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Al Qaeda Template for Future Attacks; Murdoch "Not Fit" to Run Company; Exotic Pets To Return Home; Rupert Murdoch Found Unfit to Run his Company by British Parliament; David Frum Writes a Fictional Book; From the Brink of Death; Michael Jordan's Dream of Gold

Aired May 1, 2012 - 08:00   ET



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

Our STARTING POINT this morning, breaking news, the British government ripping Rupert Murdoch, says he's not fit to lead a major international company. And News Corp now responding. We'll take you live to London, straight ahead.

Al Qaeda's attack plans found hidden in pornography. Reports of a new threat on the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death. Terrorists wearing body bombs trying to board planes. Just how safe are we? We'll talk about that.

Please, remember that night back in Ohio when the cheetahs and monkeys and lions and tigers were running wild. The widow of the woman who let them loose and then killed himself. Now, she's going to get some of those animals back. We'll tell you why some people are saying it's dangerous moves.

And then, dream big and maybe you, too, can be like Michael Jordan. It would also help if you play basketball. Michael Jordan's mom Dolores is going to join us to talk about some life lessons on raising a very talented kid.

It's Tuesday, May 1st and STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: It's good. I like Rufus Wainwright, "Out of the Game." That's Ryan's pick. I think I'm fair to everybody. I like everyone's pick today.



O'BRIEN: A little slow. Tom Wade's a little slow.

Ryan Lizza joins us. He's a Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker". John Fugelsang is with us this morning, political comedian. Will Cain is a columnist at

There are some new worries to talk about -- about al Qaeda and the concerns of al Qaeda could try to explode U.S.-bound planes with explosives hidden inside the bodies of terrorists. It's kind of an interesting theory, right? Body bombs, people would put them inside their bodies to make their way through the screening machines and not trigger them and that warning comes on the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden.

Security at airports in Europe and the Middle East has been stepped up as a result. Also, we're getting some new intelligence hints at future al Qaeda threats. German agents who nabbed an al Qaeda operative last year found a memory chip in his underwear. At first, they said it looked like a pornographic movie, but then they found future operations drawn up by some of al Qaeda's most senior operatives and some of those plans involved maybe taking over a cruise ship, hijacking that cruise ship and then sending a statement by putting all the passengers in orange jump suits to mimic sort of how Guantanamo Bay -- al Qaeda operatives who have been held there how they were dressed and then --

FUGELSANG: They would sneak thousands of orange jump suits on a cruise liner as part of their terrorist plot?

O'BRIEN: Well, you know, it depends on somewhere you are. Maybe you wouldn't have to sneak them on. Maybe if you have the right people on other ships nearby taking part in it.

FUGELSANG: Al Qaeda wardrobe department would take care of that.

O'BRIEN: So, I mean -- it sounded very terrifying. You know, it was interesting earlier when I was talking to Commissioner Ray Kelly from New York Police Department, it was amazing, because I was glad he was aware of a lot of these things that sometimes percolate and sound new to us.

He's like, listen, you know, these are all things they considered. If you think of someone paranoid about security, he would be the guy paranoid who's very about security here.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hard for us to remember and appreciate how big and expansive NYPD Counterterrorism Intelligence Department is. I mean, they are up there right underneath with the CIA and FBI as far as being involved and knowing these things. But for those of us that aren't, this is a reminder, al Qaeda is out there thinking and planning.

O'BRIEN: It's the lone wolf strategy that scares them the most.

LIZZA: But that's in a way a victory. In all of these years after 9/11, is that if we're down to lone wolf attacks, less sophisticated, less centrally organized --

O'BRIEN: Smaller scale.

LIZZA: Smaller scale, I mean, knock on wood, it does show that we've had great deal of success in eliminating their capability to pull off a major well-coordinated attack.

O'BRIEN: Pretty interesting. One of the things that they found in some of this information that came out of the capture of Osama bin Laden was the degree to which drones were problematic. I mean, how much he hated the drones, how the drones were clearly having a huge impact on sort of the damage to his operation.

LIZZA: A lot of civil libertarians, a lot of liberals who think this drone policy is a horror show. And you have to grapple with these documents coming out of bin Laden's compound. And those drones have had a major impact.

