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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Donald Trump Exclusive; Rock N' Roll Legend Gregg Allman; Changing the Face of Media; Presidential Blood Money
Aired May 22, 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 Bain and blame. Donald Trump is here and he's fired up about the battle of a private equity.
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE BUSINESS TYCOON: We need somebody that knows something about business, about negotiating, about what's happening. Otherwise we're not going to have a country left.
MORGAN: Plus why Trump says China is no longer just eating America's lunch but its dinner, too. And what he thinks Washington should do about it.
Also "Keeping America Great." Politicians versus the media. Who's spinning whom. I'll ask the man who ran ABC News.
And more sex, drugs, and rock n' roll and just about anybody else with the rambling man himself. Gregg Allman has seen and done it all -- OD, rehabs, six wives, one of them is Cher, and now he's bringing a surprise. Gregg welcomes wife number seven-to-be.
GREGG ALLMAN, AUTHOR, "MY CROSS TO BEAR": This time I am really in love.
MORGAN: Gregg Allman, the primetime exclusive.
And "Only in America," talk about blood money. An outrageous insult to one of this country's most popular president.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Our big story tonight the Bain blame game. Newt Gingrich told me he'd tried to attack Mitt Romney on private equity and failed. Listen to what he said just last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We found out when we got in a fight with Mitt Romney over this that it didn't work. That people understand free enterprise. People realize sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail. But they refuse to take a one-sided view of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So is attacking Mitt Romney on private equity a winning strategy for President Obama or was Cory Booker right the first time? Is it just nauseating?
Joining me now for more on our big story, a man who thought he was the perfect person to ask about private equity. Donald Trump, on a primetime exclusive.
Donald, how are you?
TRUMP: Hello, Piers.
MORGAN: First of all, congratulations on a thrilling finale to "Celebrity Apprentice" and may I say --
TRUMP: Well --
MORGAN: -- Arsenio was a top choice.
TRUMP: He is. He's a great guy like you. And he's a great winner like you. So we're very proud of Arsenio. We really -- I know he was in your show recently and he is really terrific and he's done really well.
MORGAN: He is and we'll come back to the "Apprentice" a little later. I want to talk to you, though, about this whole Bain Capital, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama row. What do you make of the basic substance of this debate, which is whether Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital was predominantly a good one or a bad one?
TRUMP: Well, it wasn't a good one. It was a great one. He did a fantastic job. He did so well, actually, that, you know, he set records over there. And that's what we need in this country. When you look at what China is doing to us, you look at what OPEC is doing to us, you look at what virtually every country is doing to us, we need somebody that has this ability.
His record was great. He did an amazing job. And I mean just take a look at Solyndra. Take a look at some of the deals this country has been making over the last couple of years. It's disgraceful.
So Mitt Romney should be actually very much in favor of what's going on because when he shows his record, it's a great record. And compare that with what's going on in this country, it's a different world.
MORGAN: But isn't one of the problems here, Donald, that people like you and Newt Gingrich who are now racing to support Mitt Romney over this battle have in the past attacked him for his record at Bain?
TRUMP: Well, I've been supporting him for a long time. And I certainly just started over this because this was just brought up. This was a new -- this is a new idea they have. I mean, they have to stretch for ideas because the administration has been a disaster for the country. Every country is ripping us. Every country is ripping us like never before.
You know, it was very interesting. I brought up the country of Colombia. A small trading partner. We use the partner. Partners like this we don't need enemies. And in Colombia, and I'm not knocking them. Their representatives did a better job than ours. But in Colombia they made $4 billion on us. China is going to make $350 so -- $350 billion. So we need somebody that knows something about business, about negotiating, about what's happening. Otherwise we're not going to have a country left.
MORGAN: Right. Let me play you two clips. One is from President Obama which is what he now says is the crux of this debate. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So if your main argument for how to grow the economy is I knew how to make a lot of money for investors, then you're missing what this job is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: He's clearly setting his whole stall here on what he reckons Mitt Romney was doing at Bain, which was maximizing profit for investors. And now I want to play you a clip from an interview you gave to CNN's Candy Crowley which was last year March 2011.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mitt Romney is a basically small business guy if you really think about it. He was a hedge fund. He was a fund guy. He walked away with some money from a very good company that he didn't create. He worked there. He didn't create it.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He did create companies.
