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Interview with John McCain; Gingrich, Reich on Government Shutdown; Interview with Magician Criss Angel

Aired October 7, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. (inaudible). Tonight, shutdown showdown, PIERS MORGAN LIVE townhall special.

Seven days into the shutdown, if you think this is bad for America, wait until you see what happens when Washington runs up the clock that you could see right now at the bottom of your screen and hits the debt deadline next week. That could be much, much worse. In fact, it could be catastrophic. (Inaudible) John McCain on what options his party has left, and head to head on the shutdown, Robert Reich on the left versus Newt Gingrich on the right.

Also, one of the leading liberal voices in America. He is man who put Julia Louis-Dreyfus in office. Frank Rich, he's here to say why the shutdown is an attempted right-wing coup against a Democratic president. We'll ask your questions tonight live. Tweet us hashtag PML.

And while Washington is in a straitjacket, who better to show how to get out of an almost impossible situation than the world's greatest magician, Criss Angel. He'll be here with a straightjacket. He joins me exclusively.

We begin with Senator John McCain. He said from the beginning of this the Americans will blame the GOP for the shutdown, and things are no better (inaudible) deadlines looming next week.

Senator John McCain, it's been a week now of this shutdown and most of America is asking when the hell is Washington going to get his act together and get this sorted. Do you have the answer?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I do not, Piers, but I do believe that we may reach a point where the markets have to tell us to come through an agreement and that would be of course when we start defaulting on our debts. I hope that's not the case because I think the markets will react in that obviously be bad f almost all Americans who have stocks in the stock market, but right now one of the problems is it's no longer republican versus democrat sit down and negotiate.

There's the third element here as you know, and that is a significant number in the House of Representatives who believe that we should have no negotiations until there's an agreement to defund ObamaCare, which is not going to happen until we have 67 Republican Senate votes that would override the presidential veto.

MORGAN: Right. So we all know that can't happen. ObamaCare is not going to be defunded. It is off and running, it had a few glitches, but the take-up seems pretty good. So, parking that to one side, what are the Republicans going to do as a party about the fact they are now split down in the middle? You got the Ted Cruz brigade who seems to be completely intransigent, and you have guys like yourself who've been around the block a few decades, and I say that in the most complimentary possible way, who've been through this kind of thing and know how to resolve it. How do you bring the two together and get some kind of common sense?

MCCAIN: To be honest, I don't know, because I say it with respect to those individuals who say defund or nothing else, although they have changed their message somewhat it used to be just absolute defunding, now apparently it's already if you just address certain portions of ObamaCare, but look there was a lot of republican members of congress who campaigned in 2010 and said, "You send me there, I'll do everything in my power to defund ObamaCare." They're carrying out their commitment to their constituent should they campaign on. So I understand that.

But I just say you mentioned might be around for a while, the thing is kind of aggravating to some of us that in 2009, I never worked harder against ObamaCare whether that was right or wrong, I let anybody judge. I still believe we fought as hard as we could up until Christmas Eve morning was the last vote we took on ObamaCare.

And then of course I campaigned across this country all through 2012 said, to elect Mitt Romney and majority in the house of Senate, and we'll defund, we replace and repeal ObamaCare and now some of us are being accused of not being zealous enough or committed enough for being squishes or whatever it is, frankly I kind of resent that.

MORGAN: So, I got two questions for you. I want you to imagine you're two people for a moment, one, the speaker of the house and the other, the president of United States. If you were Speaker Boehner, what would you do now to try and get through this?

MCCAIN: I think it's very difficult for me to say because I'm a great admirer of the speaker and it's very tough given the divisions within his conference. I don't think I would say under no circumstances will we debate the debt, as I think I saw him say on a Sunday talk show.

As far as the President's concerned, I really think that the president is not helping himself by not doing some serious negotiation particularly about the debt. The President should be doing what Bill Clinton did in 1995, and calling these people over to the White House, sitting down, having a conversation, and maybe they can find a way, but it's not good optics for the president to just basically go around and have pep rally some place and beat up on Republicans. That's not the way to a solution.

MORGAN: But if you're the president, you're looking at the polls, the latest ones that I think in ABC poll had the vast majority of Americans blaming the republicans now and that number getting higher, not decreasing. If you were the president of the White House, you think he most is killing the republicans, I can just sit back and enjoy this for a little bit longer. At what point does that political stunt which gets perfectly understandable becomes against the national interest particularly with the debt ceiling coming up so fast?

