Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Herman Cain Responds to Allegations; Surging Newt Gingrich
Aired November 8, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, he said, she said.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have never acted inappropriately with anyone, period.
SHARON BIALEK, ALLEGES CAIN SEXUALLY HARASSED HER: I know what happened. And he knows what happened.
MORGAN: Herman Cain responds to what Sharon Bialek told me. Will the sexual harassment allegations derail the campaign?
Plus Cain's Republican rival.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And people have to conclude that whatever -- that he has leveled and told the country the truth.
MORGAN: The resurgent Newt Gingrich on the Republican Party.
GINGRICH: Modern Republicans are too timid. Modern Republicans are afraid to go nose-to-nose with Obama.
MORGAN: And on the president himself.
GINGRICH: I think that Barack Obama is somebody who sincerely believes things that are totally nuts.
MORGAN: Could Newt Gingrich be the next best hope for the GOP?
GINGRICH: I'm an idealist, and a romantic and a permanent optimist. And that's the American tradition.
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. We'll get to my surprisingly intense and revealing interview with Newt Gingrich later in the hour, but first new details on the sexual misconduct accusations against Herman Cain.
The identity of the first woman to accuse Cain has now been revealed. She's Karen Kraushaar. I'll talk to her lawyer in just a moment. Meanwhile you heard what accuser Sharon Bialek told me about Cain last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIALEK: I believe that he first needs to apologize and he needs to admit it. And then it's up to him to decide what to do next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A little while ago Herman Cain held a news conference. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: These accusations that were revealed yesterday are simply did not happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Joel Bennett representing Karen Kraushaar, the first woman to came forward and accuse Herman Cain of sexual harassment. He joins me now from Gettysburg in Maryland.
Mister Bennett, let's get to the bottom of this, because your client has now come out in public. Why?
JOEL BENNETT, ATTORNEY FOR KAREN KRAUSHAAR: She's come out in public because her name was revealed by the media, and she's decided, since her name is in the media now, that she wants to get the details of her complaint out since Mr. Cain is still denying any sexual harassment or impropriety.
MORGAN: Herman Cain says about your client that the only thing he can recall in terms of any complaint made was telling her that he was the same -- that she was the same size as his wife. Is that accurate? Is that the full extent of the alleged harassment?
BENNETT: It certainly is not. My client is a very intelligent, well-educated woman. She would never file a complaint about an innocent remark like that. My client is 5'2". She is not the same height as Mr. Cain's wife. And the incidents that were reported to the National Restaurant Association were multiple -- over multiple days.
MORGAN: I suppose the obvious question -- and I put this to Sharon Bialek last night, another accuser -- is that given the passage of time, being, you know, over a decade, how is anyone going to prove anything?
BENNETT: It's not a question of proof. The question is, did Mr. Cain know about these incidents and what, if anything, did he do about them. My client submitted a written, detailed complaint to the National Restaurant Association, and she is a very credible person, and we expect as soon as possible for her to get into more detail in a press conference or other public forum.
MORGAN: I mean it was a --
BENNETT: And then the public can decide who's telling the truth.
MORGAN: Absolutely right. But what surprises me is Herman Cain isn't a complete nobody. He has run for various high office positions before. And none of the women involved in this splurge of stories this week has ever come forward before. Why is that?
BENNETT: My client settled this matter confidentially in 1999. She had no desire to make it public. A former board member of the National Restaurant Association leaked the information about these two complaints to "Politico" over a week ago, and once that happened and Mr. Cain started denying everything and calling them baseless fabrications, my client felt she had to come forward and defend herself. She had no desire to become a public figure.
MORGAN: Can you confirm that your client was paid $45,000 to settle her complaint at the time?
BENNETT: The amount of the settlement is confidential and I'm not going to get into the details of it but there was a monetary settlement.
MORGAN: I'm going to bring in CNN's Gloria Borger now, CNN's Gloria Borger, who has spoken to your client, Karen Kraushaar.
And let me talk to you, Gloria. What was the conversation that you had like?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think this is a woman, as Joel Bennett has said, who really didn't want to make this public. She said to me, I was sick of this 12 years ago. But now it's no longer a private matter, it's a personally embarrassing matter.
And she was clearly somebody who wants to set the record straight. And she made it clear to me that she has kept copies of all of her allegations and she doesn't need to go to the National Restaurant Association for permission to release them now that her confidentiality has been waived.
So I believe that we could potentially see the release of these documents with names redacted if she wishes at a certain point in the near future. She also spoke about getting the women together who have some claims. She said there's safety in numbers and maybe we can figure out what we can do together.
