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Powell Endorses Obama

Aired October 20, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, 15 days to go -- a bomb drops. Colin Powell rejects the Republicans.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.


KING: They respond with a blast of their own.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now is no time to experiment with socialism.


KING: Tom Brokaw and Bob Schieffer tell us what it all means.

Plus, Obama and Clinton together again.

Can they seal the deal in Florida?

And Sarah Palin sizzles.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: You are way hotter in person.


KING: Or fizzles.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. And I must say, your brother Stephen is my favorite Baldwin brother.


KING: Stephen is here on the Tina Fey effect.

And Maria Shriver -- married to a high profile Republican, but supporting the Democrats. Wonder what this powerful woman thinks about this one.

It's all right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We begin with breaking news tonight concerning presidential candidate Barack Obama. Thursday afternoon, Senator Obama will head to Hawaii to see his grandmother, who is seriously ill. She was released from the hospital last week and is now resting at home. He'll return to campaigning on Saturday. Obama's Thursday events in Wisconsin and Iowa have been canceled.

Right now, by the way, Sarah Palin is at a live event in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Let's listen in.

PALIN: None of the rest of us have been able to do. He got our opponent to finally state his intentions in plain language. So if you ask me, that makes Joe the real winner of last week's presidential debate.

KING: We now welcome to LARRY KING LIVE in New York, Tom Brokaw, the moderator of NBC News "Meet The Press," special correspondent for NBC, moderator of the October 7th town hall and has a best-selling book called "Boom: Talking About the '60s," now in trade paperback. There you see its cover.

And in Washington, Bob Schieffer, anchor and moderator of CBS News "Face The Nation." He was moderator of the October 15th presidential debate -- a best-selling author, too. His latest book is "Bob Schieffer's America" and there you see its cover.

Retired General Colin Powell, the former secretary of state under George Bush, endorsed Barack Obama yesterday on "Meet The Press."

Let's take a look and get the comments from the gentlemen.


POWELL: Because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities -- and you have to take that into account -- as well as his substance -- he has both style and substance. He has met the standard of being a successful president -- being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world -- onto the world stage, onto the American stage. And for that reason, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.


KING: Tom, did you expect that?

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I did. I didn't know exactly how he would say it. But I've been talking to Colin Powell for several months now. And about two weeks ago, we had another conversation, in which I said if you get ready to do something, I have a place for you to do it, which is on "Meet The Press."

And he had said at the time that he wanted to wait until all of the debates were over. So about Wednesday of last week, I sent him a note saying Sunday morning, "Meet The Press" in Washington, D.C. , we have a place for you.

We talked and he said I'll be there. I would rather you not publicize this in advance very much, because I don't want to besieged.

He didn't tip his hand, however, but all the indications were that he was going to endorse Barack Obama.

In the midst of that long windup to what he had to say, which many people found very powerful and very eloquent -- even Republicans, by the way -- I didn't know whether, at the end of it, he would say I'm going to vote for Barack Obama or whether he would say, so I do believe that he's qualified to be president. I was prepared to try to pull it out of him, but he volunteered it on his own.

KING: Now, Bob, in the Sunday morning business, that was called a great get, right?

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I would think that would be a scoop all the way. I mean, when I heard about mid-week -- or whenever we heard that Colin Powell was going to be on "Meet The Press," my comment was oh, rats, because I knew what was coming.


SCHIEFFER: And I knew old Brokaw had slipped one past me. We'd been trying to get Colin Powell, too. And we'd been talking to him. He chose to do it on "Meet The Press."

And I was listening and I heard it. And I must say, I was not surprised. I figured at this point in the campaign, that Colin Powell was going to endorse somebody, and otherwise he wouldn't have gone on television.

So this is one I just have to tip my hat and try to scoop Brokaw next Sunday. But he got me last Sunday, that's for sure.

KING: Tom, we thought you were retired.

BROKAW: Well, the fact is that retired was always the wrong word. I was going to shift into a lower gear, but I managed to miss that and slip into a higher gear. And, of course, the loss of our great friend, Tim Russert, changed circumstances for me.

KING: Yes.

BROKAW: I had to step into "Meet The Press." I wanted to be able to carry on in his great tradition and do it for NBC News. I was always going to have a role in our political coverage. This gives me a fixed place to go every Sunday morning. I must say, I've enjoyed it a lot. But it's not going to go on forever. After the election, I'll begin to step down again.