FUGELSANG: Well, people aren't upset with the use of drones, in a slew of armies. They're upset with the amount of civilian deaths over them, to be fair. But it is true, that one of the most important revelations we found in bin Laden's compound was this obsession with killing Barack Obama, whether that's realistic or not, because he felt that Obama had changed the narrative and loss this constructive war on terror dialogue and had actually moved it towards a nonmilitary solution.

O'BRIEN: You know, I think we have Nic Robertson who's standing by for us. He's in London this morning.

Oh, hey, Nic. You know, we were just talking about your report that I was listening to on Anderson's show last night. Update us on some of the information that was gleaned from this chip that they found in this operative's underwear.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is a future document part, it's one of the 141 documents recovered there, and this is al Qaeda in 2009 laying out its future plans, plans that they have stuck with. One of the plans is to hijack, if you will, a cruise liner, execute passengers, upload those videos to the Internet.

They also would like to do Mumbai style attacks. This was the attack in India in 2008. Ten gunmen storming hotels, killed 164 people.

What they are saying in this document is al Qaeda wants to go on this twin-track approach. This Mumbai-style, cheap, easy to do, not too complicated plan attacked, even with a lone gunman, and also go after those large attacks like 9/11, like some of the other plots that are detailed in all of these documents.

But what we also learned in those documents is that al Qaeda recognizes counterterrorism officials are getting better. They are losing key operatives in Pakistan because of drone strikes to the point that some operatives this document says aren't even planning operations anymore because they are so afraid of being targeted. There are a lot of details in this document, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it was an absolutely fascinating read. So, you know, when I was talking to Commissioner Ray Kelly from the NYPD earlier this morning, his focus he said was that they're very interested in the lone wolf, that that was their biggest concern.

Are you seeing the same thing?

ROBERTSON: What we saw recently in France recently, in Toulouse, where a gunman killed seven people in a lone attack, al Qaeda claimed responsibility for it. Muslim extremists following al Qaeda's views, if you will -- that's the kind of thing that can happen.

This is what al Qaeda is advocating in its new plans, these easy-to-do operations that aren't complicated because they know the complicated operations now are being interrupted and stopped by counterterrorism officials because they are much better at doing their job. And this is al Qaeda's concern.

So, these lone wolf attacks now according to al Qaeda are the sort of thing they think that can help keep the momentum going, and they are hard to spot coming in.

O'BRIEN: Nic Robertson for us this morning -- Nic, thank you for that update.

Let's get right to Christine Romans. She's got a look at some of the other stories making news this morning.

Hey, Christine.


The Occupy protest movement gearing up for nationwide demonstrations this morning on May Day. Occupiers are hoping to reenergize by holding a day without the 99 percent. It's a general strike that means no work, no school, no shopping and no banking. Occupy May Day demonstrations are planned in more than 100 cities across the U.S.

May Day traditionally known as international workers day with roots back to the 1800s.

Labor groups are holding marches and demonstration this morning. In California, the Golden Gate ferry is shut down because of a May Day workers strike. The ferry will restart service at 2:15 this afternoon.

Police are searching northeast Tucson this morning. They are looking for a suspect who broke into a home and sexually assaulted three young sisters. The girls reportedly just 6, 8 and 10 years old. It's not clear right now if these assaults might be related to the disappearance of 6 year old Isabel Celis. She vanished 10 days ago. She lives ten miles from the scene of yesterday's attacks.

A new task force in Florida reviewing the state's "Stand Your Ground" law in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. The 17-member panel is meeting for the first time today. They're discussing whether the controversial law should be changed.

The panel will review testimony from the public in meetings that will be held throughout the state. Its final recommendations will be passed along to Florida's governor, Rick Scott. Those are expected to be complete by the next legislative session in 2013.

The Obama reelection campaign has a new video, and what appears to be a new motto: "Forward". That's the title of the seven-minute video that will debut Saturday at the president's first official campaign rallies in Ohio and Virginia. It makes the argument that the economy is improving under the president's watch despite overwhelming resistance from the Republican Party -- Soledad.

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

Let's get to some breaking news this morning. Rupert Murdoch has been found not fit enough, quote, "to run" an international company. It's a report from a select committee of lawmakers in the U.K. And it says Murdoch and his media empire deliberately misled the British parliament about the scope of the phone hacking scandal at the "News of the World" tabloid.


