tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN September 19, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PDT
tonight, political firestorm. >> there are 47% who are with him, who depend upon government, who believe they are victims. >> is mitt romney's latest gaffe a turning point in this whole election? senate majority whip dick durbin says yes. donald trump, you will be unsurprised to hear, argues no. what they have to say tonight. welcome back. two of america's favorites get down and dirty and political. >> i'm not going to tell you who i'm going to vote for, but -- >> the middle east. >> the foundation of our faith is based out of israel. >> and if this country is ready for a mormon president. >> we're not electing a pastor of the nation.
we're electing a leader and who can best lead. >> returning, the only guest who ever bothers to pray for me. >> i say he's the nicest guy. >> joel and victoria osteen. and wyclef jean on romney's 47% comment. >> the government still plays a crucial part of what we do. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. our big story tonight, mitt romney's meltdown. the storm over the candidate's remarks recorded at a private fund-raising event in may shows no sign of bwing over. >> these are people who pay no income tax. 47% of americans pay no income tax so our message of low taxes doesn't connect. they'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. that's what they celebrate every four years. so my job is not to worry about those people. i'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
>> the white house has responded with full barrels. listen to what the president told david letterman tonight. >> one of the things i've learned as president is you represent the entire country. >> just how bad is all this for mitt romney? is it really good for the president? joining me is senate majority whip, dick durbin. thank you for joining me. are you guys rubbing your hands with glee? do you think it's a game-changing moment in this election battle? >> it's certainly an insight into the mind of mitt romney. this was a moment when he was speaking to his closest friends and supporters and he really writes off almost half of america as people without personal responsibility, who view themselves as victims. it wasn't too much of a surprise, really. he was the one who said corporations are persons and the gaffes along the way really kind of lean to a lifestyle that most middle income americans just would never appreciate or certainly wouldn't understand. so i think it's further insight into romney and his values.
>> he is trying to sort of spin this as well, it's just an illustration albeit clumsily phrased of the message we are trying to ram home. listen to what he told fox news earlier. >> this is a message i'm carrying day in and day out and will carry over the coming months, which is this is a decision about the course of america, and where we're going to head, and we've seen the president's policies play out over the last four years. >> if that had been his only reaction, then perhaps he may have got a bit of escape route out of this but last night looked like he was panicking, he raced to the cameras, he looked a little bit beleaguered when he did that. clearly, judging by the way the polls are moving, and the general mood about mitt romney, he's in trouble now, isn't he? >> well, certainly he's lking himself into trouble. last night, remember what he said, that was inelegant, the way i expressed it. well, i would have said well, you had some time to think about it, add your fair share of elegance to your statement, and
tell us what you really meant. i'm afraid what we're hearing from him is basically he thinks people, working families that send their kids off to college with a government loan are somehow victims, have a mindset that they're victims or those that are drawing medicare after paying into it for a lifetime don't have personal responsibility? i mean, that doesn't sound to me like a good understanding of what the struggle is in america for so many working families who are doing their best to take care of their kids and plan for their future. >> we also saw after the appalling events in libya a few days ago, a kind of spontaneous and perhaps very ill-advised spontaneous reaction from mitt romney by sort of common agreement that he jumped in very quickly to attack the president at a time when it may have been more prudent to have just backed off, waited for the facts and supported the president and the country through that period. what of that and his comments in
the video about the palestinians where he kind of lays the blame at their feet completely, it seems, against israel? what do you think about his hand on the foreign policy tiller? >> well, he's certainly been bumbling when it comes to domestic policy and way beyond his element and comfort level when it comes to foreign policy. i mean, how can you visit england, our trusted ally, and say something that was so outrageous that it turns the british people against him and the comments he made about the olympics. it was just a ham-handed approach to something that should have been a very easy assignment for even a presidential candidate. >> i think the problem with that was, i was in england at the time and of course, everyone in england was saying exactly the same thing as mitt romney. it's just a bit like going to somebody's house and saying you don't like their curtains. it's not for him to say. for now, thank you very much. >> good to be with you. now we go to one of mitt romney's strongest advocates and outspoken voice in the
