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Interview with Representative Peter King of New York; Secy. Clinton Visits Beijing; Passenger May be Fined by FAA for Videotaping Plane Malfunction; Interview with Author Meredith Baxter; Actress Breaking Family Ties; In the Queen's Church

Aired May 2, 2012 - 08:00   ET



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

STARTING POINT this morning: new photos of the blind Chinese activist who escaped and then ended up in U.S.'s hands. China is demanding an apology this morning. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responding.

And end game in Afghanistan.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This time of war began in Afghanistan and this is where it will end.


O'BRIEN: President Obama says we're closer to crushing al Qaeda, but doesn't mention a lot of specifics on when or how much more it's going to cost. Was the trip overseas a campaign tactic?

And a STARTING POINT exclusive -- a man is in trouble for not turning off all of his electronic devices. You'll remember the passengers who captured that bird strike on his iPad, joins us with a letter he just got from the FAA.

It's Wednesday, May 2nd. And STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're listening to Meredith Baxter's playlist. It's Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." That's the song we hear a lot.


O'BRIEN: It does not, it does not.

She's also the author of "Untied." Her book is now out in paperback. It's a terrific book, memoir about your life.

John Fugelsang is with us as well, political comedian. And Will Cain, columnist of

STARTING POINT this morning is lots of questions about the purpose of President Obama's surprise trip to Afghanistan. Right after Air Force One went wheels up, the Taliban exploded a car bomb in Kabul that killed seven people. That was a fairly tough reminder that there's a long way to go in Afghanistan.

The new agreement between President Obama and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai is called the strategic partnership agreement that promises American support for Afghanistan through 2024, 10 years after the last American combat forces are scheduled to leave the country.


OBAMA: My fellow Americans, we've traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the predawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq war is over. The number of our troops in harm's way has been cut in half and more will soon be coming home. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan while delivering justice to al Qaeda.


O'BRIEN: Some felt the speech fell a little short, including "The New York Times" in an editorial this morning. They wrote the speech was frustratingly short on specifics. Mr. Obama didn't explain what the United States and its allies planned to do to improve the training of Afghan forces so they can hold off the Taliban, nor did he explain what President Hamid Karzai plans to do to rein in the corruption and the incompetence that are the hallmark of the leadership.

It brings us right to Republican Congressman Peter King of New York. He is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Nice to see you, sir. Thanks for joining us.

Let's talk first if we can about the president's speech.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Good morning, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Lots of people said it's been -- it was low, it was a short speech and it was low on details. What more would you like to know about that agreement?

KING: Well, actually, as far as the speech itself, I think he probably went as far as he had to for the purpose of the event that he was at.

But as far as what we have to know for the future, I think it's important to know, for instance, will the U.S. have the right to go from Afghanistan into Pakistan to launch drone attacks for instance? Or if we see al Qaeda operations forming in Pakistan, do we have the right to preempt them? That to me is very important.

Otherwise, I believe you could see al Qaeda forming right outside of the Afghanistan border and whatever troops we have left in Afghanistan in 2014, 2015, 2016, will not be adequate to match up against them. So, that's one issue.

Secondly, I think we have to try to find out how many troops will be and where they're going to be positioned -- as far as what is their role going to be and how is counterterrorism going to be defined? I guess that to me would be the main issue, because I don't want troops just sitting there and being targets. We have to know what their rights are and how far they can fight, how far they can carry out their mission.

O'BRIEN: So, the president made it clear if there was one area where I thought he was pretty clear, it was the efforts to negotiate with the Taliban. Here's what he said.


OBAMA: We're pursuing a negotiated peace. In coordination with the Afghan government, my administration has been in direct discussions with the Taliban. We've made it clear that they can be a part of this future if they break with al Qaeda, renounce violence, and abide by Afghan laws.


O'BRIEN: How likely do you think that is if they break with al Qaeda, which they're not doing; if they renounce violence, which they're not doing; if they abide by Afghan laws, which they're not doing and don't show any signs that they're going to do?

