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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

'Parker Spitzer' Preview; Tony Curtis Remembered

Aired September 30, 2010 - 21:00   ET

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


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a Kathleen Parker/Eliot Spitzer preview. She's a conservative, he's a liberal. And they're ready to rumble over politics and practically everything else. Do opposites ever agree?

And then, Tony Curtis dead at the age of 85. Starred in some of Hollywood's iconic films "Spartacus," "Some Like it Hot" and "The Defiant Ones." And he led a private life that rivaled characters he played on the screen. Debbie Reynolds is here with a salute to her friend. We'll look back at his last appearance on this show. All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. We're delighted to have Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer with us. Their new show "Parker Spitzer" debuts on CNN Monday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 p.m. Pacific. Kathleen is a Pulitzer prize winning columnist. Eliot, the former governor of New York. Nervous?

ELIOT SPITZER, CO-HOST, "PARKER SPITZER": About what?

(laughter)

KING: Synagogue, Saturday, you know, the things.

SPITZER: Of course, one always is.

KING: Are you nervous?

KATHLEEN PARKER, CO-HOST, "PARKER SPITZER": About the show?

KING: Yes.

PARKER: No, I'm more nervous sitting here with you because you're a star.

SPITZER: Isn't she amazing?

KING: So far she's--

SPITZER: She always wins you over from the start.

KING: How did this come about? Who handled it? Who -- how did it -- give me the story.

SPITZER: You know, John Klein called me. PARKER: John Klein called me.

SPITZER: There we go. We're going to do this in tandem, and said do you want to do a show? He said--

PARKER: And he said do you want to do a show.

SPITZER: And I said, are you nuts? And he said let's have a conversation. He said this will be exciting. You'll do it with somebody who is smart, witty, clever. I said who's that? And he said we have somebody we want to you meet. And when we met, I called him back. I said, she's a start. She's smart, witty, clever, but I can't beat her in a debate so why should I do this?

(laughter)

KING: When you heard they wanted to pair you with Eliot Spitzer, what were your thoughts?

PARKER: Well, I was the -- I had a couple of meetings with Jon Klein just, you know, over coffee.

KING: Jon the former--

PARKER: Jon was the former president of CNN.

KING: Right.

PARKER: He was the one that initiated the conversations. And it was very casual. And he said he was looking at a lot of different people. Finally, he got around to giving me a call. He said would you -- I'd like you go to New York and you meet the person I think you might -- that might be your co-anchor if we do this. And I said, okay, you going to tell me who it is? And he said, yes. I said okay. And he said Eliot Spitzer. And I paused a couple beats and I said bold.

SPITZER: And we met. And it's been great.

PARKER: Yes. So I took the train up. I met him in his office. We had a cup of coffee. We talked for, you know, non-stop for an hour. And that's it.

KING: Now this is--

SPITZER: Kind of like doing a show.

PARKER: Kind of like doing a show.

KING: This is been at work to cancel "CROSSFIRE." And most people I run into say is this "CROSSFIRE" revisited?

SPITZER: You know, even your introduction said liberal, conservative. And I think-- KING: But you say it in your promo.

SPITZER: Yes, kind of, you're right. We do. But I think the reality is, we want to be thoughtful. And what that means is we're going to disagree sometimes. We're going to agree sometimes. We will have a smart conversation, not talking points, not predictable, based on facts. And try to say, look, there's 15 percent here, 15 percent here, 70 percent in the middle. What does common sense tell us we should do?

PARKER: Yes.

SPITZER: And we'll disagree about it, but we're going to try to get to a result.

KING: Are you going to have guests?

PARKER: Absolutely. We're going to invite the smartest people we can find. And--

KING: Give me the format. What happens? Do you talk the first 10 minutes? I mean, how does it work?

PARKER: Kind of like that. We start out with an opening argument. We talk about a given subject that we select first thing in the morning. And we go through several--

KING: You don't know Monday's topic, right?

PARKER: No, we don't. We'll decide that--

SPITZER: Too much is going to happen between now and then. I mean, who could have predicted Rahm would leave tomorrow morning? I mean, this is an amazing thing. So things happen. We will say this is important.

KING: Then what?

SPITZER: What's your take on it? And we'll--

PARKER: And then we talk about it just the two of us--

KING: Right.

PARKER: --going back and forth. And you know, even though, obviously, Eliot is identified as a Democrat and I'm identified as a conservative, I want to reiterate what he said. We are both--

SPITZER: Well, you said Democrat conservative, not Republican--

PARKER: Well, I'm trying to be honest here.

SPITZER: But you know--

PARKER: I'm not actually a registered Republican. I'm probably going to get fired for saying that. But in any case-- SPITZER: Too smart to do that. I understand it. I appreciate that.

PARKER: You know, a pox on everybody's house, as far as I'm concerned.

KING: After that, what happens?

PARKER: Then we invite guests. And we have, you know, two guests. And then, we continue that conversation with somebody who--

KING: And is the topic the whole hour topic?

PARKER: No, no, no, no, no.

SPITZER: We will span the globe for politics, economics, culture, something fun--

KING: Oh, it's not just politics?

