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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
President Obama's Candid Post-Election Video; Obama's Second Term
Aired November 8, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. Looking live at the White House tonight. And we've got breaking news on the president tonight. I'm going to show you one of the most extraordinary pieces of video I think I have ever seen of any political leader.
It was shown yesterday at Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago just hours after Barack Obama's re-elected. It shows the leader of the free world, as I have never seen him, and you probably haven't seen him either. Raw, exhausted and reduced to open tears by the efforts of his young campaign workers. And by the thought of what he himself has accomplished.
It's one of those things you've got to watch in its entirety. Here it is, arguably Barack Obama's finest ever speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I try to picture myself when I was your age and I first moved to Chicago at the age of 25, and I had this vague inkling about making a difference. I didn't really know how to do it. I didn't have a structure. And there wasn't a presidential campaign at the time that I could attach myself to. Ronald Reagan had just been re-elected.
And was incredibly popular. And -- so I came to Chicago knowing that somehow I wanted to make sure that my life attached itself to helping kids get a great education or helping people living in poverty to get decent jobs and be able to work and have daybreak. To make sure that people didn't have to go to the emergency room to get health care.
And I ended up being a community organizer out on the south side of Chicago or something, a group of churches hired me. And I didn't know at all what I was doing. And the work that I did in those communities changed me much more than I changed the communities, because it taught me the hopes and aspirations and the grit and resilience of ordinary people, and it taught me the fact that under the surface differences we all have common hopes and we all have common dreams.
And it taught me something about how I handle disappointment and what it meant to work hard on a common endeavor, and I grew up. I became a man during that process.
And so when I come here and I look at all of you, what comes to mind is it's not that you guys actually remind me of myself. It's the fact that you are so much better than I was.
In so many ways. You're smarter, you're better organized, and you're more effective, and so I'm absolutely confident that all of you are going to do just amazing things in your lives. And, you know, the -- what Bobby Kennedy calls the peripherals of hope that come out when you throw a stone in a lake, that's going to be you. I'm just looking around the room and I'm thinking, wherever you guys end up, in whatever states, in whatever capacities, whether you're in the private sector or the non for profit or some of you decide to go into public service, you're just going to do great things.
And that's why even before last night's results, I felt that the work that I had done in running for office had come full circle. Because what you guys have done means that the work that I'm doing is important. I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud of all of you. And --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And what you guys accomplished will go on and be in the annals of history and people will read about it and they'll marvel about it, but the most important thing you need to know is that your journey is just beginning, you're just starting. And whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to come.
And that's been my source of hope. That's why over the last four years when people ask me about how you put up with this or that, the frustrations of Washington, I just think about you. I think about what you guys are going to do and that's the source of my hope. That's the source of my strength and my inspiration. And I know that -- I know that you guys aren't going to disappoint me because I've already seen who you guys are and you all are just remarkable people and you lifted me up each and every step of the way.
All right? Thank you, guys.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Remarkably candid and emotional President Barack Obama there. Incredible video in many ways.
Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is co-chair of the Obama campaign joins me now.
Deval, I stumbled across that about an hour ago. Somebody tweeted it.
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: How about that.
MORGAN: And I just watched it in its entirety and I found it incredibly moving. I have to say. Putting aside whose side you're on, who you voted for, whatever, to see a president of the United States being that raw, that emotional with his campaign volunteers, and to see Barack Obama openly weeping at one stage, very unusual and very moving.
PATRICK: Well, it is. It's -- I hadn't seen it before, either, Piers, and it does I think reveal something I have understood and I think the American people also understand about this president, which is that neither his -- neither his campaign nor his service is about him. It's about others. It's about us as a community, as a national community, and he is always looking for how to bring out the best and do the best by the people he serves.
And I think he saw his campaign staff and the campaign leadership as among those he serves and he certainly sees the American people as those he serves. That's his motivation and it's a powerful thing and people see that core in him and did in the campaign.
MORGAN: I want to bring in Dan Rather, anchor and managing editor of "Dan Rather Reports" on AXS TV.
Dan, you've known almost every president going back 50 years. Have you ever seen one quite that candid and raw?
