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Top 5 Things America is Talking About

Aired December 5, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight the top five things that America is talking about. Number one, peace, love and mutual understanding.

Yes, right. Not in Washington.



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We can't sit here and negotiate with ourselves.


MORGAN: Number two the 911 call when Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kasandra, stay with me.


MORGAN: Number three, Bob Costas. Did he cross the line. Number four, a photo that shocked the world. Number five, the most outrageous royal prank ever.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, there. Could I please speak to Kate, please, my granddaughter?


MORGAN: Tonight I'll talk about all that with my guests from Washington to Wall Street.


Good evening. Our big story tonight and what every one is talking about. From Washington's high stakes game of let's not make a deal the royal prank call heard around the world. Plus Bob Costas speaking out again about guns. And this shocking New York subway photograph. Plus we'll get into those reports of potential chemical weapons in Syria.

It's all on the table tonight. Let's get started with "Battleground America" and what promises to be a very lively discussion.

Abby Huntsman, daughter of former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and a host of "HuffPost Live," Carol Roth, business strategist and author of "The Entrepreneur Equation," and lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

Welcome to you all. Let's start with guns and the fallout of the murder and suicide of Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend.

Bob Costas from NBC spoke out about this and has again spoken out tonight on FOX. Let's watch what he said tonight.


BOB COSTAS, NBC SPORTSCASTER: I believe that there should be more comprehensive and effective controls on the sale of guns. Roughly 40 percent of the guns purchased in this country do not require a background check for purchasing. I don't see any reason why someone should be able to purchase military style artillery and body armor and automatic weapons. Only the police or the military should have that.


MORGAN: Let's start with Carol Roth, because you've been giving me some hammer on Twitter about all this. And you're a big gun fan. Explain to me why Bob Costas is wrong.

CAROL ROTH, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, NY TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: I think what it boils down to is the ability to protect yourself, Piers. If you look at what is happening right now in Syria with the threat of chemical weapons, the only reason why they're not going to use it is because somebody else has a credible threat, such as the U.S., of using a similar weapon.

As a gun owner, you want to be able to protect yourself. If you are somebody who is damaged, who is at a point where you don't care about life enough that you are willing to take somebody else's life, then what that comes down to is that that person is not going to obey the gun laws. It's as simple as that. They're going to find a way --

MORGAN: OK. I think --

ROTH: -- to find a gun or to find another weapon.

MORGAN: I've heard some stretches in my time.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAWYER: That is so ridiculous.

MORGAN: But stretching from Jovan Belcher and a shooting to Syria and chemical weapons seems a bit of a stretch.

Alan Dershowitz?


DERSHOWITZ: Well, you know, the implications of that is that every American should have access to chemical weapons, to nuclear weapons. It is just so absurd it will result in an escalation of weapon ownership.

Look at Europe, look at Japan, look at the rest of the world. We are way, way out there. We have the highest murder rate in the world that hasn't protected us. It has resulted in arguments that should have a consequence of maybe a slap in the face, resulting in a bullet through the heart. In resulted in a double murder in this case. A murder-suicide. Guns just don't protect.

ROTH: No, no, no. This is about personal responsibility.

DERSHOWITZ: They cause suicide. Yes, it's about personal responsibility.

MORGAN: OK, let me bring in -- let me bring in --


MORGAN: I can promise you I'll be back to you, Carol.

But, Abby, here's what they say to me. Because I always say, look, about a big (INAUDIBLE) on Twitter, then join in today if you want to take part, @PiersMorgan. Let me know your views. Good, bad, I've had it all. But try to keep a debate going because I've been on air now nearly two years in CNN. In that time a series of gun outrage. And each time it's the same debate and nothing gets done about it.

Meanwhile, you now have 300 million guns in circulation in America, and you have between 11,000 and 12,000 murders from guns a year. By comparison, Britain has about 35 to put into some kind of context, as does Germany, as does Australia. Japan has about one or two.

To countries that have strict gun control have very little gun murder.

What do you say then to America as you say, it makes me feel safe?

ABBY HUNTSMAN, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: I think Carol had it exactly right when we interrupted what she said. It's all about personal responsibility. I think that's the most important part of this whole conversation. And it's a difficult one. Obviously as we're seeing on Twitter no matter what people say, people are going to have an pinion about it.

I think what's so important, though, is to make sure that we don't disrespect our constitution. Our Second Amendment right, which was put in place because of -- as I said on Twitter, the crazy Brits like you, Piers Morgan, that they were -- wanted the American people to feel protected from the British at the time.

Times have changed since then. I don't think the founding fathers intended for assault weapons. For AK-47s to be walking around the streets. I don't think people should be able to go online and be able to buy guns. There should absolutely be rules in place, background checks, background checks absolutely.

But I think it's so important that we make sure we respect our constitution.


