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CNN Larry King Live

Encore Presentation: LARRY KING LIVE: Interview With Bill Maher and Interview With Project Runway Cast

Aired September 02, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Bill Maher is back.
BILL MAHER: Thank you. I missed you too.

KING: Always outspoken, always outrageous, always funny too. And then behind the scenes of the hottest reality show on TV right now, Project Runway, where the cutthroat copetition of survivor meats the drama of American Idol in the big money beautiful world of high fashion. Super Model Heidi Klum, the judges, the winners. They'll take you inside Project Runway, all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening and thanks for joining us. Bill Maher is one of our favorite guests and love him or hate him, he's always funny and always thought provoking. When he joined us this past Monday, it was the day the Boulder D.A. announced the sensational news that John Mark Karr was no longer a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder. Sure enough Bill Maher had his in-your-face opinions, as he always does, on that story and lots of others. In fact, he let lose on it in his own HBO show, watch.


MAHER: When I see this coverage of this guy, this John Mark Karr guy, I'm like is the media kidding? This guy, how would -- how would -- how could he be the burglar? He didn't -- JonBenet was not famous until she was murdered. They talk about him like he was the guy who killed John Lennon but John Lennon was famous before. I think it's just -- they just like to go after the story because JonBenet sells papers.


KING: He's back, always good to have him with us, Bill Maher, the host of Real Time With Bill Maher, back for another season on HBO. It began last Friday, 11:00 Eastern, his "New Rules" -- no, 11:00 everywhere Eastern and 8:00 and everywhere. He's on all over the board.

"New Rules" is now available on DVD and his New York Times best- selling book "New Rules" comes out in paperback on September 5th. There's other things to tell you about him but we'd run out of show.

OK, were you saying this shouldn't have been covered at all? What are you saying?

MAHER: That's what I -- that person who you just had on the clip looked a lot like me. I think he was right.

KING: Don't cover it at all. What were you saying?

MAHER: Well, I wouldn't say don't cover it at all but it was astounding to me that the media, you know, just like (INAUDIBLE) JonBenet any excuse to show footage of her prancing around in a cowboy outfit like a little whore so what?

KING: What do you do with a story that's been around ten years? You got to admit it has been a story. The New York Times had it front page the first day.

MAHER: I know but the media is supposed to be some sort of filter aren't they? They're supposed to be a little more intelligent than the average person.

KING: So, how would you have covered this really?

MAHER: Well first of all I would have looked at it, what that man, me, just said there last Friday night. How about the idea that how could he have done this? How could he have known about JonBenet Ramsey? They didn't care. They didn't want to look at that. They didn't because what they wanted to do was get back into the JonBenet story because that's good eyeball grabbing stuff.

KING: Supposing they wanted to get into it...

MAHER: But this guy...

KING: ...because the public is interested in it?

MAHER: Well, the fourth estate used to feel that they had a little bit of a duty to tell the public what was important and what was not and not to cover everything. Yes, you could put porn on CNN and I'm sure you'd get more eyeballs.

But this guy was, you know, he was the Paris Hilton of pedophiles. He was famous for nothing. He did absolutely nothing. And I think it just -- the reason why I was talking about it, and Christopher Hitchens (ph) said, "We'll you're doing the same thing."

And before I was cut off I was going to say that the reason I was bringing it up is not just to make the point about what was going on but also that the press is so uncritical about what they choose to cover and what questions they choose to ask, if they had chosen...

KING: Those questions were asked. This guy is probably a kook. I said every night this guy looks innocent.

MAHER: I'm not talking about you, Larry.

KING: But you mean there are some that (INAUDIBLE)?

MAHER: You're not a news show. You're an interview show. You're different. I'm talking about when people tune in to get the news, OK. And it's the same thing with the run-up to the war in Iraq, the same sort of uncritical coverage. I think there is a theme running through here.

KING: Who should have been criticized, the Boulder D.A., in your mind who should have -- who should have been laced?

MAHER: Well that's certainly part of it but that's not my business. My business is show business/media, so yes I do criticize. And when I criticize CNN or I brought up Time Magazine also last week on the show, you know, we do it out of affection because these are, you know, are institutions that we have come to love, that we grew up with because there was something for smart people. And so we're doubly disappointed when we tune into something that we feel is for the smart people and they're covering something that's not smart.

KING: Would you admit smart people in wherever they were, were talking about JonBenet last week?

MAHER: They may have been.

KING: Smart people, intellectuals, professors were talking about JonBenet?

MAHER: OK but, again, I think the media should be a leader and in that regard I think they should have said, "You know what, this is not a credible story. Just because we can cover it doesn't mean we have to."

KING: And do you think it was covered, the proverbial we, as if he were guilty?

