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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Cory Booker; Interview with Ann Coulter
Aired October 26, 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, dead heat. Eleven days to go and it's down to the wire in the battle for America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Americans are ready for change -- for growth, for jobs, for more take-home pay and we're going to bring it to them.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He wants to overturn roe versus wade. I think that is a profound mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The latest on the final push before the election.
Plus, you heard it here first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SUNUNU, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Top Romney advisor John Sununu suggested Colin Powell backed Barack Obama because of race. I will ask Newark Mayor Cory Booker what he thinks about the explosive charge.
Also, conservative and pretty controversial Ann Coulter. I'll talk to her about her shocking new book on race in America and the matter (ph) of what she calls the president.
And a real monster of a Halloween. Sandy, the huge storm, is taking aim at the East Coast. What you need to know before it strikes. And will it wreak havoc for the election?
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening. Big story tonight in the race for the White House -- the finish line is 11 days away and in the crucial battle for Ohio, look at this new CNN poll released today. President Obama a four point advantage over Governor Romney. And in the fight for likely women voters, a crucial fight, Obama has a commanding lead in Ohio, but a lot can change of course between now and November 6th.
The surprise is what John Sununu told me last night is not going to go away. In fact, "The New York Times" says it could become a big problem for Romney. Sununu, a key Romney surrogate, has put race and frankly, charges of racism front and center in these final days of the campaign when Romney would have least wanted him to.
Let's get right to it. I asked him last night about former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama. This is what Sununu said and why it's creating a political firestorm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Final question: Colin Powell has decided to opt for President Obama again despite apparently still being a Republican. Is it time he left the party, do you think?
SUNUNU: Well, I'm not sure how important that is. I do like the fact that Colin Powell's boss, George Herbert Walker Bush, has endorsed Mitt Romney all along. And frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.
MORGAN: What reason would that be?
SUNUNU: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: With me now is New York mayor and Obama supporter, Cory Booker.
I watched you this morning. You seemed to be slightly biting your lip about this, but a lot of people have been getting very angry because they say whichever way John Sununu tries to wriggle off the hook on this, I asked him the question, he gave a blunt answer. I asked him to clarify it, he gave a sort of blunter second answer -- leaving no real wriggle room at all.
The guy was saying, without any doubt, that the reason that Colin Powell, a four-star retired general, one of the great statesmen of modern America, the reason he has voted for Barack Obama is because of the color of his skin, that they're both black men.
MAYOR CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK, NEW JERSEY: Right. Look, there's no wriggle room whatsoever. It's extremely offensive and this is the kind of just patent disrespect the president's had to endure a lot, to think that somebody with Colin Powell's depth of experience, with his wisdom and with his intellect is going to support somebody just because of the color of their skin is ridiculous, it's offensive and is in many ways just despicable.
But the reality is, what I feel very strongly about, is I would much rather look at just 11 days left in this election, and as much as I think Mitt Romney should distance himself from him, he should be very clear --
MORGAN: What should he do, Mitt Romney? But a lot of people are saying, look, you got to get after this guy, got to close this down, because otherwise you could have the last two weeks of the election campaign dominated by a race card -- last thing they all want.
BOOKER: Right. Again, I think Mitt Romney should be stepping up on this issue and frankly, what I'm even more shocked on is you have a United States Senate candidate coming out and talking about women and the issues of rape as if it was somehow God's will. To me, that's even more glaring. It's an act of violence, an act of unimaginable savagery to say something like that, and then don't pull your endorsements from such a candidate.
So I think Mitt Romney needs to begin to continue to clarify where he stands and get back to the issues.
Now, look, for me, I don't care if he's black or what-have-you. The reality is he stands for certain things that I believe will be detrimental to the country, and that's where I wish we would be focusing on, because at the end of the day, Sununu has no wriggle room. What he did to me was unacceptable and very revealing about what he thinks. To dismiss somebody like Colin Powell for all his service to this nation, to reduce him in such a way that his thinking primarily is just about the color of our skin, something he spent his whole entire career demonstrating his ability to overcome racism --
MORGAN: The reason it's devastating is he gave a very clear set of reasons outlining why he didn't want to vote for Mitt Romney --
MORGAN: -- about his foreign policy and so on.
That's what John Sununu didn't want people debating, in my view. I think he quite deliberately played that race card to change the thinking of people who may be in two minds about who to vote for, you know what, this is actually about a black man voting for a black man.
BOOKER: Well, if it was an intentional dismissal, using race in that way, it just heightens the level of sinister-ness of such a comment and it belies in many ways the truth of who Colin Powell is.
