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Economy Improving; Festival Features New Technology; Peyton Manning to Leave Colts; Prosecution Rests Webcam Spying Trial; Keystone Amendment Fails; Greece Bond Deal Paves Way To Bailout; China Hotel Goes Up In 15 Days; Gross "Pink Slime" In Your Ground Beef; Coke, Pepsi Recipe Change; Starbucks To Sell Single Cup Machines; Santorum Camp To Gingrich: Get Out; South by Southwest Film Festival Begins in Austin, Texas; Invisible Children Responds to Some Backlash against "Kony 2012."

Aired March 9, 2012 - 06:59   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: Our STARTING POINT, we're just minutes away from that big February jobs report. We're going to talk about that this morning.

Also talk about what it's going to mean politically. What are the implications not only for the president but also for the GOP candidates who's been traipsing the country? Talking about their jobs plans.

Also, just days after those new satellite images suggest that Iran is hiding its nuclear testing, Israel is laying out a potential timeline for an attack as Iran's leader has some surprising words for the United States. We'll tell you what he's saying.

Also, what a week for quarterback, Peyton Manning. First, he's fired by the Colts. That was so sad. Now, there's a waiter who says Peyton got him fired. We'll tell you what happened there.

Plus, our favorite sodas are changing. It's Friday, March 9th. STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: Hey, everybody. Welcome. This is what it looks like inside the CNN Grill at South by Southwest. The Grill opens officially today this morning. One thing I noticed on the menu, which includes all kinds of things, there are no prices. That's because we got -- usually that means I cannot afford to eat here. But that of course is what's happened here is we have taken over a restaurant and put the CNN grill and invited people here as we celebrate South by Southwest, which is a big music and film and technology festival.

Our panelists joining us this morning are Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. We've known each other now through a lot of presidential races.


O'BRIEN: No, don't tell anybody how long we've known each other. (LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Also, got Alexis Ohanian, the cofounder of Reddit joining us. We had him on a couple of weeks ago when we launched this show. Ali Velshi of course is our chief business correspondent. And we've got some of the dishes this morning. I'm going to go with the mac and cheese and gain five pounds when you watch this show.


O'BRIEN: Yes. I can't keep working on that.

Let's get right to what our STARTING POINT is, which here at South by Southwest is all about some of the stories coming off the festival here. But first I want to show you what it was like in a time-lapse of crews setting up right here in our makeshift studio. Take a look.




O'BRIEN: That looks like a lot of work. I'm glad I got to just traipse in this morning, hey, is there coffee here? This morning we're going to talk to a man who is launching his company, star of the documentary "Black in America." We're going to talk to him about why he's launching his company here. It's done a lot before. Certainly twitter launched here at South by Southwest. He'll talk to us about what went behind the launching this festival.

Then the father and son team of Deepak and Gotham Chopra is joining us. Gotham is doing a documentary about his dad. I'm not sure if that would be easier or hard to do a documentary about your dad. And if there's something he doesn't like, we'll ask him about that.

First, though, what's happening with the jobs numbers. Let's get right to Christine with the latest on that. Hey, Christine, good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. I want to show you on the magic wall what we're expecting today -- 210,000 jobs, 8.3 percent unemployment rate in is what jobs creation has looked like for the year. You can see it got a little weak in the summer, but this is the year and this is the February estimate here. So it's not as good as last month but still a solid 200,000.

I want to show you the political part of this story. Let's go back here to -- this is the end of the Bush administration. We started that huge falling off the cliff of jobs, a very big hole here. It's taken a very long time to get things back on track. We had three good months here. Tough go of it, negative job creation. And this, this is the part where people are saying is the trend that shows jobs are slowly, slowly, slowly starting to come back, but not nearly as much as you would like. But 210,000 jobs is the expectation for today. We'll know for sure what happens at 8:30. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. So as she's talking about the predictions we're going to bring in the panel to discuss it and Simon Constable with the "Wall Street Journal" as well. I want to talk because we're talking -- sorry. I'm having mike problems. Look, a mike has appeared and it seems to work.

VELSHI: We all need to share this?

O'BRIEN: Someone is going to tell me if this is the talking stick. Implications, we're going to wait to see what those numbers are at 8:30 eastern time. But of course implications for the presidency and for people who would like to be president are huge.

BRINKLEY: It's gigantic. Everything is jobs, jobs, jobs in 2012. As your graph showed, president Obama has been bringing the economy back. A lot of people are frustrated it's not fast enough. As long as the president can create a trend for himself -- this one is a little unusual. It's a little bit of a dip from the last but you want to keep see that graph goes upwards.