TRUMP: And -- well, but -- look, he buy companies, he closed companies. He'd get rid of the jobs. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now, see, that Donald is what Barack Obama is saying, is yes, Mitt Romney may have been successful and made profits for his investors but he also closed down companies, he cost a lot of Americans their jobs. And that the private equity game can be very brutal in that respect. And therefore for Mitt Romney to use it as a great -- for one of the better pun, trump card over Barack Obama is actually wrong.
TRUMP: Well, when I answered that question, Candy asked me who is bigger in terms of a business. I created a very large business. And that was really question. I think it was a fair question. Also at that time, I didn't know too much about Mitt Romney. I didn't know him. I had never met him.
As I got to know him, I realize he's a terrific guy. He's done a terrific job. I started looking into deals that he's done. They have been amazing deals. You look at Staples and so many other companies that have been created. Without him they wouldn't have been created. So I really got to know a lot about him.
So much so that even though I was doing, as you know better than everybody, really well in the polls, I decided I like this guy. I can see myself endorsing him because I'd rather have it that way. And I think he's going to do terrifically. But her question was really not the question that you're asking. It was a much different question.
MORGAN: Well, I supposed it all comes fundamentally down to the issue of private equity. When you have America in the state that it's in at the moment, for a multitude of reasons, but $13, $14 trillion in debt, and people looking at Wall Street as the figureheads to blame on all this.
Is it a sensible position for Mitt Romney to adopt, look at me, I made a load of money for investors if at the same time by doing so not in every case but in quite a few cases he had to shut companies down, you know, lay people off, cost American jobs? I know it's not as simple as that. But is it the right battle ground for Mitt Romney, do you think?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, we're not $13 or $14 trillion in debt, we're $16 trillion in debt and going up rapidly. So we're really -- this is an exploding time bomb. And I think it's a very fair question to ask. And I also look at the deals that have been made by Obama and the administration, you look at some of the that have been made. And they've been terrible deals. We're talking about the solar panels, we're talking about so many other things. We're talking about not letting us get the energy that's right under our feet. We can't take it out, we can't get it. So we're making OPEC even richer than they already are.
So we need somebody that has great compassion which Mitt Romney has because socially he's got compassion. But at the same time he's a great businessman. That's what we need.
MORGAN: In a presidential battle like this, we saw Cory Booker get in trouble by appearing to disagree with President Obama by saying it made him -- it was nauseating he felt to attack Mitt Romney over Bain and so on. But putting that to one side, the rhetoric that's now being wrapped up in this campaign, people say it's too vicious. You've always believed, I think, in the rough and tumble of opposition of opponents, you know, beating people and so on. Do you think it's too vicious or do you think this is part and parcel of American political life?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, I know Cory Booker. He's a terrific guy. He's doing a good job in Newark. Not an easy job. Probably got the toughest job there is. And he really is doing a good job.
And what he said the first time was 100 percent correct. Then, of course, I can imagine the wrath came down upon him and when it came down, he changed his tune quite a bit. But he's a good man. What he said the first time was true. And I'm sure that he would tell you that if you were just sitting there having a beer together. But that's one of those things. But Cory Booker is -- what he said was really accurate. The fact is, if you're going to be getting nasty, then the other side has to get nasty. And if you remember John McCain who's a wonderful man, John McCain did not want to go all the way. He did not want to get -- they left a lot of things out. I can name them, but what's the purpose of naming them?
Obama is attacking Mitt Romney very hard. And in the case of -- I think and many people think, very unfairly. I think the Republicans have to fight fire with fire. I've always felt that. We can't be nice like we were four years ago and expect this to happen. It's going to be a tough race. It's going to be a close race. And I think Mitt Romney is going to be an amazing candidate. I think he's going to be not only an amazing candidate, I think he's going to be an amazing president.
But to become president, I really think you have to fight the fire with fire. They're being very tough on him. And I see we're already -- the Republicans are pulling back. They don't want to throw all their punches. I think you have to throw all your punches because those punches are going to be thrown at you.
And Piers, I think you know that better than anybody.
MORGAN: Yes. I mean I certainly know what you're getting at. I think that the issue that you're talking about, which you don't really want to name, but I'm guessing is the issue of Reverend Wright who of course was so closely aligned to President Obama.
Now, are you saying that it would be fair game to go after President Obama based on his association with that man?
TRUMP: Well, a book was just written by a great writer named Ed Kline. And the book strongly says and in fact it's not even the book because I heard the tapes and the tapes were played all over the television where essentially Reverend Wright is calling President Obama a liar.
