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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Oliver Stone; Interview With 'Deadliest Catch' Captains

Aired June 9, 2010 - 21:00   ET

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


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Oscar winner, Oliver Stone, on the film he says could destroy his career. A controversial documentary starring unlikely leading man, Hugo Chavez. Was the United States government behind secrets, deception and lies aimed at bringing down the Venezuelan president?

Plus, Jesse Ventura is here. Does he see eye to eye with the Hollywood director? They'll talk tea party, too, and politics.

And then captains from the deadliest catch on the heartbreak they witnessed firsthand in the gulf. Fellow fishermen struggling to hang on to jobs and a way of life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Voice-over: It looks to me like you guys got some serious misery heading your way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's great to welcome Oliver Stone, the Oscar winning filmmaker and director of the new documentary "South of the Border", opening in the United States later this month. He's also director of "Wall Street, the Follow-up" -- What's this one called?

OLIVER STONE, DIRECTOR, "SOUTH OF THE BORDER": Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps."

KING: Money never - Oh, see, money, that's coming in September, with Michael Douglas returning.

STONE: And Shia Labeouf.

KING: Shia Labeouf.

STONE: And Carey Mulligan, and Josh Brolin and Frank Langella.

KING: And I told you that Michael Douglas told me he thought it was better than the first one, and the first one didn't do too bad.

STONE: They're different.

KING: All right, the new one -- this special, "South of the Border", why did you do a documentary?

STONE: This is my fourth one, Larry. I did two on Castro, one on Arafat, and this is my fourth one.

KING: You pick unusual characters.

STONE: I do. I pick out people that I'd like to know more about because I guess they're so demonized by our media that I want to know what's going on.

And I'm also working on a fifth one, which is a 10-hour documentary, this is the hardest job of my life. It's called "The Secret History of the United States." It goes from 1900 to 2010. It's coming up in Showtime next January or February.

KING: Good actors?

STONE: No actors. No. It's all archived footage, very rare. It goes back to the Russian Revolution and the World War I.

KING: An amazing guy. OK, in this country, Chavez, recently on this program, by the way --

STONE: Yes.

KING: -- a very good guest, whether you like him or not. He's dismissed as a dictator. How do you see him?

STONE: Oh, I don't see him as a dictator. He's been elected three times as president. He's having another election coming up in September. It's going to be monitored again by international groups. 15 times he's been elected.

Mexico didn't even allow these people to monitor their elections in their last elections. It's crazy. I mean, he was elected by a majority of 65 percent in 2006, you know.

KING: He comes down tough on free media, though. You wouldn't call this an absolute democracy, would you?

STONE: Every democracy is relative, but on the other hand any dictator would not tolerate the degree of opposition in the media. It's very vocal. It's like Fox News on steroids down there.

You have no idea what it's like. I mean, they insult Chavez every day, the newspaper headlines, plus the TV stations. Except when you call for the overthrow of the government and that's when he got upset. And in our country we wouldn't allow that. We wouldn't allow that --

KING: Oh, you could call for the overthrow of the government.

STONE: No, you can't.

KING: You couldn't? STONE: It's called the Fairness Doctrine. It used to exist, and it still does. There's such a thing as hate speech. You cannot do that in this country.

By the way, most of the opposition is still against him. It's like 90 percent of the opposition is privately controlled by several families, not rich families, oligarchs, that represent the old way of doing business.

This is not just true about Venezuela; it's true about the other countries I was in.

KING: He was briefly removed in 2002, a coup attempt, and he points the finger, by the way, of blame squarely at the Bush administration. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Chavez's reforms provoked fierce resistance from the country's oligarchy. They controlled the Venezuelan media and used it to ferment opposition. They also mobilized support within the military and received help from the United States and Spain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking Spanish)

TEXT: The coup against Chavez had one motive: oil. Bush made a plan. First: Chavez, oil. Second: Saddam, Iraq.

The reason behind the coup in Venezuela and the invasion in Iraq is the same - oil!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you believe that charge?

STONE: Yes. I don't think that -- look, we have a huge problem with Venezuela. We've had one since 1998 essentially. We tried to get rid of them.

