(START OF VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. My name is Larry King. And this is the premier edition of LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: A good question can open up doors in my mind that I would never think of discussing with everybody.
KING: Now did you guys ever do anything but propaganda?
KING: Police believe that O.J. Simpson is in that car.
KING: It looks like a construction site. No big deal.
KING: We’ll also go live to Haiti showing you specifically what your donations mean to this country in ruin.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Good evening. And welcome to the last LARRY KING LIVE. It’s hard to say that. I knew this day was coming. These words are not easy to say.
Bill Maher is the host of “Realtime with Bill Maher” on HBO. That’s Larry King. Let’s go right to it.
KING: Bill Maher. Ryan Seacrest is a radio and TV host and producer. They’ll be with us throughout the show.
There’s a LARRY KING LIVE sendoff party. It’s going on right now in Beverly Hills. We’ll be checking in there during the hour and we’ll be heading there as soon as the show is over.
Thank you both for coming. I’m very — I mean it. I’m very grateful, Bill.
BILL MAHER, HOST, REALTIME WITH BILL MAHER: Larry, you’re 25 years. You’re an icon. Everyone is waiting for your words and your words are, these are hard words to say. Bill Maher.
KING: How did you take that? You took it emotionally, didn’t you?
MAHER: I’m just so happy to be here.
KING: Well, happy to have you.
MAHER: I remember when I took your confession earlier this year when you announced that this —
KING: You were on the show the night I announced?
MAHER: Right. Can I say something to everybody who’s going to be on the — I’m going to appoint myself a referee right at the beginning.
This is not Larry’s funeral. You know? Larry is going to be hopefully in our living rooms for a lot of years to come. Maybe not every night. But —
KING: Doing other things. I’ll be around.
MAHER: If that’s not the case, I’ll be very disappointed with CNN. This is — you know, this is the end of the show, not the end of a man.
RYAN SEACREST, RADIO AND TV HOST: That’s right.
MAHER: So —
SEACREST: That’s a very good point. That’s a very good point. And that’s the tone to set. That is the tone to set.
KING: This is not a funeral.
SEACREST: No, not at all. I hope we’re working together. I’m producing something together, right?
KING: Well, this is breaking news.
SEACREST: We’re in talks.
KING: We’re in — I love that term.
MAHER: Or in 10 years, if things don’t go so well, you could be a morning deejay team. I can see that. Larry and the Bean. You’d have to be the bean.
SEACREST: I’d have to be the bean. As always. OK.
KING: Twenty-years years ago I started this show, 25 1/2 years ago. What were you doing 25 1/2 years ago?
MAHER: I had just moved here. I was on a little show I think everyone in America remembers called “Sarah.”
SEACREST: Yes. Very popular.
KING: Yes, I love “Sarah.” MAHER: Thirteen episodes. That was the dream at the time. You know that’s what we did. We started out as comedians and then we get on Johnny Carson, and then we wanted to get a sitcom and I was. It was years later before I was old enough to be on your show.
KING: You used to come on my radio show in Washington. Whenever you work Washington you would come on.
MAHER: And also, Washington Boulevard. Remember?
KING: That’s right. Culver City.
MAHER: Culver City, Washington Boulevard.
KING: And Ryan, I understand that you have — we have some surprises tonight. There are surprises tonight. I know nothing about.
KING: And Ryan apparently has our first surprise.
SEACREST: I have the blue cards. I’ve got —
KING: The blue cards.
SEACREST: We got the whole rundown right here so —
MAHER: This is funny. He’s just giving you some of his money.
SEACREST: Yes. I’m going to give you out a little bit of money here, Larry. First of all, thank you for having me sit here, as well.
KING: Pleasure being your friend.
SEACREST: It’s an honor and you’re such a tremendous guy with a great heart.
MAHER: It says right here.
SEACREST: Yes. And joining us from Sacramento, Governor Schwarzenegger has a special announcement for you, Larry. So if we could bring up the governor now. I believe he’s with us. There he is.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Hello, Larry. First of all, I just want to say thank you very much for doing your show out of Los Angeles. Out of California. We need the jobs. We need the money so this was really terrific.
And of course, we are big fans of yours and so my announcement is that today is officially in California Larry King Day.
SCHWARZENEGGER: So congratulations. The 25 years of great, great entertainment, great interviews and a great, great friendship. Thank you very much.
KING: Thank you, Governor. I appreciate it. And say hello to the wife and keep this in mind. I’ll be back.
SCHWARZENEGGER: I definitely will. Thank you very much. I’ll be back.
KING: That’s nice. You want to say something, Bill?
MAHER: A side note to that. The proclamation in California that Larry King, Larry King Day stuck in the legislature for two years. That’s what we have out here. Two thirds majority was needed for both houses.
KING: And the vote just passed.
