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CNN Larry King Live

Are Democrats in Trouble?

Aired October 19, 2010 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Election Day is two weeks away. Getting nasty.

RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: How ridiculous are you? You embarrass this race.

KING: Can Christine O'Donnell survive comments like this?

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?

KING: And Sarah Palin warns her party --

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Heaven forbid that the GOP machine strays from this message. If so the GOP is through.

KING: Are the Democrats in trouble?

ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: At one time the greatest state government in the United States. Now it's a national embarrassment.

KING: Is the Tea Party a game changer?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: In this election let's continue to take America forward. We're not going back to the failed policies.

KING: Will this be an election to remember?


KING: Or forget? Let the countdown begin next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Good evening. Let's get at it.

Stephanie Miller, a progressive talk radio host of her own "Stephanie Miller Show." Penn Jillette, magician, comedian, actor, author and star of "Penn & Tiller Live," celebrating 10 years at the Rio in Vegas.

The libertarian David Webb, co-founder of New York City's Tea Party, talk radio host on Sirius Radio. And Marc Lamont Hill, a professor from Columbia University and host of "Our World with Black Enterprise." He's a liberal.

Let's get right to it.

In the news today -- you're not going to believe this -- Christine O'Donnell had an awkward moment in a debate for the Senate seat in Delaware with her opponent Chris Coons.

The Tea Party-backed Republican seemed confused on the Constitution and the issues of church and state. Watch.


O'DONNELL: Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?


CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: It's in -- no, an excellent point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, hold on. Please. Please.

COONS: I also think you've just heard in the answers from my opponent and in her attempt at saying, where is the separation of church and state in the Constitution, reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is, how it is amended and how it evolves.

O'DONNELL: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?

COONS: Government shall make no establishment of religion.

COONS: That's in the First Amendment.


KING: Bad day for the Delaware candidate. By the way, I said David Webb was the libertarian. Penn Jillette is the libertarian. But let's start with David Webb.

You're a Tea Party candidate. So is she. How do you defend that?

DAVID WEBB, CO-FOUNDER, NEW YORK CITY TEA PARTY: Well, you don't. And frankly, if you took every candidate and picked up on their flubs we'd throw out half the politicians in D.C.

KING: That wasn't a flub.

WEBB: She screwed the -- she screwed the answer. Let's not kid, Larry. I mean that's a fact. You don't defend it. You find the other reasons that she's running well and you go with it. She's in a tough race. She sure doesn't need this.

KING: Stephanie?

STEPHANIE MILLER, TALK RADIO HOST: Christine, they're not laughing at you. Their laughing really hard at you. I guess she didn't learn from Sarah Palin to write the answer on her hand, Larry.

I mean this is the candidate we're faced with in this election cycle. You know, she couldn't think of any Supreme Court decision. She's like, can you give me one? We're like, no.


MILLER: You need to come up -- if, like, if we've ever heard somebody fake it through an oral exam in high school, that's her.

KING: Penn Jillette, Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain called O'Donnell a nut job. Do you agree with that?

PENN JILLETTE, LIBERTARIAN POINT OF VIEW: Well, as a nut job, I'm offended by that. That's not a nut job, that's stupid. There is a big difference for being a nut job and stupid. And I will defend nut jobs forever. But I don't think there is any way to defend just plain stupid.

I mean, for all I'm against the incumbents and so on, I don't think there is any excuse for not knowing that. And I'll also argue a little bit with Stephanie and say, that's much worse than a high school oral exam.

I don't think you can get worse than that. I don't think it's a gaffe. I think it's just dead out wrong and scary and horrifying. And I don't --

KING: Marc Hill --

JILLETTE: I think you have to be so good in other places to make up for that. I don't know who could. I mean unless Jefferson made that mistake.

KING: Marc --


KING: Marc, is this -- Marc, is it an isolated incident? Could it damage the Tea Party movement in a sense that I guess she's the best known Tea Party Senatorial candidate, isn't she?


HILL: I hope that she's the best the Tea Party has to offer. Right now she is the face of the Tea Party. And that is an enormous victory sign for the left, at least for the Democratic Party coming up in November. I don't think this is a gaffe, though. You know, it's not a gaffe. She just simply didn't know the right answer. I don't think, though, that she's stupid necessarily. She just doesn't know enough to be a senator. She's not qualified to be a senator. And she's not going to win the election anyway.

But I think it speaks to how low the bar has been set politically at this moment that she could even be a viable candidate. The fact that she is known around the country as an actual viable candidate, to me, is shameful. Not just for her and not just for Delaware but for the American body politic in general.

KING: David, this whole thing -- we've got two weeks to go. Sarah Palin -- we'll hear a quote from her later, but she's been critical of the Republican Party as well in standing up for the Tea Party. Are you -- are you critical of the Republican Party?

