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CNN Larry King Live

Levees at Breaking Point in Midwest; Should Offshore Drilling Ban be Lifted?; Actor Steve Carell Discusses "Get Smart" and "The Office"

Aired June 17, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, campaign clash -- tough talk on terrorism. Team McCain calls Barack Obama's policies dangerous and delusional -- slamming critics for failing to learn much from 9/11.
Who will win this political war of words?

Plus, Al Gore's endorsement -- too little too late or a big Democratic deal?

Plus, Steve Carell. He's really here. He steps out of the office into a new role.


Good evening.

We begin tonight with breaking news from the flooded Midwest, where there is a serious threat. Twenty-three levees are in danger of breaking. This affects residents of three states -- Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

Two weeks of flooding has left five people dead, already forced more than 38,000 from their homes -- the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina.

President Bush says he'll travel to the area.

We begin with a report from CNN's Dan Simon -- Dan.


We are in Gulfport, Illinois, on the western edge of the state. This is the latest town to really take a beating.

Let me show you where we are exactly. Make no mistake about it, that is not a lake. This is actually a cornfield. There was a levee break about three miles away from here and it just completely inundated this area. This is going to be a huge agricultural loss for this community. There are also numerous homes in danger. Today, there was a mad dash to build a temporary levee in a neighborhood to protect some homes because, as I said, the levee three miles away from here gave way.

As you mentioned, Larry, there are about two dozen or so levees that are in danger of being breached over the next couple of days. They're even talking about the swollen Mississippi River going to St. Louis, where there could be serious flooding there -- Larry.

KING: Thanks, Dan.

Dan Simon has been on the scene all day and he'll continue that coverage. This is a horrific story.

Now let's meet our political panel and they'll go right at it.

Here in Los Angeles, Stephanie Miller talk radio talk show host of her own show, a supporter of Barack Obama.

Larry Elder, talk radio host of his own show, a "New York Times" best-selling author and a supporter of John McCain.

In Fargo, North Dakota, Ed Schultz, the talk radio host who backs Obama.

And in Washington, Amy Holmes, CNN contributor, speechwriter for Bill Frist when he was Senate majority leader, is an independent conservative and has not endorsed anyone for president.

The big news right now, folks, is this. President Bush plans to make a renewed push to get Congress to end the longstanding ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, echoing a call made by GOP presidential candidate John McCain. Bush wants the ban removed.

Senator Obama, the Democratic presumed candidate for president, opposes lifting the ban, saying that allowing exploration now wouldn't affect gasoline prices for at least five years.

Who's right, Ed Schultz?

ED SCHULTZ, TALK RADIO HOST, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Well, Larry, I think it's a desperate move by the president because he never anticipated that gas prices were going to get to this point.

John McCain was against drilling and now he's for it.

Now, when Barack Obama goes out and talks about change, this is exactly what he's talking about. This country is at a crossroads on what we're going to do about energy in this country.

Are we going to drill, are we going to protect the environment, are we going to look for alternative sources?

This is going to be a big issue in this campaign. I'm glad it's happening in the middle of June, because we've got a long way to go and a lot of decisions to make.

I think that we cannot drill our way to energy independence. And I think it's very short-sighted on the part of John McCain.

KING: OK -- Larry Elder.

LARRY ELDER, TALK RADIO HOST, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Well, the things that -- that Ed wants are not mutually exclusive. We can drill. We can protect the environment. We can also get involved in alternative sources of fuel. Once the price gets to $4 a gallon, $5 a gallon, all of a sudden V.C.s, venture capitalists, get off their seats and start investing money.

And we can drill offshore. The Europeans drill offshore. There's no reason why we can't drill offshore in Alaska. Alaskans want drilling in ANWAR. The rest of the lower 48 does not.

So why can't we allow us to increase the supply?

That's one of the ways to deal with the price.

KING: Do you know why McCain changed on this, though?

ELDER: Because he was wrong. He realized he was wrong and how he's changed his mind.


ELDER: He was wrong -- he was wrong before.

KING: All right, Stephanie?

MILLER: Because he's flip-flopper, Larry, like on every other issue. And I think -- by the way, he has a zero rating from the Conservation Society.

You know, Larry, I think this is another example of where he -- he's trying to say he's different than the president and he's not different than the president.

And, by the way, I think this will help him in Florida. He should have drilling right up to where you rent the Ski-Doos on South Beach. I think that will be good. That will help him get that Florida vote.


KING: But do you think, though, let's be honest -- the Bush proposal and the McCain proposal, can it bring the price of gas down if we get more gas?

MILLER: No. No. And the thimble full of oil we're going to get from ANWAR in 10 years is not going to have anything to do with the price of oil now.


MILLER: And this gas tax holiday, every top economist says it's ridiculous.

ELDER: Much of our resources are off limits, are off limits in the lower 48. We're off limits in the offshore drilling. We're off limits in ANWAR. We have enough reserves, more than Iran, more than Saudi Arabia, if we allow drilling.

KING: Amy Holmes...

ELDER: You have to increase the supply if you want to lower the price. It's Economics 101.

KING: Amy, what thinketh you?

