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Interview with Ron Paul; Interview with Jon Huntsman; Interview with Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Interview with Judd Gregg; Interview With Donald Trump

Aired January 4, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight game on. Next stop, New Hampshire. I'll ask Ron Paul, does he actually has a real shot there.

REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a live free or die state. They're very freedom oriented. And I'm confident we're going to do quite well.

MORGAN: Can a frontrunner Mitt Romney now break out?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It sure is nice to have a win. Can we do better here in New Hampshire? Can we -- yes.

MORGAN: Now it's gloves off for the challengers.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I find it amazing the news media continues to say he's the most electable Republican when he can't even break out in his own party.

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can get all the Doles and all the McCains in the world, as Romney probably will. But in the end, nobody cares.

MORGAN: Jon Huntsman is taking everything on New Hampshire. Tonight I'll ask him can he win that huge bet.

Plus wild card Donald Trump. He has a lot to say about the Republican field. I'm going to have him grade all the candidates.


Good evening. We expected the Iowa caucuses to be close, but not that close. A dramatic evening. We saw Mitt Romney wins by just eight votes. And now taking that lead on to New Hampshire where he has a much larger lead at the moment. Today he picked up an endorsement from the man he battled the nomination last time around, John McCain.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Mitt Romney and I and you believe that America's greatest days are still ahead of us. It just requires the kind of leadership to put us back in the position that made America the greatest and noblest experiment in the history of the world. And the person who will do that is right here with you today.

President Mitt Romney.



MORGAN: So a good night for Mitt Romney and a very good night for Rick Santorum. And another candidate who can be feeling pretty good about his showing in Iowa is Ron Paul. But how will his third place finish translate in New Hampshire?

Well, the congressman joins me now.

Ron Paul, a pretty good night for you last night. You must be feeling pretty happy today.

PAUL: Yes, I think we did real well. It was essentially three- way, it came in first and gave us a chance to just have some momentum to go on. So I'm looking forward to New Hampshire. And you know, we did real well in certain groups. And people dissect this out all the time, and I think most people knew that I would do real well with the people, you know, under 30.

And I did extremely well there. But I did real well with the independent groups, too. And that means that the interest in what I'm talking about is very broad-based. A lot of Republicans, independents and even Democrats have come out to our rallies. So therefore I think we're presenting a program that should be appealing to all Americans.

MORGAN: I mean what was really fascinating, because I was down at the CNN HQ in Atlanta, watching the dramatic scenes unfold right through the night. And it was clear that one thing was constant, which is that you, and I say this with great respect, the oldest candidate by some margin, was attracting the largest amount of young action on social media, Twitter, Facebook and so on.

You have got this extraordinary appeal to the youth. What do you put that down to?

PAUL: I don't know. I'm very pleased with it. I keep trying to figure it out. I ask a lot of questions of the young people and they give me different answers. They're always very complimentary. Sometimes it's just -- it sounds like you're the only one telling the truth, it sounds like you will obey the constitution and you'll vote by yourself if you have to.

And they talk about foreign policy. I think young people are just not anxious to be sent off to war. And they have become fascinated with my interest in monetary policy, and there's a financial crisis going on. So they're actually studying, you know, the Federal Reserve and monetary policy. So they give us all this interest.

But I think overall it's my emphasis on liberty per se, just liberty, having the freedom to run your life as you so choose, as well as spend your money as you so choose. And that is a very powerful message and very attractive to young people.

MORGAN: I mean I use Twitter a lot. One of the instincts to me is every time I mention your name, or we cover you in the show, whatever it may be, I get an avalanche of reaction. Very, very angry from people that feel that you don't get a fair crack at the whip from the media generally. And you're not taken seriously enough as a candidate. And there's no doubt there is some truth to that.

And for whatever reason, you quietly do your thing and you do it well. And then it suits people to portray you as a kind of cranky old guy in the race. When actually, the figures would suggest you should be taken more seriously.

PAUL: Yes, and you know, I see that word cranky. My supporters don't call me cranky. My friends don't call me that. But I think the media uses it a whole lot. And you know I do hear that some of our people overreact. But I'll tell you what, they do the opposite thing. You know just take the singer that endorsed me. They went and bought her albums. You know, Kelly Clarkson, I believe. And they bought albums, and they were -- you know, very happy.

So if you say something nice about me tonight, I'll bet you'll get a lot of good e-mails. I mean, they are very discretionary. And they really compliment people. But if they -- if they feel like I'm not getting a fair shake, and I think you even said that possibly that's the case we come up short, they will even overreact. And I caution them against that because that's not -- that's not the way to win friends and influence people. But they are very supportive. And they want to defend me. You know, when people sort of attack me.

