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Sen. Portman Supports Same-Sex Marriage; Two H.S. Football Players on Trial

Aired March 15, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, sex, lies and Steubenville. Explosive graphic testimony and the rape case divided the city and America. Who is telling the truth, a teenage girl or two accused boys? We're live with the latest.

Plus, a staunch Republican senator against gay marriage stuns everybody.


SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: I'm announcing today a change of heart.


MORGAN: Remarkable U-turn for the conservative who coached Mitt Romney during the campaign. We'll debate what it may means for the GOP.

And setting the record straight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen years life for the second-degree murder conviction.


MORGAN: Bill Spector committed a murder. What his wife says about the crime and the new HBO movie starring Al Pacino.

And courage and grace.


VALERIE HARPER, ACTRESS: I just want folks to see me, that I'm OK, that I'm not suffering.


MORGAN: Valerie Harper diagnosed with incurable brain disease, extraordinary interview that everybody is talking about. My prime time exclusive.


HARPER: I want folks to know how much I have just been touched to the bone marrow by their concern, their love, their offers of care.




A very busy night on two big fronts, a rape trial in Steubenville with a graphic, sexually charged testimony today. We'll get to that in a moment.

First, political gathering at CPAC, the most important conference for conservatives in the country and they're most important conference possibly ever. You're looking live as Jed Bush talks to the crowd, and the speech comes on the day of the big return for Mitt Romney, winning the crowd over, admitting he made mistakes.

It wasn't Romney getting all the attention. It was Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the NRA, taking aim again at gun control advocates and what he calls the liberal media. I wonder if he is talking about me here.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA CEO: Thank you so much.

The political elites, they may not like it. The liberal media can keep hating on me. But I'm still standing, unapologetic and unflinching in defense of our individual freedom.


You know, they can call me crazy or anything else they want. But NRA's nearly 5 million members and Americans, 100 million gun owners, will not back down, not ever. I promise you that.


MORGAN: You're not cynical, Mr. LaPierre. You're just dangerous.

And then there's conservative Senator Rob Portman's stunning decision to now support same-sex marriage after his son told him he is gay.

Joining me now is David Bossie, president of Citizens United. Also, Republican strategist and CNN political contributor, Margaret Hoover.

Welcome to you both. A big day for the Republican Party in this country, in many ways, to start with the Portman sensation.

Another way of putting it really -- here is a Republican senator who had repeatedly voted against gay marriage doing a complete U-turn because his son turned out two years ago, went to him and said, dad, I'm gay.

Margaret, what did you make of that?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Look, I think Rob Portman acted in a way that was consistent with the love for his son and also consistent with a movement that's happening across the country with Republican legislators.

Piers, many people don't know, more than 205 Republican state legislators across the country have voted, elected leaders have voted for the freedom to marry and not lost their seats because of it, 135 members signed on to amicus brief for the Supreme Court arguing that there's a conservative case and a constitutional case for freedom to marry.

So, there is a sea change happening within the Republican Party across the country that is just now with Rob Portman percolating up to Washington. And so, I think we are at a tipping point.

MORGAN: "Politico" is reporting tonight that a lot of the GOP elite, apparently, have been very receptive to what Senator Portman said. I want to play the other side of the coin, which is what Rick Santorum said by way of his reaction.


FORMER SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I don't think it, in my mind, it doesn't alter what the right thing is for America. The right thing for America is to promote stable families that can come together, have children and be a solid foundation to raise those children for the next generation. And man and woman can do that no other couple, no other group can really do that.


MORGAN: David Bossie, is what Senator Portman did a good thing or a bad thing?

DAVID BOSSIE, PRESIDENT, CITIZENS UNITED: Well, look, I think it's obviously what he thinks is the right thing for his family. I don't think it is the right thing for America and I don't think it is the right thing for Senator Portman, from public policy standpoint.

Look, Senator Portman had only a few choices. He could cast his son out which obviously is a harsh, harsh thing to do. He could -say I love you unconditionally, and I change my views, forget my principles. Or I can say, "I love you unconditionally but I don't agree with you philosophically and therefore, I'm not going to change my principles."

And Senator Portman sided with changing his principles. Look, I'm father, I understand -- I am father of four, I understand. When you're a parent, you have a different view of the world. But I can tell you what Senator Santorum talked about, the importance of a mother and father raising their children -- raising their children, raising the best possible family, is really what America has been about. It's been the thousands of years of church teachings, you know, I think we can try to describe marriage in any way we want.

