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New Analysis in Teen Shooting; Students Protest Lack Of Teachers; Does The GOP Have A Woman Problem?; Muslim Brotherhood Announces It Will Run Candidate for Egyptian Presidency; The Crisis of Zionism; Rally for Trayvon Draws Thousands

Aired April 2, 2012 - 08:00   ET



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

Our STARTING POINT this morning: Trayvon Martin's parents taking their call to justice right to the Justice Department today.

Plus, they got paid to bring the pain. Now, NFL players are facing possible criminal charges for those bounty hits that went on down the field.

And high school seniors about to graduate walk out of school because they say they're not learning anything. Now, those students are suspended. We'll tell you what happens. It's Monday, April 2nd, and STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: Money for nothing and the chicks are free. That's how we like to start the day!


O'BRIEN: Yes, yes.

That's Will Cain's playlist. You can tell he's so satisfied by that!

CAIN: It's perfect.

O'BRIEN: Because we're usually making fun of Will's playlist or often.

Will Cain is with us. He's a columnist for

Celeste Headlee is joining us as well. She's the host of "The Takeaway."

Peter Beinart is the author of "The Crisis of Zionism," also the senior political writer for "The Daily Beast."

Nice to have you all joining us.

We're starting this morning with the new analysis of those 911 calls in the Trayvon Martin case, suggesting that the scream you hear is not from George Zimmerman.

Here's the original call.


911: Does he look hurt to you?

CALLER: I can't see him. I don't want to go out there. I don't know what's going on.

They're sending --


911: So you think he's yelling help?


911: All right. What is your --



O'BRIEN: This morning, we spoke to Tom Owen. He's an audio forensics expert who analyzed the tape for the "Orlando Sentinel". Here's what he said.


TOM OWEN, OWEN FORENSIC SERVICES LLC: If we're comparing Zimmerman versus the screams, then we are getting a likelihood ratio of 48 percent and false rejection rate of 12.35 percent and a false acceptance rate of 14.9 percent. Those low numbers get translated as it's very unlikely that it is the same person.


O'BRIEN: Now, he says he has not compared the screams with the voice of Trayvon Martin. So it's impossible for him to say whether or not the screaming is, in fact, Trayvon Martin.

Let's get to Daryl Parks. He's an attorney with Trayvon Martin's family.

Nice to see you, sir. Thanks very much for being with us. We certainly appreciate it.

Have you done your own forensics testing on the shouting and screaming in that audiotape? Obviously, it could be very relevant if this entire thing goes to court.

DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: Well, I think it's important because of our use of expert as lawyers. Soledad, you may not know this, but I'm also president of the National Bar Association.

So my familiarity with expert witnesses is very, very in-depth. I think that this expert's opinions are very important in this case and the analyses that were done by both experts will go a long way in assisting us with this case.

O'BRIEN: One of the things that he told us, Mr. Owens, is that he did not have an audio clip of Trayvon Martin to do a comparison to be able to determine what percentage likelihood was that it is, in fact, Trayvon screaming on that tape. Is that something you're going to provide to him or another expert analyst?

PARKS: We are more than happy to do that immediately so that he can do additional testing. I think it's important, though, that he did make it clear that the test he did was one way of testing it and the second aspect that he would do if he had a replica of Trayvon's voice which we will give to him.

O'BRIEN: George Zimmerman if you read the police report, as you well know, maintains that he was the one screaming for help. He said, I scream for help and no one came to help me.

Do you think that that is at all possible that there is some screaming that he's done on that tape?

PARKS: I doubt it very seriously. Our clients tell us that that voice they hear screaming is Trayvon's voice and we believe them.

O'BRIEN: All right. And let me ask you about some of the facts of the case and some of the forensic evidence you're looking for. Have you gotten a copy of the autopsy report yet?

PARKS: Not yet.

O'BRIEN: Is that typical or is that unusual? I mean, really, it's been over a month since Trayvon was killed.

PARKS: It's very typical. At our firm, we do a lot of work involving wrongful death type work and the toxicology aspect of an autopsy report takes a good deal of time. Normally, the range can go anywhere between four weeks and eight weeks in our state in terms of the return on an autopsy report. There are some circumstances where it can be rushed but that hasn't been done in this particular case. So, it's not out of the ordinary for to some amount of time.

