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Larry King Live

Sam Donaldson Talks Politics and Peace from the Middle East; Tom Arnold Discusses His Search for a Wife on the Internet

Aired March 24, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, from Jerusalem, one-of-a-kind correspondent Sam Donaldson of ABC News. And then, he's had two marriage go bust, and now he's searching for an old-fashioned wife in a new-fangled way. Actor Tom Arnold joins me in Los Angeles, and he'll take your calls, and they're both next on LARRY KING LIVE.

We're going to spend the opening moments of tonight's show with our good friend Sam Donaldson. He joins us from Jerusalem, where he'll be interviewing this Sunday for his program King Abdullah of Jordan, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

I remember a few years ago, Sam, when we had Rabin and Hussein and Arafat on. You get the feeling that your conducing diplomacy. Was this difficult to set up?

SAM DONALDSON, ABC NEWS: It was, Larry. I mean, this is a trifecta now, the leaders of the Middle East. Assad is not here, and he's very important. But the three you mentioned -- and they'll be on our program on Sunday -- are people who are going to actually make the peace.

KING: The reaction of some is, while this is historic and a great thing to do, the people in the United States, except maybe for the Jewish people in the -- aren't really caught up in this. How do you respond to that?

DONALDSON: To some extent, that's true. You say the words "Middle East peace process" and eyes glaze over and you can hear sets clicking off. But remember, Larry, we're here against the backdrop of his holiness the pope, first time that a Roman Catholic pope has come to the Holy Land. This is not only historic, but I think it's something that could lead to -- an aid to the peace process. I mean, where is all of this talk about oh, they killed Christ? And where's all of this talk about they should apologize for the Holocaust? This pope has done more than I think any other probably in Roman Catholic history to bring these peoples together in great religions. So it's just a peace process. I mean, if people think it's boring that the pope has come to Jerusalem, hey, I don't want them to watch. Who needs them?

KING: Boy, are you right. What is the mood there in Jerusalem about that visit? You know, there was the thing -- they were upset when he met with Arafat and then they were glad when he came to Yad Veshem. What are you seeing?

DONALDSON: Well, I've talked to a few people. I am not an expert on what the people of Israel think, but clearly the people I've talked to are very upbeat about his visit. Yes, there are some who said he should have actually said the words "I apologize" on behalf of the church for the Holocaust and the way Pius XII stood aside." But most Israelis say he went very, very far. It was very moving. Did you see it, Larry, Yad Veshem?

KING: It was very moving.

DONALDSON: Very moving. The pope said I'm deeply saddened for any persecution toward the Jews over the years, anytime, any place, by the Catholic Church, and that was going pretty far.

KING: This will also be the first time, is it not, that we'll see King Abdullah on the world's stage with other leaders?

DONALDSON: That's true. I mean, Hussein was such a figure here. I don't have to tell you. You interviewed him how many times?

KING: Many.

DONALDSON: Have you lost count? But many times. He was a great man. But Abdullah is the question of, well, how does the son do? How does this work? Is it going to be all right? The early reports from Jordan is that he's doing pretty well. Let's see how he handles himself here, not that we're any great test. But you know as well as I do that in this era of television diplomacy, it's people who can communicate on television the way people do on your show that makes a difference quite often.

KING: The other day "USA Today's" Peter Johnson printed a long story about you in which you called him to talk about what's going on with the Sunday shows. Are you worried?

DONALDSON: No. As a matter of fact, I'm very encouraged. I called Peter and a bunch of other reporters, and I said, have you got a moment? Can I spin you? Let me spin you, you know, like all the politicians spin -- so I am showing how we're on the way back. This week, we slumped a little bit, no question about that. Is it anyone's fault but ours? No. But are we on the way back? We are storming back. I'm going to tell you, Larry, I want everybody to watch the movie "Patton." I want them to see George C. Scott. He comes as Patton to his headquarters in North Africa, and as he comes into the headquarters, two German bombers come by. They dive under the table, and the plaster come down, then the bombers come back, the plaster comes down. The third time the bombers -- George C. Scott jumps out at Patton, he jumps on the balcony. He grabs his two pearl- handled pistols, and says "That's enough."

So I am sending the word to all of our competitors, including the great Wolf Blitzer, who I think does a terrific job on CNN on Sunday morning: That's enough, boys. We're on the way back!

KING: Sam, what -- this whole Sunday morning story, when did that emerge as suddenly a story of ratings, a battle? When did all this happen?

DONALDSON: Well, you know, in the '80s the great David Brinkley -- and I wish David were still with us, but he retired, as you know, in 1996. He was king of Sunday morning. I was privileged, along with George Will inc., to be on his program, and we were No. 1 by huge margins.

But in the '90s, several things happened. David retired, and that was a loss for us. But the competitors got really good. Tim Russert is really good. Bob Schieffer has always been very good. Tony Snow is good. Wolf Blitzer I've already paid my respects to. Well, when you're facing huge competition now you can't just be coasting along saying we're number one, Jehovah gave us this right. We slept a little bit. There's no question about that. But I'm telling you, people who care about the news and care about public affairs who are not watching us are missing something.

KING: Some other things. What rejuvenated you, you, Sam, who today is bursting with energy? Did you get into a little -- another Sunday attitude?

DONALDSON: Well, I'll tell you, it's the World Wide Web. In addition to doing "This Week" and "20/20" pieces, you know, I finally left the White House after my second tour of duty there, meaning no respect to Bill Clinton, but that's a young person's game, Larry. I am doing a Webcast, the first regularly scheduled program on the World Wide Web, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 12:30 Eastern time. Eventually, you and all of us will be coming to people's homes, and businesses, and factories and vacation spots on the Internet. And I'm going to say to every one of you, Larry King, Dianne Sawyer, Peter Jennings, plenty of room for you, right back on this bus, row two please. Margaret, you're in five, because I am in the lead.

