Return to Transcripts main page


Controversy of Alaskan Wolf Hunting; Tentative Deal on Stimulus

Aired February 6, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, breaking news -- the bitterly divided Senate reaches tentative stimulus deal.

Can the $780 billion compromise fix the brutal, staggering unemployment mess?




L. KING: Can anything prevent the economy from falling off a cliff?

Plus, Ashley Judd versus Sarah Palin -- waging war against each other over wolves.


ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: Palin is again casting aside science and championing the slaughter of wildlife.


L. KING: Palin says just wait a minute.

What is the truth.

Who's telling it?


Good evening.

Breaking news tonight. The Senate is debating right now on the just announced compromise of President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. They hammered out an agreement tonight.

But are the votes there for passage?

Let's look at it from all sides.

In Washington, D.C. is John King, CNN's chief national correspondent and the host of "STATE OF THE UNION" Sundays on this network.

On Capitol Hill is Dana Bash, CNN's senior Congressional correspondent.

And at the White House, Ed Henry, our senior White House correspondent.

We've got the heavies here -- all right, Dana, you're on the Hill.

What's the latest?

Is it going to go to a vote Sunday?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is possible, Larry. You know, the Democrats were hoping that they were going to have a vote tonight. In fact, they even called Ted Kennedy back. He has not been in the Senate since Inauguration Day, when he collapsed. They brought him back because they need his vote.

But it looks like it is more likely this vote is not going to happen tonight, maybe tomorrow or even on Sunday. And the reason is because although they do believe they have the votes to pass this, there is still a hefty number of Republicans who say they don't like this. They say that the tentative number -- about $780 billion -- is still way too high, way too much taxpayer money to be spending. And that's why they want to keep debating.

So the Democrats say we might have to file a procedural motion to cut off debate. And that would make this vote not happen until later in the weekend.

But they do believe, at end of the day, they do now have the votes to pass this. And it was not easy to get there at all.

L. KING: Now by passing -- it's not a question of the 50 votes.

They'd like 60, right?

BASH: Now, at this point, they need 60, Larry, because if they do have to file this procedural motion, it will require 60 votes to pass it. These days, pretty much anything needs 60 votes to pass, because there are all kind of limits that the opposition can do. So it is pretty much an understood thing that anything needs 60 votes to pass in the Senate these days, especially this.

L. KING: John, is this a -- if it happens -- a victory for the moderates on both sides?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so much for no drama Obama, huh, Larry?

They're taking this into a late Friday night. It would be a victory -- a small victory for the middle, if there is a center. But the definition of the middle for this legislation might not be the definition of the middle for future legislations. President Obama would certainly like more than the two or three Republican votes it looks like he is likely to receive in the Senate. Heading forward into other big battles, you need more than that, because you'll lose some Democrats on some issues down the road.

But he needs a victory and he will take what he can get for now.

The big question, Larry, is, if the math is correct and the $780 billion emerges from the Senate, how hard will the president lean on those House Democrats that he spoke to just last night?

Because I got an e-mail just a short time ago from one of the chairmen who will be involved in those negotiations in the House. A top aide to that chairman says we will do this fast, but we will get it right first, meaning some of the chairmen in the House might want to tinker with the Senate plan. We'll see if the president tries to twist their arms.

L. KING: Ed Henry, what is the expectancy at the White House?

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're looking forward to this passing, as you said. This is a critical piece of legislation for the president's first initiative out of the box. And he has been warning day after day -- this is the third straight day they used the word catastrophe and saying if the Senate didn't move forward, this crisis would become a catastrophe.

So he's laid a lot of political capital out there. And when you look at the substance of what's being debated in the Senate right now, he's losing some bits of important things, like the school construction money. Dana has been reporting about $16 billion apparently being lost. That's something he desperately wanted.

But a lot of the other bits of information -- the tax cuts are largely what he campaigned on -- basically, $500 for individuals in lower to middle income, $1,000 for families.

Also, a lot of the energy -- renewable energy funds for the so- called green jobs he's been talking about. So a lot on substance.

Even though there's been a lot of changes, he's gotten a lot of what he wanted.

And then what John was talking about with no drama Obama, the president was working the phones earlier. This top aides, some of them were on Capitol Hill trying to push this through. The president himself giving that speech this morning to pressure it.

But right now, the president is at the Kennedy Center with his family watching a ballet.

So even as the drama plays out, he is trying to be no drama Obama and go to the ballet with the family and sort of kick back and relax -- Larry.

L. KING: Dana, what happens when the Senate has its version, the House had its version, they go to conference?

What version comes out?

