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Reaction to Barack Obama's Victory

Aired November 5, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, America elects its first black president. The hopes and hearts of millions are now tied to one man.
Barack Obama's sweeping victory -- what does it mean for the United States and the world?

Michael Moore, Bill Maher, Magic Johnson, Martin Luther King III, Jesse Jackson and Pat Robertson are here right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

What a perfect guest to begin things on this post-election night. He's Bill Maher, the host of "Real Time with Bill Maher," seen Friday nights on HBO. And his film "Religilous" is out in theaters. He comes to us from his own studios, close to ours.

Were you ever -- I don't want to use the word scared -- were you ever worried last night?


What happened?


KING: Yes, I was. I was watching your network. And by the way, I really enjoyed you, Larry, the last, I don't know how many weeks, months. It's been so nice to be able to tune you in every night and see you talking politics and no Scott Peterson.

But I was worried early...

KING: Me, too.

MAHER: Yes, I know.

I was worried early on. And I think, you know, we all had this paranoid feeling like we're Charlie Brown and they're going to snatch the football away again. So, you know, until about when he won Pennsylvania, that's when it started to look pretty good for the people who were for him.

KING: What does this say to you?

What does this election say to you, Bill?

Has the country changed?

MAHER: The country has changed. I think it has changed less than the pundits are making it out to have changed. Of course, everyone wants to announce a sea change.

You know, if you look at the map, if you look at all the counties that are still red, especially in the South, you know, I mean basically Obama won by changing a few percentage points here, a few percentage points there. But he still lost white men by a pretty large margin. I think he lost white women.

KING: Yes.

MAHER: I think that the lesson of the election is that the old America that Sarah Palin was saying was the real America, the small town, "Joe the Plumber," white America, that's still out there. But the other America, the more diverse, liberal America, has edged it out. And maybe that's the real America now.

KING: Is Karl Rovism dead?

MAHER: Never. Negative campaigning, mudslinging, tearing people down -- that will always be in vogue. McCain did make a classy speech last night. But, you know, they all make a classy speech when they lose.

What else can you do?

And it does ring a little less true when only a day before you're calling the guy a socialist, a communist, a terrorist, anti-Semitic, anti-American.

Oh, we lost?

He's a great guy. Forget what I said yesterday. Let's all get behind the guy I just said was a communist. Please.

KING: Did the McCain campaign -- I know you admired him in the past -- did it disappoint you?

MAHER: Terribly. I think it even disappointed the people who were voting for him. I sensed something in conservatives reacting to the election yesterday. Even the ones who voted for McCain, they sort of were relieved. I sensed that. It was like, yes, I guess I kind of had to pull the lever for McCain, but secretly a part of me knew that this country needed a breath of fresh air, needed a new kind of president, a new kind of politics, a new face, a smart guy, a flexible guy, a supple leader.

I think a lot of them were secretly happy that Obama won, if only because now they can just take pot shots at him. And believe me, the second Obama takes office, we will see what happened with Bill Clinton. We'll see Sean Hannity and his ilk making -- trying to make something out of nothing and de-legitimize this guy before he even gets started.

KING: But aren't they only appealing to those who already have built into the appeal?

Do you think that Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh changed the vote? MAHER: No, I think they lost the vote. I think by characterizing Obama the way they did, as some sort of demon -- you know, this who is Obama campaign. I mean this was after he had been a public figure on the national stage for two years, constantly on the front page of every paper, on the news every night.

Still who is Barack Obama -- you know, like he was some black man riding around in an old Chevy in a white neighborhood at midnight, this idea.

And it put people's minds to work -- oh, yes, who is he?

And then when they finally got to see Obama in the debates and they saw that he was reasonable and he had good things to say, I think it just completely discredited what characterization they had built up about Obama.

KING: Is Governor Palin the new star of the Republican Party?

MAHER: If they're not very bright, she is. I mean that's going to be the gut check for the Republicans, is what direction are they going to go in now? Now, I think politicians are usually led by the idea that they want to win elections. And Sarah Palin was a bit of an Alaskan albatross around John McCain's neck -- not that he would have won anyway.

But if they want to go in that direction that they have been going down with George Bush, the sort of -- I would call it the know nothing party approach, the person you want to have a beer with, the homespun person, and also that person who believes in the super patriotic, white America, the small towns -- that whole path that led them not to victory. She's the person for them if they want to ride that horse.