MAHER: Just passed, Larry.
KING: And Ryan, I never told the story on the air. I don’t know if we have time. But I met Ryan Seacrest as the airport in Paris.
SEACREST: You got to tell them what I did. What you made me do.
KING: OK. I didn’t know who Ryan Seacrest was. This was years ago. And my wife is — he’s coming over.
MAHER: That’s what he wanted to know.
KING: He comes over to me and he says — no, he comes over —
SEACREST: Please. Wait to the third segment.
KING: He comes over to me, Ryan, he says, I’m a big fan of yours. I said, OK, nice meeting you. No, I really admire your work. Thanks. And Shawn whispers to me, that’s Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol.” I said, OK. Well, nice to meet you.
And he said to me — now, sweltering airport. The air conditioning wasn’t working. Lines are backed up. And he says to me, anything I can do for you. I said, yes, carry my bags.
SEACREST: So I’m carrying his Louis Vuitton bags with Shawn. It looks like the three of us were on holiday together. Right?
MAHER: We know what it looks like.
KING: No, he was my servant.
SEACREST: And I’ll never forget, you said to me on the flight back, you said, have you ever been a guest on the show? I said no, I just met you, remember? I just came up to you at the airport and carried your bags. Oh, yes. He said, come on the show. The next week I did and then in the second commercial break, he said, I want you to guest host the show sometime when I’m away, and I did for many, many years and I thank you for that.
KING: Yes. He was very good. You, too.
MAHER: You, too.
MAHER: Bono, The Edge, the whole group.
KING: OK. We’re just getting started on our last show. As you could tell. This is completely rehearsed. Don’t go away.
KING: Before we meet some of my favorite people with us in New York, and we welcome you back to LARRY KING LIVE, we have another surprise from Ryan.
Remember, I don’t know what’s coming.
SEACREST: You don’t know what’s coming, right?
SEACREST: Let’s go to the —
MAHER: Like any other show.
SEACREST: That’s true. He doesn’t want to know, does he?
SEACREST: Let’s go to the highest —
MAHER: That’s one of the story for years.
SEACREST: The highest office in the land. Right now. The president has something for you. A special message.
KING: You’re kidding.
SEACREST: I’m not. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to join all of you in congratulating Larry King, one of the giants of broadcasting, on a truly amazing career.
Larry, for 25 years, you’ve hosted a conversation between newsmakers, celebrities and the American people. From presidents and generals to Kermit the frog and Joe from Tacoma.
You say that all you do is ask questions but for generations of Americans, the answers to those questions have surprised us, they have informed us, and they have opened our eyes to the world beyond our living rooms.
So thank you, Larry, and best of luck.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You ever introduce the president before?
SEACREST: I have not, no.
MAHER: John Boehner is calling and he disagrees completely.
KING: He’s crying.
MAHER: He’s calling Obama socialist for those remarks.
KING: Regis Philbin is the co-host of “Live with Regis and Kelly.” Donald Trump, chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization, host and executive producer of “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice”, and Suze Orman, personal financial expert, soon to be appearing on “Ask Oprah’s All Stars” on OWN.
We welcome them back to LARRY KING LIVE for one last time.
Hey, Regis, thanks so much for doing this. You’ve been one of my favorite guests.
REGIS PHILBIN, HOST, “LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY”: Well, same goes for me. My feelings about you, Larry. And you know, what I really love about you is the fact that so many people don’t know that you sing and you also sing all of those great old songs that you only learned years and years ago growing up in New York City with no TV.
Only radio. Only disk jockeys. Only great songs and great singers in those days. And I really have enjoyed — one day we were on a — Trump listen to this. One day we were on a plane coming back from Notre Dame, Larry and I. And I hear Larry singing a dear old song and so we began doing it.
But I got one for you tonight, Larry. OK?
PHILBIN: Totally unrehearsed.
KING: All right.
PHILBIN: So long for a while, that’s all the king for a while.
Yours. Larry, don’t let me down now. (CROSSTALK)
KING: I don’t know the —
PHILBIN: No. The song.
KING: The hit song. Yes. Frank Sinatra sang it.
PHILBIN: Yes. So long to your hit parade and the guest that you loved to be played.
Larry doesn’t remember it. We’re dying, Trump.
KING: I don’t know the “Hit the Parade” song.
PHILBIN: We’re dying here.
KING: OK. You got me, Regis. I lose.
PHILBIN: I didn’t mean to get you. I just wanted to show everybody that you know all of those songs.
KING: No, no we — I lost the $500 question. I’m off the show.
KING: Donald Trump, thank you for humbling yourself and appearing with us again tonight.
PHILBIN: We all appreciate it.
DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Well, I tell you what, it’s really my honor. You’re an amazing guy, Larry. And we’re going to miss you. But I assume you’re going to be back bigger than ever. Look at him. He looks great.
