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Susan Rice Drops Out of Running for Secretary of State; Being the Son of Warren Buffett

Aired December 13, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, team Obama takes a big hit. Susan Rice drops out of the running for secretary of state after a bruising battle with critics like John McCain.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: She not only gave wrong information, but she gave the party line.


MORGAN: Now is John Kerry a lock for state?

And the other big late story in Washington, Speaker Boehner goes to the White House. How close are they now to a deal?

Rudolph Giuliani is here to say a lot about these things. I'll also ask him if America is getting more dangerous in the wake of some very shocking high-profile gun crime.

Plus, he was known as one of the West Memphis Three, now Damien Echols is adjusting to life as a free man.


DAMIEN ECHOLS, WAS SENTENCED TO DEATH: I was in a state of extreme shock and trauma.


MORGAN: And how he survived 18 years on death row.


ECHOLS: It's absolutely nightmarish.



Good evening. You're looking live at the White House where President Obama has had one of those win some, lose some kind of days. The president and Speaker John Boehner met for 50 minutes in the Oval Office, a meeting that's being called frank, which basically translates to no deal yet. But the good news was, quote, the lines of communication remain open.

Meanwhile, the bad news for the president, Ambassador Susan Rice withdrawing today from the short list to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Listen to what she told NBC News earlier.


SUSAN RICE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I withdrew my name because I think it's the right thing for the country and I think it's the right thing for the president. And putting those things together, that makes it the right thing for me and my family.


MORGAN: And now to talk about all this is a perfect really, Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy, you've been pretty vocal about Susan Rice. Were you surprised in the end that she fell on her sword today?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Not at all. In fact I don't see that as bad news for the president. I see that kind of as good news for the president, because a battle to get her confirmed would have offered the perfect opportunity to open up this whole Benghazi thing, where no answers have yet been given.

MORGAN: You were on television with her.

GIULIANI: I was, I was.

MORGAN: On that fateful morning on --

GIULIANI: I was on the Candy Crowley show when she appeared, right here in this building. Watched it, had my little pad in front of me. When she said it -- honestly, when she said it, I uttered an expression I can't repeat on television. It starts with a B. Bull --

MORGAN: You didn't believe it?

GIULIANI: I didn't believe it because here you had an attack with rocket-propelled hand grenades, mortars, very well executed, very well prepared. Maybe I was a little more sensitive to it because it was on the anniversary of September 11th. I had just come from a dinner the night before with all the people that survived September 11th with me.

And I said to myself, is this woman out of her mind? I mean, w is she talking about? A spontaneous attack? Did somebody give her that? And this idea that she just read the notes. Well, I mean, how can you be secretary of state --

MORGAN: Well, here --

GIULIANI: -- if you just -- if you just read the notes. Don't you -- don't you exercise some intelligence about this? MORGAN: Here's what she said. In an op-ed piece in the "Washington Post" and it's running online tonight and appears tomorrow. She says these unclassified points that she received were consistent with the classified assessments I received as a senior policymaker. I have never sought in any way, shape or form to mislead the American public. To do so would run counter to my character and my life of public service. In recent weeks, new lines of attack have been raised to malign my character and my career.

The significance of that, is it, with all the General Petraeus confusion --

GIULIANI: Right. Right.

MORGAN: There was an implication that perhaps she had withheld classified information for national security reasons.


MORGAN: Which was the bit that had linked to possible al Qaeda involvement. She's making it pretty clear, though, that all the intelligence she received, classified or unclassified, was consistent. Therefore, we have to assume did not say this is likely to have been an al Qaeda-related attack.

GIULIANI: And she demonstrates she's a reader of notes and not an analyzer of events. I mean, what we want --

MORGAN: What was her job that day, Rudy, to be fair?

GIULIANI: Common sense. They gave her a story that didn't meet the smell test. A strong person says garbage, I'm not going to repeat it. I'm sorry. I have done that. I mean, this doesn't make any sense to me. Doesn't make any sense that this was a spontaneous attack. And then there was this tremendous pressure to try to say this was a spontaneous attack, try to link it to that Mohammed movie that President Obama tried to link it to for the next two weeks.

MORGAN: But do you think she lied?

GIULIANI: I don't know that. For me she's unqualified to be secretary of state because she doesn't seem to have the independent judgment to make analysis like these talking points don't make sense.

MORGAN: President Obama said after the resignation came in, "I deeply regret the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks."

See, the other thing that I've been hearing today from many people in Washington is, look, yes, the Benghazi thing was probably part of this, but actually what worsened her case really was when she went to try and have it out with Senators McCain and the others and really came off second best again. She got led down a garden path and came out with thorns everywhere.

GIULIANI: Well, she wasn't like -- MORGAN: And the people were saying, you know, she's just a bit inexperienced to deal with bruises like this. And what does that mean for her on the world stage? Is that a fair criticism?

