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Suze's Financial Advice

Aired December 10, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Your money and your life -- Suze Orman is here with bottom line advice about surviving these rocky economic times. Foreclosure notices fell last month -- is your house safe?

The Dow is up.

Hey, you got the spare cash, are stocks the place to stash it?

And how can you save during the holiday season without being Scrooged?

Sure, we'll take your calls, too. And so will Suze.

And then Queen Latifah -- outspoken, outstanding. We'll talk about Obama and Tiger and Oprah and a lot more. She'll also share what she says is one of the greatest stories never told.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with the personal finance expert, the Emmy-winning TV host of "The Suze Orman Show," seen Saturday nights on CNBC, "The New York Times" best-selling author. She hasn't been with us since February, which is hard to believe.

When you were on that time, Obama was set to sign the $787 billion stimulus plan.

How has it all worked since then?

How are we doing?

SUZE ORMAN, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: Well, actually, if you look at it, we're a whole lot better than we were a year ago. We're no longer falling off the cliff. The banks have been saved. They're starting to repay a lot of the TARP money.

However, with that said, forget about Wall Street, forget about the banks, how are everyday people really doing, Larry?

We still have a high unemployment rate. People are still underwater in their houses. They don't know what to do. As far as the home loan modification program is going, I think that has been a horrific -- underline, underline -- horrific failure.

But overall, we're doing a whole lot better than we were one year ago. KING: A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll, though, 43 percent of Americans still think another Great Depression is likely. That's a high number.

ORMAN: Yes, I don't think we're going to see another Great Depression.

Is it possible that we could double dip?

Possibly. Maybe yes, maybe, no. But no matter what happens in the outward economy, we still have people right now who are suffering, who still don't know what to do about their homes. They don't know what to do about their jobs. They don't have the answers out there. And the stimulus has not, in my opinion, provided the jobs that it was promised to do. So I hope it does eventually. But, at this point, Larry, it still hasn't done so.

KING: If the president called and said is there one thing he isn't doing he should do and he asked you what should he do, what would you tell him?

ORMAN: Well, I think I'd tell him that can you just get these home loan modifications to actually work?

You cannot put $75 billion away, sir, to correct a problem that wasn't even created by the people themselves. It really was created by Wall Street. You cannot put that kind of money away, saying we're going to help you, we're going to make it so you can stay in your home, when, truthfully, nobody -- that I know of anyway -- is helping them.

So 32,000 people, approximately, have been helped by this home loan modification. So, therefore, it is a failure.

So I would say, President Obama, please get your staff, please get your people on these banks so they can really get their act together to help the people keep their homes.

KING: Now, there were 18 percent more foreclosure filings November of this year than November of last. But foreclosures are down for the fourth straight month.

What does that tell you?

ORMAN: It tells me that they're down for the month right now. But two million people still have lost their homes to foreclosure. Another projected approximately 13 million people are projected to lose their home to foreclosure. And even though I know that a lot of the foreclosures have been stemmed off here, they've slowed down, I still think we could see another wave of them. I'm not so sure that we've absolutely bottomed in the real estate market in certain areas throughout the United States.

So again, Larry, I think, this is time for people to still be cautious when it comes to real estate. Don't go out there and just jump in and go oh, it's hit the bottom, we're OK. When you see a government that still has to initiate things such as an $8,000 tax credit to buy a home, a $6,500 tax credit if you've bought a home for the past five years -- they're expanding these credits -- that says to me that the real estate market would not continue without incentives to do so. So we're not out of the water yet with real estate, as well.

KING: We have a Twitter question Tweeted to kingsthings: "I have been unemployed for 16 months. I'm going to apply for a federal loan modification. Any tips as to how I can keep my house?"

ORMAN: Yes, forget about applying. If you do not have an income, you cannot get a loan modification. The only way you can get a modification loan is if you have an income that they can evaluate. Remember, when you apply for a loan modification, you go on a trial period. The trial period is there to see, can you pay for it. If you don't have income, it isn't going to work.