She would not comment on Mr. Cain's press conference today, but she did say that if we get the women together, she has no doubt that he will deny everything. She said, quote, "He's a serial denier. He will deny it if it's four women or 40 women."
MORGAN: Let's bring in Gloria Allred now who is the lawyer for Sharon Bialek, who I interviewed yesterday.
Gloria, another woman has come public. She seems very credible and is making pretty detailed allegations by the sound of it. Does this all ring true and familiar to you?
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR SHARON BIALEK: Well, you know, I was hoping that, you know, that Sharon, my client who has been very, very brave and very courageous, you know, would inspire others to speak out if they felt comfortable in doing so. And I hope that all the women will do so because I think that will be important so that the public can make an informed decision about Mr. Cain.
As I said, if all of these allegations by all of these women are true, then he's not only a serial harasser, he's a serial liar and he's a serial violator of the rights and the dignity of women. And this cannot be tolerated in the highest office of the land or, for that matter, in any place of employment.
Women are entitled to be free of sexual harassment. And this is just outrageous. So I hope these women do come forward. I would recommend to my client that she do a joint news conference with them if they are willing to do so.
MORGAN: Yes, but Gloria, let me just play you what Herman Cain said about your client because it was pretty vociferous and pretty unequivocal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: I saw Miss Allred and her client yesterday in that news conference for the very first time. As I sat in my hotel room with a couple of my staff members, as they got to the microphone, my first response in my mind and reaction was I don't even know who this woman is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Gloria Allred, I mean, he's -- you know, said he doesn't even know who this woman is. I mean what did you make of that when you saw him say that?
ALLRED: Well, you know, he seemed to shift from he couldn't recall, he doesn't know, and then it just -- you know, kind of dancing all over the place. You know, he met -- according to my client, not only her but her boyfriend as well. Why would she have told two friends including her boyfriend, a pediatrician, that Cain sexually harassed her some 14 years ago if she did not believe that it was true?
So, you know, I just think -- you know, I think it's time for Mr. Cain to go under oath. I'd like to see the Senate hold hearings on whether sexual harassment laws need to be strengthened and have them subpoena Herman Cain and testify under oath to each and every one of the specific allegations that these women have made against him, and what he knew and when he knew it and what he did and what he didn't do.
He should testify under penalty of perjury and let the American people hear all the specifics, not just a blanket denial.
MORGAN: OK. Let me go back to Joel Bennett there.
Would you like to see that happen, Mr. Bennett? Would you like to see Herman Cain have to testify under oath now? Do you think it's that serious?
BENNETT: I don't -- as a presidential candidate, I don't know that there's any forum for doing that, unlike the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, but I would like to say that I was happy to say I hear Miss Allred say that she and her client would cooperate in a joint press conference, and I look forward to working with her on that.
MORGAN: Let me bring in Amy Holmes now. She's a conservative commentator and news anchor for "The Blaze." That's Glenn Beck's -- Glenn Beck's television network.
Amy, you've heard the various lawyers here. You've also seen now two of the women who have come forward of the four who made allegations. What is your overview of all this? Can Herman Cain survive?
AMY HOLMES, NEWS ANCHOR, THE BLAZE: Well, I certainly can't speak to the credibility of his accusers and you know what happened 14 years ago, but we can look at the poll and Reuters has poll out after -- after Sharon Bialek's press conference yesterday that finds that Herman Cain's favorability among GOP voters is falling, and he's now behind Mitt Romney. Falling nine points from last week, 66 percent viewed him favorably, 57 percent now, 40 -- and 39 percent in this Reuters poll said that they believed those allegations yesterday.
So clearly the Cain campaign feels that this is hurting his efforts because they had that press conference today to try to address these claims. Whether or not they were able to close the door on them, I'm highly doubtful. I think in fact he opened a new can of worms particularly when he said he'd be willing to take a lie detector test.
And you were just speaking with Gloria Allred and she was demanding that he go up to Capitol Hill to testify under oath. I don't think that's going to happen, but Herman Cain -- he has invited yet more of these kinds of questions and inquiry.
MORGAN: Let me bring back Gloria Borger there.
I mean, Gloria, politically, where is Herman Cain now? His poll ratings are suddenly sliding. He looks in big trouble, doesn't he?
BORGER: Yes, he is in big trouble. I don't think the press conference today put the questions to rest. I think what you're starting to see now is other Republican candidates like Mitt Romney out there saying, you know, that the charges are troubling. And I think that there's a clear sense among Republican voters that he hasn't answered all the questions.
