Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Interview With Larry Flynt; Presidential Candidates Return to Capitol Hill
Aired March 13, 2008 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks for joining us, everybody.
After months on the campaign trail, all three candidates were safely back inside the beltway today for a series of big Senate votes. But they also found time to take potshots at one another and to wine and dine and schmooze all those uncommitted superdelegates.
And the hottest political news is not just from the campaign trail. New York is still reeling from the Spitzer scandal. So much more info is coming out, including new details about the woman who is at the center of it.
As Spitzer fades into the background, and Ashley Dupre becomes the new celebutant, people are still asking, how could this be happening? Well, it started with the routine bust of an escort service and ended with the downfall of a powerful governor.
"New York Post" reporter Fred Dicker has been writing about the scandal since it broke. and he is joining me.
Fred, you there?
FREDRIC DICKER, STATE EDITOR, "THE NEW YORK POST": I'm here live in front of the state capitol, yes.
BROWN: Good to see you.
So, tell us, is Albany still reeling? What's the mood up there today?
DICKER: Well, the mood is somber. It's not an easy situation to have a rapid transition to a new governor.
David Paterson, who held a couple of events today, he won't take over until Monday. But in two weeks, he's expected to produce a $124 billion budget. He admitted today that the governor, Governor Spitzer, had really kept him out of those negotiations. So, with some degree of modesty, he said he was trying to bone up on one of the most complex documents there is.
Putting that aside, he has got all kinds of other problems that face this state. So it's a trying time for the new governor-to-be, as well as his staff, that has never had the kinds of responsibilities they're now undertaking. BROWN: All right, Fred, let me ask you about Ashley Dupre, the woman who is in the middle of all of this, the woman "The New York Times" has identified as Kristen. Apparently, she has a MySpace page. What are you learning about her?
DICKER: Well, everybody was talking about her today, and talking about her in the context of the tragedy of the governor who's worth maybe half-a-billion dollars with his Princeton and Harvard education being involved with a 22-year-old high school dropout and what that says, a woman who by her own admission has had psychologist problems, had emotional problems, had a problem just even getting along in life and chose to turn to high-ticket prostitution when she couldn't make it as a singer or an actress.
Everybody was saying that it's an extra degree of tragedy. This young woman is not much older than Eliot Spitzer's oldest daughter. And people are just sort of shaking their heads, saying how could he do it?
BROWN: Well, and Fred, was there any rumor or gossip, even, that Eliot Spitzer used prostitutes, and apparently on a regular basis?
DICKER: Let me tell you, Campbell, I have been following the governor very closely as governor, as attorney general. I chronicled many of, I think, his transgressions, including a scandal that's still going on here that was called Trooper-gate, or the dirty trick scandal.
Never once was it ever suggested by anybody, his friends or his enemies, that he ever had a dark side of his personal life that could result in disclosures such as this. That's why everybody is so stunned. There was just nothing at all that we could see that would suggest this kind of behavior.
BROWN: So, Fred, where do you think the story goes from here? Do you think there are going to be more women who are coming forward?
DICKER: Well, it's very possible.
There's money to be made, but I think the real story from here depends on what the federal prosecutors come up with in their ongoing negotiations with Spitzer's lawyers. Normally, when the feds cut a deal with a defendant, they expect that defendant through their lawyers to disclose everything else that may be in their background that could be criminal in nature.
So, the expectation is, the anticipation is, that if in fact he was involved with prostitution rings for years, he's going to have to disclose that. Other names may come out. Who led him to these rings? How did he find out about it?
So, the feeling is that there may be more to come, not quite as big a bombshell as we have already seen that would take down a governor, but still more stunning disclosures.
BROWN: All right, Fred Dicker for us from Albany tonight, Fred, thanks.
Let's bring in tonight's panel now. We have got Republican strategist Mike McKeon, who used to former New York Governor George Pataki's communications director, Steve Kornacki, who is a columnist for "The New York Observer," and Rachel Sklar, who is media editor for "The Huffington Post."
So, Mike, you worked in Albany for years. I mean, how was Spitzer able to keep this secret so long? I mean, he's the governor. Don't you have a state trooper detail with you at all times?
MIKE MCKEON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You're supposed to have a state trooper with you at all times. He had to really work hard to keep this a secret.
He had to really push the state police away. And it's really unfortunate, because, in New York, this is our second statewide elected official in two years to go down in scandal. Last year, our comptroller was forced out under scandal. It wasn't a sex scandal, so it was not as big a headline. But this is two years in a row, where -- two years, two guys go down hard. It's not been a good time in New York.
BROWN: And, Rachel, I have to ask you, because you are tracking what the media is doing in all this. This interview with this young woman is probably the hottest thing going right now. Is everyone competing to try to talk to her?
Well, everyone was trying to find her. And it was the hugest scoop "The New York Times" had in three days, that they were able to post that on their Web site last night.
