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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview With Michael Moore
Aired September 26, 2011 - 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: Mad as hell.
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: They took people's pension, they took people's 401(k)s. They took it as if it was their money and took it to a casino and played with it.
MORGAN: About Wall Street.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Money was stolen. And they still have to be held accountable.
MORGAN: About the execution of Troy Davis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Troy Davis died tonight at 11:08 p.m. and with him died his quest for justice and the truth.
MORGAN: About the GOP.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, that under the current program it's going to be there for them is a lie.
MORGAN: In fact, just about everything. Tonight Michael Moore, no holds barred.
MOORE: They threw thousands of people out of work so they could make more money shipping jobs overseas.
MORGAN: Michael Moore for the hour. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. Well, first video from the protest on Wall Street in its second week today. And right there on the scene, one of the most opinionated men in America, my special guest tonight, Michael Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: A happy day for me is when I'll be unemployed, when I don't have to make another one of these goddamn movies or write another one of these books. When everybody is -- the real people of this country are in charge and I don't have to do any of this anymore. That's my nirvana.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) MORGAN: That was half an hour ago on Wall Street and miraculously you've appeared on time.
MORGAN: A little bit hairy, though. We knocked you out.
MOORE: Well, I was down there at the protest, but we made it back.
MORGAN: Do you love stuff like that? Is that what do you proper life's about? People on the streets protesting, having their voice? Does that sum up Michael Moore?
MOORE: Well, I'm a citizen of this country. So I first and foremost before I'm a filmmaker or anything else, I'm a citizen. And so I try to, as much as possible, participate as a citizen.
What I was saying there, just I don't know if you heard it at the beginning there, that little bit that your camera guy showed there when I was just down there about an hour ago, I was -- there was a man there from, let's just say, a more conservative news channel. And asking me, you know, what the heck --
MORGAN: FOX, right?
MOORE: What was I doing down there. And why am I against capitalism. You do so well, why are you against capitalism. I'm going to say, well, clearly you don't know what capitalism is these days. It's about the upper 1 percent owning the majority of this country and everybody else scrambling for the crumbs.
And I look forward to the day when I really don't have to make another one of these films or do any of this because that would be -- that would be the ultimate best thing to happen.
MORGAN: All your films, I mean, they've been very direct in their targeting. The protesters down at Wall Street seem to me to be not lacking -- or they are lacking in any formal direction. The sense that if you asked them what they're protesting about --
MORGAN: -- all sorts of stuff streams out. What kind of people are they? I mean people are being a bit cynical about what's going on down there. What do you think?
MOORE: People are always cynical at first whenever there's a movement for -- or a protest that's starting. This is just the beginning. I mean if we can go back and look at the beginning of the civil rights movement, the women's liberation movement, the anti-war movement against in Vietnam, I mean back then there were just a few people and the majority of the country didn't agree with them.
What's great about this is that the majority of the country actually agrees with those protesters on Wall Street. The majority of the country wants to see people --
MORGAN: What is their main --
MOORE: The main thing is, number one, is that the rich are getting away with a huge crime. Nobody has been arrested on Wall Street for the crash of 2008. They're not paying their fair share of the taxes. And now with the Citizens United case of the Supreme Court, they get to buy politicians up out in the open.
So this is -- this is a conglomeration of ideas and thoughts and feelings about what's happening. But it all points to, are we going to live in a democracy that's run by the majority of the people or are we going to be living in a kleptocracy where the kleptomaniacs down on Wall Street who have stolen people's pension funds, they've wrecked people's lives, millions have been thrown out of their homes, millions are without health insurance, millions have lost their jobs?
How many more millions of people do they think they're going to abuse like that before people start to stand up? And what you see down -- what I just saw -- you know what I just saw down there, the little bit I've seen on the news, they show the -- you know the hippies, the drums and the -- and all that. I saw a wide cross- section of people.
MORGAN: What kind of people are they?
MOORE: Not New Yorkers. First of all that's the first thing I noticed. People have driven to this from all over the eastern half of the country. They are --
MORGAN: Are they unemployed? Are they ex-bankers? Are they -- what are they?
MOORE: Well, there's no -- I didn't meet any ex-bankers.
MORGAN: I'm told there are ex-bankers down there.
MOORE: Yes, I heard. I heard that.
MORGAN: That's why I asked that.
MOORE: No, I think you have -- you have -- I met housewives, I met people who are unemployed, I met people that were just getting out of work and just coming down there at 6:00. A lot of them are students.
These students, you know, they're the ones that are really screwed because --
MORGAN: I'm surprised -- I'm going to come to that. I agree with it. I'm surprised there haven't been more protests. You know I really am. I would have thought that given the state of the economy, given the state of the jobs crisis, given the way that so many people in America are suffering, I'm amazed there aren't more people marching on the streets saying, I've had enough.