WEBB: Well, I'm critical of the institution that has failed to act as the Republican Party should. And you know it's one thing for the left. They'd love to see people fighting with each other within the party. I'm OK with that.

If we're going to get the Republican Party on track, back to what it should be as far as government, limited government and fiscal conservatism, we're going to have to have a little scrap.

But out of this will come Republican wins. And while everyone focuses on O'Donnell remember there's about 45 other races that matter and when we take back the House then the laughs is going to be on the Democrats. And it's going to be to the benefit of the country.

KING: Stephanie, is it hopeless for the Democrats from the House standpoint?

MILLER: I don't know about that, Larry. I'm not sure anymore what is lowering expectations, what is PSYOPS, I'm not really sure. I think the generics are drawing very close. I think turnout is going to be everything in this race.

So, you know, I don't know. I know I saw another poll that said if black voters turn out in the same numbers they did, this could be a totally different midterm.

KING: But the Democrats haven't --

MILLER: I mean what --


MILLER: Every mainstream media storyline in this election was wrong in the last election. So I don't think any of us know what's going to happen in this one.

KING: Penn, do you think Obama's hope and change agenda has failed? JILLETTE: Yes. I mean I think that's pretty clear. I mean just that people aren't behind him like they used to be, and things didn't work out the way they hoped. I mean maybe people want to give him a lot more time.

And two years isn't very long, but certainly it doesn't seem like anybody -- well, except maybe Stephanie -- is still standing behind the whole hope and change thing going strong.

MILLER: Yes, just me. It's just me. Yes.

HILL: Yes. And --

JILLETTE: I think it's just you, yes.


HILL: And like ten -- and the tens of millions of voters who keep coming out to rallies, who keep supporting President Obama, and who are going to vote for Democrats.

Now I'll agree. President Obama has --

JILLETTE: OK, by Stephanie, I meant 10 billion.

HILL: Same thing. Stephanie -- either/or. Potato, potato.

MILLER: Thank you. Thank you, Penn.

HILL: No, but -- but the point here is that tens of millions of Americans -- tens of millions of American voted for President Obama with an expectation of radical change. I think that's an unfair expectation.

President Obama was very clear about what he was. He's not somebody who's a complete enemy to big business. He's not somebody who's completely anti-war. He was just anti-Iraq war.

When you look at what the president actually said there's no reason to be disappointed because disappointment is connected is to expectation. I think the president --

JILLETTE: I couldn't agree more.

HILL: I think the president is governing from the center and gesturing to the left. I don't think that he's been a horrible president. We've seen an amazing advance on HIV/AIDS. We've seen the health care reform, we've seen the education reform. We've seen a necessary bailout, even if we don't agree with all aspects of it.

He's done a decent job but there's a lot more work to do. And it's hard to that work when the Republican Party has had a stand where they say, we're just going to say no to everything. We don't care if we agree with it or not. We're just going to be the party of no.

When you take that position it's impossible to have progress. JILLETTE: You know, Marc --


KING: We're just getting under way. Hold it, guys. We're just getting -- hold it, hold it, guys. I'll be right back. We're just getting under way.

Sarah Palin is sounding an alarm next.


KING: It's politics all the way with our group tonight. A lively group it is. Here's what Sarah Palin had to say about the Tea Party yesterday. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, what if -- what if the Tea Party winds up splitting the Republican Party in two? Who will you stand with?

PALIN: You know, I don't think that it will because I think more of the machine within the GOP is going to understand that this "we the people" message is rising and it's resonating throughout with independents, with hard-core conservatives, with moderates, because it's just so full of common sense and time-tested truths that can put the economy on the right track. That heaven forbid that the GOP machine strays from this message. If so, GOP is through.


KING: All right, David. As co-founder of the New York City Tea Party, might she be hurting the Republican Party, which I imagine has been your base party?

WEBB: Well, no, it hasn't. And what's been the base of this has been common sense populist message. It's true the Republican Party is more aligned with the Tea Party and vice versa. But when you take out the talking points, when you take out all the nice punchlines and everything -- and Stephanie, I love you. And you do have great punchlines.

But when you look at the numbers of Americans that agree with the principles of the Tea Party, it's bigger than the Tea Party. The Tea Party is the focal lens for a lot of this. And to Marc's point about all the different things that President Obama has done, when you have all three Houses, you should be able to get your own bills through so the bipartisanship has been in opposition to policies.

And it's OK to say to say no to bad policies, Marc, but by the numbers people are looking for jobs and the fact is, $1.3 trillion, no jobs, 9.6 percent, California in worst trouble. A lot of other areas.