But I think the real definition of a man and woman will never change.

MORGAN: So what would you do if one of your children came to you and said, "Dad, I'm gay"?

BOSSIE: Well, look, I have very small children, so I'm -- years --

MORGAN: They are going to grow up, right?

BOSSIE: Well, we hope so, yes. But I can tell you, I'm not going -- I may be the guy who is supportive of my child and unconditional love but I'm not going to change necessarily by principles over one of my children's decisions. I would urge my -- one of my kids, if I thought they were doing anything wrong, I would try to urge them to not do that obviously.

MORGAN: When you say doing something wrong --

HOOVER: Piers, can I offer something --

MORGAN: One second there you say do something wrong, would be the fact they were born gay be something they had done wrong?

BOSSIE: Well, you believe -- you may believe that people can be born gay. I'm not necessarily in that boat.

But I can say that I was doing a broad, it was doing a broad stroke, Piers, if my child came to me on any number of things, we're talking obviously about gay marriage, I hope I never have to answer that question.

MORGAN: But you would try to correct the wrong, as you put it?

BOSSIE: No. You're -- you're now putting words in my mouth. I told you -- I was doing a broad --

MORGAN: I'm obviously not putting words into your mouth. We were only talking about gay marriage and whether one of your children if they turned out to be gay how you would react and you said if one of my kids did something wrong, you would correct them.

BOSSIE: I fundamentally disagree with that lifestyle, so yes, I do believe it's wrong.

MORGAN: I want to clarify your position is.

BOSSIE: I fundamentally disagree with that lifestyle. I believe it is fundamentally wrong. I don't think I could be any clearer.

MORGAN: I understand that. I understand that. But what would you do then about one of your children who said --

BOSSIE: I don't do hypotheticals that are 15 or 20 years off, Piers, to be honest with you.

MORGAN: OK, what would you advise Senator Portman to do?

BOSSIE: I would have advised Senator Portman to show unconditional love for his child but not -- not abandon his principles, which he has espoused the last many years.

MORGAN: Margaret?

HOOVER: So what I would offer David is a fourth consideration. He gave us three scenarios. The one he left out is the one Portman arrived to and many conservatives, people like Charles Murray, conservative intellectuals always harbingers of conservative intellectual thought and also, by the way, grassroots conservatives.

And fourth principle is this. It is that I can love my son, and accept him and realize that I can be more marriage and for families and for same-sex marriage, that it is not against conservative principles to support his son in a same-sex marriage, that, frankly, we want more marriages in this country, not less marriages. That's what Charles Murray is saying right now.

Charles Murray, the thinker of the bell curve, is saying we have a hollowing out of marriages in this country, single-parent households that are weakening across the country. What we want more people married, making life long commitments to one another.

Across the country, that is a fabric of what makes our society strong, our communities strong, our families strong, if that life long commitment, regardless of the gender, we need more marriages not less. Marriages are marriages and that is not --


MORGAN: If I may jump in, Margaret, the latest poll we have, the Quinnipiac poll of February 27th to March 4th, 47 percent of Americans support gay marriage and 43 percent are against. So you're on the wrong side of the popular held view here, Mr. Bossie.

At point will you move with the time?

BOSSIE: Just one second, I don't make decisions, I'll be candid with you, we don't make public policy decisions in the conservative moment based on what the latest poll says. That may be the same pollster that said Mitt Romney was going to win last November, too, for all I know. I'm just saying, polls come and go.

MORGAN: OK. Let's turn quickly -- Margaret, we got to move on another-to-another thing of the day, Wayne LaPierre's extraordinary performance, yet again. I will start with you, Margaret, if I may. He was right on the attack, as usual, the weak liberal media, presumably include mess in this, anyone who supports gun control.

The line that really got me was this one. Let's listen to this.


LAPIERRE: The one thing a violent rapist deserves to face is a good woman with a gun.



MORGAN: Now, the thoughts, I would imagine, Margaret, I want to you think about it what he is basing it upon is every woman should therefore be armed, is a logical extensions of his argument which would, of course, sell millions more guns and he is, of course, financed by the gun manufacturers.

So, is that what this is all about?

