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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  May 29, 2012 3:00am-4:00am EDT

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fonda says this about him. >> i'm so proud of him. he's done so much good work in the world. >> plus a rare interview with george w. bush. >> i want to stay connected to the veteran community. i'm not going to be a very public. this is a rare interview with me. >> keeping america great. this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. big exclusive interviews tonight. the first will be with mr. ted turner. a tv pioneer and outspoken man. i want to know what he thinks of television, america, and his life today. plus a rare interview with george w. bush. tonight he talks about the cause closest to his heart. the country's veterans. >> after 9/11 millions volunteered. and they said i want to serve my country. and i don't view it as anything personal.
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i view it as we were all serving together. all part of a great cause. the cause of securing our country and liberty. >> exclusive interview with george w. bush coming later. but first someone who i think on this occasion literally needs no introduction. he is the man who created cnn. the reason that i'm here and others are here working here. ted turner. welcome back, ted. >> good to be here. >> how does it feel to be back? >> good. >> does it? >> yeah. >> are you still proud of cnn? >> absolutely. >> do you still watch cnn? >> i watch it, you bet. >> you like what you see? >> i like most of what i see. >> you always said about cnn the news should be the star. >> well, that was the philosophy that we started with. but it really was the only place open for us because all the other news networks cbs, nbc, and abc they emphasized their stars and we didn't have stars. we were lucky to have employees.
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>> if you had the competition that's around now in cable when you first started. in other words, if there had been a fox news with right wing star anchors, msnbc had rachel maddow and the others, would you do anything differently? >> i'd have to give it a lot of thought and study which i have not done because nobody has asked me to do it. and i value my time greatly. and i'm working on nuclear weapons trying to get rid of them and working on the climate and clean energy getting us to change over to clean energy and stabilize the population before the world's just so overcrowded we can't turn around. i'm working on things where i can make a difference now. i really don't have any input on a regular basis. >> do you think cnn should become -- and i'm fascinated, you're the guy that started this
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whole business. it was an amazing innovation at the time. others began similar versions, but do you think cnn should remain the impartial observer of news? >> yes. and cover the substantial news. that doesn't mean you don't cover hollywood and don't cover kidnappings and the sensational too. but the emphasis should be on hard news. i wanted cnn to be the "new york times" of the business. not the "daily news." and i thought for the long-term that would be the best position to be in even if the ratings weren't the greatest. if you had the most prestige and you were the network everyone turned to in times of a crisis, that was the most important position to hold.
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>> that is still true. there's no question. i've been here 16, 17 months now. when i first got here there were an avalanche of huge stories. when that happens, it is gratifying that the cnn ratings soar. the issue everyone wrestles with is what happens as we've had recently when there's a lengthy period of not much news. >> the world's a big place. and i'm out of the country a good bit traveling internationally. and i watch cnn international all over the world. i probably see it as much or more as cnn domestic. i think they're doing an excellent job. they're programming for the world. and i can understand the difficulty. programming for the u.s. audience here, it's a real challenge to do. >> let's talk about some news. what do you make of america right now today? what do you think of your
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country? >> i think it's terrible that politics have gotten so money-oriented with the supreme court ruling that corporations can give unlimited amounts. that the moneyed interests are taking over the country. and there's too much disagreement and an argument between the parties. i believe in pulling together to make the country better rather than tearing it apart for partisan reasons. i think the country comes first. >> you're a guy who historically when you've had a rival, you haven't hesitated to give him a verbal whack or two. >> well, only if it was deserved. >> what do you think of president obama? how's he doing? >> i like him. i like him. he's had an extremely difficult job. i think he's done amazingly
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well. and he got his spirits up. and he never gets discouraged. and a particular leader that's leading us in time of great difficulty. >> if you were advising him and -- what would you tell him to be forceful about. where do you think he's not been strong enough? >> well, i would like to see -- his positions are good on the environment, but he put health care ahead of the energy bill. if he'd put the energy bill together, it would have gone through without the animosity that the health care bill engendered. so that was a mistake. it was good to get the health care bill through. i supported that as well as the energy bill.
