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Supreme Court Hears Case Regarding Arizona Immigration Law; Author Discusses Issue of Race in America; Rubio Threat; Burger King Goes "Cage Free"; GOP Race Coming To An End; Whale Wars!; Marine Discharged Over Obama Comments; From Party Crasher To Governor?

Aired April 26, 2012 - 06:59   ET


CHRSTINE ROMANS, CNN GUEST HOST: Thank you, ladies. All right. STARTING POINT, Arizona winning. The Supreme Court may be on the verge of upholding the state's controversial immigration law. One justice, an Obama appointee, even suggesting White House lawyers are choking.

Allegations of, oh, more strippers, prostitutes, and champagne rooms. Is this just what the Secret Service did on its down time?

And, who invited this guy to the race? White House party crasher Tareq Salahi says he wants to be the governor, the governor of his home state. Is this all a publicity stunt? He'll join us live.

Its Thursday, April 26th. "Starting Point" begins right now.




ROMANS: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys "Empire State of Mind" off of Jose Antonio Vargas' playlist. He's going to join us in just a minute to talk about that big Supreme Court case over Arizona's immigration law.

And our panel today, Abby Huntsman, political commentator and daughter of Jon Huntsman, John Fugelsang is a political comedian and a frequent here, and Will Cain is a columnist for

All right, an emotional debate about Arizona's controversial immigration law playing out in the nation's highest court and across the country. You can see protesters demonstrating in the streets of Phoenix yesterday. Five other states have similar laws. This Supreme Court decision could have a national impact. Inside the courtroom, hints of support for Arizona's law from the justices. Antonin Scalia suggested it may be OK for the states to step in if the federal government is not doing its job. Quote, "What does state sovereignty mean if it does not include the ability to defend your borders?" Even liberal justice Stephen Breyer said that the law could be upheld as long as, quote, "no significant number of people are detained for a significantly longer period of time." Jose Antonio Vargas is an award winning journalist and a founder of Define American. He famously came out as an undocumented worker in a "New York Times" op-ed last year. Welcome to the program.

So a lot of people are saying it looks as though the Supreme Court is hinting, suggesting at this point at least from the questioning that they're in support of this law. What are you gathering? What is your reaction from yesterday's events?

JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, JOURNALIST: I was actually on the steps of the Supreme Court yesterday. It was quite a scene. What's really staggering here is what's going to happen now, I mean, if the most controversial provisions get upheld, anyone can get stopped for any -- any inkling that the person might be undocumented. How do you know that? I'm undocumented. Would you know that I were undocumented? I don't think you could know that just by looking at somebody. And --

ROMANS: I want to talk a little bit. You wrote a blog for the "Huffington Post" and said "SB-1070 has become synonymous with anti- immigrant fervor, with racial profiling, with being brown, with being Latino with, being, quote, the other, as a crime in a demographically changing America." Yet when the chief justice as the government if their argument here has to do with racial or ethnic profiling, the government said no, no, this is not about profiling.

VARGAS: I was rather stumped by that. You know, somebody -- I traveled in about -- I've done 60 events in about 20 states in 10 months, being in Alabama, Arizona, and Texas. I can tell you there's definitely racial profiling going on and people have been stopped. I don't know if you heard about Alabama in terms of the law they passed there. It was inspired by the Arizona law, which is why everybody is watching what's happening in Arizona. What's happening in Arizona is really important.

ROMANS: Let's talk about what the liberal justice said. Even they seem skeptical here. Justice Breyer essentially asked the federal government what's the problem if -- you talked about people being stopped. What's the problem if, quote, "all that happens is the person, the policeman makes a phone call. What if the federal statute could conflict with that?" This is about stopping somebody for other violations, right, and then from there checking legal status.

VARGAS: I mean, this is what it comes down to, right? At the end of the day, the federal government is in charge of immigration, not states. And what we have here is if these provisions come into play, can you imagine the United States of America having, say, 50 different -- 50 different policies for each state when it deals with immigration?

ROMANS: The states are arguing that the government hasn't done the job.

VARGAS: Right.

ROMANS: -- has selectively -- Will Cain wants to jump in here. WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's important that the conversation move in this direction, because I actually think we're doing the viewers a disservice by continuing to talk about racial profiling at this point. While that might be an emotional aspect on the steps outside the courts, that argument did not have anything to do with what took place inside the court yesterday. Racial profiling just simply wasn't part of the arguments. What this was about was about preemption and whether or not the federal government has exclusive province to enforce immigration laws or whether the states can also take part in that.

