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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Interview with Penn Jillette; Interview With Mark Sanford

Aired September 3, 2011 - 21:00   ET

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


PIERS MORGAN, HOST (voice over): Tonight, a man of strong opinions who likes nothing better than a good argument. He's come to the right place. Magic man and atheist Penn Jillette.

(On camera): When you see the state of America, with its economy so completely tanking. You're a successful businessman.

PENN JILLETTE, MAGICIAN, AUTHOR: Is this going to come to praying again?

MORGAN: Well, praying does help. At least I've got a prayer.

JILLETTE: Well, do more! Do more! If it helps do more, because you are telling me that people are not praying enough? That's what's wrong?

MORGAN (voice over): And remember this?

MARK SANFORD: I have been unfaithful to my wife. I have developed a relationship with a-which started as a dear, dear friend from Argentina.

MORGAN (voice over): That was the beginning of a long two years for Mark Sanford, disgraced and divorced and the end of any hope for a run for the White House. Tonight, Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina inside of his very private life today.

SANFORD: Given the last role of my life, there needed to be some healing there and for us.

MORGAN: Mark Sanford on scandal and the state of Republicans and the Tea Party, and the potential come back.

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Penn Jillette, the outspoken half of the larger half of the world famous magic act Penn & Teller. He is also the author of "God, No!: Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales." Penn Jillette joins me now.

"God, No!"

JILLETTE: Boy you read that wonderfully.

MORGAN: Thank you.

JILLETTE: I should have had-when I do the book on tape I should use you for at least the title.

MORGAN: Here is my thing about you, I read the little intro you wrote here: "You may already be an atheist, if God, however you perceive him, her, it," as you say, "told you to kill your child, would you do it? If you answer no, in my booklet, you are an atheist. There is in doubt in your mind, love and morality are more important to you than your faith. If your answer is yes, please reconsider."

That is pretty strong stuff.

JILLETTE: Very strong, yes.

MORGAN: Even by your standards.

JILLETTE: Well, the point is always to be an atheist, I think that you have to be a tremendous optimist. And I think that the way to turn someone to an atheist is to just flood them with love. I had a wonderful, beautiful --

MORGAN: You could also be a tremendous pessimist. A lot of atheists I've met over the years. I do declare my colors. I believe in God.

JILLETTE: OK.

MORGAN: I was reared an Irish-Catholic boy.

JILLETTE: So, there is no hope for you.

MORGAN: I had spiritual education from Catholic nuns and so I'm a believer.

JILLETTE: I love it when you quote The Monkees.

MORGAN: Exactly.

JILLETTE: I just loved it.

MORGAN: Here is the thing. I have always had a belief about the atheists that my irritation with atheists is that their belief is a non-belief. And when you write a book about it, you are basically writing a whole book telling a bunch of people who have a genuine sincere belief in something, I don't believe in what you believe in. You don't believe in anything to rival it, from what I can gather. But you don't believe in their belief.

JILLETTE: I don't think that is true.

MORGAN: It is a negative thing, isn't it?

JILLETTE: I don't find it negative at all. I find it-that is one of the points of this. I mean, that is one of the important things when people come up to me about atheism, and they do, is that they talk about the bitterness and the having all of the answers and the hubris of thinking that we can know everything.

MORGAN: You talk about alternatives being love, family, spiritual things.

JILLETTE: That is not spiritual. That is real.

MORGAN: Well, most people who believe in God, also believe in love and family.

JILLETTE: Absolutely.

MORGAN: And all of the things that you offer as some kind of strange alternative.

JILLETTE: Absolutely.

MORGAN: By the way, I say this to you as a huge fan of you as a magician.

JILLETTE: Thank you.

MORGAN: You have been on "America's Got Talent" I think the act is incredible. I urge everyone to go see you, but when it comes to this particular premise, "God, No", you anger me.

JILLETTE: Do I really? Do I really anger you?

MORGAN: Yes, because I think it is a deliberately provocative stance that you take.

JILLETTE: No, no, no.

MORGAN: It is designed to annoy and agitate people who have a sincere belief.

JILLETTE: I don't believe so. You won't find anywhere in this book any attacks on people. I don't know if you have seen the "Book of Mormon" of Matt Stone and Trey Parker?

MORGAN: Yes. It is brilliant.

JILLETTE: Which they describe as a love letter to religion from an atheist. And that's one of the things that Matt said about it. And a lot of this talking, and I have been talking to Matt and Trey for years about this. And when they did the Richard Dawkins episode of "South Park" one of the things we talked about was that idea of bitterness and the y of the anger that comes from that. I am a huge fan of proselytizing. I am a huge fan of speaking your mind. The only way that we can share the universe, the only way that we can share humanity, is by talking very strongly about what we believe.

MORGAN: You are the chief atheist out there. How did you get here? How did we get here?

