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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Is Obama Tough Enough?; Carson Sidekick Ed McMahon Dies; Jon, Kate Gosselin Separate

Aired June 23, 2009 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, President Obama takes his toughest stance yet on the crackdown in Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I strongly condemn these unjust actions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: But is he talking tough enough for the man he defeated for the Oval Office?

We're going to hear from Senator John McCain.

What would he do about Iran if he were commander-in-chief?

And then...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON, COURTESY CARSON PRODUCTIONS)

ED MCMAHON: Here's Johnny.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Johnny Carson's loyal sidekick for 30 years is dead at age 86 years of age. When he laughed, millions laughed with him. "Tonight Show" band leader Doc Severinsen and others will share memories of the best second banana TV has ever known.

Plus, were Jon and Kate faking for the cameras?

Were they living apart long before the ratings-grabbing announcement?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON GOSSELIN: We've decided to separate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE GOSSELIN: I'm not very fond of the idea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Was that marriage that fascinated millions a sham?

What about the Gosselin kids?

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with a frequent and always welcome guest, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

He's at the Capitol Hill Russell Rotunda.

Senator, thanks for being with us.

Iran was one of the key topics that President Obama addressed at his news conference today.

Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I strongly condemn these unjust actions and I join with the American people in mourning each and every innocent life that is lost. I've made it clear that the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran and is not interfering with Iran's affairs.

But we must also bear witness to the courage and the dignity of the Iranian people and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, Senator. You said that Mr. Obama's response has not been enough.

Was today enough?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I think it was very important what the president said today. And I appreciate it.

I'm not sure the president still appreciates that with a regime that is illegitimate, that beats and kills its citizens on the streets of its cities, that your fundamental relationship is very -- makes it very difficult to do any serious negotiations.

I don't think the president quite understands that, but I appreciate his words today.

KING: Do you want him to do more when -- in other words, do you want him to say I'll never meet with -- what do you -- what, specifically, should he do that he's not doing?

MCCAIN: Announce -- well, announce that we are fully funding, the Farda the Radio Free Iran, basically, and other communications into Iran to show our support.

Go to the United Nations Security Council and ask for sanctions against Iran -- and that may not happen, but let's make China and/or Russia block that.

Let's make sure that we speak out more forcefully as far as program and program -- and support programs for education of women who are Muslim to show the world that we support them. It's women who have played a major role in this...

KING: Yes.

MCCAIN: ...in these demonstrations.

And so there's quite a bit more we can do, Larry. And, again, you cannot really seriously negotiate with a country while they're beating and killing their citizens in the streets of the cities. And I'm not sure the president quite gets that.

KING: Your colleague, Senator Graham, said that Mr. Obama was timid and passive.

Do you think he went a little beyond that today?

Was he not timid and not passive today?

MCCAIN: Well, I think what Senator Graham, who speaks very eloquently for himself. But I think what he was talking about was, to some degree, what I was talking about, in that the initial responses to the president saying that we wouldn't -- didn't want to be perceived as meddling, is, frankly, not what America's history is all about.

America's history since July 4th, 1776 is to stand up for American values and human rights. And when people are being beaten and killed, we stand up for them, not because we take sides or we're risking or threatening military action, but stand gives moral support the way Ronald Reagan did for the Czechs in Prague Spring and the Polish people.

And when he said, as you well know, when President Reagan gave his Evil Empire speech, Natan Sharansky said those words spread like wildfire through the gulag...

KING: Yes.

MCCAIN: ...and it encouraged and gave -- gave them great strength.

KING: During that conference, the president was asked about your criticism.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Were you influenced at all by John McCain and Lindsey Graham accusing you of being timid and weak?

OBAMA: What do you think?

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Look, the you know, I -- I think John McCain has genuine passion about many of these international issues. And, you know, I think that all of us share a belief that we want justice to prevail. But only I'm the president of the United States. And I've got responsibilities in making certain that we are continually advancing our national security interests and that we are not used as a tool to be exploited by other countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Senator, a comment?

MCCAIN: Well, I -- I certainly agree with the president that he's -- there's only one president. But to somehow discount the role of a co-equal branch of government I think is -- is incorrect.

