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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview with Bill Clinton
Aired September 21, 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, Bill Clinton -- his presidential push for health care reform failed.
Does he think Obama will do better?
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BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be shocked if we don't get it.
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KING: And what about Jimmy Carter's racism remarks?
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CLINTON: I don't believe that all the people that oppose him on health care and all the conservatives are racist.
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KING: We get the 42nd president's take on partisan politics.
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CLINTON: But in the end, the doers prevail.
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KING: The ailing economy.
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CLINTON: The average people need to feel this recovery. They're nowhere near that now.
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KING: And his own Global Initiative.
Bill Clinton for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
It's always a great pleasure to welcome the 42nd president of the United States to LARRY KING LIVE, Bill Clinton. He established the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation after leaving the White House, launched the Clinton Global Initiative back in 2005 and we have attended it every year. And he opens the fifth annual meeting tomorrow right here in New York.
How is that done?
How is your overall appraisal?
CLINTON: It's succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. You know, when we started this meeting, it just sort of grew out of an idea that we had that at the opening of the U.N. every year, you'd have all the political leaders from around the world and you could bring business leaders and non-governmental groups, charitable groups together, but instead of just having another talking meeting, we should actually all commit to do something. People were dying to be asked to do something. At least that was the gamble.
And it turned out to be right. After the first four years, we've had 1,400 commitments. And only 20 percent of them are complete now. They -- they're multi-year commitments. But already they've touched 200 million lives in 150 countries.
KING: We're going to...
CLINTON: It's a pretty big deal.
KING: We'll talk a lot more about it later.
All right. The president is going to address the opening session tomorrow. He did five Sunday talk shows this weekend.
Is he running a risk of being overexposed?
CLINTON: Well, you know...
KING: I mean he's everywhere.
CLINTON: If he did it every week, he would. But what he's doing now is trying to regain control over the health care debate and trying to remind people of the big things -- that we pay 50 percent more for health care than any other country; really, about twice as much as any other country; that we, unlike all other wealthy countries, don't insure everybody; that anybody who has insurance has no control over the cost or whether they'll have the insurance next year; and we don't have the best health outcomes.
So the worst thing we can do is nothing. He's trying to make the case for change while Congress works through the options to see if we can pass.
I think that it was the right thing to do, to try to gain control of this debate, because we don't...
KING: You would have done it? CLINTON: Well, I -- I would certainly have been visible, as he was. And I think -- he may think is making up for lost time, that he let the thing drift a little bit while they were basically performing reverse plastic surgery on it.
Keep in mind, health care is complex, so it's easy to misrepresent. It's deeply personal, so it's easy to spark fear. And there's lots of money in it and a lot of it doesn't go to better health care. And the people that get that money don't want to give it up.
So it's hard to change. But I -- I think we're going to get a bill this time.
KING: You do?
CLINTON: I do, because...
KING: Well, you've got 60 votes.
CLINTON: Yes, we've got -- the main thing is we have 60 votes. And it's going to be much harder to filibuster than it was for me. When Senator Dole decided that he would try to kill any health care measure, all he had to do was hold 41 of 45 Republicans.
Now the -- they have to hold 100 percent of the Republicans and get somebody else, assuming there will be a senator appointed to replace Senator Kennedy.
KING: You figure he's going to get one?
CLINTON: That's what I think. I'll be shocked if we don't get it.
KING: How do you think the presidency, in this short a period of time, has worn on him?
CLINTON: Well, I see him in a little different context, you know, because...
KING: You've been there.
CLINTON: I've been there, because Hillary is in the cabinet; because he has been kind enough to, you know, ask me to come down and give a briefing about my trip to North Korea; because he asked me to lunch last week and we talked about mostly the economy.
And I can tell that it has worn on him. And he knows it's -- it's a very difficult job. And it's a deciding job. And all the easy decisions get made before you. They give you a one-pager and you check off. So you only get to make the hard decisions. And -- and he's got a lot of hard ones.
