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The Super Bowl Ad Controversy

Aired February 1, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, what do abortion, gay dating and Sarah Palin have to do with the biggest sporting event of the year?


KING: See and hear why critics are crying foul over Super Bowl ads that tackle two of the most controversial subjects ever.

Plus, the fate of 10 Americans accused of child trafficking in Haiti -- were they trying to rescue or kidnap youngsters?

And then, Michael Jackson's children -- the private Prince and Paris step into the Grammys spotlight.


Good evening.

The Super Bowl isn't just about football anymore, it's about the ads. Two of them submitted for air have generated a lot of controversy. One for a gay dating Web site was rejected by CBS. You will not see it during the game on Sunday. You will see it right here. In fact, you'll see it right now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey! Wow! Touchdown.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That's what I'm talking about, baby. Whoooo. You suck. Yes.





KING: Funny.

OK, we're going to meet, in a couple of minutes, Dominic Friesen, whose group put that together, and Dennis Prager, the best-selling author and, I'm sure, critic of it.

But let's first check in with Donnie Deutsch, our good friend in New York, chairman of Deutsch Inc. A multi-billion dollar marketing communication company.

What do you make of the ad?

DONNY DEUTSCH, DEUTSCH INC.: You know, I think -- look, they've already won. The bottom line is, you know, there's a whole strategy, banned in Boston. And there -- there's a lot of talk that they weren't necessarily even going to have the money to afford to run this on the Super Bowl. I know you have the owner. He's going to talk about this afterwards.

But they've already gotten tens and tens and millions of dollars of publicity for this brand. So they've won whether this runs or not.

You know, the big issue we get into right now is, you know, is the -- is the Super Bowl a place for kind of advocacy messages?

You know, you've got the Tim Tebow ad, which is a pro-life ad. You know, they're kind of tippy-toeing around it. They're not saying the word anti-abortion in the ad. But, you know, his mother comes on and says doctors told me I, you know, shouldn't have this baby and I did...

KING: Yes, we're going to have that.

DEUTSCH: And so I think you get into an issue, is this the platform where somebody has got to turn to their 6-year-old and either explain why two men are kissing or explain why a woman could or couldn't have a baby or explain what a four hour erection...


DEUTSCH: in a LEVITRA ad. So, you know, it's a slippery slope no matter where you come out...

KING: If Man...

DEUTSCH: ...on any of the issues.

KING: If were your account, would you have bought that ad?

DEUTSCH: Well, I'm going to answer...

KING: ...for the Super Bowl?

DEUTSCH: Well, from a ROI -- from a -- clearly, if you were going to spend $3 million to reach a gay audience, it's probably not the most effective way to use those dollars.

Having said that, it was a brilliant strategy because this guy is getting like untold publicity because of it. So it's not going to run, but he won. He spent zero and he's getting these dollars. KING: OK.

DEUTSCH: So, from a media point of view...

KING: All right, Dominic.

DEUTSCH: was a pretty smart move.

KING: Donnie, you hang with us.

And now let's meet Dominic Friesen, the co-creator and spokesperson for ManCrunch bills itself an Internet service connecting men with other men.

And Dennis Prager, nationally syndicated talk radio host of "The Dennis Prager Show" and the best-selling author.

Gentlemen, CBS issued a public statement last week about its rejection and said: "After reviewing the ad, which is entirely commercial in nature, our standards and practices department decided not to accept this particular spot. As always, we're open to working with the client on alternative submissions."

Did you expect them to accept it, Dennis -- I'm sorry, Dominic?

DOMINIC FRIESEN, CO-CREATOR, MANCRUNCH.COM: Well, in all, honesty, Larry, when we came up with the idea for the ad, we produced it very conservatively. We honestly expected to get it on the air.

KING: You did?

FRIESEN: We -- we did not think -- and the ad is fairly harmless when you look at it. Yes, it, you know, well (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Is it clear that it represents a dating service for -- for gays?


KING: It does?


KING: OK. What -- you object to it, Dennis?

DENNIS PRAGER, SYNDICATED TALK RADIO HOST: Well, the truth of the matter is I -- I don't think that advocacy ads do belong on -- on the Super Bowl, whether I agree or don't agree. I think...

KING: So the right to life, you would object to?

PRAGER: Oh, I -- I -- it's right, even though I -- I believe deeply that there is a human being in a -- in a -- in a woman's womb, yes.

I think that there ought to be a place in society, like sports, where you can actually just watch the game and not be confronted with the great issues of the day. There needs to be a respite from this stuff.

KING: How about First Amendment?

PRAGER: Well, the First Amendment doesn't apply because it's not government censorship. I mean they have the perfect right to take whatever ads they want.

Having said that, I also think there are secondary objections specifically to -- to the -- to the gay ad as presented.

But I don't -- I don't want either side.

DEUTSCH: Dennis...

PRAGER: But so there are two issues.

KING: I've got you.

DEUTSCH: Dennis, we will...

KING: Yes, Donny?