So you have to be realistic right now. If you don't have the money to keep your home, if you are underwater currently in your home, meaning you owe more on the home than it's worth, if there's no prospect out there for you to get a job, sometimes it's just better to just let the home go because that's your only alternative at this point in time.

KING: The administration, they set a long-term target of helping three to four million borrowers with modified loans, but only about 1,000 homeowners -- or, rather, 31,000 homeowners have received permanent loan modifications since March.

Why such a low success rate?

ORMAN: Because they don't have their act together. Let me just give it to you Suze style. If this program was really working, you had about a million people that were eligible that applied. Then you had -- I mean the numbers are out there. They all came today.

And if you look at the numbers, it's absolutely atrocious when you see there are about 31,000 people who were accepted for loan modification; 32,000 people that had been -- were accepted all of a sudden were disqualified. So, really, about 3 percent, Larry, of the people that are eligible for a loan modification has -- they've currently gotten them.

That, to me, is not a successful program. So they have really got to get their act together, get the banks to communicate to the borrowers to get this system to really work. Right now, it has broken down. And it has not been working. And I don't know what they're going to do to fix it.

KING: More with Suze Orman in a moment.

Howie Mandel tomorrow night.

Next week we're in New York. And Tuesday night, the cast of "Nine," Daniel Day-Lewis and all of them Tuesday night.

Tomorrow night, Howie Mandel. More of Suze next.


KING: Suze is a Twitterer. She's at -- she Twitters at @suzeormanshow. And she's almost approaching a million. We have 1,500,000, but we follow you.

ORMAN: And I...

KING: Do you enjoy that?

ORMAN: And I...

KING: Do you enjoy doing that?

ORMAN: And I follow you, Larry, as well.

KING: Do you enjoy it?

ORMAN: You know, I do enjoy it. And I don't know if you know, if you do, Tweet me, anybody, I am the one -- nobody else Tweets on my site but me. I try to answer every single question that somebody asks me.

KING: Whoa.

ORMAN: And the reason that I like it so much is it actually keeps me in touch with what does America want to know.

What do you need?

What are you feeling?

And it all kind of comes out on my Twitter site. So I love it and I do it almost every day.

KING: It's a pretty good ego trip, too?

ORMAN: Yes, it's kind of nice. But it's true, I can't wait to hit that one million point, sir.

KING: An e-mail question from Jeff in Phoenix: "Suze, if I have the cash available to pay off my mortgage, is it a good idea to do so? I've heard people say that I need the mortgage interest deduction on my taxes and that doesn't make sense to me."

ORMAN: Well, here's the thing, Jeff, it all depends how old you happen to be. If you are old enough where you're going to be keeping this home and it's going to be a home that you're going to stay in for the rest of your life -- let's say you're 45, 50 years of age. Then I personally think it's a wonderful thing to do, to pay off your mortgage.


Most of your tax write-offs on a mortgage are in the beginning years. You know, if you have a 30 year mortgage -- just let's say it's a $200,000 mortgage and you pay $1,200 a month. You know, after 20 years of paying $14,400 a year, you still will owe $100,000 on that mortgage.


Because all the interest is up front. So in the later years of a mortgage, it's all principal anyway. So if you're going to stay in the house for the rest of your life, if you're 45, 50 years of age, then I would say, yes, you should absolutely pay off your mortgage, because then you know nobody can ever take your home away from you.

KING: We have a call, Suze, from Niagara Falls, Ontario, the Canadian side.



How are you this evening?

KING: Fine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, you know what, Barack Obama has only been in office for like 11 months. So it's going to be a year in January. I think that we should just all have some patience and time and, you know, I would imagine that, you know, it will take time for him to change -- to make some changes.

KING: Do you have a question or is that just a statement?


Do you agree with that, Suze?

ORMAN: Well, of course it's going to take some time. He came in at a situation when it was horrific in the economy. He inherited a lot of the problems that he's currently dealing with

But with that said, there comes a point in time when, when you institute a program, Larry, and you have something that's put in place to help people, you've got to make sure that the program is working. And the program, especially for home loans -- for the modifications, in my opinion, is not working. There is a failure to communicate between the borrower and the banks -- the people servicing these loans.