It's really though for the election. It's all going to matter what that graph says in, say, September and October. We live in such a fast parsley due to South by Southwest and twitter and, in fact, information overload all the time, people are going to be really making a decision come the early fall. So right now Obama just can't have that number go too low.

VELSHI: It doesn't have to go too low though. We could be in for our third month in a row where 200,000 jobs have been created. As of last month all that had to happen is there needed to be 130,000 jobs per month between now and tend of the year for President Obama to push back on his critics who say jobs were lost in his tenure because if we get 130,000 jobs created a month from here on in, all the jobs lost since President Obama took office will have been regained.

O'BRIEN: And that would be a very big if. I want to bring in Simon Constable from the "Wall Street Journal" joining us and joining the panel. The estimations that we just heard were somewhere around 200,000.


O'BRIEN: And but others have said, listen, the threshold though is really 3 to 400,000, right? 200,000 in the way is a false number. Explain that.

CONSTABLE: Well, the threshold you need is to keep pace with population growth and, on top of that you need to dip into what was lost and then gain all that back because we didn't keep up with population growth throughout the great recession. We lost a ton of jobs. Yes, it's great to get back those jobs now, yes, 130,000 a month and then you get back all the jobs. But you have to get the population growth as well. And that's how you get near that 300,000 number.

In any event, these are good numbers, and they're going to be good numbers for President Obama. I saw him do his very long press conference on Super Tuesday and he wasn't focused on the economy. He knows the economy is getting better. He is sitting pretty at the moment unless things go terribly, terribly wrong. I think we're going to get at 200,000 number. I think that will be great for him. I think he will coming out with a press conference later to crow about it. I'm sure he will feel great about it.

O'BRIEN: Unless good charts -- forgive me for interrupting there -- is the gas prices number, though, right? It's not completely inverse --

CONSTABLE: I'm sure he won't be raising that. But it's funny, someone asked me yesterday you know, do the Republican goes out and say, look, gas prices are high, do they remind people gas prices are high? They don't need reminding. Every time they go to the gas pump and have to give the gas attendant a fist full of 50s to fill a tank, they're reminded. So the Republicans don't really have to do anything here. The gas price thing is a problem and it's like a tax, like money being sucked out of your wallet. It's really not good. And if that continues, that will be bad for the economy and then that will be bad for jobs and bad for the president. But we're not there yet.

O'BRIEN: Simon Constable from the "Wall Street Journal." Thank you, Simon, we appreciate it.

Let's get some of the other stories that are making headlines this morning. Carlos Diaz is joining us from Atlanta. Hey, Carlos.

CARLOS DIAZ, HLN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Soledad, good to see you. And police are investigating, Soledad, a deadly shooting yesterday at the University of Pittsburgh's psychiatric clinic. They say a gunman walked in the front doors and opened fire with two semiautomatic weapons. One person was killed and seven were wounded. The gunman was eventually shot dead by police. The motive for the shooting is still not known.

The pardons of four convicted killers by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will stand. The ruling by state Supreme Court upheld the controversial pardons of more than 200 convicts in all. The court rejected a challenge by Mississippi's attorney general Randy Walker who survived a shooting by one of the pardoned felons. Of course, he will be a guest with Soledad at 8:00 right here on STARTING POINT.

Israel is setting a timeframe for an attack on Iran as the country's supreme leader is now praising the U.S. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes there won't be a war and diplomatic pressure on Iran works. But when it comes to Tehran's nuclear threat, he said time is running out.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I am not standing with the stopwatch in hand. It is not a matter of days of weeks, but also not a matter of years. Everybody understands this.


DIAZ: Meantime, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised President Obama efforts to dampen the war talk, calling his words and actions "wise."

The advertising boycott of conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh is taking its toll. Yesterday there was more than five minutes of dead air during commercial breaks on the New York version of the show. Dozens of companies have pulled ads after the conservative talk show host called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a slut for saying health care plans should cover her contraception.

And this story is amazing -- Florida lawmakers battling in the state house over Jay-Z's lyrics. Two state representatives invoking his hit song "99 Problems" in a debate over a proposal to amend Florida's evidence code. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Jay-Z said it best. And I'm going to quote it for you. "I know my rights so you're going to need a warrant for that." And he even went further to say, "Aren't you sharp as a tack, you a lawyer or something?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I must respectfully simply disagree with the correction, Representative Williams. In the song it was the officer who said "Aren't you sharp as a tack," or something, "you should try for lawyer" or something. So I got you on that.