PHILBIN: Looks great.
TRUMP: He looks great.
PHILBIN: Why is he leaving?
TRUMP: What the hell is going on?
PHILBIN: What’s going on?
TRUMP: Yes, what’s going on?
PHILBIN: We don’t like this.
TRUMP: I mean you shouldn’t be leaving anything, Larry. But we —
KING: Donald —
TRUMP: The group here, I will tell you, we have a great group of people in New York and we all love you and you’re a special guy and nobody ever did it better.
KING: Thank you. And thank you, Donald. Thank you for those wonderful words you gave to “The New York Times” this week, too. It was very, very appreciative.
SUZE ORMAN, PERSONAL FINANCIAL EXPERT: Mr. King. Don’t go. Don’t go.
KING: I’m going to start handling — you’re going to handle my finances now, huh?
ORMAN: Yes. I was going to say, after this is all over, you and me, baby. I’m going to take care of you big time.
KING: Suze, what are you doing with Oprah?
ORMAN: Well, what we’re doing is Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, myself, we’re going to be Oprah’s all-stars. We’re going to get questions from the whole world and we’re going to answer them and we’re going to do it Oprah-style.
KING: What do you make of that, Bill? Oprah’s all-stars.
MAHER: I think Oprah is going to sue. You know?
MAHER: Oprah doesn’t like anybody doing her style.
KING: What do you make of that, Ryan? You are good at hits.
SEACREST: I think she’s got a lot of work ahead of her. You know that’s tough to launch a network, isn’t it? I would imagine.
KING: I would guess.
KING: What do you think, Regis? Do you think you could start — the Regis Network.
PHILBIN: Why not? I’ve been doing it for a long time and, you know, I’m about ready to take over my own network. You and I, Larry. We do it together.
KING: The Regis/Larry Network.
PHILBIN: Love it. Want to be a guest?
KING: Who would we have as hosts? TRUMP: I will be.
PHILBIN: As host?
KING: Trump does the first show.
PHILBIN: You know the first. It’s all about —
TRUMP: OK. Sounds like a good idea.
PHILBIN: Real estate. Golf courses.
TRUMP: But I love what Oprah is doing and she’s another special one. She’s a tremendous woman and I think it’s going to be very successful.
And Suze, I think you’re going to do very well.
ORMAN: I hope so. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed.
PHILBIN: These questions are going to be asked ad lib because they took some questions from me this week.
ORMAN: Yes, it’s not —
PHILBIN: For you and Dr. Phil.
ORMAN: We’re not going to know the questions. We’re just going to go for it and see what happens.
PHILBIN: You’ll never come up with mine, baby.
ORMAN: OK. OK.
PHILBIN: Really tough.
ORMAN: Although, Larry, you were never able to stump me over all these years, were you?
KING: No, I never was ever able to stump — no one could stump Suze Orman. Suze Orman opens the refrigerator and does 20 minutes.
SEACREST: She always got that great tan.
MAHER: Everyone on that panel has a great tan.
SEACREST: You always has that great tan. We want time — to tan like that.
ORMAN: I live in New York. What to do?
KING: How do you do that, Suze?
PHILBIN: Come live in New York. You’ll get a tan like us.
KING: All right. We’ll see you on “The Regis/Larry Network.” And we’ll be back with more surprises. Bill will now tell us what’s coming up.
MAHER: Well, actually I won’t tell you, Larry. I’ll just tease it. Someone is going to grill you. That’s right, the tables are going to be turned here on your last show.
SEACREST: Good tease.
KING: Good tease.
KING: The surprises keep coming. Again, I had no idea who was on or what.
Bill Maher, what have you got for us now?
MAHER: Well, it’s not “Saturday Night” but live from New York it’s LARRY KING LIVE.
FRED ARMISEN, COMEDIAN: Thanks, Bill, you know, I have done about 7,000 interviews in my 25 years at CNN. And I’ve saved my best guest for last. I’m talking to me.
Now, Larry, what’s been my favorite interview?
KING: That’s —
KING: It’s hard to pick one out. You know, Larry.
KING: Because you’ve done so many over the years, it’s hard to pick one out. Every time I’m asked that, it’s hard to pick one out.
I like what you’re wearing tonight, Lar.
ARMISEN: Thank you. You know, I just picked it out. You know it was the first thing there right there in the closet. It was great.
Larry, what’s the most interesting thing about me?
KING: Most interesting thing about you —
ARMISEN: That’s right.
KING: — is that you’re a little wacko. That you’re — that no, no one — my sons were saying in the car tonight that no one is normal. In fact if you met a normal person, he or she would be abnormal. So I would say that you’re very special, Lar.
ARMISEN: Thank you. You’re very special.
