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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Ann Curry Leaving "Today"?; New Zimmerman Information on Video; Remembering Amy Winehouse; Interview with Marie Tillman
Aired June 26, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: It's day, but what about tomorrow? Ann Curry in the line of fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, HOST, NBC'S "TODAY": You know where you should point the finger? Point it at me because I've been there the longest. And it's my responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's what Matt Lauer said on this show. Now I'll ask a woman who's been exactly where Ann Curry is. Deborah Norville. Why she says the networks always blame women.
Plus, exclusive, George Zimmerman's attorney talks to me about the video you haven't seen of Zimmerman's injuries the night he shot Trayvon Martin.
Also, the making of an American hero. Pat Tillman, from football star to soldier, to casualty of friendly fire. Now his window Marie tells her story of love and loss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't want to live. You know, here he was gone, and the thought of living without him was something I couldn't bear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And remembering Amy Winehouse. Never-before-seen photographs of the little girl who became a tragic super star. I'll ask her father, Mitch, about living without Amy.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Tonight's big story, blaming Ann Curry. Crowned "Today" show co-host last year, she may be just days away now from losing the job. And tonight the "Hollywood Reporter" says she'll be replaced by Savannah Guthrie. In addition, the "Hollywood Reporter" says Curry won't be fired by NBC. Instead she'll be given a, quote, "substantial role" at the network. Still it appears that Curry's out of favor and it comes as "Today" is losing ground to its rival "Good Morning America."
But is it all really Ann's fault? My next guest has been in a very similar position. Deborah Norville replaced Jane Pauley as the "Today" show co-host in 1990. Then a year and a half later, she's replaced herself by Katie Couric. For the past 16 years Deborah has been the anchor of "Inside Edition" which, by the way, is covering the "Today" show drama, and she's here now exclusively for our big story.
Deborah, nobody probably on earth knows more about what Ann Curry is going through than you. What are your feelings about what's been happening?
DEBORAH NORVILLE, ANCHOR, "THE POWER OF RESPECT": I think personally what Ann's probably going through is she is determined to show up for work every day, do the great job that she always has been. And I suspect that she is reminding herself of the things that they're not saying. They're not saying she did a lousy interview. They're saying she wasn't comfortable to the viewers on the air.
Well, you know, what is she going to do about that? It's sort of similar to what they did about me. Nobody said I did a lousy job. In fact I won an Emmy when I was on the "Today" show. But my problem was, I was younger and blonder than my predecessor. So a lot of the carping is just that. It's the snippy kind of thing that happens when you are a high-profile figure. You certainly know about that.
And is it going to be enough to force her to go into another position? It looks like the answer to that is yes. But it doesn't mean the end of her career. And I think that's the important thing that she personally should recognize because she's a talented journalist. She's got a great future ahead of her. And this is maybe a pothole in the road of her career, but it's certainly not the cliff that she's going drive off.
MORGAN: I mean it's a very strange kind of scenario. Because it wasn't like she was poached from somewhere else and parachuted into the "Today" show. She's been there a very long time. It's a strange scenario, isn't it, Deborah? Because I co-hosted the fourth hour for a couple of weeks with Hoda. And I met Ann quite a few times in that period. She couldn't have been more kind, generous, selfless.
She was incredibly hard working. I've watched her report. She's a great journalist. Everyone there loves her. And so she finally got her dream job. Meredith Vieira left and she went in and you just assumed that it would work. Because why wouldn't it?
What do you think has gone wrong for her? Why hasn't it worked?
NORVILLE: Well, I don't think you can lay the blame squarely on Ann's shoulders, although that certainly seems to be what's happening.
I think there's a big shift going on in television right now. If you look at the measurement that we have that's valid and that is the ratings of morning television, the "Today" show a couple of years ago had 1.24 million viewers in the first quarter of the year in a certain demographic. That's dropped dramatically. DVD has come in. "Good Morning America" has made some changes. CBS News has revamped their show.
There are good alternatives on cable at the same time of day. There are a lot of other options for people in the morning. Just because they've selected that option, does that mean they've consciously said we don't want to watch Ann? I think the answer, in all fairness, to Ann and to everyone who works in television is no. It wasn't that they ran from Ann but they saw other things that they wanted to sample.
MORGAN: What most people are saying is that the chemistry between her and the co-anchor, Matt Lauer, who just signed a huge new deal there, just didn't quite work and --
NORVILLE: Yes, you know that chemistry thing --
MORGAN: -- this may well be the case.
