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Public Statements

CNN "Piers Morgan Tonight" - Transcript

Interview

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The country is in need of a turnaround. The Olympics was a turnaround. People want more success. They don't want less success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, my interview with Mitt Romney. The man who wants to be leader of the free world. But how would a President Mitt Romney handle the economy?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I want to get America stronger with an economy that creates the jobs that people need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Tonight, big question for the man who will be the Republican nominee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Had a congressman shot in the head and nearly assassinated. Seventy people hit and wounded and killed in a movie theater. Terrible things happen.

ROMNEY: The truth is, there's no particular change in law that's going to keep people who are intent on doing harm from doing harm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: And with the Olympic ceremony just hours away, his wife Ann talks about her battle with MS and why she says horse riding saved her life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S WIFE: Getting back on a horse, I started getting better and stronger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Mitt and Ann Romney. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT. I'm at the old Royal Naval College in London, one of our finest historical and military monuments. Behind me is the Equestrian Centre for the Olympic Games. And the reason that's relevant is that my guests tonight, Mitt Romney and Ann Romney, and Ann Romney has a horse in that race. She actually has a part ownership in Rafalka, which is in the dress hour section of the Olympic equestrian competition.

Tonight, I'll be talking to the Romneys about that and about the election. And, well, just about everything else. Including their very enduring and very touching love story.

Governor and Mrs. Romney, it must feel -- how does it feel to be back at the Olympics? Because the Olympics have been such a huge part of your life. You helped turn around the Salt Lake Olympics. Are you excited to be back here now?

M. ROMNEY: It's great. It's absolutely fabulous. You know I'd never been to an Olympics before I was given the Olympic job. I mean I've done the same thing everybody else did. I watched the games on TV. But to actually be here and to experience not just the athletes but also the volunteers who are working hard and excited, and then the whole community comes together.

It's fabulous. And these games, you know, great weather, enthusiasm on the part of the people here in London. I think you're going to see terrific games that will be long time in our memories.

MORGAN: You've been slightly criticized for knocking the British enthusiasm. As if you haven't picked up much enthusiasm. You feeling it now?

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: Well, I'm delighted to see the kind of support that has been around the torch for instance. I watched last night on BBC an entire program about the torch being run across Great Britain. And the kind of crowds. I guess millions of people that turned out to see the torch. That's what you hope to see.

MORGAN: I made a fascinating discovery last night, Governor, which is that you are more English than I am. Did you know this?

M. ROMNEY: I did not know that.

MORGAN: Your great, great, great grandfather, Miles Romney, was born in Preston, Lancashire. My great, great grandfather was born in Ireland. You are technically more English than me.

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: Well, I knew that my ancestors came from here. And I know Miles Romney. And Miles Park Romney. These are the folks that came and helped settle the West. But it's -- I didn't realize I was more English than you are but --

(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: Do you feel -- do you feel partly English?

M. ROMNEY: Well, I'm married to a girl from Wales.

MORGAN: Yes.

M. ROMNEY: And I'm a guy from Great Britain so I'm -- I feel like this is home, too, I guess.

(LAUGHTER)

A. ROMNEY: And I saw a good omen as we were driving in. The road in front the horse park where we're sitting in front of is Romney Road.

MORGAN: Is it really?

A. ROMNEY: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Isn't that extraordinary?

M. ROMNEY: Yes.

A. ROMNEY: I thought it was quite interesting.

MORGAN: On the Salt Lake, you've used this as an example of your business skills being able to turn things around. And that's been a theme -- well, we'll come to Bain Capital and that later. Why do you think the particular skill set that you had to deploy at the Salt Lake Olympics, which by common consent was a triumphant turnaround? Why would that work with America incorporated?

M. ROMNEY: Well, of course, the Olympics, that's very different than a country. And a business is very different than the country, but people who learn the experience of leadership, whether in their homes, in their community, in their business or in something like the Olympics, those lessons of leadership can be applied to other circumstances.

In our case at the Olympics we faced tough times. We built a strong team. I was able to establish with them a clear vision of what we needed to do. We tackled a budget crisis that we faced. And we were able to come together in a way through unity that produced an extraordinary success.