KING: It’s an honor being inside of you.
ARMISEN: It is, yes. It is an honor. Now what question have I asked more than any over the years?
ARMISEN: That’s great.
KING: No, that’s been — it’s not Abbott and Costello here. You see the best question of all, Lar.
KING: Is the question why.
ARMISEN: I love that.
KING: Because it’s a great question because it can’t be answered in one word and it forces the person to think.
SEACREST: It’s also good if you’re not paying attention.
KING: Yes. As Ryan said, it’s also good if you’re not paying attention at the time.
SEACREST: Just say why.
ARMISEN: Yes. Yes.
KING: Let’s say you’re being bugged and someone’s talking in your headset and you haven’t heard so you say, why?
ARMISEN: Sure, sure. I know the feeling. Yes.
KING: Yes. It’s a minimalist. As you quoted.
MAHER: I always say, Larry.
KING: What now, Larry?
ARMISEN: Now besides holding up my pants, why do I wear suspenders? Can the suspender industry survive the end of LARRY KING LIVE?
KING: I will not stop wearing them. So you’ve heard it first. No matter what I do in life, other things, the suspenders will remain.
So, Larry, you can keep wearing them.
ARMISEN: Thank you. I’m glad. I’m happy about it. Now, now, listen.
KING: I’ve had weird things in my life but this gets weird.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What, Fred Armisen as Larry King is weird?
KING: Yes. I want to call him Fred. Yes, Lar?
ARMISEN: Call me whatever you want. And now was interviewing the cast of “Saturday Night Live” one of the most thrilling moments of my career?
KING: Yes, it was. One, I was — I was so impressed being in that studio because I like — this set is historic. It’s going to the Smithsonian. That set is historic. And when I sat there on that stage talking to them, and you weren’t one of them. Why weren’t you there?
ARMISEN: Yes. Why?
ARMISEN: Well, I was interviewing. Why? Why? Now, now, now —
ARMISEN: Now, Larry, what’s the question nobody has ever asked me that I want to answer right now?
KING: Boy, that’s a tough one.
SEACREST: Button fly or zipper?
KING: Yours — is your zipper unflied? That’s a Ryan Seacrest question. What’s a Bill Maher question?
MAHER: I don’t think that’s what he said.
SEACREST: No, no, no. Button fly or zipper?
KING: Button fly or zipper.
MAHER: Because you’re very specific about that.
KING: I hate button fly.
SEACREST: By the way, this is serious.
MAHER: Now you weren’t asking if you’d do the show with your package out.
SEACREST: No, no, not at all. But you know he’s very specific about —
MAHER: Can I say something about this minimalist thing, because I haven’t — I always said Larry is the ultimate minimalist. And we are losing the greatest minimalist of all time in this era I think, you know, we’re going to miss that. Larry is —
KING: Thank you.
MAHER: Larry would be great at speed dating. Two minutes, he could know everything — he elicits more information in that shorter amount of time than anybody else.
SEACREST: That’s why he prefers the zipper over the button fly.
KING: Zipper over — and Ryan has gotten me gifts of jeans and learned quickly zippers —
MAHER: Well, that’s gay when you get another man jeans.
KING: Stop with that already.
SEACREST: The suspenders and the jeans, and he say to me, I got to have a zipper. When you got to go at my age, you got to go quick.
MAHER: Yes, I don’t have these discussions with other men. But you know go ahead with your —
KING: Hey, Fred, thanks a lot, Fred.
ARMISEN: Thank you.
KING: Fred, I really appreciate you doing this. That was hysterical.
ARMISEN: Thank you. Thank you.
KING: We’ll be back with America’s best known news anchors. They’re all here, next.
KING: Before we meet our guests, I just found out about them like two minutes before the show. We’re showing you right now the Washington, D.C. control room with our staff there. Look at that crack staff.
That’s the staff in Washington and now we’ll switch to the staff right here in Los Angeles. That’s the control room. There you see Wendy Walker and Greg Christianson, and next to Wendy is Cannon King, There’s Sarah.
And joining us now from New York, Katie Couric, the anchor of “The CBS Evening News,” Diane Sawyer, the anchor of “ABC World News,” my dear friend Barbara Walters, co-host and executive producer of “The View,” and Brian Williams — what a shock this is to me — anchor of “NBC Nightly News.”
I was just told before the show that these guys are on.
Diane, we’ll start with you. You’ve been a guest on the show many times over the years. I’ll start by thanking you for coming tonight.
DIANE SAWYER, ABC WORLD NEWS ANCHOR: Thank you so much and we are your proteges. Your groupies. Your peeps here, as Gladys would say. But I want you to know, Larry, you said that you will never be without your suspenders when you’re doing your specials and we chipped together — it was really extravagant on our part.