Now are the Republicans going to use that tape or they're not going to use it? I mean you'll -- you tell me. But they're calling him a liar. So it'll be interesting to see what happens. I think it's going to be a nasty campaign. But if it's going to be nasty, it's got to be nasty on both sides, not just one.
MORGAN: I mean the Democrats have already said, leading Democrats, that it wouldn't be fair to go after Mitt Romney for his religion, his faith, he's a Mormon. But clearly if Reverend Wright comes into play and is deemed to be fair game, then wouldn't it be also fair game to go after Mitt Romney for his religion?
TRUMP: I think the Democrats will use whatever they can use regardless of whether or not Reverend Wright is brought up. But if you look at these tapes are devastating for the president. I mean Reverend Wright is an angry man. He's extremely angry at the president. He thinks he was dumped. Just absolutely dumped. And he says things that are very, very strong. And I see nothing wrong with using it.
It's not even old news. It's brand new news. So I see nothing wrong with using it. Now if everybody in the ideal world sat back and you're under a beautiful tree, and you just debated the real issues, that's one thing. But a lot of things will be brought up which are going to be very, very unfair. And if they're going to be unfair on one side, then the Republicans have to act accordingly.
But Reverend Wright is on tape saying lots of interesting and very bad things. And I see nothing wrong with the Republicans using that.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break, Donald. Come back and talk more about politics. Want to know what you think of the potential prospect being rumored of Vice President Trump. A bit more on "Celebrity Apprentice." And also why you think Sacha Baron Cohen, according to your tweet today, is a talentless dud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: I was talking to Mitt Romney earlier today, and he and his family got a big two-day weekend planned. They're going to -- they're going to -- well, they're going to hike to the top of his money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: David Letterman poking fun at Mitt Romney. Back with me now, a man who kept us all guessing about his presidential aspirations, Donald Trump.
So, Donald, when people mock Mitt Romney for being rich like that, you're obviously a very rich man. Do you think it's a fairly silly way of attacking him?
TRUMP: No, I think it's very cute, it's fun. Everyone knows it's fun. And you know, Mitt Romney, if you look at his record not only was great at Bain, but he saved the Olympics. They put him in, he didn't just go in there. He went in to save it. And he saved the Olympics. The Olympics were going to be a disaster and they turned out to be a tremendous success.
And he went in there and did an amazing job. And I've always said he doesn't get enough credit for that because that was really getting close to being a catastrophic situation. So Mitt Romney has been an amazing guy when it comes to not only companies but even the Olympics. And people should look at that because that was one of his great achievements.
MORGAN: But I mean, Joe Biden, for example, today says -- and I'm just reading this now, "Working in private equity no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber." So they're basically saying, him and President Obama, that just because he could run a private equity firm doesn't qualify him to be president. What do you think of that argument?
TRUMP: Well, look. You know, we have a president in there right now that had very, very little experience. He was a street organizer in Chicago. There are those that say he was controlled by Mayor Daley. You look at him, he went over to try and get Olympics, and we came in fourth place.
Now what sophisticated dealmaker would -- without a wink -- say OK, I'm going over to Europe to get the Olympics and then come in fourth place? As the president of the United States. What you say is, if you tell me we're getting the Olympics, I will go. But I'm not going to embarrass myself by going.
Well, I assume he didn't get that little assurance. Now the reason he did it was because he was probably right -- I don't want to say in the pocket of because that's not respectful, but, you know, he comes out of that whole Daley situation. And when Mayor Daley was the mayor of Chicago, I guess he said, I want you to go over and get us the Olympics.
But honestly, what president -- we're talking about a president, we're not talking about somebody else -- will go over there, make the plea for the Olympics and come in third or fourth place? It was an embarrassment and I think it was terrible, frankly.
So when Joe Biden talks about, you know, somebody doesn't have the experience, in theory he shouldn't have the experience because, you know, he was in college and he got caught plagiarizing. And what's worse than plagiarizing -- that means he's copying somebody else's papers. So this is our vice president. So we could likewise say he shouldn't be vice president. Probably shouldn't have been allowed to continue in school.
MORGAN: Let me ask you a couple of quick fire questions, Donald, while you're so fired up in this wonderful mood you're in. First of all, is there any prospect, any chance of you considering being vice president. If Mitt Romney asked you what would you say?
