Transcript of Jesse Ventura on last night’s Piers Morgan
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
One-on-One with Jesse Ventura
Aired September 17, 2012 – 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Good evening, and welcome to a special live edition of PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. And welcome my audience here in the studio. I can promise you, this won’t be like an hour like you’ve never heard before with a man who is never afraid to say exactly what he thinks.
Jesse Ventura, the ex-Navy SEAL, superstar wrestler, and governor of Minnesota, answers your questions. Quiet at no time, either for the Democrats or the Republicans. And a surprising theory on who he thinks is behind the anti-American violence in the Middle East.
And here he is, Jesse Ventura.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Good to see you.
JESSE VENTURA, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: Good to see you. Thank you.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
VENTURA: OK. Thank you. Thank you.
MORGAN: How are you, sir?
VENTURA: Well, I’ve got to get some water.
I’ve got to get ready for you. I’m doing good, Piers.
MORGAN: Well, we’ve got an hour ahead of us. We’ll cover lots of ground. I want to start, though, with the breaking news today. The controversial and apparently secretly taped video of Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser. The person responsible wants to remain anonymous, but “New York” magazine reports it was passed along by former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson, James Carter IV. CNN has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the recordings, but let’s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.
That’s an entitlement and the government should give it to them, and they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The Romney campaign released a statement in response to the issue but did not directly mentioned the video. It reads, “Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. As the governor has made clear all year he’s concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney’s plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy, and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs.”
Jesse Ventura, you were shaking your head, murmuring all sorts of profanities under your breath there. Clearly you’re not impressed by Mitt Romney’s claim, which effectively boils down, whichever way you look at and whatever statements he puts out, that half of the American people, apparently are — well, as he put it — on the scrounge, not paying tax, victims, and living off the state.
What do you make of that?
VENTURA: Well, let’s start with taxes for a moment. Do you realize, as I cover in my book here, that these major corporations pay lobbyists more than what they pay in taxes? These corporations, these corporations that make billions of dollars pay more to lobbyists than what they pay in taxes. And maybe one of the reasons mitt has that problem is because, when did our ill-fortunes start? Under Bush and Cheney and the Republicans. And you’re hearing this from an independent.
Because I know enough to know that the economy what you have today in the economy is the result of decisions made about three, four, or five years ago. Because that’s how long it takes for them to get into this massive economy. So in my opinion, the Republicans are the ones responsible. And when Romney says he’s going to create, well how many million jobs?
MORGAN: Twelve million was his last —
VENTURA: That’s total hogwash, and I’ll tell you why. The only thing a government official can — can create is a government job. So if he’s going to create 12 million new jobs, they’re going to be paid for by taxes. Because jobs are created —
MORGAN: On his specific, Jesse —
VENTURA: Wait, Piers. Jobs are created in the private sector. Not by the president or the government unless they’re government jobs.
MORGAN: When it comes to job stimulation a little later in the show, but on this specific point, Mitt Romney’s been found on tape at a private fundraiser, trying to raise cash, we think a few months ago. But this point that basically everyone who votes for Obama or the vast majority are victims, don’t pay taxes, what we believe, this is just a theory, there’s a theory you’ve got the 47 percent, may have come from the Tax Policy Center, which found that 46.4 percent of households pay no federal income tax in 2011.
But most households did pay payroll taxes. Now the 18 percent of houses that paid neither income taxes or payroll taxes, the center found more than half of those were elderly and more than a third were not elderly but had an income under $20,000. So when you put it all together like that, this is a bit of a clanger on Mitt Romney.
This will be portrayed by the Democrats, I think, very strongly from now until election as a guy dismissing half of America as people who are just victims, living off the state.
VENTURA: Well, it shows me that Mitt Romney probably lives in a world that I don’t live in. You know? He lives in a world — I hear he’s worth, what, $250 million? And he comes from wealth. And most people I find that are born with that kind of money truly don’t know what it’s like to be out there.
I mean, you know, I remember when I started years ago on my pro- wrestling career when I’d just gotten out of the United States Navy, I left with a beat-up car and 250 bucks, and that’s all I had to my name. When I went off to start my pro wrestling career.
MORGAN: There’s a statement from the Obama campaign that’s just been released. It says, “It’s shocking that a candidate for president of United States would go behind doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as victims, entitled to handouts and are unwilling to take personal responsibility for their lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”
I mean, they’ve got a point. And I think it’s an embarrassing thing for Mitt Romney, however he tried to spin this.
