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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Chaos in Egypt

Aired February 2, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Ten days that shook the world and now it's turned deadly. Demonstrators battling Cairo's central square ringed by tanks. Watch teargas and Molotov cocktails flying across the square. A stunning spectacle. And men on horseback and camels attacking protesters.

Who's behind the violence? What's really going on? How will it end? And Anderson Cooper on how he got caught up in the mob and got punched in the head.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: The Egyptian soldiers -- the Egyptian soldiers are doing nothing.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And what would Rudy do? I'm going to ask America's mayor how he would handle Egypt if he was in the White House.

And witness to history, I'll be interviewing Barbara Walters, a legendary journalist, on what it's like to be the center of a huge breaking news story like this.

This is a special edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

You're looking at live photographs in Tahrir Square in Cairo tonight. President Hosni Mubarak's government says more than 600 were hurt. We don't know how many may have died in today's battles in the center of the city.

It's before dawn in Egypt and fighting still raging as Mubarak supporters and opponents throw rocks and Molotov cocktails and beat each other. My colleague Anderson Cooper is live for us tonight this Cairo.

Anderson, you've been up since Sunday. The situation seems to be deteriorating by the minute out there. You yourself came under attack earlier. How do you see things playing out here? Because from where I'm looking this is getting nastier every time I see these images.

COOPER: Right, there's certainly a lull right now. The number of pro-Mubarak demonstrators has dwindled over the last several hours and the anti-Mubarak forces who have occupied the square now since the beginning of this -- of these protests some nine, 10 days ago. They have retaken the area in front of the Egyptian museum. So they've actually retaken and maintained control of the square. Their presence has maintained in the square and that's what the battle has been about throughout the day between the pro-forces and the anti- forces.

Our question, and it's the good question that you ask, Piers, what happens when light comes in just a few hours from now? I see no reason why pro-Mubarak force, there's nothing to stop them unless the government starts to intervene and actually get Egyptian military troops involved which they haven't at this point.

But there's nothing to stop pro-Mubarak forces from regrouping, from rejoining and continuing the battle all throughout the next day.

MORGAN: Anderson, what do you think is the purpose of these pro- Mubarak supporters? Are they acting at his specific order, do you think? I mean, what are you picking up here?

COOPER: Well, look, there's certainly people who support Mubarak. His regime has many people who benefit off the state. There are many people employed by the state. The Interior Ministry, according to some estimates, has as many as 1.7 or -- 1.5 to 1.7 million employees. That's just the Interior Ministry. Secret police, informant, agents and the like.

So there's a lot of people who depend on the Mubarak regime for their livelihood. There are also people who are upset that these protests have continued. That the economy is in shambles. That they're losing money and they're living day to day. And they're angry so that anger has been building.

And then according to the demonstrators, they have found plainclothes police officers in the mix of people that they have apprehended. Whether or not that's true, I can't independently confirm it. But it certainly does seem like there are instigators in the pro-Mubarak crowd who have been instigating the violence today when we were attacked.

It was a number of individuals in the crowd who first started, you know, throwing blows at us and trying to rip away our camera.

MORGAN: Anderson, I'm going to --

COOPER: So there are --

MORGAN: I'm going to show you a bit of tape now, in fact, of you coming under attack earlier. Perhaps I can come to you after we've seen this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So it looks like the pro-Mubarak crowd has sort of gathered around the Egyptian museum which is at the -- one of the entrances to Liberation Square. The military has this entire area cordoned off so they wanted to keep the two sides separate they'd be able to. But at this point it looks like the military are just standing by watching what's happening.

You can see behind me. Hey. Wait.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: I've been hit now like 10 times. Yes. We were trying to make our way to kind of the no man's land between the two groups. We never got that far. We were set upon by pro-Mubarak supporters. Punching us in the head, attacking my producer Mary Anne Fox, the -- my cameraman as well trying to grab his camera, trying to break his camera.

We turned around and started to walk, just calmly. The crowd kept growing, kept throwing more punches, kicks, trying to grab us. It was pandemonium. There was really no control to it. Suddenly a young man would come up, look at you and then punch you right in the face.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Anderson, these are pretty dramatic scenes. I watched them this morning and was fearful not just for your safety but for other western journalists. So it's quite clear the pro-Mubarak supporters are now targeting you guys presumably because you're bringing to the world the message they don't want to see which is the barbaric way they are now attacking these protesters.

COOPER: Yes. And I was actually videotaping at the same with my own camera so we'll actually going to have the complete video of that attack at the top of the next hour on "360." But yes, anybody with a camera, any western journalist with a camera, or anyone believed to be a journalist or even any kind of journalist, not just a western journalist, was set upon today.

