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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Republican National Convention Day 2: Paul Ryan's Acceptance Speech

Aired August 29, 2012 - 00:05   ET

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


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Thanks, Wolf and Erin.

Good evening, I'm here at the CNN Grill where the beer is flowing and the buzz is all about Paul Ryan's big speech tonight. Mitt Romney's running mate talking big picture and throwing some red meat to the hungry party faithful.

In just a minute I'll ask a man who knows a thing or two about running for president, Rudy Giuliani. Did Ryan push all the right buttons? I'll also talk to my all-star political team and I'll get reaction from one of the top people in the Obama campaign.

We begin, of course, with Paul Ryan's big speech tonight. Listen to some of it in his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After four years of getting the run-around, America needs a turn-around. And the man for the job is Governor Mitt Romney.

We will not duck the tough issues. We will lead. We will not spend the next four years blaming others. We will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles. We will reapply our founding principles.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

RYAN: The work ahead will be hard. These times demand the best of all of us. All of us, but we can do this. We can do this. Together, we can do this.

Let's see this thing all the way through! Let's get this done!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That's Paul Ryan, and that's what everyone here is talking about. I don't think anybody in here, as you can tell, (INAUDIBLE) one of our contributors, it is buzzing, it is excited. People here I think feel they've been energized tonight.

This is the man I want to talk to. America's man, Rudy Giuliani. How are you, sir? RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: I'm very excited. I was very uplifted by tonight's speeches. Particularly Paul Ryan and Condoleezza Rice. I thought they hit home runs.

MORGAN: Yes, Condoleezza certainly got everybody going, but it was really all about Paul Ryan later on.

GIULIANI: Of course.

MORGAN: He's the guy that Mitt Romney chose to be his running mate. What were the buttons that he hit, you think...

(CROSSTALK)

GIULIANI: Well, I think he -- first of all, he has been attacked for wanting to kill Medicare. He made it very, very clear with his mom there that he believes in Medicare. What he wants to do is preserve it. So I think he killed that lie immediately.

I think he showed the wisdom of Governor Romney's choice. That this is a man who really understands our budget. Understands our economy. Feels very, very strongly about our country.

And I mean, put it simply, what he said was, you have a choice. You can build up government to try to solve the problem or you can put money back into the hands of private people and let them rebuild our economy.

I think Americans are going to choose the second. Because that's essentially what we are. We're essentially a private economy. And we've been great because we've been a private economy. And this president has created much too much domination by the government.

MORGAN: I think what the party faithful enjoyed was the fact that he really went after Barack Obama. Chris Christie was rumored to be the guy to do that. He didn't do it. Ryan went after him. Now not entirely accurately.

And there were a few stories he was telling, the Janesville plant that shut down, as you and I know, that was shut down in President Bush's tenure, not President Obama's. So he was a bit naughty on the facts, wasn't he?

GIULIANI: Well, look, when people give speeches, not every fact is always absolutely accurate. President Obama has said a lot of inaccuracies, hopefully by mistake. The general thrust of the speech was the American people have a choice.

Much bigger government or much bigger private sector? We've tried a much bigger government. We have the worst unemployment since the Great Depression. The most permanent unemployment in about 60 years.

President Obama is not asking for a second term. He is asking for a second chance. And you don't get a second chance when you've done such a horrible job as he's done. MORGAN: Obviously by making such a dynamic speech tonight, Paul Ryan, I know that the -- whether the Democrats like it or not, the Republican Party faithful really enjoyed it. That puts huge pressure on Mitt Romney tomorrow. He has got to follow some great speeches.

His wife made a great speech. Chris Christie made a divisive speech, but most people seemed to enjoy it.

GIULIANI: I thought a very good one.

MORGAN: Oh, I agree with you. Condoleezza Rice was brilliant tonight. And Paul Ryan, once he got his confidence, was brilliant too. That puts huge heat now on Mitt Romney.

GIULIANI: He can handle it. Mitt Romney has succeeded in everything he's done in life. Been enormously successful in business, which is the reason why I think he should be president because if he can have those kinds of results for America, we're all going to be better off.

He was successful in running an Olympics that was going to be canceled. He was successful as governor. He will do a very, very good job tomorrow night.

And here's what it does with the Ryan speech tonight. The first choice a presidential candidate has to make is their vice president. Tonight's speech showed that the first choice that Mitt Romney made is a very wise one and a very intelligent one. This is a very, very smart and decent man that he selected for vice president.

MORGAN: He was interesting about faith, I thought. The fact although he and Mitt Romney are from different faiths, actually they share common moral values, I think, was the way he put it.

What did you make of that?

GIULIANI: I thought that was brilliant. This issue of being a Mormon has been an issue that has been out there for a long time. I thought Paul Ryan handled it in a beautiful way.

