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CNN Larry King Live

Analysis of State of Union Address

Aired February 01, 2006 - 00:00   ET


WILSON LIVINGOOD, SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Mr. Speaker, the president of the United States.


KING: Tonight, the president delivers the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill. And now, we'll get reaction from both sides of the aisle next on a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

We got preempted tonight from our regular time slot by the president's State of the Union address. So we're on in our secondary slot, back at our regular time 9:00 Eastern, tomorrow night with former President Jimmy Carter.

Our panel tonight, includes in Washington, Senator George Allen Republican of Virginia, Senator Allen's a committee memberships include Foreign Relations, Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources. Prior to going to the Senate he was governor of Virginia. And as I said to him before the show his father, the late coach George Allen, one of the great men in football history and one of my great friends.

Governor Bill Richardson, Democrat of New Mexico, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., former energy secretary of the United States. He's in Santa Fe. In Washington, Congressman Chris Shays, Republican of Connecticut, chairman of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, he heads to Iraq later this week, his 11th trip to that country.

And Congresswoman Jane Harman is a Democrat of California, a ranking member of the Select Intelligence Committee, member of the Homeland Security Committee. Here in Los Angeles is Karl Sferrazza Anthony, the famed presidential historian, best-selling author. His many, many books have looked at famous Washington families and Washington first ladies. We'll be looking that in a while.

Before we meet the panel and everything, a great lady died today, I had the honor of knowing her, Coretta Scott King passed away, I knew her late husband, as well. Here's what the president had to say right at beginning of his address.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today our nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight, we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken so long ago, and we're grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.


KING: Worthy words indeed. Let's try to switch things around a little. Senator Allen, no one can agree with anything. Was there anything the president said tonight, you didn't agree with?

SEN. GEORGE ALLEN, (R) VIRGINIA: You've got to start off that way.

KING: You can't agree with everything.

ALLEN: No. I -- I generally did agree with the importance of this country and its focus on security, on competitiveness and our values. I liked what he said on increasing energy independence of this country. I liked his ideas that something I talk about a great deal, on, for example, making sure that more young people are interested in engineering and science for us to be the world capital of innovation and energy.

A lot of those things are great ideas. I wish, though that he had brought up greater production here at home. And I would have liked for him to bring up exploration on the North Slope of Alaska, that barren North Slope of Alaska. People of Alaska are all for it. Rather than worrying about oil from other countries that are certainly not friends of ours, it would be good to have production where it's wanted in this country.

I'm also glad he brought up, by the way, the line item veto. This is an idea that Ronald Reagan brought up. Jim Talent, a senator from Missouri and I introduced the constitutional amendment. It's power, by the way, I had as governor of Virginia. So you can zero out wasteful projects like that bridge to nowhere in Ketchikan, Alaska or building of indoor rain forest in Iowa. These are not essential spending items. And I hope we'll get a vote on that.

KING: Governor Richardson, what did you strongly agree with?

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON, (D) NEW MEXICO: I liked the president's emphasis on math and science and engineering, to be more competitive. I was also pleased with what appeared to be a conciliatory approach towards Iran, appealing to the Iranian people, recognizing that we're taking the issue to the U.N. Security Council through diplomacy. I wish he had highlighted that more.

Overall, I believe the speech was well-delivered. He tried to strike a positive tone but he was very, very short on specifics about the only issue that's going to pass that he mentioned, in my judgment, was lobbying reform. He was very short on specifics when it came to immigration, when it came to energy, I mean, basically I what he said in energy is, put more money, 22 percent more research into the Department of the Energy when you need a massive Apollo-like program to reduce our energy dependence. And lastly, on health care, he failed to address a huge problem out in the states, which is prescription drugs, Medicare Part D. There is so much confusion. So message I got, as a governor, from a state is, you states are on your own. The solutions that are coming from Congress, from Washington, are not going to happen on immigration, on job creation, on health care. I was hopeful he'd say a little bit more positive on Iraq. What is our exit strategy? What is our strategy? I was disappointed on the eavesdropping that he could have said, you know, let's go to get a court order before we start spying on a lot of Americans. I just wish he had been a little more specific and positive in the issues.