JILLETTE: Well, let me ask you, how did we get here?

MORGAN: I believe in this superior being, a God.

JILLETTE: Of course.

MORGAN: And therefore the questions which always baffle atheists, the hard reality of life, I believe there is something greater out there. There is a greater entity, which is a spiritual being that allows comprehension on a scale that we could never understand.

JILLETTE: Exactly, if it is a comprehension --

MORGAN: But you don't believe in that. So what do you believe happened?

JILLETTE: If it is comprehension on a scale that we can't possibly understand, then aren't you done? Why do you need to label that as something that is God or something?

MORGAN: Because I have never heard an atheist explain to me --

JILLETTE: Why isn't there a humility to saying I don't know.

MORGAN: Because I have never hear an atheist give me any answers to, how did we get here? And what happens at the end of our lives?

JILLETTE: Well, the answer to saying we can't understand it, is not an answer.

MORGAN: Right. So how do you think that we got here?

JILLETTE: I don't know.

MORGAN: What do you think happens when you die?

JILLETTE: Nothing. There is no evidence at all.

MORGAN: Where do you go?

JILLETTE: Where do you go?

MORGAN: Where do you go, I mean when you die.

JILLETTE: You cease to exist.

MORGAN: You must be terrified of death?

JILLETTE: Not at all. Not even slightly.

MORGAN: But what do you think happens to you?

JILLETTE: How scared are you of 1890. Does 1890 terrify you?

MORGAN: 1890?

JILLETTE: 1890, yeah.

MORGAN: What are you on about?

JILLETTE: You weren't alive then, right?

MORGAN: No.

JILLETTE: You weren't alive and you didn't exist in any way. Is that a horror to you?

MORGAN: No.

JILLETTE: So why is 2090 any worse than that?

MORGAN: I'm not horrified by any sort of dying, because I believe you go on to a celestial place which is wonderful. And for you, atheist, you must be miserable.

JILLETTE: Where is your evidence of the celestial place?

MORGAN: Because I come back to the issue of creation.

JILLETTE: Right.

MORGAN: Where do atheists--

JILLETTE: Well, all you have answered with the issue of creation is that you have answered-your answer to-my answer is that I don't know. And your answer is, something beyond comprehension.

MORGAN: But you cannot write a book.

JILLETTE: Aren't those the same answer?

MORGAN: You cannot write a book basically telling a bunch of people around the world, billions of people, who believe in God. You are all wrong. By the way, I don't have any explanations.

JILLETTE: They don't either. You don't have an explanation. You said beyond understanding.

MORGAN: Your provocative views don't necessarily offend me. However, there are many, many Christians watching this-

JILLETTE: You know-

MORGAN: Who find it offensive that you would write a book called "God, No!" and then calmly sit here and say I don't have any explanation for anything, however, you lot are barking mad.

JILLETTE: No, no, no. But you said the same thing. But what I say-I never say, you lot are barking mad, not that I'm English.

MORGAN: You didn't? We are all a bit crazy though, a bit nuts?

JILLETTE: No, not at all. One of the things that is so important to me. I think you are maybe wrong about Americans here. I did a show called "B.S." for eight years. (CROSS TALK)

JILLETTE: Where I said this stuff that was very, very provocative. And when I pitched this show to Showtime, I say with embarrassment that I pitched it kind of cynically. I pitched it saying, You know, the people will hate us, and it will drive the whole thing. What I found out was that when we would do shows that were, that were strongly atheist, we would get hundreds of letters from Christians saying, it is nice that people are being passionate, and saying what they believe from their heart.

MORGAN: That is my point. I have a spiritual and religious belief, which I find --

JILLETTE: I don't believe it is a belief. Isn't it faith?

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: Which I find comforting. The way that I do prayer and faith, and -- it is a belief.

JILLETTE: But faith is different.

MORGAN: You believe in God. Your belief is a non-belief. It is an anti-belief. You don't have a belief. You just don't believe that what I believe is right.

JILLETTE: Let me just ask you. Do you believe in Thor?

MORGAN: Thor?

JILLETTE: Yeah, Thor.

MORGAN: No, because that is not the type of God they believe in.

JILLETTE: But you are an atheist on every single god except for the one that you happen to be taught when you were a child. On everything else, you are an atheist. Everything that you believe is a negation of every other God that ever existed.

MORGAN: It is interesting that you compare Thor to God.

JILLETTE: Why?

MORGAN: Because it is not the same thing and you know it, and you are being deliberately perverse.

JILLETTE: OK. Pick any God. Is there any god that I could--

MORGAN: I think that a soccer player Therrie Henry is godlike, but you can't equate him to God.

JILLETTE: OK, OK, so you are saying that all the Muslim God, the God of Hindu, the Gods of God of Catholics and Protestants are all the same God, even though there are different rules? MORGAN: No, but I have an respect for anybody from any religion that has a spiritual and religious conviction and belief in a godlike entity in their lives.

