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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Oakland Campus Shooting; GSA Administration Steps Down; Gunman in University Shooting Arrested; Neighbor of George Zimmerman Interviewed; Whitney Houston's Final Film; Living "The Blind Side"
Aired April 3, 2012 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.
Our STARTING POINT this morning: The tragedy in Oakland, California. A gunman lines up his victims and guns them down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hear this firework, it's going boom, boom. You know, something like that, three or four times I hear that. If I didn't lock the door, I think we might be dead today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: We're learning more this morning about the man accused of shooting and killing seven people at a small Christian college in California. We'll take a closer look at One Goh, his family and his history with the school, and also look at the motive -- what could have set him off.
And a closer look at enhanced video of George Zimmerman just minutes after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. A possible head wound that might support his side of the story. We'll talk to Zimmerman's friend and former neighbor this morning.
And the polls are open. A big primary day. Dozens of delegates up for grabs. Mitt Romney is looking for a sweep. Rick Santorum says it doesn't matter. It's still not going to knock him out of the race.
Plus, a massive $800,000 party put on by the government paid for by us.
I was going to say, I didn't getting t to go to that.
Well, guess what? The other side of that story, there's little fallout this morning, and it's not.
It is Tuesday, April 3. And "STARTING POINT" begins right now.
O'BRIEN: That's off Morgan Spurlock's playlist, Matt and Kim, "AM/FM Sound."
Let's get right to our panelist this morning.
Abby Huntsman joins us. She's a conservative political commentator and the daughter of Jon Huntsman here.
Morgan Spurlock is with us. He's a documentary filmmaker.
And Will Cain is columnist for TheBlaze.com.
Tragedy in Oakland, California. I'm trying to think of how many times I covered shootings like that where someone --
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I've been on your show off and on for two months and this is third time we've had to talk about this. There was the Ohio shooting.
CAIN: There was the one in France. And now, we're talking about today about something. I don't know what it says. But it's sad.
O'BRIEN: Oh, it's so sad. It's such a tragedy. And then you hear the survivors' stories about decision. You heard that young woman talking about how she literally had to lock the door even though people on other side of the door were screaming that she felt there was no way to be safe unless they locked themselves in. It's just terrible.
We're talking about the shooting rampage that happened at Oikos University, which is in Oakland, California. In the last hour, we spoke with a witness who was nearby when they heard shots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN SHNOW, WITNESS: It was pretty chaotic. I wanted to make sure my aunt and make sure she was OK. And after that, guns were fired, and then I saw during that process, I saw a lady with a hole in her arm. It was really chaotic at the scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: You can see that woman there is holding sort of a sweatshirt or something over her arm. The weapon was a .45 millimeter handgun which would leave, if you are shot with that a gaping hole.
We also spoke this morning with the police chief. His name is Howard Jordan. And he said that the suspect is 43-year-old One Goh, a former student who was seeking revenge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF HOWARD JORDAN, OAKLAND POLICE CHIEF: He said to us that he was upset with the administration. He was a student there and while he was a student, he had been picked on, wasn't treated fairly by students and administrators and he wanted to get back at them. We're not certain exactly what type of problems he was having with students but we know that he was very upset, very distraught about the administration and the way that they treated him in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Records show that Goh, a Korean native and naturalized citizen, had lost his mother and his brother in the past year. And he was also struggling with more than $20,000 in tax debt. He was a student at Oikos University before he was kicked out several months ago.
Lisa Resler is a resident of nearby Alameda, California, that's where the suspect was arrested roughly an hour after the shooting took place.
Lisa, thanks for talking with us. We certainly appreciate your time.
Tell me what happened. You were at a shopping center when you saw the police commotion. What exactly happened?
LISA RESLER, WITNESSED SHOOTING SUSPECT BEING ARRESTED: You know, I went to Safeway to pick up just a few apples and oranges and I saw the gentleman, the shooter, as I identified to be -- I forget his name. But he was by the front door. There's a restroom that's right by the front door of the Safeway.
And we made eye contact with each other. I went and picked up a couple odds and ends, and I came out of the supermarket. And the gentleman was arrested by the Alameda Police Department, and he was arrested. There was a female officer and a male officer that was arresting him right in front of the Safeway.
O'BRIEN: So, when you saw him the first time when you were walking into the store, what was his demeanor like? Was he just standing there? Did he seem like he was anxious?
RESLER: He -- he did look a little bit distraught. He did look like he was a little bit sweaty and a little bit discombobulated. He looked at me and I think he went directly right when you walk into the Safeway, there's restrooms right to the left of that store entrance.