KING: And Bob is happy to hear that.


SCHIEFFER: I was going to say good, Tom.

Is there anything we can do to help you there?


BROKAW: You know, Larry, Bob...

KING: Scoot it along.

BROKAW: Bob and I have been at this for a long, long time. We're great friends. We were White House correspondents together during the Ford administration. And he's gotten me as often as I've gotten him. So if you look at the long scoreboard, I think it's probably a tie game at this point. And we're prepared to go into our sunset years and call it in an overtime.

KING: Bob, what does the endorsement -- Bob, what do you think the endorsement means?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I'm not sure, you know, endorsements are ever game changers, Larry. But things have begun to break, it seems to me, Barack Obama's way in the last couple of weeks. I think this adds to the momentum. I think this is -- this was a very important thing.

I think, when you stop and think about it, what Colin Powell did on Sunday was he said aloud what I have heard a lot of Republicans tell me privately. He expressed their frustrations. He said that he thought that the selection of Sarah Palin probably reflected on John McCain's judgment and he kind of put it all out there on the table. And now people can chew over it and talk about it. But it's out in the open now.

And I don't know how many votes he changed, but I think he -- I think this certainly did not hurt Barack Obama, I would say that at the very least.

KING: We'll be right back with Bob Schieffer and Tom Brokaw, two of the best in the business.

Be part of this show, by the way. Go to our blog at right now and tell us what you're thinking and what you'd like to ask our guests. We hear you.

More with Brokaw and Schieffer. As we go to break, here's Sarah Palin again in Colorado.

PALIN: ...side of the people.


PALIN: We're going to confront the $10 trillion debt that the federal government has run up -- $10 trillion that people expect us to pass on to the next generation of Americans. That's not right. That's not fair. It will not happen on our watch. We will balance the federal budget by the end of our first term.



KING: We're back.

A recap of tonight's breaking election news. Thursday afternoon, Senator Obama will head to Hawaii to see his grandmother, who is seriously ill. She was released from the hospital last week and is now resting at home. Michelle Obama will fill in for Barack on Friday at previously scheduled events. He returns to campaigning on Saturday. His Thursday events in Wisconsin and Hawaii and Iowa have been canceled.

All right, gentlemen, did race play a role in Powell's endorsement?

He addressed the issue Sunday. Some conservatives, including Rush Limbaugh, have a different take.



BROKAW: There will be some who will say this is an African- American, a distinguished American, supporting another African- American because of race.

POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president.



RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Now back to General Powell, I just want to button this up, because the drive-bys had a tizzy over my allegation that his nomination was about race. It -- well, let me say it louder and let me say it even more plainly. It was totally about race. The Powell nomination, or endorsement, total -- totally about race.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Does that mean, Tom, that Limbaugh's endorsement of McCain was because he was white?

BROKAW: No. I don't want to go there. But what I would say is that Rush Limbaugh is going to match his credibility up against Barack Obama and a lot of people would like to have money in that pool.

If he didn't listen carefully to what Colin Powell had to say as he ticked off the many reasons that he was supporting Barack Obama and his concern about what's happening to the Republican Party, in which he has always been a stalwart member -- we even played some of the tapes from the 2000 convention, in which Colin Powell said that President Bush and Vice President Cheney would heal the racial divide in this country.

Was race an element?

It could have been in some small fashion. But I think anyone who has watched Colin Powell over the years and talked to him about his concerns or heard him at conferences or heard him speak knows that there are so many issues out there that he thinks that need to be addressed. And he feels that they're not being addressed adequately on the Republican side in this campaign.

KING: I want to move to other areas.

Bob Schieffer, by the way, do you think this illness of his grandmother will have any effect on the Obama campaign having to cancel a couple of dates?

SCHIEFFER: Well, I think, in this case, Barack Obama was very close to his grandmother. I think she was the central figure in his life. And I'm sure this is going to have an effect on him, obviously, the fact that he's going all the way out there. I mean I think this is just one of those personal matters and he wants to go out and see his grandma.

KING: Yes.

SCHIEFFER: And more power to him. I hope he has time to get out there and visit with her.

KING: We have an e-mail from Sabrina in Toronto for both of you: "If you could go back, what would you do differently in the debates you moderated? What changes would you most like to see in debate formats?"

First, Tom.