NORVILLE: That chemistry thing is interesting, Piers, because you're absolutely right. You can't predict what's going to happen in the science experiment of putting two people next to one another on a couch or at a desk on television. One of the things that's interesting about television, as a medium itself, it's a cool medium. And Ann is a very elegant and a very thoughtful person, which, you know, she's not, like -- like, this on the air.
It may be that her naturally thoughtful and probing demeanor coupled with the cool medium of television made for a situation where she didn't appear to be comfortable when, in fact, she's dang good at what she does. And I know she felt as comfortable sitting next to Matt on the desk as she did probably sitting, you know, on the floor cross legged doing a puzzle at home.
MORGAN: Well, Matt came on the show recently and was interviewed by Donny Deutsch --
MORGAN: -- who was standing in for me. Let's just watch a bit of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: The biggest heart in broadcasting. Incredibly talented. But, again, feels, cares, is concerned about other people more than anyone I've met.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean that's kind of what everyone says about Ann Curry. That she is one of the really genuinely nice people in the business. And the reason I think it's more than just an industry issue is the "Today" show is a bit like "The Tonight Show" for the morning, isn't it? It's a part of a national fabric of American society. And these stars, Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, and all the others, I mean, you when you did it.
MORGAN: You've become, for the period that you're sitting there, part of many, many millions of Americans' lives.
NORVILLE: And --
MORGAN: And they like the familiarity. And they don't want to be threatened by too much change or instability. And for whatever reason this hasn't worked.
The key question I have for you, Deborah, is this, do you think it was sexist that Ann was singled out for the difficulty in that relationship with Matt? I mean would it have been fairer to say, as he has said, look, it may be my fault?
NORVILLE: Well, if it's his fault, he's not losing his job so I don't think anybody would agree with him when he says that. You had a similar situation when the David Letterman/Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien scenario was going down. And here you had three guys about whom a lot of reporting was done. And, you know, the tug-of-war that was going on over the time slot there.
I actually wrote a piece for the "Hollywood Reporter" a few weeks ago and it wasn't about, you know, is Ann's job in jeopardy? What I was upset about and what I did believe was sexist was they had positioned the fact that Katie Couric was coming on to substitute for a week while Robin Roberts was on vacation at "Good Morning America" with an opportunity to knock "Good Morning America" into first place and the "Today" show out of first place, and they're bringing in Sarah Palin.
And it all just sounded so smarmy. It was so -- it wreaked of the chicks are duking it out over the mascara brush, which is simply not the way it is. What is going on is that every one of those women and every one of those guys aggressively are fighting for the same interviews that you're fighting to try to get on your program at 9:00 on prime time.
And was it sexist? No, but it's a much better story. Let me ask you. What's the one scene you can remember when I say "Dynasty"? It's Alexis and Crystal fighting in the fountain. That kind of story line really goes over very well. Whether it's legitimate or not, it sells. And it does sell newspapers and it does sell magazines.
MORGAN: Ann Curry herself gave an interview to "Ladies Home Journal" and said this about the pressure of hosting the "Today" show. "It's hard not to take the criticism personally. You worry, am I not good enough, am I not what people need, am I asking the right questions. When people say negative things or speculate, you can't help but feel hurt. I know NBC pays my salary but I never doubted who I work for. I think about the people who watch. They're the ones who matter. I want to feel I haven't dropped the ball when it comes to them."
And that is true. In the end, it's really about the viewer, isn't it? And clearly, the viewers, for whatever reason, have been voting with their feet. They've been migrating away from the "Today" show which has been dominant on number one for so long --
NORVILLE: But not --
MORGAN: -- to "Good Morning America."
NORVILLE: But, Piers, let me correct you. Not in huge numbers. They may be migrating away. I think they're shifting away. Are they going to shift back? They very well might. I don't think you can say there's been a stampede away from the "Today" show. But what I think you can say about that quote that Ann gave to "Ladies Home Journal" is, she speaks to anyone who has ever felt like they have been marginalized in their job. Made to feel that they weren't good enough, that somehow things beyond their control were impacting their ability to make a difference.
And what I would say to Ann, what I would say frankly to anyone else who feels that position, because I was there. You're good at what you do. The smarts that you've got aren't going to go away. Take a moment to think about what it is that made you passionate about the career that you still have. And grab it with both hands. And know that going forward you will have many more exciting adventures in your future that will far outnumber the great experiences you've had in your past up to this moment on the "Today" show.