GIULIANI: Also fair. Was she in above her head? Quite possible. Maybe she was in above her head and not really understanding how to analyze intelligence well enough. Not having enough independent knowledge to apply to it to realize this is a mistake.

When I heard it, when John McCain heard it, we immediately knew it was a story that just didn't fly.

MORGAN: Well, I --


GIULIANI: Maybe because we have a lot more experience than she does.

MORGAN: I interviewed John McCain and Lindsey Graham this week who both said this. Watch this.


MCCAIN: The fact is she not only gave wrong information, but she gave the party line that, for example, that al Qaeda is decimated. Al Qaeda is not decimated. That our embassies and consulates are secure. They are not secure. So everybody -- we are all responsible for what we say. So we'll go through the process, if she is nominated, and we'll see.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think the intelligence was sanitized or created a false narrative. And I've seen this movie where.

MORGAN: Would you therefore object to her becoming secretary of state personally?

GRAHAM: Personally I don't believe she would serve the country well in that capacity.

MORGAN: OK. Let's --

MCCAIN: We're willing to give her the nomination process, but she's got a lot to prove.


MORGAN: I mean critics are saying, look, she's basically been stitched up here by a load of older guys in the Republican Party who've looked at a bright young woman and thought we're going to get you out of here.

GIULIANI: Come on. A bright young woman wouldn't have made that statement. A bright young woman would have had enough independent knowledge, enough independent judgment to realize she was being fed a load of malarkey. In the words of our vice president.

MORGAN: But she's clearly bright, Rudy. She's not -- she's not a stupid woman. She's a very intelligent woman.

GIULIANI: Obviously not with enough information, not with enough experience to know how to critically analyze intelligence.

MORGAN: If John Kerry gets the job -- I mean, do you think he should, first of all? Would you support that?

GIULIANI: Would I support it?


GIULIANI: If the president wanted John Kerry, I certainly would see no reason why we would stand in the way of John Kerry as secretary of state. I certainly -- if I were president would never select John Kerry as secretary of state.


GIULIANI: I think our -- some people in our military are going to have a very hard time. Those people -- those people who were in the Hanoi Hilton who were listening to John Kerry attacking America and attacking American soldiers, rather than being tortured, are going to have a very hard time with this. They'd tell you he was part of their torture.

MORGAN: If you were President Obama then, who would you go for?

GIULIANI: Well, what I'm saying is I'm not President Obama. Are you saying to me is this an acceptable choice within the realm of President Obama's right to choose? Which I believe in very much. Yes, this is an acceptable choice.

MORGAN: Let's move to the fiscal cliff, because it's become a real pain in the back side for everybody, Rudy, and everyone is waiting for what they believe to be an inevitable deal. It would seem today that John Boehner and President Obama met at the White House. That's a good move. They haven't come out attacking each other, that's probably encouraging.


Are you looking at this as a pre-Christmas done deal, Rudy?

GIULIANI: I think so, because it seems so obvious that you have to do it. I didn't like the comment that they had a frank talk. That reminds me of the Cold War.


That's when Khrushchev and Eisenhower or Kennedy and Khrushchev and -- would meet and, you know, the next thing that happened after you said frank -- they had a frank conversation, everybody went into shelters, and said oh, my god, what's going to happen next? (LAUGHTER)

To me a deal is doable, but you've got -- you have to recognize what both sides -- obviously the president needs a hike in taxes.

MORGAN: And that's going to happen, isn't it? I mean, let's be honest, the Republicans have lost that argument. The argument now clearly is about how far are the spending cuts going to go.

GIULIANI: Not only how far, are they going to happen? Republicans don't believe he'll do spending cuts. So here's my proposal, see what it's worth. Republicans agree, split the difference. Republicans agree to jump the rate from 35 to 37 and other similar kinds of jumps. Democrats agree to a trillion dollars, trillion and a half dollars in spending cuts.

The spending cuts and the tax increases go into effect at the same time. Because here's what Republicans are really worried about. They're worried about we'll give them the tax increases, they'll say, don't worry, and then a year from now they'll be very, very few spending decreases. So if you could link the two things together and say, OK, we can't get all the spending reductions done right now.

We'll agree on a tax increase of a certain amount. We'll agree on spending decreases for real. They go into effect June 30th. June 30th both things happen. I don't see -- I don't see Republicans agreeing to a tax increase without getting their spending cuts kind of locked in stone.

MORGAN: No, well, I think that's probably very sensible and I think the real battle will come with the debt ceiling gets kicked into the orbit of Washington come January, February. That's going to be the really tasty debate, I suspect.

GIULIANI: Well, the president upped the ante here by saying he wanted sort of permanent authority just to raise the debt ceiling and that's really a nonstarter. That would change the fundamental -- that might even be unconstitutional, I'm not sure.

MORGAN: Let's move to guns briefly, Rudy. The reason I want to talk to you about it is we've had another outrage this week. A young man armed with an AR-15 assault weapon goes into a shopping mall and starts shooting people. Thank god his weapon jammed and he wasn't able to commit the kind of atrocity we saw in Aurora.


