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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Ann Coulter, Marc Lamont Hill Face Off

Aired September 27, 2010 - 21:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Ann Coulter. Did she really say that Sarah Palin is more influential than the president? Why did she call some Republicans whining babies?

We're going to talk tax cuts, Tea Party, Christine O'Donnell's link to witchcrafts, Stephen Colbert -- was he mocking Congress or making a point?

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": This is America.

KING: Ann Coulter and Marc Lamont Hill face off, right versus left. I will referee, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Good evening. Our second week in New York, we kick it off with -- they lined up the wrong way. Ann Coulter is on the left.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Conservative commentator, "New York Times" best-selling author. Her most recent book is "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America." And Marc Lamont Hill, professor at Columbia University. He hosts the TV news magazine series, "Our World with Black Enterprise" on cable TV's One and -- TV One and in Syndication as well.

We thank them both for coming.

You said in a recent interview, Ann, that you don't really want Republicans to win both Houses. Why?

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Well, part of it is justification for what I think was going to happen. I never thought Republicans could take a Senate because only a third of the senators are up in any one election cycle.

And it happens that the third that are up this year are -- come from very blue states. I mean, California, New York, Oregon, Washington, Illinois. It's just not a good year for us and we have to pick up 10 seats.

So I've never thought we could take the Senate. Part of the reason I was mentioning that was how silly it is I think for establishment Republicans to be so hysterical about Christine O'Donnell, and that the Senate hung in the balance.

Come on, we were never going to take in anyway and she's a lot of fawn.

KING: Do you think she's representative, though, of what is the Tea Party and what is the insurgent group on the right?

MARC LAMONT HILL, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. She's part of the loon wing of the Republican Party.

COULTER: Oh.

HILL: A bunch of loons but they're gaining traction and they're starting to matter in everyday Republican politics and so, yes, five years ago she'd be the laughingstock. Three years ago, she'd be a laughing stock.

But right now, she's in the middle of a major Senate race, could actually get some traction and maybe win this thing as a dark horse. That says a lot of where we are as a country.

KING: Does it worry you?

HILL: No, not much because I think --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: The more we save Christine O'Donnell, the more the Democrats are going to be able to galvanize and fund-raise because nobody can see her or Sarah Palin and take them seriously. Not for the long haul.

COULTER: Sarah Palin? Wait a second, first of all, Christine O'Donnell -- I mean I love her but she is totally not representative. I would say Joe Miller of Alaska. Yale Law, an Iraqi war veteran, and Rand Paul.

I mean the basic idea is you have principled Republicans but you have just been replaced as my favorite liberal with Mickey Kaus who pointed out today on his Web page --

HILL: So close.

COULTER: I know. You're so close.

KING: He's your favorite liberal?

COULTER: Not anymore. Now --

KING: What did he point out --

COULTER: He's been moved down to 10.

HILL: I'm number two. KING: What did he point out to you?

COULTER: He pointed out that how crazy this is that Christine O'Donnell is being attacked for things like opposing pornography. And she is on the defensive saying well, that was, you know, 10, 12 years ago.

He said what is it with this country? You can't have a social conservative opposed to pornography.

HILL: Wait. Wait.

COULTER: Everybody opposes pornography.

KING: We'll get back to her. What is it with this country, Marc? What's going on?

HILL: I think there's --

KING: Every guest right and left said they've never seen more anger.

HILL: There's a lot of anger here.

KING: Why?

HILL: And some of it has to do with who's in the White House but a lot of it has to do with people not having jobs. I mean quite frankly, when the economy is struggling, people are looking for someone to blame. It's easy to blame the White House. It's easy to blame Congress. But there are other more fundamental issues that people are ignoring.

KING: But when Roosevelt took over for Hoover and the depression lasted a long while, got re-elected with 46 states.

HILL: Yes. I think you'll see Obama get re-elected. I think the Democrats are going to pay the price right now. But also, other presidents have been able to celebrate their achievements.

The Obama administration has had very thin skin, they've been very reactionary, they haven't done good public relations for themselves. And so we spend all the time talking about what they've done wrong.

KING: Ann, did he run better than he governs?

(LAUGHTER)

COULTER: Yes. Oh, yes.

KING: What do you make of that?

COULTER: Well, like all Democrats, he ran as a -- basically as a moderate Democrat. He has his lovely family, he's a nice speaker, he looks like a regular guy. KING: What's changed about those three things?

COULTER: Well, from some of our perspective, nothing. We can see that, you know --

KING: He's a nice guy. Doesn't that --

COULTER: He was buddies with, you know, Bill Ayers. And he's governing the way Bill Ayers would have.

HILL: Oh god.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: We're still on that?

HILL: That script is like two years old.

COULTER: OK. How --

HILL: He's buddies with Bill Ayers?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: By the way, Ann --

COULTER: What has he done that Bill Ayers would not have done?

KING: Ann?

HILL: Plenty --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Ann?

HILL: Bill Ayers is far left person. He's closer to me than he is to President Obama. Obama is a centrist masquerading as a centrist.

COULTER: Sorry.

KING: He got elected since Bill Ayers. He was elected after Bill Ayers.

HILL: Right.

COULTER: What do you mean?

KING: After Bill Ayers came onto the scene.

COULTER: No, no, no. What I'm saying is, look, conservatives keep bringing up, for example, more Americans now think that Obama is a Muslim than did, you know, six months ago. Usually the truth moves in the opposite direction. Why do so many Americans say that they think Obama is -- HILL: Because of the --

COULTER: The answer is -- no. The answer is --

HILL: The loonies.

COULTER: No.

HILL: Are you serious?

COULTER: The answer is because he seems foreign to them, that he's pushing this European health care system on America, that he doesn't listen to the American people, that he doesn't cite God when he mentions the "Declaration of Independence."

