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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Not Politics As Usual

Aired April 9, 2010 - 21:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

JESSE VENTURA, GUEST HOST (voice-over): Tonight, it's not politics as usual. Democrat Rod Blagojevich, Republican Ron Paul, and Jesse Ventura, that's me, sound off.

On the Supreme Court vacancy, who should get the job?

Sarah Palin, her mocking of the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: And from now until November, when they say "yes we can," we stand up and we say, "Oh, no, you don't."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VENTURA: Newt Gingrich, his stinging attack on Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: This is the most radical administration in American history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VENTURA: The Confederate History Month controversy, and Tiger Woods -- all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VENTURA: Good evening. I'm Jesse Ventura, sitting in for Larry tonight.

Let's get to it.

Joining us: Rod Blagojevich, former Illinois governor, until he was fired last week, a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice."

Congressman Ron Paul, Republican of Texas and former presidential candidate.

Stephanie Miller, talk radio host, her Website Stephaniemiller.com.

And Andrea Tantaros, Republican strategist and columnist, "New York Daily News."

Big news today. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is retiring. Who should Obama pick to replace him?

Stephanie?

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Well, I'm going to say the most liberal person in the world, I'm going to say Janeane Garofalo, Shakira, possibly, can Fidel Castro, is that constitutionally possible?

VENTURA: (INAUDIBLE)

MILLER: Michael Moore.

You know, Andrea, the thing is, honestly, I hope that the president doesn't choose his centrist bipartisan path on this that he normally does, Governor, because this is a very liberal justice. And in my opinion, the Supreme Court is already listing very far to the right with the Citizens United decision. I call them SCOTUS, the very far right justices on the Supreme Court.

And so, he needs to pick a liberal. There doesn't need to be any reason to reach out to the other side on this one.

VENTURA: OK. Andrea?

ANDREA TANTAROS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You can sleep soundly tonight, Stephanie, because I have absolutely faith that the president will stick to his liberal values and pick a liberal. I mean, look, you're saying that the court leans right. Sotomayor is pretty liberal. I mean, I --

MILLER: No, she's not.

TANTAROS: Yes, she is.

MILLER: Fairly moderate.

TANTAROS: Here's how I stand on this. That's OK. Obama is the president. He was elected, unfortunately, and he's allowed to pick whoever he wants. I think it's a wash basically because Stevens was very liberal. He is going to pick a liberal.

Do I think there still needs to be a very rigorous interrogation of whoever he nominates? Absolutely. We have important issues we need to find out how they stand. Would they repeal the health care bill? Do they think it's constitutional or not? But we should be asking them all those questions.

And you know --

MILLER: Andrea, every legal scholar thinks the health care bill is constitutional.

TANTAROS: No, and, Stephanie, I really hope that Republican senators don't make the wife of the nominee cry, like the Democratic senators did to Alito's wife. We'll be a little nicer, I hope.

MILLER: That's the main thing we're for, is making wives cry, Governor, as you know.

VENTURA: Governor Blagojevich, your opinion on this?

ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: Well, Jesse, before Donald Trump fired me, I would have probably suggested Donald Trump as a way to stay on the show.

(LAUGHTER)

BLAGOJEVICH: But since I'm no longer on there, I think President Obama should probably pick someone who philosophically would be along the lines of Justice Stevens. I think he needs to maintain that balance on the Supreme Court. Whatever woman or man he chooses, my guess is, he'll probably go in that kind of direction.

VENTURA: Representative Paul, your opinion.

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: Well, I think we -- that he should recommend and we should nominate somebody who will bring the people together. And that's not a moderate. What brings people together is the Constitution, the principles of liberty. So, therefore you need a libertarian.

You know, libertarian brings conservatives together on economic liberals, and a good libertarian will bring the progressives over, and there will be personal liberties. And any time there is secret prisons and assassinations and torture, they would be able to come down on the right side of that.

So, if you really want to bring somebody in, to look at Jonathan Turley and Judge Andrew Napolitano. I mean, they would be very good Supreme Court justices.

TANTAROS: I like that one. I like that one. Someone who is fair. I didn't hear anyone say the word fair. Isn't that the most important thing that they would follow the letter of the law? I believe Napolitano will do that.

MILLER: You know, Congressman Paul, you were all good with me right until you gunpoint to the FOX News personality, then I lost you. But, you know, everything else you said I think was true.

VENTURA: Now, George W. Bush picked two conservatives, of course, Roberts and Alito.