VENTURA: Well, it seems Mitt Romney lately has been saying a lot of embarrassing things. You know, and he’s certainly not going to endear yourself to 47 percent of the country, and I would think it’s going to be quite hard to win. But maybe their plan is that they’ve got these new voter registration laws to where they can deny 45 percent of the country of the ability to vote.
You know, maybe that’s their ultimate plan is to only get to half the country and let only half the country vote in the first place. Because on that note, this whole thing’s a farce. Voter fraud is a complete red flag. There’s about as much voter fraud in this country as there is people being struck by lightning bolts. I know that from a governor standpoint. Voter fraud is nothing, and yet they’re trying to give everybody an I.D. card. Poor people would have to pay $35 to go get a state I.D.
Well, if you’re that poor, $35 might be the difference between whether you eat that day or not. Well, what do you think a person’s going to do? They’re going to go get food. If it’s that bad. And I think the pathetic thing is that our country is in this kind of shape and who’s responsible? These two major parties. They’ve been in charge for 150 years.
MORGAN: Mitt Romney’s had a rough week because of the Benghazi incident in which he was deemed by most people, including many on his own side, to have jumped in with a critical statement of the president. Really without knowing all the facts and turning — when most people thought that was the wrong thing to be doing.
VENTURA: I agree.
MORGAN: As an American politician at that time.
VENTURA: Well, absolutely. When our country’s attacked in any way, shape or form, we need to pull together, we need to come together, not separate at that point. I mean, you want my — what I would do over there? I would do what the pinnacle of the Republican Party, the hero, whatever, modern day Ronald Reagan did.
Do you recall when our — back in the ’80s when the barracks in Lebanon was hit —
VENTURA: — then over 200 Marines were killed, did Ronald Reagan go to war? No, he got us the hell out of there. And that’s where I stand on this. If these people don’t want us over there, let’s close our embassies, I stand with Ron Paul, let’s get rid of foreign aid altogether. Because as Ron Paul put it, the definition of foreign aid, that’s taking from America’s poor and giving it to another country’s rich.
MORGAN: But hang on. Hang on, Jesse.
VENTURA: Wait a minute.
MORGAN: You wait a minute. It’s my show. You wait a minute. Hey.
MORGAN: Let me just challenge your —
VENTURA: Hey, I’m talking.
MORGAN: I’m challenging you.
VENTURA: All right. MORGAN: Because I think that is taking one extreme and going to the other. It may well be that America has too many embassies, has too much say in too many countries.
VENTURA: We’re also broke.
MORGAN: Of course, you know, any country —
VENTURA: How can we give to foreign aide?
MORGAN: You’re not the only country that’ broken the rule like that.
VENTURA: Well, yes. We’re giving foreign aid. On a basic term for you people, that would be the equivalent, you’re losing your house, you’re three payments behind on your car, but your cousin Bob from out of state needs to borrow $500 from you. Are you going to send it? When you can’t even make your own house payment? We’re broke. How in debt are we?
MORGAN: Well, you’re certainly not as broke as many countries around the world.
VENTURA: Well, if they’re worse and in more debt than us, I want to see a country that can say they have more debt than we do.
MORGAN: America remains a superpower. And America —
VENTURA: Sure we are.
MORGAN: And all superpowers, I believe, have a responsibility to other countries around the world. Now it may —
VENTURA: I don’t.
MORGAN: You don’t think Americans have any involvement in any country in the world?
VENTURA: Sure we can have involvement if they ask us. Since when should we be the world’s policeman? Why do we have military bases in 160-something countries? We have no — no foreign country has a base here. Imagine if Hugo Chavez decided to buy 1,000 acres of land by Palm Springs and move the Venezuelan military in there?
What do you think our reaction would be to that? Yet we have multiple bases in Korea, multiple bases in Japan, multiple bases in Germany. And Piers, last time I checked, those wars were over 60 years ago. Why are we still there?
MORGAN: Well, the argument would be to prevent another war in that nation.
MORGAN: Why — by why would you laugh at that? Isn’t that a reality?
VENTURA: Because our military today —
MORGAN: There’s lots of people out there who would like to harm America and its interest.