But I think he's also growing into the job, as I did -- as nearly everybody does. Nobody shows up just ready to be president.
KING: Is his inexperience showing a lot more than others, though?
He's never governed a state.
CLINTON: Well, not necessarily, because he's got a lot of experienced people around him. And, you know, I think that he's -- he's worked like crazy and he's very smart. I mean, you know, President Kennedy never governed anything. He had been in Congress longer, but he had never governed anything.
The main thing is, for every president, to make an honest assessment of what your strength and weaknesses are and then try to appoint people who will complement your strengths by compensating for your weaknesses. And that's what we all try to do.
And you really can't tell until, you know, like a couple of years pass, as to how it all works. But it looks to me like he's working through this pretty well. I think he's still got a lot of other issues. You know, there are still a lot of economic issues still left to deal with. There's -- there's this whole energy question and whether we can get climate change legislation that grows the economy and reduces our greenhouse gas emission.
But -- but he's highly intelligent, he's well-motivated, he's trying to do the right thing and he can keep a lot of balls in the air at the same, which is exceedingly important in a complicated time.
KING: Now let's discuss some other things. According to everything we've heard, he has asked the governor of New York not to seek election -- he wasn't elected, he was lieutenant governor.
You're a citizen of New York.
What do you make of that?
CLINTON: Well, first of all, I have no direct knowledge of it. The governor is a friend of mine and Hillary's. I know he's in political trouble, but he's done a better job than he's got credit for, I think, in some ways. He's gotten -- he got really hurt by all of that mess with our legislature.
And I think given the unusual circumstances under which he took office and the terrible conditions -- he's really done some good things, for which I hope he gets credits, whether he runs for re- election or not.
But in the end, that's a decision that he has to make. And I think he will do what he thinks is right for the people of New York.
KING: Were you surprised?
If true, were you surprised that the president would ask him to do that?
KING: Would you have done that? CLINTON: Well, I don't know if he did. I don't know what the facts are. So until I do, its hard to comment. I think -- the only thing I ever did. Look, the president is the leader of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has an interest nationally and progressives generally don't want to lose the governorship of New York, for goodness sake. I get that. And these are tough conditions for incumbents to run in.
But my -- when I was involved, the most I ever did was to say that if somebody decided not to run and they wanted to continue in public service, I'd find something for them to do, because I think there a lot of good people who, for reasons beyond their control, can't be re-elected. And...
KING: So you are saying you'd offer Patterson a quid pro quo, like if he was...
CLINTON: Yes, but that I don't think he wants that. He has given no indication that he is looking for that. But I think you have to be careful -- you know, the race is, in a funny way, trying to clear out the way for the Senate and the House. I think that people understand the White House being more active there than in a state race like a governorship.
But the truth is, I can't criticize either one of them. I think Patterson is in a tough spot, but he's done a better job than he's gotten credit for. So he's done some good things. I think that he will do what he thinks is right for the people of New York, in the end -- and for himself. I think the President, understandably, wants to hold onto the governorship of the fourth biggest state in the country.
KING: Republican Congressman Joe Wilson's "You lie" outburst -- we'll get President Clinton's reaction, after this.
KING: The President will meet tomorrow with Netanyahu on a bus. Here we go -- how many meetings you had, your predecessors, people after you.
Are we ever going to get something concrete in the Middle East?
CLINTON: Well, I -- first, it's more up to them than it is up to President Obama. I mean, the parties make peace. I got a lot of credit for making the peace in the Middle East -- I mean in Northern Ireland. What I did was to try to create the conditions that make peace possible and to minimize the risks of doing it. The same thing we did in Bosnia.
But in the end, only the parties can make peace.
If you look at the long term strategic trend, there ought to be a peace agreement. From the point of view of the Palestinians, they have been too poor too long and they're only poor at home. Every time they go anywhere else in the world, they do great. So if they had their own state and they had stability and peace and investment, they'd do great there.
And if the Israelis and the Palestinians ever cooperated together, based on the performance of Palestinians in other parts of the world, they would maybe be the powerhouse of the 21st century in the Middle East.