I'm living breathing proof of it.
MORGAN: Well --
NORVILLE: She's going to be just fine.
MORGAN: One last question. Her likely replacement is Savannah Guthrie who's been anchoring the 9:00 hour. What do you think of her? Is she the answer, do you think, to whatever problems the "Today" show may have?
NORVILLE: Well, I think, you know, whatever problems, that's the trouble. You know whatever the problem is, who knows what the answer is? But I think Savannah is a tremendous journalist. She's a lovely young woman. I know her. She's delightful. She clearly is someone that the rest of the staff likes very much as they like Ann very much.
It's not a question of do your teammates like you, it's how does it work when you put it all together and you make this stew called morning television. It remains to be seen. I have every expectation that she'll be terrific. I think all of us thought that Ann was going to be a great hit too. So, you know, my 50 cents is worth probably less than that. But she'll be tremendous.
And if she doesn't get the nod, there's great things coming ahead for her. The bottom line is, the morning show will be there. Whoever is sitting there will be anchoring it. Viewers will come. Viewers will watch. When they don't like what they see, they'll go somewhere else, but they will come back and sample again.
MORGAN: Deborah Norville, thank you very much indeed for joining me. NORVILLE: My pleasure. Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Hollywood writer and director Nora Ephron has died today at the age of 71. She's been known with some great romantic comedies, films like "Sleepless in Seattle." "You've Got Mail," "When Harry Met Sally." Here's a quintessential Nora Ephron moment from that 1989 classic, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY CRYSTAL, ACTOR: I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spent a day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.
And it's not because I'm lonely and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
MEG RYAN, ACTRESS: You see? That is just like you, Harry. You say things like that and you make it impossible for me to hate you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Nora Ephron also wrote several best-sellers including "Heartburn" and "I Feel Bad about My Neck." She was suffering from cancer. A sad day for anyone who likes great writing and great movies.
Coming up next, new revelations about the man who killed Trayvon Martin. His attorney Mark O'Mara is here exclusively.
And later, "Only in America," a health care plan we can all support. A doctor who charges every patient exactly $5.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- back of his head, butterfly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is new video of George Zimmerman the day after he shot Trayvon Martin. Showing injuries to Zimmerman's head. We'll hear him describe his injuries in just a moment but right now, want to bring in George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, who joins me exclusively.
Mark O'Mara, the significance of this video is what as far as you're concerned? MARK O'MARA, ATTORNEY FOR GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Well, again, it's a part of getting out all the discovery that we have to the public and just get it out there so we can all review it. The last four minutes that are now being viewed by a lot of people just show George identifying his injuries on video and of course they're being identified to the law enforcement.
MORGAN: Do you believe that the video proves that he had injuries consistent with a life or death battle?
O'MARA: Well, that's truly going to be a decision to be made by the judge or by the jury when they look at this case because the whole issue is whether or not he had reasonable fear of great bodily injuries. Certainly those videos speak for themselves as far as the extent of injuries, but that will be up to the fact finder.
MORGAN: What's happened today is there have been a whole load of other material and dumped out into the public ether, including the unredacted report requesting an arrest warrant for lead investigator Chris Serino who's become quite a significant part of this.
And -- I mean because it includes various statements that we haven't seen before. And I want to go through these carefully with you to get your reaction. In the request for an arrest warrant, he says this, "Investigative findings show that George Michael Zimmerman had at least two opportunities to speak with Trayvon Benjamin Martin in order to defuse the circumstances surrounding the encounter. On at least two occasions, George Zimmerman failed to identify himself as a concerned resident or a neighborhood watch member to Trayvon Martin."
The clear implication being that if he had done, then clearly any incident that followed could have been averted because Trayvon Martin would know either this guy was a local resident or he was a neighborhood watch official, and therefore he didn't need to concern himself about being threatened. Do you accept that?
O'MARA: Well, I understand his position. I respect it as the law enforcement officer who was involved and has his own opinion concerning it. And like any Monday morning quarterbacking, we can look back and see a dozen different ways that this may have turned out differently. People have argued that if George had not gone out of his car it didn't happen differently. And of course, we can go back in time, if he wasn't going to Target.
The reality is, I think, the fact finders need to look at this case upon what did happen and whether or not there is a proper basis for the charges filed.
