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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Interview with John McCain; Analysis of Syria Negotiations; Interview with Sheryl Crow
Aired September 12, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. We begin with breaking news. A massive fire raging on the Jersey shore tonight. It was battered a year ago by super storm Sandy. It began this afternoon and quickly grew to a six-alarm inferno. Governor Chris Christie is urging residents to stay away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: Do not come here. Do not travel. Stay away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Meanwhile in Colorado, these three people are dead and rescues are continuing tonight in the wake of devastating flash floods. We're keeping an eye on all of this for you tonight. But I turn to our big story first. Syria. Right now, it all comes down to a big game of Russian roulette on who blinks first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is not a game, and I said that to my friend Sergey when we talked about it initially.
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We should follow the peaceful ways of resolution of the conflicts in Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And joining me now is Senator John McCain. Senator, good to see you.
Let me ask you a question, if you had been president and through this crisis right now, under what circumstances would you have gone to Congress to seek permission effectively the military action in Syria?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: First of all, I would have started two years ago supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition and I think that Bashar Assad would have been gone but that's over.
I certainly would have consulted with Congress which is what the War Powers Act requires, but I would have taken action without calling for a resolution and if you want to call for resolution, fine. If you want to act, I think you're constitutionally encouraged to doing it. But to say you're going to act and then ask for Congressional approval is the worst option because he found himself in a real box where he said he was going to strike but said he needed Congressional approval and why he's (ph) going to get it.
MORGAN: If in the end the Russians deliver on this deal with Syria, Assad surrenders his chemical weapons and Russia is seen to have done the right thing and President Obama has avoided any military action, avoided risking any American lives. You could argue in the end all the jittering and zigzagging and shifting positions that he's taken have led to the right result and therefore would be a vindication of his actions.
MCCAIN: I think you could argue that that's best outcome given the situation now, but then you still have this conflict that goes on the ground in Syria. You might be interested to know that when the threat of the attack was going on, Bashar Assad grounded his air force, dispersed his forces as soon as the pause was announced, the immediate reason of their attacks that weapons came in from Iran and from Russia.
It's interesting, how does this morally, Piers when you are negotiating for the removal of chemical weapons and yet at the same time they're flying in plane load after plane load of weapons which are to kill 100,000 not 1,000 but 100,000 Syrians and leaving the opposition out to dry and that thing that bothers me ...
MORGAN: What is the -- let me return to that back at you ...
MORGAN: ... which is if as report suggest the CIA has been giving arms to the rebels and if we see the ...
MCCAIN: And by the way it's not true ...
MCCAIN: ... to start with and second while what they're giving isn't the kind of weapons they need, but ...
MORGAN: Right, but just for argument sake say there maybe some merit to that. Then America has taken side with the rebels and the Russian have taken sides with President Assad. Both have taken a position in a civil war that most Americans for example say has nothing to do with America.
MCCAIN: But that's ...
MORGAN: How did it come to that?
MCCAIN: ... that's a moral equivalency which is not true. This started out with a group of people demonstrating and of course Bashar Assad wholesale massacre with 5,000 Hezbollah underground, they're not Syrian, they're from Lebanon. With the Arab reign and revolutionary guard all in and the Iranians all in and the Russian arms flights coming in.
It's a non-fair fight first of all. But second of all would we have not tried to get arms to the French who are fighting against the -- in World War II, would we not be supporting people who are fighting for things we stand for and believe in. And we can go into whether they are Al-Qaeda or not. If it's nothing -- another conversation I happen to believe and know that they've got the weapons from the right people, the ones who had come in by way of the Saudis.
But -- so, a moral equivalency there of course we should be supporting these people. We should have been supporting them a hell of a lot more than we have when they're fighting against a dictator who massacres them and has a doctrine of torture, rape and murder.
MORGAN: How did you feel when you heard that Vladimir the Putin, as he calls himself had written an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, the great, venerable New York Times, right here in this city in which he basically attacked America and Barack Obama but did it in a pretty still forward.
MCCAIN: I think they'll -- and blame the weapons on the rebels ...
MCCAIN: ... which we know is ...
MORGAN: What was your reaction when you heard about this?
MCCAIN: Not surprised. He is a old KGB upper action (ph) that has visions of restoration of the old Russian empire and he doesn't respect us. He doesn't have respect for us. You can see that in his actions when he calls John Kerry a liar when he basically snobs the press and then variously ...
MORGAN: Does he respect America anymore than America respects him and Russia?
MCCAIN: I think we give him a lot more respect than he deserves. We went through this phony routine where Medvedev was going to be the guy that we worked with. Do you remember that?
MCCAIN: And everybody know he was the puppet. The puppeteer was Vlad.
MORGAN: Probably that's because Putin is -- whichever your view of Putin, he's indisputably a very strong leader. And I would say, as an outsider looking in on this, has played a pretty cunning political diplomatic game.
