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Piers Morgan Live

Valerie Harper's Story; New TSA Rules Regarding Knives Causing Controversy; Selecting a New Pope; Lanny Davis Talks Crisis Management

Aired March 12, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, black smoke, no Pope. Now the cardinals are getting ready to deliberate again tomorrow. We go live to Rome with the latest.

Plus a beloved TV icon.


VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS: Do you believe I took the subway? The subway, Mary.


MORGAN: A primetime exclusive with the extraordinary Valerie Harper. Her bravery in the face of finding she has terminal cancer. I have to say she's now living for every moment.

And want to take a knife on a plane? Well, it's OK with TSA.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The TSA ought to smell the coffee. They ought to immediately repeal this rule.


MORGAN: Tonight the man who say the battle axes and machetes should be allowed on the planes, too. He's up against the critic who says it's all a huge mistake. And the congressman who's trying to get the TSA to crack down, not lighten up.

Also why one senior aide called President Obama's Capitol Hill charm offensive a joke. I'll ask a veteran of West Wing battles, Lanny Davis, what's going on.


Good evening. You're looking live at the Vatican where 115 cardinals are getting some well-deserved rest tonight. Earlier we all saw that plume of black smoke that signals no new Pope has yet been chosen. But in a few hours they'll be back at work behind close doors in the Sistine Chapel, deliberating. There'll be two votes in the morning followed possibly by a white smoke if there's an agreement. If not, another two more votes in the afternoon. And again, we'll all be waiting for the white smoke that signals a new Pope.

Meanwhile, in California, four men allegedly molested as boys by a priest who settled their lawsuit against a Los Angeles archdiocese and Cardinal Roger Mahoney for $10 million. Cardinal Mahoney is currently in that conclave helping choose the next Pope.

We'll get to all that in a few minutes. But we begin tonight with an extraordinary story of courage and grace. You know Valerie Harper as an award winning TV icon, the co-star of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and of her own hit show "Rhoda." Now she's speaking out about a devastating illness.

Valerie was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. She says she's living well and forging a positive path forward, and Valerie Harper joins me now for a primetime exclusive interview.

Valerie, it's so nice to see you. And I'll be struck by one thing, looking at you doing various interviews in the last week. Is -- you look remarkably well for somebody who has been told that you may only have literally a few weeks to live.

HARPER: I lost the sound for you but I get the gist of what you have said, Piers. And it's just that the disease I have is quite a rare cancer. It is located in a looted area, a very widespread area, but narrow. So a lot can happen if the cancer starts getting really aggressive, pressing on parts of the brain and causing me to lose either my speech or my ability to think, et cetera.

So that's why I thought I should tell the whole family, my whole family, the extended family who loved "Rhoda" and love -- Valerie as well, and deserve to hear the news from me. And this way, I have control of the message. And I cannot hear you. I'm sorry to say.


MORGAN: Well, we're going to --

HARPER: There. There. I got you, darling.

MORGAN: We will sort that out. Can you hear me?

HARPER: You're back. Yes, I can.

MORGAN: You're back. Excellent. Excellent.


MORGAN: Valerie, let me -- let me take you back because the cruel irony of what's happened to you is that you had lung cancer and you had basically defeated lung cancer. And you must have felt this great euphoria of having beaten the dreaded C word. And then --

HARPER: I did.

MORGAN: Tell me about that period in your life. HARPER: That's part of the reason I wrote the book. I better write my memoirs while I still can remember. At 73. It's time to do it maybe. And I did want to share about the -- the cancerous tumor that was in my lung. And a great doctor, McKenna, took it out with a very, very wonderful -- mode of operation called VATS. It's visually assisted thoracic surgery. And it is very simple.

My mother had the same kind of cancer when she was, you know, back in 1970. And they had to do a huge invasive operation, going all the way around her body with an incision lifting the ribs. This is like arthroscopic surgery. Dr. McKenna invented it. His team has done over 3,000 procedures. It's amazing. And I did it between -- doing my -- later Tony nominated role as Tallulah Bankhead in Florida at Christmas and then in -- then in the summer in the Washington, D.C. And then we took it to Broadway.