O'BRIEN: How about the police report? The copy of the police report that I have says partial report only and it's sort after list with some stuff blacked out of the witnesses and then George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin's information is basically on it, but sketchy details of what happened that night. I have to imagine when George Zimmerman was brought into the police station they got more of a detailed account of exactly what happened that night. That is missing from the police report.

Do you have access to that? Have you seen that?

PARKS: Yes. We have seen the reports. The report you're speaking of is the initial report was done February 27th, around 3:00 a.m. And it does have a good deal of information on there. As you may recall, one of the information that we take exception to is that they list Trayvon's address and date of birth, yet they don't contact the family.

So, there's some concern whether that information was put in there initially or it was added at a later date. All of those, I think, are fair game for the inquiry by the officials that they do a fresh look at this case in its entirety.

O'BRIEN: Well, I was going to ask you about that. You say that you would like to investigate the role the state attorney who decided not to follow the recommendations of the homicide investigator in this case. Explain that to me in greater depth, please.

PARKS: Well, two things. One, as you know, the lead investigator asked that (INAUDIBLE) wasn't buying Mr. Zimmerman's story. However, for whatever reasons, Mr. Wolfinger decided not to pursue it. We have some strong concerns the process that was -- that took place here and possible influence that may have went into that decision.

As you know, when we met with the Justice Department, they told us that any concerns that we may have had about this situation in its totality and if we raise those concerns to them, they would look into it. So, we have concern, our clients have expressed. We have relayed that on to the Justice Department and we hope that they would continue to look at this to determine what was the process, was there some influence, that probably should not have taken place to lead to that decision.

Let me say this here. We understand completely here in America, prosecutors are normally given broad discretion. However, we believe in this situation, this decision may have went beyond that discretion.

O'BRIEN: Daryl Parks joining us this morning. Nice to see you. Thank you for talking with us. We appreciate the update.

PARKS: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: You bet. We've heard the protesters shouting "I am Trayvon Martin." But who exactly is Trayvon Martin?

We're going to talk this morning to Jerome Horton. He is Trayvon Martin's former football coach. He'll join us live a little bit later this hour.

Other stories to get though before then. Christine Romans has a look those for us.

Good morning.


Experts from all over the world are investigating a deadly Russian plane crash. Thirty-one people were killed when a plane crashed in a Siberian oil town. The plane went down during takeoff, bursting into flames and breaking into pieces. Only 12 people survived and they are still recovering in intensive care.

Drama on the high seas. Two injured sailors pulled from their crippled racing yacht nearly 300 miles off the California coast. The yacht and four-person crew had been disabled in a storm this weekend when it was hit by a monster wave. They were competing in an around the world race. The injured sailors were air-lifted to San Francisco for medical treatment.

NFL players could soon face criminal charges in the case of the bounty hits where they made money to take out opposing teams' players during games. That's according to reports this morning that also say the players association has hired lawyers to represent them.

Commissioner Roger Goodell is still weighing punishment for players connected to those bounties. He has already suspended Saints head coach Sean Payton for the season and the team's former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely. G.M. Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt were also suspended. Payton, Loomis, and Vitt are appealing.

The NCAA national champion will be crowned tonight. Kentucky and Kansas will go head-to-head for the national title in New Orleans. Kansas pulling off a stunning comeback over Ohio State on Saturday to get there. Kentucky held off in-state Louisville to advance.

Meanwhile, Kentucky fans starting fires and rioting after their win. There are reports police arrested more than two dozen people. No one was seriously hurt, though. Thankfully. Police are taking some extra steps tonight to prevent a repeat of that.

And a new study out this morning reveals U.S. airlines are performing at an all-time high. The annual airline quality rating, it tracks the 15 largest U.S. carriers. The 2011 rating was the highest in the 22 years since the study began. Researchers cited improvements in baggage handling, fewer delayed and overbooked flights, and fewer customer complaints -- Soledad.

My twitter is on fire already! People are like, I'm sorry, what? It's the best?

O'BRIEN: Well, well -- that's all I'm going to say is well, huh. You know, I got to tell you, I was playing this weekend. I had a nice experience on JetBlue. No pilot blocked himself out of the cockpit.

