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Susan Powell's Father Speaks; Interview with New York Governor David Paterson

Aired December 17, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, a young mother in Utah vanishes. Last seen and heard from 11 days ago. Now foul play might be in the mix. Police call her husband a person of interest in her mysterious disappearance. Why are they focusing on him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had issues but they had worked through their issues or were working through the issues.

KING: Susan Powell's father is here telling us why he's worried sick.

Plus, Governor David Paterson and his rift with Obama. Is the president trying to push him out of office?

Then mega pastor Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria their take on the president and Tiger's troubles. How would they council the golfing great. That's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Strange doings. Susan Powell's husband, Joshua took their two sons camping at around mid night on December 6. When he returned the next afternoon, 28-year-old Susan was gone, nowhere to be found. Her keys, purse and cell phone still at home. Police say they're not ruling out foul play. With us are Chuck Cox, Susan Powell's father and Mike Gifford, Susan Powell's good friend. He by the way has known Susan since she was 8 years old. Chuck how are you holding up?

CHUCK COX, SUSAN POWELL'S FATHER: Well, Larry, it's a struggle and just day to day basically.

KING: Now, you're in Seattle. Do they live in Utah?

COX: Yes, they live in West Valley City, Utah.

KING: Is that where she went missing?

COX: Yes, it is.

KING: When was the last time you spoke with your daughter?

COX: It's been two weeks ago on Thursday.

KING: Was that shortly before she left or was taken?

COX: Yes, the Thursday before she went missing.

KING: Now, your son-in-law Joshua, are you close, by the way? COX: We're fairly close. I've -- yes, we're fairly close.

KING: Your son-in-law took the two sons camping, rather strange, don't you think, midnight on a Sunday night and the weather is below freezing?

COX: That's a concern to me. And yes, I do think that's strange.

KING: Susan's husband Joshua was asked by reporters what happened. Listen to what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of talk on the Internet and obviously in cases like this, you know this, they instantly talk about the husband, they think he's the suspect, he did something. Is there anything you want to say to address that?

JOSHUA POWELL, SUSAN POWELL'S HUSBAND: I didn't do anything. I mean, I -- I don't know where she's at. I don't even know where to start looking.


KING: Chuck, they've called him a person of interest. Do you frankly think he could be involved in his wife's disappearance?

COX: Well, he's been my son-in-law for about eight years, and I don't think. I don't want to think that way, I don't want to speculate. He has been determined to be a person of interest and I -- I have to believe the police have a reason for doing that.

KING: Is he a good father?

COX: I believe he's a good father. He's excellent with the children.

KING: Now, Michael, you've known her a long time, Susan. Your wife, by the way, acted as family spokesperson and said she wasn't surprised Joshua is a person of interest. Are you surprised?

MICHAEL GIFFORD, POWELL FAMILY FRIEND: No, not really, because of the comments that were made after he was being interviewed. Just some of the things that have transpired during the week. We've been, like everyone else, kind of watching as things go. And it looked like they needed to go that direction, but when the police department names someone as a person of interest, they do that to make sure that they are following the right leads and going down the right path. So that wasn't too surprising after some of the comments we've heard this week.

KING: Why do you think he was blase or something? What comments did he make that struck you?

GIFFORD: The comment about going camping at 12:30 at night. Having known Susan for all these years, I doubt very seriously if she would have tolerated him taking the kids camping at 12:30 at night in a snowstorm. That's a little odd.

KING: Would you say as you know her, would she get up and leave without notice?

GIFFORD: No, not at all. Especially without her purse or her cell phone. She just wouldn't do that. Even if there was a problem, she would have gone to a friend's house a block away. She would have taken her cell phone. She would have contacted someone by now.

KING: Do you know of any marital problems?

GIFFORD: Well, I know of a few, but the typical ups and downs. She's been a friend of the family for a long time. And yes, she shared a few ups and downs but sometimes nothing more ordinary than outside the rest of the marriages that we have in the rest of America.

KING: Chuck, this is hard to say but obviously something happened here, right?

COX: Obviously. Definitely something happened.

