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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview With Mark Cuban; Hurricane Irene's Aftermath
Aired August 29, 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 (voice-over): Tonight: hurricane or hype? Vermont reeling from the worst flooding since the '20s, but was Irene overblown?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, this could have been worse, but it was pretty bad out there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not out of the woods yet.
MORGAN: Did government and the media go too far?
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Better to be safe than sorry.
What we want to do is to protect people and protect people's lives.
This was the best scenario. We took all the appropriate precautions.
MORGAN: I will ask a woman who may be New York's next mayor, did the city get it right? And New York Mayor Cory Booker from the front lines in his city's emergency command center.
And maverick billionaire Mark Cuban, a man who is not afraid to say what he thinks about politicians, the economy, sport, just about anything really. Tonight, he says he is going to raise hell. So, watch out, America.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening.
Of all the places that could be hit by a tropical storm, who expected Vermont to take such a pounding? The state's creeks and rivers have turned into a raging torrent tonight, one that the governor fears will take many more lives -- 27 people in nine states have now died in Hurricane Irene. Millions are still in the dark and Irene's price tag could go as high as $6 billion.
And we're learning tonight that in the wake of the storm, administration officials will visit Virginia, North Carolina, and Vermont tomorrow.
All of this six years to the day after the massive tragedy of Katrina.
Joining me now from Vermont tonight is CNN's Gary Tuchman, who is in Brattleboro.
Gary, what's the latest there? Because it seems that Vermont has taken a real, real kicking.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Piers.
They are shocked here in Vermont. This is a state known for skiing, and for its mountains, not for tropical systems. But in parts of Vermont you have rivers crest right now. This is the Winooski River waters, but it's not the Winooski River. The river is a quarter-mile down the road. So it's cresting right now. But we expect by tomorrow there will be no more water here, but there will be a lot of mud in the homes.
And particularly in southern Vermont right now, the waters are gone, but the mud remains. And there is so much tragedy, Piers. Three people have been killed here. One person is still missing. And there is just a lot of shock because these creeks and these brooks turned into raging rapids that even old-timers have never seen before here in Vermont.
MORGAN: Tell me, Gary -- this will be pertinent to the debate we're having about the media and the warnings on Hurricane Irene. Were the warnings substantial enough or regular enough in Vermont? Did people know what may be coming?
TUCHMAN: Well, first of all, there is a lot of resentment here in Vermont when people say this was hyped.
This is the worst tropical system they have ever faced. There's tens of millions of dollars worth of damage and people died. So they do not think it was hyped. They appreciate the coverage that they saw.
But regarding the preparations here in Vermont, what you had was an incredible system. We are used to covering hurricanes where it hits one place or two places and you could evacuate north or west and get out of the way. There's nowhere really to evacuate here. The entire state of Vermont was liable to get hit by this. And most people in this very small state live near brooks, live near creeks that they know could become raging rapids and there was really nowhere to go.
And that's one of the problems, that evacuating, saying you had to evacuate means that everyone in the state has to evacuate. And that's just not a practical thing to do.
MORGAN: Gary, are you expecting the death toll to rise in Vermont? What was the general feeling about the scenes that we are witnessing and the possible casualty toll? TUCHMAN: We don't think it will go much higher, but we do think it will go higher.
I talked to the governor earlier today. And they said because they wanted to keep information quiet right now before -- they didn't want the public to know before the families knew. They said they were still searching for several missing people. It could climb above -- it will definitely climb above the three because they really believe the one person who is missing has probably perished, too, because that person was with one of the people they found. But they think it could even go above the number of four.
MORGAN: Well, Gary, all our thoughts and prayers are with all of them over there. It's been a catastrophe for the people of Vermont. And we wish them all the very best in their recovery. Thank you very much.
My next guest is one of the few people who saw this all coming Friday night on this very show. He warned that New England could bear the brunt of Irene.
Joining me now is the commander of the Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division, Brigadier General Duke DeLuca.
Brigadier General, thank you for joining me again. You obviously called this pretty accurately. When you see what's happening in Vermont, what do you feel about it?
BRIGADIER GENERAL DUKE DELUCA, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: Obviously our heart goes out to the victims who are in the affected areas both on the west side of the state in those tributaries like the Winooski that feed into Lake Champlain and on the east of the state in the Connecticut River Basin.
I think I mentioned a concern about the Connecticut River Basin. To be honest, we were concerned with it a little bit farther south. But when the hurricane expanded, the hardest-hit river basin in New England was in fact -- in the whole storm was Connecticut River Basin -- 10 to 14 inches fell in that basin which was already saturated in a period of less than 18 hours. That's just a tremendous volume of water.
And I think I mentioned that the watersheds in New England and eastern New York clear in 24 hours. That's a lot of water moving rapidly. And I think you are seeing and showing the video of that right now.
