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President Obama at Ground Zero; Bin Laden`s Death: Political Implications; Look and Feel Younger

Aired May 05, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Coming up on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, the President visits Ground Zero to commemorate those who lost their lives. Joy talks to a family member, who was there, about the emotional day.

And new questions emerge about the bin Laden raid. Was it an execution? And should that even matter?

Plus the ageless Betty White stops by.


JOY BEHAR, HOST: Who do you want to flirt with?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she`ll give Joy her take on unhinged stars like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.

That and more starting right now.

BEHAR: President Obama met privately with families of 9/11 victims, and he laid a wreath at a somber Ground Zero ceremony today four days after Osama bin Laden was killed. Joining me now from Ground Zero are Mary Fetchet, founding director of Voices of September 11th, and her husband, Frank, who does fund-raising and grant writing for the organization. They unfortunately lost their son Bradley on 9/11. Thank you for joining me today.

Mary, you and Frank were at the ceremony today. What words did the President have for the families? What did he say?

MARY FETCHET, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, VOICES OF SEPTEMBER 11TH: Well, the President entered the room, of course, to cheers from everybody that was in attendance. And he spoke briefly, you know, about the mission being completed and his commitment to it. And then he walked -- the tables were set up in the room. So he walked from table to table and spoke with each of us individually.

BEHAR: Frank, did you have a chance to speak with him personally?

FRANK FETCHET, FUNDRAISER, VOICES OF SEPTEMBER 11TH: Yes, we sure did. And you know, Mary and I had the pleasure of meeting with the President in the first quarter of `09. It was a small meeting that included the families from the coal and so forth. And he got on the subject of Osama bin Laden then and said if he ever got the chance during his presidency he was going to complete that mission. And I`ll tell you that really came true today.

So I felt really the conviction -- certainly he was very presidential. But he also was a father and I think somebody who was really relating to the audience of people who lost loved ones on 9/11.

BEHAR: Well, it`s been ten years, and the guy is dead. Bin Laden is gone. Do you feel any sense of justice having been done because of the killing of the guy? What do you say?

F. FETCHET: I absolutely do. I mean Mary can weigh in too. But I feel shocked when I heard it at first. I think you process it, and then you realize that there`s relief. This bad man, this evil man is gone.

But the challenge in tempering that emotion is it`s not a raucous celebration because it quickly takes you back to all of the prices that we paid; that the free world paid as we lost our loved one -- 3,000 people did. And I think about the poor military, who are so brave in fighting the battle since `01. So I think the joy quickly gets tempered.

BEHAR: Mary, do you want to say something?

M. FETCHET: Well, the meeting was good -- yes, I think the meeting today was heart-warming, but the last several days it`s been a roller coaster ride of emotions for certainly our family but all of the families that I`ve had an opportunity to talk with. This is certainly the -- you know, the end of a chapter.

But as we`re approaching the tenth anniversary, you know, when you lose someone like your son in a terrorist attack, you know, there is no closure. It`s a long -- lifelong process, a healing process. And --

F. FETCHET: A step in the journey, isn`t it?

M. FETCHET: But I think one of the things that we`ve found as an organization, Voices of September 11th, and including providing the support services, we`re working on the Living Memorial project and we`re meeting with families to help them document the life that they lost. We`ve been working with rescue workers and survivors.

So I think that that commemoration is such a healing process, it`s an emotional process but a healing process for us all. And that sense of community that we have when we`re together and certainly that was felt in the room as well.

BEHAR: Well, you know, I can understand what you`re saying. The President also has decided not to release the photos of bin Laden. How do you feel about that? Either one of you.

F. FETCHET: I can tell you how I feel about it. I don`t want to see the photos. I mean what keeps us going is family members. And I think I speak for most family members. Is to celebrate the life of the person that you lost. Celebrate the life and really live in the minute.

Live now. Live with the world you stepped into and the balance of your faith, your family, and your friends. Osama bin Laden takes you back to the death. He takes you back to the evil. And as far as I`m concerned, that`s something I want to leave my mind forever because we`re all resilient.

Joy, you`re resilient. The American public is. The free world is. We`re all standing tall after ten years. I don`t think we need that evil man to take us back to that dark place.

M. FETCHET: Well, and it is the end of a chapter. And I understand that we do have to remain vigilant. Certainly, terrorism is not going to go away because bin Laden is dead.

BEHAR: No. That`s true.

M. FETCHET: I do think that it gives people -- it gives people a sense of hope that, you know, maybe there`s a new way of doing things and maybe we can work with people from other countries and other cultures and have the dialogue that`s really going to be necessary to move this global world forward.

BEHAR: Well, I think we have the right president for that. He seems to be on the right track for that.

I want to thank you both for joining me today. I`m very sorry for your loss, and everyone here extends their condolences to you. Thank you very much.

