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Interview with Jesse Ventura

Aired March 8, 2010 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Jesse Ventura is here, locked and loaded, firing with both barrels at President Obama and the Tea Party crowd and Sarah Palin. He wants to know how anybody could vote for her, by the way.

He'll tell us why he thinks the war on drugs is a government conspiracy and how we're helping terrorists. That's for starters.

Hey, get your questions ready.

And then, the Oscar winner who got cut off -- Kanye -- by a producer who hijacked the mike. He's here. He's going to give the acceptance speech he couldn't do last night.


It is always great to welcome Jesse Ventura to LARRY KING LIVE, the former governor of Minnesota, the host of truTV's "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" and a best-selling author. The new book, "American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies and More Dirty Lies that The Government Tells Us." The you see its cover.

We'll get to the book in a couple of moments.

Always great to have him with us.

Last night's Oscars -- any thoughts on "The Hurt Locker" winning?

It dealt with United States military bomb technicians in Iraq. I know you were involved with explosives and weaponry and the like.

What did you make of a small budget movie winning it?

JESSE VENTURA: I think it's outstanding. You know, it shows that the growth of a smaller, independent film, at certain times, will get the recognition that it deserves. And it's -- it's sometimes nice to see these films that really deliver a message, Larry, and that they -- they would give to that achievement and not simply judge a film by how much money it makes.

KING: "The Hurt Locker" opens, Jesse, with a quote from an American journalist and war correspondent, Chris Hedges.

Here's the quote. I want your comment: "The rush of battle is often a potent and legal addiction because war is a drug."

Do you agree with that?

VENTURA: Yes, it can be. I know a few people -- in fact, a good friend of mine that taught me in SEAL cadre, who was one of my instructors, had like five tours to Vietnam. And I ran into him later at a reunion. And I asked him if he did 30 years in the Navy. And he said to me very quietly, "he said, 'No, I got out after 20.'"

And I said, "Really? Why wouldn't you do 30?"

And he looked at me right in my soul and said: "Well," he said, "I really wasn't a very good peacetime sailor."

KING: Yes.

VENTURA: And so when the Vietnam War ended, that ended for him. He was done in the Navy because he couldn't go to battle anymore.

KING: Tell me what you think of guys who do this, who put on these insane uniforms -- we had one here a couple of weeks ago -- and then walk up to someone who may be blown up in a minute carrying explosives.

Why do they do that?

VENTURA: Why would they commit suicide like that?

KING: No...

VENTURA: I am...

KING: Yes, why would they go to diffuse the bomb?

VENTURA: Oh, why would they...

KING: Why would you want to take that job?

VENTURA: Well, someone has to do it. You know, lots of times it's the old dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. And, you know, in -- in the condition that, you know, war is, all jobs are really pretty dirty when you're fighting a war. There's nothing glamorous about war at all, Larry. It's a matter of survival.

KING: President Obama wants all U.S. troops -- he want the level in Iraq down to 50,000 combat troops by Labor Day and then all troops out by the end of next year.

You think it will happen?

VENTURA: No, I don't think it will happen. I wish it would happen, I -- with my whole heart -- to bring those kids home. But I've got a feeling that there's going to be more to Iraq than what they think. It may be smooth sailing momentarily right now, but I've got a feeling when the election votes are counted and they end up with their split government, that there won't be enough of a majority to really show one person as the leader of Iraq. So I think you're still going to have -- they've been warring for thousands of years. You're not going to end that in one or two elections.

KING: But we don't have to stay, do we?

VENTURA: I hope not. We shouldn't have gone in the first place, in my opinion.

KING: And what about Afghanistan?

How long do you think we're going to be there?

VENTURA: A very long time. I -- I just read a book that really disturbed me. It was a book written by Dalton Fury. And he was the lead Delta Force commander at Tora Bora. And the Delta Force realized that there was an escape route along the mountains to Pakistan. And they wanted to send an elite Delta Force on the other side of the mountains to stop bin Laden and them from escaping that way. And it went right into the White House. And George Bush and Dick Cheney vetoed the idea.

And that disturbed me.

