Return to Transcripts main page


BP CEO Grilled on Capitol Hill Today; Execution by Firing Squad Hours Away

Aired June 17, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, BP's top man is raked over the coals by Congress. He is denying, he's disputing and he's defending the company responsible for an environmental catastrophe.


TONY HAYWARD, BP: I had no prior knowledge. I'm not an oceanographic scientist. I am not able to. There is no evidence of reckless behavior.


HAYWARD: No so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to take it as a continuing no from you.


KING: But will roughing him up do the Gulf any good?

Then a condemned killer, hours before being executed by firing squad, Utah wants him to die. Some of his victims' loved ones don't. Time is running out for Ronnie Lee Gardner. Will a last minute reprieve spare the life? We're live from the prison next on "Larry King Live."

Good evening. You just saw a sample of what went down in Washington today. Here to talk about it, Ben Stein, the economist and actor, best-selling author of "Little Book of Bulletproof Investing." Our old friend Stephanie Miller, the progressive talk radio host of her own program. Her website, Marc Lamont Hill is a professor, Columbia University, and a contributor to And Dana Loesch, organizer with the nationwide Tea Party coalition, and blogger and talk radio host herself, "The Dana Show."

We'll get their takes after this. You watch this, the hammering that BP CEO Tony Hayward took on Capitol Hill. It's brutal. Watch.


REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: That's what this committee is doing. It is an investigatory committee and we expect you to cooperate with us. Are you failing to cooperate with other investigators as well? Because they're going to have a hard time reaching conclusions if you stone wall them which is what we seem to be getting today.

HAYARD: I'm not stone walling.

REP. STEVE BURGESS (R), TEXAS: But you are the CEO of the company. Do you have any sort of technical expert who helps you with these things who might have been there?

HAYWARD: With respect, sir, we drill hundreds of wells a year around the world.

BURGESS: I know, that's what is scaring me right now.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), LOUISIANA: This is the picture of an oil pelican. This is our state bird in Louisiana. I am going to keep this on my desk as long as we are battling this as a constant reminder of what is at stake.


KING: All right, Ben Stein, what do you make of BP's actions here?

BEN STEIN, ECONOMIST: Well they obviously made some very, very serious mistakes. I have friends who are close to the high officials of BP, they said that BP people did not know what they would do if there was going to be a break in the oil well 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean. They just didn't have any plan of what to do about it. To have drilled under those circumstances was extremely reckless.

I'm not sure how much good it does to beat the crap out of him, if I may say that on TV, in front of a large nationwide audience. But maybe it will make Mr. Hayward work harder. I'm not sure what good it does the constitution of the United States for Mr. Obama, without any legal authority to seize $20 billion from the BP stockholders. I'm not sure if the pelican is more important than the constitution. Frankly, I don't think it is. It is for sure that BP did some serious, serious mistakes here, serious.

KING: Stephanie, what is your read?

STEPHANIE MILLER, PROGRESSIVE TALK RADIO HOST: Do we have to choose between the pelicans and the constitution, Ben? You know? This was my favorite reality show I have seen lately, Larry. I don't know, who except Ben and Representative Joe Barton, the republican of Texas is defending BP.

STEIN: I wasn't defending them at all, Stephanie, that is completely made up in your mind. You made that up.

KING: We'll get to that.

MILLER: I understand.

KING: Your read on the hearing.

MILLER: Exactly, who can defend BP? I don't know. I mean, clearly, Larry, there are so many levels of liability here. And maybe it was some what cathartic for the American people today to watch this because they clearly, $20 billion is just a start. I think the president did a great job in starting there with that.

KING: Dana, did you learn anything today?

DANA LOESCH, TEA PARTY: I don't know what I learned except, grilling Hayward and BP is a great distraction from this administration taking any responsibility at all of its own actions. Sure, nobody is defending BP. BP messed up.

But why make it worse by not doing anything for all most two months after the fact. People, this administration, not only sat on their hands, they sat on everybody else's hands too and prevented this, this catastrophe from being further contained. That's why we have a lot more of these oily pelicans. Oh, yeah, absolutely, Stephanie

MILLER: What? How are you even saying that?

KING: Hold it. Stephanie.

MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR: This isn't about speeches. What this is about is having a quick relief effort. Did the Obama administration do everything that it could? Absolutely not. But they were thwarted at every attempt by BP. So I think BP has to hold the lion's share of the blame here.

