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Romney versus Obama on the Economy; Conspiracy Theories; Interview with Hope Solo

Aired August 14, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, your money, your vote.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we get this economy growing like we know we can, we can create 12 million jobs in four years.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We may get knocked down but we always get back up.


MORGAN: I'll ask top Republican Rick Santorum plus a member of President Obama's inner circle on economics who's got the plan to put America back to work.

Plus veep wars. The uproar of Joe Biden saying this.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: They're going to put ya'll back in chains.


MORGAN: Also, conspiracy theories. You know him as a detective on TV's "Law & Order," but Richard Belzer is taking on some real-life conspiracy theories that he said changed American history. Then I'll get him to square off against master of political satire P.J. O'Rourke.

Plus, you've got to have hope. Solo that is. My primetime exclusive with Hope Solo, the Olympic golden girl with the troubled past.




MORGAN: How she managed to save the team and herself.


Good evening. Our big story tonight, the biggest issue of this campaign. The only that matters to Americans right now is the economy. And President Obama and Mitt Romney were both on the trail in Ohio today. And no surprise that stop after stop, talking to thousands of Americans, putting people back to work was job one.

Listen to Mitt Romney.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, overall, there are 23 million Americans, 23 million Americans, out of work or stopped looking for work. In a nation as prosperous as ours, that kind of record is not just bad, I think it violates our moral principles not to have those people be able to have a good job.


MORGAN: Joining me now on more of our big story, the man who ran against Mitt Romney. He's now campaigning for him. A man who possibly may have had VP aspirations himself. Senator Rick Santorum.

Senator, how are you?

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm doing great, Piers, thank you so much. We miss being on your show. It's good to be back.

MORGAN: Well, it's always a pleasure to have you.

SANTORUM: Thank you.

MORGAN: Were you harboring any inspirations to be the last- minute VP?

SANTORUM: No, no harboring of any aspirations. Very pleased with Governor Romney's pick of Paul Ryan. I'll be out actually in Ohio tomorrow. I'll be campaigning for Governor Romney in northeastern Ohio. And I look forward to doing what I can to make sure that we have the right man in office come November of this year.

MORGAN: Well, he's a conviction conservative. He's pro-life. He's pro family. He advocates for our military. And he's a Catholic. So you two couldn't be further apart, really, could you?

SANTORUM: Well, you know, I have a lot of respect for Paul. I think he's served our country well. He's been a -- he's been an idea guy. He's not been afraid to go out and push the envelope and provide real principled leadership. And I think what Paul really brings to -- well, he's already brought to this race is he's brought the issues to the fore. We're not talking as much now about Mitt Romney's tax returns. We're talking about Medicare, we're talking about Social Security, we're talking about the budget deficit, we're talking about, you know, the economy and jobs and how to move forward.

And that's really what this campaign is about. And the president's failure to accomplish any of those things.

MORGAN: Right, but the problem -- I mean, it could be a problem. It may not be a problem. It might be a brilliant game changer. And he's got all the excitement that Sarah Palin had, you know, before and that went horribly wrong as you know as a party. So this is -- you know, this sort of early excitement needs to be maintained. How are you going to ensure as a party that your message wins the day?

SANTORUM: Well, the interesting thing here is the facts actually are on our side when it comes to, you know, making the pitch to the American people. You know, Paul Ryan has gone out there and put a bold plan together on the issue of Medicare, for example. And along with Mitt Romney have said that they need to repeal Obamacare, which according to the Congressional Budget Office is going to cut $750 billion, $750 billion from Medicare.

Both Ryan and Romney have said we want to put that money back. We want to change the way Medicare functions to give younger people in this country options to consume Medicare in a much more responsible manner than the way the government is running Medicare right now. But if they want to put the money back into Medicare and Obama's the one that has suggested that we need to take $750 billion out to fund a brand new health care program that bears his name.

So, you know, I think on the -- on the substance, you're not -- it's not going be as clear cut as the Obama campaign would like to make it out to be. Substantively what Paul has done is come up with innovative bipartisan ideas. That's the important thing. Unlike President Obama who's run a very partisan administration. Paul's been able to reach across the aisle and get bipartisan support for a lot of the ideas that he's put forward.

So I think, you know, the more we examine the details of what both Ryan and Romney are proposing, I think the better off they're going to be.

MORGAN: If tax cuts are the answer, why did we end up after eight years of George Bush with the financial crisis we ended up with?

