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Health Care on Trial; Interview With Rep. Maxine Waters; Interview With Rep. Emanuel Cleaver; Interview with Carmelo Anthony; Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Health Care Reform Law; Learning to "Let It Go"

Aired March 28, 2012 - 08:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody.

Our STARTING POINT this morning is that JetBlue pilot who run a little bit berserk midflight. He was screaming, "They're going to take us down," ranting about the Middle East and maybe a bomb on the plane. Got some new video this morning of the pilot's mental breakdown and it was happening at 30,000 feet in the air.

Trayvon Martin's parents are grieving and demanding answers. Listen.


SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: We are praying a lot. A lot of people are praying for us.


O'BRIEN: That's from our interview this morning. Brand new information about just who stopped the local police from arresting George Zimmerman, seen there.

And my one-on-one with Melo. We talked about hoodies. We talked about Lin-sanity. We talked about why he thinks he can't President Obama on the following. I told him I thought he was wrong about it. I think he can.

It's Wednesday, March 28. And STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: That's Congresswoman Maxine Waters' playlist, Aretha Franklin, "Respect." Congresswoman Waters coming up with us in just a little bit.

Our panel this morning: Bishop T.D. Jakes, he's author of the new book called "Let It Go." Is this your 30th book? Some insane numbers.

BISHOP T.D. JAKES, AUTHOR, "LET IT GO": Quite a few of them.

O'BRIEN: Quite a few -- you're so modest. It's like -- I think it's 30. And 15 of them have become best sellers.

JAKES: You're making me blush.

O'BRIEN: He's modest. I'll brag for him. I'll brag for him.

John Fugelsang is a political comedian. He's joining us as well.

And Will Cain is the columnist for

How many of those bestsellers of 30 books that wrote?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I had like 32. Something like that.

O'BRIEN: You're young yet. You're still young.

CAIN: I'm blushing too.

O'BRIEN: You guys have been following this story. This is cover of "The New York Post." A great title, headline. "This is your captain freaking." The details of this JetBlue pilot who literally had to be put in a chokehold and restrained by passengers.

It was a trip that was going from New York to Las Vegas. Apparently, he suffered a complete mental breakdown in the middle of the flight, 3 1/2 hours in. You can hear him on this tape ranting about the Middle East and a bomb.

A group of passengers, they describe it as six big guys who are on their way to a security conference in Vegas just jumped up and brought the whole thing to an end. Listen.


SERGE KAPCHITS, JETBLUE PASSENGER: I saw about two or three guys right next to him jump up and another like four guys rush right past me toward the front of the plane.

DAVID GONZALEZ, JETBLUE PASSENGER: He started to curse at me and try to tell me, 'Hey, you better pray, Iraq and Iran." And so I say, "You know what, I'm going to show you what Iraq and Iran is," and I took him if a chokehold.


O'BRIEN: Wow. You know, never have people been so happy there are a bunch of people on the plane who could do a chokehold. How crazy is that? What's going on, do you think?

This is the first -- this is second in, what, a couple weeks. We had the flight attendant who freaked out before the plane left the ground.

JAKES: I think there's a lot of stress. I think people are under a lot of pressure right now in their personal lives and professional lives and everywhere of their life. And we really have to watch for more than our stereotypical ideologies of terrorists, we have to look at each other and check on the world on other people who work around us every day because when they implode or explode, they don't warn you before they do.

O'BRIEN: Yes, clearly.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: I think it's too early to tell. I hope this pilot gets the care he needs. I would like to advise the Gingrich campaign that funds are low and tickets on JetBlue are going to get very cheap this week.

O'BRIEN: Oh, my God!

CAIN: Pretty amazing reaction, right? Six guys jump up and take this guy down, and really suggests we're living in a post-911 world. I'm sorry, that's cliche term. But we respond to these potential scares and threats a lot differently than we used to.

FUGELSANG: God bless the co-pilot who really took control of the situation.

O'BRIEN: Well, and I think that goes back to sort of the post- 9/11 reaction, right? Where I think -- pre- 9/11, everyone would have sort of let it drag out to see where it goes. Now, the co-pilot thought that his -- the pilot was really behaving erratically.

Apparently, he started of the flight fine, welcoming people. The TV screens I guess were broken and he got on the overhead and talked about that. It didn't seem like he was losing it.

But the co-pilot, the minute things seem to spiral out of control, his first instinct was get him out of the cockpit. Lock him out, which is what he did.