MCCAIN: Right now? It is done. He's now placed himself in a very important position throughout the entire Middle East. And by the way, our friends are discouraged, our enemies are encouraged. What message does this send to the Iranians? What message does it send to the Israelis? That we have said we are going to launch an attack and then we have backed off and not done that.
MORGAN: What is the time scale here? Where if the Russians don't deliver and Assad doesn't deliver, as many skeptics believe, he's just not going to do. America has to take action or lose all face.
MCCAIN: I think and that should be in a matter of a few days, I think you can really do the -- why are they in Geneva? Why are they in New York where they could put it together and run with the resolution through the Security Council? But that's a minor item. You have the number of days and it has to be legitimate. And if not, I don't know what the President is going to do. I think, though, there may be an outcome where he could go back to Congress and say, "Look, I've tried everything." He may, I emphasize, may get some more support but at the same time, images of those dead children fades also. And so, I think he's in a very -- one of the most difficult positions of any president of the United States in history.
MORGAN: Senator McCain, always good to see you. Thank you very much.
MCCAIN: Thank you, sir.
MORGAN: Reaction to President Obama's handling of the crisis in Syria has been mixed to say the least. Today White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, as you might expect, (inaudible) brought (ph) a defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The American people, at least in my assessment, appreciate the Commander in Chief who takes in new information and doesn't, you know, celebrate decisiveness for the sake of decisiveness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: With me now, a man who knows more than most of that war in the Middle East, Dan Rather, anchor and managing editor of AXS TV's Dan Rather Reports and host of The Big Interview, and also somebody who's covered every spit and cough of Middle Eastern turmoil for decades.
I couldn't think of nobody better to talk to about this because, as I keep saying, it is a messy situation. There's no clean answer here. And people have been rushing to criticize President Obama. I'd be one of them who's been pretty unimpressed by the way he appears to have handled this. Are we being unfair?
DAN RATHER, AXS TV ANCHOR: I think it's premature. I think the short answer is yes to a degree. But this is a reality of the second decade of the 21st century and a 24-hour news clock is a constant around coverage. There was a time when presidents had more time to make decisions. Even as late as the early 1960s, President Kennedy, when he was deciding what to do about Russian missiles in Cuba ...
RATHER: ... exclamation point, it was 8 or 10 days before he made a decision. But, you know, this is a time, I think for whatever it may be worth, that Americans need to be alert, studying the situation and steady as we go. We know this. Whatever your party or ideological political splint (ph) that in President Obama and in Secretary of the State Kerry, were too very smart, very experienced. In Kerry's case, somebody who have seen the savagery of war up close.
RATHER: And two men who hate war, don't want to go to war. So it's right to remain skeptical not cynical, but skeptical, and see a few more card. From President Obama's -- he's running a risk and his Press Secretary was doing the best he could today. But there is the danger for him in terms of his reputation and the rest of his presidency. We know that dilly-dally, jitter (ph) and delay are the four horsemen of presidential failure ...
RATHER: ... or the perception of failure. And he's walking that fine line. I do think that public at large doesn't want to get involved with Syria. In states, they see it as a snake pit and who knows what can happen there.
On the other hand, the power of the presidency is the power to persuade and President Obama can still persuade public opinion, but it's going to take a lot.
MORGAN: What is the bigger picture here, if there is one, because it's not just about Syria. We've seen, you know, ever since I've been on air at CNN, since the Arab Spring first erupted, there's been endless turmoil as the region appears to be wrestling with freedom and democracy and so on. But what is the bigger picture particularly for America and the region?
RATHER: The bigger picture is Iran is the key. Iran is the pivot country in the region at the moment. And any strategy, for that matter, most tactics need to be put through the prism of how does it affect our relationship with Iran. That's number one. And what you say is true. The region is alive with freedom, democracy movements, the population taking charge and has also still rights ( ph) though with religious warfare, Sunni against Shiites, Sunni against Alawites.
MORGAN: Does America have any business over that matter, Britain, France, other countries, do we have any business taking on those into the affairs of Syria, Egypt, you know, Libya wherever it maybe. What is it the business of America?
RATHER: Well, it has been one of pillars of American foreign policy in modern times are both president of Democratic and Republican presidents that we don't stick our nose in other people's business at least in theory, except when it resents a danger to American national security or it goes over a certain line, I'm not talking about a red line now, of conscience. MORGAN: Did Syria crossed that line, the one you're talking about?
RATHER: I think for a lot of people it does. But on the other hand, they say, "I, you know, I hate what the Syrian government forces have done to women and children, but I'm not prepared to son my son or grandson into that snake pit at the present."
MORGAN: And that may well be because of the backlash from Iraq and Afghanistan.
RATHER: I think there's no ...
