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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Shutdown Showdown; Interview with Rep. Lankford, Rep. Himes; Interview with Montel Williams

Aired October 9, 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: Breaking news tonight. Some 10 people trapped on a stuck rollercoaster, Universal Orlando resort in Florida. It's the Hollywood rip ride rocket. Take a look at this picture. Some might say it's rather apt metaphor for all that's going on in America right now, or rather all that's not going on in America. There were no injuries, thankfully. And the fire department's working to rescue everyone tonight. We wish them well with that.

This is what it looks like when it's actually working. Happier times for that ride and also for America generally. This is Piers Morgan Live. Welcome to our viewers in United States and around the world.

Tonight, Shutdown Showdown day nine. How long can this go on? And are we any closer to a deal before the debt deadline? The closed door meetings going on in the White Today and tomorrow, it's up to two Congressmen. A Democratic met with the President tonight and a Republican who will meet with him tomorrow.

I'm going to begin tonight with a powerful number, 26. 26 military personnel have died since the showdown began. And because of the shutdown, there's been a terrible cost. The families they leave behind, the loss of benefits on the worst possible time. This country owes them a sacred debt. President Obama -- Abraham Lincoln said it best in his second inaugural address, "with malice toward none with charity for all, let us have strive on to finish the work we are in. To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan," words so strong, now a motto of the veteran's administration.

Well, the Pentagon today made a deal with a private charity, Fisher House Foundation to pay survival benefits to troop's families that government will reimburse, Fisher House, when the shutdown is finally over, if it does end. And I've talked to Fisher House Board Member Montel Williams in a few moments. And as far as the deal to end the shutdown itself and avoid the looming debt deadline better signs seems far apart as possible.

I want to bring in two congressmen now from opposite sides of the aisle. Republican James Lankford, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, and Democrat Jim Himes of the Financial Services Committee. Gentlemen, welcome to you.

Let me start with you if I may, James Lankford. We've spoken a few times through this process. You two are standing next to each other which I guess is a vaguely encouraging sign. But is there any real sign of movement here? Or has everything moved to now a debt ceiling debate which will be resolved around that deadline?

REP. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: I think it's more likely now that we'll have some debt ceiling and some CR conversation. Obviously, we all wish this would have been resolved a week ago and then get this done two weeks ago so we've never actually walked into it. The closer we get to the debt ceiling the more likely is to say, OK let's do some of this together probably not long term, probably short term and to try to get some resolution and then continue to be able to negotiate and get things solved long term. I would like to be able to get America fully back to work again.

MORGAN: Jim Himes, you were with the President tonight, word is leaking out that he was pretty on a vaguely conciliatory terms saying, "Look, if it takes an extension, I'll say six weeks, to resolve the debt ceiling situation and we can alleviate some of the problems through that period and that maybe the way to go so the Republicans can save face so we can get the government again." Is that your understanding of how it went?

REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Yes, I think that's very accurate. I think the President showed some flexibility of the Democratic caucus tonight and he made it a point that he's made all along which is that he is not going to negotiate as long as one party is saying that they will bring down the global economy through a default on our debt by not paying our bills or that they will hold up a shutdown of the government with all of the horrible implications that that involves. But then, if we can get pass that, he is completely open to a six-week discussion about how we move forward on the real issues of the day. How do we make this country long term physically sustainable.

He is more than willing to negotiate but rightly so and this would be true if it was a Republican president as well. He's not willing to negotiate when one party brings a hand grenade and puts it on the table and says, "Here are our demands. Meet those demands or this grenade goes off."

MORGAN: Tell me this so, Jim Himes. I mean, you're with the President today. Did he any stage mention this appalling situation involving the payments to dead servicemen and women? Because there were clear warnings put out, it was not a secret, there were Pentagon public briefing saying this is what was going to happen. How could the President fame ignorance about this? And how do you feel personally that the ...

HIMES: There is no ...

MORGAN: ... these poor families have been treated in this way.

HIMES: No. No, look, there's absolutely no famed ignorance about this at all. None of us are under misapprehension about what a government shutdown means. And yes, it is a horrible situation for as you point out Lincoln, you know, bringing us to the notion that we owe an immense debt of gratitude to those people who have given the ultimate sacrifice abroad. But it's not just them, right? I mean it is head start families in my district who are now choosing between keeping their job or looking after their kids at home.

The pain is massive around this country and the President knows that as well as anybody else. As he pointed out tonight, he regularly writes to those who have lost limbs, or lost lives abroad and so he understands how very painful this situation is that we find ourselves in.

MORGAN: Well, he may understand it, James Lankford, but, you know, collectively the Republicans and Democrats by continuing the shutdown have directly led to an appalling situation. You know, one that I think most Americans find just completely indecent. Now, the idea that you could lose your life on the battlefield fighting for your country and your loved ones were left behind and deprived of payments because of scrupling on Washington. I mean it's frankly sickening, isn't it?

