Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Secret Service Scandal; Comedy's Great Betty White
Aired April 17, 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 Secret Service scandal intensifies. Is it time for heads to roll?
REP. PETER KING, (R), NEW YORK: This is a serious, serious violation of everything the Secret Service stands for.
MORGAN: I'll talk to the congressman in charge of homeland security and the former director of the Secret Service.
And Tavis Smiley and Colonel West weigh in on the Trayvon Martin case. Why they say it's the system that should be put on trial.
Plus my exclusive, hot, live date with America's comedy sweetheart.
BETTY WHITE, ACTRESS: I'm just sitting here enjoying my view.
MORGAN: The incomparable and utterly delectable Betty White from the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" to "Golden Girls." To her comeback star turn in "The Proposal".
WHITE: Let's see if we can find your boobs. They're in there somewhere. Feels like an Easter Egg Hunt.
MORGAN: Betty White is back and she's as sharp and naughty as ever.
Also, "Only in America," a kindergarten tantrum ends with a 6- year-old girl taken to a police station in handcuffs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that can damage my child for life. I was just horrified.
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Our "Big Story" tonight, the growing Secret Service scandal. CNN has learned that the agents involved will be offered the opportunity to take polygraph tests, a standard part of this investigation. And a U.S. official says some of the men insist they didn't know the women were prostitutes.
Homeland Security Community chairman, Peter King, is here, along with former Secret Service director, Brian Stafford.
And later my exclusive with probably the funniest 90-year-old in the history of show business. Betty White is here live and unleashed, remembering the great moments of her career and almost certainly flirting with me outrageously.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITE: When you've been around for 61 years in this silly business, there are a lot of highlights. Of course "Mary Tyler Moore" and of course "Golden Girls." But the wonderful writing that I've been blessed, actors will take credit but we can't do it without the writers. You know that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We begin tonight with our big story. The growing Secret Service scandal. Congressman Peter King is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee and joins me now from Capitol Hill.
Congressman, this is turning into a very tawdry affair not just for the Secret Service but also for the president who has got these people operating in his name in a foreign territory in a really quite disgraceful manner, isn't it?
KING: Well, Piers, let me just say as a Republican, there's no responsibility here by President Obama. The Secret Service basically operates independently. Doesn't matter whether it's a Democrat or Republican president. Obviously what these 11 agents did was entirely wrong. Wrong really in every respect.
But while again they could create a climate that people can use against the president, I'm saying that President Obama had really, absolutely nothing to do with this. No responsibility. He was down there trying to do his job as president, representing all the people.
MORGAN: Well, that is responsible of you to say that. And I applaud you for doing so. What we know now is up to 21 women, prostitutes, we believe, were involved in this. And this happened within hours of these guys getting to Colombia. So clearly they got there and just gone completely crazy.
What was going through their minds, do you think?
KING: Yes, first of all, I think the 21 number relates to both the Secret Service and the military. I'm more familiar with the Secret Service. My understanding is there were 11 agents and 11 women. So, you know, one for one. And some of the agents were denying that the women were prostitutes. That will all be decided. Even if they weren't, it was totally wrong to take them back, to take a foreign national back to a -- to a hotel when the president's about to arrive.
No. It appears as if they arrived there. They were not there very long at all. They went out to this bar and there's drinking going on, apparently. There were women there who appeared to be prostitutes, whether they were not, we'll find out. Then they we want back to the hotel. And I just, first of all, I have great respect for the Secret Service. They do a great job. What these 11 agents did, though, if true, is totally irresponsible. They could have compromised security, they could have compromised themselves. They could have been killed, they could have been drugged. They could have had information taken from them.
This absolutely violates the most basic rules of being a Secret Service agent. And you know, the oldest trick in the world is to recruit women to entice men to get information from them. For all we know, these women could have been working for FARC, for narco- terrorist gangs. They could have been operating on behalf of some terrorist organization.
All the information we have so far is they were not. But that's the risk that these men took for themselves and their country apart from what they've done to the reputation of the Secret Service.
MORGAN: I mean we're being told from reports that two agents held supervisory positions within the agency. Three more were part of an elite team that protect President Obama from possible attacks. I mean there are people tonight saying given the scale of this and the seniority of some of these -- of these operatives, that the Secret Service director, Mark Sullivan, should be considering his position. What do you think about that?