HOOVER: Well, I mean, Piers, I hate to use your own tool against you, but you just cited polling. The polling across the country is not for assault gun weapons ban with the implementation of it. The polling is much more aligned not with every woman owning a gun but people are more -- are closer to Wayne LaPierre's position than they are to yours. If you were just going to say, you're just going to go with the majority of polling.

I agree, his rhetoric is inflammatory and, sure, he is talking to you, the liberal media.

MORGAN: Well, I'm not saying I'm liberal media. I don't park myself in liberal or right wing at all. I can't even vote. I don't have a horse in the race.

BOSSIE: Let me just say this, do you think, Piers, it would bad thing for all potential rapists to think the woman they are about to rape would be armed and wouldn't bad way to stop a potential rape?

MORGAN: Here is the problem, Mr. Bossie, to facilitate that logical extension of thought process, every single woman in America needs to walk around with a gun.


MORGAN: How do they know when they're going to rape?

BOSSIE: A rapist has to think that the woman may be armed that's all it takes. That's all it takes.

MORGAN: How do they know when they are going to be attacked by a rapist?

BOSSIE: They do know if you disarm everyone in America, they do know you are not armed. That's the one fact you can't get away from.

MORGAN: Right. So, again, to clarify --

BOSSIE: What they don't know is if you are armed, there's no sign on your back saying I'm armed. There's the potential for you to be armed and that's what stops crimes.

MORGAN: Right.

BOSSIE: That's what stops people from breaking in homes all over the country every day.

MORGAN: But if that is true, how do you explain in America, 100,000 people a year get hit by gunfire, 12,000 or so get murdered with guns, 18,000 kill themselves with guns? Only today in Nashville, a man shot his 8-month-old baby with a firearm he was playing around with in a hotel room with two other very young children?

How do you explain when you have more guns in America, you have more gun violence, more gun murders? That seems to fly in the face of your argument?

BOSSIE: Well, it doesn't there are criminals and there are people who obviously, Piers, violate 30 or 40 federal laws long before they murder somebody. And they don't care. They don't care about the 30 or 40 they break before they pull the trigger, OK?

So, let's get -- I know there's -- there's people who have accidents. Obviously, this person that you're talking about, that's an unbelievable, horrible situation and I don't know anything about it. But that is -- those are accidents or on purpose that you can't get around.

I mean, but that's not to say that every -- the 330 million Americans should have their Second Amendment taken away. That's where you guys, and I say you guys, the people who are -- have been -- over the last several months beating the drum to demand to Congress, demand that the U.S. Senate, demand the House of Representatives, pass bad legislation.

And that's what's going to end up happening here potentially is they are going to pass bad legislation and then they are going to have to fight all the way to the Supreme Court and the NRA is going to win because the Second Amendment is the Second Amendment. And just like when I had to go to the Supreme Court to fight for my First Amendment rights in Citizens United versus the FEC a couple of years ago, the Congress passed bad law. McCain-Feingold was bad law, unconstitutional when it was signed by President Bush. It was unconstitutional when it was passed by Congress.

So I had to fight for three years to overturn that law and you that's what happened. That's what's going to happen with Wayne LaPierre, have him standing in front of the Supreme Court as a victor.

MORGAN: I suspect the reality is that rather like Senator Portman, when he discovered his son was gay, and he performed this dramatic U-turn, suddenly realized being gay may not be the worst thing in the world, nor would gay marriage, that it may take something like this happening with guns. If a politician who is so vocally supporting the NRA was to lose his child in the way those poor parents did at sandy who maybe they, too might perform a U-turn on gun control, because it's about making America safer.

BOSSIE: Piers, none of us wants gun violence --

MORGAN: Mr. Bossie, you keep saying it is attacking the Second Amendment. Nobody wants to attack Second Amendment. People want to make the streets of America safer.

BOSSIE: Piers, you do it every night. You do a show on it every night, attacking the Second Amendment (ph).

MORGAN: Well, I'm glad you're watching.

BOSSIE: Maybe that's not how you look at it, but that's how the folks out there see it.

MORGAN: Mr. Bossie, I respect your opinion. I don't agree with it but I'm glad you're watching the show every night and noticing.

Margaret Hoover, David Bossie, thank you both very much.

BOSSIE: Thanks for having us.

HOOVER: Thanks, Piers.

MORGAN: Coming up, Steubenville uncovered. I will talk to the blogger forced into hiding after going public with the case, now tearing a city and America apart.