LANKFORD: Well, it's heart-wrenching when a loved one is lost either way. There's no way to be able to repay the debt that America owes to all those families and again their sons and daughters for the freedom of people around the world. But as we walk through this process two weeks ago, the House passed unanimously a resolution to be able to make sure that all of our militaries are paid and that we continue to move forward on that.

The Senate took that up, passed it unanimously and the President signed it. And then for the next week, Eric Holder and the Department of Justice and the lawyers in the Pentagon interpreted this one page bill that said, "All military, all civilians that connect to the military, and all civilian contractors continue on as normally." It was very straightforward, very clean and for a week, we had all these bases on slow down, we had all of these civilian contractors lay off, we have all of these debate. We still believe that the original bill that we passed two weeks ago took care of all the issues about this reimbursement to all of these families -- these payments to these families and for the loss of a loved one.

But we passed another bill today reinforcing again to say we felt like that this is already been taken care of two weeks ago. If somehow this was missed, let's make it clear again. This should be paid for. And so this is one of those many issues that as we're walking into this trying to lay the ground work to say, "We don't want a shutdown but in case it occurs, this should not affect our military." They were the hardest hit during the sequestration. They shouldn't also have taken thing during slow down.

HIMES: But, Piers, the other day that happened two weeks ago of course is that the Speaker of the House John Boehner went to Harry Reid and said, "Look, I can get you an extension, a CR, a Continuing Resolution at the Republican budget number which is where we are today so that we can then negotiate a deal." And then the Speaker went back to his Republican conference and they said no to him.

So we find ourselves in this world where the next step became, wait a minute, instead of just passing a clean CR we need a repeal of ObamaCare. And oh, by the way, if you want to raise the debt ceiling we need the excel pipeline passed, we need EPA regulations removed.

And so two weeks ago, had that failure, had John Boehner's promise to Harry Reid then fulfilled we never would have gotten to this shutdown which is why what we're trying to do right now and what the President's trying to do is to find a way for everybody to back down from this tree that the Speaker climbed up of and get back to a point where we restart the government, we take the debt ceiling off the table and then we have that six or seven to eight 10-week negotiation which allows to deal with the long term stability of this country.

MORGAN: OK, I mean, James Lankford, you're going to be with the President tomorrow with the Republican ...

LANKFORD: Yes, sir.

MORGAN: ... delegation. Clearly the President has made it crystal clear, repeatedly, that any amendments to ObamaCare are not on the table. He will not have this held as some metaphorical gun to his head. Given that you know this before you go into that room tomorrow. What were the strategy be from the Republicans to get through this on path that is now causing such havoc to so many Americans?

LANKFORD: Well, we are actually very hopeful that this is actual negotiating time. The President went to all 233 members of the House Republican conference to come over and then meet with him. We didn't think that will be productive that's not a real negotiation, that's more like a lecture time or a Q&A session that isn't a negotiation.

So we're going to bring over about 17 people to be able to sit down with the President hopefully have some positive negotiations from this. We've asked for that for two weeks and in fact before the shutdown started and at the moment that has started we said, "Let's just conference. Let's work this out the way that every House and the Senate and President has worked this out since the 1700s."

Now, when he gets an in pass, you assign negotiators between the two, those negotiators meet, they work out the differences, they bring it back to the House and the Senate and we pass that. Senate's been unwilling to do that, the President said over and over again, he won't meet, he won't negotiate which is odd to us. Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton talked every single day during that shutdown in time period when Tip O'Neill closed down the government on Ronald Reagan they spoke every single day during that shutdown ...

MORGAN: OK. Well, you will be ...

LANKFORD: ... we want to be able to sit down and actually negotiate this.

MORGAN: Well, that's exactly what you'll be doing tomorrow and hopefully we can talk to you again after you spoke with the President tomorrow that would be fascinating. Thank you both very much indeed in joining me.

LANKFORD: Thank you. HIMES: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: And now I would turn to John Boehner's predecessor as Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Welcome to you, Mr. Hastert. You were obviously in John Boehner's shoes for a very long time. What do you make of what's going on? Has he misplayed his hand here?

J. DENNIS HASTERT, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Look, at first, I'm not going to criticize John Boehner. Everybody's got himself into a situation. The problem is if you're going to -- there's a fight that in policy but in philosophy. We only got one party that says, "Look, the government's too big. We need to pair down the size of government. The debt's too big, $17 trillion is going to land on the shoulders of our children, our grandchildren." And on other side says, "What? We need to take care of people. We need bigger government and we need to have education and health care and all of these things."