KING: I don't -- I don't hold Mark Sullivan responsible for this at all. In fact, I think he has acted very effectively. As soon as he'd learned about this on midday Thursday, almost immediately he ordered these agents removed from the country and brought back to the United States. He's begun an immediate investigation. I can tell you the investigation is very intense.
I can also tell you from having spoken to Director Sullivan, just leave it at this. He is incredibly angry, furious. And he's going to do all that he possibly can to make sure this never happens again.
As far as the agents in a supervisory position, if they were -- if they did what they're accused of doing, what's alleged to have been done, that's absolutely disgraceful, indefensible. And also even -- apart from the fact of whether or not they were prostitutes, these women -- bringing women back would have been bad under these conditions.
Secondly, even the all-night drinking. And believe me, I'm not into gauging anyone's morality. If you're a Secret Service agent, and you're a sniper, you're part of any kind of assault team and you're out drinking the night before the president of the United States gets there, I mean, you know, I want a sniper to be operating at 110 percent efficiency, not recovering from a hangover.
MORGAN: Yes, I don't you have to take any moral position about what a danger just to say that -- from a professional standpoint, it's completely outrageous. That the details attached to, you know, look after President Obama's interests abroad are behaving in this scandalous way. And I think that's the key problem here. Congressman, for now, thank you very much, indeed.
KING: Piers, thank you.
MORGAN: And now I want to turn to a man who knows a lot about the Secret Service and how it operates. He's a former director, Brian Stafford, who headed the agency from 1999 to 2003.
Mr. Stafford, thank you for joining me. I sort of feel someone is going to go here. I mean this is, to me, and I'm not intimately involved with the agency in any way like most people, but it seems the biggest scandal that's hit the agency in a very long time. And the conduct is so shameful that somebody somewhere has to lose their job, don't they?
BRIAN STAFFORD, FORMER DIRECTOR, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: Well, Piers, yes, there obviously has to be accountability. Right now I know that the current leadership of the Secret Service is really focusing on the allegations that have been made. They'll do a thorough investigation to see, you know, what is true and what's not true. And then they'll take the appropriate action.
It's -- it is shocking to hear what we heard. I personally feel after being in the Secret Service for 31 years that this is an aberration. It's hard for me to believe that this many people would be involved in something like this. Obviously we're all human and people make mistakes. But this does seem to be a bit -- a bit difficult to absorb.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, if this had happened on your watch given the scale of this and how many people are involved and how fast they were doing this on landing, and how close to the work that was supposed to be doing the next day for the president it was, would you feel a sense as director, of personal responsibility? Would you be considering your position?
STAFFORD: Of course. I mean any leader is going to feel that. And if you can't -- if you can't lead, regardless of the situation, if you can't lead then you have to consider that. I don't think that's the situation that the current director Mark Sullivan and his leadership staff are in. I think they handled this situation as well as it could be handled. And I know they'll leave no stone unturned as far as developing what actually happened down there.
MORGAN: Tell me this. In terms of the culture of the Secret Service, there is a suggestion that there was a regular wheels-up party that would be allowed to happen, be tolerated by the bosses. When the president took off after a successful mission or travel trip, whatever it may be, that the Secret Service agents were able to let their hair down and party a bit. Is that true? Was that what used to happen? Is that -- is that part of the folklore of working for the agency?
STAFFORD: No. I mean the Secret Service culture, Piers, is a long and storied culture. As you know, the Secret Service was our country's first investigative law enforcement agency. It was created by Abraham Lincoln in 1865. And we have a tremendous hard-working, dedicated culture and dedicated, hard-working quiet professionals.
These people will go to work every day. Do their job every day. And they're the kind of people who will put themselves literally in the line of fire and make the ultimate sacrifice for the president and for others that we safeguard. So our culture is intact. It's a culture that is emulated by other government agencies and it's emulated by the private sector.
MORGAN: I mean final question. Is this the worst scandal you've ever seen hit the Secret Service in terms of its reputation?
STAFFORD: It's definitely, probably the most media attention that we've gotten in a long time. And it's not positive media attention. So -- and obviously it affects the entire population, the entire family of the Secret Service. Past and present. It also affects their families that make similar sacrifices for the men and women to go to work and work the long hours and no days off and no being home for family special occasions. And, you know, obviously, I don't think it's fair to them to indict the entire organization for the possible actions of a few.