MORGAN: But it was the same weapon that the guy in Aurora had used.


MORGAN: One of the four that he had was an AR-15.

They are banned in New York. You can't get them here. It's illegal. Well, they're not banned in most states in America. And almost everyone I've spoken to, who isn't rabidly pro-gun, thinks there should be a sensible debate about banning those kinds of weapons again.

What is your view?

GIULIANI: I agree there should be a sensible debate about it. I didn't -- I didn't agree, I didn't agree that it necessarily should result in immediate gun control because I look at the murder that took place in Norway or in Finland where, what, 79 people were killed without a gun?

MORGAN: Norway.

GIULIANI: So the reality -- the reality is if you want to have a sensible debate about weapons like this, we should take a look at how can we put some restrictions on them, how can we make sure they're in the hands of the right people. But please don't use it as a way of not dealing with what's really going on, which these people are extremely dangerous.

I think a lot of any increase we see in crime doesn't come from guns, it comes from a lack of responsibility in society.

MORGAN: You know what I keep hearing, Rudy, is, you know, it's not the guns, it's the people. And that's fine, except that this character, he was 22 years old, seemed perfectly normal to everybody who knew him. Family, friends, school colleagues, whatever. Everyone who had ever known this guy said Mr. Normal. Not a clue that he would ever do this, and yet he goes into a shopping mall and begins shooting people in what was a very similar in, my view, kind of thing that we saw in Aurora.

Maybe a copy cat, cry for attention, whatever it is. You can't legislate for that. All you can do is try and remove that guy's ability to find an AR-15, or steal one, as he did.

GIULIANI: And you're not going to remove it, though. You're not going to remove it because --

MORGAN: Why not?

GIULIANI: If he doesn't get the AR-15, he'll go get a handgun. If he doesn't do that, he'll go get explosives. If he doesn't get that, he'll go get poison. If you don't -- the reality --

MORGAN: But don't you have to try it when you're --


MORGAN: -- running a country with so many guns to try and make it harder?

GIULIANI: There's no question about it. I think I probably with Bill Bratton and Howard Safer and Bernie Kerik seized more guns in New York City than any mayor in history. Maybe Mike and Commissioner Kelly have met that record, I'm not sure. But I was the first one to really seize guns.

I believe in it. I believe in getting them out of society but I don't believe it really ends crime. But human behavior is much more important. If you want to do a factor, 75 percent is human behavior, 25 percent is the instrument. Weapons like this where people can kill, you know, multiple times very, very quickly, we should have some reasonable restrictions on the use of them.

MORGAN: That is where I think this strays away from the right to bear arms. It shouldn't include those kind of weapons with those kind of magazines.

GIULIANI: Right. And now on the other hand, it also leads to people should be able to arm themselves with handguns. People should be able to arm themselves with handguns because in a situation like that, if they just happen to have one, and this idiot has an AK-47, they can kill him.

MORGAN: Rudy, always good to talk to you. Thank you very much for coming in.

GIULIANI: Good to see you.

MORGAN: Rudy Giuliani.

GIULIANI: Merry Christmas.

MORGAN: And a merry Christmas to you, too. Well, first, I'm not surprised you're the first to wish me a merry Christmas. You're the most chivalrous guest I ever had, Rudy Giuliani.

When we come back I'll throw some red meat on my all-star panel from Susan Rice to the countdown to the fiscal cliff crisis which we all know probably isn't going to happen.



RICE: Today I made the decision that it was the best thing for our country, for the American people that I not continue to be considered by the president for nomination as secretary of state because I didn't want to see a confirmation process that was very prolonged, very politicized.


MORGAN: Ambassador Susan Rice telling NBC's Brian Williams on "Rock Center" why she was withdrawing her name for secretary of state. It's a defeat for her and for her boss, President Obama.

Let's get to "Battleground America." With me now is Democratic strategist, Marjorie Clifton, and Margaret Hoover, CNN political contributor and Republican consultant.



MORGAN: Let me start with you, Margaret Hoover. This will be seen as a big win for the old guard Republicans. I interviewed the three amigos, as they call themselves, this week, but I'm sure Senators McCain and Graham will sleep easy tonight knowing they've seen off the challenge from Susan Rice. Are they right to be pleased about this?

HOOVER: I don't know for them if it's as much personally about her or if it's about Benghazi. And what you noticed all three of them did immediately today make statements saying we will not stop the scrutiny on Benghazi and what her withdrawal does is stop the scrutiny or at least the headlines of Benghazi.

MORGAN: There is a theory that she's basically fallen on her sword because there's going to have to be a resignation linked to Benghazi at some stage. And now they can say you've had it. You've had the scar (ph).

HOOVER: Well, it certainly won't be her. But remember the foundation really started to crumble on this when the left stopped supporting Susan Rice. So as much as the three amigos were out in front, Maureen Dowd had critical, critical reviews of her in the "New York Times. Ezra Klein from the "Washington Post. The environmentalist movement started having problems with her.