MORGAN: Do you think, Congressman, that in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney is almost certain to win in New Hampshire? Do you believe the real battleground will move on to South Carolina and to Florida?

PAUL: You know, I think the odds-makers would probably bet that. But I think Santorum showed that you can change things rather quickly right at the end. And maybe people haven't -- the undecideds haven't decided to do anything yet in New Hampshire, and maybe there will be a switch.

Actually, in New Hampshire, you know, you can get Republicans, independents and Democrats coming over and -- no, I'm sorry, I don't think you can have the Democrats, but the independent vote, there's more independents than others that can come in there. So there are some unknowns. But I think the odds-maker would say that he does, it's his home state, he lives there. But that doesn't mean that the rest of us give up. I think all of us will continue to campaign very hard there.

MORGAN: Look at your contenders here. Are you surprised that, say, Rick Perry is staying in the race, given how he's underperformed?

PAUL: Well, I haven't concentrated on what he should do or being surprised or not. I am surprised that he wasn't able to sustain, you know, his burst onto the scene, where he was riding high in the polls. You know, back then I would have guessed that he would have been neck and neck with Mitt Romney. So I was surprised that he didn't stay up there. But I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other he sticks -- whether he sticks in or not.

But he must be calculating that, you know, South Carolina is his place to take a stand. Because I don't think he's doing a whole lot and I don't think his numbers are that good up in New Hampshire. But I have trouble keeping up with my own campaign, let alone what exactly their strategy is.


MORGAN: Let's just turn to the two direct competitors who performed well with you last night. To Mitt Romney and to Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum played a pretty clever game. He just put all his eggs in Iowa, he went to 370-yard rallies and 99 counties. An amazing feat of endurance, if nothing else.

I think he's earned his right to have his day in the sun. But as more scrutiny comes on him now, do you think he'll be able to withstand the inevitable media attention that he will now get for what many would say are policies which in some cases go to the more extreme right?

PAUL: Well, you know, my criticism isn't that he's an extreme conservative. I think he spends way too much money. You know when he had the opportunity to double the size of the Department of Education, he did, when he expanded medical care with, you know, prescription drug programs, and he votes for foreign aid, he votes for all these things.

And he's supported people like Arlen Specter. He doesn't come across as a conservative. I think that will get out. And you know he sort of popped up in the polls there at the last minute. But he didn't have an organization and he's -- if you look at a picture of his rallies, they were very, very sparsely attended. So it was a mechanism where a group of people came together and said, he's our candidate, we didn't rally around the others so we're going to rally around him at the last minute.

But I don't think that's going to -- I don't think he can go anywhere. He doesn't have an organization. He doesn't have the money. So I would be surprised if he does very much in New Hampshire.

MORGAN: How did you react when he called you disgusting?

PAUL: I'm sorry, I missed that. What?

MORGAN: How did you feel when Rick Santorum implied that you were disgusting?

PAUL: He called me disgusting? Well, I didn't -- I didn't hear him say that. Maybe if I did hear that in the debate, I could have had a spontaneous reaction. But you know, those kinds of terms, I think they lack in vocabulary. It's not very creative. I think he could have find maybe a more dignified term. Maybe he could have said he disagrees with me or something. But, you know, I just don't see the purpose of that. But I haven't, you know, thought that through. I haven't talked to him about that. And I didn't hear him say that.

MORGAN: I mean clearly the gloves are coming off, I think, in terms of personal attacks. You've seen it from Mitt Romney through these PACs towards Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich looks to me like somebody is about to erupt back at Mitt Romney. You see Santorum whacking you and you're whacking a few people.

Is it time that this election gets real and inevitably gets ugly?

PAUL: Yes, and it's probably the part of politics I never liked. And over the years, you know, I have participated in using what people say are negative ads. But you know if you point out another, what I just said about Santorum, I don't consider that being negative. I tell people that he votes for foreign aid. You know, and that he supported No Child Left Behind. But no, that's the part that is more difficult for me because I've been much more interested in changing the dialogue. I mean you know, my campaign and my platform is so much different. You know I'm talking a change in foreign policy, I want to address the Federal Reserve, I want to cut spending.

Nobody -- I mean, whether it's Santorum or Gingrich or Romney, none of them really want to cut spending. They talk about the whole establishment, Democrat and Republican, they're talking about cutting but they're only talking about cutting proposed increases, and I want actual cuts. So those are the kind of policies sometimes I find rather disgusting that they won't deal with the issues.