For the Israelis, I think it's important because the numbers are moving against them. If they don't create a Palestinian state, then sooner, rather than later, they'll have to make a decision -- well, is Israel no longer to be a majority Jewish state or will they disfranchise the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza and make it a non- democracy?
Furthermore, these rockets which led to the incursion into Gaza were maddening and frustrating to the Israelis. But frankly, they weren't very accurate. It's only a matter of time until their accuracy improves. So the technological trend line is not in favor of Israel intransigence. They need a...
KING: So it's in the interests of both of them?
CLINTON: Yes. They need a partner in the Middle East, the Israelis do. And they need a world committed to their security.
KING: And what...
CLINTON: So that -- for those reasons, you know, I think there is a fair chance that we'll get a peace agreement.
KING: What part does Obama play?
CLINTON: Well, what he and the secretary of State and...
KING: I've heard of her.
CLINTON: ...and George Mitchell, the envoy, what they all have to do is keep looking for the formula that will get the negotiations started again. That is, they recognize what the problems that the Palestinians will have, what the political problems the Netanyahu government has, the prime minister and they recognize that both sides will try to get as much they can out of the U.S. And anybody else that's in the quartet -- the E.U. The Russians, (INAUDIBLE) trying to get them in there.
I think if we could just get them to start talking again around the two state solution, around restoring a sense of normalcy and creating a Palestinian state, I think you'd be surprised how quickly, at least, they would come down to all the same issues that they were down to in 2000 when I made my proposal and then Prime Minister Barak, now the defense minister, said yes and Mr. Arafat didn't.
I mean there's -- there's not a nickel's worth of difference in what the options are here. It's just a question of whether they're ready to take them.
KING: All right, switching gears. Congressman Joe Wilson, he yells, "You lie." Since then, President Carter says racism is at the bottom of all this uproar.
Where do you -- what do you feel?
CLINTON: I believe that some of the right-wing extremists which oppose President Obama are also racially prejudiced and would prefer not to have an African-American president. But I don't believe that all the people that oppose him on health care and all the conservatives are racist.
And I believe if he were white, every single person who opposes him now would be opposing him then.
Therefore, while I have devoted my life to getting rid of racism, I think this is a fight that my president and our party -- this is one we need to win on the merits. And so, I understand why it's frustrating because the Congressman was from South Carolina and South Carolina is noted in the Republican Party for having Bob Jones University and for the...
KING: The Dixie flag
CLINTON: ...the Dixie flag, the messy primary with John McCain and President Bush in 2000.
But I really think that we should disaggregate lingering problems of discrimination from the attacks to which the president is subject. The ones that have a race -- an obvious racial overtone, you can see that's coming from an extreme right-winger who also has racial prejudice.
But we have to win this health care fight on the merits. And that's what the president said. He's absolutely right about it. I respect President Carter for his concern about this. But this is a fight about whether we are going to basically keep making excuses for -- for being the only wealthy country in the world that can't figure out how to ensure everybody, can't figure out how to get decent health outcomes compared to our competitors and insist on paying twice as much as anybody else does.
Now, if we want to keep doing that, we can do. I'd rather have that fight right now. And that's the fight President Obama wants. And I think he made the right decision.
KING: So was President Carter wrong?
CLINTON: There's no wrong or right on this. I think that if you're a white Southerner and you've been involved as long as Jimmy Carter has, as long as I have; if civil rights was essentially the cause of your life that drove you into politics; you're exceedingly sensitive to anything that sounds racially prejudiced.
But you can't -- but if you're president, you have to be exceedingly sensitive to the fact that not everybody who disagrees on you on health care has a -- has a racist bone in their body. Some of the extremist do, but most of them don't. This -- let me put it this way. If Barak Obama were a white president, I believe virtually 100 percent of the people who oppose him on health care today would oppose him on health care anyway.