MORGAN: Where Americans have seen endless troops getting killed and innocent civilians being killed and no apparent victory at the end. I mean, the thing about military cost rate is that to sell it to the public and indeed to the military, you couldn't better see a win at the end of the operation.
RATHER: No question, also in the background, let's not forget that the American people at large, not everybody believed they were misled at least led to in a propaganda effort to get us into Iraq and they haven't forgotten.
MORGAN: And I don't trust that phrase he has weapons of mass destruction because they've been conned once about that.
RATHER: Well, exactly and, you know, it's deep in the American character to say, you know, you trust your mother but you cut the cards and when it applies now to presidential arguments we need to make a military strike. It's double or tripled ever since the experience of Iraq and how we got into that. But I do come back to, Piers, it's time to look, be steady, there's time to do whatever we have to do and want to do. And it's very difficult to criticize a president for being very cautious and very careful about going to this sort (ph).
MORGAN: Dan Rather, I could talk to you all night, as always, I have to cut you off onboard.
RATHER: It's all right.
MORGAN: You have a new show on AXS TV in addition to Dan Rather Reports called the Big Interview, you're as busy as you'll ever be, you know. And your first guest is Aaron Sorkin, it premiers on Monday 8:00 p.m. Great to see you.
RATHER: Thank you Piers. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: Coming up, is the conventional wisdom all wrong of President Obama and the Russians will debate with Lanny Davis, Bill Kristol, and Kristen Soltis. And later Sheryl Crow, she's now with me for a very revealing and very entertaining interview, nothing is off the table, not Lars Armstrong or some of her other great love or her desire to date a serial killer. Yup, you heard me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERYL CROW: I've had a real rock star life where I've been on the road for a long time. I loved what I do. I've had some really exciting love affairs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: This is not a game, and I said that to my friend Sergey when we talked about it initially. It has to be a real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A blunt warning from John Kerry to Syria and Russia. Joining me now is Lanny Davis author of "Crisis Tales", "Five Rules To Coping With Crisis In Business, Politics And Life," he's also the former White House Special Council, to President Clinton also Kristen Soltis Anderson ,a Republican pollster with the Winston Group and Bill Kristol editor of the Weekly Standard. Welcome to all of you.
Lanny Davis you wrote a fascinating piece defending President Obama overall. It's attributed (ph) the day we come and Vladimir Putin would be stalling the ramp (ph) parts of the New York Times to lecture and lecture the American President on ethics, morality and the good Lord.
LANNY DAVIS, FRM. CLINTON WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL: The definition of hypocrisy is Vladimir Putin using the rule of law next to his name. So the answer is chutzpah, if he knows what that word means.
MORGAN: Is he a necessary evil in this -- John Kerry says not a game and it's not for those who are being bombed and losing their lives, but in a sense we're in the middle of a very sophisticated political chest game here, is Putin in the end a necessary evil to get to where perhaps America would prefer to be?
DAVIS: Yes. But the sequence is important. It was Barack Obama who dug in against popular opinion especially in a democratic party about this military strike, and then Putin blinked and put pressure on Assad to give up these chemical weapons.
So Putin is necessary and I think Putin being aligned with United States on this matter to get rid of the chemical weapons is not done yet as Kerry said, but it's necessary evil, yes.
MORGAN: Bill Kristol, so apparently Vladimir Putin blinked, do you go along with that?
BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR WEEKLY STANDARD: No, it's the first time I've actually heard that analysis. It's quite unique and it is (inaudible). So Putin is the one who backed down here is that right?
DAVIS: Well, the last time I looked Bill it was Barack Obama that threatened military action and then Putin said, "OK, we'll cooperate and so ...
KRISTOL: Right. He saved his client ...
DAVIS: ... and secondly he hasn't -- I put a connection between those two events.
KRISTOL: He saved his client Barack -- Bashar al-Assad from serious military action by the United States of America in return for promise which is there in the piece of paper which he have written on yet, that at some point he might give over chemical weapons to Putin. Assad is now scot-free, he's used chemical weapons, he's paid no price, he strengthened himself.
Al-Qaeda has been strengthened among the rebels as we betray our friends there, Iran has been strengthened and we've been weakened .
DAVIS: Well, I'll just -- to quickly respond. If you turn out to be right, Bill I'll withdraw my current admiration for what happened, but I think that if this does happen and Assad is forced to give up these chemical weapons that's a good thing to the world and I would say that Putin was forced to at least his own ally put pressure on them to get rid of them and that's a good thing for the world.
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER, VP THE WINSTON GROUP: But I would ...
MORGAN: Kristen, you're in the middle here or far away?
ANDERSON: I'll agree that if Syria has no chemical weapons that that's a great thing, but let's not for one second think that Vladimir Putin's interest are anything but Vladimir Putin increasing his own power, period.
