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Interview with Reince Priebus; Republicans to Release Budget Proposal; GOP Presidential Candidates Prepare for Illinois Primary; Justice Department to Investigate Neighborhood Watch Shooting; FBI, Justice Department To Probe Florida, Teen's Death; "He Has No Memory" Of Shooting; Judge Won't Release T.J. Lane Records; Ibuprofen May Fight Altitude Sickness; Reports Of New iPad Overheating; New Budget Proposal; Queen Elizabeth Addresses Parliament

Aired March 20, 2012 - 06:59   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: And welcome, everybody. Our "Starting Point" this morning, the GOP battle on President Obama's home turf. The polls now open in Illinois, and it's getting personal. Governor Romney is trying to prove he's Mr. Inevitable.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not going to be successful in replacing an economic lightweight with another economic lightweight.

RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You really believe this country wants to elect a Wall Street financier as a president of the United States?


O'BRIEN: We're following what's happening there.

Also, this young man, 17 years old, unarmed, carrying only Skittles and iced tea, and now, the FBI is stepping in to investigate the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Also, our "Get Real" this morning, the TSA pat down. A kid in a cast in a wheelchair on his way to Disney World. Yes. The video is going viral, and we'll take a look at -- did the TSA cross the line and why did the dad wait so long to release the videotape?

That's all ahead this morning. It's Tuesday, March 20th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: A little gospel. That's right.


O'BRIEN: Wake up! Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that? I don't know what that is.

O'BRIEN: That's clapping from church. Come on! Come on! Welcome, everybody. That's Marvin Sapling, we ought to drag him to the pastor's church.

JOHN FUGELSANG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: He's from Texas and knows about gospel music.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm just so happy this morning.

O'BRIEN: It's a little reunion here on the set. Let's get right to our panel this morning. John Fugelsang joins us, comedian and radio personality and new daddy, his baby is one week old.

FUGELSANG: That's something to clap for.

O'BRIEN: He doesn't sleep at all, basically. Also Will Cain is a CNN contributor and contributor to, and Roland Martin is with us, CNN political analyst. We appreciate you being with us. It's 7:00 a.m. Eastern and 6:00 a.m. in Illinois. That's where polls have just opened in one of the most important primaries yet. We say that each and every time.


O'BRIEN: That's what we say always until the next primary. And 69 total delegates are at stake, 54 at stake in the primary specifically, and the winner is expected to capture the bulk of the delegates. It will be the biggest haul since the Georgia primary that happened earlier this month. Mitt Romney looking to pad his commanding lead in the delegate chase. Rick Santorum we spoke to the Santorum campaign yesterday really hoping to burst Governor Romney's bubble. And the two are going at each other in their own form of Chicago style politics. Listen.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not going to be successful in replacing an economic lightweight with another economic lightweight.

RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you really believe this country wants to elect a Wall Street financier as the president of the United States? Do you think that's the kind of experience we need?


O'BRIEN: What is a financier? What is that pronunciation?

FUGELSANG: I guarantee you he was down state talking to a lot of the conservative areas as opposed to in Chicago.

O'BRIEN: Financier.

FUGELSANG: Sounds French to me. (LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Rick Santorum also making a case a win for him today could be the beginning of the end for Mitt Romney. Listen.


SANTORUM: If we are able to do what I know most people think is impossible, which is to carry the state of Illinois, that will fundamentally change this election like no other contest to date. It will put us in a position where they'll stop talking about delegates and start talking about how are we going to stop Rick Santorum from being the nominee.


O'BRIEN: Well, nothing is impossible. But a new poll says it's very, very, very, very unlikely. American Research Group shows that governor Romney has 44 percent of the vote, up nine points from a different poll that took place about two weeks ago. Senator Santorum is at 30 percent, so you're looking at a 14 point difference there. First thing to look for, do you think, Will Cain, in the state of Illinois?

CAIN: What I want to know is this -- CNN election numbers guru John King was on "AC 360" last night, and he showed the long odds that Rick Santorum has not to win the nomination but to even deny Mitt Romney the ability to win the nomination. So my question, and I know you're going to be talking to Reince Priebus in just a minute, is what pressure is on Rick Santorum to get out of the race? Because what is the point?

O'BRIEN: Is it a bad strategy at all to be looking for a spoiler for the party as a whole?

FUGELSANG: It's not a bad strategy. In sports you play until the clock says 0:00. Only in politics do they say until you've got enough delegates, go ahead and drop out.