BROKAW: Well, I think that Bob and I both agree -- and we've talked about this -- that everyone is in charge or no one is in charge of these debates. The Debate Commission does a heroic job of organizing them and arranging for the broadcast and selecting a venue, but they really don't really have leverage on the campaigns. The campaigns have a say in what the rules are going to be. And then, as you so often see, they walk all over those rules or walk away from them.

I'd like to open it up to two hours and have it much more of a free-wheeling discussion and probably expand the panel. Bob and I were both involved in these debates when it was more than just one moderator. I think this is the last time that you'll see three white males who are eligible for Social Security as a moderator of these debates in the future.


KING: Bob?

SCHIEFFER: Well, Tom, of course...

KING: You have the best deal, though, didn't you, they were seated next to you?

SCHIEFFER: Yes. And I think that's the way to do it. I would just say that Tom is a lot -- a lot older than I am.


SCHIEFFER: He's been on Social Security a lot longer than I have. Not really. Not really at all. I thought, Larry, absolutely. I thought that I had the best deal, and that was to have them both seated at a table. It just made -- it gave it a more business like atmosphere, I think.

I would have loved to have seen more time. I would have liked to have extended the periods for discussion that we had. What we had in the debate that I moderated, we divided that 90 minutes into nine nine-minute segments. I hoped to get in nine segments. We wound up doing eight segments.

There are a couple of things I wish we could have gotten to. Immigration was next on the list. We never were able to talk about Social Security. But, you know, we had no trouble filling up the time.

But I think it is key to make sure that they're seated at one place. And I don't know why that both of the candidates resisted that format in the beginning. I think the Debate Commission would have liked to have that format in the beginning. But they wanted one of them to be at a podium. They wanted another to be, you know, this town hall session, like Tom moderated.

But you have to take up so much time in those formats, you know, giving people a chance to ask the question, that you don't have time to really get beyond just their first answer.

So I would favor a format similar to the one that we had in that last debate. I thought it worked pretty well.

KING: Me, too.

We look forward to having you both on after the election for a lot of analysis and a lot more time with us. Tom Brokaw, Bob Schieffer, thanks a ton.

SCHIEFFER: It was great being here, Larry.

KING: Thank you.

BROKAW: Larry, it's always a pleasure.

Thanks very much.

KING: My pleasure.

It's Monday. We're still talking about Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live."

Back in 60 seconds.


KING: "Saturday Night Live" had another banner weekend, much of it due to Sarah Palin's appearance.

Let's take a look at the governor during Amy Poehler's Palin rap on "Weekend Update."


PALIN: And I've been thinking it over and I'm not going to do the piece that we rehearsed.


You're so good at it.

PALIN: Oh, I know. It was really fun, too. But my gut is telling me it might be a bad idea for the campaign.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you made the right decision not to do that.

PALIN: You betcha.


KING: A great country, isn't it?


KING: Sarah Palin's favorite Baldwin brother is here after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Joining us now, both in New York, Stephen Baldwin, actor, radio show host, born-again Christian supporting the McCain-Palin ticket. His first novel, by the way, "The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips," goes on sale next week.

And Nancy Giles, social commentator, actress, to the CBS News "Sunday Morning" program, a supporter of Barack Obama.

This is a reunion of sorts, by the way. Nancy had a supporting role on the TV series "China Beach."


KING: And Stephen did a guest shot on that show back in 1988.

Stephen, by the way, got a out mention from Sarah during her "Saturday Night Live" skit with his older brother Alec.



A. BALDWIN: You want, our Tina, to go out there and stand there with that horrible woman?

What do you have to say for yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alec, this is Governor Palin.

PALIN: Hi, there.

A. BALDWIN: I see. Forgive me, but I feel I must say this, you are way hotter in person.


PALIN: Oh, I thank you.

A. BALDWIN: I mean seriously. I mean I can't believe they let her, you know, play you.

PALIN: Oh, thank you. And I must say, your brother Stephen is my favorite Baldwin brother.

A. BALDWIN: Ah, ha. You are a delight.


KING: Did you watch that, Stephen?

STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: You know, I didn't get to see it live, but I -- obviously, my cell phone rang a whole bunch immediately after.

KING: Well, it was a nice compliment.

And you're supporting the ticket, so it's right there, right?

S. BALDWIN: Yes. I've got to tell you, Donald Trump gave himself the credit for "Celebrity Apprentice," kind of launching my career once again. And I must say, Governor Sarah Palin here has now put a little more jet fuel into it, because here I am with you, Larry.

