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Staying Safe in a Tough Economy; Obama's Special Olympics Slip- Up; Is Obama Dropping the Ball?

Aired March 20, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Barack Obama's "Tonight Show" blunder.


JAY LENO, HOST: Oh, that's very good, Mr. President.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was like -- it was like Special Olympics or something.


KING: What was he thinking?

Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver strikes back.

Is the president losing focus?

What's with the town hall meetings and March madness?


OBAMA: They just don't have the muscle (INAUDIBLE).


KING: Should he lay off the jokes and lay into the issues?

Plus, how to stay healthy when the economy is sick -- why you have to get fit now.

Suzanne Somers and others are here to help, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We begin with Tim Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics.

He joins us in Washington.

I was telling Tim that I remember when it began. I had his father and mother, who began all of this 41 years ago, on my shows back then in Miami. Tim is -- he was just a little tyke then, going to Oriole games.

He's now chairman of the Special Olympics. President Obama, as we all know, made a controversial offhand remark about the Olympics last night while on "The Tonight Show."



LENO: Are they going to put a basketball -- I imagine the bowling alley has been just burned and closed down?

OBAMA: No, no. I've been prac...

LENO: Oh, you're going to keep it?

OBAMA: I have been practicing bowling.

LENO: Really?


LENO: Really?

OBAMA: I -- I bowled a 129.



OBAMA: I had...

LENO: Oh, no. That's very good. Yes.


OBAMA: I (INAUDIBLE) it was like...

LENO: No, that's very good, Mr. President.

OBAMA: It was like Special Olympics or something.


LENO: Oh, that's -- no, that's very good.

OBAMA: The -- no, listen, I -- I'm making progress on the bowling.

LENO: Yes.



KING: Tim, I understand he called you. TIMOTHY SHRIVER, CHAIRMAN, SPECIAL OLYMPICS: He did, shortly after the appearance from Air Force One. He, I think, understood immediately that -- that his choice of words that he said was the wrong choice of words. He expressed his regret. He used the word apology and he said he had not intended to cause any pain or any humiliation to anyone.

And he committed to -- to opening the door to more engagement with our movement. And, you know, the president, I think notwithstanding this situation, has opened the door for a teachable moment here. I think -- I can't brush aside the pain and the sadness this caused a lot of people.

My e-mail traffic today and phone traffic today was just overwhelmed by parents who felt a certain sense of betrayal and a certain sense of sadness in this moment, not because they attributed malice to the president, but because they attribute a certain pain on behalf of their own children from these kinds of remarks -- remarks that, even in a subtle way, are somewhat humiliating and putdowns of people with special needs.

So I think we're on a new trajectory now to talk about what we can do as a country, what he can do as the leader of the country to awaken us to the needs and the gifts of this population.

KING: In a sense, then, a bad occurrence -- or an occurrence that was in poor taste -- can turn out good because it now focuses attention on what you do.

SHRIVER: I think that's right. I think, you know, if you look to even today, Larry, we saw a huge spectrum of responses. We had a lot of people writing to us saying how offended they were by these remarks. We had an equal number of people writing to us saying, what was the problem?

Why don't we have a sense of humor?

Get over it.

And I think it reflects, again, what -- what we've been trying to discuss through our movements over 40 years, which is there's still a gap in understanding. There's still a misunderstanding of the needs of this population, of their dignity, of their aspirations, of their feelings. Still, most people think there's nothing wrong with using the word retard, there's nothing wrong with making a joke about Special Olympians.

KING: Were you shocked -- by the way, were you watching the show?

SHRIVER: Well, I ended up watching the show, but he called me before the show aired.

KING: Oh, I see.

Were you shocked when you watched it?

SHRIVER: I was -- I was just -- you know, I have to say I was a little heartbroken...

KING: Yes.

SHRIVER: Again, not because of -- not because of -- that I attribute malice to the president. And, you know, I think all of us, as Americans, are respectful of the office and respectful of the leader that we have in these kinds of situations.

But it hurt. And I think he knows that. And he understands it. And I think he -- you know, he's challenged this country to change in so many ways. And we're all embarking on so many different changes. This is one of those changes that where he can be the role model of how to do it.

KING: Yes.

SHRIVER: And the first step is to say you're sorry. And then from there to find the new patterns where we can find new ways to get along.

KING: Sarah Palin, who I know you know, has a special needs child.


KING: Also reacted. Here's part of her -- what she said. She said: "I was shocked to learn of the comment made by President Obama about Special Olympics. That was a degrading remark about our world's most precious and unique people coming from the most powerful position in the world. I hope President Obama's comments do not reflect how he truly feels about the special needs community."

Do you think that expresses what a lot of people are thinking?

SHRIVER: I think there's some people that feel that way. You know, obviously Special Olympics is completely non-partisan. We worked very closely with President Bush when he was president. He was very supportive of our movement. We will work closely and look forward to working closely with the Obama team to promote the gifts and abilities of people with special needs.