If they want to go back to the Republican Party I knew as a child, the party that was pro-business but was not necessarily anti- intellectual, they'll go in a different direction.

KING: Yes.

MAHER: But I don't know who's going to lead them there.

KING: You said you don't want President Bush meeting with anymore foreign leaders between now and the inauguration.


MAHER: Because I don't trust him. He's got 76 days left to pull off one more giant screw-up and I don't think it's beyond him. I mean, the man does have a track record, Larry.

KING: So let's be careful, is what you're saying?

Stay home.

MAHER: Well, you know, I mean the Bush administration -- it was in the paper this week and last week. They're not leaving quietly. They are pushing for deregulating.

Can you imagine at this moment, when we have supposedly learned our lesson about too much deregulation, they're pushing for more of it before they leave office in the economic sphere and environmentally. You know, I keep saying it, but I don't think this man will be happy until he leaves the White House smoldering behind him as he walks back to Texas.

KING: We'll have some more moments with Bill Maher right after this.



SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.


KING: Back with Bill Maher.

"Real Time With Bill Maher" airs Friday nights on HBO and "Religilous" is in theaters everywhere.

You recently issued one of your new rules decreeing that Obama must give comedians something to work with.

Any suggestions?

Of course, he isn't going to give you, I think, individually anything.

MAHER: No. It's very difficult. We have been spoiled, first with Bill Clinton and then George Bush. And here's a president now who -- he's not stupid. He's not angry. He's not a phony. He's not fat. He's not cheating on his wife.

Who needs a jerk like that around for the next four years?

Come on.


MAHER: But look, he's going to be the president and we're going to have to get over our nervousness about making fun of a black person. He's not a black person. He's the president.

And when we make a joke about him, we're not making a joke -- a racial joke or a joke about all black people, anymore than when we made a joke about President Bush, we were making a joke about all mentally challenged people.

(LAUGHTER) KING: So then you must want Governor Palin to stay around, comedically.

MAHER: And she -- I do and she will. I think what people did not understand about Governor Palin was that she campaigned for that job. She wanted it. She lobbied for it. She's a very ambitious person. And, of course, she's a super religious person. So she believes that God chose her for this job. I guess -- I guess God had a bad night yesterday, because she didn't get it.

But, you know, the lord works mysterious ways, as we know. So maybe he's saving her for next election or the next after that.

But she's only 44 years old.

KING: Right.

MAHER: I mean she could be on the public stage for the next 30 years. And she is ambitious and she does want it and she'll be there, yes.

KING: Are you -- what, if any -- what surprised you last night, if anything?

MAHER: I was surprised that he won Indiana and I think now North Carolina. I mean, when you win in places like that, that's very encouraging for America. I mean Virginia, the capital of the old Confederacy.

KING: Yes.

MAHER: I mean this is the place where Jefferson Davis said the Negro is only useful as a slave. That's pretty amazing.

I mean, you know me. I can be a little cynical about my country, because I love it and because I want it to improve. So there are not a lot of nights where I -- you know, I'm kind of choked up about the possibilities of this country.

But look, if last night didn't get to you, then you have no feelings at all. And it just showed that America can reboot. It can do something that, you know, a few years ago, we didn't think was possible.

I mean look at the absolute celebrations that are going on around the world today. People everywhere see America new in an instant. It's a whole new beginning for us. It is a new quarter for the pinball machine.

KING: How do you think he will, if anything, use Colin Powell?

MAHER: Well, that's a good question. I don't know. I mean, if he's smart, he'll use him somewhere...

KING: Yes.

MAHER: ...because there's a brilliant guy. And they have the same temperament.

KING: Yes, they do.

MAHER: You know, so even.

KING: Good point.

MAHER: You know, never -- Obama never gets too high, never gets too low. Nothing rattles this guy. President -- I wish he was my broker.


MAHER: And Colin Powell is really the same way.

KING: What about...

MAHER: I mean I think he'd -- you know, he -- I thought -- go ahead.

KING: Go ahead.

You thought he should what?

MAHER: Well, I mean I thought Colin Powell -- obviously he was much maligned for what he did as George Bush's secretary of State and as far as selling the war and holding up that little vial in front of the U.N.. And, in a way, he will never be able to live that down.