AMY HOLMES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, CONSERVATIVE STRATEGIST: Well, I think every little bit helps. And, in fact, today, Rasmussen had a poll that shows that two-thirds of the American people want us to drill if we it can get those prices down.

Now, that's a big if. I don't think they can get it down in the short-term and, you know, these things need to go online. But they should have gone online a long time ago.

And I think part of the McCain plan that is interesting is that he would leave it up to the states, which doesn't necessarily guarantee that there will be offshore drilling, that Florida would have to take into account its tourism industry and whether or not it impacts that. States also have their own environmental regulations that drilling would have to comport itself to.

But, you know, you hear Democrats say we can't do this, we can't do that. And, meanwhile, gas prices just keep going up.

When can we actually take action?

KING: All right.

Ed Schultz, is that a good point or not?

SCHULTZ: Well, yes, we can do a lot of things but we're not doing them because we're void of leadership. I think both parties right now are stuck in the mud on this issue, Larry.

We've to get the speculators out of the market. We've got to implement the windfall profits tax. And we've got to tell the American people to consume less.

Now, earlier today, Wolf Blitzer on CNN had the head of Chevron on. This guy is about making money. He's not about caring about whether the American people go energy...


ELDER: When did that become a crime?

MILLER: But, Ed -- Ed...

SCHULTZ: He's about the stock price. He's about making money. And the fact is Americans aren't being led to slow down. We should go to 65 miles an hour. You want to change consumption, you want to change supply...

ELDER: Ed, Ed, when...


MILLER: We've got to (INAUDIBLE)...

ELDER: When did making money...


KING: Wait. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. One at a time. One at a time.

ELDER: Ed, when did...

KING: I think making money is a crime if it's usurious, if it's done to -- I mean if your profits are out of this world.

MILLER: Thank you.

ELDER: The profit margins for oil companies are about 9 percent. Profit margins for software companies are more than that. Pharmaceutical companies more than that. Shipping more than that.

Nobody is getting ripped off. And the windfall profits tax, with all due respect to my friend, Ed, has been tried. Jimmy Carter tried it and what happened is we got...

SCHULTZ: Different circumstances, Larry.

ELDER: ...more of our percentage from the foreign sources than from domestic sources. It did not work.

SCHULTZ: Different circumstances.

ELDER: It won't work now.

HOLMES: And it does -- and, I would add to that, that it does nothing to low their price of gas. Yes, it, you know, punishes these oil executives. Maybe it satisfies some emotional need.

But it doesn't actually help the person at the pump.

KING: OK. Let's get Stephanie in and then we'll take a break and get to other areas.

MILLER: Thank you.

KING: Stephanie?

MILLER: Well, you know, Larry, it's like his solution is this ridiculous gas tax holiday, which every top economist has come out against. It's going to save you four cents over the summer. It's going to cost jobs.

KING: Do you think he'll get this offshore drilling ban...

MILLER: And the oil companies are just going to make more money.

KING: Do you think he'll get the ban removed?

MILLER: I don't know. But I think, you know, all Americans can agree with Larry that it's the poor oil companies that really have suffered the most in this economy.

ELDER: Well...


MILLER: And I think we all feel for them.


MILLER: I could weep...

ELDER: Some of the...

MILLER: I could weep out loud right now.

ELDER: Some of the widows and orphans that you love, some of the teachers unions have investments in places like Exxon, you know.

KING: We'll be back.

We'll touch other areas.

ELDER: We own Exxon.

KING: Including terrorism...

ELDER: They're publicly held.

KING: ...including terrorism, when we come back.

Don't go away.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: barriers to American goods and services...



KING: We'll move to terrorism and foreign policy in a moment. A couple of other quick things on this.

Amy Holmes, does this decision by McCain hurt him in California?

HOLMES: In terms of which, the offshore drilling?

KING: Yes.

I mean if he supports offshore drilling, are Californians going to turn on him? HOLMES: Well, they don't seem to be for him at the moment, so I'm not sure how big of a political risk this is for him to be supporting it. But, again, he's saying that the state would end up having the decision whether or not they are going to allow offshore drilling.

KING: Is that kind of a cop out?

HOLMES: Well, you can look at it in terms of, you know, whether you support federalism or state's rights. I think that there's a real ideological and political debate to be had there. You can say that this would be good, you know, for the national economy and so those states are then bearing the brunt of that policy decision. But I think it's certainly a fair argument.

KING: Ed Schultz, is...

MILLER: Larry, as long as he doesn't let gay married couples drill for oil, I think he's fine.


KING: Ed Schultz, is this a major campaign issue, Ed?

SCHULTZ: I think it is, Larry, because it's all part of the puzzle for us to get to energy independence. There's another issue here and that's money, as far as John McCain is concerned. The last thing he needs to do right now, struggling to raise money, is to distance himself from the oil barons in the energy industry that wants to drill. He needs them and he needs to be their ally, because Obama is not going to go there. Obama has some real change and some new direction for this country. And I think McCain is just old school thinking on this issue.

KING: What kind of political issue is it, Larry?