O'BRIEN: Maybe you want your bigger team to win ultimately.

FUGELSANG: And sometimes you're running for presidents and sometimes you're really running for higher public speaking fees.


O'BRIEN: Let's bring in the RNC chairman Reince Priebus. He is with us this morning. Nice to see you, sir. I feel like we're doing it again, it's Tuesday. Must be time for Reince.


O'BRIEN: Like I said --

PRIEBUS: Go ahead.

O'BRIEN: I was going to say give me an --

PRIEBUS: I have my --

O'BRIEN: We're having a little mix-up with our delay on the satellite. Let's talk Illinois. Fill me in on what the Republican electorate looks like in the state of Illinois and I know there's sort of a north/south difference so explain that for us as well.

PRIEBUS: Well, it's like a lot of states. You have the one huge city with the metropolitan area and everywhere else. You definitely have a Chicago and a Chicago suburb area that tends to be focused in on Chicago. I'm from Wisconsin, obviously not exactly the same. You've got Milwaukee and the surrounding area, where I come from, and everywhere else and you have the same thing in Illinois.

It's an important contest, I agree with what you all were chatting about before I got on. I think it's an important day in the Republican primary. It's a huge amount of delegates for one state and these guys are battling it out and they are going basically one on one, so I think that today's outcome will be important.

O'BRIEN: All right, so let's talk about the campaign trail yesterday, as we look backward a little bit. This is what Governor Romney said about the economy improving. Listen.


ROMNEY: I believe the economy is coming back, by the way. We'll see what happens. It's had ups and downs. I think it's finally coming back. The economy always comes back after a recession, of course. There's never been one that we didn't recover from. The problem is, this one has been deeper than it needed to be, and a slower recovery than it should have been by virtue of the policies of this president.


O'BRIEN: If, in fact, ultimately this election everywhere, not just in the state of Illinois is a vote on the economy, is that a misstep in the message from the governor?

PRIEBUS: I see. Well --

O'BRIEN: What do you mean?

PRIEBUS: I don't know, Soledad. What's that?

O'BRIEN: You said forgive me, what do you mean when you say "I see." to me to say the economy is improving might be a bad strategy, right, because if everyone's going to vote on the economy, wouldn't that kind of give an advantage a little bit to the Obama campaign?

PRIEBUS: Well, I don't want to put words in the governor's mouth. I'm not sure exactly what he was referring to but obviously according to the Department of Labor the employment number according to their numbers is going down. I dispute whether that's an accurate depiction of where Americans are at today. I happen to think Americans aren't better off today than they were three or four years ago, that's the issue whether or not Barack Obama fulfilled the promises he made to the American people, not whether or not the employment number would be better in March or February than November and December.

I mean, obviously, the unemployment number is lower than it was in January and December, but it doesn't take away from the fact we're nowhere near number one where we need to be or number two where Barack Obama promised we will be. And I think that's a very important distinction when it comes to making the case to the American people. And so that's kind of where I'm at, and putting that in context with what governor Romney said I think it squares. I don't know where that's coming from or the context, but I think that would be my best guess for where he's coming from.

O'BRIEN: All right, so Senator Santorum had a gaffe on the campaign trail yesterday as well. He said this about the unemployment rate.


SANTORUM: I don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be. It doesn't matter to me. My campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. There's something more foundational that's going on here.


O'BRIEN: And then he clarified with this.


SANTORUM: Of course I care about the unemployment rate. I want the unemployment rate to go down. But I'm saying my candidacy doesn't hinge on whether it goes up and down. Our candidacy is about something that transcends freedom. It's not about Governor Romney's idea that he's going to fix the economy.


O'BRIEN: Do you think that part of the stumbles that he's had of late and maybe not even just of late is that as the campaign trail is so long there's more time for people to not only get sort of tired but have to reframe and re-contextualize their comments?

PRIEBUS: You know, I don't think so, because if you're the nominee, obviously the intensity is only going to be a lot stronger and you're still going to have to campaign throughout the spring and the summer and the fall. And so I think it's just more scrutiny when you become the nominee, so if anything, I just think it gets even tougher.

But I think that Rick Santorum's right. This election is about big things. It's about liberty and freedom. And we've got the two- year anniversary of Obama care, that's coming. This is another promise that Barack Obama made that prices would go down and access would go up, and reality we all know that actually prices are going up, companies are taking waivers, that Obama care isn't what everyone thought it would be and in fact it's the opposite and it isn't working and it isn't improving anything. And in fact, Democrats like those Democrats that went to vote in Ohio rejected Obama care three to one.