So there's a difference in philosophy here and we're seeing this grand battle. Now to try to find a solution to a problem and I can go back, I was Speaker for eight years. I was Speaker during Clinton's time and I was Speaker during George W. Bush's time, but if you're going to resolve a problem, you set something on the table, your counter party sets something on the table and then you negotiate, you bargain.

Right now, the Republicans have set something on the table that nobody said, "Well, you know, we're not going to have gun stuck into our head, we're not going to negotiate anything." The only way that you find to resolve is for both parties to come forward, lay some things on the table and what the negotiation might end up, might not have anything to do with health care at all.

There might be some of these other issues that are doable. And so, I think that's what has to happen and it's not happening right now.

MORGAN: Right, but let me ask you in all the eight years that you were the Speaker, were you ever in a position where you even contemplated forcing a government shutdown because you didn't agree with an established law?

HASTERT: But look at, we've never had -- we never had to do that but, you know, we had ...

MORGAN: Would you have consider it though?

HASTERT: Well, it depends on what the law was and it depends on what kind of support you had with your -- from your parties.

MORGAN: Well, I do that hypothetically, say it was a health care law, like ObamaCare that have been vote in by a president that had the mandate of a re-election and indeed by the Supreme Court and by voting Congress. Under those circumstances could you imagine using that trying to defund that or make it somehow not happen as a stick to shut down the government?

HASTERT: No.

MORGAN: I don't think knowing my history of you, you would've done?

HASTERT: Yes, you just made the argument. There was a health care battle. Clinton Health Care, HillaryCare if you called it, it went to a regular order, it passed to the Senate, it went pass to ways and means in the House, but it couldn't pass through energy (ph) and commerce because we want regular order and we are able to put something on the table that was we thought was better than the HillaryCare. And we brought Democrats over to vote on our side and it couldn't get it through.

So, you know, we did have those philosophical battles, but the thing is we want a regular order and the problem was the fiscal side today. And if you don't have your budget done by the 15th of March, and reconcile with the Senate by the 15th of April and then, try to come together and take the month of May and June and July to do the appropriation process. And then, you know, in September fine tune it and by the first of October you have your budget done. You don't want to jam it up to the end because you jam it up to the end, you get in a box and you don't know where the hole to get out of this.

You know and let met tell you a quick story, I was 2000 and -- well, sorry, it was 1999, my first real full year Speaker, we had a balance budget agreement, it means that the bill is passed out of the House, bill is passed out of the Senate and the Senate was 1 percent, our bill -- our budget was just a little over under, I'm sure, under $1 trillion. And so, we are over on appropriated funds. So, we we're over about 1 percent, and our agreement said that we had to be on target.

So, I couldn't a get hold of the president. And President Day (ph) in September went to African and Jack Lew at that time was the OMB Director. So, I'm trying to get a hold of Jack Lew and said, "Look we need to sit down, the president and I and whoever else is involved in this, we need to sit down and come to an agreement. We don't want to be stuck here in the 1st of August and not having government open because we don't have the agreement." Well, he said, "You know, the president's in Africa, we can't get a hold of him." Finally, I kept banging him, and I said, "Well, you know the president's going to be in Ankara, Turkey at 10:00 tomorrow morning and we -- if you go through the White House Switchboard ringing at the president, he'll be in the back of a limousine." Well, you know, 10:00 in the morning in Ankara, Turkey is actually 2:00 in the morning in Washington DC.

So, here I am in Washington DC, the president is in Ankara, Turkey with 10,000 miles apart. And I get the president on the phone and the president, "Oh yeah, how are you doing? "So, Mr President, I understand you had, you know, a great trip to Africa?" And "Yeah, we did this and I said -- he said, "What can I do for you?" So, well, you know we have the budget coming up and we need to get this thing reconciled. "And so well, what do you think we got to do?" And I said, "I think we got to do a 1 percent across the board cut. That will get this down to our target and we" -- he said, "Well, you know, that 1 percent, that's pretty high." I said, "What do think, Mr. President?" "Well, maybe a 0.25 percent," and you know, well I said, "OK, fine". So, we negotiate what we did, we came out of 0.86 but the point is we sat together, even 10,000 miles apart and came together and found a solution.

MORGAN: Well, it's a very good point and I wish that this is going on now between the current President and the current Speaker. It sounds like basic common sense to me. I also commend you by the way on the second best Bill Clinton impression I've heard in the last month. I think Bono slightly shades it, but Dennis Hastert, best (ph) having talking to you know and no one knows more about what the situation is like than you, so thank you for that advice.

HASTERT: My pleasure. Thank you.

MORGAN: I hope your cheerleaders (ph) are watching. Thank you very much.

