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KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with Colin Powell in Philadelphia. We're discussing this incredible summit which winds up tomorrow, right?
KING: And then lots of local summits...
POWELL: Lots of local summits.
KING: ...not just a blast then forget it.
POWELL: No. The work continues. We have a new program that flows from this called America's Promise. I'll be the chairman of that organization. And the subtitle is the "Alliance for Youth -- America's Promise." We just don't want commitments. We want promises.
KING: Big difference.
POWELL: Look the kids in the face, make a promise you're going to execute. It's an alliance. We're all coming together, all parts of America, an alliance to do something about this danger, the danger of too many youngsters not looking forward to a bright future in America.
KING: The other complaint has been there are some companies that give you money. They write it off. And then they lay off 3,000 employees. And they take an ad in the paper and it looks like they're the do-gooders of the year.
POWELL: Well, I have heard that complaint. I think that American industry is going through a massive transformation right now, downsizing, reshaping. And there are people who are being hurt. I just hope that as we go through this transformation -- every Western nation is going to have to go through it -- jobs will be created.
That'll bring people back into the workforce. What's clear, though, is that the new jobs that will be created and are being created are of a higher skill level than the jobs that are probably in the process of being eliminated now. And the youngsters we're leaving behind, if we don't get them caught up quickly, they'll not be able to enter that more sophisticated job market.
So the problem is even greater than it might appear at first. So I think that these companies are going to do whatever they think they have to do to be successful and profitable. That's what business is all about. If they're also willing to share the welfare generating through the kinds of activities, we're encouraging them to do. That's good.
KING: Let's say I wanted to do something. My girlfriend wanted to do something. My daughter wanted to. Give me an example.
POWELL: Let me start with your network, then I come on down to you.
KING: What can we do?
POWELL: Well, I have talked to Tom Johnson down in Atlanta, president, good friend of mine. And Tom has committed the network to provide public service announcements and to do whatever we may ask them to do with respect to getting the message out.
What I would also like Tom to do, and what I would like Larry to do, and Ted to do, and Valerie to do, and everybody to do to find opportunities within the CNN organization to bring high school students in, trainees in, who could see what the work is...
KING: Do that this summer.
POWELL: ...make sure that they're not just like -- you know...
POWELL: ...your brother-in-law's kid. No. I want you to get a kid that doesn't look like everybody else at CNN right now and has a longer way to climb up to fit into your organization. So you can learn about the kind of environment that youngster is living in.
And that youngster can learn about a world that they cannot even dream about anymore and connect working at a place like CNN with the education they need to be successful at a place like CNN.
Then if CNN would then turn around and go into partnership with some of the schools in Atlanta or whatever else you have, facilities, and get the synergy going where a company adopts a school, makes a commitment to the school.
People who work for that company -- such as Larry King and all the other folks, Larry King's girlfriend -- go and spend a couple of hours a week in that school, perhaps take a kid under your wing, doesn't take you all week, Larry. I mean you sleep all day. You don't have anything to do all day long.
KING: Keep it up. Keep it up!
POWELL: But you can find 30 minutes to a couple of hours a week, or 30 minutes a week to a couple of phone calls a week, to enter the life of a child or several kids, adopt a class.
KING: Adopt a class?
POWELL: You would be surprised what happens when a caring adult just goes into an inner city school and is coming to read once a week on a Wednesday afternoon for an hour, those children light up. They absolutely light up. Somebody wants to help me. And so you can do it. Your girlfriend can do it.
KING: My daughter?
POWELL: Absolutely. Your camera operator. Everybody in CNN can do it. You could make it ...
KING: Individual and company?
POWELL: Make an entire family plan. I am not singling out CNN. Any company with these kinds...
KING: You just describe any company could do it.
POWELL: Anybody could do it.
KING: We'll be right back with General Colin Powell after this. Your phone calls will be included. Don't go away.
KING: We are back in Philadelphia with General Colin Powell. We mentioned earlier. She is now on the phone with us from California. Are you there? Nancy Reagan.
REAGAN: Hi, Larry. Yes, I'm here.
KING: Hi, Nancy. You looked beautiful yesterday.
REAGAN: Oh, thank you.
KING: Was that peach, that the jacket you wore?
REAGAN: Peach? No, it was kind of orange.