At the same time, the Obama administration has to think not just about what it is going to do at this moment but moving forward. I don't think that having the melodramatic hearings with oily pelicans up in the air is going to make anything happen. I think the left and the right used this as an opportunity for political theater and for posturing for November. I don't want to see anymore of that.

What I want to see is a long term strategy for preventing this from happening and from punishing BP. I don't know about the legality of it in terms of the constitution. But what I know for sure is, and this is where I disagree with Ben, there has to be a way for BP to be held accountable for the vicious affects that it's having on everyday citizens and the workers in that area. They have to be held accountable.

STEIN: I couldn't agree more. Absolutely agree more. But it should be done under law. The president could have called the Congress back into session, asked them to pass a law for an escrow fund. They would have done it in 24 hours.

KING: Ben, Ben, hold it. Hold it. Ben. Stephanie.

Ben, what did the president do that was unconstitutional?

STEIN: I'm not sure he had the constitutional authority to order a private company, especially a foreign one.

KING: Did he order them or tell them or ask them?

STEIN: He shamed them into doing it. He threw his weight around. Bullied them the way he bullied --

HILL: Ben, that's what politics is about. I don't think the president did anything illegal. He simply strong armed them by shaming them in public. That's OK. I agree with you, Ben, there should be a law in place so that for future incidents, we have some kind of a provision. But the president didn't do anything wrong.

STEIN: The strong arming private citizens and private corporations is not really part of his job as the president.

HILL: I disagree.

MILLER: How come everybody is saying he wasn't tough enough on BP? He's not angry enough and he's not kicking their ass enough.

STEIN: Maybe you were saying that. I wasn't saying that. What I am saying is --

MILLER: He kicked their ass and Republican Joe Barton tried to kiss their ass.

KING: One at a time! Dana, what did you want the president to do?

LOESCH: I would have loved it if when we had the Dutch offering help, two to three days after this disaster, he would have taken them up on it. I would have loved to see some immediate action. But instead, all I saw was finger pointing. And that's fine and dandy, we can do that. I think the first goal should have been containing this mess.

But I also do agree -- I agree with Ben in what he was saying, too. We also need to figure out who exactly and what exactly caused this problem? We know that a lot of the oil companies are involved in writing some of these regulations. I realize that. But I think BP and this administration share equal blame in all of this because this problem honestly did not need to be as big as it is.

KING: Why should an industry write its own regulations, Dana?

LOESCH: That's a really good question. I know that the American, what is it, the API, they have said before that, well because we understand our industry. We should be doing this instead of MMS, I don't necessarily agree with that. But the bottom line is this -- it didn't have to be as big it is. We didn't have to have all of these oily birds.

KING: Let me get a break. We'll come back and we'll talk about the aforementioned congressman from Texas. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: He later backtracked and apologized. But GOP Congressman Joe Barton of Texas created controversy early in today's hearing by apologizing to Hayward. He called the $20 billion escrow account to compensate victims of the spill which President Obama announced yesterday, a shakedown. Watch.


REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: I am ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown.

REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No, this is not a shakedown of the company. This is -- the American government, President Obama, ensuring that this company is made accountable. And sending a signal to all other companies that seek to treat ordinary American families in a way that can destroy their entire family's history.


KING: In fairness, many, many Republicans also criticized Congressman Barton. Stephanie Miller, what did you make of it?

MILLER: I mean, just stunning, Larry, really even seeing it again, you shake your head and say, really, you're really going to defend BP on this? Who like I say, I don't even think we have gotten to the levels of criminal liability that are going to be found in this.

This was unprecedented, Larry. Look at Exxon Valdez and how many years it took people to be made whole and in some cases it didn't ever because it was cut down by the Supreme Court. This president accomplished something pretty unprecedented in voluntarily getting a company to do this before we even got into awful this. So I would rather have a president, rather that's acting tough and smoke them out, dead or alive, mission accomplished that was doing this behind the scenes.

KING: Dana, you are not criticizing, are you -- do you agree with Congressman Barton, Dana?

LOESCH: Yes and no.

KING: What is the yes part?

LOESCH: The yes part is that, look I agree BP should be financially responsible for the accident. It happened on their watch. No one is contesting that.

