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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Politics and the President; Obama's Sister Speaks; Ryan O'Neal's Life and Loves

Aired May 2, 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, mission accomplished or mission impossible? I'll ask a man who spent years on the front lines in Afghanistan. Sebastian Junger joins me exclusively.

Also Barack Obama's long-lost sister.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins of every race and every hue scattered across three continents.

MORGAN: Auma Obama on the president only she knows.

And Ryan O'Neal living his life on the edge. The last time he was here, he said some pretty uncomfortable things about his daughter, Tatum, and his long-time love, Farrah Fawcett.

RYAN O'NEAL, AUTHOR, "BOTH OF US, MY LIFE WITH FARRAH": Tatum and Farrah -- I get them mixed up all the time. I said Tatum, Farrah --

MORGAN: Really?

O'NEAL: I do.

MORGAN: Welcome back.

O'NEAL: Piers Morgan, are you?

MORGAN: Tonight he's back talking candidly and emotionally about Farrah, Tatum and his other children, and his own battle with cancer.

Plus "Only in America." The most electrifying political ad you've ever seen.

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Our "Big Story" tonight, politics and the president. Amid charges of him spiking the football, President Obama hails the beginning of the end of the war in Afghanistan. I'll ask a man who knows that troubled region better than most, Sebastian Junger, has this country achieved everything it set out to do.

Plus an extraordinary interview with Ryan O'Neal. His life after Farrah Fawcett and his fractured relationships with his children. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: When you finished the book, was it today cathartic in the sense of making you perhaps aware more that you were probably on balance failed them more than they failed you? Did you conclude that?

O'NEAL: I feel that I failed Farrah. They can take care of themselves. It was Farrah that I was concerned about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: An emotional Ryan O'Neal coming up later. But we begin with our "Big Story," politics, president, the war in Afghanistan.

Joining me now a man who's seen that war firsthand, Sebastian Junger. For more than a year he was embedded with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat team in a remote corner of eastern Afghanistan. He tells the story in his book "War" and Sebastian Junger joins me now.

Sebastian, what do you make of the president's visit to Afghanistan yesterday? There's sort of a debate, really, over whether he had spiked the football. Is that a fair allegation, do you think?

SEBASTIAN JUNGER, AUTHOR, "WAR": Well, I don't know if I'm qualified to judge politics, but I think there is a kind of convergence here. It's the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and arguably that was the point of the past 10 years of war was to accomplish that. And it's the beginning of the presidential election for next November. So these two things kind of converged. And I think it was sort of a little too much to pass up for him.

MORGAN: Yes. I mean it'd be pretty staggering if an American president didn't do what he did, I thought, but let's move to the Afghanistan conflict. I call it conflict because I would say the jury is out whether this was ever a proper war, or whether it was really a covert and sometimes not-so-covert counterterrorist operation.

From what you saw and witnessed ground, what would you say?

JUNGER: Well, it certainly was not covert. I mean we had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan along with many more from NATO, so it wasn't -- wasn't covert. I think it was a war in the sense that the war on crime is a war. The war on drugs. It was an ongoing struggle against something that is very, very hard to pin down, and the question is -- I think the real strategic question is, I mean we're never going to win the war on drugs, for example, but are we better off fighting it or not fighting it?

I think that's the only strategic question that would form policy. The point of this war really was not so much about Afghanistan, it was about al Qaeda and the attacks of 9/11 and then some of the attacks that followed in Europe. Al Qaeda has been decimated and I don't -- personally, I don't think that could have been done without a platform in Afghanistan. I'm not a military commander, but that's just my opinion as a journalist on the ground. MORGAN: I mean the reason I used the word covert was a lot of the direct activity in relation to al Qaeda, for example, taking out their top people, a lot of that was covert, special forces operations. The actual sort of main battleground, if you like, was a very tough, arduous campaign, and it's very hard to argue, I think, that America has walked away any more victorious really than the Soviet Union did.

JUNGER: Well, the Soviet Union wasn't trying to take out a terrorist cell that had -- that had attacked Moscow. They had a very, very different goal. And I think for a while the U.S. had the goal of putting in a friendly government in Kabul.

A lot of business went unattended. I think we were distracted by Iraq. And some years later, '07, '08, it was pretty clear that the government in Kabul was -- was extremely problematic. But again, the reason for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was the 9/11 attacks. Those were done by al Qaeda, and I think it would be very, very hard to argue that al Qaeda has won this war.

MORGAN: Yes, I think that -- let's move forward to 2014 so I can make my point probably more appropriately. In 2014, American forces will pretty much have gone. The Taliban are being trusted to do business, otherwise nothing is going to move forward.

