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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview With Walker; Bill Clinton Apologizes for Tax Comments; Personal Side of Bush 41; Interview with Chaz Bono
Aired June 7, 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, Republican rising.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: Voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions.
MORGAN: Scott Walker fought the Wisconsin recall and won. Could he be the shot in the arm the GOP needs? And is he destined to be Mitt Romney's running mate. I'll ask him.
Also, 41. The man who founded an American dynasty. President George H.W. Bush, his life story in his own words, the White House days, his family and the shocking wartime attack that nearly cost him his life.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wasn't afraid to die. Maybe I was scared when all this was taking place.
MORGAN: Plus politics gets personal. Chaz Bono on a cause that's close to his hot and his new life as a single man.
CHAZ BONO: I'm not the most outgoing fella. You know, I'm not one of those guys who can't just walk up and start chatting up a girl that I find attractive.
MORGAN: And "Only in America," a steaming best seller goes mainstream. The real life "Fifty Shades of Grey."
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening, our big story tonight, the man of the hour, Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker. He says his victory is a triumph for the middle class in his state. Whether he likes it or not, it also puts him firmly at the national spotlight. And now the guessing game begins in earnest. Should the GOP start printing out Romney- Walker bumper stickers? He'll tell me in a moment.
And later a man who gives Scott Walker some pointers on the ups and downs of American politics. George Herbert Walker Bush. This is the 41st president of the United States as you've really never seen him before. He talks openly in a new movie about how his life has changed since leaving the White House.
But we begin with our big story, Governor Scott Walker's dramatic rise in the Republican Party. And the governor joins me now.
Welcome, Governor, and congratulations.
WALKER: Hey, Piers, good to be with you. Sorry my voice is a little hoarse but my spirits are high and it's great to be with you.
MORGAN: I bet they are. You've probably been partying well into the night, and why shouldn't you?
Last time I spoke to you it was all pretty tense and you talked quite honestly about receiving death threats and how nasty the whole thing had got. How do you feel now it's all over? I mean you're still getting threats, apparently. It's obviously been a pretty brutal campaign.
WALKER: Well, it was. And you know the thing when I walked out on the stage and saw those supporters the first thing I thought of was thank god it's over for my wife, Tonette, my two boys, Matt and Alex, because they more than anybody felt the blunt of all that.
I asked for the job. They didn't ask for it. And it was just a big relief that it was done for them. And in our case yes, there's a few outliers out there. But I think most people in our state are definitely ready to move on. They're ready to move forward. I spent the last two -- two days, excuse me, criss-crossing the state. And the sentiment is pretty strong there. People are ready to move and we're going to work together to make that happen.
MORGAN: Let's take another listen to your victory speech last night, a little clip from this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: Tonight, tonight, we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country, and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I think I know now why you've lost your voice. You were in full battle cry mode last night. But what does this really mean in the context of the national election, do you think?
WALKER: Well, I think it has an impact both on what's going to happen in the fall and more important what happens after that. I think the message that we sent in the election on Tuesday because I got not just Republican and conservative votes, I had independents and even some discerning Democrats who said they like the fact that somebody had the courage to take on the tough challenges.
And I think for Governor Romney here in Wisconsin and for any other swing states across the country, if he's going to succeed I think voters want to hear not just what's wrong with the current occupant in the White House, I think they want to hear, what are you going to do? What dramatic steps, bold steps will you take to move our country forward, to tackle both the economic and fiscal crisis that our country faces just like we did here in Wisconsin?
I think if he does, I think he has the capacity to do that. He certainly did that with the Olympics. He did that in the private sector. I think he has a capacity to do that for the nation. If he makes those kind of bold statements and has the ability to follow up on them I think people will turn in his regard.
MORGAN: Quite obviously there's been lots of speculation about whether you may join Mitt Romney on a ticket. Mark A. Tyson on Monday in "The Washington Post" column wrote that, "Putting you on the ticket would make Mitt Romney instantly competitive in Wisconsin. It would force President Obama to spend time and resources defending a state he expected to be an easy win. And even if he has succeeded in narrowly holding Wisconsin, the fight for the Badger State would divert precious resource from other battleground. And if the Republican ticket did pull an upset in Wisconsin, Obama's chances for a second term would be slim to none."
