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Piers Morgan Live

Interview with Phil Donahue; Interview with Jim Talent; Interview with Roxanna and John Green

Aired January 07, 2012 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): Tonight he practically invented talk television. He was Oprah, before Oprah.

PHIL DONAHUE, TV PERSONALITY: Thank you. I am flattered.

MORGAN: Now he's back. The one and only Phil Donahue. He's never been afraid to speak his mind. Tonight I want to know what he thinks about the president.

DONAHUE: He's a liberal. By the way, we're not liberals anymore.

MORGAN: The GOP field.

DONAHUE: This is not the country that my parents raised me to pledge my allegiance to.

MORGAN: And just for the hell of it, how I'm doing?

DONAHUE: You're pretty focused. I enjoy watching you.

DONAHUE: Plus the youngest victim of the shooting that nearly killed Gabby Giffords. Christina Taylor Green was born on 9/11 and died before her 10th birthday. Now her parents tell her heartbreaking story.

I was thinking that it was a nightmare and that I going to wake up and kept pinching myself hoping it wasn't real. It was that horrendous. It was horrible.

MORGAN: Roxanna and John Green.


(On camera): Good evening. I probably wouldn't be doing this job tonight if it wasn't for my guest tonight. In fact, television would be completely different had it not been for Phil Donahue.

The man did an astounding 6,000 shows over more than a quarter of a century. He won nine Emmys and Lifetime Achievement Award, in the process. He pretty much invented the daytime talk show. He's talked to everybody and tonight I'm delighted to say I have the great honor of being the latest person that Phil Donahue talks to. When I said I was interviewing you, extraordinary reaction. I put it on Twitter this morning. You've done one Tweet. Is that right?

DONAHUE: I don't Tweet.

MORGAN: There's a Phil Donahue Twitter site. It has one Tweet.

DONAHUE: That's my secretary's creation. I'm afraid I don't Twitter. I do text. I don't when I'm driving. I've already been stopped for being on the phone.

MORGAN: I got this amazing reaction. The general themes were Mr. America, icon, TV legend. The outpouring of affection for you and respect, real respect, was extraordinary, probably more than almost any other guest I've had. How does that make you feel?

DONAHUE: Very good.

MORGAN: When you look back on this career.

DONAHUE: I've had people come up to me in airports. You know, thank you, Mr. Donahue. I'm Mr. Donahue now. Because of you, I got out of an abusive marriage. Because of your show, I came out to my parents. Because of your show, I learned to speak English. I've heard a lot -- that's more often now. And it's wonderful. I mean, to have had that kind of influence on people's lives.

DONAHUE: Do you miss it? Do you miss the daily connection?

DONAHUE: I don't miss the daily of it, you know, new tie and -- um, you know, it's -- you are don't get to 6,000 shows unless you do it every day and we did. And we were very proud of the fact that we seldom repeated a guest. We always wanted them to wonder what was tomorrow.

MORGAN: Really? So you didn't repeat very often?

DONAHUE: Not at all. Not at all. Very few. Madeline Marie O'Hare was a repeat guest, Ralph Nader. And, we would do, you know, we would do a lot of what you saw later on. We did my husband doesn't kiss me anymore, and kaboom, the phones just smoked. Couldn't get to them fast enough. Shows like that were - OB GYNs were great for us. Women could audit their own doctor, call. This was when the pill was new, and women were complaining about side effects, and bloated vision and all --

MORGAN: What do you think about the way that television has evolved since your daily show stopped?

DONAHUE: Well, you know, it's hard for me to -- I don't want to criticize them because I took a lot of heat. You know, we did -- we brought male strippers to daytime television.

MORGAN: Would you like that to be your epitaph, Phil? DONAHUE: Well, it wasn't my idea. I said where are we going to put the microphone? And these guys came out all pumped, you know? And they started throwing things and the women in the audience were screaming. I have never seen such unbridled elation and excitement and fun that you -- and all the women were there, your baby sister, your grandmother. They were all there, and they just had -- and this was in Boston. And they had the time of their lives. And, boy, oh, boy, didn't they. That was a real good one.