The Congress of the United States sent a message of support with only one dissenting vote in the entire House and Senate. That meant a lot to the Iranian people. People like, going back to Daniel Webster, who supported the Greeks and an uprising in 1823, to the great work that Henry "Scoop" Jackson did during the cold war.

The Congress has a play -- a role to play.

KING: Yes.

MCCAIN: And -- and so I disagree with the president in -- in the fact that the Congress plays a vital role. And many of us who have had long years of experience on these issues not only have the right to speak out, but we have the obligation to speak out on behalf of people who are being oppressed and repressed.

KING: We'll be right back with Senator John McCain of Arizona after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Senator McCain.

Last night on this show, "Time" columnist Joe Klein -- who I know you know very well -- said advice -- his advice to you on this, as Senate and Congress can advise presidents, so can reporters advise senators.

His advice to you is to be quiet about policy in Iran, because if you're going to talk about it, then you've got to talk about the fact that we, the United States, supported Iraq in the war against Iran and they can -- that created a lot of hostility toward us.

Your reaction? MCCAIN: Well, you know, I don't like to get into a back and forth with Mr. Klein. But the fact is that Mr. Klein said that the surge would not succeed, that we had lost in Iraq. And so for him to bring up Iraq after he was completely wrong -- he just returned from a trip to Iran where he saw a breeze of democracy in Iran. Vladimir Lenin -- Ilyich Lenin used to call that useful idiots. So all I can say...

KING: Oh.

MCCAIN: All I can say is, you know, that's a -- an agreeable press. I mean for him to go to Iran and say he saw the breeze of democracy there and then the people of Iran expressing themselves the way they are, putting their lives at risk.

But I really don't...

KING: OK. What a...

MCCAIN: ...I'm not interested in getting into a back and forth with Mr. Klein...

KING: All right. I'll -- we'll leave it there.

MCCAIN: ...but the more -- the more wrong he is, the more hyperbole he engages in.

I have an obligation, as a United States Senator and a person who has been involved in these issues, as every citizen has the right to speak out, especially for the rights of people who are being beaten and killed.

KING: What happens, Senator, what do we do if this turns into Tiananmen Square?

MCCAIN: I believe that we should rally the world, just as President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Brown have spoken out so forcefully; that we should -- we should marshal the world's opinion and forces and maybe enact sanctions or other measures that need to be taken.

Let's hope and pray that this tyrannical government will draw back some.

You know, there are defining moments, Larry. And what happened to this brave young woman, Neda, as we -- millions of us have seen her death on the street in Tehran, is, I think, maybe a defining moment and may signal, in the view of historians, the real end of this tyrannical regime.

KING: If that regime remains, would you sit down and negotiate with them?

MCCAIN: Well, there's a -- there's a lack of legitimacy there. I would -- I think they would have to change their ways. I think they would have to show that they are going to be on some kind of reform path. Obviously, we're going to act in America's national security interests.

But how do you know, if we made an agreement, that this -- that this regime would hold to it?

They certainly have shown no inclination to make any agreement in the past. And now they have violated fundamental human rights upon which this nation was founded.

KING: Are you -- shifting gears a little, are you a little concerned about this North Korean vessel with suspicious cargo out there?

MCCAIN: I'm very worried about it. Apparently, it's going to Myanmar or Burma, where it may refuel. There is clear evidence in the testimony to Congress just last week that Iranians and North Koreans are cooperating in nuclear weapons technology and missile technology.

That poses a direct threat to the United States of America. We are prevented from boarding this ship and we're supposed to follow it into port.

If we follow it into Myanmar, they aren't going to -- they aren't going to do anything.

So I'm very worried about the lack of real effect that the U.N. sanctions can have on North Korea. And I think it's a very serious situation and one that we're basically not allowed to do what's necessary to preserve America's national security interests.

KING: One other thing, would you like to contact your opponent and sometimes friend, the president, and go in and sit down and talk to him about all this?

MCCAIN: Any time. But I know that the president's time is very valuable. I have tried to find and have found ways to work with the president and I will continue to do that. And I consider myself the loyal opposition -- loyal to this country, opposed to things that I don't agree with, but trying to do the best I can to make this nation strong and safe and economically strong.

KING: Are you the leader of the loyal opposition?

MCCAIN: No. I think we've got about 500 leaders out there from all over the Republican Party. And I'm glad of it.

