CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

The Unpredictable New Hampshire; Gingrich Daughters on Campaign; Interview with Jack and Suzy Welch; Interview with Ed Burns

Aired January 9, 2012 - 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, down to the wire in New Hampshire.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The entire nation looks to see what New Hampshire decides.

MORGAN: But the real battle is for second place.

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Governor Romney enjoys firing people. I enjoy creating jobs.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We win elections when our people are excited about who to vote for.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Governor Romney is in fact, legitimately and authentically a Massachusetts moderate.

MORGAN: I'll talk to two of Newt Gingrich's biggest supporters, his daughters. Plus one of Mitt Romney's top advisors on what the candidate really meant when he said this.

ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people.

MORGAN: And political satirist, PJ O'Rourke, tells me why he thinks there's something funny about this campaign.

Plus it's the economy, stupid, and nobody knows the economy better than Jack Welch. I'll ask him what he thinks of the Republican race.

And indie filmmaker, Ed Burns, how he used Twitter to make his new movie.

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. All eyes are on New Hampshire tonight, a state known for knocking down frontrunners. There seems to be little chance of that with Mitt Romney holding a 33-point lead in the latest state- wide poll.

Congressman Ron Paul is in second with Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are not far behind. Texas governor, Rick Perry, who skipped campaigning in New Hampshire to concentrate on South Carolina, is at just 1 percent. So what does this all mean for the frontrunner's campaign?

Joining me now is John Sununu, a top Romney supporter and the former governor of New Hampshire. Also joining me a man who's been called the funniest writer in America, and hails from New Hampshire himself, political satirist, PJ O'Rourke.

Welcome to both of you. Let me start with you, John Sununu. It would appear that Mitt Romney is in a very good position. However, being the frontrunner can be a pretty poison's chalice. And we are seeing a slight softening in these polls and certainly a massive acceleration in the aggression from his opponents. Are you feeling a little wobbly?

JOHN SUNUNU, FORMER GOVERNOR OF NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, you know, Obama was 13 points ahead when Hillary Clinton beat him last time, 13 points ahead the night before. So in New Hampshire, we know people can change their minds very late, so you're always a little bit nervous until you see the results of the election.

MORGAN: I mean Mitt Romney is currently polling around 33 percent. It's roughly what he polled at last time he tried in New Hampshire and he came second. So, you know, although everyone keeps calling him the apparently obvious winner of this race, it would seem that it may not be quite so clear cut. Would you accept that?

SUNUNU: Well, sure. I accept anything that is realistic and understands that anything can happen in New Hampshire. But the real measure of what the result is, is after the result comes in. Too many people are trying to be predictive or trying to pretend they have a knowledge they don't have.

I have been around long enough to know, you work until the very last minute, which the governor is doing. He's holding -- he had events tonight. He'll have a walk around and talk to people tomorrow as much as he can. And you keep working until the polls close. And then you're allowed to exhale but just a little bit then you get ready to go to South Carolina.

MORGAN: He definitely caught a bit of flak today for what his pursuers have called a major gaffe. Let's take a look at what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means that if you don't like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: PJ O'Rourke, I mean, what was your reaction to that? You're a New Hampshire man. Was it a gaffe or was he just saying the bleeding obvious? PJ O'ROURKE, POLITICAL SATIRIST: I didn't think it was a -- yes, yes. He said the obvious and ouch, sometimes that hurts. I was -- all it made me feel was I wish I had somebody to fire, being self- employed, the only person I can fire is me. Well, I do frequently.

MORGAN: But you have insurance, PJ.

O'ROURKE: Yes. Well, yes, I have insurance.

SUNUNU: Fire your insurance man the way he suggested.

O'ROURKE: I'm not firing my insurance man. They actually treated me pretty well. My insurance. I actually like my insurance company so -- I don't know.

Coming back to the polling thing is that when people call us in New Hampshire, when they call us in the middle of dinnertime, and make us get up from the table and go answer our wall mounted phones here in New Hampshire, we tell them lies. So you don't want to listen to polling too much in New Hampshire.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Well, if I was to put you on the spot now and say who are you supporting, have you got a candidate that now got your eye?

O'ROURKE: Yes. But I may not vote for him, being a New Hampshirite and therefore unpredictable. I'm going with Romney because I'm looking at this line of candidates and waiting for Ron Paul's skull to explode and the tentacled thing to come out from inside there, you know.

(LAUGHTER)

O'ROURKE: Waiting for Newt to blow up like the blowfish in "Finding Nemo." Waiting -- you know, I'm looking at Rick Perry, he's the non-smoker's Marlboro Man. You know I'm just -- I'm looking at these -- you know, I guess, Jon -- but I may vote for Huntsman just to send Romney the message, look, we got another Romney out there, OK? So if you mess up, you can be replaced. You are fungible.

MORGAN: Let me bring John Sununu back in there.