So, I don't want to say that President Carter is wrong about there being some still racial prejudice involved in the opponents of President Obama, but this fight is a fight which would exist no matter the color of his skin is because of the -- look what happened in '93 and '94 to me. I mean the right has never wanted -- they didn't want Medicare, they didn't want Medicaid, they didn't want...
KING: They didn't want Social Security.
CLINTON: ... The Children's Healthcare Program, they didn't want social security. And they somehow believe that, miraculously, we should be the only rich country in the world that can't figure out how to cover everybody and keep shoveling, literally, $900 billion a year at health care.
You think about how much our deficit is today. Think about how much we're at a competitive disadvantage with other countries in manufacturing. We are throwing $900 billion a year at health care that has nothing to do with good health and doesn't even cover everybody.
So the people that are getting the big chunk of that money don't want to give it up and they're ready to stoke all these fires. That's the fight Barack Obama wants. He wants to fight this on the merits. And I respect that and he's right about it.
KING: He's always a great guest.
More with Bill Clinton in 60 seconds.
KING: Afghanistan -- first, they're calling it Obama's war now. Two, "The Washington Post" reports that the U.S. commander, General McChrystal, says we need more forces there. Apparently, the president has taken a step back on that.
What should we do?
CLINTON: Well, first, in any situation like this, when you inherit an ongoing military conflict -- and particularly if you supported it in the beginning, as the president did and as the secretary of State did, as I did, as the overwhelming majority of the American people did after the Afghans gave -- the Taliban government gave sanctuary to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden after 9/11 -- you always -- you've basically always got a version of three options.
You can ramp up your presence politically -- militarily and politically and economically. And if -- if he does that, it really, clearly, then becomes his war. And you run the risk that it won't work and in the end you'll still have to withdraw.
Or you can cut down. You can say this is not going to work because local people have to win this fight. If you do that, right now, in all probability, it will create a vacuum and the Taliban influence will certainly increase. And if you do that, you run the risk that you lose leverage in dealing with Iran, in dealing with the Middle East peace process, in having other people think you're serious...
CLINTON: ... And you may create a greater opportunity for the Taliban and the Al Qaeda, particularly, to come back and operate in Afghanistan and have more options to planned, unfettered actions against the United States, Europe and others.
The third thing you can do is try to do a better job with what you've got. That is, you keep, essentially, the numbers you've got, but you make a commitment to do a better job protecting the population centers and you give the CIA a little more juice, which is what they've been doing.
KING: You've laid out the case well.
CLINTON: Yes. It's...
KING: What do you do when you're president...
CLINTON: So when...
KING: ...when your general says we need more?
CLINTON: Well, what I think -- what I think he's doing now is saying OK, I hear you, but we learned one thing. The surge worked in Iraq.
Because the local Iraqis were sick of the Al Qaeda in Iraq -- sick of them. And the Anbar revival happened because our surge dovetailed with the local efforts, OK?
CLINTON: So my guess is that he will say, you may be right, general, but we still have this ongoing election count. Let's wait until that happens. Let's have it -- let's see what the new government's going to be. Let's see if both the top two finishers are going to be in the government -- which is a possibility -- and if that means there's going to be more broad-based support, because we got everybody together after the election was over, then it's clear that more soldiers will be even more effective.
Keep in mind, the real lesson of Vietnam, I think, that has somehow been lost -- a lot of people think that we lost in Vietnam because we quit, because we didn't up the ante enough, we didn't send another 100,000 troops in or whatever.
The real lesson, I always thought, is you can't beat somebody with nobody. In other words, the grassroots people who embraced the Vietcong or the North Vietnamese -- or at least didn't fight against them, weren't willing to put their lives on the line to beat them -- did not believe they had a local government in South Vietnam that was sufficiently better to run the risk of that.
CLINTON: So what I think President Obama will want to do is to let this election settle down, make it clear what the victor is. And if President Karzai is declared the victor, notwithstanding the allegations of irregularities, what he does with his main challenger and where we go from here. Then, I think, he'll be in a better position to pick between those three options.
So my guess is that what he's saying is not to the general. I don't think he said no. Look, all I know about this is what I read in the paper. Like, I should tell you, I have not gotten any personal insight from either the president or the secretary of State on this.