CAIN: It's encouraging reaction of the fellow passengers. It makes me feel safer. While we can look at this story and go, wow, a pilot flipping out makes me feel insecure. The reaction of passengers makes me feel safer.

JAKES: The moral of the story: be careful who you fly with. If there's not six big guys on flight, don't go.

CAIN: Maybe you're one of the big guys. We're all one of the big guys now.

JAKES: You're absolutely right. I got to practice my chokehold a little bit. It's been a while since I needed to do that.


O'BRIEN: That would be the -- can you imagine the bishop doing the joke -- that would be a whole other headline story. Oh, my goodness.

FUGELSANG: Where's Gerard Depardieu when you need him on the phane?

O'BRIEN: Exactly. You would just be praying over him. That's what you would be doing.

We're going to get to some other stories making headlines this morning. Christine has those.

Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: In the planes, trains and automobile department, frightening moments at the end of a Greyhound bus ride from Sacramento, California. This bus was blocks away from the station in downtown Stockton when another driver saw flames coming out of the back of the bus. He alerted the bus driver who got all passengers out safely. The cause appears to be mechanical.

Incredible video just released of a police chase in New Mexico. The actual chase happened earlier this month on I-40 in Albuquerque. It blocked traffic for hours.

Police responded to a call of a stolen bus. They first tried to ram the bus to stop it, but failed. The bus thief was slowed by road spikes but kept going. Police caught him after more than 30 miles when a trooper in an SUV gets the bus to spin out and crash. The 27- year-old driver in case you're wondering is now behind bars.

In a head to head battle between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in three critical swing states, the president is holding his own in two of them and finds himself in a statistical dead heat in the third. Take a look at the new Quinnipiac University poll just released this morning. The President leads Romney by seven points in Florida, and by six points in Ohio. Pennsylvania is considered a statistical tie with Romney.

Mitt Romney cracking wise on late night. He had a surprise suggestion for a running mate on "The Tonight Show."


JAY LENO, THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO: So, tell me about vice president. What are you looking for?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I haven't actually put a list together at this stage.

LENO: Come on.

ROMNEY: It would be presumptuous number one.

LENO: Not even like with the wife? You know, honey? Really, it's never come up? I'm not even running and I discuss it with my wife.

I'll give you a list of candidates. You give me one word on each person. Give me one.

ROMNEY: A couple words maybe.

LENO: Chris Christie?

ROMNEY: Indomitable.

LENO: Indomitable?


LENO: All right. OK.

ROMNEY: A man of strong will.


ROMANS: He said, you know, try to think of shorter words next.

When asked to describe potential running mates in the word or two, Romney has choice words for Rick Santorum, Soledad, he said press secretary.

O'BRIEN: That was a little harsh. And then the audience kind of laugh. He's like, yes, press secretary.

All right, Christine. Thank you.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

O'BRIEN: Was this a train wreck for the Obama administration. That is how CNN senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin described what happened yesterday at the Supreme Court. He says the fate of the individual mandate could be in jeopardy. The justices offering sharply divided views on the controversial provision at the heart of the 2010 federal health care reform law.

Perhaps most telling moments of the argument so far is when Justice Anthony Kennedy who is usually the court's swing vote expressed skepticism on the constitutionality of the mandate. Listen.


JUSTICE ANTHONY KENNEDY, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Here the government is saying that the federal government has a duty to tell the individual citizen that it must act. And that is different from what we have in previous cases. That changes the relationship of the federal government to the individual in a very fundamental way.


O'BRIEN: Today, there are arguments on the final two issues of the case.

Joining me this morning, Jeff Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst, and Gregory Katsas, he's one of the lawyers arguing against the health care act.

Nice to see both of you.

Mr. Katsas, let me begin with you.

When the justices start asking questions like that, can you automatically tell the direction they're headed or is it sort of strategy of asking questions and we'll find out -- we won't know until they make their ruling?

GREGORY KATSAS, ARGUED MONDAY BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT: I think it's a little bit of both. It's always hazardous to read too much into the questioning. But I will say we are pretty optimist I optimistic based on the tenor of the questioning. I think Justice Kennedy clearly expressed some of the problems in the government's position and expressed fair concerns with them, and we're optimistic.

O'BRIEN: Do you think, Jeff Toobin, that Mr. Katsas' optimism is merited? You could hear Justice Ginsburg kind of hopped in and try to help out the solicitor general who seemed to be struggling a lot.