That's what he's about. And so, what we've got in the situation is Vladimir Putin is in the driver seat and that makes me very nervous.
MORGAN: Well, Kristen -- but Kristen let me jump in there. You see, that's fine. But why shouldn't he be trying to increase both his own power and that of Russia, isn't that the problem that he's been allowed to, he is even dominating the Op-Ed pages of New York's finest newspaper? So -- And so I don't blame Vladimir Putin, he can't believe he's not.
KRISTOL: It's not New York's finest newspaper, if I can interrupt on that?
MORGAN: Which one would you say -- which one would you say is Bill?
KRISTOL: Well, certainly the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post just the big two. And I rather like the Daily News as well. So, I'm in a ...
MORGAN: Well, he acts like ...
KRISTOL: Just a factual correction, Piers.
MORGAN: He picked finest newspaper in New York. As either way the New York Times is a venerable newspaper and has been a hijacked by Vladimir Putin today to basically heck (ph) to the Americans. I mean Kristen this is not exactly a win-win for America or the President, is it?
ANDERSON: No. And it's a shame that we've gotten to this place. I mean what he's doing is he's filling a vacuum. This whole diplomatic solution is something that American has kind of stumbled into and he's going along with his way to save face because we didn't do something earlier to begin to solve this off.
Right now, what concerns me a little bit about the idea of arming the rebels now is has -- have the nature of the rebels change in the last year or two to wear its less of a moderate force than it might have had before. I mean, my problem here is I don't know what a win looks out of this serious of situation. The President didn't articulate what a win looks like in his speech and until we know what a win looks like I think people are going to very hesitant to want to commit any American resources to trying to achieve that unknown objective.
MORGAN: OK. Bill Kristol at what point does Barack Obama have to do a military strike to maintain credibility here?
KRISTOL: You know, I don't know I think this diplomatic process can go on and off a long time. I supported the President's regional statement then he felt a red line getting crossed much and he was right when he said, "Not just his red line, but the world's redline." He didn't follow through and that he went to Congress, I supported him when he sought the resolution and to the authorization of force in Congress. I'm not sure you can sort of, you know, get that balloon blown up again or whatever the right metaphor is once you -- and once of this long diplomatic processes.
So, I think he may -- we may end up with a shot, Assad in power, hopefully some reduction in his chemical weapons stockpile. But I think a blow to our friends in the Middle East strengthened (inaudible). I say this -- look I wish this weren't the case I'm very unhappy about this situation wherein as American but I think we're in a bad situation.
MORGAN: Lanny Davis, your ...
DAVIS: The worst situation that we were creating.
MORGAN: Right. Now Lanny you're a crisis management expert this is by any yardstick (ph) a crisis and it could get lot words very quickly. If you were advising President Obama right now, what would you be advising him to do?
DAVIS: I'd like to clear a message which I think until his speech was lacking. Number one, the moral issue which I write about in my hill.com column is very paramount.
MORGAN: But who doesn't want to agree to the moral issue, don't we? Everyone thinks Assad is a bad guy who's almost certainly used a chemical weapons. I think that is a given but that doesn't seem to be enough to drive the American public to want to take military action, how does Barack Obama deal with that eventuality if the Russian game plan stalls?
DAVIS: Well, if Bill turns out to be too pessimistic and I turn out to be correctly optimistic, those chemical weapons get taken away from Assad, the opposition in Syria that John McCain and Lindsey Graham have identified are not jihadists that our civic and political and secular small democrats need to be strengthened and then maybe in the long run Bill will look back and come to agree with me sometimes that can be possible.
MORGAN: Well, it's a lot to wish for. But I hope you're right. Lanny Davis, Kristen Soltis and Bill Kristol thank you all very much indeed.
Coming next a man who thinks that guns for the blind is a really good idea in American, I'll go ahead here with Ben Ferguson. And I can promise you this is going to get very, very lively Mr. Ferguson because your idea is ridiculous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You can imagine in that situation not being able to see and then the state telling you, you have no right to be able to protect yourself and your home with a firearm.
(END VIDO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's Ben Ferguson on CNN's New Day defending Iowa's decision to give gun permits to people who are blind. Let me say it again, gun permits with people who are blind. Ben, to quote John McEnroe, "You cannot be serious".
FERGUSON: I am serious and I am not talking about having them walk around and be able to have a permit to carry. I'm talking about them being able to defend themselves in their home and the majority of people in this country, 14.3 million are adults, that doesn't count anybody under the age of 18 are declared legally blind by America's standards.
The majority of those people actually can see and a lot of them actually are able to drive with certain restrictions ...
MORGAN: Right. So when you're talking about blind, you're not railing (ph) a (inaudible) like that because I listened to the whole interview this morning and you clarified that you meant even to people who are totally blind, not partially blind ...