MORGAN: That is true. I mean, Marjorie Clifton, that is true. And I detected that. There's also a sense of when she went up there to see the three amigos and others, she really emerged looking quite weakened as if she got into an obvious trap and, you know, been lassoed all over again. It just didn't look very smart politics by her.

CLIFTON: Well, no, I think she took one for the team. I mean, the problem is that the entire situation has become highly politicized. And frankly Giuliani saying that she may not have been sharp enough to be able to deduct the right intelligence measures out of the talking points she's given is wholly unfair and I think it really is a tragedy, because she really, I would say, is the best woman for the job.

She was a trusted adviser to the president and she has done more in terms of putting sanctions against Iran, North Korea in her capacity as ambassador. Is truly a woman who understands 21st century diplomacy and national security. And what she did was go and read talking points given to her by the national security staff and did her job.

Had she gone in and asserted her own opinions, her own -- it would have been seen as playing politics, which would have been out of place.

MORGAN: OK. But --

CLIFTON: So I think, you know.

MORGAN: Margaret, I mean, whether she's the best person for the job I think is a fairly arguable point. I mean I don't think she's been massively impressive in the last few months. She may not have lied, you know, misled the public deliberately, but not massively impressive.

John Kerry, I would say, is probably a better candidate, just from my dispassionate eye.

HOOVER: He probably wouldn't have made the same mistake that she made. I mean she -- I think Senator Clinton probably said it best when she actually made every indication that she favors John Kerry for the position, not Secretary Rice. He is widely respected in Washington, whether you like his foreign policies or not.

MORGAN: Hugely experienced.

HOOVER: And he's head of the Foreign Affairs committee for years and years and years, so I do think he probably does have more experience. I mean, not to knock Susan Rice's experience certainly. I can't imagine that Senator McCain is going to be thrilled with the foreign policy that John Kerry runs any better than Susan Rice. It was the handling of this and the handling of the administration with Benghazi that this became the symbol of.

MORGAN: Let's also move to this rather difficult situation the president finds himself in with the top four Cabinet positions, Marjorie Clifton, could all be filled by men, it now seems. No women there at all. That's not great for a progressive president like Barack Obama, is it?

CLIFTON: Yes -- no. I don't have a lot of good things to say about that prospect. I mean I think the thing is there is a deep enough bench of fabulous women that could fulfill these roles and we sure would like to see them hold these positions. I mean, Susan Rice, I think is not just the best woman for the job, I thought she was the best person for the job. And in terms of John Kerry being a safe choice, he's vanilla and vanilla is always a safe flavor, right? You know?

But I mean, I would say absolutely. I think it's something to think about in terms of -- you know, I think it's good to have the right person for the job always. But I think it's worth checking out the prospects for sure.

MORGAN: Let's turn to the fiscal cliff, the frank meeting between President Obama and John Boehner. I believe they just called each other names for 50 minutes and walked out with no deal being done. But let's look also at the footage today from the Ukraine parliament. Because just when you think Washington is the worst in the world at doing stuff together, look at these clowns, this is quite amazing. This is the Ukraine parliament erupting into open physical warfare. Now there is a view, it's an old fashioned view, maybe stirred by the British that a good old punch-up does tend to resolve these things.

Maybe John Boehner and Barack Obama should just square off, get in a ring and slug each other out.

HOOVER: But that's -- this isn't the first time this has happened. I mean this happens all the time in the Ukraine.



CLIFTON: You know, exactly.

HOOVER: Probably years ago, the same thing happening.

CLIFTON: It's like watching the British parliament.




CLIFTON: I mean, it's far more interesting and far more fun when you can throw a little humor and throw a few punches. And maybe that's what they need to get it out of their systems. But I mean --



HOOVER: What I love about the British, though, is you have rhetorical flourishes and rhetorical punches.


CLIFTON: Right. Right.

HOOVER: They really top American Congress.

MORGAN: On a -- on a vaguely serious point, though, Margaret Hoover.


MORGAN: I mean, let me then ask Margaret quickly first and then you, Marjorie.


MORGAN: Are we going to get a deal done before Christmas? I mean, all the hints I'm getting are yes, it's going to be a deal, we're just working over the final detail.

HOOVER: I think we're going to get a deal and I think the question is how heavily scorned is John Boehner and how much does that hurt Barack Obama's momentum going into his -- the first part of the next deal because he wants to get immigration done in January and February.


HOOVER: And if he's got an impending debt ceiling debate that he's going to have to deal with instead.


HOOVER: That, will put real momentum into it. So what is he going to give Boehner that allows Boehner to have a semblance of dignity to go back to his conference.

MORGAN: Yes, and Marjorie Clifton, I mean, if Obama wins the victory over raising income tax for the wealthy 2 percent, that he will see that as a major triumph. It was an election pledge. And he will think, OK, one for the new gipper. But he's got to give John Boehner something else. Isn't he? He's got to give him a bit of -- something he can take back to his faithful and say, I've got something, too.

