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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Obama Elected President; Palin Fights Back
Aired November 7, 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, President-Elect Obama -- he hits the ground running to tackle a crisis that threatens every American.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP).
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime. And we're going to have to act swiftly to resolve it.
(END VIDEO CLIP).
KING: Can he fix it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP).
OBAMA: I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP).
KING: An Obama economic insider tells us what the next president plans to do, which key people are ready to take action for Team Obama, who has made the final cut.
Plus, Jesse Jackson, Jr. -- will he take Obama's place in the Senate?
Will.i.am was a hologram on election night, but he's really here singing -- "Yes, We Did.".
And Dr. Maya Angelou has something special in the works about an election night with (INAUDIBLE).
What is it?
Find out next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Some great guests lined up tonight.
We begin with our opening panel.
In Chicago, Candy Crowley, CNN's senior political correspondent. She's been covering President-Elect Obama and his transition.
Also in Chicago is Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. Democrat of Illinois. He served as national co-chairman of the Obama campaign and rumored to be the man who will be appointed the senator to replace Barack Obama when his seat gives up as he goes to the presidency.
And in Washington, Chris Cillizza. He's the newly named White House correspondent for "The Washington Post." He reports and writes "The Fix" for the washingtonpost.com.
Let's start right away with Chris.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Thank you, Larry.
KING: Did you expect this post?
CILLIZZA: I hoped. I never expect. I hoped. And I was thrilled to get it. I'm sharing it with three other great folks at "The Post." So it'll be good. It's going to be interesting.
KING: Go get him.
CILLIZZA: Thank you, sir.
KING: Candy, how did he do at that news conference today?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Very presidential and very Barack Obama. This was a very deliberative; somber, for the most part; certainly sober, for the most part, is probably the better word. You saw Barack Obama, the essence of him. And that is that he does not use words casually. He is very on point, but he is completely cautious about what he would commit to. You heard him say twice in this news conference, "I'm not the president yet. We only have one president.".
So he would not move forward on some things that he might do when he takes office. But he did repeat those things in the campaign that he said he would do, Larry.
KING: Today's conference followed a meeting of Obama's circle of economic advisers. The president-elect spoke of the economy this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP).
OBAMA: Tens of millions of families are struggling to figure out how to pay the bills and stay in their homes. Their stories are an urgent reminder that we are facing the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime. And we're going to have to act swiftly to resolve it.
(END VIDEO CLIP).
KING: Chris, anything unexpected thus far with Barack Obama?
CILLIZZA: No, Larry. I agree 100 percent with Candy. I think he was very careful. I think the one time he was slightly glib, he got in a little bit of trouble. He joked about talking to former presidents -- past presidents who are died and made a reference to former First Lady Nancy Reagan and a seance he later was forced to apologize for.
But I think, by and large, he stuck very much by the script.
One thing I was struck by -- and I think the Obama campaign has a very unique understanding -- maybe the best since Reagan -- of how visuals matter on television. He had a very august group behind him. He had Joe Biden, his vice president, to his right. He had Rahm Emanuel, his chief of staff, to his left.
And he focused on the economy. This is why -- what we're going to be doing and here's the team we're going to be doing it with -- all designed to inspire confidence, to inspire trust and to show people that he is -- can be reassuring and that he's moving things in the right direction when he becomes president.
KING: That remark about Reagan happened earlier and then he called Nancy, as you said.
Let's watch that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP).
OBAMA: In terms of speaking to former presidents, I've spoken to all of them that are living -- obviously, President Clinton --.
OBAMA: You know, I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.
(END VIDEO CLIP).
KING: Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. not only a Democrat of Illinois, but he served as national co-chairman of the Obama campaign. And there are rumors that you might be named to the United States Senate to replace Senator Obama.
Have you heard that?
REP. JESSE JACKSON, JR. (D), ILLINOIS: I've heard the rumors. But again, it's a decision of the governor of the State of Illinois. I trust that he will make a decision that's in the best interests of the state and the nation. It's not something that I'm focusing on right now, Larry.
KING: How do you think, Jesse, he's handling things, say, in these three days?