I have a low bar. Maybe it's the lower. It all went fine. My husband had missed that entire story. I was explaining. He's like, wait, what happened?

CAIN: You flew JetBlue?

O'BRIEN: I did. I flew JetBlue. It was a great weekend. It all went smoothly.

I have to say, I have very rarely have complaints but I do cover them a lot on the TV. But I'm not sure how I feel about that study.

Thanks, Christine.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT: We're going to talk to some members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the force behind the change we have seen in Egypt but feared by many people. We'll talk about why they decided to pull an about-face and put up a presidential candidate now.

Also demanding basic things like books and teachers, some are getting suspended for it. Detroit students walk out of class because they say they have nothing left to lose.

We're going to leave you with Christine's playlist, Modest Mouse, "Float On."

You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: That's Genesis, "misunderstanding," from playlist. I haven't heard that in like --


O'BRIEN: Yes, a very long time.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has called this school arguably the very worst school in the country. A group of students at Frederick Douglas Academy agree and took action; nearly 50 students walked out of classes chanting, "we want education." Students say there's a shortage of teachers and books among other issues.

One senior who made the announcement to start a walk out said this. "We've been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated. They didn't listen to us when we complained to the administration. They didn't listen to the parents when they complained to the administration, so I guess this is the only way to get things solved."

The Detroit area students reportedly were suspended for the protests. Let's get right to Steve Perry. He's a CNN education contributor. He's also the founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford. I see you shaking your head like this. What do you find most stunning about this story, Steve?

STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: What I find most stunning about this story is that we don't realize how much our children want an education. So many times, children from historically disadvantaged are maligned. Historically, these events populations are maligned and said that it's because they don't want an education is the reason why they don't get one.

The reason they're not getting one is because the adults were in the position to give them one are not being held accountable. Every single teacher, every single custodian, the principal, and everybody else in that school needs to write a letter of apology, at least, to every single child in that school, in addition to that, to every single taxpayer because these children have been robbed at what we believe in this country to be a basic human right.

O'BRIEN: I'm going to guess that's not going to be forthcoming any time ever in the history of forever. It was, I thought, pretty unusual that you have young, you know, students as Steve points out, kind of get a wrap for not really caring about their education. And I think maybe even more often it happens to kids who are in schools that are doing badly.

There's no sense that they have these high expectations, and I thought it was pretty interesting to see these kids literally protesting because they felt like they were being ripped off honestly.

PERRY: Kids in many cases protest, but they don't organize. The way in which many kids protest, they just stop coming to school. They don't feel like anybody wants them. Children are the first people in my school to inform me typically that a teacher is not doing their job. Kids are paying attention. They're kids. They're not dumb.

Just because they're young doesn't mean they don't understand that they're being played. They understand that they are -- that there is going to be expectations once they leave these failed schools to participate in the economy, not the urban economy, not the Black economy, not the poor economy, but the whole economy.

They know. One student was quoted as saying, I know when I go off to college I'm going to be behind. I recognize that, and it shouldn't be. If I go to school 187 days at a year, I should get 187 days worth of education.

CAIN: You know, I think the reason, Steve and Soledad, that we're all so surprised by this is we personally identify say today the substitute teacher came in. We were excited. That was the day we didn't have to work as hard. When we think about those days and think, what if that was like every day all year long?

This shows went everyday all year long for students, it becomes unacceptable. What I'm surprised about, Steve says there needs to be an apology. How about a revoke of the suspension? Why are all these kids suspended?

O'BRIEN: And how ironic, right? So, you walk out, and then, you're suspended. So, you're not going to class even more, unless, it's in-school suspension where you --

BEINART: I hope this catches on, honestly. I mean, you know, Trayvon Martin is a civil rights issue of today. This is also a civil rights issue of today. I'm sure there are lots and lots of schools. And I think, actually, other kids see this and say, you know what, adults are not demanding that we get a good education. We should start demanding that we get a good education it.

O'BRIEN: But, Steve, to what --

BEINART: To make it a national issue people say --

O'BRIEN: But walking out, right, in the short term, yes, dramatic. But in the long term, what actually happens to those student? They miss a day. Monday comes again. They're back in school. What happens?