DEUTSCH: We get into a -- you know, I don't -- this is an area -- I'm usually black and white on stuff. This is a gray one to me, because we get into a slippery slope. Now we say I don't want my kid seeing Paris Hilton in a bikini eating a hamburger dripping all over her in what seems to be a semi-pornographic way.

So who's to start to say what is appropriate and what isn't?

That's the tough thing here. And, once again, you and I probably wouldn't agree on a lot, but part of me wants to say, hey, just sports, leave it alone, also. But yet we get into a slippery slope here, because who's to draw the line and say what's appropriate, what's not?

KING: Why did you pick...

DEUTSCH: It's a tough one. It really is.

KING: Why did you pick the Super Bowl, Dominic?

FRIESEN: Well, it was actually timing for us.

KING: What is it, $2 million it costs you?

FRIESEN: Well, it cost us $100,000 to produce the ad and then $2.6 to put it on the air. And we provided full financial records that we would...

KING: You had the money?

FRIESEN: ...we actually had the funds to pay for the ad so...

KING: Why the Super Bowl?

FRIESEN: Because we launched just a few weeks ago, and timing wise, it fit into our marketing plan. And we are trying to reach a male audience. And that 90 million viewers are primarily male.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dennis, let me ask you something.

KING: Yes, go ahead, Dominic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dennis, from a media point of...

KING: Donnie, Dominic and Dennis. I'm going nuts with the three of you.

Go ahead.

DEUTSCH: Hey, Dominic, from a media point of view -- and, once again, I preface this by saying it was a brilliant move because you got banned and you got the press. But it's hard to argue that it makes sense to reach a very targeted audience -- gay males in America -- by advertising to this mass audience.

So you can't say with a straight face that was a smart media buy, can you?

FRIESEN: Actually, it was. And we're not going to buy into your stereotypes, either, because...

DEUTSCH: I'm just talking about target marketing...


DEUTSCH: It has nothing to do with stereotypes.

FRIESEN: We felt it was actually very wise.

KING: What?

FRIESEN: The return for our investment was actually very wise. We reached out -- when we looked at the overall (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: You have a large gay audience watch the -- it's part of the large audience. It's part of the...

FRIESEN: It's part of -- it's a large audience, right.

KING: Dennis, you -- do you have an objection purely, or do you -- do you find the ad objectionable?


KING: You do?

PRAGER: That's the second issue. In other words, I don't want any advocacy ads and, specifically, to this one. First of all, I would not like to have an ad with a woman jumping onto a guy and -- and having such an intimate embrace like that.

KING: All right.

PRAGER: So I -- I would -- I would hold it for -- for both heterosexual and homosexual ads.

But -- but having said that, I want to be intellectually honest. There's the additional factor of parents would then have to talk to their kids about homosexuality and they may not want to talk to their 8-year-old, who is watching the game, about homosexuality, whatever their -- their view. I mean there's got to be a safe place for kids in America. If the Super Bowl isn't, it's -- it's just -- it's a shame.

KING: Did ManCrunch kind of hit the P.R. Jackpot, though?

Well, look, they're getting more attention than if they had run it.

We'll be right back.


KING: Now, by the way, the -- there might be a double standard here, but maybe not, because a girl on girl kiss was rejected by a network for the 2003 Super Bowl. It was a Met Life ad that ended with two girls kissing each other.

So they do have standards, you'll agree to that?

And they're not just relating to gays and you agree they have the right to have the standards?


KING: Is Donnie right, though, that this commercial get them more by not being accepted...


KING: ...they get more attention not being accepted?

PRAGER: Look, as I was saying to Dominic off the air, whether or not it was intended, it was a stroke of genius. I mean I -- I recited to Dominic the motto of his gay dating service. That's how effective that ad is.

DEUTSCH: Dennis, is there an announcement you'd like to make here?

is that what you're getting at?


KING: Though, you will admit, Domin -- Dominique, you're getting a lot of play.

FRIESEN: We -- we are. And we're -- you know, we are generating a lot of traffic. But, you know, the real issue is we -- you know, we were faced with discrimination by the network. They lied to us about the validity of ad -- ad space for sale for two weeks, told us it was not available when it was. They refused to provide feedback on the -- the actual commercial spot submitted and just not returning phone calls.

On Friday, after getting the rejection, we asked for the recommendations to make it meet network standards to actually broadcast this weekend and they're re -- they're not providing them so...

KING: It was, also, Dennis, rejected in 2004 -- an advocacy ad from the United Church of Christ, which highlighted the church's welcoming stance toward gays and others who might feel rejected by more conservative churches. That was a pretty thin line, wasn't it?

PRAGER: Yes. Well, look...

KING: That seemed like a modest ad.

PRAGER: ...the question was raised where -- where do they draw the line?

There's no perfect answer to this. As I said, I -- I think that they -- if they get enough ads, they should stick to stuff -- the usual beer commercials and the usual whatever other commercials they have. Again, I just -- I hate repeating myself. There's got to be a safe place. If -- if -- if football isn't safe for having the whole family and little kids watch, then it's a real loss to this society.