KING: What is that like -- we're going to take a break and spend a few more minutes with you. I know you're pressed. What is that like on the Internet three days a week? I mean, how many people are hitting, as they say "hitting?" How many hits you get?

DONALDSON: A few. I am embarrassed to tell you how few, but it's in the thousands, but the low thousands, not enough if we were on commercial television that we could stay on. But we're growing. We're like the acorn. And I've got a very young staff. The average age, I think, is 29, and they're all women. You say, Sam -- I didn't hire them -- but it's just the way the business is going, have you noticed, Larry.

KING: Yes, I've noticed.

DONALDSON: Us old guys, you and I, we're lucky to be where we are, because the young guys, they're having it tough. And they bring me back. They came and said, you have to do a show with Jeanine Garofalo. I said, "What's a Jeanine Garofalo?" She turns out to be a terrific comedian in New York.

They say we want you to do a show with Kirstin Dunst. She's an actress who's almost 18. I says, what has she done? Well, she's got this great movie called "Virgin Suicides." What? But all the kids are watching it, Larry, and so we put that on.

Kate Betts, who's the new editor of "Harper's Bazaar" -- she's 35.

When I interviewed Oscar de la Renta the other day, I thought, thank goodness, he's a guy my age. And we showed a lot of these fashion shows in New York, including his competitors, so I turned to him and said, well, Ralph, what do you think of -- he said Oscar. I said, OK. It's a whole new life for me.

KING: Sam and I are the same age. We'll take a quick break and be back with more moments with Sam Donaldson, and then Tom Arnold will talk some politics and more about his show in Jerusalem this Sunday.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Sam Donaldson in Jerusalem.

A couple of political things, Sam, and then we'll let you go.

Are you looking forward to Bush-Gore?

DONALDSON: I'm looking forward to it as a reporter, I suppose, because I think it's going to be a good story, and I think I am looking forward to it as a contest between two guys, who at the moment, seem to be fairly equally matched, although one's strength is the other's weakness and vice versa. But I think it's going to be a tight election, assuming the economy goes well. Now if the economy were to dump, goodbye Al Gore, but no one expects that, and I'm with the majority here.

KING: Were we, the collective media, we, in love with John McCain?

DONALDSON: Oh, yes, Larry, every four years, we, the collective media, fall in love with some candidate or another, usually someone that positions themselves as a reformer or an outsider, and usually it's with a liberal Democrat. So we were all delighted this year, delighted to fall in love with a conservative Republican, although you noticed that a lot of people who had said they'd liked John McCain had no idea he was a conservative Republican. They thought he was a liberal, which he himself is quick to say he's not. It didn't do him any good, because I have a -- I take an old saying and I change it: He whom the gods would destroy, they first make believe his own press clippings.

So when we sat at John McCain's feet and said you are great, you are wonderful, tell us another, that's true. Don't worry, we won't quote that. We weren't helping him, because John, who is a really great guy, started to believe he's a really great guy, and he started doing some things that weren't in his own interests, I suppose.

KING: What happened to Bill Bradley?

DONALDSON: Bill Bradley is another good man, I think, and he's very studious. He knows his stuff. But what happened, as he himself said, I presented myself to the American people. Larry, if you want to become president of the United States, you don't just say, here I am, in the worlds of an old Baptist hymn, without one plea. You go and you grab every voter, and you grab them by the neck, and you throw them down, you go door to door -- I mean, you have to sell yourself. And I think that Bill Bradley simply was too laid back, wanting people to come to him, because he thought he was qualified, which I believe he is, and when they didn't, he worried, why is that? Well, it's because he didn't go out and grab them.

KING: Should Buchanan, if he's -- or any -- should the nominee of the Reform Party be in the debates?

DONALDSON: I think they should. The rules now is about a 15 percent requirement -- what is it? -- for five national polls?

KING: Yes.

DONALDSON: You've got to have some rules. Everybody with an Uncle Sam hat on who walks down the street and says I want to be president. But the Reform Party, even though it's in disarray, even though some people say it's a bunch of kooks -- I didn't say that; some people say it; I'm just a reporter quoting them -- I think deserves a place. If Pat Buchanan is the nominee, if Jesse Ventura is the nominee, or even if, as I suspect, Ross Perot may turn out to be the nominee claimed by, you know, eight people, I think they should be in the debates.

KING: Do you have any thoughts on who the vice presidential nominees might be? We are always wrong on this. Any thoughts of Mr. Donaldson?

DONALDSON: No, I haven't a clue. You notice the other day that -- I think it was on CNN, but you'll correct me if the record is wrong -- George W. Bush said, well, Colin Powell is the kind of guy that I think, and Colin Powell immediately said no, because as you know, Larry, in 1995, when he had to make the decision whether to run himself for the presidency, he told Barbara Walters on an interview, he said, you know, Alma, my wife, will have 51 percent of the vote. She did then. She does now. He ain't running.

KING: By the way, if he went on the ticket, would that make them the favorite?

DONALDSON: It certainly would help, I think. I think George W. Bush said it himself. I think the respect for Colin Powell -- very seldom, if ever, do people vote for a ticket because of the vice presidential nominee. You know, they vote for the top guy. But in this instance, I think it might be an exception. I think if Colin Powell were to become president of the United States, it would be something that would be wonderful for -- as a message to the world. But of course, as the vice president -- he's not headed for that way -- but people can say to themselves, but if he's the vice president, maybe then he becomes the president one way or the other, and I'm not suggesting tragedy.

KING: Couple of other quick things -- you've covered -- in your adult life, you've covered all the presidents. What's history going to say about this one, about Clinton?