KING: I think there's a lot of hope and aspiration in what the president is calling for. I don't know how well-grounded in reality it is. For instance, we know from bin Laden's papers that there's still contact between al Qaeda and the Taliban. Why after all these years the president thinks the Taliban is willing to certainly pursue a new path.

It's possible we can find certain people in the Taliban we can deal with, you know, for their own selfish reasons. But to think the Taliban movement is going to change as we withdrawing, if they weren't willing to step down and break their alliance with al Qaeda when we had over 100,000 troops there, as we pull down our troops, why should they be more willing to engage?

So, I think in a way what the president is saying there is a bit of a cover for the troops he's pulling out.

O'BRIEN: NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was talking to me yesterday, and he told me 14 different plots against New York City since 9/11. Do you think that we're better at stopping them? I mean, if you look at the subway bombing plot, is it that intelligence is better? Is that we've just been lucky for a lot of them. What do you think it is?

KING: Oh, I think it's largely because of the infrastructure, the international anti-terrorism infrastructure that was put in place after 9/11 by President Bush. There's much more cooperation with our allies. We have the Patriot Act. We have many layers of defense.

And quite frankly, I agree with Jose Rodriguez. I think a lot of the information that we obtained from Guantanamo and from the interrogations was extremely helpful in stopping attacks against this country.

O'BRIEN: Anarchists, or I should say self-described anarchists, were arrested, five of them, and are now in custody in Ohio. The goal for them was to blow up a bridge. There are other targets too that they were able to record.

How big was the threat there do you think?

KING: I think it was significant. The fact the FBI was involved. The FBI was able to infiltrate it, if you will.

But, no, these groups are also dangerous to the country. I don't put them in the same category as al Qaeda because they're not affiliated with a foreign power and they don't have the extensive reach that al Qaeda would have or Islamist terrorists groups in this country would have. Certainly, anarchist groups have to be monitored, have to be watched.

And again, you're talking about five people who want to blow up a bridge. That's pretty serious. That's -- you know, we live in a dangerous world. We have a key enemy in al Qaeda. There's also other terrorist groups, there's other dangerous groups that have to be monitored carefully. And the FBI should be credited in this case for being able to stop it.

And that, by the way, is going back to Afghanistan. The main thing is not what happens in Afghanistan per se, but it cannot be allowed to become another sanctuary and a base for al Qaeda to launch operations against the U.S. or our allies.

O'BRIEN: We've been talking over the last couple weeks about the Secret Service mess -- I guess is a good way to put it. You've asked them to fill out a questionnaire, 50 questions. What kinds of questions did you ask and what kind of answers did you get back?

KING: Well, we got answers back last night. And I would say the answers are very detailed. We wanted the -- to identify who was involved. We wanted a time line. We wanted to show exactly what the Secret Service did once they found out what was happening.

I have to say that Mark Sullivan, the director, did immediately notify the inspector general back on Thursday of two and a half weeks ago when this first broke before it went public which shows that he wanted a real investigation.

I'd say the main thing I get out of this, the investigation has been very thorough. Ten of the 12 women have been questioned. The other two, the Colombian police and Secret Service are looking for.

We know that it appears that no material was obtained by any of the prostitutes. There's nothing that's missing. All of the BlackBerrys were accounted for. There was no president's schedule available.

And it does not appear any of the 12 women had any involvement other than prostitution. They were not working for any narco terrorist organization.

And I think in a way the Secret Service has ducked a bullet. What happened here really goes against all of the principles of the Secret Service because it was disclosed and there was no long-term security matter involved here, it gives the Secret Service the opportunity to clear up what has happened and do all accounts to make sure it never happens again, or at least minimizes it, to make it very difficult for that to happen again and get the signal out there to all Secret Service members that this conduct will not be tolerated.

It puts the president's security at risk and this could have done that. Fortunately, it didn't.

O'BRIEN: Peter King, congressman and also the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee -- thank you for joining us this morning. Nice to see you, sir. Appreciate it.

Other stories make headlines. Christine has got those for us.

Good morning, Christine.