And I think the election is going to be more about not only what the Department of Labor says the unemployment rate is, but it's going to be about Obama care, the debt, the deficit. We've got a Republican budget coming out today that's going to be a very serious document on how to get our entitlement programs and our debt under control. These are the issues I think that Americans are concerned with, and I don't think our future or our present condition is better today after three years of Barack Obama.

And I think those are the big issues this campaign will be about and where we'll end up in the summer and the fall. And obviously some of these things I think come and go but I think they can be explained easy taken one at a time.

O'BRIEN: All right, we're going to be discussing that Republican budget straight ahead. Reince Priebus, thank you for being with us, and my apologize for the audio glitches. We'll fix that for the next time we talk which will be in a couple of days.

PRIEBUS: You never know. Thank you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You never know.

Let's get right to Christine Romans with the headlines for us. Christine, good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, thanks, Soledad.

The FBI and the Justice Department launching their own investigation into the death of an unarmed 17-year-old Florida high school student who was shot by a neighborhood watchman. George Zimmerman told police he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin. Martin's family and protesters have been pressuring Sanford police. saying race was a factor in Martin's death. Newly released 911 tapes show Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, followed Martin, who was black saying he looked, quote, "suspicious." Florida's stand your ground law might prevent prosecution. We'll talk more about this case coming up in just a few minutes with legal analyst Midwin Charles.

Toulouse, France, on high alert this morning after a shooting rampage killed four people, including three kids at a Jewish school. French president Nicolas Sarkozy on hand as those victims were honored with a minute of silence this morning. Meantime, we're learning that the gunman may have recorded this rampage. A French government official says surveillance video shows he had a camera strapped to his chest. Authorities believe the shoot something linked to two other recent ethnic attacks.

Police in the U.S. are stepping up their patrols around synagogues and other Jewish institutions. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says they're concerned about copycat attacks.


RAY KELLY, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: We have a significant Jewish population in this city and we have to take that into account. We know that we're at the top of the terrorist target list, so we are concerned about the so-called copycat syndrome.


ROMANS: Kelly says there is no specific intelligence about any active threat.

House Republicans will release their 2013 budget today. It cuts taxes and calls for just two individual tax brackets, 10 percent and 25 percent. It would also end the alternative minimum tax, a measure initially aimed at the wealthy and now squeezes millions of middle class Americans. At 7:30, Soledad talks with representative Jason Chaffetz, a member of the House budget committee, then Congressman Chris Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the budget committee, for the Democratic response.

Let's check on the markets this morning. U.S. stock futures are lower, Dow futures are down about 60 points. European and Asian markets down overnight after disappointing auto sales in China. Big thing in the U.S. this morning is the report on housing starts due later. Economists hope it shows housing activity at a three-month high.

You're looking live in London, where Queen Elizabeth II is marking her diamond jubilee here, celebrating 60 years on the throne. She'll give a speech to both houses of parliament. The tradition dates back to the 16th century. The jubilee celebrations will last through June.

Peyton Manning taking his talents to the mile-high city. The star free agent quarterback has told his agent to finalize contract negotiations with the Denver Broncos. Once Manning signs it's expected the bronco also try to trade current starting Q.B. Tim Tebow.

O'BRIEN: Big deal there. Big deal there. My parents went to see the queen's silver jubilee.

ROMANS: Really?

O'BRIEN: Yes and brought us back silver pendants to mark the day.

ROMANS: Since the 16th century, that's quite a tradition.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Christine, thank you. Still ahead on STARTING POINT, we told you that the FBI is now investigating that racially charged shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Going to break down the case and tell you where it goes from here.

Also our "Get Real," the TSA pats down a toddler in a wheelchair. Did they cross the line? And three million new iPads sold in just four days, three million in four days. But the new gadget might be too hot to handle. Rumor is the iPad is overheating. We'll discuss that this morning.

And we leave you with Roland Martin's playlist, the Brand New Heavies. I like it.


O'BRIEN: It's going to be an all-me playlist -- Beyonce, good to run to in the morning. Our "Get Real" this morning, have you guys seen this videotape, this three-year-old in a wheelchair, he's patted down by the TSA, been viewed more than 200,000 times since it was posted to YouTube Sunday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weird, huh? That's a little weird.