ANNOUNCER: Next week, he is Hollywood's beloved box office champ, now, Tom Hanks may be taking his biggest risk yet, as a Broadway actor.

MORGAN: You have not done a play since 1981.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: I don't think you can be an actor and not want to, at some point, be on Broadway and challenge those waters.

ANNOUNCER: How do survive a marriage in Hollywood?

MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love in your life before you met Rita?

HANKS: Once. It took me until I met my wife, Rita, until I figured out, oh, that's how wonderful it is in order to make the permanent connection.

ANNOUNCER: Next week, the Piers Morgan interview, Tom Hanks.


MORGAN: Breaking news: testimony still ongoing in the emotionally charged rape case, turned the city apart in Ohio, the alleged victim, a 16-year-old girl who's yet to testify against two high school football players she is accusing of raping her.

Prosecutors are using text messages and eyewitness testimony to try and prove their guilt.

We want to warn you, some of what you're about to hear is very disturbing.

CNN's Poppy Harlow is in Steubenville with the latest.

Poppy, bring me quickly up to speed with what has happened today so far.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Piers, as you said, for our viewers, a warning, it's incredibly graphic, the testimony we've been hearing all day, day three in this rape trial in Steubenville.

The most key day, I think thus far for the prosecution. Three eyewitnesses taking the stand, all three teenaged boys, all three friends of co-defendants, Trent Mays and Malik Richmond.

The first to take the stand this morning testifying that he was in a car with both those young men the night of the alleged rape, saying he saw with his own eyes, Trent Mays use his fingers in sexual activity with this alleged victim in the back seat of the car, saying that he videotaped it on his iPhone for a couple minutes then deleted the video the next morning.

The second eyewitness saying when they got to a home after that car ride, that in a basement, the girl was like naked on the floor and that Malik Richmond did a similar act to the girl with his fingers on that basement floor. The key here is how intoxicated was she at this point in time.

This third eyewitness taking a stand, also a friend of both the defendants, saying the same thing, that he saw Malik Richmond use his fingers in sexual activity with this girl, which if it is not consensual, is rape in the state of Ohio. This is key, the third witness saying, quote, "She wasn't moving. She wasn't talking. She wasn't participating" -- Piers.

MORGAN: On the face of it, incredibly damning, certainly some of them are friends of the accused. In terms of the defense, how are they positioning the defense now, in light of what these witnesses have been saying?

HARLOW: That's very good question. They are not saying that this didn't happen. They're not cross-examining and saying, you didn't really see that, did you? They are using key strategies here.

The first is, how do you know how drunk this girl was? Did you see her all night? Were you with here all night?

This alleged victim did want to leave the party to go with these two young boys. She resisted her friends asking her to stay and said, "I want to go with them."

The other thing they are doing is they are poking holes in these witnesses testimony by saying you have seen the media coverage of this, all of the social media, the tweets, the videos, the posts, haven't you sort of reconstructed your memory of the night in the month leading up to this testimony? And they've gotten some witnesses to say yes, they have.

The burden of proof is on the prosecution in this case. They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this girl was raped and they are trying to poke holes in that. The two boys, juveniles, facing a maximum sentence until they are 21 years old -- Piers.

MORGAN: Poppy, thank you very much, indeed.

Steubenville case drew national outrage when blogger Alexandria Goddard made names, text and tweets into the alleged assault public. She joins me now for an exclusive interview from an undisclosed location because of the threats she's received over this case.

And also joining me, attorney Gloria Allred.

Alexandria, obviously, we're not going to reveal where you are. You have received many threats since you went public with the information that you found.

Why do you care so passionately about this case?

ALEXANDRIA GODDARD, BLOGGER: There were allegations in town there could possibly be a cover-up, the media wasn't providing much coverage about the case, and so, I wrote about it. And ultimately, sunshine is a good disinfectant. So, if there is a cover-up, you know, hopefully that will come out at trial, during testimony.

MORGAN: One of the most shocking aspects of this is the apparent disinterest and scorn shown by many other witnesses and bystanders, that nobody intervened, but also that even afterwards, they were mocking this poor girl for what had happened.

You were collecting this information. You were tweeting about it. You also found video. I want to play a little clip now. This is from a Steubenville student, who we can't name. But this sort of sums up I think the kind of cavalier attitude so many took toward this.

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's deader than O.J.'s wife.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think -- I think you guys were like --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is -- she is -- she is deader than Caylee Anthony.


