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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Battle of the Frontrunners; RNC Chair Weighs In; Rudy Giuliani on Being the Frontrunner; Interview With Harvey Weinstein

Aired December 12, 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, the Gingrich game plan. Newt takes aim at Mitt.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees, then I would be glad to then listen to him. And I'll bet you $10, not 10,000, that he won't take the offer.

MORGAN: Mitt fires back.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Speaker Gingrich has spent the last 30 years in Washington. Being a leader is easy to talk about, but then you have to look at what they actually did.

MORGAN: But what would Gingrich's surge carry him to the nomination? And is that what the GOP really wants? I'll ask campaign insiders and the party chief.

Also it's all about the rise and fall of a frontrunner, Rudy Giuliani. His advice to Romney and Gingrich.

And one of President Obama's staunchest supporters, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein on why he thinks it's plain sailing for the Democrats.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN: I think he looks strong and I think the Republicans, every time they talk, you know, it just doesn't seem to go too well for them.

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Just three weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, the nation's first contest of the 2012 presidential campaign. And two new surveys put Newt Gingrich firmly in the lead in that state. The American Research Group gives him 22 percent while the University of Iowa Hawkeye poll gives him 30 percent.

So is the Gingrich surge for real? Joining me now is Gingrich senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway and Romney senior adviser, Senator Tim Talent.

Let's start with you, Kelly. I knew you're new to the Gingrich machine. In fact he didn't have a machine until very recently. So can we take the mere fact that you are on board as a sign that he's getting serious?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO NEWT GINGRICH: Well, this campaign is much more consequential than any couple of hires, but the reason he's risen in the polls is very simple. What ended up exciting primary caucus voters across the country, Piers, are ideas. And he's been -- he's been very solutions focused, very specific, very positive and cheerful even given the newly minted onslaught of very vicious personal attacks that are happening, including, unfortunately from some of the Romney surrogates.

But it turns out that people are very engaged in what he has to say on the debate stage. So for months, Piers, people were saying, oh, Newt was the smartest guy in the room, but, he's the best performer in the debates, but. And the buts have really melted away when people have realized that he makes sense and that he reflects a lot of what's happening around our kitchen tables all across this country.

MORGAN: Well, Senator Jim Talent, I mean, she has a point, doesn't she? I mean your man was the runaway frontrunner for a long time and now he's getting skewed all over the place.

JIM TALENT, SENIOR ADVISER TO MITT ROMNEY: Well, Piers, we like the contrast between Governor Romney, indeed all the other candidates including Speaker Gingrich. In Governor Romney, we have a person that we can have confidence, can beat Barack Obama by the biggest possible margin, bring in as many conservative votes as possible, and will actually and reliably, as a proven leader., accomplish the conservative agenda. And then the contrast with Speaker Gingrich.

And look, this is not something I like doing. I served with Speaker Gingrich, but the fact of the matter is he's not a reliable conservative leader. And all you got to is look -- example number one what he said about the Ryan budget, which was -- the Ryan Medicare plan which was the heart of the Ryan budget, which is the heart of what conservatives want to do to turn the budget situation around.

And Speaker Gingrich just attacked it. It was outrageous. He said it was radical, right-wing social engineering, exactly the kind of thing Barack Obama would have said about it and will say about it if Speaker Gingrich is the nominee.

Every Republican candidate who voted for that is going to hear about Speaker Gingrich's comments if he's the nominee. It's the kind of thing he's done through his career. It's the reason that in the '90s -- and I was there -- we had to remove him as speaker.

CONWAY: Are we really going to have the debate about who's the more -- reliable conservative if you're representing Governor Romney, Senator Talent?

TALENT: You know --

CONWAY: I mean this is man who has changed his position on core issues time and again. It why, for Governor Romney, who has effectively been running for president for five years, you can put a piece of tissue paper between the floor and the ceiling in his polls. They've hardly budged. And the reason is people want consistency. They want to know they can trust you to be who you are.

Not only has your campaign now violated and decimated Reagan's 11th commandment of not speaking ill of other Republican candidates, but he, Romney himself, insulted Reagan when he was running for office against Teddy Kennedy.

MORGAN: Well, hang on. Hang on a sec. Kellyanne --

TALENT: Kellyanne, wait a minute.

MORGAN: Let me just --

TALENT: Piers, can I answer that?

MORGAN: Whoa, whoa. Wait. You can in a moment. Let me just jump in and play a little clip of Saint Gingrich as I'm now having to call him for the purposes of this little exchange because he's been dishing it out, too. Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I would just say that if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him. And I'll bet you $10 dollars, not 10,000, that he won't take the offer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: And that was in response to the very specific question.