MAHER: Absolutely, when the truth is they should have right from the beginning go, "This guy couldn't possibly be the guy. Yes, he killed her in his mind but that's as far as it went." It was so -- to me it was obvious that this was just a guy who wanted publicity. He was a creepy guy in a lot of ways, I mean you know, we'd want to get this guy off the streets but certainly he wasn't the murderer.

KING: Why do you think the D.A. ran with it?

MAHER: Another good question, probably because anyone who can works in a more high paying law enforcement job and, you know, this is why you get O.J. trials where the evidence is overwhelming to convict the man but it's the dream team up against people who are on a public salary.

KING: We'll take a break and come back, lots more to talk about with Bill Maher. We'll get into things like the Mel Gibson controversy and other things he may have thoughts about. Bill Maher is back. Don't go away.


MAHER: New rule, confessed child murderers have to fly coach. Of all the people who ever deserved to spend 14 hours listening to a crying baby and having his seat kicked, number one has got to be that guy.




MAHER: What are you looking at sugar? I own Malibu. I have said this many times. Drinking and anti-Semitism do not mix. If you have to drink and hate Jews and drive get a designated hater, please.

Now, Mel Gibson has issued his apologies. I guess they are sincere. I'll tell you what does not look good. Today he signed a three picture deal with Hezbollah.


KING: What do you make of that whole story?

MAHER: Well, I'm glad you showed a clip from my Amazon show. That shows we're embracing the Internet. Well, first of all I think the bottom line is that religion makes people arrogant. One of the things I don't like about religion is I think it is arrogance...

KING: You're blaming religion?

MAHER: I think religion is usually, especially in this country, it's arrogance masquerading as humility. I think, you know, when Mel Gibson said, "I own Malibu" that doesn't surprise me because when you think you have absolutely certitude about what happens after you die and who God is that's awfully arrogant to me.

We can't get things right here on earth. We're always wrong about stuff, day-to-day stuff. And to think that you know what happens and who God is and that's where that all comes from.

And, I'm telling you something, Mel Gibson does not know what happens when you die and who God is. How do I know that, because I don't know and Mel Gibson does not have powers of perception that I do not have. When I hear Mel...

KING: He may have belief you don't have though.

MAHER: Yes, but it's more than belief. These people, please, it's a lot more than belief. That's what faith is. It's saying I know for sure 100 percent. And when I hear Mel Gibson say things like, "I love the Jews. I pray for them. I pray for them." In other words, the little darlings they're too benighted. They don't know what happens when we die. They don't know about Jesus, so I have to pray for them. You know what, you can -- CNN sorry, not HBO there (INAUDIBLE).

KING: What did you make of the whole Middle East thing about Hezbollah?

MAHER: Well, I wrote a -- we were just talking about Arianna in the back. I wrote a little blog for Arianna about that because it was her birthday, you know. I'm not a big blogger but when it's her birthday you can't turn her down. And I was saying that to me, you know, the world is Mel Gibson because the world is anti-Semitic.

KING: The world?

MAHER: Absolutely and the proof of that is that they ask Israel to maintain a level of restraint when they're attacked that no other country would ever be asked to uphold.

I mean can you imagine if there was a terrorist organization that took over the country on our northern border, which would be Canada, and they started shelling us in our northern cities and Minnesota and Bangor, Maine was being shelled, what do you think George Bush would do?

I think he would nuke them before breakfast. And, look, you know I don't like George Bush but he is the best president we've ever had on Israel because for some reason he gets that.

I think the reason he gets it is because he's a crazy evangelical Christian. He thinks the world is going to end in our lifetime, so Israel needs to be in the hands of the people who it was in the hands of when Jesus returns which would be the Jews. That's why the Christians do so.

KING: Did Hezbollah in a sense though PR wise win that?

MAHER: PR wise of course because the media always likes the underdog or what they perceive as the underdog, not that they're really the underdog at this point. Did you see those pictures of Hezbollah handing out cash?

I had Spike Lee on Friday night and I was saying, you know, when you see Katrina a year later these people can't get help. A day after the war ended there is Hezbollah handing out and peeling off hundred dollar bills, American, U.S. currency, hundred dollar bills.

KING: Where did it come from, Iran?

MAHER: Where did it come from? It came from U.S. consumers buying gasoline. I wish someone would do a little tape where they would morph that, morph the guy at the pump paying for his gasoline here in America into the Hezbollah guy peeling off those hundred dollar bills. Yes, we buy gasoline. It does to Iran because they sell us the oil. They get the money to Hezbollah. Hezbollah shells Israel. It's a continuum.

