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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Ann Romney Exclusive; Interview With Howard Schultz; Interview with Kevin Smith
Aired March 21, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: Women are coming to me and saying, will you please talk about deficit spending and budgets? I'm loving that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Also, live and exclusive interview with the woman the candidate trusts more than anybody else alive, Ann Romney.
Plus keeping America great, Starbucks' CEO, Howard Schultz, on how to improve the value of your company with a quiet notion of moral capitalism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD SCHULTZ, STARBUCKS CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CEO: We must stand up and do everything we can for the people who don't have a voice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And indie film icon Kevin Smith, funny, raunchy, a man of strong opinions and tonight he's on top form.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN SMITH, FILMMAKER: Santorum lost the moment he was like, I'm going after pornography. Because for a lot of us we're like, buddy, that's all I got.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Plus, "Only in America." Revolutions, disasters, scandals, and celebrities, all in 140 characters or less. Happy sixth birthday, Twitter.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening. We start with our "Big Story" tonight, a very big day indeed for the Romney campaign. The candidate gets a key endorsement from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and he celebrates 43 years of marriage to his wife Ann.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: And we will have been married 43 years. So happy anniversary, sweetheart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: My exclusive interview with Ann Romney in just a moment. Also tonight Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz on keeping America great and the very funny and outspoken Kevin Smith on presidential politics and his raunchy new book and on why he seems to feel the need to rearrange my studio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: The chair.
MORGAN: Unlike every guest who comes in raises their chair up, you've lowered it to the --
SMITH: Every guest that you have on, they're probably in shape so they want to show it off. Me, I'm like, let me get my gut below the table so we can conduct this interview.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: But we begin tonight with our "Big Story." It's an exclusive interview with Ann Romney and the candidate's wife joins me now.
Ann Romney, first of all, happy anniversary. Forty-three glorious years with Mitt Romney. How you are feeling about that?
ROMNEY: Well, you know, Piers, it's pretty -- it's pretty exciting and to think that I'm sharing with you, that's even more exciting.
MORGAN: It is the icing on the cake, isn't it? A little cherry you've been waiting for all day.
ROMNEY: I'm going to always remember this anniversary.
MORGAN: Now have you exchanged gifts to day? Has he been generous?
ROMNEY: He's been -- he's been very kind. He hasn't had much time to shop. And so I did get a -- a nice bracelet which was -- which was very welcomed. So it was -- we really haven't had any time at all to really enjoy the day together. We had breakfast together and then I'm in Wisconsin and he's in Maryland.
MORGAN: So is he watching tonight? Will he be watching this interview? ROMNEY: He's watching.
MORGAN: Is there anything you'd like to say to your husband on this special occasion?
ROMNEY: Hi, sweetheart. I love you. Maybe we'll celebrate another day.
MORGAN: You are talking to Mitt, right?
ROMNEY: I am talking -- yes, not to you, Piers.
MORGAN: Now I want to play you -- I love this. You made this wonderful video to celebrate your 43rd wedding anniversary. And I want to play one of the clips. It was really -- it was a lovely thing to watch. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: We didn't want any parties. We didn't want anything fancy. We just wanted to get married. We compromised and waited until March 21st. And March 21st happened to have been four years after our first date. One year later, our oldest son Tag was born on March 21st as well. So that's sort of an important day in our life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And it goes on in that vein, and what I really like was when you told the story of when you were both 16, I think, or 17. Were you both the same age? Both 16 at the time?
ROMNEY: He's a much more senior person. He was 18.
MORGAN: So you're 16 and 18. And he goes off on this missionary work, his Mormon missionary work, for about 2 1/2 years. A very long time after you've met.
MORGAN: And you've sort of fallen for each other?
ROMNEY: Actually I was -- right. Yes, I was actually -- I was about -- because he went to Stanford for a year. So it was when I was 17 that he actually left, yes.
MORGAN: I see, so there's 2 1/2 year gap. You say in the video when you saw each other again after all that time, it was literally like time had stood still.
ROMNEY: Right. That's exactly what happened. He came off that airplane, hadn't seen him for 2 1/2 years. And as though time dissolved. And it was extraordinary because the emotional connection we had before he left, the depth of love that we had for each other, it was -- it was as though he had never even been gone for a moment. And it was right back to where we were. Which was why it was shocking to my parents and to his parents when we announced on our -- on the car ride home when we got out of the car and said oh, by the way, everybody, we're getting married. Like now.
MORGAN: Well, it certainly was the right decision, 43 years later, here we are. Tell me this. I mean it's been a rough old campaign. Everyone accepts that. I mean I have always think that most of them are anyway. But it's been being especially rough. And I suppose one of the things that leveled against your husband a lot is he's not very lovable. People don't seem to fall for him in the way that they did with Barack Obama, for instance, when he got elected.
