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CNN Larry King Live

Interview With Senator John McCain; Interview With Donald Trump

Aired April 25, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, big news from Rosie O'Donnell.

ROSIE O'DONNELL: And so next year I'm not going to be on "The View." However, I will be coming back and guest hosting.


KING: What will "The View" do without Rosie's outspoken opinions and outrageous antics.


O'DONNELL: There he is, hair looping, going (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


KING: Joining us, Rosie's nemesis, Donald Trump. You can bet he's not wishing Rosie bon voyage.


DONALD TRUMP: Rosie is a very self-destructive person. Rosie is basically a loser.


KING: Who is "The Donald" going to feud with now?

And Roseanne Barr -- she's rah-rah for Rosie and thinks she upgraded daytime TV.

But first, John McCain.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I announce my candidacy for president of the United States.


KING: Exclusive -- his first interview since he finally officially entered the 2008 presidential race today. McCain admits he's not the youngest candidate in the race, but claims he's got the most experience. All that and more next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We begin tonight with Senator John McCain and his lovely wife Cindy.

They're in Concord, New Hampshire on this historic day, where the senator has officially officialed the announcement of his candidacy for president.

I thought, Senator McCain, that you had announced already.

So what made today different?

JOHN MCCAIN: Well, Larry, it's an official announcement, as you know, and it is well known that I was going to be a candidate for the Republican nomination, but this is an opportunity to tell the people of my vision and my qualifications and my credentials and why I'm running for president of the United States.

And so it's sort of a -- an arcane, old custom, but the fact is it's an opportunity and it's one that we're exercising up here in New Hampshire and we'll be down in South Carolina and Iowa and then back in our home state of Arizona.

KING: Does making it official change anything?

JOHN MCCAIN: Not really. What it actually does is, again, a chance to rally the faithful, get your message out, portray your vision and an opportunity to sort of get -- really get your campaign in high gear as much as possible. And that's what I think we're succeeding in doing today.

KING: Let's discuss health first. You had a melanoma. It was serious.


KING: You got it operated on and taken care of.

How are you?

JOHN MCCAIN: I'm fine. Cindy says I'm more ill-tempered than I used to be, but other than that, I'm fine. My health is excellent. I see my dermatologist every three months. I urge everyone who has -- particularly the fairer your skin -- to be sure you see your dermatologist.

Skin cancer is something that doesn't have to be in any way dangerous. It's just you've got to check it early and get it taken care of early.

But my health is excellent. I work 24-7 and I'm happy. We're having a lot of fun. And there's nothing I enjoy more than this kind of campaigning and the town hall meetings that we've been doing and are going to continue to do throughout the campaign.

KING: Cindy, do you have any worries in the health department with regard to the senator?

CINDY MCCAIN: I have absolutely none. What my husband didn't tell you is that he hiked Brin's Rim (ph) at the Grand Canyon this summer with our sun. I know I couldn't do that and he did it and did it really well with our boy. So he's in fine shape.

JOHN MCCAIN: I have always had full...

KING: How old is he?


KING: Yes.



CINDY MCCAIN: He'll be 21 next week.


KING: And how old is...

CINDY MCCAIN: Can I mention, Larry?

KING: Yes.

JOHN MCCAIN: Can I mention that -- that hike around the rim of the Grand Canyon, it was wonderful. It was exhilarating. It almost killed me.


KING: Don't do it again.

How old are you, Senator?

JOHN MCCAIN: We're going to do it again.

KING: How old are you now?

JOHN MCCAIN: Seventy. I'll be 71.

KING: Does that mean if elected, this is a one term presidency?

JOHN MCCAIN: I don't know. That's something you've got to decide at the time and I think the major factor is to whether you have done the job or not and whether you think you -- you're still fit to serve, not just because of your health, but primarily because of the kind of job you've done.

I think that's -- that's the critical aspect of an issue such as that.

KING: Let's get to some things right in the news, Senator.

Senator Harry Reid and Vice President Dick Cheney have been going back and forth at each other and Cheney has been very expressive in the thought that what Senator Reid is doing is helping the enemy.

Do you share that view?

JOHN MCCAIN: Oh, I can't say that it's helping the enemy. But to declare the war lost, then I think it's incumbent upon Senator Reid to say who won.

Is that al Qaeda? Is that the militia? Is that -- is that the forces of terrorism and radical Islamic extremism that are dedicated to destroying the United States of America?

And I must admit, I don't recall a time in American history when American -- young Americans are still fighting and sacrificing, that a national leader declared their cause lost.

KING: Were you surprised?

JOHN MCCAIN: Yes. I was surprised. And disappointed...

KING: Have you spoken to Senator Reid?

JOHN MCCAIN: And disappointed.

KING: Have you spoken to him?

JOHN MCCAIN: No, I have not. I was disappointed.

