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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
March Jobs Report Disappointing; Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.2 Percent; Author Discusses Book on Happiness; Documentary Focuses on School Age Bullying
Aired April 6, 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: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.
Our STARTING POINT this morning is jobs. The huge March employment report is out. In just about 30 minutes, we're going to bring that to you.
The president is looking for an election boost. America is looking for a sense of security. We'll find out who is working and who is not.
Plus, an annoyed federal judge gives the Obama administration some homework, an essay on judicial review. The DOJ has responded. Some are calling it a bizarre move in the health care fight.
Plus, the powerful documentary "Bully" -- it's a movie with a message meant for kids.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They punched me in the jaw, strangled me, and knock things out of my hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: This movie is so heartbreaking and moving. We're going to talk to that young man right there. Also to the filmmaker and the parents as well.
And now, more kids will be able to see that movie. We'll tell you what's happened there.
It is Friday, April 6th -- and STARTING POINT begins right now.
O'BRIEN: You're listing to Hootie and the Blowfish, "I Only Want to be With You." That's the choice of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz's playlist. She's going to be joining us in just a few moments, to talk about jobs and the economy.
I wonder for the politicians who join us, is there like a team of people who think very carefully? I would think so, don't you think?
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I would think so too. Everything else they do in life.
O'BRIEN: Will Cain is on our panel this morning.
John Fugelsang -- I always messed up your last night. He's a political comedian, radio personality.
And also, we have Ali Velshi, CNN's chief business correspondent and the anchor of "World Business Today".
That rounds out our panel this morning.
We got to get to headlines before we do anything else.
Good morning, Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.
Another embarrassment this morning for the General Services Administration. That's the agency in charge of buying the government's big ticket items. The head of the GSA resigned this week after details came out about a lavish conference she held in Las Vegas, a conference that featured among other things a clown, and a mind reader and $7,000 in sushi among other things.
Now, a new web video has surfaced from a competition at the conference that shows another GSA employee joking about excessive government spending.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
ROMANS: Oh, yes, OYG investigation.
The video also mentions an awards program, Top Hat program -- you heard him say, you heard him rap. The awards program for GSA employees that gave out $200,000 worth of taxpayer funded iPods, electronics, gift cards, giving them to entry level government employees.
House Republicans plan to hold a hearing on the GSA later this month.
Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry who was once caught in a cocaine sting is now in trouble for a slam on Asian Americans who open up businesses in black communities. He's now a city councilman in D.C. and he was celebrating a Democratic primary victory when he said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARION BARRY, D.C. COUNCILMAN: We don't need shopping centers. We got to do something about these Asians coming in and opening up businesses and dirty shops. They ought to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Later on Twitter, Barry backed off the remarks saying he was very sorry for offending the Asian-American community with admittedly bad choice of words. Attorney General Eric Holder responding to a demand from a federal appellate judge who took issue with the president saying if the Supreme Court overturned the health care law, it would be unprecedented.
Holder sent a three-page letter to Judge Jerry Smith, reassuring him that the power of the court to review the constitutionality of federal laws is, quote, "beyond dispute".
Police divers in Alabama are searching the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa for a college student who fell over board last night. The male student was attending a sorority party on the Bama Belle. Police say alcohol was being served to the party, but it's still not clear if that played a role.
The author of the best seller "Three Cups of Tea" has reached a settlement deal with authorities in Montana. Greg Mortenson is accused of misusing funds from the charity he helped create, the Central Asia Institute. He's now agreed to pay the institute more than a million dollars.
Mortenson has also come under fire for allegedly fabricating details of that best selling book.
Keith Olbermann's parting of the ways with his last TV gig is getting ugly and getting expensive. The former "Countdown" host has filed a breach contract lawsuit against Current TV. He's suing for $50 million to $70 million in compensation.
Current TV calls the suit false and malicious. It's also accusing Olbermann of sabotaging his own show, including failing to even come up o work. In a statement, the network said, quote, "We hope Mr. Olbermann understands that when it comes to the legal process, he is actually required to show up."
It's Good Friday for Christians around the world, celebrating Lent. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday when Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI will leads Good Friday services at the Vatican 5:00 p.m. this afternoon.