Now, I'll take you on our Breaking News out of Florida, 10 people trapped for 2 hours on a stuck roller coaster at Universal Orlando Resort of Florida. They haven't been able to move the car several feet. It's truly in that metaphor for America's stuck government. The rescue efforts are continuing in Florida if not in Washington.

Coming up, default denials, why some on the Hill is saying bring it on. Tonight Larry Kudlow and Robert Reich go toe-to-toe. I promise you this will be lively. And next giving his all for the troops. How Montel William is helping the families of fallen heroes lost benefits in the shutdown.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB HALE, UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We would also be required to do some other bad things to our people. Just an example is we couldn't immediately pay debt gratuities to those who die on active duty during the lapse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: So clearly, Washington knew that the shutdown would put survivor benefits at risk for the families of fallen troops. My next guest is doing something about that, Montel Williams is a board member of the Fisher House Foundation, a charity who's now playing survivor -- paying survivor benefits to the families of fallen troops during the shutdown. He's also the creator of livingworldmontel.com and Montel joins me now.

Montel, this makes me very angry. I'm sure it makes very -- many Americans angry. You're a former Naval Commander, you were in the Marine Corps, you served for 22 years and you're part of the board that has come to the rescue here, this Fisher House Operation but this is ridiculous. When a government shuts down and can't pay debt payments to widows and to children who lost their father.

MONTEL WILLIAMS, BOARD MEMBER, FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION: I don't even know where to begin, Piers. Right before I came out you were interviewing and talking to two congressmen, one of them had the audacity to take a shot at the Secretary of Defense Hagel and say that he did this and for some political reason we had the authority to do so.

If he had the authority to do so, he would have done so without having to pass a bill today. The authority was not there. You cannot find it written anywhere. There was no discretionary opportunity for him to be able to do this.

MORGAN: I think his statement seem pretty underlying to me. Chuck Hagel said, "I am offended, outraged, and embarrassed that the government shutdown had prevented the Department of Defense from fulfilling this most sacred responsibility in a timely manner."

He's making his feeling pretty clear.

WILLIAMS: But it was not -- it's embarrassed. It's almost not just disrespectful. This is a man who right now is shepherding the 21 soldiers who have died and then lots of this -- the families our soldiers over there putting their lives on the line everyday.

21 soldiers have died since the beginning of this shutdown. And I hope that if you take a look at the last six or seven months this is a higher frequency of death rate than we've seen in last six or seven months.

MORGAN: I think it's even hard, because 26 people ...

WILLIAMS: Is it 26 as of today now?

MORGAN: ... have died, yeah, as of right now, 26 people died since the shutdown, started. And as you say this is the most important duty that many was saying government could fulfill looking after as Abraham Lincoln said, "Honoring those left behind from those who fought on the battle."

WILLIAMS: And that's why I'm so proud to be a board member of Fisher House, whose now stepped out to the plate like they always do where the rubber (ph) meets in road and they are there to provide services to our families and our fallen soldiers and our soldiers and family members of soldiers who are wounded. They are the ones who built the Fisher House Center in Dover, Delaware so that families can come and stay for free when they retrieve the precious remains of their loved ones. And how dare we shut that? Can you imagine for a second, Piers?

Your mom gets a call or somebody get to call. Their son just died. They go to bank. First of all they don't have money to get airplane to fly to Dover, Delaware. They go to the bank to have it. The look at the news and somebody says, you're not even going to get the money we owe you for your loved one putting their life on the line to protect our democracy.

I'm sorry. How dare they? Yesterday, I saw several congressmen and senators just blow this off, are we going to take care of them? No they're not. They're going to just stop the gap, Band-Aid this and next week they'll close commissaries. They'll close pay access (ph). They'll put soldiers and sailors out on the streets that won't be able to eat, won't be able to take care of their children while they go to work.

Why don't we do something today? Your show with just so many people, then we can get Americans out there who can shop on the devices and start tweeting and e-mailing their congressmen say -- let me say look, "Why you clowns act stupid right now over all other issues? Let's sequester have pull out the military and say anything they need we fund. Start there right now. Play a silly games or everything else.

But remember, 26 had died, tomorrow another may die. The next day another is going to die for our democracy, our freedom, how dare they?

I don't know, man. And I'm at a lost because, you know, as I started looking at the reason to try to figure out why could our congressmen going to do this? You know, why? Because less than 20 percent of them ever put on the uniform, they have the audacity to send our children off to die and none of them put on the uniform. There's not a -- talking about how American they are, how much they respect this constitution and not one of them was willing to step up to the plate, put on a uniform. I'm sorry it's 20 percent war.

20 percent? Go back 15 years and we had about 45 percent. Go back 30 years we had about 60 percent. I would bet you they would not leave a man behind the way these guys have.

MORGAN: Montel, tell me this. I mean, you're a smart guy, you're a smart businessman, you're a great American. How do you resolve what seems to be such an implacable divide between these two parties?

