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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Brooke Shields; Interview with Governor Chris Christie
Aired September 30, 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: Tonight, see what all the fuss is about. If you want to know why Chris Christie says he's not running for president, and I'll show you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I'm 100 percent certain I'm not going to run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Even though the Tea Party loves him and Democrats fear him, and GOP power players want him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: I'm making a decision based on whether I believe in my heart that I'm ready to be president of the United States, and then I want to be president of the United States right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I'll show you what makes this budget-slashing reformer, tough-talking former federal prosecutor and New Jersey governor tick. A definitive interview with Chris Christie.
Plus, Brooke Shields on her childhood friend Michael Jackson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: When he and I were friends as young people and knowing the man that he was, the person, the genius that he was, the kid that he was. He just always wanted to be the absolute best, best, best, most superior performer that ever lived.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And the price of fame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: I feel more damaged now than I ever remember feeling as a child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Now for the latest on the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, let's go to straight to Ted Rowlands in Los Angeles.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Piers, another riveting day in the courtroom today. Prosecutors continued with their witnesses that were with Michael Jackson at the time he was dying, and specifically, the most compelling witnesses we heard from were the paramedics that responded to that 911 call.
One paramedic said when he got there, Jackson was cold and bluish, another -- actually, both of the paramedics testified that they asked Dr. Murray point blank, what have you given Michael Jackson. And there was never any mention of Propofol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Dr. Murray ever mention to you having administered Propofol to Michael Jackson?
RICHARD SENNEFF, PARAMEDIC: No, he did not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did Conrad Murray ever mention the word Propofol to you during the time that you were at the location or in his presence?
SENNEFF: No, he did not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROWLANDS: At the end of today, Piers, we got a little bit of testimony from one of the emergency room doctors at UCLA. We're going to have more of that next week. And those doctors are going to basically tell the exact same story. That they asked Dr. Conrad Murray, what did you give Michael Jackson? And again, no mention of Propofol.
Of course, over the week, Piers, we have heard the defense make some ground by bringing up Dr. Arnold Klein. They didn't do that today, they did make some groundwork in that they were able to mess up a time line from one of the earlier witnesses, the paramedics basically refuted some of the details that one of the earlier witnesses had come up with.
They'll be able to use that to their advantage obviously down the road here. Next week, we not only expect to hear from these doctors, we also expect to hear from the detectives who were assigned to this case from the beginning to this point. They've been in the courtroom all the way, so the jury's gotten to know them somewhat. They'll really get to know them next week. We'll also hear from two of Dr. Murray's girlfriends next week -- Piers.
MORGAN: Brooke Shields was a childhood friend of Michael Jackson, and gave a poignant and emotional tribute to him at his funeral.
And Brooke joins me now.
Brooke, I'm going to move on to why you're here a little later. But I can't not talk to you about this trial, which is engulfing everyone's thought process at the moment, some shocking stuff coming out of this. Very few people knew Michael as well as you did.
What would he make of all this?
SHIELDS: I haven't seen any of the trial. I refuse to watch it. For simple reasons, that I don't want to feel like getting engaged in conversations about it. You know, all I knew was when he and I were friends as young people. And knowing the man that he was, the person, the genius that he was, the kid that he was. And, you know, he just -- he just always wanted to be the absolute best, best, best, most superior performer that ever lived.
MORGAN: And to my mind, I mean, he was the best I ever saw.
SHIELDS: I don't think anybody came close, and I think so much was imitation. I think he was a one-off for sure.
MORGAN: I want to play just a little part of what you said at the funeral, because it was incredibly moving. I remember watching this live and being moved by it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: Both of us needed to be adults very early. But when we were together, we were two little kids, having fun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The reason that resonated so deeply with people, everyone's known both of you, really were born into this. You never had any choice. You didn't bang on the door at age 20, the door marked fame.
SHIELDS: Or 11 months.
MORGAN: Yes. I mean, literally, in your case, you were 1 year old.
SHIELDS: I pooped on it.
MORGAN: Yes. I mean, tell me about that kind of phenomenon when you don't have a world of anonymity. Which is one thing, you don't seek it -- you're just born into this.
SHIELDS: In some ways, ironically, it's easier and healthier because you don't have one form, like with anonymity and the sort of peacefulness and the freedom in that, which is then completely usurp by this public life that invades every area of your life.
So, in a way, I've seen it destroy young people who then, all of a sudden, conned into it relatively quickly although they may have been trying for 10 years. But then -- and then fame and money and all of that comes at them.
Growing up with it, it's less of -- it's less of a big deal. It's less of a phenomenon to you, in so far as you learn to navigate it early. I forced myself to be ingrained and an integral part of regular conventional childhood.
MORGAN: I mean, notwithstanding that, do you still feel slightly damaged by the whole process of stardom for so long?
SHIELDS: I'm more damaged -- I feel more damaged now than I ever remember feeling as a child.
MORGAN: Really, why?
SHIELDS: Because I was a kid, and I also had a lot of fun, and a lot of opportunity. And we made it a game.