KING: What are your fears?

COX: I'm confused that the children were taken camping at 12:30 at night. The story doesn't ring true to me right now, and if he had no involvement, I -- I don't know. I don't want to worry about that. I try to concentrate on finding her right now. And that's the main reason we're using the media and reaching out to all the people in America.

KING: Her family spoke to the media today. Let's listen to part of it.


KING: I apologize. We're having sound problems. Michael, do you fear the worst?

GIFFORD: Part of me does. Part of me feels that if she's out exposed in the weather that's down there, yes. I fear that quite a bit. If she's being held somewhere and is not exposed to the weather, then there's hope that we'll find her and bring her home and reunite her with her children and that we'll be able to put this rest. I think that's the thing that Chuck and I have talked about a lot, is holding on to that hope.

KING: Chuck, have you spoken to your son-in-law?

COX: Yes, I have. The last time was last Sunday. And it was cordial. He was under a lot of pressure. And I did speak with him.

KING: Do you trust him?

COX: I have no facts right now other than my questions about the story to not trust him. And as I said, he's been a son-in-law for eight years and two grandchildren. So I'm hoping for the best. KING: Well, we hope this season the best does come about. Thank you, Chuck Cox, Michael Gifford; we'll stay on top on this.

GIFFORD: Thank you. Appreciate it.

KING: New York Governor David Paterson is here. How big is the rift between President Obama and him? Is there a rift? We'll ask the Gov next.


KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. Governor David Paterson, the 55th governor of the state of the New York. He made major news when taking office, the first African-American to hold office as governor and the first legally blind governor. How has it been? Do you enjoy this job?

GOV. DAVID PATERSON, (D) NEW YORK: I enjoy it. It took a while to get used to it. The first day that I was sworn in was the day the federal government saved Bear Stearns, in the first couple of months I realized that this country would probably see a recession, the likes of which we haven't seen in 80 years. It has been very difficult to deal with it, in the 20 months I've been governor, and I have cut over $31 billion dollars of deficit from New York State that is higher than the largest four deficits that we have ever faced.

KING: That also brings pain, does it not?

PATERSON: It brings a lot of pain. Issues that I've worked on for 20 years I've had to curtail. I actually vetoed a bill that I sponsored when I was in the state Senate. And you should have heard what the co-sponsors said to me that day.

KING: Do you feel beleaguered?

PATERSON: No. It's very exciting. It's a challenge. These are not the kinds of circumstances in which I would have wanted to be governor, but these are the times that define people. And I guess in difficult times, you find out who wants to step up and confront a crisis. And who sticks their head in the sand and shirks responsibility as a lot of people have.

KING: You already announced that you will run for election this year. But there are reports that President Obama doesn't want you in the race. So let's get to brass tacks. What can you tell us? The "New York Times" reporter, Obama sent a request to you to withdraw from this race. Is that true?

PATERSON: It's true the "New York Times" wrote that. The congressman the White House sources quoted as having made that request to me never made that request and has said so on the record. So I don't know where they got their information from. I did have other conversations with the White House -- with people from the White House. I never saw that as a direct request to get out of the race.

And some of the circumstances that were described to me at the time don't exist anymore. So one thing that incident demonstrated is that nearly 70 percent of New Yorkers advise me that if I wanted to run for governor I should and that New Yorkers will determine who the next governor of New York will be.

KING: Has the president spoken to you direct?

PATERSON: He spoke to me once just to express some concern over the way the situation was handled. And that was the only conversation we ever had about it.

KING: Do you feel that he's behind you? Supporting you? Against you? What are your -- do you have a gut feeling about it?

PATERSON: Well, I think that the president is learning in his first year that you're going to need a lot of help to govern. That's why he's put some effort in to trying to help Democratic candidates around the country. And I don't have any problem with the fact that he has a concern about New York.

KING: Do you expect him to -- obviously the Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is going to run against you. Do you expect anybody else in that race?

PATERSON: I don't even know that he is in that race.

KING: Well, let's assume he is. Do you think the president would get involved?