So, can we really expect Obama to go liberal? Or do you believe to beef up that side of the court after George Bush picked two definite conservatives? Representative Paul?

PAUL: Well, once again, I think that Obama will pick liberals for various reasons. And I do think the mushy middle doesn't really help that much. That's why I stick to my guns, that somebody who believes in the Constitution and believes in personal liberty will be the kind of person we need.

It used to be that way, you know. There used to be -- the document is libertarian. And we used to have libertarian presidents a long time ago.

So -- but I think he'll pick some very liberal one, and there will probably be a big fight over it. And, you know, maybe the libertarians will luck out. Every once in a while, a good liberal, a good progressive, you know, they're don't do too bad on personal liberties and they'd be OK on tortures. But they're terrible on the real important issue of personal property and contracts and economically.

But I don't understand why -- why there is a good defense of personal liberty like progressives do, and lifestyle and all this -- but, all of the sudden, the lifestyle of spending your own money the way you want -- oh, no, that's off the books.

That's why the libertarian is very appealing, especially to the young people, and people who think about personal liberty and they say, yes. Liberty is one unit. It's economic liberty. It's personal liberty. And in foreign policy, it's mind our own business. That brings people together.

VENTURA: Rod, you know, you're looking for a new gig. If the country needs you, are you willing to put the robes on?

BLAGOJEVICH: I think, first, I need to be vindicated. I think that's only fair to the American people before that happens. But, you know, I would like to say that, you know, Congressman Paul raises an interesting point.

If you look at American politics today, and maybe this appointment to the Supreme Court can be a microcosm of the sort of new politics and maybe the new thinking that we need in this country -- and to be able to have a fusion of somebody who might be progressive in some issues, if you want to put labels on this, but then maybe conservative on others, but there's a -- there's a core belief in freedom and liberties and some of the principles that our country were founded on, and shake it up a little bit on the Supreme Court.

My fear, however, is this is, in so many ways, a very political appointment in that, the different interest groups that run and control the two different political parties, it's a litmus test for presidents to stick to that, you know, wing of their party that is essentially the base of the party. And my guess is, President Obama will probably do that as opposed to doing something different along the lines of what Congressman Paul suggested.

VENTURA: Well, you know, I'm a libertarian. Maybe he should nominate me.

BLAGOJEVICH: Yes.

TANTAROS: Why not.

MILLER: Yes. And I like your idea of Governor Blagojevich. I think that since he has been on "Survivor," Judge Joe or Judge Judy has to exonerate him before he can run. I'm not sure of the TV rules there.

But, you know, I think Congressman Paul raises a good point that, you know, he says that -- the president should be able to appoint, Governor, a liberal justice.

But, you know, Representative Paul, I'm interested because you just won the straw poll, right, in terms of presidential candidates for conservatives. And yet, you know -- I mean, this party is already said they're going to obstruct. They're going to filibuster whoever the president nominates.

How do you feel about that?

PAUL: Well, we don't know exactly he'll do. But, you know, if I were there and they were going to appoint somebody that was exactly opposite of a libertarian, to me that would be the opposite of the Constitution, I would object, and I would argue against it. I don't particularly enjoy filibusters because I don't think it changes the outcome.

But no, I would -- I think that's their obligation. I don't think that they should roll over and that president nominates somebody, and the Senate consents. I think that's the rule. I don't know why anybody should get upset about, you know, debating and voting for it, and using the rules of the Senate. That just doesn't disturb me too much.

But I know that's the big issue -- is there going to be a fight, is there going to be a filibuster? Well, of course, there's going to be. And there's going to be objection unless you elect a libertarian, and that would please everybody.

(CROSSTALK)

VENTURA: Wait, wait, wait.

TANTAROS: Obama filibustered as well. So, I mean, to talk about -- I mean, Stephanie, where you OK with Barack Obama when he was --

VENTURA: Excuse me. Bart Stupak's sudden retirement. Did the Tea Party do him in? That's next.

We got to go to break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PALIN: Yes we can kowtow to enemies, criticize allies, vacillate, bow, dither, yes we can. But somebody needs to tell the president to just because we can does not mean that we should.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VENTURA: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Jesse Ventura, sitting in for Larry tonight.

Sarah Palin -- you know, she's everywhere this week. You can't go anywhere without seeing her. And, you know, she was in New Orleans, and they always say that's a cattle call for the next presidential nominee. Is Sarah Palin going to be the Republican nomination for president?