Jose, you brought up it might end up with a patchwork of laws. What's different than how we deal with drug laws or firearm laws? We have a patchwork of laws across every state in this nation. Isn't that part of the whole design?

VARGAS: But that's not what the constitution says. That's not what the constitution says the government's role is when it comes to this issue.

And, again, let's get back to the point that two-thirds of Americans, poll after poll has shown, right, that they want a crackdown on undocumented immigrants who are criminals, but they want to provide a path to legalization for people who are the good guys. But what's happening with a law like Arizona and Alabama are the good guys are getting stopped. And not just the undocumented people, we're talking about people who are American citizens getting stopped. I'm sure you've heard about the scathing report against Sheriff Joe Arpaio by the justice department last September.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Good morning, Jose. This is John Fugelsang. Has this law ever inconvenienced a white person and will this law ever inconvenience a white person?

VARGAS: This law inspired the Alabama law and they actually stopped somebody who is a Mercedes dealership guy in Alabama. Yes, it has actually impacted a white person.

FUGELSANG: In Alabama?

VARGAS: In Alabama.

CAIN: Jose is right, a Mercedes executive, a German national, was stopped and asked for his passport and papers. He didn't have them and spent a night in the county jail.

FUGELSANG: This is all for election year politics.

ROMANS: These laws have been going on for years. The states have been -- and many states are considering laws because they say the federal government hasn't done their job. Going to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will weigh in on this.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm glad you brought politics up. This will continue to heat up through the general election. Romney said at a debate in February that he thought Arizona was a model for immigration. I'm wondering what your opinion is for someone like Governor Romney, who had to veer so far to the right in the primary months and now is having to come to the middle. Is it possible for him to start appealing to these minority groups? Does he just need to kind of accept the DREAM Act that Rubio is bringing out? What does he need to do to get the trust of these minority groups?

VARGAS: I have one statistic for you. Every 30 seconds a Hispanic person in America turns 18 years old and becomes eligible to vote, right? It's highly likely that that person, that American citizen who is eligible to vote, has a family member who is undocumented, has an aunt or an uncle, or a mother, or a cousin, or a brother.

To me what's been staggering about how we politicize immigration is that how we fail to realize that these people, undocumented, illegal people are integrated in every part of society, right? They're not just somebody's -- they're not just over there. They're actually part of our society.

ROMANS: And I think that's a conversation, a demographic, emotional and political conversation being had at all levels, but the legal conversation being had at the Supreme Court is really interesting.

VARGAS: It is.

ROMANS: It's quite fascinating to watch. Jose, good to see you this morning. We'll keep checking in with you as this process continues.

VARGAS: Thank you.

ROMANS: Let's head to Zoraida for some other headlines.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christine. New reports suggesting that strippers and prostitutes were part of the culture in the Secret Service. KIRO TV in Seattle quotes a government subcontractor who worked with the Secret Service advance team prior to President Obama's trip there in March, 2011. That source says about a dozen agents and some military personnel got, quote, "wasted at a strip club and paid for the VIP area." Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano who oversees the Secret Service says this is not typical behavior.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To your knowledge, is this the first time something like this has happened?

JANET NAPOLITANO, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There was nothing in the record to suggest that this behavior would happen.


SAMBOLIN: The Secret Service tells CNN it has no comment. But one source says, quote, "The reaction by our leadership speaks for itself."

The government's star witness in the trial of John Edwards grilled under cross examination. Former Edwards aide Andrew Young is accused of lying about his ex-boss and trying to make money from his downfall. Edwards left the courthouse smiling. Listen to what he told his daughter.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In more ways than one.


SAMBOLIN: Young returns to the stand later this morning for more cross examination.

And the parents of six-year-old Arizona girl Isabel Celis speaking out for the first time, begging for her safe return.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here today to play -- to plea for the safe return of our baby girl, Isabel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking for you, Isa. We love you and we miss you so much. And we will never give up. We will never give up looking for you.


SAMBOLIN: Isabel was reported missing last Saturday morning. Tucson police say they scaling back their search, but there is a $30,000 reward offered. If you have information, you are urged to call police.

Minding your business, new this morning, Chrysler announcing it quadrupled its earnings in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. The company raked in $473 million in the first three months of the year, more than four times the $116 million it brought in just a year ago. And looking at the markets, U.S. stocks poised to open slightly lower this morning after a strong rally yesterday. Trading expected to be choppy today as they wrestle between strong earnings reports and concern about the financial stability of the European Union.

