tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN December 14, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
>> there's no question in my mind that the overwhelming majority of our men and women in uniform abide by the highest standards. but there are always those that, you know, that engage in the wrong kind of behavior, that do things that abuse the system, and we have to make sure that we do everything possible not only to prosecute and to punish those that do that, but to make sure that we're taking steps to ensure that we are abiding by the highest standards, and that's what i'm doing. >> you'll hear more from defense secretary leon panetta tomorrow he is going to talk about iran and the sequester cuts. "piers morgan tonight" starts now. tonight, team obama takes a big hit. susan rice drops out of the running for secretary of state
after a bruising battle with critics like john mccain. >> she not only gave wrong information, but she gave the party line. >> now is john kerry a lock for state? and the other big late story in washington, speaker boehner goes to the white house. how close are they now to a deal? rudolph giuliani is here to say a lot about these things. i'll ask him if america is getting more dangerous in the wake some of very shocking high-profile gun crime. he was known as one of the west memphis three now damien echols is adjusting to life as a free man. >> i was in a state of extreme shock and trauma. >> and how he survived 18 years on death row. >> it's absolutely nightmarish. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening, you're looking live at the white house where president obama has had one of those win some, lose some kind of days. the president and john boehner met for 50 minutes in a meeting
being called frank. when basically translates to no deal yet. but the good news was, quote, the lines of communication remain open. the bad news, ambassador susan rice was withdrawing from the short list to replace hillary clinton as secretary of state. >> i withdrew my name because i think it's the right thing for the country and i think it's the right thing for the president. putting those things together, that makes it the right thing for me and my family. >> rudolph giuliani. you've been pretty vocal about susan rice. were you surprised in the end that she fell on her sword today? >> not at all. in fact i don't see that as bad news for the president. i see that as good news for the president, because a battle to get her confirmed would have offered the perfect opportunity to open up this whole benghazi thing, where no answers have yet
when she said it -- honestly, when she said it, i uttered an expression that i can't say on television. it starts with a b. bull -- >> you didn't believe it? >> i didn't believe it because here you had an attack with rocket-propelled hand grenades, mortars, very well executed, very well prepared. maybe i was a little more sensitive to it because it was on the anniversary of september 11th, i had just come from a dinner with all the people that survived september 11th with me. i said is this woman out of her mind? what is she talking about, a spontaneous attack? did somebody give her that? and this idea that she just read the notes. don't you exercise some intelligence about this? >> in an op-ed piece in the "washington post" she says these unclassified points she received were consistent with the classified assessments i received as a senior policy maker. i have never sought in any way, shape or form to mislead the american public. to do so would run counter to my character and my life of public service. in recent weeks, new lines of attack have been raised to malign my character and my career. with all the general petraeus confusion, there was an implication that perhaps she had withheld classified information for national security reasons, which was the bit that had linked to possible al qaeda involvement. she's making it pretty clear, though, that all the intelligence she received,
classified or unclassified, was consistent. therefore, we have to assume did not say this is likely to have been an al qaeda-related attack. >> and she demonstrated she's an reader of notes and not an analyzer of events. >> what was her job that day, rudy, to be fair? >> common sense. they gave her a story that didn't meet the smell test. a strong person says garbage, i'm not going to repeat it. i'm sorry. i have done that. this doesn't make any sense to me. doesn't make any sense that this was a spontaneous attack. and then there was this tremendous pressure to try to say this was a spontaneous attack, try to link it to that mohammed movie that president obama tried to link it to for the next two weeks. >> do you think she lied? >> i don't know that. for me she's unqualified to be secretary of state because she doesn't seem to have the independent judgment to make analysis like these talking points don't make sense. >> president obama said after
the resignation came in, i deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on susan rice in recent weeks. the other thing i've been hearing today from many people in washington is, look, yes, the benghazi thing was probably part of this, but actually what worsened her case really was when she went to try and have it out with senators mccain and the others and really came off second best again. she got led down a garden path and came out with thorns everywhere. and people were saying, you know, she's just a bit inexperienced to deal with bruises like this. what does that mean for her on the world stage. is that a fair criticism? >> also fair. was she in above her head? quite possible. maybe she was in above her head and not really understanding how to analyze intelligence well enough. not having enough independent knowledge to apply to it to realize this is a mistake. when i heard it, when john mccain heard it, we immediately knew it was a story that just didn't fly. maybe because we have a lot more experience than she does. >> i interviewed john mccain and lindsey graham this week who both said this. watch this. >> the fact is she not only gave wrong information, but she gave the party line that, for example, that al qaeda is decimated. al qaeda is not decimated.
