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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Day 5: Protests in Iran
Aired June 17, 2009 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, GUEST HOST: Tonight, Iranians want to seek silence -- threatened by beatings, arrest, even death, they're getting these images out of the country and on television all over the world.
Is a full scale rebellion ahead?
Plus, James Carville and Ben Stein answer this question -- is America over Obama?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER," COURTESY HBO)
BILL MAHER, HOST: The audacity of hope party is over. Right now, I'm hoping for a little more audacity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Presidential priorities -- is he doing what's best for the public or public relations?
Next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the word.
I'm Wolf Blitzer sitting in for Larry. Larry's been in Dallas all day today. He's got a big exclusive tomorrow night with the Jonas Brothers. He was with them today. You're going to enjoy tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.
But tonight, we've got a lot of news to cover, beginning with the dramatic situation unfolding on the streets of Tehran and other cities throughout Iran right now.
This is potentially -- potentially a pivotal moment in Iran.
We've got an outstanding line-up of guests.
Joining us here in Washington. Shohreh Aghdashloo. She's an Iranian-born Oscar-nominated actress. She's got a huge new movie coming out called "The Stoning of Soraya M." That opens in L.A. and other U.S. cities, in New York, June 26th.
Also joining us, Parviz Gharib-Afshar, an Iranian-born TV personality and producer. He's in Los Angeles. He hosts a weekly show on the Persian Broadcasting Company.
And also in Los Angeles, Azita Shirazi, the Iranian-born host of "'Til We Meet Again," which airs in the U.S. and internationally on an Iranian television network.
We're going to get to them in a moment.
But let's go to Iran right now. Our correspondent on the scene, Reza Sayah, has the latest for us -- Reza, another tumultuous day in these days since the election last Friday.
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. It is almost unheard of here in Iran to have five consecutive days of demonstrations and protests against the government without any sort of permission from the government. But that's what happened. And, again, on Wednesday, another rally. Thousands of people turning out in support of the disgruntled candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who's calling for a new vote after the controversial election on Friday.
Of course, CNN cameras, as well as other members of the foreign media have been banned from covering the events. But we've done our best to get as many eyes and ears as possible on the ground. And they tell us, once again, that thousands of people have turned out.
Really the trademark of these supporters of Mousavi has been a silent protest. This is their efforts to avoid any clashes with police -- with riot police and members of the Basij. And what we're seeing is a silent protest where all slogans are on signs and there's peace signs up in the air.
And, also, the political drama unfolding on Wednesday on a soccer field in Seoul, North Korea. Members of the Iranian national soccer team wearing green wristbands in apparent support of the Mousavi movement. The soccer team members usually don't do that.
But this shows you how widespread -- how broad this movement has become -- Wolf.
BLITZER: There was a dramatic moment today, Reza, when the opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi -- he issued a statement. And it was backed up by a former president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, in which he said all of these prisoners who have been taken from the streets over these past few days must be released and released right away.
How is that playing with Ahmadinejad and the ruling regime?
SAYAH: Well, Wolf, everyday we wake up here in Tehran, we keep a close eye on Mir-Hossein Mousavi and the decisions he's making, because the supporters are out there. And they tell us they're waiting for their leader to give some direction.
And that was an indication of how defiant and how resistant Mir Hossein Mousavi is continuing to be -- calling for the prisoners, these protesters who have been are jailed, to be released.
But at the same time, the government, the Ahmadinejad supporters remaining defiant, as well. The supreme leader coming out yesterday and saying, look, all sides, let's be calm. Let's reflect on our actions and let's let the legal process take place. And the legal process, of course, is the Guardian Council, who is conducting a recount -- a partial recount of the vote. But the Mousavi camp has said over and over again, a recount not good enough, we want a re-vote -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. I suspect that's probably not going to happen.
Reza, I want you to stand by, because this is a dramatic situation, very fluid right now. We're going to be coming back to you.
But let's bring in our guests who are here on LARRY KING LIVE right now. And I want to begin with Shohreh Aghdashloo, the Iranian- born Oscar-nominated actress.
When you see what's going on in Iran, Shohreh, right now, what do you think?
SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO, ACTRESS, "THE STONING OF SORAYA M.": It is, indeed, an amazing and unprecedented moment for Iranians. I feel happy. I feel like crying. I feel excited, anxious. After 30 years, the Iranians have at last decided to take their destiny in their own hands. And they're out now, thousands of them, happy of the fact that 40 percent of them are women.
And the reform is about women in Iran. And this is now called a women's movement. And the fact that all the reform -- most of the reform has to do a lot with the women -- their clothing, their makeup, the way they dress, how they should walk, how they should talk.
