Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN LIVE
George Zimmerman: I Was a Victim; Michael Dunn Case
Aired February 17, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is Piers Morgan Live.
Tonight, can you believe this? George Zimmerman says he is a victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN NEW DAY HOST: The victim was Trayvon Martin, you know that.
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, ACQUITTED IN TRAYVON MARTIN SHOOTING: No. I certainly wasn't a victim when I was having my head bashed into the concrete and my nose broken and beaten so I wouldn't say I was not a victim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A victim.
Meanwhile, another Florida man kills a black teenager over of all things loud music. Now, both of these cases are really about race.
Nancy Grace is here and she's fired up, also Ben Ferguson, and Van Jones.
Plus, are you ready for some football? How about racism, bullying, homophobic slurs pretty obvious stuff and was it business as usual in the Miami Dolphins' locker room? I'll talk exclusively the agent for Jonathan Martin who quit the team and the agent for the report player aide that may have it even worse than Martin.
Also, it's President's Day, to what better time do our President Obama or to ask how President Obama's doing? And I now welcome the newest member of CNN family, Michael Smerconish
I want to begin now with our Big Story, George Zimmerman still claiming that he's a victim in the Trayvon Martin case. Well, joining me now is Nancy Grace, she's of course from the HLN every night at eight, also CNN Political Commentator Ben Ferguson, and Van Jones the co-host the CNN's Crossfire.
So before we start, let me play exactly what George Zimmerman said about him as a victim here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ZIMMERMAN: I certainly wasn't a victim when I was having my head bashed into the concrete and my nose broken and beaten so I wouldn't say I was not a victim. And I try not to think about that too much because I -- there's nothing I can do about being a victim or not being a victim
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was of course to CNN's Chris Cuomo this morning.
I mean, Nancy, I watched that as it unfold this morning on CNN. The simmering rage, I have to say, the whole idea of a banner headline of an interview with George Zimmerman headlined "Zimmerman: I was a victim". What do you make of it?
NANCY GRACE, HOST, HLN's "NANCY GRACE", FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, it's very, very disturbing and frankly he's got a lot of nerve because Trayvon Martin is dead. At least Zimmerman is going to get to get out and do his artwork on lying and sell it for $100 grand and have his groupies in his website and off to his boxing matches for charity while Trayvon Martin is never getting out of his coffin. Zimmerman needs to just go away and stop rubbing salt in my wound.
MORGAN: Let me go to you Van Jones. Now, I want to play another clip here. This is where Zimmerman talks about the night itself and his feelings about what he perhaps should have done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZIMMERMAN: Yeah, I think about that night and I think my life would be tremendously easier if I had stayed home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean again, Van Jones, what struck me was his sort of narcissism of all this.
GRACE: It's ridiculous.
MORGAN: Really. All he's thinking about is his own life.
VAN JONES, CNN CROSSFIRE HOST: Yeah.
MORGAN: Him being a victim, him being easier at home when Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old unarmed teenager, is dead.
JONES: Yeah. You know, I'm sure that in his own mind, he feels somehow victimized but honestly, you would expect at this point for him to be able to show enough class and enough dignity to not try to seize that mantle and that mandate and to talk more about the harm and the pain and the suffering of the Trayvon Martin family.
And when you don't see that and see the other stuff that he's been doing whether it's the arrest or these other sort of stuff. You just feel like, you know, not only did the guy get away with it, he doesn't seem to have learned very much. And I think that's what really hurts people who care about this whole situation is that hopefully the country learned something but apparently Zimmerman did not.
MORGAN: Ben Ferguson ...
GRACE: But you actually expected Zimmerman to learn something from this?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One could pray ...
GRACE: You don't do (inaudible) where you wanted to catch a black youth. Well, he did it and he shot him dead. I don't expect him to learn anything.
JONES: Yeah, well.
MORGAN: OK. Ben Ferguson ...
MORGAN: ... can you construct for me any form of rational defense for the way Zimmerman is currently behaving?
FERGUSON: Well, I do think he's a victim of his own stupidity at this point. I mean, this happens to you and you could say, "Look, I'm a victim of the obsession of the spotlight on this case." You might say, "I'll never be able to live in total without worrying that someone's going to try to come after me."
But that is the extent of it but I don't understand why he doesn't realize just go away. Just walk away from the cameras. You don't have to do the interviews. You don't have to sit down and tell your story and you're not -- your story is not a sad story. You're not some sort of victim from what happened after the fact.
Now, that night? To be honest with you, no one really wants to hear about you becoming a victim regardless of the fight, regardless of the possible screams for help, regardless of the facts of the case.
GRACE: I don't think he wants to ...
FERGUSON: There's this turning point where I think you have to say ...
GRACE: ... win an anonymity. I don't think he wants that.
FERGUSON: ... "I'm going to walk away from this."
MORGAN: Let me -- but Nancy, before we come back to you now, you see, let me just talk about something that happened with me and George Zimmerman today.