SUNUNU: The only saving grace we have is that --

MORGAN: John, isn't this part of the problem with New Hampshire is that Iowa, you know, is Iowa, and they had their moment, and it was very, very close and very exciting. New Hampshire likes to take itself a bit more seriously, they would argue, when it comes to these things and be more unpredictable and indeed prick the balloon of anybody who they think is getting a little bit too super confident, nay complacent.

SUNUNU: Well, look, New Hampshire also rewards people for working hard. And Governor Romney has been here quit a bit. He has worked hard for the Republican Party, he's worked hard supporting Republican candidates, and even though we like to suggest that this thing is going to close down quite a lot over the -- over the last few hours, the fact is, is that he did build up an honestly earned base in the state.

O'ROURKE: And I've lived in New Hampshire for a long time and I do what the governor tells me to do.

(LAUGHTER)

SUNUNU: And the only problem we have is that -- the only problem we have is he might misspell the X.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: PJ, let me leave you with a final --

O'ROURKE: This is entirely true.

MORGAN: Let me leave you, PJ, with a final word on this. Do you think whoever wins the nomination can actually beat Barack Obama, given that the economic climate in America right now appears to be increasing and improving quite markedly?

SUNUNU: It's what I call the Romney effect. I think people are beginning to understand that the governor might get elected and a lot of the aggressive entrepreneurs are starting to hire and spend money and invest.

(CROSSTALK)

O'ROURKE: He's already having a positive effect on America.

SUNUNU: Yes, paradoxically, his success may be what makes it a much more difficult task for him to win.

MORGAN: OK, PJ. I did actually promise you the last word so I'm going to have to --.

(CROSSTALK)

O'ROURKE: You know it really is going to come down --

MORGAN: I have to get you to jump in there. Go on.

O'ROURKE: Just that I do, I think, you know, that the Republican, probably Romney, can beat Obama, but it really will be a thumbs up-thumbs down judgment on the state of the American economy in the last four, three, four weeks before the November election which is very sad, actually, because there are some big issues here on the table, some very important reasons to have this election and for it just to be -- for it to be determined by something that frankly the president can't do that much about, especially if Europe implodes, I mean, the president is not in charge of the economy. In fact, one of the beauties of a free economy system is no one is in charge, no one person.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But on that bombshell, PJ, I think the -- no one is in charge bombshell, I have to leave it there.

Gentlemen, thank you very, very much.

Today, Newt Gingrich picked up a Palin endorsement, but not that Palin. It was Todd Palin, Sarah's husband. The former vice presidential candidate herself has yet to publicly endorse a candidate.

And joining me now, two of Newt Gingrich's top supporters, well, you'd expect them to be, they're his daughters, Jackie Gingrich Cushman and Kathy Lubbers.

Welcome, ladies. How are you?

JACKIE GINGRICH CUSHMAN, NEWT GINGRICH'S DAUGHTER: We're great. Thank you so much for having us on.

KATHY GINGRICH LUBBERS, NEWT GINGRICH'S DAUGHTER: I appreciate the time.

MORGAN: Well, I appreciate you being on. And it's about time we had some of the other daughters. We've had the Huntsman girls a few times. Are they your -- are they your rivals in this race?

No, not at all. We're all having a good time. I ran into them today. They're really enjoying (INAUDIBLE) with their father just like we are.

MORGAN: Tell me about your father because I've interviewed him a couple of times now. He's obviously a very bright man. I get the sense that he's slightly boxed himself into this Mr. Nice Guy thing, and he's not really your dad, is he? What he really wants to do is eat raw meat, preferably Mitt Romney's.

(LAUGHTER)

LUBBERS: I don't know anything about the Romney part. I'm just saying my dad is a very fun, congenial guy, and I wouldn't think raw meat at all.

Jackie, do you think raw meat --

CUSHMAN: He does like his steak medium rare. But what he's doing is he's really providing a clear contrast between himself and other candidates. And that's what you see going forward, he's very persistent about people to really think about who they're going to nominate to run against President Barack Obama. He's got a very clear agenda in terms of he's actually done these things on a national level and a very positive vision for the future.

MORGAN: And he keeps using this word now, "baloney," and in fact there's now a Web site devoted to this. The baloney Web site. Did your father always use the word baloney? Is he a big fan of baloney? (LAUGHTER)

CUSHMAN: Well, we ate a little left baloney growing up, right?

LUBBERS: I'm a big fan of baloney.

(LAUGHTER)

CUSHMAN: I think he -- it's a funny -- it's a funny little phrase but his point is we need to be very frank. The American people need to think really hard about who they nominate to run against President Barack Obama. And I think in the last segment, you talked a little bit about the contrast. And the contrast we need in the general election is against a president who can't govern, currently, who can't pass a budget. And our father, Newt Gingrich, who not only served as speaker but with a Democratic president, balanced the budget, reformed welfare, cut taxes and cut spending. He actually knows how to govern at the national level.

MORGAN: OK. Now let me put this to you.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Let me put this to you. We've got to wrap it here. But he's also been a bit of a naughty boy in the past and people are using that baggage against him. He says he's a changed animal. Has the leopard changed his spots, do you think?