MOORE: Well, first of all, change takes a while. And people are generally are -- they're afraid, they don't know what to do. They don't been know -- you know, look, we got rid of slavery in 1863 in this country. It wasn't until the 1960s that you saw the large marches and the voting rights and the civil rights act being passed. Women couldn't vote until 1920, and then you didn't have the real women's liberation movement until the '60s and '70s.
Things take time. This won't take that long. This won't take 100 years for people to respond because Wall Street has overplayed its hand. They have come down too hard on too many people, especially people in the middle class who used to believe in Wall Street.
MORGAN: And you mentioned students. I mean it's very interesting. When you look at what happened with the Arab Spring uprisings, one of the key factors in that were better educated young people who came out of education and had no jobs and thought, I'm not having this.
And you see a similar kind of sentiment now with these protesters down on Wall Street, where many of them, as you said, are students who is now cripplingly expensive for them to go through college and stuff. And at the end of it, they're not getting jobs. I mean this is the wrong way for the American dream to work, isn't it?
MOORE: That's correct. The "Guardian" in London had a wonderful essay on this a day or so ago.
MORGAN: I read it, yes. You tweeted it.
MOORE: Yes, I did. If people have a chance to read it. Basically the reporter, the man said, those young people are down there to reclaim their future. Their future was stolen from them by these bankers, by these corporations, by a system that has them in debt at age 22 just because they went to school.
I mean, when people of my generation went to school, especially like if you went to University of California system or the SUNY system here in New York, you need to pay -- you paid 20 bucks a semester, 30 bucks, 70 bucks.
MORGAN: It's not Wall Street that's caused that. I mean that is a government issue --
MORGAN: -- in relation to the educational system.
MORGAN: No, that's a shift of money. Yes, it is. It's a shift of money so that Wall Street and the corporations it represents can become rich especially off war. $2 billion a week is spent on these wars. Who is making that money? Wall Street and these corporations are making the money.
That's where the money is going. And it's being sucked out of education, sucked out of their future, sucked out of people's pension funds. The whole gamut of it. And people are on to it. This is what is -- why these young people won't have to wait very long for there to be a response in this country because the majority agrees with them that they've been ripped off, that they've been abused, that we have a sick healthcare system.
All these things that are wrong that just feed huge, huge profits.
MORGAN: Are you -- are you in favor of all protests? And the reason I ask that, when you saw what happened in Britain recently, London, what did you make of that? And when it spread to other cities. What did you think of that protest?
MOORE: I don't think it was a -- I don't know if it was a protest.
MORGAN: That's why I ask you.
MOORE: I don't know if that was a protest.
MORGAN: I don't think it was at all.
MOORE: I think that's -- that's when -- you can only push people so far. And human beings, human beings will respond. You can just put the boot down on the neck just so hard. And in your country, in your system there, where people have gotten, you know, come to expect that they paid taxes, they pay taxes to get certain things back, and when they see that that isn't happening and that this is a new Britain, that's not the Britain they want. And they responded. It's not the way I would respond, but that's the way they responded.
MORGAN: I don't think it was even that sophisticated. I don't think those people pay taxes at all. I think a lot of them were just common, petty criminals actually in that case. That's why I was asking you about it. Because I do think what's happened around the Middle East has fired people up to do something, but it's got to be for the right reason. There has to be -- there has to be a control over this, doesn't it?
MOORE: No -- no. The difference between Britain --
MORGAN: Where is your line drawn in active protesting?
MOORE: Well --
MORGAN: You wouldn't endorse looting, would you?
MOORE: No, no, of course not. No, no, I don't endorse any form of violence or anything like that. The difference between Britain and the Middle East is that because it was the right thing and it was organized the right way even though it really was sort of a grassroots thing, everybody came together and everybody agreed this is what it should be.
There's -- there was nothing -- there was no core, there was no soul to what was happening in Britain. There weren't like, OK, now we've got to do this, or now we've got to get together and do that. It was a random thing. And it's the thing Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of the city, has said, could happen here if we don't get jobs and get busy creating jobs right now. He said this two weeks ago.
MORGAN: Do you have any confidence? When you saw Obama's jobs plan come out, do you have any confidence it's gong to work?
MOORE: Yes. Somewhat. Yes, sure, of course. Yes. It's an absolute good step in the right direction, yes.
MORGAN: Has he failed in not doing this before?
MOORE: Yes. He did -- first of all, he didn't do enough of it before and he used a word called "stimulus" that, you know -- that, you know, what does that mean? It means something else.
MORGAN: But if he hadn't done that it could have been much more catastrophic. I mean the damage was done before Obama came to power.
MOORE: But he didn't go -- right. Of course it was. He inherited an incredible mess. He didn't go far enough the first time. Now he's going farther. And now he's putting his foot down. And it's good to see him responding in this manner.
MORGAN: I mean who do you blame -- obviously you blame the Republicans. Are there individuals in the financial system that when you look back over what happened, who are the figureheads who should be culpable here? Because it seems to me no one has really been held to account for, as you say, the greatest financial crisis in our lifetime, probably in history. There's no accountability here.