TOM WATSON, BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Everybody in the world knows who is responsible for the wrongdoing of News Corp, Rupert Murdoch. More than any individual alive, he is to blame.

Morally, the deeds are his. He paid the piper and he called the tune. It is his company, his culture, his people, his business, his failures, his lies, his crimes, the price of profits and his power.


O'BRIEN: That's British parliament member Tom Watson, who has been particularly harsh on Rupert Murdoch.

Dan Rivers is in London for us this morning.

That's absolutely devastating testimony there, Dan.


I think it's important to know a couple of things. They were unanimous in their decision, these politicians, from all political parties. The committee had been misled by various news international staff including the chief lawyer, Tom Crone, and former editor of the paper, Colin Myler, and one of the longest serving lieutenants of Rupert Murdoch.

But they were divided about whether they should include that controversial paragraph saying that Rupert Murdoch was not a fit and proper person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company. The conservative party here thought it shouldn't be included. It went beyond their remits. The labour and members here thought it should be included.

In the end, it got voted through by a majority of one. So, it is in the report. It's controversial. It's blistering and withering for Rupert Murdoch. It will sting both here and in the U.S. and will no doubt have big repercussions for his stewardship of News Corp in the U.S. and for potentially their continued in the British broadcaster BSkyB.

O'BRIEN: And what do you think those repercussions could actually be?

RIVERS: Well, already, they were attempting to buy up the rest of BSkyB which they own 39 percent of that. They abandoned that in the face of this phone hacking scandal. Now, there's a question of whether they can hold any shares in BSkyB.

Already, the TV regulator is debating on whether, indeed, they are fit and proper people to hold a broadcasting license in the United Kingdom. This report is going to be included in their assessment and it's not good news. Basically, if politicians, this powerful committee, says they're not fit and proper people, possibly, the regulator may agree.

O'BRIEN: Dan Rivers for us this morning -- Dan, thank you.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT: five exotic wild animals set loose by an Ohio man shortly before he committed suicide are now being returned home. Some people say it's a dangerous move and could create another panic. We'll tell you why.

Plus, she is 4'11". And this Georgia firefighter walking kind of tall after she was able to make the biggest save of her career. We'll tell you what she was able to do.

Here's John's playlist. (INAUDIBLE) Wow, I haven't heard this in a long time

You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: If you remember the night when lions and tigers and cheetahs run wild in Ohio, now, a widow is getting back five of her husband's exotic pets. Terry Thompson, the husband, let loose more than 50 animals happened back in October, included wolves and lions and bears before he committed suicide.

Now, most of those animals were killed by authorities, but two leopards, two monkeys, and a bear survived. They've been kept in quarantine at the Columbus Zoo. Now, state officials have cleared the animals of dangerous or contagious disease. Thompson's widow says she plans to keep them on her farm.

Tom Stalf is the chief operating officer of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He joins us from Ohio this morning. It's nice to see you. Thanks for your time. We appreciate it. There were 56 animals. Five now survived. Those are the five that are being returned. You have been to that farm. Tell me a little bit about what you think of returning the animals there?

TOM STALF, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, COLUMBUS ZOO & AQUARIUM: I was there the day the tragedy happened, and then, the next day, as capture and recovery. It was horrific event, but it was also a horrific area. The areas that they would contain the animals were not suitable, were not clean. They did not have appropriate space to accommodate the animals, and we're very concerned for not only for the animals but also for the community.

O'BRIEN: So, has that changed dramatically? I mean, why does the widow want the animals back? Has she sort of fixed up the area?

STALF: You know, I haven't been back to the area at the Thompson farm. But, we have been a resource at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for the state of Ohio, the Department of Agriculture and law enforcement. I know that there has been talk with the local law enforcement and health officials to inspect the area prior to allowing the animals to go back to that property.

O'BRIEN: So, will you be part of any kind of monitoring of the farm and now the cages for these remaining animals?

STALF: We've reached out to Marianne Thompson, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is willing to be a resource for her as well as to educate anyone that is holding restricted species or dangerous wild animals to make sure that there is proper standards of care. We want to ensure that the animals are cared for, as well as that the public is safe.

