Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Larry King Live

The Dirt on Joan Rivers' Win; Will Carrie Prejean Lose Her Title?; Interview With Jesse Ventura

Aired May 11, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight...


DONALD TRUMP, HOST: Joan, congratulations.


KING: ...Donald Trump with the dirt about Joan Rivers' victory. On the most vicious "Celebrity Apprentice" ever.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not creating...

JOAN RIVERS: Oh, stop it.

How dare you?


KING: "The Donald" and Joan expose all the venom.

Plus, Miss California barely hanging onto that crown -- pageant officials tear into her and the anti-gay marriage crowd.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame, shame, shame.


KING: Their message -- stop using the beauty queen.

And Jesse Ventura exclusive -- sounding off on President Obama, the Republican Party's problems and the big question -- is he going to run again?

Find out next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We begin with Donald Trump. He's on the phone.

Joan Rivers in person in just a moment.

Donald, first, we have to ask you, the Miss California Organization had a press conference today and made it clear they weren't happy with Carrie Prejean or the National Organization for Marriage, that has been using her for its message. Supposedly, you're going to decide what happens to her tomorrow.

Is that true?

Are you going to decide tomorrow?

DONALD TRUMP (by phone): That is true, Larry. We're going to have a press conference tomorrow at 11:00 in Trump Tower. And I'm going to make a decision. I'm seeing additional facts tomorrow morning. We'll make a decision at 11:00 in Trump Tower.

KING: You do not know the decision yet?

TRUMP: I do not know what we will be deciding until -- I won't know until tomorrow.

KING: OK. In your life, you've made many decisions, some major, some minor.

How difficult is this one?

TRUMP: Well, it's difficult. I had a similar situation not so long ago with Tara Conner. She was having a tremendous difficulty with alcohol and drugs. And I gave her a second chance. And, frankly, that was very controversial, that second chance, as you remember.

KING: Yes.

TRUMP: But it worked out very well. I'm very proud of her. That was a year-and-a-half -- almost two years ago. And she's remained 100 percent clean. And she's really doing herself very proud.

I have another decision to make tomorrow.

KING: All right. Donald Trump remains with us.

Joan Rivers joins from the Westchester, Pennsylvania studios of QVC.

Joan, first, congratulations on last night.

RIVERS: Fabulous.

Thank you.

KING: Donald, was it a tough decision?

TRUMP: Well, it was. I mean, Joan fully understands -- it was a very, very tight race. And Annie was terrific and Joan was terrific. And, in the end, I decided to go with Joan. She displayed tremendous courage. She really took a lot of abuse over the course of 14 weeks. And it was tough.

But Annie was an amazing competitor. And Joan was a spectacular woman, as she always has been.

KING: Joan, in last night's finale, you beat poker champion Annie Duke. You and Annie were still at each other up until the final moments.

Let's take a look.


ANNIE DUKE, CONTESTANT: I do not know a boardroom in this country where someone would be allowed to say that someone would spit on the ground and drown their mother in it, where someone would be allowed to call their friends Mafia, where someone would be allowed to say that someone is worse than Hitler.

If that happened in a real office...

RIVERS: You're not worse than Hitler...

DUKE: a real boardroom.

RIVERS: Hitler never had PMS.


DUKE: This is what I'm saying. If it happened in a real boardroom, she would have to be fired or that would be actionable.

RIVERS: No, that...

DUKE: She called my friends...

RIVERS: ...excuse me...

DUKE: ...Mafia and she said that I was worse than Hitler.

RIVERS: Excuse me (INAUDIBLE)...

DUKE: That is not professional.

TRUMP: Joan, go ahead.

RIVERS: Number one...


RIVERS: ...I have run a business for 20 years honorably. I have never fired anybody.


RIVERS: I am the number one jewelry business on television, with honor.


KING: Oh, boy.

RIVERS: Yes, oh boy.

KING: Donald, by the way...

TRUMP: And, Larry, that was the nice part.


KING: Joan didn't raise the most money.

Why did she win?

TRUMP: Well, she won for other reasons. The Kodak executives thought she did really a magnificent display and event. And there were actually five criteria. And Joan, in the final event, won three of the five. She didn't win the money criteria, but she won three of the five. So she actually beat Annie in the final and very important event.

KING: Joanny, where did you come up with that worse than Hitler crack?

RIVERS: Oh, I don't know. You know, you're always saying things. Hitler is the worst villain in the world. So when you really get furious at someone, you say, oh, you're a female Hitler or something, you know?

It's just an expression. But I stand behind it.

KING: What did she do to you?

RIVERS: She was very duplicitous...

-- What about her drove you so crazy?

RIVERS: Larry, first of all, there was so much mud slinging -- which I'm not going to go into. I was told she said she I wished I would die, she said I was a cancer. I mean, you didn't hear the other half.

But she was du -- you know, you know me now, what, 30 years, Larry?

KING: Yes.

RIVERS: Say it to my face. She plays like the way you play poker. I think playing poker and being a liar is brilliant. When you get up from the table, you leave those traits behind. And she doesn't know that yet.

KING: What did you make of that squabble, Donald?

TRUMP: Well, I liked it very much.

(LAUGHTER) TRUMP: And I enjoyed -- especially this morning, when the ratings came in, because it was a ratings bonanza last night for NBC.