KING: Nancy Giles, do you think it's smart for people like Sarah Palin and other notable figures to go on "Saturday Night Live?"

GILES: Well, you know what's funny, this time when I watched her I thought she was almost positioning herself beyond the McCain-Palin campaign. And I got the feeling she was almost like auditioning for a talk show or wanted to get like tape of herself. It was really odd, because what she did was she sort of stayed above the fray. And the jokes really revolved around her.

So I guess she showed a spirit of goodwill and that she can take a joke about herself. But she didn't really participate in anything.

And I've got to give a shout-out to, again, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Amy Poehler, you know, as pregnant as she is and as funny as she is, and the moose and the gunshots, I just found it like over the top hilarious.

KING: All right...

GILES: But I did feel like it was Sarah Palin almost as a media celebrity and not necessarily a politician, you know what I mean?

KING: Stephen, what did you make of her appearing?

S. BALDWIN: Well, I think it, obviously, again kudos to the "SNL" people. It was hilarious.

But, I mean, to see Sarah Palin kind of putting her hands up and pumping it up, I mean, obviously what it was about was her probably trying to step into an arena or an environment to show that she has a lighter side. I think that a lot of the youth in America -- the young voters are going to see her in a different light now.

I think that McCain-Palin are people that really don't sweat themselves and stress out too much about not being able to have fun. You know, I don't see Obama-Biden loosening up and having too much fun.

GILES: Well, I have to take issue with that, Stephen. But I have to really -- I have to make sure I say something as a black person. It was kind of painful to watch Sarah Palin, you know, put her hands up in the air. That just -- that kind of hurt...


GILES: You know what I mean?

That was -- that was kind of painful.

S. BALDWIN: Nancy, when I played Chuck Berry on "China Beach"...

GILES: I know.

S. BALDWIN: When I played Chuck Berry on "China Beach," you know -- you know, as a white...

GILES: We made it work. We made it work, Stephen. You are white, but that kind of hurt, too, I've got to tell you.

S. BALDWIN: That's not what you were saying back then, Nancy.


S. BALDWIN: You were saying I had moves.

GILES: Yes, I know.

Well, what can I say?

S. BALDWIN: What's up?

Don't be flip-flopping like Obama.

KING: All right. Well, "The New York Times" TV columnist, Alessandra Stanley, called Palin's performance "engaging, relaxed and delightful," but that "it was hard to tell if it was a bold political tactic or a show business audition."

GILES: Isn't that funny?

That's exactly what I thought, because -- because she seemed so out of it. And she seems completely at ease in front of the camera, which can be good or bad.

I mean, you know what's funny, Larry and Stephen, is a lot of how she came off to me on "SNL" are the same qualities that McCain and Palin were attacking Barack Obama for having. I mean she really does seem like a celebrity. And it did undercut the gravitas of is she really ready to be one heartbeat away from the presidency.

KING: All right, we're going to take a break and come back with Stephen Baldwin and Nancy Giles.

We'll also be joined by Hugh Hewitt and Stephanie Miller, two of the better talk show hosts around. And we'll continue this conversation about Sarah Palin and other things, right after this.


KING: Stephen Baldwin and Nancy Giles remain.

Joining us is in Irvine, California is Hugh Hewitt, talk radio talk host on the Salem Radio Network, executive editor and a supporter of Barack Obama.

And here in Los Angeles, Stephanie Miller, host of her own program, "The Stephanie Miller Show," a supporter of Barack Obama.

Hugh, what do you think of the impact of this whole thing -- comedy thing is -- the Bill Mahers, Lettermans, "The Daily Show," "Saturday Night Live?"

Have an effect?

HUGH HEWITT, HOST, "HUGH HEWITT SHOW," SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Oh, it helps to be relaxed in front of the American people. John McCain had a great night at the Al Smith Dinner. Sarah Palin had a great night on Saturday night. And I think that Senator Obama is playing it to prevent defense and it's sad that he has to go to Hawaii now to be with his grandmother. Our prayers for her recovery.

But I think it's good to be out there in every setting, both serious and relaxed, and proving that you can connect with people. And she did, as she has with the Republican base, again and again.

So a great weekend for McCain-Palin. And I think what you see in the polls, with one exception, is a closing of this race, as Americans tune in and they like what they see. All four of the candidates are good people and I think that Sarah Palin helped reinforce her relaxed nature on the weekend.