KING: And, Donnie, there are people that resent beer commercials.

DEUTSCH: Yes. You know, what's interesting, Dennis, I want to -- and once again, this is such a gray area. But, you know, we look at that and say, yes, it's safe and I don't necessarily want to have to explain it to my kids. But let's say you've got two guys in a same-sect marriage -- a same-sex marriage watching with their kid. To them, that is safe.

So it still is a slippery slope. I hear what you're saying. And -- and I kind of -- as a parent, don't want to get into any of these issues with my kids. But yet this is a Rubik's cube, because there is no simple way to draw a hard line here. In theory, what you're saying, go, oh, let's make this a safe place. Everybody's definition of safe is different, though. And there -- therein lies the problem.

PRAGER: Well, not everybody's. I -- I think if you took -- took a measurement of the audience of a Super Bowl, I think that most people -- the vast majority would agree that this is not a safe ad.

DEUTSCH: So let me ask you a question, is...

PRAGER: And, after all -- well, this is free market.

DEUTSCH: Let me ask you a question...

PRAGER: That's -- that's where...

DEUTSCH: Interracial couples...

PRAGER: That really has to determine it.

DEUTSCH: Let me ask you a question. An interracial couple talking about having a baby and having fertility issues, is -- is that OK?

I mean is it a -- where do we get -- and that's a very real, everyday problem.

PRAGER: Oh, I -- I would welcome it.

DEUTSCH: OK, that's you. Maybe somebody else wouldn't, though.

PRAGER: I would welcome that, in fact.

DEUTSCH: And there...


PRAGER: You're right, it doesn't matter. You're right...

DEUTSCH: And that's the issue here.


PRAGER: All right, well, it is and it isn't, though...

DEUTSCH: But who draws that box?


PRAGER: CBS does, because that's what...


PRAGER: ...the free market allows.

DEUTSCH: That's it. You're right.


DEUTSCH: But it's not...


DEUTSCH: But it's a trough one.

KING: You could go nuts, right?

PRAGER: I don't know if (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: You could reject cereal ads on the basis of sugar.

PRAGER: That's correct.

KING: And it's bad for kids.


KING: I mean you can go nuts...

PRAGER: You can.


KING: ...and have no ads.

PRAGER: Right. That's -- that's -- but that will be true for anything, you'll have no ads. I mean you're right. A beer ad probably offends teetotalers. You're right.

KING: Dominic, you're obviously well-financed for a start-up organization to have gays meet gays.

FRIESEN: Absolutely. We do have our investors. We're very smart. We have a very strategic marketing plan. And it's -- it has been very successful.

KING: Now, CBS said they would discuss with you changing the ad.

Have you discussed the possibility of a different ad?

FRIESEN: Well, yes. They came out and made several statements in the media that they would work with us collectively to...

KING: Have they?

FRIESEN: Absolutely not.


KING: Have you submitted another ad?

FRIESEN: We have not. We -- we offered to reproduce it per their recommendations and they have failed to provide them.


FRIESEN: We want to get an ad on the air this week.

KING: Do you think they would have accepted it if it were just holding hands -- supposing the two met in the popcorn bottle and just held hands, looked at each other?

FRIESEN: Well, we were very conservative. They're -- you...


FRIESEN: There is no...

KING: Well, he kind of leaped on him.

FRIESEN: There is no kissing. You know, we -- we knew that that would be objectionable, if you saw two men actually kiss on the lips...

PRAGER: Well, yes. It's not lip kissing...


PRAGER: But it's kissing.

FRIESEN: We took a very conservative approach.

DEUTSCH: What was the -- what was the non-conservative?

PRAGER: Well, I wouldn't -- yes, that's right.


DEUTSCH: Yes. Dominic, what was the...

PRAGER: That's was exactly what was (INAUDIBLE)...

DEUTSCH: What was the (INAUDIBLE)?

PRAGER: Yes. To the extent that you can say on CNN, what was the non-conservative ad?


KING: Hey, Donnie, if -- if you ran CBS' whatever division that decides this, would you have taken it?

DEUTSCH: Unfortunately, I probably would not have. I think they made the right call as a business, as a capitalistic enterprise. Unfortunately, they're going to offend a small majority of the audience. But they had a fiduciary responsibility. I think it would have taken up too much attention. But it's a discussion for a bigger day. But I -- -- I -- they made the right call.

KING: Are you getting a lot of calls now?

Are a lot of men wanting to meet men based on just this controversy?

FRIESEN: We -- we're having -- we're generating a lot of traffic. About -- with got about 50,000 new subscribers in the past week, which is great.

KING: In one week, 50,000?

FRIESEN: Yes, since the story broke. (CROSSTALK)

FRIESEN: You know, we're getting support


PRAGER: I'm taking out an ad next year on...

FRIESEN: ...from all sorts of people.

PRAGER: ...on...

KING: What fee do you charge?

FRIESEN: It -- actually, right now, it's free for anyone to sign up. Because we just launched, we're building this discover base. It's free right now.

