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CNN Larry King Live

More Trouble for White House Party Crashers?; Tigers Troubles; President Obama's Jobs Summit; Business Development; Mitt Romney on President Obama

Aired December 03, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, they walked into the White House without a formal invitation, walked up right to the president.

Is it just that easy?

Somebody screwed up.



MARK SULLIVAN, DIRECTOR, SECRET SERVICE: In this case, I fully acknowledge the proper procedures were not followed and human error occurred in the execution of our duties.


KING: Then, President Obama's jobs summit -- can he create jobs for millions right now?

Magic Johnson, Tony Robbins, Google's Eric Schmidt and Mitt Romney are here to help you get back in business. Get the calls ready.


The director of U.S. Secret Service testified before the House Homeland Security Committee today about the so-called party crashers. The Salahis were no-shows, as was the White House social secretary, Desiree Rogers.

Three Secret Service agents have been placed on administrative leave with pay following an internal investigation.

Let's listen to Mark Sullivan being asked the question a lot of people want the answer to.




How in the world could this couple get past the Secret Service without having their names on the list, without having their socials in advance and get right up to the president of the United States?

SULLIVAN: Sir, I've asked myself that question a thousand times over the last week. What we keep coming back to here is that procedures weren't followed. And, again, what we have found is when we follow the procedures, when we -- when we -- when we go by the protocols we have, these type of situations don't occur.


KING: Let's get into it with a panel to kick things off.

In Washington, Congressman Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

In Washington, as well, is Anita McBride, former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush.

In Chicago, Laura Schwartz, former White House director of events during the Clinton administration. Good to see her again.

And in New York, Joe Petro, former Secret Service agent, author of the great book, "Standing Next to History."

All right, Congressman Thompson, what did you learn today?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, (D-MI), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Well, Larry, we learned that procedures weren't followed. The director admitted that there were some things that should not have happened. But we also learned that they have been fixed. We learned now that there is an expanded system of security, there's a layered security in place. More equipment will be available and better training for those individuals who will be working White House security.

KING: You asked the couple to appear today. They did not.

Are you going to subpoena them?

THOMPSON: We will make that decision next Wednesday in our next committee meeting. We set the motions in place for that to occur and I assume our committee will do it, Larry.

KING: Will you vote to do it?

THOMPSON: By all means, I will.

KING: The -- Representative Peter King accused the White House of stonewalling by blocking the appearance of social secretary Desiree Rogers.

Do you agree with that, that they were stonewalling you?

THOMPSON: Well, security is the primary responsibility of the Secret Service. And I don't want to mix security with event planning or something like that. It's a cooperative effort, but at the end of the day, the vetting of the guests, the approval of the entrance of the individual is the responsibility of the Secret Service. And that is where our committee focused its hearing on today.

KING: Anita McBride, former chief of staff to Laura Bush, what do you make of this story?

ANITA MCBRIDE, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, LAURA BUSH: Well, I agree with the Congressman, of course. This is not the quality of protection that the Secret Service wants to be known for. They have to be right 100 percent of the time. I mean it's the responsibility, primarily, of the Secret Service to protect the occupants of the complex at the White House. And for events like the state dinner and any other large event at the White House, it is a collaborative effort between the staff and the Secret Service to make sure that things go off flawlessly and also, you know, to make sure that, you know, people are handled appropriately at every point of the -- of the evening.

KING: All right, Laura, you were director of events for the Clinton administration.

Can you fathom how this happened?

LAURA SCHWARTZ, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF EVENTS, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: No, Larry, because it's simple. If you follow procedure, it really won't happen. I mean we had a very unique partnership with the United States Secret Service and the White House Social Office. The Social Office is respond -- is responsible for all the invitations and gathering the RSVPs, communicating with the guests how to come to a state dinner or a message event or bill signing -- any other event, for that matter.

And then we always had a staff member at the point of entry with the Secret Service, because, Larry, some nights somebody shows up and, oh, they should have been on the guest list. So you quick take care of it. You make it smooth. They go right on in. Sometimes they may bring a different guest than originally RSPVed so you -- you make that work. You get them cleared in by the White House.

Being at that point of entry with the Secret Service, you're there to answer any questions and then radio to myself, through the White House, or the social secretary to see, hey, if this name isn't on my list, were they ever even invited?

And if they weren't, that's when you run it through, perhaps, the chief of staff. And if nobody knows that name, you politely say, I'm sorry, we do not have you on this list for the event. And then the Secret Service is there in case you need any heavies to make sure they go away.

KING: All right.

Joe Petro, can you guess how it happened?