But just reading the paper, my guess is he has not decided on no, he just wants to hold his fire a little bit until he sees how -- what the political lay of the land is in Afghanistan and where we can go and what our leverage is.
This is not going to be won by military force alone. And you've got the CIA going all out there, doing everything they can do. And I think we're going to be better at development than we've been in the past. And I think it will get more support among the Afghans.
But before he commits more soldiers and the obvious consequences that that entails, my guess is he just wants to see what's going to be possible to do with the political climate.
KING: President Clinton secured the release of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
We'll ask him about it.
Don't go away.
KING: We're going to talk a little more about the Global Initiative, of course.
KING: But one other thing in this area and that's North Korea.
What was it like to take those two girls out?
CLINTON: It was humbling and it was a wonderful feeling. They're -- they're really fine young women. And they...
KING: It was a done deal, right?
CLINTON: Well, it was -- basically, the proposal was that if there were no glitches, if I would come and get them, he would let them go. But they really wanted me to come. And I -- and I thought it was interesting, because I had two strong conversations -- confrontations with the North Koreans in my eight year period.
KING: I remember.
CLINTON: But we also made some real progress and -- and I developed respectful relations with Kim Jong Il and with his father, Kim Il Sung, because I was very direct with them, very straightforward, no ambiguity, but I never tried to humiliate them in public. I just let them know where we were and what was important and what we were prepared to do to help them.
And so, for whatever reason, they wanted me to come. So that was a -- the families asked me and then I told them that I couldn't go unless the president and the administration approved it -- that as a former president, it would not be appropriate for me to do that. So they debated that.
Al Gore was, meanwhile, trying to go back and forth between the families because the girls worked for him -- the young women worked for him.
And I must say, I thought everybody did a very professional job in reaching the decision, in not leaking the story, the whole nine yards.
Then when I went, I found it utterly fascinating. Now, I have not talked a great deal about what was said. I spent several hours with the leader of North Korea. I found him alert, in better health than most people thought and clearly in command of the situation and clearly interested in whether there was some positive outcomes -- more positive than the ones that are generated by their policies today.
But beyond that, I think I shouldn't say anything, because I don't have any policymaking authority anymore.
CLINTON: And I don't want to inadvertently constrain the president's options.
I do think he's done a good job, by the way, President Obama, in getting the Russians and the Chinese to work together to try to constrain the ability of the North Koreans to get nuclear -- essential nuclear materials in, or nuclear technology or weapons out of North Korea. They've done a good job on that.
KING: Back with more of President Bill Clinton after this.
KING: We've gotten a ton of tweets about you.
I don't know about that. Anyway, we'll break it all down a little later. But I want to talk about the Global Initiative.
You say more than 1,400 pledges of action of $46 billion have been made and improved the lives of 200 million people. What's its biggest obstacle? When you run into them, has the economy affected it?
CLINTON: It has, not so much this year. We actually have almost exactly the same number of people coming as paying members this year as last year. We've had more specific commitments made, although for a slightly smaller amount of money because the most expensive of these commitments -- this $46 billion is somewhat misleading.
Thirty billion dollars of that was in energy projects, because the big solar projects and the big wind projects, you know, are quite expensive. But -- so it wouldn't be -- it's not surprising there's not that much capital. But what I think has hurt us the most is commitments that the people thought in good faith they would fund over three years or over five years, they may have had to stretch it out more. And it's just slowed things down a little bit.
But still, you know, we've had -- healthcare is better for 48 million kids, education is better for 10 million, 12 million more children have access to safe drinking water. I mean, we've really been able to do some very significant things just by putting people in poor countries who do this work together with businesses and non- government groups from rich countries, and having unusual partnerships.
We just try to get things done faster, quicker, better, cheaper.
KING: What percentage of what you do helps Americans?
CLINTON: I should know, but I don't. But quite a bit, actually. For example, this year, we have a commitment from an NGO -- here, actually, I wrote it down. May I look?
