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CNN Larry King Live

Dick Cheney Hospitalized; Interview with the Dalai Lama

Aired February 22, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the Dalai Lama on his controversial meeting with Barack Obama.


KING: How did that meeting go?


KING: World affairs.


KING: Where does it stand now between you and the Chinese government?


KING: And private ones, too.


KING: You were asked the other day about Tiger Woods, the golfer. You said you had not heard of him.


KING: And then, is Ron Paul the great Republican hope for 2012?

Conservatives shock the political world by picking him in a presidential poll. He and James Carville are here to tell us what it all really means.

Plus, Olympic sensation Shaun White stops by. The half pipe king just won his second straight goal. Now he wants an invitation to the White House.

Are you listening, Mr. Obama?


Good evening.

We've got an update on the breaking news about former Vice President Dick Cheney. He was admitted to George Washington University Hospital after experiencing chest pains. He'll remain there overnight. His doctors are evaluating the situation. And according to a statement from his office, he's resting comfortably.

Cheney has had a history of heart problems.

If we have more information about the condition, we'll bring it to you during the hour.

And now the Dalai Lama. I sat down with him over the weekend to talk about many things, including China, Tibet, even Tiger Woods.

We began our discussion with the Dalai Lama's controversial, low key meeting with the president last week.


KING: The Dalai Lama met last week with President Obama.

How did that meeting go?

DALAI LAMA, EXILED TIBETAN SPIRITUAL LEADER: Very good. Of course, when he was a new senator and on the Foreign Relations Committee or something...

KING: Right.

DALAI LAMA: -- I met him once. A very impressive young politician. Then during the election, he telephoned me and inquired about Tibet. As soon as he became president, he said we'll have some -- some contact and was very sympathetic. Last year, on the day (INAUDIBLE) chance (INAUDIBLE) meeting. But then, before -- just before his visit to Peking, I always felt better not meet because if...

KING: You said that?

DALAI LAMA: Yes. I mean he also, he said that (INAUDIBLE). And I fully agree, better -- you see, since, you see, he very, very seriously thinking to talk to the Chinese leaders, besides other issues, Tibetan issues. And he very much wanted to talk.

So the atmosphere may be better that not a meeting not take place at that time.

So that postponed (INAUDIBLE) to this time. In spite of some difficulties, you see, we had that meeting and a very pleasant one.

KING: What, Your Holiness, what do you want from him?

What do you want from America?

DALAI LAMA: Actually, I mentioned my three commitments. The number one commitment, the promotion of human value in order to create a better world, a more compassionate world, a peaceful world. For that, technology -- economy is not the ultimate source of peace. The real source of peace is inner peace. Inner peace comes through a more compassionate heart. So that's my (INAUDIBLE) number one commitment I always say wherever I go. I also talk these things. So I mentioned that.

And on that level, we are the same human being (INAUDIBLE) the same (INAUDIBLE) as the human being out of six billion human beings like that. So it is our common interest and common responsibility. I mentioned that.

And, second, my commitment is the promotion of religious harmony. I mentioned that. So in these (INAUDIBLE) or something. I mean he was very much in favor. And I hope that he also can make, I think, very effective sort of contribution in these fields.

Then, there was the Tibet issue. Since, you know, 2001, we already have elected political leadership. So in the Tibetan issue, the political side mainly is requiring the main responsible by the elected person. So I had some note (INAUDIBLE) and, of course, full -- on my full agreement.

So then I mentioned, firstly, I report to him about our -- the up to date sort of our contact with the Chinese government. Then, also, besides that, the refugee community in a free country. So we are carrying various kinds of work for preservation of Tibetan culture, Tibetan Buddhist tradition, like that.

And then, also, I request the help for modern education of Tibetan children, not only outside, but also inside Tibet. If some (INAUDIBLE) scholarship, Tibetan youth from Tibet will immensely benefit.

KING: What...

DALAI LAMA: So these things we discussed.

KING: Was he receptive?