I didn't see him after that when I was coming out of the store. However, I did see him arrested in front of the store. Like I said at that time, I don't think they realized that he was the shooter. I had gone home, which I live three blocks away. I forgot to pick up some stamps.
And I turned the news on because I saw a couple helicopters flying above. And they said that they had somebody that they had arrested, but it was in front of a Ross Dress for Less clothing store, which sits on completely on the other side of the store.
O'BRIEN: The shopping center, right.
RESLER: So at that point, yes, it's completely on the other side. So, I went back 20 minutes later to get stamps and that's when I was approached. The security guard saw me as the person that came out of the store right after the gentleman that they had arrested for this horrific crime.
O'BRIEN: So, it's -- you think that he was outside and went inside probably to the bathroom and then came back outside and was arrested.
And I asked you that because when I talked to the police chief this morning, he said one of the big issues where they're not getting cooperation is, where is the weapon? Apparently, he shot people with a .45 millimeter handgun but they haven't been able to find the gun yet.
Was he carrying anything when you saw him?
RESLER: That was my impression. It looked like a routine like he got caught shoplifting. They asked him to spread his legs apart. There was just a female officer and a male officer there at the time. There was no other officers on site.
They were patting him down. They patted him down. I saw the whole thing.
At that point it seemed like they did not find any weapon. So again like I said, I don't think they realized that he was the shooter involved in this horrific incident here in Oakland.
O'BRIEN: Well, at least not at the beginning.
Lisa Resler in Alameda, California, this morning -- Lisa, thank you. We appreciate your time.
Got other headlines to get to. And Christine has those for us.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Soledad. Good morning.
Three crucial GOP primaries today. Nearly 100 delegates are on the line in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Mitt Romney leads in the polls in all three of today's contests. Wisconsin is the big prize for a haul of 42 winner-take-all delegates.
Rick Santorum, though, vowing to stay in even if he loses all three primaries today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The month of May is rich with delegates and are strong states for us -- states like Texas and Arkansas and Kentucky and Indiana, West Virginia, North Carolina. Those are the states that we know we can get this back right back to where it is right now, which is closer than Mitt Romney and the pundits are spinning. It's a very close race. And by the end of May, we expect this race to be -- to be very close to even.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Romney insists a win in Wisconsin would mean the campaign is effectively over for his rivals.
This just into CNN: James Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch, is expected to step down today from his position with BSkyB. He's been under fire for his handling of that controversial phone hacking scandal. BSkyB is no commenting at this hour. Murdoch is expected to make the announcement after a board meeting today. We'll continue to follow that for you.
A bit of good news about gas prices. They dropped this morning nine-tenths of a cent, to $3.92 on average for a gallon of regular. Don't spend it all in one place. That's the first drop in more than three weeks. But we're still about 19 cents shy of that all-time high of $4.11 from July 2008.
Take a look at Kentucky fans celebrating the big NCAA championship win last night. Things got out of hand pretty quickly, folks. Thousands poured into the streets. More than 30 fires set.
Police say one man was wounded in a shooting. They arrested dozens of people. All of this after the big Wildcats win over the Kansas Jayhawks, 67 to 59, to take home Kentucky's eighth national championships. There you go.
O'BRIEN: All right. Christine, thank you.
That man who was shot apparently had not life threatening injuries which is good news. That's just craziness.
All right. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT: dire warning about debt. Simon Johnson has got a new book out. It's called "White House Burning," with a warning our way of life could change and very dramatically if we don't change how we're looking at the economy right now.
Plus, incredible video of a big rig going over a cliff. We'll talk about what happened to the driver of that tow truck.
We'll leave you with Will Cain's playlist. It's Willie Nelson, "Railroad Lady." I love Willie Nelson.
You're watching STARTING POINT.
O'BRIEN: "Somebody that I Used to Know." That's off of Abby's playlist.
CAIN: Abby doesn't know.
ABBY HUNTSMAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just know the song is good.
O'BRIEN: I was trying to get the pronunciation and she didn't know. And she's like oh.
All right. Let's talk money this morning. When it comes to the country's money woes, there are handful of leading economist that people look to. And one is the author of a new book called "White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You."
Simon Johnson is former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, professor of entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan School of Management. And he joins us this morning.
It's nice to see you. I love the title of this book because the back story is really fascinating. Tell us about the war of 1812 and "White House Burning".