But we want you to know you now have the official Larry Ling special suspenders and on the back, “We’ve got your back.” All of us stayed up all night to stitch our names in for you.
SAWYERS: So these are coming your way. These are your spruced up suspenders for your specials.
KING: I will wear — I will wear them with honor and gratitude. And I thank you all very much.
KING: Barbara, what’s happening? Barbara Walters, I have been on “The View” many times, about 20 times I think. And I really appreciate your being on this show, I think this is your 21st appearance.
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, THE VIEW: It is. You’ve been on — forgive my voice. “The View” had a party last night and I think I —
SAWYERS: The Congo lions.
WALTERS: Yes, too much — too much cheer. You’ve been on 25 years and I have been on 21. So there were four years you didn’t want me. What did I do?
KING: By the way, I — I believe looking at this group you were the first female anchor, were you not?
WALTERS: I was the first female co-anchor when I first came to ABC from NBC. You see if I hadn’t left, I would have your job today. Do you realize that?
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS NIGHTLY ANCHOR: That hadn’t occurred to me but perhaps we could discuss —
WALTERS: You have nothing to say?
WILLIAMS: A delightful chardonnay later. Yes. I don’t know. (LAUGHTER)
WALTERS: Anyway, Larry —
KING: Brian, you’ve been a guest — you were a guest on this show many times when you were the White House correspondent, Brian. And you’ve also been on on Stand-up to Cancer. So we’re very appreciative that you’re here tonight. I really mean it, Brian. You’re a good guy.
WILLIAMS: You’ve been very, very kind to me. And by the way, Larry, what you’ve just done is what scores of network executives were never able to do, you just snatched air time away from Barbara Walters, by the way, who was in the middle of a sentence.
But as long as it’s on me, I’m going to take it. Run with it over the goal line and tell you that this has — this table and the one where you’re sitting with Bill Maher, which I agree is hard to say. This has been America’s kind of confessional. And 25 years is a towering, towering achievement. You’re a giant in our business.
WALTERS: Can I take it back now?
WILLIAMS: Yes, Barbara.
WALTERS: I just want to say that all of us have done interviews. All of us have done world leaders and heads of state and not-so-heads of state. No one has done more than you. You’ve been able — you were my biggest competition.
I hate to see you go but little part of me says, oh terrific, now I can get them. Nobody has done them as well. The week that I was on, I guess, this fall, you had Ahmadinejad on. And then Jimmy Carter was on the next night. I mean, and that’s just routine for you.
KING: Thank you, Barbara.
WALTERS: You’ll be so missed, so missed.
KING: Before I ask Katie, Brian, you mentioned Bill Maher. What do you think of Ryan Seacrest?
WILLIAMS: A sparkling, still emerging talent. You and I have the same opinion of that young man. It’s just such an exciting evening. I mean, just in the green room here to see your next two guests, Starr Jones and Julian Assange — it’s — it’s really — there’s a vibe, there’s a crackle and energy in the air that’s hard to define.
WALTERS: You are nuts.
KING: Brian, take two. Hit to right. All right. Katie, you’re part of the CNN before. You were part of CNN before I was. I’m honored you’ve returned to the network. Wendy, your good pal, my senior executive producer, tells me you have something to say, as well. Katie, it’s yours.
KATIE COURIC, CBS EVENING NEWS ANCHOR: Well, you know — OK, Larry. Well, we go way back and, of course, Wendy is one of my very closest friends and I don’t know if you guys can show a shot of her but this is a very emotional night for Wendy because she has loved working with you so very much.
And she’s such a wonderful person and I thank — I decided, Larry, that I was going to write you a poem bemoaning the fact that you’re leaving your home.
What are we to do without our top talker? Here’s an ode filled with love from me and Miss Walker. As you hang up your suspenders on your dressing room door, I speak for us all when I say we want more. More of the show that we instantly loved, for 25 years couldn’t get enough of.
Your unique take on politics, culture and crime, never cutting off guests — except for Barbra — always giving them time. You made NAFTA exciting and that’s hard to do. And you scored Paris Hilton’s post jail interview.
Sinatra, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, Bacal. So many stars, I just can’t name them all. From Heather Mills’ leg to Ross Perot’s twang, you always cajole, not harass or harangue.
But there were moments when your guests had a cow. Seinfeld wasn’t canceled, Larry, but I guess you know that by now. Mike Tyson KO’d without throwing a punch. And you got Miss California’s sash in a bunch.
You went gaga for Gaga, Sharon Stone, Janet Jackson. Alas, it was Brando who gave you some action. Eight presidents joined you, from Nixon to Obama, and you brought us each moment of O.J.’s long drama.
Some startling shows I’ll never forget. Tammy Faye’s eyes, Ted Haggart’s regret. Your guests made us cry, made us laugh, made us think. Wynona Judd told you about a God wink.