You obviously have been in love with him for 43 years. What do you think the public aren't seeing about your husband that they should be seeing?
ROMNEY: Well, to begin with, I don't accept the premise. So that's, you know, that's one thing. And once people do see him, it's a totally different thing. It's so many of the rallies we go to, the most common refrain is he's so great. You know? And that's -- you know, it's -- unfortunately everyone wants to portray you in a certain way, put you in that box.
And so it's my job, it's a great job that I have right now of making sure people see the other side of Mitt, the fun side of Mitt, and the loving father, husband, grandfather, and what is -- you know, just super guy he is.
MORGAN: What has been the most offended you felt as his wife on the campaign so far?
ROMNEY: You know, I think sometimes -- you know, what happened -- I will tell you, Piers, what happened to me last time, four years ago, is the misrepresentations about records and different things like that where they make you feel as though you're not being honest or you're not true to yourself which could not be further from the truth.
And that was why after, you know, four years ago after we got out and dropped out of the race, I did turn to Mitt and said, look, I'm never doing this again. Just so you know, I've had it. And that's the sentiment you had. You were very fed up with it.
Going into it this time, I, of course, went in with completely committed to doing this again because I really believe our country is in trouble and believe Mitt is the right guy. But I went in with a different attitude this time and recognize that this is what happens in the campaign. And these things happen. And it's hard to do and I have to remind myself all the time, but to not take things personally.
And it is a hard thing to do and to remind yourself, I have to remind myself all the time, not to take things personally. And recognize that is just part of what's involved in running. But if you believe in your message, I believe in my husband. I believe he can turn things around. I believe he has the right skill set, the right experience to be able to really be an effective president, then you just keep putting your head down and going forward. I totally believe in him and was the one pushing him this time to say I know I said that, but I hate to tell you, honey, but you've got to do this again because the country needs you.
MORGAN: You're certainly emerging as a secret weapon for him. We saw that last night when you made a very feisty speech. I want to play a little clip of that back you to now and then talk to you afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Let me tell you something else that's happening. Women are coming to me and saying, will you please talk about deficit spending and budgets? I'm loving that. Loving that. Women are angry. They're angry about the legacy we're going to leave their children and their grandchildren. And I'm going to tell them something. I've got somebody here that can fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Feisty stuff there from Ann Romney. I mean what's been interesting about the debate is it's been very skewed towards social issues and there's been this kind of rising sense that the Republican candidates en masse have been slightly anti-women's rights. What do you think about the way that debate has been framed?
ROMNEY: Well, you know, again, I really meant what I said last night because I have been in every -- practically every state of this nation and I've been speaking to hundreds of people every single day and seeing people. And this is what women are coming up to me and speaking about, their frustration with government right now, the frustration with the size of government, the frustration that, you know, that women are just generally generous.
I think they're just generous and they want to leave something much better for their children. And they're very frustrated that they're thinking that this is not going to be the case for them. That their children are not going to be better off. And it's because of the overspending that we're doing now and we're not taking responsibility for our -- for our actions. And they're extremely frustrated. And so for me when I hear all the other talk about social issues, I'm going that's not what I hear when I'm on the trail.
This is what I'm hearing. It's an economic message that I'm hearing. It's a frustration about government spending too much and not balancing budgets. And you know, they are -- they say very common sense things to me. They say, look, I know how to balance my budget. I know, you know, my husband's business or my business or whatever I'm doing, we have to balance our budgets.
Why is this going on, this irresponsible behavior? And so I think what they're sensing is that it is, again, it's the legacy we're going to leave our children and our grandchildren. We don't want to have to feel like they're underwater before they even start out.
MORGAN: And how important --
ROMNEY: And we know how that's going to impact their lives.
MORGAN: And how important has been the endorsement of Jeb Bush today? Because he's been keeping his powder dry and he's finally come out today. Many are saying, look, big win in Illinois. Then the Jeb Bush endorsement. This has been a very significant 12 hours for the Romney campaign. Maybe even the game-changing moment.
ROMNEY: I thought it was a very significant thing to do. I was with Mitt this morning and Jeb just called Mitt on his cell phone. We didn't know he was going to endorse. We didn't have any heads up at all. It was -- the phone rang and it was Jeb. And, you know, I didn't hear the Jeb side of the conversation. But I could sort of tell what was going on. And I was -- I was delighted.
You know, he's a very important voice in our party. I respect him enormously. But I will tell you Barbara Bush has also, you know, out there fighting for us, too. So that's been great to have Jeb's endorsement I think is a huge, huge day for us.