And all the black votes in the world when they only make up 12 percent of the U.S. population is not going to carry President Obama and the Congress through this midterm.

KING: Stephanie, do you want to respond?

MILLER: Well, I love him, too.


MILLER: But, you know.

WEBB: We love each other.

MILLER: The fact is, these -- a lot of these Tea Party candidates, Larry, are lunatic right fringe. They just are. I mean, Sharron Angle? I don't even know what to say about --

KING: The Nevada candidate.

MILLER: Yes. That she said that the Hispanic -- what were clearly Hispanics in her ads maybe were Asian and maybe she's an Asian candidate. They're crazy, Larry. That's not partisan. Some of the candidates are just crazy. And so --

KING: The larger picture, though.

HILL: I mean --

KING: The Tea Party --

JILLETTE: Well, there is a bigger picture in this when you look at the --


KING: One at a time. One at a time.

MILLER: People say about the Tea Party, they go, you know, Larry, oh, but it's brought such energy -- well, so do "Monster Truck" shows. I mean, you know, I just think at the end of the day, people are not going to vote for candidates that want to destroy the Department of Education and Social Security, and think everything is unconstitutional.

KING: Penn, is a few -- is a few of these spoiling the bunch?

JILLETTE: I don't know. I think there's a lot of nuts in the Tea Party. There's no doubt about that. And there's a lot of people saying a lot of crazy things. There are Tea Party people that I know personally who all they care about is fiscal responsibility and making governments smaller and there is nothing that I can see crazy about that.

Of course, consider the source. But there are all sorts of stuff. I haven't met anyone who supports Sarah Palin. I mean personally one on one. It seems only the Democrats are the ones that talk about her all the time. There must be people supporting her.

HILL: Whoa.

JILLETTE: But I've never met one. And I've met people on just about every other political position.

HILL: Well, when you look at all the straw polls, you look at the polls for potential 2012 nominees, Sarah Palin is right up there. Her unfavorables are also very high.


HILL: But her favorables are extremely high.

JILLETTE: Have you met anybody?

HILL: There's a -- yes -- well, I have -- I don't know too many people.

JILLETTE: Personally.

HILL: The only Tea Party person I know is David.

JILLETTE: No, no. But personally have you met someone that said Sarah Palin is my woman? Go with her?

HILL: Absolutely.

JILLETTE: Have you met somebody like that?

HILL: Absolutely. You know --

JILLETTE: Has anybody on this panel met anybody?


HILL: I'm saying yes. Penn, Penn, I'm saying absolutely yes. I know people who support Sarah Palin.


HILL: Who thinks she's a strong candidate because she speaks to a --

JILLETTE: No, no, not strong candidate. Not strong candidate.

HILL: No, I'm saying --

JILLETTE: Actually supports her. There's a difference.

HILL: She's -- I'm saying --

JILLETTE: Do you know anybody personally?

HILL: My answer is yes.

JILLETTE: Can you get someone on the phone right now? HILL: I don't have them on speed dial, but there are many people who agree with her values and who want her to be the nominee and who want her to president.

JILLETTE: But I know in the polls there are. Do you know anybody personally?

HILL: Yes.


HILL: Wait, what is this, "who's on first"? Yes.


MILLER: How many purposes --


HILL: I'm saying -- no, no.

MILLER: I mean, when Larry told me he was going to play sound bite, I'm like, please, it's like -- you know, someone cutting through a bicycle with a band saw.

HILL: No, no, but let's --

MILLER: It's torture. But it's great --


HILL: Listen, listen, guys. Listen, guys. Let's not turn Sarah Palin or the Tea Party into straw men, though, either. There are people there who have legitimate perspectives who simply believe in smaller government, who believe in fiscal responsibility.

I don't have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is the fact that they don't come up with policy solutions. When you poll the Tea Party --

MILLER: Thank you.

HILL: The very --

MILLER: That's the point.

HILL: The very same --

MILLER: Boy, how can you talk about fiscal responsibility when the biggest part of this deficit is just putting the wars on the board?

KING: I got to get another -- I got another break. Get another break, guys. Stay with us all the way. More on the race in Nevada. How much trouble is Harry Reid in?

Great article about Harry Reid in the current issue of "The New Yorker," by the way. We'll take your phone calls as well.

And Jon Stewart is here, right here tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: Stephanie Miller mentioned Sharon Angle. That's some race in Nevada. She has been hitting hard at Mr. Reid and accusing him of living it up in Washington. Here's part of her latest ad. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Harry Reid versus you. Harry Reid living large in the D.C. Ritz Carlton. You, living in a state with the highest unemployment rate, worried about paying the mortgage.