I always defended Colin Powell for that by saying you know what, it would have been an easier thing to resign at that moment. And I think what went on in Colin Powell's mind was if I resign, then only the nuts are left.


MAHER: Then there's nobody in that room making the case.

KING: Bill, we're out of...

MAHER: And it's just Cheney and Rumsfeld...

KING: We're out of time. A point well made.

Always great having you with us, next time sitting right there.

Bill Maher, the host of "Real Time With Bill Maher," Friday nights on HBO and "Religilous," the movie in theaters everywhere.

Thanks, Bill.

MAHER: Congratulations socialists.


KING: We'll be back in 60 seconds with Erving Magic Johnson. Don't go away.



OPRAH WINFREY: I have two words for you America -- Mr. President!

It feels like America did the right thing. It feels like there's a shift in consciousness. It feels like something really big and bold has happened here -- like nothing ever in our lifetimes did we expect this to happen.


KING: That was Oprah Winfrey last night.

By the way, she first announced her support of Barack Obama on this program some months ago.

We now welcome Magic Johnson to our parade of guests tonight, the basketball legend. He supported Barack Obama. He also campaigned against California's Proposition 8. That was the measure to ban same- sex marriages that, according to CNN -- and we have not called that race yet. Apparently it's a little -- there's some questions about the result.

What's your reaction to the Obama victory?

MAGIC JOHNSON: Oh, man. Last night I cried like a baby, Larry. It was a truly unbelievable night. And just to see America -- the real America that we all love, just forget color, forget race. And they just said you know what, that's the best candidate and we're going with him.

KING: Did you think in your lifetime you would see this?

JOHNSON: No. No. Not ever. I -- when he started his journey, I didn't think he had a chance to win. I really didn't. And when he defeated Hillary -- and to see the team that he put together, President-Elect Obama, that showed me then that the man was wise beyond his years, that this man is very intelligent, very smart, very capable. He put together the best political team possible, both young and old.

KING: And they never went off message.

JOHNSON: No, no.

KING: Did you -- didn't you support Hillary?

JOHNSON: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. And to see what he did against her was just truly amazing. His ground game and his door-to-door game was truly the most unbelievable political situation I've ever seen ever. And I'm sure other people agree. He is just a master at putting together the right people, motivating those people and then have them go out and work door-to-door for him.

KING: Would you want to go to work for him?

JOHNSON: I would want to go to work for him in the private sector, though, in urban America, not in the White House, I think.

KING: The Council on Physical Fitness?

JOHNSON: No. More on bringing jobs to the people and also helping them get those people get back in homes that lost their homes or are having trouble with that.

KING: Have you been in touch?

JOHNSON: No, not yet. You know, all the lines are busy. You just want to congratulate him on an unbelievable night for everybody, not just for African-Americans, but for the world. We saw the world celebrate this great election night for Barack Obama.

KING: Kevin Johnson, the former NBA All-Star, he's the now mayor of Sacramento.


KING: Charles Barkley is going to run for the governorship in Alabama.


KING: What about thou, thee?

JOHNSON: No, no. I want to help the mayors, the governors and the president make urban America better. And I campaigned for Kevin Johnson. I went up to Sacramento and I campaigned for him.

But I want to say something about President-Elect Obama. Here he is -- President Clinton is probably one of the smartest men I've ever met in my life. I think Obama has a chance to come up to that level. I've never seen somebody so disciplined, so under control.

And then, also, he has some great attributes. He's competitive. So you know when he takes over office, he's going to want to win and do the job to prove everybody wrong. And he's a winner at the same time, Larry. And he's in touch with the people. He has great common sense and great book sense. This man is just truly unbelievable.

KING: And apparently he's going to take the bowling alley out of the White House and put in a basketball court.

JOHNSON: And I want to play.


KING: Good. He's left-handed. He goes to his left.

JOHNSON: Tell him I... KING: Are you good at guarding that?

JOHNSON: No. I'm going to just throw him the ball and tell him to shoot. I stay at my position.


KING: Thank you, Magic.

JOHNSON: Good to see you.

KING: Magic Johnson, one of the best.

Michael Moore is next.

And if you want to join in the conversation about this historic election, stop by Click on our blog, answer our questions of the night. We'll share your thoughts later.