MORGAN: Brian Stafford, thank you very much.
STAFFORD: You're welcome. Thank you.
MORGAN: Joining me now are two men who have a lot to say about what's going on in America today. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley. They co-host "Smiley and West" from Public Radio International and co- authors of "The Rich and the Rest of Us." And Cornel and Tavis join me now.
CORNEL WEST, CO-HOST, "SMILEY AND WEST" FROM PRI: Thanks, Piers.
TAVIS SMILEY, CO-HOST, "SMILEY & WEST" FROM PRI: Good to be here, Brother Piers.
MORGAN: Before we move on to other matters, what do you make of this Secret Service scandal? Because it does reflect on everyone, doesn't it, when the people guarding the president behave in such a wanton and frankly shameful manner.
WEST: Yes. I think it has much to do with arbitrary power running amok that's usually tied to some sense of arrogance and entitlement and feeling as if you're never accountable, answerable or responsible. And it seems as if they got caught.
MORGAN: Yes, let me -- we've got a bit of a delay here, chaps. So I'm going to keep my questions brief. I want to play you a clip of Ted Nugent's comments today about President Obama. They were actually yesterday and we've got some new ones today coming in a moment.
Listen to what he said about the president. I want your reactions to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED NUGENT, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year. If you can't go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hated administration, I don't even know what you're made out of.
Our president, attorney general, our vice president, Hillary Clinton. They're criminals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tavis, what is your reaction to that? I mean obviously it's Ted Nugent. We should take what he says with a pinch of salt. But having said that, he has a platform, he has a voice and people listen to him. What was your reaction?
SMILEY: That's the first time I've heard it, number one. Number two, I guess a year or two ago I said on national television that this race for the White House was going to be the nastiest, the most divisive, the ugliest, the most expensive, and the most racist campaign for the White House we've ever seen.
I was roundly taken to task by all kinds of media outlets for suggesting that a year or two ago. Fast forward a few months and look at how nasty, how divisive, how ugly how expensive. Mr. Romney is going to try to raise about $600 million. Mr. Obama, $750 million last time. We're on a tour right now talking about poverty. And we're talking about that kind of money being raised to campaign for the White House?
The super PACs are in full effect right now. And every time somebody goes off the range, as it were, there's a fine line between off-the-cuff and off-the-wall remarks. And every time Ted Nugent opens up his mouth, he says something that's absolutely off the wall. And the fact that we give these kinds of nasty, vicious, vitriolic comments this kind of national attention bothers me. But it underscores yet again how ugly, how racist, and how divisive this campaign is going to be.
MORGAN: Yes. I mean, Cornel, do you think that Ted Nugent would have been speaking like this if Barack Obama wasn't a black president? Is there a racial element to what he's saying?
WEST: Well, I can't read his heart, but my hunch is it probably is. But the important thing to keep in mind, though, Brother Piers, is that Tavis and I, we come out of a legacy of Martin King. We know that this brother is spiritually backward. That he's morally vacuous. And that he doesn't speak on behalf of large numbers of fellow citizens. We've got 300 million citizens out there. We got a whole lot of off-the-wall gangster like citizens and we understand that. But we're talking about something that's positive. Talking about justice. Talking about fighting for the poor. Talking about ensuring the dignity of working people and fighting against any form of bigotry no matter black, white, Jewish, even Mormons. Anti-Mormon is a vicious prejudice just like anti-black. But we must judge all of us on our records and our deeds, including Brother Mitt Romney, including Brother Barack Obama. And it's clear, of course, Brother Tavis and I which one we go for. But we're concerned about the system. The system is targeted, shaped against poor people. And we are tired of that. We hate injustice, we don't hate anybody.
MORGAN: Well, we'll come to that and maybe the less we hear from Brother Ted the better, frankly, but let's have a short break, chaps. When we come back --
MORGAN: -- on the Trayvon --
MORGAN: Your views in the Martin case, gun control, keeping America great and keeping Ted quiet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL COSBY, COMEDIAN: What is solved by saying he's a racist? That's why he shot the boy. What solves that? This? And what is he doing with it? And who taught him and told him how to behave with this?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's Bill Cosby talking about the Trayvon Martin case in CNN this weekend. And Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are back with me now to talk about the case and what is "Keeping America Great."