He seems -- he seems alien and that is -- and I keep telling them no, he's not a Muslim, he's an atheist. He's governing the way Bill Ayers would.

KING: So when he makes a statement he is a Christian, you're calling him a liar?

COULTER: Well, I wouldn't say I call all Democrats --

HILL: She thinks all guys was atheist.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: -- when they say they believe in god and I would love to get them under a polygraph test. I'm sorry they already picked your replacement because that was my idea for a TV show. I'd have liberals sit. Well, I'd sit where you are, I'd sit here.

I'll be on a polygraph, too, but I want liberals -- maybe not you -- under a polygraph.

HILL: Yes, I'm going to ask you.

COULTER: And I will ask them if they believe in god and if they love their country.

KING: By the way, do you have --

COULTER: You know I'd get a lot of them.

HILL: We could put Republicans the same thing and ask them if they're opposing policy because they really believe in it ideologically or they just want to block Obama. And I guarantee you most of them will fail as well.

COULTER: No.

HILL: Absolutely.

KING: Ann.

HILL: They have become the party of no.

KING: Hold it.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Do you need to believe in god to govern?

COULTER: No, but why --

KING: So why do you point that out?

COULTER: Because they claim that they believe in god.

KING: But why does that matter, whether you believe or not? Why does it matter how you --

COULTER: Why -- well, if it doesn't matter, ask Obama? Why does he pretend to? Ask Bill Clinton?

KING: Because he was close --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Because you said he was a Muslim.

COULTER: No, I didn't.

KING: Somebody said he was a Muslim so he had to defend it.

COULTER: So why doesn't he just come out for the beginning and why does Bill Clinton come out, and why doesn't Bob Kerry come out? And why doesn't John Kerry come out and say we don't believe in god. Are you kidding us?

HILL: Let's not --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: We start operating from the assumption he actually doesn't believe in god. Barack Obama believes in god. Barack Obama believes in god. He's a man of faith and faith influenced many of his decisions.

That's not the problem. There are a lot of problems in this country. I mean if you look at the fact that over the last years, as you pointed out, that people believe he's Muslim now more than they did years ago, that says that this country is completely bonkers.

I mean there's nothing about his social policies that speak to Islam. I mean even if you don't like his tax policy, even if you don't like his education policy, if you don't like his health care policy, there is nothing Islamic about universal health care.

COULTER: Right.

HILL: It means that we're nuts. That's what it means. COULTER: No. I will back you up on -- in one small way. The idea that he --

KING: Oh, Ann, don't give in --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: No, no. This is progress. This is progress.

COULTER: The idea that he was not born in this country is -- madness for many reasons. My newspaper, along with all these other conservative newspapers, pointed out during 2002.

But I think the main reason it's crazy now if he weren't born in this country and if he had immigrated here, he'd probably love America more.

HILL: Now --

COULTER: No. He's more like Bill Ayers than a recent immigrant who came loving America.

HILL: Obama loves America. He's written books about loving America. And he speaks about loving America. This is not about --

KING: By the way, maybe illegal immigrants love America. They -- look, what they go through there to get here.

HILL: Exactly, because of failed U.S. policy.

KING: I don't know what I'm talking about.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We'll be back with Ann Coulter and Marc Lamont Hill, and I'm going to fade into the scene, folks, as this show goes on. I won't be here the last 10 minutes. We'll just let them go.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: We'll be right back.

COULTER: This will be your easiest interview ever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: By the way, Wednesday night, Bob Woodward, live right here. New book out.

We're back to her now. Christine O'Donnell, that the her. The GOP Senate nominee in Delaware made comments years ago on Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect." Maher vows that he'll keep replaying O'Donnell clips until she appears as a guest on "Real Time."

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: I dabbled in witchcraft, I never joined a coven.

JAMIE KENNEDY, COMEDIAN: Wait a minute. You were a witch.

O'DONNELL: But I did. I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, she was a witch.

KENNEDY: You were a witch.

O'DONNELL: I didn't join a coven. I didn't join a coven. Let's get this straight.

KENNEDY: Wait a minute. I love this. You're a witch, go on Halloween's bad, I was a witch. I mean, wait a minute.

O'DONNELL: But that's exactly right because --

KENNEDY: How are you to be a witch?

O'DONNELL: Because I dabbled into witchcraft. I hang around people who were doing these things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having fun?

O'DONNELL: I'm not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were they doing?

(CROSSTALK)

O'DONNELL: I mean in one of my dates -- in one of my dates, it's like my first date --

(CROSSTALK)

BILL MAHER, HOST: I want to hear about this.

O'DONNELL: One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and I didn't know it.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is this relevant?

COULTER: No. But it -- she wasn't running for Senate then. She was on "Politically Incorrect."

KING: She was a witch then.

COULTER: And --

HILL: Right. COULTER: I mean the day of the election I was telling friends, I'm sort of glad I don't have to take a position on this because she's great. She'll vote well. But it's Delaware. Castle, her opponent, the establishment Republican who only votes with Republicans about 40 percent of the time.

KING: Who would have won.

COULTER: Probably. We don't know. We don't know actually. Because of the Tea Party movement in the end. I think he might -- I think his chances of winning were not as strong as people said.

The night she won, I came home and I saw everything, I'm so happy. I realized that deep in my heart I was for Christine O'Donnell.

Look, in the Senate it's not as important a job as being a governor or even a mayor, which is why somebody like Dianne Feinstein or, you know, Giuliani, you know how politics is. Senators, there are a lot of dumb senators.

HILL: Of course.

COULTER: All they have to do is vote.

KING: Giuliani isn't a senator?

COULTER: Pardon?

KING: Giuliani isn't a senator?

