CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Mitt Romney and the 47 Percent; Interview with the Osteens; Interview with Wyclef Jean

Aired September 18, 2012 - 21:00   ET

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


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, political firestorm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Is Mitt Romney's latest gaffe a turning point in this whole election? Senate majority whip Dick Durbin says yes. And Donald Trump, you will be unsurprised to hear, argues no. We'll have their say tonight.

Welcome back. I'll ask two of America's favorite pastors to get down and dirty and political.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICTORIA OSTEEN, JOEL OSTEEN'S WIFE: I'm not going to tell you who I'm going to vote for, but --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: To weigh on the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL OSTEEN, AUTHOR AND TELEVANGELIST: The foundation of our faith is based out of Israel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And if this country is ready for a Mormon president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. OSTEEN: We're not electing a pastor of the nation. We're electing a leader and who can best lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The return of the only guest who's ever promised to pray for me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. OSTEEN: Everybody thinks you're mean. I say he's the nicest guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Joel and Victoria Osteen.

And from immigrant to pop start to president candidate, What Wyclef Jean thinks of Mitt Romney's 47 percent comment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WYCLEF JEAN, SINGER: The government still plays a crucial part of what we do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. Our big story tonight, Mitt Romney's meltdown. The storm over the candidate's secretly recorded remarks at a private fundraising event in May shows no sign of blowing over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. So he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Predictably the White House has responded with full barrels. Listen to what the president told David Letterman tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the things I've learned is -- as president is you represent the entire country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Just how bad is all this for Mitt Romney? And is it really good for the president?

Joining me now is Senate majority whip, Dick Durbin.

Senator, thank you for joining me.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), SENATE MAJORITY WHIP: It's good to be with you. MORGAN: Are you guys rubbing your hands with glee? Do you think it's a game-changing moment in this election battle?

DURBIN: It's certainly an insight into the mind of Mitt Romney. This was a moment when he was speaking to his closest friends and supporters and he really writes off almost half of America as people without personal responsibility, who view themselves as victims. It wasn't too much of a surprise, really.

I mean he was the one who said corporations are persons and the gaffes along the way really kind of lean to a lifestyle that most middle income Americans just would never appreciate or certainly wouldn't understand. So I think it's a further insight into Romney and his values.

MORGAN: He is trying to sort of spin this as well, it's just an illustration albeit clumsily phrased of the message we've been trying to ram home. Listen to what he told FOX News earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: This is a message I'm carrying day in and day out and will carry over the coming months, which is, this is a decision about the course of America, and where we're going to head, and we've seen the president's policies play -- play out over the last four years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: If that had been his only reaction, then perhaps he may have got a bit of escape route out of this but of course last night looked like he was panicking, he raced to the cameras, he looked a little bit beleaguered when he did that. Clearly, judging by the way the polls are moving, and the general mood about Mitt Romney, he's in trouble now, isn't he?

DURBIN: Well, certainly he's talking himself into trouble. Last night, remember what he said, that was inelegant, the way I expressed it. Well, I would have said well, you had some time to think about it, add your fair share of elegance to your statement, and tell us what you really meant.

And I'm afraid what we're hearing from him is basically he thinks people, that working families that send their kids off to college with a government loan are somehow victims, have a mindset that they're victims or those that are drawing Medicare after paying into it for a lifetime don't have personal responsibility?

I mean, that doesn't sound to me like a good understanding of what the struggle is in America for so many working families who are doing their best to take care of their kids and build for their future.

MORGAN: We also saw after the appalling events in Libya a few days ago, a kind of spontaneous and perhaps very ill-advised spontaneous reaction from Mitt Romney by sort of common agreement that he jumped in very quickly to attack the president at a time when it may have been more prudent to have just backed off, waited for the facts and supported the president and the country through that period.

What of that and his comments in this video about the Palestinians where he sort of lays the blame at their feet completely, it seems, against Israel? What do you think about his hand on the foreign policy tiller?

DURBIN: Well, he's certainly been bumbling when it comes to domestic policy and way beyond his element and comfort level when it comes to foreign policy. I mean, how can you visit England, our trusted ally, and say something that was so outrageous that it turns the British people against him and the comments he made about the Olympics.

I mean it was just a ham-handed approach to something that should have been a very easy assignment for even a presidential candidate.

MORGAN: Well, I think the problem with that was -- I mean, I was in England at the time and of course, everyone in England was saying exactly the same thing as Mitt Romney. It's just a bit like going to somebody's house and saying you don't like their curtains. It's not for you to say.