So I got into a Twitter exchange with him after I tweeted, "You're not a victim George Zimmerman. You're somebody who killed a 17 year old boy." And that's indisputably what he is whether you agree with the final verdict or not, everyone knows and he accepts he killed a boy who had turned out was unarmed. He replied this, "God Bless you. You will be in my prayers." Which is a theme of his interview with Chris Cuomo was, "Only God can judge me. It's between me and him now."
Nancy, that kind of religious defense and I'll come to some of the other tweets between me and Zimmerman in a moment, but him relying on his religion, on his faith, on God, that he's only really now answerable to God. What did you make of that?
GRACE: Well, I really don't think God and Jesus really want to be dragged into George Zimmerman's tweeting with you. But since you brought it up, I think that he's in a position where he doesn't know what to say back. And you were talking about how somebody wants about him suffering because he can't live in anonymity. He doesn't want anonymity. He wants this type of attention he's living off of and he's making money off of it. His last picture that he traced I think, you know, stole it from AP, he made $100,000 off of not being anonymous. That's blood money.
So the more we talked about him and put him on TV, the more money he makes of killing Trayvon Martin. That's what I'm saying.
MORGAN: OK. Let me turn back to you ...
FERGUSON: I want to say this, Piers.
MORGAN: I'll call you in a moment, Ben. But Van Jones, this exchange I have with him carried on. It became quite an illuminating exchange about the kind of personality George Zimmerman has because I have -- and he said to me, he was quoting God and I said, "Well, since you're citing God, George Zimmerman, try this. Thou shall not kill. Exodus 20:13." To which he'd gotten it a little kafuffle and said, "Regardless, I will see you in court. You can't shred and delete e- mails fast enough, Amigo."
He's sort of inferring that anyone who doesn't go along with his way of looking at this, he can sue presumably. Which ...
JONES: It brought me ...
MORGAN: ... I thought was an extraordinarily deluded way of looking at it.
JONES: Sure. Well, let's separate these things out though. I think a lot of times when people go through things that are difficult, they do become more religious, they do try to develop themselves spiritually.
I don't challenge him for that, I think that's probably a good thing and maybe the only good thing I've heard is that he's trying to do something along those lines. That's a good thing.
The problem is you don't have to engage and then when you start engaging and then you -- and then into the midst of I said something you don't like you think you can sue them, you think you can take them to court, you think you can do something. That's the problem. If somebody does something that you don't like and then you're going to whether it's your girlfriend, whether it's Trayvon Martin, you're going to get them. You're going to do something. It's the same pattern and the problem is you put this stuff on full display and everybody can see it and you don't understand why people don't want to see you can do it.
GRACE: Well, I've got a question ...
FERGUSON: But, Van, let me ask you this.
MORGAN: Yeah, Nancy?
GRACE: Then told this is about God, did he find God after he shot Trayvon Martin and before he pulled the shotgun on his girlfriend or had a fight with his wife. And hey, look, I will take a prayer for me anywhere I can get it but pulling God or Christ out of your back pocket and slinging them around? I don't know if that's such a good thing.
FERGUSON: I don't think, hold on. I don't think ...
MORGAN: Ben Ferguson.
FERGUSON: I don't think it's slinging it around. I mean, you're literally almost making the case for him as him saying that he's a victim because you're saying that he's a killer. What court said it was self defense so he's not ...
MORGAN: But he's still a killer isn't it?
FERGUSON: Let me finish. Let me finish.
MORGAN: He's still a killer.
FERGUSON: If you were George Zimmerman or do you want ...
GRACE: You're not really making any sense.
FERGUSON: ... to be labeled as a -- let me finish. Or do you want to be labeled as a killer when the court said that it was self defense. Nancy, you obviously don't like the opinion of the court. Piers, you obviously don't either but ...
MORGAN: No. No. No. No. No, wait, wait, Ben ...
FERGUSON: ... he thinks he's a victim because you keep referring to him as like he's a murderer.
MORGAN: But, Ben, I'm not saying anything about that court decision. I've made my feelings about it clearly but that's really irrelevant. I'm disputing the fact that you don't think he's a killer.
FERGUSON: I'm saying that there's ...
JONES: He's not a murderer but he's ... FERGUSON: ... a murderer and when you act as if he went out there and just started shooting at people or walked up and killed somebody cold- blooded ...
MORGAN: But, Ben, Ben, Ben, a killer ...
FERGUSON: ... there is a difference there and the court said so.
MORGAN: Ben, a killer is does not mean murderer doesn't it?
GRACE: But what do you think happened? The boy was unarmed just like with Michael Dunn, he killed an unarmed youth. You know, I don't know if you've ever tried ...
FERGUSON: But Nancy, Nancy, Nancy, Nancy ...
GRACE: ... cases or dealt with a legal system but to me that's open and shut. You shoot ...
