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Interview with Jack Welch, Suzy Welch, Presidential History With Nathan Raab and Douglas Brinkley; Interview with Howie Mandel

Aired January 30, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, on the eve of the crucial Florida primary, the Republican battle royale.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no difference between Romney and Obama.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These debate have gone pretty well. Speaker Gingrich wasn't very happy with the debates, though.

MORGAN: Is it time for one GOP candidate to get a pink slip? Tonight, former GE CEO, Jack Welch, why he says one of the least popular candidates could decide the election.

And the tale of the tape. New remarkable evidence 48 years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are planning on having the president's remains taken directly to Walter Reed.

MORGAN: Chilling conversations on Air Force One on the hours after the president's death that never been heard before. What do they mean and why are they surfacing now? I'll ask one of the country's top experts on the presidency and what it all means.

Plus, the single most annoying man I've ever met in my entire life. I've said it before and it remains true today.

HOWIE MANDEL, TV HOST: I'm loved by millions.

MORGAN: Adored.

MANDEL: You'll see. You'll see.

MORGAN: I know. I'm waiting to see it.


MORGAN: Unbelievably, Howie Mandel is back for more. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Mitt Romney has to be feeling pretty good about the Sunshine state. A poll by Quinnipiac University just out today has him at 14-point favorite over Newt Gingrich, with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum tied for third. Florida's primary is tomorrow now with 50 delegates up for grab and candidate Romney sounds like a man who expects to win.


ROMNEY: Sure is fun. What a day this is. I'll tell you, with a turnout like this, I'm beginning to feel we might win tomorrow. What do you think? I know the speaker is not real happy, Speaker Gingrich. He's not feeling very excited these days, he's -- I know, it's sad. He's been flailing around a bit trying to go after me for one thing or the other.


MORGAN: Tonight the Gingrich campaign is signaling it will cede Nevada and Michigan to Mitt Romney. So is he lock on the nomination? Is it time that some Republicans to read the writing on the wall?

Well, joining me now is Jack and Suzy Welch. They write a weekly column at Thomson Reuters and "Fortune" magazine. And he, of course, is the former CEO of GE and the founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute.

Welcome to you both. You're in the Sunshine state in Florida. I can tell by those lovely tans you're sporting.

But Jack, the last time you were in my studio, you were very pro- Mitt Romney. How do you think things have played out since we last spoke?

JACK WELCH, THOMSON REUTERS COLUMNIST: Well, I feel a lot better tonight than I did after South Carolina, Piers.

MORGAN: Yes, I mean, look, it's been a fascinating race. South Carolina clearly was a shock to the Romney system. And we saw a very, very different Mitt Romney in the debates last week, a new kind of ferocious Mitt Romney, a man not prepared to go down without a hell of a fight and of course that debate performance turned him right back into the frontrunner again.

Was that the kind of Mitt Romney you've been looking for?

J. WELCH: Well, I'm a big fan of Mitt Romney, not because of his combativeness, but because of his intellect and his ability to persuade all kinds of people to get together and get the right answers. So I'm -- I think he's a solutions person. And this combative thing is necessary during these primaries, which is sort of crazy. But he's more of a conciliatory, pull teams-together and get- the-right-answer guy.

MORGAN: And Suzy, we're hearing tonight that Newt Gingrich may be prepared to cede both Nevada and Michigan, neither of which, I guess, he would have expected to do very well at. But what does that tell you about the way his campaign is now going?

SUZY WELCH, THOMSON REUTERS COLUMNIST: I think that Newt is going to go all the way to the end, the way he says he's going to go all the way to the end. He sees himself as the conservative solution. And I think he's in it for the long haul.

You've got to think how long Newt's career has been. He is a guy who has been up and down. He's been prince, he's been pig. And he is going to ride this one out. So I'm not thinking that him ceding these states early on as any kind of signal of Newt saying I'm out of it. He's going to stick it out. He thinks he's the answer.

MORGAN: And Jack, is it good or bad thing for the Republican Party that this goes on long time? The reason I asked that, people seem to forget that when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went head to head, it was for quite a long sustained period. It got very nasty and they tried to rip each other's throats out. But you couldn't help but conclude that it helped Barack Obama in his later fight with John McCain.

Could it not be a good for Mitt Romney? And we're already seeing him developing into a much more formidable opponent, I would argue, from the debates last week than he may have been if he'd won South Carolina and already won the nomination?

J. WELCH: Look, Mitt Romney's big issue is connecting, is being comfortable in his own skin, is to let people know who he really is. And every day he has a chance to do that, the better chance he has. He's improved dramatically over the last eight weeks and all we can hope for is he gets better and better as we go against a real campaigner in Barack Obama.