CLIFTON: Yes. I'm going to start using gipper more often, too.

MORGAN: I love the word gipper.


CLIFTON: The new gipper. Yes, absolutely.

MORGAN: We can probably (INAUDIBLE) President Obama the new gipper.

CLIFTON: Yes. No, I think he will get his bit there, but I think that he will have to give, absolutely. It's going to be a compromise in the end. And, you know, honestly, this is classic negotiation 101. They're going to wait until the last minute so they can both say to their side, hey, look, we fought this tooth and nail all the way up into the end and then we got our piece. And so -- I mean, it's not surprising. You look at any of the past legislative issues, it always pushes to the last minute because that's how it's done. That's how you keep everybody happy.

MORGAN: I know. And it does seem unbelievably childish. But there we are.



CLIFTON: And hopefully some punches and a dance at the end.


MORGAN: I would certainly all day come after -- the Ukraine- style punch-out personally.

CLIFTON: That's right.

MORGAN: It'd be the British way. And Margaret Hoover, Marjorie Clifton, thank you both very much indeed.

Coming next, Warren Buffett's son, Howard, joins us to talk about money, politics, taxes, his famous dad and much more. It should be a fascinating few minutes with a great man.



WARREN BUFFETT, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY CEO: I don't believe in lots of inherited wealth. I haven't been spending my life trying to figure out how to transfer wealth and not have taxes and all of that so there can be a dynasty of all kinds of little Buffetts going around for hundreds of years never having to do anything.


MORGAN: Well, the richest man in America, Warren Buffett. His fortune and how his kids shouldn't inherit his vast wealth.

With me now is one of those kids, Howard G. Buffett. And he's president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

Welcome to you, sir.


MORGAN: You are the middle child of Warren Buffett. What's it like? I spent -- I told you in the break I spent a great holiday once reading that biography to know more about your father and got to know all of you vicariously through this book. And it was absolutely riveting and compelling. What's it like to be Warren Buffett's son?

H. BUFFETT: Well, first, I'm afraid you know more about me than I know, so that's my first concern.


You know, I don't think of it as being Warren Buffett's son. You know, we grew up, as many people know and some people don't believe, in a very modest environment. And I never -- we never really were even aware that my dad was really making money until probably towards the end of junior high and then into high school. And then you're a little older and you just kind of take it as it comes. But I've never thought of it that way.

MORGAN: What I -- what I love are the little tiny bits of trivial detail about your relationship with him when you were younger. There's a great story that you tell about you asked your father if you could have a car.


MORGAN: And in exchange he said, right, you can. But you can't have any birthday or Christmas presents for some indeterminate period. How long was the period?

H. BUFFETT: Three years.

MORGAN: Three years of no gifts.

H. BUFFETT: Yes. Yes. And then the worst part was, I knew he was going to give me $5,000 and I thought I could get the car he wanted for $5,000 and then I was -- I was $2500 short. That was a lot of money.


MORGAN: But how did you feel? I mean, did he ever even nearly succumb to the pressure?

H. BUFFETT: Oh, no, it was a deal. It was a deal. In our household a deal is a deal.

MORGAN: A deal is a deal.

H. BUFFETT: Yes. Absolutely.

MORGAN: Was there a formal handshake, a contract?

H. BUFFETT: Yes -- no, the handshake was it.

MORGAN: That's it?


MORGAN: Has your dad always been a handshake man?

H. BUFFETT: Absolutely.

MORGAN: Are you all like that?

H. BUFFETT: Absolutely. He's made some of the biggest deals that any businessman has ever made on a handshake.

MORGAN: And you're all the same?

BUFFETT: Absolutely. I mean, if you don't trust who you're doing a deal with, then you shouldn't be doing a deal. A contract doesn't make a bad guy do a good deal. So you've got to do it on a handshake. You got to believe that.

MORGAN: The other story I absolutely loved was as a kid you turned your back yard into a farm and that's become your great passion and love. Your father later bought land for you and charged you rent, but this was the twist. He tied it to the amount of your body weight. The higher your weight, the higher the rent.

Did it work? This could be the greatest diet thing in history.

BUFFETT: It didn't work. And he would tell you it didn't work. You know, so we moved on to the next thing.

MORGAN: What did work over the years?

BUFFETT: Well, I think the things that have worked -- I'm not sure exactly specifically what you're after.

MORGAN: Well, I wondered, he must have imparted so much wisdom to you over the years.

BUFFETT: He has been an amazing mentor. I used to sit -- I'm not sure he even knows I did this. But I used to sit in a chair or on the couch or something in the same room. He's be on the phone negotiating something. And I'd just listen to him. Because I'd only hear one side of the conversation, but that was enough to get a good idea of what he was doing of the. And I mean it was an amazing experience.

MORGAN: You have this foundation involved, very much interwoven with hunger and charity work. You visited the Congo with Ben Affleck. Obviously a passion of yours, along with farming. Tell me about that.