We're not in the middle of a political debate here between Republicans and Democrats. We've had great support on both sides of the aisle. Even now, Senator Harkin, who's a Democrat, is leading work to promote The Community Choice Act, which will be introduced this week, with multiple bipartisan support.

KING: Yes.

SHRIVER: So this is a common ground issue. This is not a -- an issue where, you know, one political party, I think, needs to gain the upper hand. That's not, certainly, our agenda.

KING: Mr. Gibbs, the president's press secretary, stressed again today that Obama is sorry for the remark.



ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I know that the president believes that the Special Olympics are a triumph of -- of the human spirit. And I think he understands that they deserve a lot better than -- than the thoughtless joke that he made last night and he apologizes for that.


KING: Your sister, Maria, also released a statement. She's the first lady, of course, of California: "The president's apology for his comments and his commitment to bringing the Special Olympics to the White House are important first steps in shedding light on this important issue. Oftentimes we don't realize that when we laugh at comments like this, it hurts millions of people throughout the world."

And her husband, the governor of California, Arnold, also had a thought.



GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I didn't see it. But I heard about it. And I know, because of conversations I had with the president about Special Olympics, since I'm the international coach of Special Olympics, I know where his heart is at. He loves Special Olympics. And he would do everything he can to help Special Olympics. And every one of us sometimes makes a mistake by something comes out of your mouth and you say, oops, I wish I wouldn't have said that.



SCHWARZENEGGER: No, of course not.

RENDELL: (INAUDIBLE) taking one more question.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I had many of those, unfortunately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Anyway, good to see you.


KING: And, finally, Tim, is it true that your organization is thinking about asking the president to hire a Special Olympics athlete...

SHRIVER: Well, we've...

KING: the White House?

SHRIVER: Yes. We've talked with -- you know, I heard today from David Axelrod, who is one of the president's closest advisers, who has a child who is in the Special Olympics program, who competes in Chicago, who's the pride and joy of he and his wife Susan. They're looking at all the different ways, not just because of this incident. This transcends the incident here.

But they're looking at all different ways. And should they be -- they're already hiring people with physical disabilities and have been quite aggressive and quite prominent in doing so.

But couldn't they also hire someone with an intellectual disability?

KING: Yes.

SHRIVER: This is a chronic problem. We have a 90 percent unemployment rate for this population in most parts of the country.

Couldn't the president create a path-breaking statement by saying these are valuable people, they can contribute in the workplace and we've found someone who can do a great job here in the White House and serve the country and serve his administration?

That would be a great way to signal, I think, a change of heart and really lead a -- lead a -- lead a discussion.

KING: I would not be shocked if he did.

Thanks, Tim.

SHRIVER: Thank you for having me.

KING: You do noble work.

Tim Shriver, chairman, Special Olympics.

We want to know what you think about the president's failed attempt at humor. Go to, click on blog, sound off and we'll share some of your comments later in the show.

Next, is the president losing focus?

Is he trying too hard?

Stay with us.


KING: We have an outstanding panel to discuss a potpourri -- I love that word -- of all these events.

They are, in New Orleans, James Carville, CNN's political contributor and Democratic strategist. In Washington, the return of Tucker Carlson, contributor to and senior fellow at the Cato Institute and no longer wearing a bow tie.

Here in Los Angeles, Stephanie Miller, host of "The Stephanie Miller Show".

And in Washington, Amy Holmes, CNN political contributor.

Before we get into it, guys, here's another clip of the president making history last night.



LENO: Now, it's only, what, 59 days now, right?

OBAMA: Yes, 59 days.

LENO: And so much scrutiny.

Is it fair to judge so quickly?

I mean how...

OBAMA: Well, look, we are going through a difficult time. I welcome the challenge. You know, I ran for president because I thought we needed big changes. And I do think, in Washington, it's a little bit like "American Idol," except everybody is Simon Cowell.

LENO: Wow!



KING: All right. A funny line.

Is all of this -- he's on every day. In fact, I ran into someone, James, today, and I said, you know, the president is on "60 Minutes" Sunday night and the guy said so what?


KING: You know, it's another day.

Is it too much, James?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, no. I mean when you inherit three wars, a collapse in demand, a collapse in the housing market and a collapse in the banking market, you've got a lot to do. And, you know, he's -- they're out there doing a lot of things. And, you know, he's in California, which, the last time I checked, was the largest state in the country that he's leading. And he is doing a lot of things. And I suspect they're going to continue to have to do a lot of things. There's just a lot to do in this country. And, you know, he's got a lot of energy.

KING: Tucker, have you got any problem with "The Tonight Show" visits and talking basketball?


Well, I'm not sure you do those things on "Jay Leno" or ESPN.


