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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Harvey Weinstein Talks to Bill Clinton

Aired May 31, 2012 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


HARVEY WEINSTEIN, CO-CHAIRMAN, THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY: Hi, I'm Harvey Weinstein. You know me from the movies I have been involved with, from "Shakespeare in Love" to "The Artist."

Piers Morgan asked me to sit in for him tonight. And I am proud to be talking to the man who changed the history of this country and the world. Bill Clinton.

In 2016, do you see a Clinton in the White House? Chelsea? Hillary?

(LAUGHTER)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Chelsea would be too young. I think. Maybe not quite. Hillary says she's going to retire. We'll just see.

WEINSTEIN: I'm also turning the camera on some of Hollywood's greats to tell me what movies mean to them.

MARTIN SCORSESE, FILM DIRECTOR: Movies can be anything.

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: I wanted to have Shirley Temple curls.

QUENTIN TARANTINO, FILM DIRECTOR: The greatest movie ever made.

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: That movie, like I said, (INAUDIBLE).

WEINSTEIN: And this is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening, I'm Harvey Weinstein, filling in for Piers Morgan, and I've got to tell you, when Piers Morgan asked me to do this, I thought he was kidding. He wasn't. So I went to one of the smartest people I know to ask for advice, Oprah Winfrey. We'll hear from her coming up.

But here's what she told me. She said if you're nervous, tell people you're nervous. Well, I am a little nervous but I'm also very excited. I'm a friend and supporter of Bill Clinton so it's an honor to introduce my very special guest, the 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton.

CLINTON: Hi, Harvey.

(LAUGHTER) WEINSTEIN: I don't know what you got yourself into.

CLINTON: The things I do for you.

WEINSTEIN: But thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

WEINSTEIN: The things you do for is correct. You know, you are so comfortable, Mr. President, with people. Every time I see you, you're relaxed. You talk straight ahead at people. You know, I'm a little nervous, so how do you do that?

CLINTON: You look them in the eye. And you forget about what else was going on.

WEINSTEIN: You know, an area that I am comfortable with is just talking about movies, and I know you're a great movie fan, because over the years we've watched a bunch of movies together.

CLINTON: A lot.

WEINSTEIN: A lot of movies together. What -- what is your favorite movie, Mr. President?

CLINTON: Well, the first movie I ever saw more than once was "High Noon."

WEINSTEIN: Right.

CLINTON: And I was still living in Hope, Arkansas, when it came out. I was 6 years old. You could go to the movies for a dime. And I'd get 20 cents so I could buy -- I think you could get a Coke and a candy bar or something for a nickel each. And I bet I've seen it 25 or 30 times. The only other movie like that in my life that I'd just see over and over and over again and never get tired of is "Casablanca."

WEINSTEIN: Well, you know, "High Noon" was a movie directed by Fred Zinnemann and produced by a very political producer, an activist named Stanley Kramer.

CLINTON: Yes.

WEINSTEIN: I think they have an award -- the Stanley Kramer Award -- even today because of movies like "Judgment at Nuremberg" and movies that he made of that nature.

CLINTON: Right. I've seen it.

WEINSTEIN: Did you know -- I mean, at the time, I mean, I guess not as a kid.

CLINTON: No clue.

WEINSTEIN: Later on, did you realize that that was an anti- McCarthy movie?

CLINTON: Yes. I did later on. When I'd read some books about the movie and, you know, I figured if I was going to see something 20 or 25 times I ought to know more about it. But I liked it because it wasn't your standard motto Western. Gary Cooper was scared to death, all alone. He did the right thing anyway. So --

WEINSTEIN: Did you ever feel it? You know, when you were the president, that you also were the sheriff, abandoned, doing as Gary Cooper is --

CLINTON: Sometimes.

WEINSTEIN: And that all the townspeople run and hide, and there you are to face the enemy all by your lonesome?

CLINTON: Sometimes. But you know, it's really important when you're president, the equivalent of that is that -- it's an opinion part. Today I have Mexico, 81 percent of the people are against us and the majority of the people are against Bosnia or Kosovo or lots of other things I did.

You have to ask yourself where is it going to come out at the end? When Gary Cooper rode out of town at the end, they were happy. They were glad to be rid of Frank Miller and his gang. It's the same thing.

WEINSTEIN: Exactly. Now if I were to make a movie about your life, who would you want, and don't worry you can name any actor. I -- we won't tell anybody. Who would you want to play you, Mr. President?