Let's let a thousand flowers bloom.

KING: Thanks, John.

Always good talking to you.

MCCAIN: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Senator John McCain of Arizona.

Next, we'll hear from another critic of the president and get reaction to President Obama and Senator McCain's comments.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL)

KING: As a follow-up to Senator McCain, we are joined by Congressman Mike Pence. He's in Washington, Republican of Indiana, chairman of the Republican Conference and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

And in London, Jamie Rubin, who served as an assistant secretary of state for public affairs in the Clinton administration and is now adjunct professor at Columbia. Congressman Pence, your comments on the president today and Senator McCain's response.

REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Well, let me say, as one of what became an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House and Senate that wanted the United States to make a stronger statement condemning the violence on the streets in Iran and also expressing support for the Iranian citizens who are standing up for freedom and basic human rights, I certainly welcome the president's stronger tone today. You know, better late than never, Larry.

And I'm glad the president stepped up to the podium personally today and expressed his -- his profound concern about the violence. And, to use his terms, I'm glad that he at least bore witness to the bravery and the courage of those citizens on the streets of Iran.

KING: Jamie, in a sense, was he saying I should have said this sooner?

JAMIE RUBIN, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: No, I don't think so.

First of all, the system worked. The president in the Congress have different responsibilities under our system. The president has a responsibility to pursue our national security interests as he best sees fit. The Congress expressed the views of the American people, perhaps more on a level of values than national security.

What I think the president did is reflect the events of the week as they unfolded. He spoke very clearly and condemned what had gone on in Iran.

But I don't think he's gone as far as Senator McCain and others who you just spoke to suggested, because he has a very different view, I think, of the Middle East than Senator McCain and the whole logic of the previous administration, which saw the Middle East as basically another set of countries just like Eastern Europe, where if you pursue the same policies we pursued correctly in Eastern Europe, that they're going to work there.

We saw in Iraq we're still fighting a war in Iraq. That showed that we have to be very, very careful to apply analogies of places like Romania and Czechoslovakia to the countries that of Iraq and Iran. KING: All right.

What -- what, Congressman Pence, then, what now?

What -- what do we do?

Obviously, the two sides are stated well. The president came a little closer to your side.

So what -- what's next?

PENCE: Well, I think what -- what's next, it's a couple of things. There does seem to be, in the president's remarks today, still something of a disconnect within the administration about what's actually going on in Iran. The president used the word choose today. He said that it was ultimately up to the people of Iran to decide their future.

And, Larry -- and Jamie, I'm sure, would acknowledge had this -- there's no choosing going on. There's no ability of the Iranian people to decide their future. This is a tyrannical regime that is enforcing the outcome of an election according to the dictates of their will.

So I think, first, it would be important for the administration to begin to speak very plainly on the world stage, as other world leaders have, about the fraudulent nature of this election.

And, secondly, I appreciate Jamie acknowledging Congress having a role, the House and Senate having spoken clearly in support of the Iranian people that are -- are standing up for freedom. But I do think it, also, now, if Iran does not relent, it would be important for Congress to move forward with a variety of -- of measures that would put additional economic pressure and economic sanctions on Iran in the immediate future.

KING: Jamie, where do you see it going?

RUBIN: Well, I think what's happening is there's a leadership crisis there. It's not just a battle between the Ahmadinejad presidency and the leader there, Khamenei, and the people. It's also a battle within their leadership.

And I think it's going to evolve over many, many weeks and months. The last week was obviously a very dramatic week. This week has been different. I think we're going to have different weeks over different months over the year ahead.

And I think we need to be really, really careful not, again, to make an analogy between Iran and one of the countries of Eastern Europe. We've made this mistake in the past. Many people thought once Saddam Hussein fell over, the statue fell over, the sweep of democracy would take place in Iraq. And we've been fighting a war there for six years that has shown that these places are very different. Iran in particular is very different. And I think what's really, really important for the people making policy to understand is that, unlike Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia or Natan Sharansky in the Soviet Union that John McCain referred to, the leaders of the opposition in Iran have not -- and I emphasize this -- not been calling for the United States to do all these things that have been suggested.

They've been very, very pleased that the United States has kept out of this so that they can keep the fight with themselves...

KING: Well...

