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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
The Whitney Houston Investigation
Aired February 15, 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, the Whitney Houston investigation. New details. The doctors she saw on the day before she died, the prescriptions and what may have happened in that hotel room on Saturday. I'll ask a top Beverly Hills doctor. And two men who know the cost of fame and the pain of addiction.
NIKKI SIXX, MOTLEY CRUE: It wasn't fun anymore. So once I got it out of my life, things got better.
MORGAN: Motley Crue superstar Nikki Sixx tells me exclusively why he thinks the music business is to blame for Whitney Houston's death.
Also, Daniel Baldwin.
DANIEL BALDWIN, ACTOR: When they talk about it in the 12 steps about hitting a bottom. The sad thing about hitting a bottom is there's always another bottom waiting for you.
MORGAN: Plus the Santorum surge. Can it take him all the way?
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president of the United States, I'll have your back.
MORGAN: What does he say about ads like this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney's ugly attacks are going to backfire.
MORGAN: I'll ask Rick Santorum exclusively tonight.
Plus, and only in America, from a school chorus to the brink of stardom, the voice that everyone is talking about.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Our big story tonight, breaking news in the Whitney Houston investigation. The death certificate was released today with the cause of death listed as deferred. A source briefed on her behavior in the days before her death says Whitney Houston was seen drinking considerable quantities of alcohol before 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. We'll have more on that in a moment.
And later my exclusive interview with Rick Santorum. Why he says the behavior of stars like Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson has a harmful effect on America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTORUM: And that's why this is so disturbing that you see, in the sense, the royalty of America, you know, setting such a poor example and being troubled by these things that obviously that's going to have a -- it's going to have a downstream effect and a very harmful downstream effect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: More from Rick Santorum a bit later. But we begin tonight with breaking news on the Whitney Houston investigation.
And Don Lemon has some major new details on Whitney's erratic behavior in the days before her death, and joins me now.
Don, you've unearthed some fascinating detail here. Quite disturbing detail. Tell me what you found out.
DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are some disturbing details and it kind of contradicts, and that -- kind of it does contradicts what some of her friends who were with her said that she wasn't acting erratically in the days before her death.
And here's what a source who was briefed on Whitney Houston's behavior and activity days before her death. Piers, he's telling me that Houston was seen ordering and consuming considerable quantities of alcohol before 10:00 a.m. in the morning on Wednesday and Thursday at the Beverly Hilton at the lobby bar and also around the pool.
Also, Piers, saying she was doing somersaults and jumping into the pool. And what's interesting as well, as the source said, that guests became really concerned about it and they heard her over -- they overheard her saying that the bartenders were watering down her drinks and were putting too much ice in her drinks.
And again this was just days before Whitney Houston was found dead. And then they said sometimes she was by herself walking from the bar to the pool. And then at other times they say she was with an entourage and also with a male companion. Again, just days before her death.
MORGAN: Don, what do we know about when we're going to find out real details from this toxicology report? Because a lot rests on that, I would imagine, in terms of where the investigation goes, in terms of which doctor she was seeing, which prescriptions, what drugs she was actually taking?
LEMON: Yes. There -- well, there are two facets here. One is toxicology report. The other is that they have given subpoenas to doctors and pharmacies. Here's the part -- as far as the toxicology report, instead of six to eight weeks, or eight to 10 weeks as they had said before, the coroner tells me he has expedited for the results of the toxicology reports. And he wants to get them hopefully within four to six weeks, maybe sooner, Piers. And of course, you know about the subpoenas that have been issued to pharmacies and doctors not only here on the West Coast but also on the East Coast as well, try to figure out exactly what was prescribed to her and who filled it.
MORGAN: Because the issue, I think, with Whitney Houston and many other stars in Hollywood is this curious situation you have there where they can go to numerous different doctors, get numerous prescriptions from different pharmacies and nobody can join the dots. And actually work out exactly how much a celebrity is taking.
LEMON: Yes. And here's the thing. Just -- even just a normal person, Piers, even after this, what happens is you go to the doctor and you say oh, you know, I have a backache. And he says you know what, you have to go to the dentist, this has to do with your jaw. It's TMJ. You What have you. Well, you get a prescription from the doctor. Then when you get to the dentist, you get a prescription from him.
So they want to make sure that she wasn't getting -- she wasn't doctor shopping and she wasn't pharmacy shopping. They're saying, they're saying that she wasn't at this point, but they want to make sure, Piers.