TALENT: Now, look, Piers, Piers, this is not about --

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: He was asked a question about what Governor Romney said --

TALENT: Piers --

CONWAY: -- which was you should give back the money that you earned --

MORGAN: No, I understand. I understand. But the point --

TALENT: OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: To the casual -- to the casual observer, it's clear the gloves have come off. And it's obvious why with three weeks away from the Iowa election, it's going to be a massive moment for this race because Mitt Romney has been the clear favorite from the start. And suddenly, out of nowhere, has come Newt Gingrich. Now let me turn back to you, Senator.

TALENT: Thank you.

MORGAN: You respond to what Kellyanne said, by all means, but also what are you going to do about the fact that all the momentum is now with your rival?

TALENT: Well, look, this is a debate that we need to have. And it's not about what the campaign tactics are. It's about the records of the two candidates. He attacked the surge three years ago. We nominated John McCain largely because he was aggressive and effective in supporting the surge. That's why we won in Iraq. Newt opposed it.

When I was there in the House he said an outrageous thing when the government shut down. He said, the government shut down because President Clinton had made him get off the back of Air Force One, that had nothing to do with it. But it completely undermined our efforts. This is a debate that we need to have.

CONWAY: And we'd like to have it.

TALENT: Look, in terms of Governor Romney -- in terms of Governor Romney and where he is in Iowa and the rest of it, we think we have an excellent contrast because in Romney we have a candidate who has advanced the conservative agenda far more aggressive than anything we've seen in the last 20 years. We know he can beat Barack Obama, we know he can bring in a lot of votes.

And we know that if he's the nominee, the election is going to be about Barack Obama, the economy and Obama's failed policies. If Newt Gingrich is the nominee, the election is going to be about the Republican nominee which is exactly what the Democrats want.

CONWAY: There's just no evidence to that, sir, with all due respect. And let me just say, because I watch Piers Morgan and I see other people come on his show and want to talk about electability. Electability is a fiction. Ask President Hillary Clinton or President Rudy Giuliani what it means to have everybody, all the king's horses, all the king's men supporting you and saying, you can win. You can win.

Barack Obama himself defied people telling him, you can't win. Wait your turn. Who are you -- he's president of the United States.

Electability is a fiction. And I've seen this for years. When campaigns are losing in the polls and when they're losing the attributes in the polls, like who do you trust to fix the economy. Newt is now beating Mitt on that. Who on foreign policy -- the CBS poll has Newt leading Mitt on who do you trust in foreign policy by more than 2 to 1.

Campaigns get desperate and say but, we're the ones who can win, we can beat Barack Obama. There's simply no proof of that, it's a fiction. Just --

MORGAN: Let me jump in, Kelly. Let me jump in and talk to Senator Talent again. Let me put it to you, Jim Talent, this, which to your man's advantage, he already has support from eight U.S. senators, 45 House members and three governors. He also has, by common agreement, a much more sophisticated and experienced machine behind him.

And there is a feeling that this campaign may last a long time. It could go well through the spring and into early summer because of the way that California and New York and so on have been put back. So this could be a long haul. Is Newt Gingrich really geared up, do you think, as the opponent, for the long haul?

TALENT: Well, we are. I mean, no, I don't think he's put the campaign together. He's never run in anything bigger than a House seat. We haven't nominated anybody who hasn't run in a larger constituency I guess since General Eisenhower and I mean he won World War II.

Look, again, this is about a contrast between two candidates. One who's advanced a strong conservative record, who's a disciplined candidate who can win this election and can -- more important can turn the government around and move us back from the brinks. The stakes are huge.

MORGAN: Senator, I will let the lady have the last word.

CONWAY: Thank you.

MORGAN: And I want the last word --

TALENT: Fair enough.

MORGAN: -- to be a response to this one, which is Newt Gingrich has made one of the great comebacks. I mean he was absolutely on his knees last summer. And now we look at where he is. However, to become the president, he's got to avoid what many of his critics say is his big Achilles' heel and that's his ability to self-destruct. Do you think he can do that?

CONWAY: He can and he has. You're looking at the 68-year-old churchgoing grandfather of two who's calm, rested and positive. I think you see that. He was under attack from every side on Saturday night in that debate, Piers. And he emerged, to everybody's -- according to everybody's account as the winner.

