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Romney Surging in Ohio; Actress Bashed for Supporting Romney; 28 Days Before Election; Interview with Hulk Hogan

Aired October 9, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. It may be the most crucial state in this election. And Mitt Romney is surging there. Can anything stop him? I'll ask the Romney camp's Dan Senor and from the Obama campaign Stephanie Cutter.

Also, in the line of fire, the actress who came out for Romney and faced down racist bullies. Tonight my exclusive with Stacey Dash.

And "Battleground America."


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: These are tough times with real serious issues.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't afford to double down on top down economics.


MORGAN: President and Mitt Romney going after it today. And my political all-stars will battle it out, too.

Plus the incredible Hulk. What made him switch from Obama to Romney and what happened when he found out about that -- well, let's just call it a very personal home video, shall we?

Hulk Hogan live.


Good evening. Our big story tonight, 28 days to go until the election. And Mitt Romney is on the move. In the newest CNN poll conducted after last week's debate, the president's lead in the all important battleground state of Ohio has narrowed to just four points. That's within the poll's margin of error. So neck and neck. And no surprise therefore that both candidates are in Ohio tonight. The challenger taking aim at the president just a few minutes ago.


ROMNEY: They chant four more years, four more years, and today, there are 28 days before the election. I think the right chant ought to be for them, four more weeks, four more weeks. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: And with an audience like this --

CROWD: Four more weeks. Four more weeks.


MORGAN: And President Obama fired back in a campaign event at Ohio State University.


OBAMA: That is not change, that is a relapse. We have been there. We have tried that. We are not going back. We are moving forward and that's why I'm running for a second term as president of the United States.


MORGAN: And joining me now from the Obama campaign, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter.

Welcome, Stephanie.


MORGAN: So everyone seems to agree that your boss had a very bad debate. What I haven't heard yet from anybody inside the campaign is why. Why did he do so badly?

CUTTER: Well, you know, Piers, I don't think he did that badly.

MORGAN: Really?

CUTTER: I think that we were all a little taken aback by Mitt Romney's performance and he --Mitt Romney had a great performance. But that's just what it was, it was a performance. And he didn't stick to any of his policies that he's been running for on the campaign trail, and you know, I think that that's -- that's not the Mitt Romney we expected but now that we know that, we're ready.

MORGAN: So when you say you're ready, what does that mean though? Is the president going to come out fighting or is he going to look up from his notes? Is he going to look like he's paying any attention?

I mean it was a very strange thing to watch. As somebody like me who admires the president and has always seen him as a great orator and a good debater.

CUTTER: Well, I -- we are looking forward to the next debate, and the president is very much looking forward to the next debate.

MORGAN: How are you feeling about the polls closing rapidly? Because I would imagine this must be some concern to you.

CUTTER: Well, you know, we feel like this is exactly what we have said would happen all along. We have said from the beginning that this is going to be a tight race. It's going to be a tight race all the way up until Election Day. We feel good about where we are in battleground states and, as you know, that's where it matters. Both in terms of the public polling, but also in terms of what we've built on the ground.

Remember, we have several different pathways to get to 270. Mitt Romney doesn't. So we feel pretty good about where we are in this race. There's been some tightening as a result of Mitt Romney's debate performance but we think that that is temporary and can be turned around.

MORGAN: I mean, in Ohio, for example, President Obama is leading by seven to 10 points before the debate. That is now shortened to just 4 percent, 51-47. It's getting tight, isn't it? I mean President Obama cannot afford to have another --

CUTTER: You know, that's just in one poll.

MORGAN: Sorry?

CUTTER: Right. That's in -- that's in the CNN poll. But there are a lot of other polls out there. We feel good about where we are on the ground, particularly in Ohio. As a result of what the president did on the auto bailout, and let's remember, Mitt Romney opposed that. As what we've done to increase opportunities for kids to get education, let's remember Mitt Romney wants to cut that.

So, at every turn, you know, the president is moving America forward, including Ohio forward. Mitt Romney wants to take us back.

MORGAN: Now you guys decided that the best line of defense was attack after debate and say basically yes, Mitt Romney had a good debate but it was all a pack of lies. And he actually responded to the main lie allegation which is this thing that he's going to be apparently charging a $5 trillion tax cut to the American people, and you've got a name change, not personally by name, but we now know it was you.

Let's just play a clip of this and see what your reaction is.


ROMNEY: Well, actually, the president's charge of a $5 trillion tax cut is obviously inaccurate and wrong, because when he says this, all -- let's look at all the rates you're lowering, and then he ignores the fact that I say we're also going to limit deductions and credits and exemptions. He ignores that part. Obviously that was corrected by his deputy campaign manager, who said that she stipulated that in fact the $5 trillion number was wrong. It's completely wrong.