republican party. donald trump joins me on the phone. how are you? >> hello, piers. >> your man's in a little trouble. he's dug himself a monumental hole. >> no, i don't think so at all. i think people like to say that. i don't think so at all. it's a debate that has to be had. i guess he brought it out into the open but i don't think so at all and i don't think he should be apologizing for anything. and they should just continue on with the polls, they're showing very close. it will be a tight race no matter how you look at it but it's a point of view and it's probably something that they have to have out at some point. >> are the media making too much of this, do you think? >> yes, absolutely. they make a big deal out of it and frankly, he's been saying similar things on the campaign stump. he's been going out and he's been discussing this. this is something that has to be discussed, and as you know, there are tremendous numbers of people, whether it's 47% or close to 50%, that don't pay taxes and don't pay income taxes, and probably lots of other taxes, so this is really a
discussion and a debate and it has to go forward. and let's see how it ends . >> one of the problems, it seems to me, if you actually analyze the 47% who supposedly don't pay tax in the way that he put it, many of them reside in states that are supportive to mitt romney, so it's a real shoot yourself in the foot moment, isn't it? >> i don't think so. i think it's really something and a point that is going to be discussed over the next 50 days, and there are two sides to it, and it's come out and a lot of people wanted it to come out, because they really feel that it's a very, very vital thing. it has to be discussed. >> you have always been somebody who calls a spade a spade, and i'm sure that you have been talking to mitt romney. he's clearly having a rocky time in this campaign. everyone can see that. what advice do you give him to get things back on track? do you want to see him go harder at barack obama? >> well, i have to think that it's been a pretty rough period because everything he says, they
attack him and i think he's going to have to get very tough and frankly, he's got to fight fire with fire. they're blaming him for egypt, okay? this is a beauty. they blamed him the other day for egypt. now, egypt's blowing up with a horrible foreign policy that we had, and they actually put the blame on mitt romney. i said what did he have to do with egypt? it really is, it's a nasty campaign and honestly, mitt is going to have to be both very smart, which he is, and very nasty, which frankly, he's not. and he's got to get that way because they are coming at him with all barrels loaded and he's going to have to get that way and very quickly, in my opinion. when i see what happened with, as an example, the memo or the statement he made having to do with libya, and having to do with other things, having to do with egypt, and he's getting blamed for all this, it's incredible. he has nothing to do with it. >> part of his problem, donald, it seems, is he seems to have this inability to talk in a way
that people find relatable to the common man and woman in america. i don't know if it's appropriate for you to get into this because you are a very rich guy, much richer than mitt romney but you always had the ability to communicate with the poorer man on the streets. i have been around you and they all seem to relate to you. how can he work on that? how can he improve the way he relates to people? >> you know, as you know better than anyone, i just want to congratulate you because i'm just hearing great things about your show and how well you're doing and i'm very proud of you, because of your success on the "apprentice." every time i watch i'm proud of you. but i have to say that you are born a certain way. he's a gentleman, he's a very smart guy. i think he can be a very tough guy and i think he's somebody that will make a great president. that doesn't mean he's going to be a great campaigner, but he will be a great president. there are very, very different abilities and i really think ultimately, people will see
through all of this, but he's being blamed for things that he has nothing to do with, and he frankly, you know, the statement that he made, the recent statement that's causing all this fuss, it's being built up, built up by the media, built up by the obama folks, and i don't blame them for doing it. i blame the media but i don't blame the obama folks if they can get away with it for doing exactly what they're doing. but i really think that mitt can handle pressure well. that was proven to me during the debates, if you remember, in florida. he went into florida having to win the debates, having to win florida. he was in trouble. he won both debates easily and he did a fantastic job. i actually told him it was the best political week of his life. he did a fantastic job. he won florida and then he took it from there. he's very good under pressure. i think that the debates and especially the first debate will be vital to both sides.