DAN RATHER, AUTHOR, "DAN RATHER REPORTS" ON AXS TV: No. And I'm not sure there ever has been any American president, perhaps no world leader, that I know of in my lifetime, who has come out with that raw emotion in a very attractive way. Again, whether you like his politics or not, for a lot of people this is going to be a case of the iceman cracketh.
RATHER: Because he had this image of President Barack Obama as cool, ice water in his veins kind of person, and he can be that way, but no, I think this is unique in the history of the American presidency.
MORGAN: Yes, Deval, I mean, he has got this sort of no drama Obama thing about him where he doesn't show much emotion in that way, and that's been part of his appeal, I guess, electorally, but you've got to say, I think, if that had played the day before the election, it would have been a huge vote winner. You know? You've got a guy opening his heart, his soul, being very sincere and doing it in such an unusual forum, you know, this sort of rather grim little hallway with his campaign volunteers. Very powerful.
Tell me this, Deval. You've known him a long time, and he's got four more years now and he doesn't have to worry about being re- elected. What do you want the president to do? What do you want Barack Obama now to really achieve that will be his legacy?
PATRICK: Well, first of all, I think that we all think of and we talk about the president's coolness, and with due respect to Dan, whom I enormously admire, let's not confuse composure with coolness. His feelings run deep, but he also I think appreciates that he has to bring his mind and the other capacities he -- that he possesses in great measure to the decisions he has to make and he's done that and shown that in his leadership in the first term.
And I think we'll see even more of that in the second. With big issues in front of us. This president has a strategy to grow opportunity. It's been based on investing in education, in innovation, which he describes as both research and clean energy, for example, and in infrastructure, the unglamorous work of governing.
And that's why we've had 30 plus months of consecutive growth in this country and the millions of jobs and we'll see that accelerate, I think.
The president also understands that a balanced approach to reducing the deficit is the way to afford those investments and we're going to see some of that come into very stark relief I think over the next several weeks as he work with the -- with the Congress on a deficit reduction plan and a new budget.
And I also think, Piers, and I'm sorry to talk so much, but just to add this other point, I think we are going to see a different kind of dynamic with the Congress. Frankly I think that dynamic changes even had the personnel not changed in the -- in the Congress, because the American people have affirmed a politics of conviction and rejected a politics of obstruction. It's very important for everybody in the Congress to understand and I think they do.
MORGAN: Dan, let me turn to that, because it seems that the big problem that Barack Obama had in his first term was he couldn't get anything done in Washington. It was almost paralysis there as Republicans, you know, right from the start said, we're going to stop this guy getting re-elected. Well, they failed and there is a certain liberation that comes with being re-elected, isn't there, an empowerment that says OK, well, stuff you, I'm back for four years and I'm going to make things happen now?
RATHER: Well, there is that, but we need to keep in mind that second terms for presidents generally speaking historically have not turned out that well. And I'm sure that President Obama realizes it.
Whatever leverage -- he didn't get a mandate in the election. He does have leverage. Thirty to 45 days is the golden period.
Now the Republican Congress, particularly the leadership, they would rather walk through a furnace in a gasoline suit than do some of the things that President Obama is going to want them to do just as one person, one citizen, election's over, let's get this thing together.
If president Obama resists the temptations in his own party to say, Mr. President, we've got them down, we've got our foot on their Adam's apple, press down hard, don't let them up, we're going to be in for a hellacious period. If on the other hand the Republicans take the attitude well, we tried to get him the last time, we are going to be face him the next time, we're going to be intransigent.
Mitch McConnell, the minority leading the Senate, his first statement after the election of President Obama was clear was not a very conciliatory statement. I'd like to think --
MORGAN: See, I don't think that --
RATHER: He might take it back.
MORGAN: I don't think the American public are going to wear any more of this from the Republicans. And it's not just their fault.
PATRICK: Take that.
MORGAN: I think the Democrats have been, you know, just as much to blame in terms of poor negotiation but there comes a point when the Republicans have been rejected, they have lost this election and they have to face their own demons.
And, Governor, you know, unless I'm wrong here, you guys have the upper hand now, don't you? And you can do exactly what Dan said. You can shove the foot, the size 9's, straight on the Adam's apple and say, we are getting stuff done for the benefit of America and if you stop us, we are going to make it clear that you've done that against the interests of your country.