And here I have that kind of surgery, very minimally invasive because they go in several small, small incisions and you heal up very quickly. And I thought oh, this is great. I'm going to talk about it in the book, if I do it. Three years later, I worked on the book. Cancer free. And then, just two months after I was saying I was cancer free and this is great, I got this diagnosis.

So I think I was opened up to talking to people about personal things in my life. Nothing raunchy or up against -- I didn't have raunch in my life.


Or drive -- or alcoholism. Just, you know, slept with my husbands. And so, you know -- or if I did, I wasn't going to talk about it. So that was my book. And I think that's part of me wanting to go public now. Because I want people clear about what's going on. That was four years ago. And Dr. McKenna gave me that. And now Dr. Natale and Dr. Rudnick are on the trail of trying to help me with this.

So after this little course, a short course of chemo that's designed to get through the blood, brain barrier, if you understand what that is.


HARPER: That's this protective coating that infection and bacteria don't get through but neither does chemo, except certain designed ones. They're now working on medicine rather than -- excuse me, rather than chemo that gets to my particular cancer. Every cancer cell has its own DNA. Who knew? I certainly didn't. And markers.

And they are working from my tumor of four years ago, looking at it, biopsying and trying to develop something specifically for me. Not because I'm an actor or people know me but because I'm a cancer patient. And they're doing this for many --

MORGAN: And Valerie --

HARPER: My -- it's the new frontier, I think. MORGAN: At that moment, Valerie, because from what I understand, the doctor, when he realized it was a terminal condition that you had, he first told your husband of 34 years. Tony. And Tony decided for awhile not to tell you. How long was it before he finally told you?

HARPER: I think it was a week or two, as I remember. Because I could feel something going on with my friends and with, you know, there was like an elephant in the room, slightly. A small one. But Tony was told at the hospital in New York, there's nothing we can do for her. And in fact, there hasn't been. It is incurable, so far.

And -- then we -- you know, he told me and I felt better, actually, Piers, to really know what I was dealing with. And why was I feeling so good? The meds that they had me on, just two a day, you know. Two times of the day. It's not like a huge cocktail or a -- I mean it's not -- it seems so simple. And my life is the same. I'm exercising, I'm walking. I'm doing book tours.

I'm just living my life with the help of the Dr. Natale and their team. And Dr. Rudnick. And I'm just doing one foot in front of the other and I feel much better knowing, and I decided, gee, if this news comes out, it's going to be horrifying. And by the way, my neighbors immediately called the house, sent notes, can we bring casseroles, can I cook for you.


I thought, yes, oh, they think I'm in a wheelchair or laying with tubes. So maybe now while I can still talk and communicate and express -- we're all terminal. Every single one of us. None of us are getting out of this alive. And we don't like to look at death, and I don't ask people to do that, but I ask them to accept that death is inevitable and then leave it alone. Live the moment.

But don't be thinking about your death way before the -- the time of your death. That's when I'm really trying to share. And I thank all my Twitter people and Facebook and all the cards and letters and wonderful stuff that has flowed in. I mean, I haven't been able to respond because I have been so busy doing media.



MORGAN: Well, I think the most --

HARPER: But I think -- karpe diem, right? seize the day.

MORGAN: I have never seen anyone --

HARPER: And tell people --

MORGAN: Yes, I mean, Valerie, I've never seen anybody who -- I've known some people in my life who have been diagnosed with a terminal condition. And, you know, to most people it would be the single most crushing thing that's ever happened to them. You have reacted in an extraordinarily positive way which I think has really inspired people and they're all asking the same thing.

HARPER: Fortunately.

MORGAN: Where do you feel you get the strength to be like this?

HARPER: Well, first of all, I'm almost 74. And I have had a magnificent run. The most wonderful husband in the world for 34 years. A great career. And finally, after all these years of wanting to be a little stage actress I got a tony nomination in 2010. At 70 years old, what could be better? But I really look at my life as blessed. Sure, I have had challenges and terrible things happen and loss of dear people and all that, but I really think that if we had less fear and resistance like a stratified thing to death, life would be happier.