DALAI LAMA: Oh, yes, very receptive. Very receptive. And then, truly, after our meeting, they -- they made (INAUDIBLE) the president issued a statement that the American administration is fully supporting my -- my middle way approach. (INAUDIBLE) like that.

KING: Where does it stand now between you and the Chinese government?

Right -- right now, where are you at?



DALAI LAMA: Now, you know, the Chinese government denying there is sort of a problem.



KING: They deny it? DALAI LAMA: Yes. They say Tibetans are very happy prosperity and much, much, much better than previous Tibet. But we received information that some, in some of some material development, but culture side or religious faith or all these fields, there's so much (INAUDIBLE), suppression or control, restriction.

So, for example, just a few years ago, I met one Tibetan who come from Tibet -- one profession, a professional person. He told me his own (INAUDIBLE) salary, accommodation and also the education for his children, no worries. Everything is good. But then he mentioned, but being as a Tibetan, mentally, emotionally, some kind of overwhelming sort of -- what's the feeling?

KING: Pressure?

DALAI LAMA: Or pressure. Then when he mentioned that, tear. So that has a Chinese -- some of these hard-liner Chinese do not understand.


KING: We'll have more on China and autonomy for Tibet as our exclusive interview with the Dalai Lama continues.


KING: Will there ever be greater autonomy for Tibet?

The Dalai Lama admits that China has hardened against him.

We spoke about what effect that might have on relations and progress between Tibet and China.


KING: When Americans are asked, what is more important, that Tibet become independent or the United States maintain good relations with China, it's a -- it's a quandary. But Americans -- more Americans think that it's important for the United States to maintain good relations with China.

Can we do both?

DALAI LAMA: Actually, we are not seeking independence. No. We are -- you see, that's why we call the middle way. We -- we complain that the present sort of policy in Tibet, it's actually very much damaging about the Tibetans' religious freedom and also culture, heritage and (INAUDIBLE), and, also, very bad for environment.

But, on the other hand, we also, you see, do not want separation from China, because the Tibet, landlocked country; materially is backward. Every Tibetan wants a modernized Tibet.

So for that reason, remain within the Peoples Republic of China. It is our own interest, as far as materials development is concerned. But (INAUDIBLE) meaningful autonomy, self-rule in the field of the culture, education, religion -- in these fields, where the Tibetans can handle better -- a better way. So in these fields, Tibetans should have full sort of authority.

So that's what we call middle way.

So, firstly, we are not seeking independence. So, therefore, there's some people among Tibetans and also among our supporters, our friends, also are a little critical we are not sort of fight for independence. So...

KING: But...

DALAI LAMA: So, therefore, this is -- this is no contradiction, keeping good relations...

KING: I understand.

DALAI LAMA: -- with China and, meantime, to support, you see, what we are carrying stock of (ph). So, actually, the Tibetan -- our middle approach is the best way to bring unity and stability. So if you use common sense, then our approach is the best interests for Peoples Republic of China.

KING: But didn't you recently say that the middle way was failing?

DALAI LAMA: Yes. After the 10th of March crisis in 2008, I publicly expressed now our effort -- one aspect of our sort of effort, that's to bring improvement inside Tibet.

Now that aspect failed. But that does not mean complete failure.

On the other hand, our approach brings a lot of support from Chinese intellectuals or writers. And then, also, you see many of government now in -- I mean, clearly, including the United States government and, also, the Indian government, fully support -- support our way of approach.

KING: You left your country 50 years ago -- over 50 years ago.

Do you miss it?

Do you think of it a lot?

What are your feelings?


KING: That's a long time.

DALAI LAMA: Yes. Occasionally, I remember my experience of childhood in Potala and also the Summer Palace in Norbulingka. Sometimes I remember these things. But otherwise, the last 50 years, now the portion of my life spent in India. And my body supported by Indian rice and Indian dal.


KING: So you don't think of it a lot?

DALAI LAMA: So I -- I don't much sort of concern. But, you see, our concern is six million Tibetan people's basic rights and their culture and Tibetan environment. These are the main issue.

