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Man Accused of School Shooting in France Dead; Romney Campaign Adviser's Comment Sparks Criticism from Opponents; Neighborhood Watch Killing of Teenager Garners National Attention; Police Move In, Gunman Dead; France Standoff Over, Suspect Dead; Pipeline Dreams; Woman Texting and Walking -- Right Off A Pier; Tebowmania Comes To Jets!

Aired March 22, 2012 - 06:59   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: And thank you very much, ladies. Welcome, everybody. Our "Starting Point" this morning is breaking news. It's now over CNN affiliate saying that the terrorist suspect accused of murdering seven people, including three Jewish children, is now dead. We're live on this breaking story straight ahead.

Plus, the "Million Hoodie March." People demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and also demanding the arrest of the man who shot and killed him. The message of Black kid in a hoodie isn't automatically suspicious. The president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, is going to join us live this morning.

Plus, candidates running to Toys 'R' Us after a Romney aide said this on our show yesterday. Listen.


ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch-A-Sketch kind of shake it off and we start all over again.


O'BRIEN: Later they say no, nothing like an etch-a-sketch. Can that etch-a-sketch mess be cleaned up this morning? We'll talk about that.

Plus, texting while walking claims another victim. I've done this, actually, not fallen into a lake as she did, but other things that are not so great.

It is Thursday, March 22nd. STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: Yes, that's Mariah Carey. My play list this morning, that's "Fantasy," by the way, is all Long Islanders who have contributed to the great cultural contributions of our nation. We're celebrating long island this morning, everybody. Our panelists this morning, Ryan Lizza joins us, a Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker." Nice to have you.


O'BRIEN: Where about? What town?


O'BRIEN: John Fugelsang is with us. He's a political comedian who asked the question of the day on this show yesterday. We'll talk about that straight ahead.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: I'm representing the island of Long as well, Stonybrook.

O'BRIEN: That's right by me. And Will Cain --


O'BRIEN: Helping it out.

All right, we've got to get to our STARTING POINT this morning, which is the breaking news, that standoff we've been watching for days is now over. CNN affiliate in France says the terror suspect is now dead. Police stormed the apartment after 30 hours. That included a shootout and several explosions. The suspect is named Mohammed Merah. He was wanted in the killing rampage that left three Jewish children, a rabbi and three French paratroopers dead.

CNN National Security contributor Fran Townsend joins us live by phone. Fran, there was so many sort of interesting elements out of this. I was surprised how quickly they were able to get information about this suspect. He was the one who said he was aligned with Al Qaeda. He was the one who, we're told, admitted to the shootings. What do you make of not just the ending, but the beginning of this standoff?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR (via telephone): Well, Soledad, look, this is exactly the sort of lone wolf scenario we've heard about, in Congress Peter King from New York held hearings about this. This is the very thing we've been concerned about here in the United States. You've got an individual. You realize in retrospect now, looking back, he traveled to Afghanistan. We don't know.

There are many questions that remain unanswered. Who did he meet with there? What did he do? Was he trained? Was he radicalized during that trip? He obviously had contact with French forces in Afghanistan, who made the decision to return him. Did they notify their internal intelligence and security services in France they were aware of this, their travels to Afghanistan? We don't know. We've also suffered in the United States with the lack of information sharing between agencies. So this very much sounds like the sort of individual we worry about in the United States.

O'BRIEN: I know there was tremendous interest, Fran, and I think the reason this standoff went on for so long is they really wanted to get him alive. That they thought there was information to gather from him, if he were alive, as opposed to how it has now ended with this suspect dead.

TOWNSEND: That's right. But the other thing is, in this barricade situation, which is what this was, the longer you wait, the better the likelihood of that. You also run the risk he may have taken his own life over that time.

In the end, this concluded he was the only one who was killed or hurt in the barricade situation is a success story actually. Yes, you would have preferred to get him alive and get that information. But the fact that nobody else was hurt and no security forces were hurt or innocent civilians is to the credit of the French service.

O'BRIEN: I'm getting word that there were, in fact, three officers who were injured over that 30-hour standoff and they are now -- the French interior minister is confirming that the suspect is now dead. We were working to get that confirmation. Where does this investigation go now, Fran?

TOWNSEND: There's no question, they'll now look at who and what were his other contacts in France? Can they help identify other individuals who may have been radicalized? They'll look at the mosque he was attending. They'll see if there's a radical group involved here. Was there a pipeline of others who left France and gone to Afghanistan? There will be a lot of information exchanged among allied services, the CIA and France.