And that's the kind of temperament you need in the White House, not somebody who when flustered being asked by Governor Perry about something that's in his own book, you know, says, let me make a $10,000 bet. All he had to do is say, let me -- let me give you -- let me set up 10 $1,000 scholarships, Governor Perry, for 10 inner city children in Houston. Let me donate a month's worth of sonograms, now that I'm pro-life Romney. Let me donate a month of sonograms to a crisis pregnancy center in Austin.

There's not -- it's not even the capacity to think that way. Newt is surging in the early states because the people there are paying attention to substance, not electability. MORGAN: Well, let's leave it there. I said the last word, not the last thousand words, I'm afraid. But I get your point.

One thing is for sure, it is definitely getting very exciting. And I look forward to talking to you both again and indeed your bosses.

Kellyanne Conway and Jim Talent, thank you both very much.

So who is more likely to unite the GOP? Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney? Joining me now is the chairman of the Republican National Committee, and that's Reince Priebus.

Mr. Priebus, we heard there the spokespeople for either party, both gearing up the rhetoric, getting stuck into each other. So it's clearly gloves off time. From your perspective, obviously, you have to remain fairly neutral at the moment, but how are you viewing the race as it's progressing?

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, I don't know if the gloves are off. I mean it's -- I think it's a pretty typical primary battle. And you know I really think primaries are good for our party, Piers. I mean if you look at what happened with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama four years ago, I mean, they nearly took a fork to each other's eyeballs through the end of June before the national convention.

And you know, the president won pretty easily and took a supermajority of Congress and 60 votes in the Senate with him. So I know people love to talk about this stuff, but I think in primaries you're going to get a few punches in the nose here and there, but in the end I really feel great about our chances which is borne out in all of the polling that you're seeing across America.

Not one of these polls shows the president not in the toilet. That's where he's at, that's where his numbers are at. That's not good for him.

MORGAN: Well -- well, look, he may be not doing not that great in the polling, approval ratings, but what are you seeing is definitely a slight bounce back now in situations involving the jobs, the unemployment was a much better performance than people expected in the last numbers that came out.

You're seeing the Iraq war has now been brought to an end. You're seeing some big --

PRIEBUS: Well --

MORGAN: -- foreign policy hits.

PRIEBUS: But we've seen that number, Piers.

MORGAN: With bin Laden and Gadhafi. But there are -- yes, but there are a few ticks in the box now which from an election nearing point of view I think are -- PRIEBUS: Yes, but actually --

(CROSSTALK)

PRIEBUS: People, things, but wait a minute. On the jobs number, clearly it's not better. It's worse. I mean there are more people unemployed this month than there were last month. More people threw their arms up in the air and said, I don't even want to file a paper with the Department of Labor.

Twice as many people did that than actually received a job, which created the illusion that the jobs number got better when in reality any person studying the numbers knows that there are fewer people working today than there were working in January of 2009 when the president took office.

I mean, quite frankly, he hasn't fulfilled a single one of his promises, Piers. And whether a number or a percent goes up and down, somebody in Kenosha, Wisconsin, or Roanoke, Virginia, they're not doing better today than they were when the president made these grand promises three or four years ago. I mean, everything is worse. And he -- everything he touched got worse.

MORGAN: Well, it may be not great but it certainly wasn't great when he took over either so it's a debate that will go on raging --

PRIEBUS: That's not a very good --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Reince Priebus, thank you very much.

(LAUGHTER)

PRIEBUS: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Well, thank you for your time. Appreciate it.

When we come back, the man who was a Republican frontrunner almost exactly four years ago and then lost. Rudy Giuliani. Who would he endorse?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: You're going to be surprised how many people show up to create jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.

GINGRICH: Loved if you'll help me on January 10th.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Newt Gingrich today. He's riding high right now, but his early on this day four years ago that Rudy Giuliani was the Republican frontrunner. And we all know how that turned out. But seven weeks later he dropped out after a poor showing in the Florida primary.

And joining me now is former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy, how are you?

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: How are you, Piers?

MORGAN: I'm very well. So here we go then. We're exactly where you were when you were 12 points ahead and dreaming of becoming the nominee and president, and then, as I said, we all know what happened.

If you're Newt Gingrich, fairly ominous, I would imagine, these parallels, aren't they?

GIULIANI: Well, being a frontrunner is always ominous, right? We've seen what has happened to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain. We saw what happened to Hillary Clinton. Right? She was roughly in the same position I was in at this time four years ago, maybe even further ahead of Barack Obama.

So being a frontrunner is always perilous. But it doesn't mean you're not going to win. And Newt has a few advantages that I didn't have. I never had a chance in Iowa. So I knew I was going to lose Iowa. Newt can win Iowa. And then really I lost in Florida because I lost in New Hampshire. And by that time I was -- I was out of it. So two primaries pretty much reduced my chance in Florida to almost nothing.