He represents like the third largest oil reserve in the world. 500 billion barrels are supposed to be in the ground over there off the coast. So it's not that much that we want to get rid of Venezuela; we want to control the region. We can always buy our oil on any market in the world, and Iran has the same issue.

We always have problems with regional powers, whether it's Iran, or Iraq or Venezuela. And now Brazil, by the way, really jumped into this game when he went to Iran to try to negotiate a deal with Turkey.

So America doesn't seem to want to have any kind of regional powers getting involved, any kind of multi-polar world. We want to control the world our way. This is out-of-date thinking.

KING: Is he a power beyond Venezuela? STONE: Sure. He means a lot. Because, as our documentary shows, it's like six different countries we travel to. We talk to eight different presidents and they all support Chavez, and they all agree.

Each one in their own way is trying to be a reformer in their own country, from Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil, (INAUDIBLE). So this is a big deal. Larry, this is the first time in history that six presidents have tried to reform their countries at the same time. In the past, what, Chile, Argentina, we got rid of the dictators, Brazil too, one at a time they came. Castro was one at a time.

KING: Do you offer any critique of him?

STONE: I don't have to. There's 20 percent of the movie is critique.

KING: Does Oliver Stone? This is a documentary that's pro- Chavez. Is there anything in it that is critical of him?

STONE: Yes, quite a bit actually. There's 20 percent of it is filled with anger at him. We show some of the Venezuelans. We show certainly the American media goes crazy about him. They have distorted the truth.

We also show people like Nester Kirchner, who is his friend, and who admits to be his friend, the ex-president of Argentina, who says -- I tell you, though, get another presidential candidate to run on your party. Try to create a legacy of ten presidents who can run, and he's right.

Hugo may have this desire to run because he's -- he really does care about these people, and this is what struck me the most; that he wants -- he's tried to end the term limits, which is normal. In Europe, they don't have term limits. He won the referendum.

The people like him; he's very popular. So he says if they want to elect me again, I'll serve. But if they don't want me, I'll get out; and by the way, he obeyed the referendum when they went against it in 2007. He never deviated from the law.

KING: Do you like him?

STONE: Personally, very much, like you do, I saw --

KING: You have to. He's hard not to like as a person.

STONE: He is genuine. You know, let me give you a quick story. In a barrio, the distributor of our movie, Felipe Diaz, told me this story. He was there for a long time shooting film.

He said when they said that election in 2006, he never saw so many people lined up from 4:00 in the morning on to vote. It was the biggest turnout in the history of Venezuela. It was 75 percent of the people who voted, unlike America. And they stood there for hours in line to vote. KING: Oliver is sticking around. Jesse Ventura and Representative Connie Mack will join us. It's going to be interesting, right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Jesse Ventura joins us. He's, of course, the former governor of Minnesota and host of "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" on True TV; New York Times best-selling author of "American Conspiracy: Lies, Lies and More Dirty Lies than the government tells us".

And from Washington, Congressman Connie Mack, republican of Florida, and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and grandson of the Connie Mack.

Connie, let's start with you, you've heard Oliver talk about Chavez. What's your read on the Venezuelan leader.

REP. CONNIE MACK (R-FL), WESTERN HEMISPHERE SUBCOMMITTEE: First of all, Larry, thanks for having me on the show tonight, but I can't believe my ears. To hear Oliver Stone talk about Hugo Chavez as some sort of hero, someone he admires, someone that he thinks is a good guy, that he likes - I mean this was a guy that he didn't win elections, he stole elections.

Hugo Chavez isn't about reform; he's about manipulation and intimidation. So the first thought is, is why is Oliver Stone glorifying a guy like Hugo Chavez, a guy that wants to help supply uranium to Iran, that allows drug smuggling through his country's airspace, that supports the FARC.

FORMER GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: (INAUDIBLE)

MACK: Jesse, I guess we'll get to you in a minute.

VENTURA: Yes, we will.

KING: It's two against one, so let's be fair.

MACK: I don't understand why Oliver Stone, who lives in a country that affords him the ability with freedom of speech to go out there and make movies, would glorify someone like Hugo Chavez that doesn't support the people of Venezuela; he manipulates the people of Venezuela.

I am shocked and disturbed, frankly, that this movie was made and, others that Oliver Stone made to try to glorify some of these people who would like to see our way of life completely changed.