MORGAN: ... vision-impaired. Let's talk about people who are totally blind, i.e. people who would be prohibited from driving a car, from flying a plane but any of those things. What possible sense can there be in people who literally cannot see at all wielding a firearm at anyone that possibly comes into their home?
FERGUSON: You're implying that somehow blind people are less than you are because you can see. Blind people because are blind aren't stupid and if you ...
MORGAN: I didn't said they're stupid, I think they shouldn't be wielding firearms.
FERGUSON: But you're acting as if a blind person somehow loses their God-given right in their own home to protect themselves if someone kicks in their backdoor at 4:00 a.m and if you talk to blind people who live alone, they're not idiots, they're not imbeciles. They know where their backdoor is and they know if there's someone coming into their house and threaten their life and I would ask you this, for blind people that may not be watching tonight but maybe listening, how would you tell them to protect themselves if someone's kicking in their door at 4:00 a.m. what's your solution?
MORGAN: How would they know that it wasn't a neighbor who was perhaps concerned about them? Well, you may laugh but only laugh with, only laugh ...
FERGUSON: It's 4:00 a.m. how many times that your neighbor comes over?
MORGAN: Wait a minute. Only last we have the tragic case of an 18-year-old girl who hid in a closet to surprise her friend in the house and when she jumped out to surprise him, the guy killed her because he had a gun on him. He wasn't expecting her to be there.
FERGUSON: You're talking about ...
MORGAN: They are fully sighted. Well, I am not saying ...
FERGUSON: Yes, but you're talking about two people. You can't fix stupid, Piers. The two people you just talked about are 18- yearold kids that both could see and they made this thing stupid. Majority of people that are blind, their family and friends are very careful to make sure that they don't surprise them and they respect the fact that they are blind.
To imply to a blind person is going to have a neighbor walk over at 2:00 in the morning and goes, "Surprise." When you can't see any way is a terrible analogy.
MORGAN: Ben, do you think the blind people agree with you that they should have the right to have guns?
FERGUSON: The blind people that I've talked to today, that have e-mailed and called and send tweets to me have said overwhelmingly especially those that are single and live alone that they think that they should have the right, keyword in their home, to be able to protect themselves and I ask you again the same question is the question I asked you earlier. What is your solution and what would you tell blind people who are listening tonight to defend themselves if someone kicks their backdoor at 4:00 a.m.? If you think that not having a gun isn't appropriate.
MORGAN: Yes, But I would call the police and tell them to call the police. But let's listen to somebody who is ...
FERGUSON: And wait for 15, 20 minutes?
MORGAN: I am not blind and nor are you. However, I do know somebody who's very famous and very blind and that is Stevie Wonder, who I actually talked to about this issue. Watch this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVIE WONDER: I was thinking, you know, because I saw you on the TV talking about the whole gun thing and I was talking with one of my friends and, you know, I should -- and you get me --like you should go get me a gun, I'm going to go with you to get a gun and then like show how easy this (inaudible) and a gun and then imagine me with a gun. It's just crazy. I think that we have to do something about it and ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN: So Stevie Wonder thinks it's crazy and he's blind, Ben, even he thinks your idea is completely crazy.
FERGUSON: Yes, and the one time I tried to meet Stevie Wonder in Memphis Tennessee on Bill Street, guess what, he had security guards that were around him to protect him. So the guy who has security guard, it's a lot easier for him to not have a gun. Think about it for a second, he's famous, he has resources, he has money. But not every blind person in America has the resources that Stevie Wonder has as an amazing musician in his life with millions of dollars. That's not reality for most average Americans that are blind.
MORGAN: So you would like everyone who's totally blind in America, just to clarify to have the right to bear arms, which means at the moment and we've discussed this before, they could have the right to have say an AR15?
FERGUSON: I think any person ...
MORGAN: Yes or no?
FERGUSON: ... that is blind, that is willing to go through and make sure what is correct for them. I don't want to mandate anyone have a gun that doesn't want to have one. But I think they should have the right to bare arms because they're not handicap mentally because they're blind. They're not lesser citizens because they're blind. We have laws that protect against this and because you're blind doesn't mean that you have to be a sitting duck in your own house in America for people to harm you.
MORGAN: I want to play you just very quickly and then finish this a clip. This is from a company of Texas and he's legally turning assault riffles likes AR15s into machine guns. Watch this clip.
Just quick question, Ben. Will you be happy for blind people in America to be armed with one of those -- for anyone that perhaps not so in my door in the middle of the night?
FERGUSON: I don't think the majority of blind people are somehow dumb and are going to think that's the appropriate weapon for them. I respect blind people, Piers and I think that they are old enough, mature enough as adults to make their own decisions. I don't have to hold their hands to imply that I want to give them this. I think it's absurd.
FERGUSON: These people can make the decision what is correct for them.
FERGUSON: And it doesn't mean that I'm implying they should have almost semiautomatic or fully automatic weapon.
