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CNN Larry King Live

Interview with Donald Trump; Interview With 'The Biggest Loser'

Aired December 21, 2006 - 21:00   ET


ROSIE O'DONNELL: And there he is hair, hair looping, going everyone -- everyone deserves a second chance.



DONALD TRUMP: If you take a look at her, she's a slob.



O'DONNELL: He's going to sue me but he'll be bankrupt by that time so I won't have to worry.



TRUMP: I'd like to take some money out of her fat-assed pockets.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the war of words the whole country is talking about heats up. Donald Trump versus Rosie O'Donnell -- we'll hear from "The Donald" himself with the latest.

And then, the brother of the mountain climber who lost his life atop Mount Hood. Giving thanks to those who risked their own lives to find his brother and to try to find the two still missing.

Plus, the man who lost more than 200 pounds to win the reality show, "The Biggest Loser."

But what if you're not on TV?

Doctors Andrew Weil and Mehmet Oz tell us how you can lose weight the right way, to improve your life, or even save it.

All next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

It would not be a week without a headline that included Donald Trump's name.

First, he let a wayward Miss. USA keep her crown. Then came a verbal smack down between him and Rosie O'Donnell.

So much for holiday goodwill.

"The Donald" joins me now on the phone to talk about it. He is in the air somewhere between New York and Palm Beach, heading for his resort at Mar-a-Lago.

Where exactly are you, Donald?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I'm some place in the middle, Larry.

I'll be there in about an hour. And you wanted to do this, so for you I'd do it.

KING: Thank you, my man.

All right, let's -- let's go back to earlier. Let's watch Rosie O'Donnell's comments on "The View" on Wednesday after you had announced you were forgiving Miss. USA.

Here's the tape.


O'DONNELL: Apparently this young girl, Tara Conner -- how old is she? Twenty?



O'DONNELL: Twenty-one. She went out and she was partying. She's from Kentucky.


O'DONNELL: She went to New York and she was hanging out at all the parties doing what Paris and Lindsey do, you know?


O'DONNELL: Dancing, whatever. And so he held a press conference to announce whether or not she was going to retain her crown.


O'DONNELL: And then she started to cry...


O'DONNELL: ... going, "I just want to thank Donald. He's giving me a second chance." And...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was brilliant.

O'DONNELL: And there he is, hair looping, going everyone -- everyone deserves a second chance and I'm going to give her a second chance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this girl is perfect for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your hair is perfect for this.

O'DONNELL: That was (UNINTELLIGIBLE). He annoys me on a multitude of levels. He's the moral authority -- left the first wife, had an affair; left the second wife, had an affair; had kids both times. But he's the moral compass for 20 year olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend.


KING: By the way, we invited Rosie to appear on the show tonight and she declined.

Did you see that show, Donald, or did you hear about it?

TRUMP: Well, I heard about it and then I got the tape and I thought it was disgraceful. I mean here's a horrible human being, a terrible woman. She looks bad and she sounds bad. And believe me, as bad as she looks, she's worse inside. But she was very offended that I gave a nice young lady a second chance. I gave her a second chance because she has a problem. She's getting the problem taken care of.

Rosie thought it was terrible that I gave her a second chance. Of course, Rosie has given -- she's given women many, many second chances -- only women.

But Rosie was highly offended at this, Larry. Look, Rosie is a loser. You know it and I know it. Her magazine failed. Her ratings for her show were terrible. They basically threw her off the air. With the magazine, there was litigation all over the place. She folded up like an umbrella.

KING: Do --

TRUMP: She is not a good person. She makes false statements and she is not a good person. She's a bully and all I did to a bully was hit her right between the eyes. And she folds up like a tent.

KING: Do you know her, Donald?

TRUMP: I know her for a long time, Larry, and I know her too well. I told Barbara Walters today -- Barbara called me. And Barbara apologized. And I told Barbara Walters, she's going to destroy your show.

You know, the ratings for "The View" have not been very good. Last year they had their lowest ratings ever. But Rosie, you know, she gets a couple of people like me to call in and all of a sudden they have higher ratings.

But Rosie will destroy "The View." People don't like her. They don't like the show with her on it. The show has lost a lot, Larry.

KING: But Barbara is standing by her. She gave us this statement, executive -- she's the executive producer and co-host. She said: "Donald Trump" -- this is Barbara -- "Donald Trump is a personal friend of mine, has been a good friend of "The View" for many years. I'm sorry there's friction between Donald and Rosie. That said, I do not regret for one moment my choice to hire Rosie O'Donnell as the moderator of "The View." I certainly hope and expect that this tempest will pass quickly."

Your comment on that, Donald.

TRUMP: Well, I can tell you for a fact that that's not what Barbara told me. Barbara is not a fan of Rosie. She's embarrassed by Rosie. She doesn't like Rosie. And I guess she can't say that publicly. But trust me, Larry, that's what she told me over the phone.

KING: Donald really fired back today. He did not go quietly into this good night.

Let's watch Donald on "Entertainment Tonight" and "The Insider."



