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Trial of John Edwards Continues; Sanford Police Chief Not Allowed to Resign; Police Clear Street for Racers; Secret Service Sex Scandal; Medicare, Social Security To Run Out; Dangerous Trend; More Trouble For Saints?; Marino Talks NFL Trades; Your Better Side; Planned Parenthood Targeted?; Dead Heat In Arizona; Obama Leads In New Hampshire

Aired April 24, 2012 - 06:59   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, admitting to sins but no crimes. It is day two of the John Edwards criminal trial. And today, he'll come face to face with the man who took the fall for him when Rielle Hunter had a baby.

Spygate number two. The New Orleans Saints find themselves in the middle of another scandal. Did their general manager bug the superdome to try to get an unfair edge? Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino's, going to speak to us this morning. We'll talk a little bit about just how serious this is for the league.

Plus, pretty incredible video of a wild high-speed chase. A woman dangling from the window. The dog named Rambo, yes, literally, name Rambo, steps in to save the day in a cloud of cash. We'll bring you that story.

And what's your best side? I like to say all my sides are equally good. But actually, apparently, we have one side on your face is better than the other side. One side's hotter, they say, than the other side. We'll tell you which way you should start turning for your photos.

It's Tuesday, April 24th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: And you're listening to Colonel Kurt Hople's (ph) playlist, The Killers, "Human." He joins us this morning. Welcome. Nice to have you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great to be on the set.

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. He's also the author of "Front Burner" and former commanding officer of the USS Cole. We'll chat about his work over the last four years. John Fugelsang joins us. He's a political comedian. And Will Cain is back. He is a columnist for An all-boy panel this morning.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You're used to that. O'BRIEN: You know what, I am getting kind of used to it a little bit. Our starting point this morning is day two of John Edwards' criminal trial. It's going to get under way in about two-and-a-half hours. And back on the stand his former aide, Andrew Young. He is the key witness for the prosecution. The issue is did John Edwards inappropriately use campaign funds to hide his mistress, Rielle Hunter? The prosecution called Edwards a master manipulator, saying this. If the affair went public, it would have destroyed any chance to become the president, and he knew it and he made a choice to break the law.

We're joined by Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Nice to see you, Melanie. Thanks for talking with us.


O'BRIEN: Walk me through what happened. Andrew Young will be back on the stand as I mentioned again today. Yesterday was his first time on the stand. How did that go?

SLOAN: I think it went fine for him. He's had an easy time so far. He's the prosecution's main witness, and he's probably going to be on the stand for a couple days walking the jury through his relationship with John Edwards from beginning to end.

O'BRIEN: They tried to hammer away at his credibility, I thought, a lot yesterday while he was on the stand. What did you think about that?

SLOAN: Well, clearly he has a lot of credibility problems. He's got an immunity agreement with the prosecution. That's why he's testifying, to prevent himself from being charged with anything. He's already written a book that goes through his relationship with John Edwards. He lied himself to say that he was the father of Rielle Hunter's baby. So there are a lot of problems with Andrew Young. He's not a perfect witness by any stretch of the imagination. So it's clear that Abby Lull, the defense lawyer, will be attacking him throughout. And that's going to be the defense main strategy. They're going to have to undermine Andrew Young's credibility. And he starts as a difficult witness.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I thought the whole thing looks like it's going to come down to sort of liar, liar, pants on fire for everybody. I mean, Andrew Young, certainly John Edwards. There's not a lot of credibility between the two of them. There was also a conversation about whether or not Elizabeth Edwards knew what was going on. How could that play a role in this case?

SLOAN: That could play quite a serious role in this case because John Edwards' main defense is that he was hiding the affair from his wife, not just from the American people. It wasn't a campaign tactic, it was about keeping the affair from his wife, which people can really understand because people who have affairs are trying to hide them from their family. But if it turns out she did know about the affair much earlier than currently believed, that could make it more difficult for Edwards to say that he wasn't trying to hide it from the American people. It wasn't a campaign tactic. That's what this case really boils down to. Were these expenditures made to support Rielle Hunter, were those campaign contributions or gifts from friends to help hide the affair from Elizabeth?

CAIN: Melanie, how do they do that? That seems like an impossible thing to parse, this $900,000 plus dollars donated to Rielle Hunter. How do you parse whether or not that was done to avoid humiliation or continue his campaign?

SLOAN: You're right. That's why it's going to be such a tough case for the prosecution. Remember, this is an unprecedented case. There has never before been a case on facts remotely like this where gifts to third parties are considered campaign contributions. So I think the prosecution has an uphill battle, and I think they're really relying on the fact that the jury will hate John Edwards for his despicable conduct.