MORGAN: Right, I watched that video again today. It's incredibly disturbing, as indeed are the full texts, which got released late last night.

Trent Mays, for example, one of the two accused, text messaged to a friend after this, "Yes, dude, she was like a dead body. I just needed some sexual attention."

The victim texting the next day to a friend, "I think I was drugged. I have no memory after I left."

On the face of it incredibly damming. What do you think of the developments in the last 24 hours?

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: I think it's very important, Piers, that the two witnesses testified that they actually saw both defendants involved in digital penetration of this young woman's vagina, which is rape --

MORGAN: Which is rape in Ohio.

ALLRED: It is rape in Ohio. As a matter of fact, in many places, in most places. It is not just penetration of the vagina by a male genitalia, it could be by any bodily part. It also could be by an object. But in this case, it's by two fingers.

MORGAN: Right.

Let me turn back to you, Alexandria. And from living in Steubenville, one of the aspects again that is disturbing is the apparent power of the footballers. As we saw with Penn State, this can sometimes override normal decency and normal reaction and behavior from people.

How significant do you think that aspect to this case is, the fact that these two are star football players in a town that's football crazy?

GODDARD: Well, I think, you know, you can't blame an entire town for what a bunch of kids did. But on the whole, it's very important because that team -- I mean, that -- they love that high school football team. You know, high school football in that that area is very popular on Friday nights. That's where people are at.

MORGAN: I mean, Gloria, try to get inside the mindset of these young people. They're all 16, 17 years old. There was a clip from an interview that Malik Richmond, one of the two accused did with "Nightline" that aired last night. Let's watch a little bit of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) INTERVIEWER: You weren't thinking that a girl who keeps repeatedly throwing up was pretty drunk?

MALIK RICHMOND, DEFENDANT: No, because it's natural.

INTERVIEWER: You see that a lot?


INTERVIEWER: At parties?

RICHMOND: Not just at parties. You see it everywhere. You can see that at a football game. You can see this at a concert.

INTERVIEWER: People throwing up because they had too much to drink?

RICHMOND: Yes, you can see that anywhere.


MORGAN: I mean, Gloria, there is an aspect I asked you about last night of young people getting drunk, behaving badly. I have to say, having read all the text messages, having seen more detail, I feel far less sympathy for these two accused, just on the nature of the way they mocked the girl afterwards.

But in terms what they said there about a culture of drunkenness and so on, could that play against this girl in the sense she got so drunk, a variety of parties that she didn't know what was going on?

ALLRED: Well, Piers, the defense, of course, is trying to pierce holes in the issue of whether or not she was drunk. As we pointed out last night, it doesn't matter if she was drunk or not, the question is, is she substantially impaired? And the reason that matters is because there's no rape if she consented, at least not with people of the same and similar age.

And so, the question is, was she even in a position to consent? And so, the issue of she's stumbling when she was walking? She has inability to talk.

And also, there was testimony about one of the defendants allegedly trying to get her to engage in an act of oral copulation with him and she couldn't even open her mouth. She wasn't even in a condition to do that, which would tend to sport prosecution's theory that she was under the influence and substantially impaired, any way, could not consent.

MORGAN: Fascinating case, it will go on all weekend. Gloria, thank you very much.

And Alexandria Goddard, thank you very much, too.

Next, I'll talk to the wife of music legend and convicted killer, Phil Spector. Find out why she says a new movie starring Al Pacino as her husband has the story all wrong.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry you're upset.

AL PACINO, ACTOR: I know you are. So, what do we do now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm gonna put you on the stand.

PACINO: I get to tell my story?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It means they get to tear you apart.

PACINO: You defend me.


MORGAN: A scene from the new HBO film about Phil Spector, the music legend convicted of murder. The movie stars Al Pacino. But Spector's wife says it's not the truth. Rachelle Spector joins me now.

Welcome to you, Mrs. Spector. Why do you not think this movie is accurate? I know you saw it fully for the first time last night.

RACHELLE SPECTOR, WIFE OF PHIL SPECTOR: I did. I actually to sneak into the screening of a movie about my own husband, because they would not accommodate me for the premier. And just going into it, that just shows the character of the people that actually directed and produced the film. They wanted nothing to do with my husband or I.

