Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS



Interview with Connie Chung

Aired January 28, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, what's the fate of this missing American reporter? This disturbing photograph is of "Wall Street Journal" reporter Daniel Pearl, held captive after disappearing while on assignment in Pakistan.

From New York, his concerned boss and the managing editor of "Wall Street Journal," Paul Steiger and in Washington, one of Daniel Pearl's closest friends, "Wall Street Journal" Helene Cooper.

And then, she's switching to CNN, in New York, the renown news woman Connie Chung. She'll take your calls, too, and it's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. Tonight we were also supposed to have an exclusive interview with former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson, who is back in the headlines after a very public run in with Lennox Lewis last week. According to Tyson's publicist, Scott Miranda, Mr. Tyson's management team changed their mind late this afternoon. Tyson's management also says the interview will be rescheduled. We'll let you know as soon as that happens.

We welcome now in New York, Paul Stagger. In Washington, Helene Cooper. We discussed the fate of Daniel Pearl. Paul, tell us first, when you first found out that your reporter was missing.

PAUL STEIGER, MANAGING EDITOR, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": First found out late Wednesday night, Thursday that he was missing. He had gone to try to meet up with some people that he wanted to interview in Karachi, Pakistan. And he was supposed to meet his wife a couple of hours later for dinner. He didn't show up, initially she wasn't worried. Marianne is a journalist herself and just figured that he was just going off pursuing a story. But then, as it got into the wee hours of the morning, and she hadn't heard from he, she began to get worried and she let us know.

KING: So she was the one that informed you something's the matter?

STEIGER: Correct.

KING: How were you officially informed that he had been taken by hostile people?

STEIGER: Well, we received an e-mail. It was actually transferred on to us, forwarded on to us by a reporter at another news organization. The e-mails had been sent to several news organizations, not to us, but it was sent on to us and we saw these five PDF files. Four photographs and an Urdu message.

KING: And the message said?

STEIGER: Well, the message in English, first of all. There was an e-mail to us, and it said that they had captured Danny, whom they believed was a CIA agent, and they made a number of demands. And of course this is a terrible mistake because Danny is not a CIA agent.

KING: Did they give you a place to contact?

STEIGER: They did not. They have not given us any location to contact. We assume that will come later.

KING: Now, the group is called the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty. Does anyone know anything about this group?

STEIGER: We don't know anything about this group and none of our reporters do. It's a new name to us, frankly, Larry.

KING: Daniel is based in Bombay, right?

STEIGER: That is correct.

KING: Is he a troubleshooting kind of reporter? Does he like to go out on dangerous assignments?

STEIGER: Danny is not what some folks call a cowboy. He's a very experienced, careful journalist. He has been with us for a dozen years, started in our Atlanta bureau. He worked in Washington covering business and regulatory topics, then moved to our London bureau. He's worked in Paris and most recently in Bombay.

He's covered the Middle East for a number of years. He knows his way around. He's known as a cautious, careful reporter, but a terrific reporter, a brilliant reporter who was looking to get good stories.

KING: All right. Now, Paul, what did you feel like when you saw the one obvious disturbing picture of the gun at his head?

STEIGER: I felt horrible. I mean, Danny is a wonderful young man. And to see anybody in this situation, but particularly somebody whom you know, is just terrible and heart wrenching. And particularly since this is a case of mistaken identity, because the people who abducted him think he's a government agent, which he's not.

KING: Helene Cooper, how long have you known him?

HELENE COOPER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": I've known Danny for 10 years. We started together in the Atlanta bureau at about the same time. And I followed him on to the Washington office and on to London. So we had this running joke that I was going to follow him around the world. But he went on to Paris and I came back to Washington. We've remained really good friends. And it's pretty amazing to me, anyone who would think that Danny is a CIA agent can't possibly know Danny. He's one of the most laid back, you know, anti- authoritarian person that you are ever going to meet.

KING: When was the last time you spoke with him, Helene?

COOPER: I spoke with Danny a couple of weeks ago. We talked about the fact that his wife is expecting a baby in May. We talked about, I sent him an e-mail asking him whether or not he'd name the baby Helene. They said, no, they were thinking about naming the baby Clara. Marianne is about five months pregnant. And it was like the usual type of e-mail between friends. It's kind of weird now. Because now I'm going back and looking through my e-mails and looking at all the e-mails I've gotten from Danny. And we are all -- everybody at the "Journal" is pretty upset.

KING: Are you frankly, scared, for his life?

COOPER: Yes. I'm scared, but I'm pretty hopeful. I think we all -- we are -- the pictures that came through yesterday were horrible, but they were also -- they were also good in that it was great to get confirmation that Danny is alive. And we all, we all have a lot of hope and faith that he's going to come out OK.