So you can see why a lot of Republicans are getting very excited by this. You've been propelled into the superstar stratosphere with this well-fought campaign. And then there is a logic and a common sense to putting you on the ticket. How do you feel about it?
WALKER: Well, I think the benefit of what happened on Tuesday was the power of ideas. You know, we ran not just an election but we ran for the last year and a half on powerful ideas that were not about R for Republican but R for reform, and if Governor Romney embraces that, and no matter he puts on the ticket, will be strong. And if you were to ask me about what to do with Wisconsin I'd say one of the most powerful reformers in the country grew up just down away from me, Paul Ryan.
I probably would suggest he put him on the ticket. After a year and a half worth of all this I want to stay focus to helping Wisconsin move forward. But I do think in Wisconsin and I think a lot of other swing states across the country if he's got -- if goes big and he goes bold in terms of saying what he'll do to turn our country around he can be successful. And I'm just thrilled we brought that -- that attention to the national level as well as what we do in Wisconsin.
MORGAN: But if Romney called you and said, right, I've thought about this, you are my man, I presume you wouldn't turn him down?
WALKER: Well, again, I would probably eagerly persuade him that the best person in Wisconsin to put on the ticket is indeed Paul Ryan. I --
MORGAN: Right. But what if hypothetically --
MORGAN: He decides not Paul Ryan, it's going to be Scott Walker? WALKER: I think he'd have a pretty tough person to convince in terms of my wife, Tonette, after all this campaigning, all this focus in Wisconsin. I think it'd be pretty hard for me to turn around and do anything else except for the next couple of years. Stay focused on Wisconsin. And that's why I'd push Paul. I -- there is a lot of other great candidates out there.
MORGAN: No, I get -- I get that. But you wouldn't --
MORGAN: You wouldn't say no, would you? I mean you're a man of --
WALKER: Well --
MORGAN: You'd want to help him.
WALKER: It's pretty -- it's pretty overwhelming just to think about getting through this last election and, you know, for me, I appreciate the attention but I think it's really because of not my personality as much as it is because of the bold ideas we ran on and the fact that we didn't just win, we won with more votes than we did two years ago, and -- a year and a half ago, really, in one of the key swing states across the country.
And I hope that sends a message not just about winning but more importantly about governing, not just in a presidential election but in any other election for governor, for mayor, for other executive positions across the country. You can make tough decisions that I believe voters for years have asked us to do.
I've often heard the complaint from both Democrat and Republican voters alike that they hate the fact that politicians get into office and they -- and they're fearful, they're fearful to make tough decisions because they think more about the next election than they do about the next-generation. We turned that around. We thought more about the next generation than the next election and I hope there's more leaders who'll join us in doing that.
MORGAN: What do you make about this furor over President Clinton's comments, which have been, it appears, completely at odds with President Obama's positions in relation to Mitt Romney in particular and to the Bush tax cuts?
WALKER: Well, I think it -- you know, it's interesting. I think the president has been hanging around -- President Clinton, that is, he's been hanging around with a number of people in the private sector, people who actually put people to work, whether they're small business or big business or anywhere in between. That's how our nation thrives. And I think he's seen that reality and I think it was a good wakeup call for the rest of the country.
You know President Obama may be a good and decent person but in the end his view of government is that government is successful if more people are dependent on government programs. I don't think that's successful. I don't think that's what the majority of people in my state or my country believe. I think most people believe success in government is how many fewer people are in government, not because you kick them off of benefits like unemployment but they've been able to control their own destiny because private sector employers have created more jobs. That's the way we move our country forward. That's certainly the way we're trying to move Wisconsin forward.
MORGAN: I mean you talked about being conciliatory now towards the unions. Presumably you don't want to go down as just this sort of ferocious union basher, the great slayer of all things union. Because a lot of these people are decent people who work hard for a living. It's not a mantle that any politician should be overly proud of.