It's just amazing this. And this is exactly what we are trying to portray in our film, "The Stoning of Soraya M." The voiceless women in Iran.
BLITZER: I want to get to that film in a moment.
But Parviz Gharib-Afshar, let me bring you into this conversation. Seventy percent of the people in Iran -- and Iran is a big country -- are, what, under 30 -- 30 years old. And so many of them are being very courageous right now. Even sending out a simple text message on Twitter or sending CNN an iReport, that could get them in deep trouble if they were picked up.
PARVIZ GHARIB-AFSHAR, IRANIAN-BORN TV PERSONALITY, PRODUCER: Yes, it is true. And we have to remember that 30 years ago, 1979, the cassette did the work. They brought cassettes and they played cassettes.
At this time, the Internet, the Facebook.
It's interesting to see that the young people -- that the majority of Iranians are young people. And I say this because most of these people -- I used to do television shows in Iran -- they are born after I left Iran, but they watch television. They watch Internet.
And they are the ones that have to make decisions. They are the future of the world, because the young people, at this time -- it's not like the past, through Internet, through the Facebook and so on, they watch everything. And they know what is happening in the world.
And that is why I am against this -- what this government has done in order to ask the reporters to leave, because we like to know exactly what is happening in the streets. And if they don't let us see it through television, then we see it on YouTube and you see it in other ways, you know.
BLITZER: Let me bring Azita Shirazi in. She's the host of a show that's on in the U.S. and internationally from the Iranian Television Network called program called "Til We Meet Again." This is a network, basically -- correct me if I'm wrong, Azita, for Iranians who live outside of Iran, is that right?
AZITA SHIRAZI, IRANIAN-BORN TV HOST: Well, it's one of the networks that is outside Iran. But our show goes all over the world and especially to Iran. So people inside the country can watch our shows and our programs and they listen to what we have for them.
And these days, especially when these things are happening in Iran, of course, we are involved. Although we are informative and news and entertainment channels, but we couldn't stay away and not to see what's going on in our country.
BLITZER: Azita, what is your hope, realistically, for Iran in the coming weeks and months?
SHIRAZI: Well, I hope people can have the re-vote. They're not looking for recounts, as Reza said. They are looking for a re-vote and I hope that we can have that opportunity for people in Iran, that they can have that again. Because they are trying to find democracy and maybe this is the time for it.
And I hope we can have more involvement of the United States, and especially President Obama, in this case, and help them.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by.
BLITZER: Stand by for a moment, because we're only getting started. A lot more to come up -- much more on what's happening in Iran.
And we're also going to be speaking with James Carville, Arianna Huffington, Ben Stein. A lot happening on the political scene, as well.
LARRY KING LIVE will continue, right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE STONING OF SORAYA M." COURTESY FALLEN FILMS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should I listen to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hear my story first. You will know why you should listen.
Voices of women do not (INAUDIBLE) in here. I want you to take my voice with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Wow! Shohreh Aghdashloo is the star of a brand new film that opens June 26th entitled "The Stoning of Soraya M."
Shohreh, this is a film about women -- women's rights in Iran, but it's a true story.
AGHDASHLOO: Absolutely. It's based on a true story written by an Iranian French writer, Freidoune Sahebjam in France in French and was adapted to English by Cyrus Nowrasteh and his wife, Betsy and directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh.
It is, indeed, about courageous women. It's not about the woman who is being stoned. It's about a woman who refuses to remain silent. And the irony is that this courageous woman approaches a reporter and tells the reporter the story and wants the reporter to tell it to the world. The same thing is happening in Iran right now.
BLITZER: I want to see this film when it comes up.
Azita, has the situation for women in Iran gotten considerably better, shall we say, over the last 10 years?
SHIRAZI: Well, it got better in way, but not totally what they are looking for and to have the equality to other men in our country. But at the same time, they're trying to still fight for what is their rights. And as you see in the film that Shohreh is playing, you can see what's happening still now, although they let them to have a little bit of looser scarf or having more makeup on their face. But that's not what they're looking for.
BLITZER: Yes. What they want are full rights, the women in Iran -- the ability to get an education and everything else.
BLITZER: Parviz, what would you like to see, to hear, from the president of the United States, Barack Obama?
GHARIB-AFSHAR: Well, many people said Barack Obama is hesitating to say something, especially when Mr. McCain was criticizing Mr. Obama for not getting involved.
I think if Mr. Obama calls and congratulates Ahmadinejad, that's the wrong thing to do, because thousands of people -- hundreds of thousands of people are in the streets, are against this election. And if he calls Mr. -- if he says -- he says something for Mr. Mousavi, then everybody says -- in Iran and other places, they say, we told you, America is doing this. America is trying to do a Velvet...