DURBIN: Well, of course.

MORGAN: Even if I don't like them either.

Senator, for now, thank you very much.

DURBIN: Good to be with you.

MORGAN: And now we go on to the other side, one of Mitt Romney's strongest advocates and always outspoken voice in the Republican Party. Donald Trump who joins me on the phone.

Donald, how are you?

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: Hello, Piers.

MORGAN: Your man's in a little trouble, isn't he? He's dug himself a monumental hole.

TRUMP: No, I don't think so at all. I think people like to say that. I don't think so at all. It's a debate that has to be had. I guess he brought it out into the open but I don't think so at all and I don't think he should be apologizing for anything. And they should just continue on with the polls, they're showing very close. It's going to be a tight race no matter how you look at it but it's a point of view and it's probably something that they have to have out at some point.

MORGAN: Are the media making too much of this, do you think?

TRUMP: Yes, absolutely. They make a big deal out of it and frankly, he's been saying similar things on the campaign stump. He's been going out and he's been discussing this. This is something that has to be discussed, and as you know, there are tremendous numbers of people, whether it's 47 percent or close to 50 percent, that don't pay taxes and don't pay income taxes, and probably lots of other taxes, so this is really a discussion and a debate and it has to go forward. And let's see how it ends up.

MORGAN: One of the problems, it seems to me, is if you actually analyze the 47 percent who supposedly don't pay tax in the way that he put it, many of them reside in states that are supportive to Mitt Romney, so it's a real shoot-yourself-in-the-foot moment, isn't it?

TRUMP: I don't think so. I think it's really something and a point that is going to be discussed over the next 50 days, and there are two sides to it, and it's come out and a lot of people wanted it to come out, because they really feel that it's a very, very vital thing. It has to be discussed.

MORGAN: You have always been somebody who calls a spade a spade, and I'm sure that you have been talking to Mitt Romney. He's clearly having a rocky time in this campaign. Everyone can see that. What advice do you give him to get things back on track? Do you want to see him go harder at Barack Obama?

TRUMP: Well, I have to think that it's been, you know, a pretty rough period because everything he says, they attack him and I think he's going to have to get very tough and frankly, he's got to fight fire with fire. I mean they're blaming him for Egypt, OK? This is a beauty. They blamed him the other day for Egypt. Now, Egypt's blowing up with a horrible foreign policy that we had, and they actually put the blame on Mitt Romney.

And I said, what did he have to do with Egypt? So it really is -- it's a nasty campaign and honestly, Mitt is going to have to be both very smart, which he is, and very nasty, which frankly, he's not. And he's got to get that way because they are coming at him with all barrels loaded and he's going to have to get that way and very quickly, in my opinion.

When I see what happened with, as an example, the memo or the statement that he made having to do with Libya, and having to do with other things, having to do with Egypt, and he's getting blamed for all this, it's incredible. He has nothing to do with it.

MORGAN: Part of his problem, Donald, it seems, is he seems to have this inability to talk in a way that people find relatable to the common man and woman in America. The reason I think it's very appropriate for you to get into this is that you're a very rich guy, much richer than Mitt Romney but you've never had an inability to communicate to the poorest guy on the streets.

I've walked around the street in New York with you. And they all relate to you in a much more comfortable than they seem to to Mitt Romney. How can he work on that?

TRUMP: Well --

MORGAN: How can he improve the way that he relates to people? TRUMP: You know, as you know better than anyone, and I just want to congratulate you because I'm just hearing great things about your show and how well you're doing and I'm very proud of you, because of your success on the "Apprentice."

MORGAN: Thank you, Donald.

TRUMP: OK? Every time I watch I'm proud of you.

MORGAN: Thank you.

TRUMP: But I have to say, Piers, that you're born a certain way. He's a gentleman, he's a very smart guy. I think he can be a very tough guy and I think he's somebody that will make a great president. That doesn't mean he's going to be a great campaigner, but he will be a great president.

You know, there are very, very different abilities and I really think ultimately people will see through all of this, but he's being blamed for things that he has nothing to do with, and he frankly, you know, the statement that he made, the recent statement that's causing all this fuss, it's being built up, built up by the media, built up by the Obama folks, and I don't blame them for doing it.

I blame the media but I don't blame the Obama folks if they can get away with it for doing exactly what they're doing. But I really think that Mitt can handle pressure well. The -- that was proven to me during the debates, if you remember, in Florida. He went into Florida having to win the debates, having to win Florida. He was in trouble.