you know, don't forget, you're talking about mitt. the fact is most of the polls have him just about even right now and in some cases, they have mitt up and in some cases, they have the president up, but it's a very, very close race. and i have a feeling he's going to react very well under pressure, as he did in florida, piers. >> have you spoken to him since this whole secret video story blew up? >> i have. >> how was he? >> i think he's fine. it's a debate that is going to be had and it's a debate that should be had, and people are going to be talking about it and i think that's a good thing, not a bad thing. >> do you still believe fundamentally that mitt romney can win this eleion, donald? >> well, absolutely. look at the polls. they're showing even. he's up in north carolina. he's about even or maybe even winning in florida. he's slightly down in ohio. absolutely i think he can, and i think the other side believes he can and frankly, a lot's going to happen over the next 50 days. don't forget, he saved his money
and they're going to do a massive campaign, whereas president obama has spent much of his money already, but they have been very i think wisely, now, time will tell, i'll tell you in about 51 days, but they have been i think very wisely save their money and now you're going to have a blitz. let's see how that works. let's see how it comes out but they have a tremendous amount of money which they haven't spent, the other sideas spent a lot of its money. >> do you think that it's fair that super pacs can spend tens of millions of dollars and therefore, the one with the most money can, if they're smart, effectively buy an election? >> well, number one, i don't think you can buy the election. but it doesn't matter what i think. the supreme court said it was fine. so you have people on the supreme court, they voted in favor of that, so you know, it's irrelevant what i think. but the court certainly said it was fine.
>> from your conversation with mitt romney, he's a bit battered but not beaten? >> oh, no. just the opposite. i think he's really ready now to start going, and i think you're going to see somebody, remember what i said. some people, and i have known many, many people. you happen to be one of them. you reacted very well under pressure and i got to know you very much under pressure. some people react very well under pressure. most people don't. mitt romney reacted very, very well under pressure and that was during, in particular, florida, he had to win that state. otherwise it was over. not only did he win the debates and newt is very tough and very good as a debater, and he won the debates and he won florida. that was under great stress, under great pressure. so let's see how he does. i think you'll be very surprised. >> donald trump, thank you for joining me. >> thank you very much, piers. >> donald trump not the only one fired up about this. when we come back, political all-stars go toe-to-toe. i predict this will get lively. ♪
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one of the things i've learned as president is you represent the entire country. >> president obama talking to david letterman tonight, two very articulate people on opposite sides of this debate. "new york times" columnist david groh. on the face of it, this is a monumental gaffe by mitt romney because whichever way you try to spin it, it's basically calling half of america a bunch of scrounging victims. >> romney must have honey on his toes because he can't keep his foot out of his mouth. there is no way for mitt romney to walk back what he has said. he has basically said, there are a couple words that stand out. victim, right? when you talk about casual observers, these are not people who read the "new york times" and "washington post" every day. they will glance by news and see
snippets on television. these things stand out, calling 47% of americans victims who are dependent on government. also saying, and this is think is a pivotal part of that clip, is it is not my job to worry about these people. >> michael gerson, it's very, very hard to defend this, isn't it? if you're in the romney camp, it comes off the back of another couple major gaffes by common consensus major gaffes, including the libyan, way he behaved over that attack. when you are in that camp now, what do you do? how do you get him out of this hole? >> well, there are only a couple of responses in a case like this, because it's hard to disagree with that analysis of this quote. you say what i really meant to say was and that's what he's done. i really meant to say government's too large and will bankrupt the country and try to get it back to a more sustainable ideological argument until the press moves on to the
next thing, or you can say i was wrong, at least in part, which maybe is what he should say here. the government is too large but the reality here is that most people want to improve their own lives and i'm going to appeal to everyone and i made a mistake. i don't think politicians do that enough. >> there's a new "wall street journal" poll tonight and nbc news combined with them gives the president his highest job approval rating since march at 50%. it also shows mr. romney among likely voters, 50% to 45% so 5% clear lead with just two weeks before the campaign hits a major landmark with the first debate. if you're mitt romney, you are in big trouble now. there's no way of saying you're not. you're in big trouble. what is he going to do? >> what does he have to do? >> i know you don't want him to do it. what does he have to do