And I feel that if they wanted to properly depict him in this film, you would think they would want to meet the guy, you know, learn his voice inflections, his mannerisms, his thoughts behind the music, you know, what he was actually going through during the trials. And no, they did not do that. And I feel that they have an opportunity to make a really amazing, wonderful film about this music legend.

MORGAN: HBO, which is, full disclosure, part of the same company as CNN, they said this, "HBO films' "Phil Spector" is David Mamet's exploration of the client/attorney relationship between legendary music producer Phil Spector and his defense attorney, Linda Kenney Baden. Mamet approaches the story of Phil Spector as a mythological one, not as a news story. The film is not an attempt to comment upon the trial or its outcome. While there may be many disparate interpretations of the film's intentions, we feel the film speaks for itself. It's a work of fiction." This is part of that on screen disclaimer. "It's not based on a true story. It's a drama inspired by an actual person's inner trials."

So, they are basically saying, look this is a -- this is not a documentary. This is just a dramatic interpretation. Do you accept that movie makers have the right to dramatize this kind of thing, even if for you it's difficult. I know that the other side of the coin, Lana Clarkson, the woman who was killed, she -- her family also believed that this is a poor portrayal. So, you know, they would argue, I guess, well, look, both sides don't agree because it is a dramatization?

SPECTOR: I believe that is a dramatization. That's what Hollywood is. They just make things up. I mean, obviously there has to be conflict. But, again, the way my husband was depicted or -- I mean, through Al Pacino -- I mean, Al Pacino doesn't look like my husband. He doesn't sound like my husband. He doesn't act like my husband.

But I will say the one thing that was accurately depicted through the filmed and was reiterated was the fact that Lana Clarkson was loaded on pills and alcohol, was in a very desperate and bad mental state, and killed herself. So -- and they actually showed forensic evidence that supports that.

MORGAN: You believe that, obviously. You met Phil Spector after this appalling incident in which Lana Clarkson died. Do you have any doubts at all that he is an innocent man? He was obviously convicted of the crime.

SPECTOR: Absolutely, I believe he is 100 percent innocent. He was wrongfully convicted. And you get no sense of danger from this man whatsoever. And we have been together -- this September will be 10 years. And that's actually why I was -- I put out a song called "PS, I Love You," which was a dedication to my husband, to show a sympathetic and humanizing side to this man. I mean, people forget all the loss that he has endured his entire life. I mean, we may not even be talking about Phil Spector and his music if his dad didn't pass away.

And I mean, what he was able to create with those losses -- and I mean, it all comes down and back to the music. And again, the way they depicted him in the trials was a fictionalized monster. And even our appealable issue at this point, it just shows how desperate they were to convict my husband. In the second trial, the judge, Judge Fiddler, became a witness for the prosecution on very important blood splatter evidence, and then the prosecution even backed it up in the case in closing argument, said if you don't believe such and such and such and such, you'd believe Judge Fiddler. And they actually put his picture up as a witness on the screen. So they were --

MORGAN: The debate will rumble on by all those who see this. It was a very contentious trial at the time. I remember it well. And it's good talk to you, Rachelle Spector. And I'm sure we will talk again. Thank you.

SPECTOR: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming next, my primetime exclusive with Valerie Harper, battling cancer with everything she's got. It's an interview many are talking about and you have to see, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) MORGAN: Millions know Valerie Harper from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda." She's a TV icon. Now she's battling a devastating disease. She's been diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. And Valerie's living life to the fullest. She's an extraordinary woman and one full of faith, courage and strength.

I spoke to her in a primetime exclusive, an interview I won't forget in a hurry. Nor will those who watched it. We want to bring it all again to you now.


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

HARPER: The disease I have is quite a rare cancer. And it is located in a limited area, a very widespread area, but narrow. So a lot can happen if the cancer starts getting really aggressive, pressing on parts of the brain and causing me to lose either my speech or my ability to think, et cetera.

So that's why I thought I should tell the whole family, my whole family, the extended family who loved "Rhoda" and love -- Valerie as well, and deserve to hear the news from me. And this way, I have control of the message.

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

HARPER: I did.

MORGAN: Tell me about that period in your life.

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

My mother had the same kind of cancer when she was -- you know, back in 1970. And they had to do a huge invasive operation, going all the way around her body with an incision lifting the ribs. This is like arthroscopic surgery. Dr. McKenna invented it. His team has done over 3,000 procedures. It's amazing.