And, yes, I think her MySpace page has crashed under the pressure. But the upside for her is her songs were on a Web site, and they were free, and now her price has risen. They were at 30 cents earlier today. She uploaded another one. Now she's at 98 cents. So, she's at least getting exposure for her music. But I imagine...
BROWN: A recording contract, maybe. Who knows.
RACHEL SKLAR, MEDIA EDITOR, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Not the kind of exposure one probably wants coming out of the gate.
Steve, do you think Kristen is just the beginning here? Are we going to hear about more women coming forward? Is this story going to go away any time soon?
STEVE KORNACKI, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK OBSERVER": I kind of wish it would. But I think we already heard from one. Talked to another media outlet. I won't say the same, probably because I don't remember it, also because it was competition.
But there was a 22-year-old prostitute who came forward a day or two ago, and said she had been with Spitzer and she said that he had been a perfect gentlemen, he had tipped very well, and he had behaved himself, you know, perfectly. And yet, what kind of respect did he have? She still came forward and ratted him out.
So, I think, if she would, I think there's -- this is everybody's chance who has ever been with him in that context to come forward and sort of have their 15 minutes of fame. And, potentially, if your song is tripling in value overnight, that's an indication of the kind of economic power you have if you can link yourself to the story that way. So, yes, sadly, I think there's an appetite for it among the public and we will probably hear all about it.
BROWN: The bigger question maybe is why -- and we talked about this a little bit over the last couple days -- how some politicians survive these things and some don't. Do any of you see how Eliot Spitzer could rehabilitate himself, could come back in any sort of political life in New York ever?
MCKEON: Not to elected office. Not to elected office. This is a -- he's a rich guy with a rich family. I expect that he will go, spend a few years out of the spotlight, and then come back, doing a nonprofit thing, maybe housing or energy or something like that.
SKLAR: Acts of contrition.
KORNACKI: I would say, keep in mind, he's 48 years old. And it depends how badly he wants redemption and how he defines redemption.
And keep in mind that I think he may lose his law license before this is over. So, he can't go and practice law. At only 48 years old, if he really wants redemption, he defines it through winning office again. I could see a circumstance, six, eight, 10 years down the road where, if he really wants it, maybe a congressional seat opens up in one of these districts in New York where the Republican has no chance in the fall, and it only takes 35 percent to win the primary on the Democratic side. If he really wants it, I think he could go and get that six or eight years from now.
SKLAR: The flip side of that of course is that some good could come from that, because the only way someone like Spitzer could come back after this is through acts of contrition, acts of good works, reproving himself, rehabilitation. His wife is at his side.
So, listen, you know, he could do plenty of good. And like he said, he's got a lot of time to do it.
KORNACKI: Never forget that Marion Barry was caught smoking crack and came back to become the mayor four years later.
BROWN: That's a fair point.
SKLAR: There are a lot of scandals.
BROWN: Why is it that some are able to? And what does this have to do you with you can address this in Albany the number of enemies that Spitzer had made throughout his career.
MCKEON: Yes, I don't think that he's going to be able to come back from this.
Remember, at some point, the wiretaps are going to be public. You are going to hear his voice talking about booking the hooker. So, this is going to haunt him forever. And if he has any self-respect, and he wants to help his family, he will go away from elected office and do this outside of office.
BROWN: This likely becomes, Rachel, a New York story now for the most part, don't you think?
SKLAR: Well, I think the story belongs to the world now.
SKLAR: It certainly knocked the election off the front pages for the past few days. And it is playing around the world.
I think that Eliot Spitzer has now joined sort of a long spectrum of famous johns in entertainment and politics. And Ashley Alexandra Dupre, if that is the name that she's using now, has joined a line of woman in a sort of pantheon infamy. So, I think that this keeps its chops for a little bit longer.
BROWN: You agree?
No, I mean, I think the problem here -- one other person you have to consider in this is his wife, by the way, because we're talking about the appetite among the public to hear from the hooker. I think a lot of people want to hear from his wife, because the news reports that everybody has heard are his wife chief among anyone else around Eliot Spitzer was telling him to stay in.
KORNACKI: And a lot of people wonder why, not only that she stood up with him, you know, at the press conference twice.
SKLAR: And the second time is more significant.
KORNACKI: That she was behind closed doors saying, hey, let's tough this out together. So, a lot of people, I think, are kind of wondering what's going on there. Especially, there was a report today that back when the Clinton thing happened 10 years ago, she was telling her friends, well, if that was my husband, I would never do that.
BROWN: I never would have done that, right.
KORNACKI: Suddenly, the situation changes.
BROWN: All right, guys, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
SKLAR: Thank you.
BROWN: And we are all over the Spitzer story tonight.