Don't go away.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": CNN can now project that Barack Obama, 47 years old, will become the president-elect of the United States.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Barack Obama will be the 44th president of the United States.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A seismic shift in American politics. You are looking at the 44th...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama is projected to be the next president of the United States.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ...has called the election for Barack Obama. He becomes the first African-American president of the United States.


KING: Joining us now from Traverse City, Michigan, a return visit with Michael Moore, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker. He offered his documentary "Slacker Uprising" about the 2004 election tour of college campuses free on the Internet. He campaigned for Obama.

Were you surprised at the size of this?

MICHAEL MOORE: No. It was pretty much what I was hoping for, what I thought it would be. I just -- I'm so elated, Larry. It's -- I've just been flying high all day.

KING: Does it bother your mind a little that it's not a middle- aged white man, but a black American that's going to be president?

MOORE: Does it bother me?

KING: Boggle you.

MOORE: Are you kidding?


MOORE: I mean I just...

KING: I mean boggle the mind.

MOORE: I don't know who's -- I don't know who could be bothered by this. I mean I was...

KING: I didn't say bothered...

MOORE: I mean I was personally.

KING: Michael, let's get it straight.


KING: I said boggle the mind -- B-O-G-G-L-E -- boggle.

MOORE: Oh, boggle the mind. Yes, that's because my mind is already boggled, Larry.


KING: Or bothered. Or something is the matter with it tonight.

MOORE: I come...

KING: That's OK.

MOORE: I come pre-boggled.

(LAUGHTER) MOORE: No, it -- well, of course it does. I mean, like Magic said, to think that this would happen in our lifetime. I don't think any of us thought that would ever happen. And the fact that it did, I was -- I went to vote yesterday morning. It was -- personally actually just very emotional to have the opportunity to mark my ballot for Barack Obama. It was really just a moment I'll never forget.

KING: What were your thoughts about his speech last night?

MOORE: You know, I think it was wonderful. You know, it's -- he's such a gracious individual. And I think we could all take a cue from him in terms of how we want to move the country forward now because, you know, he's just the perfect person to be there at this point, to really advocate for the things that we need.

And as your other guests said, and just to have a smart -- a smart president, where you know he's going to expect other people to be smart. And science is going to return to the United States. And, you know, the best minds are going to come together and help us with so many of these problems that we have. All of this is extremely hopeful.

KING: Were you...

MOORE: And I think that's why a lot of people are feeling good today.

KING: Were you ever worried, say, during the last few days that McCain might pull it out?

MOORE: Well, sure. I think nobody took it for granted this time. Everybody worked all day. I worked yesterday. I went to two different Obama headquarters here in Michigan and worked the phone banks. We also wanted to remove a couple of the Republican Congressmen from the state, which we did. So that was great. He won by a huge margin here -- a landslide in Michigan. And so we're all very, very proud of that.

KING: Bill Maher did not like the McCain campaign -- the way it was run.

What did you think of it?

MOORE: Well, disappointing. Just as a fellow American, I can't believe John McCain, after he has a few days to rest, is probably going to, you know, look back and say jeez, I wish I would have done a few things differently.

But, honestly I have to say, I don't think that McCain lost this election. And I don't think George Bush really lost it for him, either. I think this was won by Barack Obama. I think that because of all the positive things that Obama said and did, because he stayed on the high road. No matter what name was thrown at him, he wouldn't throw a name back at McCain or Governor Palin.

It was an amazing act -- a Christian act to see him respond to his opponent in a way that that did not go down into the mud that the other side was on.

So I thought that was really good.

KING: We'll have more with Michael Moore right after this.

And, by the way, T. Boone Pickens tomorrow night.

Don't go away.



OBAMA: If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.


KING: We're back with Michael Moore. Do you think he'll stick with his promise of getting out of Iraq pretty quickly?

MOORE: Oh, absolutely. I think, Larry, this was the first time that an avowed anti-war candidate for the presidency won the office during the time of war. This is an amazing first. And I think that he will definitely follow through. The American people are -- are going to be very happy to not only have their sons and daughters back to support and defend this country, but also to have that 10 billion dollars a month to go to the things that we need here in this country.

So the sooner the better. I'm sure he'll have a good plan and the troops will be home.

KING: You told our producer that you hope the Democrat majority doesn't treat the Republican minority the way the Republicans did and vice versa. What do you mean?