SPITZER: Oh, no, no. Well, look, politics--

PARKER: Everything's political. Everything--

SPITZER: You talk economics, it's politics. And you can't get two people to agree what to do.

PARKER: You talk about culture, it's political.

SPITZER: Right, I mean, you talk about culture, you talk about Wall Street, you know, money never sleeps. Is that about politics? Is it economics? So everything comes back to political--

PARKER: We're going talk to authors.

SPITZER: And it's going to be great.

PARKER: We're going to talk to filmmakers, you know, everybody.

KING: "Parker Spitzer" has been in rehearsals the past few weeks. So you're going to see something you haven't seen yet. A preview of what you're going to see Monday. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPITZER: Folks, the middle class is under attack. Now wouldn't know it if you read the newspapers, because you know what they're telling us. The recession is over. It's better than that, it ended in June of 2009. I don't believe it. You don't believe it either.

PARKER: Mr. President, I feel sorry for you. Every time I see you lately, you look like you're wondering how you got stuck with this job. You know, you look so sad, I want to give you a hug. But that's not really how I want to feel about the person chosen to lead this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Well, that's a good start.

PARKER: That was a couple weeks ago.

SPITZER: Oh, yes, we're just -- if I had known you were going to show it on your show, we would have said something with oomph.

PARKER: Yes, yes, yes.

KING: Frankly, now many people outside of New York may not know you more than because of the scandal.

SPITZER: Right.

KING: Do you think that's going to have an impact?

SPITZER: Look, I hope--

KING: You have to deal with it.

SPITZER: Oh, absolutely. And I hope people will look at me and say when they find out more, here's somebody who spent many years as attorney general, fighting for the middle class, fighting for the people who didn't have a voice in government anywhere. And when they find out more about what I did as attorney general and as governor, they'll say, you know what, we think he was right about some important things. And I will say very forthright, as I have, I did something egregiously wrong to my family. I apologized. I resigned. And now I'm ready to move forward. And I hope the people will accept that.

KING: When you heard it was Eliot Spitzer, you had to think of that, right?

PARKER: Well, sure. I mean, the first thing that pops into mind--

KING: How did you deal with it?

PARKER: Well, I approached it scientifically. I went and checked out and read about every book.

KING: Scientifically?

PARKER: Yes.

SPITZER: She did more research than anybody I know.

PARKER: I don't believe in risks about making big decisions based on emotions. So I read all the books about Eliot. I talked to my family, I talked to my editors at "The Washington Post." And I really, you know, examined whether this was something I'd want to do. I was more concerned about him as a policy wonk than as serious debater--

KING: Debater. PARKER: --than I was about his prior life.

KING: Do you think it will be difficult, let's say, frankly, there's a major sex scandal story.

SPITZER: Right.

KING: Are you going to cover it?

SPITZER: Sure. And you know--

KING: It will be difficult to deal with.

SPITZER: No, it won't be difficult. It is--

KING: But they happen every week now.

PARKER: It will be difficult for me, because I don't believe in covering sex scandals. I didn't write about Eliot Spitzer. I didn't write about John Edwards. I've actually avoided that tabloid mentality.

KING: Well, since you're discussing a lot of things, you might--

PARKER: Well, we may. But it really--

KING: (INAUDIBLE) those boys, right?

PARKER: --depends on what it is and what it means to the larger picture. I'm not going to go snooping in people's personal lives.

KING: Would you have a difficulty with it?

SPITZER: No, look, I've been forthright with the public.

KING: Right.

SPITZER: I have been very open about what -- how I erred, how I failed. And I acted properly I think in response by resigning. And so, if it is a context where I have to pass judgment, I'll be able to say here's what I did and why. And it's one more piece of--

KING: Did you ever think when all of that happened that horrible day when you had to resign that you'd be hosting a television show?

(LAUGHTER)

PARKER: Now here's the funny thing. You didn't ask him what he thought when he heard it was me. He never heard of me.

KING: You never heard of her?

PARKER: No.

SPITZER: I wasn't going say that on national TV. Of course, I heard -- you won the Pulitzer Prize. How could I not have heard?

PARKER: Yes.

SPITZER: I'd never heard of her.

PARKER: Sure.

SPITZER: But here's the amazing thing about Kathleen. Her articles are carried in what, 453, is that the number?

PARKER: Something like that.

SPITZER: Something like that, newspapers across the country. Now--

PARKER: Used to mean something.

SPITZER: 10 people read them. No. It used to be that, you know, in New York City, they're not carried. Now "The Washington Post" all over the country, she is a celebrity. She goes to St. Louis, sells out the auditorium. Right and so--

PARKER: Right, they like me a lot more than they like you.

SPITZER: Wait a minute, I'm not going to take that sitting down.

KING: Why aren't you in "The Post," though, the news?

PARKER: You know, I think I used to be when I was with Tribune -- I think they--

KING: They own the--

PARKER: Yes, but when I left "Tribune," they all, you know, dropped me.