BEINART: It puts pressure on those teachers and the principal.

PERRY: It also gets us having this conversation. They walked out of Frederick Douglas Academy. Frederick Douglas. A renowned abolitionist. They said enough is enough. These kids clearly get it. They own the name (INAUDIBLE) school. They understand it. They have a -- these are Black men, young Black men who often maligned themselves as not caring about education.

The first ones to be identified as special ed, the first ones to be suspended. These kids are saying, look, that's not us. You are missing the point. We want an education. We came here to learn, and nobody is teaching us. One teacher out 68 days? Are you kidding me?

O'BRIEN: Yes. That was kind of a stunning number in some of those statistics, and the story are really shocking. Steve Perry, nice to see you as always. We appreciate it.

Still ahead this morning, we're going to talk about women voters who are fleeing the GOP and some key swing states. New polls showing that President Obama is trouncing Republicans among female voters. We're going to break down those numbers for you.

And the actor who's going to play Steve Jobs in a new movie. He's not really known for playing thoughtful, brilliant men. We'll tell you who it is.

We leave you with Peter's playlist. Elvis Costello, "Veronica."



O'BRIEN: You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a minute.


O'BRIEN: I like this, but kind of slow. "Shot in the arm," Wilco.

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST, "THE TAKEAWAY": We got to get to the chorus there.


CAIN: We're often judged on the refrain.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Yes, we often are.

CAIN: And we need to be judged on the chorus.

HEADLEE: I agree. I agree.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Oh, oh, the panel is revolting.


O'BRIEN: Rebelling. Rebelling, rebelling.


O'BRIEN: You can see the entire playlist on our website, which is

The GOP has a woman problem and if they don't fix it, they could lose their shot at victory in 2012. New "USA Today"/Gallup polls revealing that female voters are fleeing the Republican camp in favor of President Obama. Those folks are pushing the president to some big leads in important swing states in a head-to-head matchup with Mitt Romney.

The president is leading among women voters in the top 2 battleground state, which include Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, leading by 18 points.

Remember, back in 2008, he won the election with only a 12-point lead. So, this is a very big number. Obama, overall, has nine-point lead against GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney, and just a month ago, he was beating Mitt Romney by two points.

Let's throw this to Will Cain. You know, Will is my go to GOP guy. What's the strategy there? I mean, you have to tell -- you can't tell me that sort of all the news about contraception and things like that have not had a backlash effect on the GOP.

CAIN: I think the news as it's been played as a war on women has had an effect, and it shows the success of that essentially that campaign. I reject the premise because there's been some opposition to mandate on contraception or mandate on anything that amounts to war on women, but that --

O'BRIEN: Perception could be everything?

CAIN: But that perception has certainly been perpetuated. And if this poll reflects reality, it's a big problem.

O'BRIEN: How do you fix that?

BEINART: I mean, Mitt Romney -- you know the problem with Mitt Romney is about to get the nomination, right? He doesn't have --

O'BRIEN: Not according to -- BEINART: -- let's say he's closing in. On the one hand, he doesn't have huge enthusiasm amongst the conservative base. On the other hand, he's showing weakness amongst key swing voter groups like women. It seems to me he's caught in the same kind of problem that John McCain had, which as say if he -- he can't -- he's not in a strong position to go either right or center at this point, because he has huge problems on both flanks.

HEADLEE: It's not just perception, though. I mean -- although I agree that using the phrase like war on women is provocative and totally unnecessary.

O'BRIEN: That's a marketing strategy.

HEADLEE: Absolutely, but at the same time, there is a problem in the GOP in taking up issues. Maybe, it's not necessary to take up these issues on contraception and abortion and other things. Certainly, the center (INAUDIBLE) problem was a problem for the GOP, but, maybe, unfairly. But at the same time, do they have to pick this fight now in a presidential year?

CAIN: I mean, you have to stand on your principals. You believe in what you believe in. If that is portrayed as something that is a war on women, then, you know, what do you do? What do you do? Do you alter your principles to be adapted to what you'll be spun as or do you just stand by your principles?