So, you know, I feel really bad for Lebanon. I'm sorry you got your country all bombed up. But, you know, when you let a terrorist organization take over your country that's what's going to happen. I'll tell you two Arab countries that never get bombed, Egypt and Jordan, because they made a peace treaty with Israel. Try it.

KING: Yes. All right, we're going to take a break, folks.

By the way, Bill will be doing a stand up performance at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque Saturday.

MAHER: Kiva.

KING: Kiva.

MAHER: There are sacred Indians there. You can't mispronounce their name. You'll have bad spirits.

KING: You say tomato, I say tomato.

And next day, Sunday, he'll perform September 3rd at the Grove.

MAHER: In Anaheim.

KING: Can't mispronounce that, in Anaheim.

And we'll be back. We'll also have e-mails and some phone calls and lots of other subjects to cover with the omnipresent, always present, welcomingly present Bill Maher. Don't go away.


MAHER: Forget about the anti-Semitism. What about driving through Malibu at 90 miles an hour drunk? It is getting so bad on PCH Britney Spears doesn't feel safe leaving her baby on the curb anymore.




MAHER: We're aware that we cannot take certain liquids and gels anymore but there are some things that you cannot take on the plane, martyr sauce, come on, Dr. Scholl's shoe bomb inserts. I tell you right there, soap on a fuse, behead and shoulders. Arm & Hamas baking soda. Now, come on. Pray & wash. And of course, watch out for Pezbollah.


KING: That's funny. Bill Maher is our guest. Friday nights on HBO, "Real Time With Bill Maher" is back. The books are out, the DVD. What, you wanted to add something on that?

MAHER: I just wanted to say that the world can't have it both ways with the Jews. After World War II everybody said how could the Jews have gone to the slaughter? How could they just have let the Nazis line them up, they willing willingly took off their clothes, they got shot, they marched in to the gas chambers.

KING: Hannah Arendt (ph).

MAHER: Oh yes. The banality of evil she called it. OK, so they wanted the Jews to defend themselves? Well now they're defending themselves. You can't have it both ways. KING: We have an e-mail from Carla of Denver, Colorado. Question, who do you think would make a good Democratic candidate for president?

MAHER: Anyone who would get his testicles out of Al Gore's lock box, which is apparently where they left them at the last election. Nobody so far because no Democrat really steps forward and makes the case.

KING: Hillary?

MAHER: Of what should be the opposition party. Least of all Hillary.

KING: Least of all?

MAHER: Well, yes. Because we've talked about this before. She's in the John Kerry, Al Gore camp, which is to try to go after the Republican voter, that NASCAR-driving, beer-swilling, goose-hunting voter, instead of the 79 million people who didn't vote at all. How about somebody who was really angry? Because I think a lot of people in this country are really angry.

KING: Biden?

MAHER: Biden's good. I like Biden a lot. But --

KING: What about, are you still a McCain fan on the Republican side?

MAHER: He's losing me and a lot of people.

KING: Because?

MAHER: Well, did you see what he said today about Bob Jones University?

KING: No, what did he say?

MAHER: Well he said I might go to Bob Jones. This is the guy who in 2000 said George Bush went to Bob Jones, I would never go there, I would say to them, why don't you come out of the 16th century and come into the 21st century? Well, I don't think they've made up those 500 years since he last ran for president.

KING: James Carville says if Democrats can't win in this environment we have to question the whole premise of the party.

MAHER: Absolutely true.

KING: Connecticut Senate race. Joe Lieberman. What do you think?

MAHER: You know, Joe Lieberman is a selfish guy. He's proved that twice. Because in 2000 he could have helped the Democratic party and therefore I think the nation, by either choosing to run for the Senate or run for vice president. He said no, it's more important for me to still be around. And that's what he's saying this time. It's more important for me to run as an independent. I'm going to be the representative of Connecticut, whether the voters like it or not. This from the guy who criticized Bill Clinton for being immoral because he had sex in the Oval Office.

KING: He's ahead in the polls, though.

MAHER: Yes, he is. I'm sure he is. Because the Republicans are not even backing their own candidate. That's why. But this is always what happens with that Republican party. They are somehow able to conflate real morals and values with sex. Because they're Republicans, Larry. They're bad at sex. They're pasty, unattractive white people, and if you had to have sex with them it would be over in an excruciating three minutes. So what they always like to do is conflate sex with morals. You know, Joe Lieberman was so upset about Bill Clinton and his horrible morals. Well, Joe Lieberman should look at his own morals.

KING: The controversy over Virginia Senator George Allen, who used the word macaca when referring to one of his opponent's campaign volunteers.

MAHER: I thought macaca was something a kid said when they had to go to the bathroom. I've never heard this. This is like you remember the movie "Mean Streets?"

KING: Sure.