politically? >> well, i kind of agree with the idea that you do have to say go closer to an apology if not outright apologize. but even if you do that, there's a problem with that because the whole statement rests on the idea that obama has a base that is near half of the electorate so if he starts to back away and say i didn't mean the whole 47%, i meant like 20%, i meant 30%, then the whole argument falls apart so then you did mean to say exactly what you said. you were basically saying that there is a part of the electorate that is almost at a winning percentage that will vote for this president regardless because they feel they are victims and they are parasitic and that is a problem, i don't know how you fix this. evertime i see him on television, the first press conference and interviews on fox news, neither one of those things -- it's almost better to just say nothing if he was going to do what he did. >> isn't the real problem for mitt romney is this lends succor to the argument that he is
two-faced when it comes to principles and his political views? >> i think the worst kind of gaffes are the ones that confirm a stereotype. that was true of obama, with the they cling to guns and religion, he was seen as an elitist. i think it was true of george w. bush when the old dui came out where he seemed irresponsible. sometimes these aren't always fatal but they contribute to an image and it's a bad one. i think the best way for romney to combat that going forward is to actually have some policy to say about the mobility and advancement for the aspiring poor, to prove that you actually care about everyone by proposing policies that appeal to unexpected groups. the campaign hasn't done very much of that. they said they were going to make a pivot to be more policy oriented. i think that's one way to help get beyond that is to prove you care about the whole country by proposing some policy that appeals to the whole country. >> charles blow, the problem it
seems to me, he believed the economy was his strong point and what barack obama has quite skillfully done i think with his team is attack him on his strong point, trying to portray bain as a murderous rampaging capitalist beast chucking people on the sword and now you have this situation. i will play a new obama ad which basically sums up how he will attack him. it's very, very damaging. watch this. >> so my job is not to worry about those people. i will never convince them. >> wow. >> i actually felt sick to my stomach. >> i don't like it. >> it shows that he's out of touch, that if he thinks half of the country is feeling like victims. >> victims, i wouldn't say so. i don't think that's part of the american fabric. >> we touched a little earlier on the victim thing. also, he had these other remarks about the palestinians and how
they were basically going to be a block to any kind of peace over there. he's touched on the foreign policy aspect as we have seen with the libya gaffe and now this, it's pretty unsteady as it is and now in his own backyard of the economy, he suddenly looks vulnerable. >> well, the latest rounds of polls have basically said -- shown that obama is eating away at his edge on the economy which is bad news for him. i don't think it's necessarily right to cast it as the obama campaign making bain out to be villainous. there were parts of what bain did that were not helpful to people who were actually everyday workers. this is a fact. >> there's also a fact that many of the things bain did were successful turn-around of companies. >> right. it depends on what you call success. if it is making money for the investors of bain, yes, incredibly successful. if as mitt has basically made his campaign out to be, i am a job creator, i know how to create jobs, well, that is a very much more mixed picture and the obama campaign is pointing that out. they are not making those facts
up. that is a very real thing. the other part of the economic issue is that mitt romney has taken advantage of a lot of tax loopholes that we know of and he won't release the other information we don't, about back taxes. he won't release those so we don't even know if mitt romney might be one of the people who didn't pay taxes that he's now slamming as part of the 47%. that's the problem for mitt romney. mitt romney made this problem. the obama campaign is basically just taking advantage of it. >> michaelerson, final word for you. obviously they are going to be in the bunker tonight thinking oh, my god, how do we get out of this, but there are ways to get out of it and we don't know quite what their strategy will be. do you think as things stand, that mitt romney can still win this election? >> oh, i think so. i think the president consistently at 50% or below in approval rating is a danger sign. presidents generally need to be in the very high 40s or low 50s in order to be re-elected. george bush was an exception in
2004, he was at 48% at his re-election. it's still a very tight race. you have 50 days. the problem is, this is a time when they need traction, when in fact they have a distraction. so i think this is wasting time. it's not only adding to a destructive stereotype, it's actually allowing them or not allowing them to gain some traction at a time that's really essential. >> michael gerson, charles blow, thank you both very much. coming up, politics and prayer. how does faith factor into the race for president? i'll ask two of america's best-known pastors, joel and victoria osteen. [ male announcer ] if you stash tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air.
i declare every person under the sound of my voice is blessed. >> joel osteen in miami in 2010. here's his wife victoria speaking the language of millions of americans when it comes to matters of faith but how about politics? they are pastors of lakewood church in houston and the new book is "i declare, 31 promises to speak over your life." joining me exclusively, joel and victoria osteen.