O'BRIEN: Listen, Richard Lowry of "The National Review" had this article which I think was in the "Post" this morning. If, in fact, that money, that $900,000 plus was considered to be a campaign expense, then wouldn't it have to be listed as, you know, a line ultimately, love child, line item number 18. And now the fax paper, line number 17. Doesn't he have a point there?

SLOAN: He does have a point. It is, in fact, ridiculous, because not only were the gifts from Fred Barron and Buddy Mellon who are the contributors at issue, but if Mr. Edwards had supported Rielle Hunter himself, if he had put out money to support her, that, too, would have to be listed as a campaign contribution. And that's ridiculous. Also, because in current campaign finance law candidates are prohibited from using campaign funds for personal use. So you're not allowed to use the money for, say, gym membership or a haircut. But this is saying that you should, in fact, call it a campaign contribution if you're supporting your mistress. This could cause all sorts of politicians problems, really.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Melanie, I have two questions. One, considering that we're hearing terms like witch hunt bandied about all over the place, considering that Andrew Young's credibility is not exactly stellar, are you beginning to witness a backlash to this backlash against John Edwards? And also, couldn't you make the argument since damage control is an expense that all campaigns have to go through, any expenses he sent towards his mistress and child were legitimate campaign expenses?

O'BRIEN: Missed damage control is what he's saying.


SLOAN: Well, certainly I don't believe that expenditures made to support somebody's mistress could possibly be campaign contributions. And I don't think there are any campaign finance lawyers out there who actually do think these are legitimate campaign expenses. I think this is a troubling case for most people.

The thing is, everybody also hates John Edwards. It's really hard to behave more despicably than cheating on your cancer-stricken wife and lying on television about a baby and saying it's not yours and saying it's a campaign aide's. So I think the prosecution has really relied all along on how horrible John Edwards behaved. But in the United States, we prosecute conduct, not character.

O'BRIEN: People say this case will go between two and six weeks. Melanie Sloan this week, nice to see you.

SLOAN: Thanks.

O'BRIEN: Other headlines to get to, Christine's got those for us. Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad, thank you. It is primary day here on the east coast. Polls are now open in five states, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, a total of 204 delegates at stake. Presumptive nominee Mitt Romney is campaigning in Pennsylvania this morning, already showing signs of shifting toward the middle by coming out in favor of extending low interest rates on student loans. That plan is backed by President Obama and opposed by many Republicans.

If things don't go well tonight, Newt Gingrich may bow out of the GOP race. The former speaker tells NBC news he'll have to reassess his campaign if he doesn't win the Delaware primary. But Gingrich also warned Romney not to become complacent, insisting his nomination is not inevitable.

Developing news this morning in the case of the six-year-old girl who disappeared seemingly without a trace from her bedroom in Tucson, Arizona. The FBI has now taken over the investigation -- taken over the home, rather. Six-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis was tucked into bed by her parents on Friday night. When her father went to wake her up Saturday morning, he says she wasn't there. Investigators asked the family to leave their home after specially trained FBI-trained dogs hit on some items around the house. No word on what exactly those items are. Police say a screen that was removed from a window may be suspicious.

The son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch testifying this morning at another inquiry into the British phone-hacking scandal. James Murdoch insists he had little knowledge about the scale of the hacking at the "News of the World" tabloid.


JAMES MURDOCH, NEWS CORP. EXECUTIVE: I wasn't in the business of deciding, you know, what to put in the newspapers. So it was really there, and then I was given assurances by them that sometimes proved to be wrong that I'm sure we'll go into with respect to -- with respect to the risks that they were taking.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Rupert Murdoch, his father, set to testify tomorrow.

Minding Your Business this morning, U.S. stock futures are up, bouncing back from steep losses yesterday, but those lingering concerns about Europe's economy could make for a choppy session. After the closing bell this afternoon, apple reports its first quarter profits. They're expected to top $9.2 billion in just three little months, which is about exactly what the oil giant ExxonMobil expects to earn. Most of those profits likely from iPhone sales.

Facebook hits 900 million users worldwide. A little context -- 900 million users. Think of it, that's larger than the populations of U.S., Indonesia, Brazil, and Japan combined. The company says its profits fell a little in the first quarter mostly for the money it's spending to gear up for its initial public offering next month.

All right, it was a hot pursuit that literally went to the dogs. This one starts with the girlfriend of a man who allegedly robbed a credit union in Los Angeles, hopping into a stolen minivan, cops right on their tail. She's dangling on the side of the van as he speeds away.

She gave up quickly in the end, but the driver refused to get out of the van until a police dog, appropriately named Rambo, by the way, went in after him, dragged him down by his derriere, shall we say. All this as a cloud of cash comes out of the driver's side door. So man's best friend was police officer's best friend in that particular pursuit.