RIVERS: Great.

TRUMP: And it carried three hours. And they had a tremendous night, especially the 10:00 hour. The 10:00 to 11:00 just killed everybody.

So I actually liked it very much. But I was very proud of Joan and Annie. I mean they really were both amazing. And I think it was an amazing evening of television.

KING: What does Joanny get now?

TRUMP: She got $250,000 plus she raised hundreds of thousands more during the course of the 14 weeks. But she gets $250,000. That goes to Gods Love We Deliver, which is a great charity in New York.

KING: What -- what surprised you, Donald, about this same thing?

The same question for you, Joan -- about this whole contest?

What surprised you, Donald?

TRUMP: Well, I was just impressed with the intelligence, with the energy and verve that Joan had. I mean, Joan's energy was beyond everybody else's. And she wasn't necessarily the youngest person on the panel.


TRUMP: But she was -- her energy was beyond anybody else's. She's really an amazing woman. I'm very proud of her. I'm very proud of the job she did.

KING: Joan, what surprised you about this experience?

RIVERS: How it became so much more than a television game or a show. It became absolutely something I wanted to do. It was like I was going to win for my charity. And everyone forgets how charitable Americans are. And it -- it's so important. We give so much. And I couldn't wait to win for my charity.

KING: What got you so emotionally involved, not just with Annie, other contestants?

RIVERS: Larry, I play totally full out. And you get -- you're very worn down. It's -- it's all these weeks and weeks of getting up at 5:30 in the morning, working until 11:00 at night, no assistants to help you. You're out there on the -- the firing line.

And, you know, the differences arise and show very quickly. You know who's good, you know who's bad, you know who's a liar, you know who's lazy, you know who's brilliant, you know who's a good worker. And after a while, you just play -- it becomes "Lord of the Flies". KING: Donald, one other quick thing for you.

Is this going to continue?

Is "Celebrity Apprentice" every year?

TRUMP: Yes. They've reviewed it and renewed it for at least another year. It's now the ninth season. We're going into the ninth season.

Who would have thought this was going to happen?

And it's doing phenomenally well. So NBC announced a few weeks ago that they were renewing "Celebrity Apprentice." It will be on again next season.

KING: Congratulations, Donald.

And I know you've got a tough one tomorrow.

We'll check everything out at 11:00 Eastern tomorrow morning.

TRUMP: Very good.

So long, Joan.

RIVERS: I love you.

TRUMP: Congratulations.

RIVERS: You're a master class, Donald.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.

KING: Joan will remain with us.

Thanks, Donald.

Joan, by the way, written a Web exclusive for us about her "Celebrity Apprentice" win.

Go to right now and check it out. You won't find it anywhere else.

More with Joan -- will she ever make up an Annie Duke?

Stick around.


KING: We're back with Joan Rivers, winner of last night's "Apprentice" -- "Celebrity Apprentice".

Joan, you also got attention when you walked out after your daughter and fellow contestant, Melissa, was fired.

Let's look.


TRUMP: Melissa, you're fired.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They both turned on me like two little (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE).

RIVERS: No kidding?


RIVERS: You're a poker player -- a poker player.


RIVERS: That's beyond white trash. Poker players are trash, darling.



KING: That was motherly love, right, Joan?

RIVERS: Damn right that was. You start up with my daughter, you are dead in the water.

KING: Do you think you'll ever make up with Annie?

RIVERS: Well, I went over afterward -- I went over to congratulate her and I made her stand up. I thought it should be nice that we should end.

Nobody lost last night, for God's sake. No one heard of Annie Duke before this show. Now everyone's heard of her. Her charity made $700,000. I mean, I hardly think that's to be -- (INAUDIBLE) never came over to me, never congratulated me.

And what did upset me was on the way out, her whole group gave us the finger and booed. And I thought that was...


RIVERS: ...not -- not good. Not good.

KING: Why does...

RIVERS: But, you know...

KING: Why does this get so dramatic?

RIVERS: Because it's -- it's "Lord of the Flies." You have no sleep.

(LAUGHTER) RIVERS: And I think it's a lot of women. I wish I was young enough to say PMS, but I can't so...


KING: Weren't you and Clint Back -- Clint Black kind of mad at each other for a while and now it's OK?

RIVERS: Oh, yes. Well, that was -- Clint, again, you know, it's all about being who you are. Clint, yes. Clint is a chauvinist. Clint -- my joke is now he wouldn't even let his wife have Equal in her coffee. You know, that's Clint.

But Clint is Clint. You get very angry at him, but at least you know that's Clint.

KING: What do...

RIVERS: You know what's going to be dealt to you.

KING: What did you take out of this?

What did you learn from doing this?

RIVERS: Oh, Larry, I was so happy to say -- so many people in this country are counted out from the age of 60. You want to say I can -- when I walked in, I looked them all over, I thought, I can take you all with one behind my back at 75.

And I think of myself as Joan of AARP, you know what I mean?

KING: Did you ex...


KING: Did you expect...

RIVERS: I feel it was such a good thing.

KING: Did you expect to win?

RIVERS: No. Truly, no. Donald plays it so close and so intelligently. I did not know until they called out her name. I really thought they were going to say, Joan you're wonderful, but you're too emotional and blah, blah, blah. And Annie raised so much money -- which, indeed, she did.