And then when I worked, I still had to go to school. So I only worked in the summers, I only worked after school. So, that piece was never broken up. And it never was -- it never did not take precedence.
MORGAN: Why do you feel damaged now?
SHIELDS: Because I'm -- because in a way, I was so protected, and I was so naive, I was sort of -- I maintained a level of naivete for so long that now when I see things, the way the business is, the way the industry is, the way the world is, I'm so much more affected by it, because I can't believe -- I always say I hate people, you know, because I'm not -- I did not get hardened by it.
And, therefore, I'm shocked when there's injustice done, and I'm shocked when someone hurts my feelings, and I'm shocked when someone says something mean, like -- there is innocence, I don't know if you're allowed to call it that at 46, but you know, there is something -- I see it now and I think, my God, had I seen any of this when I was younger? I'd be a statistic, I'd be destroyed.
MORGAN: Is this very similar, do you think, to the way Michael Jackson probably felt?
SHIELDS: I think -- we talked about it a little bit. I mean, I think that in any case, dealing with fame is an individual thing. Your character gets challenged, your character gets revealed, your character -- who you are, how you choose to live your day, and what you -- what you're ensconced in. I mean, I refused it to be bigger than I was, and inadvertently it still became very big. But it never -- I always said to myself, I'm going to have a healthy marriage, and I'm going to have my children, and I'm going to do this. These are things I set out when I was a little child.
MORGAN: How do you feel about your own children going into any sort of fame?
SHIELDS: I pray to God that they don't want to. I mean, I can't be such a hypocrite, because here I am on stage and film and doing everything, and having a blast, and bringing them in on the experience, and they're seeing me perform and grow and make a living. And so, I can't very well say do as a say, not as I do.
However, I hope to give them enough of a field of view that allows them to see sort of all that it entails. And, listen, if they want to go to school, that's all I'm going to pay for is their schooling. They can do whatever they want and I would, as a mom, you have to help them.
MORGAN: I always wondered what it must like to be on a school run as a mother when Brooke Shields has a child at the same school.
A friend of mine goes to a school in London and Gwyneth Paltrow is one of the mothers. And it's like a daily -- it's a nightmare.
MORGAN: I mean, you turn up looking like this, (INAUDIBLE).
SHIELDS: Here's the thing. It takes like three hours to have a team of people to have me look natural to sit here today. So, the difference is, I think it's probably why I have made some really good friends at the school, the moms, because I look ratchet when I got and I'm not kidding. They know that I can look that way. They can see it on, go Google or whatever.
MORGAN: You were born two months before me. And I think most viewers will be deducing, "I'm surprised you're in the same decade, Morgan." So, I wouldn't worry so much if I were you.
We got to a little break, when we come back, I'm going to talk to you about your latest passion, which is the Broadway stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To what? I don't hear anything.
SHIELDS: Exactly. No phones, no traffic. No nothing. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I know, so annoying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: From the new movie, "The Greening of Whitney Brown."
Yes, Brooke, I mean, a pretty powerful performance in that. And it's an interesting thing, because it kind of plays on American economic hardship, as far as anything else, which is very timely. What do you make of what's happening to your country in terms of so many people now out of work, suffering financial problems?
SHIELDS: It's devastating. I feel like there is so much that I do believe is available for us to do, to create jobs, to keep to -- to make that happen, you know? And there's certain industries that can do it. And I'm ignorant as to why it doesn't seem more obvious to our leaders. Maybe it does.
MORGAN: Are you a fan of President Obama?
SHIELDS: I am. I mean, I am -- I was much, very much a fan in the beginning. I was excited about all the promise and all the -- and the prospect.
But it's interesting, I was listening to Clinton speak the other day, and there was just something about, you know, the fact that he had -- he had a very sort of clear view as to the steps that do need to be taken, not just speaking. Maybe that's -- maybe that's intrinsic to when you were actually in office, you start to have to speak in these grand terms and not point specific.
But the things he was saying were so bright. And I wanted -- I felt like saying, you guys talk to each other and get together.
MORGAN: Does he -- has it ever bothered you that you get considered to be this beautiful model/actress, and not necessarily, you know, a brain? When, in fact, you got a great brain?
SHIELDS: Thank you.
I use that sort of, as an advantage, because sometimes it's a lot easier to think that you're ditzy. If they think you're stupid, and they let you in on information that they think you probably wouldn't understand. And you go, I know, I don't get it. And you go the other door and make the deal you want to make.
MORGAN: What are the people that -- one of the people coming up after this interview is Chris Christie, who is these Republican people want now to enter the race. The reason I'm interested in telling about him briefly is he's a very big guy. And there's this huge debate about whether America is ready to embrace a fat president.
SHIELDS: Oh, my God.
MORGAN: What's your view of that? Should it matter?
SHIELDS: Here's the thing. None of these things should matter. But it's interesting when you take polls and you watch how people respond. It's like -- they're going to respond to something pretty. They're going to respond to something well-put together. Maybe they'll respond more to tan than they will blonde.