MORGAN: Let's play a clip from President Obama today. This is what he said about it.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) OBAMA: Any suggestion that General Powell would make such a profound statement in such an important election based on anything other than what he thought was what's going to be best for America I think doesn't make much sense.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MORGAN: Sununu issued a statement afterwards which I found fairly laughable. "Colin Powell's a friend, I respect the endorsement decision he made. I do not doubt it was based on anything but his support of the president's policies. Piers Morgan's question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party and I don't think he should."
I mean, this doesn't really allude to what he said at all --
MORGAN: -- trying to sort of reframe it as if somehow, what he was saying was he doesn't doubt it was based on anything but support for the policies. Of course, he doubted it. He was making it very clear to my viewers that this was about the color of his skin.
BOOKER: Look, that's not even approaching an apology for what he said. Frankly, I think that this is the problem with the Republican Party, when you have people in your party who come out and say things, bigoted things, things against women, things against gay, it begins to undermine the Republican Party's ability to reach out to these demographic groups, to reach out to women, to reach out to gays and lesbians. When you continue to have surrogates like this that represent -- or even elected officials, frankly, or people running for Senate, it really undermines the Republican Party's ability to reach out.
And so Romney, this is his chance to stand up and say you know what, the comments that were made by Mourdock were despicable, unacceptable and I'm pulling my ads back. This is a real opportunity for him to stand up on issues of race, on issues of -- and to praise Colin Powell for crying out loud, for the kind of person that he is. But he missed those opportunities.
MORGAN: Would you agree with the "New York Times" columnist Frank Bruni who said today, "At what point will Mitt Romney's campaign gently escort John Sununu away from the television cameras, tuck him no a cozy room somewhere, make sure he has adequate provisions and lock the room tight so he can't get out until November 7th?"
BOOKER: Yes. I mean, look, again, the fact that they have not come out harder against this is disappointing. The fact that this is the kind of stuff I believe the president has had to endure. George Bush never had somebody saying that the only reason why X, Y or person supports you because you're both white. That's the extreme ridiculousness of these comments.
MORGAN: Let's talk about the hurricane sandy situation. Obviously this is going to come crashing through the East Coast, including potentially New York.
What is your view now about where we are with the information?
BOOKER: This is the time that people should be putting plans together. They should be securing things in their lawn. They should be preparing to live without power if power outages happen. This is a very, very serious storm.
We have seen the last two years what a hurricane and ice storm last October can do to our communities and everybody should take it seriously.
MORGAN: It's also an interesting political situation in the sense it's so close to an election. If the federal government is deemed not to have prepared people properly for this and it becomes another mini Katrina situation, it could be literally an election wrecker for the president.
Conversely, if he handles this very well and it is a huge storm, that can win him the election. It can be politically very important.
BOOKER: Well, let's be clear. The record is obvious to me, the president has -- we saw what happened in the past in Katrina. The president has been very aggressive putting his own boots on the ground. He came through the state of New Jersey when we had flooding and the like.
So this president, to me, he's already proven that point and I know, I know from my work in preparing today, that the federal government is ready for this challenge and they will meet it head-on and deal with the crisis and the aftermath. And I know it's a political issue but I really want to reaffirm to people because the biggest mistakes I've seen often in these storms, especially in the Obama administration, has not necessarily been the federal response, it's been from individuals not taking the necessary steps to be ready, and then in the crisis, doing things that they shouldn't be doing.
MORGAN: Well said. Mr. Mayor, good to see you.
BOOKER: Thank you. It's always good to see you.
MORGAN: Now to breaking news on hurricane Sandy. It's a huge storm system that's taking dead aim on the East Coast. Moving slowly and bringing the threat of a possible catastrophe. It's already impacting the presidential campaign with Governor Romney, Vice President Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama canceling events.
CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers is tracking the event and he's here with all the latest.
Chad, I went home last night after the show. I read your tweet, after 26 years in TV weather, two years with NOAA. Sandy may pose the greatest risk to human life I have seen."
MYERS: That was last night.
MORGAN: A dire warning. Is it as dire today as it seemed last night?
MYERS: I don't think so, because the storm today, and that's the Twitter universe, that was exactly what I was thinking at that moment in time. We had, on computer models, three cat 3s, almost cat 4s, going into New York harbor. That was 11:00, 12:00 last night. And it doesn't look like that.
So, my mindset was about that, 26 years, I have never seen and nobody had ever seen anything like that.
So, today, it looks more like a cat 1 storm making landfall somewhere either New Jersey or down to the Delmarva. So still a very bad storm. Right now, we have estimates at $3.2 billion in wind damage only.