The Jewish celebration of Passover begins at sundown tonight. Passover celebrates the exodus of ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
A Michigan man won $4.4 million with an instant lottery ticket he didn't want. The man walked in to a traveler center in Saginaw County. He meant to buy a $10 ticket. He accidently puts 20 bucks in the lotto machine. And it was a lucky mistake.
The big winner says he's going to use the prize money to live, quote, "debt-free from bills and mortgage payments." That's what we all want in life, right, Soledad?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I love those stories. I really do. I love these stories for someone accidentally stumbles into -- I think they are better than the stories of somebody making a video rapping about over spending.
Do you think?
CAIN: Yes. I mean, we really went out on a limb on that one. I mean, it is a better story. You're right.
O'BRIEN: I mean, yes. I want to cheer for the successes and the champions. Come on.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We'll find a middle ground. Those people looking to make some money and doing it the honest way.
O'BRIEN: All right. Yes, you're right, Mr. Businessman.
CAIN: Four-point-four million sounds small after our $650 million.
O'BRIEN: I had a friend who won 11 million in college.
VELSHI: In college. Still friends?
O'BRIEN: Yes, very much so.
VELSHI: That almost covers NYU tuition.
O'BRIEN: All right. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT: We're going to talk about that documentary "Bully" -- a movie with a very, very powerful message. Listen.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
O'BRIEN: That's Alex Libby being smacked on the bus. The movie profiles bullying over a long amount of time in school. We're going to talk to Alex and his parents and also the director of the movie, big change for that movie. We'll tell you what it is.
Plus, is there a key to happiness? Is there anyone from Finland in the house? Apparently being from Finland -- it's one of the happiest countries in the world. The U.S., we're behind that by a lot.
We're going to talk this morning to Gretchen Rubin. She is Miss Happiness in a way. She'll tell us why.
Also, he's a rock star on a mission. This week's CNN hero is filling arenas and stadiums across the country, bringing free medical care to thousands.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Thank you.
STAN BROCK, MEDICAL MARVEL: Take care of these numbers. They represent several hundred dollars worth of medical care.
The first people arrived yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I live with constant pain, I mean like every day.
BROCK: They spend the night in their cars. Some pitch tents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have lumps in my breasts. I've been here long time, but it's worth it.
Nobody understands what it's like to be penniless, homeless and uninsured.
My name is Stan Brock, I'm the founder of Remote Area Medical. We provide free medical care for the underserved.
In the beginning it was an airborne operation in the overseas area. Today, I would say at least 60 percent of our work is here in the United States.
How many are here to see the dentist?
About 85 percent of all the people that come really are looking for dentistry and vision.
We don't ask you whether you have insurance or whether you have a job or you are a citizen of the United States. The only requirement is that you got to show up early.
Remote Area Medical has seen over half a million people free. This is number 663 of these expeditions as we call them.
Well, you got a pair of glasses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. It really was --
BROCK: Well delighted.
The patients are marvelous. They are so grateful for what we're able to do for them. There's no feeling like that, knowing that you (INAUDIBLE). It's just great.
O'BRIEN: Can we make it four months in a row of good job numbers? We're going to find out in less than 20 minutes. That is when the March jobs report is going to be released.
Economists are saying they feel optimistic. But the ones we questioned here at CNN predict that the economy is going to add 200,000 jobs in March. They are also predicting the unemployment rate will drop slightly from 8.3 percent to 8.2 percent. This, of course, comes after yesterday's news which was jobless claims falling to their lowest levels in four years, to 357,000.
Joining us this morning is Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She's chairman of the DNC and also a member of the budget committee.
Nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIRWOMAN: Good to see you, too.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.
All right. Let's start, first and foremost, with assuming the numbers are what they are predicting to be. How much of a lift do you think this gives to the president?
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think what it does is it gives a lift to Americans. We've gone from when President Obama took office leaving 700,000 jobs a month and now we've had after three years, 25 months straight of continuous job growth in the private-sector, almost 4 million jobs created before -- you know, we don't know what the numbers will be, but before the numbers come out today.