MAHER: Martin Scorsese's first movie and there's this fight in a bar because somebody called somebody a mook. And they have a big fight and then they go, what's a mook? Nobody had heard the word.

KING: Macaca apparently is a bad word for Indians, from India, not American Indians.

MAHER: Oh, I thought it was a bad term for blacks.

KING: No, a term for Indians.

MAHER: See, you don't even know what it means. We don't even know --

KING: But the kid who he said it about is an A student.

MAHER: The point is George Allen and we've had him on the show, he's a nice guy. But he's another guy cut in the mold of George Bush. In other words, dim. Sorry, Senator Allen. I know you probably won't be coming back on my show now, but that's the truth. He's not a bright guy. And his excuse, we can concentrate on what an idiot I am or we can look to the future.

I think at this point in our history, with the peril we're in in so many areas we really need a bright guy next time. How about a bright guy? How about an elitist? I know that's become a bad word but what if people just sat back and went, wait a second, elitist that means somebody who's elite, someone better than me, smarter than me? Because what are we trying now?

KING: Jefferson was an elitist, was he not?

MAHER: And he was a lot smarter. As opposed to this theory of go with the mediocratist.

KING: After the break, by the way, we'll include your phone calls and some more e-mails. It's the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

MAHER: After the break we'll include your hate mail.

KING: First anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Have we learned anything?

MAHER: I doubt it. Do we ever learn anything about anything?

KING: Usually after the fact hopefully we learn something.

MAHER: Well, I think what people learned down there is that you cannot count on government, certainly can't count on this government. What I learned ...

KING: How did they miss that? I mean, it was on television. No movie, it was on television.

MAHER: Right. What's really amazing is that George Bush is going to go down there and somehow spin it as a success. Half the population hasn't come back. I mean, the streets aren't even cleaned. It's so sad. You know, this country is, I've said this before, I'm going to keep saying it, it's a pitiful, helpless giant, in the phrase of Richard M. Nixon. And I know people hear that and they go, oh, Bill Maher, there you go hating America first. I don't hate America.

I want to love America because I want America to be what it used to be. And what it is is that country that we used to look at and go, oh, god, these poor people can't do anything. Why are they so listless and incapable of handling stuff? But now we're that country. We can't get off the oil. We can't do anything. We can't homeland security. We can't wear sheep at the airport. Whatever they try to do at the airport, that we somehow wind up, oh, now we have to check our liquids.

I said on the show Friday night, if someone put a bomb under their hat or in their big Afro, we'd all be shaving our heads at the airport, Larry. We're fighting the last war there. We're just a dummy. This country is dumb. It's like a muscle bound wrestler in high school that can't do anything except beat up a guy.

KING: Yet here you can go on television and attack us at the same time.

MAHER: Yes, that's right. We still have free speech.

KING: Thank god. We'll come right ...

MAHER: We'll see after the commercial. Once the hook comes out.

KING: If he's not here when we come back, we'll go to your calls and some e-mails right after this.


MAHER: A German publication did an interview with the president and asked Mr. Bush what was his best moment of his presidency, and he said it was the day that he caught a 7 1/2-pound perch. I couldn't make that up. Now, he leaves out the part that he was fishing in downtown New Orleans.




MAHER: If Latino immigrants want to be taken seriously, they have to stop wearing the giant hats. The civil rights marchers in the '50s didn't dress like Buckwheat and carry watermelons. You're a proud immigrant demanding his rights, not the Frito Bandido.


KING: Bill Maher's our guest. Watsonville, California. We're getting some calls, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Hi, Bill.


CALLER: I love you. You're one of my favorite people.

MAHER: Oh, thank you. You can come to the party.

CALLER: Thanks. Anyway, I'd like to say, I'd like your input on Schwarzenegger. I know that you've said a lot about him. But living in Watsonville, we have a problem -- we've had a problem with Maria Shriver coming and being ousted.

KING: Being ousted?


KING: What do you mean ousted?

CALLER: The Mexican-American people don't like her here, and I am Mexican-American. I am also Native American Indian. And I don't think Schwarzenegger is a really good guy.

KING: We'll see what Bill thinks. MAHER: If you're Mexican-American, you're going to love Pat Buchanan's new book. It's called "I Hate Brown People."

KING: It's almost called that.

MAHER: It's almost called that. And it's so funny because his premise is that by 2050, the white waspy people will be less than half the country and my God, they're running it so perfectly, how could we get rid of them? What we need is more waspy people like George Bush and his delinquent son.

Anyway, what was the question? Oh, Schwarzenegger. You know, I like Arnold Schwarzenegger, I do. I mean, I thought when he ran it was a ridiculous election. But he -- look, if he's the future of the Republican Party, he's done a great service to this country because he would move the Republican Party way toward the center. He's a lot more sensible about stuff than the hard right Evangelical Christians who've taken that party over.

