Why Craig Ferguson Is 'American on Purpose'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," September 21, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: "On the Record" is going late night. Earlier Craig Ferguson went "On the Record." He is host of the "Late, Late Show," the author of a new book "American on Purpose" which hits bookstores tomorrow, but is available at midnight tonight online.


CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, "THE LATE, LATE SHOW": Hello, Greta, how are you. I am very disappointed that you are not here.

VAN SUSTEREN: I am disappointed as well. But let me hold of your brand new book.


VAN SUSTEREN: And the first thing I have got to say to you is of course you are very proud to be a naturalized American. You are proud to be a Scot, but also proud to be an American. Why?

FERGUSON: Being an American is something I wanted to be for a very long time, probably since I saw the moon landing when I was a child. At that time I wanted to be an astronaut. It did not read it work out.

But I wanted to be an astronaut, and I thought that if I threw my lot in with the Americans it would be more likely than Scotland developing a space program in my lifetime.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's interesting, because in the book you even talk about how proud you were when you got a color NASA poster in the mail.

FERGUSON: Yes. When I was a kid I sent off to NASA. And they sent all these big posters of all the planets and Saturn five rocket and stuff. And it was so shiny and colorful.

This was a very vivid, exciting poster and information and pamphlets that came from America. It was really fantastic. I do not think that they would do that anymore, and probably financially it doesn't make sense.

VAN SUSTEREN: It was fascinating to read the book, because in January '08 you become an American citizen. Two months later, there you are palling around with the president of the United States.

FERGUSON: Yes, it's very strange. I do not think that happens in other countries. I don't think they say "Welcome to Afghanistan, and there is the president." It's a very welcoming culture we have, I think.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did you think of meeting President Bush and Vice President Cheney at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in '08?

FERGUSON: What did I think about it?

VAN SUSTEREN: You wrote a little bit about it, which is funded read, but what is that like?

FERGUSON: It was very intimidating, to be honest, more with Vice President Cheney, who has that classic Bond villain, whereas President Bush was very friendly and kind of candid and kind of open. It was an interesting meeting. I was very intimidated by the setting. But the president himself was very friendly, very nice, a very open man.

VAN SUSTEREN: When reading your book, it is interesting because in the beginning it talks about the White House Correspondents' Dinner, how exciting that was. And then of course there's the sadness at the end with your mother.

And in between we hear about your climb back from -- I don't know how else to explain it, but I guess the hell of drinking too much.


FERGUSON: That would be a good way to describe it, "the hell of drinking too much." Or maybe it was the hell of not being able to drink enough. I couldn't get enough in me for it to work.

So I was concerned, and I am a bit concerned with this book coming out saying it is another guy on TV talking about my life sucked, I went to rehab, now everything is OK. But, my life sucked, I went to rehab, now everything is OK.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did it work for you? How were you able to climb back from that?

FERGUSON: I think that getting out of the hell of active alcoholism was something I did not do alone. I had other people help me. I was desperate to not be the person I had become. I didn't like myself.

By the way, I am not saying that I like myself anymore now, but I do not hate myself to the point of drinking to suicidal excess.

VAN SUSTEREN: In the beginning you get to meet the president, the vice president. Then we go through the rather difficult challenge in your life.

And you talk about how proud you were to be an American, naturalized citizen. But at the end it is a little bit sad when you talk about your mother's death and being back in Scotland and seeing the country that you love as well.

FERGUSON: I think that anyone who has become a citizen, and I'm sure there are many watching now, and to become a citizen of the U.S. is a great honor and a great thrill, and it is a momentous occasion.

But to leave the old world behind, there is a sadness attached to it. And I think anyone who has become a citizen understands that.

What I didn't understand until I became an American citizen is that you can be your ethnicity and be an American, and that's different from any other country I can think of.

America is, for me, an aspiration, a philosophy, a way of being, a dream. And where I am from, it's about what happened hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and people grew up there.

This is a young country, and I like the -- a post-Enlightenment country. There are very few of them. And so there are attitudes here that exist that I am very attached to emotionally.

But there is a sadness about moving on from the past. That does not mean that you do not want to, but it just occurs.

VAN SUSTEREN: The book has a great cover, as I am holding up for the viewers. Of course the title, "America on Purpose" couldn't be a better title.

And Craig, good luck with the book, and of course with your show.

FERGUSON: Thank you, Greta, and good luck with your show, too.


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