KING: Stephanie, what do you make of comedy --

MILLER: Wow. As usual with Hugh, that is completely the opposite I think of what's true, Hugh, with all due respect. I think Sarah Palin clearly didn't get that they were laughing at her on "Saturday Night Live." Clearly, Tina Fey didn't want to be in the same sketch with her. You know when the stuffed moose gets shot that's the biggest laugh line, something has gone wrong.

The polls are all heading in Barack Obama's favor, and I think once you become a punch line, Larry, on late night television, you're done, and Sarah Palin is done.

KING: Stephen, do you feel your candidate is way behind?

BALDWIN: Obviously not. I just find that last statement about truth to be very interesting, when Joe Biden, with his own mouth, said it was, in fact, John McCain not too long ago that would make a better president than Barack Obama. So I just think when it comes to truth that's an interesting statement.

KING: That wasn't the question.

BALDWIN: I'm sorry. What was the question?

KING: The question is do you think your candidate is far behind?

BALDWIN: No, I don't think he's far behind at all.

KING: Do you think it's a close race?

BALDWIN: It's going to be a very close race. And if you look historically at situations like this, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised with the underdog.

KING: Nancy, what do you think?

GILES: I don't think it's a close race. I look at it the same way that Barack Obama does. I mean, nobody wants to get a little too excited and ready to say it's over now, because the minute that happens that means voters don't go and people feel like it's a lock and they stay home. One of the things that's really confusing is all the polling data out there, it has to do with what voters are saying and what they're thinking. It's not as much what states might be going one way or the other. I think people who just kind of look at polling data in a relaxed fashion might go, oh, Obama is clearly ahead. We don't have to go. Not realizing it's not the popular vote but it's the, you know -- oh, gosh, I'm blanking. You know, the electoral college.

KING: Fifty one states.

GILES: Exactly. Exactly. So I don't think it's close, but I will feel calmer once all the votes are counted and counted properly.

KING: Hugh, how do you feel?

HEWITT: Well, today the Rasmussen poll, which I think is the best, was four points, trending in McCain's direction. Over the weekend Zogby/Reuters was 2.7. That ticked in Obama's favor today, up a point. But I think if you look at all of them in the aggregation of the polls -- Stephanie, you should check some facts once in a while -- it's down to five points. And it's moving in the right direction over the next two weeks.


KING: Let him finish.

HEWITT: All I say is just look at the facts and the facts show a trend toward McCain-Palin. And, in fact, Joe Biden over this weekend made a statement in Seattle that within six months, if Obama is president, he'll be tested by foreign enemies of the United States. I want to thank Senator Biden for focusing again on the most important issue, which was we have a looming confrontation with Iran and we have a great opportunity to select a commander in chief. And I think that's going to help McCain in the closing sprint.

BALDWIN: Absolutely.

GILES: I don't.

KING: Stephanie?

MILLER: You know, Hugh, I'm not sure which polls you're looking at, but they're all moving, the electoral map, the state by state, the national polls, are all -- Gallup is up to 11 points today. So there is something happening that reflects what Colin Powell said this weekend.

KING: The question is what blue states of four years ago, what blue states will McCain win?

HEWITT: New Hampshire is probably his best chance to win a blue state but the fact is --

KING: What red states will Obama win?

HEWITT: Obama is ahead pretty significantly in New Mexico right now and Iowa. But if, in fact, Obama takes New Mexico and Iowa and McCain takes New Hampshire and holds the red states, McCain is the next president. This is the analysis that most of the professionals are focused on. And again, Stephanie, it's spelled Go look at it. It's four points today.

MILLER: OK. Well, Gallup is 11 points. But I think we see what the trend is. As McCain says he's got Obama right where he wants him. So good luck to him.

GILES: I'd also like to add that I think by the emotion and the tenor of the McCain campaign, you can tell they feel like they're the underdog because literally, this is the beyond kitchen sink. This is the refrigerator contents that are being thrown Barack Obama's way.

KING: I have to take a break. We'll come break. When we come right back, we'll look at Sarah Palin's role in this campaign. And can we expect the nastiness to increase in the last two weeks? After the break.


KING: By the way, I want to remind you again, Stephen Baldwin's forthcoming book, his first novel, is "The Death and Life of Gabriel Phillips." It goes on sale next week. There you see its cover. Stephen, do you expect this campaign to get nastier?