Let me ask you, Tavis, when you hear Bill Cosby say that, I saw a lot of reaction in his favor criticizing him. A lot from the black community saying he didn't get it. This is clearly a massive race case whichever way you look at it. The profiling of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman clearly had a racial aspect to it. But his point was the gun issue here is more important than the race issue. What did you think of that?
SMILEY: I don't want to compare which one is more important. They're both significant issues. Race is still the most intractable issue in this country. Having said that, we have ad nauseam, ad infinitum, talked about the issue of race in this case. We have not gotten to the conversation about guns. And I've been saying for a number of days now that this is the real issue. There are too many guns in this country. The Democrats have been weak on this issue. The Republicans have been obviously weak on this issue.
The Democrats had Gabby Giffords, she's one of their own. For all the hype and all the hoopla and all of the talk and all the celebration about her heroic comeback, and I celebrate that, the Democrats have not gotten around, including respectfully the Obama administration. They have not gotten around to getting tough on guns in America.
And this has gone on for years. For years now the Democrats really have had no backbone in going after the guns. Trayvon Martin is not an aberration. These kinds of cases happen all the time. This one made national news but there are far too many of America's children of all races, all colors and all creeds, who end up being the victims of gun violence. And this country does not have the courage, the conviction, or the commitment to go get these guns.
We need leadership in Washington to make this happen. And quite frankly both sides -- apparently there's some sort of bipartisan consensus in Washington that getting guns off the street ought not be a priority. I just disagree with that.
MORGAN: No, I completely agree. Cornel, let me talk to you about the, first of all, sensitive part of this, which is, many people say look, this was clearly an appalling incident whichever way you look at the Trayvon Martin case, you know, he shouldn't be dead, he should not have been targeted in that way. He was minding his own business and we know the arguments. And the trial will now have its case.
Having said that, in Chicago, in the last week alone, another dozen young black teenage kids got killed in gang-related crime, shot by other black teenage kids. There's clearly a very, very serious issue going on there between young black teenagers. Why is that not getting the kind of national prominence that the Trayvon Martin case is getting?
WEST: Well, one is of course the Trayvon martin case is the peak of an iceberg of arbitrary power especially decisions of police departments that don't put enough value on the lives of poor black boys. Especially poor children across the board but especially poor black brothers.
So that it is not just the guns that are so very important. But it's the police department that couldn't follow through on a decision as to whether there would be a rule of law, fair trial and so forth.
Now when you talk about black brothers killing other black brothers, because a lot of white brothers are killing other white brothers, too. But black brothers killing other black brother tend to be poor. They're in socially neglected, economically overlooked communities with intense police surveillance, shattered families, depression like levels of unemployment, underemployment, dilapidated housing, decrepit school systems, and not enough love.
In that situation any group of young folk would be tied to an underground economy of drugs, where the drugs come from. Not the black community, from outside. And so we have to look at both context as well as the bad choices being made here.
But keep in mind, and we look -- when we examine the Trayvon Martin case, we got to highlight the dignity of his parents.
MORGAN: Yes. WEST: Sister Sybrina and Brother Tracy. They have -- they have had a magnanimity. Remind me (INAUDIBLE) mother. A magnanimity. That's a tradition as well that's important to keep in mind. It's a prophetic tradition.
SMILEY: Piers, if I -- if I could add very quick.
WEST: Yes. Yes.
SMILEY: Gandhi once said, and we have this quote on our new book, about poverty in America, what to do about it, Gandhi once said that poverty is the worst form of violence. Poverty is the worst form of violence.
In this country again, we'll talk about race, we will talk about Trayvon Martin, we will talk about a variety of issues connected to this case and other cases. But we won't have a real conversation about poverty. Poverty threatens our very democracy. It is the worst form of violence. And why it is that we can't find the kind of backbone and develop the kind of constitution to have a real conversation about shrinking the gap between the have-gots and have- nots troubles us. But Dr. West is right about that. All of these issues are connected to poor people around the country but we can't seem to get contract on that issue in Washington.
MORGAN: Let me end -- we've got about 30 seconds left here. Let me ask you, Cornel, I've had you on the show before. You criticized President Obama about not doing enough about poverty in America. Do you think that he is beginning to get to grips with it. More importantly if he's re-elected, do you guys have faith that he will get to grips with it properly in a second term?