MORGAN: Right. So he's talking about you there, Stephanie -- Stephanie.

CUTTER: He is.

MORGAN: He says that you -- that you said it was wrong.

CUTTER: That's right. Right. Piers, I'm really glad you brought that up. So there's -- there's this thing called math and here are Mitt Romney's tax cuts. And if you add up lowering the tax rate by 20 percent, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, repealing the high-income payroll, repealing the estate tax, and lowering taxes for corporations, that totals $5 trillion. So that's Mitt Romney's tax cut. It costs $5 trillion.

Now is he going to close loopholes and deductions that he won't name for those at the top? Let's give him the benefit of the -- of the doubt. There's still not one economist in this country that can point to yes, he can close loopholes and deductions for those at the very top and that will add up to $5 trillion. Because it doesn't. There aren't enough loopholes and deductions to equal $5 trillion.

So there's still going to be a gap there. Now how do you pay for that gap? You can either just add it to the deficit or you can close deductions and loopholes for middle class families. And that's the mortgage deduction, that's the child deduction, charitable deduction, and that's been estimated to be about $2,000 for middle class families.

MORGAN: OK. So just --

CUTTER: That's the math.

MORGAN: Just --

CUTTER: So he's taking my words out of context.


CUTTER: It is a $5 trillion tax cut that he cannot pay for.

MORGAN: Let's just -- let's just clarify two things there. One is, did you say that it was wrong? Is he right when he says that?

CUTTER: No. What I said, Piers, was the total of his tax cuts cost $5 trillion. Now if he's going to close loopholes and deductions, you know, that cost will be lowered. But it's not going to be lowered enough for this thing to be totally paid for. The only way to do that --

MORGAN: No, I understand that. But if you --

CUTTER: -- is to close deductions for middle class families.

MORGAN: I understand that. But this is quite important, you see, because --

CUTTER: Yes, he's wrong. MORGAN: No, but it's quite important because --

CUTTER: He's wrong.

MORGAN: OK. Well, let's discuss how he's wrong because what he says is when the president keeps saying as he did in that debate it's a $5 trillion tax cut, you are already conceding that it's quite likely that he is going to, as he says, eliminate some credits and exemptions. You don't think it may be $5 trillion.


MORGAN: But it might be a trillion, it might be $2 trillion.


MORGAN: Whatever it is, you have already indicated again --

CUTTER: Right.

MORGAN: -- that you don't really believe it will be a $5 trillion tax cut.

CUTTER: No. What I have indicated was he has a $5 trillion tax cut. He hasn't told us how he's going to pay for it. The only thing he has said is that he is going to close deductions and loopholes for those at the upper end.

MORGAN: Do you believe him?

CUTTER: Now if you do the math on that --

MORGAN: Do you believe him?

CUTTER: -- there aren't enough loopholes and deductions that equal $5 trillion.

MORGAN: No, I understand that.

CUTTER: So that money has to come from some place else.

MORGAN: Stephanie, I understand that. But of course --

CUTTER: No, do I -- are we -- so he's asking us to just trust him, that that's what he's going to do. But you know, even if we trust him, there is no mathematical way, no mathematical possibility for him to come up with enough deductions and loopholes to equal $5 trillion. It's just not possible. So either he's being dishonest about his tax cut or he just doesn't get it.

MORGAN: So he is lying, you think?

CUTTER: I don't think he's being honest about his tax cut. You know I watch from the sidelines the Republican primary, and even on a CNN debate, he said we're going to lower taxes for everybody, even those at the top, even those at the top are going to get a tax cut. He said that. And now he's saying no, there's no tax cut. So which is it?

MORGAN: Well, we shall find out, no doubt.

Stephanie Cutter, thank you very much for joining me.

CUTTER: Well -- thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Joining me now from the Romney camp the senior campaign advisor, Dan Senor.

How are you, Dan?


MORGAN: Stephanie Cutter wants an answer out of your guys. She wants to hear exactly where these exemptions and credits are going to come from. Have you any idea?

SENOR: Well, first of all, I would say that listening to Stephanie's interview, I mean, it's just symptomatic of what's been going on with the Obama campaign since last week's debate. Last week you had some 70 million people get an unfiltered look at these two men, at Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and they heard Barack Obama not able to explain what has really happened over the last four years nor lay out any real rationale for a second term. And they saw an energetic Mitt Romney brimming with ideas, pretty focused, and extremely competent.