MOORE: Right. That's because people don't really know who they are. You know I -- I mean, people --
MORGAN: Who are the bad guys, do you think?
MOORE: Right. Well, the bad guys are the people -- the people who run Goldman Sachs, the people that run Morgan Stanley, the ratings agencies that gave them all those phony baloney ratings, the banks that set up this fraudulent mortgage system, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, all these banks that ripped people off, ruined their lives, ruined the banks themselves, but not so much as to where they couldn't get the bailout in time.
And -- so those are the people -- those are the people we should really be focusing on. But they're rarely -- they don't come on PIERS MORGAN. You don't see their face. You don't know who they are.
MORGAN: That's true. Most of them don't.
MOORE: No. No. And we don't, right?
MORGAN: But tell me this --
MOORE: I mean if you asked most people right now who was the head of Goldman Sachs, most people couldn't say that man's name, you know? And he's not going to come on and sit here and talk to you, right?
MORGAN: No, we've asked him.
MOORE: I'm sure you have.
MORGAN: Lloyd, if you're watching, we're here.
MOORE: Yes. Lloyd Blankfein (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Tell me about capitalism.
MORGAN: Is capitalism in itself wrong? And the reason I asked you that, you're a very, very successful, very rich filmmaker. (INAUDIBLE) anything else you do. In a way that is capitalism. I mean you've got a business.
MOORE: Is it really?
MORGAN: You've got a company. Well -- isn't it in its purest sense?
MOORE: Well, Piers, there's nothing pure about capitalism.
MORGAN: Is there not, though?
MORGAN: What is it?
MOORE: First of all, I do well. For a documentary filmmaker, I do really well. I'm very blessed and fortunate that people want to go see my movies. The only reason I do well is because so many millions want to go see my movies. If they didn't like the movies, they wouldn't see them and I probably wouldn't be sitting here. So there you go.
MORGAN: Is there a good form of capitalism?
MOORE: Well --
MORGAN: Has it simply been corrupted?
MOORE: It's like saying -- you know, when you say the word capitalism, you have to talk about it in its current sense. You can't talk about the old days or the way maybe, you know, Adam Smith, the sort of old capitalism.
MORGAN: Wasn't America fundamentally built on a form of capitalist dream? I mean the idea that you can come from nowhere --
MOORE: The idea that if you work hard --
MORGAN: And you work hard --
MORGAN: You succeed -- yes. All those things.
MOORE: And then everybody else prospered. And not only that, as you prospered the wealth was shared with your employees, with the government, everybody had a piece of the pie. You who started the business or invented the light bulb or whatever, you got a bigger piece of the pie. And you know what? Nobody cared because you invented the light bulb. That was a pretty cool thing.
MORGAN: Where did it go wrong?
MOORE: It went wrong because people -- first of all, we started rewarding people not for making things or inventing things. We didn't reward them for their idea or their labor anymore. We reward people for making money off money and moving money around and dividing up mortgages a thousand times over, selling it to China and trying to figure out how I can make more money off this money, they make more money off that money, and it becomes the shell game that nobody really knows really where the actual cash is that we're spinning around here trying to make off it.
We got so lost, we have been so on the wrong path for quite some time now that the idea of capitalism -- there's nothing wrong with you or me or anybody here earning a dollar working hard, being rewarded for that. Nobody has ever been against that.
We're against greed, and we're against the fact that 1 percent could get nine slices of the pie and the other 99 percent are supposed to fight over the last slice. That is un-American, that is not democracy. It's not Christian or Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim. None of the major religions -- in fact they all say it's probably one of the worst sins you can commit is to take such a large piece of the pie while others suffer.
Forty-six million people living in poverty right now in the United States. That's an absolute crime, it's immoral. And these guys are just posting the largest profits ever this year.
You're right, where's the rage? Where's the uprising? It's starting. It's down right now on Wall Street. It starts with the young people. But this is going to grow because people watching this tonight, people are afraid that they're going to be foreclosed on this year, don't know if they're going to be out of a job next year, can't afford the medical bills for their kids. Fifty million people still without insurance. They're sitting home right now going, god, I wish I could do something. What can I do? Somebody has got to start it somewhere. That's what these kids have done down in Wall Street. It's going to spread across the country. And believe you me, I won't have -- it won't be because of anything I say or you say or this show or those kids down there, people already feel it. They're sick and tired of it. And I think you're going to see that happen more and more in this country.
MORGAN: Hold your own fury for a moment. We're going on a quick break. When we come back I want to ask you about the -- is Obama revitalized? We saw him over the weekend, beginning to come out of his shell a bit. Is that the right thing? Has he got what it takes to turn this country around?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Shake it off. Stop complaining. Stop grumbling. Stop crying. We are going to press on. We've got work to do.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Obama speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday, key constituency if he's going to get re-elected.
I've got to say, Michael, Twitter has exploded with this interview tonight. And I would say at the moment 2-1, two-thirds saying you're a genius, and the third saying you are a dangerous half wit.