JACKSON: Well, the entire weight of the world is obviously on President-Elect Barack Obama's shoulders. I think he's showing the kind of temperament to lead, the kind of judgment necessary to be the commander-in-chief of this country. He's obviously being introduced to high levels of security briefings now that gives him some sense on a daily basis of what's taking place in the world, the national security threat and challenges that confront the nation. But domestically, he's also facing, as the president-elect said in the press conference today, one of the great economic challenges of our time. And the Congress of the United States looks forward to working with President-Elect Obama.
Obviously, the idea of loosening and thawing out the credit markets is a significant part of that.
And I think, Candy, President-Elect Obama made it clear today that he's going to move forward with his agenda and he's also going to move forward with it -- with it very early in this campaign and in this process.
KING: Candy, in your memory, do you remember a president having a press conference with a whole bunch of top people behind him on the third day?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, I don't. But I think this is a -- this president takes over with challenges that we have not seen in some time -- certainly, two wars going on. The economy obviously is the greatest challenge in our lifetime, at any rate.
So, it's a little different. And remember that at this point, so much of the economy is about confidence -- people's confidence that it will recover. And I think that's in large part, again, what he attempted to do. This news conference with all of those power weights behind him was really designed to kind of calm down Americans who are ever fearful, even considering, obviously, the jobs report today with the jobless rate just sky-high at this point.
So I don't remember, but I also don't remember times like this before, Larry.
KING: How do you think the meeting is going to go Monday with the president, when they get together, Chris?
CILLIZZA: You know, everything that we've heard so far, Larry, is that both men have been extremely gracious to one another. Candy mentioned during the press conference today, Barack Obama repeatedly said, well, I'm not the president yet. I don't want to get ahead of myself. I want to make sure that the right sort of procedures are followed.
I think he's very cognizant of the idea that he doesn't become president until January 20th.
I found it, just sort of as a political reporter, somewhat ironic because Barack Obama's entire campaign was themed on we need to get George W. Bush out of the White House. He ran against George Bush at least as much as he ran against John McCain. And yet he has been -- he understands he is no longer a senator running for president. He is the president-elect. You handle yourself, you talk in a different way.
CILLIZZA: And I think -- I think that's very likely then to have a civil, productive conversation with the president on Monday.
KING: Did President-Elect Barack Obama's first press conference since his historic election inspire confidence in his ability to handle the economy?
Tell us what you think. Go to cnn.com/larryking and click onto our blog.
More with our guests after this.
KING: We're back.
During the news conference today, the president-elect was asked if he'd respond to a letter of congratulations from a recent guest on this program, the president of Iran.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP).
OBAMA: Iran's development of a nuclear weapon, I believe, is unacceptable. And we have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening. Iran's support of terrorist organizations, I think, is something that has to cease.
I will be reviewing the letter from President Ahmadinejad and we will respond appropriately.
(END VIDEO CLIP).
KING: Do you expect that they'll meet, Congressman Jackson?
JACKSON: Well, not without the necessary preconditions established by the president of the United States at a date and a time certain established by the president-elect. He made that very clear across the course of this campaign, that he is taking the Iranian threat very seriously. He is taking the threat to Israel, as he should, very, very seriously. And I suspect the president-elect and then future president of the United States to deal with Iran very forcefully on this question of their desire for a nuclear weapon.
KING: Chris, how soon will he start his program for the pullout of Iraq?
CILLIZZA: A great question, Larry. You know, I think he is caught, in some ways, between base of the party, which would like the troops to come out the Tuesday that he won the election -- this past Tuesday -- and the political reality on the ground, which is that, you know, a rapid withdrawal of troops could potentially endanger our troops more than he is willing to take on.
During the campaign, much more in the primary than the general election, to be honest. In the general election, the economy so dominated all other issues that even Iraq wound up being sort of a secondary issue.
But in the primary, he certainly made clear that he was not for a precipitous withdrawal, that he would drawdown troops at a regular rate. I would guess he would start doing that once sworn in, maybe January or February.
But we're not going to see 150,000 troops leave the country within six months of Barack Obama taking over.