MORGAN: Let's take a listen to more from the new video of what George Zimmerman says about his injuries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, TRAYVON MARTIN SHOOTER: Just a little bruising there. That's all in here. There's a cut here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the swelling went down because I remember yesterday, I remember seeing swelling around right here and I don't see it now.
ZIMMERMAN: My wife is an RN student so she went to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And the reason that is important, I think, Mark O'Mara, is that this lead investigator, Chris Serino, and we'll come to what happened to him in a moment, because that in itself is fascinating. But he says in particular about the injuries two things, which I think are relevant. One, his actions, George Zimmerman's, are inconsistent with those of a person who has stated he was in fear of another subject.
And he goes on to say investigative findings show the physical injuries displayed by George Zimmerman are, quote, "marginally consistent" with a life threatening violent episode as described by him.
I suppose that the first one I would say is a negative for you and your defense. The second one you could argue marginally consistent means that it's going to be a debatable subject. As you said earlier, it is open to conjecture, isn't it? In other words, these wounds could or could not show that he was in a life or death battle.
O'MARA: Sure, I don't want to get into a battle with Investigator Serino's report considering what he believed after it seems he made the decision that charges should be filed. His suggestion that it's marginally consistent, again, is up for review. Those people will have to look at it, whether it'd be Judge Lester in a motion hearing where the jury will also make that determination, whether or not those injuries give rise to a reasonable belief in George's mind that he was a victim of great bodily injury or potential death and his reaction to it.
MORGAN: This lead investigator, Chris Serino, wanted to charge your client with manslaughter. And he's expected to be a witness in the trial. Later, after this batch of info is released, Sanford Police Department announced that he had voluntarily been reassigned to the Patrol Division.
What do you make of what is going on here with this guy? Because clearly he's significant. Clearly he's important. Clearly he's probably going to be a key witness here. What has been happening to him behind the scenes?
O'MARA: I would have to be -- it would be pure conjecture on my part. I've tried not to do this throughout the case. He's going to be the best witness to ask why he's not there any longer, what decision he made if it was in fact voluntary or a fallout from this case. I truly don't have much insight on that and would much rather save that for a courtroom anyway. MORGAN: Do you feel instinctively, when you heard that it was a murder charge, did you feel that the real debate, or to be over a manslaughter charge, that whatever it was, it wasn't murder?
O'MARA: Well, when I -- I think I shared with you when I was the non-lawyer in this case before I was involved in it and heard about the facts leading up to it, and then heard about the charge of second degree, and having had a lot of second degree murder cases, I was curious to see where evidence of second degree would come from. We are now mostly through the state's discovery, haven't begun our own yet, and those questions are still there for me and we'll just have to see how the rest of the discovery comes out. It may well be still coming.
MORGAN: The next bond hearing is set for Friday. Do you expect George Zimmerman to be granted bond?
O'MARA: I believe under the law and the case law that he is entitled to a bond. Even though there was a misstep earlier on with the lack of candor to the judge. I don't believe that rises to the level where it's suggesting that he's a flight risk because that has not been proven or suggested. And it doesn't show -- there's been no evidence I don't believe to suggest that he is a danger to his community.
Those are the two primary standards a judge should consider. It is truly my hope that Judge Lester would let him back out on bond so he can continue to assist me in getting ready for trial.
MORGAN: Mark O'Mara, as always, thank you very much for joining me, I appreciate it.
O'MARA: Thank you, Piers. Good evening.
MORGAN: Coming up, Amy Winehouse's father sets the record straight about his daughter's darkest days and talks about what he's doing now to make sure she's never forgotten.
MORGAN: Those were never-before-seen pictures of Amy Winehouse as a child. It's almost a year ago that we all learned the tragic news Amy had died at the age of 27. Her father Mitch remembers her with a new book, "Amy, My Daughter." And Mitch Winehouse joins me again now.
Mitch, it's good to have you back on the show.
MITCH WINEHOUSE, AUTHOR, "AMY, MY DAUGHTER": Hi, Piers. How are you?
MORGAN: I'm well. I love the cover to your book. It's a beautiful simple image of Amy and it has her famous tattoo on her left arm, "Daddy's Girl."
WINEHOUSE: Yes. MORGAN: And that's very much the theme of the book. You had an extraordinarily close relationship with her. How has the year been for you? And how cathartic, if it has been, was writing the book?