And if you're on the market -- or in the market for a new mortgage, now you can pick one up at Costco.

ROMANS: Oh, no.

SAMBOLIN: The warehouse store is rolling out a full mortgage lending program. Seriously, folks, 10,000 people have taken out home loans with Costco. Christine, you tweeted this out this morning, Christine. I thought, no way.

ROMANS: It's true. I wonder if it's going to be bigger than I need and come with two 25-gallon jars of peanut butter that I won't be able to eat over five years. No, it's Costco. And it's interesting because the Costco customer has higher than average income. This might be a perfect demographic. Thanks, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

ROMANS: Just give the kid a ball. Grown-up fans beat a little kid to a souvenir, make him cry. Is it me? I just want to cry when I see this little guy. I love him. Give him the ball. It's our "Get Real."

And party crasher for governor -- Tareq Salahi says he is for real. But is this a way to extend his 15 minutes of fame, a publicity stunt? We'll ask him.

And if you're headed to work, check out our live blog on our Web site You can also talk with us on twitter at startingpoint@CNNChristineRomans. Abby Huntsman's playlist "Stronger."


ROMANS: The Trayvon Martin tragedy has reignited the national discussion about racial issues in America. One of the most outspoken commentators on the case has been activist and author Kevin Powell, whose new book is a collection of essays called "Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King" in which he writes "There is no denying each, at his specific time, has been both a catalyst and a lightning rod for the raw nerves of this rocky but grand experiment we call the American democracy." Good morning.


ROMANS: Why unite these three for the title?

POWELL: You look at the last 40, 45 years in American history, there's no denying that Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama and Dr. King have been some of the most important figures in terms of inspiring, leading to reactions and all kinds of movements in this country. Dr. King, the civil rights movement, Ronald Reagan is the symbolic leader of the conservative movement and Barack Obama, what he has represented the last four or five years as a presidential candidate, including that historical election in 2008 and all the racks to him since then. I don't think there are any other figures in my mind that have had the kind of impact they've had on American history.

ROMANS: Tie in Ronald Reagan for me. Some would say I can see Barack Obama and Dr. King and what they've done for the left. Tie in Ronald Reagan for me.

POWELL: There is no denying the conservative movement has -- speaking not as a progressive, a liberal, the Reagan era really shaped a lot of conversations we're having to this day around immigration, which you just talked about, issues around voter laws around the country. Even talk about what's happening with Stand Your Ground law that is tied to George Zimmerman and the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

ROMANS: The most recent essay, a letter to Trayvon Martin where you write of the night he was shot. This is what you said. "Mr. Zimmerman has become your judge, juror and your executioner in a single bound of racist logic. Your life, gone. The final waves of magic of Barack Obama's historic election, gone. Myths and lies that America had become a post-racial society, gone."

POWELL: Let me say this, first and foremost -- I see us all as sisters and brothers in this country. I believe in this grand experiment, as I said, called the American democracy. But I think we would be lying to ourselves if we did not acknowledge that racism, sexism, homophobia and all kinds of ills still divide our society in spite of Barack Obama being president of the United States.

ROMANS: I think we are having those conversations.

POWELL: I think we're yelling at each other, pointing fingers at each other. When it comes to immigration, it's tragic you can go back to the 1850s, 1860s and you saw native whites having beef, quote, unquote, to foreign whites from other places, and here we are in 2012 still having those conversations about immigration. It shows that we haven't had real conversations about what it is to be an American and who should get to have the American experience.

ROMANS: Some of the comments from the justices in the Supreme Court, looking at the law, not at the emotional issue of racial profiling and race, but just the law. That could stand.

POWELL: It could stand. I think that it would be tragic. When you talk about the people that are affected by it, I support immigration rights in this country. I think everyone has a right to come to this country. Again, except for slavery, was built on the backs of immigrant people. Everyone here --

ROMANS: That's the American experience.

POWELL: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Everyone agrees about that. But everyone in the world would want to come here. There has to be a system. The question is, we have a system that is a legal system that's broken, an illegal system that's broken.

POWELL: I agree.

ROMANS: And there isn't political will to fix it.