And I think that probably back to those who had contact with him in Afghanistan and see what they can learn about at that end, is there a pipeline. And so there's a lot of sort of lessons learned and information to be gleaned from his travel and his contacts yet.

O'BRIEN: Which is what they'll be looking into. Fran Townsend joining us this morning. We appreciate you joining us by phone. All right.

We have to turn to the campaign trail now where that iconic etch- a-sketch toy is now shaping up the GOP race. It began right here, literally right there yesterday morning when long-time Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom was kind of doing the victory lap because Governor Romney had a win the night before. And he was asked whether the candidate was forced to tack too far to the right by his opponents when it went to a national campaign, ultimately hurting him in November. That was the question that John asked. Here was the answer.


FEHRNSTROM: I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an etch-a-sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.

(END VIDEO CLIP) O'BRIEN: Well, from there, literally, from right there, etch-a- sketch went absolutely everywhere on every single newscast. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was an unusual day on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney and his campaign had wanted to talk about his victory in the Illinois primary, but then the debate over this iconic children's toy, the etch-a-sketch, threatened to erase all that.

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You have to stand for something that lasts longer than this. People aren't stupid.

RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said you just turn it over and shake it and then you start all over.

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I were elected and Congress were to pass the DREAM Act, would I veto it? The answer is yes.

Planned Parenthood, going to get rid of that.


O'BRIEN: We begin with our panelists on this etch-a-sketch. It really should be a big conversation about a great night and it changed. Will is checking his watch.

CAIN: There are two hours left in this show? It will be done by 10:00 am eastern. I love John. It's a good question. It's much ado about nothing. This is a Twitter-fueled political granular story that most of the people watching at home rightfully are like, what, what? He said what about an etch-a-sketch?

FUGELSANG: Social conservatives may disagree with you.

O'BRIEN: I have $5 on this.

CAIN: Let's bet 10 grand.

FUGELSANG: Five? You really feel strongly, don't you?

O'BRIEN: I'm cheap and I have four kids I have to send to college. That's why.

Let's get right to Mark McKinnon. He was John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign adviser and contributor to "The Daily Beast" and author of a new article an open letter that offers advice to Romney's advisers. Hey, Mark, nice to see you.


O'BRIEN: So you heard a little bit of the exchange. After the exchange there was a clarification from Eric Fehrnstrom. Let's play a little bit of that clarification. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Organizationally, a general election campaign takes on a different profile. The issues I'm running on will be exactly the same.


O'BRIEN: My apologies. That was actually, obviously, Governor Romney doing his own clarification, which came after Eric's clarification. What do you make of this? Will Cain just said this is going to last another couple of hours and then it's done.

MCKINNON: I disagree. I think it's going to last the whole campaign. One, the problem is that every time Romney has a big win, they step on their message. Two, there's nothing more powerful than using a campaign's own words against them. Three, it's the perfect metaphor. And four, it immediately reminded me yesterday when I heard that of the time in 2004 when I heard the words "I actually voted for it before I voted against it." This is problematic. This is something that I think is going to have some lasting damage.

O'BRIEN: So it will stick. Let me read to you the clarification. This is what Eric Fehrnstrom said after all this hoopla about the etch-a-sketch. He said this, "I was talking about the race. As we move from the primary to the general election, the campaign changes. It's a different race with different candidates and a focus on different issues." Do you think that's true and, in fact, that clarification is accurate?

MCKINNON: Well, again, the problem is in politics if you're explaining, you're losing. And, again, it's the perfect metaphor for the vulnerabilities and weaknesses that Romney has on a day when it should have been one of his greatest days of the campaign. They killed the news again with an incident that I believe -- listen, I'm an ad guy. I can think of a perfect ad to do with this etch-a-sketch piece. And I guarantee you that the Obama campaign is already cooking up the ads.

O'BRIEN: Will Cain is strongly -- I can tell how he is physically writhing in his chair, Mark, he has to get in on this.

CAIN: I am perfectly capable of being wrong. I'm wrong often. But what I'm curious about is I guess if I'm wrong it's because I'm giving the voting public too much credit, Mark. I'm not in the Romney camp, I actually buy Eric Fehrnstrom's answer. He was talking about the campaign being different from a general election to a primary. I think the public can see through this, this is being spun by his adversaries.

O'BRIEN: Mark, before you answer that, let's go back and replay the question and the answer, the actual question. Mark, I'll have you jump in and answer it. Let's play that, guys.