DONALDSON: Well, I don't know because, you know, our friend Michael Beschloss, the young historian in Washington, is just now beginning a book on Abraham Lincoln, and so I say to people, the historian who writes the definitive history of Bill Clinton may not be born yet. I haven't gotten a clue as to what he's going to say. He'll note Monica Lewinsky and the scandal. You can't be only the second president to be tried in the Senate, even though acquitted, on impeachment charges and not have that prominently in your biography for history. On the other hand, Mr. Clinton claims, and I think with some justification, that he's done some good, and that'll be there too.

KING: And when, Sam, when will that day come when you will wear a tie that is not red?

DONALDSON: Never. Although I confess to you, that on St. Patrick's Day, on the Webcast alone, I wore a green tie because I was interviewing Frank McCourt, "Angela's Ashes'" author, and I wanted to honor him. Frank came in a black tie.


DONALDSON: Go figure, Larry. Go figure.

KING: Sam, we'll see you Sunday, see you back in Washington. Always great talking to you.

DONALDSON: Great talking to you, and I hope you will watch "This Week" on Sunday.

KING: Thanks, Sam.

Sam Donaldson from Jerusalem.

Tom Arnold wants a wife -- no, he's not a multimillion -- well, he might be. He's not going to do it on his show on television on Fox. He's going to talk about it here, and why he may be a little ticked at that show and what it's reflected back on him. Tom Arnold is next on LARRY KING LIVE. We'll talk your phone calls for Tom, too.

Don't go away.


KING: We're back.

Our next guest is Tom Arnold, been with us before. He's a very funny man, going to make "True Lies II," right? TOM ARNOLD, ACTOR: Yes, eventually.

KING: Coming soon.

ARNOLD: Yes, coming soon.

KING: Back with Schwarzenegger...

ARNOLD: Yes, oh yes, and Jamie Lee.

KING: And Jamie Lee.

ARNOLD: Got to get back with her.

KING: Got to have a twist, because she now knows he's a spy.

ARNOLD: Oh yes. Well, Jim Cameron's got a twist, wherever he is.

KING: All right, Tom, give us a little history here. You're seeking a wife on the Internet at This is a gimmick or what?

ARNOLD: I'll tell you what happened is this fall I was checking out some Internet companies, and I got involved with one down in St. Louis, and the fellow that owns it had just gotten married, and all my buddies, the other investors, they were professional hockey players, and they're all happily married.

KING: The Blues?

ARNOLD: Yes The Blues, which is the best team this year in the NHL. But you know, I want to have children. I don't have any children. And I have had a couple of marriages you may have heard about. And they said, well, tell you what we'll do, we'll let you learn about the Internet, we'll set up a Web site,, and that way, maybe a couple of women will write to you, and then you can communicate, and then you can learn about the Internet and maybe meet somebody.

KING: So sort of semiserious, lark, learning combined in one?

ARNOLD: I think it was more of a lark in the beginning, but then when I started reading the letters -- I mentioned it on "Letterman" one night, and I started getting so many responses. You know, it's had over 1.2 million hits and I've read about over 20,000 letters.

KING: We're going to hear about some of them. We'll see it work and everything. Are you shocked by all of this?

ARNOLD: Yes, a little bit. But the women are so sincere, and I think the great thing is that they have seen me talk about my personal troubles as well as positive things, and so they feel that they can tell me about theirs, which is an honor, and so I am taking it very seriously.

KING: Have you dated anyone yet?

ARNOLD: No, I haven't yet, but I've been talking on the phone.

KING: You have?

ARNOLD: Yes. And we're going to do that toward the ends of April.

KING: No gimmick -- you're not going to have photographers...

ARNOLD: No, no. We're going to have dinner.

KING: With a few of them?

ARNOLD: Yes, yes, I am going to go around this -- it makes it hard, but if you meet someone you like, and you say, well listen, I really like you, but for the next few months I'm going to travel around the country and date a bunch of other women. Maybe it's the perfect thing, I don't know.

KING: Did the television show, the now famous or infamous television show bother you?

ARNOLD: Well, it didn't bother me that they did the show, because you know, it was what it was. But it bothered me that we started this Web site before that, and people -- I think it scared some people. A lot of the women have written about it, said, you know, I'm not like Darva, I'm just a normal woman, and you know, I don't want to marry you necessarily, but I'd like to meet you. And If we became friends, then maybe something would happen. So it bothered me in a way that I had to answer questions about it, because -- but otherwise, it's just a show.

KING: Why do you think, Tom, we, the collective we, were so fascinated with that show and the repercussions of that show?

ARNOLD: Well, because we like to see people that were -- you know, you like to see people jumping over trains on motorcycles and jumping off cliffs with a little tiny parachute. I mean, getting married is like jumping off a cliff, and if you just know somebody for 30 seconds, you've just been up on that cliff for 30 seconds. You know, if you've been together a long time, then you've had time to plan how you're going to jump. So I think people were wanting to see -- I think most people say, I want to see people happy. This actually could work. Won't it be romantic, you know, because we always believe in love at first sight?

KING: Friends come along...

ARNOLD: Yes, exactly.

KING: But there was a mercenary aspect to this.

ARNOLD: There definitely was. There definitely was. And I'll tell you one thing that was learned: People who want to be famous -- and I can tell you this from my own experience -- it's like perfume, fame. If somebody's wearing a lot and you rub up against them, you get a little on you, but if you're not clean, eventually you're going to stink. And so these people both became famous for probably the wrong reasons, then they had to deal with people getting into their personal lives, and she wasn't this, and he wasn't that, and it's a scary thing, fame.

KING: Did you wind up being sorry in a way for them?

ARNOLD: Well, I think a little bit, you know, especially I felt sorry for him a little bit, you know, because I think he seemed like guy that for whatever...

KING: He seemed sincere.

ARNOLD: Yes, he wanted to marry her, you know. He probably thought, wow, this is -- she's hot. I'm going to go for it. So you know, but I think it turned out the way it probably was going to turn out.

KING: Did you watch the show?

ARNOLD: No, I didn't. I've seen the excerpts.