DIAZ: How about them apples? They're both half right. The first Rep has the actual lyrics correct while the speaker rightly points out that it's the cop who asks about searching the car. Yes, Soledad, we're breaking down Jay-Z's lyrics for "99 Problems," and we're doing it in the government.


DIAZ: Back to you.

O'BRIEN: I know. I know. There's something that's so very, very wrong about that - wow -- on so many levels, Carlos.

All right, still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, some surviving details revealed in the Tyler Clemente case involving webcam spying. We'll update you on that case.

I'm eating, so -- sorry. I'm having a hard time getting through our tease.

Here at Southwest by Southwest, it's not only a film festival, it's not only a musical festival, it's also about technology, and one of the entrepreneurs is going to join us. Part of his goal is to bring more minorities into tech. We'll tell you about his idea is.

And, boy, it was a bad week for Peyton Manning. On Wednesday, fired from the colts and now a good deed that he has done gets somebody else fired. We'll tell you what happened. We're going to go right play list, Jay-Z. But can you quote him accurately? STARTING POINT is back right after this break.


O'BRIEN: This is off Hajji's (ph) playlist, Lincoln Brewster "The Power of your Name." You can see our playlist on our website

Of course, there are many reasons to come to South by Southwest. It's a music and film festival. But here is also where technology is launched. It started back in 1994, I believe, if I'm not mistaken. That's when they started to highlight it. Am I right about that, Louis?


O'BRIEN: See, when you have the guy who founded it right there, it's like, excellent research.

So today Hajj Flemings is going to be launching GoKit, which is his tech deal. We profiled Hajj in our "Black in America" and it was all about the challenges that African-Americans face in getting into technology, breaking into technology as entrepreneurs. Here's a little clip.


HAJJ FLEMINGS, FOUNDER AND CEO, GOKIT: You would think in Silicon Valley where you're supposedly judged based on talent alone and great ideas that you would be treated the same way, whether you're walking down the street or pitching an idea. It just truly reinforces that that's not the reality that we as African-Americans live in.


O'BRIEN: Hajj Flemings joins us now because he is launching GoKit. I heard this elevator pitch so go ahead. Tell us about GoKit.

FLEMINGS: GoKit is a visual address book. What we allow people to do is to be able to collect people and to be able to visually organize relationships. Say, for instance, you come to South by Southwest you have a big stack of business cards.


FLEMINGS: And you leave with all of this information but how do you effectively visually organize the information. That's what we allow people to go with GoKit.

O'BRIEN: How did you come up with this idea? Last year at south by southwest is when the idea came to you and a year later you're launching it.

FLEMINGS: Me and my cofounder Andre Byron (ph) came up with it last year. We thought it would be a great story to bring everything full circle. When you think about South by Southwest, it's truly a place of innovation. You will see companies like forest gray come and launch products, launch ideas here. So this becomes the perfect ground to be able to do that.

O'BRIEN: Why is that so powerful here to do that here?

ALEXIS OHANIAN, CO-FOUNDER, REDDIT.COM: This is the geek spring break.


OHANIAN: I don't know if this was planned but very well done because every year you have geeks from all over the country and Detroit.


OHANIAN: When you've got such a high density of early adapter, it's a great way to launch new software.

O'BRIEN: The other side of GoKit, because when we talked in the documentary your agenda was bringing more African-American, to study tech and be entrepreneurs like yourself.

FLEMINGS: It's very important that we start to have more role models. We need to see people that are not just athletes, not just entertainers. And so this really became truly a platform to be able to make a more mainstream conversation, because there was already people out there doing cool things and really to bring the conversation mainstream.

O'BRIEN: So that if you're a millionaire or billionaire because of GoKit, it help other people.

FLEMINGS: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's not about me anymore.


O'BRIEN: I'm being serious. You're from Detroit. It's been a big push for you in Detroit to get black kids in Detroit to study tech and come into the industry.

FLEMINGS: Yes. And one of the cool things we do, we had one of the largest pre-screenings of high school students in the country, over 200 students, mostly African-American in the city of Detroit.

O'BRIEN: It would be nice to change some of those numbers. I know Alexis has something you're doing with I guess for your panel you're going to be doing a panel today and talk about the power of the Internet. I think a lot of times people focus on the bad things, porn, et cetera, et cetera, which really get my lighted a lot. But you're talking about the good job. OHANIAN: I wanted to talk about the benevolent web. There's a nonprofit called

O'BRIEN: For teachers, right?