Number one, did they want this guy to escape, so they left him an out?

Or, number two, what are these two bozos doing making a decision -- a combat decision to an elite Delta Force member or Delta Force commander when you've got Dick Cheney, who got five deferments from Vietnam, and you've got George Bush, who couldn't even make it to one year's National Guard meetings?

And these guys are making a command combat decision to the elite Delta Force?

And then all you heard from them was, oh, we let our generals call the shots.

Well, it clearly wasn't that case in the book I read by Dalton Fury, who was the commander of the U.S. forces who were chasing Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora right after 9/11.

KING: Did you agree with us going to Afghanistan?

VENTURA: Initially, I did, because I felt that, you know, they were the people -- Al Qaeda was the people who attacked us and that we needed to go get these people if they're going to continue to attack us, absolutely.

But I did not agree at all with Iraq. I mean they told us there were these 19 hijackers, Larry. Not one of them was an Iraqi. That would be the equivalent, in my opinion, of when the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor, well, we'll go attack Korea.

After all, they're Asian too, aren't they? KING: Jesse Ventura is with us.

By the way, his book is "American Conspiracy -- Conspiracies."

He's got incredible thoughts on some famous things that have happened and what he thinks might have been behind them. We're going to let him -- let us review them for us, when we come back.

By the way, you'll notice -- these braces -- I just want to point out something tonight. These braces were presented to me by the wonderful folks at George Washington University. I established a scholarship there. We've already extended 20 students that have been able to graduate through the Larry King Scholarships at George Washington. So they had a wonderful lunch, Frank Sesno and the group there, last Thursday. I had a great time. I spoke to them in the auditorium. And they presented me with their colors by way of braces.

I'm honored to wear them. And we're honored to be with the former governor of Minnesota.

We'll be right back.


KING: We're back with Jesse Ventura; the book, "American Conspiracies."

And we're taking your questions for him, too, on Facebook. Go to and ask away. Jesse, as you can tell, does not duck questions.

Barack Obama -- he's in his -- he's in his second year.

How is he doing?

VENTURA: Well, he started off good, but I've been very disappointed lately, Larry, because, number one, I feel he should have prosecuted for the torture. He let everybody off the hook on that one. I don't like that. I think that we have to be a country that stands by the rule of law, even when it's inconvenient. And I -- if I were president, I would be prosecuting right now all the way up the chain of command, whoever ordered all this torturing that goes on in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and all those places, because we should not be a country that is known that we torture prisoners and do that type of thing to gain intelligence, because you don't gain from torturing anyway. None of the intelligence is any good, otherwise they'd let police do it.

KING: So you're saying torture, in and of itself, is ineffective?

VENTURA: Totally ineffective, because I've been waterboarded, Larry, so I know what it's like. And all you're doing when you torture someone is they're going to admit to anything to end the torture. That's why it has no credibility to it.

KING: How were you -- why were you waterboarded?

VENTURA: When I went -- finished Navy SEAL training prior to going to Vietnam, it was required that you went to SERE School, which was survival, escape, resistance and evasion -- a POW school.


VENTURA: And it was at that school that virtually all of us got waterboarded.

KING: A recent Gallup Poll showed that when it comes do approval ratings, Obama is the most polarizing first term president in Gallup history. And I thought he was going to bring us together.

What happened?

VENTURA: Well, I think it's more the polarization of these two political parties, Larry. They're the downfall of our country right now. And our country better start waking up and quit voting for Democrats and Republicans. George Washington...

KING: Who else is there?

VENTURA: Wait a minute. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams all warned us way back when. They said the fall of America would not come externally, it would come from internally, when political parties took over the government.

And it's clear today that these two political parties, they put their party ahead of the country, because they vote for their party first and the country second. And until this country wakes up and quits electing Democrats and Republicans to office to send that message, well, we're going to get that type of government then.

KING: What, then, do you think of the American Tea Party?

VENTURA: I think they're kind of a laugh, because they're supposed to defend the Constitution and all this. Well, where were they when habeas corpus was being taken away, because in our country right now, they can arrest you, they can hold you without charging you, they can keep an attorney from you. All they have to do is say you committed an act of terrorism and they can get away with that.