I mean, it's a very -- psychologically, I think we've been taught in this country to respond to the visual. And I think, you know, if that -- the tragedy is if that is, in fact, what deters him, whether he -- for him or not, I just think it's so pathetic that we --
MORGAN: I think it's ridiculous. He's one of the smarter guys I've interviewed, and charismatic. He's intelligent. I don't give a damn what size he is.
SHIELDS: But it's also -- you know, it's like -- there's also this other piece to it, which I'm getting into dangerous territory. I don't really care what people do in their personal lives. I really don't. If what they do in their job, you can argue it's a -- it explains their character to you, if they're a lying, cheating person. But, however, there's something to be said for letting their -- what they believe in their politics be what takes precedent rather than they're fat, they're skinny, they're divorced, they're this or that.
I mean, I think we -- I think we have to move past that, just in so far as, we're going to spend time on whether he should go on Jenny Craig or not? Well, I'm already bored.
MORGAN: You love being on stage.
SHIELDS: I love it. I love the growth that I get to experience. I love the immediate reaction from the audience. I'm sort of an addict for it.
And I watch -- I have to be careful that I keep the art pure and not just do it because that one person in the second row doesn't look like they're enthralled, my whole day is ruined. And there are, you know, 900 other people to be accountable to.
So, I love -- I love performing. I love doing it. I love being surrounded by a great cast. And I love finding new ways of manipulating the material. What's great about the Adams family, it's an iconic character and family, and then you couple that with me, who's just been around forever, and, you know, little kids know me from Hannah Montana's mom, their grandparents know me from "Blue Lagoon" or whatever. And so, there's this coming together of two sort of entities, and it makes sense. So, it's not off-putting or why would that make sense?
And it's -- they're amazing sets. We were going to close earlier because these months are incredibly hard. But we decided to stay open and stay through December. And then I'm going to -- then the show's going to close. So, I've extended until December 31st. MORGAN: Fantastic. By the way, I owe you an apology. You're not two months older than me.
SHIELDS: Oh, darn it. I wanted to have like --
MORGAN: You're two months younger than me.
SHIELDS: I wanted to have something over you. I'm going to be the elder.
MORGAN: I would love that, too. Brooke, it's been a real pleasure.
SHIELDS: Thank you.
MORGAN: Thank you very much.
SHIELDS: Thank you. Beer.
MORGAN: Coming up -- sorry?
SHIELDS: Beer, next.
MORGAN: You want a beer?
SHIELDS: Not now, I want one from your pub. OK.
MORGAN: I got a pub in London. You can come and have free beer in my pub in London, as much as you can drink.
SHIELDS: You'll have to card me because I'm two months younger than you.
MORGAN: Chris Christie, the definitive interview, he says he's not running for president. At the moment, I'll show you what makes him tick.
MORGAN: For a man who still insists he's not running for president. Chris Christie has been getting an awful lot of attention this week. Mitt Romney says it would be fun if he got in the race.
Listen to what the New Jersey governor himself said after a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library when a man in the audience asked if he'd run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you reconsidering or are you standing firm?
(APPLAUSE) CHRISTIE: Listen, I have to tell you the truth. You folks are an incredible disappointment as an audience. The fact that that took to the second question -- shows you people are off your game. That is not American exceptionalism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I like all good politicians. The governor dodged the question a bit there.
But he was very candid, when I talked to him in an in-depth interview back in June. We spent the day at his New Jersey home and high school. And it was a revealing interview, which is even more relevant today. Take a look.
MORGAN: Governor, welcome back to your old gym.
CHRISTIE: It's great to be here.
MORGAN: Does this bring back warm memories? Horrible memories?
CHRISTIE: Incredibly warm and happy memories for me. I mean, my -- almost all that I am was developed in this place. It really was.
MORGAN: But in the gym specifically.
CHRISTIE: Oh, yes. Listen, I played sports here, and it was -- it was a great place to grow up, and we had great athletes that I played with the years that I was here. And it -- you know, I watched my own son now play high school baseball and I --
MORGAN: Well, I heard you were a bit of a baseball star here.
CHRISTIE: You know, listen --
MORGAN: Trophy cabinet littered with your triumphs.
CHRISTIE: Yes. Now, I don't know, I think that's probably overstating it. We had a lot -- we had a lot of great players I played, which was a triumph.
MORGAN: But you were good?
CHRISTIE: I was pretty good, yes. I was pretty good.
MORGAN: You were a hot athlete in your day?
CHRISTIE: I was a good catcher. I was a good baseball catcher and a good leader on the team.
MORGAN: Talking about being leader on the team, I loved this quote I found from Stephen Sweeney, the Democratic president of the state Senate here. Who said about the difference between his style and yours, "The difference is that I have an off switch and Chris doesn't. You know, if I knock you down, I'll pick you up, brush the dirt off your back, try and build the relationship, and go forward. Chris knocks you down, like with the teachers, and he'll stomp on you, kick on you until he can kill you."
CHRISTIE: Very dramatic, but not true, you know? Very dramatic but not true.
MORGAN: Not true?
CHRISTIE: No. Listen, you know, I'm tough when I have to be, the same way Steve is tough when he has to be. But in the end, I'm about getting things done, and you don't get things done by stomping people until they're dead.