WALKER: No. No. Well, and I think it was something largely created by some of our national opponents. For us, we've always had a good working relationship. In fact if you look more than a third of all the union households in the state actually voted for me, and I think that's because over the last year and a half private sector unions have seen that they're my partner in economic development.
I work with them on reinvesting in the infrastructure, my predecessor raided out of the transportation fund. I've worked with them in terms of rebuilding our infrastructure when it comes to energy and power in the state. We'd like to even streamline the process for safe and environmentally sound mining in our state, to put more of our workers, both union and non-union alike, back to work.
I think in the private sector they understand that. The thing to remember with private sector unions is not only are we helping them put people back to work, they're taxpayers. They don't want to see their taxes go up anymore than anybody else does. And so the idea that we can operate a government that's more efficient, more effective, more accountable to the taxpayers is good for everyone particularly middle class taxpayers who overwhelmingly in the past had had to pay the brunt of the cost for expansive and out-of-control government.
We reined that in and if anything I'd like my legacy to be that we controlled the budget without massive (INAUDIBLE), without tax increases, without cuts in things like Medicaid, and did so in a way that helped create more jobs in the private sector which means more freedom and prosperity for all of our people. And I think that's the important message here in Wisconsin and across the country.
MORGAN: Well, Governor, I got to wrap things up now before I achieve what no Democrat has achieved against you, that is to silence Scott Walker because I fear your voice is about to pack up on me. But it's been a great week for you, good week for your party. I congratulate you. Thanks for joining me.
WALKER: Well, thanks, Piers. And the best thing you've talked to me about this before but Sunday, after my son graduates from high school on Saturday, Sunday I get to take that Harley-Davidson road king out and get it back on the road, I'm just riding wherever it takes me all across Wisconsin. Good to be with you, Piers.
MORGAN: I'm seeing a remake of "Easy Rider" coming up before me.
Enjoy your ride, Governor.
WALKER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Take care.
The other big story in politics is what you might call the Bill Clinton apology tour. The former president explains away some recent comments that seemed to put him at odds with the White House, including what he said on this show last week when he referred to Mitt Romney's, quote, "sterling business career."
Wolf Blitzer talked to President Clinton today, and he's here with more.
Wolf, a great interview with the president today. Congratulations on that. It seemed to me he was in apologetic mode, expressing regret, perhaps, for going as far as he has. Is that accurate?
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: Yes, it is. And I was pretty surprised to see how far he was going in saying how sorry he was, apologizing for some of those comments including what he said on your show last week when he suggested, as you say, that Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital was sterling, that he was qualified to be president, this coming on the heels of the Obama administration's advertisements saying that it was disaster, what he was doing for the American people at Bain Capital. All in all.
And then this whole issue of whether or not he was on the same page with the president when it came to extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Some of your critics have said, you know, the former president is undermining the current president for whatever reason.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, look, in 2008, when he ran for president and defeated Hillary in the primaries, I did 40 events for him. Forty in the election. In 2012 I have done these major fundraisers, I have spoken up for him whenever I could. I have told people repeatedly I think he's done a good job, a really good job under very trying circumstances, and better than some people give him credit for.
And I have strongly committed to his re-election. And I just regret that -- you know, my instinct, you know me. I'm -- I don't think I should have to say bad things about Governor Romney personally to disagree with him politically. The fact that I was complimentary of his success as a business person doesn't mean that I think that he should be elected and President Obama shouldn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And he flatly said he was wrong. He apologized for suggesting that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest, those making more than $250,000 a year families, should be extended even temporarily. Because as you know, Piers, the president says he's not extending those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans ever again.
MORGAN: You see, Wolf, here's where I find a slight implausibility line in all this, is that President Clinton is a fantastically able politician and a brilliant communicator. Is it really likely that he would have said these things which are so on the face of it, diametrically opposed to President Obama's main key election battle grounds as a mistake or could it be something a little bit more sinister?