And I think that is so important. And yet I have tried to bring this up. But I don't think they addressed it in a serious manner. I deal a lot in protecting civil liberties and privacy, and talking about the Patriot Act. And I get a good response from that. In the national Defense Authorization Act this idea that the military can arrest American citizens and held indefinitely without a lawyer? And nobody wants to talk about it?

I mean, that this -- none of the other candidates even bring that up. So that is why our campaign is quite different.

MORGAN: Let me take a short break, Congressman. Come back and talk about your electability. Because a lot of people say they like Ron Paul, they love your energy, they love the passion, the dynamism. But very few people actually believe you could become president. I'm sure that you do. And I want you to explain to me after the break why.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The establishment called him extreme and unelectable. They said he was the wrong man for the job. It's why a young Texan named Ron Paul was one of only four congressmen to endorse Ronald Reagan's campaign for president. Believing in Reagan's message of smaller government and lower taxes.


MORGAN: The Ron Paul political ad, and the candidate himself is back with me now.

The Reagan factor is very alive and kicking here because it's quite clear, a lot of conservatives are looking for a Reagan-esque figure. And in many ways you could be that person. But I come back again, Ron Paul, to I guess what your problem is in terms of perception, is that your enemies out there always position you as slightly crazy. And therefore, not presidential. Not somebody who could actually win against, say, Barack Obama.

How do you -- how do you deal with that? Now it's getting serious, and you see the poll numbers. You know, maybe you hope to win in Iowa, you didn't. You're coming in second perhaps in New Hampshire. But you won't win there. How do you change perception to make people believe you could seriously be president?

PAUL: Well, you know, I get a charge out of this when they say that these views are extreme and that -- I wouldn't be elected. Well, I've been elected 12 times in my district. And age is a relative factor. You know, and besides, you're not allowed to discriminate against age. So if I have young ideas, I'm in good health, and appealing to young people, that's pretty much proof. You know what really counts is the -- are the issues and what you believe in. And freedom is a young idea.

Historically it hasn't been around all that long. We've had a great test, you know, in our country. And we're losing this. But most people have lived under tyranny. And that is the main thing. Young people, and people much younger than I am, are accepting way too much government, whether it's militarism, whether it's violation of our civil liberties, or whether it's regulating and socializing our economy, and special interest protection by the Federal Reserve.

I mean, these things are old ideas. And this is why I think I'm very much electable. But it's also strange that they say that these views, you know, are real strange. But I defend the constitution. Why should balancing the budget and defending the constitution, and doing the things I talk about, all of a sudden they say, oh, you can't be elected with those views. But they're saying, oh, we hate the constitution. We hate personal liberties. We hate privacy. We hate the Fourth Amendment.

We think we should be the policemen of the world. That's what they're saying when they're saying I'm unelectable. But they ought to deal with the issue itself because the views that I hold and the strict adherence to the constitution and my voting record, they know that I would stick to those views. And I think that's what they're frightened about because they've gotten used to the status quo, and the status quo is big government.

MORGAN: I've got your old friend Jon Huntsman coming on in a moment. And you gave him a good old jab on Twitter last night and then deleted it. And it discounted any responsibility, and what would you like to say to Jon Huntsman? Do you want to apologize for telling me that you found his one Iowa voter?

PAUL: Well, you know, that was done, you know, through staff. It was supposed to be good humor. And, I mean, I just didn't think that was a big deal. I can't imagine anybody making that. But he was the one, I think, sent the first Twitter. And I was in the midst of a rally or a speech when that stuff was going on. So I think that was rather quickly gone through, and I think it was supposed to be something, you know, a little high-spirited and a little bit funny. But it turned out to be a national incident about this Twitter. But I think yes --

MORGAN: We'll get --

PAUL: I think the staff --

MORGAN: We'll get his reaction in a moment because he's listening to this. But I suppose what I would say to you, Congressman, there seems to be a bit of a --

PAUL: Yes --


PAUL: I thought he was -- here I thought he was a nice guy. He and I get along real well. And I thought he had some reasonable ideas. But I can't imagine him attacking me, you know, so.

MORGAN: Well, I'm hoping you --


MORGAN: That's what he's on for as I hopefully will. But I think what I would -- I would just urge a bit of caution with all these things, Congressman. There seemed to be a pattern emerging that you've been completely unaware of what your staff are doing under your name half the time.