I talked to a friend of Danny's in Karachi on Saturday morning, Azra (ph) who is doing a lot of yeomen's work on this. And the last thing she said to me on the phone was great, you know we're going to get Danny back, don't you. And of course I do. And we all believe that. But we are all also very worried.

KING: Paul, the note said, if the Americans want the release of Mr. Pearl, all Pakistanis being illegally detained by the FBI inside America merely on suspicion must be given access to lawyers and allowed to see their family members. What do you make of that request?

STEIGER: Well, it's a request that one would expect, but it's not something that we can do anything about. These are governmental issues. We're newspaper people, we report on governmental issues, we don't determine them. So it's -- if it's directed to us, it's not something that we can accomplish.

KING: Have you discussed things with the State Department or anyone in the government?

STEIGER: Oh, we've talked with people in both the U.S. government and the Pakistani government, trying to get their advice on what to do to get Danny back. And they have been helpful, but nobody has any magic ideas yet. You know, we are just waiting to hear from his -- from his captors.

KING: Does the next word have to come from them?

STEIGER: I mean, I think so.

KING: Because you're not going to meet their demands. The government is not going to meet these demands?

STEIGER: Well, I mean, you know, I don't know what the government is going to do. But I assume it's going to continue its course, whatever that is. And what we want to do is make every effort to make it clear that this was a case of mistaken identity, and Danny's not a CIA agent, so he's not the right one to be holding.

KING: Paul, we're being seen live now around the world. Let's assume that someone knows of his whereabouts. Where can they contact the "Wall Street Journal" so that a voice can speak to you?

STEIGER: Well, we have offices around the world. And we have, in the paper, phone numbers, and addresses and e-mail addresses.

KING: Do you have one number though, that -- any number -- that someone could call?

STEIGER: Well, since they -- these folks are adept at using the Web anything addressed to would get to us.

KING: would get right to you? You don't need a phone number or anything?


KING: All right. As you know him, Helene, how would you imagine that he got taken? Was he -- he was running down a story about that Richard Reid, right?

COOPER: Well, I can't speculate -- I can't speculate on how Danny got taken. But I can say that Danny is not the type of careless person who's going to be going off and doing -- going off like, Paul said, like a cowboy. Danny is a really meticulous reporter. He's very careful. One of the things he did, he was one of the first overseas reporters to start this whole check-in system where he urged other reporters on assignment overseas to check in with their editors every day. And he -- Danny has always been very careful that way. So I would not imagine it's because of any carelessness on his part.

KING: Paul, the secretary of state, Colin Powell talked to the Pakistani President Musharraf today about the situation, and has been assured that Pakistan is doing everything to find him. Pakistani police are on an extensive search. Does the "Wall Street Journal" accept all that?

COOPER: Absolutely. The Pakistani officials have been really wonderful. They've been very sensitive to all of the issues. They've been sensitive about our concerns. And they've been wracking their brains trying to help us find a way to get him back so we've been very pleased by their response.

KING: I'm going to spend some more moments with Paul Steiger and Helene Cooper to talk about the kind of guy that Danny is, how valuable a reporter he is. And we'll be repeating that dot-com, well, it's simple, If anybody has any information, you can contact the "Wall Street Journal" and then we will be talking with Connie Chung.

Tomorrow night is the State of the Union Address. That will begin at 9:00 Eastern, our regular starting time. But we'll have a special edition of LARRY KING LIVE following the State of the Union. It should be around 10:30 Eastern. Among them will be solicitor general, Ted Olson, the "Washington Post's" Bob Woodward and former senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: Helene Cooper, this child that the couple is expecting, is this their first?

COOPER: Yes it is. Danny and Marion met a few years ago, back in 1998, when we were both in the London bureau together. And Danny went to Paris for the weekend to go to a party. And he came back to London that Monday, with this really smug look on his face and came up to me and was like, what did you do this weekend?

I was like, oh, I don't know, this and that, what did you do? He said, I went to Paris and fell in love. and within a couple of months he asked the "Journal" to transfer him to the Paris bureau, and they were married a year after that. At the wedding, Danny, who is an amateur violinist and fiddler, played Bach's double concerto for two violins for Marion's mother, who, at the time was dying of cancer.

She was too sick to come down to the reception to listen, but she listened from the upstairs window. Danny is, like, an amazing, amazing kind of guy. Always writing songs for friends and that kind of thing. He's always -- I was just talking to some of your CNN colleagues here about how Danny is such a laid back, one of the -- one of all of us. And this is part of the reason why this is particularly painful because most of us here at the "Journal" just all feel like -- just one of our own is missing.

