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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Newt Gingrich; Marion Jones' Rough Journey
Aired May 21, 2012 - 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: Good evening. Our big story tonight, Bain in the neck. The Obama reelection campaign has been slamming Mitt Romney's tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital for two weeks now. Listen to the president today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if the main basis for him suggesting he can do a better job is his track record as the head of a private equity firm, then both the upsides and the downsides are worth examining.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You'd imagine all Democrats would be on board. But it seems someone forgot to tell Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a prominent Obama supporter. He's what he said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR CORY BOOKER (D), NEWARK: This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Booker has since dialed it back a notch, calling the Obama campaign's slams on Bain reasonable. Tonight I'll talk to a man who knows a lot about being reasonable. Newt Gingrich.
Plus an intensely personal and honest interview with fallen hero Marion Jones. Her Olympic triumph and the doping scandal that sent her to prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARION JONES, FORMER OLYMPIC ATHLETE: I realized what laws in prison, in solitary, in particular, that being number one and being Marion Jones meant nothing in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And "Only in America." Remember Robin Gibb with a moving moment that changed his and Hollywood's history.
But we begin tonight with our big story. The battle of Bain Capital. Joining me now a man who has a fascinating view of this campaign, former Republican candidate, Newt Gingrich.
Mr. Speaker, welcome back.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to be with you.
MORGAN: You know, I'm fascinated, gripped in fact, by what you're about to tell me about what you make of the Bain Capital fury, given of course you yourself hammered Mitt Romney in the ground over this. What do you think of what Cory Booker said?
GINGRICH: Well, I think Booker is telling the truth about how the American people feel. I am very surprised that President Obama went down this road for two reasons. First, we found out when we got in a fight with Mitt Romney over this that it didn't work. That people understand free enterprise. People understand realized sometimes you succeed, sometimes you fail. But they refuse to take a one-sided view of it.
I think Governor Perry will tell you that when he tried to use it, it didn't work. When I went head to head with Mitt over it, it didn't work. And I'm a little surprised that Obama is trying it. And I think what Cory Booker is saying was the truth. But there's a deeper reason. How can you be the president with the worst unemployment record since the Great Depression? The longest period of deep unemployment since the 1930s, and pick a fight over job creation?
I mean, there's a point here where this becomes ludicrous. And in effect what Obama is saying is that government investment is smarter than private equity. And if you look at their track record of losing billions of dollars on various solar companies, $2.1 billion on one company alone, you'd have to say Obama is a pretty bad venture capitalist.
And remember, he's doing it with your money. I mean for better or worse, Romney was taking a risk as a private person with private money in the private sector. Obama has been throwing our money as taxpayers away and our children and grandchildren's money in the national debt. I think this is a bad argument for President Obama to be in the middle of.
MORGAN: I must say, Speaker, I am -- I am very touched and moved by your stoic defense of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.
Let's play first of all what Mitt Romney has done today. He's turned around Cory Booker's words as you'd imagine, and turn them into an ad. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you had enough of President Obama's attacks on free enterprise? His own key supporters have. Democrat Mayor Cory Booker of New Jersey.
BOOKER: I have to say from a very personal level, I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even Obama's own supporters have had enough.
BOOKER: It's nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now, first of all, I presume you wouldn't dispute this is pretty damaging for Barack Obama. That one of his top supporters appears to have gone rogue here. And whichever way you try and spin it, what Cory Booker said in terms of it being nauseating and so on was a direct challenge, I think, many people felt, to Barack Obama's position on Bain Capital.
GINGRICH: You know, former congressman Harold Ford, Jr. basically said he agreed with Booker. And here's a practical reason. You're the mayor of Newark. You're right in the shadow of Wall Street. You have lots of jobs coming into your city, lots of investments coming into your city. You don't want to see them turned off by the president's attacks.
And Cory Booker was describing what I think is a very big reality for him as the mayor of Newark that that free enterprise system has been creating jobs, paying taxes, improving his city. And by the way, he is a terrific reform mayor. I mean this is one of the up and coming stars of the Democratic Party. So it's a pretty important split, but also I can report having lived through it, the ad the Romney people just released is effective.
One of the things we discovered we could never make clear an attack on a particular case and Romney's ability to say no, this is about free enterprise. And the average American looked up and said, you know, it's about free enterprise.
MORGAN: Well --
GINGRICH: And it turned out that particular argument simply doesn't work.