BASH: That is the $780 billion or $900 billion question. I mean, we'll see what it comes out. I mean, that's, I think, the point that John was trying to make, is that even though they believe that they can finally get this through the Senate -- and, again it was very, very tough to sort of find this balance -- House Democrats, they were the ones who started the ball rolling on this. And there are many more Democrats in the House, in particular the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, who really has a heavy hand in this, who says that, you know, he believes that you need to spend a lot of money to stimulate the economy.

So we are going to have a lot of intra-Democratic fighting, if you will -- or maybe at least some tussling -- to try to figure out what's the middle ground here. And that is why -- Ed was alluding to this, Larry -- the president and his team, they have been so involved here today.

I mean, President Obama, just for example, I was talking to an aide to Olympia Snowe when we got the news. And this aide said, you know, she just hung up with the president. And he didn't wait a minute to call the Republicans that he needed to get this through.

His chief of staff was lobbying Democrats all night long here in the Capitol to try to make it happen.

L. KING: John, quickly, what's tea leaves say?

J. KING: The tea leave says the president will get a bill, probably by the end of next week. And for people out there wondering what it means for them, if you're unemployed, it means extended unemployment benefits.

If you're a governor, you're probably going to get money to extend some health care benefits to people in your state. You're going to get some money for roads and bridges.

The big interesting thing, Larry, is it appears the president will get a bill unless this collapses in the Senate. But it also appears politically that most Republicans have decided that it's safe to vote no very early in this administration. And that is something to watch as we go forward from this debate on to many other issues.

L. KING: Thank you, John King, Dana Bash and ever reliable Ed Henry.

Two men who know about money and jobs are next.

Eric Schmidt of Google and Steve Forbes of Forbes debate the spending plan.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) L. KING: Two distinguished figures in finance.

In Phoenix, Eric Schmidt, CEO for Google. He was on Obama's economic transition team.

In New York, Steve Forbes, chairman and CEO of Forbes, editor-in- chief of the magazine and former economic adviser to Senator McCain.

All right, Eric, we've got, apparently, a tentative agreement. It looks like a vote on Sunday.

Do you like this bill?

ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO, GOOGLE: I do. And it's certainly not soon enough. You've got 600,000 jobs lost last month, 600,000 jobs lost the month before. Time for action. This bill is not perfect. Let's get this thing done. Let's get it passed. Let's get people back to work. It's all about jobs at this point.

L. KING: Steve?

STEVE FORBES, CEO, FORBES: Well, the bill is the wrong one to get the economy moving again. Japan had six of these bills -- or 10 of them -- in the 1990s. They did not work. They did not increase incentives.

I'm surprised the administration didn't go for something that will really get money in people's pockets and put incentives to hire people -- and that is to suspend the payroll tax or cut it in half for two years. That mechanism is in place. People would have more money. The cost of hiring people would go down. And you would get the money to work immediately.

So in terms of the bill itself, it's not going few get that much money out that quickly. And a lot of infrastructure projects -- only 5 percent of the bill goes for the traditional infrastructure projects like highways. And a lot of it goes for stuff that's going to have minimal impact on job creation.

L. KING: Eric, has the...

SCHMIDT: Well...

L. KING: Go ahead, Eric.

SCHMIDT: Yes, 75 percent of the infrastructure stuff gets paid out in the first 15 months. Most of this bill goes to things like unemployment, making sure the medical programs are being funded. The states are desperate. The cities are desperate. It goes to more police. It goes to tax breaks for small businesses and for people of lower and medium income. They need the money now.

The problem with any of these other tax cuts is they take too long.

FORBES: But the payroll tax he could do right away in the next paycheck. That mechanism is in place. You cut that in half, people get the money immediately.

The problem -- one of the problems with this bill is low income people, who don't pay income tax, aren't going to get money until next year.

SCHMIDT: But on the other hand, all of the experiences that you have to do something overt -- you have to actually move quickly in order to get money into the people -- in people's hands. The good news...

FORBES: And the payroll tax would have done it.

L. KING: But...

SCHMIDT: The good news about a payroll tax is it increases employment. But it doesn't address the other issues. It doesn't invest. It doesn't deal with all the issues of crumbling highways and schools and so forth and so on, all of which are in this bill.

L. KING: Steve, Obama has...

FORBES: But the...

L. KING: Steve, Obama has inherited this, has he not?

FORBES: That's right. The Bush administration made some catastrophic mistakes -- everything from weakening the dollar; not reforming Fanny and Freddie a year ago; this mark to market, which I hope the administration deals with next week, Larry, which devastated bank balance sheets gratuitously. And the SEC has got to deal with the short selling abuses.

So, yes, he did inherit this.