Now in early '80s, when the Hyuang Pang (ph), the late Hyuang Pang was there, his tenure -- he's very liberal, very realistic. So at that time, he offered a five point proposal. That's about my return -- about my concern. At that time, immediately, we responded to the Chinese government, this is not the issue. The issue is six million Tibetan people's rights, not mine. Not the Dalai Lama's issue.


KING: The Dalai Lama has an incredible sphere of influence, which is why he's doing what he can to help the world's most desperate children.

That's next.


KING: When the Dalai Lama speaks, people listen, which is why he's doing what he can to help children and call attention to those without access to education, medicine and the very basics that every child deserves.


KING: Whole Child International, what is that?

DALAI LAMA: Actually, the leader of this Whole Child International organization, he came to see me some time ago, last year, and explained about her work. I was very much impressed. Then I -- I accepted her invitation, so now I come here.

So this is extremely important, because my number one commitment is to build a healthy world, a compassionate world, so these young children are the future generation. So they cultivate or nurture about compassion from -- right from the beginning. It's very, very essential.

Then, now, this organization is taking special care of these vulnerable children, who I felt (INAUDIBLE) like helpless children.

KING: Everywhere?

DALAI LAMA: Everywhere -- an international sort of organization. So otherwise, you see, these children, who lack affection, then these -- there is real danger eventually these children become possibly merciless person. KING: And how do you reach them?

DALAI LAMA: So they -- they are taking care not only just to provide food or shelter and education, but provide (INAUDIBLE) or connection. So that has very, very important. So that's very, very important.

So that's the, I think, real way or right way to cultivate affection on the child's mind. So this is, I think, wonderful. I really appreciate it. This is their -- their work.

KING: Do you think it can happen? Do you think it can work?

DALAI LAMA: I don't know what it is who are carrying these work. I think the last few years some positive results are already there and some of these results, they're scientifically (INAUDIBLE) prove it's improved. The children's not only body, but also mind; also, intelligence; all these things. So it is wonderful.

Now, my only hope, my only prayer is to spread this -- these work in everywhere and, particularly, I mentioned at a -- a meeting yesterday morning, I mentioned some of the countries, they consider daughter, female and a girl, you see, not much use for her. So sometimes there is sort of -- a sort of practice of (INAUDIBLE) the girl.

KING: It's terrible.

DALI LAMA: Terrible. Really terrible.

KING: Who does that?

DALAI LAMA: Oh, originally, I heard through BBC that one Chinese -- a Chinese woman who carries some research in China proper, she had one interview with the BBC (INAUDIBLE) a reporter with her. And he -- she mentioned a terrible sort of story.

So -- and then, India, also, sometimes the villagers and farmers, you see, they consider the son is more useful, daughter is (INAUDIBLE) and then, also, India, you see another sort of -- of course, India is now my home. And, also, I always describe myself as a messenger of India, because I am Buddhist.

Particularly, I consider myself as a (INAUDIBLE) follower of India's ancient monastic institution of nalinda (ph).

So, and anyway -- but in -- in India, some -- you see the sort of custom is something a little like they call dowry or something. So the daughter sometimes, you see, they (INAUDIBLE) it more.

KING: Do you speak out in India about this?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, yes, in India.


KING: We'll talk about Haiti next.


KING: Welcome back to more with the Dalai Lama.

We talked about human suffering -- acute in Haiti right now.


KING: As a man of God, a man of principle, a man of spirit, how do you explain to yourself what happened in Haiti?

DALAI LAMA: Very, very sad. Of course, I usually describe myself as a simple Buddhist monk. And I...

KING: A simple Buddhist monk?

DALI LAMA: Yes. I am one of the six billion human beings -- same human being...

KING: So...

DALI LAMA: -- on a fundamental level. So the -- the tragedy in Haiti is really terrible. So almost, you see, the whole nation collapsed. So just -- just yesterday I met with someone who asked about my feelings. And I told.

Nowadays what's important is, unlike the past, nowadays, I think one of the, I think the indication of civilization of the whole world, like the tsunami sort of -- sort of -- sort of tragedy, the response from the rest of -- the rest of the world is immense.