Here's a little bit of what said. Listen.


JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Tell me if I'm wrong about this, but I thought a major, major point of your argument was that the people who don't participate in this market are making it more expensive for the people who do.

It's not your free choice just to do something for yourself. What you do is going to affect others, affect them in major way.


O'BRIEN: You could hear, Jeff, a little bit of giggling almost behind what she's saying, because she's sort of advising the solicitor general, like, hmm, I think the point you're trying to argue is this point. Let me hand it to you, sir.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: And she wasn't the only liberal justice doing this. Steven Breyer at one point basically took over the argument for the Obama administration. I mean, there was clear frustration on the liberal side with the job that Donald Verrilli was doing.

And just to go back to your original question -- yes, I think Greg is right that he should be optimistic. I mean, obviously, we don't know for sure based on questioning. But, you know, we've all followed the justices for a long time. And the days when the justices used to sort of play devil's advocate and question, those days are really gone. They -- what you see is what you get -- almost, not always, but almost all the time. It sure looked like there were five votes to strike down the mandate yesterday.

O'BRIEN: But, of course, those are oral arguments. They really go to the legal briefs. Today, they're going to focus on the domino effect, right, Mr. Katsas, the question is: can the law remain if the individual mandate is struck down? Do you think that's possible?

KATSAS: I think we have an excellent chance of knocking out at least some parts of the law. The government itself supports our position that if the mandate is unconstitutional, then the certain of the core insurance reforms have to fall with the mandate. I think we have an excellent chance on that part of the argument.

We also have a broader argument that the entire statute falls. That's a more aggressive argument for us. We're optimistic on that. But I think that one will be a little bit more difficult for us.

O'BRIEN: Final word to you, Jeff Toobin. What do you think the impact is politically for President Obama if -- I get this is a big if and early if but if it fails and deemed unconstitutional?

TOOBIN: I think it's awful. I think it's disastrous. I think it's terrible.

You know, this is why people run for president to do things like this. And if the central achievement of your administration is cast aside by the people behind me, you know, that is not just a political disaster, but it's a substantive disaster. This is the -- this is what matters in politics, which is what you can do as president and if they take it away from him, it speaks for itself.

O'BRIEN: Mr. Katsas and Jeff Toobin joining us this morning -- thank you, gentlemen. We appreciate it.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Trayvon Martin's parents take their call for justice to Congress. We're going to talk to a couple lawmakers who want to find out whether his killing was a hate crime.

And then my one-on-one with Carmelo Anthony. We'll tell you what he thinks of Linsanity and how it's jumpstarted (INAUDIBLE) garden.

Here's John's playlist, Paul McCartney, "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive."

You're watching STARTING POINT.

Bishop, we need to hear your music up next. A lot of gospel I'm guessing.


O'BRIEN: Trayvon Martin's parents are taking their crusade to Capitol Hill. They attended the hearing yesterday, and the topic was racial profiling and hate crimes. This, as we have learned of a dispute over exactly what happened the night Trayvon was killed.

ABC News is now reporting that after the shooting, the lead investigator recommended that George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter but the state attorney's office determined there wasn't enough evidence to lead to a conviction. The city's handling of the case, according to lawmakers, underscores a lack of standards on how to investigate incidents that involve claims of self-defense. Listen.


REP. CORRINE BROWN, (D) FLORIDA: I don't know whether it is incompetent or whether it's a cover-up or all of the above.

REP. FREDERICA WILSON, (D) FLORIDA: Trayvon is the victim of a botched police investigation full of incompetence or intelligent mismanagement.


O'BRIEN: Joining us this morning, Democratic congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri. He's the first chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and also, Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters of California. She's a member of the judiciary committee. Nice to see you both.

Congresswoman Waters, let me begin with you. You heard the folks who were presenting talk about incompetence and botched police investigation, but when you actually talk to Trayvon's parents, they really talk a lot about their son. Here's what his mom said at this hearing.


SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: Trayvon was our son, but Trayvon is your son. A lot of people can relate to our situation. And it breaks their heart just like it breaks mine.


O'BRIEN: Congresswoman, what exactly was the goal of the hearing?

REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: The hearing was organized to get experts in to talk about the laws that appear to be causing a lot of problems, particularly, as it relates to young African males. As you know, we have discovered that I think about somewhere around 27, 28, 29 states have organized stand your ground laws for example, which is what is being used, in this case, by Mr. Zimmerman claiming self- defense.