Harry Reid, making $1 million from a sweetheart land deal. You, just trying to make ends meet, wondering how you're going to take care of your family.


KING: What do you make of the race, Marc?

HILL: I think it's -- I mean over the last year it's been a tight race, it's been a contested race. There was a moment when we thought Harry Reid didn't have a shot to even win the thing.

They're in a dogfight right now. And I think she's playing the right angle. I mean, is it completely honest? No. I mean if you were to poll everyone in the Senate, if you're to look at every single senator on Democratic or Republican side they all have sweetheart deals. They all make more money than they should do. They all do less work than they should.

But the fact that she's campaigning as an outsider, just campaigning as someone who won't be business as usual, I think that's a smart strategy. The problem is she has Christine O'Donnell disease, she has Sarah Palin syndrome. She keeps gaffing, she keeps making mistakes and she keeps exposing herself as someone who is not qualified to be senator of the state -- you know, a U.S. senator.

KING: She spoke to a group of Hispanic schoolchildren and said, some of you look a little more Asian to me.

HILL: Asian.


HILL: But who's on her team? Who's her publicist, who's her manager? And she needs to read from a tight script. She should never freestyle, ever. This is bad -- this is bad business.

KING: Penn, but why is the -- why is leading Democrat in the Senate in such trouble, Penn?

JILLETTE: Well, it's a bad, bad time to be the guy sitting on Larry King who's a nut job and from Nevada.


JILLETTE: There's really -- there's really no defense whatsoever to have here. I'm trying desperately to find something good to say about the people that are running in Nevada. And I can't.

I think the scariest thing about Sharron Angle is that she actually seems to be having a chance against Harry Reid which I think says so much bad about Harry Reid. I mean people dislike him so much that we're to the point that they'll vote for anybody.

And when anybody includes this woman, it's terrifying to be sitting here in Las Vegas.

KING: Stephanie, Nevada is in the biggest trouble in America.

MILLER: Yes. But you know what I love about this ad, Larry, is, you know, apparently liberals are all socialists, but one of them makes it as a capitalist, then that's a bad thing.

It's like -- this guy worked all his life.

JILLETTE: Well, that's not fair.

MILLER: He came from -- no, but he came from this poor background, worked as a lawyer, worked his way to be he Senate majority leader, lives at the Ritz Carlton, and now that's bad. Now that's bad somehow.

JILLETTE: Stephanie --

MILLER: Now he's a capitalist. He's a socialist that somehow made it as a capitalist, Penn

JILLETTE: No. There are so many -- there are so many ways to attack this woman, Stephanie. Don't pick the one way you can't attack her. She's talking about it's not anti-capitalist to say the government shouldn't give a lot of money to one person. That's a whole different thing. You can attack her. You win automatically.

MILLER: For god's sake she wants to ban the Department of Education.

JILLETTE: She's nuts. She's wrong.

MILLER: She wants to ban drinking in Las Vegas.

JILLETTE: No, no, no. That's all stuff --


MILLER: How is that going to go for your show?

JILLETTE: That's all stuff -- that's all stuff to attack her for. But you just happened to pick the one thing that she could kind of slide by on. She's wrong. I'm not defending her. I won't at all.

KING: Well, Marc -

JILLETTE: I'm just saying that's not really the right thing to attack.

KING: Marc, doesn't that sum up the whole problem of the Democratic Party that the majority leader is in trouble against a woman who -- we can be --

JILLETTE: She's crazy.

HILL: Someone who's -- destined for anonymity in two weeks, yes, absolutely.


HILL: This is absolutely a bad sign for the Democratic Party. And the reason why he's in such peril is not because of his own track record necessarily, it's because of the track record of the Democratic Party.

People are frustrated with business as usual, people are frustrated with the fact that we had a de facto and at one point a literal super majority, and still couldn't get legislation through.

And sadly Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the faces of all of the spineless, (INAUDIBLE) Democrats who have been unable to move forward a progressive agenda. And if President Obama were on the ballot in 2010, he would also have a tough time. I'm not saying he wouldn't win, but he would also be bearing the brunt of some --

MILLER: But excuse me, they moved -- they moved forward more legislation than in a generation. What are you talking about?

HILL: But that's --

MILLER: TARP, financial reform, health care reform, Lilly Ledbetter. What are you talking about?

HILL: The point -- there's so many issues here. One issue is that they haven't done good public relations. I agree. Remember I started this conversation by saying that the Democratic Party has made major policy advances on several fronts, but the problem is they haven't done a good job of representing that. They spent so much time --

KING: David?