MORGAN: And on a slightly more slippery note, how is your etching and sketching going? Are you having words with Mitt's senior aides about their little gaffe today?
ROMNEY: You know, this is the distractions -- this is exactly what happens in a campaign. When you get these distractions and obviously he was talking about how we're going to change focus and we're going to change, you know, what we're going to do, the organizational sense of changing, not Mitt changing positions. And so these are the just the frustrations that you have to deal with in a campaign.
And, of course, it makes for great media. It's a distraction. It's a distraction because what we're talking about is an economic message, it's a jobs message. It's talking about, you know, capping spending, balancing budgets. And so --
MORGAN: Are you going to make -- are you going to make Eric write out --
ROMNEY: This is just --
MORGAN: Are you going to make Eric write 100 times on an etch and sketch, I'm very sorry?
ROMNEY: I think that's a great idea -- great idea, Piers. We'll have him do that tomorrow.
MORGAN: And finally, I want to ask you this. Robert De Niro has apologized today because he made this joke about all the wives of the Republican candidates in saying, America isn't ready for a white first lady, which seems to have upset everybody. What was your view of that?
ROMNEY: I laughed. You know what? I took it for what it was, a joke. And, you know, again, we take everything so seriously, we have to be so correct and everyone has got to apologize. And I can say, you know what? I can laugh at it. That's just -- let's take it for what it is. We're all overreacting to so many things and making things so difficult which means we have to watch every single word that comes out of our mouth.
We can't be spontaneous, we can't be funny. We can't -- I will tell you in politics the fastest way to get in trouble is to make a joke. So I think Robert De Niro has just learned that.
MORGAN: Robert De Niro in the clear. Ann Romney, it's been a real pleasure. And again, I wish you a very happy anniversary to you and Mitt.
ROMNEY: Thanks so much.
MORGAN: Nice to talk to you.
Coming up next, Starbucks' CEO Howard Schultz on moral capitalism and keeping America great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHULTZ: Companies must recognize that long-term profit is not an enduring component of the strategy of a company. If you are not giving back to the communities you serve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO of Starbucks, speaking at the company's annual meeting today. For the self-made businessman and his employees it's been a banner year for much more than coffee. Howard Schultz joins me for a prime time exclusive.
Howard, welcome back to the show. It's been a fascinating day for me to watch what you've been doing at Starbucks. Because for the last few weeks I've been banging this drum for the need for successful American companies to start bringing jobs back to America that they could outsource outside of the country and make more money by doing it but there is a moral obligation to spread their success back on their own ground.
You're now doing this. You're voting with your feet and your wallet with Starbucks. And you're creating a new factory in Georgia. Several hundred jobs will be created. Tell me exactly why you're doing this when you could do it in somewhere like China and save yourself a lot of money.
SCHULTZ: Sure. Well, first off, thank you for taking the initiative and speaking out on this. You know, America is facing, I think, a significant crucible right now. With 13 million Americans unemployed, so much of that in the African-American and Hispanic community, 42 out of 50 states facing budget deficits, the gap between the haves and have-nots is getting wider and wider, I just felt in all good conscience, we're a Seattle-based American company, and even though we probably could have built this facility for significantly less money outside of North America, we made the decision to invest back in the country and create jobs.
And what I said at our annual meeting today is that I don't believe you can build a sustainable enterprise with a singular goal just on profit. It's a shallow goal. I don't think you can endure. I don't think you can attract and create great people. And I think the best part of business right now is trying to create the balance between profitability and a social conscience.
And I think, you know, we're living at a time right now where citizens, business leaders, and, yes, even corporations, must do more to serve the communities that they live in and they work in.
MORGAN: Well, I completely agree with you. And it's exactly what I've been saying. Although I have to say, I haven't been getting a lot of positive response. You know, the whole Wall Street brigade say no, no, no. This flies in the face of the American dream which is that you just make as much money as you can, you be as successful as you can and actually you owe it to the shareholders to maximize your returns.
You're flying in the face of that. What kind of reaction do you expect from your shareholders?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think the backdrop of our meeting today is that Starbucks had record revenues and the stock price hit the highest level in its history today. So it was a good, fortuitous day to have the meeting. But we received a standing ovation when we talked about social responsibility.
And let me explain what I mean by that. Social responsibility is not writing a check or issuing a press release because you've done something good. What we've tried to do is integrate the company's mission and execution in a way that the values of the company would be the way in which we do business. And what we've learned over the years is that the financial success that we've enjoyed is in large part because of the way we do business. Operating the company through the lens of humanity.