TRUMP: She called me a snake oil salesman. And, you know, coming from Rosie, that's pretty low because when you look at her and when you see the mind, the mind is weak. I don't see it. I don't get it. I never understood -- how does she even get on television.

I'll probably sue Rosie because she doesn't tell the facts. As an example, I'm worth many billions of dollars. Now, it's nothing to brag about. I'm worth many billions of dollars. It's very simple.

She said I was bankrupt. Now, I never went bankrupt. She said I filed bankruptcy three times. I never filed bankruptcy. I never went bankrupt but she said I went bankrupt.

So probably I'll sue her because it would be fun. I don't like to take some money out of her fat-assed pockets.


KING: By the way, a spokesperson for "The View" just called, Donald, to say their ratings are up 30 percent. I don't know the name of the spokesperson, but they called into the control room.

TRUMP: Well, no, their ratings are up. You know why their ratings are up?

Because of people like me. They get us. Look at Danny DeVito. Look what happened to Danny DeVito on "The View." He goes on there. I saw a clip of it. He's a friend of mine. He's a great guy. He was fantastic on "The View." They made him look like he's an alcoholic, like he's a drunk.

He wasn't drunk. They made him look that way.

Look what they did to Kelly Ripa. Kelly Ripa is a terrific person. She didn't want to attack Rosie, which I think is a mistake. But if somebody wrapped their arm into my mouth, I would be complaining, believe me, see, because what Clay Aiken did to Kelly Ripa was disgusting. So Rosie took Clay Aiken aside.

The fact is Rosie's a bad person. She's not good at what she does. She will destroy "The View." You watch, Larry, mark my words.

KING: Did she...

TRUMP: Just like her magazine went down, Larry, just like her magazine went down, just like her show went down, "The View's" over.

KING: Did she have a point in pointing out that you were setting yourself as a moral judge of this girl when there were moral questions about you? How do you react to that statement?

TRUMP: Well, Larry, I think I'm a lot better on the morality front than Rosie. I mean take a look at this Rosie.

What do you have?

The best thing Rosie has going is her girlfriend, Kelli. Now, if Kelli ever leaves Rosie, she'll never find another one, believe me, because who's going to want Rosie?

How would you like to have to kiss that good night, Larry?

That would not be for you, believe me.

KING: Why did you forgive that girl?

TRUMP: Why did I forgive what girl?

KING: The Miss. USA one?

TRUMP: What are we talking about, Rosie?


TRUMP: I didn't forgive her, Larry. I didn't forgive her at all. And she's running on a little bit of a close (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The fact is that the Miss. USA, a wonderful person, was given a second chance. I didn't forgive her. She's working hard to gain my trust and other people's trust. She is going to serve, hopefully, as a role model for people who have struggled. There are a lot of people, young people, old people, there are a lot of people with alcohol addiction, with drug addictions, with lots of different addictions.

Rather than saying you're fired, I took a different course. And everybody thought I was going to throw her off. I didn't want to do that. I took a different course.

She's in rehab. She entered rehab today. I believe she can be a great role model and actually much more important than even being Miss. USA.

KING: We'll be right back with more of Donald Trump on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


O'DONNELL: And inherited a lot of money...


O'DONNELL: Wait a minute.


O'DONNELL: And he's been bankrupt so many times where he didn't have to pay...


O'DONNELL: He didn't pay off the people he owed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, sometimes they put you on a pmt plan.

O'DONNELL: Here comes a lawsuit. Get ready. This is going to be good.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... broke and they put you on a pmt plan.

O'DONNELL: He sues, you know?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to sue her, yes.

O'DONNELL: He's going to sue me but he'll be bankrupt by that time so I won't have to worry. But, I don't know, I just think that this man is like sort of one of those, you know, snake oil salesmen...


O'DONNELL: ... in "Little House on the Prairie."



TRUMP: Rosie O'Donnell is disgusting, I mean, both inside and out. You take a look at her, she's a slob. She talks like a truck driver. She doesn't have her facts. She'll say anything that comes to her mind. And, you know, her show failed when it was a talk show. She failed on that. The ratings went very, very low and very bad and she got essentially thrown off television.

Her magazine was a total catastrophe. She got sued. And I mean she's basically a disaster.



KING: Donald Trump is on his airplane heading for Mar-a-Lago, where he'll spend the holidays.

And here's what Rosie had to say today. This is like round two, following Donald's remarks yesterday. It wasn't much, but here's what she said.



O'DONNELL: Look who's here today. Kelli. I was afraid to leave her home in case somebody with a comb-over came and stole her from me. So, yes, she's here now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, wait, do the thing. I love it when you do the hair. Do the hair. Come on, do it. Do it. Do it.

O'DONNELL: No, I'm not doing it again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do it, do it, do it.


O'DONNELL: Honey, listen, it's a live show, you get me while I'm in the mood and frankly here's my comment to him.


KING: Donald, if you didn't see it, she made a funny face.

Or do you think this is over now, Donald?

TRUMP: All she did -- oh, it's never over with me, Larry.