He won both debates easily and he did a fantastic job. I actually told him it was the best political week of his life. He did a fantastic job. He won Florida and then he took it from there. He's very good under pressure. I think that the debates and especially the first debate will be vital to both sides.

You know, don't forget, you're talking about Mitt. The fact is most of the polls have him just about even right now and in some cases, they have Mitt up and in some cases they have the president up, but it's a very, very close race. And I have a feeling he's going to react very well under pressure, as he did in Florida, Piers.

MORGAN: Have you spoken to him since this whole secret video story blew up?

TRUMP: I have.

MORGAN: And how was he?

TRUMP: I think he's fine. And it's a debate that is going to be had and it's a debate that should be had, and people are going to be talking about it and I think that's a good thing, not a bad thing.

MORGAN: Do you still believe fundamentally that Mitt Romney can win this election, Donald? TRUMP: Well, absolutely. Look at the polls. I mean they're showing even. He's up in North Carolina. He's about even or maybe even winning in Florida. He's slightly down in Ohio. Absolutely I think he can, and I think the other side believes he can, and frankly, a lot is going to happen over the next 50 days.

Don't forget, he saved his money and they're going to do a massive campaign, whereas President Obama has spent much of his money already, but they have been very, I think wisely, now, time will tell, I'll tell you in about 51 days, but they have been I think very wisely saving their money and now you're going to have a blitz.

Let's see how that works. Let's see how it comes out but they have a tremendous amount of money which they haven't spent, the other side has spent a lot of its money.

MORGAN: Do you think that it's fair that super PACs can spend tens of millions of dollars and therefore, the one with the most money can, if they're smart, effectively buy an election?

TRUMP: Well, number one, I don't think you can buy the election. But it doesn't matter what I think. The Supreme Court said it was fine. So you have people on the Supreme Court, they voted in favor of that, so, you know, it's irrelevant what I think. But the court certainly said it was fine.

MORGAN: From your conversation with Mitt Romney, he's a bit battered but not beaten?

TRUMP: Oh, no. Just the opposite. I think he's really ready now to start going, and I think you're going to see somebody -- remember what I said. Some people, and I have known many, many people. By the way, you happen to be one of them. You reacted very well under pressure and I got to know you very much under pressure. Some people react very well under pressure. Most people don't.

Mitt Romney reacted very, very well under pressure and that was during, in particular, Florida, he had to win that state. Otherwise it was over. Not only did he win the debates and Newt is very tough and very good as a debater, and he won the debates and he won Florida. That was under great stress, under great pressure. So let's see how he does. I think you'll be very surprised.

MORGAN: Donald Trump, as always, thank you for joining me.

TRUMP: All right. Thank you very much, Piers.

MORGAN: Donald Trump is certainly not the only one who's fired up about all this. When we come back, two political all-stars go toe- to-toe. And I predict this will get lively.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know what he was referring to, but I can tell you this. When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain. They didn't vote for me. And what I said on election night was even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president. And one of the things I've learned as president is you represent the entire country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: President Obama talking to David Letterman tonight.

Joining me now, two very articulate people on opposite sides of this big debate. "New York Times" op-ed columnist Charles Blow and Michael Gerson, "Washington Post" columnist and former chief speech writer to President George W. Bush.

Let me start with you, Charles. I mean on the face of it, this is a monumental gaffe, isn't it, by Mitt Romney? Because whichever way you try to spin it, he basically called half of America a bunch of scrounging victims.

CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Right. Right. Mitt Romney must have honey on his toes because he can't keep his foot out of his mouth. There is no way for Mitt Romney to walk back what he has said. He has basically said that -- there are a couple of words that stand out. Victim. Right? So -- and when you talk about casual observers, these are not people who watch CNN every night, who read the "New York Times" or the "Washington Post" every day.

These are people who kind of glance by news, who are going to see in snippets on television. These kind of things stand out, calling 47 percent of Americans victims who are dependent on government. Also saying, and this I think is a pivotal part of that -- of that clip is it is not my job to worry about these people.

MORGAN: Michael Gerson, it's very, very hard to defend this, isn't it? It's because if you're in the Romney camp, it comes off the back of a couple other major gaffes by common consent major gaffes, including the Libyan way he behaved over that attack.

When you are in that camp now, what do you do? How do you get him out of this hole?