MORGAN: I mean, Suzy, the big problem --

S. WELCH: I mean but we don't --

MORGAN: The big problem I have with Mitt Romney was always that -- as a strange criticism, he's a very nice guy, I've interviewed him twice, I like him, lots of personal skills, very good track record, good family man and so on. He just seemed a little bit dull. And what I was excited by, and I'm not -- I don't have a horse in the race, I'm not a Republican or a Democrat, but what I found exciting about the debates last week, was I saw a side to him that I didn't even know existed. I saw a guy prepared to really fight. And that changed my impression of him.

S. WELCH: Yes, I think you hit the nail on the head when you say that he's got this problem with boring people. But people are going to be deciding between on one hand a bore but on -- in the case with Newt, if he -- it comes down to Newt and Mitt, a bumble bee.

I mean Newt is like that bumble bee who goes from idea to idea to idea, it's the moon one day and then -- you know, God knows what he's going to come up with. He says OK, I'm the candidate of ideas. Well, pick -- you know, pick some ideas instead of 25 ideas. You've got -- voters are going to say, bore, bumble bee, bore, bumble bee. And I think that when people decide what they're going to vote on ultimately, most Americans would go -- would rather have a bore than a bumble bee. J. WELCH: Piers, I saw a tough side of Mitt Romney in the Salt Lake City Olympics. I was involved with NBC at that time. We were afraid that the whole thing was going down the drain. There was a corruption scandal out there. 9/11 had just occurred. We had bet a billion dollars or so on the Olympics. And we thought we were losing the whole thing. He went out there and cleaned that whole mess up with a firmness and a leadership skill you would not believe. So that's when I became a real Mitt Romney fan when I saw him pull that mess together.

MORGAN: And I also --

S. WELCH: But you have to remember that the upcoming --

MORGAN: I also thought --


MORGAN: Sorry, Suzy. After you.

S. WELCH: The upcoming campaign -- the upcoming campaign against Barack Obama, Barack Obama is a fantastic campaigner. And there's nothing like him on the stump giving a speech. He's fiery, he's passionate. And you can't have then Mitt out there doing his standard shtick where he is sort of understated. He's going to have to meet Barack Obama where he is. So what we saw in the debates last week where he was more feisty and more commanding, that's going to be necessary going forward.

MORGAN: He's also, Jack, and I would imagine you would have been delight by this. He's also turned the whole debate from his wealth and his success from what looked like a negative, because he looked so defensive about it, into much more of a positive now where he finally stood up, and did what I guess you would have done a long time ago and said, hey, I've been successful, so what? That's the American way, isn't it?

J. WELCH: Finally, he did it. It took him a long time. He's not a braggadocio guy. Candor like that doesn't come easy. Patting himself on the back doesn't come easy but he did it. And he did it in a first class way. And he is a first class person. And in doing that, he absolutely put the thing on the table. People might not like it. But John Kennedy was a wealthy man. Franklin Roosevelt was a wealthy man. Teddy Roosevelt was wealthy. We've had wealthy presidents.

S. WELCH: He said the key thing, though, he said a very, very important thing. He said I did not inherit my wealth. I mean I think a lot of people are under the impression that -- that Mitt Romney was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. And he said, he come right out, and said look, I'm not going to apologize for becoming successful . I did not inherit that wealth. I think he had not said that part of it, it would not nearly been as powerful.

J. WELCH: Well, wait a minute now. John Kennedy inherited his wealth and didn't have to say it. S. WELCH: Times have changed because when John Kennedy was around there was not "Occupy Wall Street" going on.


S. WELCH: I think that in this -- in this culture of --

J. WELCH: OK. You win that one.

S. WELCH: Yes.


S. WELCH: Did everyone hear that? Is this culture of --


MORGAN: I want to play you one of the attack ads that Mitt Romney played after South Carolina, interestingly not through a PAC, as he had done before but through himself. Let's watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gingrich was paid over $1.6 million by the scandal ridden agency that helped create the crisis.

GINGRICH: And I offered advice, and my advice as a historian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A historian? Really? Sanctioned for ethics violations. Gingrich resigned from Congress in disgrace. And then cashed in as a D.C. insider. If Newt wins, this guy would be very happy.

ROMNEY: I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message.


MORGAN: I mean, I guess it is a double-edged sword these attack ads stuff, isn't it, because it's always been around in American politics? The danger is if these guys keep getting nastier and nastier about each other, what happens when one of them eventually wins and has to take on the Democratic president?

Because Barack Obama can just start replaying all this stuff, and saying, well, look, you know, this guy is a liar, this guy is inflammable, blah blah blah. It's all good fodder for the opposition as well, isn't it?

J. WELCH: Well, look, that's what's always said in the primary, Piers. But what's going to -- what this is going to come down to in September and October is what does this economy look like? How is it doing? Do we have a recovery that's real? Or do we have this tepid, a few hundred thousand, a few thousand jobs a month, et cetera? Is that enough?

