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Interview With Ann Richards

Aired August 11, 2003 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Ann Richards, the sassy former governor of Texas, joins us for a fascinating hour on President Bush, his hunt for Saddam, on Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California governor's race, on her battles with alcoholism and osteoporosis and more. Ann Richards for the hour -- your calls, too -- next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Ann Richards, the former Democratic governor of Texas from 1990 to 1994, is author of a new book, "I'm Not Slowing Down; Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis," written with Dr. Richard Levine. We've talked about this frequently with Ann, telling us about this book coming, and finally, it's here. And later in the show, we'll ask extensively about it.

But let's begin with the big story in the news, and we'll get her reaction to lots of news items. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in your neck of the woods today, attending an event at City College of New York. What do you make of that?

ANN RICHARDS (D), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: Go figure. What was he doing in New York, if he's running for governor of California?

KING: Maybe he had a prior commitment.

RICHARDS: Well, he probably did. But you know, Larry, one thing he doesn't need is news coverage. He's going to get plenty of news coverage. He can walk down the street and get that. I think what he needs to do is to get back to California and tell the people of California, up close and personal, what he stands for and what he's going to do.

You know, the sad part about having the kind of name ID and the kind of personal affection people feel for him is that he's going to get so much publicity and it will build up, and then everybody's going to wait for something bad to happen to him -- you know, for him to say something stupid or to get caught in saying two things at once, anything that will bring him down. And I don't envy him that position.

KING: Are you saying there can be such a thing as too much attention?

RICHARDS: Oh, absolutely, because they'll build you up so high and they'll show your numbers as being so high, when the numbers really represent nothing more than name recognition. And then everybody's going to kind of sit back, like, you know, OK, big boy, now let's see what you've got to say about what you're going to do in running California. And I'm going to tell you the worst thing that can happen to any of these people is that they get elected governor of California. You know, you've got so many problems out there. The bond rating is completely in the tank. You've got serious problems in paying for education. You've got problems paying for health care. So whoever wins this race, good grief. What a job.

KING: Don't wish for something, you might get it. What do you make of the whole recall idea?

RICHARDS: Well, you know, too much democracy is a sort of sad thing. I feel -- I feel really bad for the people of California. You know, what could happen here, you could have -- let's say 49 percent of the people go and vote not to recall Davis, and then you could have 20 percent go and vote for one candidate or another. And Davis would lose and go out of office because he has to get 50 plus 1.

KING: Right.

RICHARDS: And whoever got 15 or 20 and was the high vote getter would become the governor of California. It's really, really pretty sad and pretty crazy. I said when I found out there were 200 people running, well, one thing, they're not going to have a debate.


KING: Can you do it in the Coliseum?

RICHARDS: Yes. It would look like "The Jerry Springer Show."


KING: Jerry Brown, the former governor, told CNN yesterday that this is Arnold's race to lose. He makes him the prohibitive favorite. Do you agree?

RICHARDS: I think it probably is his race to lose because it's going to be very hard for anybody else to get any news coverage. But I'm just telling you, Larry, that they built the guy up so high that he better have done his homework. He better have a program and a plan on every issue because the press is going to be laying in wait for him. I said today it was kind of like J.Lo and Ben Affleck's movie. You know, they just couldn't wait...

KING: "Gigli."

RICHARDS: Yes. They couldn't wait until it came out so they could trash it. And I think that -- you know, I think Arnold's got -- I think he's got a serious problem. He better know the year that California came into the union because that's the kind of thing they're going to ask him.

KING: What do you make -- help or good idea -- I mean, is it a burden or a help to have the Kennedy connection?

RICHARDS: Well, it's going to help him. It has to help him because Maria is an asset. She's very attractive and she is well spoken, and I think she -- as a Democrat, she's going to say, you know, He's my husband, and even though he's Republican, he's going to be good for the Democrats. So it gives him a sort of a nice patina, you know, of democracy there. But yes, I would say it was a benefit to him -- certainly, in the state of California, which is a very Democratic state.

But here's the deal, Larry. Government is complex. It's -- these jobs are hard jobs. They're not just fun and games. And so to come in with the problems that California has and a legislature that's already kind of feeling its oats, you know, because it's been running things now, trying to keep Davis from being able to get a budget passed and all that stuff. So then they elect a new governor, and the same legislature is going to be there, snickering and saying, you know, Come on, let's just see who's in charge here. I think it's a very tough time for the state.