PIERS MORGAN: OK, Ben we're going to leave it there, I think we should leave the last word to Stevie Wonder which was crazy. He thinks you're crazy, but always good to talk to you. Ben Ferguson.
Coming next, superstar Sheryl Crow. The singer gets personal about her roller coaster love life having a single mom at 51. Plus the surprising take on Miley Cyrus and twerking and of course thoughts on her last soundtrack. That's coming next.
MORGAN: Sheryl Crow is a nine-time Grammy Award winner and sold over 50 million albums worldwide. She's known for a rock and roll style, but she's gone on country with her new album, "Feels Like Home." And Sheryl Crow joins me now exclusively. How are you?
CROW: I'm good. I'm good.
MORGAN: So what's it like to be a country girl?
CROW: I have always been a country girl. I grew up in a town that had three -- that has three stop lights. All cotton fields, nothing's changed though. It's great, it felt like -- it feels like home.
MORGAN: I mean, you had this extraordinary life. You -- I mean you're the cat with nine lives in many ways aren't you?
MORGAN: And now you've gone to Nashville which in many ways it's the obvious spiritual home for you I would think.
CROW: It is. I have a long relationship with Nashville, but when I first got -- signed a record deal country wasn't what it is now, it's much more traditional. I move to LA I was a school teacher at the time and I got an audition with Michael Jackson, went on a world tour. I landed back in LA and try to get a record deal. And everybody said you're too country.
And ultimately I wound up crashing a party staying (inaudible) party and I was a waitress and I handed my cassette to the producer, who's producing our record deal. And it wasn't until after I was diagnosed with breast cancer that I just realized after 15 years of touring I just don't have any worth anywhere. I don't have any -- I just felt like I was just not a teller (ph) to anything. So I decided, I'm going to change my life and move closer to home. My sister lives there, my family all lived around there and great friends down there.
MORGAN: You're on the school run. You got your two kids.
CROW: Yes, I'm in school pick-up line everyday.
MORGAN: No paparazzi?
CROW: No paparazzi.
MORGAN: Must be weird, isn't that after all these years of ...
CROW: I do like ...
MORGAN: ...go fish boat.
CROW: It's great, you know, it's funny. I think there are celebrities that really love that and there is a nervousness if that isn't a common occurrence in their lives. For me it was such an intrusion that -- it was one of the reasons I moved, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I had a palette break up and paparazzi were just camped outside my house. You got to keep the curtains strong for fear they would take pictures inside the house. And I just thought you can't live like that.
MORGAN: You haven't done things easy is it when you played with probably the most gossip, talked about and scandalized musician of them all, Michael Jackson. You then hook up with the guy who turns out to be the most scandalized sportsman in American history, something easy brute is it?
CROW: I kind of think of like who's the worst serial killer I could have dated.
MORGAN: But when you had over health issues you've had to, I mean, it's been a pretty livelier old route to the more peaceful climbs of Nashville. CROW: It's actually been amazing. I have somebody asking me other day if I can go back and not have cancer, would I choose to do that. And I really wouldn't. I mean honestly, everything that's happened to me even relationship-wise but particularly health-wise, as a healthy person as a good person raised to be a good, thoughtful, compassionate person to be diagnosed with something that's so known for being life threatening, I wouldn't change it for anything because I really feel like there was such a big lesson in that for me to learn how to put myself first and learn to say no and I just made some really drastic changes after that.
MORGAN: Now, I'm going to stun my viewers now, but if you don't mind, I'm going to reveal your age simply because I didn't believe it when I saw it and because your three years older than me.
CROW: I'm three years older than you? Are you kidding me?
MORGAN: I know. It's -- No ones going to believe this.
CROW: I thought we're the same age.
MORGAN: Nobody's going to believe this.
MORGAN: I'm 29.
MORGAN: No, I'm 48 and your 51.
MORGAN: I couldn't believe that.
MORGAN: What is the secret?
CROW: It's been a long time.
MORGAN: But what is the secret to looking at least a decade younger than me?
CROW: I don't know. I mean honestly I can safely say I have really good genes. Yes.
MORGAN: The reason I got you a cup of tea here is because you're drinking PG tips which is a famous English brand of tea which you are obsessed with ...
CROW: I'm obsessed...
MORGAN: ... as I am. I mean a drink about six cups of that that. CROW: I'm not even obsessed with it. It's just such a part of my life that it's like taking vitamin or supplement. I get up in the morning, I have PG tips, I'll have a cup of coffee and then rest of the day I drink tea all day long.
MORGAN: Do you ever twerk when you're drinking tea?
CROW: Can I tell you something? I don't even know what twerking was. And I worked with Miley when she was little. And I love her. And that's all I say about that, but I love her.
MORGAN: I loved her when she was twerking, anyway (ph) we'll talk this about.