POWELL: But the solution is not to basically -- I agree with Jose, who was on this previous piece, to profile certain types of people. I've been all over this country, probably all 50 states at this point. When you have people who are hardworking folks, whose children were born in this country, paying taxes in this country, and they're saying you don't have a right to be here, there's something fundamentally wrong with that.

ROMANS: Deportations are up with this president.

POWELL: That's right. I don't support that.

ROMANS: I think this administration is saying we see your complaints about not enforcing the law. We're going to enforce the law. This will be a precursor to that comprehensive immigration, with comprehensive immigration reform down the road.

FUGELSANG: It's good to see you. Thank you for writing the book. Dr. King is remembered as a civil rights icon. At the time of his death he was as much a symbol for labor rights and nonviolence.

POWELL: That's right.

FUGELSANG: How do you think Dr. King, honestly, would view president Obama in light of the issue of nonviolence and resistance to militarism?

POWELL: I think he would be opposed to the wars that have been happening and what are we doing about poor people in this country of all backgrounds? Ultimately the civil war wasn't about black people but benefit for all people, Americans with disabilities. What are we doing to create job opportunities? People are suffering out here, you know. I think he would really, really push that. It was like economic opportunity. Afghanistan, I think he would say I support the troops but not these wars. That's what he said about Vietnam.

ROMANS: Kevin Powell, 22 essays, a fascinating book. Thank you very much, blogger, poet, activist, "Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King."

Ahead on STARTING POINT, the stunning story of a dad who wires his son and sends him to school and then catches unbelievable bullying by a teacher on that tape. That father joins us live.

And in our "Get Real" this morning, there is crying in baseball. A fan catches a foul ball totally oblivious to the little, charming, crying child next to them.

CAIN: He is wearing the hat of the best team in baseball.


CAIN: That's just a fact.



ROMANS: Now it's time to get real. Just give the kid the ball. Cameras at last night's Yankees-Rangers game caught the worst people ever. They caught a ball that a player tossed into the stands. A little kid next to them historical that he didn't get the ball, bawling his little eyes out. The couple totally clueless, laughing, making out, snapping pictures with the ball. The silver lining came later on when someone with an actual soul tossed the kid a ball and saved the day. Now look at the video. Did it look like the couple saw the child reaching for the ball and ignored him?

FUGELSANG: They heard the screeching child as soon as they took the ball away from him.

CAIN: It's somewhat manipulative to bring your child to a baseball game and use him to try to get a baseball.


CAIN: But the silver lining came at the bottom of the ninth when -- who won? Guys, who won?

ROMANS: Oh, that's funny.

CAIN: Texas rangers, best team in baseball.

ROMANS: There's rat poison in the closet over there. Any of you Yankee fans need to put something in his caffeine, there it is.

FUGELSANG: These people, it's OK. President Bush, if you're watching, and want to work on the legacy, go after these people. You'll be the most popular ex-president in America.

ROMANS: He already is very popular in that state.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, from the White House party crasher to the governor's mansion, what, in Virginia? Tareq Salahi is a name you all know. Maybe you don't know him, but a lot of people do. Is his new political aspiration a stunt? We'll talk to him live, coming up.

Plus, fast and furious, the first video of that so-called death race run down a New Jersey highway led by a police escort, of course. You're watching STARTING POINT.


ROMANS: It's 20 minutes past the hour. Zoraida has more headlines for us.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you. Horrific testimony just too painful for singer Jennifer Hudson at her family's murder trial. Hudson shut her eyes as the police officer described finding the bloody bodies of her mother, brother, and seven-year-old nephew. She walked out of the courtroom to avoid seeing dozens of disturbing photos of the victims. Defendant William Balfour reportedly wiping away tears as grisly images of the seven-year-old were shown. Balfour is the estranged husband of Hudson's sister. He is accused of killing her family in a jealous rage.

And new video this morning of the so-called death race caravan that got two New Jersey state troopers suspended. They allegedly escorting dozens of really expensive and really fast luxury cars on a dangerous 100-mile-per-hour run to Atlantic City last month. Former New York Giant Brandon Jacobs was reportedly behind the wheel of one of those cars. An attorney for one of the officers tells us the whole incident is being exaggerated and even suggested to us that the troopers were just doing their jobs.

The White House is gearing up for the official start of the campaign season. The president will attend his first official campaign rallies next week in key battleground states of Virginia and Ohio. And he is bringing a secret weapon with him. First Lady Michelle Obama will be there.