And the moments of our lives would be fuller and richer. And I'm not saying, you know, Pollyanna, yes, yes. I don't mean it to sound like yey, here comes death. But it's just -- if it is a reality as "People" magazine said, they did say three months to live. But oncologists will tell you, we don't say that, we say three, maybe six, maybe one week. In my case, because of where it is. I could have a seizure at anytime. But I'm feeling so good and I don't have any side effects.

And I'm having -- my life is so -- I don't know, I'm trying to just live in the moment. That doesn't mean I don't get incredibly sad. Sometimes at night, I wake up totally depressed. I don't want to go. I don't want to leave this fabulous guy next to me. I am sad. I do should have, would have, could have. And I'm trying to do things that I should have done such as go to the lawyer, which we did, and get things cleaned up and ready, but people should do that anyway. They should know.

And their kids should know what they want to do in terms of a funeral or cremation or whatever they wish. So I'm kind of living more responsibly and I wanted folks out there struggling with cancer to have what I have, which is insurance. The whole country should -- every American should have what I have. And it's just something we have to work on diligently until it is accomplished.

Because that's a huge stress on folks who would rather die than leave their family in, you know, dire straits financially. And that's a sin, for me. So we can do it. And it isn't the doctors. There's a lot of toll booths, as you know, Piers, between the people who need healthcare.


HARPER: And the healthcare over here. There's a whole lot in our American system that needs to be absolutely revamped, looked at, and arrived at a new --

MORGAN: I couldn't agree more, Valerie.

HARPER: -- way. I know it.

MORGAN: It's great that you said that.

HARPER: Look at the other countries.



MORGAN: Well, I come from a country where we have free healthcare for all and it's a very different thing.

HARPER: I know --

MORGAN: But let's, Valerie, take a break. Let's take a break. I want to come back, you're being so positive and you say you want to achieve all the things that maybe you haven't achieved. I want to find out after the break what are you going to do for the last -- however long would it be, weeks, months, hopefully longer of your life? What plans you have?

MORGAN: I don't -- yes. Tell me after the break.

HARPER: Take some acting jobs.


MORGAN: Why not?

HARPER: I'm serious.

MORGAN: We'll talk in a minute.



HARPER: Would you believe I took the subway? The subway, Mary. There was this one weirdo who tried to write graffiti on me. Well, listen here, has it (INAUDIBLE).


HARPER: I'll never be able to wear it again.


MORGAN: Back with TV moment, Valerie Harper, as "Rhoda," that episode, October 28th, 1974. Over 50 million people tuned in for what was the event of the year. And Valerie is back with me now in a primetime exclusive.

Valerie, in the break there I was just checking my Twitter feed and it absolutely has blown up with people who are just so moved and inspired. Many to tears by the way that you've been talking about this. It's so extraordinary also for me to be interviewing somebody who knows that they have a very short period of time to live. I can't remember doing that before. And I was curious before the break, and I am now about how do you feel about the time you have left? Are there things that you really want to achieve? Do you have a -- one of these famous bucket list now that you think I've got to do this before?


HARPER: I have been doing that the last few years without knowing I was ill. I -- when people would invite me to lunch, I'd go, listen, you're 71, go to lunch. Take the date. Do that. You know, really. It's interesting because I was doing it and I'm kind of in that mode. And the interesting thing, too, is that people need to get this -- early testing is so important. There's a huge amount of people, women, who are getting lung cancer who never smoked or people that stopped smoking 20 years ago, as Dr. McKenna told me, he said it's such a sin, it hits them 20 years later.

So it's -- I want to get that message out. That's something I can do. I can also say -- tell people to just keep your chin up, and don't go to the funeral, mine or yours or your loved ones until the day of the funeral. Because then you'll miss the life that you have left. So I really feel this is kind of an opportunity and also a responsibility. And I understand --

MORGAN: There was a wonderful line there, Valeria. There's a wonderful line I wanted to read you from Nicole Barr, from the original three "Mary Tyler Moore" characters. She said Mary is who you wish you were. This is from your book. "Rhoda is who you are and Phyllis is who you're afraid you'll become." Which is a wonderful way of describing them, but I think it also goes some way to explaining why people feel so invested in what is happening to you because they did -- so many people related to you on a human level. They did feel that you were the kind of person they could be.