TRUMP: So many people have asked me that question lately. And you know I did do great in the polls. Mitt would be the first to tell you that. I was really doing great. I loved doing it. I had a lot of fun. And the reason I got out was because I really started to like him and I thought he could do a great job. And I happen to love what I'm doing. But I would do anything I could to help the country. The country is in serious, serious trouble. And I would do anything I could to help the country.
We are being laughed at by the world. I go to other nations and I look at their airports, and then I come home to New York and New Jersey, and I look at airports that are falling down. You go to LAX in Los Angeles, we're like third world country right now. So I would do anything I could to help the country.
MORGAN: Including saying yes to VP if he asked you?
TRUMP: Well, I don't think he's going to ask me, but certainly I have a very strong base of people that do like what I say. I don't know if they like me, but I think they respect me which is much more important. And I think they like what I'm saying. This country has tremendous potential. And if we use that potential, if we know what we're doing, we can be bigger and better than ever before. And the way we're going right now we're going to be just the opposite. We're going to be over.
MORGAN: Have you been asked to speak at the Republican convention this summer and if so will you say yes if you are?
TRUMP: Well, a lot of people have been asking me whether or not I'd be interested in doing it. I hadn't thought in terms of speaking at the Republican convention, but you know I have been helpful to Mitt. I have -- I was one of his very early endorsements at a very critical stage. I think I helped him with various states and I think he's a terrific guy. I'm really honored by it. I think his wife is absolutely a fantastic woman.
And, you know, if somebody asked me, I guess it's certainly something I would consider. I'm not a politician. I frankly will be speaking at the North Carolina Republican Convention on June 1st and they've asked me to do that. I just made a big investment in North Carolina, bought a big job in North Carolina that's terrific, formerly known as The Point. Now it's Trump National. And I look forward to being there.
But if they ask me, I mean, look, I want to do whatever's good for the Republican Party, whatever's good for Mitt Romney, because I think he will be a great president. We have to get him elected.
MORGAN: There's a tweet today, Donald, which I was intrigued by. You said, glad to see that Sacha Baron Cohen's new movie is not only a dud but not too good at the box office. He is talentless. What have you got against Sacha Baron Cohen?
TRUMP: Well, I don't like, frankly, what he did to Ryan Seacrest. Ryan Seacrest is a friend of mine. And you know he's a promoting guy, Sacha. And he dumped all sorts of ashes and everything at -- during the Academy Awards and he got publicity. Everyone thought it was funny. I thought the security guards were totally incompetent. The guy that was standing there. This big dumb -- you know, ox. He's standing there. Oh, please, would you please move forward?
TRUMP: Believe me, if that happened to me, it wouldn't be so nice. We all go down fighting because that shouldn't have happened. And I thought that was a disgrace and I'm just not a fan of his. I mean I think he's not, you know, very good. I don't think he's funny. I don't think he's talented. But when he did that to Ryan Seacrest, who is a great guy, I wish the security people took proper action which would have been laying him out all over the floor. That would have been very appropriate.
MORGAN: Finally, Donald, are you recruiting for the next series of "Celebrity Apprentice?" ?
TRUMP: Yes. We have many people that want to be on "Celebrity Apprentice." You know better than anybody. You are really one of our great -- you did a great job. And frankly we have probably five for every slot we have. Everybody wants to be in.
You know, the first season, Piers, it wasn't that easy. People didn't want to be fired. The truth is, whether it's Lisa Lampanelli, or Clay Aiken, or any of them, I mean they've really -- their brands have really been helped. And as you know we had a big finale a couple of days ago. And I will say we have a really good winner this year. He was -- Arsenio Hall was terrific. So we had a good time. But we do have a lot of people that want to go on. And we're going to have some surprises.
MORGAN: Great. Well, I thought you chose very well. I think Clay is a great contestant but I thought Arsenio was the man and he's a good guy, and I'm -- he deserved a champion.
Donald, always a great pleasure to talk to you. Thanks for being on.
TRUMP: Thank you very much, Piers.
MORGAN: Donald Trump.
Coming up, Gregg Allman is no angel. And tonight he tells all. The music, the marriages, the drugs, and how he's still rocking after all these years. Plus a surprise announcement.
MORGAN: When you think of sex, drugs and rock n' roll, your mind often automatically moves to Gregg Allman. The Allman Brothers Band, he burst on the scene in the late '60s and he never left. In his new book, "My Cross to Bear", he tells all, his battle with addiction, bad marriages, the tragedies that seemed to have fallen everywhere.