COULTER: No, I'm saying by contrast that is a serious job to have to run for president. Look, whatever they say about Christine O'Donnell, there is no one stupider in politics than Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.

HILL: There, there. You've been doing so well for about 10 seconds.

COULTER: You know, don't talk about Christine O'Donnell, but she would definitely -- you don't need to be smart to be a senator is my point.

HILL: But --

COULTER: All you do is vote. She will definitely vote right and I have to tell you just one more quick point. One of my --

HILL: (INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

HILL: She's not as stupid as the stupidest person. That's actually your argument for why she's OK.

COULTER: OK. A Democrat. And yes, we're not making fun -- KING: And guess what?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: We're going to set up a Patty Murray/Christine O'Donnell debate.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTER: Yes.

KING: To be featured on "Family Guy."

HILL: Can Sarah Palin moderate please? It'll be perfect.

COULTER: She's very smart.

HILL: Sarah Palin?

COULTER: Yes.

HILL: I spent a little bit of time with Sarah Palin. I didn't get that from her.

COULTER: She is.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: I can't speak to her IQ but at least her knowledge with the issues was very, very low, embarrassingly low.

COULTER: Yes. She's been raising kids in Alaska, running Wasilla, running the state.

HILL: Yes, running Mayberry. You know, I mean, this -- that's the problem. That's why she shouldn't be running for national office. That's why O'Donnell --

COULTER: I don't -- well, she isn't.

HILL: No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: But we're talking about her, that's how smart she is.

HILL: Yes. Whatever. And then the issue with O'Donnell is the same thing. I don't think she's that bright. But most importantly I don't think she's that qualified. And if four years --

COULTER: But she's totally qualified.

HILL: And if I had brought her out to you as a potential candidate, you would have said hell no. There was no way you would have wanted her as a potential GOP candidate. COULTER: No. I might have run her in a different state than Delaware. But I actually she does have a chance to win. And one of my --

HILL: I think so, too.

COULTER: Libertarian doesn't care about the social issues, just wants his tax cuts friends. Told me years ago that given a choice between Republicans both say they're going to cut your taxes, one pro- life, one pro-choice, he will always vote for the pro-lifer because you can only trust pro-lifers to cut your taxes. So I think you can trust Christine O'Donnell to vote right.

HILL: Well, if you mean by voting right, you mean lowering taxes at all times at the expense of all sorts of programs --

COULTER: Correct. Correct.

HILL: Absolutely. If you don't care about the social good, you're absolutely correct. But I think that's a very low --

KING: Let them eat cake.

HILL: That's right. Exactly.

COULTER: Not Christine O'Donnell. She cares about the social issues and cares about people but she'll do a lot more for people.

KING: Now let him get a word.

HILL: I think it's --

COULTER: OK.

KING: Don't let him -- don't dominate.

COULTER: Sorry.

HILL: I think -- she does this to me, it's very hurtful. I think it's a very sad moment when that's how low our bar is, that someone like that could be running for the Senate. And I think that -- firstly, I jumped up and down, too, for joy when she won because I said this is something the Democrats can now win.

But I think it also shows again that the Tea Party is beginning to influence these elections in ways that are very interesting, whether it's a Pledge to America, whether --

KING: How did your side get put on the defensive?

HILL: Well, first of all, we began from a bad position. When we began -- first of all the Obama administration started with this health care stuff, which I thought was very smart. I thought it was OK to start with health care as a major policy initiative for the White House. But we had the political capital. We had the momentum. And instead of the White House producing a document that was useful that the American people could respond to, we give it to Pelosi and Reid.

I think that was the unwise move. And then we set out going around town hall meetings unprepared, embarrassing ourselves. And I think that we made a very bad start to something and it put us in a defensive position that allowed the Tea Party right-wing nut jobs to emerge.

KING: Speaking of Christine, "Saturday Night Live" kicked off its new season this past weekend. Included on the comedy agenda, in fact, it began the program, a parody of Mrs. O'Donnell. Watch. Miss O'Donnell. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This race is going to tighten up and when it does it's going to be a real dogfight. You need to understand that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, please don't try to tell me about dogfight, OK? I know all about dogfights.

For your information, gentlemen, I used to run a business staging dogfights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dogfights, like Michael Vick?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Much better than Michael Vick's. I have been to Michael Vick's dogfights. They were lame.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We'll be back with more. What a great country, huh? Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Ann Coulter and Marc Lamont Hill, both well known in their own rights. They may be announcing marital plans soon. Would that be great? That could soothe America.

OK. Is it going to be a sweep this fall?

HILL: No.

COULTER: No. I don't think so.

HILL: Absolutely. First, I think Ann is right about the Senate.

KING: Because off-year all the incumbent party always loses.

COULTER: Not 2002.

HILL: Exactly.

COULTER: Bush picked up seats, 2002.

HILL: Well, I can tell you --

KING: 9/11. We had 9/11.

HILL: Yes. I can tell you for sure we're not going to pick up any seats but in the House, I think we're not going to lose as much ground as people think. In fact I think Democrats have overstated the loss so that it will look like we had a lot of momentum after November.

COULTER: I agree.

HILL: So I think --

KING: You think this will bring you Democratic momentum?

HILL: Well, I don't think preaching gloom and doom is the best thing to do. I prefer if we spend time celebrating our victories. There have been victories over the last two years, but we spent so much time counting the losses, that again we're playing defense all the time.

I think the Democrats, if they start selling what they've won so far whether it's health care, the benefits of health care, whether it's a domestic agenda that includes an extraordinary HIV/AIDS program, education reform. We've done some major stuff here, we need to celebrate that. And if we do that we win.

KING: Why --

COULTER: Yes. People hate health care. I hope Democrats are listening to you. But very --

KING: Hang on. Remember, money is not the most important thing, health is 3 percent.