And so, with a continued resurgence in the manufacturing sector, which if you'll remember Mitt Romney said we couldn't be a manufacturing economy any more. We had more manufacturing jobs created since the 1990s.
So, we're moving in the right direction. President Obama, you know, wants to continue to press forward and create more jobs, create an environment that makes sure that everybody in America has an opportunity to be successful and that we can build an economy that's built to last. And that's the direction we're headed.
O'BRIEN: But when you look at where the actual jobs are being created, they are not being created in those manufacturing construction jobs which are considered very good jobs. They are being created in the service industry, a sector, which for many people think those jobs are not as for a number of reasons.
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No, no. Soledad, there's been a pretty significant increase in health care related jobs which are also high paying. I mean, we need to make sure that we continue the -- building the depth and breadth of the recovery. President Obama has been able to, through investments in our economy, through investments in green energy-related jobs, create those kind of jobs that are a meaningful salary that can help the middle class and working families grow their opportunities.
But, you know, that's compared to Mitt Romney and the Republicans whose focus has been to make sure that millionaires and billionaires get more and more of the tax breaks that corporate America, you know, gets showered with largess and that somehow it's all going to trickle down.
O'BRIEN: So, you know the governor would say that's not -- that's not his focus. In fact, here's what he has said. SCHULTZ: It certainly it has been his focus.
O'BRIEN: He wouldn't say it's not his entire focus helping millionaires and billionaires. His takeaway has been this. He says listen it should be more, the economy is improving but it's not enough. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The problem is this is deeper than what it needed to be and slower recovery than it should have been by virtue of the policies of this president. Almost everything he's done has made it harder for this economy to recover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So what do you make of that assessment? It's good, it could be better.
SCHULTZ: This from the governor, a former governor of Massachusetts, whose state was 47th out of 50 in job creation during the last recession. I mean this is not a man with a track record of job creation. When he was head of Bain Capital, his responsibility was to take apart companies, break them up and sell off the pieces for significant profit. When he was governor of Massachusetts and the only opportunity he had to be a public policy role, his state was not in very good shape. They had the second lowest job creation in the country. And so this is not a person with a track record that you can write home about. So he certainly is not one to be talking about a recovery that should have been bigger.
The wonderful thing that I have, that I find at home when I'm in my district with my constituents is you feel the confidence coming back. Small business owners tell me that they are feeling more free to hire again. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there are businesses that can get a 35 percent tax credit because they can now cover their employees because they can afford to.
O'BRIEN: So let me stop you there for one second because I want to ask Ali Velshi a question. What the congresswoman is talking about, the feel of the economy to a large degree can drive how this election will go.
ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Entirely. In fact, that's the most important thing. As we know recessions come and go based on how people feel. They spend more money. That creates more demand. That's exactly where we're seeing job creation.
What's at issue is the reason why we're seeing this job creation. There are a few theories. One companies over fired. They laid off too many people at the beginning of the version. They didn't know what was going to happen, so the best thing to do is lay people off to save money. Demand crept back and they didn't have enough money. This could have much more to do with the business cycle in general. I'm having trouble connecting the dots between some of these things. While I don't think Obamacare was detrimental to this job creation, I'm not sure that's why people are hiring people. They are hiring people because there's demand.
SCHULTZ: The feel is getting better, as the congresswoman says. If that chart we talk is improving, Will Cain, that could be a real challenge for folks on the Republican side.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The economy improving is good for everyone. Ali pointed the exact question. Why it is improving? Is it improving like the congresswoman suggests or said product of a natural economic recovery from the business cycle?
O'BRIEN: Let me ask a final question to the congresswoman. We heard from the AFL-CIO, the president, he said about the jobs act sort of like well you just wait and see. When the next bubble bursts Americans will want to know who to blame. What do you make of his argument on that?
SCHULTZ: President Obama has been really trying to make sure we strike the right balance between the appropriate amount of regulation in business and ensuring that we're not going to slow down the recovery. So he's rolled back, you know, really hundreds of government regulations, made sure that we have an environment through the jobs act that is going to help businesses thrive. And so striking the right balance so that we're not having a business environment that runs over consumers, passing the credit card holders bill of rights, Wall Street reform, those were things that were tough decisions, they were politically challenging decisions. But he knew they were the right thing to do because we have to strike that balance and ensure government isn't overly burdensome to businesses but businesses can't take advantage of consumers. And that's what he's been doing throughout his presidency which has also contributed to an improving economy.