KING: Is there a chance Davis can survive this?

RICHARDS: Yes, there's a chance, but I think it's tough. I think it's a very tough thing to convince people to go to the polls and not vote for anyone, just vote no to the referendum. It's hard to communicate that to the masses of voters.

KING: Yes. What do you make of the others? Anybody else jump out at you, Arianna Huffington, the lieutenant governor who says, Don't vote for the recall, but if the recall passes, vote for me?

RICHARDS: But see, he's got a tough message there. It's a complicated message. It is, I don't want you to vote for the recall, but if that's what you're going to do, then I want you to cast your ballot for me. People work for a living. They got families to raise. Their lives are tough. They don't have time to spend looking at all the little machinations that you and I do about how it works in politics. And so trying to convey what you're supposed to do to be able to vote for the lieutenant governor, I think, is a tough trip. If I was in California, I'd vote for him because -- if I was going to vote against the recall because I'd want somebody in charge in tough times out there that has the experience to know how the government works.

KING: And how about Arianna Huffington?

RICHARDS: Well, I like Arianna a lot. And I saw her this last week at Aspen, at a conference that "Fortune" magazine had. And I told her, I said, Arianna, you better hope you don't win that race because this is a very tough time -- this is a very tough time to be governing. In fact, Larry, I didn't know tonight when you got on the television whether you were going to tell me that you'd you filed or not.


KING: No, I can't take the cut in pay.

We'll take a break and we'll come back. Ann Richards will be taking your calls. Her new book is "I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis." Talk about that later, too. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Angelyne and I'm running for governor, and you should vote for me because I love California.

LARRY FLYNT, "HUSTLER" MAGAZINE PUBLISHER: My name is Larry Flynt. I'm running for governor of California. People should vote for me because I can balance a budget.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My slogan is TRP -- think rational (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Oh! And a hug for everybody. Oh!


KING: Governor Richards, does this make California kind of a laughingstock?

RICHARDS: Well, of course people are laughing. What else could they possibly do? You know, Larry, the one that really learned a political lesson here was Congressman -- what's his name -- Issa?

KING: Issa. Yes, he financed the whole thing and then quit.

RICHARDS: Yes. He spent 2 million bucks getting the names for the recall so he could run, and the White House calls him and tells him he can't run. And so it's just 2 million bucks for nothing. I thought that...

KING: You hear it was the White House that told him not to run?

RICHARDS: Yes, that was what the word was here, that the White House told him no. This was not going to make. And so...

KING: The White House is kind of staying out of this, aren't they?

RICHARDS: Well, don't kid yourself. They may not be on the front page, but believe me, they got an oar in that water.

KING: They want Arnold to win?

RICHARDS: Well, I think they'd like to have any Republican they could possibly have because it would help them a lot in the presidential election next year to be able to have a Republican in the governor's chair in California.

KING: Should Arnold want Bush to campaign for him or not?

RICHARDS: I wouldn't think so. I mean, Bush didn't do very well in California when he ran, and I don't think he is beloved in California. And I think he -- Arnold would do just as well to keep himself separate from all politics, try to keep away from any kind of label or taint that it might put on him, that, you know, he's just another guy using influential politicians to help him. It's real important for him to look like a totally independent, honest, successful businessman who wants to help the people.

KING: Don't know about laws in other states. Could this start a movement to recall other officials?

RICHARDS: Oh, I think other states looking at this wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. Now, of course, we have plenty of nuts in Texas that might decide they want -- they want to emulate what California...

KING: Well, you can't stop someone from signing ballots, can you? You can't stop someone -- I mean, do other states have referendums? Can you remove Governor Pataki in New York?

RICHARDS: I think they have to have very specific legislation. And probably the legislation requires -- even in California, I bet it requires extreme circumstances. It's bound to say something about malfeasance in office. So it's really surprising to me that they've been able to pull this off in California. I know there are referendums in other states, but I wouldn't think that there was one for a recall unless it was under some extreme circumstances.

KING: But California, the circumstances could be anything, right?

RICHARDS: Well -- and I...

KING: You make up the circumstance.

