PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview with Jesse Ventura
Aired June 11, 2012
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, a return of one of my favorite guests. The first time Jesse Ventura what was here, sparks flew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Don't be a coward.
JESSE VENTURA, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: I'm not -- you're calling me a coward? Young man, I've done things that would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: If you thought that was heated, know what he says about this election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VENTURA: I won't vote for Democrat or Republican and I urge people. That is the solution. The solution is to stop voting for these two political parties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Tonight, he's here and unleashed, and anything could happen.
Also, Gabby Giffords, more than a year after the shooting that almost killed her, she's back on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABBY GIFFORDS (D), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Politics can't get better. We'll ask her husband Mark Kelly. And the man they're both campaigning for, Ron Barbers.
And in America, the man who told a high school graduating class: you are not special. The commencement shock heard around the world.
This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. (MUSIC)
MORGAN: Good evening.
We begin tonight with a big story, a big man with big ideas about politics, government and, well, just about everything else. Jesse Ventura, the always outspoken former governor of Minnesota, a superstar of professional wrestling known modestly as the Body, a Hollywood action hero, and a man who famously never holds back.
Every time he's being on the show, he's tried very hard not to hold me back.
Jesse Ventura's newest book is a provocatively titled, "DemoCRIPS and ReBLOODlicans: No More Gangs in Government." And he joins me now exclusively.
Jesse, how are you?
VENTURA: I'm doing well, Piers. How re you?
MORGAN: You are looking very well.
Now, two things I want to clarify. One is why you're not with me in the studio. Secondly, where have you been? Because you've disappeared.
VENTURA: Well, first reason why I'm not with you in the studio is I've quit flying because I have metal in my body so every time I go to an airport the metal detector goes off and they treat former governors like criminals out there, you know? I've been treated like a criminal and I've had enough. I won't be treated like a criminal anymore.
So, the only alternative is not to fly. I tried to bring a federal lawsuit against the TSA and Homeland Security. And imagine this, the judge threw it out, claiming she did not have jurisdiction.
Now, it was a constitutional question. So if she doesn't have jurisdiction, no one does. And people in this country need to understand, when you go to any airport in the United States, you are not protected by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. They can do anything they want to you. There's nowhere you can go to seek redress.
MORGAN: So, you've been grounded. You're also -- you've been what I would call hibernation. Where you didn't watch television you were telling me before we started for 45 days.
VENTURA: Right. Well, I live in Mexico in the wintertime and I live off the grid down there. Now, I do have television but I decided it was time to see if I could withstand no television in my life.
So I did it for 45 days. It was wonderful. I didn't even watch the NFL playoffs for the first time. I did not watch the Super Bowl. I got to tell you, life was grand without it. And I urge more people. No offense, Piers, but I urge more people to try it now and then and see what else goes on in the world besides the old tele.
MORGAN: Well, it maybe healthy for you. But you look very good. I can't really encourage you in your campaign to stop people watching television for reasons you'll understand. Now, this book is fascinating.
MORGAN: The book, because it's called DemoCRIPs and ReBLOODlicans." Is this fascinating, the timing is perfect -- because I've got you on this show the day after Jeb Bush comes out and hammers all the politicians basically for their lack of bipartisan politics.
He said some very strong things. He said that both Ronald Reagan and his father, George H.W. Bush would have had a hard time getting nominated by the more conservative voters in today's Republican Party. Extraordinary thing for him to say, the leading member of the Republican Party.
And lends itself exactly to the premise of your book, which is things have become so fractured and so fractious in Washington that the whole process of political parties is now almost obsolete in your view. Explain why.
VENTURA: Well, I just think, to save our country, we need to abolish the political parties. Make them political action committees.
There's one thing we could do to start off with. Why do we put -- and I refer to them as the DemoCRIPS and the ReBLOODlicans because they call the blue states Democrats. That's also the colors of the Crips. Blue. And naturally the blood's color is red. And the Republican states are called red states --
MORGAN: For those who don't know what you're talking about, these are two of the most infamous gangs. It started in Los Angeles. The bloods and Cripps. They want to kill each other. And they wear these colors -- the blues and the reds.
So, you're basically likening the politicians in Washington these days to gang leaders and gang members. Is that right?
VENTURA: Yes, that's true. Let me explain why they're worse. The Crips and the Bloods, the street gangs, while they can be devastating to a certain small part of the population, the DemoCRIPs and RebBLOODlicans, the Democrats and the Republicans, they affect everybody in this country and they've been in charge for over 100 years.
So, how can they say they're not responsible for the horrible state that our country's in today? Our debt is beyond control. We've got politics now.
As Jeb Bush said, there's no compromise anymore. Nothing gets done.
If Obama wants to do this, the Republicans are opposed to it. If the Republicans want to do something, the Democrats are opposed to it.
