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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Post-V.P. Debate; Interview with Congressman Rogers; Interview with Congressman Van Hollen
Aired October 12, 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, fight club.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes, the words don't come out of your mouth the right way.
JOSEPH BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's a bunch of malarkey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Biden and Ryan show how a debate is really done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I love my friend here. He sent me two letters saying by the way, can you send me some stimulus money?
RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know --
BIDEN: No --
RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Crazy grins, the endless glasses of water.
Joining me is the vice president's son, Beau Biden, and the man who stood in for Ryan during debate practice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEAU BIDEN, JOE BIDEN'S SON: I was very, very proud of what he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also, Romney on the attack today, slamming Obama and Biden on their response to the U.S. ambassador's murder in Libya.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials. He's doubling down on denial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, my all-star panel weigh in on the V.P. debate and why the stakes are so high in Tuesday's presidential debate, round two.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening.
It was the best reality show by far this season, about as real as you can get. The vice presidential debate has already been called the most heated and compelling in history. And for 25 days to go before the election, it could be a huge factor in who wins the White House.
With his grins and his jabs, Biden went on the offensive but Ryan didn't back down. Here's one memorable exchange between the two.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: You can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle class taxpayers --
BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.
RYAN: It is mathematically possible. It's been done before. It's precisely what we're proposing --
BIDEN: It has never been done before.
RYAN: It's been done a couple times.
BIDEN: It has never been done before.
RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates and increased growth. Ronald Reagan --
BIDEN: Now you're Jack Kennedy.
RYAN: -- Ronald Reagan --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Here's how CNN scored it, practically a tie.
Vice President Biden's son Beau will join me in a moment to discuss. But, first, today's big news, Governor Romney on the warpath over Libya, saying Joe Biden is in complete denial when he said during the debate last night the White House had no clue the U.S. consulate in Benghazi wanted more security before the deadly attack that killed the ambassador. Let's get right to our first guest to talk about it.
Republican Congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. Rogers, thank you for joining me. Let me ask you straight away about your reaction to this issue that's now blowing up pretty big today, about what Joe Biden said about what was known by we, and I use the word we advisedly. Let's play first of all what was said by Joe Biden and by Paul Ryan in the debate last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: This is becoming more troubling by the day. They first blamed the YouTube video. Now they're trying to blame the Romney/Ryan ticket for making this an issue.
BIDEN: Well, we weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I was surprised when he said that, because as a viewer, watching, I was like well, hang on a second, I thought the State Department had said that they received these warnings.
Mitt Romney today has doubled down on the attacks on Joe Biden by what he said. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: The vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials. He's doubling down on denial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The White House has said, well, hang on, he's just talking about himself and the president. How plausible is that?
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-MI), CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: Well, you know, the buck has to stop somewhere. They are in charge. And diplomacy overseas is important to the executive branch as any mission I can think of, and this whole thing is just troubling to me, Piers, because there's just -- we have seen a bit of a history here.
So if you recall, back in the shooting at fort hood, they came out and said oh, this is workplace violence. Obviously, it turned out that that was an act of terror coordinated with Awlaki from Yemen. And the Christmas Day bomber, they said, oh, this was a single isolated incident, come to find out that wasn't true, either. And this particular case, their first instinct was to run out and say this was caused by the video, nothing to see here, move along.
And that's what I think is so troubling for those of us who work in the national security space in Washington, D.C., and this notion that they didn't know and think it's plausible to say, well, we just didn't know.
That's not true. The secretary of state works for them. They knew.
And that's what's troubling. I wish they would kind of take a deep breath, step back, look at this for what it is.
We lost -- an American ambassador was killed by an act of terror on 9/11. And over the course of getting into our consulate, that hasn't happened since 1979. This is serious, serious business and here we are talking about the machinations of what we knew or didn't know, video or no video, when the real consequences here, we had an al Qaeda affiliate successfully kill a U.S. ambassador and three other employees. That's what we ought to be talking about.
MORGAN: You're chairman of intelligence committee of the House. You are pretty clued into all this kind of stuff.
What I find baffling is why Ambassador Rice, for example, went public with a series of interviews, four or five days after what happened in Benghazi, and was clearly repeating information given to her by intelligence services that turned out to be completely wrong.