COULTER: There has never been less than a majority since health care has passed that has not favored repeal. In other words, a majority has favored repeal since it passed. Right now it's like 60 percent. The Democrats thought, as usually happened, well, you know, once we get it past, oh, the people will love it.

The people do not love it so that's why they are not talking about health care.

HILL: But also every major study of health care also shows that when you go bit by bit, point by point of the benefits of universal health care reform, people like the stuff.

COULTER: Who's reading what the benefits are, too?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: How about preconditions? That's now covered for children.

HILL: Exactly.

COULTER: That's --

KING: You think that's bad?

HILL: The people like that.

COULTER: I think it's madness. It's not insurance. You don't buy insurance for your house after your house has built down -- burned down. Look, there are people --

KING: For a kid with cancer should die?

COULTER: No.

KING: That's your solution?

COULTER: No. Under a free market system, people would be able to buy insurance without having to pay half.

KING: What if you can't? What if you can't buy it?

COULTER: Without everyone having to pay for your Viagra, your prenatal counseling --

KING: Your 3-year-old kid with cancer and we can't afford it.

KING: Your gambling problems. Democrats have screwed up the system.

KING: Your 3-year-old kid with cancer and the family can't --

COULTER: No. Cancer is a very bad example and I'm answering you.

KING: Why? It's a major disease.

COULTER: In a free market system they would already have insurance.

KING: Last time I checked, cancer is a major disease.

COULTER: But -- no, look. Let make the argument you're trying to make it which is --

KING: I can make it.

COULTER: OK. If it's cancer it's a very bad. If you've set up a system where the only way you can buy insurance for your house is if you also insure the White House and the fire house and the police house and the mosque down the road, fewer people will have insurance for their homes.

That's the system we have now. You make it easier to buy insurance without having to pay for everyone else's Viagra and (INAUDIBLE).

KING: So our current system has 48 million uninsured.

COULTER: Look, the pre-existing conditions people are worried about are the ones where someone is born just lost a lottery. They're born with a child with spina bifida or whatever.

KING: Correct.

COULTER: Those are few enough cases you're talking about. Probably fewer, I mean, all of the cases like that. You're talking about fewer than probably 2 percent of the cases. Let's say it's 10 percent.

Set up a system, everyone in America would be in favor of paying for those people. A head start. I can start with that. Cut out the Department of Education, cut out the Department of Commerce, all of which do nothing, and pay for those people.

HILL: Those are all -- that's absurd.

COULTER: But you don't wreck the entire free market system.

KING: You pay for cutting out the Pentagon? Why don't we cut them all --

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: I think it's the only thing Ann would agree to keep probably. You know but --

COULTER: Yes.

HILL: Right. But here is the issue. First of all, all this is beside the point. We're simply that the American people are not against health care reform. What they are -- they have fatigue from the process. They are against many people on the left who are against these multinational corporations getting billions of dollars streamed into it because of health care.

KING: That is a big proposal in Congress.

COULTER: That's right.

KING: That you can't take any tax break if you send the work overseas which now gets a break. Why do Republicans oppose it?

COULTER: I have no idea what this bill is, so I can't comment on it.

HILL: Because it's proposed from the left, that's why. This is a -- and this is what happens constantly, whether it's cap and trade, whether it's this proposal. Oftentimes, bills that are actually free market oriented and bills that actually had come from the right, when they get caught by the left, suddenly Republicans don't like them anymore. COULTER: No, that's not true.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: You're going to have to give me one I've read.

HILL: Cap and trade. Cap and trade.

COULTER: Cap and trade is free market? You've got to be kidding?

HILL: Yes. Cap and trade is absolutely free market oriented. It's much more free market oriented than any other sort of organic left wing proposal. This is something --

COULTER: Everyone -- no.

HILL: Republicans -- five years ago --

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: A hidden tax, everyone's electricity bill will go through the roof to fight an imaginary phenomena, global warming.

HILL: She doesn't believe in global warming. She --

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: Either does your father.

KING: Check with LA today on global warming. By the way, I'm fading now into the scenery.

HILL: Talk about my father. My father believe in dinosaurs.

COULTER: Oh, he believes in dinosaurs.

KING: What does his father have to do with it?

HILL: I'm -- this is another right-wing -- this is what right wingers do. They throw things out to confuse us, Larry.

COULTER: No, I just happen to know that his father is a very sensible man and if he's going to bring up this crazy thing about she doesn't believe in global warming --

HILL: No, no, I'm just --

COULTER: Most Americans don't believe it and including your very sensible father.

HILL: The point is that five years ago, the Republicans were talking about cap and trade, they're proposing cap and trade, they're proposing more market-based solutions to these problems.

COULTER: We were not proposing cap and trade. HILL: Absolutely. Absolutely. And Democrats suddenly offered this stuff and suddenly they don't like it anymore. And over the last two or three years, we've seen proposal after proposal after proposal, whether it's a small business plan being offered by Obama recently, whatever it's education reform, whatever Democrats offer, Republicans are postured to just say no.

COULTER: No.

HILL: It's -- it's the most unpatriotic, un-democratic thing.

COULTER: Look, I'm say no to that.

(LAUGHTER)

HILL: See. Exactly.

COULTER: No, that is not true.

KING: She's praising your father because she's got to be good to our future father-in-law.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And reasonably so.

HILL: You have ruined my streak, here. Have -- marry Ann Coulter on national television.

KING: Ann, want to do it here?

HILL: If you perform the ceremony.

KING: If only I was a rabbi.

Ann recently said that Sarah Palin has more influence than the president. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Ann Coulter and Marc Lamont Hill. Before we get to other issues, let's talk about Sarah Palin.