FERGUSON: Nancy, here's the thing ...
GRACE: ... an unarmed youth dead. That's a murder. What?
FERGUSON: Nancy, you're not -- you're totally leaving out the core part of what the jury and thank goodness you weren't on that jury because they looked at the facts and you don't want to deal with the fact that there was a ...
GRACE: Hey, look around yourself ...
FERGUSON: ... a struggle and a fight.
GRACE: ... are you in a court of law? You're in a TV studio. We're not there ...
FERGUSON: But so are you.
JONES: Let me tell you something here. I'd like to say something here. First ...
GRACE: Yeah, I sure am.
JONES: First of all, he certainly is a killer. The question is whether he is a murderer. The court said he's not a murderer. They said he is -- was just by with self defense using a law that a lot of people have objections to.
The reality is he is a killer. He did take a life and he has to live with that. My problem with the whole situation is increasingly, you're seeing him when he's not in the news for doing something dangerous toward a member, his girlfriend or whoever it is, or his ex- wife.
He is now just jumping into the media for no reason at all and I think that is a part of the problem here. He wanted to be a big shot. He wanted to be a big shot out there. MORGAN: Yeah.
JONES: He wanted to be the super hero, and now he has nothing going for him but to keep relitigating this and I think that's the big problem.
MORGAN: Yeah and also ...
JONES: You don't want to be worth this stuff.
MORGAN: It's the tone that he adopts when he does this.
For instance, another tweet he sent me. "Piersy, you will get exactly what you deserve, sweetheart."
JONES: That's terrible.
MORGAN: Vaguely threatening fake Bono (ph) me, treating the whole thing as a bit of a joke, but underlying here, a certain reaction or a kind of threatening tone.
JONES: A menacing, threatening tone against someone he can't control. That's the pattern. That's what happened. And here is the thing, no matter what -- everything was not allowed to get in front of that jury and juries are not perfect. They're just the best thing that we've got better than everything else.
But here is what you've got. You've got this threatening menacing tone against you, against anybody who doesn't agree with him and yet people still want to pretend like this guy ...
JONES: ... who's just some kind of ...
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. Let's take a short break.
I want to carry on to this in another block because we had the Michael Dunn case, almost an identical scenario really of a man finding himself in a conflict with a 17-year-old unarmed young black boy and he ends up killing him, and he has not been convicted of murder. Let's get the verdict after the break.
But first, on the President's Day, my conversations with the man who've held the highest of office in the land.
This is what Bill Clinton told me when asked, "Who would be the better President, his wife or his daughter?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER US PRESIDENT: The day after tomorrow, my wife because she has had more experience.
Over the long run, Chelsea, she knows more than we do about everything. There was a time in her childhood when I thought maybe she thought she did what she didn't. Now, it's highly embarrassing because she in fact does so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)
RON DAVIS, JORDAN DAVIS' FATHER: I feel this Michael Dunn has got a minimum of 20 years on one count, another 20 years on another count, another minimum 20 years on another count. So he's going to learn that he must be remorseful for the killing of my son.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The father of 17-year-old, Jordan Davis talking about the trial of Michael Dunn, the man who killed his son.
And back with now is Nancy Grace, Ben Ferguson and Van Jones.
Nancy, very similar parallels here. Horrible parallels really. A 17- year-old young black teenager, minding his own business, playing a bit of music a little too loudly and an older man coming over, poking his nose in, where he hadn't been asked to making perhaps false assumptions and shooting him dead and not being convicted of murder. What is going on here? Is it a Florida issue? Is it an American societal or cultural issue, what is it?
GRACE: Well, a lot of people suggest that it's a Florida issue. And, you know, when you look at Tatman (ph) and Zimmerman and now this. I get it. But the thing about Florida is it's one of the only states that have cameras on the courtroom basically no question asked. So we really see a lot of what's happening in Florida and we don't always see what's happening in other jurisdictions.
But regarding Dunn, compared to Zimmerman at least Zimmerman had one band aid on the back of his head. At least he has, remember that little band aid he had on the back of his head, well Michael Dunn didn't even have that. He even admitted to police that he may have imagined that the teen, Jordan Davis, had a gun. There was not gun, there was never a gun. And the jury verdict is very, very disturbing.
Now many people will say, Piers, that you know what? Just take what you got, it's 60 to 90 years guaranteed. But I as a crime victim myself, I don't agree with that. I think the case regarding this boy, Jordan Davis, needs to be retried for murder one.
MORGAN: OK. Ben Ferguson.
BEN FERGUSON: Yeah.
MORGAN: Here are my problems with this. Is that if Dunn and Zimmerman had not been carrying guns, then these two young boys who are unarmed as it turned out regardless of any fear that may have been felt by the people shooting the guns, they would be alive, right? So there's a gun accessibility of people carrying ...