Now, what is going on with the intelligence? Because you would have thought that within that time scale, America's intelligence agencies ought to be able to work out whether this was a spontaneous protest caused by a video or was a pre-planned attack by al Qaeda.
ROGERS: Well, I was on at least one of those Sunday shows, and again, I get to see the intelligence. I did not come to the same conclusion on that Sunday that she did. She was passionate about it.
That statement doesn't jive with what at least I have seen as chairman of the intelligence committee when I review these materials.
MORGAN: So, do you think Ambassador Rice deliberately misled people or was she misled herself? What do you think?
ROGERS: That part is hard to say. I don't want to put some words -- I don't know why, what they did.
I want to be careful here because I'm still under the review of the material. It is shocking to me that they would be that adamant that soon, when that very same day I came out and said, boy, this certainly doesn't sound like that. It actually looks like a coordinated al Qaeda affiliate attack.
And, boy, they just kept doubling down and I kept going back to try to review this material and thinking well, maybe I'm missing something.
Piers, I don't think I'm missing something.
So something happened at a very senior level where this was the marching orders, this was the story. And we've had people come and tell my committee that, that they had marching orders that this was what the story was going to be.
So, this is really important that the Americans know the truth and we've got ambassadors and employees around the world in dangerous places who are turning around thinking, I hope America has my back here and it certainly doesn't look like it when the vice president comes out and says, well, we didn't even know they needed security.
That does not build confidence certainly with the people who are risking their lives out in the field today. I think that's -- we got to get this fixed in a hurry.
MORGAN: Yes. Also, need to know from Joe Biden in the future if he says we, does he just mean him and the president and not the administration. That's a rather big clarification to have to make about a serious issue.
To be fair to Ambassador Rice, people made it very clear to me that she definitely in her eyes repeated intelligence she had been given. So, it's a can of worms. And hopefully, as we investigate this further, we will get to the truth.
But thank you very much indeed, Congressman. I appreciate it.
ROGERS: Thanks, Piers. Appreciate your time.
MORGAN: Now to the first and only vice presidential debate. Tens of millions of Americans watched (INAUDIBLE) between Biden and Ryan last night, among them the vice president's son, Beau Biden, who joins me now.
So, my immediate question to you is, does your dad do that scary laugh to his own kids?
BEAU BIDEN: Look, my dad's a wonderful, wonderful father. I tell folks if I'm half as good a dad to my two kids as he' been to my and my brother and sister, I'm in good shape. He's as fun, as you saw him last night. He's serious as you saw him last night. He's as engaged.
He finished that debate last night, got on a plane, went home to Wilmington, Delaware, got up this morning and went to Grandparents Day. He's a wonderful dad.
MORGAN: I mean, I watched it last night, like over 50 million American viewers over here, and I thought that he nailed it. I thought he won quite comfortably.
Were you surprised that a lot of the polls had it as a tie? Did you feel in the moment that your dad had won quite easily? BEAU BIDEN: Well, look, you know, I thought he did what we set out to do and that's communicate directly to the American people what he and the president want to continue doing for the middle class.
I saw some of the polls, I saw one of the polls from your network that had it about even. I saw a CBS poll that had him winning 50 to 30 with undecided voters. I don't try to spend a lot of time looking at polls with 25 days out.
But I was very, very proud of what he did and how he comported himself on the stage last night, to communicate directly to the American people about what it is that he and President Obama want to do, and quite frankly, drawing a very stark contrast with what Ryan and Romney would do.
MORGAN: Some people have called your father disrespectful by the way he treated Paul Ryan last night, that he was like sort of an older bully bashing a little guy around. What did you think? I mean, your dad's always been a fairly live wire when it comes to public speaking. I found him thoroughly entertaining, I have to say. Do you think he overstepped the mark occasionally? Does he feel that?
BEAU BIDEN: Not at all. I didn't feel that way at all. Look, you grew up following and covering parliamentary system. This was mild from the things relative to what you've covered --
MORGAN: That is true.
BEAU BIDEN: -- in Great Britain.
And so look, my dad says what he means, means what he says. He did it with a smile. He has great respect for the congressman. But you know, he was very focused on making sure the American people had a clear idea about what they want to do and clear idea of what Ryan and Romney want to do.
Look, one of the things I was most struck by last night was when Congressman Ryan, when talking about Afghanistan, which will be this nation's, our nation's longest war, that he actually proposed and opened the door, if not suggested, putting additional troops in Afghanistan.