O'BRIEN: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz joining us this morning. Nice to see you.
SCHULTZ: You too. Thanks, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: You bet. Still ahead on STARTING POINT, Friday, spring, baseball season -- what is not to be happy about? Apparently the U.S. is lagging behind the rest of the world in cheerfulness. We're going to ask the woman who wrote the book "Happiness Project." Where is at it struggle to be happy. Gretchen Rubin's playlist, "Praise You." We'll be back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: The first-ever world happiness report has been released by the United Nations this week. It ranks the level of happiness in 156 countries around the world. The U.S. doesn't even make it into the top ten. Yes, we're number 11. Here are the countries that rank two through to five. Canada comes in at number five, the Netherlands at number four, Norway at number three, Finland at number two. And number one --
JOHN FUGELSANG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Texas.
O'BRIEN: The country of Denmark.
Gretchen Rubin literally wrote the book on happiness. She has a book called "The Happiness Project" and the subtitle is "Or why I spent a year trying to sig in the morning clean my closets, fight, write, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun." I started reading this book because my husband started to read this book. I love this book. Why tackle happiness?
GRETCHEN RUBIN, AUTHOR, "THE HAPPINESS PROJECT": I think it underlies our whole life. Until I had the idea to do the happiness project I never spent any time thinking about whether I was happy. Then I realized that's what is most important to me. I don't spend any time thinking about it. So I spent a year on focusing on the decisions I make.
O'BRIEN: I love it. It's organized by month, Sort of the overarching theme of the month and the struggles. What I loved about this book is that it's very practical. I'm circling things. Let's walk through some keys to happiness. Here's what you say. Some of the keys to happiness are sleep.
O'BRIEN: How did you find that was correlated?
RUBIN: Energy is so important to a sense of happiness. A lot of times things we need to do to be happy takes energy or organization. If you feel lethargic, overwhelmed, most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep. If you don't get enough sleep, people think they adjust to it, but it backs up on them in many, many different ways.
O'BRIEN: I'm thinking of my husband believes you can go into a situation. Pretend you're happy. How does that work.
RUBIN: It's a very well established psychological principle. We act because of the way we feel. But we feel because of the way we act. You are shy you act outgoing. If you're resentful, act loving. You induce those feelings. It's almost uncanny how much you can switch your emotions around just by changing your outward reactions. It's more like going towards what you want it to be true. Faking sounds like a pretense.
O'BRIEN: Feeling friendly when you're not feeling friendly. Enjoy now meaning kind of enjoy the moment. Compare, the comparative sense of happiness. It could be worse. Write it down, keep a gratitude journal. The last one or not the last one is be yourself. In the book often you're saying be Gretchen. What do you mean by that?
RUBIN: Everybody needs to substitute their own name, obviously.
(LAUGHTER) RUBIN: Somebody wrote me this irate e-mail about this. I thought that was understood. Anyway, know thy self is engraved on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. It's one of the most ancient principles of happiness. You're hanging out with yourself. It's perfectly obvious who you are. So often we don't know who we are. We don't know what we want or what our values are or what our interests are. We're so worried about what we think we ought to be or the way we are.
CAIN: To be myself, I'm a little bit of a contrarian.
RUBIN: You can be happy and ambitious.
CAIN: Some people suggest we put too much emphasis on being happy. There are actually some benefits to being discontented, such as ambition.
RUBIN: Do negative emotions play a part? They do. Things like envy can show you what you really want. Feeling guilty shows your actions are not reflecting your values. Negative emotions can be really important.
And there's this strong theme in happiness. Ask if you're happy and you'll cease to be so. If you worry too much about being happy you'll trip over your own feet. In my experience I found that the more I thought very specifically about happiness and how I could be happier the more I was able to make these little opportunities for practical changes in my everyday life that could make me happier. So I find that directly aiming at that target is helpful.