JILLETTE: I mean how active a Christian are you? Are you as active as Garth Brooks? Are you as-active is a very relative term.

MORGAN: I agree with that. Probably not as active as Garth Brooks.

JILLETTE: OK. So you will have people on every spectrum. And the most important part of this is that I think that proselytizing is really good. I love the Jehovah Witnesses saying what they believe. If you believe in your God, tell people about it. Pray for me, and explain it to me.

MORGAN: What if you were dying, hypothetically.

JILLETTE: I am dying, and so are you.

MORGAN: Because you but a horrendous hypothetical in here about killing children.

JILLETTE: Yeah.

MORGAN: I can be horrendous to you. So, you are dying.

JILLETTE: OK.

MORGAN: You have a week to live, right?

JILLETTE: Now, do you know this? Because I'm going to change what I'm going to do today, because I have other stuff to do.

MORGAN: Don't worry because I'm praying for so it probably won't happen.

JILLETTE: OK, you are not packing are you? Because I mean that, sometimes people like you, they pull a gun, they shoot you in the face. You are dying, bang, I'm dead.

MORGAN: I can reassure you, I am not about to shoot you.

JILLETTE: You are not packed.

MORGAN: No, I am not.

JILLETTE: OK.

MORGAN: You have a week to live.

JILLETTE: OK.

MORGAN: And you have two young children.

JILLETTE: Yes, I do. MORGAN: And you need to explain to them what is going to happen to daddy, and what do you say? Tough to comfort them in this terrible time?

JILLETTE: I don't think that to comfort them I lie to them. And I don't think that I have the immodesty to say that I know. I say that they will miss me and hope they will remember me. I have lost my mom, my dad, and my sister. The love will live on as long as I will. There will not a second in my life that I will not love my mom, my dad, my sister, and everybody that I have loved that has died.

MORGAN: We are going to take a short break. The good news for you is that it does not have the finality of everything else in your life. We will be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: So, look, you live in Las Vegas.

JILLETTE: Yes.

MORGAN: Sin city.

JILLETTE: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: And you have never touched alcohol?

JILLETTE: I believe touching it might be wrong.

MORGAN: But you don't drink alcohol?

JILLETTE: I don't drink alcohol, no.

MORGAN: You don't do drugs?

JILLETTE: I don't do-drink caffeine.

MORGAN: You don't fornicate with ladies of the night?

JILLETTE: No, although my wife exists during the night. I mean-

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You don't gamble?

JILLETTE: I have-when I say I haven't drank, I really mean it. When I say I haven't gambled that wouldn't be true. I have probably put maybe $5 in the slot machine, $10 in the slot machine.

MORGAN: And why would you live in Las Vegas?

JILLETTE: Because there is nothing I like doing more than I like than my show. And in New York we had two Broadway runs that were very successful; two off-Broadway runs that were very successful. And that is pushing your luck. And in Las Vegas, we can have a theater, called the Penn & Teller Theater. And we can play there year-round. And I just love it. I mean, Johnny Rotten, said of Berlin, a cheap holiday and other people's misery. I'm afraid that sometimes Las Vegas can seem like that. But, I mean, I park very close to my dressing room. I don't even walk through a casino. I walk to my dressing room. I do the show. And I'm also very much in favor of people living their lives in different ways than I do.

MORGAN: To many people-

JILLETTE: So the fact that other people drink does not bother me.

MORGAN: When you see the state of America, with its economy just so completely tanking. And you see the politicians squabbling, like little children, and no one seems to really have an answer to how to get out of this, you are a successful business guy.

JILLETTE: It is going to come to praying again?

MORGAN: Well, praying does help. At least I've got a prayer.

JILLETTE: Well, do more. Do more. If it helps, do more. We haven't -- I mean, you are telling me that people are not praying enough. That's what's wrong?

MORGAN: Give me the atheist way of how to get out of economic strife? In other words, harsh reality, with your business brain, a successful guy, where has America gone wrong? What is the answer?

JILLETTE: I always seem to think that the most important thing is individuals. And the most important thing is diversity. And the most important thing is to have someone like you, someone like me who disagree, on a very important issue constantly talking, constantly working it out. I think that the problem is maybe thinking that somebody above us, someone in power can take care of all of us. Can fix everything.

MORGAN: Well, they should, because it is their job in government, isn't it? It is why you vote people, and why they get elected, it is why they run for office?

JILLETTE: I am not sure that is exactly the way I see it.

(CROSS TALK)

MORGAN: That is how it ought to be. When America has been revived in the past, whether it is FDR or Harry Truman or John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan. When you have had these great recoveries from difficult times, they have come from great leadership and good government and big ideas.