So it's not about how long he's been in office, it's about the fact that the system that has been put in place is not working. And that has got to be fixed. And that came in on his watch.

KING: A lot of people are going to cut down on spending -- good for them, bad for the economy this Christmas?

ORMAN: Well, the economy should expect that people, for a long time now, are going to be savers more than spenders, and they should factor that in. And the truth of the matter is, our economy should not be held on the shoulders of people who don't have the money to spend. That's how we got into this problem to begin with.

So the greatest gift that we can all give each other this holiday season is the gift to honesty. If you have the money out there, if you don't have credit card debt, you have an eight month emergency fund, you're putting money in your retirement accounts, go out there and buy anything you want, spend your money.

But if you have credit card debt, if you're not saving, if you don't have an emergency fund, can you just not spend what you don't have?

KING: Miami, hello.


Hi, Suze, my idol.

I'm a self-made woman, a renovator/rehabber. Before the boom, during the boom, after the boom.

I think that I could help this country and other people like me with a proven record of buying foreclosures and buying homes that need rehabbing and doing that and, you know, flipping them or renting them out. I did three houses I purchased for (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: What's your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could I person like me -- I have seven houses. I bought 21 -- and how can I get money to do more properties, because the more I do the better the streets are?

I have 30 (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Can flippers get money?

ORMAN: Well, here's the thing, my Miami friend, is that, that that is the question. You are running a business, whether the business is flipping houses, whatever it may be, you need money in order to run your business. And still small businesses today are not getting the money to flow through to be able to expand their business or create a business. The banks are holding onto the money still.

Interest rates have got to go up. The Feds have got to increase interest rates so that banks want to lend money again and that the dollar stabilizes here. So you know, until they start lending again, really, to small businesses like you, there's not much any of us can do.

KING: More with our mistress of money, Suze Orman, in 60 seconds.


KING: We're back with the Suze girl. We've got an e-mail from Stacey in Libertyville, Illinois, the home of Adlai Stevenson: "I'm hearing a lot about transferring my bank credit card to a credit union credit card. Are credit unions a better option and how can I find one that offers the best cards?"

ORMAN: Yes, yes, yes, yes. So here's my new thing, credit unions -- especially ones under that are federally chartered, so to speak -- the maximum interest rate they can charge you is 18 percent. Now, while that may sound like a very high interest rate, the truth of the matter is many of these banks today are charging 29.99 percent interest.

So here is what I am suggesting. I think the United States of America -- all of you should start looking into credit union credit cards and do a balance transfer.

How do you find a good credit union credit card, where they won't charge you a balance transfer fee, the interest rate is 8 percent, things like that?

I want you to go to a site called It is a new site. Credit unions, you should all start to want to register with this site, where it literally gives the credit unions a rating. You put in your zip code and up will come a credit union in your area that has a good rate...

KING: Wow!

ORMAN: ...that will treat you honestly. So it's something you should all check out. This site has just started up. I've been monitoring it. And I have to tell you, the person running it obviously knows what they're doing.

KING: That's credit -- give it again.

What's in...

ORMAN: Creditcard...

KING: What's the Web site?


KING: Thank you, Suze.

We'll be back with more of Suze Orman.

Still to come, Queen Latifah.

Don't go away.


KING: By the way, next Tuesday, a huge show for you. The cast of the new movie, "Nine," will be here -- Oscar winners Daniel Day- Lewis and Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz and Dame Judi Dench and Fergie and Kate and Hudson and Nicole Kidman -- five Academy Award winners. The Broadway production of "Nine" won five Tonys, including best musical. It's going to be some show.

By the way, I saw the movie last night. "Nine" is a 10.

My guest is Suze Orman.

Now, you -- I know you deal a lot and talk about personal brands, how important is that.

How damaged is the Tiger Woods brand?

ORMAN: Well, I have to tell you, at first I didn't think he was so, you know, damaged. And then every day with more and more coming out, I'm starting to think, oh, maybe he's going to be damaged.