RICHARDS: Yes. And if you get an attorney general or a judge that is willing to say, you know, that these circumstances you've described are extreme, perhaps you could do it. You know, down in Texas, we've got a governor down there that decided, well, since the Republicans are in charge, they'll just redistrict and get them a bunch more Republican congressmen. So the senators and the house members left the state so they wouldn't have a quorum and couldn't do business. Of course, we were all standing there, applauding. It's a weird time, Larry. I mean, I don't know whether it's a full moon and the wolves are howling or what, but it is a strange, political time.

KING: Let's turn now to your party. Howard Dean. I think we have the tape here. Watch -- I think -- if we have it ready, this is what you said back in December on this show. Watch.


RICHARDS: The one I like of the whole bunch so far is Howard Dean, the governor...

KING: Governor of Vermont.

RICHARDS: ... of Vermont.

KING: I met him a couple weeks ago. Why do you like him of the whole bunch?

RICHARDS: Well, he's the only one saying anything. I like candidates who tell me something that is going to make a difference to me. And Howard Dean is a doctor. He knows all about medical care. And he's talking about health care in this country, which I think is important.


KING: What do you make of how he's doing?

RICHARDS: Well, I think Howard Dean is a phenomenon, and I've never seen in my lifetime a grass-roots organization like Howard Dean has put together. It is phenomenal. There are people meeting all over the country in little groups that are Howard Dean supporters, and it is a grass-roots effort where they're going out and getting more of their friends and more and more to join up. And a lot of it is being done on the Internet.

And I know that you saw that he had raised more money than the rest of the candidates in the last reporting period, and he's done it all on the Internet in small amounts. So I think there is something going on here that is unlike anything that we've seen before. And I think it is based solely on what I told you back in December, that this guy is talking about issues and was not afraid to take on George Bush's policies. And I think that that's it, pure and simple. Whoever wins this nomination is going to have to go after George Bush and this administration on education, health care, the environment, the war and the continuation of it, and the lack of being able to bring any normalcy to Iraq.

KING: What about the statement by Senator Lieberman that Dean can be a road to nowhere? Lieberman said Democrats don't deserve to govern if they move left and embrace the "failed solutions of the past."

RICHARDS: Well, I think Lieberman's got to say something because he obviously isn't going anywhere. And I think that the three frontrunners in this contest are presently Howard Dean, John Kerry and Dick Gephardt. Gephardt has managed to get himself in a position of being everybody's choice for number two. So depending on how these primaries go, Dick Gephardt could rise to the forefront, if some of these other frontrunners get knocked off in a primary.

KING: He raised over a million tonight in Denver, did President Bush. Do you think he can be beaten, really?

RICHARDS: No question about it. There is not a doubt in my mind that the people of America are hunkered down. They are afraid. They don't understand what went on with this war in Iraq and the fact that they are seemingly unable to find weapons of mass destruction and yet told us that we should send our boys and girls to Iraq to fight and get killed and wounded, and yet the purpose of that war has turned out to be -- so far -- nothing. And everybody...

KING: But you're happy that Saddam is gone, aren't you? RICHARDS: Sure. I'd be happy if a whole lot of these really bad people that rule countries are gone. But we were told when this president was elected that he wasn't going to be about the business of going in nation-building, that he was going to have a different kind of foreign policy. And boy, is this one different. Here we are, up to our eyeballs in debt, spending a billion dollars every month on this war in Iraq, unable to bring any kind of normalcy of life, can't even get the electricity and the water working for the people of Iraq.

And Larry, I'm going to tell you that the ramifications of that poor planning and our inability to do that is going to spread all over the Middle East. If you think they're not using this in other countries to say, Look at what the United States has done to the poor people of Iraq. First they bomb them. They've destroyed their homes. They've destroyed their businesses. And now they can't even police the state, except in the area of the oil fields. And they announced that they were going to be able to have those oil fields up and running by the end of this year or early next year. So that'll tell you a lot.

KING: We'll take a break, be back with more, go to calls at the bottom of the hour. Ann Richards's new book is "I'm Not Slowing Down," and boy, she isn't. "Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis" is its title. We'll cover some other bases, take your calls, as well. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Governor Ann Richards. Go to your calls at the bottom of the hour. Before we ask about the osteoporosis and the book, what do you make of the -- it's two years coming up on 9/11. What do you make of the office of homeland security? How are we doing?