HARPER: That's right. They really -- she was familiar. She would say anything. She was very funny. Greatest comedy writers in the world putting jokes in Rhoda's mouth every show. And so there was this -- recognition that she could be your neighbor or the gal at the drugstore behind the counter. So it was a wonderful character to play. And I was privileged to do it all those nine years. So, yes, it's true, Piers. That is connected.


MORGAN: I mean, Valerie --

HARPER: Feeling family. Yes.

MORGAN: When you look back, Valerie, over this extraordinary life and career that you've had, what has been the greatest moment for you? If I could replay a moment for you now, what would you choose?

HARPER: Oh, my goodness, my husband telling me that he thought we should adopt.


Because I great -- make a great mother. That was a nice one. And other -- the achievements, being directed by Paul Newman. Who wouldn't want to look into those blue eyes?


Just there have been -- there have been milestones all along. But I guess, biggest of all, was just having Tony Cacciotti in my life, at my side, at my back, helping me in every way possible. Enjoying life with me and traveling and all the things we've done. So I guess my marriage which is ongoing, unfolding to this minute. Tony was very resistant to facing the facts of my impending death, and with good reason.

But he has come around. And he said Val, let's extend your time here. Because in the time here, maybe they'll discover something so that that will extend it more. He's terribly positive. He has the soul of a coach. That's how I met him. He wasn't my boyfriend. He was my guru. And I, you know, loved him as a teacher. We became very close later as I detail in my book and then married, adopted our darling daughter who is now grown up and handling this really well.

So I just -- I just want folks to see me, that I'm OK, that I'm not suffering, so far. And there may be pain. There may be a lot of things ahead. But whatever they are, they are ahead. They are not now. And I want folks to know where I am now and how much I have just been touched to the bone marrow by their concern, their love, their offers of care, their -- say, oh, I know this doctor there or I know this alternative medicine, eat raw food, my darling friend, who I worked with for years, Mini Kirk, has a wonderful book called "Live Raw," swears by it.

I mean, people are sending me all kinds of wishes and love and heart. And I accept it. And I'm so glad I went public. And I totally understand what people don't want to. It's been impossible for me to get back to folks. And I will do it, over time, I will. But it's just been -- I just feel love, connectedness, the human family, kind of holding hands on this one. And understanding that death is out there for all of us. And that there's other ways to handle it than just sit on the couch and accept or, you know -- and having healthcare is a huge part of that. We have to push for it and get it.

MORGAN: Valerie, how -- finally, how would you like to be remembered?

HARPER: Oh, that's great. She was up and off the couch.


She was, you know, or off her you know what. And I think I have been all my life. I had a mom, a Canadian mom, who was a nurse and my beautiful dad, ex-hockey player who met her in Canada. It's all in my little book. But it's -- he was so positive. He was a salesman. So I guess I got some of that energy from him.

And -- my brother Don and my sister Leah, what a great family. Not perfect, in fact, the marriage fell apart, but it was such a nice grounding thing to be in a family where there was love and space for fights and everything. But forgiveness. That's a big one. People need to do that. They need to forgive themselves.

And as Oprah said so brilliantly, forgiveness is the -- is giving up the wish that the past could have been different. And when you give that up, you are released. You don't forget -- you don't forget, the person is not exonerated. It wasn't good what they did to you or what you feel they did to you. But to release it. Then you don't have to hold it and you don't have to do it to yourself.

You know, and your mind, ego will beat you up all the time. We are bigger. We are being, spirit, whatever you want to call it. There's something larger than our mind. Our mind is a great tool. We need it to stay out of traffic and move around, and do great things and write stuff, but it isn't the whole of us. That other place, that experience place, where you can look at your mind, making up stories about yourself or other people, or being mean.

Instead of saying that was mean of you, just look at it like the zen philosophy. You just observe it. You become the observer. And then you say to yourself, well, if my mind is saying this, who is observing? Who is observing without judgment? And that is part of who we are. That is that being place where we're connected to everybody. So I think people can give themselves a chance to experiment with that.

MORGAN: I do, too. I do, too.