It was a very dangerous situation for media people on the ground. You know, we continue to report the story. If their attempt was to stop people from reporting the story, that didn't work because the world has now seen what happened in Egypt today and it is a complete reversal to the peaceful protests that we have seen over the last several days since the Egyptian police have been taken off the street -- Piers.

MORGAN: Anderson, good luck out there. It looks very dangerous. You're doing an incredibly job for us and we really appreciate it.

CNN's Hala Gorani was also (INAUDIBLE) by a crowd of demonstrators today. A tense moment that was also caught on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST AND CORRESPONDENT: OK, I'm a little bit shaken but I was pushed out of the way this there. This is just a completely surreal experience. OK. OK. OK. I'm not -- OK, I'm being told walk, walk, don't stay. OK. OK. Just -- this is a little chaotic. I have someone helping me out here. This is the scene. (END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Hala, that looked pretty scary from here. What was it like for to you go through that?

GORANI: Well, it's the first time that I felt threatened by sort of a mob, you know, walking my way. It's a very different thing to feel threatened by the possibility, for instance, of driving on a roadside bomb. This really felt personal.

It was eye to eye when someone comes up to you and says no, and stop, and points his finger at you and puts his hand in your face, but as you might have seen there in the video, one of the pro-Mubarak protesters, although I can't say with complete confidence that he was pro-Mubarak, grabbed me by the shoulders -- you might have seen that -- and kind of led me out of the way, and when some of the -- I don't know sort of thuggish elements, there's no other word for them, were threatening me, he told them, stay away from her. She's with me.

So I kind of owe my safety I think today to a complete stranger, Piers.

MORGAN: Do you think that the situation is going to get dramatically worse tomorrow? What I'm hearing is that maybe Friday is now being marked as a real flash point when most of the protests may all come together.

GORANI: Traditionally, you know in the Arab world, the period after Friday prayers is often used for demonstrations. You often see clashes. Certainly the potential for extreme violence exists. The big question is tomorrow will these pro-Mubarak protesters whoever sent them, whoever they are, actually show up again in large numbers?

We saw today that some of them had weapon, machetes, they came itching for a fight in many cases. And the anti-regime protesters, many of them, the core of them in Tahrir Square, are saying they won't leave until President Mubarak steps down. So there's a lot of passion there on both sides, Piers.

MORGAN: Hala, thank you for that report and thank you, too, for your continued brilliance out there under incredibly difficult circumstances. It's so important that CNN brings this story to the world and good luck. Stay safe.

President Obama is walking an extremely fine line as Egypt spins out of control. What's behind this deadly turn of events? I'm going to turn to the man who led New York through the 9/11 attacks, Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy, you've seen the scenes from Cairo today. What the hell is going on here?

RUDY GIULIANI, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, right now -- I mean today obviously out of control. So I think today what the White House should be doing quietly, not publicly, is talking to Mubarak and his government about making sure they prevent that kind of violence. I mean, where were the police? Where was the army? To stop one group attacking the other. The other group attacking back. I mean any more of this and it's going to be really hard for this to sustain itself.

And the reality is -- and I think the administration has by and large done a good job here. You've got to walk two different lines here. One is publicly, the other is privately. Publicly, we can't appear to be pushing Mubarak out. At the same time we have to be supporting the aim of democracy and free elections and fair elections and much better society.

But Mubarak has been a very, very staunch ally of the United States, a staunch ally of Israel, he's helped us. We owe him for that, but we also have to recognize that he -- he's had a pretty brutal regime and that there's a reaction to it. So publicly I think the administration has by and large done a good job of balancing their statements.

I don't know what they're doing privately. Privately --

MORGAN: Rudy, Rudy, let me step in there. I mean --

GIULIANI: Sure.

MORGAN: Mubarak may well have been a friend to America and been a useful ally, but as you rightly said there he has treated his people pretty appallingly in recent years and he's been a dictator. There's no other way of describing him. He's also --

GIULIANI: No question about it.

MORGAN: He's also never been elected president. I mean he got it almost by default, so what is the problem in America now coming out and saying, this violence is only going to get worse and worse, enough is enough, Mubarak, you must stand down right now? What is wrong with doing that?

GIULIANI: Well, I don't know about right now. I mean I don't know if this country is ready for Mubarak to just step down and just leave it in a void. I mean what I would rather be doing is talking to Mubarak about finding somebody in the military that is respected by the military.

Someone who can hold the confidence of the military, make them the head of an interim government because I think the one good sign that has come out of this is the people of Egypt seem to have great respect for the military. And what I would be looking for is who does the military respect?