ELDER: I think it's a big political issue, Larry. But just once, I'd like to see the oil companies all get together, you know, like they drag them out and make them swear under oath that they're not ripping people off. I'd like them all to say, OK, we quit. We're out of it. We're done. We're going to go home. We're not going to drill anymore.

KING: No oil?

ELDER: We're not going to supply any more. No, we're going to leave. We're bad guys. We're going to leave. Go ahead, you guys deal with it.

KING: And meet the cigarette guys on the other end.

ELDER: That's right.

KING: All right. We'll switch topics now to another area, foreign policy and terrorism. Two liberal groups, and AFSCME have launched a TV spot attacking John McCain's foreign policy judgment.

Here's a small part of the ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John McCain, when you say you would stay in Iraq for a hundred years, were you counting on Alex?

Because if you were, you can't have him.


KING: OK. How big an issue is foreign policy going to be?

ELDER: It's going to be huge. And I hope it is the number one issue. Right now, according to the exit polling, most Democrats, anyway, consider the economy to be number one, gas prices to be number two, health care to be number three. But I think the most important issue is the war against Iraq and the war against Islamo-fascism.

And on that issue, we are winning. John McCain was an aggressive supporter of the surge. Barack Obama not only opposed it, but introduced legislation to stop it. He was wrong. This is about judgment. And I think John McCain ought to make this the centerpiece of his campaign.

MILLER: Oh, excuse me, Larry.

KING: Oh...


MILLER: He was wrong on judgment. You mean Barack Obama was the one that had the judgment to say let's not get into an unnecessary war with a Muslim country that had no weapons of mass destruction, that posed no threat to us, that had nothing to do with 9/11?

ELDER: So Bush lied about it.

MILLER: He was the one that had the crazy judgment to be against that. And so John McCain, in the latest poll I saw, they're dead even on the subject of Iraq. I mean and don't even ask me why.

I think that when you say the surge has worked, what does that mean?

That now...

ELDER: Well, it means...

MILLER: ...the violence is down...

ELDER: It means that...

MILLER: an endless quagmire...

ELDER: It means that in the month of May...

MILLER: ...that this woman's son is going to have to serve for a hundred years?

ELDER: It means that in the month of May, there were 19 casualties, the lowest since the war has begun. It means that the political benchmark...

MILLER: Right. But when John McCain says...

ELDER: Let me finish...

MILLER: ...we're going to be there for a hundred years...

ELDER: ...the political...

MILLER: When he says it's not so important when we come home, you ask anybody -- anybody of the -- any troops or any of the troops' families, I think it's important to them when they come home.

ELDER: What he said and...

KING: Let me...

ELDER: ...and what he meant was casualties are what's important.

MILLER: But we're taking casualties.

ELDER: Making sure...

MILLER: How do you not take casualties?

ELDER: Making sure that we're not in harm's way is important.

MILLER: But how do you not take casualties?

ELDER: We have...


KING: Hold on. We've got two other panelists. Hold on.


KING: The McCain camp has accused Obama of having a September 10th mindset, saying he supports criminal trials as opposed to military trials for captured terrorists. Obama fires back that the Republicans are fearmongering.

Who's right here, Ed?

SCHULTZ: Well, in the big picture, Larry, Barack Obama is trying to help America regain the moral high ground so we can do a better job of fighting terrorism where the terrorists are. They're not in Iraq, they're in Afghanistan. And he would increase operations there. Now, we've got to be a country that has the rule of law, no matter how crucial, how grotesque the crime is. If we don't do that, we're not going to be able to lead this fight against terrorism in this world.

And for John McCain to go around throwing barbs saying that Obama is naive is just low road politics. It's more Bush rhetoric. The American people are tired of hearing that. They want a policy change.

KING: But, Amy, will it work?

HOLMES: Well, a couple corrections here. First of all, there's a...


HOLMES: There's a ton of polling that actually shows that the American people, at this point in time, actually trust John McCain more than Barack Obama to handle Iraq moving forward. Stephanie's right, if you're playing on the field of judgment going in, Barack Obama, he gets the advantage there. But if you're talking about commander-in-chief January of 2009, actually, McCain has the advantage. And that's where he's going to be trying to, of course, press his advantage.

When it comes to terrorists in Iraq, that is completely false that there are no terrorists in Iraq. We have Al Qaeda in Iraq. We have ample evidence. We have them on the run. The surge has been working. And, in fact, we now have evidence that Al Qaeda has lost its recruitment ability in Iraq, because if you go to Iraq, you get killed by American soldiers. Those are the facts on the ground.

Moving forward on this...

SCHULTZ: Most of those neighborhoods, Amy, have been ethnically cleansed.

HOLMES: Moving forward...

SCHULTZ: We are paying people not to shoot at one another.

HOLMES: Moving forward on the question...

SCHULTZ: We're still spending $12 billion a month...

HOLMES: ...that Larry was asking...

SCHULTZ: Iraq and there doesn't appear to be any end in sight.

KING: All right.

HOLMES: And moving forward...

KING: Ed, let her finish. HOLMES: Moving forward on the question that Larry was asking in terms of is this a war issue or is it a criminal issue, I think there is a real serious policy debate to be had here.