WINEHOUSE: One of the reasons I chose to write the book was to help me with my personal recovery. And I think to a certain extent it really has helped me. Also to -- you know, those few weeks after Amy died, there was rumors that she committed suicide. That she took drugs overdose. Of course, none of those were true. And this is another reason I chose to write the book. To kind of set the record straight.
MORGAN: There's lots of extraordinary detail in the book. Stuff that we hadn't seen before. And the running theme is this constant battle, I guess, that Amy had with her demons. Would you think that's a fair assessment, that she just in the end was undone by those demons?
WINEHOUSE: You know, she was troubled with -- with those demons for a long time. But you know as -- when we spoke the last time in August, you know, I told you then that she'd been cleared of drugs for the best part of three years before she passed away. And of course nobody believed me at the time. But now, you know, everyone understands that.
And she was also dealing with her alcoholism. The last six weeks of her life, 5 1/2 weeks were spent sober. She -- you know, she was at the point of moving towards a full sobriety. So, you know, we were very hopeful for the future. And she'd already -- she'd already demonstrated that she could stop taking drugs. And she was on that point of making a step towards total abstinence. So we were hopeful, very hopeful, for the future.
MORGAN: You sort of held your tongue a little bit when I spoke to you last time about Blake Fielder-Civil, who obviously many people blame for Amy's chronic drug problems while they were going on. In the book, you come out with this line about the fact that "Back to Black," a huge selling album, which was of course mainly about Blake, you say, "It occurred to me recently that one of the biggest selling UK albums of the 21st century so far is all about the biggest low life that God ever put breath into."
Quite ironic, isn't it?
WINEHOUSE: Well, you left a little bit out there. I know -- I know the part you're referring to.
MORGAN: What's the bit I left out?
WINEHOUSE: Well, I can't say on air. But you know, that's right, I did say that. And it's true. You know, Amy was -- Amy was besotted with Blake for a period of time and his way of showing how much he loved her was to -- in his own words, he introduced her to class-A drugs and she took to it like a duck to water. And he then further said he ruined something beautiful. They're his words, not mine. And you know of course I don't blame Blake for Amy's death. You know, that was just a terribly unfortunate accident. But he has to hold -- he has to be responsible for the fact that he introduced her to class A drugs. Whether she would have found her way to class A drugs without him, who knows. You know but he stood up and said it was him. So that's who we point the finger at. Not for her death though.
MORGAN: Has he ever apologized to you? Has he ever contacted you, written to you, called you?
WINEHOUSE: No. I mean he's been in prison since Amy's passed away anyway for another offense and, you know, he hasn't tried to get a hold -- in touch with me at all. No.
MORGAN: Important to know that all the profits from this book that you've written, Mitch, are going to the Amy Winehouse Foundation. It's obviously something very close to your heart. It's a great gesture that you've done that.
Tell me this, since we spoke again, Whitney Houston died. And that was of a drug related death. Amy, we've established, didn't die in the end from drugs. It was the alcohol that killed her. But when you heard what happened to Whitney Houston, what went through your mind?
WINEHOUSE: We were -- we were in L.A. for the Grammys. We were going to Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party. And when we heard the news, we were absolutely sickened. And you know, somehow they managed to keep the party going. And we went. And it was incredibly subdued. And the whole weekend was really -- was really -- it was terrible for -- I mean, most of all, it was terrible for Whitney and her family. But it really brought it all back to us. And we were very sad, very, very sad time.
MORGAN: Tell me this, from what you saw happen to your girl and from what happening to Whitney, Michael Jackson, to a certain degree, and so on, the pressures of being a hugely successful musical star in the modern era, do they bring a very particular stress, do you think?
WINEHOUSE: It's difficult to say, Piers. You know, you would think so when you mention those three names. But of course you're not mentioning the hundreds of other names that don't have a problem with drugs or alcohol. They go out and they do a show and they go home and have a perfectly normal home life. It's difficult to say. I'm tempted to say that it does, but I'm not so sure that it does.
MORGAN: Well, it's a very moving book, Mitch. I think that everyone as a parent should read this in case they ever see signs of their child perhaps getting into the world of drugs, of alcohol, whatever, of addiction generally. It is an illness. It's not something that should be taken lightly.
MORGAN: I was struck in the end by the words of Tony Bennett on the back. "Amy Winehouse was a rare artist who knew how to take chances and is in the pantheon of world class singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holliday. Her father Mitch shared with Amy his love of jazz and the popular standard, which greatly influenced Amy's remarkable talent as a singer."