KING: Carl, before we talk to our congressman, some suggest this whole State of the Union idea is off kilter, delivered by handwritten until Woodrow Wilson did it. In his column George Will described the State of the Union it as a "childish event on our civic calendar." The famed historian Louis Gould described the State of the Union as having become a "gaudy spectacle of ballyhoo and hype."

CARL ANTHONY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It is and that's the very reason I think we should keep it. You know, there's very little opportunity nowadays for us to really hear our president and have him state something specifically and now, of course we have it on videotape. And everybody hears it. So that there's at least some way to measure what -- what our leader is thinking. And, yes, there's a lot of ceremony and ballyhoo, and it does smack of royalty and in fact Thomas Jefferson did away with. The first two presidents, Washington and Adams went in their royal coach it and was very much like the king going to parliament. But it is still an opportunity for us, look at us tonight, look at the hours of analysis and people listening in and bloggers. It's an opportunity to take stock.

KING: Carl -- Congressman Shays, do you think it's important?

REP. CHRIS SHAYS, (R) CONNECTICUT: Oh, I think it's important. But I was thinking tonight, I'm numb. I've heard 19 State of the Union addresses and I'm eager to see real action. I think this president -- you asked my Senate colleagues what they thought and governor, what they thought right and wrong. As a Republican, what I was disappointed was his failure to recognize that if we're going to deal with energy we need to conserve, we need to have minivans, SUVs, trucks, get the same mileage as cars and then bring all of them up. But what I loved about it he was saying we've got to be off this addiction of oil. I mean, for a Texas president to say that, that was huge.

I was disappointed with the whole issue, the implication that somehow, he didn't mention it, that stem cell research isn't important and vital. I mean we can't be -- let our dogma prevent us from moving forward with what is very important. But I was just quickly pleased with his emphasis and focus on Iraq. We are doing well there. Joe Lieberman is right, three elections in one year. We're training their police, their border patrol and their army. And I think that was important.

And quickly, with Islamist terrorists, you know what? This president is going to have to wiretap and we, as Congress, are going to have to sort out the extent of powers with him. We can't let him just do what he wants but he has to do it.

KING: And Congresswoman Harmon, what did you like?

REP. JANE HARMAN, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, I liked the spectacle. I liked the fact this is a chance for the entire Congress and the entire government to be in one place and to listen carefully to what should be a very inspiring speech, however, I didn't think this was up to some of the ones I've heard in the past. And I've been to many of them as Chris has and others have. This was not a laundry list, that was good. But it was not a very inspiring speech in any way. We had to go to the Capitol, which is an armed camp, locked down, for this event. I think the focus should have been on security nonstop from start to finish, focusing on the homeland first.

Three threatening letters in the last couple of weeks from senior al Qaeda figures, homeland effort that is challenged, a failed response to Katrina, a lot of work to do. This president should have spoken much more clearly to the people of New Orleans who I gather were very disappointed with his message and much more clear to the people of the United States about how he's going to make us more secure.

KING: We'll be back with more. We'll go to your calls, too at the bottom of the hour with this distinguished panel. Don't go away.


BUSH: A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison. Would put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress, however we feel about the decisions and debates about of the past, our nation has only one option -- we must keep our word, defeat our enemies and stand behind the American military in this vital mission.



KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE. Senator Allen, since the law does allow the president to wiretap with warrants, why does he have to do it without warns, which seems abhorrent to people?

ALLEN: Well, this is different than domestic wiretapping. This is actually intercepting communications from our enemy. And this is one thing the president, I think, was trying to do, and I hope he did, and have people recognize who our enemy is. It's al Qaeda. He called them Islamic terrorists. It's not Republicans or Democrats. And when you're dealing with an enemy, you do want to intercept their communications. It's a great way of preventing terrorist attacks on this country.