MOORE: Not just -- I don't mean in Congress. I just think in general that -- I mean, I'm a good example of -- I've been through eight years of this because I've been a vocal opponent of the Bush administration. And the sort of -- what they heap on you when you do that. It was -- it was fairly vicious, these eight years. And I'm not the only one that has gone through that.

But I was thinking last night when Obama won, you know, what we need to do is not treat Republicans the way we were treated when they won, that they're our fellow Americans. And they're going to benefit from all the things that we're going to do. We're not going to have universal health care just for the blue states. We're going to have that for everyone, all the Republicans included. So I think if we operate with that attitude, we'll be better as a country.

KING: What do you make of the apparent announcement that Rahm Emanuel, former Congressman from Illinois, is going to be the chief of staff? MOORE: I think it's -- I think it's great. Actually, he's already offered me a position in the administration. So, thank you. I have my choice between Interior or to be president Obama's personal trainer. So I'm deciding between the two right now, I guess.

KING: How do you think he's going to govern?

MOORE: He's going to do what he said he's going to do. And I think that especially people on the left, which, of course, I'm a part of that, need to remember that he presented himself as a person of consensus. And he's going to try to achieve that. But he -- my personal advice to him, if he's listening tonight -- hopefully he's getting some sleep -- but I would encourage him to hit the ground running in terms of what needs to be enacted, because we're not going to have much time here.

We're going to have a couple years. The Republicans aren't going to go away. The Republican party is going to come back. And so he needs to come in like FDR and really move forward on some very important programs: universal health care, a Manhattan project for energy, removing the troops from Iraq, and making sure that the rich pay for the mess that they created on Wall Street. Do not put that on the backs of middle-class people.

So I think if he just goes right in -- he's got to revisit the 840 billion dollar mistake that was made, the bailout, so called bailout, the robbery, actually. He needs to revisit that and make sure that they pay for mistakes they made, just like we all do. They have to do that for themselves. That's my hope and that people will support him. I think he's got a huge mandate, a big landslide here.

KING: We'll see.

MOORE: It's great for the world.

KING: We'll be calling on you a lot. Thanks, Michael Moore. By the way, if I said Rahm Emanuel is former Congressman, he's currently a Congressman from Illinois.

MOORE: They haven't thrown him out yet.

KING: Jesse Jackson will tell us all about his thoughts after this.



OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma and a preacher from Atlanta who told the people that 'we shall overcome.' Yes, we can.


KING: That was President-Elect Obama last night, telling us about a 106-year-old voter, the changes she has seen for African- Americans in her long life. Now joining us, civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, president of the Rainbow Push Coalition, who ran twice for the Democratic presidential nomination. The cameras caught you last night, Jesse. I guess we've seen it everywhere today, tears coming down your face. What were you thinking?

JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: You know, Larry, I was overcome with joy and with pain. I saw him standing there looking so majestic and so able, I saw people in the remote villages of Kenya and palaces in Europe and far away China, waiting for a word from him. All of this weight on his shoulder struck me as a powerful opportunity. Yet, I felt a sense of the burden that he surely must have.

But I felt, I must say, more than that was the price we paid to get there. I mean, the '54 Supreme Court decision, those judges came under tremendous attack, and so did the lawyers, life threats. The '55 bus boycotts, Dr. King's home bombed. Nine years of struggle for a Public Commissions Bill. Then the right, the right to vote. Can you imagine they got killed about trying to vote. (INAUDIBLE)

All the terror. Yet we've now torn down those walls. He's coming across that bridge. But those martyrs and the murdered martyrs really touched my heart in a very special way last night.

KING: What's your relationship with the president-elect?

JACKSON: It's a very warm one. I have such high regard for him. And let me say, I was privileged to vote for him really six times: As state senator twice, as U.S. senator twice, as president twice. And I tell you in that equation, the silent family is his wife, Michelle. You'll get to see more of her in time to come. She's poised. She's smart, deeply rooted in family and faith. He often says she is his backbone. That's not just a way of speaking. It's going to be an awesome couple with their children going to Washington. They're going to make all of us feel much better about ourselves and draw out of us our better angels.

KING: Congressman, John Lewis calls this election a non-violent revolution. Would you agree with that?