BLITZER: So what I hear you saying...
GHARIB-AFSHAR: ...Revolution in Iran.
BLITZER: What I hear you saying, Parviz, is that this is a really delicate moment for President Obama and how he responds, how he handles this crisis.
GHARIB-AFSHAR: That is very true. At the same time, I think they should -- people every place in the world, they should know that Iran signed that 30 articles of human rights. They have done it in the past regime. They did it on this regime. And, unfortunately, they're not following it. It is the freedom of speech, equality between man and woman and separation of church and state.
When they do this, if they do that, separation of charge and state, then I think they have a better chance to do something.
BLITZER: All right. We've got to leave it there, guys. A good discussion.
I want to thank all three of you -- Shohreh, Parviz and Azita. A good situation, indeed.
We're not going to go very far away from the situation in Iran, because, as I say, it's a very fluid situation and we're constantly getting new information.
We'll take a quick break.
When we come back, James Carville and Ben Stein -- they're standing by to assess President Obama at this very delicate stage.
BLITZER: All right. Let's go to James Carville right now. James is our CNN political contributor, a Democratic strategist.
And Ben Stein, the commentator and columnist, former presidential speechwriter, is joining us, as well.
Guys, listen to Bill Maher, because he's not very happy right now with President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER," COURTESY HBO)
MAHER: Sorry, folks, but this president is not fighting for real health care reform. It's nibbling that leaves insurance companies still running the show.
MAHER: And the banks. The banks that brought us to financial ruin and then got bailout money are laughing at us about how easy it was to get back to business as usual. This is not getting the job done and this is not what I voted for. This is why I don't want my president to be a TV star.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Wow! Strong words from Bill Maher.
James Carville, does he have a point?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, look, a lot of -- you know, some pe -- some people on the left who are impatient, I would remind Bill Maher who -- I've been on the show before and he's a -- he's a very entertaining guy, a very smart guy.
He hasn't been in office for five months yet. And they're -- and they're fighting pretty hard on this health care thing. This is going to be a really big fight.
Today, they issued some new guidelines -- regulations or whatever, to really get into this financial thing.
So I understand people are impatient. I mean, after eight years of the Bush administration, you can understand impatience of the country. But also, it's important to note that he's done a terrific job of getting the country feeling better about itself. And, you know, we're now feeling better about ourselves as a country. And there's more optimism out there.
So he needs more than five months to get everything done, though (INAUDIBLE) a little impatient (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: Fair criticism from Bill Maher, Ben?
BEN STEIN, COMMENTATOR, ECONOMIST, "NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST:. Well, Bill Maher is not my favorite person, but I think his criticism is right on the money this time.
Mr. Obama is on the cover of every magazine. He's on every TV show. He's speaking out somewhere. He's got a new program every day. I don't understand when he has, actually, time to do any work.
I'm a little concerned that he is too busy traveling and getting his cult of personality going to do any work.
I'm 100 percent on the side of Bill Maher about getting some real reform on Wall Street. I don't see that happening. The exact same guys who brought us the collapse on Wall Street, the credit collapse, the recession, are still in charge. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, as The Who sang.
The guys in government, regulating it, are the exact same guys.
BLITZER: All right...
STEIN: There's got to be some way to shake that up.
BLITZER: Although he did announce today, Ben, the most far- reaching regulatory reforms on the financial institutions...
BLITZER: ...since the Great Depression
Hold your thought.
BLITZER: Hold your thought.
We'll take a quick break.
BLITZER: We'll assess what's going on. A lively discussion coming up.
Also, Arianna Huffington, Bay Buchanan -- they're going to be joining us.
Much more of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.
BLITZER: We're continuing our conversation with James Carville and Ben Stein.
Ben, the president announced today these far-reaching regulatory reforms. They are saying at the White House if these had been in place over the past few years, there would not have been this economic meltdown.
Do you buy that?
STEIN: Absolute -- it's absolute nonsense. All the regulatory mechanisms were already in place. There was plenty of power by the controller of the currency, the Federal Reserve, the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to stop these shenanigans before they brought the country to its knees. There's plenty of power. We don't need a new bureaucratic reshuffling of the deck chairs on the Titanic. We need people with some sense, people who are not in the pockets of Wall Street, people who will stand up for the ordinary citizens and not be waiting for the payday from Wall Street.
BLITZER: All right, James, listen to this clip from Bill Maher's show, "Real Time," with Bill Maher on our sister network, HBO.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER," COURTESY HBO)
MAHER: Just because the press is willing to make a fuss about every aspect of your life doesn't mean you have to take them up on it. You don't have to be on television every minute of every day. You're the president, not a rerun of "Law and Order."