M. FETCHET: Oh, thank you, Joy.

F. FETCHET: Thank you. It`s a pleasure to be with you.


Joining me now to talk about the political impact of President Obama`s visit to New York and his leadership in the last few days is Christine Quinn, New York City council speaker. Christine, you know, are you going to be the mayor after Bloomberg is done?

CHRISTINE QUINN, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: Well, there`s a little time between now and then. So I`ll come back someday to talk about that.

BEHAR: It`s possible, though, right?

QUINN: You`ve been talking to my father, Joy. And I appreciate it very much.

Now, President Obama, he didn`t make a speech at Ground Zero today. He met privately with all the families. And you were there. So tell me about the tone he struck. Did he do it right?

QUINN: Yes, I really think he did. I really think he did. And you worry about the tone, right? You don`t want this to be kind of a chest- thumping moment. He was very somber. It was very dignified. And it was really focused on the families.

There were elected officials like myself there. We were not the focus. The family and the first responders were the focus. And I think that was really appropriate.

I heard a little bit of what he said to some of the families before he left, and he was very loving and respectful. He said, you know, we will never forget, but we have to move on. And he just -- at one point he said a number of times, kind of over and over, almost like a refrain, "Please know we`ll never forget."

BEHAR: He has a way about him.

QUINN: And he seemed to bring ease and a little bit of peace in that moment to people today. And it was really moving to see, to see our president do that. A guy who`s completely at 30,000 feet, right? But be right there in the moment with a parent and make them feel a little better. It was really -- it made me very proud.

BEHAR: Now, some people are criticizing him for doing this today. They`re saying that it was a victory lap for him and that he did it for, you know -- to aggrandize his capture, his --

QUINN: You know, people are always going to criticize. If he hadn`t come, some people would say he was disrespectful he didn`t come. You know, he didn`t give a speech. He wasn`t in front of thousands. It wasn`t about the elected officials or the powerful or whatever. It was about these people whose lives will never be the same.

BEHAR: Never. You see the pain in those people`s faces. When we saw the picture of their boy. It`s just -- it`s just something you just can`t --

QUINN: I mean, you know, I can`t imagine the pain of losing a child, and then losing a child in a terrorist attack. It`s unimaginable. And I think it was good and correct that the President went to the spot where it happened and affirmed that loss but also sent the message that America`s going to keep moving forward and keep progress going.

BEHAR: Now, what about the fact that President Obama decided not to release the death photos of bin Laden? What do you think of that? What`s your opinion?

QUINN: I think it was totally the right decision.

BEHAR: You do?

QUINN: Totally. I mean I think, you know, releasing pictures like that, A, could have been another incitement to violence or terrorism. The other thing is, I thought that the parents who just spoke said it right, he`s not the image, bin Laden. The image needs to be moving forward. When I think about bin Laden killed the image I have in my head is of those Navy SEALs.

BEHAR: Let`s put that out there.

QUINN: Exactly. Those are the people --

BEHAR: But politically, Christine, I mean 56 percent of Americans polled, CNN poll, say that they would like to see the picture.

QUINN: The President has to be above polls.

BEHAR: That`s right.

QUINN: And do what he thinks is right. And that`s what he`s doing. And in the long run, not that this is about politics, but in the long run people appreciate that.

BEHAR: Well, you know, since this first happened the other day, a lot of information came out, and now we`re finding out it wasn`t correct, that no one was holding a woman as a human shield, things like that. Not releasing the photos now. Do you think that that kind of thing fuels these conspiracy theorists?

QUINN: I think if you`re the kind of person who`s drawn to conspiracy theories you`ll find a reason to get there, no matter what. That`s just kind of the way your mind works.

And you know, whatever happened, exactly what the order of things was that night, I really just want to tell those Navy SEALs "thank you" because they -- they did what their job was to do. And it took ten years, and they got the job done. And that`s what really matters.

BEHAR: Well, they`re even getting some criticism from some -- some quarters about the fact that Osama was not armed. So what, he wasn`t armed? I mean, that is the stupidest thing I`ve ever heard.

QUINN: I agree. Like you should wait around for the Navy Seals to find that out when it`s the most dangerous man in the world who the world`s been looking for, for ten years?

BEHAR: Not to mention the fact that he`s been threatening to kill us now for the past ten years or more.

QUINN: Right. Right.

BEHAR: And what, are we supposed to give him a chance to escape or a chance to get a gun? It`s ridiculous.

QUINN: Yes, I don`t really understand that level of second-guessing from people who wouldn`t -- and myself being one. I would never be in that moment. I don`t have the courage to be a Navy Seal and all of these people who are criticizing, they`re the last ones who signed up to be Navy Seals.

BEHAR: Thank you.

QUINN: So they did their job. Thank you.

BEHAR: And they`re not just criticizing. People like Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, they refuse to give him any kind of credit for this. You know, can we say petty? Rush sarcastically praised him, "Thank God for President Obama." Like it`s sarcastically.