O'BRIEN: And when you reached out, what has she said in return?

STALF: No response from Marianne Thompson. We really have focused with the state of Ohio. Unfortunately, the state is only one of several states that do not have any type of standards of care for these types of restricted species. You know, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has stated from day one that these types of animals do not make good pets.

And for those folks that have these types of animals, we want to provide a resource to educate the owners on what it takes to house the animals, make sure that the animals are cared for, and that this tragedy never happens again.

O'BRIEN: So there is, of course, because of this a bill that has passed that would restrict the private ownership of these exotic animals. Tell me a little bit about the bill. Is it a good bill?

STALF: It is a good bill. You know, it's a great start. And Senator Troy Balderson who's from Zanesville led the way, and it has passed the Senate. He had a great resource from the entire state. Every AZA zoo in the state of Ohio had a member on this task force and veterinarians from throughout the state would give insight on what it would take to properly house the animals.

Now, we'll wait for the bill to pass the House. And it is scheduled after signed by the governor to become effective immediately, and then, the standards of care would be enforced on January 1st, 2014.

O'BRIEN: When will these animals, actually, the five that remain, be returned into the Thompson farm?

STALF: Well, we are now coordinating with Marianne Thompson's veterinarian to discuss the proper handling and being able to ensure that the animals are cared for while they're at the Columbus Zoo and preparing for shipment, and then, that is currently ongoing. And, we're anticipating just in the next few days the veterinarians will work together to schedule that time.

O'BRIEN: So, we could even see it by the end of the week. Tom Stalf is from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. He's the chief operating officer. It's nice to see you. Thanks for your time. We appreciate it.

STALF: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a small firefighter becomes a big giant hero. We're going to hear from the 4'11" firefighter who was able to save a little boy who was trapped in a storm drainage. She was the only one who fit. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: You are so cool. This is Sleater Kinney "Dig Me Out." And you took the guitarist to the White House correspondents --


LIZZA: She's a star for (INAUDIBLE), too.

O'BRIEN: Oh, wow, wow, wow. OK. So cool.

Did you, guys, hear the story about this little boy who fell 20 feet down a storm drain happened in East Point, Georgia. All the firefighters rushed to the scene, but it turns out they were too big to fit down the storm drain that was very, very narrow. That's the baby right there. His name is, I think, Darnell.

So, they called in one of the firefighters who was the smallest on the team. 4'11" Rosa Tulis who's 50 years old, took off all her gear and wearing her pants and a T-shirt, she was able to squeeze into the opening which is a foot wide, able to grab the boy, and then, they both were hauled up. She spoke about it on "Early Start" this morning.


ROSA TULIS, EAST POINT GA FIREFIGHTER: He was like Velcro, I tell you. He was clutching. And I could hardly manipulate him because he was terrified. And, he just really didn't want me to take my hands off of him. So, it was a little bit difficult, and we did not have that much space to maneuver, but we were able to kind of get him up to my shoulders and then like a military press over my head. (END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Well, she says she's claustrophobic. Can you imagine, being sent down 20 feet and her claustrophobic, but she said when she saw the little boy, her fear went away and reminded her of her second son. Both of them just had scrapes and bruises and were checked out at a local hospital and were fine.

She says every day is different on the job. You know what I love? I love -- one of the reasons I love firefighters is that, at the end of the day, they all say, it was team work. It was team work. She did an interview talking about all the team work and -- you know, as much as she was one who went down the drain, it was really about the team and making it happen.

FUGELSANG: Well, someone did have to yank the rope, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Exactly. Or there'd be two people stuck in the -- excellent point. Yes, very true.

CAIN: I have a 1 year old. I can't imagine him falling into a hole like that and coming out and being all right.

O'BRIEN: You can totally see it happen, though, because, of course, they're so fast. They just get away. Keep an eye on our kid.

Still ahead this morning -- see, another thing to worry about with an infant.



O'BRIEN: It's not a new revelation to tell you about in that Amish beard cutting case. It's now forcing the defendant to shell out some cash. We'll tell you about that.