SPITZER: New York City is an echo chamber. And people here think we're the media capital. And therefore, we don't often enough listen to the voices from the rest of the country. And I will tell you Kathleen's columns, they're not easily pegged as liberal conservative. They're just common sense. And I think the response she gets whether it is on tough issues like living in New York, or the mosque going up, it evokes a fascinating response.

KING: It debuts Monday night. More with Kathleen and Eliot, as we preview "Parker Spitzer," Monday night, 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARKER: Good evening, I'm Kathleen Parker.

SPITZER: And I'm Eliot Spitzer. Welcome to "Parker Spitzer." You know, Kathleen, let's take a moment and explain what we're trying to do with the show. When I think about it, the single most important thing to me is ideas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I like the set and I like the--

SPITZER: Then there's a vacuum.

KING: But we have no idea tonight--

PARKER: I think it's an idea, Eliot.

KING: Okay, all right, let's get into some political things. What's going to happen in November?

PARKER: I think the Republicans are probably going to take the House.

KING: Not the Senate, but the House?

PARKER: I don't know about the Senate, but I think the House is pretty certain. Eliot?

KING: The Senate has too many -- the Senate has a lot of safe Democratic seats.

PARKER: Yes.

KING: Yes.

PARKER: And--

SPITZER: They're safe now since the Republicans nominated, you know, some folks on the fringe that, you know, witches. I mean, since when do you nominate a witch for that--

PARKER: Oh, Eliot, good grief. Good grief.

SPITZER: I know how the (INAUDIBLE) coming up.

PARKER: Just when have you minded witches?

SPITZER: When is that, October 31? There's no witch candidates. I mean, Democrats--

PARKER: I think that's so unfair. You know, Christine O'Donnell, I mean, I'm not a big fan--

SPITZER: Don't tell me you're a witch, too. I'm going to get worried about this.

PARKER: I've dabbled, I mean, all--

SPITZER: You're wearing all black tonight. I'm getting worried.

PARKER: All little girls are fascinated with witches. And the reason is because they're powerful women. We didn't have a whole lot of choices.

SPITZER: The witches? (INAUDIBLE) I went through this with you.

PARKER: Oh, the Democrats, always good at Eleanor. I mean, the good witch of the west, north, south.

KING: What do you think is going to happen in November?

SPITZER: I think the Democrats hold the Senate, because I think when you go state by state, the Republicans have really hurt themselves with their nominees. The House, everybody thinks the Republicans take it. It is not so clear to me, because when you get down--

KING: No?

SPITZER: I'll tell you what, even here in New York, Mike (INAUDIBLE) southern tier, I don't want to get too granular, there are a lot of seats that are under assault where the Republicans will not come out on top at the end of the day. And I think the tide is turning a little bit. I've been speaking to people in the field. The excitement on the Democratic side is coming back. The president is getting out there and explaining?

PARKER: It is? Everybody in the White House is jumping ship.

SPITZER: Right.

KING: How can you say that the excitement is coming back?

SPITZER: I'll be very open. That's why I'm annoyed at Rahm. I think this is the worst time for him to leave the White House. He should stick it out--

KING: He wants to be mayor of Chicago.

PARKER: Yes.

SPITZER: Too bad. He's -- I'm sorry, Rahm, I love you in many respects, but you're working for the president of the United States. You cannot do anything that hurts him.

PARKER: Rahm has to get, what, 12,000 signatures before November 22nd? I mean, he doesn't have a whole lot of time.

SPITZER: He can do that in two days. He has three weeks between November 2nd and November--

PARKER: Uh-oh.

KING: Bob Woodward was here last night. And he had a suggestion for the Obama administration. I wonder what you think of it.

PARKER: Okay.

KING: That, you know, Gates -- Bill Gates -- Bob Gates. SPITZER: Bring Bill Gates in. That'd be a good idea.

KING: Oh, yes. Good point. Ask Colin Powell to take that.

PARKER: Oh, I think that would be fabulous. I think that would be spectacular.

SPITZER: Spectacular. Look, Colin Powell is--

PARKER: And Colin Powel has given Barack Obama indirectly some pretty good advice, you know. And I think he has a real feel for what the nation -- what the zeitgeist, for lack of a better word is.

KING: And he'd be inclined probably to accept because he's a--

PARKER: I would hope.

SPITZER: I'll take you, take 10 seconds to tell you a true story. In '06 when I was running for governor, there was a rumor one day that Colin Powell would be the Republican nominee. Reporters came up to me and said, you know, Attorney General Spitzer, what are you going to do if Colin Powell is the Republican nominee? I said it's very easy. They looked at me and said how can it be easy? I said if he's the nominee, I'll vote for him. It was that simple. I -- he is a spectacular leader, thinker, a great man.

KING: He could turn it around?

SPITZER: Absolutely. Absolutely.

PARKER: Well, it would be a nice gesture, too, beyond that just to bring in a little, you know, as we're trying to do on you show, not be so partisan.

KING: As a conservative, liberals, as you know, many liberals are disappointed with this administration.

PARKER: Yes, so I hear.

KING: How do you feel about him? If they're disappointed, that means he's more to the center, isn't he? So you should be happier with him--

PARKER: Well--

KING: --by that reasoning?