And that's -- that would be the core of the kind of government I would try to get Mubarak to put together, because you're not going to be able to go from today to elections in a month. You're going to need a three or four-month, five-month period of time to get ready for elections if they are going to be fair and free.

MORGAN: But isn't the problem, Rudy --

GIULIANI: So you can lead an interim government.

MORGAN: Rudy, isn't the problem, though -- I mean do you agree that he is a dictator?

GIULIANI: Oh, I agree that he's a dictator. I agree that he's brutal, but now let's look at the part of the world that we're in, right? Same thing happened in Iran a little over a year ago, right? And they acted much more brutally than Mubarak. They went out in the street and just killed people. And they were able to sit on top of the demonstrations.

You saw a similar kind of thing in the past happen in Syria. So in this region of the world you have dictators and you have dictators. And some are much worse than others, and Mubarak has shown some degree of restraint in handling this situation. The kind of restraint that you would not see with Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs.

So I mean, you've got to deal with the world that you're in.

MORGAN: Well, he's being shown --

GIULIANI: And the reality is --

MORGAN: Rudy, he's only showing comparative restraint. And when you see thugs on horses rampaging into a square, attacking everyone they can get their hands on, and you see the kind of violence that's now increasing by the minute out there, and with fears of it being much worse tomorrow.

At what point does America as a friend step in like any good friend should do and say, enough, this is not going to work? You cannot have six months of these protests on the streets?

GIULIANI: Hopefully we've done that. I mean, hopefully we have done that quietly, secretly. We've told Mubarak that his time is up. I think Senator McCain gave the president kind of a lot of support for doing that today by coming out publicly and saying, Mubarak should step down. That kind of eases the way for the administration.

But the reality is, we got to be sure there's a plan in place when and if Mubarak leaves to have a stable situation over the next three to four months. You have hanging in the background the Muslim Brotherhood. They've been very careful. I think they've been very smart. They do not appear to be part of these protests.

I have no doubt they're part of it and I have no doubt that they're just biding their time to try to hope to get a piece of this government and move it to becoming an Islamic kind of government like they have in Iran. And we have to be really careful of ElBaradei who has tried to bring the Islamic Brotherhood into the government already, has close ties with them, is no friend of the United States, and does not seem to be particularly sensitive to how bad things could become if you let -- you let the Brotherhood in.

MORGAN: Rudy, let me ask you --

GIULIANI: So, you know, a lot of considerations --

MORGAN: Let me ask you about Israel because I know you have always been extremely protective of Israel's position in this. It seems to me with what's happening in Jordan and Yemen, the whole area, the whole region is like a tinder box at the moment. And Israel is caught smack bang in the middle of this.

What would you do if you are now able to have any influence over this to protect Israel?

GIULIANI: Well, I think -- I think Israel has to do the same thing the United States does, which is it has to talk to Mubarak about as quickly as possibly -- as possible selecting somebody, a general or a group of generals, who can run an interim government, and also bring in, if they can, as they do that, people from civilian life, people from the protesters, but not the Brotherhood. And try to put together some kind of stability.

He doesn't have a lot of time. And if he wants to control his exit, he's going to have to put something like this together.

MORGAN: Rudy, thank you very much for that insight. I appreciate it.

GIULIANI: Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back an American journalistic icon, Barbara Walters on what it's like to be at the center of a massive story like this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: You're looking at live scenes in Tahrir Square in Cairo tonight where there is extensive gunfire. We're not quite sure what's going on there but we do know the situation is tense and increasingly dangerous.

And joining me now is perhaps the perfect person to talk about danger to journalists because Barbara Walters, one of America's great legendary journalists, when you see these scene, you've been there, you've done foreign reporting, you've seen Anderson and Katie Couric and Christiane Amanpour today, all coming under attack.

What are you thinking when you see that?

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS: They're now war correspondents. They didn't expect to be. They're all very seasoned journalists but they are now in a period in which there are two warring factors and they are very brave war correspondents.

The big question as you look at this, is if these so-called thugs, pro-Mubarak supporters, who sent them out there? Didn't Mubarak himself? Did they suddenly all wake up and say let's go out in the streets? And if they are directed by Mubarak or by whoever his underlings are who said this, why? What is the purpose of attacking primarily western journalists? Why is this being done?

MORGAN: Presumably it's because they're bringing the wrong message to the world which is that Mubarak's thugs, and I have to assume they're ordered by him or his people, they are trying to get rid of these protest, something, trying to stop this.

WALTERS: Yes, but they're also saying that the American government can't totally abandon Mubarak. They are trying to at least present some side of it. But you wonder, did Mubarak personally order it? And if he did, where is our administration saying, stop this?