QUINN: Right.

BEHAR: And Palin. This is my -- I mean, she -- she said that he -- she called Obama to -- wait a minute, she also called for Obama to stop quote, unquote, "stop pussy-footing around" and release the death photos. Is she sort of -- sort of scared that she`s not in the public eye right now --


QUINN: Right.

BEHAR: -- and has to come up with stupid remarks like that?

QUINN: And it`s just ridiculous. President Obama invited President Bush to come today. That`s rising above politics. I don`t understand why --


BEHAR: Why do you think he refused to come?

QUINN: I think it was appropriate. I don`t think he refused. I think he declined.

BEHAR: Yes. Ok. Well.

QUINN: But I think it was appropriate. He wanted to allow this to be about President Obama`s moment. That`s both of those men rising above politics. Sarah Palin should follow their lead.

BEHAR: Well he -- he knows -- but he also knows this is specifically about bin Laden today.

QUINN: Right.

BEHAR: And he -- he dropped the ball on bin Laden. Everybody saw that news conference he gave where he said I don`t know where he is, he`s on the run and basically who cares.

QUINN: Right. Right.

BEHAR: So this is Obama`s day.

QUINN: Yes. And he knew that. And she should learn that because she`s not making a good impression.

BEHAR: Oh she`s -- she can`t learn anything. Thank you very much.

QUINN: Thank you.

BEHAR: We`ll be right back.


BEHAR: It`s been four days since U.S. Navy Seals shot and killed bin Laden, and now unbelievably, a debate is brewing over whether those actions were actually legal.

Here now with more is Barbara Starr, CNN`s Pentagon correspondent. Hi, Barbara.


BEHAR: You`re getting to be a habit with me, Barbara.

STARR: It`s good. It`s good.

BEHAR: I love it.

Now, some people are claiming that killing was illegal. What`s that based on? And does it carry any weight?

STARR: Well, I guess it`s based on the fact that at the time he was shot and killed by Navy Seals he was not holding a weapon.

But you can look at it this way. Bin Laden was behind the killing of more than 3,000 Americans. You know, I was in the Pentagon that morning on 9/11; 184 souls lost in this building where I`m standing right now. So it`s -- it`s hard for me to see it any other way. I admit that as a reporter.

But the thing is that back in the Bush administration, basically, President Bush authorized the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence community to go after bin Laden --



STARR: -- and hunt him down.

So there is really no question. He`s an enemy combatant and he posed an imminent threat to the SEALs in that room and they took care of business.

BEHAR: Well, somebody like Michael Moore said that we executed him. And my answer is yes, and?

STARR: Yes. Well, let`s be very clear. The Navy SEALs burst through the door. They will tell you that bin Laden made movements.

BEHAR: Right.

STARR: There were weapons in the room. He wasn`t holding one. But he made movements. And they took him down with a shot to the chest, a shot to the head. Classic Navy SEAL double tap. Two shots simultaneously. You`re dead.

BEHAR: Right. You`re dead.

But you know, he was moving, meaning that he could have gone for a weapon.

STARR: Yes. You know, that`s the thing.

BEHAR: Right.

STARR: The room is dark, noisy, confused. How do they know he didn`t have a suicide vest on? How do they know he wasn`t reaching for a hand grenade? You know, none -- and you are putting American Navy SEALs, asking them to do this job, asking them to put their lives on the line. They are very well trained at this.

And I think one of the things is, although one woman was killed in the crossfire and another woman was wounded as she rushed to them, there were a number of children, and all of them are being taken care of. One civilian casualty, unfortunately, in a crossfire. But the rest of it went according to plan.

BEHAR: Now, this interested me because they didn`t find a dialysis machine at the compound. Now, the rumor was that he was on a dialysis machine. And if they didn`t have the machine there, that means one of two things. Either he didn`t have kidney disease or he stole somebody`s kidney somewhere along the way. What do you make of that?

STARR: Yes, I mean -- you know, I`m trying to resist making some bad joke like, you know, maybe he had good health insurance and was going off to the local hospital for dialysis. So I apologize --


BEHAR: Well, maybe the doctors made compound calls.

STARR: Maybe they did. Maybe they had a mobile van. Or maybe this is all just urban legend. You know? There are so many things about bin Laden --


BEHAR: Right.

STARR: -- that proved not to be true at the end of the day. He wasn`t living in a cave. He didn`t have an escape plan, by all accounts. I mean he`s caught in a third-floor room with no escape plan and about 500 in Euros sewed into his clothes --



STARR: -- which isn`t going to take him very far. So it`s hard to see what he was really thinking at the time.

BEHAR: Well, do you think that he felt so safe and secure in that particular neighborhood? I mean, the Pakistanis are getting some -- some flak back about how they didn`t really pay attention or they didn`t care or whatever.

