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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Wildfire Destroying Thousands of Acres; Wife Turns Up After 11 Years

Aired May 2, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight breaking news on the Boston bombings. A U.S. official tells CNN the suspects planned to carry out suicide bomb attacks on July 4th, but the bombs were ready earlier than expected so they speeded up their plans of attack to the Boston marathon instead.

And that U.S. official also says that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev built the explosives in the Tamerlan's Cambridge apartment. We have much more on this breaking story coming up.

Also, breaking in the west, a massive wildfire destroying thousands of acres across Southern California. The images are extraordinary and authorities there say the situation is getting worse by the minute. A live report coming up.

And tonight in the chair, a truly unbelievable story of a woman found alive after being declared dead. Eleven years ago, Brenda Heist abandoned her family and simply vanished without a trace. Now she suddenly resurfaced. What will her husband and daughter tell her? Tonight they join me live in an exclusive interview and they have company, the husband's new wife will also be with them.

Plus should America stop Muslim students from getting visas in light of the Boston bombs? I've put that question to Ben Shapiro who's on the grill tonight.

We begin, though, with the breaking news on the Boston bombings and word the suspects wanted to strike on Independence Day. CNN's Deb Feyerick is live in Boston with more.

Deb, another dramatic development in this. That the Boston marathon was their plan B if you'd like. These two brothers originally planned to strike possibly as a suicide attack on Independence Day. Tell me more about that.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One law enforcement official who's talked to Susan Candiotti, apparently Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told investigators at a time that he was being questioned by them following his arrest. He apparently told them that July 4th was plan A, that that's what they were thinking about doing. That they were thinking about using some sort of device like a suicide vest. The question is whether the evidence the response team actually recovered a vest or whether they went and found plan B which were the devices, the pressure cooker devices that they ended up using, but apparently they were able to build them and build them quickly and therefore they moved up their attacks to the Boston marathon, a daytime attack -- Piers.

MORGAN: We also know that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in his interrogation revealed more information about the kind of videos that they've been watching involving some radical clerics. What can you tell me about that part of it?

FEYERICK: Well, there are. There have been -- and investigators have been looking at a computer that allegedly belonged to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It was taken by one of his friends, the only friend who seems to have spoken to him the night that he fled. They're looking at all the various videos that were online, of who he communicated with. And there are -- I'm being told that in fact there are a number of interviews in which there -- a number of videos in which they are looking at training videos. So all of that right now is being looked at very closely by investigators -- Piers.

MORGAN: And, Deb, the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been claimed. I believe we're working on the assumption that it's by the Tsarnaev family, possibly an uncle, is that right?

FEYERICK: Well, that is one of the possibilities. We are told is that the body was picked up, we believe it was picked up in that van that you see that left the medical examiner's office today at about 5:25. The wife has said she did not want that body. The body belongs to the family. We are told that an uncle had stepped forward to say that, yes, he would take the body.

But we don't know whether he's the one that took it, whether it was the aunt in Toronto or whether it was the sister in New Jersey. So we're taking a close look at that. The medical examiner would not release any information nor for that matter would the funeral home which is about 40 miles south of here -- Piers.

MORGAN: Deb Feyerick, thank you very much, indeed.

All of this is unfolding, of course, on the second anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden. And today an inspiring sight in Lower Manhattan. There's a flag-draped spire is hoisted to the top of One World Trade Center, towering symbol of hope and strength as America continues its war on terror.

Joining me now is Dan Rather, the anchor and managing editor of "Dan Rather Reports" on AXS TV.

Dan, great to see you again.

DAN RATHER, ANCHOR AND MANAGING EDITOR, AXS TV'S "DAN RATHER REPORTS": Good to see you.

MORGAN: This Boston bombing investigation has taken so many twists and turns in the last week or so. What do you think we're really dealing with here? Could it be as simple as two radicalized young brothers working alone in one of their homes building bombs off the Internet? Or do you fear it's something linked to Dagestan, to extremists in a wider circle of dangerous people?

RATHER: Well, first of all, it certainly could be what you described. Just two young men on their own. I fear that it may be more than that. But we need to let this play itself out, let the investigators continue their investigations. Already we've seen one surprise after another.

I would say the early indications are that at least in terms of the older brother. There was a foreign connection. Now whether that is directly tied to the bombing or not, we'll see. But, you know, all of this is a reminder, Piers, you know as well as I do, when these things happen, frequently the first things we hear, maybe the first things we suspect, are generally wrong. And that has been the case apparently often in this situation and I'll be surprised if it doesn't continue for a while.