It was a remarkable, remarkable moment for me that I know is getting some attention today and I was very interested to see the discussion that Dan Senor, his foreign policy advisor, was having in the spin room last night. Dan Senor was literally spinning around the room trying to explain what was a very new policy proposal from the Romney/Ryan side here on Afghanistan.
MORGAN: You also got a name check from Paul Ryan which I will play you now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: When it comes to our veterans, we owe them a great debt of gratitude for what they've done for us, including your son, beau. But we also want to make sure that we don't lose the things we fought so hard to get.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, flattering that you got a name there and I'm sure it was all very well-intentioned.
As you say, Paul Ryan seemed to suggest there could be more, not less activity in Afghanistan which may concern many Americans, who believe that basically, rather like with Iraq, the Afghanistan conflict was coming to an end and with it the loss of life to American military and also the huge financial cost.
If the Republicans were to win and actually put more troops in Afghanistan, what would that do, do you think, to the morale of the military?
BEAU BIDEN: Look, the military does what it's asked to do. Whether -- no matter who their commander in chief is. That's the remarkable thing about serving and the people that I serve with. They do what they're told.
Now, what was remarkable about Paul Ryan -- I respect him and thank him for what he said last night -- but I thought what he was going to talk about is veterans and it's something he and Mitt Romney haven't talked about this entire campaign. They accepted their party's nomination without talking about veterans or the war in Afghanistan or the troops serving there.
And you know, last year, on Veterans Day, Governor Romney got a group of veterans together and suggested that we voucherize, that is privatize, the V.A. now, that's not what you heard Paul Ryan talk about privatizing or voucherizing Medicare or like he wanted to do when he was a younger congressman, privatize Social Security.
So it's a consistent theme of voucherization or privatization of fundamentally government functions. Now, you can argue about Social Security and Medicare, the president and my father have a very clear idea about making sure were true to both those programs, that they really are the bedrock of the middle class.
But the idea that you privatize the Veterans Administration as his would-be boss, Governor Romney, proposed just last year is remarkable and that's what I've been traveling the country to talk about. You know, in Paul Ryan's budget, if you believe his math, which I do, would cut $11 billion to the V.A. in year one. Eighty- five percent of which goes to meet the health care needs of veterans ranging from World War II, all the way to these last two wars we have been fighting for a decade.
You know, this is a time where we have to honor our commitment to make sure we have -- the troops have what they need to go to war which the president has done but also honor that sacred obligation when they come home which I'm not sure that Governor Romney quite understands.
MORGAN: There's a statement from Paul Ryan. I won't read it all. He says, "We are committed to the same 2014 transition date as the administration. We believe troop withdrawals within that time frame should be directed by the advice of commanders on the ground."
What did you make of this furor today over the comments your father made about Libya? Basically saying that neither he nor the president had any knowledge of requests from the Benghazi embassy for more security?
There are two schools of thought. One is that he did mean the administration and then changed his tune today. The other one is that he's basically thrown the CIA and State Department under the bus.
BEAU BIDEN: Well, I don't think it's either. I think it's somewhere -- look, he spoke for himself and spoke for the president as Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said today.
The reality here, Piers, is that this is a tragedy. You know, I've traveled, been honored to travel in recent years around the world and meet with our ambassadors. The idea that the congressman you had on your show this evening is somehow questioning whether or not the president of the United States is serious about making sure its ambassadors around the country, many of whom I know personally, are serious about their security is absolutely, absolutely irresponsible.
The Romney/Ryan budget, Paul Ryan's budget which I bet Congressman Rogers voted for, passing the United States House of Representatives, controlled by the Republicans, cut $200 million to $300 million from the diplomatic security corps, $200 million to $300 million. The old expression in my family is don't tell me what your priorities are, show me your budget and I'll tell you what your priorities are.
Obviously, Paul Ryan didn't make it a priority to make sure that in his budget reflects this, making sure embassies around this world, around the world, have the resources they need to defend themselves. So look, this is not a time to politicize it. This is a time to investigate what happened.
You heard my father speak directly about that last night. Ambassador Tom Pickering, who's one of the leading ambassadors of his generation, Republican administration, who is investigating to get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and they will. They will hunt down and they will get who did this to the United States ambassador and three other personnel.
Just like President Obama promised this country and set out to decapitate al Qaeda and take Osama bin Laden off of the face of this Earth.