JOE PETRO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Well -- well, Larry, first of all, you heard the Secret Service director today take responsibility for this event. And I -- I think that we need to keep this in some perspective.

The question really is were -- were these two individuals -- did they -- did they did they pose a risk to the president?

Both these individuals were required when they entered the White House to pass through the very robust security screening process that exist there. And -- and I think that minimized the risk.

But let me say that, you know, the Secret Service is really in the business of -- of managing risk. They really can't eliminate it. And -- and Secret Service agents have always -- has -- has -- actually, never assumed that the perimeters around the president -- those layers of protection that the Congressman referred to, whether he's at the White House or anywhere else -- are always going to be 100 percent perfect.

That's why there are always agents around him at all times. It's sort of that last line of defense. And, you know, they're there to react to something were to happen. And they're trained to -- to recognize...

KING: So...

PETRO: ...those things and they're trained to react to those things.

KING: Are you saying, therefore, Joe, we're making more of this than it deserves?

PETRO: Well, listen, this was a serious mistake. There's no question about that. And I think, you know, the Secret Service acknowledges that.

But, you know, when -- if you -- again, put it in perspective. The president is in the presence of thousands of people every week. You know, some of them are on lists and some of them are at public events. The -- the Secret Service has -- has very strict perimeters, but they don't count on them, so that at -- at the very -- the last perimeter, those agents are around the president and they pay very close attention to who's with him.

KING: We'll be right back with more.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back.

Let's hear how White House Spokesperson Robert Gibbs defended social secretary Desiree Rogers.



ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president, the first lady and the entire White House staff are grateful for the job that she does and think she has done a terrific and wonderful job pulling off a lot of big and important events here at the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did she invite herself to the state dinner or was she a guest of the pre -- did the president invite her or did she put her name -- no, that's a real question. Do not fan it off (ph).

GIBBS: I -- I...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm serious. No, seriously.

GIBBS: Jonathan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. Did she invite herself or did the president...

GIBBS: She didn't...


Her name was on that list and social secretaries are the ones who put the names on the list.

GIBBS: Was she at the dinner?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was she an invited guest?

GIBBS: She's the social secretary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, social secretaries...

GIBBS: She had the primary secretary...


GIBBS: Hold it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- guests of the dinner.

GIBBS: She had the primary responsibility for running the dinner.

I'm going to get back to weightier topics, like 98,000 men and women in Afghanistan.


KING: Now, Congressman Thompson, do we understand you right, you do not intend to subpoena Miss. Rogers?

THOMPSON: That's correct.

KING: And the White House would probably not honor the subpoena if you did, right? THOMPSON: Well, Larry, the issue is White House security. Director Sullivan testified before our committee today that meetings were held before the event. It would have been nice if someone had been there.

But the fact is, this husband and wife couple never made any list. They should not have gained entry into the White House. Whether the social secretary or that staffer would be around still would be no reason of concern, because they were not on any list.

KING: Anita, is it standard for the social secretary to go to the dinner?

MCBRIDE: Well, certainly, the social secretary needs to be at the dinner, because they are the eyes and ears for everything that's going on, making sure that the event is going off flawlessly and executed the way that the president and first lady wanted it to be.

You know, there have been times in the past where, if a last minute emergency, a guest doesn't come for dinner, where the social secretary will take -- you know, take that seat and be seated at the dinner.

But, you know, clearly, they have to be there. They have to be available.

KING: Did -- did the Bush White House ever fear strangers getting in?

MCBRIDE: No. I think that when you work at the White House you -- you always are conscious of the fact you're in a very secure environment. You take these issues very seriously. Honestly, I mean I dreaded the days when I showed up at the White House -- and there were very few -- that I didn't have my pass, because I had to wait and go through a security screening process...

KING: That's right.

MCBRIDE: ...present another form of I.D. before I could be let in. And -- and I was a somewhat known entity in the East Wing, you know, of -- of the White House. So we all took it very seriously.

And over the 14 years that I worked there, I mean we really watched procedures constantly changing, being adapted to the environment and -- and the world that we live in. So we were conscious of security.

KING: And until...

MCBRIDE: ...but, you know, we also, of course, absolutely trusted the -- the Secret Service to protect the complex and the occupants.

KING: I'll tell you how tough it can be, Laura. During your administration and the Clinton administration, I did a long day with the first lady, with Hillary Clinton, taping a show with the tree. That night was the White House Christmas party. I came back with my wife and Jim Grey, my friend and his wife. They were on the list. I wasn't. They didn't let me in. I'd been at the White House all day doing a taping with the first lady. They had to go -- it took 15 minutes to get approval to get me in.