PATRICK: Well, I think -- I think some of that is right, Piers. I would put it a little bit more -- a little bit differently. I mean I agree with both you and Dan in terms of Democrats generally and the president in particular having leverage right now, because he's had his policy choices endorsed by the American public. But I think you've also seen that this president is a gracious president, he's a gracious leader.
He's not going to be walked over. He's not going to be ignored. He is going to be dealt with and I think we'll see a refreshed level of resolve from this president and we should. But he's going to try to find to common -- to find ground as he has in the -- in the past, and I think those professional pals in the Senate and the House appreciate that if they continue the behavior that they've shown in the last -- in the last term, then they have consequences that they have to deal with when the polls open two years from now.
And I suspect that there will be Democrats making sure that they are held accountable for that and the general public as well. So I think the dynamic has changed and for the lack of grace in the -- in the minority leader's statement on election night leaving that aside, I think we will see a practicality in all of the members who realize that the American public wants some solutions.
MORGAN: Well, let -- let's hope so. I mean --
PATRICK: That they have a problem. MORGAN: The one thing I read is that Barack Obama apparently played 106 rounds of golf in his first four years but only once with a Republican. I think he needs to get on the golf course like Bill Clinton with more Republicans.
For four hours of swinging a golf ball and getting stuff done.
Dan Rather and Governor Deval Patrick, thank you both very much indeed.
RATHER: Thank you indeed.
PATRICK: Good to be with you.
MORGAN: When we come back, the other side of the coin with a man who ran for president himself and was one of Mitt Romney's top men. Tim Pawlenty.
MORGAN: Again, live shots of the White House and the capitol. A stark reminder of the challenges that President Obama faces as he tries to break the gridlock in Washington.
Tim Pawlenty is the former national co-chairman of Mitt Romney's campaign and former governor of Minnesota. He's now the president of Financial Services Roundtable Bank lobbying group.
Tim Pawlenty, how are you?
TIM PAWLENTY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: I'm doing well, Piers. Thanks for having me on.
MORGAN: So I can't blame you for what happened because you got out of there three months before the end so you were --
PAWLENTY: But I can blame you for what happened.
MORGAN: Well, go on then. Try.
PAWLENTY: No, I better wait for another day when we'll do that over a pint.
MORGAN: Let's just get to what went on with the election because what struck me as unusual was that unlike four years ago, there was a real belief amongst many senior Republicans that Mitt Romney was going to win. They all seemed genuinely quite shocked that he didn't. Why was that belief so built on sand, do you think?
PAWLENTY: Well, of course, election results are a little like post-modern art. People can look at the picture and see different things and some of these theories that people have post-election are sometimes hard to prove or disprove. But I think at a minimum we know this. Mitt Romney is a very honorable and gracious man and a very talented leader, but the Republican Party has some work to do and if you do a gap analysis of this election, you see a significant gap, of course, with Hispanic and Latino voters, with women voters, with blue- collar voters. I've said once before we need to be the party of not just the country club but also Sam's club.
And then we have some other work to do, too, Piers. You know, when you go out to the people in the marketplace and you ask for their vote, they want to be able to see that you can relate to them with their concerns and their worries, and Governor Romney I think had a very good message but let's tip the cap to the Obama campaign in this regard. They had an organizing and voter I.D. and get-out-the-vote effort that I think was not only under the radar screen but was incredibly effective and they out-hustled the Republicans in that regard.
MORGAN: Well, with the benefit of hindsight, was Paul Ryan the wrong pick as his V.P. choice? In the sense that you just had another middle class white guy and it maybe just sent the wrong image to American voters about what the party now represented.
PAWLENTY: Well, you know, of course there's -- as we look to the future, and we want to improve upon these results, the face of the country is changing. I think Paul Ryan is a remarkable leader. He was a terrific pick and did a great job but as the country continues to change, yes, I think you're going to see the next generation of leaders on the Republican side emerge.
MORGAN: The key battle now for Barack Obama in his second term will be how does he get some kind of bipartisan momentum going, particularly on the economy, and this is your wheelhouse right now. You've got some pretty firm ideas about how to prevent the fiscal cliff becoming a reality. Tell me about that.
PAWLENTY: Well, we need to avoid the fiscal cliff. As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said, Piers, it will reduce GDP by almost 3 percent and keep in mind it's only 2 percent now so that means going negative, going back to recession. They predicted that unemployment would go back over at 9 percent, which would be terrible, obviously, and many other negative consequences.