MORGAN: Do you feel given that you were so cutting edge with what you were doing, do you feel like television, like life, it kind of evolves naturally and to be too critical of the next generation's way of doing things almost misses point, in the sense that it goes that way is it.

DONAHUE: It supposed to be different. Yeah.

MORGAN: That it would be strange if you did approve of it all in a sense, wouldn't it?

DONAHUE: Yeah. And we were always -- I mean, we were always different. I mean, we better be because we were visually dull. You know, we had no spinning wheels. And there was a guy on the other station, Monty Hall was giving $5,000 to a woman dressed like a chicken salad sandwich. Come on down! Here I was with two talking heads, you know. And no one in New York or LA could understand this. We had folding chairs, two cameras, no desk, no couch, no band.

DONAHUE: Amazing.

DONAHUE: And what got us here were issues. We knew because we were visually dull and against all those spinning wheels it would be -- the only chance we had would be to book issues that were seldom seen on television. And our first show was Madeline Marie O'Hare, the atheist. We put a gay guy on in 1968, before Stonewall.

MORGAN: Amazing. What was the reaction to that?

DONAHUE: Everybody thought their kids would catch it if they watched it. It's really amazing where we've come with that particular revolution. It's been warp speed.

MORGAN: What was your single favorite show, of them all? If I could I let you do one again tomorrow, what would it be?

DONAHUE: We had a very good program with Mohamed Ali.

MORGAN: Oh, yeah.

DONAHUE: I mean, really, this guy was --

MORGAN: The greatest.

DONAHUE: Oh, he was wonderful. Really.

MORGAN: And for a talk show, nobody is more charismatic. DONAHUE: Well, we fought and he fell down.

MORGAN: Really?

DONAHUE: Yeah. I mean, it was-I got my hands in the air, with the gloves. With a vest and a tie, but he's on the floor on the stage. And really, I wanted it to look real. The tape's out there. I think Oprah used it. And, man, we're going at it. And, you know, I took my life in my hands doing it on one little pop and I'd still be asleep. But he played the game. He knew how to sell tickets.

MORGAN: What was extraordinary about Ali? Was that he managed to combine this incredible talent. He was one of the great boxers in history, but he also had this phenomenal brain, and humor and self- marketing side. Which you just don't get that package, do you, very often?

DONAHUE: Marlo did a book titled "The Right Words, At The Right Time". It asked celebrities to share that moment when somebody said something to them that changed their lives. "The Right Words At The Right Time." And you could write your piece for the book, or you could have it written. And then would you have final cut of whatever somebody else wrote.

I did two. I did Ted Turner and I did Mohamed Ali. He would go to the armory in Louisville, and he went one day and he saw Gorgeous George. And he's sitting there and this guy walks out with the velvet thing and the mink trim, the big cape and the hair, yellow hair going up. And he would say-Ali is sitting there-he would say don't you make fun of this pretty face. I got the prettiest face out there. And people would boo, boo!

And Ali is sitting there, and he's telling me about this. And he said, "I looked around and there were no empty seats." So he learned how to -- he got lucky and he found Howard Cosell as the perfect foil. Each also brought pride and boldness to young black males, you know?

MORGAN: Completely.

DONAHUE: Be proud and, you know, don't be quiet like the white people want you to be. Be yourself. He made his parents nervous. He was a loud mouth kid. And that was so unusual for the time. Black people were supposed to behave.

MORGAN: He was, he was one of the great trailblazers, wasn't he? Fearless. A fearless trailblazer.

DONAHUE: I think he's the athlete of the 20th century. And I also think he should have won the peace prize.

I mean, they stripped him of his - because he wouldn't go to the- I ain't got nothing against no Cong.

MORGAN: Amazing life.