Or do people want to get "Occupy Wall Street" people jobs? Do we want to change the argument? Do we want to pull ourselves together? Do we want to stop fighting each other? Do we want a president a unifier, rather than a divider?

Those are the questions. It's not going to be what somebody said about somebody in February or March of this year. That's not going to be a big game.


MORGAN: And what is the answer? Sorry, after you, Suzy.

S. WELCH: Whatever they're saying in these attack ads will be repeated by the Democrats when that happens and new attacks that they haven't thought about of each other, there'll be more new attacks, so, you know, bring it on now.

MORGAN: And Jack, what is the truth about the state of the American economy right now, do you think?

J. WELCH: Well, we have a very tepid recovery, but we do have a recovery. I mean the fourth quarter was 2.8 percent, nothing like we hoped for. It will be a little slower in the first quarter this year. I think things are going to flatten out in the 2-3 percent range. And we'll have job growth in the 100 to 200,000 range per month.

But Piers, we have five to seven million people drop out of the work force. So assume we get 150,000 jobs a month for the next 10 months. That's 1.5 million jobs. That's a fraction of what dropped out of it. So the -- the real unemployment rate will be double digit. We don't have a real recovery.

We are so oppressed by this government's regulatory actions on every facet of the economy. They just appointed another commission to go after the mortgage thing, 55 more investigators, just when the mortgage thing was being settled by the banks. They piled another thing on in the State of the Union thing.

It's crazy, Piers. It's just regulation after regulation. The jobs bill had a regulation that said, if you didn't employ unemployed people, you could get a fine of $300,000 for discrimination, Piers. I mean everything is punitive, nothing is about incentives. It's all backwards.

MORGAN: Jack, I will have to take a break so that you can calm down, have a glass of water, and gather your steam again for the next assault. Because I'm going to ask you about Barack Obama --

J. WELCH: I'm totally calm.

MORGAN: -- as a president after the break. I would imagine it'll get you even more riled.

S. WELCH: Oh, boy.

J. WELCH: Piers, I'm calm.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Right now, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans or do we want to keep our investments in everything else? Like education and medical research.


MORGAN: That's President Obama at the State of the Union address last week calling for any one making more than a million dollar a year to pay at least a 30 percent tax rate. The so-called Buffett rule.

Back now to discuss that, Jack and Suzy Welch.

Now, Jack, let me reign back a bit here on your anti-Obama rhetoric. Because the reality surely if you're Barack Obama, is that things are looking quite good at the moment. You've had on the foreign policy part, certainly a lot of stunning successes. Bin laden getting killed, the SEALs were in action again last week rescuing Americans who've been captured by Somali pirates, the troops are out of Iraq. And so on and so on.

Foreign policy, big ticket. I would argue. Secondly, he's done very well for the car industry. People, they all accept that. The economy is improving, your words, albeit slowly. So if you're in the White House and you're watching Romney and Gingrich going at it like a couple of stokes in a sack, I don't think you're feeling too bad at the moment.

J. WELCH: No, you're probably -- feeling pretty good but you realize that you've got a country with unemployment in double digits, real unemployment, you've got a country where you've got people in the streets in Washington, in Oakland, California, rioting. You've got a country where you are dividing the haves and the have-nots. You are a country that you are yelling about paying more taxes to the rich that don't pay them.

I've never paid less than 30 percent taxes so I'd be happy with a 30 percent tax rate. So a lot of things going on here.

MORGAN: But what about this, Jack? What about this?

J. WELCH: It's not all --

MORGAN: What about this. We know that Barack Obama can sing because we heard him sing Al Green brilliantly earlier in the week. I want to play you a bit of footage from tonight involving your man, Mitt Romney. This could cost Romney the entire election. Watch this.


ROMNEY: (Singing) Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountains majesty above the fruited plain. America, America, God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.


MORGAN: Now, no offense to Mitt Romney, who is a game guy for going at that, but, frankly, given the comparison between Barack Obama's brilliant impression of Al Green and the way that that just got murdered, I think this could be an actual issue.

S. WELCH: Now, Piers.

MORGAN: So is this --

S. WELCH: You're missing the -- you're missing the point. It's the difference between the songs that they're singing. I mean Mitt Romney didn't exactly do a beautiful job on that song but think about what he's singing, OK? I mean it's that patriotic song. And he goes all the way through it. And I think that there's actually something quite appealing. Then you've got the very cool Barack Obama singing Al Green, OK, it really -- that is the two different Americas, isn't it? So I think that, you know --

J. WELCH: Take that, Piers.

MORGAN: So what you're basically saying, Suzy, is that Mitt Romney's inability to sing could become an electoral positive for him?


S. WELCH: No, I mean -- I think --

J. WELCH: The subject.

S. WELCH: I think the song that he -- with that clip, if they put them side by side, there's going to be a bunch of Americans, and maybe not the Americans on the coast. But I think there's going to be a bunch of Americans in the middle who are going to say, yes, that's what my dad sounds like when he sings it.