O'BRIEN: So as you can see here, this is the video clip lasts about 3:14, and apparently the dad who shot this is talking to his three-year-old son. It's described you know as the clip is described as the child is visibly confused and nervous and squirming but we could keep rolling the tape so people can see it. He looks like your typical three-year-old trying to go through. It's unclear because the incident took place back in 2010, and of course the TSA has changed its guidelines, they changed it in 2011.

So like my kids who are 11 and under now no longer have to take their shoes off. They've relaxed some of the guidelines. Of course he's in a wheelchair. He broke his leg so he probably would have had to go through some of the screening anyway.

FUGELSANG: As a three-year-old?

O'BRIEN: Yes, you know, because I think it's less about the kid and more about the wheelchair. They got to swab -- who knows, I don't know. What I find interesting, why post it now, when it was taken back in 2010, and then of course the name of apparently the guy who shot it, the father in this case is a radio host in Chicago, his name is Matt Debeale so it's unclear why he's posting it now.

FUGELSANG: Was he trying to generate interest in his radio show by doing this?

O'BRIEN: I don't know or maybe something happened with the TSA and he's outraged and has it on tape.

CAIN: There's a lot of people outraged with the TSA.

FUGELSANG: I am. I think most people are. I think more and more Americans think TSA stands for trying to scare America and this is exactly the thing that gives Ron Paul so much credibility when we see this sort of thing. Might it be a 12-year-old held back trying to bring lip gloss on a plane.

CAIN: It's pretty easy to be outraged when you see a three-year- old with a broken leg trembling in front of the TSA.

O'BRIEN: He doesn't look like he's freaking out. You know well about 3-year-olds freaking out. He's not freaking out.

CAIN: He seemed to be understanding, and you have to wonder does the TSA have a warning that al Qaeda or terrorists are using children? Do they have some information we don't have?

O'BRIEN: My guess would be because he's in a wheelchair. That was the problem before they could walk, a bigger kid they have to walk through. I had the issue when I was on crutches. He is being patted down as well. But this was taken before the guidelines where children are less screened.

CAIN: If my information does not exist the TSA is guilty of a lack of common sense, which no one is surprised by.

O'BRIEN: I travel last couple years on shooting documentaries, I travel all the time. And for the most part 92 percent are really nice. Eight percent are complete jerks and put your handbag through --

CAIN: I've been on twice and I know why she's saying this, the TSA will walk through going, Soledad! This is her audience, the TSA.

O'BRIEN: It's not my audience although we appreciate them as viewers, they're doing their jobs and there are guidelines. If you don't stick to your guidelines and someone brings a lip gloss through that ends up being dangerous, until the guidelines are changed --

CAIN: It's the guidelines, not the man in the blue shirt.

FUGELSANG: I travel all the time. They think I'm K.D. Lang.


FUGELSANG: But I think this comes down to a case of a struggle between big government and good governance. And it's the debate between big government and good government, because a lot of people are tired of this and the whole thing was a plot to buy Dasani water in the airport.

O'BRIEN: That could be. We have to take a short break.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, new developments in the case of the racially charged shooting death in Florida. The FBI is now getting involved to figure out what happened when Trayvon Martin was shot to death. We'll break that case down next.

Plus rethinking Medicare, drastically changing the tax code -- Republicans are sending election year message with their new budget. We'll talk to Representative Jason Chaffetz about it straight ahead. We leave you with Will Cain's playlist, My Chemical Romance, "Teenagers." You're watching STARTING POINT, short break, we're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: New this morning, the Justice Department and the FBI are now opening an investigation into the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Of course you remember his story, it all started with a shot. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think he's yelling "Help"?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, what is your --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's gunshots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just heard gunshots?





O'BRIEN: Gosh, every time I hear that gunshot it absolutely is shocking. Neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin. The family believes race was a factor. He is a 17-year-old African-American boy. The justice department will look into that, the civil rights division is picking up the investigation and that could mean that Zimmerman could face hate crime charges.

Joining us this morning, joining the panel is criminal defense attorney Midwin Charles. Nice to have you with us.


O'BRIEN: So let's first talk about the department of justice stepping in, the civil rights bureau. What are they going to be looking at.

CHARLES: They're going to be looking at whether or not this was a hate crime. So they will be look at the actions and activities of George Zimmerman. As you know, a hate crime is a traditional crime but with bias, murder, arson or traditional crimes but a hate crime has an additional element which is bias.

And the federal government has an interest in protecting Americans from hate crimes because they believe that it's something that lends itself towards terrorism, because most people say why would the federal government want to step in on this? So that's one, hate crime. And two is color of law abuses. As you know, law enforcement has wide latitude to arrest and to detain people. And so what the FBI does is they step in and find out whether or not law enforcement has abused that wide latitude, and in this case it would be a non-action and not doing.