Did you ever fear invasion when you were at the White House?

SCHWARTZ: You know, it's funny, Larry, I heard that story. They're like Larry King is at the gate, get him in. And -- and I remember that night, Larry.

But you know what, I never feared that someone would get in that would cause physical harm to the president.

But, you know, it goes one more step. The United States Secret Service absolutely protects the safety of the president. But we, as staffers, have to protect the president from embarrassment, especially something on the world stage. I don't think India is too happy with us right now, because instead of talking about the nonproliferation discussions, the economy, the global world and the business impact that America and India can have on each other to -- to both benefits, we're not talking about that.

And I have a feeling that the next time that there is a state dinner, when we get -- when they get together with -- with the delegation ahead of time by about a month or two, during the planning process, instead of just going over food allergies or possible impairments that need to be addressed, they're probably going to ask Desiree Rogers, how are you handling your list?

But -- but that happens.

KING: And what...

SCHWARTZ: That happens. And that's why having a point of contact is really helpful to get people through.

KING: When I come back, I'll ask Joe Petro if he thinks this could happen again.

Don't go away.


KING: Joe Petro, do you think this is now preventable?

PETRO: Well, Larry, I checked with the Secret Service today. A fact that not many people probably realize it, so far this year, 1.2 million people have entered the White House. You know, that's -- that's an astounding number, when you think...

KING: Whew.

PETRO: ...when you think about it.

It was my experience working at the White House... KING: Unbelievable.

PETRO: It was my experience working there -- and I worked, you know, many years there -- that the coordination between the Secret Service and the staff is so critical to these events. And -- and I think, you know, the review of this event will -- I'm sure will result in better -- in better coordination.

But, you know, one of the -- one of the principles of the Secret Service -- and it's been mentioned at the hearings today and -- and I think it's something that we all felt -- that the Secret Service has really no margin for error. And that's a very tough standard to meet for anyone.

KING: Yes.

PETRO: And, you know, Secret Service agents are human. Mistakes are going to be made. And I think, you know, the Secret Service, over the years, has -- has benefited from those mistakes and corrected them. And I think they'll do that in this case, as well.

KING: Yes.

Thank you all very much.

Apparently we've not heard of the last of this.

Magic Johnson, Eric Schmidt and Tony Robbins are here to help you, after the break.


KING: Still to come later, Mitt Romney.

We now welcome some heavy-hitters in business to our show.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. He's with us in Washington. He attended President Obama's jobs summit today.

Tony Robbins, peak performance and turnaround expert here in L.A.

And Earvin "Magic" Johnson rounds out the group, the former Laker basketball great, businessman and the author, with Larry Bird, of "When the Game Was Ours." A terrific book. He's also number one on "Ebony" magazine's annual power list.

Before we get to the business at hand, just quickly, Magic, what do you make of this Tiger Woods thing?

MAGIC JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN & CEO, MAGIC JOHNSON ENTERPRISES: Well, it's probably a -- a tough situation right now for him. I'm hoping that he can get his wife and they can huddle up and to try to work it out. And he should be just focusing on his wife and his kids right now.

KING: When you had a difficult situation, though, you came right forward with it.

Should he have gone public right away?

JOHNSON: Well, I -- I know he's different than me, but I would hope that one day soon that he will come publicly and just say, hey...

KING: And sit here.

JOHNSON: Yes -- I made a mistake, you know and tell the honest truth and then just move on.

KING: Now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States is 10.2 percent. That's a 26 year high. It adds up to an awful lot of people without jobs. Almost 16 million people are unemployed. Which is why President Obama held a jobs summit today. And there will be a new employment announcement tomorrow.

Eric Schmidt, you were there.

What was it like?

Did it accomplish what it intended to do?

ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO, GOOGLE: Well, the White House's goal was to make sure that they were listening to all of the new ideas. The biggest problem we have is that banks are not lending to small and medium sized businesses. So there was a lot of discussion about that. And they got a lot of other ideas about fixing regulations, working on exports, that kind of stuff.

Having said that, there's only so much they can do. But at least they were listening.

KING: Do you think it's going to get better before it gets worse?

SCHMIDT: Well, unfortunately with unemployment, it probably gets a little bit worse before it gets better. There are a lot of reasons that the recovery is -- is sort of underway for most companies. Inventories are down. Corporate profits are up. And those things have to improve before everybody gets their act together with respect to hiring.

So my message to friends who are unemployed is that it will get better, you just have to wait a little bit longer. The government can make this a little faster by fixing regulations, but not that much.

