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2012: The Newsmakers

Aired January 5, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Tonight: the biggest names of 2012, my conversations with world leaders.


MORGAN: The question was, do you believe that Israel...

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): But I will get to that answer, please. Don't be in such a hurry.

MORGAN: Do you trust Ahmadinejad?


DALAI LAMA, RELIGIOUS LEADER: The word peace is something almost become fashionable, peace, peace, peace.

MORGAN: Headline-makers.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This is much more important than any election.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: If the president didn't know exactly what happened, he sure as hell should have.

MORGAN: Candidates.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I was the perfect candidate for America.

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: What if Mitt Romney isn't the best person?

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea that somehow making a business profitable is different than helping people is really a foreign idea.

MORGAN: And more.

BOB COSTAS, NBC REPORTER: It's ridiculously easy for someone to purchase a gun.

MORGAN: Do you think homosexuality is a sin? KIRK CAMERON, ACTOR: I think that it's -- it's -- it's unnatural. MORGAN: Did you wake up this morning and have a quick....

WILLIE NELSON, MUSICIAN: Well I probably did, I probably did.


MORGAN: PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT, "The Newsmakers" starts now.

Good evening. One of the great things about my job is that every night I get to sit down with movers and shakers, the men and women at the center of the biggest stories of the year, the world leaders, lawmakers, celebrities and people who never expected to find themselves in the spotlight. What do they have in common?

They're all utterly fascinating. And tonight you will hear from some of my favorite guests.

We will begin with the big man himself, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, he found himself in a bit of political hot water for making nice with President Obama.


MORGAN: Good evening. Breaking news tonight, Superstorm Sandy crashing ashore in Southern New Jersey in the last hour, 2.8 million people without power.

I have watched these extraordinary scenes over New Jersey today, really quite unprecedented. I have never seen anything quite like it. Have you ever seen anything like this in your lifetime?

CHRISTIE: No, I haven't.

You see sights like the Seaside Heights boardwalk, where the program "The Jersey Shore" is filmed, the boardwalk is gone. It is gone. Amusement rides, a roller coaster, a log flume in the ocean. It's incredible, homes destroyed. It's an awful thing.

MORGAN: You've taken charge as you've always done in these situations in a very impressive way. People have been surprised that you've been so outspokenly supportive and praiseworthy to the president. I'm not surprised, knowing you, but explain to me why you were happy to do that so close to an election when some might say politically that wasn't the best thing to do today.

CHRISTIE: This is much more important than any election, Piers. This is the livelihood of the people in my state. And when the president does things that deserve praise, I will give him praise. And when the president does things that deserve scorn, I'll give him scorn. And I think people know that about me. But I am not going to play politics with this issue. This is so much bigger than an election.

This is the livelihood of the people of my state. And what they expect me to do is get the job done. And when someone asks me an honest question, I give an honest answer. How has the president been to deal with? He's been outstanding to deal with on this. And I look forward to seeing him tomorrow so he can see for himself what this hurricane has done to my state.

MORGAN: Also breaking news on the attack in Libya this killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The country's terrorism chief now says it was a terrorist attack.

MORGAN: Clearly, the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens continues to reverberate. And the truth or otherwise of the circumstances leading up to his death seem to be pretty vague, to put it mildly. Where do you think we are with this?

MCCAIN: Well, let me tell you what's not vague, and that is five days after, five days after the what was very quickly determined by the intelligence committee as a terrorist attack, they trotted out our ambassador to the U.N. to every major news outlet saying that this was a spontaneous demonstration because of a hateful video. That's probably one of the worst things that I have ever observed in my life.

And obviously, there were warnings, and obviously anybody who believes that an attack with mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades and a very sophisticated attack is the result of a video is -- I mean, it's just ridiculous.

And finally, Piers, it's not the video that's stoking these demonstrations. As you know, it's the radical Islamists that are using the videos as a means of inflaming passion in the Middle East. And I'll be damned if I'm ready to abandon the freedom of speech because it might offend the Prophet Muhammad.

MORGAN: I've -- we've heard calls for Ambassador Rice to resign. Are you in favor of that?

MCCAIN: No. I think that she was -- that's shooting the messenger. She was told to go out and do that. I blame the secretary of state, I blame the operatives in the White House and I blame our national security advisor. If the president didn't know exactly what happened, he sure as hell should have.