CLINTON: Gosh, I don't know. I don't know. I would trust your judgment more than mine on that.

WEINSTEIN: Brad Pitt? George Clooney?

CLINTON: Too good looking. George Clooney is at least more my size.

WEINSTEIN: Right, and not that good looking, I'm sure.

CLINTON: And then -- no.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: He's good-looking, but, you know, you could put bulbous things on his nose and you could do makeup with him. He was great and his movie last year was great. He -- you know, his Hawaii movie. What was the name of the movie?

WEINSTEIN: "Descendants."

CLINTON: It's fabulous.

WEINSTEIN: Right. CLINTON: He did -- he was so good in it, so real.

WEINSTEIN: I thought it was great, too. And Hillary, who would you play Hillary in this movie?

CLINTON: Meryl Streep.

WEINSTEIN: Mm-hmm. You know, it's so funny you say Meryl because I was with you, guys, you know, on the Kennedy Center Honors, and Nora Ephron made a speech, and she said, careful, Mrs. Clinton, Meryl is being sweet to you, nice to you, she's been great to your kids, great to Chelsea, great to your husband. But just you wait and see. She's getting ready to do you, just as she did "The Iron Lady." And I mean, for us, this year.

And I was also amazed, Mr. President, when you spoke at the Kennedy Center Honors. Everybody had notes when they gave somebody an award. You were really the only one who didn't. And you -- you gave the award to Sonny Rollins, the great jazz musician. You spoke off the cuff. You knew the dates of the albums. Every time you've done that over the years and I've seen that, I just think it's one of the most remarkable things, they way you know music, and you know, you meet these performers.

CLINTON: Well, you know, I spent a lot of time as a child on music and I've spent a lot of time in the movies. And it had a formative experience on me. I was thinking about it driving in here, because I knew I was going to see you, but all things that I -- just immediately come to mind, the chemistry between Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn in "The Lion in Winter," it was magic, why I love "Tom Jones." I will always be grateful for that movie, you know, it just -- the whole dynamic of it.

WEINSTEIN: You know when I -- you were the first president that I felt was really cool and I guess the -- for me, even I knew you were cool, but for the American people, I think it was that magical moment when you're on "The Arsenio Hall Show." All of a sudden, a presidential candidate puts on his shades and takes out a saxophone and plays really cool and really good.

Arsenio told Piers Morgan that it was his idea. Is that true or was it your idea?

CLINTON: No, he invited me to play.

WEINSTEIN: He did?

CLINTON: Yes.

WEINSTEIN: Invited you to play?

CLINTON: And --

WEINSTEIN: And what possessed you to do that in the middle of a presidential race? CLINTON: Well, I started -- I hadn't played in a couple of years. And I started playing, and I got to play with Kenny G. at an event. He did an event for me. And I just was feeling pretty comfortable doing it, and I wanted to play "God Bless the Child." I think we did that.

WEINSTEIN: Right.

CLINTON: And then we did either "Summertime" or "My Funny Valentine." They weren't hard and it was fun.

WEINSTEIN: You know today George W. Bush got his portrait unveiled at the White House, and we're going to take a look, you know, at that. But I just wanted to remind you that you invited me all those years ago when you got your portrait unveiled at the White House. It was right in the middle of the whole calamity over "Fahrenheit 9/11," which is a movie that Michael Moore and I made.

I came, I had to go on the receiving line with President Bush, and I'll never forget what he said to me. He said, "Harvey, I used to love your movies. What the hell happened to you?"

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: He's got a good sense of humor.

WEINSTEIN: He does, doesn't he? Let's take a look at this footage from George W. Bush today at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm also pleased, Mr. President, that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestle with tough decisions, you'll now be able to gaze at this portrait and ask, "What would George do?"

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEINSTEIN: You know, speaking of un-cool, Donald Trump has a benefit for Mitt Romney. And I know Donald Trump to be a sane, smart businessman. But he has this benefit, Romney comes, and he talks about that birth certificate again.

How do you put that out of the minds of the American public --

CLINTON: I don't know.

WEINSTEIN: -- once and for all? And doesn't he realize how un- cool he is?

CLINTON: I don't know, you know, Donald Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me. We're all New Yorkers.