MORGAN: One thing is for sure, though, Don. That the drugs that they found in her hotel room should not be mixed with alcohol, right?
LEMON: Absolutely. Whatever they found -- no prescription medication, no prescription medication should be -- should ever be mixed with alcohol. And according to the source, she was drinking heavily the days before. She was actually taking the medication found in her hotel room. That's a problem.
MORGAN: Don Lemon, as always, thank you very much. And great work on the detail of the investigation. Thank you.
Several prescription drugs were found in Whitney Houston's hotel room. But could be medications and the doctors who prescribed them be to blame?
Joining me now is Dr. Alon Steinberg, a cardiologist who testified against Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray.
Welcome, Dr. Steinberg. I've watched your evidence in the Jackson trial with great interest. And I'm fascinated by what your take is on the Whitney Houston case so far.
DR. ALON STEINBERG, CARDIOLOGIST: It's an unfortunate case for Whitney Houston, her friends and family. And it looks like it's unfortunate to see this -- hopefully it's not completely similar but a similar thing happened to Michael Jackson and to Anna Nicole Smith, now happen to Whitney Houston potentially.
MORGAN: Tell me about this cult in Hollywood of celebrities being able to get endless prescriptions from a procession of different doctors at the same time. What do you know about that? Should it be better regulated? Is it unique to Los Angeles and the way that that is allowed to happen? STEINBERG: I don't think it's unique to Los Angeles. Any patient that is addicted to prescription drugs or drugs can go to different doctors and doctor shop and go to different pharmacies and hide below the radar of the system. Celebrities have some additional help because they have other people that can get prescriptions for them, they can maybe buy them on the street through assistance.
And then the other thing is, is that they sometimes manipulate their doctors a little bit better because the doctors are intimidated by them and want to make their celebrity patients happy so they can come back to them. So those three combinations probably are additional way of celebrities. But we see it all over the country. But unfortunately the celebrities make the biggest news and continue to hear it here.
MORGAN: We don't know all the facts yet of exactly what was in Whitney Houston's body or what she'd taken. What we do know is what they found in the hotel room in terms of Xanax and other prescription drugs. And what I have been hearing from Dr. Drew and others, and Sanjay Gupta and others tonight, a lot of anger, I think, amongst the medical profession about a lack of awareness or knowledge from the general public towards the dangers of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.
STEINBERG: Absolutely, there's a danger. And that's probably what happened with Miss Houston. She -- you know -- I'm sorry, benzodiazepines, as you know, suppress the consciousness and suppress the respiratory drive and like with Michael Jackson, the combination that with Propofol made him stop breathing.
The same thing with Miss Houston. One, it's really shocking the fact that, first of all, that she someone with a history of an addiction got these medications at all. And then she should have been warned that when you -- any time you prescribe these drugs that alcohol only add to the effects of benzodiazepines, meaning decrease your respiratory drive, decrease patient's consciousness.
They also are potentiating, meaning really additive. They work on the receptors of the benzodiazepines and increase the level of benzodiazepines and that's extremely dangerous. And that's probably what we are guessing led to her demise.
MORGAN: So tell me this. Just to clarify it. Would it be negligent for a doctor to prescribe Whitney Houston with the kind of prescription drugs she had if they knew her to be an addict?
STEINBERG: Well, it depends on a lot of things. First of all, I'm a cardiologist. And so I can't -- I can't completely talk about it. But one, I always practice within my boundaries. But that's something general knowledge that benzodiazepines and people with addictive personalities you need to avoid and you need to send them to specialists.
Now the specialist may be very careful in giving him that and understands her -- they understand the risks and benefits. So that's one thing that can -- needs to be clarified. The other thing is, is that we need to say sometimes no to patients. And as you ask, patients -- it's common knowledge but also it's up to doctors to give what we call informed consent.
Any time we give any medication we should talk about the risks and benefits and things to watch out for. And in someone like Miss Houston who had an addictive personality, that it's common knowledge, we should to be very, very careful when giving these medications. And the fact that we found multiple different types of medications, sedatives, is very concerning among doctors.
MORGAN: Dr. Steinberg, thank you very much indeed.
STEINBERG: Thank you.
MORGAN: Now I want to turn to a man who probably knows more about this issue than almost anybody else. He's one of the wildest men in rock history. He's had his own battles with addiction and made it out live. Nikki Sixx is a base player for Motley Crue. Has two radio shows in the Premier Network "Sixx Sense" and the "Side Show Countdown," and joins me now exclusively.