DONAHUE: That took a lot of courage. And I just thought -- and I went to see him to write the piece. He has a ranch in northern Indiana just like 25 minutes from my alma mater, Notre Dame, which is in South Bend, Indiana. And it's just a straight shot to the ranch. So I drove in. I was expected. I had my -- and I parked -- sign said G-O-A-T, GOAT, Greatest Of All Time.

And I walk in, and they have a real ring in here. And it was beautiful. Big windows, you look out on the green, the forest-like surroundings. It was lovely. And the door opens over here and out he comes. And he's coming for me, and he gets about there far and he goes -- I haven't been that flattered in a long time.

MORGAN: He's an amazing guy.

Let's take a little break. When we come back, I want to talk to you about politics. I know that you have a very lively view on politics. I want to know what you think about the GOP race, about president Obama. Who's going to win in November? Let's talk after the break.



RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But the bottom line is I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money. And to provide for themselves and their family.


MORGAN: That was Rick Santorum's tongue tied moment on New Year's Day. Back with me now, might have some strong views on politics, Phil Donahue.

What do you have make of the Rick Santorum surge?

DONAHUE: And one of many. He's -- I saw him commenting on the Straits of Hormuz. He's got both guns out. He is already angry. You can see it. They better not block-and you can hear the drums in the background and the heartbeat accelerates. He wants to go after Iran. I mean, how many wars do you want to have in your lifetime? How many bombs are you going to drop?

I just think it looks like we've become a warrior nation. We bombed Grenada, Grenada. We are dropping bombs on crowded cities at night where old people and children are sleeping, and we're watching it on CNN. And the only voice that's spoken up at all in this campaign about this is Ron Paul.

Why are we so interventionist?, he wants to know. What are we doing with all these wars? How are we safer? These are very common sense observations and no other candidate can possibly speak those words. It would be, they believe, politically fatal.

Now think about that. You can't -- you can't use an anti-war platform to get elected. So maybe that explains why it's so easy for us to go to war. Norman Solomon has written a book "War Made Easy." Essentially he says, if the president of the United States wants a war, he can have one. I believe that totally. It's very, very hard to dissent.

Think about what's against the person who wants to say, wait a minute, wait a minute, are you sure? These are -- Newt Gingrich said Ron Paul's positions are dangerous. So, it's fear. We have to be tough. And we're killing our young adult children because of this.

MORGAN: What I've noticed about Americans and America when it comes to this kind of thing is that anybody that dares speak up against a war instantly gets labeled, bracketed, a pacifist, a coward, weak. It's not really like that in many other countries. It is a kind of thing that mystifies me, because you don't have to be a pacifist to disagree with, say, the Iraq war.


MORGAN: At all. It is not pacifism. It is pacifism I you say no war is ever acceptable. If you say Winston Churchill had no right, Neville Chamberlain had no right, to have a war with Adolph Hitler, then that is pacifism to me, at its weakest. It is a weak position. Of course, you have to stand up to a dictator like that.

But when it comes to issues like Iraq, incredibly important that the world's number one military power, number one political power, number one economic power, has a proper debate about whether they should go into these things. Without people being labeled a pacifist, if they don't think it is a good idea.

DONAHUE: You know, that is just one of the push backs. By the way, I'm not brave enough to be a pacifist. I am like millions of other Americans very, very concerned about our foreign policy behavior over the past several years. And the way that our -- the bedrock of this nation has been chipped away by the people who -- democracy, democracy, and they're turning their back on the Bill of Rights. We have people in cages, with no habeas, no phone calls, no Red Cross.

MORGAN: Guantanamo, you mean?

DONAHUE: Yeah. This is not the country that my parents raised me to pledge my allegiance to. You know? You can't say you're a proud American and then waterboard somebody. You can't say you're a proud American and assassinate an American citizen in another country. Those are mutually exclusive ideas.

MORGAN: See, Ron Paul, I interviewed him yesterday. It's interesting you say this because his big thing. And I think it is an impressive thing to say, is he supports the Constitution.

DONAHUE: I'm telling you.