MORGAN: Beau Biden, good to talk to you. Congratulations. Your dad had a good night and in my opinion, he won. But we all roll on until next Tuesday and see what happens then. Good to talk to you.
BEAU BIDEN: Good to talk to you. You made me a star in my family. My sister's a huge fan. She's been asking, why haven't you been on Piers' show? I get to tell her I've now been on.
MORGAN: Well, you can tell her she really wants to impress me, she can persuade your father to come on my show.
BEAU BIDEN: We'll work on that.
MORGAN: Beau, it's good to talk to you. Send your sister my very best.
BEAU BIDEN: Thank you.
MORGAN: Beau Biden.
Coming up, the congressman who played the part of Paul Ryan in Biden's debate prep, Chris Van Hollen joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: Joe and I are from similar towns. He's from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I'm from Janesville, Wisconsin. You know what the unemployment rate in Scranton is today?
BIDEN: I sure do.
RYAN: It's 10 percent.
RYAN: You know what it was the day you guys came in -- 8.5 percent.
RYAN: That's how it's going all around America. Look --
BIDEN: You don't read the statistics. That's not how it's going. It's going down.
RADDATZ: Two-minute answer.
RYAN: Look --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Fireworks and frustration from Thursday's debate, one that's shaking up the race.
When the vice president was getting ready for it, he turned to Congressman Chris Van Hollen for preparation. The Maryland Democrat sat in for Ryan in practice sessions with Biden and he joins me now.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Piers, great to be with you.
MORGAN: I'm always curious. If you're the guy who's being Paul Ryan for days on end, how do you feel watching the real thing happening without you?
VAN HOLLEN: Oh, that's a very good question. I'm right now going through sort of deprogramming, having played Paul Ryan for four days.
Look, I mean, you never know what's going to happen in one of these debates. The good news is the vice president just hit a home run and look, the one thing we knew was Joe Biden going in there, he's a fighter for the middle class. The passion would come through and it did.
And he marshaled all the facts to show how the Romney/Ryan plan would be bad for the middle class.
So, I thought it was a great night for the country. They really got to se the choice sharpened here.
MORGAN: It was a fantastic debate. I'm sort of with you. I felt Joe Biden won it quite comfortably. I was surprised to see quite a few of the polls, including CNN, basically calling it a draw.
Were you surprised at that? And if you were, why do you think that was happening? Why did not more people think that your man won?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, it's hard to know how to read these polls. The one poll that was taken of undecided voters who watched the debate was the CBS poll, and the CBS poll said that Joe Biden won decisively. After all, as you know, the campaigns are really looking hard and searching for those undecided voters. I thought it was very good news that Joe Biden did so well with the undecided voters.
With the other viewers, you have sort of everyone's going to their own corner, the Democrats and the Republicans.
The good news for the Democrats was Joe Biden accomplished two things in the debate. One, he reenergized the Democrats and secondly, he clearly won in the minds of the independent voters, at least according to CBS poll. So that was great.
MORGAN: Tell me this. When you were being Paul Ryan, were you nervously gulping water every three minutes in the prep?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, I didn't do that. But I did try and, you know, spit my facts out very quickly and I can say that there wasn't much that the vice president heard from Paul Ryan last night that he hadn't heard over the last four days.
MORGAN: Do you actually put on a Paul Ryan voice when you're pretending to be him?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, look, I'm not trying to go for any Academy Awards on the acting side. My main job, Piers, was to present the arguments and really try and get my lines down as closely as possible to the language that Paul Ryan uses, and I must say, since I sit next to Paul Ryan in the Budget Committee and have followed sort of his expressions along the campaign trail, I think that we were able to mirror that pretty well.
But look, the main thing was that the vice president laid out a case with passion, and he really punctured some of the big sort of myths that the Romney/Ryan plan has built up.
MORGAN: Tell me this. Libya has blown up today as a big issue from the debate, mainly because Joe Biden used this phrase that we, which he says meant he and the president, had no idea there had been any requests from Benghazi for extra security prior to this assassination of the ambassador there. When you were prepping with Joe Biden, the Libya question, you must have known this was coming obviously and prepped it, how did it go in preparation?
Because I was surprised at that answer. I assumed when he said it, he meant the administration, but when he clarified it today, and said, no, I just meant the president and I, it seemed like he was throwing the CIA and the State Department under the bus.