O'BRIEN: What? I didn't do it. What? There's cash coming out of the van. What? What? I'm a lawyer.


ROMANS: I found this.

O'BRIEN: Christine, thank you.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Jennifer Hudson was holding back tears as she took the stand against the man who's accused of killing her mother, brother and her nephew. Some of that devastating testimony is straight ahead.

Plus, street racers with law on their side. State troopers involved in a death race on the highway with a Super Bowl champ? We've got details in today's "Get Real."

Melanie Sloan's playlist, it's The Sugar Hill Gang. Who knew? "Rapper's Delight." You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: That police chief who handed in his resignation over the Trayvon Martin shooting is staying on the job this morning. And that is because the state commission refused to accept Bill Lee's resignation. It's the same commission that voted no confidence in how Lee handled the shooting investigation the first time around. Listen.


RANDY JONES, SANFORD, FLORIDA CITY COMMISSION: It is not the Sanford residents who have created this firestorm. It is not the Sanford residents. It is not Art Woodruff. It is not Francis Oliver. It is not all of the other people who live and work here that created this. It was brought in from the outside.


O'BRIEN: Norton Bonaparte is the Sanford city manager. He joins us this morning. Nice to see you, sir. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.


O'BRIEN: Let's walk through what happened. He had offered to resign. You guys had worked out some kind of a deal, and then the city commission who had recently voted no confidence in that exact same police chief then voted three-two that he stay. Walk me through how that happened.

BONAPARTE: Basically, what the city commission said is that they want to have more information. In particular, they want to have the results of an independent investigation that would determine what actually took place that night and how the Sanford police department acted. Did they do things that they shouldn't have done, or did they not do things that they should have done?

O'BRIEN: Did the two of you work out a deal before you brought it to the city commission, and what were the details of that deal?

BONAPARTE: Yes. Chief Lee and I had had several conversations and determined that with the vote of no confidence, it would be very challenging for him to continue as the police chief of the city of Sanford. So we worked out a severance agreement. We took it to the city commission, discussed it with them, and last night they decided that they would not accept it.

O'BRIEN: The mayor was the deciding vote in all this. And his name is Mayor Triplette. Here's what he had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not ready to have him come back and run the police department. I'm not. But I don't know if I'm ready for this either. And that's the question that I'm going through right now.


O'BRIEN: You know, it was interesting listening to these conversations in that city commission meeting. People seemed very tortured and torn about what to do. Can you describe for me what the city of Sanford is like right now? BONAPARTE: Well, it's a little cold today. It's unusual for Florida. In terms of the city commission meeting, it was also cold. You had a lot of people at the meeting. You had a lot of police supporters and you have those who say that chief lee should not come back. That's why tensions got pretty hot last night.

O'BRIEN: And where do you stand on all this? When we spoke originally about this the first time around and I asked you, are you in a position, if you wanted to, you could fire the chief of police. And I believe you said yes, that is within your powers. Where do you stand on what he should do?

BONAPARTE: What I have indicated in the past and continue to say is that there should be an independent review of Chief Lee's actions. However, what has changed is that I'm now getting the sense that with the council's vote of no confidence, it will be challenging for him to come back. And while I asked for a review, it seems as though it will be some time before I can get that information, maybe as much as three months or more.

And I think rather than staying in this limbo, it would be better for us to have a separation. Chief Lee and I talked and came to an agreement it would be best if he separate from the Sanford police department.

O'BRIEN: So is a review under way right now, in fact, or are they postponing that review?

BONAPARTE: No, we have asked for a review. We've asked the United States Department of Justice and particularly their division that deals with criminal misconduct in police departments. That, however, will take time.

The other consideration is the fact that now it is going forward as a criminal matter, I think there's going to be a lot of evidence that needs to be looked at that probably will not be available to the public because this is an ongoing criminal matter which perhaps could even go to a legal case.

O'BRIEN: Before I let you go, there was a clip where we heard from one of the commissioners talking really essentially saying that outside agitators are the ones who have really bit at the heart of this conflict. Do you agree with that? Do you think that a lot of the problems that Sanford, Florida's, having right now is because people from the outside coming in, or do you think that these are issues that are, in fact, intrinsic to the city?

BONAPARTE: I think it's both. I think one of the things that made this such a key point is that people in Sanford as well as from around the country felt that there was an example where black life was not being truly valued. And the fact that Mr. Zimmerman could kill Mr. Martin and not going to jail struck a nerve. It has struck a nerve in Sanford and struck a nerve throughout the United States.

O'BRIEN: Norton Bonaparte is Sanford's city manager. Nice to see you. Thanks for your time this morning. We appreciate it. BONAPARTE: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, our "Get Real." Police in trouble for allegedly clearing the way for Porsches and Lamborghinis to tear down the highway at speeds of 100 miles an hour, maybe even more. we've got details on that next.