They've also destroyed the Fourth Amendment of illegal search and seizure. They might as well throw that amendment out, because they're listening to all our phone calls, tapping our e-mail and doing everything they do.

And where were these guys when all this was going on?

See, I think this is just more of a right-wing movement to try to make it look like we're turning socialist or something.

And when you speak on that behalf, you know, the State of Hawaii has had state-run health care for over 40 years and it works fantastic there. In fact, Rush Limbaugh even got treated there and said how great it was, before he found out that it was state-run health care.

And to follow that up...


VENTURA: To follow that up, Larry, if government-run health care is so bad, then why do we give it to our veterans and have we given it to them since World War I?

KING: Do you think we're going to...

VENTURA: Are we screwing the veterans over or...

KING: Do you think we're going to...

VENTURA: -- if it's good enough for a veteran, it should be good enough for us.

KING: Do you think we're going to get a health care bill soon?

VENTURA: I don't know. You know, with the polarization of these two parties, I doubt if anything can be accomplished there, because, like I said, they put their parties in front of the country.

By the way, Larry, I need to do...

KING: Hold on.

VENTURA: I need to do something right now. I need -- my wife is still down in the Baja. She's at a neighbor five miles away watching television. So hi, Teri. I love you. I'll be home in two weeks when I'm done battling the media.

Thank you, Larry.

KING: You don't have to say thanks.

I didn't know you were going to doing it.


KING: From our Facebook page, James wants to know: "What is our most important issue today, as far as you're concerned, politically?"

VENTURA: What's the most important issue to me today politically?

KING: Yes. Yes.

VENTURA: It's getting rid of the Democrat and Republican leadership of this country. It is high time to -- to destroy these two parties, if we can, because they're leading us down the road to ruin, both of them.

KING: It's never going to happen, though. It's not going to happen. You know that. VENTURA: Oh, never say never, Larry. Stranger things can come to pass. Never say never in this country.

KING: By the way, do you think the president should have focused on jobs before health care?

VENTURA: I think -- I think that the president has the ability to focus on probably three to four major topics when he's in there. So I think that he can focus on jobs and health care, as well as these wars. But then I would limit it to about that -- health care, jobs and the war. That's a pretty big -- a pretty big plate to have on the table.

KING: In a little while, we'll discuss with Jesse some of the things he alleges in "American Conspiracies," needless to say, an extraordinary book.

We'll have more still to come.

And then the Oscar winner whose acceptance speech was interrupted in that bizarre moment last night. He's here for take two.

Stick around.


KING: Before we get into some of the specific conspiracies that Mr. -- Governor Ventura alleges, one other thing of note politically. Sarah Palin, in addition to being a commentator on Fox, she signed a new book contract. There's going to be another book. And she's teamed with the "Survivor" producer, Mark Burnett. They're going to do a reality documentary series about Alaska, nature and her family.

What's your read on Mrs. Palin?

VENTURA: Well, it shows why she quit the governor. She wanted to cash in and make big money.

It's that simple, you know?

I wouldn't vote for her if she was the only candidate because she's a quitter. You know, she told the people of Alaska she wanted to be their governor and then halfway through the term she decides it's not her cup of tea anymore?

Well, Larry, she'd never make it through Navy SEAL training, because if you say the words, "I quit," you're gone. And to me, she's nothing but a quitter. I would never support her. And people that do, I think, are bad for doing it.

KING: Jesse, try to be direct in your answers, as we continue here, because this wishy-washy stuff just ain't flying.

VENTURA: I will, Larry. I've been...

KING: Many people -- OK. VENTURA: I've been in Mexico a long time...

KING: All right.

VENTURA: -- so I answer directly.

KING: Many people complain about how bitter -- bitterly partisan politics is. But you say that the Republicans and Democrats -- this is you're saying this -- are in cahoots against ordinary citizens.

VENTURA: Absolutely.

KING: In cahoots how?

How are they in cahoots?

VENTURA: Well, it's, Larry, I'll...

KING: They can't get together on anything.

VENTURA: Part -- no...