MORGAN: What do you say to those who say that the media, including CNN and others, hyped up this hurricane and that it wasn't as bad as everyone said it was going to be?
DELUCA: Well, I think it's a partial truth that is fundamentally inaccurate though at its base.
The reality is this is a storm that affected over 65 million people, five million businesses and homes without power even now, 24 people -- and the count still unfortunately -- is rising in terms of people that lost their lives.
There is a tremendous amount of economic and physical damage that we're still frankly assessing and we won't know those final numbers for some weeks. I don't think it was hyped. The storm did spread out and that was a very lucky break for the Northeast because that meant wind velocities were reduced, and that I think saved a great many lives and a great much damage.
MORGAN: Brigadier General, thank you very much indeed.
Now I want to bring in Chad Myers in the Hurricane Center.
Chad, you have heard all the debate today. You have been doing an astonishing job for the last few days in keeping us informed about all this.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Really spectacular.
But in terms of how the power and the strength and therefore the threat of Hurricane Irene changing in that very crucial last 24 hours, could that have been predicted at all or can the authorities only really ever go on what's right in front of them at any given moment?
MYERS: The problem with Irene is that for wind it was an underachiever. And for rain it was an overachiever, for flooding, obviously.
This storm had the potential to be a Category 3 storm at any time in its history and in its life even after North Carolina. The pressure was low enough that if this storm got an eye and the winds spun up, we could have had 110-mile-per-hour storm right over Manhattan.
And so we wouldn't even be having this conversation. And so that potential was there. It's like having a can of gas next to a fireplace and you say, oh, don't worry about it. It's never exploded before.
Well, the potential was there. We had to warn you that the potential was there. And I think the potential was always there that this could have been much more catastrophic to the city. We focused a lot of our time on the city. I understand that. There are four times more people living in Brooklyn than in the entire state of Vermont. So this is how you have to think about it, 13 times more people in New York City than in the state of Vermont.
So we had to protect the mass of people. The people of Vermont had historic flooding. And they still -- you think the guy who built that bridge in Rutland, Vermont, ever thought water would go high enough to knock it down? I don't think so. The people in Vermont never thought this was possible.
MORGAN: Was there any stage on Saturday or early Sunday, Chad, when the authorities led by the president presumably and FEMA could have actually officially downgraded it properly and said, look, it's not going to be as big as we feared, New York, you don't have to panic so much?
Would that have been a sensible, prudent thing to do? Because one of the specific criticisms is that when they saw the hurricane diminishing in power, they still said everybody had to be on red alert.
MYERS: If you have ever watched an ice skater in the Olympics and she has her arms out and she does this thing called a scratch spin, you bring the arms in and all of a sudden the ice skater goes very, very quickly around, and that's what this storm did. This storm was the ice skater with the arms out. So it was all around. It never brought the arms in, so the wind never came in.
But the potential for bringing the winds and the arms in was always there. And so let me tell you this. Montreal, Canada, lost windows in skyscrapers. And that was 300 miles from New York City. The storm was onshore for 300 miles and windows were knocked out of a city well north of there. It was always possible for this same type of damage to happen in New York City. It was just a sheer stroke of luck that it didn't do that.
MORGAN: Well, Chad, again, thank you for your sterling work on this, because I'm sure that that contributed to many people getting to safety when they needed to. I appreciate that. And I'm sure many people do.
MYERS: Thank you, sir.
MORGAN: New York City's mass transit system shut down completely the day before Irene hit. Was that a case of putting politics ahead of public safety?
Joining me now exclusively is a woman who may be the next mayor of New York, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Christine Quinn, you have heard the debate today. I have got to say from where I sit, it seems a pretty fatuous debate, because, in the end, people are complaining about having their lives very marginally disrupted, and it may have saved God knows how many lives.
What is your view from an official point of view?
CHRISTINE QUINN, NEW YORK COUNCIL SPEAKER: Well, from an official point of view, we really had to make decisions based on what we were hearing from the National Weather Service and other hurricane and governmental experts.
And, remember, we're talking about New York City here, right? We asked people in an area where there are about 300,000 people to evacuate. We needed time to do that. So we had to make the call for this early. It was very important to remember that when we -- the decision was made by our mass transit authority to shut down subways and buses. We needed eight hours to do that. And then we needed time to move our train and bus equipment out of where we store it. It just happens we store it in low-lying areas, in the Rockaways. Moving the equipment out, closing down the subways was really what enabled us to get them back up and running at 6:00 a.m. today. And the fact that the MTA had to respond to was if there are sustained, not gusts, sustained winds of 39 miles an hour or more, the subways cannot run.
On Friday, all indications were that that was likely to happen. And you need time to move people and shut the system down. And based on what we knew, with all due respect, not from the media, but from weather services and governmental agencies on Friday, we had to make that call.