MAHER: Every time I turn on the TV, there's Obama. He's getting a puppy. He's eating a cheeseburger with Joe Biden. He's doing his retard hunk (ph) on Leno.
MAHER: He's taking Michelle to Broadway and then to Paris. Oh, it's the best of "The Bachelor" yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, James.
BLITZER: That's pretty -- pretty tough stuff.
CARVILLE: Well, I mean, look, he's Bill Maher, you know. The guy can go eat a cheeseburger. He can go to a play with his wife. I mean what -- I mean it's better than going to his ranch in Crawford every other day.
I mean, I think that's -- I think there's some sense among some people that he should move fast and do more things. One can understand that. One can understand a little bit of frustration.
I don't think that criticism is really that fair. And the guy goes to get a cheeseburger or hamburger or whatever he got and they criticize him because he put mustard on it. I mean some of this stuff is kind of ridiculous.
BLITZER: If anything, the criticism, Ben, is that he's trying to do too much right now on domestic issues like health care reform or education or energy and dealing with the economic meltdown; national security issues, whether Iran, North Korea, the Middle East.
There's a lot of -- there's a lot on his plate. And he's trying to do a lot, as you know.
STEIN: He's flying off on all directions. Look, we've got two giant super problems. One is nuclear armed terrorist states like Iran and North Korea. That's a super problem. Then we have another super problem -- the recession.
He's got to get out there, as cheerleader-in-chief, and tell people it's going to get better, you can un -- you can take the rubber band off your wallets and start spending again.
Christina Romer, a really, bright, bright woman in the administration, said that it was going to get better. About two months ago, she started saying it will get better and the economy started to recover. Then all this more talk from other Obama advisers saying it's not getting better, it's in terrible shape and the people -- consumers stop spending.
We've got a (INAUDIBLE)...
BLITZER: Who's saying...
STEIN: ...this guy (INAUDIBLE)...
STEIN: ...is a genius politician.
BLITZER: Who among Obama's advisers are saying it's not getting better, it's in terrible shape?
STEIN: Well, I'm going to get yelled at now for saying this, but, no, I can't, because the person who said it is going to -- is a friend of mine and he's going to yell at me. But it's a -- it's a famous person from a well-known university, so I'm...
BLITZER: Well, in other words, he was saying it privately, you're saying?
STEIN: No, no, they're saying it publicly, too. So I'm not...
BLITZER: Well, I haven't heard anybody.
James, have you heard anybody from the White House say...
BLITZER: ...the economy is getting worse, that it's not getting better?
STEIN: With all due respect, it's in "The Wall Street Journal" every...
STEIN: Sir, it's in "The Wall Street Journal" every day.
CARVILLE: Can -- let me -- let me point out a couple of things. Yes, I think the right track number in this country has jumped about 30 percent. We had the biggest jump in consumer confidence (INAUDIBLE) we had in six years.
I mean, you know, at some point, it just -- you just can't just criticize the guy, criticize, criticize. And they were dealt, you know, the toughest hand any administration has ever had. They're dealt the biggest deficit anybody has had.
And, I mean, these guys are trying. And they are less than five months into it. And all everybody wants do is just jump all over him. I mean and they've...
STEIN: OK. You know, what, it's too...
CARVILLE: ...got some concessions here and they're pushing ahead on this health care thing.
But you've got a big jump in...
STEIN: OK, you (INAUDIBLE)...
CARVILLE: ...consumer confidence. He has the country feeling better about itself.
STEIN: Sir, with all due respect, Tim Geithner is the guy I was talking about. He's not really a close friend. I've heard some private, less -- less enthusiastic talk from somebody else who is a friend.
But Tim Geithner is the main guy saying we're still in terrible trouble, we've got all kinds of terrible problems.
Every time the markets hear that, they get terrified. The consumers get terrified.
Christina Romer had the right idea -- what we need is more consumer confidence, higher velocity of money. That will get the economy moving again.
BLITZER: All right...
STEIN: You know, and it will take consumer confidence and that will get it done. Obama can do it.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by, because we have a lot more to discuss.
And, as I said, Bay Buchanan and Arianna Huffington are going to be joining us, as well.
We'll continue with James and Ben, right after this.
BLITZER: Does Bill Maher really want President Obama to be more -- more like former president, George W. Bush?
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER," COURTESY HBO)
MAHER: What he needs in his personality is a little George Bush.
MAHER: He needs to stop worrying about being loved and bring out that smug, insufferable swagger that says, suck on it America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Now, just to be fair to Bill Maher, he does call Bush's policies horrible, but he wants President Obama not to pay so much attention to public opinion polls and just do what is right.
What do you think, James?