MORGAN: Let's take a -- let's take a little trip down memory lane, Mr. Speaker. Let's play a little ensemble of some of your --
MORGAN: -- previous views on Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: He's not a conservative. It's a joke for him to call himself a conservative. It's a "Saturday Night Live" skit. Maybe Governor Romney, in the spirit of openness, should tell us how much money he's made off of how many households that have been foreclosed by his investments.
And if Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain, then I would be glad to then listen to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I could have been listening to President Obama there, couldn't I?
GINGRICH: Right. And that's --
MORGAN: Mr. Speaker --
GINGRICH: But that exactly was the point I made at the very beginning, Piers. Having seen those, you would think that President Obama and Axelrod and others would say gee, that didn't work. And the fact is, objectively, it didn't work.
MORGAN: Yes, but hang on. Hang on. I can't let you get away with this. It may not have worked, but that doesn't mean you didn't believe it. I mean what do you --
GINGRICH: No, I --
MORGAN: Do you actually believe what you said in those attack ads or do you believe what you're now saying to please Mitt Romney?
GINGRICH: No. First of all, what I'm now saying doesn't contradict those ads. I think there are things you can legitimately look at in Bain Capital. I think there are things you can legitimately look at in anybody's record including Mitt Romney's record. But what I'm reporting to you is the question you asked.
I don't think it's politically effective. I think for the president of the United States with the worst unemployment record in modern times to attack a businessman over job creation gets him exactly into a fight that Obama doesn't want to be in the middle of.
We're describing whether or not it's effective as a political question. Is it a legitimate question? Of course it is. Is everything about any candidate out in the open? Of course it is. That's perfectly legitimate.
MORGAN: Do you think -- do you think --
GINGRICH: But it's not effective.
MORGAN: But private equity per se, do you think it's a force for good or a force for bad for the future -- the immediate future of the American economy?
GINGRICH: I think private equity on balance creates far more job than it kills. I think private equity creates a much better future. I think -- look for example at Facebook. Look at the whole rise of Google. Look at the rise of Microsoft. Look at the rise of Apple.
The fact is the free market system -- this always amazes me about left-wingers. You know, the free market system creates more jobs, has raised more people to middle class status. Has given more people a chance to buy a car, a cell phone, a house, an iPad, to have hospital insurance. Go down the list.
MORGAN: How are you going to attack left-wingers for this when President Obama who may well be watching this, I'm sure he does as a matter of course. But if he sees this he's going to think, I know what I'll do, I'll go back to those old Newt Gingrich attack ads about how Bain wrecked people's lives, cost hundreds of jobs, and -- and he'll just start putting them out in the way that Mitt Romney has put out Cory Booker did.
MORGAN: Wouldn't he? I would.
GINGRICH: Sure. And he can. And I'll make two points about it. First of all, a discussion about a particular company or a particular decision is not an attack on the free enterprise system. You asked me about private equity in general. Private equity in general has been a force that is overwhelmingly more effective at creating jobs than any socialist government in history. So if I had to choose between private equity and socialism I would pick private equity every time and countries that use private equity get richer and countries that follow socialism get poorer.
And Obama, frankly, is a pretty good case study of that because his examples of public equity, investing in Solyndra, investing in other failing companies. I mean he's thrown away billions of dollars of taxpayers money because it turns out bureaucrats don't make very good venture capitalists. So let's draw a distinction between a general argument about private equity which is what you asked me about. I think it's perfectly reasonable for the news media, the president, anybody who wants to to look at Bain Capital.
What I'm reporting to you is, having lived through it, it doesn't work very effectively and it sure doesn't work very effectively if you're the president with the worst unemployment record since the Great Depression so --
MORGAN: Well, let's just -- I take your point on that. You've made that a few times. Let's move to your campaign which came to an end obviously a few weeks ago. Apparently from the latest filing you owe $4.8 million. How are you going to pay this off? How does it work?
GINGRICH: Well, you go around and ask a lot of people for help and over time you pay it off. Hillary Clinton, I think, ended her campaign $27 million in debt. She's now down to about $425,000, I think. So you have to go into a lot of fundraising. I had two small events in Georgia over the weekend. We raised some of the money. We have more events scheduled in the near future. Obviously anybody who's watching we'd love to have them go to Newt.org and donate. And then we're very grateful to anybody who does. And we're getting pledges to help us pay it down. It'll take a while but we're going to work at it and keep working at it. And we'll get it all paid off.