WEBB: Yes, you know --


KING: David -- in a minute we'll take some phone calls. David, how many Tea Partiers, how many admitted -- people who say I'm in the Tea Party do you count are going to win next -- in two weeks? WEBB: Right off the bat there's about 50 candidates on one list that I have. And we're probably looking at about 30 of them. Somewhere 25 to 30 of them that are going to win. We're looking at even RealClearPolitics which looks at a pickup and puts the Republicans at about 213 to 215.

And this is why I like to sit back and listen to three --

HILL: Yes, right.

WEBB: Three people defend bad --


WEBB: Well, Marc, if you let me finish, we'll have some facts here. Yes, yes, the president has actually advanced a number of policies. Have they been the right policies? What is the job situation? What is unemployment? What is the tax structure? What is the fear of small businesses?

Look, punchlines and attacks on Sharron Angle are great. But let's talk about the failures of Harry Reid, let's talk about the failures of the policies in a country that doesn't have confidence in the leadership.

HILL: Let's talk -- we can talk about this --

KING: I got to get another break. I got to get another break. We have many breaks and opinions and phone calls and lots more. Don't go away.


KING: Still America ranks very low in the world in turnout in elections. Way down. Surprising when you hear this rhetoric.

Let's take a call. Larkspur, California. Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, hello, Larry. I'd like to ask a question and if I could stay on the line to see if they give the right answer?

KING: It's a question, right or wrong, OK, go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to ask the panel if they know where in the Constitution we are guaranteed separation of church and state.

KING: First Amendment, sir.

MILLER: Ding, ding, ding.


HILL: We've got a winner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually it does not guarantee separation of church and state. All it promises is that the government cannot establish a religion for everyone in the government. It does not --

KING: That's separation, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does not give --

KING: The government can't establish a religion. Therefore that separates the government from religion.

HILL: Right, but the principle --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not necessarily.

HILL: The principle behind -- the principle behind it is to prevent state-sponsored coercion of religious thought and freedom. I mean that's the idea.

KING: Right.

HILL: That the state can't coerce religious practice.

KING: Let's -- here's some -- you talk about campaign rhetoric becoming heated. Here's John McCain on his fellow senator, Barbara Boxer.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Barbara Boxer is the most bitterly partisan, most anti-defense senator in the United States Senate today. I know that because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her.


KING: What do you make of that, Stephanie?

MILLER: Ouch. Wow. Just when you thought he couldn't get any -- he couldn't get any crankier than during the last campaign, he's in full "get off my lawn" mode, isn't he?

KING: Isn't that the way America is getting? Isn't that representative of what's going on?

MILLER: Barbara Boxer is one of our finest senators. What ever happened to the comity of the Senate? This is unnecessarily personal. I'm sorry. He's supporting a candidate whose whole experience is running a company into the ground, getting fired and outsourcing thousands of jobs. For him to take on Barbara Boxer that way --

KING: Penn, why is the campaign overall so vicious? You are a good analyst of this. Analyze it for me.

JILLETTE: I don't believe that it is. I believe that we have had fistfights break out in the Senate. I mean, in the country's history, things are supposed to be passionate. When it gets personal, it just gets stupid and it hurt I think the person saying it more. But we always pretend that things are getting hotter and more aggressive. I don't think there's any historical evidence of that at all.

HILL: I think they are. I think fistfights breaking out in the Senate is different than the kind of public skirmishes that we're beginning to see now. When you have people like Sarah Palin, for example --


HILL: When you have people like Sarah Palin putting cross hairs on a map, and using this sort of militaristic language of targeting areas, at a moment where people are getting their offices broken into, where real violence is happening, that's a heightened kind of thing.

When you see Tea Party violence, when you see violence coming from the left as well, this type of stuff is a moment that's more heated than many in American history. I think this is something we should give pause to.


WEBB: To be fair, I think it's a lot easier what John McCain said versus calling someone a whore. Let's be straightforward about this.

MILLER: Jerry Brown didn't say that. Seriously, can you hold everyone in the country responsible for everyone anyone in any campaign office said? He was reprimanded immediately.


KING: How much of this problem is, in fact, 24-hour news, which wasn't here -- not maybe. It wasn't here 50 years ago. Maybe the same thing was going on in 1960 when Kennedy ran against Nixon, Just there weren't 4,600 channels talking about it.

HILL: Right. It's a combination of 24-hour news and deeply partisan news. For God's sake, the Jeremiah Wright thing happened in February. By June, Fox News was still running it. The Lakers win the championship and they are still showing Jeremiah Wright clips. There is a way in which there's an attempt to shape America's conscience through the news. That's why you see so much more of this happening now than you did before.

WEBB: That only happens in the world according to marc.

HILL: It happens on the left and the right.

WEBB: OK. So is it right on the left and wrong on the right?

KING: One at a time.

