Oprah Winfrey appeared on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday to talk about her interview with Lance Armstrong, but she remained coy about exactly what the disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner admitted to in his drug doping "confession."
"I would say he did not come clean in the manner that I expected," Winfrey told Charlie Rose a day after sitting with Armstrong for more than 2 1/2 hours in Austin, Texas. "It was surprising to me. I would say that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers."
Winfrey's not going to tell all about her long-sought interview with the 41-year-old cancer survivor. After all, OWN announced Tuesday morning--at about the same time Winfrey was on "CBS This Morning,' that her interview, "Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive," was being expanded to air as a two-night event. The special episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" will air at 8 p.m. CT Jan. 17 as previously announced and now at 8 p.m. Jan. 18. The interview will be simultaneously streamed live worldwide both nights on oprah.com.
Here's what OWN says in its press release about the interview: Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career. Winfrey speaks with Armstrong in the only interview since the seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles and dropped from millions of dollars in endorsement deals after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released an extensive report accusing the renowned cyclist of doping throughout his career. Armstrong was given a lifetime ban on competing professionally. Late last year, Armstrong resigned as chairman of the foundation he created, Livestrong, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.
Below are excerpts from Winfrey's chat with Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell from "CBS This Morning," in which she talked a lot more about how hard she prepared and how much went into securing the interview than she did about what Armstrong said.
KING: He has denied for so long and so adamantly that he did not do this. Do you think that it was difficult for him to finally come clean to you?
WINFREY: Yes, I think the entire interview was difficult. And may I just say that we had agreed before this moment, before the interview, we had agreed that the terms of the interview and what was included in the interview, specifically what was included in the interview would be left for people to make their own judgments about and that I would not be discussing or he would not be discussing or confirming. We agreed to that. And then by the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it. So I'm like – how did you all do that? We all agreed that we weren't going to say anything. So I'm sitting here now because it's already been confirmed. So here we are.
ROSE: So, this question--you prepared hard for this, both to get the interview and then to conduct the interview? Why do you think he did it? What was he looking to do, and did he confess--did he come clean in the manner that you expected?
WINFREY: I would say he did not come clean in the manner that I expected. It was surprising to me. I would say that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers. I had prepared, I'd read the recent decision, I watched all of Scott Pelley's reports, 60 MINUTES reports, I'd seen the Tyler Hamilton interview, I'd read "Seven Deadly Sins," I'd read "L.A. Confidential," David Walsh's books. I'd prepared and prepared like it was a college exam and walked into the room with 112 questions, and in a two and a half hour interview, I--I asked most of those questions, or at least as many of those questions as I could, but I feel that he answered the questions in a way that he was ready. I didn't get all the questions asked, but I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered. And certainly answered--I can only say I was satisfied by the answers.
ROSE: Would you characterize him as contrite?
WINFREY: You know what, Charlie, I choose not to characterize. I would rather people make their own decisions about whether he was contrite or not. I felt that he was thoughtful. I thought that he was serious. I thought that he certainly had prepared himself for this moment. I would say that he met the moment, and at the end of it, two and a half--literally two and a half hours--we both were pretty exhausted. And I would say I was satisfied.
KING: Many people say, Oprah, before the interview, there was a lot of talk that you were chosen because you would not go deep, you would not go hard. Did you have a strategy going in for how you would talk to him?
WINFREY: Oh yeah, we had a strategy and pretty much followed that strategy certainly in the first hour and 20 minutes of the interview. And about an hour and 20 minutes in, we took a break. And Lance actually said, will there be a point where you will lighten up? What about the questions about my mom and how was my run today? So yeah, I--I was prepared with a strategy. But because he was so forthcoming, I think I went in prepared to have to dig and pull and reference because I was literally in my head, page 76 of the recent decision, if he says this, then I'll go to that. If he says this answer, I'll go to "Seven Deadly Sins," page 114. I didn't have to do that because he was pretty forthcoming.
O'DONNELL: Oprah, I'm excited about seeing the entire interview. I don't know how you're going to cut down the whole two and a half hours because it sounds like there's a lot in there. Why do you think he wanted to do this now? What kind of pressure is he under?