SANTORUM: Well, the financial crisis really wasn't related to the tax cuts. I mean it was related to a housing market and a housing bubble that was caused as we all know by a variety of facts. A bunch of which frankly was government and government incentives to get -- to securitize a bunch of debt to people who frankly shouldn't have been in your home.

MORGAN: Right. I accept -- I -- right. I accept that. But the point I would make, though, is that, that is true, and it certainly was the catalyst for what happened. But there are also massive problems with the entire financial system. And the argument about cutting taxes at a time when many here believe that you should do the complete opposite. The argument is it will stimulate the wealthy to create jobs. And that's what they way prosperity comes.

I didn't see any evidence of that in the eight years of George Bush. And so I'm curious as to why you as a party believe that is actually going to work. I mean, it may get you elected. Is it actually going to work?

SANTORUM: Well, there's a lot of evidence to it. We had very, very low rates of unemployment. Four percent unemployment through most of George Bush's tenure. And we saw fairly a strong --

MORGAN: But not -- not in the end. What was -- what was the rate --


MORGAN: What was the rate on the date he left?

SANTORUM: Well, no, because we had a financial meltdown. I mean, you know, again --

MORGAN: Right, right. But -- to be -- but to be fair, you can't quote 4 percent when his final percentage was what?

SANTORUM: Well, no, I understand that. But what I think --

MORGAN: Yes, but what was it?

SANTORUM: The linkage -- I don't -- I don't remember. It's probably, you know, I think it was 6 percent or something like that, 6.5. Remember, President Obama when he passed the stimulus package said we can't let the unemployment rate get to 8 percent so it was well below 8 percent when he said that. So, no, the connection, though, between lower taxes and, you know, the failure of the Bush administration to hand off a strong economy to Obama really I don't think there's a nexus there.

The nexus was a lack of proper regulation. You know, look, something that I voted for and, you know, have second thoughts about, which was repealing the separation of banks and getting involved in investments and other types of financial activity. So there are a lot of things on the regulatory side that we need to look at. But I don't think you can look at the tax rate structure and say that that was the reason for the -- for the economic woes. In fact, I don't think you can point to that at all as being the problem.

MORGAN: Let's listen to what Joe Biden had to say today. Because this has also rattled a few cages.


BIDEN: Look at what they value and look at their budget. And what they're proposing. Romney wants to let -- he said the first 100 days, he's going to let the big banks once again write their own rules. Unchain Wall Street. They're going to put ya'll back in chains.


MORGAN: So apparently, Senator, you're all going to put everyone back in chains. SANTORUM: Well, the way he said it, "put ya'll back in chains," back in chains, and that, you know, to an audience that, you know, was -- you know, a lot of -- a lot of African-Americans in that audience, that's just -- that's just the kind of stuff that you would expect from -- you know, from a campaign that has played special interest politics more than any campaign in the history of this country.

It is -- it is -- there is no end -- and no low -- no depth that this campaign won't go to try to solidify votes and to try to polarize this nation and to see that out of -- out of president -- Vice President Biden was really sickening, to see him stoop to that depth.

MORGAN: Yes, but I don't think he -- there was no racial element to what he was saying. What he was saying was, look, if you go back to releasing the -- he's clarified tonight. If you go back to releasing the shackles of Wall Street, you're going to take everybody right back to the problems we ended up with two, three years ago. That was what he meant, and you know.

SANTORUM: Well, hold on one second. You want to talk about releasing the shackles of Wall Street, you know, I can tell you, there were efforts made by Paul Ryan and by Rick Santorum and others to try to shackle Wall Street when it came to the housing industry. And it was the Democrats in the Congress who blocked it from happening.

So Republicans are not for no regulation. They're not for -- they're for regulation that makes sense instead of having government -- regulation to force businesses to do things that lead to economic calamity. We are for regulation that allows for opportunity in free markets and transparency. And that was not the case during the -- during the Wall Street meltdown. And there was an effort to try to stem that. And it was Joe Biden who opposed that regulation.

MORGAN: Senator, it is great to have you back on the show. As feisty as ever. Please come back soon.

SANTORUM: My pleasure, thank you very much, Piers.

MORGAN: And here now with the other side of our big story is the former chairman of President Obama's White House Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee.

Mr. Goolsbee, thank you for joining me. What did you make of what Senator Santorum was tub thumping away there with?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Well, I agree with that first thing he said about, hello and thank you for having me on the show.


MORGAN: Anything else ?