VAN HOLLEN: Well, Piers, I think what happened is that that information really came out at the congressional hearing the other day. This is information that had clearly gone to the diplomatic security folks at the State Department. I don't know how far up it went in the state department. I'm talking now about the request for some additional security.
But clearly, the president and the vice president didn't know about it. That's why Joe Biden answered that question.
But I have to say that Mitt Romney has tried to politicize this very tragic situation right from the beginning. Everybody I think understood that he literally shot from the lip without understanding the facts, and I can understand why the vice president was, you know, frustrated with Paul Ryan on foreign policy things, because what you see from the Romney/Ryan ticket is a lot of hot air, lot of chest thumping, but when you ask them what they would do differently on Syria or Iran, there's nothing they would do differently unless, as the vice president said, they're planning to commit U.S. troops or they've decided to take military force which they say they haven't.
So when it came to the foreign policy sort of assertions that he was hearing from Paul Ryan, I didn't blame him for sort of saying that's malarkey.
MORGAN: Chris Van Hollen, thank you very much for joining me.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you. Great to be with you.
MORGAN: Next, my all-star panel take on the V.P. debate and next Tuesday's showdown between Obama and Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground -- but I think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other.
BIDEN: Well, don't take the whole four minutes, then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Things getting testy at Thursday's debate. Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan clashed over just about everything. It was great TV. It's all about next month's election.
Let's bring in my political all-star panel. Democratic strategist Michael Feldman, who served as senior advisor to then-Vice President Al Gore. Also business strategist and best-selling author, Carol Roth. And Republican pollster, Kristen Soltis.
Welcome to you all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Piers.
MORGAN: Let me start with you, Michael.
You've been in this position of taking part in debates and so. But what -- who do you think won last night?
MICHAEL FELDMAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: I think Joe Biden won the debate. I mean, his mission was to go in, energize Democrats, defend the president's record and challenge Congressman Ryan on some of the misrepresentations that they've made about the Obama-Biden record.
And frankly, ask him for specifics about what they would do, this mystery tax plan and whose budget are they actually running on. I think he did all of that last night and did it really well.
MORGAN: Kristen, do you agree with that?
KRISTEN SOLTIS, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: No, I don't agree with that, but I think it is possible for Republicans to really think their guy won and for Democrats to really think their guy won.
I don't think this is partisan spinning because both men went in with such different objectives. I think Joe Biden went in with his objective being I'm going to heckle the Republicans, and fire up my base. He did that.
I think Paul Ryan said I have to go in and prove I can be vice president or president of the United States. I think there are no Republicans out there complaining about his performance. I think he did a good job. I think he did exactly what he needed to.
MORGAN: I just don't agree. I think Joe Biden won it quite easily. I was amazed any of the polls had it even close.
SOLTIS: In the CNN poll, there's actually a really interesting finding. So it gave a slight edge to Ryan when they asked these folks who had watched who they thought won.
MORGAN: It was basically a tie.
SOLTIS: It was pretty close. But within the poll, 70 percent of people said that Biden spent more time attacking his opponent, which I think both Democrats and Republicans would point to as proof that their guy won. So I do think it's a little more inconclusive than you think it is, Piers.
MORGAN: All right, Carol, let's turn to you. You were tweeting away last night. The whole thing is completely tedious, meaningless and has no relevance to anything on God's earth.
CAROL ROTH, BUSINESS STRATEGIST AND "NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLING AUTHOR: I don't think that was the exact tweet, Piers, but it was a whole lot of nothing.
MORGAN: OK, let me read your exact tweet. It was a whole lot of nothing, you said.
ROTH: It was. It was sort of like on Charlie Brown when you hear the teacher going wa-wa-wa. Unfortunately, that translates into a loss for Romney and Ryan because the only thing that matters, it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks.
What matters is what undecided voters think. Who they think won in terms of who is getting their vote. Unfortunately, the burden is on Romney and Ryan. We already know what to expect with Biden and with Obama.
But unfortunately, Romney and Ryan have the burden to say we can change the trajectory of the conversation of what's going on in the country and do it well, and that didn't happen with clarity and conviction last night.
FELDMAN: I half agree with Carol on that point, but the other part of the equation --
MORGAN: I don't think you can agree with that point, because the only poll I have seen about undecided was done by any major network was CBS. And it was pretty clear who won the debate amongst uncommitted voters, Ryan 31 percent, Biden 50 percent. He smashed him, which was my reading of it in the moment.