So now if what -- if Newt can win in Iowa, if he can come close in New Hampshire because I think everyone expects that Governor Romney, being governor of Massachusetts and living in New Hampshire, I mean, Governor Romney has to do real well in New Hampshire.

And then if Newt can win South Carolina, he'll go in -- he'll go into Florida with a head of steam and right now he's at 50 percent in Florida. So nothing is certain. Somebody else could come along, you know. I go back four years before my election and right before Iowa, about four weeks before Howard Dean was ahead by 15 points, and then John Kerry won.

So you know, there's going to be an interesting four weeks.

MORGAN: It's certainly turning into a good old scrap between, it would appear now, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Would you anticipate that is now going to be the face-off? I mean can you see any of the other candidates really making much of a push at this stage?

GIULIANI: I watched the debates, you know, on Saturday night. I tend to believe that this is now a two-person race between Mitt and Newt, although I was surprised at how feisty the other candidates were. I mean -- and they weren't just going after Gingrich. They were going after Romney as much, maybe more than Gingrich, which surprised me because Gingrich is the frontrunner, and you would think they'd be trying to knock him off the pedestal.

But for some reason Rick Perry leveled some pretty good -- pretty good strong attacks on Romney. Michele Bachmann lumped Romney and Gingrich together and hit them both pretty hard. So I think that the two of them are going to end up being the candidate that take it down to the wire.

MORGAN: I mean, what's interesting, Rudy, is that you look at Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and they're very different characters. So you have Newt Gingrich, a kind of Washington bruiser who has been around the block and has a lot of baggage, professionally and personally. Then you have Mitt Romney who's got no baggage at all personally. A bit of flip-flop hell in his CV, but also somebody who is seen to be just not very exciting.

I mean what is your expert assessment of the two candidates?

GIULIANI: I think -- I think that's a pretty good assessment. I mean Newt is brilliant. Newt is where he is because he's excelled in each one of these debates including the last one where he was -- that's one of the best debate performances I've seen, I mean, because they were all coming after him. He dealt with it with humor. He dealt with -- with equanimity and not -- didn't get himself off track.

He did a pretty good job of explaining some of the things that will become controversial, like his statement on Palestine, he gave a very good historical explanation of it, it ended up having all the other candidates agree with him.

Sow e can't discount Newt's extraordinary debating ability which is far and away, you know, better than anyone else. On the other hand, Governor Romney has almost a perfect record for a person to be running right now. Experience in government, experience in business. Understands the economy. But there is something missing. You're absolutely right. There's some kind of personal connection that doesn't get made that the other candidates probably do a better job at.

MORGAN: Yes, I mean I thought it's interesting the big furor that blew up over his $10,000 bet offer. And the reason it blew up was it kind of illustrated his problem that there is a disconnect between this extravagantly rich man and the ordinary punter on the street. And he just exacerbated that, didn't he?

GIULIANI: Well, that's one of the things that you fear going into a debate. I did about 11 debates when I was running for president. And I can tell you -- and have participated in debate preparation for other candidates. The thing you fear the most is making that one statement that's going to live after the debate. And that was a -- that was a big mistake.

In this day and age with people suffering -- people out of work, people worried about being out of work, it does -- it does, I think, illustrate one of the problems of Governor Romney's candidacy, both as the Republican candidate and then should he ever be, you know, the nominee of the party against Barack Obama. Because Obama, who appears to want to conduct a class warfare campaign, having a guy, you know, in the -- in that top 1 percent and maybe even in the 1 percent of the 1 percent, that's going to be a heck of a target for Obama.

MORGAN: It was a good point. Let's take a little break actually, Rudy, and come back and discuss that very point about Obama's apparent declaration of class war and what you think of Obama because he's clearly gearing up himself now for the election battle and his supporters are feeling pretty confident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: After the debate was over, Ann came up and gave me a kiss, and said I was great, and she said a lot of things you do well. Betting isn't one of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Military families across America are being reunited for the holidays. In the coming days, the last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq with honor and with their heads held high. After nearly nine years, our war in Iraq ends this month.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's President Obama today on the end of the war in Iraq. And I'm back now with Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy, we'll come to that in a moment about his position on Iraq, but let's talk about President Obama generally because he's clearly got his gander up now. He's into election mode. He's a very good electioneer, we know that. He's a good debater, he's a good talker. I've noticed a real upping of the ante in the Obama camp. What are you seeing?