BLITZER: Well, I know his critics, not only Republican critics but even some of his Democratic critics see something a little bit more sinister. He's flatly denying it, he's vowing he's going to do his best to try to make sure that President Obama gets re-elected. He's going to raise money for him, go out on the campaign trail for him. He's insisting that there was no covert subtle message to try to undermine the president because of any ill feelings going back four years ago when Hillary Clinton was challenging Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.
But you're right, he is so intelligent, he is so smart, a lot of people are going to wonder how much pressure was he under to go ahead and say he was wrong, he misunderstood the premise of the question. He apologize, he's sorry. It's not every day you hear Bill Clinton talking like that but he is talking about that right now. That's why it was extraordinary, at least to me as a long-time 20-year Bill Clinton watcher, to hear that coming out of him.
MORGAN: Yes. I totally agree but it's probably down to your brilliant interviewing skills, Wolf.
BLITZER: I'm not so sure about that.
BLITZER: I think he was ready -- he knew that these -- he knew these questions were coming and he was ready with his answers.
MORGAN: Well, it's a great interview and it's a fascinating relationship the one between President Clinton and President Obama, and we'll see how it plays out.
For now, Wolf, thanks very much.
BLITZER: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Coming up later, a man who says that politics is not as important as family. The always surprising Chaz Bono on his new life as a single man. And next the father of American political dynasty, President George H.W. Bush as you've really never seen him before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I've seen what crosses that big desk. I've seen the unexpected crisis that arrives in a cable in a young aide's hand, and so I know that what it all comes down to, this election, is the man at the desk, and who should sit at that desk? My friends, I am that man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was of course the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. He tells his story in his own words in a revealing and deeply personal new documentary, it's called "41" produced by his longtime great friend, Jerry Weintraub, who I'm pleased to say is with me now.
Jerry, it's -- I watched it this morning . It's a fascinating documentary because you just can't imagine there are so many things about this man that you don't know. And as I was watching, I was like, I didn't know that happened to him. I didn't know about this. I see all sorts of stuff, pictures, images, revelations from his own mouth which are really startling.
JERRY WEINTRAUB, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, HBO'S "41": If you know why you don't know and most people don't know all that is because he never bragged about himself. And he never felt that he was going to be an imperial president and he was designated to be president of the United States. He was doing a job. And he never -- his mother and father early on, as you saw in the film, told him don't brag about yourself, don't talk about yourself, don't be a big shot, just go ahead and run your life, do your life.
And that's what he did. And even in the best of days and in the worst of days he didn't sit around in the living room and say, look what I just did, look what I had just become, look at me, look at me, look at me. It was never that. It was about service to the country.
MORGAN: It's an extraordinary moment and I want to show a clip, and come to you after. This is him in the war. He's a pilot and they run into heavy fire and they go down and he crashes into the water. Incredibly it's all on video and you've got this remarkable sequence. Let's watch a bit of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Sure enough. It was a rescue sub and they came up out of the sea alongside of me. I went in the conning tower, went down into the submarine and the next thing I know we're under the water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean it's particularly appropriate, I think, in the week when it's the anniversary of D-Day. You see that footage there. You see the man who was to become President Bush, but in that moment, he's dragged out of the water after this life-or-death moment as he crashes into the sea, and they just leave him to walk up the deck and that's the reality of war.
And in that moment you can live or die, and he just shrugs himself down and gets down to it. It's no surprise to me when you see that footage that this forms the character that we then see as president, a man who whether you like him or not, or agree with his politics, no on ever questioned his integrity.
WEINTRAUB: Exactly. And he was frightened when he went down. I mean he -- it was a life-and-death situation. He was as close to death as you can possibly get. He got shot at of the air. And he was very upset and concerned about his crew. That was -- that's what was on his mind and he knew that he was -- it was do or die. When he later on had to send kids to war, he knew what war was and he knew what life and death was in an airplane.
MORGAN: Yes. And it's very powerful that sense of him understanding him, because of what you see earlier on with that footage and him telling in very evocative terms. He doesn't hide the fact that he was terrified.
