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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
The Race is On; Defending Gay Marriage
Aired April 26, 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 race is on.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in this thing together, and America is not about just a few people doing well.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's still about the economy. And we are not stupid.
MORGAN: I'll talk to the man who says this election is for sale to the highest bidder. Frank Rich on what super PACs are doing to America.
Plus giving mama's boy a whole new mining. He became a national hero defending his two mothers in a speech that went viral with over 18 million hits on YouTube.
ZACH WAHLS, AUTHOR, "MY TWO MOMS": The sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.
MORGAN: My primetime exclusive with Zach Wahls.
Marilu Henner. Marilu Henner, unforgettable on the TV classic, "Taxi", never mind that. She's also one of the only 12 people on the planet with total memory recall.
MARILU HENNER, ACTRESS: August 16th of 1977, that was a Tuesday, and I heard on the radio that Elvis Presley had died.
MORGAN: My god.
In one of the weirdest things I've ever seen, she can remember every detail of her life. And tonight I'll put her to the test.
Plus "Only in America," the NFL draft. Let's be honest, a multimillion dollar meat market.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Our "Big Story" tonight, the selling of the president. Will the rise of the super PAC determine the winner this election? I'll talk to a man who says 2012 will go down as the year of the sugar daddies. That's Frank Rich.
Also my extraordinary interview with Marilu Henner. Now you might remember her from the classic sitcom "Taxi." What you won't know about her probably is that she remembers every single thing about herself that's ever happened. And tonight she shares that extraordinary ability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENNER: July 29th, 1981, OK, it was a Wednesday. I was shooting in Soho the movie "Dream House" with John Schneider and we were shooting like my apartment there. And that was -- you're not going to believe it. That's the first time I ever listened to a Walkman and I heard the song "Do, Do, Do, Da, Da, Da" by Sting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That Marilu Henner interview is one of the most amazing things you'll ever watch. That comes later. But we begin with our big story, super PACs and the selling of the president. Joining me now is Frank Rich who wrote this piece in the "New York" magazine entitled "Sugar Daddies: The Old White Rich Men who are Buying This Election." And Frank joins me now.
Frank, it's a fascinating piece.
FRANK RICH, WRITER-AT-LARGE, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Thank you.
MORGAN: These are basically the 25 leading conservative donors who have all contributed more than a million dollars into various super PACs.
RICH: The 25 that we know about because in some of these super PACs or PACs you can remain anonymous. There's some that are called social welfare organizations. They really are very political. So these are just the ones we know about and just the ones so far when technically we're still not really out of the primaries.
MORGAN: I mean has there ever been a time in American modern political history where the fate of a president has been so determined, some would argue, by straight cash through these strange institutions, the super PAC?
RICH: In modern times, absolutely not. You know we know that people of wealth and corporations try to buy influence, and in both parties often. But this kind of wealth -- first of all, there weren't even people this wealthy in real dollars. You know, Andrew Carnegie in real dollars didn't have as much money as some of these sugar daddies. And now there's the mechanism legally through various rulings, not just Citizens United, that allows them to just give unlimited amounts.
MORGAN: Right. The worst thing is, Frank, to me, I went on the trail of interviewing all the candidates regularly and so I was shopping, yes, in North Carolina or wherever it may be watching attack ad after attack ad after attack ad. It was like demolition jobs. And I was shocked. But what was clear to me was there were 10 times as many acting for Mitt Romney or on behalf of Mitt Romney or around the backdoor for Mitt Romney. And you cannot escape the conclusion that he didn't win the nominee just because he's the best candidate. He may well have been. He won it primarily because he blew the others out of the water financially.
RICH: Right. But also the demolition derby had blowback on him because the truth is that people like Adelson/Friess who now by the way are probably going to rally to Romney by supporting Santorum and Gingrich, and running negative ads about Romney, even though he ultimately triumphed, they have so damaged him that he has some of the worst positive poll ratings of a candidate at this stage of a campaign ever.
He has negative ratings that are so high. So the same sugar daddies that are now going to try to help him destroy Obama really did damage to him when they were working for Santorum and Gingrich.
MORGAN: I mean Barack Obama is not exactly short of cash. He's out there fundraising for March alone, he got $104 million in, Mitt Romney $10.1 million, overall so far Obama nearly $200 million. Romney closing up on $100 million.
Are these misleading, these figures?
RICH: You know, there's an apples and oranges thing going on. You have to think if you're watching this from outside and don't want to understand election law too much, it's like having a savings account and a checking account. So what the official campaigns are raising and the official Democratic and Republican parties are raising is different from this PAC money, which is so large and isn't counted in those ledgers. Except by journalists who make rough calculations. So in some ways it's like you can't really keep score in that way.
MORGAN: The premise of your piece is that you're seriously worried Mitt Romney could buy this election.
MORGAN: Through these weird, unaccountable kind of super PACs. That's not good for American democracy, if that's what happens?
RICH: No, it's very much a replay of the gilded age in the late 19th century when we had far few -- less regulation than we do now where plutocrats and people who were, you know, incredibly wealthy, which is fine, they're entitled to be wealthy, represent their own interests in the -- in the polling booth by just, you know, pulling the trigger from afar. And they have special interests that are not always transparent to the voter and they'll try to collect the bill if their guy or guys and women get in come November.