But to answer your question, my own suspicion, based on what we -- what little we know, and what we think we know is it was more than just the two of them operating, as you will, as independent contractors.

MORGAN: The real fear here, Dan, is that it could trigger a sort of new face of the war on terror where we've had war in Iraq, war in Afghanistan and now it's come home to America with young radicalized youths who may be living here for quite some time in perfectly normal circumstances from what we could see being turned either when they go back home or by other fundamentalists, and then committing atrocities on American soil.

How do we deal with that? It's two years after bin Laden was killed this week. How do you deal with this new menace of young people who haven't picked up on many radars before, doing this kind of thing?

RATHER: Well, very difficult. I do think as you've described part of a new reality for America and Americans in the 21st Century that we are open arms to welcome people into the country. Young people grow up here but the potential for homegrown terrorism, if you will, sometimes linked to foreign interests, sometimes not, has grown, let's face it, since 9/11. And continues growing.

We can talk about continuing the war on terror and certainly had our victories and triumphs, made progress on that, Osama bin Laden dead, but, you know, that old saying that vigilance is the price of freedom has seldom been more apt that it is today because this kind of situation that we've seen with these brothers in Boston there are other cases in this country where young people -- particularly young people, but people come here, they're taking into the country. For one reason or another they turned against the country, they get inspired, motivated at the very least by evil people on foreign soil and it's just part of the reality that we're going to have to deal with, I fear, for decades to come. MORGAN: There's another link today to Benghazi and al Qaeda. Several Yemeni men belonging to al Qaeda apparently took part in a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound. People like Lindsey Graham, the senator, saying, you know, this is another illustration of failed intelligence, that you combine Benghazi and Boston, and the FBI and the CIA and other should have been on both of these cases a lot better than they were.

Do you think they're right to level that kind of criticism?

RATHER: I think at least to a limited degree that the criticism is warranted. But keep in mind, Piers, and I say upfront, I've known a lot of people in American intelligence over the years as a reporter, both the CIA and others. Not a lot of FBI agents. Both of those agents, these are filled with really intelligent, hardworking, decent Americans. They have a tremendous challenge to keep intelligence fresh and up to date.

I do think that some of the criticism leveled about Benghazi and also the Boston case, the way it's handled, from what I know of it, I think this is a legitimate criticism. And we have to keep these agencies held to a high accountability because it matters so much.

But again I say this against the background of it's a big challenge for American intelligence and for that the FBI to try to stay up to date on these things.

MORGAN: The other big challenge right now is Syria, of course, which has been in the background, if you like, to the period of this -- the Boston story, but clearly some atrocities going on there and continue to -- to be going on there. The civil war, they now estimates, costs 70,000 people or more of their lives. Chuck Hagel, the Defense secretary, said today that the U.S. is rethinking whether to arm the Syrian rebels.

Is that a good move for America, do you think, to do something of that nature?

RATHER: My personal opinion, yes. Time to considerate it. But, Piers, we also have to keep in mind here that it's very easy to get into these situations and once you're into them, it's sometimes extremely difficult to get out. Read Iraq, read Afghanistan. And for those, every person who criticizes President Obama for being slow to get into Syria, particularly in the early stages when there was request for a no-fly zone and refugee free passage areas, some of that criticism may be warranted.

But, again, there are limits to power. And the United States of America from time to time has to be reminded of the limits of power. We can't help everybody every place all over the world. Now, in answer to your question about Syria. It's my understanding that the Israelis, for example, are very concerned about trying to arm the rebels, help the rebels with their weaponry because the question of who are these rebels? How many are al Qaeda connected if any? What kind of government would happen to Syria if we did go in?

These are huge questions and we need to have a national debate about it.

MORGAN: And the big question is where this red line on chemical weapons in particular is drawn. The White House apparently sent a letter to one of the aides to two U.S. senators said the intelligence committee assessed with varying degrees of confidence that Assad's government had used a chemical agent sarin on a small scale. Now the Syrians have emphatically denied this. But if it turns out there is unequivocal evidence of sarin use, that they have used weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons and so on, Obama, having said that that's the red line, would have to do something, wouldn't he?

RATHER: I don't know if he would have to do something. The argument that he may have made an error in putting that red line in place may be a valid argument. But this is such serious business. I understand the question. I understand that the dilemma that not only the president of the United States is in but our country is in that you say, look, if they use chemical weapons, that's a red line and there'll have to be a price for that.

But, again, what do we do? A no-fly zone sounds easy, but the first time an American aircraft is down, an effort to rescue the pilot, boy, I just come back to you have to be careful what you get into because getting out of it is extremely difficult.