MORGAN: And for that people are calling him crazy. I am watching this in the sidelines. I don't have a horse in the race, I'm British.

DONAHUE: Isn't that amazing.

MORGAN: I'm like, here's a guy who basically repeatedly says I support the Constitution and he's the one everyone calls cranky.

DONAHUE: Yes, everything is turned upside down here. So Ron Paul's concern about our adventurism is in Newt Gingrich's word, "dangerous". You know, peace is dangerous. That's -- and the people who call for it are marginalized. We don't get it, we don't understand.

Liberals are always scolding. I've had more than one person say if a liberal complains about something, they will respond by saying that's the trouble with you liberals, you don't like anything about America. So, if you criticize America, it means you don't like anything. That's how they just push back.

MORGAN: Playing devil's advocate, though, Phil; isn't it also true that the right wing, the Republicans, who espouse traditional social conservatism, they also get the same kind of caricaturing by the left? It does work both ways.

DONAHUE: Yes, it does. I agree. And I think about myself, you know, about being messianic. Because that is what I see on the other side. There is-the only thing separating us from Canada is an imaginary line, and our health care costs twice as much as theirs. The only thing preventing us is from a single payer system, is dogma, and ism, called social-ism. They're so intimidated and they are so hateful of socialism, they're willing to continue a health care system in this nation that is a security risk.

MORGAN: I find it extraordinary coming from a country where you have a national health system. So it is free. So, if you are young, poor, old, rich, it doesn't matter. It's not perfect, but the ideology is pretty good. It's like we will look after you, whatever your means.


MORGAN: Here Barack Obama comes in, carries out an election pledge that got him elected, one of the things that got him elected to basically expand free health care, cheap health care to people who couldn't afford it. I couldn't believe it. He then gets absolutely hammered. This is now being seen as an abject failure by him, and his administration. And I'm sitting there going let me get this straight, a president says when I get into power, I'm going to make it more available for poor people to have better health care, than they're getting already. And this is an abject, miserable failure that he should be lambasted for?

DONAHUE: He's calling for a nanny government. He's a liberal -- by the way, we're not liberals anymore.

MORGAN: What have you become?

DONAHUE: Nobody runs around saying I'm a liberal, I'm a liberal. We've been so marginalized, we're almost ashamed of the name. We're not liberals anymore, we're progressives. Excuse you for breathing.

Hold that thought. We'll come back and talk about the American dream and how it can be repaired. There's no doubt it's been damaged in recent years.

DONAHUE: Well, it's been damaged -

MORGAN: Hold on.



DONAHUE: I'm sorry that we are out of time. You are really fascinating.

MARLO THOMAS, ACTRESS: But you are wonderful. I said it when we were off the air. You are loving and generous, and you like women and it's a pleasure. Whoever is the woman in your life is very lucky.


Marlo Thomas stars in "Thieves" from Paramount Pictures, and we hope that you have a nice day.


MORGAN: That is a fantastic moment in television because it was 1977, that woman is your future wife, Marlo Thomas. And as you hold hands there flirting for America, if I may say so, Phil Donahue, you're falling in love, aren't you? You can tell, written all over both your faces.

DONAHUE: Well, she was an impure thought. I don't know if you have to be Catholic to understand what that means.

MORGAN: I am a Catholic and I do.

DONAHUE: And it's true. There I was -- she was just obviously a very exciting person. She was not only gorgeous, she had great facility, language and she had opinions and she was a feminist. She was somebody you could argue with. She really had something to say that you could push back, or agree with, or bounce off of. And so she was a combination of good things for guests. We all want celebrities, but the best are the celebrities who really have something to say, and she did. And here I am 32 years later.

MORGAN: You've been very honest I think about the fact your first marriage probably failed because you worked too hard. You were married to the job if you like. Do you, even though you've had an incredibly successful marriage since then, is that still a regret to you? If you had that time again -- it's the perennial debate, isn't it? How hard do you work? How much do you sacrifice? When you look back, what do you think?