The country is in need of a turnaround. The Olympics was a turnaround. There are businesses I've been associated with that needed a turnaround. That kind of experience, of focusing on the most critical issue, building the most effective team possible, creating a common vision, unifying around that vision, and then delivering results, is something I think the American people would like to see in our economy right now.

MORGAN: Ann, you were heavily involved at the time. And it seemed to most people there were two reasons that you both felt compelled to get involved in it. One, you just lost an election. Maybe had a point to prove. Something to do other than anything else.

And in your case, you were just recovering from this devastating news about being diagnosed with MS. It kind of gave you a common purpose. It was a very poignant moment when you were asked to allow someone who was your hero to hold the torch and you chose your wife.

Tell me about that.

M. ROMNEY: Well, Ann had been diagnosed with MS in about 1998, and she was going downhill fast. Her right side was numb. She was having a hard time getting up stairs. We were looking at potentially seeing a wheelchair in her future. And so as we got closer to the Olympics, and she got stronger and stronger, we were -- we were hopeful that Ann might be someone who could carry the torch into Salt Lake City.

She made the kind of progress that suggested to the people who knew her that she was a hero. And the people we selected for torchbearers in our games were people who'd inspired us.

I noticed here in Great Britain the theme in the games is "Inspire a generation."

MORGAN: Yes. Yes.

M. ROMNEY: Well, inspiration was really the heart of our torchbearers as well. And for me there was no one who had inspired me more than Ann. And So I nominated her to be a torchbearer. And as a donor to the games, I got to choose one. And I chose Ann. And I can tell you it was an emotional moment for my family. As she got the torch. And ran it the quarter mile or so that she had the torch.

MORGAN: For you, I mean, people I don't think have fully grasped just how sick you were or how sick you certainly felt at the time. What did that moment do for you?

A. ROMNEY: It was just so symbolic. Because I was barely -- I was struggling with even walking as I -- as we came to Salt Lake three years before the games started. And then to know that -- I don't know, that everything had come together and that there was -- my life was going to be OK. And that I was getting my strength back.

It was as though you recognize blessings in your life and there's markers sometimes that are put down where you stop and pause and say, wow, look, look where I've come, look where I was, and look where I am now. And it was -- it was so significant for me to know that I was going to be OK. And that through all the things I was doing, part of it, the most important part of my recovery was really the guy sitting next to me.

He was the one when I was in my really, really darkest place gave me hope and said it's going to be OK, we're going to be OK.

MORGAN: You're a man known for compromise. For doing deals. Getting stuff done. Not getting overly irrational about issues. You've done it in your business career. You've done it in your political career.

The big issue in America right now is guns. And we had this appalling shooting on Friday at Aurora in Colorado. The worst single shooting in the history of the United States. And the usual debate, the one that I've heard since I've been in America, flare up every time these things happen. There should be tighter laws.

I'll be honest with you. I'm disappointed when nothing happens each time. You know, as I think Mayor Bloomberg put it to me, what does it take to change things? You've had a congresswoman shot in the head and nearly assassinated. Seventy people killed in a movie theater. Hit and wounded and killed in a movie theater. Terrible things happen.

What does it take to change the gun culture? To mean a change in the law isn't a contentious issue?

M. ROMNEY: Well, I think the idea that somehow if you had a law saying that guns were going to be regulated in some way that that would end gun violence, why, there might be some merit to having that discussion. But the truth is, there's no particular change in law that's going to keep people who are intent on doing harm from doing harm.

The governor of Colorado who's a Democrat said, look, gun laws aren't going to keep evil people from doing evil things.

MORGAN: No, but shouldn't a political leader be the one that says actually we're going to do whatever it takes to make it as difficult as possible? That's what we do with terrorism. The whole fight against terrorism. It's waged on making it as hard as possible for terrorists to do anything. You just try and cut the loopholes down.

I -- here we are in Britain. So I can talk about this without feeling it's not my country. And we have very strict gun laws here. And we have very few gun murders. Fifty maybe on average a year. Japan has almost no guns and has almost no gun murders.

America now has 300 million guns in circulation and has the highest murder rate with guns of any of the so-called rich civilized countries. The reaction on Friday was no politician called for stricter laws. But 43 percent spike in Colorado in local people wanting to arm themselves with more weapons.

It can't go on like that, can it?