Didn't you say she's more influential than the president?

COULTER: A president.

KING: Any president?

COULTER: My point -- the question was, is she going to run for president?

KING: President Roosevelt?

HILL: President of what? COULTER: And I said -- this is like asking if Rush Limbaugh is going to run for president. She's having a lot of fun having massive influence, making money. Why would either of them run for president? They'd lose their influence, lose the money, lose the ability --

HILL: And lose the election. Let's -- they'd lose the election.

(CROSSTALK)

COULTER: No, no, no.

HILL: A poll came out today, unfavorables at 42, 43 percent, higher than everyone else in the poll. No one would --

COULTER: That's pretty close to your President Obama.

HILL: Yes. She was at the -- she was at the favorables with momentum.

KING: What she's saying is, if it's Palin versus Obama, nobody votes?

COULTER: Right. Right. Right. Right.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: The side of the drapes when the second term of Obama's administration, there's no way Sarah Palin beats Obama. I don't think she beats Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney in a primary.

COULTER: I -- look, speculation is kind of pointless. I think she is a good candidate. Whether she could actually beat Obama, who knows?

HILL: Let me ask you a question.

COULTER: But I do think -- I do think she is a very strong candidate. I just think the question about --

HILL: You think she'd be an effective president?

COULTER: -- if she's running is something that the media keeps talking about because you mention Sarah Palin or Christine O'Donnell --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Well, she goes to New Hampshire. What are you going to talk about? What does a former governor of --

COULTER: You mention either one of those two and the hits on your Web page goes through the roof.

HILL: No, no. She's a lightning rod.

COULTER: Everything -- people like to hear about Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Sarah Palin, no one -- even Republicans don't want Sarah Palin. Karl Rove, major strategists, don't like --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Yes, what about Karl Rove? What about Karl Rove?

HILL: I mean --

COULTER: This is --

KING: Ann?

COULTER: This is why there's there's a Tea Party movement, because of the establishment Republicans who have based --

KING: Karl Rove is the example of that?

COULTER: Of that. Yes. And a lot of Republicans in Washington have basically taken the position, we're going to be the Washington generals to the Democrats Harlem globe trotters. We'll be good losers.

We'll get favorable press. Everyone will love us. We'll go to cocktail parties, we'll make a half million dollars a year being lobbyists. We'll have a place in McClaine, send our kids to private schools, but we will lose and we promise you we will lose.

Well, the Tea Parties got fed up with that. And that's why it's not --

HILL: And you think that's a viable political movement to win elections? Tea Party -- Tea Party --

COULTER: Yes, I do.

HILL: I think if you can influence gubernatorial elections. You may --

COULTER: OK.

HILL: You may even be able to win a Senate seat. But there's no way a Tea Party movement can push a presidential candidate into the White House.

COULTER: OK. We're -- no, we're talking about the Tea Party movement generally. That's way too far in advance.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: They are nut jobs. They are extremists.

COULTER: They are not. HILL: They are overpopulated by extremists.

COULTER: You're talking about half of America --

HILL: By extremists, by racists, by (INAUDIBLE). You think the Tea Party represents half of Americans?

COULTER: According to "New York Times" and "USA Today" polls, about 25 to 40 percent of Americans say they agree with the Tea Parties.

HILL: What are their issues? In fact, the issues that they tend to agree with most Americans on are issues like wanting Social Security, wanting Medicare, wanting to continue veterans benefits, things that make them --

COULTER: Cut taxes, repeal health care.

HILL: That is the contradiction of the Tea Party.

COULTER: Oppose gay marriage.

HILL: Forget gay marriage.

COULTER: We are coming back to that.

HILL: We can come back to gay marriage. But right now I'm saying that the Tea Party -- most Tea Party members still favor Medicare. They favor Social Security, benefits. They favor social benefits. But they still want to cut taxes. They want a whole bunch of stuff, but they don't want to pay tax.

COULTER: I think you are wrong about that. That has been the contradiction with voters generally, which is why both Republicans --

HILL: -- a new movement. That's the problem with the Tea Party movement. .

COULTER: Ben Nelson votes for health care, goes back and gets a special deal for Nebraska. He gets booed in public. The first time people want to cut spending.

KING: Is gay marriage a Democratic/Republican issue?

HILL: In the most basic political sense, absolutely. People on the left tend to favor this. But if you were to divide the Democratic party into separate groups -- for example, African-American people -- we saw that in California -- they tend not to support gay marriage issues, which I think is very sad. Black people just got the right to vote like last week in America and suddenly they're opposing --

COULTER: Gays can vote, Marc.

HILL: My point is we just started getting rights recently. I mean, black people have voting really since 1965, Voter Rights Act. So it is very difficult then for black people to oppose civil liberties for other people. I think it's sad that we are even voting on the civil rights of other people.

COULTER: Come on.

HILL: If you want to put black people's right to vote to a national vote right now, they still might not win.

COULTER: A vote -- Marc Lamont Hill -- Marc, let me tell you how black people think.

HILL: Please do.

COULTER: The issue is blacks were brought here in slave ships. They were enslaved.

HILL: That is true.

COULTER: The laws of state discriminated against them for 100 years.

HILL: Absolutely.

COULTER: Civil rights is a black issue. Now, everybody in America wants to be black. The feminists --

HILL: Everybody in America wants civil rights.

COULTER: -- illegal immigrants.

HILL: Everybody in America wants civil rights. They don't want to be black. They want civil rights.

KING: If civil rights is an issue that involves all of us -- we all want our civil rights -- why should gay people be any less --

COULTER: They do have civil rights.

KING: But can't marry.

COULTER: Oh yes, they can. They can't marry someone of the same sex. Neither can you. Neither can I.