MICHAEL GERSON, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Well, you know, there are only a couple of responses in a case like this, because it's hard to disagree with that analysis of this quote. You say what I really meant to say was and that's what he's done. I really meant to say government is too large and will bankrupt the country, and try to get it back to a more sustainable ideological argument until the issue of the day passes. Until the press moves on to the next thing.

Or you can say, I was wrong, at least in part, which maybe is what he should say here. I -- you know, the government is too large but the reality here is that most people want to improve their own lives and I'm going to appeal to everyone and I made a mistake. I don't think politicians do that enough. MORGAN: There's a new "Wall Street Journal" poll tonight and NBC News combined with them gives the president his highest job approval rating since March at 50 percent. It also shows Mr. Romney among likely voters, 50 percent to 45 percent so 5 percent clear lead there with just two weeks before the campaign hits a major landmark with the first candidate's debate.

I mean, Charles, if you're Mitt Romney, you are in big trouble now. There's no way of saying you're not. You're in big trouble. What is he going to do?

BLOW: What does he have to do? I mean I --

MORGAN: I know you don't want him to do it.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: What does he have to do politically? What's he going to do?

BLOW: Well, I kind of agree with the idea that you do have to say go closer to an apology if not -- if not outright apologize. But even if you do that, there's a -- there's a problem with that because it -- the whole statement rests on the idea that Obama has a base that is near half of the electorate so if he starts to back away and say, I didn't mean the whole 47 percent, I meant like 20 percent, I meant 30 percent, then the whole argument falls apart so then you did mean to say exactly what you said.

You were basically saying that there is a part of the electorate that is almost at a winning percentage that will vote for this president regardless because they feel like they are victims and they are parasitic and that is a problem that he can -- I don't even know how you fix this. And every time I see him on television, the first press conference and the interviews today on FOX News, neither one of those things -- it's almost better to just say nothing if he was going to do what he did in those occasions.

MORGAN: Isn't it a problem -- Michael Gerson, isn't the real problem for Mitt Romney is that this lends succor now to the argument that he basically is pretty two-faced when it comes to principles and his political views?

GERSON: Well, I think that the worst kind of gaffes are the ones that confirm a stereotype. I mean that was true of Obama, with the "they cling to guns and religion," that he was seen as an elitist. I think it was true of George W. Bush when the DUI, the old DUI came out where he seemed irresponsible. Sometimes, you know, these aren't always fatal but they contribute to an image and it's a bad one.

I think that the best way for Romney to combat that going forward is to actually have some policy to say about the mobility and advancement for the aspiring poor, to prove that you actually care about everyone by proposing policies that appeal to unexpected groups. The campaign hasn't done very much of that. They said they were going to make a pivot to be more policy oriented. I think that's one way to help get beyond that is to prove you care about the whole country by proposing some policy that appeals to the whole country.

MORGAN: Charles Blow, the real problem, it seems to me, and there are many problems here for Mitt Romney, but the real problem is that he believed the economy was his strong point and what Barack Obama has quite skillfully done I think with his team is attack him on his strong point, trying to portray Bain as not a success story, but a kind of murderous rampaging capitalist beast chucking people on the -- on the fire and so on. And now you have this situation.

I'm going to play a new Obama ad which basically sums up how he's going to attack him. And it's very, very damaging. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: And they will vote for this president no matter what. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually felt sick to my stomach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't like it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It shows that he's out of touch, that if he thinks that half of the country is feel like -- feeling like victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Victims? I wouldn't say so. I don't think that's part of the American fabric.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: We touched a little earlier, the victims thing. I mean also, he had these other remarks about the Palestinians and how they were basically going to be a block to any kind of peace over there. He's touched on the foreign policy aspect as we have seen with the Libya gaffe and now this, it's pretty unsteady as it is and now in his own backyard of the economy, he suddenly looks vulnerable.

BLOW: Well, he will -- the latest rounds of polls have basically said -- shown that Obama is eating away at his edge on the economy which is bad news for him. And I don't think it's necessarily right to cast it as the Obama campaign making Bain out to be villainous. There were parts of what Bain did that were not helpful to people who were actually everyday workers. And that's just a fact.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But there's also --

BLOW: This is a fact.

MORGAN: Yes, but it's also a fact that many of the things Bain did was successful turnaround of crumbling companies.

BLOW: Right. It completely depend on what you -- what you call success. If it is making money for the investors of Bain, yes, incredibly successful. If, as Mitt has basically made his campaign out to be, I am a job creator, I know how to create jobs, well, that is a very much more mixed picture and the Obama campaign is just pointing that out. They are not making those facts up. That is a very real thing.