SIMON JOHNSON, AUTHOR, "WHITE HOUSE BURNING": Well, the War of 1812, the United States was not all prepared. The people, (INAUDIBLE), war hawks were in charge of Congress. They were belligerent. They wanted to cut taxes. The military was not well taken care of.
And the British won. The British won a massive victory. They took Washington and they burned every official building in August 1814, including the White House.
SIMON JOHNSON, PROFESSOR, MIT'S SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: We have time. We don't have to have a fiscal catastrophe again. This is not a crisis moment. We have to slash everything. This is a moment for reasserting the spirit of fiscal responsibility that we found after the War of 1812.
O'BRIEN: When the British came in and tried to really burn down the treasury, loot the treasury, take everything out, there was nothing to take.
JOHNSON: That was a small silver lining for the American side. It was empty. The U.S. was literally and actually broke at that moment, and we mustn't forget that. America is an exceptional country that has achieved and can achieved great things, but we can also run ourselves into the ground. That's what we did in the war of 1812.
O'BRIEN: When did that philosophy change? Because after that war, after really 1814, sort of the thinking about debt changed dramatically, and then, it kind of changed again more like in the 1970s, I guess.
JOHNSON: Well, some of the original thinking was established during the war of independence when the U.S. really struggled to pay for what it needed. The constitutional convention was about establishing the power of revenue for the federal government. And Alexander Hamilton was the first secretary of the treasury, also established fiscal responsibility. It was challenged, and that was the problem around the world of 1812, but after that, both sides or the entire political spectrum agreed you needed to be careful and needed to pay for what you spend. We had that until the 1980s, until we started to become obsessed with we don't have to pay for what we get, we can borrow.
What's your favorite thing? Foreign war. We can borrow to do that. Tax cuts. We can borrow to do that. (inaudible) we can borrow to do that. All of these things add up and create a problem when you can't borrow from the rest of the world to an indefinite amount.
O'BRIEN: So, roughly speaking, we owe $15 trillion, and roughly speaking, that's about 50 grand per person that we owe mostly to China, correct?
JOHNSON: Well, about 50 percent of the debt that we have outstanding is held by foreigners. The actual numbers of what we owe and not what the government owes within itself of what you owe to the public is more like $10.5 trillion. It's a lot of money. No question about it. You don't have to pay it off at one go. That's the important thing.
On all of the previous debt surges in American history used to be for wars until the recent one, debt would go up. We'd pay our way through the crisis using (INAUDIBLE), and that would bring the debt down in a gradual responsible manner.
O'BRIEN: How do you do that now? What's the philosophy? What's your theory of how you bring that debt down, at the same time, you're not cutting programs because it seems like an either or right now.
JOHNSON: Well, I think you need a little bit of both. You need revenue first and foremost. Our book is much more about raising revenue in sustainable responsible manner, much more than many other proposals around the budget. At the same time, we do want to control spending, certain kinds of -- healthcare spending always needs to be contained.
We would make some adjustments on Social Security. Without question, that would also be a good idea, but mostly, it's about revenue. We undermine our ability to produce revenue at the federal level in this country too much.
CAIN: I appreciate the book is about revenue. Certainly, I'm interested in the book. Do we have to have an honest conversation with Americans as well that, look, in 30 years or so, every single tax dollar we currently collect is going to go towards Medicare and Social Security, towards the entitlement programs that we all love so much. In order to have a real and honest conversation, we have to explain that can't continue, don't we?
JOHNSON: Absolutely. And I think this is the right conversation to have over 20 to 30 years. But here's another part of the conversation. If you just push those healthcare costs off federal budget and you push them onto families and onto businesses, that will ruin the economy. too. It's healthcare spending that needs to be controlled.
The Congressional Budget Office has scored Congressman Paul Ryan's budget very clearly. They said it will reduce federal spending on healthcare. It will increase healthcare spending as a percent of GDP. When I take this to CFOs, the big corporations, they're shocked by this say we don't want to go there. It's not good for private enterprises.
CAIN: The point of this conversation, there's got to be a balance, because if I adopt all the proposals that some of the left would propose, if we take taxes as high as we can, that's all going to have a detrimental effect on the economy.
JOHNSON: This is not taxes back in 1960s. This is taxes back to the 1990s. This is do-not-extend-the-Bush era tax cuts. Don't extend them for anyone, which is very unpopular with my political friends on the right and on the left.
CAIN: Which means the middle class you're talking about.
JOHNSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. The middle class is America. The middle class is base America. It's revenue for America, but it's absolutely essential.