>> i think the intelligence was sanitized or created a false narrative. i've seen this movie where. >> would you object to her becoming secretary of state personally? >> personally i don't believe she would serve the country well in that capacity. >> we're willing to give her the nomination process, but she's got a lot to prove. >> i mean critics are saying, look, she's basically been stitched up here by a lot of older guys in the republican party who have looked at a bright young woman and thought we're going to get you out of here. >> a bright young woman wouldn't have made that statement. i bright young woman would have had enough independent knowledge, enough independent judgment to realize she was being fed a load of mularkey. in the words of our vice president. >> she's clearly bright, rudy. she's not a stupid woman. she's a very intelligent woman. >> obviously not with enough information, not with enough experience to know how to critically analyze intelligence. >> if john kerry gets the job -- do you think he should, first of all? would you support that? >> would i support it? if the president wanted john kerry, i see no reason to stand in the way of john kerry as secretary of stat yes ts aacptle choice. >> let's move to the fiscal cliff, because it's become a real pain in the back side for everybody really and everybody is waiting for what they believe to be an inevitable deal.
it would seem today that john boehner and president obama met at the white house. that's a good move. they haven't come out attacking each other, that's encouraging. are you looking at this as a pre-christmas done deal, rudy? >> i think so, because it seems so obvious that you have to do it. i didn't like the comment that they had a frank talk. that reminds me of the cold war. that's when kruschev and kennedy would meet and the next thing after you said they had a frank
conversation, everyone went into shelters and said oh, my god, what's going to happen next? to me a deal is doable, but you've got -- you have to recognize what both sides -- obviously the president needs a hike in taxes. >> and that's going to happen, isn't it? let's be honest, the republicans have lost that argument.
the argument now clearly is about how far are the spending cuts going to go. >> not only how far, are they going to happen. republicans don't believe he'll do spending cuts. so here's my proposal, see what it's worth. republicans agree, split the difference. republicans agree to jump the rate from 35 to 37 and other similar kinds of jumps. democrats agree to a trillion dollars, trillion and a half dollars in spending cuts. the spending cuts and the tax increases go into effect at the same time. because here's what republicans are really worried about. they're worried about we'll give them the tax increases, they'll say, don't worry, and then a year from now they'll be very, very few spending decreases. so if you could link the two things together and say, okay, we can't get all the spending reductions done right now. we'll agree on a tax increase of a certain amount. we'll agree on spending decreases for real. they go into effect june 30th. june 30th both things happen. i don't see republicans agreeing to a tax increase without getting their spending cuts kind of locked in stone. >> i think that's probably very sensible and i think the real battle will come with the debt ceiling gets kicked into the orbit of washington come january, february. that's going to be the really tasty debate, i suspect. >> well, the president upped the ante by saying he wanted sort of pte ineyo. ally ay to raise th3 look at the murder that took place in norway or in finland where, what, 79 people were killed without a gun. so the reality -- the reality is if you want to have a sensible debate about weapons like this, we should take a look at how can
we put some restrictions on them, how can we make sure they're in the hands of the right people. but please don't use it as a way of not dealing with what's really going on, which these people are extremely dangerous. i think a lot of any increase we see in crime doesn't come from guns, it comes from a lack of responsibility in society. >> i keep hearing it's not the guns, it's its people. that's fine, but this character, 22 years old, seemed perfectly normal to everybody who knew him. family, friends, school colleagues, whatever. everyone who had ever known this guy said mr. normal. not a clue that he would ever do this, and yet he goes into a shopping mall and begins shooting people in what was a very similar in, my view, kind of thing that we saw in aurora. maybe a copy cat, cry for attention, whatever it is. you can't legislate for that. all you can do is try to remove that guy's ability to find an ar-15. or steal one, as he did. >> and you're not going to remove it, though. >> why not? >> if he doesn't get the ar-15, he'll go get a handgun. if he doesn't do that, he'll go get explosives. if he doesn't get that, he'll go get poison. >> but don't you have to try when you're running a country