KING: In other words, you didn't expect him to do that?

JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I had hoped that he wouldn't. Look, Senator Reid recently said we're going to pick up seats in the next election as a result of this war.

What Senator Reid seems to have forgotten or not recognized is that presidents don't lose wars and political parties don't lose wars. Nations lose wars. And when nations lose wars, nations suffer.

And I'm confident if we set a date for withdrawal, which would be a date for surrender, then you will see chaos, genocide in the region and they will follow us home.

KING: You...

JOHN MCCAIN: I think there's a lot at stake here and I think we have a new strategy and a new general and I'd love to -- for all of us to have a chance -- to give it a chance to succeed.

KING: Now, you base so much of your campaign strategy and the like on this.

What happens if it doesn't work?

JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I can't worry about it. I don't think about it. I would much rather lose a campaign than lose a war and the consequences of failure are immense and what young Americans are sacrificing everyday, as we speak, is nothing. It makes my political ambitions totally irrelevant.

KING: In the past, though, you have been critical of strategy.

Is this a change for you?

JOHN MCCAIN: I don't think there was any more severe critic of the strategy that was employed in the past four years. Shortly after the initial success, I was over there and came back and railed against that strategy. I begged that we get more people over there. I predicted that we would fail and unfortunately we waited a long, long time.

Now, the American people, understandably, are frustrated and angry. We have sacrificed so much and yet I believe that this strategy does have a chance to succeed. I believe we've got great leadership. I pray every night that it does.

And so we're in difficult times, my friend.

KING: Your youngest son, Cindy McCain, joined the Marines.


KING: Were you happy that he did that?

CINDY MCCAIN: I'm very proud of my son. He -- from the time he was a little boy -- really wanted to be a Marine. And I would like -- personally, I would have liked to have -- for him to have gone to college first, but this was his choice. I support it and I'm so proud of him.

KING: Where is he now?

CINDY MCCAIN: He's in -- he's stationed...

JOHN MCCAIN: He's at a Marine base.

CINDY MCCAIN: Yes, he's at a Marine base.

KING: What if he goes to Iraq, Cindy?

CINDY MCCAIN: Well, I'll join the other ranks of parents that are in absolutely the same situation we would be and pray every day and know that he would be -- if my husband were president, that he would be led -- would be being led well.

KING: We'll take a break and be right back on this historic day for Senator John McCain. He and his wife Cindy in Concord, New Hampshire. He's officially -- officially in the ring. He tossed his hat in the ring. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the next president of the United States and first lady, John and Cindy McCain.

JOHN MCCAIN: And today I announce my candidacy for president of the United States.





JOHN MCCAIN: I know one way to go, and that is al Qaeda has declared they're dedication to the destruction of everything we stand for and believe in. I know that for a fact.

STEWART: Whether we're in Iraq or not?

JOHN MCCAIN: Do you know that for a fact?

STEWART: I know it for a fact.



JOHN MCCAIN: Bless you.

Boy, that's the first time we've agreed...

STEWART: That's not true.

JOHN MCCAIN: ... on this whole program.

STEWART: Here's...

JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you.


KING: Senator McCain, is Jon Stewart and that ilk the new road to the White House?

JOHN MCCAIN: Oh, I think you have to go on some of these programs. They reach demographics that you otherwise might not -- may not touch. But it's always an interesting experience.

KING: That was your ninth appearance on that show. You earlier announced on "Letterman" you're looking for the 19-year-olds.

JOHN MCCAIN: That I was announcing.

KING: To announce that you were announcing.

JOHN MCCAIN: And I think from...

KING: Are you looking for the 19-year-olds?

JOHN MCCAIN: Yes, and I'm looking for this one. And I'm pleased and grateful that you would have me on and I appreciate it, Larry. I've been on your show many, many times over the years and if I might do a little apple polishing, you do a great job.

KING: You also were a frequent guest on "Imus" and a lot of us know him well.

What do you think happened to him and do you think it was correct?

JOHN MCCAIN: I think that probably he paid a -- a very heavy penalty for the terrible and inexcusable thing that he did. I was asked whether I would go on his show or not. I think the point is that I believe in redemption. I believe in forgiveness. And I -- I forgave my North Vietnamese captors, who didn't treat me very well. I forgave the anti-war movement and reconciled with them.

My life has been spent in reconciliation and redemption and that's why I believe in redemption.

KING: Have you spoken to Imus since all of this?

JOHN MCCAIN: No, I have not.

KING: But you believed he deserved another chance?

JOHN MCCAIN: No, that's not a judgment that -- for me to make. What I'm saying is that my -- my -- me, personally, that I forgive him because I think he's truly sorry for doing a terrible, terrible thing. But the judgment on whether he should stay on -- on the airwaves or not, is not up to me to make.