Now, similarly, Haiti case, also, you see, the response is very good. Now the resources are available. Now, ultimately, much depend on people's own sort of determination and confidence.

So I mentioned them. I mentioned they're now important is the Haitian people should think forward, not just to worry or sad, but work hard and utilize all these funds properly, then build a new nation, new buildings, a new nation. That's my feeling.

KING: So from bad can come good?

DALAI LAMA: Yes, that's right.

KING: All right. You were asked the other day about Tiger Woods, the golfer. You said you had not heard of him.


KING: He is a Buddhist. He said that, unfortunately, he left Buddhism and he practiced infidelity and he got in a lot of trouble. And you said you thought that fidelity is a discipline.

Do you think it's a difficult discipline? DALAI LAMA: No. Discipline means protection of your own interests. That's (INAUDIBLE) discipline. Another discipline, by order, that's something different.


DALI LAMA: These totalitarian regimes give orders and some discipline.

KING: That's different.

DALI LAMA: That's unwanted.

But, you see, the spiritual, moral ethics are self-discipline, that -- actually, just like taking care of your own body, according to a doctor's sort of, what's the suggestion. You see, there's certain food reduce -- certain food should sort of stop like that.

KING: The same thing?

DALAI LAMA: That's self-discipline.

KING: How is your health?

DALAI LAMA: My health very good. You know, I think October 2008 I went through surgery to remove, also, the gallbladder. So -- so I, you see, since then, I'm talking when my public talks, in some cases, I mentioned among the audience some people may have the view the Dalai Lama have healing power. So that -- since then, scientifically, I prove that I don't have no healing power.

But however, it's very fit, my body.

KING: Do you, despite all you've gone through and been through, do you remain optimistic?

DALAI LAMA: Oh, yes. It's much better.

KING: Why?


Oh, future is open. And then still, we are in this planet. So now I think, one, I think the practical reason is judging, even in the 20th century -- I think the later part of the 20th century basically much more healthier than the early part of the 20th century.

Now for example, I think the concept of peace, reconciliation and also the concept of love and compassion, I think, these are -- and also the environment issue. I think human beings -- I think better awareness of all the reality. And I feel in 20th century, through a lot of pains, killing. I think some -- according to some experts, the 20th century more than 200 million people killed through warfare. So such a painful experience, you see, helped humanity thinking more mental. So I'm optimistic.

KING: One other thing. You talk of love. You love the Chinese?

DALAI LAMA: Certainly. We have to practice that. Sometimes you see some of these hard liners of a policy, ruthless policy. Sometimes I got some irritation, but a short moment.

KING: You still love them?

DALAI LAMA: Still, yes. I have to make effort to keep love.

KING: Thank you.

DALAI LAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Since I think modern, I think at least around 15 years.

KING: Fifteen years since last we were together.

DALAI LAMA: So you are not much changed, so congratulations.

KING: Nor you, thank you. His holiness -- I haven't changed? I'm older. His holiness the Dalai Lama.


KING: Ron Paul topped the poll for president over the weekend. What does it mean? We're going to ask him, along with James Carville, next.


KING: Olympic champion Shaun White will be with us shortly. You got a question you want him to answer, go to my Facebook -- go to my page and ask. While you're there, become a fan of LARRY KING LIVE, or Tweet me at King's Things.

First, Congressman Ron Paul, Republican from Texas, is here, number one in this weekend's presidential preference poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference. And James Carville, CNN political contributor and Democratic strategist, joins us as well. We'll talk health care, Sarah Palin, and what the future holds for Republicans and Democrats.

Congressman Paul, Dr. Paul, were you surprised that you won that straw poll?

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: I think a little bit. I was very pleased. I knew there were a lot of supporters there. But, you know, there were a lot of other candidates out there are very popular as well. So, yeah, I was a bit surprised. But thinking about it and thinking about all the trips I made to college campuses, and then the group there made up of a lot of young people -- a lot of young students who are sort of going to bear the burden of what we have. I've been talking to them.