PATERSON: I don't expect that the president would get involved in a Democratic primary. But these are all speculations. And I've got so many real problems, Larry. I haven't had that much of a chance to think about kind of what-ifs.

KING: Are you looking forward to fighting for this office?

PATERSON: I'm already fighting for it. I feel right now; New York State faces a negative cash balance at the end of this month for the first time in the history of this state. So I've taken the unprecedented action of an executive authority in which I am delaying payments to a lot of our services, uniformly and across the board to keep the state from running out of money.

KING: Will the services keep servicing?

PATERSON: Well, the revenues need to come back in order for us to survive. And right now, we can't tax the public any more, and we certainly can't borrow money anymore. We've been advised of that by the bondholders, the credit raters. And so therefore we're going to have to tighten our belts and try to get through the end of this recession.

Because New York is still really one of the 14 or 15 states of the 48 that are in deficit, 48 of the 50 states are in deficit. But New York could get out of this and be on the road to recovery, but we're going to have to tighten our belts a little more through the next few months. KING: We need to get a break. Who are the two that are not?

PATERSON: North Dakota, even though their revenues have been down is not in deficit, and the state of Alaska is not in deficit. That's why the governor resigned because there wasn't much more to do at that point.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Governor David Paterson of New York. Don't go away.


KING: Governor David Paterson is our guest. The polls show that if Andrew Cuomo did run, he's doing very well against you. Does that concern you?

PATERSON: Not really. Because polls are an autistic, I have had to grapple with $30 billion dollars of reductions, taxing people, which I didn't want to do. People moving out of state because of the high taxes. Canceling rebates on property taxes for people. Cutting services that are vitally needed to try to keep the state solvent. And everyone in this country who's in charge right now is seeing their poll numbers dwindle. But when other candidates get in the races they have to answer the same questions or proposed how they would have managed differently and then you see much tighter races.

KING: The word is that Rudy Giuliani will not run is that what you hear?

PATERSON: When I hear from it him, I will believe it.

KING: But Rick Lazzio is running right?


KING: Do you expect him, the Republican, the young Republican, former congressman to be a tough opponent?

PATERSON: I think he's a worthy candidate, and he was a good congressman when he was in New York. But I do appreciate that he had said in publicly, that I have managed this crisis when the state has run out of the cash well and as a person that wants to be governor for him to say that I think shows a lot of character.

KING: Diversion a little before we get to some other things. Is it frankly hard to be blind and to govern?

PATERSON: It's both. It's difficult because material is read to me and therefore it takes longer to read. But I managed to get out of high school in three years and I went to Columbia University and I graduated law school. This is just another challenge and just another opportunity for me to demonstrate in my life what on other frequencies so many, not only blind people but disabled people can do if given the opportunity.

I don't know if you know this, Larry, but 71 percent of blind people in this country aren't working and nearly 90 percent of deaf people don't have jobs. And some of the ridiculing and the sort of adverse humor that's directed at the disabled really gives a lot of credence to those who actually transmit that into believing that there is an ability. We have a great work force that we're not using in this country.

KING: We'll be back with more of Governor Paterson of New York. Don't go away.


KING: We are back. I was mentioning to Governor during the break, a big story in New York was the fact that the Transit Authority here has had to cancel the free subway service for New York's children who are always previously able to ride for free and you said you're going to fix that?

PATERSON: I promised New Yorkers that I will fix that, but to be intellectually honest, the promises being made at a point that the state has no money. I anticipate that revenues will come back at least enough to make sure the children who have to go to school by law don't have to be put in a position where they can't afford to do something they're being compelled to do.

KING: You had a lot of problems when you replaced the Senate seat. And you chose kind of an unknown congresswoman from upstate, Kristen Hillenbrand to replace Clinton. You wanted Mrs. Kennedy to maybe take that post. How is it when you look back on that, how did you resolve that?

PATERSON: I think that I missed the Senate seat in New York had almost been elevated to the level of vice president and should have put an end to the sort of media circus that occurred after that. The reason I waited so long Larry is that I would have then been replacing a Senate seat that was held by a Senator. Because Senator Hillary Clinton didn't resign until she became secretary of state on January 23.