MORGAN: Are you hopeful that given your stoic defense of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney might, you know, step in, wave the debt, as a little token of gratitude?
GINGRICH: Look, I would not object to anybody who wants to -- who believes in free enterprise donating to help us pay it off. But I also don't do anything to get that done. I'm happy to take care of my own problems and to work on the campaign. I believe and I've said this aggressively. If your choice is Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, then if you're a conservative you have no choice. You're for Mitt Romney. Period. End of story.
The choice is so decisive that I can't imagine any conservative who is not going to go and vote for Mitt Romney and work for Mitt Romney in October and September because the alternative is so unacceptable if you're a conservative.
MORGAN: Newt Gingrich, it's been a delight having you back. I've missed you. And you're looking in fine form.
GINGRICH: Good to be with you, Piers.
MORGAN: Me, too. Good to see you, Newt Gingrich.
When we come back, is anybody playing fair in this campaign? And should it matter? A top Republican and Democrat face off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me Mitt Romney takes from the poor, the middle class and gives to the rich. He's just the opposite of Robin Hood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The latest Obama campaign video released this morning, stepping up attacks on Mitt Romney and Bain Capital.
Here now to debate our big story is two CNN political contributors, Democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, and Republican consultant, Margaret Hoover.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks.
MORGAN: To you both.
Let me start with you, Hilary. "The opposite of Robin Hood." Is this the Obama strategy, you think?
HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it's certainly one of them. And, you know, first and foremost, President Obama has to campaign on his vision for America going forward. But there's no question that Mitt Romney is kind of walking away from his record as governor of Massachusetts and telling the country that he's going to fix all our problems based on his business experience. So I think the Obama campaign pointing out that business experience is completely fair game.
MORGAN: Yes, but hang on a second. How does it look for someone like Cory Booker who has been one of Obama's staunchest supporters, a leading Democratic figure, a hot rising star as Newt Gingrich put it. For him to turn on Barack Obama in this way. And he definitely did. Whether he tries to back pedal now. I'm a big fan of his, but to say it was nauseating and to really take him on head on on what is clearly going to be one of the big Obama attack weapons against Mitt Romney was a fascinating split, I felt, in the Democratic hierarchy.
What did you make of that?
ROSEN: Well, it was although, you know, I have some empathy for Cory Booker and misspeaking the first time he talked about it. But the --
MORGAN: Well, hang on, hang on, Hilary, Hilary. Hilary, it's me you're talking to.
ROSEN: He did in his video. Yes.
MORGAN: He didn't misspeak, did he?
ROSEN: Well, he explained further in his video what he meant. And here's where I think it comes down. And I don't think actually either one of them are wrong. Both, you know, the Obama campaign or Cory Booker for this fact.
What private equity has done, yes, as a function and the president talked about it today. It is a -- it's an important economic engine in this country. But there's absolutely no question that private equity and its successes have contributed to the disparity and wealth in the country.
MORGAN: OK. Well, let me turn to -- let me turn to Margaret.
ROSEN: And that --
MORGAN: Margaret Hoover -- let me turn to Margaret.
The problem for the Republicans is that while it's great that Cory Booker did what he did, when you see me interview Newt Gingrich you can see there's a certain local issue, isn't there, which is that Newt hammered Mitt Romney exactly on this point week in and week out often on this show, and now has to sit there with a straight face trying not to laugh saying actually, it's all great, I got it completely wrong?
MARGARET HOOVER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, but -- and the truth is, the numbers wore out, Piers. He actually did get it wrong because the Republican primary electorate really lashed back at him. And it didn't pay off for him. So if anything, I think we had a moment of honesty from Newt Gingrich.
MORGAN: Yes, but hang on, the real reason, as everybody knows, actually was a result of good old fashioned capitalism. Mitt Romney had more cash to spend, didn't he, than Newt Gingrich?
HOOVER: It did, but there's -- if you go back --
MORGAN: $4.8 million in debt. Romney is bursting with cash.
MORGAN: You (INAUDIBLE) away.
HOOVER: And when they went into Florida, Mitt Romney trounced him with the fundraising dollars because they already had ads on the air and has had ads up in the air three weeks before him, but Newt Gingrich started those attacks in South Carolina, won South Carolina but got pummeled in Florida by Mitt Romney --
MORGAN: But when Barack Obama --
HOOVER: -- in the conservative intelligencia because of that argument about private equity.