But I will acknowledge many, many great minds in history have expressed that thought so I'm a little bit -- yes.
FUGELSANG: There's a famous story of John Lennon in school what do you want to do in your life. I want to be happy. They said you don't understand business. He said you don't understand life. As someone who has often thought happiness is part of mood swings and this too shall pass, and for a lot of people depression is homebase. Would you agree happiness is a choice? I think what Will is getting at a lot of Americans wait for it to come to them. I was happy all the time as a young person and I'm a sad guy on Facebook reliving my glory. Isn't it a conscious choice that one has to pursue and manifest?
RUBIN: I think that's very true. I feel the choice to be happy is too big. One of the things I did is I broke it down into small concrete actions. I didn't know how to choose happiness because that seemed too abstract to me even though I month for many people that's the mantra of their life. I had to say I'm going to choose to go to bed on time. I'm going to hug and kiss my children many times a day. I'll choose to imitate my spiritual master. These are little things that felt tangible.
O'BRIEN: The book is basically a guide, it's terrific. It's called "The Happiness Project." Gretchen, thank you for coming in. Check out her blog. You have to wait until the commercial break. We're just minutes away from that critical jobs report. It's the jobs report. Christine will break down the numbers for us and tell us what it means for the economy.
Plus we're talking about the movie "Bully" documenting the daily torments kids experienced echoed at schools across the country. One of the kids who is profiled in that movie appears with his parents and the director. You're watching STARTING POINT. Got to take a break. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. This just into CNN, the March jobs report. Hey, Christine. We've got a look at an analysis of this. Good morning. What have you got?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, 8.2 percent was the unemployment rate, so it dropped a little bit. But the number of jobs created, the net number of jobs created was disappointing, Soledad, 120,000 new jobs net created in the month of March, in part because of some big layoffs in retail. So that was a problem there. The trend many people were hoping for four months in a row 200,000 plus job creation we didn't get that.
Let me show what this trend looks like. You had a little bit less than they had hoped, a couple of revisions here. People had hoped you were is going to have more of a trend moving up here, but 120,000 is a little more disappointing than many people had been hoping for.
But the 8.2 percent unemployment rate is pretty interesting. That dips it down below the 8.3 of last month. And an analyst who studies what the numbers mean for politics earlier today told me most people expect the unemployment rate to drop below eight percent by the time of the election.
I want to show really quickly something else here. We brought this all the way back to the Bush administration when you saw so many -- this is the financial crisis here. These are all these job losses from the peak of employment to the trough. It was 8.8 million jobs loss. We had a stumble here. People worried about a double dip recession. Then you had slow and steady job creation. You want to see this continuing to go like this, though, and that's what we've been hoping for.
O'BRIEN: Let's bring in Ali to talk about that. You can see by 120,000 as opposed to 200,000 we were anticipating you already messing up your growth chart.
VELSHI: We like the fact that there are jobs created. We don't like the fact it's only 120,000. All of those jobs were created in the private sector. There was only 1,000 jobs lost in the government sector. So we're done with the government layoff. We like the unemployment rate is down to 8.2 percent. But it almost doesn't matter. What people at home are worried about are there more jobs out there?
So there are. The two areas, 34,000 lost in retail. That's very worrying. At the beginning of the state of Ohio took out my money and I showed will this is what matters if people are feeling good about the economy and they're spending money. The fact that there are retail layoffs is inconsistent, because yesterday we saw retail sales, the monthly report, and they were very strong. So there's something weird going on there which we have to look into.
And there were 30,000 manufacturing jobs added. This has been consistent trend for about a year now which is strange because we are this country that's not a manufacturer any more. The car sales have been very strong, December, January, February. This is probably where these manufacturing jobs are coming from.
Bottom line still in the right -- we're on the right side of the equation. But that's not a strong number. Here's another thing. When you look at the worst of the financial crisis, you think back to January, February and March of 2009.
O'BRIEN: While you're doing that, Christine, why don't you bring that up for us.
VELSHI: That was the worst of it. Back then unemployment rate was just under eight percent. We're now at 8.2 percent. As Christine mentioned we're probably going -- we may get below that eight percent by then and then we'll be better off than the worst of this financial crisi. Again we're still on track.