DONAHUE: It was certainly true. First of all, I was a single parent. I had four sons. And, you know, I was on the air every day. I had to be careful about what I said. One time I was on the air and I said Jimmy won't eat anything green. And a kid in his class the next day said, hey, Jim, how come you don't eat your peas? And he was angry. And I can't say I blame him. I get it now.

I mean, it was an invasion of his privacy. And so I backed up and almost never really made any kind of personal detailed reference to my family. I felt I had a responsibility to protect. It's not that easy to have -- to have a celebrity parent can be a real pain in the neck. And I realize that now more than I did than when I was there.

DONAHUE: There's another woman in your life, who paid a great tribute to you, Oprah, when she ended her long-running show. It's been an amazing year with Larry King, my great predecessor, and we have had Regis Philbin also ending his long-running show. Oprah ending hers. Let's watch a little clip from the Oprah, finale, which had a touching moment with you.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: That first day in 1984 all of my bosses, every single person in my life, said you are walking into a land mine, you're going to be in Chicago up against Phil Donahue and he is going to blow your socks off.



MORGAN: Well, she didn't do too badly.

DONAHUE: What did I say?

MORGAN: She didn't do too badly, but.


MORGAN: Oprah is a great-I mean, Oprah was incredibly generous to me. She gave me my first interview when I launched the show, gave me two hours and sold it out there for me for a week after that. It was an amazingly gracious thing for her to have done. What do you think of Oprah?

DONAHUE: I think Oprah has risen to a level in the stratosphere unknown to all of us. It's a wonderful, wonderful story. She is an unparalleled success in our business.

MORGAN: Why do you think?

DONAHUE: Well, I think she's - she's a compelling personality. And I think, you know, she elicits a real feeling of - a heart-felt feeling from her viewers and from the guests as well.

MORGAN: I'd never met her before she walked through the door for my first interview. She's genuine. Oprah Winfrey, beneath the billions, the empire, the mythology, the tabloid headlines is a genuine woman. That's what I experienced.

DONAHUE: Well, I don't think she could get to where she is without being a genuine woman.

MORGAN: And is that the secret, you think, of broadcasting, (INAUDIBLE) people's live in a country like America, every day, week in, month in, it finds you out, doesn't it? There's no point pretending to be something you're not.

DONAHUE: That's correct. I've said this before. I don't think - I always said it is not realistic to expect me to walk down the center of every issue like a mechanical man never revealing how I feel. I think if you watched my show enough, you'd pretty much guess. I never felt that I had to be in the closet about my political views. I do think it's possible to talk too much and become an evangelical host and that's not a good thing.

Then you become as messianic as the people you're criticizing. But I didn't hesitate to say what I thought and in many ways I'm, you know, penalized for that. I mean, nobody likes a scold, a negative person. And that's I think the problem that we'll always confront, the liberal.

MORGAN: You know I have to ask you what I was going to ask you at the start of this segment, which is the American dream. I mean in many ways you personify the great American dream.

DONAHUE: I think so, too.

MORGAN: What happened to that dream now? Is it the same?


MORGAN: Should it be adapted for the modern era? What do you think?

DONAHUE: Look at my own early history. I worked in a steel mill when I was 18 years old in the summer. I was a student at Notre Dame and I worked Republic Steel in Canton, summer job. I don't know if - do steel mills have summer jobs anymore? I'm not sure. But, you know, that's an experience for a 17, 18-year-old. I saw the fouled air and the soot and the grime and the heat from the open harts and those guys shoveling the coal in there and their faces red with sweat and what they were breathing. That was my really first confrontation with what work was like for millions of people.