KING: Candy, don't you think the public expects a kind of immediate beginning of a withdrawal?
CROWLEY: I think they do, except for I think this is a public also willing to give this president some leeway and some time. He has always said that, of course, what he did would be dependent on what was going on the ground.
But, yes, over time, they expect those troops to come home.
KING: Congressman, do you expect something immediate in the area of Iraq?
JACKSON: What I expect is -- and what I trust fundamentally is Barack Obama's judgment. He is now being exposed to levels of briefings that are only reserved for presidents of the United States. He's going to have to make some judgment about the information that he's receiving in Iraq. And I trust Barack's judgment.
As a central policy idea, I believe the president of the United States -- the president-elect wants to withdraw American forces. But he will look at the security issues on the ground. He will talk to the generals and his appear national security personnel and the president- elect -- ultimately, the president -- will make a judgment.
KING: Thank you very much, guys.
We'll be calling on all of you again.
Again, congratulations to Chris Cillizza...
CILLIZZA: Thank you, Larry.
KING: ...the newly named White House correspondent for "The Washington Post."
Back in 60 seconds with a member of the president-elect's economic advisory team.
KING: Joining us in East Lansing, Michigan is Governor Jennifer Granholm. She's a Democrat of Michigan and a member of Obama's transition economic advisory team. You saw her on television all afternoon today, all throughout that press conference, standing right behind him.
What -- how did he do today?
GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), MICHIGAN: Oh, I thought he did so well. He handled it with such a deft touch. And, you know, the citizens need to know that he is on task and has a handle on this crisis. And they want to know that there will be action. And they want to know that he's being advised by the best of the best -- and myself excluded. There was certainly a lot of tremendous, tremendous expertise up there and around the advisory table, this transition team.
So he exuded confidence that we can get through this. He wanted us to work on short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies and fulfill the economic strategies that he identified in the campaign for the middle class.
So it was -- I thought he did a great job.
KING: Your state has been hit hard, specifically in the auto industry. The president-elect spoke about that situation today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The news coming out of the auto industry this week reminds us of the hardship it faces -- hardship that goes far beyond individual auto companies to the countless suppliers, small businesses and communities throughout our nation who depend on a vibrant auto industry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Can that industry recover, Governor?
GRANHOLM: Absolutely, it can. I think people need to understand -- and certainly those around the table understand -- that the auto industry creates one in 10 jobs in the United States. To allow this domestic auto industry to fail is just not an option. You would be talking about, in the first year, 3.5 million more people out of work. It's just not an option.
So the question is, how can we support this industry, make sure that it is done in a timely fashion, because the moment is urgent?
And this is why the president-elect asked the current president to make sure that he accelerated the loans that were initially made to the industry and asked us on his transition team to make sure we develop policies that are ready to go when he takes office to ensure the long-term survival of this industry.
By the way, to make sure we've got fuel-efficient vehicles, too, and contributes to our goal of become energy independent.
KING: Did everyone on the panel agree with that?
GRANHOLM: Everyone agrees regarding the importance of maintaining a vibrant domestic auto industry and making sure that this industry helps to lead the nation in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This is the industry that can do that.
We keep talking about alternative and renewable energy. And the auto industry and the link between it and the energy industry is so critical. And this is part of the long-term strategy on how the country gets back on his feet, because energy jobs -- that whole energy sector is going to be part of the strategy to create jobs in this country.
KING: Were you able to speak up yourself about it today?
GRANHOLM: Oh, sure. You bet. That's why I'm sure why I was invited, as governor of Michigan. Because we are the state that is the poster child of what has gone wrong for the past eight years, frankly.
You know, we have not had the ear of the White House. We've had a manufacturing sector that has been in a spiral downward.
We in Michigan, we've lost, Larry, 400,000 -- by the end of this year, 400,000 manufacturing jobs. It is unacceptable.
So to have -- for us to have a partner in the White House, not just as a state, but this whole manufacturing industry, to have somebody who will stand up for manufacturing in this country, is such a tremendous relief, such a vindication, frankly, of what the voters in Michigan and across this nation did on Tuesday in electing him as president.