KING: Wow!


KING: All right, guys.


KING: Donnie, good seeing you again.

DEUTSCH: It's great seeing you, Larry.

KING: Good luck.


KING: A brilliant move, Dominic, whatever...


KING: Whatever.

And, Dennis, you've acknowledged that.


KING: So what's a pro-life ad doing on the Super Bowl?

Hey, we'll ask the group paying for it, in 60 seconds.


KING: Another controversial Super Bowl ad will see the light of day on Sunday. It's a pro-life spot featuring Florida Gators star quarterback Tim Tebow. And his mother Pam discusses her risky pregnancy 23 years ago. She carried Tim to term against medical advice.

We have not yet showed -- they've not yet released the ad to show it before Sunday.

We're joined by Jim Daley, president and CEO of Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family is sponsoring the ad.

Terry O'Neill is here. She's president of NOW, the National Organization for Women.

All right, Jim, how did you come up with the idea to -- to do this and to -- to pay all that money to put it on the Super Bowl?

JIM DALY, PRESIDENT & CEO, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Well, Larry, it started in early November. And one of the gentlemen who works here at Focus, he's in the film department. He suggested -- he had an idea for an ad on the Pam Tebow story.

And when he told me, I said that sounds good enough to be on the Super Bowl.

And so that was really the genesis of it. And it was paid for by just a handful of friends that are supporters of Focus on the Family. They said that is such a good idea, we'll -- we'll cover it. So it didn't come out of the general fund here at Focus.

And we're thrilled with it. It's going to be a great ad.

KING: It does not attack "Roe vs. Wade?"

DALY: No, not at all. It's not -- it's not even political. It's an upbeat, inspirational ad that celebrates family and celebrates life. We've just not said anything about it. I think a lot of others have made this more political than it needs to be.

KING: Terry, I know you're -- NOW is against it. Sarah Palin suggests that your opposition is due -- is at -- at odds with your organization's desire to empower women.

What do you say to that?

TERRY O'NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: That's just not the case, Larry. That ad I was really surprised to hear that CBS was going to put an ad that actually advocates against women having abortion rights on air. It's a controversial ad. Focus on the Family has an agenda of overturning "Roe v. Wade." And that, alone, makes the ad, I think controversial.

You know, it's -- it's absolutely wonderful we can all celebrate that Pam Tebow was able to make the decision for herself about her own health and about her own future and her own family.

But another woman in the very same situation -- Focus on the Family would not be celebrating another woman making a different choice. And -- and the National Organization for Women wants the law to continue to respect women's ability to make those decisions for themselves.

KING: OK. CBS issued a statement last week regarding its acceptance of the Focus on the Family ad. It says: "We have, for some time, moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms on the issue. In fact, most media outlets have accepted advocacy ads from time to time. At CBS, our standards and practices process continues to adhere to a process that ensures all ads on all sides of an issue are appropriate for air." Jim, did you -- did you think maybe they wouldn't take it?

DALY: Well, we thought there could be that chance. But when we worked with them -- CBS has been good, but they've been, you know, tough. We didn't get all the language we wanted. And I think I can understand the previous segment, why they didn't pass that ad.

We simply wanted to say -- I'll give you an example. We wanted to say two things, that both Pam and Tim's life were at risk. And they said, no, we don't want you to say that.

So, you know, we're down to a very simple 30 second comment. And, again, I understand Terry's concern. What we want to do is lift up the other side of the equation. There is an awful lot of energy that's given to the abortion side of this debate. Very rarely do we say, hey, let's celebrate a woman who has chosen life for her child. And that's what we're trying to do here.

KING: Terry, I guess abortion -- you feel abortion does -- pro- abortion or pro-choice doesn't need an ad, since it is the law?

O'NEILL: Well, the truth is, if I had $2.5 million, I wouldn't give it to CBS. I would be using it to advocate equality for women. And -- and -- and, you know, it's just not the case that the -- that the anti-abortion rights side doesn't get enough air time.

In fact, "Roe v. Wade" is under attack actually, right now, Larry, more than it has been in decades. We're very concerned about it. We're concerned about continuing efforts, particularly on organizations like Focus on the Family. It is quite extreme in its desire to -- I think the quote was "make abortion illegal and unthinkable."

And for Focus on the Family to be claiming that they're making this nonpolitical ad I think is really not believable.

And CBS...

KING: All right. We'll have Jim pick up on that -- let Jim pick up on that (INAUDIBLE)...

DALY: Well...

KING: By the way, Jim has written a blog exclusive for us. You can go to and tell us what you think about it.

When we come back, we'll ask him...

DALY: Well...

KING: ...if the ad is worth all the money.

Don't go away.


KING: Jim Daly, the purpose of ads are to create a desire for a product or something or to create an interest in something. Our guess would be -- my guess would be 99 percent of Americans know where they stand on pro-choice.

So what do you hope this commercial to do?