GRACE: Are you back on gun control again? If it weren't for the British, we wouldn't even have to have protections to carry guns. It was the British way back when they founded America. They were running through all of our homes trying to take our stuff. So we're protected under the Constitution. So it's not really right for a Brit to jump up and start talking to us about gun control.
MORGAN: Well, Nancy you will be unsurprised to hear ...
MORGAN: ... I couldn't disagree with you more. It seems like it's entirely down to a Brit because you like kind of solved out your own gun problems. Ben Ferguson ...
MORGAN: Let me come to you.
MORGAN: Let's not talk about gun control because Nancy's made her statement and I was riposted. Let's talk about ...
GRACE: It's the Brit's fault.
MORGAN: Let's talk about racial profiling or the fear element in here of an older man coming face to face with a black teenager. And fearing he was going to be shot and using that as justification to kill that teenager to death.
FERGUSON: Well, I think there's two differences in these cases that stand out to me. One is you had an altercation. You had a Zimmerman who actually called the police. This Dunn case to me is totally different for the reason that a guy not only does he shoots somebody but then he unloads on a car that's fleeing the scene and he didn't have to do that.
The other issue is he didn't call the police. Which means he'd knew he'd probably did something incredibly wrong and was afraid that someone may have been shot or killed because of his actions. If you're in the right, you don't have a problem calling 911. And I think there is a difference there. Zimmerman did call 911.
And here's the other thing, he didn't just have a band aid as Nancy said, he also had blood coming from his nose and there was a struggle on the ground which is a victim of a crime Nancy, you should actually know that that matter.
GRACE: He got muddy, he got dirty, don't talk to me about ...
FERGUSON: Well, mock it but I'd like to see what you do if someone was beating you up and that you're on the ground, Nancy. What are you going to do? Just (inaudible) get...
GRACE: Well, for one thing...
FERGUSON: ... that woman and they'll be dirty on the ground?
GRACE: ... I wouldn't if she -- I'm unarmed person and I would've be out at that time of night trying to find another black youth to get arrested, you know, he knew he wasn't supposed to be out with a gun, that was a rule of neighborhood watch. So he goes out looking to find somebody and he does. What a surprise?
MORGAN: OK, Van Jones, Van Jones. The reality is, if neither Michael Dunn nor George Zimmerman had poked their nose into other people's business without any good reason, they would both -- those boys be alive ...
MORGAN: ... and that's where my problem. Is there though a racial element to these two stories which links them?
JONES: I think that there -- there's a couple of things here. And first of all, as a father of two African-American boys, these stories just chill my blood. They are heartbreaking. They're very hard because honestly don't know how to -- how you supposed to raise your kids. I mean this -- not -- neither one of these boys who are dead or who are not involved in gangs or any of that kind of stuff.
Here's the problem, most Americans now are actually on Dr. King's side. That's the good news. Most Americans if you ask them, do you think that white people are better than black people? They will tell you no. And you know what? They can pass a lie detector test. They honestly believed that. That's a huge victory given 400 years but that wasn't true. The problem is that it's a subconscious part of the human mind that's actually doing most of the work here.
And you can now show people pictures of African-American boys, young men, and people register a fear response. They don't register with white faces. We've got to upgrade our laws to begin to deal with that. That's just the reality. What does that mean? That means even though 85 percent of the white people who were killed or actually killed by white people, white people are afraid of black people. Now statistically, that's insane. White people should be racially profiling white people because that's who kills white people. But there's a stereotype that gets in there. We need to upgrade our laws to begin to take advantage now what we know about the brain science.
MORGAN: OK. Listen, I've got to leave you there because you guys have to go. Watch Nancy Grace nightly on HLN 8 PM, 7 PM Central time.
I'll leave you with this thought now Nancy. It figures just out yesterday, it showed that the total number of gun murders in England and Wales for 2012-2013 for a year, 29 the lowest number ...
GRACE: Just as you said earlier ...
MORGAN: ... wait, wait Nancy...
GRACE: ... mind your...
MORGAN: ... wait...
GRACE: ... own business.
MORGAN: ... wait Nancy. I've got to just poke my nose into your business for a moment. 29 ...
GRACE: Mind your own business ...
MORGAN: ... 29 ...
GRACE: ... there's not enough (inaudible), Piers.
MORGAN: ... my viewers and your viewers are entitled to hear this whether you like it or not, 29 gun murders in one calendar year, the lowest since 1980, that's 34 years ...
GRACE: You know what, Piers ...
MORGAN: ... America ...
GRACE: ... I've spent my whole legal career fighting gun violence.
MORGAN: ... has 35 gun murders a day, Nancy.
GRACE: So, you're preaching to the choir ...
JONES: Let me say one thing ...
GRACE: ... all right?
JONES: I do believe...
GRACE: I spend my whole legal career fighting violence.
MORGAN: And let's do something about it together.
JONES: ... I do believe that in Florida. In Florida, I do believe that there should be a mind your own business law. The stand-your- ground law I think should be repealed. There should be a mind your own business law. Stop going after kids and challenging them and trying to police their music or whatever and shooting them ...