O'BRIEN: Where are these jobs being created. That's critical.
O'BRIEN: The service industry has done very well in creation of jobs. Although some of these numbers that Ali is talking about is a little worrisome there. But at the same time manufacturing jobs getting an increase.
ROMANS: Yes, 37,000 manufacturing jobs created. We've been seeing that for a few months. That's a reversal of a trend that's been in place for a long time. You have high oil prices. Some companies are saying hey we should start making stuff back in this country so we don't have to ship it 14,000 miles to ship to it American consumers. And also this idea that around the world wages are increasing in some low wage countries so it makes it more economical to create, at least to have some manufacturing in this country.
Also health care employment grew and that's been a consistent bright spot, physicians and hospitals adding jobs, about 8,000 jobs in the month. Also employment and financial activities was up 15,000, which is -- you see a lot of layoffs in the past year in that. But information was down. Ali mentioned retail. There was big losses in retail. The only places you didn't see in retail was in like the garden and home centers. We had such nice good weather this spring that that's been good for those sorts of jobs. But for the rest of retail, not.
O'BRIEN: Christine, thank you. We'll keep talking about this as we continue through the show. Also we'll talk about this new movie "Bully," a documentary with a powerful message. Now a younger audience can see it. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll cut your face off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: We're going to talk to that young man, the victim of bullying and his parents and the director straight ahead.
You're watching STARTING POINT. Got to take a short break. We'll see you on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The guy in the red shorts started the punching and when he started swinging, when he started swinging everybody started going after him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That's what was happening in Corpus Christi, Texas, a fight at an anti-bullying rally. The fight started as the parents of the 16-year-old Ted Malina were rallying outside of his school. They say that being bullied led to the young man killing himself, and that it was the same tormentors that started that fight.
It's very much in line what's happening in the new movie "Bully." It addresses problems like Ted's and 13 million other children who will be bullied this year. Last week we had the director on to talk about this movie. Here's a scene from the movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you're my buddy, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not your buddy. I will cut your face off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That movie just had its rating lowered from R to pg- 13. That's very important because more kids can see it. The director is here and joining us the Alex Libby. He was in that clip. His mom and dad join us as well. Nice to see all of you. Let's talk to you first. When you were speaking last week tissue was the rating. That was really important to get it from an R to a pg-13. How were you able to resolve that issue?
LEE HIRSCH, DIRECTOR, "BULLY" DOCUMENTARY: Always knew -- I had this like great faith that the MPAA would lower this rating. It's this ratings board, the MPAA. We fought. We had to go unrated because we would not cut the scene, the scene in which Alex gets bullying. We would not cut it.
O'BRIEN: The issue is the curse words.
HIRSCH: Curse words, yes. So overall there were six curse words in the film. And the three in that scene were the ones that were really conveying the power of the bullying. We drew a line and we held it. And we had so much support from so many celebrities, Meryl Streep, Ellen Degeneres. The voice of Katie Butler and the half a million people that signed a petition on Change.org. We kept fighting and fighting.
O'BRIEN: Some kids can see this.
HIRSCH: They agreed if we cut out three that are sort of in the background and trailed off, but we could keep those which was the big give from the MPAA.
O'BRIEN: Let's roll that clip. It's horrible to watch. I'm sure as Alex parents it had to be brutal to watch. I know you showed to it them. This is Alex being bullied on the bus.
HIRSCH: This may not be the clip that the rate is over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So that's Alex who is being hit there. Alex, I want to ask you what slight to look at those pictures of yourself being smacked around and choked and pushed on the bus?
ALEX LIBBY, SUBJECT IN "BULLY": Well I guess like just brings back the memories of that whole year of when I was bullied. And I want -- and then there's these questions that come to mind, like, did they ever change, are they actually trying to stop it or are they just doing what they did to me? And I've -- I've tried to get in touch with these bullies and I want to -- I want to know.
O'BRIEN: It must be really hard to see that. And I know that very question that Alex is asking is a question that you went to the school administrator with which is like what is happening on this bus.