M. ROMNEY: Well, we do have a Second Amendment. And I respect the right of people to bear arms for any legal purpose. You say that we have 300 million guns, saying somehow guns are illegal and try to collect 300 million guns would be lunacy, fallacy, a folly. That's not going to happen. That's not going to happen to our country. People have a right to be able to bear arms. The real question is, what things can we do, to do as you say, prevent the kinds of tragedy from occurring that we saw? And the answer there is to find people who are distressed and deranged and evil and do our very best to find them, to cure them, to help them, to keep them from being able to do harm to one another --

MORGAN: But this guy, James Holmes, the shooter in Aurora, he wouldn't have been picked up by anything. He had no history of mental illness. He had no history of criminality. I think a driving offense of some sort. He was able to walk in -- this is what I find staggering. Buy four weapons, including this assault rifle. Then on the Internet, thousands of rounds of ammunition. And a gun cartridge which could hold 100 bullets, which enabled him to fire at 70 people in a matter of a minute or two.

And I say, where is the movement now by political leaders in America to mean that there can't be another guy who can do that as easily?

M. ROMNEY: Piers, there was a guy in Norway that went up and shot how many students? Seventy students? They have very strict gun laws in Norway. But that doesn't keep the person from doing what happened in Norway because saying to a deranged person, you're breaking the law, isn't going to keep them from doing terrible things and hurting people.

We of course have all sorts of laws against bombs and making bombs. But this individual had bombs in his apartment. If he didn't have a gun, he'd have used a bomb. The idea that somehow the instrument of violence, if one can make it illegal, would keep a person from doing something illegal, I just don't think is a policy that actually will be successful.

MORGAN: I mean the final point I'd make on this is when you're governor of Massachusetts, you did extend a ban on these kind of assault weapons because you did feel there was a qualitative difference between shooting and hunting and the guns you need for that, and having guns where the only capability appears to be mass killing.

M. ROMNEY: Actually in Massachusetts we had the pro-gun lobby and the anti-gun lobby come together and fashion a bill that both thought was a -- was an advance. It provided more rights for hunters and the capacity for them to carry out hunting throughout the state. So it's supported by both sides of the debate. That's one reason why I was able to support that.

MORGAN: But President Obama last night in a speech made a big speech which looked on the face of it he's getting credit for this. Looked like he was moving to change things. But actually when you study the detail, hard to find a specific "We should change this law."

If he called you up and said, look, we need to get together in the wake of this, as I say, the worst ever shooting, we need to get together, do a compromised deal that just makes it more difficult for people like this to evade the system, would you at least, in principle, be happy to have that conversation?

M. ROMNEY: Piers, I don't support new gun laws in our country. We have a lot of gun laws now. We have background checks and other restrictions on gun ownership in our country. But as you say, we have 300 million guns in America. We have a Second Amendment that protects the right of people to bear arms. I support that. I think that the effort to continue to look for some law to somehow make violence go away is missing the point.

The real point has to relate to individuals that are deranged, distressed, and to find them, to help them, and to keep them from carrying out terrible acts.

Timothy McVeigh. How many people did he kill? With fertilizer? With a -- with products that can be purchased legally anywhere in the world. He was able to carry out vast mayhem. Somehow thinking that laws against the instruments of violence would make violence go away I think is misguided.

MORGAN: When we come back, we'll talk about the forthcoming election and about the opinion polls. I want to ask Mitt Romney why is it that more people trust him with the economy than Barack Obama. But they don't find him anywhere near as likable.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: That's Canary Wharf in East London, a few minutes' walk from the Olympic Stadium.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is back with me now, along with his wife, Ann.

Now, Ann, the good news is that according to the latest polls, on the economy, 51 percent of Americans trust your husband more than Barack Obama who gets 41 percent. The bad news is on likability, 60 percent like Barack Obama and only 30 percent like Mitt Romney.

You're one of the people who would tick both boxes clearly. You think he's right for the economy and he's likable. What are you going to do about making Americans like Mitt more?

(LAUGHTER)

A. ROMNEY: I don't know about that one. But, you know, the 51 percent we need to obviously get that to about 78 percent. I mean about who's best to handle the economy. And I think at the end of the day that is what people are going to really feel confident about, where they're going to go on the ballot because this economy is just sputtering along. We're even worried that it's going to go into another recession right now.