LUBBERS: Well, the great news about our father is he is a life- long learner. He has converted to Catholicism, he has his family completely behind him. My sister and I have been with him on the trail. We love and adore him. Our husbands have been with him. His grandchildren. Being a grandfather has really enlightened him and broadened his horizons.

He's wise. And you know what? He has governed and he will do well. Close your eyes and imagine Newt Gingrich debating Barack Obama and you know who's going to win.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Ladies, thank you both very much.

CUSHMAN: Thank you.

LUBBERS: Our pleasure.

MORGAN: Coming up, you'll see another president candidates and indeed president, and Jack Welch says that Mitt Romney is the most qualified from a business point of view than he's ever seen. I'll ask him why when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: The biggest issue in this campaign is still the economy. And if there's one man who knows his country's economy it's surely Jack Welch, the former GE CEO and founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute. He says that Mitt Romney is the most qualified leader from a business point of view he's ever seen run for president. And Jack joins me now to explain why.

Welcome back, Jack.

JACK WELCH, FOUNDER, JACK WELCH MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE: Thank you, Piers. It's great to be here.

MORGAN: I had such a good time last time, and it's interesting last time because last time you were pretty pro-Tim Pawlenty. And many people think if he'd actually stayed the distance and not bailed out so soon, he would actually now be in a very good position.

WELCH: What I like about Pawlenty, I don't know him, I don't know Romney that well. In Pawlenty's case, he had a vision of 5 percent growth rate. Put that up there, go after it, put every policy in the country around making that 5 percent and you'll get some real growth and get employment back. And that's what we need.

So I liked that part of his campaign and I wanted to take a good look at him on that basis. I think he might have had some runway if he stayed with it. Because we need a growth rate.

MORGAN: Now Mitt Romney, you say from a presidential candidate point of view, is the best you have ever seen.

WELCH: Yes.

MORGAN: Now that's high praise. Why do you say that?

WELCH: Everything that's been -- now I'm talking about as a candidate. We never know what somebody does when they -- when they get the big job, that's always a question. But as a candidate, take John F. Kennedy, take Nixon, go through them all, Mitt Romney has been to Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School. He went to Bain Consulting, first class company, built it, left to go to Bain Capital. Consulting got in trouble, they brought him back and he fixed that. Took it out of trouble for two years and brought it back.

Then he -- I was involved in the Olympics in the 2002. We had bought it earlier, and they were going down the drain, had a corruption scandal and they were going to cancel after 9/11. Romney went out there, rallied everybody and got the Olympics on track and they had a very successful Olympics after 9/11.

Then he came back in a Democratic state and took on a $500 million deficit and turned it into a $2 billion positive budget gain. So he's fixed all kinds of things. He's fixed Olympics, he's fixed consulting companies, he's fixed government. Now he's got a great background, great family. And let's go through -- I mean you pick him. You pick one --

MORGAN: OK. It's interesting but two things I would say to you.

WELCH: Go ahead. MORGAN: I wouldn't dispute anything that you said. I've interviewed him twice. He's a very impressive man and I liked him personally. I think his track record obviously very good. What his critics say is, take the Bain period of his life, is that actually he's a classic asset stripper, hire them, fire them, clean them out, his comments today about, "I like firing people," actually for most of his critics way too close to home. He did like firing people. That's what people in that game do, isn't it?

WELCH: No. Stop it. No. I'm in that game.

MORGAN: I know.

WELCH: And that's not what we do.

MORGAN: Is he neutral Mitt?

WELCH: No, you rascal, you rascal. You pulled that out of the hat.

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: No. In this -- in private equity, that -- I mean let's take -- I talked to a "New York Times" reporter today, and he was talking like this, I said, look what the "New York times" just did, laid off all these reporters in this recession, went down to Mexico and raised money from a Mexican, brought it back, to try and stay afloat.

Private equity goes in, gets the company -- gets the company lean, gets it to win, gets it to grow and people win. People -- if you look at the record, and it's been studied by Josh Warner in Harvard, private equity grows faster than any traditional big business sector in the economy does once they go through this restructuring piece.

MORGAN: But was it unwise, Jack, in the current climate, with "Occupy Wall Street" spreading around America, was he unwise to use a phrase like, "I like to fire people"?

WELCH: Look, he was using it in a totally different context. Now this is out of context beyond belief. Out of context beyond belief.

MORGAN: What do you think he meant?

WELCH: He was talking about -- about his insurance company that are not taking care of him in his health care problems. I mean he likes to get rid of -- he was telling people, you'll have a choice, you'll have a choice with this plan and you'll be able to pick your own insurance company and be able to buy other insurance company you don't like.

MORGAN: If he's as perfect as you think he is in almost every way, business-wise, family, everything, why is he unable to get his poll ratings any higher than that kind of 25 percent that he's been at now for months and months and months? Why don't his own party see in him what you see?

WELCH: Well, my wife saw this, when you see people that perfect, you're always wondering what is there that isn't quite right?