I want to play that clip. As a parent I tell you I was bawling watching this. Let's play that clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You send your kids to the school with the assumption that if they're out of your care they are in someone else's who is just as capable as you of keeping him safe. And I don't feel like that. He's not safe on that bus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. It's hard. It is hard. And you know what? This was my day on Thursday. This is my granddaughter and her new baby brother. I would be sitting there crying just like you if anything happened to those two kids. See my new baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: The school's reaction I thought -- and not just in this scene but in numerous scenes -- was absolutely inappropriate. So when you saw these pictures of Alex, because you saw the video, how did you handle that? I mean didn't you just want to get on the bus yourself and do something about it?
JACKIE LIBBY, "SUBJECT IN BULLY": I cried. That was my response. I mean it's in the film. I just -- we had been searching for answers for so long about why we had disconnected from everyone including us and here Lee handed us this answer and which was awesome, because now we knew what was wrong but just wasn't the answer that we wanted.
O'BRIEN: How do you fix it? I mean going clearly going to school officials was not going to be helpful.
PHILIP LIBBY, "SUBJECT IN BULLY": No, it wasn't. It wasn't helpful. Their solution was to take Alex off the bus as opposed to stepping in and stopping the cruelty that was happening to him. So ultimately Alex was removed from one bus on to another one where they couldn't give us any guarantees that he would be safe on that bus. It turned out the bus was a disabilities bus and so the kids were, I guess, less threatening towards Alex.
O'BRIEN: Alex, has this movie changed how you deal with bullies in any way?
A. LIBBY: Yes. Now I actually know what to do and if I'm being attacked by someone.
O'BRIEN: What do you do?
A. LIBBY: Like, well at first, I made a mistake when I was doing this film, I've said many times before that I was embarrassed that I was getting bullied. And so the first thing to do would be to tell someone about it. And then if nothing gets done then if it comes to the point where you had to stand up for yourself, do it. But unless -- try to get other people involved first to stop it.
O'BRIEN: Lee, in the film --
LEE HIRSCH, DIRECTOR, "BULLY" DOCUMENTARY: I'm so proud of him. Like --
O'BRIEN: It's a huge process. That's a giant process.
HIRSCH: You know, to see the journey that he's been on is just awesome and for this family, and they've traveled to talk about this film and it's not easy. I mean what they shared with us, with this country, is just very special. But Alex, I'm so proud of you.
O'BRIEN: Well to see the difference between that film and then to see what you're saying now is huge, I think.
O'BRIEN: You at one point in the film you show pictures of Alex's birth. He was delivered at 26 weeks. Very, very premature and you said, you were told, people didn't think he would survive.
J. LIBBY: Not through the night.
O'BRIEN: Tough from the get go, I guess is how you put it. How do you -- the film talks about sort of rallies and people coming together. What do you think of the first steps and anybody can jump in now to make this -- because it's clearly an epidemic. It's clearly, it's a problem that's much bigger than just your child, Alex. It's a lot of kids.
HIRSCH: Well, I think that at -- at the very core we're talking about hearts and minds. And we need, or I hope that efforts like ours, this film and others that are happening organically across the country are really about changing the narrative now.
That we've been -- you've been reporting on tragedies for how many years, two years or more? I think it's time that we start talking about bullying and in the same sentence we talk about standing up. We talk about how we can make a difference.
Youth see this film. They see how they could have been on that bus but being the ones that were actually stepping up for Alex. Parents are talking about -- we're seeing parents at the movie theaters filming them together and seeing that we're talking to our kids in a way that we've never done before which is amazing. All of those things --
O'BRIEN: I -- I watched the film with my kids who are seven, 10 and 11.
O'BRIEN: And of course first words you know was an issue. We had a little conversation because there was a lot of the "f" word in the film. But we sort of framed it as these are bad words. But I want you to watch the point of the film and it was really impactful for them. It made a big, big difference. You did a lot for my kids, you should know that.
O'BRIEN: How do parents who want to see this maybe in a church group or in some kind of venue. You know how -- how do they --
HIRSCH: Well please go to our Web site, www.TheBullyProject.com. There's a group sales button. We'll support you guys. We're opening not this weekend, we're still in a few theaters but next weekend we open just about across the whole country and the weekend after that hopefully more.