PAUL: Well, not half the time. You know, I would hardly say that. But you know a press person does a lot for all of us. So he's going to try to tell you that their press person never did a thing in your name, they're not telling you the straight story. Press people tend to do that. They went over the top.

And it was just a -- look, it was just a little thing. And they were trying to be funny. And I told them afterwards, after I got stuck with that, I said, you know, that isn't very funny to have me get caught on national television, and not know what's going on. But it was meant to be in good humor and when I looked at that --

MORGAN: OK, we'll see.

PAUL: I thought it was --

MORGAN: We will see. PAUL: But I thought -- OK. Go ahead.

MORGAN: Well, we're going to see if Jon Huntsman found it funny or not right now.

Congressman, as always, thank you very much.

PAUL: All right. Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, my live exclusive interview with Jon Huntsman. We'll see if he is laughing at Ron Paul's little jabs.


MORGAN: And joining me now is Jon Huntsman.

Governor, our suspense here, did you find Congressman Ron Paul's tweet funny or not, Mr. Huntsman?


HUNTSMAN: You know, Piers, first of all, thanks for having me. You think he would have learned the perils of ghost-written subject matter by now. But I have to tell you, at the end of the day, I actually found it to be pretty humorous. I discovered it last night. Somebody shared it with me. And I thought it was pretty funny.

You've got to have a little bit of levity and humor in this business or you'd go crazy. So just tell Dr. Paul that I owe him a tweet in return, and he should be -- he should be expecting one sometime soon.

MORGAN: I think he should do what Mitt Romney does and get the dirty work done by someone else, in your case, maybe your daughters can unleash themselves on Twitter on him. I think a better way of doing it. Keep your hands out of it.

HUNTSMAN: They've got plenty -- they've got plenty up their sleeves, Piers. And you might be surprised on what they release in the next few days.

MORGAN: Now I'm hearing -- I'm hearing noises of more stuff coming. I can't wait.

Let's get serious for a moment. Let's talk about what happened last night. Because I was on air with all the CNN anchors until the early hours. And all I kept thinking about was, if I'm Jon Huntsman, and I put all my eggs in this one New Hampshire basket, I've ignored Iowa, I'm probably feeling quite encouraged.

Because the number one player here, Mitt Romney, ended up with less votes than he got last time in Iowa, and he can't beat this 25 percent ceiling. That, I would imagine, gives you more hope, doesn't it?

HUNTSMAN: Oh, listen, it was -- Piers, it was a wonderfully ambiguous outcome, when you had 75 percent of those casting a vote that decided not to listen to the person the establishment is teeing up on a silver platter, Mitt Romney. They're looking for somebody else. That suggests to me, and I think all watchers, it's the same here in New Hampshire, I think it's the same everywhere in this country, that there's a lot of blue sky and opportunity for the rest of the candidates in the race.

That's why the outcome here in New Hampshire I think is going to be critically important. The race is still wide open. People are looking for leadership. They're looking for a new generation of energy that will be able to deal with the two big issues of our time, the economic deficit and the trust deficit.

We've got a message that covers both of them. We've taken it out now to 151 public events in this great state. And if you would have seen, Piers, I think you may have cut in live last night at our town hall meeting in Peterborough, it was a phenomenally active and enthusiastic crowd. I compare and contrast that with the early house parties that we did many, many months ago, where you have a very indifferent group trickle in and take a look at you. And --

MORGAN: But tell me this, tell me this --

HUNTSMAN: To see what we're doing now in the state, something is happening.

MORGAN: How are you going to do -- right. Something is happening, and definitely your poll numbers are getting better, but they're still nowhere near Mitt Romney's in New Hampshire. And you set your stall really on a very good performance there. What is the yardstick that we should be using to judge Huntsman's success in New Hampshire?

HUNTSMAN: Well, listen, we've gone from dead last place to what the most recent polls, including one of yours, had put us in the teens today at third place. We have to exceed market expectations. Now that may sound a little business-like. But if the punditry will assign us a certain market value going into the vote, and whatever that expectation is, it will rise along with our performance in the polls.

We've got to wake up the next day on the 11th and we've got to say, we did better than what the pundit class thought we would do. That then gives us the ability to move onward. That then proves the point of electability because there will be a few tickets out of New Hampshire, make no mistake about it, Piers.

This is a primary, it's not a caucus. It's a broad-based turnout. You've got Republicans, you've got independents, and even a few Democrats will sneak into the mix. And if you can do well in New Hampshire, that really proves a point of electability. And I believe that will carry you significantly as you then move down south, into South Carolina and beyond.