HUNTSMAN: Because our country is founded on these freedoms.

MORGAN: Well, yes, let me -- people think that I'm somehow anti- American because I want less Americans to be killed by guns. I'm not. And I totally respect the constitution, by the way. Absolutely.

What I don't respect is -- what I don't respect is the interpretation of the letter of the Second Amendment of the constitution which I think is being misused now to basically endorse everyone in America having an assault rifle. Alan Dershowitz?

DERSHOWITZ: Absolutely. Absolutely. The constitution talks about a well-regulated militia. It was talking about the power of the government not to take away guns from a well-regulated military. Yes, personal responsibility. And every American should exercise personal responsibility by refusing to have a gun in their home. By not putting their children at risk of suicide and murder. That's what kind of personal responsibility we should have.

Yes, people should be punished --


DERSHOWITZ: -- for their criminal conduct, but we shouldn't encourage criminal conduct by having guns available at flea markets to criminals and felons, and anybody who wants to owns a gun. If this football player Belcher hadn't had a gun there'd be two people alive today who are now dead. That's the reality.

ROTH: That is -- that is completely not true. If he is somebody who wanted to kill somebody, there are plenty of weapons including his fist, including a car, including a brick, including a bomb that can do it. If you take away the gun --

DERSHOWITZ: I'd rather be hit by a fist than by a gun.

ROTH: -- that intention is still there.

HUNTSMAN: Right. And to Carol's point --


ROTH: Well, you know what, you may be but I don't think --

DERSHOWITZ: But it's a fleeting intention. It lasts a minute.

ROTH: It is --

DERSHOWITZ: And if you have a gun it takes only a second.

ROTH: A fleeting -- that is -- first of all you're putting the words --

HUNTSMAN: To Carol's point, though --

MORGAN: OK. Abby first.

HUNTSMAN: To Carol's point, what she's saying it's not guns that kill people, it's people that kill people. So I think it is important to make sure we --

DERSHOWITZ: It's people with guns who kill people.

MORGAN: Yes, it is. It's a --

ROTH: No, no, no. No, no, no.


ROTH: Let's talk -- let's talk about England.

MORGAN: No. Carol, we're going to talk about something completely -- because we are moving. We've got a lot of topic come here. This debate will rage again because there will be more gun outrages. And my position will get more entrenched when they happen.

Let's move, though, to this "New York Post" front page, which -- it caused a lot of consternation yesterday. It was about a young guy who pushed somebody on to a tube track who then got killed on the subway. A shocking photograph. It raised a number of issues. One ethical. Should the photograph have taken the picture or should he had tried to help? He claimed today that he couldn't have helped even if he tried, it all happened too quickly.

Secondly, I guess, you know, what it says about subway system in America, about that kind of crime. What you do about it, Alan Dershowitz?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, first of all, the picture should have been published. Americans have a right to see tragedies unfolding before them. Second of all, nobody should fault anybody for not putting their own lives at risk. We might have had two or three dead people if somebody had tried to jump onto the track. Judge not lest you be judged.

And third of all about the subways, yes, I travel on the subways all the time. I don't think they're safe. I think people stand too close to the edge. I think people can easily push other people on the subway. We probably should have barriers and should have just areas where you can -- the fence opens as the door comes in.


DERSHOWITZ: We can do more to protect the subway and people.

MORGAN: OK. Carol Roth?

ROTH: All right. First, I'd like to point out that he was pushed into the -- into the subway platform by somebody who didn't have a gun but on top of that, I want to say something very serious here, Piers. Because there's not a lot of people know that about me. When I was a senior in college my boyfriend was killed in a car accident and I know the way that I felt at that moment.

And I cannot imagine how this poor man's family felt looking at that picture. And to me knowing how devastated I was only having seen the body to see his struggle for the last minutes of his life, to me, shows no respect for life. And I think it's morally reprehensible and it's reprehensible that the photographer sold it. And it's reprehensible that the "New York Post" ran it and that I personally think that nobody should buy the "New York Post" after that.

MORGAN: Well, we -- well, I like the "New York Post," and like I said, I used to edit a newspaper in Britain, not dissimilar to the "Post", the "Daily Mirror" for 10 years, and we had a big debate in our office yesterday about whether we should use that front page. In the end we didn't because I just felt like you did, that if you were that man's family, you're watching the second before he gets run over by a train.


HUNTSMAN: But it's not only about the photo, though. It's what they wrote on the cover. It says, "Doomed." This man is about to die. I mean there's nothing right about that photo or what they put on that cover. I think it's so disrespectful not only to the man that died but to his family.

I want to point out that obviously News Corp owns "The New York Post," as you know, they're not necessarily known for their ethics. I don't want to put you on the spot here, but you would think they'd go out of their way at a time like this to make sure they don't, you know, disrespect --

MORGAN: Well, their argument would be -- and I'm sure it is their argument -- is that every other form of media has now been running this same photograph in their front page. And there is a hypocrisy there. If you feel that strongly, don't use the damn thing.