KING: Why is it, Magic, that when unemployment goes up, the stock market goes up, because investors say, hey, we can produce with less people?

JOHNSON: Yes. That's good for them, but bad for the American people, especially when you think about here African-American males, 18 to about 34, right now, the jobless rate for them is over 30 percent. So... KING: Thirty percent?

JOHNSON: Yes. It's about 34 percent. So we've got to find a way to give these people a skill, train them, give them a skill so we can then put them to work. And what we've got to do is come up with a general plan and then we have to come up with a Latino plan and an African-American plan, because that general plan won't affect the African-American male or our community.

KING: Can the individual performance expert, which you are, an individual is in a bind here, isn't he?

You can't overcome a problem like this?

TONY ROBBINS, PEAK PERFORMANCE & TURNAROUND EXPERT: Well, you can't change a country, but you can change yourself. I think it's not a time for positive thinking. A lot of people think that's what I promote and it's not. What I look at is be real. And if you're going to be real, you're going to have to really not make the mistakes some people are making right now, which is hoping the economy suddenly is going to turn around.

It's a jobless recovery. And as a result of that, companies are more efficient, but we're not seeing those jobs.


ROBBINS: And they're not going to just suddenly return. We have 25 percent of the people out there right now are upside down on their mortgage. I don't mean that they're behind, I mean if they pay it off they're in the hole. It's going to be 50 percent by next summer. By next summer, we're going to see another change in the banking industry.

So what people have to do is say, OK, now I'm like everybody else. I'm not going to have the same job.

What is -- where is the need today?

Because there are new needs, in energy. There's certainly going to be needs in the medical field. We all know that.


ROBBINS: But instead of knowing that, once you know that, what do you love and go retool. If you don't retool now, you're going to have to retool later and you're going to have a lot of pain.

KING: The individual retools.


ROBBINS: The individual has to do it. You can't wait for government to do it.

KING: But, Eric... (CROSSTALK)

KING: Eric, in this, what is government's responsibility, because the last time I looked, government is us.

SCHMIDT: Well, the government has a lot of responsibilities. The most important responsibility they had was to stop the whole crisis, which they did pretty well. The next responsibility is to use their regulation and their financial power to get people to do the right thing for the long-term.

I completely agree with Tony and Magic, that responsibility here includes making the world a better place and particularly making America a good place by hiring American jobs and investing.

There's lots of stuff you can do -- green energy, the health care issues that Tony mentioned, and so forth and so on.

The government is focused on these. It's time for the government to act to help fund the private sector or give them tax relief and so forth and the private sector is where the jobs are created.

KING: Get your calls and questions ready. Get advice from people who really do know.

We're going to take them, when we come back.


KING: Magic Johnson, you employ a lot of people, right?


KING: Have you had to lay off many?

JOHNSON: Yes, we had to lay off some because we had to close -- I had 125 Starbucks. We had to close 20 doors. And so that's a lot of jobs were lost there.

You know, it's funny, because Eric was right. If government can help the small business owners or come up with a game plan to do that, then small business is what really makes America go, because we employ so many people. So I would love to help President Obama in his -- in his game plan of what he wants to do to put people back to work.

KING: Have you talked to him?

JOHNSON: Not yet. I know that he's having this and I will be talking to him or some of his people, anyway.

KING: Tony, you talk about retooling. (INAUDIBLE) a 52-year-old autoworker who's been on the job for 25 years. All he knows how to do is raise a family and how to make a car.


KING: How does he re -- retool?

ROBBINS: Well, a lot of people say how does he -- he doesn't have a choice. If he gets that, he'll take action, because it's a must, not a should.


ROBBINS: And then how is, you do what's next. I mean right now, Testa coming out. They've got a car that goes 250 miles, that goes zero to 60 in four seconds. It's all electric. It's the future. There's going to be jobs there.

But I'll give you a better example. People bring this up all the time, I'm too old. Katherine Justine (ph), the lady from "Desperate Housewives," was 42 years old. Her mother had cancer. She had two kids. Her husband leaves her. She has nothing. She gets three jobs and she does one thing.

She goes, what do I love, even though I'm not skilled in it?

Acting. A terrible actor. For 10 years, she doesn't even get one line that she gets to say. She gets to be in things, but one line.

Fifteen more years before she said any lines. Twenty-five years later, she's on a top show, "Desperate Housewives." She's got two Emmys.

So you've got to take the long-term. The short-term is going to be tough here for everybody.