MORGAN: I mean I read like all the media does, lots of positive stuff about you. And there's been a general feeling that you haven't been getting the kind of traction people might have expected given your background, given your CV. How are you going to brand yourself from this day on, when it's getting really serious now? How are you going to brand yourself in a simple-to-understand way that differentiates you from Mitt Romney and surging Rick Santorum as he's now known?

HUNTSMAN: There's only way to brand yourself, and that is based upon your record, what you have done, where you've been and what you offer the American people. And that one word would be trust. My whole career has been based on trust. I promise the people of Utah I would do something, I did it.

I ran for re-election, I got almost 80 percent of the vote because I did what I said I would do. And I believe that this election, Piers, is going to turn on the issue of trust. It's going to be critically important. People are going to look at our track record, what we've done, where we have been, and they're going to say we have a trust deficit in this country.

We have a dysfunctional Congress. We need a president who's going to lead the charge in calling for term limits, not just talking about it, but leading the charge in this country, so that we get it done. They want a president who's going to lead the charge that closes the revolving door on members of Congress and file right on out to become lobbyists.

MORGAN: But let me ask you. Let me ask you. You mentioned -- you mentioned president there. Do you think it's been an ongoing problem for you with the Republican establishment, if you like, that you have been so aligned, mainly by your competitors, to being Barack Obama's buddy, the guy that he sent to China? Has that backfired against you, even though the experience you had there, I would imagine, would be rather useful for a future president?

But do you think that alignment with a Democratic president has harmed you?

HUNTSMAN: Listen, I worked for President Reagan. I worked for President Bush. I worked for President Bush. I'm asked by the president of the United States to stand up and serve my country, I will do that. I always have believed in putting my country first.

But I think you bring up a good point, Piers. And that is, at the very beginning, a lot of people glossed right over us because I crossed a partisan line. That's the kind of person I am. I will always put my country first.

But these same people, whether it's George Will or Erick Erickson or other conservative commentators, have looked at all of the other choices. They've now come around. And I think they are saying we forgot to look at his record when we glossed over him. And upon closer inspection, he's the only consistent conservative in this race.

He's actually got a track record that he can bring to the table. He's got a history of bringing people together. And as the New York said in a lengthy analytical piece a couple of months ago, he can beat Barack Obama in any every set of circumstances that are thrown at the race.

MORGAN: OK. Jon Huntsman, obviously I would love to talk to you immediately we know what happened in New Hampshire. You can come and celebrate great triumph or I'll buy you a foaming bit of bitter to console you. But I wanted to ask you one last question. And I want a one word answer, yes or no to this.

Newt Gingrich tried to place Mr. Nice Guy as Mitt Romney unloaded bombs on him through these PACs. It clearly so far has backfired. If Mitt Romney decides you are a serious challenge to him following New Hampshire or during New Hampshire's race, are you prepared, yes or no, to get down and dirty with him? Will you fight fire with fire?

HUNTSMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely, Piers.

MORGAN: Good answer.

HUNTSMAN: -- about comparing and contrasting records. That's the only way to proceed. That's the way the game is played here in New Hampshire and beyond. The stakes are too high.

MORGAN: Jon Huntsman, it's good talking to you, as always. And that was a good answer. Thank you.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming up next, how will the race for the White House shape up? Predictions from a top Republican and a top Democrat.


MORGAN: In a moment, we're going to hear from Donald Trump on his rating of the Republican race. But right now, is the Romney- Santorum photo finish good news for President Obama. Joining me now is Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee chair.

And I was thinking, watching it all unfold last night, if I was Barack Obama, sitting in the White House, watching Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney scrapping it out, I'd be thinking, yeah, I like this. This is -- it's not a front-runner situation. No one's popping up. Mitt Romney can't get past 25 percent.

Yeah, this is a good position for the Democrats.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Well, Piers, one thing -- first of all, it's great to be with you. I appreciate the opportunity to be on. One thing I can assure you, though, is that President Obama was not sitting riveted to the television watching the Republican election returns come in from Iowa.

He's busy being president, as you know, and fighting for the middle class and working families.

MORGAN: I bet he had a sneaky look, come on.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Maybe he probably checked his iPad. That would probably be the way --

MORGAN: He was watching CNN at 3:30 a.m. I know he was.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Oh, no. I'm not giving away any secrets like that. But really, if you're looking at the results last night, and you're Mitt Romney, when would a win be a loss? It would be a loss when you were declaring victory the day before the caucus, when you spent 149 dollars per vote, compared to the guy who spent the least amount of money. You spent the most amount of money.