DALY: I think primarily give a little oxygen to the decision for life. You know, just -- it's an inspirational, pro-family message and that's what we're trying to do here is just provide women another thought that often they don't hear much about. And that is, give your child life.

And I think that's a good thing. I would hope that Terry and others would say what Pam Tebow did was very courageous. I mean, NOW, as the National Organization of Women, why not stand with Pam Tebow, saying, wow, that was brave?

KING: Terry, why not?

O'NEILL: Well, that's exactly what we do. But we also say that women who affirm their lives by choosing to terminate a pregnancy are also being brave. And that is something -- it is a shame that, Jim, you can't see that women around the country are making these decisions every single day. And it's their decision.

You know, one third of women have abortions in this country. Those women deserve to be treated with exactly the same amount of respect as we give to women who choose not to terminate a pregnancy.

I -- I just don't understand why we would, on Super Bowl Sunday, during a game -- if -- if -- if I -- if my daughter were 16, I wouldn't to have that ad during the Super Bowl and have to have that conversation with her at a time when we're supposed to be coming together and watching a football game.

You know, we can have these conversations later and -- and I think the Super Bowl is not the time to do it.

You know, Larry, you said earlier that CBS is definitely going to run this ad. I'm still hopeful that they will pull the ad. It's the right thing to do.

DALY: Hey, Terry, let me...

KING: Jim, have they taken...


KING: Jim, have they taken the money?

DALY: Oh, yes. That's all done and CBS has reaffirmed all through the week that they're going with it.

I think -- I'd like to make Terry this offer. If you -- when you see the ad in the Super Bowl, if you don't like it, I'll buy you lunch.


DALY: And if, you know, if you like it, you can buy me lunch. But I think -- I think people are going to like this ad. It's not controversial. You -- your 8-year-old or your 9-year-old, you can sit there and watch this ad with -- with her...

O'NEILL: I'll tell you what...

DALY: And it's not going to raise that kind of issue.

O'NEILL: How about, Jim, if I don't like the ad, how about you change your agenda to making abortion illegal and start working with me to make things better for all women in the country?

KING: Terry, do you -- do you fear that pro-choice people are going to watch this ad and suddenly be right-to-lifers?

Terry, do you fear that?

O'NEILL: No. You know what I think -- you know what I really think?

I think a lot of people are going to watch this and say, boy, that's -- that -- there's an under -- undertone here of -- of that anyone who makes a choice different from the -- from the decision that Pam Tebow made, the undertone there is that that woman should feel ashamed or that she is not as good as -- as -- as Pam, who made her decision. And I think it's a shame to impose that on women around the country.

DALY: Larry, you know what?

KING: Jim?

DALY: Can I just say, I'm the only one here that has seen the ad. And I'll just say...

KING: Right.

DALY: ...that I think everyone will appreciate the ad. We respect every woman. That's not the point. And I think so often this debate is just boiled down to arguments.

And, you know, when President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and others say, how do we make abortion rare, I'd like to meet with Terry at the table and say, let's start the discussion. Focus is a pro-life group. We are a Christian organization. We're not ashamed of that. But let's talk about the million children that are killed every year.

Can we do better as a nation?

That's my point. Planned Parenthood, of course...

KING: Jim, maybe...

DALY: ...they're going to -- yes?

I was just going to say...

KING: I'm sorry.

DALY: They're making money off of this.

O'NEILL: Oh...

DALY: Planned Parenthood, they're making money off of abortion.


O'NEILL: Come on, Jim.

DALY: Aren't they?

O'NEILL: Focus on the Family is actually one of the most extreme anti-abortion groups around there, you know. And -- and you fund these crisis pregnancy centers that have been shown -- there's a report out of Congress. Henry Waxman's committee issued a report on crisis pregnancy centers using false and deceptive practices in their efforts simply to convince women -- no matter what was good for the woman -- to continue a pregnancy...

KING: Do...

O'NEILL: ...because Focus on the Family thinks that's the right thing to do.

KING: Jim, do you know...

DALY: Can I...

KING: Do you know...

DALY: Yes?

KING: Do you know where the ad is going to be placed?

DALY: I do, the first quarter, very early. So be watching.

KING: The first quarter, early. OK, that's good to know.

They did tell you? DALY: Can I respond to her, Larry?

KING: Are you paying more for that?

Yes, but quickly.


KING: Do you pay more for first quarter early?

No, you don't.

All right, respond quickly.

DALY: No. No.

KING: Go ahead, Jim.

Go ahead.

DALY: Well, I was just going to say, on this issue of false -- false sonograms and working with pregnancy resource centers, let me just say, Focus and its commitment to life, we've place over 400 machines -- ultrasound machines. And we've saved an estimated 73,000 babies through that effort.

That's a good thing. Let's celebrate that. These clinics are not -- they're not mischief makers. What we're finding is that women who get counseling and get an ultrasound, actually 70 percent of abortion-minded women change their mind. That's a good thing...


DALY: ...not a bad thing.

O'NEILL: Well, you know, now the...

KING: We'll do...

O'NEILL: ...the law is changing those...