Now, Jane and I were actually talking ahead of time on this and with some other folks. And I do think he has a legal authority, because Congress authorized the use of military force and to me, this is included in it. But this war on terror's going to last a long time. I think it's important we do, maybe through these hearings determine what are the parameters if there is something wrong and from what I understand the existing FISA laws just don't have the flexibility, they're not workable. We all want to prevent attacks. And maybe what we need to do is amend the FISA laws or find some ways to regularize this or make sure that, in the future, when presidents are faced with this situation in the midst of a war, that it is clear what the authority is.

And I think that's important, because we are a country of laws. We do respect civil rights. But again, let's not get too carried away because it is very important that we get interception of enemy conversations, whether they're into this country or out of this country to them. And I think people of goodwill, probably can work together rather than political gamesmanship and find a legal regimen that protects and secures this country.

KING: Congresswoman Harman?

HARMAN: Thank you, Larry. You know, I hold the Bill Richardson chair on the House Intelligence Committee, it is Bill's seat, I succeeded Bill in that slot. I take the job very seriously. I've looked at this question carefully. I'm a member of the so-called Gang of Eight. I was briefed on this program. I believe that FISA, existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, could and should cover this entire program. FISA was amended after 2001 as part of PATRIOT Act. And there is now authority to do so-called pen register, get the lists of phone calls and emails. There's authority for roving wiretaps, there's authority for a 72-hour delay to file FISAs, and I'm baffled why the administration doesn't follow this law and also believe the failure to brief all of the members of the Senate and House intelligence committees is a violation of law. It violates the National Security Act and I have said this to the White House.

And again, why can't 35 responsible members of Congress know what this program is when hundreds of executive branch people do?

KING: Congressman Shays, what's wrong with that?

SHAYS: Let me just say, if the president wants more executive power, Congress has to exhibit more congressional oversight. With more power should be more congressional oversight. And the failure of Congress, to which I am a part is the president has exerted more power and we've acted more like a parliament than a Congress, separate branch. I think we've hurt our country by doing that. I think we've hurt the presidency. And we've got to change. That's one big area that I think we have to change.

But I want to say this. If we are tracking al Qaeda overseas and there aren't just a few, but many I'm not sure you can get a wiretap on them. Anyone that they contact in the United States, in my judgment, is fair game. And anyone in the United States that is speaking to someone al Qaeda, in al Qaeda is fair game. And I don't believe it should follow the same rules as FISA. I clearly think it's different. KING: Governor Richardson, what do you think?

RICHARDSON: Well, what concerns me the most is the president seemed very uncompromising on this issue. He said, we're going to do this regardless, this domestic spying. I think the law's very clear. And there's also a practical effect. Why not just get a court warrant? Colin Powell, secretary of state, said this, it was probably OK to do this, but get a court warrant.

And my concern is that this will become a political issue in the '06 election. When Democrats, and many others, Republicans, too it's not just Democrats, are saying, let's follow the law. Let's look at -- let's have extensive hearings. Let's protect the privacy of the American people here. Yes, we have to fight terrorism. Yes, we want to know who al Qaeda's talking to. But if it's that extraordinary circumstances in our national security, is it very hard to get a court warrant? I don't believe so.

KING: Is there anything historic, Carl, than you can -- hold one second, George.

ANTHONY: You know, the history -- the history of security, homeland security, in a sense, during World War I, Woodrow Wilson if you spoke out or even in the smallest way suggested that you were not loyal to the cause of World War I, Billy Mitchell, the attorney general, at that point, had the power to throw people in prison. There were a lot of prisoners ...

KING: For speaking?

ANTHONY: For speaking, for just being suspected of you know ...

KING: And that was upheld?

ANTHONY: Well, it went through -- some of the people got released after the war. But John Adams, the Alien and Sedition Act the time France was in the midst of revolution, a lot of the federalists were afraid there were a lot of French in the United States beyond sort of Jeffersonian democrats that they were zealots, revolutionists and there was a fear that these people would create trouble here.

KING: All of it based on fear?

ANTHONY: Based on fear. And they were thrown in prison. The Alien and Sedition Act, if you were suspected of saying something seditious, so you were thrown in prison.

KING: So nothing's new. We'll take a break and we'll be back with more, don't go away.


BUSH: The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.