And the other part of that economic issue is that Mitt Romney has taken advantage of a lot of tax loopholes that we know of and then he won't release the other information that we don't, you know, about back taxes. He won't release those so we don't even know if Mitt Romney might be one of the people who didn't pay taxes that he's now slamming as part of the 47 percent.

That's the problem for Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney made this problem. The Obama campaign is basically just taking advantage of it.

MORGAN: Michael Gerson, final word for you. Obviously they are going to be in the bunker tonight thinking, oh, my god, how do we get out of this, but there are ways to get out of it and we don't know quite what their strategy will be. Do you think as things stand, that Mitt Romney can still win this election?

GERSON: Oh, I think so. I think the president consistently at 50 percent or below in approval rating is a danger sign. I mean presidents generally need to be in the very high 40s or low 50s in order to be re-elected. George Bush was an exception in 2004, he was at 48 percent at his re-election.

It's still a very tight race. You've got 50 days. The problem is, that this is a time when they need traction, when in fact they have a distraction. And so I think this is wasting time. It's not only adding to a destructive stereotype, it's actually allowing them or not allowing them to gain some traction at a time that's really essential.

MORGAN: Michael Gerson, Charles Blow, thank you both very much.

Coming up, politics and prayer. How does faith factor into the race for president? I'll ask two of America's best-known pastors, Joel and Victoria Osteen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL OSTEEN, TELEVANGELIST: I declare every person under the sound of my voice is blessed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Joel Osteen in Miami in 2010. He and his wife Victoria speaking the language of millions of Americans when it comes to matters of faith. But what about politics? The Osteens are co- pastors of Lakewood Church in Houston. And Joel Osteen's new book is "I Declare, 31 Promises To Speak Over Your Life."

Joining me exclusively, Joel and Victoria Osteen. Welcome back. I feel like we're old friends now.

J. OSTEEN: I know. Good to see you again.

MORGAN: The worse I treat you, the more you come back for more. I like that.

J. OSTEEN: Everybody thinks you're mean. I say he's the nicest guy.

MORGAN: Don't ruin my reputation. I know what you're going to say to my first question. You're going to say look, I never get involved in politics. It's your pat answer. But given that the Evangelical vote is so important to both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, what do you say to your flock when they come and see you and say look, Joel, I can't work out who to vote for? What do you say to them?

J. OSTEEN: Well, Piers, I just go back to a central theme of encouraging everybody to vote, to search their own heart, because it's interesting, good people of faith can read the scripture and interpret it differently. I have Democrats and Republicans in our church that love the lord, you know, that couldn't be any better people. But they just -- you know, different issues speak to them.

MORGAN: The president, though, is a conventional Christian. Mitt Romney is a Mormon. And there are fundamental differences. The Holy Trinity definition in both is very, very different. The Mormons believe that there are the father, son and the holy spirit. Obviously the Christian faith believes they're all the same thing.

How do you deal with that? Surely your natural leaning would be towards the guy that believes the same that you do.

J. OSTEEN: I think you're right in that instance. I think also, though, you look at the whole totality of the person and not just their faith, although their faith is important, because it tells me their values and their characters. But I think as practical Americans and as practical followers of Christ, you look at their business experience and other areas as well.

So I like that saying that we're not just -- we're not electing a pastor of the nation. We're electing a leader and who can best lead.

MORGAN: Victoria, who do you prefer more? Who is more charismatic to you?

VICTORIA OSTEEN, TELEVANGELIST: I think they're both amazing men. That's just going to have -- to people who are undecided, I would say to them, watch the debates. Learn as much as you can. And then vote. And I would definitely say vote, because everyone needs to vote. That's what makes this country a great country. I will definitely be voting.

MORGAN: Are you undecided? V. OSTEEN: Am I undecided? No.

MORGAN: You have decided?

V. OSTEEN: Well, I'm going to really enjoy watching the debates because I think --

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: What a couple of politicians. Come on, Joel. It's obvious she's a Republican. What are you?

J. OSTEEN: I know I give you the same speech. We're trying to reach the whole group. So to come on here and say we're Democrat or Republican, then 50 percent of the people are going to say --

MORGAN: Let me pin you down about leadership, because you alluded there to business leadership. Mitt Romney clearly has a standout record of being a very successful businessman, but with that came allegations he was too ruthless, too hard, that Bain Capital, in particular -- they broke up companies. They tossed people on the woodpile, if you like. What do you think of his record as a businessman? Are you concerned about that?