MORGAN: From what I understand, the doctor, when he realized it was a terminal condition that you had, he first told your husband of 34 years. Tony. And Tony decided for awhile not to tell you. How long was it before he finally told you?

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

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

I'm just living my life.

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

HARPER: Fortunately.

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

HARPER: Well, first of all, I'm almost 74. And I have had a magnificent run, the most wonderful husband in the world for 34 years, a great career, and finally, after all these years of wanting to be a little stage actress, I got a Tony nomination in 2010, at 70 years old. What could be better?

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

Tell me after the break.

HARPER: Take some acting jobs.


MORGAN: Why not?

HARPER: I'm serious.

MORGAN: We'll talk in a minute.



HARPER: Would you believe I took the subway? The subway, Mary. There was this one weirdo who tried to write graffiti on me. Well, listen here, has it (INAUDIBLE). UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's not.

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


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

Valerie, in the break there, I was just checking my Twitter feed. And it absolutely has blown up with people who are just so moved and inspired, many to tears by the way that you've been talking about this. It's so extraordinary also for me to be interviewing somebody who knows that they have a very short period of time to live. I can't remember doing that before.

And I was curious before the break, and I am now about how do you feel about the time you have left? Are there things that you really want to achieve? Do you have a -- one of these famous bucket lists now that you think I've got to do this before?


HARPER: I have been doing that the last few years without knowing I was ill. I -- when people would invite me to lunch, I'd go, listen, you're 71, go to lunch. Take the date. Do that.

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

HARPER: That's right. They really -- she was familiar. She would say anything. She was very funny. Greatest comedy writers in the world putting jokes in Rhoda's mouth every show. And so there was this recognition that she could be your neighbor or the gal at the drugstore behind the counter.

So it was a wonderful character to play. And I was privileged to do it all those nine years. So, yes, it's true, Piers. That is connected.


MORGAN: I mean, Valerie --

HARPER: Feeling family. Yes.

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

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


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


HARPER: Just there have been -- there have been milestones all along. But I guess, biggest of all, was just having Tony Cacciotti in my life, at my side, at my back, helping me in every way possible, enjoying life with me and traveling and all the things we've done.

So I guess my marriage, which is ongoing, unfolding to this minute. Tony was very resistant to facing the facts of my maybe impending death, and with good reason. But he has come around. And he said Val, let's extend your time here. Because in the time here, maybe they'll discover something so that that will extend it more.

He's terribly positive. He has the soul of a coach. That's how I met him. He wasn't my boyfriend. He was my guru. And I, you know, loved him as a teacher. We became very close later, as I detail in my book, and then married, adopted our darling daughter, who is now grown up and handling this really well.

So I just -- I just want folks to see me, that I'm OK, that I'm not suffering, so far.

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

HARPER: And thank you. And hug you.

MORGAN: Extraordinary --


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

HARPER: It's not --

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

HARPER: I hope so. I hope so.

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

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

MORGAN: Lovely to talk to you, Valerie.

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



MORGAN: It's globally condemned, but in some countries, female genital mutilation remains a gruesome right of passage to becoming a woman. For these girls, it often means the end of schooling. This week's CNN hero refused to accept that fate. The practice, now illegal in her homeland of Kenya, still persists in some rural areas. But this remarkable young woman is challenging that tradition, giving others a chance to shape their own destinies. Take a look.


KAKENYA NTAIYA, CNN HERO: I avoided the ceremony as far as I could. Most of the Maasai girls undergo this mutilation when they're 12. I really liked going to school. I knew that once I go through the cutting, I am going to be married off and my dream of becoming a teacher was going to end.

My mind said, run away. But I had to face my dad and say, I would only go through the cutting if he lets me go back to school. It was done in the morning, using a very old, rusty knife with no anesthesia. I could never forget that day.

Eventually, I was the first girl in my community to go to college in the U.S. I am Kakenya Ntaiya, and I returned to my village to start a school for girls so they, too, can achieve their full potential.

When girls start at our school, they're very shy. But over time, we seem them very confident.

How are you, girls?

They are very well. It's the most exciting thing. Our work is about empowering the girls. These girls are saying no to being cut. They're dreaming of becoming lawyers, teachers, doctors. Fathers are now saying, my daughter could do better than my son.

Why should you work hard? To achieve your goal.

I came back so the girls in my community don't have to negotiate like I did to achieve their dreams. That's why I wake up every morning.