L. KING: Yes.

FORBES: I just wish he'd done something more effective more quickly, because I want this economy growing again.

L. KING: Eric, does he seem to be getting some blame for it?

SCHMIDT: Well, the guy has only been in office for, what, a week and...

L. KING: I know, but...

SCHMIDT: ...a week-and-a-half. So honeymoons are pretty short right now.

But the fact of the matter is this is the first major initiative for this new president. And it's something that has to happen quickly. He's got to do three things. He's got to get jobs going, he's got to get the banking going and he's got to deal with the foreclosure issues.

The latter two are being addressed maybe in the next week. So we're seeing very, very fast action from people who are just getting confirmed.

L. KING: Your man, Senator McCain, Steve, went on the attack against the bill tonight.



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not bipartisan. This is two Republican senators that decided to join after meetings behind doors from which almost all of the rest of us were not present. It is as expensive, or more expensive, than the legislation passed by the House, if you count the amendments that have already been passed, which we are told would be included in this bill.

And there is no provision -- there is no provision whatsoever, once our economy recovers, to somehow begin to reduce this multi- trillion dollar debt that we have laid on future generations of Americans.

Mr. President, if this legislation is passed, it will be a very bad day for America.


L. KING: Steve, is the rush necessary?

FORBES: Well, rush is necessary to get positive things done. But this bill is not it. To be blunt about it, Larry, a lot of this stuff was just thrown together by Nancy Pelosi and some others -- a grab bag, like $650 million for digital TV.

Well, what in the world is that going for?

$400 million for research on diseases. Very nice, but that's not going to simulate the economy.

It does not address jobs in areas where jobs have really been hit hard, like construction. Again, only 5 percent of this bill is going for traditional infrastructure projects.

SCHMIDT: There are...

L. KING: Eric?

SCHMIDT: There are billions of dollars going into, for example, upgrading the federal program. There's a huge number of billion that are going to retrofit and insulate low income homes through an existing program that was passed by the Republicans but not funded.

So, in fact, there's lots of jobs being created. Even the ones that Steve mentioned do, in fact, create job. And they create high quality American jobs.

This is all about getting things happening quickly.

FORBES: But the -- OK.

But the bottom line is all it does is take money from one pocket and put it into the other. Other than some provisions for small businesses, which is good, it does not have a stimulative impact long- term.


FORBES: Japan did this 10 times in the '90s. It did not pull the economy out of recession.

SCHMIDT: The Japanese economy is a very different beast. We are much, much more flexible. The great thing about the American businessperson is they're very, very innovative.

And by getting consumers going, by getting jobs happening, all of a sudden people will get confidence and people will start buying, building, traveling and all the other things that are happening.

We're in a very bad spot right now. It looks like the March and June quarters across the United States are going to be very, very tough, with a lot more lay-offs coming. We need to move very, very quickly.

FORBES: But that doesn't mean you have to give into passive pork spending. They could have gotten a bill addressing things like having more broadband, which they did, but doing more of that. Electricity grid -- that's a good thing. They could have done more there. Things that would have laid long-term foundations.

SCHMIDT: Right, but...

FORBES: But a lot of this stuff -- thank goodness they took the contraceptives out.

But a lot of this stuff is just traditional pork.

SCHMIDT: Look...

FORBES: Why -- why did they put it in there?

SCHMIDT: But, in fact, the majority of this money, by the way, goes to states and local governments, who are desperate -- who are literally not able to pay their payrolls. California has put people on furloughs. They're suspending unemployment benefits because of the collapse in income.

One of the issues fundamentally here is nobody has got any money. The only people who can come up with money in this desperate situation is the federal government. This is the one time when even a strong business focus needs the government to help things going.

L. KING: All right. We've only got a minute left.

Steve, despite your protestations, is it going to pass?

FORBES: Oh, it will pass. And the question is what will be the final bill after conference with the House?

I just wish that when they're going to do something big, they did something that would have positive impact, like payroll taxes, instead of a traditional pork bill, most of which is not going to get this economy moving quickly again.

L. KING: Eric, is Obama going to turn this around?

SCHMIDT: He will. And this is -- this is a strong set of actions in his first couple weeks as president. And the good news about it is it's all going to be checked, it's all going to be public. You'll be able to see exactly where it goes.

And let's see if Steve is right or if I'm right.

FORBES: But the thing is...

L. KING: OK. Let's see.

FORBES: ...why wasn't that put on the -- have that kind of debate before the vote...

L. KING: By the...

FORBES: ...instead of having to examine it after the vote?

L. KING: We credit both of you on pausing and allowing each to finish each other's sentences.


L. KING: An historic moment in cable television.

Steve Forbes and Eric Schmidt.