HEADLEE: The sad thing is these aren't even Mitt Romney's principles. They're Rick Santorum's. Mitt Romney was only on the side (ph) of this. He's got dragged along by the Rush Limbaugh's and Rick Santorum's of the world.

HEADLEE: He let himself be dragged.

O'BRIEN: And I think it's going to be interesting to see -- I do think that these politics, so people move their principle at the line of their principle.


O'BRIEN: Sometimes, it's a shifting line.

CAIN: And we criticize them for that constantly.

HEADLEE: Etch-A-Sketch problem.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely.

All right. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the Muslim brotherhood reversing its pledge not to enter Egypt's presidential elections. Critics say it's a dangerous power grab. We're going to talk to members in a rare appearance to explain their move.

Also, they dished about his five safe houses, four kids while they were on the run. This morning, Bin Laden's widows have been charged. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Stevie Wonder off of Christine's playlist. Let's get right to headlines. Christine has those for us. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. Three of Osama bin Laden's widows have been sentenced to a month-and-a-half in prison for living illegally in Pakistan. The offense carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. Two other unidentified Osama bin Laden family members are getting the same judge. All are ordered to be deported after they serve their term.

The sister of missing woman Susan Powell's is blaming police for the murder of Powell's two children. Susan Powell disappeared back in 2009. This February husband Josh Powell killed the couple's two sons before committing suicide. Susan's sister Denise Cox says newly released records show police knew Josh Powell was dangerous and should have acted. Records show police found blood in the Powell home after Susan disappeared. They also found a note Susan wrote, saying if she is found dead, quote, "It may not be an accident."

Seven of Ray Charles surviving children are being sued by the foundation their father created before he died. The battle in U.S. district court focuses on 51 of Charles' songs. The singer's foundation claims seven of Charles' 12 children are attempting to obtain copyrights on some of these songs. According to the lawsuit, Charles gave each of his kids $500,000 in 2002 under the condition they would not seek further claims on his musical estate.

The king of twitter about to take a bite of the apple. Reports say Ashton Kutcher is set to play Steve Jobs in a movie about his life. The film will cover Jobs meteoric rise from northern California hippie to Apple cofounder. Physically at least Kutcher seems sort of a natural. His resemblance to a younger Jobs is unmistakable. Filming is expected to begin next month while Kutcher is on hiatus from the sitcom two-and-a-half men. It's one of two Steve jobs biopics in the works.

In this week's smart is the new rich. You can't win if you don't play, and I don't mean the lottery. You had no chance of winning the lottery, but if you have stocks in your 401(k) you hit the jackpot. This year the S&P 500 is up more than 12 percent over the past three years. The S&P is up 65 percent. Apple has soared 48 percent, Home Depot up almost 20 percent and ford up 16 percent and bank of America up a whopping 72 percent. The economy is growing and interest rates are low and economy is doing well and they think more gains ahead.

April could get off to a slow start with the Good Friday holiday but here is where the brakes could be put on the rally. If the data shows a stalling data, if interest rates rise and energy prices continue to go up and incredible quarter for stocks, people with money made a lot of money in stocks over the quarter, but most middle class families are in housing, not stocks. Home prices are at a 10-year low more evidence of that two speed recovery, Soledad. O'BRIEN: Christine, thank you. A critical development to tell you about in Egypt has many in the world watching how last year's Arab spring will turn out. The Muslim Brotherhood has announced that it's going to put up a presidential candidate. The Brotherhood won the first round of parliamentary election following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak last year, but they had promised they wouldn't put forth a presidential candidate in next month's elections. This weekend though they announced that in fact 62-year-old multimillionaire businessman Khairat al-Shater would be their pick for president. He guided the organization from prison back when Mubarak was in power.

Some are calling it a power grab and members of the group saying it's an unprecedented crisis. The United States isn't praising nor condemning the move, most likely because the Brotherhood would immediately challenge one of the rising candidates, an Islamic conservative who, among other things has called for an end to the treaty with Israel and calling into question women working outside of the home. This morning we are joined by two brothers of the Muslim Brotherhood. It's nice to have you both. Thank you for talking with us.


O'BRIEN: You had said last year, almost exactly a year ago, in February and then in April we would not be putting forth the presidential candidate and, of course, now that has gone out the window. Why is that?