You get things done by standing for your principles. And letting people know that that's what you stand for. And then that can make appropriate compromise possible.
But being squishy does not allow to you make appropriate compromise possible.
MORGAN: See, to a Brit like me, even your accent seems intimidating. It's the kind of thing --
CHRISTIE: Good. I'm glad about that.
MORGAN: Yes. You're like, a sort of political of Tony Soprano.
CHRISTIE: Others have said that, Piers. Others have said that.
But, you know, just like, you know, James Gandolfini would say if he were here, you know, there's some of that that is for effect. And you have to. I mean, part of what we do --
MORGAN: Do you like the fact that you have this slightly intimidating reputation?
CHRISTIE: I don't like or dislike it. It's just kind of what it is. It's who I am.
And I think what people in New Jersey have gotten to know about me over the last decade that I've been in public life is what you see is what you get. And I'm no different when I'm sitting with you than I am when I'm at home or anyplace else --
MORGAN: Yes. But right now, I'm getting sort of -- you know, this is a very civilized conversation we're having. You're very polite. You're very friendly. But I've seen some of these YouTube videos of you in action in these town halls, and you're on the rampage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: Well, and you -- and listen, and teachers go into it knowing what the pay scale is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: Well, what I am --
MORGAN: Lacerating these people, taking no prisoners.
CHRISTIE: I'm responding to --
MORGAN: In the words of Mr. Sweeney -- taking them down, stomping on them, and killing them.
CHRISTIE: I'm responding to their attempted laceration of me. And if you look at the YouTube videos, what you're going to find is -- I mean, I see this at my town hall meetings all the time now.
I say, listen, here's the last rule. If you want to screw with me, that's great. And if you do it in a polite and respectable way, you'll get a polite respectable disagreement back. But if you decide you want to take me for a walk, well then, you're going to get that response as well.
MORGAN: I mean, you take no prisoners. You like a fight.
America right now is in the fight in its life as a nation, particularly economically. Do you think America needs somebody like you who's going to be tough?
CHRISTIE: I think America needs lots of tough people. Not just me. I think America needs to get tougher, all of us.
We need to understand that it's time to step up and pay for what we want.
And you know, we haven't been doing that for a long time, and both parties have been guilty of it.
MORGAN: Tell me about your upbringing here. You're a New Jersey man, born and bred. Tell me about the early days.
CHRISTIE: Well, you know, my parents moved here to this town from Newark, when I was 5 years old, so I could go to this school system because it's one of the best school systems in the state. And they borrowed money, $1,000 from each one of my grandmothers, to put a $2,000 downpayment on a $22,000 house that my father was able to get with his V.A. mortgage from having served in the Army. They wanted to come here for their kids.
MORGAN: Your mother died very sadly five, six years ago. And it was an awful end to her life.
But you had this very poignant time with her before she died where she said to you -- two things struck me. One was she said you can go back to work because there's nothing left unsaid between us, which I found very moving when I read that. Also, she said to you, going forward, and I'm sure she had great, like all mothers, great aspirations for her boy -- she said never worry too much about being loved, focus on being respected, because if you're respected, then you can find love down the road, people will love you for it.
CHRISTIE: Yes. Listen, I miss her every day. She was incredibly, incredibly strong. And the end of her life was really very difficult for all of us, and it came very suddenly.
But the greatest gift she ever gave me was that last moment I had with her in the hospital when she said, go to work, there's nothing left unsaid between us.
You know, that's the way she taught us to be our whole lives.
MORGAN: If you were being honest, what do you think your mother would have said were your best qualities, and what would she say would be your not-so-good qualities?
CHRISTIE: I think if -- the best quality she would say is brutally honest, tough, and compassionate. And I think on the worst quality she would say quick to judgment.
MORGAN: The great unspoken is the presidential run that's not happening. You said -- I think you -- more likely, you'll commit suicide than run for president. Can we hold you to that, Governor?
CHRISTIE: Yes, you can.
MORGAN: Is that one of those little jokes where you think, hang on, maybe I went too far there?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, my wife didn't like the jokes. I mean, what I said was, what do I have to do to convince you that I'm not going to run for president, commit suicide? You know, that's kind of my humor. My wife didn't think it's the funniest thing I've ever said.
MORGAN: Here's the thing. I don't understand why you wouldn't want to run this time. I mean, you've got the economy in tatters. Your record on that is pretty strong. You're admired for it. Your poll ratings have been going up.
There's no clear candidate. I've interviewed most of them. No one is screaming "vote for me" yet.
You're the guy that the party likes. You got the admiration of the public. Why wouldn't you?
CHRISTIE: Because that's not the way you make decisions like running for president of the United States. To put it really simply, I don't want -- if I ever were to make that decision, I wouldn't want to say, "I know I can win, I hope I'm ready." I'd rather say, "I know I'm ready, I hope I can win." And -- MORGAN: Why aren't you ready?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I've been governor for --
MORGAN: How old are you now?
CHRISTIE: I'm 48.
MORGAN: How old is Barack Obama?
CHRISTIE: He's about 50, I think, right?
