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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Condoleezza Rice; Interview with Elliot Ackerman and Kahlil Byrd of Americans Elect; Interview with Ethan Wayne
Aired November 6, 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, one of the most powerful women in America, Condoleezza Rice -- the ultimate Bush White House insider.
Why does she say Dick Cheney attacked her? Why did she threaten to resign after 9/11? And what did she really think about Moammar Gadhafi's crush on her?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Quite extraordinary. And weird and a bit creepy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Condoleezza Rice, no holds barred.
Plus, an upstart movement is trying to change the way this country elects a president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLIOT ACKERMAN, COO, AMERICANS ELECT: As Americans, why can we see a nonpartisan ticket that really is focused on governing? The only reason we can't see it because the parties won't allow it. That's not a good enough reason.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And John Wayne's son, why he sold hundreds of his father's prized possessions.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: And welcome back, Dr. Rice. We last spoke in January when I first launched this show. And it's been pretty quiet since then. I mean, what's really happened? We've had the Arab Spring uprisings, bin Laden has been killed, Gadhafi has been killed, Mubarak overthrown.
MORGAN: We've had the biggest financial crisis again we've ever seen. And we've got a guy who used to sell pizzas running your party's chance to take on the president.
RICE: It's been --
MORGAN: So pretty quiet.
RICE: It's been a busy several months. That's absolutely right.
MORGAN: What do you make of the whole Herman Cain phenomenon? Because it is a phenomenon. He's come pretty much from nowhere to storm the GOP ratings. He is engulfed in maybe a scandal. We don't know the full -- the full extent of it yet.
But what do you think of him personally?
RICE: Well, I don't -- I don't actually know him. But this is what our primary season is all about. And he's an interesting person. He has an interesting background.
Obviously, a lot of business experience. And he's sort of shaking up the race. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, but this will all settle out over the next several months, and the Republican Party will choose a nominee, but our primaries tend to be a little bit like this.
MORGAN: Reading your book -- I mean, obviously you make a big play of saying no one needs to tell you how to feel as a black American, as a black woman. When you see the charge of potential racism in the Herman Cain case, people saying that people are only going after him because he's a black conservative, do you think that holds any merit?
RICE: Well, I actually don't like playing the race card on either side. I don't like it when people say that the criticism of President Obama is because he is black. The criticism is because he's the president, and we tend to criticize our presidents. And so, I really don't like playing the race card on either side.
Obviously, I view myself as a -- as a black Republican, as someone who can stand up for myself, and as I have often said, I don't need anyone to tell me how to be black. I've been black all my life. And if you don't like my political views, then that's really too bad.
MORGAN: What do you think of the GOP race generally? It's been fluctuating wildly over the last couple of months. And I guess it may still fluctuate. Mitt Romney has been the steady Eddie, if you like -- consistently polling around the 25 percent mark. Others have leapt above him and then crashed below again.
What can you read into this from your experience?
RICE: Well, I don't think you can read anything in at this point. We really will get a much better view, a much better barometer of how to think about this race after the first of the year, after the first primary. So, you know I was associated with the campaign very closely in 2000 -- the George W. Bush campaign, going all the way back really to the beginning of '99.
And there was a lot of turbulence in that campaign, too. People forget, for instance, that George W. Bush lost the New Hampshire primary by I think 17 or 18 points.
And so, there's a lot of settling out to do here, but I'm one who actually thinks that our political system is not too rough. You want to see people under pressure. You want to see them when things get a little difficult because when they get in the Oval Office, things are going to get rough and they're going to get a little difficult.
MORGAN: Without actually giving me names, I know you probably won't of who your favorite is.
MORGAN: Which of the candidates do you find yourself agreeing with most on their policy statements?
RICE: Well --
MORGAN: And it may not necessarily be the one that you would vote for.
RICE: Well, there's no single candidate right now about whom I can say that. I think we have some very good candidates in the race. I myself am enjoying for the first time in quite a long time just sort of watching the campaign as a voter, as obviously a committed Republican, and I think they're debating the issues. That's important.
I probably like to see a little bit more attention to foreign policy, but I understand that given the issues of domestic internal repair that the United States has to do, that a lot of people are not focusing on foreign policy, but I'll just watch the debates and, you know, I'll make my choices later on.
MORGAN: I mean, when the frontrunner, Herman Cain, doesn't appear to know anything about China's nuclear policy, do you get itchy fingers? Do you think maybe you should throw your hat in the ring, albeit, belatedly?