RUBIN: ...and between their -- their government and their people there. And I think that's another important lesson we have to keep in mind.

PENCE: Well, when I...

KING: And we will have both of these gentlemen back.

PENCE: Yes.

KING: I'm sorry. I'm on time issues here. But we'll call on you together...

PENCE: You bet, Larry. I just think it's important always that America speak on the world stage on behalf of our ideals. And I'm glad that Congress, in a bipartisan way, did that overwhelmingly last week. And I welcome the president's stronger statement today.

KING: And we'll have both gentlemen back frequently throughout this crisis.

Thank you, both.

PENCE: Thank you.

KING: A great guy and a wonderful personality died today.

Our tribute to Ed McMahon is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON, COURTESY CARSON PRODUCTIONS)

JOHNNY CARSON, HOST: Are you putting me on?

MCMAHON: No, I'm not. I'm going to be out of town tomorrow, so.

CARSON: What do you mean you're going to be out of town tomorrow?

MCMAHON: I'm going to be...

CARSON: Tomorrow's Friday. MCMAHON: I know that. But I can -- I can take a day off once in a while. You certainly invented it.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The world's most famous sidekick passed away today, a good friend, a good guy, Ed McMahon.

To talk about him is Joan Rivers in New York, the comedian, author and entrepreneur, host of "How Did You Get So Rich?" on TV Land. And she'll be appearing in Vegas again in August and September.

In Boston, Doc Severinsen, band leader of "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson."

In Los Angeles, Howard Bragman, Ed McMahon's friend and publicist.

And on the phone, our good buddy, Don Rickles, who appeared on "The Tonight Show" a record nearly 100 times; also a friend of Ed.

Don, what do you think -- what's -- what do we say about Ed McMahon?

What's your thoughts about him?

DON RICKLES, FRIEND OF ED MCMAHON: Well, he was a great bounce off guy, you know, when Johnny got on a roll and Ed was jumping in there to keep it going. And he was a lot of fun. And it was great to watch him drink and watch it slip onto his shirt.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And you, also, every time you entered, would put him on. There you're kissing.

What are you kissing him for?

RICKLES: Because I figured if Johnny got hit by a bus, he's my backup.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Joan Rivers, you had a working relationship. You sat in for Johnny quite a few times.

JOAN RIVERS, HOSTED "THE TONIGHT SHOW" MANY TIMES: Yes.

KING: What are your thoughts about Ed?

RIVERS: Oh, he was just terrific. He was solid. He was funny. He knew how to play the game. He was honorable. I was crazy about him. I thought he was a great man.

KING: Doc, what was he like to work with?

DOC SEVERINSEN, BAND LEADER ON "THE TONIGHT SHOW": He was beautiful, a real gentleman and always showed great concern for our well-being.

KING: Was he any different off stage than on?

SEVERINSEN: No. Not -- no. I mean, "Here's Johnny." That -- that was Ed. And he was a great party guy and the party went on 24 hours a day.

KING: It did.

Now, Howard, you represented him.

Were you with him near the end?

HOWARD BRAGMAN, ED MCMAHON'S FRIEND & PUBLICIST: I was at the hospital a number of times over the last few months. He's -- he'd been at UCLA for the last few months.

KING: What did he die of?

BRAGMAN: Well, ultimately, he had that lot of health issues. He had pneumonia. He had cancer. But, you know, ultimately, he just -- the fight was over. Colonel McMahon -- Colonel McMahon had fought the good fight and it was time.

KING: Was his wife there with him?

BRAGMAN: Yes, Pam was there. It happened just after -- right around 1:00 this morning. And Pam and some family members -- there had been a gathering this weekend for Father's Day for him. And all his kids were there.

So it was -- it was time. And what's interesting, Larry, they settled the lawsuits the last few weeks.

KING: Oh, they did?

They were -- that was (INAUDIBLE).

BRAGMAN: All the lawsuits were done. So he got to go in with some peace and some peace of mind that he didn't leave that behind.

KING: Don, when you guested on "The Tonight Show," how -- how did you view Ed?

Was he a foil for you?

RICKLES: Well, he was always very supportive. I mean if Johnny would start out -- we never did these things on the paper.

He'd start out and say how's your mother? I said, you never liked my mother, what are you bringing that up for?