Plus, fact inspires fiction. A former White House speechwriter who you all know has written a novel criticizing American politics. We're going to talk with David Frum coming up. Here's from David playlist, he warned us he does not listen to contemporary music. David. This is "The Waltz." It's from Faust. David. I'll take it. Hey, I like Faust. We'll take it.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We start with breaking news. Rupert Murdoch is "not a fit and proper person," and that's a quote, to run a major international company. That is the conclusion of a committee of lawmakers in London who just released a report that says that Murdoch and his media empire deliberately misled the British parliament about the scope of the phone hacking scandal at the new defunct "News of the World" tabloid.




O'BRIEN: Anybody know what that was? We're not sure.

FUGELSANG: That sounds like a techno record out of the U.K.

O'BRIEN: We got audio that does not match our video.

FUGELSANG: James Murdoch has hacked this entire operation.

O'BRIEN: Tom Watson from British parliament has been coming out very, very harshly against Rupert Murdoch, and the ruling now could prompt British regulators to force Murdoch to sell his controlling stake in British Sky Broadcasting. We'll continue to follow the story for you.

Let's go to Christine for the rest of the morning headlines. Good luck with technology.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A sex tape John Edwards recorded with Mistress Rielle Hunter will play a role in the Edwards' trial. The jurors will not be able to see the tape, just hear testimony about it. Edwards lawyers say former aide Andrew Young stole the tape from Hunter and tried to sell it or use it to threaten Edwards as his attempt to cover up the affair unraveled. Meanwhile, Young's wife is due back on the stand today after a gut-wrenching day on the witness stand. She broke down in tears as she testified how the former senator asked her family to hide his affair with hunter for the good of the country.

A shocking new revelation in the Amish beard cutting case. Officials have found out that the leader of the group accused of cutting the beards of religious rivals is a millionaire. And now he has to pay for his public defender. Samuel Mullet is being represented by a taxpayer funded attorney, but back in March he received more than $2 million for leasing part of his 800 acre farm to oil and gas companies. A judge says he must pay twice the hourly rate to keep his defender. He also has to pay for prior legal work performed.

The Grand Ole Opry is suing the federal government. It was the result of negligence on the part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, saying they botched the operation of an upriver dam and failed to give the city of Nashville ample warning.

She's been involved in politics before. President Obama once asked to see her birth certificate, and now 90-year-old Betty White made her pick in California's 28th congressional district. White appeared in an ad alongside her co-star Wendy Malick for longtime congressman Howard Berman. Her love of animals was the deciding factor.


WENDY MALICK, ACTRESS: If you want a friend in Washington, do you know what do you?

BETTY WHITE, ACTRESS: Get a dog. That's what I've been told.

MALICK: What else?

WHITE: Re-elect Congressman Hoard Berman, the Valley leader who fights for humane treatment of all animals.


ROMANS: Betty White is almost as well known for animal advocacy as for her good work getting laughs.

Dropping the f-bomb in Middleboro, Massachusetts could cost you. People say they are fed up with kids and some adults cursing out loud in the downtown business district. So Middleboro's the police chief wants to start writing $20 tickets to those caught swearing. The law is already on the books but hasn't been enforced in years. There you go.

O'BRIEN: That's a good idea. I curse like a sailor. You could make a ton of money. I support that.


FUGELSANG: During commercial breaks Soledad says nothing but vulgarities.

O'BRIEN: That's not true.


O'BRIEN: CNN contributor David Frum is a columnist, former economic speech writer for George W. Bush. He has written six books, but has a new work called "Patriots." And it's a novel. It's a political satire with some factual inspiration. We'll get to your musical choices which, we had last chunk of time. Who is in the book who really is in real life? Name names for us. Come on, every time they write fiction they write it to put people in who they couldn't do in a nonfiction novel.

DAVID FRUM, AUTHOR: I won't name names. But we have a sinister cable news network run by an unscrupulous executive who's mistress my protagonist unwittingly sleeps with, and that gets him into an enormous amounts of trouble.

FUGELSANG: It's clearly Current TV.


FRUM: And then they hack him. I wrote that before hacking scandal broke.

There are a range of blowhard radio hosts. There are corrupt think tank analysts. There are internet impresarios who make their living forging videos. A lot of this is about life of Washington as we know it but we don't talk about it. I've been in Washington a long time. I'm sick of not talking about it.