Now there are reports from the Cain campaign that they've raised an awful lot of money tonight. I don't know the exact figure. Since his press conference, which leads me to believe that the true believers who support Herman Cain may continue to support Herman Cain. But it gets more and more difficult not only because of the women coming out on the record but because he's changed his story so many times.
You know, first he blamed this on a leak from the Perry campaign, then he blamed it on the media, then he blamed it on a Democratic conspiracy against him, and so those kind of shifting blame also I think causes him a lot of problems with his own credibility.
MORGAN: And very quickly, Gloria, I mean if it is the end of Cain, who does this benefit most?
I interviewed a very upbeat Newt Gingrich --
MORGAN: Which we'll be seeing later in the show. He clearly feels there's an opportunity. I would imagine Jon Huntsman is getting a bit more media attention now and was thinking the same thing. Could this open up doors for these other candidates?
BORGER: You know, it's interesting. Among conservative voters that I've talked to, Republicans particularly in Iowa, the real problem with Herman Cain is that he's shifting his position on abortion, as you know very well, since it was your interview.
BORGER: So I think that he is -- you know, he's losing credibility in a lot of areas. I think Newt Gingrich may appeal to those voters, Rick Perry may appeal to those voters. I mean Mitt Romney still has problems, though, with evangelical voters. Michele Bachmann would like -- would like to get -- would like to get some of those voters, but I think they have other problems with Herman Cain aside from the sexual harassment charges.
MORGAN: Yes, let's go back to Joel Bennett for the last word here.
Joel, I mean, would you bring your client on with other women who made accusations, maybe Sharon Bialek or others if they come forward on to this show and discuss this live?
BENNETT: Well, the first step will be the joint press conference. After that we'll certainly consider what else to do.
MORGAN: Joel Bennett, thank you very much.
And to Gloria Allred, Gloria Borger and to Amy Holmes. Thank you all very much.
Today's Election Day. And Tom Foreman now joins us with an update on some significant votes around the country.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What you have here is all eyes on battleground Ohio tonight. Earlier this year the Republican governor there signed a measure into law to limit the collective bargaining power of union employees.
The voters there right now are 7 percent. They didn't seem to be crushing that by the governor, calling for a repeal, the union's mobilized strongly there, 64 percent to 36 percent right now with, as I've said, 7 percent in so far.
Importantly, many of these votes to overturn this restriction on collective bargaining many of these votes coming in areas that aren't really strong union areas. That's encouraging to the union folks, probably encouraging to Democrats. We'll see how it all shakes over the next day.
Down in Mississippi, another big measure being considered tonight is this question of defining a person. Is it a person the moment an egg fertilizes -- is fertilized? That is the question down there. Would that restrict abortion rights?
Right now we have very little, less than 1 percent. But that by and large that small percentage is saying no, we don't like it being that restrictive on that measure.
A couple of other things over in Kentucky, we have a projected winner in the governor's race there. Steve Beshear seems to have wrapped that up there pretty easily.
A lot of other races we're watching around the country to see how that's going to play out. Obviously, everything, everything, everything, Piers, is about the presidential race next year. So everyone's reading the tea leaves on all of these votes.
MORGAN: Tom, thanks very much indeed.
When we come back, I got one on one with one of the GOP's comeback kids, a resurgent and fascinating Newt Gingrich. Possibly as you've never heard him.
MORGAN: Joining me now is a man who wants to be your next president. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich. He's also the author of the new historic novel, "Battle of the Crater."
Mr. Speaker, welcome.
GINGRICH: It's good to be with you.
MORGAN: It's good to finally sit down with you. You've been described as one of the great Abba fans of the world. We heard your cell phone ring tone go off a few months ago with "Dancing Queen" bellowing to the world. And this has led to a whole lot of speculation about the Abba factor of Newt Gingrich.
Are you aware of this?
GINGRICH: I was not aware of it. And of course I welcome all Abba fans.
MORGAN: Well, the Abba factor is that, rather like Abba, the Republican caucus goers, you're a guilty pleasure. They don't want to admit liking you, but every time you speak at the moment, they burst into applause and feel like dancing.
GINGRICH: Well, I just said if I can do -- if I can do as well as "Mamma Mia" did, I'd feel very happy with the outcome.