We had them not only talk about that law, but other laws and police profiling. What's wrong with the criminal justice system? Why is it we have so many young Black males that have been profiled and been killed? So, it was the kind of hearing that got the experts identifying problems in the criminal justice system and beginning to help us think about what we can do from the federal level.

O'BRIEN: C.L. Bryant, who used to run a branch of the NAACP in a town in Texas, says that he believes that Reverend Jackson and Reverend Sharpton are exploiting this issue. I think he used the words exploiting this young man's death, and he says that everybody's missing the bigger issue which is Black on Black crime. Congressman Cleaver, do you think that's true? REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER, CHAIRMAN, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: No. Look, we have always had to face people making those accusations since the civil rights movement began. That's not going to ever stop. Any time somebody is forcefully stepping up and speaking out against injustice, there will always be those who will say they are exploiting it for their own purposes.

Reverend Jackson doesn't get a penny for that. Reverend Sharpton is traveling all over the country and didn't get a penny for that. The other issue, is there a problem with Black on Black crime? Absolutely. There is no question about it. But the bigger issue is the low esteem in which Black life is held, particularly, Black males.

And so, it doesn't matter whether it's Black on Black or brown or green or whatever, it means that there is not a high level of appreciation for the life of a Black male who is a human being.

O'BRIEN: It's been interesting to see the information that's been leaked about this young man. It's protected, because, obviously, he's a minor. So, it's been leaked, some people said, by the police. It seems to me to try to undercut his image. What do you think is at work here, congresswoman?

WATERS: Well, I think his mother described it perfectly. She said it's a character assassination. We're seeing a lot of facts unveiled each day. As each day goes by, we learn more and more about not only this character assassination and the leaks, but what happened the night of his death.

We're learning, just as you opened this program with, that the lead investigator said that Zimmerman should be charged with manslaughter. And it was overturned literally by the state's attorney. When we first heard about this case, we didn't know that. An investigation must go on.

The Justice Department must be on the ground. They've got to be involved with this. There are too many unanswered questions, and I really personally believe this is a hate crime.

CAIN: Congresswoman Waters, let me just follow up on that. That's been a concern of mine that we've been willing to jump to conclusions this might be a hate crime or willing to explore very important conversations about race but almost at the expense of the facts in this case.

And you just talked about how important they are. We're still learning them. And we don't know all of them. Do you think we've given fair treatment to the actual facts in this case what happened on that night?

WATERS: Listen, a 17-year-old young man is dead. He was killed after it has been revealed that he was being followed. He was not committing a crime. He was not armed. And so, as we listen to the 911 calls and we listen to and hear about conversations that Trayvon was having with his girlfriend, no. I don't think that --


WATERS: I am not -- well, let me just say this. The evidence really points to a fact that you had a gun holding so-called neighborhood watchman who wanted to be a cop, basically, who was following a young black man who was unarmed and had committed no crime. That's pretty stiff evidence that this is possibly a hate crime.

In addition to that, there are those that have listened to some of these tapes, and they hear some words, and we want to continue to know more about the words that were being said by Mr. Zimmerman, because they appeared to be words that would certainly lead you to believe that this was a hate crime.

O'BRIEN: Congresswoman waters is talking about the curse, of course, and then what sounds, at least to me, like a racial slur that occurs about two minutes and 20 seconds into that 911 call, the dispatcher, between George Zimmerman and the dispatcher.

Congresswoman Waters, I thank you -- Congresswoman Waters -- sorry about that. I thank you for joining us this morning. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, thank you, as well, for joining us. We certainly appreciate your time.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

Join me for the town hall we're going to have. It's called "Beyond Trayvon: It's Race and Justice in America." I'm going to host that event tomorrow March 29th. If you want to be part of the studio audience, you can sign up at our website, which is It's only going to be posted for another about 38 minutes. So, you want to make sure you do that now.

It's going to air on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. and then repeat at 10:00 p.m. eastern on CNN. So, if you'd like to be part of the studio audience, be sure go to our website.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Knicks star, Carmelo Anthony, tells me why he's trying to get President Obama on the phone. Here's Will Cain's playlist. Little Guns 'n' Roses. All right, Will, "Paradise City." You're watching STARTING POINT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't expect to see these when I came to this lab. Why is this important?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Toys have a great supply chain. You can find these things pretty much anywhere in the world even if they are knockoffs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can take a toy helicopter and (INAUDIBLE) mechanism. We can take a toy and make an IV sounding buzzer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will trip the wire and activates a little alarm. It may not be that melody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A nurse can come back and check on patients. Not every five minutes but only whether that IV is actually becoming empty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're using toys, the team mystifies the process of medical technology.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the adrenaline starts pumping.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After I've gone all out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After I've been taken to the limit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I refuel with chocolate milk.