VENTURA: Our military today is so advanced, we can be anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. Minutes or hours, we do not need to be an empire like Rome occupying with our military throughout the world and if you’ve noticed, I’m getting nothing but nods out here, Piers.
MORGAN: You think America would be safer.
VENTURA: From regular Americans —
MORGAN: Would America be safer?
VENTURA: Sure, we’d be safe.
MORGAN: Without any embassies in any country?
VENTURA: I’m not saying necessarily to get rid of embassies. Absolutely have embassies. But if these Middle Eastern countries are going to behave towards us the way they do, then let’s get the hell out of there and leave them to their own.
You’ve got to remember something. I urge people to read the writings of Major General Smedley Butler. General Butler died in the early ’40s, but he was the most decorated Marine in history. He won two Congressional Medals of Honor. And he wrote a book called “War is a Racket.” And in that book, and this was way at the beginning of last century, he said I didn’t defend the American people’s freedom, I worked for the United Fruit Corporation.
When they went into Central and South America, if they didn’t get cooperation, they’d sent in the U.S. Marines to get it.
MORGAN: Yes, but that wasn’t true —
VENTURA: Enough of that.
MORGAN: Yes, but that wasn’t true about the Second World War, was it?
VENTURA: Probably not.
MORGAN: Definitely it wasn’t.
MORGAN: That was a violent —
VENTURA: But you’re apples and oranges here.
VENTURA: You’re apples and oranges here.
MORGAN: No, we’re not. You’re saying —
VENTURA: How can you compare the Second World War to —
MORGAN: You’re saying —
VENTURA: To us being thing strong arm of multinational corporations.
MORGAN: You were effectively telling this audience and the audience at home that wars are always of that nature. And they’re not. The reality is sometimes you have to oppress a bad guy, don’t you?
VENTURA: All right. All right, OK. Let’s take my lifetime. I was born post World War II, 1951. Now if you count the Cold War and the war on drugs, which the war on drugs is a war I lived four months of the year in Mexico, 20,000 Mexicans, I believe, died last year as a result of the war on drugs.
Do you realize we’ve been at war my entire life? My entire life. We have been at war. Is that the role of the United States? Perennial war? At war all the time?
VENTURA: No. I’ve had enough of it. Let’s listen to Jimi Hendrix for a moment who is on my shirt.
VENTURA: Jimmy Hendrix. Quote from Jimmy Hendrix. The greatest guitar player —
MORGAN: That’s the first time they’ve applauded you in the last 10 minutes.
VENTURA: All right.
MORGAN: Was when you evoked the name of Jimmy Hendrix.
VENTURA: Wait. Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Hendrix. When the power of love overtakes the love of power, then we’ll have peace. When the power of love overtakes the love of power, then we’ll have peace.
(APPLAUSE) MORGAN: On that — on that musical bombshell, we’ll take a short break. When we come back, apparently, and I’m certainly hesitant to confirm this yet, we’ll ask you after the break, you’re going to make a run for the White House in 2016.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE”)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our campaign has a secret weapon. And that secret weapon is speaking right now in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Let’s take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I’m Mitt Romney. And I understand the hardships facing ordinary Americans. For example, this summer one of my horses failed to medal at the Olympics, so I know hardship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: “Saturday Night Live” having fun at Mitt Romney’s expense. And back with me now is Jesse Ventura. His new book is “DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government.” With me live along with our studio audience.
Here’s the thing, you can flip this around. Everyone’s having a laugh at Mitt Romney’s expense and they’re all saying Obama’s stretching ahead in the polls and so on. But the reality is, Barack Obama’s been there four years, unemployment remains at an incredibly unacceptable figure of over 8 percent.
MORGAN: You’ve got lots of people suffering, losing homes, jobs, livelihoods. Why should he get another four years?
VENTURA: Well, because —
MORGAN: However many gaffes Mitt Romney may be making —
MORGAN: — he is a very experienced, successful businessman. Could he not do a better job?
VENTURA: Well, first of all, they posed the question, are you better off today than you were four years ago? I would say, yes. George Bush and Dick Cheney are gone. So no matter what —
VENTURA: — we’re better off today than we were four years ago.
MORGAN: You can rephrase —
VENTURA: Let’s remember —
MORGAN: Let’s rephrase the question and see how the audience reacts. How many in this audience personally, financially, feel genuinely better off after four years? If you do, applaud.