JILLETTE: Well, that is not-the way it feels to me, is that when you wait for a decision to be made from someone in power above you, and you give up your personal responsibility, you give up your own power, and that is where the danger comes from. MORGAN: Yes, but right now, small business people for example, they have absolutely no mechanism out there to get the businesses going again. They just don't. It is not there.

JILLETTE: Right.

MORGAN: So what do you say to those people? How do they operate? And unless government --

JILLETTE: Is the solution to give them government money?

MORGAN: I think that the solution is probably to do a little bit of that. The solution is probably to raise taxes, to cut spending, to do special incentivizing for small business people.

JILLETTE: So you think that raising-not on the small business people would do it?

MORGAN: You have to get the revenues from the higher owners, in my view. People have to pay for this. There is no easy fix.

JILLETTE: But it is always going to be the middle class that is going to have to really pay. You can't really get the money from the rich.

MORGAN: I agree.

JILLETTE: Because even if you tax them 100 percent.

MORGAN: I come from a quaint, old-fashioned view, you look after the poorest people in the community first. They are the biggest problem in America right now. I don't worry so much about whether the middle classes can afford two holidays or one.

JILLETTE: The small businesses are going to be the middle class.

MORGAN: But I worry about people-I saw this week, there has been a 70 percent increase in families living off stamps in the last five years, I think it was. Shocking statistics.

JILLETTE: Horrible.

MORGAN: They are the people that I care about.

JILLETTE: Yes, and I assume that you are helping them?

MORGAN: Well, I'm talking about it.

JILLETTE: But you are also giving them money and so on, I assume?

MORGAN: I do give money. Yes.

JILLETTE: I think that is the right thing to do.

MORGAN: I won't say I don't give the money directly to the people, because I don't know who they are.

JILLETTE: Uh-huh.

MORGAN: But I can tell you, yes.

JILLETTE: I mean, you know, there is a place for charity, and there is a place for compassion. I believe in doing this.

MORGAN: It is not charity, this? That is completely the wrong response. It is not about me or your giving a few handouts to these people. This is about a system, in America, that has going horribly wrong. One in seven Americans is living off stamps, this system is broken.

JILLETTE: Well, that is six and seven Americans that can help them.

MORGAN: Yes, how? They have to be directed by government.

JILLETTE: They do?

MORGAN: I think so.

JILLETTE: You don't think you can help people directly?

MORGAN: I think most people-

JILLETTE: I have experience of helping people directly?

MORGAN: On a mass scale? That can change some-

JILLETTE: Yeah, I believe so.

MORGAN: Really?

JILLETTE: I think, you know, you've got Kiva (ph), doing these microloans all over the world that are making huge changes without any government force, at all. Microloans have ended up doing huge things overseas and now they working a bit in the USA.

MORGAN: What is the one thing you would do, if you were president, to get Americans back to work?

JILLETTE: What I would do is I think make the government much, much smaller. I think that I would give people more individual responsibility and give them more money back. But I mean, I don't have to worry about this, because me being president is exactly as likely as your God being 100 percent right.

(LAUGHTER)

JILLETTE: Exactly, precisely.

MORGAN: Let's take another break just to shut you up.

JILLETTE: Just to shut me up? MORGAN: When we come back, I want to talk you about magic. Let's talk magic.

JILLETTE: Sure, sure. Just to shut me up!

MORGAN: Even you can't be that controversial about magic.

JILLETTE: You asked me on your show. You don't want to shut me up.

MORGAN: You don't need prayer to be a magician.

JILLETTE: You asked me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP OF PENN & TELLER MAGIC SHOW)

MORGAN: That was from your --

JILLETTE: Those are real horns, you know.

MORGAN: Yeah. Well, that is your Penn & Teller show at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Vegas. It is a spectacularly good show.

JILLETTE: Thank you.

MORGAN: I commend my viewers to go see them. Your two kids are called Zolten Penn and a Moxie Crime Fighter?

JILLETTE: Yes, my son's name is my wife's maiden name. Her name was Zolten and my father-in-law had nothing but girls. He had five girls. And so he has one of his grandchildren have his name as his first name. His middle name is mine.

MORGAN: Moxie Crime Fighter?

JILLETTE: Moxie, this is one -- Moxie, as you may not know, not being from our wonderful country, Moxie is the beverage, it is an American brand name out of Maine, called Moxie, that then went into -- it is one of the odd brand names that went into the dictionary, not as like Coke meaning soda, but rather as meaning guts, gumption, and so on.

MORGAN: Right.

JILLETTE: And then my wife does not have a middle name. So, I have to explain why our daughter is called Crime Fighter. It was my wife's idea, but I get the blame for it. My wife said -- I said, what is our daughter's middle name? I said we are very happy with Moxie Gillette, and she said I don't have a middle name. Middle names are jive, I nothing to do with it. Well, a lot of people have middle names. She says, I don't care, anything.