WEST: I pray for his protection. I pray for his fight back. But also we plan and others to put pressure on him. We're going to put pressures on drones dropping bombs on innocent people. That's wrong. We're going to put pressure on intimate relationships to Wall Street. He needs intimate relations to main street.
It's a system. It's not really Barack Obama. He heads the system. The system itself is unjust and we're trying to transform it and put more love and justice in it.
MORGAN: Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, as always, great to have you on the show. Thanks for coming back. I appreciate it.
SMILEY: Thank you, Piers.
WEST: Thank you. Thank you. Stay strong, my brother.
MORGAN: Coming up after the break, two words. Betty White. Nothing else need be said. She's live and unleashed and purring like a little kitten.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WHITE: You're so good. So strong. Such nice, chubby little fingers. They're like 10 tiny sausages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. It's a place of business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A classic scene from the "Mary Tyler Moore" show. Betty White making us laugh then. She hasn't stopped making us laugh since but what seems like that the entire history of the planet, the "Golden Girls" be entertaining us at the age of -- I don't want say how hold you are. A gentleman doesn't do that. She's still making us laugh, and Betty White joins me now.
WHITE: Is 90 the word you're looking for?
MORGAN: Don't say you're 90. Don't kill the magic.
WHITE: I'm sorry.
MORGAN: You look about 30.
WHITE: Yes. Well, that's only around here.
MORGAN: I mean it's taken my 15 months to lure you into my den. Why have you been playing so hard to get?
WHITE: I just wanted you to really want me.
WHITE: No, sweetie. It's all been my fault. And I know we've tried to work this out. But we finally did.
MORGAN: No, I've been available. It's your damn schedule. You're the busiest 90-year-old ever.
WHITE: It's -- well, nothing wrong with that if you're enjoying it.
MORGAN: There's only one way you can make this up to me, this terrible delay in the way you've been tormenting me. I want you to kiss my chubby fingers in the way you just did in that clip.
Oh, my God. This is the most erotic thing that's ever happened to me.
WHITE: You poor baby.
MORGAN: My wife's last words to me before I came down here tonight were "watch yourself with Betty White." She said she's the ultimate cougar.
WHITE: I am, I am. In my own head. Not any place else, but in my head I am the ultimate cougar. Animal lover that I am.
MORGAN: I know. I know. Tell me something. I've been curious about this. Why do you still want to be so busy at 90? You're all over the place. You're on this show. You're doing "Saturday Night Live." You're appearing in movies. You're having this great time.
People say to me, Betty White, what drives her? What motivates her to still do this?
WHITE: I happen to love what I do for a living. And they keep asking me. And as long as they -- if they really want to get rid of me, don't ask me. No is hard for me to say.
I used to be able to say it. When I was younger, I said no quite a bit, not often enough. But I just love what I do.
MORGAN: Why does America love you so much, do you think? When you look at the longevity of your career -- people say you've come back. You have never really have been away. You've been incredibly successful now for six, seven decades. Why, do you think? What is the Betty White magic?
WHITE: It's not magic. I think it's familiarity. I've been around so long that the kids kind of grew up seeing me. And their parents kind of grew up seeing me. And their grandparents kind of grew up seeing me. I've just been there all that time. And I think it's familiarity.
MORGAN: I have three sons. Two of them are teenagers. And the moment I said I was interviewing you-- they're from Britain and they're on a holiday over here at the moment. They said to me oh, dad, she's that cool lady from "The Proposal." immediately.
WHITE: Really? Bless their hearts. Please give them my love.
MORGAN: I will. I'm keeping you away from the oldest. He's 18.
WHITE: Well --
MORGAN: Tell me about your life. I want to know. You've been to Vegas for the weekend. I have just been to Vegas for the weekend. We were both in Sin City at the same time.
WHITE: We were in Sin City. But I went in yesterday afternoon and came home this morning. The NAB convention.
MORGAN: You were being honored.
MORGAN: I was inducted into their hall of fame. It was a big thrill.
WHITE: Yes, it is amazing. Tell me about it. But it was interesting. But I was glad to get on that plane and come home. MORGAN: I'm told you get up at 6:00 in the morning. You have your wonderful dog that you live with. And you tend to your dog. Then you basically work all day long, and you don't get to bed sometimes until 1:30 in the morning. Then you just carry on.