I also said publicly today that you are not a perfect company. We make mistakes. But the country right now is finding itself in a situation where it should not be business as usual. We should not embrace the status quo. And we can't wait for Washington. We've seen the ideology and the partisanship and also the fact that $6 billion is going to be spent on the presidential election cycle in the next 12 months.
I mean that is just -- it's so dysfunctional. It's so wrong. Let's just alleviate the problem by saying we're not going to wait for Washington and American businesses must do more. And the consumer, I believe, will respond in kind. Because they want to embrace companies and brands whose values are compatible with their own.
MORGAN: I completely agree with that. You know, this is why I've been -- I've been targeting maybe unfairly, but I've been targeting Apple because they're the biggest company. And, you know, they're making more and more money. They're selling millions and millions of iPads in the last few days alone.
I mean it seems to me utterly absurd in the current financial climate for a company like Apple to be making billions and billions of dollars and yet to be employing way more people in China than they do in America. And if they took the lead that you've taken, I think the American public would respond so favorably they'd end up making more money than they would have done in the first place.
SCHULTZ: Well, Piers, I tend to agree with you. I don't know Tim Cook and I don't want to sit here and criticize Apple. I think the point you make is correct. They must have their own business reasons for making their decisions.
I would go the other way and say that there are great companies who are doing the right thing. A company like Whole Foods, a company like Timberland, Target, Estee Lauder, these are companies that are doing the right thing and I think more and more companies are going to find themselves because the consumer is at some point going to vote. And they're going to vote in favor of those companies that are giving back to the community.
And I think you have a microphone and a platform and what you're saying and speaking up has resonance and I encourage you to keep doing it because you can make a difference.
MORGAN: You know, I think it's really important because I think everyone's wrestling with how to get America back to work. And I -- just looking at it as -- I'm a Brit, not an American. But I just see the absurdity of having these huge companies just going out of the country with most of their workforce.
MORGAN: To me, they've got to bring it back. They've got to create more jobs in this country. And if they do that, then I think that the consumer will reward them. It's a quid pro quo. I mean Americans, I think, will look favorably on what Starbucks is doing. I think you'll sell more coffee.
MORGAN: I think they -- I agree with you. I think the brand value of Starbucks is immeasurably enhanced by you bringing a factory into Georgia that you could have done in Shanghai.
SCHULTZ: Well, in addition to that, we've been searching in America for the past year for factories that could produce porcelain or stoneware mugs that we sell in our stores. Unfortunately all of these factories have been moved off shore over the last decade. We found a dormant plant in Ohio. We are reopening that plant. That's not something we own and operate. That's a vendor. But because of the order that we're giving them, we're opening that plant. And that plant will start making products for Starbucks this spring.
And I got to tell you, we are going to ring the drum and say made in America. And I think, you know, what we did -- what we've done on the jobs initiative is all trying, I think, not for the purpose of marketing but to get people to understand and we don't want to preach that companies can make a difference and this is the right thing to do, and America, I think, people don't realize how dire the situation is and how many people are being left behind. And we must stand up and do everything we can for the people who don't have a voice.
MORGAN: Now good for you. When we come back after the break, I want to continue the theme I've also been running for the last couple of months, keeping America great. I want to hear your ideas about how America can do other things to keep itself great and your view on the GOP race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need someone who understands that the solution to the problem with almost 1/17th of the economy is not government control over that sector economy but your control over that sector of the economy.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This administration's assault on freedom has kept this so-called recovery from meeting their projections let alone our expectations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum last night attacking President Obama while pushing the notion of economic freedom.
What would it take to keep America great? That is the burning question for every boss of every company in America. And I'm rejoined now by the chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz.
Howard, when you hear Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, the two people who -- I guess one of them will become the nominee looking at all the polls today, do you like what you hear? Do you think they get it? Do they understand the problem and the solution?
SCHULTZ: Well, I think there is a lot of rhetoric right now because of how fierce this competition has been. I guess until yesterday when Governor Romney won Illinois. I wouldn't take some of their remarks too seriously. But I think this is a fierce race and that each one is -- is obviously trying to win the nomination. You know, I am a registered Democrat. I don't want to get into a situation where I'm either commenting on the Republican Party or in any way criticizing the president. I'm not here to do that. I am here to say that I want to embrace citizenship over partisanship. And I really would like to see the ideology and the self-interests just come out of the politicking and have all of our elected officials put their feet in the shoes of everyday working Americans. That's -- that is where I think the gap is.
MORGAN: But tell me, Howard, I mean, how influential can any government be in actually creating prosperity? How much is their responsibility as politicians? And how much actually comes down to individual bosses of companies like yourself to take initiatives that spur the economy forward?