ASEM: Well, Soledad, this has been our decision from the beginning and we have taken this decision based on the democratic choice of our organization. However, the -- during this transitional period, many updates happen that made us change that decision.

O'BRIEN: What kinds of things made you change your mind?

ASEM: Yes. Currently, we feel that the current candidates, they lack some leadership potential that would bring about stability in Egypt and in our international relations. We believe there is some type of leadership vacuum among the current candidates, and we feel that we now have historic responsibility to feel the candidate who we believe will provide this kind of responsible leadership and who will safeguard the democratic process, which we feel now is threatened by many attempts to dissolve the current parliament or to hinder the establishment of the current assembly.

O'BRIEN: Doctor, how much of this is a concern? It's like she is saying they don't like the flow. Is al-Shater considered to be more conservative? He worries about women working outside the home and would like to abolish the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Is the reason to put up a candidate because of him specifically?

DR. ABDELMAWGOOD AL DARDERI, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FROM FJP: First of all, thank you, Soledad, for having us.

O'BRIEN: It's our pleasure. DARDERI: It's very important for us to bridge the understanding so we know each firsthand experience. I think the reason why we are having engineers as a candidate after the Egyptian revolution a year ago. Egyptian is having democracy, freedom, and rule of law at the time being. When we made that decision not to have a candidate, it was a democratic decision. We changed it through democratic process as well. We think it is very important for the Egyptians to have variety of candidates so that they can issue as long as the bottom line is the voting process. The bottom line is the freedom to vote. And if the vote for one or the other, it's an Egyptian vote and we will commit one way or the other.

CAIN: Help us understand. Because one of the charges that is often made against the brotherhood when you do what do you now is you make a tour around the country you say things to us in English you would be opposed to female genital mutilation but in Egyptian you speak the option. Which is the truth?

DARDERI: We expect that conspiracy theory is somewhat of the third world, not in the United States. We would like to believe one another. I got a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. This is what we believe in, and look what we did in the past and what we want. We participated in the revolution in Egypt to create the democracy rule of law and justice for all Egyptians and that is what we focus on.

CAIN: You are opposed to female genital mutilation?

ASEM: We have reiterated our position both towards the treaty with Israel and all of the treaties that have been signed by previous governments and we expressed our full commitment to these, and we are not willing to change any of these treaties unless there is a popular will to change that.

Actually now, we have our own priorities at home. We have our priorities are mainly economic, and we would like to bring about economic stability, we would like to bring about security and we want to build sustainable democratic institutions and this is what the Egyptian people want. The Egyptian people now are not preoccupied with any confrontation or any kind of instable relations with the outside world.

O'BRIEN: So what is Islamist rule look like under the Muslim Brotherhood? You said women have a role in the workforce?

ASEM: Absolutely.

O'BRIEN: So what else? You have minority, religious minority that makes up roughly five percent to 10 percent of the population. Describe for me what it would look like.

ASEM: As our name indicates, we are the Freedom and Justice Party. What we would like to achieve in Egypt is actually a civil democratic state that is based on the rule of law. And we adopt the demands of the Egyptian revolution on top of which was the human dignity, freedom, and justice and democracy and these are the principles of our party and this is not new. This has been our belief since the establishment of our organization.

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST, "THE TAKEOVER": But can't a presidential candidate is new and I wonder if that is because -- although the Muslim Brotherhood now controls most of parliament, I wonder if you guys want to have a more controlling role over the writing of the constitution?

DARDERI: That is not really our decision. It is the decision of the Egyptian people and we will speak to what the Egyptians -- as they can do and everyone has the right to run for election in his own country. If the Egyptian people choose another one, that is Egyptian decision and that has to be respected by all.

O'BRIEN: That has to be our final question this morning. I want to thank you for coming in to talk with us. We will continue to talk to you as you make your tour around and hopefully come back to New York to talk to us. Thank you both. We appreciate your time.

DARDERI: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We're going to take a break. When we come back in just a moment, he calls President Obama the "Jewish president" in his new book. Our panel member, Peter Beinart will talk about his new book, which is called "The Crisis of Zionism."