STARR: Yes. I mean, he was apparently living in sort of down the street from the Pakistani version of, you know --



STARR: -- the West Point Military Academy. Hiding in plain sight and now we know that U.S. intelligence did see for several times a tall man walking outside in the yard of this compound, sort of doing prison walks around. They were never able to completely identify him as bin Laden. They really didn`t know that it was him.

But it sort of added to the puzzle for them. Who was the tall man? Could it have been anybody but bin Laden?

BEHAR: Right.

STARR: So all the pieces started to come together. And he might have been living there for the last five years.

BEHAR: Right. And he`s got Pepsi. He`s got Coca-Cola. He`s got his young wife with him. He`s living la vida loca over there. And it`s over. But it`s over now.


BEHAR: One more question before you go. How much has this cost us, basically, to get him?

STARR: I asked the Pentagon --

BEHAR: The whole thing since 9/11. The whole thing.

STARR: Yes, the whole -- the whole thing.


STARR: Right now the U.S. military spends $5.6 billion a month on the war in Afghanistan alone. Billions also paid across the border to Pakistan in military aid. And on a serious note, that`s probably going to be the big issue here in Washington right now. Do you want to keep giving the Pakistanis all that money?

BEHAR: Well, that may have been the reason that they didn`t want to turn him in. After all, if you`re on the dole like that, why would you mess -- don`t mess with a good thing.

STARR: Exactly.

BEHAR: Yes. Ok. Thank you very much, Barbara. Always a pleasure to see you. And we`ll be right back.


BEHAR: My next guest`s new book promises to make us all look and feel younger. I hope it comes with a free botox injection is all I can say. The book is called "20 Years Younger: Look Younger, Feel Younger, Be Younger". Welcome fitness expert and Oprah Winfrey`s personal trainer, Bob Greene.

Bob, what if I want to look older? Where`s the book for that?

BOB GREENE, AUTHOR, "20 YEARS YOUNGER": Well, I would say keep doing what you`re doing. Keep doing what you`re doing. Most of America is really avoiding exercise and they`re putting in a lot of --

BEHAR: What do you mean keep doing what I`m doing?

GREENE: Well, I don`t mean you personally.


GREENE: I mean people are -- they`re avoiding exercise, like most people.

BEHAR: Oh, yes.

GREENE: And they`re really consuming a lot of empty calories. And we have these wonderful super foods that we can bring into our lives.

BEHAR: What`s a super food?

GREENE: A super food, a fatty fish, a cold water fish like a salmon. Everyone`s heard salmon. Trout is one that`s pretty equal. Foods high in Omega 3s. We know from cultures that live 100 years and beyond, that have the most centenarians in their population, they have a 2 to 1 or 1 to 1 ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s. Americans are 16-1. So we`re really setting ourselves up.

BEHAR: But it sounds like the whole world is being polluted. The oceans are polluted. There`s radiation in the Japanese waters now. Where`s this fish coming from? J

GREENE: It`s a really good point. Most of it now is purified. I recommend having an Omega 3 supplement, fish source, where they do purify some of the mercury. And you`re absolutely right. We`re polluting the waters.

BEHAR: That`s a problem.

All right. Now what about exercise? How many hours are we to do? And tell me more than an hour and I`ll stab you with this pen.

GREENE: Well, as I said before, 200 minutes would have about a minimum. And if you look --

BEHAR: 200 minutes a week.

GREENE: A week.

BEHAR: Ok. Now, wait a minute --

GREENE: That`s 30 minutes a day.

BEHAR: Ok. I have a stationary bike. And I go on it for 30 minutes a day.

GREENE: Please don`t tell me it`s the sit-down kind.

BEHAR: Well, it`s not a stand-up bike.

GREENE: The kind where your feet are forward. I mean people love those and I`ll tell you why they love them. Because they`re easy.

BEHAR: Because you can read.

GREENE: You can read and they`re easy. You want something where you`re huffing and puffing. I go into "20 Years Younger" where really important --

BEHAR: Are you now telling me that that bike is no good for me?

GREENE: No, mix it in.

BEHAR: I bought the bike, I actually get on the damn thing at least three days a week. Now you`re telling me it`s not any good?

GREENE: No, I`m saying get on it maybe Monday but break it up and do something where you`re moving your own body weight. That bike is supporting your weight. Get out there and move and you`re going to increase your oxygen consumption.

The key is challenge your body. Most people exercise, go through the trouble of it, but work two notches below where they need to, to get great results.

BEHAR: What are the results I`m looking for? I`m only looking to stay healthy and not to die this year. That`s it.

GREENE: People are thinking --

BEHAR: I have very small goals.

GREENE: Well, that`s good. You`re going to reach them. You`re going to reach them. But the truth is nothing changes your blood chemistry, it`s not burning simply calories, it`s about changing your blood where you`re burning more calories 24 hours a day, not just when you`re on that bike.

BEHAR: I see. Well, I walk around.