CARVILLE: Well, look, he's an artist. And artists make their point through exaggeration. But I think if he's going to -- I think this president is going to be tested in this health care fight. I think there are ways in getting this thing done.
I think there's an enormous stake in there for this president, his presidency. I think there's an enormous stake in this for the Democratic Party. And he's going to have to use all of the skills and power he has at his disposal to do this. If he's able to do this, I think it'll be a big success to him. But they're a long way from getting it done.
This is going to be a heck of an interesting four or five months that we've got coming up here in this battle.
BLITZER: If he gets his way...
CARVILLE: And I -- you know, Maher has -- I mean he has a point. He exaggerates to make his point. But at a point, this president is going to have -- you know going to have to buckle up and slams some bodies against the wall.
BLITZER: What I hear James saying, he's going to have to be profile encouraged, if you will, do some unpopular things. Will the country be better off then, if the president gets his way on health care reform?
STEIN: I think we do need health care reform. I have to say, I find it unconscionable as a person who can afford virtually any medical care that there are other people made by God the same as I was who cannot afford medical care, who cannot get medical care.
I mean we're all children of God, we should be allowed to have medical care. And if some of us have to be paid more so that others who have less could get medical care, I think it has to be done. That's just -- I think that's just simply a basic thing.
BLITZER: Would you want to see a government...
BLITZER: A government-run insurance program that would compete with a private insurance companies?
STEIN: If that's what's necessary to get insurance for indigent people, absolutely. I'm not afraid of that. What I'm afraid of, as I keep saying, Wolf, is that I'm seeing more and more despair here in America. I have so many friends who've lost their jobs. So many who've lost their houses.
I want to see this president (INAUDIBLE) in cheering up America. This country loves Obama. Go around the streets of Washington. You see people with his picture on their t-shirts all over the place.
Mr. Obama, use your incredible charisma to get this country out there buying again and get houses sold again. And get consumer goods and TVs and refrigerators sold again. And get the economy on its feet.
STEIN: Mr. Obama...
BLITZER: What do you think, James?
CARVILLE: Well, I like Ben's rhetoric, but I think we ought to get people working again before they start buying, to get people feel a little more comfortable in their job, a little more comfortable in their situation.
But I don't have any problem with the president being a kind of cheerleader. I think he's got to be part salesman. But I do that Maher has a points and -- you know, he's going to have to, you know, toughen up, he had to buckle up some more.
And I think this health care thing is going to be a fight. And I think this is a very talented guy. We know that he's a great communicator. I think deep down, he's pretty steely. And he's going to have a chance to display this because -- the interest groups are coming at this thing.
They're coming at it hard. And this is going to be one for the ages. This is going to be a spectacular fight.
BLITZER: All right. Don't go away because Bay Buchanan and Arianna Huffington. They're standing by to join this conversation. Lots more coming up right here on LARRY KING LIVE.
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer sitting in for Larry King tonight. Larry's been in Dallas most of this day with the Jonas Brothers. He has a huge exclusive with them coming up tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE.
We're continuing our conversation with James Carville and Ben Stein. And also joining us now, Arianna Huffington, the co-founder and managing editor of HuffingtonPost.com. And Bay Buchanan, the president of the American Cause, a Republican strategist.
Arianna, let me let you weigh in on Bill Maher and what he's saying among other things. Enough with the celebrity already, he's saying to President Obama. Give us some substance. Do understand where Maher is coming from and the substance of what he's saying?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, CO-FOUNDER, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: Well, the most important thing that he said is that he agreed with the president's policies. And he wanted to see more audacity in getting them through. And there's a point to that. He specified three issues. The way the administration has dealt with the banks. The energy policy, and, of course, health care. And basically what he's saying, Wolf, is that here's the president, with unprecedented popularity, wanting policies which have the support of almost 60 percent of Americans, and having majorities both in the House and the Senate.
So what he said, in his way, his satirical way, is we want a little bit more of that George Bush resilience that get you through, so that we can couple the good qualities of Obama with the resilience of George Bush. I mean that's it. I don't think it's anything too complicated.
BLITZER: Many have suggested, Bay, that he's a -- potentially a transformational president like Ronald Reagan, the man that you loved, obviously, and worked for?
BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, THE AMERICAN CAUSE: You know, Wolf, there's no question he's enormously popular and affable and charming, all of which Ronald Reagan was as well.
But on the other side, Ronald Reagan wasn't afraid of a conflict, wasn't afraid of getting into the fight and using some of that political capital, and arguing, going to the American people saying call those guys back there in Washington. We want to turn this thing around.
This fellow seems to be a little less hesitant about that conflict. He likes to give the speech and this kind of like an overreaching speech. Talks about wonderful, lofty things but where is -- you know, the grit? Where is he ready to -- do the arm-wrestle and get what he needs? I don't see it.