BUFFETT: Well, I just got back from Eastern Congo about four days ago. And it's the second trip in five weeks. Congo is an area where a lot of people are getting the debate wrong. There -- I will tell you, you've been talking all about Susan Rice. And I don't know the politics of Susan Rice. She made a statement which is dead right, which is if it isn't the M-23, it is going to be another group, which is the rebel group that went in and took Goma.

Congo has suffered -- well, I'll put it this way, since 1990, it has not moved and it still has remained at the bottom of the U.N. indexes for poverty and human suffering. So -- and it ranks almost dead last in Mo Abrams (ph) index, next to Somalia. And I was in Somalia about five weeks ago. I tell you, I can understand that.

So it's a tough place. It's a tough -- it's full of atrocities and human rights violations. And somehow we have to support the government of DRC to do a better job and to take eastern Congo and turn it -- it has incredible mineral -- some of the estimates are like 24 trillion dollars of wealth to bring out in the future. It could be a very rich country.

MORGAN: Let's talk briefly the fiscal cliff. Your father has been very vocal about taxes. He says come on, bring it to me, tax me more. Obviously you'll be in his firing line because you're not a poor man, are you? Are you happy that your father is leading this call for you to get --

BUFFETT: No, because I hear from all my Republican friends who don't like it. You know, the fiscal cliff, you talk about it, it's like -- you know, it's the result of poor behavior. No one should be surprised. You know, on the other hand, the world doesn't end tomorrow if we go off the cliff.

Coke sells Coca-Cola. Burlington Northern hauls freight. I will tell you, I think of the fiscal cliff a little differently. I put it -- I think it's relative to the world. Everybody in the eastern Congo gets up and they're falling off the fiscal cliff every morning when they get out of bed, trying to figure out if they can feed their child, living on a dollar a day or half a dollar a day.

So I think it's all relative. And the world doesn't end. And I'm not even sure that going off the cliff isn't the slap in the face we need to say, folks, we need to do better.

MORGAN: Would you be happy to pay more tax?

BUFFETT: I don't think you have to pay more tax. I tell you what I think it amounts to. When my dad started talking about this, I started paying a little more attention to what tax I paid. I'm in the 35 percent tax bracket. But I have average five years -- I went back and figured it out. I should say my wife went back and figured it out. She did all the work.

You know what, we paid just under 24 percent on an average across the five years. I think if people paid what they are supposed to pay within the tax bracket, you don't have to raise taxes.

MORGAN: Final question, what on Earth do you buy Warren Buffett for Christmas?

BUFFETT: Now you've put me on the spot. You know, I think --

MORGAN: Do you go big? Do you go small?

BUFFETT: You go with any idea you have.

MORGAN: What did you get him last year?

BUFFETT: Oh, my gosh. I'm trying to remember what I got him last year. Usually I tell you what I give him for Christmas. You'll like this. What I give him for Christmas is I wait and I hand him my rent check for the farm at Christmas time. That's what I do every year.

MORGAN: I bet he's never happier, right?

BUFFETT: No, he loves it. He takes it.

MORGAN: Lovely to see you.

BUFFETT: Nice to see you.

MORGAN: I hope I can get you back one day with your father and maybe your son as well, three generations.

BUFFETT: I will work on that.

MORGAN: I would love that.

BUFFETT: All right, thanks very much.

MORGAN: Lovely to see you.

BUFFETT: You bet.

MORGAN: Coming next, life on Death Row and afterwards. My emotional interview with the West Memphis Three's Damien Echols.


DAMIEN ECHOLS, RELEASED FROM DEATH ROW: The media portrays this image to society that Death Row is full of these criminal genius, Hannibal Lecter types. And it's not the case.




ECHOLS: Still very much in shock, still overwhelmed. You know, you kind of have to take into consideration that I spent almost the past decade in absolute solitary confinement. So I'm not used to being around anyone, much less this many people. It's kind of overwhelming.


MORGAN: Damien Echols free. He is, of course, one of the West Memphis Three, convicted of the 1993 murders of three young boys in Arkansas. The West Memphis Three have always maintained their innocence. Spent nearly two decades in prison before they were released last year.

It's an extraordinary case and now the subject of "Western Memphis," a documentary produced in part by Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis. They join me now, along with the film's director, Amy Berg.

Welcome. Or welcome back to you. And welcome to you, Amy. First of all, you look a lot better than you did the last time I interviewed you.

ECHOLS: Thank you.

MORGAN: So your reintegration back into normal life clearly going reasonably well.


MORGAN: How difficult has it been for you, Damien?

ECHOLS: It was incredibly difficult. You know, I really didn't even have an idea how difficult it was going to be. For the first at least three months that I was out, I was in a state of extreme shock and trauma. I couldn't do anything by myself or for myself. I needed someone with me constantly.

I just -- it was like a complete and absolute shock to the system.