Joining me now is rock n' roll hall of famer, Gregg Allman.
Gregg, how are you?
ALLMAN: I'm doing just fine. I'm very well.
MORGAN: Does it feel good to be alive?
ALLMAN: Just great.
MORGAN: It's a fantastic ending to a book that you've got here. I want to read in full, the whole paragraph. "I must have said this a million times, but if I died today I've had me a blast. I really mean that. If I fell over dead right now, I have led some kind of life. I wouldn't trade it for nobody's. But I don't know if I'd do it again. If somebody offered me a second round, I think I'd have to pass on it."
I love that. In other words, you don't regret any of it, you just don't want to have to go through it all over again.
MORGAN: Is that how you feel?
ALLMAN: That's the way I feel.
MORGAN: When you wrote the book, it's incredibly detailed. The one thing that is a consistent theme to your life is chaos, tragedy, lots of change, lots of things that would crush ordinary people. Yet you keep going.
ALLMAN: Yes. Well, I mean, there is so much good times that goes along with all of this. This is a -- I mean we had some great fun. Now I don't picture my life as being chaos. Maybe at times, you know. Just like everybody else's. Like growing up and all that other stuff. Yes.
MORGAN: You say that. But when I was reading it, you start to notice just a lot of terrible things happen to you. You know you obviously famously and incredibly sad you lost your brother in a car crash. Then you lose another band member in almost exactly the same circumstances in almost the same place. Your father was killed in a carjacking. Two girlfriends of yours committed suicide after you broke up with them. You know, you had, as I said, five marriages. Six marriages in fact.
These aren't normal events in somebody's life.
MORGAN: It's not a normal life, is it? I mean in many ways some would say you've -- not you've been cursed, but you've been hit by a lot of paddle blows.
ALLMAN: Yes. Well, I've had my share. That's for sure.
MORGAN: You say at the end, I'll go to my grave, and my brother will greet me saying, nice work, little brother. You did all right.
MORGAN: Tell me about your brother.
ALLMAN: He was a year and 18 days older than myself. And he -- I bought this guitar when I was 10 years old. And he had some kind of big toy, anyway, he broke it. And anyway, one day on a rainy Sunday, right, he's sitting there watching me. I'm, you know, tinkering around with that guitar. And he said what you got there, little brother? And I said, that is -- this is capital M, capital Y, guitar.
ALLMAN: And the fights began.
ALLMAN: So bad that Ma had to go out and get us another one.
MORGAN: Was your dream, the pair of you, to become huge rock stars? Or was it just to have fun making music?
ALLMAN: Just to have fun making music.
MORGAN: Everything just came as a kind of accidental side effect of that love for music?
ALLMAN: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: Do you have any regrets? When you finished the book did you sit back and go, I wish I hadn't done that?
MORGAN: You wish you never got involved with drugs?
ALLMAN: Drugs and alcohol. Nope. They just a -- they just a lie, man.
MORGAN: What do they make you? What did they do to you, do you think?
ALLMAN: They make you crazy. What they do is they catch you off -- they cut your mind off from any hassles or any real bad stuff going on. That's what they do at first.
MORGAN: Do you still get as much fun from playing music as you always did?
MORGAN: Is it the one constant in your life?
ALLMAN: Yes, sir.
MORGAN: What does it do for you when it's just you and the music?
ALLMAN: Well, I've gone on stage before three times with an abscessed tooth, and I got there and set down behind my ax and started playing. Forgot all about it.
MORGAN: Don't even feel the pain of an abscessed tooth?
MORGAN: Let's take a short break, Gregg. I want to come back and talk to you about women. My god, you've had a lot of them.
ALLMAN: Where does it say that?
MORGAN: In your book.
ALLMAN: Does it?
MORGAN: Yes. Including Cher.
MORGAN: You married Cher.
MORGAN: Back now with rock n' roll legend, Gregg Allman.
And Gregg, you've been married six times and just revealed to me that one of the glamorous ladies over there is your fiance. You're getting married for the seventh time.
ALLMAN: Well, yes.
MORGAN: Is that -- have I got a scoop on my hands?
ALLMAN: A scoop on your hands?
ALLMAN: I don't know.
MORGAN: An exclusive? Does anybody else know this?
ALLMAN: Two, three people.