Is it likely that the Taliban can be trusted to do that? And in a sense, if they don't, then the original point of this war, to go in, yes, to take on al Qaeda but also to take on the Taliban, who are protecting the al Qaeda operatives, if that fails, if the Taliban simply revert to the way they were before, and there is a genuine fear they do that, then the overall gambit, if you like, of the war would have failed, won't it?

JUNGER: Well, you know, it depends on what we feel is a failure. I mean I -- since we've been there, we in the United States have not been attacked again by al Qaeda. If we broaden the definition of success to a stable and humane Afghanistan, I mean right now this is the lowest level of civilian casualties in that country in 30 years.

I think when we leave there's a very good chance that violence will go up and the war will escalate and you will have essentially the civil war of the 1990s, the Northern Alliance against the Taliban, backed by Pakistan. It's got to be clear to the Taliban right now that the consequences of renewing a relationship with al Qaeda will be very possibly renewed American involvement.

I mean they can't have not taken that lesson from the months following 9/11. So what may be happening is that there are back channel communications with the Taliban where basically there's an accommodation arranged, if you do not harbor terrorists, we will not mess with you. I mean I don't know. I'm just guessing, but I can imagine that happening.

MORGAN: Sebastian Junger, thank you very much for joining me.

JUNGER: Thank you. MORGAN: As President Obama deals with fallout from his Afghanistan trip and faces down Mitt Romney in the political battle of his life, I want to turn to a person who knows the president pretty well better than most of us. It's his sister, Auma Obama, who grew up in Kenya. Didn't meet her younger brother until the early '80s. They've been close ever since.

Auma is the author of a new book, "And Then Life Happens: A Memoir." And I'm delighted to say she joins me now.

Auma, welcome.

AUMA OBAMA, PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SISTER: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

MORGAN: You have the Obama smile. I would recognize that a mile off.

A. OBAMA: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: It's a wonderful title, "And Then Life Happens," because your life must have just changed so dramatically, I guess in several ways. Once when Barack Obama, who is nowhere near being president at the time, he's just a young man, after the death of the father that you shared, decides to contact you. Tell me about that moment first.

A. OBAMA: That was -- at that time when it happened, it was actually initially quite a big shock because I write about that in my book, about the fact that I got this letter. It was -- there was an address written on it with my name and the handwriting was very similar, and I -- very familiar. And I turned the letter over and it had the name Barack Obama on it and that was the name of my father.

And the handwriting was very similar to that of my father. So in the first instance I was really shocked and I said, oh my god, what is it?

MORGAN: Freaky, yes.

A. OBAMA: It was a bit freaky. And then I opened the letter and it was my brother and he was introducing himself and making contact and wanting to be in touch. The reason being that he had been contacted because my father had died so I think there was this need and this urge to get to know family and he contacted me.

MORGAN: And who went to see who first?

A. OBAMA: I went to see him first.

MORGAN: In Chicago?

A. OBAMA: In Chicago. I went there.

MORGAN: So you go to Chicago. It's your first trip to America.

A. OBAMA: Yes. MORGAN: There's a wonderful picture in the book which has you and Barack Obama. There, that's on the day you meet.

A. OBAMA: Yes.

MORGAN: And he's cooking you a meal.

A. OBAMA: Yes.

MORGAN: That's the stove there. What did he cook you?

A. OBAMA: He cooked me Indonesian food on that day.

MORGAN: Any good?

A. OBAMA: It was really good, it was really good. I enjoyed it. And I really did enjoy it. But I guess I don't remember so much about the food because when we met each other we spent so much time talking. We had so much to say to each other that the food was just a secondary factor and a bonus of this great experience of meeting him.

MORGAN: Did you feel an instant affinity to this man? Did you feel a brother-sister thing?

A. OBAMA: Yes, I did. And to be honest it's amazing, because people ask me that often. And when I did go to Chicago that first time I came to America, I had a plan. I went there and I had a friend who was studying in Carbondale, which is in southern Illinois. And I went to visit her first and then I planned to visit Barack in between and then go back to the friend in case I didn't like him. And then be able to recover and go back to Germany where I was studying.

But immediately, you know, he called my name and from that moment on, I just knew that he was the familiar. And from there on we really got on. So I'm really blessed that that was possible.

MORGAN: He then came to Kenya.

A. OBAMA: Yes, he did.

MORGAN: Tell me about that.

A. OBAMA: It was great.

MORGAN: That must have been quite a moment for him.

A. OBAMA: It was. It was.

MORGAN: To find this whole family, extended family he'd never met.

A. OBAMA: Yes. It was quite -- I think there was a lot of energy. It was very energizing both for him and for me. For me it was also partly because I was then -- you know, normally you know your family. You take the concept of having a big family for granted. Because he had come I was introducing him to family. So I kept going to see different family members I hadn't seen for a very long time.