MORGAN: CIA Director David Petraeus, the married former military commander, steps down after admitting to cheating on his wife, tonight, new information on his stunning resignation and the latest developments.

There is a theory that, look, come on, we had great generals, MacArthur, Patton, Eisenhower. They all had affairs. Great presidents, JFK, Clinton and so on all had affairs. And certainly the modern digital era unraveling all this stuff that is the problem. What do you say to that? JAKE TAPPER, REPORTER: Well, I don't think the idea, the problem is that General Petraeus had an affair. I think the idea and the big problem is that he was director of the CIA and he walked right into one of the most blackmailable situations you can have.

It's good the FBI found out it before the Russians or the Chinese. That's the problem. It's not that he's a general messing around, and certainly -- even though according to the Uniform Code of the Military Justice that's not allowed, that's not what the press is focused on. The press is focused on the director of the CIA having this problem.

MORGAN: Teetering on the edge of the fiscal cliff with just 36 days to go until tax increases kick in, the White House and Congress are playing a high-stakes game of let's make a deal.

Grover, only you in America believes there has to be this, what I believe to be really farcical now, absolute pledge for life about these kinds of things. Surely the nature of the modern world is very fast moving, is changing a lot. America clearly has huge economic problems, heading for another fiscal cliff, everyone laughing at you from afar, the American public sick and tired of all the games going on and there are you, Grover Norquist, a very bright guy, still resolutely saying a pledge is a pledge is a pledge, it cannot be broken, when many of your own party are now saying, you know what? It doesn't make sense to just have this irresolute position anymore.

GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Well two things, the pledge is not for life, but everybody who signed the pledge, including Peter King, who tried to weasel out of it, shame on him as "The New York Sun" said today, I hope his wife understands that commitments last a little longer than two years or something. The commitment from the pledge is to the....

MORGAN: Whoa. Hang on, hang on, hang on. That was a bit below the belt, Grover.

NORQUIST: Hey, if you think a commitment only is not for as long as you make it for, the commitment for the pledge as Peter King well knows when he signed it is that as long as you're in Congress you will rein in spending and reform government, not raise taxes.

It's not for 500 years or two generations. It's only as long as you're in the House or the Senate. If he stayed too long, that's his problem. But you don't tell the bank, oh, the mortgage, wasn't that a long time ago? If you make a commitment, you keep it.


MORGAN: Coming up, was Mitt Romney done in by his own party? When we come back, the Republican presidential candidates who may have inflicted mortal damage on him, rather than President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: I'm just going to go back to the empty chair, which was supposed to be Todd Akin, who was going to be talking to me tonight about why he said what he said about rape and women, but since it's just the chair, I may as well toss a few questions at it before we go. My obvious question would have been to Mr. Akin, why were you such an offensive idiot to women? And the second obvious question, which again has to go to the chair, unfortunately, would be, why haven't you resigned yet?

Anyway, let's leave it there, shall we? (END VIDEO CLIP)



PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you and you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.


MORGAN: That's President Obama delivering his victory speech on election night. In the end, the race wasn't even close, despite the poor state of the American economy. Maybe Mitt Romney never had a chance. My interviews this year showed his fellow GOP contenders feasting on one of their own during the primaries. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Isn't the American way that if somebody gives you a smack on the nose you eventually have to smack them back? And isn't it time now for you to accept that this negativity has pounded you into a position where much as you would like to keep it positive, isn't it time you got the old Gingrich fist out and gave Romney a good old smack?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Harry Truman in his great reelection campaign when he was so far behind that Gallup quit taking polls in mid-September, went after Dewey, and the crowd would yell out give'em hell, Harry. And he would yell back, no, I just tell them the truth and it hurts like hell.

I think with Governor Romney his record is so bad, he is such so clearly a moderate, he's done so many things that are indefensible in a Republican primary, it would be OK in a Democratic primary, but in a Republican primary it will be indefensible. All I have to do is tell the truth. I'm not going to have to go negative. All I have to do is point out facts. And I think the next few weeks are going to be a lot of fun. They'll be very interesting. My only request of Mitt is that he be honest with the country. MORGAN: America clearly needs someone with a good business brain. The economy remains in the tank. You went after Mitt Romney today about his work at Bain Capital. You called him a greedy Wall Street so and so. Was that the most sensible position, calling him a vulture? Should you be on that side of the coin given that you're a successful Texas governor and a good businessman yourself? Is that the best way to attack him? Because if Mitt Romney now wins the nomination, haven't you just landed Barack Obama a perfect stick to beat him with?