And one of the greatest football players of all time, NFL great Dan Marino's going to join us live. And John's playlist, the Pogues. You're watching STARTING POINT.


CAIN: You want to tell them what you asked me during the break?

O'BRIEN: Yes. If this is what you really listen to.

CAIN: Do I really listen to this? Yes, absolutely.

O'BRIEN: The Derailers, "All the Rage in Paris." You never know. It's on Will Cain's playlist. I have things that I listen to only in the gym or when I'm traveling.

CAIN: I thought you were asking me if I was TV acting.

O'BRIEN: No, but I like your paranoia, Will.


O'BRIEN: Our "Get Real" this morning, so instead of pulling over reckless drivers, apparently these state troopers were clearing the way for them. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're the man!


O'BRIEN: "You're the man!" That's what people recording this are screaming to the state troopers who are escorting some of the nicest cars you'll ever see. Take a look at that. Two New Jersey state troopers have been suspended now without pay. They're accused of doing this, escorting a pack of Porsches and Lamborghinis and Ferraris. The speeds here, it's obviously hard to tell on this tape, but going about 100 miles an hour or so, 110, or 120 if you believe these guys as they're driving along trying to keep up.

It was a death race they called it, down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic city. It happened last month. This is the YouTube video of the same race back in 2010. Witnesses said the two police cruisers were leading the cars as they were weaving in and out of traffic forcing some vehicles off the road. According to one statement, 49ers' running back bran John Jacobs who won his second Super Bowl with the giants last year was reportedly behind the wheel of one of those sports cars. Last season he bragged about a fast car being delivered to his home after giants booed him. They interviewed Chris Christie, the governor, and he was like, it was dumb.

CAIN: It's shocking in the story to me is they admit Jacobs asked for a police escort to go to Atlantic city. I didn't know that police escorts were so readily available to those who would ask. Maybe you have to be a certain kind of person who gets that granted to you.

O'BRIEN: I'm not sure, in New Jersey.

FUGELSANG: It's shocking that rich, privileged people have special rights in American society. I'm appalled by this.


O'BRIEN: It's available for everybody who asks.

FUGELSANG: I'm afraid to do 70 on the turnpike, and these guys get to do 120.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't ask, they can't say no.

O'BRIEN: Exactly. That's true. I have to remember that.

FUGELSANG: It does bring up an important point we must remember, that the New York Giants are really a jersey team. People don't know that outside of here.

O'BRIEN: It's good to know the most important thing to take away.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, new details about Al Qaeda's hit list. You won't believe their plans to target railroads, maybe even a Wal-Mart.

Plus, first paying for bounties, then allegedly cheating for an edge. Did the New Orleans Saints spy on opposing teams? We'll be joined by hall of famer Dan Marino who weighs in on that, the NFL draft, and what it's like to be 5-0, he's the big 50. Nice to see you, sir. Great to have you. Come and have a seat with us. This is off his playlist, Hootie & The Blowfish, "Only Want to be with You."


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Let's start with headlines. Christine has a look at those for us. Good morning.

ROMANS: Good morning again, Soledad. New details emerging about an Al Qaeda plot. An Al Qaeda operative testified in a federal terror trial in Brooklyn about a plan to attack the Long Island railroad train with a suicide bomb as it entered a tunnel. Brian Denis also testified that the group was planning to target various Wal-Mart locations. He's a native of long island who joined the army and then later Al Qaeda. He's testifying at the trial of a Queens College grad accused of conspiring in a plot to bomb New York City subways.

It looks like another dead end in the long and frustrating search to find Etan Patz. The FBI has told the family of Etan Patz that an extensive search of a basement near their home in lower Manhattan has come up empty. Investigators are looking for clues in the disappearance of this six-year-old boy, a disappearance 33 years ago. An FBI source tells CNN that no obvious human remains have been found.

Jennifer Hudson broke down in tears as she testified against the man accused of killing her family. The singer says she did not want her sister to marry William Balfour. Balfour is now estranged husband of Hudson's sister, Julia. He's accused of shooting Hudson's mother, brother and little nephew. Julia also testified yesterday, saying Balfour threatened to kill the family. He has pleaded not guilty.

NFL hall of famer Deion Sanders and his wife taking their public battle up a notch. Pilar Sanders was arrested for allegedly attacking her husband last night. Deion was tweeting about the assault. He wrote, "Pray for me and my kids now! They just witnessed their mother and a friend jump me in my room. She's going to jail and I'm pressing charges!" He even posted pictures of he and his kids filling out police reports.

The prostitution scandal involving the Secret Service and the Pentagon growing bigger by the day. The number of military personnel implicated is now 12 in addition to 12 Secret Service agents under investigation for alleged misconduct in Cartagena, Columbia ahead of the president's trip earlier this month.