You say here don`t -- for sleeping don`t consume alcohol, caffeine, or a big meal right before bed. How do you expect to get me to sleep?

GREENE: The truth is alcohol`s a really interesting one. It might get you to sleep, but usually people that consume -- it wakes you up at 3:00 in the morning.

BEHAR: Right. Well, I guess that`s true. But still, we`re all going to have a glass of wine at night. So ok.

I`ve got to go. Thanks very much. His book is called "20 Years Younger: Look Younger, Feel Younger, Be Younger".

We`ll be back in a minute.


BEHAR: Her new memoir is called "If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won`t)." She also has a hit sitcom and is making guest appearances up the wazoo and she does it all on only four hours of sleep a night. What, she couldn`t find time to track down Osama bin Laden? Please welcome the slacker, the fabulous Betty White. We love having you back here, Betty.

BETTY WHITE, COMEDIAN: Oh, well, this is lovely to be back. You`re only doing two shows a day?

BEHAR: Yes. Yes.

WHITE: Slacker.

BEHAR: I`m a lazy slug also. You know, last time you were here you told me that at 89, which is what you are now, you can do whatever you want and get away with anything. Is that -- do you want to elaborate?

WHITE: Oh, the older you get you get by with murder.


WHITE: And people treat you so sweetly. And so, and no matter, if you stand still for two minutes, they`ve got a chair, would you like to sit down? Whether you want one or not, you know. But it`s much appreciated. I`m not putting it down. But you haven`t changed. But the numbers have.

BEHAR: I know. You`re the same. You`re the same.

WHITE: Well, that`s not saying too much.

BEHAR: But you look great. You look great and you feel good.

WHITE: Oh, I couldn`t feel ...

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: That`s the bottom line. I`m blessed with good health. And don`t think I take it for granted.

BEHAR: You know, I remember when Audrey Hepburn passed away, she was only about 66 or seven or something and, you know, and they said -- "The New York Times" obituary or something said that we`re sorry that she died young because we would have liked to see her teach us how to age gracefully, how she would age beautifully and teach everybody. And I think that you`re doing that.

WHITE: Oh, but I`m just -- to be this -- I`m amazed at how old I am. I don`t feel 89. I`m going to be 90 in January. I don`t feel that. But I know the years are there. But how lucky can you be to have the energy and the good health and no medication and all that? It`s ...

BEHAR: Nothing? No Lipitor, nothing?

WHITE: No. No.

BEHAR: Not even Lipitor?

WHITE: Not even Lipitor or Botox. Neither one.

BEHAR: Now, botox you don`t need. I know, your face has held up beautifully, too.

WHITE: Not really. Gravity has taken over in a lot of departments.

BEHAR: Yes, but I mean -- listen, you can`t help that. You know, the nipples are facing Venezuela at this point for me too.

WHITE: But it`s a friendly country.

BEHAR: It`s a friendly country. But you know, but you write that at your age you have to fight the urge to flirt. Who do you want to flirt with?

WHITE: Anybody. Hi, sailor, long in town? Yeah.

BEHAR: Why do you fight the urge?

WHITE: Well, it`s not exactly flirting. But you just -- you`re still very much aware of the opposite sex. Let`s put it that way. And I just enjoy kidding back and forth and all that.

BEHAR: Right.

WHITE: And if I get over that, I`m just going to lie down and close my eyes and lie there.

BEHAR: That`s right. You`re not dead yet. Now, I was looking at your book, and you talk interestingly about -- you say that you -- people that abuse their profession, show business, bother you. People who abuse the wonderful gift of showbiz.

WHITE: They don`t appreciate the fact that so many people on this beautiful planet of ours would sell their teeth to be doing what we`re doing. So if you complain about what you`re doing, you ought to take another quick reboot and look at it. And so I think -- but that`s something that comes with age, too. I think youngsters forget that it`s not always going to be like this.

BEHAR: Well, they also believe that they have many more choices than they probably have.

WHITE: That`s true.

BEHAR: You know. And that you could -- ship sails away pretty quickly. So.

WHITE: The ship sails away.

BEHAR: But also, at the present moment they`re making more money than most young people anywhere else. And that`s hard to manage intelligently.

WHITE: Right. I mean, you`re talking about Charlie Sheen, I think, and Lindsay Lohan as being terribly ungrateful. And I know what you`re talking -- I know what you mean.

BEHAR: Well, and they`re going through a real bad time in their lives. And there will come a day down there where they`ll look back and say how did I ever go through that? And they`ll be fine. But right now my patience wears a little thin ...


BEHAR: ... because I think why can`t you see it now, not when it`s later?

WHITE: But you know, I was interviewing -- I`ve interviewed so many rock stars from the `70s and `80s even. You know, Alice Cooper and this guy Nikki Sixx, and they all have these drug backgrounds where they were just in rehab a hundred times and they`ve almost -- they`ve died ten times and come back. And now they`re like company men. I believe Alice Cooper is a born again Christian. I mean, people do learn, but if they don`t die in the process.