MORGAN: Well, isn't it further than that? Isn't it now inevitable given the scale of these protests and given the fact it's now domino affecting all over the region, Mubarak is going to go quickly?

What I don't understand is why President Obama isn't coming out now and stopping more bloodshed effectively by saying that's it, enough?

WALTERS: Well, let me -- let try, you know, I'm hardly going to be the spokesperson for Mubarak. With the exception of Iraq, there isn't one country in the Middle East except for Israel which does not have either a king or a dictator. And we support many of those countries.

Now we abandoned the Shah. When the Shah -- when there was the uprising for the Shah, first we said to him, try to make some changes, try to give it some democracy, that didn't work. Then we said don't fire on your people. That didn't work. Then he was forced to leave the country.

We allowed him to come here because he was ill for maybe one week, I remember going to see him in New York hospital. And then he was a man without a country.

Now these other countries, places that we are close to with their kings or their dictators, they saw this. Now if we totally -- as I said, I'm hardly his spokesman, if we say get out, we don't know where you're going to go to, we don't know what you're going to do, there are other countries that we are supporting.

We can't now say to all of them, you know what? You're all dictators or most of you are, and you know, you look at Saudi Arabia, our big ally, you know what human --

MORGAN: So you're President Obama right now. What should you do, do you think?

WALTERS: I think what he is doing is sending his emissary, Frank Wisner, who is a very --

MORGAN: I interviewed Frank the other day. Smart man.

WALTERS: Well, he's very smart and he's very experienced. We don't know what those conversations are. What he is saying to them, to Mubarak, get out, if you get out, we will guarantee you either a place to go or we will protect you here. We don't know what's going on.

I think that everybody has said the same thing, Obama is walking a very difficult --

MORGAN: Tightrope.

WALTERS: Very difficult line. The ones we haven't heard from by the way, the country in the most danger is Israel.

Now, you know, I just want to go back to one thing. You mentioned that Mubarak has never been elected. He was Sadat's vice president. Nobody really heard of him. When Sadat was assassinated Mubarak did not have a vice president until the other day.

There was an orderly transition from president to Mubarak, suddenly the ruler, and there were even members then, did Mubarak have anything to do with Sadat's assassination? If there were they were quieted down. So this is a man who has never been a popular leader and the problem as everybody has said with our president is how does he throw this guy out at the same time that he reassures some of the other people who may be having trouble, hey, it's OK.

MORGAN: I mean, the bigger picture here, Barbara, and you were central to this, is the Middle East peace process generally. I interviewed Tony Blair yesterday and he's very anxious about how this all plays out, obviously.

You were there right at the start of this. You interviewed Sadat and Begin even before the peace treaty was signed with Egypt. With all the experience you've had and all the characters that you've interviewed --

WALTERS: But don't make me out to be that -- you know I'm not --

MORGAN: Well, let's say you're an expert.

WALTERS: I'm the -- I'm not the --

MORGAN: But you have met the people who --

WALTERS: OK. Let me just say this --

MORGAN: -- formatted in where we are.

WALTERS: This uprising and everything that's happened in the Middle East, that's been a problem for the last, what, 20 years, more than that, is because Israel and the Palestinians have not made their peace. It's Israel's fault. It's Israel's fault say the Arabs.

Well, for a change it's not Israel's fault. And Israel has been very quiet. But one of the things that people are suggesting is that if there is a time, now for Israel and the Palestinians to come to terms under this terrible situation, this is the time to do it because if the wrong people, quote, "get into Egypt," they can abrogate that treaty.

If that treaty between Egypt and Israel is broken, then they have no ally there at all. So if --

MORGAN: And then the whole region just collapses into anarchy.

WALTERS: Exactly. So you can't suddenly say, hey, you know make your peace but if there is a time for the Obama administration to say, again, behind the scenes, to Netanyahu and to the Palestinian, this is the time. You've got a little time. Try to do something so that at least you can say to the Arab countries, hey, take that off the table.

MORGAN: When you look at what's happening there and you look at America's position which has always traditionally been the world's police force in many way, do you think that there's a real -- I don't know what the right phrase is, not really hypocrisy but there's conflict between America's position of he's a good guy who's been supportive to us because he's kept the peace with Israel, and the fact that his own people, Mubarak's own people view him as a dictator.

How many times can America go to war, say, with someone like Saddam Hussein and with Britain, by the way, calling him a dictator that treats his men badly while propping up people like Mubarak?

WALTERS: What some people have said is you have to think of what's in the best national interest of the United States. But I think we have to go beyond what is best for our national interest. That's why we ask -- have supported Mubarak. It was best for our national interest and he did a lot of very good things for us and, you know, and things for the world.