DERSHOWITZ: Think about some of the greatest and most iconic photographs ever published. The photograph of the little boy with his hands up during the holocaust. The photograph of the girl about to be killed during the Vietnam War.

Photography is real life. And the public has the right to see the drama, the tragedy, the horrors, and newspapers have an obligation to report. We can debate the ethics, but the newspaper should put it out there and leave it to the public to decide whether to watch --


HUNTSMAN: But, Alan, those photos --

ROTH: I hope nobody has --

HUNTSMAN: -- are all about sending a message. You know, you see pictures of starving children in Africa. You're trying to send a message to the rest of the world and hopefully to raise money, raise awareness. What benefit did this photo have?

ROTH: And to mark history.

HUNTSMAN: What does this photo have any -- have any benefit for?

MORGAN: Well, this is the very debate that I'm sure is being had all over America because they had been used, as I say, by almost every other form of media now who are therefore repeating the apparent offense of running the original picture which is hypocritical if you take a view against it.

Turning to other offensive things, the fiscal cliff which is now beginning to be one of the great crashing balls in the history of world politics. Here's my point to you three. You're three bright Americans all involved in politics in some way or form.

The rest of the world finds this not only laughable but almost dangerously laughable that year in and year out now, it seems, Washington goes to these cliffs, plays games, doesn't get deals done. They're all thinking, what the hell is wrong with American politicians?

Alan Dershowitz, what is wrong with American politicians? Why can't they get around the table and negotiate properly?

DERSHOWITZ: Because all people care about is getting elected. Nobody is any longer a patriot who cares about the -- deeply cares about the future of America. Here we have America urging the Israelis to negotiate with the Palestinians, urging the Egyptians, the Syrians, everybody to negotiate, except us in Washington. We don't negotiate because our parties are so extreme.

Look, I'm clearly on one side of this. I'm a relatively wealthy person. I want to be paying more taxes. I want our taxes to go to serve the policies of the country -- education, charity, healthcare. I think that President Obama is right about this but I think compromise is going to be necessary --

MORGAN: OK. Let --

DERSHOWITZ: -- to achieve some result.

MORGAN: Let me bring in, Abby. I mean, your father is known as sort of more moderate Republican, a good dealmaker. A man who used to negotiate. Well, what do you make of this and what does he make of this?

HUNTSMAN: I think the morale is set so low right now on both sides. It is -- the country is so divided. But especially for my generation. I mean we're the ones that are going to be handed down this $16 trillion deficit. So it's really hard for us to watch this play out. But as you said this happens over and over again. They will come to some sort of a deal. What we're seeing now is a lot of political theater.

So you're going to see them come to a deal. It's probably going to look something very similar to the Simpson-Bowles so that'll come full circle once again. But --

MORGAN: But here's the thing, Carol. Want to bring you in here.

Here's the problem the Republicans have brought themselves into, is that Obama is being very clever here, I think, the president, because what he's done is skillfully sent it to the public, that if it goes over the fiscal cliff the Republicans are prepared to make the entire American middle class pay more tax to save 2 percent of the wealthiest Americans paying a little bit more. And that is a very bad position for the Republicans to find themselves in, isn't it?

DERSHOWITZ: And the polls support that.

ROTH: It certainly is -- it's a very bad position for them to find themselves in. Look, the fact of the matter is, it isn't true. That the -- raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans not only will not solve the problems, it doesn't even address the core problems. The core problems that we have, as Abby has pointed out, $16 trillion in national debt comes from government overspending and we have sluggish growth.

Raising the taxes on anybody whether it's the poor or the middle class or the wealthiest Americans doesn't solve the problem. And that's my point of frustration. Let's get in and figure out what the key problems are and solve those, instead of having the rhetoric and saying oh we need more revenue.

I made an analogy earlier to giving a kid more allowance. Once he spent it all and racked up credit card debt 6.4 times the amount you make each year. You would never give that kid more allowance.


MORGAN: What I love is the way they're all apparently about to go off in a long weekend, and also planning to have their Christmas holidays.

You know what I'd do? I'd stop paying them. I would freeze their pay. Anyway --

HUNTSMAN: Is that an option?

MORGAN: I'm just --


MORGAN: I created that option. That's what I would do and probably cane them as well.

Let's move on to something a little bit more trivial and yet very entertaining, if not not very nice for the victims. Listen to this tape.


UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: Hello, good morning. King Edward VII.

UNIDENTIFIED RADIO DJ: Oh, hello, there. Could I please speak to Kate, please? My granddaughter?

UNIDENTIFIED OPERATOR: Yes, just hold on, ma'am.


UNIDENTIFIED RADIO DJ: Are you putting us through?