FELDMAN: Well, look, people are voting right now in Ohio. OK, so if you've made up your mind in Ohio and you watched last night's debate, you were energized and went out to the polls and voted, that makes an impact on the election.
Governor Romney can't win without Ohio. There are, there is a narrow sliver of voters that are still in play in some of these states. I think when Joe Biden asks Congressman Ryan to defend his tax plan and he can't give an answer.
Well, that matters to the undecided voter. Is my middle class tax cut going away, is my home mortgage deduction going away? That matters to undecided voters. MORGAN: Did he mention he drank so much water? Look at the montage here of at least seven occasions, which is not a whole lot by any means where Ryan just keeps on glugging in a very nervous, repetitive way.
It's actually quite uneasy. It's always the same technique. The lean over, long stare into the cup, boom. I was amazed he kept it all in. Kristen Soltis, what did you make of his extraordinary water intake because Joe Biden didn't drink at all?
SOLTIS: I think staying hydrated is really important. Yes, I think that Joe Biden has been in politics forever. He's very comfortable in a debate setting. Paul Ryan is a younger guy and I think he did a really great job holding his own in a debate that was predominantly foreign policy, which has been Joe Biden's kind of wheelhouse during his entire long career in politics.
You know, for me, for Paul Ryan to hold his own in that kind of environment, even if he's got to drink a lot of water to kind of keep cool and just stay level-headed, I think he did a good job. I'm proud that Paul Ryan's on our ticket.
MORGAN: Carol Roth, would you rather have a presidential, vice presidential candidate who drinks a lot of water in a nervous way or one like Joe Biden who toughs it out?
ROTH: Well, I think Joe Biden clearly had a lot of Mountain Dew before he went on the debate, where Paul Ryan favored the water. Look, obviously, the experience factor played in here.
Paul Ryan was so focused on making the key points that he wanted to make that he didn't retort back, he didn't push back on Biden the way that Romney did against Obama. He didn't put him on the defense. He did it with convictions --
MORGAN: Well, he did, but the problem he had, I'll put this to mike, as we can see here from a montage of Joe Biden, Biden kept laughing at him in this sort of outrageously dismissive way.
When I first began to see this, I tweeted please stop doing this, this is not presidential at all or vice presidential. As it went on, I found it increasingly infectious and began laughing with him, which can't help Ryan, can it?
FELDMAN: Look, I don't think how much Joe Biden smiled or how hydrated Paul Ryan is, is going to decide the election, but I agree with you. I think that sentiment.
That split screen moment when the vice president was actually expressing some frustration with some of the answers that weren't being addressed was shared by a lot of Democratic activists last night. He was actually using that real estate to his advantage.
ROTH: That's a misread of the situation. I think people were put off by that, but I think that that was the expectation going in. People expected Joe Biden to act like that. The burden was on Ryan to come and basically say we're adding something to the equation and he didn't do that with conviction, except for one time, one time he had conviction.
It was on the issue of abortion and that is the wrong issue to have conviction with the undecided voters.
MORGAN: Let's get to the more important debate, which comes on Tuesday next week, because if Mitt Romney was to win that big time, you could say that could be the ultimate game changer. Let's discuss it after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: When Mr. Ryan said last night that Governor Romney was a car guy, I thought well, if they're having an elevator stack them, yes, I guess he was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Bill Clinton taking a shot at Mitt Romney today. Fair to say the campaign is getting ever dirtier as Election Day approaches. Bring back my all-star team, Kristen Soltis, Michael Feldman and Carol Roth.
I thought it was a very interesting part of the debate last night, which I thought was one of the reasons I gave the win to Biden, was the exchange over the stimulus money, particularly in the state of Wisconsin. Let's have a look at this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He sent me two letters saying by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of Wisconsin. We sent millions of dollars. You know, why he --
MARTHA RADDATZ, MODERATOR: You did ask for stimulus money?
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Sure he did. On two occasions we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. That's what we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: There were claims in the "Huffington Post" tonight that it may have been as many as four requests. So I thought he got him there. Kristen Soltis, what did you think of that moment? It was a difficult moment for your guy.