Still ahead, my talk with the mortal enemy with of political hypocrisy, Larry Flynt himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY FLYNT, PUBLISHER, "HUSTLER": The only way you can control your sexual behavior is through discipline. But that power and ego trumps discipline.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And he's got a lot more to say about Spitzer. You're not going to want to miss it.
Also, she was hoping for fame and fortune in the big city. What happens now to the woman at the center of the scandal, Ashley Alexandra Dupre?
BROWN: Did Larry Flynt see the Eliot Spitzer scandal coming? I'm going to ask him, coming up in just a little bit.
Meanwhile, Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama were on Capitol Hill today to vote on a yearlong moratorium on earmarks. Unclear on exactly what an earmark is? Well, that's why we put it through "The Decomplicator."
BROWN: So, once a representative goes to Washington, there's one good way to show the folks back home he hasn't forgotten where he came from. That's by sending money.
Sometimes, just as funds are about to be allocated, members of Congress will slip in a little something for their constituents, sort of federal shout-out to the folks back home. The word earmark comes from the days when people would mark cows' ears to show who owned them. But, nowadays, they are associated with a different kind of livestock, pork.
And that's because earmarks are often expensive projects that only help a tiny group of people. But lawmakers say what may seem wasteful to outsiders is very important to their peeps. And if the peeps are happy, the congressman is happy.
And happy might have been the key word on the Hill today, or was it?
For more on the mood of the candidates back at their desks, we turn to senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, who is in Washington.
And, Candy, we know it's been a tense couple of days for Hillary Clinton and for Barack Obama. And I'm just wondering if the tone has changed with race sort of being at the center of everything.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a reason they call the Senate collegial, because mostly it is, at least the part we get to see.
Hillary Clinton kind of started it off last night when she said, listen, I fully expect that if Barack Obama gets the nomination, that my supporters will vote for him, and I would certainly encourage them to do that.
So, already off on a good start this morning, but I want to show you a couple of pictures to sort of set the scene. In the U.S. Senate, there is a balcony above, where reporters can watch. And what you are watching now is, yes, the two Democratic contenders taking a little seat and chatting with one another, so, lots of smiling, a little, you know, put your arm around the back, all of that.
Now, there's a method in this madness. And that is, all those people around them are superdelegates. And what the superdelegates don't want to see is a lot of Democratic infighting. So, it was a very harmonious day, shall we say. We will wait until tomorrow to see what happens.
BROWN: OK. So, while those two were lobbying the superdelegates, McCain was also there, but maybe use of his time to look a little bit more forward.
You know, McCain sort of has this problem here. The good news is, he's won the Republican nomination. He is the presumptive nominee. The bad news is, now no one is paying attention to that.
We have got this great fight going on in the Democratic Party. So, what McCain has to do is kind of insinuate himself into the conversation. So, this was a bill, this earmark bill you were just explaining, this has John McCain written all over it. He has battled earmarks for his entire career.
So, he attempted to put both Clinton and Barack Obama on the defense, saying, listen, why don't you tell us what earmarks you have sent off to your various states?
They do have this bill coming up. We're told that all three of them will vote for a moratorium on earmarks for a year. We are told the bill won't pass, so it's kind of a cheap vote.
BROWN: But also, Candy, you had Obama going after McCain today as well on Bush tax cuts, right?
And, really, what you saw was kind of a fall preview, as Barack Obama would like it to play out. He attacked him again on the issue of the tax cuts. As you know, John McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts when they were first introduced, saying, there's a war going on. There's lots of things going on. It's the wrong time for a tax cut.
He has since said he also was against it because were no offsets in spending. Now John McCain says he wants to make those tax cuts permanent. It is wide open for a Democrat to step in. And Barack Obama did today, and said, well, I think that's, you know, what he had to do to win the Republican nomination, but he was right in the first place and he's wrong now.
The commercial is in the making, even as we speak, I'm sure.
BROWN: All right, Candy Crowley, back in Washington, back at home, for you as well, not just them.
CROWLEY: I know, absolutely.
BROWN: Appreciate it.
BROWN: So, while Obama and Clinton were occupied with Senate business, others were keeping the campaign in the headlines for them.
Let's bring back Mike McKeon and Steve Kornacki, and bring in former Washington -- or from Washington, rather -- not former -- she's not former by any means -- our senior political analyst Gloria Borger.
BROWN: So, let me start with you, Steve, and ask you about sort of the word of the day, I think, which is electability.
And on a conference call with reporters this morning, Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, Mark Penn, said that Senator Obama really can't win the general election. They tried to dial back on it a little bit. But he definitely said it. Was that a pretty harsh and strong statement to make, and a dangerous statement?
KORNACKI: Well, I think he's right. I don't think Barack Obama can win the general election. I don't think Hillary Clinton can win the general election, for that matter, either.
But the Clintons are going to burn down the village to win. They will do whatever it takes to win. They have demonstrated that over and over again. Listen, Republicans can count on one thing about Democrats. They are going to eventually get into the circle, the circular firing squad, and start shooting at each other.