Do you concede to either?
MOORE: The first part of that -- I plead guilty to the dangerous part maybe.
MOORE: But the half wit, I leave that up to the nuns that I had in school.
MORGAN: To me that is you. This is your book, "Here Comes Trouble." And you are trouble. And where trouble is there's division of opinion. You must be one of the most divisive people in the country.
MOORE: Well, I don't -- divisive? You know, we live in a democracy. You should stand for something. You should stand up for what you believe in. That's a good thing. I always -- I never understand this oh, we need more bipartisan or nonpartisan, or -- you know. No, partisan is actually good. That's what's good about democracy. MORGAN: Let me ask you this. Do you have any views that you think are genuinely surprising to people who just think you are a predictable knee-jerk liberal?
MOORE: I could tell you things that I agree with conservatives on.
MORGAN: What --
MOORE: Or I should say what used to be the -- not the new conservatives.
MOORE: You know not that stuff. But the --
MOORE: We'll come to that.
MOORE: The old school conservatives.
MOORE: Who believe that you shouldn't spend money you don't have. You should conserve your money. You should conserve the air and the water. These are gifts from god, this planet, you know, to be behaving like this. I -- you know I believe very much in those things. I believe that, you know, there's --
MORGAN: I want to hear the tea party, for example.
MORGAN: And I'm sure -- you know, we'll come to your views of them in a moment. But in terms of their actual policies, you know, I found myself -- it's hard to argue with some of what they say. I mean do you have a blanket distrust and hatred of all things Tea Party or can you recognize that some things they say are completely reasonable and that's why they gather support?
MOORE: At the very beginning there might have been some people who were trying to join the Tea Party to say some reasonable things because they were upset at Wall Street and what was happening, but these days, no, the Tea Party is a wing of the Republican Party thinking, it's funded by billionaires. So no, it's very -- it's a very different animal now.
You know, I just -- I don't -- here's a question -- I'll save this for Wolf Blitzer. But I don't understand why CNN would join up with the Tea Party Express to sponsor a debate. I just -- can you imagine a CNN Michael Moore debate? I mean, like I'm sponsoring --
MORGAN: Yes, I do.
MOORE: Do you think CNN would do that? MORGAN: Well, I don't know but --
MOORE: Well, how about a CNN/Teachers union debate?
MORGAN: I would have a debate with you tomorrow. You could have he whole hour, I'll have a big audience. We'll have the Michael Moore debate.
MOORE: Let the nurses or let the teachers unions partner up with CNN and sponsor the next debate.
MORGAN: But you can't argue -- I don't really buy that because I don't think you can argue that the Tea Party have become an incredibly important political -- let's call them a party, they're part of the Republican Party -- element of --
MORGAN: What will be the next election campaign.
MORGAN: You can't ignore that.
MOORE: No, no, but I would -- I would submit to you that there are more teachers and nurses in these countries than there are members of the Tea Party.
MORGAN: Yes, but they're not going to run the country.
MOORE: Well, they better or we're in trouble.
MORGAN: Obama looked to me like, over the weekend when he made that speech, I mean he -- that speech, take off your bedroom slippers, put on your marching shoes, it looked to me like a guy who's finally went, I'm fed up with this.
MORGAN: I'm going to -- I'm going to get angry.
MOORE: He should be. He should be mad at himself first. I mean this is like a quarterback who just kind of pisses away the first three quarters, and then it's like in the fourth quarter decides to show up and start playing football.
MORGAN: Why has he pissed it away?
MOORE: I don't -- I don't know. I don't know the game plan that was in his head, the people advising him. Why they would give -- why they would -- for the first two years they had both Houses. You know why they would -- why they allowed that opportunity to go by and now all of a sudden now we're going to charge forward?
OK, great, then you're going to find most people on board with you. But geez, you took an awfully long time. MORGAN: I found this summer incomprehensible. I couldn't understand why he would allow the perception to be the Republicans are running the show.
MORGAN: And allowing John Boehner just run rings around him completely.
MOORE: He got bad advice. I always thought he was his own man. He took his own advice. Clearly, I mean, in "The New York Times" a coupe of weeks ago showed in their polling that with all his drift to the center and to the right, he hasn't picked up a single Republican vote out there in America.
He's lost a good chunk of the independents and even some of the Democrats. It was a fool hardy mistake to head toward the center and to the right when the majority of the country is actually quite liberal on the issues, even though most people wouldn't call themselves liberals.
Most Americans want strong environmental laws, they believe in equal rights for women, 54 percent now believe gay marriage should be the law of the land. I mean Americans are actually -- except for the death penalty -- fairly liberal on the issues.
MORGAN: Who -- to you who was the least worrying Republican candidate?