CARLSON: I mean, look, this is what he has. He's an incredibly charming guy. He's got a winning personality. You like him when you watch him. So he goes on something like "Jay Leno." It's an extension of his campaign. It's all about boosting his approval numbers, which is fine.

At the very same moment, however, the Congressional Budget Office comes out and says, oops, the Obama administration somehow overlooked $2.3 trillion in deficit spending in their budget. They just kind of didn't see it.

So there's a lot of else going on while he's on these shows calling attention to his winning personality. And I think we should pay attention to both.

KING: Stephanie, what's your read?

STEPHANIE MILLER, TALK RADIO HOST: Larry, first of all, I wouldn't go talking about people that are on TV every night, if I were you.

KING: I'm asking questions.

I'm at the...


KING: Go ahead.

MILLER: But, you know, I think it's like James says. You know, he -- because he's dealing with such obstructionist Republicans in Washington, he's taking his case to the people. And good for him. He's explaining his programs and what he's trying to do. And, you know, I think he made a good point. He's president. He's been left a lot of problems. He can't just deal with the economy. It's all interconnected. He has to deal with health care. He has to deal with energy. And he's dealing with it.

KING: Amy, what about those who say he should focus on one or two things at a time? AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, he's getting that from a lot of quarters. Warren Buffett said that. You just can't cram all these things down the American people's throats and expect them to be able to swallow it. Even Senator Inouye from Hawaii, a fellow Democrat, is saying we just can't do all of this at once. We need to focus on what's wrong with our economy, fixing the banking system and the financial sector.

But getting back to this whole, you know, "Jay Leno" format, you know, frankly, I thought it was unpresidential. Let's look at who Jay Leno has on tonight. Seth Rogen, last seen in "Zack and Mary Make A Porno" and "Pineapple Express." Now, I saw both movies. But I'm not sure the president of the United States needs to be sitting and, you know, chatting it up with Jay Leno when he tells us we're facing a huge crisis.


KING: We're going to take a break...


KING: And we'll come back. Lots more to discuss on this area with our group.

Your blog comments in 60 seconds.


KING: David joins us with our blog report. President Obama's week on the road on TV has clearly touched a nerve -- David, have you been monitoring the comments?

And what are they saying?

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Look, Larry, we asked this question of the day, do you think President Obama is wasting time on late night talk show appearances, town halls and sports picks?

Most of the people are willing to give the president a free pass. We're hearing from a lot of people like this, who say: "It's great to have a president to be so visible and connect with the people. I have full confidence in his leadership abilities."

There are some people who are chiming in and saying that, yes, he should be back in Washington working on these important issues, people like the person who said this: "If we're so broke as a nation, then stop spending money -- our money -- with unnecessary travel to do variety shows and pep rallies with the faithful." Says this person: "Get to work. Heaven knows, we have to."

KING: And I see, also, David, that they're talking possibly about the president's Special Olympics gaffe.

THEALL: We do, Larry. We have a clip of "The Tonight Show" appearance from President Obama last night on the blog. And this one people have certainly been commenting on our blog and other blogs throughout the day.

Most of the people that we're hearing from are from special needs parents who really have a problem with what the president said last night. Somebody like this person who says: "Mr. Shriver doesn't accept the president's apology on my behalf. I think that anyone who wasn't bothered by the president's comments should examine their heart and their attitude." And he signed it: "the father of a special needs child."

We're going to continue this conversation, as we always do, Look for that live blog link, click it and jump into the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you -- Larry, back to you.

KING: Thanks, David, as always.

More on the president, his road trip and those basketball picks, right after this.


KING: Welcome back.

We're talking about President Obama's road trip this week.

Here's what we heard at a town hall meeting in California.


OBAMA: Somebody was saying the other -- today, I think -- that I shouldn't be on Leno.


OBAMA: I can't -- I can't handle that and the economy at the same time.



KING: James, how does he remain so popular?

I mean, he's inherited all this kind of thing -- criticism left and right, the economy falling apart...

CARVILLE: Because people...

KING: ...and he stays on top.

CARVILLE: People see through the absurdity of all of this. The idea that he shouldn't be doing the basketball brackets -- you know, Franklin Roosevelt listened to horse racing in the White House in the middle of the Depression. Frankly, I'd feel better if I knew he put a bet on a couple of them. I mean all of this pontificating and you can't do this and that. I mean people see right through that. Jay Leno's leaving television. He's been on there 17 years. He's a popular guy. The president is in the largest state in the United States. I mean he's out being -- doing things that a president does. He's talking about his agenda, he's talking about his programs. He's trying to inform people.

I think this whole -- you know, all of his critics just need to lighten up about 50 percent here...

KING: All right. He's not...

CARVILLE: ...and quit worrying about basketball brackets.

KING: He's not leaving, he's switching time slots and going to an earlier time slot.

Tucker, does...

CARVILLE: Well, I understand. But "The Tonight Show" he's leaving.