And let's remember that Osama bin Laden was "indicted" in 1988 and we still had the USS Cole bombing. We still had the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. And we then had 9/11.

What we've found is that to treat...

SCHULTZ: Well, why don't we go capture him?

HOLMES: treat international -- that's what we should be doing.


HOLMES: And I think we have CIA and we have military who are trying -- trying to find this guy and find him in his cave.


HOLMES: But this should be a multi-pronged approach...

KING: We will...

HOLMES: ...a military approach, an intelligence approach, also getting these guys, you know, to justice.

KING: We're going to -- Al Gore's endorsement, does it matter?

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.


KING: We're back.

Gore's endorsement of Obama, mean anything? Not unexpected, but mean anything?

MILLER: I was shocked. But, yes, I...


ELDER: Stunned.

MILLER: Shocked, I tell you.

ELDER: Stunned.

MILLER: I thought that was a Bob Barr man all the way.

KING: Me, too.

(LAUGHTER) MILLER: But, you know, he's the 800 pound gorilla, I think, of the Democratic Party. And that's not a weight gain joke from the last election. He, you know, he carries a lot of weight, I think, in this party. So I think, you know, it seemed very heartfelt.

KING: Lee?

ELDER: Larry. That's all right.

KING: Larry.

ELDER: Not surprising, but I do think it will matter because of his fundraising capability. Not that Barack Obama needs the money. He's outraising McCain by a large amount. But it will help him with fundraising.

KING: And what do you think, Ed?

SCHULTZ: I think they've got to send Al Gore down to Florida and remind Democrats what happened in 2000. That's where he can help the most.


SCHULTZ: Al Gore can raise money, no doubt about that. He's kind of a one issue guy right now. It's always good to have a former vice president in your corner. But I don't think liberals were sitting on the edge their seat waiting for this endorsement.

What Al needs to do, in my opinion, is get down to Florida and really work on voter turnout and make sure that happens and remind people of what happened in 2000. That's where he could be most effective.

KING: Amy?

HOLMES: I think Ed makes a very excellent point. You know, this endorsement might have been a little bit more meaningful about two months ago, when Obama really needed it.

But he made it in Michigan. He won Michigan in 2000. It might, you know, be a little bit meaningful there, just in terms of the electoral map and geography.

Infrastructure, as Larry mentioned, in terms of fundraising, getting his folks -- you know, they've been to this. They've been to this movie. They've been to this rodeo. They can provide the Obama camp with a lot of important tactical strategic information.

KING: McCain's campaign has launched an ad touting him as standing up against President Bush on global warming.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN AD) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John McCain stood up to the president and sounded the alarm on global warming five years ago. Today, he has a realistic plan that will curb greenhouse gas emissions, a plan that will help grow our economy and protect our environment.


KING: Stephanie, that is his strong suit, isn't it?

MILLER: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh out loud during that. It was kind of unfortunate timing on the day that he endorsed the president's plan for offshore drilling that he has an ad about what an environmental list he is.

The fact is, Larry, like I said earlier, he has a zero rating from the Conservation Society. Barack Obama has a 96. You know, this guy has flip-flopped on every single issue.

ELDER: Well, the bad...

KING: Larry, you agree?

ELDER: The bad news is that global warming is a crock and McCain has always been wrong about that.


ELDER: And George W. Bush has now moved toward at least giving rhetoric that he thinks global warming is this big peril to the planet. It is not.

There are many scientists who don't believe it. The debate is not over, contrary to what Al Gore says. And the Kyoto Protocol that Al Gore negotiated, the Senate voted unanimously not to approve if it excluded the emissions from India and China, which it does.

So if I were John McCain, I'd focus on other kinds of issues.

MILLER: I don't mean to throw mud on the bus, but if he says there's no global warming, they just had to powder him during the last commercial break, because he is sweating like you wouldn't believe.


MILLER: Just saying.

KING: Ed...

HOLMES: My studio is very nicely air-conditioned. Those are exactly the type...


HOLMES: Those are exactly the type of ads that actually drive conservatives crazy about John McCain. So maybe it will be persuasive for moderates and Independents. KING: It reverse kind of helps the liberals in a sense, doesn't it, Ed?

ELDER: I think it really does. I think it really helps the progressive movement in this country, you know, call John McCain out for how, as Stephanie says, he flip-flops on a lot of things. You can't tell people that you're going to go energy independent and then say, well, what do you say we drill for more oil?

It's just -- the numbers aren't there.

So I think McCain is going to have a real problem. This is a guy that went to Iowa and said that he was against ethanol. Now, that's a tough sell.

HOLMES: No. He was against subsidies.

ELDER: I think that that's a...


HOLMES: He was against subsidies.


SCHULTZ: (INAUDIBLE) Iowa for the Republicans right there.

ELDER: It's a gutsy (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: That's a completely different issue. And, again, what we...

ELDER: It's a gutsy sell.

ELDER: No, it's not a different issue. It is an energy issue and it is all tied to the same thing. You can't go into farm country and tell people ethanol is not good. It is part of the equation and I think it could cost Bush that -- or cost McCain that state.