Let me tell you something, all she did today is say how nice her girlfriend was to be there. I guess she needed the security and the power of her girlfriend.

But how nice it was that her girlfriend Kelli was there. And she made a funny face.

You know why, Larry?

Because she doesn't have the guts. She knew she lied. She knew she couldn't justify it. She doesn't have the guts to face the facts. She's a bully. You hit a bully in the eye and the bully goes down fast. She is just nothing, Larry.

KING: Donald, you were on with CNN's A.J. Hammer and here's a portion of that interview, "The Donald" with Hammer.



TRUMP: Well, Rosie is a loser. She's always been a loser. I've always understood it. She failed with her magazine. She failed with her show. As you know, at the end, it was doing very poorly in terms of the ratings.

Rosie is really somebody that she's unattractive in every sense of the word, from a physical standpoint she looks like hell. Inside she's far worse than she is on the outside. And I understand Rosie.

But Rosie inherently is a loser.

A.J. HAMMER, HOST: What about what she said about you being the moral compass for 20 year olds in the country, taking exception, saying left the first wife, had an affair, left the second wife, had an affair...

TRUMP: Look at Rosie's moral compass. You tell me about a moral compass. You take a look at Rosie's moral compass. I mean this woman is a disgrace.

HAMMER: Do you plan to follow through with your threat to sue her?

TRUMP: Well, you know, taking money out of her big fat ass would be probably something that's very easy and we probably will follow through with it, yes.


KING: Donald, why -- why do you fight back so hard?

In other words, you could have just said ah, forget it.

TRUMP: Because when people lie, Larry, I like to go after them. And I think, frankly, more people should be like that. I mean you look at this country, look at the problems we have -- lots of lies got us into the war in Iraq. And now we're mired in that and now I hear they want to send more soldiers over. It's like disgusting. People should tell the truth. If people told the truth, we wouldn't be in Iraq right now, Larry.

KING: Well, how -- was Rosie lying or just disagreeing with your decision?

TRUMP: Well, for one thing, hey, look, "Forbes," in the "Forbes" 400 last month, I'm on the cover of the "Forbes" 400. On the cover. Now, just -- and these are the richest guys in the country. They put me on the cover of the "Forbes" 400.

Rosie said that I went bankrupt. Then she said no, I went bankrupt three or four times. There's only one problem, I never went bankrupt. But she said it. People are going to believe it. If you don't fight back -- I never was bankrupt, Larry. Rosie lied.

She knows she lied. That's why she went to the show today and other than saying hello to her sweet little princess, she didn't do anything, because she's gutless, Larry.

KING: Now, she did win six Emmys and she certainly, for a long time, has been a talented figure, Donald. You must admit she has talent.

TRUMP: Hey, Larry, I don't think she has any talent. How she won an Emmy is a disgrace to the Emmys. You take a look at her, you take a look at her whole thing, she's not smart. I know smart people, Larry. I went to the Wharton School of Finance. I was a great student.

Let me tell you, I know what smart is all about. Rosie has, at best, at best, a very average I.Q.

How she won any Emmys is beyond me. What these people did is they gave her an Emmy because they thought it was the cool thing.

Rosie doesn't have it, Larry. You know it and I know it.

And, by the way, the worst thing about Rosie, she is tarnishing the image of a friend of mine, the great Barbara Starr. She is tarnishing the image of Barbara Walters. And Barbara Walters is embarrassed by Rosie.

KING: We'll take a break and some back with some more moments with Donald Trump.

And then we'll meet the winner of the biggest -- the loser -- the winner of the biggest loser and two prominent doctors will help you lose some weight.

TRUMP: That should be Rosie.

KING: Rosie -- he never quits.

And relatives of the departed from the mountain climbing tragedy.

Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a nasty battle going on between Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rosie O'Donnell blasts Donald Trump, the new war of words over the Miss. USA controversy.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you know it's bad when the executive producer of "The View," Barbara Walters, actually referred the matter to the U.N. Security Council, which I thought was a significant step myself.




TRUMP: I've always been a believer in second chances. I've always been. Tara is a good person. Tara has tried hard. Tara is going to be given a second chance.


KING: We're back.

Donald Trump is still with us, heading home -- or heading to his other home, Mar-a-Lago, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Some other things, Donald, and then we'll close it out and let you get some rest.

What do you make of Miss. Nevada, Katie Rees?

She's been given the axe from that post after raunchy photos of her were posted on the Internet.

TRUMP: Well, that was a much different thing, Larry. I mean Tara was having a problem and we're taking care of the problem and I think it's going to work out great.

But Miss. Nevada was a disaster. The pictures were disgusting. They brought them up to my office today. I viewed them and, you know, I've seen pictures before. You fully understand that, Larry.

But these pictures were pretty far out there. And that is not representative of Miss. USA and it's not representative of Miss. Nevada.

We had no choice but to terminate her.

KING: Any comment about the status of Miss. Teen USA, Katie Blair?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving say that it's cutting ties with her because of reports that she partied with Tara Conner.