MORGAN: I was in New York towards the end of last year, late December, when there was this 18-inch blizzard overnight. And coming from England, where one inch of snow basically renders the country incapacitated for several years, I couldn't believe that the mayor, Bloomberg, was getting hammered by the media within 48 hours for not clearing all the streets up. But he was being hammered.
And it was quite clear to me then after I did a bit of research that seeing politicians in America get fired quite regularly for not reacting quick enough to the extremes of weather that you get in this country, there is a cynical view -- and it may or may not be cynical -- that Mayor Bloomberg this time was determined not to get caught in that trap again and so went overboard on Hurricane Irene.
How would you respond to that?
QUINN: You know, the snow response was absolutely an unacceptable response. The city simply didn't do its job delivering service to New Yorkers, no question about it.
That's why we had very aggressive oversight hearings on that in the Council. That said, what we put in plan, what the mayor put in place this past weekend was a hurricane coastal plan that was developed in 2006. This wasn't a political plan. This wasn't a response to the snow. This was a plan that was developed after Katrina and implemented based on all of the weather data that we had.
It really wasn't about politics. It was about what we could do to keep people safe, to protect our mass transit system based on info we had on Friday really knowing we needed well over a day to get everything implemented.
MORGAN: Christine, let me hold you there. Stay with me for a moment.
MORGAN: I want to bring in two other people who are on opposite sides of this debate. One is Brian Stelter, "New York Times" media reporter. The other is Joe Curl of "The Washington Times" and the Drudge Report.
First of all, to you, Brian. I believe you are in the "it wasn't overhyped" camp. Is that right?
BRIAN STELTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I was down in Nags Head feeling the winds a couple of days ago and I was still finding sand in my hair and my ears this morning. It is not good to be out in winds like that. And we're lucky that it wasn't worse in New York. The idea that it was hyped just seems ludicrous to me.
MORGAN: Joe Curl, you're ludicrous, apparently. How do you respond to that allegation?
JOSEPH CURL, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES": Well, I don't want to come on and argue that there shouldn't have been a tremendous response to this and preparations -- lay out the worst-case scenario, but again stay flexible. We do that with snowstorms -- 72 hours, it will be a terrible snowstorm. The night before we say, hey, it has dissipated.
This knew this storm was losing its -- unlike what Chad said, they knew it was losing that central location in the eye wall. They knew it was weakening. It was a Category 3 over the ocean, Category 1 when it made land and just got weaker and weaker. They knew that. And they weren't flexible enough to begin to tell people what was really happening and how this was getting -- becoming less of a threat all the way through this entire process.
MORGAN: Yes, but with respect, Joe, in Vermont tonight, they are not looking at this as overhyped. If anything they are looking at it as underhyped.
Isn't it the truth that New York City got very, very lucky that the hurricane when it passed through really didn't score a direct hit and wasn't as powerful at that moment as it could have been? But Vermont has been hammered a lot harder than people imagined it was going to be. The idea that the whole overall look at Hurricane Irene is it was overhyped, tell that to people in Vermont tonight.
CURL: Well, no, and I agree with you and the commander that you had on as well.
I think that's exactly the point that I'm trying to make here is that we have got a very -- it makes sense what the councilwoman was saying as well, that you have got 13 million people in New York, a lot of response needed there. But where was the coverage about Vermont? I watched three days straight of wall-to-wall coverage, never heard Vermont mentioned once. All I heard was New York City nonstop.
MORGAN: Yes, but as Chad Myers rightly pointed out, the reason for that is that New York City has this vast population all very tightly housed. And if there had been a direct hit, the devastation to life, limb, to construction would have been horrendous.
Would you -- if you had been President Obama or running FEMA, would you, Joe Curl, have taken that risk? Twenty-seven people have already been killed by this hurricane. How many have to be killed before you assess this as serious enough to take the measures they took?
CURL: No, Piers, that's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying they shouldn't have had a response. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have prepared for it.
But the question was when it started to change, how much information should the public have? If it's moving away from a Category 3 -- there was basically Category 5 coverage for a Category 1 storm that when it made shore, the last nine states it went through, it was a tropical storm.
MORGAN: Let's go to Chad Myers.
Chad, you have heard what Joe has got to say about this. He thinks that basically you're wrong. What do you have to say?
MYERS: I have looked at all the other storms that were the same pressure. I can give you their name, Wilma, Jeanne, Ivan, Charley. OK? I covered all of them. I was on the ground watching those come onshore.
And when I saw that the pressure was still 955 headed to New York City, I'm glad the Hurricane Center didn't let the guard down.
MORGAN: Brian Stelter, let me bring you back in here. We are on the sixth anniversary of what happened in Katrina. I can only begin to imagine what would have happened if the media had underhyped this, underwarned people and you had a Katrina scenario in New York City.
STELTER: We look back six years ago, the media actually was late to find out about the flooding. That's a case somewhat like Vermont actually where they were too focused on the coast, too focused on the beach.