FUGELSANG: Any time. O'BRIEN: We don't have it.

CAIN: I'll act it out.

O'BRIEN: But the question was, as John said, you asked the question. You repeat it.

FUGELSANG: Senator McCain had been referenced, I pointed out that Senator McCain was more moderate than the gentlemen he now faces. So given the pressure he's receiving from Santorum and Gingrich, is it possible that he would tax so far to the right that it would make him difficult to reach the voters.

O'BRIEN: And so the answer was the etch-a-sketch remark. Answer, Mark, if you can, Will's question.

MCKINNON: Ultimately, it may not be fatal. It's a big hurdle they've thrown themselves when it should have been on offense, should have been celebrating a victory. It puts a spotlight on the weakness Romney has, which is that people think he shifts positions. So it was an error on a day they should have been on offense.

I just wrote a column saying about the Romney campaign, saying that they get a lot of criticism, a lot of it unfair, but this one, I think, is problematic. But all that said, I think he'll get the convention, give his speech, an "S" on his chest and he'll get a cape and ultimately could be a strong nominee for the party.

O'BRIEN: In the "Daily Beast" column you wrote you said, life was hard in the presidential microwave during the last three cycles but I can't imagine what it's like now with the carnivorous tentacles of social media at every turn, no matter which way you turn. And with the rate of both cash and people must be enormous." This race is being dragged out, which could be linked to the fact that people won't get out of the race, which is linked to the facts that super PACs are giving people money who could get out of the race. Is this all connected?

MCKINNON: Absolutely. It's a human microwave. It was bad before. It's impossible now. Incidents like yesterday get magnified are really blown up, just like we're talking about it today, which is very, very just very, very difficult. I have a lot of sympathy for what they're going through. It's been a very tough campaign.

But at the end of the day, they built a campaign to last. They should get credit for overcoming a lot of hurdles. As I said in the column, this is a candidate who overcame possibly the greatest vulnerability, which was his position on health care. I compared that to -- it would have been like Obama being for Iraq and winning that primary. At end of the day, you have to salute the campaign for hanging in there, going through very tough days and months and ultimately getting to the place where they are today.

O'BRIEN: Mark McKinnon, appreciate you talking to us.

MCKINNON: OK, thanks. Kick it hard. O'BRIEN: I'm not sure what that means, but I will, sir. Thank you.

Let's get right to Amy Kremer, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express and co-founder of the American Grassroots Coalition. I was told to kick it hard, Amy. I'm not sure what that means. So I'll welcome you and thanks for talking to us.


O'BRIEN: Talk with us about all of this etch-a-sketch.

KREMER: I disagree with Will. I think it's not going to go away because his opponents will keep it front and center. You saw Speaker Gingrich holding the etch-a-sketch. So it's kind of comical that now this primary process has come to what it has. Now we're talking about children's toys. You know, the bottom line is, we need to flush all of this out now, because that's what the primary process is for.

But the Tea Party movement wants the candidate most aligned with the principles of the Tea Party movement. At the end of the day, these people are educated on the issues. While we're talking about social media, not only is it fueling stuff like this, but social media has also, and the internet has also allowed people to go back and do research on these candidates and their records. They don't make decisions based the talking points they're given at a podium.

O'BRIEN: Governor Romney seemed to be getting some traction on the Tea Party. You looked at the exit polls out of Illinois. He won Tea Party. He won conservatives. It was sort of tone of the things we were discussing in the wake of the victory there. So are you saying if the vote were held again in Illinois, would you see some of that disappear?

KREMER: No, I'm not saying that. I think at the end of the day, people are making educated decisions. But Soledad, one thing we've learned since the last election, especially with this movement, is that four or five years ago, people used the terms "Republican" and "conservative" interchangeably. What we've learned is that just because you're Republican doesn't mean you're a conservative. People across the country want a fiscal conservative. That's what matters to them.

That's why we want these candidates to stay focused on the economy and fiscal issues of jobs, jobs, jobs, getting the gas prices down, because that's what is affecting every person out there. They need to get off the social issues and focus on what's important to Americans and that's what we want them to do.

O'BRIEN: Amy Kremer, thank you very much.

KREMER: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the million hoodie march, demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and also demanding the arrest of the man who shot and killed him. The president of the NAACP Ben Jealous is going to join us live coming up next.