HOLMES: He was not against ethanol, he was against subsidies. We know that those farm bills are just loaded. He is the guy...

SCHULTZ: That's being against ethanol, Amy.

HOLMES: This is a guy who's also against earmarking and another way that he distinguishes himself from President Bush.

But, again, I think that we're talking about things being mutually exclusive that are not. I don't think anyone believes that offshore drilling is going to make America energy independent from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela...

ELDER: So why do it?

HOLMES: To lessen our dependence. To have it as a part, a piece of the puzzle of how America moves away from this dependence on foreign oil.

KING: Would you agree, Stephanie, image-wise, that the image of Senator McCain is stronger in the area of terrorism than is Barack Obama...

MILLER: You know...

KING: Just as perceived.

MILLER: Well, I have...

KING: Perception is reality.

MILLER: No. I know what you're saying, but, you know, again, I think, you know, General Clark -- Wesley Clark was saying that today, that what is the actual evidence of that?

Like what actual crisis has he been tested on?

KING: I'm not talking actual. I'm talking about perception.

MILLER: You know, I don't know that that's true, Larry. If you look at the polling, I mean, Barack Obama is still ahead six points. So I don't know...

ELDER: Yes, but the polling, though...

MILLER: ...that that's true.

ELDER: ...the polling, though, Larry, shows that most Americans don't believe that you ought to sit down with Ahmadinejad without preconditions. And about flip-flopping, Barack Obama has said on his Web site that he believes that aggressive diplomacy is how to handle Iran. He told the AIPAC, the Jewish lobby, that everything is on the table up to and including the military option.

MILLER: Well, polls show that...

ELDER: He got on Hillary Clinton for calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terror organization, criticized her during the campaign and then told...

MILLER: Actually...

ELDER: And then told AIPAC they were a terror organization.

MILLER: Actually, Larry, polls show...


MILLER: ...that most Americans...

ELDER: So has Barack Obama.

MILLER: Most Americans think we ought to talk to countries like Iran. ELDER: Not without preconditions.

MILLER: Most -- most Americans don't think we ought to...

ELDER: Not without preconditions.

MILLER: ...stick with the Bush policies...

ELDER: Not without pre-conditions.

MILLER: ...that have gotten us where we are.

KING: Ed Schultz?

HOLMES: And, Stephanie -- sorry.

KING: I'm sorry. Ed Schultz, who do you...

SCHULTZ: Well, I think we need to define what pre-conditions are.


SCHULTZ: Pardon me, Larry?

KING: I'm sorry. I said, who do you think's image is stronger with regard to fighting terrorism?

SCHULTZ: Well, John McCain, his whole career has been based on him projecting himself to the American people as a military hawk, a warmonger. It's very clear.

ELDER: A warmonger?

SCHULTZ: The fact is he helped sell this war just as much as anybody else. Now, there's still a lot of time between now and the election and I'm sure that Barack Obama has got some work to do. But I'm sure that he'll shore that up and explain exactly how he wants to handle Iraq, fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, dealing with countries that are trying to get nuclear weapons. He has a plan.

And what McCain is doing is running around with too much testosterone, like Bush, and telling everybody, you know, we're going to nail you if you get out of line. I mean that's a turnoff to the rest of the world. That's not grabbing the high moral ground and making sure that we fight terrorism the way we've got to fight it.

KING: Amy?

SCHULTZ: We need allies. We don't not enemies.

HOLMES: Calling John McCain a warmonger is just a straight up slur. It's absurd. John McCain actually called for us to withdraw our troops in the Somalia incident before anybody else. And this is a decorated war hero, someone who was tortured for five years.

SCHULTZ: It has nothing to do with what he did in the past. It's where his political position is...

HOLMES: I'm talking about the past. I'm talking about his past...

SCHULTZ: His entire career has been surrounded around...

HOLMES: Ed, I'm talking about his past political...

SCHULTZ: ...being a warmonger...

KING: One at a time.

SCHULTZ: ...and purporting what is happening in the Middle East.

HOLMES: I'm talking about his past political positions. And I think it's very irresponsible for you to be throwing around that of irresponsible language about someone who suffered for his country. He served his country with honor and dignity. And, frankly, I don't think the American...

SCHULTZ: That has nothing to do with it, Amy.

HOLMES: I don't think the American voter is going to...


MILLER: Look, Amy, but nobody disputes that.

SCHULTZ: It doesn't matter whether served or whether his daddy served...

MILLER: Amy, let me jump in here...

SCHULTZ: ...or his granddaddy served.

HOLMES: Let me finish.

SCHULTZ: That has nothing to do with it.

HOLMES: Let me finish. And I don't think...

MILLER: Amy, Amy, Amy, wait.

HOLMES: Stephanie, let me finish, please.

And I don't think the American voter is going to believe that John McCain is this person who wants to be sending American babies, as that, I thought, really disgusting ad, frankly, said, to just throw them out, you know, as if they were cannon fodder. This is ridiculous and we should be sticking to the policies.

SCHULTZ: Amy does...

MILLER: Amy, there's nobody -- nobody disputes.