So they should do at least a temporary extension so they can buy themselves a little time for the new Congress to get organized and new administration to get settled, and then get this thing solved as quickly as possible after that.
So with the Financial Services Roundtable, we've asked them to bridge over some extensions but then tackle it. That's going to have to include the president stepping forward and willingness to reform entitlement programs and on the Republican side, they're going to need to look at tax reform.
I think Speaker Boehner said the other day he's looking at not raising rates but raising revenues probably by, you know, broadening the base and limiting or eliminating certain exemptions, credits or deductions.
MORGAN: Here's the problem. You see, Speaker Boehner says this without getting into too much detail. I saw a poll just before the election, 65 percent of Americans were quite happy for people earning more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to pay more tax. How long can the Republicans, led by the Grover Norquist gang, sustain a position of there is zero movement or flexibility for any increased taxation when most Americans think it's perfectly reasonable given there's a $16 trillion debt that the wealthiest should pay more tax?
PAWLENTY: Well, let's give some examples, Piers, of where the two sides could come together. And let's say that if you're President Obama hypothetically you wanted to have the wealthy pay more, for example, within entitlement reform I think you could get a bipartisan coalition of people to say in the future, not for current recipients, but in the future, we're going to means test certain aspects of entitlement benefits, and that the wealthy will either pay more or won't qualify for as much.
In the area of the tax code, I think you could get agreement to say that certain deductions, exemptions and credits that primarily benefit the wealthy could be reduced or capped or limited. So there is enough common ground I think with that point in mind from President Obama's perspective to try to find common ground and get a package and nobody wants to be first to put the details on the table, because they don't want to be, you know, beat up.
MORGAN: So treat me like a simpleton for a moment, which shouldn't be too --
PAWLENTY: Well, that's easy to do. That's very easy to do.
MORGAN: I was going to say, it shouldn't be too difficult. So I'm a simpleton. I'm trying to wrestle in my head with what the ideological difference is between reducing a wealthy person's entitlements and making them pay more tax. What is the difference?
PAWLENTY: I think it's fair to say, Piers, that the Republicans aren't going to raise tax rates but they are willing to look at raising some revenues along the lines that I've described and if you get to the same result, I think that's a good step forward in the interest of trying to find a bipartisan solution.
MORGAN: Final question, would it help deal with the pigheadedness and stubbornness if we actually conducted the debate for the fiscal cliff on an actual cliff and if the various participants couldn't agree by, say, January the 1st, we just push them over. Would that help --
(CROSSTALK) PAWLENTY: Kind of like the old "Survivor" show.
PAWLENTY: Each time that somebody couldn't meet a deadline, one more person has to be pushed over.
MORGAN: Exactly right.
PAWLENTY: That's -- very creative idea, Dr. Morgan. Very creative.
MORGAN: Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Good to talk to you again, Tim Pawlenty. Thank you very much.
PAWLENTY: Thank you. All right. Bye-bye.
MORGAN: Coming next, reality check for President Obama's second term. What it can and what it can't do. My political all-star panel squares off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I felt that the work that I have done in running for office had come full circle because what you guys have done means that the work that I'm doing is important, and I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud of all of you. And --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tearing up after a bruising battle. Another look at the very motional president choking up there in front of his campaign staff. It shows a very different side of him.
Joined by my all-star panel who has a lot to say about it, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis, "Daily Beast" contributor and former Condoleezza Rice speechwriter, Elise Jordan, "New York Times" columnist, Charles Blow, and CNN contributor Van Jones.
Welcome to you all. Let me start with you, Charles Blow, because you were just saying in the break -- what a hard heart that you were, you weren't impressed by the president's tears.
What's the matter with you, man?
CHARLES BLOW, OP-ED COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: I didn't say I wasn't impressed by them. I just think -- I actually do believe that it shows a very human side of him that sometimes people knock him for not having. And I think that, you know, it can be a difficult -- president is a difficult job. And you have to walk a very fine line between being the kind of stoic commander-in-chief and also being an actual living, breathing human being and sometimes they say well, you know, he can't get angry because he may be the angry black man or he can't show this kind of emotion because he might seem weak.