O'BRIEN: Do you believe that? Olympic athletes, after they've been taken to the limit, they refuel with chocolate milk? OK. This is -- it's a new ad. It features an Olympic gold medalist and also Knick Carmelo Anthony. And I sat with him and asked him very like that? I was like, really? No. Seriously, you, at the end of a tough workout or a tough game, you have chocolate milk? He says yes. Here's what he said.


O'BRIEN: Tell me a little bit about a couple of projects that you're working on. First, the chocolate milk.


O'BRIEN: First time there's chocolate milk.

ANTHONY: This is the first time that, you know, where they're actually doing got chocolate milk. It's a fun campaign. It's a fun experience. I'm just glad to be a part of it.

O'BRIEN: Do you really -- I mean, the ad shows you drinking back chocolate milk after a workout. Really?

ANTHONY: It's a great way to recover. I think with kids nowadays and just people in general athletes, they don't really understand what it takes to recover. I don't think they are knowledgeable of that. And in order for you to prepare for the next battle and next victory, it starts, you know, right after you finish that game or that performance. O'BRIEN: So, tell me a little bit about the injury that you had when you were out for seven weeks. It coincided with Lin-sanity that made all the headlines all over New York, and everybody was talking about it. Was that hard to be sidelined and injured and watch that?

ANTHONY: It was a little bit of both. It was kind of hard, you know, to be injured and not actually a part of it and have to be part of it from afar on the sideline. But it was also fun at the same time to just see how New Yorkers came back together once again over Lin- sanity, over New York Knicks basketball, and for him just overnight, you know, just pop up and, you know, bring it back. It was fun. It was fun for everybody.

O'BRIEN: There's a picture of you on your Twitter page in a hoodie. And many people have been posting, "I am Trayvon Martin." Tell me why this case has been important to you.

ANTHONY: It's very important. I think it just brings, you know, an understanding to the situation. I've been hearing comments, and you know, people talking and stories and everybody has their own opinion, but I don't think people should be judged by, you know, what they wear and their clothing and things like that.

I'm a big believer in that. You know, they talk about only the bad guys, only gangsters, and you know, thugs wear hoodies, and you know, dress like that, but if you look at the history, thugs are dressed in suits. Gangsters are dressed in suits. So, you don't know where it's coming from. That's just a very sensitive situation, sensitive topic right now.

I feel for the family. For Trayvon's family. For them to have to go through that, you know, that tragic moment and for them to have to answer the questions, for them to have to turn on the TV, to read in the newspaper, people's opinion about it and was he wrong, was he not wrong? So, I feel more, you know, for the family right now.

O'BRIEN: You have a small boy, child. He's five. What kinds of things does he ask about?

ANTHONY: Right now he always ask me about the hoodie situation why is everybody wearing hoodies and we watch television and we see it. His main man is Obama and he always asks me, daddy, can you call Mr. Obama and find out how he's doing? Son, if I could get in contact with him --


O'BRIEN: I think you could. I think Carmelo Anthony could.

ANTHONY: I probably could but I can't call and say, listen, Mr. President, my son wants to talk to you.


O'BRIEN: I think there's a short list of people who could do that. ANTHONY: I'm grateful enough that he knows who President Obama is and he looks up to him.

O'BRIEN: I read you were 18 years old when you got your first big check. Is that right?

ANTHONY: I'd just turned 19.

O'BRIEN: How big was that check?

ANTHONY: It was a lot of zeros.

O'BRIEN: Like millions plus.

ANTHONY: I didn't really know.

O'BRIEN: What did you do with that first check?

ANTHONY: I bought my mother a house, first of all. Bought me a car. Living on my own, paying my own bills, opening up a checking account and getting taxed.

O'BRIEN: What's FICA? Why is it taking all my money?

ANTHONY: Why does it take half of my check? So I had to become a man overnight.

O'BRIEN: What's been the biggest honor if you will playing for the United States and the Olympics?

ANTHONY: It's the best experience.

O'BRIEN: Bigger than playing for the Knicks?