Listen, if it were just about calendar, John McCain would have beaten Barack Obama. You know, if that's the way you gauge readiness.
MORGAN: No, but my point would be that to take on Barack Obama right now, he's flying high on the back of bin Laden being killed, yet the economy is perceived to be a weak point, which it was always going to be, tough to come out of a big recession like that. Your party is crying out for a savior, somebody that they think has maybe the youthful energy and dynamism to combat that strength in Obama, someone who's got an economic track record.
You know, when I look all the checklists, there aren't many names on it that tick the right boxes right now for Republicans. You tick most of those boxes.
CHRISTIE: And you know what? Those are all I think appropriate and maybe accurate tactical judgments. That's not the way I'm making this decision. I'm making this decision based on whether I believe in my heart that I'm ready to be president of the United States and that I want to be president of the United States right now.
MORGAN: You're a straight talker, right?
MORGAN: We're 18 months away. It's a long time in politics.
CHRISTIE: It is.
MORGAN: It's a long time in life. I don't believe this is 100 percent closed to you. And I don't think you could look me in the eye, given everything that's going on, and say, Piers, I'm 100 percent certain I'm not going to run. Can you?
CHRISTIE: You're wrong. I'm 100 percent certain I'm not going to run.
MORGAN: Let me rephrase the question.
MORGAN: You're 100 percent certain you won't run this time. Are you 100 percent certain you won't run in 2016?
CHRISTIE: There are so many variables to that, Piers. I couldn't say I'm 100 percent certain.
MORGAN: Give me a percentage.
CHRISTIE: I couldn't.
MORGAN: Governor, we're going to have another break. And when we come back, I want to ask you what you feel guilty about, as a good Catholic boy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You were always a bit of a high flyer here -- president of everything, right?
CHRISTIE: Senior class, junior class, sophomore class -- yes, all the way through.
MORGAN: Even as you're saying that your chest is puffing out with pride.
CHRISTIE: Sure. Winning beats losing, Piers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: Row two, from the first, second row. One, two, three, four people in. There I am.
MORGAN: Yes. You're like some kind Olympian athlete.
CHRISTIE: Well, it was 31 years ago, Piers.
MORGAN: What happened?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You're a Catholic.
CHRISTIE: I am.
MORGAN: When I interviewed Mitt Romney he made which I thought was quite a surprising statement that he intended to divorce all matters of his faith from his political life. And I figured that he did this because he sees being a Mormon as a potential weakness to the electorate.
Do you see that you can do that? Can you divorce being a Catholic with all that that means and all you stand for as a Catholic -- and I'm a Catholic -- from running for high office? CHRISTIE: Well, I think that you have to understand that we are not a religious democracy. That, you know, we -- religion to me is a personal thing. And so, you know, I have to make certain decisions. My decisions are going to be based -- being made based on what I think is best for all the people of New Jersey.
Now, my Catholicism informs part of who I am. But it does not rule who I am. And so I --
MORGAN: I'll ask you what I asked him. And he refused to answer.
MORGAN: Is homosexuality a sin?
CHRISTIE: Well, my religion says it's a sin. I mean, I think -- but for me I don't -- I've always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual. And so, I think if someone is born that way, it's very difficult to say then that that's a sin. But I understand that my church says that. But for me personally, I don' t look upon someone who is homosexual as a sinner.
MORGAN: You support civil unions, but you don't support gay marriage. Can you see a situation where you would change your mind about that?
CHRISTIE: I don't think so. I believe marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. I think it's special and unique in society. And I think we can have civil unions that can help to give the same type of legal rights to same sex couples that marriage gives them.
But I just think marriage is a special connotation. And I couldn't see myself changing my mind on that. But I am in favor of making sure that homosexual couples have the same type of legal rights that same -- that heterosexual couples have.
MORGAN: On abortion, quite controversially for a New Jersey Governor in waiting as you were, you came out strongly against it. Obviously, this is a pretty liberal state before you became Governor. Tell me about that, obviously an interesting -- not dilemma, but for you a position to take that you knew probably would be quite controversial here.
CHRISTIE: Well, I just told people about it right up front. I mean, I'm pro-life. I believe in exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. But I do believe that life is precious and should be protected.
MORGAN: And you had this feeling firmly when your wife with one of your children was 13 weeks pregnant.
MORGAN: And you saw a scan, I think. CHRISTIE: No, I heard a heartbeat. What happened was I had been pro-choice before that. And I would call myself kind of -- before that, a non-thinking pro-choice person. It was just kind of the default position that I took.
And then when my wife was pregnant with our daughter, Sarah, who is now 15, we happened to go to one of the prenatal visits at 13 weeks. And they put the Doppler on my wife's abdomen, who didn't look at all pregnant at that point visibly. And we heard this incredibly strong heartbeat.
And I remember we came separately. She came from her job. I came from mine. We went back to work. And I was driving back to work, I said to myself, you know, as to my position on abortion, I would say that a week ago that wasn't a life. And I heard that heartbeat. That's a life. And it -- it led to me having a real reflection on my position. And when I took time to reflect on it, I just said, you know what, I'm not comfortable with that any more. That was back in 1995, and I've been pro-life ever since.