And I was in shock and thrilled -- delighted.

KING: By the way, Joan stars in a new series, a show that explores how people get rich...

RIVERS: Yes, called "How'd You Get So Rich?".

KING: It's called "How'd You Get So Rich?." RIVERS: Yes. KING: It premiers this Wednesday night on TV Land.

RIVERS: No, no. In July.

KING: In July.

How does it work?

RIVERS: It's -- we found -- you know, again, it's the -- everyone's forgotten the American dream. We find people that started out with nothing, mowing lawns at eight, that have worked their way up and become rich. And it's such a great thing to remember what this country really is about and what you can achieve.

KING: Do you have a couple of books out now?

RIVERS: Do I ever. I just happen to have them here.


RIVERS: It's called "Men Are Stupid and Like Big Boobs

Everything You've Wanted to Know About Plastic Surgery." And this has gotten great reviews -- "Murder at the Academy Awards," a comedy mystery.

KING: I love that book.

Are you -- are you selling these at the QVC (INAUDIBLE)?

RIVERS: My darling, 10:00 tonight, I am here with my beloved ladies of QVC. Of course. Of course.

KING: How long have you been -- how long have you been doing that?

RIVERS: Twenty years.

And, again, it's all about -- they came to me on a fluke and they said do you want to try designing?

Everyone should try everything in their life. Go through every damn door they open for you.

KING: You ever feel like a pitch woman?

RIVERS: I hope.

Aren't we all?


KING: Hey, (INAUDIBLE). That's all we are, salesmen.

RIVERS: I'm trying to sell stock now to Radio Free Jersey.


KING: Thanks, Joanny.

Congratulations, baby.

RIVERS: Great. Thank you. Great always talking with you.

KING: The same here.

RIVERS: Can I say one thing quickly?

KING: Quick.

RIVERS: Gay marriage, I am so against it because all my gay friends are out. And if they get married, it will cost me a fortune in gifts.


KING: A new angle.

RIVERS: A new angle.

KING: Thanks, Joan.

Speaking of that, the Miss California beauty queen controversy has stirred up some ugly issues.

Is she out of control?

Could she be stripped of her title?

Donald is going to tell us tomorrow.

Tell us what you think --

Back in 60 seconds.


KING: It's the controversy that just won't die. In Beverly Hills today, Miss California executive director Shannah Moakler and Keith Lewis, co-executive director of the Miss California Pageant, sounded off. They took aim at everyone, including those using Carrie Prejean to promote their own agendas.



SHANNAH MOAKLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MISS CALIFORNIA ORGANIZATION: Accepting the title comes with the responsibility to represent everyone in her state, not just those who share her opinion. It comes with an obligation to fulfill the duties of the job and to the people who paid to help get her ready for Miss USA at great expense and sacrifice. You have a responsibility to adhere to the regulations you agreed to when you accepted all the prizes, support and notoriety of the title. Carrie has been unavailable to us, to our sponsors and to her responsibilities of Miss California USA because of her commitment to outside organizations.

KEITH LEWIS, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MISS CALIFORNIA ORGANIZATION: I want to address the organizations that have decided to take Carrie into their fold, even if it meant forcing her to violate her contract as Miss California.

Shame. Shame, shame, shame. Shame for taking this young woman and exploiting her to further your own agenda.

Shame for not preparing her for the firestorm you knew you were creating.

And most of all, shame for doing it all the while knowing that you placed her in a position where she stood to possibly lose her crown not for her beliefs, as you so screamed, but for the breech of contract you so willingly encouraged.


KING: Joining us now, Keylee Sanders, former Miss Teen USA 1995 and Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

Your reaction to what you just saw. Quite a slap at your group, Maggie.

MAGGIE GALLAGHER, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE: Oh, these people. You know, the idea that somehow I'm responsible for the week long attacks that have been made on Carrie -- I wish I were that powerful. Nobody -- nobody even knew my name.

KING: But it...

GALLAGHER: They don't care about me.

KING: But, Maggie, if she isn't allowed...

GALLAGHER: And jet's not...

KING: Hold it.

If she isn't allowed...


KING: If she isn't allowed to join other organizations...

GALLAGHER: She has not joined...

KING: that a direct violation? GALLAGHER: She has not joined my organization. I have repeatedly said that. And people -- they're still suggesting something they know is not true.

I asked her, as a favor, to appear at a press conference where we clearly said she's not my spokesman, she's not part of my organization and that she was speaking as a private citizen.

This -- and, moreover, she had negotiated with the pageant officials for the right to appear at that press conference. They knew about. This whole messaging line that she's out of control -- what is out of control -- and I'm so glad Donald Trump is taking control of this, because these people are not honest...

KING: All right...

GALLAGHER: They're not straightforward and they have not dealt with Carrie right.

KING: What do you think Donald should do tomorrow?

KEYLEE SANDERS, FORMER MISS TEEN USA, 1995: Well, I think Donald needs to look at the fact. And I think if you appropriate at a press conference, you're in a national commercial and you're doing a telemarketing campaign for an organization, it pretty much makes you a spokesperson.

And Carrie did not -- absolutely did not have permission from the organization to work with the National Organization of Marriage. That is 100 percent false.

I think Donald will look at the facts. He is a fair man. He's a businessman. And I think he'll do what is right.