TRUMP: Well, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, they are (AUDIO GAP) for people. I know them well. They do an amazing job. I don't disagree with them because of the fact that there was alcohol involved.

But she's a great girl. She's a wonderful girl. I don't disagree with either side, Larry. But she is a wonderful girl.

KING: It's been a feud year for you.

What do you -- how's the thing with Martha Stewart?

Are you still at odds with her?

TRUMP: Well, you can't even mention Rosie and Martha Stewart in the same breath. I mean Martha is a quality woman. She just happened to fail on "The Apprentice."

But you know what, Larry?

There have been 15 versions of "The Apprentice." Richard Branson failed, Mark Cuban failed, Mel Singer failed, Martha failed, they all failed.

Mine goes back (UNINTELLIGIBLE) January 7th. It's a huge hit. It's been a huge hit for six seasons. I'm having a lot of fun-with it, Larry. It's been great.

But you can't mention Rosie O'Donnell and Martha Stewart in the same breath because Martha is about 15 levels higher.

KING: On the question of the lawsuit, I wasn't clear with A.J. Hammer.

Are you definitely going to sue? And what -- are you suing for slander?

TRUMP: Well, my lawyers want to sue. It's an easy lawsuit. She's obviously very concerned because when she went on her show today, she looked like a mess. She looked absolutely terrible. She was fumbling. She was stuttering. She probably needed the presence of her girlfriend to get her through the show.

And you know why, Larry?

Because she knows she has a tremendous liability hanging over her head. So we'll see what happens.

But we're seriously thinking about just suing her and probably "The View," also.

KING: Since you said you like second chances, if Barbara Walters asked you...

TRUMP: Yes, but not for Rosie.

KING: No, that's what I mean.

Should -- would you want Rosie to be fired?

TRUMP: Well, I think Barbara is going to end up doing it. Look, Barbara doesn't like Rosie, let's not kid ourselves. You know that, I know that. Anybody that knows Barbara that -- Barbara's embarrassed by Rosie. Rosie is a total disaster, Larry.

KING: Can you say, Donald, that you were shocked by what she said about you?

TRUMP: I'm not shocked by anything in our society, Larry. I'm shocked by much more important things, like how did we get into Iraq?

That's important. Rosie is not important. Iraq is important. You know, I'm going down to Mar-a-Lago. And two weeks ago, I had returning Iraqi soldiers that were badly wounded at Mar-a-Lago. We took a day. We had 125 soldiers. Some of them had no arms, some of them had no legs.

Villania said they are the most beautiful looking guys to face, the most beautiful guys. And they were sent over to Iraq because the president wanted them to go to Iraq. It's too bad, Larry. It's just too bad.

But that's really what we should be talking about, not Rosie O'Donnell.

KING: So, you know, this, Donald, you're smart enough to know this if you file a lawsuit, that keeps the...

TRUMP: What do you mean, smart enough?

KING: You're smart enough -- (LAUGHTER). OK. You're just smart.

TRUMP: Just smart enough, Larry?

KING: No, you're smart.

TRUMP: All right.

KING: If you file a lawsuit...

TRUMP: Thank you, Larry. KING: If you file a lawsuit, you keep the story going.

TRUMP: Well, I don't mind. I don't care. It doesn't matter. Rosie O'Donnell doesn't matter. But when somebody lies, Larry, and I think you agree with this, when somebody comes out and lies and misrepresentations and thinks they're going to -- you know, it's funny. The first day I watched her, she had all of the bravado. The next day I watched her, she had no bravado whatsoever.

When somebody lies, I say you take it to them.

KING: And boy do you.

What's -- what are you doing for Christmas?

TRUMP: I'll be down at Mar-a-Lago at The Mar-a-Lago Club with the family and we're going to have a great time. And I know you're going to have a great time, Larry. I certainly hope so.

KING: Thank you, Donald.

And maybe we can get you and Rosie on together and you can meet with the Baker Commission.

TRUMP: She doesn't have the guts, Larry.

Take care of yourself.

KING: You'd come on?

TRUMP: I always come on, Larry.

KING: OK. We've got an open invitation.

We invited Rosie tonight. She declined. But there's an open invitation. Donald will appear with you.

Donald, thanks.

Have a great vacation.

Safe flight.

TRUMP: So long, Larry.

KING: Safe landing.

TRUMP: You, too, Larry.

KING: Donald Trump in the air, flying from New York to Palm Beach, Florida, where he'll spend the holidays. And, again, he will appear. If Rosie will appear, they'll appear together. He never backs off.

Up next, we shift gears and speak with the family of doomed Mountain Hood climber Kelly James. They have a special message to all the people who voiced their support for them.

That's next.


KING: Joining us now from Orlando, Florida, Frank James, the brother of the late Kelly James, the climber who died on Mount Hood, and Caroline James, Frank's wife and Kelly James's son-in-law.

How are you holding up, Frank?

FRANK JAMES, BROTHER OF KELLY JAMES: We're doing OK. The family is still strong. We're communicating very regularly with each other. In fact, all three families are in regular communication.

Something extraordinary happened out there in Oregon among the family members. I think my family increased considerably.