MORGAN: Part of the thing of being a Catholic is you confess the sins. Obviously in light of Weiner-gate, Schwarzenegger-gate, and so on, is there anything you want to get off your chest?
CHRISTIE: You don't look like a priest to me, Piers. So, no.
MORGAN: Well, should we be ever worried about any skeletons tumbling out of the Christie closet?
CHRISTIE: You know, listen, any confessions I need to make, I'll make to my wife and to my priest, not on CNN to you, pal.
MORGAN: Well the other thing of being a Catholic is feeling guilty. Do you ever feel guilty about stuff?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I had a Sicilian mother. Guilt was like, you know, a staple served on the kitchen table, you know.
MORGAN: What do you feel most guilty about?
CHRISTIE: It depends on the day. The thing that I feel most guilty about, my weight.
CHRISTIE: Yes, because I'm really struggling, been struggling for a long time with it. And -- and I know that it would be better for my kids if I got it more under control. And so I do feel a sense of guilt at times about that.
MORGAN: Why do you think you've had a battle with your weight?
CHRISTIE: If I could figure it out, I'd fix it.
MORGAN: You don't know what it is?
CHRISTIE: I don't.
MORGAN: Do you ever get help for it?
CHRISTIE: Sure, plenty of times.
MORGAN: Where do you fall down in terms of dealing with it?
CHRISTIE: I eat too much. I mean, it's not a complicated thing. And you know, it's one of the things, everybody has faults.
MORGAN: Is it -- is it the one jibe about you that really stings? CHRISTIE: No. No, because I know the people who jibe me about that are just ignorant. They're just ignorant. Because, it doesn't matter. It's my issue. And I -- when people talk about those kind of things, I -- I think it just displays their ignorance.
Because, in the end, it doesn't have any effect on the way I can do my job. And so, if they're commentating about me as Governor and decide they want to do that, you know what I conclude? I must be doing a damn good job, because if that's all they got to jibe me about, amen, man, I'm having a good day.
MORGAN: Final question for here, do you think you would make a good president?
CHRISTIE: You know, my wife was asked this question and she said yes. I'll leave it at that.
MORGAN: Governor, we're now going to leave gym, which I'm sure you'll be quite relieved about. And we're going to go to a few other interesting locations in the life of Chris Christie.
MORGAN: So we're in a very classic New Jersey diner here. How much of your life have you spent in places like this?
CHRISTIE: A lot, especially when I was running for office. I mean, diners are one of the key places to campaign. New Jerseyans spend a lot of time in diners. And for this one, this is the diner of my youth. I mean, this is the place --
MORGAN: When you come here, what do you get out of it? Other than nice food and coffee?
CHRISTIE: It was a place to socialize for teenagers, a place where we could come. We could buy some food that was affordable and was good. And we could have fun. And they didn't kick us out.
MORGAN: I couldn't help but noticing a sort of frisson of excitement when you came in, governor. You're popular with the locals.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, this is my hometown. MORGAN: I mean, the most famous New Jersey celebrity is probably Bruce Springsteen.
MORGAN: Who has given you a few whacks.
CHRISTIE: Yes, he has.
MORGAN: How do you feel about that?
CHRISTIE: It's OK.
MORGAN: Is that the New Jersey way?
CHRISTIE: I think it is. And it's no surprise to me, because Bruce is a liberal and, you know, he and I have different political philosophies. But I've been to 125 of his shows.
So, you know, I love him. I love his music. I love the way he performs.
MORGAN: What's your favorite song, "Born to Run?"
CHRISTIE: No, Thunder Road," "Thunder Road."
MORGAN: See what I did there? "Born to Run."
CHRISTIE: Yes, I saw it and I went back over to "Thunder Road," Piers. "Thunder Road" is my favorite. It's my favorite. But yes, listen -- and I grew up as Bruce was becoming prominent. You know, my high school years were the "Born to Run" years, the "Darkness on The Edge of Town" years.
MORGAN: I would imagine that he, like you, like everyone I've met in New Jersey, straight talkers, no bull (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You know, they call it as they see it.
MORGAN: Not going to suffer fools.
MORGAN: That's the kind of vibe I get here.
CHRISTIE: It is. And that's the vibe of the state. I mean, folks here are tough and they're edgy. But they've really -- got big hearts. So they're willing to welcome you in. But don't cross them.
The other thing New Jersey hates is phonies. And we can smell them from a mile away.
MORGAN: Why are you looking at me that way?
CHRISTIE: You know, it's -- we're still evaluating you, Piers. We're still evaluating you. You're trending positively, but we're still evaluating you.
MORGAN: A lot of people say that in American politics, because of the scale of the country, what you do state-wise doesn't have to be the same as what you would do on a national level.
CHRISTIE: I think philosophically on those kind of big broad issues, for me, I would bring the same approach and the same ideas to a higher job that I would to this one. But where it gets a little tricky is there might be certain things that I would be in favor doing as a governor, where as a president I might back off a little bit because I think it's the right of the states to do certain things.