However, with that said, you know, people have very short-term memories. And you have all these people that have done these horrific things in life that you look at and go, oh, my God. And now we're right back with them all, Larry.

So I think he may be damaged here a little bit, but not as much as people think.

KING: It's worse if the story has legs, right?

ORMAN: Yes. Well, of course, if it keeps going. I mean if all of a sudden we go from one person to six people to 10 people. If all of a sudden it comes out that there's video footage of him, you know, doing things and things like that, it's going to keep going.

KING: Yes.

ORMAN: But, you know, if he can just let it settle down here, he'll be back and he'll have a hole in one once again.

KING: We had a Tweet to kingsthings from someone who wants to know what older folks who live on returns from their CDs can do about the near zero interest rates?

ORMAN: Yes. That's one of the travesties, I have to say, of the Fed funds rate being at zero percent, which, while it's good for banks -- and they're borrowing money and they're making money now and everything's good for them -- especially with the elderly popla -- population, those people on fixed income, their income is going away. Maybe they've been used to 5 percent and now they're renewing at 1 or 2 percent.

So I think a lot of people now still -- and I've talked about this before. Municipal bonds are still something that's giving you a nice interest rate. You might want to look into that, especially if they're general obligation bonds. They're insured. They're safe and sound.

And, again, there's nothing wrong, I have to say, with looking into some of these individual stocks or exchange traded funds -- utility stocks -- remember the good old days? People who needed income had utility stocks, where you could get 3, 4 percent income right now and possibly get some growth on your money if you're willing to wait.

Other than that, I have to tell you, it's very difficult. You also might want to look, however, into a single premium deferred annuity -- not a variable annuity, but sometimes single premium deferred annuities can give you a higher interest rate than CDs.

KING: Warwick, Rhode Island for Suze.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I was wondering, my brother-in-law is in a computer business, but hasn't been making money for three years, but adding up a lot of creditors. And my sister was concerned about the mortgage and was wondering if it was possible or smart to take my brother-in-law's name off their deed to protect her and the house?

What do you think about that?

ORMAN: Well, here's the thing, it's that you can take his name off the deed, but you can't necessarily take his name off of the mortgage. And if the mortgage isn't being paid, if there isn't money to pay the mortgage, even if the deed is just in her name, there goes the house.

So I don't think it's so much that his name should come off the house. I think they need to figure out a -- a solution to how are they going to make money to pay the mortgage so that they can both keep the house. I think that's a smarter thing to do.

KING: Before the recession began, Americans net worth, I'm told, hit a peak of $64.5 trillion. The Fed says it's now, in the past two quarters, 53.4 trillion. That's $11 trillion less. How long will it take to regain that?

ORMAN: Years and years. You know, right now, we're doing OK, relatively speaking. Everybody is feeling better. The market is up 60 percent, Larry, from the bottom of where it was in March of this year.

However, with that said, we are still years away from solving this problem. You know, we're on financial steroids. The markets are going, the economy is going, we've injected all this money into it.

But eventually, that injection of capital is going to take its toll on the financial body. It's got to be paid back.

And how is that going to get done?

So, therefore, we're in this for the long run. It could be years, truthfully, before all of this is worked out.

KING: What about unemployment, though? ORMAN: Unemployment, we're at 10 percent, as you know. Now, that's down from 10.2 percent. We're starting to add jobs. But still, it's a seriously high unemployment rate. We need to get it down into the 4 percent area. So that isn't happening at this point in time. So the true programs that are coming about, the stimulus programs, that money has to go to create jobs. Without jobs, we continue to lose homes. When we continue to lose homes and people go into foreclosure, people who have their homes lose value in their homes. And then it's a spiral where it just goes downward again.

So jobs have got to start to be created and that's where the money needs to go.

KING: Another call.

Arlington, Massachusetts, hello.


Good evening, Suze.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have a quick question, Suze.

Don't you think that this recession has been a good teaching moment at all for some of the people in the United States, looking at it in a way that material things are not number one anymore in their lives?