MORGAN: Yes. I think that would be my reaction and that would be a problem. I mean my father shouldn't sing either.

Now let's just turn to Ron Paul because you guys wrote a very, very excoriating column about Ron Paul. And what you basically said he should pull out of the race now. Why should do you feel that he should pull out?

J. WELCH: Piers, let's get this straight. We wrote a column for Thomson Reuters where we tied a business situation to a political situation, trying to tie current events to business lessons. When you -- when somebody who leaves a company, you want them to leave -- loving them as much on the way out as you loved them on the way in. You want to give them severance, you want to make them friends, because some day they're going to be customers, supply, et cetera. We said so clearly when Ron Paul exits the stage at his timing, whether it be in August at the convention or just before the convention, the Republican Party has to learn a love lesson from business and treat him with great dignity and give him a place on the convention floor, give him a speech in primetime, take care of him, so that his followers, those smart young followers, our children, others, those young people that wouldn't normally pull the R lever would say our guy got treated right. His platform is being listened to, his comments on the Fed are being listened to, his arguments about the war are being at least listened to, that's what we've got to do.

We've got to treat him with dignity.

MORGAN: But let me ask you.


MORGAN: Is it good for the party if Rick Santorum and Ron Paul continue to the bitter end or should one of them take one for the team fairly soon?

J. WELCH: I think it's good if they end up being strong supporters and believers in whoever the winning candidate is. And they have to exit on their time schedule. They have to be treated -- they both have done a hell of a job of staying in this game and doing a first class job in the debate, both of them. I mean a lot of people thought Ron Paul won the last debate where everybody said Mitt won, a lot of people were supportive of Ron Paul in that debate and that debate.

Look, these people deserve their dignity and their voice. And if the Republicans are smart, they will l let these two gentlemen exit on their time frame, on their schedule with their arguments in the foreplay.

MORGAN: Well, I'm going to reluctantly let you two --

S. WELCH: -- the problem is big enough.

MORGAN: Yes, I'm going to reluctantly let you two exit now, much as I'd like to continue. Jack and Suzy Welch, as always, a great pleasure. Thank you very much.

J. WELCH: Thanks, Piers.

S. WELCH: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming up, the mother of all conspiracy theories, newly released tapes from Air Force One recorded in the hours after the assassination of President Kennedy. I'll ask one of the country's top experts on the presidency, what he discovered and what he listened to.


MORGAN: It's been 48 years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. One key source about that day is a tape of the radio traffic from Air Force One as it flew back to Washington carrying JFK's body. Until now, only a heavily edited version was available, but tonight there's discovery short to incite conspiracy theorists a much longer version with revealing new details has surfaced.

And joining me now to sort out what it all means is presidential history, Douglas Brinkley, and Nathan Raab, his company, the Raab Collection, uncovered the tapes.

Let's start with you, Nathan. I mean a fascinating discovery. How did you come across this extra bit of a tape?

NATHAN RAAB, VICE PRESIDENT, RAAB COLLECTION: We felt the same way. We literally found it at the bottom of a box, a large box that was part of the collection of Ted Clifton who had worked in the White House both for John F. Kennedy but also for Lyndon Johnson. He left the White House in '65, he died in '91, his wife passed away in 2009 when they sold the estate. This was included along with other personal effects.

MORGAN: And this actually the box you found the tape in, right?

RAAB: This is the box and the tape is in it. It's a reel-to- reel. And when we found it, it was just a box with a reel-to-reel with no knowledge of what was in it. And we had our suspicions, it says, radio traffic. Involving Air Force One in flight from Dallas that has the date. Now he left the White House in '65, the version we had before came out in the late '60s or at least '70s. The timeframe didn't match.

MORGAN: And tell me this, other than the fact of its discovery, which is fascinating, is there anything truly significant on this extra bit of footage or not.

RAAB: Yes. Absolutely there is. No only the individual elements of the tape, what is heard within it things that we haven't heard before, but also the fact that it fills in holes. Historians had specific questions, where's the beginning part of this conversation, now we only have the tail end of. He refers to a Cadillac. But we have the beginning portion that. But also the tale of the tape. There was the raw tapes which have gone missing and then there's this original version. You know, how did we get from A to B?

MORGAN: Let me go to Douglas Brinkley here. Because, Douglas, you're a big historian. You know this area very well. How significant, do you think, these tapes are in terms of suddenly surfacing like this?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, HISTORIAN, RICE UNIVERSITY: Well, it's a fascinating story. I mean you have to put in perspective who General Ted Clifton is. He was - there was no White House chief of staff for John F. Kennedy. He was the military aide of Kennedy serving in that function. He was part of the Dallas motorcade. When Kennedy was killed, Clifton was put in charge of getting all military arrangements figured out. Meaning, what do we do if the president dies at Parkland Hospital? How do we move his body to Air Force One? What are we going to do with First Lady Jackie Kennedy who's wearing a pink Chanel suit with blood all over it.