Nikki, the reason that you've come on the show is you've been watching my show over the last few nights and getting increasingly angry, as you put it to me about the way the music business is trying to almost through self-denial pretend Whitney Houston's death had nothing to do with it.
SIXX: Yes, and when I e-mailed you, my point was, you know, I think that you had the courage to ask the strong questions. But a lot of times people don't want to hear that question, they don't want to answer that. Then the enablers and to the people that are making the money off of the artists, they don't want to say no to the artist. They don't want to get fired. If you're the accountant, you don't want to say, I'm going to walk away from you if you don't clean up.
If you're the manager, you don't want to say we're going to pull you off the road because I'm going to stop making a commission if I'm the manager, right? You're a record company, you want to keep making records. And no matter what. So if you have to fill their nose with cocaine, alcohol, pills, whatever it is, you have your own best interest at heart, and not the artist. And I think that is the problem we have.
MORGAN: What was your reaction when you heard that Whitney Houston had died?
SIXX: You know, my reaction was I took to my Twitter account and I said, what's scummy about the music industry is that everybody loves you when you're dead. And that's why I was watching your show and I was really interested in what people were saying. And I was hoping people would say we tried. We stood by her. But what I'm hearing is that she's admitted public figure -- is an alcoholic, right? As myself. I'm a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. And she's out drinking. And with people and they are standing by her side and letting her drink. They are letting her do what it is that she wants to do as an addict. And I don't know her and I'm not really talking about her. You know, when I reached out to you, it was really, you know, we have Amy Winehouse, we have Michael Jackson, we have a long list of artists that fall prey to the enablers.
That's really what -- what really amazes me after all this time, nobody can see that. And I think that the young artists need to hear this. They need to hear the questions you're asking, they need to hear what I'm saying right now. Because they're going to fall prey to it, too.
You know, when Whitney Houston or Nikki Sixx or all the other artists first started out, we had courage to believe in ourselves. At what point do we lose the courage and we started letting the other people run our lives?
MORGAN: I mean what's been a common theme throughout the week from the guests I've had is those who knew Whitney Houston saying she was very strong-willed. She really didn't want to be told what to do. What would you say to that argument?
SIXX: I, too, am very strong-willed. I was told if I continue to use drugs, that I -- my manager would walk away. That was the only person that's ever said that to me. That was the kick in the ass that I needed to put myself into rehab and pull my life together. I had been sober before that, but I had slipped and fall off the wagon. It does happen. You know it happens all the time.
But if somebody stands by an alcoholic, a drug addict, and just lets them keep ticking along, eventually, you know, their ticker is going to stop. And that's what happens. And in this case, and many other cases, I think that's really the issue to look at.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break, Nikki, let's come back and talk specifically about this issue of the celebrity doctors, for want of a better phrase, in Hollywood who seem to dish out any drugs a celebrity wants and there are multiple different places that they can get them.
It's unlike almost anywhere else in the world for the availability and the willingness to bend the rules. Let's talk about that after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: Is it alcohol? Is it marijuana? Is it cocaine? Is it pills?
WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER: It has been, at times --
SAWYER: All? HOUSTON: At times.
SAWYER: If you had to name the devil, for you, the biggest devil among them?
HOUSTON: That would be me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Whitney Houston talking to ABC's Diane Sawyer back in 2002. Back with me now the man who battled his own demons, Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx.
Nikki, let's talk about the specific thing of these celebrity doctors in Hollywood.
MORGAN: How easy has it been over the years for you to get pretty much any drug you like?
SIXX: You know, I'm in a unique situation there where I actually never had a rock doc as they call them. I sort of went the dirtier route, being in a rock band, went to the street. And that's really where we scored our drugs. It's a lot of the people that came -- middle '80s on where I really started seeing the rock doc being a big part of enabling the drug addict.
MORGAN: And how does it work in reality? How do these rock docs go about their business?
SIXX: You know I don't really understand how it works. It's a big concern is how does it -- how does, how does nobody get caught doing this? You know, I don't have experience in that field. But I imagine if you're getting different prescriptions filled from different doctors, there has to be some sort of a check and balance in there somewhere.
MORGAN: There doesn't seem to be the regulation that there ought to be. There seems to be no kind of running data base or if there is, it gets ignored.