I hadn’t heard that before, so I looked the phrase up. It’s a miracle, blessing, an overfilled cup. That’s what you are. And as old blue eyes might say, the best is yet to come, Larry. You did it your way.
That’s from Wendy, too.
KING: Thank you all. Diane, until I get them, you may wear those suspenders on the “ABC World News.”
SAWYER: I will so wear them with pride and a little bit of eccentricity.
COURIC: And a blazer covering them up, Larry.
SAWYER: Yes, exactly.
KING: Thank you, guys. Thanks very much. A guest who has been here 28 times over the years will join us for the 29th time. We’re going to go live to Little Rock, Arkansas, next.
KING: I have spent many, many moments with him, all of them delightful, all of them informative, never dull. Bill Clinton is the 42nd president of the United States. He’s just back from Haiti. He’s been a guest on this show 28 times. Provided us some memorable moments. I’m honored to have you back again tonight from Little Rock.
Thank you so much, M. President, for joining us.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Larry.
KING: You look well fit. Are you feeling well?
CLINTON: I feel great. I’ve been traveling quite a bit. But as you pointed out, I just got back from Haiti and from the day before in the Dominican Republic. But I’m encouraged by some of what I saw there and I’m kind of like you. I have to keep working. I don’t know if it keeps me young, but at least it keeps me out of the grave. So I feel good about it. I’m really glad to see you here and still up and going.
KING: We’re both in the zipper club. By the way, you looked very good last week in the briefing room at the White House, doing that little 30-minute session. Did that make you yearn to return?
It was actually quite impromptu. I was — I was in the Oval Office talking to the president about a number of things at his invitation. And he asked me what I thought about this tax compromise. And essentially I said the same thing as Bob Greenstein, the tax expert. I said I think it’s the best deal you can get at this time.
I said, would you like me to call some Democrats in the House? He said, no, I want you to go to the briefing room and tell the press. I said, well, I’m out of practice. He said, you’ll be fine. It’s like riding a bicycle. So he dragged me in there and the rest is history. It was sort of fun. But I think once every ten years is quite enough.
KING: Do you think it’s going to pass?
CLINTON: I do. I do. And, you know, I’m like him. I don’t like part of it. I think the tax cuts to people in my income group are the single most economically ineffective thing that can be done, because we don’t spend the money we make now. And it’s just ideological stuff. But they won the election, and the American people, for reasons I do not understand, ratified it.
However, the bill does have a payroll tax deduction, which is the most efficient job creating tax cut, and an extension of unemployment benefits, which is the second most effective thing in terms of keeping the economy going. So I think it’s the best deal he could have made under the circumstances.
KING: We have a few moments left. Bill Maher —
CLINTON: — business stuff is good. All the —
KING: Bill Maher and Ryan Seacrest —
CLINTON: I’m sorry. We have a delay.
KING: I know. Bill Maher and Ryan Seacrest are here. They may — each of them might have a quick question. Do you, Bill?
MAHER: My question is, how come when we go all the way to Shanghai, the electronics work, but in Arkansas, there’s a delay. It is like — I have never seen such a delay. What’s going on?
KING: Why is there a long delay? Do you know, Mr. President?
CLINTON: I think, you know, we talk slower down here.
SEACREST: It’s the southern drawl.
MAHER: I would just say that I don’t agree with either one of these guys about that tax cut. And I don’t want to get into that, because, you know, I don’t like to be political. Not a political night. But I will say this: in an era where a lot of world leaders look very insecure, to leave the podium to Bill Clinton, that’s very secure. Our president, I’m not thrilled with him right now, but he’s a real man who’s secure and knows who he is if you leave the podium to Bill Clinton. He didn’t have to be dragged there.
KING: By the way, the suits want me to remind you what the zipper club is. It’s if you’ve had open heart surgery. They have to zipper it up. So I thought everyone in the world knew it, but apparently —
SEACREST: Bill and I looked confused.
KING: I’m sure you did. Ryan, do you have a question for the president?
CLINTON: I’m glad you clarified that.
KING: I see what you mean. Oh! Oh, oh. Huh oh.
SEACREST: What have you enjoyed doing the most or been most fulfilled by since you’ve been in office?
CLINTON: You mean since I left the White House? SEACREST: Yeah.
CLINTON: I think there’s no — I think the most fulfilling thing to me has been the work that our foundation has done in Africa, Latin America, East Asia on AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and on bringing jobs to poor people — places, especially if the jobs were related to energy. Seeing people’s lives changed —
I have these recurrent images in my mind that flash across all the time of kids I have seen in all these little villages who are alive because of the work that we have done. That’s by far the most rewarding thing to me.
KING: By the way, I want to congratulate —
CLINTON: I’m having a good time. I like traveling and doing the work.