KING: Yes.

Tucker, does it drive you a little nuts, as a critic, to see his popularity ratings?

CARLSON: No, not really. I think he's a really appealing guy. I've always thought that. I followed the campaign for two years and I thought he had a very winning personality. I still think that. I think I'll always think that.

I'm just -- the thing that bothers me is how little attention is paid to his policies. It's not that he can't go on "Leno" and do a lot of stuff. He can. He absolutely -- he's done more than any president in the first two months in American history.

And the central idea is, at a time that we have no money, we're going to spend -- deficit spend another $9.5 trillion. Now, maybe that's a great idea. Maybe it's deranged. I think it's deranged. But we should be debating that.

He's done a lot. He's an activist. Let's debate what he's doing. And you've heard virtually no debate it. And that really bothers me.

KING: We're going to get into some specifics economic wise as we go along.

But one more thing we want to show you and then we'll get a comment from Stephanie.

Obama has taken a hit from Duke's basketball coach, Mr. Krzyzewski, over an ESPN White House appearance making picks.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COURTESY ESPN) OBAMA: This is a tough one. I still think that Duke, a lot of skilled perimeter players, they just don't have the muscle in the center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. DeJuan Blair...

OBAMA: I think Blair...


OBAMA: Blair is going to eat them up.



MIKE KRYZYZEWSKI, COACH, DUKE BASKETBALL TEAM: Somebody said that you know, we're not in President Obama's final four, you know?

And as much as I respect what he's doing, really, you know, the economy is something that he should focus on, you know, probably more than the brackets.


KING: Is that a point, Stephanie?


MILLER: I think he was kidding. But, you know, I think James...

KING: You think Krzyzewski was kidding or the president?

MILLER: I think he was being light-hearted, Krzyzewski. But I mean, you know, look, which is it?

They're saying oh, he's going to -- he's having parties, he's going on "The Tonight Show," get to work. And then they say he's doing too much.

Which is it?

Is he doing too much work or is he playing too much?

You know, as the president said the other day, you know, the American family doesn't have the choice of going, oh, am I going to deal with my kid's education or health care or whatever -- or the mortgage?

They have to deal with all of it and so does he.

KING: Amy, in fact, he did inherit most of this, did he not?

HOLMES: Well, he did. He inherited an economic meltdown that was long in the making, as we know, as he explained on "Jay Leno," the subprime crisis and then it -- you know, being collateralized and all of -- and all of that business.

But getting back to, actually, his popularity ratings, I think something that's been a little bit misunderstood conventional wisdom here is that he actually does not have higher approvals than George Bush did at precisely this time in his presidency, in his first term, after losing the popular vote to Al Gore.

So I think this is really more a tribute to the American people, that they're willing to give our president the time to succeed and they're willing to wait and see. But, you know, the clock is ticking and Barack Obama needs to, I think, be pulling us together.

KING: James, the approach of being -- all the press conferences, doing a lot of things, while that appears busy, isn't -- doesn't it appear to say I'm focused on too many things at one time?

CARVILLE: Just focus on the banking crisis and the housing crisis. Unfortunately, there's a collapse in demand. There's a war in Iraq. There's a war in Afghanistan. North Korea is doing all kinds of things. There's a crisis in health care.

And you just don't get to pick and choose, when you're president of the United States, particularly at a time like this. And he's a busy man. And Tucker is right, it's not, certainly, a lack of doing things. And maybe somebody has a better idea how to create some demand in this economy. But most economists think what he's doing is actually a pretty good idea. But he doesn't get a chance...


CARVILLE: He doesn't -- well, again, we could -- we could debate. I don't know how to tell you this, Tucker, there's no demand out there.

CARLSON: But the idea that...


CARVILLE: demand is collapsing.

CARLSON: ...most economists agree...

CARVILLE: The consumer demand is...

CARLSON: ...with -- with...

CARVILLE: That's correct.

CARLSON: ...pumping up the deficit by over $5 trillion...

CARVILLE: That -- that -- that...

CARLSON: this budget?

CARVILLE: That is correct. That is correct.

CARLSON: I don't know who these most economists are.


CARVILLE: That is...

CARLSON: I don't know what economists you're having dinner with.

CARVILLE: Well, maybe you need to go out and look and see. There's not much demand in this economy. The idea is that they're trying to stimulate it. Now, you can argue about that or you can argue about his housing plan, but he actually has one. Or you can argue what he's doing in banking, but he's actually doing something.

CARLSON: Now, what's the...

CARVILLE: You can argue...

CARLSON: ...what's the banking plan?


MILLER: Tucker...

CARVILLE: ...Middle East policy. He's actually doing something.

MILLER: Tucker...

CARLSON: What's the banking plan?

MILLER: ...I always wanted to respond...

KING: One at a time.

MILLER: I always wanted to know...


KING: One at a time.

MILLER: Tucker, I always want to know from you guys. You're the party...