MORGAN: Where if you're a Michael Jackson or a Whitney Houston, and you want to load up and loads of prescription drugs, you can go to six, seven, eight, nine doctors if you like. And you can also send assistants and not even use your name.
MORGAN: And very easy to hide the overall consumption.
SIXX: Yes, I mean, absolutely, we see that all the time. You know back to the personal systems, the handlers, the road managers, the people that are directly answering to the lawyers, the managers, the accountants, and then obviously the record labels, you know, where does -- where does the fault lie? Is it with the artist?
I mean I had to find the courage to turn my life around but there was a time, and it took -- it took a minute for me to wake up and realize that I was just a slave to the system. I was being put out there for months and months and months to work. Because everybody gets paid to get on the gross. I don't understand how that isn't more of the subject that people are talking about right now.
MORGAN: I mean certainly the exposure I've had to people in the music business is it's unbelievably driven and hard work. If you are a major star in the music business, you are worked like a dog. And I could imagine that when you add the pressure of life performing, Whitney Houston did very little live performing, very rarely went on tour. And the reason why she had terrible anxiety, that in itself I'm sure fueled a lot of her drug consumption. To try and hide that anxiety.
MORGAN: It all builds up. But what I admit very rarely seen are people taking responsibility down the food chain from these rock stars because actually they just want their money.
SIXX: And Piers, can I ask you a question?
SIXX: If I went to your house for dinner and you know I'm a recovering alcoholic, and I ask for a glass of wine with dinner, what would you say?
MORGAN: Well, this to me comes to the absolute crux of this, because you know, it's not like we are best friends or I know you that well, but I do know that you are a recovering addict. I've talked to you about this on the show before in depth.
MORGAN: And I know it's crucial to you that you stay on the straight and narrow. I think I would feel the responsibility not to give you that drink. And I would --
SIXX: And that's what needs to happen.
MORGAN: And I think that more people need to do that. Certainly, if it was a very good friend of mine, absolutely no way. And what staggers me about Whitney Houston is that she was right at the end surrounded by very, very close people to her that she's known for a long time who know her issues who are allowing her to carry on. That to me is inexcusable.
SIXX: Yes. And that's the right answer.
MORGAN: Whitney Houston, twice in the week before she died, was seen drinking in a major Los Angeles hotel at 10:00 in the morning, complaining apparently about the drinks not being strong enough. You know, she's rolling out of nightclubs in the early hours with what looks like blood, may have been red wine, whatever it was, dripping down her legs, drinking champagne all night with people who now pop on television saying, she was fine.
She's an addict doing this.
SIXX: I mean there are pressures. There is enormous amount of pressures for all of us in life, in general. But who's going to be held accountable? Obviously, I have to hold myself accountable. And I have to stay sober. And I have a family and I have a lot of reasons to stay sober. Most of all to myself. But who's going to be accountable? Who's handing these people champagne, alcohol, wine, pills, cocaine? Who's writing the scripts? Which people are keeping them on the road or off the road? Or what's -- who are they and how can we hold them accountable? That's the question right there. How can we hold them accountable?
MORGAN: I think that is the key question. Nikki Sixx, it's been fascinating talking to you.
SIXX: Thank you.
MORGAN: I'm really grateful of you to come on. And I know you've got a big gig in Vegas. And good luck with that. But a great insight into the real issue here. Thank you very much.
MORGAN: Coming up, a man who says the worst thing about hitting rock bottom is there's another rock bottom waiting for you. That's Daniel Baldwin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOUSTON: First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I made too much money to ever smoke crack. Let's get that straight, OK. I don't do crack. I don't do that. Crack is whacked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Stunning moment for Whitney Houston on ABC in 2005.
And joining us exclusively is Daniel Baldwin who's had his own battle with addiction. He's sober now. He met Whitney Houston a number of times and says he doesn't think that she wanted to get sober.
Daniel, thanks for joining me. What do you mean by that? Why don't you think she wanted to get sober?
BALDWIN: Well, it's a program of action sobriety, Piers. You know, the first three steps in the 12 steps require no action. They're decisions that you make and commitments that you make, and then you have to start to put these things that you learn into action. And you know, from what I understand from people that I have heard from and obviously the outcome of the situation, I don't think that she was applying herself and taking action in order to maintain her sobriety.
MORGAN: I mean there are people tweeting me tonight saying, you know, the woman carried on taking drugs and taking alcohol, why should we feel sorry for her. What's your reaction to that as a former addict?