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Well, there is a real difference between a venture capitalist and a vulture capitalist. And venture capitalists are good. They go in. They inject their capital. They create jobs. Bain Capital, on the other hand, it appears to me were vulture capitalists all too often. And I don't get confused for a minute that Barack Obama and his team wouldn't attack Mitt Romney on that during a general election if he makes it that way. So if nothing else, we're doing Mitt a favor by exposing him early on so that he can either figure out how to defend that or, more importantly and better from my perspective, he's not the nominee to begin with.

MORGAN: Rush Limbaugh did call a law student a slut and a prostitute for wanting to have insurance cover for her contraception. And I presume you wouldn't view that as either absurd or entertaining. You would view that as pretty offensive.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, of course not, no, no. Well, of course, as I said before, but again I'm not going to spend -- I want to spend my time talking about how we can grow the economy. What I would like to talk about, which is offensive, which is Governor Romney out there for almost a year telling the people in the Republican primary that he never advocated that RomneyCare would be a federal model, that he never advocated for an individual mandate, that government at the federal level require people to buy insurance. And now we find on several occasions just in the past week, article after article, interview after interview, where Governor Romney did just that in 2009. Now to me that's offensive.

MORGAN: Is he a liar then?

SANTORUM: Well, this goes to the snob, snobbish issue, which is so he clearly did not tell the truth, that you don't necessarily go and accuse the person of -- of a person on a personal level. You describe the action. I did and I accurately described Governor Romney did not tell the truth to the Republicans at the debates, serially telling him, telling people that he did not do what we now know he did repeatedly.

MORGAN: Unless I'm mistaken, I think not telling the truth repeatedly is lying, isn't it? (LAUGHTER)

SANTORUM: Well, oh I'll let you frame that one and take responsibility for it. I just -- I said all I'm going to say on this.

MORGAN: Were you disappointed that there is not a bona fide a Tea Party candidate left in the race?

BACHMANN: I am very happy to get behind any of these candidates because I want to have a unifying voice. We will unify as a party. We -- very shortly we'll be battening down the hatches behind whoever our standard-bearer will be. I will be happy to back that candidate.

MORGAN: My guess is if you all sat down for dinner, the person you would be nodding with most would be Rick Santorum. Would that be a misreading?

BACHMANN: I like Rick Santorum a lot, but I like Mitt Romney, I like Newt Gingrich, I like Ron Paul.

MORGAN: Who do you most agree with?

BACHMANN: I think -- I think my opinions were fairly forthright throughout the debate and I felt quite honestly I was the perfect candidate for America.


BACHMANN: But that didn't happen. And so, really quite honestly, whichever candidate it is, I will be happy to back.

MORGAN: If you're so vehemently in the vanguard against ObamaCare, presumably Mitt Romney is the least of the four candidates that you would personally endorse, right?

BACHMANN: Well....

MORGAN: Because and his own health care plan wasn't that different.

BACHMANN: I think that's the positive difference that I made in this campaign. Now Mitt Romney's answer is that he will get behind a full-scale repeal. So no matter who our nominee is, they've all committed verbally to repeal of ObamaCare, and now it's up to us to hold our nominee's feet to the fire.

MORGAN: Talking of competition, let me put my own doctor hat on. And if I was prescribing some medicine for you right now, congressman, I think I would say the situation is looking pretty terminal for your race to be the GOP nominee. Why don't you just do the decent thing and pull out? Why are you staying in the race?

PAUL: Why don't you do the decent thing and not pester me with silly questions like that? (LAUGHTER) PAUL: Well I think -- I think that's -- that would be decent of you. No I wouldn't....

MORGAN: It's not that silly. Hang on. The latest Gallup poll has you at nine percent. Mitt Romney's at 39 percent.

PAUL: Well wait, wait. Now why don't you -- what you're looking for are delegates. MORGAN: Delegates. Let's just count .... PAUL: And we're doing quite well.