CAIN: -- in the middle class?
JOHNSON: Yes, absolutely.
CAIN: You just made a lot of enemies on television audiences today and good for you.
O'BRIEN: But politically, also, outside of making personal enemies and they will be tweeting you later, it might be an impossible sell in an election year, right? Because we're really talking about a context when both sides, sort of, see these conversations as no gain. Coming together used to be a positive thing in the political process. Now, it is seen as weakness.
JOHNSON: I don't think they're going to come together in a sense of forming a consensus, absolutely. But President Obama has a powerful speech today when he's going to take on Congressman Paul Ryan's budget proposals.
O'BRIEN: He is never going to say raise taxes on --
CAIN: He will never say what you just said, Simon. He will say, we need to raise taxes on the rich, middle class. We'll keep you where you are and you can keep your Medicare. He will say that. Am I wrong?
JOHNSON: This is a very interesting moment --
JOHNSON: This book is not pandering to the president, it's not pandering to the right. This is our own view. We're trying to claim middle ground, honestly. But here's an interesting moment that will come at the end of this year. As you know, the Bush era tax cuts are up for extension.
The president could veto the entire package and then come back to the Republicans who may well control both Houses of Congress and would like to control the House, come back and say, here's a tax cut that I'm designing -- linked to employment relative population. So, as the economy recovers, the tax cut will fade away.
The rule will be implemented. If he puts that to Republicans and put his middle class tax cut, if that's what (INAUDIBLE), put it in that, say, payroll tax cut, that will be a very clever political maneuver. That would move you a little bit in the right direction. You have to pay for what you get. There is no free lunch in this economy.
O'BRIEN: The president's speech is this afternoon. We'll be watching that. Nice to see you. Thank you very much. The book is called "White House Burning." The history of the book is amazing, as well. Appreciate it.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, speaking of spending for things that you're going to what you want, $7,000 for sushi, 6,000 for commemorative coins. That's just a sneak peek at the tab for a big government party that happened in Las Vegas. We, taxpayers, paid for it. We'll tell you exactly what you got straight ahead.
Plus, the first look at Whitney Houston's final performance. A sneak peek of her movie, "Sparkle."
And if you're about to head to work, don't worry about missing the rest of the show, go right to our live blog on our website, which is CNN.com/STARTINGPOINT. Go back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Got a little government spending bonanza to talk about. Martha Johnson, she's the head of the General Services Administration which manages real estate for the federal government, she has resigned and two of her top deputies have been fired because of this, a lavish over the top spending at an employee team building conference in Las Vegas. They must have a really good team that they're building.
Four managers of the GSA have also been placed on leave. The conference wound up costing taxpayers $835,000. Just under a million dollars for a team building conference. So, here's what it included, $3,200 for a mind reader, $6,300 for commemorative coins in velvet boxes, $75,000 for bicycle building training exercise, because what says team work more than building a bicycle with your co-workers.
(LAUGHTER) ABBY HUNTSMAN LIVINGSTON, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: But, I think it's bigger than the money issue. I think it's why we were talking about the PR issue here.
LIVINGSTON: Tenure, completely.
CAIN: On the heels of a conversation about whether or not we need to increase taxes to compensate for our spending habits or cut spending, I think this is small in the federal budget, but it's big in our condemnation.
MORGAN SPURLOCK, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: It comes down to leading by example. Like you really have to be setting that example all the time. And to do something like this is just really, I think, ineffectual.
O'BRIEN: Plus, parties, you can always do the line item which makes for a terrible story because people will go and pick a mind reader, really? There's no positive spin of that.
CAIN: What were commemorative coins for?
SPURLOCK: Yes. This party is a terrible idea.
O'BRIEN: You're all going to be fired very, very soon, and they were.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, is it proof that he was attacked? An enhanced video of George Zimmerman just minutes after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. It shows a possible head wound. You need to see this and has picture there. This morning, we'll talk to Zimmerman's friend and former neighbor about what happened that night.
Plus, Mitt Romney kind of annoyed when someone asks him a question about his Mormon faith. A stern one word answer and then a little bit of a tense moment. We'll share that with you.
And incredible video of a big rig going over a cliff. It takes the tow truck with it and the driver is inside. We'll update you on how he's doing today. Christine Romans' playlist is Frank Sinatra "Old McDonald." You're watching STARTING POINT.