As far as the tax plan, look, he has said he will not pass a tax plan that is not deficit neutral. I mean he's been very clear about this. His principles are do not change or modify the share of taxes paid at the upper income level, reduce the tax burden on the middle income level, cut rates across the board, particularly so you can create a more welcoming environment for small businesses, reduce the tax burden on small businesses, which are responsible for a disproportionate percentage of employment in this country, and you can do a lot of this by generating growth, getting rid of deductions, getting rid of a lot of the credits, getting rid of a lot of the loopholes and that is the plan he will put forward to Congress.


MORGAN: I mean --

SENOR: But he's going to have to work with Congress, Democrats and Republicans.

MORGAN: Listen. But here's the thing. But, Dan, here's the thing. Nobody disputes that he intends to do some of this. What we don't know is how he intends to do it and the specifics and until we get that I think that Barack Obama is perfectly entitled at the next two debates to take him on and say, well, hang on, you're cutting taxes by $5 trillion but what are you actually going to do to make up the $5 trillion? As Stephanie Cutter says, at the moment, the American public is just going to have to trust him. Now, Mitt Romney may or may not be the most trustworthy guy when it comes to credits and exemptions. I have no idea. If he became president, if he would stick to this.

But do we anticipate from the Romney camp, from Mitt Romney himself, in the next 28 days, that we will get the devil of the detail on this?

SENOR: Look, look, Piers, you know, President Obama has talked about reducing the corporate tax rate. He's talked a lot about reducing the corporate tax rate. He actually hasn't outlined specifically how he would make sure that that reform was revenue neutral. He's laid out some principles.

We're laying out some principles for how this process would go forward in a legislative process. You got to sit down with Democrats and Republicans, you got to create a bipartisan environment which -- which Mitt Romney has a record of doing in Massachusetts, 80 percent of the legislature was Democrat, he managed to get a lot done, balanced the budget four times in Massachusetts.

Yes, how do we know he can do this? He balanced the budget four times in four years straight in Massachusetts without raising taxes. He knows how to do this. He knows how to bring people together, work across party lines. Part of the reason I think he was so well received during last week's debate is people saw a very accessible, optimistic, energetic guy who has this record of working with people from across the political spectrum and I think he'll do that when he gets into Congress, implementing and negotiating based upon these principles that he's laid out.

MORGAN: Two big debates coming up in the next week. One is obviously the vice president debate. Everyone expects Joe Biden to come out like raging bull and try and redress the balance of a rather dopey President Obama the other night. If he does that, and the polls start to swing back on the back of it, which could happen, what kind of Mitt Romney can we expect in the second debate? Will he stay the same? Will he respond to perhaps a more aggressive Barack Obama? What are you anticipating?

SENOR: Yes, sure. Look, we've always expected that this race would be close and in that respect, I agree with Stephanie's analysis. Again, I think what was so dramatic last week and this what is the Obama campaign is having such a hard time with, is for the last four years, Barack Obama has never been on a stage with someone who has actually been able to hold him to account for his record. You know, 47 million people on food stamps, one in six million -- sorry, one in six Americans living in poverty, 23 million Americans searching for work.

No one has actually sat there and held him to account on the same platform, asked the tough questions, had him explain for the failure, the misery that this economy is right now and lay out a plan going forward. And I think Mitt Romney is just going to keep doing that. And Barack Obama can, you know, spin and his surrogates can say some of the things Stephanie was saying and they could run all these ads, they're distractions, and try to win this race outside of those debates.

But these debates are important because you have two people unfiltered going back and forth on their ideas and their records, and so far, Governor Romney I think has laid out a pretty compelling case and the president's has been pretty weak.

MORGAN: Well, so far, he's certainly winning the battle of the debates but there are two more to go and a lot to play for.

Dan Senor, thank you very much.

SENOR: Good to be with you, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming up, the actress under fire for supporting Mitt Romney. Why she's facing racist attacks. Stacey Dash talks to me exclusively. Here she comes.


MORGAN: Joining me now, possibly the most controversial woman in America right now. She had the audacity as a black actress to vote for Mitt Romney. Can you believe that? She actually said on Twitter, I want you to vote for Mitt Romney. You may remember Stacey Dash from the '90s hit "Clueless." She's never been known particularly for her politics but she is now. And it's all because of one tweet.

Stacey, welcome.


MORGAN: This is your first, you say only, television interview, isn't it? So I feel very honored. I'm going to say, when I read about this, I felt offended for you. I don't have a horse in this race. I'm British. I can't vote for anybody. But the idea that you as a black actress would come under such venomous attack purely because you decided you wanted to vote for one of the two candidates, I think is extremely objectionable.

How have you dealt with the fallout from all this?

DASH: Well, you know, people are going to have their own opinion, and that's the point. We're all entitled to our opinion. And I used my platform to exercise my First Amendment right as an American citizen to say who I am choosing to vote for.