KING: You've been mentioned as a possible cabinet pick, maybe a federal judgeship.
would you give up the governorship?
GRANHOLM: You know, Larry, I think that I can best serve my people in Michigan by being his partner, but here on the ground. So I'll be so thrilled to be governor when we have a partner in the White House whose policies align with what we would like to do in Michigan -- creating alternative and renewable energy jobs, having a robust manufacturing sector, providing alternative -- providing the health care for all of our citizens.
I'm so excited, as governor, to be there when we've got a Washington who has policies that align with what will help our citizens.
KING: Were you surprised by the size of his victory?
GRANHOLM: Actually, no. No, I wasn't. I can say that in Michigan, I think that we -- we gave him a 16 point margin of victory. And we were originally one of the battleground states.
But I think, ultimately, people in Michigan and people in Pennsylvania and Ohio realized that the economic policies of the Bush administration obviously have not been working for us. And at some point, there was a switch that flipped in Michigan, where there just was a lot of movement toward him, because people felt it. They felt this economic crisis. They knew it was going to be disastrous for us if we don't have a change.
And that's why today, when he had this great team of economic advisers and a very strong and confident and sober, yes, statement about the realities as they are and the plans that he has -- I think this margin of victory is a vindication of what he's going to do as president.
KING: Governor, thanks for joining us.
Always good seeing you.
GRANHOLM: Thank you so much, Larry.
KING: Governor Jennifer Granholm, the governor of Michigan.
Sarah Palin is still on the political radar. The latest next.
KING: Sarah Palin is firing back against those who said she didn't know which countries comprised NAFTA and that she didn't know Africa is a continent. Those anonymous comments have been attributed to McCain aides. She let loose today in an interview with CNN's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, but it's a real question that people did not put their names forward. And most -- I think a lot of Americans considered that cowardly, there's no question about it.
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. I do. I consider it cowardly.
TUCHMAN: So, but regarding these allegations, which I don't think -- my colleagues didn't make it up. They heard it from people who said you can't use our name regarding these geography things about Africa and about NAFTA.
Are they not true?
PALIN: Yes. That is not...
TUCHMAN: Are they misinterpreted?
PALIN: No, it's not true. And I do remember having a discussion about NAFTA, as we talked about Alaska's relationship with Canada and how we -- heaven forbid we go in and just unilaterally think that we're going to renegotiate NAFTA, as it had appeared that Barack Obama, his position was yes, he wanted to go renegotiate. I remember having a discussion with a couple of debate preppers. So if it came from one of those debate preppers, you know, that's curious. But having the discussion about NAFTA, not, oh my goodness, I don't know who's a part of NAFTA.
So, no, I think that if there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA and about the continent versus the country, when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context.
And that is -- that's cruel. It's mean-spirited. It's immature. It's unprofessional. And those guys are jerks if they came away with it taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It's not fair and not right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Frankenstein -- that's right -- Barney Frank and Ben Stein, after the break.
KING: A comment from our blog at CNN.com/larryking. Rochelle writes, "Obama's first press conference proved once again he's the smartest guy in the room."
We'll see what our guests think.
And they are, in Portland, Maine, Congressman Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts. He's chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
And in San Francisco, Ben Stein, "The New York Times" columnist, economist and author and TV personality. His latest best-selling book is "How To Ruin the United States of America."
How did he do today, Congressman?
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Oh, I think he did very well. He is a very thoughtful guy and he gets right to the point. I think you get a very high ratio here of substance to rhetoric.
He talked in a very intelligent way about the most pressing problem he's got, which is about the economy. And, as I said, he gets substantive. He puts public policies and proposals out there.
I happen to agree with him. I do think that there is a need to respond on several fronts to the worst economy we've had in a very long time. And I thought he articulated it very well.
KING: Now, Ben, we know you supported McCain. You had questions about his economic plans.
What do you think of this -- the three days of Obama?
BEN Governor, thanks, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES," ECONOMIST: I've never seen so much butt kissing in my whole life from the media or from the people in general. And I didn't think he did a darned thing today. He just -- we waited and we waited and we waited. He kept being late.