MORGAN: We saw the battleground really kick off. The Obamas really officially launched their campaign May 5th, in Ohio and Virginia, as the pair of them, Michelle and Barack, interestingly a sort of multi-pronged attack on the youth. The cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine, "Ready for the Fight," clearly directed at a youthful audience there. The slow-jam, watch a bit of this from Jimmy Fallon show, where he slow jams the news. Let's see this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The reason it's so important to keep down costs is so we keep college affordable.
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON: And the president knows his stuff, y'all. That's why they call him the POTUS, which means person on top -- what is it?
OBAMA: Jimmy, POTUS stands for president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the POTUS with the most stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean it's very funny.
RICH: It really is funny. And --
MORGAN: People have criticized him. Obviously Republicans have stepped and say it's just it's more celebrity stuff by the president. It demeans him, obviously. You don't need to do this anymore. Jon Stewart very (INAUDIBLE). You haven't got to do this anymore. You're the president. But actually he does have to do this because one of the battlegrounds will be for the young voters and that's where Obama will have an advantage.
RICH: Right. He has to mobilize them again. It's unlikely he'll succeed in doing it in the huge numbers of the historic election of 2008, but this helps motivate young voters. But I'd also argue it's not just about young voters. A lot of Americans live in the popular culture, not just young people, and so the more that he's out there I think in that culture, the more he seems like one of us.
And for Republicans, and McCain did this too with Obama, to say he's a celebrity or he's too much, or he's demeaning, I -- they look like, you know, Mr. Wilson in "Dennis the Menace," they look like, you know, old white guys that can't have fun and are out of touch with the way people consume culture in this country.
MORGAN: What I like is the battleground which may come, which involves their ability to sing. And we've actually cut together Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. This is not a fair fight by any means, but watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: (Singing) I am so in love with you.
ROMNEY: (Singing) For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean if that was the final of "The Voice" then I'm afraid Mitt Romney is going home.
RICH: All I can think of is he has said that his first date with Ann Romney was to see "The Sound of Music." So I'm fully expecting "Climb Every Mountain" to be the next piece of his repertoire.
MORGAN: The Republicans have already begun a few attack ads. I wanted to show you this one that's come out I think today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
OBAMA: I am so in love with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So you can see the battleground there being clearly aligned. A lot of the stuff that the Obama campaign may see as positives being thrown back in their faces as the celebrification of the presidency against straight Mitt Romney. He rises effortlessly above all this. What do you think of that?
RICH: I think it's going to back fire. It makes -- as I said, it makes them look like old fogies. Also it's humorless. And I'm fascinated by one shot in that ad, him drinking a beer. That's sort of considered a major criterion of being a successful politician. Being able to drink a beer with the guys or the gals, and you have a candidate on the Republican side who for religious reasons can't drink beer. Why -- what's that -- what's that doing there, I wonder.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to come back and ask you about a theme I've been running recently, "Keeping America Great." I can't think of a better guy to ask about what America needs to do not to recover or get over this malaise, but just to keep great. What are the great virtues that should be maintained (INAUDIBLE).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA LOUIS DREYFUS, ACTRESS: I'm not interested in your --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please be quiet. The president is experiencing some severe chest pains. We just got word from South Africa. You need to get to the West Wing immediately.
DREYFUS: I'm so sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus from HBO's new show, "Veep," very successful show, too. Frank Rich is the executive producer of the show. He's back with me now. "Keeping America Great," love that show.
RICH: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: I love Julia. She's a brilliant --
RICH: She's a great comic actress and this is a great role for her with more freedom than she's had in television in years. And she is really something else.
MORGAN: She's terrific. It raises the specter of VPs generally. If you're Mitt Romney, what's the smart pick for you?
RICH: I really believe in the old cliche do no harm. Don't go for that hail Mary pass. We saw what happened with McCain. I think it was a big factor in his defeat. Find someone who's completely vetted, who's not going to get in your way. The idea that if you pick someone from a certain state or a certain gender or a certain ethnicity you're going to win that vote because of it is not born out by history.
I mean, you know --
MORGAN: The recent polls are fascinating because Condoleezza Rice was at the top, and I've always, in the back of my mind, thought she is slightly wasted now and not being used at a high enough level. I've always found her very intelligent, you know, interesting character. What do you think?
RICH: Well, I think it's true, although she's -- you know, she's in academia and that's certainly a legitimate calling. However, it's debatable whether being veep would be a -- a step-up as indeed our show shows, it's kind of far removed from real power. And she really had a more powerful job before than vice president would be.
MORGAN: Do you attend the White House Correspondents Dinner? Because I've never been but I'm going this year on Saturday for the first time. And I'm a bit alarmed by the guest list. I was imagining, you know, the president, I mean Vice President Biden. I've just discovered that Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian might be at the next table.
RICH: Well --
MORGAN: Not quite what I had in mind, frankly.
RICH: I haven't been going in years but it has become this sort of, as I say, nerd prom in Washington. And it's kind of embarrassing not for politicians but to watch sort of the Washington press corps be so stage struck and awestruck at seeing not always top tier celebrities so --
MORGAN: I'm -- I am taking Goldie Hawn as my guest.