Here's the next thing. Here's the next rub. Because you know, Irene didn't do to much to New York City. But it certainly did a lot to Vermont. And will this storm do something similar as it's stalling? Here all the models bringing it up from the city down to about Washington, D.C.
But the big thing is it stops, it stops moving for 48 hours and it could rain for two days and make flooding. If it rains a half an inch an hour for 48 hours, that's two feet of rain in any one spot. That is going to cause significant flash flooding and the potential for big loss of life.
MORGAN: Chad, thanks for the update. We may well come back to you before the end of the show. I appreciate it.
MORGAN: Let's get back to politics and the subject of race. Outspoken conservative Ann Coulter has a lot to say about just about everything, in fact. The new subject of her new book is "Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama". It's dedicated to, quote, "the freest black man in America." We'll discover who that is.
Ann Coulter, welcome back.
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, "MUGGED": Thank you. Good to be here.
MORGAN: I know you have been struggling with a bit of a cold.
COULTER: You have an unfair advantage about it tonight.
MORGAN: You have been whining about it incessantly for the last hour, saying you think you may die during this interview which is going to be a huge ratings booster for me. So thank you.
COULTER: I would only not cancel on you. All day I was lying in bed thinking I can't cancel this because of a scheduling mishap a year ago. I gave you a bad turn.
MORGAN: As we say in Britain, you bottled it last time. You just didn't fancy your chances. Now, let's turn to race, because very timely, this book, for the discussion today about John Sununu. There you have John Sununu, 11 days to go until the election, up he pops on my show last night and for reasons that still baffle me, when I asked him a straightforward question, a political question, do you think Colin Powell should stay in the Republican Party if he's going to keep voting for the Democrat? It would seem to me, again, as a Brit, called me misguided, a fairly logical question.
Off he went on this rant about, well, you know what, mate, it's another reason for all this, nod, nod, wink, wink, and it's basically because he's black and so is Barack Obama.
Put your dispassionate hat on if you may for a moment. What did you make of that? Was he just being stupid?
COULTER: I think it's probably not true. There are a lot of Republicans who often vote for the Democrats. In fact, I secretly suspect that John McCain voted for Obama in the last election.
But I don't think it's such a terrible thing. I mean, a lot of Irish Catholics voted for JFK because he was the first Irish Catholic president. I don't think it's a slander upon Colin Powell to say this, though I don't particularly think it's true.
MORGAN: No, the insult isn't that he voted for Barack Obama. It's why.
COULTER: No, it's because he's black. I don't think that's such a terrible thing to say. Like I say, lots of Irish Catholics voted for JFK just because he was Irish Catholic.
MORGAN: Right. But John Sununu has assumed that was the motivation behind what Colin Powell has done. Colin Powell has never used that as the reason for why he's voted for Obama.
COULTER: Yes, I think he's probably wrong. But I just don't think it's such a terrible thing to speculate about.
MORGAN: If you play the race card in putting into Colin Powell's mouth words he hasn't actually used for his reasoning, that's just playing a race game, isn't it? A rather unpleasant race game.
COULTER: Maybe. But I bet there are a lot of black people who are very proud of having the first black president. I don't hold that against them.
MORGAN: That's totally irrelevant to what I just said. It's not about black people voting for a black president. It's about the motivation of Colin Powell, a four star retired general, great statesman, making a decision based as he put it very clearly on politics, on foreign policy, on issues. To then have that condensed by John Sununu to actually it's just because he's black and so is Barack Obama --
COULTER: But that's what your question was. MORGAN: You didn't answer it. You did a Sununu on me. You went off on some weird tangent.
COULTER: I don't think it's that weird tangent. I don't think it's that slanderous. I also don't think it's true.
MORGAN: What isn't true?
COULTER: That it's only because he's black and Colin Powell is liberal. So was John McCain.
MORGAN: You actually agree with me?
COULTER: I agree with the bottom line. I just think it's a tempest in a teapot. If it were the case, if Colin Powell said I'm voting for him because he's the first black president, I wouldn't think that's outrageous.
MORGAN: Is America a more or less racist country since Barack Obama became president?
COULTER: I think it's not a racist country. As I say in the book, I think there are more child molesters than genuine racists in America.
MORGAN: You actually believe that?
COULTER: I can save you a lot of time. Anything I say, I actually believe.
MORGAN: Do you?
COULTER: Yes. And I think I marshal a fair amount of evidence to demonstrate that. I think more the problem is the accusations of racism and that does drive the races apart because you have white people walking on egg shells, terrified they are going to say some word that's going to be deemed, you know, an incipient Klan sentiment, and that's why the crux of my book is the turning point of the O.J. verdict when I think white America saw black people cheering the acquittal of an obviously guilty black celebrity and said, that's it, the white guilt bank is shut down.