MORGAN: To be serious, I mean you are very suddenly coming up the rails. It's been a long summer and we're heading into the long fall and then into the winter. And people are beginning to talk about you now in a much more serious way than they were a few months ago. What do you put that down to?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I tell people that the tortoise is the motto of our campaign. We're just trying to go one foot at a time.
MORGAN: Hibernation then eventually --
GINGRICH: Well -- and these are just fable story, the bunny rabbit runs by and falls asleep.
GINGRICH: The tortoise just keeps coming. So hopefully in this game Mitt Romney will be the bunny rabbit and I'll be the tortoise. And it will work out perfectly.
MORGAN: I mean what is very interesting. There have been five frontrunners so far in the GOP race.
MORGAN: Most of whom have fallen by the wayside. Mitt Romney appears to have plateaued around the 24, 25 percent mark as he has done before, indicating that with the main body of GOP support, he has limitations with that vote. And he may have reached them.
This is leading people to think, OK, we need an alternative. Who is it going to be? Your friend Herman Cain -- and we'll come to him in a moment -- has got problems right now which could be the death charge to his campaign. Rick Perry, because of the debates where you've done much better than him, appears to be in a bit of free fall.
And people are thinking, OK, well, who else? And the obvious person to many people's minds now is Newt Gingrich.
GINGRICH: Well, I think what I've tried to do is very much like Reagan in that I had laid out a set of ideas. I've now written 24 books. You know I've had a long public career. And I tried to develop a series of things like a personal Social Security count for young people, a very aggressive lower taxes and less regulation approach to creating jobs, a very strong American energy plan.
It's not about which of these guys do you like, it's who do you think can get the country back creating jobs, creating a better future, fixing the housing crisis, giving our young people a chance to live a life of freedom and opportunity.
MORGAN: I mean when I watch the debates, I always think as a dispassionate observer who can't vote for any of you, so I don't have a horse in this race, I look at all of you and I think, Newt Gingrich, smart guy. I mean you're known as the professor. You know probably the smartest guy in the room and certainly an excellent debater, which is a skill that will be needed against Barack Obama come the real election battle.
Why is it that you haven't until now got more support, do you think? What is it about you that to date hasn't really electrified the Republicans?
GINGRICH: Well, I think there are two things. One is that I entered this race with a huge amount of background story, some public, some private, which led people initially to think, well, I'm not sure I want him. And part of what the debates have done is they've been able to see me without editing.
And therefore they've been able to say, gee, that's not the guy I thought he was. They had to take a second look at me before I had a chance. The debates began to do that. The second reason was slower, was I made a big mistake in the spring. I brought in very smart traditional consultants and I'm not a traditional candidate.
I mean I run a very, very ideal oriented campaign. Think of it as a long form where most consultants want to do 30-second attack ads, I want to do 30-minute positive speeches. And so we got off track for about four months. And I would say even today we're still about eight or nine weeks behind where I had hoped to be at this point.
MORGAN: I mean it was the infamous holiday you took, which led to most of your staff quitting. Do you regret that in hindsight?
GINGRICH: Well, that's exactly -- it was the perfect thing to do -- for two reasons. First of all, those people needed to leave. They had a vision of a traditional campaign, which I couldn't possibly run. I had a vision of a very different ideal oriented, solution-oriented solution based on the Internet which they couldn't possibly run.
And we finally had to have sort of a crisis and get together and say, I said to him, look, I'd love for you to run my campaign. I can't be the candidate for your campaign.
There's a second reason, though. Being -- and this is where I got, frankly, a little bit exhausted by this sort of gossip approach. Being in Greece in June was very helpful.
GINGRICH: Because we talked to people who were explaining the Greek view of the world. And you realized, this is going to be a real mess. I mean, you have deep resentment of the Germans who, from the Greek standpoint, occupied the country in World War II, stole all of their gold, and if they repaid it at compounded would be about the amount the Greeks owe the Germans. MORGAN: You aren't going to tell me this is all part of a cunning plan to --
GINGRICH: No. No --
MORGAN: To pre-guess the Greek economic crisis?
GINGRICH: No, what I'm going to tell you is having leaders who actually take time off to go learn something is a good thing.
MORGAN: Whatever you're doing, today the "USA Today"/Gallup poll, which has just been released, has Mitt Romney and Herman Cain tied for first at 21 percent. You are the third most preferred candidate at 12 percent.
When you look at your two rivals, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain. Let's start with Herman Cain. He's getting engulfed at the moment in the firestorm of scandal.
MORGAN: How credible do you think this scandal now is for him? How should he be dealing with it? What's your advice to him? You've known him 16 years.