MCCAIN: Well, I would -- If were the president, I look at my own polls. The president's polls, they're not as bad as what it is with the Republicans, but they're descending across the board. And by the way, another irony of this is as many of us predicted, ObamaCare is having a tough time right now. I mean, you know, the breakdowns, the waits, the glitches, all of the stuff that's going on, and that's on page seven where it should be on page one, because many of us predicted that this mammoth undertaking of revamping 1/5 of America's economy would be a hell of a lot harder than they have portrayed it to be. So, it's hurting us in one way that the public opinion continues to decline as far as favorability is concerned but also we're taking way attention from a program that is very badly.

MORGAN: Senator McCain, thank you very much indeed. And now I'll turn to the man who led the GOP through the last government shutdown, Newt Gingrich, also Robert Reich. He was Bill Clinton's secretary of labor, and his documentary "Inequality for All" is in all theaters (ph) now. Welcome to both of you. You both have been down this road before, (inaudible) your name is being thrown around by people all the time. You have been through the last shutdown and got it sorted, because in the end, and you told me this and Bill Clinton told me this, you got in the room and you just did the deal. What is going on here?

I've had (ph) a tweet already from somebody saying, just a bunch of egomaniacs. That's all they all are, Democrat, Republican get rid of them all. That's what Americans are starting (ph) to think.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Sure, you can hardly blame them. I mean, the fact is we are in a mess that was potentially avoidable, not guaranteed, but it gets made worse when the president of United States who was presumably the leader of the American government, you know, makes a phone call to the speaker and said -- the opening line is I will not negotiate. Now -- I mean, Bill Clinton never said something like that, I mean, he did say, I'm really mad in you, I really don't think you should do this but lets talk about it.

MORGAN: Well, he said, negotiate because of the moment, the Ted Cruz Tea Party element and the republicans are saying, "We will only negotiate if it involves tipping away ObamaCare."

GINGRICH: But that's the beginning of the conversation.

MORGAN: But why should the conversation start with a metaphorical gun to his head?

GINGRICH: Because it's on both sides. He's saying, I'll never negotiate, they're saying give us everything, that, s how you start but then he stops, I mean, we've now been through several weeks with the closest (inaudible) negotiate is an attack speech. Now, this is going to get much worst and much more dangerous as the debt ceiling comes rolling down.

MORGAN: Well, let me bring Robert Reich in, because this is your specialty, calamity involving financial crisis. But let's be serious about this. If America wants the default on the 17th of October, I was not able to meet some of its payments (ph) it would be utterly catastrophic. (Inaudible) to the American economy, unless, eyes (ph) of the world around this but the global economy.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: It's certainly would be Piers, this would be economic Armageddon because the global economy, not just the American economy, depends a fundamentally on the full faith and credit of the United States government on the treasury bill on the dollar, all would be brought in the question if the debt ceiling is not lifted. And remember, this is not a debt ceiling that's lifted to pay more debts. This is to pay off and to pay the bills we already have. The congress and the president have already incurred. So it would be the height of irresponsibility beyond their responsibility not to lift that debt ceiling.

MORGAN: Right. I mean, I heard Warren Buffet say, look, in the end, there'll be extreme stupidity, but he said, there's a reason why you can't go to (inaudible) and the reason you shouldn't use it, for political gain, lets watch what he said.


WARREN BUFFETT, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY, CEO: It makes no absolutely no sense to (inaudible) as a lever (ph) for other things. I mean, if you want to change laws on abortion or immigration or -- you name it, tax flows (ph) whatever, let that be a piece of legislation that people hammer out. But to tie at to something about whether you break the promises of the United States government, the people all over the world as well as its own citizens just makes no sense. So, it ought to be banned as a weapon. I mean, it shouldn't be like nuclear bombs. I mean, basically, too horrible to use.


MORGAN: Now, that's a man who -- it was revealed today, made $10 billion from the last recession. Perfectly, legitimately, but he starts to gain at the reason of the terrible recession and yet even he is saying, we can't all go there.

NEWT GINGRICH: The amount of historical ignorance masquerading his wisdom in this country's astonishing. We have been negotiating over the debt ceiling. Since the first year of Dwight David Eisenhower's presidency, when a bipartisan group of senators, democrat and republican said, "We're not going to raise the debt ceiling until you agree to some spending controls." And it took him a year. Now, we have been doing this for 60 years, and suddenly Obama jumps up and says, "This is unprecedented, I won't do it." Well, you know, one guy in our constitutional system goes and get to decide how the system works.

MORGAN: Well, let's be honest. Speaking of Boehner, ain't no speaking Gingrich, is he? He doesn't have control of his party. GINGRICH: Well, Barack Obama ain't no Bill Clinton, so what's the point?

MORGAN: Well, the point is staying on both houses.

REICH: If I may say something here.

MORGAN: Yes Mr. Reich.