CLINTON: Yeah, I can.
Called Hello Wallet.
KING: Hello Wallet.
CLINTON: Hello Wallet. To give free financial advice to 10,000 Americans who live in affordable housing, that is, they're very modest incomes, and a lot of them are in trouble. So we did that.
We have done work in the Katrina area. I think that you're going to see some commitments in the Mississippi Delta this year. We've had some people make commitments on Native American reservations. And we've had anything from clean energy to providing micro credit.
So we've actually done pretty well in America. I think this year there may be even more because of the economic adversity.
KING: The 42nd president of the United States is with us. More of Bill Clinton after the break.
KING: Now you said in a speech in Peru earlier this year you believe the modern world can be overwhelmingly characterized by one word, interdependence. And most Americans don't seem comfortable with that. It sounds like well, interdependent means they can have something to say about us.
You didn't mean that, right?
CLINTON: No. What I meant by interdependence is it can be good and bad -- good or bad or both. Interdependence means that divorce is not an option. That is, whether we like it or not, the problems of one country spill over into another.
I'll give you an example. We and the Chinese together probably account for nearly half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. So we're out there on the front lines of global warming. But Australia today is the hardest hit country and Africa will be next hardest hit.
I'll give you another example. The world's biggest rainforests are in the Amazon, in Indonesia and in the Congo River Basin. If they're torn down, they'll have an impact on global warming everywhere. If people die of AIDS because they can't get medicine, that will lead to a sense of desperation and social chaos that we may be called upon to deal with in Africa and elsewhere.
On the other hand, even when people were mad at America over the Iraq War, President Bush and America's population never waned -- popularity never waned in several countries in South and Eastern Africa, where they knew America, through our commitment to AIDS and malaria fighting, through the Bush administration's policies in groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the works that we do there in my foundation.
So interdependence simply means whether we like it or not, we can't escape each other. And, therefore, we have to build a world where we share the benefits and the responsibilities.
KING: Did you...
CLINTON: And it means we can't afford -- you asked me that question about President Obama's race. I think the reason he got elected, in part, was people thought we didn't have time to obsess about our differences anymore. We're a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious country and we should be able to celebrate our identity and respect our differences.
But I think people get that we're interdependent and that's why there's such a low tolerance level today for obsessing about our relatively superficial identity differences.
KING: Superficial. Yes. Yet...
CLINTON: Genetically, you know, we're all 99.9 percent the same. There was a huge scientific debate in the last year about whether the original conclusion that we were 99.9 percent the same genetically was right, when the human genome was sequenced. But whether, alas, they made a terrible mistake and we're only 99.5 percent the same.
Now, from a health care point of view, it could be quite significant, since there's three billion genome. But from a political and social point of view, it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. You just think about every difference you can see between two human beings, even gender, is based on, at a maximum, a half of 1 percent of their genetic makeup.
KING: Speaking of that, you told me once that my kids, 10 and 9 now, will definitely live to be 100.
CLINTON: I think they will, unless -- if they escape accidents.
KING: Yes, I know.
CLINTON: Or crimes or acts of God, you know, natural disasters, or they don't have some totally unmanageable genetically predetermined health problem, I think by the time they are old enough to be at risk of any kind of cancer, I think that the Americans -- and I hope people all over the world -- will be able to go into diagnostic chambers and just stand there, where nanotechnology diagnosis we'll be able to see what are now sub-microscopic tumors and you'll be able to zap them right out.
I think within 20 years I'll be shocked if women still have to have mastectomies when they have tumors, unless they just don't get diagnosed in time. I think that we'll be able to see people where strokes are building and we'll be able to have very sophisticated measurements of pressures on blood vessels and things like that and be able to treat it before people have cerebral hemorrhages, before people have strokes.
So I think that -- I expect the life expectancy of people under 15 today to be well over 90 years.
KING: President Bill Clinton is our guest. Back in 60 seconds.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, at the top of the hour, the lies of John Edwards. We've known for a year now that he was having an affair while running to be president but now another possible lie and questions about whether campaign funds were used for hush money.