KING: But you did have an aftereffect, in that people...

ARNOLD: Well, yes, because people were asking me -- first all, I didn't want anybody to think that I'm doing this off of that. This is something I thought of before with my friends at Phoenix, DSL, and so we work on this maybe in December, January, and I'm totally sincere about it. And nobody has to marry me, and I don't have to marry anybody. But I am going to meet some people. And the communications I have had with these women have been incredible.

KING: Here's what your Web site says: "An adult single woman of childbearing age, good with children, willing to relocate, has goals and self-confident enough to wear a bathing suit on vacation."

ARNOLD: Right.

KING: That's your requirement.

ARNOLD: Right. The bathing suit thing -- it's not that they have to -- this is definitely not a beauty contest, otherwise I wouldn't be the prize. They have to just be confident enough to wear -- they don't have to look what people think classically looks good, because I don't. But I just like that confidence. If a woman feels confident enough to do that, that's very interesting to me.

KING: Do you feel at all funny going public with this? Obviously, you had to go public being on a Web site, but being on a Web site is different than being on "Letterman" or "Larry King Live." It's a little different.

ARNOLD: Right. Well, when first went on "Letterman," I thought, well, this is a -- I usually talk about my personal life on there, and this was what I was doing, and it was kind of fun and funny, and then because the tone of the letters, I've taken it very seriously. It's something I work on every day, and I'm starting to communicate with women, and I'm learning a lot about women. They like to be listened to, and they know -- it says on the Web site, if they write a letter, I don't care how long it is, I am going to sit there and read it, and a lot of women just want to be heard.

KING: And so you're getting all of these pops all day long?


KING: We'll be right back with -- Tom Arnold. You'll be seeing and hearing some of the letters. We'll be taking your phone calls, too.

Don't go away.



ARNOLD: It's easy to meet other celebrities, it's easy to meet people who work in show business, but it's really hard to meet, you know, just the average person. So should I call this one woman up and see if she wants to talk?

Hello, Carrie? Hi, it's Tom Arnold. Hi, how are you doing?


Well, I wanted to tell you, I really liked your letter from the Web site, and then you work at a radio station?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nobody can really judge anybody for trying to find true love, and if that's your genuine intent, and if that's what you really are doing it for, then there's nothing to be faulted.

ARNOLD: It was great talking to you, and I appreciate you writing, and I'd love to get to meet you.


ARNOLD: And so we'll work on setting that up down there in Texas.

CARRIE: Great. Well, I look forward to it.

ARNOLD: Well, thank you very much.

CARRIE: All right, have a good day.

ARNOLD: Bye now, you too.


KING: And you will go to Texas?

ARNOLD: Yes, yes.

KING: You'll fly in...

ARNOLD: Right.

KING: ... take her to dinner?

ARNOLD: Right.

KING: She knows you're going also to Peoria and you're going to Chicago?

ARNOLD: Well, exactly. I think that that'll make things interesting, but you know, we're going to meet, and she'll get a free dinner, and we'll talk.

KING: Also what if you go "boffo" when you meet her? Do you cancel all the others?

ARNOLD: I follow through. I follow -- you know, my problem is, Larry, is I've always gone above "boffo." I've had three relationships in a row, and then I had two five-year marriages. I knew my second wife for two months before I asked her to marry me. I only had a couple of dates between marriages, because I hate dating. I've never dated in my life.

KING: You don't like it now?

ARNOLD: Now I am forcing myself to do it. I do like it. You know, I have had some great dates. And it's very interesting, because I forced myself to take the time. I think I know more about what I need than what I used to know.

KING: Didn't you fear that the women who would write would be kind of strange? What kind of woman would write in?

ARNOLD: Well, first of all, people asked me, what about the public -- what about the humiliation that you could put yourself, me, up for? But I see that the women who are taking the time to write these letters, if they're willing to do it, then I'm going to do it too.

KING: Why do you think they are?

ARNOLD: I think there are several things. Like I say, women want to be heard. A lot of them are very intelligent women. Some of them are lonely. I think we're all -- you know, I have been lonely, too, you know, and so I think that we have that bond. I think they feel they can relate to me, and maybe they trust me enough to at least read their letters.

KING: What age group?

ARNOLD: Child-bearing age, I mean, not...

KING: So you're talking 25-40? ARNOLD: Yes, yes.

KING: Is that what you're getting mostly?

ARNOLD: Yes, there's some older ones, and I've been asked to a couple of proms.

KING: Do they include photos?

ARNOLD: Most of them do include photos.

KING: Are many of them attractive?

ARNOLD: Yes, a lot of them.

KING: Does that surprise you?

ARNOLD: Yes it does. A lot of them are classically attractive, which you could tell they've had photos done by professionals. But I think, Larry, if you've see the women I have been with, you know that I like a wide variety of look, and I think that they know that out there. So it's nice. You see photos of women with their children, which are just really cute, and...

KING: You would not be adverse to marrying someone who has child?

ARNOLD: It would be great. I was -- that was my favorite part, being a stepfather, about from my first marriage.

KING: We're going to take a break and be back with more. We'll be showing you more of Tom Arnold speaking to people. We'll hear some of the letters he gets, and we're going to take your, too. And if you're interested, it's


The Ramseys Monday and Tuesday night, live with your phone calls.

We'll be right back.



ARNOLD: You know, I figure that some of my character defects will immediately eliminate some interest in people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the negative side, I eat too much, occasionally smoke cigars, have ADH -- ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a low sperm count.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A low sperm count?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tend to be sensitive, and my job requires travel because I am a famous twice-divorced act. ARNOLD: I might as well get it right out in the open.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I really want to marry him now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you want to marry someone who but himself up on the Internet? Not for me.


KING: You enjoyed that, Tom?

ARNOLD: Yes, that's funny. That's funny.

KING: The negatives are all right, too.