The best thing we could do is on every ballot, remove all gang names and gang symbols. Allow them to only run on their names. That way, it becomes important that the voter educate themselves. What does John Smith stand for?
And -- because right now, when you go in to vote, if you're conservative, you don't need to know any names. All you need to do is look for Republican. If you're liberal, all you need to do is look for Democrat. You don't even need to know the name of the candidate.
MORGAN: This all sounds great in theory. Of course, the reality of the kind of American government you're looking for here is you would end up with a whole thing of disparate souls, all different kinds of policies, all different kinds of policies. How does it actually work in reality, Jesse? Be sensible. Be realistic. How does that work?
VENTURA: I will. What's wrong with that? Read chapter two. Chapter two tells who backs me up on this. OK? Who backs me up in chapter two, George Washington, the father of our country, Thomas Jefferson, looked up to by many today, and John Adams, who actually stated that when political parties take control of the government, that's what will destroy it. It won't be a force from outside. It will come from within.
I think those are three pretty good allies to have with me. They're the Founding Fathers --
MORGAN: Jesse, Jesse, again, I come back to reality check. So you get all these brilliant independents. And they're al standing on their neck. And the American public -- I like him, I like Jesse Ventura. I like all these people. But the truth is, how do you actually govern when you have a whole load of disparate souls? Because human nature says --
MORGAN: Human nature, Jesse, dictates that it becomes like a factious state, where you end up with the strongest taking charge. You end up with people who are the most independents of the independents. You're basically endorsing a form of fascism, aren't you?
VENTURA: We're already fascists, Piers. A corporation is the same as the person. That ruling by the Supreme Court makers us fascist, because the basic definition of fascism is when corporations take over the government.
They already have. They can give unlimited amount of money. They said money's free speech. And I love how it works.
You know, the Democrats and Republicans have built a system based completely on bribery. You bribe the politician. You get what you want. You don't bribe them, you don't get anything. Now, in the private sector, if we do that, we go to jail.
And then also they lied to us. Yet, if we lie to them, we go to jail. Well, how come the road doesn't go both ways? Why is it just one way?
MORGAN: Well, I guess that -- here's what I thought when I read your book. I thought you made a lot of very valid points. You hit a lot of those big bell moments that go off in people's heads -- where they go, Jesse Ventura has a good point, about the lack of bipartisan politics, about the corruptive element now which exists and corrodes around a lot of public life in America, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
I come back to my point. It's all about identifying it all as a complete basket case. How do you actually have a government that works if everyone is an independent?
VENTURA: Well, you can still -- you can turn the Democrats and Republicans into special interests, which is what they are anyway. They can still endorse. You get endorsements from the teachers union, you get endorsement from the police union, from the fire union, all these different things. Make them equal to that, to where the candidate can still be endorsed by the Republican Party, you just don't put it on the ballot. You put just the name down.
Why is it so weird to think that there should only be a name there instead of Democrip or Rebloodlican?
MORGAN: But the problem -- but the problem surely with that is, it's all very well this guy is an independent, everyone quietly knows that he's what used to be called a Republican, you end up like that ridiculous scenario of the pop star prince who then renames himself the artist formerly known as Prince. These would be independents formerly known as Democrats and Republicans, wouldn't they?
VENTURA: No, not necessarily. Just don't put the party on the ballot. Like I said, turn them into political action committees.
I mean, right now, you got -- you got a scenario in this country where they can receive any amount of money from corporations, from anything. And they don't even have to declare who they got the money from.
I'll give you another one that you'll laugh at, Piers, I think every presidential candidate should be required to wear a NASCAR racing suit. You know why?
MORGAN: Go on.
VENTURA: You know why?
MORGAN: No. VENTURA: Well, that way, it will show who owns them. On NASCAR, they always got all the patches for who their sponsors are. Well, that way, us, as the voters, can then look at their suit and realize who owns them.
MORGAN: That's actually a very --
VENTURA: Who they're going to favor and that would make us more informed voters then.
MORGAN: It's actually --
VENTURA: If they'd wear NASCAR suits.
MORGAN: Jesse, it's a brilliant idea. The only problem is absolutely nobody would ever do it.
Let's have a short break. I want to come back and ask you if it's the new land of promised opportunity for the independents, why you as one of America's great independent politicians isn't going to throw his hat back in the ring. So think about a good answer for me on that one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy had to do with state and local government.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants another stimulus. He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.
Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Top Democrip, Barack Obama, there, struggling with top Rebloodlican Mitt Romney. I rather like this, Jesse Ventura, these new names. They have a certain ring to them.
When you hear the president and Republican nominee going at it like this, given the state of economy, what's your reaction?