MORGAN: I would imagine that you would run America rather like they run this diner. You would want to make it as an attractive place as possible for people to come and invest in, spend their money. But in terms of the business end of the operation, keep costs to an absolute minimum, provide quality, you know, make sure you have good, reliable, loyal staff.
And in the end, feel that you're providing a snapshot of what America should be all about.
CHRISTIE: Absolutely. I couldn't agree with you more. That's what you try to do. And I don't think it's very complex. I think sometimes we try to make things too complex. And that's why Ronald Reagan was such a popular American president with the American people, because he didn't pretend to be into every detail.
But he said here's the direction we're going in, here are the things I stand for. And that's sometimes where the president -- the current president gets himself in trouble, is I think that he -- he does seem a little bit too detail-oriented, a little bit too professorial.
MORGAN: Too micro.
CHRISTIE: A little bit too in the weeds. And I think people want an American president that strides across the country in -- and brings us a philosophy and a principle that he's willing to stand by. I always thought that one of the best things about Reagan was that if you presented a different fact problem, you could probably guess what Reagan would say on it, because people felt like they knew him.
MORGAN: I agree. I think it's very important. Talking of which, we're now going to go and meet one person I think you're genuinely scared of, your wife.
MORGAN: There's no question. Real fear.
MORGAN: So, Governor, we're now in your kitchen.
CHRISTIE: Yes. MORGAN: And we've now reached the boss in your relationship, which is your wife, Mary Pat. Mary Pat, I've spent a lot of time with your husband today. He's a fascinating character in many ways, had a lot to say about you, mainly of the you wear the trousers in this relationship. Is that an accurate description?
MARY PAT CHRISTIE, GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE'S WIFE: No, I think we're more of a team than one person wearing the trousers.
MORGAN: They say behind every successful man there's a good woman prodding him on. Do you go along with that?
M. CHRISTIE: I definitely think I'm a good woman. But we really do work as a team. And we really have helped each other both in our careers and in our personal lives.
MORGAN: Did you ever imagine that you'd end up being a Governor's wife.
M. CHRISTIE: Not really, no.
MORGAN: It is better or worse than you hoped.
M. CHRISTIE: Oh, I think it's been great, it's been really great. It's been a tremendous honor of just such a privilege to represent the state, really didn't imagine it would be so exciting and eventful.
MORGAN: There's lot of talk of your husband possibly running for the presidency. When I asked him about it, I absolutely got the sense that he didn't feel he was ready and that collectively, as a family, you kind of agreed with that. Is that right?
M. CHRISTIE: Yes, I'd agree with that. We have, as you know, a large family, four children at really pretty crucial ages in their development and a lot of moving parts in this family. So I think, as a team, we all decided it probably wasn't the right time.
MORGAN: What if your country needs him?
M. CHRISTIE: Well, I'm sure his country could use him but his family needs him too.
MORGAN: Could you imagine him not one day running for presidency? Isn't it just -- he was -- we went to his school -- we went to his school this morning and there he was, he was president of every single thing in the school. So the whole school must have called him president for years on end.
He goes to baseball, he wins that. You know, everything he does, he wants to be number one. And he's already been called president for ten years.
M. CHRISTIE: Yes, look, I think there are so many things that Chris can do with the rest of his life after he's governor, hopefully for a total of eight years. And I think he could be president, I think he'd be a great president.
But I think he'd also be a great CEO. He'd be a great person to stay home and, you know, teach college classes. I think he could do anything he wanted to do.
MORGAN: What is it about him, do you think, that if it came to it, if it came to a presidential race, why should Americans vote for him?
M. CHRISTIE: Because Chris has an -- an unbelievable ability to succinctly analyze a problem, come up with solutions, listen to people and then communicate the solutions. I mean, that's really what I think.
And you know, there's no better communicator I know.
MORGAN: And I asked him as a good Catholic boy to tell me about any sins he wanted to absolve himself of, because I'm Catholic as well, so I think we could have this sort of mini confessional.
M. CHRISTIE: Lovely. We need a priest.
CHRISTIE: That's exactly what I told him.
MORGAN: He actually said that -- he said actually he would only admit these to you. Anything you want to share with us?
M. CHRISTIE: No, not at all. Not at all. Nice try, Piers.
MORGAN: What's the single biggest misconception about your husband, do you think?
M. CHRISTIE: Probably that he's mean. I mean, he's just the nicest guy, and funny.
MORGAN: He's the nicest, most ferocious prosecutor you've ever met, right?
M. CHRISTIE: But he's a really good person. I mean, as a prosecutor, he's overriding -- his focus was to never prosecute the wrong person. I mean, people will never know how hard Chris worked at not prosecuting someone that he wasn't absolutely confident they were guilty.
MORGAN: Bit of a pussycat really?
M. CHRISTIE: Well, I don't know about that.
MORGAN: Wouldn't go that far?
M. CHRISTIE: You're putting words into my mouth, Piers.
MORGAN: That can be really damaging.
M. CHRISTIE: Yes. MORGAN: So we're going to have a short break and then get to the really interesting bit, where we bring in two of your children to tell me what he's really like. Right you two?