GIULIANI: I think that's absolutely right. I mean, first of all, they're facing some -- a real difficulty. His approval rating is down to 41 percent. I mean, any time you're below 50, it's always a big question. When you're reelect at below 50 that's when you take on a senator, a congressman, a president. He's down to 41.

It drops much lower than that, it's going to really be almost disaster time for him. So I believe the White House, although they're not going to say this, is feeling -- I'm not going to call it panic, but they're feeling a certain kind of anxiety about this because their numbers don't look very good for him.

So what do they have going for them? They have the presidency. They have their president who is an extraordinary campaigner. He's a gifted campaigner. I don't happen to think he's a very good president, but I think he is an extraordinary politician as a campaigner.

And I think they've made their choice as to how they're going to run this campaign. They're going to try to appeal to the middle class, and they're going to run this as a, you know, middle class against the rich campaign.

I don't like that. I think that's bad for America. I think dividing is not the way to really build this country. Look, but dividing could be a way to win an election. Elections have been won before that way. So I think that's the choice they've made. And they're going to be very, very -- I think very disciplined and very focused on that.

And that's where Republicans have to consider who would be our best candidate if they're going to do this class warfare kind of campaign. Who would be our best candidate to take on -- to take on Obama.

MORGAN: Yes, and what's the answer? Who would be, do you think?

GIULIANI: Well, I think --

MORGAN: If that is the battleground.

GIULIANI: I think that's why Newt Gingrich is doing better than people ever expected. I mean, Newt has his negatives. We all know them. They got explored ad infinitum in the debate the other night. And -- but one of the strengths that he has is he's got a common touch, he's able to talk to people, and he comes from a poor family, understands poverty from that point of view.

He doesn't come from the American elite. It's going to be hard to paint him that way. A lot of other ways you can paint him, but you can't paint him that way.

MORGAN: And it would be an amazing comeback if Newt Gingrich is to win the nomination now. Because in the summer, he was absolutely dead and buries, wasn't he? I mean he admits himself he was on every radio show, the first question was given that you're now dead, Newt, what do you think about Mitt Romney? So -- I mean it's been unbelievable.

GIULIANI: It has.

MORGAN: And -- and Leno --

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: But it is history repeating itself. This is what happened to me. I mean this is what happened to John McCain.

MORGAN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: I thought John McCain was out of it. I -- in one debate I said that if I weren't running I'd be supporting John McCain. I probably said that in part out of conviction. I happen to admire John McCain immensely. He's always been a hero of mine. But I also probably said it because I thought John was out of it and I was just kind of complimenting because I'm hoping to get his support. And then John just rose from the ashes, took the nomination from Huckabee, from me, from Romney. And he did it in about a four-week period. And I mean, we kind of have a tendency to do this as Republicans. So what Newt has to do now, he's got to build an organization for himself, so that he can take this popular enthusiasm he has and then he can convert it into wins when you get even past Florida.

MORGAN: Let's take a look at what President Obama said about Newt Gingrich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you make of this surge by former Speaker Gingrich?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's somebody who has been around a long time and is good on TV, is good in debates and -- you know, but Mitt Romney has shown himself to be somebody who is good at politics as well. He's had a lot of practice at it. I think that they will be going at it for a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: President Obama on CBS' "60 minutes" show there, talking about the two candidates. What's interesting is that we're picking up vibes that the president's people are really saying Romney's the one we really fear. Now that normally means the complete opposite. Should we read into that that they're probably more worried about Newt Gingrich?

GIULIANI: I would give them some advice. President Carter feared George Bush and not Ronald Reagan, because he thought Ronald Reagan was too old. Ronald Reagan was an actor. Ronald Reagan was too right wing. And this would be kind of interesting, Ronald Reagan had a tendency to say incendiary things.

You know, he had -- these happened when he was president but all throughout, calling the Soviets the Evil Empire, demanding that Gorbachev bring down the wall, being against the Panama Canal Treaty. That was before he ran for president. Then the White House got what they wished for. They got Ronald Reagan.

And he won in a virtual landslide. He won by eight, 10 percent. So if I were the White House, I would take both of them very seriously because they both have substantial strengths that can play against Obama's weaknesses.

By the same token, there are negatives about both men that the White House can exploit. They're just different. My gut tells me right now, as I look at it, that Gingrich might actually be the stronger candidate, because I think he can make a broader connection than Mitt Romney, as I said, to the -- to the -- to those Reagan Democrats, where you won't have this barrier of possible elitism that I think Obama could exploit pretty effectively.