U.S. Capitol police are now investigating what they are calling a credible threat against Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Rubio's name has been floated around in recent days as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney on the GOP ticket. A patrol car was spotted outside Rubio's home in West Miami and Capitol police are providing him protection as well.

In our "A.M. House Call," in what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the United States, a transplanted kidney that was failing was removed from a patient who was still alive and it was given to someone else.

The kidney originally went to Ray Fearing. Fearing's sister donated the kidney to her brother. But days later, Ray's body rejected it. So doctors decided to take out and give it to Erwin Gomez. Gomez says he is starting to regain his strength and is grateful for the Fearing family for their generosity. That's remarkable.

Burger King is changing its breakfast menu. The fastfood chain says by 2017, all of its eggs and pork will come from chickens and pigs that don't live in cramped cages.

Wendy's and McDonald's already have similar policies, but only for pig products, not for eggs. On that note, I go back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: There you go. Sustainable for the animals, but is it necessarily -- eating fast food sustainable for the humans? I'm not sure. Thanks so much.

It's finally over, folks, the GOP on the verge of officially crowning former Governor Mitt Romney as its nominee for the 2012 election. Newt Gingrich is dropping out of the race next week. His spokesman says he is finally ready to endorse Mitt Romney.

Also Texas Governor Rick Perry had previously endorsed former Speaker Gingrich. He has now come out in favor of Mitt Romney. Is it finally time to focus on the general election?

Some would say -- Gingrich and his people have been complaining we were focusing on a general election without him already, but now at least officially you have Gingrich dropping out.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, DAUGHTER OF JON HUNTSMAN: I don't think he has announced he's announcing.

JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: After the American people decide for him, he's deciding.

ROMANS: They announced he was going to reassess.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not ready to give up that spotlight just yet. Give me another week.

ROMANS: What about the Perry flip? What do you think about that?

CAIN: It's inevitable. Who is he going to endorse at this point, Ron Paul? He's not going to do that. I mean, watch the endorsements flood in as the inevitability settles in.

ROMANS: You can see where the president's campaign manager -- one of his top campaign guys yesterday had said now we know that it's the president and who. Republicans have settled on Mitt Romney -- I'm sorry, settled for Mitt Romney. A little dig at the back, but it took them, you know.

HUNTSMAN: Santorum still hasn't come out yet.

ROMANS: Translating for him

FUGELSANG: Rick Santorum wants to leave the window open to destroy his entire future career in the party. But it is fun seeing Perry endorse Mitt Romney because these guys hate each other so much they could sing lead for the Eagles.

ROMANS: All right, guys, thanks. It's about 32 minutes after the hour. When we come back, we're going to take a look at this, what maybe I guess, a new publicity stunt from Tareq Salahi.

CAIN: We'll see. It could be very legit.

ROMANS: It could be and if you don't know who it is then, you know --

Also taking you inside a war on the sea to save the whales, stars of the hit reality show "Whale Wars" are here. Here is one from their playlist "Soul Meets Body." You're watching STARTING POINT.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The possibility is you could die. If you're not accepting those possibilities then you don't belong here.


ROMANS: A dramatic scene from last season's "Whale Wars," a popular show on Animal Planet. Members of the Sea Shepherd considered by many to be a fringe vigilante organization because of those tactics, now they're taking their war to the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic between Iceland and Scotland, a territory of Denmark, trying to stop an ancient tradition called the grind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sea shepherds are determined to find the whales before the Faroes do. All leads to a potentially violent confrontation in the middle of a hunt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul Watson, he can be wild but we can, too. Paul Watson is no problem.


ROMANS: Paul Watson is the head of Sea Shepherd. The five-part series, "Whale Wars, Viking Shores" begins on Friday at 9:00 pm. Peter Hammarstedt and Frasier Hall are both with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Frasier is the captain of one of the ships that they use. Peter is the first mate. Gentlemen, welcome to the program. First, we're going to warn viewers what we show is a little gory.

It's a little bloody, this pictures are. But explain the grind. That's how you say it, right? Is it legal?

FRASIER HALL, CAPTAIN, BRIGITTE BARDOT: It's legal in the Faroe Islands, but it's illegal internationally. The Faroes ignore the international ban on whaling and they go ahead and whale.

ROMANS: They beach them basically on sand shales or something?

HALL: That's correct. They drag them into the shore and jab metal hooks into their blow holes and pull them off the beach.

ROMANS: They saw these defendants of like 9th Century Vikings.

HALL: Thousand of years tradition.