BALDWIN: Well, I certainly hope not, Larry. And kudos to Hugh over there. Hugh, a little shot out for my friend Kevin McCullom (ph), my new partner in my radio show. I'm sure you remember him.

HEWITT: You bet.

BALDWIN: I hope it doesn't, Larry. I think that all of this phenomenon and hype and sensationalism has gotten pretty crazy. What's more important, obviously, than anything else is that the American people know who these people are that are running for president, and what their policies are.

KING: They certainly know them by now, don't they?

BALDWIN: Not really. I don't think that the American public is as aware of the history of Barack Obama and what his views and points of views have been and his policy. And it's kind of scary. Recently, I hate to quote Howard Stern, but he went up and did a goofy thing in Harlem and interviewed some people that were voting for Barack Obama and used all of John McCain's policies and points of views, and then even said what do you think Barack Obama is going to do in the White House with his Vice President Sarah Palin. And most of them were like, I think he's going to be great with her.

So it's kind of scary, actually, the number of people that are out there who are uneducated about really who Barack Obama is. It's going to be scary, Larry, if they just --

KING: Running out of time, Stephen.

MILLER: Thank you for this stuttering John poll. I think that's important. As you know, I'm here in Los Angeles, Larry, in one of the anti-American socialist pockets of the country. And I think people are sick of this divisiveness. I mean, I love that these guys -- our esteemed right wing friends are here, acting like we don't know where this rhetoric is coming from. The vice presidential candidate is calling Barack Obama a terrorist. John McCain is calling him a socialist. And you wonder why people are yelling terrorist and kill him and socialist at Barack Obama at rallies. This is not a mystery. This is a sad ending to John McCain's career.

KING: Let's watch this. Sarah Palin takes on the role of attack dog and Obama responds. Watch.


PALIN: So Obama calls it spreading the wealth. Joe Biden calls it patriotic. But Joe the Plumber said it sounded to him like socialism.

OBAMA: Lately he and Governor Palin actually accused me of socialism. Socialism. It's kind of hard to figure how Warren Buffet endorsed me, Colin Powell endorses me, and John McCain thinks I'm practicing socialism.


KING: Hugh, why would Warren Buffet endorse a socialist?

HEWITT: Well, Warren Buffet really doesn't care about a marginal tax rate anymore, Larry.

KING: Why would he endorse a socialist?

HEWITT: I don't think that Barack Obama is a socialist. I think he's endorsed extraordinarily high tax rates. And I think Sarah Palin said Joe the Plumber said it sounds like socialism. It's important to be accurate here. Here's what's going on. Barack Obama promised to take public financing and broke his promise. So he obviously has a credibility problem when it comes to how high he's going to raise taxes. What Joe the Plumber said, the reason this race turned on Wednesday of last week, as many people understand it to have turned, is that they are afraid in the middle of a recession, Barack Obama is going to raise taxes, and protectionism, which takes a short and shallow recession, turns it into a long and prolonged recession, and a deep one, and they're worried, Larry.

I think what Sarah Palin was saying on the stump, the reason she plays so well in Fort Collins, on the west slope, all across Colorado and places that Stephanie doesn't go and in places that the east and west --

MILLER: I do go. May I point out, Hugh, Joe the plumber is a John McCain voter who makes 40,000 dollars a year, who can't afford to buy the business that doesn't even make 250,000 dollars a year. And he would benefit under Barack Obama.

KING: We're out of time. Back in 60 seconds with Maria Shriver and the latest from the campaign trail.


KING: Now joining us, Maria Shriver, the first lady of California. She is hosting the Women's Conference 2008 this week. And their website, by the way, is She's a supporter of Barack Obama. A lot to cover with you, Maria. First, here are the candidates on the campaign trail today.


MCCAIN: In this country, we believe in spreading opportunity for those who need jobs and those who create them. And that's exactly what I intend to do as president of the United States. You know, my friend, the next president won't have time to get used to the office. We face many challenges here at home and many enemies abroad in this dangerous world. By the way, I'll bring our troops home with victory and with honor and not in defeat, not in defeat.

OBAMA: There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq, and there are patriots who opposed it, patriots who believed in a Democratic policies, and there are patriots who believe in Republican policies. The men and women from Florida and all across America who served on our battlefields, they may be Democrats or they may be Republicans or they may be independent, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag.

They have not served a red America or blue America. They served the United States of America. That's what we need to remember.