HILL: You're saying gay people can get married as long as they are not gay anymore, essentially, as long as they don't function as gay people? What? That is absurd.

COULTER: Don't say this is equal rights.

HILL: You had should have the right to marry whoever you want. That's the point.

COULTER: That is absolutely not the purpose for marriage.

HILL: My personal belief is that everyone should get civil unions. And if people want to get married, they should get married by their religious head.

COULTER: -- one more nail in the coffin .of marriage in America. Destroying the family has done such a great thing --

HILL: Because I believe in the separation of church of and state. And if anything --

COULTER: It has nothing to do with --

HILL: -- it's crack, it's police brutality.

COULTER: It is the end of the black family. And that was done by -- oh, probably --

HILL: You think gay marriage signals the end of the black family?

COULTER: No, I think it is over because of other liberal policies. You already have -- no, no, no, it is because of what liberals did to the black family that we see how important a mother and a father are. Mommy and daddy must be married to one another, as I detailed in chapters of my last book, "Guilty"

KING: Can't it be a civil union, and marriage be a religious institution?

COULTER: No, I'm not talking about religion, Larry.

HILL: She wants to keep the connection between church and state together.

COULTER: It has nothing to do with the church. It those do with civilization. And civilization requires the family, which means a mother and a father raising --

(CROSS TALK)

COULTER: It has nothing do with that.

HILL: What role does the state have to play in our --

COULTER: It's the state that has been subsidizing illegitimacy for 30 years. Look what that has done to the black family. It's destroyed it.

HILL: If you want to say the black family is not together, in terms of a nuclear, hetero-patriarchal family -- that's what you're talking about -- then the things that affect it more are crumbling economies, the injection of crack into neighborhoods, poor education systems. The other thing here is --

COULTER: If you take out the factor of illegitimacy, the difference in black and white crime rate disappears. That is a fact. Could we concentrate on that fact for a moment?

HILL: If you look at non-custodial fathers who are involved, you don't see a high crime rate. The issue here not whether or not people are in the house. That is a particular American value.

COULTER: No. No. This is what liberals have been trying to --

KING: Let me get a break.

HILL: Using this crazy thing called data, statistics, evidence.

(CROSS TALK)

KING: Hold it. Hold it. Hold it! Hold it! This keeps up, the marriage ain't gonna work.

Or maybe it will. By the way, do you agree or not with Ann Coulter about Sarah Palin and influence and presidency? Then go to Who'sRight.com/LarryKing and -- I don't know what I'm -- we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: speaking of rights, I asked you if gay marriage is a Democratic/Republican issue. Is the mosque near 9/11 site a Democratic/Republican issue?

COULTER: Yes, it is. It appears to be. I mean, it wasn't at first.

KING: Are you against their right to have it?

COULTER: No, Republicans have been consistent. We admit there is a right and we think we should -- they shouldn't do it. Same thing with the guy who was going to burn the Koran in Florida. He has a right to do it, but we think he shouldn't. I don't know why Obama leapt into this.

HILL: I think his strategy in engaging the issue was wrong. I think strategically, it was a bad idea. Just like with the Christmas bomber -- there's been a lot of things where he has been wrong strategically.

But his point was right and exact. This is an issue of religious freedom. The republicans' point, which I think is fair, is to say, look, this is an issue of decency. This isn't about right and wrong in terms of the Constitution. This is about decency.

But my problem is to think that a mosque is somehow hurtful or disrespectful to the victims of 9/11 requires you to already have a kind of Islamo-phobic position. You have to already be xenophobic and anti-Muslim to take that position. There is nothing offensive about a mosque being a few blocks -- it's really a cultural center -- being a few blocks from the World Trade Center site. There is nothing wrong with that

KING: There was one in the World Trade Center?

HILL: Absolutely. And Muslims died in 9/11. Let's not pretend. Christians weren't the only people who died.

COULTER: Right, I think I can explain that too. It's much like Americans checking off the box -- more of them thinking that the president is a Muslim. I think it is possible -- I don't know if they would have tried, but I think it's possible that if the mosque had gone up during the Bush administration, you would not have gotten this reaction.

But what you see with Obama is him backing down, backing down, backing down. After the shooting at Fort Hood, he says, let's not jump to conclusions. Same thing with the Christmas day bomber. He is bowing to world leaders in the Middle East and the Far East.

It is like a vigilante justice system. When you feel like the government isn't doing its job, you get angrier and you want to do it yourself. And I think there is more anger about the mosque because Americans feel like Obama isn't being tough enough on Islamic terrorism.

HILL: I think Obama is being perfectly fine in his so-called war on terrorism. In fact, I think he has essentially adopted the same strategy as the Bush administration. I think what Obama has done, again, is had a bad public relations problem. He doesn't seem to be --

KING: But that is reality. Perception is reality.

HILL: Perception absolutely is reality. Let's talk about that. Let's not pretend that somehow he is prosecuting a war on terror in a way that is passive. Let's not pretend that him waiting six days to come out to talk about -- excuse me, three dies to come out and talk about the Christmas day bomber is any different than Bush. It took six dies to talk about the bomber in 2002.

COULTER: I didn't mention that.

(CROSS TALK)

KING: Let him finish.

HILL: Republicans mentioned it -- they keep carrying out these things that Obama has done and act as if he is wildly different than Bush. He's actually not. In fact, my critique from the left is that he is too much like Bush. Let's not pretend that Obama is doing the wrong things here on terror.

COULTER: Civilian trials are a big difference.

HILL: Well, there have been civilian trials under the Bush administration, but I do agree --

COULTER: Not for the mastermind of 9/11.

HILL: I do agree that there is a different context. I do think there is something to be said about showing the American -- showing the world community that our court systems can give you a fair trial and still get the verdict that we want.