O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everybody. Let's get to Christine. She's got a look at our headlines this morning. Good morning.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. We are getting a clearer picture this morning of motivation behind a deadly shooting spree that left seven people dead at a small Christian college in Oakland. Gunfire erupted yesterday morning at tiny Oikos University in California. Police say a former student, 43-year-old One Goh of Oakland, was looking for one particular administrator after being dismissed from the school earlier this year. Oakland's police chief giving CNN exclusive details of the terror that unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD JORDAN, OAKLAND POLICE CHIEF: He said to us that he was upset with the administration. He was a student there and while he was a student he had been picked on and wasn't treated fairly by students and administrator and he wanted to get back at them. We're not certain what type of problems he was having with students, but we know that he was very upset and very distraught about the administration and the way that they had treated him in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Goh was captured at a grocery store five miles from the university about 90 minutes after that shooting.
Two Ft. Bliss soldiers and civilian have reportedly vanished from a weekend trip in New Mexico. Specialist Alton Weber and Sergeant Nicholas Nummert joined civilian Angelica Gonzalez on a kayaking trip down a river. None of the three have returned. Police found a white suburban Monday they believe the group was driving. Investigators say they have not uncovered anything suspicious.
Mystery for terrorism experts -- key Al Qaeda websites used to recruit terrorists and call for attacks on the west. These websites have been dark for the past two weeks. Some believe they were taken down in a cyber-attack, but no one has claimed responsibility. And come to your screen and look at this disturbing new poster. It shows the New York skyline and then the words "Al Qaeda coming soon again in New York." It's been posted on several Arabic language websites. New York police and FBI are investigating where it came from, but they say there's no specific, credible threat.
Over the edge literally, incredible video of an 18 wheeler busting through a divider going over a snowy cliff and rolling down a hill. Watch the tow truck. Watch the tow truck. The tow truck goes down with it. This happened in Norway. Police say the driver went down with the rig. He survived. He has several broken bones. The tow truck driver thankfully bailed out in time.
Mitt Romney shut down a question about his Mormon faith during a campaign event in Wisconsin. A man began reading an old passage from a Mormon text that describes people with black skin as cursed. Romney cut him off. The man then asked the GOP candidate whether he believes it's a sin for interracial couples to have children. Romney was visibly annoyed and gave a curt response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm sorry. We're not going to have a discussion about religion in my view. If you have a question, I would be happy to answer your question.
BRET HATCH, RON PAUL SUPPORTER: I guess my question is do you believe it's a sin for a white man to marry and procreate with a black?
ROMNEY: No. Next question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That answers the question. The man who asked that question is 28-year-old Bret Hatch. Hatch incorrectly says he's quoting the book of Mormon, but he is actually reading a verse in another Mormon scripture, the "Book of Moses," a part of the pearl of great price. Hatch spoke to reporters after the event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HATCH: He just said he wasn't Mormon. I was trying to read these things. They wouldn't let me read them. And then just basically I think that's an important issue. He's going up against a black guy. He's going against Obama. It's a racial issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Hatch says he is a Ron Paul supporter, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Interesting. All right, Christine, thank you.
New higher resolution surveillance videotape from the night that Trayvon Martin was killed. The video shows George Zimmerman in handcuffs roughly 30 minutes after the shooting. The tape has been enhanced and people say they can see red marks on the back of George Zimmerman's head almost on the top of his head. And it could support Zimmerman's story that he was attacked by Martin. Others say they don't see any blood and you don't see any bandages or serious injuries right there.
This morning we speak to Frank Taaffe, George Zimmerman's former neighbor and friend. Thanks for talking to us. We appreciate it. Give me a sense of how much you talked to George Zimmerman. Have you spoken to him since the shooting?
FRANK TAAFFE, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S NEIGHBOR: No. He left me a voice mail approximately about a week and a half ago. I did see the videotape. Soledad, it's clear that there are welts or gashes on the back of his head.
One thing I would like to bring up is EMTs, they administered first aid at the scene, which was our residence. Therefore when he was in care, custody and control of the Sanford police department, they ensured his care through the efforts of the Seminole county emergency services. That's why you don't see him like he came out of a 12-round fight like Rocky Balboa against Apollo Creed.
O'BRIEN: You don't see him with even a Band-Aid on his head. It looks like there's no laceration from that videotape. There's no bandage. There's nothing covering his head. If he was seen by paramedics, if it was a terrible gash, it wouldn't be over the line in suggesting that a Band-Aid or a wrap or bandage would be indicative of a very serious head injury.