ARNOLD: Oh, it's funny. As long as it's funny, you know? I mean, they -- there are people that understand it and there are people that think it's silly. And I probably a year ago would have thought, boy, that's insane. That's goofy. What kind of a desperate person would do this? But the fact is it's an incredible way to communicate with people.

KING: Years ago, Tony Martin had a hit record called, "For Every Man There's a Woman."

ARNOLD: Right.

KING: Buddy Hackett said, if that's true, someone's walking around with two girls. Are you thinking of sharing the wealth? Bringing other men into it?

ARNOLD: Oh, yes.

KING: What about -- you could a dating service.

ARNOLD: Well, I'd like to do -- I'd like to be a matchmaker. I think...

KING: You would?

ARNOLD: Yes, I think that's great -- and not for money, for free. What I'm going to do is get ,men to write in that are good men and I can screen them, and then I'm going to put the men up on the Web site. And these women that I can't get to, I want them put them up and make some matches. Because they're -- these women, Larry, I'm telling you, Larry, they're incredible.

KING: No money for you out of this?

ARNOLD: No money, I don't get paid a cent.

KING: You just enjoy seeing it happen, right?

ARNOLD: Yes, I think it would be great. Now I feel responsible for 20,000 women.

KING: What does this tell you about the Internet?

ARNOLD: The Internet -- it's shocking what is in your office, on your monitor, what you can get instantly -- so much knowledge, you know? And so much -- and the fact you can communicate...

KING: People reveal a lot, right?

ARNOLD: They reveal a lot -- they reveal -- I've learned more about these women, honestly, than I learned about my second wife for maybe a year or two years, because they're telling me about their dreams and their goals. And Julie had a harder time -- you know, and I didn't think that was important to discuss -- you know, I knew what I wanted to do and everything. But they tell me a lot of really honest things, and so...

KING: So people will tell more to a machine than they will verbally on a pillow?

ARNOLD: Yes, well, yes, yes, I think so. In a bar -- you know, I mean, I met my first wife in a comedy club, second wife at the Viper Room, which is a bar down the street here. I have no shame with meeting somebody on the Internet.

KING: You must have enjoyed the movie "You've Got Mail."

ARNOLD: I thought it was a darned good movie.

KING: Good idea, too.

ARNOLD: Yes, it's a good idea, definitely.

KING: What are the negatives to this?

ARNOLD: Well...

KING: Everything can't be good.

ARNOLD: Well, the negatives are, you know, here I am an actor...

KING: Get some psychotic letters?

ARNOLD: Well, yes, some are crazy and, you know, they're goofy. And, you know, some people are angry about it. They're taking the time to write sort of nasty letters. But most are either very positive or funny. If they're negative and they're funny, then I love it.

KING: The other night on "CROSSFIRE," I understand, Patricia Ireland of the National Organization of Women stood up for this. She thought it was kind of nice.

ARNOLD: Yes, she did. She thought it was very sweet and she thought it was great. And then...

KING: Any groups opposed? Has anybody taken a public stand that this is sort of blasphemy to marriage? ARNOLD: I don't think that -- I mean, you know, I...

KING: Because they did with the TV show.

ARNOLD: Right, exactly. I mean, I don't know how it could be blasphemy. I'm just trying to meet some people using a way that people communicate now. Obviously, I wouldn't marry somebody without meeting them and getting to know them and talking to them. And nobody would really want to marry me without getting to know me. I mean, they think they know a little bit about me, but, you know...

KING: Right.

ARNOLD: ... you've got to spend time with people. You know that, Larry.

KING: What is the downside?

ARNOLD: The downside is it's a full-time job, my friend. You know, I get up every day, and I've been getting about 3,000 letters a day. But it's OK. I'm going through them, and I want to make sure that these women are happy. You know how hard it is to make one woman happy.

KING: I'm doing it now finally.

ARNOLD: Yes, you are, you are. And you went through a lot to get to this point.

KING: Yes.

ARNOLD: There's at least 20,000 that I'd like to see happy. And these are great women that -- they're smart, they've got children, and they've got these lives, and they've been screwed over. And, you know, hopefully we can -- you know, I can do what I can.

KING: Minorities contact you, blacks, Hispanics?

ARNOLD: Oh, sure, sure, sure.

KING: Yes? You're hearing from everybody?

ARNOLD: Yes, from everybody all over the world. It's a, you know, a lot of people from Sweden...

KING: Oh, yes?

ARNOLD: ... and New Zealand and Europe.

KING: Well, how do you break this down? What's your choice mechanism?

ARNOLD: Well...

KING: I will go to see her, I won't go to see her. ARNOLD: Well, my dad is helping me. He likes women with jobs. That's his whole -- he doesn't care what they look like if they've got a job. Our friend Steve Tisch is helping me. He's a...

KING: The movie producer.

ARNOLD: ... movie producer. But...

KING: Of the famed Tisch family.

ARNOLD: Exactly, but...

KING: He knows women.

ARNOLD: Yes, he does. He's had two very successful marriages.

KING: And he's got a great wife now.

ARNOLD: Oh, Jamie is the best. If I could clone her, you know, I would do that.

KING: Yes, why don't we do that?

ARNOLD: Yes, I'll work on that. No, but I've got friends that I care about that like me that are helping me with this, because -- you know, and then I've got the hockey players from the St. Louis Blues who want the ones in the bikinis from the pictures.

So it's a big variety of what the people want. I just want nice people that it would be fun to talk to and hang out with and there's not too much pressure for me.

KING: And you read every letter?

ARNOLD: I read them all, every word. And I make notes and, you know, it's funny the things I have in common with these women. Some have attention deficit hyperactive disorder like I do, some are recovering alcoholics, some smoke cigars like I do. You know, it's all different kinds of women.

KING: We're going to take a break and come back, and Tom will read some of the letters he gets to you. And we'll take your phone calls, too. That's next.

Don't go away.