And you've spent six years trying to win Iowa, and you beat the guy who spent the least amount of money by eight votes. So he's limping into New Hampshire. New Hampshire, I have to tell you, I would say New Hampshire really probably won't mean much, because most polls show he's going to win. And so that's not much of a victory there either.

MORGAN: So what is important? When we look at what's coming up primary-wise, what are the key places, do you think, the key battle grounds?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Certainly South Carolina is going to be potentially decisive for them in their field. And then Florida on January 31st, my home state, we're always pivotal.

But this nomination process on their side seems like it's going to drag out a bit, because there is an obvious lack of enthusiasm for their entire field. There's a large anybody but Romney vote. They're rooting around on the Republican side, trying to coalesce behind someone, anyone other than Mitt Romney. Because when you don't have any conviction, when you're willing to say or do anything to get elected, I think most of the American people -- I know for me that that would be the case.

I have constituents who tell me, Debbie, I don't always agree with you, but at least I know where you stand. Nobody knows where Mitt Romney stands. That's the last thing that you want in a president.

MORGAN: OK. Well, one thing is for sure. At the moment he stands as the guy that won the Iowa caucus. So Debbie, thank you very much. I'm going to move on now to senior Republican Judd Gregg. He's the former senator from New Hampshire and also the former governor. He's a Romney supporter. You've heard all that there.

What do you think? It's a double-edged sword, isn't it? To a degree, the Democrats are right. Mitt Romney, I guess with all the money he has, the infrastructure, probably should have done a better job winning quite comfortably in Iowa. Having said that, a win's a win. And New Hampshire is looking like a land slide for him.

So he goes on having won the first two battles, doesn't he?

JUDD GREGG (D), FORMER SENATOR: Well, first off, what I heard from Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is that they're worried about Romney. If she spends her whole interview trashing Mitt Romney, then they're worried about Romney. And they should be, because if you look at the dynamics of this, the president's in trouble. His programs haven't worked.

He's taking this country down a path which is not consistent with the American ideals, in my opinion. He wants to put us basically on a European social welfare state model path, expanded the government dramatically. He's spending a lot of money we don't have, passing huge debts on to our kids.

The economy is a disaster. So if he gets an opponent who can run on the issue of economics and fiscal responsibility, which Mitt Romney can, I think he's in serious trouble. They obviously think that or she wouldn't have been on the air being so aggressively attacking him for the last four or five minutes, as she was.

MORGAN: Talking of aggression, of course, Mitt Romney's been very sly, some would say, in deploying these PACs to launch his attacks on opponents. He's killed Newt Gingrich almost stone dead in the last three weeks by pounding him through his buddies in this sneaky way.

My view is, in an election campaign, all is fair in love and war. Just whack each other down until the last man is standing. Others take a different view and think that this is overtly negative and goes against the grain. What do you think?

GREGG: Well, I think we have a real problem in this country relative to campaign finance, which was created by people who tried to reform campaign financing in the word -- for the purposes of doing good. It's turned out to be very bad.

You had the Soros group in the last election, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars, or tens of millions of dollars., they were called, attacking Republicans. Now you've got the president raising over a billion dollars. We have no idea how that's going to be spent or who gave the money.

And obviously these independent PACs are a problem, in my opinion. The independent PAC is independent. Mitt Romney does not control it. He cannot even communicate with it. I know from my own personal experience that it's frustrating.


MORGAN: But we weren't all born yesterday. When these so-called independent PACs are all run by his former staff and buddies, there is a link, isn't there? To certainly to wash your hands --

GREGG: They have -- no question, they have an opinion as to how they can help their candidate. And it's unfortunate, in my opinion, that these PACs are not transparent. I think they should be. And I think that the president's billion dollars, we should know where that's coming from. And we should know where it's going to be spent.

But this is a classic example of trying to do something that is allegedly appropriate and a do-good proposal, like McCain/Feingold, and it turns out to be much worse than what was the present law at the time. We're stuck with it.

MORGAN: OK. Senator, thank you very much for your time.

GREGG: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up next is Donald Trump. When people say, why do you keep having Donald Trump on? I say you know why? Because he always calls it like it is. He's also the man who has been slavishly receiving every Republican candidate right to Trump Tower, begging him for endorsements and advice. What better man to ask about the Republicans as they stand now?



ROMNEY: This is campaign night where America wins. We're going to change the White House and get America back on track.