MORGAN: Let's take another break. Let's come back. I want to talk about what you think of Alec Baldwin flirting with the idea of becoming your old job, the New York mayor, if he can get off a plane.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain Rogers, don't phones interfere with the plane's communication system?

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: You don't believe that, do you, Seth? Would you really get on an airplane that flew 30,000 feet in the air if you thought one Kindle switch could take it down? Come on! It's just a cruel joke perpetrated by the airline industry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That was Alec Baldwin on "Saturday Night Live" talking about his dustup with American Airlines over his outrageous decision to play words with friends on his phone. You're chuckling away there, Rudy. It was all a bit of a storm in a teacup, wasn't it?

GIULIANI: It sure was. I sympathize with Alec on that one because I'm a kindle almost addict. And I get really annoyed when I have to turn it off while the plane is taxiing out, because you have the off switch on. It's not communicating anything.

I have on occasion tried to explain to flight attendants, it's like a book. It doesn't communicate. But they don't -- they haven't seemed to have caught up with the technology. There is no danger, because nothing is communicating to the Kindle. It's in the memory of the Kindle. So maybe the FAA should revisit this rule. So I have --

MORGAN: Rudy, you're the perfect guy to ask, because I'd imagine you know all about this kind of technical stuff. As far as I'm aware, there's never actually been any evidence that even if you have these devices on --

GIULIANI: Right.

MORGAN: -- they have any effect on a plane's radar systems. Do they?

GIULIANI: I don't believe they do. I suspect in an airplane, half the people have their cell phones on, on any airplane that's taking off or landing. And nothing happens.

But Baldwin's case is actually better than that. He had the off switch on, which means it wasn't communicating. A Kindle operates so that you get your newspapers and you get your books downloaded into the Kindle. You then put on the off switch. Now it's in the Kindle. You're not communicating at all. You have a book in front of you.

That's the part that I think there is absolutely no evidence and there's nothing particularly logical about the fact that that would interfere with anything.

MORGAN: The thing -- there's been spectacular fallout, because Alec Baldwin has now removed himself from Twitter, thus depriving me of hours of aimless fun with him at night. Because when he's had a couple of glasses of wine at midnight, he's absolutely hysterical.

So I think we should launch collectively the bring back Alec Baldwin to Twitter campaign, Rudy.

GIULIANI: I'll join that. I think Alec's problem here was he overreacted. Maybe he should do a kind of a version of "Anger Management 2" with Adam Sandler. That might be a good movie for him. They could do one on an airplane. He could get into trouble and then he could go into anger management.

Since I had a small part in "Anger Management 1," maybe they'd let me reprise my old role in "Anger Management 1."

MORGAN: I love it. Now we're getting somewhere. On a slightly more serious note, there have been sort of flirtations in sections of the media that Alec Baldwin might be a candidate to be the mayor of New York. I suspect he's not going to be. But what are your views generally about who the next mayor perhaps ought to be?

GIULIANI: Well, I think it's going to be really hard to follow Mike Bloomberg. Mike's done a really fabulous job. I'm very concerned about it, because when I left being mayor, I was really worried the city would be taken over by an old fashioned Democratic politician, and that they would turn the city back to becoming a patronage mill, and a city that didn't really measure performance and didn't focus on business-like approaches to how you solve crime, how you deal with welfare.

And Mike has taken everything I did, built on it and improved it. I'd like to see a mayor come along that's going to be -- let's call it a non-politician in their approach to the way in which they run the city. So I'd be interested in somebody from the outside.

I mean, I have very different political views than Alec Baldwin. I have a hard time overcoming him saying he was going to move out of the country when George Bush became president. But I know Alec. I like him a lot. If he wants to make a bid for it, we shouldn't just discount it. We should listen to him.

He's got a great deal of talent. He's been interested in public issues for quite some time. I think the next mayor of New York City, we might be very well served, if it isn't Alec, someone who comes from outside of politics, who takes a different view of it, and isn't going to get involved in all those old political games that used to bring the city down.

MORGAN: And imagine what a vote winner it would be if the first thing he did as New York mayor was announce that all New Yorkers could play words with friends on airlines?

MORGAN: That might be the one thing I agree with him. GIULIANI: Rudy, the great position you now have is you remain the front-runner of my most regular guests. That position remains yours.

GIULIANI: Thank you very much, Piers.

MORGAN: You're always such good value. So thank you very much for coming on.

GIULIANI: Thank you. You're doing a great job.

MORGAN: Thanks, Rudy. Take care.