BLITZER: What do you think, James?
CARVILLE: This fellow (INAUDIBLE). Look, again, I go back to what I said. I think that the second half of this year is going to be real time of testing for this president. And I think what Arianna says really encapsulates what Bill Maher was trying saying. It's odd, it tends to exaggerate. But, you know, again, we're five months into it. I think he's laid a predicate here.
I think he's got us feel a little bit better about ourselves. But, you know, now -- and I think the health care fight is going to be the defining battle of the first year of this presidency. And it's going to be interesting to see how he handles that and what he can get done on this.
BLITZER: In addition to that...
CARVILLE: You could feel the...
BLITZER: Ben, you wanted him to be a cheerleader. You want him to speak up about the U.S. economy. But what's the single most important thing, other than that, that you want to see him do? STEIN: I want to see him make sure that North Korea and Iran do not drop atom bombs either on the United States or Israel or anybody else. I'd like to see him get really tough with them.
By the way...
BLITZER: How does he do that?
STEIN: Well, I don't know. I think it's going to take military means. I don't see -- the North Koreans are extremely intransigent. Maybe the Iranians are able to be worked with. It doesn't seem as if...
BLITZER: The North Koreans have a million men army, 30, 40 miles from Seoul, South Korea. And they could easily launch missiles and rockets and due to North Korea, where there are still about 30,000 or so U.S. troops. Incredible, horrible damage.
STEIN: I agree. It's a serious problem. It won't make it any better if they also have an ICBM that can reach San Francisco or Seattle. So the -- the thing is are we going to look back five years from now and say, well, we sure wish we had bombed them when we had the chance? And we had the nuclear weapons and they didn't?
It's a very dicey proposition. I'm not a military man. I just want to say, I don't want to wake up one morning and read that there's no more Seattle because Kim Jong-Il had a bad night watching old R movies and putting on those weird sunglasses.
I'd like to see us deal with it right now. That would take some real guts. And I think Obama has guts. I think this is a tough guy from the Chicago's school of tough politics. I think he's got plenty of guts to do it.
BLITZER: All right.
STEIN: I don't know -- I agree...
BLITZER: Let me ask Arianna. A preemptive strike by the United States to try to destroy North Korea's long-range and short-range missiles and its nuclear capability. A good idea?
HUFFINGTON: Actually, you know what, Wolf, I think that when it comes to North Korea, and when it comes to Iran, this president has it absolutely right. What concerns me is what he's doing in Afghanistan, where every day, we see more evidence that we are making ourselves even more enemies that we need there without necessarily protecting our best national interests.
Because al Qaeda, that the president claims we are after in Afghanistan, is actually solidly ensconcing Pakistan. So I thinks that the Achilles' heel of his foreign policy. And the Achilles' heel of his domestic policy is the need to really take on these powerful lobbyists that by implication Bill Maher is alluding are going to try and fight and defeat all these three major policy initiatives.
BLITZER: All right. Stand by, guys, because I want to continue this conversation. We'll take another quick break. LARRY KING LIVE will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Bay Buchanan, the former presidential candidate, John McCain, he wants the president of the United States to be tough tougher with the Iranian regime, given the election -- the disputed election results.
BUCHANAN: But, you know, I think the president, and, James, you'll be happy to hear this. I think the President Obama has done brilliantly when it comes to Iran. He -- really he went over there, he tried to make it clear. He wants to work with them. They have a right to nuclear power if they're going to use it responsibly.
And as a result...
BUCHANAN: Exactly. As a result, he's pulled off their table, the card that they always say Americans are trying to interfere which has worked well (INAUDIBLE). Now the Mullahs are over there, they look like the corrupt crowd that we've always known them to be. And they don't -- they can't blame it on us. And you have this terrific uprising going on over there.
I think he's done it really, really well. And I think that's been able to contribute to the fact that these people really might have a chance. That they will not be able to crack down like -- I'm sure they will do. But they won't be able to say it's all America. All America.
BLITZER: James, give me your gut instinct right now. What's happening in Iran, will it be like Tiananmen Square was exactly 20 years ago? Or will it be the beginning of the end of this regime?
CARVILLE: Well, you know, you can go back and remember the false spring in Czechoslovakia and the Hungarian uprising and the Soviets brutally and savage they came in and put that down.
I think that this is -- I don't know if it's kind of Churchillian -- he had the beginning of the end, the end of the beginning or something like this, but I don't think the Mullah is going to be able to -- no matter if this thing dissipates somewhat, I just don't know if they're going to be able to go back to the old ways.