BALDWIN: Well, I mean, it's twofold. There's the side -- it's a double-edged sword, I should say. There's a side of me that's sad to see anyone have to die and succumb to this disease. And then the other side is, you know, I feel a lot worse for the person that doesn't have the type of access that I or somebody as big as Whitney Houston has.
Keep in mind you brought up a point earlier, I listened to you speaking with Nikki. And this is a person that back in the day when she was bigger and hotter than she was at this time, everybody in his brother wanted this woman to get sober. They didn't want to see the golden goose lose her cool.
So everyone tried to help her. But at the end of the day, it becomes your responsibility to try to make these changes and implement these things in your life. And obviously she didn't do so.
MORGAN: When you --
BALDWIN: So, no, I --
MORGAN: When you met Whitney --
BALDWIN: Go ahead.
MORGAN: What was -- how did you find her?
BALDWIN: Very engaging. She was -- when she warmed up a little bit. I had some friends that were in the music business that knew her. I met her a few times. I actually got to sit and speak with her a couple of times. A little bit shy. But once she got warmed up to you and felt safe, I guess, she was a very nice woman, from what I saw.
MORGAN: I mean what Nikki was saying, which I thought was very interesting was that, if you're in the business of entertainment, then there is a whole plethora of people around you, lawyers, accountants, managers, agents, make-up artists, assistants, whatever it may be. And everybody is relying on you, the talent, to make the money that pays their wages, which reduces their tendency to say no or to stop doing what you want because they may get fired.
And that this is a sort of self-perpetuating disaster in the making especially if you are an addictive personality.
BALDWIN: Yes, but remember something, too, Piers, not that long ago I was on the set of a movie that I was working on, and somebody approached me while we were wrapping for the night and said hey, bro, I got it if you need it. He was fired the next day. He wasn't at work the next day. Because he was staying in the hotel that I was staying at. I knew exactly what he was implying. If he knows that I'm sober, which he did, he wanted to be cool and he wanted to be my buddy and he wanted to enable me, and so on, and so on, he didn't come to work the next day.
Now people thought that that was quite a harsh thing for me to do. I don't any chances with my sobriety anymore, Piers. I'm a diehard addict. If I go back out there again, that bottom that we talked about last time I was on the show would probably mean that I die. That's not worth it to me. So that guy's gone. He's off the set. If they don't like it, too bad. I'll do all my lines and I'll do whatever I have to do to do my job and stay sober.
She had that kind of power. Whitney Houston could have easily eliminated those people from her life and they would have supplied her with the right people to work with and so and so forth. She didn't want that. She didn't want to be sober.
MORGAN: Are there other people who were making money out of her, record company, her managers, whatever it may be -- do they have a duty of care to Whitney Houston, knowing that she's an addict, to stop her, as appears to be the case, buying vast amounts of alcohol at 10:00 a.m. in a famous Los Angeles hotel two mornings running, going to night clubs in Hollywood, drinking Champagne publicly all night?
All this, if you were genuinely concerned about her, wouldn't you do something to stop this?
BALDWIN: Yes. You know, very few people have the guts to pull a CBS and say you are off the show based on what you have been doing. We don't want anything to do with you, even though the show is very, very successful. We all know what I'm talking about.
So they could have easily turned around and said we are not recording you anymore. We are not going to release your album. We're not going to have you do anything unless you get clean and sober. We will send an assistant with you that's a sober assistant. We will put you in a rehab and sober living. She had access to all this stuff.
I'm very saddened. Don't get me wrong if I'm coming across very hard. I'm very saddened at the loss, at the music we are never going to hear her music, at this beautiful song bird that delighted us for many, many years. But at the end of the day, it's her responsibility to stay sober.
So, you know, I'm not sad about the fact that, you know, she wasn't able to get it, because -- just because she's famous -- you know how many people die every day from this disease? Thousands.
MORGAN: What was the tipping point for you? Did you listen to people when you were an addict? Or in the end, did it have to come from within?
BALDWIN: Well, both of those. Yes, it has to eventually come from within. I had gone to rehab to save a job. I had gone to rehab to save a relationship. I had gone to rehab because of my kids. I had never gone to rehab because I wanted to be sober. I had never gone to meetings because I wanted to be sober.