MORGAN: Let's count the delegates. PAUL: Well you haven't hardly got them yet.

MORGAN: Well let's count the delegates then. PAUL: Now when....

MORGAN: Let's see how well you're doing, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney 568 delegates. PAUL: Now why don't you let me finish? MORGAN: Ron Paul 71. PAUL: Yes, okay. What about the states where they're still working through the process, which is most of them, whether -- you know whether it's up in Maine or right now we're doing very well in the State of Washington, and North Dakota and excellent, and now in Nevada. And even Missouri the other day some really good news came out there for us.

And through the process our people are in the right places. And they're doing the things to become a delegate. So it's way too soon for you to write anybody off. And besides, just because somebody is in second or third place and -- but there's a race going on. What if Mitt Romney isn't the best person?

MORGAN: People have tried to portray you as a kind of ruthless money machine who some failed, some succeeded, you didn't care. You still got your fees or you made a ton of money, but actually quite a few of the companies that failed a lot of people lost their jobs, their livelihoods and lost money. To me the key question is do you know instinctively from your recollections how many of those companies that you went into would have failed anyway if you hadn't?

ROMNEY: Well, there's no question but that a number of places where we went in and invested we were investing in an enterprise that was in trouble, that where the future was very much in doubt for it. And we invested in one business. I think it lost 50 or 60 or more million dollars the year before we invested. And a lot of people didn't want to touch it. And we were able to go in there with the current management team, help get the business back on track as an investor. And the managers really ran it, but they were able to turn it around and see a real success. And it's still around today, doing quite well and provides jobs for a lot of people.

But the idea that somehow making a business profitable is different than helping people is really a foreign idea because the whole American free enterprise system is associated with creating success, making businesses profitable. That means they can hire more people and grow. And every investment that I made while I was responsible for an investment firm, every investment was designed to try and help the business grow and to become more successful.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: Up next one of our most fascinating and frustrating interviews, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one of the most feared men in the world.


JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: One of the best nights was of course --

MORGAN: I tell you what. Let me stop you.

BIDEN: Okay.

MORGAN: Because I think we're going to....

BIDEN: Okay. I can get the hair out of my face.

MORGAN: That is your husband landing.

BIDEN: Is it? Oh it is. How funny is that?

MORGAN: It's actually the vice president landing.

BIDEN: How funny is that?

MORGAN: So let's keep the camera rolling, actually, because this interview has just been interrupted by Vice President Biden coming over our heads and wrecking his wife's interview.




MORGAN: Of all the people I interviewed this year, no one is as divisive and despised as Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Americans consider him public enemy number one. In my exclusive interview his answers were elusive, infuriating and fascinating. I asked what he thinks about Israel. And then I asked other world leaders what they think about him.


MORGAN: Looking live at New York City, home of the United Nations, world leaders from 193 countries are gathering for the annual meeting of the General Assembly. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will address the meeting on Wednesday. He had some blistering words at Israel today.

You have been condemned very vociferously in America for a comment you are said to have made that you wanted Israel to be wiped off the map, wiped off the face of the earth. There have been many different interpretations of what you said. You have disputed the meaning that was then translated from the original Farsi. Let me give you this opportunity to say exactly what you did say, and to say exactly what you did mean.

AHMADINEJAD (interpreted): We have been condemned in the United States for many things, for having deposed a dictator with a revolution, for having sought freedom and free elections, for not allowing our oil and national treasure to leave our country freely, and for having stood up to very dangerous terrorists in the region, for having stood up against Saddam Hussein who enjoyed the backing of many. We stood up against him and did not allow the occupation of our territory. We have been condemned for a great many things because we said justice for all, the rule of law for all, the right of peaceful nuclear energy for all.

MORGAN: But do you want, do you want, Mr. President , do you want --

AHMADINEJAD (interpreted): Allow me, sir. Allow me, please.

MORGAN: The question wasn't any of that. The question was do you believe that Israel should --

AHMADINEJAD (interpreted): But I will get to that answer, please. Don't be in such a hurry.

MORGAN: Well please, well then really quickly, should Israel be wiped off the face of the map? Is that your desire?

AHMADINEJAD (interpreted): If a group comes and occupies the United States of America, destroyed homes while women and children are in those homes, incarcerate the youth of America, impose five different wars on many neighbors and always threaten others, what would you do? What would you say? Would you help it? Would you help that entity? Or would you help the people of the United States?