Also Afghanistan at a crossroads. General Stanley McChrystal says he needs more troops along with a new strategy or he says the mission will fail. Michael Ware, Peter Bergen and Rory Stuart join us for a reality check.
And Phillip Garrido, the man accused of kidnapping Jacey Dugard believed he had invented a mysterious box, a black box which allowed him to channel god, he believed, and that box which eventually led police to discover his decade-long secret. We'll show you the box for the first time. It is a window into a very twisted mind.
Now back to LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Did Global Initiative get involved in health?
CLINTON: Absolutely. We do a lot of work on health. But keep in mind, we do most of our work on health among low income people in America who need basic health care and in developing parts of the world, where, you know, like my foundation does, too.
We give two thirds of the poor children in the world who get AIDS medicine get it through our health contracts and our foundation. Half of all the adults get it through our contract. So -- and the Global Initiative has done an amazing amount of work on clean water, particularly.
Matt Damon, the actor, is a very, very serious leader in this global clean water endeavor. It's really impressive, since a billion people never get to drink a clean glass of water. It's a huge deal. And -- and if global warming continues, there will be, relatively speaking, less water per person. And you're going to have huge problems over water.
KING: A billion people can't get...
CLINTON: Yes. A billion people. But Procter & Gamble, for example, has developed a little packet that costs 50 cents that will clean up enough water that it can be -- that it's drinkable for a family of four for two or three days and that's the great thing about our global -- I want to say this, too.
They have had partnerships with big groups like UNICEF or big donor groups, but they can accept small donations. So we had a guy on -- we have a -- a Web site that covers the Global Initiative. And we had a person e-mail in and said I'll give you $10 and I can buy 20 of those packets.
And so we try to break it down so people -- everybody can participate at some level or -- you know, some amount of time, some amount of money.
KING: How many people work for the Global Initiative? I mean salaried people?
CLINTON: I don't know, probably 60.
KING: That's all?
CLINTON: I think so. Maybe a little more. I don't know. Listen, I have 1,400 people work for the foundation.
KING: Based in New York?
CLINTON: Not all. No. We have hundreds working for our AIDS programs and our climate change programs overseas.
KING: President Bill Clinton still with us. Stay with us.
KING: Bipartisanship -- is it over?
CLINTON: No, but, you know, it takes two to tango. And on these things, keep in mind, when I was president, I -- I really, I got some report after the first two years that I had more support among Democrats even than Lyndon Johnson enjoyed and unanimous opposition among Republicans on most things.
That is, Newt Gingrich clearly -- orchestrated a just-say-no strategy. And since at that time, the American people didn't understand that a filibuster in the Senate with a small minority, 41, could kill anything but a budget, the failure of health care depressed our turnout and the fact that I passed the assault weapons ban and the Brady Bill and I passed the budget inflamed their base. So they had a higher turnout, we had a lower one and we took a terrible whipping in '94.
So it looks to me like they think they can replay that now. Now I disagree with that. I disagree with it for two reasons. One is it's hard to keep running the same dog up the same track. People get smart about it. And they had eight years of what would happen.
Secondly, the country is different now. I think the Republicans should be trying to get an innovative, positive health care bill through and then I think they should try to get an innovative, positive energy bill through and guarantee that we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the economy.
But they apparently think it's better to try to deny the president an achievement. And they apparently believe they can then run the same argument in the press they did on me in '94.
But in the end, the doers prevail, just as they did in the '90s. The people that do prevail.
KING: Most -- a lot of Tweeter questions are asking about your health. There were tabloid stories saying you had Parkinson's Disease.
CLINTON: You know why that is?
CLINTON: Have you ever noticed my left hand shakes sometimes. It's shaking a little bit today, see? Not much, just a little. And when I'm tired or -- more tired, excuse me -- it sometimes shakes more. I noticed this a couple of years ago. So I actually went to my doctor and he got me with a specialist and they tested me for Parkinson's. I said look, if I've got this, I want to know, I want to manage it. Then he said you absolutely do not. And the first thing that -- the guy tested me. And then he said, it's worse when you're tired, isn't it? I said, yes. He said, when people get older, they quite often have a tremor in their hands, a little tremor. And that...