KING: And you say they're in cahoots.

VENTURA: Well, they -- they -- they -- they'll get together when they need to.

What happens with the Democrats and Republicans, Larry, is very much like pro-wrestling, where, in front of the camera and in front of the people, they despise each other, they're going to beat the hell out of each other and all this stuff. But behind the scenes, they're going out to dinner and they're cutting deals. It's that simple.

Now, the question is, can the two sides get together and cut enough of a deal that they can both take back to their political parties and be satisfied with?

That's what it really comes down to. And the people of America can step aside on that. You know, it will depend whether the Republicans will get what they deem is good for the Republican Party and the Democrats get what they deem is good for the Democrats. And then if they find some common ground, then you'll see something happen. But if they don't, nothing will happen.

KING: You don't think they're thinking about the people at all, the public?

VENTURA: Oh, they do, as a side light. But they think about themselves first and their power struggle between the two.

By the way, Larry, let me correct you -- and I don't do this often to you. I don't allege anything in this book. This book is all based on documented facts. I may offer my opinion at the end of the chapter or the beginning of a chapter, but everything in between is all documented...

KING: All right...

VENTURA: -- you can go to the back of the book...

KING: I'll get to that...

VENTURA: -- and see where we got it from.

KING: I want -- I want another opinion on "don't ask/don't tell." There's a split among the brass. The chairman of Joint Chiefs thinks they should throw it out.

What do you think?

VENTURA: I think they should let gays in the military because we are the United States of America. And if a gay person wants to serve his count -- his or her country, why should they not be allowed to?

If a gay person wants to serve in the military, I would walk up and shake their hand and say thank you for serving your country.

We are not the hetero states of America, we're the United States of America.

KING: Do you think there were gay SEALs serving with you?

VENTURA: There maybe were. I don't know. If they were, they were in the closet, because we partied a lot in the Philippines and it wasn't be boys.


KING: A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll, "Do you think the federal government has become so large and powerful it poses a threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary people?"

Fifty-six percent of Americans said yes.

VENTURA: Absolutely.

KING: Would you say yes to that, too?

VENTURA: Absolutely I say yes to it. The federal government has gotten so large now -- look at, look at, Larry, what they just had in the "USA Today" paper. If you work for the federal government, the average salary is $7,000 higher than the private sector. Something's wrong with that, Larry, when you're making more money working for the government than you can working in the private sector.

KING: When we come back, we'll get into Jesse's new book, "American Conspiracies."

First, this.


KING: All right, here's the book, "American Conspiracies," on sale now everywhere.

Our guest, Jesse Ventura.

The front of the book includes a quote from Einstein, who said: "A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth." According to Jesse, this says it all: ""and the American public needs to wake up."

Now, among the conspiracies he writes about, the assassinations of Lincoln, JFK, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, RFK. He writes about Watergate, stolen elections of 2000 and 2004, 9/11 and Wall Street.

Why did you write this?

VENTURA: Well, at first, I didn't want to write this book, Larry. When -- when the publishers came to me and wanted me to do after the success of my last book, I didn't want to do it because I didn't feel motivated to do it.

But then I thought it over for about a week. And I thought, you know, I've got to do this book, because I want, 100 years from now, when people look back at this time, when we're all gone, I want them to be able to read and understand that not all of us -- not everyone believed what the government said or what our, quote, "history books" talk about. Because it's very interesting, when you get into all these conspiracies, how much documentation there is.

And people can choose not to believe them, but I will tell you this. This book is a very good read. And it will entertain you, because it's not like Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn, where they're making up stories and making up people and writing off, you know, their imagination. These are real people...

KING: What...

VENTURA: -- and you can put names to faces, in my book.

KING: But you can be a con -- are you considered, though, a conspiracy buff in that you're so conspiracy oriented, that you believe nothing, that you question anything?

VENTURA: No, not at all. I don't necessarily believe every conspiracy that I write about in this book. I just tell the other side of the story and documents back it up to where you still have to say, you know, there's validity to this. It may not be true, but It could be true.

KING: OK. You...

VENTURA: And if It could be true, it's dangerous.