KING: How are -- Carolyn, how is Kelly's wife Karen and the four kids doing?

CAROLYN JAMES, FRANK JAMES' WIFE: Well, obviously it is a terribly difficult time for all of them. But I think we're pretty amazed at how they're responding, how they're supporting one another.

KING: Frank, have funeral plans been made?

F. JAMES: They have. We're planning the funeral for Wednesday, the 27th of December there in Dallas.

KING: And the other members -- the other family members of those still missing, where the -- pretty much the rescue efforts are given up, have they given up?

F. JAMES: No, they haven't. In fact, I talked to -- I talk to them every day. And one of the things they hoped I would say is that they have haven't given up. They have talked to the sheriff. The sheriff has called off sort of the official search and rescue, search and recovery at this point. But there is still efforts being made to search the mountain. I think there is a ski patrol or two out there still looking for these guys.

And they told me they still have hope. They're still hopeful that they'll be found.

KING: Carolyn, I understand that those three teenagers who survived 13 days on Mt. Hood back in 1976 met privately with the families. Is that true? Do you know that, Carolyn, to be true?

C. JAMES: They did. I was not there. I was in Orlando during this whole ordeal. So Frank is really the one who can tell you more about that.

KING: Frank? F. JAMES: Yes. Gary Schneider made contact with the three families. And he spent an extraordinary two hours with all three families. It was behind closed doors. And he shared with us his experience on the mountain in 1976.

And he told us how much he loved the mountain. And that helped the families understand why my brother and Brian and Jerry were such avid mountain climbers. It was a spiritual kind of experience for all of them. I've said before, and I'll say it again, for Kelly, there was a sense, a spiritual sense for him that he was closer to God. And that was true for all three of these guys.

KING: Carolyn, you both said you've been deeply touched by the amount of total strangers who took an interest in this, who have reached out to the families. Anything you want to say to them, Carolyn? There are probably millions watching.

C. JAMES: Well, all of us have been deeply touched by that. I've been receiving e-mails, and I had a blog online, where people have responded. Everybody -- it feels like they're a part of this. A lot of people are sharing their own sorrows with us. And it has been incredible for us to have this outpouring of love, and, you know, the prayers of so many people. I think that has bolstered the whole family through this.

KING: Frank, I know that Kelly called the family on his cell phone on December 10th. What was said?

F. JAMES: Well, I think at that time he indicated a number of things. One, that he was in the snow cave alone, that he had asked the other two guys -- or somehow they decided to go get help. The autopsy that has been performed indicated there was no particular injury. It may be that hypothermia was already setting in. He was a little confused. But the good thing about that phone call, for the family, was he was able to tell his family that he loved them. And they all got to say how much they loved him, and he said it back to them. And so that's a great gift for the family.

KING: Carolyn, we know you have deep faith. Does that diminish at all with something like this?

C. JAMES: No. I think for all of us, it becomes a time of honest reflection. Obviously, this is a difficult time for us. And I think these are the times when our faith grows deeper, because we are not talking about God in theoretical ways. It becomes a very personal matter for us. And we are asking hard questions. This is a struggle for us. None of us wanted the outcome to be like this. And our faith is a part of that. So we are all wrestling with our beliefs, but I think our beliefs become stronger in God through this.

KING: Frank, how do you think Kelly would like to be remembered?

F. JAMES: I think that there are a number of things that I would say about Kelly. He certainly loved his kids and his wife. There is no question about that. I'll tell you just a little story. The sergeant who found my brother came and met with me the night before I left. And came and had a private meeting with me. He wanted to describe exactly my brother's condition and what he found. And he said he saw something very unusual in the cave. My brother was laying on his back, his head on the backpack. And the right hand was ungloved. And the rescuer noticed that was very odd. And he looked very close, and he saw that Kelly had bent down three fingers on that right hand to show his ring, the signal -- the signature ring, it had his initials on it. And I think we -- I understand that what Kelly was doing, his last thoughts were of his family. He wanted the family to know that he was found. And so we draw some consolation from that.

KING: Thank you, both, very much. And God bless. Frank James and Carolyn James in Orlando. Thank you, both.

F. JAMES: Thank you, Larry.

KING: The brother of Kelly James and Frank's wife, Kelly's sister-in-law.

Coming up, a man who lost -- who won, rather, by losing. The biggest loser is the big winner. And how you can win by losing, too. All about weight. It's next.


KING: Our next guest is quite literally half the man he used to be. If you watch the premiere of the latest season of "The Biggest Loser," you saw Erik Chopin when he looked like this.

Well, he's here in our studio tonight. Looks a lot different. Take a look.

Erik, come on over to the set and join your fitness trainer here on the set, Bob Harper.

Erik, what did you weigh?


KING: What do you weigh?

CHOPIN: One hundred and ninety three pounds.

KING: How did he do this, Bob?

BOB HARPER, "BIGGEST LOSER" TRAINER: It was a lot of hard work every single day.

KING: There was no surgery?