And he gave me the ability to look at my family in this perspective. And for them it was like, oh, it's a lost son who's come home because they knew about him. My father always talked about Barack. You know we had -- he had contact with Barack's mother and he had -- he knew his grades and how well he did in school.

So there was always that contact then in terms of knowing that I had a brother and the family knowing they had a son. But the actual coming there was really quite -- it was a very intense period.

MORGAN: It must have been incredible. Now also what was incredible was what happened next. And after the break, I'm going to ask you what it was like the moment you realized Barack was going to be president of the United States. Because that must be quite a moment.

A. OBAMA: That was.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. A. OBAMA: I'm the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles, and cousins of every race and every hue scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on earth is my story even possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A memorable speech from the 2008 campaign as Barack Obama, poised to make history as the first African-American president of the United States. And I'm back now with his sister, Auma Obama.

What a moment, I mean, for you and the family, but for you to watch this guy who tracked you down and then he becomes president of the United States of America.

A. OBAMA: Imagine that.

MORGAN: What did you feel?

A. OBAMA: It was a moment of great pride because, you know, I was so proud of him. Also I did participate in the campaign, so I was part of that struggle and part of that -- the work that was done toward getting him there. So it was just kind of a moment to exhale and to be really, really proud to be part of what he had been able to achieve and what for me was even more important and more moving was the fact that so many people from so many different backgrounds within America, the diversity of America culturally, you know, with -- different language backgrounds, they all were behind him and it really speaks to who we are as a family as well.

The fact that he was able to combine all these different people to come together and believe in what he was trying to achieve for his country. And I was just immensely proud of him and I still am.

MORGAN: You were actually a bridesmaid at his wedding to Michelle.

A. OBAMA: Yes, I was.

MORGAN: In Chicago.

A. OBAMA: Yes, I was.

MORGAN: I bet that wasn't like your average Kenyan wedding, right?

(LAUGHTER)

A. OBAMA: No, it wasn't really. It was a new experience for me. It was very -- it was a beautiful wedding. A very, very lovely --

MORGAN: Did you approve of your brother's choice of bride?

A. OBAMA: Definitely, definitely. I love her dearly. Definitely. So it was -- it was beautiful. I mean it was a great moment, a great family moment, because we were all there. Everybody had a chance, I got to meet all of Michelle's family which was wonderful. And you know they embraced us and took us in as part of the family and that was really an important moment for me because that was the extension of Barack's family so --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: What do you say -- what do you say to your brother when he becomes president? I've always wondered what that must be like, that first conversation afterwards. Do you remember what you said to him?

A. OBAMA: I said well done, little brother, well done.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Not much more to say, really, is there?

A. OBAMA: No, no, because he's always my brother and he remains my brother. And to me that's the most important thing is that --

MORGAN: Do you speak to him much? Can you speak to him if he's president much?

A. OBAMA: As much as you speak to your sibling, your brother or your sister, depending on what your work, you know, your time allows. So it's really -- we have a very normal relationship. That's the boring part of it because people ask me that question often and I really say it's a really normal family relationship, you know --

MORGAN: I mean how does it work? Can you actually pick the phone up and just call him?

(LAUGHTER)

A. OBAMA: Here we go.

MORGAN: I'm fascinated.

A. OBAMA: Come on, he's just my brother. Seriously.

MORGAN: Yes, if I want to call my sister, I just call her up. Obviously.

A. OBAMA: Exactly. That is it.

MORGAN: Is it that easy?

A. OBAMA: Yes.

MORGAN: What, he picks the phone up?

A. OBAMA: Look, you can call the White House, there's a number. Anybody can call.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You must have been there a few times, right?

A. OBAMA: Yes, I --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Have you got your own little special room?

(LAUGHTER)

A. OBAMA: There's so many rooms to choose from.

MORGAN: There's got to be some perks. Now my sister --

A. OBAMA: The main perk is just that he's my brother. Really, seriously, that is so important to me.

MORGAN: Now my sister is like you. She loves me, she's proud of me, she's proud of my rather meager achievements compared to your brother's, but she's also my toughest critic.

A. OBAMA: OK.

MORGAN: She's the one -- one of the ones I listen to most. Are you a critic to Barack? Do you sometimes say to him, look, mate, you're my brother and here's my advice on this?

A. OBAMA: You know, the thing is, he has such a particular job to do, and I do a certain kind of job myself. So really the way I see it, even with your sister, I mean, just let me ask you a question now. What does your sister do, what is her job?

MORGAN: She's a mother of four children. A. OBAMA: So she's a housewife.

MORGAN: Yes.