SOLTIS: Yes, it made me a little nervous as the moment started, but I think Paul Ryan handled it well. It's very routine that when, you know, a constituent is applying for grants your office kind of handles it. Congressional offices handle all sorts of stuff, helping advocate for their constituents, helping get them flags and give them capitol tours and when they need letters of recommendation to service academies, they help coordinate that.
There are lots of services a congressional office provides to their constituents and this was part of it.
MORGAN: So he should be grateful, really, to the government for providing it, right?
SOLTIS: No, he shouldn't be grateful about the stimulus. You can impose the stimulus, but say, look, if the money's going to be there and I have a constituent who is applying for a grant, I'm not going to leave my constituents out in the cold and put them at a disadvantage.
MORGAN: Well, you would if you were principled I think on it. Anyway, let's turn to next week's debate because it will be a big one. Carol Roth, how are you seeing it going? It's very, very important that Barack Obama comes back with a win, isn't it?
ROTH: Well, it depends on who you're voting for. From my standpoint, I think it's really important that Romney comes back with that clarity and conviction that I was talking about, the way that he did in the first debate.
Again, the burden is on his ticket to point out the track record, point out that things have not gone well the last four years, including two years with an all Democratic Congress, and to show how he and Ryan can change what is going to happen with the future of the country.
He did it brilliantly in the first debate. The good news is that I don't think Ryan did anything to screw that up. I think it was more of a squandered opportunity. So I think that Romney has an opportunity to go back and to reassess the dominance here to change the dialogue and to change the mind of those undecided voters.
MORGAN: I certainly agree with that although I don't agree with you about who won last night. I think in the end it will prove to be fairly immaterial if Barack Obama, Michael Feldman, has another disaster like last week on Tuesday, it could be game over for him.
FELDMAN: Well, I don't know about that. Look --
MORGAN: Don't you?
FELDMAN: No, no, I don't think so.
MORGAN: If he lost by the same degree that he lost the other night, wouldn't that really be the end?
FELDMAN: Look what's happened since. I actually don't think the polls have moved as much as the decision that was rendered by all of us about how that debate went down. Look, I wouldn't expect the incredible hulk on Tuesday night, but I do think the president is going to come out and be a little more assertive, defend the record more vigorously, not let some of these assertions go unchallenged. Let's not forget, this is a different format.
This is a town hall format debate. So there are three levels of chess going on. A moderator is trying to keep time, your opponent, who you have to address, there's somebody asking questions.
And then there's the rest of the country who is the audience you're really talking to and trying to deliver your message. It will be a different environment. I wouldn't expect the president to come out with boxing gloves on.
MORGAN: Kristen, last word to you, how do you think it will go on Tuesday?
SOLTIS: I think you are going to see another really great performance from Governor Romney. I think he will continue that same strategy of trying to position himself as the alternative, not just criticizing the president.
But trying to talk about what he would do and tell us how a Romney administration would run America. I do think that President Obama is going to come back with a very different strategy.
I think his advisors have probably told him that he needs to put more energy into this. He may pursue a strategy of trying to fire up his base. I don't think that's what he needs to do to win undecided voters. Part of me kind of hopes he does it.
MORGAN: Well, it will be fascinating night. I'm sure we will all talk again next week. My money is on an Obama fight back, but will it be enough? I'm not convinced. I thought he was very lackluster the other night. He has to really raise the game pretty substantially.
Anyway, thank you to my all-star panel, Kristen Soltis, Michael Feldman and Carol Roth. We'll be back next with more politics and much more with Joe Walsh from the Eagles, a lot to say about the race and life in the fast lane.
MORGAN: That was the new song from a man who's been making uniquely American rock and roll music for a lifetime with the Eagles and on his own. I speak to Joe Walsh.
His new album, "Analog Man." He's got a lot to say about his life as a rock star and where America is going. Joe Walsh joins me now. Welcome, Joe.
JOE WALSH, NEW ALBUM "ANALOG MAN": Nice to be here.
MORGAN: Is there anybody out there other than you, I've spent more time listening to in my car? And I have concluded no. You are my go-to car music man.
WALSH: Thank you.
MORGAN: How does that make you feel?
WALSH: Thank you. It makes me feel really good, really good, driving music.
MORGAN: It is classic driving music. That song, "One Day At A Time," I read the lyrics and the sleeve notes here, very interesting. It's basically your story, isn't it? You were this huge, huge rock star, one of the biggest bands in the world, living life truly to all excesses known to rock stars.