Thank you very much.

ORMAN: Yes, you know, I've always -- if you watch my show, you always hear me end my show with a statement that goes people first, then money, then things. And I do think what's happened in the economy has gotten us all to realize that there can be tremendous joy in just being with people and valuing things that matter and letting you define the things around you rather than the things defining you.

However, with that said, it's a shame that that lesson had to come in the way that it did.

KING: Yes.

ORMAN: It's not right that people don't have jobs. It's not right that millions of people have lost their homes. It's not right that people don't know what to do -- good everyday people that really were inflicted with this when, for many of them, it was no fault of their own.

So a recession has taught us lessons. I'm so sorry it had to do so, however.

KING: It's always good seeing you, Suze.

Thanks again. ORMAN: Thank you.

KING: Suze Orman, "New York Times" best-selling author and the host of her own TV show Saturday nights on CNBC.

Next a Grammy winner, an Academy Award nominee, Queen Latifah.

Don't go away.


KING: We now welcome one of my favorite people, Queen Latifah, Oscar nominated actress, Grammy winning recording artist, author, entrepreneur and also -- look at that beautiful girl -- also serving as centennial ambassador for the Milton Hershey School. That is a school established in 1909 by the Hershey magnet. It's a cost-free, private, co-ed, home and school for children from families with low income, with limited resources and social need, structured home life year round. Free kindergarten through 12th. And Queen Latifah is their centennial ambassador. How did this hook up for you?

QUEEN LATIFAH, ACTRESS: You know, I had the fantastic opportunity of going up to visit the Milton Hershey School. I was just blown away. I was amazed. They have 1,800 students. When you meet these students, they're so smart, so articulate, so kind, not afraid to speak. They shake your hand. They're so talented and supportive of one another.

They have a wonderful campus, incredible classrooms, high- technology, arts and music. And I'm like, wow, I want to go to this school. I got to see what the campus was like. And I got to see what their homes were like. The kids -- it's not like a dormitory situation or a boarding school. They live in homes and each home has house parents, which is like a married couple who -- it's their full- time job to take care of the kids that are in the house. So they cook them dinner and breakfast and make sure they do their chores and their homework.

But I got to sit with them and play with the kids. And they cooked us an amazing meal. And it's really, I think, quite revolutionary. And it's an amazing school. And I just wanted to help them to help people find out more about it.

KING: So as centennial ambassador, what you do is spread the word?

LATIFAH: I'm spreading the word because, you know, I don't think people even realize when they buy Hersheys that they have been supporting this school. Although the late Milton Hershey dedicated -- he left his entire fortune to the Milton Hershey School. But he also made sure that a portion of the proceeds from the Hersheys go to the school, to support and continue to support the school.

But the fact that kids have been through -- some kids have been through a really tough side of life, and some kids have not been able to afford to really have the opportunities in life that they should, have had the most amazing opportunities at this school. It's so important that people know about it. And if they can have more people come out and become teachers at Milton Hershey School or members of the staff or even house parents, it would be fantastic. As the daughter of a teacher, I'm sure my mom would have loved to teach at a school like this.

KING: Where is it located?

LATIFAH: It's in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Come on, Larry.

KING: Just because he founded it doesn't mean it has to be there, Queen. He could have put it in New York. He could have put it anywhere.

LATIFAH: He could have, but he put it right there in Pennsylvania. It's really great, because you have the school that sits on at least 150 acres. So it's nice and spread out. There's room for everyone to move around, to run and play and take part in activities.

But there's also the Hershey factory itself that's there. There's Hershey Park that's there. So a lot of these kids don't go home for the summer. They stay on campus. Some choose to stay and some, unfortunately, can't really go home because of their unstable home situations. And, you know, they get to be a part of the town. It's a very close knit community up there. So it's wonderful for them to get a slower side of life, a slower pace of life, and still be part of a great community.

KING: Shocked I never heard of it. When you drive through Hershey, Pennsylvania, you smell the chocolate in the air. It's wonderful. We'll talk more about the school and meet some of the kids from the school later. But there's other things to talk about with Queen Latifah. The Queen and the King will be right back.