MORGAN: Right. But what is the conservatives --
ROSEN: Yes, but that's not who the appeal is.
HOOVER: Here's --
MORGAN: Hang on a second. What will the conservatives do when -- as I'm sure he's already doing and probably already has started doing, Barack Obama starts preparing all these ads throwing back Newt Gingrich straight in Mitt Romney's face. Bain Capital wrecked people's lives, cost jobs, et cetera, et cetera.
HOOVER: I don't know if you're going to take my advice, Piers, but that would be a terrible tactic because that didn't work with the Republican electorate and it's not going to work with the American electorate if the American electorate is looking for the guy who knows the economy and knows how you have -- what will it take for the government to create an environment where businesses are thriving and succeeding in America.
MORGAN: Hilary --
HOOVER: But here's the real problem.
MORGAN: Let me just ask Hilary one thing. On that point as whether it's a mistake for Barack Obama to do that, I wouldn't think he'll see it as a mistake. He'll see it as a -- as a golden age opportunity to take the heat off Cory Booker. He'll say look, hang on, look what Newt Gingrich said.
ROSEN: Well, Margaret's right. It backfired with the conservative intelligencia. But that's not the target in the general election. The target in the general election is this wide swath of independents who do not feel that the current system is on their side. And they're looking for politicians who understand what they're going through and can -- and are thinking in the big picture about how to make their lives better.
And the point that I'm making about private equity isn't a damning indictment of private equity as President Obama explained today.
MORGAN: Hilary, let me let Margaret have the last word.
HOOVER: I mean this is the real point about this argument and this is what's so shocking about it. The private equity argument was introduced into the debate as a character assassination against Mitt Romney. He's the guy who made these poor workers lose their jobs because of this terrible vulture capitalist part of the system that he -- that he participated in. And now Democrats --
MORGAN: Yes, OK.
HOOVER: Uniformly across the board --
MORGAN: I hear you.
HOOVER: -- are going to walk back their argument to qualify that.
MORGAN: Here's the bottom line then. The bottom line surely is it doesn't actually matter. The bottom line of that part of equity is some of it is good, some of it is bad. What matters is Cory Booker taking on Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich set (INAUDIBLE) what he said a few weeks ago. That's what's fascinating.
Thank you both very much, Hilary Rosen, Margaret Hoover.
(CROSSTALK) MORGAN: Back to debate this over the next few days. Have no fear.
Coming up, from Olympic hero to inmate. Marion Jones talks over about the doping scandal that cost her her medals to time behind bars. And how she's rebuilding her life. It's a very emotional interview.
MORGAN: With London gearing up for the summer Olympics in 10 weeks, organizers are vowing to make these the cleanest games ever. Well, one person who knows just how difficult that anti-doping effort will be is disgraced Olympic golden girl Marion Jones. She won five medals at the 2000 games in Sydney, only to lose them all in the wake of a steroid scandal that put her behind bars in 2008. This is her first primetime interview since she came out of prison.
JONES: Thank you. Thank you.
MORGAN: Does that sound weird to you even now? Even having your name associated with the word prison? It does to me because I remember the Sydney Olympics. You running like the wind. This incredible athlete. And you were just so inspiring and brilliant. And when I have to even read those words, I feel bad. You know? Never mind how you must feel.
JONES: Yes. Gosh, how do you even put it into words. It has been now, you know, three years since I left prison, and it's still not easy to comprehend. I search for the right adjective to describe, you know, who -- I certainly never would have thought 10 years ago that my life would have taken the turn that it had. And that it has. And so, yes, it's still hard when people describe my history and my situation.
It seems like it's somebody else. Like you're not talking about me. You're talking about to some other person.
MORGAN: Well, there's such an extreme that you've had to endure. You've gone from champion, Olympic champion, multiple Olympic champion, to felon. And the gap between those two positions in the public estimation, I guess in your own estimation is just so massive, isn't it?
JONES: I think people don't really -- it's hard for people to grasp the -- everything that happened. I think when people saw me on television and then they meet me, they're like how in the world can this all happen? But what I try and tell people is that, you know, anybody can make a mistake. And certainly mine was massive. And it was in the public eye. And I've been blessed with this ability to really communicate and connect with people. And so people feel like they know me.