RICH: That's --
MORGAN: Now that is top tier. I think we both agree on that.
RICH: That's top tier and she's like me and like Julia Louis- Dreyfus grew up in the Washington area.
RICH: So she's legitimately there.
MORGAN: To my pick of VP, although she may see it the other way around, I thin it's been spot on.
RICH: Yes, I think -- I think that's fine, that's a classy choice. But you're not going to believe what you see surrounding you. And also it is funny, and I grew up in Washington so -- to see -- you know, button-down Washington press people and political people just slobber over anyone on a red carpet. It's just -- it's really kind of embarrassing, but it's like watching a car wreck, if you can watch it on C-SPAN and I recommend it to everybody.
MORGAN: Let's talk about America. "Keeping America Great." You've written about America for much of the last 25, 30 years. What do you make of the reality of what is happening? Is America going to hell of a hand cart? Is it massively exaggerated? Is it simply the threat from emerging superpowers? Is America embracing that threat properly? What do you think?
RICH: I feel we've had a down period. I do not think that we're going to hell in a hand basket and I do think that we'll pull out of this. I think there's some structural problems that have to be addressed. And this issue of inequality which really animates the Tea Party on the right and, you know, the "Occupy Wall Street" people on the left, there's a feeling here that something is out of joint, that people are not getting their fair share, whether they're on the right or the left.
And the most important thing about America, cliche though it is, is freedom. And that includes the freedom to have an equal chance at a livelihood, at a career, at being creative, and that's sort of been lost over the past 40 years in an equitable system and everyone knows it and we have to address it.
Problems with China, issues -- our status in the world, I think that's a lot of bluster that -- and, you know, we were going to be defeated by Japan, what, 15 or 20 years ago. I think that gets out of control. The down mood is excessive, I think. MORGAN: I've been talking to people like Howard Schultz at Starbucks, who've been talking about a new sense of moral capitalism. Now, not everyone is prepared to practice this. You look at what Apple is doing. You're like, well, Apple is the biggest company in the world but is really very China-centric, in terms of its workforce.
RICH: Right. Absolutely.
MORGAN: Its sales and everything else. You can see that staggering sales in China that came out this week. How much should American companies like Apple be following the Starbucks lead and bringing jobs back to America, opening factories here, even if it costs them more money to do that?
RICH: Well, I don't think you can have a one-size-fits-all policy, but I do think it's something that corporations have to take into consideration more, and it's going to require real building, because it also means that corporations have to get in the whole issue -- involved in the issue of education, local communities. It means having a political presence and a benign one, but one that's helpful.
So it's very -- it can't just be decreed. But, yes, a company like Apple and any company should have a way of bringing some of it back to America with the understanding we live in a globalized world and not everything can be here when we can't be. Protectionist --
MORGAN: It seems to me oddly shortsighted for a company that's making so much money by their own admission, but not quite sure how to spend it. They're not looking at the 8 or so percent unemployed in America thinking how can we give back a bit here, in the sense that America is so patriotic distinctively as a country. I'm sure they would be rewarded for that. If they made a big deal of saying, we're bringing jobs back to America, Americans would go, I love Apple even more than I did yesterday.
RICH: I think that's true. I think the brand, as they say, would be rewarded by that. And of course they would be very effective at publicizing such gestures and initiatives. So you're right, it doesn't make sense that they don't. And particularly -- you know, all these companies sitting around on a tremendous amount of cash.
Why aren't they spending it here? Why -- you know, and they may blame the president, they may blame federal regulations, but I feel that's just an alibi, an excuse. And they have to step up as corporate citizens and be a part of the real fabric of America, particularly at a time when it's suffered so much.
MORGAN: Final question, Frank. Come November the 5th, who's going to be sitting pretty as the president?
RICH: You. No -- I --
MORGAN: That can't happen. RICH: I'm not good -- I don't believe in making predictions. I really think anything can happen. It's going to be a close race. You know, some structural things are favoring Obama, some things like the money and the sugar daddies are not favoring him.
MORGAN: What do you sense the key battleground will be? Obviously the economy probably collectively. But is there one thing? Could it be as simple as gas prices?
RICH: No. I don't think it's going to be one thing. And I do think a key part of the battleground is going to be women, which has already become a battleground. If Romney can't win over women, he's not going to be president. And I also think another key demographic is going to be Hispanics, which were very important in certain swing states and that's going to be a big, big battleground.
And the youth vote Obama will get, he just has to motivate it to go to the polls. But I think it's going to be classic, sort of meat and potatoes of American politics with the economy as an X factor because we don't know how much the recovery is going to stall or not.
MORGAN: Frank, as always, fascinating to talk to you. Please come back again soon.
RICH: I'd love to, thank you.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
Next my primetime exclusive with a man whose speech about his two moms, 18 million hits on YouTube, and made him an overnight sensation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAHLS: My name is Zach Wahls. I'm a sixth generation Iowan and an engineering student at the University of Iowa. And I was raised by two women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAHLS: Over the next two hours I'm sure we're going to hear plenty of testimony about how damaging having gay parents is on kids. But in my 19 years, not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple. And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero effect on the content of my character.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Zach Wahls speaking to the Iowa House of Representatives last year. His impassioned defense of his two mothers got 18 million hits on YouTube and made him an instant celebrity. Now he's written a book, "My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family," and Zach joins me now in a primetime exclusive.