BUSH: Tonight I ask you in joining me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of Baby Boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties. And offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.


KING: All right. Senator Allen, is -- is Social Security a problem? And if so, will it be solved?

ALLEN: Well, all these retirement issues, with the aging of the Baby Boomer age group and more and more people retiring, needing long- term health care, retirement benefits and all of the rest, is a problem for our country that we do need to face. I'm glad the president said that it needs to be done in a bipartisan way. I do want to just briefly get back to the other issue, though, and just say this is not domestic, this has to do with al Qaeda and our enemies. I hope we can work in a bipartisan way. The problem of Congress, it leaks, we cannot in the mid of Congress in these hearings let our enemy know what we're doing.

And I hope that can work out. And the same has to do with retirement benefits. One thing I'd like to see us do is recognize that a lot of people, because we're living longer, healthier lives, but a lot of people are ultimately going to need assisted living. I'd like to see us allow people to take funds out of their 401-ks and purchase from that long-term care insurance, so people don't have to spend down, lose all of their assets just to get quality assisted living in the last years of their life.

And I think that's something we ought to work well together. And that will help promote individual responsibility and less reliance on the taxpayers and the government for long-term care.

KING: Congresswoman Harman, what do you think?

HARMAN: Just focusing on Social Security for a moment, maybe the president forgot that last year a commission, one of these bipartisan commissions, but where he appointed all the members recommended essentially privatizing Social Security. There was a big fight in Congress. And the idea died. Starting over with yet another commission I don't think is the way to go. We do need entitlement reform. We do need real bipartisanship. But that has to mean that the Republican majority in both houses and the White House have to be prepared to deal with Democrats. This is a program that's very popular in America. Everyone found that out last year. And if I thought the president really meant that offer of bipartisanship I would be screaming from the rafters. I'm one of the most bipartisan members of Congress. My constituents will tell you that. I reach out all the time. But it is very hard when the agenda, every time, is decided by one party. And when there's no real oversight in Congress.

KING: Congressman Shays?

SHAYS: Jane is right. I mean, the president has to restore the public's trust in the presidency and him. We need to restore people's faith in Congress and we do that by dealing with the whole issue of lobby reform. But also process. We need to be debating issues instead of cutting them off.

And sadly, that's what happened. And with regard to Social Security, the president acted like Social Security was in crisis. It wasn't. Medicare is in crisis. Social Security will be in crisis if we don't deal with it. But people, frankly, didn't trust him because of our being -- and I include myself -- wrong on the war. He lost some real sense of credibility.

KING: Governor Richardson, were you dissatisfied with the short amount of attention paid to Katrina?

RICHARDSON: Yes, I was. Here we have three states that were devastated. Here we have a totally ineffective federal response from FEMA across the board. Possibly some errors at the state level, too.

But to just address it so rapidly when there's such agony and help needed in these states, in Mississippi and Alabama and Louisiana. And basically what I perceive is an attitude right now, all right we've given you so many billion dollars, that's it, when you have to have a massive effort, I believe, not just an engineering effort, but uplifting of spirits making these states realize that we do care about them.

This was what -- such an outpouring from other states from other governors, and my only point on health care, Larry, is that I, as a governor, I'm not very hopeful that the Congress will deal with Medicare and Medicaid. I think the solutions are happening at the sat level, and Senator Allen is a former governor, probably hopefully will agree with me. This is why Governor Kaine of Virginia who spoke on the Democratic response spoke about local solutions at the state level.

Public-private partnerships to deal with issues like health care costs and retirement. And uninsured people and kids not being insured. The states is where the act is, where the policy is. And if the Congress sends us more authority at the state level, I'm going to welcome it, because we're not getting the resources, we're not getting the flexibility that we deserve.

KING: Carl, have State of the Union speeches changed things?

ANTHONY: Not really. It's usually when -- I mean you might get a very -- this addiction to oil may end up being sort of a memorable quote. But it's when presidents like -- like Bush and in 2001 go to Congress in a special joint session after 9/11 or when Franklin Roosevelt declares his famous day that will live in infamy, you know, December 7th, 1941, again, a special calling together of Congress, those are usually in times of crisis that we remember those moments that changed things.