REICH: I was -- Piers, if I may say something. I was there in 1995, 1996 with the previous shutdown. The issue was entirely different. As Speaker Gingrich, my good friend Newt knows very, very well. The issue there was two sides that couldn't reach agreement on a budget resolution and the president and Newt Gingrich particularly were at Loggerheads. The public blamed the republicans but the most important issue there was about what the budget was going to be. It wasn't about a piece of legislation already on the books.

Once you open the door to the kind of extortion that the republicans are now wanting to use, that is we've got a piece of legislation that is already passed both houses of congress, it has been approved by the president, it has been sustained by the Supreme Court as constitutional. Once you open the door to the republicans using a shutdown and a threat to basically default on the nation's debt as a means of getting their way to change that legislation or to delay that legislation or to repeal that legislation, then no piece of legislation is safe.


GINGRICH: Bob is a terrific person, a great scholar, but these are (ph) nonsense. In the 1970s under Thomas P. O'Neill, a democratic speaker with the democrats controlling the house, the senate and the presidency, they had a shutdown over abortion. I mean, not of budget issue, but an issue of (inaudible) of public policy issue. The constitution was written to separate powers, the power that pierces in the house. The whole point is that the president is not a king. The president can't demand. He has to negotiate and nothing has weakened this president.

And, by the way, this afternoon, CNN poll is startling in how much Obama is going to (ph) hurt by this, because he goes on TV and says I will not negotiate. Well, the American people begin to believe him, he will not negotiate. They think that's not very smart.


REICH: You are absolutely wrong historically. Newt, with due respect and you are my friend, but you are absolutely wrong historically.


REICH: You are absolutely wrong about negotiating with extortionist. I mean, you cannot begin to negotiate with extortionist because they will only escalate your extortion the next time. You don't want a constitutional system ...

NEWT GINGRICH: You are describing the American system ...

REICH: You don't want a democratic system.

NEWT GINGRICH: .... designed for you.

REICH: Newt, no it is not. You do not want the democratic system in which one side, one party can basically hold up the entire government shutdown the entire government take the full faith of credit (ph) of the United States and gamble with it as a bargaining chip to get their way without amending or changing a rule of law that is already law.

MORGAN: With respect, I suddenly have to bring this to conclusion.

GINGRICH: We have some (inaudible).

MORGAN: We have (inaudible). Yeah. I don't know (inaudible), will you?

REICH: All right. There we go.

MORGAN: Well, thank you very much Newt. And Newt, you're staying with me because you mentioned earlier that President Obama isn't the king, of course if it had been (ph) means a lot, eternal (ph) revolutionary war. You might have had a king and that would have made life a lot easier. Your wife written this terrific book and Callista will be joining us after the break to explain why it's (ph) the secret idea (ph) that we Brits got some (inaudible).


MORGAN: Newt Gingrich (inaudible) along with Callista Gingrich, he's wife. She's behind the new book "Yankee Doodle Dandy". She's just chosen (ph) about America's government. That just might be useful lesson to anybody watching in Washington tonight. Welcome to you Callista.


MORGAN: How are you?

CALISTA GINGRICH: I'm real good. Thanks.

MORGAN: So now, I can see why Americans going to love this book, right? It's a lovely cuddly elephant with this American flag and it's basically about how you (inaudible) the British.

CALISTA GINGRICH: Well, you may see it that way. So we see it as how Americans gain their freedom and independence during the American Revolution. And "Yankee Doodle Dandy" is the third volume in my "Ellis the Elephant" series. And so, we've been having fun with Ellis teaching kids about the greatness of America. MORGAN: Now, I was trying to look at why you've chosen elephants. And then it came to me, a little interview I've done with your husband in which he said this.


MORGAN: If you could be any animal, which one would you be?

NEWT GINGRICH: I could be any animal?

MORGAN: Yeah, you love animals that's why we're here.

NEWT GINGRICH: Probably an elephant.

MORGAN: An elephant?



NEWT GINGRICH: They have 105,000 muscles in their trunk.

MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: It's unbelievable.

NEWT GINGRICH: Yeah, it is unbelievable. It's cool.

MORGAN: You want 105,000 muscles in your trunk?

NEWT GINGRICH: And they're big and they last a long time. They live a long time. And they're smart and they're social animals. You know, so look (inaudible) very few things can attack him.


MORGAN: (Inaudible) coincidence. There is the elephant on the (inaudible).


MORGAN: So you're basically basing -- and this is based on Newt, right?

CALLISTA GINGRICH: Well, no actually. I knew I needed an interesting character to capture the attention of children. And I really did consider many animals including monkeys and hippos and giraffes, but in the end, I couldn't resist this adorable little elephant, Ellis the Elephant, and I've been blessed with a great illustrator Susan Arciero who has brought Ellis the Elephant to life.