This gentleman Ted Cliffton had to deal with it all, and now we've got for the first time this remarkable tape of the journey of Air Force One from Dallas back to Washington. And it raises a lot of question, why did a lot of 45 minutes worth of tape was edited? So people making their judgments on the Warren Commission up now, were missing this 45 minutes and then there are all sorts of nuggets that are emerging from this 45 minute tape that's going to be cherry-picked and analyzed by scholars for months and years to come.

MORGAN: Well, let's play a clip which is from the original tape that was put forward which we new existed , he just puts it in context. Let's hear it first.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wayside, wayside, this is the SITUATION ROOM. I read from the AP bulletin, Kennedy apparently shot in head. He fell facedown in back seat of his car. blood was on his head. This as Kennedy cried, oh no, and tried to hold up his head. Connolly remained half seated, slumped to the left. There was blood on his face and forehead.

The president and the governor were rushed to Parkland Hospital, near the Dallas Trademark, where Kennedy was to have made a speech.



MORGAN: Now that's part of the tape that we've heard before, but it puts it in context. What I want to play now are completely unheard parts of the tape, which have been discovered in this tiny box at Major General Ted Clifton's house. Let's listen to the first clip from this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Lemay is in a C140. The last three numbers are 497.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four nine seven, last three numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. He's inbound. His code name is Grandson. And I want to talk to him.


MORGAN: Now, the significance of that -- again, to Douglas -- is the fact that it involves General Lemay. Now he was known to be an opponent of President Kennedy's. So this is a sort of sourcing of him in this type, which we weren't aware of before. What does that tell you?

BRINKLEY: Well, that's right. Why did General Lemay get cut out of the censored version of this Air Force One tape? Lemay had been an enemy of President Kennedy. He was furious about the way Kennedy handled the Cuban Missile Crisis. He wanted to have bombed Cuba.

He was just angry that Kennedy was seeming to be lackadaisical about the effort in Vietnam. So people have always wanted to know where was Curtis Lemay on the day Kennedy was shot? It's been mixed messages about it. This tape provides exactly where he was.

But we see a colonel -- we hear a Colonel Dorman calling Air Force One, saying we have to find Curtis Lemay. Otherwise it will be too late, for whatever too late means. But it's significant in the sense of placing -- you know, when you're dealing with the Kennedy assassination, we're trying to understand where all the characters were. Here is just a new mystery that scholars and conspiracy theorists are obviously going to be looking at.

MORGAN: Yes. I think the fascinating thing to me is it may not mean anything. But it's the fact that they removed all reference to General Lemay, who had got this history with Kennedy, makes it absolutely compelling. Who decided to take that out? And why would they remove all references to him.

Let's play the second clip from the unheard element of this tape, which, again, is really interesting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: General Heaton, this is Dr. Burkley.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, the military District of Washington in regards to the -- taking care of the remains of the -- President Kennedy -- and we are planning on having the president taken directly to Walter Reed. Probably Mrs. Kennedy will also be going out there. But we will clarify that later.



MORGAN: Nathan, I'll come to you with this. This is between Admiral Burkley and General Heaton. It's a piece of history. This is the most infamous moment of America's modern history. And you have got all this stuff which no one has ever heard before.

RAAB: That's a powerful clip, because, of course, that's not what ended up happening. The debate about where to send the president's body, whether to go to Walter Reed or to Bethesda, is really what makes this tape central. This is how we know what the federal government did immediately after the assassination.

The fact that you have the surgeon general talking with Kennedy's personal doctor, making a decision which later is contrary to what ends up happening, that is powerful. Why that was cut out here -- there's a full lead up to this. And why that moment was cut out, no one's around who could tell you. MORGAN: Now you are trying to sell this. So I am going to go to Douglas to see if he can put a valuation on this? What is the worth, Douglas, would you say, from an historical important point of view?

BRINKLEY: Well, you can't write about the Kennedy assassination without grappling with the contents of this tape, meaning the information that's now available on it. It places everything in Air Force One that occurred. Just that clip you just played -- why if the radio is saying you're taking President Kennedy for an autopsy at Walter Reed -- you just heard it -- why was Kennedy, once landed, diverted to Bethesda Naval Hospital.

It's simply a question. But the autopsy of an assassinated president is pretty important stuff. And that's been missing from all the books that have been written until now. So people -- we're heading into the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. And these tapes will be footed noted and quoted in all books in the future.

This is a very serious find. I don't know the rare book manuscript market or what -- who would want to particularly purchase this. But from an historian's point of view, it's valuable information.

MORGAN: It certainly is. And it's absolutely fascinating, I've got to say. I haven't heard the whole thing, but I'd very much like to. It's a really absorbing and compelling story. This has sat in this guy's house, and never been heard. Even the Warren Commission has never heard this tape, which I think is extraordinary.