HARPER: No. Absolutely not. It is all about just diet and exercise at "The Biggest Loser." We worked so hard from the very beginning, and he had such dedication. He was just an absolute joy to work with.

KING: You lost half your body weight.

CHOPIN: Yes. I came in. I was the largest contestant on the show. So it was just like, for me, almost impossible.

KING: How long did it take to do this?

CHOPIN: The whole journey was eight months.

KING: What was your motivation?

CHOPIN: I think in the beginning I just -- you know, finding out I was 407 pounds and it was just, you know, at that time, the doctor -- we met with the doctor in the show in the beginning and I came in thinking, you know, wasn't to look good in the mirror. I don't want to hide from a camera when someone wants to take a snapshot.

And then they informed me that I had a lot of health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. So...

KING: Biggest enemy of type 2 diabetes is the overweight?

CHOPIN: Yes. Onset by lifestyle.

KING: You were on your way to a heart attack?

CHOPIN: Yes. When I find that out, I'm just shocked. And now, I'm like -- I'm not worried about my vanity, I want to survive, I want to be healthy for my kids. I got two little girls and my wife. So that's what...

KING: How long were you overweight?

CHOPIN: I was like a chubby kid. And then I was thin for a little, brief period, you know, I met my wife and then I got married and then it was year after year just gaining weight.

KING: Did your wife urge you to lose?

CHOPIN: Yes, but... I brought her down with me. You know, I got her to get bigger with me. So...

KING: So, she was overweight?

CHOPIN: Yes. She never got, you know, crazy like I did but...

KING: She lost weight as well?

CHOPIN: She did. She did. She started the process when I started it. And she lost 60 pounds.

KING: What did he do, Bob? What was the regimen?

HARPER: I think that what it was with Erik, it's so amazing what he went through because he had to work out and nutrition. The nutrition was such a huge key. Getting him to work out in the gym as much as working out in the kitchen.

And I just had to make sure that he was eating because he wasn't -- now all of a sudden, he thought he was going to lose weight. He was going to starve himself. And I was like, absolutely not. And now this man is 193 pounds. He doesn't suffer from type 2 diabetes anymore. It's...

KING: Your blood sugar is down?

CHOPIN: It's under control now.

HARPER: It's managed now. He's actually on a campaign with me dealing with type 2 diabetes. It's called "Step It Up" And he is a spokesman with me on this job. It's fantastic.

KING: You own a deli?

CHOPIN: Yes. I own a deli.

KING: How can you do it then?

CHOPIN: Well...

KING: You walk past pastrami every day.

CHOPIN: There are healthy options in the deli. You know, I just chose not to eat them. You know, I'd have that egg sandwich and that buttered bagel in the morning and the coffee with lots of half and half and lots of sugar and, you know, the roast beef with Mayo. And all that hot food, too, in the kitchen.

HARPER: All the hot food killed him.

CHOPIN: ... macaroni and cheese, and I brought it home and...

KING: Give me a sample of what you'd eat in a day?

CHOPIN: In the old days?

KING: Breakfast. Now.

CHOPIN: Oh, now. Now I'll have, like, an egg white omelet with some ham. I'll have some dry whole wheat toast, but I'll put some jelly on it instead of the butter. You substitute. It is not suffering. I enjoy my meals.

KING: What's your dinner?

CHOPIN: My dinner, I'll try to have some fish or chicken, grilled chicken, and some steamed vegetables. Glass of red wine. Yes.

KING: Exercise? CHOPIN: And then I'm exercising. It was a lot move exercise when I was trying to lose all that weight. But now I'm just maintaining. So now it's like an hour a day, an hour and a half a day.

HARPER: It was so fantastic. This morning I go into the gym at 6:00 in the morning, I'm thinking that he's still asleep. And there he was running on the treadmill. And like my heart just started pounding. I was just like, wow, Erik really gets it.

CHOPIN: Now it's working together on this diabetes campaign. I have my trainer, normally the contestants leave, be on their own. I have him working with me during the maintenance period. So I'm just a lucky guy.

KING: How did you get on the show? How did you -- what did you...

CHOPIN: I was -- it was open casting call in New York City. I got in a long, long line.

KING: You were automatic once they saw you, come on, blubbo, come one...

CHOPIN: Well, you know...


CHOPIN: ... there were a lot of people there. And they took people from all the states. And there was a lot of competition.

KING: How many people are in the contest?

CHOPIN: Well...

KING: You won what, $250,000?

CHOPIN: Yes. I won the prize at the end, $250,000.

HARPER: This season "The Biggest Loser" took on the whole nation. There were 50 contestants on the show. And Erik was from New York. He was Mr. New York. So he won out of 50 contestants.

KING: Do they root for each other?

CHOPIN: The contestants?

KING: Yes.

CHOPIN: We compete with each other. In the beginning we're two teams and we fight against each other as teams.

But then later, we fight against each other as individuals.

HARPER: But I really think that they do root for each other throughout the process because they all understand. KING: You'd like them all to lose.

HARPER: Absolutely.

CHOPIN: You can't help but applaud for the person when they lose...