welcome back. i feel like we're old friends now. >> i know. good to see you again. >> the worse i treat you, the more you come back for more. i like that. >> everybody thinks you're mean. i say he's the nicest guy. >> don't ruin my reputation. i know what you'll say to my first question. you'll say look, i never get involved in politics, it's your pat answer. but given the evangelical vote is so important to both barack obama and mitt romney, what do you say to your flock when they come and see you and say look, joel, i can't work out who to vote for, what do you say to them? >> well, piers, i just go back to a central theme of encouraging everybody to vote, to search their own heart, because it's interesting, good people of faith can read the scripture and interpret it differently. i have democrats and republicans in our church that love the lord, you know, that couldn't be any better people but they just, you know, different issues speak to them. >> the president, though, is a conventional christian. mitt romney is a mormon.
and there are fundamental differences. the holy trinity definition in both is very, very different. the mormons believe there are the father, son and holy spirit. obviously the christian faith believes they're all the same thing. how do you deal with that? surely your natural leaning would be towards the guy that believes the same that you do. >> i think you're right in that instance. i think also, though, you look at the whole totality of the person and not just their faith, although their faith is important because it tells me their values and their characters, but i think as practical americans and as practical followers of christ, you look at their business experience and other areas as well. i like that saying that we're not just -- we're not electing a pastor of the nation, we're electing a leader and who can best lead. >> victoria, who do you prefer more? who is more charismatic to you? >> i think they're both amazing men. that's just going to have -- to
people who are undecided, i would say to them watch the debates, learn as much as you can, and then vote. and i would definitely say vote, because everyone needs to vote. that's what makes this country a great country. i will definitely be voting. >> are you undecided? >> am i undecided? no. >> you have decided? >> well, i'm going to really enjoy watching the debates because i think -- >> what a couple of politicians. come on, joel. it's obvious he's a republican. what are you? >> i give you the same speech. we're trying to reach the whole group. to come on here and say we're democrat or republican, 50% of the people will say -- >> let me pin you down about leadership, because you alluded to business leadership. mitt romney clearly has a standout record of being a very successful businessman. but with that came allegations he was too ruthless, too hard, that bain capital in particular broke up companies, they tossed people on the woodpile, if you
like. what do you think of his record as a businessman? are you concerned about that? >> well, you know what, i just see the ads and what i read, i think a lot of what we see on both candidates, not just him, are tainted, are inflated. i think when i look at president obama and mitt romney, they are hard working, good people that, you know, i don't fault mitt romney for his success. >> do you think it's wrong in modern day america that someone like mitt romney who has made hundreds of millions of dollars and probably not quite as much as you have, joel, but he's done okay for himself, that he gets lambasted for his success, for making that money, that somehow it's become a bad thing to be rich and successful in america? >> i do. i don't think we should look down on people that are successful. i don't think that's healthy. you know, i see somebody like mitt romney helping others and things so i, you know, the goal is not going to happen but it's for everybody to be successful and everybody to be blessed and
healthy, not just with money but i don't think we ought to look down on somebody that's been successful. i want somebody successful running the country. president obama went to harvard and doing pretty well. you see mitt romney as well. >> i have interviewed him a few times now. he seems a perfectly nice, kind, well-intentioned guy. i think on the principle front, a little bit flip-floppy. you're not quite sure what he really stands for. but the real problem comes with what he says when he doesn't think the cameras are on him. we saw this yesterday with this video that came out, when he was pretty harsh. 47% of americans, half the country, are victims, living off the state, not paying tax, and completely disingenuous. most of those people do pay payroll tax or they are the elderly or veterans. it was a very clumsy thing to have done. you must feel offended when you hear him say something like that, don't you? >> here i go again, but i'm for mercy, i'm for seeing the best in people.
