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AMERICAN MORNING

Interview With Michael Moore

Aired October 8, 2003 - 09:34   ET

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

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Whatever you believe politically, it's hard to argue with the success of Michael Moore. He is a best- selling author, an Oscar-winning filmmaker, and a political lightning rod. He's got a new book out. It's called "Dude, Where's My Country?" It takes off once again on the transgressions that he sees in the Bush White House.
Michael Moore joins us this morning. Nice to see you.

MICHAEL MOORE, AUTHOR, "DUDE, WHERE'S MY COUNTRY?": Good morning.

O'BRIEN: Before we talk about any alleged transgressions, let's first talk about the California gubernatorial race. Arnold Schwarzenegger is now Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Your reaction?

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: The voters have spoken. Lots of anger.

MOORE: Oh, the voters. Well, the voters are angry everywhere.

If there could be recall elections this morning in every state, people would just be recalling everybody. Mostly, I think they'd like to recall Bush. What happened to those three million jobs that were there and the largest surplus in history when he took office? All gone now, disappeared. So I think, yes, that's why the White House has been kind of quiet about this, because they don't like the idea of an angry electorate, because the anger tends to, like, just spread everywhere.

O'BRIEN: It's certainly a prediction that many other people are making as well.

Let's talk a little bit about the Bush White House, because, of course, once again a target for you. This past March, when you were accepting the Oscar for "Bowling For Columbine," there were some boos, lots of boos, actually, in the crowd.

MOORE: No, there were six, actually. I have all their names.

O'BRIEN: You know who they were.

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE: Yes. I've visited each of their homes. And we've had a... O'BRIEN: Come together?

MOORE: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Kumbaya.

MOORE: Kumbaya, yes.

O'BRIEN: So do you feel now, though, as more voices have been added to the debate, where people are criticizing the U.S. presence in Iraq, do you feel vindicated?

MOORE: Well, on the fifth day of the war, to say the that president was leading us to war for fictitious reasons, did sound a little, I think, out there to a lot of people. Now it's the common accepted knowledge that, in fact, we were being misled.

O'BRIEN: Do you feel, though, vindicated?

MOORE: Vindicated? No.

O'BRIEN: Do you feel good about, hey...

MOORE: I can't feel vindicated when American kids are coming home dead every day from that war. I don't feel good about this at all. Bush has created a horrible mess here, one that he knows that we really can't get out of. And so this is not a time to really feel good.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the book. And it's kind of a weird title.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Oh, why talk about the book?

O'BRIEN: Because, you know what?

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE: What?

O'BRIEN: My sense is, my vibe, you're on a book tour.

MOORE: Yes, but I hate -- forget it.

O'BRIEN: No, because you say -- OK, in the book -- and this is one of the inserts that comes along when they ship the book.

MOORE: Oh, say something bad about the book.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: I'm just curious. You say there is no terrorist threat. And, actually, I read that twice. I was like, hang on. What? Let me go back (CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Yes. I put it in there twice just so you could read it twice.

O'BRIEN: Right. There is no terrorist threat.

MOORE: That's correct.

O'BRIEN: I think, for anybody, certainly for those of us who were here on 9/11 in New York City would say, what are you talking about?

MOORE: On, no,there was a horrible terrorist incident, tragic.

But to say that there's a general terrorist threat every day, that just isn't true. It's important for the news media to keep that going. I just -- I watched a crawl across the bottom -- where is this thing? Oh, there it is -- going across CNN this morning. By the way, how do you watch this thing and watch the TV at the same time?

O'BRIEN: If you're on a treadmill in the gym, it's actually very helpful.

MOORE: That's good.

O'BRIEN: But that's another story for another day.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Well, of course, that would imply I would be on a treadmill in a gym.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: But it sounds to me you're splitting hairs a little bit.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: No, this is what I was going to say, that this morning, you had on the crawl, it said, terrorists have the maps to camp sites and trails. Be on the lookout for terrorist strikes at camp sites.

It's like, every day, there's a new thing. They're going to fly model airplanes into buildings. And it's like, what is the purpose of whipping the people up with this kind of fear? You can't make good decisions. Rational fear is important. We do need to take precautions. We do need to -- there will be further terrorist incidents that will be just as tragic as 9/11. I hate that say that, but I think we all kind of anticipate that.

But to live our lives and to allow the Bush administration to use this horrible, tragic event as an excuse for everything -- let's drill Alaska for oil, all because of 9/11 -- we've become irrational about this. And now when you're running things along about that there's... O'BRIEN: It says "Michael Moore's Mission." That what it says right there right now.

MOORE: Oh, isn't there a crawl?

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Can't you see it? I see it. Oh! Whoa!

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Do I have time for one more question?

MOORE: Oh, yes, please.

O'BRIEN: Oprah Winfrey for president.

MOORE: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Seriously, you really...

MOORE: Yes, seriously.

O'BRIEN: Democratic candidate?

MOORE: God, yes. President Oprah? The woman has good politics. She's got a good heart.

O'BRIEN: Is America ready for a black female president?

MOORE: They don't -- people don't -- Oprah, they love -- America loves Oprah. Don't you love Oprah?

O'BRIEN: You know I love Oprah.

MOORE: Well, of course. Everyone would vote for Oprah. For crying out loud, if California would vote for Schwarzenegger, America, who loves Oprah, would vote for Oprah.

O'BRIEN: And we end where we began, a full circle there.

MOORE: Yes. Where did we begin?

O'BRIEN: We began with Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor and we're back at the end.

MOORE: Oh, is he governor?

O'BRIEN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: Is that really true?

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Yes, he is.

Michael Moore, nice to see you. Good luck with the new book. Thanks.

MOORE: Thank you. Thanks.

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