KING: By the way, we're still waiting for John McCain to keep his word to this show. Last month, he abruptly canceled an interview with me. The senator promised he'd rebook. He hasn't. And in July, before he named Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain made me this promise.


KING: In the history on this program that whenever the vice presidential nominee is announced, he or she appears on this show the next night. That's been going on for quite a while. We hope that Senator McCain follows that tradition, since I have the hunch he will not announce tonight who that candidate is, but how close are we?

MCCAIN: Well, I want to say that that vice presidential candidate will be on your show. I would not risk the wrath of Larry King. I want to assure you.


KING: Our invitations to John McCain and his running mate are on the table. We're hoping the senator will keep both his promises before election day. The first lady of California, Maria Shriver, joins us after this short break.


KING: Joining us, Maria Shriver, the first lady of California. We'll talk in a couple minutes about her women's conference. In explaining his endorsement, Colin Powell was critical of John McCain picking Sarah Palin as his vice president. On the day she was presented to the public, Palin invoked a Democratic woman to bolster the candidacy. Watch.


PALIN: It was rightly noted in Denver this week that Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling of America. But it turns out the women of America aren't finished yet. And we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.


Colin Powell used the Palin nomination as an example of why he is opposed. What do you make of this.

MARIA SHRIVER, FIRST LADY OF CALIFORNIA: I thought his statement was obviously very thoughtful, very careful, and he had done a lot of soul searching. I think this has been a year where people have done so much soul searching to come to the conclusions that they came to. Women, I think in particular, during the primary and now I think there's been much debate about Sarah Palin by women and by men. But I think, overall, it's been an extraordinary political career -- political year.

KING: Does Colin help a lot, do you think?

SHRIVER: I think he does. I think he's certainly well respected, and I certainly think he gets rid of that argument whether he's ready to lead or not.

KING: As a woman, what did you think of the Palin nomination?

SHRIVER: I wasn't surprised that John McCain picked a woman, but I thought it might be a different woman. I think it'll be up to men and women whether they think she is capable of being in the second most powerful position in the United States of America.

KING: Even though you're a liberal Democrat, is there some appeal to you having a woman on the ticket?

SHRIVER: Well, I think it's been, you know, interesting all year long to watch Hillary Clinton, who I think was extraordinary. And I think it's been very interesting to talk to other women about Sarah Palin. It's not a woman I would support, but I think it's good for women to have women out there, whether it's on the Republican ticket or the Democratic ticket.

KING: She plans, Sarah Palin, to work for families with special needs children, especially if elected. Given your family's connection to the Special Olympics, is that encouraging?

SHRIVER: Well, I think it would be great if she started by hiring somebody with special needs in the governor's office. That's something that Arnold did here in California. And we asked Governor Palin to hire somebody with an intellectual disability in the governor's office. That's something she hasn't done yet, and I think that would be a great place for her to start. People with special needs have a need to get employment. That's one of the big issues facing people with intellectual disabilities. We've asked her and I hope she would start as soon as tomorrow by hiring somebody with an intellectual disability in the governor's office.

KING: Do you think Senator Obama will win?

SHRIVER: I do. Absolutely, I do.

KING: Are you out campaigning for him?

SHRIVER: I haven't been. I was when he was here in California. If he asked me to join him, I'd be happy to. I think he'd be great not just for this country, but I think for the whole world and for America's standing in the world. I think he is a thoughtful man, a deeply reflective man, smart, inclusive. I think a lot of what Colin Powell said is what a lot of people believe. And I think he's hopeful. I looked at the picture of 100,000 people coming out for him in St. Louis the other day. And I just sat at my kitchen table and looked at that picture, and thought, I was so grateful to be alive to see that, and I'm so proud that I have a child who is going to vote for him in this election. I think it's an incredible thing to be able to witness.

KING: Do you argue with the governor about this race?

SHRIVER: Yes, I do.

KING: You do?

SHRIVER: Yes, I do. But I'm not going to tell you all about it.

KING: He is a Republican.

SHRIVER: He is a Republican. That is true, he is.

KING: But his state likely will not go Republican?

SHRIVER: I don't think so. I think that's why you haven't seen a lot of campaigning here in California. I think, you know, this is -- I used to worry that my children would be confused by having two different positions in one house. I now think it's a good thing. I think it's important to learn how to respectfully disagree with someone of a different political opinion, because half the country is Republican and half the country is Democratic. Whoever wins will have to be the president of both parties. That is going to be a challenge for whoever wins.