OK. And if you don’t, applaud now.
So, you know, it’s probably about 50-50. So half of this —
VENTURA: No. I got that at about 70-30.
MORGAN: Let’s put it at 60-40.
VENTURA: All right. I’m compromise.
MORGAN: Maybe 60-40. But whatever it was, certainly a number of people in the room —
MORGAN: — would agree they’re not better off.
VENTURA: OK. But let’s get to brass tax here. And again, I’m the independent. In the economy, things that are done three, four, five years ago show up today. So when the recession of what we had hit, which Barack Obama inherited, Bush did the first bailout. That was because it hit in ’08 because of decisions done in ’03,’04, when you had a Republican president, a Republican House, and a Republican Senate.
Why at the Republican convention, and I ask you this question, why wasn’t George Bush allowed to speak, Dick Cheney allowed to speak? Because they just left office 3 1/2 years ago after serving eight years, that’s unconscionable that they weren’t there. Why? The Republicans don’t want anyone to remember who caused all this.
I said to my wife —
VENTURA: Wait, at the ’08 election, I said to my wife, you know, I wouldn’t want — you couldn’t pay me to be the next president any amount of money because whomever it is is going to get the blame for all of what George Bush and Dick Cheney did.
MORGAN: Well — VENTURA: And that’s precisely what you got. Now has Obama fixed it? No. He has not. But is Mitt Romney the answer, going back to the old Republican ways that caused it in the first place? Americans have very short attention spans. They usually can only remember about a year ago. They need to remember about four, five, six years ago of who caused this.
MORGAN: Let’s go to our first audience member question. Derek White (ph), you have a question. On the basis of rumors still flying around, the gentleman may run for office in 2016, what is your question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first, Governor, how are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’d like to thank you for having the guts to serve in our armed forces. I think a lot of politicians and so-called statesmen ought to take a page out of your book.
VENTURA: Well, it’s not a requirement.
You know. No, let’s be fair. It’s not a requirement to serve in the military, to be the commander in chief because he’s a civilian. Maybe it’s good for a little of experience having done it, but it is not a requirement. The Constitution doesn’t say you have to.
MORGAN: Anyway, we’re not here to call you a hero. Let’s have a question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor, my question is, if you were to run as independent, completely unaffiliated from any political party whatsoever, do you feel that that would help or hinder your ability to ultimately gain valid access in all 50 states?
VENTURA: It’ll require you the people to do it for me. But you know what? I need to see that. I need to see the American people rise up before I’m going to put my butt on the line again.
MORGAN: When will you —
VENTURA: And the only one on the line —
MORGAN: — put your butt on the line?
VENTURA: And the only way that will help, two criteria must happen. There must be — and I also abhor this ridiculous spending that they do to get elected. It’s obscene. It’s obscene.
(APPLAUSE) And I — and I can say that because — I can say that because when I ran for governor of Minnesota, I spent less money to get the job than what I made doing the job. I don’t think there’s an elected official that can make that statement in the last 50 years.
I only raised $300,000 to become the governor of Minnesota. The Democrats and Republicans in the same race spent a combined $12 million. And that was back in ’98.
MORGAN: But Jesse, will you be running or not, in 2016?
VENTURA: I don’t know. I need to be — I need to have valid access in all 50 states and I need some type of guarantee that I will be allowed in the debates. Because you cannot win if they won’t let you debate. But if you can debate, you can win. Because in Minnesota at the primary, I was only polling between 8 to 10 percent. I was allowed in the debates, seven weeks later I was the governor of Minnesota.
You know, they always say, Piers, in the private sector competition is good, right? Isn’t that what we always hear? Well, how come competition isn’t good for president? Why has it been 20 years since we’ve seen any third voice in a presidential debate? Because these two parties will — they make the rules and they will not let anyone else win. So I would require huge help from you the people because if I do run and I — and I run to win, I would be the first president elected in this country that would belong to no political party since George Washington. The father of our country.
MORGAN: Well, I would — I would love to see you at one of those debates, actually, Jesse. But after the break, we’re going to talk to you about Osama bin Laden and whether a Navy SEAL should be allowed to tell his story as one of the SEAL Team Six.
MORGAN: I’m back now with my special guest, Jesse Ventura, and our live studio audience. Let’s get around that audience question. This time Oliver Reynolds.