ANTHONY: It's a different feeling. It's much bigger than playing for the New York Knicks. Now I'm representing the city of New York. I'm representing the state of New York. With the team USA I represent the whole country. In '08 when I won a gold medal and hear that national anthem and hold that flag up and hear everyone chanting USA in the stands, it gave me goose bumps.


O'BRIEN: I liked him a lot. He was great. My kids came, so he took pictures with my sons, who could not speak.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, "Moneyball," how about magic ball. Magic Johnson buying one of the most storied baseball teams of all time.

And could health care become President Obama's running mate? The fate of his signature legislation could be in limbo. That's straight ahead. You're watching STARTING POINT.



O'BRIEN: Bruce Springsteen from Stephanie Cutter's playlist. She's the deputy manager of President Obama's reelection campaign. She's going to be chatting with us in just a few moments. First, though, Christine has a look at the headlines. Hey, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning, Soledad.

The search resumes this morning for a woman missing in a deadly wildfire in Colorado. The bodies of an elderly couple were found near their home in the fire zone in Jefferson County. The fire destroyed 23 structures so far and scorched 4,500 acres. Officials canceled a precautionary evacuation of about 6,500 homes after winds died down and residents there were no longer in danger.


ROMANS: In the 1980s he was a Lakers superstar, leading them to five NBA titles. You know who I'm talking about. Magic Johnson now about to become an L.A. baseball owner, one of them. Magic is part of a group that won a bidding war for the Dodgers. They'll pay $2 billion to buy the bankrupt National League franchise from Frank McCourt. The deal still has to be approved in bankruptcy court. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Interesting. All right, Christine, thank you.

We are just hours away from hearing what will likely be the last ever legal debate over President Obama's health care legislation. This morning the Supreme Court will question whether the constitutionality of the entire law is tied to the legality of what they talked about yesterday, which is the individual mandate. That mandate was under intense fire. Our own Jeff Toobin says it does not look good for the Obama administration. Listen.


JEFF TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The days when the justices used to play devil's advocate in questions, those days are gone. What you see is what you get, almost, not always, but almost all the time. And it sure looked like there were five votes to strike down the mandate.


O'BRIEN: Stephanie Cutter is the deputy manager of President Obama's re-election campaign. Good morning. Nice to see you. Thanks for being with us.


O'BRIEN: You heard Jeff Toobin saying it was a train wreck yesterday. What do you think the political implications are of this if it's not upheld? CUTTER: Well, let me first say that let's remember that it's at the Supreme Court because it's worked its way up through the court system. We've seen very tough arguments, very similar arguments that we heard yesterday from conservative judges. Both came around and ended up upholding the law.

So what happened yesterday is not necessarily foretelling of where the court is going to come out. Certainly we believe the law is constitutional, and for good reason. It is activity in our economy when someone chooses not to get health care because they pass along the cost to people like you and me who do have health care. And there are real consequences if the court doesn't uphold the law. And those consequences are everything from parents not being able to put their adult children on their health care or kids with preexisting conditions being discriminated against from insurance companies.

So this is a serious issue. It's something that the president is absolutely committed to seeing through. He's absolutely committed to ensuring everyone has access to quality affordable health care. We're hopeful the court will find it constitutional.

O'BRIEN: But what if? What if the court does not? What if the court finds it unconstitutional? What happens to the signature piece of legislation that President Obama has put so much political capital into? What's the ramifications of that?

CUTTER: I don't want to -- Soledad, I know you are asking me about the politics. We don't want to engage in hypotheticals right now. We believe the law is constitutional. I did explain some of the consequences of what would happen if the court didn't find it constitutional. And that's real impacts in people's lives, because people are already benefiting from this law. What do you say to seniors getting 50 percent discount on prescription drugs that they no longer get that discount? So those are consequences that we'll see.

And the court is in the middle of its arguments. Today is the last day of arguments. We've got probably several months until it issues its ruling. We have to see what it does. People have been wrong in predicting how a court will rule. In fact in 2009 the Obama administration was arguing in front of the same court a voting rights act case. The press after the first day was like the press today. We're doomed. We're going to fail. The court will rule against it. It ended up ruling 8-1 for us on a voting rights case.

O'BRIEN: I will tell you the press is often wrong. I'll tell you that for sure.

CUTTER: Those are your words, not mine.

O'BRIEN: I know.