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: And in his case, I think he really is perfect. As a candidate for the president of the United States in these tough economic times, in these global waters that are tough, look at that background. I mean you can't -- you can't pick a candidate, you can't challenge my statement for the last 50 years on a candidate, you can't do it.

MORGAN: I suppose what some people would say is look, he kind of personifies American corporate business, and right now they're the people collectively, many of them, who got America into its financial mess.

WELCH: He was governor of a state that was Democratic and he went across the aisle and got all these things done. He went to the Olympics, which is not -- he fixed that by rallying people. He's a leader. He's not a manager. You're trying to pigeonhole him into a corporate manager, one of those --

MORGAN: No, no. I'm saying -- I'm saying what some of his critics say. I mean I actually think a lot of what you're saying has merit. What I find bemusing, I think many people do, is why, given he on paper, looks to be such an ideal candidate, why wouldn't the Republicans collectively be racing to nominate him? Why isn't he the one they're all getting behind to take on Obama because at the moment they're not?

WELCH: This is early skirmishes. They're going to rally around and come to their senses and go with the right guy. I mean this is the only answer. I mean let's face it. We've got to grow. We've got to get jobs back. We can't keep throwing these regulatory burdens on top of the -- we've got to get a businessman and a leader who's also been in the political front.

MORGAN: Well, talking of business leaders, I'm now going to bring on somebody who may arguably be even more expert than you, Jack, and that is your wife, Suzy, who by great coincidence, worked at Bain under a certain Mitt Romney. She'll be fascinating, back after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A story of greed, playing the system for a quick buck. A group of corporate raiders led by Mitt Romney. More ruthless than Wall Street. For tens of thousands of Americans, the suffering began when Mitt Romney came to town.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Just when you thought it was safe to watch campaign ads, that's the latest pro Gingrich super PAC ad, Winning Our Future. And back now with me now is Mitt Romney supporter, we've established, Jack Welch.

And Jack, I was getting a few tweets that says, wow, Jack looks good. And what's your secret? Well, your secret just arrived, your wife, Suzy. Welcome.

(LAUGHTER)

WELCH: I agree. I agree.

MORGAN: So Jack says absolutely Romney is perfect in every way. You're the perfect person to ask because you worked for him at Bain. What was he like to work for? What's the reality behind the myth?

SUZY WELCH, WRITER/AUTHOR: I think that one of the -- when I see these ads by Newt Gingrich talking about how people began to lose their jobs when Mitt Romney came to town, it is such a stark contrast from what it was like to actually work at Bain where there was this incredible sort of -- almost bizarre rah-rah, go business, grow business. You know you were rated actually on your annual reviews, or you're actually twice -- how at cause you were with your client. And so the ideas was keep your clients big, get them to grow. You wanted them to hire people. And so this is a weird twisted --

MORGAN: Was he ruthless?

S. WELCH: Never in my experience ruthless. I mean, actually, quite the opposite. I mean he was what you see now, he was sort of a Boy Scout. I mean Mitt is actually sort of an old-fashioned person. I mean you actually don't even see that archetype anymore, the sort of --

MORGAN: I got that sense when I interviewed him. He is quite old-fashioned in his values and the way he talks and his family, that kind of thing. I mean you don't get many politicians like him.

But again, I would ask you the same question, why, if the credentials seem so good and the testimony from people who worked for him as you did is so positive and great business leaders rate him so highly, why is he not polling better? Why hasn't he already got this wrapped up?

S. WELCH: I think we live in a society where you look at him -- I mean it's sort of a weird buys-in (ph). People look at him and they think it must be phony. That affect can't be real. I mean nobody looks like that, has that beautiful family. There's something that we're not seeing. I mean this is the "Jersey Shore" culture. This is a culture where people --

(CROSSTALK)

S. WELCH: He's too good to be true. MORGAN: Is it the flip-flopping? Is it the fact on many issues he has undeniably flip-flopped? Is that part of the problem? That he hasn't been consistent? People say that Rick Santorum has been gathering momentum and a bit of traction purely because he's actually consistent. Whether you agree with him or not, he has stuck to the same principles every step of the way. You can't say that about Mitt Romney.

WELCH: No. He's certainly grown and he's changed his views on abortion and things like that. But people do change their views. Ronald Reagan changed his views.

MORGAN: It's true.

WELCH: I have changed my views on a number of these subjects of the years.

MORGAN: Is it weakness or strength in a leader to do that?

WELCH: I think it's absolute strength. Who wants some bullhead who lines up and gets a position at age 30 and stays with it until they put him in the box, and then end the game. No, you don't want that. You want somebody always learning, always growing, always thinking. I absolutely don't think that's a -- I think it's a great political argument. I think politicians can throw that at him.

MORGAN: Now, the big political ground will probably be the economy. It's hard to imagine being anything else. You're the perfect guy to ask. What is the real state of the American economy right now?