I read in the paper today that he's considering a bill that would allow us to grow hemp -- hemp. I would put that in that long list of things that make us a pitiful, helpless giant, that we're so stupid that we can't even take advantage of this very valuable crop. Not another tree would have to be cut down if we could grow hemp. And we can't apparently grow hemp because it's a cousin of the evil drug marijuana, which should be legal, too. We won't go into that. But as I always say to people, if you think hemp is dangerous, try getting high on it.

KING: Let's go to an e-mail question from Josh of Lansing, Michigan. Do you think the administration will try and capitalize on its trusty fear tactics to advance its agenda for an Iran invasion?

MAHER: Yes, I do. It's the only card they can ever play. You know, it's funny. George Bush always talks about how evil the Iranian president is and he is. You know, like anybody who says that the Jews should be driven into the sea, not on the top of my list and I'm not even Jewish.

But I really don't like the president of Iran. But somehow George Bush doesn't understand that he's doing what George Bush does. He's talking to his base. George Bush doesn't really believe that gay marriage is evil, either. But he's rallying the base so he can win an election.

That's what the Iranian guy is doing. And could we at least have a debate on whether this is an impossibility, that Iran be allowed the nuclear weapon before we invade them? I mean, Pakistan is a Muslim country full of people who want to kill us. And they have a nuclear bomb. Somehow that's OK.

KING: Cortez, Colorado, hello.


KING: Hi. CALLER: I have a question. I would really like to see Bill have a special show and interview -- actually several special shows and interview political candidates. I am a big fan of "Real Time" but I think we need more exposure of the candidates.

KING: Bill?

MAHER: I do, too.

KING: Usually you do have candidates on. Well, you have elected people.

MAHER: Very rarely. Candidates don't want to talk to me for a very good reason. I'm not someone like the rest of the people they talk to in the media, who let them get away with lying. Period. So we don't usually have a lot of candidates. I mean, I would be polite to them. But I would ask them, you know, to clarify positions...

KING: You wouldn't have the democratic candidate in Connecticut?

MAHER: We've invited all of them.

KING: You mean Lamont won't come on?

MAHER: Well I don't know if we've invited him. Yes, he probably would. Some of them do. But in general, we do a lot better with people who have just left office. People who can be honest. You can't be honest when you're running.

KING: Bill Maher's our guest. And by the way, Bill's "New York Times" best-seller "New Rules: Polite Musings from a Timid Observer" will be available in paperback on September 5th. And the DVD "New Rules" is still available.


MAHER: New rule, the outside world is not your house. Is it me or will people wear just about anything to the supermarket? When you hear that announcement over the P.A., cleanup on aisle 7, they're talking to you.




MAHER: And you know that if you use an Apple computer, they are recalling the batteries because apparently they burst into flames. So if you're surfing the net and you feel a burning sensation in your lap, it's either your battery or that chick you met on MySpace.


KING: What'd you make of the Emmys?

MAHER: Well, you know, Larry, that was 12 years that I've been nominated without a victory, which I think is some sort of a record.

KING: You're becoming like the girl on the soap opera.

MAHER: Except that I actually do something for a living on television. I'm kidding. She was great. But I think that it's like in subway when you buy like 10 sandwiches they give you a card and you can turn that in for one free one. I think if you're nominated 12 times you should just get a free one.

KING: Were you there?

MAHER: Yes, but I think I'm going to have to give a rest. And look, I'm thrilled to be nominated. I say that.

KING: Who beat you last night?

MAHER: Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show." I think they won three years in a row.

KING: Good show.

MAHER: Yes, quality show, no doubt about it. But, you know, I just think at a certain point you've got to take a hint. And I'm thrilled for the nomination, but I don't think I can do it again.

KING: E-mail question. Daniel in Fort MacMurray, Alberta, Canada. who was your biggest influence growing up? Biggest influence now.

MAHER: Probably Johnny Carson. If you really want to talk about influence and what that world means. It's something I watched every night and absorbed. And when you show those clips of me doing a monologue, you can see Johnny Carson's rhythm in there.

KING: And now you don't need one now.

MAHER: Well, I'm 50 now. I should be giving influence.

KING: We have another e-mail from Mark in New Pauls, New York. "You often say people who have no personal experience with drugs aren't qualified to talk about drugs. At the same time you rail against marriage, having never been married yourself." Your thoughts?

MAHER: Well, marriage is -- you can -- if you've never done acid you really don't know what doing acid is like. But you don't have to be married officially with the piece of paper to know what being married is like. Anytime you're in a long-term relationship, living with someone, that's marriage. I've been there. I know exactly what marriage would be like. And I'm going to stick with doing acid.