MILLER: ...that handed us a $1.3 trillion deficit.

How do you suggest we get out of this?

CARLSON: The Libertarian Party did that?

MILLER: It's not like the president...

CARLSON: I don't think so, Stephanie.

MILLER: It's not like the president came in itching to spend money. How would you get us out of this?

CARLSON: OK. Let me...

MILLER: And if...

CARLSON: Let me just say...

HOLMES: But hold on. If you think the deficit is a bad idea, then why would you be supporting a budget that he estimates is $3.6...


HOLMES: ...but we now find out from the CBO is an additional $2 trillion?

To criticize your predecessor for creating a deficit and then blowing it up many times, that just doesn't make sense.

CARLSON: You're not going to get me to defend Bush.

MILLER: Because like James says, economists on both sides of the aisle say that that's what we need to do to...


CARLSON: Let me just make a small point...

KING: One at a time.

CARLSON: ...a very small (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Tucker, go ahead.


KING: Tucker, go ahead.

CARLSON: These new...

KING: Yes, sir?

CARLSON: The Congressional Budget Office numbers, which came out today, by law -- they have to come out -- they're going to change the debate. This is something that just a month ago, the Obama people didn't know about -- $2.3 trillion in additional deficit spending. They didn't even know. It was their budget.

This is going to change -- you will see Democrats on Capitol Hill say, whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on. This is too much. This is scary.

HOLMES: They're already doing that.

CARLSON: Next week is going to be very different from this week, I promise.

KING: And we promise that we'll be back with more right after this.

Don't go away.


KING: James, what about the AIG thing and the possibility that the president knew about these bonuses?

CARVILLE: Well, look, the AIG thing was -- was not handled very well. I mean I defended the administration, but this thing has sort of blown up. And the Congress is going to have to take a long, hard look at this whole issue of compensation for these -- these companies that are receiving government aid.

I think -- I think there's real outrage in this country. You know, in the last eight years, worker productivity has shot up and wages have actually gone down.

Now, somebody somewhere has got that money. And then we have this collapse. And I can understand people's anger. And I think that now that this bill has gone to the Senate, they're going to have to look at this and try to deal with it in some kind of way.

And while I defend the administration on most things, I think this AIG thing could have been handled better, obviously.

KING: Tucker, do you agree, Tucker?

CARLSON: You think?


CARLSON: I mean -- yes, in every way. Politically, it could have been handled better. But the bottom line question is do you want the Congress of the United States running businesses?

And you don't, because they can't. They're not qualified to do it. They do a terrible job.

KING: Well, what do you do when businesses do a terrible job?

CARLSON: You let the...

KING: Who's left?

CARLSON: You let businesses fail. No business has a moral right to your money.

If it doesn't manage its own affairs properly, it fails and new businesses take its place. But by definition, it's favoritism to prop up one business and let another one collapse.

No. Government should not be in the business of helping inefficient industries stay afloat, period. And Bush started it. I'm not defending Bush. He started it. But we shouldn't continue it.

KING: Stephanie, has he got a point?

MILLER: Well, I was just going to say, that's the thing we should remember, the AIG bailout started under Bush and Hank Paulson. Look, Bush and the Republicans never met an executive bonus they didn't love. For them to be screaming now is a little bit disingenuous. I agree with James, there's enough blame on all this to go around.

Boy, when they were talking about the unions, they could renegotiate. They ought to make concessions. Damn well right we better get our money back from AIG.

KING: Amy, with something like AIG, we own 80 percent of AIG. It's not a private business anymore, is it?

HOLMES: That's right. You heard congressmen saying they regard AIG employees as public servants. So, you know, when you get into bed with government, you don't get a very good night's sleep. That's something that conservatives said in the very beginning to these businesses, if you accept this money, you don't just answer to your shareholders and your board, you now answer to 300 million Americans.

I think that's what we're seeing. In terms of blame to share? It seems that everyone is passing the blame. We heard Nancy Pelosi say, no, the House didn't have anything to do with this. We heard the Treasury secretary say he found out on March 10th. Now we are finding out that a congressman told him on March 3rd. Now we find out AIG informed them and that the New York Fed informed them, and even said it would be a huge political problem.

So here we have a Treasury -- we have the Treasury secretary either incompetent on disingenuous. I don't think Tim Geithner has been really inspiring confidence these past 50-some days.

KING: James, is the Treasury secretary in trouble?

CARVILLE: I don't think so. You know, by all estimates, he's a very smart guy. He's probably not the best communicator in the administration. But, you know, AIG is the perfect deregulated company. These derivatives and these credit default swaps were Tucker and Amy's dream. Nobody did anything about it. The problem is, if AIG goes under, they're not just like any private company -- they're not like the dry cleaner on the corner -- so all the banks collapse with them, because they have insured all these bad loans.