O'BRIEN: You did it under fiction so no one would sue you later about it. Was it fun to write fiction?

FRUM: It was a lot of fun. I want to make it a fun experience for the reader because this book has got some serious themes about the dysfunction of government and why it is that government has neglected people in this crisis. That's kind of a sobering story. If you want to get people to pay attention to something important, you have to make them laugh the whole way through.

LIZZA: You and I have known each other a long time. I remember covering the Bush White House talking a lot after 9/11. One thing you said recently is 2008 financial crisis was a more searing experience to you than even 9/11. It sort of shook your faith in politics. Why?

FRUM: Because 9/11 came out of a clear blue yonder. There were mistakes that led to it, but the crisis was so preventable and the impact on people has been so horrific. But most of all the neglect of our political system of this impact.

I just -- this is one of the things you keep seeing. The novel is set in a city where everyone is having a good time. You keep having little bits of different world, panhandlers, people out of work. At one point a guy is sitting in a coffee shop noticing the guy beside him has taped his glasses because he can't afford to fix them. In our Washington, try to get a reservation in a restaurant on Thursday night. Impossible. We're doing great. The rest of the country is not.

O'BRIEN: You write "Do you know why I can't have a plate here? Ethics rules," he said to place in space somewhere over my shoulder. "Lobbyists can't buy dinner for members of Congress and that's anything eaten with a plate and cutlery." Is that true?

FRUM: That's true. You go to a fundraiser and they can serve you a lamb chop in a napkin but not on a plate. And so people are driven by money in this book. One of my most cynical characters is a former anti-Apartheid campaigner who has now made good as big deal Washington lobbyist, lives on a huge spread on the shore as he lavishes money on everyone around him and collects money from everyone around him.

O'BRIEN: It looks like Eliot Spitzer on the cover. Handsome man. You see his chin.

FRUM: He's a good looking guy, heir to America's biggest mustard fortune. That's one of the reasons he's able to go everywhere because of course if you arrived in Washington and people think you have money to give away, boy, you have a lot of friends.

O'BRIEN: Is it uplifting or depressing?

FRUM: I hope it is uplifting, because in the end in this horrific city, this character starts off as a worthless figure. Mr. Mustard realizes that it's partly all of our faults, people in this system. Systems are based on people. If he does better and he has a chance, he has a chance to make an important decision and in the end he does the right thing and that offers a little bit of hope at the end of what kind of changes we could make that would make the system do better.

O'BRIEN: Can I ask you a political question. We've been talking a lot about whether or not this Osama bin Laden killing has been politicized for political parties. Do you think that it has been with president Obama -- what's the line between touting your record in an election year and going over that line and making sort of political?

FRUM: If this raid had gone badly, president Obama would have had to wear the blame so because it goes well, he gets the credit. That's the political deal. And I don't think anybody in politics should deny him any smidgen of credit.

O'BRIEN: But the next line is Romney wouldn't have done the same thing. That's what was said.

FRUM: But that's where Romney needs to push back there, because the other important decision in foreign policy this president made was to massively increase the investment in Afghanistan. What do we have to show for that? The Romney response should not be to attack Obama where he is strong on the bin Laden raid. Applaud him for that. Say he did the right thing. I congratulate him. Now why are we in Afghanistan now? The president said he wanted to put his eye back on that ball, sends tens of thousands more troops there, spend a lot more money. We're in no better place than we were and we're more dependent on Pakistan.

O'BRIEN: What he said was even Carter would have made that call.

FRUM: He needs better writers.


O'BRIEN: And now your book is done --

FRUM: I'm not eating lunch in this town ever again.


O'BRIEN: Wow, wow, wow. We have to take a break. Always nice to catch up with you. Congratulations on the book. Good luck with it.

FRUM: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, a pretty incredible tale of survival, a man crushed by a 20 ton bus, but not only lives to tell about it, he's not an ironman athlete. We're going to share his inspirational story right after the break.

Plus we're talking live to the woman who gave birth to the legend. That would be Dolores Jordan, Michael Jordan's mother. She's giving advice on how she helped her son dream big. Here's Christine's playlist. You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: That's off of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's playlist. This morning Sanjay is introducing us to a guy who literally went from the brink of death to becoming one of the world's most fit men. He's a firefighter. His name is Matt Long. He was crushed by a 20-ton bus as he was biking to work one day. Somehow he managed to survive. Here's a look at his incredible story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: December, 2005, New York City is in the midst of a massive transit strike. Public transportation is completely shut down.