WEINSTEIN: Me, too. CLINTON: And I like him. And I love playing golf with him. But the evidence is pretty clear that President Obama was born in Hawaii and this whole election should not be about any of these side issues. It really ought to be about the decisions that each of them will make on where we are and where we need to go. That's -- and it's a serious time. So I'd like to see the election turn back to that.

WEINSTEIN: There's a new ad where you praised, you know, President Obama for pulling the trigger on Osama bin Laden. Mitt Romney made a number of statements. He said he wouldn't cross into Pakistan to kill an enemy of America. He said he wouldn't spend billions of dollars in hunting one, just one person.

Do you think Mitt Romney would have pulled the trigger if he was the president?

CLINTON: I don't know that. And I don't think anybody can know. The main thing I wanted to say is President Obama was told that this is probably Osama bin Laden. We're not 100 percent sure. You could take that house out with a -- an armed drone and not risk the soldiers.

But if it's not bin Laden, you're going to wind up killing whoever's there, plus his (INAUDIBLE) wives, plus any kids that might be there plus any other people. And they decided to go in there. He did. And go after bin Laden, make sure he could be identified and minimize the casualties, even at greater risk to the Navy SEALs that went in. And I thought it was a pretty brave decision, and the correct one.

WEINSTEIN: I thought so, too. You know, Mr. President, you know, in my world, you know, we're all for, you know, gay marriage and you know, but the president, did he take a risk? Was it a mistake politically, you know, to come out in support of it?

CLINTON: Well, I think, yes, it was somewhat risky because a lot of his African-American support in the churches are not for it. And because if you look at what's happening in America as people change their positions, just I have, what happens is personal experience changes your position.

The more gay friends you have, the more you see them adopting children and taking good care of them and being good parents, the more you think, who am I to say to them what they should call their relationship? If the law permits it or if a given church permits it, who are we to stand in the way?

For people who don't know a large number of gay people, who haven't had experiences with stable gay families, it's a different thing. So he took a risk. I think it's the right position. I think it's where we're going. I think that he deserves credit for doing it.

WEINSTEIN: The race between Obama and Romney, how close do you think that race will be?

CLINTON: Can't tell you. And I still think the president will win by 5 or 6 points. I've always thought so. But --

WEINSTEIN: You are the best predictor of that.

CLINTON: But it's closer than that today.

WEINSTEIN: It is. Why?

CLINTON: Because of the condition of the economy. Because even though we're out-performing Europe and Japan compared to where we were the day after the crash. And we've created more private sector jobs in this economy in 3 1/2 years, since President Obama took office, than in the seven years and eight months before the crash, in the previous administration.

But still people feel uncertain. You know, when you've got a lot of people getting up in the morning, looking in the mirror, starting the day thinking, they have failed, that's a problem. And I think those of us who support the president have to get out there and explain what he did in rescuing the automobile industry, what he did in raising the mileage standards and the way they created 150,000 jobs, and that everybody agrees, management, the unions, the government, the environmental groups, what he did in both saving the financial institutions, but signing that Dodd-Frank bill so that there'll be higher capital requirements and this kind of meltdown would not occur again in the future.

Those things need to be explained and the American people -- also, that is budget he's offered, if passed, would reduce the deficit and the national debt five or 10 years from now much more than anything his opponent and his opponent's party has offered. If we can get that out, I think he'll be just fine. And I think he will be re- elected.

WEINSTEIN: Now Governor Romney keeps talking about his experience at Bain Capital as a producer of jobs and that he had 25 years in the private sector. It seems to play with a certain group, but do you think that really will affect people and think that he can produce jobs that the president can't?

CLINTON: I think it will affect some people who relate well to businessmen. And I think he had a good business career. The -- there is a lot of controversy about that. But if you go in and you try to save a failing company, and you and I have friends here who invest in companies, you can invest in a company, run up the debt, loot it, sell all the assets, and force all the people to lose their retirement and fire them.

Or you can go into a company, have cutbacks, try to make it more productive with the purpose of saving it. And when you try, like anything else you try, you don't always succeed. Not every movie you made was a smash hit.

WEINSTEIN: That's for sure.

CLINTON: So I don't think that we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work. This is good work. I think, however, the real issue ought to be, what has Governor Romney advocated in the campaign that he will do as president? What has President Obama done and what does he propose to do? How do these things stack up against each other?

That's the most relevant thing. There's no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, the man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold. But they have dramatically different proposals. And it's my opinion, anyway, that the Obama proposals and the Obama record will be far better for the American economy and most Americans than those that Governor Romney has laid out. And that's what the election ought to be about.