RICHARDS: Well, we're not safer than we were. In fact, even less, because all the local governments are so strapped for money, they're laying off firemen, laying off policemen. We have less local security now than we had before. And you know none of us mind going through that routine or taking our shoes off at the airport and all of that stuff. But they are not checking the cargo that is loaded into those planes. They may be checking us, but that other stuff -- there have been lots of stories about how insecure those airports are.

KING: But nothing's happened.

RICHARDS: But fortunately, nothing has happened. But are we safer? Are we more secure? No, we're not. I saw an article the other day when Senator Patty Murray in Washington state was talking about the fact that Bush has put personnel in foreign ports in the Middle East to check the cargo going into ships. And she said, But what about our ports in America, checking cargo that comes off the ships? We don't have the personnel. We don't have the money.

And I am telling you, Larry, that the tax cuts have eaten our lunch, and it is going to be even worse as these Baby Boomers come along by 2007 and expecting medical care through Medicaid and the money is simply not there to pay for it. And this is not just my opinion. This is the opinion of some really smart guys, economists, who warn that when you cut the kind of taxes the way Bush did, it has such far-reaching and longer implications for the country that it's really scary.

And of course, you look at the economy -- I mean, we -- our jobless rate is higher than it's been in 20 years. It's a tough time here. And there is not a single government that is not suffering. And can the federal government help them, help the states or help the cities? Absolutely not because they don't have the money to do it with. It's a rough time in America. And you ask those people out there who are out of work what chances they see of getting work, and the answer is, Damned little.

KING: And a tax cut won't help that...

RICHARDS: Well, of course, it ain't going to help.

KING: ... won't create more money moving through the economy? Doesn't work?

RICHARDS: Well, of course, it doesn't. Temporarily. Some of those families may go buy a few extra things, but the tax cut was for people like you and me, Larry, that make a whole lot more money than the middle class. And we're not going to spend all of that money. Supposedly, the tax cut was supposed to make businesses invest more in their business, but we haven't seen that happen. Businesses are just as nervous and uneasy as the population is.

KING: We're going to take a break, talk a little bit about osteoporosis, take your phone calls. Ann Richards is the former Democratic governor of Texas. She served in that office from 1990 to 1994, was defeated, by the way, by George Bush in her reelection attempt. And her new book "I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis," written with Dr. Richard Levine. We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: Thirty million women will face it in one form in their life, 10 million men. That's 40 million Americans will eventually have to face osteoporosis which is what, Ann?

RICHARDS: Well, it is a puerosity or holes in your bones develop and your bones get soft and as a consequence of that softness, they begin to compact and collapse. And when I first really noticed that was something was different with me, the collars on my shirts would ride up like this and I couldn't figure out what it was and then I realized that my neck was shrinking, that literally I was getting shorter.

My mother, of course, had broken a number of bones. I had broken my hand. And that's when I asked the doctor to give me a bone density test and that's when we found that I had the early stages of osteoporosis.

KING: Every American should take that test at what age?

RICHARDS: Well, certainly you should take -- I would encourage anybody to take the test at any time, because you at least should have a base reading of what your high -- what your highest density is, if you can get it. I didn't, you know, -- I didn't get one until I already had osteopainia, which is this early stage of osteoporosis.

KING: Can it kill?

RICHARDS: Oh, absolutely, it can kill.

I went to a conference in Portugal, an international conference on osteoporosis. And Camilla Parker-Bowles was there. And she -- her mother and grandmother both literally died of osteoporosis because they became so stooped that their intestines were cramped and they were unable to take in food and were, of course, in total misery.

But the important thing to say about the book, Larry, is that I wrote this book because I hoped that people might pick it up and stick it in their purpose or their briefcase. It's a small book, it's lightweight, it's very simple to read. It's not full of medical jargon. And also, I try to tell some stories about my mother and about her last years and her death so that people who are facing this problem of caring for elderly parents would understand what some of the things are that you're going to face as your parents age.

KING: There's also a wonderful in the back -- we'll talk about it a little more later -- list of places you can go. The American College of Obstetricians, the National Dairy Council, the Arthritis Foundation. How to contact them for aid.

The book is "I'm Not Slowing Down."

Let's start to include some phone calls for Governor Ann Richards. Sierra Madre, California, hello.

CALLER: Hello. I love you both.

Ann, when are you coming to California to clean up our mess?

KING: Are you going to get involved in this campaign?