MORGAN: Well, it's great. And it looks fantastic and I'm sure that kids will love it. But I'm going to this line in particular, "and finally the British have to admit the Yankees beat us. It's over. We quit. Have you found that British person who said that?

CALLISTA GINGRICH: That was the decisive moment, Pier. That was our happy day.

MORGAN: I'm just kidding. It's a terrific story and great and fun.

We've got a question though from Janelle Simmons who has a question for you, Callista.

JANELLE SIMMONS: So, your husband is a host of a show called Crossfire where he constantly argues. What is your most common argument at home?

MORGAN: Great question.

CALLISTA GINGRICH: That is an excellent question. And we actually don't talk a lot about politics at home. But I think, probably, things like watering the box would cause a little tension.

MORGAN: Really?


MORGAN: I couldn't imagine these to be quiet (inaudible).

CALLISTA GINGRICH: The day to day chore.

MORGAN: What do you think though on what is going on Washington? You're not naive about events down there. You're married to one of the great Washington figures. What do you think of it? The public are sick and tired of this, aren't they?

CALLISTA GINGRICH: I think so. I think the public is sick of bickering and partisan politics. But I do think that our leaders have to negotiate and get in a room and talk together. You know, the founding fathers did that when they wrote our constitution. They were in Philadelphia for 55 days and they closed the door and they didn't come out until they were finished. And I think our leaders today could take a lesson from our founding fathers.

MORGAN: Is that what goes on when you two have a dispute, Newt? I mean, does she lock the door for 55 days and dispute, work it out?


MORGAN: Well, you have to call Van Jones (ph) to come around and ...

NEWT GINGRICH: No, no, it's just like the (inaudible) case. I mean it's, "The box would need watering, dear." The correct answer is, "Yes." I don't know what part to that conversation, but it was a great question (inaudible).

MORGAN: It was a great question. It's lovely to see you, Callista. CALLISTA GINGRICH: Nice to see you, Piers.

MORGAN: It's a terrific little book despite the narrative, which (inaudible) single-handedly rewrite. But anyway, Yankee Doodle Dandy, by Callista Gingrich, illustrated by Susan Arciero.


MORGAN: I think that's a great pronunciation. It's available right now.


MORGAN: And for more details, you can go to That sounds fantastic.

NEWT GINGRICH: All I can tell you is that ...

MORGAN: (inaudible).

NEWT GINGRICH: ... we'd like to rewrite that one section but (inaudible) wouldn't let us.

MORGAN: We'll be back after the break. Thank you both to the Gingriches.

When we come back with the shutdown, let's see what the genius who put Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a heartbeat away for the White House in HBOs (inaudible). But we have got the geniuses. They've got the opinionated, Frank Rich, joins me next. Also ahead, the World's Greatest Magician, Criss Angel, can he work his magic on the shutdown?


CRISS ANGEL, MAGICIAN: George (ph), come on in, grab the clock. You see I keep it about -- can you bring it up a little bit more? That's fine. A little bit more. There you go, good. Check it out. It's going to happen right in front of you. You will not believe this. Check it out. Watch.



MORGAN: The government shutdown is no illusion but it might just take the talents of the World's Greatest Magician to get us out of this straitjacket that Washington has put us all in. Criss Angel, joins us. Welcome to you.

ANGEL: Thank you so much for having me.

MORGAN: Well, I couldn't make a ...

ANGEL: It's a pleasure to be here. MORGAN: ... better, yes, because you're about to do an astonishing daredevil feet right here in New York City. I count for security reasons say where it's going to be or what day or what time? But I can't say it involves straitjackets. And the moment I heard that, I thought, "This is the guy," because if you can get out of a straitjacket, we can get out of this shutdown, right?

ANGEL: I look at it this way. I deal with the subject of impossibility. And for me, it's always trying to find a solution, right? And I just don't understand how we have, you know, grownups that are supposed to be running our country not being able to find the solution. It just -- I don't know why there's no compromise. Why we're in this situation to begin with? It's just -- it's a sad state for us.

MORGAN: It does seem ridiculous. I mean, there's you, you're a successful entertainer and you've got loads of people coming to pay you to do a job. And if they pay you to do a job, you put on a show. You don't just give up. You don't just shut things down, shutdown half your stage set.

ANGEL: Well, there's a lot of bureaucracy in government. I mean, it's sad but, you know, I just feel that our leaders are very much out there promoting their own agenda, trying to get re-elected, and they're not doing always what's right for our country and they're doing what's right for their own career, which I think is a really sad state for, you know, for our government because it's all about our country and about putting that first before putting our personal opinions in.

MORGAN: Absolutely right, Mr. Angel. I congratulate you on that. And you are going to come back with me with a straitjacket, a bit later, right?