WEINSTEIN: Mr. President, we'll be right back and we're going to talk about a proposed ban on sugary drinks in New York by Mayor Bloomberg; and the Clinton Global Initiative when we come back.

Thank you, Mr. President.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WEINSTEIN: I'm back now with America's number one movie fan, my special guest, former President Bill Clinton.

On June 7th and 8th, in Chicago, the Clinton Global Initiative begins. Tell us what you're planning to do this year, Mr. President?

CLINTON: Well, we're going to bring in people from all over the country to talk about the American economy. The meeting we have in Chicago every year we started last year just to talk about what those of us who are not voting in Congress or making decisions in the White House can do to accelerate employment, start new businesses, to prepare people to take the jobs that are open.

And we're going to focus a lot on advanced manufacturing, clean energy, infrastructure, and training people to do the jobs that are open. A lot of Americans don't know this, there are more than 3.5 million jobs posted for hire today that aren't being filled very fast. And it's because in the areas where the jobs are open, people aren't being trained for them.

So we either got to let the employers do the training and give them the incentives and the money to do so, or we've got to do a better job of training people. Mostly it's in math and engineering and technology areas, science areas. But not all require four-year college degrees, they do all require some training.

WEINSTEIN: Are you optimistic? Do you think we can, you know, fix the economy?

CLINTON: Oh, yes. I do. Look, all of America's problems, and we've got some serious ones, dropped from first to 15th in college graduates. We're 15th in infrastructure. We're 15th in computer download speeds, South Korea four times faster than ours.

WEINSTEIN: Right.

CLINTON: We can fix all that.

WEINSTEIN: How do we fix it?

CLINTON: But -- well, we've got to continue to accelerate the resolution of the home mortgage crisis. We've got to get some of the corporate cash that's overseas invested back here, preferably in an infrastructure bank with a good return on investment. And we have to accelerate the areas where we know we can grow, in information technology and clean energy, where we rank first or second in the world in the potential to generate jobs out of the sun and the wind, never mind all of the other stuff.

But -- and we need to do a better job of helping employers who want to hire people today get people hired in a hurry.

WEINSTEIN: I noticed that infrastructure is one of the topics on the Clinton Global Initiative --

CLINTON: Yes.

WEINSTEIN: -- and fixing the American infrastructure. How do we go about doing that?

CLINTON: The best way to do it is for America to join most other countries in using not just tax dollars to build roads and bridges and new water systems, and infrastructure is also a new electrical grid. One of our big problems in maximizing solar and wind is that the wind blows hardest and the sun shines brightest where the people are not. So you've got to put the grid to get it back. And those are the best ways to do it.

But this infrastructure bank idea would put a little public money in, open it up to private money, guarantee people a certain rate of return, it was a bipartisan idea when it started. Senator Hutchison of Texas, a Republican, and Senator Kerry of Massachusetts, a Democrat, sponsored this legislation.

I still hope after this election they will pass it.

WEINSTEIN: Also education and health are also part of your initiatives.

CLINTON: Yes.

WEINSTEIN: What are we planning to do about fixing education in this country?

CLINTON: Well, I think there are two things you have to do. First of all, you have to get more kids while they are in elementary, middle school, and high school, to start getting into the science and technology and engineering and math courses. There has to be -- people should be going into these schools and saying, look, when you get out, here is where the jobs are. And we need to get a higher percentage of you doing these things for which there is a demand. And then there ought to be incentives for people to go in and teach these courses in our schools. And there ought to be incentives for people to go into these fields, including an alleviation of some of their student debt if they work in those fields for four or five years afterwards.

For example, suppose you graduated from college, from a low- income family, and you had $50,000, 60,000 debt, and a degree in science and technology, you could probably make more money coming to New York and working in finance, investing in those areas, than you could working in the companies that do that work.

If you worked in the companies that do that work I think you ought to get some alleviation on your student loans.

WEINSTEIN: Mr. President, I saw you at the Teddy -- the late Teddy Forstmann's conference in Aspen. And you talked about how the economy went wrong. You talked about the regulations, the bills that the Republican Congress had, you know, nullified, you know, gotten rid of, and the oversight was gone.

Can you tell the American people why you think the economy went bad in the United States?

CLINTON: Well, I think two things happened. First is we decided to go back to the economic policies that reversed all of my economic policies.