A brand new photo of human rights activist Chen Guangcheng this morning. This is the first photo of Chen since he escaped house arrest and fled to the U.S. embassy in Beijing. It shows Chen in a wheelchair at a hospital in Beijing. He was transferred there after six days at the U.S. embassy. U.S. officials negotiated his freedom so he'll be headed to another part of China to study.

Hillary Clinton responding to the developments in this case, the secretary of state weighing in. We'll have details about that coming up live with Jill Dougherty in Beijing in just a few minutes.

Criminal charges are now expected in the death of Florida A&M drum major Robert Champion. A state attorney will hold a news conference this afternoon. Five band members are facing possible felonies. Twenty-six-year-old champion died back in November. Police say he was beaten on a bus as part of a band hazing ritual.

America's choice won't include Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination. This afternoon, the former House speaker is expected to briefly mention his support for Mitt Romney and plans are in the works for a formal announcement in the next few weeks. Gingrich's campaign is more than $4 million in debt.

Minding your business this morning: U.S. stock futures are trading lower ahead of the opening bell, but the Dow closed at a four- year high yesterday, boosted by a strong report on U.S. manufacturing. Plus, a new report says people are putting more money into their retirement accounts, taking advantage of those stock gains. Fidelity says average 401 balances rose 8 percent to 74,600 at the end of the first quarter. That's compared with the same period a year ago.

All right. Terrible check in, long lines at security, worse staff and it's dirty. That's why travelers named LaGuardia airport in New York the worst airport in the country. The survey done by "Travel and Leisure". New York airports -- they didn't do so well in general here. LAX finished number two, followed by Philadelphia and then JFK and Newark both serving, of course, New York City.

Minneapolis-St. Paul was voted the best airport in the country. And that is a beautiful airport. I'm telling you, the marine terminal at LaGuardia, Soledad, that's a different story. That's nice.

O'BRIEN: Minneapolis airport is quite lovely actually. But, LAX, I love LAX.



CAIN: That's the worst.


CAIN: That's the worst.

O'BRIEN: How about LaGuardia?

CAIN: LaGuardia is great.

O'BRIEN: LaGuardia is lovely, too. LaGuardia is fine. It's small. Like you can get through LaGuardia.

CAIN: Exactly, the opposite of LAX.

O'BRIEN: JFK, impossible.



FUGELSANG: They can't all be Las Vegas, folks, OK? Not every airport is easily assessable.

O'BRIEN: Although, Minneapolis-St. Paul --

FUGELSANG: I'll be there next week. It's a great airport.

O'BRIEN: If you could live in the airport actually, it's quite nice. They should rent out space.

Still ahead this morning, speaking of flying, ahead on STARTING POINT, an effort to make the skies friendlier through Facebook. This is such a great idea. Now, you can find the person, choose the person you want to sit next to on the plane, the random stranger. You get to pick them.

What a good idea.

FUGELSANG: Yes, especially if you're a creepy guy.

CAIN: I can tell where this is going to go.


O'BRIEN: Really?


O'BRIEN: Why? I always sit next to people who talk a lot.

FUGELSANG: I'd love to sit next to Meredith Baxter on my flight.


O'BRIEN: I'm a creepy. I would like to sit next to you on my flight.

If you're headed to work, you can check out the rest of our show on our live blog at May I finish, people?

Or follow us on Twitter @StartingPtCNN. John's playlist, Arrested Development, "Mr. Wendal."


O'BRIEN: Some major developments to tell you about out of China. New video of secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who's in Beijing for the strategic economic talks with Chinese leaders, but the headline has been the welfare of the Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng. Chen had been hiding at the U.S. embassy after he escaped house arrest last week.

Well, this morning, he's being treated for an ankle injury that happened as he climbed over a wall. Now, Secretary Clinton spoke with Chen on the phone after the U.S. negotiated for him to stay in China. He's going to move to another part of the country to continue his studies.

In a statement, the secretary says this. "I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Mr. Chen's stay and departure from the U.S. embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values. I was glad to have a chance to speak with him today and to congratulate him on being reunited with his wife and his children."

CNN foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty, is live for us in Beijing this morning. Good morning to you, Jill.