STONE: It is kind of two against one here, so Oliver will be allowed to defend his opinion. But Jesse, we go to your thoughts here.

VENTURA: Well, first of all --

STONE: Do you know Chavez?

VENTURA: Representative, it's governor, thank you.

KING: Do you know -

MACK: You're welcome.

VENTURA: There you go. I prefer my title, just as you do yours.

KING: Governor, do you know Chavez?

MACK: You can call me Connie, Jesse.

VENTURA: No. No, I've never met Chavez, but I will make this statement. I watched Oliver's film this weekend, and I think this film should be mandatory viewing for every high school senior in the United States of America. That's how strong I feel about it.

Because the key to Oliver's film is not Hugo Chavez. The key to this film is the lying manipulation of our mainstream media, and how they flagrantly lie to us. And I am a person that knows the experience well, being an independent --

KING: Do you think they have conned Connie Mack?

VENTURA: I think Connie Mack is going, yeah, off the U.S. media and what they tell him, because I would ask Connie if he's ever been there, has he met Mr. Chavez.

I've been to Cuba. I've met Fidel Castro over the objections of the Bush administration where Otto White had the gall to say we were going down there to sample the sex trade, which I asked for an apology and never got.

KING: Connie, do you know Chavez?

MACK: No, I don't. But for the governor to suggest that this should be mandatory for all of the -- our students, again, it's shameful. I don't know where you are. I don't understand what it is that's in your mind when you want to subject our children to the thoughts and ideas of someone like Hugo Chavez, that again, supports the FARC.

VENTURA: Oh, so we should practice censorship? Your advocating is censorship?

MACK: No, your advocating - governor, governor --

VENTURA: That we shouldn't allow our kids to see what goes on --

KING: One at a time, one at a time.

MACK: Governor, your advocating is for this--

VENTURA: It's called knowledge.

MACK: No.

KING: One at a time.

MACK: Governor, you are saying that you want to make this part of the curriculum. Are you kidding me? What happened to the greatness of America? I mean, I don't understand -- I really don't understand this, Larry.

VENTURA: You tell people out there what happened to the greatness of our media?

(CROSSTALK)

VENTURA: How about when our media used to be the fourth branch of government? Our media was there to be the check of watching the other three. But our media today mainstream is not that, Larry. They are bought and sold. I'll give you examples --

KING: We're not.

VENTURA: I'll give you examples. When I was an independent governor in Minnesota, I wrote up my autobiography when I got in office. The mainstream media accused me of profiteering from winning that office.

(CROSSTALK)

VENTURA: Wait, two months later, John McCain comes through on a book tour, and they herald his book.

And yet, because I don't belong to these two parties, I get chastised by mainstream media.

KING: All right, do you want to defend Chavez -

MACK: Larry, if I may real quick -

KING: Connie, go ahead.

MACK: If I may real quick. Governor, that's the way it is in politics. I don't care what party you're in. If you're a republican, a democrat, an independent, you're going to get scrutinized by the media. But isn't it a great thing that we have -

VENTURA: How would you know republican or democrat?

MACK: Isn't it a great thing we have freedom of speech, and that you and I can have this conversation? In Venezuela, they can't. Hugo Chavez won't allow this to happen. He can --

VENTURA: How do you know that? Have you ever been there? Have you been there?

KING: Hold on. Governor. Oliver, is he right? Could this debate take place in Caracas? STONE: Yes. Three quick points. Absolutely. It's the most colorful media. You can say anything you want in Venezuela -- anything.

Number two, he didn't steal the election; because, you know what, they have a better election process than we have, because they not only have electronic voting but they have a paper ballot that comes from the electronic. So they have a two-fold system. It's always -- and it's been monitored by three international organizations, so forget about elections.

And then the bigger point, the one that I think Connie misses, is that, look, I went to see seven, eight presidents; seven of them of South American countries. They have supported this guy unilaterally. They like him.

America is the one that's on the other side of history here. We are fighting all of South America except for Colombia, and Peru and Chile. It's important to remember this.

KING: We've got to get a break. We'll touch other bases too. We'll be right back with Oliver Stone, Governor Jesse Ventura, and Congressman Connie Mack. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. This film, "South of the Border", opens in the United States later this month.