Then he came out and he said I'm following the situation closely and I'll think about it some more, but I'm not the president.
He didn't say anything. I mean he had some very impressive people out there with him, but he didn't say anything.
Look, we've got a serious situation. We've got to talk about an enormous stimulus package -- an enormous one. We've got to get the auto companies rescued pronto. These are big situations and we've got to do this quick. We've got to get loan guarantees in place for inter bank loans, solvency guarantees for the big banks.
This has got to be done very, very soon. We are in a very difficult situation. He's got to do it quick.
KING: Congressman, do you agree?
FRANK: Well, he did say exactly those things. Well, first of all, I'm sorry he kept Ben Stein waiting. I can't think anything more than trivial to worry about than the president kept him waiting. Bring a book next time, Ben, and you can read while you wait.
STEIN: I wasn't in the room. The point is, they kept saying, we're waiting and waiting.
FRANK: No, the waiting thing is a kind of trivialization that doesn't belong in a serious conversation. As to doing anything, he can't do anything as president-elect. He did make very strong advocacy as to a stimulus. He strongly urged the president to do it. He said quite specifically, and I was glad to hear him say that, that if we can't get -- Nancy Pelosi is negotiating now with the White House and with Republicans who filibustered a stimulus in the Senate -- it was too small at that time. If they won't agree to one now, he said, either we'll do it right now, which he's for, or as soon as he's president, we'll do it.
He talked specifically about aid to the auto industry, and talked about increasing the flow of loans. Now, he's not the president yet, but he was very specific about things that he wanted to do and when he wanted to do them.
KING: Ben, didn't you oppose the stimulus plan previously?
STEIN: Did I? No, I did not. I think we need an even bigger stimulus package. I didn't think he was specific at all. Look,this is 10 trillion dollar consumer demand economy, roughly. They're talking about stimulus packages of roughly 150 to 200 billion. That's nowhere near enough. The stimulus package has to be on an order of magnitude which really moves this economy forward. I thought Mr. Obama, with the incredible prestige he's got, with all the media fawning over him, could have said, I'm in favor of something very big, very dramatic, very fast. Mr. Bush would have listened. FRANK: No, Mr. Bush wouldn't have listened. Ben, you're getting incredibly partisan very early. George Bush and the Republicans in the Senate filibuster the very inadequate 60 billion dollar stimulus just less than a month ago.
STEIN: That was wrong of them.
FRANK: Please don't interrupt. Ben, I understand that. But you suggested Bush would agree with him. I'm contradicting your assertion that Bush would agree with a 300 billion stimulus, which I'm for. Bush was against the 60 billion. The information we're getting now is he's not yet ready to go there. Obama is committed to something at that level. He's talked about a two stage process, with a good deal of spending for infrastructure and aid to the states, and then some middle class tax relief. But, the suggestion that if he said it, the president would do it; no, the president -- there are serious talks going on now to try to get the Republican senators not to filibuster it now.
I do think for him to raise hopes that he can get something done when the president's still the president would not be a good idea. I think what he did was really quite specific.
KING: Ben, wouldn't you agree that with the advisers like Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Paul Volker, Laura Tyson, Warren Buffett and Google's Eric Schmidt, that's a pretty good jump off the road.
STEIN: I agree. I agree that he has the most prestige of anyone in the world right now. I think Mr. Bush would agree with him. I think the Congressional Republicans would agree with him.
FRANK: You're wrong, Ben. They disagreed.
KING: Hold it, Barney. You told him not to interrupt.
STEIN: They disagreed before the election. This man has incredible charisma now. He can get anything he wants done.
FRANK: That is the worst kind of partisan obfuscation. You're blaming the victim.
KING: One at a time.
FRANK: In the House right now, Nancy Pelosi has been moving the leadership team. She's been talking to Senator Reid. We're trying to put together a stimulus package. She's negotiating with the White House. Senator Reid is negotiating with the Republicans. Your assertion that they will agree, I got to say to you, Ben, who am I going to believe, you or mine own ears? I hear them saying no. I hear you saying they're going to say yes.