WILLIAMS: Unfortunately, you know, we talked about this on one of the previous visits when I was here.

MORGAN: We did.

WILLIAMS: I said unfortunately, Americas aren't paying attention to the fact that so many of these guys down there aren't doing this because of us.

26, 36, 41, 51 years at a job and they're really doing this to preserve their job, and at the end of the day how they've been affected? How many of them lost a child over there? Maybe a couple are dead, I'm sorry, and I shouldn't say it because I'm not going to disrespect one or two death.

But how many of them went by visited Walter Reed last week? How many of them went up and saw the bodies and those transfers go back to the family in the last ten days?

You know, I have -- I don't know how they're going to fix this. I think what we have to recognize is just respect the law. You said it earlier law of the land, you know, is therefore Affordable Care Act, and you know we aren't even paying attention to this. This is like, you know, a slow ball rolling down the hill. We're going to settle this. We're going to settle this. We will.

But then two years from now when baby boomers hit the age where 45 to 50 percent of them have one chronic illness by 2020, when 60 percent have one chronic illness and 80 percent of them have two, health care -- what are we talk about? That's the shutdown of America.

We should be talking about what was the truth and that is we don't have health care system, we have sick care system and start teaching people how to relate to health care system.

MORGAN: Montel come back again saying because a lot of action you bring to this. You speak about so many people. You've got new institute called "Living Well with Montel" and your show (inaudible) Montel TV along October 15, on livingwellwithmontel.com.

WILLIAMS: Tell them leave the guys alone, please.

MORGAN: Montel, good to see. Thank you very much.

Coming next, military families get stick while House members hit the gym all paid for by your tax dollars. Robert Reich and Larry Kudlow go toe-to-toe on that and all the default deniers who say they're not afraid of the debt deadline.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. EARL BLUMENAUER, (D) OREGON: The electricity, the hot water, the towels, they're not provided by Jim Farris (ph), they're provided by taxpayers. Mr. Speaker if you and the House Republicans are serious and not cynical about the shutdown then shutdown the House gym until this madness ends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Democratic Congressman, Earl Blumenauer outraged that House members are hitting the gym while government work has hit the unemployment land. It is madness. So what will it take to end it? Well, joining me now two men who could not disagree more about this, Robert Reich Bill Clinton's Former Secretary of Labor, his documentary "Inequality for All" is in theaters now, also Larry Kudlow, the Host of the CNN -- CNBC's Kudlow Report. Welcome to both of you.

Larry, you tweeted earlier, short term clean CR and debt hike followed by negotiated long term budget and debt deal, might be the answer.

LARRY KUDLOW, HOST, CNBC'S THE KUDLOW REPORT: Yes.

MORGAN: Did you see that as the way through all of this?

KUDLOW: I think we're very close to a deal and that's one of the reasons Obama is meeting with all the members in both parties of both Houses. I think the Republicans are going to give a short term clean bill both for the debt and the budget maybe 45 days or whatever it is 'till the end of the year and then I think they're going to negotiate hard for at least a one year debt deal and that's where you're going to see the time and reforms, the tax reforms, the spending reallocation, they may loosen up on the budget sequester because I'm very sympathetic to this military story, it's insanity what's going on.

MORGAN: It's really disgusting.

KUDLOW: So, I think you're going to see a lot of action in the next 24 to 48 hours that's going to break the law (ph) gym.

MORGAN: I mean, Robert Reich you can see that the Republicans they must be starting to panic here because if you look at the latest polls the Republican approval rating at 28 percent is the lowest it's ever been and you look at the, you know, the Gallup poll here about what American say that top problem is facing the country the economy is at 19 percent dysfunctional government, 33 percent nearly doubled number of Americans. That is more -- is more of a problem there. It's pretty scandalous, isn't it?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Well, I think that the Republican Party is beginning not only to look at the polls and see that they are digging themselves a deeper and deeper a hole and of course when you're digging a deep hole you don't want to continue to dig. The answer is to try to get out of that hole, but they're also getting pressure from many of their patrons in the business community and Wall Street who were saying, "You guys are crazy if you continue to try to hold up the government and endanger the entire full faith and credit of the United States with regard to the debt ceiling you are putting yourselves and you're putting us, and you're putting the economy, indeed the global economy at a great risk.

We're already seeing the consequences and all of this pressure is building up, I think the Republicans want a way of saving face, a face-saving way out of this and it maybe that a clean Continuing Resolution, a clean debt ceiling bill at least temporarily is going to allow them that face-saving way.

KUDLOW: Oh, it's Obama -- it's Obama that suggested it at the news conference he said, "Give me a clean bill for short time and then we'll start to negotiate." I want to disagree with my friend Robert Reich on a number of things, you know, the polls, the poll show, yeah, the public does blame the Republican Party but they also blame the Democrats and the spread is really only about 10 points.