Plus, have you seen this video online of the apache chopper buzzing a base and then it makes -- look at that -- a hard landing and then into the snow and goes back up again, narrowly missing soldiers on the ground. It was crazy. We'll look at that and see if it was a stunt that actually just went wrong.

Plus our "Get Real" this morning. Remember that woman who was texting and walking and ended up in a fountain? Another woman, walking and texting, bad thing happened to her. She's OK. I actually have walked and texted and it ended up badly as well. We'll leave you with Ryan's playlist, "The Sweetest Thing." We're back after this.


O'BRIEN: Well, first it was a country, now his own community is turning on the Sanford police chief Bill Lee after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watchman. Overnight Sanford city commissioners voted three to two that they had no confidence in Lee, who has been on the job for less than a year. At the same time, national anger over the shooting is growing. Yesterday afternoon in Sanford, the NAACP held a forum for residents to complain about alleged abuse by the Sanford police department. Last night in New York City Trayvon's parents joined the million hoodie march and demanded that the shooter, George Zimmerman, be arrested.


TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FATHER: Trayvon Martin did matter. I just want New York to know that we're not going to stop until we get justice.

SABRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: Our son was not committing any crime. Our son is your son. You've got to stand up for justice and do what's right.


O'BRIEN: Later today, the reverend Al Sharpton is going to lead a rally in the Orlando suburb where Martin was killed. A civil rights investigation is now under way at the U.S. Justice Department. Ben Jealous is the president and CEO of the NAACP. Also, Norton Bonaparte Jr. is a city manager in Sanford, Florida.

Nice to see both of you. Mr. Bonaparte, I'm going to start with you. What literally does a no confidence vote mean?

NORTON BONAPARTE JR., SANFORD FLORIDA CITY MANAGER: Certainly an expression of the city commission's feelings in terms of how they feel about the chief. Let me also start by saying this is a tragedy. We regret what's happened. On behalf of the city, we want to express our condolences and sympathies to the family of Trayvon Martin. Also I learned today that the Reverend Sharpton's mother's passing. Express his con doe express my condolences to him as well.

O'BRIEN: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. I did not know that. So does this vote lead to you firing the police chief. Are you going to do that?

BONAPARTE: I would like an independent review. Did the Sanford police something they should have done or not do something they should have done?

O'BRIEN: Mr. Jealous, would you like to see the police chief fired?

BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, NAACP: Yes. You know, he needs to go right now. The reality is that it has been a month since Trayvon was killed. And for thousands upon thousands of parents in this community, they simply don't feel like their children will be safe with the leadership of this chief. And, you know, I realize he has only been on board for a short time, but the reality is that when the buck stops with you, it is possible for you to make a mistake so big that that one big mistake is sufficient for you to go.

O'BRIEN: It seems like the position, Ben, of the police department circles around this stand your ground law, which makes self-defense a sort of a good enough reason to shoot and kill someone, according to, some have said, to this particular law. That seems to be what the police department is sort of relying on. Where do you stand on that?

JEALOUS: It's a gross misinterpretation of the law. Any commonsense interpretation of that law, if you read it, it's very short. It's in plain English. What it suggests is that, look, if you're stalked, if you're attacked, somebody pulls out a gun and tries to kill you, you have a right to use equal and opposite force. Trayvon Martin is a person who was stalked, attacked, and threatened and ultimately killed with a gun. And all this law says is that he could have defended him.

This law does not say you can go hunting for little boys. Trayvon Martin was not the first black boy that this -- you know, Mr. Zimmerman had followed throughout the neighborhood and confronted. It does not say you can go hunting for little boys and then kill one of them and claim you got scared while you were hunting him down and that's why you shot him. I mean, it is -- the fact that this city has tolerated this chief so misinterpreting this law is just deeply disturbing. And that's why people don't feel safe, because the reality is the law is there for people like Trayvon, not like Mr. Zimmerman.

O'BRIEN: A lot of this case, as you both know, going to the Department of Justice Civil Rights division. A lot of this case is going to hinge on the 911 tape that we know, the conversation between Zimmerman and 911 dispatcher. I want to play a little bit because everyone is focused on whether or not there was a curse and a racial slur about two minutes and 20 seconds into this conversation with the dispatcher. I want to play it for you first and then the enhanced version so people can hear it. First version.


GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: The entrance of the neighborhood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which entrance is that that he's heading toward?

ZIMMERMAN: The back entrance.


