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tv   Larry King Now  RT  November 27, 2013 9:00pm-9:31pm EST

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secrets from the campaign trail the inside scoop from behind the scenes of the two thousand and twelve presidential race and its impact on the shape of the u.s. political landscape joining me in the co-authors of an instant bestseller double down journalist mark halperin and john. all next politicking with larry i. love the politicking i'm happy to have the authors of double down in the studio with me mark halperin is editor at large and senior political analyst for time magazine and senior political analyst for m s n b c and john heilemann is the national editor of new york magazine and a political analyst for m.s.n. b.c. they are both co-authors of a terrific book double down a great follow up to game change with another great book before we get into current
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policies like how did the book come up that you did you know you were going to do a follow up for you now the new file you cover the races well i mean the first one we enjoyed doing a lot and between the book and the h.b.o. movie we had a certain amount of momentum to think about doing another one it wouldn't take too long for us to say you know there's a certain formula to what we did and we wanted to try to do it again for a different race some characters carrying over like the clintons and obviously president obama but but a new group of people right about i once interviewed john theodore white who wrote the making of the president one nine hundred sixty and sixty four and sixty eight and seventy two he invented it on sept is jim bishop in bed with the concept of the day kennedy died today the christ died. were you thinking in terms of theodore white well you know we are both big readers of political literature so you know be think about people who have done stuff like this in the past the white obviously established became a franchise but you know hundred thompson did for
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a living on the. campbell in seventy two a book we both admire richard ben cramer wrote one of the great political campaign books ever what it takes about the ninety eight campaign but no one had done anything like this in a while and they can then book it sort of died so we were fighting against the trend which was a lot of publishers thought well there's so much coverage of these races now how can you possibly write about something that comes out a year later or more forgotten about it but the two thousand a race in this race both really interesting and we wanted to get behind the scenes we thought we could use of them so little through the turn of terrific book and we're going to get into it in a couple of minutes but first some current things really as we tape this the president is in l.a. today where where does this stand right now is the rollout of the what's going on think of presidencies in the balance this how did the ump like this i think that you can see the seeds of some of the problems in a few things that we write about in the book and that have been said about the president some of which are he passed health care with all democratic votes did ocular publicans bought into it at all and didn't run to get a mandate on health care when he ran for re-election governor romney didn't bring
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it up because he had his own problems on health care and i think when you don't make an issue front and center even if something that's passed a lot harder time winning over the trust of the american people and between the computer the website problem and the lack of president's clarity say that somewhat euphemistically about whether everyone would be able to keep their policy he's created a deficit on terms of trusting him hard to implement something partisan and controversial if the public doesn't trust you when you say you saw this coming john i think we both saw at the time you know that that one of the big risks of doing health care the only way to get health care passed was in a partisan way republicans didn't want to cooperate with the president he had to do it that way was the only way to get it done at the same time there was an inherent risk in that and you know pat moynihan used to say that you know a big piece of american social legislation always would be should be done in a bipartisan way not because it was just the ideal but because you needed implementation was going to be it was always hard away and by barzan today nothing well almost nothing that's kind of the conundrum the president present. face but
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the truth is if a big wall like this is going to take ten years or more but at least five years to roll out and get implemented if you have half the country and half the political world not believing in it from the from the get go it's harder to get it done and that's kind of what you know what more is referring to i think it's hard for the president has no allies right now and so everything had to be perfect and this is such a complicated law that everything was never going to be perfect and so as soon as you hit one glitch the vultures are already circling to me straighten it out he can but it's going to be are they got to get the fundamentals right you know no the notion that the website's going to work for eighty percent of the people i mean i don't i don't think that's such a great goal so i think you've got get the fundamentals right and then i think he needs to do something dramatic to get to work with him i don't know i don't know how to have an idea of what it could be but i think. i think he's got to fix i think that whether eighty percent if eighty percent is on the road to ninety percent and that's on the road to one hundred percent he's got to do something that shows that they are on the track towards making this work and yes do it relatively fast i think if you start to get the website working and you start to likes show
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demonstrably progress you might be able to climb out of this because our attention spans are relatively short but if he doesn't get the if the if in the next couple months there's no demonstrably sign of progress you could have a very fast downward spiral on this and a lot of other things they would want to be lucky than good. is he lucky in the fact that he has a split republican party well once and see is but on the other sense the republican party is so at war with itself and still most republicans are afraid of the grassroots the tea party the populist wing of the party that i think he tartar for him to find out lies than it's ever been because they just have no incentive to work from an every day closer to twenty sixteen there instead of to wait and try to see a thing at the white house back rather than work with them get higher and higher so how bad will be off year election be i think a lot of that hinges on what happens with the affordable care act over the course of those few months i mean if they have the president to make some progress in that or and look he's probably lose seats historically sitting presidents lose seats in off year elections he's probably to lose some seats but the difference between