O'BRIEN: There has been a lot of chaos, I think it's fair to describe it, over the last 24 hours or even more as Mr. Chen came into the U.S. embassy at a very critical time in other negotiations and conversations that were about to begin and trying to figure out how do you navigate this very sensitive diplomatic issue at the same time that you figure out how to keep him safe.

DOUGHERTY: Yes. And that is precisely what the big problem was, because he showed up unexpectedly. They were really blind-sided by this. And it came at probably the worst possible time, because this gigantic meeting that they're holding this, this strategic economic dialogue with China, is very big. All the top officials are here.

The relationship is very important. And then, this human rights issue comes up that was very unique, very, very challenging, very sensitive. So, how did they do it? Well, you know, we had a briefing a couple of hours ago with two senior administration officials, and they gave some details. They gave details, for instance, Soledad, about Mr. Chen coming out of his house, having to climb over walls.

He hurt his foot. And when he came to the embassy, that became one of the reasons, they say, for allowing him into the embassy in the first place. Something that Chinese certainly wouldn't want. They say a humanitarian basis. And now, that decision and agreement with the Chinese government and Mr. Chen that he will be allowed to be with his family, be under medical care, and go to school. He's never been able, although, he's a lawyer, self-taught, he's never been to the university.

So, he will be able to choose a university. He wants to stay in China. And, he will be here to continue his work. And then, another detail, Soledad, that's really interesting as he got out of the embassy, he's with these U.S. officials, diplomats who've been working for about six days nonstop flat out to try to resolve this.

They get into the vehicle, and they're looking for a phone. They had left their phones in the embassy. He wanted to talk to Hillary Clinton, and they were able to get a phone from one of the staff, give it to him, and they had this conversation. He thanked her for all the attention to his case, and then, he also said in broken English, they say, "I would like to kiss you."

So, there are a lot of really personal details, but there are a lot of challenges, too, for him in the future.

O'BRIEN: And as they head into this round of talks that are critical. All right. Jill Dougherty for us this morning. Thank you, Jill.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the FAA scolding the man who shot this video. Remember this? The bird strike that forced the plane to make an emergency landing. Is there a double standard onboard when it comes to gadgets? We're going to ask him.

And then, liking the guy who's sitting in row 23A. You might be able to pick your seatmate on your next flight using Facebook. This is Christine's playlist. M-A-R-R-S, "Pump Up The Volume." I have to say, I'm unfamiliar.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O'BRIEN: How well do you know the person who's sitting next to you on any random flight? Well, there's a new program that will let you choose your seatmate. It's coming from Dutch Airline KLM, offering a service which is called "Meet and Seat." It's like speed dating. I actually like this.

You look at your seat map, you browse Facebook and LinkedIn profiles the passengers on your flight, and then, you can decide who you want to sit next to. Of course, it's for single people. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Simply connect with your LinkedIn or Facebook account to view other passengers profiles. With "Meet and Seat," you can meet other travelers and add interesting new people to your network. Also, after your flight --


O'BRIEN: Yes. I believe it is just for people who are traveling individual one seat. You know, you can't do it with your entire family.

MEREDITH BAXTER, AUTHOR, "UNTIED": What happened to the privacy? I thought you couldn't even call and find out if so and so is on this flight. Well, that's privilege information.

CAIN: Surely, it's elective. Like --

O'BRIEN: I believe it is. You can elect in. Social media profiles. You have to opt to share your Facebook -- are you on Facebook?

BAXTER: Sort of.


O'BRIEN: I don't think you're going to have to worry about it or just travel with a lot of people, because it has -- you have to be just booking with one passenger and you have to get it done 48 hours before you take off. You cannot scope somebody out and say, oh no, that's the person I want to sit next to and do it.


BAXTER: So, can someone countering, though, hello, no.

O'BRIEN: But you can block. I'm sure you can. It doesn't say on this, but I bet you could. Yes.

FUGELSANG: There's going to be a lot of single men looking on this. That will be about it.

O'BRIEN: When I said singles, I didn't mean like to hit on people. I met individual seats --

FUGELSANG: You don't know much about testosterone, do you?


