud feeling because of the character of the man. You know, I was -- I supported John Kerry and, you know -- and what's my man? Al Gore.

KING: Al Gore.

ROCK: But this guy seems to be a little bit more. He's -- seems to have watched other peoples' mistakes and, you know, seems to have a little bit more going on.

KING: From a comedic stand point, who is funnier, McCain or Obama? Seriously. Is Obama not -- it's hard to be funny about Obama?

ROCK: No, no. It's weird. People ask me that all the time. I'd rather -- Like McCain jokes are just easy jokes, like I don't want a president with a bucket list. That's like a McCain joke. Those jokes are easy. It's like you basically, you know, you know, take the dust off your Reagan jokes and tell them again. You know?

But Obama, oh, this is a whole new set of jokes. I got to find a whole new move to the basket here. So I kind of hope he wins.

KING: He will be foil for you?

ROCK: He will be -- hey, you know, if he is the -- I love Bill Clinton. I talked about Bill Clinton. Whoever the president is, you got to -- kind of got to jab them from time to time.

KING: Didn't you introduce Obama at a rally?

ROCK: I introduced Obama at the Apollo Theater not too long ago. I think Obama would be great. I mean, just look -- the big thing right now is the economy. And people are going broke. And here's -- the choice isn't Republican or Democrat. The choice is you got a guy that's worth 150 million dollars with 12 houses against a guy who's worth a million dollars with one house.

KING: Well --

ROCK: The guy with one house really cares about losing a house, because he is homeless. The other guy can lose five houses and still got a bunch of houses. Does this make any sense? Am I the only one that sees this?

KING: It's unique way of -- I guess, OK.

ROCK: I'm just saying, John McCain could lose half his houses.

KING: You got a point.

ROCK: And sleep well.

KING: You and Bill Clinton were on Letterman on Tuesday. You had some problems with the tone of his endorsement of Barack Obama. Let's watch this.

ROCK: Oh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROCK: Is it me or he didn't want to say the name Barack Obama?

He did not -- he -- he went through everything he could do -- well, like, Hillary would want do it -- Hillary ain't running! Hillary's not running!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you think Bill is hesitant about Barack Obama?

ROCK: You know what? He's -- you know, he did a great speech in Denver. And Hillary's been on the campaign trail. Just at that moment, if you watched what happened on David Letterman, it appeared he was holding back. And when you tell a joke and everybody laughs, it is not because they disagree with what you're saying. So --

KING: They get it?

ROCK: Yes, they get it. The whole audience was in on it. But, you know, hey, the guy's in a weird position there. His wife ran for the thing and she didn't win.

KING: The next night, on "The Daily Show," Jon Stewart asked Clinton about the Letterman appearance and Clinton suggested that Obama supporters who questioned commitment are missing the point. Now you watching this and comment.

ROCK: Jon Stewart will straighten me out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON (D), FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm glad he has people that love him that much, but the people that hold this election. The people that hold this election are the people that think that he is on their side and he loves them. In other words, he needs to get the votes of the people that voted for Hillary or independents didn't even vote, but they know the country's off in the wrong direction. They want a change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Pretty good?

ROCK: It was great. It was great. And you're right, he does need to get some of the votes that went to Hillary and all that. I don't understand any Democrat that voted for Hillary that doesn't support Obama. Because their views are pretty similar. You know what I mean? I can understand not -- I understand people supporting Mr. McCain. But a Democrat that's going to just be mad is -- there's something kind of really messed up about that.

KING: Have you always done political humor?

ROCK: You know --

KING: When you started, did you do politics?

ROCK: I'm interested in the world. Jon Stewart does political humor. Bill Maher does political humor. I talk about stuff the way guys would talk about it at the barber shop. I don't belong on any panel on this show. You know what I mean? I don't deserve to be near Roland Martin and Anderson Cooper and all these guys. I try to talk about politics in a way a guy that works at UPS would understand.

KING: You did a lot of Brooklyn stuff. ROCK: I do all sorts of stuff, Larry. All sorts of stuff. You know, I hope Obama wins just because, you know, the country needs it. The country needs a change. We kind of seen what this whole McCain thing is. And I'll go with the guy with one house. The guy with one house is scared about losing his house.

KING: I never thought of it that way.

ROCK: It is that simple.