KING: Bill Clinton was a guest recently with us, a couple weeks ago. I asked him what he feared or who of the Republican Party candidates does he fear. Here was his response, and then we'll get your thoughts.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I still think Senator McCain is a very durable character. He's a very admirable man. He paid a great price to serve this country. And even whether I agree or disagree with him on everything, you've got to respect him.


KING: He also said, Senator, that -- that it's too -- it's too far away and there's no one really that he could pick out.

Your thoughts?

JOHN MCCAIN: Well, I agree. Of course, I appreciate the comments of President Clinton. But let me just say I agree that it's way, way too early. Most people are not focusing on the campaign. Many of us feel that a very rough and bitter campaign of 2006 was just completed.

I -- a couple of things are different, real quick, Larry. One, obviously, the war against -- or our struggle against radical Islamic extremism still is a tremendous and overriding issue in this campaign. But second of all, the partisanship and bitterness, to be honest with you, is far worse than it was in 2000. I can't go through all the reasons for it and explanations. You're -- you're probably more knowledgeable than I am.

But I -- I really sense a poisoned kind of atmosphere out there and most people here in New Hampshire and around the country don't like it. They want us to work together. They want us to reach across the aisle and work together. And unfortunately we're not doing that.

KING: More bitter than 2000?

I moderated the debate between you and President Bush in South Carolina and you would -- you would have defined bitter by that debate.

JOHN MCCAIN: Well, at that particular moment, obviously, I was angry and got too angry, as a matter of fact. And it didn't help my campaign any.

But what I'm saying is the general envir -- political environment in the country, not so much at that -- that really low point -- my real low point -- I lost -- in the campaign.

I'm talking about the general environment. They want us to work together on Social Security, on Medicare, to address the compelling issues of the day. And unfortunately they see us just really in pitched battle with one another and questioning each other's patriotism and character. And that's not good.

KING: I know that former Mayor Giuliani is a close friend of yours. In fact, I believe...

JOHN MCCAIN: We're good friends.

KING: ... on this program he did nothing but extol your virtues.

What do you make of his run so far?

JOHN MCCAIN: I think he's been very successful. I think that he is an American that -- that really was important as we went through a terrible, critical time after 9/11. And I think he led his city and -- and the country well.

I think he has served very well and I'm an admirer and a friend.

KING: Are you surprised that he's doing well in the polls?

JOHN MCCAIN: No, I think it's very early on. But I certainly am not surprised. I think a lot of things will happen. I'd remind you, in 1999, at this particular time, I was at 3 percent in the polls. With a 5 percent margin of error, we could have been at minus 2.


JOHN MCCAIN: You know, a lot of -- a lot of things -- a lot of things are going to happen between now and whenever the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses are. As you know, they're getting moved earlier and earlier.

KING: I know.

JOHN MCCAIN: But, so a lot of things are going to happen. And I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the "second tier candidates" get some traction. Fred Thompson, if he enters, I think, would be -- certainly gather significant attention.

So a lot of things are going to happen and that's why we all watch with fascination.

KING: What do you think of Governor Romney and Mormonism as an issue?

JOHN MCCAIN: Well, obviously Mormonism shouldn't be an issue. There's no place in American politics -- and I think that's the view of most Americans. I don't know Governor Romney very well. I've met him on several occasions. I know he did a good job with the Olympics after a scandal there.

But I don't know him very well. I'm sure I'll get to know him better during the campaign.

KING: Cindy, do you -- do you like campaigning? Cindy, do you like the whole idea of this?

CINDY MCCAIN: I do. I wouldn't be here if I didn't. There are -- I'll freely admit there are portions of it that I don't like, and that's when it turns -- it turns to the down side. But for the most part, I've always enjoyed it. I've always been by my husband's side through all of the races that we've been in and it's fun. It's really, really fun.

KING: What do you make, Senator McCain, of the Attorney General Gonzales issue?

Many of your fellow Republican members of the Senate have expressed the thought that he ought to leave.

Should he?

JOHN MCCAIN: I'm very disappointed -- disappointed in his performance. I think loyalty to the president should enter into his calculations. Could I mention, as we talk about these other candidates, Larry, I'm running on my experience, my vision, my strength, my ability to lead the country. I don't need any on the job training.

I'm not the youngest guy in the campaign, but I'm the most experienced. And I'm going to be running on my vision and my strength and I'm prepared to lead. And I think that that's, that's what I'm going to be campaigning on.

KING: Now, did you say you think Gonzales should leave?

JOHN MCCAIN: I think out of loyalty to the president that -- that that would probably be the best thing that he could do.

KING: We'll be right back with the remaining moments with Senator John McCain and Cindy McCain from Concord, New Hampshire.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back with the McCains.

Senator, recently in that same interview with Bill Clinton, he said he thought that any person asked to serve a president should, whether ex-president or whatever, and that he would serve Hillary or he would serve you, if asked.