Well, actually, he's a human being. And I think that sometimes you got to catch that. And that's camera catches that. He's a full- fledged human being. And that's a good thing.
MORGAN: And Kristen Soltis, I mean, obviously he's not your man but did you feel moved by what you saw there? Did you think Mitt Romney could ever do that?
KRISTEN SOLTIS, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I definitely think Mitt Romney could do that. I think you had a race this year between two really good men who cared very deeply about trying to fix the problems that face this country. They have two very different visions for how they'd do it but you know I do think that -- I mean, you are hearing stories come out from reporters who were in Boston on election night that Mitt Romney and his team were all also, you know, very emotional in a different way.
But to a person, you hear stories that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, these are good men that wanted to do good things for this country and Barack Obama will have another four years to try to turn things around.
MORGAN: Van Jones, I think the reason it struck a chord -- and I certainly felt very genuinely moved by it -- is that you could suddenly see I think the brutality of these campaigns, what it takes out of people. Even Barack Obama, who has been president for four ice-cool years, suddenly just got very emotional, you know, sort of looking at people that were him 25 years ago, on the beginning of their political careers.
Perhaps one of them may be president one day. It was a pretty profound -- in its own way, profound speech of just five minutes or so.
JONES: Yeah. Well, you know, the ice man leaked. And if you weren't moved by that, you have been in politics for too long. In some ways, this whole campaign was sort of the return of the community organizer. That's really why the campaign triumphed, is because it was a return to the grassroots finally and a reliance on the people, and then a victory.
And people talk about the technology about it, the computers of it, but there's a man at the center of that. His name is Barack Obama. And he has his own journey through that world. And he understands the power of ordinary people.
I think for him to stand there and to speak heart to heart I just think is powerful. And I think some things are above politics or beyond politics. We'll slice it and dice it. But you know what, this is -- this is real tough. Somebody said it's a difficult job being president. That's the understatement of the year. But -- MORGAN: Also, I'll tell you what I thought. I also thought, Elise Jordan, that it sort of nailed this what I think is a lie, really, that Hurricane Sandy won the election for Barack Obama. I actually think happened in the last week -- and it may be that he was emboldened by a crisis that he had to deal with that fired him up, but he certainly came alive in the last week in a way he hadn't been throughout the campaign, certainly wasn't in the debates or the convention.
I saw the old Obama. I saw him four years ago. And he was doing that thing on the stump. And he was emotional. He was passionate. That in the end was a connection to people I just don't think Mitt Romney ever established.
JORDAN: No. Well, I think people needed to see it so badly from President Obama. And that's really the first debate, what went so abysmally wrong, that he showed up and he didn't seem to have his head in the game and Mitt Romney did.
So I think had it not been for that debate, there would have been a more clear-cut, I would say, definition of some sort, that he was going to have this kind of sweeping win that he did have. Then you look at what happened and he had this week before the election show -- step up, show leadership, this horrible tragedy, and remind everyone that we're all Americans and we need to be there for one another.
MORGAN: Yes, I think -- I just don't think the hurricane won him the election. I think it's too trite to say. It's an easy excuse for the Republicans. Let's keep the -- keep the tension in the pot boiling.
When we come back, I want to know if America is becoming more liberal. Gay marriage, cannabis? Where will it all end, Charles Blow?
MORGAN: Back now with my political all-star panel, Kristin Soltis, Elise Jordan, Charles Blow and Van Jones. We left viewers on a knife edge there, Charles. Where's it all going to end?
And the reason I say that is you've got a feeling the Republican party has just had the most massive wake-up call imaginable, where on the very night that they lose an election they should have won, given the state of the economy, frankly, they not only lost but they saw cannabis being legalized in states. They saw gay marriage being legalized in states and a real sense that they're just on the wrong side of the divide when it comes to so many important social debates now.
BLOW: Right. Let me start by saying they shouldn't have won it, because Mitt Romney was a horrible, horrible candidate. However, putting that aside, I do believe that they are on the wrong side of the demographic wave for sure. When you lose 93 percent of the black vote, you lose 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, 73 percent of the Asian vote, when you lose -- JORDAN: Women.
BLOW: You have to step back from that and say we have to make this a bigger tent. That is absolutely clear. On the social issues, it's a bit more of a mixed bag. On kind of gay issues and gay marriage, the trend is very clear that the American public is just moving away of this idea of infringing on people's rights to live their lives as they choose.