Mr. Reynolds, over to you.
OLIVER REYNOLDS, AUDIENCE MEMBER: Afternoon, Mr. Ventura.
REYNOLDS: My question to you is, as a former Navy SEAL, do you agree or disagree with the recent released book by the six-member SEAL Team and — and the objections of the Pentagon?
VENTURA: I don’t have a problem with it. The op was over over a year ago, and I feel I have a right to know what went on because our entire military is paid by my tax dollars. And I believe I have every right to know what they spend my tax dollars on. And I also would like to hear from boots on the ground.
I don’t want to hear from the media what happened in the op. I don’t want to hear from bureaucrats in Washington what happened on the op. I would like to hear from boots on the ground, somebody that was — that was actually there so that I can make a determination —
MORGAN: But how does it help, Jesse, if — I mean, my brother is a British Army colonel and has done tours of Afghanistan, Iraq and so on.
VENTURA: It’s true.
MORGAN: How does it help operationally if all the guys around are all wondering who’s going to put this in a book? I mean surely —
VENTURA: Well —
MORGAN: They all sign up, don’t they, to not write about their experiences?
VENTURA: Well, he’s out now. He’s a civilian now. And I — I just, you know, to me he has the First Amendment rights — or he should have them, if he’s not giving away anything that’s listed under national security or that could affect anyone in the future operations, I say why not? Like I said, I’d like to hear from boots on the ground what actually happened there, not some fragmented story that comes out of Washington telling me what happened.
So I don’t have — and besides you, the media, and the SEALS themselves have allowed themselves to become like the Green Berets in the ’60s and ’70s now. I don’t like the fact you even know we exist, because back in the ’60s and ’70s, nobody even knew who we were. Well, that’s out of the bag now. Hollywood’s made plenty of films. You’ve had my friend Dick Marsinco, who created SEAL Team Six, he’s written half a dozen books.
So if the creator of SEAL Team Six can write books about what they do, what the heck. If he doesn’t put in jeopardy anyone, why — why is our government so up in arms about that he does this?
MORGAN: What we’re all agreed on is that the death of Osama bin Laden was a good thing. But be honest, is America any safer now than it was when he was killed? Or from all we’re seeing now in the Middle East, all the uprisings, all the kind of reverse Arab Spring, if you like, are you concerned that it may be a hornet nest getting out of control?
VENTURA: No, because I think a lot of times these uprisings are orchestrated, I believe. I believe in the works of Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, when he said nothing just happens, everything is planned. I truly believe that.
So these uprisings that are happening right now, we don’t know really who is behind them. They could be our own CIA. MORGAN: Did we know —
VENTURA: — helping to do it. Who knows.
MORGAN: Did we know who we were backing? That’s one of the key questions.
VENTURA: Backing in what?
MORGAN: In Libya, in Egypt.
VENTURA: I have no idea.
MORGAN: All of these countries. When you oppose Mubarak or Gadhafi or something, do we know who these rebels were? And are we now perhaps seeing the results of not knowing too well who they are?
VENTURA: We’re here wanting to give democracy to people who lived, in my opinion, in the stone age. I think the bigger question to ask is here we go, another religious war. Because most every war that happens on this planet is due to the fact of religion. One religion doesn’t like the way another religion worships God, so we’re going to kill you.
I love religion, you know, and I say that sarcastically.
MORGAN: I know. I thought —
VENTURA: And I say that because — I’ve openly admitted I’m an atheist.
MORGAN: I thought you said earlier that all wars were about oil and corporations.
MORGAN: They are, but they’re all religious based too.
MORGAN: They’re all about religion and oil and corporations?
VENTURA: Could be. Sure.
MORGAN: And getting rid of the Nazis.
VENTURA: Well, wait —
VENTURA: Wait, the Nazis was religious too. Look what they did to the Jews. So that brought religion in. Vietnam was religious because Diem, our puppet president, and our country brought 100 Christian Vietnamese down to the south to be the government. Well, the Southern Vietnamese didn’t like these religious characters from up north, so they then became the Viet Cong.
So all wars pretty much in my lifetime have had some religious basis. But certainly big business gets in there because wars are very profitable to certain big businesses. And of course, big business needs to be in the Middle East so that we can get the oil out of the Middle East, so we can get the Lithium out of Afghanistan.