O'BRIEN: In not arresting George Zimmerman. We looked at the 911 call, let's play George Zimmerman's call to the dispatch at the beginning before all of this happened where he said he believed there was someone who looked suspicious.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: Something's wrong with him. Yep. He's coming to check me out. He's got something in his hands. I don't know what his deal is. These they always get away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK we don't need to you do that.



O'BRIEN: There are parts of this I have to imagine that authorities especially in the department of justice will be looking at to see is in fact this the part that would show bias and hate crime, what he says before he shoots Trayvon Martin.

CHARLES: That's right, "they always get away." Who is "they"? and I think one key fact is the fact that the 911 operator at some point said do not follow him, and yet he still went ahead and did that.

O'BRIEN: You know what I thought was interesting? They had rules for neighborhood watch, and the rules, we should throw them up on the screen, the neighborhood watch manual, it should be emphasized to members that they do not possess police powers. They shall not carry weapons or pursue vehicles. They should be cautioned to alert police or deputies when encountering strange activity. Members should never confront suspicious persons who could be armed and dangerous. Apparently George Zimmerman, who was sole member of this community watch in his neighborhood, never registered. His neighborhood watch group was not an official neighborhood watch group. I think it's an interesting development.

CHARLES: He violated all of those rules, every single one of them.

MARTIN: But also, if you don't get out of the vehicle, there's no altercation. No one gets shot. If you listened to 911, if you listened to what you're told to do, you don't, you simply follow them, you can see what's going on. But also, you made a judgment that he looks suspicious based on what? A pair of tennis shoes and a hoodie? Is that really what it's all based upon? And so I have people trying to say Zimmerman, he's trying to keep folks safe. Yes, but he shot and killed somebody based on just looking at them and saying I think he's going to do something bad. That's crazy.

Here's what George Zimmerman's father said about his son, a statement that he released. He said "George is a Spanish speaking minority with many black family members and friends. He would be the last to discriminate for any reason whatsoever." His name is Robert Zimmerman and said this in "The Orlando Sentinel."

CAIN: George Zimmerman's race plays nothing as to whether or not he's capable of a hate crime. I think you could theoretically have a hate crime where it's black on black, Hispanic on black, white on black. I'm curious, is it the Sanford police department still investigating this case, right?


CAIN: The suggestion that the Department of Justice will step in is that Sanford's investigation is lacking.

MARTIN: Actually, the Sanford police turned it over to the state attorney's office. And you also now have Florida Governor Rick Scott after the DOJ made their announcement he wants the state officials to also step in as well. So Sanford police, they've actually stepped away from it given it over to the state's attorney.

O'BRIEN: Lack of action in the fact that George Zimmerman they never did a drug test, never did an alcohol test, haven't arrested him. You know, there's no dispute whether he shot Trayvon Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He admitted it.

MIDWIN CHARLES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That lack of action is what you would call a color of law abuse. I mean, I think this case is reminiscent to the Emmitt Till case. I think a lot of people look at the fact and say, well, this is very similar.

Young black man perhaps in the wrong place at the right time and all of a sudden ends up dead. And the local law enforcement does nothing.

O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to continue to follow this case as we're doing. I know you broke the information about the DOJ stepping in last night.


O'BRIEN: I was sleeping. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was still awake.

O'BRIEN: Midwin, nice to have you. We appreciate it.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, some new details about that army sergeant who's accused of going on that deadly shooting rampage in Afghanistan. He's saying now he cannot remember details about the shooting. We're going to hear from his attorney, up next.

Plus the GOP's releasing its budget today. We'll have a preview of how it's going to affect you and the Democrats' response, all coming up live with Congressman Jason Chaffetz and also Congressman Chris Van Hollen. You're watching STARTING POINT and we are back in just a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to show you all --

O'BRIEN: No, no, no. We're listening to Representative Jason -- stop it all over there. I'm trying to read. Jason Chaffetz's playlist, Loverboy "Turn Me Loose."

He is on the House Budget Committee and he's going to give his thoughts on Congressman Paul Ryan's new budget proposal for fiscal year 2013.

That's straight ahead. First though, we're going to get right to Christine Romans who's got a look at the headlines for us. Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. Robert Bales, the U.S. Army sergeant accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians. He can't remember any details of the shooting.