That, in the end, I'm sure is how you would like her to be best remembered, is just this phenomenal talent.
WINEHOUSE: She was an incredible talent. Also with the work that we're doing with the foundation, we're creating another legacy for Amy by helping young people both here. Our first project in the USA is down in New Orleans. We're creating some after school music clubhouses for music education, music therapy. That's also part of her legacy.
Amy's creating the chances for these young people and her music of course. So we're very excited about the future. It's just a shame Amy isn't here to share it with us.
MORGAN: Yeah, it certainly is. It's a beautiful book, Mitch, "Amy, My Daughter." It goes on sale now. I wish you all the very best with it. I hope you raise a fortune for the foundation.
WINEHOUSE: God bless you, see you soon.
MORGAN: Mitch Winehouse.
Coming up, Pat Tillman gave up his pro football career to enlist after 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire. Now Marie Tillman tells me about the man who she loved and lost.
MORGAN: Pat Tillman was an all-American hero, a pro football star who gave it all up to enlist in the army just months after 9/11. His life ended in Afghanistan less than two years later. He was just 27 years old. The Army first claimed he was killed in an enemy ambush, but only acknowledged later his death was really the result of friendly fire.
Now Pat Tillman's wife Marie tells her story in the book, "The Letter, My Journey Through Love, Loss and Life." Marie Tillman joins me now. Welcome, Marie.
MARIE TILLMAN, AUTHOR, "THE LETTER": Thank you.
MORGAN: You didn't say anything for a very, very long time. What changed your mind? Why did you feel this was the time to do the book?
TILLMAN: You know, really, the book came about from years of meeting people along my journey and really hearing from other people their stories of loss and difficulty, and finding that, you know, maybe my story could be helpful to others, so that was really what prompted me to write the book. MORGAN: The death of Pat was this huge event, not just in America, but it reverberated around the world. I remember it vividly back in Britain as being this extraordinary story of this guy who made the ultimate sacrifice, more than many did. It must seem to you still just like a horrible dream gone wrong, a nightmare that came out of such a wonderful start.
TILLMAN: Yeah. I mean, it's definitely a huge loss. I think it was a huge loss for me and for the rest of his family. You know, it's difficult.
MORGAN: Tell me about the first time you met him.
TILLMAN: We actually grew up together. So, you know, I can't exactly remember the first time we met because as kids growing up in a small town together, it was, you know, sort of like we were always around each other.
MORGAN: What kind of guy was he?
TILLMAN: He was, you know, one of those people who just really stood out. He definitely stood up for what he believed in, and, you know, was very adventurous and loved to climb trees and play sports and do all sorts of things.
MORGAN: He had this situation where he could have taken a big contract worth three, four million dollars. But 9/11 had happened. And he felt this huge pressure on his conscience, it seems to me, from everything I've heard about him, that he had to go to the front line. That's where he wanted to be. He didn't want to go and chuck a football round. He wanted to serve his country.
Why did he feel so strongly, do you think, that he had to do that?
TILLMAN: I think after 9/11, like a lot of people, Pat really sort of took a step back and reprioritized what was important to him in his life. And he loves playing football. But at that point in time, it became less important. And he really felt called to serve his country.
MORGAN: How did you honestly feel as he began to, in his head, feel this calling? What were you thinking?
TILLMAN: It's a difficult thing for families, you know. I think that the service person goes overseas and they have, you know, their own set of difficulties. But for the family that's left behind, it is hard. You know, we talked through all the pros and cons, and really got to a place where we both felt like it was a good decision.
MORGAN: Did you try and persuade him not to, to start with?
TILLMAN: No, I didn't try to persuade him not to. It was one of those things where it was very actually in line with what he was. I think that having known each other for such a long time, growing up together, it made sense to me. I knew that it was something that was deep inside him that he really felt was important to do.
MORGAN: And he felt strongly that the Iraq War wasn't particularly justified. He wasn't happy with the Iraq War. Tell me about that. It's something that many soldiers felt, I know.
TILLMAN: I think that that's one of the difficult things about joining the service, is you don't necessarily know where you're going to go and what the wars are that you're going to be asked to fight in. So a lot of them struggle with, you know, are we in the right place and are we doing the right thing. But I also think, you know, there is a reality and the knowledge that when you sign up, you are signing up and sort of giving yourself to that service.