MORGAN: And me.
MORGAN: Well, that's great. Rely on me to keep this quiet. OK? There she is. Hello. So, me, you've done very well, Gregg, if you don't mind me saying. How old is your fiance?
ALLMAN: She is 24.
MORGAN: Twenty-four? And how does she feel about becoming wife number seven?
ALLMAN: That's not what she's becoming. She's becoming wife number one.
ALLMAN: Yes. I don't have a wife. Haven't had one for years.
MORGAN: What made you take the plunge again?
ALLMAN: Well, because this time I am really in love.
MORGAN: Like you've never been before?
MORGAN: Really? I'm not questioning you, I'm just -- I'm curious. It's fascinating. How many times do you think you've been properly in love?
ALLMAN: Those one sided, I think twice.
MORGAN: You were only in love with two of your six wives?
ALLMAN: Yes. Yes. I didn't -- wasn't -- I didn't reciprocate.
MORGAN: You said of Cher, who you married in the '70s, god, she smelled like I would imagined a mermaid would smell. I've never smelled it since. I'll never forget it.
Have you ever smelled a mermaid?
MORGAN: Do you have anything to base this on?
MORGAN: I'm assuming that was a compliment, right?
ALLMAN: That would be a scoop.
MORGAN: You were in love with Cher, weren't you?
ALLMAN: Yes. I would say yes, I was.
MORGAN: Have you said in touch with her?
ALLMAN: From time to time, yes.
MORGAN: Are you a good friend?
MORGAN: When you married Cher, you became a rock couple whether you liked it or not.
MORGAN: Was that a hideous experience?
ALLMAN: It was a hideous experience.
MORGAN: Because the whole world wants a piece of you, right?
ALLMAN: Oh, man. I mean I could go out and do my thing. A couple of people say hey, man, I love your music. She could go out, she caught a little more hell than I did. Of course it was, you know, her hometown. And -- but the both of us go out, forget about it. I mean, they would spot us. You know? Like the black and white Scotch commercial.
MORGAN: Do you think you've been a good husband over the years? And how much of it was your fault that you kept having broken marriages, do you think?
ALLMAN: I don't know. Could we move on to something else?
MORGAN: It's fascinating. I had no idea you were getting married again or that your fiance was in the room, or that she's so young and glamorous. It's that -- you know, I think it's very touching that you found, what, true love.
ALLMAN: I do, too.
MORGAN: How did you propose?
ALLMAN: On my knee?
MORGAN: Did you really? You got down on bended knee?
ALLMAN: I did.
MORGAN: Do you remember your exact words?
ALLMAN: Yes. I asked her. I said her sweet little name --
MORGAN: What is her name?
ALLMAN: And I said, would you marry me? Will you marry me. And she said, yes.
MORGAN: When are you getting married?
ALLMAN: I don't know. I don't know. That remains to be seen. I said in the last three years I had quite a few surgeries and I'm still kind of healing up from all that, you know. I probably should be home right now.
MORGAN: You might be going to lie down after this. But it's very romantic, I think.
ALLMAN: Well, it's been waking me up every morning at 6:00.
MORGAN: When you said -- this is a quote from you in the book. "Every woman I've ever had a relationship with has loved me for who they thought I was. Maybe they were in love with whatever was on stage, when the lights are out, and the sound goes off, you're left with this dude, and that's me. Obviously that's the person they didn't get to know."
Do you think Shannon knows the real dude?
ALLMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
MORGAN: But she wasn't even born when you had your biggest hits. Is that -- do you think that is a good thing?
ALLMAN: I think it's totally irrelevant.
MORGAN: You sing to her?
MORGAN: Do you? That right, Shannon? Well, I'm very pleased for you. It's a happy ending that I didn't know existed. I feel excited for you, Gregg. It's a fascinating book. It's a riveting read. You've had a hell of a life. And the fact that you're going to end up with Shannon, wife number seven, I think is a great testament to your staying power.
ALLMAN: Well, all right.
MORGAN: How would you like to be remembered?
ALLMAN: I would like to be remembered as a -- somebody who could rock your soul or make your cry with a song. And somebody who's kind, who loved to laugh, and loved his God.
MORGAN: Good for you. That's a pretty good epitaph. Hopefully you won't have to have anyone read it for a very long period to come. Gregg, it's been a real pleasure.
ALLMAN: All right.
MORGAN: Keep on rocking. And loving. Gregg Allman. Fascinating chap.