PARKER: --I think everybody's disappointed with him for different reasons. And I would put myself more in this great big center but slightly to the right of center. But I was a -- I'm a big fan of Barack Obama as he came into office. And was not one of those Republicans who wanted him to do badly. I didn't want him to fail.

KING: That was--

PARKER: I do think he made a big mistake, though, by tackling these massive policy overhauls at a time when we were very vulnerable economically. And I think that's obvious now. We, you know, looking back, it's pretty easy to see that he should have gone after the economy and jobs rather than health care.

KING: Has he disappointed you?

SPITZER: In certain respects. Look, having been in executive position, I can tell you, it is unbelievably difficult when the world problems around your plate. He's doing a remarkable job tackling them one by one. And what we should remember, Franklin Roosevelt, two years into his administration, the same place politically. Ronald Reagan, the same place politically that Barack Obama is at. Bill Clinton, same place. And they all emerged, of course, as these stupendous leaders. And so, this is what happens after the euphoria of victory, there is disappointment. On some issues, yes.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) personality. Reagan had a personality. And Clinton had a personality.

SPITZER: Right.

KING: And Barack Obama seems in that department--

SPITZER: Yes.

PARKER: Well, we're early. You know, it's only two years in. And actually, you know, a lot of people fully become fully themselves as president--

KING: Right.

PARKER: --after about a two year period. That could change.

SPITZER: But Bill Clinton emerged. I mean, it was an awful moment, but the Oklahoma City bomber--

KING: Yes, that's true.

SPITZER: --when he went there and he gave this spectacular speech, and he became our preacher, our father, our minister, that was when the empathy sort of emerged.

KING: He overwhelmed the '94 elections after it looked--

SPITZER: Yes.

KING: --he was a dead duck.

SPITZER: That's right.

KING: "Parker Spitzer" premieres Monday at 8:00. You're getting a little preview here. Check it out. More after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Parker and Spitzer. Sounds like a law firm, but it's a television show. And it debuts Monday night at 8:00, Eastern, 5:00, Pacific. Let's talk some individual races. What do you make of this New York governor's race?

PARKER: I'm going to defer to my co-anchor here.

SPITZER: Look, it's a shame it has descended into these crazy allegations involving Colin Powell, you know, who's the Republican -- basically, a key party candidate who won the Republican primary, he is not going to win. It will be closer than people would have thought, because of the dynamic not only here in New York, but across the nation. The upstate economy is an abomination and needs to be dealt with. We are trying to do that. Andrew Cuomo will win, will not win with the margin you want.

KING: Why are you critical of him?

SPITZER: Because look--

KING: Are you endorsing him?

SPITZER: I'm not allowed to endorse I don't think in my position. I've supported him. I've said very clearly I will for him. I guess it's endorsement. I may (INAUDIBLE).

PARKER: You're going to vote for the Democrat, no matter what, right?

SPITZER: No, I've voted -- I've crossed party lines in races and will always vote for the best candidate. He will win because he understands, I think, what New York really needs. I think Carl Paladino's answers are simplistic and lacking in texture in terms of really bringing back our state economy.

KING: What do you think of the governor's race in California?

PARKER: Well, we've just been talking about--

KING: Whitman and illegals maybe and denying it. That race is even?

PARKER: Yes, well, I think--

SPITZER: I think Jerry Brown wins.

PARKER: Well--

SPITZER: I do. I think that at the end of the day, the Jerry Brown mystique. At one point, he was (INAUDIBLE). I mean, this goes back, what, 30 years.

PARKER: How fast things change or--

SPITZER: (INAUDIBLE). But remember, he also was a great mayor in Oakland. Great Navy overstates. You talked. He was the mayor of Oakland. He was the attorney general. He knows how to govern. I think he's going to pull it out. KING: Have you seen the ads out there?

PARKER: I have not. I have been so--

KING: The money that's spent is incredible.

PARKER: --completely consumed by this -- tell me about it.

KING: She's going to spend as much as the presidential race.

PARKER: Well, sure, no, she's spending a fortune.

KING: And he's getting a lot of money coming into him now, too.

PARKER: Yes. Well, so -- can we talk about this Meg Whitman thing? Because we were just talking about during the break. And I think it's so interesting to talk about--

KING: The charge that she had an illegal working for her.

PARKER: right. And do you think that's a deal breaker? I mean, that's -- I'm curious to know what you all think. I'm practicing my hostess.

KING: Don't you have an opinion, Pulitzer Prize winner?

PARKER: Well, I don't know all the facts. How about that?

SPITZER: Oh, my goodness. It'd--

KING: If she knew she had an illegal, she's in big trouble?

PARKER: I think she is in big trouble.

KING: If she knew.

PARKER: Yes.

SPITZER: If she knew.

PARKER: If she knew.

SPITZER: If she knew. And that's why I think she's going to -- regardless of how it ends, she's entering a very rough week during which every fact will be parsed. And whatever communications effort she had to send a message about, she's a great manager. And she ran a big business. And she's going to bring back the economy. The only issue they're going to talk about is this issue. And so it's a distraction.