This Syrian situation, when I say we need a national debate, we really haven't had a national debate about it. Do we think that U.S. interests are such in Syria that we need to go in and/or do we think that for humanitarian reasons we need to go in? Big, big question, I wish I had the answers, I don't.

MORGAN: All right. It's very, very complicated. Dan Rather, thank you so much as always. And you've got exclusive footage from Afghanistan featuring the deal for the life of a 6-year-old girl, "Kim versus Kabul," airs Tuesday, May 7th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on AXS Television.

Dan, as always, thank you.

RATHER: Thanks a lot.

MORGAN: Let's go to our other big breaking story. The Southern California wildfire, thousands of people avoided just hours. Hundreds of firefighters are battling the blaze as it inches closer to populated areas. There are evacuations underway right now.

With me now from Newbury Park is Paul Whyte, whose house was surrounded in flames.

Mr. Whyte, thank you for joining me. Tell me what is going on right now where you are.

PAUL WHYTE, PROPERTY DESTROYED BY WILDFIRE: Well, right now the fire has left my home and it's on adjoining hills. I was very fortunate this morning to come home and find a house, three very cool, very confident firefighters were relaxing and watching two or three- story flames in the back of my home. They then lit backfires and controlled it around my home and left when there was less danger.

When I left this morning, there were nine acres of shrubbery that was due to be cleared out tomorrow by weed abatement and brush removal agency. And when I got home, there were none left. It all burnt down. So a day late, but can't predict fires out here.

MORGAN: Extraordinary. From you can tell --

WHYTE: I'm very fortunate.

MORGAN: -- and what you can see -- from what you can see, Mr. Whyte, is it feared that it's getting much worse very quickly? Or do you feel like they're getting it under control?

WHYTE: Well, I don't have much experience with fire. So when I pulled up to my home and I'm seeing flames in the back of the house, your natural response is adrenal and fear. But coming up on the fireman, they were quite cool and collected and felt they had a 95 percent control of the whole situation.

It's very reassuring to meet people like that. People that are professional and know what they're doing. Put me at ease. I remained on-site figuring that if they were going to leave, I would be leaving, too. They said that's probably a good plan. It got pretty smoky and a little warmer than the 90 degrees. But my shrubbery is all cleared up. My house is still standing thanks to them.

MORGAN: You hear the helicopters going. An extraordinary job done. It's amazing these specialist work they do. But has the wind changed at all, Mr. Whyte? Do you feel that it's moving away now from the more populated areas? Or is there a fear that other houses are coming into its radar?

WHYTE: If you're asking me what's going on surrounding, the wind I know has been somewhat swirling today. So it had changed directions a few times, made it more challenging for the firefighters. There's not a lot of -- well, there's a lot of old growth, but I think it's all brush and not a lot of big trees, so they were able to control it a little better than if it were larger structures.

My understanding is there's no homes that have gone up at this point and mine being included in that number makes me very grateful. Right now they're still doing some work on the backside here. I think it's less homes and more open ground out toward the ocean. It's about two miles out to the ocean from here. And it's mostly park type situations. It's very rugged. And I'm sure they're having trouble accessing it and they're using their planes and helicopters.

They had used a pond in my backyard. It's just off my property and it was interesting to watch them dip down and load up after the burn-off had occurred. Still have animals running around, fortunately, that survived the fire. And glad my family is well and so am I and the house is still standing.

MORGAN: Yes. It's great that you've sort had a very lucky escape, Mr. Whyte. And I'm very grateful to you and for joining me after all this. And I wish you and the family all the very best as all this continues to be safely. Thank you for joining me.

You have a chance to sound off on tonight's big story and other news of the day. Tweet your questions to me @piersmorgan. And use the hash tag "Dear Piers" and I'll respond at the end of the show.

Coming next, an unbelievable story. It really is. A wife missing for more than a decade and declared dead. Just days ago she turned herself into police. I'll ask her husband that she abandoned whether it's a big come true or a nightmare come to life. The my exclusive interview coming next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEE HEIST, WIFE TURNED UP AFTER 11 YEARS: There were people in the neighborhood who would not allow their children to play with my children because of what they perceived I might do. And that hurt me more than just about anything else.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: This is a truly shocking and moving story. That was Lee Heist talking about becoming a suspect in his wife's disappearance in 2002. And in a remarkable twist, Brenda Heist who has not been seen by her family in more than a decade and was declared legally dead, turned herself into police last Friday. She admitted walking out on her husband and two children and living, as she says, as a homeless vagrant in Florida the whole time.

Lee Heist is in the chair for an exclusive interview.