WHITE: Well, I don't know why. I don't seem to require a lot of sleep. I just -- if I get four, five good hours, I'm fine. But sleeping is sort of dull. There's a lot of other good stuff you can do without just lying down and closing your eyes.
MORGAN: You have this incredible energy. A lot of people, I guess, they get to 65, 70, they start to give up on life. Is the secret to your kind of passionate energy at your age just saying no, I'm going to carry on being this lively spirit. I'm not going to let just old age take over.
WHITE: Well, I think old age is all up in here. I think you -- I just love what I do, as I say, for a living. And the fact that I'm still getting offers at this age is incredible.
MORGAN: Are we still talking professional offers?
MORGAN: I mean, you are still a pin up for many people because of the "Golden Girls." Do you still get men making inappropriate suggestions? Maybe you don't see them as inappropriate.
WHITE: That's the thing. It's your point of view as to what's inappropriate.
MORGAN: I want to take a little look now at a clip from "Golden Girls." Because this is why so many love you.
WHITE: Oh, we had such fun.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WHITE: What I don't understand. I don't understand why he sent you flowers at all. I mean, two days ago, you hated each other. And you know what else I don't understand? I don't understand how two people who go off to a business meeting end up in bed together.
And you know what else I don't understand? I don't understand why you didn't tell him this morning exactly how you felt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that it? I mean, are you finished or is there something else you don't understand?
WHITE: Well, actually there is. I don't understand how a thermos keeps things both hot and cold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: My first thought looking at you looking at yourself there is, are you wearing the same top? If so, how old is that top? WHITE: Oh, it's probably like the rest of my wardrobe. It's probably ancient. I still wear stuff that I wore on "Mary Tyler Moore." But I do live in this color. I love this color.
MORGAN: It's a beautiful color.
WHITE: Thank you.
MORGAN: You are remarkably glamorous.
WHITE: Oh, thank you.
MORGAN: I actually mean that.
WHITE: I wish you hadn't mentioned your wife earlier.
MORGAN: Do you know what I think when I look at you, Betty? I see somebody who has not been surgically enhanced. I see natural beauty. Am I right?
MORGAN: Any nip and tuck ever gone on?
WHITE: No. But gravity has taken over.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break. I need to calm down. I'm getting flustered here. When we come back, I want to play a clip from somebody, another male admirer. I think you're going to like this. One of the many male admirers.
WHITE: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: And I just love Betty so much. She's such a terrific woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Dear Betty, you look so fantastic and full of energy, I can't believe you're 90 years old. In fact, I don't believe it. That's why I'm writing to ask if you will be willing to produce a copy of your long form birth certificate.
Thanks, happy birthday, no matter how old you are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Obama and a Birther joke for Betty White, who is back with me exclusively. What a moment. The president of the United States sending you a special joke, as it turned out, for your birthday.
WHITE: And we had nothing -- we didn't know about it until it came out. That was all done back in Washington. I was so thrilled. I really was. I just couldn't believe it.
MORGAN: Can you believe the way your life as gone? When you think back, you came to Los Angeles in the Great Depression. You were two years old originally when you first came here.
WHITE: A year and a half.
MORGAN: If you could have imagined the way your life was going to go, crazy, yeah?
WHITE: In the middle of all that, there was the love of my life. I had 18 wonderful years with Alan Lunn (ph).
MORGAN: He was third time around for you with the marriage.
WHITE: Yes. The first two were --
MORGAN: Very short lived.
MORGAN: They lasted a combined total of about three years, didn't they?
WHITE: If that.
MORGAN: So what was going on there? You say rehearsals. What was the reality of you and romantic life in those early days?
WHITE: Well, back in those days -- and that's why people like Elizabeth Taylor and people that are married so many times -- you didn't sleep with a guy until you married him.
MORGAN: You didn't know how bad he was in bed until you got married.
WHITE: Yeah. Well, you heard rumors. But you really didn't. And you didn't sleep around. I'm not denigrating the girls today, but I mean they -- it's a different set of morals. They just -- so if you were interested enough, you got married.
And then you thought what have I done? Oh, my goodness. This was not how I planned it.
MORGAN: So when Alan came along, it must have been great for you. The third time around, you finally found the guy who you genuinely loved. This was the love of your life, right?