J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what, I just see the ads and what I read. I think a lot of what we see on both candidates, not just him, are tainted, are inflated. I think when I look at President Obama and Mitt Romney, they are hard working, good people that -- you know, I don't fault Mitt Romney for his success.

MORGAN: Do you think it's wrong in modern day America that someone like Mitt Romney, who has made hundreds of millions of dollars and probably not quite as much as you have, Joel, but he's done OK for himself, that he gets lambasted for his success, lambasted for making that money, that somehow it's become a bad thing to be rich and successful in America?

J. OSTEEN: I do. I don't think we should look down on people that are successful. I don't think that's healthy. You know, I see somebody like Mitt Romney helping others and things. So I -- you know, the goal is not going to happen, but it's for everybody to be successful and everybody to be blessed and healthy, not just with money. But I don't think we ought to look down on somebody that's been successful.

I want somebody successful running the country. President Obama went to Harvard and doing pretty well. You see Mitt Romney as well.

MORGAN: I have interviewed him a few times now. He seems a perfectly nice, kind, well-intentioned guy. I think on the principle front, a little bit flip-floppy. You're not quite sure what he really stands for. But the real problem comes with what he says when he doesn't think the cameras are on him. We saw this yesterday with this video that came out, when he was pretty harsh; 47 percent of Americans, half the country are victims, living off the state, not paying tax, and completely disingenuous. Most of those people do pay payroll tax or they are the elderly or they're veterans. It was a very clumsy thing to have done. You must feel offended when you hear him say something like that, don't you?

J. OSTEEN: Well, Piers, I'm -- Here I go again, but I'm for mercy, I'm for seeing the best in people.

MORGAN: Being merciful towards Mitt Romney?

J. OSTEEN: In a presidential election, every sentence is scrutinized. They were knocking President Obama the other day for the "you didn't build it" or whatever it is. That's not the heart of what they meant. You know, I probably have way too much mercy than some people. But I just -- I look at him and say it's admirable that they're trying to win this election and to do good for our country.

But that's not an easy job. That's getting raked over the coals every day.

MORGAN: I'll be back with the Osteens in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. OSTEEN: heavenly father, we thank you for this time with Mr. President. Lord, we just ask for your peace, for this nation, for your strength, for your wisdom for the leaders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Joel Osteen with Israeli President Shimon Peres in January of last year. Joel and Victoria Osteen's influence is felt around the world. They're back with me now exclusively.

It certainly is. I went back to London. All I could see was your grinning mug everywhere, Joel, with copies of your books. How many have you done?

J. OSTEEN: I've done four. This is my fourth major book.

MORGAN: How many tens of millions of copies have you sold?

J. OSTEEN: I don't know. I sold a lot, though. It's been --

MORGAN: You're not denying tens of millions, I noticed.

J. OSTEEN: I don't know about tens of millions.

MORGAN: The first one sold 10 million.

J. OSTEEN: It did. It did. But you know, I write the books to hopefully help people and people get inspired by them. There's a lot of things pushing people down. So our ministry is about lifting people up, saying hey, don't get bitter, don't get discouraged, you know, stay in faith, stay positive. People are drawn to that because there is a lot of negativity.

MORGAN: I would say, see, you do have this effect on me. Every time I interview you, I go away and I actually feel happier. I feel better about myself, although I feel deeply resentful you're selling more books than I ever do. But what I wonder is when you do a book called "I Declare" -- and it's a very smart premise. You take a -- it's really a sort of a statement for every day of the month.

And it's very positive driven. It's very like get up and be glass half full, not glass half empty. But people will say it's a lot easier for you, mate. You're selling tens of millions of books. You're making hundreds of millions of dollars. You are married to this beautiful woman. Life's pretty damn good for Joel Osteen.

What about if I've lost my job, my house, my car, I can't feed my kids, as tens of millions of Americans right now are going through that. What do you say about that? How do you convince them to take your lead?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think the big part of the ministry is that -- you know, we faced difficulties, too, but our hearts go out to people. Americans are hurting, people all over the world. But I think it's so important, Piers, if you get up in the morning think, oh man, life is lousy, there's nothing good in my future, I don't want to go to work, I don't feel well, you are just going to draw in more negativity. You're going to get bitter on life. You're going to sink down into depression. And you're going to miss your purpose.