That's according to his attorney, John Henry Brown. After meeting with Sergeant Bales yesterday in Kansas, Browne told CBS News his client was sober that morning, but has no recollection of the massacre.


JOHN HENRY BROWNE, ATTORNEY FOR SERGEANT ROBERT BALES: He has an early memory of that evening and he has a later memory of that evening, but he doesn't have memory of in between.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bales told you he was not drinking that night.

BROWNE: He said he had a couple sips of something, but he didn't even have a full drink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he was not drunk?


ROMANS: Sergeant Bales' wife, Carolyn, also released this statement, quote "What has been reported is completely out of character of the man I know and admire. Please respect me when I say I cannot shed any light on what happened that night, so please do not ask. I, too, want to know what happened. I want to know how this could be."

An Ohio judge rules he will not release prior court records on alleged school shooting suspect T.J. Lane. Lane is accused of going on a deadly shooting rampage at Chardon High School late last month. Three students died.

Two others seriously hurt. A judge says releasing Lane's juvenile record could make it difficult to seat an impartial jury in a trial.

Today's "A.M. House Call," a new study says ibuprofen may fight off altitude sickness. Stanford researchers sent 86 people hiking up California's White Mountains. Those who took ibuprofen before trip suffered fewer symptoms of altitude sickness, which could include headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

And Apple selling a whopping 3 million new iPads in just about four days. The hot new gadget may be too hot literally. There are reports of the tablet overheating. Apple has not responded yet to CNN's calls for comment on that -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: I'm sure that will be fixed in iPad 4 coming up in six months. All right, Christine, thank you.

Rethinking Medicare, simplifying the tax code and cuts in government spending might sound like familiar ideas from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan's contentious budget for April, but they're in Ryan's new plan for fiscal year 2013 as well.

Spending is expected to be set at $1.028 trillion, that's less than what Congress agreed to last year in the Budget Control Act. Simplifies the tax code as well, taking us to just two tax brackets, 10 percent and 25 percent, reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

And it also expected to modify Ryan's Medicare overhaul plan from last year, expanding the Medicare's private option. Paul Ryan in "Wall Street Journal" op-ed writes this, our budget returns power to individuals, families and communities. It draws inspiration from the founders' belief that all people are born with an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness."

All of this to be paid for with to be announced cuts and closing tax loopholes, the specifics of which will be announced today, but so far congressional Democrats have been no more receptive than they were the first time around.

O'BRIEN: Jason Chaffetz is a Republican congressman from the state of Utah. He's also a member of the House Budget Committee. It's nice to see you. Thanks for joining us. Tell me about your support for this. Across the board, are you supportive of this budget?

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Yes, it's bold and it's realistic. We got to recognize we have a massive debt issue and problem in the United States of America. We can see this train coming and we've got to do some things to fix it.

I think there are common ground and the idea that we need to broaden the base and lower the rates, I hope that Democrats will join and unite us on that.

We also do something that is needed in this country, and that is entitlement reform because if you don't do that, you can never ever solve this problem.

We do cut discretionary spending and we think it's the right pathway to prosperity and we do think it's the right thing for the United States and look forward to the debate.

O'BRIEN: You do cut spending and entitlements, which other people frame as dismantling Medicare as we know it. Are the critics wrong when they say that this could be devastating? Certainly if you look at the polling there's not necessarily a lot of support for that.

CHAFFETZ: Well, we offer reform. Remember, it was President Obama who pulled $500 billion out of Medicare, so we're trying to reform it in order to save it, give some people some options and choices.

But again, for younger generations, we need to change the trajectory, but for those seniors that are older, that have been playing under these rules, we allow them to continue forward on this.

So hopefully, we don't get into the bumper sticker politics. We actually get into true reform and the idea that Paul Ryan introduced this with Senator Wyden, a Democrat is going to hold a lot of water for a lot of people.

O'BRIEN: You know, when you look at the polls though and we just had the poll up when you were talking a moment ago. When they polled all Americans across the board, 70 percent said keep Medicare the way it is.

When they look specifically at Republicans, you could see the numbers right there, 53 percent said keep Medicare exactly as it is. Do you run the risk of going against what the American people want and ergo that translates into losing elections down the road?

CHAFFETZ: Well, I think what they're saying is we actually like the program, we want the program, and in order to save the program, we got to reform the program.

That's what we're trying to say and not just on Medicare, but also doing some things with block granting to Medicaid for the states to give them some flexibility. We have to address Social Security at some point.