SCHULTZ: John McCain (INAUDIBLE)... KING: Hold on, Ed.


KING: Ed, Ed...

ELDER: Yes or no?

KING: Ed. Hold on, Ed.

MILLER: Nobody disputes John McCain's service to his country. It's far more than any of us have ever done. Nobody disputes that, Amy.

But when he makes jokes about bombing Iran, that is perceived as warmongering.

HOLMES: Stephanie...

MILLER: And that's inappropriate.

HOLMES: ...Senator Clinton said that if it were up to her, Iran, if they threatened Israel with a nuclear bomb, would be obliterated. This came out of her mouth during a Democratic primary.

MILLER: Well, and that's one of the reasons I'm for Obama.


ELDER: To call somebody...


KING: Larry?

ELDER: And to call somebody a warmonger, we had a resolution that signed on by the House, signed on by the Senate. Seventy percent of the American people supported this war. We went to the United Nations . We got a unanimous resolution, 1441, and told Osama bin Laden -- told Saddam Hussein to disarm...

MILLER: Based on lies.

ELDER: ...otherwise, there would be serious consequences.

SCHULTZ: Larry...

ELDER: So to act as if he just went in there by himself, unilaterally, no allies, no consensus, is just false and unfair.

MILLER: Based on lies and cherry-picked intelligence.

SCHULTZ: No it's not, Larry.

KING: Ed...


KING: Ed -- all right, Ed, go ahead.

SCHULTZ: Well, look, John McCain has supported this failed policy in Iraq. He wants to continue this failed policy in Iraq. It is depleting our resources. We are not making any diplomatic headway in Iraq. We're...

ELDER: That's not true.

SCHULTZ: And the...

ELDER: That's not true, Ed.

SCHULTZ: John McCain has had his entire career based on what he thinks we can do as a military force. And he is signing onto a failed policy. Look, the guy is a warmonger and that's exactly why he took out the first ad...

ELDER: Ed, what does it take...

SCHULTZ: ...saying that he hates war.

ELDER: What does it take for you to see...

SCHULTZ: What does it take...


ELDER: What does it take for you to see that violence is down, political reconciliation is occurring. Of the 18 benchmarks that Congress demanded, almost all now are being met. The support for terrorists is down in Iraq. The majority of Iraqis now believe their country will be better a year from now, a year-and-a-half from now.

What more does it take?


KING: OK, guys, we're out of time.


KING: Stephanie Miller...

SCHULTZ: Well, it takes us listening...

KING: Hold it, guys.

You'll all be back, I'm sure. Stephanie...


KING: In fact, you can count on.

Larry Elder... MILLER: (INAUDIBLE) we've got to talk.

KING: ...Ed Schultz and Amy Holmes.

It's about to "Get Smart" in here. Steve Carell is next.




STEVE CARELL, ACTOR, "GET SMART": Missed it by that much.


KING: This movie, "Get Smart," opens Friday. Just thinking about it cracks me up. I saw a screening ten days ago. This is a hysterical movie and it stars Steve Carell, who is -- how did this come about?

CARELL: I didn't know -- it's an interesting story. At least I hope it's interesting. I was called into Warner Brothers to meet for "Get Smart." That's all I heard. So I brought my picture and resume and walked over and thought I'd be sitting outside in a little room with a bunch of other actors and audition for it.

Instead, they brought me into a conference room and they said -- and there were all of the executives, the suits, and they sat me down and said, we'd like you to play Maxwell Smart in our recreation. My head exploded. I had no idea. There I am literally sitting with my picture in front of me.

KING: Why would you need that, with all you've done?

CARELL: This was offered to me before "40-Year-Old Virgin" came out. This was a few years ago.

KING: What took so long to make it?

CARELL: They had to find the writers. They had to find the right director. I was the first person they hired to get it going. It was a huge landmark for me as a performer.

KING: Were you a Maxwell Smart fan, or are you too young?

CARELL: No, I'm not too young. I'm actually very, very old. I was. I loved Don Adams. In doing this, I just didn't want to do an impersonation of him.

KING: You didn't?

CARELL: I didn't think there would be any stock in that. I thought the best way to pay tribute to him was take the essence of what he did and reimagine it, but not do an impersonation.

KING: Is it tough do comedy, and you do it with "The Office" and you do it in the film, when no one's laughing?

CARELL: Yes, it is.

KING: How do you time it?

CARELL: A lot of that has to do with good editing. I think a good editor can make something seem like it's perfectly timed, when it wasn't when you actually shot it. I think the editors on "The Office" do a great job. And they just stretch those awkward moments long enough to make it seem like you're brilliant.

KING: We have a King Cam question for you. This is people on the street, about another one of your "Get Smart" co-stars.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Steve, how is it working with Anne Hathaway? I heard she's pretty hot.


CARELL: Anne Hathaway is pretty hot. She is also a remarkably talented actress, as well as being very, very hot. She's hot and she's great.

We hit it off immediately. She was the first person that read for the role and it was the first time I had even said any of the lines. We sat down and they were taping our scene together. We just got along. She was really funny and nice and sweet. When I improvised a little bit, she went with it and she improvised. I could tell.