O'BRIEN: So you heard that there. We had to bleep out the curse. What everybody is focused on are those two words. Mr. Bonaparte, what do you think was said? Do you think there was a curse and a racial slur said under the breath of Mr. Zimmerman? What do you hear?

BONAPARTE: When I heard the tapes, I did not hear a racial slur. I heard inappropriate language and certainly language that your station had to bleep, but I did not hear a racial slur.

O'BRIEN: Mr. Jealous, did you hear a racial slur?

JEALOUS: I certainly heard the word coons. I don't think that's the issue here. The issue is not whether or not Mr. Zimmerman is racist. The issue here is how does this department respond when a young, black man has been killed? Do they take it as seriously as they would with anybody else?

And the reality is that we've heard stories with regards to this department, case after case, where black men have been killed or attacked and people have walked free, even though those black men were not armed, even though in the case of the one who was attacked, he was simply sucker punched, a homeless man.

And what was interesting is that in each of these incidents, 2005, 2010, 2012, the people who walked free had a social or professional connection to this department. Mr. Zimmerman, as much as they're trying to disown him now, called this department 46 times in 56 days. I was speaking to a local person here in the community that does a lot of work with the city and with this department, and they said, look, they loved him.

The reality is that a lot of people saw this guy as sort of exactly the sort of vigilant neighbor that we would like to have when, really, he was acting in ways that were completely dangerous, not responsible. And, frankly, anyone who calls the cops 46 times in 56 days, I think there's sufficient reason for the cops to wonder if he might be a bit off.

O'BRIEN: So let me leave the final question with Mr. Bonaparte. You heard Ben Jealous talk about community members say they felt in some ways being focused on by the police department. Have you heard those same complaints, and what will you do about it in your town?

BONAPARTE: What I have heard is that Mr. Zimmerman was vigilant in terms of calling in, in his neighborhood. I have not heard complaints from the residents saying they felt he was calling too much. But the bottom line is that we all want justice. We've turned it over to the state attorney's office. The mayor and I have asked the United States Department of Justice to come in, to review the matter and the actions of the police department as well as the shooting. We want justice.

O'BRIEN: Mr. Bonaparte, Mr. Jealous, thank you for talking with us this morning. We appreciate your time.

JEALOUS: Thank you so much.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

BONAPARTE: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, President Obama is launching an energy blitz with gas prices rising higher and higher every day. A key Republican on oil and gas front will respond to that straight ahead this morning.

And a pitfall that could be a lesson to everyone -- don't walk and text. How many times do we have to say that, people? A woman did it, falls right into that lake. We got details of what happened to her up next. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: We're following breaking news this morning. Just ahead, more details about that two-day standoff that has now come to a violent end in France. The gunman is dead. Two police officers injured. We'll bring you the very latest, coming up next.

President Obama is launching an energy blitz with gas prices rising higher and higher every day. Republicans are saying it's too little, too late. We're going to talk to Representative Doc Hastings, a key Republican on the oil and gas front.

And hall of fame quarterback is going to join us. He is going to talk about Tim Tebow's trade to the Jets. The New York media versus Mr. Nice, that will be interesting to watch.

And later at 8:00, Tyrese joins us. Will Cain is happy about that. You're STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Breaking news to get to. The standoff is over. France is now confirming for us that a terror suspect is dead.

We're also learning some new details about exactly what happened in that really action-filled hour before he was killed. France's interior minister telling the media that the suspect, Mohammed Merah, emerge from a bathroom and launched a barrage of gunfire at the police as they raided the apartment.

It happened in Toulouse, France where he had been under siege holed up for 30-plus hours. The suspect then jump from a window while he was still shooting and he was found dead outside. Much more will be coming up from Toulouse, France, straight ahead.

President Obama hits the road today for a two-day trip through four election battleground states. He's highlighting his energy plan as gas prices and energy independence have become a key issue in his campaign and the campaign in general. The president wants the U.S. to embrace a broad strategy to reduce dependency on foreign oil. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have approved dozens of new oil and gas pipelines and we've announced our support for more. We're drilling all over the place. That's one of the reasons we've been able to reduce our dependence on foreign oil every year since I took office.


O'BRIEN: The first stop is Cushing, Oklahamo, that's where the president is expected to announce plans to expedite a portion of the Keystone pipeline.

In January, you'll remember, the president rejected the full 1,661 mile, $7.6 billion pipeline that would run from Canada to the U.S. gulf coast, saying that they needed more time to examine the proposal.

Joining us this morning is Congressman Doc Hastings, a Republican from Washington, who's also the Chairman of the Nantural Resources Committee.