It may have taken a little longer to get into formation, but they are now fully in formation, and they are going to take each other down really in a very nasty fight and clear the way for the Republicans in November.
BROWN: Gloria, you know that the tone has been intense, to say the least, especially over the last few days.
And Speaker Nancy Pelosi today was asked about the bitter tone. And she was also asked about the prospect of this -- quote, unquote -- "dream ticket" of Hillary and Obama together and whether it might happen.
Let's listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Take it from me, that won't be the ticket. I do think we will have a dream team. It just won't be those two names.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: OK, so, Gloria, what signals was she sending? She sounds as cynical as most reporters.
BORGER: Yes, I think we need to listen to Nancy Pelosi when she speaks, because she's one of those people that would actually be an emissary to go to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama and say, look, folks, we need to get this settled.
I think, in the end, there aren't that many people, like Nancy Pelosi, who could actually do that. One of them I'm thinking about, Campbell, is good old Al Gore. You notice he's not committed. Lots of people say that, if he had endorsed anyone, it might have been Barack Obama. But he stayed back. He's well-respected in the party.
At some point, they might need to have him come in to be a peacemaker. But when she says, no, no Obama/Clinton, Clinton/Obama ticket, I think we need to listen to her.
BROWN: So, Al Gore keeping a very low profile. But do you think there would be an intervention? BORGER: Well, I think, yes, maybe.
BROWN: Steve, go ahead.
KORNACKI: No, I can't see why there would be -- how there could possibly be a dream ticket. I can't see Hillary Clinton taking the number-two spot, if it ever came to that. And I can't see Hillary Clinton wanting to put Barack Obama on the ticket.
I suppose if she somehow finagled the nomination at this point, almost, if she did it in spite of losing the delegate race, in spite of losing the popular vote, she might have to. I don't think she really has a chance of doing that.
And if I could just say something about this electability argument that Mark Penn made today, it is absolutely absurd what he said.
BROWN: What do you mean?
KORNACKI: It's absurd what the Clinton has been doing for the last month. Since they fell behind in the delegate race, since they fell behind in the popular vote race, fell hopelessly behind -- there is no circumstance that we're going to reach early June, when the primary season ends, in which Hillary Clinton will have more pledged delegates than Barack Obama.
And there is almost no circumstances under which she will have more votes. So, the only thing the Clintons have left is tell the superdelegates, who will ultimately put one of these two candidates over the top at the convention, that there is some license for them to disregard the will of the voters in the primary and to disregard the delegate count, and to elevate Hillary anyway.
So, they are inventing arguments about winning big states and pretending that winning primaries in big states has any correlation to winning those states in the fall. That is a historically specious argument.
BROWN: But, Steve, the rules, though, allow the superdelegates to vote.
KORNACKI: Oh, they are happy to do that. But the Clintons are making this case that, hey, we won Ohio by 10 points in the primary; therefore, we're going to win the state in the fall and Barack Obama can't.
That's patently absurd if you look at history. If you look at the swing state in the year 2000, the state that put George W. Bush in the White House, forget about Florida, it was New Hampshire with four electoral votes. New Hampshire was George W. Bush's worst state in the 2000 Republican primaries. He got 30 percent of the vote. He lost by 20 points and nearly dropped out.
His Democratic opponent, Al Gore, won New Hampshire in the primary. In the fall, New Hampshire went with Bush, the only state in the Northeast to do it, and the four electoral votes that made George W. Bush president. Ronald Reagan lost Pennsylvania in 1980, won it in the fall. It's a historically argument that the Clintons are...
BROWN: All right. OK.
Gloria is champing at the bit to respond.
BORGER: Well, I think -- just wait -- I'm just sort of waiting for the Clinton campaign to make the argument that they have more votes per delegate, because they have won in more populous states.
And they will make that argument, because, after all, now, this is not about the voters anymore, as you were saying. It's about appealing to those superdelegates. I keep calling them the house of lords. They're the house of lords. You are appealing to those superdelegates, who want to win more than anything else, because they are elected officials, and they know that, if you win at the top, you win down the line.
BROWN: It's coattails.
BROWN: All right, Mike, you get the last word. We're almost out of time.
MCKEON: This is how the Clintons are. They will do anything, say anything.
And, like I said, they will burn down the village in order to win. And they don't care about anything else, other than their own victory. And it's not going to happen.
BROWN: Oh, I hate to end on such a depressing note.
MCKEON: It's not going to happen. Steve is right.
BROWN: All right, guys, thanks very much.
Gloria, thanks from Washington. Appreciate it.
And politics isn't all about earmarks and delegate counts. Let's not overlook the all-important rock star endorsement factor.