JONES: ... it's mind your own business law. I'm for that.
MORGAN: I'm totally in favor of that. Nancy, thank you so much for joining me. Ben ...
GRACE: Thank you.
MORGAN: ... and Van thank you both for joining me. FERGUSON: Thanks.
MORGAN: Also good to have you all. Thank you very much.
JONES: Thank you.
GRACE: Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, President Obama's dropping approval rating, does it matter? And the top five first ladies, the newest member of the CNN family to talk about all that.
But first, another president on Presidents Day, listen to what George W. Bush said about his well (ph) wounded of warriors on this show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43rd PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, that's important to me because I want to stay connected to the veteran community. I'm not going to be a very public person. It's a rare interview for me. And yet, I'm -- and therefore, I'm worried that the vets will think I don't care about them and this is a way to say, now, either I respect them but I love them and we'll continue to serve for the rest of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Obama arriving at Joint Base Andrews tonight after his weekend trip to California. I believe president's Presidents Day is not so good. A 10-point drop in his approval rating since last year and the man to talk about all that, my newest CNN colleague, Michael Smerconish, welcome to you
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you.
MORGAN: You're in the chair tonight.
SMERCONISH: It's good to be here. Thank you.
MORGAN: It's good to have you on board. Welcome to the family.
SMERCONISH: Thank you sir.
MORGAN: Let's get your reaction as you were talking in the break there about this Michael Dunn case?
MORGAN: And the Zimmerman case. And we've got these two cases not dissimilar where people have (inaudible) and the option of it is two 17-year old kids have been shot dead?
SMERCONISH: I find Dunn's account to be incredible. And I say that because if I'm on a fire fight and I have clean hands and I really did perceived there to be a weapon that I'm responding to, the first thing I do is call the police when that vehicle is gone. He never called the cops. I can't get over that. But as I look at the verdict Piers, what occurs to me is that that was jury that was prepared to put the hammer down.
I'm not sure about this Zimmerman jury but this jury was prepared to do justice as they saw it, as evidence by the fact that there were three guilts -- three guilty verdicts in that case. So, it makes me wonder, did the prosecution overcharge should this have been a man slaughter case?
MORGAN: Nancy Grace, can we, you know, she drives about gun control then. But my issue about the gun thing in all these cases is that this kind of dispute, if it happened in England or Australia or Japan or wherever, it would be settled with fists...
MORGAN: ... or whatever. So, it would never be settled with guns.
MORGAN: How do you explain the fact that's so many Americans now, the instant reaction whether it's a movie theater, whether it's walking along with a kid like Trayvon Martin coming towards you over this Michael Dunn with these kids in the car making noise, that the reaction is always to shoot -- go over the holster and shoot. How do you change that impulsive thing?
SMERCONISH: Well, I think the NRA has been too successful. I think they've been too successful in -- so far as this has now become the culture. I believe that 99.5 percent of their membership are probably law abiding either not going to use that weapon...
MORGAN: I agree, I agree.
SMERCONISH: ... it means that's inappropriate. But they have created a climate where there are just too many weapons. I say that is firearm owner. I just -- there are just too many out there. You look at what happened in that Tampa Movie Theater and I think it makes the point that you were illustrating.
MORGAN: Yeah. I just find that awful story. There's a guy with this, you know, texting to see if his kid is OK.
MORGAN: Let's turn to politics.
MORGAN: Because this is quite kind of fascinating time. Does it matter that Obama's approval ratings are a bit down? Does every president in the second term once they know they can't be reelected, do they sort of turn a bit of a blind eyed to this kind of poll? Does it really have any impact on them? SMERCONISH: Well, it has an impact for us. We love talking about it. I don't think it has an impact on him day to day. I suspect those numbers will continue to add and flow and it will be sitting here many, many years after his left office debating the Obama legacy. And largely, it will rise and fall based on the Affordable Care Act, based on ObamaCare. But we just don't know yet which way that's going to go.
MORGAN: Yes. So, there's seems to -- because outside of ObamaCare and I've always been a fan of ObamaCare.
MORGAN: I thought the way that's implemented was a disaster...
MORGAN: ... and contaminated it. But he can come through that. Now, I thought as a principle, I was totally behind it, what else would that be which you would consider historically. I mean, you've and looked over (ph) the presidents over the years. What would constitute a great legacy outside of ObamaCare for Obama?
SMERCONISH: Well, I don't know that he's going to get credit for the legacy from half of the electorate because half of the electorate as you well know has drawn a line in the sand and regardless of which way this thing goes. They're not going to give him the credit for it. I think a case can be made. And Piers, he doesn't make it effectively himself but a case can be made that we skirted financial hardship that we really could have taken this thing in a downward direction that the Dow has turned around, that unemployment is at 6.5 percent, that the deficit has share of GDP has declined, and then home prices are on the rise.