So when we say to be wiped, we say for occupation to be wiped off from this world, for war-seeking to be wiped off and eradicated, the killing of women and children to be eradicated. And we propose the way. We propose the path.

CLINTON: What they are really saying is in spite of the fact that we deny the Holocaust, that we threaten Israel and we demonize the United States and we do all this stuff, we want you to trust us. In spite of the fact that we won't cooperate with the international regime set up to avoid an arms race in the Middle East and set up to avoid nuclear proliferation, we want you to trust us.

So they don't have a tenable position. The reason nobody believes him --

MORGAN: Do you trust him? CLINTON: -- is they don't have a tenable position.

MORGAN: Do you trust Ahmadinejad?

CLINTON: Not on this I don't.

MORGAN: His argument is, look, why should America be allowed nuclear weapons? Why should Israel, who have never admitted they have them, why should they be permitted to have them? Why should many countries be allowed nuclear weapons and not Iran?

CLINTON: Well, then, why isn't he going for some bigger nonproliferation initiative, instead of acting like what he really wants is a nuclear bomb because that will help to get everybody to get rid of their nuclear weapons? No serious person believes that.

MORGAN: President Ahmadinejad struck a strangely mollifying tone many felt. He was more reasoned than he has been in previous years at this event, one theory being that he's genuinely concerned that Israel may do some kind of preemptive strike, and then no one can control what happens next, secondly, that the sanctions may really be biting. The sanctions in particular in relation to their oil exports and to their banks may now be really hurting Iran, and he's feeling all the heat from his own people. What do you think?

TONY BLAIR, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think he will be getting a certain amount of heat from some people because there's no doubt the sanctions are having a big effect.

And, indeed, I think next month, for the first time, Iraq will actually export more oil than Iran. So the whole balance of power in terms of oil production in the region is changing as a result of the sanctions.

On the other hand, I think as the recent report of the atomic energy authority indicates, there's no sign that Iran is relenting on this essential push. And the trouble is, it's combined with the regime that holds views and does things that most people within the region find unacceptable.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: If we cut off Iran's ability to export oil and -- which would face them with the prospect of a devastating economic blow, then I think that would be an inevitable move to a war -- to war, and I think it would be a very serious mistake.

MORGAN: You deliberately avoided any kind of military conflict with Iran when you were president.

CARTER: Yes, I did. I was advised by some -- many of our people to go to war with Iran, to bomb them and to punish them for holding our hostages.

MORGAN: Do you still think it would have been a terrible error to do that?

CARTER: I do. Because every one of the hostages came home safe and free. There was no one killed in the war. We didn't have a war with -- with Iran.

MORGAN: When we come back, from Trayvon Martin to Aurora, Colorado, to the tragedy in Newtown, what may be the most controversial topic of the year: guns in America.


MORGAN: 2012 may well be remembered as the year of the gun. The roll call of victims of gun violence in America is truly shocking, from Aurora, Colorado, to the Sikh temple of Wisconsin to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 children were killed, 20 of them first graders.


MORGAN: Breaking news, you're looking live at a community in mourning and shock after one of the worst mass shootings in American history. A gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and opened fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came late in my life, and Jesse was my son, but he was my best friend and my buddy, too.

My little boy said something the night before to me and he said, "Dad, this is going to be the best Christmas ever." And he was going on about it.

And I said, "Jesse, you know, it's -- you know, we'll make it the best we can." And I -- I don't have much family, so it's kind of a quiet time for me. And he makes -- made Christmas happy for me and joyful. And -- and he made it what it was. And I said to him, "Jess, we'll make it the best we can." And the next day, this tragedy happened that occurred, and I thought to myself, boy, was he wrong about that.

MORGAN: The AR-15, as we've now seen from the last three mass shootings in America -- Aurora, the shopping mall in Oregon and now at Sandy Hook school -- is the preferred choice of weapon for disturbed young men who want to commit mass atrocity. It can fire hundreds of bullets at rapid speed if you have the right magazines. The president of the United States has indicated he wants to ban assault weapons like this. What is your view?

LARRY PLATT: I think we need to ban gun control laws that keep people from being able to protect themselves. The problem is not going to go away if we ban this or that gun. We've tried that. That doesn't work. It doesn't even work in England. You've had mass murders there. All over Europe there have been mass murders. The solution is for...