So I was afraid to putting in a designee who if for any reason especially that perhaps if Mrs. Clinton had decided she didn't want to serve and stayed in the Senate, then I would have been stuck alienated about 20 people and choosing the person that now wasn't going to be Senator. But in retrospect, hindsight is 20/20. If I had to do it again that's what I would have done.

And then Ms. Kennedy was not treated correctly in the process. It happened on my watch and therefore I have to take responsibility for what some people who thought they were helping were doing that was actually pretty tragic.

KING: We had a discussion last night about black America and President Obama. Are black Americans disappointed so far as it pertains to their needs? How do you assess it?

PATERSON: I don't think black Americans are disappointed. I think black Americans I hope are just like me, very proud of the president. The kind of incredible moment it was to elect an African- American president, a decedent of a class of people who came to this country as shadow slaves, was embraced not only by people who voted for him, but even by people who had serious ideological differences with him.

It was a great moment for America. It gave us a un abiding hope in this country, but it also was accompanied by the most fierce recession that we've had since the great depression. So all of that hope and expectation for the future has been in some way quashed by an unrelenting downturn in revenues in 48 of the 50 states and even on the national scene.

So President Obama is only experiencing the effects of this financial disaster and crisis that any other president or any other leader in this country is facing. And so I think black voters, are like anybody else, when you're having trouble finding a job and you may be thrown out of your home, you're not going to be particularly happy with anybody who's in charge.

KING: What's your assessment of where the health bill stands?

PATERSON: Well, I think that the house has a far more effective health bill than the Senate. Certainly for New York. We have a very generous -- we have a very generous Medicaid plan. If the only way states can recruit resources is through adding additional Medicaid patients, New York is going to come up on the short end, but overall, I like the health care plan in the house. And I only wish we could have the public option or the age 55 Medicare requirement. But it's very difficult. It's in negotiation, and we have got to lower the costs of health care. It will be 10 percent of our GDP before long.

KING: I look forward to many more visits with you. One other thing, do you agree with the decision to hold the -- those accused of being responsible for 9/11, hold those trials here?

PATERSON: Well, if I were making the decision, I just think, and, as a very dear friend of mine, we went to college together. I would not have held it in New York. New Yorkers have taken a real beating, ever since September 11. Traffic problems, remember, New Yorkers who lived and worked near ground zero were assured by the EPA that it was safe and it wasn't.

That people suffering from diseases now that they never should have gotten, because we got the wrong information from Washington. But the decision was made. We're fully in support of the decision. We will do everything possible to make sure those trial runs as smoothly and safely as --

KING: But you would not have made that decision?

PATERSON: No, I wouldn't have done that.

KING: Even though the crime was committed here.

PATERSON: Well, I agree with the fact that this case is being handled by our civilian courts and not a military trial. But I just think because of the impact that the attack on our country, on September 11, 2001, had on that region, still struggling to get away from it. We still haven't been able to rebuild the area at ground zero. I would have picked another venue. But it's not something that we cannot cooperate with and are not fully in support of at this point.

KING: Thank you, Governor. Always good to see you.

PATERSON: Thank you. Great to be here.

KING: Governor David Paterson, the governor of New York.

Mega Pastor Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria are next, is Christianity maybe partly responsible for the recession? You know some people think so. We will ask the Osteen's next.



JOEL OSTEEN, PASTOR: What a joy it is to be with you tonight. We love you guys.

VICTORIA OSTEEN, PASTOR: This is a dream come true for us.

J. OSTEEN: Be strong and of good courage, for the lord, your god, is with you.

V. OSTEEN: How are you?

J. OSTEEN: God bless you all. Thank you.


KING: Howie Mandel will be with us tonight. Welcome back tonight to Joel and Victoria Osteen. They are pastors of America's largest church, the Lakewood Church in Houston. Joel's new book is "It's Your Time -- Finding Favor, Restoration and Abundance in Every Day Life." It's already a major best seller. Central message is?