PARKER: Well, it's a huge issue right now with immigration sort of peaking right now. This--

KING: (INAUDIBLE).

PARKER: Yes. SPITZER: And as you put it, she has been so vigorous--

PARKER: If it weren't so bad.

SPITZER: --and saying prosecute companies, that's the tension. And it could be uncomfortable.

KING: Someone slightly right of center, Pulitzer prize winner, very bright, what's your read on the Tea Party?

PARKER: You know, I started out as less than a fan of the Tea Party because I felt like it was terribly divisive and harmful to good candidates, who could more likely win in national elections.

But I've gradually become a little bit more of a fan, because I love the -- we've talked about this a little bit on our show. We love the grassroots aspect of it, that these are people who have actually gotten themselves organized and who are passionate about what happens to this country. So you have to admire that part.

I think we've been unfair to the Tea Party in many respects, because so often we focus, we, the media.

KING: Well, they show up with placards--

PARKER: Well, there are always going to be weirdos who show up at a rally. Right? But I don't -- think that characterizes the movement at all. I think there are, you know, 15 weirdos for very 10,000 good people. So I'm not as quick to criticize them as I was initially.

SPITZER: You know, here's the thing. We begin with the same premise, Grassroots activism is great. That is what changes the country. The labor movement, women's rights movement, peace movement, environmental movement all began as grassroots efforts.

KING: All liberal movements?

SPITZER: Well, you could find conservative -- Barry Goldwater. You know, the movements that change our politics all begin outside Washington. And that's a wonderful thing about democracy. And this is one of those movements.

Now I happen to think it is -- the Tea Party is really just a repository of anger. And their answers are as vapid as you could be. I don't think there is a meaningful answer that has been proposed--

PARKER: I think it's very hard to -- I don't think the need to have answers.

SPITZER: See, this is, no, no, but that--

PARKER: I don't think they have to.

SPITZER: That may be.

PARKER: The Tea Party movement doesn't have to present a policy statement.

SPITZER: Well, if it wants to be a real player in politics, eventually it needs to say, here's what we think we should do.

KING: Can you just be against something without being for something?

SPITZER: You can't be a nihilist. You can't just say no.

PARKER: Yes, you can.

SPITZER: But not govern. You do it and be politically--

PARKER: Well, they're not governing, you know?

SPITZER: No, but they want to. In other words, to the extent they want to be taken seriously as a governing force. They need to take one step forward. Now but let me tell you one step beyond that. My agony is that the Democratic Party, Barack Obama should have been the one who capitalized on the very real upset in the middle class. Because this say middle class movement. It is people saying we have been ignored. Barack Obama should have been the voice for that. And I'm frustrated about that.

KING: You know what's very interesting about you two?

PARKER: What?

KING: Even though you don't agree, you have chemistry. And that's what'll make this show a hit. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with Parker Spitzer. Debuts Monday night. Former President Carter was here the other day. And said he has never in his life, or in his student of history seen the country more divided than right now. Agree?

PARKER: Well, in my lifetime, I think that -- well, no, it's not true. I mean, in the '60s, during the Vietnam War, we were pretty divided then. I mean, that was a pretty--

SPITZER: We had a Civil War.

PARKER: Yeah.

SPITZER: I mean--

KING: In his lifetime.

PARKER: In his lifetime.

KING: Well, Vietnam, though, it swung so much at the end, there was very few in favor at the end.

PARKER: It feels that way. I mean, it really does feel like we are kind of splitting apart. And there are so many different elements. The Tea Party is really actually the third element. Yes, I mean, I think -- except, I mean, the war period, I remember very well.

SPITZER: There is. But It can come back together. It is very -- there's an anger and anxiety of fear out there that is palpable. And I think every politician, every pundit, every editorial writer sees it. You walk down the street, you see it, but if the economy--

PARKER: The middle class is suffering. We've got more poor people than we've had since the Depression. You know, the economy's suffering. There are no jobs. We've been going through some of these exercises.

KING: Which is?

SPITZER: And that is going to be one of the big themes of the show. We are going to talk about how do you save the middle class? The middle class is paying the price for the excesses of the very, very wealthy.

PARKER: Yes.

SPITZER: And whether you're Democrat or Republican, that is a factual reality. We've got to figure this out. If we do figure it out, people will come back together very quickly.

PARKER: But I think that anger also has to do -- I mean, there's anger. There's fear that has to do with the economy and the job market. And then there's anger at the government for fear -- you know, because there are all these expansions of government power at a time when they feel like there needs to be--

SPITZER: Yes, but ten years ago, there was a great consensus. When Barack Obama was sworn in, everybody loved him. And we can get back to that pretty quickly. And I think--

PARKER: I don't think so.

SPITZER: Oh, I do, oh, I do. Not about him necessarily. Yes, but we will find--

PARKER: Well, I'm optimistic because I'm an American. And I think--

SPITZER: We're always optimistic.

PARKER: And I know that our nation can pull it together, but

KING: Will you ever go back to politics?