The reason I ask is that on the face of it, the White House should be getting a little bit more excited. Jobless figures are improving, the threat of a double-digit recession appears to be receding, Europe is a basket case but the American economy would appear to be stabilizing. Is that what you think?

WELCH: Absolutely. I started saying that in August when it was in the tank and I've been saying that all along and now it's gaining momentum. However, to look at this recovery in some other context, we have -- we got 200,000 jobs that had a huge celebration after seven million people have lost their jobs.

In Ronald Reagan's recovery, we were getting 900,000 to a million a month.

Piers, here's what's going to be the irony of this campaign. David Axelrod and the president have been out there saying, yes, I spent $1 trillion but if I didn't spend $1 trillion, we'd be at 11 percent or 12 percent unemployment.

MORGAN: Is that true?

WELCH: I don't think so, because they spent it in a different way. But let me go on with that. Now you've got the Republicans that are going to be forced come this summer to say, yes, we got 3 percent growth, and yes, we're getting some economic jobs back, but we should be doing five times better if you let us get in there and deregulate -- so it's going to be the flip argument. Trying to prove the negative.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Isn't the problem for the Republicans everyone will turn around and go, hang on a second, you're the guys that got us into this mess. So why should we believe you?

J. WELCH: They are going to have to face that. And they're going to have to say that we have a plan to grow this economy, not at a tepid 2.5 or three percent or 3.5. We've got a plan to take us to five percent, and five percent unemployment. And here's how we're going to do it.

We are going to have an energy policy that makes us energy independent. They're going to go right down the list. Are they going to have to have a vision that sells that?

We can have a vision that we don't have this massive eight percent unemployment come November and be teetering along. And they've got to be able to sell we know how to get it to five.

MORGAN: Suzy, if you're Barack Obama, you've had a pretty rough three years. I mean, it really has been one of the toughest presidencies imaginable, because he inherited this huge hospital pass. And nobody disputes.

Has he done enough, do you think, if you're being dispassionate and impartial about it -- has he done enough to warrant at least people contemplating giving him another run.

S. WELCH: Well, I'm a Republican, so I don't think so.

MORGAN: I know. You seem like a fair-minded Republican, rather --

J. WELCH: Wait a minute. There's an implication with that comment.

MORGAN: As opposed to some of our friends.

S. WELCH: I think that, at the end of the day, it actually doesn't matter because people end up voting on something quite different. They end up voting on the humanity of the candidate. They look at the two people and they say, who do I trust more to get us out --

MORGAN: -- Barack Obama wins in a debate with someone like Mitt Romney. People, for whatever reason, don't particularly warm to Mitt Romney. Whereas Barack Obama is a brilliant campaigner. And when he gets his gander up, he's a very impressive orator as well, isn't he?

S. WELCH: The problem is we know him more -- as more than a campaigner now. That worked the first time because all we knew him as was the campaigner. Now you have technocrat versus technocrat. You've got Harvard Law versus Harvard Business School.

You've got these two guys who actually in affect are pretty similar, in that they have a little bit of aloofness. And people -- they feel both unknowable. And so that's why it's incumbent upon Romney to who his humanity and to start telling the stories about himself that reveal his humanity.

Those close to him know. I mean, I was with him in a room when -- after the Lockerbie plane crash. Some Bain consultants were on that plane. He gathered us together, had us hold hands. And he prayed for the families of these consultants and for the people in the room. It was a terrible disaster. He is going to need surrogates or himself to show his humanity.

MORGAN: Let's take a little break. Let's dwell on the concept s of St. Mitt and come back and discuss his negative campaigning through these Super PACs, which has been ruthless beyond any compare at the moment.

(CROSS TALK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mitt, I realize the red light doesn't mean anything to you because you're the front- runner. But can we drop a little bit of the pious baloney?

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, if his record was so great as governor of Massachusetts, why didn't he run for re- election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Front runner Mitt Romney drawing a lot of fire on Sunday's MSNBC debate. And back with me now, my guests, Jack and Suzy Welch.

I got a great Tweet that just came in. It said, "Wow, Suzy Welch looking gorgeous on Piers Morgan's show right now." I asked you -- I said, who is Sophia Grace? He went, my daughter. That is nice.

S. WELCH: She's a good girl.

MORGAN: My sons would Tweet abuse about me, not that. So it's definitely a step forward. Let's talk about the negativity that's come into this. You know, I guess I have looked to American politics for years with a view that people pretend they want it to be nice. They talk a good game about it being nice.

Isn't the harsh reality of an American presidential race, it always gets mean and nasty in the end? Doesn't it?

J. WELCH: It always has been. This is nothing new, this idea of a polarization. You go back to the founding fathers and the fighting that went on here -- this is a country that always has very heated positions on issues. And it is going to keep going on.

MORGAN: What do you think of -- let me ask you this, Suzy, of the sneakiness of this super PAC system? Because it does seem to me to be very, very sneaky. Everybody knows Romney supporters are behind his ones. Gingrich's are behind theirs. It's so transparent that it actually defeats the whole purpose of saying you can't be involved in these things, doesn't it?