A. OBAMA: So that is her specialty in what she does. And really she does it fantastically and normally I'm sure you won't mix into work. Maybe when her kids become teenagers and start asking uncle and seeing mom, I'm getting this (INAUDIBLE), let's discuss. But really up until now my brother hasn't needed me. You know he's doing a fantastic job and I am doing my job so when we meet up, we're catching up on family time.

You know we're spending the time really, you know, just giving each other the energy to continue the work we do because my work is also somewhat challenging in the humanitarian area that I work in. So you know I'm comfortable and I trust that he's doing his job.

MORGAN: But does he get this great singing voice from his African side, do you think? He must have.

A. OBAMA: What great singing voice?

MORGAN: Well, you obviously heard him sing Al Green, right? Did you hear that?

A. OBAMA: I did, I heard it.

MORGAN: It was unbelievable. That must be on your side, surely.

A. OBAMA: I'm not saying anything because I'm his sister, you know.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: At Christmas parties, does he do the Al Green impression?

A. OBAMA: I heard it the first time when he did it on TV.

MORGAN: Were you surprised as the rest of us? Did you know he had a good voice?

A. OBAMA: No, my brother has a sense of humor. You know he -- he loves a good laugh, so I wasn't surprised that he'd do that. Yes.

MORGAN: It's a wonderful book. I mean I really -- it's fascinating. It's an amazing story, isn't it?

A. OBAMA: Thank you.

MORGAN: And as he said in that speech, this could only happen in a country like America where someone like him with his background, you know, with a such disparate wide-ranging background, could do this. I really enjoyed reading it. It's called "And Then Life Happens: A Memoir."

Give me a quick reference to the charitable work that you do, the humanitarian --

A. OBAMA: I work -- I used to work for CARE for almost five years. I've now started my own foundation called Sauti Kuu, which means powerful voices. And I work with children and young people. And the real focus of the work is that we use a lot of sport and other activities to give children confidence and give them self-esteem because we work with rural children who come from poor families and urban slum children who are living in really poverty and destitution.

And what we try to do is try and work with them in such a way that they learned what local resources they have. That they can use to improve their lives with their families to be economically sustainable.

MORGAN: All right.

A. OBAMA: Because very many times in the work we do, we work with young people and then we let go of them when they become young adults. But if they're not employable, if they can't have further education, if they can't do some kind of business to earn a living, we failed at the end of it so what our foundation is trying to make sure that there is some sustainability in their economic development and end up -- they end becoming citizens who actually are not dependent, who are not victims and are not dependent on aid.

MORGAN: Great. It sounds a terrific thing. I hope people can find out the Web site, presumably. What is it?

A. OBAMA: Yes, there is a Web site. Sauti Kuu Website.

MORGAN: Great. And just to confirm one thing, you spent 11 years in England.

A. OBAMA: Yes, I did.

MORGAN: You can rule out that Barack was born in England if Donald Trump --

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I couldn't -- there is no little nugget in the book, I've missed --

(CROSSTALK)

A. OBAMA: That would be a big surprise to me if he was born in England.

MORGAN: That would be great for my mother country.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: The president turns out to be born in England.

A. OBAMA: Well, he does have relatives in Ireland so that's --

MORGAN: Does he? Well, even more intriguing.

A. OBAMA: There you are.

MORGAN: Auma, come back and we'll solve this puzzle. It's been a real pleasure.

A. OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you for inviting me.

MORGAN: Nice to meet you.

A. OBAMA: It was great. Thank you.

MORGAN: The president's sister. A great book.

Coming up, my interview with Ryan O'Neal. Why he says he cares more about Farrah Fawcett than his own children. It's an extraordinary encounter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: The last time I interviewed Ryan O'Neal he was remarkably candid about his life, not to mention his relationships with his children and with his long-time love, Farrah Fawcett. Now he's back with a new book, "Both of Us, My Life with Farrah," and Ryan rejoins me now.

Welcome back.

O'NEAL: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: How are you?

O'NEAL: Fine. I'm fine.

MORGAN: I mean the very last time I saw you was after that interview. It was a very emotional night because you were in one part of this building and Tatum was in another and you both got very emotional in those interviews. And I was then walking on a stretch of Malibu Beach with my wife and there you are. You're playing Frisbee with your dogs.

O'NEAL: Yes, but still emotional.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: But I remember having a chat with you and you said that actually that experience, even though it was incredibly emotional and raw and visceral and so on, had actually been quite helpful with your relationship with Tatum.

O'NEAL: Mm-hmm.

MORGAN: How are things now?

O'NEAL: Quite good, actually. Quite good. We don't have Oprah Winfrey between us anymore so we are able to actually communicate. MORGAN: Was that helpful or not, doing that show?

O'NEAL: I don't think it was very helpful, no. Too bad. I think -- I think it was plotted wrong.