WAHLS: Thank you very much for having me.
MORGAN: So I replayed your speech this morning to remind myself because I remembered at the time just exploding on the Internet. What I was struck by was a comment somebody put underneath.
MORGAN: On the YouTube version that I saw and it just said this. A guy called Terry (INAUDIBLE), no idea who that is. That was the name on the quote. "Wow, he didn't have devil horns coming out of his head. The world didn't implode. Satan never rose up from hell. And damn our souls forever. In fact shock horror, he seems like a normal, nice guy. I blame the parents."
MORGAN: Which I thought was a great comment to make.
MORGAN: And kind of said it all because it was the most shocking thing about you was your normality and that was what was so disarming as well. Well, you must have been staggered by the response to what happened.
WAHLS: Yes. Totally overwhelmed.
MORGAN: When you walked in to make that speech, what was your real intention? What did you hope to achieve?
WAHLS: Yes, well, you know, when I walked in, I was kind of overwhelmed, too. It's a really big room. You know, at hand it was House Joint Resolution 6, this proposed constitutional amendment to reverse a Supreme Court decision in Iowa that legalized marriage equality. And so my goal for the evening was to, you know, hopefully sway some lawmakers and their vote. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in that effort. They passed HJR 6 in this -- a vote of 62-37. Fortunately, though, the bill died in the Senate.
MORGAN: Ten countries recognize same-sex marriage now. You've got eight states in America that legally allow gay marriage. Things are moving very fast. I mean it may seem --
MORGAN: -- like slow to some people in the gay community, but actually it's -- historically this is, this is moving fast.
MORGAN: What do you think is going to happen over the next two, three years in America? Do you sense that because of people like you that it's become now a public movement that's unstoppable?
WAHLS: You know, in the last two years we've seen a rise of about 9 percent in support for marriage equality, from 44 percent in 2010, 53 percent today. So I would not be surprised to see another 9 percent increase between now and 2014. I think a lot of it is probably going to depend on these legislative victories. You know, here in New York, obviously, it was legalized just this past year and you had victories in Washington and Maryland.
I think this changing of policy is helping, you know, people realize that you're right, that the world isn't falling to pieces. You know, hell isn't opening up and swallowing Davenport, Iowa, down into the abyss or anything like that. People are getting married and there's a little bit more love in the world.
MORGAN: What is interesting to me is I interviewed a guy called Kirk Cameron who I know you haven't heard of.
MORGAN: Because I just asked you, and you were like, who's he? Honestly, I've never heard of him either. And I never watched "Growing Pains" as a kid and I was told to interview this guy, and he'd done a book that was very religious in its feeling. And he came out with some interesting comments. Let's watch some of this so you can find out what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRK CAMERON, ACTOR: I believe that marriage was defined by God a long time ago. Marriage is almost as old as dirt and it was defined in the Garden between Adam and Eve, one man, one woman, for life until death do you part. So I would never attempt to try to redefine marriage and I don't think anyone else should either. So do I support the idea of gay marriage? No, I don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: He went on to say that being gay was sort of destructive to civilization. Some extraordinary comments, which I think he was taken aback by the reaction. Now, he comes -- you will be familiar with this from this religious standpoint that if you are a committed Christian, certainly if you're a Catholic, for example, then, you know, you may be brought up to believe that homosexuality is a sin.
What do you say to people that have that kind of view?
WAHLS: Yes, so there are certainly a number of things anybody might choose to say to that person but I think first and foremost, it's important for everybody to remember to be respectful and courteous in these kinds of conversations because if you're not, you're going to alienate the people who, you know, we need to be having these conversations with.
I think most people who fall back on this kind of religious pretext or opposing marriage equality and other LGBT rights, however, are forgetting that, you know, this country is not a theocracy, this isn't Iran or Saudi Arabia. This is United States of America.
And the Bill of Rights is explicitly clear. The very first amendment to the United States Constitution protects the freedom of religion. And I would hope that Kirk Cameron --
WAHLS: -- would be willing to protect, you know, our religion just as much as he wants his own protected.
MORGAN: If we get a Republican president and it's Mitt Romney, for example --
MORGAN: -- and it looks like he's the nominee, he has already been outspoken against gay marriage.
MORGAN: How do you feel about having a president that would, at the moment, outlaw your parents?
WAHLS: Well, it's a very full circle moment. I talk about in the book watching, in 2004, the Republican National Convention from our home in Iowa. And, actually, Mitt Romney himself speaking against same-sex marriage.
And it was actually watching that convention's speech that I realized for the first time that there are politicians in -- in this country who don't want my family to exist and support legislation to try and, you know, remove their relationship from its legal standing in Iowa.
So that was a -- a very troubling moment to -- to experience, when you're in the eighth grade. And I think living in a country where Mitt Romney is president, we'd probably be moving backward when it comes to this issue. He supported DOMA publicly, the Defense of Marriage Act. He's also donated 10,000 dollars to the National Organization for Marriage, a very vitriolic, anti-LGBT group.