I think there is a safety issue. I think there is a perception issue for people of New York and whatever state we would move it to. I think that's a legitimate consideration, and that's why they back tracked on it. But I don't think it is wrong, as such, to try to have a civilian trial in the criminal justice system. I think you get the same outcome.

COULTER: What if you don't? I always thought that argument was a little bit weird.

(CROSS TALK)

COULTER: Why do it?

HILL: Even if they were found not guilty, they would -- do you think they would walk out of the courtroom like some mobster who got off on a technicality?

COULTER: Then there's no point to having a civilian trial. If you are not going to let them go, you are wasting everybody's time and money.

HILL: It's about honoring the system. Again, I'm not pro- civilian trial. But what I'm saying is it is not this act of anti- patriotism. It's not the soft position on terror. It's a decision. It's a political decision.

COULTER: Either you let him go or it's a show trial.

KING: Let me get a break.

HILL: I agree that it's a show trial, but they're saying that he is soft on terror because of it. He's not soft on terror.

COULTER: I think they let him go.

HILL: He just walks out with a --

COULTER: Then it is a show trial.

KING: He walks out, somebody will shoot him. It is America.

HILL: Wow.

KING: Be able to get a gun?

COULTER: I mean that's exactly --

KING: Wouldn't last a day.

COULTER: You don't want people taking the law into their own hands.

KING: I'm kidding.

COULTER: I know you are, but that is a legitimate -- that's why people are so mad about the mosque.

(CROSS TALK)

HILL: They wouldn't be let go. They're still enemy combatants. They still would be detainees. They would not be let go. That is not an issue. That's not at stake. The point about the show trials is fine, but the other point is not true.

KING: Let me get a break. Did Stephen Colbert make a spectacle of Congress or of himself last week? We will debate that with Ann Coulter and Marc Lamont Hill after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back. If you live in Chicago, Ann Coulter will appear there October 7th. You can check her website, AnnCoulter.com?

COULTER: Yes. Thank you.

KING: Find out where you can move to. Comedian Stephen Colbert is getting mixed reviews for his recent appearance on Capitol Hill. He testified last Friday at a hearing on migrant labor. Watch

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": We all know there is a long tradition of great nations importing foreign workers to do their farm work. After all, it was the ancient Israelites who built the first food pyramids.

But this is America. I don't want a tomato picked by a Mexican. I want it picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan, in a spa with where a Chilean gives me a Brazilian.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Did they get it or not?

HILL: They did. First of all, that is hilarious. Let's just --

(CROSS TALK)

HILL: Republicans don't have a sense of humor.

COULTER: That is why Republicans are pretending to think they think it is funny.

HILL: That's true, because you guys are so square. But this is actually funny. I think this issue of decorum is an issue of mocking Congress. I'm not a big fan of this, but --

KING: Was he mocking Congress?

HILL: I think so, to some extent. They deserve to be mocked, but I just don't know if that is the space for it.

COULTER: I think Republicans are pretending it is funny because they're worried that liberals will say they don't have a sense of humor. I think Stephen Colbert can be a funny man, but it is the same joke every night. And it has been for years. It's like doing the same sketch on "Saturday Night Live."

Yes, he plays dorky, stupid, Wal-Mart consuming right-winger blow hard.

HILL: The average Republican.

KING: That's the gag.

COULTER: OK, it's the same gag, night after night after night.

KING: Night after night, Jay Leno comes out and tells jokes.

COULTER: He tells a completely different joke. He's doing --

HILL: Nuance --

COULTER: Moreover, I not only agree with you that this is totally mocking Congress.

HILL: Yes.

COULTER: But who is he mocking in particular? He is in mocking Americans who have massive unemployment right now, who don't want immigrants, illegal immigrants often, taking their job.

KING: They don't want to pick grapes.

COULTER: -- bigots. He seems to think they are a bunch of bigots.

HILL: No.

COULTER: That I think is even more offensive.

HILL: I don't think he is mocking every day Americans. I do think some Americans are wrong with their stance toward immigration, toward immigration policy, toward what happened in Arizona over the last few months. I think there is a problem there, but I don't think that's what Colbert said at all.

KING: What about people who hire illegal immigrants?

HILL: I think that is problem, too. We need substantive immigration reform. I think part of what we saw in Arizona was a response to a White House that hasn't done much about that, or done enough about that. I think their response was wrong, completely wrong.

KING: Republicans didn't agree with Bush's policy?

HILL: Because that was one of the things that Bush actually began to make sense on, guest worker policies, allowing families to reunite on the other side of the border. What no one has talked about, which is extremely important, exchanging trade policy so that there's not the push into the United States.

We always talk about why people -- what happens with people once they get here. Let's talk about NAFTA. Let's talk about faulty trade policies that undermine the possibility that Mexican farmers can have a life in Mexico.

KING: You disagree with NAFTA?

HILL: Absolutely.

KING: That was a Clinton policy.

COULTER: But that allows trade. That would seem to cut down on illegal immigration, but we're going to lose the whole audience if we go into NAFTA? Could I attack the Republicans for a moment?

HILL: Because you are wrong about NAFTA. It is completely undermined.

COULTER: Look, your point that I totally agree with -- what about the people who hire the illegals? I agree 100 percent. They are the ones who are making the rest of us pay. They are not paying the workers enough themselves.

But don't worry, the tax payers will take care of your schooling, your hospitalization, your medical care. Now that is an elite establishment Republican issue compared to the Tea Party Republican. The Tea Party Republicans do not want to protect the employers and force all taxpayers to pay for it.

HILL: They don't want to protect anyone.

KING: Don't Ask, Don't Tell; it sounds like a description of this show. We will get to that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We have some breaking news to report. CNN's John King has learned that President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is all but certain to run for mayor of Chicago.