You know what, winter is the season we are in and we get tougher and stronger. People are stronger than they think they are. They don't know it until they put themselves on the line. If you wait, I want to see government can do anything they can. And you and I as individuals can't sit and wait. We have to feed our families.

LARRY KING, ANCHOR: Eric, what does Google do?

ERIC SCHMIDT, CEO, GOOGLE: In our case we are back in business in terms of hiring. We are going to hire a couple thousand people over the next 12 months. From our perspective, it is all about keeping our employees current and then also trying to help these businesses especially small businesses get some money. In the case of the autoworker perhaps that autoworker is a fisherman or has - is a fan and all of a sudden could become a blogger and become well known because of his or her expertise. And with that, begin to make money on the side that eventually becomes a good source of revenue. There are opportunities even in our business using the internet.

KING: Well put. Let's take a call. New York City, hello.

CALLER: Hi. How are you? How are you, Larry?

KING: Fine. What's your question? CALLER: Question is simple. Three years ago I started up a business after going to one of Tony Robbins' seminars actually. One of the things I learned from this is that you focus and you don't worry about what other people are doing to the right and left of you. We actually built a business and have about 40 employees right now. Now that things have changed, we are trying to look at other things that can build the business and that can bring in more people. We are dealing with the school and we started doing a couple of things within. We are finding that the employees we have right now, they are starting to retool and bring out extra things that fortify the entire --

KING: What's the question?

CALLER: Well my question is, how can we super-focus all of the energies that our employees have to make the business growth even faster?

TONY ROBBINS, PEAK PERFORMANCE & TURNAROUND EXPERT: Every business is different. It depends what kind of industry. What are you in?

CALLER: We own a children's entertainment place, New York Party Zone.

KING: I didn't hear the rest. What?

CALLER: We own place called the New York Party Zone. Opening up a school called the New York Learning Zone teaching language to children and parents.

ROBBINS: The only way you will be able to hire more people, focusing is one thing. You know what do to focus. You've got to see what does your customer need today which is changing constantly as we all know. Make the business successful. The more you know about what they need, now have you to be able to provide that and provide it in a way that adds more value than anybody else. There's no way to become wealthy. This man became successful in basketball because hay added more value. He's done the same thing in business. Obviously Google is all about adding more value. If you find a way to add more value you will employ more people. How do you focus those people? That's where you have to be crystal clear about the outcomes of this business and make sure everybody knows and is anybody incentivized to do the thing that's going to move the business forward so you're not hoping they move forward, everybody's incentive is to move forward.

KING: Eric, you were going to add something.

SCHMIDT: The best ideas always come from the people in the organization you never talk to. If I were you, I would sit down and say to everybody in the organization, what is your single best idea to make the business explode. You would be amazed what that 23-year-old you never talked to has -- her on -- on her mind.

KING: That's how Google got to be Google. MAGIC JOHNSON, CHAIRMAN & CEO, MAGIC JOHNSON ENTERPRISES: Also to a point Eric made earlier about small businesses and medium-sized businesses not getting loans, I'm launching a new company with TCW. We are going to help those companies get loans. We will tell the game plan later on.

KING: Do you ever ask employees for input?

JOHNSON: All the time. Especially my young people because they -- they will tell you things that are hot out there and, you know, in demand. And so you now -- once you find out what the demand is, I go and meet that demand. Instead of trying to create demand.

KING: This ain't a bad panel. We will be right back. Don't go away.


KING: Mitt Romney in a little while. Let's take a call from the panel. Kent, Washington, hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question is to your panel, I have a graduate professional degree and training and development. I have a bachelor's degree in hospitality management. They are talking about retooling. A person -- how do I retool myself to get back into the job force? I have been out of a job for almost two years now.

KING: Tony?

ROBBINS: I think that -- again, you don't have a choice. I mean, I think that's -- we have to come to the reality of. The old school in a different season where everything is going well, you have no choice. Okay, I can go back to the old job. If that old job isn't there you don't have a choice. What you have to find is make a decision within yourself that says maybe life isn't happening to me. Maybe this is happening for me as corny as that sounds. Maybe there will be a benefit here. If it is a winter I have to prepare myself, I have to protect my family, and I have to create a future. I have to find an advantage. I can't tell thank you people that I know who came to the worst situation you about as a result of that, they shifted and went in a new direction and more fulfilled long term. It is not how do you, it is deciding you are going to and then pursuing and finding what it is that appeals to, that you're passionate enough to put the time and energy into it to be great.