KING: Helene, do you know his wife well?

COOPER: Yes, I do. Marion is a freelance documentary reporter. She used to work for radio. She did a lot of radio and TV in France. But after they moved to Bombay, in December of 2000, she's been doing a lot of freelance reporting. She often accompanies Danny on assignments. I last saw them last June, when we were all in New York and we went out salsa dancing. She is -- Marion is Cuban-Dutch, a French citizen and she is a great salsa dancer.

KING: Cuban and Dutch?


KING: Must be interesting to hear her talk -- and a citizen of France. Paul, what was the promise of him as a reporter? He's 36 or 38, I understand.

STEIGER: He's 38. He's a fabulous reporter. And everything from the most serious complicated stories to the personality profiles and the colorful little towns, little tales. I can remember one story he did when he was in Iran, reporting about this town that was trying to produce the world's biggest rug. And the lead on the story was, this is a small town in search of a very large floor.

He had that sense of humor, the sense of the absurd, and at the same time, there was no story he couldn't get his head around. When he was in Washington he covered very complicated telecommunications issues for us and did them terrifically. But I wanted him to stay on that beat longer than he did, and I can remember having a chat with him in Washington explaining why this would be good for his career.

And the managing editor comes down to Washington to talk to you about your career you're supposed to sit up straight and listen and take what he says seriously. He didn't. He explained to me why he should be moved off of this beat. And he was good enough that I let him move off of the beat.

KING: Paul is there going to be a reward? I mean how do you deal with something? What do you -- you want to be proactive, don't you?

STEIGER: I mean, you know, I think that first of all, there's been no monetary demands. We are not looking to get into money issues right now. What we are simply trying to do is get the word out that a mistake has been made here and that Danny is not a government agent. So he should be let go. So right now, we are not addressing that issue. I mean, it may come along later, but at this moment, we are hoping to deal with the issues as his captors have laid them out.

KING: Paul, do you have a fear as some think the e-mail could be a hoax? The State Department saying they can't evaluate whether it's a hoax or real. It was sent under the name "kidnapper guy" via Hotmail. That sounds a little wacky. Well, I -- you know, the technology that -- the digital technology is such that it's always possible to change heads on bodies, you know, with digital files. But people who know Danny say they are pretty well convinced that this is him. And, you know, we have to go by that. I mean, what else do we have to go by at this stage?

KING: Yes. Helene, I guess prayers are in order as well?

COOPER: Yes, yes. We've been doing a lot of that. It's amazing because there have been so many calls, so many people who are really worried about Danny. There's this group of telecom reporters that Danny used to work with when he was in Washington. And they've been sending this e-mail around. A nickname for him is "Spark" and they say Spark is missing in Pakistan. It's kind of hard to believe when just a week ago, Danny was in Karachi with Azrey Marion playing Bruce Springteen on the CD player and just hanging out, that he is now missing. But we all really, really want to get him back.

KING: Paul, thank you very much, and Helene, again, the only place to contact us worldwide would be Would it be best if they contact you direct? Would they signify to Paul Steiger's attention?


KING: OK, and it is S-T-E-I-G-E-R, Paul Steiger, managing editor, "Wall Street Journal," for any information about Daniel Pearl. Thank you, Helene and thank you, Paul. Our best wishes to you and for Danny.

When we come back -- Connie Chung. Don't go away.


KING: When CNN announced that Connie Chung would be joining our very happy family here, they said sometime in the spring. I thought, Connie, based on the weather in New York, you would start today.

CONNIE CHUNG, SWITCHING TO CNN: It's so beautiful out.

KING: I know. I hear it's unbelievable. When will you start, by the way?

CHUNG: In the spring.

KING: Well, spring is March, April, May, what?

CHUNG: No, no. Actually, my last day at ABC is this Friday. And a week from today will be my first day at CNN although, I still have some stories that will run on ABC and the program from 8:00 to 9:00 on CNN won't actually start until, I'm guessing, end of March, beginning of April, something like that.

KING: Does it have a name?

CHUNG: No, not yet. What do you think, Larry -- no, I don't want any suggestions from you. I take that back.

KING: Are they building any sets?

CHUNG: There is a new studio, as you probably know, that will be going up in the Time-Life Building, I think a streetside studio. And in a couple of years from now, Larry, there will be in New York one of those large, gargantuan buildings. Actually, the AOL Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

KING: Why did you make this move?

CHUNG: Well, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up to be on before you from 8:00 to 9:00, 9:00 Eastern is what time you are on. And it was just a great opportunity to join an all-news network. It's sort of the reporter's dream. Today, especially, when there are so many stations for viewers to choose from, if they want news, they always come to CNN and that's where I wanted to be.