And -- and Ed would jump in with a ha-ha-ha, you hear what he said?

I said, Ed, butt out.

What do I need you for?

Please, butt out.

And Ed would give that giant laugh and he -- he made it -- he sustained the -- the comedy roll we were on.

KING: How important, Don, was he to the show?

RICKLES: Well, he always told me he was bigger than Johnny.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Well, he had a point.

Joan, how important was he?

RIVERS: Oh, I think he was very important. I think he was such a part of Johnny, that when I hosted -- and I was a permanent guest host -- I had Doc as my sidekick. He wasn't even given to anybody else. He really complemented Johnny tremendously and was used as such.

KING: Joan, it must be asked...

RIVERS: He also represented the audience...

KING: You -- you were estranged from Johnny after -- before his death.

RIVERS: No. No, no.

KING: You left the show. You took a job. Johnny didn't talk to you, right?

RIVERS: Never spoke to me again. Never.

KING: How did Ed treat you?

RIVERS: Ed -- and the word went around, Johnny -- I was persona non grata and no one was to talk to me and none of them did. Ed McMahon, again, I'd be in a restaurant and he would make it a point and come over and say hello. He was a terrific standup man. He was -- and that was against boss' orders. I just thought he was great.

KING: We're back with more of Joan Rivers, Doc Severinsen, Howard Bragman and Don Rickles.

Here's what David Letterman had to say: "Ed McMahon's voice at 11:30 was the signal that something great was about to happen. Ed's introduction of Johnny was a classic broadcasting ritual, reassuring and exciting. Ed was a true broadcaster and an integral part of Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show." We're all going to miss him." That's from David Letterman.

More to come.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCMAHON: Why are you putting it all over me? I just cleaned you off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just cleaning off the desk.

MCMAHON: Yes, right.

All right. Why don't we --

Don't do that.

Stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was funny. On this show, we love to hear from our guests. I'm sort of the conduit here. But if you'd like my thoughts on Ed, head to CNN.com/LarryKing. You'll read my blog. As always, your comments are welcome there.

Here's a big part of "The Tonight Show," always the brilliant Carnac concept. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having trouble divining this one?

MCMAHON: Sis boom baa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sis boom baa.

MCMAHON: Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was -- that was. Don, that's funny.

RICKLES: Well, when they work together -- especially they were a great team together. Spilling the ashes, a lot of that stuff -- I mean, that was priceless.

KING: You can't duplicate it.

RICKLES: It doesn't exist anymore, really. It doesn't, except on your show.

KING: Hey, Don. Doc, what was it like when Don hosted?

RICKLES: Who are you asking myself?

KING: No, Doc. I'm asking doc.

RICKLES: Yes, Doc would know. On New Year's Eve, he knew how to blow the horn, for crying out loud.

KING: How was Don when he hosted?

SEVERINSEN: I don't have to have an answer. Don will take care of that himself.

KING: You got a point.

RICKLES: How would you like to be on the ship New Year's Eve with him?

SEVERINSEN: He did a wonderful job.

KING: Thank you. Howard, clear up; what happened there with the house and Donald Trump was going to help. What happened?

BRAGMAN: OK, so we get a call one day from the "Wall Street Journal." And they say we hear Ed's losing his house, and he's in default on his mortgage. And most of my celebrity clients you go, forget them; it's none of their business.

Ed took a different tact. He said, you know what, I'm not the only guy in America going through this. I want to stand up and have some dignity about this. And you remember, we came over here and came on the show.

What's going to start to come out is there's kind of a hero in this, and it's a man that wishes to remain anonymous, but a wealthy man in San Francisco, and a very kind man, who purchased the mortgage from Countrywide Mortgage, and he allowed Pam and Ed to live in the house. He did a lease with them. They honored their lease and, in the last couple of weeks, Pam moved to a new house.

Actually preparing for Ed's return to the hospital, she moved to a one-story house. So the story really had a happy ending. There was a hero in it. And Mr. Trump did come along and made an offer at one point, which actually bought some time, which was a good thing. And a lot of people were really great.

KING: And the man in San Francisco, he wants to remain anonymous?

BRAGMAN: Absolutely. I put him on the phone with the newspaper today and he told the story. But he just doesn't want his name out there.