Yes, there are differences in beliefs, but the reality is it is the same moral code. It is one of the things that has formed Mitt Romney into a man that maybe is one of the most philanthropic men that has ever run for president of the United States, who cares about people.

His religion informed that. And I think that's what Paul Ryan was doing. He really diffused a lot of the problems that the Democrats have raised. Medicare, entitlements, the question of religion, I think he handled it absolutely beautiful.

MORGAN: I mean, whether he was entirely factually accurate is certainly up for question on a number of issues that he raised. What is certainly indisputable is that Paul Ryan has a plan. And that makes him quite a formidable opponent for Barack Obama and the Democrats, because until he came along, nobody was quite sure what Mitt Romney's plan was going to be. Now he has chosen a VP who at least has a plan. GIULIANI: Well, I think I was on your show when I said that this was a gutsy choice by Mitt Romney, because he decided that we're going to have a substantive election. We're going to have an election about what direction is this country going to go with.

I think that Paul Ryan has created that substance in this election. And I think Mitt Romney will follow up tomorrow and outline in even more detail the direction in which he wants to take the country.

MORGAN: One of their possible weaknesses as a team is foreign policy. And Condoleezza Rice kind of made that even more glaring today by sounding so informed and articulate about foreign policy, making people think, wow, I wish maybe she was on the ticket.

She's not. Two guys are who do not have much foreign policy experience. You know how important that is for America. Are you concerned about that?

GIULIANI: Well, they certainly have a lot more than Barack Obama did when Barack Obama got elected president of the United States. He had none. Mitt Romney has been an international businessman. He has been all over the world.

President Obama had just about never traveled outside the United States except for the time he grew up in Hawaii -- I mean, and went to the -- wherever it was, Malaysia or some place like that.

I mean, these people have considerably more foreign policy experience than a lot of people who have run for president. I think the best president of the second half of the 20th Century, the most effectual on foreign policy had no foreign policy experience, Ronald Reagan. He was just a damn good leader.

And I think Romney and Ryan have that quality.

MORGAN: Would you, if you were Mitt Romney, and you win in November, you would have to be tempted to bring back Condoleezza Rice, wouldn't you?

GIULIANI: After that speech tonight?

MORGAN: I mean, wouldn't you want her as secretary of state again?

GIULIANI: I had never seen Condoleezza give a political speech.

MORGAN: Really?

GIULIANI: I mean, she has given a lot of foreign policy addresses. That was a fabulous political speech. And what it says to me is, she is worried about the country. You don't come out of the hallowed position she is in and get engaged in this kind of political debate unless you feel very, very strongly.

MORGAN: Finally, there was a big, big moment tonight when music reared its ugly head. Are you a Led Zeppelin, AC/DC man or more of an elevator music guy? GIULIANI: I am Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo man. So I'm really out of it.

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: I'm opera and Beethoven and Mozart and string quartets and I'm a classical music nut.

MORGAN: Does it matter for presidential candidates or running mates, what they listen to on their iPods?

GIULIANI: It does matter that they listen to music. Music really calms you down, informs your life. You pick your music. And I think what Paul Ryan was doing there was making a connection with the younger generation. And saying that we have some of these differences, but we're together on the essential philosophy of governing which is, we trust people, the Democrats trust only government.

MORGAN: You've made big speeches in your life, Rudy. Tomorrow Mitt Romney has got to make the speech of his life, hasn't he?

GIULIANI: Yes. But he's made a lot of speeches. I think the Paul Ryan speech was the one where there was more pressure, because Paul has never given a speech of this consequence before. He did a great job.

Mitt Romney has been through 25, 30 debates, many speeches. He is going to do a great job tomorrow. I'm not too worried about it.

MORGAN: Rudy, the party is erupting around you. I think it is because you're here, actually.

GIULIANI: Oh, no, I think we're all excited about Paul's performance.

MORGAN: I think there is definitely a buzz in the room (INAUDIBLE), a lot of good speeches tonight. Great to see you.

GIULIANI: Take care.

MORGAN: Take care. All the best.

Right. I'm now being joined by a brace of governors. Welcome, gentlemen. Governor Luis Fortuno, how are you?

GOV. LUIS FORTUNO (R), PUERTO RICO: Very well, thank you.

MORGAN: Good to see you.

And Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania. Nice to see you, sir.

GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Good to see you.

MORGAN: We just had "America's mayor" giving his verdict on the speeches tonight. Give me your verdict straightaway. What was the feeling in the room tonight? CORBETT: Oh, there was electricity in the room. The message was clear. We've got a problem. We have to fix it. We can do it. And we can't spend more money than we're bringing in. A pretty clear message. I think it was a home run.

MORGAN: A home run for you, too?