They haven't said yes. Their ideology got in the way before, and it is still getting in the way. We are trying to move them. I hope they're listening to this and they'll take some inspiration from you. But your saying it doesn't move them.
STEIN: With all due respect, I keep reading in the "New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal" that they are going to have a stimulus package. And if they're not, this is the time to reach across the aisle and say to Mr. Bush, even though you're president, I'm president elect. Let's work together. We have enormous job.
FRANK: We're doing that. Barack Obama began -- he began by helping them out on the rescue package, on the 700 billion. When John McCain was being obstructive about it, Barack Obama was there trying to help us get it through in a better fashion than they proposed.
KING: Gentlemen, I can guarantee you that both of you will be back frequently, based on the past few minutes. Congressman Barney Frank and Ben Stein. Tom ridge joins us next. Don't go away.
KING: Did President-Elect Obama's first press conference since his historic election inspire confidence in his ability to handle the economy? Savannah blogs "I have convince in president elect's ability to handle the economy. I think by January 20th, he'll have a plan to help the economy."
You can add your comments to CNN.com/LarryKing, and click on our blog.
We now welcome an old friend. He's in Washington. He's Tom Ridge. He was national co-chairman of the McCain campaign, former secretary of Homeland Security and former Republican governor of Pennsylvania. Mr. Secretary, Senator Obama's going to meet with President Bush on Monday. When asked whether he would challenge or confront if he disagreed with Bush's decisions, he said he's going to take that meeting with a spirit of bipartisanship. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The critical tone that has to be struck by all of us involved right now is the American people need help. This economy is in bad shape. And we have just completed one of the longest election cycles in recorded history. Now's a good time for us to set politics aside for a while and think practically about what will actually work to move the economy forward. And it's in that spirit that I'll have the conversation with the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Mr. Secretary, it's only three days. How is he doing?
TOM RIDGE, FMR. GOV. OF PENNSYLVANIA: I like the tone. The tone echoes comments that I heard many times, not only from Senator Obama but from Senator John McCain. We've got some very, very serious problems confronting this country, both domestically and some serious challenges potentially overseas. While we lost the election, we're not immune from the responsibility to help govern this country. So, I think the notion that he meets with the president to set a tone of congeniality, a tone of collaboration and potential cooperation is the right tone to set at this pivotal time in American history.
KING: I know you're a close friend of Senator McCain's. How he's doing?
RIDGE: I talked to John a couple of times since the election, and I think if history looks back at his concession speech, we're reminded of a couple of things about him as a man, honorable to a core, and the fact that he referred to President-Elect Obama now as his president. I think he sets that kind of respectful tone, a tone, in its own way, calling far a bipartisan approach to, at least in an effort to solve some of this country's problems.
We may have lost this election. We may have lost seats in the House and the Senate. But our responsibility as the Republican party, once we get done with this nit-picking internally, is to look to the future, not to the past. And if -- if senator -- President-Elect Obama is able to bridge the differences with compromise and offers the hand, we ought to reach out and grasp it. If he doesn't, it's still our responsibility to do more than just say no. We have to come up with an alternative. At the end of the day, democracy is a battle of ideas. It's still our responsibility as the Republican party to offer better ones if we don't care for the ones that come from President Elect Obama.
KING: You were our first head of Homeland Security. What would you suggest to President-Elect Obama? What kind of person should he pick for that post?
RIDGE: I'm not going to give him any counsel publicly. If he and his team -- I would certainly be willing to share some thoughts with him privately. But what I say it's more important -- he's obviously associated himself with a lot of very talented people, to say the least. You take a look at the group he assembled today, just in terms of giving him some input on the economy. I would ask the Congress of the United States, particularly the Senate, to expedite, to move as quickly as possible, to confirm as quickly as possible the men and women he nominates not only for the Department of Homeland Security, but there are other critical positions that should be filled.
I know President Bush, both in 2000 and 2004, ran into quite a few obstacles. Certainly, when we set up the Department of Homeland Security, enormous delays. I think this new president, during this time, deserves expeditious handling of his appointments in the Senate of the United States.