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>> when you see american troops coming out of iraq and now coming out of afghanistan, a set timetable's been set down by the president. i assume you're pleased with that. >> i am. i was against the wars before they started. i've studied history a lot, and wars are not a good way to get things done. they've been a disaster for us. they caused a disaster for us. a trillion dollars over the period. afghanistan, a trillion. it's just crazy. >> is that really what america should have done rather than going in with men on the ground, big large groups of troops. actually say we're going to tackle the terrorists through special forces and intelligence and so on. >> i think war should be avoided
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at all costs. and we should do everything we can to get the united states to deal with conflicts before they -- people start resorting to violence. because violence just begets violence. it's easy to start wars and very difficult to stop them once they've gotten started. i think we got a renounce war. and have -- let the courts handle it. have arbitration at the united nations and let them handle it. and be bound by what those decisions are just like we do with the courts here in the united states. if everybody started shooting everybody they had a disagreement with, all we'd be doing is shooting each other. there's enough of that anyway. that doesn't accomplish anything except gets people shot and escalate into war. >> what would you do about iran if you were the american president?
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>> well, first of all i believe in total nuclear disarmament. that's the only way we're -- we all got to play by the same set of rules. we have 2,000 or several thousand nuclear weapons. iran has none at the current time. it's okay for israel to have a hundred, but not okay for iran to have two. that's -- you're not treating everybody equally. you have no strong position except force. only by force can it be done. we've already voted at the u.n. and the security council to get rid of nuclear weapons. let's get rid of them. let's get rid of our os and then iran will stop, i believe. because if everybody doesn't have them, then we're safe. at least safe from a nuclear attack. if we have full scale nuclear exchange, it's going to destroy
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life on earth. all life. maybe there'll be a few cockroaches left but that's all. i find that crazy. this is such a nice world. most of the people are nice here. if you treat people with dignity, respect, and kindness like i did we the russians and the soviets before them with the good will games. if you try and make friends, you can make friends. and you can do that even with former enemies. look, japan bombed us at pearl harbor and now we're good friends with the japanese. we fought china in the cold war. but now we're good friends with the chinese. most of us are. >> ted, let's take a break. i want to come back and talk to you about your favorite cnn moments. >> everything we said about the super station. we are also looking into the creation of an alternative or cable subscriber.
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stand by. ready three. take three. roll tape. take three. ready camera three. >> good evening. i'm david walker. >> here's the news. >> that was from cnn's very first newscast on june 1st, 1980. back with me now, the man who created cnn, ted turner. what do you feel when you see that clip again? >> i feel good. it was a great idea. and it was well executed. >> what was the great ambition for you? what did you really want to achieve with cnn? >> i wanted to better inform the world. >> you feel you succeeded? >> yes. you know how many news networks
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there are now? 24-hour news networks in the world? >> how many? >> over 100. >> is that right? >> every country's got one. you're not a country if you don't have one. people want instant information. they don't want to wait eight hours for information. they're used to getting information right now they need. >> there were three memorable moments you've highlighted which i want to remind you about and talk about. one was in 1987, baby jessica being rescued from the well. which resonated with you very personally. tell me why you love that story so well. >> i could have picked any other of a thousand stories but that one resonated and captured the imagination of america. everybody was pulling for jessica. she was down there for over a day. >> is it also one of those examples where good news can often be just as good as a story and rate just as well as a bad
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story. it's always about some disaster or something. come to the gulf war. the reason i like this is i was a young reporter in london. i remember watching 191. peter harnett and those guys literally on the front line with missiles flying over their heads reporting live. it was a dramatic thing. >> rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air. >> it was amazing. >> it was. >> let's play a clip. >> we're getting tape fed to us from jordan. this is the videotape shot by the cnn crew during the opening hours of the allied assault on the city of baghdad. air force general retired harry smith is with us in atlanta. general smith, comment on what you can see. this is the first time we've seen this tape. this is our camera crew shooting
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out the window from the ninth floor of their hotel in baghdad. >> was that the story, the event that made you realize how big cnn could become? >> yes. that was the biggest story -- in my opinion, the biggest story we ever had. >> you defied the president. you kept your crew there. >> we had freedom of the press. and we had volunteers, peter arnett who had volunteered to stay. and we didn't make anybody stay. and i just said we're going to stay. >> you also said at the time, look, i don't care what it costs. >> i didn't say that. i said spend whatever it takes. i didn't say i don't care what it costs. i did care, but i didn't want to be pinching pennies on this story. >> what was the difference having cnn's cameras on the front line of a war like that?