FORTUNO: I believe so, actually. Everyone in America understands that we have to fix our fiscal situation right away. We're going to end up paying for this and our children and grandchildren. And Paul Ryan tonight came across clearly as someone who understands the issue and will get it done.

MORGAN: Part of the problem for the Republicans is the Democrats say, well, look, we inherited one of the great financial hospital passes of all time, you guys gave us the bank in ruins. They've got a bit of a point, haven't they?

CORBETT: Well, the point is they've had four years to fix it and they haven't. You can't keep blaming the past. I inherited an office, $4 billion in debt. Yes, that administration left it for me. We got rid of that $4 billion. We balanced the budget. We're not spending more money. That's exactly what Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are going to do.

MORGAN: When Mitt Romney stands up tomorrow night, he is following some big speeches. We've discussed that already. Paul Ryan was a good speech. Condoleezza Rice a great speech. Even Mitt Romney's wife made an amazing speech. He has got a bit of pressure tomorrow.

What advice would you give him if you were having a private conversation with him now?

FORTUNO: Number one issue out there is jobs. He is someone who understands how jobs are created. He should bring that message across to America in a way that everyone can understand how those jobs are going to be created and the fact that he has got the expertise to indeed accomplish that mission.

MORGAN: Condoleezza Rice, as I said to Rudy Giuliani, really electrified the whole place. It seems to me unfathomable -- I interviewed her earlier today, she was like, no, I'm quite happy doing my lecturing and stuff, I've done the big job. I don't buy it, do you?

CORBETT: Well, I think once you've been on that stage and you come back to the stage for a moment, you really show how good you are on the stage. But I can also understand where she may like being at Stanford. But I hope she's not done public service because she is too valuable a resource to lose.

MORGAN: Paul Ryan is big on plans. We haven't seen the minutiae of his detail yet. Are you concerned at all that he may not have the details to back up the bigger broad picture plan?

FORTUNO: Not at all. I served with him in Congress. He is someone who is knowledgeable about these issues. Respected by both sides of the aisle. No one will disagree with me that he is someone that understands budgetary issues better than anyone in Congress.

He understands what needs to happen and understands the consequences of doing nothing, which is what we've been doing for the last four years.

MORGAN: Do you think he is doing enough, Mitt Romney, for the black vote, for the Latino vote? What's your sense?

FORTUNO: Let me tell you, as an Hispanic, when we get around the dinner table, we talk about jobs, we talk about education, to the extent that both Governor Romney and Paul Ryan can deliver a message, a clear message on both issues, that will come across very strongly.

MORGAN: We have heard a lot more, Governor, about Mitt Romney as the man, as the father, as the grandfather, as the husband, is that helping him, do you think, as the American public get to see another side to the guy?

CORBETT: I think it helps him very much so. People need to know who he is other than what they've seen in opposition commercials or his own commercials. And the best person that can do that is his wife and the people who know him.

But he has to do that tomorrow night. He has to let the people know exactly why he is running for president and that he cares about the people of the United States. And I can't imagine that he doesn't care and still run for president. This is an important speech for him. I feel great confidence that he is going to do well tomorrow night.

MORGAN: He has got to shake things up a bit. He has got to be fire in the belly, better passion, a bit of emotion. He has got to rock this crowd tomorrow, hasn't he?

FORTUNO: I agree. And there is no other way to do this. We're in the hole. It is serious. Actually the consequences of not addressing this as soon as possible are going to be of greater proportions than we can imagine.

So he has to bring that across during the campaign, the urgency of addressing this issue and the fact that he has got what it takes to address it properly, at the same time start creating jobs at a healthy pace, which we haven't been able to do.

MORGAN: Governor, pleasure to meet you.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Governor, a pleasure to meet you.

A brace of governors and a mayor, big start to our big evening in the Grill. We'll be back after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can choose to follow a declining path toward a future that is dimmer and more dangerous than our past, or we can choose to reform our failing government, revitalize our ailing economy, and renew the foundations of our power and leadership in the world. That is what is at stake in this election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Fighting talk from John McCain, the last Republican to run against Barack Obama.

Joining me now, one of the top people from the president's re-election campaign, Stephanie Cutter, the deputy campaign manager for the president.

Welcome. You must feel at home in a room like this, don't you?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Yes. All my friends.

MORGAN: All celebrating their big speech night.

CUTTER: Yes, they're all so happy to see me.

MORGAN: Try, if you can, and be impartial here. Two really good speeches tonight. Putting aside the content, they went down very well. They hit the right buttons.

CUTTER: I think Congressman Ryan played the role of vice-presidential attack dog and I think he did it very well. Frankly, it was 40 minutes of pure vitriol with no facts and no plans for what he and Mitt Romney would do to move this country forward. And I found that interesting.