KING: You assert in the book that the 2000 and 2004 national elections were stolen. You say the 2008 election came close to being stolen, too.

Should people keep voting if that's true. And how do you know it's true?

VENTURA: Well, because of these voting machines...

KING: What do you think it is true?

VENTURA: Well, in the research we did, we found out about certain things. And these -- these computerized electronic vote machines, we've got to get rid of them, because they can be tapped into; they can be -- put it to you this way, Larry, would you go to an ATM machine that didn't offer you a receipt?

KING: No. But you say they can be, but you don't know if they're tapped into, do you?

VENTURA: Wait, wait, wait. Oh, yes, the book -- oh, read the book. They -- they were tapped into. They were tapped into.

Why were all the votes suddenly channeled to Chattanooga, Tennessee to this operative place?

Read the book and you'll see that they were tapped into.

KING: So are...

VENTURA: Plus...

KING: -- are you saying that Bush was not elected in 2000 and 2004, not re-elected?

VENTURA: No. He was elected.

But was he elected fairly?

I don't know.

KING: Well, that's -- I know that. You don't know?

VENTURA: Well, let's remember this...

KING: You're open...

VENTURA: Well, let's remember this, too, Larry. He lost the popular vote in 2000. Al Gore beat him by a half a million people. But because we've got this antiquated Electoral College, which we should get rid of, Bush won, even though five...

KING: But that's not a conspiracy, that's a law we have.

VENTURA: No, yes. Yes, that's a law.

No, I'm not saying it is a conspiracy.

But when you check these voting machines -- let's get back to them. You have no idea, when you push that machine, if your vote was actually recorded to the candidate of your choice. You don't know.

Then, in the case of a recount, if you have a close election, there's no way that they can count ballots with these things.

KING: Did you know it when you did...

VENTURA: All they can do is count the numbers.

KING: Did you know it when you pulled the lever?

VENTURA: No, because in Minnesota we don't have that.

KING: So what -- what's...

VENTURA: It was...

KING: -- what do you do in Minnesota?

VENTURA: Seventeen states have these machines. They need to get rid of them and -- and -- and states that don't have them, don't get them. In Minnesota, you still have to mark a ballot and it goes into the machine then and so that if -- if it's a close election like we had between Senator Franken and Senator Coleman, well, then, they can pull them all out and they can hand count them.


VENTURA: With these new voting machines, you can't do that.

KING: More with Jesse ahead.

Should marijuana be bought and sold in the United States, like liquor?


KING: Jesse's thoughts on that and lots of other things.

The book, "American Conspiracies."

Don't go away.


KING: We're back about Jesse Ventura. One of the books chapters is titled, "Your Government Dealing Drugs." In a recent blog on the "Huffington Post," you accuse the Obama administration of staggering hypocrisy -- you're words -- in continuing George W. Bush's so-called drug war policies. What do you mean? The government is dealing drugs? What do you mean?

VENTURA: Well, it's a well-known fact that Iran-Contra -- that they were running drugs in which to support the Contras down there in Nicaragua and all that stuff. The CIA has been doing it for years, Larry. See, if they can get their own source of money, then they can do things without telling Congress about it.

KING: How do you know they're doing it? How do you know that?

VENTURA: Look in my book, and you'll see the facts and read about how it led right to Ollie North's desk, you know.

KING: We know about Iran Contra. You're saying -- you're talking about now. You're talking about the -- you're accusing the Obama administration of hypocrisy. In what regard?

VENTURA: I'm accusing of hypocrisy in the fact that we -- the war on drugs is a failure, a complete failure. You're not going to win the war on drugs by putting people in prison because they use drugs.

Let me put it to you this way, Larry: I grew up in the '60s, in the days of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and all of that. To put this in the correct context, so everyone can understand; Marijuana was to rock 'n roll what beer is to baseball. Now, imagine if they took away beer at the ball game, what the outrage there would be. Yet, people that want to spoke pot, they're breaking the law, they can't do it.

I'll tell you this, Larry, I've done both, and I've behaved far worse on alcohol than I ever have from marijuana.


KING: You would legalize marijuana?