ANGEL: I'm going to put you in a straitjacket. Because I know you're going to be seen with the shutdown. So I think I'll put you in it.

MORGAN: This could be the only shutdown more popular than the government shutdown. Very quickly, you got a new show, Believe?

ANGEL: Yes, it's on Spike. It actually premiers October 15th and we're having a sneak peek tomorrow night, right after Ink Master. On Spike, it's my best work ever. I'm so excited about it. I'm doing 11 hours.

MORGAN: Fantastic. We'll come back later on with the straitjacket and we'll see if I can get out of it.

ANGEL: Sounds good. Thank you so much.

MORGAN: Good to see you, Criss Angel. A pretty good player, card player, to hating bad, you don't see it everyday. And we'll continue to see him in HBO's Emmy winning, Veep. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're in shutdown mode. I got to have skeleton stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Keith (ph) stays, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keith (ph), he's skinny like a skeleton? Ma'am, please I can't afford to be furloughed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you're not. But, Dan (ph), you are.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you know, you two do similar jobs that just make the economy sense for you to go, Dan (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean he makes more money than I do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyway, the deal is it's not going to be long because I've got a meeting with a speaker today, is that correct?


UNIDENITIFED FEMALE: Yes, today. So I'm going to shut down the shutdown.


MORGAN: (inaudible) June long before the real life furlough friends have began. So is it life, it was (inaudible) or the other way around? Well, Frank Rich, he's an executive producer of Veep. He's also write large for the New York Magazine. Frank, welcome to you.

FRANK RICH, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, WRITER: Good evening, how are you?

MORGAN: Well, you must think you're either a soothsayer or you're just so long in the tooth in this Washington game. It was inevitable that life would imitate art. I mean what do you make and what's going on now, particularly, as you've lampooned this so successfully?

RICH: Well, I must say Armando Iannucci who said -- really brilliant creative guy behind writing Veep, has this uncanny ability, particularly, since he is after all British, to predict, but you may have this ability too. Everything is going to get screwed up in Washington.

But, you know, I think life always imitates art. And in the case of Washington, it's like Groundhog Day because we've had a shutdown before, you know, we have the -- you have the Major D, or the maestro of the previous shutdown, Newt Gingrich on earlier, and we have two parties that are very polarized at each other's throats and no real ability to get their way out of crisis when they're so ideologically oppose to each other.

MORGAN: I mean we have seen that many times before, been many shutdowns and you can blame Democrats, Republicans before. Can you remember one that has been (inaudible) hot over one side trying to dismantle and establish law?

RICH: No, I don't think there's any parallel to this, you know, Secretary (inaudible), I thought, got something slightly off in the earlier segment when he said that, "There was no particular law involved in the previous conflict in the Gingrich-Clinton standoff because there was one similarity, it was about -- the budget was about Medicare.

They wanted -- Republicans wanted to cut back Medicare spending. And so, there's that little bit of similarity here. But this is a totally different situation because this is not only a law that was just passed. It was actually vetted by the Supreme Court.

And so, as everyone knows and keep saying, "The only way to overturn that is in the next election," as Senator McCain was saying earlier tonight on your show, you know, "If they want to elect 67 Republican Senators, they can do it," but short of that, it's anarchy and kind of a rather (inaudible) attempt, a coup, I think.

MORGAN: And what does it mean for the future of the Republican Party? The sense -- because, you know, midterms coming up, and you have the big election in 2016, it can't be helpful, can it, the chances of doing one and either of those two elections if they are seen to be absolutely ideologically at each other's throats?

RICH: Well, I think you're right. It doesn't work for them in national election. It's unlikely to help them elect a president. But the interesting thing in this division in the Republican Party is there a lot of Republicans in safe districts, many of them at the heart of this movement to a whole lot government and hostage over ObamaCare who really don't care because they're safe. They're going to be re-elected anyway and they have -- like it or not, they have a long game and view and they see themselves as revolutionaries.

And of course, Republicans do control a lot of state houses. And so, it's -- there's a local fight which is completely different from the national fight. Americans tend to look at the, you know, (inaudible) event which is the presidential election and they are there definitely hurting themselves.

But -- and they may well hurt themselves and representation in Congress but they have a longer view. They have a very strong ideology that persistent for decades, arguably stronger than any that's uniting the Democratic Party at any time, at least, in some new deal.

MORGAN: Frank, stay with me. Let's get a short break. When we come, and talk to you about whether President Obama is playing this well or maybe not so well as time goes on. And also, with the Republicans concern what appeared to me as (inaudible) into a sweeping victory with the (inaudible) battle. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, I'm Piers Morgan. And if I was in a cartoon, I would be the voice of a fancy hedgehog. When we come back, my English accent has gone and I admit I'm just a village idiot from Ohio.