MORGAN: An interesting thing to me is you voted for Barack Obama at the last election.

DASH: Yes, I did.

MORGAN: So you were a Democrat then.

DASH: Yes.

MORGAN: Why have you decided to change to Mitt Romney?

DASH: I would say because of the state of the country and I want the next four years to be different. And I believe him. You know he -- I've watched him for awhile and then when I watched him, the governor and his wife on "Meet the Press" with David Gregory, I -- you know, they spoke to me and they seemed authentic and genuine in what they said about this country, and the need for us to be united, and move forward. And you know, really bring up our economy, make money.

MORGAN: I mean the extraordinary thing is the tweet you put out under @realstaceydash, your followers' account have gone up I think by nearly 30,000 so congratulations. But you said, "Vote for Romney, the only choice for your future." Hardly the most scandalous thing ever.

Let me ask you this. Do you think it's purely because you are a famous black woman or is it because you are an actress and there aren't many actresses full stop who are Republicans? What do you think has been the predominant factor in the fury?

DASH: You know, in the -- I really don't understand the fury. I don't understand it. I don't get it.

MORGAN: Were you shocked? Were you saddened?

DASH: I am. I am shocked. Sad, not angry. Saddened and shocked. Really shocked. But you know what, you can't expect everyone to agree with you.

MORGAN: These people here, this is somebody who tweeted, "You're an unemployed black woman endorsing Mitt Romney. You're voting against yourself thrice, you poor beautiful idiot."


MORGAN: And somebody else just, "Put kill yourself, you old hag."

DASH: Wow. Really?

MORGAN: I mean, really disgusting.

DASH: That is. That's pretty harsh.

MORGAN: Tweets. You say you don't feel angry but what do you feel? I mean do you feel offended by this?

DASH: I don't feel offended because, I mean, come on, you know?

MORGAN: You think it's stupid?

DASH: Just come on. You know?


DASH: I don't feel offended. I just feel that, you know, as a country, this is my choice. This is the man I want to lead my country.

MORGAN: It's a democratic right. I mean -- I suppose the real --

DASH: It is my right as an American citizen. It's my constitutional right to have my choice of who I want to vote for for president.

MORGAN: Yes. And I think that you should be allowed to have it.

DASH: And I -- yes. And I chose him not by the color of his skin but the content of his character.

MORGAN: Have you heard from Mitt Romney at all?

DASH: Yes. Well, not Mitt Romney. Paul Ryan.

MORGAN: Paul Ryan rang you today?

DASH: Yes, he did.

MORGAN: What did he say?

DASH: He said thank you so much for your support and that I was brave and that they support me. And I thought that was just so generous and kind, you know. Lovely, really.

MORGAN: Any of the Obama campaign been on?

DASH: No, they haven't.

MORGAN: What does it say to you about the state of the political discourse and debate in America that one innocuous tweet from you, purely because you're an actress and the color of your skin, sparked this kind of mayhem?

DASH: I think it tells me that our state -- the state of our country is that we are not united. You know? We need to be united. And we all need to understand that we are all capable of achieving the American dream. And you know, but that has to be something that is self-realized. And also to demonize someone for achieving the American dream is unfair.

MORGAN: I'm told you have a 22-year-old son which I find very hard to believe.

DASH: Yes.

MORGAN: But you do, apparently, who wasn't that happy either with your political choice.

DASH: No. He's not.

MORGAN: So he's an Obama man?

DASH: He's an Obama -- yes, he's an Obama man and that's fine. You know? I love him for it. I love the fact that he's involved, that he cares, that he's 22 and, you know, he has a point of view about his country. That's important.

MORGAN: Interestingly, the polls are moving to Mitt Romney quite fast since his debate performance but particularly, with women.

DASH: Yes.

MORGAN: A lot of women. They can't all be white women. I don't believe, I mean, although some polls say there's zero black vote, you are living proof that that's not true.

DASH: Right. I think that's right.

MORGAN: And other polls say 3 percent or whatever. But clearly, there is a movement towards Mitt Romney. Clearly other black women will be voting for him.

DASH: Yes.

MORGAN: What is your message to those out there who just feel they can't because there's a black president, they feel a duty, perhaps a sense of loyalty to him because of the color of his skin to vote for him?

DASH: What do I say to them? I say, do your homework. Look at your country. Think about the next four years of your life. You know? And also, look at -- look at Mitt Romney's track record, you know, as a CEO, he's excelled. As the governor of Massachusetts, he did quite well. And you know, listen to what he says. You know, I believe him. And I believe he deserves a shot.

MORGAN: Well, whether people agree with you or not, I absolutely defend your right to be here, to vote for who the hell you like.