You know they discovered a vein of Lithium there they say is worth a trillion dollars. Well, what is Lithium used for? Every cell phone, computer, and soon to be electric cars. Let’s talk about why we’re really there. We’re not there — how has any of these wars affect our freedom in any way?
The United States is not in any threat. They’re not going to do a Normandy invasion on us, al Qaeda in Virginia.
MORGAN: You’re being slightly naive, aren’t you?
VENTURA: I’m not being naive, sir.
MORGAN: I think you are being naive.
MORGAN: I think that it’s clear one of the main reasons America went into Afghanistan was to try and get al Qaeda dismantled, the organization which committed the 9/11 attack.
MORGAN: You don’t think so?
VENTURA: How come al Qaeda put the heroin business out? They took all the poppy growers and stopped the production of heroin. Wait. Now how much of that illegal heroin was propping up the international banks with laundered money. And when it dried up, the first recession happened.
Well, now that we’re back in there, we aligned with the poppy growers and the heroin business is back up full swing again. I thought we fight a war on drugs here.
MORGAN: All right, Jesse —
VENTURA: Seems we’re not.
MORGAN: What would you have done on September 12th, 2001? What would you have done if you’d been president?
VENTURA: What would I have done? I would have done a legitimate investigation to find out what exactly happened on 9/11. How did they know who did this so quickly like they did Lee Harvey Oswald, how quick they knew Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy?
MORGAN: Because the people who did it were identified and we knew who they were.
VENTURA: Why couldn’t we have stopped them beforehand if they were identified and we knew who they were.
MORGAN: It was a failure of intelligence. MORGAN: No it wasn’t. We knew before. Condoleezza Rice’s memo on August 6th when it stated right in the memo, bin Laden to steal planes and run them into buildings. And more stuff is coming out now also, how much the Bush administration ignored the intelligence. It was almost like they ignored it because they wanted it to happen.
MORGAN: Oh, come on, Jesse.
VENTURA: No, not, oh come off it. Wait a minute —
MORGAN: No, no, no —
VENTURA: Every war starts with a false flag operation.
MORGAN: You can’t, in all seriousness, sit there and try to make out anybody —
VENTURA: Let me ask you this, Piers, wait a minute. Let —
VENTURA: Let me ask you something. How much studying have you actually done of 9/11 other than what the government’s told you and what mainstream media has told you?
MORGAN: A lot, actually. I was editor of a national newspaper.
VENTURA: Wait a minute.
MORGAN: — every day for five, six months.
VENTURA: Really? Really?
MORGAN: I know a lot about it.
VENTURA: Let me ask you this —
MORGAN: You cannot say that any member of the Bush administration knew it was going to happen and wanted it to happen. It’s a ridiculous thing to say.
VENTURA: Ridiculous. OK. Let’s talk about your BBC. I have a tape of a BBC reporter broadcasting directly back to England talking about a third building has collapsed, World Trade Center Building Seven, talks for seven minutes. All the while she’s talking, World Trade Center Building Seven is still standing right behind her. It didn’t fall for another half hour. Yet they were doing a pre- broadcast back to England —
VENTURA: Yes, it’s true. That this building fell and it hadn’t fallen yet. MORGAN: If you’re trying to make out the British Broadcasting Company, one of the most respected news organizations in the world, was inventing huge buildings falling over.
VENTURA: They did.
MORGAN: You need to have a break, Jesse. We’ll come back after the break and we’ll talk about Israel and Iran.
VENTURA: Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? This is a fact, my friend.
MORGAN: Back with Jesse Ventura live along with our studio audience. We left a heated debate about various theories you have about 9/11 and so forth. Let’s move on —
VENTURA: And the government only has a theory.
MORGAN: Right. Well, the government has factual —
VENTURA: Theirs is a theory. Their theory is 19 Islamic radicals, armed with box cutters, defeated our multi-billion dollar air defense system, all while conspiring with a bearded guy in a cave in Afghanistan.
MORGAN: That is exactly what happened.
VENTURA: That’s their theory.
MORGAN: That’s all fact.
VENTURA: That’s their theory.
MORGAN: No, that’s what happened.
MORGAN: Yes. I’m sorry to kill your conspiracy theories, but that is what happened.
VENTURA: Then why hasn’t anyone been brought up for trial?