KING: We'll do more on this.


KING: There's lots more left of the week.


KING: All right, we're out of time.

O'NEILL: ...telling the truth...

KING: Thanks, Terry.

O'NEILL: ...because they don't now. Thank you, Larry.

KING: Terry O'Neill and Jim Daly...

DALY: All right. Bye-bye, Larry.

KING: And we'll do more -- I guarantee we're going to do more on this, because it's too important a topic.

More controversy on the way -- tax cuts, deficit, unemployment issues -- that directly affects all of you. And we're just getting started.

Stick around.


KING: Two very talented, smart people are going to go at it now. In New York, Andrea Tantaros, the conservative commentator and columnist. And in New Orleans, James Carville, the CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist.

Before we get into more urgent or topical political matters, what are your thoughts on what we were just talking about? Andrea, what do you make of that ad and the refusal of the ad before it?

ANDREA TANTAROS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I think this is a free country and I think Focus on the Family has a right -- thank god -- to air an ad like this. I think we heard from Focus on the Family, firsthand -- the only one who has seen the ad -- that this is a positive story about life. And to the women's groups -- look, the National Organization for Women is a misnomer. It's the national organization for abortion. And this woman, Mrs. Tebow, made a choice. It's just this National Organization for Women didn't like her choice.

So I think we should celebrate life. I think this is a great ad. I think we should all watch it and see it and be happy that, in this country, we still have a choice. And this one was life.

KING: James?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Would the National Organization for Women -- in a free country, would you afford them the chance to buy an ad on CBS also?

TANTAROS: Sure, why not? It's a free country. You advocate for free speech.

CARVILLE: Yeah, again, I don't -- again.

TANTAROS: They don't have the money to do it.

CARVILLE: If they pay the money, Tim Tebow -- I don't really have a problem with running the ad either. But once CBS -- that's fine. Once CBS has opened this door, there will be advocacy groups buying for ads, I guess, if they can raise the money. We'll see. That's fine.

KING: Andrea, what do you make about the gay Internet dating service being denied an ad?

TANTAROS: Look, Larry, if there's one thing we can all agree on, on this panel, it's free speech. James, I've heard you argue for it many times and I think that we have that right in this country. Focus on the Family just happens to have the money to do it and I'm glad that they can do it.

KING: So did the gay Internet dating service. Why shouldn't they get their free speech on?

TANTAROS: Hey, that's CBS' issue. That's another thing that we have, private industry, where businesses and networks can make their own decisions. Hopefully, that doesn't change either.

CARVILLE: Well, I don't quite understand. You're saying that Focus on the Family -- it's a free country, and they ought to be able to have the ad. But that the gay dating service shouldn't.

TANTAROS: I never said the gay dating service shouldn't. I never said the gay dating service shouldn't.

CARVILLE: OK. We're in agreement then. We're in vigorous agreement here.

TANTAROS: If they want to buy an ad on network TV, great. But, listen, James, the issue here is that CBS, as a private company, can make that decision and I think that plays --


CARVILLE: So if another network wanted to put a NOW ad on, but didn't want to put a Focus on the Family ad, you would be fine? You'd say, that's all right; it's a network; they can do what they want?

TANTAROS: Hey, networks are the only entity the Obama administration hasn't taken over yet. so I guess it's their choice.

CARVILLE: I'm vexed. If a network said -- if you're perfectly comfortable if NBC said we'll run an ad for NOW but we won't run an ad for Focus on the Family?

TANTAROS: As much as my personal beliefs wouldn't advocate for that, I am in favor of a network being able to make that decision.


KING: That's pretty clear. Let's move to other things. Obama unveiled a 3.8 trillion dollar budget plan today. Here is what he had to say about tax cuts.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I proposed a fee on big banks to pay back taxpayers for the bailout. We're reforming the way contracts are awarded to save taxpayers billions of dollars. And while we extend middle class tax cuts in this budget, we will not continue costly tax cuts for oil companies, investment fund managers and those making over 250,000 dollars a year. We just can't afford it.


KING: James, what do you make of the idea of middle class tax cuts, but 250,000 and up, you don't get a break?

CARVILLE: Well, I think it makes a lot of sense. We had the most prosperous years that we ever had as a country when President Clinton introduced his fiscally responsible financial plan in 1993. Truth of the matter is, middle class people, when they get a tax cut, they're going to go out and spend it. That's what we need, because there's a lack of demand in this economy. To me, it makes all the sense in the world.

KING: Andrea?

TANTAROS: James, are you telling me Clinton would have run deficits like this?

CARVILLE: No, no, Bush caused these deficits. This man is trying to deal with a recession. I think you don't understand, see.

TANTAROS: No, I understand.

CARVILLE: He took office in 2008.

KING: Andrea, let him finish.

CARVILLE: -- only 16 percent. I'm just saying it wasn't -- Clinton cleaned up another Republican president's deficit. Obama is trying to get started to clean up the last Republican deficit. You see, that's what happens. He took office in 2008.