DASH: Thank you.

MORGAN: The idiots tweeting you are, to coin a phrase, clueless.

DASH: Oh, dear.

MORGAN: Stacey Dash, it's been a pleasure to see you.

DASH: Thank you so much, Piers.

MORGAN: You keep battling your own corner.

DASH: Thank you.

MORGAN: Stacey Dash has made up her mind. And other female voters seem to be changing their minds. Will they be the tipping point in this election? "Battleground America" coming next.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: After the debate I had a bunch of folks contact me saying, don't be so polite, don't be so nice. But I want everybody to understand something. What was being presented wasn't leadership. That's salesmanship.


MORGAN: President Obama taking on Mitt Romney in his post-surge debate. Let's bring in my political all-star panel. Charles Blow, columnist for the "New York Times" and former Romney foreign policy spokesman, Rick Grenell.

Welcome to you both.


MORGAN: Let's start with this Stacey Dash thing, Charles Blow. There is a very nice, attractive, talented young black actress, who decides because she has come to this conclusion, I voted for Obama before, she wants to vote for Mitt Romney, she tweets a harmless tweet to that effect, all hell breaks loose. You know, she's the subject of national debate, of fury, of vicious attack on Twitter by all sorts of people. What do you make of it?

CHARLES BLOW, OP-ED COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I mean, listen, I think that it's unfortunate that anybody can make up their mind and vote however they want. I think also, you do have to realize that there are some people who kind of gravitate to vote in groups and they kind of think in groups.

You know I think we sometimes just look at the racial group but there are people who vote in gender lines, they look at whether or not there's a war on women and whether or not you should be a woman voting for the GOP, for instance. And a lot of people make that argument. You know, there's kind of sexual orientation, there's kind of ethnic --

MORGAN: Right. But in this particular case --


BLOW: And I think -- so I think -- all I'm saying is that should she have been attacked, of course not. Do I believe that people kind of gravitate towards each other and say our interests are best served if -- by one candidate or another, I think that that's also true.

MORGAN: Do you think it was mainly because she was a black actress or because she was an actress and actually in Hollywood there aren't many actresses who say vote Mitt Romney?

BLOW: Well, I mean I think maybe there's some bit of both. I have no idea. I mean, as you know, there are a lot of people on Twitter, some people there do not say the nicest things to people, particularly people who are in the public eye. And that happens a lot. And so can I get into the mind of the people who do that sort of thing, I absolutely cannot. Is it in general, do people think that more of Hollywood is liberal than conservative? I think that people generally think that that's true.

MORGAN: Rick Grenell, what do you make of this? Because it seems a particularly poisonous reaction. She seems a perfectly nice young lady to me. She's perfectly entitled for who the hell she likes. You guys are the beneficiary here of her vote. I'm sure Mitt Romney is very happy about that. But it came in a week when there was an 18-point swing back to Mitt Romney or back to Mitt Romney amongst women. Hardly surprising that a woman, despite the fact she's a black actress, has decided that she prefers Mitt Romney now. Lots of women are making that decision. So why the fury?

GRENELL: I think there are lots of blacks supporting Romney. There are lots of gays supporting Romney. This media narrative that it's just simply group think and that everybody is supporting one candidate I think is part of the problem. I think the media have got to grow up and understand that it's very diverse out there.

I also would say that there's not enough attention on the intolerant left that's developing right now. I certainly have been a target of it. I'm sure Stacey would say she now recognizes it. The left, you know, gave us some great things. They pushed tolerance in many ways.

But now I think those champions of old have become the intolerants of today, and that's sad. And we don't have enough liberals actually speaking out to say this is wrong, we're supposed to be leading the way on tolerance but yet we're the first ones to jump on people and say if you're a racial group, if you're a group defined by sexual orientation, that you must tow the party line and be a Democrat. I think that's very un-American.

MORGAN: Charles Blow?

BLOW: Well, you can't say both things. You can't say that the media is responsible for group think and then have a group condemnation. You can't say that the media is responsible for this and then condemn all liberals as being part of this kind of conspiracy or kind of going after people. So I think that there are people in general who are intolerant. Those people are wrong for their intolerance.

I think that people in general have the right to make up their own minds about who they vote for, how they live their lives and what have you. That's a very different thing than saying that all of any group is responsible for anything.

MORGAN: What I find objectionable about what happened to her and also to Jack Welch, who has been a regular guest on this show and I like him very much -- he's been a brilliant businessman in America, done more for the American economy than many people. He got absolutely eviscerated this week. There's no other way to describe it. All right, you may not agree with what he said. He was questioning the jobs figures. And maybe with hindsight, as he said, he should have used a question mark. We can all take our opinion of that.