And, you know, they're going to have to trust and believe that this is the guy that's going to get the job done and get the jobs back. And they're going to -- they're going to have to make that decision about an economic decision. Now, I'll work as hard as I can on the likability piece. Because that's wrong, too. You know, he -- MORGAN: But he seems a perfectly likable chap to me. I don't understand it.

(LAUGHTER)

A. ROMNEY: Yes. We'll get over that one.

MORGAN: On the economy, clearly Barack Obama has decided your weakness, your vulnerability, is your record at Bain Capital. And it's a very divisive issue. And quite a fascinating issue because when I look at some of these attack ads, it's almost like he's attacking you for being successful and rich which is not a traditional area of battleground to an American from an American because America was founded on working hard, achievement, success, and making money.

How do you feel about the way that you're being attacked in that way?

M. ROMNEY: Well, I think there are attacks coming for being successful. Their efforts to try and minimize people that have been able to build businesses and be successful, I think we as a society have long encouraged our kids to do well in school. We've encouraged people to get promotions at work. To work harder and do better and better.

We value people who take an individual initiative to start a business and build it. And I'm proud of the fact that at Bain, the consulting firm, which I helped lead in a time of trouble, and also Bain Capital, which I helped found and helped built, I'm proud of the fact that we were able to strengthen enterprises that now employ a lot of people.

We were able to invest the money of pension funds and charities. That's what Bain Capital did. It wasn't our money. It was other people's money. We were hired to invest. We invested it well. And we were able to invest in some businesses which grew and thrived. Some of which have thousands upon thousands of employees. This is a very exciting thing. And a very positive part of my record. Really at this stage, the key is who can get the economy going. Who knows something --

MORGAN: Do you accept, do you accept that when you're running a company like Bain that was hugely successful, no one disputes that, you're going in, taking over companies, either you're investing in them as start-ups or as it turned out to be a more leveraged buyout situation. You go in and you give them your expertise. I think your preferred way was to keep the existing CEOs and incentivize them to do better with your help. And some succeeded. Some failed.

People have tried to portray you as a kind of ruthless money machine who some failed, some succeeded, you didn't care, you still got your fees or you made a ton of money. But actually quite a few of the companies that failed a lot of people lost their jobs, their livelihoods, and lost money.

To me, the key question is, do you know instinctively from your recollections how many of those companies that you went into would have failed anyway if you hadn't?

M. ROMNEY: Well, there's no question but that a number of places where we went in and invested we were investing in enterprise that was in trouble. That -- where the future was very much in doubt for it. And we invested in one business. I think it lost 50 or 60 or more million dollars the year before we invested. And A lot of people didn't want to touch it.

And we were able to go in there with the current management team. Help get the business back on track. As an investor, the managers really ran it. But they were able to turn it around and see a real success. And it's still around today, doing quite well. And provides jobs for a lot of people.

The idea that somehow making a business profitable is different than helping people is really a foreign idea. Because the whole American free enterprise system is associated with creating success, making businesses profitable. That means they can hire more people and grow. And every investment that I made while I was responsible for an investment firm, every investment was designed to try and help the business grow and to become more successful.

It killed us if something was not successful. If a business we started, for instance, couldn't make it, and there were several like that, but there were several that took off in ways we never would have imagined. There were other businesses that were existing businesses. We wanted to make better. Most of them we did make better. Those that we didn't, we felt terrible about. By the way we lost money. Investors money.

We became investors ultimately in our -- in our career. We lost our own money in some of these cases. But the key was we wanted all of them to be successful. That's the nature, by the way, of the free enterprise system. Not everything you invest in is successful. Hopefully most are. And as the people who invested with us, the pensions and charities and college endowments and investors with us know most of our work was successful.

MORGAN: Ann, how do you feel about being married to a man who is clearly very successful, made a lot money for the family, things that normally are applauded in America by other Americans. They say good, good on him. But they're trying to position this now as a negative against him. Trying to position you and your family as too rich, out of touch with the average Americans. Ruthless businessman. All that kind of thing.

You've lived and worked alongside Mitt all that time. How do you feel about that?