Do you share the same view?


KING: Would you use former presidents in your presidency?

JOHN MCCAIN: Absolutely. Former President Clinton has connections and relationships around the world that he developed. Obviously, he and I are a different party and have different views on many issues. I'm sure there are many policy issues, particularly national security, that we're probably in agreement.

I think that Bush One, President Bush is a marvelous man and one of the great gentleman that I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

So, certainly, certainly you should do that. You should take advantage of former -- not just former presidents, but former members of both parties. There's many members of the Democrat Party who I admire who I could rely on for some advice and counsel on some issues.

We've got to do more of that.

KING: Yes.

So if Senator Clinton were president and said Senator McCain, I need you to do something, you would do it?

JOHN MCCAIN: It depends on what.

KING: As long as you agreed with it?



KING: That's funny. Yes. OK. We'll leave...

JOHN MCCAIN: If it was something...

KING: We'll leave that alone.

JOHN MCCAIN: If it was...


JOHN MCCAIN: If it -- if it had -- if it meant service to the country and it was an issue that would be helpful to the country, obviously I would say yes.

KING: So we've got that great sense of humor.

We have an e-mail question from Brad in Boston: "Do you continue to support a policy of earned legalization for documented workers?"

He says you seem to have been distancing yourself from this idea.

JOHN MCCAIN: I think we need a comprehensive approach. I think we can -- are going to be coming up with a proposal here very soon. We've been working with Democrats and the White House and others. It's not "earned legalization" as much as it is the establishment of categories, allowing people to get a chance to get in line for a green card and eventual citizenship.

But standby, Brad, and I hope in a week or two, we're going to have a proposal that address the issue in a comprehensive fashion, with the first priority being border security.

KING: The Supreme Court ruled about partial-birth abortion, says that you can disallow them, make them illegal, especially for the doctors, not for the patient.

Do you think we're heading toward the end of "Roe v. Wade?"

JOHN MCCAIN: I don't know the answer to that, Larry. I'm just pleased that this really odious and terrible procedure has -- that was outlawed by majorities of both houses of Congress and signed by the president is upheld.

I don't know what the court does in "Roe v. Wade." I -- I just -- we don't question Supreme Court justice nominees on that, but I -- I believe we have two great justices who will strictly interpret the constitution of the United States and that's enough for me...

KING: And finally... JOHN MCCAIN: ... that there won't be judicial activism from the bench.

KING: Finally, Cindy, what role will you play in the -- in a John McCain presidency?

CINDY MCCAIN: A supportive role. I'm -- I have to worry about my children first, and then my husband and our family, first and foremost. And certainly I have not even thought about what I would do, because I -- we -- it's a -- we've got to get there first.

KING: Thank you both.

CINDY MCCAIN: Might I add, also...

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CINDY MCCAIN: Congratulations on 50...


CINDY MCCAIN: Congratulations on your 50 years.

KING: Thank you.

Thank you both very much.

Two good friends, Senator John McCain and Cindy McCain. We'll be seeing a lot of both of them along the trail.

Up next, the big Rosie O'Donnell announcement that's about to change everyone's view on morning television. She's quitting.

But up next, "The Donald" says -- and he's going to have his say -- on how it all went down. And later, we'll get the inside view from a former host of the show. And, also, Roseanne Barr will join us.

And from the journalist who first broke the news that she was leaving.

Stick around.


O'DONNELL: Big news, breaking news. Breaking news.

Did you hear?

It's on CNN. It's breaking news. Next year I'm not going to be on "The View." However, I will be coming back and guest hosting.



TRUMP: Well, I wasn't surprised. I have been predicting this for a long time. Rosie is a very self-destructive person. Rosie is basically a loser.



KING: Welcome back.

Things are going to stop being Rosie at "The View" come June. Earlier today, less than a year after Barbara Walters and ABC brought her on board, Rosie O'Donnell announced that she's leaving the daytime talk show.

Donald Trump is standing by with his view of things. But before we get his comments, here's how it played out in the air -- on the air this morning.


ROSIE O'DONNELL, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Good news, breaking news, breaking news, did you hear it's on CNN as breaking news?

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I heard. I know a little bit about it.

O'DONNELL: Breaking news, I decided -- and we couldn't come to terms with my deal with ABC so next year I'm not going to be on "The View." However, I will be coming back and guest hosting. I will be doing one-hour specials on autism and depression and stuff that I'm interested in. I'm not going to do the everyday thing because we couldn't -- you know they wanted me three years. I wanted one year. And then they were like OK, what if we -- and it just didn't work and that's showbiz. But it's not sad because I've loved it here and I love you guys and I'm not going away. I'm just going to be here everyday, all right?


KING: Donald Trump, the billionaire business mogul and the NBC host and executive producer of "The Apprentice" joins us by phone. He's here in Los Angeles.