Also Obama's polls are coming down, it's a breathtaking decline. In fact one of which was the CNN poll. So, I don't think that has affinity to it, but I want to make another point too, this is community or not, the United States is nowhere close to defaulting on his treasury box. I just want to make that point as clear as I can.

MORGAN: Tell me this on a ...

KUDLOW: Not even close.

MORGAN: ... on a technical point, though, answer this question, but let me just ...

KUDLOW: I may not give you that numbers; I give you the number that has show you how far away you are.

MORGAN: Let me clarify one point. Does a failure to deal with the debt ceiling on that particular day when it comes up, does that automatically calls America to default?

KUDLOW: No, of course not.

MORGAN: Then explain the difference.

KUDLOW: Money, it's a constant flow process. Can I just -- on average, I mean can't give you each 30 days off the top of my head, on average USA takes in -- the government, they send about $240 billion, all right? That's a monthly average and the interesting expense we've paying our debt, is about $35 billion, $240 versus $35 it's not even close.

Now, that's going to be the first priority is to keep our full faith and credit going just like any sensible country would. What President Obama has done here I think is very duplicitous he's been trying attacking the economy and saying, "We're all going to go down the tube for his own political game." There is no danger of a threat to our treasuries in and really that system awful trumped out, sorry.

MORGAN: OK, Robert I can see you, you can maybe get in here.

REICH: Well, you know, if I may disagree with my good friend Larry Kudlow. You have all my ...

MORGAN: You may, sir.

REICH: ... enormous respect, but you're absolutely wrong on this, Larry. First of all, there is a danger of default and the markets are beginning to inflect that danger, interest rates are beginning to spike and not only that but we have could seen that the stock market since mid-September when the Republican started to talk about a shutdown. The stock market also has lost ground but that was about 6 percent below what it was before and all of these things have some pressure on the Republican Party.

Let me get to the second point you just raised. There is in fact, you are right that a default does not automatically triggered by October 17th that is Jack Lew and the treasury could prioritize increase payments on our debts, but that would mean at the same time, no this is the important point it would mean cutting dramatically everything else the government owes to Social Security recipients, to Medicare recipients. In other words millions of people would be jeopardized even though creditors would get their money.

KUDLOW: No, no, no.

REICH: And this would only be for any priority by a couple of days, this been only by a couple of days.

KUDLOW: Any prioritization ...

MORGAN: OK, now go into Larry.

KUDLOW: ... any prioritization will take care of the entitlement payments, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Robert is wrong just trying to scare people, take care of veteran's payments, any prioritization would do that but I want to say this ...

REICH: Wait a minute ...

KUDLOW: This battle -- hang on Robert, prioritization is that ...

REICH: What is not prioritized?

KUDLOW: But we will --We are going through a debate in this country about the size and scope of government and that includes some of the lesser programs, do we need everything we have? That's part of this debate and I think you're going to see as this debate continues and you have, and Obama is going to be part of this finally, he's going to get involved, they'll be decisions made and you know what we don't need everything we have in our government.

And you know what we don't need the crazy complex taxes that we have in our government and you know what we don't need $500, $600, $700 billion deficits every year, we don't need that and that's a major part of this debate.

MORGAN: Larry, great to see you.

REICH: But let me, let me agree with -- let me agree with Larry Kudlow ...

MORGAN: You can't say anything Robert I am shutting you down.

REICH: I think it is ...

MORGAN: Robert it is good to see you then shutdown is being implementing with immediate effect. So, we have to go with the next ...

REICH: You're giving Larry Kudlow the last word?

MORGAN: I have given the Larry Kudlow the last word but the good news is you can come back other -- tomorrow or the next day and have another word. So, gentlemen, thank you both very much. I have good news on the Breaking News we had earlier that everybody is now off that roller coaster. So, that shutdown has been saved is that now the new metaphor for the American economy. I just hope so.

And coming up, gun violence that shocked America 10 little girls were shot in an Amish schoolhouse, five were killed, the shooters widow breaks a sign (inaudible) next a quite extraordinary interview.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COL. JEFFREY MILLER, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE CHIEF: He had taken extreme measures to fortify this location and it seems to us that perhaps he was preparing to for a lengthy siege. He blind everybody up on the blackboard and then he let the male students to go.

(END VIDE CLIP)

MORGAN: It was a day that shocked America. October the 2nd, 2006, Charles Roberts burst into one-room Amish Schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania with a handgun, a 12 gauge shotgun, a rifle, a stun gun, knives, a toolbox and string (ph) devices. He shot 10 school girls killing five of them before killing himself.