MORGAN: What are the physical side effects that you still -- you're wearing dark glasses. Clearly you still have sensitivity for your eyes, not having natural sunlight for years.


MORGAN: What else?

ECHOLS: I've actually gained 60 pounds in the past year that I was out, because now I have adequate nutrition and decent exercise, things like that. I still have a lot of kidney issues, because I was beaten pretty bad at one point. I also have a lot of dental issues, which thankfully I've been able to get fixed over the past year, a lot of nerve damage, things like that.

MORGAN: Lori, what's it been like to have him in normal life? And how do you think he's been coping?

LORRI DAVIS, WIFE OF DAMIEN ECHOLS: First of all, it's amazing to have him out here with us. But it's true. No one could foresee what -- how he was going to cope. And so it was difficult. And I didn't understand how he was feeling and the anxiety and all of that that he was dealing with for at least six months. After that, it's just been a process. But it's -- there's no precedent. You know, there's no place. There's no guide book or anything to know what to do.

MORGAN: What do you think have been the hardest things for Damien to deal with?

DAVIS: It's the little things, like going to the bank and filling out a deposit slip or going through security at the airport. It's the anxiety that I didn't understand is just huge for him, just the day-to-day life.

MORGAN: Amy, it's a quite extraordinary story. I was gripped by it when I did the previous interview. This shocking miscarriage of justice for these men. What was it that appealed to you from a documentary maker pointing of view?

AMY BERG, DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKER: Well, the story had so many twists and turns. But at the end of the day, there was a man on Death Row and two serving life sentences for something they didn't do. I think the most gripping thing was that they were convicted as if they perpetrated these Satanic murders.

Once we discovered that snapping turtles actually caused the wounds that were being judged as knife wounds, this was a whole different murder case. MORGAN: Let's take a look at a clip from the movie because it pertains exactly to what you just mentioned.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you ask me, the sing it greatest offense committed in this case is what was done by John Fogleman (ph) with the knife and the leg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fogleman had divers search a small lake behind the trailer park where Baldwin lived. That search produced a knife.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To go out there in this big pond. And to go right there and just less than 30 minutes and come up with this knife, I mean, you win the lottery.


MORGAN: Win the lottery. Of course the lottery turned out to be a shameful farce, didn't it?

BERG: And what you didn't hear was actually that that knife was actually thrown in the lake a year before the murders even happened. And it actually was used in the trial to convict these guys. So it was just such a tragedy in the making.

MORGAN: And in relation to the wounds to these poor boys -- and we'll come to the fact there's never been anyone really who actually did this brought to justice. The interesting thing about this documentary unravels is that these wounds were much more likely to have been caused by turtles than by a knife.

BERG: Absolutely. There was no depth to the wounds. They were scratch marks. But people were presented with the information as if they were stabbed to death. And there was no depth. There was no organ damage or anything.

MORGAN: The documentary is very powerful. It talks of being the first crowd sourced investigation ever. And you worked with investigators and forensic teams to reveal false confessions, junk science and the prosecutorial misconduct. It's all there. Tell me what you mean by the first crowd sourced investigation.

BERG: Well, because this was a closed case and they were convicted, everything became available to the public record. And people were fascinated with this story for all different reasons, and started going down to the West Memphis Police Department and taking pictures of evidence. And then the Internet began to get -- to become what it is today.

And so people were like -- they were trying the case online basically. And it just became this massive call to action.

MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I want to come back and talk about this fact: 53 executions since the day you were released. What do you think about that, given that you would have been one of them?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We the jury find Damien Echols guilty of capital murder in the death of Stevie Branch, guilty of capital murder in the death of Chris Biers, guilty of capital murder in the death of Michael Moore.


MORGAN: The verdict that sent Damien Echols to Death Row. That was in 1994. It took nearly 20 years for Echols and the other members of the West Memphis Three to fight the conviction. They were released last year. I'm back now with Damien, his wife, Lorri Davis, and Amy Berg, the director of the documentary "Western Memphis."

You can't watch that without just shaking your head really about the life that happened to you for nearly two decades. Just a completely wasted life until the stage of where you are now. Really shocking.

The other shocking thing is, of course, you could have been executed by now.

ECHOLS: Right.

MORGAN: Fifty three people have been executed since you were released, 11 in 2011, 42 this year. When you hear that, given your knowledge and experience of Death Row, given what we now know about DNA and the way it's been exonerating many people on Death Row, what do you think of it?

ECHOLS: It's absolutely nightmarish. You know, there's a lot of cases out there that don't have DNA that the people could very well be innocent. And even if they're not, you know, the media sort of portrays this image to society that Death Row is full of, you know, these criminal genius, Hannibal Lecter types. And it's not the case.

When I was in there, you come across these people that the average I.Q. is about 85, you know, on a regular basis. They say they don't execute the mentally insane or the mentally handicap. And they still do.

MORGAN: How many people did you meet or encounter on Death Row who you basically believe may have been innocent?