I've introduced my own individual plans, not part of this budget, again, in order to save the plan. I think that's ultimately when people digest that, they'll understand that we're trying to be the adults in the room and trying to do the responsible thing in order to save these programs.

O'BRIEN: Yes, but you're saying in order to save the program, you're going to have to reform the program. You look back at that poll, what they asked people literally, do you like it the way it is or do you want change?

They were given sort of the you could change it and they did not go for the change option. I want to ask you a little bit about what the impact could be. "Politico" has an article out today and they says for Democrats, this is going to be Christmas in March.

Because it's going to go the way it went last spring and it's just going to come at a huge cost for the Republicans. Do you think that's true, the political cost of this?

CHAFFETZ: Well, if we did what the Senate Democrats and Harry Reid did, they do nothing. Remember, it's been more than 1,050 days and they've done nothing.

We're trying to be the adults in the room and actually produce something that is going to change the trajectory in which we're going in this country.

You cannot have $4 trillion deficits year after year after year as the president has done and the Democrats did when they were in charge. You can't just keep doing that year after year.

You have to actually curb the spending. You've got to do some tax reform. There are lots of things we need to do, but ultimately we need to get to the point where our budget actually balances.

You're not going to do that overnight. You got to do that over the course of the years and that's what this budget does.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Ryan has a new trailer where he's walking through the halls of Congress. There's very ominous music playing underneath him and he delivers a short speech. I want to play a little bit of it for you.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Let me ask you a question. What if your president, your senator, your congressman knew it was coming?

What if you knew when it was going to happen, why it was going to happen and more importantly what if they knew what they need to do to stop it from happening, and they had the time to stop it?

But they chose to do nothing about it, because it wasn't good politics. What would you think of that person? It would be immoral. This coming debt crisis is the most predictable crisis --


O'BRIEN: OK, so he is talking about the upcoming economic crash. Outside of the ominous music I think it's a pretty effective trailer. What do you think of it?

CHAFFETZ: Well, look, if you spend $1 million a day every day, it would take you almost 3,000 years to get to $1 trillion. Our nation is approaching $16 trillion in debt. We're paying more than $600 million a day in interest on that debt.

We deficit spend roughly $4 billion a day. We can't keep doing that. That's what we're trying to recognize and realize. We can see this coming. You can't keep accumulating all this debt without some changes out there.

And so we offer a pathway that's different than the president's pathway. There is a clear choice between the two and we ought to have that debate and the Senate ought to have that debate on the floor as well, and thus far they've not agreed to do that.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Jason Chaffetz joining us this morning. It's nice to see you. Thanks for being with us.

CHAFFETZ: Thanks, good morning.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

JOHN FUGELSANG, RADIO PERSONALITY: Or we could have a sane and moral tax code. I'd like to shift the debate stop calling Medicare an entitlement and start calling it an earned benefit. The Ryan plan may have had revisions.

And it is an effective trailer but at the end of the day, it is going to lead to health care vouchers where people will not be able to cover their surgeries if they exceed $15,000 and have to purchase a private plan.

O'BRIEN: We're going to have a conversation about that straight ahead this morning. Hold it, hold it. We have Chris Van Hollen. I don't want to chip away from time with him this morning.

Up next, the Democrats are going to respond to the GOP budget plan. The congressman from Maryland, Chris Van Hollen will talk about that. Then we'll discuss the whole thing.

Also did you hear the story of blocking food donations to the homeless folks in shelter because the food isn't healthy enough? We're going to talk all about that. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back right after this break.


O'BRIEN: Just moments ago, we heard from Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz about the GOP's 2013 budget plan being released today. For the Democratic response, we're joined by Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. It's nice to see you. Thank you for being with us.


O'BRIEN: Thank you. We heard from Congressman Chaffetz that he welcomes he says debate over Ryan's budget plan version 2.0. Do you? What do you hate about it and what do you like about it?

HOLLEN: Well, sure, I welcome the debate. We haven't seen every detail, but from what we know so far this is not good for the country. If you're Mitt Romney, you're going to love this budget, because what it does is provide another round of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and does it at the expense of middle class taxpayers and seniors.

The reality is that seniors are going to face the increase in health care costs. They're going to go up and they're also going to see their taxes go up, because what this budget is proposing is to give over $100,000 in tax cuts if you're a millionaire, and squeeze more on middle income taxpayers.

So the argument here is not whether or not we should reduce the deficit. We have to do that. The question is whether you do it in a lop-sided way that puts all the burden on middle income taxpayers and seniors.