Because just a few weeks ago when Mitt Romney announced that he was picking Paul Ryan, he called Paul Ryan the intellectual leader of the Republican Party. He did not really demonstrate that tonight. Not one new idea on the table. But did he present a bunch of dishonest attacks on the president.

And if you'll allow me, I'll walk through them one by one.

MORGAN: Please.

CUTTER: You know, he attacked the president for closing an auto plant that closed under President Bush.

MORGAN: That is indisputably a load of old claptrap, because that plant closed in President Bush's tenure.

CUTTER: Yes. Yes, I found that quite amazing.

He attacked the president for cutting Medicare, but he used those same savings in Medicare to -- in his own budget. Paul Ryan used in it his own budget to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. The difference is the president put those savings back into Medicare. Paul Ryan is using it to cut taxes for the wealthy.

He criticized the president from away from the Bowles-Simpson plan, deficit reduction plan. He voted against that plan. I found that believable that he is criticizing the president but he himself, who served on the commission, voted against that plan.

We learned just a couple weeks ago, in The New York Times, from both Republican and Democratic sources, when the big "grand bargain" was on the table last summer, that would have reduced our deficit and strengthened our economy, prevented the downgrade that we experienced last year...

MORGAN: So, look, he was a bit...

CUTTER: ... Paul Ryan said, don't do it, it will guarantee the president's re-election.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: So he was a bit loose with the facts. Rudy Giuliani said, oh, you know, everyone does that in political speeches. A bit alarming, apparently, but they do. You guys can hardly complain. I mean, I saw an attack ad from you, was so monstrous, I had to get in a cold shower. The one where you accused Mitt Romney of basically killing a woman.

CUTTER: Well, you know, Piers, that's not our ad. That's an outside group that we're...

MORGAN: It's a super PAC.

CUTTER: We're legally not allowed to coordinate with. And you know what, if you want to talk about attack ads that are completely un- factual and complete false lies, let's talk about Mitt Romney's welfare ad that he is running right now.

With Mitt Romney, what the difference is...

MORGAN: I get it, go ahead.

CUTTER: ... Mitt Romney has to stand by that ad. He says at the end of it, "I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this ad." That's a big difference.

MORGAN: OK. Yes. Whereas the super PAC ads that attack Mitt Romney...

CUTTER: We don't have anything to do with it.

MORGAN: .... is simply being run by people who used to work for the White House.

CUTTER: That we don't communicate with.

MORGAN: Come on.

CUTTER: You know what the laws are.

MORGAN: Let's move on.

Whichever way you look at this, and my view is everyone is attacking each other with healthy gusto and it is probably always like that, let's just get to the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is clearly this room tonight felt energized. Condoleezza Rice coming on the back of Mitt Romney's wife last night, then Paul Ryan. Big speeches. Even Chris Christie, a bit divisive but many people here loved it.

They're hitting you with all their big guns and big speeches. How are you going to respond next week?

CUTTER: Well, you know, Piers, the conventions aren't just about what happens in the convention hall. They're about how you communicate with the American people. And, you know, they might be rallying the people in that hall. It is a rallying cry for Republicans. They're finally getting unified in this election behind Mitt Romney, even though 30 percent of them still wish they were voting for somebody else.

So they're getting unified. I think next week you'll see the president and all of our speakers next week talk to the American people, and talk about how we're going to move this country forward. Not just the people in that hall.

You know, we're not going to be speaking to just -- you know, a siloed off element of our party, we're going to be talking to all Americans. And that's a big difference compared to what we're hearing tonight.

Not one single speaker laid out a plan, even one idea of how they're going to move this country forward. Not one single speaker really talked about Mitt Romney. You know...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well, tomorrow night we'll hear from the man himself. His big speech. Now are you joining the party in the Grill now?

CUTTER: I may for a little bit.

MORGAN: We have a very special bartender. John King is behind the bar, apparently, serving the -- there he is. Serving the beers.

So, Stephanie, it will be my great pleasure to order John King to get you a nice beer...

CUTTER: Absolutely.

MORGAN: ... to recover from the ordeal of this interview. Lovely to see you.

CUTTER: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

MORGAN: See you next week.

Coming up, a close personal friend of Paul Ryan. I'll get his take on tonight's big speech from the VP candidate.

And later, my political all-star panel on whether this is a turning point for the campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: We're we are back in the CNN grill. And everyone is talking this week about who is the real Paul Ryan? Well, this gentleman knows better than most. He was a Republican, Sean Duffy. He is a congressman from Wisconsin.

You've known Paul Ryan a few years. What is the real guy like?

REP. SEAN DUFFY (R), WISCONSIN: I think you saw the real guy there last night. He is a family man who is very methodical in the way he goes through life in the sense he knows his politics. He knows what he believes. He knows his family and I think he laid it out today. The vision that he and Mitt Romney have for America, I thought he has touted them.