It was a tremendously informing experience to have that kind of job that young. And then I moved on to other things. These opportunities are not available today for young people. I think it's much tougher to be 17 or 18 today than it was when I was 17 or 18. And I think there is part of the reason for which you suggest is the decline of our noble experiment here. Job availability. People are angry. We had an administration. You know, it seemed to me that with all this - habeas is gone now. This is a nation of law unless we're scared. It's amazing how fear just powerfully influences human behavior. It's unbelievable. George Bush exercised the strategy of fear in leading the entire nation into the sword in the Vietnam war. Saddam is coming, he's under your bed, he's outside your window. I mean the talking points from the White House. A smoking gun will become, you can feel the heart beat of the nation. And it was the vote was taken in the Congress a week before an election. Now who's going to stand up nine, 10 months after the towers were knocked down and say no to a war when we had the administration convincing some very bright people that it was Saddam who took the towers down. False. But we went to Iraq, over 4,000 American uniformed personnel were killed, four million refugees, a massive blunder.

MORGAN: I'm going to sadly leave it there because I could do this for a lot longer. It's been a real pleasure. Finally, I can't go without asking you how am I doing? I mean I'm replacing an equal legend.

DONAHUE: Well, you know what, I noticed it right away. You do not float a battleship of words around a rowboat of thought. You're pretty focused and direct and I think that's a real secret of, you know, get that question in. Don't give them options. Do you think this or do you think that? Let him make the decision, or her. And it's fun.

MORGAN: Phil, it's been a real pleasure. Thank you so much. Great to meet you.

DONAHUE: Thank you. Had fun.

MORGAN: When we come back, Mitt Romney won Iowa and leads in New Hampshire. We'll talk to a top Romney supporter about whether he can keep the lead and lock up the nomination.



MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Particularly with regard to businesses that sell around the world. And the beautiful and more powerful, more powerful than the esteeming John McCain, Cindy McCain, the wife of the senator is here today and I appreciate here being on the trail. Thank you. Thank you, Cindy.


MORGAN: Mitt Romney won Iowa and holds a big lead in New Hampshire. So the campaign actually moved to South Carolina. Can Santorum surge or Gingrich's counterattack stop Romney's run for nomination? Joining me now is former U.S. senator Jim Talent from Missouri, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney. Mr. Talent, I mean, it should be I guess a time of great celebration. And yet I would imagine at the same time trepidation for the Romney camp.

JIM TALENT (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: Well, yes. We don't take anything for granted. Iowa was a good victory. The governor over performed there really from what we thought. He had - his message is working. He has the experience in the private sector, the experience with the economy, the turn around guy and the guy who can beat Obama but we've got to take that message to each state, New Hampshire, South Carolina and work hard in every state.

MORGAN: Who are you most worried about? Because The "Boston Globe," for example, has just come out and endorsed Jon Huntsman, who has stayed away from Iowa and put all his eggs in the New Hampshire basket. I mean that's a pretty good endorsement, isn't it?

TALENT: Yes. Piers, I got to tell you, I don't know. I mean, because we've had one person after another after another surge and I'm not so sure. This is thee most unpredictable process that I've ever been a part of. But we have a strong candidate with a strong message. And so he's just going to go out and do his thing in each one of these states. And I am confident that we will get to the 1150 delegates at some point that we need.

MORGAN: And is that the focus? I saw Mitt Romney saying either today or yesterday the focus for him is the numbers of delegates. That's all he cares about. The slings and arrows of fortunes as we go through these states isn't as important to him as delegates.

TALENT: Yes, the end goal is to get nominated. And it's going to be - we thought from the beginning a long process. That's why Governor Romney alone among all of the candidates is organized in so many states, working in so many states and you know, it's also why he's had a consistent message that he's very credible, caring. He's the one the private sector experience, he can turn the economy around, get the budget under control and beat Obama. That's the message that works all across the country.

MORGAN: I mean, certainly Mitt Romney has run the best campaign. He's been the most consistent, he has the most money and as we've seen with the way he has dealt with Newt Gingrich, if he has to take his gloves off, then he'll do it pretty effectively. I suppose the one big unanswered question is why can he not break through this kind of what is becoming almost mythical 25 percent barrier of support in his own party?