By the way, whether you agree or disagree, as with all of Oliver Stone's works, it is very well done.

Congressman Mack, I want to get to some other bases here while we have all three of you. One other thing, do you think Chavez is a threat to the United States? Did you want Venezuela to be called a terrorist state?

MACK: I do. I think they should be put on the state-sponsored terrorism list because of their support of terrorist organizations like the FARC and because of their support of Iran.

I mean, again, this is a leader, in Hugo Chavez, who is allowing flights from Iran to come into Venezuela with people who are not documented. It's a threat not only to the western hemisphere, but potentially to the United States as well.

KING: Gentlemen?

VENTURA: Well, first of all, how is that our business, who flies in and out of Venezuela? Isn't that Venezuela's business? But I guess in our country, we want to control the world.

STONE: No, there's no evidence of this. There's no evidence of any support of terrorism. It's not his style. Hugo Chavez has called for FARC to mediate, and he tried to mediate, and France actually congratulated him on his freeing those hostages in Colombia, including the French woman.

VENTURA: Larry, I'd like to ask the congressman how he feels about our acts of terrorism against Cuba. We've blown up ships in their harbor, we've attempted to destroy their cane fields, and we've attempted to assassinate their president on multiple occasions.

Then you've got this character, Orlando Bosch, who blew up a Cuban airliner with 73 people on it, and George Bush, Sr. pardoned him. Is that not an act of terrorism?

MACK: Governor, again, I don't really -- you've lost me. I don't understand. Some of us still believe in the greatness of America, but for some reason, you have an infatuation with Fidel Castro and others, and forget to look at what's great about America.

I mean here again, we can have this debate. They can't have that in Cuba. If you do not agree -- if you do not agree with the Castro brothers, you get thrown in jail.

VENTURA: How do you know, congressman?

MACK: Well, part of the reason I know, governor, and you can call me Connie, is because I serve as the ranking member on the western hemisphere subcommittee in the congress so this is what I --

VENTURA: Were you with Otto Reich?

MACK: What do you mean, was I with him?

VENTURA: He was the guy that accused me of going down there to sample prostitution.

KING: Everything goes back to you, Jesse. Let's get on with --

MACK: I'm not sure where the governor is coming from.

KING: All right. Let me -- I'll try to touch some other bases.

VENTURA: The governor is coming from the truth.

KING: OK. BP, this crisis, where do we lay the -- by the way, do you fear oil raining on Florida, congressman?

MACK: You know, Larry, of course, we fear that very much. The people of Florida are very nervous and very concerned about what's going to happen.

We see what's happening in Louisiana. And, you know, it's something that really frankly frightens us, because our economy relies so much on tourism.

We're concerned about our environment. You know, I think the outrage here is that there's plenty of blame to go around on everyone, republicans, democrats, the congress, BP. You name it, there's plenty of blame. The real issue now is how do we stop it, and how could we make sure that our coastline is protected. I don't want to see what's happened in Louisiana, happen in Florida.

KING: What do you make of the BP story?

VENTURA: What troubles me is the fact that how did they get their license to be able to drill offshore, and no one ever considered what would happen if one of these things malfunctioned?

STONE: How does any oil company get allowed?

VENTUREA: I don't know, but don't they have to come forward at least and have some type of knowledge -- if it springs a leak, this is what we can do to stop it?

KING: What do you make of it, Oliver?

STONE: I will just point out that CITGO, which is a Venezuelan company, controlled by the government there -

KING: Right.

STONE: -- has had a very good environmental record in comparison to BP. And CITGO, by the way, has reached out to the American people. He likes America, and he has given like 200,000 families oil, free oil, it's costing him tens of millions of dollars over the years. So, it's not a propaganda stunt because he's given it away to poor families in America. You know, this Larry.

KING: We'll get a break and we'll be -- I'll have the congressman respond right after this. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Highlights of Oliver Stone, brilliant films. You were going to say something, Congressman Mack.

MACK: Yes, sir, Larry, thank you. First of all, to the governor's point. The Obama administration is the one that signed off on the beginning of this drilling for Bp.

So, yes, there was government sign-off on allowing this to happen. But I think the real point here is, if we're going to allow for this deep water drilling, then we need to be certain that there are a number of contingency plans that the oil companies have in place to ensure that this never happens again, and that they have the scientific data to support that.