And so when they have to talk about the situation, it's hard for them. Like when I travel, I'll be honest. When I travel people come up to me and they say, I just want to give you a hug. You know, we feel bad for you. They don't know why, but they feel bad for me. And so the journey has been a rough one. But I am happy to say that I'm finally at a place where I'm at peace, if I can -- if you understand that. I made some horrible choices in my past.
MORGAN: What was -- what was the single worst moment for you of the whole thing? When you look back.
JONES: The single worst moment was sitting in solitary confinement on my boys' birthdays and not getting a chance to talk to them or hold them or hug them. And knowing -- not -- people might be surprised by that. It wasn't having to give back my medals. It wasn't the scandal. It wasn't all that. It was not -- it was, I think, disappointing the ones that loved me and cared for me and supported me and cheered me on knowing that I hurt them. That, to me, was the single -- and it's what I deal with every day. That doesn't go away. And, you know, I --
MORGAN: How have you dealt with that? You have two kids. They were pretty --
JONES: At that time.
MORGAN: They were pretty young, right, at the time.
JONES: And one was turning one and one was turning four.
MORGAN: Right. I mean too young to really understand. So -- I mean even now are they aware of what happened to you?
JONES: No, they're not aware. We've been pretty open with my oldest who's 8 years old. Sharing with him certain things. But they have -- they don't really understand. We plan to certainly be -- when we feel that they're ready, share certain things with them and share the story with them. But in my household, we teach our kids that we all make mistakes. Like mommy makes mistakes. I'm not -- and I'm not an exception. But it's what you do after the mistake.
You know, do you try and cover it up? You know I made the unfortunate choice to try and cover it up, and I made things a lot worse. Do you cover it up and then get mom and dad really upset with you or do you come and tell us what you did, we deal with it and we move on? And so when I talk with young people now, that's what I tell them. Hey, you're going to make a mistake. Be prepared. But do the right thing afterwards.
MORGAN: I guess my attitude towards it -- I've never met you before today, it's probably like most people's, is that having shared your dream and this amazing Olympic games you had, and then the terrible disappointment to find that, you know, for want of a better phrase, you cheated in some way.
What I'm curious about is what your emotional journey has been with yourself through that process. Just tell me.
JONES: Wow. It has been a complete 360. You know I certainly think that I got caught in a wave. That's how I describe all this. I got caught up in the wave of fame and fortune and people telling me, patting me on the back and telling me how great I was. And ignoring red flags, you know?
MORGAN: How intoxicating is it? If you're the -- you know, when I watch Usain Bolt now, he's so sublimely arrogant. He does the big bolt, you know, and he's also this incredible athlete. And you know he's loving every second. But, you know that, in itself, can be dangerous.
MORGAN: You've been in that position. How intoxicating is that?
JONES: Incredibly. Incredibly. The -- the mistake that it made is that I surround myself with people that would only pat me on the back and tell me that everything that I was doing and saying was right. I distanced myself from people who would give it to me straight.
Like for example, my relationship with my mom, the one person who was going to give it to me straight, I knew that she would, so you know what? I distanced myself, you know. And...
MORGAN: Because you didn't want to hear it?
JONES: Right. You didn't want to hear it. You don't really want to hear that things don't look right. You know, you want to go with the wave. And it's a big mistake that I made. I tell young people, hey, you know, when you get advice from people, make sure it's people that's going to give it to you straight.
MORGAN: I mean, you were how old when you won those -- those medals? Twenty-three?
JONES: Yes, I mean, but even -- even before then, at the age of 15, I made my first Olympic team, you know. And -- and you realize that when you're number one, more people want to talk to you. When you're number one, you make more money and you become important. And that's who you become.
And I realized what -- while I was in prison, in solitary in particular, that being number one and being Marion Jones meant nothing in there.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean --
JONES: You know?
MORGAN: -- it's -- it's the reality check --
JONES: It -- it's extremely...
MORGAN: -- of all reality checks.
JONES: Can I -- can I -- it's an understatement to say it was a humbling experience. But in -- in the same breathe, I have to say that it was a blessing. It was a blessing for me
MORGAN: What did you learn about yourself?
JONES: Well, I -- I -- I realized that -- that my priorities were totally out of whack and that -- that I had to figure out who I was, not Marion Jones, the superstar athlete, the pretty smile, the charm and all that.
Who am I? Why did I make certain choices?
And now, more importantly, now how would I move forward?
You know, it forced me to figure out, I made some bad choices, but it's not over. Things can and will get better if I not -- if I don't just sit on my tail.