WEINSTEIN: Right.

CLINTON: Go back to what was done in the 12 years before I took office, when we quadrupled the debt. So we double the debt again. And we also stopped looking for that opportunity to invest in new job growth.

If you live in a big global economy and you want to keep 20 percent of the world's income with 4 or 5 percent of the world's population, which is what we want to do, you've got to have a source of new jobs every five to eight years. And we didn't have one in the first decade of this century.

So we overdid the home building, consumer spending, and the finance sectors of the economy with a consequence that too many loans were put out with too little cash to support them, with too little oversight, until sooner or later we were going to have a real problem.

WEINSTEIN: And they repealed the oversight bills, didn't they?

CLINTON: Well, they -- to some extent. But the main thing they did was not have either the Securities and Exchange Commission or any of the others who could have done it overseeing the amount of risk that was being undertaken.

WEINSTEIN: We spent a little too much time on the economy, although for me, I loved it. We're going to come back and talk about the mayor's ban on sugary drinks, when we come back in a few moments. Thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WEINSTEIN: I'm back now with my special guest, former President Bill Clinton.

The CGI, Clinton Global Initiative, has plans to deal with childhood obesity. Lord knows, I wish I was -- you know, caught it in my own stage. And the mayor today talked about banning sugary drinks, you know, anything over 16 ounces at movie theaters, you know, sporting arenas, you know, to take a first step against this.

I mean our mayor is a very smart man and he -- he did this with the tobacco ban, too. How do you feel about what he -- what he did today?

CLINTON: I think he's doing the right thing. And let me explain why. We worked in 14,000 schools, trying to help improve the school lunch offerings and meal offerings and improve what's in the vending machines and improve the exercise program. We got a voluntary agreement from all the softdrinks people to reduce. It's reduced by 88 percent, the total calories going to kids in vending machines and cafeterias. But then, there's the world outside.

We've got this explosion of diabetes in America among young people. For the first time, Type II Diabetes showing up in 9 year olds, and among the baby boomers who are retiring. And together, these things are going to bankrupt us. It's a terrible human tragedy. And it's basically too much sugar going into the body, we can't process it all.

So if you get rid of these giant, full-of-sugar drinks, and make people have smaller portions, it will help. And, you know, I know a lot of people think, well, this is a nanny state and he's interfering. But these are -- these are very serious problems. And there are a lot of things in our diet that not only make us too heavy, but too much sugar in our bodies, which has an enormous people with diabetes and a lot of people teetering on the edge of it.

And it's like shortening your life and undermining the quality of your life and exploding the cost of our healthcare system.

WEINSTEIN: I have to tell you that when we were at that Aspen conference, you wowed a room of Republicans. I'll never forget Karl Rove even applauding for you. And then, at the end, you said to me, "Harv, let's go out." And we went to Boogies (ph) in Aspen. We ate cheeseburgers, and vanilla shakes, and French Fries.

Now you're a vegan. How did you get there, and how do I get there?

CLINTON: Well, what I did was -- first of all, when I had my second heart incident and I had to put the stents put in, I had passed all my physicals, I was doing great, I was still building up plaque in my arteries. So I decided that I wanted to see if I could live to be a grandfather. So I just went all the way. Now, I try to eat some salmon once a week, but I don't miss any of that. Getting rid of the dairy was great, getting rid of the meat was -- I just don't miss it. Not everybody is as vulnerable to this as I am. All of us produce a certain amount of enzymes that destroys our own bad cholesterol. However much extra we produce determines how much we can ingest. And unfortunately, we can't measure it. So I just said, "I don't want to take any chances," and I feel great, lost a bunch of weight.

WEINSTEIN: You look great.

CLINTON: But the main thing is, we can't let these kids grow up to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, and that's what's happening.

WEINSTEIN: And also, the economics of it are -- if we get rid this, these diabetes, and the obesity, I mean, we'll save billions of dollars on healthcare.

CLINTON: I would say that, first of all, if you look at the American healthcare system, spending almost 18 percent of income on healthcare, that's a big reason people don't get pay raises. Small businesses want to give their employees pay raises, they have to spend it on the health premiums instead. It's killing them.

Of the trillion dollars we spend -- one trillion dollars we would not spend if we had any other country's health system, which is why I don't want the president's health bill repealed. Of the trillion dollars, I would say that about 200 billion dollars of it is completely related to diabetes and its dependent consequences, which is a function of how we eat.