He did oppose Iran. He was behind us for the toppling of Saddam Hussein. But all around that country and one of the people we're very close to who seems to be a more moderate person whom we're worried about is King Abdullah in Jordan. But again and again we have said what is in our national interest and not thought of because we didn't really know what's in the national interest of the country?

Isn't it amazing that nobody saw this coming? I know people who went over just last week with the Council of Foreign Relations who is supposedly the experts.

MORGAN: Totally. I mean it seems to me --

WALTERS: No, not -- went over there on a --

MORGAN: Yes.

WALTERS: On a --

MORGAN: The great unspoken story --

WALTERS: On a tourist.

MORGAN: -- of this is a shocking failure of intelligence as far as I can see. How no one knew it was going to happen is baffling. WALTERS: Well, we didn't know what was going to happen in Tunisia and that's what sparked it.

MORGAN: I agree. Well, I got to get a break. When we come back, I'm going to talk to you about what became possibly the biggest story of your private life.

And we'll have the latest on the gunfire in Tahrir Square tonight in Cairo where it would seem to be increasingly dramatic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: You're looking at dramatic live pictures from Tahrir Square in Cairo, in Egypt, where tonight there is continued gunfire and pitched battles between pro-Mubarak supporters and protesters against Mubarak. It's an increasingly tense and dangerous situation. Western journalists coming under constant attack. And we will keep you updated on this breaking story throughout the show.

I'm joined again by legendary journalist Barbara Walters. Barbara, we've discussed what's happening in Egypt. I want to discuss now an extraordinary event in your life when very recently you discovered that you needed open heart surgery, which is a pretty dramatic thing to discover, isn't it?

WALTERS: Very dramatic. Just let me give you a couple of statistics. Heart disease is -- more people die of heart disease than anything else in this country. More women than men.

MORGAN: Why more women than men?

WALTERS: Whatever it is in their makeup -- women think that the biggest problem for them will be breast cancer. More women die of heart disease than all the cancers put together. African-Americans are particularly vulnerable to heart disease. It is the number one killer in this country. Half of us will die of it.

OK, I found out a year ago that my valve -- you know, we have four valves. My valve was getting out.

MORGAN: Aortal valve.

WALTERS: It was the aortic valve. And I had to have open surgery. And I tried to push it away. I didn't want to think about it. I finally did it. I had to do it. Had I not done it, I would have probably been dead in two years. And so would David Letterman, Robin Williams, Regis Philbin, Charlie Rose and President Clinton.

MORGAN: You interviewed all of them for this show.

WALTERS: All of them are on this special that's on two nights from now, Friday night, 10:00. Did I say that?

MORGAN: You did. ABC Friday night, 10:00.

WALTERS: So these people, especially someone like David Letterman, who is so private, all sat down and talked about why they did it, how it affected them. So that if someone has to have open heart surgery -- and we show it -- they're not going to be terrified.

MORGAN: We're going to play a clip from the Letterman --

WALTERS: They're kind of funny when you have Letterman and --

MORGAN: Although he -- I've seen a bit of preview copy from the show, in which he says he was very tearful and emotional throughout his process.

WALTERS: You've never seen him like this.

MORGAN: Extraordinary. I want to see this clip.

WALTERS: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALTERS (voice-over): With five clogged arteries, Letterman underwent quintuple bypass surgery, hoping to avoid the same early exit as his father.

(on camera): When you described the surgery, you said it was barbaric.

DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW": Well, it is barbaric. One of the things I said trying to lighten the mood in the room before they wheeled me off -- I said I don't care what happens, I just don't want to hear the bone saw and everybody laughed because that's exactly where it starts.

WALTERS: Where did they get the new arteries from?

LETTERMAN: Ace Hardware.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, making light of it, but I've seen more stuff from that interview where he clearly -- this is not a laughing matter to anyone involved. He said it's an incredibly invasive, traumatic and presumably terrifying experience.

WALTERS: But had he not done it -- and by the way, he had to do it like that. He went in and said, can I wait. They said, no, now. He says that he never would have seen the son that he adores.

President Clinton says that he never would have been able to walk his daughter down the aisle and perhaps have grandchildren.

The operation is relatively safe. It also -- only two percent die from it. Although Charlie Rose almost did. But it's not just, hey, look at this, you're going to have to have open heart surgery. We tell you how to prevent heart disease. We tell you the difference between the symptoms for women and men, because 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. MORGAN: You say in this show -- watching the show could save your life.

WALTERS: We call this show "A Matter of Life and Death." With each one of us that I mentioned it was a matter of life and death. And had we not done this -- or had it been 25 years from now, I probably -- we'd be dead.