O'BRIEN: I have said them before I have to tell you. Joe Biden speaking in Iowa. What's the strategy there? CUTTER: Yes. Yes. He's giving a speech in Davenport, Iowa, to lay out the real difference in visions on the economy between Barack Obama and Joe Biden, who are building an economy meant to last. That starts with good manufacturing jobs, which are coming back after two decades of being lost in this country of being shipped overseas. They are coming back. We've had highest rate of growth in manufacturing over the last 15 years.

And if you compare that to economic vision of some of our potential opponents, that's a very stark difference. We believe that workers are critical to success of our economy. We believe middle class is the foundation of a successful economy. The other side wants to go back to risky deals, outsourcing, and the philosophy that if those at the top do well, everybody else will do well too. We saw that. We saw that throughout the last decade, and it didn't work.

So he's going to lay out the fundamental difference in values in this economy in Davenport, Iowa, today. And we think that the choice is pretty clear.

O'BRIEN: OK, so President Obama at the end of a press conference made a comment about Trayvon Martin, which everybody was talking about and continues to talk about. He said if I had a son, he would look like Trayvon. After that we heard from competitors, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum saying this. Listen.


NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot it would be OK because it wouldn't look like him? That's just nonsense. Dividing this country up is a tragedy this young man was shot.

RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And then, again, politicizing it, this is again not what presidents of the United States do. What the president of the United States should do is try to bring people together and not use these types of horrible and tragic individual cases to try to drive a wedge in America.


O'BRIEN: Do you think this case is dividing people and driving a wedge in America?

CUTTER: That's certainly not what the president said. The president took a question the other day in the rose garden and he spoke from the heart in empathizing with parents who lost a son in a very tragic incident.

And I think it's abysmal, despicable, that people like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are trying to make this a divisive issue. They should listen to their own words. Nobody doubts the president's commitment to bringing this country together. And on their campaign trail and their last desperate hopes as they move through the primary process, they should watch their own words.

O'BRIEN: Stephanie Cutter is Obama campaign deputy manager. Thanks for talking with us. We appreciate it.

CUTTER: Thank you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Straight ahead this morning, Bishop T.D. Jakes joins us and will tell us on how to forgive. His new book is called "Let it Go." My playlist, Hall and Oates "Private Eyes." You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: Oh "Let It Go". Bishop Jakes has a new book. It's called "Let It Go: Forgive so you can be forgiven". I love this book, actually, you know, I was on a plane and I read it like on one short flight. It was amazing. Because I have to admit that I am not a particularly forgiving person. But a lot of what you have -- Will laughs -- he's like ha, ha.

FUGELSANG: That's not true.

O'BRIEN: It's really true. No, I'm not like a mean person.

CAIN: She said it ten times this morning. It must be --

O'BRIEN: I think it's -- I think there is a difference between being a mean person and being not forgiving but if someone does something to someone I love it will take me a long time forgive them. It really will. So what's your advice for helping people let it go?

T.D. JAKES, AUTHOR, "LET IT GO": Well, I think it's very, very important that you understand that forgiveness is not a defense to pain, un-forgiveness is not a defense against pain. The fact that you don't forgive the person doesn't make you any healthier nor the type of the person it is really toxic to your own heart and your own spirit.

And my contention is that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It doesn't exonerate the perpetrator and it doesn't even have anything to do with justice. It just unlatches you from being attached to one event and allow that thing to continue to feed and muster in your own heart and in your own spirit.

O'BRIEN: Are there slights that are too big to be forgiven? How -- how did Trayvon's Martin parent ever say we can forgive anything?

JAKES: Well forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness says I'm not going to allow myself ten years from now to just still be sitting on the side of the bed seething in anger at this individual that I have to find a way to move forward. And it is saying that I unhitch myself from this incident and move on with my life.

CAIN: I get that you're saying I forgive you not for you but for me.

JAKES: Absolutely, absolutely.

CAIN: I'm doing this for my own benefit.

O'BRIEN: You say it's sort of like a zero sum game in a way, right? That there is a certain amount of space for blessings I think is the word you use in the book, right? And if you're sort of filled with this other stuff, the good stuff can't come in.

JAKES: Exactly. You only have so much energy to energize certain things. If you energize your history, you can't energize your destiny. You're either going forward or going backwards. And so many of us spend so much time regurgitating the same things over and over again --

O'BRIEN: I do that all the time.