SANTORUM: With your help and God's grace, we'll have another fun night a week from now. God bless you.


MORGAN: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, both came out of the Iowa caucuses with plenty to crow about. But what comes next? Joining me now, a man who is never shy about expressing his opinions. And that's Donald Trump.

Donald, welcome.


MORGAN: So what do you make of last night? I mean, a thrilling political evening. I was at the Atlanta CNN HQ. And at one stage in the early hours, it was 99 percents of the votes cast, Santorum ahead by a single vote, the closest we've ever seen in Iowa.

What do you make of the fact that it was so close and that Santorum came from nowhere to get as far as he did?

TRUMP: Well, I think Bob Vander Plaats really helped. He came up. He's a great guy. He's a friend of mine. He's a fantastic man from Iowa. He came out in favor about a week ago of Rick Santorum, who really -- you got to give him credit because he didn't give up. Whether you like him or don't like him, he certainly didn't give up.

He was mired at one percent. When Bob came out in favor of him, that was a big, big endorsement. Frankly, it took a lot of courage, because, you know, most people said what are you doing. And all of a sudden, Rick went up like a rocket ship. So you have to give them both a lot of credit.

MORGAN: And also, Rupert Murdoch, interestingly, in one of his first Tweets several times endorsed Santorum. Indeed today said something like, well, it just goes to show that real values do matter, which I thought was a very interesting observation from one of the world's most powerful media men.

TRUMP: I think it's a great endorsement, getting it from Rupert, absolutely.

MORGAN: What do you think Rupert meant by values do matter? And does Santorum represent now, do you think, the core traditional values of the Republicans, perhaps better than any other candidate?

TRUMP: Well, he really is a very conservative guy. Everybody will say that. He's very, very conservative in so many different ways. His stance on -- between birth control and gay marriage and lots of other things, life -- I mean, he's definitely over there. There's no question about it.

And there's a group of people that find that very, very appealing. And Bob was one of those people. And you know, that endorsement was great. Somebody like Rupert Murdoch, who is somebody I have a lot of respect for. He's an amazing guy, a great guy. That means something. I think it means something to a lot of people.

MORGAN: Mitt Romney, yet again, is hovering around 25 percent of the vote. And he only got just a few less than he got last time in Iowa. So he can't seem to break this 25 percent barrier. What does that tell you, Donald, about Mitt Romney's standing with his own party?

TRUMP: Well, I think he did a very good job, though, Piers, no matter how you cut it. He won. Winning is winning. If you win by one vote, it's like you play golf -- if I win by one stroke or 20 strokes, winning is winning. And he did win.

You have to understand, he was really way down in Iowa. It looked like -- most people thought he shouldn't even go to Iowa. And now he comes out with a win, and then he has a lot of people, including you saying, oh, gee, he should have done better.

The truth is, he will be the first to say, he would like to start cracking into the 30s and 40s. And he has to do that at some point. But he did have a win. And it was a good win. And it was a place where a lot of people thought he shouldn't even go.

And I actually suggested to him about a month ago, when I was talking to him. I said, you should really go to Iowa because you can win Iowa. Sort of interesting, all of a sudden he went there and he won. So I think it was a great victory for him.

I think it was great for Rick Santorum, absolutely great. And those two guys really came out on top.

MORGAN: The only other candidate that has any real money behind him is Rick Perry, who looks like he's almost hit the buffers. He's carrying on. But he had a pretty dismal result last night. Romney's got this huge double advantage. One, he's been there, seen there, and he's done this before. He knows how this works. He knows how to run a campaign. He's well-organized. More importantly, he's massively well-financed. Can any other candidate really compete in a modern political battle against someone like Romney, given the resources he has?

TRUMP: Well, I guess the answer is yes, because I've watched him go up and down like yo-yos, everybody. You know, all of a sudden, you have this one, you have that one. Every week, you have a different candidate that goes up. So some had money, some didn't have money. Some were really terrific people. Herman Cain is a terrific guy. I really liked him a lot. I got to know him. Newt is a terrific guy.

I mean, you have people. And they go up and they go down. A lot of them had money and a lot of them didn't have money. You know, it's interesting with the money thing, if you are good with the media, if you have a lot of media, if you get a lot of coverage, I'm not sure the money is that important. It does buy you an organization if you know what you're doing, if you have managerial ability. And ultimately that's going to be very important.

So I would certainly say that Mitt has the advantage. He's got great knowledge, great experience. And let's see what happens. It's going to be tough. I think that nobody's going to win easily. South Carolina's going to be interesting. I think he's going to do great in New Hampshire. South Carolina, Florida will be very interesting and probably not that easy.