KING: Did he tell the newspaper who he was?

BRAGMAN: No, nobody. But a good guy I will tell you.

KING: Here's a statement from Dick Clark, who hosted "TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes" with Ed: "50 years ago, Ed and I were next door neighbors. Over the years, our friendship grew while he became one of America's favorite personalities. We were together for years. He was a big man, a big talent, a really big heart. We'll all miss him."

And we'll all be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That leap, one of the great moments. Jimmy Kimmel, who hired Ed to announce temporarily on his own show, had this to say: "besides being a TV legend, Ed was a very nice man. I'm honored to have known him and my thoughts are with his family."

By the way, Joan Rivers has a roast -- they're going to roast her on Comedy Central, and she hosts her own "How Did You Get So Rich" on TV Land. You'll see her in Vegas in August and September. She often opens for Don Rickles in big spots in the East and the like. How do you think they're going to remember him, Joan?

JOAN RIVERS, "HOW DID YOU GET SO RICH": I think they're going to remember him very much -- almost like a family member, you know? He was the one you could identify with. He was -- he always represented the audience. And everybody liked him, to the day he died. Everybody truly was terribly upset and sorry today that you spoke to. He's like a friend, a good friend died.

KING: Doc, was that a happy set?

SEVERINSEN: Yes, it was. And Ed was a great cheerleader. He wanted everybody that was on the show and everybody who guested on the show to do well. And he was always very supportive of everything.

KING: What was he like as a client, Howard?

BRAGMAN: The guy you saw on TV was the guy you dealt with. When I went to NBC this morning and did some interviews there, and the people who expressed the most condolences were the guard, the camera people, because they said Ed treated them like they treated the talent. That was -- Ed was this every guy.

KING: Before we get more from Mr. Rickles, Ed was a guest on this show almost 20 times. Let's take a look at one of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: When did it boom for you? When did you know I'm going to make a life in this?

MCMAHON: I knew it kind of on "Who Do You Trust" with Johnny. He was so hot, I knew he wasn't going to stop there. He was going to go on to greater things. And I figured I might as well tag along with him and go right along the same way.

KING: Any regrets? MCMAHON: Not really. I had a very charmed life. I've had a wonderful career. I still have a career. I'm still working. No, I have no regrets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Don, we are all aging. This is a great fact coming from me. But isn't it hard to, as Frank Sinatra once said, all of my friends are leaving?

RICKLES: No, I don't plant to go out to the plot mount and take a look. What is it with you? Speak for yourself, I'm a kid yet. You're old. I see you on television every night, and the wrinkles are starting to be like craters. Forget about it.

KING: Don, I don't mean that. Isn't it hard when old friends pass away?

RICKLES: No, it's very happy. I usually go to a dance, sing, bring the wife over. We throw Matzoh in the air. And we do Jewish songs and then we do gentile songs. It's wonderful. Death is so much fun!

KING: Don --

RICKLES: Let's have a big party.

KING: I made a big interviewing mistake here.

RICKLES: Sure, hey, listen --

KING: I looked for a tender moment.

RICKLES: I've got to leave you with a thought. (INAUDIBLE) You can say that.

RIVERS: Yes, you too, darling.

RICKLES: Listen, the point about Ed McMahon is, you know, all the remarks and so forth -- when a guy passes on and he's special, it's kind of hard to realize it, as you said, Larry, as we get older. You think, where did the time go? It was fun to be on the show with him, and Johnny was the master of what he did. But Ed was all part of that team. And he certainly, certainly did a great tribute to television, and to the people he worked with.

And I, for one, will certainly miss his wonderful charm.

KING: He also, Joan, was a pretty good host, wasn't he?

RIVERS: He was a very good host.

KING: The talent show he did and when he worked with Dick Clark.

RIVERS: And everyone forgets he did all of these shows, all the funny talent shows, real talent shows. And then he went around with that stupid check all over America and became such a part of that.

KING: I forgot about that. Stupid check.

RIVERS: And --

KING: Publishers Clearinghouse.

RIVERS: Publishers clearinghouse. So he really was absolutely such ingrained in all of our lives. They drew cartoons about him.

KING: Doc, did you ever enter the Publisher's Clearinghouse sweepstakes?