It's nice to see you, sir. Thank you for talking with us. What do you think of the president's expedition to the southern part of the pipeline?

REP. DOC HASTINGS (R), WASHINGTON: Well, first of all, I'm very pleased that the president has acknowledged we need more American energy. Unfortunately, his policies have been contrary to what he has been saying.

I mean -- this has been going on since he was first inaugurated. One of the first alcohol actions that he did, at least his administration has done is to cancel leases in the intermountain west.

When the president was elected, there was no moratorium at all on the outer continental shelf. Of course, he imposed that on. He is saying the right thing but, frankly, his actions are just the opposite of what he is saying.

O'BRIEN: One of the things that he has said, as you well know, is that the pipeline was rejected initially because there was not enough time to review the project. And Jay Carney, the president's spokesperson said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The fact is that because Republicans have decided to play politics with Keystone, their action essentially forced the administration to deny the permit process because they insisted on a timeframe within which it was impossible to appropriately approve the pipeline.


O'BRIEN: What do you think of that? Republicans played politics and they forced the administration.

HASTINGS: Well, this has been in place for some time. It's been well known that there is oil shale in Canada and it's been well known the place to get it refined and to markets is in the United States.

This has been pending for some time. It could have been done much, much more quickly. To put that into play, I just think it doesn't make any sense and it ignores, frankly, reality.

O'BRIEN: A report in the "New York Times" talks about six of the companies, Christine, that are contracted to work on this pipeline. Five of them are foreign companies and the sixth company really looks like they're going to be exporting this oil anyway.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We have a glut of gasoline or oil supplies in the middle of the country, right, in trying to get it down to the refineries along the Gulf Coast.

It's a big -- yes, some of that will be exported. Some of that is also going to be just added to the supply of oil overall. One of the things here that is so interesting about, I guess, the hang-up for this administration, it's about Nebraska.

It's not about Cushing. It's not about Port Arthur. It's not about Canada or the oil (inaudible). It's about what's happening in Nebraska and the environmental issue in Nebraska.

The president need more time to sort that out. And that is still not been sorted out. They have to figure out where that pipeline is going to go through there. After that is sorted out, I think this administration really wants this pipeline. I think they really do, but they've got to make sure that's fixed.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: -- the pipeline, but wouldn't you agree, sir, that this is mainly an export pipeline? These companies will be sending this oil mostly to China and India.

The criticism against Keystone from people on the left and environmentalist is that it's going to benefit foreign markets. It's going to benefit a corporation. It's not going to have long-term jobs and a sustainable industry and the American people are going to absorb the environmental risk.

HASTINGS: Well, listen, let's understand one thing. That is crude oil is a global product. And there are places where we can't get it because you don't have the infrastructure. It may be shipped in someplace else from a global standpoint in order to get the product to the market for the best price for the consumer. That's what we need to understand.

The bottom line is, it's in our best interest, in America, to be less dependent on foreign oil. The way you do that is that you go after the resources that we know we have. We have resources, for example, in Alaska.

We have resources in the outer continental shelf and potential resources in the inner mountain west. We should be developing that for American jobs, for American energy and, frankly, for national security issues in the long term.

O'BRIEN: But isn't there a connection with American jobs -- when they ask the president of energy and pipelines of Trans Canada and said would you support legislation that would say that the oil would be refined here in the United States and sold in the United States and he basically said, no, can't do that.

HASTINGS: Well, listen, that's a decision for maybe one individual, but let's let the market work. There may be ways because of uncertainty elsewhere, where we build refineries here. Let's remove those regulations that allow the people that would want to make the investment to do so.

Let the market work, in other words. We're dealing with a worldwide market. I might mention this, too. We keep forgetting the fact that the world market is controlled by -- largely by a cartel, at least a third of it, if not more, by a cartel. That disrupts, obviously, pricing in the long run, too.

RYAN LIZZA, STAFF WRITER, "THE NEW YORKER": Congressman, is there any relationship between this pipeline and gas prices right now? Can you tell the American people that if we had this pipeline, if it went ahead that gas prices would be lower this year?

HASTINGS: No, I don't know. Probably wouldn't happen in the near term unless you send a certainty to the marketplace. In 1995, Congress passed and sent to the president a bill to open ANWAR. That was in 1995. It was vetoed by President Clinton.

So, there were not the votes to override that veto. But we always say it takes seven to ten years to get production underway. If we had started in 1995, we would have been maybe 10 years into producing oil from ANWAR and there's 10 billion plus barrels in ANWAR.