VENTURA: I would legalize. I hope the state of California -- it's on their initiative; 800,000 People have signed to put it on the ballot for total legalization. California can lead the way and legalize marijuana. They say it will bring one billion dollars into the California economy. Don't you think our economy needs that now, instead of spending money to stop marijuana? Let's spend money and tax it and get money from it.

KING: This book deals with the assassination of JFK, Watergate burglars purposely bungling the break-in, electronic voting machines helping the Republican party, whether or not two Boeing 757s could have brought down the Twin Towers, the government's 2008 claim that huge corporations are too big to fail, erosion of civil liberties. You said earlier you didn't believe all these theories, but you print them out -- do you question them?

VENTURA: I don't necessarily not believe them. But on certain ones, I'm not fully convinced. I still lay out all the facts. And each chapter is very compelling.

I'll put it to you this way, Larry: doing a book like this, it's like throwing a huge jigsaw puzzle on the floor. You have to start by picking a few pieces up. Pretty soon, you assemble this data, you put it together, and a picture starts to develop. Now, will we ever get the complete, whole picture? No. But you can put together enough pieces where you can tell what it's supposed to be.

KING: There was a conspiracy in the Lincoln killing. Others went to jail. Some were hanged. So it wasn't just John Wilkes Booth. That was a conspiracy. VENTURA: Right. The problem is our children are not being the taught that and neither was I, Larry. I didn't learn about what happened to Lincoln until I did this book. I'll tell you why -- my nephew is 15 years old, and I talked to him about it. I said, have you learned about the assassination of President Lincoln. And he kind of perked up and said, yes, we had that two weeks ago in school.

I said, tell me what you know about it. He related that John Wilkes Booth went to the Ford Theater, shot Lincoln in the back of the head, yelled something, dropped down, ran off. He hurt his leg. They chased him and caught him in the farmhouse and killed him. We're not teaching our kids there were eight other people involved in this massive conspiracy, that they were also going to attempt to kill Vice President Johnson, Secretary of State Seward, as well as General Ulysses S. Grant. They failed on those three, but they were successful with Lincoln.

Yet, our history books don't tell that to our kids. The only thing they learn about is John Wilkes Booth. Isn't it interesting, Larry, that every assassin, lone nut assassin, you learn all three names, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman.

KING: What's that mean?

VENTURA: What's Charles Manson's middle name?

KING: Who cares?

VENTURA: Well, he's the most notorious killer in America. We don't know his middle name. But all these sole lone nut assassins we're taught all three names.

KING: Because?

VENTURA: It's a psychological preparation, Larry, to get you accustomed that only one person does the dirty work.

KING: Jesse Ventura, That's interesting. We'll be right back with more. The book is "American Conspiracies." Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Let's take a couple calls for Jesse Ventura. The book "American Conspiracies." Sacramento, California. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, Larry. Hey, Jesse. It's an honor to speak with both of you. I felt very compelled to call because I agree with everything Jesse said. It must be because we're from the same generation. I feel the same way about our political party.

KING: What's the question?

CALLER: My question to him is he gave the comment about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell. There's another thing, mental illness within the Army, and within our country. I come from a family where we're bipolar. I'm not, but I have two siblings that are. KING: What's the question?

CALLER: What does he think about the fact that people like that are ashamed to get help?

KING: Are what to get help?

CALLER: They don't want to tell, so they don't get help.

KING: I don't understand the question?

VENTURA: What do you mean? They don't want to say they're gay and they don't want to get help for being gay?

KING: She was talking about people who are bipolar.

VENTURA: Oh, bipolar. Well, anyone with that type of condition, I don't know why they wouldn't get help. Help is available out there. Even if you're in the military, there's certainly help available to people and they absolutely should seek it out.

KING: Richmond, Virginia. Hello?

CALLER: Hey, just wanted to say thanks for Jesse being a great American and voicing his opinion on a lot of things. My question is, I'm a veteran, and we were over in Iraq, helping build their country. When we had storms and stuff, we couldn't, you know, help our own people. How do you think Bush should be held accountable for a lot of things they messed up?