GINGRICH: I think we'll know in a few weeks. I think clearly Herman has to answer the allegations and he has to answer them convincingly and compellingly. And people have to conclude that whatever answer he gives -- and I'm not trying to prejudge it -- that he has leveled and told the country the truth.
Now, if that happens, two or three weeks from now he can still be the frontrunner.
MORGAN: I mean you've known him 16 years.
GINGRICH: I'm very surprised by him, but you know I don't want to prejudge. I think he -- I think he has to deal with the allegations. I don't. I like Herman Cain a lot. I think that he's had enormous courage. He's clearly had a much better run than he thought he would. And he's -- he's legitimately, you could argue, the frontrunner in some polls or tied to be the frontrunner in other polls. And that's pretty amazing achievement for someone who'd never run for president before.
MORGAN: Let me ask you a different question. Although he's a friend of yours and a political ally in many ways, isn't there the hot --
GINGRICH: You are more fascinated by this than I am.
MORGAN: I'm fascinated about the whole thing. Yes.
GINGRICH: Yes. I'm not.
MORGAN: But isn't it all part of -- this guy is a frontrunner. He's the guy that came from nowhere. He sold pizzas.
MORGAN: He's the nonpolitician.
MORGAN: And yet he's being sucked into the traditional political system of whack, whack, whack.
GINGRICH: Yes, that's because the American news media is passionately committed to gossip and destruction.
MORGAN: Is it unfair, though, to judge a man by his character?
GINGRICH: Let me give you -- let me give you an example totally different than Herman Cain. You go back then somebody -- some graduate student some day will do this. You go back and take the total volume of time given to Anthony Weiner's utterly stupid tweets. And then you say to yourself, gee, we could have spent that amount of time talking about Alzheimer's, we could have spent it talking about energy, we could have spent it talking about why our space program is so totally messed up.
There are dozens of serious, substantive topics, none of which could compete in the American news media with a congressman who's really just idiotic.
MORGAN: Do you speak as somebody -- and I'll be blunt with you -- who has been through a few scrapes yourself over the years of a personal nature? Does your bitterness to the media --
GINGRICH: It's not bitterness. It's a fact.
MORGAN: It is a little bit, isn't it?
GINGRICH: It's a fact.
MORGAN: I mean you were whacked the media quite a lot, more than any other candidate.
GINGRICH: Right. And the American whacked the media quite a lot because they earned it.
MORGAN: Do you think that's a vote getter whacking the media?
GINGRICH: I think that - I think it's important if somebody who stands up and say s a great deal of what the American news media does makes it harder for us to govern ourselves and harder for us to solve our problems.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break and come back and talk about Mitt Romney because he is the steady Eddie of this race. I want to know who you're going to blow him out of the water.
(LAUGHTER) GINGRICH: I don't know that that's what I'm going to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: There are two big differences between this contract and 1994. The first is the scale of change I am suggesting is so enormous that I couldn't possibly, as a single leader, show you everything I'm going to do. So this is the beginning of a conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Newt Gingrich on the campaign trail in Iowa in September. When we talk about Mitt Romney, he is, as I said before the break, the Steady Eddie. He's been very consistent, and yet hasn't really made the leap into out and out front-runner.
Why hasn't he? And how are you going to beat him? Because we're now at the stage when that's what you're going to have to do.
GINGRICH: No, I think what I have to do is find a way to get a majority of the Republican voters, including in states like New Hampshire, independents who are allowed to vote Republican, to vote for me. If I can get a majority of Republican voters, as a by-product of that, Mitt Romney will lose.
But my goal is not to go out and figure out how a way to beat Mitt Romney. My goal is to go out and find a way to talk to every American who cares about Alzheimer's, every American who cares about Parkinson's, every American who cares about mental health, every American who cares about autism, bring them together in a positive way, talking about a brain science solution that's really different from normal politics.
MORGAN: But that I totally agree is very important. But the reality of politics --
MORGAN: -- is that you're probably going to be, whether you like it or not, perceived as the anti-Mitt candidate, aren't you?
GINGRICH: This is something I find fascinating. OK? I've been involved with politics since 1958. I helped grow the modern Republican party of Georgia. I helped create a national majority. And you're explaining to me the reality of politics.
The reality politics is if you have a good enough leader who is positive enough, they can ignore the other candidates. They can create a positive majority around a positive set of solutions. And let the other candidate worry about me. MORGAN: But actually, look, I don't mean to teach you -- as you said, you've been involved in politics as long as I've been alive. So I wouldn't be so impertinent. However --
GINGRICH: However, you will now be impertinent. Go ahead. No, it's your prerogative. You're the host. Go for it.