RICE: No, I certainly don't get itchy fingers about throwing my own hat in the ring. No. Absolutely not. Isn't that kind of a mixed metaphor? But anyway, I don't -- I don't myself.
RICE: What I -- what I see is someone who may have misspoken. I really don't know. I know that there were many times during the 2000 campaign when issues of -- the governor know this, the governor that, the president of the United States -- the people who come to the presidency of the United States very often don't come with foreign policy experience, but they get it rather quickly.
And so, the important thing to look for in candidates is what do they stand for, what are their principles, do they understand the unique character of the United States, and its unique role in the world?
MORGAN: Let's turn to your book. A fascinating read. A complex read. Covers eight extraordinary years really of the start of the millennium.
When you finished the book, what was your emotion when you finally signed off on it? What did you conclude about that period in your life?
RICE: Well, first of all, there was the relief that I finally finished the writing, which, as you know, can be quite trying. But essentially --
MORGAN: It's a big book, too.
RICE: It is. But -- well, Piers, it's only 740 odd pages, and that's less than 100 pages a year, because we were in office for eight years, so I think it's actually not that -- not that big a tomb (ph), but it is for me an opportunity to talk to people about what it's like to be in the White House, to be in the State Department, to try to give people a glimpse of not just what the decisions were, but how they were made and the distinctly human character of the people and being in those circumstances.
We're all human beings. There are personalities. There are disagreements, but most importantly, people are working hard on behalf of the country and I called it "No Higher Honor" because that's really the way that I feel about those years that I served.
MORGAN: I mean, I've read all the books now by the chief protagonists of that period in the administration, and my conclusion of your thoughts on them, if I was boiling it down, would be you admire the president, President Bush, you hated Dick Cheney, you tolerated Donald Rumsfeld, and you felt a bit sorry for Colin Powell.
How have I done there?
RICE: Let's start over. I did indeed admire the president. There's no doubt about it, and I really do believe that he did an exceptional job under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
The vice president I have a high regard for. We simply didn't agree a lot of the time, and particularly in the second term. I think the vice president exhibited some disappointment in the turn that the foreign policy took in that second term, and associates it with me and the State Department, and that's fine. People can disagree, but I don't have any less regard for the vice president.
As to Don -- Don and I have been friends for a long time. And I know that Don is a kind of irascible character. I think he did a fine job on many things as secretary of defense. We didn't agree ultimately about the course of the war in Iraq, and that was ultimately settled.
And Colin Powell is my friend, and he is a great patriot. He served as secretary of state at a time when we were at war, and the hard thing about being secretary of state when we are at war is that especially in the early phases the Pentagon is first on.
And so, yes, sometimes it was very hard being America's diplomat between 2001 and 2004, and I respect him for the job he did.
MORGAN: I mean, you describe once -- you say every public appearance with Donald Rumsfeld was a disaster.
RICE: Well, because -- well, the one in Baghdad was a bit of a problem because I describe in Baghdad that president -- the president -- in the book that President Bush had sent Don and me to Baghdad to sort of show unity between the Defense Department and the State Department. And Don was impatient with the whole thing, and unfortunately sort of came through in the press availability.
And I'm afraid we wrote stories that we really didn't intend to write about how well we were getting along.
And so, yes, that one was a bit of a disaster. But you know those things happen, and as I said, Don and I remain friends. And it's awfully important for people to realize that you can have substantive differences, you can have intense debates, you can even have intense arguments, and you can still do it in a civil way where you may have personalities involved, but it doesn't have to become personal.
MORGAN: And before we go to a break, very quickly, Dick Cheney said that he saw you crying in a professional situation. I found that very hard to believe, Dr. Rice.
RICE: Yes, I find that -- I find that kind of hard to believe, too. No. I don't think I went to the vice president crying about something in the press. It doesn't sound like me, and I'm pretty sure it didn't happen.
MORGAN: No. I didn't -- it didn't sound like you at all to me.
Coming up after the break, I want to talk about the revolution in the Middle East, the death of bin Laden and Gadhafi -- whether you feel that the way you went about war in Iraq triggered all this or actually was the way that it shouldn't have been done.
MORGAN: That was reaction in Libya to the demise of Moammar Gadhafi.
And back with me now is the former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice who famously found herself the object of Gadhafi's weird affections.
MORGAN: Dr. Rice, I mean, it was a very bizarre setup where even when he left his palace, they found this glorious scrapbook in your honor. And when you went to see him, you actually write in the book, and I'm going to read this back to you.