MORGAN: I mean I was trying to, I guess, get to the what I think is the nitty-gritty of this whole debate. Because when you take on someone like Paul Ryan as your VP pick as Mitt Romney has, you are making a signal to the world that basically you endorse his financial plan, his budget plan, even if it's not the exact one. You're going along with the idea behind it. Less government and less tax action.

You know, many people interpret it as helping the rich and taking some from those who need it more. That is the Democrat view, isn't it?

GOOLSBEE: I think it is. But I think it's more than just the Democrat's view. I mean I think if you look at Romney's budget and what Romney himself says about Paul Ryan's budget, he was very appraising of that and it is basically the document blueprint that forms a foundation of what they're doing. So I don't think the efforts that it seems like they're engaged in to say, well, he wasn't actually endorsing the Ryan budget makes any sense. I mean it is his budget. If you look at what he said.

MORGAN: I mean, I suppose the argument in favor of Paul Ryan is he's young, he's personable. He's -- everyone seems to like him. And he has got a plan. You know, a lot of politicians in America have been, you know, arguing, and squabbling, and really not coming up with anything concrete. At least Paul Ryan by common agreement has a plan. You may not agree with it. You may not think it works. But he has come up with something that he believes may work.

And the polls at the moment are pretty useful for Mitt Romney. The early reaction has been very favorable. The Democrats must be a little bit worried, aren't they, that this bandwagon currently rolling, the Romney/Ryan bandwagon, could resonate to a victory in November?

GOOLSBEE: I don't know. You know -- economic PhD, so you don't want to ask my political advice. All I do is look at the content of what's in these budgets. I mean, the president outlined a budget and Romney and Ryan have outlined a framework of a budget, and they're, as you highlight, totally different. They come from totally different places.

The president's budget cuts -- would cut the deficit $4 trillion over 10 years. And it's a balanced plan. It's $3 trillion of cuts and $1 trillion of revenue. And depending if you look at all the promises or only some of the promises in terms of tax cuts that are coming from the other side, they're going to cut taxes by at least two and possibly as much as $5 trillion. And you cannot do that without crushing Social Security and Medicare or by blowing up the deficit. There's not -- that's just mathematics. If you're going to give that much in tax cuts.

MORGAN: Right. But what -- as I pointed out -- right. But as I pointed out to Senator Santorum, if you look at countries like Britain, they're by far not the worst case in Europe. There are much worse cases. But, you know, in Britain they have tried to dramatically cut spending and they're trying to ramp up taxation on the rich and it simply isn't working. So --


MORGAN: -- there is a --


GOOLSBEE: I would say the U.K's -- the main thing that they've done is tried extensive austerity and cutting the budget. And they are cutting the budget. But they are dramatically slowing the growth rate of their economy. And that's making it pretty tough going. And you've seen that universally in the countries in Europe that are engaged in that effort.

I think if you look in the U.S., Bill Clinton raised the top rates. Exactly of the form that President Obama says that we ought to do for high-income people. And it generated revenue. So -- and then when George Bush cut taxes substantially by trillions of dollars for high-income people and companies, it lost a whole lot of revenue.

So the argument that if the rates go back to what they were in the '90s, that wouldn't generate any revenue, I think that's just not borne out in the data.

MORGAN: Well, I think -- I think it's -- look, I'm going to have to end it. But it's an arguable point. And I think the difference is that the global economy is in a very different condition now to when Bill Clinton did what he did.

GOOLSBEE: That's a fair point.

MORGAN: And that is one of the problems that I think all economic --


MORGAN: Economists are trying to -- trying to wrestle with now is given the current situation, which is the best way to go and it is a very complicated thing.


MORGAN: But anyway, for now, Austan Goolsbee, thank you very much for joining me.

GOOLSBEE: Yes. Thanks for having me, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming up "Law & Order's" Richard Belzer as you've never seen him before. What he believes about conspiracies and cover-ups.



RICHARD BELZER, ACTOR, AUTHOR: Who found the body?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two uniforms and a set of car bombs.

BELZER: Yes, you got prints?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like half of Manhattan handed this door.

BELZER: Ah, valet parking. You ever think your friends who place with valet parking and accused you of some stranger?


BELZER: What do we got?


MORGAN: That's Richard Belzer in his role as Detective John Munch on NBC's "Law & Order, Special Victims Unit." He's here with a new book. Sounds like a crime novel except that Belzer claims it's all true. The book is titled "Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country's Most Controversial Cover-ups." This is his first interview for the book. And Richard Belzer joins me now.

Richard, welcome.