But the level of vitriol that rained down on his head again for one Tweet, basically saying come on, these figures don't quite make sense, I found that pretty objectionable. Rick, what do you make of what happened to him, to Jack Welch?

GRENELL: Well, again, you know, I think what we just heard from Charles, who is a prominent liberal, is exactly part of I think this problem, is that we whittle around the fact that when liberals are intolerant, we can't say it for some reason. We have to pretend like it's -- everyone is intolerant. And we just can't say look, it's wrong to go after Stacey because she's decided as a black woman to support Mitt Romney.

BLOW: Who didn't say that? I just said that.

GRENELL: Let me finish.

BLOW: What are you talking about? I just said that.

GRENELL: You actually didn't say that.

BLOW: I said it was wrong to go after Stacey. Are you seriously saying that I didn't say that?

GRENELL: What I'm saying, Charles, is that you can't just say that intolerance exists. What you need to be able to do is say when liberals are intolerant, that it's wrong and call them out on it. You are somebody who they look up to. If you said it, if you called it out without having Piers Morgan pull it out of you, it --

BLOW: Nobody pulled anything out of me. Understand this.

GRENELL: I didn't hear you say it, Charles.

BLOW: Nobody has to pull anything out of me, not today or ever.

GRENELL: I didn't hear you condemn it on Twitter.

BLOW: I said that. So if you want to rewrite what just happened, you do that on your own time. That's not what happened. I said that nobody should be condemned for choosing whatever point of view they want to choose. Now, I said that just today on this show. If you want to try to say something else, that's not going to happen today. You can't rewrite what I said.

GRENELL: I'm not. All I'm saying is I didn't hear you say it.

BLOW: Then get your IFP right in your ear so you can hear what I'm saying.

MORGAN: Let's take a little break, calm down. I'm going to come back and very aggressively try to pull more things out of Charles Blow to disprove his point that it can't be done. We'll be back talking about the VP debate and a couple of major issues, after this break, and a cup of cold water. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Three or four days before the debate they all got together and said hey, man, this ship is sinking faster than the Titanic, but people are still frustrated about the economy. They want it fixed yesterday. So just show up with a sunny face and say I didn't say all that stuff I said the last two years. I don't have that tax plan I had for the last two years. Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes here? Come on. What are you doing?


MORGAN: On the attack, that's Bill Clinton in Nevada today taking on Mitt Romney. Clinton's message is clear. Is it enough to keep Obama in office? Let's bring back my political all-stars, Charles Blow and Rick Grenell. Charles, when you hear Bill Clinton, isn't this one of the problems for Barack Obama? Bill Clinton is 10 times as passionate and aggressive going after Mitt Romney than the president seems to want to be right now.

It's not helpful to him, this imagery, I don't think. People are like we would vote for Clinton but why isn't the president doing this?

GRENELL: I think that on the stump you get a much more passionate Barack Obama. I think that what people are kind of dumbfounded by is what happened at the debate, because the person that you see on the stump, the person who gave the speech -- all the speeches in '08, the person who gave the speech at the convention, that person was not necessarily the same Obama that was at the debate. And whether that was a strategic decision to seem more presidential or whatever, whatever the calculation was, it was just hard to square with the Obama on the stump.

MORGAN: I think the Obama campaign are just off the point. Look at this new Obama attack ad. This is involving Big Bird.


OBAMA: How he will cut the deficit, he says he can make the math work by eliminating local public funding for -- funding for PBS.


MORGAN: That wasn't the right tape. The right tape is the Obama attack ad where he goes through all these terrible people and you end up with Big Bird and he's wrecking your life, blah, blah, blah. My argument with that is that it just seemed very trivial. Of all the things to now go after Mitt Romney about, Big Bird? We've got it now. Let's watch it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Madoff, Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, criminals, gluttons of greed and the evil genius that towered over them? One man has the guts to speak his name.

ROMNEY: Big bird.

Big Bird.

Big Bird.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's me, big bird.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big, yellow, a menace to our economy. Mitt Romney knows it's not Wall Street you have to worry about. It's "Sesame Street."


MORGAN: Rick, you see, if I was on your side, I would be like I would welcome this. It looks unpresidential, a bit silly, a bit school play ground, latching on one quite light-hearted, although it had a good point to it, I thought the PBS point that Romney made. Whether you agree with it or not, it's a reasonable point to make. They're going after him in the wrong way.

If I was going after Mitt Romney and I was a Democrat president right now, I would be going after him hard and serious about his plan to get America back to work, his plan to revive the economy, the tax plans that at the moment have no real beef to them.