MORGAN: In what way?

O'NEAL: Well, they said you're against him, remember that. You're against him.

MORGAN: This was a reality show that focused on your life and Tatum's together.

O'NEAL: Yes, yes.

MORGAN: Father and daughter.

O'NEAL: Yes.

MORGAN: On Oprah's OWN network.

O'NEAL: Yes.

MORGAN: You think from the start the premise was never going to work for you two?

O'NEAL: Well, we thought we had a plan, she and I, in that we would make stuff up. To make it controversial. And that isn't what happened. It got heated and hurtful. Very hurtful. And after it was over, we didn't speak for quite a while. But now we are. I got sick and that -- she responded to that.

MORGAN: You have three cancers.

O'NEAL: Yes, I do right now. I have the trifecta.

MORGAN: Prostate cancer. You have --

O'NEAL: I have this, I had this removed before I got here.

MORGAN: And you also have leukemia.

O'NEAL: And I have leukemia, yes. Chronic.

MORGAN: So what is the prognosis for you?

O'NEAL: Well, I don't plan to give in to it. I have, you know, a schedule. I will go back to Los Angeles and try cryopathy for the prostate, which is to freeze it. It's new, but it's supposed to be quite effective. And I've shaved the cancer off my nose and the leukemia is in check. So they'll just have to figure something else out.

MORGAN: I've been watching some of your interviews this week to promote the book. It's a fascinating book, it's a fascinating life as I discovered last time. But there's so much raw aspect to your life. O'NEAL: To the story?

MORGAN: Yes, this is your life generally. It seems like you're constantly in some kind of battle.

O'NEAL: How did that happen? I just wanted to make people laugh. I don't guess I succeeded. But I don't know how to answer that actually.

MORGAN: I mean you -- Tatum has been, since I interviewed her, having more problems with drugs. You have a son --

O'NEAL: She had a slip-up, but her -- we came to her aid, Redmond and I, and she was very appreciative of that and as a result she's doing quite well, quite well. And no more relapsing and she's laughing and very happy and anxious to be of service to me.

MORGAN: What was her reaction to the book? Because I mean you're remarkably frank in it.

O'NEAL: I know. And I gave -- I gave her the book to read and I didn't hear from her for a week and then she text me and she said it's fine, it's a good book and nice work. That was it. We haven't discussed it since.

MORGAN: Redmond has been in rehab as well. How's he doing?

O'NEAL: He's -- he hasn't read it. He hasn't read it, because there's a lot in it about his mother in pain. And I -- he's not ready to hear that yet. He's -- he should get through his treatment first and then. And Patrick was the first one in my family to read it. And he said it's a terrific book and maybe it's a little too honest, dad. That kind of shocked me.

MORGAN: I mean, Patrick is the one who's emerged from the wreckage, if you like.

O'NEAL: Yes. Yes, he has.

MORGAN: The best, I mean many would argue.

O'NEAL: Yes. He's -- he's our pillar of strength. He's a successful broadcaster at Fox and has been for over 10 years. And -- and -- and I adore him. And thank God for Patrick.

MORGAN: Griffin remains --

O'NEAL: I don't even --

MORGAN: -- somewhere in jail.

O'NEAL: He's in -- he's in a prison, but I don't know where.

MORGAN: You have no contact with him?

O'NEAL: No. MORGAN: I saw you say this week that, you know, you just never learned how to be a good parent. And you've attracted criticism for that. People are saying well, nobody really is a natural parent. You have to just work at it. You have to become the best parent you -- you can become.

Do you feel, when you read the book back and you read all this stuff and relived it all -- do you feel you gave parenting your best shot or do you think that you were too selfish, perhaps, at times?

O'NEAL: Well, I know I tried.

MORGAN: Did you try hard enough?

O'NEAL: I don't know about that.

I don't know, have I tried hard enough?

I love them. And sometimes that's not enough. Also, I was a working actor, you know, so I -- I was on the fly a lot of the time. They were not with me, or they were with me but it was not the kind of situation where I could parent properly.

I had makeup on.

MORGAN: I mean --

O'NEAL: I was Barry Lyndon.

MORGAN: I mean last time you were here with me, you were quite you know -- people thought you were pretty harsh on your kids. They felt that you were absolving yourself of responsibility. You know, you were quite tough with them.

O'NEAL: Well, listen, my record is so bad, I don't know how I could do that, absolve myself. They've, you know, they've -- they've --

MORGAN: Well, people thought you were trying to almost pass the buck, if you like.

O'NEAL: No, I never meant to do that. I wouldn't do that.

MORGAN: When you finished the book, was it cathartic in the sense of making you, perhaps, aware more that you had probably, on balance, failed them more than they had failed you?