But I think the thing that a lot of people are forgetting is that, and I know I am going to just beat this dead horse. But here it goes again. It did not have to be as catastrophic if we had had more immediate action on the part of this administration. These costs could have been capped. I know that this administration loves capping things. So, we could have capped costs on this had there been a quicker action.

Now I think that BP is definitely liable for the explosion, for skirting around a lot of these regulations and definitely for the damage it caused. But at some point, you have to realize the continued damage of this wasn't -- wasn't so much caused by BP as it was also caused by the administration's inaction, immediate inaction.

MILLER: What were they supposed to do, Dana?

KING: Ben, the public polls seemed to put the blame on BP, Ben?

STEIN: Well I completely agree the blame is on BP. I have no question about that. BP, plus Transocean, which is operating the rig, plus Halliburton which is operating some of the equipment on the rig, plus the operators on the rig some, some of them don't seem to have acted properly. That's not an issue. I don't question that and I don't question that the liability will be enormous.

Whether or not Stephanie Miller knows there is criminal liability, I have my doubts about that. But we should be abiding by the constitution. Why didn't the president call Congress into session, getting a law passed demanding this escrow fund. Nowhere in the constitution does it give the president power to strong arm a huge --

KING: Can't a president demand something and can't the recipient --

STEIN: He can demand anything he wants. He can demand anything he wants.

KING: And the BP guy, he could have refused?

STEIN: No, because the public relations climate makes it impossible to refuse. And he can shake them down.

HILL: That's called capitalism.

STEIN: No, that's not capitalism. That's not capitalism. Absolutely not capitalism.

HILL: That's absolutely capitalism.

STEIN: That is a big bully.

KING: One at a time or no one is heard. Marc, you go.

HILL: Hayward did not get religion this morning or yesterday. Corporations don't act out of feeling, they act out of interest. President Obama created an environment whereby their financial interests were invested in creating this escrow account. That's why they did. You all, always love free market capitalism, you always let the market work these things out. But the reality is they were playing into the market when they made this decision. And I agree, Ben, the law should be imposed, yes. But that does not mean the president did something unconstitutional by going to the court of public appeal and public opinion. I'm happy he did.

KING: Let me get a call. Sacramento, hello? Sacramento, go ahead.

CALLER: Yeah, I'm tired of all this arguing back and forth about who didn't do what and whose point, it is too much politics. And I would like to know exactly, what are the options on getting this leak stopped? What can they come up with rather than saying it is the president's fault, it's the president's fault, it's the president's fault. Thank you.

KING: We don't have any experts. I don't think there is anyone who know house to stop it.

MILLER: That's the point. That's what I am asking what Dana means, Larry. Is the president supposed to be aquaman?

LOESCH: Well, wasn't he marketed on being the messiah? No, no, no.

MILLER: The president responded immediately with help from around the world.

LOESCH: And he refused it too.

STEIN: The Dutch and the Norwegians offered the world's premiere experts.

MILLER: And they took their help.

LOESCH: No they did not, Stephanie. No, they did not.

STEIN: They did not. They turned it down.

LOESCH: They offered it two to three days afterwards. Just because you say they did. If the doesn't mean it happened immediately. They offered two or three days afterwards.

MILLER: So that would have solved this? So they're here now, and it's still not solved, so how would that have stopped it?

LOESCH: It would have helped, had they accepted it earlier.

KING: We're going to get a break here, folks. We're going to get a break and talk how this might affect the future of politics in this country. When and if.


KING: We have got a special event planned for Monday night, a two-hour telethon, disaster in the Gulf, how you can help. BP is establishing a $20 billion fund to compensate those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected. But Gulf residents need your help right now. Your contributions will cut through the red tape and go right to the people and the wildlife suffering this very minute. We'll get your donations to them as fast as humanly possible. Disaster in the Gulf, how you can help. Click in Monday night, 8:00 to 10:00 Eastern Time.

All right, panel, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll taken after the president's speech the other night, 59 percent disapprove of how the president is dealing with the disaster. Marc, your comment?

HILL: That is a bad sign. I think his speech actually helped things though because he seemed tough, he seemed resolute and he seemed to offer concrete solutions. I think as the weeks go on, people will be more pleased with the president's performance, particularly if Republicans continue fall on their face by bowing at the altar of BP and apologizing. If that continues to happen, he'll be much better off.

KING: Ben, why a bad reaction to what many thought was a pretty good speech?