MORGAN: So we're now going to be joined by two of your children, I'm delighted to say, Sarah and Andrew, welcome.
SARAH CHRISTIE, DAUGHTER OF CHRIS CHRISTIE: Hello.
MORGAN: Now, Andrew, you're now very famous, because, of course, you were the one playing baseball when daddy got his helicopter. So were you embarrassed? Were you proud of him? How did you feel?
ANDREW CHRISTIE, SON OF CHRIS CHRISTIE: No, I mean, I -- I really was just happy that he coming to the game. He told me a week -- when we won on our last game on Friday, he told me that it looks like I think the only way I'm going to be able to get there is the copter.
And so I kind of laughed and said, well, that's fine if you're going to be able to make it. And my whole team kind of knew in advance. They were staring at the helicopter as it landed. But it was good. We ended up winning. So that was --
MORGAN: Well, I'm very pleased. Congratulations. He has said he may do this again. Now, are you happy if that helicopter comes into sight again in the middle of the game?
A. CHRISTIE: Maybe -- maybe it was a good intimidation tactic. I don't know.
MORGAN: Well, you are at an age -- how old are you now?
A. CHRISTIE: Seventeen.
MORGAN: Well, you're at an age where you're getting quite political. You're nearly able to vote. When you look -- are you a Republican by nature, would you say?
A. CHRISTIE: Yes.
MORGAN: When you look at the other candidates doesn't part of you think, wow, wish the old man would run, because he'd have a better chance?
A. CHRISTIE: Well, you know, I -- I guess part of me thinks that, a little bit, but I -- I don't think for us personally as a family and for him it would be the best idea.
MORGAN: Now, come on, I understand your kid sister being scared of the White House. You -- you have already measured out the Lincoln room. I mean, come on. How cool would that be?
Imagine the chicks. Hey, you want to swing by the White House tonight for a cocktail? Don't tell me you haven't thought about it.
A. CHRISTIE: Oh, I've definitely thought of that. Yes, and it would definitely be cool, as I said. But, you know, probably right now. Maybe in a few years though.
MORGAN: Now, you two know your dad better than most people. So when he looks me in the eye and says, it's 100 percent certain I will not run in 2012, should I believe him. A. CHRISTIE: Yes. No doubt about it.
MORGAN: When he says that, he means it?
S. CHRISTIE: Because I ask him that all the time too. I'll hear stories and stuff and --
MORGAN: Why would you keep having to ask him if -- if when he says it, you believe him?
S. CHRISTIE: Well, I just want to be sure, because I just don't want him to. Making sure he's not running.
MORGAN: Now I saw back at the school pictures of your old dad when he won the state championship in baseball. And he looked athletic like you do, Andrew. But he did say in my interview earlier that one of the reasons that he wants to lose weight now is for his children. What do you think? Would you like him to?
A. CHRISTIE: Of course. Yes, you know, I'm -- I don't know. I think Sarah is pretty concerned about it. She expresses that often. And, of course, everyone would love him to lose some weight.
MORGAN: Sarah, why are you concerned about it?
S. CHRISTIE: I just want him to be healthy. And I think he'd be happier. And I just think, you know, it'd be one less thing people could, you know, say about him.
MORGAN: Yes, as his daughter, do you get upset when people poke fun at him.
S. CHRISTIE: Yes, because it's not like, you know, he chooses that, necessarily. And it's just -- I think it's a stupid thing to make fun of him for but --
MORGAN: Finally, you two, what would you say are the best things about your dad and the most annoying?
A. CHRISTIE: The best things. I think the best things are that he is always someone that I can talk to about almost anything. You know, he's been there for me my whole life as a coach, as a father. And we just pretty much can relate to everything together. So that's really nice.
A lot of people say we're a lot alike.
MORGAN: You are alike. And Sarah, I can't even imagine what he's like when you try and bring boyfriends around. I'll bet he's a nightmare isn't he?
S. CHRISTIE: He told me that -- in the campaign, I'd asked if I was going to have to have state police with me all the time. He said only when he thought I was in danger. And that was whenever I was with a boy. I was not too happy about that. MORGAN: What would you say are his best and worst characteristics?
S. CHRISTIE: Best? I don't know, kind of like what Andrew said. He's always been there. He -- he -- I think he does his best and he succeeds in making his family a priority, and just kind of always reminding us like -- it's like before he went out to give his speech on election night, the six of us huddled in like a circle.
And he was just like, this is all crazy, but just remember that these six people here were, you know, all that really matters right now. And we're going to go out there and we're going to try to do our best for New Jersey. And, you know, just it really reminded -- it reminds us all the time about how your family is going to be your best friend and they'll always be there.
MORGAN: A group political huddle, I like it. And what would you say is the negatives about -- about your dad.
S. CHRISTIE: He's very -- well, he makes fun of me for this, but I always say he's very embarrassing. I don't know, it's just -- like blasting like Usher music in the car.
MORGAN: Oh no. You just killed off any chance he has. He plays Usher music?
Well, look, it's been great to meet you. You're obviously a very close loving family. And whatever does happen, I wish you all the best of luck.
CHRISTIE: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Thank you very much.