Thank you very much, Nathan, for bringing it in. Thank you, Douglas, for putting it into historical context. I'm sure this will run and run, the unheard JFK assassination day tapes. Quite extraordinary.

After the break, talking of quite extraordinary things, I am going to bring out the single most annoying man I've ever met in my life, Howie Mandel, my former co-judge on "America's Got Talent." I don't know why I'm doing this, to be honest with you.


MORGAN: Howie Mandel, so he tells me, is a terrific stand-up comic. He's also the single most annoying man I have ever met in my entire life. He was my fellow judge on "America's Got Talent" until eventually I just couldn't stand the thought of working with him for a moment later, and I left. Just like I miss the dentist, I miss Howie, like having my teeth extracted one by one, with no anesthetic.

Be that as it may, Howie has a new show called "Mobbed" on Fox. He's also publicly battled OCD and his fear of germs. He won't even shake hands with me, not that he would anyway, even if he didn't have OCD, and the feeling is mutual.

Joining me now, Howie.

HOWIE MANDEL, "MOBBED": What a gracious welcome. I feel like I am at a party I wasn't invited to.

MORGAN: Well, you weren't really.

MANDEL: It's great to be here. It's been wonderful. I tell you something, it was fascinating. I have been watching the show backstage, your last segment. I think you asked all the right questions. I don't think you got an answer. You kept saying, what is the significance?

And as far -- I think I'm slightly intelligent.

MORGAN: Isn't the significance the fact no one's heard it, even if --

MANDEL: (INAUDIBLE) and -- you said, what is that worth? They go, well, I can't say. I'm not an expert on that. (INAUDIBLE) -- nobody's heard that.

MORGAN: If you are a conspiracy theorist, which I'm not -- I don't believe in any of the conspiracies. But if you were, and you heard that General Lemay, who was the guy everyone knows really hated Kennedy -- he was somehow airbrushed from this tape deliberately. And the Warren Commission never heard it. It becomes quite intriguing.

MANDEL: You are saying that. The truth is, it wasn't airbrushed deliberately. There was one reel of tape that was lost in a box.

MORGAN: How do you know?

MANDEL: I just saw it on your show.

MORGAN: How do you know he wasn't told to hide it?

MANDEL: Because it wouldn't just be in somebody's box in their estate. It would have been destroyed. Tapes have been destroyed before. You've watched TV. They can destroy these tapes. They don't say, you know what, this is highly -- high level information, let's put it in a box.

MORGAN: Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?


MORGAN: None of them?

MANDEL: I think it's fun to do. I think -- well, I don't think we know anything, but I don't know that there's a conspiracy. I don't think we know anything about politics. I don't even think we understand as a nation how to vote. I don't even understand we know why we vote for things. They're always for the wrong reason.

It's because we like somebody. We don't understand what they are going do for our country.

MORGAN: Let me ask you about politicians, because it must be a fertile ground for you now, as a standup. Isn't it, all the Republican race?

MANDEL: The truth for me is I'm always marketing. Right now, I'm selling the show "Mobbed" on Fox. So I don't talk about politics for fear that I am going to offend at least half or a quarter of the audience and they won't watch, you know. He's a left wing, he's right wing -- I don't want you to know that. So I don't really.

MORGAN: Do you talk about it on your stand-up?

MANDEL: No. I mean, I've talked about the fact that it's a different time. This may not seem weird to you because you're Piers. But the fact that we're talking about Newts and Mitts -- Newts and Mitts and Obamas and Newts -- remember, just a few years back, it was just Bill and George. Now, it's Newt and Mitt and Mitt and Newt and Obama.

MORGAN: I can't stand silly first names.

MANDEL: Piers. Is that common in England.

MORGAN: Piers is old English for Peter. I was named after Piers Plowman.

MANDEL: Wasn't -- you mean, years ago, they couldn't say Peter?

MORGAN: No. It was called Piers.

MANDEL: Why is that Peter?

MORGAN: I don't know. Why are you called Howie?

MANDEL: That's old English for Ned.

MORGAN: Let's watch a clip from your --

MANDEL: "Mobbed".

MORGAN: Yes, from "Mobbed."

MANDEL: This is spectacular. Watch this.



CROWD: We want to!


MANDEL: Let me tell you what this is.

MORGAN: Let me put something to you first. So here is a guy who has one of the world's most infamous germaphobias, right?


MORGAN: Your idea for a TV show is to bring thousands of people all crammed into a small space.

MANDEL: First of all, do you see me in the middle of that crowd? No. It's an idea and it's a great pitch and it's great show. These flash mobs are these spontaneous outbursts of music and dance.