KING: So many journalists would love that opportunity?

CHUNG: I think so.

KING: The concept -- can you give us an idea of what the show will be like?

CHUNG: You know, I'm getting together with the existing staff and I think we'll be putting together more people. But essentially, it will be a news oriented program. It will be a news program with spinoffs of the news of the day, not unlike what you do, Larry. I mean, what you just did, those were two excellent guests. You were able to expand that particular story. I think we'll debate the issues sometimes. I think we'll get interviews. I look forward actually to working with you on getting interviews.

KING: You also report news, which we don't do.


KING: So you will do reporters? There will be headlines, up-to- date news stories, breaking stories and the like?

CHUNG: I think so. We're going to develop -- what we want to do is to provide the viewers with what they want from CNN and that is the news. So when people tune in, they'll get the latest news, but they'll also get the biggest story of the day in depth, as CNN does so well.

KING: Any regulars on the show, you know, kind of reporters like -- like Miss Zahn has in the morning and Aaron Brown has at 10, people who will appear a lot?

CHUNG: We hope to do that, Larry. I think we'll gather a group together of people that we'll always call upon. But then again, we'll also use the CNN worldwide staff.

KING: One of the things you told me when last time you were on with Maury that one of the things you love about your job is you work for a magazine, you can go out and do stories or not do stories and you want to be a mother first. So now you take a job that takes you at 8:00 every night live. Why?

CHUNG: Yes, I know. It was a real struggle. I kept saying to my husband, what are we going to do about that? And he said, we'll work it out. And that night, when I called him and said I wasn't going to be home for dinner, I wouldn't be home to put Matthew to bed, he was angry. So I don't know what he was thinking when he said we'll work it out.

For the most part, my husband is home in the evening and maybe there is something that I can do to figure out how I can balance all of this. Our son is in school now. You know, he's six-and-a-half and so a big chunk of the day is taken up by school. So I'm hoping that I'll be able to certainly take him to school in the morning, maybe pick him up in the afternoon and come back to work. I don't know. I haven't quite figured it out, Larry.

KING: Maury totally in favor of this?

CHUNG: He was from the beginning. But he's always very supportive. But this, he was actually in favor of, and, you know, if there was any doubt in my mind, I knew he was going to try and convince me to do it.

KING: You've also been known in the trade as someone who likes to go out and get people. You'll fly to Portland, Oregon to do the ice skater. You'll go here and there.

CHUNG: Had to bring that one up, huh?

KING: When you are limited by a desk, you are limited in that regard, aren't you?

CHUNG: That's true.

KING: Is that going to be a problem or are you looking forward to that end?

CHUNG: I don't think so, Larry. I mean, you are always on the phone. And I would always be on the phone as well. So I think we'll be able to still gather our interviewees, get the people that we want to get.

KING: Didn't you like doing the magazine? Didn't you like going out and spending two days with someone, which we don't do, following the story through and producing a piece?

CHUNG: Yes. I think that there might be times when I can still do that. I might be able to slip away on the weekends. I might be able to slip away on a Friday or a Monday or something like that. So, you know, Larry, I'm going to see how it works out. I may miss that a lot and may find myself doing that a little more than I intended to. But, we'll see.

KING: How do the folks at ABC treat this?

CHUNG: Beautifully. I mean, I was very, very fortunate that the president of ABC News, David Weston, was kind, generous, fair, from the beginning. CNN had come to us and asked my representative if he could ask ABC, David Weston, the president of ABC News, if we could -- if CNN could talk to us. And he gave the OK, graciously. And then when it -- after our negotiations were through, we went to -- I didn't actually, my representative did -- went to him and said, well, Connie would like to go to CNN. And that was it.

KING: Did you feel shunted around at all at ABC, which has such prominent women in journalism. Did you feel like third rung?

CHUNG: Well, there always was a high estrogen level there, Larry, but I went there knowing that. So, you know, there are also a lot of men who were, you know, had marvelous reputations in the field of journalism and television news. So it was nothing that I -- that surprised me when I got there.

I think that they had afforded me many opportunities to do good work there, and I think I did. It was a wonderful four years. I really worked with some great people, terrific producers, terrific editors. And I was very happy. I hadn't intended to go anywhere. I had one more year on my contract. So I was doing fine. KING: What's your last story for them?

CHUNG: I have actually four more stories, I think, that we're trying to...

KING: Will run before you start on the air on CNN?

CHUNG: Yes. And one of them, Larry, was one that you did, because you woke us up to the fact that Barbara Eden, who played "I Dream of Jeannie", had a terrible tragedy in her life. Her son died of an overdose of heroin when he was 35. He was in his 30s. And it was such a sad story. We -- someone saw it on LARRY KING LIVE and said, you know, we ought to do that story. So I went out and did it.