KING: Orange? But very, very becoming. Any thing you want to say to your friend, the general, who I know you miss?
REAGAN: Well, I miss him. And I just left him.
REAGAN: But it's nice to see him on your show. And I really want to congratulate you, Larry, on your anniversary.
KING: Oh, thank you. Very honored. I am honored to have your friendship. I'm honored by this call.
REAGAN: Well, I'm very glad to be among your many, many, many friends.
KING: What did you make of what Colin did here this weekend?
REAGAN: Oh, Colin was wonderful. He's explained to you better than anybody else could. I couldn't explain any better than he could.
KING: What did you think of getting Nancy to come?
POWELL: Nancy, I just want to tell you that it was wonderful of you to come. We were all so excited to see you. The message you delivered was tremendous. And I hope you will give the president our fondest regards. And just thank you so much, Nancy.
REAGAN: Thank you, Colin.
KING: I like that "just say yes." Was that your idea, Nancy?
REAGAN: Well, I just thought I would fool everybody.
KING: Are you well?
REAGAN: I'm fine.
KING: We don't see...
REAGAN: I'm a little tired. It took me six hours to fly home, because we had terrible head winds.
KING: Head winds. We don't see enough of you, Nancy. You are a national treasure.
REAGAN: Oh, Larry, thank you. You are, too. So is Colin.
KING: Are you sorry he didn't run?
REAGAN: He knows how I feel.
POWELL: She is good. She learned.
KING: All right. One other thing, Nancy.
REAGAN: Yes, Larry.
KING: If he did, if he ran in 2000, would you support him?
REAGAN: Oh, Larry. Colin and I will talk about that in the year 2000.
POWELL: See I have some friends, Larry.
KING: Get them all trained.
KING: Thanks, Nancy. I'm really honored.
REAGAN: Happy anniversary.
KING: Thank you.
POWELL: Thank you. Mrs. Reagan.
REAGAN: Alright, bye.
KING: Public doesn't know her, though, not really.
POWELL: I have gotten to know her very, very well, not only during two years that I served in the Reagan administration, but in years afterwards, after the Reagans went back to California. We remained in very close touch. And we became very close.
KING: Do you ever get to see -- I know you see President Bush on the speaking...
POWELL: I see President Bush all the time. We stay in very close touch. We have a lot of fun together. We go off vacations with Bushes. And we are very close.
KING: You do?
KING: Was that some Republican convention? You were there that big night. You spoke and Nancy spoke back-to-back. Was that a -- what was that like to do?
POWELL: It was very exciting. It was the first convention in which I had ever spoken, and only the second convention I had ever attended. So it was a pretty exciting evening for me.
KING: I mean to stand up there, and...
POWELL: To stand up there and see all of the delegates representing the Republican Party, every part of the Republican Party, but also knowing you were speaking to millions of Americans at home. You were trying to convey a message to them as well as to delegates.
KING: Do you feel on outer fringe of that party, with some of your views, like on the right to choice, that kind of...
POWELL: Well, there were some who think I am on outer fringe. But I would submit that I think my views probably represent a larger segment of Republican Party than those who think I'm on the fringe think it represents.
I'm very moderate in some of my social views. And I think exceptionally conservative on my views with respect to economic policy, national security and defense. And I find many, many Republicans as I go around the country, who think pretty much like I do.
KING: Some other things in the past, and then we'll take some calls, more on volunteerism. Did -- are you -- when you go to sleep at night and you think about it, were you right on "don't ask, don't tell?"
KING: No question?
POWELL: No question.
KING: No question. Why ?
POWELL: Military service is different than any other form of service. It is a unique institution in American society. We put young people together for the purpose of applying state violence, killing other people -- terrible to say it that cruelly, but I have to say that cruelly -- the purpose of military is to fight and win wars.
We also are reflection of our society. We draw strength from our society. And it was my judgment and the judgment of all of my colleagues on the joint chiefs of staff with whom I consulted, and all senior commanders of the armed forces, is that permitting open acknowledgement of homosexuality was detrimental to good military order and discipline.
It's the only institution we not only tell you who you will work with, we also tell who you will be sleeping with, and whose room you will be sleeping in that night. In close confines of military barracks life and close confines of the battlefield, we did not feel that the nation was ready or that was appropriate for us to put the well-being of the armed forces at risk in order to take this step.