FUGELSANG: There are things in my fridge that will last longer than this program. I guarantee you right now.


FUGELSANG: There's dairy products that will be around longer than this program.

O'BRIEN: I think the KLM "meet and seat" and you can check it out on is a winner.

CAIN: I think it's got legs, too. If you're going to sit next to someone for three hours, you might as well prescreen them.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Yes. And come up with interesting things to talk about.

FUGELSANG: Can you decline someone's --


FUGELSANG: Are you notified if someone asks to sit next to you? These are the questions that frightened women want to know.


O'BRIEN: The two of you are perfect together with your conspiracy theories being built right here in this corner.

FUGELSANG: No, just a creepy men theory. That's all. Just the Y chromosome.

O'BRIEN: I think it has great potential.


O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, still an exclusive, talking to the man who has been now scolded by the FAA for rolling on a bird strike with his iPad. You remember you're not supposed to have any of your electronics on speaking of flying.

Also, a mother arrested for her five-year-old daughter's alleged trip to a tanning booth. Try not to giggle (ph) before I get through the segment. Yes. She is obviously a big fan of tanning salons. And, she's under arrest because of her daughter who came, apparently, to school with some burns. We're going to tell you what happened in that crazy story. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: I love this song. We're waiting for it to start. Let's listen some more, shall we, to John Mellencamp, "Jack & Diane." There we go. Now he's singing.

Welcome back, everybody. Let's get right to Christine for a look at the day's big stories. Good morning, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. The wife of a former close aide to John Edwards back on the witness stand in the former senator's trial. Sherri Young explaining yesterday why she videotaped the home and possessions of Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, in 2008. She told the court her relationship with Edwards soured and she felt she needed proof there was a Rielle Hunter.

Three of the 12 Secret Service agents implicated in the Colombian prostitution scandal refused to take polygraph tests and were booted from the agency. Nine others did take polygraph test according to New York Congressman Peter King. He says none of them failed their tests, but their responses did lead to some of them being dismissed. Meanwhile, "The Washington Post" reports that Secret Service personnel did pay 10 of the 12 women they brought back to their hotel.

The city of Sanford, Florida, has a new interim police chief this morning. Richard Myers, the former police chief in Colorado Springs, will take over in Sanford by the end of the week. Myers will be replacing Chief Bill Lee. He stepped down in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting. Meanwhile, A seven-year-old MySpace page belonging to Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, surfaced. It was abandoned in 2005 but contains disparaging remarks about Mexicans. One passage reads "Working 96 hours to get a decent paycheck, getting knives pulled on you by every Mexican you run into." Zimmerman's attorney confirms the MySpace page did belong to his client.

A New Jersey mom arrested for allegedly bringing her five-year- old daughter into a tanning booth where the little girl was reportedly burned. Authorities say 44-year-old Patricia Crensel (ph) took her daughter into a standup tanning booth without the staff knowing. She's now charged with child endangerment. New Jersey law bans kids from under age 14 from using tanning salons. Dermatologists warn tanning can be very dangerous.


DR. STEPHANIE SILOS-BADALAMENT, DERMATOLOGIST: This can be very dangerous. This can be a life changer. I discourage people from going to this tanning salon.


ROMANS: She's disputing the charges. She says she didn't take her daughter into a tanning booth but rather she was sunburned from playing outside.

Think you could pass the U.S. citizenship test? A new survey says many Americans would not. The report claims one-third of Americans would fail the test. And 75 percent did not know the function of the judicial branch, 63 percent could not name one of their state's senators, and 62 percent did not know the name of the speaker of the House. These findings of a big surprise since the claim study claims 77 percent of Americans think we should all be able to pass it -- no, they think somebody else should be able to pass it but not they should have to pass it.

O'BRIEN: And 99 percent can tell you what Kim Kardashian ate for breakfast yesterday and who she married and got divorced and in how many days. It speaks volumes about the American educational system, doesn't it?