I think, you know, the facts are Carrie has definitely violated her contract 10 ways to Sunday. And that's the fact. It's not about her beliefs...

KING: All right, we'll pick up from there...


GALLAGHER: Let me just say that...

KING: All right. Hold on, Maggie.


KING: Hold on. I've got to take a break, Maggie.


KING: No decision. That will come tomorrow. Donald Trump already told us that.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Keylee, you're among the people taking part in a controversial public service announcement -- it's been airing -- which brings together 10 former pageant winners and not California's Carrie Prejean.

Let's take a look.



SANDERS: I believe every American has the right to their own opinion.


TAMI FARRELL, MISS TEEN USA 2003: I believe everyone has a voice and that voice can make a difference.


BROOK LEE, MISS UNIVERSE 1997: I believe when I express my opinion, I have the responsibility to do it respectfully.

FARRELL: With respect.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And with respect.

MEAGAN TANDY, MISS CALIFORNIA USA 2007: I believe Californians may disagree on some things, but we all take pride in our state's diversity.


BEEZLEY: I believe.

SANDERS: I believe when two people with opposite views communicate with love and respect, both sides can be heard.

TANDY: I believe in love.

GILLIGAN: I believe in love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe in the beauty of California.


KING: Maggie Gallagher, do you take any offense at that one?

GALLAGHER: Oh, no. I thought that's a great ad and I think it's great that they're picking up Carrie's message, which is that we need to respect each other's views, even when we disagree. I think that's a lovely ad. I think it would have been even lovelier if Carrie were in it.

KING: When she spoke for you -- or at your organization -- wasn't that, in a sense, how can you leave your crown aside and go speak for someone?

GALLAGHER: Listen, the details...

KING: The crown goes with it.

GALLAGHER: Let me tell you, the details of the -- if this is about contract violations, we should get Carrie's lawyer...

KING: Yes.

GALLAGHER: ...and Trump's lawyers in a room and work it all out.

What I think is that those California USA -- Miss California USA officials owe Carrie an apology for the way they treated her. It doesn't really sound like they're prepared to do that.

And I do hope that Donald Trump -- I don't care if he takes a ping at the National Organization for Marriage. He doesn't know anything about me or my organization.

What's important is I hope he does right by Carrie and puts an end to this.

KING: No, no. What I mean is -- Maggie, the question was, if her bylaws -- if the rules say you can't appear for any other organization...

GALLAGHER: That's a con...

KING: ...or take a -- hold it. I've got to finish the question.

GALLAGHER: I'm sorry.

Go ahead, Larry.

KING: How do you know what the question is?

And they can't take a political stand -- CNN, in my contract, I can't support any organization openly. I can't say that I'm doing it as a private citizen. I'm not a private citizen. I'm...

GALLAGHER: Except...

KING: I'm with CNN. She's not a private citizen anymore.

GALLAGHER: Except that was negotiated behind-the-scenes. And I know that. And (INAUDIBLE)...

SANDERS: No, it absolutely was not.

GALLAGHER: Miss -- well, she doesn't know that.

SANDERS: She signed a contract.

GALLAGHER: She's not a party to it.

SANDERS: Well, she didn't read the contract she signed.

GALLAGHER: The second thing I want to say...


KING: One at a time.

GALLAGHER: One other thing I want to say is if there is a contract dispute, I'm fine. If they're going to litigate it, then you have lawyers talking about whether it's a contract dispute.


GALLAGHER: What isn't in dispute is instead of defending her, they released personal medical information on her...

SANDERS: Not true.

GALLAGHER: ...and they criticized her -- well, OK. You don't know anything about it...

KING: All right, Keylee, you want to...

GALLAGHER: You're telling what you were told.

KING: All right, Maggie, let her respond.

Keylee, go.

SANDERS: She absolutely knew. I was a national titleholder, a state titleholder and a state director. And those girls -- we go through that contract with those girls line by line, with their own counsel.

So she absolutely knows the -- the stipulations of the contract, which she has broken. It's exactly like Larry says, if she doesn't show up for work, she can't have the job. And that's what's happened.

GALLAGHER: Listen...

SANDERS: If the American public doesn't show up for the job, they get fired.


SANDERS: And I'm not saying that's what's going to happen to her.

GALLAGHER: ...of Carrie is continuing...

SANDERS: But I don't understand...

GALLAGHER: ...and I hope Donald Trump puts a stop to it.

SANDERS: she cannot fulfill her duties and feel that there's no consequences.

GALLAGHER: Carrie is an honorable person. And I think that this kind of...

SANDERS: I didn't say she wasn't honorable.

GALLAGHER: I think these kinds of...

SANDERS: You're off subject.

GALLAGHER: ...attacks on her...

SANDERS: You're on your own agenda, as normal.

GALLAGHER: And I hope that Donald Trump does the right thing by Carrie. That's all I have to say about that.

KING: Do you have any question...

GALLAGHER: If there's a contract dispute, the lawyers should work it out.

KING: No. But I mean do you have any -- Maggie, did you ask her -- when she spoke for your organization, did you say, does your organization -- does this pageant permit you to do this?

Did you ask her that?

GALLAGHER: I was told by Carrie's reps, not by Carrie personally -- I didn't ask her -- that there was an issue with the pageant officials and that they had negotiated it out. She was -- would be allowed to appear.