ROMANS: A cultural tradition. How many of these whales are they killing?

PETER HAMMARSTEDT, FIRST MATE, BRIGITTE BARDOT: They can kill up to 1,000, 2,000 whales a year. That's what's so important about Sea Shepherd's work in the Faroe Islands. We go up to the Faroe Islands, Animal Planet documents our efforts and we try to save as many whales as we can from slaughter.

ROMANS: The prime minister's office says that, you know, it averages, I think 800 that are killed and it's sustainable. And the entire number of whales that they have -- these are pilot whales, right? It's a sustainable number. You think that any number of whales being slaughtered like this is too many?

HALL: That's right. They're a threatened species. It's banned to hunt them anywhere else in the world, but somehow these people ignore this.

ROMANS: This new intensified campaign that you guys have, how is it going? What are you hoping to accomplish?

HALL: We're hoping to accomplish a complete stop to whaling in the Faroe Islands.

CAIN: Really, this is a story for you guys that it's more about justice than law?

HAMMARSTEDT: Well, for us, it's about both. As Frasier said, it is legal in the Faroes, but internationally it is illegal.

ROMANS: It's legal in the Faroes, but internationally it's illegal. What does that mean? The rest of the world says what you're doing is illegal, but in Faroe Islands, they say, no, this is legal because we say it is.

HAMMARSTEDT: The Faroe Islands are a part of the Kingdom of Denmark and in Denmark and the European Union, it's unlawful to kill and Denmark seems to allow the Faroe Islands to do whatever they want. It's a very politically sensitive issue.

CAIN: Distinguish this for me. We have hunting limits in the United States, but American Indians, Native Americans don't have to participate in those hunting limits.

On their reservation lands, they can kill how many sheep they want. Distinguish this for me from that. These guys have been hunting whales for thousands of years. It's a cultural tradition they've held on to. Is it simply because whales are an endangered species, your opposition I'm talking about?

HALL: Yes. They are threatened species. Everywhere else, you can't do this. So we certainly don't believe that this people should be allowed --

ROMANS: There's another local fisherman angle I want you to listen to and then we'll get your reaction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an animal like a cow, chicken or pig. It has a better life than most captured animals. It lives in the wild for 20, 30 years and gets killed in a matter of a few minutes.


ROMANS: The fisherman says it's like another animal like a cow, pig or chicken. Has a great life for 20, 30 years and is killed in a matter of seconds.

HAMMARSTADT: I've seen the grind myself. I know that it takes far more than a couple of seconds. I've seen it take several minutes to kill one of these pilot whales. These are not single animals that are being targeted. These are entire pods of pilot whales that are being wiped out. These are mothers. These are calves. These are entire pods that are getting wiped out. They're not even eating the whale meat really.

This whale meat is so heavy in heavy metal contents that it's actually poisoning the people in the Faroes and their chief medical officer, their equivalent to the surgeon general, recommends that they don't eat the whale meat at all.

ROMANS: I was reading a list of warnings about eating whale blubber even though, I mean, I've never had an opportunity or chance or inclination to.

If you are of child-bearing years, you shouldn't. If you have other health problems, you shouldn't, a long list of restrictions for actually eating this.

I think it comes down to a cultural -- is this a cultural issue for the Faroees and they see you guys as outsiders that don't understand?

FUGELSANG: Or a financial one.

ROMANS: Or a financial one.

HAMMARSTEDT: They do see us as outsiders to some regard, but these pilot whales don't belong to the Faroe Islands. They belong to the world. They have their own right to exist and migrate past the Faroe Islands every year.

Culture and tradition has been used to justify all kinds of cruelty throughout history everything from the sub human treatment of women to all sorts of other injustices.

HUNTSMAN: So what is the reaction been amongst the local in Faroe Island to what you guys are doing since this has obviously been going for thousands of years and something that's very important to them.

HAMMARSTEDT: One of the interesting things about this show "Whale Wars: Viking Shores" shows both sides to this issue and does introduce the Faroees viewpoint on it. Certainly we're met with quite a large degree of --

ROMANS: Skepticism.

HAMMARSTEDT: Aggression and skepticism. We've had people throwing things at us. People have threatened to slit my throat.

FUGELSANG: Is it because their livelihoods and jobs are threatened by your actions?

HALL: By no means. These people actually have very net incomes. They have all the services and benefits like we have here. They simply want to hang on to this tradition. I should say it's not all Faroees for this hunt.