MORGAN: I mean although it's been a catastrophic episode for you the last few years, listening to you, in a funny way, finding yourself might be something you never did if you had just carried on being --
MORGAN: -- Marion Jones superstar.
JONES: You're so right. I -- I'm -- I -- I can agree with you 100 percent that it wouldn't have happened. It wouldn't have happened. And -- and I possibly could have gotten caught up in the wave that took me so far out that I couldn't -- couldn't get back.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break.
MORGAN: I want to come back and talk to you about when you were on the crest of the wave and what happened when that wave broke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And so it is with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. I want you to know that I have been dishonest. And you have the right to be angry with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: An emotional Marion Jones in 2007, admitting to steroid use.
And she's back with me now.
I mean, that was some moment. And yet, in itself, it must have been cathartic to finally be able to say, OK, hands up, America, I cheated.
Appalling painful though it is, that's the beginning of the moving on process, isn't it?
JONES: It was. And it is. Every time I have to speak about it, it is a form of healing. And you get to a point -- and I think a lot of people can relate to this. When you carry such a burden for so long, whatever it might be, a lie, a -- a secret, when you're finally able to let it all out, regardless of what the consequences may be -- and in my case, they were certainly severe. And we knew that they were going to be, not as severe as they were.
But it's, you know, a total relief. And I knew that I couldn't carry it any longer. You know, I -- I was married. I had a child. I was about to have another one. And I found myself telling my kids, telling my oldest son, you know, when you do certain things, you make a mistake, you move on. But then I'd turn around and I wasn't living it. I was living -- I was being a hypocrite.
And when you have kids, as you know, things become a lot clearer in your life. And you realize that everything you say and do can affect them. And in my case, everything you don't do or say. And I couldn't live with that. I love my kids too much for that.
MORGAN: How difficult was the conversation with your mother when you had to finally have it --
MORGAN: -- and look her in the eye and say, it's true?
JONES: Oh, extremely painful, because, you know, she was and still is my biggest support. And to know that you let down somebody who loves you regardless, who loves me and loves me regardless of the fact that I turned my back, you know, was hard. It was hard.
MORGAN: Did you turn to her, having rejected her in the way that you said you did -- what was the moment you turned back to her?
JONES: Not too long after I -- after I pled guilty. And you know it was simple. It wasn't anything very complicated, just a simple embrace and the whispered sound of my mom saying, I love you no matter what. So it was hard, painful and -- and even when I still talk to her and I see her -- and my family and my close friends, you know, I feel this sense of -- of guilt for -- for disappointing them.
MORGAN: Because your mother, I guess, had lived the great highs?
MORGAN: And had been, I guess, like any mother would be, your daughter is this supreme Olympic champion. It's the American dream at its finest.
MORGAN: And then it becomes a total nightmare.
JONES: Um-hmm. And -- and as a mom, it's tough, because she can't really do anything about it. You know, that's -- I'm her baby. And her baby is an adult and makes certain choices. And all she can do from a distance is pray and -- and -- and love on -- love on me as -- as much as she can. But she can't do anything about it.
And so I can only imagine, as a mother myself, that feeling.
MORGAN: Was she angry with you?
JONES: No. No. I mean I think throughout the journey and throughout everything, there were moments that she was angry, because she could see me making poor choices and would share with me and -- and that's, I think, why I started to become more and more --
MORGAN: What was the most angry she got with you?
What was the poorest choice your mother thinks you ever made?
JONES: Well, certainly my decision in men.
JONES: My relationships.
MORGAN: It's not been great.
JONES: It hasn't. It hasn't. But third time is a charm. The third time is a charm.
MORGAN: Why were you attracted to the bad guys?
JONES: I don't know, I think I saw -- I saw something in them that perhaps I was lacking in my childhood. As I mentioned, my mom was a single mom. And -- and so my biological father was never part of my life.
MORGAN: Do you have any relationship with him at all?
JONES: No. No.
MORGAN: So you -- you were craving a kind of father substitute, possibly?
JONES: Possibly. Possibly. I -- I -- yes, I -- I think that that's safe to say, yes.
MORGAN: Is he still alive, your biological father?
JONES: No, he's passed. He's passed.
MORGAN: Did you have any feelings about that when you heard?
JONES: I did. I was -- it was a very emotional time for me, simply because I got a call from a friend of his saying that he had passed. And I hadn't -- he hadn't been in contact with me for 15 years. And then this friend tells me that, but he kept -- he kept an album of all of my accomplishments.