And that was the same -- the same was true in this storm. There was too much attention from reporters on the beach. If we had more meteorologists, more trained scientists in journalism, they would have been looking more at the inland flooding, looking more at the sounds, looking more at places like Vermont.
And frankly that's why we need more people like Chad Myers on the air and more experts on the air who can do that for us.
CURL: But that's not what the meteorologists were telling us. They were telling us that it was going to be devastating along the coast. They was very little mention of inland flooding as that was going to be the main part of the story.
MYERS: Not true. That's not even close.
MORGAN: I watched a lot of that. And let's bring in Chad back in.
Chad, you're right to be exploding with rage there, because you barely stopped mentioning it.
MYERS: I said this is not going to be remembered as a windstorm. This is going to be remembered as a flood-maker. Irene will never be remembered as a wind event. It will be a flood event. We said that 72 hours before landfall.
STELTER: But that is a problem for television. The television, pictures of wind are easier to do. It's easier to be on the beach during this storm when in fact that day on Saturday, Chad, you quoted one of my Twitter messages saying that the water was being sucked out of the Albemarle Sound because flooding was happening inland. It's harder to show that on television. So there is sort of a bias in television toward those windy pictures.
MORGAN: Well, they are all good points.
Let me finally end with Christine Quinn again.
Christine, you are obviously one of the people in charge there. Faced with the exactly same set of circumstances, would you do exactly the same thing again?
If the facts were what they were on a Friday and we believed a storm was coming overnight into Sunday, I would absolutely have worked with city government to do the same thing. You know, and the idea of being flexible, once you -- you need time to move people out of the biggest city in the world. Then you're going to let the storm go, because it could change. It changed in our favor. It could have changed back in the other way.
But you are not going to bring people back to their homes or put the subway back up and running until the entire storm is done. Once you have made the decision based on the facts with the time you need to implement it based on whatever the area you govern is, you stay with that until the storm is done and hope it breaks your way.
And that's what happened to us in New York City. Didn't happen in other parts of the country, unfortunately.
MORGAN: Well, thank you all very much. It's an interesting debate.
I have got to say that on balance, no offense, Joe Curl, but I would rather take my advice on weather matters from Chad Myers than you any day. But we will move on to the next debate.
CURL: Thanks, Piers. Appreciate it. Thanks very much.
STELTER: No offense, Joe.
MORGAN: Thanks, all, very much.
Coming up, a man who was on the front line of the hurricane response in his city, and that was Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
MORGAN: Joining me now is a man who led his city's response to the storm, and that's Newark Mayor Cory Booker, live at the city's emergency operations center.
Cory, a pretty busy few days for you.
CORY BOOKER (D), MAYOR OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Oh, yes, it really has been a busy one. I just want to thank a lot of our emergency workers who have been literally going around the clock out there trying to help folks.
MORGAN: There's been a debate earlier in the show about whether the whole thing has been overhyped.
As somebody who's been at the sharp end of, I guess, being part of that hype -- and for good reason, as far as I'm concerned -- what do you make of that debate, all of these Monday-morning quarterbacks?
BOOKER: You know what? For us still in the trenches trying to help people out, there is a song that goes, I have 99 problems, and that's not one.
Those debates to me are academic. We still have thousand of people without power. We still have people that are dealing with floods, sewage in their homes. There is a real crisis on our hands. And I'm very happy that the president of the United States, that our governor and others called the state of emergency, because in my book it is always better to be prepared for an emergency and not have one than have an emergency and not be prepared.
MORGAN: Yes, I couldn't agree more.
How important was it to you -- you're obviously a famous social networker in these situations. And I know you were very active again. How successful was that for you on this occasion? Obviously with the blizzard, it was very successful. Is it a different thing when you're dealing with a hurricane with mass flooding and so on?
BOOKER: Well, remember, social media is a great tool. It shouldn't replace boots on the ground.
We were literally out there knocking on doors in areas we thought were going to flood, having direct face-to-face conversations with residents. So that's the best way. I went out very early morning on the day the hurricane hit, found many homeless people huddled by our Penn Station. Those are the things that immediately help.
But social media is a tremendous tool. Literally, as I was waiting for your cameras to begin, I was going back and forth with residents about information, asking them to direct message me their phone numbers, so I can get in contact with them. It is a powerful, powerful tool for me to able to be in touch with tens of thousands of my residents.
And I can crowd source ways that I never could have done a few years ago, where I have people telling me where there's downed trees, downed power lines. Obviously we want them to use our 4311 information line, but for many residents who are social media-able, to be able to get that kind of information is very helpful to me as a manager.
MORGAN: The only problem with social media, I have just read a tweet that has came in to @PiersMorgan saying that my blue suit is blinding the person who tweeted it.
BOOKER: Well, you know, look, what I like about social media is does sometimes deals with trivialities, but at the same time for me it lets people really get a window into what's going on with me.