The key component here was fear. I had never been afraid of the drug before. I had never been afraid that I was going to die as a result. But it got so bad for me at the end that I really did see the end coming. I knew that I was now -- there were no more bottoms that we talked about, Piers.
It wasn't going to be an arrest anymore. It wasn't going to be, you know, the loss of the ability to make a living. It was going to be that I was going to die.
MORGAN: I would imagine, Danny, you look at what happened to Whitney Houston and you think there but for the grace of God go I.
BALDWIN: No question. I could have easily been her. I had been in situations before where I felt I was going into cardiac arrest. It was bad for me. I had no choice. It was one or the other. I was going to live or I was going to die.
MORGAN: Daniel, thank you very much indeed.
BALDWIN: God bless.
MORGAN: Coming up next, the one time who also ran is now in a virtual tie for the lead in the Republican race. Rick Santorum, exclusive. He has a surprisingly harsh take on Whitney Houston.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney's negative attack machine is back on full throttle. This time Romney's firing his mud at Rick Santorum. Romney and his super PAC had spent a staggering 20 million grossly attacking fellow Republicans.
Why? Because Romney is trying to hide from his big government Romney-care and his support for job killing cap and trade. And in the end, Mitt Romney's ugly attacks are going to backfire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Rick Santorum's new hard hitting ad aimed squarely at Mitt Romney. The candidate who was once an afterthought is now riding the latest surge in the up and down GOP race. But can it last?
The man of the moment, Rick Santorum, joins me now. Man of the moment, indeed, senator. You must be enjoying yourself, aren't you?
SANTORUM: It was that interview with Karen and the kids that launched this, Piers. MORGAN: Don't make me feel uncomfortable, that being the catalyst for all this. I'm not sure that plays very well for me. But I'm looking at a sea of polls here which make very good news for you. National Republicans choice for nominee, Santorum. The likely GOP primary voters' choice for nominee, Santorum.
Obama versus Romney or Santorum, pretty level. Most likely to win the GOP, oddly, Romney by a long way. So even though you are ahead now in almost every poll that I'm seeing, most of the party still apparently seem to think Mitt Romney will be the nominee. How do you explain that?
SANTORUM: Well, the establishment has always been for Romney. I mean, that's who -- that's who is backing them. It's really funny that Governor Romney sort of attacked us as the insider. We are not. We are out here. I'm in Fargo, North Dakota today. I was in Little Tioga, North Dakota, up in northwest North Dakota.
I was in Idaho yesterday, Washington the day before, Washington State. We are out working across the country. We have -- we are listening to the people here. We are trying to reflect the values that we hear, trying to address the concerns that people have about the role of government in their life, particularly here, I have heard the last few days just the crushing impact of regulation on the energy industry and manufacturing and other places.
We'll be at the Trade Economic Club doing the same thing tomorrow. So we're going to be out here talking about the issues, instead of what seems to be this -- the reinvention of the candidate every couple weeks, and attacking the candidate for -- for things that are sort of specious.
MORGAN: Do you think that Newt Gingrich should pull out now, as some people are suggesting today?
SANTORUM: Oh, no. I'm never going to suggest anybody get in or out. That's their decision. As someone who got called on to get out of the race for a long time, I'm a little sensitive when folks make that suggestion.
MORGAN: The other thing that is bubbling around today is when is Rick Santorum going to reveal his tax returns. You keep promising, but nothing has popped up yet.
SANTORUM: Yeah, well, they are out right now. We have just released them. So, yeah, I'm sure you'll be getting them any minute now. You know, we have been very forthright. We actually released four years of tax returns. I went back to every year that I've been in the private sector, 2007 and going forward.
I thought it was important to let folks know what I have done after I was in Congress. Frankly, I didn't keep the ones before that. I probably should have. They would be a lot -- they'd be a lot more modest than the ones that I have had afterwards.
We worked hard. I worked, in many cases, six, seven jobs during a year. We did a lot of traveling and giving speeches. And we -- I was -- I thought, for me, I felt very successful in -- in, you know, making money. Also was very successful in paying taxes.
I think our tax rates were somewhere between -- effective tax rates were between 25 and 28 percent I was paying in taxes, which, you know, I do my own taxes. Maybe I didn't have -- use all the deductions and exclusions that I could have. But I always try to be as straight forward as I could in paying the taxes I -- I thought I owed.
MORGAN: And how much money have you earned in those four years?
SANTORUM: Cumulatively, just off the top of my head, it's probably a little -- over three million dollars in those four years.