My sense is that something fundamental is -- you know happening in Iran. Whether it happens overnight or not, I don't know. And it seems to me from a distance that power is starting to shift a little bit away from the Mullahs toward the military, the Revolutionary Guards, if you will. But that's a complicated place. I'm not an expert on it. But -- and you have these guys feeling a lot of pressure and they feel cornered now. And that's a delicate situation.
CARVILLE: There are real people in the streets there.
BLITZER: Arianna, someone suggested that it could be -- what's happening in Iran right now could lead to what happened in the former Soviet Union. Ending 74 years of communist rule, thanks to what was happening on the streets of Moscow.
HUFFINGTON: Well, on top of that, Wolf, we have this unprecedented phenomenon of social media really coming into their own. It's really exciting to watch. All the attempts of the Mullahs in Iran to basically crack down on coverage is failing, because even as they're ending the visas of reporters who have to leave now and even as they're cracking down on coverage, you have people Twitting and YouTubing and putting pictures on Flickr.
And so we have this immediacy that is really stunning. And remember out of the 70 million people in Iran, only a quarter are connected to the Internet. And yet this is what is happening.
So it will be interesting to see what is the impact of that. On top of the ferment that is occurring there, and how different is that going to be from Tiananmen Square or the spring in Prague.
people in Iran, only a quarter are connected to the internet. And yet, this is what is. Happening. So it's interesting to see what is the impact of that, on top of the ferment that is happening there. How different is it from Tiananmen Square?
BUCHANAN: You know, Wolf, Tiananmen Square, there was the crackdown, but subsequent to that, they felt a need to kind of reach out and kind of appease the people and that's when you saw a movement towards a more capitalist system.
BLITZER: And they didn't have the Internet 20 years ago.
BUCHANAN: Exactly right.
BLITZER: They didn't have Twitter or Facebook or MySpace or CNN iReports or anything like that. It's a whole new ball game, guys, right.
All right. I just want to wrap it up because we've got a lot more coming up on LARRY KING LIVE and let me thank James Carville and Ben Stein, Arianna Huffington and Bay Buchanan.
Actually we've got one more block with them, is that right? Yes, we do. All right. So don't go away. Much more coming up right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: We'll get back to Arianna Huffington, Bay Buchanan, James Carville and Ben Stein in a moment. But let's check in with Anderson Cooper to see what's coming up on "AC 360" right at the top of the hour.
Anderson, what do you got?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, we're following the breaking news, of course, our of Iran. We're hearing people mobilizing for another day of major protest in Tehran. We're going to take you there.
The bigger question tonight, is Iran itself collapsing? We'll examine that in depth.
Also President Obama extending some benefits, very limited benefits, to same-sex partners of federal workers. But is this really a step forward for same-sex rights or a cop out by the president?
I'll talk to Academy Award winning screenwriter, a gay rights activist, Dustin Lance Black. Plus Richard Socarides who's an adviser of President Clinton on gay civil rights issues.
And our special report. America is high. The case born against pot. Tonight meet a man who some call King Bong. He's made millions in his pursuit to legalize marijuana.
Those stories, Wolf, and a lot more ahead on "360".
BLITZER: We'll be watching, Anderson. Sounds great. Thank you.
Well, Larry, as you know has been in Dallas most of this day with the Jonas Brothers. He interviewed Kevin, Nick and Joe. That interview will air tomorrow night. It's a LARRY KING LIVE exclusive.
The LARRY KING LIVE crew has been with the Jonas Brothers during the European leg of their tour. Here's what happened in London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE JONAS, JONAS BROTHERS: British fans can be aggressive if they need to be. But they're awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show time, show time. Get in here.
KEVIN JONAS, JONAS BROTHERS: The lights behind us are casting our shadows on to the screen so they're seeing our images. It's pretty cool. It's pretty interesting.
NICK JONAS, JONAS BROTHERS: I'm worried if the curtains going to fall on us.
K. JONAS: I thought that every single time that we've done it.
N. JONAS: It could come to -- right in front of us. Like every night it's freaking me out.
K. JONAS: Yes. I sleep on it every night. Go watch me, I sleep on it.
J. JONAS: We've worked really hard actually to get to where we are here in London. We came here probably I would say almost three years ago and did our first concert and things like that.
Just like America, it started with, like, five, 10 people in the audience. And it's as good a feeling to play something like as to play something like five people. Because you start from the ground up.
K. JONAS: This is my (INAUDIBLE). I've been able to travel the world, travel the country and be able to see this -- you know, see amazing things at such a young age. And it (INAUDIBLE).