HARPER: The (INAUDIBLE) books are brilliant on this for delivering a message in English to westerners about this way of looking at life and about experiencing life. And I think maybe my work on that has prepared me to face this in the way I am. And everyone says brave. And I don't know that it's brave so much as what's good for Valerie to do. It feels natural for me after Tony and I talked it over that we go public, go public once in a big way so that it's clear and people get to see how I'm doing and they will be prepared.

Then they don't have to do big memorials, we've kind of done it.


And I have experienced it. I mean it. I have heard all your speeches. And I've gotten all your love. And it's so humbling and it's so comforting and it is such -- so good for my spirit that you are all out there doing that, you know, through whatever method. Even old phone calls and people saying call me back. I want to tell them, I can't. I have to save my voice for more talk shows. And I will do it. I will get back to everybody.

MORGAN: Well, Valerie, you've been an extraordinary --

HARPER: And thank you. And hug you.

MORGAN: Extraordinary --


I wish I could hug you. But sadly we're on different coasts. But I found it so inspiring talking to you. I think brave is the wrong word because you are where you are. What you --

HARPER: It's not --

MORGAN: What you have , though, is an incredible energy. And you are bring so inspiring to so many people who may be suffering from illness out there. I just want to thank you so much for --

HARPER: I hope so. I hope so.

MORGAN: For coming on the show. Your book, if people haven't read it, "I Rhoda." It's a terrific memoirs, and long may you last, Valerie. You keep going. You've got us all behind you. And I just hope you can beat -- you can this as you beat the last one. You never know. Miracles can happen.

HARPER: That's right. Spontaneous remission. That exists. Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Lovely to talk to you, Valerie.

Valerie Harper. What an extraordinary woman. And we'll be right back.


MORGAN: Now I want to turn to the fierce battle over the TSA's plan to allow knives on planes. Today, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey introduced a bill to ban the new policy. He calls it wrong headed, says it puts everybody at risk. The former TSA chief Kip Hawley, author of "Permanent Emergency," thinks the policy doesn't go far enough. He wants machetes and battle axes on board as well.

Kip Hawley joins me now, along with Mary Schiavo, who is the former inspector general for the Department of Transportation. Also Congressman Ed Markey.

Welcome to you all. Let me start with you, Ed Markey, if I may. You are opposing this attempt by the TSA to relax the rules on various implements. Why?

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, because in Boston, Mohammad Atta and nine other al Qaeda hijacked two planes back in 9/11. That's where I'm from. And those guys used a box cutter, just like this, to take over those planes and the other two planes.

This is still banned. What TSA is now saying is that, while this is still banned, this Swiss Army Knife can be brought on to the same planes. That makes no sense, whatsoever. You know, we have gone a long way since 9/11, where people after that incident were looking at each other suspiciously on planes every time they flew.

Now people feel more comfortable. What they are doing is returning us to that day where they are going to wonder, does someone have a knife? Are there four or five others on this plane attempting to do something which could result in catastrophe? That's just wrong and why I have introduced my legislation, the No Knives Aboard Act, in order to force Congress to vote on this issue if TSA does not reverse itself.

MORGAN: OK. Kip Hawley, you ran the TSA for a number of years after 9/11. I have got to say, I share the incredulity of many people as to why on Earth the TSA would start relaxing rules by allowing knives back on board? Who needs to have a knife in mid-air anyway?

KIP HAWLEY, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: The question is what can destroy an airplane. And al Qaeda found a vulnerability on 9/11 and exploited it with blades. That vulnerability was closed really later in the day when Flight 93 went down. And in the years since, that door is slammed shut.

And Al Qaeda is after much more sophisticated and more effective methods, especially bombs. And what's happened is that in searching for small objects, the officers are distracted from the purpose of finding the very difficult to find bombs.

And to Congressman Markey's point, that's why I said about the somewhat quotable about the battle axes, is that if you are going to say blades don't pose a threat, then include them all. Don't try to differentiate between one or the other. Because the fact is, no matter what size your blade is, you cannot hijack an airplane.


MORGAN: OK. Let's turn to Mary Schiavo. I'm at a bit of a loss to understand why you can't still kill people with knives. Presumably that could help to hijack a plane. Mary Schiavo, am I missing something?