STEIN: It was a pretty good speech. It was a good campaign speech and the president has adopted the perpetual campaign mode of his predecessor Bill Clinton. But I didn't see what the concrete steps were. I would have liked to have him say, we're bringing in Norwegian ships, we're bringing in Dutch ships, we're having the people of the navy and the people all over the world bring in scoopers and do this concrete step, this concrete step. I don't like his appointing commissions and proposing energy legislation along with it. Let's stop the spill and scoop it up right now. Then we can debate energy legislation in the future.

KING: Stephanie, are you surprised at the poll results?

MILLER: I am, Larry, but I also think that it takes some time in the sense that, I have to say, the president often times, the rest of us are playing checkers and he is playing chess. I think that this, a deal that was just announced is pretty huge. I mean it's pretty huge to get a private company to agree to this. It was not seized, as Ben said. It was not forced. They agreed to it. And, you know, I think that's -- money talks. So, I don't think it is the best speech of his life. But I think that this was really action. And I think that speaks louder than words.

KING: Dana, how do you explain on this issue he has a low rating but on, but on general public opinion, he is slightly over 50 percent positive?

LOESCH: Oh, barely. I know the daily presidential tracking record has his negatives are up pretty high. This poll, this particular CNN poll, I am not exactly surprised. And I completely agree with what Ben said that there wasn't anything concrete. You know, I would have even been happy if he said, you know those two farmers that put that video up on YouTube where they sopped up the whole oil with hay? We're going to bring them down here and we're going to have them do that. I would have been happy had he just said that.

HILL: That says it all, right there.

LOESCH: Had he just given one concrete step. I mean, it was a fantastic campaign speech. Nobody can campaign like this man can. But we are past that right now. We need to see some action, not just promises.

HILL: I think this was bigger than a campaign speech. I think when he talked about burning oil, when he talked about coming up with commissions, when he talked about private/public partnerships. These are very concrete steps.

I think where he fell short was talking about how he is going to provide concrete steps towards weaning us off of fossil fuels, weaning us off of our addiction to oil, eliminating not only deep water but also shallow water drilling.

I think in terms of environmental issues, he didn't go deep enough. But in terms of stopping this oil spill in terms of moving forward and providing some kind of a regulation for BP, I think he was very clear, very articulate about it in ways that he hasn't been rather, on the campaign stump.

STEIN: The oil is not going to stop because of a regulation. The oil is going out because of forces of physics and the laws of mechanics. He has the got to get the experts of the world working down there right now.

HILL: That's what he is doing, Ben.

STEIN: It isn't about legislation. If they can scoop it up.

MILLER: It's not the laws of mechanics.


HILL: Regulation will prevent BP from doing this again.

KING: More with the panel after this. We'll be right back. Let's get a break. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Ben Stein, BP isn't going to improve its PR until this spill stops, is it?

STEIN: They're working very hard on it. They buy a hell of a lot of newspaper ads. I think they will, when they stop the spill, when they scoop it up, then they can say we have done something. But their mistakes are so prodigious. They really have a heck of a deep hole to climb out of. I am not positive this company will survive. They have really done some very, very questionable things and should be blamed for it.

KING: Stephanie, are you surprised that a company this big, this worldwide could be so poor at the top in the relation of dealing with the public?

MILLER: Well, you know, if they would stop spending so much money on PR, Larry, and spend it on taking precautionary safety measures they should have. I mean clearly they cut so many corners here, to get the oil out faster. That, you know their profit has been their only motive, obviously, up till now. And they had the worst safety record even before this disaster. So, no it is not a surprise to me.

KING: Dana, is it to you? Forgetting politics, is it to you that this company failed in an area where companies shouldn't fail?

LOESCH: No, I am really -- nothing really surprises me with this anymore, quite honestly. And you know what, I am actually going to shock you all. I agree with Stephanie on this one point where they did cut a lot of -- they skirted a lot of regulations. I don't think anyone contests that. I also agree with Ben. It is going to take so much for them to overcome this if they can overcome this.

KING: Marc Lamont Hill, T. Boone Pickens thinks this will go longer than they think. What if this goes into the elections?

HILL: If it goes into the elections, the Obama administration has a huge problem on its hands. It has to be tougher, it has to be much more clear and I think it has to be downright punitive with BP to win public support.