There's an economic funk out there because I don't know that people appreciate that which already has turned the corner and he hasn't convinced them. And lots of failure on his part is a great advocate when he's running for office but he hasn't been a great advocate for himself as the president.
MORGAN: Right. Let's turn to Hillary Clinton. This is what Mitt Romney told Meet the Press about Hillary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The times when he was president, we're buying large positive economic times for the country. On the other hand, he embarrassed the nation. He breached his responsibility, I think, as an adult and as a leader in his relationship and I think that's very unfortunate. But I don't think that's Hillary Clinton's to explain. She has her own record. Her own vision for where she would take the country and I think that's something which we debated extensively during the 2016 campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: See, I thought that was quite a measured way of dealing with it. Shall I agree with him? I don't really see why Hillary Clinton, if she runs, should be judged the entire period of the campaign on what her husband did 16 years ago.
SMERCONISH: Right. Well, if I were Hillary Clinton, I would be hoping that all of those charges would be raised because all it does is make her not much more of a sympathetic figure.
SMERCONISH: I can't understand why Rand Paul continues to talk about it unless his objective is to raise money. Because the Clintons are just fabulous in terms of raising money on the right, but beyond that, there's no net plus for the Republicans.
MORGAN: If she runs, who's she going to face because if I'd asked you three, four months ago, you might said Chris Christie is the man.
SMERCONISH: I still may say that.
MORGAN: Do you think he can come through with all this stuff (ph)?
SMERCONISH: You know, it depends, if there's anything, if there's one shred of evidence, if there's one witness, if there's one e-mail out there that contradicts what he said at that marathon press conference then he's finished. But otherwise, you know, the way the media functions, we love building them up, we love carrying him down. It's time to be built back up again if there were a strong feel, if there were someone among those Republican competitors who was a likely successor, meaning as the front runner, I'd feel differently but Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Governor Huckabee, I don't see it in the courage (ph) for any of them.
MORGAN: What about Rand Paul that we mentioned earlier?
SMERCONISH: You know, I don't think that Rand Paul can lay claim to the Christie constituency. I think that Christie constituency is whatever is left of moderates within the GOP. There aren't too many of them there.
MORGAN: But could Rand Paul rally the core base of the party perhaps better than Chris Christie?
SMERCONISH: I don't -- Piers, I don't think so. I think that Rand Paul's problem is the problem faced by his father. You know, his father always made a lot of sense to me on farm policy issues. Meaning, we should stay out a lot of this foreign entanglements. I never quite understood where he was coming from of the gold standard but the issue is that Father Paul was always someone who appealed in college dormitories that could never go main stream.
SMERCONISH: I'm still not sure that Rand Paul can do that which Ron was never able to do. MORGAN: Let's turn to the ladies. Michelle Obama is now ranked on the top five first ladies in a survey questioning historians and scholars. One was Eleanor Roosevelt, then Abigail Adams, Jackie Kennedy, Dolly Madison, and then Michelle Obama. What do we think of Michelle Obama?
SMERCONISH: Well, thank God you're not asking me about Abigail Adams. I think that Michelle Obama -- I think that those numbers are reflected of the fact if we look at the way in which they're raising the daughters. But, you know, there hasn't been a hint of anything embarrassing relative to Obama family unit. And I think she deserves and is afforded great credit for that. And she also gets the sort of the attributes that the husband gets. She doesn't get the liabilities. People aren't holding her accountable for ObamaCare if they don't appreciate the way in which that was ruled out. I think she deserves it.
MORGAN: Because I met her once in the White House Christmas Party, she was utterly delightful, completely warm, friendly, and charming. That's great. She's actually how I thought she'd be.
SMERCONISH: Well, there was a caricature created of her during the course of the campaign in the same way that there was a caricature created of him. She's been able, I think, to break free of her caricature more easily than he has.
MORGAN: I think that's completely true. Michael Smerconish, great to see you.
SMERCONISH: Piers, thanks so much for having me.
MORGAN: It was great to have you in CNN.
SMERCONISH: Thank you sir.
MORGAN: I will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER: Over-awed by the responsibility on my shoulders. And the last night that we spent there, I had not been to sleep for three nights. I had been negotiating to get the hostages released from Iran. So, I was very full of prayer that my peaceful approach to Iran would result in the hostages being released.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHIE INCOGNITO, FMR. GUARD, MIAMI DOLPHINS: I'm here to talk about my relationship with John. There's an NFL investigation and they will get to the bottom of all that.
This is about me and John. And this is about me caring for this guy and we'd loving this guy like a brother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Miami Dolphins former guard Richie Incognito talking to Fox Sports with Jay Glazer by Jonathan Martin in December. What has happens since then, the Dolphins suspended Incognito. And now a damming (ph) report Commission by the NFL has come out.