MOORE: Well, there's only one. There's only one that has sanity operating inside of him and I mean that's Jon Huntsman. I mean he -- when they asked who here believes in science, and he's, like, was the only one to raise his hands. I mean it's like -- they should have just gone on through all the subjects. All those in favor of math, home ec, wood shop, wood shop. You know, it's like -- you know, but Huntsman --
MORGAN: I found Huntsman very impressive when I interviewed him. I mean he speaks -- he speaks Chinese.
MOORE: Right. Right.
MORGAN: You know he (INAUDIBLE) that he gets what the Chinese deal really is all about.
MOORE: Yes. I mean it's not just that. Here he was the Mormon of Mormon, and a governor of Utah, and he got a civil union law passed. It's not passed in many states that are not Utah.
MORGAN: Why is he not getting the traction --
MOORE: He believes in global warming. Why isn't he getting the traction?
MOORE: Because he's smart, and he might -- and he actually might win. You know if they were -- if the Republican Party and if the Tea Party were smart, they would run somebody who would not only get the Republican vote but a good chunk of the independents and maybe even some of the Democrats.
But they're not. They are on -- as I said the other day on some show -- they're on the Tea-tanic. They're all on this boat. And they're just dancing to the dance band on the "Titanic" that's playing along while their ship -- it's going to sink. The American public is not as crazy as the other eight candidates. Although the American public does like pizza, so they will like the one guy.
MORGAN: Let's take another break. When we come back, I want to talk about executions and about your attempt to boycott your own book in Georgia, which has failed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR, DEBATE MODERATOR: Governor Perry, a question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates more than any other governor in modern times. Have you --
WILLIAMS: Have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, sir, I've never struggled with that at all.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Rick Perry, the Republican debate on MSNBC earlier this month. Moderated there by Brian Williams. Getting applause for defending Texas' record on capital punishment, which is -- you know, is it something worth applauding in the modern age, Michael?
MOORE: Well, no. In any age. I mean, again, people think of this as some kind of Judeo Christian country. I don't think we behave much like it. I don't think that that's the way any of us were raised.
MORGAN: Do you think Americans know how few other countries actually have the death penalty?
MOORE: No, I don't think they do. And --
MORGAN: Why don't you think they do? MOORE: And I don't think they know where we stand in terms of how many people we execute. We're right up there with Saudi Arabia, with China, with a few other countries that we should be not in any company with when it comes to things like this.
MORGAN: Since 1976 two-thirds of all the executions in America have come from five states all in the south. Fact. And of those, the vast majority are black and poor.
MOORE: Of course.
MORGAN: And can't afford proper legal representation.
MORGAN: I mean these are fairly damning statistics out there. I read "The New York Times" lead article today saying it's time to end this.
MORGAN: That it's medieval.
MOORE: It is medieval. History will not judge us well that we kept this going for so long. I came from Michigan. We were the first English speaking government in the world back in the 1800s to eliminate the death penalty. And we haven't had it sense.
And it's barbaric, it's not correct, it doesn't prevent crime. It doesn't act as a deterrent.
MORGAN: But is it the key thing about it, I think, is if they can guarantee that every single person was 100 percent guilty, that's one argument. But I've read a statistic this morning, 17 people who were on Death Row have had their sentences commuted because DNA, fresh evidence acquitted them of the crimes. They would have all potentially --
MOORE: Been killed.
MORGAN: Been killed. And that becomes a form of state legislative murder.
MOORE: That is correct. Murder in our name.
MORGAN: Another 112 -- forget DNA for a moment. Another 112 had their sentences commuted from Death Row. When you see that volume of people who were clearly innocent of these crimes --
MORGAN: -- that to me is the end of the debate, isn't it?
MOORE: It should absolutely be the end of the debate. For people to applaud Texas like that -- I saw a sign somebody was holding. I think it was actually just down at the protest. It said if corporations are now considered people, I'm waiting for the day when Texas decides to execute one of them.
Because, I mean, I don't understand Texas. I don't really know how to explain it. I don't explain why people were applauding that in that audience.
MORGAN: Personally, I love Texas. I go there quite a lot for "America' s Got Talent." We were talking about that show in the break. I think they're great people.
MOORE: I'm not talking about the people. The people are great. I'm talking about the politics of Texas.
MORGAN: The reason that audience applauded, I suspect, is they represent a lot of people in Texas. A lot of Texans, if you talk to them, would say they do believe in the death penalty, maybe because they've been conditioned by their political leaders. But they do actually believe that. How do you change that thinking?
MOORE: That's a good question. Well, you just did. You put out some statistics there. Hopefully good thinking, good hearted people will say --
MORGAN: Those stats startled me. When I read those in "the New York Times" today, I was, wow, really? That volume of people --
MORGAN: -- were proven later to be innocent and they could have been killed.
MOORE: Yes. Well over a hundred now. Well over a hundred that were on Death Row that were found not to have committed the crime.
MORGAN: One of the powerful parts of this book -- and there are many. It's a very well constructed book, because it has sort of vignettes of your life, if you like. And it's the execution of Michael Moore, who was another Michael Moore who wrote to you to say, I did a terrible thing. And it was a terrible thing.