MORGAN: Nor that he's lived with it really. He said almost every day he thinks about this.
MORGAN: The rest of his life. Could he have done something differently? Never knew, I think, what happened to all his colleagues.
MORGAN: There is another moment which I found very powerful, is when he's working with President Nixon and he believes him. When President Nixon looks him in the eye and says, I had nothing to do with this, and he keeps believing him. And keeps believing him. And then the moment comes when out comes information which makes it clear, that President Nixon has been lying.
And he says that he, in that moment, sat down and wrote to him saying you must resign, and he then talks about his personal heartbreak at this disillusionment that he felt of this president lying to him. And again you get a sense of that forming how he then was as a president. Really interesting, I think.
WEINTRAUB: Yes, It was very. I happened to be close by when he got the news. And he was going on -- I think it -- I think it was on "Face the Nation" or "Meet the Press," when he was the head of the RNC at the time. And he was crushed. He was absolutely crushed when it happened because he liked Nixon and he thought Nixon had done a great job in a lot of ways for the country. And he forgave him later on and helped him with his library and so on. And as time went on and things healed. But I don't think he ever got -- I don't know this for a fact. He never said it to me. But I don't -- I doubt he ever got over that moment and the fact that he was lied to.
MORGAN: And probably reconciled in himself that if he ever was in that position he would never do that.
WEINTRAUB: He would never have been that position.
WEINTRAUB: He would never have been in that position.
MORGAN: I mean he comes over as a fundamentally, very decent man.
WEINTRAUB: Piers, he's not only a very decent man, he's a great man. And as history is telling now and is happening, I watched it the last few years, they're really writing the story about this guy because he didn't -- he doesn't talk -- do it himself. He won't get out there and do it. He doesn't do a lot of interviews and he won't sit around and say, well, we did this at this hour and we did this at this moment and all that stuff that presidents -- some presidents do, and some secretaries of state do, and et cetera, et cetera.
He doesn't do that stuff. He just was doing a job. When he was the ambassador to the United Nations he was doing a job. When he was the head of the CIA, he was doing a job. When he was -- whatever -- when he was liaison to China for Nixon, he was doing a job. And one job led to another. And in fact when you look at his complete body of work, no other man was as well-prepared for the presidency in the United States of America as George Bush. No other man.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break, come back and talk about the family which has been the bedrock of his life, from his wife to the daughter that I didn't realize he'd lost.
MORGAN: -- at the age of 3, a terrible tragedy in his life, and of course the son who went on to also become president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was it like to see your son elected president?
BUSH: Very emotional for me. Very proud father. It's first time it's happened, I guess, in the history of our country, except for the Adams'. But it was mind boggling. It was enormous and a source of great pride for the family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A proud father and former president on his son winning the White House. The clips from the new HBO documentary "41." I'm back with the executive producer, Jerry Weintraub. What a moment. I mean, to be a president and then see your son become president, in the modern era in particular.
WEINTRAUB: Twice. Twice. And another son who was governor of Florida at the same time. Pretty extraordinary stuff. And he -- he took it in stride. But he was so proud of his sons, so proud of his son. And he also let his son go ahead and run the country.
MORGAN: There isn't much on his son in the movie. It's predominantly obviously about George Bush Sr. He doesn't really address -- I suppose the one thing I thought would have been interesting to hear him say is all the criticism that poured on his son's head, which he didn't have to deal with in anything like the same level of vitriol -- I was curious about what -- what he would have said about that.
You, as his friend, what do you think?
WEINTRAUB: I think he felt badly for his son, and -- when his son was criticized. But he didn't get involved in his son's administration. That was his son's administration. His son -- as far as I knew -- and he wanted his son to run his own ship. That's the way -- that's the way that family was.
MORGAN: Honestly amazing --
WEINTRAUB: It is.
MORGAN: Still is, and thrives today. Amazing marriage to Barbara, 67 years.
WEINTRAUB: Fantastic marriage.
MORGAN: I mean, one of the longest marriages I've ever heard, never mind presidential.