MARY SCHIAVO, INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DOT: Yes, you actually can kill and bring down a plane with a knife. Because we are doing a little bit of revisionist history here. On September 11th, 2001, it was already the law that the cockpit door had to be locked and secured. There were almost 1,000 hijackings carried out by knives. The weapon of choice was a 3.5 inch blade and under. There are only 50 bombings. More people died in hijacked aircraft.

And the fact is they got the doors open by stabbing flight attendants. And so the crazy thing now is by making distinctions just before September 11th, they allowed 3.5 inch knives back on planes. What they were supposed to do was to measure them. What they said they did was take their ID and measured it against the blades.

These are the exact kind of knives that Mohammad Atta purchased. They were both allowed on 9/11. Under the new law, this one would not be allowed, but this one would. It makes no sense. And they take tens of thousands of pocket knives off of passengers a year. We are going to be spending our time measuring knives.

And on 9/11, remember, we were looking for bombs and the hijackers exploited our shortsightedness. Our security will be hanging by an inch. If you give a terrorist an inch, he'll take a mile.

MORGAN: OK, back to you, Kip Hawley. A lot of people have expressed this same view to me. They seem completely bemused why the TSA, at this particular time, when there's still a major terrorist threat to the American people, that you would suddenly want to allow knives on board planes, when quite clearly you could use them to intimidate and attack stewards or stewardesses, and force your way via them into cockpits.

HAWLEY: No, no, not going to happen.

MORGAN: How do you know?

HAWLEY: The threat is -- because they will be shot dead by federal air marshals or, you know --

MORGAN: Just to clarify, there is a federal marshal aboard every single domestic flight in America, is there?


HAWLEY: Of course not.

MORGAN: How do you know they are going to shoot them dead if they are not an board?

HAWLEY: Because look -- look at it from the TSA's point of view, which is there is a real threat of bombs. There is not a threat from these hijackings type things. Al Qaeda knows that they are not going to take a plane with a knife now.

MORGAN: Why? Why? Explain -- you don't explain to me, though, why. Why is the threat any less than it was?


MORGAN: I have seen stewardesses on American planes, and stewards, going into the cockpit. So why can't you use one of these knives -- I have one here, a pen knife or one of these baseball bats or a golf club which now you won't allow, or in your case, machetes you want to have on board -- I could use a machete to threaten a stewardess into getting me into a cockpit. And I could take control of that plane.

Why are you so confident it's not going to happen?

HAWLEY: Because the level of security is just night and day from before 9/11 to today. I'm telling you, hijacking with blades is not going to happen. There is zero possibility of that. It is bombs. And it is difficult enough to find the bomb parts. And that's why Administrator Pistole is are after this so hard, is willing to take the flak, because he knows that those officers have a limited number of moments in looking at the screen to find the bomb parts.

And fluttering through with a whole list of other objects that may be dangerous -- now I'm very sympathetic to the flight attendants who are worried about the knives. And just like smoke detectors and playing words with friends, the FAA, if there's a cabin safety issue rule, can ban knives. But TSA needs to focus on bombs.

And it's a distraction from that critical mission to be fussing around with these knives.


MORGAN: Mr. Hawley, you seem completely bemused by anybody who would think that any plane could be taken charge of with a knife. Yet that's exactly what happened on 9/11. Let me turn to you, Mr. Markey, if I may, for the last word on this. I don't get this and, in fact, the more Mr. Hawley spoke there, the less I got it. Am I missing something?

MARKEY: No. Moreover, while a knife this size is going to be allowed -- is not going to be -- is going to be allowed, a knife that is just another inch longer will be prohibited. So the TSA screeners are going to have to be measuring anyway.

MORGAN: Right.

MARKEY: So if they are going to, why don't we just keep it the way it was, because these box cutters are prohibited. So, why don't we make it simple. The union that represents the TSA screeners, they are against this change. The flight attendants are against it. The air marshals are against it.

The pilots are against it. U.S. Air, Delta, American Airlines are all against it. Why don't we just give the people of the United States the knowledge that they are safe when they are walking on to a plane, and that no one will have a knife on board? It just makes no sense to change this rule.