MILLER: Marc, what's with all the female Republicans candidates using the term man up? Man up? Man up? The president doesn't have the cojones. What's with the ball humor? Is that suddenly OK?

HILL: It's disgusting. It's uncivil. WEBB: First of all, it's not a sexual reference when used that way, Stephanie. Nice try. The fact is what's with the left?

HILL: It's still inappropriate.

KING: Let him finish.

MILLER: There is something under the surface homophobic about it.

WEBB: No, there isn't. You're ridiculous. Come on. I have more respect for you than that.

HILL: Wait a minute, David Webb, are you saying on national television that there is nothing wrong with talking about the president's balls? Is that actually what you're saying?

WEBB: Man up is a term that doesn't have that reference anymore, no more than it does by the race baiting, which the left throws out there. Marc, you and I have dealt with this. So don't go there.

HILL: First of all --

WEBB: The NAACP lied and a bunch of race baiters out there on the left are playing the game.

HILL: Wow. You're on a major tangent. I have no idea where you are going with this.

WEBB: Marc, you referenced --


KING: Time to take a break. We'll return to Civics 102. We'll be right back following this message. Stay tuned, 5th graders.


KING: Another call in the mix. Vancouver, Washington. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: My question is this: I have been a long-time Republican. But I am so angry that the Republican party right now is putting up all these people that don't know what they are doing. Do they want an ineffective Congress? I myself will be voting strictly Democrat because if they think they want to make the Republicans -- that we all fit in their little crazy group, we do not. That's all I have to say. Thank you, Larry.

KING: Speaking of that, David, how do you respond?

WEBB: Well, first of all, I don't know which crazy group she's identifying. So it's a hard question. It's a little bit amorphous. MILLER: Just pick one. Kentucky, Nevada, pick one.

HILL: Start with the Tea Party.

WEBB: If you would actually practiced letting me finish a point, it would be good. The point that we have to face here, the reality that everybody in the country has to face is that we have had the hope and change that didn't work for jobs, taxes and the economy. This is what we should be discussing. Democrats don't want to do this.

We have Democrats running away from health care, which you voted in. We have Democrats running as conservatives, not even identifying their parties in their own ads, like Joe Manchin in West Virginia. You have Democrats defending seats they typically don't have to defend. Then what we have is this bumper sticker argument, which is what's going on here. And instead of getting into that, let's talk about what's needed to advance the economics, get out of this recession and get this country back on track. So while we can sit there --

HILL: If you want to get beyond bumper sticker answers, then you can't start the nation's problems on January 20, 2009.

WEBB: I never did. I never did.

HILL: Well, you did implicitly when you suggest that the economic collapse or the lack of jobs is due to Obama exclusively.

WEBB: I never suggested that, Marc. Don't even try it.

HILL: David, why don't you practice allowing me to finish a point. The fact is the Democratic party is not solely responsible for the health care crisis. It's not solely responsible for the job crisis. The reality ifs we have had decades of deregulation. We've had decades of exporting jobs. We've had flawed tax policy, which has burdened the middle class, hurt the working poor desperately, and benefited the rich. That's led to part of the economic problems that we have now.

WEBB: Yeah.

HILL: These are Republican issues.

WEBB: Marc, in 2006, the Democrats took control of Congress. Fact one. What have you done since 2006? Absolutely nothing. You played partisan games with this.

HILL: That's not true. The most progressive health care bill in American history is nothing? Even if you don't agree with it, don't say they did nothing. To say they did nothing is unfactual.

WEBB: It's already 115 billion dollars in the hole.

KING: Hold it, guys. Please. OK. Is anybody in all these races discussing foreign policy? In the California gubernatorial race, an ad for Democrat Jerry Brown equates Republican Meg Whitman with the current California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here's part of that ad. Watch.



GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Jobs, jobs, jobs. We do not have a revenue problem.

WHITMAN: We do not have a revenue problem.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We have a spending problem.

WHITMAN: We have a spending problem.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Rebuilding California.

WHITMAN: Build a new California.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Rebuild California.

WHITMAN: Let's build a new California.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We need to run the state as a business.

WHITMAN: Running this thing a little bit more like a business.

SCHWARZENEGGER: What's the worst that can happen?

WHITMAN: What's the worst thing that can happen?


KING: Meg Whitman has spent to date 139 million dollars of her own money, outspending the former Governor Jerry Brown ten to one. Is that a low blow ad? Stephanie? Just running two tapes back and forth like that?

MILLER: Well, she doesn't have as fun an accent, but I think that it makes --

KING: Schwarzenegger hasn't been mentioned so far in this race.

MILLER: The what?

KING: Schwarzenegger.