It is OK, I mean it's not OK, but it will be acceptable from voters to support Democrats if Democrats appear to be having an articulate and clear plan for fixing this problem. But if they continue to be in the back pocket of corporations, if they don't impose more regulation, if they don't seem to have some clear sign in terms of how they are going to develop technology to fix the problem, then Democrats are going to have a major loss because no matter how much this is an issue of Republicans and Democrats, public and private, the Obama administration is the only group of people that are going to be on the line in November.

STEIN: But they would lose Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama anyway. And I -- do you think it really affects a lot of votes in New York or Oregon?

HILL: Well, I think when you look at hearings like today and you see the type of public performance and posturing from representatives around the nation, even people who aren't affected by this, I think voters actually care about these issues. I think voters want to know where their representatives stand on this. And so I'm thinking a lot of congressional elections --

MILLER: Well, right, but you know, Republicans have been the only ones defending BP. And you know --

STEIN: They're not defending -- one --


HILL: Yes, but Democrats --

MILLER: A lot of this stuff at the MMS --


HILL: No, no, more than one is defending because people defended (INAUDIBLE) as well. But the issue here is not whether or not Democrats support BP. It's whether or not Democrats have solutions.

If Democrats don't have solutions to the problems, beating up on BP in full public view will get you two or three days' worth of support. After that voters want to know what are we doing to fix the problems.

KING: Well --

STEIN: And I think --


KING: Let me get a call from Las Vegas. Hello, Las Vegas. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, I'm just wondering, how are the people in the Gulf of Mexico going to know where the money is actually going? I mean --

KING: Well, we're going to do our telethon in our small humble way. We're going to direct it through United Way and other agencies that you'll know where -- directly where it's going.

STEIN: I think --

KING: You know, Dana, how --


KING: I know. Do you know how they're going to do this $20 billion, Dana?

LOESCH: Does anyone know? I'm sure that they'll put it in a lockbox like --

STEIN: No, it's not. It's going to be run by Ken Feinberg.

LOESCH: Yes --

STEIN: It's a Democratic Party --

LOESCH: Right, the pay czar.

STEIN: It's a guy -- it's a Democratic Party fund --

LOESCH: Yes, they politicized it.

STEIN: -- being run by an avid Democrat. And -- well, he's a good guy and I think he's going to do a good job.

KING: But wait a minute.

STEIN: And the Democratic fund -- KING: Ben, did you want -- did you want them to appoint a Republican?

STEIN: Absolutely, a Republican appointed Feinberg for the 9/11 victims fund. A Republican appointed a Democrat. It would have been very nice if Obama had appointed a Republican. It would have shown true bipartisanship.

Look, this -- the problem here is terribly serious. It should not be overwhelmed by a new problem of partisanship and politics and a new problem of abandoning the Constitution. Let's get the spill filled and let's return to the Constitution.

HILL: Ben, first of all, the only who's raising a partisan issue is you. Let's not worry about whether it's a Democrat or a Republican.

STEIN: That's not true.

HILL: You pointed out that he's a good guy. Let's let that ride. And as far as the Constitution issue, if you keep saying he abandoned the Constitution, there is nothing unconstitutional about what he did. If there's something unconstitutional about it --

STEIN: Where in the constitution does it say he can do that, Professor?


STEIN: Where does he say that he can strong-arm corporations into banking $20 billion?

KING: Where does it say he can't?


HILL: Ben, are you serious?

STEIN: The Constitution is a -- it's a document of enumerated powers, it's not a document of unlimited powers. It's enumerated powers.

HILL: But you act like he was -- you act like he was (INAUDIBLE) going to Hayward. What he did was he appealed to the public.

LOESCH: He browbeat him.

STEIN: He browbeat them.

HILL: He said look, you are going to have a bad problem on your hands.

STEIN: He shamed them. He shamed them.

HILL: So this isn't something that is solved. BP understood that. LOESCH: He browbeat them.


KING: Ben, Lyndon Johnson used to call in a senator and twist his arms and say if you don't vote --

STEIN: That's a senator.

KING: -- you're going to lose your bridge.

STEIN: That's a senator.

KING: Where in the Constitution does it say he can do that?

LOESCH: That's not a foreign company, though.

STEIN: That's a -- that's a senator. That's within the government. This is a private company.

HILL: I'm disappointed, Ben.

LOESCH: Yes. Yes.

STEIN: This is a private foreign company.

LOESCH: It was a private foreign company.

HILL: Come on, Ben. You've been around Washington for a very long time. Are you honestly surprised or really feigning indignation that a president might involve himself in matters with the private sector?