SCHULTZ: I think that's an interesting question. I think the answer is somewhat bifurcated. Let me try and explain. I think the government needs to produce a foundation of confidence. And I think what we saw after the debt ceiling debacle which I think has really continued months and months later is that a fracturing of confidence and in a sense a fracturing of leadership. And that happened here in the U.S. and abroad.
We also have to recognize that we are in such a connected world where anything that happens either or in Greece or in Spain or China or India, anywhere in the world, has a significant rippling effect. So confidence is such a big issue. As it relates to business, you know, we're -- we have so much money that is being stored overseas by U.S. companies.
That is a significant opportunity. It's not being brought back here because of a tax policy. That's something that the government could do and could change. Money isn't being invested by many corporations into the U.S. economy because of uncertainty. And so I think the answer to your question is, it's not so much policy although certain policies can affect change.
It is a feeling of confidence and predictability. And when you don't have that, you have people putting themselves in a position where they don't want to do anything and the economic situation becomes polarized.
MORGAN: What did you make of the Goldman Sachs banker who quit very publicly in the op-ed pages of "the New York Times," and was pretty scathing about the way that Goldman Sachs runs its business. And they obviously have, you know, tried to repudiate some of his comments.
But certainly conveying a sense that they learned nothing since the big crash and that really companies like Goldman Sachs are only focused on making as much money as possible, and have none of that moral capitalist responsibility that you're trying to bring to Starbucks.
SCHULTZ: Well, I think, you know, Goldman Sachs over the last number of years has been the gold standard for what an investment bank has stood for. Now their core purpose and reason for being, as I understand it, has been an enterprise that is in business to make a significant profit.
The question I think is can you make a profit at that level with so much -- where so much money is at stake, and still have a culture that is benevolent, that is sensitive and is doing the right thing? And I would suggest you can.
I think, you know, what happened in terms of the op-ed piece was obviously a personal indictment on the company. And he obviously had information and insight that he wanted to share with the public. I don't know whether that's accurate or not or whether it's fair.
What I can tell you is that I don't believe if you're in the investment banking business or you're in the coffee business that you can sustain an enterprise in which the culture is based on one singular thing, and that is making money. Over time, it becomes a very shallow goal. And I think people are not going to be attracted to that over the long term, even an investment banker.
I think you saw that. I think that more and more companies must recognize that success is best when it's shared and you have to achieve the balance between profitability and doing the right thing.
Again, I don't want to sit here and say we're perfect, because we're not. We have issues. And we're going to make mistakes. But I think we're trying and we've tried over 40 years to build a kind of company that has a large reservoir of trust. And our financial results, which we share with our shareholders today, and the success that we've had is in large part not only because of the value we have created for our shareholders, but because of the values that we've had inside the company for 41 years.
MORGAN: Howard, I completely salute you for what you're doing at Starbucks. I think it's exactly what more American companies should be doing. I urge Apple and the others to listen to what you're saying and to explore this novel concept to moral capitalism, because I suspect that is the way America needs to go and go fast.
I'm going to go and reward you by going to Starbucks now, and buying myself a Skinny Latte. So, Howard Schultz, you have got yourself a new consumer with me for tonight. I think many more will also reward you for your investment in American jobs made in America. Thank you very much for joining me.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Piers. Take care. Thank you.
MORGAN: Howard Schultz from Starbucks.
Next, director, actor and write Kevin Smith on life and politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about you, Kev? What is your ultimate superpower that you choose?
KEVIN SMITH, DIRECTOR/ACTOR: If I had to one, it's not one that is very sexy, patience. Super patience, ultimate patience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is the closest hero that has that power?
SMITH: I go for the original choice. Rather than like who can I look at? I go, no, what hasn't been done. For me, having ultimate patience, they haven't done that character yet, the guy that can just out-wait anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Clip there from AMC's "Comic Book Men" with Kevin Smith. You know him as an indie film icon, comedian, producer, director. He also has a new book out, and to respect your delicate sensibilities, let's just use the subtitle, "Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who did Good."
And the fat, lazy slob who did good joins me now. Kevin, welcome back.
SMITH: How you are, sir? Pleasure.
MORGAN: You are not either fat or lazy.
SMITH: Yes, I am.
I'll be honest with you. First title of the book to do on TV, I've been saying "Tough Smith." I use my name as a euphemism, because most critics do that anyway. Smith is equated with that S word in the world of cinema. So I find that is a healthy substitution on TV.
I just got back from -- two weeks ago me and Muse went way -- I was going to say east. We went way east. We went out to the U.K.
MORGAN: That is east.