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what do you think the difference that decision, that capability made to the way the war was covered? >> i -- you know, all we did was televise what we saw. >> did it bring a greater truth the fact we were there. >> i think so. >> your third story that you singled out 9/11, the cnn coverage of that, what did that do to america? that moment? >> it shook us up. it was unbelievable. and watching it -- i was in my office and i glanced up and just after the first plane had gone in and i could see the building was on fire. and i was -- i sat there stunned and during while i was just sitting there just watching it, the second one came in. and i saw it live. i ran down to the newsroom.
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walter isakson was running cnn at the time. he came over from "time" magazine. good man and good friend of mine. headline news had stayed with its regular format. which was giving the ball scores and the stocks. a couple of times we had preempted that format when there was a big enough news story to warrant both. the story was so compelling. i said walter, have you thought about switching over headline news. the last thing i did at cnn. and he said that's a great idea. and within seconds they switched over to the live coverage of the world trade center. and a few minutes later, the buildings collapsed.
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it was like pearl harbor. only being televised. >> i want to come back and talk to you about some of the great loves of your life. women, sale boats. sports teams. anything else you can think of. the great passions of ted turner after the break. now you can apply sunblock to your kids' wet skin. neutrogena® wet skin kids. ordinary sunblock drips and whitens. neutrogena® wet skin cuts through water. forms a broad spectrum barrier for full strength sun protection. wet skin. neutrogena®. your doctor will say get smart about your weight. i tried weight loss plans... but their shakes aren't always made for people with diabetes. that's why there's glucerna hunger smart shakes.
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we had a great time for ten years. i just am so happy that i got to spend ten years with him. >> that was jane fonda speaking about ted turner on the show a few months ago. ted, jane fonda, was she the great love of your life? >> probably. >> have you ever quite got over her? >> no. >> you think you ever will? >> no. when you love somebody and you really love them, you never stop loving them. no matter how hard you try. you can't -- and there's nothing wrong with that. that's good.
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that's why people love their country. they love their planet. i basically -- i'm basically a happy person. >> you're a man used to winning. and you lost jane. why -- >> i lost jane. i lost my job here. i lost my fortune, most of it. got a billion or two left. you can get by on that if you economize. but i was worth seven or eight billion at one point. but you carry on. and i found other things to do. i'm working trying to help the united nations causes. both philanthropy and with my personal efforts. i've got a meeting to try to save the oceans. i'm on a committee to save the oceans. i'm on to finish poverty. i've got plenty of tough jobs. >> which of the three things
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that you lost, your fortune or most of it, jane fonda, or the job here -- >> you want me to rank them? >> yes. >> well -- >> which caused you -- >> i can't do that. i loved them all. >> which upset you the most? >> they all broke my heart. i just rallied. winners never quit. quitters never win. i just made the comeback. >> are you a better man for having experienced the loss? >> i'm a more experienced man. because those -- you know, the aol merger and the subsequent basically destruction of my wealth, they hurt at the time but i just toughed it out. you have to keep going. you can't give up in life. >> i saw you once say at the stage after the aol merger you
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saw it diminish $21 million a minute. >> no for three years. close to $10 billion. >> what does that feel like? >> it felt bad. but i stayed at the company and stayed on the board of directors to try and mitigate the losses as much as i possibly could to do what i could to help. and as a result i lost even more. because when this -- the stockholders sued the company, i wasn't part of that suit because i was on the board. that cost my several hundred million dollars. but i had my honor at the end of it. which is not everybody in the media business can say. >> when you had a guy look you in the eye and effectively fire you from the company you created. >> that's right. >> how does that feel? >> it really hurt because we were making our budget and i was loyal to the management of the
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company. i mean, you read my book, i'm sure. i didn't do anything wrong. and i think if it had been put to the employees, they would have voted to keep me. but they didn't do that. i had done a pretty good job. i was "time" man of the year. i was the only that worked there to get that honor. that's about as big an honor you can get. we were making a fabulous amount of money. >> you replaced jane for all intensive purposes which is a system. you had four girlfriends at any one time. most men will watch this and say how do you get away with that? >> with great difficulty. >> you must have a complicated schedule with these ladies. >> i do.