KING: Do you think he'll get it.
RIDGE: I'm hopeful. I would do everything I could to encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I believe he will get it. I think he deserves to have it. It's a difficult time enough, as it is, with transition. You've got 4,000 to 5,000 appointments to fill. Particularly in the newest agencies of agencies, at this critical time, they ought to pay particular attention to the Department of Homeland Security, and move and vet and confirm his appointees as quickly as possible.
KING: Thanks, Tom. We'll call on you again real soon. Always good seeing you.
RIDGE: Thank you.
KING: The former governor of Pennsylvania, former secretary of Homeland Security. We'll be back in 60 seconds with Will.I.Am. Don't go away.
KING: Will.I.Am, the Grammy winning musician, song writer, producer, who created the Obama video "Yes, We Can." Now, he has a new song and video about Barack Obama. It's called, "It's a New Day." It's available on i-Tunes. We got it for you right here. Watch.
KING: There he is. He's waiting in the wings. Will.I.Am, he's coming up next after this short break. Don't go away.
KING: Now, we welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Will.I.Am, the Grammy winning musician, song writer, producer, front man for the Black Eyed Peas. He created the pro-Obama video "Yes, We Can," has a new song and video called "It's a New Day," now available on i-Tunes. "Yes We Can," you wrote that. That was inspired when he lost. Right? He lost in New Hampshire.
WILL.I.AM, BLACK EYED PEAS: Sure was.
KING: How did that come about?
WILL.I.AM: Well, I was sitting in front of my TV watching the news, right around the NFL. And my eyes were glued to that speech, and that speech hit me the same way Martin Luther King's speech hit me, the way John F. Kennedy's speech. I felt really sorry for kids today, seeing that there's no political leaders that they have to look up to. There's no new speeches that are inserted into the school systems. So I wanted to do my part and make that speech be taught in schools.
KING: How does it make you feel when you hear the term President Barack Obama?
WILL.I.AM: It makes me feel hope. It gives me the feeling that we can accomplish anything as a country. You know, it isn't -- it's not just Democrats that made Obama president. It was Republicans that believed in his vision as well. So for us to get out of this hole, it's going to take all of us. After this fiasco is over and Barack Obama is president come January, when Bush leaves, it's going to take us to continue to be involved and pay attention. Right now, we're paying attention because we're bombarded by the news. When that's all over with, we still have to pay attention.
KING: Will.I.Am was in Chicago's Grant Park on election night. You were beamed into CNN's election headquarters via a hologram for an interview. Let's take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going now, via hologram, by Will.I.Am who is live in Grant Park. Let's see if we can beam him in now. Here we go. Will, thanks very much for being with us. How's this night for you?
WILL.I.AM: This is great. We're at the eve of a brand-new day in America. It feels good being here in Chicago. All this technology, I'm being beamed to you, like in "Star Wars" or stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Did that feel different or you were just standing there?
WILL.I.AM: The way that all came about, you know, the security was really on point. We went through the line and it wasn't planned at all. We were just walking to get a good spot right there in the grass. And they stopped me and said, hey, do you want to get hologramed on CNN? So, I'm like, sure, I'll get hologramed.
KING: Get hologramed.
WILL.I.AM: It was -- you know, when I walked into the room, it had all those cameras around in a circle, just all that technology. It was just awesome. Shows you what you can do when you put your mind to it.
KING: How long did it take to write "A New Day?"
WILL.I.AM: I wrote "It's a New Day" on the 3rd, anticipating the victory, because I felt in my heart that it felt like it was going to happen. So I anticipated emotion. We filmed the video at Grant Park, had cameras there, edited it on the 5th. And here we are. It's finished, performed it on "Oprah" this morning.
KING: It's a great song. Do you still call them songs? I mean, I don't know with rap. You are a great rap artist.
WILL.I.AM: No, it's a --
KING: What was it like in Grant Park?