TALENT: He's going to break through that barrier I hope and believe in a couple days in New Hampshire. I mean he's going to break very substantially through it. I look at it a little bit differently. He's the one in a very fractionalized field that has a solid core of support across all segments and all regions of the country. I think he's going to do very well in New Hampshire and I think as the field narrows, his support is going to grow. I mean that's certainly what we hope. He has a message that appeals across the board. And I think it worked in Iowa and we'll see if it works in New Hampshire.

MORGAN: He's been doing lots of safe interviews with his mates at Fox. Is it time that he came back on my show, showed a bit of - not dealing with just the friendly fire all the time.

TALENT: He'd be a better guest, I guess, than I would. Well, I mean, he's going to get a lot of fire that's not so friendly in the two debates over the weekend. I mean, these debates have been I think very revealing. Governor Romney is a good debater. We expect and hope that if he gets the nomination, he'll do a good job against Barack Obama.

MORGAN: Well, tell him we'd love have to have him back on and he's slightly hiding at the moment so out you come, tell him.

TALENT: Well, the one thing you can't do in this process is hide. You can do a lot of things. I'll pass that along. I'm sure he'd love to be on.

MORGAN: Send him my very best. Thank you very much, Mr. Talent. I appreciate it.

TALENT: Will do. Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: When we come back, the youngest victim of the shooting that killed Gabby Giffords. Now her parents Roxanna and John Green tell me their very moving and emotional story.


MORGAN: Christina Taylor Green's young life was book ended by tragedy. She was born on September 11th, 2001 and she was the youngest victim of the shooting last year that wounded Gabrielle Giffords and killed five other people. There's much more to here story.

Joining me now are her parents Roxanna and John Green, they've written a book "As Good as She Imagined." The (INAUDIBLE) story of the angel of Tucson, Christina Taylor Green. Welcome to you both. I've just become the father of a young baby daughter, my first girl. When I read this, it was just heartbreaking to read this. It's the ultimate nightmare I think for any parent. I can't imagine a worse scenario for you. Do you ever get over this kind of thing? Can you ever imagine a time when you will get over it? Do you just cope with it day to day? How has it been for you?

ROXANNA GREEN, CHRISTINA-TAYLOR GREEN'S MOTHER: I don't think we'll ever get over it. The pain will always be there. Time does heal some wounds but this is one that will always stay with us forever. We're always going to miss her be and we're always going to be sad about it.

MORGAN: The picture you paint of her - she's a bright, funny, you know, very cheery girl. Tell me about your daughter.

JOHN GREEN, CO-AUTHOR, "AS GOOD AS SHE IMAGINED": Yes, she had a lot of qualities. She was very outgoing. She loved to get people together and play and things like that and she would direct, you know, direct traffic. One day I went over to her school to visit her during lunch hour, during recess. And I peeked around and she had about eight kids around her and she was - I saw her she was telling them you go this way and all the other girls go this way and the kids meet in the middle. You know that's what she liked to do. Very social, very - you know, she had a competitive fire to her, too. MORGAN: On the day you were just going about your normal lives and you get this awful call. You hear first, Roxanna and then, John, you get a call. It must be a sense of disbelief and then you realized she's been caught up in this horrific incident. Gabrielle Giffords has been shot, presumed dead and other people have been gunned down, what were you thinking when this was all unfurling?

ROXANNA GREEN: I was thinking it was a nightmare and I was going to wake up. So I kept on pinching myself and hoping that it wasn't real. It was that horrendous. It was horrible. And then days after that, I would go to her room and hope to find her in her room. But you know, obviously, you know that it is real and you just - day by day, you just try to cope. And we have a deep faith in god so we prayed a lot and that helped us.

MORGAN: I interviewed Mark Kelly recently, Gabrielle Giffords' husband, a remarkable man in many ways. And he was saying how desperate they feel for those who lost their lives and I think particularly probably for Christina, she's so young. You know, she would have been 10 in November - in September.

JOHN GREEN: September 11.

MORGAN: He was saying really, you know, it's hard to reconcile what happened. Have you been able to get to that point? I mean, you, I know John, you first discovered your daughter was dead, was told, did they get (INAUDIBLE) the person who did this?