MORGAN: You're a tough lady, Barbara. You're known as one tough cookie and --

WALTERS: I hope that's a compliment.

MORGAN: Yeah, sort of a gentle --

WALTERS: Let me just tell the audience that Piers has promised everybody that I would cry. I don't care what you ask me, I'm not going to cry.

MORGAN: You have no idea how I'm going to make you cry. I've got onions under my desk.

WALTERS: Won't do it.

MORGAN: Let me take you back. That moment when you knew that you had this big problem, and that you could potentially die if you didn't have the surgery, even for a tough cookie like you, what was going through your mind then?

WALTERS: In my private life, I'm not such a tough cookie. Maybe when I work and maybe when I'm in somewhat dangerous situation, or doing a dangerous interview -- I kept feeling that I didn't have to have it. I kept trying to postpone it. And finally, in May, my doctor said, because I had something called an angiogram -- said you should do this.

I said, well what if I don't, because I was giving an award here and I was giving an award there. He said, well, there's a slight chance that you'll drop dead. That was not an alternative for me. So that --

MORGAN: You must have been shocked.

WALTERS: I knew that it -- I knew that it might be happening. I wasn't really scared. But I asked my daughter to come. I did make a new will. And I thought, if I die in the operating table, I won't know about it. But I've never had that terrible fear from it. I just kept thinking, I'm so healthy, this can't happen to me.

You're seeing pictures of me with my wonderful -- my wonderful. It's not going to happen to me. And I had vowed the -- and so did Robin Williams. We had a cow valve, by the way, and you'll learn why. He says he gives good milk now. Moo.

MORGAN: What was it like tell you are daughter, though, Barbara. You're very close now. For any mother to tell their daughter that you're going to have this operation, which could prove fatal --

WALTERS: She kept a diary that I didn't know about, that she left for me and I read it some weeks after my operation. And she doesn't live in New York. And she came here and stayed obviously throughout the operation.

And I don't know why I didn't have that awful fear. I thought I'm going to make it, at the same time I did everything I could to prevent it. But one of the reasons that I'm doing this is that there's almost no one who doesn't have a relative or something who has had it, who might have it.

MORGAN: So for anyone who is curious, watch the show on Friday night and it could just save your life.

WALTERS: Whatever your age -- and by the way, women do not do what they should do. And there's a lot of this --

MORGAN: It sounds like a fascinating show.

WALTERS: Have you had an EKG?

MORGAN: I'm going to talk to you about this when we come back. When we come back, we've also got some tough questions for you, Barbara.

WALTERS: I will not cry.

MORGAN: Might.

WALTERS: No.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: You're looking at live footage from Tahrir Square in Cairo in Egypt, where we have recently been hearing machine gun fire in an increasingly tense and dangerous situation. I'll be joined straightaway by CNN's Ivan Watson, who is in the square. Ivan, what's going on down there? It sounds increasingly unpleasant.

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Piers. Within the last couple minutes we've heard a couple rounds of gunfire. There were some automatic weapon bursts. But perhaps more ominous, we've been hearing single shots going off. And we have seen a number -- perhaps a half dozen young men carried away from the barricaded edges of the square.

This is all within an area that is controlled by the opposition anti-Mubarak activists. One of the men was clearly seen with a bloody stomach. It appears he had been shot in the stomach. And the loudspeakers here that have been mobilizing the activists have been saying prepare for anything, fortify the entrances to the square, Jihad, Jihad. Piers?

MORGAN: Ivan, thank you for that report. And we'll come back to you later on to see what's going on. Thank you. Barbara, I suppose the obvious question I'd like to ask you is that you've spent all your life in America. When the average American is watching this, how interested do you think they are? How interested should they be?

WALTERS: Well, the pictures are horrific, so you're interested just watching it. Though there gets to be a point when they all begin to look alike. Listen, Americans have never been that interested in foreign policy unless there is a crisis. Most people would not, in this country, know who Mubarak was. Wouldn't know his name. They wouldn't know who your Prime Minister Cameron is, if you averaged them.

In times of a crisis, of course, they do. And they are not the leaders with the big names like Sadat and like Margaret Thatcher, like Fidel Castro for example. But what people are now realizing is that what happens in that world -- what would it mean to us if that whole area was against America, if we had no part except for Israel? And what will happen to them in the Middle East?

So it does affect us. It not only affects oil -- I'm sorry to bring that in -- but it could affect everything that happens -- if this whole area becomes radicalized, and if Egypt, the largest country in the Arab world, becomes radicalized, it's a very difficult position for this country and, therefore, for all of us.