SMITH: That's very east. To do our podcast show (INAUDIBLE). We did London, Manchester, Dublin two nights in a row, Edinburgh, sold out shows. It was wonderful.
When I'm over there for nine days, what I discover the traditional English breakfast, the bacon buddy. I start living on them. Start doing three a day. So I came back with 10, 15 more pounds. And it is sitting right here.
And then they were like hey, you have to go on TV. I'm like, no, I haven't lost the bacon buddy yet. So that's why I'm a little self conscious of doing this stuff. I saw somebody else --
MORGAN: What I like was the way that you --
SMITH: Immediately dropped the chair.
MORGAN: -- unlike every guest who comes in and raises their chair up, you lowered it.
SMITH: Every guest that you have on, they're probably in shape, so they want to show it off. Me, I'm like let me get my gut below the table, so we can conduct this interview.
MORGAN: Let's talk some news, because you are always provocative on this kind of thing. The thing that is happening tonight which is interesting is this march for Trayvon Martin, this young black boy who got shot dead in the streets of Florida.
I've going to say, you talked about the U.K. a little bit. I find this absolutely shocking that this can happen in a civilized country, someone can just take a gun out, shoot this young kid --
SMITH: Wait, and record it.
MORGAN: And record. And under this weird 2005 law, protect shooters who claim defense -- self-defense in a wide range of places, including a street or a bar. I mean, this has given this guy absolute carte blanche to say, hey, the guy was threatening my life. There is not a shred of evidence that Trayvon Martin was threatening anybody's life.
SMITH: Absolutely senseless, man.
MORGAN: But the fascinating aspect of the Trayvon Martin story to me is not just the horrific death. That is -- you know, there are lots of homicides in America. It is the way the justice system is now behaving in relation to the guy who pulled the trigger.
MORGAN: Because all the emphasis seems to be that there is no evidence this man didn't act in self-defense. So, therefore, the assumption must be that we believe him and that he did. What about the rights of the guy he's killed?
SMITH: I don't know, but --
MORGAN: What about Trayvon Martin's rights?
SMITH: You're a parent. I'm a parent. When you read that story, as I did in the paper that morning, about the parents, his parents, Trayvon's parents, when they sat down to listen to the recording. They talk about how his mother can't even make it through the recording because it turns out the screaming of the person in the background is their child dying.
They talk about the father making it to the end of the recording and he was a mess, just in tears. You don't even have to be a parent to sit there and be like, there is a grave miscarriage of justice going on right now that nobody has been brought up on charges, man.
You have a shooter. You have a death. Something has to happen here. You can't just be like it's OK.
MORGAN: It's outrageous.
SMITH: Maybe it's the south in this country. I'm not quite sure. You know how we feel about our guns here and you know we go out of our way to protect people and their rights to have guns.
MORGAN: I hear all this, the Constitution, the right to bear arms. It doesn't give you the right to kill young kids in the street.
SMITH: Absolutely. You can't just shoot people in this country because you're like, they look like they're up to no good.
MORGAN: Ironically, for legal reasons, I have to state that, of course, it may well be there is evidence that comes out and we don't know the whole story. Let's just say I'm skeptical.
MORGAN: What does it say about America, this story, do you think?
SMITH: The people that get guns probably shouldn't have them, you know? Every time -- look, I'll be fair. Everyone hat says, hey, man, of course you're going to hear about this case. This is extreme. What about the millions of gun owners that don't go out and shoot people, of course.
But hey, man, if it happens to one person, in this instance, if a kid gets killed, then maybe we have to look at it a little closely. And maybe that law particularly, maybe we shouldn't protect the shooter as much as like is there fault? Was this dude physically threatened truly? Didn't sound like it.
MORGAN: And I can't understand why he hasn't been arrested yet. I just don't get it.
SMITH: Be the parents where you're just like -- every morning you wake up, your son is gone forever. And still nobody's gone like, the one thing is not going to bring him back, but at least salve the wound a little bit is some justice. And they're not getting it. In a country that's founded on justice, they're not getting any justice.
MORGAN: Would it be different if this was a black shooter and a young white boy who had been killed?
SMITH: Probably, of course. Of course. People would be demanding more blood. I mean, look, they're taking to walking. People are doing the marches and what not to try to raise awareness and bring attention to this case, that should have been already, you know, working on, in progress or prosecuted or in the process of being prosecuted.
Arrests should have been made, whatever. People are having to march to call attention to it now. That's kind of sad. But at least somebody's calling attention to it. And hopefully some justice will be done in the next, oh, I don't know, week, which is sad to say. This happened how many days snag.
