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September 14th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Sir Richard Branson opens up about politics, economy and "horrendous" fire at his home

Sir Richard Branson is a guest on "Piers Morgan Tonight" this evening, and talks global economy, his space program and politics. But he also opens up about the disastrous fire at his home last month. "The first half an hour was obviously horrendous because I was woken up by my son, looked up at the big house, saw 200 foot flames coming out of it," he told Piers Morgan.

But looking back now, Branson had a different perspective. "I did lose a lot of mementos and things, but you soon realize how unimportant these things are compared to nobody being hurt," he said. Watch the full interview tonight at 9pmET/PT – also on the show, actress Kristin Chenoweth.

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  1. Kate

    Will you be questioning Richard Branson about his involvement in the cult NXIVM?

    September 14, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Toni Natalie-Foley

      Why do you ask him that? What do you know about NXIVM? What do you think he thinks about NXIVM? Do you think he has seen ever seen anything from the blog below?

      September 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      • Kate

        i was just curious because his name is tied to that group and from what i've read on that blog that isn't a good thing.

        September 14, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mary Holt

    Sir Branson, when you were in fear of losing your life in a 'balloon accident' or whatever it was and you admit praying that 'if there is a God' please save me, you were wasting your time. That is not how God's love works and sadly you would have been cast into the lake of fire, regardless of your plea. God commands only one thing of us. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and accept that Jesus died on the cross for your sins. That's it. Simple. You had not done this however and asking him to prove himself only in your 'hour of need' doesn't fly. Why would you have done this anyway if you do not believe in His existence?

    September 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leslie

      That's the definition of an agnostic, Mary. That's why he prayed and said "if there is a God .....
      You really should consider keeping an open mind about religious philosophies and other religions of the world but first you have to educate yourself about them. Then you would have no need to ask that question.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Piratiko

      "That is not how God's love works and sadly you would have been cast into the lake of fire, regardless of your plea."

      Excuse me, but how exactly did you find out exactly what god wants and when did he give you permission to speak for him? And what gives you the power to condemn others to hell?

      I encourage you to read Timothy 2:12. In fact, I'll post it here, because you probably won't look it up:

      "I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet."

      If you believe your bible, you're going to hell too.

      Jesus also said to give up all your possessions and hate your family, but I presume you don't do that either.

      Bottom line: you don't speak for god, you have no proof that he exists, and if he does you're condemned for trying to educate men on the supposed word of god.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. LInda

    Concerning Sir Richard's belief or non belief in God. I think that believing in God and evolution can occur simultaneously. I really think that evolution was a grand design by God. I agree wholeheartedly that religion has messed much of this up. Thinking that there is one "correct" religion makes God much smaller. I believe in a creating God that exemplifies love. God is, God is love, and that is all there is to it!! I agree that evolution is amazing!!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Judith Linn

    Bless your heart Mr. Branson, you are so real, so honest, so positive/appreciative which I would not have expected of a man who has experienced fame and riches beyond that which most of us can hardly imagine.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Robin

    How refreshing! Richard, god doesn't have to be an either/or with evolution nor does she need to be ours or theirs. I agree about the role of business leaders of today and our role in the bigger picture. It would be nice to see govt. policy in alignment with that policy and less influenced by all that lobbyists can buy.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mary

    Being a christian isn't about coming up with your theory of what it means (so it will fit your lifestyle) but is clearly written in the Bible. God didn't change the rules to fit with the times. He wrote the rules the same for all people of all times and

    September 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Terry Thompson

    Existance of God.

    Pascal's Therom:

    1. If you do not believe in God and there is no God then when you die you will never know you were correct – No Benefit.

    2. If you do not beileve in God and there is a God then when you die saying OOOPS may not be good enough- Potentially BAD Benefit

    3. If you believe in God and there is a God then that is good. Good benefit.

    4. If you beileve in God and there is no God when you die you will never know. However while alive it will bring you comfort and hope. Good Benefit.