BELZER: Thank you. I appreciate you having me on. And this is a world exclusive and I couldn't think of a better show to be on.

MORGAN: Well, thank you very much. And I'm a huge fan of "Law & Order" so it's a big thrill for me, too. Now this, this book "Dead Wrong: Straight" --

BELZER: Well, come on the show, I'll arrest you.


MORGAN: That would make you very, very popular back in my home country.

BELZER: No. But I'll be gentle.


MORGAN: Trust me. "Dead Wrong: Straight Facts on the Country's Most Controversial Cover-ups." And you go through in extraordinary detail a lot of the most famous high-profile deaths, killings, and so on, in modern American history. And the running theme really is that the American people have been the victim of cover-up after cover-up.

How much of that do you personally believe is completely true? Is it? Or is the purpose of the book to put out enough doubt to make people just question, again, the veracity of what they've been told?

BELZER: That's a very good question. And the answer -- I'm very proud of this book because it will be in the history section. I've written other books. I've written novels and nonfiction books. But this is the first history book.

The reason that this book is important to me is because it is a history book. It is all facts. There is no conjecture. It's not a conspiracy book. Because conspiracy is a word that has been marginalized and made fun of in our culture. So you can use the word. I mean, it means two people breathe together and create -- you know, figure out a crime so.

MORGAN: Well, then let's go through some of the -- some of the cases.


MORGAN: Marilyn Monroe. Now you say in the book that she didn't overdose. There were no pills found in her stomach.

BELZER: Right.

MORGAN: Is the assumption we should draw, then, that she was murdered? And if so, by who and why?

BELZER: Well, the scientific evidence is overwhelming. We just follow the facts. You know we interviewed an old FBI agent who said, I have no theories. I just have facts. Marilyn was murdered. She did not have any residue in her stomach from what they said killed her. They said she died on August 5th. They actually didn't call the police for six hours. They called the PR division of the studio first. Her two doctors. Peter Lawford came in. They cleaned up the scene.

The first police officer on the scene said this is a staged murder. Because Marilyn's body was straight, like in the military position, on the bed. If someone ingests as they many Nembutal as they say she did, usually what happens is the body contorts, you die before they're all digested, and you probably would regurgitate. It's not a pretty sight.

Marilyn's room was --

MORGAN: So what is your --

BELZER: Impeccable.

MORGAN: What is your theory about who may have killed her?

BELZER: Well, it wasn't the Kennedys, which is, you know, some people would think. My own theory is I believe she was murdered to embarrass the Kennedys. That, you know, the president's so-called mistress commit suicide. That would have been a horrific public relations debacle to say the least. But because they didn't call the police for six hours, all the evidence was cleaned up. And --

MORGAN: Well, then talking of the Kennedys, let's move on to the death of Robert Kennedy.

BELZER: Sure. Well --

MORGAN: You say that his killer, Sirhan Sirhan, didn't act alone. BELZER: No.

MORGAN: And didn't shoot the kill shot.

BELZER: No. Well, first of all you're going to -- I'm sorry.

MORGAN: Again, very, very dramatic claim. I mean, you know, people obviously Saw him at the scene with a weapon in his hands. So what do you believe happened?

BELZER: Well, I know what happened, and so do you and it's all in the public domain. See, what's great about this book is we're not making anything up. Everything that we have is corroborated by forensic evidence, police on the scene, FBI agents, contemporary witnesses. What actually happened was Sirhan had an eight-shot pistol. And as you know, I believe Rosy Greer and George Clinton grabbed him and he fired his gun.

He was about eight or 10 feet away from Senator Kennedy. Senator Kennedy died of a shot to his head. There were powder burns on his hair. Sirhan was too far away. So the -- and there were 14 bullets in that pantry that were taken out. And that has been proven by LAPD, by FBI, by many people.

MORGAN: Do you -- I mean, finally, do you believe man landed on the moon?


BELZER: Why are you going there? That's, you know, I'm disappointed in you for asking me that.


BELZER: Because you're grouping that with this. This is much more -- of course we landed on the moon. And if I said we didn't, would you summarily dismiss everything I said before that?

MORGAN: Not at all. I'm just curious.

BELZER: OK. All right.

MORGAN: It's another very well known --

BELZER: No. Yes.

MORGAN: It's another huge conspiracy --

BELZER: And these are about murders. But I understand your question. And perhaps some day I'll write a book about the moon landing and how brave and wonderful the people were who accomplished that.


MORGAN: Let's take a break -- BELZER: There's no conspiracy there, sir. I mean no disrespect.