CAIN: Is it more cultural than financial? Do you have people in the Faroees who are publicly supporting you?

HALL: There is no really financial aspect to it at all. There is support for what we do in the Faroe Islands.

ROMANS: It's simply a custom?

HAMMARSTEDT: It is. Almost like a coming of age thing there too. Once you turn the age of 14, you get to be one of these so- called killing men and wait on shore as these pilot whales are driven up on the beach and be one of the people who help to sever their spinal cord.

CAIN: If fact, you said these whales don't belong to them and, therefore, this cultural norm should not be accepted. So are you opposed to all hunting?

HAMMARSTEDT: Well, we're opposed to Sea Shepherds so what we specifically go out to do is oppose marine mammal slaughter. And one of the reasons we're so focused in the Faroe Islands is this is the single largest mass slaughter of a species in the North Atlantic.

FUGELSANG: Is it coming to slaughter whales, this particular ways, just slicing them open on the beach.

HALL: It's simply in the Faroe Islands at this point.

ROMANS: Well, it's captivating to watch, the film and how you've put it together. It's really interesting. It's a series "Whale Wars: Viking Shores." Fraser Hall and Peter Hammarstedt, nice to meet both you guys.

Ahead of STARTIGN POINT, a dad whose son has autism wire taps his kid to expose his bully teachers. You've got to hear the tape. We're going to talk to that father live coming up. We're going to find out what happened to those teacher.

Gatecrasher for governor, Tareq Salahi says this is for real. It is a political move. It is not a publicity stunt. We'Bl ask him to clarify that next. From Abby's playlist, Eric Church "Springsteen." You're watching STARTING POINT.


SAMBOLIN: It is 47 minutes past the hour. A couple of quick headlines.

The U.S. Marine who bashed President Obama on Facebook has been discharged. Sergeant Gary Stein called the president a liar and suggested he would not follow some orders. A military board said he broke the rules of limiting political conduct. He was given an other than honorable discharge.

TSA screeners busted in a bribery and drug scheme. Four former and current screeners at Los Angeles International Airport are charged with allowing large amounts of cocaine, meth and marijuana to pass through x-ray machine at security in exchange for cash payoffs. One drug courier is already in custody and another is expected to turn himself in at some point today. Christine, back to you.

ROMANS: Thank you, Zoraida.

From the White House to the governor's mansion, this time legally. Infamous White House party crasher Tareq Salahi is running for governor in his home state of Virginia. But is anybody buying it?

Tareq Salahi joins us now from Washington D.C. Welcome to the program. We understand you're interested or you say you filed to run for governor of Virginia. There are a lot of people are saying, look, this could be the next step in a long list of publicity-seeking endeavors.

The White House party, for example, appearing on the "Real House Wives of D.C., a $50 million lawsuit against your soon-to-be ex- wife, who left and took up with a journey rocker. Why should the public assume this isn't just another publicity stunt?

TAREQ SALAHI, PLANS TO RUN FOR VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Good morning, Christine. Well, you know, it's not. A lot of people think it might be part of a TV show. It's not. I love Virginia. I'm taking it very seriously.

I have passion for Virginia. I've been living there my whole life. I'm excited about this. You know, currently, the Virginia attorney general has been making personal attacks against me and I said enough is enough.

ROMANS: You mentioned the attorney general. You say you would like to be governor of the state where the attorney general has actually filed suit against you with regard to your business dealings of your winery, which raise a whole lot of questions as well if you're about to be in legal battle with the state of which you want to run.

SALAHI: Well, it's really against him. I mean, this person is -- this person can -- who's the Virginia of AG has been doing these personal attacks against me.

This is the second time. He's doing this to grandstand. He is doing this because he's going to be running for governor. And he's really doing this for all the wrong reasons and, frankly, is wasting taxpayer dollars.

So I'm going to not only run against him, but I'm taking this very seriously. I'm in it to win it.

FUGELSANG: Sir, good morning. There are those who would consider it grand standing when you filed the $50 million against your ex-wife.

ROMANS: Soon to be ex-wife.

FUGELSANG: I beg your pardon. How do you respond to those allegations when you hear them?

SALAHI: Well, I filed against Journey and (inaudible) and against the entertainment company because there are a lot of money involved in that from agencies that owe us significant dollars.

You know, there's money that needs to be sorted and distributed and that's part of the divorce. There's a lot of money because of the marriage and because of the divorce that has to be divided now.