MORGAN: I mean absolutely unbelievable. So Kate Middleton or the Duchess of Cambridge, as she is now, is in hospital with this obvious -- this morning sickness, having revealed she's pregnant, some dumb Aussie deejay rings up with this twang accent and they think it's the Queen of England. I mean I feel personally upfronting.

Alan Dershowitz, have you ever heard anything so ludicrous?

DERSHOWITZ: It's the worst imitation I've ever heard. And --

MORGAN: Ever. And they were yapping (INAUDIBLE) in the background.

HUNTSMAN: I thought it was you.


DERSHOWITZ: Look, deejays are allowed to be ridiculous and they're allowed to be funny. I don't think -- of all the problems in the world this is not the most serious one.

MORGAN: OK. Carol, quickly.

ROTH: Well, and obviously, they're not the ones that were so dumb because they didn't put the call through. They just tried and give them A for effort. The person who puts the call through, that's the one that --

(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: Now I don't blame -- I don't blame the nurse. I don't blame the nurse in talking to them because she'd been put through by the receptionist with the immortal words, the queen is on the phone. What's supposed to say? Should I be rude to her?

Abby, final word on this?

HUNTSMAN: I think it's pretty innocent and gave us all a laugh today so --

MORGAN: I would like them taken to the tower of London. Those deejays. That's what happen -- anyway, Abby Huntsman and Carol Roth and Alan Dershowitz, as always, thank you all very much indeed. A spirited lively debate.

DERSHOWITZ: Thank you.

MORGAN: That's -- we'll be right back. Let's do that.



HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Our concerns are the increasingly desperate Assad regime might turn to chemical weapons, or might lose control of them to one of the many groups that are now operating within Syria.


MORGAN: Secretary of State Clinton's concern may be turning into a reality tonight. NBC reports that Syria is loading its bombs with chemical weapons. Also including sarin gas, a very disturbing development.

Joining us tonight is "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof who's back from Syria and Larry Kudlow of CNBC's "The Kudlow Report."

Welcome to you both. This is pretty serious, isn't it, Nick? You've just been in Syria. Is it actually news in the sense that this is the first we've heard of this or are the Pentagon do you think now briefing this is a reality?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: Well, there have been reports already that Syria has weaponized its sarin, it's a nerve gas, already into Scud missiles, into artillery, and in the bombs. And these have been going on for, in fact, I noticed that CNN two days reported something similar. But there seem to be more of these reports that the chemicals for nerve gas are being united. Normally they are stored separately to keep them safe. And there seems to be more of these reports of mixing, which is pretty troubling. Which is pretty alarming.

MORGAN: Larry Kudlow, here's my problem. I remember covering back in Britain, the Iraq war buildup. And we had almost exactly the same pattern. You know, bad guy has chemical weapons about to use them on his people. We have to do something. Turned out to be a load of twaddle.

How do we know this intelligence is true?

LARRY KUDLOW, CNBC'S "THE KUDLOW REPORT": Well, I suppose we don't know. I mean there's a lot of reporting now, either true or false, and I don't know near as much as Nick does on this topic. But there's a lot of reporting that these chemical weapons of mass destruction came in nearly in 2000s. Came in in 2003, 2004 with the assistance of the Russians.

OK, I can't verify that. I don't know that anyone could verify that as being reported. I talk to Jim Miklaszewski from NBC News tonight at the top of our show on CNBC. I asked him specifically because of the president's red line doctrine, was there any or is there any movement of these weapons, because I basically agree with what Nick said, they've been there and they've been attacked. Was there movement because movement would be a very dangerous thing.

MORGAN: And what did he say?

KUDLOW: He said, no, not yet. That's what Nick said. Movement I think implies that we're going to send some kind of aircraft into hit them if not drones --


MORGAN: Well, the red line, Nick, has been very specifically drawn. If Assad tries to use chemical weapons on his people America will do something. The question is, twofold, one is Assad likely to do this as one last hurrah, and secondly, what will America actually do if it comes to it?

KRISTOF: First of all, I just don't think that we're being duped by the administration. There's a big from 2003 in Iraq and there, the Bush administration was eager to go into Iraq. These days, it's the last thing the Obama administration wants to do is go into Iraq.

In terms of will Syria actually use them, I don't think we really have any idea. What we do know is they're not really useful militarily in -- they're not going to help Assad's troops. They're helpful in a negotiation maybe, about getting them out, it's hard to see how they advance his cause.

MORGAN: Also, I mean Assad would face a complete obliteration if he tried to do this, where as other reports say he wants to get out some sort of asylum in, you know, Venezuela or wherever. He's clearly -- he's not a stupid man. Why would he risk the wrath of the world descending on him over such an action?

KRISTOF: It's hard to see how it is possibly advances his cause except as part of a negotiation. If you're trying to get a better deal for your family, then, you know, then maybe it's useful.