New York City firefighter Matt Long has no choice. He must hop on his bike to get across the city to the fire academy.

(on camera): So you needed -- I mean this wasn't just training. You needed to get somewhere.

MATT LONG, FIREFIGHTER: I needed to get to work. And I made it four blocks.

GUPTA (voice-over): Four blocks and then disaster. A bus that had crossed multiple lanes of traffic made a right turn and in the process slammed directly into Matt Long.

LONG: He didn't see me, you know, didn't know I was there or whatever and took me right under the front wheel.

GUPTA: In an instant, the self-described fitness junky had gone from dominating racecourses to barely surviving.

LONG: From my left legs, every bone compound fracture, to the femur. My right side of my pelvis was shattered and open fracture as well and my right shoulder was crushed. The worst part was the bike and I became one and it severed my abdominal wall, severed my femur artery so I basically was bleeding out.

GUPTA: Long stayed in the hospital for six months and eventually underwent more than 40 operations. He had survived physically but mentally he was battling nearly crippling depression.

LONG: Right at the table after the doctor's appointment I just said, you know I'm glad you prayed for me to live and I wish you had prayed for me to die because I can't do this.

GUPTA: Learning how to live in his new body became Long's biggest challenge.

LONG: I didn't think about the things I couldn't have anymore. I didn't think about how I would no longer run as fast as I used to run. I just thought about saying I will. And I will get back on the bike, I will back on the run course and I will live my life the best as I can.

GUPTA: Now retired Long coaches and regularly shares his story to motivate others to transform themselves.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: Wow. I love stories like that. I find them so inspirational.

All right, we've got to take a break.

Still ahead, Michael Jordan's mom is going to join us live telling stories about her son's big dreams and how they paid off with Olympic gold and much, much more. It's a message that she wants all kids to hear so she's turned it into a children's book.

We're going to share that with you as STARTING POINT continues. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: By Nelly, "Just a Dream."

This year will mark the 20th anniversary -- gosh I'm getting old -- the 20th anniversary of the Dream Team's gold medal win at the Barcelona Olympics. Charles Barkley, Larry Bird and of course Michael Jordan.

But do you know that Olympic dream from Michael Jordan began when he was nine years old? His mom tells that motivating story in her new children's picture book, it's called "Dream Big: Michael Jordan and Pursuit of Olympic Gold." And it's one of several books, children's books, that Deloris Jordan has written. She joins us this morning.

It's nice to see you. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

DELORIS JORDAN, AUTHOR, "DREAM BIG": Good morning. Thank you for having me.

O'BRIEN: You bet. You bet. Your -- your book is in part about your son's dream but I know your bigger strategy is to motivate not just kids but also parents. Why did you write this book? It's one of a bunch you've written.

JORDAN: I really wanted to write this book because I know with the Olympics coming and I do not hear our young people talking about participating as much. But I wanted to share again how prestigious the Olympics was back in the '70s and what a dream Michael had to be an Olympian. And I just wanted to really share with youth and adults to motivate yourself and set goals and work hard and be proud of our country.

I think he was extremely proud when he was able to make the team and I just wanted to share it with the young people as well as adults.

O'BRIEN: It really is a story. A picture book about Michael as a little boy and how he loved basketball and carried his basketball with him. Did he tell you as a kid when he was nine, listen I'm going to make the Olympic team one day?

JORDAN: Well, you know what? Mr. Jordan and I -- I was in the kitchen cooking and Mr. Jordan came in. In 1972 Russia was playing the U.S. I'm sure a lot of the viewers out there remember that. And we lost. We lost because there was a mix-up at the end.

And Mr. Jordan and I was highly upset. And he heard it. And he walked in the kitchen. And he says one day I'm going to be an Olympian. And I said, yes, you are. But that dream he held close to his heart. And he worked hard. And when he was asked to participate, he did go out and work and he was able to make the team in 1984.