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losing seats and losing a lot of seats and allowing republicans if they can to run on nothing but the affordable care act is not just a policy failure but as a symbol of everything wrong with modern liberalism that's the difference between whether or not he fixes this problem in the next few months or not events competence yeah clinton go to quite a hit in the end before what happened in ninety eight was they end up picking up a couple seats yeah the goods are going to be good but the republicans really overreached on impeachment and look as to how that is president obama is that as a politician the bill clinton you know i was never been one well it just isn't so that compares now bush also was able to win seats after nine eleven but in the current trajectory the president would lose seats and could lose control the senate he good could. because what about the very reason go nuclear and they change the filibuster rules which i have by poilus was a put it this way why did it take sixty votes why was it always majority rule i
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have a lot of sympathy for that point of view this notion that that that it there's something says something sacred about sixty so the change itself is a matter of policy i don't think that big a deal the symbolism of it though is horrible because it's another thing where the two parties are at war and where it's going to be harder and harder to compromise so will the president get through some nominees because of this yes but over the long term republicans are just going to dig in and try to block him other ways when the republicans say though we'll get even with you on this meaning we'll have a president we'll have a majority and then we'll do it to you what you did to us begin to do it anyway right now i think that you know that that doesn't trouble me as much for the reason the markets that i've been in favor of reform the filibuster for it no matter who is president any given situation i'm big a big government with majority rule and the truth is republicans have been abusing it much more in the last few years that it's ever been abused before it's always been abused in some sense but you know the fact the president can't get any judges nominated on it when the horten courts are on on the basis of drive bys in consenting anymore they're not even having ideological disputes with the judges
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they're just say we will not put anyone on the court whoever you nominate as a matter i just think that's so dysfunctional that the president was in a place where i totally agree it's going to make it worse but it was so horrible that like nothing was going nothing was going to be done and only the present really had a choice and harry reid had a choice but to do this next issue is though if you are ran they make a deal is a six month a deal so you know what what's why all the uproar against it if it's a starting point i don't i mean look i think there's i mean that the president has has done this to the nature of having to do the deal in secret for such a long period of time did not allow for the kind of like multilateral diplomacy that normally happens where you can kind of build up allies along the way he had to do in secret because i think he knew there was going to be a lot of pushback on it and you know look it's a very sensitive thing and keep. very are very worried about iran nuclear weapons and israel right and anything that touches israel is always going to have a lot of pushback because of that because people who are big supporters say israel are very concerned at the same time you know ob for peace there were
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a lot of other better options out there at the moment and to avoid the book in a minute he he reaches out he's trying to he sells more arms to israel than bush and clinton combined what's the rub against him. for whatever reason there's a lot of skepticism about him on dealing with israel now has a relationship with netanyahu is not good and i think that that that that's a point to problem republicans have not gotten much traction on any foreign policy issue politically against the president except on israel so they're more inclined to talk about it and the president's record in the on these things he has not had a big breakthrough on anything like this and so there's just some skepticism but i think well he talked about this is a candidate and in two thousand and eight and he's very confident he's doing the right thing and when this president's confident he usually does pretty well i think john kennedy who once said negotiate of a fear but never fear to negotiate when you think the public will support him on
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this or not i think the public still pretty much focused on the economy and on health care now and other domestic issues i think this is mostly an elite debate and again if the purser veers i think on this he'll do ok i've just finished double down great books and a great follow up to game change was this more difficult to write. it was not more difficult to write i mean a lot of the last book we did when we did the last but we really did in about a year and a half this book we started much earlier so we did three years that's got pluses and minuses to it we had more time to do it we also balsam we had more time to do it so instead of doing three hundred interviews as we did for the last book we did over five hundred hours for this book some more information to process but at the same time it also gave us a lot more time to kind of ruminate on the on the story and the truth is that you know the thing we're doing in both books is trying to write about you know the high human drama presidential politics and the truth is regardless of this is a different story there was you know more on the democratic side in two thousand and eight that was more on the republican side in two thousand and twelve the general election was more in some ways hard fought in two thousand and twelve there