Next, a former ABC News president speaks out on the media, politics, the presidential race, and keeping America great.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: Tonight "Keeping America Great" with a man with a front row seat to history.
David Westin was the president of ABC News during some dramatic change for the world and for the media. (INAUDIBLE) journalism is telling his behind-the-scenes story for the first time in a candid new book, "Exit Interview," and David Westin joins me now.
DAVID WESTIN, FORMER ABC NEWS PRESIDENT: Great to be here, Piers.
MORGAN: I'll just say to you before we start that I ran a newspaper back in Britain for almost the whole period that you ran ABC News. And it was a really extraordinary period for huge news stories. Whether it was 9/11 or Princess Diana's death or the Iraq war. It just kept coming, didn't it?
WESTIN: Yes, including on this side of the Atlantic impeaching a president.
WESTIN: And trying him in the Senate. It was -- it was extraordinary historic period, yes.
MORGAN: As you see the way that -- there's a fascinating survey which came out, 77 percent of people asked by the Pew Research Center said the media tend to favor one side in America. Compared with 53 percent in 1985.
As you see the way the debate's gone with the media now, with FOX News very dominant on the right, MSNBC to the left, and so on, ABC still, like most of the main networks, resolutely, I guess down the middle impartial, which is what you from the book have always tried to be. But you see it inevitably moving more perhaps the way of the British print media which I grew up in where everyone basically ends up with a side? Or do you think the networks can still stay strong down the middle?
WESTIN: Well, I don't think it inevitably has to go into more partisanship. And one of the issues that I saw over my tenure there was what constitutes the news media became vastly greater. Of every sort and stripe. And the part that was cable news, when I first started both MSNBC and FOX News were about two months old. If you think about it. And we didn't have a Web site with ABC News. We created it my first year there.
And over time, as I talked about in the book, that really expanded -- so you can find very strong partisan opinion. But I believe today there still is a role and it's being played by some organization like ABC News to try to take the center.
MORGAN: Is it -- is it extensively unhealthy to have partisan cable networks? WESTIN: I think there's nothing wrong with opinion journalism. There's nothing wrong with advocacy journalism. I mean it's a -- it's a long tradition in this country as well. And we have editorial pages in our newspapers. We have op-ed pages. And that's perfectly healthy. I think the challenge comes when the line gets blurred. When people are not saying yes, I'm giving you my opinion, rather than telling you what I think is the truth.
MORGAN: You mean where news is presented in the opinionated manner?
WESTIN: Exactly right. Because I think we owe it to the audience to tell them when we're telling them because we think it's true, as opposed to when we wanted it to be true, or even worse, when we think that they want it to be true. And that's the danger. But I also think despite the fact that there's roles for opinion journalism, there's also a role for some organizations who are just trying to get it right.
MORGAN: Just report the news.
MORGAN: Without opinion.
WESTIN: Yes, exactly right.
MORGAN: In all the time that you worked at ABC, did you see the relationship between the media and politicians in particular break down further as time went on? Did it become more fractious?
WESTIN: Well, it changed fundamentally. I mean there were various incidents that happened. Obviously during the Monica Lewinsky time it was very fractious. The 2000 election that I write about in the book, that, you know, where we got it wrong --
MORGAN: Yes --
WESTIN: A lot of times at one night.
MORGAN: Fascinating, yes.
WESTIN: That was a breakdown certainly.
MORGAN: And on that point -- see, that's interesting. When I read that I was really struck by the fact that today with the Internet is with all the bloggers as they are, with the immediacy so much faster even than 2000, these mistakes will keep coming. I mean, only today there was a rumor that Gorbachev had died.
MORGAN: But it's completely fictitious. It was actually started by a fake account for the Swedish prime minister.
WESTIN: Yes. MORGAN: And then it was reported by a number of journalists that I saw on both sides of the Atlantic who have good reputations without any checking, and I thought, whoa, OK, now we're entering a dangerous period where Twitter and Facebook and social media, good experienced journalists are cutting corners in their race to break something.
WESTIN: Well, I think two things. One is you're absolutely right. You can get a rumor started that way and even mainstream organizations can pick it up. And the Gorbachev thing happened just today. Just recently we had the governor of South Carolina who was a rumor again from a fictitious outlet saying that she was about to be indicted. Totally false. And yet it get picked up.