CAIN: Mrs. Jordan this is Will Cain -- now I -- Soledad mentioned you've written several books. I'm a little upset with you. You might have to come over to my house and explain to my 4-year-old that putting salt in his shoes isn't really going to make him taller which, of course, was your previous book.

But -- but the point is serious that Michael's path to superstardom and the Olympics for that matter which seemed so obvious and destined to all of us wasn't to you guys when he was younger, is that right?

JORDAN: Well, you know to us and I often get that question. Michael was just a normal child like all the other four. But again I think we tried to -- we really tried to encourage each one to set goals and work hard. And what I think you have been able to see in Michael is setting goals, working hard to achieve and discipline himself and I want to really pass that along to the young people again.

You must have goals and that's what started in my household is setting goals and working hard.

O'BRIEN: And it wasn't really about the salt in the shoes. I mean, he grew between his sophomore and junior year something like six inches.

CAIN: Convince my four year old of that. He reads salt in the shoes all the time.

JORDAN: Let me tell you how the salt in the shoes came about because the day he walked in and was talking about height. I was in the kitchen cooking and I was frustrated when he was talking about salt. I said I'm going to put salt in your shoes and pray over you.

So with just a comment, he said mother that's a stupid comment, which it was. So I did -- I did add it to the book.

FUGELSANG: But in fairness, isn't your older son, James, only 5'8"? Maybe it worked. JORDAN: Yes but again it's been -- it's been a great time sharing with young people. "Salt in the Shoes" I did write in 2000. And I -- I still am working with the teachers as well as the students out in the school because it is a motivation book rather than about basketball.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question about motivation. So there are many, many, many people who consider him to be the greatest basketball player of all time. And yet his team, the Charlotte Bobcats, have a terrible, terrible, terrible record. And the worst.


O'BRIEN: So how did -- does he call you? I mean, really -- I'm just being -- Will's mocking me. But I'm being honest. And I'm wondering how do you motivate -- I mean does he still come to you for motivation. How does somebody like that get motivated from such tremendous heights to turn around something that he obviously loves but is not doing well at this moment.

JORDAN: Well, you know, we have been there before. Are you forgetting when we got to the boards in 1984 and 1985, Mr. Jordan and I sat in the stands for four years. The arena was empty. And he was working and playing so hard and every night they was losing. We have been there before.

I think when you are on the bottom, again it gives you opportunity to establish a strong, sustainable foundation and you build from that. It will not happen overnight. It did not when he was here in Chicago. It took four or five years for him to really work hard and for the team to bring together a strong support system that helped them really be championship.

Likewise in business. Again, I think you have to set goals, work hard and be disciplined but also everybody has to be accountable. They have to take accountability and do your job when you're the department head.

O'BRIEN: Deloris Jordan, can I just call you when I'm having issues at home or at work? I juggle a lot of stuff. Will you be my life coach just to bounce stuff off of? Because it is so motivating to talk to you.

Her new book is called "Dream Big: Michael Jordan and the Pursuit of Olympic Gold". It's great to have you. Thank you for talking with us.

Jordan: Thank you for having me. Have a blessed day.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. Likewise.

"End Point's" up next with our panel.


O'BRIEN: "End Point" with our panel. Ryan Lizza, we're going to let you start.

LIZZA: We talked a lot about al Qaeda and terrorism today and that Republicans and Democrats have this big debate. Basically, the sea change in American politics where the Democratic Party led by Obama has now taken ownership of national security and terrorism. And that's a major, major shift in our politics.

O'BRIEN: And to change overnight because we obviously have a lot of drama happening around the world. What do you think John?


FUGELSANG: Today the British MPs ruled Rupert Murdoch unfit to run a major international news organization. Fortunately he runs Fox. If you'd like to extend your sympathies to Mr. Murdoch, pick up your phone, chances are his son may be listening.

O'BRIEN: Will Cain.

CAIN: I'd like to posit to our visiting authors today against each other. Professor Paul Krugman would like to end this depression now by more government involvement, more government spending. I would say Deloris Jordan has the right idea. Americans dream big, take risks; it's what this country is built on. It will get us back on track.

O'BRIEN: You're two seconds over. Thanks guys, appreciate it.

Let's get right to Carol Costello, "CNN NEWSROOM" begins right now. See you back here tomorrow morning. Hey Carol.