WHITE: If they don`t die in the process.


WHITE: But look at the time they`ve wasted. And so many say, well, I can handle it, I can quit anytime I want. Well, then why start? Because you`ve got examples all around you that you can`t -- it`s not that easy to quit.

BEHAR: Right.

WHITE: Fortunately, I have never gotten into anything like that. I just drink like a fish and ...

BEHAR: Do you like to drink?

WHITE: Oh, I have a cocktail at night.

BEHAR: Of course.

WHITE: But a cocktail. Not -- I don`t stagger to bed. Let`s put it that way.

BEHAR: Yeah. And I was reading ...

WHITE: Often.

BEHAR: I read also -- It`s your timing that`s so great. The other thing about you that I read is that you didn`t want to be in show business, you wanted to be a forest ranger when you were a kid.

WHITE: Forest ranger or a zookeeper.

BEHAR: Animals.

WHITE: Well, I`ve managed to stay a zookeeper because I`ve worked with the Los Angeles Zoo for 48 years. And I just got officially -- they invited me to Washington, the U.S. Forest Service, and made me an official forest ranger. And I was thrilled beyond -- I can`t tell you. Because I`m a nature nut. And I think if we -- we not only have to appreciate our wildernesses but we have to take care of them.

BEHAR: I know. I know. Now, regarding animals, I mean bringing up animals, first of all -- have you seen "The Beaver," Mel Gibson`s movie "The Beaver?" That`s about ...

WHITE: I haven`t seen it yet.

BEHAR: No. OK. Just saying.

WHITE: No, I haven`t seen his "Beaver" yet.

BEHAR: You haven`t seen his "Beaver" yet. No. So -- But I also found out that you turned down a role in "As Good As It Gets" because of an animal thing.

WHITE: Well ...

BEHAR: The movie with Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. You were supposed to play Helen Hunt`s mother.

WHITE: Yes. And it was a big hit.

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: And one of the creators of the Mary Tyler Moore show, Jim Brooks, was the producer.

BEHAR: Great.

WHITE: So -- but I read the script. At one point they take this adorable little Brussels Griffon, and the guy throws him down the laundry chute. Well, the dog lands on a pile of laundry and the dog is fine and all that. But all I could think of was all the people out there watching that movie ...

BEHAR: Get that idea.

WHITE: And if there`s a dog in the building that`s barking or they don`t like, boom, they do it. Or kids thinking it`s funny. And it doesn`t have a happy ending. So I said, Jim, I can`t, I can`t do that, hoping he would change the scene. He said, Betty, the dog is fine. Betty, the dog is the star of the movie. And I said, I`m sorry, I just can`t. And of course, it turned into a huge hit, but I never regretted turning it down.

BEHAR: Mm-hmm. That`s interesting that you would just say no to something like that.

WHITE: Yeah. Well, because ...

BEHAR: You mean it. You`re not kidding.

WHITE: But it`s to easy for people to do that. They see it, let`s do it.

BEHAR: OK. Now, the other thing, Katharine Hepburn, I remember an interview I saw with her, I guess it was with Dick Cavett, and she said -- you probably know this too. She said that you can`t do it all, you can`t have the career, the children, the husband, and a big, big acting career. Do you agree with that? Because you did not have your own children but you had stepchildren, right?

WHITE: Oh, I inherited the best stepkids in the world.

BEHAR: And how old were they?

WHITE: I married Allen Ludden. They were 9, 13, and 14. And for somebody who had never been around children all their life, I was an only child, that`s a tricky age, you know, in the `60s. But again, I`m afraid - - I`m very compulsive, you know. If I had gotten pregnant, I would have concentrated on raising that child. And not tried for a career because I couldn`t do justice to the -- in my mind justice to the career and the children. Well, there are a lot of women out there who are proving me wrong.

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: But you know yourself well enough to know how committed you would get. So that`s why -- and I`ve never regretted it because I`ve inherited these wonderful stepchildren.

BEHAR: Yeah, that`s right. So you got -- you got the family anyway.

WHITE: I got the best of all worlds, which has been the story of my life, and don`t think I don`t appreciate it.

BEHAR: But it seems as though young actresses today, they have tons of children and big careers and ..

WHITE: And then they get married even.

BEHAR: And then they get married. OK. All right. Get comfortable here for a minute. We have much more with Betty White coming up. Don`t go away. Then they get married. Right.



WHITE: I have a gift with animals. I call it the gift. I know how they feel. I know what they think.

BEHAR: What`s he thinking now?

WHITE: What we`re all thinking. Why doesn`t Joy dress her age?


BEHAR: That`s Betty White in her TV Land sitcom "Hot in Cleveland." And she`s back with me now. Joy in that show is played by Valerie?

WHITE: Oh, yes.


WHITE: Joy is played by Jane Leeves.

BEHAR: Oh, Jane Leeves.