And then our piano player said, well, you know, in you book, a novel that I wrote, called "Sock", you have one of the characters says, simply call me crime fighter. Why don't you name her Crime Fighter. And my wife said, I am married to you and I don't know your middle name, and middle names don't matter. We're going with Crime Fighter. So, her name is Moxie Gillette, but if pushed her name is- and my thinking was -- there is a genius to my wife--

MORGAN: Has Moxie thanked you yet? Is she old enough to realize what you have done?

JILLETTE: No, no, it is better than that. It was a genius idea by my wife. Because my thinking was, when she is 17, and pulled over by the police for whatever she does, she is able to pull out our driver's license and say, my middle name is crime fighter, and we are on the same team. That is my thinking of my wife's genius.

But my wife is smarter than that, because when Moxie was 3, she was sitting in the back seat and my wife was speeding, with our children in the car. Speeding, and a police officer pulled her over. And my wife, Emily said, you know who this is in the back seat? This is our daughter, and her middle name is crime fighter, and the police officer said, well, if she is fighting crime, I don't have to. Just drive a little slower. So I mean, that middle name has gotten us out of one speeding ticket so far.

MORGAN: Let me talk about your other wife, Teller. You have been partners for 35 years.

(LAUGHTER)

JILLETTE: Longer than that actually.

MORGAN: Does it feel like a marriage to you?

JILLETTE: No. I think that the whole trick to having a partnership that lasts a long time is an awful lot of respect and very little affection. When I first started working with Teller.

MORGAN: You like him?

JILLETTE: There was no sort of cuddly feeling for him. It was strictly intellectual. It was essentially an e-mail -- before e-mail -- type relationship. I felt that I did better stuff with Teller than did alone. He was never late for a meeting. I could put my life in his hands and he'd never make a mistake. We would never argue, but the relationship was essentially business; essentially two guys running a dry cleaning business.

MORGAN: How do you get along now?

JILLETTE: Wonderfully. What I can't understand is that people who get more successful and them start arguing. When Teller and I started out, we were carney trash. We were in the same car all day, sharing hotel rooms at night, eating every meal together, and now we have separate houses, and separate friends, and it so easy now. But I think the problem is --

MORGAN: Do you socialize away from work? JILLETTE: About twice a year, we go out socially together. Maybe see a movie or go maybe have dinner. The rest of the time -- and of course, work is at least 10 hours a day.

MORGAN: Do you do all of the talking?

JILLETTE: No, no, no, no, no. Teller was a high school Latin teacher. He's a Latin scholar.

MORGAN: So he's perfectly garrulous when you have dinner and stuff?

JILLETTE: More so than me. The joke that they would have, whenever we were rehearsing is that Penn talks on stage and never talks off stage, and Teller does not talk on stage, never stops off stage. He's essentially the director of the show. He runs all the crew. I sit over in the corner and read the paper.

MORGAN: Let's say another hypothetical. If I could give you the power of prayer, awarded it to you?

JILLETTE: Uh-huh?

MORGAN: What would you pray for?

JILLETTE: I would pray for, I think, more perfect knowledge. I would pray for information.

MORGAN: You certainly need it.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You laugh.

JILLETTE: You try to be nice to a guy.

MORGAN: Penn Jillette, it is actually, it is surprisingly good fun.

JILLETTE: Surprisingly? I expected to have fun with you. Why was it surprising?

MORGAN: I don't know. Good luck with the show, man.

JILLETTE: Thanks so much, man. A pleasure.

MORGAN: And coming up, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. The true story of his political rise and fall, and his affair with the Argentine soul mate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Mark Sanford is a man who knows the Republican Party from the inside and he knows just how fast things can change in politics. The former governor of South Carolina was once talked about a possible presidential candidate. That is before affair, his divorce, and a departure from the governor's mansion. And after two years, Mark Sanford has gone public again. And he joins me now.

Welcome.

MARK SANFORD, FMR. GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: My pleasure.

MORGAN: I suppose the obvious first question is why are you doing this interview? What would you hope to gain from this?

SANFORD: I can't hammer nails for the rest of my life. I have been out at that farm that you were all kind enough to come visit, and you get to this point where as comfortable as that would be, it is time to begin speaking out again on issues that I have cared about for 20 years of my life. You don't invest 20 years of your life in politics if you don't really, really care.

I care deeply. I'm very worried about the direction of our country. I think that if we don't watch out, we could lose it. You know, Benjamin Franklin's famous words were, I'm basically handing you a republic, if you can keep it. I think we are at a really precarious point the likes of which people don't fully grasp or understand.

MORGAN: In a way, you were the first leader of the Tea Party before it was formed into a proper revolutionary party. When you have seen what has happened to America and you have seen the emergence of the Tea Party as a proper formidable political force, do you feel a twinge of regret that you are not at the forefront of this?