JOHNSON: What Tony's talking about is changing a mindset and attitude. You have to change your mindset and attitude. Then you may have to change your zip code. You have to move to where the jobs are. I feel your frustration but now you say hospitality, you may have to change to go where the hotel business is thriving. Because maybe in her city, state, it is not thriving. So you have to look at those situations.

KING: Did you hear any great ideas at that conference today, Eric? SCHMIDT: The most important ones are what the government can do to get things going again. Promoting exports, the -- most interesting conversation was that most of the jobs are created by new companies, companies that are starting in the last five years. And that are growing very quickly. Anything that we can do, anything that our caller can do to create a company, perhaps she has something she is excited about, she should try to found that business. She may not have done it another time but now that she has been -- had this trouble with jobs, maybe it is time for her to stake out on her own. You know, you can use the internet. You can go and research the things most passionate about. There is an enormous amount of information about the things you care about. You will enjoy learning about it anyway.

ROBBINS: A lot of people think -- start a business today, it's worst time in history. CNN started in a recession. You know, Disney started in a depression. Microsoft started. You look at some of the most successful companies in the world and they started because that's when things are shaken up, where the big players don't have the control anymore. You can actually compete as a small business and can create a place where you are in control of our own life and adding value.

SCHMIDT: Also get started now because people have so little money, they are very, very tough business people. And as the economy recovers, they end up being very, very smart with how they use their resources. A lot of the greatest successes have come out of the toughest business situations.

JOHNSON: Now have you low overhead because you are only talking about yourself, working in the business. So that's -- that's right. So that's really the key to starting now. Also, too, there's opportunity when there are tough times.

KING: Laurel, Maryland, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry, Magic and Tony. I have a small business in Laurel, Maryland. It is a event management company. And I have been trying to get funding to help in my business. But I can't get funding. I'm a single parent, African-American. I have a son that just graduated from college. He's unable to find a job. And I have my small business. It is very difficult. How do I go about getting funding?

KING: Here's a classic example.

JOHNSON: Think about that.

KING: Quickly. Eric, you go first.

SCHMIDT: This is a good example of the problem we face. Small business administration has a lot of information and programs that will grant you some money and dedicated areas. as a starting point.

KING: That's there for you. Tony? ROBBINS: The other piece is you can't have all your eggs in one basket. The government may not come through for you. So the only way you do this, what do I really need? What's my base cost? You may find yourself if you are doing this planning, some companies may do three event as year. You can give them a package, say be my partner. I will do all of your events for free but help me get some of your customers. You have to think creatively about not just getting capital. You are going spend that capital. What you really need is a service that is serving people and you need a customer base. You may able to have someone finance you and have customers to work with.

JOHNSON: Beautiful Tony. It is called thinking outside the box. No longer can business be in this box that it used to be in. You have to think outside of the box, joint ventures, partnerships. Go to another event company, let me partner with you and I will do all the smaller events and still handle the big events. Now you don't have to have overhead or build infrastructure.

KING: Thanks guys. We will be calling on you again.

Speaking of successful businessmen, we will be back in 60 seconds with Mitt Romney. He's got a business plan of his own.


KING: By the way, Tony wanted me to add that he has a book for you. "How to Thrive In Difficult Times." It is free. Just go to

We're back with Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, presidential candidate in 2008, has an opinion piece in today's "USA Today" offering a ten-point plan to save the economy. Let's see what President Obama said about the job picture today and then ask Governor Romney about it. Watch.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I believe that government has a critical role in creating the conditions for economic growth, ultimately true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector. We don't have enough public dollars to fill the hole of private dollars created as a consequence of the crisis. It is only when the private sector starts to reinvest again, only when our businesses start hiring again. And people start spending again and families start seeing improvement in their own lives again that we are going to have the kind of economy that we want. That's the measure of a real economic recovery.


KING: Before we get to your 10 point plan, do you want to comment on that?

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: What the president is saying is correct, which is that jobs are created in the private sector. Businesses hiring individuals to be able to provide goods and services to other Americans and unfortunately, what he did coming into office with a stimulus plan was not to encourage the private sector to grow. Actually he caused it to pull back. And he instead stimulated government, created a larger government. That makes it harder for businesses to grow.

He took action which is obviously not been what people hoped for. And that's why you have a very unusual setting. There are more Americans out of work today than at any time in America's history. Not as a percent but number of people out work, 16 million Americans out of work. This is just a tragedy.

KING: He inherited the conditions leading to it.

ROMNEY: Sure and there have been a number of presidents who have been inherited recessions. But the action of this president did not make things better. He said look, his stimulus plan would hold unemployment down to 8% and if we didn't pass his almost three- quarters of a trillion stimulus we get a 10% unemployment. We got the 10%. Which pretty much shows the stimulus plan didn't do what it was designed to do.