President Obama sounded the economic alarm once again today. He'll tell it like it is. The warning in 60 seconds.


L. KING: We're back.

For days, President Obama has been selling one message -- the economy is teetering on the brink and lawmakers better do something now.



OBAMA: If there's anyone anywhere who doubts the need for wise counsel and bold and immediate action, just consider the very troubling news we received just this morning. Last month, another 600,000 Americans lost their jobs. That is the single worst month of job loss in 35 years.

The Department of Labor also adjusted their job loss numbers for 2008 upwards and now report that we've lost 3.6 million jobs since this recession began. That's 3.6 million Americans who wake up every day wondering how they're going to pay their bills, stay in their homes and provide for their children. That's 3.6 million Americans who need our help.

I'm sure that at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, members of the Senate are reading these same numbers this morning. And I hope they share my sense of urgency and draw the same unmistakable conclusion. The situation could not be more serious.


L. KING: Jobs -- we'll talk about it next.

Stick around.


L. KING: Shattering news on the economic crisis tonight. Unemployment is now at 7.6 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department -- 598,000 jobs were lost in January alone. And that's the highest monthly loss since 1974.

In the last three months, 1.8 million jobs have been lost -- the most since 1992.

To discuss this, here in Los Angeles, Marcus Buckingham. Marcus is author of "The Truth About You." He mentors, by the way, and inspires people to find success. He addresses about 250,000 people a year.

In New York is Tory Johnson, CEO of Women for Hire. She's the "GMA" workplace contributor. She contributes for "GMA" in the morning. And she'll tell us the most important information -- how to find a job.

And also in New York, David Bach, the author of "Start Late, Finish Rich," a personal finance author, speaker and consultant.

OK, Marcus, if you're unemployed, what do you do?

MARCUS BUCKINGHAM, EMPLOYMENT EXPERT: Well, there's a few things that you can start off. I think, first, take an evening and figure how you can stabilize your finances. Figure out how long do you have before you need more money coming in to cover your bills. That's the first thing.

Second, it's tremendously important to get started right away. It takes, on average, 19 weeks to find a new job. That's almost five months. So it doesn't really matter how good your severance package is, start right away.

There are some fantastic -- on, for example, there's all sorts of great tools where you can put your strength and experience, up pops what job fits you, what positions are open. You can start right away to learn how to do a resume. All sorts of things are available there.

L. KING: So be adventuresome.

BUCKINGHAM: Yes. But start right away.

I think, third, also, I think, tremendously important to -- whatever happens, whether you find a job in a week or three weeks or six weeks, start learning about what new experiences you can get -- whether it's things you can volunteer for or colleges you can sign up for or courses, so that by the time you get a job, you've something you can point to that you've been doing over the last six weeks or so.

L. KING: Tory, I believe now more women are in the workplace than men. That would probably say that more women are out of work than men.

Is it harder for a woman to get a job?

TORY JOHNSON, JOBS EXPERT: Well, it depends on the kind of job that you are looking for. The areas right now that we've seen the growth -- health care, education -- tend to be dominated by women.

However, it doesn't mean that those are the best paying jobs. And so even though more than 80 percent of the jobs that have been lost have been lost by men, in many cases, those men are the bread winners in their families.

So maybe the woman has a job, but she's only making $30,000. And that great union position with amazing benefits that the man lost was paying a whole lot more.

And so just because the women have more jobs right now isn't necessarily a great thing for many families.

L. KING: David, is it a good idea to look at the possibility of moving elsewhere?

DAVID BACH, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: You know, Larry, I think when it comes to our expenses, we're looking at everything right now. I mean, you know, what Americans are doing is they're -- quite honestly, they're rolling up their sleeves and they're getting tough.

Marcus started off by looking at your family finances. What you should do this weekend is really simple. Here's my advice to you. You need to sit down with your family and have a get tough policy. You know, I give my dad credit for this, because he created it in the '70s during the last recession.

We would sit down as a family and he'd say we're going to go through all of our expenses and we're going to figure how you can cut back.

Here's what you should do. You want three baskets. You make a list of all of your expenses. You sit down as a family you look at three things.

You say, one, what can we give up for now?

Not forever, just for now, because that's easier to give it up.

Two, what can we cut back in terms of renegotiating?

Everything right now in a recession is renegotiable. You can get your leases cut. You can turn around and get your cable bill reduced, your cell phone bill reduced. You've got to renegotiate.

And the third thing you want to do, Larry, is the average American family needs to look at what can I do to cut back?

And they are already doing that. We're seeing savings rates go up. Now, I know that hurts in terms of slowing down the economy. But let's face it, you just can't spend your way out of a recession. It's not that simple.