today i made the decision that it was the best thing for our country, for the american people that i not continue to be considered by the president for nomination as secretary of state because i didn't want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized. >> ambassador susan rice telling nbc's brian williams on rock center why she was withdrawing her name for secretary of state. let's get to the battle in america. welcome to you both. >> thanks for having us. >> let me start with you, margaret hoover. this will be seen as a big win for the old guard republicans. i interviewed the three amigos as they call themselves this week, but i'm sure senators mccain and graham will sleep easy tonight knowing they've seen off the challenge from susan rice. are they right to be pleased about this? >> i don't know for them if it's as much personally about her or if it's about benghazi. all three of them did
immediately today make statements saying we will not stop the scrutiny on benghazi and what her withdrawal does is stop the scrutiny or the headlines of benghazi. >> there's a fear that she's basically fallen on her sword because there's going to have to be a resignation linked to benghazi at some stage. >> it certainly won't be her. but remember the foundation really started to crumble on this when the left stopped supporting susan rice. so as much as the three amigos were out in front, maureen dowd had critical, critical reviews of her, ezra klein, the environmentalist movement started having problems with her. >> that is true and i detected that. there was also a sense when she went up there to see the three amigos and others, she really emerged looking quite weakened as if she got into an obvious trap and been lassoed all over again. it just didn't look very smart politics by her.
>> well, no, i think she took one for the team. the problem is that the entire situation has become highly politicized. frankly giuliani saying she may not have been sharp enough is wholly unfair and i think it really is a tragedy, because she really, i would say, is the best woman for the job. she was a trusted adviser to the president and she has done more in terms of putting sanctions against iran, north korea in her capacity as ambassador. is truly a woman who understands 21st century diplomacy and national security. and what she did was go and read talking points given to her by the national security staff and did her job. had she gone in and asserted her
own opinions, her own -- it would have been seen as playing politics, which would have been out of place. >> okay. but margaret, whether she's the best person for the job i think is a fairly arguable point. i don't think she's been massively impressive in the last few months. she misled the public deliberately but not massively impressive. john kerry, i would say, is probably a better candidate, just from my dispassionate eye. >> he probably wouldn't have made the same mistake she made. i think senator clinton probably said it best when she actually made every indication that she favors john kerry for the position, not secretary rice. he is widely respected in washington, whether you like his -- he's been head of the foreign affairs committee for years and years and years so he probably does have more experience. not to knock susan rice's
experience certainly. i can't imagine that senator mccain will be thrilled with the foreign policy that john kerry runs any better than susan rice. it was the handling of this and the handling of the administration with benghazi that this became the symbol of. >> let's move to this rather difficult situation the president finds himself in with the top four cabinet positions could all be filled by men it now seems, no women at all. that's not great for a progressive president like barack obama, is it? >> yeah, no. i don't have a lot of good
things to say about that prospect. i think the thing is there is i deep enough bench of fabulous women that could fulfill these roles and we sure would like to see them hold those positions. susan rice, i think is not just the best woman for the job, i thought she was the best person for the job. in terms of john kerry being a safe choice, he's vanilla and vanilla is always a safe flavor, right?