We're getting a first look at the Colombian woman who brought the entire incident to light. She's identified as 24-year-old Dania Suarez. She was involved in a dispute over how much money she was going to get paid.

Today's "A.M. House Call," new revelations on the future of Medicare and Social Security. Research shows funding is drying up. Full Medicare funding is only projected to last now through 2024.

After that, patients could receive only partial funding. That's unless Congress make some changes. Social Security is only expected to last now until 2033, three years earlier than previously projected. Experts blame the rising health costs and an aging population.

And this is a dangerous, troubling new trend, teens getting drunk from hand sanitizer and landing in the emergency room. Six teens in Los Angeles have been treated for alcohol poisoning in the last few months from drinking hand sanitizer.

It's cheap, it's easy to get. It makes 120-proof liquid, equivalent to a shot of gin or whiskey. Experts are now warning parents to buy foam rather than gel sanitizer because it's harder to extract the alcohol.

I think that switching to foam is the least parents need to be doing if they find out their drinking this.

O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's a disturbing, sick, sick story. That's just crazy. All right, Christine, thank you for the update. On the heels of the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal, the team is facing another controversy this morning. ESPN is reporting Saints' General Manager Mickey Loomis allegedly eavesdropped on visiting teams with a secret electronic device in a Superdome suite.

The Saints are fighting back. They tell CNN, this report is 100 percent completely inaccurate. We've asked ESPN to provide us evidence to support their allegations and they refused.

Former NFL quarterback, Dan Marino, is with us this morning. Nice to see you.

DAN MARINO, FORMER NFL QUARTERBACK: Good to see you guys early this morning.

O'BRIEN: So in addition to the bounty scandal that hit the Saints, now you have this new scandal, at least ESPN at this point is reporting.

MARINO: Right.

O'BRIEN: And have not yet come up with any exact proof yet.

MARINO: You know, first of all, you'd hate to see that if that were the case. We don't know if that's true yet or not. With the bounty scandal and all that's gone on for them, they've hit some hard times.

So, you know, when things are going bad, more things come out sometimes. I would hate to think that Mickey Loomis would do something like that or be part of it. I personally don't think he would.

But, you know, as far as the bounty scandal is concerned, this thing happened. It's disturbing from the standpoint of, you know, it's a coach in a locker room trying to tell players to harm other players.

And really the players, there's a common bond. I mean, we all only have so long to play, you know. You hate to see this kind of thing going on in the league.

O'BRIEN: How do you think it impacts the city, impacts the team, impacts the fans?

MARINO: Well, you know, first of all, they're a team that can go to the Super Bowl for sure. I mean, they have that kind of talent with Drew Brees, the quarterback. What they've done over the past few years, they won a Super Bowl.

It's going to hurt them a lot, not having Sean Payton. That communication between him and the quarterback, I mean, they've had that for three or four years. They kind of think the same, they're working the same.

That's not going to be there for them. So it's going to be tough on them to do what they have been doing the last few years as far as winning games and getting to the playoffs and maybe the Super Bowl.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Dan. The reaction from a lot of former players on the bounty scandal was, you're being a little naive public. A lot of players were not surprised.

I don't know what your personal reaction was, but on this Mickey Loomis possible suspected accused of spying on other teams' coaches. You know, it reminds me of the spygate scandal. So when you see coaches push the limits like this, does it blow you out of the water? Are you surprised if it's true?

MARINO: No, I think teams have done it a little bit, but not to the extent, when this happened to the Patriots and Belichick, they were actually filming it and taking it back.

I mean, there's -- I've had guys on the sidelines -- other quarterbacks -- looking at, you know, another defensive coordinator giving signals, trying to maybe get a hint or stealing some signals just by visually looking at it, not taping signals.

I mean, but it's just -- I don't think that in general, you know, teams are out there. They cheat or get an advantage or hurt another player. You know, as far as I was concerned, I used to give players incentives for touchdowns. Throw a touchdown over 40 yards, maybe we'd get a couple hundred bucks here or there. It was always fun.

O'BRIEN: Positive reinforcement.

MARINO: Yes, yes.

O'BRIEN: Can we play a little word association?


O'BRIEN: Ready? OK. Tim Tebow and the New York Jets.

MARINO: What? What is the comment on that? You know what? I think they're going to use him in different ways. I'm not sure that he's going to be the type of player to be able to step right in and take over for Mark Sanchez, but 15, 20 plays a game, you know, he could help. They may use him in some special team's roles and some other roles.

O'BRIEN: Peyton Manning, the Broncos.

MARINO: It's going to be weird for Peyton because he's played and he's been a Colt and he's had so much success there, but he's --

O'BRIEN: They're building the Indianapolis with his name on it.