MORGAN: Ho, ho, ho. Saturday Night Live, starring (inaudible) got me this weekend with his supposed English accent. That set was pretty convincing, but I can't say the same as impression to me, I was serious something like me, right?

All right. Frank Rich, let's go to you. I won't draw along the mockery of my accent there. But let's turn again to the sate of play, the state play with -- with the President and Speaker Boehner, because this seems, these are the two central figures. A lot of historical references back to Clinton and Gingrich and how this is so different because Boehner and Obama just don't seem to get on and don't seen to spend much time together.

RICH: No, they don't -- they don't seem to get along and that the truth is, particularly, in Boehner's case, he's not playing with a full deck. He does not have control of his cocas. And by the way, sometimes, Gingrich didn't either in the previous version of this. And while I know that Mr. Gingrich now waxed some sort of sentimentality about Bill Clinton, the truth is they already (inaudible) throats too in one of the most famous incident of that shutdown period and confrontation was Gingrich publicly complaining about his feet on airplane where he thought he had been (inaudible) by Clinton.

So, there's a lot of rewriting history there. But in the end, I think Obama really does have his party behind him. I mean even senators in Red States up for re-election of Democratic senators that the Republicans thought they could pull -- peel away in this escapade are remaining loyal to the President, whereas Boehner is dealing with, you know, kindergarten and kindergarten cops and every variation on that kind of chaos.

MORGAN: We're getting a few boos from the audience, Frank, as if you Republicans have (inaudible), not happy with that. I want to get a ...

RICH: Well, too bad.

MORGAN: Let's get to know these questions. Vanessa Raptopoulos (ph), you have a question for Frank.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So Frank you've successfully predicted the government shutdown and growing strikes. We're curious what the next big prediction is and if you think any subjects are too touchy to parity. MORGAN: Is there anything you couldn't parity, Frank?

RICH: There's nothing that you can't parity and we know it from shows not just like Veep in Saturday Night Live, but so many shows in American television. As far as Veep goes in predicting things we're shooting a new season now and all I can say is, "Leave the country."

Now, I suppose it's hard to -- you know, but I must say we -- our man though (ph) I knew she has -- does have this uncanny sense of knowing what we're going to do before we do it.

MORGAN: Frank in terms of how this is all going to play out? My gut feeling from the start of this has been Republicans will hang on right to the end for the debt-ceiling deadlines simply because it gives them their only way out. But the moment they're being blamed for the shutdown if they can somehow do a kind of grand bargain that brings everything in at the same time, they could emerge however, unlikely it seems now with some form of victory.

RICH: Well, I don't think they'll have a victory. I think much of what you say is right. I think they'll play out their string until the debt-ceilings threatens to bring America and the world economy to its knees. But I don't think they'll get a grand bargain then if they ever get one.

I think they'll -- maybe if Obama wants to, he can throw them some kind of face saving little bargain not a grand one that will help them retreat with some kind of dignity. But a grand bargain, we haven't been able to achieve one yet, that's going to take a lot of time and not in a situation where essentially the government and the world economy is being held hostage.

MORGAN: Final question Frank. You think they've ever going to grow up in Washington?

RICH: No. I grow up there and I haven't grown up. No. I think that -- I think there's something build into our system, you know, if you read Will Rogers making, you know, almost a hundred years ago making fun of the political parties of his time in other era or Mark Twain before that.

It seems to be pretty much built into the system and maybe there's a little bit of good in that that it's so chaotic and it is a democracy and unruly but we're seeing the worst of it right now.

MORGAN: Frank Rich, it's glad to talk to you as always. Thank you very much indeed.

RICH: Thanks for having me.

MORGAN: Next, a swarm of bikers, a family in an SUV at Sunday afternoon ride that turn horribly vital. One of the bikers is still in the hospital. Next, why his family say that he is the real victim.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: Breaking news tonight in that brutal New York SUV attack, 29 years old motorcyclist Craig Wright is charged with gang assault in the beating of the SUV driver, two of the bikers are previously charged.

You see in the video. The driver of the black SUV attacked the bikers (ph) or a swarm of motorcyclist. Also injured biker Edwin Mieses hit by the SUV and his family say, paralyzed. Edwin's wife Dayana Mejia joins me here tonight, also joining me a lawyer Gloria Allred. Thank you both for coming.

Gloria let me just start with you. Why did you take this case? And why do you believe the real victim may, will be, Edwin and not as many people think Alexian Lien who was of course the driver of the SUV?

GLORIA ALLRED, LAWYER: Well, Piers, Edwin is clearly a victim. Here is what happened and here is what the media is not tying together.