SPITZER: Look, right now, the things I care about are my family, this TV show, and contributing in some way. I think this TV show can help contribute. If we participate in the conversation in a meaningful way, that will --

PARKER: I think Eliot is going to fall in love with journalism, Larry. He's going to find out that this is a lot more fun than serving in public office.

KING: Why don't you fall in love with politics?

PARKER: That ain't going happen.

(CROSS TALK)

PARKER: No, I've been a journalist for 30 something years. I can't imagine being in that position. I don't know why anybody runs for public office, if you want to know the truth. But they do.

SPITZER: Let me defend it for a second. Because as journalists now, we either mock politicians and say why do it. Because those who succeed do something really important. And it may be few and far in between, and the cynicism right now is so real.

PARKER: It's not that I don't admire people who serve their country.

KING: They stand up. They get counted in November. We don't get counted.

PARKER: Well, yes, we do.

KING: But we don't have a November date. We don't have a win/lose on a November date.

PARKER: No, that's right. But I think Eliot's going to enjoy the fact that he does have a platform. He's driven to participate in the public arena somehow.

SPITZER: This is a great way to do it, just the way you have. I think that contribution --

KING: It's nice.

SPITZER: Yeah.

KING: Are you looking forward to it? I mean, is there some queasiness? Because you've had the wonderful thing of print success. It's a different ball game.

PARKER: Yeah. It's a very different ball game. It's very collaborative, which is a whole new experience for me. I am used to living -- working alone and I don't speak to anybody until noon. Now suddenly, I have got a lot of interactions. So that's a big adjustment. But, yes, I'm excited. It's going to be fun.

KING: Are you excited?

SPITZER: Oh, it's great. Look, there's a lot of tension about it. And everybody says, are you going to succeed? And there are people watching who say, we better step up to the plate and hit this one out of the park. But it is great, the excitement and the energy.

KING: I see you get to even walk around a little. PARKER: This is Eliot's occasional economy lesson -- economics lesson.

SPITZER: Kathleen falls asleep during this.

PARKER: You'll see I'm sleeping on the table during this section.

KING: Good luck to you.

SPITZER: Thank you.

KING: Good luck to you.

PARKER: Thank you so much.

KING: Kathleen Parker, Eliot Spitzer. "Parker Spitzer" debuts Monday night, 8:00 Eastern. Tony Curtis died yesterday, 85 years old. Debbie Reynolds joins us to talk about her friend. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Screen legend Tony Curtis died yesterday at age 85. Debbie Reynolds, the well-known actress, entertainer -- she starred in "Good-Bye Charlie" and "Rat Race" with Tony Curtis. Currently performing a one-woman show, "Debbie Reynolds, Alive and Fabulous." She is coming to us from the theater where she performs, El Portal (ph) Theater in North Hollywood.

Before we talk with Debbie, Tony was a guest on this show many times. Let's take a look at a clip from 1989, in which he discusses his legacy. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY CURTIS, ACTOR: John Renoir, the film director, was a friend of mine. He told me once -- I never forgot it -- he said, the meaning comes after the works. So perhaps my career will be more examined when I'm not around to examine is myself.

KING: Like Tyrone Power. Maybe the looks sometimes got in the way of our appreciation.

CURTIS: I think it does. As you know, looks are -- get in the way of everybody. We look at ugly people the same way we look at pretty people.

KING: And make judgments?

CURTIS: And we make judgments and we criticize. I don't -- Listen, I'm really very privileged to look like I do

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, Debbie, how close were you? DEBBIE REYNOLDS, ACTRESS: Well, we were really good friends. I love that line he says. Nobody looks as good as he did. He loved life. Tony loved life. He loved -- he certainly didn't want to go now. Nobody had a better time than Tony. He loved the ladies. He loved art. He loved this business more than anything.

KING: How good a friend was he? What kind of guy was he?

REYNOLDS: Well, he's a guy's guy. You know how you are, Larry. From Brooklyn, what can I say?

KING: He's from the Bronx.

REYNOLDS: You boys stick together.

KING: He was a great looking guy.

(CROSS TALK)

REYNOLDS: Great looking guy, handsome. He had wonderful children. Janet Lee was a good friend of mine. Of course, they were married. We were all very close friends when we were young, a long, long time ago. But he had a wonderful life. He had a full life. He was a great, marvelous actor. He really showed everybody that he was a good actor with "The Defiant One," "Some Like it Hot" with Monroe. He certainly was funny as can be in that.

KING: Speaking of that, Debbie, one of his most favorite roles was in a movie voted by many funniest comedy ever made, Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot" with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemon. Let's take a look at Tony I think in drag. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me, who runs up that flag? Your wife?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, my flag steward?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who mixes the cocktails? Your wife?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, my cocktails steward. Look, if you're interested in whether I am married or not --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I'm not interested at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's very interesting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: He's in drag for most of the movie, but that was not one of the scenes. He related to women well. He new Marilyn pretty well, did he not, Debbie. At least he told me that.

REYNOLDS: Yes. Well, he did. We all did. Marilyn was a really sweet gal. She really was. Tony -- he was very funny in that picture. It was drag -- you didn't get to see that one. I just thought he was superb. Jack Lemon was wonderful, but he was great in that.