KING: Now you're giving it to me.
CLINTON: He said you just have to fight it. He said, you have to, you know, keep your grip strong and avoid spasm muscles. And he said try to get enough sleep. But he said you don't have a Parkinson's problem.
So I -- I'm living and breathing for an end to the Parkinson's problem. I hope that the Human Genome Project will do it for Michael J. Fox, for Janet Reno, for all the friends I've had who have dealt with Parkinson's. But I -- apparently I don't...
KING: It ain't you.
CLINTON: Apparently I don't have it. No.
KING: How is your heart?
CLINTON: As far as I know it's OK. On my last medical exam, I got a good report.
KING: Are you happy with Hillary and her office?
CLINTON: Oh, yes. I'm very proud of her.
KING: Is she liking it?
CLINTON: Yes, but it's hard. You know, we -- we were joking over the weekend when we were taking our daily walk that we do when she comes home on the weekend. You know, when you get a little older, those 60 and 70 hour weeks get a little longer. And she's traveled over 110,000 miles this year.
But I'm proud of her. I'm honored that she got the chance to serve. She's got some high-class problems to deal with.
KING: Yes. She was asked...
CLINTON: But I think she'll be quite successful when it's all said and done.
KING: She was asked in Africa about you and she looked a little offended that hey, I'm the secretary of State.
CLINTON: Yes. I think I got it. I think that -- I think that she thought we didn't hear the guy's tone of voice or quite understand it. But I would -- I did an interview a couple of years ago when I was in Africa and severely jet lagged and tired.
And I got asked one of those like edgy questions like that and I gave sort of a -- I gave an answer that was about four degrees too hot. So I just would have to say to everybody listening, when you see any political figure or any public figure answer any kind of semi- controversial question from a long way away, you have to look at him and ask if there's any possibility they were jet lagged and, if so, you probably ought to cut them a little slack.
KING: A couple of quick things. Is Bernanke right? Is the recession over?
CLINTON: I'd say, from economic textbook point of view, he is probably right. Now, not enough timelessness, so I don't think we've had two quarters in a row of positive growth.
KING: That's the measure.
CLINTON: Yes, that's the measure. But I - my belief is that we will have that. The problem is that in a - even in a less severe recession, typically what happens is the stock market goes up for six months. That's happened. Then you have the economy growing numerically for six months.
Then and only then do you have substantial hiring. And sometimes people are so nervous they don't hire, and so you're going to slip back into a slowdown. So I think for the American people this recession will not be over until the unemployment rate is back certainly under 8 percent, maybe under 7 percent, until we're creating jobs again.
And I think that that's the dilemma facing the president's economic team because this is the dilemma Franklin Roosevelt faced.
CLINTON: Because contrary to what a lot of people think, most of us Democrats are fairly prudent fiscally, and President Obama would like to bring this deficit down. But when Roosevelt did it in '37, it was a little too soon, so he went back into -- not into the full-scale depression, but back into a serious recession.
So the trick for him is the -- how long to let this stimulus of the deficit spending play out and when to shut it down. And I think the answer is the sooner we can shut it down, the better, but we can't do it until we really got job growth underway again. Average people need to feel this recovery. They're nowhere near that now.
KING: Always good.
CLINTON: Thank you.
KING: I'll be over to Global Initiative, as always.
CLINTON: Thanks for coming. And I hope people will follow it over the Internet. KING: And thank you for your kind remarks about my book.
CLINTON: It was wonderful. Everybody ought to read that. The childhood and the days in Miami, I would kill for. I just -- great.
KING: Thank you.
CLINTON: Thank you.
KING: Former President Bill Clinton.
Tomorrow night, Tyra Banks, Wednesday night, Michael Moore, and "ANDERSON COOPER 360" right now.