TANTAROS: So he wouldn't? So Bill Clinton, to my point, would not run deficits like Barack Obama is running?

CARVILLE: Of course he would have to run deficits right now. You're not saying we should pare back -- you're not saying he should cut spending in the middle of a recession, are you?

TANTAROS: Because in this budget, James, Barack Obama is tripling the debt under George W. Bush. Barack Obama campaigned against balancing the budget.

No, no, no, no. Let me finish. He campaigned against balancing the budget. Did he or did he not? And what Barack Obama is doing, even by repealing the Bush tax cuts, he can only bring the deficit down to 700 billion, with all this unsustainable spending and growth.

So Barack Obama talks about how he cannot sustain on the Bush deficits. He has tripled the debt, and increased the deficit. So that makes no sense.

CARVILLE: According to the CBO, 84 percent of the non-recession debt is attributable to Bush, 16 to Obama. He is having to spend money to try to get us out of a recession that started in December 2007, which is 14 months before he took office. I mean, that's just what the facts are.

Most of -- a good part of it is just caused by the Bush recession.

KING: Got to get a break --


KING: We'll be right back. Hold it. By the way, director James Cameron and his team that created "Avatar" will be here Wednesday, answering your questions. Submit them now at or Tweet me at King's Things, anything you want to know about the most successful financial movie ever made. Just let us know.


KING: We're back with Andrea Tantaros and James Carville. Is he going to get that unemployment rate down, James? Is this going to work?

CARVILLE: Well, you know, who knows? They're projecting something like 9.2 percent unemployment in 2011. But the first step is they had to get the growth rate up, and that seems to be doing a little better. One hopes so, certainly hope so.

KING: Andrea, what about the jobs plan?

TANTAROS: Well, let's see. The jobs plan plays into this budget, which is just more spending. The hope is that we can get that unemployment number down.

But when James talk about the growth is a little bit up -- when you're talking about GDP, these are just one-fers. The GDP is often artificially inflated.

So we go back to this budget that Obama is talking about. I want to address something that James said before the break, how the CBO projected that he is going to be able to bring these numbers down. That might be true temporarily. When you look at these numbers, even by repealing the Bush tax cuts and imposing two trillion dollars of new taxes on individuals and these high earners, you still can only get that number to 700 billion dollars. And in 2019, it will go back up to one trillion dollars. And that is the fact.

I don't see how -- if we continue on this course of unsustainable spending, we are going to have a run on the dollar. We're going to have record high interest rates. We're going to have inflation. These are all things that we have to get under control. And the president is not doing it.

KING: Let James get a word in.

CARVILLE: Yeah. Certainly, I agree. And that's why he's trying to get a health care bill that the CBO said was going to save something like 600 or 700 billion over the next ten years, and not one single Republican voted for it. If they don't do something about these health care costs, I completely agree with this. But they're certainly going to have to start addressing a lot of these problems.

I think in a long-range sense, this administration is doing it. Clearly, right now, nobody says that we ought to cut back now, because this is actually starting to create some action in this economy now, which has been pretty lethargic here of late. They need to do something about this.

TANTAROS: One, I would argue that --

KING: Hold it. Another subject. The time allotted -- the new senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown, about to be sworn in they think around the 19th, he was the subject of a little fun on "Saturday Night Live." Watch.

Don't panic. It's coming.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, I was looking for the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Down the hall on right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Speaker Pelosi. And, let me just say, I'm looking forward to working closely with you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Let's talk economy. With this new spending freeze, job creation is going to be harder than ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nancy, you're the Speaker of the House.


KING: Apologize for that delay there. How serious -- can he make a big effect, James? Can one senator have a big effect?

CARVILLE: I think the election had an effect. I think it kind of woke people up. And I think the president actually had his best week in a long time. But I would never deny the fact that this election was significant and I think there was a message in there. And it seems like maybe the White House sort of got it here, and they seem to have had a pretty good week this week.

Once he gets to Washington, how much affect can one senator in the minority party have, I don't know.

KING: He kind of put down that Tea Party angle today, Andrea. Did that surprise you? TANTAROS: No, not really. I disagree with James. I think that one senator, especially when the numbers are so close in the Senate, can make a difference, Larry. And particularly Scott Brown, where he can really benefit the GOP is if the GOP uses him and McDonnell, like they smartly did to give the rebuttal, new, fresh faces. The temperature out there is against Washington. It's against incumbents. That's why I think Brown largely was voted in. So he can make a difference within the party, hopefully, and also can make a difference in the Senate, because of that very crucial one vote.

CARVILLE: I think she makes a good point. I think they need to -- I think that's right, to put a fresh face out. This guy seems to have done a pretty good job so far. I don't disagree with -- I think the election was significant, you're right. How much influence a junior senator has in the caucus -- she could be right; he may have a lot. That's something I don't know.

TANTAROS: I think James and I would agree --

KING: Thanks, guys. Andrea Tantaros and James Carville.

TANTAROS: Good luck to your saints, James.

KING: Americans detained for trying to take Haitian children out of the country, children who may have parents. Why did they do that? Next.