MORGAN: Not impertinent, but certainly a little bit more provocative perhaps, where I would say to you, look, you are a smart cookie and you realize that you're in a race here. And in a race, yes, you can be positive, positive, positive.
But you're also going to have to offer a differential to other candidates.
GINGRICH: No, you don't.
MORGAN: So you won't be doing that?
GINGRICH: First of all, I think I am a differential to the other candidates.
MORGAN: How do you differ to Mitt Romney?
GINGRICH: I just said it. No other candidate is talking about taking on the judicial branch the way I have. No other candidate is talking about brain science. No other candidate is talking about strong America now, and how you would modernize the federal government decisively.
No other candidate is talking about -- in all fairness, Herman Cain is. Herman and I are the only two talking about a personal Social Security account for young people modeled on Chile and on Galveston, Texas.
So I think my goal is to say to the American people, look at what I am doing. If this is what you think we need in order to fix America, come with me. I never ask people to be for me. Come with me for the next eight years. Stand with me. Let's get this done.
If enough people decide to do that, if I get 50 percent of the people to do decide to do that, then Mitt Romney will have a problem. How is he going to beat Newt Gingrich?
MORGAN: Is he a conservative in the true sense?
GINGRICH: He is certainly much more conservative than Barack Obama.
MORGAN: But not as conservative as you.
GINGRICH: I'm not just conservative. I'm different. I mean, I talk about things most people don't talk about because, again, I've spent 53 years looking at what America needs. I believe we need profound change. I think we need to implement the Tenth Amendment in a serious way and very dramatically reshape our approach to the judicial branch. That makes me in some ways conservative. But I suspect it also means that I'm probably the most change oriented conservative certainly since Ronald Reagan.
MORGAN: How important do you think are issues -- social issues for the conservatives, particularly the candidates? Abortion, for example, has got Herman Cain into big problems, where he apparently seemed to be pro life and pro choice in an interview I did with him.
I was surprised by his response. It seemed very -- I don't know. It seemed very naive to try and adopt both positions, and clearly got him into trouble with the conservative base. Gay marriage and stuff like this is getting a lot of traction now, with five states now supporting it.
Can the traditional hard line conservative values still be successful, do you think?
GINGRICH: Well, a majority of Americans now believe in the right to life. And in fact, Gallup has said that has grown steadily ever since the Supreme Court fundamentally misinterpreted the Constitution in a decision that's intellectually incomprehensible.
So I think what you have seen happen is a -- is the country is asking itself a very profound question, when does life begin? If we're endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, when do those occur?
MORGAN: Are you anti-abortion under any circumstances?
GINGRICH: I think that there are exceptions for life of the mother and rape and incest. But I would be deeply committed to right to life. I would take the money we currently give Planned Parenthood for abortions, and I would turn that into money for adoptions and try to make it easier for young women who end up being pregnant to carry the child to term.
MORGAN: Let's take a break and come back and talk about the Tea Party, how you differ from them, maybe how much you feel an affinity to them. How you would beat Barack Obama, if you are the guy the Republican party chooses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Newt, newt, newt, newt!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I Newt Gingrich.
GINGRICH: I, Newt Gingrich.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do solemnly promise to continue to be a good speaker. GINGRICH: Do solemnly promise to continue to be a good speaker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise that my book will be way less boring than Al Gore's book.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: From a Republican committee roast in 1995. Newt Gingrich is back with me now. You were laughing away there. You've got a sense of humor about yourself.
GINGRICH: Sure. I think you have to. Otherwise you'd go crazy.
MORGAN: Have you got massively thick skin as well? I always imagine that you have. You seem to be like the classic Washington bruiser, able to deal with all the slings and arrows that get chucked at you.
GINGRICH: This is a free society. Other people are allowed -- I'm allowed to have an opinion. Other people are allowed to have an opinion. So I relax and just try to live it up.
MORGAN: The key thing of the next election is going to almost certainly be not just the economy but probably jobs in particular, how to get Americans back to work. That is going to be the battleground. Where do you think you have the answers that Barack Obama doesn't have?
And also, where do you think you differ, if you do, from the Tea Party and their aspirations in that area?
GINGRICH: Well, first of all, I think with Obama, he's the best, most effective Food Stamp president in history. More people are on Food Stamps thanks to his policies than any other time.