SEVERINSEN: Constantly. And I kept calling and I said, Ed, where's my check? Get it over here, I need it. But, you know, Ed had a great program with "Star Search" too.

KING: Yes.

SEVERINSEN: That was kind of a forerunner of a lot of this stuff that's on today.

KING: "American Idol" forerunner.

RIVERS: They also forget that phrase "here's Johnny." That was Ed. Ed came up with that.

RICKLES: Joan, take a Valium, will you? Try to relax, Joan, please. I love you, but take it easy.

KING: Howard, he would've loved this, right?

BRAGMAN: Ed loved his life. And, you know, we know the last couple of years were tough, but that's not how he thought of life. He thought he was the luckiest guy in the world. He had a great career. He had great love. he had great success. And every fan was his friend. And I think we should just be honored to know him as a friend.

KING: Thank you all very much.

RICKLES: I just want to say one thing, nobody said about the Marines, but it's all I ever heard when I saw him.

BRAGMAN: Colonel McMahon, absolutely.

KING: And Don, you were a Navy man.

RICKLES: No kidding. I was in World War II when you were in Miami looking for a beach umbrella.

KING: On that note, we say good night. Rickles, back to the home. I stole that from Ed. Read my thoughts on Ed and give us yours. Do it on our blog at CNN.com/LarryKing.

Millions watched last night as Jon and Kate separated on their TV show. We'll get the latest details in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: After months of tabloid stories and rumors, Jon and Kate Gosselin made it official; they are ending their 10-year marriage. Kate has filed divorce papers. The couple announced the split in separate interviews on their TLC reality show. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON GOSSELIN, "JON AND KATE PLUS 8": Kate and I have decided to separate.

KATE GOSSELIN, "JON AND KATE PLUS 8": Yes, we have decided that we will separate.

J. GOSSELIN: I try to contemplate and think about it, and would it be better for us? It's just not good for our kids for us to be arguing in front of our kids. And we can't be cordial with one another. Then we decide to separate.

K. GOSSELIN: I'm not very fond of the idea personally. But I know it's necessary because my goal is peace for the kids. And if peace needs to be brought about by this, then I'm going to agree. The kids will remain living in their house. I have always called this their house. I will remain here, as well, during my portion of having them.

Jon will also come here when it is his days, and we will flip- flop that way.

J. GOSSELIN: They love it here. This is their house. We bought this house for them, not for us. The security, the room, the land, all for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And we'll find out what all this means for them, their show and their children with experts next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

KING: Dr. Michelle Golland, clinical psychologist, does both individual and couples therapy, contributor to MomLogic.com, and Mark Vincent Kaplan, family law attorney, the lawyer for Kevin Federline in his divorce in an on-going child custody fight with Britney Spears. And in New York, Kate Coyne, senior editor of "People Magazine." "People's" latest cover story is an exclusive interview with Kate Gosselin.

Mark, according to the AP, Kate's divorce filing says the marriage is irretrievable broken. But she reportedly also is checking a box that they have been separate and apart for two years. MARK VINCENT KAPLAN, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: I think that is a technicality, because the box gives you two choices. You can check a box that says for the basis for divorce is that for, I think, three months after the service of the petition you want a divorce; the marriage is broken down. She checked both boxes apparently. It doesn't mean that they were separated for two years. I think that's a misnomer.

KING: She is not lying then?

KAPLAN: She is not lying.

KING: Was this expected, Michelle?

DR. MICHELLE GOLLAND, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think we've been watching this spiral down for a long time.

KING: Why are we fascinated with it?

GOLLAND: I think because if you are in a marriage, you understand how difficult it is to stay together. You know, 50 percent of people get divorced. I think when we were so attached to Jon and Kate, and saw them struggling and being very real, right, that we wanted them to make it. We really wanted them to make it.

KING: Kate, it's "People's" latest cover story.

KATE COYNE, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": Yes, it is.

KING: You have an exclusive with Kate Gosselin too. Why is "People" fascinated with this?

COYNE: Well, I think this is a situation where this is a celebrity now who is a very relatable celebrity. She is somebody, as Michelle said, who a lot of people can see themselves in. She is not famous for, you know, wearing designer clothes and getting paid millions of dollars to make movies. She's famous for being a mom. That is something a lot of readers can relate to.