KING: You've been in -- will you ever get married?

MAHER: You know, I would never say never.

KING: You don't have a thing against it, then? MAHER: I don't. And I know it works for a lot of people. They're called women. No. It does work for people. I know that. I'm just not the personality type, and I'm not going to purposely go into something I know is a mistake.

KING: Have you changed your thoughts since my little boy is here tonight?

MAHER: I heard the screaming and yelling backstage. I was trying to work. I felt like I was on a Southwest flight.

KING: Have you changed...

MAHER: But I heard you teaching him the old Jack Benny routine. It was so darling. Larry kept saying...

KING: Cannon does it great, your money or your life.

MAHER: But the line is not I'm thinking about it. The line is, I'm thinking.

KING: About it.


KING: About it.

MAHER: You want to bet? I said you want to bet? And Larry went I'm thinking.

KING: But he does it good.

What about children? Have you at all changed?

MAHER: No. That I have not changed on.

KING: At what age do you begin to accept them as part of the culture?

MAHER: When they're old enough to date.

KING: But you were a child once yourself.

MAHER: Stop saying that to me, Larry. Yes, I was a child once.

KING: So you hated yourself?

MAHER: I certainly did. I certainly didn't like pooping in my pants. I was like when can I get out of this age bracket?

king: We'll be back with our remaing moments with Bill Maher right after this. Don't go away.


MAHER: Keep Jesus out of strip clubs. A former dancer from Las Vegas has founded JC's Girls, a ministry that brings the healing power of the Lord directly to America's strip clubs and adult businesses.

Do you people have to ruin everything? You've got the White House, the Congress, the Supreme Court. Can't you leave us heathens a couple of titty bars out by the airport?




MAHER: CNN, to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 is going to be replaying their original coverage of that day. Let's just hope that President Bush doesn't tune in and go, oh, my God, they've done it again.


KING: By the way, just to set the record straight, CNN will re- air its coverage of 9/11 2001 on our Internet service, called Pipeline. So you'll see it front to back...

MAHER: I had that wrong. My apologies.

KING: On Pipeline. It's OK. But it was still...

MAHER: A funny joke.

KING: A funny line. 9/11. We have not had a terrorist attack since. We have foiled one in Britain. And in that area...

MAHER: What do you mean we foiled one in Britain. We didn't.

KING: The president gets high marks in the only area so far in the latest polls is in home security.

MAHER: Again, because it's a stupid country with stupid people who don't pay attention.

We didn't foil anything. The British did. If it was us, we probably would have blown that terrorist cell three months ago because we're so anxious to hold up anybody and say look how good we're doing in the war on terror.

And by the way, it just proves that what John Kerry said in 2004 is the right way to fight terror. With policework. I know that doesn't sound good to the musclebound American who wants to think we can win this by having the biggest, baddest army. But it's not a war you're going to win with an army, as Iraq proves.

John Kerry said this is a law enforcement problem. And that's exactly how they defeated those terrorists -- with good old-fashioned police work.

KING: And where's Iraq going? MAHER: Downhill, of course. And I think the key thing there is that obviously we have started the civil war, which was brewing before we got there, but we really ripped the lid off it. It's going to be a civil war between the entire Muslim world, between the Shias and the Sunnis. And what we have to figure out is how to take advantage of the civil war. You know, George Bush...

KING: What do you mean?

MAHER: Take advantage of it. Instead of saying we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here. How about they're fighting each other there so we don't have to fight them here? George Bush's plan is to unite our enemies. But you know, a wise man said many thousands of years ago, divide your enemies.

Well, our enemies are divided. We have to, now that we have started this civil war, find a way -- first of all, just get out. It's not going to get better while we're here. Just get out.

And this idea that people are making all sorts of predictions, if we leave then Iran will come in, Turkey -- you know what? I've never heard one prediction about Iraq that came true. Let's just get out and see what happens.

KING: Are we better off with Saddam gone?

MAHER: We are not better off. We were never better off because Saddam was actually a bulwark against terrorism. He would never have allowed al Qaeda in Iraq. And I know people say oh, yes, there was al Qaeda. Yes, there was a few al Qaeda in the northern part of the country, which he did not control.

KING: He didn't like bin Laden, right?

MAHER: He hated bin Laden. So the world certainly is not better off without Saddam. And I don't know if even Iraq is better off without Saddam.

You ask the people in Iraq now. Because you know, we're running out of things that Saddam did that we don't do like torture, rape. About the only one left is mass graves. So in a lot of ways we are Saddam except for one thing, he at least had control of his country.