Donald, do you buy the story?

DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESS MOGUL: Well, absolutely not, Larry. You know exactly what I'm saying. You understand what went on. Rosie is a slob. ABC couldn't take it anymore. Barbara Walters can't stand her. Barbara is probably the happiest woman in the United States right now. And for Barbara to say that she had no idea, that it was an ABC daytime executive not even ABC, it was and ABC daytime executive that made the decision and that Barbara knew nothing about it, give me a break. You know obviously, that's not so. It's not true.

KING: Donald, here's what Barbara -- she spoke about the leaving today. Here's what she said.


WALTERS: You keep saying, "Don't be sad and we should all be happy" and I am sad, OK, I am sad...

O'DONNELL: I'm sorry.

WALTERS: ...because I induced you to come here and you only came for one year. I hoped that it would be more than one year.


WALTERS: We have had, to say the least, an interesting year.

O'DONNELL: We certainly have.

WALTERS: We've had an exciting, fun-filled, provocative -- we have all loved it. We have all gotten together. And you will be missed very much.

O'DONNELL: Well, you know -- thank you.


KING: Donald, how do you know Barbara is not saying what she feel there's?

TRUMP: Well, she said the same thing with Star Jones. When Star Jones left, Barbara said, "She's my friend, she's my dear, dear, friend. She's wonderful; we're going to miss her." Two days later, she said she wasn't telling the truth. I mean give me a break.

She cannot stand Rosie. She told me at the very beginning, "Don't get in the mud with pigs." She used that exact expression. She knows it. She never denied it. And look, Rosie is a disgusting person both inside and out, Larry, and ABC has had it. She got up in front of wonderful, young women the other day at the Waldorf Astoria. She grabbed her crotch and she said, "Eat me." Now, she was referring to me, "eat me." Now there can be no more disgusting thing for me to think of then what she said I should do. But this was in front of young, wonderful, impressible ladies.

KING: Donald, if she was doing well on the ratings, why would ABC want to dump her? Money is their thing.

TRUMP: Well, she's not doing that well, Larry. She was doing well in the ratings in January when she and I went at it and then the ratings were good. And I understood that and I understood that in one way that was the only thing I had against going after her. You know when you have a bully; you hit the bully between the eyes, so I decided to do that. But that's when her ratings were good.

Her ratings since January when we were going at it have fallen precipitously. Her show that preceded this one, she was thrown off the air because ultimately people got tired of her and they didn't want to listen to her anymore and she had very bad ratings.

So she'll probably resurface at some point with a show. She'll do well for the first couple of months and then she'll die.

Rosie, I know her very well. She's a very self-destructive loser.

KING: Do you have a thought as to who should replace her?

TRUMP: Well, there are a lot of good people. I don't want to mention that, but I have a lot of good thoughts as to who should replace her, Larry. But you know the problem with that show, they have somebody like Joe Behar who's third rate, maybe fourth rate. She's got no talent whatsoever. I mean I don't know what the show is going to do.

Barbara is obviously losing it. Barbara looks like just a lap dog for Rosie. Rosie, what she does to Barbara -- I mean she's like a dictator over Barbara. Barbara, I totally lost respect for this woman.

KING: Who do you like?

TRUMP: I don't want to say right now but there are people that would be very good on that show, in my opinion. I know four or five people that would be very, very good on that show.

KING: Have you gone on that show?

TRUMP: Many times.

KING: Would you go on again?

TRUMP: No, not particularly. I mean, look, who cares, but you know it's not a very good show to start off with. But what people don't understand is the ratings for that show were great when Rosie attacked me and I attacked Rosie back. That's when the ratings were really good. Right now, the ratings have gone down very, very precipitously.

KING: All right, why -- if you don't buy that ABC observed her three years and she wanted one year and whatever the difference, if you don't buy that, why is she going?

TRUMP: Because I think ABC doesn't want her. I think ABC in a very nice way -- and they're trying to do it as nicely as possible, is throwing her out. They don't want her saying, "Eat me." They don't want her saying that the United States blew up the World Trade Center. They don't -- and you know that's an embarrassment to this country, a tremendous embarrassment.

And you know sadly after the Don Imus thing, people are going to have to be, I guess, more careful as to what they're saying. I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing but they do have to be more careful as to what they say.

When she gets up in front of 2,000 women and just uses the most disgusting language, she's a disgusting person. Again, I know her very well. She's a slob. She's a disgusting person. KING: Donald, didn't you think twice about getting into this war?

TRUMP: No, I don't mind the war at all. In fact FOX, you know, your nemesis, FOX did a poll, 91 percent favored Trump over Rosie. I mean, you know, what can I say?