MORGAN: No, it only seems to make sense to Kip Hawley, who wants machetes on board. But anyway, we've got to leave it there. Thank you all very much for your time. I remain completely mystified why the TSA is doing this. I think most level headed Americans do as well.

Coming next, we'll go live to Rome. The latest on the Cardinal's conclave. Could we have a new Pope by this time tomorrow?


MORGAN: The world is watching the Vatican tonight, as over a billion Catholics wait for news of a new Pope. We could know tomorrow, but don't hold your breath. It could be a few more days yet.

Joining me now from Rome, two people who know a lot about what is going on there, is Lino Rulli, the host of the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM, and Kathryn Jean Lopez of "Catholic Voice USA" and editor at large of the "National Review" online. Welcome to you both.

Selina, we spoke yesterday. It could be a few more days. It could be tomorrow. There could be up to four votes tomorrow. Tell me what may or may not be going on inside that conclave. Do we know anything? Or is it just a wall of glorious silence? LINO RULLI, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: We know a little bit about what is going on. We know they are voting. And in fact, that's actually exciting news, believe it or not, because we weren't even sure if the cardinals were going to vote tonight. There was a chance that they were going to gather together and not vote. They were just going to pray and then go eat dinner.

So the good news is they voted to vote. When the black smoke came out, it was actually very exciting, because we at least know the process has begun. We are on our way to getting a Pope.



MORGAN: Yeah. After you, Kathryn.

LOPEZ: By all accounts, after you get that first vote out of the way, you really start to get to work to some sense who is favored among whom. And so the process obviously is moving along now.

MORGAN: Right. I mean, the interesting thing that has happened tonight, in terms of the bigger problem facing the Catholic church, may not just be the election of a Pope, but how that new Pope handles the constant problem of abuse, sexual abuse by priests, Catholic priests toward young boys, girls.

And there's a case tonight, four California men allegedly molested as boys by a priest settled that lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Cardinal Roger Mahoney, who is actually at the conclave now, voting on the next Pope. They got almost 10 million dollars in settlement, a pretty damming latest development in this ongoing issue of abuse.

Lino, what do people feel about that down there?

RULLI: Well, you are probably not surprised to hear, we are not for sexual abuse. Obviously, this is a horrible thing. And so this is something that the church is still trying to wrestle with and deal with. And it's certainly something that -- you're right -- the new Pope, whoever that Pope is going to be, is going to be dealing with hopefully in a zero tolerance policy.

And it's not that any of the men in the conclave are unaware of the problems in the past and what it's going to take to have to fix it for the future.

LOPEZ: And Piers, I think this is the reason that Americans are being talked about. That's just an unprecedented thing. I didn't really believe it until I got here. But everybody is talking Cardinal O'Malley. Everybody is talking about Cardinal Dolan. I think the reason is America has had to deal with this. America does have in place -- there will always be example of problems and sins and crimes. But the fact of the matter is America -- a priest tends to be guilty until proven innocent at this point in time in Catholic circles. So actually, the world sort of looks to us at this moment. When you look at how Boston has turned around, and Cardinal Dolan in St. Louis and Milwaukee has a lot of experience and has seen the worst, the filth that Pope Benedict talked about. So I think that explains the U.S. focus in a lot of ways.

MORGAN: OK. We'll see how it all goes tomorrow. It could be a very exciting day. It could be another day where nothing publicly happens, although a lot is obviously going on inside. Thank you both very much, indeed, for staying up so late to join us.

LOPEZ: Thank you.

RULLI: Thanks.

LOPEZ: Good night.

MORGAN: Coming next, a man who knows his way around a crisis. Lanny Davis on everything from the search for a new Pope to dysfunction in Washington.


MORGAN: Our next guest is a veteran of the Clinton White House and knows a thing or two about handling a crisis in Washington, just about anywhere else in the world. Joining me now is Lanny Davis, the founder of Purple Nation Solutions and author of "Crisis Tales." Lanny, great to see you again. Always great to have you.

You're the man I would go to in a crisis, lay my cards right on the table. I'm hoping I don't need you. Don't take that personally.