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was more drama involved in that they're just different stories but in somewhat the basic kind of human level of what we're trying to write about they're very similar and no sarah palin though well she makes some cameos in the book as you know i mean look at the dow cameo she's not as we like to say we can only cover the campaign that happens we're not new in fiction here so look you know sarah palin's a great interesting person and the clintons are pretty interesting and they're in the book this time and we think newt gingrich is pretty interesting even though he's been all they're all buzzing there just the fact is if you get inside these people's heads as we try to do and you write about the campaign from the human point of view yeah it be nice though sarah palin is a big character in every book but she has she said she said at the set you write that you had to compare and reconcile differing accounts of the same events was struck by how few fundamental disputes eunuch. how did you get people to talk to you you know we we were approached these interviews very much like real histories you know we go to people and they're people that remark about been doing this for
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a couple decades each week and we know most of the people we're dealing with and you know we go to them and say hey you know let's sit down talk about the election in most cases it's either after the nomination contest is over or after the elections or although we do some interviewing while the things are going on and we spend a lot of time with people we were very respectful people's time we take over your homework and we ask people to tell us about their experiences and one of the things that we found in our journalism in general and in particular with these books is that people really want to tell their stories and the people who are involved in presidential campaigns from the candidates to the senior advisers to the lowest level advisers they think they're involved in a big historic thing and they want the history to be recorded accurately fairly and to capture the kind of feeling of what it's like to be involved in one of these and you know the last book stood as a pretty good stead with people though none of the stations though mark or from memory right not always people take notes and meeting some people have recordings really and and and also were pretty good had figure out whose memories good news not in matching people stories so we're very cautious if someone says the sentence
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was exactly this week and we've checked with others to make sure it's exactly that way that when something jumps out is something that jumped out at me you know you have a great conversation between joe biden as the vice president states and the president's top guy bob daley right bill daley and bill daley omes you know no one else is in that room one of them had to talk to you about that conversation i don't no one else in the room got to comment on that particular conversation but the conversations in general recap as i said before there's recording states contemporaneous notes and so i mean there are a mustang that taken notes just come on give me a little clue how you got that there's one of them how to talk to you not as you know a lot of study they can also leave the room and tell someone else what happened. you know and if they tell someone about it contemporaneously that's another i was rude or sometimes more people in the room than you think if let's say less i left the room right now and i went out there and i said to somebody in the green room who without listening to this interview i said larry asked us about what happened
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between bill daley and joe biden here is what larry said and they took notes or they remembered it very well but ok it can happen some people are sad all right i was very good for talking with the authors of the instant bestseller terrific we doubled down mark halperin john heilemann we'll be right back after this. league games carol take another look very hard to take a look once again took so long here there's a lot like that how exactly would that make sure nobody's. going. to. sleep. sleep.
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sleep. sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep. sleep sleep. i'm the president and i'm a society bucket i'm big corporation kind of can. can do i think the banks are trying to get all them all about money and i'm a family that for politicians writing the laws and regulations tax breaks coming out. there is just too much. today's society. that.
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look is doubling as sar alberta and heilman they become a team sells a double play combination the title. title refers to some sort of smaller individual incidents in the book where some character decides to basically stay the course they've made a bet in a writ taking a risk to go in a certain direction and then they face a choice do i keep going in that direction double down or do i change course and a lot of times for in both small things and in large things there's doubling down the biggest doubling down the president doubles down on the coalition that got him elected the first time they turned out african-americans hispanics young voters
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single women which some people thought you'll never get those those groups to turn out again governor romney doubled down on running just on the economy not talking about himself not trying to sell himself so much as say you need to replace the present blackjack term moves what surprised you the most john you know there's a moment we report on the book at the very beginning of the book in the prologue and then later in the book when it comes in real time you know the president struggling in between the first and second debate everybody remembers that he did not do well in denver he need to do well at the second debate at hofstra university in new york and we have this incredible what we think is a kind of incredible scene of the president forty eight hours before that in that second debate having a kind of existential crisis over performing poorly in practice and then having to sit down with his top aides and have what they called an intervention with the president kind of saying look if you perform that badly again as you did and denver as you did last night at this practice you could lose the whole election and the president having this monologue about what about debates he hates what about the
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actuality of politics he hates how much he feels as though he's running on an empty agenda for reelection it's kind of extraordinary moment and he says i don't know if i can do this and this is an incredibly confident president with credibly great performer in that moment expressing a kind of great doubt about his ability to pull through when you learned that was you were you shocked we were shocked and it was not when you write it is not an easy story to get and as john said at the heart of it is broke obama expressing doubts about his performance normally he is not a guy who has much self-doubt it's been a huge part of his success and his aides the people in the room with four guys have been in national politics for a long. and all four of them felt like here's a korean credible moment that's an aging anybody incredible and a little bit scary because the debate was the next night and the election when that far away and here's the president saying i'm not sure i can do any better than i did and denver and they were convinced if he did poorly that second debate at the cost of the white house has anyone come forward to say that didn't happen and not a single person i've noticed i haven't seen one nobody i think what about the book