MILLER: No, no, but the point is it's the same philosophy that has run California into the ground and why we are bankrupt. This is the point. Nobody can really say, Larry, like Bill Clinton has been saying, we took eight years to get here and you really think in two years we're going to be out? You think going back to the same policies that got us into it, like Schwarzenegger was behind, is going to get us out of this? She's behind the same policies that got California into this mess.

KING: Going to get a break and we'll come back with more. "Parker/Spitzer" airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern every night, right before this show. Here's what Kathleen and Elliot discussed today with former White House adviser for green jobs Van Jones. Watch.


VAN JONES, FMR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: The real solution is to get the private sector involved. Now to make that happen, you've got to be able to have the rules in place to give them the incentives. We didn't get across that finish line with the Senate.

KATHLEEN PARKER, CNN ANCHOR: What are specifically some jobs that would be called clean jobs?

JONES: Sure. Putting up solar panels, building solar farms, manufacturing wind turbines. Wind turbines have 8,000 finely machined parts, as much steel as in 26 cars. So you can put your auto workers back to work making wind turbines. We have a Saudi Arabia of wind energy in America, not just in the Plain States, off our coasts.


KING: Let's take another call. Fairfield, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hi. How are you?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: I would like to ask any of the Tea Party supporters what the Tea Party's stance is on outsourcing jobs and why they aren't addressing that considering --

KING: David?

WEBB: Actually, we have, Larry. We need to bring manufacturing back to America. We need to have better trade and tariff agreements. We have to also lower the capital gains tax rates for corporations and have appropriate taxation, so that instead of outsourcing jobs, like Dell did to Ireland back in the '90s and other companies have done since they, they can actually have a profitable business model here in the U.S. So that has been addressed.

HILL: I don't disagree with that.

MILLER: David, how come a lot of the Chamber of Commerce money that's going into these republican races -- they are explicitly for outsourcing? They have a lot of foreign corporations on their list.

WEBB: Stephanie, let's go by the numbers again. When they did the report on this and they started checking into it, they came up with maybe a couple hundred thousand dollars.

MILLER: Really? They won't disclose, so how do you know where the 75 million is coming from? (CROSS TALK)

WEBB: Stephanie, on both sides, whether you are a 527, depending on the model, you do or don't disclose.

MILLER: No, there's a lot of Republicans that have been calling for the Chamber of Commerce to disclose for transparency. Let's see where it. Let's see where the 75 million is coming from.

WEBB: They have done their reporting, Stephanie. No matter how much you try to demonize big business --

MILLER: Is it over now?

WEBB: In American business, it's not going to work.

HILL: It's not about demonization.

WEBB: It is.

HILL: It's about an entire history and legacy of taking jobs away from working people and exporting them into the global south and to the so-called third world.

WEBB: They do it because of bad tax policies in large part. Let me finish.

HILL: I wasn't finished.

WEBB: If a corporation can't make a profit, they can't exist.

HILL: But the problem is -- no, hold on.

MILLER: The tax breaks for how long. Why aren't they hiring? The top two percent have been getting these tax breaks for all this time. Why aren't they hiring now.

WEBB: Maybe ask George Soros and the offshore companies.

HILL: The point is not about appropriate taxation. It's not like people on the left are for inappropriate taxation. No one here is for losing jobs. No one here is for taxing people above their appropriate burden. The issue here is what is the threshold? The problem is that multinational corporations constantly cry wolf and suggest that raising taxes one cent, one half of a cent will suddenly cripple the economy, stop invention, stop inventiveness, stop companies from investing and growing. That's simply not true.

People have to pay their fair share. For the last three decades, corporations and the rich in general, the top five percent, have not paid their fair share.

So to say that the Tea Party is in favor of appropriate taxation, so is the Democratic party. We are too. The problem is we have a different idea of what's appropriate and what the threshold is.

KING: We'll be right back after these messages.


KING: Bill Clinton is still hugely popular. No one would deny that. He's working hard for his party. Just watch.


BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't do a lot of politics. I got out. This is the 90th event I've done in this election season. And I want to tell you why. Because I've seen this movie before. And if it keeps going, it doesn't have a happy ending. You know, they -- Hillary's really popular now, but in 1994, they tried to do to her just what they're doing to the Speaker today. They tried to do to me just what they're trying to do to the president today.


KING: Penn, why don't they just clone him?

JILLETTE: I don't know. I don't know. Are people really that thrilled with him? I didn't think they were that overly thrilled, but I guess he's doing his best for his party.

KING: Wouldn't you say he's an effective campaigner?

JILLETTE: Yeah. Who talks better than Bill Clinton? He's a fabulous talker. He's very, very charming. I don't think -- yeah, of course he is.