ARNOLD: You know, there's kids that write in for their mothers. And there's, like, this lady up here. She's writing in for her daughter. It's nice to know there are people that want to be my mother-in-law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I think he's great. I think he's very funny. And I'm sure he's a nice guy, and I wish him lots of luck.

ARNOLD: If you're famous and you're successful and you don't have a family, then it's kind of scary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's wonderful that he's trying to meet many different people and he's giving everyone a chance, and that's great. So good luck, Tom.

ARNOLD: See this picture? She's got a little -- her child, they're both dressed like ballerinas. Now I just want to put this picture up in my house and just say we're already married.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With Internet, start to, like, grab women around, and you are very welcome in Italy.

ARNOLD: I've come to the point in my life where I see that I don't know a lot of things I used to think I knew. That's good to know, to get somebody that finally knows they don't know everything.


KING: You could -- you could go on a dating marathon.

ARNOLD: I could, but I hopefully won't.

KING: Read some more letters...

ARNOLD: Well, that's...

KING: And then we'll have some more, and then we're going to take some calls, too.

ARNOLD: "I'm filling this out for my sister. You and her sound like a perfect match. But I tell you, I wonder why someone would put all their personal info on the Internet like this. There are freaks out there, don't you know? Actually, you sound a lot like my husband. Therefore, I know she'd love you. She's wonderful with my kids. Hmm, what else can I say? If you truly are a wonderful person and feel you deserve someone wonderful like my sister, please contact her or me." They live in Toronto.

I'll read this one:

"I'm writing this response for my mother. She's beautiful and has a lot in common with Tom Arnold except for the ADHD. She always said he should never marry" -- my first wife, "I am graduating from high school this month and my mom will be all alone. I like Tom Arnold. He's always happy. Trust me, he would love my mom." That's from Sacramento.

KING: What is your malady? You're hyper...

ARNOLD: AD -- hyperactive -- attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

KING: What is that -- when it's manifesting, what happens? ARNOLD: Well, we're very...

KING: If it happened now, what would happen?

ARNOLD: ... very hyper. You know, it manifests in different ways. I shake a little bit and I have trouble concentrating.

KING: Do you have panic disorder?

ARNOLD: Not really. It hasn't go gotten there. I mean, I shake and I have trouble concentrating.

KING: Ever afraid of an elevator?

ARNOLD: No, no, not at all.

KING: Travel?

ARNOLD: No, it makes you a little dyslexic, though, that's why it's hard to read. And then that makes me extra, extra nervous.

KING: Let's take a call.

ARNOLD: OK, good.

KING: Las Vegas, Nevada for Tom Arnold -- hello.

CALLER: Hi, Tom. Hi, Tom.



CALLER: I wanted to let you know that I think this is an excellent idea. I did send Tom a letter, and I was wondering when he was coming to Las Vegas to meet me, because I think when he meets me he'll hit the jackpot.

ARNOLD: Well, that...

KING: Ah-hah. Well, wait a minute. Tell us a little bit about yourself, jackpot.

CALLER: I'm 29, and I'm an executive assistant out here -- and I do not work in the casinos.

KING: You're child-rearing age, obviously?

CALLER: Yes, I am.

KING: Are you tall?

CALLER: I am 5'6 1/2."

ARNOLD: Do you have -- are you single?

CALLER: I'm very single.

ARNOLD: Oh, good. And...

KING: Close by, Vegas.

ARNOLD: Yes, that's -- yes, I love it there.

KING: What do you like about Tom?

CALLER: Oh, I think he's a very attractive man. He's got a great sense of humor. He's very good looking and a sharp dresser.


KING: Would you consider, like -- you definitely would go out with him, right?


KING: If he did a television show, would you go on and marry him?


KING: Good, smart thinking. You say you wrote to Tom?

CALLER: Yes, I did.

KING: I'll look for that. When did you write?

CALLER: About a month and a half ago.


KING: How do you keep up with everything?

ARNOLD: I've got a team of people helping me. I've got people going through the mail.

KING: What's your first name?

CALLER: Do you want me to say it on the air?

KING: Yes, first name don't matter.


CALLER: Kimberly.

KING: Kimberly.

ARNOLD: All right.

KING: Already it sounds good.

ARNOLD: Bill, write that down. Thank you. CALLER: Oh, great.

ARNOLD: Thank you.

KING: OK, now see? Now there -- Kimberly in Las Vegas. And I like someone who's bold enough to say, once you meet me, forget the rest. Now...

ARNOLD: Right. A lot of women will say that.

KING: ... that would be attractive.

ARNOLD: That is attractive. A lot of women will say that, too. They say, you know, I talked to a woman from Alaska last night. It says, there's five men to every woman up here, but I tell you -- I haven't -- there's nobody -- I can't find anybody for me, but I tell you, once you meet me you'll be blown away, because I am real and I am -- you will never look at another woman.

KING: You like that, right?


KING: Erie -- and you go up there and...

ARNOLD: Right, exactly.

KING: Erie, Pennsylvania -- hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry and Tom.


ARNOLD: Hello.

KING: My question is, why is your criteria so strict? For example, like wearing the bathing suit question? And my second question is, is this just a pure publicity hype for yourself? Is that why you're doing it?

ARNOLD: Well, that's two good questions. One, about the bathing suit, I'm not asking you to look good in a bathing suit. I'm just saying, I like to go to vacations, and if you'll throw one on -- I mean, when I put on my bathing suit, I don't like to walk around without a shirt on. I'll lay down flat, you know, when I'm flatter, with it on, but I just need somebody who's comfortable with their whole body. And is it a...

KING: Are they comfortable enough to wear a bathing suit?

ARNOLD: Yes, just comfortable enough to wear it. I'm not a bikini or anything. And is it a P.R. thing? Well, if it -- I don't know. I don't know. I mean, I think part of it is -- it started off as a thing I could talk about and a thing maybe I could meet women, but it's not something I make money from. And it's, you know, it's been -- it's a very serious thing. I'm already famous, so I don't need to do that anymore. But...