SANFORD: You know, I don't think that there is a lot to gained by the "might have been" or the "would have been", or the "could have beens" of life. But what I do think is there is an amazing and fuel with that Tea Party that I don't people fully grasp. I think that a lot of people simply say that is about spending, but I think it is really about some much, much deeper American values. One is fundamental angst about opportunity. You know, the beauty of the American system is that that it provides opportunity. And there is this long-held belief that I did so well, my kids are going to do better than that, and my grand kids are going to do better than that.

I think that part of the fuel that has fueled the Tea Party has been people really calling that into question. Saying, I don't know if that is really for my kids. I don't know if they are going to do better than I am.

I think that the other part, and I saw this during the stimulus debate. I spoke out vociferously against the stimulus when it first came out, was the first governor to formally reject it. What I saw then was people genuinely concerned about the issue of equity. The glue that holds us together as Americans, as disparate as we may be, is the belief that it is a fair system. You know that you work hard, you will succeed or fail based on this idea of meritocracy.

MORGAN: What did you think-

SANFORD: I saw people calling that into question. Because what they were saying to me was, Mark, there is some investment banker who has a beach house out in the Hamptons who is getting bailed out, meanwhile my cousin, who runs a little pizza shop, is not getting bailed out. There was this genuine question about opportunity-

MORGAN: Would you agree then with Warren Buffett that the tax system has to be reformed to hammer people like him more? The super rich who are paying a disproportionate sum of taxes in their total tax threshold, compared to the guy compared on the street?

SANFORD: I would say I absolutely believe in the notion of tax reform. In other words, we need either a fair tax, or flat tax, a much simpler form. I think that Warren Buffett was terribly misleading with what he said. I think at two different levels. One is, you know, he was basically looking at the capital gains tax, 15 percent. What he is not including is the fact that he also owns the company. And so there is a corporate tax of 35 percent, we effectively have the highest corporate rate in the world. And so you combine those, you are at about 50 percent. So, he wasn't including the corporate tax.

The other thing that was really misleading, is that Berkshire Hathaway, his company, does not pay dividends. It is all based on capital appreciation. What is the on non-recognized gains in America? Zero. So he does not need the current cash flow, like his secretary or somebody else might. He can make millions and millions on a daily basis, get no tax, because it is appreciating the assets.

MORGAN: Which of the Republicans, at the moment-and we are seeing a clear pattern beginning to emerge with Romney, and Bachmann and Perry and so on-who do you think fundamentally has what it takes in the overall package to seriously challenge Barack Obama?

SANFORD: I think that the primary system will winnow that out.

MORGAN: What is your gut feeling? You are a smart political mind? What would you say?

SANFORD: Well, you are trying to get me to pick a horse and I don't want to do that?

MORGAN: Well, I'm saying you are in the paddock.

SANFORD: Yes, yes, yes.

MORGAN: And these horses are being shown around.

SANFORD: Yes.

MORGAN: What is an early feeling you are getting for who could beat him?

SANFORD: Well, how about this? What I would say is I think there are a couple of attributes that the American public is in search of. One is, Paul Ryan's sort of technical expertise in the budget. A lot of times the platitudes are talked about in terms of-oh, we're going cut spending, or we are going to reform taxes. I think the beauty of the Ryan budget, whether you agree or disagree with it, it was very specific in nature. And I think we are at that point, given the overall crisis that I see coming our way, when we need specifics. MORGAN: Saw you say that you would like to have a kind f hybrid of him and somebody like Chris Christie.

SANFORD: I would-

MORGAN: Who I spent a day with him. I found him very impressive.

SANFORD: Yes.

MORGAN: But he made it pretty clear he wasn't going to run this time. Do you believe him? Do you think he is persuadable, if we get to the next few months and we are heading toward the first proper primary? Could you see him rallying to the cause of the party, if no one has emerged by then that people think could beat Obama?

SANFORD: Well, I think there is talk of that still happening. But I all I am saying is, I'm listing attributes, whether it is him, or you know, Rick Perry. I think his attributes, you go down to list, and each one has their different attributes. And I think the two things most needed, at this point, given the fact that we have $57 trillion in contingent liability in this country, given the fact that we have a real issue with competitiveness, is real earnest, plain spokeness on how bad has our problem is-because the American public can handle it, but I think that they really need to be educated and the plain facts need to be laid out, in terms of how really desperate our situation is.

MORGAN: Presumably, though, you would lean more toward a Tea Party nominee than you would more towards one of a more moderate type like a-

(CROSS TALK)

SANFORD: Absolutely, yes.

MORGAN: So is Michele Bachmann the one in that case, is she the obvious person now beginning to capture enough of the public's imagination to potentially be that person?