So I think under a Romney administration, we would be looking at a different world for -- for LGBT people and certainly not one that's better than --
MORGAN: You make a brilliant point in the book. You say, Britney Spears' marriage, after 55 hours --
MORGAN: -- Kim Kardashian's, 72. Both uphold the, quote, "sanctity of marriage." Your mothers have been together 16 years of married commitment. And yet many people refuse to recognize them --
WAHLS: That's right.
MORGAN: -- as a married couple. I mean --
MORGAN: It is an absurd disparity in the way that many people view those two situations.
WAHLS: Yes, definitely. You know, in fact, my moms had their first commitment ceremony in 1996, three months to the day after the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law. The Defense of Marriage Act was what singled out same sex couples in the eyes of the federal government and was supposedly designed to, quote, "protect the sanctity of marriage."
And the irony, of course, is that it was propelled by Speaker Gingrich and President Clinton. And we found out later that, you know, Newt Gingrich was in the middle of his second affair with the woman who would become his third wife. And President Clinton was in -- I'm not actually sure what number that affair was.
WAHLS: But we do know that he was in the middle of an affair with Monica Lewinsky. And that's not to degrade either of those men at all, but to simply point out, look, when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, there's certainly more bigger threats to be worried about than, you know, my moms.
MORGAN: There were some most amusing moments in the book where there are just some practical difficulties --
MORGAN: -- in having two mothers and no dad.
MORGAN: One was you had to learn how to shave from your best friend's father.
MORGAN: And even more amusing, you had to learn how to tie a tie from "Playboy" magazine --
MORGAN: -- which is the best excuse I've ever heard from a young man for reading "Playboy" magazine.
MORGAN: So you're a smart guy, aren't you?
WAHLS: I -- I do what I can.
MORGAN: People even believe that, don't they? WAHLS: Yes. Well --
WAHLS: Yes, no, I realized after we wrote that how unbelievable it sounded. But, no, that's all right. You know, there were some other challenges I had to get use to. You know, obviously, putting the seat down was not something that --
WAHLS: -- was required in -- in our household. And -- and people often ask, what's the biggest difference?
And so far, you know, it's my ease with putting the seat down that -- that seem to be the biggest difference that I can identify so far.
MORGAN: How are you dealing with your new celebrity?
WAHLS: You know, I travel a lot and that's -- it's hard. You know, it's just stressful. I don't get to see my moms as much, which, you know, is a little bit of a bummer.
MORGAN: Or your sister.
MORGAN: I mean --
WAHLS: And, no, although, the last time I was home, we went and saw "The Hunger Games" together, so that was fantastic. And I'm looking forward to spending some more time at home when this is all wrapped up.
MORGAN: And it's fair to say, ladies, you must be pretty proud of him.
And why shouldn't you be?
He did an amazing thing that day.
MORGAN: A lot of people went wow, that guy, he must have been brought up really well.
WAHLS: Well --
MORGAN: But the reality is you were, but by two women --
MORGAN: -- who are very happily married and very proud of their boy.
Sir, it's nice to meet you.
WAHLS: Piers, thank you very much.
MORGAN: Keep up the good work.
WAHLS: I'll do my best.
MORGAN: Coming up, Marilu Henner. You remember her from "Taxi," but she can remember just about everything else that's ever happened to her. It's an amazing thing that you're about to watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And I believe that when you look at these things, can I fault Marilu as the leadership?
Can I fault her commitment, enthusiasm, dedication?
No. But the team lost.
DONALD TRUMP, HOST, "CELEBRITY APPRENTICE": But you can fault her on one thing.
TRUMP: I thought that she was very like talkative. You were so opposite Trace. He was so solid.
MARILU HENNER, ACTRESS: Well, we have different energies.
TRUMP: No, no, you have a different energy.
TRUMP: And your energy system is good. It's a different kind of thing.
HENNER: Yes, it's a different kind of thing.
TRUMP: But you were overdoing your energy. I know your energy. I understand your energy. You were overdoing your energy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was me desperately trying to save the life of Marilu Henner, my special guest tonight --
MORGAN: -- in the first season of "Celebrity Apprentice" on NBC. I failed.
HENNER: Oh, no.
MORGAN: Marilu, I failed --
MORGAN: -- to save you.
HENNER: I know. Well, I failed to bring the right person back to the boardroom, because my big flaw that day was I had been on QVC many times, but I didn't know about Easy Pay, because I was always on for my books and they're --
HENNER: -- under 25 dollars.
MORGAN: -- that they were to do a QVC --
MORGAN: -- promotion.
HENNER: To do a QVC promotion. That was the first time we got to be on the same team.
Do you remember the day we did that?
MORGAN: Well, this is the weird thing --
HENNER: You remember --
MORGAN: -- so let's just explain why -- mainly why you're here --
MORGAN: -- apart from the fact that I really wanted to see you again.
HENNER: I know.
MORGAN: Because you and I had a special bond on that show.
MORGAN: It's because you brought this book out called "Total Memory Makeover," which is a "New York Times" best-seller. The reason it's a best-seller is that you are a freak. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. You have a freakish, weird genius memory. You're one of only 12 people --
HENNER: Documented. They've -- they --
MORGAN: Right. HENNER: -- have found a few more, but the paper that they're writing for the --
MORGAN: And you have what they call an autobiographical memory. This means --
HENNER: It's called HSAM, Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, because everyone has an autobiographical memory.