KUDLOW: With this create internal coup with his so-called -- I mean, I agree with you. No sane person. I don't now how sane this guy is or not. And what he's done in these latest -- I mean he's killing his own -- he's butchering his own people left and right.

When does the internal coup? When do the colonels come after him to use a Latin phrase?

KRISTOF: I don't think that happens. The Alawite, if anything, I think Assad e may be in a sense a prisoner of the security establishment. So I don't think that he's going to be pushed aside by his aides.


KUDLOW: When do the NATO -- when do the NATO forces and NATO troops come in? Has to happen? This is a situation --

KRISTOF: I don't think they're going to go in on the ground. I think we're going to see Patriot missiles in Turkey. We may see other help -- intelligence assistance for the rebels, more weapons for the rebels. We're going to see NATO troops on the ground in Syria.

MORGAN: Well, the (INAUDIBLE) it's going to be an interesting few weeks, I think.

Let's move quickly to Egypt. A lot of difficult scenarios there developing with President Morsi apparently showing a few traits of Mubarak with this kind of executive orders he's giving himself.

Did he need to do this and what is the fallout going to be here?


MORGAN: Because the big protest all through Cairo and other parts of Egypt erupted today.

KRISTOF: Yes, he blew it. Morsi blew it. Fist of all by his grab for power from the judges. And then he compounded that today by allowing his people, the Muslim Brotherhood, to go out and crack heads. And several people appeared to have been killed. He has made things worse for himself.

Now, but that said, this is the first inning in a long game. I noticed the stock market actually rose today notwithstanding this, so I think this was a bad sign for Morsi, but I wouldn't make too much of it.

MORGAN: Quick question on this, Larry, before we go to a break. The Arab Spring.

KUDLOW: Right.

MORGAN: Promised so much.

KUDLOW: Right.

MORGAN: How are you feeling about it now?

KUDLOW: That's the tragedy. And I was in favor of the Arab Spring. That's a tragedy. And, you know, this whole Morsi story, this guy appears to not be a democrat, small D. This guy appears to be have dictatorial instincts, this guy appears to be moving towards Sharia law rather than a secular state. I mean Egypt was a great secular Muslim country. Say what you will about Mubarak. This guy seems to be moving back towards this jihadist, religious, very far out notions of the Muslim Brotherhood. And I think it's going to end in no good.

I mean, they are coming to tear the pelts down. He's running out the backdoor. What does that tell you?


MORGAN: It's not good.

KUDLOW: That doesn't tell me it's good. That doesn't tell me it has much potential.

MORGAN: Well, it tells me it's dysfunctional and we need to (INAUDIBLE) that. Which leave me neatly to a commercial. Let me come back and talk about our own political system of dysfunctional people in Washington, D.C. and this fiscal cliff.



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: This week, we made a good faith offer to avert the fiscal crisis. Now we need a response from the White House. We can't sit here and negotiate with ourselves.


MORGAN: House Speaker Boehner saying that to President Obama and the Democrats to save you from paying higher taxes. But is that the truth? Back with my now is Nick Kristof and Larry Kudlow. The show "The Kudlow Report" is on cNBC week nights at 7:00.

This fiscal cliff thing, I was saying with the panel earlier, the problem for the Republicans, Larry, is that they have been boxed in by the Democrats and the president into a very difficult position, where all the polls confirm that the public in America now believe that the reason that the -- that President Obama is going to win this debate with them is because come the fiscal cliff moment, if it goes over, Republicans are letting middle class Americans be taxed higher to save the backsides of the two percent of wealthiest Americans. That's a nightmare politically.

KUDLOW: Speaking as a Reagan conservative, I must admit I rather agree with you. I probably shouldn't, but I do. I think that divided government is very difficult and there's some principles that Speaker Boehner is fighting for with which I actually agree. But I think politically the risk here for the GOP is that they become the party of rich people and that they give up the middle class to the Democrats.

And I think you saw some of that in the presidential election. I don't think that is their intent. I actually think their tax reform intent is quite sound. But the way this is playing out, I think that's a big risk for them.

MORGAN: It's almost further. They are becoming the party of rich white older men, is what it seems to me. I mean, you can't think of any other section of American community that right now is thinking the Republican party is for me. This can't be a good place for them to find themselves.

KRISTOF: I think that is why the politics of this are -- make it quite possible to go over the cliff, because I think the Democrats see precisely that, that if we go over the cliff, the Republicans get blamed. So there's not exactly an intent to go over, but the costs may not be so great, political costs.

Meanwhile. I think many of the Republicans -- what they worry about is not being blamed by the Democrats, but it's about a primary contender from within the Republican field. And they're not going to -- so that doesn't mean that they are obliged to stop this. So I'm afraid the politics will make it a little harder.