KING: Yes. We'll be right back with Chris Rock. The HBO special airs Saturday. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROCK: I'm glad Hillary's out of this finally. Hillary got the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out. She was hanging out for a long time. She would not leave this. Just hanging out, like what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you still doing here. Would not leave. Nice girls like to leave the club before the lights come on. Hillary was holding out in the parking lot, like where are you all going? What's going on?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's from "Kill the Messenger." Good title. We have an e-mail question from Anton -- I like that name -- in Los Angeles: "Chris, do you think Bill Clinton has irreparably damaged his relationship with the black community? Do you think black Americans will ever forgive him for using the race card in the Pennsylvania primary?"

ROCK: OK. First of all, Bill Clinton's not a racist. Bill Clinton -- I've hung out with Bill Clinton. I've flown on planes with Bill Clinton. He calls me up when my kids are born and sends letters. His wife was running for president. If you give me a choice between pissing off a whole race of people or my wife, hey, I got to piss off a race of people. Sorry, blackies. Go eat some chicken. I got to go.

So he had no choice. I'm not mad at him at all. Right, Larry? You've been married 12 times, right? Come on.

KING: You'll never be back. It's interesting. An e-mail question from Sheila in San Antonio, Texas: "Chris, do you think Bill Clinton's support will actually help Obama? Or should he step back and let Hillary do most of the campaign stumping?"

ROCK: I think Bill Clinton's support, especially if he's really supportive, will definitely help. Bill Clinton's our last great president. Let me get back to it. You know why Bill Clinton was the last great president? Because he was the last president we had that wasn't a multi-millionaire coming in to the office. He made decisions like a normal person. And normal people benefited because of it. John McCain's worth 100 million dollars. Barack Obama is the closest thing to a normal citizen in this election.

KING: Are you saying that George W. Bush was not normal?

ROCK: George W. Bush's father is a freaking president of the United States. He shouldn't have been allowed to run.

KING: You can't run if your father --

ROCK: Yes, the presidency of the United States should be run like a radio station give away. If anybody from your family works for the radio station, you can't win the prize.

KING: OK, that wipes out John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

ROCK: Yes, yes, yes. It is not fair. Arnold Schwarzenegger shouldn't have been able to run against a citizen. So there's some guy running against the Terminator. Come on. It is not fair. Nobody cares about the normal guy. I do. Watch my special.

KING: Sarah Palin has been in New York this week, doing meet and greets with a number of world leaders. Let's watch her with the new president of Pakistan and then get your thoughts. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: How are you? So nice to meet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So nice to you.

PALIN: I am honored to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are more gorgeous in life --

PALIN: You are so nice. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you. If you keeps insisting, I might have.

PALIN: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: He called her gorgeous, the president of Pakistan.

ROCK: Of course he did. Pretty bad -- I thought Al Davis made the choice, that's how bad it was. I don't know. I don't know if she's -- she's done three interviews and she's running for vice president of the United States? Jason Lee's done more interviews promoting, you know, "My Name is Earl" than she has to run for -- I did more interviews today than she has to run for vice president of the United States.

And every time they let her talk for more than four minutes, you actually start feeling sorry for her. It's kind of like Kim Kardashian or "Dancing With the Stars." All that ass and can't shake it. Just like -- what? So sad. KING: We'll be right back with Chris Rock and hopefully get him to be forthcoming on some things. Right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Congressman Alcee Hastings of Florida, I knew a long time ago when I lived there, who is both black and a Democrat, is warning against Palin because he says, quote, anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. That a little rough?

ROCK: Who is this guy?

KING: Alcee Hastings.

ROCK: I never heard of him.

KING: He was a judge. He was indicted.

ROCK: Don't compare me to a moose.

KING: No. He was not --

ROCK: Are you calling me a moose?

KING: No, I'm not calling you a moose. That's what he said.

ROCK: Who is this guy?

KING: He's a Congressman.

ROCK: Are you making news or reporting the news? Let's find the craziest black quote we can find --

KING: OK.

ROCK: And just --

KING: What he is trying to say is that a woman who --

ROCK: Who compares -- what the hell do I have to do with a moose, Larry?

KING: He says that any woman who totes guns and strips moose, that's her --

ROCK: Right.

KING: Can't care too much about Jews and blacks.

ROCK: Larry, what the hell does this have to do -- mooses (sic) or moose. I don't know.

KING: Mooses (sic)?

ROCK: I don't know. I didn't go to a fancy school, man. But -- yes. She does kill moose. She does kill them.

KING: Yes.

ROCK: Yes, I know.

KING: Do you know anybody in your community who kills moose? That's the point.

ROCK: Every time I see her with a dead moose, I'm like why is Michael Vick in jail? Isn't killing animals bad?

KING: You have a point.