KING: Do you put any blame on Obama, governor?

VENTURA: Not particularly. And I --

KING: As he points out, he signed off on it.

VENTURA: -- I think what the congressman is saying is kind of like the bath water, the baby has already been thrown out with the bath water. All of this should have happened earlier, not now.

KING: What do you think of Obama?

STONE: I'm rooting for him, but his policy on South America has not changed. It's the Bush policy. Hillary Clinton is down there right now. She's trying to divide up these countries one from the other, but they're sticking together. It's really a shame --

KING: Obama is disappointing to you?

STONE: In South America, yeah. I'm rooting for him. He's got intelligence, he's got ethics. He's a rational man, he's not like George Bush. So I think that if he wins a re-election, I hope so, he could be like a John Kennedy in 1963, and there would be a turn toward a more liberal agenda.

KING: Governor, you like him?

VENTURA: I think -- I've never met the president, but he's the most dynamic speaker I've ever heard since John F. Kennedy. I mean, he's very good on a teleprompter, which, you know, other presidents weren't quite as good.

KING: He won your state. Would he win it today, Connie?

MACK: I don't think so. And to like the president or think he's a good president because he can read a teleprompter -- again, governor, I'm really not sure where you're coming from.

VENTURA: Well, governor, let me put it to you this way.

MACK: I'm not the governor.

VENTURA: Congressman, before you jump all over Oliver and I, take a look at two Vietnam vets. We not only talk the talk, we walk the walk.

MACK: Well, I appreciate your -- I appreciate --

VENTURA: How many of you elected officials can do that. I'm sure you do.

MACK: I do, absolutely.

VENTURA: Yeah, right.

KING: You don't think he salutes your service?

VENTURA: They all do. All the chicken hawks do.

MACK: Larry, again, what I've heard, again, from both the governor and from Oliver Stone --

VENTURA: The two Vietnam vets.

KING: Hold on.

MACK: -- is that they support the ideals of someone who wishes to do harm to the United States, someone that allows the drug trafficking to go through his country, which by the way, ultimately comes back to the United States, which infects and poisons our children, and destroys the futures of our children.

VENTURA: Oh, gosh. That's the --

MACK: And then to send -- you know, they don't have to like this, Larry. They don't have to like this, but it's the truth. Then to allow -- to give uranium to Iran -- Iran is looking to build a nuclear weapon that wipes Israel off the face of the map.

(CROSS TALK)

VENTURA: Larry, excuse me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the United States' demand for drugs that causes it in the first place?

MACK: Governor, governor --

VENTURA: It's easy to blame all these other countries and say they supply us with drugs. But ultimately it's our demand for the drugs. And we can end it all by legalization. We could stop the carnage at the Mexico right now.

MACK: There we go. I think that's why you and I are having a difficult time communicating. Governor, I believe -- and Larry, I believe that it's both. It is both the demand for and the supply of. But when you have a country like Hugo -- or you have a leader like Hugo Chavez allowing these drugs to move through his country not checked, this is not good for the United States.

KING: Oliver is saying -- you're saying there's no base in fact.

STONE: No. With all our technology, with all what the Defense Department knows, with all our satellites, don't you think we'd come out with some proof.

MACK: Larry, again, there's --

STONE: Mr. Mack, none of your resolutions have ever been voted by your fellow colleagues on the floor against Venezuela. You make up stuff and you're good at it.

KING: He said there's no proof of drug trafficking.

STONE: None. It's like Reagan talking about the Sandinista government.

KING: Where do you get the information from?

MACK: Larry, there's all kinds of proof. I'll be happy to send it to you. You can correct Oliver Stone. You know, again, first of all, back to this movie. I don't think that this movie -- it isn't even worth going to see to order the popcorn.

KING: Hold it, hold it. We're out of time.

VENTURA: Now how ignorant is that from someone that's never even looked at it.

KING: I think we're going to book them back.

The captains from "Deadliest Catch" are here. They're in unfamiliar waters tonight, telling us what they saw firsthand with regard to that disastrous oil spill. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got all these little islands just like this, where all the birds nest this time of year. During the winter, they come up. But during the summer they fly back and they nest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that oil on the grass?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all oil soaked.