WILL.I.AM: Wow, you know, playing at the DNC was -- that was -- you know, you were excited. There was no doubt in the air. You were just excited to be there at the DNC when Barack Obama accepted the nomination. But there at Grant Park, there was excitement. There was emotion. But then there was a little bit of doubt, because of the past eight years, you know. You don't know if Al Gore had it stolen from -- the nomination stolen from him.
So you had all that going on at the same time. But then when he was elected, it was unbelievable. It's like you expected it to go on all night, but it just happened real fast. It was a beautiful time.
KING: Will.I.am. By the way, Will will be back with us on Thanksgiving night on our own Hero's program. Speaking of heroes or heroin, Dr. Maya Angela will grace us with her presence right after the break.
KING: Joining us now from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the brilliantly acclaimed Dr. Maya Angelou, the writer, educator, activist. Her most recent best seller is "Letters to My Daughter," a major hit on the "New York Times." By the way, Will.I.Am remains in my studio. You have never met?
MAY ANGELOU, AUTHOR, "LETTERS TO MY DAUGHTER": No.
KING: Maya, Dr. Angelou, what do the words mean to you, President-Elect Obama?
ANGELOU: I'm overwhelmed. I'm thrilled in the classic sense of that word. My whole body is moved, -- (TRILL) -- like that. Just amazing. I really belong to such a great country. I think that, in the heart of every American, there's a desire to belong to a great country, not exclusive but inclusive. I'm so proud of Will.I.Am. I must say just a word for him, because he's so brilliant. He speaks of this new day.
I also am proud of John Rich, who wrote a wonderful song for Mr. McCain. But, you see, that shows we belong to a rich country. We are -- and I mean we, black-and-white and Asian, Spanish speaking, Native- American, we are somebody.
KING: Can you do us a favor? I know you have a poem called "National Spirit" in your new book. It calls on our leaders to elevate the political discourse. Can you recite a little of it for us?
ANGELOU: Let me recite a little bit of another poem, because that -- it's so new, I don't have it. But I do have "And Still I Rise." This is for all Americans. We don't have to apologize to try to defend ourselves when Europeans say, oh, what a shame you black people, oh, what a shame; you're so under-classed and so bad and people hate you so in your country.
Listen, "you may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise." This is what we do. Americans, we rise.
KING: Well said. John Lewis, the Congressman from Georgia, called Tuesday's election a non-violent revolution. Would you agree with that?
ANGELOU: Yes, I agree. I agree. I love the fact that we are -- we are changing. We are growing up. We are growing beyond the racism and sexism and ageism which has crippled us so long. We are really growing up. It takes courage to grow up, because it means you take responsibility for the time you take up and the space you occupy. And Americans are growing up. I love it. I love being an American.
KING: It's obvious. You know, Will.I.Am, you are a poet.
WILL.I.AM: Try to be.
KING: You're both American poets, right, and proud of it?
KING: You can certainly say your new song is a poem.
WILL.I.AM: The words came clear when I was imagining tomorrow. At that time, tomorrow was just a couple of hours away.
KING: Dr. Angelou, will you be coming to the inaugural?
ANGELOU: I shall be the tall black lady smiling, the tall older black lady standing there smiling.
KING: I would imagine you might be asked to contribute to that inaugural. It would not surprise me.
ANGELOU: I thank you for thinking that. But I think President- Elect Obama will have his own poet. If so, I send kudos, and I have her back or his back. I support -- I just love the fact we have a new day. Thank you, Will.I.Am, a new day.
KING: Thank you, Maya Angelou and thank you, Will.I.am. Go to CNN.com/LarryKing. Thank you, dear. And blog, take our nightly quick vote and download the new podcast. We've got two great shows coming your way this weekend. Bill Maher, Michael Moore, Magic Johnson, Martin Luther King III and others will tell us what the election of Barack Obama means to them. That's LARRY KING -- Barack Obama, rather -- means to them. That's LARRY KING LIVE Saturday.
Sunday, a special hour with the Obamas. I've interviewed the president-elect and the new first lady a number of times. It's the best of those interviews on LARRY KING LIVE Sunday night. Now, live from Washington, here's Anderson Cooper. Anderson?