I would like to be the best paycheck president. So I think the contrast will be dramatic.
MORGAN: But you didn't, with respect, do any of these things with a 13 trillion dollar debt to deal with. If you're being fair about this, it's a lot harder, isn't it, particularly with an intransigent Republican party trying to stifle your every move, which is what Barack Obama's had to put up with.
GINGRICH: Wait a second. First of all, Bill Clinton was president. So you had a Republican speaker who had to figure out how to work with a liberal Democratic president. And everything we did, we did together.
We reformed welfare together. We balanced the budget for four straight years together.
MORGAN: And you shut down the government.
GINGRICH: And we shut down the government twice.
MORGAN: Do you regret that?
GINGRICH: No, it was the right thing to do.
MORGAN: It ultimately led to you losing your job, didn't it?
GINGRICH: No, it had nothing to do with me losing my job. First of all, I resigned. But the fact is, in 1995, we shut down the government twice. We communicated seriousness about getting to a balanced budget. We were the first re-elected majority since 1928.
It always amazes me, the elite news media says gosh, that was really painful for Republicans. We're the first re-elected majority since 1928, and not a single reporter wrote about how did we do it. It's never been covered as a serious story.
Yet that happened after the shutdown.
MORGAN: Do you think you don't get the credit you deserve?
GINGRICH: I don't worry about it.
MORGAN: I think you do. When I hear you talk that passionately about no one seems to understand what we did, it seems like you do worry about it.
GINGRICH: No, I worry about it because the lessons people learn. I don't worry about it for Newt Gingrich. I worry about it because modern Republicans are too timid. Modern Republicans are afraid to go nose to nose with Obama.
The fact is the country valued seriousness. And the country said, wow, these guys actually want to balance the budget. So we -- no Republicans had been elected for more than two years since 1928. We were elected for 12 straight years as a majority.
Now, that's an interesting story. It's a very profound change in American government. So I start off there.
Second, Clinton and I together balanced the budget for four straight years. So when you say to me, gee, we had these big deficits, sure. Nobody thought you could balance the budget when I was elected speaker. Unemployment came down from 5.6 percent to 4.2 percent. We paid off 405 billion dollars in debt.
MORGAN: What would be your simple remedy to get America back to work?
GINGRICH: Repeal the Dodd/Frank bill immediately, repeal Sarbanes/Oxley, repeal Obama-care, eliminate the capital gains tax. We have a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, have 100 percent expensing for all new equipment for factories, farmers and all businesses, so you write it off in one year.
Abolish the death tax permanently. Create a 15 percent alternative flat tax for those who want it. Develop American energy. Open up American lands in places like Alaska. We own one and a half Texas'. The American people own 69 percent of Alaska. That's one and a half times the size of Texas. Give the environmentalists half of Texas -- that's 125,000 square miles. Open up the other 250,000 square mile.
There are tons of things you can do to get this country moving again.
MORGAN: How frustrated do you feel as an American? As you say, you've been in politics for 53 years, an incredible career. When you look at what's happened to America, and particularly the emerging superpowers, China, India, so on, it's sort of stealing a march really, in terms of business and commerce and so on.
Do you despair for what's going on? This is not just about Barack Obama. This is about George Bush and everything else. I mean, what has happened to America?
GINGRICH: I think that we got off on several wrong tracks. First of all, I've had a wonderful life. I mean, to be an Army brat born in Pennsylvania, growing up around the world while my dad served the country, to be able, with no great personal money, as a Yankee- born Republican, to win a seat in Georgia, to be allow to serve my country, to be speaker of the House for four years.
I've had a wonderful life. Callista and I have terrific things. She has a "New York Times" best selling children book "Sweet Land of Liberty," I have a brand new Civil War novel. It's fun.
MORGAN: Are you an incurable romantic?
GINGRICH: Yes. I'm an idealist and a romantic and a permanent optimist. That's the American tradition.
MORGAN: Hold that thought. I want to come back and talk to you about what kind of president you would be if you get the chance.
MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Newt Gingrich. Mr. Speaker, if you became president of the United States right now, how would you -- we talked about your romantic really of what being an American really should be all about. What would be the first things you would do to restore American pride?
GINGRICH: Well, let me say, first of all, I think that the recovery will begin late on election night. Because I think as people realize that Obama's gone and the Democrats have lost the Senate, you will see investment decisions, hiring decisions, all sorts of things starting to shift literally that night.
Somebody said to me that the press conference the next morning ought to have a big sign behind me that says America's open for business again. And I think that's part of it.