The thing about it, like this week, it's amazing. It's actually the best one yet. Watch right after "American Idol" on Wednesday. We bring these people -- if you have something intimate that you want to share with somebody, that would change their life forever -- this is a guy who was on -- the clip you saw was from a past show, where he was on the Internet with this girl for five years, never met her. And now he wanted to proclaim his feelings about her, so much so that he thought -- he employed us.

He flew out to L.A. from Pittsburgh with everything he owned in a truck to say, I really care about you; I want to stay with you. If you say yes, everything in my truck and me will stay here. If you say no, I ride home.

MORGAN: Knowing you as I do --

MANDEL: But why --

MORGAN: Knowing you as I do, I would imagine that a large part of you is hoping it all goes horribly wrong, because on "America's Got Talent," you loved it when it went horribly wrong.

MANDEL: No, I didn't. That's what you misunderstood.

MORGAN: You pretended not to in public. Privately, you love all those dark moments. You have the darkest soul I have ever worked with.

MANDEL: Let me -- can I set the record straight?

MORGAN: You can try.

MANDEL: Here is what the record is: my entree into comedy, the first time I was really entertained by anything comical, was by a man by the name of Alan Funt (ph). Do you know who he is?

MORGAN: I don't.

MANDEL: OK. Alan Funt had a show -- you know this show -- called "Candid Camera."

MORGAN: I do. "Candid Camera," I love that.

MANDEL: He created "Candid Camera." It began on radio and then on television. I thought, as a young boy -- I didn't understand jokes and material. I thought it was really funny to -- very relatable to see people -- like he brought the audience in -- to see people in awkward positions, so you could relate to it.

You'd laugh at them. You'd be part of the joke. It was kind of fun to see how they would react to that. I've made that my whole life. When I see somebody on stage, for some reason awkward or uncomfortable makes me laugh.

And you know, you didn't relate to the characters that I relate to. Rather than seeing just another singer, who I could see on any cruise, I can see in any karaoke bar, I can see -- if I saw somebody who was like a Tiny Tim, who wasn't necessarily -- that voice of Tiny Tim wasn't great. Or if I saw somebody -- I actually saw him last night. I'm on tour right now doing standup. Roneth (ph) was in New Jersey.

MORGAN: That's a classic example.

MANDEL: Roneth is a guy who has a really strong Indian accent.

MORGAN: He was the least funny comedian ever. You loved him.

MANDEL: He was serious. He thought he could do impressions.

MORGAN: He was terrible.

MANDEL: That's why it was funny.

MORGAN: No, it wasn't funny. That's why I had to leave the show.

MANDEL: You're wrong. I am going to miss you.

MORGAN: I'm not going to miss you. Let's talk about Howard Stern when we come back, who has the impossible job of following me. He should have followed you. That would be a lot easier.

MANDEL: Are we at the commercial yet?





MANDEL: I can't believe you're not buzzing this. I cannot believe you're not buzzing -- you know what's weird? I don't want to throw any crimp into the campaign, but he is actually lip syncing. That was pretaped, because he didn't want to make a mistake.

MORGAN: That was the first time I have wanted to be back on "America's Got Talent" when I heard that. He wouldn't get past first go, would he?

MANDEL: But it's great television because it's awkward and uncomfortable. You see what I'm saying? Rather than just someone singing and you go, who is that? Isn't it better.

MORGAN: There's a Tweet here I would like to read year, which is somebody called Patrick's Beer, who just wants to say "why is this idiot on PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT? Wow, he's really annoying and stupid." MANDEL: That's not fair. Jack Welch is a wonderful guy. You know what? He's not here to defend himself. But I will say I've all trusted in what he said.

MORGAN: How are you feeling about Howard Stern replacing me?

MANDEL: You know what, I'll be totally honest, I loved working with you much more than you loved working with me. But I'm OK with adversity. And you were the king of adversity for me. And I'm a huge fan of Howard Stern.

I think he'll do a wonderful job. And I -- what he brings to the show is -- and you did it also, is honesty and fearlessness. And I think that's what it's about.

MORGAN: Do you think he's going to offend the whole of America? Would you like him to?

MANDEL: No, I don't think that's our job. I think our job is to be honest and say what we think. I think that we are -- we have -- we stand in a place of authority, as far as being over 30 years in different ends of show business, to say what I believe is marketable. I think he can do that.

If people -- it's interesting to be -- it's better to be polarizing than complacent and people don't care about you.

MORGAN: The advantage that he has, I think, is at least he's American.

MANDEL: I just got a Tweet. Who is that gorgeous, stunning guy?

MORGAN: How many followers do you have?

MANDEL: I don't have a lot of followers, because I can't plug -- @HowieMMandel.

MORGAN: You began two years before me.

MANDEL: Let's see how strong this show is. Start following me now @HowieMMandel. Let's see how many followers I get.

MORGAN: Why would anybody want to follow you?

MANDEL: Because I'm wonderfully entertaining. I'm -- who told you about Twitter? Who told you about twitter?

MORGAN: You told me to do it.