"At the end of the dinner, Gadhafi told me he made a videotape of me. Uh-oh, I thought. What's this going to be? It was quite an innocent collection of photos of me with world leaders, set to the music of a song called 'Black Flower in the White House,' written for me by a Libyan composure. It was weird, but at least it wasn't raunchy."
MORGAN: Quite extraordinary.
RICE: Yes. Quite extraordinary. And weird and a bit creepy.
I had actually known that he had this fixation on me. A couple of foreign minister friends had told me and also a couple of my staff.
And so, I was going to Libya. My job was to go there. He had given us his weapons of mass destruction. He had paid reparations to the families of the victims of his terrorist acts.
It was my job to go there and do a little bit of diplomatic business and get out. And so that's what I did, but I have to say I did have that terrible moment when he said that he had the videotape. I am just glad that it all came out all right.
MORGAN: And he never made any kind of move on you then? Object of affection?
RICE: No, no. Absolutely not.
MORGAN: Being more serious about this, I mean, the end of Gadhafi was a suitably gruesome end to a gruesome tyrant in many ways. When you saw the way that he was killed, you know, dragged out by the rebels and basically executed, what did you feel about that? Was there a debate about whether it was the right thing -- it shouldn't have been allowed to happen? What did you think?
RICE: Well, revolutions are not pretty, and there are any number of circumstances in which the tyrant who stays too long and refuses to leave and when fear breaks down, and on behalf of his people, and the tables are turned, those ends are often very violent. And so, it might not be the way that we sitting here in a stable democracy that's more than 200 years old, almost 300 years old might want things to happen, but revolutions aren't pretty.
MORGAN: When you watch the extraordinary events of this year throughout the Middle East, clearly there's a pattern of revolution driven from the ground up through mainly young people disaffected with their lot under these tyrants seizing control of their own destiny. And in Libya, in particular, you saw the end of Gadhafi driven by these pretty heroic rebels who decided to take him on and see him off.
And the American military and the American administration very much hands off. And the difference, of course, in cost was huge. The Libya campaign cost $1.5 billion. Iraq at its worst was costing almost that a week -- very, very different way of going about the same objective of getting rid of a bad guy.
Do you look at what's happened to Barack and Gadhafi, and slightly regret the way you helped the administration go about Iraq?
RICE: Well, the circumstances were fundamentally different, and the times were fundamentally different. And we went after Saddam Hussein because he was a security threat. He caused wars in the region. He had used weapons of mass destruction. He was going after our aircraft.
We didn't actually go after him to bring democracy to Iraq. We brought -- we were going after him because he was a security threat. Once we had deposed him, it was important to give the Iraqi people a chance for a democratic future.
But I think it would be a mistake to think that Saddam Hussein would have permitted an Arab spring in Iraq for even a moment. It would have been over in hours.
We have seen how he deals with uprisings -- the way that he dealt with the uprising in the south when he gassed the Shia or the Kurds immediately after the Gulf War in 1991, where he slaughtered hundreds and thousands of people.
This -- Moammar Gadhafi was a monstrous leader. He was not Saddam Hussein either in terms of his reach, his capability, or his capacity for systematic brutality.
And so, Saddam Hussein was not going to fall by these means, and I am very glad that he is gone. And, in fact, it probably helped to stimulate Gadhafi's decision that he would give up his weapons of mass destruction, coming as it did right on the heels of the deposing Saddam.
And I'm awfully glad that we were able to disarm him of his most dangerous weapons before this revolution, because Gadhafi sitting in his bunker with dangerous weapons might have been -- there might have been a very different outcome.
MORGAN: What was the biggest mistake of the whole Iraq campaign? The reliance publicly on establishing that he had weapons of mass destruction or the kind of drip, drip, drip, you call it. The sort of embarrassment, really, of the president becoming almost a WMD fact checker --
MORGAN: -- which was clearly a pretty degrading experience and deeply flawed. And in the end, it turned out that the public reasons for going to war with Saddam were totally incorrect, whereas had you done what the administration did here with Gadhafi and say we're going after Saddam because he is a bad man and it will be good for the region, at least you could sit back now and say, well, we got rid of him for the reasons we said we were going to get rid of him.
RICE: Well, I think we did make those reasons, but frankly, we didn't emphasize them. And I talk about this in the book.