KING: Erik and Bob will remain with us. And when we come back, we'll be joined in New York by Dr. Mehmet Oz -- millions know him as the health expert for Oprah Winfrey -- and in Veil, Arizona by Dr. Andrew Weil, the expert on integrated medicine.

Andrew's been on this show frequently. Dr. Oz has been on once or twice. They'll be with us right in the next segment.

But right now, let's go to New York for Anderson Cooper.

What's up on "AC 360" Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of stuff going on, Larry. A winter storm hammering the middle of the country and now threatens to put the brakes on holiday travel all over the Midwest and the East Coast. We'll show you the hardest hit spots and tell you where it's heading next.

Also bring you the dustup over the Koran on Capitol Hill. A congressman says Muslim congressman, the first Muslim congressman, shouldn't be able to swear the oath of office on his Koran.

What do you think? We'll look at that.

And the biggest dustup perhaps of the day. Rosie versus the Donald. I cannot do justice to what these two are saying about each other. So you'll just have to tune in to watch and maybe enjoy.

All that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: Thanks, Anderson.

The Donald just spent a fascinating half hour with us holding nothing back.

We'll take a break and be right back.

Don't go away.


CHOPIN: Life at this weight sucks. I find myself parking closer to stores, sneaking a handicapped every now and then, which is terrible, I know.

I run a deli, so at work I'm on my feet. It's tiring. I constantly lean on the wall. It's scary.


KING: Remaining with us is Erik Chopin, winner of the season three of NBC's hit reality show "The Biggest Loser".

The loser was some winner.

And Bob Harper, a trainer and nutritionist for the biggest loser helped Erik through this remarkable transformation.

Joining us now in New York is Dr. Mehmet Oz. Millions know him as the health expert for the Oprah Winfrey Show. He's co-author of the number one "New York Times" best-seller "You On a Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management."

By, the way, the waist-waist is not the other spelling. It's W- A-I-S-T, and that book an enormous best-seller.

And no stranger to best-sellers, Dr. Andrew Weil, number one "New York Times" best-selling author himself. He's coming from Veil, Arizona. His latest book is "Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-being". That comes out now in paperback.

Dr. Oz, what do you make of Erik's story?

DR. MEHMET OZ, CO-AUTHOR, "YOU ON A DIET": You've got to congratulate him. And I think it is wonderful that we're getting word out.

But losing the weight is half the problem. You've got to keep the weight off as well. And there are few things that we've found, looking at the research and the medical literature that seems to be true.

First of all, you've got to have lean muscle mass to keep the weight off. And the reason for that, Larry, is that muscle burns 50 times more calories than fat does. So Erik was able to lose the weight because he was working out.

Now, frankly, for a lot of Americans if they're not motivated by having tens of millions of folks watch them, they've got to make excuses for not working out, right? You don't have enough money. You can't get to the gym. You don't have a baby-sitter.

And so thanks to you, Larry, actually on the website, we have a free video download that uses your body as your gym. All you need for this is your underwear. And you'll be able to accomplish that goal of building lean muscle mass.

The second biggest issue is that you've got to understand the biology of blubber. There are a dozen redundant systems that force us to eat. There's no survival value to losing weight a thousand years. And so if you can understand your biology, you can diet smart because you can't diet hard. Dieting hard is like holding your breath under water. How do you do it? I'll give you an example. There are four hunger centers, right? There is thirst, there is food hunger, there is sex hunger, and there is sleep hunger. Judging by the number of kids you have, you're probably parched. But you need to be able to drink enough water in order to cover up the hunger you may have for food.

KING: Dr. Weil, what do you think of the Erik Chopin story?

DR. ANDREW WEIL, EXPERT/BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: Well, I think first of all, it shows that diseases like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can go into total remission with loss of weight, which is great.

Generally, losing weight that fast can present some health risks of its own. And a major one is that when weight comes off that fast, the chances of putting it back are very high. So you know, it is not enough -- he really now has to think about a way of eating for the rest of his life that is going to satisfy him as well as normalize his weight.

I don't agree that it's all about working out. It's about having good -- right physical activity, but also having a way of eating that works for you.

And just listening to him talking about -- you know, eating dry toast and -- this is not going to satisfy him over time. So he really needs some help now with putting together a sensible diet that is going to maintain health, and also normalize his weight and give him the pleasure of eating.

CHOPIN: When I said dry toast, I meant not buttered toast. I'm trying to avoid butter.

I enjoy my toast. I wasn't just saying that. I get the jelly with the Splenda in it. I pick a flavor. I'm looking for taste. And Bob taught me that. You know, it wasn't -- you know...

KING: Are both the doctors correct?

HARPER: I think that people need to be concerned, because when there is so much weight loss so quickly, it is about the maintenance. And that's why I'm still working with Erik hands on, on a daily basis, showing him that life after the show is so much more important.

KING: Let me get a quick call.

WEIL: Well, I guess I'd like to...

KING: Hold on one second. Pittsburgh, hello.


KING: Hi. Go ahead.