MORGAN: No, no, it was not intended in the question, I assure you.

Let's bring in after the debate P.J. O'Rourke, political satire. I want to talk to both of you --

BELZER: Talk about brilliant.

MORGAN: About politics. And about your country.

BELZER: OK. Thank you.

MORGAN: And about being brilliant, yes, why not?

BELZER: Yes. He is brilliant.



BIDEN: You got to help us. We've got to finish what Obama started. We got to finish this recovery.

RYAN: Without a doubt, President Obama inherited a difficult situation. Here's the problem he made it worse.


MORGAN: Vice President Joe Biden and Republican nominee for vice president Paul Ryan, talking during today's campaign events. I'm back now with Richard Belzer. And joining us, best-selling author and political satirist, P.J. O'Rourke.

Welcome, P.J. How are you?

P. J. O'ROURKE, POLITICAL SATIRIST: Hi, Piers. How are you?


MORGAN: I'm good.

O'ROURKE: Hi, Richard.

MORGAN: Before we go on to politics, are you a -- are you a natural conspiracy theorists yourself, P.J.?

O'ROURKE: No, I'm not. No, I think most conspiracy theorists and this is no reflection on what Richard just said, but In general, conspiracy theories are sort of the way people say, golly, the world's so dumb, even I can understand it. So I generally tend to leave them alone.

(LAUGHTER) O'ROURKE: This is not -- I'm not saying -- and Richard's done the leg work here on this. So I'm not dissing him. You know, I'm just talking about --

MORGAN: No, no, no. And by the way, it is -- don't get me wrong, Richard. It's a fascinating book. I mean it's incredibly detailed. And I think that it will raise a number of questions. That have in many cases remained unanswered for a long time. So it's definitely well worth reading.

Let's turn to Politics. P.J., we now have the gloves off, don't we? In the sense that we know what the battleground is. We have the two men against the two men. They're all coming out shooting at each other. And quite -- I wouldn't say -- it's almost undignified as the Republican nominee race at the moment. It's all reasonably civilized.

But the clear battleground now is an ideological line in the sand between President Obama who believes you've got to get revenue up by taxing the rich and so on and between Mitt Romney, coupled with Paul Ryan who say, no, no, you've got to cut government spending, you've got to cut taxes. That's the way to stimulate the economy and fire up America again. What is your view?

O'ROURKE: Hell of a choice, isn't it? You know, I mean, to -- you know, do I want to sell my soul to -- to the bankers on Wall Street? Or do I want to get into the Greece boat with Europe? And , you know, I mean it just doesn't come out pretty either way.

I tend to fall on the conservative side for a very simple reason, which is that I don't want my life run by politicians. I've got enough problems. I'm stupid enough at living my own life.

But it's not because they're good or bad or right or wrong, but because they're a committee. We all know what happens when things are run by a committee. I don't want my life run by a committee.

So I tend to vote for smaller government. But is smaller government going to be painful for people who need government? Well, yeah, that's absolutely going to be true. I like Paul Ryan because at least he sort of faces up to that.

Then there's, on the other hand, you know, once you get in a situation where the citizens of a country all get more from the government or the great majority of them get more from the government than they pay into the government, well then the SOBs have won, haven't they? They've got you by the short hairs and you'll never be rid of them.

So I don't know. I don't know what to do.

MORGAN: Richard, let me bring you in here. I know you're on the other side of the political divide.

BELZER: I'm on every side.

MORGAN: OK. Well you can tell me what you feel. BELZER: I'm on the side of reason.

MORGAN: Well, we're all on the side of reason, obviously. Newt Gingrich was on last night, very combative.

BELZER: On your show?


BELZER: With you?

MORGAN: Yeah. He was trying to park us all into the Obama's got all the media stitched up, none of us know what we're talking about and so on. But the reality is, he was saying to me, look, you know, this is the way to go. You've got to cut the taxes. You've got to cut the spending. Everything has to be cut.

BELZER: Haven't we tried that? We tried that.

MORGAN: I was to say, the Bush years --

BELZER: -- with Ronald Reagan who --

MORGAN: Say what you want to say about that.

BELZER: And P.J. will agree with me. This is just factual stuff. We're not going to debate anything because we love each other. But anyway, Reagan, when he came in, had utter contempt for the government. I'm not a big fan of government.

Clearly government has a role. When your house is on fire and they come and put the fire out, they don't give you a bill. If they have a business and it's unacceptable and there's a public highway, then you can be in the marketplace. So -- obviously, hospitals, research -- I mean, there's a role for government. It certainly has gotten out of hand on both sides.