J. OSTEEN: We're not supposed to put our lives on hold just because there's difficult times. When you believe, that's when all things are possible. It just seems like there's so much negative news these days, with the recession and so many other things going on, people seem to be just so down. So I wanted Ed write a book that would lift their spirits.

KING: Isn't it hard when let's say it's Christmas time, Christianity's time. People are out of work, being foreclosed. Isn't the hope you're giving them kind of ethereal? What is it based on?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think it's based on the scripture that when you believe that's what allows God to work in your life. The opposite to me, Larry, is to say be down, be depressed, be bitter. All that does is not only make your life miserable, but it doesn't allow God to do great things. God works when we believe, when we have faith, when we get up each day and say, God, I don't have my job, but I believe you're going to open up something new in the days ahead.

KING: But you can have that without believing in god. Couldn't you have faith in yourself?

OSTEEN: Sure, you can. Certainly you can. But that helps you. Of course I believe putting my faith in God.

KING: Do you ever doubt, Victoria? Truthfully, do you ever doubt?

V. OSTEEN: When I doubt, my mind might doubt, but I got my heart so grounded in God that, you know, not everything goes right, but I just have to know that there's better days ahead. Somebody has got me in the palm of his hand. That's God.

When I have faith in myself, I make it harder on myself. If I can have faith in God, then I can just be responsible and then I just believe that he's helping me. Does that make sense?

KING: Yeah, I understand. Joel, "Atlantic Magazine," I'm sure you heard of this, has a major story asking, did Christianity cause the crash? Did prosperity gospel preachers -- and you're called one of those -- have something to answer for? Might the prosperity gospel played a role in the economic collapse? Think about it, you have to self-examine.

J. OSTEEN: Sure, you do. Larry, we encourage people to believe that they can rise higher. I think linking that to what we believe is not apples to apples.

KING: But the article talks about your church. It questions a strain of the Christian faith that promises to make believers rich in the here and now. Pretty strong promise.

J. OSTEEN: Sure, but I don't necessarily believe that. I believe God wants us to be blessed. He wants us to rise higher, just like my father came out of deep, deep poverty. He said I can make something with my life. When you believe that God is in control, that he wants you to rise higher, I think that's when you can see God's goodness in new ways. But we never tell people that if you believe, if you have hope, you'll never have a problem, and you'll be rich. We don't believe that.

KING: You're not materialistic then? It's not a materialistic preaching?

J. OSTEEN: It's really not. we don't believe that.

KING: How did that image happen then. You have a large church and you dress great and you sell books.

J. OSTEEN: We do believe God wants you to be blessed. But being blessed is not just so I can have nice cars and homes. We're blessed to be a blessing to other people. And so I think the image comes because we don't believe that god wants you to be defeated and depressed and go through life just poor old me. KING: This is the hardest thing to explain. I don't think I've ever asked it of the Osteens. I've asked it of other religious leaders. That is -- I know it's written in the book. But the question would be, why do you believe? You don't believe because a book says believe, do you? Or do you?

J. OSTEEN: To be honest, I think -- I believe -- I was raised in this. This is what I saw my parents' live out. I saw their faith. I saw how they loved people and they each other. It was just something on the inside. I can only speak for my own experience. I was raised in this. I can understand. I have friends that totally opposite than me, weren't raised in this at all. It's very difficult from them. But I do believe there's a place in everybody's heart that only God can fill, that we're people of purpose and destiny.

KING: Can you explain faith, Victoria? You can't pin it down, can you?

V. OSTEEN: No, but faith comes when you have hope. The Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for. And that's why we try to put hope in people. We try to get people to look at the future in a good sense, and not in a bad sense. Like Joel was saying, not to get bitter and not to, you know, just buckle down and say, nothing good is going to happen to me, but to say what if. You know, what if tomorrow is a better day? What if it does happen to me? That brings hope. When you have hope, the Bible talks, your faith increases. And faith is what moves God to act.

KING: Our guest are the Osteens. His book is "It's Your Time," already a major best seller. More after this.