MORGAN: You said yesterday that Mitt Romney can be a bit stiff. Are you hoping he will be a bit lose tomorrow?

DUFFY: Did I say that?

MORGAN: Yes.

DUFFY: I did. You know, sometimes he can be stiff. But, just as Paul Ryan was talking about tonight. I think his vision for America and as moms and dads across this country look to see the vision for this country. They want to be who can fix it. And so, yes, he might be a little stiff.

But they're looking at the policy, not the soaring rhetoric of Obama. They're sick of that. They're looking at ideas. That's why I think Romney/Ryan will do well.

MORGAN: Paul Ryan seems a straight forward kind of guy. But he was a bit disingenuous with some facts today, wasn't it?

DUFFY: No, he wasn't. What are you talking about?

MORGAN: But what about his GM plum that closed under President Bush that he blamed Obama for in?

DUFFY: I haven't researched that. But, it was my understanding that it did close under President Obama. It was open at the start.

MORGAN: No, no. It was under President Bush.

DUFFY: Well, I haven't done the research. What else have you got?

MORGAN: That's not bad. It's pretty awful to blame him for a plum that closed under the Republican administration?

DUFFY: We're talking about big ideas. I haven't done the research so I can't answer it. But the ideas still the same, Barack Obama is full of a lot of words in the White House but not a lot of leadership. And Americans are looking for leadership right now. Talking about an opportunity society where Americans can start off mowing lawns and washes dishes and they know that's not their station in life. They can advance, they can grow, and they can become a vice presidential candidate. That is America and he laid that vision out.

So I don't know about the GM plan. But I know about the vision that is going to create jobs, grow the economy, pay down the debt. Real ideas that can grow America. Instead of a failed set of policy that have left us in a really bad place.

MORGAN: What about Paul Ryan's position on social issues like abortion? He is pretty right wing to the more extreme end of the party. Are you concerned that will be perceived as anti-women?

DUFFY: I think what the issue is that extremists, when Barack Obama has voted four time to say, if you have a failed abortion and the baby is born alive, you are not allowed to save it. That is what is extreme. And I think we have to have a real conversation, not just on social issues but the real issues that Americans care about which is the debt, which is the economy, which is jobs. Moms and dads across America. Moms --

MORGAN: But if you're trying to target women which Mitt Romney has to do. He is way behind on women. Is it really advisable to have people like Todd Akin raring their ugly heads coming out with all this gunfire about rape?

DUFFY: I was a prosecutor. I prosecuted rape cases for adults and children. And that the Democratic Party is going to try to use rape as a political football, that's a disgraceful. I'm disgusted by it.

MORGAN: I see. I vote Todd Akin is going to a disgrace.

DUFFY: I called it a disgrace. But it should be used politically. You have all Republicans standing up to say that was wrong. We don't approve of it and now it is being used politically? That's disgusting.

Listen. Let's talk about this have the issues this country faces. And to try a different -- that is what this is about. Diverting on issues that are a step away from Obama's record that has failed to create jobs, grow the economy and pay down the debt.

MORGAN: Sean Duffy, good to see you.

We'll be back after the break with my all-star panel to discuss all the big issues tonight.

Paul Ryan, Condoleezza - well, I don't know.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: Welcome back to the CNN grill.

It is absolutely buzzing tonight with gossip, intrigue, debate and reaction to the big speech tonight by Condoleezza Rice and of course, by Republican Paul Ryan.

I've been joined now by two new guests. You know about them. Social issues are front and center in this election. The cornerstone of the Republican party may stay in the White House. But is the GOP stand too extreme?

Well, these guys will tell me. This is the co-founder and executive director of GoProud, Advocacy group for gay conservatives. Also joining me is Joel Stein, "Time" magazine's columnist and the author of "Man Made, a stupid quest for Masculinity."

Welcome, gentlemen. How are you?

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Now Jimmy, I'm curious. You're the only proper gay group that backed by the Romney/Ryan ticket. Why would you do that when they basically want to get rid of you?

JIMMY LA SALVIA, CO-FOUNDER, GOPROUD: Well, this election is bigger than a single issue. And we have two distinct choices. We have the failed big government policies of Obama or we have the different direction that is of limited governor government, pro-growth economic policies of Romney and Ryan. And for a conservative like us, it was an easy choice. You know, were conservative vigilant for the future.

MORGAN: Do you believe in gay marriage?

LA SALVIA: I do, I do.

MORGAN: And so, how can you really support the ticket which is so resolutely opposed not just the gay marriage, but to most gay right?