But the way I view the thing in -- when I say "the thing" I mean this whole mess that we're in. When I vote, I take it very seriously. And the deciding factor for me is which person, when they're in office, will cause the least amount of suffering on the planet? And I know there might be a subtle distinction. But I don't think there has ever been -- I'm sure there has been, but in modern times, this is a pretty stark choice that we get to make between Obama, who I have problems with, and Romney, who I have more problems with.

I think I said this to P.J. 20 years ago but bears repeating. The Democrats and the Republicans -- let's say America is passengers on a bus. And if the Republicans driving it off the cliff, they're going 80 miles an hour. And the Democrats are going 40 miles an hour.

We're going off the cliff. It's just the question of, you know, which driver you want and how long you want to live I guess.

MORGAN: Well, P.J., let's go to the cliff. Here's the point I would make. Here's what I would say. Back in Britain, for example, they have jacked up the tax rates for the rich.

BELZER: It didn't work.

MORGAN: Pretty significantly. It hasn't worked at all.

BELZER: But they also cut social services. And you know -- they, you know -- it was a mess.

MORGAN: Right. But let me go to P.J. My point is it's not as easy as the liberals may have you make it, which is you tax the rich and everything's OK. It clearly isn't as easy as that.

BELZER: No one's saying that. Go ahead, P.J.

MORGAN: I wasn't saying you were saying it.

BELZER: No, I understand.

MORGAN: Many, many --

BELZER: You're right.

MORGAN: Here's the point. This is to P.J.

O'ROURKE: Margaret Thatcher made the point -- Margaret Thatcher made the point that sooner or later you run out of other people's money. There -- it sometimes seems like there are way too many rich people. And I may say having recently been to Manhattan, it certainly looks to me that way down there.

But once you start taxing the living heck out of them, they -- they vanish. It's like the Rolling Stones. They go move to France. I guess you wouldn't move to France.

O'ROURKE: They don't have to vanish. They know how to hide their money, P.J., you know that. They don't have to vanish. They know how to hide their money.

MORGAN: Let me make the point I wanted to make, which is this -- which is we have also had eight years of George Bush and his legendary tax cuts. At the end of that, he ended up being one of the more unpopular presidents in recent history. More importantly, the country came to its financial knees.

So you can see failure in both these ideological plans.

BELZER: Which Democrat brought this country to its knees?

MORGAN: P.J., over to you.

O'ROURKE: Personally, I vote for the -- to get the funniest people into the White House. I think --

BELZER: For us, yeah. For guys like us.

O'ROURKE: And of course naturally I had to vote for Palin. BELZER: Of course.

O'ROURKE: I think Romney is kind falling down on the job here. There's a little joke in here.

BELZER: There's no funny there.

O'ROURKE: You take Ryan -- you take the smartest guy in Washington and you give him Spiro Agnew's job. It's a little bit of a joke, but it's not a Sarah Palin in the White House. Biden's pretty good.

BELZER: Yeah, he's all right.

O'ROURKE: It's going to be tough for me this fall.

BELZER: Yeah, but you always manage to come up with brilliance and great observations. No, really, he does.

MORGAN: The one thing -- the one thing -- I've got to bring this, sadly, to a close. But the one thing I think we can all agree on is P.J. O'Rourke will still be brilliant come the -- November 7th.

BELZER: No matter who wins, he and I will find jokes whoever wins.

O'ROURKE: Piers, from your mouth to God's ear.

BELZER: All right.

Piers, thank you for having me on, I appreciate it. >

MORGAN: Coming up, my prime-time exclusive with soccer star Hope Solo, the outspoken Olympic golden girl on what drives her and what she'll do next.


MORGAN: Hope Solo saved the day for the U.S. women's Olympic soccer team in London, leading to a gold medal win over Japan. She's flashy, she's fearless, and just a little bit controversial. My kind of woman.

She tells her story in the new book, "Solo, A Memoir of Hope," and I'm delighted to say joins me now in a primetime exclusive.

Hope, how are you?


MORGAN: First of all, what a save. Now you're talking to somebody -- I don't say that like most American men would, like what's this funny game you're playing with the wrong-shaped ball? I am a die-hard soccer fan. So I have followed soccer in Britain for 41 years.

SOLO: As a British man, do you appreciate goal keeping?