Not only did that help race relations, it specifically helped black people as Republican policies that had been pushed for years but demagogued as racist -- law and order, welfare reform -- were actually able to be implemented helping black people most of all. I mean, helping everyone but helping -- Giuliani's policies in New York saved tens of thousands of black lives and I don't know if he would have been able to continue with his very tough on crime policies which were in fact demagogued as racist while he was implementing them, if you didn't have this change in feeling in America where people were just sick of hearing of being accused of racism.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break now we've warmed you up, because you called the president a retard this week. You're laughing. Most people aren't. Let's discuss it after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MOURDOCK (R-IN), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is a gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: There's the rape comments from Richard Mourdock. It's sparked a firestorm in this election. I'm sure Ann Coulter has a view on that.
What is your view on that? Unless you (INAUDIBLE).
COULTER: I think all Republican candidates apparently need to go through some sort of cattle prodding to learn to just say exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother. Is that so hard to get out of your mouth?
MORGAN: Is that your belief?
COULTER: For the law, yes. If you're talking -- these guys start to get philosophical as I'm sure Richard Mourdock was doing there.
Look, it's one thing if a woman decides to bring a child to term after she's been raped. There are a lot of cases where an abortion would be indicated, or you would be sympathetic toward the woman. Tim Tebow, Jack Nicholson, Andrew Breitbart, thank God their mothers didn't abort them.
Yet and still we are talking about someone running for a position to make laws. And should the state require a woman to carry a child to term, no.
And moreover, could we keep our eye on the ball? We live in a country where you can abort a baby up until it's been born alive. When Barack Obama was in the Illinois legislature, he required hospitals to if in a botched abortion if the baby is inadvertently born alive, the doctors have to go chasing the baby with a fire extinguisher and kill it.
That's the world we live in. Can we deal with the 2 million who aren't a result of rape and incest and just have that exception there? Is that such a big problem? And when you're running for office, will you stop talking philosophically?
MORGAN: The latest poll, "USA Today"/Gallup says abortion at 39 percent is the number one issue for women in 12 swing states. You surprised by that?
COULTER: I'm suspicious of that. I understand from pollsters that a very dangerous way to take a poll is to give people a multiple choice answer because respondents feel like they're taking an I.Q. test and will check off the one they think is the correct answer. There is no correct answer.
The way they should really ask polls like that is to have a fill in the blank question, which is why insane things like campaign finance reform would show up very high on polls.
MORGAN: Would you like Romney if he wins to overturn Roe versus Wade as he has threatened to in the past?
COULTER: Well, I don't think it's much of a threat. It seems to me from much of the public dialogue, people seem not to realize that even if Roe is overturned, abortion up until the last minute and even the doctors and nurses chasing the fetus through the hallways will always be legal in New York, Chicago, California. All Roe --
MORGAN: When you started your position, I actually think this guy Mourdock is wrong because he should have -- how hard is it to say exception of rape, incest, so on. I think you're perfectly normal when you speak like that. I get it. You can have that position and it seems reasonable.
Then you start going on about babies being carried through corridors -- you're taking it to such a ridiculous extreme --
COULTER: It was President Obama taking it to a ridiculous extent. He supports partial birth abortion. That is when the baby is entirely delivered except for the head. The head is punctured and the brain suctioned out. That is a brutal, sick, savage procedure.
I think we can agree on that. I think we can agree on parental notification in a lot of cases. Or husband, the husband being notified.
States would be allowed to finally pass their own laws. Overturning Roe v. Wade is not (INAUDIBLE). It's not D-Day for pro lifers. It just means it goes back to the states. And I promise you in the state of New York, the state of California, abortion is going to be legal until after the baby is born.
MORGAN: Why did you call President Obama retard? Let me preface it with you're a very intelligent woman -- a very controversial but very intelligent. You would have known absolutely the furor that would have come up from this.
Here's the tweet you tweeted. It was during one of the debates.
COULTER: At the end of the third debate.
MORGAN: Right. But when you read that back, you know what you did there. You know it was a deliberately incendiary thing to say. You knew you were using a word that would be latched on by everyone who has a disability in America as their equivalent of the "N" word to black people.
COULTER: I think -- MORGAN: Why did you do it?
COULTER: I think you are doing what you are so testy with Sununu doing to Colin Powell. You are just interpreting and announcing to the world what my motives were. I was sending out --
MORGAN: I didn't announce your motives.