L. KING: OK. Let me get...

BACH: And most Americans need some money in savings.

L. KING: Let me get a break.

Our blogger-in-chief, David Theall, is blogging live tonight. He'll read all your posts and commenting on them right now. Go to, click on blog and talk to us. We want to hear from you.

We're back after this.


L. KING: During the break, Marcus was saying that in times of stress -- I said -- I asked him if there's anything good about this. And you said this might be a good time to kick back and look around.

BUCKINGHAM: Well, I think when the economy is going a million miles an hour, you don't really have the luxury to stop and consider where your career is going.

But in crisis times like this -- and actually crisis comes from the Greek crisis, which means to decide. It gives you a chance to stop, perhaps; think a little more clearly about what direction you want your career to go in.

It gives you a chance to breathe -- maybe start a new business, maybe get a different qualification that you always thought of getting but you couldn't get because the train was going so fast.

Well -- well, now the train is stopped at the station. So now is a chance to take that breath.

L. KING: Do you have any optimism in all of this, Tory? JOHNSON: Yes, I wish there were more jobs that existed. But I think Marcus is absolutely right. And I was talking to a man earlier today who for 30 years spent his career in advertising, never thought of doing anything else, until he was laid off. And he was out of work for six months, had the chance to look around and decided to join a non-profit, where he heads-up communications and marketing and, on the side, teaches a writing course at a community college.

He never would have thought about doing those things and is thrilled to be doing them right now.

One other thing that I would mention, I agree with Marcus that Monster is a really great resource. But I would caution about an excessive reliance on the Internet. Now is the time when you want to try to reach as many people directly as you can. Internal referrals are the single greatest source of new hires for businesses of every size, especially small businesses.

So you want to make sure you are getting out every day, connecting with as many people as possible, because that's ultimately going to lead to job leads, as well as the decision makers who will hire you.

KING: David, how do you handle being down?

BACH: Well, you have to question which is what is good about this? Larry, what is good about this right now -- I will go back to what Marcus said. It's a good time for us to catch our breath. We're catching it with our families. Board game sales are up. That's because families are spending time together. I think what you do in times like this is you sit around the kitchen table, you make dinner with your family, you talk about what's the best thing that happened in your day today?

My little son Jack is five years old. Every dinner, we say what are the best three things that happened today. You have a little positive focus. Instead of focusing on what is wrong, you focus on what is right. I think this is a time where America is catching its breath and taking its blessings. We need to do this at home with our families, with our friends and really with our loved ones. Ask your best friend, when they're complaining tomorrow, what is the best thing that happened this year. Get them to focus on the positive.

KING: That's a great idea. Back with more, including a couple calls too, right after this.


KING: Back with our panel. We'll get a call from San Francisco. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, Larry. Question for the panel here. There is this growing number of job forecasting. A lot of jobs out there two years ago weren't in existence. How does someone find these jobs in these fields, so that say Americans aren't hustled by India or say China?

KING: Tory, you want to start with this?

JOHNSON: We need more businesses to be willing to bring those jobs back to this country. That's for starters. But in addition to that, what often matters most to people is who is hiring in your specific area. I would pick up the phone and I would call the business editor or business writer at your local paper and say, where are the rays of sunshine. Tell me who is hiring. Tell me people you are receiving pitches from about how will their businesses are doing. Focus specifically on not just what you have done in the past or what some of the trends point to, but specifically who is hiring in your area.

BACH: Larry, I would throw in there, some of this is really obvious. You just have to pay attention to what is going on in the media. What is going on in the world. If you look at the issue of the environment, nobody was talking about the environment in America ten years ago. It's the single biggest issue other than our broken economy right now. If you ask yourself going out five to ten years, where is there going to be economic opportunity? It is going to be in going green. Going green is not a fad. Caring about the environment is a long-term thing that is going to take place around the world for decades.

If you have a kid, it's not saying, oh, it is all about plastics. Now what it is all about the environment. It's looking at where things are going long term, not just for a year or two.

KING: From our blog,, Bill in Athens, New York writes, "how do you go about getting a job when 90 percent of the companies are in a hiring freeze mentality." Marcus?

BUCKINGHAM: The first thing you do is look for the sectors that are hiring. The major sectors that are hiring, education, people will always need to educate their kids. The federal government, they may not have the money, but they're spending it. So they need to hire good people, You have got energy, utilities and health care. Pick the sectors that you know are always going to be strong during a tough time like this and go for those.

JOHNSON: And if necessary, hire yourself, if you can't find someone to hire you, consider consulting, consider starting a business. Maybe someone can't take you on full time, but perhaps there is a service you could offer to a business in your area or something you could do virtually.