First of all, we belief he had weapons of mass destruction. And that was the immediate threat particularly in the aftermath of 9/11 when you are worried about some nexus between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Weapons of mass destruction were not a theoretical probability with Saddam Hussein. After all, he had used them before. He had been seen in 1991 after the Gulf War I to have a crude nuclear device in perhaps a year. And so, we believed that the weapons of mass destruction case were solid.
But as I said, I don't think it was wise to have any of us, but particularly the president, debating or defending an intelligence nugget.
Did he buy Uranium ore in Niger? What were aluminum tubes for? Why was he buying so much chlorine?
Because the strategic argument was, that this was a cancer in the region, Saddam Hussein, who had caused two massive wars in the region, who had tried to assassinate a president of the United States, who had put 400,000 of his people in mass graves, was breaking out of the constraints under which he had been put in 1991 and was reconstituting, according to our intelligence agencies, his weapons of mass destruction. That broader strategic case, I think, got lost in, as you call the drip, drip, drip of intelligence nuggets.
MORGAN: Let's take a break and come back. I want to talk to you about a moment you heard that Osama bin Laden was dead, the man who committed the 9/11 atrocity on your watch.
MORGAN: Back now with my special guest, Dr. Condoleezza Rice.
Dr. Rice, I'm getting lots of tweets while we had the break there saying, "I wish that she would run for president."
RICE: Well, that's very nice, but thanks, I'll pass on that honor.
MORGAN: Is that -- is that a total lifetime pass, or could you see yourself tempted back?
RICE: I'm really a policy person. I'm not a politician. And I've been through a campaign. I know what that takes, and I'll leave it to others.
MORGAN: You're not entirely ruling it out?
RICE: Piers, that's a no.
MORGAN: Let me ask you, where were you when you heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed, because for you personally, never mind professionally, it must have been an extraordinary moment in your life having spent so long trying to catch him after 9/11.
RICE: It was, indeed. I had just come in actually to Washington D.C. I had landed that evening from California, and I flipped on the television, and they were getting ready to have the news conference. And I thought the president of the United States doesn't go into the east room this time of night. I think they got Bin Laden. And I was so gratified.
I was grateful to President Obama for taking a difficult decision because by all reports, it wasn't a certainty that Osama bin Laden was there. And I was very glad that I think we had left the infrastructure in place to make that moment possible.
The courier, for instance, who in 2007, we learned of this courier who eventually gave up bin Laden, and so -- or led us to Bin Laden. And so, this was a great story of American perseverance over ten years said to foes in particular we don't give up until the job is done.
MORGAN: Who was the first person you told when you heard the news?
RICE: Well, I actually had a couple of people with me, traveling with me -- one of whom had worked with me at the State Department. We immediately talked about it.
And it was a -- it was a really very, very gratifying moment, because even though I don't believe that al Qaeda is done as an organization, in many ways, the organization that did 9/11 is a very different organization now. It's been cut down to size. Not just through the kill of bin Laden, but also the many field generals like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah who were taken off the battlefield.
So, this is a good story for American perseverance.
MORGAN: Did you miss high office, or are you just relieved to be out of it all? Because the book details again and again the sacrifice that you have to make, like so many people at a high level of White House administration. You talk about envying your driver because every weekend he would be off doing stuff with his family or having fun, and you were off around the world on another trip.
MORGAN: So, I guess mixed feelings?
RICE: Well, of course, it was a wonderful experience, and it was a very high honor, as I said. But I was glad to be done. Eight years is plenty -- especially eight years under the circumstances under which we served.
But I am so happy to be back at Stanford, and I'm a university professor again, which is really my vocation and my calling in life. And I don't -- I don't miss it. I like reading the newspaper and saying, oh, isn't that interesting and moving on to the next thing. So, its really -- it's really quite nice.
MORGAN: And very quickly, if I was to pin you down and say your biggest triumph in the eight years and your biggest regret, what would you say?
RICE: Well, clearly, associating the United States of America firmly with the freedom agenda in the Middle East after 60 years of trying to trade democracy for stability and getting neither, I'm very proud of that speech in Cairo in June of 2005 that set a different tone based on President Bush's second inaugural.
In terms of regrets -- of course, there will be many over the years, and we'll see how this all plays out. It may surprise you that in many ways, I -- the thing I most wish we had started earlier was the work on immigration reform. We were going to work with Mexico to really take that issue on.
I think 9/11 for very good reasons didn't allow us the time and energy and focus to do it. And when the comprehensive immigration bill finally came up in 2007, it failed even though Jon Kyl and John McCain and George W. Bush and Ted Kennedy all wanted it. And we're still fighting the immigration issue in ways that I think are getting increasingly more difficult and really threatening what is one of America's really great strengths, which is drawing people here from all over the world who just want a better chance in life.