KING: Great girl, isn't she, Barbara?

CHUNG: She's lovely, just terrific.

KING: We'll be right back with CNN's newest anchor, Connie Chung. It'll start in the end of March or the beginning of April. She'll be hosting the program preceding this one, still untitled. We'll be taking your calls for Connie. We'll be right back.


CHUNG: President Ford said today what political observers had been saying all week.

Welcome to our special Channel 2 news coverage of campaign '82. I'm Connie Chung with Jeff Marlow (ph).

This is the "CBS Evening News", Connie Chung reporting. Good evening.

Hi, I'm Connie Chung. We're about to see eye to eye.



KING: Our guest is Connie Chung. She's had an extraordinary career. He's a montage, a compilation of some of Connie's earlier work. Watch.


CHUNG: They've been arrested and harassed by police.

... Was it clear to you that conservative opposition to you was so great that you would be a liability to the president?

... The convicted Watergate conspirators might be first to testify.

... The spokesman said the Secret Service is fully satisfied...

... Connie Chung, Metromedia Television News at the University of Maryland.


CHUNG: Oh, my gosh, Larry. That was horrible.

KING: We did it to Katie Couric. She went nuts.

CHUNG: Where did you get that?

KING: I don't know where, our spies, Connie, they are people like you use, out on the trail.

CHUNG: Unbelievable. That was horrible.

KING: Horrible why? You wouldn't say that was a promising talent there?

CHUNG: Oh, no. Get the hook. I'm going to buy some suspenders, Larry. I think that's what I need. Don't you?

KING: It might work. Yes, you'll never get anywhere. When I see that tape you'll never get anywhere. Do you regard yourself, truthfully, as a ground-breaker?

CHUNG: Well, I don't know. I think more of Barbara Walters as a ground-breaker. You know, she paved the way for so many of us. I don't -- I don't really see myself that way.

KING: How about in the ethnicity area?

CHUNG: I knew you were going to get there.

Maybe. Maybe. Because there aren't very many -- or there weren't very many of my ilk back in 1970 or '69 when I started. Yes, that was '69.

Oh, my goodness. These are hysterical, Larry.

KING: Well, you were beautiful. You still are beautiful.

CHUNG: Thank you. I was about 25 here. And I was working at WTTG, which was a metromedia station then. That was in Saudi Arabia. And this was on the campaign trail covering George McGovern. That again was in 1969.

KING: You had your hair in, what is that, a bun there?

CHUNG: Yes, trying to look older.

KING: Were you always very ambitious?

CHUNG: I'd say I was determined. I wouldn't necessarily say I was ambitious. But I was determined to be the best reporter around -- that was during Watergate -- Sam Donaldson -- did you see that -- that John Door (ph) . That was during Watergate, he was the lawyer for the Democrats. All during Watergate. KING: Boy you changed hair styles a lot.

CHUNG: Sure, we all do. Look at Hillary Clinton, please.

KING: Was the Dan Rather episode, when you co-anchored with him, a side of your career that -- you look back and say...

CHUNG: Oh, that last one was Walter Conkrite. I don't know if you saw it.

KING: ... Yes, I did. Do you look back at the Rather episode and say that was an unhappy period?

CHUNG: I have this way of only remembering the good times, which is really strange. But I can only remember good things that happened, which, I don't know, it sound like Polyanna-ish, but it's true. I once bought an old car back after I sold it because I missed it so much and I had forgotten that it never ran. It was a British racing car. You know, because I just wanted it back. I could only remember what was good about it.

The -- not comparing Dan Rather to a British racing car, but what I'm saying was it was a good time that sense that those two fulfilling years covering the major stories that our nation faced internationally and reporting the news from the anchor chair. It was what was Walter Cronkite's chair. I think that was quite an experience.

KING: How did you deal at the time with the criticism? We all get it in this business, when they wrapped you over the Mrs. Gingrich interview and -- you've been a potshot -- they've taken potshots at you frequently. Do you handle that well?

CHUNG: Of course not. I go home and tell me husband, it's awful. It's a terrible day. It won't wash away in the bathwater. Then the next morning I'm still thinking about it, but that, looking back, of course, I thought was terribly unfair. I think people who did actually see the interview didn't feel as if I was being unfair to Mrs. Gingrich. And -- truly, where is Newt Gingrich now?

KING: Aha. Pretty good, Connie. Let's take a call. That's pretty good.

CHUNG: I love it when you do that little laugh.

KING: Pennsylvania, let's take a call for Connie Chung! Hello!