Our investigation has revealed that even before, what you just saw on the videotape, as Mr. Lien, the driver of the SUV was coming down the highway, several miles before that, he actually hit another biker. And as the -- as Mr. Lien was moving from the right lane over to try to get into the middle lane he hit another person on the motorcycle or hit the motorcycle. He kept going several miles. Then he hit another biker and then, he of course rolled into and hit after gunning his motor he hit Edwin who is now crushed under the SUV.

He did that without any warning to Edwin. Edwin by the way was doing nothing wrong. We've spoken to many, many people who were there. He did nothing wrong. All he had done was get off his bike, go over and try to calm everybody down.

By the way at the point that he was run over, no one had done anything to the driver of the SUV, to Mr. Lien.

MORGAN: OK, let me ask then. First of all how is Edwin? What's his condition at the moment?

DAYANA MEJIA: He's out of his comma. He's awake. He just had another surgery. He's fine. He's in a lot of pain, doesn't talk much. Just came out of ICU today, but...

MORGAN: And what is your view? Everyone has seen this video and most people like I say have a very firm view that the guy at the SUV was protecting his family surrounded by bikers, have no idea what was happening and already being cutoff by one of them which led to that original bump. What is your view about where blames should lie here?

MEJIA: I mean I wasn't there. I mean, I can't blame anyone. I can understand why he was scared, but at the end of the day my husband parked his vehicle on a kick fence (ph) to get off, to try help the situation. Told everyone to move on, let's just go, let's get away, let's just move, ignore him. MORGAN: I got a tough question for you. OK, as Gloria said, Edwin did nothing wrong. And, yes he did -- in a sense he did, because if you look at his criminal record, he's not have a valid driver's license or permit since 1999. His never applied for motorcycle license. He was recently arrested and under the Massachusetts for driving with the revoked license. You know, he's been named as a habitual offender. We put all that together, that is doing something wrong.

ALLRED: You know, why that's not relevant to his being run over by ...

MORGAN: I didn't say that. I didn't say that.

ALLRED: Oh no, but it's really important.

MORGAN: Right.

ALLRED: I want to make that point and the reason I'm making that point is he wasn't driving at the time that he was run over by that SUV. He was not driving. He was doing everything lawfully.

MORGAN: (Inaudible).

ALLRED: There is nobody who says he was doing anything improper. What's so...

MORGAN: (Inaudible). He's not supposed to be on the road on a motorcycle.

ALLRED: He was not on the road on a motorcycle when he was hit.

MORGAN: But he was before that.

ALLRED: He had -- as Dayana said, he had gotten off. He was trying to diffuse the situation.

MORGAN: Right.

ALLRED: Try to calm. Nothing in habit. And by the way, Mr. Lien, what could he have done if he was in fear because you just pointed he was in fear. Nothing had happened to him yet.

MORGAN: Now let me -- let me ask -- let me ask...

ALLRED: But what he could he have done. He could have honked his horn.

MORGAN: I know what I would have done. I have to be absolutely terrified. I have a 22-months old baby daughter, right? If I was in that SUV, my wife and my little daughter, I'll be perfectly straight with you and I'm swarmed by bikers, maybe a thousand often and they try to close down the road so they can they perform their wheely tricks.

You know, with the greatest of respect to you that I mean that because you're not the target of my criticism in any shape or form and I feel for on an emotional level about what's happened but I've got to say, Gloria and I have great respect for you as you know, and you're regularly a guest of the show, had it been out of there like hell in a handcuff.

ALLRED: Well, you know what? He could have honked his horn. He could have said, "Everybody, get out of the way." He could have slowly rolled out instead of gunning the motor and running him down and Edwin is also the father of two children. And now ...

MORGAN: Dayana, what you've done, may I ask you ...

ALLRED: Now, his two children and she is the fact -- and she's a hero. She has been sleeping in the chair in the ICU everyday for about 9 days or 8 days since this has happened. She hasn't been gone to bed.

MORGAN: Dayana, let me ask you Dayana because as a saying, this is not criticism at you but you know what people are saying about this video. You have heard it, you've seen on TV. I'm not saying anything.

MEJIA: I hear it (inaudible). Yes.

MORGAN: I'm not saying to you.


MORGAN: What do you honestly you think. If it had been you and Edwin and one of your little ones in the SUV surrounded by bikers and some incident happened and they all kicked off. What do you think you would have done? What would you want to do?

MEJIA: I think, I would have stopped and I would have tried to get the information for the insurance.

MORGAN: You're just stopped with all the bikers ...

MEJIA: I'm not going to -- why would I judge all the bikers. Why would I think that they're all to get me? I hit someone. Obviously, hit the people that around him are worried about this person. They going to get off the bike and wonder what's wrong with the person. I'm not going to automatically assume and profile, "Oh, my God, they're going to do something to me." And you just take off.