KING: More with Mitt in a minimum. We will talk about Afghanistan, Sarah Palin right after the break.


KING: Before we get back with Mitt Romney, let's check in with Anderson Cooper, "AC 360." What's up at the top of the hour, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, tonight we are on the trail of a cop killer, Maurice Clemmons. He is dead. We want to make sure what he was able to do never happens again. He gunned down four cops. Why was he on the streets? Out on bail. We have new evidence tonight that Washington state tried to keep Clemmons behind bars but ran into resistance from authorities in Arkansas. We are trying to figure out exactly who is responsible. Keeping them honest.

Also is the white house hiding something? They refused to let the white house social secretary testify before congress about those reality show wannabe party crashers. This is a white house which promised transparency. What's going on? We are keeping them honest.

And Amanda Knox, the American student on trial in Italy, accused of murdering her roommate during a sexually charged game, the verdict could come as early as tomorrow. Tonight the evidence against her, crime and punishment. That and a lot more today on "360."

KING: That's at 10:00 eastern, 7 pacific.

Governor Romney, let's say Obama called you. Mitt, I respect your business. What's the number one thing I should do right now?

ROMNEY: Stop the stimulus spending because it is not working. Instead use those stimulus dollars to make it's easier and more attractive for business to grow and hire. Do that by putting in place a more robust and investment tax credit program and by letting businesses expense capital expenditures this coming year in the year those expenditures occur. Lower the payroll tax to make it easier for people to hire others. Those things will make a difference immediately. Scrap the whole idea of the cap and trade energy program. That's scaring away the -- investment and jobs that's needed. And the -- president's actions on health care are putting the brakes on that sector. That's one-fifth almost of our economy. People are worried. He's scaring business. Holding out a GM stock, talking about limits on executive compensation. And at the same time trying to take over a big part of health care, imposing unionization by the card check plan. These things are frightening investors and keeping businesses from growing. We have to turn that around and make it's easier for people to hire.

KING: How about running a war, two wars?

ROMNEY: He didn't have a choice in that regard. We were attacked on 9/11 and there had to be a response to that.

KING: Iraq didn't attack us.

ROMNEY: And President Bush took action to make sure they wouldn't attack us and at the same time he pointed out through the surge that he carried out, President Bush did that that work. I'm glad that President Obama has adopted the surge strategy for Afghanistan. He has made a number of miscalculations, however. His idea that this is going to be solved in 18 months is hopeful but probably not likely. His plan calls for fewer troops in the general. If generals said we're in a real tough situation. We need at a minimum 40,000 troops from the U.S. to solve this problem. I wouldn't be saying to them, okay, I can cut you down to 30,000. Can I give you 45,000?

KING: You're the commander in chief. You don't give them what they want.

ROMNEY: But you ask them what do you need to get the job done, not the minimum and you certainly don't cut back from the minimum.

KING: In fact, back to the economy, you want action on tax incentives. How about creating a new jobs hiring credit?

ROMNEY: That's a very good idea, something I had the chance to put in place in a small way in Massachusetts. I like the idea of saying, look, if you as a company hire someone who's been out of work for a long time or somebody who's in an industry that's really suffered and is not going to recover, if you hire one of those people and you're about to train them, therefore, we'll give you a credit, a tax credit in our case it was a $2,000 tax credit to hire someone like that, give them the training they need and put them in a real job. I like encouraging and incentivizing businesses to actually hire people and train them, giver them the skills they need. Right now, I mean Larry, you have 16 million Americans. We're really suffering. We have to take action to help encourage the private sector. Just like the president said. But don't talk about the private sector and then give more money to government. If you're going to talk about the private sector, find ways to encourage them and incentivize the private sector to hire people.

KING: Lots of dilemmas, though. You admit there is a health care problem?

ROMNEY: Oh, sure.

KING: What's your solution?

ROMNEY: Well --

KING: Is there a solution?

ROMNEY: There is. There are two problems, really in health care. One is we have a lot of people without insurance.

KING: That's inexcusable.

ROMNEY: That's something we solved in our state of Massachusetts. And the right way to solve these problems is to let state by state create their own plans. That's what we did. If you don't like my plan, fine. But it's our plan. It worked for our state. But number two, we got to bring the cost of health care down. That's not something we took on in a major way in our plan. That has to happen at the federal level.

KING: How do you do it?