KING: But as one who has seen and felt discrimination, wasn't part of that decision and recommendation to the president painful?
POWELL: Yes. It was something that I had to think about very, very carefully. It was painful sometimes to have that charge shot at me. And I recognize many people feel that way.
But my responsibility as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff was to give my best military judgment on what I thought was right for the armed forces of United States at that time. And that was what did. And that is what I always try to do during my career.
KING: Kids from Brooklyn who do well should pinch themselves everyday. And I try to. Do you?
POWELL: I'm from the Bronx. All guys from the Bronx do well.
KING: All guys from the Bronx?
POWELL: Most guys from the Bronx. No, I do pinch myself seriously.
KING: Really? Do you...
KING: Holy, who figured this?
POWELL: Who knew?
KING: Who knew? Who knew, Larry?
POWELL: But I mean...
KING: Every New Yorker gets...
POWELL: What we knew is that we were living in a remarkable country. What we knew is that the road to get ahead was clearly marked in terms of hard work, getting that education, go to school. You know there was never any question in my family as to whether I would finish high school, whether I would go to college. It was ordained. My parents had...
KING: It was a given.
POWELL: It was a given. There was no question in my family. And so even though -- and I tell this all around the country -- even though, that I was, you know, born in Harlem, raised in the Bronx, little black kid, son of immigrants, and at the time that I was being raised, second class citizen, restaurants I couldn't go into -- you know all of that.
And the only institution that would take me in an integrated setting in the mid '50s and allow me to move all the way to the top in an integrated setting was the Armed Forces of the United States. Now, we have come so far in that one generation.
But the point is we are not where we have to be yet. It is not a color blind society. There is still a way to go. And it doesn't come just because of the good wishes of majority. It is always come as a result of struggle.
KING: Pre-Harry Truman, wasn't there.
POWELL: Pre-Harry Truman, it wasn't there. If it wasn't for Harry Truman, I don't know when it would have come.
KING: We'll be back with Colin Powell. He is General Chairman -- what's the name of the...
POWELL: General Chairman of America's Promise/Alliance for Youth.
KING: We'll be back with more on that promise and phone calls. Tomorrow night, Hillary Clinton. Cal Ripken on Friday. Don't go away.
KING: We are back in Philadelphia with Colin Powell in this beautiful setting atop the old Bellevue, now Park Hyatt, Hotel. This is the Founders' Room, beautiful spot in downtown Philadelphia. One of the most beautiful downtowns in the world, I think.
POWELL: It is.
POWELL: Beautiful city.
KING: Yes, Houston, Texas as we go to calls for Colin. Hello.
CALLER, TEXAS: Hi, I'm interested in your volunteer program for the kids. My question is what about the kids who are already in their teens, that are already getting in trouble? Or are they still just going to be throwaways?
POWELL: No they are not throwaways.
KING: Already in trouble kids.
POWELL: They're already in trouble, but they are not throwaways. A different set of resources have to be brought to help those youngsters, but there is still a place for them in the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. We try to take care of kids up until their teens.
The real solution to the problem, though, is to catch them long before they become teenaged problems. A number of the programs we are working on go after children who are still in elementary school and need these resources, that is where they need them or in junior high.
One program that my wife is very, very involved in is called "Best Friends," and a number of people have heard about it.
It was created by Elaine Bennett, the wife of Bill Bennett, and what this program attempts to do is get into lives of young girls, when they are in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and turn them into young ladies, have them believe in themselves, teach them how to stay away from boys, start to teach them about their sexuality and how they have to protect themselves.
And guess what? It works. All those young ladies were asking for was direction from an adult who could tell them how they should live their life at these early and tender years. So it can be done, but it has to be done as early as possible.
By time they are 16, 17, 18-years old, we've got a problem. The tragic cases we have seen on our television sets recently, those two young men in New Jersey who just the other day called for a pizza, and two young men went out there to deliver the pizza, and were brutally murdered for no other reason than the sport of it. Those two young men were 18 and 17 years old. They've ruined their lives and they have brought tragedy to two families, killed two men.
KING: How do you explain that?
POWELL: All I know is they came from broken homes, they were misdirected. They were not being given an education, they had nothing to look forward to. And if you look at the television footage that surrounded that incident, all of the other teens in that community are saying "we've got nothing to do, we've got no place to go."