KING: Always good to see you Bill. You're a terrific guest no matter how people -- let me run down the things. "Real Time with Bill Maher" is back Friday nights on HBO at 11:00. "New Rules" is currently available on DVD. His "New York Times" best-selling book "New Rules: Polite Musings From a Timid Observer" will be available in paperback on September 5th. Bill will be doing a stand-up performance at the Kiva auditorium...

MAHER: Kiva.

KING: I thought I did it the other way the last time.

MAHER: I hope I'm right about that. I could be wrong, you know...

KING: At the Kiva -- you'd better be right about Jack Benny. At the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque on Saturday, September 2nd. And he'll perform next day, Sunday, on Labor Day eve, September 3rd at the Grove in Anaheim, California.

Thanks, Bill.

MAHER: I'm thinking.

KING: Next, from America's most controversial comic to the hottest reality show on TV right now, super model Heidi Klum and the Project Runway crew when LARRY KING LIVE returns.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Daniel is out. Mario, out. Star, you're out. Vanessa, you're out. (INAUDIBLE) you're out. Alexandra, you're out. Robert, you're out.


KING: She's tough. Welcome back.

Project Runway is the Emmy-nominated reality show, the biggest hit ever in Bravo's history. It's the network's highest rated show ever. Here in L.A. is supermodel Heidi Klum. She's the host and executive producer of Project Runway. She judges on the show too.

With her is Tim Gunn. He mentors the shows competitors. He's also chairman of the fashion design department at Parson's, the new school for design in New York.

And, Nina Garcia, the Project Runway judge and fashion director for ELLE Magazine.

Before we get the inside dish from them, here's the lowdown on the show.


KING (voice-over): Project Runway features a group of would-be fashion design stars competing for the career break of a lifetime, kind of like American Idol with sketch pads and sewing machines instead of songs. Each episode the competitors are given a design challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For this challenge, you will be sourcing recyclable materials to create an outfit of your choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are going to use the clothes off your back to fabricate your design.

KING: But it's not enough to come up with a cool design idea. The competitors have to execute them. And when time is up, ready or not, it's off to the runway where models strut their stuff.

Then the judges weigh in. Sometimes it gets ugly. Designers can get needled. Garments are rips to shreds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's aesthetically not pleasing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean she to me looked like barefoot Appalachian Little Abner Barbie.

KING: Ultimately one competitor is declared the winner of the week and one competitor gets cut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robert, you're out.


KING: Unbelievable success. Heidi, the internationally known supermodel, host and executive producer of Bravo's Emmy-nominated Project Runway, she's also a judge on the show...

KING: Unbelievable success.

Heidi, the internationally known supermodel, host and executive producer of Bravo's emmy-nominated "Project Runway." She's also a judge on the show. How did it start?

HEIDI KLUM, SUPERMODEL: How did it start?

KING: Yes.

KLUM: Well, actually, it was an idea, or somewhat an idea that Harvey Weinstein brought to me.

KING: The Harvey Weinstein?

KLUM: The Harvey Weinstein.

KING: The movie Harvey Weinstein.

KLUM: Yes, the movie Harvey Weinstein. To me and Desiree Gruber, who is my publicist. And we're kind of a little team, Desiree and myself. We always think of different things. And he knows that we work in teams and we've basically together made my career happen. And so he thought he had a great idea on doing something about fashion, but he's like I don't really know anything about fashion. So...

KING: Did you like it right away?

KLUM: Well, he didn't really like know exactly 100 percent what the concept was going to be. He didn't have the challenges, ideas. So we kind of collaborated and kicked ideas around and put the show together and went to Bravo and sold the show on Bravo. And it happened to kind of have an effect, more and more people started watching it. And now it got to be a very successful show. KING: That's the history.

KLUM: Yes.

KING: How'd they get you, Tim Gunn?

TIM GUNN, PROJECT RUNWAY: Well, I was originally approached to be a consultant. Our producers in addition to Heidi are the Project Greenlight people. And they also, like Harvey Weinstein, didn't really know a lot about fashion. So they were looking for someone in the industry. And I come from the education side of that. So we began that way. And at that time no one had this role as mentor in their vocabulary. It really grew very organically.

KING: So what do you do?

GUNN: What do I do? On the show or the rest of my life?

KING: What do you do. I know what you do with your life.

GUNN: I interact the designers very much the same way that I interact with my students at Parsons. I go to each one individually in the studio and ask them what their intentions are, what they're doing, and see how they're progressing. And I'm sort of the truth teller.

KING: And Nina Garcia, a regular judge, is also a fashion director for "Elle" magazine. How'd they get you?

NINA GARCIA, ELLE: Well, when we speak about fashion, we think about "Elle" magazine. It's the largest magazine in the world.