MORGAN: Well, Dr. Rice, it's been a pleasure, as always, talking to you. It's a terrific book, fascinating read. It's called "A Memoir of my Years in Washington: No Higher Honor." And it's certainly that the aspect of honor comes through on every page.
And I thank you for your service and for coming on the show again.
RICE: Thank you.
MORGAN: I really appreciate it.
RICE: Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Americans Elect wants to change the way this country chooses presidential candidates, taking the whole process online, the nominations, even the national convention. Is a third party really what America needs?
Joining me now from Americans Elect is Kahlil Byrd, a former strategist to Democrats and Republicans; and Elliot Ackerman, a former Marine officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Impressive resumes. What I heard about Americans Elect is serious people from serious backgrounds with serious ideas. And the concept really is based on: people are fed up of all this wrangling in Washington, paralyzing and nothing getting done.
Is that in a nutshell where we are with this? ELLIOT ACKERMAN, COO, AMERICANS ELECT: I think you hit it right on the head. You know, what we're doing in Americans Elect is we're removing the barrier to entry for presidential nomination. So, Americans Elect is going to be putting forward the first ever nonpartisan ticket. It's going to be on the ballot in all 50 states in November 2012.
And it's going to owe its ballot line not to the two major parties and their special interest. So, we're removing the barrier of entry which is that ballot access and letting American people in to nominating a third ticket.
MORGAN: I mean, Kahlil, this is a -- you know, this is a pretty mad idea in many ways. People saying, come on, this could never get any traction. And yet, you are getting a lot of support, a lot of people online coming around behind you. You are beginning to get into states and so on.
Do you think you can actually achieve America-wide success here? Are you going to end up come election with all the states allowing this or not?
KAHLIL BYRD, CEO, AMERICANS ELECT: Coming to your show today, it's already happening. Millions of people have already come to AmericansElect.org. People have signed our petitions all over the country, 1.9 million people to put us on the states. We're already on the ballot in all the seven states, all the swing states, Ohio, Michigan, Florida. So, it's in play.
But are we trying to achieve. The American people looking at the crop of candidates that they have right now are unsatisfied with what they're seeing. They don't feel like the candidates are dealing with what they care about in their lives, their jobs, their homes, their communities.
What they're looking for is to put, we think, a bipartisan ticket on the ballot next year.
So, the idea of a Democrat and a Republican running together, putting -- running for the presidency and the issues that people care about above party this year absolutely works for the American people.
MORGAN: So, the concept is whoever wins this nomination via the online process has to choose either an independent or a member of the opposing party as their running mate. So, it becomes a completely transparent, bipartisan scenario.
ACKERMAN: And that's just it. It's asking people to put the country in front of the party, reach across the political space. You know, the first real decision somebody makes when they're running for president is who their V.P. is going to be. So, what a gesture is to reach across the space and show that you're going to be able to govern in a way that's not completely partisan.
You know, there's a precedent for this. Let's remember, in '08, there was a lot of talk McCain was going to run with Lieberman. He couldn't sell that ticket to the party. In '04, there was a lot of talk that Kerry was going to run with McCain. That couldn't get sold to the party.
So, as Americans why can't we see a nonpartisan ticket that really is focused on governing? The only reason we can't see it is because the parties won't allow it. That's not a good enough reason.
MORGAN: In a dream world, would the person who wins this nomination be a big figure? Would it be a Michael Bloomberg, maybe a Chris Christie, a George Clooney, who knows which way it may go? Do you need to have that kind of powerful figurehead for this to really work?
BYRD: What's so interesting about it the Americans Elect platform gives the American people the opportunity to select leaders from business, from government, people who have expressed leadership roughly the previous 44 presidents have. And as they make that decision, we actually, the organization, eliminates the false calendar. Chris Christie was in the race up until the point he got to the end of October in a false deadline in Florida, meaning, he couldn't get on the ballot, imposed on him -- the kind of thing the American people don't care about anymore.
They know the two parties and specifically the primary process isn't serving up the leadership and the candidates they want. So, what Americans Elect is allowing them to do is select the issues that they care about and put forward the kind of leaders whom they think can solve the problems right now.
MORGAN: Where's the money coming from? Who's funding al this?