MILLER: Andrea, please say yes.

TANTAROS: I don't have a crystal ball. I know you think I'm a genius, Stephanie, but I don't know everything.

You know what? I'm not so sure about that. I think the woman is on a track to building a media empire. I think she's focused on other things. I'm not certain that the presidency is top of mind for her.

But look, she is out there. She is allowed to have free speech. We still have that in this country, I think, thank God. They haven't taken that away from us yet. And she's organizing communities. And what's wrong with a little community-organizing, right?

VENTURA: Well --

TANTAROS: She's rallying. And essentially the people that she is rallying, this Tea Party movement is responsible for Bart Stupak resigning today. So, I think the group that was called manufactured outrage is proving pretty effective.

VENTURA: Congressman Paul, could she be the nomination for the next president for the Republican Party?

PAUL: Oh, she could be. I don't think it's likely.

I'm much more interested myself in pushing the Republican Party into defending what they say they believe in. They claim they believe in individual liberty and personal liberties but -- and personal freedoms.

But, you know, when it comes down the wire and they have to have legislation, you know, they're not very good at it, you know? They endorse the drug war and invasion of privacy and all these things, and government gets bigger. They don't even defend their budgets and spending. So, it's totally out of control.

So, I'm looking for somebody that will stand up and say, you know, what Republicans believe in is personal liberty and limited government -- across the board, not just when you're out of office or not just in certain areas, but across the board all the time. And that we haven't seen the Republicans have had a chance, you know, in 1980, 1994, 2000.

And every time, they get in office, you know, they tend to drift from their beliefs. They tend too act too much like Democrats and expand the role of government and the size of government, which I think is unfortunate.

VENTURA: Well, Congressman, you know, they always say balance is the key to the ticket. Could it be a Palin/Paul ticket?

(LAUGHTER)

PAUL: I don't think that will happen. I don't think they're looking for my kind of balance, because I think we'd have -- I think we'd have a disagreement on foreign policy, you know? I'm looking to bring the troops home. The country is totally bankrupt.

I know a little bit about history. I know how empires end. And I know how ours is going to end. It's going to end badly.

But it's a bipartisan effort. It's -- you know, I'm tired of hearing this bipartisanship. That's all we have in Washington.

Bipartisan supports the war. Obama wants to expand the war and the Republicans love it. And when the -- when there's big spending, yes, they agree. Well, you spend on this item and this item, and both sides agree to it. So, I think we need somebody to stand up and say, you know, we need a new idea.

I like the idea of progressives and libertarians and conservative constitutionalists getting together and starting talking about civil liberties and this war issue, because this is bankrupting our country. And I'll tell you, politically, it's much easier to sell spending a little bit less overseas. Why are we building an embassy in London now, over $1 billion in London? Why do we have a fortress there? We have a fortress in Baghdad, a fortress in Kabul.

I mean, it makes no sense whatsoever. And I think there can be a coalition. To me, that would be a very good bipartisan coalition. But it would be principled people on the libertarian conservative right and principled people on the progressive left.

MILLER: Well, I'm a principled person on the progressive left, as Andrea can tell you, Governor. But -- and I get accused a lot as a woman of being just jealous of Sarah Palin. And let me say, I do want that Stevie Nicks outfit she was wearing the other day, but I don't think she is intellectually or experientially qualified to be president.

You were a Navy SEAL. What happens when you quit in the middle of the job?

VENTURA: You don't. Or you're not a Navy SEAL.

MILLER: Thank you.

VENTURA: It's simple.

Are Democrats foolish to underestimate her, Rod?

BLAGOJEVICH: Absolutely. I think they are. Now, I don't disagree with what some of the other guests said. But I think it would be a mistake to underestimate Sarah Palin.

But I'd like to say something about what Congressman Paul said. I really believe America is ripe for a political realignment. I think both parties are basically controlled and owned by the big powerful special interests, the political industrial complex that does business in and around Washington. Congressman Paul knows exactly what I'm talking about. Both parties, you know, basically decide what the solutions are that confront the American people based upon the different special interest groups that descend on Washington.

Your success in Minnesota, Jesse, I think had a lot to do with the fact that even in the late '90s, there was a real hunger for some sort of new political way. And I think America -- particularly now with the economy being what it is -- is ripe for that.