KING: Let's look at Jon and Kate's on-camera comments. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. GOSSELIN: I don't hate Kate. But, you know --

K. GOSSELIN: We haven't really known where we were going, but we've been dealing with this for a long time.

J. GOSSELIN: I have to do what is best for me and my kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Mark, is this going to be amicably settled, do you think?

KAPLAN: Hard to say. We don't really know. I think the glue that might hold this together from being a divorce that's contentious is there is a production going on. And I think they are not going to let that unravel.

KING: What about the effect on the kids, doctor?

GOLLAND: I think a divorce on any children is so painful and so difficult, let alone a public one. I think, you know, the fact, if they are going to stay on air and do this publicly -- I really hope, as parents, that they are so mindful that their children are going to be watching them.

KING: Is that wise to stay on? They're staying on what, for money?

GOLLAND: Oh, yes. I think that can be the only reason.

KING: Isn't the negative -- there are more reasons against than for?

GOLLAND: You know, I think from the beginning of this story, my question has been did they even try marital therapy. I say to all my couples who come in, if you don't try really hard, and you have children, you're going to have to answer to them.

KING: More after this. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Kate Coyne, you put them on the cover. This couple, will they sell as many issues as Mr. and Mrs. Brad Pitt?

COYNE: Close to it. Certainly, that's our hope. They've definitely struck a chord with millions and millions of readers, with millions of viewers. Over 10 million people tuned in to last night's episode of the show. It is clear when these people speak, a lot of viewers and readers want to listen.

KING: Kate released a statement earlier today, saying "over the course of this weekend, Jon's activities have left me no choice but to file legal procedures in order to protect myself and our children. While there are reasons why it was appropriate and necessary for me to initiate this proceeding, I do not wish to discuss those reasons at this time. And the hope that all issues will be resolved amicably between Jon and myself. As always, my first priority remains our children."

Then why not quit the show?

GOLLAND: I always find it very interesting in marriages that are falling apart that their first priority is the children.

KING: I think their first priority is probably the show.

GOLLAND: Yes. I actually their first priority should have been their marriage. If their marriage had been a priority, we wouldn't be in this position.

KING: If you are retained by either one, is your first goal as a lawyer to try to save it? That used to be --

KAPLAN: When people come to me, saving is already an issue that is --

KING: Gone.

KAPLAN: It's gone.

KING: Jon also released a statement today: "yesterday, Kate filed for divorce. Our kids are still my number one priority. I love them, want to make sure they stay happy, healthy and safe. The past six months or so have been very difficult for Kate and me. We are no different than other couples and parents who are facing a cross roads in their marriage. I'm, of course, deeply saddened that we are divorcing."

Do you buy that, Mark?

KAPLAN: I'm sure everybody said that they are divorcing at one point or another. But I think the fact that there hasn't been, as far as I know, any attempt to counsel through this -- I think he also was complaining about not wanting to go beyond the reality show. But those are choices you can easily take care of if you really mean it.

KING: I'm sorry, go ahead.

GOLLAND: I was going to say, you know, I think what is very important to address is that even if they are divorcing, there are a lot of psychologists, myself included, who do divorce therapy.

KING: There is divorce therapy, too.

GOLLAND: Oh, yes. I think it is extremely important to do, particularly in this situation.

KING: Kate, in her interview with you, did she say anything at all about seeking counsel?

COYNE: No. Neither of them have ever mentioned on the show that they were seeking counsel. Actually, Kate made a point of saying, both on the show and in the interview, that Jon hasn't wanted to speak to her for quite some time. He is not interested in talking to her. So that would indicate to me that counseling probably wasn't an option.

KING: We are going to give you one more clip before we leave you. Here, again, from last night's 10 million watched episode.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

K. GOSSELIN: I don't really want to be alone. I don't want to do this alone. But it's required and I've got to do it.

J. GOSSELIN: I wasn't always the greatest communicator. So I know that. But I do have feelings as well. And I am hurt by all of this. But I'm excited and hurt at the same time. Because, you know, I have a new chapter in my life. I'm only 32 years old, and I really don't know what's going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The only concern, it would seem to me, are the kids. Tomorrow night, more on the turmoil in Iran. Thanks for being with us. Campbell Brown hosts "AC 360" right now. Campbell?