MORGAN: Because —
VENTURA: — given one shred of evidence —
MORGAN: They all died in case you missed the story.
VENTURA: What do we have all of these guys in Gitmo for? We’ve got the supposed confessor to it, who they water boarded 180 times to get the confession. Got news for you, Piers. If they water boarded you 180 times, you’d confess to it.
MORGAN: Now you’re — you’re missing the point. On that very point, I don’t agree with Guantanamo Bay. I didn’t agree with the water boarding personally.
Let’s move on. Let’s move on to Iran and Israel. If you were the American presidents, with all the jungle drums beating now about Iran, would you take any military action?
VENTURA: Well, first, let me state that Iran has to do this. Because if you notice, the United States doesn’t mess with any country that’s got nuclear capabilities. They only mess with countries that don’t. So all countries that don’t have it strive to get it, because it’s a safety mechanism to have it. So, of course, Iran’s going to try to get the stuff.
MORGAN: Should they be allowed to have it?
VENTURA: Should they be allowed to? I don’t know.
MORGAN: Yes or no.
VENTURA: I don’t know.
MORGAN: You’re a man of opinion.
MORGAN: — entitled to know what you think.
VENTURA: Not right now, you don’t. I need to study it more.
MORGAN: How very convenient.
VENTURA: Yes, it is convenient.
MORGAN: You know about everything that happened before 9/11. But right now when you have Iran potentially nuking itself up, you don’t have an opinion.
VENTURA: Well, let’s leave that up to the nuclear inspectors that go in there. They will tell us whether they’re nuking it up before you decide to bomb them.
MORGAN: I didn’t decide to bomb anybody.
VENTURA: No, but you seem to be very favorable toward it.
MORGAN: It’s not a very good technique when you’re debating with somebody. Stick with facts.
VENTURA: How many political offices have you held?
VENTURA: Then don’t tell me how to debate. Because I’ve held two.
MORGAN: Oh, I’ve debated many times.
VENTURA: But you’ve never won an election where a debate was required.
MORGAN: I think you’ve made some very sensible points and you make some crack pot points.
VENTURA: That’s your opinion.
VENTURA: How many people here think I make crack pot points. One. How many think I make sensible points?
VENTURA: You’re in the minority, my good friend. You’re the minority.
MORGAN: I said you made some sensible points. Let’s go on to another audience question from Jared Grossman. Ask you question, Jared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, governor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I’d like to know why you think politics in America today — why has it become so polarized, and why has it become so hate-driven? And how do you think we can fix that?
VENTURA: Well, politics in America, the problem — the major problem is the Democrats and Republicans, as I explained in my book, “Democrips and Rebloodicans, No More Games in Government,” they’ve created a system based completely on bribery. Now, if we do bribery, it’s hypocrisy. If we do bribery in the private sector, we go to jail.
Yet, their entire political system is based upon bribery. Who can bribe and give the most money to the politician and now, thanks to our illustrious Supreme Court that ruled that corporations have the same right as individuals and that money is free speech, well, we’re now being inundated with so much money from the corporations buying the Democrats and Republicans, both sides, that — look at this hypothetically, a foreign country could now control our elections, because all they would have to do is form a corporation, start pumping money into the super PACs.
Plus there’s no — they don’t have to say where the money comes from, which is criminal. Every candidate should have to state openly, open disclosure where they get every dollar. You’re not getting that now. So the whole system is corrupted now.
The Democrats and Republicans are at fault because they’ve been in charge for 150 years. They can’t pass the buck on it. And until they clean up the system, that’s what you’ve got, it’s bribery.
MORGAN: Jesse, I’m shocked. I’ve just agreed with every word you’ve just said. VENTURA: No, you just want to get the crowd back on your side.
MORGAN: Not at all. As I’ve said to you —
VENTURA: I’m teasing you.
MORGAN: I’ve agreed with every word of it. I think the whole super PAC thing is completely out of control. And you’re right, in the end, China right now could finance a run for the presidential election with one of their sponsored people from one of their companies.
VENTURA: I think that this ruling could be the downfall of our country. And the only way — the only way we can stop it is to amend the Constitution.
MORGAN: Yes. I agree.
VENTURA: That’s the only way you can overrule the Supreme Court. And we need to do that.
MORGAN: Let’s take a break, Jesse. When we come back, we’re going to talk about Clint Eastwood, the empty chair, and gun control.