JACKSON: It is. And at a time when it's very dark, you see the stars more clearly. We're in a kind of crisis of distrust. We don't trust our president. His ratings are down around 25 percent. We don't trust the Congress. We think they've become complicit in the war and the collapsed economy. We don't trust Wall Street. We think its greedy and self-serving. We don't trust our trade policies. Losing 50,000 jobs a month.

Barack comes in with this huge mandates. He's trusted. He has the power to bring about coalition that resolves the economic crisis at home, and gets us out of Iraq in some graceful way. He also represents a kind of hope, in contrast to -- we see people crossing these lines of race and religion and region because he seems to embody within his body the sense of hope.

I think beyond that, a kind of redemption. For many Americans, going beyond the lines of historical race fears to race hope is redemptive for our country. Dr. King said his mission was to redeem the soul of America. Barack is in that line of redeeming the soul of our nation. We all feel better about it.

KING: The governor of Illinois now will have to appoint someone to the Senate to replace Obama until an election is held. And the general buzz is that your son, Jesse Jackson Jr., a Congressman, is high on that list. What do you hear?

JACKSON: Well, you know, I do not know what the governor will decide. I'm not going to get involved in that. And I approve that message. I'm sure Jesse does as well.

KING: You'd be proud, though. Did you ever believe, honestly, that you would see a black man elected in your lifetime president?

JACKSON: You know, Larry, I saw certain possibilities. Our nation is a work in progress. You think about August 28, 1955, Emmett Till killed and the killers were virtually allowed to go free. August 28, '63, Dr. King speaking in Washington about a dream, ending Apartheid, a sense that we could get it. We did get it next year. August 28, 2008, Barack Obama, President Barack Obama, speaking in Denver.

One sees America growing. Yesterday I saw -- in Mississippi, I might add, this year, when I saw whites voting for Barack, and men voting for Senator Clinton, you could see the two of them as conduits for a new, more mature, more civil America. Larry, I think it has a lot to do with these ball games. It's uniform color versus skin color. It's Mississippi playing Alabama. Alabama playing Georgetown. We've become more -- more hopeful and less fearful as a nation.

KING: Thank you, reverend. Reverend Jesse Jackson, we'll be calling on you a lot in the months ahead. We'll be back with your blog comments in 60 seconds.


KING: Thanks to all who've been blogging at our website, Let's check in with David Theall and get your thoughts.

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Larry, this is what we've been talking about tonight. The question of the day: "with President-Elect Barack Obama's historic election to the U.S. presidency, should affirmative action practices end?" We pulled a couple of quotes from the blog tonight to show you. Andrew says "affirmative action must continue because many employers," in his opinion, "still see color before they see experience and education."

George from Springfield, Massachusetts, also thinks affirmative action should continue. He says "it's not just for African- Americans," he says women also benefit from the program.

Jenny, on the other hand, says, yes, affirmative action should end. She give this is reason, Larry: "Barack Obama was raised poor, sought education, achieved success and is about to become the president of the United States of America." Says Jenny, "his story proves that success can be achieved with hard work and determination."

We will, of course, continue this conversation throughout the evening at When you go there, look for the live blog link. Click it. Come on in and join the conversation.

KING: Thanks. That's David Theall at the desk. Reverend Pat Robertson is next. Don't go away.


KING: Let's go to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Our old friend Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition of America, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network. what is your reaction to this historic event?

REV. PAT ROBERTSON, FOUNDER, CHRISTIAN COALITION: Larry, as you know, I ran for president. I must say, this is the most amazing campaign that I think we've seen in our life time or maybe in this century. Obama is absolutely brilliant. I would like to make a prediction. He can one of the great presidents of the United States if he doesn't get pulled too far off of center and gets over into some of the things the American people don't want. If he governs the way he said he is going to do, as I say, he has the smarts and the charisma to pull this nation together and be an outstanding president.

KING: Reverend, Sarah Palin Is the focus of a lot of political speculation. She was asked about her prospects of 2012 earlier today. Watch.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: Don't know what the heck is going to happen in 2012? Again, just very anxious to get back to work in Anchorage and in Juneau, making sure the people of Alaska are well served.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are notably not ruling out 2012?

PALIN: Well, right now I cannot imagine running for national office in 2012. I say that, of course, coming on the heels of an outcome that I certainly did not anticipate and had not hoped for. But this being a chapter now that is closed and realizing it is time to unite. All Americans need to get together and help with this new administration being ushered in.