MORGAN: Let me get back to your extraordinary career. As a journalist, myself, for 25 years, always had huge respect and admiration for you, not for anything other than your incredible work rate. You never stop. Most people would have retired 15 years ago.

WALTERS: You know, I probably -- I thought about retiring this year. And then I thought because I'd had this operation, if I retire this year, people will think, oh, she's so ill. As Robin Williams said, people say, how are you? Now you say, how are you? For a long while, how -- so I thought, I can't retire this year. I got to show I'm OK.

MORGAN: You'll never retire.

WALTERS: Of course, I'm going to retire. Imagine it. But when I do, it's not like some of the others, or like Larry, your predecessor, who says I'm leaving the show, but I'm going to do stand- up, I'm going to do this. When I leave, I will leave, because I've worked my whole life. And I would love, you know, not having to punch the time clock, not having to get up.

MORGAN: Johnny Carson left, didn't he, and never went on television again.

WALTERS: I think of that.

MORGAN: Could you imagine never going on television again?

WALTERS: Yes.

MORGAN: Really?

WALTERS: Yes.

MORGAN: I couldn't imagine that.

WALTERS: Well, because you have to have a private life. Do you have a private life?

MORGAN: Well, probably not as entertaining as yours has been, Barbara.

WALTERS: It may not be as entertaining, but I have always kept very close friends. It's been very important for me to have that support system. I have very little family.

MORGAN: Give me a little scoop. How long are you going to go on for?

WALTERS: Well, I think I'll know when it's time to go. You won't, but I will.

MORGAN: Are we talking a year? Five years.

WALTERS: Don't play games with me. I'm not going to tell you.

MORGAN: Twenty years. I met the Queen Mother when she was a hundred and she could have carried on.

WALTERS: I hope this new valve I have lasts 20 year, you know.

MORGAN: You're not going to tell me.

WALTERS: You know, we all same the same thing. We want -- this is in terms -- we want to live as long as we are functioning and as long g as we are in our right mind. I -- so far I haven't forgotten your name, Frank, so I'm still OK.

MORGAN: What's been the single greatest interview?

WALTERS: You can't do that.

MORGAN: You can.

WALTERS: Well, I will tell you when I say to people when they ask that.

MORGAN: Let me rephrase the question --

WALTERS: No, let me answer the question.

MORGAN: As long as you give me one name.

WALTERS: I'm going to give you one name.

MORGAN: You are?

WALTERS: Yeah.

MORGAN: Go on then.

WALTERS: To me probably the most important person I felt that I interviewed was Anwar Sadat. I -- he was the most charismatic man. But beyond that, he had enormous courage and he changed the course of history and because he did that, it got him assassinated.

MORGAN: What would he have made of what's going on in his country?

WALTERS: He was also in a very difficult position. He had put into prison some of the people who were his opponents, then he let them out. He was in the damned if you do and the damned if you don't position. He made peace with Israel and it was against the wishes of many of the people in his country.

So he was, to a degree, in the position that Mubarak was in. He was killed. What I hope and what we all hope is that whatever happens, that Mubarak does not become a martyr by being killed.

MORGAN: When we come back, Barbara, I'm going to do what you do to all your guests and ask you deeply intrusive questions about your love life.

WALTERS: Oh, boy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: This is my heroine. Barbara Walters is my heroine. The best interviewer I have ever seen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's true.

WALTERS: Well, that's nice to hear. The best interviewer I have ever seen.

MORGAN: Those are my wonderful ladies.

MORGAN: Let's talk about your wonderful men for a moment.

WALTERS: You love to ask people about your love life.

MORGAN: So do you.

WALTERS: Not so much. But the very fact that you're asking me is such a compliment.

MORGAN: Let me compliment you a little more. Who has been the love of your life?

WALTERS: I have this little dog -- MORGAN: No, no, no. You're not copping out like that. Come on, which man, if you had five minutes to live, you would take --

WALTERS: if I had five minutes to live, I wouldn't want to be with any man.

MORGAN: Really?

WALTERS: If I had five minutes to live, I would be with my daughter and closest friends. At this point in my life, I would not want to with any one man.

MORGAN: Are you still on the dating scene?

WALTERS: I've had a lot of special really very men in my life. I wrote about them in my book. And I've been married more than once. So -- but if you think I'm going to sit down and discuss -- you know, years ago, I interviewed Henry Ford. And at one point he said to him when I asked him -- he said that's none of your business. I thought, why don't more people say that to me? Fortunately, they don't.

But I'm going to say it to you. I think you're adorable. I'm so happy you're here. I think you're the most charming man. I wish you every success. It's none of your business.