MORGAN: Let me bring in Kristin Soltis there, because we have two young Republican women here, right? You're one of them. Now it's all over and Mitt Romney's gone. You have to wait four more years for another candidate. Did you really enjoy seeing both him and Paul Ryan taking such strident positions on abortion, gay rights and all the rest of it, as a young woman? Did you find that just a turnoff? Do you understand why so many women did?
SOLTIS: You know, I think this is an election about the economy. It really was. So for me --
MORGAN: See, I don't think it was. I really don't think it was. I think it's too simplistic to say that. If it's about the economy, you would bet on the business guy with a good business record. If it had just been about the economy, he would have probably won. The reality is -- let me just finish. Every time he got momentum, one of those Republican Senate candidates would say something unbelievably cretinous.
SOLTIS: I admit I completely would bristle at these sort of unforced errors that Senate candidates down the ticket would make that really reflected terribly on the brand of the Republican party. But I thought Mitt Romney himself was a very good candidate. What I will say is that in the exit polls, Mitt Romney actually won voters who said -- or Mitt Romney was considered the candidate who had the better plan on the economy.
When they asked who do you trust more to handle the economy, Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, Mitt Romney won that question. But he lost the question of who cares about people like me, I think by an 82 to 17 margin. So that I really think --
MORGAN: Hang on. Wait a minute. Let me just turn to Elise, who is the other female Republican we have here. It wasn't about the economy. If it had been, as the polls suggested, Mitt Romney would have won.
JORDAN: Well, it should have been about the economy. But I think that the Democrats did an amazing job of making this women -- really amplifying what is clearly a problem within the Republican party, how we're messaging about women. The fact that we were even discussing birth control, the fact that, you know, the whole forcible rape was even part of the conversation, when the polls clearly show -- I think that millennials are moving in a much more libertarian position when it comes to social issues.
They might not necessarily be Democrats, but -- and they might not be Republicans yet. But I think that socially, libertarian is the direction the country is going.
MORGAN: Van Jones, it may not be America's going liberal. What it is, it's rejecting extreme positions. I think the problem Mitt Romney got himself into is, at his heart, he's really a moderate. When you look at when he was like in Massachusetts as governor, he wasn't that far right at all. But he had to go much further right to win the nomination.
Then he had to slowly back pedal again, by which time really, in terms of principle, he's toast, isn't he?
JONES: Well, I think that we may be missing something. And you just got to it. More than anything, you mentioned the millennial generation -- first, I want to just echo everything that Charles said, because I thought he just nailed it.
But on this question about millennials, what millennials really like is authenticity. If you believe something, you believe it. You say it. And you stand for it.
The problem that you had with this particular candidate was that you couldn't figure out what he believed in. And nobody made him, by the way, say in the privacy of his own company what he said about the 47 percent. That really -- the Democrats couldn't have scripted a better line to make sure that, on the economy, you've got somebody who is not on your side.
And that -- you've got a problem both with authenticity. And then when he does get authentic, what he's saying is awful. That's really what I think happened here.
MORGAN: Charles, you're desperate for a final word.
BLOW: I have to say this. Both on the issue of women's contraceptive rights and on the issue of gay marriage, both of those are economic issues.
JONES: Thank you, Charles.
BLOW: For a woman to choose when she has a child is one of the biggest economic decisions that a family can make. And for gay people who are living together and want to share the wealth and enjoy the benefits of marriage, the economic benefits of marriage, and to be denied that is a big economic issue. So trying to divide those from the economic issues is false.
MORGAN: I think that is a very good point. Thank you to all of you. Come back soon, please.
Next, another lively debate. The push to legalize pot is growing across America. I will get two very different takes on the marijuana debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am feeling amazing. This is the best day I've seen in my life. I want to end my hard work day smoking a joint instead of drinking. Like I want to be social without a hangover. And this is a good way to do it. Thank you. I love it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A very happy chap, but maybe a little too happy. Something extraordinary happened on Tuesday, as voters in Colorado and Washington State said yes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use. It's a stunning move and part of a drive across the country to make pot perfectly OK to smoke.