VENTURA: Well, you can't hold him accountable for it. He's out of office now. Unless he absolutely broke the law on something, and violated a law to indict him -- and they don't do that to former presidents, you know. When a president leaves office, they kind of leave everything behind and nothing -- they're not responsible for anything they did from the point that they leave office. So there's really no way that he's going to be held accountable for anything he did.

KING: What do you make of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich? He's going to be a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice."

VENTURA: That's because I turned it down, I guess. They wanted me on there, and I wouldn't do it. So maybe they got him. I don't know. Every time I travel to O'Hare and the people of Illinois see me, they always, always say, hey, we need a governor. I said, no, I don't want to be your governor. When I was in, it was -- who was the governor? He went to jail right before the current one. Now this one looks like he's going to jail.

KING: Ryan.

VENTURA: Governor Ryan, thank you. Governor Ryan was governor when I was governor. Now he had to do jail time. I don't think I'd like to be governor of Illinois. You seem to end up in prison. KING: What are your thoughts on Linda McMahon, the wife of the World Wrestling Entertainment founder, Vince McMahon, your old boss? She's going to run for the US Senate in Connecticut. What do you make of that?

VENTURA: Well, I won't support her because she's running as a Republican, and I don't support Republicans or Democrats. But I wish she'd run as an independent because then I would. But anyone should run for office, absolutely. If you feel inclined to serve your country, or to serve your community or your state, absolutely run for office.

You know what they need to do, Larry? They need to ban lawyers. I mean, every guy we elect is a lawyer. Think of it like this, Larry: is that not a conflict of interest, that they create the laws that they will then work under?

KING: Legislators are lawyers because they know the language of law. They understand law. It would be logical for lawyers to be legislators. They go hand in hand, don't they?

VENTURA: No, no, no, no. You don't need lawyers making laws. Regular citizens can make laws. Let the lawyers work under the laws. We have enough elected lawyers in this country. Everybody that gets elected is a lawyer. I'm tired of lawyers running the country. Look at the shape we're in.

KING: Jesse, I'm never tired of you. Continued good luck with the book. Always great having you with us.

VENTURA: Larry, my pleasure. I love doing your show. I'll be in LA next week. I'll stop by and say hello.

KING: You better. The book is "American Conspiracies," Jesse Ventura, never dull.

What do you do when someone cuts off in the middle of your Oscar acceptance speech? Come to this show to finish. The filmmaker that got -- what do we call it -- Kanyed is next.



KING: Roger Ross Williams, former producer for CNN, went on to greatness and won the 2010 Oscar for best documentary short subject, called "Music By Prudence." His co-producer, Elinor Burkett, interrupted his acceptance speech and made her own comments. Here is what happened last night. Then we'll meet Mr. Williams. Watch.


ROGER ROSS WILLIAMS, OSCAR WINNER FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Oh my gosh. This is amazing. Two years ago, when I got on an airplane and went to Zimbabwe, I never imagined in my wildest dreams I'd end up here. ELINOR, BURKETT, OSCAR WINNER FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Let the woman talk?

WILLIAMS: This is so exciting.

BURKETT: The classic -- in a world in which most of us are told and tell ourselves that we can't, we honor the band behind this film, teaches us that we're wrong. Against all odds, they did, so we can. So the bottom line is, to me, my role models and my heroes, marvelous and energy, goodwill, the whole rest of the band and especially prudence.

WILLIAMS: And Prudence, who is here, who is back there tonight. Prudence is here tonight. This is for Prudence.


KING: why was she -- what was -- are you in dispute with her?

WILLIAMS: You know, there's always, in the creative process, you know, you always get in disputes and creativity --

KING: So you're not friends anymore in.

WILLIAMS: No, I wouldn't say we're friends.

KING: She was your co-producer?

WILLIAMS: She produced the film. She hasn't been involved in the film since about May of last year.

KING: What was your involvement if she produced it?

WILLIAMS: I directed and produced it.

KING: Were you shocked she shoved you out of the way?

WILLIAMS: A little shocking. It was a little shocking. You know, I was there to talk about Prudence. We were there to honor Prudence and her incredible message and her incredible story.