MORGAN: How hard can it to be arrest a guy given what we know? Anyway, let's have a break and come back and talk GOP.
MORGAN: I want to get your -- I think you have described them as comic gold, the GOP race. Let's discuss a bit of that and also your fascinating book and what it says about fatherhood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: I remember thinking, oh, my God, in this world, where even a good man like my old man is going to die screaming, there is no point in not trying to achieve every (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dream that I have. This is my eventual end. One day, that's it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Kevin Smith talking about the loss of his father in the recent standup show "Burn In Hell." Kevin is back with me.
Talking about burning of hell, what do you make of the -- the GOP race at the moment, particularly given the extraordinary obsession with social issues, religious issues? You're an Irish Catholic like me.
SMITH: Absolutely. And both GOP candidates -- every GOP candidate, they usually go to morals and stuff like that. They have to be smart enough to know that there are some things can you can't go after, some things you can't.
My personal opinion, Santorum lost the moment he was like, I'm going after pornography. Because for a lot of us, we're like, buddy, that's all I got. All I want to do is get home from work, look at some naked pictures.
When the government tells you we might take away naked pictures, people get uptight. So I think he just kind of handed it over to Mitt Romney with that.
I mean, I'm -- look, I'm not a GOP guy. Naturally, I'll probably be voting for Barack Obama again. But I enjoyed the play "Book of Mormons" so much that I might give Mitt Romney a second consideration.
MORGAN: Just because you like the play.
SMITH: The play was that good. It's the thing you see where you go, like, I give up, because nothing will ever be better than this. Then the next morning, you go like, wait, it inspired me to try harder. It is so, so funny, so brilliant, so perfect.
One of the most perfect things ever created by human beings on this planet.
MORGAN: What do you think of the whole debate raging about issues like gay marriage? Because, obviously, eight states now in America have sanctioned it legally. And, yet you still have, as I had with Kirk Cameron who came on my show -- and it all blew up and he's still banging about it this week, saying that --
MORGAN: He made a documentary full of religious beliefs, but didn't want me asking him about his religious beliefs.
SMITH: He's like, I'm not selling that now. I'm selling this now.
MORGAN: My argument to him was, look --
SMITH: If you believe it on Tuesday, you have to believe it on Thursday.
MORGAN: Not only that, I don't actually object to him having religious principles. That's fine. I'm a Catholic myself, as you are. I object to the language that some of these religious people use against homosexuals. You know, when they start talking about, it's -- it's destructive to civilization and all that kind of thing, it's just deliberately inflammatory, bordering on bigotry.
SMITH: It's just the most recent target. Like if you go back in history and read how almost every religion, I can't think of one, perhaps without the Wickens, how they treat women, not just in this country, but in every country. They always find somebody to demonize and be like, there's the other, the one we should all be afraid of. This is the moral barometer by which you should live your life. Don't be that.
And sometimes you get demonized just because of your gender. And sometimes you get demonized just because you want to sleep with the same gender. But they always politicize. They always use -- I mean, it's a shame. My brother is gay. He's been married -- coming up on 20 years to the same guy, which is like 60 years in the straight community. It's so long.
He stayed out of it. All this time, every time I ask him about his opinion, he goes to church still every Sunday, my brother Donald. I go, why do you keep going to an organization that just doesn't want you, that wants no part of you? He's like, because "F" them. He's like, it makes me feel good to go.
So I don't care about the politics. I know they try and use my relationship. He got married to his husband. It ain't legal or something like that. He did it in Jersey years ago. But to him, he's like, I don't care about legal. It's in my heart. It's how we feel.
So it's a shame. Like I know my brother, he is a great guy, goes to church, doesn't screw anybody over. And yet he has still got some religious yahoos and politicos over to the side going change your ways or you're going to hell. Stay out of my brother's bedroom, buddy.
Like I don't know what else to tell you. He's a good dude, as are most people in this world. When political figures and religious figures get involved in the bedroom and start wondering what you're doing behind the closed door, it's just you know it is going to swing back on them.
How many times has it happened where these people who go extremely left -- or right, rather, suddenly you find out like are hiding something? It always makes you suspicious when somebody is like, we have to get rid of porn in this country. Because it's almost the next sentence should be, because I've got a real problem with it, man, I can't put it down. So I need the government to take it away from me, so I can be president. It seems weird.
MORGAN: Let's talk about your book very briefly. It's very funny, but also very moving in parts. I particularly like -- we saw a clip of you talking about your father who died. But there's an essay written by your young daughter about you.
MORGAN: It is very moving.
SMITH: And I exploited it by putting it right in the book.
MORGAN: You did. You shamelessly exploited it. Tell me how you felt when you read that essay.