but i would say absolutely it's something to think about in terms of i think it's good to have the right person for the job always. but i think it's worth checking out the prospects for sure. let's turn to the fiscal cliff, the frank meeting between president obama and john boehner. i believe they just called each other names for 50 minutes and walked out with no deal being done. but look at the footage from the ukraine parliament. just when you think washington is the worst in the world at doing things together, look at these clowns, this is quite amazing. this is the ukraine parliament erupting into open physical warfare. now, there is a view that a good old punch-up does tend to resolve these things. maybe john boehner and barack obama should just square off, get in a ring and slug each other out. >> this isn't the first time this thing happened. this happens all the time in the ukraine. >> or the british parliament. it's far more interesting and far more fun when you can throw a little humor and punches. maybe they need to get it out of their systems. >> but british you have rhetorical punches. >> on a vaguely serious point though, margaret hoover, let me ask margaret first and then you marjorie, are we going to get a deal done before christmas? all the hints i'm getting is yes, it's going to be a deal. >> i think we're going to get a deal and i think the question is e2%ilseth a he can take back to his faithful and say i've got something too. >> i'm going to start using
i don't believe in lots of inherited wealth. i haven't been spending my life trying to figure out how to transfer wealth and not have taxes and all of that so there can be a dynasty of all kinds of little buffets going around for hundreds of years never having to do anything. >> the richest man in america, warren buffett. with me is one of the kids, howard g. buffet, president of the howard
g. buffet foundation. welcome to you, sir. >> thank you very much. >> you are the middle child of warren buffett. what's it like, i spent -- i told you in the break i spent a great holiday once reading that biography about your father and got to know all of you vicariously through this book. it was absolutely riveting and compelling. what's it like to be warren buffett's son? >> well, first, i'm afraid you know more about me than i know, so that's my first concern. you know, i don't think of it as being warren buffett's son.
you know, we grew up, as many people know and some people don't believe, in a very modest environment. and i never -- we never really were even aware that my dad was really making money until probably towards the end of junior high and then into high school. and then you're a little older and you just take it as it comes. but i've never thought of it that
way. >> what i love are the little tiny bits of trivial detail about your relationship with him when you were younger. there's a great story that you tell about you asked your father if you could have a car. and in exchange he said, right, you can. but you can't have any birthday or christmas presents for some indeterminant period. how long was the period? >> three years. and i knew he was going to give me $5,000 and i thought i could get the car for $5,000 and i was
$2500 short. that was a lot of money. >> how did you feel? diddy ever nearly succumb to the pressure? >> oh, no, it was a deal. in our household a deal is a deal. >> was there a handshake or formal contract? >> no, the handshake was it. >> has your dad always been a handshake man? >> absolutely. he's made some of the biggest
deals any businessman has ever made on a handshake. >> and you the same? >> absolutely. i mean if you don't trust who you're doing a deal with, then you shouldn't be doing a deal. a contract doesn't make a bad guy do a good deal. so you've got to do it on a handshake. >> the other story i absolutely loved was as a kid you turned your back yard into a farm and that's become your great passion or love. your father later bought land for you and charged you rent, but this was the twist. he tied it to the amount of your body weight. the higher your weight, the higher the rent. did it work? this could be the greatest diet thing in history. >> it didn't work. and he would tell you it didn't work. you know, so we moved on to the next thing. >> what did work over the years? >> well, i think the things that have worked, i'm not sure exactly specifically what you're after. >> well, he must have imparted so much wisdom to you over the years. >> he has been an amazing mentor. i used to sit -- i'm not sure he even knows i did this. but i used to sit in a chair or on the couch or something in the same room. he's be on the phone negotiating something and i'd just listen to him. i'd only hear one side of the conversation, but that was enough to get a good idea of what he was doing of the and i mean it was an amazing experience. >> you have this foundation involved very much with hunger and charity work, you visited the congo with ben affleck. obviously a passion of yours. >> well, i just got back from eastern congo about four days ago, the second trip in five weeks. congo is an area where a lot of
people are getting the debate wrong. i will tell you, you've been talking all about susan rice and i don't know the politics of susan rice. she made a statement which is dead right, which is if it isn't them in 23, it will be them. since 1990 it has not moved and still has remained at the bottom of the u.n. index for poverty and human suffering. so -- and it ranks almost dead last and mo abrams index next to somalia. i was in somalia about five weeks ago. i tell you, i can understand that. so it's a tough place, it's a tough -- it's full of atrocities and human rights violations. and somehow we have to support
the government of drc to do a better job and to take eastern congo and turn it -- it has incredible mineral -- some of the estimates are $24 trillion of wealth to bring out in the future. it could be a very rich country. >> let's talk briefly the fiscal cliff. your father has been very vocal about taxes. he says come on, bring it to me, tax me more. obviously you'll be in the firing line because you're not a poor man, are you. are you happy your father is leading this call for you to get -- >> no, because i hear from all my republican friends who don't like it. you know, the fiscal cliff, you talk about it, it's like -- you know, it's the result of poor behavior. no one should be surprised. you know, on the other hand the world doesn't end tomorrow if we go off the cliff. coke sells coca-cola, burlington northern hauls freight. i will tell you, i think of the fiscal cliff a little differently. i put it -- i think it's relative to the world.