The administration definitely does not want to be in the banking business. This is not their idea. I don't think it was really the Bush administration's idea either. It's just the nature of the financial system is such that one company has a hold on the entire country hostage. I don't like it one built. But nobody's come up with a better idea what to do about it.

KING: Tucker, where is it all going?

CARLSON: It's moving toward the S-word. We're moving towards socialism, Democratic socialism, soft socialism. It's moving toward a system in which the federal government, which is inherently political, by nature, controls the private sector. You don't want that. The government's really good at a couple of things, paving the roads, defending the nation. It's good at some things. Very bad at other things, including running companies. We should never forget that.

Look, the second you get into it --

MILLER: The people running them aren't doing such a great job, are they?

CARLSON: They're not. That's the point. It's not my responsibility, Stephanie, or your responsibility to pay for their mistakes. The second you take them over, you're responsible for them.

CARVILLE: Let me share with everybody something.

MILLER: Congressmen don't. They sit there on their committees and they harang these guys.


MILLER: Liddy, it didn't happen under him -- but that was my favorite moment, how about -- how about if we give half the bonuses back? Can you imagine trying that with your mortgage? How about I give you half?

CARVILLE: I want to share everyone on this panel one thing. The government doesn't want to be in the banking business. They don't want to bail us out. They don't want responsibility for this. If they don't do it, there will be a collapse in the banking system. That's what they're doing.

Mr. Geithner doesn't want to be there. Mr. Summers doesn't want to be there. Miss Romer doesn't want to be there. I assure you, this is not something nefarious. They would love if all of these banks and AIG would turn around tomorrow and get out there.

HOLMES: -- to loan the money, and instead they decided to take 80 percent ownership.

KING: Guys, to be continued. James Carville, Tucker Carlson, Stephanie Miller, Amy Holmes, thanks. Are you losing sleep, stressed by money, job worries? You're not alone. The economy is affecting the health of millions. Suzanne Somers, Jillian Michaels, Dr. Robin Smith here to help next.


KING: We're back. The state of our economy is doing a number on our health. A third of all Americans are losing sleep, for example, due to money related worries. The National Sleep Foundation says it affects diet and exercise. We're eating more, working out less. And to top it off, during a bad economy, people are more likely to smoke and so on.

Here to help us get a grip are three women who know what they're talking about, Suzanne Somers, the actress, business woman and author. Her latest book, "Break Through, Eight Steps to Wellness." Jillian Michaels, health and wellness expert, trainer on "The Biggest Loser," and author of "Master Your Metabolism." And in Philadelphia, psychologist Dr. Robin Smith. Hosts her own radio show on "Oprah and Friends" and wrote "Lies at The Altar, the Truth about Great Marriages."

How troublesome is this, Suzanne, when we have the bad economy? How bad is health affected?

SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS: Well, I think you would have to go to the end point, though: how bad could it be so that you can start to feel lucky for what you do have. I think you have to look at glass half full.

KING: Stressful times.

SOMERS: It is very stressful. But I know -- and I always come back to hormones. But really, when you are stressed -- and this usually would be from people 35 on that are going to be the most stressed about this economy. Stress blunts hormone production. You know, I've talked about this before, but when my house burned down, and there was a calm about me when my house burned down. I always have attributed that calm to the fact that I was so hormonally balanced, that I was able to look at it and --

KING: All of America is not going to go out and get hormones tomorrow.

SOMERS: They should.

KING: But that's not going to happen. So being realistic, what's a good first step toward stress dealing?

SOMERS: First step is to really try to understand how -- what is good about it. There's a lot of opportunities in this.

KING: Glass half full.

SOMERS: The opportunities are that families --

KING: A cheap rate.

SOMERS: If you're in that market, you can. Not many people can. But families can start getting more connected, spending more time at home. That's really important. That escaped us.

KING: Jillian, how about exercise to deal with stress?

JILLIAN MICHAELS, "THE BIGGEST LOSER": Exercise is critical. Ironically, Suzanne's actually totally right. It is all about how stress is affecting your hormones and making you sick. Exercise is one of the number one ways to inhibit your stress hormones.

KING: You're down, out of work. You're losing a house. Hard to get on the treadmill. MICHAELS: But you should take control of the one thing that you can, which is your health. You can be proactive. You can eat right. You can work out. You can practice stress reduction techniques. Get enough sleep. Take care of yourself. That's exactly what you should be focused on right now.

SOMERS: Also, when you are out of work, that is the perfect time to start digging in your yard and putting a garden in. I have this incredible organic garden. And I don't have tents to really work in it, unless I'm having a dip in my --

KING: They did it at the White House today. Dr. Smith, you work with families, couples, and Fortunate 500 employees. How do you help them deal with all of this stress and managing lives during a financial crisis like this?

