tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN May 4, 2012 12:00am-1:00am EDT
tonight, he tells all. >> the moneyed interests are taking over the country. >> he's been called the mouth from the south. >> i lost my fortune, most of it. you can get by on a million or two. >> he even rewrote his own version of the ten commandments. and his ex-wife says this about him. >> i'm so proud of him. >> that's a rare interview with george w. bush. >> i want to stay connected to the veteran community. this is a rare interview for me. >> remarkable mission of wounded warriors and keeping america great. this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. two big interviews. the first with ted turner, but also a very outspoken man. plus a rare interview with george w. bush.
keeping america great as a former president. he talks about the causes closest to his heart. >> after 9/11, millions volunteered. they said i want to serve my country. and i don't view it as anything personal. i view it as we were all serving together. we were part of a great cause. because of securing our country and the cause of liberty. >> that interview coming later. but first, someone who i think literally needs no introduction. he's the man who created cnn. the reason i'm here and others are here working here, ted turner. welcome back. >> it's good to be here. >> how does it feel to be back? >> good. >> does it? >> yeah. >> are you still proud of cnn? >> absolutely. >> did you still watch cnn? >> you bet. >> do you like what you see? >> i like most of what i see.
>> you always said the news should be the star. >> well, that was the philosophy that we started with. but it really was the only place open for us because all the other news networks cbs, nbc, and abc, they emphasize their stars and we didn't have any stars. we were lucky to have employees. >> if you had the competition that's around now in cable when you first started, in other words if there had been a fox news with right-wing anchors and nbc had rachel maddow and the others, would you do anything differently? >> i would have to give it a lot of thought. i value my time greatly. i'm working on nuclear weapons trying to get rid of them and working on the climate and clean energy and stabilize the
population before the world is so overcrowded we can't turn around. i'm working on things of where i can make a difference now. i don't have any input on a regular basis here. >> do you think cnn should become -- you're the guy that started this whole business. it's an amazing innovation at the time. others began to do similar versions. do you think cnn should remain the impartial observer of news? >> yes. and cover the substantial news. that doesn't mean you don't cover hollywood and don't cover kidnappings and the sensational two. but the emphasis should be on hard news. i wanted cnn to be "the new york times" of the news business.
not the daily news. i wanted it to be "the new york times." i thought for the long-term, that would be the best position to be in. even if the ratings weren't the greatest, if you had the most prestige and you were the network that everybody turned to in times of a crisis, that that was the most important position in this business. >> that is still true. there's no question. i've been here 17 months now. when there's a big story, when i first got here, there was an avalanche of huge stories. when that happens, it's gratifying that the cnn ratings sore. the issue is what happens when there's a lengthy period of not much news? >> the world is a big place. and i'm out of the country a good bit traveling internationally. and i watch cnn international all over the world. i probably see it as much or more than cnn domestic.
and i think they are doing an excellent job. their programming for the world, and i can understand the difficulty programming for the u.s. audience here, it's a real challenge to do. >> let's talk about some news. what do you make of america right now today? what do you think of your country? >> i think it's terrible that politics have gotten so money oriented with the supreme court ruling that corporations can give unlimited amounts. that the moneyed interests are taking over the country. and there's too much disagreement and argument between the parties. i believe in pulling together to make the country better rather than tearing it apart. the country comes first.
>> you're a guy who historically when you have had a rival, you haven't hesitated to give them a verbal whack or two. >> only if it was deserved. >> what do you think of president obama? how is he doing? >> i like him. i like him. he's had an extremely difficult job. i think he's done amazingly well. he's got his spirits up. he never gets discouraged which is really important in a leader. a leader that's leading us in time of great difficulty. >> if you were advising him, and he could do a lot worse than ask you right now, what would you tell him to be more forceful about? where is he not being strong enough? >> i would have liked him to see him -- his positions are good on the environment, but he put health care ahead of the energy bill.
if he put the energy bill first when he was first elected, it would have gone through without the kind of animosity that the health care bill has. but that was a mistake. but it was good to get the health care bill through. i supported that as well as the energy bill. >> when you see american troops coming out of iraq and now coming out of afghanistan, a set timetable has been laid down by the president, i assume you're pleased with that. >> i was against the wars before they started. i have studied history a lot. and wars are not a good way to get things done. they have been a disaster for us. it cost us, you know, iraq a trillion dollars a year. not a trillion dollars, but a trillion over the period. afghanistan, a trillion.