Mr. Heist, this is a really remarkable story. And I've got to say at the start, I've read all about this today and my heart just goes out to you and your children. Because I just cannot imagine much worse than the experience you've been through. Your wife disappears, their mother disappears, you're left to pick up the pieces. And at one stage you're considered to be the suspect.

Tell me your feelings when the detective who was the original detective on this story rang you to tell you that your wife that you presumed was dead was still alive.

L. HEIST: Well, I was on a Friday evening, it was about 8:30. And the detective called and said I have some news for you and told us he'd like to meet with us. And so he asked for my -- my daughter and myself to come with him and meet with the detective at a -- restaurant.

MORGAN: Station or something. Yes, a restaurant.

L. HEIST: And -- yes. Yes. And so we did, and about little after 10:30, 9:30, we met him and started out with small talk because we know him and then just came right to it and said your ex-wife is alive. And we were both very shocked. My daughter immediately became -- I guess the word is -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Emotional.

L. HEIST: Emotional. Yes, emotional.

MORGAN: I should point out to the viewers watching this that your daughter is with you as is your new wife because you remarried. Clearly incredibly shocking for you, Mr. Heist. In terms of your emotions, though, they must be so conflicted. This is a woman that you were married to. You were getting divorced at the time she disappeared.

Let me ask you this, do you believe her story? Do you believe that she, as she claims, was upset in a local park and two people came along, got talking to her, and said come hitchhiking with us and she did and ended up just living homelessly in Florida? I mean, do you believe that?

L. HEIST: At the time I did. Since -- having heard that this past day or so, I've heard some conflicting reports. As more evidence comes in, it appears that this may not be the same.

MORGAN: You were able to remarry because your wife was declared dead. Now that she's turned up alive, do you know what the legal position is with your second marriage?

L. HEIST: Yes. I am legally divorced from my first wife. And I think it's been about five years since the divorce that I found -- that I met my wife. And so I think it's perfectly legitimate.

MORGAN: Let me turn to you, Morgan, because I've been reading your Twitter feed today. And in fact, the last few days since we discovered that your mother was alive after all. And you've been, to put it mildly, very angry and very upset, which I don't blame you for at all. You were, I think, 8 years old when your mother disappeared.

Tell me how you felt then and tell me how you feel now.

MORGAN HEIST, MOTHER TURNED UP AFTER 11 YEARS: I think when I was 8, I didn't really know what to feel. I mean, I was -- I felt -- I think -- I thought she would come home because that year I made her a mother's card -- Mother's Day card. So obviously I thought in the back of my mind she was coming back. And now -- I mean, now I have a lot of different emotions. I'm mad. So --

MORGAN: I mean, do you -- do you want to see her?

M. HEIST: As of right now I don't. I don't think she deserves to see me. So I don't really -- I don't really have any plans on going to see her.

MORGAN: What do you feel about the fact that she just left you all -- left your father to bring you up and never called anyone, never called her parents, never called your father, never called you and your brother and just didn't call anybody? Just literally disappeared for 11 years. What does that make you feel? M. HEIST: That makes me really mad. I can't believe she would do that because she was a good mom. She was and she was there. She was -- she was great. But, I mean, I guess something happened. Something snapped in her. And she couldn't do it anymore and my dad could.

MORGAN: We're going to take a short break and come back and talk more about this extraordinary story and also talk to Cindy Heist who's Lee's new wife, not so new now. But I want to get your feelings, as well, Cindy. Let's come back after the break and discuss what is a truly remarkable story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: More on this truly extraordinary story. Lee Heist's wife missing for more than a decade and declared dead then turning up alive. Back with me now is Lee, his daughter Morgan, and Lee's new wife Cindy. This is an exclusive interview.

Morgan, I want to show you the two pictures, and you, Lee, if I may. This is of Brenda, Lee, your wife, and Morgan, your mother, before and after the disappearance. On the left is how you remember her. On the right is how she is now having surrendered herself.

Morgan, what was your reaction when you saw the new picture of your mother?

M. HEIST: It's definitely hard. I cried real bad because she's not-- that's not how I remember her. That's not -- I mean, I thought she was so pretty. And she kept herself so well and then that picture just took me through a spin.

MORGAN: One of your Tweets said that you hope that she rots in hell. And I can understand why you feel so angry. But do you think your anger may calm enough to be more rational about this? Or do you think it's beyond any redemption or apology?

M. HEIST: I hope to eventually forgive her one day for myself, not for her. But I eventually hope to forgive her and move on with my life.

MORGAN: Cindy, it must be a very difficult situation for you too. You married Lee believing that he was not only divorced but that also -- in the last few years that his wife was almost certainly dead. That was what everyone assumed. How did you feel when you heard what had happened?