MORGAN: You were at work April 22nd, 2004. And you tell the story very movingly. You're just having a normal day.
And then you're told there are people here to see you. You had already been told about the color scheme of the people the Army send if there's been a death or an injury. There wear different colored clothes. So you could tell immediately when you went down and saw these four people standing there that he had been killed.
TILLMAN: You know, I think it's one of those things where just everything stops. And certainly the first thing I noticed or remember thinking, what are they wearing, what are they wearing, and seeing that, you know, the gentlemen that came to see me were in their dress uniforms. I knew instantly that he had been killed.
And really I don't think I even heard a word that was said, because it was just kind of try to process all of that.
MORGAN: You then spent the day -- you called your mother. And she just said "I'm coming."
TILLMAN: You know, I just instinctively call my parents first. You know, I am fortunate to have a wonderful support network in my family. And I knew that that would be her response. I knew that if I called her, that they would just get on a plane and come up to be with me, which is exactly what they did.
MORGAN: The more difficult for you, it seemed, was the one to Pat's mother. It must be the hardest thing to tell a mother that her handsome young son has been killed in battle.
TILLMAN: It was the most difficult thing certainly that I've ever had to do.
MORGAN: What advice do you give so many other war widows, girlfriends, wives?
TILLMAN: I think that's the difficult part, is there is no one answer for everyone. And, really it's just a process that you have to go through. You can't get around it. You can't, you know, sort of avoid it. And you have to put one foot in front of the other and just try to move forward. MORGAN: There was this huge memorial; 26 days later, the Army finally acknowledged that the Rangers who were with Pat in combat had told them that -- and they told them pretty quickly, from all act accounts now, that he'd been killed by friendly fire, that actually he'd been shot by American bullets. How did that make you feel?
TILLMAN: It just made me question everything that we had been told. It really sort of took me back to square one. About a month, almost a month had gone by. I was starting to come to terms with what had happened. And it really just took me right back to the very beginning, the first day that I had heard.
MORGAN: You must have felt angry, didn't you, that possibly you'd been deliberately lied to?
TILLMAN: Certainly there was a mix of emotions, and anger being one of them, confusion, and just, you know, betrayal. We felt like we were a part of this military community and family. And to be lied to was difficult.
MORGAN: The lie must have been known by people fairly high up. I mean, the perceived view of what happened now is that Pat was this poster boy for the war. He was the all-American sporting hero who had given his life fighting the enemy. You know, it was a PR story that was positive in that sense. Him being killed by friendly fire is a hugely negative story for the American military. There's nothing particularly heroic about that for anybody involved. How high do you think it went, the deceit?
TILLMAN: You know, I'm not sure. I think that within the military certainly friendly fire is something that is not talked about that much. And in some respects I wish that it was. I wish that there was less of a stigma around it, because I think that in some situations, people do feel that it's not as honorable.
But as far as I'm concerned, you know, people are still putting their lives on the line and it's a part of war. But I do think that the families of the soldiers that are serving deserve to know the truth about their deaths. I think that's something that's just a common decency.
MORGAN: He left a "Just In Case" letter for you, which included the lines, "through the years, I've asked a great deal of you. Therefore, it should surprise you little I have another favor to ask. I ask that you live." When you read that, what went through your mind?
TILLMAN: Well, when I originally read it, it was something that was very difficult because at that time I didn't want to live. You know, here he was gone. He was my best friend. He was someone I had been with for most of my life. And the thought of living without him was something I couldn't bear.
But, really, I came to realize that was a gift that he had given to me, to sort of urge me forward.
MORGAN: Do you think he would have instinctively second-guessed how you would feel in that scenario?
TILLMAN: You know, I don't know if that's why he wrote it or if it was just something that he felt like he wanted to leave something comforting and -- and to be able to say, you know, this is what I wish for you if I don't return.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. I want to talk about the Congressional inquiries which dragged you right back into all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN TILLMAN, U.S. ARMY SPECIALIST: We believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family, but more importantly to deceive the American public.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN, CHAIRMAN HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: The government violated its most basic responsibility. Sensational details and stories were invented. Evidence was destroyed. Witness statements were doctored. The Tillman family wants to know how all of this could have happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was from the House Operational and Government Reform Committee hearing in 2007, investigating the cause of Pat Tillman's death. And Marie Tillman is back with me now. A very strong indictment there of the whole charade.
You had to go through everything all over again with the Congressional hearings. That must have been an awful experience, just when you're ready to move on.