WINFREY: I'm just writing down--I'm not going to cut down the two and a half hours.
O'DONNELL: You're not?
WINFREY: As a matter of fact, I wanted to tell you guys, we have decided literally on the plane last night on the way back because I didn't want to satellite the tapes, I didn't trust--didn't trust putting it up on the bird. So I hand-carried them in my bag along with my dog food and dog leashes back to Harpo. We decided that we are actually going to go for two nights because impossible to try to cut 80 minutes out. As you all know, a 90-minute interview on TV is really only 65 minutes. So we felt that to leave over half of this on the cutting room floor after millions of people have been waiting for years for many of these answers would not be the right thing to do.
O'DONNELL: That's very interesting. So why do you think, Oprah, that he wanted to do this?
KING: Oprah, it came together in a week's time, that's what's so fascinating. Please tell people how you got this interview.
WINFREY: To answer Norah's question, I asked that question and I'm not sure I still have the answer to that question, why he wanted to do it now. I specifically asked that question. I think he was just--he was just ready. I think the velocity of everything that's come out in the last several months, particularly in the past several weeks, he was just ready. How I got the interview--I had sent him an e-mail a couple of months ago just, you know, hoping that he would talk to me. He e-mailed and said he wasn't ready to talk but that he would be in Hawaii over the holidays, and he knew that I had a place in Hawaii and maybe we could get together for lunch. Okay. That's going to happen, right, I thought. Sure, we're going to get together for lunch. During the holidays, I e-mailed and said what about that lunch. It turns out he said I can't do it on these days, the days they was available, because he had his kids. I had a bunch of my kids, girls from my school in Africa with me. I stayed over an extra two days in order to accommodate his schedule, and he visited me in Maui. He lives on another island. So he flew over--
KING: You should say you cleared out the house--
WINFREY: Cleared out the house. I had guests in the house. Everybody had to leave, go to the beach, go to the beach, go to the beach now! Stay there for at least four hours! So I had nobody in the house, including people who usually are there for help and the--you know, even the people who do the lawn. I removed all those people. I had the person to go to the airport that normally doesn't pick me up at the airport so that he wouldn't be recognized as being connected to me. I did all of that. Lance comes and says, "Where is everybody?" I sent everybody away. He goes, "But you didn't clear the road, there was a biker on the road."
ROSE: I, too, sent him a telegram, sent an e-mail, by the way.
ROSE: He answered yours. Back to this question of this man, how was he different than you expected if at all, and what's your take away from this? Where do you put this in a career of extraordinary interviews?
KING: It's being described as an emotional interview. What does that mean?
WINFREY: Emotional for--for me or for him?
KING: For Lance. Being described as an emotional interview for him.
WINFREY: Well, I would say there are a couple of times where he was emotional. But emotional doesn't begin to describe the intensity or the difficulty that I think that he experienced in talking about some of these things. I would say, you know, all the people who are wondering if he actually goes there and answers, to answer your question that you asked earlier, Charlie, I think, Charlie and Norah and Gayle, I think that you would come away, too, understanding that he brought it, he really did.
KING: Who was in the room and was their reaction to the interview?
WINFREY: He had a team of people. You know, he was surrounded by his--we did not allow the lawyers in the room. I had said to the lawyers that if you have something to say, that you, you know, want to disagree with or--have an issue with, you have to make that issue after I'm done and not come in and interrupt. And when we finished, nobody had any issues.
ROSE: This is an extraordinary thing because you look at a man who is having to come forward and say "I've been lying to you for a long, long time. Not only did I do something that was wrong for me, but it was wrong in what I did to everybody that liked me and loved me, and I've also in a sense raised questions about my career." I mean, Oprah, you and I have interviewed him a number of times. People have characterized him, and you may have, as a role model, he overcame testicular cancer and he seemed to be somebody who had remarkable athletic skills. He steps forward in the full glare of the world because of you and has to acknowledge "I have no clothes."
WINFREY: Well, I think you're going to hear all of that. I think you will be, again, the word I keep using is satisfied. I think you will hear all of that.
Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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