KING: Yes, he was. Debbie, how's things going with you?

REYNOLDS: Everything's going great with me. I'm always on the road 42 weeks a year. I'm going to South Pointe and Vegas next week. I'm here this week. We're going to Australia and England. I'm going to Pittsburgh. I just keep moving around. I'm afraid if I stop, I'll drop dead.

KING: Thanks, Debbie.

REYNOLDS: Not a good thing to say.

KING: You're a great entertainer.

REYNOLDS: You can't retire, by the way, Larry. Never. We don't ever want you to retire.

KING: I'll be around, Debolah (ph). Debbie Reynolds from --

(CROSS TALK)

KING: Here's a statement from Tony's daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis. The quote is "my father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages. He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him, and a wife and in laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world. He will be greatly missed."

The late Tony Curtis. Hard to say that, late. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CURTIS: I think that's usually when people find out who I am, they get themselves a wheelchair, a shyster lawyer and sue me for three quarters of a million dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't worry, I won't sue you, no matter who you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to look at the bright side. You've probably got the sexiest chest in the Navy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iyama (ph) isn't another man. He's a king.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm a slave. And I loved you the moment I saw you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rest easy, John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colin, we gave them a hell of a run for it, didn't we?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What a movie that was. Debbie Reynolds is still with us. We're talking to her about the death of Tony Curtis. Joining is on the phone is Hugh Hefner, the founder of "Playboy." Tony was a guest many times on our show over the years. Here is discussing stardom. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What was stardom like for a young kid from New York, who used to dream about that?

CURTIS: Too good.

KING: Better than you thought.

CURTIS: Better than I thought. This was an experience I was having. How do you parlay that? How do you come out of those images, and memories, and joys, and disappointments that you think in your brain? The next thing you know, there you are kissing Piper Laurie.

KING: And there's the red carpet and the --

CURTIS: Everywhere you go, this way, this way.

KING: Mr. Curtis --

CURTIS: Please. I loved it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Hugh Hefner, how well did you know Tony?

HUGH HEFNER, "PLAYBOY" FOUNDER: Well, Tony and I met in 1960. He was going to accept an award from the box office people as the top male actor of the year. And I was hosting "Playboy's Penthouse" and he appeared on the show. We clicked immediately. We became very close friends. We've been close friends throughout the years since.

KING: What was special about him?

HEFNER: Well, what you saw in particularly his comedic roles is who Tony was. I mean, he was a very special, likeable, lovable guy. Just a dear friend during good times and bad. And it was a real shocker for me. Age notwithstanding, it was a real shocker for me this morning to wake up and discover that he had passed away.

KING: Bernie Schwartz from New York. Debbie, what made him a star?

(CROSS TALK)

REYNOLDS: Well, I have to laugh because we're talking to Hugh. We're talking to Hugh who has Everything that -- that's what Tony loved, everything beautiful, with all the Playgirls. What made Tony a star was that he had the it thing. He had the it. He was beautiful. He was a wonderful actor. He was funny. He was like Kerry Grant quality. He loved the business. He had it.

KING: Hugh, why do you think he was a star? Do you agree he had it?

HEFNER: I agree very much with what he said -- what she said. You know, he was charismatic, in person and on screen. And he was a beautiful human being, inside and out.

KING: Let's take a look at Tony in "Spartacus."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CURTIS: Slaves you were and slaves you remain. But the terrible penalty of crucifixion has been set aside on the single condition that you identify the body or the living person of the slave called Spartacus!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Spartacus!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Spartacus!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Spartacus!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Spartacus!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Spartacus!

(CROSS TALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What a movie that was. Lawrence Olivier. Kirk is still around, Kirk Douglas. Hugh, he died -- his son died in '94 of a heroin overdose. Were you close to him at that time?

HEFNER: Talking to me?

KING: Yeah.

HEFNER: Close to who?

KING: Tony.

HEFNER: Yes, absolutely. I don't remember it in that context, but yes.

KING: How did he handle that?

HEFNER: I don't really have any particular frame of reference in terms of that.

KING: Debbie, he battled drugs and alcohol himself, did he not? REYNOLDS: Well, yeah. I think that Tony handled it very well because he had -- the other children, you know, were very special. Jamie Lee and Kelly and the other children, you know, they helped him through that. And Tony could always meet a crisis. You know, he was -- he tried to be a very good father because he was a good person. He tried to be the best that he could be.

KING: Thank you, Deb. We're out of time. I've got to run. Debbie, thank you so much. Hugh Hefner, thank you. By the way, in later years, Curtis began painting. And I actually have one of his originals in my hallway at home. He was quite a painter. We'll have more on the life and legacy of the one and only Bernie Schwartz, better known as Tony Curtis, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Last week, we announced the top ten CNN Heroes of 2010. We'll be calling on friends of CNN Heroes in the coming weeks to tell us more about these extraordinary people. Today, Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino introduces you to one of them, Anuradha Koirala. He patrols the Indian/Nepal border to stop human trafficking. He's rescued and rehabilitated more than 12,000 women and young girls. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIRA SORVINO, ACTRESS: Hi, I'm Mira Sorvino. In 2007, I had the honor of presenting at the first annual CNN Heroes, an All-Star Tribute. As a U.N. Goodwill ambassador to combat human trafficking, I'm committed to raising awareness about trafficking and ending the suffering caused by it.