A. ROMNEY: Well, I think the whole piece that is missing is, again where Mitt is coming from and what motivates him and what really drives him. And if you look at what really drives him, it's compassion. It's caring for others. And for me it's an irony that they're trying to attack him on -- in an area where he's actually shines the brightest. And I don't think that's an area where people would ever understand that. I don't think there are many people that would have been in mitt's position having been a very successful company making a lot of money and really walked away from it and gone and done something as risky as running the Salt Lake games and taking no salary for three years. I don't think there are many people that would sign up for that. And that --

MORGAN: Presumably, he could have made a lot more money if he just stayed at Bain, right?

A. ROMNEY: Absolutely, would have been a lot different.

MORGAN: I mean I heard --

A. ROMNEY: But --

MORGAN: Everyone of the other partners is a billionaire. You must feel like you've missed out.

M. ROMNEY: I can't characterize how well they've done but they've done a lot better than I did. But I went on and did something which I cared very deeply about. And then ran for governor of Massachusetts and made a contribution there. And I'm doing this now.

A. ROMNEY: And that --

M. ROMNEY: Because I care about the country.

A. ROMNEY: And I think -- I wouldn't have traded that for any amount of money in the world. What the experience we had. And that is what is so wonderful.

MORGAN: Does this really annoy you that that's what people think you're all about, the Romneys?

M. ROMNEY: Piers --

MORGAN: I mean you --

M. ROMNEY: Piers, there are people who are trying to attack success and are trying to attack our success. That's not going to be successful. When you attack success, you have less of it. And that's what we've seen in our economy over the last few years. Dividing America based on who has money and who hasn't. Who is successful and who is less successful. That is not the American way. We're a nation -- you know, I heard Marco Rubio the other day, he said, you know, we were poor living in Miami. We saw these big homes. Across town. My parents never said to us, gee, why don't those people give some of what they had?

They said, instead, aren't we lucky to live in a country --

MORGAN: Yes.

M. ROMNEY: -- where with education and hard work we might be able to achieve that ourselves? We're an achievement celebrating, oriented nation. That's what lifted us and will continue to do so and the attacks that come by people who are trying to knock down my business career or my Olympic experience or our success, those attacks are not going to be successful.

People want more success. They don't want -- want less success.

MORGAN: From here, Mitt Romney goes to Israel. After the break, I'll talk to him about a world increasingly in crisis.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: Let's move onto foreign policy. We're here in Britain. You're off to Israel, Poland, clearly whoever's President of the United States, hugely important, significant figure on the world stage. What is your -- if you were to sum up your kind of overview of how you would like to conduct American foreign policy, what would you say?

M. ROMNEY: Well, I'd go back to the early days following the Second World War, where Harry Truman and Dean Acheson, then secretary of state, really created a foreign policy our nation has followed over the years, which is that we stand for something; we have American values, we promote them. We will be strong. We have military strength of our own, economic strength, moral strength.

We link arms with our allies and we promote our values through our strength, military and non-military, throughout the world. My own view is that having confidence in our cause and clarity in our purpose as well, as resolve in the application of our might, that those -- that those principles form the foundation of an effective foreign policy.

MORGAN: And there's no doubt that in the George Bush years, those eight years, America's reputation took a pounding around the world, rightly or wrongly, because of the foreign policy, particularly the Iraq War. How will you be different as a Republican president? How will you avoid the kind of pitfalls perhaps that President Bush fell into?

M. ROMNEY: Well, first, I have to note that as tradition for our nation, I, being on foreign soil, avoid speaking about a new foreign policy or my foreign policy or doing that in a place that would in any way detract from the president's effort to pursue his own foreign policy. So I really can't -- I can't go down that path.

I can tell you that I think President Bush took action which he believed, based upon the information that was available to him, both from British intelligence and intelligence in our country and around the world, that Saddam Hussein presented a very serious threat to the world, including the potential of weapons of mass destruction. And he took action which he believed was necessary to protect our people and our friends.

MORGAN: America's had the reputation of being the world's policeman, certainly for my lifetime. It's quite a responsibility. Is it one that America continues to need to have? You need to be the world's policemen or, as you say see superpowers emerging -- China, India and others -- is it time for that responsibility to be spun around a little bit?

M. ROMNEY: I don't think anyone signs up for the term -- when I say anyone, I don't think any of the leaders of our nation signed up for the idea of America being the policemen of the world. But nonetheless, America has been and I believe must continue to be the leader of the free world. And I think the free world needs to be the leader of the entire world.