Moving on. Remember the bird strike video that we showed you. This is in right here. There they go. After that you hear this flock of birds being sucked right into a Delta flight's engine. It forced the L.A. bound flight to make an emergency landing shortly after takeoff. The key word was "takeoff." You remember that video was shot by a passenger, Grant Cardone. As we all know your electronic devices are supposed to be turned off. The FAA sent him a formal letter telling him he has broken a rule.

Grant joins us along with Ali Velshi who was also on that flight. We were talking about how daughter fi terrifying the flight was but today we're talking about the letter that was sent to you from the FAA. "Your failure," they write, "to comply with flight attendant instructions during a critical phase of flight and an aircraft emergency could have affected the safe outcome of this flight. We've given consideration to all of the facts and in lieu of legal enforcement action, a civil penalty, we're issuing this letter which will be made a matter of record for a period of two years after which the record will be expunged."

What did you think what you got this very official letter from the GAA, Grant?

GRANT CARDONE, "NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER: Well, I thought I should call CNN and make sure you guys covered this story because it's ridiculous.

O'BRIEN: Why do you think it's ridiculous?

CARDONE: Because first of all let me just say I don't think I'm above the law or anybody should be. I've been on thousands of flights. I've flown over 3 million miles, a million of those miles with delta. And to think that a device, a telephone, or this iPad can take down a plane, to think that, that's my daughter's "p" for papa, to think that any of these devices could potentially take down a plane is ridiculous because figure 90 percent of all people in America now have an iPhone on them. 19 percent of all people have a tablet of some sort. If only 10 percent of the passengers on that plane had their device in on position, thousands of planes would fall out of the sky every day.

O'BRIEN: But they would say that is not the point, sir. The point is that the FAA says you need to listen to flight attendants and they told you to turn off your electronic devices and you did not evidenced by the video of the birds beak suing sucked into the engine. You were doing exactly what you're not doing. If you don't want to abide by the rules, don't fly. Don't they have a point? CARDONE: I totally understand that position, Soledad. However, if truly -- I think Ali will support me on this, if truly these devices, phones and iPads are that dangerous, the FAA has a responsibility to ban them from planes.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Make them put it in --

O'BRIEN: Pilots use now iPads. Each one is allowed up to one in the cockpit.

VELSHI: This is the thing. I've studied this for this and I studied it in years gone by every time. It does seem that this rule came out of the Federal Communications Commission because when you are up there if you can hit cell phone towers, it gets confusing from a billing perspective as to who is supposed to bill you. So they said we can use things in flight when you can charge it to our system which is why you can use wireless in flight.

The issue is if there really is an interference issue, and apparently these cockpits have been shielded since the 1960s, come out and tell us and make everybody turn it off and put it in a lock box when you get on the flight one or the other but the maybe it takes interferes with airplanes, I don't believe it.

FUGELSANG: You are not suggesting this is dangerous like a 13- year-old girl bringing on lip gloss not in a small plastic bag?

VELSHI: We know we want to be kept safe on flights and if you put me through a process that will keep me safe, I'm in. I'm not convinced that three ounces of fluid meet that bar and we do reject things that don't make sense. That's what Grant is talking about.

O'BRIEN: That's not what they're saying. They're saying we expect your compliance with regulations in your future travels. Will you comply or are you going to shoot more video off your iPad as you fly?

CARDONE: I've flown 3 million miles.

O'BRIEN: You say you are not above the rules. It's a yes or no question, sir. This is turning into a hostile interview. Yes or no? Will you keep rolling or no?

CARDONE: First of all, what I'm concerned about is what watch list am I on? Am I a terrorist for the FAA? Will I get double screened? I'm a business consultant. I'm forced to fly around and help out businesses and help out the American economy and I'm going to get a letter saying instead of us sending you a fine -- by the way what would that fine have been? They need to clarify what the deal is. If these electronics are dangerous to the American public, ban them from the planes today.

O'BRIEN: All right.


VELSHI: I don't think you got a yes or no out of that. If I sit with you on the plane again, will I see you on the plane again?

CARDONE: I'll buy you a drink, Ali.

VELSHI: Flying with you is always very exciting. Good to see you.