And I went to the funeral and I sat on the front row of the church and -- because I was the only -- his only offspring. But yet I saw young people getting up speaking about him, saying he was such a father to them. And -- and I couldn't say that.
And so it was just really, really -- it was really, really difficult for me to deal with all that. And -- and -- now so I'm not saying that's the reason the poor choices in relationships, but possibly it contributed.
MORGAN: Not -- but not having a strong male presence in your life and all the pressure on your mom to bring you up and everything, it can't help, can it?
MORGAN: I mean it's just not going to help.
JONES: No. And -- and I -- I certainly know that, from a young age, we realized that I was this -- blessed with so much talent. And from an early age, even my mom has shared this with me -- and she likes to call them the pariahs started coming out of the woodwork when they saw that there was this golden ticket in me.
And she's a single mom and so they -- they'd come out of nowhere and -- and -- and say things.
MORGAN: I mean it's like a shark pool, isn't it?
MORGAN: You know, you are the best bait in town.
MORGAN: And it's the shark pool.
MORGAN: And they're all nibbling. They all want a piece of the action.
JONES: Yes. And it's -- and it's easy to protect when the -- when the child is at home. But by the time the child is old enough and go off to college, how much protecting can you do?
MORGAN: Let's take another break.
I want to come back and talk to you about the moment the door shuts in prison on that first night, how you were feeling.
And then I want to go to happier times.
Can we get there quick, please?
MORGAN: We can get there reasonably quick.
JONES: OK. All right.
MORGAN: Marion Jones is back with me now Take me back to that night. Your husband drives you, in 2008, to this prison. And you get dropped off and you walk in and they take you to a cell and the door shuts.
MORGAN: What are you thinking?
JONES: Like how did this happen?
How in the world is my worse nightmare actually happening?
MORGAN: And you'd gone from 80,000 dollars a race?
MORGAN: I don't know what that is per inch, but it's a lot, right?
MORGAN: And then suddenly you're in this tiny cell. You're a felon.
JONES: Well, I think to put things in perspective, when I was a child, I used to always want so bad for my name to be written in the paper, for my accomplishments, of course. And -- and my reality now is sometimes I don't want it written in the paper.
And sometimes it's tough being a celebrity. Because when I walked in the prison, unlike most people that go to prison -- I'll tell you, because I don't think you have any history of that. Most people go unknown.
I walked in and everybody knew who I was. There were helicopters circling. There were photographers trying to jump the fence to get that picture. I walked past the TV room where the inmates watched television and my story is being played.
I was there for almost six months. And there were nights that were extremely hard, missing my family.
MORGAN: Your kids went to stay with your family in Barbados, right?
MORGAN: So they were protected, in a sense, I guess.
MORGAN: But you weren't. I mean you're on your own there.
JONES: Right. And -- and I think some of these women would come up and they had been in there 10, 15 years and hadn't had a visit, a letter from a family member. And so at night, when I would sometimes -- I would cry. I'd just be in this deep, deep place, I'd say you know what, Marion, what -- why are you -- why are you acting like this when the woman down the hall has been here over a decade and she has no family that's interested in her?
If she can wake up every day with this sense of hope and faith, I can certainly do it.
MORGAN: Do you think if you hadn't taken...
MORGAN: -- any enhancing...
JONES: I would have --
MORGAN: Would you have still won the gold?
JONES: Yes. Yes.
MORGAN: Because that must be the greatest frustration --
JONES: It is.
MORGAN: . Because you would still have been a supreme athlete.
JONES: It is.
MORGAN: And you were so way far ahead of everybody else.
JONES: From -- from --
MORGAN: You didn't need to do this.
JONES: From early on -- from early on, from the age of 14 is when I made my first Olympic team. And -- and to me, the -- the biggest issue was -- was not asking certain questions and not asking the coach, well, what are you giving me, why, why, all this?
You know, I -- I certainly felt and -- and will feel to this day, that my God-given ability would have --
MORGAN: Can I play Devil's Advocate with you?
MORGAN: Because I watched the "Oprah" interview when you came out. And just the one jarring note with me was you appeared to be in some slight denial about ever knowing anything might be slightly dodgy.
And I don't think people bought that. I think they thought, come on, Marion, you knew, even if you weren't asking questions, you knew enough about what was going on. Your husband at the time was -- you know, he was caught. Everyone was getting -- you knew something was going on.