SIG HANSON, "DEADLIEST CATCH": That orange boom is supposed to keep it off the marsh and the white boom is supposed to absorb it. That's not going to do a thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Captains from Discovery's "Deadliest Catch" are in New Orleans tonight, along with Mike Rowe. They spoke with local fishermen about the BP disaster for an episode of "After the Catch," which returns for its fourth season on Discovery June 15th.

We welcome Sig Hanson, captain of the Northwestern, Jonathan Hillstrand, captain of the Time Bandit, his brother, Andy Hillstrand, co-captain of the Time Bandit, and Keith Colburn, captain of the Wizard. Of course Mike Rowe, the host of that television show "Dirty Jobs" and "After the Catch" on the Discovery Channel. He's also narrator for the "Deadliest Catch." And I told him he does the best Ford commercials that company has ever had. You've seen him many, many times.

MIKE ROWE, "DIRTY JOB": Very kind, thank you.

KING: You've all toured this terrible area. Give us your firsthand account, starting with you, Sig. Give us your overview of what you've seen.

HANSON: Well, basically, you know, we were out there the other day, and it was never intended that we were going to be here. The show that we're doing now was slated months ago. So, by coincidence, we end up here and we took a trip out and took a little peek.

It was horrifying. You know, I feel for the people, the fisheries. There's not a lot you can say about that. But Alaska has been through it. Now we're going to go -- you know, we're going to go through it here. And it's one of those things that, you know, it's very heart felt. It was tough to witness.

KING: Jonathan, what, if anything, surprised you?

JONATHAN HILLSTRAND, "DEADLIEST CATCH": Well, it makes your eyes water out there, not because it's so sad, but just the smell of the oil and the stuff in the air. Like Sig said, we had the Exxon Valdez, so we know what happens here. They need to just stop the damn thing. The government needs to come in. If BP can't do it, the government needs to come in and stop this mess. Just stop it so they can clean it up.

KING: Andy, have you talked to a lot of your fellow fishermen?

ANDY HILLSTRAND, "DEADLIEST CATCH": Yeah, Larry, we've talked to a lot of the local guys. The biggest thing we take from it is they have been hit with hurricanes. They have been hit with a lot of adversity, but they're resilient people. The people of Louisiana are -- they're more upbeat than anybody I've ever met, so I think they're going to make it through it. We're just pulling for them, no matter what.

KING: Keith, it's a question of coping, isn't it? Are these stronger people? Are they a different breed?

KEITH COLBURN, "DEADLIEST CATCH": I think Andy hit the nail on the head there. I mean, Louisiana has been hit with so much adversity over the last decade. But, you know, this spill goes a lot further than that, Larry. This spill goes to Mississippi, Alabama, Florida. This thing could very well end up the Eastern Seaboard. It's going to disrupt the biggest estuary on the North American continent. And we're there for the fishermen. And America, you better be there for the fishermen.

KING: So, Mike, you were going to go do this show in that area anyway. It just happened to coincide with this tragedy. What's your overview?

ROWE: Well, you pick up a paper, you look at the headlines. It's almost -- there's not much you can say. Gustav, Rita, Katrina, this thing; you just shake your head and say, you've just got to be kidding. The people down here are just -- they still have a sense of humor, which is pretty incredible. But there's also a real sense of irony almost with what we're doing, because we didn't plan any of this.

We came down here because it's a really important port, and we had a good friend that we lost this year. Phil Harris was the captain of the Cornelia Marie. These guys, he was basically their brother and a friend of mine, and he died this last year. So we came down to sort of pay a tribute to him, spend a few days, have some local color, meet some folks and just chat about Phil.

And this all happened on top of that. And it's just been a kind of weird, surreal time, and the community just gobbles this up. We've met some amazing people. The music, the food -- you know, my guess is we're going to stay longer than we're supposed to because that's just how they roll. KING: Sig, BP is hiring fishermen, but there are more fishermen than jobs. And all the fishermen, as we understand it, they're afraid to speak out against BP in fear they won't get hired. What do they say about this? Have you talked about that?

HANSON: Well, I mean they have hired a few of the guys, you know, to supplement their income, so to speak, and get them out there to put some of these booms out and soak up some of the oil. My biggest fear is, you know, what happens later. I mean you've got these guys that are -- basically, if it doesn't go the way we want it to go, are going to be out of a job.