ACKERMAN: Well, we've had over 3,000 donors up until this point. And the money comes only from individual contributors. So, no special interest groups, to PACs, no industry organizations. It's solely funded for individual contributions.
And that money goes to two things. There's the 50-state ballot access, which is removing that barrier to entry, and it goes to building out AmericansElect.org. So, we have a platform where people can come to get engaged on the issues and get engaged with the candidates in a less analogue way. You know, we're not putting kernels of corn into jars in Iowa. We're asking folks to talk about the issues and put forward really unique candidates.
MORGAN: Well, it's a fascinating concept. It is getting a bit of traction. It will be really fascinating if I come and interview you again in, say, three or four months and you're beginning to really fly. Then it gets really interesting.
BYRD: Well, Piers, this is the week where people can go and start putting up candidates' names. They can do meet-ups around the country. They can give a dollar to Americans Elect.
MORGAN: If they're watching us and if they want to get involved in your caper, as it is at the moment, may become a more serious caper, where do they go? ACKERMAN: Well, it's already a serious caper. We've got a million people who have come to AmericansElect.org. We got thousands of volunteers across the country.
Folks come to AmericansElect.org. Check this out. It's going to give you as a voter more power than you've ever had to participate in a meaningful way in a presidential primary.
MORGAN: Nonpartisan, not for profit.
ACKERMAN: Not for profit. Nonpartisan.
MORGAN: Well, I wish you luck, gentlemen. We'll see what happens.
Kahlil, Elliot, thank you very much.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need me in this Winchester, curly. Saw a ranch house burning last night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't understand, kid. You're under arrest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It's a clip for 1939 movie, "Stagecoach" with John Wayne, who starred in amazing 142 films, the most by any actor in history. And, recently, some of his most valuable possessions were put on auction by his son, Ethan.
Ethan Wayne joins me now.
ETHAN WAYNE, JOHN WAYNE'S SON: Thank you very much, Piers.
MORGAN: I mean, your father, to call him an icon is almost an understatement. I mea, he's sort of a part of American history, isn't he?
MORGAN: What's it been like being his son? How would you summarize your experience? Because you were 17 when he died.
WAYNE: I was 17 when he died. But right after I was born, we moved away from Los Angeles down to the beach, a little town called Newport. And we didn't live in the spotlight. So, I didn't grow up -- I knew we got a lot more mail than some of my friends. But other than that, our life was very normal.
MORGAN: What kind of man was he? Not the man we all know from the movies, because that was a rough, tough guy who took no crap from anyone. What was he like when the door closed? WAYNE: He was -- he was very similar in a lot of ways. But what you didn't see on the screen is how kind and loving and humorous he was.
MORGAN: I mean, an amazing career, the greatest volume of movies made by anybody. There can barely be a moment when you don't flip through your television when your dad doesn't appear on screen. That must be a bittersweet thing. I mean, I heard Nancy Sinatra the other day talking about what it's like if you're father is Frank Sinatra, everywhere you go, the memory lives on for the fans. But for the children, it's hard.
WAYNE: You know, I can't speak for my brothers and sisters or for Nancy. But for me, I had a really fun time period with my father.
He was a little bit older by the time I was born. Maybe we had more of a grandfather/grandson relationship. He was very relaxed. He wasn't as uptight as maybe you would think John Wayne would be at home. I had a lot of freedom. I also had a lot of responsibility to deal with as a young boy. He had sure I had things to be responsible for.
But life with him was an adventure. You know, we'd be on location or we'd be on his boat, "The Wild Goose" in Mexico or Canada or Alaska. And then the rest of the time we'd be at home. And I think I preferred to be either on location or on the boat and I think he preferred the same thing.
MORGAN: Was he actually any good with a gun?
WAYNE: He was very good with a gun. Let me tell you, he was very good with a gun and he was very good with a horse because he was a hard worker. So, when he was at home and his parents would argue, and it made him uncomfortable, he focused on academics and athletic. That got him out of the house. It got him a football scholarship at the University of Southern California.
He loved to body surf. He hurt his shoulder down in Balboa body surfing, lost that football scholarship, got a job on the back lot at FOX Studios where he took that same work ethic that got him the scholarship and became a prize prop man assistant, so John Ford and Raoul Walsh like to have him on the set, because if things blew into the set, they knew that he'd go get everything swept up or cleaned up or get all the ducks back in the cages for the next take.