it's just crazy. >> when you look at the way afghanistan has gone, many say it's become a counter terrorist operation. is that really what america should have done rather than going in with men on the ground? actually say we're going to tackle the terrorists through intelligence, through special forces and so on? >> i think war should be avoided at all costs. we should do everything we can to get the united nations to deal with conflict before they both start resorting to violence. because violence just begets violence. it's easy to start wars and difficult to stop them once they have gotten started. i think we ought to renounce war and let the courts handle it. have arbitration at the united nations and let them handle it. and then be bound by what those
decisions are just like we do with the courts here in the united states. if everybody started shooting everybody that they had a disagreement with, all we'd be doing is shooting each other. there's enough of that any way. that doesn't accomplish anything except gets people shot and escalate into war. >> what would you do about iran if you were the american president? >> well, first of all, i believe in total nuclear disarmament. we all have to play by the same set of rules. we have 2,000 nuclear weapons. iran has none at the current time. it's okay for israel to have 100, but it's not okay for iran to have two? they are not treating everybody equally. you have no strong position except force. only by force can it be done.
we have already voted at the u.n. and the security council to get rid of nuclear weapons. let's get rid of them. let's get rid of ours and iran will stop, i believe, and everybody else will because if everybody doesn't have them, then we're safe. at least safe from a nuclear attack. if we have full-scale nuclear exchange, it's going to destroy life on earth. all life. maybe there will be a few cockroaches left, and i find that crazy. this is such a nice world and most of the people are really nice here. but you know, if you treat people with dignity, respect, and friendliness like i did with the russians and soviets before them with the good will games, if you try and make friends, you can make friends and you can do that even with former enemies. japan bombed us at pearl harbor and now we're good friends with the japanese. we fought china in the cold war, now we're good friends with the
chinese. >> let's take a break. we want to come back and talk about your favorite cnn moments. >> in addition to everything we said about the super station, we're also looking into the creation of an alternative for cable subscribers. this news service will be called the cable news network and with program continually updated of national news, business news, sports and features, 24 hours a day. i know that we will succeed and i pledge to you that we will not let the american public down.
the united nations foundation created nothing but nets campaign in 2006, more than 20 partners have joined and literally millions of people raised $20 billion. in this tribute, some two million bed nets to children and their families in africa. >> ted turner talking about the united nations foundation's campaign to fight malaria worldwide. ted turner is back to me now. let me come back to that in a moment. what do you think america's businessodel is at the moment? wi think, for the way forward for
capilism in america. outlining what they call a new sense of moral capitalism, where successful american companies who have global sales to bring jobs back to america, to open factories here and not in china and so on. i think he was alluding to companies like apple who have ten times as many employees in china than in america. what do you think of that concept? >> i'm working so hard on the environment and nuclear weapons and the survival issues that t financial issues and a lot of other areas, you can't be an expert on everything. and i'm not an expert on finance. i believe that we should be doing business with everybody. >> does it help america and its national interests if very successful american companies
that create their ideas here than shift up much of the production jobs to other countries to save money? >> that's unfortunate for us, but it's good for the people who get those -- there was a reason why those jobs were shifted. but maybe it was less expensive or maybehey were better workers. i don't really -- i don't really ow. >> you were the first billionaire to stand up and say right, i'm going to give a billion dollars to the u.n. you did that. you gave away a billion dollars of your own money. >> almost $2 billion. >> when you see bill gates and those guys now planning to leave vast sums of their fortunes to charities, they are taking their lead from what you did. but what do you think about that? >> i'm part of the giving pledge.
i'm going out to california with warren and bill. they are good friends. and i'm proud to be associated with them. >> is there too much greed in the world still? particularly in america, do you think? is that part of the problem? >> in some places there's too much greed, but there's a lot of generosity too. i think there's more generosity than there is greed. >> has money made you happier than you would have been without money? >> having sum. you have to have enough to eat. you need enough to make, you know, to live at least minimally. you ha to have that. but it's nice to live well. it is nice to live well. i don't think there's anything wrong with being rich. i have been poor and rich. and i didn't give that billion dollars away until i made it. so you know, they bo work.
>> i wanted to know what you were like. i went to one of your bison restaurants. i was fascinated about the way you live your life. you ordered five fries. >> they are small. i didn't want a whole lot of fries because i'm fighting, like so many of us, older men particularly, but older women as well, have trouble with their weight. i'm trying to keep the weight off of me. but i do want to taste a french fry because we make them fresh at ted's i want to make sure that the quality is good. >> so five is the optimum number. >> i could have three. actually now, i'm not eating any. >> you've given up? >> my doctors that i was allergic to potatoes. >> really?