And being leader of the free world means having clear and defined goals and values, sharing them with other nations.

I think our nation's leadership has been perhaps the greatest source of a national entity's good that you've seen on the world stage, freeing people from tyrants, spreading free enterprise and lifting people out of poverty, even in places like China. A great portion of China's strength today is the free enterprise system, which has been borrowed in some respects from our nation.

MORGAN: In terms of Syria, you talk about dictators and so on, people being -- Assad should go. There is a humanitarian crisis that's unfurling, getting worse by the day. What do you do? I mean, is the natural instinct of an American president, if you were there, right now, would you just be saying, enough? We've got to get in there and take this guy out.

M. ROMNEY: Piers, again, I -- given the fact I'm on foreign soil, I really am not going to delve into foreign policy prescriptions that would interfere with the foreign policy of our current president.

We all watch with horror at the reports that are coming from Syria and look for the best avenues to prevent that from occurring. But I -- as to my own views of what I do differently than the president, that's just not --

MORGAN: No, I understand.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I understand that's tradition.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: When we come back, inside the Romney family, and in particular, inside their rather unique Olympics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: There are two question I always ask most of my guests, and I see no reason why you should avoid them, Governor. And one is -- I think I know the answer to this, but how many times have you been in love in your life, properly in love?

M. ROMNEY: Properly in love?

MORGAN: Yes.

M. ROMNEY: Once.

MORGAN: This was only the only woman you ever just --

M. ROMNEY: Yes.

A. ROMNEY: True love.

M. ROMNEY: This is the only woman I fell in love with. I mean, I was a senior in high school, for Pete's sake, so I fell in love with Ann, hook, line and sinker. She caught me and I was lucky enough to bring her into my life. And we've been -- we've been in love ever since.

MORGAN: And the same for you?

A. ROMNEY: This is my true love. My true love. I was only 16 when we started dating, so for me, it was my first love and my true love. Now he went away and I dated other people during that time, but this is my -- this is my love, my love of my life.

MORGAN: Was your best deal the moment you asked this lady to marry you?

M. ROMNEY: Yes, no doubt about that.

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: I found her early and hung on. Now when you see something that's better than you are, that doesn't know better, why, you just hang onto her.

MORGAN: I mean, she has M.S. It's impossible to believe that you still have this, but you do. You survived breast cancer. You brought up five kids. Pretty amazing.

M. ROMNEY: Well, I love her, but she's also my hero. It wasn't just for overcoming the challenges she's had in health, but been raising five sons, particularly my five sons.

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: I mean --

MORGAN: I've got three sons, and that's ongoing --

M. ROMNEY: I mean, she's a remarkable person. And she put aside what could have been a very interesting career because she decided -- and we decided together, we wanted children and a number of them. And she devoted herself to them and was able to give her time to them and did a remarkable job.

MORGAN: Have you had moments when you feared you might lose her? M. ROMNEY: Yes, yes. And there was another health issue that we haven't even spoken about, but she was in emergency surgery and I was very concerned I might lose her. I was concerned when she was diagnosed with MS that it was ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. We were both concerned about that. I told her if it's not terminal, we can handle this. Anything not terminal we can handle. But there have been moments of fright.

MORGAN: The other question is, if I had the power to let you relive one moment in your life -- and it couldn't be connected to Ann or the kids or family, what moment would you choose?

M. ROMNEY: Probably the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in 2002. Seeing the athletes of the world gather, recognizing the connection in the place we were celebrating those games with my family's history, following 9/11 and the tragedy of 9/11, seeing the world come together and support America was one of the great moments of my life.

MORGAN: I'm told the Romney family has an annual Olympics. Is it true?

M. ROMNEY: That's an overstatement by a wide margin

MORGAN: Well, I'm going to come to your involvement, but...

(CROSS TRUE)

M. ROMNEY: Is this true?

A. ROMNEY: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I hesitate to guess what sport the governor is --

A. ROMNEY: They're humorous. They -- we started out in a very -- like a triathlon. And it was. It was swimming, biking and running. That's --

M. ROMNEY: Not triathlon distance.

(LAUGHTER)

A. ROMNEY: Yes, not a real, you know --

MORGAN: But you used to be a runner, didn't you?