We found harassment, racism, bullying, and homophobia in the Dolphins' locker room much with directed at Martin that the team and another young man was identified as player A. Well, joining me now in the primetime exclusive is Brett Tessler. He is the agent for player A, now identified as Andrew McDonald.
Brett Tessler, thank you for joining me and I've done on the story in the history in the last few months. And I'm going say, I never had huge amount of sympathy for Jonathan Martin simply because I thought this guy's a huge bloke in a sporting locker room, you know, showed that they can't be the kind of bullying we're talking about. Then I read the details of this report. I'm going to say, I found it pretty horrifying and I revise my opinion. Am I wrong to do that?
BRETT TESSLER, AGENT FOR PLAYER A, ANDREW MCDONALD: No, you're not wrong whatsoever, Piers. I mean, people are entitled to feel however they feel about it and obviously, there's a difference between physical strength and mental strength and emotional strength. And you know, different guys are wired different ways and, you know, well, I'm not here to speak on behalf of Jonathan Martin or Richie Incognito or anybody besides Andrew McDonald, you know.
Andrew asked me to come on here because obviously people are talking about this regardless so it's better for me to be here to tell his side of the story as supposed you just having a thought for us.
MORGAN: Right. And I'm going to talk to Kenny Zuckerman whose Jonathan Martin's agent after you, actually. So, let's talk about this player, Andrew McDonald, and he's player a A.
When you read the detail on the report about him, a lot of it is bordering on out rights of abused harassment, homophobia and even though there's no suggestion about sexuality I'm aware of as being said either way, how did your client say this? Was he pleased his name in this report? Is he horrified about the content, what do you think?
TESSLER: Obviously, not at all please, Piers. I don't think anybody wants to be associated with the things that are contained within this report but it kind to became known that he was player A because Richie Incognito's attorney released a text a couple weeks ago that Jonathan Martin sent to Richie Incognito that included Andrew McDonald in it and then when the report came out it reiterated that story and so people were able to into together.
So naturally, no, nobody wants to be associated with something like this especially young player like Andrew who is trying to move ahead. He's been with another organization now for about half a year and obviously, he's done a nice job there throughout the last year. They just signed him to a new contract for 2014.
So, yeah, it's one of those deals where he didn't ask for this. He certainly didn't want to be thrust into the public eye. Andrew is a very low key guy who would just rather go about his business and let football do the talking.
MORGAN: You know, interesting to me that in the reports, the Dolphins offensive lying Coach Jim Turner was aware of the running joke that the player A was gay. And on at least one case, he participated in the taunting around Christmas party 12. Coach Turner gave the offensive lie and gift pack including a variety of stocking stuffers. The gifts included inflatable female dolls of all of the offensive linemen expect player A who received a male blow up doll.
Now, I don't even care about the sexuality of Andrew McDonald. It's hardly down to him if ever he wants to tell anybody. What I thought was interesting about that was just (inaudible) to position of this report saying that with his young college football who came out, Michael Sam, last week and now has to go into this environment where this is being to be perfectly acceptable behavior.
TESSLER: No. You're correct Piers. I think the reason why Coach Turner gave Andrew that guy gift is because he probably felt comfortable enough with their relationship and the reason why a guy like Andrew was able to kind of take in stride is because he is confident in his sexuality and, you know, not that that's really the point here. But as far as it related to Andrew, he was kind of able to let it roll off his back because he is young player.
You really need to remain focus of the task -- at the task at hand and in the case of Andrew, that was just going out everyday and doing what he could despite whatever was going on around him and, you know, Andrew is just a mentally tough guy who was able to fight through it and apparently as we've seen, you know, for some like Jonathan Martin, unfortunately, it appears that it became a little too much.
MORGAN: Do you think that this may draw a better line in the sand about where bonds (ph) begins and ends and genuine harassment and abused and bullying stops?
TESSLER: I absolutely do, Piers and so if anything good has going to come from this, it's going to be that usually for any kind of major change to come. Sometimes it takes an extreme instance like what's going down here but you know, obviously workplace, hazing, things like this have gone on in many different arenas, you know, not just the National Football League goes on the military, the police academy, fire academy, celebrity apprentice, you know, goes on many different place here.
MORGAN: Tell me about it.
TESSLER: And -- exactly, but again, it's just all about perspective and in the case of a guy like Andrew McDonald, just to show the kind of character he is, you know, he still, despite all of these feels terrible about the way that this has affected coach Tuner's reputation because he feels like coach Tuner is the greatest coach that he's ever played for and somebody who he had a very, very close relationship with.
MORGAN: We'll fired up. Brett Tessler, thank you very much, indeed, for joining me and send my best to Andrew McDonald. He is been driving to this. And obviously, he had to deal with all the fall out. And I'm sure it's been a pretty difficult time. And so I appreciate for joining me.
TESSLER: Our pleasure, Piers. Thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, assault to minors Jonathan Martin better of this way anybody else. His agent joins me exclusively, Kenny Zuckerman, after break.