MORGAN: Right. But -- but yours is --
MORGAN: -- ridiculous. I mean I can barely remember what I did an hour ago.
HENNER: Like that picture?
HENNER: I know exactly when that picture was taken.
MORGAN: When was it taken?
HENNER: That was taken May the 4th, 2009. It was a Monday. And, yes, I know exactly what --
MORGAN: What are you -- what were you doing?
HENNER: I was -- well, see I -- now, I didn't even see that. I was at the -- the Paley Center for a -- a friend of mine was having like a premier there. And I also went that night to a theater that's on La Cienega and saw a reading of "Afterbirth." So it was all in the same day.
MORGAN: That's three years ago.
HENNER: Yes. But that's easy. I mean that -- three years ago, it's many years ago.
MORGAN: What was the --
HENNER: -- was fun, too.
MORGAN: Let's focus on what I can have even the broad memory of, which is "Celebrity Apprentice."
HENNER: Yes, OK.
MORGAN: When did you last see me?
HENNER: I saw you at the finale of "Celebrity Apprentice," which was shot -- do you remember?
It was March the 27th of 2008. It was a Thursday night and we shot at the "SNL" studios. And I had Seth Meyers' dressing room. And I -- yes --
MORGAN: I had no idea -- and I spent nearly a month with you. I had no idea --
HENNER: Well, it was 13 tests in 20 days with two days off. It was a marathon.
MORGAN: I'm beginning to work out why you've had three husbands.
MORGAN: This must get really annoying all the time.
HENNER: No, no, no. I can --
MORGAN: I'm just trying to remember that --
HENNER: It's my way of flirting with you, Piers. No.
MORGAN: But is it -- it's mesmerizing.
HENNER: Oh. Well, thank you. I mean maybe -- what's funny --
MORGAN: When did you first know you could do this?
HENNER: Well, you know, even as a tiny little girl, people were saying what's with this kid and her memory?
You know, they called me Miss Memory. I was one of six kids. And any time you can find something to distinguish you from your brothers and sisters, you're happy.
So I had this unusual memory for dates and details and stuff. And so I had -- they called me Univax (ph), because you know, I was the family historian.
And then I was 18 years old before, you know, my girlfriend finally said to me, you know, when are you going to realize that no one else has this crazy memory?
So I started paying attention to it.
Well, anybody who was really a close friend of mine knew it. And people would call me up and say, oh, you know, when did we do this, when did we do that?
And so Lesley Stahl was a friend of mine. And there was a woman named Jill Price who had gone through testing at UC Irvine because she felt that she had this unusual memory. And they finally said, wow, we've never seen anything like this. The scientists, the doctors, they documented it, they tested it. And they offered the story to both "Prime Time Live" and Lesley Stahl. And she said I hate to burst your bubble, but Marilu Henner has the same memory. So she didn't take the story. And in fact, she had one of her producers, Shari Finkelstein, go to lunch with me to prove that I had it and why she didn't think it was that rare.
MORGAN: You've now met smooth people that have this -- this --
MORGAN: -- ability.
HENNER: Yes, I met them December the 7th of 2009.
MORGAN: Do you know what like -- I mean what I remember about you most vividly from "The Apprentice" was the unbelievable energy that you used to radiate --
HENNER: Well, Donald Trump, you know, thought was coming (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: I mean you look about 30. But I know you're --
HENNER: Thank you.
MORGAN: -- you're double that, correct?
HENNER: I'm double that. And, in fact, I woke up on my --
MORGAN: And who -- I mean just for people watching, Marilu is 60 years old.
HENNER: I turned 60 April 6th, so three weeks ago --.
MORGAN: I mean it's unbelievable.
HENNER: Thank you.
MORGAN: You are a --
HENNER: And you're still going to flirt with me.
MORGAN: Of course I'm going to flirt with you.
What else would I possibly be doing with you?
MORGAN: Well, let's take a short break.
MORGAN: When we come back, I want to put you to the test.
MORGAN: Because I am riveted by the new side of Marilu Henner -- HENNER: Oh.
MORGAN: -- that I didn't know exists.
MORGAN: The brain that goes with the beauty and the energy.
HENNER: Thank you.
MORGAN: You're almost a perfect woman, aren't you?
HENNER: Good thing I'm breeding. I bred. A perfect --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to play cards here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Marilu Henner in the classic comedy called "Taxi" from Paramount TV.
Marilu is back with me now.
I loved "Taxi."
HENNER: Oh my gosh, I loved it so much.
MORGAN: I think I told you, when I first saw you on "The Apprentice," I was like I used to be in love with Marilu Henner. I still am, really, but at the time, you were like my pinup.
HENNER: I know. You said that. I was so excited. I went home and practiced poses. I got to use them in the show.
MORGAN: How do you look so amazing?
HENNER: Oh, well, you know, I lost my parents really young. My father died of a heart attack at 52, when I was 17. My mom died of arthritis at 58. She was so crippled up with arthritis. She was a dancing teacher. She ended up losing her leg. They had horrible, horrible deaths.