SMITH: I cried. It was Christmas Morning, man. You know, kids are wonderful because they're not like -- it wasn't an O'Henry story, where she was like, this is all I could afford. But she had gotten me a gift with my wife and also with my in laws.
But she's like I have something for you too. She gave me an envelope, pulled it out. And it was this essay that she had written, which we included in the book, which essentially amounts to a review of me as a parent. And you know, I'm used to reading reviews of my work. And I'm used to reading a lot of negative reviews of my work and what not.
It was so beautiful to read a review of me as a human being through her perspective. I wanted to put it in the book because she's a tween right now. She's 12. I just wanted to immortalize it, because I'm like, in two years, you're probably not going to feel this way. You're probably going to be like, I hate you so much, fat man! I wish you threw you out of that plane.
But right now, it's this really beautiful love letter, where you feel like I did something good as parent. Like I have never been the primary caregiver. That's my wife. She built a perfect little baby woman, who grew up into a sense of having herself and whatnot, wasn't pushed around by society. None of here terms dictated to her and whatnot.
I come in handy now. I have been telling my wife this for years. I was like you got her. She thought my wife owned the Moon, worshipped Jennifer forever. But I was like, when she gets to be about mid-teenage years, I think she's going to lean toward my way, because I've got the cool job. No two ways about it. So right now, she kind of likes my world very much, because like, you know -- she's like I would like to meet the kids from "Teen Wolf." I'm like, we can have them over to the house on the radio show. And so -- and now she's getting interested in the world of acting. And all this time, you're like, oh, man, I don't want you to be in that weird business.
But she has such a good head on her shoulders, such a good heart. When I read that piece, I was like she'll be fine forever. My wife did an amazing job putting her together. And I'm just so glad that she's into writing.
I keep encouraging her. I'm like -- she likes to watch shows like every other teen. I'm look, man, you can watch "iCarly," which is so fun, or you can write "iCarly," which is way more fun.
MORGAN: She should definitely right, because that was -- it was a great essay. Kevin, as always with you, I always want to keep going. The clock has run us down. Come back soon.
SMITH: In a heartbeat.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
SMITH: Good to see you, sir.
MORGAN: Coming up next, Only in America, 140 characters that have quite literally changed the world and definitely changed my world. Six years of Twitter.
MORGAN: For tonight's Only in America, happy birthday, Twitter. It was six years ago today when the social network site's brilliant young creator from Missouri, Jack Dorsey, Tweeted the very first message. It read, "just setting up my TWTTR," which, of course, was just the kind of shocking bad spelling that I abhor on this medium.
It was sent at precisely 4:50 p.m. on March 21st, 2006. And to give you some idea just how popular it's become in the past 24 hours, there have been 340 million Tweets sent among the 200 million registered users. In a maximum of 140 characters, people anywhere can communicate with each other instantly and in real time about anything they want.
It's used by astronauts in orbit, explorers deep under water and even presidents. Barack Obama turned to Twitter when he made history as the first African-American occupant of the White House.
But Twitter hasn't just connected the world. It's changed the world too. It played a key world in the Arab Spring uprisings, used by protesters to organize and spread awareness of their plight around the globe. Happened in Libya, Egypt, Yemen. It's happening right now in Syria.
Twitter was also instrumental during the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, when doctors Tweeted warnings that saved maybe thousands of lives.
And of course, Twitter had become a great haven for celebrities, the good and bad and sometimes just down right weird. Lindsay Lohan Tweeting on her way to jail. Charlie Sheen attracted one million followers in a single day just by "Winning, duh."
Lady Gaga recently became the most popular human being on Twitter in the world, with 20 million of us apparently hanging on her every Tweet.
But Twitter can also derail careers, as Anthony Weiner and his intimate photographic skills can attest. As for me, I confess to finding it a horrifically addictive medium, somewhere to find news, break news, feud with rivals, to explain, to clarify, reveal and to apologize, and even to gloat.
Last week, I passed two million followers on Twitter, an achievement which -- well, let's go honest, it brought me an almost pitiful amount of excitement and pride.
I've no idea who most of my followers are, but I thank you all collectively for keeping me entertained with your advice, your abuse, your critiques, your human.
As for Jack Dorsey and his founding colleagues, I say this, the American dream was built on young people like you having a simple, yet ingenious idea and making it so popular that the whole world began demanding it. Like Apple and Starbucks, Twitter is a phenomenal global success story created in the United States of America.
Happy birthday, Twitter. If you're not following me, I suggest you do so now @PiersMorgan.
If you're feeling really mischievous, unfollow Anderson Cooper. That's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.