That is what we have to get inside of and we've got to get inside of it long before they become teenagers with no place to go and nothing to do, and nothing to think they can do except to bring violence on to their fellow citizens.
KING: John Shalikashvili, who was drafted, you were ROTC. How good a program is ROTC?
POWELL: ROTC is a tremendous program.
KING: You were at a city school, "Lavender My Lavender."
POWELL: City College of New York, "Lavender My Lavender."
KING: CCNY. Good ROTC program.
POWELL: Good ROTC program at that time, it was discontinued at the early part of the Vietnam War, to my distress, but it was. The ROTC is still a vital source of officers for all of the armed forces.
KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments -- I'm getting nervous around you. I have to make a commitment now and we will make it, right after these messages.
KING: I'm going to commit my daughter, my girlfriend,myself to "A Place Called Home" in Los Angeles.
KING: And "Children Of Mine," in Anacostia, in Washington. These are poor neighborhood, any facilities, getting in, working with them, anything we could do. What do you think of that?
POWELL: I think that's terrific, Larry. You have made a promise, everybody's heard it...
KING: "Place Called Home" in L.A., "Children Of Mine" in Anacostia.
POWELL: And you've got to stick with it. I'm proud of you, Larry, and if we could only get millions more Americans like you to do likewise, we're going to be in great shape.
KING: Why shouldn't everybody who's blessed do it?
POWELL: Everybody who is blessed should do it. Every one of us who is sharing in the wealth of this nation, the treasure of this nation, living the dream of this nation, and the founding fathers who started on road to that dream in this city, should reach down and help somebody who is worried about that dream and whether it is still there for them.
KING: One more quick call. Chicago, for Colin Powell. Hello.
CALLER, ILLINOIS: Hi, Larry, Hi, General Powell. It is a privilege to speak with you. My name's Wendy Fine, and I'm the volunteer coordinator for Chicago Youth Centers. We work with kids in low-income communities in Chicago. And I especially work at Lower North Center, which is in Cabrini-Green. And we have many volunteers who work with kids in after school programs, as tutors, coaches, and club leaders.
POWELL: Does it work, Wendy?
CALLER: It works incredibly well. We have a great time and we have some incredible programs. We work, at that one center, with over 120 kids every single day, and the kids do better and better in school, and they have a lot of fun.
KING: We're running close on time. Do you a question, Wendy?
CALLER: Yes I do. The question is it takes experienced staff to develop and maintain these volunteer activities, including recruiting, training, placing and supervising volunteers. Where can this funding for the staff and the resources for the program come from?
POWELL: That is one of the elements we are going to be look at in this program "America's Promise."
And we have had some promises, commitments, made already by some of the larger learning institutions in America, that are going to help us provide deliverable packages so that we can get more mentors trained and more volunteers trained so that you're just not going in cold, not understanding the commitment they are making, and what it is going to take in way of understanding and how to manage their mentoring efforts.
So it is a good point and it is essential part of the program we are putting together.
KING: And now if we don't, who will? If we won't, who will?
POWELL: Who will? We have no choice.
POWELL: Even if this summit hadn't come along. I mean, listen to what Wendy just said. They are doing it, long before the summit came along. I hope as a result of this summit, Wendy finds it much easier to get volunteers.
If anybody in Chicago was turned on by what they saw over the last 48 hours, call Wendy. Or call Larry King at CNN, the number will be given to you later and Larry will put you in touch with Wendy.
KING: Or anyone you wish to get in touch with, in any city you live in, we'll be happy to cooperate now that we have made this commitment. Now you make a commitment. If you ever announce -- if ever, who knew? Who knew? It will be here.
POWELL: In Philadelphia?
KING: LARRY KING LIVE.
POWELL: Oh, you can be sure it will get the fullest consideration. I promise.
KING: Still the general. Who knew, who knew? Thanks for joining us. Who knew? Life's little turns. See you tomorrow night with the First Lady, Hillary Clinton. Thanks for joining us from the City of Brotherly Love, from the Park Hyatt in downtown Philadelphia, from this lovely Founders' Room. Good night.
POWELL: Congratulations on 40 years, Larry.
KING: Thank you, Colin.
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