KING: While we're into family, your Uncle Ted endorsed Obama back in January, spoke eloquently on his behalf at the Democratic convention. Here's a little bit of that. Watch.


SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. So with Barack Obama and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again, and the dream lives on.


KING: The lion of the Senate in rare form that night. Were you sorry he came though because doctors orders said don't?

SHRIVER: No. I was thrilled that he came. It was very important for him to be at that convention, and it's been very important for him to be supportive of Barack Obama. He also gave that a lot of thought. He went through a lot of soul searching and he believes in Barack Obama 100 percent. So I thought it was wonderful that he could come to that convention. I think it's wonderful that he's been able to see this outpouring of love that has come to him. He's a warrior and he's a marathoner.

KING: How's he doing?

SHRIVER: He's doing well. I talked to him yesterday. He called me. He's a wonderful, extraordinary human being.

KING: Amazing guy. Maria Shriver is our guest. We'll talk a little about the Women's Conference, which I may attend next year. Don't go away.



SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: You know, Florida, we are 15 days from the finish line. And we cannot falter. We cannot stop. We cannot take a single vote for granted. Now is the time to hit the streets and make those calls and convince every undecided family member or neighbor or those friends of yours, tell them Hillary sent you to vote for Barack Obama!


KING: That was a little earlier in Florida. Do you think the tone of this campaign has been poor? SHRIVER: I think every time we come to the end of a presidential campaign, I find people say that. Having been involved in more than a few, they've all felt really tough that I've been involved with. They felt ugly and they felt personal. They're really challenging. I don't see this as being something that's unusual.

KING: This week, you're hosting the 2008 Women's Conference. Some 14,000 women are expected to attend. What is this about, the power of we?

SHRIVER: It's about empowering women from all walks of life. It's about uniting women who have made different choices in their life and telling them, really, that they're the ones they've looking for. I often quote this Hokie poem that say, we're the ones we've been waiting for. And I try to encourage women that they can be architects of change in their own live, their own communities, their state, their country and the world. It's about inspiring them, educating them, giving them the knowledge they might need to go out and become leaders.

KING: How long have you been doing this on?

SHRIVER: I've been doing it since I became first lady, which is now five years.

KING: You also present Minerva Award. This is the fifth year you're going to do that. What does that mean?

SHRIVER: Minerva is the goddess that's on the state seal of California.

KING: I didn't know that.

SHRIVER: You didn't know that. That's her name. You know the woman with the helmet on. She's often depicted with her helmet on as a warrior and also without her helmet on. She's the goddess of justice and wisdom, and I thought she depicts what women are in everyday life. Sometimes they're warriors. Sometimes they're about peace and justice and compassion.

KING: Who is getting an award?

SHRIVER: Gloria Steinam is getting an award. Billie Jean King is getting an award. Louis Hay (ph) is getting an award. A woman named Betty Chin, who decided to feed the homeless, person by person, in her community and a woman named Eva Louis Markowitz (ph) is also getting one, who works with foster children and juveniles here in Los Angeles. And we try to give the awards to women who are really serving on what I call the front lines of humanity, 24/7. We do films about them. And we go out and find really inspirational women who weren't born famous, but who decided to become leaders, architects of change.

KING: I salute you. Do you think we'll see a woman elected president? SHRIVER: Yes, I do. Obviously not this time. I think certainly in my lifetime -- I hope in my lifetime. The great thing is young women today just think that's an obvious. They think it's completely possible for a women to run and to win. I think we owe so many women, including Hillary Clinton and many others, a debt of gratitude for that.

KING: Thank you.

SHRIVER: Thank you, nice to see you, Larry.

KING: Maria Shrive, the first lady of California. Some sad news here at CNN, the legendary Bill Headline, our former D.C. bureau chief died today. He spent decades at CBS before signing on to help lead Cable News Network. Many of the people he hired are still members of the CNN team. Bill Headline, he had the perfect last name for a business he loved and excelled. Our thoughts are with his wife Kate and the entire Headline family.

Blog with us, Tell us what you're thinking as the show airs. We'll do it again tomorrow with the latest political news of the day. The election is two weeks away. Get in on the action. Check out Maria Shriver's commentary on the importance of uniting women. Just go to Michael Moore is going to be here Thursday. Now Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?