RICHARDS: No, probably not. I hope they don't recall Gray Davis. Gray Davis has been an honest, hard-working governor who came in at a really, really tough time. But it looks like to me that the mood is such and the media is, you know, such hype. It's going to be very hard for him to overcome that.

Listen, I love California. I love to go out there, I'm going to go out and sell my book in San Diego before this tour is over and I've got lots of friends out there. I just feel sad for California at a time like this. What you need is some really strong, informed, educated leadership, somebody who knows how to make that ship of state steam ahead. And it just doesn't look like to me it's there.

KING: Boston, Massachusetts, for Ann Richards, hello. CALLER: Thank you, Larry. Good evening, Governor. It's always great to hear your views.

RICHARDS: Thank you.

CALLER: My question is -- my question is, do you rule out holding an elected office again or perhaps even accepting an appointment such as an ambassadorship?

RICHARDS: Well, I don't really hanker to hold office again. I have a wonderful job. I work for a company called Public Strategies and they let me run the office here in New York. They're just -- they're really good to me. And I had the opportunity one time to be an ambassador and the reality is I couldn't afford it. You know, you have to put everything in trust and I've never been a wealthy person and I just -- I just didn't have the money to do it.

And I don't rule that out, maybe one day, if it was a country that I really cared about, I might do that. But I am so happy with my life right now and I help people who are running for office that I care about and I believe in. I'm going to be out there, believe me, on this campaign trail and this next presidential election just like a blanket on a bed. I'm really going to try to campaign and help the Democrats.

KING: Warwick, Rhode Island, for Governor Ann Richards, author of "I'm Not Slowing Down," hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. Governor Richards...

RICHARDS: Yes, ma'am.

CALLER: I'm a real admirer of yours.

We all know that Democratic candidates are reduced to basically soundbytes and ridicule in the media. How can Democrats force attention back to the fact that whether it's the problems with the economy, national security, utility and industrial deregulation are the products of failed regressive Republican Party policies. I'm going to hang up and listen. God bless you.

RICHARDS: OK. All right.

KING: Thank you.

RICHARDS: Well, first, let me say this.

Once our nominee is chosen, the opportunity for getting the message out there is going to be much easier than it is now. Because there's so many candidates it just kind of becomes a clutter. But once that nominee is chosen the biggest problem the Democrats are going to have is choosing a single message and not being all over the place. Because of the Bush record on the economy, on medical care, on education, we have such a wealth of stuff that we can use, that I'm afraid that we're going to get too splayed out and there isn't going to be a concise message. Do you understand? KING: You would make it a one-issue campaign?

RICHARDS: Well, no, you don't do that, but you try to select an issue so that it can encompass more than one or two things and consistently drive that message home.

KING: Arlington, Virginia, for Governor Richards, hello.

CALLER: Governor Richards, I'm a native Texan from Tyler, Texas and I just adore you. You look wonderful.

My question is, how Democrats beat this popular president despite his failed policies? I just love you. Take care.

RICHARDS: Yes. Bless your heart.

KING: Thank you.

RICHARDS: A Tyler rose there.

I think that it has to do with turning out the vote. I want to remind you of what happened in the last election. In my opinion, Al Gore won the election. The Supreme Court was the one that made the decision that George Bush was the winner of the election. So Democrats should take heart they did something right the last time. This next time all we have to do is turn out our vote. Larry, when we vote, we win. But we Democrats, we're obstinate bunch and we'll say, Well, if you didn't do it the way I wanted you to do it and you didn't say it just the way I wanted you to say it, I'll show you. I won't vote. Or I'll go vote for somebody else that doesn't have a hoot in Hades chance of winning like Ralph Nader, you understand? That's what happened to us the last time.

This time I believe the Democrats are going to be unified. I think we're going to target the pivotal states and we're going to turn our vote out and when we turn our vote out and Democrats get to the polls, we win the election.

KING: Bonifay, Alabama for Governor Ann Richards, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Ms. Richards?


CALLER: From your experience isn't Schwarzenegger's campaign style very similar to George Bush to just avoid the hard questions or change the subject?

KING: Well, he just started, ma'am. I don't know how you can criticize him yet.

RICHARDS: Yes, well, they've already started on him, Larry. It's what I told you before.