KING: Did Heidi call you?

GARCIA: Well, Bravo approached us. And we knew we were in very good company with Harvey and with Heidi, which we have a very long relationship with. And as fashion director of "Elle," it's really, you know, kind of what I do in my everyday life. I am seeking new designers. I am looking for trends. I am looking for what works for the readers at "Elle."

KING: Are you the bad girl?

GARCIA: They say. So they say, but I am not not.

KLUM: But we're very proud to have Nina Garcia and Michael Kors, especially when you start off a show and you don't really know how it is. People in the fashion industry, they tend to be -- they could be a little bit snobby, let's say. Right? They want to like see first how it's going to go, you know, because reality television is not always the coolest thing to do. So we were very proud that we have "Elle" magazine, that we have Nina and Michael -- you know, big, big names in the industry to participate.

KING: Do you -- are you the decider, to quote the president? Are you the decider of you're out? KLUM: No. Not on my own, no, no, no. We all -- you know, all the judges together.

KING: But you're the one who says it?

KLUM: I am the messenger. I don't get more votage than the other ones.

KING: Do you get some macabre pleasure out of saying it?

KLUM: I don't. No. I mean, it is my part, and I have to tell them that they're going. I always feel bad for them because for them it is a dream to be there, they want to be designers. For them it's a huge opportunity. I always think, you know, it is already a huge opportunity to be seen by so many people, you can show the talent that you have, and that's already a big success I think.

KING: What, Tim, is the public's fascination, do you think, with a subject that you would think is rather inside?

GUNN: Well, it's a wonderful question. And it's one that we were asking ourselves when we began the show. Fashion is so fully embedded in our culture today that there are mythologies about it. And if anything, this show demystifies much of that and really makes fashion very, very accessible to the public at large.

KING: Like it's everywhere, right? An automobile is a fashion statement.

GUNN: Indeed. Absolutely.

KING: The way a building looks is kind of a fashion statement.

GUNN: It is. Quality, taste, and style.

KING: Are you surprised at its success, Nina?

GARCIA: No, I'm not. Because it's really about the democratization of fashion. It's now available to everybody. You can see shows minutes after they happen in Milan, Paris, and New York. So it's really -- it's become more democratized.

Everybody has -- everybody can have an opinion in fashion too. And I think designers are really creative, fascinating people that make for very good TV.

KLUM: Yes.

KING: What's more important, heidi, the girl or the dress?

KLUM: Both. It is definitely a mixture of both, I think. I mean, if you have an awful dress, I don't think -- it could be the best model. It's very hard to pull that off. But I think if you have a good combination, you know, it helps a lot, I think. yes.

KING: Like the camera and the cameraman? KLUM: Yes. Absolutely. You know, you can be a good model and you have someone that just shoots you from the wrong angles, you know, then you don't have a good picture. I mean, the collaboration is what makes it amazing.

KING: Why is Heidi a great model, Tim?

GUNN: Heidi, because Heidi can wear anything. We could take...

KING: Yeah, but she's not a "Vogue" toothpick.

GUNN: But she's a fabulously stunning woman with an incredible figure. And she can wear anything, absolutely anything. I tease Heidi...

KLUM: He's got a good, too (ph). Did you see us? We're on the cover of "Entertainment Weekly" right now.

GUNN: We look great together.

KING: Yes. I will show it to you.

KLUM: Can you believe it? We're very excited. And look how handsome you look, Tim.

GUNN: Well, you're kind.

KLUM: See, he says I'm good, you know, in front of the camera. Check him out.

KING: Why, Nina, why is Heidi so important to "Elle?"

GARCIA: She's fantastic. What makes Heidi an amazing model is her energy. She's got incredible energy, and that really comes across in camera. And she's done some incredible covers for us. She did a cover -- I mean, incredible. Very sexy. Everything that "Elle" is about: sexy, good-looking, free. She's...

KING: I want to thank my guests, the hilariuos Bill Maher, the gorgeous Heidi Klum and all of the Project Runway crew and thank you for joining us. Stay tuned now for more new on your most trusted name in news, CNN.


GUNN: The audition process is exhausting. And when you've been doing it for a while, you get very good at knowing when someone isn't right and getting them out of there quickly.

Come forward -- but I'm going to tell you right now, don't even hang up your clothes, you're just not ready yet.




GUNN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I have are my sketches.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any garments with me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just so you know, I had no idea what a picture portfolio was.


UNIDENIFIED FEMALE: Did you make your clothes you're wearing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, actually, I did not.

GUNN: I'm going to tell you right now, it's not going to work.

I'm not comfortable about this. We're going to pass. OK?

I just said no to this yesterday.

I'm sorry.