OHANIAN: Right. It basically let's public schoolteachers in underfunded communities over the country go online and say, for example, I need $100 for basic school supplies. You as a donor can give specifically to that classroom project. See the teacher, hear their story, sometimes get their handwritten thank you notes. It's doing such a great job that fundraising about a million dollars for them to get at the tension of Stephen Colbert who is on the board of donors choose.

And as someone who was just proudly named to the advisory council. I thought, what better way to celebrate than to come on CNN and offer an opportunity for people to use some of mine. I'm no Warren Buffett, but I got $10,000 dollars that I've earmarked for anyone using the matching code "breadpig" -- don't ask. It's a company I started. Using that matching code I'll matchup to ten grand, any donation up to any donors.

O'BRIEN: If I gave $1,000 today you would match my $1,000?

FLEMINGS: We're capping it so it will be more than 10 donors, but, any one of you who makes a donation, because, and what gets me so fired up is that I come to these conferences and, yes, most open people who are there are like me. I've been using life on cheat codes as a white male. There is so much opportunity. One where we have so much need for programming talent that I need as many kids who would otherwise to get turned on to math, science, technology.

O'BRIEN: Hajj, good luck with your launch today. We have to go to commercial break. We're going to continue our conversation through the commercials because we put all of our commercial break conversations online at

When we come back we're going to talk politics. Rick Santorum's southern strategy, is it possible to go after the guy behind him in the polls? And also when you thought Starbucks couldn't come up with a good idea they've got a big one that home coffee makers might love.

And Peyton Manning shows a softer side with a few tears on the announcement and a generous side with a big tip. But the waiter, what he does next gets him fired. We're going leave you with Douglas Brinkley's playlist, "Mr. Bojangles." We''re back in a moment.



O'BRIEN: Welcome back. That's the shot inside the CNN Grill. This is a CNN Grill playlist. It has to be a person, who is the person who picked it? Anyway, go back down a little bit. Who is this? Can you scroll the prompter down? A little more. A little more. A little more. I need to see the name of who is performing. There you go. Wildlife Control, and "Logger Digital" is what you're listening to.

Our "Get Real" this morning. It's been kind of a rough week for Peyton Manning. First, he was fired by the Indianapolis colts. He's missing out on his $28 million payday, which really has got to hurt. And then this, a waiter at the Angus Barn, which is in Raleigh, North Carolina, posted the bill from when he went to eat at that restaurant. He racked up a $625 bill, adding an extremely generous tip because the restaurant already tacks on its 18 percent. So Manning then went and tipped him another $200 on top of that 18 percent tip, which he paid. So it's unclear if Manning was being super, super generous or if he saw it and was generous, whatever.

In any case, it's the last tip that waiter is going to get because he's been fired after that photograph was posted. The person who owns the restaurant said they think it's horrible that in a way that was tipped off to and revealed about someone's perm tip, which I have to say, I agree with. You know, if you want people to come back to your restaurant you probably don't want to give inside scoop, even for a good thing or bad thing, I would guess.

OHANIAN: I feel sort of responsible to this because I remember seeing get posted to Reddit, and I thought, that's so awesome of Peyton, what a great guy. I'm also a Skins fan. So I'm quietly grateful it sounds like we passed at him and looking at RG3.

O'BRIEN: So you're guilty?


BRINKLEY: Peyton Manning being fired from the colts. In the history they will be together, so many great years there. It happens in sports. The party has to end at some point. For somebody to spend their whole career on one team, I remember being such a Hank Aaron fan, who broke the record with the Atlanta braves and suddenly last year, Milwaukee Brewer.

VELSHI: The question is whether that should continue to happen if difficulty when you're so young, decision about retirement comes along should you just make the decision about retirement and go out big, or as big as you can.

BRINKLEY: Or draw it out like Brett Favre.

VELSHI: That's the other options.

O'BRIEN: Also painful.

All right, still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Democrats are sending President Obama a message on the Keystone pipeline vote in the Senate. We'll tell you what happened there. And there are new calls for Newt Gingrich to drop out. We're talking about -- to one of the folks who is behind his super PAC about king-makers and spoilers this morning. And loyal cola drinkers, your soda is changing. We'll tell you how.

You're watching STARTING POINT. We've got a short break and we're back in just a moment.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: That's from Carlos Diaz's play list, "Good Feeling," Flo Rida. Welcome back, everybody. We're at the CNN grill. We are at south by southwest this morning.

In just a few minutes, we're going to get to Louis Black, co- founder of this special that is now massive and wildly popular. We'll get that in just a moment.

First, though, some breaking news to get to out of Afghanistan. It looks like Bagram prison is going to be transferred out of U.S. control into Afghan control.