And I get to be really my authentic self. And sometimes I make very bad, corny jokes. But when it comes to times of high state of emergency, like we have gone through in the last few days, I find it a tool where I can get out critical information to thousands of people in an instant where when moments change and something happens, I can let people know not only through press releases and our city's TV station, but I can also go on Facebook and Twitter and let people know.
And people in urban areas actually use Twitter more so than the general population. Everybody has got a smartphone or some kind of device where they can -- which they use to communicate with their friends. It's nice when they follow me that I can jump right into their feed and let them know about urgent information or important facts that can help keep their families safe and informed.
MORGAN: Michele Bachmann said today at a rally in Sarasota: "I don't know how much God has to do with the attention of politicians. We have had an earthquake. We have had a hurricane. He said, are you going to start listening to me here?"
What did you make of that?
BOOKER: Look, I'm a person of faith. And I really hate it when people don't realize that one of the most fundamental aspects of faith is humility. And for any human being to think they know what God is thinking is tremendously, audaciously arrogant.
The reality is, is I do believe we have a divine creator. I feel very humble for him. But what I think he wants me to do is to stop talking about him so much and start trying to live his message and show people my faith not through what I say, but what I do.
MORGAN: Yes, I think she was kidding but it doesn't really seem a perfect subject to be joking about, to be honest.
BOOKER: Right. And I shouldn't be so quick to judge either, because I didn't hear the whole quote. It could have been taken out of context.
MORGAN: Well, there is a time and a place.
Cory Booker, as always, thank you very much for joining me.
BOOKER: No, Piers, thank you for keeping everybody informed. CNN as a whole has done a great job helping my residents out with important information.
MORGAN: Well, I'm happy to be guilty of the charge of overhyping Hurricane Irene. And I'm sure my...
MORGAN: ... too.
BOOKER: Yes. Continue.
MORGAN: I think information...
BOOKER: Right. And the real danger is, is the next hurricane people will take this whole overhype thing and think, this time I don't need to be so super cautious. And that is what makes me worried. It is so much better to be overcautious than to be later over-regretful.
MORGAN: Yes, couldn't agree more. Cory, thank you very much.
You have heard Beyonce's baby news, but coming up, wait until you hear what she told me about it back on June the 27th. And work out whether you think she knew at the time.
Next: a man who is not shy about his opinions. He's promised to -- quote -- "raise hell" tonight. Maverick billionaire Mark Cuban already raising hell with my camera line.
MORGAN: Billionaire Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban is a man of very strong opinions. In fact, he Tweeted this afternoon that he's going to, quote, "raise some hell" on this show tonight. Mark Cuban, I'm delighted to say, joins me now. Welcome.
MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: Thank you. Great to be here.
MORGAN: You're going to raise hell, have you?
CUBAN: Absolutely. MORGAN: What I like is you got here from Dallas on your jet, which is the -- remains I think the single most expensive purchase ever done electronically. Is that right?
CUBAN: That's true.
MORGAN: Talk me through this.
CUBAN: I decided I could afford a new Gulf Stream Jet. So I e- mailed Gulf Stream, send me the details and line up a test flight. Took the test flight, liked it, checked with my pilot I just hired. He liked it. Send them an email, I said, send me the details.
They sent me a price. I negotiated a little bit. I said, let's do it. I wired the money. And next thing you know, old Mark is traveling by jet.
MORGAN: As you do, an e-purchased jet.
CUBAN: it's the biggest and the best.
MORGAN: I was told it was 40 million dollars. Is that right?
CUBAN: Yeah, 40.
MORGAN: Which you could have got -- breaking news tonight, you could have bought Michael Vick for that. Because he has signed a six- year 100 million dollar contract which -- with the Philadelphia Eagles, of which 40 million dollars is guaranteed.
A jet versus Michael Vick. What would you prefer?
CUBAN: You know, I like my jet. Michael -- you talk about a comeback story.
CUBAN: Yes. He went from being in jail and having all kinds of problems to 40 million dollars in the bank. That's the American way, right?
MORGAN: It's the American way. Is it ethically right that he should be able to do this, given what he was found guilty of?
CUBAN: America loves second chances. I mean, that's what we are all about. Hopefully he has learned his lessons and learned from his mistakes, and he'll be a better person for it.
But at the same time, Philadelphia Eagles fans, they are the least forgiving of all fans in America. I think if he missteps, they are going to shoot him down. It was a little bit of a risk, I'm sure. More power to him.
MORGAN: If you could have signed him, would you have done?
CUBAN: I have no idea. It's hard enough figuring out what to do in the basketball world.
MORGAN: Would you have had any moral problem with it?
CUBAN: You know, I try to get to know our guys. You try to figure out who the knuckleheads are. And there are knuckleheads in every sport. So if I thought he was a knucklehead, then yes, I wouldn't do it. If I thought he had grown and learned from his mistake, then I wouldn't have a problem.