MORGAN: And then 18 years ago, you walked away. You said I'm done. I'm done with that. And life ever since I guess for you has been one step at a time, one day at a time.
WALSH: One day at a time, yes. You just can't decide to get sober and wake up the next day and be cured. I had to learn to do everything that I always did drink sober, one thing at a time. Like playing in front of people was terrifying at first without a buzz.
WALSH: Yes, and I had to go feel really uncomfortable until I had a good night.
MORGAN: Or learn to play the guitar sober.
WALSH: Yes, or write. See, all of that stuff I was dependent on convinces you that you can't do anything without it. And that's the way I thought. And I thought it was the end of the world. I thought I would never be funny.
I thought I couldn't write music, I couldn't play rock and roll in front of people sober. I couldn't even comprehend. So you can measure that in terms of a couple of years before you really understand, and you get comfortable sober.
MORGAN: Can you ever reach the dizzy musically that you did when were as you say using a buzz. Can you be as good sober?
WALSH: I think I'm there.
MORGAN: It's first album in two decades.
WALSH: Yes, that's kind of what this album is. Look, I'm married to a wonderful girl. I found the part of me that was missing in her. I'm 18 years sober. I'm healthy. I'm good to go. I'm back and I'm comfortable sober.
MORGAN: And before we get too squeaky clean here, Joe. I always wanted to ask you, what was the greatest party you ever went to? What was the wildest, craziest thing you ever attended? I could give you five hours to relive the party, what would you go for?
WALSH: We played in Chicago back then, the Eagles did, and we had a -- we were on top of the world and we had a great show. And there was a knock on my door, and I opened it, and John Belushi walked in.
MORGAN: Always a good start.
WALSH: Yes. And that particular party was about two days. We had to check out with a lawyer and a construction foreman of the hotel and that is well documented.
MORGAN: Belushi was the top dog, wasn't he?
MORGAN: If he walked through your door, you knew you were in for 48 hours.
WALSH: Yes, because he would not leave for at least a day.
MORGAN: Are you a fan of Barack Obama, a Democrat at heart? How are you seeing it this time around?
WALSH: I'm historically a Democrat, but I don't agree with either of them 100 percent. This is a real complex election, isn't it? Yes. I don't -- I just don't have all of the answers and this is not a debate, if you look up what a debate is.
These are pre-agreed upon questions with adviser supplied answers, not a debate, you know. And it's too abstract for me. The problem as I see it, I looked it up before I came in, and the national debt is $16,177,000,000,000,000. That's 12 zeros.
That's what we have been -- that we owe. There is no more money. That money never existed in the first place. And that's the message. There is no more money and as long as we pretend there is, nothing bad will happen. But I'm not sure we can pretend for four years of either of these guys.
MORGAN: You have to make a choice. Who will it be or haven't you decided yet?
WALSH: Congress is the problem. Neither of these guys are going to get anything done unless Congress starts agreeing on stuff and they are dysfunctional. They are dead in the water. That's the problem. We can't get anything done with the existing Congress. I don't know. Like I say, it's really complex. I wish both of them really good luck.
MORGAN: It's great to see you back. It's a real pleasure.
WALSH: Thank you.
MORGAN: Best of luck.
WALSH: Thank you very much.
LEO MCCARTHY, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: October 27, 2007, was a beautiful autumn day. Mariah was with her two friends. I didn't know the last time I kissed her would be the last time.
Later that night, they were walking down this path, when an underage drunk driver swerved off the road and hit them. Mariah landed here. She died that night. They were only a block away from my house.
Mariah was only 14, and I'm thinking how did this happen? It's so preventable. My name is Leo McCarthy. I give kids tools to stay away from drinking.
Our state has been notoriously top five in drinking and driving fatalities in the country. The drinking culture, it's a cyclical disease that we allow to continue.
Mariah's challenge is to be the first generation of kids to not drink. Stick with me for four years, don't use alcohol, don't use illicit drugs, I'll be there with a bunch of other people to go to secondary school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promise not to drink until I am 21.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promise not to get in a car with on someone who has been drinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise to give back to my community.
MCCARTHY: I think Mariah's challenge is something that makes people think a little bit more, to say we can be better. Mariah is forever 14. I can't get her back, but I can help other parents keep their kids safe. If we save one child, we save a generation.