Look, Rosie is a bully. She said terrible things about Kelly Ripa, about Danny Devito, about a lot of different people, and nobody fights back. I decided to fight back and now she doesn't even want to comment. She does not want to talk about me. And the reason she doesn't want to talk because I fight back. You have to hit a bully between the eyes, Larry.

KING: Donald, thanks, as always, have a good stay out here.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

KING: Donald Trump.

And when we come back, Roseanne Barr. Could she be the replacement? Don't go away.


WALTERS: I would like to make one thing perfectly clear.

O'DONNELL: Go ahead.

WALTERS: I do not participate in the negotiations for Rosie.

O'DONNELL: Correct, it's ABC Daytime.

WALTERS: It was ABC Daytime. This is not -- and you know I'm going to read, oh, I did this and I did that and it brings back a lot of other things that I was accused of doing and did not do. It was between your representative...

O'DONNELL: Yes, my agents.

WALTERS: ...and ABC Daytime.


WALTERS: This is not my doing or my choice.



KING: Welcome back. We're told by ABC Television that since Rosie joined "The View," viewership is up, half a million viewers a day.

Joining us now from Las Vegas, Roseanne Barr, the actress, comic, activist and radio host as well. She's in Vegas headlining at New York, New York. She also hosts Nik at Nite's "Search for The Funniest Mom in America."

What's your reaction to all of this?

ROSEANNE BARR, COMIC, RADIO HOST & FRIEND OF ROSIE O'DONNELL: Hi, Larry. I just want to say, "hi," first.


BARR: Well, you know I was excited to watch "The View" everyday since Rosie. And I think, you know, like the spike in the ratings that half a million other American women largely, like myself, she brought a great deal of controversial thought and substantive, you know, dialogue to a show which, you know, I thought that was great. That was great for women in America.

KING: What do you make of what Donald had to say?

BARR: Well, you know, I -- you know, he's kind of bullying her. I thought that he always was kind of bullying her. And they were bullying each other and got in a big fight. And you know, I don't agree with what he feels about her because I think she's a great person and I think she has a lot of guts.

KING: You think?

BARR: And I think she put everything on the line to go on and say things that real Americans were talking about and wanting to hear about and which is just, you know, pretty much nonexistent in the media.

I mean we could hear stuff about Anna Nicole's baby and gossip and dieting every day until we are blue in the face. It's kind of like...

KING: Roseanne?

BARR: ...dumbing women down and making them barefoot and pregnant again. And she changed that and I love her and I love freedom of speech.

KING: Roseanne, if they offered you that seat, would you take it?

BARR: You're funny, Larry. Well, I want $10 million, like Rosie. You know what, she decided to leave and I don't think that anybody kicked her out or anything else.


BARR: She decided that it wasn't worth it.

KING: ...earlier this week, Rosie stirred up a fuss...

BARR: What?

KING: .... earlier this week, with her remarks at the Annual New York Women and Communications Award Luncheon, "ET" was among those reporting on it. Watch briefly.


O'DONNELL: I have been dieting FOR two weeks ever since Donald Trump said that he found me fat and unattractive. It has been by goal for many years to give a bald billionaire a [bleep] -- that comb-over [bleep] goes after her instead of me. Come here, buddy, [ bleep ], eat me, OK?


KING: Do you think that was a little out of line, Roseanne?

BARR: Well, you know, she's a comic. And you know that's not for me to say, Larry. I just want that, you know, she made "The View" a lot more interesting than it had ever been before. And she brought a lot of controversial subjects that we didn't get to hear people discuss; particularly women and I think that that's a good thing. I think that it was a good thing. And I think she'll be back with her own show.

KING: You do? What kind of person would you look for to take that seat?

BARR: Oh, I don't know. They have to -- you know Barbara has to make that choice and she has to like them.

KING: I know but what kind of person would you like for?

BARR: What kind of person would I look for?

KING: Yes. Would they have to be outspoken? Would they have to be very controversial?

BARR: Yes. I think somebody who, you know can hold their own and bring facts and debate them and, you know, be interesting and funny, you know. I think that's what they would need. And I think they really do need an ethnic voice on that show as well, which they've been missing since Star left. They need an ethnic woman on there.

KING: And again, you would make no comment if they offered it to you?

BARR: I don't even know why you're bringing that up. I came on because...

KING: Because you're logical.

BARR: I'm old.

KING: Thanks, Rosie, we'll be checking with you. Roseanne Barr, activist, radio host, comic, headlining at New York, New York in Las Vegas.

Coming up, Roseanne returns to us and we're joined by someone who's been there, done that along the way, along with a journalist who was the first to report that Rosie would be leaving. As we go to break, some of Rosie O'Donnell's more outspoken moments on "The View."


O'DONNELL: And just one second, radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam.

There he is hair loop over and going...

I think '08 is too late, get him out now.

She wants everyone of everyone to use one square of toilet paper to wipe. All I want to do is have some fun. One little thing? Has she seen my ass?