That's what I was told.

KING: Oh. So -- well, Keylee, that's a different story.

SANDERS: But, yes, well...

KING: If her reps negotiated with the pageant and then the pageant's press conference today wasn't true.

SANDERS: They negotiated that they felt that she could go on "The Today Show" to clarify her views because it was something she wanted to do. Working with the National Organization of Marriage...

GALLAGHER: She doesn't work for me.

SANDERS: ...was never part of that.

GALLAGHER: She doesn't... SANDERS: That was never negotiated.

GALLAGHER: And, by the way...

SANDERS: We don't allow her to work for any other organization...

GALLAGHER: She doesn't work for me.

SANDERS: ...during her contract year or represent another organization or speak on behalf of an organization...

KING: All right.

SANDERS: ...however you want to phrase it.

KING: All right. If that's true, Maggie, then...

SANDERS: Without -- without that...

KING: let her...

GALLAGHER: All I can tell is what I learned from Carrie's reps, that this had been negotiated. There was a question raised. This was negotiated.


GALLAGHER: The pageant gave her permission. I was told how I should introduce her, that she's a private citizen, that I couldn't use the Miss California title, that she does not work for my organization, that she's speaking for herself. And I did all of those things.

KING: Well, Keylee, if then she...

GALLAGHER: Now, if that wasn't good enough, it's not really my responsibility.

KING: Keylee, then Maggie is in...

GALLAGHER: I did what I was asked.

KING: Maggie's in the right here if her reps told her that.

SANDERS: Well, I don't know who her reps exactly are, because she's contracted to the Miss Universe Organization and Miss California. And those people are not who Maggie is referring to. So I don't know who these reps are that she says.

And the other problem is Carrie is not in the State of California fulfilling her duties now. She's on the road for the National Organization of Marriage.

GALLAGHER: No, she is not. And, hopefully, by the way, she'll be back fulfilling her duties tomorrow. SANDERS: Oh.

GALLAGHER: She's not on the road for me. She's not working with me. She doesn't do anything with me. It's just not true. You keep repeating these falsehoods because you're trying to hurt Carrie...

SANDERS: She did a telemarketing...

GALLAGHER: ...and I don't understand why.

SANDERS: ...campaign for you.

GALLAGHER: She is not on the road for...

SANDERS: She did a press conference for you.

GALLAGHER: That's not even true, too. She's not on the road for me.


GALLAGHER: She spent a couple of hours with me last -- what is it, a week ago, Thursday.

KING: OK, let me get a break, guys.

We'll come right back.

How much do the racy photos of Carrie Prejean figure into this controversy?

We'll ask next.


KING: We're back with former Miss Teen USA of 1995, Keylee Sanders; and Maggie Gallagher, president of National Organization for Marriage.

Maggie, you think this is a lot about those posed pictures?

GALLAGHER: No, I don't think that's about this. Donald Trump has already said that there's nothing especially bad about those photos. And as I -- as I said last week on this show, you open up "The New York Times" Sunday magazine and you see photos like that.

I don't -- I don't think it's really about the photos.

KING: All right.

Keylee, do you think it is?

SANDERS: No. I think, at the end of the day, it's not. I think the -- I know the organization wishes that they would have known about the photos and when Carrie was asked that question, she would have been honest. But I don't think this is about the photos at all. KING: Carrie talked to Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson about how Satan apparently, in his words, tried to tempt her with a question about day marriage. Watch.


PREJEAN: I felt as though Satan was -- and I don't want to say that this person represented Satan. But I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me in asking me this question, and then God was in my head and in my heart saying, Carrie, do not compromise this. You know? I -- you need to stand up for me. You need to share with all these people -- there were 95 percent of the people in the audience that were gay.

You need to witness to them. And you need to show that you're not willing to compromise that for this title of Miss USA.


KING: Maggie, you think Satan's involved this?

GALLAGHER: Well, I wouldn't put it that way. How would I know? But I do think that I saw in that television a young woman really -- somebody brought her up to the mountain top, showed a glittering tiara, fame, a luxury apartment, and said, all this could be yours. All you have to do is fudge what you think about gay marriage and she -- you could see her on that clip, thinking about it, being tempted by that and then deciding that she had to really say what she really thought. And I think Americans whether they agreed with her or not admire her for that.

KING: Keylee, what message happens tomorrow do you think if she loses her crown?

SANDERS: Well, I think there shows there has to be consequences for actions and I think it will be based on contractual violations that have happened. I don't think it will be based on -- not based on her beliefs. You know, so I think that will send out a strong message.

There's hundreds and thousands of girls around the world who compete for these titles every year. And so I think we have to have rules. It's a functioning business and organization and it has to have rules. We have to hold up the integrity of the organization.

KING: Maggie, what happens if she keep the crown? What's the message?

GALLAGHER: I hope the message is that Carrie Prejean is a treasure and that the Miss California USA is as proud of her as the rest of the America is.

KING: Why do you think, Keylee, this has aroused so much interest? This is for both of you. Keylee, why do you think this is even a big story? SANDERS: Well, obviously, gay marriage is a hot button subject, especially in California and all over the country. You know, it was on a national stage.