MANDEL: And now you're on a very powerful, global broadcast.

MORGAN: Six times as many followers as you.

MANDEL: Because I don't get a chance to plug it.

MORGAN: I'm six times as popular as you, officially. MANDEL: From the moment you have said hello, you've done nothing but make me feel comfortable in being here.

MORGAN: I didn't want to make you feel comfortable.

MANDEL: Aren't you a host?


MANDEL: I didn't do anything. I'm just me.

MORGAN: You tormented me.

MANDEL: I existed.

MORGAN: Yes. Just by being alive, you annoyed me.

MANDEL: Is that why you called me here today?

MORGAN: I would like you to apologize.

MANDEL: For being me?

MORGAN: Say sorry for being so annoying.


MORGAN: Just say I'm Howie -- this is like --

MANDEL: I don't care what you say. I'm just going to plug. Watch "Mobbed" on Wednesday after "Idol."

MORGAN: I will cut you off.

MANDEL: You didn't. I already said it. Plugs out. "Mobbed" after "Idol" on Wednesday. Great show. Can't cut me out.

MORGAN: I hope it really tanks in the ratings.

MANDEL: It's going to do great. It's fantastic. Look at this, this show is powerful. I just got two more followers @HowieMMandel. Who knew? Who knew that this show had this power. Three! Three. Look at this -- you did an article for "Huffington Post" about how you're not going to miss "America's Got Talent." and they posted this picture. I don't know if I can -- can you zoom in on that picture?

Should I do this one or that one? Two or one? Tell me. Two? OK. Can you see. Closer. Closer. Look at Piers.

MORGAN: I'm asleep.

MANDEL: He's asleep. He's asleep. That's how exciting it was for him to be there.

MORGAN: I was listening to one of your ridiculous critiques.


MORGAN: Let's be serious for a moment.


MORGAN: Because is there something about America right now, is that everyone is wrestling with what has happened to the American dream. You and I have had the great fortune to come to America -- you from Canada, me from Great Britain -- and be the sort of fortuitous beneficiaries of the American dream.

MANDEL: Can I just say something about this? I want to say something, because I believe -- I think it's amazing, and I think this is -- and I'm all for capitalism. And I think this is great and you can do what you want. I don't think the problem is political. And I don't think the problem is economical.

What I think the problem is -- and this is very exciting. And I'm going to put a positive spin on it. We are at the cusp of a brand-new age. You know, originally, the first age was the land barons. That's where wealth came.

Then there was the industrial revolution. And that was the advent of industry. Now we're in this new digital age where we have surpassed ourselves, the technology. We don't even know how to monetize it.

Our book and our phone and our -- this is how we read. This is how we entertain ourselves. We don't have to rent tapes anymore. Blockbusters are going by the wayside.

You think about this. And you realize the guy that was making the cover, the people that are working in the plastic, people working in Barnes & Noble, when you're reading your book on a Kindle, all these industries are going away.

It's not because of something the government did. It's how advanced we've become. And we can't catch up with that technical advancement.

MORGAN: But what happens to the 30 million people without jobs?

MANDEL: We have to -- and this is -- I don't know. I don't know. But, you know, it's like Bill Gates and like Steve Jobs. They found a new way. We have to find the new way. We don't even know what the new way of television is.

MORGAN: Hold your thought. Let's have a quick last break and come back and discuss this further, because I am actually beginning to quite like you when you talk like this.

MANDEL: Really?

MORGAN: You can do serious.

MANDEL: Turn on CNN. Howie's telling us what the future is. MORGAN: You're quite intelligent.

MANDEL: I really am. I'm brilliant.

MORGAN: Come back after the break and discover the future of mankind, with Howie Mandel.

MANDEL: I don't believe I've ever heard that before.


MORGAN: I'm back with my special guest, Howie Mandel. Got a Tweet here from Sharon Osborne. She says, "Piers Morgan you are a bleep, bleep. You don't call or write. And now you're interviewing Howie Mandel without me."

Well, tough, Mrs. O. It's my show.

MANDEL: I love Mrs. O .


MANDEL: I love you, Sharon.

MORGAN: I'm going to miss Sharon. I really will miss you, Sharon.

MANDEL: And me.

MORGAN: I'll miss Sharon.

MANDEL: Four more followers @HowieMMandel. This is the show.

MORGAN: You've got five seconds to save the planet. I did promise you'd do this after the break.

MANDEL: Education. Education. That's all.

MORGAN: That will do fine. Howie, I actually do quite like you.

MANDEL: Well, thank you.

MORGAN: And I am actually --

MANDEL: Will you watch "Mobbed?" Watch "Mobbed" on Wednesday.

MORGAN: I'll watch "Mobbed." Why not? "Mobbed" Wednesday night, after "Idol."

That's all for tonight. Tomorrow night, special edition, after the Florida primary --


MORGAN: Howie, go away.