KING: His new book is "It's Your Time." He's Joel Osteen. He's here with his wife, Victoria. Oral Roberts was a frequent guest on this program, always a pleasure having him. He was a good guy and a lot of fun. Very serious, but he also could take a joke. He, of course, just died the other day. Here are both of you praying together. Let's watch.


ORAL ROBERTS, PASTOR: I pray for your ministry. I marvel at your ministry. I marvel at the Gift of God in your life and Victoria's life. I marvel. I see it and I rejoice. I praise God for it.

But I know there's always more in God. And I pray for that more to be given to you, and you to give God more of yourself.


KING: You went to his school for a year?

J. OSTEEN: I did. I went to Oral Roberts University and enjoyed it. It's a great place. That's right. It's fun and my brothers and sisters have gone there. My brother graduated from medical school there. It's a good place.

KING: All right. And he was quite a guy?

J. OSTEEN: He really was.

KING: Whether you believed or not, he was. Where is he now?

J. OSTEEN: I believe he's in heaven.

KING: What is heaven?

J. OSTEEN: Heaven, I believe it's a place of love, a place of beauty. Heaven -- you know, the scripture describes as a place that -- you know, it's where God is. And God is, you know, the opposite of hate and anger and sickness and disease.

KING: Is he in a physical form?

J. OSTEEN: I don't think it's a physical form. I believe that we live inside our body, that this is sort of our house that we live in, and one day we're going to live on. I believe when you know Christ, you go to be with him in heaven.

KING: And you believe the same thing?

V. OSTEEN: I do.

KING: Was that emotional for you, to have that blessing from him?

J. OSTEEN: It really was. Of course, growing up, we watched him. Being a preacher's kid, we watched him on television. He was one of the heroes of faith. I went to his school. He was always bigger than life. When I went to visit him at 91 -- he's just so kind. He was still sharp as a tack.

KING: Do you believe he healed?

J. OSTEEN: I believe that he prayed for people and God still heals. He just had that ministry -- you know, his path that took that God put in him was to help the hurting people. And so he prayed for healing.

KING: Let's discuss something that everybody is talking about, Tiger Woods. What would you say to him if he asked for council.

J. OSTEEN: If he asked for council; well, Larry, our ministry is about restoration. We believe only the guilty need mercy. I'm going to come from that point of view to say Tiger, you know, we can learn from our mistakes. God is a forgiving God. We've always made poor choices before. But this is not the end of your life. It may be a bump in the road. But God has a way somehow to work things for your good. I would encourage him to keep his hopes up. I would encourage him to get some good counseling. But to just let him know that this is not the end.

KING: Would you say maybe he should get divorced? Sometimes you have to counsel. Some people should, shouldn't they?

J. OSTEEN: It would not be my first choice. I think everybody knows, we're all about doing what you can to stay together. Sometimes you can't unscramble eggs. If it's done, it's done. But, you know, it takes two people. God has given us our own free wills, and so we just now pray for him.

KING: The basis of Christianity, Victoria, is forgiveness, right? Isn't that hard?

V. OSTEEN: It is hard. It's very hard. But, you know, a lot of things in Christianity are opposite from what we would really like to do. I heard it said one time that when you forgive someone, you release the prisoner and you find out that that prisoner was really you. And so I think sometimes if we understand that forgiving is more for ourselves than it really is the other person. We'll hold grudges, and we think we're getting back at the other person, but really we're only hurting ourselves. And I think that's the basis of forgiveness.

KING: The genius of that is the grudge holder is the victim.

J. OSTEEN: It really is. I've seen people, Larry, in the business we're in that they -- you know, they go their whole life angry. They're still angry at their parents for something that happened 30 years ago. And the person they're angry at has gone on. They're living their life. And they're only imprisoned themselves. So we just encourage people, you know, every morning, get up and start the day off, forgiving the people that hurt you the day before, letting go of the disappointments.

KING: Back with the Osteens after this.


KING: The subtitle of Joel's new book "It's Your Time" -- the Free Press is the publisher -- is "Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams and Increase In God's Favor." Do you think God is judging us?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think, in a sense, God is watching us. I think he rewards people that seek after him, people that do their best each day, people that walk in excellence and integrity. So, yes, God is watching each one of us.