CALLER: Hi, how are you?

CHUNG: Good.

CALLER: I have a question for Connie. How do you feel about leaving everyone at ABC, and also I have a comment. I just wanted to say that I think you are going to be a fantastic addition to CNN.

CHUNG: Oh, thank you so much.

KING: Are you sad about leaving?

CHUNG: I am sad. I'm so sad. I've worked with some really terrific people there. In fact, I think in some ways they helped me put together the best stories I've ever done, terrific producers, and excellent editors.

I will really, really miss them. But, you know, sometimes -- many -- they all understand. That's the nice thing. They were all very happy for me and they understand why I decided to come to CNN. So in that respect, I know that they think it's the best thing for me to do.

KING: I guess the most attention you got at ABC was the Condit interview, was it not?


KING: And the widest audience you had at ABC.


KING: The Condit interview. Looking back on that, what went wrong?

CHUNG: Wrong?

KING: The interview turned out to be, I mean, obviously, but, I mean, nothing was learned about him, if he had a career going, it certainly ruined it. I mean, from a standpoint, what did he do wrong?

CHUNG: You know, I don't think he necessarily ruined his career. We'll see. He's running for re-election. And also I think a local "Modesto Bee" poll had shown that he was doing quite well. Other assessments don't characterize it as being probably a winning election for Condit, but we'll see. And at any rate, I think he decided, I'm told, with his family, that this was as far as he would go. He would say nothing more than what he did say. So I think that was a conscious decision on his part and on the part of his family.

KING: Did it bother you that he one-worded you and when you kept going back to the killing, he just kept acting like you weren't asking anything?

CHUNG: Well it was mostly about his relationship with Chandra Levy that he had a problem describing. So I don't know what he thinks in retrospect if he should have been more forthcoming. For me it was just frustrating to a great extent because during that half hour I had to find a way to elicit some answers and all I was doing was seeking information, which what we, as reporters do.

KING: When it ended, how did you feel?

CHUNG: I was spent. I felt as if the tension level in the room was at such a peak that by the time that half hour was over, and indeed it felt like 30 seconds, I was really quite physically and mentally exhausted. And I think he was, too. And I think all his aides were. It was one of the most extraordinary interviews I've done in quite a long while for the very reason that it was concentrated, it was only a half hour, it was live to tape, and because the back and forth was very, very intense.

KING: We'll be back with more of Connie Chung, the newest member of the CNN family. Her show will start in late March or early April, preceding this one. We'll be right back.


CHUNG: Was Chandra Levy in love with you or were you in love with her?

REP. GARY CONDIT (D), CALIFORNIA: I don't know if she was in love with me. She never said so. I was not in love with her.

CHUNG: Did she want to marry you and have your child?

CONDIT: I only knew Chandra Levy for five months. And in that five months period we never had a discussion about a future, about children, about marriage. None of those items ever came up in that five-month period.

CHUNG: Did you ever make promises to her?

CONDIT: Never.




CHUNG: Reverend McIntyre (ph) led the march from the Mall to the Washington Monument. Others followed, some in wheelchairs. Men who proudly called themselves hardhats rode in a truck with a loudspeaker condemning the anti-war protesters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to try to preserve the kind of country I inherited from my forefathers, not what the hippies say they ought to have. The hippies are heathens, Godless, Christless. They are doomed to an eternity in hell.


CHUNG: Larry, you know what? You have used all of these that were when I was 25 years old.

KING: Well, I liked you there with the street looking at that guy like, sure.


CHUNG: I mean, all of the ones that you've shown are 30 years ago. Can you imagine? When I was 25.

KING: You're kidding?

CHUNG: No, I swear. I'm 55 now.

KING: You are how old?

CHUNG: I was 25 then.

KING: You're 55 years old?

CHUNG: I'm 55 now. Yes. Larry, are you there?

KING: You look fantastic.

CHUNG: Thank you so much.

KING: Ellijay, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Connie, would you like to interview Mr. Ken Lay formerly of Enron, and what will be the impact of Enron scandal on the Bush presidency and the midterm elections coming up?

CHUNG: Terrific question. Yes, I would love to interview Mr. Lay. Do you happen to know him? Do you have any ins? No, he's not there anymore. Too bad.

Honestly, you know, as of this point, there are no clear indications that the Bush administration has anything to be embarrassed about or concerned about. I mean, but the investigations continue. Of course, there are congressional investigations into Enron and we'll see. Midterm elections, again, if there is nothing determined as to a connection or a favor that the Bush administration did for Enron, then there should be virtually no impact on the midterm elections.