The point is you have to send a signal to the markets that we are serious about utilizing the resources we have right here. That's what we need to do. I think the market, in the long run, frankly, would respond to that.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Doc Hastings joining us this morning. It's nice to see you. Thank you for talking with us. We appreciate it.

HASTINGS: Thank you. Thank you. O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, remember the story of a woman who was walking and -- let's run that again, just because I love this shot. She was walking and she ends up, because she's texting, she ends up --


O'BRIEN: She was so embarrassed. She did. She was so upset.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So let's show it again. That's right. Let's play it on national TV.

O'BRIEN: Because she was OK, people. Anyway, there's been another one we're going to tell you about. It's our "Get Real" up next.

And it's a done deal. Tim Tebow is a New York Jet. Broadway Joe --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Real warm welcome.

O'BRIEN: Not giving that real warm welcome. Not happy about it. We're going to talk this morning to another hall of famer, Fran Tarkentam. That's coming up next.

And here is John's playlist, Public Enemy, "You Got Game." You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: As I said, today we are celebrating the cultural contributions of fellow Long Islanders. The two of you --

FUGELSANG: There's not enough culture to fall into that. Billy Joel. Of all the Billy Joel --

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I would have no participation in this show from a cultural perspective.

O'BRIEN: No, no. This is just what I'm contributing. Today, my personal contribution --

FUGELSANG: "Uptown Girl?" Captain jack, Vienna. There are so much great Billy Joel.

O'BRIEN: You know, I -- it's what I picked. Pipe down.

FUGELSANG: This is the first TV show in history that play Billy Joel and Public Enemy back to back. I want to point that out.

O'BRIEN: I'm not sure what that means.

FUGELSANG: Representing Long Island.

O'BRIEN: Yes, we got three Long Islanders on the panel today and some man from Texas at the other end. Our "Get Real" this morning is so crazy. You would think by now we would all learn do not walk and text. There have been too many stories caught on tape.

So this woman, a pleasant stroll on a pier became very scary for a woman who tripped and fell about six feet off the pier into Lake Michigan because she was walking and texting. Here is what she said.


BONNIE MILLER, FELL OFF A PIER WHILE TEXTING: I set an appointment for the wrong time. I sent about three words. Next thing you know, it was the water. I feel really embarrassed and I'm just so grateful to be alive. I have a new lease on life.


O'BRIEN: Well, she was so embarrassed, but said she wanted to make her story public because even though it was embarrassing for her, she felt it could help other people. It was really serious. What happens next?

She falls in. She has trouble staying afloat. Her husband, Greg, then has to jump in the water after her. Then a bystander, who is 19, jumps in the water as well to help both of them.

Then their 15-year-old son runs to the ladder on the pier to try to get her on the ladder to get her up. Firefighters show up. Police show up. The coast guard shows up.

And then they were able to throw down the flotation device, put her in it and bring her up the ladder. She says she really wants it to serve as a warning to other people. She said even though she was embarrassed she wasn't going to be so prideful not to teach other people a lesson.

LIZZA: She was sinking and clutching her smart phone.

CAIN: Let's not overlook this 19-year-old Rebecca Van Zandt, who goes diving in.

O'BRIEN: That's what I'm saying. She was a bystander.

FUGELSANG: That's also the first teenager embarrassed of their mother texting too much.

O'BRIEN: That's right, 15-year-old son. Mom! We're glad she's OK. I think, you know, if that person turns out fine. I think it's OK -- I actually got hit by a Segue when I was walking and texting. I got run over by a Segue. That is embarrassing.

CAIN: First world problems.

O'BRIEN: That is very true. I agree. All right, if you're heading to work, a reminder, you don't need to miss the rest of the show. You can check our live blog at our web site, which is

Ahead this morning, a hall of fame quarterback, Fran Tarkenton is going to join us. We're going to talk about Tim Tebow's trade to the Jets. It becomes sometimes the really mean New York media versus Mr. Really, Really Nice.

Plus, you don't want to miss this. Tyrese is going to join us in our next hour, getting personal. Got a new book, which is a "New York Times" bestseller. Will and I have been talking about this all morning.

CAIN: Big baby boy fans. Can't wait to talk about it.

O'BRIEN: That's straight ahead as well.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is huge news. It looks like Tim Tebow may be traded to the New York Jets, you guys, but apparently some Jets players are not happy about it. They are called wide receivers. Never going to see the ball.