CALLER: Hi, Erik. I just want to know basically what are your three main food staples? I don't know if you've already answered this. But what do you eat on a daily basis?

CHOPIN: I try to hit all the food groups. I have my protein, my vegetables and my carbohydrates. I try to have the good carbohydrates. You know, working with Bob and -- it wasn't just in the gym, and it wasn't just our exercise routines. We would be in the kitchen working together. Like Bob would say, you've got to think about when you get home, what you like and -- you can't feel like you're deprived.

KING: Dr. Oz, are we weight obsessed?

OZ: I don't think we're weight obsessed, but we're focusing too much on the weight and not enough on the waist. And the reason we focus on waist as physicians is because the waist size -- and it should be, by the way, about 32 and a half inches for women and about 35 inches for men. That's the ideal waist size. But that tells us what is going on inside of our body in the omentum. The omental layer of fat is the fat that covers your organs. And that's what gives Erik the diabetes. That's the fat that is linked to high blood pressure. That's the fat that causes the high cholesterol, and that's what is causing a lot of the health problems that are associated with the extra weight we carry around.

KING: Dr. Weil, are we getting healthier?

WEIL: Well, in some ways we are, and in some ways we aren't. I think the obesity epidemic in kids and what's following it, the type 2 diabetes epidemic in kids, is really not a good thing. And that is going to catch up with us and really sink our health care system.

In other ways, you know, I see, you go to restaurants these days, there are more healthy choices, there are better foods available to us. There are effort going on to clean up foods in school. All that is good. So I see both trends at the same time.

KING: We'll be back with more right after these words. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will have to have lost more than 183 pounds. If you've done that, it's yours. Otherwise, it is tied.

You arrived at the ranch and you had a starting weight of 407 pounds.

Your current weight is 193. You lost 214 pounds!



KING: Bob Harper, we do have an epidemic, do we, of type 2 diabetes?

HARPER: We're living in an epidemic. And that's why I'm trying to do whatever I can do with this whole step-it-up diabetes campaign, that I am going across the country talking to people about. It is something that is -- facing younger and younger Americans. I mean, it's the scariest thing now.

KING: Dr. Oz, is it self-inflicted?

OZ: Absolutely self-inflicted. Larry, I'm beginning to operate on 25-year-olds, who have hardening of their arteries because they became diabetics as children. Fifty percent of all Hispanic children born this decade will be diabetics. One-third of all whites and a little bit more of black children born will be diabetics.

We're mortgaging our nation's future with the diabetes epidemic, and it's all because of that belly fat we're carrying around.

WEIL: Larry, that's not fair to say -- it is not fair to say that it is self-inflicted. People are being targeted by manufacturers of foods.

KING: Yes, but they choose to eat it.

WEIL: They promote high blood sugar.

KING: Yes, but they choose to eat it.

WEIL: I don't think that's always fair. Often these are the cheapest foods that people can buy. The federal government subsidizes crops in ways that drive down the prices of these cheap carbohydrates. I don't think it is fair to say that it is all individual responsibility. I think it is collective responsibility.

OZ: Andy, would you agree that it is at least your personal ability to reverse it is there. And folks can lose the belly fat faster than anything else by just making the dietary shifts. Because when we treat these folks with medications, oftentimes it backfires.

The insulin, for example, we give diabetics often causes them to gain weight. The beta blockers we use to treat their high blood pressure will often cause them to gain weight. So our very treatments are hurting the people that we're trying to help.

WEIL: Yes, no question about that. But I think the basic information about nutrition is just not there. You ask most Americans to name a whole grain food, and they'll tell you whole wheat bread. Whole wheat bread is not a whole grain food. It is made from flour and it digests rapidly and raises blood sugar. People need to understand the basic facts of how the foods you eat affect blood sugar and predispositions to type 2 diabetes.

KING: Erik, are you a fanatic now?

CHOPIN: I don't know if I'm a fanatic. Bob is a fanatic. And I'm working with him now, so I'm a fanatic.

KING: Do you fear -- is your biggest worry I'm going to gain weight again? CHOPIN: Yes, I don't want to go back. I mean, it was just -- it wasn't just about the physical presence. It was mentally -- I was depressed. I wasn't happy. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to go to work. I didn't want to face life, you know? This guy actually saved my life. I mean, he's very, very special to me now.

HARPER: Moderation is the key. That's the main thing. Moderation is the key for him. He's learning to eat the foods that he wants to eat when he can eat them, and it's going to work out. It's great.

CHOPIN: And I'd like to point out, that, you know, with my diabetes, I got it under control, you know, luckily with exercise and diet. But I know there's people out there that may not be as fortunate and they may need to take medication and they need to see their doctors.

KING: Yes, they do. Because there's a lot of medication now.


KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you again, Dr. Oz and Dr. Weil, for a full hour together. And Erik Chopin, congratulations. And Bob Harper...

CHOPIN: Thank you.

KING: Erik Chopin, the winner of "The Loser." It can get confusing.

Right now, standing by in New York is our man, Anderson Cooper. He will host "AC 360." Lots on the table again tonight, Anderson.