Coming up, has President Obama lost his Hollywood supporters? Not if my next guest has anything to say about it. Movie mogul and firm Obama supporter Harvey Weinstein.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This isn't about class warfare. This is about the nation's welfare. It's about making choices that benefit not just the people who have done fantastically well over the last few decades, but that benefits the middle class and those fighting to get into the middle class and the economy as a whole.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: My next guest is a big supporter of the president and a man who has done fantastically well over the past few decades, Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Harvey, welcome back.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN, MOVIE MOGUL: Nice to see you, Piers.

MORGAN: Each time we've talked, there have been sort of undulations and swings up and down for President Obama and the Republicans. Where do you think he is right now, given all that's been going on?

WEINSTEIN: When I see a speech like that, it looks like he's getting ready to fight and take some numbers. So I think he looks strong. I think the Republicans, every time they talk, you know, it just doesn't seem to go too well for them.

MORGAN: What do you make of their race? Because it's clear that they can't work out who they really want, because the lead keeps changing. They keep building somebody up as this is the exciting new thing, and then crash and down they come. What do you think of the way their race is going?

WEINSTEIN: I don't think it's going very well at all. I think we've seen a lot of mistakes. I think we've seen a lot of people that aren't that prepared. MORGAN: When you look at President Obama's body language, the thing I've noticed is that through the summer, he seemed to be a little bit flat. He looked a bit on his knees. He was being been beaten up by the Republicans. When I watched that speech last week, I actually thought he had his gander back.

WEINSTEIN: I think the president cares deeply about this country and the Constitution. When a bunch of people try to hijack that Constitution -- let's not pretend. The Tea Party is financed by super super-wealthy guys, who want all sorts of crazy economic laws that will benefit the super, super rich.

MORGAN: People are accusing him now of class warfare. It seems a bit trite to say that, because in any kind of society where you have this kind of financial meltdown, isn't it instinctively the right thing not do, that the rich should contribute a little bit more to the recovery than those with no money?

WEINSTEIN: I think people like Warren Buffett -- I'm not in his class.

MORGAN: You're not far off, Harvey.

WEINSTEIN: People like myself, Matt Damon.

MORGAN: Only a couple of knots in it.

WEINSTEIN: There are people who can afford to give a little bit more. You know what? In the end, we'll get it back. It's certainly better to do that than finance -- than be secretive billionaires financing the Tea Party because you have untold -- untold needs for untold wealth. For what reason?

MORGAN: Who do you think is going to be the Republican nominee, as we sit here today?

WEINSTEIN: I'm a movie maker.

MORGAN: But you're very political, too.

WEINSTEIN: I'm just for the president. I'm not political, per se. I think it would actually be good for this country and the president when they do choose a candidate and it can be one on one. Whatever the ratings of the president is now, my bet is -- and I'll bet -- that they'll double when it's one on one -- when it's one up, one race.

But remember, I don't know this game. I know another game.

MORGAN: Let's turn to your other game, because although, ironically, of course, your other game is currently all about politics. So you -- some of it.

WEINSTEIN: Some of it.

MORGAN: So you, as usual, as we head towards the Oscars, have most of the movies out, Harvey. I can't help but notice the timing of all this is always brilliantly schemed.

WEINSTEIN: Piers, you made me a movie star. You made me a TV star. I never did tell vision interviews until you called me last year after "The King's Speech" and said, come on the show. Then, all of a sudden, the other people started calling, you know --

MORGAN: Let's have a little break. We can talk about how I've helped you in the break. And when we come back, let's talk about Marilyn and Margaret Thatcher.

WEINSTEIN: Sounds good to me.

MORGAN: Yes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with my special guest, Harvey Weinstein, the man I've made into a famous TV star. This is an interesting little conundrum for you, Harvey, because you have the brilliant Michelle Williams, who's outstanding as Marilyn. I had the pleasure of interviewing her recently. You also have the utterly brilliant Meryl Streep, who is possibly even more outstanding as Margaret Thatcher.

They can't both win. So what do you want to win?

WEINSTEIN: Here's how it happens -- this is -- this is where King Solomon taught me a great lesson. Michelle Williams is competing at the Golden Globes for best comedy or musical. Meryl Streep is in best drama.

MORGAN: Oh, you've worked it out.

WEINSTEIN: I could have one of those nights where serendipity --

MORGAN: But they can't both win best actress at the Oscars.

WEINSTEIN: I have -- you know what, may the best woman win. And they're both fantastic.

But let's get to the Golden Globes, first. Wouldn't that be a nice night if they both won?

MORGAN: Tell me about Margaret Thatcher. I had the pleasure of knowing Mrs. Thatcher and met her quite a few times, actually. She was a formidable woman. She's still alive, obviously, but she's in her doltish (ph) now. But at her peak, really one of the most impressive, formidable people I've ever met in my life.