KING: Is there a most famous State of the Union address?

ANTHONY: Well, probably in recent years, people most remember that of Bill Clinton's, when he had just begun the process of the impeachment process and -- and during which he did not mention the impeachment brought against him but he in fact mentioned -- and I think that was the year that more than any other time -- he mentioned Mrs. Clinton. And talked from the rostrum about all of the different things she's achieved. That that's from the National First Ladies Library, the Web site it lists all the different ...

KING: By the way, Carl is a nut about first ladies and he even has a Web site called He knowing everything about first ladies.

We'll take a break, come back, include your phone call. Don't go away.



REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States.


KING: I think I just saw that. Anyway, let's re-meet our panel. In Washington is Senator George Allen, Republican of Virginia. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, is Governor Bill Richardson, Democrat of New Mexico. In Washington, Congressman Chris Shays, Republican of Connecticut. And Congresswoman Jane Harman, Democrat of California. And here in Los Angeles, Carl Sferrazza Anthony, presidential historian, best-selling author, his newest book is "Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era."

Let's go to your calls. And we start with Salt Lake City, Utah, hello.

CALLER: Hello, can you hear me?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: I have two really quick questions, I'll be quick. For Senator Allen, I think he said that he wanted the president to address drilling in Alaska. I think that's counterproductive in the fact that he wants to pursue other technologies. Isn't that just, you know, avoiding it and still going after oil? And second of all, for the rest of your panel, don't you think the main reason that we're still using oil is because it's making a lot of money for very wealthy people? I mean, we can put a man on the moon and send these satellites but we still can't make a car run other than crude stuff coming out of the ground.

KING: All right. Senator Allen, if he's saying he wants to make oil obsolete, why would you go to Alaska and get more?

ALLEN: Because we do need oil. We need more domestic production of oil and natural gas in this country. And is that is important. We're not going automatically just go to biofuels. But I think the great thing about biofuels right now, whether they're from soybeans or stalks or he called switch grass or obviously from corn is that it's generally costing about $35 a barrel. If we got $50 a barrel oil, we'd be thrilled if that were that stability.

But there's other approaches. Coal can be used as a diesel fuel. It could be gasified. But we do need more domestic production. And Alaska is in favor of it. And I think that you need a balanced variety, flexible -- flexibility to switch from a lot of different fuels.

But oil still is going to be important, as will be coal, biofuels I think are great. And I think electricity, generated by either clean coal technology, after all, we're the Saudi Arabia in coal, and also advanced nuclear. And by the way, we can learn something from the French in nuclear.

They reprocess or use chemical separation, it's a much less dangerous, much more efficient way of handling nuclear power. So all of these approaches, including solar photovoltaic, solar power, with nanotechnology, that's going to also be a component in the variety of fuels and measures that we can use to propel our economy.

KING: Jane Harman, is it money?

HARMAN: Well, I would argue that it's security. I drive a hybrid car on each coast and have a solar-powered home in Venice, California, near you, Larry, and those are small steps that I take. But this oil is a weapon. And we just saw what happened when Russia temporarily withdrew gas exports to the Ukraine and that had a ripple effect on the economies of all of the surrounding European countries.

We want to wean ourselves from dependence on oil, primarily so that Iran, Iraq, and pick another country, can't hold us hostage. And it's critical to invest in these alternative technologies that Senator Allen just talked about. And I'm doing my little part.

KING: Scranton, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Yes. I'd like to get back to the issue of the wiretapping situation. I feel that -- I wouldn't care what the president did whether he needed approval or not, as long as it was protecting our country from something happening again. And I'd like to know why the panel feels the way that they do. KING: You mean those who are against it?

CALLER: Yes, absolutely. I agree with some of Senator Allen's comments that he made a little earlier as far as things getting a little bit nitpicky and that maybe there's too much being put out there about what we are doing or what we want to do.

KING: OK. Governor Richardson, are you nitpicky?