How do you train a guy into a new profession when all you've done all your life is live off of this resource they have got out here. You're talking about the second biggest area producer of seafood in the United States. How are you going to help those guys out?

So, you know, there's a lot on the plate. And what can you say? I mean it's a scary deal. Alaska went through it. Now it's here. I just feel for them.

KING: Jonathan, are they hesitant to speak out against BP?

J. HILLSTRAND: I'm sure they are. If -- well, if you're in a union or something against BP and then BP is probably not going to hire you, but I don't have any insights on that. I just know the guys here are pretty afraid. They went through a lot of -- like the hurricanes and stuff. But this is like the worst thing they have ever been through. I mean, they're really afraid down here what's going to happen to their life.

KING: And now that the captains have seen the situation with their own eyes, we'll find out if they'd eat seafood from that area. That's next.

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KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. "American Morning" has an exclusive you're going to want to see. John Roberts heads out to the rigs with BP's COO of Exploration and Production, Doug Suttles. See what he's up against as the company tries to collect as much oil as possible and kill the well. John Roberts' exclusive report is tomorrow morning, Thursday, on "American Morning."

Andy, would you eat fish from that area?

A. HILLSTRAND: Well, you know, Larry, we've been down here since -- for seven days now. I've eaten crawfish. I've eaten gumbo. I've eaten all sorts of stuff down here, some oysters. And it's all good. People need to remember, you see the media coverage and think the whole darn coast is covered, 7,000 miles of coastline. But there's some still good seafood. We need to support the local fishermen. The areas that are affected, OK, let's heal it up there. But come on down to all these places, because we need to support everybody here. KING: Keith, was there any hesitancy about eating the food? Were you at all a little skeptical?

COLBURN: You know what, Larry, the best food -- some of the best food in America and the best music is in New Orleans. And this is --

KING: I know that.

COLBURN: -- one of the best towns in America to come visit, without question. I came down here. My wife is going, I don't know if I'm going to eat the oysters. I said honey, not only are we eating oysters, but we're going to eat them out of house and home when we get there. OK. We've been doing it since we got here. Oysters, shrimp, jambalaya, everything Andy's eating, you bet. The thing is, at the end of the day, there's a lot of open areas.

Sig went out the other day, and we fished shrimp. There's still a lot of open areas. Everybody needs to realize that not only do these fishermen need support down the road long term, whether it's a month, a year or a decade. Right now, they really need our support, all of us.

J. HILLSTRAND: They're not going to sell contaminated food.

COLBURN: We're going to eat that stuff because there's no way they're going to ever put one tainted shrimp on the market. Don't suffer from the perception that we had in Alaska when the Valdez spill occurred, which was for about 18 months to two years, a thousand miles from the spill, we were sitting there getting lower prices for our seafood products, even though we weren't even involved. So just remember, they'll take care of you. We'll be good. Support these boys.

KING: Mike Rowe, have you seen some of the destruction and what's happened to the wildlife, to the animals, to the fisheries? Is this going to be on your show? How are you dealing with that aspect?

ROWE: You know, I've seen some dirty jobs. Louisiana has been very good for my show over the last seven or eight years, not just because it's such a remarkable place, but the people just -- they just welcome us, you know. And I've worked in most of the counties here, I think. I've been on the coast half a dozen times.

My guess is -- normally, like after Katrina, I didn't want to come down right away because everybody was here and I just didn't think we needed another sort of fake journalist striking a heroic pose in a big pile of rubble, you know. But this is something else altogether. We don't know how this ends, when it ends, if it ends. So I'd like to come down here as soon as possible and bring my crew.

Look, I'm not an expert in anything. These guys are expert fishermen. They're expert environmentalists down here, expert wildlife people, experts at BP. I don't know about any of that. I know the people who live here. It's their home. They're looking around, waiting to see where the next shot is coming from. I would like to come down with my crew and be with the people, have a beer, eat some shrimp. We're so anxious to make sure we get the black hat on the bad guy. I don't know who the bad guy is or good guy is. I don't know who the good guy is. I just know there are a lot of nice people here who are waiting for somebody to make it right.