WEINSTEIN: Mr. President, every American is asking the same question as they watch these genocide reports from Syria. What do we do? How do we do this, you know? How do we -- do we go in militarily? What would you do in this situation, and what would you advise the president?

CLINTON: Well, I think that the president -- and, you know, Hillary as secretary of state has been very actively in this. What they don't want to do is to get into another situation where it looks like we are unilaterally interfering in an Arab country. Syria is governed by an Alawite minority. It has a Sunni Muslim majority and a tremendous diversity underneath that.

And that's why we've been working as hard as we could to get the Russians to support more united action through the U.N. If we were to do something like what we did in Libya, try to give some arms support to the people in the wake of this last terrible mess -- number one, I don't know, because I haven't gotten any briefings, whether there is sufficient armed opposition in Syria to prevail.

And number two, if we did it on our own, we'd almost guarantee their failure, because it would look like our thing. So I know this is really frustrating, but we're in this place with Syria now where I was with Bosnia in 1993 and 1994, where it took us two years. I was ready to go into Bosnia in '93, but I was determined not to go alone. Bosnia was a part of Europe. The Europeans had the biggest stake in it. And I had to persuade the other major European countries to support our position. And then we only had to bomb three or four days before the peace talk started.

WEINSTEIN: How do you get Russia, which seems to be blocking progress in that area --

(CROSS TALK)

CLINTON: Well, what they should be thinking about is what this does to them with their own Muslim minority on their southern underbelly in Russia. And I think we just have to keep working there. Because if --

(CROSS TALK)

CLINTON: -- and the Russians are saying, "Oh, it's unpredictable, you can't tell what's going to happen." That's all true. Just like the Arab Spring was unpredictable in Egypt. But this level of, you know, kind of -- they'll go along with the peace plan, then they decide if they want to go kill a bunch of people, they'll just go do it. We need to find a way to stop it.

WEINSTEIN: Is the world better without Assad?

CLINTON: I think so, now. You know, I worked with his father for years. And I thought we were going to get an agreement between Israel and the Syrians on the Golan Heights, and a peace agreement. I understand that people who are skeptical. They say, "Oh, Syria's so complicated, and the Alawites have made a place for everybody. The women have more opportunities there than they would if a stricter Muslim regime were in place." I understand all that argument.

But you just can't have a government that thinks it can up and kill its people because they politically disagree with them. You just can't have that. And I think they have forfeited their legitimacy

But I sympathize very much with the president. After all, we've been in Afghanistan a long time. We finally have an agreement to withdraw from there. We got of Iraq and it's not perfect, but they have a chance to succeed and they have a constitution, and they have oil wealth.

I think the world would come rushing to help Syria if Mr. Assad left, if they agreed to respect the minority rights of the non-Sunni majority there. But it's very difficult for us to do this alone. We have to respect the restraints that are now on the president and on our government.

And I think Putin could wind up being a hero in this if he would turn around and take a leading role. I believe that if Vladimir Putin decided to join the international consensus hard against Syria, we wouldn't have to go to war there.

WEINSTEIN: Right.

CLINTON: We wouldn't have to bomb there. I think that Assad would see that his number was up and he would leave and we would be able to manage a less turbulent transition, because you wouldn't have so many people, who otherwise would be part of it, killed or driven from the country.

WEINSTEIN: Your wife, Hillary, is a big part of this. When we come back, we will talk about her and your daughter, Chelsea.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I'm told you made it through without -- you were afraid that you might weep a little. How did that go? You were able to hold it together?

CLINTON: I was, for two reasons. One is I wanted it to be about her, not me. And the second is, she had a really big dress and I didn't want to step on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEINSTEIN: Mr. President, that's you with David Letterman. And I must tell you, years ago we were all in Martha's Vineyard on a vacation, and you gave me the four-and-a-half minute longest minutes of my life. You asked Chelsea to come with myself and Dirk Ziff (ph) to the Martha's Vineyard Hot Tin Roof to see a band that you wanted to see.

You said, it's OK, she can come, and you guys go with her. She watched the group. She was fabulous, great company. And all of a sudden a young boy out of nowhere, who had no idea who she was, asked her to dance.

She went to the dance floor, and I promise you, time stopped for four-and-a-half minutes. He was so incredibly polite when the dance ended. She was so incredibly polite back. I have to two teenaged daughters. How did you raise a teenager in the White House?