ALLRED: Actually, that's the duty under that law. If you hit someone ...

MORGAN: Right.

MEJIA: (Inaudible).

ALLRED: ... he hit the two bikers and he runs over the body of a third -- it's the duty (inaudible) ...

MORGAN: Yes, but Gloria -- hey Gloria, I don't know how many of the other bikers have the same criminal record but -- I mean your guy didn't even have a motorcycle license.

ALLRED: He wasn't on a motorcycle when he was crashed by the ...

MORGAN: It was moment before.

ALLRED: It doesn't matter. What do you saying? Are you saying that, you know, it's OK to go run down anybody who has past (inaudible).

MORGAN: Let me read a statement from Lien's wife. She said, "Our sympathies go out to the injured motorcyclist and his family. However, we were faced with a life-threatening situation, and my husband was forced under the circumstances to take the actions that he did in order to protect the lives of our entire family."

You see, I don't -- on a human level, I think you can relate to that. I'm not saying that Mr. Lien is blameless by the way. I think that he can quite see that his actions, you know, there must be some accountability for that and certainly injuries to Edwin are horrendous.

But I do comeback to that central point, any woman in a car surrounded by that number of bikers not knowing if they were violent or not. What do you think, Dayana?

ALLRED: They hadn't done anything.

MEJIA: How many bikers do you see in this video, 3 -- 400, 500 bikers or 20?

MORGAN: Enough not to...

MEJIA: 20 to 20, 20.

MORGAN: Enough to scare me.

ALLRED: When they got...

MEJIA: Why would you be scared?

MORGAN: Because I would be very concerned...

MEJIA: Or are you scared because you want...

MORGAN: Well look here what they're doing to the wind screen of that car, without reason.

MEJIA: Are you scared because you already clipped somebody over and you're trying to hurry up and get to the point where you can escape.

MORGAN: Look, the very first impact was when one of the bikers stopped.

MEJIA: The very first impact isn't on video.

MORGAN: Do we have evidence of that?

ALLRED: And that this is my point.

MORGAN: Is there evidence to that?

ALLRED: All right. We have done and investigation miles before. This is not on video but we have evidence to support it and law enforcement is going to be aware of that evidence if they are not already, that he hit another bike miles before with somebody on it proceeded down the highway, wait...

MORGAN: To me -- but Gloria, let's see the video.

ALLRED: ... then hit another bike.

MEJIA: Ad that's my husband under there, you see that? That was my husband under there.

MORGAN: Right. Get why you see feel so (inaudible) about him.

MEJIA: Do you see them already banging and hitting this vehicle before?

MORGAN: I see hundreds of bikes.


MORGAN: I mean, I don't know how many there was I'm just...

MEJIA: They're not hundreds. There's no hundred.

MORGAN: Right. But dozens -- I mean, how many it will take to be scary?

ALLRED: (Inaudible).

MEJIA: And at the end of the day we're from Boston. He doesn't know all those people. He knew one of the persons that was there.

MORGAN: Right.

MEJIA: He's problem he's trying stop and help somebody.

MORGAN: Dayana, look it's an awful incident, we're all agreed on that.

MEJIA: And definitely...

MORGAN: The truth will come out. I'm sure, Gloria.

ALLRED: It sure will.

MORGAN: You've got great hands here on your legal side and I'm not pronouncing guilt out of the way by the way, just trying to get to the facts here. It's a very difficult case.

Thank you.

ALLRED: Well facts are if you hit two bikers...

MORGAN: Right.

ALLRED: And then you over a third, then you should at least, if you get it.

MORGAN: I get it.

ALLRED: You should have at least get an (inaudible)...

MORGAN: I get your argument, Gloria and I have great respect to you and for you, Dayana. Thank you very much indeed from coming in.

MEJIA: You're welcome.

MORGAN: When we come back, magic man extraordinary Criss Angel is back. He's going to put me in a straitjacket.


MORGAN: Criss Angel is back and as you can see, I'm now in a straitjacket. This is probably every Second Amendment fan's absolute dream

And anyway, how are you Criss Angel?

CRISS ANGEL: I will say that I'm going to leave you like the couple moments leaving us.

MORGAN: All right. I had been shutdown by Criss Angel.

Look at from in New York this week, we don't know what day, we don't know what time. It would be an amazing stunt when that happens and he could also Criss' of course, 10 shows a week at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. Your show Believe as Tuesday it will spike starting October 15th.

Great to see you, Criss and thanks again.


MORGAN: Feel really good about this.

ANGEL: I'll leave you be.

MORGAN: Thanks very much though.

ANGEL: Thank you.

MORGAN: Thanks.