Joining me now is Brian Vincente, an attorney and campaign co- director for Colorado's Amendment 64, and former Obama drug policy advisor Kevin Sabet. Welcome to you both.
So Brian, why is this a good thing then, to legalize cannabis?
BRIAN VINCENTE, ATTORNEY: Sure. So what Colorado did was vote against the failed policy of marijuana prohibition and vote instead to move forward with a much more sensible policy, which is moving marijuana off the streets, putting it behind the counter, strictly regulating it, and taxing the heck out of it, making it for people 21 and older only.
In doing so, we are going to benefit massively in this state. We are going to bring in about 60 million dollars in new tax revenue in the first several years, every single year. And we are taking that money from cartels and the underground market. We are going to use it to build public schools.
So it's a very positive step forward. And Colorado has acknowledged that the war on drugs has failed. And it's time for a new approach.
MORGAN: OK. Kevin Sabet, why is it a terrible idea?
KEVIN SABET, FORMER OBAMA DRUG POLICY ADVISER: Well, I think legalization is really an extreme answer. We bring up some legitimate questions about the underground market and incarceration. And I don't think anybody wants to necessarily throw people in jail for smoking marijuana. But the issue is legalization isn't going to do these things that are being promised.
I mean, I'm still waiting for the lottery to save public education and for alcohol taxes to pay for the cost that alcohol brings to society. The math doesn't work. Frankly, the law might have changed in Colorado, but the science hasn't changed. The science still says that kids who start to smoke marijuana, one in six of them will be addicted, according to the National Institute of Health.
We know that marijuana increases car crash risk. The British Medical Journal just reported that. Mental illness, on and on. So it's obviously not as harmful as cocaine or heroin. This isn't about "Reefer Madness." But to go to such an extreme policy as saying we want to legalize it and have it more available and more normalized I think is a bit over the top.
MORGAN: Tell me one thing, though, that is worse with cannabis than alcohol in relation to the effect? If you overdo alcohol, if you're a young person, for example?
SABET: I think they're very different. Actually alcohol has absolutely no connection in terms of the IQ loss and learning and memory, which we just learned from the most comprehensive study -- they have done it in cohort in New Zealand, that followed over 1,000 people for 30 years and found that people who smoked marijuana regularly before they turned age 18 had eight fewer IQ points than those who didn't smoke by the time they were in their mid 30s.
MORGAN: What about -- OK, OK. Let me jump in. What about those who drank heavily from the age of 13, for example? They would suffer similar issues, wouldn't they?
SABET: Some similar --
SABET: Some worse and some not there. The point is they're both not, frankly, healthy for young people in society. Now we have a black market, which will exclusively target young people because it's going to be legal for those over 21.
MORGAN: The point -- let me bring in Brian Vincente again. The point, though, is if you regulate it like alcohol and you tax it like alcohol, you have a better form of control over it. Isn't that the argument?
VINCENTE: That's absolutely true. We know one thing. Marijuana prohibition has been a massive failure. It has not worked by any measure. It's been incredibly costly. And it's ruined many, many Americans' lives by giving them drug convictions and making it tougher to get jobs or even putting them in jail.
So we know that if we get marijuana off the streets and we can tax it, use that money for positive purposes, take it away from cartels, our state will be better off. Washington and Colorado have decided to move forward to a new approach and end the failed policy of prohibition. Marijuana prohibition didn't work any better than alcohol prohibition.
MORGAN: I mean, Kevin Sabet, some of these costs involved, you know, 853,000 arrests for cannabis related violations in 2010. Really? Isn't it a waste of law enforcement finances and resources?
SABET: Well, first of all, I'm not saying to jail marijuana users. So it's a red herring to bring that out. But for the arrests, we can actually arrest and do it in a way where it doesn't follow somebody for their whole life. They can get a job. But, Piers, do you know what the arrest rate for alcohol was last year, which was supposedly a legal drug? Two point six million a year. And that's because alcohol is heavily advertised. It's commercialized. And it's available and normal. When we normalize marijuana, we bring it more into society.
In fact, big tobacco is ready to pounce on this. Big tobacco --
SABET: There's no need to do that.
VINCENTE: You know as well as anyone that zero people have died from marijuana overdoses in history; 30,000 people die every year from alcohol overdoses. This not fair. These laws are hypocritical. We're criminalizing adults from using a fundamentally safer substance.