KING: More about the Milton Hershey School later. We'll meet some of the kids from the school. Some other subjects with Queen Latifah. You're a big supporter of President Obama. You were at the inaugural?


KING: How do you think he's doing?

LATIFAH: I sure was. You know, I think he's doing pretty good. This is his first year. He's trying to accomplish a lot. I must say, he's trying to accomplish. But I do like the way we look around the world again. I do think he's trying to extend himself and make America what it is supposed to be in the eyes of the world. We are a globe, after all. We're not just America.

But at the same time, I think he's done a good job representing America. I was really proud of him. Unfortunately, he was at the Ft. Hood memorial. But I was very proud to hear him stand up and say words that really made me feel like an American, like -- made me feel part of this tragedy, made me fell like he cares about our armed forces, and he would deliberate so long before he sends them into harm's way.

Nobody's ever going to fall on the same page as everything with any president. But I really think he cares about our country. And I really think he's doing the best he can to try to get us in a better financial situation, as well as health care, and as well as tackling these issues of conflict around the world. So I think, you know, to be a year in, barely, I think he's doing pretty good.

LATIFAH: By the way, Oprah taped a special interview with the Obamas at the White House. Here's a lighter moment. Watch.


OPRAH WINFREY, "OPRAH": Is there a greater pressure to give a good gift when you're the president, or can you get away with a lesser gift if you're the president?



M. OBAMA: What are you going to get me? You should feel pressure.

B. OBAMA: You get some nice stuff. Here's the general rule, I give nicer stuff than I get.

M. OBAMA: No way. I gave you good gifts last year.

B. OBAMA: Absolutely. Oh, come on, please. It's like Mother's Day and Father's Day.


M. OBAMA: We're talking about Christmas. Don't become distracted.

B. OBAMA: That principal applies generally.

WINFREY: So you're a good gift giver?

B. OBAMA: Where did you get this nice little --

M. OBAMA: This was a gift.

WINFREY: Was this anniversary?

M. OBAMA: Anniversary.

WINFREY: Anniversary, nice.


KING: Queen Latifah, what go you make of Oprah's decision to quit that show?

LATIFAH: Wah. I'm sad about it. I don't know television without Oprah for the last 25 years. She's such an icon, such an amazing woman. I feel like she so knows what she wants to do with her life that whatever she wants to do, god bless her. But I will say there's no one else on television like her and there will never be. There's only one Oprah Winfrey. So there will be a big thing missing if she's not on daytime television.

KING: You had your own talk show a few years ago. Then you gave it up after two years to concentrate on a film career. Would you ever do that again?

LATIFAH: Yes. I would consider it, because I know what I'm going into now, and I would make sure it was something that was really tailored to what I love to do, so I could love it every day, and not feel sad when I talk about serious subjects, and take it all home with me.

But I love acting. I love making movies. I love everything about acting and music and producing film and television. So I know I could do that every day and love it and work harder than I could ever believe. But I didn't love my talk show enough to really want to work that hard, and not really have it fulfill me as much as I wanted it to. So I gave it the respect it deserves, and walked away from it.

And I god bless anyone who can do a talk show. It really is a grueling schedule. But if it's something that you love, it makes it a lot easier to do.

KING: Queen Latifah is our guest, the centennial ambassador for the Milton Hershey School. Back with more after this.

LATIFAH: Indeed.


KING: Queen Latifah earned raves for her portrayal of motor mouth Mabel in the 2007 movie musical "Hair Spray." John Travolta also starred in it in drag. Watch.



KING: Great movie. "Hair Spray II" has been announced. hare you going to be in it?

LATIFAH: I hope so. To my knowledge, but I don't know. The script is not done yet. So I'm interested in finding out how it comes out. But I hope so. That would be fun. It was so much fun doing the first one.