MORGAN: So pretty successful?
SANTORUM: No, I feel -- look, I feel very blessed. I had a couple setbacks. We purchased a house, you know, after I left the Senate. We wanted to move and get in to a much bigger house for our family with the seven kids. That house has lost 40 percent of its value. So I had to do a lot of paying down of debt to keep my mortgage payments down and to get my head -- in a sense, suffered what a lot of people did.
I took a lot of that money and actually paid down a rather significant mortgage to the point where I was -- my mortgage was still below the value of my house. That's been a bit of a hit for us. And I have two kids in college and a child with a disability, needing care.
So, you know, we have had some expenses. And we've been very blessed to have the opportunity to handle those and still be on -- in the black.
MORGAN: Obviously, you have earned considerably less than Governor Romney. And yet you paid a higher tax rate, it seems, from what you are saying. How do you think the way the public will react to that?
SANTORUM: Well, all my income is earned income. I am very, very little unearned -- I don't know if I have any dividend income, probably a couple -- maybe 100 dollars of interest income and no capital gains, to speak of, income. So I don't have any income that would come from investments or -- or wealth.
I mean, every -- almost 90 plus percent of the money that is on the tax returns, I went out and earned. As a result, I'm paying Social Security taxes on them. I'm paying all the other taxes that come when you -- when you have earned income. So that's why I end up paying the higher rate of taxation.
MORGAN: What do you think your returns say about you as an American? How would you summarize them?
SANTORUM: Well, I have been very blessed. I mean, I have said that al along. I have been very blessed to have tremendous opportunities. I was a -- really just a grunt lawyer in a big law firm in Pittsburgh and decided to go out and run for Congress in almost an impossible situation. And the people of southwestern Pennsylvania did me a great honor by letting me represent them in Congress.
Really, from that point on, I had a lot of electoral success. Reached the point at the age of 48 where I lost my race. I got to say, in many respects, I would say the people of Pennsylvania didn't always give me what I wanted, but they gave me what I needed. In retrospect, Piers, it was probably the best thing that happened to me, to get away from Washington, to get a perspective on things as someone out there.
I spent three years working in a little technology company, being the number two guy there, trying to take that company to market. I did some work in the media, writing and critiquing what was going on in the area of public policy, and looking at it from the outside, as opposed to the inside.
I did a lot of speaking and going out and meeting and talking to folks around the country. So it was a -- it was a real great opportunity to get a whole bunch of different -- different life experiences in the private sector. I think that's made me a better candidate coming forward here for president.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break. I want to come back and talk to you about I suppose one of the big concerns right now. If Rick Santorum becomes president, does he actually like women?
MORGAN: Back now with my special guest, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. So I left the viewers on a knife edge there. Does Rick Santorum like women? The reason I'm asking that is not because I don't think you do, because I know you do. And you've got many lovely women in your family that I've met.
But there is a perception that some of your views on social issues do come pretty close to being anti what a lot of woman would want from their president. I suppose the first one I would address is this issue of contraception, because judging by stuff you said in 2006 and various clarifications, it would seem to me -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that your view about contraception is that basically it is wrong outside of marriage.
Is that what your position on this?
SANTORUM: Well, that's the Catholic Church's position, period, that it's wrong. That's -- look, I'm a Catholic. I -- I subscribe to the teachings of the church. That is my -- it's my personal view. It's the view of my wife. I think everybody is entitled to their religious beliefs and living those religious beliefs out.
That's not the issue. The issue is, as a public -- as a public servant, how do I feel about the issue of contraception? It should be available. I object to when the federal government says that religious organizations who feel the way the Catholic Church feels should be -- should be required to provide it.
I think that's an infringement upon their religious liberties. But as far as contraception, if you look at my voting record, I have a voting record that supports -- that has voted for funding for contraception, both domestically, as well as internationally. And I would not support any law that would put any restrictions on that.
But what you have in your personal life and how you are going to live your personal life, I think people should respect that. They may disagree with it on their own personal life, but that's fine. But I certainly have done nothing in my public career that would give you the indication that I would want to restrict that for anybody.
MORGAN: We had a big debate earlier in the show about this whole issue of prescription drugs. The reason I wanted to put this question to you was America is losing a lot of big stars to prescription drugs: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston now it appears the same. In Britain, Amy Winehouse and so on.