O'BRIEN: Nice to see you, grant. Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, a year ago he stood before the royal couple with two billion people watching worldwide. The Dean of Westminster Abbey will join us and talk about that. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


ROMANS: A couple quick headlines. Researchers say they may prevent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder using Tetris. A new study says the '80s video game could prevent flashbacks because it puts demands on the brain interfering with the brain's ability to retain traumatic memories.

And "The Scream" is up for sale. Sotheby's is auctioning Edvard Munch's famous painting. Bidding is expected to top $80 million. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.

Meredith Baxter has a book called "Untied." it's now in paperback. When the book originally came out, we had a chance to talk. What I love are the photos and your life story, but you have great family photos. Tell me about the process of writing the book. Was it hard to do?

BAXTER: Surprisingly, it was both. Actually I didn't know I was going to write a book or I would have been reading more memoirs in preparation for it. I think -- I just basically poured it out and in retrospect I wish I had said, you know, given it a broader world look at it and done research as other people in this situation would have done.

CAIN: You say it poured it out. At what point when you were writing that book did you say most strongly to yourself, do I really want to share this?

BAXTER: I never had that feeling. I've been in a 12-step program for some time and we're quite used to getting honest with people we don't see and won't see again. That wasn't difficult for me. Trying to decide what was the real truth of the situation was important. We tell ourselves stories and operate off a certain belief system, but sometimes the belief system below that, and that's the one I had to find to try to understand why did I live my life the way I did?

O'BRIEN: You were a victim of domestic violence and you have written a lot about it. Why did you live your life -- and you know that people often will say why not leave? And sometimes people will look at the women especially in that circumstance and they say they -- they don't have the financial wherewithal, they have nowhere to go. But at that point you -- you had jobs, you were well known, you had a credit card. Why not just say I'm a famous actor. I am getting out.

BAXTER: It's -- it's interesting. It never occurred to me.

O'BRIEN: Really.

BAXTER: You don't -- well, I didn't know I could. And for me -- and I think this is fairly universal to -- to a degree I suppose. Universal to a degree. You know I -- things happened in my childhood that led me to develop a -- a conviction about who I was and my value in the world and what I could expect from the world and I basically sort of thought I was a unloved person.

And when that's your belief person that you can't trust someone to show up for you, that no one is really going to want to hear you, you get very small inside and kind of dry. And I was basically looking for you know that childhood book "Are You My Mother?"


FUGELSANG: You know you're such a terrific actor both in comedy and drama. Do you find that the self-reflection you've done both in your time in recovery and in writing this book has made you a better actor?


FUGELSANG: You don't think so?

BAXTER: No? Well, maybe? What do I know?

FUGELSANG: I mean this kind of -- I mean, the kind of self- awareness you have to take. To go through a 12-step program, to write an honest memoir. Don't you feel that that has deepened your awareness as an artist?

BAXTER: It could if you were working on a project that asked for those qualities.


BAXTER: Some kind of a self awareness to bring this. You know when I did Betty Broderick, I was three years into -- that's -- the TV movies we did about San Diego socialite who killed her ex-husband and his wife. And I was three years into a very long, expensive, contentious divorce. And as I carried big guns into that and you know you saw it all on the screen.

FUGELSANG: Yes, yes.

BAXTER: So in that way, yes. But that was not about information. That was just fury.

FUGELSANG: Right, it was -- it was used again.


O'BRIEN: The book is "Untied." And Meredith Baxter is the author. Thank you. It's now out in paperback.

We're going to come back in just a moment and talking about the royal wedding; fairy tale life fantasies really come to life and the Dean of Westminster Abbey will join us.

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's human nature to invent right? It's human nature to try to make your life better. It's human nature to try to make the world around you a better place.

And what stops people is to actually do that and to execute on all of those ideas. It's really freaking hard. Good ideas should find their ways onto shelves because they are the ideas of people with the right luck or circumstance. They should find their way on the shelves because they are just great ideas. That's it. Plain and simple.