MORGAN: I do. We've had some of the great goalkeepers at my team. That was one of the best saves I have seen in a long time. Talk me through it. That moment -- there we are, look, we're seeing you now in all your glory saving that ball, which basically I think saved the game. When you made the save, what goes through your mind?

SOLO: Well, let's talk about before I made the save. She broke through. She was free, one on one, probably less than 10 yards away. She should have scored, to be honest. All I could think about is somehow, some way, I have to make the save.

MORGAN: It was fantastic. Now how did you celebrate? If I'd been involved in winning an Olympic gold medal for soccer, I think I would go what we in Britain would call a 10-day bender. You just wouldn't see me for dust.

SOLO: I'm still on a bender. I'm still on a bender. No, I literally -- I got to the States yesterday. It's been a whirlwind. I'm tired. But I'm sporting the gold medal. I'm wearing it with pride. But I'm tired, to be honest. These Olympics have been filled with stress, filled with controversy, of course. But it's been really stressful.

And I can't wait to just take some time off, turn of my phone, turn off my computer and just relax.

MORGAN: What is strange is that women's soccer in America seems to me to be a much bigger sport than men's soccer. Certainly much more interest in the women's Olympic team, I felt, just talking to people, I guess because of the sense that you may win it. Why is that, do you think?

SOLO: We've come a long way, let's be honest. Men's soccer as well has come a long way in America. The women are just that good. Let's be honest. We're number one in the world. And Americans like success. It is a beautiful game. I think for the first time in the last few years, Americans are starting to see the beauty in the game of soccer.

You look at our World Cup last year, our epic game against Brazil in the quarterfinals, our loss against Japan, our heartbreaking loss. Then you move on to the Olympics, we have played with so much passion and beauty, but also the drama. I mean, we have captivated the audience because of the dramatic games that we've won.

MORGAN: It's also not unhelpful that you radiate beauty yourself, is it, Hope?

SOLO: Yeah, you know what, that's not true though. That's what I'm saying, for the first time, the game speaks for itself, period. The game is beautiful.

MORGAN: Hope, you can't deny the undeniable.

SOLO: I'm not denying anything. MORGAN: You just have to admit it.

SOLO: But we have a fan base because we're hard core. We're athletes. I mean, you take a player like Abby Wambach, she goes in hard for tackles. She wins air balls that no other player can, men or women. And that's why people love us. People love us because they see women playing a sport with so much heart, so much passion and just so much grit that you rarely see in women. It's not about our looks.

MORGAN: How do you feel -- well, listen, you may think that and I -- listen, I think it applies --

SOLO: I may think that? It's true. It is true. What, you're telling me you watched our final because I'm hot?

MORGAN: Honestly? I watched it for the magnificence of your goal keeping.

SOLO: Thank you, perfect. Perfect answer.

MORGAN: OK. We're going to come back after the break and we're going to talk war, pestilence and the economy. See you in a moment.


MORGAN: Hope Solo, contestant on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." She's back with me now. You dance as well. A woman of many -- many assets and qualities, hope. Let's turn to your book, because it's a fascinating memoir.

First of all, there was a report that your coach didn't want this to be published until after the Olympics. Is that true?

SOLO: Oh, you already heard about that? Yeah.


SOLO: Understandably so. I mean, I see her point of view. There you go. Great picture of her. But yeah, I mean, I talk a lot about 2007 and the controversy that took place. And people haven't heard all the events that took place. I've never spoken openly about them.

And for the first time, I'm coming out to reveal everything that happened, not because I'm trying to reveal anything or throw anybody under the bus, but more because I want to speak the truth about my life and what I've been through. So it's for the first time it's coming out and I can understand that.

You know journalists. You know the media. They are going to hang on to anything negative they possibly can. And that would be every question throughout our journey in the Olympics. And we didn't need that. So I understood her point of view.

MORGAN: What was the most important thing that you wanted to get out there about that whole time? SOLO: It's not really the most important thing. It's just I wanted -- I knew for a I knew for a long time I would write a book. I knew for a long time my story was compelling. It was a story about hope. It was a story about -- it truly is a beautiful struggle. My life is a beautiful struggle. And I'm happy of everything I've been through. I'm strong and everything has made me who I am.

So I'm not shy about it. And for the first time, I get to come out and tell me story.

MORGAN: You dedicate the book to your mother, who is obviously a hugely important figure in your life. But we know also about your father, and honestly a complicated relationship. You know, he was your first coach. He was your biggest fan. He was in and out of jail. And he died very sadly before -- I think eight days before he was due to watch you play for your country for the first time, which must have been extremely sad for you, just on every level.