KING: I thought of something, you've never had a bomb.

CARELL: OK, no, I haven't.

KING: "Little Miss Sunshine," "Anchor Man."

CARELL: I'm on a roll.

KING: "Little Miss Sunshine," "Anchor Man," right?


KING: This one will be a big hit.

CARELL: They're all big hits. They're big hits whether they make money or not. You know what? People ask me, are you worried, you know, is it going to make money? What do you think?

At the end of the day, I hope people like it. If I'm proud of it, that's enough. If I walk away thinking, that was good and I had fun doing it, then I'm way ahead of the game.

KING: Comedy was your bag then, right? CARELL: Not really. It's not anything that I can -- I wanted to originally become a lawyer. And then I didn't. Then I went into acting. I just thought whatever acting jobs I can get, that's what I'll do. The comedy -- I started getting cast in comedic roles, as opposed to dramatic.

KING: In other words, you want to get cast in dramatic roles?

CARELL: That's all I want to do. I want to play an ax murderer.

KING: An ax murderer?

CARELL: That's my goal in life, yes.

KING: I don't think it would play because people will look at you and not buy it.

CARELL: I will kill them while they're laughing. It could be extremely creepy.

KING: Steve has his own shoe phone. You won't believe who he can get on that thing when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


KING: By the way, don't forget to download our new podcast, Kathy Griffin, available right now at

You play Michael Scott on "The Office." He's the sales manager of the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Been described as a deluded, pompous, politically incorrect person.

CARELL: I think that's unfair.

KING: Let's take a look.


CARELL: Dwight is going to hand out index cards. I want you all to write down the names of an eligible woman for me to date by the end of the day. No, by the end of the hour, or you're fired. Write legibly, people.


KING: Did you ever work in an office?

CARELL: No, I never have. I worked in the post office. That's as close to an office. I was a rural mail carrier in Littleton, Massachusetts. I used my own car, because they didn't have mail vehicles, because this is small town.

KING: You ever deliver to RFD-2?

CARELL: I delivered -- I delivered to -- I used my Toyota Corona. I drove -- it's a left hand drive, but you have to deliver mail out the right hand side. I drove with one hand and my left foot, and threw mail out the right window.

KING: Did it ever fall on the ground?

CARELL: All the time. I moved to Chicago after I was a mail carrier, probably three or four months later, I was still finding mail under the seat of my car undelivered.

I'm sorry if you didn't get your check.

KING: How's the family handling all this? You have a wife and two kids?


KING: How is everybody handling all this success?

CARELL: My kids don't care at all.

KING: How old are they?

CARELL: They're four and seven. They're completely unmoved by the whole thing, as is my wife, quite frankly. Sometimes we sit and look at each other and ask, what happened? How did all this come about? It's a little bit surreal.

KING: Jon Stewart gave you a big shot?

CARELL: He did. He gave me a huge break. Steven Colbert was the one who sort of threw my name in the hat for job of correspondent on "The Daily Show."

KING: Was that the start for you?

CARELL: That pretty much was it. That one of my first big jobs. It it's a job that wasn't necessarily something that my agents or managers were thinking was a great move, because at that time, the show was very small and no one really knew much about it. This was like 1998, I think, is when I started on the show. It was fairly early on.


CARELL: They have won, Jon. They have won. It is over. AOL- Time Warner, I surrender. I give "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" five white flags. Time Warner, I hope you are happy.


KING: We have a King Cam question from a fan of "The Office." Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Steve. I was wondering if you thought that Pam and Jim are going to get married this season on "The Office" and if you'll be invited? (END VIDEO CLIP)

CARELL: If not invited, I'm sure Michael would just show up anyway. I have no idea. I have no idea what's coming next, in terms of the script or the story line.

KING: What do you mean?

CARELL: Literally, up until -- It's not like they try to hide it. I don't think they have it plotted out yet. The writers are working as we speak. In terms of what happens with all the different characters, I think it's sort of up for grabs.

KING: They don't know where it's going.

CARELL: No, not necessarily. I think Greg Daniels has certain ideas and sort of story arks in mind, but nothing that's set in stone.

KING: Was a lot of "Get Smart" off-the-cuff?

CARELL: Some of it. What we tried to do, as we do in "The Office," do a few takes as scripted and then play around with it and see what other thins we can discover and find out.

KING: Did you ever get hurt? There's a lot of action sequences. You had a lot of doubles.

CARELL: No. I never got hurt.

Although Anne kicks Dwayne Johnson in the face. I think it's the take they use. She actually pokes him just below the eye with a four inch heel. You could see it in his face. Years of wrestling this guy has done and Anne Hathaway almost takes him out. But no, I was unscathed.

KING: He is a great guy to work with.

CARELL: He's great. He's the nicest. He's so funny and I think he's great in the movie.

CARELL: In "The Office" clip we showed you earlier, Steve's character asked his co-workers to write down the names of people he should date. Here's what happened afterward.


CARELL: Is she a dress wearer or a pants wearer. Could we share a row boat? Could a row boat support her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you asking?