So check on our Web site, on our Facebook page which is facebook.com/bully.
HIRSCH: There's all the theaters are listed. Get involved. We have a great outreach team to support you. We have a wonderful curriculum that you can download for free.
O'BRIEN: Anybody who sees the movie will understand all about what you're talking about in terms of next steps.
HIRSCH: Yes, yes.
O'BRIEN: Lee Hirsch is the director of "Bully". Alex Libby joining us, he's in the film and his mom and dad as well. Philip Libby and Jackie Libby, stop giving him directions. You can do whatever you want.
HIRSCH: He has the most beautiful smile.
O'BRIEN: I know he does. I know I watched the movie. He's all over the movie as well. Thank you for talking with us. We sure appreciate it.
J. LIBBY: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: And we've got to take a short break.
Coming up next on STARTING POINT, we just brought you those new unemployment numbers that dropped to 8.2 percent.
But we're going to take a closer look at -- at exactly what's behind that number. Who is at work, Christine Romans has an eye-opening breakdown of the job market now.
You're watching STARTING POINT. I got to take a break. Back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: This just in to CNN. A critical March jobs report is now out; 120,000 jobs were added last month. That's lower than some people were predicting. The unemployment rate though drops to 8.2 percent. Who is working? Who is not back at work? Christine has got to look at that for us. Here to break it down, hi Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. No question that hiring slowed in the month that it was retail jobs. We lost 34,000 retail jobs in the month. But a good piece of news here is that the government job losses slowed only 1,000 government jobs lost and the private sector created about 120,000. But it's still not what you wanted to see here.
The market isn't expecting -- economists thought it would be 200,000 jobs created. So you would have four months of 200,000 jobs or more. But we didn't get that; we got about half of that. And when you look at something called The Household Survey -- it's one of the surveys within the report -- it actually shows 31,000 fewer people working in March than in February.
So you're seeing some signs of slow down in the hiring, retail kind of a leader there. You just see jobs gained in manufacturing as we told you about before. And overall, overall when you look at the big picture, because it's all about the trend in this, Soledad. Here's the big, you know, route. This was horrible. 8.8 million jobs lost. Since then slow, slow healing in the labor market. You wanted to see a little bit better. But we just didn't get it.
We've added back about 3.6 million jobs. Added back from the 8.8 million lost because of the financial crisis, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right -- Ali.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, it's above -- it's the right direction. It is not the same trajectory we were hoping for. We're going to parse this report and find out. There's a lot of inconsistencies as Christine mentioned but not what we were hoping for.
O'BRIEN: All right. We got to take a look at our "End Point" up next. Commercial break; we're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: We get a little Merle Haggard in before the day ends on a Friday.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: 75 years old today.
O'BRIEN: Happy birthday, Merle.
CAIN: Believe it or not John's Song.
JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: I am countrified, Will Cain.
O'BRIEN: Yes, you did. You did.
Ok. "End Point" this morning. John you're going to start.
FUGELSANG: Today is good Friday when we celebrate the government execution of the most famous anti-death penalty figure in history, Jesus. Please remember Jesus never said forgive us our trespasses as we lethally inject those who trespass against us because if there was no death penalty, Christ might still be here. Happy Easter.
O'BRIEN: That's a lot to take in, in 15 seconds.
CAIN: As we celebrate good economic news, I think Ali Velshi pinpointed the question of why. Why we had a rebound -- three possible explanations on my magic wall. Natural product of the business cycle, the trillion dollars of monetary stimulus put up by the Federal Reserve or the $800 billion stimulus of the administration is possible. These are your three possible explanations, focus in on that -- we're going to fly.
O'BRIEN: I'm going to invest $4 in your whiteboard because really -- $4 to buy you a whole whiteboard that you can use and wipe.
CAIN: Thank you. We need a sponsorship.
O'BRIEN: That's right.
CAIN: Office Depot.
O'BRIEN: Office Depot could sponsor that for us. I'll call my people.
Thanks guys. Appreciate it.
Let's get right to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. We'll see everybody back here next week.
Good morning Carol.