KING: Yes, but he's just started. RICHARD: He's just started. He has just started this campaign and he's going to have to because that's going to be the criticism leveled against him is that he doesn't know about government and he has no policies that we know of yet and so what they want him to do is to answer these tough questions, like, the indebtedness and the bond rating of California, What's he going to do about higher education? What's he going to do about educating kids? And, you know, between now and Election Day he's going to have to answer those questions.

Now, I'm going to tell you, Bush is pretty good. Bush is very, very good. You know, I've told you before, if you asked Bush what time it is, he's going to say, Saddam Hussein was a bad man and he has to go. He doesn't get distracted by the question, you know. He remembers what the message is and he delivers it very well.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more calls for Governor Ann Richards. Her new book "I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis," which affects 40 million. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with Governor Ann Richards. Before we take the next call, is Petie Ueberroth an intriguing candidate to you? There's a manager.

RICHARDS: Yes, I think he's a very interesting candidate, but I doubt that he will have really an opportunity to get a message out. When you have got this many people in a race, and it's such a circus, the media, they really can't concentrate on more than one or two or at maximum three people at a time. It becomes too confusing for them, too difficult.

KING: Bloomington, Indiana for Governor Ann Richards. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Ann.


CALLER: First of all, I'd like to say, I think you would be great in the White House.

RICHARDS: No, thank you.

CALLER: Secondly, are you in contact with the Clintons and what are you doing with your personal life now that you are out of public office?

RICHARDS: Yes, I saw Bill out in Aspen for the "Fortune" magazine conference and had a wonderful time getting to see him and listen to him again, and I see Hillary just every once in a while. And I think the sales of her book have been one of the most incredible things we have ever seen in American publishing, and I'm very fond of both of them.

I'm having a fabulous time, and one of the reasons that this book on osteoporosis is important to me, is that I wanted people who are my age -- and I'm going to be 70 on the 1st of September -- to know that there is a fabulous third act. You have the opportunity still to work, and I get to travel, I get to enjoy my children, my grandchildren and, of course, I'm still out there making speeches and beating that drum every opportunity I get. I recently moved to New York to run this public strategies office up here, and it's just been a fabulous experience.

KING: The word we're hearing is that Bill Clinton is going to be involved in the California recall in an attempt to see that it's defeated. Do you know if he's going to come on that at all, do you know?

RICHARDS: I have no idea, but they are very loyal people and I am sure if Davis asked him to come out that they probably would. And I think that both of their voices -- Bill is very good at phrasing and simplifying, making things clearer and understandable. And so if he takes on that chore, he'll be a very good message carrier for Davis.

KING: Red Bluff, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Ann, I resinate what the first caller said. I wish you were here in California to clean up this mess. The recall competition itself is a fraudulent document. All four issues, if you go to the Department of Finance and research the records, they're all false statements, and we the taxpayers are footing the full brunt of the millions of dollars for this (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: What's your question, ma'am? What's your question?

CALLER: What would you do if you were in California to clean this up, and what can we do -- to get out of this recall effort?

RICHARDS: Well, I'm afraid you're in it now because of the courts having ruled. And I think you're there, but I would, you know, if I were you all, I would go to the polls, I would vote no on the recall and have done with it. But if you decide that you're going to vote to recall, I certainly would vote for someone who has some experience in government. This is not the kind of time in the history of California where you want to get in there with someone who really doesn't know what they're doing.

And listen, you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger, he may be absolutely fabulous, but I think the people of California ought to pay very close attention to what he says he's going to do about the issues.

KING: By the way, it should be pointed out, even if you vote against the recall, you still get to vote for the next governor. You vote in both departments, whether you vote for the recall or against the recall.

RICHARDS: Oh, is that true?

KING: You still get to vote -- oh, yeah -- everyone -- you can't deny the vote to someone. In fact, the lieutenant governor is campaigning saying -- he is saying vote against the recall, but if you do vote for me, as well, in case the recall passes. RICHARDS: I see. I thought you had to vote...

KING: No, you can vote in both categories. No.

RICHARDS: I thought you had to vote for the recall to be able to vote -- oh, what a mess.

KING: Houston, Texas. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. My compliments, Governor Richards.

RICHARDS: Yes, ma'am, thank you.

CALLER: Never mind the mess in California, we need you back here in Texas. I'm a teacher here on the -- on the college level, and I teach in local community college. Our enrollment is constantly going up, and we don't, we are not getting any kind of relief from the legislature. What could you do if you were back here in Texas?