When I hear the heart-wrenching personal stories of the victims of this heinous crime, I see just how much this world needs heroes. Now I'm thrilled to help CNN introduce one of this year's top ten honorees.

ANURADHA KOIRALA, CNN HERO: If someone says I want to make your child a prostitute, they would shoot them. But here, families, they are tricked all the time.

The border between India and Nepal is a conduit point of trafficking. Once they are here, there is no way to escape. I am Anuradha Koirala. It is my strong hope to stop every Nepali girl from being trafficked.

When we go to the border, we are intercepting four girls. After the rescue, the girls are taken to Maiti Nepal.

Oh, good girl.

They're totally psychologically broken. We give them whatever work they want to do, whatever training they want to do. There is always a small scar. But today I'm something new in my life. They are my strength.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: To meet all top ten CNN Heroes and vote for the one who inspires you the most, go to CNN.com/Heroes. All ten will be honored on Thanksgiving night at CNN Heroes, an All-Star Tribute, hosted by Anderson Cooper. Right here, more on CNN about the death of Tony Curtis, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tony Curtis, dead at the age of 85. Quite a character. Appeared on this show many times. Here he is talking with me about what life was like behind the scenes on the set of "Some Like it Hot."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Did you like that script right away?

CURTIS: Right away. We never got a finished script. Billy Wilder called me at Harold Majors' house. They used to run movies. He says, I've got an idea for a movie. Two men get dressed up as girls, because they see a murder and they have to escape and join the girls. I said I'll do it. I'll play the girl.

KING: And Jack liked it right away, too?

CURTIS: Right away. Right away. He wanted to get Frank Sinatra first. And Mitzy Gainer (ph) for the girl. Then he came about a week later, Billy Wilder says to me Frank's going to be too much trouble. I'm changing. I saw a guy in a movie that I thought was excellent, Jack Lemon. I had known Jack socially by then. I thought, great, because we're the same age. It was much better. So -- then he says I'm going to get Marilyn to play the girl. Well --

KING: You knew Marilyn.

CURTIS: I knew her ten, 12 years.

KING: You had a little romance with her.

CURTIS: I did have a little romance with her. She was a lovely girl, a lovely woman.

KING: How good a talent?

CURTIS: Quite good. What I mean by quite good, look at her in "Some Like it Hot." Every moment was perfect for her. We as actors are at the mercy of bad scripts, bad words. You just can't help it.

(CROSS TALK)

CURTIS: She was excellent in that. But she was troubled, you know, during that picture, Larry. Troubled.

KING: Were you close to her right to the end?

CURTIS: Yes. Right. It was impossible to get near her anymore at the end of the movie. She was so out of it.

KING: Where were you when she died?

CURTIS: I was in Europe.

KING: How did you hear?

CURTIS: I heard it -- I heard it from the concierge at this hotel in the south of France. He says Mademoiselle Monroe is dead. It was a shock to me. You know? I liked her a lot. We had a lot of -- listen, everybody's got differences. You know? But at those early days, for Marilyn and me, we're the King Kongs of the business, without anybody accepting it.

KING: What was it like to dress up as a woman?

CURTIS: Well, I liked it. At the beginning, I wasn't sure I would like it. But I liked it. There was something appealing about it.

KING: What?

CURTIS: Well, I found it was very delicate.

KING: Think like a woman?

CURTIS: Yes, I did. I thought of my mother and Grace Kelly. Nice combination. I'll tell you one quick story, if I may. Ori Kelly (ph) was assigned to do Marilyn's clothing. They sent me to Western Costume with Jack Lemon. There I was putting on Ann Margaret's dresses and Loretta Young. And they looked horrible.

So I went to Billy. I said Billy, those dresses don't look good and I want to feel comfortable. He says let Ori make them for you. I got so excited, ran and told Jack. I went in the studio before we started. I said, Jack, guess what? He said what? I said, Ori Kelly is going to make our dresses. He went, oh! We both got so excited.

So he took measurements of Jack with a -- somebody take the numbers down, 67, 34, 51, 97, 30. Then he did me, 18, 36, 55, 44, 36. Then he went and did Marilyn, who was in a pare of panties and a little blouse. And he was -- this guy was -- and you know, Ori Kelly was cute. He had this tape, you know, those soft tapes that he would throw it out. It would rip out. Then he'd catch the end of it. He had a little flourish on him. What a charming man.

So he measured Marilyn, 18, 35, 36, 37. Put it's around her bottom. He says, you know, Tony Curtis has a better looking ass than you.

KING: This is a painting that proudly hangs in my home. As you can see, the artist is Tony Curtis. Sydney Poitier gave us a statement about Tony, and you can read it on our Facebook page. Jenny McCarthy will be here tomorrow. Right now, "AC 360" and Anderson Cooper.