MORGAN: You're talking complete and utter -- you are talking complete and utter nonsense.

PLATT: ... People to be able to defend themselves at the point of the crime and not wait for 20 minutes for the police to come after everybody's dead.

MORGAN: What you just said, Mr. Pratt, was an absolute lie. The gun murder rates in countries like Britain or Germany or Australia, who have all suffered massacres many years ago, similar in nature, have -- there are 35 people killed a year. Your country is 12,000.

PRATT: Your -- your murder rate has -- your murder rate is lower than ours, that is true.

MORGAN: Lower? It's 35 against 12,000.

PRATT: Your violent crime -- your violent crime rate...

MORGAN: In Australia, they had a massacre, and they got rid of these assault weapons.

PRATT: Your violent crime rate is higher than ours, as is the violent crime rate in Australia. America is not the -- the Wild West that you are depicting. We only have the problem in our cities and unhappily in our schools, where people like you have been able to get laws put on the books that keep people from being able to defend themselves.

I honestly don't understand why you would rather have people be victims of a crime than be able to defend themselves. It's incomprehensible.

MORGAN: You're an unbelievably stupid man, aren't you?

PRATT: It seems to me that you're morally obtuse. You seem to prefer being a victim to being able to prevail over the criminal element. And I don't know why you want to be the criminal's friend.

MORGAN: What a ridiculous argument.

America is in shock tonight over an act of evil that in seconds has left at least a dozen people dead and 59 others injured. It's the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States. All the victims wanted was to see the new "Batman" film.

Trisha Legarreta, Jamie Rohrs, and their 4-year-old daughter and 4-month-old baby son were at the premiere when the killer opened fire. Jamie, did you think that you were going to get out alive, or did you fear that everyone was going to die in there?

JAMIE ROHRS, AURORA, COLORADO, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: No, my thought was this is how it ends, this is -- this is how I die, this can't be the way I die, this can't be the way my son dies. He's -- he's 4 months. And this can't be the way my girlfriend dies and our step- daughter dies. She's 4 years.

And just so many things pacing through your head but every time you hear -- see a gunshot, you see it -- I see it through the corner of my eye, see someone drop. And I'm trying to like duck, just trying to get out of the way. And people are falling next to me, but I'm still -- I'm still all right and just thinking this is it.

MORGAN: Every time one of these things happens -- Gabrielle Giffords last year, this shooting here -- there's an outrage, and then very quickly it dissipates. The American people quite quickly go back to their normal lives, and they don't demand action in the way that I would expect them to. Why do so many Americans not feel angry enough to demand further gun control?

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: Well, I would take it one step further. I don't understand why the police officers across this country don't stand up collectively and say, "We're going to go on strike. We're not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what's required to keep us safe."

After all, police officers want to go home to their families. And we're doing everything we can to make their job more difficult, but more importantly, more dangerous by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them.

MORGAN: Our big story tonight, Trayvon Martin shot at close range. But was it self-defense? I'll get his parents' reaction to an extraordinary new video from the night of the shooting. A prime-time interview with Trayvon Martin's parents in just a moment.

From everything that you have seen, that you've read, that you've heard, what do you believe is the most likely set of circumstances that led to your son being killed? SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: I believe that George Zimmerman hunted my son like an animal, tried to detain my son, my son tried to get away, and because he could not detain my son, an altercation ensued, and my son was shot and killed.

MORGAN: If we reversed this situation, and it was your brother who had been gunned down in exactly the same set of circumstances, and the worst that had happened, as far as his behavior, was that he had been followed, and he'd got into an altercation and he was unarmed -- he just had a bag of Skittles on him -- and a guy who was much older, who followed him in the street, pulled out a gun and shot him dead, would you not at the very least, if you're honest and candid about this, would you not have expected that person to at least be arrested, to at least perhaps face some kind of trial, where the full evidence could come out?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S BROTHER: Well -- well, in -- you know, I take -- I take pause to that whole, you know, conjecture, again, of pulled out a gun and shot him. That's absolutely not fact.

MORGAN: It is what happened, though.

ZIMMERMAN: No, it is not what happened.