>> yeah. >> that's terrible. >> they are testing for allergies at the current time. i'm not eating potatoes. no dairy products. no cheese or milk. >> any alcohol? >> no alcohol. >> tobacco? >> nope. >> what are you allowed to do? >> i can't even drink a coca-cola. no soft drinks. >> really? >> y. no caffeine. no coffee. >> what are you existing on? >> water. i'm not supposed to eat any bread either. >> my god. >> i can have bacon and sausage. >> i want to talk to you about the presidential race. i want to know who you think is going to win and what you think of mitt romney, the likely republican nominee. people with a machine.
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i get my cancer medications through the mail. now washington, they're looking at shutting down post offices coast to coast. closing plants is no the answer. they want to cut 100,000 jobs. it's gonna cost us more, and the service is gonna be less. we could lose clientele because of increased mailing times. the ripple effect is going to be devastating. congress created the problem. and if our legislators get on the ball, they can make the right decisions.
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[ roger ] same agent and everything. [ kyle ] it's like we're connected. no we're not. yeah, we are. no...we're not. ♪ the allstate value plan. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate. ♪ >> when cable wasn't cool. here is mr. cable, ted turner. let's talk politics briefly. the election is coming up in november.
mitt romney is the like lie nominee. who is going to win. >> i don't know. when i started cnn, i made the decision to stay out of endorsing candidates and to let viewers make up their own minds about politics. it wasn't going to come from me. the other networks were telling everybody what to do, but i wanted to be different and let people make up their own minds. i would talk about candidates. and i could say about mitt romney, i think he's a real gentleman. i think he's been very successful. i think he's really smart. i don't agree with everything that he believes, but i agree with a lot of it. and i think he would probably make a good president, but i'm not endorsing him. >> are you more republican or democrat these days? >> i would like to say that right now, in the last few
years, the democrats have been closer -- have been more pro-environment. the coal industry is pretty well entrenched in the republican party. that's one of the things that we need to phase out. >> i've got an interview with president bush coming up after this specifically about military veterans. he was president for eight years. what was your overview of his tenure? >> i -- a lot of the things that he did, i didn't agree with. i didn't agree with the wars, for instance. and i didn't agree with -- he wasn't strong enough on the environment to make me happy. very little happened during his term. i think we would have been much better served if al gore had won. it was so close.
any way, i think if al had been president, i think we would have stayed out of those wars and we certainly would have gone a lot further towards switching over to clean renewable energy, which we really need to do. >> of all the things you experienced in your life, you won the america's cup, you own a baseball team and had great glory, you dated some of the most beautiful women in the world, you made billions of dollars, of all the things that you have experienced, what's been the greatest moment of your life? >> the greatest single thing is to see my children all turn out well. all five of them. >> and have they? >> they have. >> is that your proudest achievement?
>> my proudest personal achievement. my proudest business achievement is cnn. >> how am i doing by the way? >> you are doing great. i think you do a really good job. i'm a catholic. it's like getting blessed by the pope. you realize that? it's been fascinating for me to go through this. you said that at your funeral, you said you'd like willie nelson to sing. >> i'd like on my tombstone "i have nothing more to say." >> it's been a pleasure. please come back. ted turner. coming up, former president bush in retirement in a rare interview speaks out about america's veterans, a topic close to his heart and a classic example of keeping america great. those surprising little things she does anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, still make you take notice.
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president obama faced controversy over his trip to afghanistan, one former president is quietly paying tribute to the wounded warriors. a classic story of "keeping america great" a and a rare interview with the man who stayed out of the spotlight since leaving office. george w. bush. >> i held our military in awe when i was president and the stories they tell just increase the awe. >> at first glance, sergeant major chris self is exactly what you'd expect in a race in the warrior 100. over 60 miles of mountain biking in the blazing texas sun. marathon runner, chris has
served the 27-year military career in the army special forces including remarkably seven tours in iraq. >> joined the army straight out of high school. kind of what i wanted to do when i was 5 years old, give or take. as kids we play soldier and all that stuff. i never grew out of it. >> but his battle at home is now his greatest. chris is one of the 20 u.s. military personnel here in texas for the ride organized by the george w. bush presidential center. led by president bush. >> it's a 100 kilometer bike ride to honor the veterans wounded in combat and to thank the families and to thank the groups who helped them recover from serious injury. >> each of the warriors suffered devastating consequences of war. but chris, it's his leg. the