WEINTRAUB: She's a very, very strong woman. But -- and everybody knows that. She's a very strong woman. And you don't really want to cross swords with her. But the fact of the matter is that he's the boss, has been the boss. They have a fantastic partnership. They love each other to death. And they'll be together forever.
She was a beautiful, beautiful woman, and is a beautiful woman.
MORGAN: You see the pictures in the movie. Here's what I was struck by. There is a really powerful moment in this movie when -- I didn't know this story, but they have a daughter who is about three years old when she gets leukemia. And they try everything to try and save her life, prolong her life. And in the end, they fail. The doctors run out of ideas. And as President Bush tells the story, you know, you feel the tears welling up watching him, never mind how he must be feeling. And yet he tells it with such eloquence and such emotion. And you can see that today it is as raw to him having to talk about it as it must have been at the time.
WEINTRAUB: I think it was -- is raw for him today. He's not somebody who feels sorry for himself. He feels blessed and so does Barbara feel blessed. They are blessed people. They have had a wonderful, wonderful life. That was a big jolt. There are jolts in life. That was as big as it gets. It doesn't get worse.
MORGAN: No. And he says he couldn't talk about it for a long time afterwards. And the footage that you have is so poignant. It's this beautiful little girl. And she dies before she is even four years old. It's heart breaking.
Yet they have joy at the end of the despair, because they then have another daughter. And he says he wasn't even sure how he would feel, but when the daughter came, it was just this great, huge enveloping of love for her.
WEINTRAUB: She had twice the love.
WEINTRAUB: It's great. The whole family is like that. When you go back to his dad and his mom -- I knew both of them in Kennybunkport. They were like that. They were strong people. And they gave him a sense of family and a sense of service. And that family is like that. They are totally committed to -- to the family and to life and to love and to doing the things right.
MORGAN: How have you managed to stay his big buddy for 45 years, given everyone in Hollywood has probably been opposed to his policies and his son's.
WEINTRAUB: I don't care. I don't care what people say in Hollywood. First of all, he came to Hollywood when he was the president of the United States and Barbara when she was first lady. We had parties for him at the house. Every big Hollywood star came. Every left-wing, liberal, progressive, whatever they call you today. I don't know. Everybody's got a title.
They all came to the house. George Bush loved looking at the pretty girls. Barbara Bush loved dancing with Warren Beatty. No problem with that. So it was -- they came and they were respected. The Office of the Presidency is above all that. And he didn't use it as a political tool.
MORGAN: Who would you get if you were casting a movie? Who would you get of all the people you worked with or seen to play George Bush Sr.?
WEINTRAUB: You know, I don't know. I have to think it through. I don't know. Right of the top of my head, I don't know. And also, if I did name somebody, I would lose five more of my stars.
MORGAN: I was thinking maybe Clint Eastwood.
WEINTRAUB: Clint, no? Clint's not -- at what age? They are about the same age.
MORGAN: When he was younger, there is a certain dash of the Hollywood movie star to the younger President Bush.
MORGAN: Yeah, I think so.
WEINTRAUB: I think he'll like hearing that.
WEINTRAUB: When he watches that tonight, he will be -- maybe he will come back and do a detective series for me.
MORGAN: That would be fantastic, wouldn't it? It's a great documentary. I mean, it's a movie. As I said, it's very revealing. It's very surprising. And he just overall comes over as a thoroughly good chap who put service to his country before his own interest. And I think for that he should be greatly appreciated.
Jerry, it's been a pleasure.
WEINTRAUB: My pleasure, thanks.
MORGAN: It hairs on HBO on June 14th. It's called "41." And I warmly recommend it. It's a fascinating film.
Coming up next, Chaz Bono talks about his fascinating new life as a single man, not what he expected when he was growing up.
MORGAN: When I talked to Chaz Bono last year, he had just written a powerful, honest account of his journey from a little girl America knew as Chastity to a man called Chaz. Well, a lot has happened since then, including the break up from his long term girlfriend and his controversial turn on "Dancing with The Stars."