MARINO: Yes, he's a competitor. I want to see the best for Peyton because he's a friend and just one of the great quarterbacks of all time. For him to get another chance and maybe get a chance to go to a Super Bowl, I think that's why. He went to Denver.

CAIN: You never had to do that, right? You wore that Dolphins uniform until the very end.

MARINO: I could have probably, you know, played another year. That would have been 18 years for me and decided not to. You know, playing 17 years one place was very unique. Elway did it. Peyton's not going to get a chance for that now that he's going to the Broncos. It was great for me.

CAIN: What was that other uniform we might have seen you in? You said you had a chance.

MARINO: Minnesota or Pittsburgh. They were both interested in me.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Are those days completely gone? Do you think we'll ever see someone having their entire career with one team?

MARINO: Well, you know, I think maybe Tom Brady might be there. You know, Tom Brady, it's going to be that kind of player. It has to be -- and the sad part, it would have been for Peyton Manning if he didn't, you know, hurt his neck.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question about turning 50. You just turned 50 and you're the life ambassador for AARP.

MARINO: Yes, and it's 50 is only a number, right? It's only a number. It's really about your attitude.

O'BRIEN: It's the new 30?

MARINO: Yes. It's about an attitude and doing some work with them.

O'BRIEN: What are you doing for them?

MARINO: On the web site, I'm going to have some videos and some tools where you can look for health and wellness for men and things you can do in your community. It's going to be something we're going to continue to make contributions on the web site.

O'BRIEN: How's your knee? When I was in college, you know, people used to talk about, I tore up my knee. They used to show me pictures of Dan Marino and say I'm getting the same brace as Dan Marino, OK.

MARINO: Yes. My left knee is actually -- my legs are pretty good, but, you know, I've had a lot of surgeries. And we talked before we went on that I just tore a cartilage in my knee a couple weeks ago.

O'BRIEN: Your left? MARINO: In my right knee. That's my good knee. That's my good knee. I think this story, you asked about AARP, is just new challenges in life. You're at that age. Age is only a number and I'm going to help them with men's fitness and health on their web site.

O'BRIEN: Did you see that flagrant foul by Ron Artest? What's his new name, Meta World Peace?

MARINO: I didn't see that.

O'BRIEN: Do we have that? You guys want to play that? Right there. I think they're going to play the close-up in a second. He's, like, what? Does the dunk, celebrating.

MARINO: That hurt. That hurt.

CAIN: Was that an accident?

MARINO: You know what? I think he -- no. Try and explain that one. That's not good. Whatever it is, that's not good.

FUGELSANG: Can you blame that on testosterone? He felt the guy's body right next to him. He knew there was a person there.

MARINO: Basketball players, that's their thing to rebound. Maybe that's it. I don't know.

O'BRIEN: He's not buying it at all.

MARINO: That would upset me for sure.

O'BRIEN: Dan Marino, it's nice to have you.

MARINO: Thanks. Appreciate it.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, a tale of two sides. The new study says we all have a best side. We'll tell you which is your best side, left or right, coming up.

And misfire. A company accidentally tells every single employee it has in the entire world "you're fired," but they were not.

From Christine's playlist, Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue." You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: That's Lady Gaga, "Poker Face." If you're getting ready to pose for a photo, you do have a better side, and it is the same side apparently for every single person.

New research says your left side is the best side. They rated the more pleasant side than the right side. Researchers say the right side of the brain controls how emotions are relayed on the left. And emotion is more pleasing to the eye.

CAIN: No wonder I'm sitting here where you always shoot my right side.

O'BRIEN: You can't fix that, can you?

FUGELSANG: Mariah Carey has interns killed for that. But do you believe it? When I used to work in the music industry at MTV, we would notice that there were certain artists who would only let them be shot in videos on their left or right side. And it became a real industry wide gag. Mariah is notorious for only allowing her right side.

O'BRIEN: I've had many a producer redo shoots because the shoot was set up the wrong way. So this is John, left side.


O'BRIEN: Handsome. Right side, snarling.

FUGELSANG: I have a scar on my left side.

O'BRIEN: Who else do you have? Will Cain?

CAIN: Live.

O'BRIEN: There's Will Cain head on. Will Cain. The beard is just distracting altogether.

FUGELSANG: Will looks good from either angle.

FUGELSANG: I think the commander's going to nail it from both sides.

O'BRIEN: Do this live. Turn to the left, sir. Handsome. Turn to the right, sir. Handsome. He's equally handsome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for office already.

CAIN: As a military commander, when you have those photos taken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We never like to turn left or turn right. You're not in a good position to begin with.

FUGELSANG: My parole officer said the same thing to me.

O'BRIEN: I'm just going to keep doing the show this way.