S. WELCH: This is what it has all come down to. They're super PACs. I'm no historian like Newt Gingrich. But they used to have six hour debates where they would throw mud at each other. And this is what those six hour debates have devolved into.

And people are going to find a way to get these negative messages out. I mean, if it wasn't through these kind of super PAC Advertising, they'd have a silent -- sort of a secret Twitter campaign. This is what partisanship has come to.

MORGAN: What it does do, Jack -- you've been one of the best businessmen in American history. It's a rough, tough world that you operated in, as is politics. What is this kind of person that you're looking for in a president right now, to deal with the problems right now?

When you hear someone like Donald Trump, for example, another hugely successful businessman, he wants somebody getting stuck into China, into OPEC, protecting America's interests, bringing jobs back inside the country. Do you agree with that?

J. WELCH: Part of it. But I don't agree with the trade war with China right out of the barrel. So I am not in that game. I would like to try and deal forcefully with China. But I don't think it serves anybody's interest to get in trade wars.

MORGAN: What is the number one priority to get America's economy properly back on track, do you think? If you were president right now, what would you be doing?

J. WELCH: I'd lighten up the regulations. I'd put every regulation through a vision of a five percent growth rate. And does this help growth? Things like this Keystone, I'd do it because it would help growth.

MORGAN: Isn't the reality of Keystone, if America doesn't do it, then someone like China will probably do it.

J. WELCH: If America doesn't do it, you've seen politics at its worst, at its worst. Because on the face of it, it's been studied for 2.5 2 years. It was approved. And now the politics come in.

It's American politics at its worst. I'm not saying Republicans might not do it in their interests. Democrats are doing it now.

MORGAN: I couldn't agree more. The last time you came on, we talked about your online MBA program, the Jack Welch Management Institute. You were telling me you had this incredible take-up as a result of your appearance.

J. WELCH: It was wonderful. We sort of hit a chord in a very short time frame, being on your show. And the viewers were nice enough to check it out. We just had our first graduating class, 29 students in December. We're over 200 students. We're on a roll.

MORGAN: Fantastic. I hope you get an equally good pickup here. I hear you're now both going to collaborate again? Is this true?

S. WELCH: We're back to writing a column again. We did it for 4.5 years. It was a great --

J. WELCH: She writes it and I commit on the side.

S. WELCH: -- collaboration. It was fun. So we're going to do it again.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Who wears the trousers in this column writing gig?

S. WELCH: Jack is the idea generator. And I'm the conceptual editor. It actually works well.

J. WELCH: It's a nice back and forth. It's terrific.

MORGAN: Do you argue?

J. WELCH: We have spirited discussions.

S. WELCH: We -- that's the -- that -- that's the fun of it.

MORGAN: I have been getting -- I would say one in four Tweets here, Jack, is not dwelling on your business prowess, but is dwelling on your prowess in persuading somebody like Suzy to marry you. Explain how you did this.

S. WELCH: It wasn't hard.

MORGAN: I want to know the secret to that.

J. WELCH: She's just as good inside.

MORGAN: How did you persuade her to marry you?

J. WELCH: My charm and probably my wallet.

S. WELCH: Oh, get out!

MORGAN: Suzy, is that heartless assessment true?

S. WELCH: We have just really liked each other a ton. And we went well together. It was 10 years ago.

MORGAN: Was it 10 years?

J. WELCH: Ten years. We had a little scandal at the beginning. And it's been the greatest 10 years of our lives.

MORGAN: It's interesting. Obviously, you've come through, as you said, that scandal. Newt Gingrich is still carrying the baggage of some of his previous scandals in his relationships and stuff. Should it matter or should we allow Newt Gingrich to basically draw a line, say I'm a changed man; I'm a grandfather now. I've found happiness. I've moved on. I'm not that man anymore.

J. WELCH: You'd like to be able to do that. He has a different game than I have. I'm not running for office out here in --

MORGAN: Should it matter? When you were running a big company like G.E., and you had executives who perhaps behaved inappropriately and had marriage breakdowns, affairs and so on, did it actually affect their work? And should it matter anymore?

J. WELCH: That's a question I'll leave to you to answer. That's a tough question.

MORGAN: Suzy?

S. WELCH: Everybody makes mistake. Everybody has hard times in their lives. If we just had people who were perfect running for president, you couldn't have anybody run for president. I think what's -- I'm not a Newt supporter, but what's appealing about Newt is he says, I would do things differently; I'm a changed man. I -- you know, I look back at those years and I think about mistakes that I made. He's not trying to defend it.

J. WELCH: And he's smart as hell.

MORGAN: I totally agree. I actually think it's irrelevant, because he has moved on from that. He is a changed man. He speaks like a changed man. I just suspect we're going to see the real Newt creeping out this week. And he's going to hammer Romney into the ground. So it could get really ugly.

Thank you both so much.

J. WELCH: Thanks so much. It was great to be with you.

MORGAN: Suzy, a real pleasure. Thank you.