And then I mean I think it was -- it was fueled when she went on to the public stage, furthered that public stage and said she felt she was being victimized and persecuted for her beliefs. I think, you know, that was fuel to the fire, for sure.

KING: Why do you think, Maggie?

GALLAGHER: Well I think it is when Perez Hilton went -- videotaped himself cursing her out and then pageant officials didn't back her up. But I think it's resonating for people on my side of the marriage issue. Carrie transcends people on my side of the marriage issue because a whole lot of other people have experienced this kind of harassment and bullying.

This is a movement on the political side which is no longer persuading. They really are trying to make people afraid to speak up for the views. And so Carrie is a symbol to a whole bunch of people of courage under fire.

KING: Wouldn't you agree, Maggie, that gay people have experienced a lot of harassment.

GALLAGHER: By the way, far more. I'm not trying to compare them. But this is new. What's happened since Prop 8 in California is that people have had their property attacked, they livelihoods threatened, their business interests attacked for personal donations. And we don't see very many -- religious minorities have come under particular fire, the Mormon Church. And it is kind of ugly and it is new and people are really concerned about it.

But I would by no means say that's like what gay people have gone through.

SANDERS: I think gays have been discriminated against far longer than Carrie Prejean.

GALLAGHER: As I just said.

KING: She just said that. Keylee, if she said she supported gay marriage, do you think we would be here?

SANDERS: You know, I don't think we would be here. But I think the fact is that Carrie wasn't winning the title at that point anyway in the competition. So would we be here because she didn't win and said it? I don't know. I don't know.

KING: All right. Thank you both very much. We'll have you back again, I'm sure. The announcement tomorrow from Donald.

Keylee Sanders, former Miss Teen USA, Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage. Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of the senator, will be here tomorrow night for the full hour. Jesse Ventura is here next. Maybe he'll run again. We'll find out after the break.


KING: Joining us now, Jesse Ventura, former wrestler, former governor of Minnesota, former Navy SEAL, the author of "Don't Start The Revelation Without Me." That book is now out in paper back. Welcome to have you back, Jesse. There you see the cover of the book. How's Obama doing?

JESSE VENTURA, FMR. GOV. OF MINNESOTA: Too early to tell, Larry, really. In my opinion, George Bush is the worst president in my lifetime.

KING: Have an opinion, will you?

VENTURA: I will. I will. And he's the worst president in my lifetime. So Barack Obama, President Obama inherited something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. You know? Two wars, an economy that's borderline depression. So it's far too early to judge him 100 days in. I think if you have me back about two years from now, I can give you a much better of how he's doing.

KING: He poked fun at himself at the White House correspondents' dinner Saturday night. Let's watch.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Finally, I believe that my next 100 days will be so successful I'll be able to complete them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day, I will rest.


KING: He's very likable.

VENTURA: Oh, yes.

KING: Right?

VENTURA: Very intelligent, which is a change from our previous president.

KING: All right already with Bush.

VENTURA: No, I live in Mexico now, Larry. So I do a lot of reading. I don't watch much TV. This year's reading, I covered Bush's life. I covered Guantanamo and a few other subjects. And I'm very disturbed about it.

I'm bothered over Guantanamo because it seems we have created our own Hanoi Hilton. We can live with that? I have a problem. I will criticize President Obama on this level; it's a good thing I'm not president because I would prosecute every person that was involved in that torture. I would prosecute the people that did it. I would prosecute the people that ordered it. Because torture is against the law. KING: You were a Navy SEAL.

VENTURA: That's right. I was water boarded, so I know -- at SERE School, Survival Escape Resistance Evasion. It was a required school you had to go to prior to going into the combat zone, which in my era was Vietnam. All of us had to go there. We were all, in essence -- every one of us was water boarded. It is torture.

KING: What was it like?

VENTURA: It's drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you -- I'll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.

KING: Even though you know it's not going to happen -- even though before it, you know you're not going to drown.

VENTURA: You don't know it. If it's -- if it's done wrong, you certainly could drown. You could swallow your tongue. You could do a whole bunch of stuff. If it's it done wrong or -- it's torture, Larry. It's torture.

KING: Do you think the United States/Mexico relations are improving?

VENTURA: I can solve that problem for you, too, Larry.


VENTURA: Well, if we have anybody with some courage out there, a politician with courage, there's an old saying that you study history or you're destined to repeat it.

KING: Harry Truman.

VENTURA: What we have now is identical to the prohibition of alcohol. And all you have to do is lift the prohibition on drugs and all of that stops at the border. My question is this: are we more offended over murder or marijuana?

KING: So you say let the drugs come in and then the cartels don't matter?

VENTURA: No. Let our country legalize.


VENTURA: Legalize. The cartels are then out of business. They -- just like Al Capone with the prohibition of alcohol. Capone became more powerful than the government. People are going to do drugs, Larry. It's that simple. And we need to take our heads out of the sand and treat it like an adult.

KING: I meant to ask you, you were a Navy SEAL. They have a tremendous image. Was there a time in your life when you thought fear would overcome you?

VENTURA: Sure, the first time I jumped out of an airplane. I was afraid of heights. I joined the Navy SEALS so I would conquer that fear.

KING: Why didn't you join the parachutists?

VENTURA: The what?

KING: The parachutists?

VENTURA: Because I was 18, and at that time, you joined the military if you wanted to.