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one you know or some group well there was only one one complained famously. as liz cheney who came out and we reported the first book that her father had said that sarah palin was a reckless choice by john mccain she came out and said no my father would never have said that and then about a year year and a half later he was interviewed and someone asked him what he thought and he said i thought it was a reckless choice so we were happy with the ultimate outcome of that conflict and nate silver the sports intellect electro he's everything you know when they so he over to make sure of you with a book he said but no matter because you're a runaway bestseller i thought the moment he said there's absolutely no self-awareness in the book these guys don't realize how close minded they are but they have great reporting and they really great access and more people inside the bubble think. what did how did you react to that because i didn't get it i didn't really get it either of you did you get it i mean i'm always happy to consider whether i'm close minded but he said we had great access and great reporting so i'm
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going with that he'll book obama doesn't come off as a big fan of the process right what are the how do you how do you assess him well he's a really interesting mom of the man he's an interesting guy you know he's not changed very much in the course of his time in office i think he came in you know he came into office as a certain kind of kind of person and he still that same person he is does not like politics and politicking very much but he's extra incredibly good at least at the level of being a candidate there's no one we've ever covered by i mean really who cling was a great candidate barack obama got the first after american president got to like to got reelected in a horrible economic circumstances you know when he was very vulnerable he's a great you're going this is a great candidate but he doesn't enjoy being a candidate he loves governance he loves policy love sitting around talking about public policy and thinking through what the right answer would be but he's not actually that has not been nearly successful at governance so it's a weird paradox the thing he loves he's not that great out in the thing he's great at it he doesn't really love legs it makes only him nixon love i knew nixon pretty
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well he low politics but didn't like people the president likes some people it's wrong to say doesn't like people because he likes his wife and his daughters as best friends but he doesn't like his to spend time with people he doesn't have any use for so if somebody like mitch mcconnell or or john boehner or his own donors or his donors or not he doesn't have a phone bridges with. magic johnson. jeff that's to bring it all friends he might not like that he like some of the like some of those people but you know we discuss say in the book he's talking his campaign manager he's never heard of most of the biz bundlers his biggest donors his biggest fundraisers never heard of him doesn't know who they are and there's no pressure there's no one who's ever been president who's like that because he just he cares about what he hears about well who's raised more money than anybody i mean he's raised more money than anybody any politician the history the planet and he says to jim messina his campaign manager jim i could name my top five bundlers the top five people who give you could raise the most money for me it's kind of amazing on some level it's kind of admirable it's not great the present united states
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doesn't want to kiss the butts of billionaires that's great but on another level a basic kind of political well it's kind of bizarre right and bill clinton if you were here would be like are you talking about this the craziest thing ever in the final analysis that he was not going to lose that race because he was campaigning on this on a level call rove didn't see well for all the talk of pollsters and strategy and fund raising a lot of presidential politics is just a candidate who's better at the at the thing and the president is a much better political athlete than than mitt romney on the other hand he did face in both in this debate crisis than a year out in the fall of two thousand and eleven he did face a real possibility he would lose because of the state of the economy and he had to do one thing we have talked about yet which is bill clinton had to turn to bill clinton we talked about how he really admits weakness he really says i need help from anybody and he said i need help from brooklyn we got a cord and so he's on our team for the real life the like hillary i think he likes hillary i think it's you know he always like hillary one of the great kind of the
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arc of the that relationship obama and the clintons over the course of the two books you know they all like liked each other back when he ran for senate hillary loved him he thought she was great when he got to the senate it looked like they were going to be friends the long arc of then their rivalry him because of her becoming secretary of state and now after this courtship the more talked about the way in which clinton got integrated into obama world there's still moments of tension right but in the end right now. the obama's in the clintons are colleague one big political family a lot of obama's. infrastructure a lot of his former advisers have kind of drifted to her you know a lot of his former supporters in elective politics have drifted to her none of them really drifted to joe biden who you might have thought would be the recipient of that kind of support they're all kind of making their way into clinton world it's an incredible thing given the bitterness of two thousand and eight that where they've ended up right now is great characterizations of all the republican guys who are running as a lot of thought in the very fun reading in the book christie comes out very