MORGAN: Right. And Larry, here is the problem for John Boehner, isn't it? It's that his own party is split. We're now seeing splinter groups coming out, senators, governors, congressmen, all saying, you know what, I'm prepared to go for a few more taxes.

KUDLOW: From both sides. From both sides, very interesting. And on this I'm prepared to go for more taxes, not exactly. This is one of the things that interests me and may prolong the negotiations. There is a lot of people in the Republican party and the Democratic party, particularly in the Senate, who have said look, 250,000 dollars is not really a rich man. It may be a rich man in Lincoln, Nebraska, but it is not a rich person in New York City or in Los Angeles or some such thing.

And therefore, the rates, the tax rates which they want to go from 35 percent to 39.6, maybe you are going to have to raise the threshold to 500,000 or 600,000 or 700,000 dollars to get a deal. Maybe you are not going to be able to go all the way to 39.6. Maybe you can only go to 37 or 38 percent.

MORGAN: But this is what I would call --

KUDLOW: This is what's happening.

MORGAN: This is negotiation.


MORGAN: I had Newt Gingrich on last night. Now he obviously shut down the government when he was speaker against Bill Clinton. But in the second term, the president's second term, they really did get stuff done. And I remember both of them telling me separately, they used to basically throw all the advisers out of the room, mano to mano, get it done. What worries me, Nick, about this Boehner/Obama relationship, it seems like almost it's nonexistent. They can't shake hands at a party, for goodness sake.

KRISTOF: Yes. I must say that in many ways I blame the Republicans for not really coming up with a real deal, not recognizing what the voters did. But at the same time, I also think that Obama has been very, very poor at applying the personal charm and chemistry that presidents can, dragging people off to Camp David. And we don't know whether or not that would work. But he hasn't tried it.

And when a government budget is at stake...

MORGAN: And Larry, the Republicans clearly did feel -- they did feel offended by President Obama's last offer. They felt like it was so outrageous that it was offensive.

KUDLOW: It was outrageous. I mean, it was a gigantic tax increase that was double what they saw last year, 1.6 trillion. It actually had spending increases, rather than spending cuts. And it wanted to have Congress lose its role in terms of increasing the debt ceiling. That's just not going to happen.

In fact, none of that is probably going to happen. And I think to Nick's point, it is a good point. If you go back and look, I worked for Reagan years ago. Reagan and Tip O'Neill would sit and work together. I'm not saying they'd do every detail.

MORGAN: The same as Gingrich and Clinton, the same thing.

KUDLOW: And Clinton and Gingrich evolved into that kind of relationship. And I must say the president has done a poor job. He did a poor job last year and he's done a poor job this year. Look, a couple of days -- what was it, two days after the election, Boehner came up with a tax revenue plan, very controversial in his party. He said let's cap deductions and loopholes and leave the rates alone, because that helps growth.

Now that was 800 billion dollars. It shocked a lot of Republicans. And he got nothing. He got nothing from Obama. And I think that started the bad blood. And I think the president should have --

MORGAN: I think it's a fair point. I think they both have to learn the art of negotiation.

KUDLOW: I mean, we haven't heard from Democrats in the Senate. I'm going to guarantee you that the Democrats in the Senate are going to be split on this business of who is rich and what the right tax rates are going to be.

MORGAN: I've got to leave it there, chaps. Nick, Larry, thank you both very much indeed.

Coming up next, Kerry Kennedy joins me to talk live about fame, family, politics, and perhaps most importantly of all, Taylor Swift. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Kerry Kennedy has been in the public eye for decades. The daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, she grabs headlines and gets our attention, especially with the causes close to her heart. She's the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights and joins me now. Welcome to you.


MORGAN: Very nice to finally meet you. Human rights issues exploding all over the world at the moment, not least of which in Syria, with over 40,000 people being killed there. Regardless of anything else, it is a huge human rights and humanitarian issue. What should America be doing that it's not, do you think?

KENNEDY: Well, I think -- you know, I think that Hillary Clinton has made a very, very strong statement today. And of course you see with the -- with what happened in Congress yesterday, the lack of support in the United States Senate for the U.N. But the U.N. process really has to go forward and has to be the leader on Syria.

MORGAN: I just don't think it's helpful to America when so many senior politicians trash the U.N. You know, it's the United Nations. And actually it's better for America if the United Nations picks up a lot of the work on the ground in these places.

KENNEDY: Absolutely. You're absolutely right. But, you know, these -- there are human rights abuses that are exploding all over the world. And one that we're working very hard on right now is in Uganda. Of course, there is an anti-homosexuality bill that would make homosexual acts punishable by the death penalty.

MORGAN: Completely outrageous.

KENNEDY: It is. And the speaker of the house there has said she's going to deliver this bill as a Christmas present. So we have two and a half weeks to stop that bill right now.

MORGAN: It's just absolutely disgusting, isn't it?