When we come back, indy filmmaker Ed Burns, how he turned Tweets into his latest movie.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Ed Burns is a suburban guy made good, Hollywood star of Blockbusters like "Saving Private Ryan," and now an indy film maker and the envy of men everywhere for his marriage to Christie Turlington. His latest film is "Newlyweds." He made that film for just 9,000 dollars. Yes, nine grand.

Ed Burns, welcome.

ED BURNS, INDEPENDENT FILM MAKER: Thank you.

MORGAN: So, first question, off the bat -- we just had Jack Welch describing his pulling technique for wooing his beautiful young wife as charm and his wallet. I interviewed your wife, Christie Turlington, one of the most beautiful women in history. Which one was it, the charm or the wallet?

BURNS: I'm a guy making movies for 9,000 dollars. Somehow it was the charm.

MORGAN: Tell me about this, because it's absolutely fascinating. In this economic climate, you've been able to make a movie for such a ridiculously low sum of money. How did you go about -- why have you done this?

BURNS: You know, there has been a couple of things that have happened in the last few years. The technological revolution that has sort of happened with digital cameras has enabled us to -- when I started with "Brothers McMullen" and made that movie for 25,000,we shot it on and old camera with recanned 16 millimeter. And it looked like a cheap little indy film.

But in the last three years, you have cameras like the red camera come out, which is pretty affordable. We shot this film on a Cannon 5D, which is a still camera that also shoots video. I bought it at B & H for 2,800 dollars.

MORGAN: Amazing.

BURNS: The film looks terrific.

MORGAN: Let's see a clip. Let's test this theory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Listen, I appreciate you trying to be my big brother.

BURNS: I'm not trying here -- but you are being crazy. We talked yesterday --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, I know. But it happened, OK. Like things happen sometimes. But I'm handling it.

BURNS: No, you know what, you're not handling it. What you're doing is sleeping with my wife's ex-husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm not. I'm not sleeping with him. I just slept with him. There is a difference.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, you just couldn't tell that that was some cheap -- relatively cheap way of making a movie.

BURNS: The exciting thing is -- I go to film schools all the time and talk to the kids. And what's exciting is the playing field has been leveled. Now these kids can get in and they can make a great looking film. You know, that point of entry is so low. There isn't the economic hurdle anymore.

MORGAN: You also used, very cleverly, I thought, social media, Twitter in particular, to help with the script for the movie. Basically you're paying for nothing, you big tight wad.

BURNS: Yes. I've been very lucky with my Twitter followers.

MORGAN: Tell me how it worked, though. How did that work?

BURNS: I was coming up with the idea for the screen play. I knew that it was going to be about a newlywed couple. They're on their second marriage. They think they can stay above the fray. They've made the mistakes. And the second time around, something was going to happen to cause them to get to know one another in a real way.

I tweeted out to my followers, you know, all right, what's the thing that happened in the first year of marriage that you had the first big fight about? And nine out of 10 Tweets that came back to me had to do with a family member, my crazy sister crashed on our couch; we had to move in with my in-laws. So from that, it sort of spurred an idea. And I wrote the script accordingly.

MORGAN: How will it fair, this movie, do you think? What do you hope -- what's the expectation?

BURNS: Well, the thing that's amazing is using social media now to publicize the film -- we have done this thing where theatrical doesn't make financial sense for indy films, for the most part. So we did a digital distribution, where it goes out on video on demand and certain companies, like Comcast and Time Warner have done a great job recognizing that the indy audience doesn't go to the theatre like they used to. They're sitting home at their couch.

And iTune is another major component. In seven days of release, we have already made the budget back times -- I don't know -- five or six. And not the 9,000 dollar budget. The budget all in, after pro- post production, is about 125,000 dollars.

MORGAN: And you have already made what, half a million?

BURNS: Just -- I would say a little shy of that.

MORGAN: That's a properly good business. It's not some weird vanity project. This makes money.

BURNS: We did not expect it to do this. We did a movie last year called "Nice Guy Johnny" that did nowhere near that. I mean, it did very well, but this has surprised everybody.

MORGAN: The advantages is, presumably, if it flops, who cares. It's a shame for you artistically, but financially, you can do another one. BURNS: We look at it like this: we are an indy rock band. We're going to get together after work and rehearse. On the weekends, we're going to find studio time and cut the record. We'll get it up on iTunes. Keep your fingers crossed.

And you do it for one reason; you love it and because you can. When you make a film for 9,000 dollars, the other great thing is there isn't the studio head or the financier standing over your shoulder as your collaborator, and therefore making changes. You don't have the title of your film changed. You cast who you want. They don't have to change the ending of the film.

You use the music that you want. You now have full creative control. You have a blast making the movie. It's an economic model that makes sense in a business that had -- had been seeing declining profits.

The other thing is, we the film makers never saw any money, even when the movies did well.