Plus, we have got more on Spitzer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLYNT: I have always taken the position that if you take a public position contrary to the way you live your private life, you're fair game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: "Hustler" magazine kingpin Larry Flynt weighs in on the Spitzer call girl scandal -- all that ahead in the ELECTION CENTER.
BROWN: In presidential politics, the racially charged remarks of Geraldine Ferraro, now a former member of Hillary Clinton's finance committee, are still generating fallout, even after Senator Clinton's apology.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I rejected what she said, and I certainly do repudiate it and regret deeply that it was said. Obviously, she doesn't speak for the campaign. She doesn't speak for any of my positions. And she has resigned from being a member of my very large finance committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The issue of race is likely to play a role in the next big primary contest coming up in Pennsylvania. And, today, there are indications the African-American vote could be a deciding factor there, particularly in Philadelphia, which is 44 percent black.
But which way black voters will go is anybody's guess at this stage, with two major black clergy groups in the state going in different directions, one for Hillary Clinton, one for Barack Obama.
So, joining me now, Reverend Anthony Floyd, president of the Philadelphia Council of Clergy, which endorsed Senator Clinton, and also here, Reverend Ellis Washington, president of the United Black Clergy of Philadelphia and Vicinity, which endorsed Barack Obama.
Welcome to you both. Appreciate you both being here.
BROWN: I was struck by a poll that I was looking at recently. This was taken back in October by the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation. And it was just five months ago black Democrats were backing Senator Clinton instead of Senator Obama by a margin of 57 percent to 33 percent.
Fast-forward to today, and Senator Obama is carrying African- American vote in most states by 80 to 90 percent.
What's happening here? REV. ANTHONY FLOYD, PHILADELPHIA COUNCIL OF CLERGY: Well, I think that since he has come out more, and more people realize that they you have an African-American running, more so now, especially in the general population, I think it's leaning more, as it always with ethnic groups, to your -- to whomever is running is a part of that group.
So, I think what is happening now, it's...
BROWN: They identify with him.
FLOYD: They identify with him, and then with the -- a lot of young people. See, he has a way of approaching, letting them know the change. And people are really disgusted with the -- the Democratic -- with Republican Party.
BROWN: For you, it's more of a name recognition thing. People just didn't know who he was before when they were -- when most African-Americans were rallying around Senator Clinton.
FLOYD: That's right.
REV. ELLIS WASHINGTON, UNITED BLACK CLERGY OF PHILADELPHIA VICINITY: I think pessimism has turned to optimism. I think the message of "yes we can" has caught on with a lot of people. Perhaps in the beginning, you know, people thought, oh, we've been down this road before. But as the momentum began to pick up, I think a lot of people bought into it, and said, yes, it is possible.
BROWN: Reverend Floyd, you're a long-time Clinton supporter. And I think we got a picture of you at the White House with the Clintons. I guess, is Hillary Clinton right now -- we've been talking about race for the last week. You know what's going on out there. Is she a tough sell to your churches?
FLOYD: I think she's a tough sell to our churches, and I think when people begin to realize now, her husband being involved, and what he has done in the African community, I think they realize that. Because we know that under President Clinton's ministry, there were more blacks went into office. More of people who went into his office of color. And I think this is one of the things that is a selling point, and I think this is one of the things that we have to get out and show the people of what he has done as president, and the relationship between his wife now. And I think that she has been by his side, and she has the courage (ph), she's been just a wonderful person.
BROWN: But do you think people -- I mean, in part, people say that they were offended by former President Clinton's remarks in South Carolina, where he compared Obama's victory there to Jesse Jackson's victory there. Do you think that was an issue with some of your constituents?
WASHINGTON: I think it was. I think it was, and I think a lot of people picked up on it and reacted very negatively towards the Clinton campaign because of that. But it also kind of just pushed the momentum to say, wait a minute. I think we can do this, and I think we can really show the country it's more than just race.
BROWN: What are you hearing from the people in your pews? Are they surprised that race has become such an issue?
WASHINGTON: I don't think anybody is surprised. I think we all knew it was coming. And it's unfortunate that it is becoming more of an issue now. But we'd like to move beyond this because we think there are so many reasons, even in the African-American community for supporting Senator Obama that go beyond his race, his character, his depth of leadership. We just think there are a number of reasons.
BROWN: Finally, Reverend Floyd, do you think it's possible to move beyond it at this point?
FLOYD: I think it's possible. I think what we have to show more, that, of his involvement, when he was in office, her husband, in relation to her now.
BROWN: But he's not the one running for president.
FLOYD: Well, I think they're working together. I think he, as -- with his wife, I think in working together, I think it shows the relationship. It shows the type of persons that we have in office. And now that the problems are so great in government, and the programs that he had, I think if Senator Clinton comes back and revive these programs, I think the African-American people will see that that's the person we want. Her experience. She has the experience from prior service.
BROWN: All right.
WASHINGTON: I don't think we can risk being nostalgic. I think that was then, but this is now.