Did you conclude that?

O'NEAL: I feel that I failed Farrah. They can take care of themselves. It was Farrah that I was concerned about. It was Farrah whom I loved and whom I lost. And -- and the children are alive and -- and we'll work it out. We'll work it out. Patrick will help me.

MORGAN: You see -- well, let me stop you there. Even when you say that -- and I -- I like you. We -- we've -- we've got on well when we've met. And I found the book very absorbing, I have to say. And you've been a great actor.

But when you say no, my concern was Farrah --

O'NEAL: Well, I'm talking about the writing of this book.

MORGAN: No, I -- I understand that. But when -- when other parents see you be apparently dismissive of your children in that way, sort of saying that they weren't as important to me --

O'NEAL: Well --

MORGAN: -- they always react against you.

O'NEAL: But parents -- children are always important to you. But one is nearly 50 and another is 48 and another one is 45. And, you know, I think it's time they have to, you know, stand up on their own two feet. Whether I was enough of -- for them, I don't know. I guess not, once you look at their record.

And when I met Farrah, I didn't -- I kind of lost track of them. I -- I was too focused.

MORGAN: Do you regret that now?

O'NEAL: Sure. Of course. I would have done things differently. I -- I don't know how successful I would be, but I would have -- I would have tried hard -- different opportunities.

MORGAN: Let's take a short break.

I want to come back and talk about Farrah. It was an extraordinary love story, a tempestuous love story.

O'NEAL: Yes.

MORGAN: The great love of your life.

O'NEAL: Yes.

MORGAN: Let's talk about it when we come back.

O'NEAL: Sure.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I forgot my key.

O'NEAL: Jenny, I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't. Love means never having to say you're sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: One of the great lines from one of the great movies, Ryan O'Neal in "Love Story" with Ali McGraw, one of the most popular love stories of all time. This terrific couple whose life together was cut short by cancer.

Ryan, I guess for you the life parallels became particularly acute when you fell in love with Farrah Fawcett Major and she, herself, ended up dying at a cruelly young age from cancer.

And you lived through the -- the story line that you had -- had been in.

O'NEAL: Yes.

MORGAN: The book is very focused on Farrah. The -- the cover, it's a beautiful picture of you. She was the great love of your life.

I got the feeling the last time you were here that you just never got over it. And I doubt you ever will --

O'NEAL: Never.

MORGAN: -- losing her, that it's sort of -- I wouldn't say it's ruined your life, but it's certainly married it to an extent where --

O'NEAL: It's isolated me. I can't rev up anymore. That was it. She is missed.

MORGAN: But do you think you're capable of ever loving like that again?

O'NEAL: Only her. I still love her like I did. I remember --

MORGAN: You tell --

O'NEAL: -- her with such love.

MORGAN: Yes, you tell the story of when you meet her and it was just like this sort of shining light.

O'NEAL: She just smiled and that -- the day -- the day brightened or something.

MORGAN: It -- it was a fiery relationship. You, you know -- you make no bones about it. It got physical. And you talk about having been a boxer yourself. You would defend yourself as she came at you.

Did you ever hit her inappropriately, now that you look back at it?

O'NEAL: Well, I missed her inappropriately.

MORGAN: Did you ever try and punch her?

O'NEAL: I -- she went into a bathroom and I punched the door and the door collapsed and hit her in the eye and I broke my hand. So the two of us were -- I was looking at her eye and she was getting ice for my hand. Those kinds of things were horrible.

And once we were close to a fight and Redmond came into the room with a knife and he held it to his heart and he said, "If you don't stop, I'll plunge it in, into myself."

MORGAN: And he was only six or seven years old.

O'NEAL: Yes, he was.

MORGAN: It's a pretty awful --

O'NEAL: Awful. It was just awful.

MORGAN: It's awful a young boy would ever even think of that. He must have been exposed to --

O'NEAL: Well --

MORGAN: -- a pretty chaotic world, wasn't he?

O'NEAL: He was -- he was exposed to two people who loved each other very much, and was confused by what was happening now. This was not what he was used to. And it frightened him. And he -- and that's the decision he chose to take to stop us.

MORGAN: One of Redmond's school friends, Kelly Osbourne, was on television today talking about your interview, amongst other things. And we've got a clip from it. It was quite interesting what she said. She -- she took you to task a bit.

I want to play you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY OSBOURNE, ACTRESS: I went to school with Redmond. So for him to turn around and say, who is the other one again? You're his father. You have to know his name. And the thing is, you know, children are a reflection of their parents. And from my own experience, I know this: I went through my own troubles, but -- and my father severely blames himself, even though I know that there was nothing that could have stopped me if I wanted to do it.