STEIN: Not -- not at all, not at all, Professor. I think that presidents jawbone all the time. It's standard politics. Mr. Nixon, during my work.

HILL: Exactly.

STEIN: Mr. Ford, during my work, did that. But a specific, gigantic, legislation piece.

KING: All right, guys.

STEIN: That was never done.


KING: Thanks. Thanks. Thanks for a sprightly session. Hold it, please.

Thanks to everyone for a sprightly session. But someone is going to die in a couple of hours in Utah. A condemned man is hours away from being executed by a firing squad no less.

The Supreme Court has denied his stay of execution and we are going to go to Utah live for latest next.


KING: The scheduled execution by firing squad of convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner is just hours away. Right after midnight, Utah time, five marksmen will point their rifles at a paper target placed over Gardner's heart and fire on command.

One of the rifles has a blank in it so that the shooter won't know who the real shooter was.

Let's go to the latest from Ted Rowlands who is at the Utah State Prison in Draper.

All appeals are done, right, Ted? So where are we now?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, all the appeals to the Supreme Court have come back and been denied. So the only thing left on the table now is another request to the governor of the state of Utah for a stay in the execution. He already denied a request for a stay earlier in the day.

That is the last thing. The last hope for Ronnie Gardner here as he gets closer to his execution time.

Right now he's an observation cell near the death chamber. He apparently has had a quiet day. The mood in the prison is somber. The mood here is somber.

No matter where you stand on the issue, Larry, having covered these before, when you're getting close to an execution it's a pretty somber, somber time.

KING: And the firing squad is his choice, right, Ted?

ROWLANDS: Yes, he made this choice. Utah is the only state that still offers this. They offered it, grand fathering it out, but he was grandfathered in. He made this choice himself to die via firing squad rather than lethal injection.

KING: Randy, your brother is a convicted murderer. Why -- why after all this time should he live?

RANDY GARDNER, RONNIE GARDNER'S BROTHER: Well, you know, I don't personally believe in the death penalty. I don't think two wrongs make a right. You know, we teach our kids not to -- you know, not to kill, you know, in the bible it says thou shall not kill. And I don't think no one else has the a right to kill somebody else because someone else has killed them. You know, just don't make sense to me.

Ronnie is --

KING: Brandie, what do you think?

BRANDIE GARDNER, RONNIE GARDNER'S DAUGHTER: Well, obviously he is my dad. And obviously I'm not going to believe in it. But I also believe, you know, there is "Ten Commandments," and one is "Thou Shall Not Kill." So what gives them a right just because you wear a badge that it's OK for you to murder?

KING: I noticed you mention he's a different man, Randy. There was an historic case in New York years ago. Louie Niser defended an inmate and proved that he was not the same man when convicted.

When was your brother convicted?

R. GARDNER: He was convicted in 1985.

KING: So he has been waiting 25 years.

R. GARDNER: He's been -- just short of 25 years, uh-huh.

KING: I spoke -- I spoke to your brother and your father last week. And we were supposed to do a phone interview from the prison to air either the last night or tonight, the prison allocated, and then took it away because they said safety reasons.

I don't know whose safety they were talking about, mine or his. Do you have any idea, Randy, why we weren't permitted to talk to your brother?

R. GARDNER: No, it was the last-minute decision. We were actually visiting him last night and he was supposed to do something with you guys at 5:00. And it was as big a surprise to him as it was to anybody, you know.

I still think it's his -- his First Amendment right to speak. And I'm surprised he's not getting that right, that final right. But I have no idea why they decided not to.

KING: All right, Andrew Parnes, you're his attorney. You're joining us now as well. Why wasn't he allowed -- he had agreed, they had agreed. Why did they change their mind about speaking to LARRY KING LIVE?

ANDREW PARNES, RONNIE GARDNER'S ATTORNEY: I do not know. I was out here at the prison at about 4:30 when he was supposed to call you at 5:00 and was told that they were not going to do that. I do not know why they decided to do that.

KING: I mean what great obstacle would be --

PARNES: He certainly could have called you and we had set that up. I don't know.

KING: I can't figure it out.

PARNES: I don't see any obstacle to having done that.

KING: Andrew, there's -- have you been in touch with the governor?