ROMANS: I'm going to be honest with you. You have a real sloppy personal history here. It's all over the public airwaves. You called your soon to be ex-wife I think a groupie slut or something.

It's not often you see someone running for the highest seat in their state, only 50 of these jobs exist, with sort of that kind of real baggage.

SALAHI: Those were her actions that -- she did what she did. When she started her cheating affair with the founder of Journey, that's something she did. So I'm reacting to her.

ROMANS: So you are only known for these things. What makes you qualified to be the governor of a state?

SALAHI: You know, I have a number of political things that I've been doing in Virginia for the last 15 years. I've been appointed by Governor Gilmore in 2000.

I was appointed by Mark Warner who was governor at the time and now senator and I was reappointed by Tim Kaine. In fact, you know, I've done things on both sides, both the Democratic side and the Republican side. I was on steering committee for DNC. I've been very active --

ROMANS: You would be running as a Republican this time?


ROMANS: The application that your spokesman sent to CNN listed November 6th, 2013 as the election day, but the election day is November 5th. Are you aware of that error?

SALAHI: You know, this was filled out by some of our attorneys. So if there may be a date error. It doesn't get submitted until after January 1st.

So these types of materials including signatures can't be submitted until January. So all we're doing now is exploratory work and a lot of meetings with attorneys and our committees.

ROMANS: The statement we got from Virginia State Board of Elections regarding your application is nothing has been filed with the state board of elections yet. The candidate --

SALAHI: It can't be filed until January. ROMANS: So you also have to have 10,000 registered voters from Virginia and a minimum of 400 from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts. Will you get all that support?

SALAHI: Yes, there's no question. We've had several thousand new fans come on our Facebook page over the last 12 hours. So clearly, there's a huge amount of momentum. We have hundreds of messages of support.

People who know me prior to my wife know how serious and how much I love Virginia and how much I've been involved in Virginia community and Virginia politics.

So those who knew me before I got married and before we did Hollywood things and television and TV shows and reality TV, know how serious I am.

ROMANS: Don't you think that has tarnished it?

SALAHI: Absolutely not.

ROMANS: People think reality TV is garbage.

SALAHI: I disagree. It's really the opposite. The social media and those people that associated me with television or reality TV, it opens up a whole new audience. Frankly, the younger audience is very important in winning this governor race.

HUNTSMAN: I would argue that one of the biggest issues today for voters is the trust deficit especially as there is to government institutions. Here you are where you recently snuck into a White House dinner and dealing with issues with your winery, I want to know how you are going to prove --

ROMANS: Here we go.

SALAHI: We're going back into the White House. Do you really think you can sneak into the White House? Come on seriously. That was put to rest a long time ago.

Matt Lauer broke that story almost two years ago and then it just became entertainment. Went to "Saturday Night Live" and then David Letterman and then it just transitioned, but no, nobody can break into the White House. Come on, please. That's impossible.

HUNTSMAN: So how are you going to convince the people of Virginia to really trust you? Do you have a big vision you feel will real appeal to the people in Virginia?

SALAHI: You know, again, it goes back to who I was and who I am. The real me is back. The real me is what you see what I'm doing and what I have done in the past. I've done a tremendous amount of policy writing and authoring bills in the general assembly supporting the Virginia wine industry.

ROMANS: You were asked to step down from the tourism industry from the board after that whole White House thing you said isn't really a problem. But you were asked to step down and had to leave that post.

SALAHI: Why bring noise to the Virginia tourism authority when it's not necessary. I did the right thing there. Now it's time to --

CAIN: I have some questions for you. I want to go back to the point that the reality show didn't tarnish your ability to run for governor, but in fact enhanced it and exposed you to a new perspective voters so would you suggest that Mitt Romney or maybe even Barack Obama in his re-election campaign look at a reality show on Bravo?

SALAHI: You know, worse things could happen.

ROMANS: All right, Tareq Salahi, thank you so much. Planning to run for Virginia governor. Nice to see you this morning. Focus on 15 minutes of fame, but focus on all of the years before that, I guess.

All right, so ahead on STARTING POINT, a Catholic school teacher who says she was fired for receiving fertility treatments. They called her a sinner. Now she's suing. The details of that story ahead.

Plus, it's been one year after the double tap that killed Osama Bin Laden. This morning exhilarating brand new details of that raid and the Wikileaks that could have tipped Bin Laden off. You're watching STARTING POINT.