MORGAN: Any knuckleheads on your current team?
CUBAN: I'm not allowed to talk about my current team.
MORGAN: That's not a denial. The other shocking news is that Nancy Grace is taking part on "Dancing With the Stars."
CUBAN: is she really?
MORGAN: What do you think of that, as a former contender yourself.
CUBAN: Contender, not contestant. You know, it was the most physically taxing thing I had done in my 40s ever. It's a grind.
MORGAN: I think Nancy's energy level is going to be fantastic.
CUBAN: It's not just about energy. It's about not wanting to go out there and make a fool of yourself, practicing six, eight hours, ten hours a day sometimes to get some of those dance steps down. More power to her, if she can do the work.
MORGAN: She already has a nickname apparently. It's Tot Mambo.
CUBAN: I want to see her mambo. You know, it took me a whole day. I had to do the Mambo. And I had to learn how to do a booty shake. They spent a whole day teaching me how to do a booty shake.. So, Nancy, good luck with your booty shake.
MORGAN: You started life as a waiter.
MORGAN: Earning whatever it was, a few dollars fir what were you doing. What did that teach you? What's the business ethos of Mark Cuban?
CUBAN: I learned that -- you know, I started with nothing. I was living with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment, eating mustard and ketchup sandwiches. It just made me appreciate hard work. It made me appreciate that you're one mistake -- I'm one mistake from being back there.
It also made me respect the effort of others, that I recognize what it's like to be -- to have nothing. I know what it's like to come home and your lights turned off. I think it really made me appreciate the effort of others and respect people that I work with. It made me work harder.
MORGAN: Famously, you want people to e-mail you. Can they e- mail you if they watch this?
MORGAN: You're happy for people to have that email. How quickly do you respond?
CUBAN: I read them first. I'm quicker to hit the delete key than I am to respond.
MORGAN: You have a great little theory about which kind of e- mail you like responding to. Talk me through that.
CUBAN: If it's something that's legitimate. So if you have a business idea --
MORGAN: What are the inadmissible ones? When do you immediately delete?
CUBAN: The minute they start with a sob story. You know, I flunked out of school -- if you start with a sob story, forget it. If you start off and said, you know, I would be rich, but somebody stole my idea, delete key. If you start off with I've been doing my homework and here's the things that I've been able to accomplish, and I've been working my butt of on this idea, and here's where I think it can go, all within two paragraphs, I'm going to read it.
And if I agree with it, I'm going to respond. I've literally invested millions of dollars in people who have presented businesses to me who I have never met. To this day, I wouldn't know them if I saw them. They have been successful businesses.
MORGAN: The key thing to you, though, is they have to have a deep understanding of their product. They have to have demonstrated to you a potential for profit.
CUBAN: Correct. The one thing we can all control is our effort. The problem, a lot of people don't put in the work. They think they have an idea and they think that's enough. I want someone who's dug in, done their homework, know exactly what's going on.
You have to be the smartest person in the room about this idea and about the business and about the industry. If you can show me very quickly that you have done that, then I'm interested.
MORGAN: What's been your biggest failure?
CUBAN: Oh, my goodness. I tried selling powdered milk. I sold things door to door. Professionally, you know, when I had Broadcast.com, there was a thing called the Digital Millennia Copyright Act that I didn't fight, that just killed the online music industry. But, you know, I have been really fortunate. I have made my mistakes little mistakes and my wins big wins. MORGAN: You describe yourself as a very lucky -- I won't repeat the rest of the sentence, but a very lucky man. Let's leave it at that. But luck isn't all of it. It's not all part of the Mark Cuban story.
It seems to me, from what I know about you, chilling self-belief, self-confidence is very important. Not being afraid to take risks and maybe fail also I think differentiates so many entrepreneurs from everybody else, is that you are prepared to back yourself.
CUBAN: That's the whole thing. I don't think I take many risks because I bust my ass, right. If I'm going to get into something, I want to make sure I know this better than anybody. That's just a matter of effort, especially now in an online world.
It used to be you had to go to the library and you had to talk to people. Now you just go online and you can learn almost everything about anything. We live in an open book world.
So it's just a question of effort. If you are not willing to put in the effort, if you're not willing to commit everything, why would I invest in you?
MORGAN: Going to take a little break. When we come back, I want you to unload merry hell on the politicians of this country.
MORGAN: Are you prepared to do that?
MORGAN: I thought you might be.
MORGAN: Back now with my special guest Mark Cuban. You'll like this, Mark. Someone has Tweeted me -- this is Deepak Chopra saying "Mark Cuban's interview on Piers Morgan's show tonight is legit. Seems like a decent, smart guy." I think he's talking about you. "Unlike how the media and entourage portrays him."
CUBAN: If I cared how the media portrayed me, I'd be in --
MORGAN: What about "Entourage"? I liked you in "Entourage."