GRENELL: I think you're exactly right. A lot of Republicans look at that and they say keep doing that, because they're going to lose. I think the Obama campaign really doesn't have a message right now. They've tried contraception. They've tried fuzzy math. They tried Mitt Romney's just lying. They're really grasping at straws for just anything.

And this Big Bird ad is just the latest. I think let them keep doing that, because they don't really want to talk about the economy. I think what the American people saw the other night was the true Barack Obama, when he doesn't have a teleprompter, when he's not scripted, and when the media aren't there to really take over for him. You kind of see what we've always seen for the last four years, not a lot of leadership, not a lot of plans, just somebody who really enjoys being the president. I think he's a nice guy but I think he's in way over his head.

MORGAN: Charles, I was watching Wolf Blitzer's very good interview with Mitt Romney earlier today. The one overriding thing that struck me, Romney now believes he can win. He looks presidential. He sounded the part. He was measured. He was articulate. He had good answers to every question. This is a guy who has got his gander up.

BLOW: Right. But what the debate showed us is how quickly the winds can shift. So when you had the conventions, the winds were at Obama's back. Obama basically -- the democrats put on a better convention, quite frankly. So they had the momentum. Now after the first debate, Mitt Romney has the momentum. But things shift so quickly. The only -- the best way to get over one debate is to have another one, which we will have on Thursday. So I think getting -- coasting and believing that you have everything wrapped up, either one of these candidates at this point, is really a problem.

MORGAN: I agree with that although I think this is just the warm up this week. The really crucial debate is the next one between Romney and Obama. If Romney was to win again by the same yardstick he won this time, it could be game over. Thank you both gentlemen very much indeed.

Next, a change of pace. We've had a bit of wrestling and slamming around the last 10 minutes. Who better to bring in than Hulk Hogan? We will be talking about all sorts of stuff, including that videotape we've all heard about. I'm sure he wants to get it off his chest.


MORGAN: Hulk Hogan is more than a wrestling superstar. He's an American original. And in the ring and out, he gets all our attention. He's now with TNA Impact Wrestling, which you can see every Thursday on Spike TV. Hulk Hogan joins me now.

Hulk, before we get into politics and life in the universe, a certain story has bubbled up this week about you involving a certain videotape.


MORGAN: How are you handling it?

HOGAN: Well, it's the big white elephant in the room we can't avoid. You take a deep breath. You have to make sure that you're honest, because you have to be accountable. And you know, you address it. And at the end of the day, you know, pray to god that those that love you and the people close to you like your friends -- and sometimes you don't even know if they're your friends, but your children and your wife knows who you are. And you get on situations like your show and when asked, you know, at the end of the day, you know, you realize it was a horrible choice.

I am accountable. And any excuse I make, whether it was a rough time in my life or the people that were there were my friends and they kind of made me -- none of that matters. It's just that you're accountable and be honest.

MORGAN: It must be very humiliating. Have you ever been through anything quite like this, where you actually have yourself having sex on a video that people are watching, especially in the Internet age? How do you feel about that?

HOGAN: Never. I've been through a lot of stuff. I've been through a lot of stuff with the federal government, back in the '80s, the whole steroid controversy, divorce, car wrecks. I have been through so much stuff but never have I ever been this embarrassed and never has my world been turned upside down in such a fashion, and without knowledge that someone would set a camera up.

Poor choice, admit it, it's me. I did that.

MORGAN: This is years old, right?

HOGAN: It's years. I have been married five years. It's probably six years old or more.

MORGAN: You didn't know you had been videotaped?

HOGAN: No, I had no idea there was a camera set up.

MORGAN: Are you any nearer to knowing who betrayed you?

HOGAN: At this point, no. We have had TMZ, who they're the fact-finding mission. And at this point, they become a very legitimate source as of their track record. They're pointing to a very good friend of mine, Bubba Luspunce (ph). And to this day, I would have to see the tape to believe that. I haven't seen the tape because they say there is a verbal reference and an on camera appearance, after I'm gone, that, you know, puts him in the hot seat.

But he's been such a close friend, I would have to see that to believe it.

MORGAN: Let's move on.

HOGAN: Yes, sir.

MORGAN: Delighted to hear. We've covered that. The elephant is out of the room, disappearing off over the hills, back into the prairie. Let's talk politics. You were an Obama man. You're switching to Mitt Romney, which is interesting, second guest tonight. Why?

HOGAN: It was all about change. I went all the way down the road with Obama I had my own opinions about America, flat tax, all that crazy stuff that someone that knows nothing about politics will throw out. Duh, that's me. But when Obama came along and laid out his battle plan, his platform, the change and how things were going to happen and then we're four years down the road and see, you know what, he didn't make a difference. Maybe it's larger than he is.