(NEWS BREAK)

KING: By the way, Marc Lamont Hill's new show will premier the weekend of October 19th, "Our World" with Black Enterprises. It's syndicated. You can check your newspapers for time and station.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, repeal it?

COULTER: No. In fact, I want the gays to come out against girls in the military.

HILL: Gay people should be able to serve freely. I hope that the president does everything he can.

KING: He campaigned that he would, right? HILL: Yes, but right now, Obama is playing to the center. He feels like he has the gay wing, as well as the black movement in his pocket. And I think he's starting to play to the center. He's worried about independent voters, swing voters.

KING: Is that a mistake or plus?

HILL: I think from a strategic perspective, it makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, from an ethical perspective, from a change perspective, I think it's disappointing. I think that President Obama is gesturing to the left, but governing from the middle. And that's very, very dangerous to me politically.

KING: Why are you opposed to repealing it?

COULTER: You say serve openly. They can serve, they just -- I just don't understand -- well, two things. I don't understand this idea. I just can't get through the work day without talking about my sex life. How do you expect me to serve? Point one.

Point two, all they have to do is not talk about it. Point two, the military --

HILL: While straight people can continue to talk about it. Is that what you mean?

(CROSS TALK)

HILL: Point one was terrible.

COULTER: That's all you have to do? Not talk about your sex life?

HILL: It's about who you are.

COULTER: You don't want sexuality influencing young men who are supposed to be defending the nation. And by the way, I really hate the idea of people who are not in the military deciding let's just change the rules here.

HILL: People in the military have supported it. Colin Powell is pretty supportive.

COULTER: Yes, I don't trust generals.

HILL: You don't trust Colin Powell now?

COULTER: Generals are very political. They kiss up to get ahead. I'll trust a colonel. You produce a majority of colonels -- but you don't go around changing the rules for something that's a very specialized field. Being in the military is very different.

KING: Did you favor it when Clinton proposed it?

COULTER: I think I was practicing law at the time and I had absolutely no opinion. I probably didn't even know what happened. KING: We'll be back with more moments. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: More about our breaking news. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will lead the White House to run for mayor of Chicago. Three Democratic sources close to Rahm Emanuel tell our own John King that Emanuel informed senior colleagues that he's all but certain to run for mayor. What do you think of that?

HILL: I'm excited, Larry. I'm happy for Chicago. But, more importantly, I'm happy for Democrats. Rahm Emanuel has been a bull in a China shop. I think he's been bad for the Obama --

KING: He's a failed chief of staff?

HILL: I don't want to call him a failure. But I don't think he's the best thing for the Obama administration. I think the Obama administration, as you mentioned earlier, campaigned well. I don't think they've been governing --

KING: Should they go out of the White House to get the next one?

HILL: Oh, absolutely. I think they need some new blood.

KING: What do you think?

COULTER: Maybe go up to Alaska or Delaware. And, by the way, when you just had your little interview with Cooper Anderson coming up on that Alan Grayson accusing his opponent of being a member of the Taliban -- can we stop talking about Christine O'Donnell like there's some -- she's against pornography.

HILL: You refer to Democrats at Hezbo-crats.

COULTER: No, I didn't.

HILL: I heard you do that.

COULTER: You've never heard me say that.

HILL: Absolutely.

COULTER: No, and I'm a little insulted that you were confusing me with a lesser member of the Republican party.

HILL: I would never do that. You're the chief of the extreme right wing.

KING: Are we going to extend the tax cuts of the Bush administration?

COULTER: I suspect they'll wait for the lame duck Congress, or as we're referring to it, the crazy duck Congress, where they are going to pass all the crazy things Marc Lamont Hill wants.

HILL: Like there's social provisions, food for children.

COULTER: Cap and trade.

KING: Are they going to extend?

HILL: The jury is not out. My gut says yes. My gut says yes.

KING: The tax cuts will stick.

HILL: Yes, that's my gut.

KING: You want them to stick?

COULTER: I do. But you have a Democrat House, Democrat Senate, Democrat president.

HILL: I'm saying, I hope they don't extend them.

KING: If there's a big Republican victory, don't you think --

COULTER: That's possible. That's the only way I think they might back down. If enough Democrats who remain and will be there after the lame duck Congress are worried about the election, that is going to be a lot better for Republicans in two years.

The next two years and then four years, a lot better for us in terms of the Senate seats that are up.

HILL: In terms of Senate seats, absolutely. In terms of Senate seats, perhaps. It all depends on what happens with the economy.

But one thing I think about Obama that's actually interesting is that I think he may be better with more Republicans in the House. I think he's a much better negotiator. I don't think he's a good frontrunner, actually. I don't think they play well from the front.

KING: He's a better underdog?

HILL: I think he is a better underdog. I think he's a better negotiator. I think he's a better -- he governs for consensus. He doesn't govern to win.

COULTER: I wouldn't say that. But the Republicans will stop him from doing completely crazy things. But we are not going to take the Senate, so you guys are going to be in trouble.

HILL: I don't know about that. I think we'll some interesting things happen regardless of what happens in November.

KING: One thing, it will not be dull. And as long as you two are around, it will never be dull. Ann Coulter and Marc Lamont Hill, guaranteed we'll have them back.

OK? And good luck to both of you.

HILL: Thanks, Larry. KING: I'm so proud. By the way, do you agree or not with Ann Coulter that Sarah Palin has more influence than the president? Go to Who'sRight.com/LarryKing and weigh in.

Bob Woodward, Wednesday night. Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer, our new dynamic duo, on Thursday night. And you can go to our blog to send in your video or written questions for them. CNN.com/Larry King. "AC 360" and Anderson Cooper right now. Anderson?