KING: By the way, Bill Clinton’s childhood home in Hope, Arkansas, has been named a national historic site. It’s the 394th site in the National Park System. Congratulations, Mr. President.
CLINTON: I think that officially qualifies me as a relic. But I’m glad.
KING: Thanks again, Bill. Good seeing you.
CLINTON: It’s a wonderful little place. Thank you, Larry. Thank you for all of the years. You were great.
KING: And Bill Maher wants to know why don’t you do his show?
CLINTON: Has he ever invited me?
MAHER: Every year.
KING: You have to get it right to him, because he fears nothing.
CLINTON: I owe you one then. We’ll work it out.
KING: Thanks, Mr. President. By the way, Ryan, I understand we have another surprise. Thanks, Mr. President, again. Ryan?
SEACREST: Bill, why have you never done my show?
MAHER: Because you do it in the morning and reasonable people are asleep.
SEACREST: You did an extraordinary interview with Reverend Graham back in I think 2005. And he had sent a letter that he wanted us to read on the air. And I’ll read it in part. It says, “Dear Larry, it’s hard to believe that after so many years, you are retiring from LARRY KING LIVE. I will miss watching you every evening, as I have done for so long. I would also like to thank you for the times you have had me on your program.
“I always thoroughly enjoyed our times together. I wanted to send at least this brief note of appreciation both for your program and for our years of personal friendship. You will be greatly missed in my evening routine.”
And that is from Reverend Billy Graham. And I think we say ditto.
MAHER: Also, I think a big friend of mine, Billy Graham.
KING: I know. Loved your movie.
SEACREST: He’s trying to get on your show.
KING: Lots more to come. Don’t go away.
KING: We’re back with Bill Maher and Ryan Seacrest. They’ve been with us all the way. Joining us now, my good friend, Dr. Phil McGraw, the host of daytime TV’s “Dr. Phil.” And he soon appear on “Ask Oprah’s All-stars” on OWN. How do you feel? You’re an all-star now.
DR. PHIL MCGRAW, “DR. PHIL”: Listen, that’s OK. If you’re hanging with Oprah, that is good, right? That’s fun. I’m looking very forward to that.
KING: Thanks for coming by.
MCGRAW: This is about you. This isn’t about me and what I’m doing. I got questions for you, man.
How do you feel about all of this? Every one of us — you know, we do shows. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Because all of us are going to be in a position where we say, OK.
MCGRAW: That’s it. We’re just — we’re too far into it. We ran out of something to say. We’ll be going home. So I’m really studying how you’re handling this.
KING: How am I doing?
MCGRAW: With grace. I mean —
KING: Well —
MCGRAW: It’s really interesting.
KING: You know, I’m going on to other things. I’ll be doing a lot of things. But, hey, this has been a third of my life.
MAHER: I’d like to pipe in and say my little tribute on that score, because — no, really. I mean, I have seen in the short history really of American media a few people who really commanded the affection of the whole nation, because they always had dignity in what is sometimes a tawdry nation. I’m thinking of Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, you know, Walter Cronkite.
For me, you know, Johnny went off in ’92, right? For all that time for me, that guy has been Larry King. You know? In a nation that is too — too many windbags and douche bags, this man was never windy or douchy. Excuse me on CNN.
MCGRAW: No. I know. And you guys know, because we all know Larry off camera as well as on, and you never liked to be the center of attention. You ask short questions. He told me ten, 12 years ago — he said, if it’s two sentences or more — if there’s more than two sentences, you shouldn’t ask the question. You need to work on it and think about it. It’s about them. But I mean —
MCGRAW: You really handled have handled this with such grace.
KING: I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of you coming by. We’re short on time, but thank you so much. I love your presence.
MCGRAW: Thank you so much.
KING: More surprises to come. I don’t know what they are, so stay here and we’ll find out together.
KING: As you can see, the panel has increased, with the wife and the kids. We’ll meet them in a minute. Anderson cooper and I have been meeting via satellite, Monday through Friday for about five years now. All good things come to an end, Anderson. Sorry you can’t be with us tonight.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, I’m not going to talk about what’s on my program tonight, which is what I usually do in this program.
I just want to use my brief time to say thank you. You have been a friend, a mentor to me all these years that I have been at CNN. And I truly cannot imagine this place without you.
And if I can say something very personal for a moment. You and I had lunch once recently and we both talked about our fathers. And we both lost our dads at a very young age. I think you were nine, I was 10. We talked about how one really never gets over something like that.
And I was just thinking about how proud your dad must be for all that you accomplished in your career. And more importantly, in your life, being there for your boys, for your family, taking them to ball games, to school, and doing all the things that I know he would have wanted to do for you and that my dad would have wanted to do for me.