ROCK: I don't know. I don't know. Maybe I'm crazy.

KING: Your new HBO special, "Kill the Messenger," puts together performances you did in South Africa, London and New York. Let's watch a sample.

ROCK: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROCK: What happened to bin Laden? They used to talk about him all the time. Now, they don't even mention no bin Laden. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorists, but I don't believe bin Laden really existed. I don't believe it. A seven-foot diabetic Muslim lives in a cave like Dr. Evil. There's no electricity, yet his camcorder's fully charged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROCK: Yes.

KING: I gather you write all your own material.

ROCK: I write my jokes. Bin Laden did more movies last year than Sam Jackson. I think he is in Lake View Terrace, if I'm not mistaken. I better -- that's bin Laden.

KING: Maybe we'll catch him.

ROCK: Maybe we'll catch him.

KING: I think I just said that. OK.

ROCK: Yes.

KING: By the way, the famous "New Yorker" cover --

ROCK: Which one?

KING: Oh, you know. The one that had -- there it is.

ROCK: There it is. Are you trying to get reactions from me? KING: No, no, no. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are featured in the new "Entertainment Weekly" and they recreate the notorious "New Yorker" cover with an illustration of their own. Will people get the joke?

ROCK: People will get the joke. It's --

KING: Do you think the cover was in poor taste?

ROCK: It wasn't my favorite cover. Hey, there's a lot of mistakes going on here. This is the first time we had a black guy run for president. And, you know, any firsts, there's going to be bumps. You know? People calling me up, we want you to host the first blankety blank award show. I don't do first anything. Think of first everything you had. You messed up you first bike, your first car, your first girlfriend, wife, whatever. Everything first you mess up.

KING: All firsts?

ROCK: All firsts, yes. So in this campaign, there's a lot of bumps in the road here. But, you know, luckily Mr. Obama is like a class act. And he kind of -- he just brushes all this stuff off his shoulders and just keeps going. Every time you think he's down, hey, hey, don't worry about it.

KING: Do you fear there will be a vote against him just because he's black?

ROCK: I don't fear it. You know? One thing -- here's the crazy thing. You know, you hope it doesn't happen and what I really hope is that the Democrats that are for -- especially the ones for Hillary, vote for Obama, because -- and don't make this a racial thing, because black people have supported the Democratic party --

KING: Long time.

ROCK: -- for a long time. And we have voted for white people without blinking an eye, and we have gone down in flames with white people. Just look at Katrina. Here's a perfect example of black people going down in flames supporting the Democrats. If 30 percent of black people in New Orleans supported Bush, maybe they would have -- maybe Bush would have helped us out. Maybe Bush would have made a call. Hey, take care of my Louisiana blackies or something. But we keep all of our eggs in one basket. So I just hope that at least the Democrats are mature enough and get over whatever's bugging them to support a fellow Democrat.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Chris Rock right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Chris Rock. Tell us what will happen if Obama wins. Give us the first day.

ROCK: You're asking me? Like -- are you asking me because I'm black or are you just asking me? I don't know. I'm sure he'll check to see if we really have UFOs. That's what I would do.

KING: That's the first thing.

ROCK: That's the first thing I would do.

KING: Nothing to do with black.

ROCK: I'm like, OK. That was --

KING: Will the menu change?

ROCK: I don't know. I don't know. You know? He seems like a pretty conservative-type of guy. I'm sure he'll want to know what's going on. I'm sure he'll call some world leaders. I'm sure he'll conceive building his cabinet. You know, normal presidential things. You know, it's -- you know, he's a man first and then he's a black man. You know, it is not like it is going to be radically different than the first day of any one of these candidates. But it's the second and third and first week and the first month that's really going to tell the difference of who's the president.

KING: You like his wife?

ROCK: I love his wife. Lovely woman.

KING: Terrific, smart.

ROCK: He is -- they're all -- McCain's smart and, you know, Palin's smart and Obama's smart and Michelle. They have different policies and different politics. And you can run with the rich people or you can run with the not so rich people. And America -- America's broke right now and nobody understands broke better than black people.

KING: We're almost out of town. Aren't you rich?

ROCK: I'm doing pretty good. I mean, you know, if you woke up with my money, you'd jump out the window. But I'm doing quite all right.

KING: Don't forget, the special airs Saturday night on HBO. And before we go, a quick reminder, check out all the latest on our webpage at CNN.com/LarryKing. You can e-mail upcoming guests, download our latest podcast. You can even get a special King of Politics section, too. All at CNN.com/LarryKing. Right now, it's time for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?

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