DR. ROBIN SMITH, PSYCHOLOGIST: Larry, the issue -- and I certainly agree with the other panelists. The bottom line is this, that what you feed and what you focus is what grows. If you are feeding stressful thoughts, if you are overcome with what's happening in your day-to-day life -- and look, I get it. The fact that people are losing their jobs, their company is going to close in 45 days, and the train has derailed. It's not going to get back on the track.

But what you can control is not only your health, and not only your hormones, but you can control your mind. And so the real thing that I want people to know tonight, and they can begin it right now at this very moment, is this: that if you decide that you're going to feed your brain, you're going to change the way you see things, it actually means that you're going to begin to tilt the scale. And all of a sudden, the thing that you were feeling really bad about, you were having a pity party --

And I'm not against pity parties. I will throw you one. But there has to be a statute of limitations as to how long are you going to feel bad for yourself. Because Larry, the energy I use to feel bad about me is going to rob me of all the energy that I need to solve problems and to come up with real practical solutions today.

KING: Jillian, here's a look at you and your "Biggest Loser" team showing a little tough love. Watch.


MICHAELS: It's so much safer to smoke cigarettes when you're on "The Biggest Loser" campus. God, you know what? They should print that on a little warning label. As long you smoke on the "Biggest Loser" campus, no lung cancer for you. When you drink alcohol and eat crap, as long as you're on the "Biggest Loser" campus, no weight goes on your body. What are you talking about?


KING: Frantic there.

MICHAELS: A bit of a rough season. I was just telling Suzanne that I --

SOMERS: You need a little estrogen.

MICHAELS: I've been having a hard time.

KING: When stressed, people smoke.

MICHAELS: It's true. I think the contestants in this particular scenario were under a lot of stress. They've been sequestered from their families, friends, loved ones. They're being beat up by a crazy woman eight hours a day. With that said, we go back to channeling your energy towards positive things. And when you're going through tough times, if you focus on what you can learn from it, how you can grow, how you can become richer, gain depth and understanding, that's where it's a glass half full scenario.

KING: We'll pick up with Suzanne and we'll also get your King Cam questions and answer from the experts in 60 seconds.


KING: We've got King Cam questions tonight. Our first deals with the stress of having too many jobs. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Stallone. I have three jobs. I have a hard time trying to save money to buy the stuff that I need. I'm very stressed out because of this. You guys have any opinion or help that you can give to me that can release some of this stress that I'm having right now?


KING: Dr. Smith?

SMITH: A great question. I have something really important, self-care. Everything that he talked about is duty and it is draining. So my question, and my challenge to you is that you figure out what is something concrete you can do that brings you pleasure. Suzanne mentioned when her house burned down, and that she had calm and peace. And a lot of that had to do with hormonal balance. It also had to do with, at least I believe, Suzanne, the fact that you had a sense that your behavior was going to be something that your feelings followed.

So I hope that tonight, again, what we can do, we can start behaving the way we want to feel. And guess what happens? Your feelings will catch up with your behavior.

KING: Makes sense. Let me get the next King Cam. What can you do to keep your family insulated from your job worries? The problems for one man. Maybe you, too. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Lonny from Arizona. I'm an iron worker. I just got laid off a month ago. And I've been trying to look for a job. I've been stressed out. I just don't want to pass any of this burden on to my kids right now. I was wondering if you have any suggestions.


KING: Suzanne, quickly, what would you say to him?

SOMERS: When I think about people in that situation, children lost; what children respond to is just having parents around. You know, I don't know about you, but I didn't grow up with a lot of money. And it wasn't a big hardship, because there just wasn't. Every summer, we got a bottle of root beer and one little pint of ice cream. My mother would divide it between the four of us. And we had a root beer floats.

I'm just saying that, look, you can't do anything about the fact that there's no job right now. It's really tragic. It's terrible. But he does have children. And they do need -- this is an opportunity for him to really nurture with these children and turn this negative time into something so positive.

KING: Makes sense. We'll be back with more right after this.


KING: We're back. By the way, Suzanne Somers' book is -- we mentioned earlier, but we want to show it to you. "Break Through, Eight Steps to Wellness." Suzanne got a lot of press from her last appearance on "Oprah." Take a look.


SOMERS: Oh, my god. It's like a necklace. I never thought of it like this. I take about 40 supplements in the morning. And then, before I go to bed, I try to remember, like, around 7:00, to start taking the last 20. I make a smoothie every morning and I take that first 15 with the smoothie.

You know me. You make the best smoothies.


KING: That's your recommendation of getting through the stress?

SOMERS: No. No. I'm at the far end, you know. I'm into health.

KING: Far end? I think you're over the end.

SOMERS: OK. But I'm feeling fine. I'm feeling fine.

KING: OK. SOMERS: If people can't afford it right now, while they're going through this, if they could just take four supplements, if they could take Vitamin D, so important, because a lot of cancer out of all this stress. We have genes in there.

KING: Vitamin D, what else? I'm running out of time?