MORGAN: But the more you studied his case --
MOORE: in Texas.
MORGAN: He'd been very badly abused. As a result, he had gone on a crazy spree of stalking women. He tried to stalk a young woman. Her mother was there. He panicked. He killed the mother. Completely inarguably an awful thing to have done.
MOORE: Awful, heinous, right.
MORGAN: But he appealed to you to try and save his life. The more you researched his life, you realized how damaged he'd been and everything else. You were nearly successful. Unbelievably by Texas standards, he got a stay of execution. Then came 9/11. You described how everything changed. Because of 9/11, a lot of executions got speeded up.
MORGAN: There was a kind of death lust, a killing lust. As a result, Michael Moore was executed. And you couldn't actually bear to be there at the execution. Tell me about what that did to you.
MOORE: Well, he had written to me. They had actually shown one of my films one night in the prison. And he saw my name and it was the same as his name. He had written me a letter and asked me to get involved. So I got on the Internet and I started organizing a campaign to hold off his execution.
Remarkably enough, the appeals board or group or whatever there in Texas, they put off his execution for almost a year. It was a rare thing to happen in Texas. And that bought the lawyers more time to try and stop this from happening.
But a couple of months after 9/11 or whatever, that was really -- everyone just kind of -- we're not interested in trying to save the life of a murderer. We're sick of murderers. These murderers killed 3,000 people. So -- but that's -- if you don't have your head screwed on right -- we had a horrible thing happen to us here on 9/11.
But if you just get out the gun and just start spraying bullets because you're pissed, that is not going to solve the problem.
MORGAN: I've always wanted to ask you, actually, if you had been American president on 9/11, what would you have done? What would your reaction have been? Because to have done nothing, I think, would have been the wrong reaction. Then the American public were demanding some kind of retribution or something. What would you have done?
MOORE: I would have done exactly what Obama did and use our special forces, who are some of our smartest and best trained soldiers, to begin the effort to track down Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants and bring them to justice.
That's not what happened. It looks like now bin Laden was out of Afghanistan two months after 9/11, at Tora Bora, he was gone. That was it. I came on Larry's show here. I've come on many shows for ten years. And I have said over and over again, he's not in Afghanistan. Why are we there? He's not in Afghanistan. They're not in Afghanistan.
I have to suffer through all the slings and arrows of, how can he say that, what does he know, all. Then of course he wasn't in Afghanistan. He had to have been in one of two countries. He was a either going to be in Pakistan or where he's from in Saudi Arabia, and that's where he was being protected, one of those two countries.
Apparently Obama and the intelligence and his special forces did the job that Bush didn't really want to do. As Richard Clarke and others in his administration said, within a day or two, they were already talking about invading Iraq.
MORGAN: I want to come back to the wars a little later. But I want to come back after the break and talk about your parents, who are pivotal figures in this book and fascinating in their own right. But also what they did to you as a young man to make be what you are today, Mr. Trouble.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: We just came down from Flint where we filmed a family being evicted from their home the day before Christmas eve, a family that used to work in the factory. Would you be willing to come up with us and see what the situation is like in Flint for people?
ROGER SMITH, FORMER GENERAL MOTORS CEO: I've been to Flint. And I'm sorry for those people. I don't know anything about it.
MOORE: The family is being evicted from their homes on Christmas Eve.
SMITH: I'm sure General Motors didn't evict them. You'd have to talk to the landlord.
MOORE: They used to work for General Motors. Now they don't work there any more.
SMITH: I'm sorry about that.
MOORE: Could you come up to Flint with us?
SMITH: I cannot come up to Flint, I'm sorry.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A clip from Michael Moore's first documentary, "Roger and Me." And your latest work is the new book is "Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life." And it is a sort of catalog of trouble, really, that charts right back to your early days. You were a natural born mischief maker, albeit driven by a sense of purpose.
MOORE: I wasn't just like putting gum in girl's hair or stuff like that.
MORGAN: You were unusually mature. You were doing weird things. You were making firebrand speeches against racists and stuff at school. This was unusual behavior. Where did it come from?
MOORE: I don't know. I honestly don't have a good answer for that. I was raised by very good parents. My mother and my father are Irish Catholic, good people, taught my sisters and I the difference between right and wrong, that we should always follow our conscience and that we should stand up for the little guy.
If somebody was being bullied in the playground, I was usually the biggest kid in the class. So I'd step in and try and stop the bully from, you know, beating up the littler kid. I don't know why that was. I just didn't like it.
MORGAN: You have a heroic streak, but it also borders on self- destruction. I mean, there's an extraordinary account at the top of this book where you talk about the build up to your Oscars celebration speech, which became notorious, although, pretty well vindicated by subsequent events.
MOORE: Pretty well?
MORGAN: I would say vindicated, but I'm expecting that some people wouldn't agree, but I do.
MOORE: Thank you.