COULTER: Yes, you did. You did it because you knew it would be incendiary. No, I sent out a tweet that I thought was relevant at the moment and it was because at the end of the third debate, a lot of -- all the chit-chat was why was Romney so gentle? Why didn't he go after Obama on Benghazi? Why didn't he go after Obama on the Benghazi cover-up?
MORGAN: Why call the president of the United States a retard?
COULTER: Because it's a synonym for loser. We were spending 10 seconds on this or it's going to be another two years before I come on.
MORGAN: Wow, you're threatening me.
COULTER: I'm angry at the word police. I need an encyclopedia Britannica to see which words are appropriate and which aren't.
MORGAN: No, you don't.
COULTER: OK, explain to me why retard is inappropriate.
MORGAN: Because I heard this morning say, what if I said imbecile, idiot, cretin or moron.
COULTER: That was two nights ago.
MORGAN: Right. Whenever.
Any of those words, as you know, has not become in the last decade or so a word that is synonymously offensive to people with disability, and is used in an offensive way about them by people. That is a difference.
COULTER: Do you call people with mental disabilities retards, because I don't. I think that's a nasty thing to do.
MORGAN: A lot of people do, to be offensive. Yes.
COULTER: No, they don't.
MORGAN: They do and you know that.
COULTER: They absolutely do not. And you know they do not.
MORGAN: Of course, you do. COULTER: No one would call a Down syndrome child a retard. It is synonymous with loser. You know perfectly well --
MORGAN: That's complete nonsense.
Wait a minute. Wait a minute. That's complete nonsense. That's the whole point. The whole point, if you talked to people who worked with Down syndrome children or whatever, they would all tell you --
COULTER: You keep saying this is offensive and you're just wasting time because we only have 10 more seconds on this and we're getting to the next topic.
MORGAN: Says who?
COULTER: OK, it's offensive and you're going to come up with 20 different ways to tell me it's offensive. It's offensive according to whom? Moron, idiot, cretin, imbecile. These were exactly like retard, once technical term to describe people with mental disabilities. Changing the word doesn't change the condition.
I was not referring to someone with Down syndrome. I was referring to the president of the United States.
MORGAN: I know that.
COULTER: I didn't make a joke about Special Olympics the way the president did. I didn't make a joke about extra chromosome right wingers the way Al Gore did. Those are specific conditions.
I didn't call the president a Down syndrome child. I used the word retard the same way people use idiot, cretin, moron and the rest of them which were all once technical terms and I had it with the language police. You were wrong that no one else is laughing. Everyone is fed up with the language police.
MORGAN: You wouldn't use the "N" word, would you?
COULTER: Not the "N" word argument.
Now we are back to my book "Mugged." no. Of course not. For one thing, it's like a curse word.
MORGAN: Why would you allow the word police as you put it to make any exceptions?
COULTER: I should have called my book three books back about "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America". Everybody wants to be black. No. Unless you went through slavery and went through Jim Crow, I do not want to hear victims bullying the rest of America.
This is what has happened. Whether it's the Jersey girls or the spokesman for the disabled, it's not the disabled, it's the self- appointed spokesman word police, the feminists on this word or that word, the gays on oh, you can't say that's so gay now. MORGAN: You know that it would get you into serious trouble --
COULTER: No, I would never use it.
MORGAN: You know it's deeply offensive.
COULTER: I'm sorry, you are doing what Sununu -- you're so upset Sununu did to Colin Powell. You're trying to read my mind to tell me why I would use the word or not use the word.
No, you're wrong. I wouldn't use the "N" word because it's a curse word.
MORGAN: Will you continue using the retard word?
COULTER: Yes. Of course. I've done it since that tweet.
COULTER: Yes, of course.
MORGAN: Even seeing disabled people say please stop using it.
COULTER: No disabled people are saying. It's the spokesman for the disabled for .
MORGAN: Disabled people are, they are.
COULTER: Yes. I'm sure they were following my Twitter feed. This has nothing to do with disabled people. It was about the president. They have injected themselves into a tweet they have nothing to do with.
I would think maybe Biden should be upset by me calling the president a retard, but not an actually disabled person.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. Let you calm down a bit.
COULTER: Oh, yes. I think you could move on to a better subject.
MORGAN: It's an interesting subject.
COULTER: No, it isn't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time shouldn't be with just anybody.
You want to do it with a great guy.
It should be with a guy with beautiful --
Someone who really cares about and understands women.
A guy who cares when you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control.
The consequences are huge.
My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before I was a girl. Now I was a woman.