    Therefore whether there is or is not a God it is beneficial to believe that God exists.

    September 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Doggy

      Pascals wagers has been debunked years ago.

      How many established gods/religions are there? Thousands.
      So if you buy into one, you're going into the hell of all the others.
      Even worse, all the religions could be wrong, and there's an infinite amount of imaginary gods.

      It's not as simple as believing or not believing.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leger Doucet

    both the US and Canada (where I am from) are depending on the government to create jobs. However, nothing has been said about the 40% of jobs that have moved to other countries while there head office and marking are in North America. It has already been proven that 60% of jobs are now in the service/sales area. So yes, I think that the President who wants to create jobs by highway repairs etc is the only way that the government can help and this applies to Canada as well. Please speak about this with Sir Richard Branson, and other guests. Thank you,

    September 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Natalie W

    While I'm not a frequent watcher of this program, I wanted to see the discourse with Sir Richard Branson tonight. I admire a great deal Branson's commitment through Assurance Wireless, a division of Virgin Mobile, as I understand it, to provide cost-free cell phone service and free phone to people in the US and UK who are without income or with low income and/or require public assistance. I'm posting for two reasons (1) to let others who are in need know to contact Assurance Wireless if they cannot afford cell service because of misfortune in life; and (2) perhaps being a bit opportunistic, if someone is reviewing the comments here (I do not post at Facebook or Twitter) on behalf of Sir Richard Branson, I would very much appreciate having the opportunity to help whomever is in a position of power at Assurance realize some of the rather challenging and frustrating customer service pitfalls and red tape and equipment quality problems that, I am sure, do not reflect at all what Sir Branson had in mind when establishing this charitable venture. I doubt that I can post my contact info here, but I have checked off being notified if any follow-up comments appear to this post and I hope somehow a contact to the appropriate person can be effected. I myself am very grateful this service is provided to me; however, I've been unable to use it for the last few months, as I've been waiting for the SECOND replacement phone after the original phone and first replacement phone both had technical problems, and I've found jumping over the obstacles to try to get results incredibly frustrating. Gladly, I believe the next replacement phone is finally on its way; however, I think the person who is in ultimate control at Assurance would want to know about some of the bureaucratic snafus, particularly because is it a generous and needed service that is being provided, and I'm sure those who made the decisions to commit to helping people like me would like to see the challenges to actually being able to USE the service diminish or, even better, disappear. Thank you for your patience, all others who have taken the time to read this message. I really do admire Sir Branson, and not just because of Assurance Wireless. Interesting conversation, Mr. Morgan, but I wish you would have asked Sir Branson about Assurance Wireless, so that he could have made it more known that it is available to those in need. Have a great fall, everyone!

    September 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. shelley welsh

    Dear Mr. Branson, Please know that God is not religion.I think God and religion got mixed because of human insecurity. I believe in evolution and God. I as well sometimes question the existance of God. I do not read and never have read any bible at any great lenth. However I attended catholic school as a young child and do recall the phrase "Blessed are those who believe yet have not seen". I have had some instances where I have had unexplainable things happen involving the dead or dying. It is therefore that I hold on to hope that I will be at peace after this life because "The meek shall inherit the earth". This being the only other bible phrase I recall. I promise thats it I won't mention the bible again! Truth is we won't know for sure until we get there so lets just enjoy the ride. My God is a fogiving God who will understand if I don't get it all right. Carry on!