All right, still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, she says the school isn't doing enough to keep her daughter safe from bullies. Now she wants the law to step in. A mother suing to get a restraining order against her daughter's fourth grade bully.

Plus, the biggest primary day is Super Tuesday, some states that could be in play come November. The head of the DNC will join us to tell us what weak numbers or a low turnout could mean for Mitt Romney.

If you're headed to work, don't miss the rest of the show. You can check out our live blog at We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Let's get right to headlines. Christine has got those. Good morning.

ROMANS: Good morning. Some news this morning for you on that prostitution scandal involving the Secret Service and the Pentagon is growing bigger by the day, that scandal.

The number of military personnel implicated is now 12, Soledad. That's in addition to 12 Secret Service agents under investigation for alleged misconduct in Cartagena, Colombia. This, of course, in advance of the president's trip earlier this month.

We're also getting a first look at the Colombian woman who brought this entire incident to light after a dispute over how much money she was getting paid. She's identified as 24-year-old Dania Suarez.

And Planned Parenthood this morning worried anti-abortion activists are trying to set them up. A spokesman says there's been a series of suspicious incidents at Planned Parenthood clinics in at least 11 states with two dozen or more hoax visits reported over the past several weeks.

Those hoax visits involved women who are claiming to be pregnant, asking a particular pattern of provocative questions. That's raising concerns the visits are being recorded as part of an organized sting campaign, Soledad.

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

It is Election Day for five states today. Polls are now open in Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. A total of 204 delegates are at stake.

Joining us this morning, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman- Schultz. She's the chair of the Democratic National Committee, a Democrat from Florida. It's nice to have you with us this morning.


O'BRIEN: Let's take a look at a couple polls because I think they're pretty read on where President Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney are.

Let's start with Arizona. First, you can see there, it has Romney ahead, 42 percent to 40 percent. Then if you look at the New Hampshire poll, I think it's coming to us from WMUR. It has Obama ahead 51 percent to 42 percent for Governor Romney. Give me your assessment of these polls.

SCHULTZ: Well, with the caveat that it's April and you can't put too much stock in polls in either direction, I mean, just look at Arizona. In Arizona, it is a two-point race.

It shows you that number one. Arizona is beginning to get very close to being in play, if not already in play. And that's particularly because Mitt Romney is -- has the most extreme position on immigration of any presidential candidate in history.

There is a backlash that's starting to show in Arizona, and we're organizing there, making sure that we reach out to the Latino community, to the grass roots, to women, to the middle class and working families who understand that President Obama's been fighting for them.

And we'll make sure that there is a reasonable legal path to status in the United States, if you're an undocumented immigrant and treat immigrants to this country fairly.

O'BRIEN: That's MUR poll, the one out of New Hampshire.

SCHULTZ: In New Hampshire is a typical battleground state. We expect it to be close in all the battleground states and that poll shows that.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about what John Boehner said yesterday. He was talking about the chances for losing the House. Here's what he said. Excuse me.


REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: I say there's a two in three chance that we win control of the House again, but there's a one in three chance that we could lose. I'm being frank.


O'BRIEN: I'm being frank. One in three chances. Would you put their numbers at the same place where he's putting his numbers?

SCHULTZ: I think it's entirely reasonable for the speaker to expect that they could lose the House because they very well could. We're working hard to make sure that happens because John Boehner has allowed the Tea Party to take over his conference.

The Republicans have fully embraced extremism and they have brought in two years almost no jobs legislation to this floor and not worked with the president on any legislation to help make sure that we can move the economy forward because their number one goal is political and that's to defeat Barack Obama.

CAIN: He didn't say he expected to lose the House. He recognized it as a possibility, in fact, a one in three possibility. So after 2010 now when you guys got absolutely hammered you have 25 seats up, can you give us a number? What's your number? What are the odds that we do take the House?

SCHULTZ: I'm not a odds maker. I'm a member of Congress and I'm the chair of the DNC. My focus is making sure that we continue to stand up the most significant grassroots presidential campaign in history.

And backing up my colleagues and make sure we make John Boehner's prediction come true and make it much more likely that those odds are in our favor.

CAIN: If his prediction comes true, you guys lose. He said they have a two-thirds chance to keep it?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think that John Boehner fully recognizes, I mean, how rare is it for a speaker to even suggest -- I can tell you that Nancy Pelosi would never have suggested there was a possibility that we would lose.

It's an indicator. The speaker is no dummy. He's sending a strong signal to his donors that we're $10 million behind in fundraising in spite of the fact that we have the largest majority in decades.

That's because there's no enthusiasm for their campaigns, no enthusiasm for their agenda and they are clearly on track to likely lose the majority after a historic victory in 2010.

CAIN: So over 50 percent.