KENNEDY: No, it certainly is. And as people across this state -- here we are in New York State. You don't need a passport to work on human rights. Right here we are working on the farm worker's bill. In New York State, farm workers don't have the right to a day off per week, don't have the right to overtime pay, don't have the right to form a union. They can be fired.

So there's plenty of work to do here as well.

MORGAN: Tell me this, as a Kennedy -- I've interviewed quite a few Kennedys since I've been on air. And you're all great people from this great family. What do you make of what is going on in Washington, with this ludicrous kind of paralyzing of any kind of sensible debate? Because it's something the Kennedys -- the clan generally were good negotiators. They get stuff done. They wouldn't just tolerate just years of endless nonsense like this.

KENNEDY: Well, you know, I think it is very, very hard with the Tea Party, because that's a group of people who came to Washington to destroy it. I mean, they were very, very clear about that. And I think President Obama is doing his very, very best.

And the American people have spoken in the last election. We want change. So you know, I think everybody missed Teddy. And the great thing about Teddy is that he really was great friends with people on both sides of the aisle. And it's a lot easier to negotiate with somebody who you like.

MORGAN: I think the president should play more golf with John Boehner. He played 160 times in his last term and played one game with him, I think, if that.

Let's turn to more cheery matters. The RFK Center is doing a celebrity auction to raise money to help people around the world. Now tell me about this, because there's some glittering prizes.

KENNEDY: Well, first of all, I'm bidding on you.

MORGAN: I know. I know. I'm one of the prizes.

KENNEDY: You are a prize.

MORGAN: So you can go to www dot charitybuzz dot com, search Piers, and the current bid is 750 dollars. And this is to bring four people to this studio for a VIP experience.

KENNEDY: And how about that? Now you've got a lot of competition, because Anderson Cooper is up there too.

MORGAN: Is he getting more than me?

KENNEDY: We'll have to check that out.

MORGAN: I will not be happy if he beats me. So if you are watching, get out there and get on that website and bid higher. I'll give you whatever you like. You have a pint of beer, a cup of tea, whatever you like. There is also meet and take a photo with President Bill Clinton, a fantastic prize, a signed Taylor Swift guitar.

KENNEDY: Yes, how about that. Yes, absolutely. And how about this, fly fishing with Paul Volcker. If you do that, you can afford to buy all these other auction items.

MORGAN: Fantastic. It is a great cause. People should get on there. I say it again, www dot charitybuzz dot com. I've got to beat Anderson Cooper.

Let's finally come to this car accident you had, because it was a strange case where you had taken an Ambien sleeping pill in the morning.

KENNEDY: That's right. I reached for my thyroid medication and I just picked up the wrong pills. So I took it at 7:30 in the morning. And you know, I did just what Tom Brokaw did, took the wrong pills. Unfortunately, I was on my way to the gym, got into the car, got into a car accident.

But there was no alcohol in my blood. And that is what happened.

MORGAN: You got the court case in January.

KENNEDY: Yes, exactly. coming up. .

MORGAN: Good luck with that.

KENNEDY: Thank you.

MORGAN: Let's talk once more about Taylor Swift before you go, because she's the hot woman of the moment, not least because she's dating a British rock star, Harry Styles. She was honored at the RFK Center's gala on Monday. .

KENNEDY: She was. And incidentally, you can get One Direction tickets, too, on the --

MORGAN: Wow. Well, that's the hot one. That is the hot one. Is she nice, Taylor Swift?

KENNEDY: So fantastic. I mean, such an amazing, amazing woman. She spoke. She gave about a 20 minute speech, sang four songs the other night. But was really very, very deep, very moving and a wonderful role model.

MORGAN: Good. Good for her. Unfortunately, she is the most hated woman in Britain thanks to her fling with Harry Styles.

KENNEDY: My daughter is very unhappy with her right now.

MORGAN: Very nice to see you. Thanks for coming in.

Coming next, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on everything from America's economy to the royal baby, to his own very personal mission about child labor.


MORGAN: Gordon Brown is making it his mission to stop what he calls the new slavery, millions of children around the world forced to work at shockingly young ages. The former British prime minister is now serving as the U.N. special envoy for global education. And he joins me now.

Welcome to you, Gordon.


MORGAN: This is a really disturbing report; 215 million children globally are believed to be at work, of which 15 million of the 61 million who don't go to school are child laborers. You, amid your horror, have come up with some possible solutions. Tell me what you think we should be doing about this.

BROWN: Well, I think we should ban child labor for young children. And I think we should get these children to school. And we are exposing this week is something quite intolerable, that we've got young children in India who have been discovered making Christmas decorations, Christmas presents, Christmas gifts.