KING: Sig, have you done any fishing?

HANSON: We've done plenty of fishing. Keith and I are out there, did a little shrimping. We've gone fishing with bow and arrow, for crying out loud. We've been hog hunting. We've done all kinds of good stuff. The guys that are still into it, they feel like nothing's changed, believe it or not. They have that attitude that, hey, let's go do it, let's have some fun. It's been a blast.

Like Mike said, we don't know what any long term effect is. But right now, it's all good.

KING: Jonathan, are they angry? They have a right to be angry. What's their morale like?

J. HILLSTRAND: There's a lot of different attitudes here. Some think it's a conspiracy; they're doing it on purpose. There's a lot of people don't know -- the one guy we were out with the other night, he takes his kids bow hunting and stuff -- we bow hunt and fish -- and doesn't know if his kids are going to be able to fish here anymore. There's angry. There's every kind of attitude you can imagine. I'm beside myself. This is huger than 10 hurricanes. My heart's out to everybody here.

KING: Mike knows a lot about dirty jobs. I'll ask him where this oil cleanup ranks right after the break.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like peanut butter.

COLBURN: That's not the kind of peanut butter I'm putting on any kind of sandwich.

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HANSON Looks to me like you guys have some serious misery heading your way.

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KING: We're with the captains from the "Deadliest Catch" in New Orleans, Mike Rowe, the host of "Dirty Jobs" and "After the Catch" for the Discovery Channel. Mike, an oil rig blew up and killed 11 guys. That's what started all this. The video we're seeing is from "Disaster in the Gulf." That airs Thursday on Discovery. How dangerous, in your view of danger jobs, are oil rig jobs?

ROWE: Look, everything is dangerous. We have such a crazy understanding of what risk is, in my opinion, in this country. That's one reason I like these guys. They have a very dangerous job, these crab fishermen, and they get used to a certain level of risk. The truth is we all live with risk everyday. You go down the highway and you pass a truck coming at you 65 miles an hour, and he misses you by this much, you don't think twice about.

Well, the oil guys I know, whether they're offshore or inshore, they do a job. Maybe you're a deck hand on a boat, you do a job. You get acclimated and assimilated to whatever the conditions are. Sooner or later, the truck is going to cross the line. A big wave is going to hit the boat. Something is going to blow up on the rig.

These aren't what ifs. They're guaranteed, 100 percent events that are going to happen. We don't know when. but do know when they do, it's a very bad thing and we try and be careful. And then we try and clean up the mess. It really is a heck of a thing.

When it happens, the best you can hope for, in my opinion, is that like-minded people come together and roll their sleeves up and try and fix it.

KING: Yeah. All right, Sig -- Andy, you met with the Coast Guard. What do they tell you?

A. HILLSTRAND: Larry, the Coast Guard is really trying to monitor everything they can do. What I've seen from Mr. Allen -- I guess he's the admiral -- they're not messing around down here. They're trying to take care of the fisherman. They're trying to stop the oil leak and all that stuff. I've seen a lot of hands on down here, compared to we don't know what's going on.

I feel good about that. They need to stop the darned leak, no matter what it takes. They need to stop it.

KING: How do you compare it, face to face, with the Valdez, Keith?

COLBURN: The biggest problem is today we just found out that they have high-def on TV. We're 51 days into this spill and they're finally trying to get a snapshot on the bottom of what's actually being spilt. That's the scary thing. The best estimate is four times the size of Valdez. That destroyed some fisheries. Down here, what we're looking at is destroying a way of life. That's the scary thing.

When we were out there the other day, there were miles and miles and miles of booms laid out. The thing that was the scariest was the silence. We didn't get bit by a single bug. We didn't hear the pelicans, even though they were sitting on oiled pylons, making any noise. There was just sort of an eerie, creepy silence invading the biggest estuary in the United States, and the most prolific marine -- marine ecosystem that there is here. That's what's really --

KING: We're out of time. I salute you all. Well said, all of you. "After the Catch" returns for its fourth season on the Discovery Channel on June 15th. Mike and the guys, thanks.

In this time period tomorrow night, "The Atlanta Child Murders," hosted by Soledad O'Brien. We're back Friday night with Kathy Griffin. Wait until you see that. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?