HILL: As long as he's not going against Barack Obama. The only moments where he had a sort of nadir in his popularity came during his navigation of the primaries with black voters. So I would actually send Obama to black voters and send Bill Clinton to everybody else.

It's much easier to retain or sustain your popularity when you don't have to make tough decisions. When you're president, you go up and down. When you're outside, you can have a fan club, not a political party.

KING: David, do you think anything can happen in the next two weeks to shift the tide away from what's apparently going to happen?

WEBB: Look, things are going to tighten up, as they always do in any campaign season. But even Tim Kaine, head of the DNC said this: this is a volatile time, but right now the enthusiasm and the snowball is rolling downhill to the right of the mountain.

This is going to be a -- maybe not a '94. This is going to be a strong pickup for the Republicans, both in the House and I would say also in governors races. Governors races matter for the 2012 elections. And we're coming down to the wire.

But, in the end, I think we take the House. The Senate's going to be a tough battle. I don't think we take the Senate. And finally, we may have something in Washington where we start working on policies that affect jobs and taxes. Because that's where we need to do. We need to focus on good policy, not partisan policy.

KING: And we'll be back with our remaining moments after these words.


KING: This political season has turned up some very interesting candidates. Here is a moment from the New York governor's race debate last night. Watch.


JIMMY MCMILLAN, RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH PARTY: Allow me to introduce myself. I represent the Rent is Too Damn High Party. People working eight hours a day, 40 hours a week, some a third job. Women can't afford to take care of their children, feed their children breakfast, lunch and dinner. My main job is to provide a roof over your head, food on the table, money in your pocket. This is politics as usual, playing the silly game. It's not going to happen.

The Rent Too Damn High Movement, the people I'm here to represent, can't afford to pay their rent. They're being laid off right now as I speak. They can't eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. Listen, someone's stomach -- child's stomach just growled. Did you hear it? Got to listen like me.

Let's talk about the issue. People can't afford to pay their rent. Rent is Too Damn High.



KING: Andrew had to follow that. The party of the Rent is Too Damn High. Who would disagree with that?

HILL: He's right, man. The rent is too damn high.

MILLER: Then Carl Paladino punched him and called him the F-word for gay men. It's a raucous fight.

KING: Is that a good example of this maybe whole campaign, Penn?

JILLETTE: You know, I like everything about him except the actual politics behind it. But I would love to see more whack jobs in politics. I just love it. I just think it's exciting and fun and part of what democracy should be. Democracy should be in some way entertaining, and I love him.

HILL: It's easy to look at this guy --

KING: Marc, you want more whack jobs?

HILL: Well, I mean, I don't want more whack jobs. Christine O'Donnell is enough. The Tea Party is enough. But in addition to thinking about this guy as a so-called nut job, let's not ignore the truth underneath the spectacle. People do want food on the table. People do want a roof over their heads.

And the rent is too damn high. Getting back to these economic core issues for poor people and working people is how we're going to transform this nation. I don't know who has an answer. It may be him, but it's certainly not the people on the table right now.

KING: David --

WEBB: Look, humor -- I'm with Penn, humor is needed in politics because, in some ways, it's one of the most laughable things out there. As for the candidates people want to focus on, look, if you want to focus on like Angle and O'Donnell and forget the other 40 or 50, that's fine. Go right ahead. Because two aren't going to make a difference.

MILLER: Let's talk about the guy in the Nazi uniform. How about that guy?

WEBB: Stephanie, that's a great point, because are you going to then prosecute Tom Cruise for playing a Nazi in a movie?

MILLER: Yes. He's not running for anything. He's an actor. But nice try.

WEBB: Somebody has to play the bad guy or are you going to have a re-enactment where there are no Nazis. So it's a ridiculous point.

HILL: I want whatever you're drinking, David. David, whatever you're drinking, I want two of them.

WEBB: I'm drinking tea.

HILL: I know you're drinking tea. I know you're drinking tea, bro.

WEBB: The hypocrisy on the left --

KING: All you have finish at once. Go.

HILL: Sorry, Larry.

MILLER: Yeah. It's like Christine O'Donnell said that there's no right or wrong. You know, you shouldn't even lie to the Nazis if they're trying to find the Jews in your house. Like, OK. Yeah, yeah, there's more Jews and they're hiding behind the other ones. That's fine. I mean, come on.

KING: Folks, on a happy note, it's only two weeks to go. Two weeks to election night. And you'll get complete coverage, of course, right here on CNN. Thanks to Stephanie Miller, Penn Jillette, David Webb and Marc Lamont Hill. They will all be back.

Hey, you think this job is easy? You can be King for a day. Read all about our contest and see how you could ends up sitting right here interviewing me. And I'll interrupt you. Go to for details. Jon Stewart tomorrow night for the whole hour. Now it's Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?