CNN’s Larry King: Hugo Chávez ‘fascinating’ — ‘He loves the Cincinnati Reds’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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The ability of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez to charm celebrities seems to be a never-ending feat. Beyond the normal cast of characters, like Oliver Stone, Sean Penn and Danny Glover, Chávez has managed to add another fan to his roster.

As part of his departure tour from CNN, after 25 years at the network, King appeared on NFL Network anchor Rich Eisen’s Dec. 8 podcast and raved about his fascination with dictators, specifically Chávez.

“You know who’s fascinating?” King said. “Dictators. Chávez was fascinating, from Venezuela – one, because he’s a crazy baseball fan.”

According to King, Chávez is a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, which should give the people of Cincinnati something to hang their hats on, as well as a fan of the team’s manager, Dusty Baker.

“Talking to him before, he’s like a nut baseball fan,” King continued. “ And you would think of all the teams – who would he root for? The Cincinnati Reds. He loves the Cincinnati Reds. But how knowledgeable is he?  The last time I saw him – ‘What do you think of Dusty Baker? Did I tell ya?’ These guys know – if you know a sport, you get captivated by the sportscaster. But he really knows baseball. He used to play baseball.”

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a CNBC anchor, once offered an explanation for Chávez’s ability to charm media and celebrity types. Having interviewed him previously, she recently described him for an audience at the Cato Institute as “funny,” “charming,” and “a seductor,” which she concluded as being “dangerous.”