Nothing can. But having said that, you need that support group. You need to know that the people around you love and support you and want the best for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: What do you think of what she says there?

O'NEAL: I think she's saying a -- a smart thing, absolutely. You know, there are people around you, of course.

MORGAN: I mean when you -- when you said, oh, what's the other one called, how did you feel after you -- you said that?

O'NEAL: What -- I don't know what you mean.

MORGAN: You were on the -- I think it was the "Today" show and you --

O'NEAL: But I just tried to be flippant and get a cheap laugh. But I'm sure what -- tell me now it was used.

MORGAN: I think it was just you simply looked like you couldn't remember Redmond's name.

O'NEAL: Oh, I remember Redmond's name.

MORGAN: You dedicate the book to him.

O'NEAL: Yes, I do. And we -- and now he has -- he gets to see me every Sunday where he is. And every Sunday I'm there.

MORGAN: Is part of the problem, Ryan, with the public perception of you that you do tend to be quite flippant and outspoken, particularly about the kids, in a way that most parents wouldn't do in public?

I mean do you ever think that maybe the best thing is to stop talking about them in public, perhaps --

O'NEAL: Well, maybe people should stop asking about them.

MORGAN: I mean you've written a book about them, so I guess it's fair to ask, isn't it?

O'NEAL: Well, I thought I was writing about Farrah, but -- but they were around. They were, you know, I didn't -- because I -- they're with me. They're with me.

MORGAN: Do you --

O'NEAL: It isn't that I just heard of them.

MORGAN: But do you think you fuel the circus a bit?

O'NEAL: I fueled the circus?

MORGAN: No, do you think you fuel -- continue to fuel the circus, when, if you write a book about all the trials and tribulations --

O'NEAL: Oh, I -- I didn't -- I haven't considered any of that. Maybe I should, but I -- I wanted a reason to get next to Farrah. I missed her. And I had these journals. And somebody gave me the idea that to start your biography when you met Farrah and tell your story, your love story. Well, I can't tell it without involving them.

But basically my focus was on -- on getting back to her, if I could.

MORGAN: Let's take another short break and come back and talk more about Farrah, about the day that you lost her and about the future for you. I want to know how -- how you're going to map out the next 10 years of your life.

O'NEAL: I hope there's 10.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAWCETT: I feel very committed. I feel married. I feel that the piece of paper --

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: You don't feel you have to go down and get a license?

FAWCETT: No, I -- I don't. I don't feel that I have to love, honor and obey. MORGAN: I mean, there are certain things that, you know, are changing in our society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Farrah Fawcett in 1994, talking to Larry King about her relationship with Ryan O'Neal.

And Ryan is back with me now.

When you -- it's such a weird thing, I must think, when you lose somebody you love so much, who happens to be incredibly famous. And so you're always reminded by images, magazines --

O'NEAL: Yes.

MORGAN: -- television and so on.

O'NEAL: Yes.

MORGAN: How do you deal with that?

O'NEAL: As well as I can. She's so beautiful. It doesn't hurt to look at her and remember fondly. And it helps sell books.

MORGAN: Your house in Malibu, it's a very -- it's quite a remote place. But I was struck by, you've lived there, I think, 40 years, you told me. And it's very beautiful, very tranquil. You look out straight on the ocean. You're only 10, 15 feet from the ocean.

And it is like a classic old Malibu beach house. It's where you lived with Farrah. I mean it's -- from what I understand, there are lots of pictures of her still around and so on. You've never let go.

I mean, do you think you ever will be able to?

O'NEAL: No.

Let go of my home?

MORGAN: No, or either the home or the memory of Farrah --

O'NEAL: I have no plans to let go of either. There's no reason to. I need her. She is my strength. That was my woman. She loved me. I -- I know she did. And I can feed off that as long as it takes.

MORGAN: You -- you reveal in the book the -- the one time that you say you were unfaithful to her. You had split up and she came one night in the middle of the night and found you in bed with a woman. It wasn't a one night stand. You'd -- you'd known this woman for a while. She was an actress. But you were both naked in bed when Farrah came in.

How did you feel, given the depth of your love for each other?

In that moment, how did you feel, when she realized what you were doing?

O'NEAL: It's the kind of scene that is in films. It's not the kind of scene that happens in life. And I was mortified, horrified. And I chased Farrah down the stairs and tried to explain it to her as she was getting in her car.

And then she drove away very slowly from my house. This was about 3:00 in the morning. I watched her drive away very, very slowly. And I -- I just knew that my life had changed forever watching her drive.

MORGAN: Toward the end of her life, when she was so ill, you were more than reconciled. I mean you were there for her absolutely.

O'NEAL: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: And, you know, the love story was -- probably had never been stronger than it was in -- in those --

O'NEAL: Thank you.