KING: What was it like for you, Connie, to have been someone who is a journalist, a very well respected journalist, who also appears fairly frequently in tabloids? Maury is doing this. You're doing this. Does that -- does that cause an imbalance in you? Is that kind of weird to cover and be covered?

CHUNG: Well, honestly, both my husband and I tend to ignore the tabloids. We see them every once in awhile or it comes to our attention that we are in a tabloid for one reason or another. But it's always false. I mean, it's always clearly not the truth. It's always manufactured. And so, you know -- and I think most people out there know that. They don't take it seriously. They don't believe that any of it is true.

KING: Gulf Shore, Alabama for Connie Chung. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.


CALLER: Congratulations, Connie.

CHUNG: Thank you.

CALLER: We are so glad that you are going to be on CNN.

CHUNG: Thank you so much.

CALLER: We enjoy watching you. And my question is when are you going to have Maury on your show?

KING: A-ha.

CHUNG: That's a great idea. What do you think? Should we have him on?

KING: Obviously she does. What do you think? I'd put him on a couple -- wouldn't you put him on one night?

CHUNG: Well, I don't know. He hogs, Larry.

KING: Do a show on daytime talk.

CHUNG: Yes, but he hogs all the time. You know, I mean, if we're having dinner with people, he hogs the conversation. If we're on television, he hogs. I'm not sure if I want to let him on. There he is.

KING: What do you make of the network race for ratings that's occurring now in this gigantic pie being split up hundreds of ways? The morning shows for example, they go up one-tenth of a point, they call press conferences. What do you make of all of this?

CHUNG: It's so silly, isn't it? I mean, it really is.

KING: It is funny.

CHUNG: Yes, it's ridiculous. I mean, all the ratings wars are silly. But, I mean, someone has to be concerned about the ratings because it means, you know, it translates into revenue. But fortunately we don't have to worry about that, right, Larry?

KING: I don't worry about it. I just do my show every night. If you start worrying about it, you worrying about things not having to do with the show. Do you like competition?

CHUNG: Do I like it?

KING: Yes. Ted Turner once said in answer to that question, no. I like to be the only one on the air, the only network.


CHUNG: For 24 hours a day.

KING: Some people like the competitive nature of things.

CHUNG: You know, I like to be competitive. I mean, it's all part of the game. But, yes, sure, I'd rather not have it. I'll go with Ted Turner on that.

KING: Well said. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Good evening to both of you.


CALLER: Connie, welcome to CNN.

CHUNG: Thank you.

CALLER: You're welcome. My question to you is did the lack of minorities on the network three influence your decision to come to CNN? And why do you feel there is a lack of minority anchors as of Monday through Friday on the big network three?

CHUNG: You know, there are not only -- all of the networks, and I mean every television news operation and print and radio and magazines, newspapers, all of them, are remiss in the diversity area. I mean, none of these organizations have reached a level of parity.

I can't even think of a level of parity between the sexes either. It is clearly a male-dominated profession and women and minorities are largely left out with the exception of a few. There was progress being made in the '70s on both fronts, but there was a pullback in the '80s and even the '90s. So it's a long struggle, I think. I don't know what all of us can do to continue to press for more women, more minorities, but it's just something that we all have to work on.

KING: Also, do you agree that men can age on television and women can't?

CHUNG: Yes, I do. I think men are allowed to be fat and bald and ugly and women aren't. And it's just not -- there is no equality there.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Connie Chung. Tomorrow night is the state of the union address, so we'll be on later at about 10:30 Eastern time with the state of the union then the analysis. And our guests will include solicitor general of the United States, Ted Olson, Bob Woodward of the "Washington Post" and former senator Bob Dole.

Back at our regular time Wednesday night with Governor Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas and we're going to talk about Enron. We'll be right back.



CHUNG: You basically attacked this man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't attack him. I could've just ripped him apart right there on the stands.

CHUNG: Do you think that that incident was embarrassing to your brother?


CHUNG: You really don't?


CHUNG: You honestly don't think that was embarrassing?


CHUNG: Come on. Are you serious?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm dead serious. I'm dead serious.

CHUNG: Roger, don't you know by now that you shouldn't react that way? Your brother is president of the United States?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every now and then I just slip up.




CHUNG: When I asked you to do this interview, I asked you to do the interview with Joanne Woodward, side by side. And you said no. Why?

PAUL NEWMAN, ACTOR: Well, my experience has been that it really doesn't work.

CHUNG: But you act together. You live together. You are married. So why not an interview together?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he interrupts you.

CHUNG: She just said, because he interrupts me a lot. True?

NEWMAN: I certainly do not. That wouldn't be gentlemanly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God's going to strike you dead.