KING: Coming up this next week, we're celebrating my 50 years in broadcasting. Kick off Monday with George Tenet, the former CIA director who told President Bush that the WMD case against Saddam Hussein was a slam dunk. Tuesday, the incomparable Oprah Winfrey joins me for the hour. Wednesday, Katie Couric turns the tables and interviews me. Thursday, a "CNN PRESENTS" special, "50 Years of Pop Culture" through my eyes, and Friday, an all-star toast hosted by Bill Maher. What a 50 years it's been and what a week it's going to be.


KING: We're back. Roseanne Barr remains us with in Las Vegas and joining us here in Los Angeles, Harvey Levin, the managing editor of TMZ. The TMZ website broke the story of Rosie leaving "The View" last night. Also here in L.A. is Debbie Matenopoulos, who co-hosts "Daily Ten" on...

BARR: Debbie Matenopoulos!


KING: ... on e-Entertainment Television.

BARR: Hi, Debbie!

KING: Let me finish introducing them. She's the former co-host of "The View." You were on the first two years?

MATENOPOULOS: The first two years. And Roseanne actually came on a couple times when I was there.

KING: Were you an infant?

MATENOPOULOS: I was an infant. I was in the womb still. Yes, I was 21 years old.

KING: And what do you make of -- there she is.


KING: What do you make of this story?

MATENOPOULOS: Well, since I left and then Lisa Ling left and then Meredith left, it's sort of -- you know Star is gone, now Rosie leaving, it just seems like it's a resolving door over there. I was surprised that Rosie announced that she was leaving. I think that it's the best casting move in ABC history to put Rosie O'Donnell on that show. I really, truly believe that. And I think she really gave it a spark that it was missing.

KING: Do you don't agree with Mr. Trump?

MATENOPOULOS: I wholeheartedly disagree with Donald Trump. And I think the thing he is saying just make him appear to be a child. He looks childish.

KING: What do you make?


KING: You broke the story, but what do you make of the story?

LEVIN: And I've got to tell you, I broke the story because I turned my phone on after during your story last night and somebody immediately called and said, "I think I got something for you." It really is. I was pulling out of your parking lot.

KING: You got it here and you didn't come back? You didn't owe it to us?

LEVIN: Well, you know, business is business. What I'm hearing is she wanted to leave, that this was not -- ABC -- she was the goose that legged the golden egg for ABC. Not only were ratings great because of her but the really became relevant again.


LEVIN: And if ABC could have gotten her for one year as opposed to no years, they would have done it. So she, I'm told, just doesn't want to do it anymore. And I'm guessing she's going to have a talk show in a year.

MATENOPOULOS: And that's going to be a real problem for "The View."

KING: Roseanne, hold it. Roseanne, I want you to watch this. We have a clip of what Roseanne had to say to Barbara Walters. Watch and we'll get your thoughts.


JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": But we are going to miss you. This has been an exciting year. It's been interesting. You took all of the hits and so have you and we just enjoyed it.

You're such a catalyst.

O'DONNELL: I kicked it up a notch, you know. When I was at home, I never thought of coming back to daytime. And Barbara asked me, and I thought a year with Barbara Walters, who could resist that, honestly. You're a legend whether you want me to say it or not, you're a living legend.


KING: Roseanne, do you agree with that?

BARR: That Barbara Walters is a living legend?

KING: Yes.

BARR: Absolutely, she's a living legend, and so is Rosie O'Donnell and so is Donald Trump...

KING: So what do we do when all three...

BARR: And so are you, Larry.

MATENOPOULOS: That's true!

KING: But I'm not involved in this!

BARR: Hi, Debbie! Hi, Debbie! Debbie, you need to eat something.

MATENOPOULOS: Oh my -- Roseanne!

BARR: Debbie, you need to eat!

MATENOPOULOS: This show is not about me eating. Larry, make her stop.

KING: Let me ask, while Roseanne is there. Would Roseanne make a good replacement on "The View"?

MATENOPOULOS: Roseanne would be a great replacement on "The View." And I think Roseanne is the only one who could fill Rosie O'Donnell's shoes because...

KING: What do you think Harvey, wouldn't she?

LEVIN: I think she'd be great, but there's one other person I really believe would be perfect, and it would be a left turn, and I really mean this, Alec Baldwin. I really mean it. No, but I mean it. He is Rosie. He's unpredictable. He's smart. He's funny.

KING: But he's male. The purpose of...

MATENOPOULOS: A gay man needs to sit there, a gay man.

LEVIN: No, no, no, they could put a man on the show. It's 10 years into this. He would be perfect on that show. KING: It started with just girls talking.

LEVIN: Yes, but it's 10 years in.

KING: What do you think of that idea, Roseanne?