WHITE: And Wendie Malick plays Victoria. And Valerie Bertinelli plays Melanie.


WHITE: After the Mary Tyler Moore Show and "The Golden Girls," to luck into another group ...

BEHAR: I`m telling you.

WHITE: ... of wonderful gals to play with, it`s just -- three times in a life?

BEHAR: That is amazing. Did you get along with everyone on "The Golden Girls?" I mean ...

WHITE: Oh, yes.

BEHAR: You did?

WHITE: Oh, yes. Bea was not that fond of me. But I ...

BEHAR: Why no? I`ve heard that.

WHITE: I don`t know -- I don`t know what I ever did. I don`t know. But she was not that thrilled with me. But I loved Bea, and I admired her, and I just -- and I can`t believe I`m the only one left.


WHITE: Because I was the oldest. It`s so silly.

BEHAR: Well, Estelle Getty was not as old as she played on that show, was she? Estelle was younger than she was playing.

WHITE: Much younger.

BEHAR: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

WHITE: Much younger. And the makeup people had to spend hours putting wrinkles and all that, you know, to make her look -- and of course the wigs. So the first summer hiatus that we had she came back, she had gotten a face-lift.

BEHAR: Wow. I read that she never wanted to do any jokes about death because she was scared to die.

WHITE: No, she didn`t -- she was mortally afraid of death.


WHITE: She really was. And didn`t think any dead jokes -- and I can`t tell you the number of funeral homes and scenes by caskets that we played. But she was never happy.

BEHAR: She was afraid.

WHITE: Mm-hmm.

BEHAR: Are you afraid?

WHITE: My mother had the most wonderful approach to death. She always -- even growing up, she said, well, we know so many things. We know almost everything in the world. But we don`t know what happens at that moment.

BEHAR: Right.

WHITE: You know, but a lot of people think they do, but they don`t. She said, so whenever we`d lose somebody, she`d say now he knows the secret, and now she knows the secret.

BEHAR: That`s a nice way to put it, I think. Do you believe in a life after death?

WHITE: I`d like to think so. It would be interesting. Providing that I earned the privilege of choosing what I would do.

BEHAR: Where you were going.

WHITE: Yes. Yes. I don`t want to be president of the United States.

BEHAR: Well, there`s a new preacher talking about how there`s no such thing as hell anymore, that they don`t believe in hell anymore.

WHITE: Oh, really?

BEHAR: Yes. It`s like one of these evangelical preachers is saying that he doesn`t think there`s a hell.

WHITE: Maybe.

BEHAR: Which upsets people.

WHITE: Maybe he figures he`s already been there.

BEHAR: That could be.

WHITE: That could be.

BEHAR: That could be. Because you know, people don`t like that idea because that means that people like bin Laden are not going to go to hell and Hitler and the evildoers of the world.

WHITE: Well, the human being, the human animal -- I love everything with a leg on each corner. But the human animal is a vengeful creature, and they -- we wish very bad things for other human animals.

BEHAR: I know. Animal animals are really much nicer.

WHITE: Well, they`re not so much nicer. It`s just that they don`t like you and you can`t lie to them.

BEHAR: Right.

WHITE: I mean, you level with each other. I like that.

BEHAR: That`s true. That`s true. Even when they look at you and they want you to get them something, they`re being very direct. I love that about an animal.

WHITE: I love it.

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: I do too.

BEHAR: But you know, last time you were here -- I`m sorry.

WHITE: No, no, go ahead.

BEHAR: The last time you were here you outed Cary Grant. Do you remember? You outed Cary Grant the last time you were here. Do you remember?


BEHAR: You did. You said to me -- I wish we had the tape to show you. But I said they`re saying that Cary Grant was gay. And you said, oh, of course everybody knew that.

WHITE: Well, everybody talked about it.

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: I didn`t know for sure. Trust me.

BEHAR: Well, we don`t know. No one knows.

WHITE: No one knows. And it`s none of our business.

BEHAR: No. And it`s daughter recently, because she wrote a book, and she was saying that he was amused by that rumor, Cary himself, because it made the girls think that they could lure him over to their side ...


BEHAR: ... and he enjoyed the flirtation.

WHITE: Oh, I just -- I don`t care. That`s the bottom line. I don`t care. With whom -- avec whom you sleep. It`s just -- if you`re a decent, nice human being, that`s the bottom line.

BEHAR: Well, in the old days no one ever thought anyone was gay. I mean, people didn`t think Liberace was gay. I mean, that really is blindsiding yourself in my opinion.

WHITE: Well, Lee was a great and dear personal friend.

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: Don Fedderson found Liberace and Betty White and Johnny Carson, and the three of us all started out together. Well there were premieres and stuff up there, so Don Fedderson would -- have Lee escort me maybe to a premiere, or something, he`d set it up. You know, so. Well, one windy night we arrived at this premiere, we were getting out of the car, and Lee got out first -- Liberace got out first and turned around. And I thought he -- so I reached out my hand. I thought he was going to help me out of the car. He was holding his hair because he didn`t want it to blow -- I loved Lee. He was one of the nicest people you`d ever want to know.