Right before my dad died, he actually wrote a letter to me. And I just want to read you something that he said to me. He said, quote, “we must go rejoicing in the blessings of this world, chief of which is the mystery, the magic, the majesty and the miracle that is life.”
And I think you, more than most people, have done just that in your life and on your show. You’ve rejoiced in the blessings of this world. And you’ve brought us every night the mystery, the magic, the majesty and the miracle that’s life.
So I just want to thank you, Larry. We love you here. And we look forward to all that you’re going to do in the days ahead.
KING: Thank you, Anderson. I’m really touched. Thank you so much.
Bill Maher is going to tell us what’s next. Bill?
MAHER: Well, Larry, I know that you have a special relationship with a lot of cities in America, like Miami, where you started, and New York, L.A., Chicago. There’s one guy who left his heart in San Francisco who’s going to sing for you.
KING: You’re kidding.
MAHER: I am not kidding.
TONY BENNETT, SINGER: All right. Thank you.
KING: Wow. Tony Bennett. Wow.
BENNETT: Let’s give Larry a beautiful standing ovation tonight. Come on, everybody. We love you.
KING: How about them apples?
BENNETT: Thanks for all the great interviews you’ve given us through the years, Larry.
KING: Thank you, Tony. I love you.
KING: Tony Bennett. Wow. Well, Shawn, how do you feel?
SHAWN KING, WIFE OF LARRY KING: I’m excited. I’m proud. I’m honored to be your wife and to have been with you on this journey, and excited that we’re moving forward to new things.
KING: How do you feel, Chance, on this historic evening? Chance is 11.
CHANCE KING, SON OF LARRY KING: I think I mostly feel happy for you. And I’m really happy because now you can be with me more and probably I can see you a lot more. But it’s not like you’re not going to be on here anymore.
KING: Because we’re doing other things, right?
CH. KING: Yeah.
KING: Including seeing you play baseball. And Cannon King, who is 10. First Cannon does me. Do me.
CANNON KING, SON OF LARRY KING: Where’s Shawn? Get in the car. I’m too old for this. I done this for 50 years.
KING: How do you feel about this night?
CA. KING: I feel glad for you and for us and for — I mean, it’s not like — yeah, it’s not like you’re not going to be on the show anymore. You’re going to come back. And it’s going to be fun for us. Yeah. You’re going to do specials here. And you’re going to try to get on MLB Network also.
KING: Baseball. It has to be something.
S. KING: And if it doesn’t work, we’re going to get you a paper route.
KING: That’s a good idea.
S. KING: We’ve got to keep you out of the house just a little. Just a little.
SEACREST: You can hang with me.
KING: Dr. Phil, you want to analyze her?
MAHER: Let’s go to Dr. Phil.
MCGRAW: I tell you what, we have met the talent here in the family. I mean, clearly, great job. I thought it was him, but with hair and shorter.
SEACREST: It’s so special. It’s so neat to se you guys share this moment together.
KING: Have you enjoyed the night, Shawn? What did you think of the show?
S. KING: What an amazing group of people.
KING: Wendy Walker and this incredible staff deserve a lot of credit. Wendy, I can’t thank you enough for the job you did, and for putting this all together. It was a total surprise. To Bill Maher and Ryan Seacrest for coming over and doing it, Dr. Phil and all the people in New York. And Chance wants me to cry. I don’t know why.
CH. KING: No, I said you’re going to cry. I didn’t say I wanted you, but you’re going to.
MAHER: That’s John Boehner you’re thinking of. He’s the one that cries all the time. Larry’s like a rock.
S. KING: Not true. KING: I’m going to have some final comments in a minute. But would you like to just say something about — anything you want to say as if you were me. Go ahead. Do the show.
CA. KING: Anything? An impression of you?
KING: Anything. Yeah.
CA. KING: Stop doing your makeup. This is the last show. We’re going to be late.
KING: All right. By the way, I want to thank the whole crew in New York as well, all the producers there, all the control staff, the people in Washington. I’ll have some last words, but you can throw it. Throw it.
CA. KING: We’ll be right back after this.
KING: It’s not very often in my life I’ve been without words. I want to thank everybody associated with this program, all the people behind the scenes, as I’ve mentioned Wendy and the staff, the floor people, everybody that makes it possible, even the suits at the top. Love them too.
When I started 25 years ago at a little studio in Washington, D.C., I never thought it would ever last this long or come to this. So I’m going to go on, do a lot of other things. We’re going to do specials here on CNN. I’m going to be seen in other places, do some radio work, be around baseball.
So you’re not going to see me go away. But you’re not going to see me here on this set anymore. For two weeks, they’re going to be playing highlight shows. I — I am — I don’t know what to say except to you, my audience, thank you. And instead of good-bye, how about so long?
Image and transcript courtesy CNN.
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