WEINSTEIN: When I first came on the show, I said I don't know if anybody will ever invite me out to a dinner, because the conservatives told us, if you do not saint her, do not expect to go anywhere on our side of the fence. And the liberal friends of mine said to me, if you do not demonize that woman, don't expect anything. So I figured I'd be in a cave somewhere.

MORGAN: Let's watch a clip from the movie. Let's see Meryl Streep in action here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: We will stand on principle or we will not stand at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Margaret, with all due respect, when one has been to war --

THATCHER: With all due respect, sir, I have done battle every single day of my life. And many men have underestimated me before. This lot seem bound to do the same, but they will rue the day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, I -- that is -- that's the first time I've seen it. It's uncanny. She looks like her and she speaks like her. That's exactly how Margaret Thatcher really does speak.

WEINSTEIN: Meryl transformed into her. That's one of the famous scenes in American history, because Ronald Reagan sent Alexander Haig to buy her off the Falklands, said you do not need to do this. Don't go. Don't send the battleships. Don't engage with the Argentinean Navy at all.

Keep it peaceful, and we'll cut a deal. That's the turning point for Reagan, because he had such incredible respect. Because in a very charming way, she basically showed Alexander Haig the door. She had -- I don't know if you can say it, but baseball balls.

MORGAN: She would admire that. I met her once at a party -- a met her a few times, but this one I remember most. She came up to me -- I'd written something about her or published something in one of the papers that I ran back in Britain, that she didn't like. It was about some economic policy she had.

She came up and she just began jabbing me with her bony finger really hard. I was like, wow, this is hurting. She's like, listen to me, young man. Boom, boom, boom. I remember, she had this huge tumbler of whiskey. She used to drink whiskey out of these absolutely enormous tumblers, huge, great things. And she'd slug it back, bang you with her fingers, very Churchillian, I always thought. She was the nearest thing to a female Churchill.

WEINSTEIN: And she lasted longer than Churchill. But the great thing about -- in the research is the name the Iron Lady. The name the Iron Lady came from the Red Army Newspaper because she made a speech that was anti-Soviet.

MORGAN: That's right.

WEINSTEIN: So they called her the Iron Lady. The great thing about Margaret Thatcher was -- it was meant as an insult from the Russians. She loved the name. She sent a letter back to them and said, I totally approve, the Iron Lady. MORGAN: Very quickly, on Marilyn, another incredible performance, Michelle Williams. She really does become Marilyn. What did you think of that?

WEINSTEIN: Listen, that's a sexy, fun, entertaining movie. I'm really proud of it. We found a small piece of British history, a 23- year-old boy. I'm sure you'd like to meet this boy, Piers, on the set of Pinewood -- me too -- on the set of Pinewood, his first job working on a movie. Arthur Miller has a fight with her on their honeymoon. He leaves. The boy moves in.

It's a romance. It's enchanting. And it is true. It's funny as can be. Michelle Williams is amazing, and sexy as all get out.

MORGAN: Harvey, tell me about "The Artist," which is this other movie you have got on the go.

WEINSTEIN: Genius French producer named Thomas Langmann, whose father was Claude Berri, the great director, finances a 14 million dollar black and white movie shot in America, that's silent. And here's a silent movie in this day and age.

Jenny Turreli (ph) in the "L.A. Times" said there's "Avatar" and there's "The Artist." The high end of technology, and we're the complete low tech end of technology.

And it's funny. And it's hilarious. And it will teach you one thing, which I learned the other day, it will take your Blackberry -- Maureen Dowd wrote this column about silence is golden after she the movie. I went to dinner with my kids, three daughters. They're on their Blackberries, their iPhones, this that, messages all through dinner.

After I read her article about my movie, I said, all right, guys, this is like a gun slinger in a saloon. Take your guns out and put them on the table. And we all had to put our Blackberries and so on on the table. Of course, five minutes later, my kids are going, I've got to go to the bathroom, dad. I said, no, no, you can't go to the bathroom.

MORGAN: I rather like the idea of a silent Harvey Weinstein.

WEINSTEIN: We weren't silent. We just weren't on the Blackberries. We actually talked to each other. That was the -- that was the experience. I'm sure there would be a lot of people who would like to see a silent Harvey Weinstein. I'd like to accommodate them some time.

MORGAN: You can be very popular, Harvey.

WEINSTEIN: I think I will be.

MORGAN: Nice to see you.

WEINSTEIN: Thank you, Piers. Pleasure.

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.