KING: Concerning wealth, Rick Warren is quoted as saying the idea that God wants everyone to be wealthy is creating a false idol. Is he right?

J. OSTEEN: I think that's true. I think if you're focussing on wealth, that's not what Christianity is all about. Christianity is about helping other people. We believe that God wants you to prosper. Prosper means have good relationships, be healthy in your body, have money to pay your bills and bless other. But I don't think we should ever take Christianity or anything that we believe as just all about riches and this world. That's not what it's all about.

KING: Do you get angry at hypocrisy in faith, people who say, do as I say, not as I do?

J. OSTEEN: I don't think if I get angry, but it you get disappointed. You think it just brings -- just puts all of us in a bad light. It's much better -- we try to live by example and hopefully, you know, be who you really are, and not just, you know --

KING: Do you take any political stands?

J. OSTEEN: We really don't. We really don't. I mean, in terms of -- no, we don't.

KING: On the climate or the health bill?

J. OSTEEN: We really don't. I'm not up to speed on all of that. I do think we should take care of the environment and I do believe that people should -- I hope that everybody could have health care. So in -- from a civilian point of view, we do, but that's about it.

KING: Do you think health is a right?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I would like to think it is. I would like to think --

KING: You would think God would say, yes, wouldn't you?

J. OSTEEN: I would think so. I mean, I think the heart of God is for everybody to live healthy and whole and happy.

KING: Or access to it.

J. OSTEEN: Well, yeah, sure, sure. I mean, that's -- I think, like everybody, we don't want to see anybody hurting or lonely or can't afford something. I think there's something in every person that says, we need to help others. I don't know the best route to do it. But, you know, there's people a lot smarter than me on that.

KING: The book is "It's Your Time." We'll ask Joel and Victoria what, if anything, makes them angry? I'm going to make them angry after this.



KING: That's so sad. What makes you angry? Prejudice should make you angry, people who look upon other people just because of race, creed, color.

J. OSTEEN: Absolutely, things like that do. And people mistreating other people, that makes us upset. We know that's not right. But, you know, things like that.

V. OSTEEN: Yeah.

KING: Same with you. V. OSTEEN: Yeah. You know, you can't spend your time being angry. You know, you have to think -- it makes you angry. But, you know, you've just got to believe that people are going to, you know, get over this. Because there is a lot of things in the world that can make you angry. You could stay angry a lot.

KING: What do you make of the president?

J. OSTEEN: We like the president. It's a tough job, but I had the opportunity to meet him not long ago, a coup of days ago. I found him to be sincere. He's genuine. He's smart. You know, our prayers go out to him for what he has to deal with. But we stand behind leaders and support them and pray for them, God give them wisdom and strength.

KING: Did you meet Michelle, too?

V. OSTEEN: Yes. Lovely, lovely.

KING: Terrific lady. I know you met recently with our friend, Billy Graham, who's been a frequent guest on this show, and I know watches it every night. Nice to know Billy is out there because he's special. How is he doing?

J. OSTEEN: This last time we saw him, I thought he was doing better than ever. He's still just as kind and humble. You know, he moved around a little bit, but he's still sharp in his mind. He misses his wife greatly.

KING: Yeah.

J. OSTEEN: But he's got good family around him.

KING: Franklin's doing well?

J. OSTEEN: Franklin is doing great.

KING: In the preacher's realm of things, when the preachers talk, where is Billy Graham on the spectrum?

J. OSTEEN: Billy Graham is at the very, very top. He's a hero of faith. He was like Oral Roberts as well. But Dr. Graham is -- his life of integrity, the way he finished strong -- he's still encouraging people. He doesn't have to meet with people like me. He's got other things to do. He's so kind to encourage others.

KING: Do you like him, too?

V. OSTEEN: I like him so much. It's interesting, because when you talk to him, he'll come back to always say what he has learned in life, and it's truly just to love people, and just to be kind to people. It's interesting after you've lived this life -- and he didn't have it easy. People criticized him for doing good. He looks back on everything and he just says, you know, just love people. And I think that's a great legacy.