WASHINGTON: And it's time for a new day.
BROWN: Gentlemen, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you both for being here.
And we're going to jump back to the Spitzer story coming up. People cashing in at his expense now. There are client number nine t- shirts, a lot more you're going to see. And did Larry Flynt see this coming? We'll ask him, coming up.
BROWN: Joining us next is a connoisseur of hypocrisy, politics and pornography, "Hustler" magazine publisher Larry Flynt. During the Clinton impeachment, Flynt brought down incoming speaker Bob Livingston, and he played a role in umasking Senator David Vitter as a client of the D.C. Madam. Well, since last year, he has had a $1 million bounty out for information about high profile political sex stories. Larry Flynt, thanks for joining us tonight.
LARRY FLYNT, PUBLISHER, HUSTLER MAGAZINE: Glad to be here.
BROWN: So, you had made it your personal mission to bring down politicians who you call moral hypocrites. So I have to ask you, is Eliot Spitzer ever on your radar? Were you as shocked as most people to hear about all this?
FLYNT: No, I wasn't shocked. Nothing shocks me anymore. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. And that was a trait that's present with Spitzer and is a trait with everybody we have ever exposed over the last 30 years.
BROWN: Were you happy to see him brought down and humiliated so publicly?
FLYNT: I'm always happy to see it because I've always taken the position that if you take a public position, contrary to where you live your private life, you're fair game. You can't have a politician that's lying to his wife, lying to his mistress, and then going out in Congress and then voting in your best interest? I mean, I don't think people want these individuals around. And I think the sooner we can purge them from government, you know, the happier we'll be. I feel that hypocrisy is the biggest threat that democracy has. And a guy like Spitzer is a perfect example of this.
BROWN: So what about regular Joes? Or I guess in this case, regular Johns who use a prostitute? Do you see them as moral hypocrites, or do you reserve your outrage for the politician?
FLYNT: No, it's just people who have the public trust. You know, somehow, we've got to figure a way to hold them to higher standards. And I don't think that you do it by not punishing them. I think they have to be punished.
BROWN: It was a decade ago during Bill Clinton's impeachment scandal that you started targeting mostly Republicans, though. And it was last year that you took credit for bringing down or exposing rather, Senator David Vitter, a Republican who was tied to the D.C. Madam. Given Spitzer's predicament, is it fair to say that the hypocrisy is bipartisan?
FLYNT: Oh, it crosses party lines, and no doubt about it. But what I love about the Republicans is that they're such goof balls, you know. They never think they'll get caught, you know. At least, Democrats seem to not try to hide their sexual persuasion as much.
BROWN: You know, exposing the politicians also ends up exposing the woman involved, and in this case, do you think it's fair that this young woman, her personal MySpace page is out there. She's on the front page of "The New York Times."
FLYNT: Well, you know, anyone can be a bitch. But that's the way it goes. If you're either party, whether you're Spitzer's wife or whether you're the call girl, you know, either way, you're a victim in this situation.
BROWN: All right. The views of Larry Flynt. Larry, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
FLYNT: Thanks, Campbell.
BROWN: What is it about scandals? Once they break, the key players could be in for lucrative book and movie deals, or even their very own line of handbags.
And some rock stars don't only perform music, sometimes politics is on the play list. That's straight ahead in the ELECTION CENTER.
BROWN: The pertinent question for New York's soon to be governor -- David Paterson was asked if he had ever patronized a prostitute while serving a public official.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEUTENANT GOV. DAVID PATERSON (D), NEW YORK: Only the lobbyists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: He's quick on his feet. So as we discussed earlier, the 22-year-old woman in the center of the Spitzer scandal is an aspiring singer. Her MySpace song has gotten over five million hits so far. And today, she got some play on New York's Z100, the most widely listened to radio station in America. She has reportedly gotten offers from numerous media outlets, including "Penthouse" magazine. So will she join the list of scandalous political figures who cashed in on their infamy?
Backtrack to 1988, after Gary Hart's presidential ambitions were thwarted aboard the appropriately named Monkey Business, Donna Rice went on to pitch the appropriately named jeans, No Excuses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNA RICE, INVOLVED IN SEX SCANDAL WITH GARY HART: I make No Excuses. I only wear them.
ANNOUNCER: No Excuses. Sportswear and accessories.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And, of course, there was Monica Lewinsky who created and sold her own line of handbags. And she also went on to pitch Jenny Craig fitness centers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY: I've tried every diet in the world. I mean, if it was stand on your head, I tried it. If it was eat only grapefruits, I tried it. Magic diet pills, I've tried it. I've lost 31 pounds on Jenny Craig. I'm not there yet, but I can still appreciate and be grateful and proud of my success so far. One of the most amazing things about --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So if history is any guide, it's only a matter time before Ashley Dupre is fielding plenty of additional offers. Who knows? Maybe a recording contract. Stay tuned.