FUGELSANG: That's human. That's not necessarily hateful And I applaud you for the book and the teachings of Christ. Forgiveness is a constant theme he comes back to again and again.

My question for you is for the folks who -- I've always wondered -- what advice do you give people who -- who want to give forgiveness when it has not been sought? If someone has not asked for forgiveness, what advice do you give?


O'BRIEN: He covers that in the book by the way, that's chapter --

JAKES: That's a very important issue. Because some of us have un-forgiveness against people who are dead. If you allow them asking for forgiveness to be the catalyst whereby you are liberated, you give control back over to the person who may be evil, may be dead, may not even think about you one way or the other. They may not ever pay you back the money. They may not ever reconcile the issue in your life.

But this gives the -- puts the thermostat to the air conditioning back in you rather than allowing your enemy or the perpetrator to have thermostat in a room that you have to live in. It's about control. Forgiveness is seizing control of your life and bringing it back within your reach not standing over a tomb asking somebody who is dead to say you know if you would have apologized before you died, I could have been happy the rest of my life. Wow this is sad control.

FUGELSANG: You don't need to hear someone say I'm sorry to forgive?

JAKES: You may not have that luxury. I think that's a luxury that every situation does not allow you to have. You can forgive without it because forgiveness is a decision.

O'BRIEN: I want you to walk us through that decision. I need like a 101. I'm struggling a little on that.

We've got to take a commercial break. But when we come back we're going to continue our conversation with Bishop T.D. Jakes talking about "Let It Go: Forgive so you can be forgiven". (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. And there's more with Bishop T.D. Jakes who got a new book out it's called "Let It Go: Forgive so that you can be forgiven." And my friends are e-mailing their personal -- see I'm not the only person wrestling with this.

Christie says this, "Can you forgive and elect not to allow that person in your life again to repeat the harm they caused or is it a lack of forgiveness if you part ways?" It's sort of like, do you have to forgive and say now I'm going to allow you to come back into my life?


JAKES: Two different things. She's -- she's confusing forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness is something that you do that is within your power to do it. It's your decision to be able to do it. But just because I forgive you does not mean I want to do business with you again or I want to get remarried to you again. That's trust.

The onus of rebuilding trust is on the perpetrator. You have to win my trust back but forgiveness is something that I do myself.

CAIN: That's in direct conflict with the cliche, right? Forgive and forget. You're not suggesting we should have to forget?


JAKES: Absolutely not. You can't forget unless there's something wrong with your brain. I think that's unrealistic. But you can forgive so that the pain of the memory does not continue to contaminate your life.

O'BRIEN: First step toward forgiving. Like if there's someone who I should forgive, what's the first thing I do. So I'm really not --

JAKES: I don't think that you can forgive what you don't confront. For instance with the Trayvon issue, I don't it is realistic to say to his parents you should start forgiving Zimmerman and the police. You can't forgive what you don't confront. You have to be strong enough to confront it and have your say or the toxicity of anger is not going to get out of you. You have to have some feeling of appeasement and justice before you can move on.

O'BRIEN: Our "End Point" is up next. Bishop T.E. Jakes, his book is called "Let It Go". I'm trying. I'm trying.

Commercial break -- back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Ok. Time for "End Point". I will begin. Will Cain is 23 years old -- no, he's 37 today. As we bring in our cake -- I hope you have a knife for me, Ashley. Will you grab that for me. Oh, fantastic.


O'BRIEN: We have one candle on Will's cake. While we go ahead and start "End Point". We're not even going to let you get to "End Point" today. We will let you John, begin "End Point" for us.

FUGELSANG: You should never shove a massive, bloated bureaucratic government bill through Congress when people haven't had a chance to read it unless it's the Patriot Act.

And I'm going to be in Albuquerque this Saturday night at Pope Joy Hall with the "Sexy Liberal Tour" and my off-Broadway solo show is in Seattle at the Neptune next Tuesday.

O'BRIEN: "Sexy Liberal Tour". I'm very, very afraid.

FUGELSANG: Number one album.

O'BRIEN: Bishop, we'll give you the final word this morning.

JAKES: My "End Point" is mental health, emotional health, spiritual health is very, very important to you. Getting control of your life and not allowing other people to control your space or mood and your attitude. Let it go. Move forward.

O'BRIEN: Let it go, Will Cain. Let it go. Blow out your candle from your birthday.

And that's it for today's show. I'll see everybody back here tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m.

It's time to hand it over to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. That begins right now. Hey Carol, good morning.