So maybe the message is getting out. Maybe my message about limited government and less war and less spending and civil liberties, maybe that's what they want to hear about. Besides, the young people have always been very interested in the monetary system, too. It's something the other two parties have ignored.

KING: James, you're the political pro. Were you surprised?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I was. And let me congratulate Dr. Paul. And also, as we discussed earlier, an open invitation to come to my class Tulane, any Tuesday night. We've been delighted to have him. He does has a lot of support among young people.

I think this is the most prestigious conservative event that takes place in the United States. And I think the reverberations of this thing are going to be pretty profound. You know, Glenn Beck was received more warmly than any speaker maybe in the history of CPAC. Whatever this is, this is not my uncle's Republican party that we're looking at right now. No doubt about that.

KING: Congressman Paul, what do you make of this whole -- Bayh is leaving the Senate. We're doing a special all week on the system of government. Do you think the American system of government is broken? A lot of CNN programs. A lot of CNN programs are going to be devoted to that all week. Do you think it's broken?

PAUL: I know what's broken. It's the budget that is broken. The country is broke. And the people who want to spend the money for different reasons, Republicans and Democrats, they won't admit it. They keep coming. And they keep coming. And they don't know why it doesn't work. It doesn't work because there's no money. There's no wealth. We're deeply in debt, and we're not producing like we used to. We're indebted to foreign nations, like Japan and China. And it just can't continue.

They won't admit it. Therefore, people who are trying to get the thing to work, they think it's only, well, if we keep compromising, and spend a little bit on both sides, all of a sudden, it's going to work. I don't think that's the case. I don't think it will work that way.

KING: Do you think we're broken, James?

CARVILLE: Right now, things are not going very well. We're in the nastiest recession we've had since the Great Depression, and we had a failure of our banking system. I think that was a result of cheap money and lax regulation. But I do think that Dr. Paul has a point.

My own view is that we became a nation that was absolved with consuming things, as opposed to producing things, over a period of time. That's not sustainable. And we are going to have to think of a way we can go back to making the kind of investments where we make things other than financial paper and buy things on credit. He's got a point. I just probably disagree somewhat with his treatment. But his diagnosis is not that far off.

KING: What has war taken out of us? Congressman Paul has been an opponent about Iraq and Afghanistan. What has that done to the budget and monetary system? PAUL: It's devastating. All great nations that extend themselves too far beyond their borders lose their empire and lose their presence around the world for financial reasons. And we're at that point now. Our operations around the world now cost us about a trillion dollars a year. It's significant. Republican conservatives won't give up one penny, as Democrats won't give up one penny on domestic welfare spending. Yet, they both say the whole thing is broken.

But the military -- some people think that war gets you out of a depression and recessions. That's a horrible thought, because it doesn't work. People say the depression ended with World War II. That didn't end it. The depression didn't end until after World War II, because World War II was still very, very depressed for the consumer.

KING: I've got to get a break. Hold it and we'll have James Carville pick up on that. We'll talk about Sarah Palin, who got I think seven percent of the vote at CPAC. Where does she stand in all of this? More from Carville and Paul next.


KING: James Carville, what about the threat, if any, of Sarah Palin, who by the way, in fairness, has endorsed the Kentucky Senate campaign of Ron Paul's son, also a doctor, Dr. Rand Paul. What do you make of her, James?

CARVILLE: Well, look, as you know, I've said any number of times that I think she is -- has an unbelievable amount of magnetism. She certainly has a deep well of support within the Republican party. She has to figure out exactly where she's going to go if she wants to run for president. She's given every indication that she's interested in running for president this time. And, you know -- but if she lets people like Dr. Paul, who may run -- you have to ask him if he's going to run as a libertarian or Republican or what he is going to do. I think she's a force to be reckoned with over there. And I think people find her to be very, very compelling. I know we at CNN do, because we sure cover her a lot.

KING: Dr. Paul, frankly, why not throw your hat -- are you going to run again?

PAUL: I have no idea. I have no plans made for that. As far as I'm concerned, that's a long time off.