And I think Congressman Paul says it exactly right. Why are we, in America, in so many far away places, fighting wars in different places when you really have to ask yourself whether or not that's really a vital American interest? And so, I think, you know, the right person who speaks on these issues, there is a place for them.

(CROSSTALK)

BLAGOJEVICH: Go ahead, sorry.

VENTURA: I can tell you about the wars. People are making money off the wars, big money off the wars.

BLAGOJEVICH: Right.

VENTURA: That's why we fight them now.

Is Obama the most radical president in American history? Newt Gingrich thinks so.

We'll see what the panel thinks.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: The president of the United States, the most radical president in American history, has now thrown down the gauntlet to the American people. He has said: "I run a machine. I own Washington, and there is nothing you can do about it." Now that's where we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VENTURA: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. We're talking politics and other news of the day with Rod Blagojevich, Ron Paul, Stephanie Miller, and Andrea Tantaros.

Well, you know, my problem with Sarah Palin -- well, first, let's get to Gingrich there. How can he make a statement "This is the most radical president in the history of the United States"? Was he around 200 years ago --

MILLER: Thank you.

VENTURA: -- to know what the presidents were like back 200 years ago? I think that's the silliest statement I've ever heard.

MILLER: Governor, he's one of the most centrist presidents we've ever had. The thing that is hilarious, our friend Sean Hannity has a book out now. He has a chapter, "How I'm a Reagan Conservative."

He doesn't agree with Reagan on anything. Reagan is more of a socialist than Barack Obama will ever be. He was for zero nukes. He raised taxes more than any president in peacetime. He deficit-spent every year of his administration. He signed an amnesty bill on illegal immigration.

I mean, Governor, where do we start here?

VENTURA: Well --

(LAUGHTER)

TANTAROS: I don't think Barack Obama would be so upset by being characterized as a radical. I think if you asked Barack Obama, he would say that he is a radical. I mean, I don't think he views that as a --

(CROSSTALK)

TANTAROS: -- as a bad word. And if you look at where we've been, and now, where we're going, what he's doing is pretty radical.

MILLER: How?

TANTAROS: I mean, $1 trillion -- $1 trillion entitlement program, creating one when he said he would come in and balance the budgets?

I mean, this VAT tax we're talking about, too. You know, Governor Blagojevich brought about the -- you know, politicizing everything out there. We're supposed to -- you know, special interests are everywhere.

A VAT tax would essentially politicize every single thing in the economy. I mean, think about it. If it's a tax on goods and services, you've just created a lobbyist feeding frenzy. You're going to have any kind of lobbyist out there funneling millions of dollars on special interest campaigns. That's pretty radical.

So, you know, you go through the list of all the things that he's done, and, you know, it is a far cry from where we've been. It's definitely a different direction for the country. But I think that's what liberals want, and I think it's the wrong answer. But I think Barack Obama would agree that he is a radical.

VENTURA: I think that George Bush is more of a radical. The president we just got finished with. I think he is far radical. He takes us to a war based upon lies -- in Iraq. I find that very radical.

TANTAROS: I think he's probably -- I think he's probably -- well, Barack Obama took us to a war as well. But I think George Bush --

VENTURA: Excuse me. What war did Barack Obama take us to?

TANTAROS: A good war, Afghanistan.

VENTURA: Wait, wait, wait. Wait a minute. Afghanistan and Iraq were both started under the Bush administration. How can you possibly say that Barack Obama took us to a war?

TANTAROS: Well, he's continued a war.

VENTURA: Well, because it was fed to him. What's he supposed to --

TANTAROS: So, you don't think we should be there?

VENTURA: I stand with Ron Paul. When you say we marched in, let's march out. That was a great answer. Am I right, Representative Paul?

PAUL: That's what I think it is. It's not too much more complicated than that.

But no, I wouldn't -- I wouldn't call Obama a radical. I mean, he may be -- he may turn out to be. You know, he's had in a little over a year and most of the talks have been on medical care. What did the Republicans do? They gave awes prescription drug program. And Eisenhower is the one that gave us (INAUDIBLE).

So, the Republicans aren't immune to the charges they move us towards a socialized system. But to say that he is a radical -- and Newt is, you know, an interesting guy. But he says, nobody can stop it, nobody can do anything. Well, he's a strong believer in the strong executive. He pushed always to get more power. Of course, at that time, it was a Republican executive.

I think that's where the problem is. There's no real separations. There's no desire on the role for the Congress to retain their prerogatives, over the war issues or anything else.