I went to the polling station and pulled back the curtain. I voted for Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The new Lena Dunham ad for President Obama. Ann Coulter is back. I'm sure you loved that, didn't you?
COULTER: Yes, it's going to be my exhibit henceforth for both of the groups I want to take the vote away from, young people and women. All in one combo platter.
MORGAN: You would take away the female vote, would you?
COULTER: Yes. I have become quite famous for making that point.
MORGAN: What is the point?
COULTER: That it was a rash experiment and we should reconsider the 19th Amendment.
MORGAN: You called me in the break a sexist misogynist pig.
MORGAN: Can you explain why? What have I said that's been remotely sexist?
COULTER: Calm down. Oh, it is the conservative --
MORGAN: You were hyperventilating.
COULTER: I'm not hyperventilating. I'm disagreeing with you, which apparently is insulting your teeny tiny male ego. It is the most insulting, condescending, sexist thing to say to a female, generally conservative, who disagrees with you, no, it's my obligation to back down and accept your point. And if I don't, you're not being calm.
MORGAN: I have never heard you back down or apologize for anything. I think when you call the president of the United States a retard --
COULTER: We have moved on from that.
MORGAN: Final point on it. A little part in your brain cell should go off and say you know what, Ann, I just overstepped the mark. COULTER: OK. Explain to me what -- why that is different, again, from cretin, moron, idiot.
MORGAN: For the same reason that the "N" word has become completely unacceptable, because of the offense it causes to the black community.
MORGAN: Let me finish my sentence.
COULTER: You can't just say everything is the "N" word.
MORGAN: Let me finish my sentence.
COULTER: Oh, calm down. Calm down.
MORGAN: I would argue the word retard has become equally -- has become equally unacceptable to people with disabilities in America, because it is the one word of all those words -- and I got them all out from the dictionary. It's the one word that has been used for the last decade or so -- yes, it has. You're so wrong.
COULTER: No, it isn't. You can't just go around -- it isn't a better argument to say oh, and broad, that's like using the "N" word, and the illegal immigrant, that's like using the "N" word. And gay, that's like using the "N" word. All you're doing is making a different argument for the same argument.
MORGAN: I have used the argument once.
COULTER: We will tell you which words you can and which words you can't use. Making a joke about Special Olympics is making a joke about something that actually exists. That is what President Obama did. I would not have done that. I would not make a joke about a Down Syndrome child.
Retard is the same as idiot, cretin, moron. It means loser. That's what it's meant for 30 years. And the word police come in five minutes ago and say no, we're going to be bossy and tell you what to do. They're the biggest bullies of all, these self-appointed victims.
MORGAN: My God. You are calling other people bossy. I've heard it all. Let's turn back to "Mugged," your book.
MORGAN: Give me a parallel between the book and the current election and what's going to happen. Who's going to win the election?
COULTER: I think it's going to be Romney. I've thought that since he was the nominee.
MORGAN: You didn't want him as nominee, though.
COULTER: No, there was a brief period where, as I say, I ran off with the biker, Chris Christie, but I came back to the responsible choice. And I think -- I mean, the reason I said two years out, when people were still thinking Sarah Palin might be the nominee or Ron Paul, it was a long time out when I said if we don't run Christie, it will be Romney and he'll lose.
I took that back six months later because Obama's made such a mess of the economy. I travel a lot out in America. And people are really, really hurting. There are a lot of people who are unemployed, underemployed. They know they're not doing what they should be doing. Obamacare is coming down the track like a bullet train. And a lot of people are going to have to go out of business or have already gone out of business.
MORGAN: Where do you give Obama credit? Because the most powerful arguments I hear are where a Republican can give the Democratic president some credit and vice versa, a Democrat can give Mitt Romney some credit. Where do you credit the president?
COULTER: I like the drone attacks. I don't know why liberals like the drone attacks. If you're going to compare water boarding a couple of terrorists at Guantanamo three times to attacks on civilian populations to get one or two terrorists, I would say that the water boarding is way better than that. But I think -- I think it's worth getting the terrorists.
MORGAN: The only thing you can say positive about Barack Obama is --
COULTER: I didn't say it was the only thing. But that's one pretty big thing.
MORGAN: Do you think it was right to end the war in Iraq? I know he didn't start that process, but he certainly finished it, to announce a timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. You in favor of that?
COULTER: I can't say I'm in favor of the withdrawal since I was against the escalation. I don't know what the point of sending more troops to Afghanistan was, other than fulfilling a talking point on the campaign trail. In order to bash Iraq, Obama and all Democrats took the position that Iraq was the bad war, the war of convenience; Afghanistan, good war, war of necessity.