O'BRIEN: Lots of people seem like they were happy in that audience. Cheer when they said that. The headlines from the "Daily News," Gangrene gets Tebow, Amen. But I think the "Post" headline is even better, Tebow, A New York Jet Got Him. Cute. Clever.

FUGELSANG: Not according to the Old Testament, no.

O'BRIEN: All right, we got Fran Tankerton. He is, of course, a hall of fame quarterback and he played for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants and is literally considered to be one of the best to play the game.

He's also the chairman and founder of here to talk about the Tim Tebow trade. Nice to see you. What did you think of this deal? You didn't think it would happen yesterday. What do you think?

FRAN TARKENTON, CHAIRMAN AND FOUNDER, ONEMORECUSTOMER.COM: It's the craziest thing I ever heard. For Tebow it's really a great thing. He takes the circus to New York. The greatest platform he can possibly have in the world.

It's not going to help the Jets football team. The Jets are dysfunctional as it is. Can you imagine Tim Tebow in the locker room with Rex Ryan and his language and the whole deal?

O'BRIEN: Yes, it just seems like it's going to be so interesting to watch how that's going to work. Joe Names who plays the New York Jets, he was mad. I mean, really outraged. I think he -- do we have a sound bite from him? We have a quote. Throw it on the screen so we can read it. He basically said, I just can't agree. I can't envision this working out. He said, I think it's a publicity stunt. I can't go with it. It's wrong. I don't think they know what they're doing over there.

Do you think it's as simple as that that Jets don't know what they're doing over there? What's behind it?

TARKENTON: I think Joe is absolutely right. It makes no football sense whatsoever. If I could have picked out of the 32 teams that would have been the last team I thought he would go to.

But I don't think anybody really wanted him. Tebow had a chance between Jacksonville and New York. For him to have that platform for what he wants to do during football and after football, it's great. I played in New York for five years, greatest sport city in the world.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. We appreciate that, sir.

TARKENTON: He'll have a great time there. New York will have fun with him, but it will be a kind of a circus. Out in Denver, John Elway is grinning and laughing and so is John Fox, the coach.

CAIN: Fran, Will Cain. I got to ask you. It's not just Joe Nameth who's kind of pandering this deal. It's also some of Tebow's now teammates like Antonio Camary, the quarterback for the Jets.

What's the locker room going to be like with players saying what's this about? I can't believe he's here.

TARKENTON: Well, you have to have one quarterback in the National Football League. They have just signed Mark Sanchez, the $40 million contract. They brought in a backup and now you bring in a third quarterback.

If you have three quarterbacks, you have none. What that will do as soon as Mark Sanchez makes a bad play, everyone in New York City, let's have Tebow because it's a circus. For the football team, I think it's disastrous. I think it makes no sense whatsoever. You people in New York will have a lot of fun with this.

O'BRIEN: I was going to say for the football team, what about for the city? Everybody is contrasting. This is a tough city. Maybe some New Yorkers, some of them are mean. He's like Mr. Nice.

LIZZA: That's a fallacy. If you spend five years in New York, isn't it a fallacy that the New York sport press is so though. I mean, they're going to love Tebow, aren't they?

TARKENTON: The New York press is no worse than anywhere else. I didn't find them tough. I loved playing there. I thought New York press was great. The fan base is unbelievable.

Of course, it's the greatest city in the world and Tebow I think will be -- it will be great for him. It will just make Tim Tebow be even bigger than he is now and that's hard to do.

But he will be. He wants to go off for the rest of his life and this will build a platform for him. A good decision for him over Jacksonville. He'll have platform to do what he wants to do after football is over.

O'BRIEN: sounds like a great decision for everybody, but maybe not the Jets. Nice to have you. Thanks for joining us this morning.

CAIN: He's incredible.

O'BRIEN: My husband is so jealous that I get to talk to Fran Tankerton. It just kills him. We have to get to our tease.

Ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we're going to get to that breaking news right out of France. A 30-hour standoff, we're talking about this yesterday has ended and it ended in gun shots with suspected terrorist jumping to his death. We'll have the latest on that coming up.

Plus, outcry growing over the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. We're going to talk to the organizer and leader of the one million hoodie marsh demanding justice and answers to in that shooting death.

Plus new video of an Apache chopper slamming down in landing. It's looks like a stunned gone wrong. We'll take a look at what happened there.

Here's Ryan's playlist. Metallica. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.