MORGAN: He did pull out a gun and shoot him, right?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, he stopped someone from disarming him and shooting him. He didn't pull out a gun and shoot him. George showed tremendous restraint.

MORGAN: But he had the gun on him, right?

ZIMMERMAN: He had a permit to carry that gun.

MORGAN: But where was the gun?

ZIMMERMAN: The gun, I believe, was in his -- inside, tucked inside his pant waist...

MORGAN: Right.

ZIMMERMAN: ... in a waist holster.

MORGAN: So he has pulled it out, and he has fired it?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, he has taken control of his firearm. He prevented his firearm from being taken from him and used against him, and that's called saving your life.

MORGAN: This week, the Kansas City Chiefs' Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his baby daughter and killed himself. A fiery car crash leaves one Dallas Cowboys player dead.

Seventy percent or more footballers apparently carry guns. Clearly, most of them have a lot of money, they drive fast cars, they go to night clubs, they party and all the rest of it. Again, I guess it comes back to an overriding sense that the culture of the game is slightly out of control. At least statistics of arrests, for example, suggest that. What can you really do about it?

BOB COSTAS, SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm not sure what can be done about it exactly. The NFL prohibits the carrying of firearms at any facility, practice facility, any event that's connected to the team, they make a public relations appearance in the stadium. I don't know how closely they enforce that. They do prohibit it.

And they do tell their players in their stated policy that, "While it is legal to possess a gun, we actually urge you not to. But we urge you, if you do possess a gun, that you use it strictly for protection of home and family or possibly if you're a hunter." That it's infinitely more likely that something bad will happen if you're armed than that something good will happen.

MORGAN: Coming up, is America becoming more liberal? What do the debates about same-sex marriage and marijuana say about this country?


MORGAN: Two monumental shifts in American culture in 2012: two states voting to legalize marijuana, and same-sex marriage is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia.

It was President Obama who tipped the scales with a stunning announcement that he now supports same-sex marriage.


MORGAN: Tonight's big story. President Obama's support for gay marriage, how much of it is personal, how much of it is political? Is this a game changer?

Just yesterday Clay Aiken said he wished President Obama would, quote, "Hurry up and evolve faster."

Now Clay, you must be pretty happy that he reacted so quickly.

CLAY AIKEN, SINGER: I am. I feel so empowered.

MORGAN: I mean, a big day, for every, you know, every gay American, a big day for every American in many ways, whatever reaction you had to it. How did you feel when you heard the news?

AIKEN: You know, it is a little bittersweet. I'm in North Carolina and as a North Carolinian, I was really disappointed with the way the amendment initiative vote went yesterday here in North Carolina.

But it's -- it's very promising to -- to hear President Obama finally come up and speak out on something that's so important. And I think that the groundswell, the energy that was behind a lot of the activists and the people who were important in the -- in the vote here yesterday in North Carolina, that energy made its way to Washington, and President Obama realized that this was a time to speak up and to speak out on the freedom for everyone to marry.

MORGAN: Do you think homosexuality is a sin?

KIRK CAMERON, ACTOR: I think that it's -- it's unnatural. I think that it's detrimental and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.

MORGAN: What do you do if one of your six kids says, "Dad, bad news, I'm gay"?

CAMERON: I'd sit down and I'd have a heart to heart with him, just like you would with your kids. I'd talk to him about it.

MORGAN: If one of my kids said that, I'd say, "That's great, son, as long as you're happy." What would you say?

CAMERON: Well, I wouldn't say, "That's great, son, as long as you're happy." I'm going to say, you know, "There's -- there's all sorts of issues that we need to wrestle through in our life, and just because you feel one way doesn't mean we should act on everything that we feel."

MORGAN: Some people would say that telling kids that being gay is a sin or getting married is a sin, or whatever, that in itself is incredibly destructive and damaging in a country where seven states now have legalized it.

CAMERON: Yes, but -- but you have to also understand that you, yourself, are using a standard of morality to say that telling people such and such of a behavior is sinful, you're using a standard of morality to make that statement and say that that is terribly destructive. So everyone is going to have a standard against which they...

MORGAN: No, no, listen. I'm not an American. I'm making the point that seven states in America have now legalized gay marriage.