You know, the president, even in this medical debate -- oh, we can't settle this dispute on abortion. Oh, I'll write an executive order. That has the same aspect as a law.

So, they have executive orders and signing statements, regulations, and the Congress just rolls over. And that's why the president does these things.

But I think that this is a continuation. I've been more annoyed because he hasn't done a much better job on civil liberties and on the war. And economic liberties, I didn't expect him to do any better.

But believe me, if you go back and look at history, I would think you could get Woodrow Wilson. He was bad on war. He was bad on civil liberties, put people in prison, and it was a disaster all the way around. And it was totally unnecessary.

So, yes, I think -- I don't think there's a difference between the two parties. You had a Bush policy and it's been continued. That's why we have some -- we have to have something new and put something together which will bring some people together that care about this country.

(CROSSTALK)

MILLER: -- on the left and the right by Ron Paul.

VENTURA: Boy, I like this guy. We'll get Rod's take on this when we come back. I like Ron Paul, I'll tell you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VENTURA: Rod Blagojevich, is President Obama the most radical president in history, as Newt Gingrich says?

BLAGOJEVICH: No, he is not. No, he is not. President Obama is governing I think slightly to the left of center. Frankly, I kind of expected that he would. I'm disappointed that he's not more radical.

The public option, for example -- here, I know Congressman Paul probably disagrees with me. But the Democrats promised the American people a public option, a place where consumers can go and test the marketplace when the private insurance companies aren't offering you a fair rate. That was scuttled. And unfortunately, the Democratic Congress didn't give the president his public option, and he accepted the compromises in his health care bill, which I think is a step forward, but not nearly what it could have been.

I'd like to see him be more radical in Afghanistan and Iraq. He didn't start those wars. He has a perfect opportunity to heed the lessons of history and make the decision to start withdrawing American troops and bringing them home -- especially in a place like Afghanistan, where history tells us you'll never, ever achieve a mission there in such a faraway place in the mountainous regions. That's going to benefit the country and instead it's a place that just is ripe for being stuck and ultimately leaving at a time when you didn't want to leave.

And so, I'd like to see him make those bold changes as opposed to essentially governing from the center, which is what I think he's been doing.

VENTURA: Well, Sarah Palin says it's no shame to be the "party of no." And Newt Gingrich is urging Republicans to pivot and become the party of yes. Which one of them is right?

MILLER: You know, they have to make up their mind. That's the problem is that, you know, they keep talking about the Democrats, governor, being in disarray. I think it's the Republicans that are. The Tea Party is pulling them to the radical right, you know. I think they're in a lot of disarray. And all they've known how to do is obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. Even their own ideas, when the president is for it, governor, they're against it.

TANTAROS: So the Democrats never obstructed when the Republicans held the majority?

MILLER: Not to this degree. You can prove it quantitatively.

(CROSS TALK)

TANTAROS: To say the Republicans are in disarray after we watched the Democratic party basically conduct a civil war over health care -- I mean, you talk about Barack Obama being more radical with the public option. He would have if he could have.

MILLER: We won.

TANTAROS: Stephanie, it was the Democratic party, your own party, that wouldn't let you have the public option because the people didn't want it.

MILLER: But 70 percent of the American people wanted it. Governor Blagojevich is right, 70 percent in every poll wanted the public option. The governor is right.

(CROSS TALK)

TANTAROS: The Stephanie Miller Institute, is that where the polling was done?

MILLER: Every poll that was done over the last year said about 70 percent of the American people wanted a public option, right, governor?

TANTAROS: I would love to see that poll.

VENTURA: Rod?

BLAGOJEVICH: I agree.

VENTURA: Rod, is Obama a socialist, like Republicans like to brand him?

BLAGOJEVICH: No. No, these are the talking points that the Newt Gingriches and some of the conservative -- I don't want to put a label on it. But certain Republicans, Republican political operatives, try to label Democrats who are now the president. This is -- it's out of their old playbook. We've seen it before. It's the same sort of thing they said about Bill Clinton. It's the same sort of thing they said about previous Democratic presidents.

I, again, believe that President Obama has a tremendous amount of skill. But I wish he would be more of an activist president. Here probably, again, Congressman Paul disagrees me. But he was elected by the people. I believe the Executive Branch -- I believe in a strong executive. And I believe President Obama, frankly, on the health care bill, could have been stronger in pushing the public option.