Let's get right to Carlos for an update on that breaking story. Hi, Carlos. Good morning.

DIAZ: Good morning. Yes, we do have some breaking news to report this morning. The United States today signed a deal transferring control of Bagram prison to Afghanistan. It will happen over six months. More details as we get those details.

The prosecution has rested in the Rutgers webcam spying trial. Former student, Dahrun Ravi, on trial facing up to 10 years in prison on the most serious charge, bias intimidation.

He's accused of using a webcam to spy on his gay roommate, 18- year-old Tyler Clementi. The jury viewed Ravi's nearly hour long interrogation this week. Here's a detective reading from a Twitter message sent by Ravi.


MICHAEL DANIEWICZ, INVESTIGATOR: Anyone with iChat, I dare you, not please don't, no not I'm warning you, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12:00. Yes, it's happening again.

DAHRUN RAVI, DEFENDANT: But obviously I said that in a sarcastic way first of all, and second of all, I turned off my computer so they wouldn't be able to -- or I put it to sleep so I they wouldn't be able to do anything.


DIAZ: Clementi committed suicide several days after learning of the alleged spying. The defense is expected to start its case today.

New York City will fight a judge's ruling forcing it to pay $128 million for discriminating against minority fire department candidates.

The federal government and a black firefighters group argued that the FDNY's entrance exam was biased in favor of white candidates. The judge also ordered the city to nearly double the amount of black and Latino firefighters working for the department. The Senate is shutting down a plan to fast track the controversial Keystone pipeline project. The measure would have allowed construction to start immediately, but it failed by just four votes.

Now Republicans unanimously supported it, but the president had to personally lobby Democrats to vote against it. Eleven Democrats switched sides of the aisle to support the bill.

The proposed 1,700-mile pipeline expansion would bring crude oil from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Supporters say it would cut U.S. dependence on Mideast oil, but opponents say the crude is poor quality and the pipeline could leak.

Let's go over to Christine Romans now. You have some developing news in the economy.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Minding your business this morning. Greece, a critical debt swap in Greece, big important story.

Creditors agreed to restructure Greek government bonds, avoiding a disastrous disorderly default. Greece now officially qualifies for the European bailout worth almost $172 billion. It's the largest ever sovereign debt restructuring. More than 85 percent of bondholders agree to that deal.

U.S. stock futures hovering around that break-even point. Stocks open at 9:30 a.m. Eastern. It depends on what the big jobs report says an hour before that. It's expected to show 210,000 jobs created in February, 8.3 percent is likely the unemployment rate. We'll know for sure in about an hour.

And there's this, stunning time lapse video of a prefabricated hotel going up in China, 30 stories in just 15 days. Where there were rows of cabbage and leeks a month ago.

Today stands an energy efficient hotel. The builder says it will withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake. The video is viral. More than 5 million views on YouTube. Western engineers and architects are stunned. One telling the "L.A. Times," quote, "it's unfathomable."

DIAZ: Wow.

ROMANS: I tweeted this out and all those people were saying, would you stay in that hotel?

DIAZ: No. Do you have anything on the ground floor?

ROMANS: Prefabricated, built in a factory, assembled there, 15 days.

DIAZ: See, so anyone who complaints about Ikea, they built a hotel. It's unbelievable. And this next story, I'm going to channel my inner Homer Simpson, pink slime. A USDA whistle blower says 70 percent of the ground beef we buy in the supermarket contain something called pink slime. That stuff is so gross that McDonald's and Burger King swore off using it.

It's a ground up lean of beef scraps, connective tissue and other trimmings. Enjoy your sausage this morning that has been treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill germs.

By the way, ammonium hydroxide is a compound used to make homemade bombs. Another report from "The Daily" says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has signed a deal to buy 7 million pounds of pink slime for its school lunch program. Wow.

Big changes coming for Coke and Pepsi. The soft drink giants are changing the recipe for the caramel coloring used in their sodas. It's in response to California law that requires beverages with a certain level of carcinogens to carry a cancer warning. Now Coke and Pepsi say their drinks won't taste any differently and won't contain pink slime.

Starbucks unveiling its own version of a single cup coffee brewing machine for the home. No price has been given for the Rizmo (ph), which will compete directly with Green Mountain's popular K-cup machine that currently dominates the single cup market. Shares of Green Mountain Coffee plunged more than 10 percent after the announcement was made in the hours of trading.

Let's get back to Soledad O'Brien. Soledad, I'm just -- you haven't ingested any pink slime this morning, have you?