And who was Trayvon Martin? We will speak to his former football coach who has known Trayvon since he was five-years-old. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're going to take a break. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Peter Beinart is on our panel this morning. He's got a new book which is called "The Crisis of Zionism". And this is the book that I've read is controversial.

And you've been kind of attacked by both sides the left and the right for this book. What is the biggest bone of contention about your book?

BEINART: Well, I'm a Zionist. I'm a committed American Jew and I believe very strongly in Israel's right to exit as a democratic Jewish state. And I understand the security concerns that Israelis have. You know we just had the Muslim Brotherhood members on here and a lot of concerns that Israelis have of what's happening in the region.

But I believe that Israeli's best security lies in the fact that it was founded to be a democratic Jewish state and the danger for me, one of the dangers I see is that when Israel controls the West Bank where millions of Palestinians don't have the right to citizenship and the right to vote. That threatens Israeli democracy and ultimately Israeli security. That was -- it's maybe a controversial contention but it's one that I believe very strongly is why I wrote the book.

O'BRIEN: And you talked about the risk really to Israel is not an external risk which I think everyone if we were all asked to sort of tick off where the risk to Israel lie they would be external forces. And you -- you seemed to say no actually the biggest risk to Israel is -- is internal.

BEINART: Well there are external risks too absolutely but my -- my fear if you essentially create one state which includes the West Bank which includes millions of Palestinians who don't have the right to citizenship and the right to vote you essentially force Israel to choose between being a democracy and being a state with a Jewish majority that can protect the Jewish people. And it seems to me that will actually make the external threats worse because it will create a situation of permanent war.

CAIN: So I want to ask you Peter, so to be clear what you're saying here also is that these areas of settlement within Israel --


CAIN: -- within the West Bank, are essentially non-democratic areas of Israel and you have called for some kind of boycott of these areas. What does that mean?

BEINART: I've called for us to commit and invest in democratic Israel. Israeli's original lines where all people have the right to citizenship that's what makes me so proud as a Zionist of Israel because Israel was founded as a democracy but not to spend our money in those -- in the West Bank where only Jews have citizenship and Palestinians don't because that actually violates Israeli's founding ideals.

O'BRIEN: You say there is a real risk if you don't do that?

BEINART: The risk if you don't do that is essentially you create a choice where Israeli has to choose between being a democracy and being a Jewish state and that that would betray the very Zionist dream that I was raised to believe in.

O'BRIEN: Are you getting hammered on the right and left for this book?

BEINAR: Sure. A lot of Palestinians don't like the idea of Zionism at all, they don't think there should be a Jewish state. And many of my conservative -- more conservative Jewish friends feel that we shouldn't publicly criticize, that we should keep it within the Jewish family.

I really believe we have an obligation to our children to tell the truth about the dangers that Israel faces so we can pass a Jewish state -- democratic Jewish state down to our children. It seems to me the miracle of Israel for me is not just that a Jewish state was created but that in the shadow of the holocaust its declaration of independence promised complete equality of social and political rights, irrespective of race, religion and sex. That's the kind of Jewish state we need to try to protect.

O'BRIEN: The book is called "The Crisis of Zionism". Nice to have you talking about it, Peter.

BEINART: It's a pleasure.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it and we appreciate your joining our panel today. I've got to take a break. We come back in just a moment.

We're going to talk to Trayvon Martin's former coach and I ask him what Trayvon was like as a kid.

You're watching STARTING POINT we've got to take a short break. We're going to be right back.


O'BRIEN: Several thousand people gathered at a rally in downtown Miami yesterday. They were demanding justice for 17-year-old Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman back in February.

Trayvon's mother Sybrina Fulton says one of the goals of the rally was not only to demand justice, but also to let people know what her son was really like.


SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON'S MOTHER: We just want the public to know that he was a regular teenager, that he was respectable and he was loved by his family and his friends.


O'BRIEN: Family friend Jerome Horton was Trayvon's former high school football coach. He also attended the rally yesterday.

Let me ask you, first, about that rally. How did it go? How was it?

JEROME HORTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FORMER FOOTBALL COACH: Oh, it was amazing. Just the fact of seeing that many people come together in one place just for Trayvon was great.