TAAFFE: Soledad, I'm not a medical expert. You know, I've had gashes on my head, contusions that bleeding at some point. We have to remember they were there for a duration of time in which the paramedics administered first aid before they released him to the police to go downtown. You won't see as graphic as America wants to see a bloodied t-shirt, whatever y'all are looking for, he did sustain -- I mean, you know --
O'BRIEN: Let me stop you there for one second. I totally hear you on that. I'm not sure what America wants to see, but I'll say I do think that there is a time stamp on that police video.
TAAFFE: They do want to see some sort of blood. They want to see some sort of gore. Before he was released --
O'BRIEN: My sense is, and I'll ask you a question on the other side of it, that when someone claims that they've been slammed against concrete for a solid minute that people would think that there are injuries to the head that would be consistent with that. And so I guess what people are trying to see are those injuries consistent.
TAAFFE: They are. Look at the tape again.
O'BRIEN: Do you see a bandage or Band-Aid on it?
TAAFFE: I did see welts. I did see swelling. I did see cuts, all consistent with George's story.
O'BRIEN: Of having his head slammed on concrete for a minute. I want to talk to you about your neighborhood. I know you have quoted in the paper as talking about some burglaries.
TAAFFE: Neighborhood. That's a great word.
O'BRIEN: What do you mean?
TAAFFE: We had eight burglaries in our neighborhood all perpetrated by young black males in the 15 months prior to Trayvon being shot. It would have been nine -- there would have been nine, but George Zimmerman through his efforts of being a neighborhood watch captain helped stop one in progress, documented in the 911 calls February 2. My house was being robbed, and George on his nightly rounds watched this burglary in progress, called Sanford P.D., waited for them, and helped ensure that nothing bad happened to my house. And it's documented the 911 call for February 2. That was my residence that George Zimmerman helped stop --
O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the eight prior ones. They were perpetrated by young black men. How many cases did they arrest people? How many in those cases were people actually convicted?
TAAFFE: One I know where the perpetrator was apprehended. It was a daylight robbery in January of this year. The young black male went in during the daytime just two houses down from where my place was. And he was apprehended five days later by the Sanford police on a tip from the general repair folks that were working on our homes who watched the whole thing going down.
O'BRIEN: So it sounds to me it made sense to you that George Zimmerman would be fearful of young black men.
TAAFFE: No. It would be consistent that the perpetrators were all of the young black male I.D.
O'BRIEN: Say that one more time?
TAAFFE: That's a fact.
O'BRIEN: What do you mean? I don't understand what you're saying.
TAAFFE: All of the perpetrators of the burglaries, the prior burglaries, were young black males.
O'BRIEN: And so when he saw Trayvon Martin, in your mind it would make perfect sense to say he's a young black male. It's probably robbery -- is that what you're saying?
TAAFFE: There's an old saying if you plant corn, you get corn.
O'BRIEN: I don't know that saying. I'll have to ask you to tell me what that means. What does that mean in this case?
TAAFFE: It is what it is. It is what it is. I would go on record by stating that of the eight prior burglaries in the 15 months prior to the Trayvon Martin shooting, all of the perpetrators were young black males.
O'BRIEN: You've mentioned one. You've mentioned one you are talking about in a particular case of your house and then one other. You are talking about two I would have to confirm. My question is I'm trying to connect the dots to what that means for that night and that shooting. Are you saying that because there was a sense that --
TAAFFE: I use the phrase -- no disrespect to George Clooney. It was a perfect storm.
O'BRIEN: Meaning what?
TAAFFE: That all of the ingredients were set up. The prior burglaries were committed or perpetrated by young black males. George was on his rounds. And it just was -- first of all, Soledad, it's a tragedy. I'm not condoning the use of the lethal weapon in this case. Let me just out that. Secondly, it was just a perfect storm that all the components were there for this tragedy to transpire.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Frank, this is Will Cain. Can I ask you a quick question with that knowledge you are sharing with us right now that you had eight previous robberies by your definition by young black men. Had you at your neighborhood watch meetings talked about this? Had you guys paid particular attention to that and said let's be on the lookout for young black men in the neighborhood?
TAAFFE: Can you repeat that?
CAIN: What you shared with us, was that something discussed in your neighborhood meetings? Did you talk about being robbed by young black men and need to pay attention?
TAAFFE: No. Young black men were never the topic of discussion. It was just the fact that we had been robbed. It was never brought up --
O'BRIEN: Let me ask you one other question. You said this. You're quoted in "The New York Times" talking about these burglaries. You said "They were Trayvon-like dudes with their pants down." I think part of that means --
TAAFFE: I never said that.