KING: You don't need the attention.

ARNOLD: No, it doesn't do -- I'm an actor.

KING: It doesn't get you a role...

ARNOLD: No, it does me no good...

KING: It doesn't get you a role in a movie.

ARNOLD: No, it doesn't -- it probably hurts me in the movies. But, you know, I mean, I am going on LARRY KING, and so, you know, I'm talking about it. But hopefully it will be a way for people to understand what I'm doing and what everybody -- we're all -- you know, me and the 1.2 million people who have hit on the site do. So in that way, you know, I guess -- I don't know.

KING: Heard from any gays?

ARNOLD: Yes, a lot of gays. And I...

KING: They wouldn't be child-bearing, so...

ARNOLD: No, they aren't child bearing, but they -- and most of them say, hey, Tom, you know, you've had bad luck with women. You know, come on over. And I refer them to my gay brother Chris down in Scotsdale, which he's so happy about. And he's got...

KING: He's got a referral service for him.

ARNOLD: Yes, and he's got....

KING: You've got a thing going for friends...


KING: ... your gay brother...

ARNOLD: Yes, yes, yes.

KING: Tom.

ARNOLD: You know, I like it. I like it. It's exciting, though. I'm getting people hooked up. It's a fun way. I mean, he meets -- gay guys meet a lot of people on the Internet. That's how they do it.

KING: Oh, really?

ARNOLD: Yes, he met his -- the guy he's dating now on the Internet.

KING: Boy, the things you learn here.

ARNOLD: Yes, man.

KING: Now you said you did this to learn about the Internet.

ARNOLD: Yes, I...

KING: Boy have you learned about the Internet.

ARNOLD: Oh, it's it's powerful. The Internet is powerful. And I'll tell you, when you need -- you know, when it works really fast, and when your computer's working and your lines are working really fast, it's incredible.

KING: It's We'll hear more letters, take more phone calls right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's really weird because why would anyone want to marry someone they don't know? The whole thing that you have to apply online? I mean, it seems so ridiculous because, you know, you want to marry someone, you're going to meet them face to face.

ARNOLD: This woman is faithful, which is very important, strong in character and intelligent. Those are big things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rosanne already married him and didn't want him anymore, so if he's -- if she doesn't like him, I don't like him. But thank you anyway.


KING: There is a Rosanne fan.

ARNOLD: I say, yes.

KING: Read another letter and we'll take another call.

ARNOLD: OK, I'll read one more here:

"Here's me: I'm exceptionally funny, especially because I'm really bright. I'm very cute, if not beautiful. You may either like or hate this, but I am five years sober in" -- she says in AA. "The reason I tell you this is because I feel like the experience of hitting bottom and making things better makes me exceptional for my age." From Vancouver. And I've been sober over 10 years, so I think that's probably part of the...

KING: Have you contacted her?

ARNOLD: No, I haven't. These are new ones that we just got yesterday.

KING: Does that intrigue you?

ARNOLD: She sounds great. You know, I like someone that's already hit bottom before they go out with me.

KING: Orlando -- hello.



CALLER: My question is for Tom, and it is -- I'm wondering if he is completely over Rosanne. And if he is, are they still friends? Can he bury the hatchet with one woman and still be friends with her?

ARNOLD: Well, am I over Rosanne? Yes, yes, I think I'm over Rosanne, definitely. Can I bury the hatchet with one woman? I've made peace with the end of that relationship. Rosanne is happily married. I'm happy for her, and, you know, that's -- we were friends a long time. We were friends for seven years before we got married. I met her when I was 23 and she was, like, 30. And so we thought, well, we've been friends for so long, maybe we should try being married. And it turns out that wasn't such a good idea. But, you know, it was nice, but no, I am definitely -- I'm over everybody.

KING: Was it difficult having something very public?

ARNOLD: Yes, it was difficult. That's another thing about people even dating me. You know, you have to understand that occasionally your picture might be in something or the public, you know, the public appearances or whatever. With Rosanne, it was -- there was nothing like it. You know, I'm the kind of guy that moved out here from Minnesota to be a writer and a comic, and all of a sudden I become famous because I'm with a really famous woman and they follow us everywhere. And plus we acted out in public. You know, we brought a lot of it on ourselves. There's ways to conduct yourself where you don't bring it on so much.

KING: You learned from that?

ARNOLD: Oh, I learned from that. It was so crazy that, you know, you start thinking that's real when it's not. And it makes it hard for our home life, too. You know, we'd sit around, we'd get bored at home with each other, and we'd say, well, we better do something really stupid.

KING: You know, when you think about this Web site, how do people really meet? You ask me about Shawn. I bumped into her in front of Tiffany's. I mean, but that's luck, right?


KING: Off the shirt or some sort of spirit world...


KING: .. but that don't happen every day, OK?

ARNOLD: Right.

KING: How do people meet?

ARNOLD: I don't know. I've been -- you know, like, the Tisch's have fixed me up with different people, and my other friends have fixed me up. And that's the only way that I know now, because, you know, when you're famous, as you are, you kind of come -- you come to a place for just a little bit and then you get out of there.

KING: Yes.

ARNOLD: You know, you have good friends that you like that'll recommend somebody or -- you know, this fall I went out with my girlfriend from the fifth grade. I went back to Iowa, and I -- you know, she dumped me in the fifth grade because she was too good for me, and she still is. But, you know, it was fun. I wanted to kind of retrack some of my history. And I just don't know really -- I mean, this is a great -- you know, these young gals that are on here doing the videos, they don't understand that nobody's guaranteeing they're going to get married. We're communicating through this. And it's an incredible thing.

KING: I think they're thinking it based on the TV show.

ARNOLD: Exactly.