VENTURA: Well, my reaction, it doesn't matter. I mean, when we went from George Bush to Obama, the only difference was their skin color. Everything else has been pretty much the same. It doesn't matter if you elect a Democrat or Republican because they both sold out to bribery, to the same corporate sponsors. I mean, Barack Obama's large contributor was Goldman Sachs -- same thing on the Republican side. If you go to both their conventions, you see the same lobbyists paying off both sides so they win either way. It does not matter who you elect. I laugh when I hear "change you can believe in." the only way that's going to happen is if you elect someone like me. I'll give you change you can believe in. You can rest assured there would be change.
Not what these guys talked about. Nothing's changed. Nothing ever will, as long as Democrats and Republicans are in there.
MORGAN: I'm getting an explosion on my phone here of Twitter, which I know you don't partake in. A lot of people tweeting to my surprise but to your joy a lot of -- he's got a point, Jesse Ventura. If you're watching, watching, @PiersMorgan, keep the tweets coming, because it's getting lively with Jessie.
The obvious question I guess, if you're so fed up with the system, you want independents to take charge, why do you throw your hat back into the ring? Twitter suggests to me you have a following.
VENTURA: Well, I'm certain I would because there's a lot of disgruntled unhappy people out there just like me. They're wising up finally I hope. I mean, I've been pounding this for my last four books I've written. It doesn't seem like anyone wants to listen.
But I'll tell you this, I'm 60 years old now. I'm not too sure I want to tie myself up in this nonsense. I have a great life in both Minnesota and Mexico in the private sector.
I love to go in the water down in Mexico. I love my life down there. I would have to give that up.
And in order to do that, I have to see something out of the American people. I want to se the American people give me a sign that it's worth it to me to come out and put my ass on the line again.
MORGAN: How much do you think the media have to take responsibility for some of the way the political system has gone? You now have very partisan cable networks. FOX on the right, MSNBC on the left, CNN sort of squeezed somewhere in the middle.
When you see them getting more vociferous and partisan, does that matter? Is that good for political debate? Is it corrupting political debate? What do you think?
VENTURA: I think it's awful. It's terrible. You know, the news used to be to report facts and allow you to make the decision. All these shows are nothing but opinion moderators. They're hired guns to push an agenda. I think it's horrible.
When our forefathers created this country, the media was supposed to be the fourth branch of government, the unwritten branch. Their job was to keep track of what the other three were doing and report it to the American people so the American people could judge it accordingly. What you have now is nothing but a media with opinion and a media that I remember the death of Anna Nicole Smith. It was the headline for a month -- a month. And yet the meat and potatoes of running our country gets cast aside because why? The media today is not in to reporting the news, they're in to creating it, and that is very, very dangerous.
Because the light went on with "60 Minutes". They found out the news could make money. So the bean counters came in. Now the news is nothing but entertainment. It's done to get ratings.
Where in the old days of Walter Cronkite, the news took a loss and they accepted that and they made up for it in their entertainment division. Not today. Today, the news is expected to get ratings and expected to generate money and that is horrible.
MORGAN: So presumably you'll be boycotting FOX and MSNBC on your book tour, will you, Jesse?
VENTURA: I won't be boycotting them. They boycott me. I'd go on happily.
No, that's the truth, Piers. Neither of them will have me on. Neither of them.
VENTUR: -- will have me on. Nope, it's been that way for my last three books. None of the FOX nighttime people will have me on. None of the MSNBC nighttime people will have me on.
Now, FOX Business will put me on. I think they're another division. I'm not sure about that. But some of the business shows at FOX will have me on.
But no, FOX and MSNBC have banned me. I'm too controversial I guess.
You know who else wouldn't let me on? Don Imus. His producers and all them wanted me on but they wanted to know what five songs I wanted to have played. So I told them I wanted -- no, I told them I want Rage Against the Machine. Those are the songs I want.
From Tom Morello. He's a new Bob Dylan. He's a man who can play guitar like heck and Rage Against the Machine. Well, you know they banned them prior to the Iraq War and the buildup to it. None of Clear Channel stations would play anything. They censored Rage Against the Machine. So I guess so did Don Imus.
MORGAN: Well, Jesse, you are outrageous and controversial. You're difficult. You can be menacing. That's exactly why I like you as a guest.
So, we'll take another break and we'll come back and talk to you about your conspiracy theories, about which you have many, varied, and they're fascinating to debate with you, even if in some cases extremely (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Back with my special guest Jesse Ventura.
I do mean special because there's no one quite like you, Jesse Ventura.
Let's turn to your conspiracy theories in the book, as some would say. You would argue they're factual assessments of issues. One of which is you call Iraq and Afghanistan, the wars there, the first contract wars, saying the government hired corporations to do the jobs of our troops, paying them a lot more than they would pay the troops.
Explain what you mean by that.
VENTURA: Sure. Well, you've got all these contractors, former U.S. military special forces people, they realize they can get paid a whole lot more money to be a private contractor than what the military pays them. So, they leave our military in droves and go to, like, Blackwater, I don't know what they call themselves now. They changed their names around.