O'BRIEN: Tell me a little bit more about Trayvon. His mom spoke a little bit about him at the rally but I think for a lot of people who are outside of the case, they are trying to understand what this young man was like. Give me a little more insight and information about him.

HORTON: Trayvon was -- he was an excellent, smart kid. I mean, he loved to smile. He loved music. He loved airplanes. For some reason, he just got into airplanes and he just -- that was something he took to.

O'BRIEN: I'm curious to know if he was confrontational. The reason it matters of course, is from what we are hearing about what might have happened that night, according to George Zimmerman's side of the story told through his friend Joe Oliver told through his brother and also told through his father. Here's a little bit of what his father had to say.


ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S FATHER: Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of you're going to die now or you're going to die tonight, something to that effect. He continued to beat George and at some point, George pulled his pistol and did what he did.


O'BRIEN: The three of them speaking for -- for George Zimmerman had said that it was Trayvon that attacked and was literally slamming George Zimmerman's head in the concrete for in excess of a minute. Was he at all a confrontational, aggressive young man?

HORTON: In all my years of knowing Trayvon, I have never known Trayvon to get into a confrontation, a fight of any sort with anybody. I mean whether it's kids or adults. I mean anyone that knows Trayvon, especially adult, they will all tell you he is the most respectful kid that you will ever meet. Anyone that came across and I take phone calls now because everyone doesn't believe that that -- that could be that's the Trayvon that is being portrayed in the media.

O'BRIEN: There were some reports of his suspensions that had been leaked because of course that kind of thing would be protected, his school record, would be protected. It seemed like someone was trying to paint a picture of a kid who maybe wasn't such a great kid. Looked like one of the suspensions was due to a baggy that had some kind of marijuana residue in his backpack. Tell me about his -- his behavior. Was he a good kid?

HORTON: He was a great kid. I mean he was your typical normal teenager. I mean Trayvon didn't do anything that any of us did from the ages of, you know, 14 to 17. I mean he didn't -- everything that you hear coming out. I mean, we all expect stuff like that to come out because of the hype of this -- this case. We understand that. But people who truly know Trayvon and you know everything that Trayvon deals with, you know that none of that means anything to that makes what he was.

O'BRIEN: You had the chance to spend the weekend with Trayvon's family and one of the things that I've noticed having now interviewed them a bunch of times is just how exhausted, physically exhausted they are. How are they holding up and what's -- what's helping them kind of keep it together? It's been a very grueling process for them.

HORTON: That is so true. They are very, very tired. But, you know, when I talked to them and you know as Coach Tracy and Sybrina they both tell me the same thing. What would Trayvon do? Trayvon would want them to keep on going.

They're going to keep fighting until they have justice.


HORTON: And when they have justice, just like they said, then they will be able to mourn their son. But right now they're going to fight and fight until they don't have any fight in them.

O'BRIEN: Jerome Horton is Trayvon Martin's former football coach. Thank you for talking with us this morning and painting a more in-depth picture of him. We appreciate that.

HORTON: Thank you for having me.

O'BRIEN: It's our pleasure.

We've got to take a break. We're going to do our "End Point" up next with our panel. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: It is a little slow but it is Marvin Gaye, "Mercy, Mercy Me". And it's his birthday, in honor of his date of birth, he would have been 73 years old today. He died the day before his 45th birthday. That's why. Yes, a little bit slow.

"End Point". We'll let you start.

HEADLEE: Well, I mean my takeaway from all of the news this morning is how often we rush to judgment. Whether it's about the Muslim Brotherhood or whether it's about George Zimmerman rushing to justice or any of us rushing to judgment in the Trayvon Martin case. Generally, I think it's better to stand back and let details unfold.

O'BRIEN: Peter, you got the last 15 seconds.

BEINART: I think the story about Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit named for an African-American man who taught himself to read where young African-American students are walking out because they've been failed by their teachers and their system. That to me is the story that really caught me.


O'BRIEN: It is. It's a heart-breaker.

Thank you for being with our panel this morning.

Will Cain, get to you next time. We are out of time.

CAIN: Yes.

O'BRIEN: All right. Let's get right to Carol Costello who's at "CNN NEWSROOM" this morning. Hey Carol, good morning to you.