MORGAN: You're sucked back into it all.
TILLMAN: It was. I mean, it was -- it was definitely difficult to move forward with all of that going on. And it went on for years.
MORGAN: Donald Rumsfeld was the secretary of defense at the time. I want to play you a clip of what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, FMR. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I know that I would not engage in a cover-up. I know that no one in the White House suggested such a thing to me. I know that the gentlemen sitting next to me are men of enormous integrity and would not participate in something like that. So, of course, there's a difference between error and cover-up.
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, FMR. CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I regret that the army did not do their -- do their duty here and follow their own policy, which we've talked about, but they did not. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Donald Rumsfeld, then General Myers. You say in the book that while Rumsfeld was testifying, you say every fiber in my body was crying B.S. Why did you feel that so strongly?
TILLMAN: It was just a really difficult experience to be there and to sit in the back of the room and listen to all of this play out. And incredibly frustrating. I felt like certainly Pat's mom had put a ton of energy and work into getting to that place. And it just felt like we still weren't hearing the truth and that people weren't being held accountable.
MORGAN: It just seems incomprehensible to anyone looking from the outside that somebody as high profile as Pat Tillman, that the circumstances of her death would not race straight to the top. I find that hard to believe. You must have found that hard to believe.
TILLMAN: Definitely. And I think a lot of people found it hard to believe. Certainly the reaction that we all got was that it was pretty difficult to believe that he didn't know.
MORGAN: They concluded, the House Committee, that the investigation was frustrated by near lack of recall among senior officials at the White House and military, making it impossible for them to assign responsibility for the misinformation in Pat's death, and similarly with the Jessica Lynch episode. I interviewed her as well on this show. Eight years later, do you feel any closer to knowing exactly what happened or not?
TILLMAN: You know, it's been actually quite a while since I've seen a lot of that and really sort of relived it. And there definitely came a point in time where I decided to move forward and to leave some of that behind.
MORGAN: You got remarried.
MORGAN: To a guy who had three older children, and you've just had a little boy, Mack, who is five months old. How hard was it to make that move?
TILLMAN: It was a long journey. And I think that I was able by sort of letting go of some of that, be able to create room in my life so that I was ready for someone to come in and to be able to be open and loving and to get to this place where I am today, which is really a good one.
MORGAN: You've set up this Pat Tillman Foundation. Tell me about that.
TILLMAN: The organization that we started, the Pat Tillman Foundation, is interested in supporting veterans and their spouses through educational scholarships. It's been an amazing experience for me to be able to turn this experience into something that can benefit so many people, and to see the impact that we can have on these individuals, you know, and their families.
MORGAN: Well, I must say that Pat -- I mean, I red the book, and my sense was he really was -- this phrase all-American hero is massively overused. But to do what he did after 9/11, to give up a lucrative sporting career and millions of dollars, you know, happy, secure family and everything, to risk all of it, and to go and fight for his country is a pretty extraordinary thing.
Marie Tillman, it's been a real pleasure to talk to you. And I salute your courage. And it's a very inspiring book as well, not just a sad book. It's one people need to read.
TILLMAN: Thank you.
MORGAN: Thank you for coming in.
MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, the doctor will see you now. In just two days, the Supreme Court will render its decision on the president's health care law. For many, the debate has become all about politics. But one physician is reminding us that it's the patients that really matter.
And what a remarkable physician he is. Dr. Russell Donor is 87 years old and he has been serving the town of Rushville, Illinois, since 1965, 67 years of delivering babies, mending broken bones and writing prescriptions. He's been doing it all for decades from this little office. And he does it seven days a week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. RUSSELL DONOR, RUSHVILLE, ILLINOIS PHYSICIAN: Even on Sunday I felt like there would be always somebody that was sick. So before I go to church, I would come here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And after Sundays, he also spends his vacations at work. That's right, 67 years without a single holiday. And his patients are incredibly grateful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My older sister had seizures and mom said after she would have them, she would kind of be out of it. He would come and sit at her crib all night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: They see him on a first come, first serve basis. And when it comes to paying for the visit, well, there's a flat rate for everybody, exactly five dollars. That's not the co-pay. That's the total amount. You heard me, five dollars. Dr. Donor doesn't consider himself to be a hero, but I certainly do, because for him health care isn't about partisan bickering or billable hours. It's about healing. And that makes him a remarkable American.
That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.