SANFORD: No, I don't think you could look at it that simplistically. And I think that, you know Ron Paul, who was just on, has a huge Tea Party backing. I think that Rick Perry has really excited folks with, you know, across both social and financial circumstances in terms of that he is sort of a hybrid between Bachmann and perhaps Romney. So I think that there are a couple of folks out there vying for the Tea Party. And what I will say is whoever really captures them I suspect will be the Republican nominee.

MORGAN: I don't want you to necessarily name someone if you are not ready to.

SANFORD: Yes.

MORGAN: But of those names, of the three, you know, which one if you had to put one in the race tomorrow? SANFORD: I'm not going to pick a horse.

(LAUGHTER)

But I will say and let me go back to the reason I'm on the show, which is that I think that we are looking at a global depression coming our way. And I think that our ability to survive as a republic will be determined by how we respond. Historically, and I think that thus far, we have gotten in essence is prescription wrong. And if we continue to apply the wrong prescription, I think we will see hyperinflation that could very well cause to us lose the republic.

MORGAN: Going to have a little break. When we come back I want to take you back to the scandal that led to you not being center stage now, and get your feelings now with reflection on what happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANFORD: There was so much destruction in the last chapter of my life that I really wanted to build something. I wanted to construct something, and particularly, I wanted to do something like that with my boys. So I think that there was, I don't know, something of a healing process that went with building this and the other structures that marked my summer.

The thing that anybody thinks about who has failed at some level, whether one fails in their marriage, whether one fails in finances, whether one fails in any chapter of life which is, you know, God, how do you use me in the next chapter of life? And will there be a next chapter? What do I do? What is it that I can do where I use whatever limited talents I have to some meaningful purpose and to some good?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A candid Mark Sanford last week at the private retreat where he lives now.

Mark, you have been kicked all over the place. Publicly humiliated and trashed by the media, and trashed by almost everybody. You know, you were public enemy number one in politics for that period. You have been followed by others, the cycle moves on, others fall down, they get kicked, too. What was the experience like for you on a human level? Because you are not the caricature that we read about and you were the guy honest enough to say in an interview that you used to pick up the papers and say, you idiot, and other people who had done what you had done, And suddenly, you are that guy. How does it feel?

SANFORD: It is humbling. I will have to say, we were just speaking a moment ago, and I said to you very candidly that I have done thousands of interviews back through Congress and through the governorship, and I never one moment afraid. It is that we could agree or disagree on an issue, but we were who we were. And now as you step back out, because I think that I need to do my best, as best I can, in warning the country on what I think that is coming our way if we don't change the direction, you still walk out scared.

I have never been scared before. But I'm a little bit frightened inside.

MORGAN: What is the-

SANFORD: And I think that it is because, you go through that process which was rather glaring. And you don't want to disappoint anybody. You -- you know that you let a lot of people down. There's a whole lot of anxiety that comes with an interview there for thinking on how you might let somebody down, and you don't want to do that.

MORGAN: Looking back on it, you are still with the woman that you left your wife for, she is an Argentinean, Maria Belen Chapur, proving I guess, that this was not just a short-term fling. You didn't throw everything away for nothing, that there is a love story there. Given that, do you feel great regret, or is that the wrong emotion to put to you?

SANFORD: Well, I think that, you -- I mean, anybody who has been married doesn't start out the beginning thinking, boy, I hope some day I get divorced and I hope some day that the train comes off of the track. So there has to be a regret. There is something sacred about a family unit. About boys, I have four boys, and you have some boys. And anything that brings harm to your boys, you have genuine regret about.

I think that, you know, part of the journey for me over the past couple of years has been, you know, first professionally, you know, in the wake of the whole storm, you know. There is the question, do you just quit and walk out of there and never see a camera again, which would have been by far the easiest thing to do.

MORGAN: Which you didn't do, you stuck it out.

SANFORD: And so professionally can we somehow make some good of this? Because what people were telling me at the ground level was, Mark, you messed up, you disappointed us, but you finished strong. So we tried as best we could and we had the most productive legislative year that we had in all eight years, during that last year. In a personal sense, you hope you learned from it in terms of-

MORGAN: And what have you learned about yourself?

SANFORD: Well, I have learned a lot. You were just joking a moment ago, I never publicly judge, but privately I judged. I think we're all prone to do so. And you read the paper and indeed, you say loser, loser, idiot, moron.

MORGAN: You voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky, for example.

SANFORD: Right. I think, now, you look at things and you sort of say by the grace of God go I. I'm going to worry about the log in my own eye before I worry about the splinter in somebody else's. I have learned a lot about grace. There's a phenomenal level of human grace that is out there, which is a reminder, I think, of God's grace.

MORGAN: How has the public been with you?

SANFORD: They're incredible. Again, people would come up and say look, you're human. You're going to not get it perfect. So I think it is true, as I was saying in that clip a moment ago, whether it's a financial mishap, a personal mishap. We're all going to make mistakes. An old timer took me aside, he says, you know, one of the keys is the only real mistake you make in life is the one you don't learn from.