    September 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lindsay Tannock

    Penn Jillette & now Sir Richard Branson getting the same boring religious questions. Get off it Piers. Is there a God? Yes please Piers prove to the world there is. I am Atheist and proud to be. I see people who are religious as basically scared of the word 'Death' so it shows insecurity. But if that is what people want to do while time on earth makes no difference to me. Waste away. I am 46 same age as Piers but he looks 15 years older than me, God must be looking after him.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mumford, James Mumford

    It was arson Branson. Against you and your familly. Wake up dummy. Elves.,2933,343768,00.html

    September 15, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Campbell

    Branson, when we average people get to keep as much of our money as you get to keep of yours then we can talk, and when we get rid of those bush tax cuts then maybe we average people will have a chance. The elite are being shown favor in a way that is devastating our economy, along with the corporate loop holes that need to be closed. Corporations are sending jobs overseas, they shouldn't be rewarded for this they should be penalized and when they do get tax breaks they keep more of it for top management with their tournament pay. All those people at the top are "hoisting a cherry on top of an already existing sundae and laying claim to the entire ice cream parlor.". I'm a republican very disappointed in the party and I don't like the way our president has been treated so when the republican primaries are here I'm going to vote in a way that will be beneficial to our president. I won't be satisfied until I see the ultra rich pay a great deal more in taxes! Branson rich...

    September 15, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Natalie W

      I supposedly posted a response to you previously, Mr/Ms Campbell, but I've looked several times since and it doesn't appear that it got posted even though the blog told me it was. Anyway...glad to see that some GOP are not happy with what is happening vis-a-vis GOP rigidity and noncompromising stance while President Obama is bending over backwards trying to find middle ground–even to the extent of displeasing his own base–in attempts to solve our country's fiscal problems. The GOP passed up a peachy deal back when the Speaker of the House and the President ALMOST came to agreement on a plan that would have cut multi-trillions of dollars of spending if only the GOP would have backed the Speaker in elimnating some ridiculous tax loopholes that end of up allowing many wealthy corporations to may no or next-to-no taxes, and in allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire a couple years before they are slated to. In reality, this country needs a major tax reform, along the lines of What GOP candidate Huntsman has outlined (at least the details that have been revealed thus far–and I have voted Democrat moreso than GOP or any other party, but I vote for the candidate, not the party, and have voted for candidates of virtually all parties). Huntsman's program is a three-tiered flat tax plan that lowers the rate for all three groups, it eliminates ridiculous tax loopholes that allow wealthy people/corporations to shelter their income so they can skirt taxes, and if I interpreted his brief presentation of his tax reform at the most recent debate correctly, it also penalizes companies for sending jobs away from the US and incentivizes establishment of new jobs for US citizens. I have to educate myself further on Huntsman's full tax reform plan and on his other views, but I doubt he will become the GOP candidate anyway, so it might be, unfortunately, a moot point. Thanks for your thoughtful post. Natalie

      September 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Barbara Gilliam

    I admire Mr. Branson for all the obvious reasons but I really don't give a tinker's damn what he thinks about American politics, President Obama or the Tea Party. Why would any American?

    September 15, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Bert

    Thank you, Piers from featuring this man, Branson. His answers to your questions illustrate that rich people are often the least interesting and shallowest people in the world. I was not impressed with his answers to your questions about religion, politics and economics. Statements like "I believe in evolution" followed by the comments about religion and God illustrate that he has not spent much time thinking about these issues. Piers-you should have challenged him the contradictions evident from his answers! Perhaps you were too taken by his hero status to do a proper interview. I expect more from you.

    September 15, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Tim

    Interesting on Richard Branson musing about his discussion about God's existence. The only answer for one that is searching is to start at the beginning with the origin of the Universe. As much as the evidence points to something akin to an explosion from a point that was 'infinitely small', it leads one to wonder how the entire Universe came to be from simply nothing. Space itself did not exist and niether did time. When considering the Big Bang we still do not scientifically know what went bang, what happened before the bang, what caused the bang, etc. If the prime characteristic of the scientific method is keeping an open mind, then the exclusion of the possbility of a Creator while at the same time including the self existing nature of the cosmological origin of the Universe is unscienftic per se. One must also remember that the Bible is a metahprical work filled with symbols and smilies in addition to being inspired Word. The order of creation in Genesis follows the same order as set forth in cosmology therory. Review the Christmas 1968 broadcast of Apollo 8 done live as men orbited the Moon for the first time.

    September 15, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse | Reply

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