CUBAN: "Entourage" was call, you know. I should have brought some Evian.
MORGAN: What was it like working with those guys, like Jeremy Piven and such? Is he like that? Is he like Ari Gold?
CUBAN: No quite, but he's intense. When I went in there to do my first cameo, he was all over me. He was giving me a hard time. I didn't even know they were going to bring me back for more episodes. So he let me have it as a rookie. But then I kind of held my ground and had some fun with him.
MORGAN: It was a very fun show. Let's turn to politics.
Washington right now seems in a real mess. It seems there is a total disconnect between real people in America and these politicians, where they just cannot come together and get stuff sorted that will improve the country. You are a very, very successful American entrepreneur and businessman.
What do you make of it?
CUBAN: First of all, the biggest problem is politicians are built around dogma, right? It's all about doctrine. They think just by spewing doctrine, then that's going to make voters happy. So it's balanced budget, of course we want balanced budget. Let's cut taxes. Most people want cut taxes.
But what's missing is actual action items. Nobody is saying here are the things we need to do. Just the fact of the way we present everything -- think of this. In China, they do five-year plans. Here we do ten-year plans. They create a super committee to try to cut the deficit over a ten-year period.
MORGAN: Bureaucracy here seems to be so self-defeating.
CUBAN: It's worse than bureaucracy, right? Because we know we are lying to each other. Every citizen knows it's a lie, and there is no chance in hell that anything is going to happen over a ten year period the way you plan. There is no business that says, you know what, we are going to do a ten-year plan. It's a one year, maybe.
It's right now. It's based off of what's going on right now. Yet we continue to lie to ourselves when there are so many things that we want. I am hoping that this coming election is about action items, as opposed to doctrine from either side.
MORGAN: Warren Buffett thinks guys like him and you should pay a lot more tax.
CUBAN: He's right, you know. And not only should we pay more taxes, but there also should be a differentiation -- there should not be a differentiation between capital gains and regular income. The thing about the American spirit that I'm so proud of is any business I have ever looked at, and any entrepreneur I have ever talked to, including myself, no one sits down and has a conversation about capital gains versus regular income.
Either you have a great idea like we were talking about earlier -- you know, you believe in yourself and you want to make it happy, and you're ready to go for it, or you're not.
MORGAN: Almost every Republican right now, and certainly almost all the candidates for the nomination, they all say that if you raise income tax, even with the super rich, it's punitive. It deters people from doing business. Is that right? CUBAN: No, it's not right. But that's not the big problem, right. It's not so much the revenue coming in. It's how we spend the revenue. Any business, when you put money into your business, you better have it go down to where it's supposed to go. Is it supposed to be into product? Is it supposed to be to the consumers? Is it supposed to be to profits?
In the United States government, it goes in 50 different directions. We are so inefficient in how we use funding. I don't have a problem paying more taxes. What I have a significant problem with is giving capital to somebody who is just putting good money after bad.
If I were able to direct -- if there was a government program and you said, Mark, here's what your tax is going to be. You cover it, you pay for it, I will write the check gladly. When I'm just writing a check to the U.S. Treasury, it's going to waste. That's a significant problem that we have to correct.
MORGAN: President Obama came in on a big ticket of change and hope and so on and audacity. Do you think he's given America that or has he failed America?
CUBAN: He's failed, but not through faults of his own. Well, I take that back. He's failed through one I think significant fault of his own. That's lack of transparency. He also came in and said, everything we do is going to be transparent.
I was really excited about that because what we have right now, in this day and age with social media, with technology, with the Internet, is if you are able to put information out there, the intellect of America, the advantages we have as a group -- what we would be able to accomplish if everybody had access to the information would be so much greater. The sum would be greater than the whole.
I think we really blew it by not have everybody be transparent.
MORGAN: Who of the Republican candidates do you think could make potentially a president?
CUBAN: They all could make a president.
MORGAN: Who would make a good one?
CUBAN: None of them yet, because -- all for the same reason. They are all about doctrine. They're all about dogma. They are all about what they think Republicans should believe in, as opposed to what we as Americans or what the government should be doing.
MORGAN: Is anybody out there whose rhetoric you like --
CUBAN: Because it's all rhetoric. It's one thing to say we shouldn't have the Federal Reserve. Then what? It's another to say, OK, we want to cut taxes. But then what? Give me action items. Give me specifics. Post them online. Let everybody dig in to them and say this is what's right and this is what's wrong. I can give you five action items I could list. Get rid of software patents. Let's get rid of business method patents, because there is so much money being wasted.
MORGAN: Have you thought of running?
CUBAN: Are you kidding me?
MORGAN: You have done everything else.
CUBAN: Well, no, absolutely not. Never crossed my mind. You know, the patents, you can do things like tear down homes that have been foreclosed on that have government-backed mortgages. All of the sudden, you're taking housing off the market. You have people working to tear down homes.