The kick them when their down bandwagon rolls on. Check out this printout by Virgin Mobile. It's a picture of Eliot Spitzer with a thought bubble saying, "I'm tired of being treated like a number." Virgin jumped right on this one for a series of ads, using politicians and celebrities.
And then, there's this painting of Spitzer by Geoffrey Raymond on display at the New York Stock Exchange, of course, where passerbys are encouraged to write little love notes to Spitzer on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you write?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's karma time, Eliot. What goes around comes around.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You deserve what you got.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, I think you're still hot, because he is. He's still a good looking guy for a politician, right? Better than Bloomberg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: To each his own in terms of taste. Well, the artist plans to send the painting on a tour, retracing Kristen's steps from New York to D.C., ending at the Mayflower hotel room 871. Oh, and the painting is being auctioned on eBay, too, of course.
In fact, there is a little boom lit of Spitzer stuff on eBay, including client number nine t-shirts, mugs, button, even domain names like spitzernumbernine.com. You can buy it now for just 250 bucks.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up at the top of the hour. Larry, who do you have on tonight?
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Guess what we're going to talk about?
BROWN: I have no idea!
KING: Well, we come up with a unique one.
KING: We're going to take you inside what's been a shadowy world, until the Spitzer scandal, pulled back to the curtain on the sex industry. A former pimp and a couple of former Madams are our guests. And the woman who says she showed Kristen the ropes. She's going to be here.
Plus, the outspoken Dr. Laura, who's always got something to say. She'll have something to say about all of this. That's at the top of the hour, immediately following the lovely one.
BROWN: All right. Larry, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, everybody, we have got Jay-Z, 50 Cent and Dr. Kevorkian together again here in the ELECTION CENTER.
BROWN: In a sign of how the more things change, the more they stay the same, Democrats are marking the 75th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt's first fireside chat with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's first fireside podcast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: When President Roosevelt addressed the country, they were in a tremendously difficult position. Banks had failed. Housing market was in real trouble. And today, we have many of the same things wrong with us that was wrong with the country when Roosevelt made his first fireside chat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So like we said, the more things change, but where is our Franklin Roosevelt? Well, we know where Rudy Giuliani is, standing in for John McCain at a Pennsylvania fund-raiser today. Should we perhaps read something vice presidential into that?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The choice of vice president is up to John McCain. I'm sure he will make a very, very good choice. You don't run for it, and you don't speculate about it. And you don't have hypothetical --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Fair enough. But Giuliani certainly look like he was in full campaign mode today. So, what's he been up to since dropping out of the presidential race?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm just back in my law firm, back in business. Getting used to my private life and it's quite enjoyable. So I'm not thinking about running for anything right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: Private life enjoyable? Well, great. Glad that waiting for Florida thing worked out OK after all. But look who is running for something. Assisted suicide specialist Jack Kevorkian intends to run for Congress as an independent in Michigan. Now that he's an ex- con, Kevorkian has a new priority. Prison reform.
The CNN ELECTION CENTER rocks on. We've got musical endorsements. Does it matter who is singing your candidate's song?
And at the top of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE" goes inside the world of high-class call girls.
BROWN: In "Political Pop" today, we have political rock. "Rolling Stone" magazine may have endorsed Barack Obama, but the crucial rock and roller and rapper vote is just like the rest of the country, split right down the middle. Jay-Z apparently wants change, while Madonna is going for experience. But do their respective music world supporters say anything about the candidates? And does rock vote really matter?
Well, joining us is "Rolling Stone" managing editor, Will Dana. So, welcome to you, Will.
WILL DANA, MANAGING ED., ROLLING STONE: Hi, Campbell.
BROWN: Good to see you,
DANA: Thanks for having me.
BROWN: So, tell us who is in whose camp. And start with Hillary Clinton. Who does she have on her side.
DANA: Well, Hillary's probably got the biggest names, but Obama has more people.
DANA: I mean, Hillary, you got Madonna.
DANA: You got Elvis Costello. 50 Cent. Timberland and Vanessa Carlton. Oh, I'm ahead of the --
BROWN: OK. That's all -- those are all Hillary supporters.
DANA: Yes, these are Hillary supporters.
BROWN: Oh, Vanessa even did a photo-op with her.
BROWN: OK. Now, who -- Obama has a much longer list.
DANA: Obama has a longer and much cooler list, I think.
BROWN: Yes, cool?
DANA: I mean, if you're going to go -- if you're going to go to a concert, you probably want to go to an Obama concert.
BROWN: OK. Who's on Obama side?
DANA: He's got Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas.
BROWN: Yes. Right.
DANA: The Grateful Dead actually played their first show together in four years in support of Obama a couple of weeks ago.
BROWN: It's at a fund-raiser, right?
DANA: At a fund raiser. Yes, yes. It brought them back together.