So I'm really looking for someone to move the needle, the ratings, the numbers, unemployment, the national debt, the foreign policy. Somebody please get in there and use some common sense -- is that possible -- and move the needle. That's why I don't want four years of the same.

MORGAN: What do you make of America right now?

HOGAN: I think we're in trouble. I think across the board, you know, with the unemployment, the poverty, us focusing on different foreign countries and their problems, which in my opinion a lot of the stuff isn't our business, you know, targeting nations and nationalities when it's just a few people, such as different terrorist groups, like bin Laden, something like that -- I think we're sometimes stepping across the line. I'd like to reel everything back in and take care of America first.

MORGAN: How are you physically? You are absolutely massive. I don't think I've ever met you before. You are vast.

HOGAN: Well, I am 59 years old, and I probably weigh between 280, maybe 280 pounds. Kind of like how much I weighed when I was in ninth or tenth grade as a very fat kid in school.

MORGAN: When you go into bars and things, do people come up and try it on?

HOGAN: No, that's what's so funny, is, you know, I really don't go to bars. Once in a while, I'll go out with my wife, Jennifer, and we'll have a drink or something like that. But people are basically nice across the board. That whole thing, you know, does anybody try a shot at the fake wrestler, whatever their thing is. It doesn't happen. People are really basically pretty darn nice across the board.

MORGAN: I remember you in Rocky III, one of my favorite scenes, where you took Sly Stallone and basically smashed your back on your knee. I couldn't believe how big your knee was.

HOGAN: The fun part about that was Stallone let me choreograph that with him, and he let me ad lib. That scene -- I remember like it was yesterday, of course. And I picked him up and I threw him on my knee. I said, if I can't break your spirit, I'll break your back, Balboa. And it was like -- it went down in American cinematography as one of the greatest cameos ever.

And I still today have people call me Thunder Lips. I don't have the hair anymore, but I still have the look. And people still say --

MORGAN: You will always be Thunder Lips to me, Hulk Hogan.

In terms of injuries you sustained, what physical shape are you in?

HOGAN: It's been a rough ride. I kind of like pioneered this crazy industry, switching gears with Vince McMahon Jr., who took over from his dad, God bless his soul. At the end of the day, I didn't have a bunch of wrestlers helping me, like the Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin or Sting, at the time. And I had to be everywhere all the time, flying sometimes 300 days a year, sometimes wrestling more than 300 days a year, twice on Saturday, twice on Sunday.

The fake wrestling gave me knee replacement, two hip replacements, eight back surgeries and elbows cleaned out a couple times, a lot of vision loss in this eye from getting hit, fake teeth and stuff. That fake wrestling does hurt.

MORGAN: I went to see the Summer Slam. HOGAN: Right. Right.

MORGAN: Saw Triple H and Brock Lesnar (ph) slug it out right in front of me. They were hitting each other. It may be fake, but it still hurts.

HOGAN: Brock is the real deal, and Triple H is just intense.

MORGAN: I wouldn't go within Brock Lesnar if somebody paid me a million dollars.

Anyway, Hulk Hogan, great to see you.

HOGAN: So nice. Thank you so much.

MORGAN: TNA Implant Wrestling event October the 14th in Phoenix, Arizona. Get down there. See the Hulk in action.

Coming next, Only in America, the greatest taxi driver story you will ever hear.


MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, doing the right thing. Be honest what would you do if you found a huge amount of money in the back of a taxi? We're talking Vegas jackpot money here. Would you call the cops or keep it to yourself? Well that very question presented to this man, Adam Waldo Marin, an immigrant from Ethiopia. He's also a cab driver in Las Vegas.

And a few weeks back, while cleaning out his taxi, he found a computer case in the back. Inside was a cool 221,000 dollars in cash. Mr. Waldo Marin works 12 hours shifts. He makes 350 dollars a week, less than 17,000 dollars a year. He sends a lot of it back home to provide for his family in Africa.

Two hundred twenty one thousand dollars would change his life and the lives of all his family. Did he consider it for even a second? No, he didn't. Instead, he promptly brought it to the taxi company's attention, who in turn held it until the guy who left the money in the cab came forward for it.

He thanked Mr. Waldo Marin and gave him a tip, 2,000 dollars. And Mr. Waldo Marin went back to working hard in his cab. We tracked him down in Vegas today. He doesn't speak any English. So instead we spoke to one of his closest friends, who painted a picture of a humble, modest, poor but happy man, who apparently never complains, never argues.

And he doesn't think what he did was anything special. He just thought it was the right thing to do. Well, it was, but it was also a special thing to do, a pretty unusual thing to do. And for that I think Adam Waldo Marin from Ethiopia is a hero.

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