Let's just go through a few contemporary crises, as I see them. One is the on going gun control debate, or gun safety debate, as I prefer to say now. What do you make of the way that's being framed. And what do you think may happen here?

LANNY DAVIS, AUTHOR, "CRISIS TALES": (inaudible) fact. And you've been doing facts and a lot of other people do rhetoric. Facts are -- is that background checks don't hurt anybody, help everyone. And there's massive public support for it. I think the Obama administration needs to focus on that fact. And they will get it done.

MORGAN: What about an assault weapons ban?

DAVIS: Assault weapons ban, there is very little support for assault weapons. Most people wouldn't want to touch one, much less use one. The NRA is out of range with 75 percent of every poll. Get that fact out and make sure the 25 percent know that they're out done -- I almost said out gunned, by 75 percent.

MORGAN: Actually, they are out-gunning, in terms of the press and publicity and the message they get. The NRA wage a skillful battle.

DAVIS: This is about politics. And you've got to get those facts out.

MORGAN: Right. Let's turn to the Catholic church. The election for the new Pope is going on. But, again tonight, another sex abuse case settled. It's a real contagion in the church. What can the Catholic Church do about itself? When the new Pope is in play, what should they be thinking to do?

DAVIS: Look, this is about something very holy. And the Pope and the Catholic church have stood for important, spiritual issues. And what has been done within the Catholic Church is unholy. They need to use those words as a crisis manager. They need to have conversations with their congregants about what needs to be done. And then there needs to be a change of leadership.

MORGAN: Let's turn to your pet subject, Washington dysfunction. I've watched it in complete bafflement for much of the last two years since I've been at CNN, wondering what on Earth they think they are doing in the Washington. It's not serving the American people, which is what they're paid to do.

There's this big charm offensive by President Obama right now towards the Republicans, lots of nice bottles of Merlot over dinner and so on. In my view, long overdue. I think he should have played that card earlier. You can never beat a good chat. Bill Clinton, as you know well, did a lot of talking on the golf course with his -- with his rivals.

What should be happening next? What is the way through this impasse, particularly in getting a proper budget deal done, proper debt deal done, making sure the America is the focal point of how we move forward here?

DAVIS: President Obama knows this. It's a surprised that he hasn't done it earlier. There are two models that worked in this situation. One was Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill cut a deal on Social Security where each one had to alienate their own base. Reagan increased taxes. O'Neill cut benefits. Both of them took heat. They made a deal on Social Security for a generation.

Same thing with Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, didn't like each other much. Bill Clinton had to cut benefits and cut spending, hurting his own base, and Newt Gingrich agreed to raising taxes and balancing the budget. Left a trillion dollar surplus in the bank.

Barack Obama has to stand up to the base. I'm in the base. He's got to stand up and alienate us. And Boehner has to do the same thing against the Tea Party. It won't happen unless both sides are willing to stand up to their bases.

MORGAN: Final question, Lance Armstrong told "The Texas Monthly" today that the public will forgive him his transgressions in a similar way to the way they forgave Bill Clinton. You were part of that forgiveness process, and some would argue for Bill Clinton. Has Lance Armstrong got that kind of chance, do you think?

DAVIS: Well, a bit of a disclosure. I've had conversations with his attorneys. And I think his Oprah first step was a good one, but not enough. And I think he has to do much, much more to ever put this behind.

MORGAN: But is it a possibility?

DAVIS: Yes. I think the American people are always willing to forgive if there's a teaching moment that, out of what he went through, he can teach people about doping and teach people about what's going on in doping in all sports. He can end up I think rising above what he's --

MORGAN: He has to tell the full truth, though, doesn't he? I think at the moment, people think, you know what --

DAVIS: Every detail. Tell it all.

MORGAN: Lanny, it's a terrific book. "Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping With Crises in Business, Politics and Life." I commend it to everyone.

DAVIS: And I hope you don't need my help.

MORGAN: I sincerely hope I don't. But if I do, you will be the man I call.

DAVIS: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Lanny Davis. We'll be right back.


MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Tomorrow night, I grill Newt Gingrich. If that doesn't get you watching, nothing will.

Anderson Cooper starts right now.