ROMNEY: We're paying docs and hospitals for all the things they do. The more they do, the more they get paid. I think it makes sense to provide options for paying them for a given treatment for somebody who has a condition, one solid fee, if you will, then let them do whatever's necessary to give them that treatment.

KING: And no government involvement?

ROMNEY: Well, government plays a role. But the right answer in health care right now is not to say how do we put more government into it with more controls and regulations. That just -- that stops innovation. The right way too fix health care is to say how do we get it to act more like a consumer driven free choice market? How do we get government out of it, if you will? And government has to play the role of making it more like a market. But encourage the right kinds of incentives so doctors and hospitals and patients do the right thing. When you have, what, 38, 40% of Americans obese and overweight, we got a problem with incentives.

KING: By the way, Mitt's has a book coming. We'll have him out when it comes out. It is called "No Apology."

ROMNEY: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Great title. We'll look for it. By the way, will the jobs summit mean more jobs? Tell us what you think. Go to, let us know. We'll talk some things political. You didn't think we'd get away without that. With the governor after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Hate too to state the obvious, but you're going to run, right?

ROMNEY: I'm going to be working hard for people who are running for election in 2010.

KING: You are going to campaign?

ROMNEY: I'm going to campaign for senate candidates and house candidates in particular.

KING: Only Republicans?

ROMNEY: Yeah, only Republicans, conservatives across the country. And probably some governors and state treasurers. In Washington, we really need balance again. This one party setting in Washington is really frightening. I'm going to work real hard to get Republicans elected. And my own plans will take shape after that.

KING: Concerned about Governor Palin as an opponent?

ROMNEY: I'm not making any decision about my own plans to run. She is an energetic person. She would be a terrific candidate. She has a great following. She brought energy and passion to our party. I haven't read her book yet. I look forward to reading it. I understand John McCain said it was an enjoyable read. I always enjoy enjoyable reads. So I'll get a chance to do that and wish her well.

KING: Another perspective opponent is Mike Huckabee who has a problem now with this pardon. What do you make of his candidacy, or potential candidacy?

ROMNEY: Mike is a good man and worked hard as a governor w regards to the pardon, I think we're all focused on the extraordinary tragedy in the lives of families in Washington. You have three families that lost their father. One family that lost their mother. I mean this is just tragic. And Mike said it. I think he indicated, had he got the chance to do that again, based on what he knows now, of course he wouldn't have made that decision. And, you know, I believe that's true.

KING: How did you deal with pardons as a governor?

ROMNEY: Early on, I got a whole stack of pardon requests that came in from the parole board. I started reading through them and I said before we go through this I have to put together guidelines so I'm not swung by, you know, personal impressions of people. I need to really think this through. So we put together guidelines. And they were particularly strict as it related to folks who perpetrated violent crimes. As it turned out, after four years I didn't pardon or commuted any sentences at all.

KING: None? ROMNEY: None. My conclusion is if somebody has been convicted by a jury of their peers and prosecuted and police were able to get the evidence necessary to put them behind bars, why in the world would I step in and reverse that sentence?

KING: Why have a pardon board?

ROMNEY: If you find there's a setting where there's been prosecutorial indiscretion or let's say D.N.A. evidence shows that there's been a wrongful conviction, then there's a good reason for reversing an action. I certainly would be willing to act in that circumstance. But we didn't see those cases in the four years I was there. The requests suggested to me if they were behind bars, they ought to stay there until the sentence that they're committed to was one that is complete.

KING: Should the chairman of Federal Reserve be appointed again?

ROMNEY: You know, I think he's doing a good job.

KING: You do?

ROMNEY: Yes I do. It's important to have the fed as an independent agency. I don't think you want to have the congress of the United States trying to pull strings at the fed. We're in a very perilous time. Look, we're printing money like crazy. We borrowed money and we're spending money at a rate that is just unconscienceable. A trillion dollar a year deficit. So these numbers are just unthinkable. I don't want the fed to be part of that party going on in Washington right now. I want to keep it independent.

KING: Good seeing you.

ROMNEY: Thanks, Larry.

KING: That's in "USA Today." Excellent read. Look forward to seeing you again soon. We look forward to "No Apologies."

ROMNEY: Thank you.

KING: We leave with you a Washington tradition we all can enjoy, the lighting tonight of the national Christmas tree on the ellipse. Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" will follow that. That's next. Good night.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: And now to the serious business of pressing the button and lighting this beautiful tree. So guys, come up here. I need some assistance. I'm technologically challenged. I might not get this right. So we're going to do a countdown. Starting from five. Everybody has to help me out here.

Five, four, three, two, one -- ho! It worked!