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well he's undecided but then he does this nice with the family is the problem with fit to dozens of scene i think no matter what if he decides to take a pass on the race as he did in two in two thousand and twelve i think he'll still be a huge force of the party as he wasn't you know we were in detail about his consideration of running but he least he decides not to but then he's a huge force indorsing romney but he doesn't like around me they'd be wise to me would only well he likes him but i'd press with them he he's not impress them as a political beast but he thought he would be the strongest of the republicans in the endorsed him they are their friends now but you know he chris christie has a lot of strengths one of which is he like president bush he's great at sizing people up he's great at the you're at strengths and weaknesses he likes you doesn't like he sees mitt romney strengths but he sees as weaknesses too very clearly you say that mitt romney in the up was. the most gaffe prone nominee in anyone's memory. where did that come from from a sharp businessman you know he's you know it's funny because we quote bill clinton
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in the book telling a friend you know these are very nice man babies in that he's speaking of romney he says he's a very nice man who's in the wrong line of work he shouldn't be speaking to people in the public and you know there are a lot of very successful business people who just are you know it's a totally different discipline you know political performance and and governor romney just kept making those mistakes over and over and over again crowd in kind of a highlight reel of his kind of gaffes that that played to the caricature of him as kind of chord combination of chord gekko and mr magoo right he gave them over and over again the highlight reel and then at the end of the election of course an amazing thing you know after all of the controversy has been through the forty seven percent video where he says this embarrassing kind of damaging thing in front of a bunch of donors he then gets on the post-mortem conference call and makes this come about how the way that brought the rock obama won was by giving out gifts to his constituencies it was like he ended the campaign was the perfect but not top of the campaign and gatt the big what the final gaffe that seemed to express everything wrong with romney's world view he actually believes going to win he did in part because as paul started but also because you've seen this candidates go at the end
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of the campaign the crowds get bigger they're pretty excited and emotional and they're fingertip feel they also because i think where the thirty five thousand people here are from not going to when. they want to make me sure we ask about this martin bashir is in hot water from you order that you both work for him isn't b. c. about the comments he made about sarah palin and slavery she made some comments comparing the united states foreign debt slavery he compared what should happen he said what should happen to her if she were a slave and when he made the wall as well he apologized for it and you know live t.v. has the out on. the by his own admission by apologizing of course. i think it's you know it's not a great idea to. you know of the world we're big fans of civil discourse you know and we have you know we go on television and we get in arguments with people all the time and you know the key is to try to have an argument with someone you can be very passionate about it but try to keep it civil and i think martin realizes that he stepped over a line and as he said he didn't it be better if he had sperm disagreements or
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strong disagreements with her without having to do that didn't she step over alone with that comparison though sounds like it sounds like over the line to me but by you know we live in a world with a lot of rhetoric she's learned that she's been known to hyperbole but wasn't but there wasn't a personal attack on anyone in particular right there which is the difference i think is that in personal lives that attacked her in a way that i think you know all sides would acknowledge is a little bit went a little bit too far ok take me to double down three or we go on what will be our next that we don't know our next title but you know you will be covering the two thousand and sixteen race the book will come out in two thousand and eighteen it will be fascinating i can't wait i hope i'm here to read it clear i've been consulting your we were together yes so i'm going to go with supporters who have the right to go about well look i said suggested before we're going to write about chris christie whether he runs or not we're going to write about the clintons whether hillary clinton run with who will be in the race that you will who will be the nominees of the parties i thought i find it hard to believe and it's possible hillary clinton will not run for president possible and one always allows for the
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possibility she looks like she's getting ready to run and i think if she runs she will be the democratic nominee i can imagine that she will even receive a serious challenge both because she's an epic figure now she's got huge support and she's got more granular support among all the constituencies that matter in democratic nomination politics women latins lead latinos african-americans union households that's pretty much the democratic nomination universe they love her a lot of people think it's time for a woman to be the democratic nominee and she can raise a ton of money so i can't imagine anyone's going to want to get in the way of that oncoming train including vice president biden who i think will not run if she runs and she will i think get the nod. every nomination almost by acclamation and i think christie jeb bush and paul ryan are head and shoulders above the other people who were told they would be given well i don't know i think i think i think if any of the three of them run or more than ever i think they're head and shoulders above the others in appealing to the establishment wing of the party which since goldwater has been the wing of the party has picked the nominee h.b.o. going to do a movie a double down they are looking hard at it they bought the option and they were very
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happy with how the last movie came out was good for them obviously was great for us we loved what they did with it and we're really hopeful that we'll be able to get the band back together and do another one you guys deserve all the plaudits you're getting a very nice very thank you both thanks to modern john for joining me today if you haven't already read it i highly rectified double recommended double down for my viewers out there i want to hear what you think join the conversation on my facebook page share your thoughts on twitter by tweeting king's things and using the political hash tag politics that's all for this week's politicking with larry king thanks for joining.
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