BEHAR: Everyone says that he was a lovely guy.

WHITE: He was a sweetheart.

BEHAR: But, you know, but he wasn`t straight. That was the one thing that we know about him.

WHITE: Not at all.

BEHAR: Not at all. You`ve mentioned Johnny Carson. And I have a clip of both of you from the "Tonight" show. Let`s watch it.

WHITE: Really?



WHITE: Frankly, I feel I should be compensated for that time.

JOHNNY CARSON: You`ve got to be kidding. We were never legally married.

WHITE: No. But I performed wifely chores. I cooked. I cleaned. I took in the inseam on your fig leaf.

CARSON: Why didn`t you just give me a smaller fig leaf?

WHITE: They don`t grow that small.


BEHAR: So funny together.

WHITE: Johnny used to call me and say I`ve got an idea for a sketch, do you think this would be funny? And then he`d outline the sketch and stuff. First lady allowed in the locker room and Adam and Eve, 25 years later. All the people -- I said, Johnny, what it amounts, to every time you want to take your clothes off, you call me. What is that?

BEHAR: Oh, yeah. He wanted you to take your clothes off in all the sketches, right?

WHITE: Sure.

BEHAR: Well, you look beautiful there. With or without your clothes. Stay right there. We have even more with Betty White in just a minute.



WHITE: And I come to celebrate the campaign to get me to host "Saturday Night Live." I didn`t know what Facebook was. And now that I do know what it is, I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time.


BEHAR: That was Betty White hosting "Saturday Night Live." She`s back with me now. That was -- that was -- was that tough to do?

WHITE: Really tough.


WHITE: I had turned it down. They had asked me earlier on three times I turned it down. I thought I was so California-oriented and it was such a New York-oriented show. But my agent said you`ve got to do it and stuff. The tough part is cue cards. I don`t -- you know, either memorize or ad lib. But you have to -- you`ve got 41, 42, 43 sketches to learn and they keep changing them. So I thought I can`t use cue cards because then you get the eyes going ...

BEHAR: I know.

WHITE: ... from one thing to the other and it drives me nuts. They have a cue card man there they said when you`re standing next to Tina Fey, don`t look at Tina, look at me. I`m behind her, keep your eyes on the card and your eyes won`t move. Well, how do you stand next to Tina Fey and not look at her? You know ...

BEHAR: Yeah. Yeah.

WHITE: But it -- they really have that down to such a system, it`s wonderful. It was a good time.

BEHAR: You were very funny. In fact, Mary Tyler Moore said that you`re funny in a standup sense, like a standup comic.

WHITE: Oh, no way.

BEHAR: That`s what she said. I read that somewhere. Have you ever tried doing standup?

WHITE: No. No.

BEHAR: You`d be good at it, I think, you have to sense of -- you know, delivering lines one, two, three, four.

WHITE: Sure, then what do you do tomorrow night?

BEHAR: The same thing. Then you do it again. I have a couple of Facebook questions for you since we mentioned Facebook.

WHITE: Sure.

BEHAR: I only have a minute -- but this one interested me. Looking back what is the one thing you would do over again if you could?

WHITE: Would do over again?

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: Marry Allen Ludden.

BEHAR: Marry Allen Ludden.

WHITE: No -- no two ways about that

BEHAR: Yeah. You really were happily married, weren`t you?

WHITE: He was someone special.

BEHAR: How long were you married to him, I forgot?

WHITE: We missed 18 years by three days.

BEHAR: That`s as long as my first marriage lasted almost.

WHITE: Yeah. It`s love longer than my first two.

BEHAR: How long were the first two?

WHITE: One was six months, and one was two years.

BEHAR: So you knew by then what you were doing. Practice.

WHITE: Well, I do -- I was never going to get married again ever. I wasted a whole year -- Allen and I could have been together, saying no, I won`t marry you ...

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: No, I won`t move to New York.

BEHAR: Yeah.

WHITE: But it worked.

BEHAR: Well, at least you had that.

WHITE: Yes, we did.

BEHAR: You got it.

WHITE: And I still taste every minute.

BEHAR: That`s wonderful, Betty. I`m so happy to have you here again. It was lovely to se you this morning ...

WHITE: Lovely to see you .

BEHAR: Whenever.

WHITE: This morning and this afternoon.

BEHAR: Yeah, yeah.

WHITE: Now where are we meeting tonight?

BEHAR: I don`t know. Maybe. We`ll see. Maybe we`ll make a date. Betty`s new book is called "If You Ask Me." And you can se her on new episodes of "Hot in Cleveland" in June on TV Land. Thanks for watching, good night, everybody.

WHITE: Thanks.