Was it more a case of I'm not going to ask any questions here, but in the back of my head, this is a dangerous situation I'm in? Is that the honest truth?
JONES: No. I -- I'm not going to agree with you in that regard. I think that because I know I had -- you know, people would say, well, you had to have known something was going on because you were -- you were just beating people by so much. You were just annihilating people.
But to me, that's what I've been doing ever since I was young. It's -- this is nothing -- nothing happened during that time to tell me that I was giving -- been -- had been given something that was going to make me that much better.
You know, when I was sentenced, the judge said certain things during the two hour proceeding, saying that, you know, a top caliber athlete has to know, has to know certain changes in their body. And I had to sit there, of course. And I had to listen.
But the reality in my world and in my life was I didn't see any changes. I didn't see -- I didn't see any changes that would have alerted me to certain things.
And -- and, yes, I should have asked more questions. But I trusted my circle. You know, I -- I surrounded myself with -- I was in this bubble. And I felt in my heart, you know, these people, they're not going to do anything to harm me.
MORGAN: The president of the International Association of Athletic Federations said in a statement, "Marion Jones will be remembered as one of the biggest frauds in sporting history."
I mean that was an incredibly harsh thing for him to say, but many people agreed with him at the time. You were forced to hand back the medals.
That moment, when you hand back the medals and you hear this guy say that about you and that is how you're being branded to America, how did that make you feel?
JONES: Well, I didn't -- it -- it was tough to hand back the medals, certainly. But I think that a lot of people overestimate the hardware, I'll be honest. To me, it's the memory.
MORGAN: When the Olympics start this summer, how -- how will your emotions be dealing with that?
I mean do you -- are you able to -- to deal with it in a measured way now --
MORGAN: -- or you still get that awful sense of...
MORGAN: -- what might have been?
JONES: No, not at all. Not at all. It's -- it's -- I have good memories from my Olympic experience. And I'm a fan of sport. I'm passionate for sport. I sit in front of the television with my kids. We cheer on. We have our favorites. It's not a time that I -- is a somber time for me.
MORGAN: And to any young American athlete who is in the squad, who may be either abusing drugs --
JONES: Or is tempted?
MORGAN: -- keeping it secret or is tempted to or believes it's the only way they can win a gold medal --
MORGAN: -- there's nobody better to ask, what -- what advice would you give them?
JONES: First of all, think about the consequences of your choices. You know, before they make those type of decisions, take a step back. And I developed this message of take the break, take the break before you --
MORGAN: I was going to ask you...
MORGAN: -- about that, finally. Because this is something you're very involved with.
MORGAN: And it's -- it's educating young kids, I guess, who may get a break, about how to take it.
JONES: Yes. Well, the big part is, is that -- and it's not just young people, anybody. You see all the time in the news CEOs of companies who make a wrong choice. And if they had just taken a break, if they had just taken a step back and thought about all of this, got proper advice from people who will give it to them straight, not people who will just pat them on the back, if they just take a break and really think about the consequences of their choices, then they'll be able to make better choices in their own lives.
MORGAN: Fortunately, Marion, I've never made a mistake in my life. JONES: No, of course not.
MORGAN: So this clearly doesn't apply to me, but --
MORGAN: -- it's certain -- it's been fascinating talking to you.
JONES: Oh, thank you.
MORGAN: I've really enjoyed it.
JONES: It's nice meeting you.
MORGAN: In the weeks leading up to the Olympics, I'll interview some of the top members of America's team, including Michael Phelps.
And coming up, Only in America, my tribute to Robin Gibb, how he made Hollywood history.
MORGAN: Tonight's Only in America is a tribute to a singer/songwriter born in Britain, raised in Australia, but who with his brothers became one of the most successful global acts ever, and whose music was responsible for one of the most American moments in the history of cinema. Robin Gibb died on Sunday at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer. He was, of course, one third of the Bee Gees, along with brothers Morris and Barry Gibb.
They sold over 200 million records worldwide, sporting dozens of hits including "Jive Talking," "How Deep is Your Love" and of course this, from the iconic 1977 movie "Saturday Night Fever."
MORGAN: Strutting John Travolta made the whole world dance to that scene. But it was the Bee Gees that made it happen, especially this song "Staying Alive."
MORGAN: The truth about Robin Gibb is although his death has sadly come way too early, his music will surely live on for generations to come. As the man himself told us, when you remember Robin Gibb, you should be dancing.