So I am intrigued to welcome back the author of "Transition, Becoming Who I was Always Meant to Be," Chaz Bono. Chaz, how are you?
CHAZ BONO, AUTHOR, "TRANSITION": I'm good. How are you doing?
MORGAN: Well, I was just trying to think back to our last encounter, and what an extraordinary twist to your life that's gone on ever since. I thought then it had been a huge turn of events. Now suddenly, everything's changed all over again.
BONO: Yeah. You know, everything's just kind of steam rolled since the last time we saw each other. And you know, everything in my life is just going really well.
MORGAN: Let's play a little clip from the last interview we did. You were with Jen then. I want to just play what you were saying to each other then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was raised Catholic and I still -- I feel that I need to be married by some religious figure, a rabbi, a priest, someone, someone with a connection to God. I don't know.
BONO: Yes, I'm not -- I was never religious. I actually really want my step mom to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So there you were, Chaz, talking very openly, the pair of you, about getting married. Obviously the nature of your relationship had changed fundamentally. You had gone from a woman and a woman relationship to a woman and a man relationship. And since then, sadly, you have broken up.
How much pressure did the fact that you decided to become a man -- how much pressure did that put on the relationship, do you think, looking back?
BONO: I mean, I think it put some pressure on the relationship. But ultimately the reasons why we split up had really nothing to do with that. It was issues that we were dealing with, and just stark differences in -- in the people that we are and what we ultimately wanted out of life.
MORGAN: I mean, I get that you say that. But there must have been, for her, I guess, a huge sea change in the nature of the relationship. There she was, originally with a woman. Like I said, there is a fascinating, twist, isn't it, that she has to cope for you becoming a man. For you it was a huge change, but one that you were wholeheartedly embracing. Did you feel that she ever fully embraced what you were doing?
BONO: You know, I think that she did. But, of course, I have changed a lot. And you know, here's the -- it's really the internal changes that I think are the bigger changes. And I went from being, you know, really uncomfortable and kind of, you know, damaged for my whole life, to suddenly not being that way any more.
And as, you know -- as I started to feel so much better and my confidence rose and everything, I think I was probably less able to -- you know, I wanted to live the best life that I could and I wanted my partner to be able to, you know, kind of do that with me. And there were issues -- you know, deep seated issues around substance abuse and stuff like that, that had been really a problem almost since we first got together. And again, we just wanted difficult things out of life.
MORGAN: You also made this reality show, didn't you, "Being Chaz," which she seemed to feel uncomfortable about. Do you regret doing that, with hindsight?
BONO: I mean, it wasn't a pleasant thing to do, you know, honestly. But I don't know -- it couldn't have been predicted. We made the documentary and Jen was, you know, thrilled doing it. And this was something -- doing the follow up special was something that she said she wanted to do. And then once we were in the middle of it, you know, she decided that she hated the process. But at that point, you know, there wasn't really anything we could do about that.
MORGAN: Have you managed to stay friends?
BONO: Yeah I mean, I think we both cared very deeply for each other. And I want, you know, absolutely nothing but, you know, the best life for Jen. It was just I couldn't do it with her anymore. But I really hope that she, you know, gets everything that she wants.
MORGAN: You, Chaz, are in the very unusual position for you of being a single man about town.
MORGAN: How are you finding that?
BONO: Well, you know, I'm not the most outgoing fellow. You know, I'm not one of those guys who can just walk up and start chatting up a girl that I find attractive. So, you know, it's -- that really hasn't changed.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break, Chaz. I want to come back and talk to you about the other woman in your life, Cher, your mother, and your congresswoman stepmother, Mary Bono Mack, who I've had the pleasure of talking to about you. I want to have a chat with you about them and their reaction, also how the public are reacting to the new Chaz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHER, SINGER: You are the most courageous person I know. And you really deserve this award. And so come up and get this award.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Chaz Bono being honored at the GLAAD Media Awards. Cher, your mother, there calling you the most courageous person that she knows. That must have been quite a moment for you.