KING: Karl Penhaul is in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, so is Georg Willeit. George is a spokesman for SOS Children's Villages, the 33 children caught up in what Haitian authorities allege was a trafficking scheme. Now, Karl, the latest on the ten citizens being detained in Haiti that took a bus load of undocumented Haitian children out of Haiti. What's the latest on those ten, Karl?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're still sitting in Spartan jail cells near the airport in Port-Au-Prince. When I talked to them twice over the weekend, they said the conditions were Spartan, but they were treated well by their jailers. They said they didn't have too much to eat, nor too much water. But they were trying to keep their spirits high by reading passages from the Bible and singing.

They were to come before a judge today. That didn't happen we understand. They may come before a judge tomorrow. There's always a possibility -- the Haitian prime minister has left the door open to the fact these ten American Baptists could be sent to the US to face trial, Larry.

KING: Georg, first, how are the children doing? There are 33 of them, right? How are they doing, Georg?

GEORG WILLEIT, SOS CHILDREN'S VILLAGE: Yes, there are 33 of these children right now at SOS Village close to Port-Au-Prince. Today, they did quite well. Two days ago, as they came to our village, the situation was quite different. But we tried to give them a safe place, a safe haven, so that they really could feel well and that they get the care and attention they need. And some of them even do get psychological treatment.

KING: Is it true, Georg, that some of them are not orphans?

WILLEIT: Yes, that's absolutely true. Around 20 of them, at least, are not orphans. They lived with their parents at their parents' home. They were not given from parents to orphanages like sometimes happens in Haiti. They lived and stayed together with their parents and they were taken away from the parents with the hope of going to a boarding school or summer camp in the Dominican Republic.

KING: Were you surprised that those people took them, Georg? Were you surprised?

WILLEIT: I do not know anything about the attention of these people, of these ten Americans. What I do know -- I do know about -- we at SOS Children's Villages is working all over the world, 60 years, and do know about the needs of children and we do know what are the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child is to stay with his parents and not be separated from them. This was a clear separation, at least of some of the kids from their existing parents and from their homes.

KING: Karl, is it the belief that they acted in haste here?

PENHAUL: Well, I think there are a number of elements we have to look at here. Yes, from what they described to me, their mission was a very poorly planned mission. They quite clearly had no experience in dealing with orphans nor in handling orphans once they get them in their grasp, so to speak. In fact, they say they didn't know where they were going to get these orphans from until they got a divinely appointed meeting with a Haitian pastor at the border point coming across. They said the Haitian pastor directed them to where they were going.

Of course, there's another element to this story. Today we were up in a mountain village, an hour's drive out of Port-Au-Prince, and there we met the parents of 21 of the 33 children. And as Georg was saying, most of these children do have parents. And the parents that we talked to said that they willingly gave away their children. They said their families were simply too poor to sustain the children, especially after the quake. And they said they gave away the children to the Americans. They personally put their kids on the bus because they believe they were going to a brighter future, where their kids would have school, where they kids would have a swimming pool, and would be able to go to church services as well, Larry.

KING: So, Karl, these are not like classic traffickers, right?

PENHAUL: It's difficult to see that they are -- that they would fit the profile of classic traffickers. That, of course, though, is something the authorities are working on, because I would suggest that no trafficker really fits the profile that we might have in our imaginations. But overall, all the Haitian authorities and the NGOs say the danger here is that you can't let these kids go out of the country without passports, without permission to leave, because then they're out there. They could be cash for adoption scandals. But even worse child pornography, child abuse scandals. They can't run that risk.

KING: Thanks, Karl Penhaul and Georg Willeit. Prince Michael and Paris Jackson stole the show at the Grammys last night. That's next.


KING: The Grammys were handed out last night. One of the most memorable moments came when Michael Jackson's two oldest children, Prince Michael and Paris, accepted a lifetime achievement award on behalf of their late father. Here's how it happened.


PRINCE MICHAEL JACKSON, SON OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Thank you. Thank you. We are proud to be here to accept this award on behalf of our father, Michael Jackson. First of all, we'd like to thank God for watching over us for these past seven months, and our grandma and grandpa for their love and support.

We would also like to thank the fans. Our father loved you so much, because you were always there for him.

Our father was always concerned about the planet and humanity. Through all his hard work and dedication, he has helped through many charities and donated to all of them. We'd also like -- through all his songs, his message was simple: love. We'll continue to spread his message and help the world. Thank you. We love you, daddy.

PARIS JACKSON, DAUGHTER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: Daddy was supposed to be here -- daddy was going to perform this year, but he couldn't perform last year. Thank you, we love you, daddy.


KING: Speeches from memory, not teleprompter. Dame Elizabeth Taylor has now signed a Michael Jackson opus to the auction to benefit Haiti. You can go to if you want a shot at it. The last bid is 19,000 dollars. Congratulations Candy Crowley, the new host of "STATE OF THE UNION." Time now for Wolf Blitzer and "AC 360." Wolf?