BARR: I like "The View" now, you know. I really like it now, but I would like to see everybody continue to talk about real subjects in America rather than Donald Trump's hair or who's fat or who's gay or any of these divisive things. I'd like to see "The View" turn into something that actually can, you know, rally human beings and Americans together under one tent so that we can solve the problems that are ripe in our country rather than continually being, you know, divided and polarized like television wants us to be.

I'd like to see somebody come on there and actually tell the American people what they can do to improve the public schools and health care and other things like that, that actually do matter. And I'm not looking for the job, but I don't think they're going to use -- I don't think they'd ever have Alec Baldwin. I don't believe that.

KING: Let me get a break. More from our guests in a couple of minutes. As we go to break, a look back at highlights or maybe lowlights of Rosie's infamous views like you've never seen with Donald Trump.


O'DONNELL: He had inherited a lot of money -- wait a minute and he's been bankrupt so many times where he didn't have to pay.

TRUMP: I never went bankrupt, but she said I went bankrupt. So probably I'll sue her because it would be fun. I'd like to take some money out of her fat ass pockets.

O'DONNELL: What can you say about that guy?

WALTERS: That poor, pathetic man.





WALTERS: Rosie will be on with us until the end of June?

O'DONNELL: Yes, per my contract.


O'DONNELL: They're not kicking me out. Don't worry. It's OK!

WALTERS: Also, we have not -- I mean we're going to be deluged with letters. We have not thought about a replacement because we were hoping that you would come back.

O'DONNELL: I know, we tried.

WALTERS: So we're going to take a look. My two other children will be back.


KING: Debbie Matenopoulos, what was it like? How did you leave, under what circumstances?

MATENOPOULOS: Oh, they practically cut my head off in a guillotine in Times Square.

KING: They threw you off?

MATENOPOULOS: Perhaps you missed that. Yes, I mean I was 21 years old and I was...

KING: How did they bump you?

MATENOPOULOS: Well, they basically said, "Here's the deal, you're fired, kid, pack your dress." No, it wasn't exactly like that but they said, "We won't be renewing your contract." And that happens every day.

KING: On the air?

MATENOPOULOS: No, it did not happen on the air. It happened behind the scenes. And you know it was the most amazing experience of my life and at the same time also incredibly tumultuous. I had never been on television before and I had to learn how to be on TV by Barbara Walters on live television. So it was difficult, but I will also say nobody knows what it's like to sit in that seat unless you've sat in that seat. And it's a grind. It's difficult. But at the same time it's also amazing and also, you know, you're learning from the best people.

KING: Harvey, why is that show so tabloidable? Why is it so coverable?

LEVIN: You know I've got to tell you, we put "The View" up almost every day on our website.


LEVIN: But I'm telling you, so many people gravitate to it because they tap in -- especially the first 20 minutes, they just tap into these subjects that people care about. I mean it's produced really well.

KING: I've been on a number of times. My wife's been on. She sang on that show. It's a fun show to do. But why is it so impacting on print material?

LEVIN: They come up -- they take really good subjects and they've got people with enough varying views that they collide on the air.

MATENOPOULOS: And they're so controversial and that's the part that defines the show. That's why that show is a success to begin with.

KING: Roseanne, do you watch it all the time?

BARR: Well, I watch it more than I did in the past up of years since Rosie was on. But I think that the reason it's fascinating is because, you know, people are actually giving their actual real opinions and they don't all agree. And I think it offers us diversity of opinion and that's a valuable thing to women who watch television. And it's also something that is missing and you know that we need more of. So I hope they continue it. But I predict Rosie will be back with her own show.

MATENOPOULOS: But if your opinion is too diverse, like Rosie's was or you know out of the box, America doesn't always like that.

KING: Don't go over that. You think she's going to get her own talk show?

BARR: Well...


BARR: Well, everything has limits...

KING: Hold on, Roseanne, hold it.


LEVIN: It's the buzz in Hollywood and she is a proven daytime ratings winner.

KING: She left on top.

LEVIN: She left on top. She wanted to go. Believe me; the production company didn't want her to go away. I know that. She's coming back.

KING: Roseanne Barr, Harvey Levin, and Debbie Matenopoulos, thank you all.

We're out of time, Roseanne. We'll do more.

BARR: OK, bye.

KING: A quick reminder that next week, I mark 50 years in broadcasting. You can catch some pretty special shows with very special guests including Oprah Winfrey. But if you'd rather look at past shows than future ones, here's something you might enjoy. It's a three-disc set of DVDs featuring my favorite interviews from my first 21 years at CNN. You can find it at most video stores. You can purchase it online from sites like It was decades in the making. And I promise you it won't take you that long to get through it. They really did a great job putting it together. "The Greatest Interviews: Larry King Live" available now.

Tomorrow night, the first political debate of the year, the democratic debate in South Carolina and we will follow it with major guests with all points of view. That's tomorrow night.