MORGAN: I love that. Don't invade my privacy, says Barbara "privacy invader" Walters. If you had five minutes left --

WALTERS: You just asked me that.

MORGAN: Different question. I'm moving to professional now. I'm not going to get anywhere with the men.

WALTERS: Who would I want to interview --

MORGAN: No. I'll come to that as well. But what would be the moment in your career, other than the Sadat, which is a great interview -- what would be the one moment in your career you would relive?

WALTERS: I think the years in the Middle East. I think that whole period in the '70s, with Sadat and his enemy, Begin, being so much a part of that history, at least having the view of that kind of history. I think that period of my life.

Celebrities are OK to interview. And I'm not knocking it. But nothing has quite been like that period. I think spending a week with Fidel Castro, this dictator, who is -- that's not going to happen again. I think that was extraordinary.

MORGAN: Given you raised this question -- of course, you would always come with a question than I can about yourself. But who's the person you never interviewed you wished you had?

WALTERS: There are people -- the Pope has never been interviewed. I would like to interview the Pope. It would be wonderful to be able to interview the Queen of England. She's never done interviews.

MORGAN: What an interview she would be.

WALTERS: Wouldn't you like to do an interview with her?

MORGAN: I mean, 60 years of amazing secrets. There's people like that --

WALTERS: Especially now when we have Prince William. I wouldn't mind interviewing Camilla Parker Bowles. We could ask her --

MORGAN: Have you met Camilla?

WALTERS: Yes, I have.

MORGAN: I've met here a few times. She's great fun. Massively misunderstood woman.

WALTERS: And I have interviewed Prince Charles. And I find him an intelligent and sensitive man.

MORGAN: Are you excited about the royal wedding?

WALTERS: Not enormously, no. We'll be doing features on it. I probably will be covering. I think it's lovely. Two young people and they're attractive and it's nice and it's Cinderella. It's the commoner marrying the prince.

But do I go home and think, oh, I can't wait? No. Do you?

MORGAN: I'm taking my whole show there for a week.

WALTERS: We'll be covering it. Am I personally that excited? It's not the last thing I think about when I go to bed. Don't ask me about the last thing I think about --

MORGAN: What is the last thing you think about when you go to bed?

WALTERS: How early I have to get up in the morning.

MORGAN: Do you have any regrets, real regrets?

WALTERS: You know --

(CROSS TALK)

WALTERS: I regret nothing. And I don't know why, but the other night I was lying in bed and I thought, (FRENCH) I regret everything. I have such a list of things I regret. You know what you have to do when you feel that way? You have to close that door.

I've been blessed. I never thought I would have this kind of life. I never thought I would be in front of the cameras. I wasn't beautiful. I didn't speak that well. I was a writer on television. I was not in front of the cameras. What a life I've had. MORGAN: You've had one of the great lives. Thanks to this heart operation, it continues. That gives me a chance to mention Barbara Walters' special, "A Matter of Life and Death," ABC on Friday, 10:00. I'll be watching.

WALTERS: And I didn't cry. I apologize to you.

MORGAN: I'll get you back on.

WALTERS: Thank you, my dear.

MORGAN: Thank you, Barbara. Real pleasure.

When we come back, it's almost 5:00 in the morning in Cairo. We've heard gunfire all night. Now what?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Morning is breaking in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, where Egyptian TV network al Arabiya is reporting at least one protester has been killed in tonight's violence. We've been hearing gunfire throughout the show. I'm going straight to CNN's Ivan Watson, who is at the scene.

Ivan, we are hearing one dead. You've seen bodies being taken out of the square. Do you think the death toll may rise?

WATSON: Well, we've certainly seen an escalation in the use of force here during the first more than 12 hours of this battle here. There was vicious violence, people hurling stones at each other, beating each other with clubs, hurling petrol bombs.

Within the last hour, Piers, we've been hearing gunfire, single shots, perhaps indicative of sniper fire. And I've seen at least half dozen men taken away from different ends of the square, one of them apparently bleeding from the stomach from an apparent gunshot wound.

We're hearing over the loud speakers that have been mobilizing the activists calls for ambulances. There's another ambulance coming in right now with its siren blaring.

I'm not sure where the gunfire is coming from, but people are getting wounded here. And it doesn't appear that they're being hit by stones thrown from the pro-government fighters now. This appears to be gunfire, and an escalation in the use of force here.

MORGAN: Ivan, we could hear in the background there some heavy gunfire. Clearly the situation is escalating dangerously. CNN will bring you up-to-date coverage throughout the night. You can also tune in on CNN.com for the very latest from Egypt.

One thing's for sure, this is getting worse by the minute and something has to happen. That's it from PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. We now go to Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" for more updates from Egypt.