MORGAN: There were people here saying, you know what, this Mark Cuban guy makes sense a lot of sense, and look what he did with the Mavericks. After this break, we're going to tell you again what you did with them.
CUBAN: Oh, man.
MORGAN: You achieved the impossible. Even I was amazed.
MORGAN: Back now with my special guest Mark Cuban. Another Tweet -- you'll like this one. It's Matthew Will (ph). "If you're watching Mark Cuban right now, you'll realize he needs to run for president," #MarkCuban2012. You're people want it.
CUBAN: That will get two re-Tweets.
MORGAN: Let's turn to what I must imagine one of the great days of your life, June 12, 2011. I was in a bar in New York watching, assuming that the Miami Heat were going to win. I'm sorry for being disloyal.
And yet what a day. What an amazing event for Dallas, for you, for the American dream, for all of it. Looking back at it, how did it feel to you?
CUBAN: It was amazing. The playoffs run 57 days. And for me, it was 56 days, 23 hours and, you know, lots of minutes of pure stress and anxiety. And I really didn't start to enjoy it until there were about 30 second left in the game. And it finally dawned on me that we had beat the evil empire.
And all those doubts -- literally, our first round against Portland, people were calling us the one and done boys, meaning one series and we were going to be kicked out. We lost a game that we were up 23 points and rebounded from that, and then swept the Lakers and beat Oklahoma City, and fell behind to Miami.
But I'll tell you the interesting thing, after game three of the Miami series, our guys said, they aren't making any adjustments. We got them. So the confidence was through the roof.
MORGAN: The moment you knew you had won, what was going through your head?
CUBAN: There's actually -- I watched the video, and I just screamed. I just literally screamed. All that anxiety just letting it out.
MORGAN: Did you think of anybody?
CUBAN: I thought of my dad. I thought of my wife, my brothers. And I always saw -- the one thing I had planned, because I'm so superstitious -- I didn't want to jinx this -- was to bring down Donald Carter and his wife, the original founder of the Mavericks. I wanted him to experience it, because he started the team, and he eats, sleeps, lives and dies with the team.
When we played L.A., he said to me, you know, Mark, I don't know how much time I have left, but if we can win this, it would be the crowning moment of my life. So when we did win it, that was the one thing I wanted to do, was let him hold the trophy up before any of us. And that was a special moment.
MORGAN: It was a very special moment. If enough Americans decided they quite like Mark Cuban to work his magic on America that he's worked for the Mavericks, what would you say?
CUBAN: I'm not going to buy another sports team.
MORGAN: L.A. Dodgers? L.A. Dodgers? Buy the Dodgers.
Mark Cuban, it's been a pleasure.
CUBAN: I really enjoyed this.
MORGAN: Thank you very much. >
When we come back, what Beyonce told me about her baby news back in June.
MORGAN: The big buzz on last night's MTV VMAs was, of course, this extraordinary moment from Beyonce showing off her baby bump for the very first time.
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MORGAN: and all I was thinking as I was watching it was what she told me when I interviewed her on June the 27th back in London.
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MORGAN: You're 29 years old.
BEYONCE, SINGER: Yes.
MORGAN: And in September the looming, dooming big three zero is emerging in your life. You're pretending to be very, very thrilled about it. Are you?
BEYONCE: I am absolutely serious. I can't wait. Because 29 is very strange. You're still in your 20s, but you feel like you're supposed to be 30. And I feel like a woman. I feel, you know, like I'm very aware of who I am.
And I feel great. And I feel like 30 is the ideal age, because you're mature enough to know who you are and to have your boundaries and your standards and not be afraid or too polite. But you're young enough to be a young woman. I'm so looking forward to it.
MORGAN: When I hear you speak like this in this mature, sensible, rational way --
BEYONCE: It's the truth.
MORGAN: But it's beginning to sound like your mother, which makes me think you're now heading to the right kind of time in your life --
BEYONCE: I'm turning into my mom.
BEYONCE: You're trying to say I need to have a baby.
MORGAN: I didn't even ask the question.
BEYONCE: OK. I always said I would have a baby at 30.
MORGAN: I know you did.
BEYONCE: I'm 29.
BEYONCE: But I also said I was going to retire at 30. So I don't know.
MORGAN: So it could be a big year.
BEYONCE: Who knows. I'm not retiring, I tell you.
MORGAN: Can we expert the little patter of little Beyonce and Jay-Zs?
BEYONCE: Only God knows. Only God knows.
MORGAN: Would you mind asking him to tell me.
BEYONCE: I will. I will. We'll have the conversation, but you can't tell anybody else.
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MORGAN: Well, God knew. And I suspect by the size of her bump that Beyonce knew as well. We're going to re-air the whole interview, a fascinating hour with the world's top pop star. That's Beyonce for the hour this Friday.
That's all for us tonight. Congratulations to Beyonce and Jay-Z. "AC 360" starts right now.