KING: Martin Luther King said love the sinner, hate the sin. Do you really live that?

J. OSTEEN: We really do.

KING: Do you love the sinner?

J. OSTEEN: I think so. There's just -- you know, when you -- I really believe you can find something good in everybody. The scripture teaches you to see the best in people. Don't see the worst. Anybody can see the bad that they're doing. But if you can find one good thing in them -- and you realize they're created in the image of God. Some people weren't raised like us. They make terrible decisions. But usually there's a reason. It's not -- maybe sometimes they're just bad people. A lot of times there's a reason.

KING: we have a new decade coming. What are the Osteens hopes for it after this.


KING: Any thoughts on the deaths of Chris Henry, terrific wide receiver of the Bengals?

J. OSTEEN: Our hearts go out to his family. It's a sad, sad thing. But some things you don't understand, but our prayers and hearts go out to that whole family.

KING: Houston elected a lesbian mayor? Thought?

V. OSTEEN: Well, she's been a good friend to our church. She's going to be hopefully a great mayor.

KING: She had a partner for a long time?

V. OSTEEN: You know what, I don't really know her as far as how long. But she was a good friend to our church. She was one of the council people who voted for us to get the Compaq Center. So that was great.

KING: Haven't we come a long way in that area? I know you're against same-sex area, but in the other areas of equality.

J. OSTEEN: Oh, I think so. I think so. And Anisse Parker, she ran on the issues, not a gay agenda. She served our city for many, many years. She's been a friend of our church. We wouldn't be where we are if it weren't for her.

KING: DC, Washington, passed same-sex marriage. Although you're against it, do you have a feeling it's coming?

J. OSTEEN: You know, I don't know. It seems like the majority of votes that I see, the places that have voted, voted against it. Maybe I'm not up to speed. I thought 37 states --

KING: But they're getting closer in the votes.

J. OSTEEN: I'm not necessarily afraid. It's my wish that we would keep marriage strictly between a male and a female. But I think we're a democracy and people get to vote.

KING: Do you have a resolution, Victoria? Do you make resolutions? You're a perfect couple. What do you have to resolve?

V. OSTEEN: You always want it to be new and fresh, and you hope for the very -- that it will all be good. My resolution is really to not be perfect, but to do better than I did last year.

KING: What about you, Joel?

J. OSTEEN: You know, I've set some goals for the new year.

KING: Like?

J. OSTEEN: Just ways that we can touch more people and really be focused on our time and our energy, what we give that to. And like Victoria said, to never get stuck in a rut, to never say this is good enough. I've had some success or I've gone far enough. God wants us to go further.

KING: Do you two argue?

V. OSTEEN: Not anymore.

KING: Did argue, but you don't anymore?

J. OSTEEN: We never really argued. I'm not a arguer. We may debate. We both have strong personalities. But we've learned to be respectful and debate. And, you know, at one point, we just said, we're not going to agree. But to keep it respectful. I think that's the key.

KING: Do you agree on the way the children are raised?

V. OSTEEN: We do, we do.

KING: That's important.

V. OSTEEN: That's very important.

KING: Have to be on the same wave length there.

V. OSTEEN: We agree on most everything. But there are things we each have our opinion about.

KING: We're almost out of time. Do you pinch yourself a little every day at your personal success?

J. OSTEEN: I do every day. I'm amazed sitting you here tonight. I told you, my father used to watch your every single night. He would -- I don't know what he would say to think that we had been on with you a dozen times. And just, you know, the stadiums and all that stuff, it just show me that God's dream for our life is bigger than our own.

KING: Thank you very much. J. OSTEEN: Thank you, Merry Christmas.

KING: Merry Christmas to you. Howie Mandel will be our special guest tomorrow night. He has a lot to talk about, including his personal idiosyncrasies that I think you will find fascinating. Howie Mandel tomorrow night.

We've got great musical Christmas shows coming next week, Wednesday and Friday. Right now, Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?