I think he has the ability, with his skill, to lead our country out of wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, and then use that money to benefit people here back home in America, and hold the line on taxes. I don't disagree with those who are advocating we shouldn't raise taxes on people, especially now at a time when people don't have any money.

VENTURA: OK, thank you, Rod. Did you know the issue of slavery played a part in the civil war? The governor of Virginia apparently didn't think so. That's ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VENTURA: There is my two guests holding up my new best-selling book, "American Conspiracies." I've got a question now. That book has been on "the New York Times" top ten best-seller list now for four weeks. Wait. And yet there hasn't been one mainstream review of that book. Why do you think the mainstream media will not do a proper review of my book?

MILLER: Let me do one right now. Let me read it real quick. I did Evelyn Wood. Hang on.

VENTURA: Well, you don't have to -- but why wouldn't they do a review of this book? It's obviously popular. It's selling like crazy. They review every other book. And yet not one mainstream media outlet has reviewed that book yet.

MILLER: That's the problem, Jesse. We're so polarized these days. You've come on my show. You talked about 9/11. A lot of people have questions about 9/11. That doesn't mean everybody is a kook about it. They have questions and they feel the 9/11 Commission was a white wash.

TANTAROS: I think maybe the media is too busy following Sarah Palin around the country and trying to figure out her next move. And that's why they're just too busy.

VENTURA: I doubt that.

TANTAROS: I'm kidding!

VENTURA: Congressman Paul, why do you think they won't review my book? PAUL: I am not sure. But if you figure it out, I want to know and maybe I can get a review of "The Revolution, A Manifesto," and we can all be happy.

VENTURA: They wouldn't review your book?

PAUL: Well, if there were some, maybe I missed it or something. But I don't remember seeing any significant reviews of it. I think everybody is biased, you know. If you have a website or you have a radio talk show, you're biased because you have opinions. There is nothing wrong with that.

So when people are in the business of reviewing books, they're very biased, and they reveal that. They feel no obligation to give the people that they disagree with any time. So, you know, that to me is sort of accepted. I think they're just biased. But I don't strongly criticize them for that because I'm very biased with my views. I'm very strong on my views. And I try to do it in a more diplomatic method than exclusion. But they just exclude people that they think will stir up too much controversy.

VENTURA: Rod, any opinion why they won't review my book?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I think, again, you raise questions that are not considered by the elites as mainstream. This has been, frankly, among the reasons why you've been so successful, that you have an ability to go directly to the people. You obviously are successful at that. And by the way, congratulations on being in the top ten best- seller list.

But no, I think there are elites who sort of make these decisions in some of the usual places. And they've made a decision somewhere along the way that what you have to say is not something that they want to spend any time talking about or, frankly, give you a forum. And it's great to see that you can go over their heads directly to the people, and people trust you and believe you, and are buying your book. So congratulations.

VENTURA: Well thank you, Rod.

MILLER: Let me take one second to say I've read the book because you're coming on my radio show. It's a great book. You were a much better governor than Sarah Palin, and a much better wrestler than Rowdy Roddy Piper. I just want to go on record.

TANTAROS: Or Jake the snake.

BLAGOJEVICH: Were you as good as Goldberg, Jesse?

VENTURA: What's that?

BLAGOJEVICH: Were you as good a wrestler as Goldberg?

VENTURA: I never wrestled Goldberg. We're kind of a different time, a different generation, because by the time Goldberg came along, I had already retired. It's kind of like looking at Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron and trying to compare who would be better. I don't know.

Anyway, Tiger Woods had another great day on the golf course. Is his nightmare over? It's ahead on "LARRY KING."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VENTURA: welcome back to "LARRY KING LIVE." I'm Jesse Ventura, the guest host. And as you know, Tiger Woods is back on the golf course now, and he is playing what he does best, and that's golf. And my opinion is this: I love Tiger Woods on the golf course. He is the best on the planet. And I want to see that man play golf to the best of his ability.

And you know, I personally feel it's none of my business. Now, I don't condone his behavior, but that's between him and his wife, and it should be left there, not to be aired out completely across the public like "National Enquirer" journalism that we have in this world today. Opinions, ladies?

MILLER: Wow. Well, that's a hot one. This isn't partisan. This is like a man-woman thing. I had one of Tiger Woods' friends on my radio show today, one of his alleged mistresses. And, you know, I see both sides of that, Jesse. There were women that now they were with a married man. So I see both sides of it.