PARNES: We have sent a letter to the governor this morning requesting that he stay the matter. That was denied. This afternoon we sent another letter to the governor because the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a precautionary measure statement and the State Department of the United States sent a letter to the governor asking him to impose a temporary stay. And we are asking the governor, again, that he stay this execution tonight.

KING: Do you have any hope for that?

PARNES: I -- I have hope. I always have hope. I am an optimistic person. But I don't know whether it will happen. It should happen.

KING: Yes. The woman whose boyfriend Ronnie Gardner killed and will be executed for, joins us next. She does not want him to die. Don't go away.


KING: Don't forget we are on Facebook, go to And like us, please. And a reminder about tomorrow, Dr. Jack Kevorkian for the hour.

Let's check in with Anderson Cooper and "AC 360", of course, on the scene.

Anderson, what's the latest?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, AC 360: Larry, we're live in Louisiana tonight. Congress grills BP's Tony Hayward but doesn't get much in the way of answers.

Meanwhile, we're going to show you an internal BP document that seems to show that BP may have known early on that 60,000 barrels of oil could be gushing out of that well. It's not clear exactly where the document is from. Senator Charles Grassley got a hold of it.

Tonight we'll show it to you and show you why it could be so potentially damning to BP. We're keeping them honest.

Also, what state officials are calling yet another stunning example of bureaucracy getting in the way of attacking that oil.

All that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: That's Anderson, 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific. And Anderson will be a part of our big telethon Monday night.

Donna Nu's boyfriend Michael Burnell, a man she calls her soul mate, was killed by Ronnie Gardner. It's the crime for which he's scheduled to be executed tonight. She joins us from Phoenix.

You do not favor this execution, Donna. He killed your soul mate. Why?

DONNA NU, GIRLFRIEND OF MAN GARDNER MURDERED: Michael was a gentle soul and he loved people and he loved life. And he would not have wanted Ronnie Lee to be killed, especially in his name.

His father also knew that about Michael. And asked please to not execute him. We speak for Michael, saying Michael would not have wanted the execution. I would not have wanted the execution. And neither would have Ron Tumu who went down and tried to give him mouth- to-mouth after he was shot even though Ronnie Lee had not been caught yet. Trying to save his life.

KING: Have you contacted, ever spoken to Ronnie Lee?

NU: Yes. He asked to speak to me last month.

KING: And what did you tell him?

NU: What did I tell him?

KING: What did he tell you and what did you tell him?

NU: Well, that's between us.


NU: But we each had -- yes, that was our conversation. And I felt really good about it. And it brought closure for me on a level that I needed.

KING: This is a tough word. Do you forgive him?

NU: I never judged him. I never blamed him for Michael's death. I felt the loss. I felt the pain. I felt like I had run into a brick wall. But I never thought of it as Ronnie Lee's fault. Even though Ronnie Lee --

KING: Donna, what -- what were the circumstances? How did Ronnie come to kill your beloved?

NU: He was -- Michael was doing a pro bono case in Salt Lake and had won the case for this Vietnam veteran, and had gone downstairs to file the paperwork. And that's when he was killed.

KING: Why was he killed?

NU: Ronnie Lee was trying to escape. He was there on another charge. Another murder charge. And he was trying to escape.

KING: So Michael was a bystander?

NU: Yes. Yes.

KING: What -- what a tragedy and your forgiveness or your understanding of this is amazing. Are you opposed to capital punishment in general?

NU: Yes. Yes. I don't think one killing -- killing, for being killed, it just keeps it going. The cycle going. I think that we as a human race are -- all the brilliant minds we have on this planet, we could come up maybe with something better.

KING: Ronnie and his relatives said that after nearly 25 years in prison, he is a changed man. That he's totally reformed. Do you believe that?

NU: Well, speaking to him, I don't know if he's totally reformed. How would you know, you know?

KING: Yes.

NU: But I feel like he has definitely reformed.

KING: Are you going to pay attention to the news a few hours from now? What are you going to do? Are you going to be around the TV?

NU: I don't want to watch that circus. I do not want -- I don't care to watch the circus. No.

KING: Thank you, Donna. You have our best.

NU: Thank you so much.

KING: This week's CNN Hero is a tour guide from Cambodia. She uses her tip money to transform the lives of rural children.

Ponheary Ly, survivor of the oppressive and ruthless Khmer Rouge regime, has made it her mission to educate Cambodia's poor by giving them what they need to go to school. $20 per child -- per child -- for an entire year. Watch.