>> being merciful towards mitt romney? >> in a presidential election, every sentence is scrutinized. they were knocking president obama the other day for the "you didn't build it" or whatever it is. that's not the heart of what they meant. you know, i probably have way too much mercy than some people but i just, i look at him and say it's admirable that they're trying to win this election and do good for our country because that's not an easy job. that's getting raked over the coals every day. >> we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] if you believe the mayan calendar, on december 21st polar shifts will reverse the earth's gravitational pull and hurtle us all into space. which would render retirement planning unnecessary. but say the sun rises on december 22nd, and you still need to retire. td ameritrade's investment consultants can help you build a plan that fits your life. we'll even throw in up to $600 when you open a new account or roll over an old 401(k).
heavenly father, we thank you for this time with mr. president. lord, we just ask for your peace, for this nation, for your strength, for your wisdom, for the leaders. >> joel osteen with israeli president shimon peres. certainly as i went back to london all i could see was your grinning mug everywhere with copies of your book everywhere. how many have you done? >> this is my fourth major book. >> how many tens of millions of copies have you sold? >> i don't know. i sold a lot, though.
>> you're not denying tens of millions, i noticed. >> i don't know about that. >> the first sold ten million. >> it did. it did. but you know, i write the books to hopefully help people and people get inspired behind them. there's a lot of things pushing people down so our ministry is about lifting people up, saying hey, don't get bitter, don't get discouraged, you know, stay in faith, stay positive. people are drawn to that because there is a lot of negativity. >> you do have this effect on me. every time i interview you, i go away and i feel happier. i feel better about myself although i feel deeply resentful you're selling more books than i did. what i wonder, when you do a book called "i declare" which is a smart premise, sort of a statement for every day of the month, and it's very positive driven, very get up and be glass half full, not glass half empty, but people will say it's a lot easier for you, mate, you're selling tens of millions of books, you're making hundreds of millions of dollars, you are married to this beautiful woman. life's pretty damn good for joel osteen.
what about if i've lost my job, my house, my car, i can't feed my kids, as tens of millions of americans right now are going through that. what do you say about that? how do you convince them to take your lead? >> well, i think the big part of the ministry is that you know, we faced difficulties, too, but our hearts go out to people. americans are hurting, people all over the world. the important thing is if you get up in the morning, saying life is lousy, there's nothing good in my future, i don't want to go to work, i don't feel well, you will negativeity. it's hard, i'm not saying it's easy, especially when things are coming against you. you got to find something to be grateful for. >> when i saw the video there, it was pretty controversial because this is a very sensitive ing out there, isn't it, mitt romney himself got into more trouble when more of that video came out. it was basically him saying he doesn't think there can be peace and pretty well blaming the palestinians.
you obviously interviewed peres. did you get flack from the palestinians? did you worry about dipping your toe into a very hot political situation? >> you know, i didn't, because piers, the foundation of our faith is based out of israel and the scripture tells us to pray for peace in jerusalem. i went over certainly not as a political leader but as a friend to the people. we don't shun somebody, the palestinian people or anybody else, but just happened to be there holding an event there so i felt very honored to pray with him. >> we got a picture of joel on a beach which we thought we would show victoria. there we are. pretty damn impressive. is he into this p-90x thing? >> let's see. >> the paul ryan -- >> it's just all natural. >> really? >> he works out. >> i work out. >> every day? >> no, i don't work out every day. i like to work out. i grew up playing sports.
i like to run, lift weights, play sports. it's natural to me. >> not bad. another reason to hate you. >> well. >> if you weren't such a nice bloke, it would be easy to hate you. >> thank you. >> when people go to vote now in november, what is the key message? if you had barack obama and mitt romney here, you wanted them to declare things, what do you want them to declare truthfully to the electorate to make a decision about them? >> well, i don't know if i can give them advice. the book is about declaring, declare god's faithfulness in my life, declare god's wisdom in my life, declare that i have favor from god to make the right decision. >> those are great things for them to declare. >> sure. but when you see them taking out ads, for example, which are deliberately negative, often flagrantly untrue, just really unpleasant, nasty attack ads, do you think that should stop in this country? you think it's just poison? >> i would love for it to but it seems as long as i can remember, it's always happened and from what i hear, the negative seems
to work. it's a shame -- >> would you like it to stop? >> i would love it to stop. i would love it to stay on a higher level. i don't know if that's practical but i think it would be great if it would. i think things are taken out of context and you know, amplified and it's not necessarily like you said the full truth. >> it's been a pleasure to see you both again. unfortunately, i have to declare this interview over. i'm sure we will meet again very soon with the next book or whatever it may be. "31 promises to speak over your life." i will read this tonight, i know i will feel better tomorrow so tomorrow night's interviews will be a lot happier all around than today's have been. lovely to see you. coming up, a pop star who has a lot to say about politics. wyclef jean had his own presidential ambitions. i will ask him what he thinks about the race between mitt romney and president obama. but today...( sfx: loud noise of large metal object hitting the ground) things have been a little strange. (sfx: sound of piano smashing)
plenty of hip-hop stars are opinionated when it comes to politics but not very many have attempt tod run for office themselves like wyclef jean. he rose from poverty and became a huge star with the fugees while developing a passion for politics. his new book details his struggles and successes and he joins me now for his first prime time interview.