He was a big, handsome, fun, athletic guy and they liked him, and they ended up giving him a chance to be in a film and he didn't squander that opportunity either. He worked as hard as he possibly could to become comfortable in front of the camera and to capture pieces of maybe acquaintances or if he saw something we liked or worked well on his screen he put that in his tool belt and kept it and he built this man, this persona called John Wayne. And it lasted for six decades.
MORGAN: You talk so fondly about him. The day that he died, you're 17. That's a hard age for a son to lose his father. What were your recollections of that time in your life? WAYNE: You know, it was -- it's always a strange time for young men when they're at that age. I knew my father was ill. I drove him to the hospital. And he never came out.
But, you know, it was sort of surrealistic to be sitting there, holding hands with my brothers and sisters. We were all with him. And he took his last breath, and -- that was it. I never expected that to happen. I always thought he would come out of that hotel room -- or that hospital room, pardon me.
So it was -- it was a difficult time.
MORGAN: Yes, because you kind of imagine that John Wayne was sort of invulnerable.
MORGAN: He never lost.
MORGAN: He never died in the movies. He always got the bad guy. He was always the last man standing.
WAYNE: Well, you know, I lived with him for the last few years. And, you know, he was suffering and hurting a bit from the cancer. It's not a pleasant disease. We continued to fight the disease in his name through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
Getting breathing treatments and to be there with him when he was vulnerable, it did give me a different -- you know, a different view of the man than other people had.
MORGAN: What's the biggest misconception, do you think, of your father?
WAYNE: I don't know if there is. I guess people don't realize the depth and the breadth of the man. Maybe today they think of him as, you know, right wing gruff or whatever.
But you need to go back and listen to what he said or watch him on -- you know, getting grilled by the Harvard lampoon or listen to some of his interviews or watch him on "Lucy" or "Laugh In" or some of the things that he did where you got more of his personality.
MORGAN: What would he have made of the modern political state and financial state of the America?
WAYNE: Piers, we're all shaking our heads.
MORGAN: Imagine he would have been pretty furious, wouldn't he?
WAYNE: He'd be upset. Of course, he would.
MORGAN: One of the great patriots in American history, your father.
MORGAN: I mean, the legendary anti-communist to an extreme degree.
WAYNE: The country was good to him. He knew this was a land of opportunity. He lived it. He came from small town Iowa and made it big in Hollywood.
He worked hard. He reaped the benefits of that hard work. And, you know, I think he'd want these guys to put party politics aside and get to work and maybe have a longer term view for our country than quarter by quarter, or election to election.
MORGAN: What's been your favorite movie of your father's -- if you could actually watch one again?
WAYNE: Well, mine changes all the time, because, you know, I'm 49 now. I've just gone back to work for my father. It changes. You know, you see the "Searchers." You see "Red River." You see "The Quiet Man." These are epics, they are timeless. But then I'll watch "Wake of the Red Witch," or "Reap the Wild Wind," or something where he was younger than me, you know, my age. It's fun to be able to go spend a half -- an hour and a half with somebody that's been gone for 30 years. And spend an hour and a half with my father, seeing him at a different time in his life.
MORGAN: Who's the nearest thing to John Wayne in the movies now do you think? There aren't many cowboys.
WAYNE: I couldn't even begin to guess.
MORGAN: Is there anyone that kind of represents, that embodies, perhaps, the American spirit like your father did.
WAYNE: You know, I almost feel like you could answer that question better than I could.
MORGAN: I was actually thinking about it, even as I ask the question. It's not easy.
The fact that it's not easy is fascinating, because your father represented so much really that was great about America. And it is interesting that there is no actor today that probably has that same immediate recognition of I stand for great American values. It is interesting, isn't it?
WAYNE: Well, I don't know if there is another actor who's had the opportunity to, you know, create a space for themselves like John Wayne was able to. We have great actors, you know, and they play one part or another and we all enjoy it and believe them when they are doing it. But who owns that space that John Wayne owned? I don't know anybody else.
MORGAN: Everybody in my school back in England -- and this shows you the global appeal of your father -- could do an impersonation of your dad. We used to say, get off your horse and drink your milk. I don't know why, because I doubt he ever said. Can you do a John Wayne? WAYNE: No, I can't.
MORGAN: You never tried it?
WAYNE: Well, I don't know if I would do it on national television.
MORGAN: Let's take a break. I want to come back and you're going to be -- it's going to be great. You're going to bring on some of these positions at the auction that's raised over $5 million. I'm actually going to hold John Wayne's Oscar.
MORGAN: That's going to be quite a moment.
(BEGGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WAYNE, ACTOR: I mean to kill you in one minute, Ned, or see you hanged in Ft. Smith at Judge Parker's convenience. Which will it be?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man.
WAYNE: Feel your hand you son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That is your father's legendary film in 1969, "True Grit."
And your father won an Oscar, Ethan, and this is it. I have never held an Oscar in my life.
It's as heavy as people warned me they were. It is a real big chunk of gold-plated glory, isn't it? What an amazing bit of memorabilia.
WAYNE: That meant a lot to him.
MORGAN: Winning the Oscar for best actor?
MORGAN: Yes, because it's the ultimate in the profession, isn't it?
WAYNE: Yes. He'd been nominated a couple of times, but that was the first time he won. So, very special.
MORGAN: Yes, very special.
What we got here, these are the items that are in the auction.
MORGAN: The auction raised over $5 million. How much does that divvy -- or how much of that goes to charitable stuff and how much --
WAYNE: The auction was put on by John Wayne Enterprises. That's the family owned company. So, the auction proceeds go to John Wayne Enterprises. John Wayne Enterprises supports the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. There are licensing, personal fundraising, and also a program called Team DUKE.
So, the auction catalogs went directly to the foundation, the auction DVDs went directly to the foundation and some auction items went directly to the foundation. But the proceeds from the auction went into John Wayne Enterprises whose mission is to preserve to protect his image and life --
MORGAN: I mean, this is your father's passport which is date of birth, May 26th, 1907. This was awarded in 1970. Great picture of him there.
MORGAN: And what is fascinated where he went even then. A well- traveled man, wasn't he?
WAYNE: Always on the move.
MORGAN: These are visas from Australia, and Hong Kong and Portugal -- I mean, all around the world.
WAYNE: Yes, Greece, Panama and Mexico.
MORGAN: This I would imagine, he would be proud of. This is the congressional honor medal? What is this one?
WAYNE: This is the Congressional Gold Medal and it's the highest civilian award.
MORGAN: It's the civilian version of the Medal of Honor.
WAYNE: Yes. Correct. That would be the military version. Be careful, it might fall out of there.
MORGAN: That is an amazing thing as well.
WAYNE: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: This is his army gear. Which movie is that from?
WAYNE: This is from the "Green Berets." His name was Colonel Kirby. This was his --
MORGAN: Actually, the beret from "Green Berets" went for an extraordinary sum of money, $179,000.
MORGAN: Who is buying all of this? Who were people paying this kind of money?
WAYNE: I have my suspicions about the "Green Beret."
MORGAN: What are they?
WAYNE: Well, there was an individual who came out who is a former Special Forces, and he had done well, and I have a feeling that he may have bought that to put it in one of the Special Forces museums.
MORGAN: This is, of course one, of the defining hats of your father. Which movie is that from?
WAYNE: "Horse Soldiers," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "The Undefeated (ph)."
MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) John Wayne's hat. This is my chance.
My God, he had a smaller head than me. This is a really
WAYNE: Piers is a huge man.
MORGAN: This is a disturbing revelation, I have a bigger head than John Wayne. Wow.
I won't even try the boots on. These are the cowboy boots.
WAYNE: He had smaller feet.
MORGAN: What size?
WAYNE: Well, these are custom made. So, there's no size in them. My foot slides in there, and it's about an 11 1/2.
MORGAN: Well, I have smaller feet than John Wayne, but a bigger head.
WAYNE: You know, for a very famous cowboy, he wasn't overly embellished. What he wore was stylish and handsome. And this is a great example of something that he wore.
MORGAN: I think the legacy really is that everybody probably wishes that there were more people like John Wayne.
WAYNE: I agree with you. I agree with you.
MORGAN: Actually, it was John Wayne and his type who really created America in this modern incarnation.
WAYNE: Well, and if you look at some of our programming today, if you look at some of the advertisings today, they are leaning that way. You have an insurance company talks about responsibility and doing the right thing.
And I do think there is a hunger for that in the United States that -- look, he came to represent the world's ideal of what an American man should be, how he should behave, how he should handle himself in certain circumstances and situations. And I think we all aspire to be that type of person.
So, I hope that these auction items take that motivation, that inspiration out around the world and deliver that message to people.
MORGAN: This has motivated me holding this. I can tell you. I'm sitting 10 years time my first movie role and I have a title for the movie, "True Brit."
WAYNE: Let me be in it with you.
MOGAN: Ethan Wayne, thank you very much.
WAYNE: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: And that's all for us tonight.