MORGAN: And did it give you any kind of comfort that they had?

JOHN GREEN: It definitely it. I don't know how people, say like Natalee Holloway's parents coped with not knowing. We knew exactly what happened to our daughter, it was tragic and you know, we're still dealing with that today. But again, our faith and our family and our friends kind of got us through, you know, coping with the issues of losing a child.

MORGAN: It's an incredibly powerful book and I commend people to read it. What was it like for you to be involved in the writing. Was it cathartic in any sense?

ROXANNA GREEN: It was very difficult. There was a lot of dark days and hard moments and a lot of times, I was just like, "I can't do this anymore. It's too painful."

MORGAN: Is it hard to reconcile your faith when something like this happens?

ROXANNA GREEN: No, not for me. We're very religious and we just believe that she went to a better place and that she's in heaven and that someday we'll meet again. And as much as we miss her, we know that she's in a better place and god had a plan for her.

MORGAN: Let's take a little break. I want to come back and talk about the person that did this, Jared Loughner, what you feel about him? What you feel should happen to him? What you feel about this kind of incidence generally, gun law, that kind of thing, any lessons to be learned from this?



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Then there is nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green. Christina was an A-student. She was a dancer, she was a gymnast, she was a swimmer. She decided that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues. And as the only girl on her little league team, no one put it past her.


MORGAN: That's President Obama's speaking at the memorial of Christina Taylor Green and the other victims. Her parents are back with me now. An incredible moment that the president of the United States paying such a (INAUDIBLE) tribute to your daughter, but it obviously couldn't bring her back, which is what you really want. Let's talk about the person that did this, Jared Loughner, what are your views of him?

JOHN GREEN: Well, we do feel that he was mentally disturbed. So we decided not to as a family, we wouldn't talk much about him because we didn't want to glorify his position. These - there have been other shootings around the country, it seems to me, that sometimes people get - they feel like they're going to go out in a blaze of glory and see their name, you know, in the media. And we just choose not to talk much about him. We know he's going to be -- justice will be served and he'll be taken care of.

MORGAN: One of the small, I guess, crumbs of comfort that you could derive from what happened, was that you donated Christina's organs and you were able to save several other children's lives by doing so. A remarkable thing to have done. Tell me about that.

JOHN GREENE: That came about with Roxanna and her mother. They have had conversations in the past. And unfortunately, two years ago, Roxanna's mother passed away from a brain aneurysm. We, as a family, we had talked about being an organ donor. Actually we involved our kids a little bit in that discussion, and you know, just a little bit because they were young. But wanted them to hear about it. And Christina was well aware of that and thought it was a good idea. We donated, when your mother passed, we donated her organs.

MORGAN: You set up the Christina Taylor Green Memorial Foundation. Tell me about that.

JOHN GREEN: The foundation - we set up a mission statement for the foundation. We thought it was a good way to - a lot of people across the country, we were a little bit surprised, to be honest with you, about all the attention that Christina got. We were just trying to get over the pain ourselves. But moneys came in and people, well wishers, you know, sent us a lot of donations and we thought, well, we're going to start this foundation in Christina's name. We have helped out her elementary school with smart boards in every room so that all the kids would have equal access to that technology. We have donated some to Cross Middle School, which is also in town, a sizable sum to upgrade their computer technology. And that's the kind of things that Christina was involved in.

MORGAN: And if people want to help, what do they do?

ROXANNA GREEN: They go to and we have a web site. And every thing is on there, all the information they need. We sell various items on the web site as well and information is stated on the website.

MORGAN: Well, it's a great cause. It's a fantastic book in many ways, incredibly inspiring as well as obviously was desperately sad, but inspiring is probably the way you would like Christina to be remembered, and I think that is how she comes out in the books. So thank you both very much for sharing us (INAUDIBLE).

ROXANNA GREEN: Thank you for having us.

MORGAN: Roxanna and John Green, that's all for us tonight.