They have been incarcerated in dark rooms without any sunlight, without any fresh air, not being fed properly, lacerating cuts because they've been working with glass. And this is all to feed the Christmas trade through the exploitation of children. I don't think there's a parent in America or around the world that would want to be buying Christmas presents that were made by the exploitation of children as young as eight and nine.

And we have got to do something about it. So we've got to have the laws. We've got to have the policing of the laws. But we've also got to insist that the children are able to go to school. And we've got to provide the teachers and the books and the classrooms for that.

MORGAN: When we talk about these Christmas presents, which obviously there are a lot made in China, in India and other places, that flood into America and to Europe, what responsibility do businesses have that sell these products to try and find out what is going on at the origin or them, in terms of these sweat shops with these young kids?

BROWN: Well, you know, Piers, good businesses will be checking the supply chain. So they will be pretty sure where the goods are coming from. But businesses have got to recheck, I think, now that we know that this Christmas trade is being done. They've got to ask about who is the supplier. They have to check whether the suppliers are using child labor. And they've got to monitor the conditions.

So there has to be a combined effort from the companies themselves and from the governments of individual countries where we know child labor is being practiced. We managed, with the help of the Global March Against Child Labor, an Indian campaign, to get these children released from what was effectively slavery and bondage. They had been trafficked into that trade, sold by relatives or by friends of the family into being slaves.

And we need great vigilance on the part of individual governments throughout the world about what's happening in their countries. I think people will be very disturbed that this is, I'm afraid, the tragic Christmas story of 2012.

MORGAN: India, obviously, is an emerging superpower, and in many ways has great and growing economic strength. How much do they take this kind of thing seriously? And what pressure should countries, perhaps like America, be putting on countries like India to be dealing with this child labor issue?

BROWN: India at the moment has no law that bans child labor completely. It has a law-banning hazardous law. There is legislature that is going before the Indian parliament. It has not yet been heard by the Indian parliament and passed by the Indian parliament. I think before Christmas -- and the parliament sits to December the 20th, the Indian parliament should be pressurized by the rest of the world.

Go to the website www dot educationenvoy dot org, sign the petition and ask the Indian parliament to pass legislation immediately so that no child under 14 will be in any form of child labor, and there will be very strict rules about children over the age of 14 to 18 being involved in different kinds of work. I think the least we can do is persuade the Indian parliament to pass this legislation immediately.

MORGAN: This segues slightly to this incredibly brave young Pakistani girl, Malala. I know you've been very heavily involved in her story. You've actually been out to Pakistan to show your support for her. What can we do about the treatment of young people like her that are being victimized by the Taliban, by other organizations like that, to try to protect them going forward?

BROWN: You've got remember, Malala was shot simply because she wanted to go to school. Here was the Taliban trying to send a message to every other children that they should not expect to go to school. What's been remarkable is the rising opinion in Pakistan itself, where people who used to be the silent majority -- and I met them -- are now saying, we will not accept these dictates by the Taliban that prevent children going to schools.

I think as long as there are girls who are not at school around the world, Malala will become the symbol of a girl's right to education.

MORGAN: Well said. If I could end, Gordon, with a couple of contemporary issues, one here and one back in our homeland. First one is the fiscal cliff. You're one of the keener economic minds in Great Britain. What do you make of what's happening in America? Because the old expression, if America sneezes, we all catch a cold back in Europe, it's as true as ever.

What do you think should be happening here to try and get a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff happening?

BROWN: I have no doubt that people are working very hard to get a deal. I wish their discussions well. Now we have the president re- elected and we have a new Congress. I think it's right that they get down to the business of sorting this out.

You know, I think America's got to think that what it needs to do is get growth in its economy as well. And it needs to get growth by trade and exporting. I think what we're missing at the moment is a global agreement whereby the big powers try to rebuild confidence in the world economy.

So yes, you have to sort out the fiscal problems. But yes, you also have to have growth, because that's the key to employment and to prosperity for the future. And there's a global deal waiting to be done with China, Europe, India also involved in this, and of course America itself, where we could build the confidence that is necessary to get higher levels of growth around the world.

MORGAN: Finally, Gordon Brown, I couldn't let you go without asking your view of the biggest single news story to have hit the planet in the last week. That is, of course, the royal baby.

BROWN: It's incredibly important that we give them the privacy because her health is a massive issue. But you can see that Britain thinks of -- we have a monarchy that you can see, Prince Charles and Prince William and then the baby that is -- comes from the pregnancy -- you can see the monarchy stretching 100 years ahead.

MORGAN: You certainly can. And long may they stretch. Gordon Brown, great pleasure talking to you. Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: And we'll be right back.


MORGAN: Tomorrow night, the return of one of my all-time favorite guests, the outspoken and entertaining Alec Baldwin. He'll be here live talking about everything from politics to married life, the fate of his "30 Rock" character, the great Jack Donaghy. Alec Baldwin live tomorrow night. That's all for us tonight, "AC 360" starts now.