KING: If you had a fear of heights, you could join the Air Force, be a paratrooper.

VENTURA: I was a paratrooper.

KING: That's part of the Navy SEAL training?

VENTURA: SEAL means sea, air, land, Larry. We go to Fort Benning, right where the Army does, and jump out of the same planes with them at Fort Benning, Georgia. We cause them a multitude of problems, because we can't be prosecuted on an Article 15. The only thing the Navy is a captain's mast.

In fact, when we were sent to Army Jump School, we were told by the old guys, we better go there and cause trouble. So we did.

First thing we did, we scaled up and spray painted SEAL Team One on the water tower, and then, of course, denied it. Because, as a good SEAL, Larry, Admit nothing, deny everything and make counter- accusations.

KING: We'll be back with milk toast Jesse Ventura. Thanks, everybody, by the way, for putting us over the quarter million mark on Twitter. You can connect with me at King's Things, or at Back in 60 seconds with Jesse Ventura. His thoughts on Al Franken and that Senate race in his home state. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, Jesse's book, "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me," now out in paperback is one terrific read. I didn't tell you that last time I saw you. It really is.

VENTURA: Thank you.

KING: What's with the Al Franken story? Who is going to sit in the Senate? You only have one senator.

VENTURA: It appears Mr. Franken will. He's ahead. And the last I heard, it goes to the Minnesota Supreme Court in June. And whenever they rule on it, that should be the end of it, because the Fed should have nothing to do with it, Larry.

Now, there's -- the Coleman people have said they're going to take it to federal court, but I think it should be thrown out.

KING: You don't think the precedent was Bush and Gore?

VENTURA: What's that?

KING: That they would hear a state question.

VENTURA: They shouldn't on an election like that because the -- that's a states' right issue. The states determine who they want to send to Washington. In the Bush/Gore thing, that was president, which was national.

KING: Do you think it's embarrassing to Minnesota?

VENTURA: No, not at all. It is the procedure. When you have an election that's that a close, you want to make sure you get the right decision, I would think.

KING: You don't criticize the incumbent for taking it higher?

VENTURA: I criticize him only that Coleman's always been a hypocrite. He never does what he says. He said election night when he won that Franken should drop out and he should be the senator. Well, then the same should hold true after the recount.

KING: Right back with more of Jesse Ventura on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Supreme Court seat is open. Justice Ventura? By the way, you don't have to be a lawyer to be on the court. We'll talk about it next. Don't go away.


KING: I want to remind you, George and Cindy Anthony will be here Wednesday night. A lot of traffic on our blog about it. Join the conversation right now,


KING: A lot of things to go into, Jesse. What do you make of the Cheney/Limbaugh --

VENTURA: I don't have a lot of respect for Dick Cheney. Here's a guy who got five deferments from the Vietnam War. Clearly, he's a coward. He wouldn't go when it was his time to go. And now he is a chicken hawk. Now he is this big tough guy who wants this hardcore policy. And he's the guy that sanctioned all this torture by calling it enhanced interrogation.

KING: Do you think Rush Limbaugh's a better Republican than Colin Powell?

VENTURA: No, not at all. In fact, if you compare the two, let's look at Colin Powell, who's a war hero, who strapped it on for his country, and didn't run and hide.

KING: Twice.

VENTURA: And then you look at Dick Cheney who ran and hid. I have no respect for Dick Cheney. I have tremendous respect for General Powell.

KING: You going to run for office again?

VENTURA: No. But I would tell you this. I would like to put out right now that if relations get good, I wish Barack Obama, President Obama, would make me the first ambassador to Cuba, if we get to that point. Because I went there as a governor. I felt comfortable with the Cuban people. I met with Fidel Castro when I was there as governor. In fact, Fidel Castro's quote to me -- he looked me in the eyes and said, you're a man of great courage.

And I said to him, well, you don't even know me. How can you say that? He said, because you defied your president to come here.

KING: Do you think it's time this non-recognition ends?

VENTURA: Absolutely. It's ridiculous. I mean, we have relation with Vietnam now. We have relations with every other country around the world, but this island 90 miles off our coast. We still have this ridiculous embargo.

You know, one thing interesting about Cuba; the Cuban people have never, ever burnt an American flag down there. They love the American people. They just dislike our government.

KING: Do you think it's coming, though, to an end, that we will have relations?

VENTURA: I would like to think so. It's long overdue.

KING: They're letting relatives go.

VENTURA: I think it should be opened up. We're supposed to be in a free country, Larry. How come I can't go there on vacation?

KING: Because the State Department sets regulations.

VENTURA: Exactly, but we're supposed to be a free country. We're not at war with them.

KING: If we open relations, you would be happy to be ambassador?

VENTURA: I would love to be the ambassador to Cuba.

KING: Would you ever want to run for office again?

VENTURA: I don't think so. I'm enjoying myself attempting to become the best surfer I can be down in California -- or in the Baja, in Mexico. Always remember this, Larry: surfing's a dedication. And it's a life dedication to do it. And if someone were that dedicated to religion, would they call them a religious bum?

KING: OK, but you're a very big man.

VENTURA: I'm trying losing weight.

KING: Is surfing difficult?