LA SALVIA: Right. I know. But, look. He is the answer. Well, the answer is you have to have a date before you get married. And everyone knows you cannot get married or get a date without a job. I mean, the issues that are front and center in this election are the same for all Americans including gay Americans. Gay Americans are living in the Obama economy and that's the reality that all voters are facing when they go into the voting booth.

MORGAN: OK. What do you make of this? I mean, it is an unusual situation. I didn't imagine there were any gay groups that would support the Romney ticket.

JOEL STEIN, COLUMNIST, TIME MAGAZINE: At the gay bar at the honey pot. There were like 800 Republicans there. Grover Norquist was there. And they're not the only gay Republican group. They're like the splinter gay Republican group from the log cabin Republicans. There are a lot, not a lot but more gay Republicans than you think. LA SALVIA: We had the biggest event ever hosted by a gay organization, at a Republican convention. Not the size matters but it was huge and it made a big statement that this is the reality of the Republican party. And the conservative movement embraces gay conservatives. And you know, there are a few people who focus on the platform who, you know, this is their number one issue. And the fact of the matter is, the grassroots movement conservatives all across the country are no different than anyone else in the country. And they're thinking about these issues in a different way now.

MORGAN: What are the other issues of the social conservative (INAUDIBLE)? Abortion is a hot issue because of what Todd Akin said last week. I just had a bit of a dust-up there. we showed and talked about it. You know, it seems to that have a Republican platform here which is pretty, pretty right wing and isn't changing. You know, they still want a platform that says with abortion, there can be no exceptions. Not in the case of incest and rape or even --

I find that extraordinary. That they're not prepared to move at all. Particularly given Mitt Romney himself has moved, as has Paul Ryan.

STEIN: Yes. Well, it is right here at the Republican convention between right and the very far right and it is a big fight here. And it is a bit of a fight even among the gay Republicans. But that's -- his group is further right than the log cabin Republicans.

LA SALVIA: Well, I think -- I think that it is important to remember the platform carries no rights and responsibilities. No force in law.

STEIN: But, It is a statement about where the party does.

LA SALVIA: I honestly think there are more people in our party last night than the Republican platform. It is something that the day after it is written, candidates all over the country say I don't agree with the whole platform.

MORGAN: I don't know.

LA SALVIA: Yes, I don't know.

STEIN: The only one here who has read a platform before.

MORGAN: I come from a party is the manifesto of a party is what they stand for. What is here apparently the platform is one thing. Everybody ignores it and does something else. I find that weird. I mean, don't you know why there is such a disregarded thing?

STEIN: Well, yes. Because the platform is used for like the wish list of what they want and it is also use to compromise. It's like let's keep the Ron Paul delegates from yelling and give a couple of things or give the Santorum people a few thing. We wind up for the kind of radicalize platform.

LA SALVIA: Well, I think he is a little bit right there. And there are some people who really care about it so they get bones thrown to them to satisfy. MORGAN: Final question, Jimmy.

LA SALVIA: Yes.

MORGAN: If Mitt Romney wins, are you going to be writing to the editor and say now you've won with my support. I want to you start supporting gay rights.

LA SALVIA: Well, I want him to do exactly what the American people want.

MORGAN: Would you do that?

LA SALVIA: I would do that.

MORGAN: Jimmy?

LA SALVIA: Jobs in the economy first.

MORGAN: Best of luck. Thanks. See you.

Joel, what do you say to the panel? Look, something you told me, economy, speeches. All the dirt to be.

Next I'll have my own spot legal team on the spot. Did Paul Ryan deliver in the big moment of the GOP meeting?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After four years of getting the run around, America needs a turn-around and the man for the job is governor Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The man of the night, Paul Ryan. The vice presidential candidate taking the stage by storm and slamming the president time and time again. But did he deliver?

Let's bring him up. Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, Maeve Reston of the "Los Angeles Times," CNN contributor Ryan Lizza and New Yorker, Washington correspondent, and let's bring back Joel Stein from "Time" magazine.

Welcome to you all.

It's 12:50 in the morning. The beer is flowing. I'm going to have a little sit-down because the whole point of the CNN grill this time of the night is we can all enjoy ourselves, relax and consider the big picture.

Ben, did Paul Ryan succeed? I thought it was interesting watching your twitter feed and other people tonight. We can all in real-time now see the reaction from so many people. I got the feeling the reaction was early on a bit nervous. A bit stilted. Then he got more confident. He got to the economy. His numbers, the sort of stock in trade if you like. I thought he hit some big points and the crowd went crazy. What was your thought?

BEN SMITH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, BUZZFEED: Yes. and I think he got done what he needed to get done? He attack Obama without being a one note attack dog. He projected the kind of hopeful he introduced himself. If there was anything missing from this whole thing, it has been Mitt Romney. There was not very much.