MORGAN: -- last few weeks and months. I remember you talking about that very emotionally before.

The moment you knew you'd lost her, that she'd gone, obviously, you were grief-stricken, but what did you think would happen to the rest of your life without Farrah anymore, given how young she was, comparatively?

O'NEAL: Well, my thoughts were for Redmond, because he was in jail and he didn't know. And I had a responsibility to call him. And there was a -- there was a chaplain who was waiting for the call, who would go and get him so that he didn't hear it on the radio or be told by another inmate.

And when I was making the drive from the hospital to her condo to make the call, I swore to God that I would -- I would -- his life would recover. And he had a terrible heroin addiction. It wouldn't have -- I knew it wouldn't be easy. But with my help, and others, that he would survive and he would live a productive life.

And that is all I could do for her. That's all she would want from me, is to protect him.

And that's my role -- role now. That's my plan, my dream.

MORGAN: What does he make of you as a dad, do you think, now?

O'NEAL: He likes me. We have a sense of humor with each other and he doesn't blame me for his -- his problems. But he adored his mother and he has a hole in his heart, a big hole in his heart, because she's not there to -- take -- to take him in her arms.

So I'm going to do that as soon as I can get -- get him. I'm going to take him to Europe and we're going to talk about his mother. And I'm going to fill him in on things that he didn't know, good things. And we'll bring her back to life. And we'll get him past this.

That's my plan and my dream for him.

MORGAN: What's the plan for you in the next 10 years?

I mean in an ideal world, how would you see it mapping out?

O'NEAL: I -- I don't think about it. I don't think about what will happen.

MORGAN: Do you see making movies as part of that?

O'NEAL: No --

MORGAN: Would you like to?

O'NEAL: Sure. But nobody seems to want me in any. But I do work in a TV series called "Bones," which I'm quite proud of.

I don't know. I -- you know, I've had such good things happen. Sometimes they -- you just run out of those, of that luck.

MORGAN: I mean you seem in a better place to me than you were last time I -- yes, you do. You -- you seem less raw than you were. And maybe the book has been quite a cathartic thing.

O'NEAL: For sure.

MORGAN: And if the reaction from your family has been that -- better than you may have hoped for, it may have been a good thing to do for everyone, get it all out there.

O'NEAL: It would be good if it happens. And -- and -- and it was a tribute to her, for Farrah. You know, she got taken from us too soon. She wasn't ready. And maybe this is a way to sort of -- to make that connection.

MORGAN: What did you learn about yourself, finally?

When you finished the book and you thought --

O'NEAL: I had -- I learned I have a lot to learn, you know. I'm working on it.

MORGAN: Ryan, it's good to see you again.

O'NEAL: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Best of luck with it.

O'NEAL: Thank you.

MORGAN: Ryan O'Neal.

Next, Only In America, the most tasteless political ad of all time. You will simply not believe what you're watching.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America meet Roland Sledge. Now Roland is a Republican lawyer from Houston running for the Texas Railroad Commission, which actually does a lot more than monitor the railways. The commission regulates the Lone Star State's oil and gas business. So a pretty big deal. And Roland is desperate to get elected. So desperate, in fact, he's resorted to surely the most tasteless television ad in the history of American politics, to ensure he succeeds.

What you're about to see defies belief. But it has actually aired on television. Roland starts his commercial with a saying by one of America's most famous revered cowboys.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROLAND SLEDGE, CANDIDATE FOR TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSION: Will Rogers said there are three kinds of men: the one that learns by reading, the few that learn by observation, and the rest that have to pee on an electric fence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: OK, a fun quote, if a little crass. But we got the point. Roland really didn't need to illustrate it in any further detail. But he felt quite strongly that he should in quite spectacularly unedifying style.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SLEDGE: I have the experience needed to bring Texas jobs. Isn't it about time we elected political leaders that have sense enough not to pee on electric fences?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Yep, he really did just do that. Roland Sledge took a man, who for reasons that are never fully explained is a Rob Blagojevich look alike, and made him urinate on an electric fence and electrocuted himself, all to make people in Texas vote for Roland.

Even more disturbing, apparently the ad is proving quite a vote winner, which reminds me of another of Will Rogers comments: "a fool and his money are soon elected."

Tomorrow night, a rare interview with former President George W. Bush on a subject he knows a lot about, this country's veterans, a shining example of Keeping America Great.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's important to me because I want to stay connected to the veteran community. I'm not going to be a very public person. This is a rare interview for me. And yet I am - and therefore, I am worried that the vets will think I don't care about them, and this is a way to say not only do I respect them, but I love them. And will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Exclusive and very moving, keeping America great with former President George W. Bush tomorrow night. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.