And they go over there and they're nothing but cowboys. They don't fall under any of the rules of war. They're mercenaries. And that's what we're turning into today.
Our military has turned into contract killers now, contract for hire. You know, and we're using them more and more. They're very much more expensive when you go to war to hire them than to use the regular military.
What troubles me is this, Piers, I'm 60 years old now, and I'm born post-World War II. I was important in 1951. My country has been at war for over half of my life. Over half of my life, we have been at war. No other country in the world, save Israel, can say that.
MORGAN: But when you look at Barack Obama, who you have little time for, it seems. But in terms of his foreign policy --
VENTURA: Wait, I have less time --
MORGAN: Right, but is he doing exactly --
VENTURA: I have less time for Mitt Romney.
MORGAN: Right, but isn't Barack Obama doing exactly what you would do? He's pulled the troops out of Iraq. He's pulled them out of Afghanistan.
VENTURA: He has?
MORGAN: Well, he is pulling them out.
VENTURA: He has?
MORGAN: He's pulling them out, isn't he?
VENTRUA: Well, I guess he is. But he's leaving private contractors over there. A lot of them.
He hasn't closed Gitmo yet, you know? He didn't prosecute anyone for torture. You know, we're now a country known throughout the world, we torture people, you know? I'm ashamed of that. Shouldn't we take the high road? No.
Now, is Barack Obama better than George Bush? Yes, I will say that. But he's still -- you know, he told us he would end the wars. He told us now we're ramping up to go to war with Iran. You know, the war's not going to end.
MORGAN: What would you do with Iran?
VENTURA: Well, I'll give you a scenario. Here's a scenario I would have asked at the Republican debates. I would have said, hypothetically, if you're the president, let's say Hugo Chavez of Venezuela because of his fear of our military and the fear of the United States, if he went and bought an unmanned drone and flew it over United States airspace and if that drone crashed in the United States, you, as president, I would have asked the Republicans, what would you do? I bet you they would have declared war.
And yet, we fly unmanned drones over Iran space. No one gave us permission to do that. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.
In our country, we believe we can do anything throughout the world. And if any of them people did that back to us, we would declare war on them immediately. Am I not right?
What if Chavez did that? Or say Hugo Chavez bought 1,000 acres of land by Palm Springs and moved the Venezuelan military in there.
I mean, we've got our military in, what, 270 countries throughout the world. Well, that's an empire. You know? I don't care to live like that.
MORGAN: Jesse, isn't it --
VENTURA: It's wrong.
MORGAN: Isn't there a slight naivete though to this? Because it's very easy to say that America, which is the world's number one military power and economic power --
MORGAN: -- should simply sit back and not do anything in any of these dangerous countries like Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, wherever it may be. Doesn't America have to get involved?
VENTURA: So the U.S. -- the U.S. is definitely threatened by these countries in what way?
MORGAN: You don't think --
VENTURA: They can't shoot a rocket at us.
MORGAN: Let me give you --
VENTURA: We have the technology we have today --
MORGAN: Let me give you a for instance. If Iran began to develop nuclear weapons and built up a nuclear arsenal, same rate, say, North Korea, Pakistan, would you not, as an American, feel threatened by that development, given they are such unstable countries?
VENTURA: Do you know why they have to do that? You notice the United States doesn't mess with anybody that's got the nuke. So, we're forcing countries like Iran to get the nuke so that we won't mess with them. We don't mess with nobody that's got the nuke. We only go after -- you're talking about this build-up. I've heard that before.
I heard the same thing about Iraq. I heard that a few years ago. It was all a lie, wasn't it? They had no weapons of mass destruction. They had no ties to al Qaeda. The American people were boldly lied to about that entire war.
And then we go into that war and we discover it's all a lie. And yet nobody holds anybody accountable for it. Well, now they're using the same scenario on Iran, the same identical scenario. They're telling us -- they're putting fear into us because I believe the United States has changed today where we must be in a perennial war. And those perennial wars will bring us down, just like the Roman Empire fell.
MORGAN: Well, Jesse, you are at perennial war with almost everybody verbally and long may you continue. It's a fascinating book, "Democrips and Rebloodicans, No More Gangs in Government." It's been great fun catching up with you again. You look in great shape. Come back soon.
VENTURA: Thank you, Piers. Thanks. I will. And thanks for having me on. Because a lot of people don't have your courage.
MORGAN: I have ultimate courage. I have no fear when it comes to the Ventura. See you soon.
VENTURA: OK, thank you.
MORGAN: When we come back, Jerry Sandusky face-to-face with alleged victims in court. It's the Penn State scandal that shocked the nation. Will justice be served? http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1206/11/pmt.01.html
"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." Thomas Jefferson