BONO: Yeah. You know, the whole night was really kind of amazing. Just being honored by GLAAD meant so much to me. I mean, I started my career so long ago, you know, working for GLAAD. And I believe so much in their mission. So just to, you know, be honored by them personally meant something. And then to have my mom and Mary there was -- you know, it was really nice.
MORGAN: The other thing you have been doing is dancing. And that was a pretty controversial appearance on "Dancing With the Stars." A, I thought you were a damn good dancer, certainly better than I am. Secondly, it obviously stirred up all sorts of bigotry and controversy and so on. There was this organization called OneMillionMoms.com, who hammered you, saying that "your casting was completely unacceptable and Christians should not watch the show. No excuses."
What did you feel when all that bile was being spilled in your direction?
BONO: You know, I think that it just -- when that first started with those type of people, I just kind of let it roll off my back. And I've always been pretty good at that. I think -- I was already starting to rehearse. And I just really tried to focus on that. And then, you know, what started to happen as I got this counter-response to the kind of, you know, negative -- negativity and hatred speech. And I started to get so much support from people that -- you know, that I didn't know.
And that just kind of blew me away. And it really, you know, fed me to keep going through the whole competition.
MORGAN: Also since I spoke to you, we have had this sort of seismic moment, the president of the United States endorsing gay marriage. What did you think when you heard that President Obama was doing that?
BONO: I was -- I mean, I was so touched, you know? It just -- to me, it's really the civil rights, you know, issue of our time. And to have President Obama, you know, come out, to finally have a president, you know, be able to say that they believed in marriage equality, it just meant so much. You know?
And I have so many gay and lesbian friends. And it meant so much to them. And it -- you know, it's just -- especially in an election year, just amazing that this is no longer the issue that it was for so many years.
MORGAN: Do you and your stepmother have lively debates about this, Chaz?
BONO: You know, we really -- we really don't. I mean, when we talk politics, we find the common ground. And the stuff that we feel differently about, you know, we don't let it get in the way of our relationship. You know, honestly, it got in the way of my relationship with my dad. I was a lot younger and took things more personally. And I think, you know, he wasn't really a great communicator, and at that point, I wasn't either.
And the lesson that I learned from that is family is so much more important than personal politics. And Mary and Connie have been there for me, you know, immediately, before even my mom was comfortable with my transition. And you know, because of that, I love them both. And no, we don't -- we don't let our different political opinions get in the way of anything. MORGAN: Well, Chaz, it's great to catch up with you. I always feel like we should do this every year, because so much happens to you in the year in between. So do come back. It's a great updated version of the book. It's a very inspiring story, your story.
I sort of agree with your mother. You're a courageous guy. And it's good to see you having some happiness in your life.
BONO: Thank you. Good to see you too.
MORGAN: Take care.
Coming up next, Only in America.
MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, reading a book and tying a knot. Women simply can't get enough of a book called "Fifty Shades of Gray." It's so popular, the series takes up the first four slots on Amazon's current best seller list.
Now, I have to confess, I haven't actually read any of these books yet, but one of the women on my show who was read them tells me it's a page turner to fire up the imagination. The author, E.L. James, is British, but it's here in America where the obsession has taken a very naughty and unlikely turn.
You see, this hardware store, well, it's on the swanky Upper East Side of New York. And the owner says business has been booming specifically because of "Fifty Shades of Gray."
Apparently, women, affluent and of a certain age, walk into the store. And they don't want nails or fixtures or fans. They want rope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have noticed a lot of this rope here going out, probably 100 times more than it used to. It was never a popular seller. This is definitely by far the best seller. It's soft on the hands, easy to break, but not easy to break.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So there you have it, the number one best selling product on the Upper East in Manhattan, soft nylon rope, perfect for bundles and apparently for bondage. And if that's what it takes to keep family run hardware stores going, then that is fine with me. Maybe strictly for women, but for all you guys out there, it doesn't have to be bad news for you either. Just listen to that same hardware store owner again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife read the book, so I definitely know what the book is about, and yeah, it's definitely benefited me. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: "50 Shades of Gray" improving married life in America one thread at a time. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.