Now his widow Marie Monville is finally speaking out after years of silence. She's the author of "One Light Still Shines". And she joins me now. Welcome to you.

MARIE MONVILLE, AUTHOR OF ONE LIGHT STILL SHINES: Thank you.

MORGAN: Incredibly difficult being to go through incredibly difficult thing I would imagine to write about and probably to talk about. When you look back to that day, you think back that day and you've obviously have to recall it all for your book, did anything at all warned you that he could possibly be capable of this -- the man you knew as you husband and a loving father of anything like this?

MONVILLE: Not at all. You know, it was a really beautiful morning. The sky was clear. The sun was shining. It was an Indian summer kind of day. The windows were open and we could hear the sounds of harvesting. And, you know, we're getting the kids ready for school. We walked them to the bus stop together. He gave them each a hug and kiss and said, "I love you", before they board at the bus. And it did not at all seem to be the day that it would turn in to.

MORGAN: When you got the phone call from him, suddenly his voice sounded very, very different. Describe that moment to me.

MONVILLE: You know, he called me and said, "I'm not coming home." And I knew that he meant, "I'm not ever coming home." He's voice was flat and cold and unlike anything I'd ever heard from him before.

MORGAN: What did you think was happening?

MONVILLE: I really had no idea. You know, as he started to talk, part of me was listening to him and part of me was till stuck on that first phrase of "I'm not coming home." And so, you know, as the conversation wore on, I thought that he was going to take his own life, but I never imagined that it would involve other people, let alone children.

MORGAN: The moment you realized the scale of what he had done this utter horror, shooting 10 school girls, killing five, seriously wounding many of the others, what went through your mind? What can go through your mind? This is somebody you thought you knew and ...

MONVILLE: Right.

MORGAN: ... that you loved.

MONVILLE: I was shocked. I couldn't have been more unprepared for that moment but as the police were standing in my living room recounting details to me that were beyond horrid, you know, there wasn't any time to deny or to pretend that it wasn't true because I was faced with the reality of everything that had happened.

MORGAN: How did you even stopped the process of getting over this because you have three kids yourself? What is the way that you've come through this? I mean how did you find it?

MONVILLE: You know, in the very first moment that afternoon, I knew that I was faced with two choices. I could either choose to believe that everything I had ever read in the word of God and heard testified to from the pulpit or other people saying about the Lord was true and that He would somehow come to rescue us or I could choose to believe that we were going down like the fastest sinking ship. And while I couldn't figure out any way for God to rescue us, I knew that I had nothing to lose by trusting Him.

And so I knew in that moment that I was desperate. I had nothing, you know, nothing to fall back upon. My whole world was shifting around me but I knew that God was firm.

MORGAN: An extraordinary thing happened and the other members of the Amish community turned up at your house and unlike I think in many other similar circumstances, there wasn't raw hostility ...

MONVILLE: No.

MORGAN: ... in their mood. Quite the opposite. Tell me about it.

MONVILLE: I was in my parent's home and I was looking out their kitchen window and I saw some Amish men walking down the street. I knew they were coming to my parent's house. And I went to my Mom and Dad and said, "What do I do? Do I go out to talk to them? I'm sure they're coming here." And my Dad said, "You can stay inside. I'll go out and talk with them." He knew them. You know, they were from our community. And so, as he met them on the driveway, I continued to watch from the window. And although I couldn't hear the words they spoke, I saw the embrace. You know, I saw them put their arms around my Dad and put their hands on his shoulder. And everything about their gentleness conveyed the words that I couldn't hear.

MORGAN: An amazing thing happened. But indicative of the protective blanket that the ...

MONVILLE: Yes.

MORGAN: ... Amish community put around you ...

MONVILLE: Absolutely.

MORGAN: ... at a time when your husband had decimated a large number of that community.

MONVILLE: Yes. Absolutely. You know, when my Dad came back in, we all are waiting to hear from him what they said and he collected his thoughts. You know and I knew that it had been a deeply moving time for him as well. And he said that they had forgiven Charlie and that they were extending grace and love to our family. They were concerned about me and concerned about our children.

MORGAN: Have you forgiven Charlie?

MONVILLE: You know, I have. And the thing that stands out to me the most about all of this is that he was angry inside and that anger beat a way at him. And so, to me, I knew that I couldn't have a place of anger inside of me. I didn't want anything that was something he had dealt with. And, you know, forgiveness isn't something that's automatic and never happens again. It's a continual process.

MORGAN: Did you hate him to start with?

MONVILLE: No. I don't know that I hated him. I thought a lot of emotions. I hated what he did but the man that walked into that schoolhouse that day was not the man that I had been married to for almost 10 years, you know, not the husband that I had seen, not the Dad that I knew.