But tell me about your father.

SOLO: Yeah, you know, when my father passed away, I was able to look back and be grateful that I had the time that I spent with him. I never wanted to go to college in the state of Washington because I was so embarrassed and ashamed of my family life. I wanted to run. That's what always what I do, I run. I run as far away as I can.

And I wanted to go to school on the east coast. I didn't want to be around my family. And for whatever reason, I was compelled to stay in the state of Washington, go to school at the University of Washington. And it enabled me to have a relationship with my father, to build one.

And when my dad passed away, I looked back and I realized, you know what? I'm so happy for the time that I was given. There's a lot of people -- yeah, my dad was in and out of my life, but there's a lot of people who don't even get the time that I received with my father.

MORGAN: Do you think that you are scarred by your family background? Do you feel that you've had to deal with a lot of stuff that most people don't have to deal with.

SOLO: I smile because I like the word scarred. I'm OK with that. I don't think it's negative. I -- yes, of course I'm affected. Everybody should be affected by their own realties in their own lives, their own struggles in their own lives. It makes us who we are and we all know that.

But it is -- yeah, I'm scarred. But not in a negative way. People don't know me. I do have a heart, a good heart. And I can look at somebody on the street and want to know their life stories. I want to give them my time. I want to say hi.

And to me that goes a long way. So I have a bad wrap. People look at me as selfish, outspoken. But I know who I am. And I know that my struggles in my life have allowed me to withhold judgment. And I'm proud of that. I'm happy. MORGAN: I don't think you should be so hard on yourself.

SOLO: You think I'm being hard on myself?

MORGAN: I think you're slightly overdoing the whole bad wrap thing. All I've read about you in the last few weeks --

SOLO: You know I have a bad wrap, come on.

MORGAN: I know you've had some negativity.

SOLO: I sent out Tweets about (INAUDIBLE) chesting, and all of a sudden it was, I'm taking down our team at the Olympics.

MORGAN: There's the Tweet. And you said "lay off commenting about defending and goal keeping until you get more educated. The game has changed."

You were having a good old public whack at it. So when you do that kind of thing, I salute you. I think it's absolutely your right to do that. But you can't expect all the media to say oh, Hope, aren't you a lovely misunderstood lady.

SOLO: No, that's where you've got me wrong. I don't expect any of the media to be positive. I think I finally understood that I'm a ground-breaking female athlete. And with that, it's -- there's a lot of struggle with that. But I know that I'm doing wonderful things for the sport of soccer and I know I'm doing amazing things for female athletes. So I can take it.

MORGAN: You're a feisty, smart, beautiful lady who happens to be a fantastic goalkeeper. You're almost a perfect woman.

SOLO: I love you. I knew there was a reason why I did this interview tonight.

MORGAN: I think we should end on that not. It won't get any better for me than I love you, says Hope Solo.

Listen, it's been fascinating to talk to you. I like your feistiness. Congratulations on the gold. It was a fantastic triumph for you, for the team, for your country. Everyone is very proud of you. So congratulations.

SOLO: Thank you so much. It's good to be here.

MORGAN: Hope Solo, terrific young lady.

Up next, Only in America. My need for speed and the new scramjet that might just change my life.


MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, here is a question for you. What is the mode of transportation that now takes twice as long to get from London to New York as it did 40 years ago? Yeah, it's the air plane. When the great David Frost was hosting talk shows on both sides of the Atlanta, like I do now, back in the '70s his journey took three hours on Concord. Now, since the tragic demise of that fabulous plane, it takes at least double that.

This is supposed to be progress? Well, at last, possible help is at hand in the form of an astonishing aircraft called the Wave Rider, the Air Force's new X-51 hypersonic scramjet designed to fly at -- wait for this -- mach six -- that's a stunning 4,500 miles an hour.

The Pentagon says the technology, which it tested over the Pacific today, could eventually allow them to bring missiles or planes to the other side of the planet in minutes instead of hours. I've got no quarrel with that. But let's not stop there, chaps. You can't taunt me with the prospect of a one-hour transatlantic flight and tell me, sorry buddy, this isn't for you.

I've got London pubs to reacquaint, Arsenal soccer matches to watch, cricket to play, fish and chips to eat with mushy pees. And this 140 million dollar Wave Ride program would enable me to do all this and host this nightly CNN show live every night in New York. Think not what this hypersonic technology can do for your country's military, Mr. President, and focus more on what it can do for me and my morning commute.

That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.