But it was pretty egregious, his behavior. And I did sort of ask the mistress. She say that she has been hounded by the press. She's got a website where she put the texts up that he sent her. So how much can you really not want press when you're putting the dirty texts up on the Internet? The whole thing is kind of sad.

TANTAROS: And governor, you said that what he does best is on the golf course. That's where he plays the best. I'm not sure that that is so true anymore. It seems like he plays other things much better.

VENTURA: But it is private business.

TANTAROS: But, Jesse, honestly, he just participated in a commercial with Nike about his private business. If he wants to keep it private, then keep it private.

VENTURA: Well, that's because the media is telling him what he has to do.

TANTAROS: No, Nike is. And he doesn't have to do it if he doesn't want to. Look, coming out and saying this is my private life, and then filming a commercial that is supposed to remind us all about your private life, just to make more money? I mean, come on, really? I feel no pity for the guy.

MILLER: This was not smart. You leave phone messages on people's machines. Hi, beep, it's Tiger, the famous golfer.

VENTURA: I understand all that.

MILLER: In a parking lot, come on.

VENTURA: I understand all that. But still, to me, journalism today is so pathetic out there. You know, all they care about is trying to take people down, no matter what it is. And again, these are private life issues, private life issues. Rod, how do you feel about it?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I tend to agree mostly with you, Jesse. Like you, I don't condone it. And obviously he has done wrong. But the wrong he has done is to his wife and to his children, to his family. And you're right. The media sees that, and they like it. They think this is great news. Now we've got a major scandal with a major superstar, and we can ride this for weeks and for months. And that's exactly what has happened here.

And it is I think more of a commentary on today's modern media and the business of modern media and the trivialization of issues. When you have so many serious issues across the world and across our country, Tiger Woods and his personal relationships with his wife and others I don't believe is that critical or important. It is between the two of them. And he is wrong to do what he did. But it is a private situation. So I mostly agree with what you say, Jesse.

VENTURA: Congressman Paul, your opinion.

PAUL: Well, I think his nightmare probably is over, especially with the public. As long as he can sell shoes, they think will be OK. But, you know, his personal private nightmares is on how he feels about himself, I don't think he'll know whether that's over yet or not. And I don't think that's any of our business. But that's probably the only nightmare that really counts. The other is just sort of the gossipy stuff that media people like to dwell on.

But, you know, it's the kind of stories that when I hear about them and see people dwelling on them, I just turn it off because I have no control over it and I don't want to deal with it. I think his public nightmare is over.

VENTURA: You know what I find interesting, real quick? Look at the media. We spent, a year or two ago, one month on the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Give me a break. A civil war history lesson when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

VENTURA: Congressman Bart Stupak resigns now. Was it pressure from the Tea Party that made the man resign?

TANTAROS: Yeah, no question. I mean, the Tea Party took out over 200,000 dollars worth of ads and put it up against Bart Stupak.

VENTURA: Is that a good idea?

TANTAROS: Tremendous pressure. Yes, I mean, I think it is. Look, the Tea Party movement is grass root. They're anti- establishment.

VENTURA: They're not grass roots. They're getting financed with Dick Armey and all them people. Follow it. There's no grass roots.

TANTAROS: You have to pick one or the other. Are they an unorganized grassroots operation, or are they this highly sophisticated, functioning, well oiled machine? Which one is it? At the end of the day --

MILLER: They're Dick Armey.

TANTAROS: At the end of the day, they're going to cause trouble for Democrats and Republicans. Right now, the Tea Party is so fragmented, you have seven different kind of Tea Parties in one Congressional district that are going after some Republican candidate. This isn't some Republican movement that's just being funded by Dick Armey. It's not. And I'm telling you, though, it's going to take out some --

VENTURA: Why didn't it happen during George Bush then, when they were violating the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, suspending habeas corpus? Where was their big Constitutional protest?

TANTAROS: Because we've never been in more dire straits than we are now.

VENTURA: Come on, George Bush, it was way worse.

(CROSS TALK)

VENTURA: Bush puts us in two wars and puts it on the credit card.

TANTAROS: And Obama tripled that.

VENTURA: Congressman Paul, your opinion on the Tea Party?

PAUL: Well, I think it's totally disorganized, but they're unified by one issue: they're sick and tired of what's happening. I think it's very diverse. But I think what the problem is why we're at a stalemate, is the country is broke and no one wants to admit it. They don't act like they understand anything about arithmetic or financing in Washington, because they don't stop the spending.