KING: But you have your thoughts. And you got this poll. You won this poll. It's certainly a step in the right direction. Your son may go to the congress. Why not?

PAUL: Yes, I know some people would like to belittle the poll. But I have to admit, you know, it isn't the final word. But it is significant. James recognized that it is significant.

But I think it's a little premature. It's something -- I've never really wanted to be in office. I've always wanted to run to make some points and change people's opinion, with the idea that if I just get off my chest, I've done my patriotic duty. But, all of a sudden, I end up going a little bit further than I anticipate. This weekend, that sort of is the case.

I am very, very serious about trying to change the direction of the country, the monetary policy and we're in such a financial mess. It gives me an opportunity to talk about things I think are very important.

KING: James, do you expect a lot out of Thursday's health care summit? James?

CARVILLE: I don't know. I'm surprised that they actually got this jobs bill through. So maybe, who knows, things change, and that's one of the things about our country. Just when we think things are not going to change, they tend to turn around. I think it's important for people to remember that in 2001, we had a five trillion dollar projected surplus over ten years. So there are things we can do to get this thing back under control.

Unfortunately, this president did inherit a really nasty recession, when interest rates were near zero, and inherited a tremendous deficit, and they had to try to do something. The stimulus is what they did, and, by account of everybody, it is saving and creating jobs out there.

Boy, I think that Dr. Paul has a point. We're going to have a hard time sustaining all of our commitments, both militarily and in things like Medicare over a period of time. We have to do something about it.

KING: We'll have you both back a lot, and we'll do a lot on this, of course, throughout the week, and, of course, Thursday night.

CARVILLE: Thank you. Congratulations to you, again, Dr. Paul.

PAUL: Thank you, James and Larry.

KING: Olympic half-pipe king Shaun White is here. He's young. He's rich. He's famous. He's the best snow boarder in the world. How is he going to top it? We'll ask him next.

Go to our Facebook page to ask him a question. Don't go away.



KING: We welcome from New York Shaun White, the snowboarding star, two-time Olympic gold medallist. Congratulations, Shaun, again. Why do you snowboard? Why is that your athletic preference?

SHAUN WHITE, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I don't know. I mean, I don't think I really chose it. I think it chose me. I know my family and I would always go up to the mountains just for fun. we always skied. Then, all of a sudden, my brother started snow boarding. Older brother, thing, I had to do what he was doing. So I started snow boarding. Yeah, it just took off. I was six years old when I started. I was sponsored by seven. I mean, I don't know if I had much of a choice.

KING: How old are you now?

WHITE: I'm 23.

KING: How did you come up with the Double McTwist? A lot of people are Twittering us, wondering what it takes to master it, how long it took, how dangerous is it?

WHITE: Yeah. Something like this, obviously, you don't really want to go out there, and if you're -- you know, haven't been riding too long, attempt something like this. It's taken me a lot of time. And I think snowboarding is a lot of mental preparation. I have to be so confident going into a trick like this. The level of commitment is just so great that, you know, the only outcome in my mind is to land it.

So I was able to go out to Colorado and build a private half pipe out there and put a foam pit at the bottom of the half pipe. I would then try the tricks into the foam, safely, and build up my confidence before actually throwing it on the wall. Either way, I mean, my hands were basically shaking.

KING: What's the number-one injury in snowboarding?

WHITE: I don't know. I mean, obviously knees and back and collarbone, stuff like that. I don't know. It's one of those things where if you're going to crash, it's going to happen. You have to get used to it. You have to be prepared to take a spill. You know, it's just like anything. You know, you get in a car, there's a risk. So you kind of assess it.

KING: We have a question from our Facebook page. "Who gave you the nickname the Flying Tomato? And do you like it?"

WHITE: You know, it's funny, I remember being really young and getting that nickname. Somebody called me that, and I actually -- I thought it was funny. I hadn't heard it in years and years. Then I competed when I was 19 in Torino at the first Olympics for me, and I heard the name over the announcement. I think it was somewhat of the announcer's boredom or didn't know what to say, mentioned the name. All the writers took to it.