No, it wasn't. All we needed to do was take out the Taliban, leave a few troops behind. Bush had managed the Afghanistan war beautifully. Sending more troops was utterly pointless, other than to fulfill a talking point. Iraq is a place where you have a real shot for genuine regime change and a genuine democracy in that God forsaken area of the world. We need an Arab Israel over there. That was Iraq.
I do think we pulled troops out too fast from Iraq and should never have sent more troops to Afghanistan.
MORGAN: Let's take a little break. I have decided to award you one more segment, because you've been kind of blissfully annoying. So I'm giving you an extra segment. COULTER: OK. Now we're down to 12 months.
MORGAN: Now my special bonus segment with Ann Coulter. Lots of Tweets pouring in, a lot deeply offensive to both of us. One here from a Robert Gillian says, "Piers Morgan, opposites attract. Do I see love in the air with Ann Coulter?" I think I speak for both of us when I say no, Robert, you don't.
Your book is dedicated to the freest black man in America. Who is that?
COULTER: Yes. Well, it's supposed to be a little Crackerjack surprise that you have to read the book for. But since this smash bestseller has been out there for four weeks, probably a lot of people already know the answer. And if you followed me on Twitter, you would know because I came across that it was what Shelby Steel said about Clarence Thomas.
It was such a beautiful quote and such a beautiful interview, I tweeted out a big section of it when I was doing research for this book. Then at the end, I just thought that's it. He's the one who, according to Shelby Steel, doesn't play the game, doesn't play it on either side. He's been such a brave man and such a great Supreme Court justice.
And the other great thing about it is a lot of people who have read the book and know what a huge fan I am of Thomas Sole have guessed that it's Thomas Sole. That would be a very good second choice for a dedication.
MORGAN: When I hear you speak like that, you seem perfectly normal. I can't equate that kind of normality with these outrageous things you come out with.
COULTER: There's nothing outrageous.
MORGAN: There is, though.
COULTER: No, there is liberals' reaction, because liberals love being self-righteous.
MORGAN: I'm not a liberal. Just a normal guy doing a TV show.
COULTER: You are definitely not normal.
MORGAN: No, but why did you do it? Is it just for commercial gain? Is it a brand thing? Why do you press those little buttons?
COULTER: I'm not pressing buttons. I speak the way I speak when I am with my friends or anyone else. And I make my points in a way that I think will be interesting and amuses me. When you write a book, for example, you have to read it through a dozen times, more than that, just reading it through to edit and cut things out. If it's not entertaining, it's going to be a long, tough haul. MORGAN: Do you like being offensive?
COULTER: Please. I am not offensive. I'll tell you, liberals like being offended is the issue.
MORGAN: No, a lot of people find you deeply offensive.
COULTER: They do not. They love getting on their high horse.
MORGAN: You have a lot of fans, too. Obviously you sell millions of books. But a lot of people find you deeply offensive. Do you mind that?
COULTER: Manifestly not. Kind of a gift.
MORGAN: A gift to be offensive?
COULTER: Well, no, to annoy liberals which isn't very hard, by the way.
MORGAN: Would you ever date a liberal?
COULTER: We are not discussing dating. This interview was going so well. You had gotten it down to only 12 months before I come back. We are not going into dating.
MORGAN: My criteria is you are banned for 13 months. See you next year.
COULTER: Thank you. See you next year.
MORGAN: The book is called "Mugged."
COULTER: I have a cold. Let's shake hands.
MORGAN: It's called "Mugged, Racial Demagoguery From the '70s to Obama." Love her or hate her, and I can't quite work out where I am on that one, it's certainly a compelling read. Ann Coulter, see you in 13 months.
Next, the other side of the R-word debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FRANKLIN STEPHENS, GLOBAL MESSENGER, SPECIAL OLYMPICS VIRGINIA: After I saw your Tweet, I realized that you wanted to belittle the president by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Ann Coulter called the president a retard, an astonishing open letter from John Franklin Stephens, who goes by the name of Frank. He has Down Syndrome and he is a global messenger for the Special Olympics. I'm pleased to have Frank with me now live tonight, along with the CEO of special Olympics, Tim Shriver. Welcome to you both.
Frank, let me start with you, because I found your speech this morning that you wrote was extremely moving. You heard Ann Coulter there trying to insist that the word retard is not offensive. What was your reaction to that?
STEPHENS: Well, the word retard is offensive and should not be -- should not be a symbol for someone who is dumb and shallow. If they wanted to use me as a symbol, use it as a symbol for someone who fights adversity.