RICHARDSON: No, we're a nation of laws. I believe that the privacy and civil rights of Americans is one of our fundamental rights. And my only point here is, if there is going to be eavesdropping, if there is going to be wiretapping of American citizens, there should be a due process.

There should be a court-ordered effort. There should be a dialogue, an agreement, clear law. I thought the law was very clear. And what bothered me was the president saying that no matter what, he's going to continue to do this.

Well, I believe that there's some members of his own party, some very conservative jurists that feel that clearly what we need here is a clear delineation of what the American right to privacy is.

I want to go after terrorists. I -- as ambassador to the U.N., I was -- I saw a lot of these wiretaps of the National Security Agency, of foreigners, of our adversaries. But to just indiscriminately be able to say this American, this American, I think there's got to be some guidelines and it has to involve not just our judicial scholars but the Congress.

Tell the Congress. Congresswoman Harman said that she didn't necessarily get all of the briefings that she should have. We have got to be more open about these issues.

KING: Congressman Shays?

SHAYS: The bottom line to this issue as far as I'm concerned is, the Cold War is over and the world is a more dangerous place. The Cold War strategy of contain, react, and mutually assured destruction is absurd now. It needs to be detect and prevent.

And what my concern is, it's one thing to say domestic to domestic, FISA works, but I have a hard time understanding how, when we know a foreign source is contacting America that we aren't going to tap that foreign source, and whoever they contact in the United States is ultimately going to be taped.

HARMAN: Well, we may -- Larry, if I could just add my two cents here, we do need tools to find the bad guys. We do want to prevent and disrupt plots, not just respond to them, obviously. Congress passed the Patriot Act right after 2001, most of us voted for it. I voted for it again recently actually to give the president the enhanced tools that he needs.

We need to do these things in the 21st Century but we need a legal framework around them, including detentions and interrogations.

ALLEN: The legal framework though is authorization of military force. They're not wiretapping domestically American citizens unless -- or somebody in this country who may not even be an American citizen, but the target is al Qaeda. And so this is different than your normal domestic wiretapping.

Nor do they have the time, Governor, and I have a lot of admiration for you and do want to give the states greater freedom to innovate, but the reality is, you can't be getting a warrant. You have to work quickly. You have to determine as quickly as you can what these conversations are. And in fact they have to listen to several of them to determine whether there's a plot afoot.

KING: Let me get a break. We'll get Carl's thoughts. We'll come right back. More phone calls. Don't go away.


BUSH: By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment, move beyond a petroleum-based economy, and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.



KING: Carl Anthony, there's nothing new about all of this.

ANTHONY: No. And as we were discussing, you know, the whole notion of wiretapping ever since the recording machine was invented, there's always been somebody in the government recording. And usually that's during these times -- these wartimes.

KING: Roosevelt tapped, right?

ANTHONY: Yes, during World War I, Franklin Roosevelt and his cousin Alice took a kind of fiendish delight in taking on as volunteers some of the assignments of the tapings, and usually it was after folks that were suspected of being German spies.

But when it included Bernard Baruch and one of his mistresses, and it was placed under the bed, and you know, here was the future president of the United States doing this.

KING: And Nixon's enemies.

ANTHONY: Nixon's enemies list. I think that's the issue. I think it's that maybe one doesn't expect that this is not going to happen in wartime, but it's will those recordings be used for other things?

KING: Jane Harman, someone said to ask you, were you close to the arrest of Ms. Sheehan? HARMAN: I didn't see it. I heard about it afterwards. I gather she was in the gallery upstairs and I wasn't aware that she was present.

KING: Because a congresswoman from your state had invited her in but she was apparently wearing some sort of protest shirt. And that's not allowed in Congress, right?

HARMAN: Right. I think -- I had heard she was trying to unroll a banner and that is not allowed.

KING: Philadelphia, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi. I think that president's address -- in the president's address, there's been a lot of talk about moving from a petroleum-based economy, but we are there now. And I think there's a question that a lot of Americans wanted to see addressed tonight. And that is, why has our government allowed our oil companies to reap outrageous profits since Katrina? And what's their plan to address it?

KING: Senator Allen, it's a very fair question. A lot of people in the middle class are very upset about it.