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>> and the women must be very tolerant. >> first of all, they're good friends with me. most of the time. >> are they good friends with each other? >> some of them are, some aren't. it's complicated. it's much easier to have one wife. but when you have one wife and she leaves you and i've been divorced three times, my life was so hectic it was really hard to -- for them to keep up. i travel all the time. >> you said very movingly after you and jane split up you cried for six months. >> i didn't cry for six months but i was brokenhearted for at least that long. >> did you try and win her back? >> a little bit. but it looked like we were so
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far apart philosophically that we couldn't do it. >> how many times have you been properly in love in your life? >> twice. >> jane and -- >> and another person. but i -- that's really in love. i loved a number of people. >> but there's a difference between being in love and loving. >> sort of. it's hard to tell where one starts and the other stops. you know. >> let's take another break. i want to come back and talk to you about keeping america great. what should america be doing now to revive itself? >> i think what we need is for humanity to be great. >> that is another point. but specifically about america. >> okay.
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since the united nations foundation created a nothing but nets campaign in 2006, more than
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20 partners have joined and literally millions of people to raise $20 million. and distribute some 2 million bed nets to children and their families in africa. >> ted turner talking about the united nations foundation's campaign to fight malaria worldwide. ted turner is back with me now. come to that in a moment, ted. what do you think of america's business model at the moment. the reason i ask there's a battle going on now, i think, for the way forward for capitalism in america. where it's incumbent on successful american companies who have global sales to bring jobs back to america to open factories here, not in china and so on. and he was eluding as much to companies like apple who has ten times as many now as china and america. what do you think of the sense
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of moral capitalism? >> i'm working so hard on the environment and survival issues that the financial issues and a lot of other areas, you can't be an expert on everything. and i'm not an expert on finance. i believe that we should be doing business with everybody. >> does it help america and its interests if successful american companies that create their ideas here then shift up much of the production to other countries to save money? >> that's unfortunate for us, but it's good for the people who get those -- there was a reason those jobs were shifted. but maybe it was less expensive or maybe they were better workers. i don't really know.
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>> you were the first billionaire to stand up and say right i'm going to give a billion dollars to the u.n. you did that. you gave away a billion dollars of your own money. >> i gave away over a billion. almost two billion. >> but one check. >> one commitment. >> when you see warren buffett and bill gates planning to leave vast sums of their fortunes to charities, they've taken their lead from what you did many would say. what do you think of that? >> i'm part of the giving pledge. i'm going out to california to a meeting with warren and bill. they're good friends. i'm proud to be associated with them. >> is there too much greed in the world particularly in america, do you think? is that part of the problem? >> some places there's too much greed. but what is -- there's a lot of generosity too.
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i think there's more generosity than greed. >> has money made you happy? happier than you would have been without money? >> having some. you've got to have enough to eat. you need enough to make -- to live at least minimally. you have to have that. it's nice to live well. it is nice to live well. i don't think there's anything wrong with being rich. i've been poor and rich. i didn't give that billion dollars away until i made it. so, you know, they both work. >> i went to one of your restaurants and i was fascinated by one of the detail where you must lead your life. you have a specific number of fries with your burger. >> it's small. full-time fighting like so many
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of us, older men particularly but the older women also and even younger ones have trouble with their weight. and i'm trying to keep the weight off of me. so -- but i do want the taste of french fry. we make them fresh at ted's and i want to make sure the quality's good. >> so five's the optimum number? >> no. i could have had three. actually now i'm not eating any. >> you've given up? >> on my doctors that i was allergic to potatoes. >> really? that's terrible. >> yeah. well, they tested me for allergies at the time. i'm not eating potatoes, no dairy products, no cheese, no milk. >> any alcohol? >> nope. no alcohol. >> tobacco? >> nope. >> hard drugs? >> nope. >> what are you allowed to do? >> i can't even drink a coca-cola.