And I made a vow that I would learn everything I could about the human body after they died, so that if I've been dealt this genetic hand, I'd better work with it. And so I just changed my life. I changed the eating habits of most of my family. And, you know, I just -- you said, I turned 60 through -- almost three weeks ago and I've outlived both of my parents.
MORGAN: It's amazing.
HENNER: So I think living a -- as a vegan, no dairy, no meat. My children have never had a cheeseburger or a glass of milk.
HENNER: No. They're healthy and strong.
MORGAN: They've never had a cheeseburger?
HENNER: No. They're healthy and strong. They're --
MORGAN: Does any part of you feel guilty that they've never had a disgustingly unhealthy cheeseburger?
HENNER: No, and people said what -- what's going to happen if your children have a cheeseburger?
And I'd say I just hope they're writhing in pain so that they learn. So --
HENNER: They're just not even interested. They can't even stand the smell of it.
MORGAN: What do they make?
You've got two boys, right?
HENNER: Two boys, yes, 16 and 17, almost 18.
MORGAN: What do they make of your strange memory?
HENNER: Well, they've grown up with it, you know, so they -- and they have very good memories, both of them. I mean they might --
MORGAN: I mean they can't play you at Scrabble, can they, because you can remember, presumably --
HENNER: Actually, my husband is the best person at Scrabble, because he's really good at all that.
MORGAN: But surely you could remember almost every word that's ever existed.
HENNER: It's -- well, I don't know about that. But that's more like photographic memory. You know, I can more remember the last Scrabble game we had, you know what I'm saying?
MORGAN: Well, let's just put this to the test, because I --
MORGAN: -- I find this gripping.
MORGAN: So if I was to say to you, what did you do on August the 16th, 1977?
HENNER: Oh, OK. August the 16th of 1977, I was just flying back from Las Vegas. My boyfriend at the time, Lloyd Allen (ph), was performing there in Vegas at the Aladdin Hotel. I was flying back and I was driving from the airport.
And I found out -- and that was -- that was a -- '77 -- that was a Tuesday. And I heard on the radio that Elvis Presley had died.
MORGAN: My God.
HENNER: Isn't that the -- the truth?
MORGAN: No, I mean look --
MORGAN: -- it's -- it's shocking the way you can remember --
HENNER: And I know what I was wearing --
MORGAN: -- that Elvis died that day, because even though I vaguely knew it was the end of the '70s, the fact that you remember your day is --
HENNER: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: -- even more extraordinary.
HENNER: No. And I remember where I ate the night before. I remember over the -- that weekend at one point -- he was in the show "Grease" and the -- the -- the little go -- the car during "Greased Lightning" went off and into somebody's table.
I mean it's like all of a sudden, everything starts flooding back for me.
MORGAN: OK. July the --
HENNER: I have this --
MORGAN: -- July the 29th, 1981.
HENNER: July 29th, 1981. OK. Now you're getting me nervous, you know. July 29th, 1981, that was a Wednesday.
Do you have that, July 29th -- MORGAN: It was a Wednesday.
HENNER: -- 1981.
MORGAN: It was a Wednesday.
HENNER: OK, so, oh, gosh, I don't know if this -- if I know the historical thing that happened. It's not a sports thing --
MORGAN: Well, it doesn't really matter, because it -- I guess it only would come back to you if it meant something to you on that particular day.
HENNER: Oh, I know what I was doing. Oh my gosh, July 29th, 1981. OK, it was a Wednesday?
I was shooting in Soho the movie "Dream House" with John Snyder. And we were shooting like my apartment there. And that was -- you're not going to believe this -- that's the first time I ever listened to a Walkman. And I heard the song, "du, du, du, da, da, da" by Sting, which I'm obsessed with. And we ate at Spring Street Natural, OK?
But something probably historical happened and I totally --
MORGAN: Somebody got married.
HENNER: No, we got up too early in the morning. You shouldn't have even told me that, because that would have come back. I was at the Warwick Hotel. We got up super early to watch Charles and Diana get married. And then I went to -- I went to shoot down in Soho "Dream House."..
MORGAN: You see we --
HENNER: -- with John Snyder.
MORGAN: This is absolutely incredible, because I -- I love the way your brain began to map out. And then the moment I mentioned wedding, you instinctively knew.
HENNER: Oh, yes. Well, I would have come up with that. I was just like --
MORGAN: Yes, but I wouldn't have had a clue. And yet I was a journalist at the time covering all this stuff. I wouldn't have a clue.
HENNER: Oh, really?
MORGAN: I wouldn't know what month, what day, nothing.
MORGAN: To you, it seems perfectly normal -- HENNER: It's -- it's perfectly normal.
MORGAN: -- all this fun.
HENNER: Well --
MORGAN: -- "do, do, do" by Sting.
HENNER: Yes, I know.
MORGAN: I mean --
HENNER: It was -- it was the first time I ever heard it. Well, OK, so the way it works for me -- because people, for years, have been asking me how my memory works. And when I was a little girl, I used to say, well, you know how you go to the library and you pull out a card catalog, but you have to be on this side of it because it's kind of chronological like this.
And then it was oh, look at VHS. But it really, the -- the best way I could describe it was when I saw a scene selection on a DVD, because for me, you say 1981 and the whole year kind of lines itself up on a time continuum. And I'm seeing simultaneous little videos of each day of that year.