O'BRIEN: You know, I just finished off a steak sandwich. So it happens. It was really good though. Ali got the French toast. I went with the steak sandwich. It's good here. It's good to be here in Austin. Thank you, Carlos. Appreciate it.

Let's talk politics. The GOP race for the presidential nomination still no clear winner in sight. Let's get you right to the latest delegate count, which is Mitt Romney leading. He's got 429 delegates. Rick Santorum up next with 169 delegates. Newt Gingrich at 118 and Ron Paul trailing with 67 delegates.

And so far in the state count, Mitt Romney has racked up 14 states, Santorum 7 states, Gingrich, two states, South Carolina and Georgia and Ron Paul no states.

And there have been increasing calls from the Santorum campaign, no surprise here, saying, Newt Gingrich, you should drop out. Gingrich says he's not biting to that offer. Here's what he said last night on Fox.


FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For a long stretch, I was either in first place or I was clearly in second place. During that entire period, Senator Santorum declined to leave.

Now suddenly he's in better shape, he would like me to leave. It's just all a game. He and I would both like Romney to leave. So, you know, that fact is everybody would like to end this on their terms. I think this is going to go on probably -- certainly into June.


O'BRIEN: He's like, everybody wants everybody to leave. No one is going to be leaving any time soon. This morning we're joined by Rick Tyler. He is the senior adviser to the pro-Gingrich "Super PAC," which is called "Winning Our Future."

It's nice to see you again, sir. Thanks for talking with us this morning. You'd heard me give some of those numbers when it comes to numbers of delegates.

You'd heard me give numbers when it comes to numbers of states won. Doing that math, really there's no way -- what is the path that could lead you to the nomination when I give you those numbers?

RICK TYLER, SENIOR ADVISER, WINNING OUR FUTURE: Well, the Romney campaign has made a big deal out of math and they're saying it's impossible for either Gingrich or Rick Santorum frankly to catch up to Mitt Romney. I'll grant to them that it's improbable, but it's not impossible.

But it's also equally improbable that Mitt Romney will arrive at the convention with the requisite number of delegates to arrive there as the nominee. So, look, I think if Newt Gingrich were to drop out and there's no reason he should.

I mean, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are really two of the same candidate. They both are big government Republicans. They're both increasing taxes. Mitt Romney had a 47 out of all the states in job creation.

Neither one of them defended the second amendment on various occasions. Rick Santorum voted for the debt ceiling five times. It just goes on and on. They both came to the realization that life begins at conception really late in life.

So there's a question about them. Rick Santorum famously endorsed Arlen Specter not only for senator but for president. So, look, why should he drop out?

O'BRIEN: -- ideological differences, no, yes, I hear you. And I understand the differences. I guess when you talk about math, it's not, in all fairness, it's not just the Romney campaign that talks about math, right?

I mean, everybody is talking about math to try and figure out what are the possibilities as you make it to the convention. Let's talk about southern strategy.

When the former speaker was on our show the other day, we talked about that. Here's what he said about the state of Alabama. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I believe Alabama has very major role to play in setting the stage for the presidential nomination.


O'BRIEN: He's running third in the state of Alabama. That's going put a big crimp in the southern strategy if in fact happens. The big problem with the southern strategy is a guy named Rick Santorum who's doing well in the polling and a bunch of those southern states. What's the plan now and how does the "Super PAC" fit into it?

TYLER: Well, we'll see. I mean, you know, the ads are ads running here for about a week. There's a lot of activity here in Alabama and here in Mississippi. Alabama is a bordering state of Georgia.

It has behaved politically like Georgia, like South Carolina. So I'll concede that Alabama and Mississippi are very important for Newt to go forward.

But as I said, you know, Mitt Romney is not likely to get to the convention with the requisite number of delegates. If he fails in the first ballot, the second ballot is a wide open ballot.

And frankly, if Newt Gingrich were to drop out, I think Mitt Romney would beat him. I don't think Rick Santorum has any ability to go one-on-one with Mitt Romney, his money and his organization, and win.

So I think it actually benefits Rick for Newt to stay in the race and deny Mitt Romney the number of delegates that he'll need to be the presumptive nominee.

If we get to the second ballot, then Rick Santorum would actually have a chance to win the nomination by winning the second ballot.

O'BRIEN: All right, so here's what Tony Perkins said. He said, listen, step out and be the kingmaker. He said, Gingrich has never been in a more influential position in deciding the outcome of a nomination. He could be a kingmaker if he stepped out of the race and threw his support to another candidate. Are you just not buying that?

TYLER: No. I mean, why should the people of Mississippi be denied a choice to vote among the candidates who are running in the race? And why should the 28 other states left to, you know, we're only halfway there.