I don't mind it. I think I have been getting a bunch of nicknames lately. Last one was I was called the animal. Apparently I resemble the drummer from the Muppets. Pretty cool.

KING: You were born with a congenital heart defect. You had two open heart surgeries before you were a year old. Does that impact you today at all?

WHITE: It's one of those things where it doesn't really affect me as much now. It's something where I have to do checkups once in a while and all that. But it's just been amazing to actually be known and successful within my sport, and to affect a certain amount of people, where I actually have friends of friends and just random people that come to me that have the same heart condition. They're so inspired and all that.

And it's funny how life works. There's such a full circle with things, where when I was going through my heart surgeries, my family and I stayed at a certain care facility that allowed us to be a family still, and live at the hospital. And I just recently donated money to a place called Target House. It's in Memphis. They work with St. Jude Hospital. It's a long-term care facility. I was just down there before all the Olympic madness happened, and was able to hang with the kids. I basically redid their whole living room.

So it's such a wild thing for me to be standing there with these kids and to, you know, be able to relate to them on a certain level and, you know, just give back in full circle like that.

KING: Shaun wants to get to the White House. We're going to help him get there right after this.


KING: Men's Olympic figure skating gold medallist Evan Lysacek is with us tomorrow. Right now, we're talking to half-pipe champ Shaun White. A whole bunch of people are Twittering to us, Shaun, about your hair. Specifically, what do you use on it? Do you ever plan to cut it?

WHITE: You know, it's strange. I don't really do much to it. It's more of a lot of water and then shaking, if you can imagine. But I think that's why I grew it out in the first place, is all my friends started to cut their hair short and spike it. That became popular. Every boy at school would show up with that hair style. I decided it wasn't for me, and figured I'd grow it long.

But yeah, the more people say I should cut it, I just figure I grow it longer.

KING: Another question from our Facebook page. "Do you think your life should be open to public scrutiny," like Scott Lagos has been since the racy photos of him surfaced and he had to leave the Olympics?

WHITE: Uh-huh. You're saying about how do I feel about being open to that?

KING: Yes, is your life our business?

WHITE: Yeah, it's tough. I mean, it's one of those things where I'm sure he didn't think too much into it, and was out having a good time, and really didn't realize that the world was watching. I think, for me, I've been fortunate enough to grow with the sport, and had certain success going into Torino before I won my first gold medal. I know, you just realize how many kids are watching and how many fans that support you and look up to you are really paying attention to what you do.

So, for me, I always kind of keep that in mind and, you know, I ride for the fans. And it's just a hard thing to realize one, and then to kind of work your way around as another.

KING: How do you make money from this?

WHITE: One more time?

KING: Do you make money from endorsements?

WHITE: Yeah, I do a bunch of different things. I was sponsored when I was about seven by Burton Snowboards. They really paid my travel and everything. When I went pro at 13, I had plenty of sponsors that give me endorsement deals and stuff like that. I also do a bunch of different products, which has been a real passion of mine.

I have a video game that's out right now. And just making that was so much fun. You have to put the sensors on. You got to do all sorts of stuff, and voice-over for the character. And then I have a clothing line at Target that I designed with my brother.

KING: Not bad. Our next goal, Shaun, we got to get you invited to the White House. That should happen any minute. You have to go. I would bet they invite all the gold medallists.

WHITE: Yeah. It seemed like --

KING: It's got to happen.

WHITE: You win a medal for the US, meet the president.

KING: You'll be there.

WHITE: That would be cool. I'd be honored.

KING: Keep the hair the same way. Thanks, Shaun.

WHITE: All right. Thank you for having me.

KING: Shaun White. By the way, we've learned that Bob Dole, former Senate majority leader and the 1996 GOP presidential nominee, is hospitalized, recuperating from knee surgery and a bout with pneumonia. He's a good friend of this program, a good friend of ours, a frequent guest. We wish him a full and speedy recovery. A great guy.

Time now for another great guy, Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?