MORGAN: Amy, how much pressure is Mitt Romney under now? I mean, we have seen some great speeches, I think. I thought Ann Romney was terrific. I actually liked Chris Christie. I know a lot of people didn't so much. I realized it.

MAEVE RESTON, LOS ANGELS TIME: He looked controversial.

MORGAN: I thought tonight, Condoleezza Rice blew the roof off.

RESTON: She did.

MORGAN: And then you have Paul Ryan doing a very good job. If I'm Mitt Romney, I'm like, wow! I kind a really believed in her.

RESTON: Well, I think that actually Paul Ryan tonight did what he need to do which was to be a little more understated. He has, you know, been able to kind of talk about his story and in Janesville and really try to connection with that blue collar audience and tell the story, not the blue blood story but kind of the middle class story that Mitt Romney won't be able to tell tomorrow night. So in many ways, he did not overshadow Mitt Romney tomorrow night the way a Chris Christie might have where, you know, the crowd was electrified.

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE). Let's cut to the quick. He was pretty disingenuous with the facts, wasn't he?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, this is the point I was going to bring up. On the aesthetics of the speech, he was the only person we have seen speak so far who had that crowd in the palm of his hand. The enthusiasm in the arena was off the charts. It's like no one else have spoken so far.

MORGAN: Yes.

LIZZA: We'll see if this speech survives the fact checking and the scrutiny. You know, when you say Obama took $70 billion out of Medicare and your own budget did the same thing, you have a problem. When you say, you criticized the president for not, you know, keeping this factory open when it actually closed --

MORGAN: He had nothing to do with Barack Obama.

LIZZA: Right. So, there's -

MORGAN: You know, he hammered him for the bailouts. We know now that he was trying to get that himself. Lots of thing I thought were very disingenuous. And I was like, why expose yourself to fact checking like that? You need to do it.

LIZZA: And these are won and lost not necessarily tonight but in the two or three days afterwards when the press picks the pieces apart and fact checks them.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: He was right about Romney and elevator music though surely. Mitt Romney has to be a carpenters kind of guy.

RESTON: But he was kind of nice because it kind of went after Mitt Romney's stiffness. It made a deal like, you know, everyone wants in on the joke a little bit, about the generational gap.

MORGAN: If I was Mitt Romney, I would come out tomorrow with my Britney headset. I give a -- a whole lot of Rosie by ac/dc wearing a pair of angus young shorts.

STEIN: You will never be the Republican nominee.

MORGAN: That's what I would did.

RESTON: That he listens to the killers, Mitt Romney right?

(CROSSTALK)

RESTON: Right, exactly. So, I don't know.

MORGAN: One of the thing that's interesting though, because tonight, a game we heard from Paul Ryan about faith, religion. They have been hiding this for months. Now, they are coming out (INAUDIBLE). I think they realize it is actually an electoral asset. That Mitt Romney is a good guy. He doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't take drugs, doesn't womanize and he prays.

LIZZA: The idea that if you are a religious person no matter what your faith, is you have something in common.

MORGAN: I thought it was a very smart point to make.

SMITH: It was not like a calculation. I think they got really badly burned. In 2007 you had voters, they wouldn't shake Ann Romney's hand because she was a Mormon. They were really badly hurt by it. I think it is something where they kind of decided that they can do it. I think the advisers have been urging them for a while.

RESTON: Tonight, Paul Ryan opened that conversation for Mitt Romney tomorrow night by really walking in and talking about the shared creed among all the people. You know, I mean, Mitt Romney has been so cautious about this subject and it is really something humanizes him. And Paul Ryan allowed him to go there tomorrow night and he wants to.

MORGAN: I think he's been hiding here for too long. Everybody knows as he committed Mormon. He donates tens of millions of dollars to the Mormon faith. The Mormons are not some weird sect, I don't believe.

RESTON: But many do believe that.

MORGAN: Well, they can believe that because he hasn't been talking about it.

SMITH: And of the people who really have a doctrinal issue with Mormons, not a lot of them are going to vote for Barack Obama. I mean, that sort of --

LIZZA: Let's talk about that. If you cannot talk about your leadership at Bain and you can't talk about your Mormonism or your tenure as Massachusetts governor.

MORGAN: A quick final break. When we come back I want to get a bit more on this. And also a verdict. Is Mitt Romney going to kill it or be killed tomorrow night?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back in the CNN grill. A great tweet here from a man called Ryan Wozniak who says, "Drinking pints of beer during a political roundtable live on TV is awesome. More shows should be doing this." I quite agree, Ryan, and I will be making this my standard thing. Cheers. Awesome.

Now, talking of awesome, let's go to you, Joel. Mitt Romney tomorrow, speech of his life. In he going to nail it, or is he going to be, as he is often with these speeches, a little bit disappointing?