MORGAN: I remember interviewing Sylvester Stallone. He told me out of "Rocky Balboa," the sixth movie, which made well over 200 million dollars, he made no money from it. He said if he hear the friend back end, or whatever it was, the Ukraine, for posters, one more time, I'm going to kill myself.

I was actually startled. But anyway, fascinating story. Let's take a little break, and come back about your another fascinating story, which is your brother married your wife's sister. This has to be fraught with danger. Let's discuss the danger after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with Ed Burns, the indy film maker extraordinary, and husband to Christy Turlington. So come on in, so you married Christie Turlington, which in itself is a fantastic achievement for which I salute you.

And then, unbelievably, your brother Brian moves in on her sister. Be honest, if that was my brother and I had pulled Christie Turlington, and he began to move in on my patch, I would be furious. I would try and stop this happening at all costs.

BURNS: Terrified that he might screw it up.

(CROSS TALK)

BURNS: Fortunately it did not happen.

MORGAN: Was it in your mind that it might?

BURNS: Oh, yeah. I took him out fishing and I said Brian, you have to be 100 percent sure about this. And fortunately, two kids later, they're doing great. So --

MORGAN: Do you all hang out together? BURNS: All the time. That's how it happened. We would always go out to dinner or we'd do a ski trip together or white water rafting trip together. and there was some innocent flirtation. And then the next thing you know, actually at our wedding, the real sparks flew.

MORGAN: It was at your wedding?

BURNS: It was at our wedding, yes/

MORGAN: That's a great story. Is it as unusual as it appears? Or do you now, everywhere you go, meet other people who know about --

BURNS: It's funny. Now that people know the story, we'll constantly here from other folks who said oh, that was our grandparents, or our aunt and uncle or that kind of thing. But he has the rights to the script.

MORGAN: Is being married to Christie Turlington as good as I have always imagined it would be?

BURNS: Yes, it is. Yes. That's all I will say.

MORGAN: You wake up every morning and there is Christie Turlington lying next to you.

BURNS: And she wakes up and looks at me and says, what the hell was I thinking?

MORGAN: She's waking up next to Ed Burns. This is a marriage made in heaven. It's quite -- and you're making movies for nine grand and making half a million a pop. Life's pretty good, isn't it?

BURNS: It's not bad. It's not bad.

MORGAN: Do you watch many movies yourself now? Do you have time?

BURNS: I do. I'm a movie nut. But given that we have little kids, if we go to the theater, it's going to be a kids movie. I'm usually streaming on Netflix or watching something off of Apple TV.

MORGAN: Who do you fancy for the Oscars this year?

BURNS: You know what? I mean, my guy, as you know -- we were just discussing I'm a Woody Allen nut. So I always pull for Woody. I think it's going to be Alexander Payne's movie, "The Descendents."

MORGAN: I love "The Descendents." I thought George Clooney was fantastic in it.

BURNS: The whole cast was great. And he's always --

MORGAN. He took a bit of a -- it was a different kind of thing for him. He wasn't just the normal heartthrob Clooney. I thought it was a really challenging role. And he was a vulnerable character, slightly tormented. It was a really -- it was a fascinating thing to watch him do, actually. Wasn't it?

BURNS: You look at all the actors that had the pleasure of working with Payne. You at what Paul Giamatti did in "Sideways." Nicholson in "About Schmidt." I mean, he -- he pulls those great, great, very different performances out of actors.

MORGAN: Will you be at the Golden Globes?

BURNS: I will not, no.

MORGAN: So you'll be avoiding the Ricky Gervais roast?

BURNS: Oh, yeah, yeah. We'll be home in New York watching on television.

MORGAN: Do you laugh as loudly as I do at the sheer amount of offense he causes?

BURNS: I just absolutely love it. I'm just glad that I'm not there being the one getting picked on.

MORGAN: I kind of think that he has almost single handedly pricked the balloon of pomposity which pervaded those award ceremonies in America. Hasn't he? The fact that he's been invited back now three times --

BURNS: That's pretty incredible.

MORGAN: Don't you think he has? He's kind of made American stars, perhaps a little bit too pampered in recent years, laugh at themselves again.

BURNS: I -- you know, I guess, yeah. I mean, clearly, they've invited him back. And it is the Golden Globes. It's not the Oscars. I don't know that that would fly at the Oscars.

MORGAN: I would unleash him at the Oscars.

BURNS: We'll see.

MORGAN: Actors do take themselves terribly seriously. They do need a regular dose of Gervais. Could you take it?

BURNS: I think so. I can take a ribbing. I grew up in a house where we just made fun of one other all day and night long. So I can handle a good rib.

MORGAN: If I was married to Christie Turlington, I could take a few jibes from Ricky Gervais. Thank you so much, Ed.

BURNS: Thank you.

MORGAN: It's been a real pleasure. I look forward to watching the film.

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

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Piers, thanks. Good evening, everyone. It is 10:00 on the east coast. We begin tonight with the very latest on an old fashioned New Hampshire slugfest, as the first primary of campaign 2012 is about to get underway, just two hours from now. .