KING: I bet. That movie was made before the tragic death of Jet, John Travolta's son. Did you have any contact with Jet during the making of the movie? Did you know him? LATIFAH: No, I didn't see Jet during the making of the movie. So, no, I can't say I did. We were just working on the set. And John, he kind of keeps his private life sort of private and very low key. When he's off, when he finally gets -- it takes him three hours to get in and out of that costume. So he's just ready to go home and chill out once he gets out of that costume.

KING: Queen Latifah has written an exclusive blog for us about Hershey school and why the school's work is so important. You can check it out at More after this.



KING: Queen Latifah is with us. Last year, the "New York Times" quoted you as saying "I don't have a problem discussing the topic of someone being gay, but I do have a problem discussing my personal life."

In this era of 24/7 media, how do you draw a privacy line being in the public eye. How do you do that?

LATIFAH: You just draw it. You just call it. I mean, people can choose to deal with their personal lives however they choose. I can't tell another celebrity how to handle their personal lives. Some like to live their life out in the open. They want you to come into their kitchen and watch them cook and they want you to have -- come with them with their kids to the park.

And I just can't really see myself living my life like that. I feel like what I do with the public is what we share together. And what I do when I'm off the clock is my business. And I just want to keep it for myself and my family and my friends. I don't want to really share it with the world.

KING: Why do you think the world has such an interest -- why do you think people have such an interest in the private lives of public people?

LATIFAH: Because we just don't share it. You know, I think they get -- I think the way the media has also changed too. There was a time when paparazzi would shoot you or photographers would shoot you at award shows and things like that, but they wouldn't really take pictures of your kids playing in a park or you just walking in a grocery store, just living average, everyday life. And I think that the media has sort of invited itself so much into the normal life of celebrities that it's created even more of a curiosity.

And, of course, with several celebrities -- you know, people, when we fall down, we have to fall down in public, which is really tough. When normal people fall down, who are not celebrities, they fall down in front of the people they know, their family, their friends, people who might know them. But we have to do it front of the world, which makes it way more difficult to deal with, because now everyone's putting their scrutiny on you. People really don't get to weigh in on those things in your life. So, you know, it's a give and take kind of thing. And I just think that people -- a lot of people who really haven't had a voice, finally, through the Internet, have a voice. And sometimes they want to use it for negative, so they say a lot of negative things for shock value, so that someone will just hear them. But I think there's still a lot of positive people out there.

KING: In that regard -- in that regard, what do you make of Tiger Woods' current problems and his saying, it's me and my family and none of your business?

LATIFAH: I respect that. I respect that. The Tiger Woods I know is a golfer. I don't want know that man. I don't know his wife. I don't know his children. I don't know his personal business. I don't know anybody he allegedly slept with. I don't know anything about that.

I know a guy who can hit a ball 400 yards. You know what I mean? And can sink a putt that just makes -- is beyond belief. I mean, that's the guy I know. That's the guy I accept. Whatever happens with him and his family, or whatever's going on with his situation, to me, really is between him and his wife and his family. That's for them to work out.

My life goes on and so does yours, Larry, and so does all the viewers', with or without whatever happens to Tiger Woods. So, to me, that's Tiger Woods' -- that's his personal business. And god bless him. Everybody deals with their struggles. So I hope everything works out.

KING: Well said. We'll take a break and come back with Queen and four children from the Milton Hershey School. Don't go away.

LATIFAH: Milton Hershey School, that's what I'm talking about.



KING: The great Queen Latifah is with us. Joining us now, several students from the Milton Hershey School: 16-year-old Sydnee Allen, a tenth grader, 16-year-old Andrew Altman, also a tenth grader. We also have nine-year-old Niece Borchert. She's in fourth grade. And, finally, 10-year-old Tyler Jones, also in fourth grade.

Let's start with Sidney. You're 16 years old from Marrow (ph), Georgia. How long you've been at the school, Sidney.

SYDNEE ALLEN, MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL STUDENT: I've been at Milton Hershey for three years now.

KING: What do you like about it?

ALLEN: I like the opportunities that the school gives you to grow as a person, because you don't have your family to rely on, so you just have yourself to do well.

LATIFAH: You get a lot of support there, though, right?