BROWN: He went. OK.
DANA: Yes. Jay-Z.
BROWN: All right.
DANA: Now, but when you get further down...
BROWN: Yes, yes.
DANA: John Legend is very cool.
BROWN: Yes. John Legend is very cool.
DANA: And then, the Indie Rock Camp is really coming out for Obama right now.
DANA: And the Flaming Lips just endorsed him. Michael Stipe from R.E.M. just kicked in. He was wearing Obama t-shirt on stage the other day.
BROWN: OK. The alternative rock...
BROWN: ... guys are all for Obama?
BROWN: What about John McCain?
DANA: McCain, you know, we can only find one rocker who has endorsed McCain.
BROWN: Come on.
DANA: Yes, and that was Dee Snider from Twisted Sister.
DANA: Which is kind of lame.
BROWN: All right. Generally --
DANA: And not even Ted Nugent. I mean, Ted Nugent is ambivalent about McCain.
BROWN: Well, Ted Nugent was from Huckabee, right?
BROWN: And then --
DANA: And he said, I'll vote for him but he's --
BROWN: But he's not -- but he's not excited about it.
DANA: One real right winger in rock and roll and he can't -- McCain can't even get him.
BROWN: OK. Does the rock and roll -- did the rock and roll endorsements, I mean, they're sort of like movie star endorsements. Who really cares, right? Or do they matter?
DANA: You know, they don't matter, and you can't quantify it. But I think what matters is that, you know, on shows like this, they're talking about it. And, you know, it's just -- it's getting a lot of people talking about the campaigns. It's getting a lot of young people thinking about it, talking about it. I don't think that Pete Wentz is going to get Obama many votes, but he might get people thinking about the idea of voting.
BROWN: But do people like Pete Wentz, I mean, why do they do this? Like the guy's on drugs half the time. I mean, are they doing it --
DANA: You don't know that.
BROWN: OK. I read the tabloids. Are they doing it in large part for their own exposure and publicity?
DANA: Well, look, I mean, you're 23 years old. Everyone in the world wants to know what your opinion is about everything.
DANA: Of course, you just -- you're going to shoot your mouth off. It's fun, you know.
BROWN: OK. So why do you think that --
DANA: I don't think it's actually calculated. I just think these guys are going to think like --
DANA: And people care what I say, so I'm going to say it.
BROWN: Some endorsements did actually break through this year. I don't mean to diss the rock and roll endorsement. And let's take a look at one of them. This is a music video. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, YES WE CAN)
MUSIC VIDEO: It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the best of a nation, yes we can. It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed the trail for freedom, yes we can, yes we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: OK. So was there -- did Obama benefit from the video? It got something like five million hits, I think on it.
DANA: Right. Also, this video was perfectly timed. You know, right when Obama was really hitting his stride, you know, I think it was January when it came out right. And you know, the world's attention was suddenly focused on this guy, and I think just helped crystallize the attention on Obama and give him, you know, give him that lift. I don't know if once again, if it got him actual votes...
DANA: ... but it certainly got a lot of attention focused on him and made people start to stand and pay attention.
BROWN: And why do they lean toward the Democrats, clearly? I mean, you're like struggling to come up with names of rockers who are endorsing John McCain or Huckabee.
DANA: Well, I mean, I think rock and roll has always slanted towards -- more towards liberals than democrats, I would say. And I don't think a lot of these people -- I think they'll figure themselves as people who embrace change and embrace a new way of doing things, rather than saying, you know, we're hard core democrats.
BROWN: But why then Obama?
DANA: Why Obama?
BROWN: The youth vote is going for Obama.
DANA: Well, look. I mean, you got a president who was what? 28 percent in the polls. So, I mean, Obama is about as far as we are away as you can get from George Bush within the mainstream protocol system that we have. BROWN: Right.
DANA: You know, so this guy is young, new, fresh, different. You know, and -- you know, he's talked about having done drugs in his past without apologizing.
BROWN: And rock stars relate.
DANA: Yes. And I think a lot of rock stars relate to that. But there's, you know, he doesn't moralize. He doesn't judge.
BROWN: Let me just ask you, this is sort of a random question. But it's interesting to me sometimes when the rock stars sort of decry the politicians who use their songs in their --
BROWN: What's the phenomenon behind it? I mean, they get -- they've gotten very upset about it on occasion.
DANA: Well, it's really happened I think in two major occasions. First was in '84 when Reagan used "Born in the USA" by Bruce Springsteen.
DANA: And then more recently, John McCain was playing a John Mellencamp song at his rallies. You know -- now, these are both very outspoken liberals.
DANA: You know, who are very much against the Republicans.
BROWN: And we're out of time.
BROWN: I got to go. I'm sorry.
BROWN: You were great. Thanks, Will.
DANA: Oh, thank you.
BROWN: Appreciate it.
BROWN: That's it for tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxantshop.com