MORGAN: If I said to you, two momentous things have happened on March the 30th in your lifetime, right --
HENNER: I -- I know one of them for sure in --
MORGAN: Go on.
HENNER: -- in 1981. That's when Reagan was shot. And it was supposed to be the Academy Awards that night, but they postponed it until the next night.
MORGAN: That's true.
MORGAN: 1965, March the 30th.
HENNER: Oh, that's early for me. I mean I was not even 13.
MORGAN: Does your memory go back that far?
HENNER: It does. It does. It goes back. But maybe it wasn't something --
MORGAN: It's, arguably, one of the most important moments of the -- of the 20th century, certainly.
HENNER: Oh, March the 30th of 19 --
HENNER: -- '65. March the 30th of 1965.
MORGAN: Winston Churchill had died a few months before.
MORGAN: And this was almost like the natural accession.
HENNER: Oh, you know, --
MORGAN: Another heroic Brit who was --
MORGAN: -- who was going to dominate the world.
HENNER: Uh-oh. I'm sorry. I just --
MORGAN: It's my birthday.
HENNER: March 30th, 1965.
MORGAN: Now you'll never forget it.
HENNER: Oh, now I will never forget it.
MORGAN: Now here's the thing --
HENNER: -- which was a Tuesday.
MORGAN: That's entirely true.
HENNER: Yes, I know.
MORGAN: And amazing.
HENNER: And amazing.
MORGAN: Does that mean that if I interviewed you in five year's time --
HENNER: I will never forget your birthday. And I won't forget that we did it on this day.
MORGAN: Because it's happened today?
HENNER: Because it happened today and --
MORGAN: So now it's part of your life.
HENNER: Yes. And I adore you, so -- and I -- I never looked up your birthday before or anything else like that.
MORGAN: The book is --
HENNER: I could have babysat for you.
MORGAN: It's -- I wish you had. I used to dream of things like that. But the -- the -- the book is fascinating. I -- I really can't stress that highly enough.
HENNER: It -- it's really for other people. This is not me showing off my memory.
MORGAN: Very quickly, can you be trained to have anything like this kind of memory?
HENNER: You may not be able to have HSAM, but I know that I can bring back people's memories in -- in ways that they never imagined before. And I've been -- I've been working in the memory world for a long time now, way before "60 Minutes." And I've been working with people, individuals, couples and stuff. There's never been anybody I've prompted or done -- have -- has done my exercises without being able to go back.
You know, it's really like taking what happens for me naturally and turning it into exercises for other people.
MORGAN: Yes, I think I know why you've been married three times now.
MORGAN: Because I couldn't understand why -- why you would ever -- why any man would ever let you go. But, actually, it's because you must never forget any bad thing they ever do.
HENNER: But it's a -- that's a --
MORGAN: They can never have a bad --
HENNER: No, it doesn't --
MORGAN: -- drunken night in a pub --
HENNER: Oh, oh, gosh.
MORGAN: -- because you remember the time --
HENNER: I married three guys who were all --
MORGAN: You remember the times, the dates, the people they were with.
HENNER: So what?
What -- what wives don't remember?
My husband always says -- because people ask him that very question. He always says, what man ever wins an argument against his wife anyway? At least I have an excuse for it.
HENNER: So --
MORGAN: Marilu, it's been so nice to see you again.
HENNER: Oh, you mean it's over?
MORGAN: It's over.
HENNER: Oh, no.
MORGAN: But one thing is for sure --
HENNER: Too short. March 30th -- OK.
MORGAN: We will never forget it.
HENNER: We will never forget it. I'll never forget you, anyway.
MORGAN: It's a brilliant book, "Total Memory Makeover," Marilu Henner. It's a best-seller. Go and buy it. It's amazing.
HENNER: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: Lovely to see you.
HENNER: It's so great to see you, too. Oh my gosh.
MORGAN: That was freaky.
Next, Only In America -- show me the money, the billion dollar NFL draft.
MORGAN: Tonight's Only in America, the NFL draft, a bemusing spectacle for any non-American sports lover like me, to put it mildly. Tonight, just a few blocks from the studio, at Radio City Music Hall in New York, a pageant of brawn instead of beauty is under way, where strapping young men are frog marched into an arena, judged and bid over by hideously wealthy, cigar chomping owners.
It's like a Dickensian cattle market. And these are the prized heifers. It's not just the rich old guys wheeling and dealing. Parents, agents, handlers, you name it, everyone wants a piece of the action.
The action, meanwhile, has little option but to sit there, look pretty and wait, often for a call that never comes. It's a ruthless, unedifying, and -- let's face it -- often completely humiliating way of doing business.
Once the player is selected, the owners often, with unseemly speed, trade them straight off to another team, a clear message to these impressionable young men being we love you, but we just don't love you as much as that other guy. So you run along now to wherever we tell you.
Of course, a few of these young men will become famous and fabulously wealthy and have a long career in the NFL. Others won't be so successful. Some won't even play a single game in the pros, which is why the draft critics call the whole process a thoroughly demeaning exercise, a sporting version of Roman gladiatorial blood sport, with poor, unsuspecting competitors's lives decided on the whim of a rich, powerful man's raised thumb.
Let's be honest here, it's also bloody good fun to watch.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.