O'BRIEN: That's a misquote from "The New York Times"?
TAAFFE: I never said that. Yes, it is.
TAAFFE: I never used that term and I would go on record -- I never said that.
CAIN: Frank, this is Will one more time. I'm trying to make sense, because George Zimmerman's family's contention is that George never racially profiled Trayvon Martin. But a lot of what I hear from you today sounds like he might have in fact and that would have been appropriate. Is that what you're sharing with us?
TAAFFE: Once again, we're having some sort of technical difficulty here. I can't hear the question.
CAIN: I apologize for that. What I'm saying is George Zimmerman's family contended that George did not racially profile Trayvon Martin. But some of what you're sharing with us today sounds like you're suggesting it might have been appropriate if he had.
TAAFFE: George did not surveil just one group of people. It was an effort on his part to surveil everyone who looked suspicious, not just, as the "Times" call it, Trayvon-like dudes.
O'BRIEN: In your mind did young black men look suspicious because there were eight burglaries by your count?
TAAFFE: Everyone that rolled through our neighborhood looked suspicion after eight burglaries. Our neighborhood was on heightened alert to all suspicious individuals whether it was Latin, Latinos, white, whatever the case is. It just wasn't specifically one group of individuals.
O'BRIEN: That sounds to me like you are contradicting what you said to me earlier, sir.
TAAFFE: No, you are asking me if George profiled one group of people in my mind. And George looked at the whole landscape when he surveilled our property. It just so happened that the prior eight burglaries were all perpetrated by young black males.
O'BRIEN: All right, we'll leave it there. Frank Taaffe joining us. Thanks for your time this morning. Appreciate it.
Got to take a short break. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: This morning getting a look at Whitney Houston's final film it's called "Sparkle." I am dying to see this it's a remake of the 1976 original. Did you ever see that "Sparkle"?
SPURLOCK: I did.
O'BRIEN: You did?
CAIN: He had to say yes, he's a movie critic.
O'BRIEN: I know that's what I thought. You're a movie --
SPURLOCK: I've never seen it. Never seen it in my life.
O'BRIEN: She stars as a mother who is -- has an addiction in her family and a daughter who wants to be famous. Here's how it goes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was my life not enough of a cautionary tale for you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are close to getting a record deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know if I had any sense, I would be living off you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did that to you, didn't he?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to be part of the group?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are trying to destroy what we built. Well you and me we started this thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would the lord give me this gift if I wasn't supposed to use it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It takes a lot of faith to just sparkle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: I'm dying to see that. T.D. Jakes is one of the producers it opens in August. You want to go, everybody?
SPURLOCK: It looks good, I'm in.
O'BRIEN: Will Cain?
CAIN: Jordin Sparks is the lead, is that right?
O'BRIEN: Yes you're going to go.
CAIN: Yes I'm in by the way.
HUNTSMAN: The film is going to be -- it's kind of a memory. It's a little eerie.
O'BRIEN: Lines out the door, yes I'm sure of it.
Still ahead this morning, I'm going to talk to the mom who inspired the movie "The Blind Side." She's experienced racism, she says, up close in her family. Leigh Anne Tuohy and her take on the Trayvon Martin situation, straight ahead. There she is in our green room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But what about Collins?
SANDRA BULLOCK, ACTRESS: What about Collins?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aren't you worried? Maybe even just a little. He's a boy, a large black boy, sleeping under the same roof.
BULLOCK: Shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Shame on you. That's a clip from the movie "The Blind Side". Sandra Bullock won an Oscar playing Leigh Anne Tuohy, a woman with an adopted black son who encountered lots of uncomfortable, I guess is one way to put it, moments of racism. Leigh Anne joins us this morning nice to see you.
LEIGH ANNE TUOHY, MOTHER OF NFL PLAYER MICHAEL OHER: Good morning.
O'BRIEN: We're of course -- we are interested in chatting with you because much of this conversation around the Trayvon Martin case has focused on -- on racism. When you brought Michael Oher into your family and really adopted him and he was a grown child. And he was a big kid. And literally a big kid. You got a lot of backlash which they showed in the movie from your friends. Kind of society friends in a lot of ways as well.
TUOHY: Yes, we did. I mean, you know everyone has an opinion. Everyone wanted to share their opinion with us. But -- but we had an understanding in the family of -- of what was going to happen and where we would be going with this.