ALLEN: Lots.

KING: Andrew, how do you like it?


KING: You're from Bath, Pennsylvania. You're in the 11th grade. How long you been there, Andrew?

ALTMAN: Six years.

KING: Is it difficult in living in a kind of new house?

ALTMAN: It can be, especially getting along with usually about 12 other of your peers.

KING: How do you like having Queen Latifah as your centennial ambassador?

ALTMAN: I like it a lot. She's great.

KING: She sure is. All right, niece, you're nine years old, from Allentown, Pennsylvania. You're in fourth grade. How long have you been there?


KING: How do you like it?

BORCHERT: It's good, so far.

LATIFAH: Tell him what you like about it?

KING: Are you a good student, Niece?

BORCHERT: Yes, I am. Yep, I am.

KING: And Tyler Jones, you're from Warren, Ohio. You're also in fourth grade. How do you like it?

TYLER JONES, MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL STUDENT: It's really good. I like how you have a lot of opportunities to grow up and have a good life and have a good job and have a house that's stable.

KING: How about living in new houses? Do you like that, Tyler?

JONES: Yes. The houses are stable and protective.

KING: Queen, you were quoted as saying that the kids at the school were like the ones you knew growing up. In what way? LATIFAH: Well, because I come from -- basically, from a lower middle class neighborhood, if not lower than that, you know. I knew a lot of kids who had family issues, whether it was drugs or alcohol in the house, or whether there was abuse in the home, or whether they just lived below the poverty level and their parents really struggled to put just food on the table and clothes on their backs. So I know -- to see a lot of kids like who have gone through that, at this school --

Don't be fooled by these guys right now. They're being very professional on TV, but they are so amazing. I mean, these two, they both play saxophone. This guy's in student government. This girl runs track. They do amazing things. They're not just students, but they're also able to do everything that surrounds being a student who reads, writes, and does arithmetic.

So I get excited because I know that that capability is in all children, if we have those opportunities. I'm one of them. You know, I came from the hood, so to speak. So I got that opportunity. And it's just wonderful to see these kids get an opportunity. Right, Tyler?


KING: Sydnee, your younger sister's in the school, right? Your younger sister attends the school?

ALLEN: Yes, she does.

KING: How does she like it?

ALLEN: She loves it. She gets a little homesick at times, but she knows where that's where she should be overall.

KING: Andrew, two of your siblings have already graduated. How are they doing?

ALTMAN: They're doing wonderful. I have a sister at Drexel University and my brother attends Penn Tech.

KING: What do you like most about the school, niece?

BORCHERT: I like that you can be safe, that you can learn good, and that you can have fun.

KING: And Tyler, what would you say -- I know you're a good student -- what's the most important thing you've learned?

JONES: One of the most important things I learned is that the people up at Hershey, they're being supportive, so you need to give that back to other people maybe when you grow up.

KING: Wow, this is wonderful. Queen, we only have about 40 seconds. What do you get out of this, Queen?

LATIFAH: I think I get just what he said. You know, when you give support to other people -- I think I'm getting back everything that was given to me. Someone supported me and I hope to support them, and I hope people will go to the and become a teacher at the Milton Hershey School or become a staff member or become house parents. These kids -- they enroll 400 new students every year. They need some more applications. They need people to apply. They want to help more people.

So this is just my way of getting the word out so the people know there's an amazing thing happening up in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Check it out.

KING: That's

LATIFAH: And it's some good chocolate. Isn't it? The best chocolate.

KING: Thanks to all of you. Thanks, guys.

LATIFAH: Thanks, Larry.

KING: End on a sad note tonight. Condolences to filmmaker Tyler Perry. His mother, Wilma Maxine Perry (ph), died at the age of 64. She was the inspiration for her son's most popular stage and screen career, The tough-talking, outrageously entertaining Madea (ph). Our thoughts go out to Tyler Perry, recent guest on this show. We hope you'll find comfort in the fact that you did your mama very, very proud.

Howie Mandel tomorrow night. Anderson Cooper right now.