M. ROMNEY: Yes, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

A. ROMNEY: He's still a runner. He's still a runner. He's a good runner. And then, you know, it -- I think the year that my daughter-in-law beat Mitt, just after she'd had a baby was when we shifted from that. (LAUGHTER)

A. ROMNEY: It's like, boy, I used to be able to beat the boys. Now they're beating me. Now the daughter-in-law's beating me, oh, no. Let's find something else.

M. ROMNEY: Totally apocryphal. That is not true. It was not true. She was kind enough to stay next to me (inaudible) across the finish line.

A. ROMNEY: But I remember feeling like a little bit like, uh-oh, the old legs are kicking in. But now they -- it really was very humorous this summer, what we did, because the boys decided that they weren't going to get everyone in the water and on the bike and on the run.

So they did things like how fast can you saw through this log. And they timed each other. I mean, how many -- how many nails can you get in like so fast. Then they did some other feats of strength.

MORGAN: I would imagine with five boys, it gets very competitive.

A. ROMNEY: It was hilarious, though, that the things they came up with that they were going to compete with against this year. And I believe -- who was -- was it Craig?

M. ROMNEY: I think Craig won. But that -- it included, you know, shooting a certain number of baskets from the three-point line, who could get the most in. And --

A. ROMNEY: They had a great deal of fun, I think more fun deciding what the competition was going to be --

M. ROMNEY: What the sport --

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: -- standing broad jump, shot put. We found a large rock. Who could heave the rock the furthest and those sorts of things.

A. ROMNEY: But, you know, it's just silly. And I mean -- and the funny thing to me -- and I've seen home movies of this -- is watching the little grandsons standing and watching. And to me, that is the magic. That's where the magic happens, is this whole family participation and we're all having a great time together. And the little grandsons are starting to watch and see their dads and their grandfather having fun, laughing together, just enjoying each other.

MORGAN: When the American athletes start competing tomorrow and over the weekend, great pride, obviously. I've interviewed Michael Phelps on Monday and he gets very emotional talking about what it means to compete for America. What does being an American mean to you? M. ROMNEY: It means having a conviction that America is an exceptional nation, not because of who one or two of us are as individuals, but because of a nation that was founded on a very unique principle, and that is that we're endowed by our creator with our rights, and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

And that foundation has built a nation which is not just strong and great, but also good. And the best of America, in my view, is the reason that America has been able to have such an impact on the world.

MORGAN: Come November, people will be watching this interview tonight, thinking, why should I vote for this man. Give me a compelling reason.

A. ROMNEY: I think the word is trust, trust that he'll do the right thing for this country, trust that he has the right economic skills and the right experience to know how to turn around an economy, and trust that he will -- whatever decision is being made, he'll do it in what's the best interest of America.

MORGAN: Do you go along with that?

M. ROMNEY: She's got it right.

(LAUGHTER)

M. ROMNEY: I care very deeply about the country. I think this is a critical time in our nation's history, and I want to get America stronger with an economy that creates the jobs our people need and restore the confidence that the future will be even brighter than the past.

MORGAN: Governor, thank you very much.

M. ROMNEY: Thanks, Piers.

MORGAN: Mrs. Romney, thank you very much.

A. ROMNEY: Very interesting interview.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN: When we come back, I sneak Ann Romney away for a private chat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

A. ROMNEY: For me to have been on that journey where I was so sick and so weak, and just beginning with horses, with our Olympic journey, and then coming all the way back here, me being so strong and healthy and well, and having a horse that's going to be competing right there, it's like the wildest dream ever.

I would never have imagined. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Ann, I managed to get you away from your husband briefly to get the real gem on Mitt Romney. What would you say about him that you know would probably embarrass him if he was sitting here with us today? What are the real qualities?

A. ROMNEY: Well, how I fell in love with him was his boyhood charm. He was so light hearted and joking. And I think people would be shocked to know that's his real character. There's a real boy in there. I often say that I'm the mother of five boys, but that's all wrong. I'm the mother of six boys.

MORGAN: Is that part of his leadership style, when he was at Bain Capital, whatever he's done, the Salt Lake Olympics, has he always been very calm?

MORGAN: Well, you know, I think where it goes to is this internal sense of self, where he's very confident in who he is, and he's not going to be bothered by what other people say or disagree or anything. But he also knows that as president, he's going to be doing things that may not always be understood, but they're going to be always the right thing, what he believes is the right thing for the country.

So he's going to act from integrity always. And if people question his motives or anything else, or accuse him of this or that, he doesn't let that get him ruffled.

MORGAN: Is he an emotional chap?

A. ROMNEY: Very, which is something that people aren't seeing.

MORGAN: Does he cry a lot?

A. ROMNEY: I would say that he's emotional. I wouldn't say that he cries a lot. He gets that tear in the eye a lot. But I wouldn't say he cries a lot.

MORGAN: What kind of thing can trigger that?

A. ROMNEY: Mostly anything to do with his family. Mostly anything to do with a very moving, whether it's a hymn or a moving piece of music or whether it's a book that he's read that is really deeply moving to him or even a movie.

MORGAN: What was the last movie where you saw a Mitt tear trickle down his eye?

A. ROMNEY: It's hard to say when is the last time we even saw a movie. I'm not sure I'm even going to remember that, because we have so little time. Actually, what we do when we're together now, because we're so rarely together and we're trying to get through season two of "Downtown Abbey," MORGAN: It's fantastic, isn't it?

A. ROMNEY: We love it.

MORGAN: This is a bit like "Downtown Abbey" here. Behind us here is the equestrian center for the Olympics. You actually have, quite literally, a horse in the race.

A. ROMNEY: I know.

MORGAN: Rafalka. How did you get into this?

A. ROMNEY: Stunned, stunned.

The point where I was, how many years ago, 10 -- let's see, 1998, '99 is when I was diagnosed with M.S. I had this feeling, because I was deteriorating so quickly and I was really going downhill so fast -- I thought to myself, I have to go back and do what I love. I love horses. And horses feed my soul. And I hadn't ridden for years. For like 30 years, I hadn't been on a horse.

And I thought before I get in a wheelchair I'm going to get back on a horse. And the funniest thing happened, getting back on the horse, I started getting better and stronger. Now it's that joy factor. There's more -- a lot of people say there's the therapy, the literal physical therapy of being on a horse that helps people with M.S., but there was the joy piece that I don't think anyone can understand unless they love horses like I love horses.

For me to have been on that journey where I was so sick and so weak and just beginning with horses, with our Olympic journey, and coming all the way back here, me being so strong and healthy and well, and having a horse that's going to be competing right there is like the wildest dream ever.

MORGAN: Mitt doesn't seem very passionate about horses. He doesn't seem really aware when your horse is competing.

A. ROMNEY: You're right. He does. I will tell you he is the most compassionate when it comes to me and understanding that this is what drives me and this is what my love is. Now, I will tell you too that Mitt and I actually do enjoy riding together. But he's more the western trail riding, where you just hop on and giddy up and go. No real skill involved, which is a good thing.

MORGAN: If I could give you a choice of Mitt Romney becoming president in November or the Rafalca winning the gold medal.

A. ROMNEY: Gee, that's a tough one. How about I go for both?

MORGAN: Very diplomatic.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: My thanks to Mitt and Ann Romney for a fascinating interview. On Monday, I sit down with Michael Phelps, arguably America's greatest ever Olympian.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Who are your sporting idols.

MICHAEL PHELPS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNER: Michael Jordan.

MORGAN: Why him?

PHELPS: He changed the sport of basketball in my eyes. On and off the court, the guy, in my eyes, made basketball what it is. And you know, what he did.

MORGAN: Have you met him?

PHELPS: I haven't. Never met him.

MORGAN: What would you ask him? If you were able to meet Michael Jordan?

PHELPS: I've had that thought a lot.

MORGAN: What's the thing you're most curious about with him?

PHELPS: I mean, I think part of me would ask him about what made him come back to the sport or what made him go to basketball -- excuse me, baseball and decide to go back to basketball. You know, one of the coolest things that I love about him was that it didn't matter what he had going on off the court or if he was sick or this or that. He never used it as an excuse.

He came out every single night on the court and he did what he had to do to get the job done. And that's what champions do. It doesn't matter what else is going on, when you walk into your arena, or your -- whatever you excel at, you're there to take care of the job you have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Next week, more big shows from here in London as the Olympics kick off for proper. But for now, Anderson Cooper.


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