KLEIN: I saw him four years ago a couple times and he was really boring. He has gotten better but he is not an electrifying speaker. Don't raise the bar for people too high. Everyone knows that it will be hopefully smart, but not --

MORGAN: In the end, as one of his sons told me this week, he's a CEO, a corporate man. Every speech he ever made before politics was a boring speech about numbers, money, economy, buying companies.

SMITH: That's not quite right. He is a salesman is really what he is. That's what his job has always been. The thing with Mitt Romney, though, he's a good student. He will do a really solid job. He's not going to surprise anybody, he won't blow anybody away but everybody will say it was a pretty good speech.

MORGAN: Maeve, how is he going to appeal to you women like you?

RESTON: Well, just on the presentation part. He would be happier up there with a white board --

MORGAN: He would?

RESTON: -- and the chart, the power point. Exactly.

SMITH: I would love to watch that.

RESTON: But I don't know, tomorrow night -- yes, exactly. With a marker -- MORGAN: But here's the thing: Barack Obama was a brilliant speaker in the last campaign. And he promised everything, and we all believed it. This guy was going to change the world. And he could never live up to that expectations. Sometimes if you overdo the rhetoric, you overdo the messianic kind of delivery, you can't deliver.

RESTON: That's what Romney is running on, to be the anti-Obama. You heard that from Paul Ryan tonight. It's not about words. It is not about presentation. And Mitt Romney has to get up there and show a little bit more leg, actually.

MORGAN: Here's the thing: When I choose a bank manager, for example, I don't want him to be a charismatic, joke-telling weirdo who goes disco dancing at midnight. I want him to be incredibly boring and safe, a man I know I can trust with my money.

I think the American public are ready for a guy who says, I'm the one who is going to correct this economy for you, personally.

LIZZA: And I think that was some of what Paul Ryan said tonight. And some of the message is, you had all that flash and inspiration and the Roman and columns in 2008 and look what it got us. I think your point about the mismatch between the rhetoric during a campaign, when you promise this, this, and this, and what actually happens in Washington when have a system that is meant to thwart the will of politicians leads to a lot of frustration in the electorate.

RESTON: There is a big 'but' there, which is that Mitt Romney's favorability ratings don't approach anywhere near what Obama's are. He has to come out tomorrow night and make himself likable, and just absolutely connect with people in a way he hasn't before.

MORGAN: Ben, look -- you're the guy on twitter tomorrow night. You're ready to attack him or praise him. What are you looking for?

SMITH: I think it's like Maeve said -- he kind of -- there's that old Hillary Clinton, she's got to be likable enough.

KLEIN: Why don't people like him?

RESTON: Because they don't know him.

SMITH: Because Americans want --

MORGAN: Why do I have to like the guy? Seriously. I mean, I thought Chris Christie was right. Enough of all this lovey-dovey stuff. I want to respect him.

LIZZA: I can't watch someone for four years I don't like.

MORGAN: Some of my favorite prime ministers in Britain were eminently dislikable. Margaret Thatcher was never going to win a likability competition. But she was a firm leader, whose people for a long time --

SMITH: But she wasn't popularly elected. It's a different thing. This is a celebrity culture in America, where part of it is this sort of Us Weekly that people want -- they want their president to be just like us.

RESTON: It's not just that, it's about trust as well. And people, they feel like they don't know Mitt Romney yet, it's very hard to trust him.

LIZZA: I think the voters that are left that avtually haven't made up their mind, are the least-informed voters. Everyone else knows what these two parties stand up for, and they've decided. And for them, likability and these sort of more gut issues are more important.

MORGAN: Here's what we're going to do. You've all been so entertaining, and I've enjoyed this bar festival so much, you can all come back tomorrow night and we'll give our verdicts now so I can play them back to you tomorrow night. Will it be a hit or a miss? Ben?

SMITH: That's not the business I'm in.

MORGAN: No, hit or miss? Don't be such a choker.

SMITH: I think he is always kind of a B student, and I think that's what it's going to be.

MORGAN: Hit or miss?

SMITH: I think he will just hit.

MORGAN: Ryan?

LIZZA: He will probably be a hit. Fine hit

MORGAN: Hit or miss?

RESTON: Easy audience, probably be a hit.

MORGAN: Hit or miss -- one word.

KLEIN: I'm going to go miss.

MORGAN: I don't know what it's going to be but it's going to be electrifying to find out.

That's all for us --

SIMTH: You have to say - -you made us say!

MORGAN: You don't have a line. Drink your beer.

That's all for us tonight. We'll be back tomorrow with the most important speech of Mitt Romney's life -- his acceptance speech. As the Republican National Convention wraps up, we'll also have all the highlights on a special PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT at midnight. See you tomorrow and bring your beer.

Thanks, everyone.