RICHARDS: Bless your heart. Well, the last session of the legislature I believe was the worst in Texas history. It was worse for schoolchildren, it was worse for higher education. I cannot point to a single thing that transpired in that legislative session that was good for the people of Texas.

But, Larry, it's a tough time all over the country. These governments everywhere are strapped through absolutely no fault of their own. The economy is down, doesn't look like it's going to get back in time to be able to rescue them with any money, and the federal government can't help them, because Bush has already given it all away or already spent it in Iraq.

KING: Let me get a break and come back with our remaining moments with Governor Ann Richards. Her book with Richard Levine, MD, is "I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle With Osteoporosis." Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Hagerstown, Maryland for Governor Richards.


CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Good evening, governor. My question is this, what seemed to me it is important that the Democrats hold the governor's mansion in California. Therefore, why not have Governor Davis resign now and Lieutenant Governor Bustamante take the seat, therefore wouldn't the recall canceled and then the governor's office still be held by the Democrats.

KING: Answer is, the recall goes on.

RICHARDS: Yes, the recall goes on. And once they got those signatures, once they bought them. And they had all that, all of that was in place and -- now, if they had done that before the recall, all that was filed, perhaps it would have worked. But unfortunately it doesn't work now.

KING: Cedar Falls, Iowa, hello.

CALLER: Good evening. Governor Richards, I'd like to go back to the subject of osteoporosis. I'm 59-years-old and I've been diagnosed with that and I would like to know what you feel about the side effects of some of the drugs such as Fosamax.

RICHARDS: Yes. My personal experience is I took a drug, Miacalcin, that was a nasal spray. But I can never tell if I was getting the right amount and it had to be refrigerated and I traveled a lot so it didn't make sense for me. So then I started taking Fosamax. At that time Fosamax was a drug you had to take every morning and you couldn't drink or eat anything for 30 minutes and you couldn't lie back down because it caused some esophageal something. It was totally impractical for me. So, when Evista came out it answered my needs and that's what I take. I had no side effects from that. I know that some women can have side effects from Evista or any of these other drugs. But I would urge you if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis to do three things. One is to choose a medication with the help from your doctor that's suitable for you. No. 2, have a calcium-rich diet and in the book I give you the list of calcium-rich foods that you can eat. And get yourself to the gym and get you a trainer and start lifting weights because that's what builds bone density.

KING: Are you paid to support any product?

RICHARDS: I speak for Evista and it was cereen dipitous (ph), really, Larry. I was making speeches about it and the fact that I took that pill, but I don't tell people to take it because I take it.

KING: They pay you to make speeches though?

RICHARDS: Absolutely. What works for me may not work for other people. I encourage them, please, talk to your doctor and find what medication is most suitable for you.

KING: One other quick thing. Were you surprised that Gore's criticism of Bush last week at that speech at NYU?

RICHARDS: I thought it was the most thorough and well-thought out speech that I had heard from Al Gore, of course, in a very, very long time. And it was a welcome speech. And it was one that all the rest of us will read and crib from when we give our speeches across the country. But what he said was that we had been misled, that we had been deceived and I think that the American people think that.

KING: Are you surprised he's not running?

RICHARDS: No, I'm not. I'm really not. I think that was a pretty bitter pill that last race for him. And I think he's made something of a life for himself and I would be very surprised if he wanted to get back in this thing. Now, I had an e-mail from a friend who wanted me to mention the fact that Wesley Clark might get in this race. KING: Yes. That's rumored.

RICHARDS: And I e-mailed back and said that I thought of Wesley Clark was going to get in this race he had to have already gotten in it. He needed to get out there.

KING: We're out of time.

RICHARDS: Yes, it's tough.

KING: Thanks, governor, see you again soon.

RICHARDS: Hey, love you, Larry.

KING: Same here. "I am not Slowing Down: Winning my Battle with Osteoporosis," that's the book. I'll be back in a moment to tell you about tomorrow night. Stay there.


KING: The sad note, the passing of Gregory Hines. What a talent. What a great guy. I am going to miss him.

Tomorrow night we'll look at the royals, "Vanity Fair," the whole issue is devoted to the royals, their ups and their downs. And we'll investigate them tomorrow night with your phone calls.


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