KING: David, how long is this going to last, do you think?

BACH: My guess is that we are not even at the halfway mark, seriously, on this recession. I think we have another year, year and a half here. But let me just throw one more thing in here. I got out of school in 1990 and nobody was hiring. So how did I get in the door at company that weren't hiring. I went in and asked for informational interview. What is a informational interview? You say look, I know you are not hiring, but can I just come and talk to you for ten minutes. I promise, I will leave in ten minutes. I had five job offers within 30 days. That was in an economy that wasn't quite as bad as this, but it was pretty terrible. It was in California in 1990. Go in and look -- if you can't get a job right now, you have got to treat looking for a job like it's a job. That's not -- not looking for a couple hours here and there. Really going out, full time, getting up in the morning and spending ten hours a day looking for the job. You can find it. They are out there.

KING: Thank you all very much. This has been very spritely. We're going to have you all back. Marcus Buckingham, Tory Johnson and David Bach. Ashley Judd versus Governor Sarah Palin. We'll be back in 60 seconds.


KING: We're back. Quite a controversy over wolves. You wouldn't have thought we would have had that. But in Nashville is Ashley Judd, the actress and activist, one of our better actresses, by the way. Her new movie "Crossing Over" comes out this month. Also in Nashville is Rodger Schlickeisen, the president of the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. You made a video, Ashley, for Defenders of Wildlife concerning Alaska's aerial wolf hunting. Let's look at that and then get your thoughts.


ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: Hi this is Ashley Judd for Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. When Sarah Palin came on the national scene last summer, few knew that she promotes the brutal aerial killing of wolves. Now back in Alaska, Palin is again casting aside science and championing the slaughter of wildlife. Using the low flying plane, they kill in winter when there is no chance for the wolves to escape. Palin even proposed a 150 dollar bounty for the severed foreleg of each killed wolf. It is time to stop Sarah Palin and stop this senseless savagery.


KING: You want all wolves, no killing ever of wolves, Ashley?

JUDD: Oh, of course not, Larry. First, how do you do? Thank you so much for having us on the show. What is really important is to maintain a healthy and natural ecological balance between predators and prey. And allowing wealthy humans, primarily urban hunters or those who are bounty hunters from out of state, to go to Alaska and for sport hire airplanes, hire private pilots to fly around and kill wolves in this incredibly savage manner, it's not right. It is not ethical. It is not appropriate. It doesn't make sense on any level.

KING: Rodger, how many wolves are killed every year by aerial hunting?

RODGER SCHLICKEISEN, PRESIDENT, DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE ACTION FUND: Well the goal this year, Larry, is 616 wolves. That would be four to five times the number they killed last year, 124. So they are hoping to expand it considerably. They are trying to kill up to 80 percent of the wolves in parts of Alaska that are about 60,000 square miles in size, including public land.

KING: This is all legal?

JUDD: Well, it is because this is the governor's excuse, a rather unfortunate terminology, but it's her pet project. The people of Alaska twice, on separate ballots, have voted not to allow aerial hunting. And she has put it back on the ballot. And with very tricky wording that was extremely misleading to the public, it was reinstated. And, in fact, she even used -- I thought this was very clever, in an underhanded sort of way -- 400,000 dollars of taxpayers money to persuade taxpayers how they should vote on the issue. And when the people overturned it, she had it reinstated in the legislature.

KING: We reached out to the governor, have not got a response. However, on Wednesday, the governor released a statement. Here it is: "it is reprehensible and hypocritical that the Defenders of Wildlife would use Alaska and my administration as a fund-raising tool to deceive Americans into parting with their hard-earned money. The ad campaign by this extreme fringe group, as Alaskans have witnessed over the last several years, distorts the facts about Alaska's wildlife management programs. Alaskans depend on wildlife for food and cultural practices, which can't be sustained when predators are allowed to decimate moose and caribou populations. Shame on the Defenders of Wildlife for twisting the truth."


JUDD: Where do we start? First of all, just dismiss the whole first part, because that is just hyperbole. Just cross that off. We'll handle the middle and the last part.

SCHLICKEISEN: Let me say, referring to us as a fringe group -- I think Defenders of Wildlife has been around longer than Alaska has been a state. We have more members than Alaska has residents. So I think we're probably the fourth largest of the national environmental advocacy groups in the country. so the idea that we are fringe is a little strange.

As to extreme, I think probably we would be happy to leave to the American people judge who is extreme: people who support or champion the aerial killing of wildlife or people who oppose it. So, let's deal with those two.

KING: What about people that say to you, Ashley, you don't live in Alaska? So there is 400 wolves, so what?