The other thing that I think we've seen is politicians also use this. They can now go directly to the people through Facebook, through social media, through Twitter.
MORGAN: We saw the Cory Booker, I mean, interesting that we've been debating that on the show tonight. The interesting thing about him was the way he tried to defend himself through his own Twitter, which wouldn't have happened five years ago. He wouldn't have Twitter to do with it.
So politicians who are smart with social media are beginning to try and control their own message. I'm not sure how successful they can be, though.
MORGAN: You know, if you do what he did on "Meet the Press." you basically had it for the short term, doesn't he?
WESTIN: Yes, although my -- this is my personal opinion now, and I'm not responsible for covering these things, my reaction to the Cory Booker issue was he can support President Obama and not agree with him on every single thing.
MORGAN: That was my thought.
WESTIN: What's wrong? I mean --
MORGAN: Well, no. He's what's wrong. What's wrong is he reined back on what he originally said. Had he just come out and said, well, I agree with President Obama on 90 percent of the things he says, on this point I don't agree with him.
WESTIN: And it's a sad day in this country if someone has to agree on 100 percent of everything.
MORGAN: But why did he have to? Why did he feel that?
MORGAN: I think because he felt that there was a backlash. Now there's a lot of reporting going around whether the Obama campaign called him up and put some pressure on him. But we should have a country in which we can support someone and still not agree with everything that they say. MORGAN: Very quickly, give me your highest moment, the best moment you had and the lowest.
WESTIN: Well, probably the most fun in terms of -- was the millennium. We were on the air. If you remember Peter Jennings anchored for 24 hours straight.
WESTIN: We were around the world every single time period. And that was probably the most enjoyable. It was a huge success, but more than that it was just a lot of fun to do.
MORGAN: The Internet didn't collapse.
WESTIN: No, it didn't. That's right. Y2K.
MORGAN: Everybody was assumed it was going to happen. It never happened.
WESTIN: We had Jimmy Walker in New Zealand with an ATM card who put it in right at 12:01 to see whether in fact it would all collapse.
MORGAN: It was the biggest nonstory ever.
WESTIN: Yes, exactly right.
WESTIN: And we covered it extensively.
MORGAN: And what was the lowest moment?
WESTIN: Well, I mean, on a personal note, I mean, the death of Peter Jennings was a terrible moment and then the wounding of Bob Woodruff and his cameramen, Dough Vogt, in Iraq were awful. Now my biggest regret is not pursuing the weapons of mass destructions more extensively. I mean we had lots of sources that said that they were there. And everyone believed they were there. Peter Jennings interestingly actually was always skeptical. And I wish, in retrospect, we all had listened to Peter a little bit more on that.
MORGAN: Well, I think you would have gone far (INAUDIBLE) listening to him on almost everything. He's a great man.
WESTIN: True. MORGAN: And a brilliant broadcaster. It's a fascinating book, David.
MORGAN: Thanks for coming in.
WESTIN: Thank you very much, Piers.
MORGAN: Nice to meet you.
WESTIN: It was great.
MORGAN: Next "Only in America," the blood of a great president now up for auction.
MORGAN: Well, tonight "Only in America," for sale and for shame. At first I couldn't believe it, but it's true. An auction site is putting up a vial of Ronald Reagan's blood to the highest bidder. This is a glass vial apparently containing a sample of the late great president's blood. It was drawn shortly after the assassination attempt on his life in 1981.
The son of a deceased lab worker who kept the residue didn't want to donate it to the Reagan Library. He said Reagan would have -- wait for it -- appreciated his capitalistic endeavors.
The seller, whose name hasn't been revealed, added, "I'm a fan of Reaganomics. And I'm sure he would have appreciated me selling it rather than donating it."
Of course he would. There's nothing that Ronald Reagan would have liked more than some (INAUDIBLE) little gutter snipe trying to profit from the blood he spilled on one of the worst days of his life.
The company behind this stunt called PFC Auctions and is based in Guernsey, an island in the English Channel. It says it specializes in world-class collectibles.
There's not much world class about this offering. It's a shameful invasion of privacy that shouldn't be allowed to happen.
If PFC Auctions really want to do something world class, it should give the vial to the Reagan family or to his foundation which has rightfully called this a craven act. But even the blood which is currently hovering an extraordinary $12,000 ends on Thursday.
But to any considering making a bid. Let me just say this. You would literally have the blood of a great American on your hands. So maybe think again.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Piers, thanks.