MORGAN: Back now with Jesse Ventura and our live studio audience. Gun control, this is something I’ve been very animated all this year with all the various gun outrages, especially the appalling thing at the cinema in Colorado. Why it is that Americans — to me, it seems, so many Americans can not divorce their right to defend themselves with a gun to the apparent right to go and buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition, high powered assault weapons, and go and murder Americans?
VENTURA: Well, the best thing I can tell you, Piers, is this: Mexico has strict gun control. You cannot own a gun in Mexico. And they had 20,000 people dead last year in the drug cartel wars.
MORGAN: But Mexico has a very particular problem involving drugs. I could cite you Britain —
MORGAN: Let me just throw back at you, in Britain, for example, an average of 35 people a year are murdered with guns. In Germany’s it’s about 40 to 50. France, the same. Spain the same. Italy, there’s a pattern.
America, 11,000 to 12,000 a year. This country has more guns than anybody else and more gun murders.
MORGAN: It’s inarguable, isn’t it? VENTURA: No, not at all. Because I was in the Philippines physically the day Ferdinand Markos declared martial law and made himself a dictator. The first thing that dictator did, he gave the people of the Philippines two weeks to turn in all their guns or it was the death penalty. Now why would a dictator do that? Why would he make his number one priority when he took over as dictator to disarm the public?
The Second Amendment is there so — and it was put in there not for hunting and fishing, like they like to say. Because back when they did it, if you didn’t hunt or fish, you didn’t eat. It was put in there so the citizens would have the ability, if their government became oppressive, they could defend themselves against oppressive government.
And I think that overrules all the gun deaths. Let’s remember something, a gun is simply a tool. I have a gun safe at home, and I’ve never come home and heard those guns going of on their own. People kill people, all right? How many people here die because of car accidents of drunk driving? Do we go to the Ford Motor Company and tell them, stop making these automobiles because people get drunk and kill people in cars?
MORGAN: It’s a facile argument.
VENTURA: It’s a what?
MORGAN: It’s a facile. There’s no equivalence between drunk driving and lethal firearms. My point —
VENTURA: A car is a 2,000 pound projectile that can go 100 miles an hour.
MORGAN: I have no problem with an American believing that their right under the Constitution is that they can defend themselves, especially in their own home, if they’re being attacked and they have a weapon.
VENTURA: It’s also against government.
MORGAN: I have a big problem with a disturbed young man, as we saw in Colorado, being able to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition and a high powered assault weapon and go into a movie theater and blow away 70 Americans. I have a big problem with that. And nobody else in America in high office seems to share that problem.
VENTURA: I’ll tell you what, Piers. I have a conceal and carry license. Had I been in there, I would have taken this guy out before he could have killed that many people.
MORGAN: Well, I think that — again —
VENTURA: Let’s remember, police can’t stop crimes. Police show up after they’re over. Remember that. So when you talk about me not being able — if there would have been a legitimate conceal and carry in that theater, quite possibly they could have taken this guy out and saved people —
MORGAN: Or you could have had the gunfight at the OK Corral in there and lost even more lives. Couldn’t you? That’s what could have happened.
VENTURA: What role of the dice would you like? You’d prefer to be unarmed?
MORGAN: I think this country needs to do something about its gun laws, I really do.
VENTURA: I don’t. There’s already enough gun laws. They’re already on the books.
MORGAN: Let’s come back and give you — I can’t believe I’m saying this. I’m going to give you the last word after this break.
MORGAN: Back with my special guest, Jesse Ventura, my studio audience. Twitter has gone crazy tonight, rather appropriately. I like this one, from BuffaloJimmyZ. He says, “the Moon landing was faked, Apollo 11 landed on Jesse Ventura’s bald head.”
Jesse, as usual, you stirred it all up. How do you want to leave this. You have about 30 seconds to give a final thought.
VENTURA: I promised a dear friend of mine that I would make this statement too tonight. Republicans are not a political party. It’s a mental condition.
VENTURA: A good friend of mine wanted me to make sure I said that tonight. I got it out there.
MORGAN: You have been, as always, extremely provocative, entertaining, slightly crackers, but it’s always good fun to have you. Audience, thank my guest.
VENTURA: Appreciate it very much. Thank you, Piers. Thank you.
(thanks to Jeff Sheridan)