C. HEIST: I was really shocked. That's not something I ever expected to hear.

MORGAN: Do you feel -- how do you -- I'm trying to picture how you would feel, how your emotions are, because you obviously never knew her. She was just this person that had been a part of Lee's history. But now she's alive and she may well want to see Lee again. How would you feel about that? C. HEIST: That's a decision that he will have to make, if he chooses to see her. You know, that's fine. They were married. But, again, that's his decision to see if he wants to or not.

MORGAN: Lee, it is your decision. How do you feel about that question? It's the big question, I guess. Do you want to see her again? This is a woman that abandoned you, but has now turned up alive 11 years later.

L. HEIST: No. At this point, I don't see where it would do any good for either of us to see her again. I think that letting it go where it is -- now the kids are different, but as far as me, I don't think so.

MORGAN: Well, my heart does go out to all of you. It's an incredibly difficult situation. It must have been a hell of a shock. And I wish you all the very best in dealing with it going forward. Thank you to Lee, Morgan and Cindy Heist. A really remarkable story. Thank you for joining me.

Still ahead, marketing guns to kids. We'll get to that on the Grill with "Breitbart's" Ben Shapiro.

And later, breaking the news with Reese Witherspoon's arrest and the amazing new video showing it all going down, including that immortal phrase, "don't you know who I am?"

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: I'm now being arrested and handcuffed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WITHERSPOON: Do you know my name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't need to know your name.

WITHERSPOON: You don't need to know my name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not quite yet.

WITHERSPOON: OK. You're about to find out who I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fine. I'm not real worried about you, ma'am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID MANN, UNCLE OF TWO-YEAR OLD KILLED BY BROTHER: I mean, it's just tragic. It's something that you can't prepare for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: The uncle of a two-year-old girl that was shot and killed by her five-year-old brother with a rifle given to him for his birthday. Joining me now on the Grill is Ben Shapiro, author of "Bullies," and editor at large for "Breitbart News." Welcome back to you, Mr. Shapiro.

BEN SHAPIRO, AUTHOR, "BULLIES": Thanks for having me.

MORGAN: I've missed you.

SHAPIRO: I thought maybe you were going to deport yourself after the whole gun control thing.

MORGAN: No, your attempts with your mates to get me deported failed spectacularly.

SHAPIRO: I wanted you to stay. You're so much fun.

MORGAN: Let's turn to something serious. This is an appalling story, and I'm sure we both agree on that. This five-year-old boy shooting and killing his two-year-old sister with a rifle he'd been given. Now, in Kentucky where this happened, it's legal to do this. What I want to do is play a commercial, this is by Crickett, who make these rifles and market them to these kids. Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shoot my new Crickett Rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish I had one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My first rifle, a moment you never forget. The Crickett is the perfect way to get young and small frame shooters started right, with the safety promoting design. It's soft shooting, affordable and accurate.

Girls and even mom will love the way they can pick one to their own taste. Start your own tradition, Crickett.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, look, I'll be honest with you, I thought this was a spoof. I really did. I cannot believe that this is genuinely deliberate targeted advertising and marketing to give five-year-olds rifles. What is your view?

SHAPIRO: The marketing is directed at the parents, obviously. And the parents are making some, you know, interesting decisions, I would say bad decisions, if they're giving a five-year-old a gun. It is illegal, as far as I know, for a five-year-old to walk into a gun shop and pick up a gun.

The problem I think is broader than just this. If we're going to go to any kind of cultural implement that encourages kids to own guns, then we'll have to go straight to Hollywood. And I'm not sure that people want to go there. Most people who want to own guns do so because they watch "Die Hard" or because they watch a movie with a gun.

MORGAN: But they're actually -- it's illegal of a kid of five to go and watch a lot of these violent movies.

SHAPIRO: That's true. Although some of the PG movies even have guns in them.

MORGAN: Back in Britain -- I'm not going to harp on where I come from. It's irrelevant to this, except that, you know, the only thing like that you'd ever see would be toy guns. Kids have toy guns. And it's known to be a toy. It doesn't fire real bullets.

This tragedy happened because these parents were traduced, I would imagine, by that very kind of advertising. And they believed it is perfectly normal to give their five-year-old kid a rifle. And I just find it unconscionable.

SHAPIRO: Well, I certainly find it unconscionable on the part of the parents. As far as the advertiser goes, I'm not --

MORGAN: Should it be banned, that kind of advertising?