PONHEARY LY, CNN HERO: In the countryside in Cambodia, some children, they come to school, but not very regular. The school is free but they don't have any money. How can they have the money for uniform and supplies?

My name is Ponheary Ly. I have the children to go to school. At the beginning I got only one girl. After that, 40 children and now 2,000.

After several years, I see the change because they know how to read and write and they borrow the books from our library to read for their parents. I need them to have a good education, to build their own family as well as to build their own country.


KING: Ponheary Ly and her organization have helped more than 200,000 children get an education.

To see how Ly's work unexpectedly one woman's life forever or to nominate someone you think is changing the world, just go to By the way, we are scheduled from the Utah prison the relative of another victim. He wasn't killed, but he was shot by the suspect, who is no longer a suspect, by the convicted man who will die in a few hours.

That relative was supposed to be with us, but unfortunately couldn't get to the place in time.

We'll wind things up with Ted Rowlands after this.


KING: Briefly on the phone with us is Valdean Kirk. Her late husband, Nick Kirk, was shot and seriously wounded in Ronnie Lee Gardner's botched courthouse escape. He was not killed at the time. He died years later. Nick was a bailiff at the court.

Valdean is on the phone with us.

You think Ronnie Gardner should be executed. Is that correct?


KING: Why?

KIRK: Well, that was the sentence that he was given when he was -- you know, when he went to court and so it should be carried out.

KING: You don't believe that people change over time?

KIRK: No, not somebody like that.

KING: What --

KIRK: If he was going to change, he would have changed 20 years ago or even 10 years ago.

KING: What did your late husband think?

KIRK: He thought that he should be executed. I mean, he ruined his life and he killed two others and so he thought he should definitely be executed.

KING: Will you be paying attention to it? You're at the prison, so you're obviously going to be there when it happens, right?

KIRK: Yes, I am. I'm going to watch it.

KING: You will be a witness?

KIRK: Yes.

KING: You have no qualms about that?

KIRK: Well, I kind of have butterflies in my stomach but I don't know how I'll feel. KING: Yes --

KIRK: I don't think I'll feel too bad.

KING: I understand completely. Valdean Kirk, she's got to go in soon because she will be a witness as a victim.

Utah is the only state in the country that executes people by firing squad. Here's Ted Rowlands, showing us how it happens.


ROWLANDS: The firing squad will be using a .30 caliber rifle, each member with one .30 caliber bullet in the chamber. We're going to show you what the impact of this bullet is in just a second. But first we want to show you how far away Gardner will be. He will not be far at all. He will be sitting in a chair just 20 feet away.

Take a look and see what that one bullet did this target. You could see a large hole in the middle there. Gardner will have four bullets aimed directly into his heart.


KING: Now, Ted, one bullet is a blank, right?

ROWLANDS: Yes. And the reason for that is the fact that all of these five members of the firing squad, they won't know for sure if they, indeed, delivered a lethal bullet to another human being. And that protects them, if they have any issues right away or down the line.

If it haunts them it's sort of a safeguard just in case they do have problems with what they're doing. And they're killing, obviously, another human being tonight.

KING: You -- I talked to Ronnie on the phone, didn't get into that. You talked to Ronnie. Do you know why he chose firing squad?

ROWLANDS: I don't know. One of the victim family members thought that he did it for the sensational aspect of it because he knew it was on the table, it was an option. Lethal injection wouldn't have created the media interest, the interest worldwide really.

By choosing that, he did sort of guarantee that he would be going out with the world watching, which might not have happened with lethal injection. That's what the victim families say.

I don't know. He never has articulated that publicly.

KING: We're almost out of time, Ted. How could this not be a circus?

ROWLANDS: Well, yes. You -- we've got protesters down the line and media from around the world here obviously. But we are being kept far away from the prison. It's all the way back down there. So on the prison grounds, we're told it is very somber, it's in lockdown. All the prisoners have been in lockdown since early this morning. So the circus atmosphere, I think, is outside the prison. Inside the walls, though, it is very somber and professional at this point.

KING: Thanks, Ted.

ROWLANDS: And there will be many media witnesses and other witnesses there tonight.

KING: Thanks, Ted. Ted Rowlands at the Utah State Prison in Draper.

We taped a great hour with Joan Rivers about a terrific documentary about her. She is a guest one week from tonight. You can get a sneak peek at Right now Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson.