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CNN "Piers Morgan Live" - Transcript: Dennis Rodman, Robert Gates, and Unemployment Benefits


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MORGAN: Tensions rising between North Korea and the West when you got a delicate diplomatic situation on your hands. Who better to set loose in the middle of it all but Dennis Rodman. Obviously, on situation (inaudible) anyone on Washington very comfortable right now, well joining me now and talk about that under the hot pot issues of the day. Senior Senator from Arizona, John McCain. Senator McCain, first of all, Happy New Year to you, sir.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Thank you sir and I hope you're healing from your trying to be a young man again and play cricket.

MORGAN: I had a little encounter with an Australian fast baller and cricket, but nothing compared to the wounds you suffered over the year. So, I feel I shall keep my bleating to a minimum.

Let us turn to North Korea off the top, well, what do you make of Dennis Rodman? There's a school of thought that he is being reckless and naive here. Other people think any kind of dialogue with North Korea is better than nothing. Well, what do you say?

MCCAIN: I think he's an idiot. I think he's the very person that -- of not great intellect who doesn't understand that he really does provide propaganda for this very brutal ruthless young man. But in one way, it's almost comic, but on the other side of it, it really does enhance his prestige with his people and he's one of the -- you know, the guy runs a bootleg (ph) of 200,000 people. It's full of unspeakable cruelty. And so -- and he also has missiles and nuclear weapons. And so it isn't a child's game here.

MORGAN: I want to play a clip from a conversation that Dennis Rodman have with my colleague Chris Cuomo this morning which concern the situation involving Kenneth Bae is being held there obviously for reasons that never since we got shore (ph), listen to this.


CUOMO: Are you going to take an opportunity if you get it to speak up for the family of Kenneth Bae, and to say let us know why this man is being held, that this is wrong, that he is sick. If you help them, will you take the opportunity?

RODMAN: What is this (inaudible) the one thing about politics, Kenneth Bae when you think, did you can understand, I got it, did you understand what Kenneth Bae did?


RODMAN: Do you understand what he did --

CUOMO: What did he do? You tell me.

RODMAN: -- in this country?

CUOMO: And you tell me, what did he do?

RODMAN: No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me why is he held captive --

CUOMO: They haven't released any charges.


CUOMO: They haven't released -- they haven't released any reasons.


MORGAN: I mean, Senator McCain, the problem at all this is, it sounds shockingly naive at best or worse, he's become a kind of a propaganda tool for the North Korean regime, isn't it?

MCCAIN: Well absolutely I mean for him to say, do you know what he did, obviously they had feed Mr. Rodman some lying about the person which is, you know, is the whole thing is a -- as I say in one respect it's kind of side show where the guy that's not too bright, that's looking for something to do. And that kind of part of it can even amuse us but when we're talking about an American is being held prisoner in a God knows what conditions and he is basically defending it that's pretty bad behavior.

MORGAN: It certainly is, let's move on to another big story that's emerging today in Washington, still on foreign affairs. This is Robert Gates (inaudible) of his new book. Some pretty damning revelations on this, not least in which, and he reveals the president had serious doubts about the entire enterprise in Afghanistan. He writes a biography (ph) 2010, he had concluded the president doesn't believe in his own strategy and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out, and he goes on to write, I never doubted the Obama's support for the troops, only his support for the mission. What do you make of this?

MCCAIN: It's a assessment I've had frankly since the Presidential campaign. I think you know, that one of the major reason why he won the nomination of his party instead of Hillary Clinton is because she had voted for the resolution to go to war in Iraq and he had voted against it. And so -- look every time I ever heard him talk about Afghanistan, he's talk about withdrawing, he said he'd get us out Iraq, he got us out Iraq. And to blame Maliki by the ways is absolutely false, we didn't want to stay and the president didn't want to stay.

And so I was surprised to read that or hear about that portion of Mr. Gate's book. And by the way if I could remind you it's and of second battle of Fallujah we had 95 killed and 600 wounded.

MORGAN: Well talking of Fallujah there were reports as with Al-Queda as we take in control in parts of Fallujah, what does this tell you about the reality of the situation in Iran there?

MCCAIN: It tells me because we didn't leave the force behind not to fight to influence and to help and train and assist and do all the things that American Troops could do and not fight anymore. That the situation deteriorated very badly and the Iranians became greater influence. And Maliki, rather than trying to bring this country together begun almost immediately or within a year persecuting the (inaudible) including his own Vice President and alienated his people in nearby province and now we're seeing people driving through Fallujah with black flags.

And it's really tragic because we lost so many brave, you know, it was where the real fighting went on and Iraq where Pierce as you know, and its tragic for the families of those who sacrificed.

MORGAN: Finally, and it's certain that there's ongoing battle over unemployment benefits, where are you sitting on this issue?

MCCAIN: Well, I'd like to find a way to pay for the $6 billion this cost, it's impossible for me that to believe that we can't find $6 billion in order to fund this rather than just increase the debt. Second of all we obviously need to reform the system, and third of all Harry Reid who has now become almost a dictator in the United State Senate won't allow us any amendment. To try to make it better, that's not the way the Senate work in particularly in the early years I was hear. We would debate and we would amend and we would -- they would probably win votes but at least they should have -- Harry should gave us some voice and allow us amendment to make it better. That's what the Senate is supposed to be about and he stopping all of.

MORGAN: Senator McCain, it's good to see you back on a feisty form as always, you clearly rested and up for the fight in 2014, good to talk to you.

MCCAIN: Thank you, my friend. Bye-bye.


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