MORGAN: He'd shown signs of depression in a letter that he left for you. He blamed the fact that you had lost this infant daughter called, Elise.

MONVILLE: Yes.

MORGAN: I happen to have a daughter called Elise so it resonates to me the name. Do you believe that there were other things that he said in the letter that he had abused ...

MONVILLE: Right.

MORGAN: ... members in the family so which the police just didn't think were actually true. MONVILLE: Right.

MORGAN: Do you think it was depression over the loss of your little girl or you think it's a much more complicated situation?

MONVILLE: No. I do really believe that it was the depression. I talked about at it great length with the counselors explaining to them, you know, that I saw times of periodic depression over the years since Elise had died. And, you know, wanting to dialogue that with them.

It wasn't a depression that lasted. It didn't interfere with his ability to go to work, you know, or to involve himself with our family but there were times that it was definitely there.

And so, in talking about it with the counselors, they suggested to me that those years of untreated clinical depression resulted in a psychotic break.

MORGAN: Let's take a short break. Let's come back and talk more about this about how you turned your own life around and found love again ...

MONVILLE: Yes.

MORGAN: ... also what you think about the guns aspect of this. He went in to the thief and he was clearly suffering from a form of mental illness. I want to talk to you about that as well.

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MORGAN: Back with me now is Marie Monville widow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shoot. Even when you're described that way, did you worry that's the rest of your life that's how you'll going to be labeled now as the Amish Mass Shooters widow?

MONVILLE: You know it's a really hard thing for me to see that and have minds months and even years after. And I took a long time to kind of process that but I knew that the label that was kind of put over me I could either choose to let it stay there or I could take it off.

And so, you know, it was my own healing and walking out form underneath that that has made me not mind so much. Yeah, I don't really want to be called that. And my life is so much more than my past, you know. My future is in another direction but that will always be a part of my story.

MORGAN: How have you dealt with this with your own children because obviously this was their father.

MONVILLE: Right.

MORGAN: Who suddenly didn't come home and then they presumably as they got older they know what he did. How have you dealt with that? MONVILLE: You know I knew that they needed to know all the details of that before they went back to school even that first week. And we've talked about it a lot in the times spent. And I've tried to think through it if I were child their age, what were be some my questions or my thoughts. And especially in processing how other kids relate to them. And, you know, it's really by the grace of the Lord that we've all found healing and wholeness in life again.

MORGAN: Did they feel angry towards him for what he did, not just those poor young girls but also to his own family?

MONVILLE: You know I think there are a lot of emotions wrapped up in that. And I think we all feel different things at different times and it's just allowing ourselves with space and the resources to process through the things that we feel.

MORGAN: Every time there's a mass shooting and unfortunately in America, there are many of them that come at a relentless pace. What goes through your mind?

MONVILLE: Well, it takes me back to that moment and my heart breaks for everyone involved in those situations. You know, there's evil in the world and I don't have any answers for that. But my heart breaks and my prayers go forth for all the families involved.

MORGAN: He has -- We had an array of firearms on him, do you think it's too easy of people who have mental illness to get their hands on killing machines?

MONVILLE: I mean, you know, Charlie had always enjoyed hunting and that was something that he did with his dad and the guns were locked at his parents home in a safe. I don't have the answer for gun control. But I don't think that someone that's suffering from mental illness should have access to any kind of weapons.

MORGAN: You think it's too easy to get guns that given there were millions of people in America that have a form of mental illness?

MONVILLE: You know I think that it's hard to keep them out of their hands if that's so their choice.

MORGAN: You found love again?

MONVILLE: Yeah.

MORGAN: You found another man and you got remarried. How difficult was it for you to trust a man after what had happened to you?

MONVILLE: You know I knew that if I wanted to have a relationship that was vibrant and alive with my husband Dan that I couldn't drag the past into my future that there was no future in the past. And so, it's just was that process of trusting the Lord and trusting God enough to be able to trust Dan. But knowing that, you know, we had accountability and other people in our lives that were kind of reaffirming our far decisions as well. MORGAN: Did you ever meet any of the families of the girls in the schools?

MONVILLE: Yes I have. You know I love the relationship that I have with those families and their compassion is unending.

MORGAN: That's an extraordinary story, extraordinary book and my heart goes out to you and your family and obviously to all the families that are so desolated by what happened. But it's a book also of inspiration ...

MONVILLE: Thank you.

MORGAN: ... and the power of faith and the power of love and I commend people to read it. Marie Monville, thank you very much indeed.

MONVILLE: Thank you.

MORGAN: We'll be right back.

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MORGAN: Tomorrow night a man who is never shy about expressing his opinions and he's a lot on this current shutdown Donald Trump, the Donald tomorrow with a message for Washington on the odds of the deal. That's all for us tonight though AC 360 Later starts right now.