WHITE: Love of my life completely. But I was so smart. I kept saying no, I won't move to New York. No, I won't leave California. No, I won't marry you. And he just kept -- he wouldn't say hello. He would say will you marry me? So he lived in New York. I lived out here. He would call me every night at 11:00. And so Easter came along. And he sent me this beautiful, beautiful stuffed white bunny. And it had diamond and ruby earrings on its ears.
And the card said please say yes. So that night I didn't answer the phone with hello. I answered the phone with yes.
MORGAN: Did you really?
WHITE: It was lovely.
MORGAN: You didn't have as much time with him as clearly you would have liked. You were robbed, really, of him far too young.
WHITE: Oh, far too young.
MORGAN: Ever since that day, have you ever even really looked at another man? Or was that -- to you, was that it?
WHITE: As far as falling in love and being in love? I mean, I look at them and I even go out with them and I enjoy them. But that was it as far as I was concerned. There'll never be another one.
MORGAN: What is true love to you?
MORGAN: What was it about the relationship about him, about the chemistry between you? What should women strive to get to get the love you had?
WHITE: It was his enthusiasm. He was interested in everything. And he knew how to court. Oh, did he know how to court somebody. He just wouldn't let me up. He just would keep pounding and pounding and pounding about we had -- you've got to marry me. You just have to.
And yet it wasn't overdone to the point where you thought shut up already. It convinced me that he truly loved me and he truly wanted to marry me. And after two bad experiences, you're very leery, because you've had two failures. And the failures, no matter how you look at it, are your fault.
And so I just wasn't about to take another chance. Then I thought, am I going to live the rest of my life without this man? Thank goodness we got married when we did or we would have missed it entirely.
MORGAN: What would he have made of the way your career has just reached this extraordinary --
WHITE: He would have been thrilled to pieces. There was no professional jealousy or competition. He was always so thrilled when something good happened.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break. I want to come back and get very naughty with you. I want to talk about your risque side.
WHITE: Why don't we do that --
MORGAN: -- In the break.
WHITE: -- in the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met this cute divorced guy who's in town for a couple of days on business. Do you think I should call him?
WHITE: Well, why not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. And I'm going to call that cute guy I met with the tattoos. Curses are meant to be broken right?
WHITE: And I'm going to call Fred.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fred? That nerdy guy you play cards with every Sunday?
WHITE: For the past 20 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought you were just friends.
WHITE: If the guy's a cutie, you got to tap that booty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Legendary Betty White, a hilarious clip of betty from her hit show, "Hot in Cleveland,": on TVLand, now in its third season. There's no end to your talent.
On Wednesday nights, you do this new show "Off Their Rockers," which airs at 8:00 p.m. on NBC. And then at 10:00 p.m., you're on again, "Hot in Cleveland" on TVLand. Thank God I am in the middle, I am the sandwich. I'm the 9:00 p.m. hour.
WHITE: I love it. I love it. You can't get rid of me. That's what you're saying. And you can't.
MORGAN: Let's talk about fame. What do you think about the modern curse of fame? Because it has become a curse, hasn't it, to people.
WHITE: Well, I think, again, it is all attitude. And if you consider it a curse, shame on you. You ought to be grateful for the people who have supported you and make you enjoy it. You enjoy doing this. I can see that.
MORGAN: I do, yeah.
WHITE: It is written all over you. MORGAN: I feel -- I think you do, very, very lucky to be doing a job like this.
WHITE: And grateful. And grateful.
MORGAN: I can't stand the modern cult of -- particularly among younger celebrities who constantly complain.
WHITE: About everything.
MORGAN: -- about intrusion, the media, this and that. If you don't want to do it, then get out.
WHITE: People come up on the street and pester me all the time. Without those people, you wouldn't be here.
MORGAN: True, isn't it?
WHITE: Of course it is true. And I get ticked off about that. I bet you do, too.
MORGAN: I do. It really annoys me. It's a real bug bear of mine. When you look back at your 90 years, if I can replay a moment for you outside of marriages and everything like that, a moment in your life that you would say was the greatest moment of your life, if I could replay it, what would you choose?
WHITE: The hour and a half I spent in the caves with Coco, the signing gorilla.