And there is a grows sense that there needs to be some new kind of regulation to stop this kind of epidemic of a celebrity being able to get to lots of different doctors and having lots of different prescriptions, and nobody actually knowing how many they're getting in totality, and this leading to these awful deaths.
What do you think?
SANTORUM: Well, I mean, you know, you see this problem on the -- on the screen, where folks who are very famous -- as you know, in your own country, you go back into the examples of the aristocracy and the impact on the rest of society throughout the history of Britain, and vice versa, when -- when the aristocracy changed their behavior.
In a sense, celebrities are the aristocracy of America. They're the kings and the queens and the princes of our society. And they have a huge impact on the rest of society, much more than any other group, certainly much more than a politician does.
And that's why this is so disturbing that you see, in a sense, the royalty of America setting such a poor example and being troubled by these things. And obviously, that's going to have a -- it's going to have a downstream effect and a very harmful downstream effect.
So I wish I could say I knew the answer. There are already prescription drugs. Obviously, health care providers have a responsibility as prescribers of those things. And insurance companies as well as doctors, in looking at those prescriptions, looking what -- you know, the utilization of these drugs. And of course, doctors themselves to practice the Hippocratic Oath of not doing harm.
MORGAN: Do you think there should be, perhaps, a new look at this? There should be some more controlled regulation of this, to stop this sort of accepted practice over there, where you can almost go to 20 doctors if you want to?
SANTORUM: Well, it shouldn't be accepted practice. I mean, again, the -- you have in place now the opportunity, with electronic medical records, to -- to get information as to what prescription this is person is on and the frequency of the taking of these prescriptions, at least the -- what they're purchasing.
And this should not be a -- this should be something that is clearly a problem of doctors doing for some that they know is wrong to do. And I'm not too sure how you fix that problem other than prosecuting the doctors. And you saw in the case of Michael Jackson, that's exactly what happened.
MORGAN: Senator Santorum, as always, thank you very much indeed.
Coming up, only in America, the 11-year-old girl who could be the next big diva? Maybe even the next Adele.
MORGAN: Tonight's Only in America, an 11-year-old girl who just may be a diva in the making. From the late great Whitney Houston to Adele to Denise Bestman -- got a ring to it, hasn't it? If you haven't heard of Denise, you've surely seen her singing Adele's massive hit "Rolling in the Deep" in that ad for Target.
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MORGAN: Denise isn't entirely a newcomer to performing for audiences in the millions. Last year, she sang at the Oscars with her school chorus from PS 22 in Staten Island. She's here with me now.
I'm watching the Grammys on Sunday night. And I suddenly hear what I think is Adele singing "Rolling in the Deep." And I'm making a cup of tea. And I turn around, it's not Adele. It's this little girl on a bus and that's you. Where did that voice come from?
DENISE BESTMAN, SINGER: I don't know. Singing is actually in my family. So it started with my great grandmother. Then it went to my grandmother and now my mom and then me.
MORGAN: So the whole family sings?
MORGAN: You have got an amazing voice. If I was still judging "America's Got Talent," you would be a big favorite of mine.
BESTMAN: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: You've got an amazing talent. What did you think of Whitney Houston? I know that she was something special to you, right? BESTMAN: She has a rich voice. She means a lot to me. Any time I hear her on the radio or a music video, her heart really connects with mine and I tend to cry.
MORGAN: How did you feel when you heard that she had died?
BESTMAN: I was heart broken. I wasn't expecting this. I wasn't expecting this. She was really good. She was an icon to me and all over the world, too.
MORGAN: Were you watching the Grammys?
BESTMAN: I actually was, yeah.
MORGAN: And when you saw yourself coming up on a bus singing like Adele, what did you think?
BESTMAN: I mean, it appeared unexpectedly. It just came like that. And I was jumping in and out. And my mom was there. And I was like, mom, mom, that's me on the TV.
And then she saw me. We just started to laugh. And family and friends called and it was amazing.
MORGAN: It was pretty amazing. You have an amazing voice. Good luck with your career.
BESTMAN: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: I hope you come back on the show and sing.
BESTMAN: I hope I do.
MORGAN: I would like you to do that.
Come and sing a Whitney song. That would be nice.
It's very nice to meet you, Denise.
BESTMAN: Thank you so much. Nice to meet you, too.
MORGAN: Denise Bestman. I have a feeling we're going to be hearing more from that young lady. She has got a remarkable voice. That's all for us tonight.
"AC 360" starts now.