everybody in the eastern congo gets up and they're falling off the fiscal cliff every morning when they get out of bed trying to figure out if they can feed their child living on $1 a day or half a dollar a day. so i think it's all relative. and the world doesn't end. and i'm not even sure that going off the cliff isn't the slap in the face we need to say, folks, we need to do better. >> would you be happy to pay more tax? >> i don't think you have to pay more tax. i tell you what i think it amounts to. when my dad started talking about this i started paying
>> thanks for having us. >> yes. >> how difficult has it been for you, damien? >> it was incredibly difficult. you know, i really didn't even have an idea how difficult it was going to be. for the first at least three months that i was out, i was in a state of extreme shock and trauma. i couldn't do anything by myself or for myself. i needed someone with me constantly. i just -- it was like a complete and absolute shock to the system. >> what are the physical side effects that you still -- you're wearing dark glasses. clearly you still have sensitivity for your eyes, not having natural sunlight for years. >> yeah. >> what else? >> i've gained 60 pounds because i have adequate nutrition and decent exercise, things like that. i still have a lot of kidney issues because i was beaten pretty bad at one point. i also have a lot of dental issues, which thankfully i've been able to get fixed over the past year, a lot of nerve
damage, things like that. >> lori, what's it been like to have him in normal life and how do you think he's been coping? >> first of all, it's amazing to have him out here with us. but it's true, no one could foresee how he was going to cope. and so it was difficult. and i didn't understand how he was feeling and the anxiety and all of that that he was dealing with for at least six months. after that, it's just been a process. but it's -- there's no precedent. you know, there's no place, there's no guide book or anything to know what to do. >> what do you think have been the hardest things for damien to deal with? >> it's the little things, like going to the bank and filling out a deposit slip or going through security at the airport. it's the anxiety that i didn't understand is just huge for him. just the day-to-day life. >> it's quite an extraordinary story. i was gripped by it when i did the previous interview. this shocking miscarriage of justice for these men.
what was it that appealed to you from a documentary maker pointing of view? >> well, the story had so many twists and turns but at the end of the day there was a man on death row and two serving life sentences for something they didn't do. i think the most gripping thing was that they were convicted as if they perpetrated these satanic murders. once we discovered that snapping turtles actually caused the wounds that were being judged as knife wounds, this was a whole different murder case. >> let's take a look at a clip from the movie because it pertains exactly to what you just mentioned. >> if you ask me, the sing it greatest offense committed in this case is what was done by john with the knife and the leg. >> divers searched a small lake and that search produced a knife. >> to go out there in this big pond and to go right there and just less than 30 minutes and come up with this knife, i mean,
you win the lottery. >> win the lottery. of course the lottery turned out to be a shameful farce, didn't it? >> and what you didn't hear was actually that that knife was actually thrown in the lake a year before the murders even happened and it actually was used in the trial to convict these guys. so it was just such a tragedy in the making. >> and in relation to the wounds to these poor boys, and we'll come to the fact there's never been anyone really who actually did this brought to justice, the interesting thing about this documentary unravels is that these wounds were much more likely to have been caused by turtles than by a knife. >> absolutely. there was no depth to the wounds, they were scratch marks. but people were presented with the information as if they were stabbed to death. and there was no depth. there was no organ damage or anything. >> the documentary is very powerful. it talks of being the first crowd sourced investigation ever, and you worked with investigators and forensic teams to reveal false confessions, junk science and the
prosecutorial misconduct. >> well, because this was a closed case and they were convicted, everything became available on the public record and people were fascinated with this story for all different reasons and started going down to the west memphis police department and taking pictures of evidence and then the internet began to get -- to become what it is today. and so people were like -- if they were trying the case online basically. and it just became this massive call to action. >> let's take a short break. i want to come back and talk about this fact. 53 executions since the day you were released. what do you think about that, given that you would have been one of them? [ singing christmas carols in background ]
echols to death row. they were released last year i'm back with damien, his wife and the director amy berg. the documentary, you can't watch that without shaking your head really about the life that happened for you for nearly two decades. it's a completely wasted life until the stage of where you are now. really shocking. the other shocking thing, of course, you could have been executed by now. >> right. >> 53 people have been executed since you were released. 11 in 2011. 42 this year. when you hear that, given your knowledge and experience, of death row, given what we now know about dna with and the way it's been exonerating many people on death row, what do you think of it? >> it's absolutely nightmarish.