CARELL: I think I'm being very clear what I'm asking. Would an average sized row boat support her without capsizing? It bothers me that you're not answering the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, no, she can't fit in a row boat. CARELL: I knew it!


KING: How do you not laugh?

CARELL: We laugh all the time. They just edit it out. Phyllis Smith, that scene -- whenever I'm doing a scene with her -- we had to do a scene when she's getting married on the show. We did a scene, I don't even knew if it made it into the final cut, but where we're talking about her being gassy. And we could not -- we could not get through the scene. It was so ridiculous.

Interesting story about her, she was actually a casting assistant and she was reading with all the other actors for the part until the director just said, she's great. She needs to be on the show, too. And that's how she got the job.

KING: Don't forget, "Get Smart" opens Friday. You will love it and laugh a lot. I'll ask you about Steve's big kiss scene with The Rock. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.




Missed it by that much!


KING: He was pretty good, too.

CARELL: He was great. Those lines were the hardest part of the movie to do, because they're so ingrained in terms of how Don Adams said them.

KING: The tone.

CARELL: Yes. It was so specific and to try to not do an impersonation was hard, because you've heard them a million times in your head.

KING: Tell me about the kiss with The Rock?

CARELL: It was glorious. He smells like fresh baked cookies. He is delightful.

KING: Did you find yourself attracted?

CARELL: I can't -- I can't say that. I can say that I didn't disenjoy it. Does that make sense to you?

KING: Did your wife ask you about it? CARELL: My wife is so hot for The Rock it is sickening. She came to the set that -- was it that day or the day before? We're having these -- these sequences on top of a moving SUV. She thinks he is great. It's so funny to hear her voice go about three octaves when she's talking about him. Do you think he's handsome? Yes, I think he's a pretty good looking guy. Yes.

He is remarkable. He is a guy who has so much charisma. Definitely someone who should go or could go into politics.

KING: He could. Pretty good football player, too.

CARELL: Great.

KING: You mentioned Colbert, and that you're great friends with him. Does that go back a long way?

CARELL: A long time. I've known him since, I think, 1988.

KING: What were you both doing then?

CARELL: We were both at Second City. He was actually my understudy. That's from "The Dana Carvey Show." That's a clip called "waiters who are nauseated by food." When ever we're asked to read the specials, we get sick because we get sick at the thought of food. It's basically a scene about us dry heaving.

When I was on main stage, he was my understudy. He was phenomenal, because I played this instrument called the baritone horn and he was told he had to understudy me in five days. He learned how to play the baritone horn in five days. He has never played a brass instrument in his life. He learned.

KING: What is his, for want of a better term, genius?

CARELL: Well, I think part of it is just the fact that he is inherently a brilliant person. I think he is incredibly smart. You start with that. And on top of that, you lay in the fact he's a fine actor. He has a very specific sense of humor. And he can sing. He moves well. He kind of can do anything. He is a very, very multi- talented guy.

KING: The movie, "Get Smart," opens Friday, but we understand there's a special screening on Thursday in Boston to benefit The Zachary Carson Brain Tumor Fund at the Dana Farvor Cancer Institute.

Is that a particular thing of yours?

CARELL: Zack was a Make a Wish kid who came to the set of "The Office," and we became friends. So we did a premier last year of "Evan Almighty" in Boston to benefit his foundation. He has since passed away, so his mom and I have organized this event to benefit his foundation.

KING: That's the hardest thing about Make a Wish. We had a Make a Wish kid on here years ago. One of his wishes was to be on this show. But you know they're going to die. When they die, it's very hard.

CARELL: Yes. He was -- you know, the great part of it, though -- and he was there at the premier last year. It meant so much to him that all these people turned out. It was for such obviously a great cause. He was one of those kids that didn't -- it never was about dying. It was never about the -- he never thought of it as an inevitability. It was just about living and it was about doing what he could to fight it. He did. It's great. It was a really fun event. I hope it is this year.

KING: Steve Carell.

Could Steve stand working with himself in an office? We'll ask after the break.


KING: How would you like working with the character in "The Office"?

CARELL: In real life? You know what, I've said this before, if you don't -- the character's name is Michael Scott. If you don't know a Michael Scott, then you are Michael Scott. So you have to be very careful that somewhere in your circle of acquaintances that you have -- everybody knows this type of guy.

KING: We have three of four of them in this --

CARELL: Really? I am so sorry.

KING: Yes, you ought to be. What follows "Get Smart?"

CARELL: Go back to "The Office." We start shooting at the end of July and looking at some movie things for this fall.

KING: Anything about an ax killer?

CARELL: I'm hoping. It's going to be something really mean.

KING: You deserve it.

CARELL: Thanks.

KING: And this is a hell of a movie.

CARELL: Thanks. I appreciate it.

KING: You will love "Get Smart." It's hysterical. Our guest, Steve Carell. Go to CNN's number show page, for ring tones, quick votes, our king of politics sections and podcasts. This week it's Kathy Griffin. Sign up for newsletters or text alerts while you're there.

Friday, by the way, an exclusive live, here, the Motley Crue.

Now -- "A.C. 360."