MORGAN: I heard a few weeks ago, you had this extraordinary moment I think in the street or something. A woman just came up to you and said, can I give you a hug? You look like you need a hug.

SANFORD: Yes, yes. That was actually more than -- that was back in the middle of the storm where I thought I might be stoned to death if any woman saw me. And I was in Sumter, South Carolina. And this big black woman was walking down the street, and she put her arms out, and said do you need a hug. I had little choice in the matter, she was bigger than I was.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: How did that make you feel?

SANFORD: It was fabulous. It was fabulous. I think we all need grace and we all need love. There's plenty of judgment to go around and there's certainly a role by folks in the media and others to be played in getting things uncovered and wrongs right, but I think that there is abiding need for human grace and love. I got it that day on the street and I've gotten many times since then with people across my state.

MORGAN: Is it satisfying to you that the relationship has lasted with Maria? Does it give you a sense of you all hammered me at the time thinking I was having some midlife crises. But this was actually a real love story. I fell in love.

SANFORD: Well, I did. I've said I'm guilty of that, but it still doesn't take away from the fact that I certainly handled a whole number of things wrong. There have been consequences for that. And that's something I've had to deal with and hopefully learn from.

MORGAN: What would you do differently?

SANFORD: A whole host of things, none of which are particularly productive in terms of my boys who might be watching the show.

MORGAN: Would anything really have made much difference?

SANFORD: Yeah, I'd say a couple different things. In other words, people tend to focus on what goes wrong at the time of an affair, or another, or whatever. But in reality, that's a long time coming. And so really, if you go back 10 years earlier, I was doing things wrong in the marriage that caused things to get derailed. I think that anybody out there, you know, ought to really think about this notion of fireproofing their marriage, first of all, by having their priorities right.

As men we tend to define ourselves by what we do. I think trying to impact the direction of our country is an incredibly important job but it pales in comparison to what I now believe to be my real first job, which is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself. If you get that part as true north, a lot of the other is going to take care of itself.

I would say that I failed in terms of properly loving my wife. A lot of guys complain my wife doesn't do this, she doesn't do that. There was a song when I was in high school. If you want to get closer to me, or you want me to get closer to you, get closer to me or something along those lines.

A guy took me aside, again, in the middle of the storm. I wish there was a school for this kind of stuff. My dad got sick when I was in high school, died when I was in college. You kind of figure it out as best you can. I think that I didn't properly love my wife. I think that you know, fundamental to a woman, I'm not trying to be a chauvinist is the need for security whether it's emotional or financial, or a nest. If she gets that, she's happy and playful and encouraging. If she doesn't, she can be some other things. And core to a guy is a need for respect and he may get a job, if he doesn't get the job, he may become a Scout master or little league coach.

If you get that dance right between the husband and wife, some really great things happen. If you get it a little bit off because the husband, the Bible says the man is to love the wife as Christ loved the church, isn't doing what he ought to be doing on that front, again some things can go wrong. I would blame myself. I've said how do I be a better person going forward? I think there were a number of missteps from my end that had much to do with what happened.

MORGAN: Having got it wrong in your marriage, do you feel like you've learned enough from that whole experience, and the bruising exposure and scandal to get it right now?

SANFORD: I hope so.

MORGAN: Are you happier in yourself now do you think?

SANFORD: Oh, yeah. I said to a friend, I probably have more to offer as a human being than I've ever had in my life. But I probably have a smaller canvas to paint on, and I accept that as a reality. You know, I don't know where life would have gone, but it could have been I would have been in the presidential mix just because I care deeply about these ideas and have long been talking about them. I can't control that part. All I can control now is what do you do going forward. I think that's a challenge of every one of our lives.

MORGAN: A little final break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with Mark Sanford. I have a Tweet here, from Jared Emerson. "Love the sinner, hate the sin."

SANFORD: Uh-huh.

MORGAN: How do you feel about that?

SANFORD: It's true. It's true. I think that's the challenge of faith and grace.

MORGAN: Do you have any plans to remarry?

SANFORD: We'll see.

MORGAN: That's not a denial, Mr. Governor.

SANFORD: Nor is it an answer.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Tantalizing. I would read that if you were a politician saying that about a policy, I'd say it's definitely going to happen.

SANFORD: We'll see.

MORGAN: Would it be a nice ending to the saga for you?

SANFORD: I think so.

MORGAN: But you haven't popped the question yet?

(LAUGHTER)

SANFORD: No, you're going into -- again, that personal sphere that I out of my respect for my boys I'm not going --

MORGAN: It wouldn't be the most shocking thing we'd read or hear?

SANFORD: We'll see.

MORGAN: It's been a pleasure. Thank you very much.

SANFORD: Thank you.

MORGAN: Good luck with everything.

SANFORD: Appreciate it.