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no soft drinks. >> really? >> yep. no caffeine. no coffee. >> what are you existing on? >> water. water and i'm not supposed to eat any bread either. >> my god. >> i can have bacon and sausage. >> let's come back. i want to talk to you about the presidential race. i want to know who you think is going to win, what do you think of mitt romney.
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♪ when cable wasn't cool ♪ when he went cable ♪ they call that boy a fool that song he was cable when cable wasn't cool by the turnstiles. here is mr. cable cool, ted turner. let's talk politics briefly. the election's coming up in november. who's going to win, do you think? >> i don't know. when i started seeing cnn, i made the decision to stay out of endorsing candidates and let the viewers make up their own minds about politics.
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it wasn't going to come from me. the other networks were telling everybody what to do. but i wanted to be different. and let people make up their own minds. so i didn't -- i would talk about candidates. i can say about mitt romney i think he's a real gentleman. i think he's really smart and successful. i don't agree with everything that he believes. but i agree with a lot of it. and i think he'd probably make a good president. but i'm not endorsing him. >> are you more republican or democrat these days? >> i'd like to say that right now in the last few years the democrats have been closer, have been more pro-environment. the industry is entrenched in the republican party. >> i've got an interview with president bush coming up after
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this specifically about military veterans. he was president for eight years before barack obama. what was your overview of his tenure? >> i -- a lot of the things he did i didn't agree with. i didn't agree we the wars, for instance. and i didn't agree with -- he wasn't strong enough on the environment to make me happy. very little happened during his i think we would have been much better served if al gore had won. i mean, it was so close. anyway, but -- i think if al would have been president we would have stayed out of those wars and we certainly would have gone a lot further towards switching over to clean renewable energy. which we really need to do. >> of all the things you've experienced in your life, you won the america's cup.
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you bought a baseball team and had great glory. you dated and married some of the most beautiful women in the world. you made billions of dollars. of all the things you've experienced, what's been the greatest moment of your life? >> the greatest single thing is to see all my children turn out well. all five of them. >> and have they? >> they have. >> is that your proudest achievement? >> my proudest personal achievement. my proudest business achievement would be cnn. >> how am i doing, by the way? i might as well get the verdict. >> how are you doing? i think you're doing great. i like you. i think you do a really good job. >> it's almost like getting blessed by the pope. >> bless you, my son. >> ted, it's been fascinating for me to go through this here.
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you said once that at your funeral you said you'd like willie nelson to sing all the girls i've loved before. >> i've said a lot of things. i said on my tombstone is i have nothing more to say. >> it's been a real pleasure. >> my pleasure. >> please come back again. >> let's do it. i would be happy to. >> thank you. coming up george w. bush in retirement in a rare interview talks about america's veterans and a classic example of keeping america great. uh-oh.
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in a week where president obama faced controversy over the war in afghanistan, a rare interview with the man who stayed out of the spotlight since leaving office. former president george w. bush. >> i held our military in awe, when i was president. and the stories they tell just increase the awe. >> at first glance, sergeant
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major chris sell is exactly who you would expect, mountain biking under the blazing texas son. marathon runner and athlete, he's served the majority of his military career in the special forces. >> joined army straight out of high school. it's what i wanted to do since i was five years old. we played soldier and all that stuff. but i just never grew out of it. i knew from the start. i started high school. i have to get good grades. why? i'm going to the army. >> he's one of the 20 military personnel in the race organized and led by president bush himself. >> it's a 100 kilometer mountain bike ride to honor our vets who have been wounded in combat. to thank the families and thank the groups that have helped them recover from serious injury.