welcome. good to see you. >> good to see you too. >> here is the deal. you can either be involved in music or politics for the rest of your life, you can't do both, what would you choose? >> i would choose if i was in my 20s, i would say music. being in my 40s, i would definitely say politics. >> why are you so enthused by it? >> politics came from my uncle, ray joseph, the haiti ambassador to america, so politics has always been an undertone in the household. >> you're a surprising character. you voted for obama and down to perform the rnc convention this year, and you pulled out. what's that all about? >> the first thing is is i did not agree to perform at the rnc. willie nelson pulled out. you know what i'm saying? willie, you're my man, but that's who pulled out. what came across, the e-mail of my management, was something
that said, a performance for veterans, and disabled, which i perform for vets. i had people that was in the military. once the e-mail went down, and it was like, rnc, i was like, you all know i can't do that. now, i'm not doing it because i have -- tend of the day, i have friends that are republican. you know, they are just going to vote for obama this time around. you know what i mean? >> yeah yeah. a lot of republican friends feel obama is the way to go. >> have you ever been republican, or always resolutely a democrat? >> coming from haiti, landing in the projects in brooklyn, going from welfare to public school, me and my brother, he goes to eastern nazarean college, and he goes to boston university.
automatically, all my life, i would naturally be democrat. >> jean. that's the french jean. >> it's actually jean, but what happened is my dad actually named me after the englishmen, so partially right and wrong. so he named me after wycleaf jean. >> but you are actually wycleaf jean. >> in texas, though, wycleaf jean. >> how do you think obama is doing? he has 49 days left to save the world and get re-elected. >> if i'm being critical, where we're at right now with the first term, he didn't get a bipartisan front, and what i mean by that, a lot of things he was trying to go for, congress was not allowing him to go
through. and i think when it comes to his re-election, i think he's doing great, and i think -- i don't really think. i believe that he will be the next president. >> when you hear mitt romney as you did yesterday in the secret tape emerged, talking about being half of america being victims, living off the state, not paying taxes, a very smeary condemning kind of rhetoric he used, how did you feel about that? >> i felt offended. offended in the sense i told you my story, coming from a background where we was in poverty and got a chance to make it in the american dream. i think that's the story. at the same time, i want to be clear, i have super, super rich friends that were always rich. but at the same time, they don't look down at us as if we're nothing, and the idea is people are people, and i think the government still plays a crucial part of what we do.
>> what does it come down to you, this election? what do you think those still trying to make their minds up should really focus on? >> if you follow wycleaf jean on twitter, which i have over 1 million, probably more than that. i think we need a president who has a cool head, not a president that reacts off emotion or anger. if you look at what's going on outside of america, with the rest of the world, you have to have somebody that comes in and understand that. the second part of it is, of course, i think the economy is crucial. we have to put people back to work. and i think with obama's second term, i think that he'll realize that. >> well, it's been a real pleasure the book is a fascinating read "purpose." come back and see us again. >> thank you, sir. >> a man who gives new meaning
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tonight, "only in america," as good as gold. cast your mind a few months, ages in political terms. remember when ron paul was on the campaign trail, logging his country back to the gold standard. >> i wish we would could get back to the sound currency and get back to the gold standard. >> one american took ron paul very, very seriously. meet walter somasco jr. the 69-year-old nevada man who was a reclus who hadn't worked in more than 40 years and had only $200 in his checking account. he had $7 million -- you heard me -- $7 million worth of gold coins in his garage. >> i never seen that much gold in my life. >> the amount of it wa