CROW: Yeah. Well, hey, you know ...
MORGAN: Should we be offended by this?
CROW: It's good MTV TV brought in (ph).
MORGAN: You should (ph) have seen what Madonna did, Lady Gaga all of them, Rihanna, what's the difference? She totally ignored ...
CROW: Hey, Elvis Presley would, you know.
MORGAN: Why would you all getting proverbial in it (ph) as in a twist?
CROW: I can't answer that.
MORGAN: About Miley twerking.
CROW: I have no idea although I would say that my -- we were in a hotel and I was flipping through, direct here whatever that you order that films on trying to find something for my kids to watch and there was a picture of a woman just wearing, you know, a g-string like this, and my 6-year-old happened to catch it. And all day long, he's like, "She's on the (inaudible)." And I said, you know, "But she got to put some clothes on." And all day long he was like doing this pose. And I keep saying, "Stop doing that." So, you know, for kids probably not good.
MORGAN: So, you used to work with Miley you said when she was young ...
CROW: I did her a show. Yes.
MORGAN: What do you feel about all the controversy over it all?
CROW: I will tell you that I came out with my first record when I was 28. I was the same age as Stevie Nicks. And we have a lot in common. And I would just imagine it would be difficult to navigate. The waters of fame when you're that young, you know. It's -- I even felt a little bit of pressure when I was 29 I wasn't having success. This pressure to be seen, especially now celebrity is just being so unfit, but I mean it's just everywhere and people crave it. And how do I stay in the public and how do I stay relevant. And for a kid, you know, this 18-year-old I don't know if I would have been cut out for it.
MORGAN: I have learned for more (ph) -- what Miley Cyrus today, I think she's doing it quite deliberately and seems to be loving every second of it.
CROW: Well, she, you know, she's a smart girl.
CROIW: I would say that. And she seems to ...
MORGAN: And her dad's been in the business. She grew up around all these nonsense. Let's take a break. Let's come back and talk about, you know, what. Quickly just get out of the way.
CROW: More PG tips.
CROW: That's where I'm at (ph).
MORGAN: More PG tips.
MORGAN: Sheryl Crow's new song, "Better Times" from her new album "Feels Like Home." And she's back with me. Quite racy this, wasn't it.
MORGAN: ... some of the song titles, "We Oughta Be Drinking", "Give It To Me", "Shotgun", "Callin' Me When I'm Lonely".
CROW: Do you really like that? Yes.
MORGAN: It's going to send me some subliminal message ...
CROW: Give it to me.
MORGAN: Crazy and original? Anything you want to tell me?
CROW: We're good, clean, family entertainment around here.
MORGAN: Now, look. Let's just discuss quickly the thing that you're probably sick and tired of talking about which is that you once dated a guy who turned out to be the center of a huge scandal, Lance Armstrong. A, how bold are you talking about this? And secondly, here's where I come from about this, I've never met the guy, you all see them a lot better than I do. And I have a pathological hatred of sporting chicks. So, that's where I come from all of these right? So, I feel very affronted by what he did. I want you to make me feel slightly better towards him.
CROW: Oh, wow. That's ...
MORGAN: Are you able to do that? Can you calm my fury about what he did?
CROW: You know, it's funny. People still keep asking me about him. It's such a stretch for me because it does feel like a past life. It has such little relevance to my life now -- in fact, zero relevance that I watch it seems like everybody else is watching it. You know, I watched a little bit of the first interview and I have such big detachment from it that I probably feel the same as everyone else.
MORGAN: You ever talked to him?
CROW: No. I haven't seen him in years. I mean, it's a -- I know it's a -- it feels like a lifetime ago really, honestly.
MORGAN: Let's turn to your single status, because some people watching this going, "She can't be single."
CROW: It's shocking.
MORGAN: What a criminal waste.
CROW: It's shocking. Even I -- no, I'm kidding. I thought it will be really good for me to have my own reality show.
MORGAN: MORGAN: Yes.
CROW: But no, I cant.
MORGAN: Find a good man for Sheryl.
CROW: You know ...
MORGAN: Are you on the look out? Are you in the market? Are you ...
CROW: I would love to get married. In fact, my six-year-old the other day said, "Mommy, when you get married blah, blah, blah." And I felt, "Wow." And I remember my three-year-old the other day say to one of his buddies, "Why don't I don't have a daddy?" And it was so matter of factual, that I just, you know, it's stunning to me.
It was not exactly the way I thought my life is going to be. You know, I'm from a family who's -- my parents are still married and close and have a good relationships, I had a good example of what a loving relationship look like, but I have had as much of not looking like a rock star, I've had a real rock star life, where I've been on the road for a long time. I loved what I do. I've had some really exciting love affairs.
MORGAN: Have you?
CROW: I have. Yes I have.
MORGAN: Anyone you want to share with the group?