ALLEN: I am, too, and I think anybody who uses natural gas in heating their home or if they're in a factory, manufacturing, whether it's chemicals, plastics, fertilizers, use natural gas, that's harming our competitiveness. And people, every time you fill up, you're paying more.

It is a concern. One of the problems we have is we have about 104 different boutique fuels. And Richard Burr, senator from North Carolina, and I have put together an idea to take the cleanest-burning formulations and have those, about four or five for the whole country, that in itself would expand our refinery capacity and not have these shifts, and especially in the springtime it goes higher because it's a different blend in certain areas for the spring and summertime than there is in the winter.

And, yes, it is a concern that the prices are going up. It's a world commodity. In addition to obviously Katrina, you have general pressure from the rest of the world in countries that are growing very fast, such as India and China and Central Europe.

And so even if production stays about the same, the demand, not just in this country, but other growing economies, will make the price pressure go up. And they're world prices.

It's why I do think it makes great sense to look at new technologies for the future, but also increase domestic production, not have it also all in -- off the coast of Louisiana and Texas, but also whether it's Alaska or other states may want deep water and share the revenues with the states that they could use for college tuition or roads and infrastructure.

KING: Washington, D.C., hello. CALLER: Thank you, Larry. This question is for Senator Allen.

KING: Yes.

CALLER: Governor Kaine gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union and one of his -- one thing that he mentioned was for Americans to rise above this bipartisan culture that we see so much here in Washington.

KING: Partisan culture.

CALLER: And I was just wondering, is -- and Governor -- former Governor Warner, many would suggest, did a good job of overcoming this bipartisan culture, did it especially well in Richmond. And isn't this culture that is unique to the Commonwealth of Virginia but also is this also going to contribute to Mr. Warner and Mr. Allen seeking their parties' respective nominations in 2008?

ALLEN: I think Virginia's a good example of people working together. There are differences that we have on a variety of issues. But where you can, you do try to work together. When I was governor, we had a Democrat legislature, but we were able to abolish parole, get welfare reform through, put in high academic standards and accountability.

And Governor Warner built upon our Standards of Learning. I was just with Governor Warner on Monday and Governor Kaine and the Republican leadership in the house and the senate on an initiative for more research at our universities and colleges in Virginia, which actually blended in fairly well with what I've talked about all over the country as well as Mark Warner and the president's address.

So, there are times when it's for the benefit of the people of your state and the country, we ought to come together.

KING: Can you envision a Warner-Allen presidential race? Two men from Virginia?

ALLEN: Who, me?

KING: You.

ALLEN: I'll let others envision it. I hope the people of Virginia will be kind enough to re-elect me this fall, then I'll look at those options from all of the nice encouragements I've had from people I respect.

KING: And would your counterpart, Mr. Warner, be an outstanding candidate?

ALLEN: I think he would. The Democrats aren't going to care what I have to say.

KING: I know but...

ALLEN: But I think he'd be a very credible candidate. KING: We'll take a break and be right back. Don't go away.


GOV. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Tonight, we heard the president again call to make his tax policies permanent, despite his administration's failure to manage our staggering national debt. Over the past five years, we've gone from huge surpluses to massive deficits.

Now, no parent makes their child pay the mortgage bill. Why should we allow this administration to pass down the bill for its reckless spending to our children and grandchildren?




BUSH: Society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under the law. The Supreme Court has two superb new members, new members on its bench, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito.


KING: Back to the calls. Detroit, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, I just have a quick comment to make. As a gay man I just want to know will this president ever reach out to me or other minorities? I was really disappointed in the State of the Union Address when he mentioned that he will not nominate justices that legislate from the bench and that redefined marriage. I was shocked. I'm an American, I'm not subhuman. Thank you.

KING: Congressman Shays, what do you make of it?

SHAYS: Well, I don't think you're legislating from the bench when you make sure that all Americans are treated fairly. And so, it's kind of a misuse of the words, I think to imply that legislating from the bench and making sure that gays aren't discriminated against is legislation. It's not. It's just simply guaranteeing their constitutional rights.