WHITE: Absolutely, really. Coco is a very good friend of mine. And I went up to see her and Dr. Penny Patterson, who is her mentor, invited me up. So I went up there. And she is in this whole house, this beautiful, big house. And there is a little office outside here with some mesh, you know, and wire.
So Penny put the stool up next to the wire and Coco came over and just put her shoulder up against mine. And pretty soon she started -- it's a floor to ceiling door. She started pointing to the door and then pointing to a shelf that was outside in the office where we were.
Penny said, oh, she wants to show you her new television set. Yes. So she turned on the television set. No, that was not what she wanted. She kept pointing. Then she's point to the door and then she would point up at this cabinet.
Penny said, I am sorry, Coco -- she picked up a set of keys. Coco walks over to this door and points at the lock at the top and the lock in the middle and the lock in the bottom. So Penny undid the locks and Coco undid the -- one of these things that holds it together, and opened the door and came out, took my wrist.
MORGAN: Touch me again. WHITE: Took my wrist, and pulled me into her part of the cage and she sat down against the wall and made it obvious she wanted me to do that. I sat down opposite. And I had my hands on her fat tummy, and I was in there for about an hour and a half.
WHITE: It was maybe one of the most magic moments.
MORGAN: This has been my version of the Coco moment. This is the great moment of my life.
WHITE: You didn't have your hands on my fat stomach.
MORGAN: No, but you know what I have got? Your lipstick on my hands, on my chubby little fingers. And that is the greatest moment of my life.
Betty White, it's been such a glorious pleasure. Don't keep me waiting 15 more months. Come back.
WHITE: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: Let me give you a shameless plug for both your shows. "Off Their Rockers" airs NBC, 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. "Hot in Cleveland" airs 10:00 p.m. on TVLand. You can catch me in the middle of the Betty White sandwich. What a place to find myself.
Betty, thank you.
WHITE: Oh, It has been a joy. Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: All mine. Coming up, how can you follow Betty White? I know. Only in America, a cop handcuffs a six-year-old child. You won't believe this.
MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, meet Alicia Johnson. She's six years old and lives in Georgia. Like many children at that tender age, she can be a bit naughty from time to time. It kind of goes with the territory of being six years old.
Last Friday, she was very naughty indeed. She threw a temper tantrum in her school, the Creekside Elementary School in Millidgevill (ph), and began throwing books and toys around. She jumped on a paper shredder and she tore some stuff off a wall, including a shelf that hit a teacher's leg.
So how do you think the school responded to this very naughty six-year-old girl? A trip to the head teacher's office maybe, a visit to the naughty chair, maybe even a request for her parents to come collect her?
No. The eminent brains of Creekside Elementary Decided there was only one-way to control this unruly six year old. Yes, I do keep say six, not 16. And that was to call the police.
Perhaps understandably, this ridiculous over reaction caused Alicia, age six, to freak out even more. The police officer did the obvious thing you do to a six-year-old who is having a temper tantrum, stuck her hands behind her back and handcuffed her.
Yes, you heard me. They put a six-year-old girl in steel handcuffs and marched her down to the police station and put her, according to her family, in a holding cell, before filing a formal juvenile complaint accusing Alicia of simple battery and damage to property.
In case I didn't mention it before, this girl is six years old. Her aunt, who went to the station with her mother to collect her, said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CANDACE RUFF, AUNT OF ARRESTED SIX YEAR OLD: You will damage a child psychologically by doing something to that nature. That can damage a child for life. I was just horrified really. It really hurt me to my heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You might have thought with the benefit of time and hindsight, the school and the police may just have realized they made a shocking, awful error of over reactive judgment. But not a bit of it.
The acting police chief, Drace Swykord (ph), held a brief news conference this afternoon and stood firmly by his officer's actions. He said the child was placed in handcuffs for her safety and the safety of others. Of course because these six-year-old girls can be a real handful for fully grown male police men, can't they?
Because of her age, Alicia can't be charged with a crime and will not therefore go to court. But she has been suspended from school until August.
When I first heard about the story, I assumed it was either exaggerated or a joke. But it was neither. What it was, I'm afraid, was an example of petty minded bureaucracy gone completely barking mad, of silly little people failing every common sense test available to them and going bonkers.
Let me spell it out to those responsible in language even their minuscule brains may possibly understand loudly and clearly. You put a 6-year-old girl in handcuffs! Shame on you all.
That's all for us tonight. AC 360 starts now.