Legendary newsman Larry King may not be helming CNN's go-to program for politicians anymore, but that's not keeping him out of the fray this election season.
From promoting third-party candidates and claiming credit for Ross Perot, to slagging political pundits and the Electoral College, King isn't keeping his opinions to himself anymore.
In fact, King recently moderated a debate between candidates from the Libertarians, Greens and other alternative parties.
"It was spirited, it was lively," recalled King backstage at Free The Children's We Day youth rally in Calgary. "The audience appealed to a lot of young people. Three of the four favour the legalization of drugs. They're for free colleges. The constitution doesn't say two-party system, doesn't say Democrat or Republican. We've had a federalist president. We've had a Whig president. I don't know why we are a two-party system. I don't know that that has produced the best system."
King said the current system is rigged because the two parties make the rules to "preserve" themselves. Citing the first amendment, he said third-party candidates "deserve a voice" but it will take a personality, not a party, to win a breakthrough victory
"It has to be propelled by a person. I started Ross Perot. He announced his candidacy on my old show on CNN. I did the Perot/Gore debate. Perot made an impact in America and he had the opportunity because of two things occurring. A weak presidency. [George H.W.] Bush had said, 'no new taxes' and Clinton had a scandal. So here are a weak incumbent and a scandal, an economy in trouble, and then a billionaire comes in with some answers. So it wasn't an independent party. We were electing a man. A third party can [only] do it propelled by a dynamic individual."
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Ron Paul, of course, is just such a dynamic individual and certainly has a fervent following, but despite some predictions, he chose not to run as a third-party candidate after losing the Republican primary, unlike Gary Johnson who is now heading up the Libertarian ticket.
"I know Ron, I've interviewed him. He confounds you because if you are liberal, you agree with half the things he says and if you are conservative, you agree with half the things he says -- and the other half you hate. I think it probably stems back to his son is a very Tea Party conservative Republican, so his son probably said you are only going to take votes away from Romney."
"Just as Ralph Nader defeated Gore," King added. "If Ralph Nader doesn't go in to that race, Gore wins. He won the popular vote. So I think ... his son probably said to him you are only going to hurt the Republican party, and I think Ron Paul probably feels closer to the Republicans than he does the Democrats. But he'd have gotten a lot of votes."
As for who is going to win this time, King wouldn't even hazard a guess -- and he suggested people shouldn't pay much mind to any pundit who does. "This is the real truth -- nobody knows. You could have polls all day. If you say, 'I know who is going to win Ohio,' you are full of baloney. You don't know. I'll tell you how this thing is going to be decided. I'll give it to you. Exclusive. Murray Schwartz in Toledo, Ohio works in a drugstore, right? He will decide the election. How Murray Schwartz votes tips Ohio for one or the other. Call Murray Schwartz."
As for as the very real possibility that President Barack Obama could win in the Electoral College but lose the popular vote, much as George W. Bush did in 2000, King said it could happen, but that it shouldn't.
"I don't like the Electoral College. I think it's outmoded. I understood the Electoral College when we started. I don't think it's necessary now, but you are not going to see that happen because the smaller states get two senators each. My vote don't count. I live in California. Obama will win California. If you live in Utah, your vote don't count," King says. "I think a popular vote is fair."