KING: Well, it means they are never going to approve gay marriage, you know what it means.

SHAYS: Well, but you know what, I believe that is a legislative responsibility on gay marriages, but we're talking about discrimination against gays. And I think that is a constitutional responsibility.


KING: No, but it -- Jane? HARMAN: Well, the regulation of marriage is a state responsibility. It always strikes me as hypocritical for the federal government to talk about the issue, a lot of people who believe in states' rights, states should decide that. But on the general subject of discrimination, Chris is right, that is a constitutional guarantee. Congress should be doing more in a bipartisan basis about that.

The president did say some very useful things about HIV-AIDS and promised more help and made a comment that it's a scourge in the African-American community. I surely agree with that but he's got to back up rhetoric with funding for programs.

KING: Senator Allen, are gays in America second-class citizens?

ALLEN: I think they're just like any other citizen. I wouldn't say that sexual orientation, though, is a civil right. I wouldn't make it akin to race or religion or gender. But every citizen, regardless of their sexual orientation, for example, I don't think there's any such discrimination.

As far as marriage is concerned, marriage, in my view, and I think the view of most people, as represented through their legislatures and their constitutions or by referendum in California, believe that for family and rearing of children marriage should be between a man and a woman.

People can have partnerships, they can own property, jointly, they can devise and bequeath to whomever they want. The reason for -- the need for a constitutional amendment actually is to protect the will of the people in the states because if one state, say, Massachusetts, were judges define marriage as between two people, regardless of gender, if Sally and Louise move to South Carolina, they're going to say that South Carolina's got to recognize that marriage out of the comity of other states.

And so...

KING: Bill, I'm running close on...

ALLEN: ... I think as you get more court decisions, we're going to need a constitutional amendment.

KING: I'm running close on time. Governor, what's the law in New Mexico?

RICHARDSON: Well, this is a state responsibility, Larry. And the concern that I think that gentleman had is this. If you look at the Supreme Court, which guides legal principles around the country, what you're seeing is possibly a court moving in the direction of fewer privacy rights, of more executive strength than the legislative, a little shift in the checks and balances. Issues relating like Roe vs. Wade.

And I think the concern is that what is happening is a redefining of what has always been a moderate, centrist Supreme Court moving decidedly to the right. And that's worrying a lot of people and it's worrying me...

KING: I've got to...

RICHARDSON: ... and it's worrying me in terms of what a state responsibility and legal right can do.

KING: I've got to get a break. Any history here, Carl?

ANTHONY: No, except something that you had brought up which is very interesting. Earlier, we were talking about Japanese-Americans and the whole notion of making sure...

KING: They were put in camps.

ANTHONY: Yes. And put in camps, and different times...

KING: The Supreme Court upheld that.

ANTHONY: Yes. And different times, different things, people just born the way they are born, whatever race or orientation, there have been times that the government has clamped down on them.

KING: We'll take a break. We'll be back with a couple minutes more. Don't go away.


KING: We only have a minute. Farmington, New Mexico quickly.

CALLER: Yes. Hello, Governor Richardson, and the panel.


CALLER: I was just wondering what or how many more programs is this administration going to steal from the American public to fund this war or to give permanent tax breaks to the rich?

KING: Governor, how many have we dropped?

RICHARDSON: Well, there's a lot of good programs that are being dropped. You know, we're building schools Iraq and we're not building schools in Farmington, New Mexico. You know, on one point, Larry, on energy...

KING: You have 30 seconds.

RICHARDSON: Exxon Mobil announced $37 billion in profit. It's 65 percent dependence on imported oil. The president made that good phrase "addicted to oil." But few solutions, hardly any, you need an Apollo-like private-public partnership, renewable energy, fuel efficient vehicle, conservation, massive new research funds into especially solar wind and biomass. That's the only way out of this.

KING: Thanks all very much. Senator George Allen, Governor Bill Richardson, Representative Chris Shays, Representative Jane Harman, and Carl Sferrazza Anthony, for being part of this panel on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE. What's going to happen now is we are repeat the whole evening. We're going to start with a repeat of the State of the Union message right now.