CAMERON: Well, Piers, you're -- you're speaking to a man who is a Christian, and I believe that all of us are sinful. I would -- I could stand at the top of the list and say that I need a savior and I need an overhaul of the heart more than anyone. And so that's what I teach my kids. I teach them the values that I hold dear.

MORGAN: I interviewed Kirk Cameron. It wasn't so much that he had...


MORGAN: Well, exactly. So we come to (INAUDIBLE). Yes. Talk about "Growing Pains." But what I was struck by was that it wasn't so much that he was opposed to it, it was the language he used...


MORGAN: It was so violent. It was, you know, "a gay lifestyle is destructive to civilization." I was like what? People can still feel that.

FERGUSON: Yes. I know and it's shocking and, again, like I have lived in New York and California most of my life. I was raised in New Mexico, and certainly, a lot of people there still feel that way. And I do forget that there are so many parts of our nation that feel that way. But I think a lot of it is just -- it's really lack of knowledge.

MORGAN: Something extraordinary happened on Tuesday as voters in Colorado and Washington state said yes to legalizing marijuana for recreational use. It's a stunning move.

When you last did an interview with this show, Larry King was the host.


MORGAN: And you admitted to him halfway through that you were actually high at the time, you had infused yourself of some marijuana.


MORGAN: Yes. So I've got to ask you the question, have you come similarly infused today?

NELSON: What's today?


MORGAN: It can be any day you like.


MORGAN: Did you have wake up this morning and have a quick, you know?

NELSON: I probably did, I probably did, if I -- if I remember. You know, that short term stuff.

MORGAN: Do you take a lot of it?

NELSON: I think some people have more tolerance, you know, for smoking pot than others, and I know people who can take one hit and just go to sleep completely and other guys that can smoke a lot. You know, me and Snoop smoke a lot, and in every country we've been in, I guess. I was in Amsterdam one time, and Snoop called me and wanted me to sing on his record. And I said, "OK."

He said, "Where are you?"

And I said, "I'm in Amsterdam." So he caught the next plane to come over, and we recorded a song together.

MORGAN: You and Snoop go to Amsterdam, the Mecca of dope, really, and you both have a load of it and then write some music together?

NELSON: Now we can go to Colorado. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: When we come back, words to live by from two very different spiritual leaders.


MORGAN: As 2012 comes to an end, I'd like to leave you with some encouraging words from two of the best-known spiritual leaders I interviewed this year.


MORGAN: We're here to discuss the World Peace Summit that you've been asked to speak at. Do you think the world is a more peaceful place now than it was when you first became Dalai Lama?

DALAI LAMA, TIBETAN SPIRITUAL LEADER: Oh, yes. The fundamental level I think of today's world is much better, at least with disappearance of Berlin wall, and eventually, big change happened. So at least the two blocs both have their nuclear weapon ready to shoot each other. That kind of danger is now no longer.

And some pockets, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), some violence, very sad, but compare during that period's danger, I think today I think comparatively, I think much better. Then I think important, I think although the word peace is something that almost become fashion, peace, peace, peace, even though some people who really making every preparation for war, but they use the word of peace, peace, peace.

MORGAN: What I wonder is when you do a book called "I Declare," and it's a very smart premise. You take, it's really a sort of statement for every day of the month. And it's very positive driven. It's very, like, get up and be glass half full, not glass half empty.

But people will say it's a lot easier for you, mate. I mean, you're selling tens of millions of books, you're making hundreds of millions of dollars. You're married to this beautiful woman. Life's pretty damn good for Joel Osteen.

What about if I've lost my job, my house, my car, I can't feed my kids, as tens of millions of Americans right now are going through that. What do you say about that? How do you convince them to take your lead?

JOEL OSTEEN, AUTHOR/PASTOR: Well, I think there's hope. The big part of the ministry is -- you know, we face difficulties, too, but our hearts go out to people. Americans are hurting, people all over the world.

But I think it's so important, Piers, if you get up in the morning and think, "Oh, man, life is lousy, there's nothing good in my future, I don't want to go to work, I don't feel well," you're just going to draw in more negativity. You're going to get bitter on life. You're going to sink down into depression and you're going to miss your purpose. So it's hard. I'm not saying it's easy, especially when things are coming against you, but you've got to get up and you've got to find something to be grateful for.


MORGAN: That's it for us tonight. It's been an extraordinary year. Thank you for watching.