you know, there's a lot of cases out there that don't have dna that the people could very well be innocent and even if they're not, you know, media sort of portrays this image to society that death row is full of, you know, criminal genius hannibal lecter type and they are not. they say they don't execute the mentally insane or mentally handicap and they do. >> how many people did you encounter on death row that you basically believe may have been innocent? >> i would say in the time ways there probably three others. one was executed, probably will be executed in the upcoming year. one has a slight chance of getting out due to the fact that there has been a little media interest in his case. >> what dna evidence had it been around when you were arrested, have cleared you from the start? >> i don't know. because they wanted to convict us so badly. we had other things like alibis, people that could testify to
where we were at the time and can plainly prove that we weren't at the crime scene. they seen have jesse mescelli signing a log book and photos about him. so technically it is possible that they could have showed them the dna and they were so enraged at the time that they would have convicted us anyway. >> have you tattoos that you didn't have last time. what do me mean? >> it helps me deal. it is very psychologically and emotionally soothing to me. it is also like putting on a suit of armor. like it gives you some sort of level of -- like a buffer zone between you and the rest of the world. >> what are the ones on your knuckles? >> these are ruins. usually when i get tattoos i get something meaningful to me. like i said, it is a suit of armor so i look to put on a suit of armor made out of things i love. like winter, snow, arch angel michael. something that means something to me personally.
>> do you stay in touch with jason and jesse? >> jason and i, i hate more than anything talking on the phone. but we will text. jesse, from what i heard, doesn't have much contact with anyone. he only had a 68 iq to begin with and then you dump on this. they made sure he won't live anything remotely resembling a normal life. and he is a shut-in. >> it is a heart breaking story, as well as shocking story. these are three lived virtually ruins and maybe in jesse's case, completely ruined. >> i fell like west of memphis is a beautiful love story and i feel like we had beautiful exclusive access to the inside story of the investigation and the love story and i feel like, that's the happy ending that people are looking for in this story. is to see how it actually happened that they all came out.
>> this is the worst thing about what you've been through, is there will be a lot of people still say, well, there's no smoke without fire. they haven't caught the real killer. this is the terrible stigma you carry with you. >> it is. and it will hang over our heads. i hate talking about this. having to talk about the case day after day. it is absolutely miserable to me. i always tell people, imagine having to talk about the worst thing that ever happened to you over and over and over. but at the same time, if we don't keep doing it, we will have that stigma hanging over our heads. we have to keep letting the state of arkansas know we're not going anywhere until you do the right thing. >> how important to you and powerful to you has it been to have lori's unequivocal backing and support to you. >> i couldn't have survived in prison and out of prison without her. when i con take another step when i felt like i couldn't go on, it was her. she is what would carry me forward, mentally, emotionally, spiritually until i could walk again. >> it is good to see you again.
>> thank you. >> i wish you the very best, all of you, with the documentary. it is a very powerful film. i urge people to see it. they still have no real idea what this is all about, and to understand just how far you've come and what you've had to go through. it is called "west of memphis" coming out december. the cd comes out in january. your book is out now. >> thank you. ñ?
tomorrow night, one of my favorite interviews since i joined cnn nearly two years ago, a conversation with barbra streisand, an hour with one of the greatest entertainers in history. she is a true icon and she talks with remarkable candor about her public and private life. her relationships with many people, including marlon brando. here is a preview. >> we once went on a short road trip together. >> you and marlon brando? >> mm-hm. >> this is fantastic. where did you go? >> he wanted to take me to the desert to see the wild flowers. >> i'll bet he did. >> and sleep over in a ghost town, he said.