You'd say up front, look, I want to create jobs. I want to focus on getting people off of Food Stamps, back to having paychecks.
MORGAN: There are polls coming out now, statistical-backed polls which show that, for example, countries like South Korea -- I think the students now earn 20 percent more a year than the average American student, and you're seeing huge leaps forward in the far east in particular in terms of education.
Why is America falling so far behind on things like education and science and so on? What do you do about it? What would you do about it?
GINGRICH: I think there are two answers to why we have fallen behind. The first is cultural. We don't require our students to study. We don't expect really good, hard work to get grades. We don't focus on math and science and learning things that involve facts.
We went into this period of psycho-babble, where we wanted you to have self-esteem even if you couldn't read. .
MORGAN: I couldn't agree more. Nonsense, half that stuff.
GINGRICH: Right. And the second is bureaucratic. The teachers union -- you go to Los Angeles Unified, the teachers union is dedicated to the protection of the most incompetent person at the expense of the children whose lives they are ruining. And the teachers unions are enormously power.
MORGAN: What have been your biggest regrets to date? And what have you learned about yourself from things that haven't gone the right way?
GINGRICH: I think there were times in my life when I was too lonely and when I would have been much better off to have sat down with very close friends and opened up and talked through that phase of my life and tried to do things. I think there were times I tried to carry too much on my own shoulders and I couldn't.
I mean, I think in the end, that I had to go to God to ask for forgiveness and to ask for reconciliation. You know, I would not advise others to necessarily lead the parts of my life that I've led.
I think also we came really close -- in the '80s with Pope John Paul II and President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher, we came very close to breaking out and really expanding freedom. And for some deep reasons, we failed.
Be it on -- what they achieved was historic and extraordinary. The elimination of the Soviet Empire, the expansion of freedom in Eastern Europe, that was a remarkable period.
MORGAN: Finally, as you say, you have had this extraordinary life. What has been the single greatest moment of your life, excluding marriages, children, whatever, nothing like that, but the moment, if you could relieve it again before you die? What would it be? I'm not -- by the way, I'm not assuming this is going you have to do for a while?
GINGRICH: No, no, no I'm thinking. I don't think the way you asked that question that I can give you a very good answer.
MORGAN: What instinctively comes to mind as the great moment of your life?
GINGRICH: I think probably one of my greatest moments of my life was going to Africa and seeing animals. I -- look, if I weren't so concerned about the future of this country, I would have spent my life as either a vertebrate paleontologist or a zoo director.
MORGAN: Would you really?
GINGRICH: Yes, I mean, I -- when you say to me about really great moments of happiness, it is hanging out at zoos. It is --
MORGAN: You were in Africa. What was the moment? What was the animal spot or whatever it was?
GINGRICH: Oh, I think it was probably being on the Serengeti Plain. I mean, Calista and I were there. She was taking pictures like crazy. And you are in a -- in the Range Rover, which they tell you to stay in. And you're 15 feet away from three lions. You're watching two cheetahs who have just finished eating an antelope and they're sitting up on this rock, you know, sunning themselves.
You look around and you think, wow, this is -- this is so extraordinary a thing to be allowed --
MORGAN: A year from now, you seeing -- you extend the metaphor, you seeing antelope, Barack Obama, cheetah, Newt Gingrich?
GINGRICH: No, no, no. I think of Barack Obama as somebody who sincerely believes things that are totally nuts. And I think of him as somebody who when the country has a choice in seven debate to watch the two of us in the Lincoln/Douglas style, at the end of the seven debates, they'll go, you know, he is a nice guy, he meant well, he doesn't have a clue what's doing, we need to replace him with somebody who actually has the experience to get the job done.
MORGAN: Newt Gingrich, it has been a pleasure.
GINGRICH: Good to see you.
MORGAN: Back to our top story, Herman Cain's dramatic press conference today where he forcefully denied doing anything inappropriate to any woman, again and again that he didn't know Sharon Bialek, the woman who brought accusations to this show last night. And he said he didn't do anything wrong either with Karen Kraushaar, who filed a complaint against him when she worked for him at the National Restaurant Association back in the '90s, who has now gone public.
Cain even said he would be willing to go the whole limit by taking a lie detector test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course I would be willing to do a lie detectors test. Secondly, I believe that the character and integrity of a candidate running for president should come under a microscope with facts, not accusations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Well, Mr. Cain, you're very welcome come on this show at any time and tell your side of the story, or, indeed, take lie detector test, live. Why not?
That is all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.