SABET: I'm not saying necessarily criminalize adults. What I am saying, though, death isn't the only outcome here that we're worried about. We're worried about other things in terms of the learning issues I talk about, frankly, in terms of employability. We're worried about things like drugged driving. We're worried about mental illness.
So death isn't the only consequence. Look, Brian, I'm not saying that an adult should be locked up or needs to be criminalized to the point where they can't get a job or access social benefits. But let's make our laws work better as opposed to prohibition or legalization on the other side.
MORGAN: Gentlemen, I have got to wrap it up there. Actually a fascinating debate. There are good arguments on both sides. You have to feel the wind is behind the legalization law. And this debate will I'm sure rage over the next few months. Thank you both very much.
SABET: Thanks, Piers.
VINCENTE: Absolutely, thank you.
MORGAN: Coming next, Mark Kelly speaks out on coming face to face with the man who tried to kill his wife, Gabby Giffords. A very emotional interview, coming next.
MORGAN: Jared Loughner was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole today. He sat silently in a Tucson courtroom as eight survivors and their loved ones told him exactly how they feel about what he did on that day in January 2011, the day he shot and killed six people and wounded 13 others, including then Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Her husband, Mark Kelly was there.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MORGAN: Mark, how did you feel, you and Gabby, being in a courtroom with Jared Loughner. Obviously, the only time that she had ever come anywhere near him was the day that he shot her point blank in the head. You had never seen him before. What were the feelings?
MARK KELLY, HUSBAND OF FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN GABBY GIFFORDS: It was certainly a little stressful. It was tense, especially when he walked into the room, you know, when he responded to the judge. You know, after a while, it got to settle down a little bit. But just sitting there for all the other victim impact statements was really a tough thing.
Gabby said afterwards, you know, for her, the biggest emotion was just sadness, you know, to hear story after story of what the impact of this horrible day had on people. It was really difficult.
MORGAN: He's obviously been sentenced to life without parole. He will never come out. You both said that you felt you were done with him. What did you mean by that?
KELLY: I mean it's time to move on. Obviously we're talking about this now. And over the next couple of days, I'm sure it will come up. But our long-term plan is to look forward, try to make the best out of every day, and not think back to January 8th and what that meant. We all need to move on.
The judge said today that this isn't exactly closure. He said -- you know, I think he put it well. He said this is resolution of a horrible event. And, you know, I agree with him.
MORGAN: You were very strong about gun control. You felt it being kind of an abrogation I guess of responsibility by leaders, political leaders about the issue of gun control. And I -- certainly something I feel very strongly, having been at CNN now for nearly two years and witnessed a number of outrages, and no apparent desire by any political leaders to do anything really meaningful about them.
KELLY: Yeah, it's -- it's really unfortunate that somebody won't, you know, take -- take the lead on this issue. Gabby and I are both gun owners. We're supporters of the Second Amendment. But I don't really believe that extends to high-capacity magazines and extends to making it so easy to buy a gun in this country, especially in the state of Arizona.
You know, when -- you know, after Columbine and after Virginia Tech and what happens in Tucson, there was certainly the opportunity for our elected leaders to try to do something about this. And what happened in Arizona, after January 8th of 2011, what we got out of the state government was some pretty -- you know, statements that were very insensitive, exactly the opposite of what you might expect.
I mean, this -- I think everybody would agree that we have a problem. At least most people would. And we elect leaders to try to address those problems. And this problem really hasn't been addressed sufficiently. MORGAN: Barack Obama has just got a second term, and he now has four years. He doesn't have to worry about being re-elected again. He has previously indicated he would bring in some tougher gun controls. Do you think now is the time, now that he has got another four-year term, to really do something really meaningful?
KELLY: Well, he certainly has a lot on his plate, you know, with the economy and the situation we have, the approaching fiscal cliff. There is a lot of issues he is going to have to address. I hope not only the president, but Congress at some point here and state legislatures address this problem.
MORGAN: Mark Kelly, a hard day for and you your wife. The courage of your wife and, indeed, yourself continues to inspire a lot of people. So thank you for joining me tonight. I appreciate it.
KELLY: You're very welcome, Piers. Thanks for having me on.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Tomorrow night, a rare double act, Jesse Ventura and Sir Roger Moore, 007 himself.