MORGAN: Take a little break, Donald. Come back and I want to talk to you about a Tweet you sent last night referring to Michele Bachmann as a disloyal and terrible boss.



REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice. And so I have decided to stand aside.


MORGAN: That was Michele Bachmann today dropping out of the race for the White House after her disappointing sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. It wasn't the only bad news for Ms. Bachmann. She also drew the ire of Donald Trump.

Donald, this tweet you sent last night surprised me because you called her a disloyal and terrible boss, and yet your were quite praiseworthy about her in your book. So what happened?

TRUMP: First of all, I do like her. I think she's a very good woman. She did the right thing by standing aside, no question about that, because it just wasn't going anywhere.

But, you know, she came up to Trump tower four times, which was allowed at her request. She also asked me do a call. I think they call it a robocall, where literally thousands and thousands of people were on the call. It was the biggest call they ever made. It was a fund-raising call.

And even though I made it plain that I'm not endorsing her, she asked me to do it. I did it. It took about an hour and then some. It was during an evening. In fact, my wife said, why are you doing this? Why are you doing -- just relax. You work all day long, and now you're doing this call. But I did this call, took a long time. It was a very successful call. Everybody was happy.

And then when Newsmax asked to do a debate, she said no. And I thought that was somewhat inappropriate. I also felt, what does she have to lose? By that time, this was a couple of weeks ago -- by that time, she wasn't doing very well in the polls. And really what do you have to lose?

Now Newt agreed to do it and Rick agreed to do it, Rick Santorum. And they did the right thing. But she said no. And I was very surprised, because I actually did quite a bit for her. I didn't endorse her. And I wouldn't have endorsed her. I let them know that. I let her know that. But I thought she was disloyal and it was unfortunate.

At the same time, I think she's a very good woman. She worked so hard. I mean, I actually told her, four or five weeks ago, go home, relax, take it easy. It's not going to happen. But she worked so hard. She was so dedicated. And I respect that greatly.

MORGAN: She certainly did work hard. You've got to give her credit for that. Let's move to the remaining contenders. What's most interesting to me is you can see almost with Newt Gingrich now a simmering volcano, because Romney has chucked the kitchen sink at him with all these PAC sponsored commercials hammering Gingrich right down the polls.

There comes a point, Donald -- you're a guy, if somebody did this to you, you would take the gloves off and whack him back. Why isn't your friend, Newt Gingrich, doing this? And do you think he will now change strategy because he has no choice?

TRUMP: Well I think he is now. Again, I'm very friendly with both. And I was a little bit surprised that Newt didn't fight back a little bit. And he actually told me, when he was in my office, I want to keep my calm. I'm not going to fight. He really wants to fight Obama. But I think it's gotten to a point -- not only with Mitt, I think with everybody, where he wants to really fight, but in particular with Mitt Romney.

He's not happy with the way he's been portrayed. I don't know. I didn't see the ads. Were they accurate? Were they not accurate? But he's very angry. You can see that now. I think he's going to fight back.

I always believe in fighting back. If somebody goes after you, you go after them. He really made a concerted effort not to say anything bad about any of the candidates that said bad about him. I think Ron Paul hit him harder than anybody, frankly. And Mitt really held it back. And in a certain way, I respect that. But I believe you have to fight back.

And I think this is proven, because his polls were insurmountable two weeks ago. And then, all of a sudden, they started going down.

MORGAN: From what you're saying tonight, Donald, I'm getting a sense that you're warming towards possibly an endorsement of Mitt Romney. Am I misreading the lines here?

TRUMP: Yes, I think you are. I'm looking at it very seriously. I'm looking at different candidates. I've gotten to know most of them. I think that the important ones I've really gotten to know. And I respect them. I want somebody that's going to beat Obama.

Obama has done just an absolutely -- and is doing a terrible job. This country's in serious, serious trouble. And it has such potential, if somebody would release that potential. It has such enormous potential to do great and to be great again.

And it's sort of interesting. I have millions of people that want me to run. They want me to run as an independent. They want me to run as anything. They formed a party out in Texas, Make America Great. And I said, boy, what a great name for a party. That is a great name for a party, because that's what it's all about, Make America Great. I guess I'd add the word again. But I don't think you can do that.

MORGAN: Well, thank you, Donald. Always good talking to you.

TRUMP: Thank you very much, Piers.

MORGAN: Donald Trump. And that's all for us tonight. AC 360 starts now.