As I said, all the candidates have a money challenge now. All the candidates have a delegate deficit challenge now as I outlined. So, you know, what's wrong with letting the voters decide?

O'BRIEN: That's a very good question. Many of our segments this morning. It's nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us this morning. We certainly appreciate it.

TYLER: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. You bet.

It's a good question, but at the end of the day, the math is the math, no matter who it's coming from.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to realize Santorum and Gingrich don't really have jobs. They're professionally running for president. That's what they're doing. What's in it for them to get out now?

Only if you can sell them on that kingmaker thing, otherwise they will be talked about until June. The speaker fees will go up even if they don't get the nomination.

O'BRIEN: Tyler's not buying the kingmaker thing at all. I'm going to say that's not going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Staying relevant, Gingrich and Santorum by staying in. They worried about what's good for the party I think Gingrich would get out and back Romney.

O'BRIEN: We'll talk about "Super PACs" and how that's affecting all that.

All right, still ahead on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk about this documentary that's gone viral. Have you seen this? It's called "Kony 2012." Have you seen it? It's a wanted warlord behind bars in 2012.

Also ahead this morning, going to talk to Louis Black, the man who started South by Southwest and how this festival has just, exploded in a lot of the same ways that social media has exploded.

And that brings us right to Alexis' play list. A little Jay-Z this morning. We're all Jay-Z this morning. The subtext today is Jay-Z. What are we listening to?



O'BRIEN: This is what it look like inside the CNN Grill here at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. You're listening to Congressman Mary Black's play list. She likes the Doobie Brothers. I like that. That's cool. We like that.


Welcome back, everybody. South by Southwest began in 1987 as a regional event to bring together bands in Austin, Texas, get them together and play. And now it's grown into a truly top-tier festival. Not just a music festival, also a music festival. As we were talking about earlier today, really a technology festival in a way. 30,000 people, they're estimating this year, will be coming.

Louis Black is one of the original cofounders of South by Southwest, joining our panel.

It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

LOUIS BLACK, CO-FOUNDER, SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST: Nice to be here. Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: You don't seem like frazzled and crazed for being for having 30,000 people coming to your party today.

BLACK: Well, there's three original founders still directing it. Roland Swanson, is kind of the visionary, he's frazzled. I'm at the point where I -- you know, I help make everything happen but the pressure on me is less. If Roland was here, he would be real frazzled.


O'BRIEN: You also started a weekly newspaper, "The Chronicle."

BLACK: We started "The Chronicle." In 1981, we started "The Chronicle."


O'BRIEN: And this came out of that in a way, right?

BLACK: A couple of friends of us said it would be great to have a little regional musical conference, so everybody in the business in a five-state area -- that's why it's called South by Southwest. We thought a little five-state area --


O'BRIEN: Well, I flew in from New York.


BLACK: And it lasted one year as a regional event. By the second and third year, it was national. And four or five years later, it was international.

O'BRIEN: It has such a big impact on every category, in film, in music, certainly, and we've been talking about technology as well. Why do you think that is?

BLACK: The core idea is, is that these are both creative fields and businesses. And the more you know about the business, the more control you have over your creativity, that the audience is the action. It's not just the panels and workshops and speakers, but the people who are listening to them are just as involved and just as creative. So that the lines aren't -- you know, this is not like a classroom where you have a bunch of new -- of freshmen learning from the old pros. This is such a flow of interaction, such a flow of creative information and business information that it works the same in almost every field. O'BRIEN: Sometimes it's a tough crowd. Zuckerburg got a tough reception from the audience --

BLACK: Yes. Yes.

O'BRIEN: -- when he was here. Twitter was launched here last year.

BLACK: Two years ago, I think.

O'BRIEN: Two years ago.

BLACK: Yes. And last year they did -- they did the iPad 2, I think, or launched here.

O'BRIEN: What's the big thing this year?

BLACK: You know, there's no big thing. The big thing is the audience. It's the people. It's everything. Remember, 10,000 bands apply and 2,000 bands get in. 2,000 movies apply and 120 get in. So the big thing is the 120 movies, it's the 2,000 bands. It's all the speakers and the panelists and film and interactive and music. So there's an enormous amount of creative energy. It's like Alchemy. It all comes together and then it explodes. You can watch it bubble over for days.

O'BRIEN: We look forward to exploding with it and watching it bubbling over for days.


Thank you for joining us this morning.

BLACK: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Louis Black, one of the cofounders.

It's nice to have you.