SHAPIRO: I think that there's an argument to be made in favor of that. But I do think the broader argument is not about situations like this. These cases happen, and they're horrifying. But the real heart of the gun control issue has to come down to what happened in Chicago. I follow your Twitter feed, Piers. And I notice that you Tweeted a couple of times about this particular story. I didn't see any Tweets about, for example, 20 people being shot yesterday in Chicago.

MORGAN: Well, I Tweeted before about Chicago, and discussed it on the show numerous times. Chicago is a particularly awful situation that's got to be dealt with.

SHAPIRO: We should focus on the central problem then?

MORGAN: We can. What I find interesting about this with you is we've discussed gun control before in a very animated way. But you agree with me, then, that you would bring in a form of gun control, which would be prohibiting companies like Crickett from targeting young people with guns?

SHAPIRO: I'm fairly certain the liability law already covers a lot of this. There is such a thing as advertising liability. If you advertise, for example, you have an over ground pool and someone advertises someone diving into the pool, and then someone dives into the pool and breaks their neck, then you can be sued for that. If there -- if these advertisements show these guns as being a lot safer than they are, there's advertising liability already.

I'm not sure you need a specific law directed at that. MORGAN: On the ongoing debate about background checks and so on, the last time I interviewed you, you said you're in favor of background checks.

SHAPIRO: I am.

MORGAN: Why is it that even background checks can't get passed by Congress? What is going on?

SHAPIRO: Well, they're not effective, unfortunately. I think the concept of background checks is generally a good one. We want to weed out people who are responsible from people who are irresponsible or criminals. Unfortunately, in California we have universal background checks and they have not been even close to effective. The idea that government has the ability to really do that sort of weeding out with a universal background check, I wish it were true. Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

In concept, I do. I would like to see a plan that can be implemented that actually works.

MORGAN: There's a poll that's just come out. This is a Farleigh Dickinson University poll, said that 29 percent of Americans agree with this statement, "in the next few years, an armed revolution might be necessary in order to protect our liberties." Additional five percent were unsure about that. So a third of Americans genuinely believe they need to be armed to possibly rise up against some form of tyranny. Why?

SHAPIRO: Because that is the fundamental basis of American freedom. That's always been --

MORGAN: Where would the tyranny come from?

SHAPIRO: The tyranny would come from the government.

MORGAN: Barack Obama's government?

SHAPIRO: No, not Barack Obama's government. I don't believe that Barack Obama is a tyrannical leader.

MORGAN: So whose government?

SHAPIRO: I couldn't name you a name. It's not a matter of who is in charge --

MORGAN: You personally believe, like a third of these people, that you will need in the next few years, it says -- you will need to have weapons to take on your own government?

SHAPIRO: I don't believe in the next few years. I believe that there's always the possibility of government tyranny. I don't see that happening in the next couple of years. I do think, Piers -- I have to say, I think the reason that there are so many folks who are talking about the possibility of government tyranny is threefold really. It's the Obama administration's increasing reliance on big government. That I think threatens some people. I think that it's folks like Alex Jones, who did this routine where every time they shut down a city like Boston because of a terrorist attack, it's the end of the world and military law is at hand.

And honestly, I think part of it is due to folks like you, Piers, because, you know, you go out of your way to really give the impression that you're interested in taking away people's fundamental right to bear arms. And I think that scares a lot of folks.

MORGAN: We've discussed. I'm not remotely against people having the right to bear arms. I'm seriously against the right to have military style assault weapons to blow kids brains to pieces in schools.

SHAPIRO: I still don't understand your position on this, because you've said you're against assault weapons. But you are OK with handguns. Handguns kill 6,000 people a year. Assault weapons kill 300.

MORGAN: Well, they're both a big problem.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- and assault weapons with mass shootings.

SHAPIRO: You're from the UK. Why don't we just go with a full gun ban?

MORGAN: We've discussed this. The UK has 40, 50 gun murders a year. America has 12,000. Why don't we try our way? Let's move on.

SHAPIRO: I'm glad you finally have your agenda out there.

MORGAN: I don't have an agenda. I just want to make America safe and save lives. That's my agenda.

Let's turn to Jason Collins. This is the sports star that came out. You Tweeted this: "so Jason Collins is a hero because he's gay. Our standard for heroism has dropped quite a bit since Normandy." What such a cheap shot against a guy who did a pretty brave thing?

SHAPIRO: I don't think it's a cheap shot. I think that heroism is defined by willingness to sacrifice in favor of -- and take a real personal risk in favor of a noble, larger goal. This may be a noble, larger goal.

MORGAN: He's the first male American athlete in history to come out as gay while still playing.

SHAPIRO: Martina Navratilova came out in 1981.

MORGAN: I said male.