CLINTON: As much as possible we raised her as we would have if we hadn't been in the White House. I think, you know, we had meals together. One advantage I have over many working parents is that we live above the store, basically, there in the White House.

So no matter how long the hours the president worked, and I worked almost every night I was there --

WEINSTEIN: I remember.

CLINTON: -- after dinner, I could come home to dinner.

So we could get up and have breakfast in the morning. I could see her off. We could have dinner. And we tried to make her feel that she could talk about anything she wanted to talk about. And we tried to have a very open, straightforward relationship. And I think, you know, when Chelsea was in high school, I think we only had one argument. I don't even remember what it was about.

WEINSTEIN: You watched "The Princess Bride" with Chelsea, what, every year?

CLINTON: Oh yes, we've watched it, I don't know, countless times. She knows the dialogue better than I did. But we love "The Princess Bride." I think it's a great unrecognized jewel of a movie.

WEINSTEIN: I think so too. It's written by William Goldman who "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and, of course, was Rob --

CLINTON: "Marathon Man."

WEINSTEIN: And "Marathon Man." And directed by Rob Reiner, his second movie after, you know, "Spinal Tap."

CLINTON: It's so funny.

WEINSTEIN: Well, you're a great movie fan. I was wondering, in 2016, do you see a Clinton in the White House? Chelsea, Hillary?

CLINTON: Chelsea will be too young, I think, maybe not quite. Hillary says she's going to retire. We will just see. You know, I think she intends to come home and start doing a lot of the charitable work. She has worked so hard for 20 years, you know?

But I'm very proud of her. I think she has really done a good job with a very tough hand to play as secretary of state. And she has done a good job for America, has been good for the world.

WEINSTEIN: I though she had done an incredible job. Every time I see her, she is traveling, on the go to...

(CROSS TALK)

CLINTON: She is in Scandinavia now.

WEINSTEIN: -- country. She is truly one of -- she will go down in history probably as our greatest secretary of state.

CLINTON: She will be -- well, she will rank very high. She has done a good job and she has really tried to build a world where there was more cooperation. That's -- and whenever you try to build a world of cooperation, and you've got a hard problem like Syria, you're always going in two different directions.

But I think with a lot hard problems, she has really been great. I'm very proud of her.

WEINSTEIN: Me too.

Mr. President, the Clinton Global Initiative, how do the viewers, you know, who are watching tonight, how do they get involved? CLINTON: Well, they can go to our Web site, ClintonFoundation.org, or there is one of the Clinton Global Initiative, CGI. And they -- if they want to follow the Clinton Global Initiative, that's where we bring other people together and try to create networks to solve problems.

If they want to know more about what my foundation does on childhood obesity or AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, agriculture, and economic development in Latin America and Africa, they should go to the Clinton Foundation site.

They can go to either one and there is lots of information about how to get involved with time or with money. And we encourage people who can only give five or 10 bucks to be involved and to pick where they want their money to go.

We've tried to make it as user-friendly as possible.

WEINSTEIN: As somebody who has participated over the years, I have to tell you, I learned so much, especially about micro-managing, micro-budgets in India, I mean, and how these women who were oppressed build companies.

It's an incredible experience. And I just hope that for the audience out there they do participate and they do support -- you know, because it's amazing to have this.

CLINTON: Well, one of the things people learn I think there is that intelligence and effort are evenly distributed throughout the world, but opportunity is not. The same thing is true in America.

And so once you know that, then you try to figure out, OK, how do I create the opportunities? Because the people are smart enough to take advantage of it and they will work hard enough to take advantage of it.

WEINSTEIN: Mr. President, thank you for being my guest tonight. I can't thank you enough for doing this. And as I said, I always learn amazing things from you.

Hopefully they'll let us do this again and we're just going to talk about movies the next time.

Thank you, Mr. President.

CLINTON: Thanks, Harvey.

WEINSTEIN: Thank you, sir.

Up next, my favorite people tell me about their favorite movies, when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WEINSTEIN: Welcome back. I'm Harvey Weinstein in for Piers Morgan. As you know, I'm a movie guy. So tonight, I want to take a moment to celebrate cinema. And I asked some of the biggest stars around what their favorite movie moments were and also the movies that changed their lives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OPRAH WINFREY, O NETWORK: For a long time, as a little Negro girl, I wanted to be Shirley Temple, which we know how impossible that was, and I wanted to have Shirley Temple curls. So that's probably the first movie I actually saw.