KING: The woman who cut into your speech claims that your mother used her cane and tried to block the path to the stage. True?

WILLIAMS: That's ridiculous. My mother got up to hug me. My mother is 87 years old and has bad knees and she just got excited, like any mother would.

KING: You have your Oscar with you. Has it diminished your evening?

WILLIAMS: It has not diminished my eve evening. I had a great night last night. I'm actually exhausted because I was out until 6:00.

KING: We want to give Roger the chance to give the Oscar speech he wasn't able to deliver last night without interruption.

So the 2010 Academy Award for best documentary short subject goes to "Music By Prudence." Accepting the Oscar, director/producer, Roger Ross Williams.

WILLIAMS: Oh my god. Oh my god. I can't believe I'm standing here. When I got on the plane two years ago and went to Zimbabwe, I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd end up on the stage of the Kodak Theater. This is incredible.

There's a lot of people I want to thank. I want to thank the Academy. I want to thank Sheila Nevins for giving a platform to short documentary films. I want to thank my supervising producer at HBO, Sarah Bernstein, my incredible crew, Derek, Lisa Hahn, Patrick Wright, my -- Geta Ganvir (ph), my editor. I'd like to thank my advisers, Kim Snyder and Perry Muldalski (ph), Micah, and my partner, Casper.

I also want to thank Leslie Goldwasser (ph) and Jonathan Putnik (ph), who brought Prudence from Zimbabwe. Prudence is here tonight. Now, my mother is also here. She got on a plane for the first time in her life to be here. Prudence, you were born in a country that despise the disabled. You had nothing. Nothing but your spirit, your intelligence, and your talent. And with your band, Leana (ph), you touched us all.

KING: Oh. Come on back. We only have 30 --

I wasn't cutting you off, Kanye. Sit down. Did you have anything left?

WILLIAMS: I was going to say that the name Leana means it's raining. And in Zimbabwe, rain is a gift from god. And Prudence, we don't always recognize our gifts, but I'm so happy to be recognizing Prudence.

KING: We're happy to congratulate you. You got a chance to give it worldwide.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so much for giving me the chance, Larry.

KING: Roger Ross Williams. Elton John gave us unprecedented -- there's applause for you -- unprecedented access to his Oscar night fund-raiser for AIDS. You're going to go to that event, next.


KING: Elton John's annual Oscar night party is one of the hottest tickets in town, big as the awards. Last night was his 18th annual AIDS Foundation Event. It raised 3.7 million dollars, with the help of all the celebrity guests who attended. "LARRY KING LIVE" had special backstage access. Take a look at what and who we found.


KING (voice-over): Even people who have been everywhere and seen everything don't want to miss this. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a party atmosphere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember when rock was young

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an exciting night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to be very serious. No rhinestones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come rain or shine, he always does it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got to give them great food, a great broadcast, great screens, great entertainment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't believe you paid to come, because it's so much fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be here is like wow, check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to say no to Elton John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even though we're having a great time, the underlying thing is because we're raising this money for people who aren't having a great time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elton's tireless crusade to spread awareness about AIDS and find a cure -- that, in itself, is unbelievable. To be a part of it is just a great honor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elton John has raised over 175 million through holding this event over the years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The energy is so positive and generous and open.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's made such a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just great footprints to walk in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know how hard he works for his charity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's more important, this organization, than it ever was.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's about reciprocity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot more artists and entertainers should the importance of doing this as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I think if everybody comes here and they leave having had an amazing time, and hopefully also having emptied their wallets for his AIDS foundation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not just a fantastically fabulous Oscar viewing party, but it's also for a good cause. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really kind of a great hybrid of everything.



KING: Elton and his foundation do so much for so many. Congratulations, Elton, well done. As we close, our heartfelt condolences and support to Marie Osmond on what must be one of the most difficult days of her life. The service for her son, Michael Brian, was held earlier today in Provo, Utah, honoring the memory of the 18-year-old who died last week in Los Angeles. We wish Michael's seven siblings and the extended Osmond family the very best as they try to move forward.

Time now for Anderson Cooper - he's right here - and "AC 360." Anderson.