Or whether you take a balanced approach, where you have accommodation of cuts, but you also ask folks at the top to share more responsibility and that's the heart of the issue here.

O'BRIEN: There are folks who would say listen, the tax code is already complicated instead of six categories, which is what we have from 10 percent to 35 percent. They would now drop it to just two categories, 10 percent and 25 percent. Why is that bad?

HOLLEN: Well, it's not bad to simplify the tax code. The question is whether simplifying the tax code is code word for another round of tax breaks for folks at the very top. I mean, you could have fewer tax rates without reducing dramatically the rate for millionaires.

And unfortunately, that's exactly what they do, and the result's going to be squeezing middle class taxpayers. When we get to the Budget Committee, Democrats are going to try and fix these things.

We'll offer an amendment that says you don't raise the tax burden on middle income taxpayers in order to give tax breaks to folks at the very top. I hope our Republican colleagues will support us in that. But so far the evidence suggests they won't.

O'BRIEN: Forgive me for interrupting, but I want to talk a little bit about Medicare. There's a proposal that Congressman Ryan is doing as you know with Senator Wyden who is a progressive Democrat and he says this. Wyden/Ryan does not eliminate the traditional Medicare plan. Wyden/Ryan protects the purchasing power of traditional Medicare and private sector innovation to make both types of Medicare stronger and more senior friendly. That's a progressive Democratic senator who is supporting the Medicare section of this.

HOLLEN: First, Soledad it would be nice to see the details of their plan. They haven't introduced a piece of legislation so people can see what it does. At the end of the day, it saves the Medicare program money by transferring the risks and the costs onto seniors.

That's how they save money and our view is the best way to deal with health care is to bring down health care costs throughout the health care system, not simply transfer rising health care costs onto seniors.

This is just another version of what the Republicans introduced last year. It's another version of a voucher plan. They've dressed it up to make it sound different. At the end of the day, what this means is seniors are left holding the bag for increased costs.

As opposed to the approach that we've advocated, which is to try and change the incentives in the Medicare system to put less focus on the volume of care and more on the value of care, on the quality of care.

We took some of those steps in the Affordable Care Act. We can accelerate some of those efforts. But we don't think that we should deal with budget by simply transferring all of those costs onto seniors and that's what they're proposing to do.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Chris Van Hollen joining us this morning of the state of Maryland. It's nice to see you. Thank you for joining us.

HOLLEN: Good to see you. Thanks.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, some brand new information about that deadly shooting at a Jewish school in France. The shooter reportedly recorded the massacre. He's wearing a recording device and Jewish neighborhoods in the United States are now on alert.

Plus, we'll talk to actress, Eva Longoria. Ask her why she's stumping for President Obama. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment. We will continue our conversation of the budget, gentlemen. Relax. It's coming.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. It has been a 60-year reign for Queen Elizabeth and she's addressing British lawmakers this morning to mark her diamond jubilee.

There's some new videotape into CNN of the ceremony, which just wrapped up. The queen presented with a diamond jubilee window. Max Foster is live in London for us this morning. Good morning, Max. How did it go?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, it's one of those big state occasions we enjoy here in the U.K., very rare for the two houses of parliament, lower house and upper house to come together in one room to hear an address.

The last time in recent memory it really happened was for the pope and for President Obama. But this as you say is the year in which the queen celebrates her diamond jubilee, 60 years on the throne.

The parliamentary decided they want to pay tribute to her. They got this window organize. They paid for themselves. They also made glowing tributes on behalf of the speaker of the commons and the Lords to the Queen.

She returned with an address talking about how she's the only monarch in British history, only the second monarch in British history to pass the 60-year mark. Queen Victoria being the other one.

So she's had unique insight, Soledad, into modern history. Some people would argue a period of history that's seen the most change in all history. There's been so much that's changed over the last six years. She's had a unique this insight.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I think that's absolutely true. All of the things that have happened on her watch sitting in the monarch's chair if you think about how much the world has changed over 60 years as we hear. It's quite remarkable.

We thank you for that update and the report. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, primary day in Illinois. Polls are open right now. Can Mitt Romney seal the deal? I'm going say that for the ten millionth times. Can he seal the deal once and for all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He already has.

O'BRIEN: Interesting debate there. We're going to chat with the Illinois Congressman Aaron Shock. He's going to join us right at the top of the hour.

Plus, a cute video, never a fan of cute video on TV honestly, but this one is worth seeing. She's singing Adele. It's so cute. We're going to show you a bit of that straight ahead. Back in a moment.