If they knew how serious the spending problem is, they would quit spending. They wouldn't continue to spend both domestically and internationally because it won't work.

But everybody still wants stuff. You know, everybody has a special interest. They're not cutting anything. So, therefore, the people are unhappy. They're not -- some people are unhappy because they're not getting what they want. These same people I hear screaming and hollering about Congress, they're all for getting their programs done. They're not saying, we'll cut my program.

So I think we're at an impasse because it's more an economic issue, because we're facing a bankruptcy, and the people don't know what to do, and the problem is not all that complicated. You just quit spending. You quit spending. You balance the budget and get the government out of our way and trust freedom to work, because free people do know how to take care of themselves.

Believe it or not, they're capable of doing that. But as long as we assume that the government is going to give us everything -- you can't work with a bankrupt Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare system. And then you wonder what's wrong. That's what's wrong. We're bankrupt and we won't admit it.

MILLER: Well, I'm sorry, governor, I think --

VENTURA: I have to go to break.

MILLER: Somebody yelled baby killer at him, and that was a Republican on the House floor, not a Tea Partier, an elected representative.

VENTURA: To clarify, Representative Stupak announced he's not running for reelection, but he will serve out the rest of his term. When we come back, rod's already lost his day job, and now he just got fired by Donald Trump. What happened, Rod? We'll ask when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VENTURA: Rod was a "Celebrity Apprentice" until a few days ago, and it didn't exactly go too well. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to get rod to put this stuff together but he can't operate a computer.

BLAGOJEVICH: Unless you get me in the right area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him on a word document.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you type?

BLAGOJEVICH: Yeah.

There's a whole bunch of technology that has passed me by. It's one of those things when you're governor, and you have really 60,000 people work for you, they pretty much research for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VENTURA: Rod, I got to tell you, I agree with you wholeheartedly, having been a governor myself. I have never owned a cell phone, and I don't plan on ever owning one. And people always said how could you be governor without a cell phone. You can because security has them. What happened, Rod, on "The Apprentice"?

BLAGOJEVICH: Well, it was a tough fight. We lost. They won. The women were better the Harry Potter project than we were. I was a project manager. I think it was close. When you're project manager and you lose, absent showing that one of your other teammates did something really wrong, the project manager is the guy on the line.

And I -- you know, I think there was a possibility I possibly could have survived if I called Bret Michaels, the rock star, back into the boardroom. But I delegated to him the creative end of that project. He did a really good job. And for me to sell him out to sell myself would have, frankly, been the political thing to do and I felt it was wrong. So I kind of saw it coming. We lost that project. And when you lose, you're the project manager, Donald Trump is likely to fire you.

VENTURA: OK, thanks, Rod.

BLAGOJEVICH: Can I say this, Jesse. Go ahead, sorry.

VENTURA: The Republican governor of Virginia apologized this week after leaving out a reference on slavery in his proclamation. How could he possibly do that with dealing with the Civil War?

MILLER: He said it wasn't that significant a part of the Civil War. It was the only part of the Civil War.

TANTAROS: No question, it was a huge mistake. And I heard he said, I did it to help tourism in the state of Virginia. Doesn't Virginia have wineries or something else you can do to promote it? He should know that.

VENTURA: Congressman Paul, any comments on the governor of Virginia?

PAUL: Of course I think he made a serious mistake, and I think he realized this. But there's a little more to Civil War than slavery. Because if you analyze that, you'll find out that the New England liberals back then, like Lisander Spooner (ph) and Thoreaux (ph), these people didn't want the war. They were opposed to the war, but they were abolitionists. They hated slavery. They were for secession. They wanted the New England states to secede and get away from those kind of people and have a pure constitution.

The principle of secession, just the threat of secession, would have prevented that Civil War, saved 600,000 people, and the slaves could have still been released.

VENTURA: Rod, any comments real quick?

BLAGOJEVICH: Real quick, the governor of Virginia gets an F in American history. He obviously got it wrong. If he was a history teacher, he should get fired.

VENTURA: There you go. Well, I want to take out time to thank all my guests tonight. I appreciate it very much, allowing me to sit in for Larry King tonight. You made the job pretty easy. Thank you, ladies. Thank you, Rod, and thank you, Congressman Paul. I appreciate it very much. Larry is back Monday. Thanks for letting me sit in tonight. Now it's time for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360."