SCHULTZ: We're working hard and we're getting ready to win.

FUGELSANG: Congresswoman, one of the big complaints against the Democratic Party in recent years has been they allowed the Republican Party to set the tone in the whole debate and set the narrative and call affordable care act Obama care, et cetera, et cetera.

What is the president and the re-election campaign going to do to try to reframe the entire narrative and convince independents that this guy has been on their side all along?

SCHULTZ: Well, we're focused on making sure that American voters understand that President Obama's number one priority is moving the economy forward, rebuilding the middle class and given everyone a share for the to be successful and ensuring that we have some fairness when we approach how to reform the tax code and focus on deficit reduction while the Republicans are hyperfocus, obsessed even in making sure that the millionaires and billionaires of this country can do even better and take us back to the failed policies of the past.

FUGELSANG: In fairness, the American people did vote for increase on taxes on wealthy in 2008 and it was President Obama himself in the compromise to extend the Bush tax cuts. Is there going to be any effort to call this Bush's tax increase since they were designed to expire in 2010?

SCHULTZ: Well, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were for the wealthiest, most fortunate Americans, were the Bush tax cuts. President Obama has unequivocally said that after that compromise that we reached in December of 2010.

If the Congress sends him an extension of those tax cuts again, he will veto them and rightfully so because we need to focus on a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Extending those tax cuts adds $700 billion to the deficit.

Yet the Republicans who supposedly support deficit reduction unfortunately through a cuts only approach, which would hurt an overwhelming number of people, they want to extend them.

FUGELSANG: That's a freedom deficit.

O'BRIEN: I want to throw in what former governor and former senator, New Hampshire, Judd Gregg had to say. He said this, if Washington -- he's suggesting that everyone should just go home until the election, which I thought was an interesting proposal.

If Washington was vacated, it would be a more honest expression of the reality of status of governance for the next six months. It might help the American people believe that there is some integrity to the situation. Interesting suggestion?

CAIN: That's interesting quote you put up also recognizing the amount of work that you guys have to do over the next six months. You have what is equivalent of all of the Bush tax cuts expiring.

You have the budget resolution. You have to come together on those forced cuts. I think the total package is over $4 trillion. Larger than any stimulus passed and any tax ever passed.

Why aren't you guys working on it yet? Why are you waiting until supposedly after the November election to address these issues? I'm not in Congress.

SCHULTZ: But Speaker Boehner is the leader of Congress and controls the agenda with Eric Cantor --

CAIN: I'm not in Congress. I'm asking you because you are a member of Congress.

SCHULTZ: I'm a member of Congress in the minority unfortunately, which I plan to help change in November, but the people who control the agenda right now in the House of Representatives are the Republicans.

Ask them why they haven't brought a single jobs bill to the floor since they took over the majority. Ask them why they are getting ready to allow the student loan interest rates to double.

CAIN: So put out a package to extend Bush tax cuts you would be on board with that you're saying?

SCHULTZ: No, I would be opposed to that.

CAIN: So you would be obstructing that.

SCHULTZ: The Bush tax cuts add $700 billion to the deficit. Why would we extend them? We need to continue the focus on President Obama's agenda, giving tax breaks to the middle class. The 18 different tax breaks he's given to small businesses --

CAIN: It's clear all of the things coming up before the end of the year you're not interested in working on those right now.

SCHULTZ: They expire actually after the election. That's when we'll have an opportunity to address them again.

CAIN: The last two months of the year.

SCHULTZ: Look, the Republicans -- I certainly hope -- don't send is the president an extension of the Bush tax cuts because again it adds $700 billion to the deficit.

That certainly is not the approach we should be taking if we want to reduce the deficit and continue to move our economy forward. We need to make sure we're not pulling revenue out of the economy. We have to put more revenue into it.

O'BRIEN: Ted Nugent was going back and forth and visited by the Secret Service and had this to say about you, which I'm sure you heard. Listen to it.


TED NUGENT: Wasserman Schultz is such a brain dead soulless, heartless idiot that I could not be more proud that the soulless, heartless idiot tries to find fault with Ted Nugent. She encourages me to stand stronger.


O'BRIEN: I'm sure you can answer this in 5 minutes. I need a quick response from you. What do you think of that? What did you think when you heard it?

SCHULTZ: It harkens back to the parable I learned in kindergarten. Stick and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.

O'BRIEN: All right, we'll leave it there. Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. Nice to see you. Appreciate it.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, a mother goes to court to fight a 9-year-old bully. She says the school is not protecting her daughter and someone has to. She's going to join us live coming up.

Plus, a new movie about legendary actress, Liz Taylor, and the actress playing her, you may not believe your eyes. We leave you with Debbie Wasserman Schultz's playlist, "Good Life." You're watching STARTING POINT.