KING: Connie Chung at work. Prior, Oklahoma, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Connie. I would like to know who would be the ultimate person that you would love to interview?

CHUNG: Oh, you know, I've been asked that kind of question before, and that's a tough one. Because generally it's -- it is the person everyone wants at that moment. That's the person I want to interview.

KING: So today would be Kenneth Lay, maybe?

CHUNG: Yes, probably. Osama bin Laden.

KING: Mine would be his pope.

CHUNG: Oh. Mine would be Osama bin Laden.

KING: Yes, he'd be way up there, too. New York City, Hello -- yeah, Saddam Hussein -- New York City, hello?

CALLER: Hi, Connie, you and Maury seem to have such a successful marriage in such a high-pressure business. What is your secret?

CHUNG: Well, we -- you know, we thought about that one time. This is the conclusion we came to. We decided that you have to let the other person do whatever he or she loves, and not intrude on that. You don't have to do everything together.

For instance, he says I let him play golf, and he says, he lets me be miserable in my job. Now -- that doesn't quite sound right, does it? But nonetheless, I think for the first time in my life, I'm not going to be miserable in my life when I come and work at CNN.

KING: What was -- what is late parenthood like? You became a parent at, what, 40...

CHUNG: Forty-nine. I was almost 50, I think.

KING: What was that like?

CHUNG: I think, you know, it was something that I really wanted. I wanted so much to have a son or daughter. We adopted a son. And it was just the most wonderful thing. I think the only thing that was difficult for both Maury and myself were the sleepless nights. The sleep deprivation just about killed us. But -- and we actually were going to adopt a second child, you know, a little girl, maybe a girl from China. But then we decided after all those sleepless nights, we said, this is good. This is fine. One son is great. And that's what we stuck with, our little boy, Matthew.

KING: And how did you look at adoption, when you -- you don't look at him as adopted, do you?

CHUNG: Oh, no. He's our son. He was meant to be ours. I mean, I really believe that Matthew was meant to be ours. The timing of it was such that only he was going to be our baby. You know? It wasn't going to happen the year before, it wasn't going to happen a year later, not a day earlier or a day later. It was going to be Matthew and he was meant to be matched with us. So it's perfect. I mean, it's just perfect.

KING: Connie, you've worked all three networks, haven't you?

CHUNG: Uh-huh.

KING: Your thoughts on that. Was that a good idea, as you look back, experience-wise. Are you glad you did that, all three?

CHUNG: You know, I always -- I always have this, should have, could have, would have feeling. My husband doesn't. My husband goes on, has no problem with whatever happened in the past. But I would always say, well, you know, I should have this. And I should have that. You can't ask me that question. I'd spend of the rest of this hour or even longer telling you what I should have, could have or would have.

KING: In retrospect, you are glad you worked all three?

CHUNG: Yes. I worked with wonderful people. I think that for me, it worked. It is not that I necessarily recommend it, but it was over a long period of time. We're talking about 17 or 18 years at CBS, maybe six at NBC and four or five at ABC. So the bulk of it was at CBS. I think it was almost 20 years at CBS.

KING: Are you a little nervous now taking on this enterprise with all this attention? Or have you -- old hat to you?

CHUNG: No, of course I think it's healthy to be nervous. I'm not healthy -- I'm nervous at the moment. Of course I'm not. I'm not nervous right now. But I'm sure that being a little nervous and being a little scared, I believe, is healthy. Once you are comfortable, and you know exactly what you are doing and you are -- you aren't even taken aback by any surprises, I don't think you are living. So I think it's great to get nervous again. And I'm sure I will be the first night. Don't you?

KING: Yes, well, may I say on a personal level I couldn't be happier. I'm so glad to have you aboard.

CHUNG: Thank you. You've always been so supportive.

KING: Honor to have you lead into us.

CHUNG: Thank you, and I'll try to do my best so I give you a good eat lead-in.

KING: Good luck to you, Connie. God bless you.

CHUNG: Thank you. Will you say hello to your family and children?

KING: I will, and you give my best to Maury and the little one.

CHUNG: Great, and to Wendy, your executive producer.

KING: I sure will. Connie Chung, the newly named CNN anchor. She'll debut in late March or early April on this network preceding this show.

We'll take a break and when we come back and tell you about tomorrow night. I'm Larry King. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: By the way, we gave you the Web site, but we now have a number that you can direct into the Web site directly having information about the missing "Wall Street Journal" correspondent Daniel Pearl. What you do is hit, and them click on "Contact us." WWW.WSJ.COM, and then click on "Contact us." See you tomorrow after the State of the Union. Right now, in Washington, preparing for the State of the Union, the host of NEWSNIGHT, Aaron Brown -- Aaron.




Back to the top