JUDD: Well, I think that in terms of -- my response to that, Ghandi said it best: we know everything we need to know about a society by seeing how it treats its animals. And this is a conservation issue more than it is particularly an animal rights issue. And it matters to me because, as I said at the top, it is wrong on so many levels. I think what I find particularly galling in the governor's statement is that somehow this is interfering with poor rural Alaskan's ability to subsistence hunt. That is a distortion. In fact, there is a native tribe in the area who applied to be able to expand their subsistence hunting and she said no. This is for urban hunters. It's for trophy hunters from out of state. And in terms of managing the population of caribou, hello, wolves do that best. That's why the natives honor them as the animal that keeps genetic populations healthy.

KING: Well said. Let me get a break. Ashley Judd and Rodger Schlickeisen are with us. She's a famed actress. He is the president of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. Ladies of "The View" are even talking about this. Get to it when we get back.


KING: We played that PSA earlier featuring Ashley Judd. Elizabeth Hasselbeck on "The View" attacked it. Watch.


ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, "THE VIEW": The problem that I have here is that a lot of these vocal celebrities in a way get very loud about these animal killings. I guess she is as loud as -- she said how many wolves have been killed, 900 this year. Is she as loud about the 260,000 kids that are killed in abortions. I don't understand --


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, "THE VIEW": You know what -- that is a very, very huge jump.

HASSELBECK: -- who has also been standing up for human right, in terms of children's rights, to attack her for this.


JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": We're talking about animals, not children right now.

HASSELBECK: Hang on a minute. Don't tell me what I can think.

BEHAR: It would be nice if we can stay in the area.

HASSELBECK: Is this a socialist table here?


BEHAR: It would be easier to have the conversation if we could just stick to the wolves.


KING: We'll have Ashley respond. But first -- it's called a grabber.


KING: OK, Ashley, what do you make of that?

JUDD: What I make, Larry, is that we are in a transition period in our country, where we are figuring out that we can actually care about multiple things at once. And the archaic debate between the environment and the economy is just that, archaic and over. It's done. It's rigid, black and white, all or nothing thinking. We know now, by virtue of great thinkers like Van Jones, who wrote the "Green Collar Economy," that we can solve our two biggest problems at once, the environment and the energy crisis.

We can fight poverty and pollution at the same time. These things go hand in glove. Caring about human rights, caring about conservation, of course they fit together naturally. Look at Rwanda, stress on the environment, competition for resources due to overpopulation, genocide. It all works together. So it doesn't -- it's not an either/or conversation anymore.

KING: How did you get into this, Ashley, the wolf thing?

JUDD: I got into the wolf thing because my husband is a helicopter pilot. He flies for pleasure. I became aware of this savage abuse of the art and pleasure of aviation by looking at Defender's website. And I started to give money to Defenders on my husband's birthday, Valentine's Day, different special days throughout the year. And then I expanded that giving to include all the men in my family. I was giving anonymously and kind of amped up the ante during the election, because I really liked that they were exposing especially Governor Palin's extreme anti-conservation issue. The Polar bear issue was important to me.

And Rodger sent me a thank-you note for my donation. And I had done all my giving up to that point anonymously. And I had a nudge in my spirit to write back in my own name. The next day, we did the voice over for the polar bear ad electronically, and we got that on the air right away. And we've been buddies ever since.

KING: When Sarah Palin was a candidate last fall, I asked the animal expert Jack Hannah his take on the governor's stance on aerial hunting. Watch.


KING: I wanted to ask you one quick question about Governor Palin of Alaska. Does it bother you that she hunts and kills wolves?

JACK HANNAH, ANIMAL EXPERT: I don't know what she kills -- no matter what party you're in, the point is, Larry, hunting is a necessity because what man has done. To answer your question, I don't hunt, but some of my best friends are hunters and some of the best conservationists in the world are hunters. How do we control what we've messed up? How do we control deer populations? How do we control wolf populations? Because of our ecosystem.

KING: So you have no objection.

HANNAH: No. KING: Just asking.

HANNAH: If it's done according to state regulations by the Game and Fish Commission. Each state has a different Game and Fish Commission.


KING: Rodger, how would you respond?

JUDD: Which in Alaska it's appointed by Governor Palin. Isn't that convenient.

SCHLICKEISEN: That's right. If he had been addressing the specific issue of the aerial killing that's going on in Alaska, and he was aware of the fact that hundreds and hundreds of scientists have repeatedly rejected this, repeatedly complained to Alaska's government and to Governor Palin in particular about this, because of the unscientific nature of this, he wouldn't be saying it the way he did. I don't think he meant to imply that he approved of aerial slaughter of wildlife in Alaska. I'm sure he didn't mean to imply that.