BLACK: Nice to be here. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, a wanted warlord, who has now gone viral. There's a documentary, really only online, raising some hopes. And also there's some controversy with it. We're going to talk about this, which Ali Velshi has seen it.

And then, what's the most influential show in the history of television? Our historian -- what do you know, Douglass? Any guess?


O'BRIEN: No. No.


It's on the list but it's not number one. ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: "Three's Company."

O'BRIEN: No. I'll tell you in a minute.


O'BRIEN: Also it never finished in the top 20, on the most popular. Weird, right?

Here's Douglas Brinkley's play list, Woody Guthrie, "This Land Is My Land." I'm not surprised.


This sounds like a song of yours.

STARTING POINT is back in a moment.




O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We're coming to you live from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. It's where the CNN Grill is, the grill that has no prices on it's menu.


The public is allowed to come by but sometimes its invitation only as well.

We're talking about this organization behind the huge "Kony 2012" video that's gone viral.

VELSHI: Right.

O'BRIEN: Also there's been some backlash. Today, they're responding to it.

"Kony 2012" is a video campaign by the group, called Invisible Children, to put the African warlord, Joseph Kony, behind bars. He was indicted by an international court for war crimes. He's on the run. The international community is trying to find this guy. They'd like to bring him to justice.

Invisible Children is championing the effort for his capture. They put a time line on it. They're like, by 2012, we want this guy captured. So far, roughly, 49 million people have seen this clip on YouTube. Let's play a little bit for you.


NARRATOR: For 26 years, Kony has been kidnapping children into his rebel group, the LRA; turning the girls into sex slaves and the boys into child soldiers. He makes them mutilate people's faces and he forces them to kill their own parents.


O'BRIEN: It's a very powerful piece that they have. Also the full length documentary and the various clips that are also making its way.

You've seen the entire thing.


O'BRIEN: There's been some criticism of the group.

VELSHI: There has been. In fact, yesterday, I started seeing on my Twitter feed a bunch of references to it. At the same time, a journalist friend pointed it out that there's some criticism of it. So I watched it last night. The criticisms are fewfold. One is the U.S. has sent Special Forces in, in October, to help the Ugandan Army route out Joseph Kony. And there's a sense that now that we've put this light on him and it will make the jobs of the Special Forces and the diplomatic efforts a little harder.

There's also a discussion about whether this oversimplifies the role of Kony in these African conflicts that involve child soldiers.

And there's a third question about Invisible Children, the charity that is running this, and their spending, whether or not they're raising much more money than they're spending.

O'BRIEN: The percentage -- they always measure charities, of what you take in, how much are you giving to the cause. And there's --


VELSHI: A lot of it is spent on marketing and promotion.

O'BRIEN: Right. Some of their argument behind that is like they're traveling to Africa.

VELSHI: Right.

O'BRIEN: And they are filmmakers. So you can --


VELSHI: But that doesn't make it irrelevant though, that they are having to spend a great deal of money. That may be the goal of it, to tell people that this is bad. People are saying, what does it matter that 45 million people see the documentary? Does that get us any further to capturing Joseph Kony and, if we do, does it eliminate the problem?

O'BRIEN: Here's a little bit of what the filmmakers said about the controversy. Listen.


JASON RUSSELL, FILMMAKER: It costs money to make powerful movies. We know that. And so we spent about one-third of the fundraising dollars on the movie to make it amazing. Then we spent one-third on the movement. The movement is actual volunteers around the world, our vans that tour the movie to high schools and colleges, the T-shirt, the web sites to make it powerful and aggressive. And finally, third, is the mission, which is to end the war, to stop Kony and rehabilitate the war-affected children through education, reintegration and building jobs for the community.


O'BRIEN: That's the filmmaker whose name is Jason Russell. He was on "Piers Morgan" last night, talking about not just the film but also some of the controversy around it. People should take a look at it. It's a very moving -- I mean, and the whole issue of child soldiers, whether it's Uganda or other places.

VELSHI: It's huge.


VELSHI: Kony himself was one. He was a child soldier.

O'BRIEN: Right. Oh, it's a terrible issue.


O'BRIEN: All right, thank you, because I didn't get to see the whole thing, so I'm glad that you got to watch the entire thing.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, we're just 30 minutes away from the big jobs report we've been talking about all morning. We're going to talk to President Obama's former chief economist about what those numbers mean. How are they correlated with not only the re-election of President Obama but also the chances for those GOP hopefuls as well?

Bobbi Kristina talks to Oprah. It's the first time that she's opening up since her mother, Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston's death.

Those stories and much more ahead as we continue right here on STARTING POINT. Stay with us.