CROW: And we'll talk about it some PG tips laid out (ph). And in my book, my mom keep saying, you need to write a book and I keep thinking, well the best and I can't really put into a book until everybody's dead. But, yes, you know, I've had some great love and ...
MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love in your life?
CROW: Many. Yes, many. It was some very famous people and some very not famous people. I've been engaged three times. I was laughing because I'm very close to Ralph Lauren and I love him very much and that Fashion Week and I'm not going to get to see any of the shows and I would love to go to his, but I still have the catch sketches for the wedding dress he designed for me.
MORGAN: Does that something you feel sorry?
CROW: I got rid of the -- yeah, I (inaudible) marry but I still have the sketches.
MORGAN: Are you always the heartless dumpy in these, do you always the one that breaks it out?
CROW: You know it's funny, I've read a couple of times that Jennifer Anniston have been -- the two of us have been dumped more than any two people but, its' not true. I mean, I don't like my private life to be for the public consumption so I really don't discuss what happens in my relationship. So people don't get the story. They don't get -- but I will tell you one thing, I take great credit for some of them that might have been because, you know, its difficult to date a woman who's strong and she runs a business and who's gone a lot. And ...
MORGAN: Are you high maintenance?
CROW: No, I'm not. I mean, it's funny when you walked in and all these people around me. I usually travel with one person, it's my tour manager.
MORGAN: Well you get the perfect (ph) entourage of anyone I've ever interviewed.
CROW: I know and it's actually ...
MORGAN: That's quite impressive.
CROW: I felt kind of great about that today. It feels like a rockstar.
MORGAN: Who's your perfect guy? I mean who's the one you're looking for? What would he have to be? What bumps does he going to take?
CROW: Funny. You know, funny, smart, engaged, conscious. I want somebody who has a vast curiosity, somebody who wants to continue to be interested and grow and who's not a few (ph) reads, who's funny, you know, it's like ...
MORGAN: Just trying to look at us. Seems to be heading ...
CROW: ... gut-feeling (ph).
MORGAN: ... heading to my direction, this criteria in this.
CROW: You're far too young for me.
MORGAN: What's the big ambition for you?
CROW: I started out before VH1 to -- obviously people do know how old I am. There wasn't cable. I started out reading magazines, studying album covers. My parents were on a big band. I knew all the best musicians, like who they were. They played around from Al Fitzgerald (ph) to James Taylor to Mahalia Jackson to, I mean I just wasn't exposed to everything. And I wanted to be great.
I didn't really want to be famous, then fame kind of took over and still just want to write music that matters. I want my kids to have a good examples obviously of somebody who has integrity and that they'll grow up knowing that leaving the camp ground better how you found it, is that's the way we live in my house.
MORGAN: I saw you found (ph) your McDonalds jingle on YouTube, yet?
CROW: They don't. No, they don't do YouTube. Although my little, my six-year-old loves sea monsters so he knows National Geographic on YouTube, but other than that ...
MORGAN: Can you remember your McDonalds jingle.
CROW: Its good time for the great taste on McDonalds. That made more money in 45 minutes of work than I did in two years of school teaching.
MORGAN: Did you really?
CROW: 10 to 40 ...
MORGAN: For 45 minutes work?
CROW: Yes, it went national and yes, got my car and went to LA took my tapes around and got a Johnny Mathis session. Back up for Johnny Mathis and I overheard some singers talking about the Jackson tour.
MORGAN: What is the moment that you would relive if I had the power to let you relive a moment in your career? What's the one you choose?
CROW: Maybe just career-wise probably my first Grammys. I was so out of body and I had such a strong pure and work ethic that I just could not embrace or own a fact that I had achieved something. You know, I think part of what propels me is this feeling of dissatisfaction with myself, you know, that I just, you know, I'm always just shy of greatness.
MORGAN: I can say it to your eye, you can have the best sex you've ever had in your life again or that Grammy moment which one would you take?
CROW: Oh, God, wait.
MORGAN: I'm not asking you to name the guy.
CROW: I mean, I've not been married so I'm still technically a virgin mom.
MORGAN: You'd take the Grammy there wouldn't it?
CROW: I might take the Grammy.
MORGAN: Sheryl Crow, it's been a delight to meet you.
CROW: Oh, Piers thank you.
MORGAN: The album is called "Feels Like Home". It's the kind of album I could (ph) imagine next time I'm in LA on the Pacific Coast Highway, shades on, roof down, boom.
CROW: That's the way to hear good music.
MORGAN: That's the way to listen to it.
CROW: High compliment, thank you.
MORGAN: Your new album "Feels Like Home" is available now and I recommend it to everyone who likes the good things in life. Sheryl.
CROW: Thank you. Nice having a good tea.
MORGAN: Let's have a cup of tea, though.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight AC 360 Later starts right now.