So It's hard. I'm not saying it's easy, especially when things are coming against you. But you got to get up and you got to find something to be grateful for.

MORGAN: When I saw the video there of you talking to Shimon Perez, it was pretty controversial because this is a very sensitive thing out there, isn't it? Mitt Romney himself got into more trouble today when more of that video came out. It was basically him saying he doesn't think there can be peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, and pretty well blaming the Palestinians.

You obviously interviewed there Shimon Perez. Did you get flack from the Palestinians? Did you worry about dipping your toe into a very hot political situation?

J. OSTEEN: You know, I didn't, because, Piers, the foundation of our faith is based out of Israel. And the scripture tells us to pray for peace in Jerusalem. So I went over there not certainly as a political leader, just -- but as a friend to the Israeli people. We're a friend to all people. We don't shun somebody that's -- the Palestinian people or anybody else. But just happened to be there, holding an event there. So I felt very honored to get to pray with him.

MORGAN: We got a picture of Joel on a beach, which we thought we would show Victoria. There we are. Now pretty damn impressive. Is he into this P-90X thing?

V. OSTEEN: Let's see.

MORGAN: The Paul Ryan machine --

V. OSTEEN: It's just all natural.

MORGAN: Really?

V. OSTEEN: He works out.

J. OSTEEN: I work out.

MORGAN: Every day?

J. OSTEEN: No, I don't work out every day. I like to work out. I grew up playing sports. So I like to run, lift weights, play sports. It's natural to me.

MORGAN: Not bad. Another reason to hate you.

J. OSTEEN: Well --

MORGAN: If you weren't such a nice bloke, it would be easy to hate you.

J. OSTEEN: Thank you.

MORGAN: When people go to vote now in November, what is the key message? If you had Barack Obama and Mitt Romney here, you wanted them to declare things, what do you want them to declare truthfully to the electorate to make a decision about them?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I can give them advice. The book is about declaring -- declare God's faithfulness in my life, declare God's wisdom in my life, declare that I have favor from God to make the right decision.

V. OSTEEN: Those are great things for them to declare.

MORGAN: Sure. But when you see them taking out ads, for example, which are deliberately negative, often flagrantly untrue, just really unpleasant, nasty attack ads, do you think that should stop in this country? You think it's just poison?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I would love for it to, but it seems, as long as I can remember, it's always happened. And from what I hear, the negative seems to work. It's a shame but --

MORGAN: Would you like it to stop?

J. OSTEEN: I would love it to stop. I would love it to stay on a higher level. I don't know if that's practical, but I think it would be great if it would. I think things are taken out of context and, you know, amplified. And it's not necessarily, like you said, the full truth.

MORGAN: It's been a pleasure to see you both again. Unfortunately, I have to declare this interview over. I'm sure we will meet again very soon with the next book or whatever it may be. "31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life." I will read this tonight. I know I will feel better tomorrow. So tomorrow night's interviews will be a lot happier all around than today's have been.

Joel, lovely to see you.

J. OSTEEN: Thanks, Piers.

MORGAN: Victoria, lovely to see you again.

Coming up, a pop star who has a lot to say about politics. Wyclef Jean had his own presidential ambitions. I will ask him what he thinks about the race between Mitt Romney and President Obama.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Plenty of hip-hop stars are opinionated when it comes to politics, but not many can say they have actually attempted to run for office themselves, like Wyclef Jean. He is an immigrant who rose from poverty and became a huge star with the Fugees, while developing a passion for music and politics.

His new book, "Purpose, An Immigrant's Story," details his struggles and successes. And Wyclef Jean joins me now for his first prime time interview.

Welcome. Good to see you.

WYCLEF JEAN, AUTHOR, "PURPOSE, AN IMMIGRANT'S STORY": Good to see you too.

MORGAN: So if I could say to you right, Wyclef, here is the deal, you can either be involved in music or politics for the rest of your life. You can't do both. What would you choose?

JEAN: I would choose -- if I was in my 20s, I would say music. Being in my 40s, I would definitely say politics.

MORGAN: Why are you so enthused by it? What does it do to you?

JEAN: Well, politics really came from my uncle, Ray Joseph, who was the Haiti ambassador to America. So politics has always been an undertone in the household.

MORGAN: You're a surprising character. You voted for Obama and you were down to perform the RNC Convention this year. Then you pulled out. What's that all about?