MORGAN: Jonathan Martin's a man in the middle of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal.
Joining me now exclusively is Agent Kenny Zuckerman.
Kenny, thanks for joining me now. As I said earlier, I wasn't sure what to make of this really, in the months I've been covering it. And I was leaning towards in a did your client Jonathan slightly is not be able to deal with regular bonds in the locker room, then I read this report in full and I was pretty horrified. And I realize then this wasn't just answer.
But it was genuine, horrible, obvious, harassment, and bullying. So, do you think it will have a big effect on people and how they're looking at this case now when they actually see this report as this come out?
KENNY ZUCKERMAN, JON MARTIN AGENT: Well, definitely and I think its going to be a really positive situation moving forward. And I think teams and players are going to look at this and, you know, second gas or think about things before they do it.
MORGAN: What does Jonathan feel about this now? Now that the justice settled, emotions, perhaps, has finally come down. He's had a chance to reflect on it, though. Does he blame himself at all for, perhaps, encouraging the bond to a certain point?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, Piers I'm not going to get into that. I think Jonathan is just happy that this is behind them. And he can really focus on playing football. He's called me two or three times over last couple weeks and he has really emphasized how much better he feels and how excited he has get on the field in 2014.
And I think that's the issue here and it's going to - for him he get back in the fields can be really good for everyone and including society.
MORGAN: We've seen few cases recently where player's emotions that their behavior been analyzed by everybody as, you know, is there a room for that kind of behavior in the NFL and so on? Where should the lines be drawn, do you think? I'm sure everyone is having this debate in the NFL now about how you try and take these guys you on the pitch, you want to be after murderous barbarians and metaphorically speaking and then away from the pitch to be polite, gentle people?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, I mean that's a great question. Having played division one college football, it took me a while to really understand that times are changing now. And society is changing and that we have to treat things different and we have to be much more positive and work as a unit toward keeping everyone, no matter who you are from any raise, color, trade, everyone has to be accepted. And we have to make that environment safe.
MORGAN: What is the plan for Jonathan? Is he ready to play for the team? Have you had offers some other teams?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, right now the Miami Dolphins have its rights. So, we can't talk to any other teams at this point until they give us permission. So, this week coming up at the combines, we'll sit down and talk to them and see what they want out of this deal, but I expect there'll be a substantial amount of teams that are interested in the young athletic offensive tackle.
MORGAN: And what about Richie Incognito? What was your view of him because he's been twitting away saying you couldn't define me in144 years let along 144 pages as to well to many who obviously saw the report. Goodbye Twitter he sent to quit Twitter. I wanted everyone to know I'm in good spirit and forward to playing a game one day. Should Richie Incognito be given another chance?
ZUCKERMAN: You know, that's not for me to say. And I don't want to judge him. I'm only concerned about Jonathan. And, you know, what happens to other youth or young athletes around the country and how they deal with it, that's all I'm worried about. And whatever happens to Richie happens to Richie, I think. You would just left the reports speak for itself.
MORGAN: Should sports bosses, coaches, managers, chief executives and so on of any sporting organization professional in America, should they be taking now more responsibility about behavioral issues? Has a simply being not enough attention on this over the years allowing players, perhaps, in any of the sports, to get the wrong idea about red lines and boundaries are drawn.
ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think, you know, this is a -- this will change a lot of things. I think that we saw all this, you know, big companies whether it's Toyota and that this go, they change over the years and I think NFL is too. And I think we're going to see a lot of positive changes NFL locker rooms.
MORGAN: How would you describe finally Jonathan's state of mind right? Do you feel like he's over it as he gone to a place, the suggested that he may be much happier first? Is he in a place ready to play professional football the highest level? Do you think it wouldn't take a bit more time? ZUCKERMAN: Well, Piers as you know, I'm not a health professional but he sounds great, he sounds positive. And I think he just want to get on the field and let it go. And see where he stands and he's been working hard, he's been up at Stanford going to class with some of the football players, working out in the weight room with the strength coach. And I think he sounds great and I think that 2014 is going to be a really positive year for him.
MORGAN: Richie Incognito's another tweet was, "I apologize for acting like a big baby in the last few days. Yeah, I think the last few days would be what I would say. I think he's been a bit of a baby from start to finish in all this anyway.
Kenny Zuckerman, it's good to talk you. I love to talk to Jonathan on the show. If you ever felt mine to do so, we give him a pretty fair crack in the wood. So, I think that he's been much of lying over this actually and the report made pretty all for ready, pretty one who doubts it. I think the scale I want to go on. So, I put myself in that category and apologize if I understated, really, the kind of thing you've been through and we love to talk to you but for now thank you very much.
ZUCKERMAN: I appreciate that. Thanks Piers. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow, the kind of story is almost too shocking to believe that 19 year old, he said he's a satanic serial killer if you kind of count her victims. If you tell me the truth, we'll have that story.
That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts right now.