KING: That's where it hurts you.

ARNOLD: Yes, that did.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with -- I feel like calling him -- Tom Arnold.


Don't go away.


ARNOLD: This woman woke up on March 23rd thinking about me. And she is a sitcom writer -- OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He knows, like, girls are going to, like, write him back because of who he is. So if he thinks he's going to get quality because he's being so honest in putting himself out there, that's probably not really going to happen.

ARNOLD: My goal is to find somebody that likes me who finds me attractive, which has been the hard part up until now.


KING: We're back...

ARNOLD: I think that girl is in love with me, Larry.

KING: I think it's growing, yes.

ARNOLD: I could see it in her eyes.

KING: I felt it, too.


KING: Turner, Maine -- hello.

CALLER: Good evening, gentlemen. It's an honor to speak with you.

I met my husband on the Internet, and we've been married for three years, and it's a great success. And my question is, how long are you prepared to give yourself as far as leaving it open? Do you have a time frame in mind?

KING: Good question.

ARNOLD: Yes, that's a good question. I don't really have a, you know...

KING: Stay on the line, ma'am, I want to ask you something. But go ahead.

ARNOLD: I don't really have a definite time frame. You know, I'm going to start meeting people at the end of April, and we'll see what happens. You know, the trouble I think...

KING: You've got to do a movie in the fall, right?

ARNOLD: Yes, I've got to do a movie in the fall, so hopefully, you know, by then -- you know, it could go on for a year. You know, who knows? But I'm not going to leave these women hanging. We're going to get men on there that are good men who...

KING: You're going to have with them?

ARNOLD: Yes, I'm going to.

KING: Boy.

ARNOLD: You know, I'm going to get men and put them on and we'll set them up. And it's all going to be free. It's not one of these pay things. You know, it will be fun. We'll keep this thing going forever if we have to.

KING: Ma'am, how did you meet him on the Internet?

CALLER: We were just in a chat room together, and I, like Arnold, was just kind of playing with the Internet. It was my first exposure to it. And I work a lot. I worked at a university and I was really busy, never had a chance to really meet a lot of people, got set up, didn't work out. And we met in a chat room. And we started talking. We talked on the phone. Then we met in Philadelphia, and the rest is history...

KING: Was it... CALLER: ... And I'm so thankful I met him.

KING: When you met him, was it instant? I mean, you knew a lot about him already.

CALLER: I knew everything about him. And I felt he was my soul mate, and I love him to death. And when I met him, I knew this was the man I was going to marry. But before he arrived at the airport -- he was about 10 minutes late -- and I was sitting there thinking, oh, my goodness. What have I done? What have I done? But it worked out wonderfully...

KING: That's great.

CALLER: ... and I wish you all the greatest success, Tom.

ARNOLD: Thank you. That's a great story.

KING: Now there's...

ARNOLD: Now that's romantic. That's beautiful.

KING: Now there's an example of how it can work, a chat room.

ARNOLD: And she's still holding it over his head that he was 10 minutes late.

KING: I know, still mentioning it.

ARNOLD: Exactly.

KING: So these chat rooms. They meet -- and there's lot of pornography going on.

ARNOLD: Right, right. Pretty good, huh?

KING: I don't know. I have never...

ARNOLD: Yes, I know. I don't either.

KING: ... punched a button -- I have never gone into a chat room.

ARNOLD: Yes, yes, the chat rooms are interesting, because I'll put my name -- and you can do this, too -- you put your name in there, and it will locate...

KING: Is it a phony name?

ARNOLD: Well, no, you put my name so I can see what they're saying about me, you know? And these chat rooms, they'll be -- you know, they really say some mean and funny things. I mean, they really slur...

KING: You type in your name and they... ARNOLD: Yes, and it will get like a million response -- it'll be -- it's incredible, 100,000, whatever. So I sit there because, you know, I like pain. And I'll go through it at night looking for somebody to say something good about me. You know, how many times -- loser, loser, loser. And eventually, someone will disagree and they'll be attacked by these other people. But, you know...

KING: Who are these people?

ARNOLD: They're just people out there, you know, that have nothing better to do than criticize me and Larry King.

KING: And why do you like pain?

ARNOLD: I just have to -- I just -- if I think something's wrong -- you know, if you're performing in front of an audience and 99 people like you and there's one guy that's...

KING: Why didn't he laugh?

ARNOLD: Yes, I think it's from being -- growing up with my family probably, I don't know. You know how families are. I'll be on a show tonight and I'll call back to Iowa, how did you -- what did you think of the show? It was great, except I wish you hadn't...

KING: Done that one thing.

ARNOLD: Exactly.

KING: That makes the whole thing terrible.

ARNOLD: Why did they mention your sperm count? Why? That's embarrassing. Talk about good things.

KING: Do you think you're going to be a great father?

ARNOLD: I hope so. I want to be -- had a great father, and I want to be. I mean, that's my -- you know, that's my dream. Everything will be complete then.

KING: And that's why you would take a woman who has children already?

ARNOLD: Oh, definitely.

KING: And if you had a woman that couldn't have, you'd adopt?


KING: You want children?

ARNOLD: Yes, I do.

KING: You know, you could adopt as single man, too.

ARNOLD: You know, I was thinking about going to China, because they have two million babies over there that nobody wants. And at first I thought, well, I don't -- I want a -- a child should have a mother. But over there, these kids are in these orphanages. And my former father-in-law went over and adopted a couple. And they're beautiful kids. And so I thought about that myself, too. Maybe after a year, if this doesn't work out, you know, I'll do that.

KING: You're a good guy, Tom.

ARNOLD: Thanks, buddy.

KING: Tom Arnold, and more information, I think he's going to call you, Vegas. I just got a feeling Vegas may get a call. Kimberly in Vegas may get a call.

Thanks for joining us. Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND. Will there be a U.S. Airways strike?

Good night.



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