SOMERS: Vitamin D, fish oil, CO-Q 10 and antioxidants. Take those to get through this, to protect you form cancer. Right now, cancer is -- has an opportunity, because we have cancer protective genes in us.

KING: You are saying you're more likely to get cancer in times of stress?

SOMERS: Absolutely.

KING: Call from Reno, Nevada. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: May name is Bruce, I'm calling from Reno, Nevada. I've been battling with my weight for about 20 years now, on and off. I'm 43 and I way about 325 pounds. It is not like I don't work out. I work out on a pretty regular basis. I watch what I eat.

KING: Is the economic times affecting your weight?

CALLER: Yes and no. It is more of I'm just so confused about working out, because the last 20 years I heard everything on working out.

KING: I'll have Jillian deal with that.


KING: Jillian, overweight and stress and all this; I imagine a lot of people are eating.

MICHAELS: I completely understand. I think we need to look at bigger picture here. And I want people to practice something called metacognition, or -- it's a technician from AA they use called thinking through the drink. I want you to think through your choices. Instead of going for that instant gratification of the pizza, play it all the way out. You're going to eat it. Then how do you feel? You feel like crap. You're down on yourself, and you begin this vicious spiral of beating yourself up.

Instead, What can you do that is positive, that is healthy, where you can invest in yourself? Really simple, plant a garden. Exactly.

SOMERS: It is so simple. Don't eat chemicals. You want to get fat, eat chemicals. You'll get nice and fat on diet soda. SMITH: It is also hugely important for that caller that he surrounds himself with a healthy village. Because we cannot do this on our own. We can't do physical recovery. We can't do drug recovery. We can't do financial recovery. So I always say that, you know, caller I.D. was one of God's greatest gifts, which really means protect yourself from people who drain you of your energy, and surround yourself with people who infuse you and who encourage you.

And if you're mother beats up on you about your weight, is she is hard on you, stay away from your mom and hang out with the people who make you feel good about you. That's going to help us all make it on this road.

KING: More moments right after this.


KING: We -- let's take another call. Toronto, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Dr. Smith?


CALLER: I'm losing my house -- hello?

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I'm losing my house. What difference does it make how I eat or how I diet or exercise or plant a garden in my backyard? How am I going to pay the mortgage? They're not going to accept tomatoes for my mortgage payment.

SMITH: You're right. You know what, it is a great question. It is a fabulous question. This is the reality: you're losing your house. You don't know how you're going to pay your mortgage. And you're right, tomatoes are not going to be accepted at the bank. But you are not your house. And so what I want you to know, I don't know whether or not you can save your house.

What I do know is you can save your health. You can save your sense of well-being. And you can remind yourself daily, by the people who you surround yourself with, that you are more than your house.

I want to tell you something, people see me, Dr. Robin, and what you don't know is, look, I've had a lot of losses. I've lost jobs. I have had people that didn't love me back. I have had things that didn't work out. And you know what I did? I behaved the way I wanted to feel. So when I felt like crap, I still made sure that I behaved in a way, not being phony, but in a way that was going to lead my feelings to eventually catch up to the behavior of someone who looked like she was worthy of love and respect.

I want you, even if you lose your house -- and I hope you won't, but you might. I want you to behave like a man who is worthy, who has dignity and who has honor, whether you have your house or not.

KING: You think -- you think we can learn from all this, Suzanne? Do you think --

SOMERS: I really do. I think losing houses and having to move and downgrade and a whole new lifestyle is very, very difficult. It requires a shift in thinking. But she's right. We're not our houses. And, you know, a lot of us have had times in our life when we didn't have a house. And kids are fine in an apartment. I bet you lived in one of those houses where the bed pulled out of the wall, Murphy Beds, and things like that.

KING: It wasn't a house. It was an apartment.

SOMERS: You didn't have your own room and all that. Kids will adjust. Kids don't need all these --

KING: Kids don't. But isn't it hard to go back?

MICHAELS: I want to talk very literally. Here we go. If you're worried about money, invest in prevention. You know what, getting sick is going to cost you a hell of a lot more than making a small investment in a garden. Eating chemicals, eating like crap, getting fat, that's expensive.

SOMERS: Right. And then you're sick.

MICHAELS: Thank you.

SMITH: And the other thing we should really remember is with the --

KING: Quickly, doctor.

SMITH: With Natasha Richardson's death, I want us to remember something, that -- I can't speak for her, but I believe this. And my mother has said this to me. She's 87. Claim this day, because tomorrow is not yours to own. I think, you know, that she would tell us that we got to claim today. Thank you, Larry.

KING: We'll have you all back. Well said. Thank you, all, very much. Go to Tell us what you're thinking. We love hearing from you. We read every word, by the way. Download our daily podcast, sign up for our e-mail and text alerts, and see who our next week's guests will be. Meghan McCain will be aboard on Monday night.

It is time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?