(SINGING)

MARTIN SCORSESE, DIRECTOR: I think the first movie that I remember by title going to see, my mother and friends taking me to see, was "Duel in the Sun." I happened to like westerns because it was the opposite of what I was experiencing, which was open spaces and colorful -- you know, wonderful stories, a sense of freedom and independence.

WINFREY: The movie that I most recall and that had the biggest effect on me would have to be "Lilies of the Field."

SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: Move your foot off my adobe.

WINFREY: That was the night that Sidney Poitier won the Academy Award.

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: When you see Eddie Murphy in "Coming to America," when you think about the comedy that was nominated for an Oscar this past year, "Bridesmaid," it's like you wish you could flip the years back and go see that performance when Eddie Murphy does all those different characters and all the catch phrases, like "FU, FU, FU, who's next?" And "he whooped Joe Louis's ass." And you'd sit up with all your friends and it's a classic.

WINFREY: I was most affected by his winning the Academy Award. I remember very clearly where I was sitting, on a linoleum floor in a small walk-up flat in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, third floor, taking care of my half brother and sister. And we were the only people home. And I was so fascinated that this -- as we called ourselves at the time, this colored man was getting this award.

POITIER: I wanted to build it myself.

WINFREY: I remember distinctively having the feeling of he won, he won.

SCORSESE: "On the Water Front" was my world. So that was a world that I saw in the street. That was the world that I was living in, which meant cinema doesn't have to necessarily be something outside of your world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't understand, I could have had class. I could have been a contender.

QUENTIN TARANTINO, DIRECTOR: I really like comedies and I really liked horror movies. And so when I watched "Frankenstein," one of the things that was so good about it was the fact that the funny stuff was really funny. I really like Abbot and Costello. But the monster stuff, with Frankenstein and Dracula and the Wolfman, that was really scary. There were moments in it that were scary.

I didn't know you could do that. I didn't know you could put two different types of movies into one movie.

FOXX: Talking about movies that had the biggest effect on my life, I think it would have to be "New Jack City," because watching someone like Wesley Snipes who, you know, was able to step into a role where, you know, people like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, who played the iconic gangster characters -- now here was an opportunity for me to see the African American gangster in "New Jack City."

TARANTINO: Now, if you were to ask me now what my favorite movie of all time is, it's "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see in this world, there's two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig.

SCORSESE: Cinema could be anything. Movies could be anything.

(LAUGHTER)

WEINSTEIN: I also want to tell you the best movie story that I know. Nelson Mandela came to New York. It was arranged by Robert De Niro for him to speak to the people of our industry, artists, directors, movie stars. And he spoke about being in Robben prison. Most of the time, 27 years, he was in solitary confinement.

But every Thursday, they allowed him to go to the movies. And he said that it was the promise of the movie and the hope of those Thursday nights that got him through Robben.

Coming up, Only in America, the story of a Holocaust survivor and his passion for films.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WEINSTEIN: For tonight's Only in America, a man I admire; Martin Gray is an American citizen. He's also the last survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto, 90 years old. And when I was in France recently, I asked him the same questions I did of my industry friends.

His life is extraordinary. At 17, he was the biggest smuggler in the Warsaw Ghetto, bringing food to the starving. At 18, he was sent to the Treblinka Death Camp, where his mother and father perished. He escaped and later became a very successful American businessman. He moved his wife and family to Cannes. And in a 1970 forest fire, his wife and four children were killed.

Today, he has five beautiful children of his own. This is a man of indomitable spirit. I asked him what movie changed his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARTIN GRAY, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: For me, I was really taken by the movie "Dictator" by Charlie Chaplin. When I saw the movie, not only -- I'm not only talking of the character of the movie and his ideas behind it. But that man, Charlie Chaplin, he knew what I lived two years later in the Warsaw Ghetto. How did he -- in 1938 I think he made the movie -- '39. He knew -- he just saw what we were going to live two years later.

I think at that time, if people had listened to Charlie Chaplin, his precursory ideas would have saved perhaps many millions of people, not only Jews, but millions of other people who died during the Second World War, because Charlie Chaplin told us.

How did he know? He's not a visionary, but he knew exactly what's going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEINSTEIN: It's been incredible privilege to do this show. And the last thing Martin Gray said to me is "the secret of life is the power of hope." Thank you.