KING: What's her future, Pat?

ROBERTSON: I think she could play a very significant role in the Republican party. The Republicans are going to be looking for leadership, somebody like Ronald Reagan to lead them out of the wilderness. Sarah might be able to do it, but she has to have a great deal of coaching on foreign affairs and on national policy. She was just not ready for this job. She electrified the audience. She mobilized the base. She did what they wanted her to do. But nevertheless she wasn't quite ready for the prime time.

KING: Exit polls show that Obama won 32 percent of white evangelicals between ages 18 and 29. That's ten points better than he did with older evangelicals. What do you make of that?

ROBERTSON: I think the young people are very idealistic. They thought that he is the combination of the Messiah and Moses? They wanted to follow him, really. That is a terrible burden to put on somebody, because if he can't deliver -- they are going to set very high expectations. It is going to be tough for him to live up to those expectations.

KING: Pat, we will do it again soon. We sorry on the shortened time. We ran into a block tonight. We want to have you again very soon. Reverend Pat Robertson. What would Martin Luther King Jr. say about this historic election? His son, Martin Luther King III, is going to tell us after the break.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Tears came down my face. And I tried to control my emotion, but it is unbelievable.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: On a personal note, as an African-American, I'm especially proud.

COLIN POWELL, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: I watched finally one of the news casters cut to the chase and say, he's won. It's over. Pretty moving moment.


KING: Joining us from Atlanta, Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the human rights advocate and community activist. He is the founder of Realizing the Dream Incorporated. OK, Martin, what was your reaction last night?

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: Incredibly wonderful. This is an amazing time for America, monumental time for America and the world. I think my mom and dad are smiling down on America, saying that a major milestone has been achieved for this nation.

KING: What was it like at his church, the Ebenezer Baptist Church, last night?

KING III: The crowd was electrified. Chills were going through our bodies. I've never heard that kind of energy, enthusiasm in Ebenezer Church. It was absolutely wonderful, just extraordinary.

KING: Do you think honestly that your father would have thought this would have happened in his son's life time?

KING III: Oh, yes. I absolutely think. In fact, certainly had he lived, maybe we would have achieved this milestone earlier. Number one, he and mom would be so excited about this period, but then they would rush to tell us that over 40 years ago dad began a campaign to eradicate poverty in America. That's one of the areas we have to find a way to focus on, something I'm trying to focus on. Until all Americans have access, not just the middle class -- that's wonderful. We have to stay focused on the middle class, but we really have to find a way to focus on the least of these god's children.

KING: In all honesty, I don't think poverty was mentioned much at all in this campaign?

KING III: It certainly was not. Certainly after Senator Edwards got out of the race it was no longer mentioned. He certainly raised that issue and I and many others will continue to raise this issues. I'm convinced that in five years, when we achieve the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we can reduce poverty by 25 percent. In 15 years, we can reduce it by half. And by 20, we can almost erase it. With all the wealth that exists in this nation, all the many opportunities, even with a bad and very terrible economy, I'm sure we can put, in a real sense, Humpty together back again.

To some degree, America is like Humpty Dumpty. We've sort of fallen apart a little bit. But it takes an extraordinary leader like Barack Obama to put this nation back together.

KING: Martin, what do you think your father would have thought of him?

KING III: Senator Obama? Now President-Elect Obama?

KING: Yes.

KING III: Number one, he would first say that he has incredible vision. A visionary is what is needed for this time. Obviously, he is incredibly bright, one of the brightest people we have seen in a long time. Finally, that he has the potential to become one of the greatest presidents of our nation.

KING: One of the greatest presidents, you're saying?


KING: Wow. You miss your dad, I bet a lot?

KING III: Well, of course. The tragedy for me personally, not having the opportunity as an adult to converse with him. Naturally, I miss him, but of course I miss my mom even more, because she's only been gone just a few years.

KING: I had the honor of interviewing both of them. You come from great stock. Thank you, Martin. Martin Luther King III. You know, LARRY KING LIVE is your show. Tell us what you think about our guests, the topics, anything else. Go to our blog at and take our quick vote too. Check out our guest list and commentaries while you're there. Tomorrow, T. Boone Pickens. Will President-Elect Obama make energy a top priority? We'll talk about it on LARRY KING LIVE Thursday night. Right now, Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?