J. JONAS: I'm constantly that we're still (INAUDIBLE) to be able to (INAUDIBLE) our dreams like this.
N. JONAS: It's been a great ride so far. And it's always interesting. (INAUDIBLE)
J. JONAS: We just finished the concert and now we're on our way to the airport, back to America, it's over.
N. JONAS: A lot of fun. The album just came out, so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, you can see more of the Jonas Brothers behind the scenes. This is what you can do. Go to CNN.com/Larryking for photos, blogs, videos and take tonight's quick vote. What is your favorite Jonas Brothers song?
All of that at the CNN.com/Larryking. And of course, Larry's exclusive interview with the Jonas Brothers tomorrow night. We're going to have more of our outstanding political panel when we come. They're all huge fans of the Jonas Brothers as well.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: It's hard to believe. Really hard to believe. But it's exactly tonight, 15 years to the day that O.J. Simpson led police on that slow speed freeway chase and it all started during LARRY KING LIVE.
Watch this little (INAUDIBLE).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: I have to interrupt this call. I understand we're going to go to a live picture in Los Angeles, is that correct? OK, this is Interstate 5, and this is courtesy of KCAL, one of our LA affiliates.
Police believe that O.J. Simpson is in that car. OK. Police believe he is in that vehicle. Let's pick up what the KCAL broadcaster is saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Amazing, James, 15 years to the day, hard to believe, what's happened over these past 15 years. But if you look at that tape, what goes through your mind?
CARVILLE: It's one of those things I was in San Francisco when that happened. And it's -- I don't know why it is, but you just, you know, there are five or six things that happen in your life, when a man on the moon, a candidate got killed or something, that you just remember where you were.
And for the oddest reason that thing -- and most people I have talked to about it, most people feel the same way. If you ask people where they were when that thing was going on, they can tell you.
BLITZER: All of us remember precisely. Ben Stein, it was really an amazing moment, one of the most widely watched live event ever in the history of cable news.
STEIN: Well, we people in Los Angeles are crazy. We watch low- speed chases, high-speed chases, we'll watch any kind of chase. The really amazing thing that's happened is that Mr. Simpson was not convicted of murder and did not go to jail for the rest of his life. But karma being karma, he's in jail now.
BLITZER: It is an amazing situation, when you think about that, it's a tragic situation, Arianna, but you know, you can't make this kind of stuff up, what's happened in this O.J. saga over the past 15 years.
HUFFINGTON: It definitely really makes me believe, Wolf, that in the end justice prevails. I mean it's an amazing moment to think that after all that happened, he ended up in jail. And as we look at what's happening in Iran, maybe justice will prevail there, too.
BLITZER: We can only hope. Bay, what do you think?
BUCHANAN: Well, you know, the interesting thing about that car chase, or that car following out there, is that it wasn't just the car, it was that O.J. was in the car. Maybe in California, they watch them all, as Ben said.
But this one has put all those things together, this bigger than life individual, O.J. Simpson, the murder that had occurred, the whole country was watching it and then you had this most entertaining -- the view here of the car and the police chasing. It was very, very fascinating. And as James said, it was one of those "where were you at the moment."
BLITZER: And we don't know, he may spend years, in fact, the rest of his life, in jail. We'll see what happens. But very quickly to each of you, give me a prediction, will there be health care reform close to what President Obama wants any time soon, James?
CARVILLE: There better be. No, I think there'll be -- I think they will pass something, I don't know how we're going to define close to what he wants but -- and I think we're going to see a really tough fight here.
BLITZER: It was elusive for President Clinton. What do you think, Ben?
STEIN: I think we're going to see health care reform and millions more people will get health care coverage. And they should have it. It's just not right for the least of us to be so uncared for.
BLITZER: That would certainly be a legacy issue for him if he manages to do it, Arianna.
HUFFINGTON: Well, already today, Wolf, Senator Baucus got $600 billion out of the bill. It's going to be a very tough fight. It may take Americans taking to the streets the way they have taken in Iran, for real health care reform to pass.
BLITZER: What do you think, Bay?
BUCHANAN: You'll get some kind of reform, but the kind of reform that I might even agree with. He is not going to get anything that he wants. I don't think, it's too costly. American people now are getting more and more concerned about these huge deficits.
BLITZER: 45 million Americans don't have any health insurance.
BUCHANAN: I know. And my question is, how many of them, 10 million are illegals, should we be covering illegal immigrants in this country? I mean -- there's a lot here that has to be worked out, we don't have the money.
BLITZER: We got to leave it there, guys. James Carville, Ben Stein, Arianna Huffington, Bay Buchanan. And tomorrow night, Larry with the Jonas Brothers right here. It's a LARRY KING LIVE exclusive.
I'm Wolf Blitzer sitting in for Larry. I'll see you in "THE SITUATION ROOM" tomorrow. Let's go to Anderson right now.