SHAPIRO: That was three years before I was born. Let me ask you something, Piers. Why do you hate America so much that you think this is such a homophobic country that when Jason Collins comes out, it is the biggest deal in the history of humanity? President Obama has to personally call him to congratulate him?

MORGAN: Why do I hate America so much?

SHAPIRO: -- that you think that we are such a homophobic country?

MORGAN: I think you may be homophobic simply because you said why is Jason Collins a hero because he's gay?

SHAPIRO: I don't understand why --

MORGAN: Why sneer at a guy for coming out?

SHAPIRO: I'm not sneering at him --

MORGAN: -- one thing homophobic?

SHAPIRO: I don't think it's homophobic to simply say we're apathetic about people's personal lives.

MORGAN: You're the one who thinks your government is going to invade and attack you, which is a very anti-American sentiment.

SHAPIRO: I don't think the government's going to do that.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: -- your own backyard.

MORGAN: I think America's a fundamentally good place. The fact is this, Piers, you're British and a lot of folks have said you should leave the country, because you come on here every night and you speak in a British accent. That doesn't make you a hero. That makes you being who you are.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: I never claimed to be a hero.

SHAPIRO: I understand. I'm Jewish. I wear a Yarmulke on TV. There's a lot of anti-Semitism. There are people who are killed in anti-Semitic attacks. Per capita, as many hate crimes against Jews as against gays in this country. America is not an anti-Semitic country and I'm not a hero for wearing a Yarmulke.

Being who you are in 2013 in America is what America is about. It is not heroic to be who you are publicly. I'm glad for Jason Collins if he feels that he's going to live a happier life now. But it does not make you a hero to be who you are --

MORGAN: You know what, Ben, come off it.

SHAPIRO: Come off it?

MORGAN: Got to leave it there, but come off it. Give the guy a break. He's the first one to come out. He's a brave guy. I applaud him.

SHAPIRO: I'm glad the president called him.

MORGAN: To have your first thought to be to get on Twitter and sneer at him, it's cheap.

SHAPIRO: I think what's cheap is ripping on America and calling it essentially a homophobic country.

MORGAN: -- calling America homophobic.

SHAPIRO: Piers, you cover stories in which man bites dog, not in which dog bites man.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Ben, got to leave it there. Seriously, nobody mentioned America being homophobic. You're going mad.

SHAPIRO: Why is it a big deal?

MORGAN: Ben Shapiro, come back soon on the Grill there, and well roasted he was, too.

When we come back, Reese Witherspoon's drunken arrest, a potentially racist ad and Warren Buffett's first ever Tweet. We'll be breaking news. That's coming next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Tonight, breaking the news on some of the big stories of the day. Pepsi is pulling a controversial ad as it goes viral online. Critics slam the commercial for Mountain Dew saying it promotes racial stereotypes. They say it also makes light of violence against women.

Joining me now, the two hosts of "HuffPost Live," Abby Huntsman and Marc Lamont Hill. Also here is Maeve Reston of the "L.A. Times."

I want to start, actually, with Reese Witherspoon, because this new video has come out tonight which shows the infamous arrest that happened on the 19th of April. Let's watch a little clip of what happened here?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WITHERSPOON: I'm now being arrested and handcuffed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WITHERSPOON: Do you know my name, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't need to know your name.

WITHERSPOON: You don't need to know my name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not quite yet. WITHERSPOON: OK. You're about to find out who I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fine. I'm not real worried about you, ma'am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Now, I mean, this is the ultimate, "do you know who I am," to which the answer was, "I don't care, love." How bad is this for Reese Witherspoon?

MAEVE RESTON, "L.A. TIMES": Well, we've seen Reese Witherspoon taking on these kind of darker rolls, this much more complicated roll in "Mud," which came out last weekend. So maybe she's really not going for America's sweetheart anymore, and she's kind of broadening out her appeal. But I do think she made a very sincere apology this morning.

MORGAN: Let's watch that. She made an apology on GMA. Let's see a bit of this, as well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WITHERSPOON: I am so sorry. I was so disrespectful to him. And I have police officers in my family. I work with police officers every day. I know better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Abby, sincere enough for you?

ABBY HUNTSMAN, "HUFFPOST LIVE": She has got to be so humiliated. I mean, I know she's wearing darker hair and she might be playing darker roles, but she's America's sweetheart. And I think she always wants to be America's sweetheart. She's got to be absolutely humiliated.

But look, I think in a situation like this, we remember that we're all human beings at the end of the day. Unfortunately, she is out there fore the public to see and to judge. But I think it really depends on how they handle the situation. She's out speaking about it. She's talking to her kids about it. She's making it clear that this is a lesson learned. This is what not to do. And I think we can commend her for that.