ECHOLS: I would say in the time I was there, probably three others. One was executed. One will probably be executed in the upcoming year. One has a slight chance of getting out due to the fact that there has been a little media interest in his case.

MORGAN: Would DNA evidence, had it been around when you were arrested, have cleared you from the start? ECHOLS: I don't know, because they wanted to convict us so badly. We had other things like alibis, people who were -- you know, could testify to where we were at the time and could plainly prove that we weren't at the crime scene. They even have like Jesse Mescelli (ph) signing a log book that shows he was somewhere else, and photos of him. And they didn't care about that.

So, I mean, technically it is possible that they could have showed them the DNA and they still were so enraged at the time that they would have convicted us anyway.

MORGAN: You've got a lot of tattoos which you didn't have last time you came. What the significant of those?

ECHOLS: It's sort of -- really what it comes down to, it helps me deal. It is very psychologically and emotionally soothing to me. It also, in a way, almost feels like putting on a suit of armor. You know, it feels like it gives you some sort of level of -- sort of like a buffer zone between you and the rest of the world.

MORGAN: What are the ones on your knuckles?

ECHOLS: These are runes. Usually whenever I get tattoos, I try to get something that's meaningful to me, because, like I said, it is like a suit of armor. So I look to put on a suit of armor made out of things that I love, like winter or snow or a talisman for the arch angel Michael or old Viking runes, something that means something to me personally.

MORGAN: Do you stay in touch with Jason and Jesse, your --

ECHOLS: Jason and I -- I hate talking on the phone more than anything in the world, but we will text each other every now and then, once a week or so. Jesse, from what I heard, doesn't really have contact with much of anyone. They say he -- you know, he only had a an IQ of 68 to begin with, and then you dump all this trauma on top of that, they pretty well made sure he will never live anything even remotely resembling a normal life. And he has become pretty much a shut-in.

MORGAN: Which in itself is desperately sad. I mean, Amy, it is a heart breaking story, as well as a shocking story. These are three lived virtually ruined. And maybe in Jesse's case, completely ruined.

BERG: It's a heart breaking story. But also, I feel like "West of Memphis" is a beautiful love story. And I think that that -- we had such beautiful exclusive access to the inside story of the investigation and the love story. And I feel like that's the happy ending that people are looking for in this story, is to see how it actually happened that they all came out.

MORGAN: This is the worst thing about what you've been through, is there will be a lot of people out there still saying, well, there's no smoke without fire, is there? They haven't caught the real killer. This is the terrible stigma you carry with you. ECHOLS: It is. And it will hang over our heads. I hate talking about this, having to talk about the case day after day. It is absolutely miserable to me. I always tell people, imagine having to talk about the worst thing that has ever happened to you over and over and over.

But at the same time, if we don't keep doing it, we will always have that stigma hanging over our heads. We have to keep letting the state of Arkansas know we're not going anywhere until you do the right thing.

MORGAN: How important to you and powerful to you has it been to have Lorri's unequivocal backing and support through all of this?

ECHOLS: I could not have survived in prison or out of prison without her. I mean, she is what has carried me forward whenever I could not take another step, when I felt like I couldn't go on. It was her. She was what would carry me forward, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, until I could walk again.

MORGAN: It is great to see you again.

ECHOLS: Thank you.

MORGAN: I wish you all the very best, all of you, with the documentary. It is a very powerful film. I urge people to go and see it who maybe still have no real idea what this was all about, and to understand just how far you've come and what you've had to go through.

It is called "West Of Memphis," opens December 25th, nationwide soon afterwards. The soundtrack, great cover here, "West of Memphis, Poison Injustice," that comes out in January. And your book "Life After Death" is out now. Good to see you again.

ECHOLS: Thank you so much for having me.

DAVIS: Good to see you.

MORGAN: And we'll be right back.


MORGAN: Tomorrow night, one of my favorite interviews since I joined CNN nearly two years ago, a conversation with Barbra Streisand, an hour with one of the greatest entertainers in history. She is a true icon. And she talks with remarkable candor about her public and private life. A lot to say about her relationships with many people, including Marlon Brando.

Here is a preview.


BARBRA STREISAND, ACTRESS: We once went on a short road trip together.

MORGAN: You and Marlon Brando? This is fantastic. Where did you go?

STREISAND: He wanted to take me to the desert to see the wild flowers.

MORGAN: I'll bet he did.

STREISAND: And sleep over in a ghost town, he said.

MORGAN: Now we're getting there.

STREISAND: But I was such a nice Jewish girl, that I just said, Marlon, I can't stay overnight with you. I will go with you for the day, but you have to take me home.

MORGAN: So Marlon clearly wanted to do more than just look at flowers with you.

STREISAND: Well, he wanted to sleep in the desert.

MORGAN: You turned down Marlon Brando?

STREISAND: Yeah, absolutely.

MORGAN: How did he take rejection?

STREISAND: It was fine.


MORGAN: A remarkable conversation with a remarkable lady. That's Barbra Streisand with me for the hour tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.