MORGAN: And Tim, when you heard her getting very agitated about it, and insisting she would carry on using the word -- it was no worse than moron, imbecile, cretin, whatever, what is your reaction there? I mean, you've heard this debate before. My argument to her was quite clear. I think that retard, in particular, has been adopted by people who want to be offensive to people with disability, more than any of those other words, and therefore has a special significance that people are aware of.
TIM SHRIVER, CEO, SPECIAL OLYMPICS: I think the question isn't which word is worse. I think the reason so many people like Frank have tried to raise their voice about the word is because there is a long, long history of discrimination and humiliation against people who have intellectual differences. It goes back centuries in this country and in other countries around the world, and continues today. People are denied health care, denied education, denied employment, denied their humanity, made fun of, ridiculed and humiliated.
And most people don't even realize it's going on. So this word in particular has carried the sting of that humiliation. And for many people -- Frank is a wonderful and articulate spokesman for millions of people who when they hear that word are reminded of all the painful ways in which they have to struggle against that adversity every day. So they have just made a simple request. And that is to make people aware of the fact that the word hurts, that the word is a reminder of that humiliation, and try to be aware of it, so that we can do better in the future.
It's not an attempt to police folks. It's just an attempt to invite them into seeing the world with a more joyful and accepting way, and to see this population as part of the future that we all want to build, that's more harmonious and accepting for everybody.
MORGAN: I completely agree with you. I think it was a facile argument. Frank, let me ask you, if you met the president of the United States? Have you ever met him? STEPHENS: I have. I recently was at the White House, the signing of Rosa's Law.
MORGAN: What I was going to say to you was, putting aside the word retard that she used, I just thought being that offensive about the president of this country in itself is offensive. I couldn't imagine that you would ever say anything offensive about your president. Do you think there's a wider argument that, putting aside the disability, the word retard, the offense it causes to people like yourself, that actually you should just use more respect to the president?
STEPHENS: Of course. I mean, people should respect the president because one, I don't know that the president has ever been bullied as a child before, but -- but I know that people -- when people get bullied and when people use the R word, it's just offensive.
MORGAN: Tim, what I -- you know, you come from obviously a big family with presidential history to it. There is sort of a sense of Washington getting so poisonous that the punditry and commentary on cable television, network television, everywhere really, the language being deployed and casually deployed about the president, about great politicians in this country is getting so ridiculous that it just diminishes everybody.
SHRIVER: It really -- I think this is why people like the athletes of Special Olympics -- Frank again is an extraordinary representative of them -- have such a powerful message, which is that we're almost becoming almost, it seems like, a nation of bullies. You know, we bully people in sports. We bully children in school. The rhetoric in politics is bullies left, bullies right, right bullies left.
People like Frank and his fellow athletes, it is not a partisan issue. This movement has been supported by Republicans fabulously, as well as by Democrats. There's no attempt to make political points here. What we're trying to do with Ms. Coulter and with everybody -- it's not just her. It's not personal to her.
As Frank has said in his letter, he sees her as a friend that he just hasn't met yet. What we're trying to do is say that a culture of bullying, a culture of using words that are painful -- and words do matter. Writers know this especially, and Ann's one of those. Words matter. And the way in which we use words matter. And we might want to take a step back from where we've found ourselves as a culture and try to open ourselves to a kind of dialog that promotes a much more tolerant and a much more harmonious and a much more, I would say, communal vision of the future.
MORGAN: Frank, let me give you the last word. You signed the letter to Ann Coulter from a friend you hadn't met yet. What would you like to say in conclusion?
STEPHENS: I would like to say thank you. You helped me make 3.2 million new friends. And I wish that you would be one more. MORGAN: I'll see what I can do. Let's try and make it happen. Frank, it's been a delight to have you on my show. Congratulations on being such an inspiration. And also thanks to you, Tim Shriver. I really enjoyed having you both on. Thank you.
And we'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THULANI MADONDO, CNN HERO: Since the apartheid time, there is no change. There is no electricity. People are living in shacks. Growing up here in Clifftown makes you feel like you don't have control over your life.
Many children drop out of school because they don't have school uniforms and textbooks. I realized that the only way that that Clifftown could change was through education.
I'm Thulani Madondo. I'm helping educate the children so that we can change the town together.
We help the children by paying for their school books, school uniforms. Our main focus is our tutoring program that we run four days a week. As young people who were born and raised here, we know the challenges of this community. We also do a number of activities. We've got to come together for fun while we also come together for academics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The program gave me a chance to go to the university. They are trying to pay for my fees. That's why I also come back and help out here.
MADONDO: A little can go a long way. What subjects do you need to study? Math and science and English.