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>> each of these warriors, suffering from a devastating consequence of war. for chris, it's his leg. it's a chance to prove to their former commander in chief what they can do. >> these are stories of sacrifice and commitment. they're volunteers who want to serve the country. they did, and they suffered serious injury. >> chris was caught in a crossfire. >> i walked into about 16 man prison break that had apparently had killed their guards, taken their ak-47s. apparently grabbed a few other ak-47s and was trying to escape. they were coming right around the corner. about 16 of them, turned the corner, and they were right there. i shot, they shot. and the process of maneuvering around behind a tree. i had actually gotten shot once in each leg. >> one bullet left him paralyzed
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paralyzed. his wife will never forget his phone call home. >> he couldn't feel his leg, he was really scared. he was starting to get a little -- he was having a hard time catching his breath. the pain was starting to kick in. it was hard. >> back in the u.s., the prognosis is not good. >> leg still wouldn't works really from the knee down, i didn't have hardly any sensation. from midcalf down, i had no sensation, no movement, no use. when i would walk, the foot would just kind of flop there. >> seven months later, they made the devastating decision to have his paralyzed right leg amputated. >> i was determined to get back, and do everything i did before i lost my leg. >> he would have to relearn how to walk. >> just two days before i got shot, i was training for a triathlon for when we got back from iraq. and two days later i'm laying in
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a hospital where i can't move for two months. >> he returns to iraq, for not one, but two more tours. >> when i found out he was being returned to iraq with a prosthetic after he had been injured, it was very scary, but we had a very -- our whole family's military, so we come from that. we had a very overwhelming sense of pride that he was going to step up and do this. >> countless hours of rehabilitation, a chance meeting with his former command in chief. >> i met chris self at the hospital. i was in san antonio for a different, there was chris self getting his prosthesis fixed. he said, i understand you mountain bike. >> we got to chitchatting about bikes. he let me know he was a mountain biker. and as the conversation ended he started to walk off.
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he said, you should join me in a bike ride sometime. i sid, well, you are the boss. you say when and where and i'll be there. he said, okay, friday, 9:00 a.m., be at my ranch. >> and he did. and a friendship, and a lasting friendship started right there. >> since leaving office, president bush has stayed out of the public eye, choosing instead to devote his time to veterans and friends like chris self. >> seeing chris around president bush never gets old. he loves him. he loves what he's done for the troops, the wounded. he's a wonderful, genuine man. it's meant the world to chris to be invited to these things and be a part of the w-100. >> it means the world to the president as well. >> it's important to me, because i want to stay connected to the veteran community. i'm not going to be a very public person. this is a rare interview for me. and yet i'm -- i'm worried the
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vets will think i don't care about them. this is a way to say, not only do i respect them, but i love them. and we'll continue to do so for the rest of my life. >> the warrior 100 signifies that commitment to the veterans. >> it's inspiring, some of these guys have some injuries that make me look like i stubbed my toe. you see a guy riding a bike with one with leg, on the same trail the rest of us able bodied guys are riding up. >> inspiration for 20 wounded warriors, a former commander in chief and a nation grateful for their service. >> the interesting thing you learn from chris, when with dealt a tough hand, he didn't fold. he didn't use his injury as an excuse, he used it as an opportunity to excel. this is a man who's been in combat seven times, twice on one with leg. to ride across the canyon with
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chris self is awe inspiring. he's a great example of the best of america. and it's an honor to call him friend. >> a moving and inspiring keeping america great. good night. tonight the world has a massacre on its hands. the whole sale slaughter of dozens of children in syria. there's video of the aftermath. we'll show it to you in a little bit. it's horrific. we blurred out the most graphic parts. there's no mistaking of what the camera shows. if you want to look away, by all means do. i do hope you'll listen to this report. this is from hula, a sunni neighborhood. row after row of children. children shot in the chest. children with their skulls blown away. some with powder burns, the kind
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