KING: Ashley, you think you're going to get a change?

JUDD: Oh, of course we are. Of course we are, Larry.

SCHLICKEISEN: We have a suggestion actually that occurred to me sitting out in the other room, Larry. Governor Palin is very proud of this program and she thinks it is the right thing to do. And I'm sure she believes in transparency in government, too. So my suggestion is that maybe she invite CNN up to film one of these aerial wolf killing outings. I'm sure other networks would like to come up, too. And then you can put this out for all of the public in America to see, exactly what this is about. And she can proudly describe it and stand up for it.

JUDD: And --

KING: Can't speak for CNN, but I would bet they would go.

JUDD: They might want to wait until she expands it, because she now proposes that the aerial hunting include black bear sows and their baby cubs.

KING: Ashley, great seeing you. Thanks for joining us.

JUDD: Thank you, Larry. Pleasure.

KING: Rodger, you will remain a minute. We'll be joined by Rod Arno, the executive director of Alaska Outdoors Council. Do you hunt? That's our quick vote now at The Alaska Outdoor Council will respond next.


KING: That's going to be some show on Tuesday night. That's the whole crew of that airplane. Rodger Schlickeisen remains with us. And we're joined on the phone in Juneau, Alaska by Rod Arno, the Executive Director of the Alaska Outdoor Council. What do you make of this debate, Rod?

ROD ARNO, ALASKA OUTDOOR COUNCIL: Well, we've been going through this with antis from outside of the state, thinking they know how to manage wildlife in Alaska better than Alaska does for more over a decade now.

KING: It looks kind of weird, a guy goes in an airplane, takes a rifle outside the airplane, outside the window of the airplane and shoots a wolf. That ain't sport.

ARNO: No, and a sportsman isn't allowed to participate in this control program.

KING: What is it then?

ARNO: Everyone who participates in this program has to get a permit from the state of Alaska. And no non-residents can participate in it, nor can they be gunners. This is clearly a control program to reduce the predation on moose and caribou.

KING: Anything done with the skins?

ARNO: Yes. Every one of them is picked up and sold at a state auction at the Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage every -- it's in February. And then the money for that then goes to the department for funding.

KING: All right, Rodger. It's not done for sport. It is also not done to please some hunter. It has a purpose. How do you respond?

SCHLICKEISEN: Well, they say that this is wildlife management. And Rod is complaining that people from outside of Alaska are weighing in and giving opinions on this. But people weigh in and give opinions on wildlife management all across the United States. Alaska isn't unique in that regard. And surely he does have some respect for the hundreds, literally hundreds of wildlife scientists and other experts who have criticized this program over the years, including the American Society of Mammologists, who are the oldest and most respected and largest mammalian science group in the country.

KING: Rodger, the main critique is?

SCHLICKEISEN: The main critique is they don't have the science to back this up. They have called for it again and again and again. And every time Alaska has responded and people like Rod have responded, the scientists have looked at it again and said, you've got to be kidding. You don't have the faintest notion what kind of real levels of predator and prey populations you have, what their relationships are.

KING: Rod, want to respond?

ARNO: Yes. You know, I have no problem with opinion, but it should be based on some facts. And it's easy for all Americans or anyone who chooses to go online to the state of Alaska, the Department of Fish and Game, and there's quite a bit of material on there about the science based behind this. Alaska's got the most reputable predator/prey scientists in the world. They are world renowned and very few people dispute that.

KING: How do you react then to the criticism, Rod?

ARNO: The criticism is from people that aren't up here participating in a predator/prey management scheme in an area that's got enough protected habitat to allow that to occur. You look at the 100 people on the list that they are talking about, and very few of those are Alaskan scientists, and most of them are pretty minor. And, in fact, the state of Alaska went and refuted the report and they left it at that. They didn't question the state's management and that's all -- that's all on the website.

KING: Rod, thanks for joining us. Rodger, we'll do a lot more on this, maybe a full-fledged debate.

SCHLICKEISEN: I'd love to respond a little more, so I hope we get another chance.

KING: Well, we'll do more. Rodger, thank you, and Rod, thank you. And thank you, of course, to Miss Judd. Join us Tuesday when miracle flight pilot Sully Sullenberger and his entire crew are here. This is a prime time exclusive, the three flight attendants and the two pilots. Send them an e-mail question at or click on our blog and download our latest podcast, who is Joe Torre, while you're there. Don't forget the Grammys. Jennifer Hudson, Neil Diamond, Kid Rock, Tim McGraw are just a few you'll see this Sunday. Going to be quite a show.

Quite a show now. Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?