JEAN: The first thing is I did not agree to perform at the RNC. Willie Nelson pulled out. You know what I'm saying? Willie, you're my man, but that's who pulled out.

What came across, the e-mail of my management, was something that said a performance for veterans and disabled, which I perform for vets, because I had people that was in the military. Once the e-mail went down, and it was like, RNC, I was like, you all know I can't do that. Now, I'm not doing it because I have -- at the end of the day, I have friends that are Republican. You know, they are just going to vote for Obama this time around. You know what I mean?

MORGAN: They are?

JEAN: Yeah, yeah. I have a lot of Republican friends that feel that Obama is the way to go.

MORGAN: How do you feel? Have you ever been a Republican, or have you always been resolutely a Democrat?

JEAN: Coming from Haiti, landing in the projects of Brooklyn, my mama was on welfare at the time. Going from welfare to public school, me and my brother, Samuel Jean, who is also from Haiti, he gets a chance to go to Eastern Nazarean College. I go to five time college. And he gets a chance to go to Boston University.

So automatically, all my life, I would naturally be Democrat.

MORGAN: By the way, did you say Jean?

JEAN: Jean. Wyclef Jean.

MORGAN: Right, this is what I thought your name was. And every American has told me it's Jean. I said how can it be Jean when it's J-E-A-N, which is the French Jean. It's Jean.

JEAN: It's actually Jean. But what happened is my dad actually named me after the Englishmen. So it's like partially right and wrong. So he named me after Wyclef Jean.

MORGAN: But you are actually Wyclef Jean.

JEAN: Oui, Wyclef Jean. In Texas, though, Wyclef Jean.

MORGAN: How do you think Obama is doing? He has 49 days left to save the world and get re-elected. How do you think he's done, if you're being critical?

JEAN: If I'm being critical, where we're at right now with his first term, and it -- he didn't get a bipartisan front. And what I mean by that, a lot of things he was trying to go for, Congress was not allowing him to go through. And I think when it comes to his re- election, I think he's doing great. And I think -- I don't really think. I believe that he will be the next president.

MORGAN: When you hear Mitt Romney, as you did yesterday in the secret tape that emerged, talking about nearly half of America being victims, living off the state, not paying taxes, a very smeary, condemning kind of rhetoric he used, what did you feel about that?

JEAN: I mean, I felt offended. Offended in the sense of like I told you my story, you know, coming from a background where we was in poverty and got a chance to make it in the American dream. I think that's the story. At the same time, I want to be clear. I have super, super rich friends that were always rich. But at the same time, they don't look down at us as if we're nothing.

And the idea is people are people. And I think the government still plays a crucial part of what we do.

MORGAN: What does it come down to for you, this election? What do you think those who are still trying to make their minds up should really focus on?

JEAN: If you follow Wyclef Jean on Twitter, probably over three million -- and I probably influence a lot more than that -- I think what you should focus on is two things. I think one is that we need a president that has a cool head. You need a president who is not just going to reacts off of emotion, off of anger.

Because if you look at what's going on outside of America, with the rest of the world, you have to have somebody that comes in and understand that. The second part of it is, of course, I think the economy is crucial. We have to put people back to work. And I think with Obama's second term, I think that he'll realize that.

MORGAN: Well, it's been a real pleasure. The book is a fascinating read. It's called "Purpose, An Immigrant's Story." I wish you all the very best with it. Come back and see us again.

JEAN: All right, thank you, sir.

MORGAN: Nice to see you.

JEAN: You too, sir.

MORGAN: When we come back, only in America; a man who gives new meaning to going for gold.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Tonight's Only in America, as good as gold. Cast your minds back a few months, ages in political terms. Remember when Ron Paul was on the campaign trail, lobbying for this country to go back to the gold standard?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: -- and get back to a sound currency, as the Constitution mandates, a gold standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: At least one American took Ron Paul very, very seriously. Meet Walter Somasco Jr. Well, technically the late Walter Somasco Jr. The 69-year-old Nevada man died in May, a recluse who hadn't worked in more than 40 years and had just 200 dollars in the bank. But it's what he had in his garage that is the late Mr. Somasco's claim to fame, seven million dollars worth -- you heard me -- seven million dollars worth of gold coins.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never seen that much gold in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The amount of it was what was overwhelming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: There was so much gold, it had to be carried out in wheelbarrows. Mr. Somasco left no will, so the money will go to his nearest relative, a cousin who hasn't spoken to him in a year. That's what Willy Wonka would call a Golden Ticket.

That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts now.