MORGAN: You watch that speech now. And I laugh that it attracted such ire at the time. But it did. So much so that you end up with nine Navy SEALS on a security detail almost rivaling a presidential candidate, because there were so many threats on your life, over 400 threats to your life at any one time. A terrifying repercussion of a speech in which you said, I don't like this war.
MOORE: That is correct. That's what happened.
MORGAN: How did you actually feel? Because you talk about you go into a shell for two and a half years. You don't appear on television. You barely go out. What are you thinking then? You have had this extraordinary rise. You're this guy, this firebrand Michael Moore. Suddenly, not that you been muted, but you're going out worrying about your life every day.
What are you actually thinking? Do you have moments of, I don't want to do this any more?
MOORE: Yes. I wondered whether or not it was really worth it to, first of all, give that Oscar speech. Then after I made "Fahrenheit 911" and again a couple years after the movie came out, everything in the movie -- everyone in the mainstream media says that's all -- that's exactly what happened.
But in the meantime, during those years, 2003 and 2004 and 2005, I was under what one person -- the head of this -- I'll say his name. His name is Gavin de Becker (ph). He's one of the top, if not the top security agency in the country, was often hired by the federal government as a consultant, works with Secret Service people -- that next to George W. Bush, the person under most threats -- getting the most threats in this country at that time was me.
MORGAN: When you read the list of attempts against you by people, coming at you with knives, coming at you with guns, people even rushing to stab you with pencils at book signings.
MOORE: A guy in Ft. Lauderdale takes the lid off his Starbucks -- because he just sees me. He sees me and he goes crazy.
MORGAN: Throws it at you.
MOORE: The Limbaugh chip goes of on his head or whatever. And you just see his face. He threw the hot scalding coffee right at my face.
MORGAN: Did you think you were going to die?
MOORE: No, no. I didn't think that. I think that -- look, like you said, I had three shifts of three Navy SEALS per shift, ex Navy SEALS. They were all on my side and all wanting to make sure that nothing happened to me. They would literally some days have to form a semicircle around me going down the street because people were trying to punch me or tackle me or whatever.
Then I just started getting fit with the Navy SEALS. I started getting in better shape, started lifting a little bit. But these Navy SEALS - these are not -- as I hope you know, they're not bouncers. They're not like body guards.
MORGAN: They're highly trained.
MOORE: Believe me. They showed me how to take out somebody with a piece of dental floss.
MORGAN: You could kill me with a piece of dental floss?
MOORE: Right now, I could -- this show would suddenly belong to Nancy Grace.
MORGAN: Larry would be back on. This is disturbing, though, because the opening entry you have is from Glenn Beck's show on Fox, in which he details how he would like to kill Michael Moore.
MOORE: He said this live over the air.
MORGAN: He did. He would like to kill Michael Moore. I'd like to choke him to death. That to me --
MOORE: Or hire it done.
MORGAN: But that's scandalous.
MOORE: Not only scandalous, where's the FCC when it comes to that?
MORGAN: Where are they?
MOORE: Janet Jackson bares a breast and CBS is fined God knows how much money and yet he can say that over the air and encourage the unhinged to harm me like that, and nothing happens. Nobody said anything about it at the time.
MORGAN: I read that. I was outraged. I just thought how can a guy who hosts a show call for literally want to kill somebody like you for expressing a political opinion?
MOORE: Yeah, yeah.
MORGAN: You would never do that to them.
MOORE: No. In fact, I assumed that every person who is on the right or conservative or Republican is an American who loves this country, loves it deeply. And I would never question their own patriotism or their belief and their love for what this country is about and who the people are that are in it.
The fact that I've had to endure this -- because at first, I was just thinking, why do I make documentaries? I'm not running for anything. I have no power. I can't control anything. Why this?
But I think, in my own mind, it's because on the left so few of us reach a wide mainstream audience. Noam Chomsky is not sitting here tonight. He should be, but he isn't. I can think of so many other people on the left that should have a full hour with you.
The reason probably because I'm here is because my work has reached millions of people. And that is what drives Republicans and the right insane.
MORGAN: What I would say to it -- the reason I said you have a self-destructive button is that despite all these threats -- if I had nine Navy SEALS living with me, and every day I went out, someone tried to kill me, eventually I would stop antagonizing people. I would back off.
But you didn't. You haven't. That's why when people criticize you, I always say look, whatever you say about Michael Moore, whether you agree with him or not, he's fearless. The guy has guts.
MOORE: I just wish they would watch one of my movies. I think if people who are attacking me or against me, if they would just watch one of my films, they would -- they may not agree with me politically on all the things I'm saying. But they will know at the end of the film that I love this country and that I have a heart. And they'll have a good laugh throughout the film.
MORGAN: Talking of good laughs, if you read this book, you very nearly became a priest. After the break, I want to assess why you decided not to become a priest. I think it's to do with your love of women. I need to examine this.
MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Michael Moore. There's some fantastic reaction on Twitter. This guy called the Beatles -- they can't be the Beatles -- say I want to see Michael Moore kill Piers Morgan with dental floss. And then has second thoughts and says, well, maybe not Piers Morgan, but somebody else, because Piers is too pretty, which I rather liked.
Another one says "Michael Moore is more entertaining on Piers Morgan right now than the Cowboys game." High praise indeed, but we have both been eclipsed by breaking news that Nancy Grace has had a wardrobe malfunction ala Janet Jackson on "Dancing with the Stars." You and I are finished tonight.
MOORE: Just as I was saying in the previous segment. I used the words Janet Jackson and Nancy Grace together. And it magically happened out in Los Angeles.
MORGAN: You nearly became a priest. And then you didn't. What happened?
MOORE: I begged my parents to go to the seminary. I loved the radical priests when I was in like junior high school.
MORGAN: Didn't they kick you out? You were just too rebellious for them.
MOORE: No, actually I went in -- at the end of my first year, I went in to resign, because I -- you know, I was 14 when I went in. I was 15 then. The hormones had kicked in. There was just --
MORGAN: The guy in charge left you with the immortal words, "I pray for everybody you have to come across in the future?"
MOORE: Father Dewiki (ph) was his name.
MORGAN: He wasn't wrong, was he?
MOORE: He was kicking me out. I said you can't kick me out. I came in here to quit. He said, well, good, we're in agreement.
MORGAN: One of the suspicions from the book is that one of the reasons you couldn't commit to presumably a celibate life as a Catholic priest was that you were rather too fond of the ladies. Is that true?
MOORE: Well, of course, you could be -- you could be in favor of that way or in favor of men. It doesn't matter because, as Senator Santorum said at the debate last week, there's not to be any sexual activity in the military or the priesthood.
MORGAN: Did you genuinely sit there one day and think, I either never have sex again or I have to stop my plan to be a priest?
MOORE: No, I think I sort of -- puberty kicked in a little late on me, but it kicked in there. And it was kind of like, whoa! This is what I'm not supposed to do for the rest of my life? That doesn't seem right.
And I started asking a lot of questions then, how come women can't be priests. Why can't -- they were so tired of me asking questions.
MORGAN: It's indisputable. I've spoken to women about this. You are an unlikely heartthrob? They like the old --
MOORE: Which women have said that? You're on CNN. You have to tell the truth.
MORGAN: There's a breed of woman out there that finds this whole thing very attractive.
MOORE: What's the next question?
MORGAN: Do you have groupies?
MOORE: No, I don't have groupies. No, none. My groupies are all people that study the Fed.
MORGAN: You have the love of a good woman?
MOORE: Yes, yes.
MORGAN: Mrs. Moore, tell me about her.
MOORE: Well, her name is Kathleen. And we've been together for just about 30 years now. So --
MORGAN: True love?
MOORE: Yeah. She produced actually most of my films and the TV shows that we did, "TV Nation," "The Awful Truth." I've known her since she was 17 and I was probably 21 back in Flint.
MORGAN: Hold it there. We'll come back after the break and finish that. I'm fascinated by Mrs. Moore. She must have been through a hell of a lot.
MORGAN: I'm back with Michael Moore. Michael, I'm looking at Nancy Grace and her wardrobe malfunction. Unfortunately, I can't show the viewers, because it's too early in the evening for that.
MOORE: Listen, I think Nancy Grace is a very attractive woman.
MORGAN: So do I.
MOORE: And, we'll just leave it at that.
MORGAN: What has been the greatest moment of your life?
MOORE: Wow! The greatest moment of my life. I don't know.
MORGAN: What's the moment you'd relive if you had five minutes to live?
MOORE: You mean if I could do it again?
MOORE: Geez, I've been so blessed with so many great moments. I -- David Letterman started his show back at the "Late Night Show" on NBC years and years ago. And I just decided to get in the car and drive there, drive here to New York, and stood in the stand by line. It was like the second or third show ever.
And I got to be there for that. That may not seem like a great moment to most people. Let me tell you why I'm saying that is I've always been of the mind that if I just -- if I think something is the right thing to do, I should just go do it?
MORGAN: How long was that drive?
MOORE: Seven hundred fifty miles.
MORGAN: You drove 750 miles just to be in the line to watch him? Why?
MOORE: I drove 900 miles to Quebec City to see Bob Dylan and Joan Baez in concert because that was the closest place they were playing to Michigan on that tour. I don't know.
MORGAN: Do you accept you're slightly mad in that case?
MOORE: Yes, yes. But I'm glad. I'm glad that I'm off the rail. I'm glad that if I get an idea, I just think, you know, this is the right thing to do. Let's just go do it. Go see David Letterman, 750 miles?
MORGAN: Completely crackers. But, you know what, Michael, we wouldn't have you any other way.
MOORE: There was nobody like him at the time.
MORGAN: When you come back, sing.
MOORE: I will definitely come back. And I'll bring Nancy Grace with me.
MORGAN: Michael Moore, thank you very much. And now "AC 360."