MARC LAMONT HILL, "HUFFPOST LIVE" I agree.

MORGAN: Yeah, I got thrown out of a nightclub in my 20s. I remember saying to the guy, "don't you know who I am?" He said, "of course I know who you are, Mr. Morgan. That's why I'm throwing you out." So we've all had our moments.

Marc, let me come to you about this other video of the day, which is the Mountain Dew ad. It's caused a lot of controversy today. What do you make of the controversy? Was it racist? Because it was made by a black man, with other black friends of his. Let's take a little look at their clip from it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think I can do this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's easy. Just point to it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better not snitch on a player. Snitchers get stitches, fool.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: What's your verdict? Was it clever? Satirical, as we would call in Britain, Mickey taking, sarcastic, ironic? Or was it just plain offensive?

HILL: I'm going to go with racist for 500, Alex. Here's the thing, it can be satirical, it can be witty and it can be edgy. I'm all for that. You've got four guys in a lineup here, all black. Even the goat was black. The only person white was the victim, who has bruises and a thing around her neck. That is fundamentally racist.

And yes, a black guy made it. Very often, we'll get black people to do things that are racist. We'll get women to do things that are sexist. So that becomes our excuse. This is offensive on its face. The only thing I want to know is who approved this? Who gave the green light to this kind of a project?

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Abby, you go?

HUNTSMAN: I was saying, it's completely misogynistic as well. You have this woman who's beat up. She looks like, Piers, she could have been raped. In the video, she can't even speak. She can't even talk about what she went through. How many women go through that every day? So it's inconceivable.

MORGAN: Right. Maeve, you're as incensed as Abby?

RESTON: I think the fact that we're even talking about this illustrates that it may have very well been meant to just go viral and be pulled. Maybe they wrote the apology at the same time they put the ad out. You know? I mean, we're in a world where there's so many different forms of media that are trying to compete and breakthrough. Why else would we be talking about Mountain Dew, right?

MORGAN: The other thing we're talking about today is Mitt Romney has made this commencement speech today. I think it was today or yesterday, in which he said the following. Let's watch a little clip from this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Children are a heritage of the lord. And the fruit of the womb is his reward. Happy is the man who have his quiver full of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Abby, I think he's encouraging you to have a quiver full?

HUNTSMAN: It sounds like -- hey, you know what, Piers? I've heard that my entire life. I grew up Mormon. That's really what they advocate. Look, this is -- we all have a unique view of the world. And this is very much Mitt Romney's view, where you get married quickly, in college, if not, shortly there after, you have a quiver of kids.

HILL: How many actually constitute a quiver? I'm just curious. I wasn't raised Mormon.

(CROSS TALK)

RESTON: You get as many as five.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Maeve, Mitt Romney -- we haven't seen much of Mitt Romney. He looked quite good in that sort of preacher gear there. But should we take this seriously? Is it a good idea for women to have lots of kids very quickly and then go off and do what they want to do?

RESTON: I think we are just seeing the real Mitt Romney emerge. He's very much in to his marriage and his quiver of kids. He has five boys, as you know. And you know, this is maybe why he didn't do so well with single women.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Marc, final word from you?

HILL: This is the Mitt Romney that I didn't want to vote for and that I didn't vote for. He kept telling -- making us think that he was this normal, moderate guy, but really he's a religious fanatic who is telling 21 year old college graduates to have binders full of children. This is not who I want. This is the real deal.

MORGAN: OK, guys, got to leave it there. To Abby, Marc and Maeve, thank you all very much, indeed.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you so much.

MORGAN: Coming next, Dear Piers, your Tweets and my replies. This is going to be interesting, this segment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Time for Dear Piers, where you Tweet me @PiersMorgan, and I respond. First from #BuckmanTavin, "gun control has failed," he writes, "Be a man and move back to England." To which my answer is gun control has failed, sadly. I agree with you. I've asserted your attempt to deport me. That's why I will continue to campaign for safer gun laws in America. I've got every confidence that as with civil rights, gay marriage and drunk driving, common sense will eventually prevail.

Next, from Hal, talking about Ben -- last night's Ben, Ben Ferguson, "you ate Piers' lunch. Great job revealing irresponsible parents are the issue, not guns." To which my answer is, first, nobody ever eats my lunch, either gastronomically or in a debate. And secondly, without the gun being in the house, the parents can't be irresponsible with it, can they?

And this from David, "Dear Piers, why are you so awesome?" To which my answer is, practice, David, a lot of practice.

Keep Tweeting me @PiersMorgan. That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts right now.