We were very grounded. And it didn't affect us. But it's unfortunate that people look at you exterior -- what you wear, what you have on and like pigeon hole you and they make pre decisions about who you are and what you're going to do. And --
O'BRIEN: Did that conversation happen in real life?
TUOHY: John Lee Hancock who wrote and directed "The Blind Side" spent an ordinate amount of time with us. And he saw situation after situation after situation that lended itself to what you just saw. So you know to make it in a little blip so he can invoke an emotion with an audience he used that scene.
But what I loved about it is after the movie, six months, eight months, I still run into people and they would go, that wasn't me in that scene? Like, I don't know, was it?
O'BRIEN: Guilty conscience.
TUOHY: Exactly because guilty conscience can do a lot.
O'BRIEN: What kind of conversations are you having about race now or do you think need to be had -- had about race. You're in this interesting position, right -- white mother, black son conversations about race coming from all sides from black people, from white people.
TUOHY: Right. I think first of all that we allude ourselves in this country by thinking that racism is not alive and well. You know we want to pat ourselves on the back and say we were doing a great job and we're conquering racism. And you're not really.
I mean, it is alive and well in this country. And it's -- it's not necessarily a white/black thing. It can be the Hispanic against the African-Americans, you know it's not -- when you think racism, you think it's whites against blacks or blacks against whites and that's not. It encompasses much more than that. It encompasses Jewish people, it encompasses overweight children on a playground.
O'BRIEN: It's discrimination across the board.
TUOHY: Yes, it's bullying and discrimination across the board. And you know we need to start with education. We need to educate people. When you start with parenting. Try getting off your butt and being a parent. You know that will change a lot. That will move the needle if you try to be a parent and parent your kid and stop trying to be their best friend. Be their parent. O'BRIEN: What will the fallout do you think be from the Trayvon Martin case?
TUOHY: I don't know because it's gotten so many tentacles now that are far outreaching what the true message needs to be. I hope you know, violence -- look, I have an 18-year-old white son that wears hoodies all the time. And people look at him strange and oddly.
We have to, in our minds, stop judging everybody about every little thing. Be more accepting of others. Be more caring. Be more loving. Put yourself in somebody else's shoes. You know, and just turn around. You know what's -- the view behind you is a whole lot different looking than the view in front of you. So turn around and let's just try to get along and quit just -- I don't know.
You're going to get me on preaching here and that's losing your focus. There's a lot that we can do by doing a little.
O'BRIEN: I want Abby to jump in.
LIVINGSTON: Leigh Anne, how is Michael doing and how has the movie affected your life and his? I mean I know you try to walk the streets and people say I feel like you're my mother and movie impacted my life so much. And how has it affected his life most importantly?
TUOHY: Well, I think it affected everyone's life. All three of the kids. Not just Michael's. But you know, everybody is in a good spot right now. The Ravens had an excellent season. I don't know if you follow NFL football. We had a really good season.
O'BRIEN: So close.
TUOHY: Yes, so close. It just matters, I'm telling you but it was fun. It was a great ride. And he's enjoyed the off-season. But he is handling this beautifully.
I mean all three of our kids realize the power that the message has and they've been great stewards of it. And you know, we want you to know that everyone has value. And I think that the fact that, you know, Michael Oher pulled himself up and we just really allowed Michael to become the person he was supposed to become.
O'BRIEN: We're so grateful you came in to talk to us about this, this morning.
TUOHY: Thank you. Appreciate it.
O'BRIEN: We're watching this case as closely as you are, obviously.
Got to take a break. "End Point" up next. Pleasure to have you.
O'BRIEN: Abby is up for "End Point".
LIVINGSTON: I'm determined to go to the Comic Con Festival this year. I think I want to go as Superwoman. But it shows that, you know, you really have the freedom of expression in our country and I love events like this. So very exciting.
SPURLOCK: Awesome. Well, what I want to say is for all my geeks on this panel
For all my geeks on this panel and out in America, all the fan boys and fan girls, Comic Con Episode Four opens this Friday. So take your friends. Put on your mask. Get your bat wings out and get ready to be on demand nationwide.
O'BRIEN: I love the proposal. I'm dying to go see that.
O'BRIEN: Will Cain, final words?
CAIN: I'm not only going to plug Morgan's current movie. I'm going to plug his next movie because during the break Abby asked him what's your next movie? He said it's on manscaping which I am very interested in that.
O'BRIEN: Facial hair.
CAIN: Facial hair is the least -- it's the tip of the iceberg Soledad.
O'BRIEN: That's our final word. Let's get right to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. It begins right now. Hey Carol, good morning.