VENTURA: It's harder, but I want to get my weight down another 30 pounds. But let's remember, the greatest surfer in the world, Laird Hamilton, was 6'3.5 and weighs 220 pounds.

KING: Is it true that once a SEAL, always a SEAL?

VENTURA: Absolutely. Would you like my poetry?

KING: In a moment. Wanda Sykes, the comedian, took a hard hit at Rush Limbaugh Saturday night. Watch this and we'll have the governor's comment.


WANDA SYKES, COMEDIAN: To me, that's treason. He's not saying anything different than what Osama bin Laden is saying. You know, you might want to look into this, sir, because I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin, he missed his flight.


VENTURA: She might be right. She might be right.

KING: Pretty funny. Have you always been -- even when you were a SEAL?


KING: Among your Sea Lights?

VENTURA: With the guys I served with, I was probably outspoken. But I wasn't in situations where you took orders from your officers and things like that. When you're in the military --

KING: You took orders.

VENTURA: Absolutely you did.

KING: You were a good soldier.

VENTURA: Absolutely, sailor. Sailor. Now my poetry, Larry.

KING: Following this message. Hold on. I want to tease it.


KING: Your calls, too. Poetry from Ventura is next.


KING: This just in from Roger Neil. He's with the PR firm that represents the Miss California Organization. "Carrie Prejean nor any of her reps ever asked permission of Miss California USA pageant officials for Carrie to appear at the National Organization for Marriage press conference. There was never any behind the scenes talks. This statement by Miss Gallagher is 100 percent untrue.

For Maggie to even suggest that this happened is an untruth. Everything Carrie has done from two days after Miss USA through today has been without permission from the directors of the Miss California USA pageant."

What do you make of that squabble?

VENTURA: I think it's much ado about nothing.

KING: What do you think of gay marriage?

VENTURA: I don't think marriage should even be in government. I think it should only be decided in the private sector. That way if the church doesn't want to recognize it, they're the private sector, they can so choose -- the government should only recognize civil unions.

KING: What do you --

VENTURA: And that way you don't have to put down what sex you are.

KING: Would you go on the Supreme Court? You don't have to be a lawyer.

VENTURA: Would I go on it? No. It would take me too much from surfing. You ready for my poem now, Larry?


VENTURA: Here we go.

On the night that Jesus Christ supposedly rose from the dead, the Navy SEALS shot through pirates straight through the head.

KING: That's great. That was the date, right?

VENTURA: That's right.

KING: Whoa! You're going to make it a song. What about that story with the SEALS? Did that shock you?

VENTURA: Well, they did their job. No, not a bit.

KING: Are they sharp shooters?

VENTURA: They're highly trained. They're the best we have. And it didn't surprise me a bit that they were that successful because they're the best trained men we have.

KING: Boulder, Colorado, a call for Jesse Ventura. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Governor Ventura. I was just wondering, you said you moved to Mexico. Is that because you're so dissatisfied with politics in general in the United States? And would you consider moving back because we really need people like you and your voice here in the United States?

VENTURA: I still live here half the year. No, I moved to Mexico because of the weather and the surfing and the lifestyle. I live an hour from pavement and an hour from electricity. I live off the grid down there. And that changes your whole perspective of the world when you do that.

KING: Lakewood, California, hello. Lakewood, are you there?

CALLER: Yes, Mr. Ventura.

KING: Yes, go ahead.

CALLER: Why don't you get involved with the Congress in the discussion about water boarding since you have the experience and the personal knowledge that it's torture, disputing Cheney's unnecessary --

VENTURA: Well, first of all, they didn't ask me. And second of all, anybody that's ever been water boarded will tell you it's torture. Dick Cheney has never even been in the service.

And, in fact, had Dick Cheney gone in the service, he would have never shot that guy, because there's not an accident with a weapon. You don't have an accident. It's you don't know what you're doing.

KING: Did the Vietnamese, North Vietnamese, Vietcong use water boarding?

VENTURA: I assume they did.

KING: Has it been used widely in war, when you capture prisoners?

VENTURA: We were using it at SERE school back in 1970 when I went the SERE school, Survival Escape Resistance and Evasion. That's where I was water boarded; All of us were. And apparently that's what they were using there because they were trying to prepare you for it.

KING: What was the purpose of water boarding our own service men?

VENTURA: I don't know. I guess so you'd know if you got captured that this is what you could face, I guess. I know for a fact it was worthless to us, because everybody in my platoon, we all took a vow that we'll go out in a blaze of glory. We'll never get captured.

KING: Is it true that a lot of times extreme torture works in reverse and they lie?

VENTURA: Oh, absolutely. That's why torture is no good in a court of law, because if you're torturing someone, they are going to tell you what they think you want to hear to stop the torture.

Let me say this: they say it's prevented things by us torturing.

KING: Yes.

VENTURA: If that's the case, then why haven't we caught bin Laden? Because we got his people. And if we tortured them, they ought to be able to tell us where he's at. See, it don't work. We haven't captured bin Laden. We haven't done anything.

Torture does not work. Larry, my pleasure.

KING: Jesse Ventura. Don't forget, "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me" is out in paperback.

I want to remind you about Whoopi Goldberg's great new book, "Sugar Plum Ballerinas, Tow Shoe Trouble," bookstores everywhere. Elizabeth Edwards tomorrow night. Anderson Cooper now. Anderson?