O'BRIEN: That's Westminster Abbey, the site where Prince William married Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge. The Reverend John Hall, the Dean of Westminster Abbey escorted Kate into the arms of her waiting Prince. It looks like a fairy tale.

Now he has written a book about the famous Abbey where more than a million people visit every year. It's called "Queen Elizabeth and her Church: Royal Service at Westminster Abbey." Welcome, Mr. Dean. It's nice to have you with us.

REV. JOHN HALL, DEAN WESTMINSTER ABBEY: Thank you very much, I love to be here.

O'BRIEN: Does it make you more nervous to know? I mean, the pictures are so beautiful of that day. But were you thinking in the back of your mind and two billion people are going to be watching in addition to all of the men who are sitting here watching if anything goes wrong.

HALL: You can't depict in your mind 2.4 billion I think it actually was there; BBC told us. You can't imagine it. There are the cameras there and, of course, the lights but -- but you are familiar with those because there are other occasions when that happens.

So I was very much concentrated on the -- on the people who were there and not just the 2,000 who were in the Abbey but the couple themselves. It was a -- it was a curious experience, expected to be very nervous.

O'BRIEN: And were you?

HALL: I wasn't in the end. The evening beforehand I walked through some of the royal chapels in the Abbey, remarkable places where Henry VII is buried. I was in there. And -- and I had a strong sense of -- of the history of the Abbey and the wonder of Abbey as it were rising up and embracing this young couple. And -- and it was very powerful emotion really.

O'BRIEN: And then it made you not nervous. I'm surprised. I would think the next thing that would happen --

HALL: Well, I also had a very good breakfast in the morning. I got up early and prayed hard.

O'BRIEN: So that always help. That will also help.

HALL: And then morning prayer and the Eucharist and then I had a really good breakfast. I had porridge and I had bacon and eggs and we went out and talked to some of the crowd.

FUGELSANG: You are British.

HALL: Absolutely.

O'BRIEN: At one point in the ceremony you said speak now or forever hold your peace. Did you worry someone might be, like, actually, hey, I have something to say.

HALL: There is of course that possibility. I've been a priest 35 years.

O'BRIEN: And that's happened.

HALL: It's never, ever happened.

O'BRIEN: Never.

HALL: I've never ever heard of it happening.

O'BRIEN: Do you prepare for that?

HALL: You have to be prepared. The point is that if someone were to raise an objection, it would obviously only be that one of them was married already or something of that kind. In any wedding you simply have to take it seriously and take them apart and discuss it and then decide whether or not you can go ahead with the marriage. It didn't happen.

CAIN: But you were prepared and ready just in case.

HALL: We were prepared.

FUGELSANG: Over in the states people went gaga for the Charles and Diana wedding; for the Andrew and Sara Ferguson wedding. A huge spectacle. This wedding didn't quite have the fervor watching it. And I often wondered if it was because this was a couple that had been together a long time. They have a very, very sustained relationship and they were obviously very close together.

Do you find in your practice as an (inaudible) that more and more, you're getting the couples not just the royals, who have co- habited and who have had extensive relationships before actually making their vows.

REV. DR. JOHN HALL, DEAN OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY: Most couples have, it's true, lived together for a period. There was a time when they used to cover that up by giving you different addresses. But they don't do that now. They're giving the same address. And everyone is entirely happy with that.

FUGELSANG: It doesn't lose the luster for you in any way, does it?

HALL: Well, the point is that these people know each other well. I mean the wonderful thing with William and Catherine was that they did know each other very well. And they've had a lot of experience together and now they were making their vows in the presence of God in the face of the congregation saying this is for life. And that was a very powerful and meaningful moment.

O'BRIEN: Who else can get married -- I'm sorry, go ahead.

BAXTER: I was just going to say that you really had a sense of their commitment to each other. These were two folks who were really into each other. And that just makes you just want to (inaudible).


O'BRIEN: And loved each other and liked each other.

BAXTER: Yes, a lot of regard.

O'BRIEN: Only royals get married there? Who else can get married in Westminster other than the royal family?

HALL: We have also in Westminster Abbey, the Chapel of the Order of the Barth which is one of the very senior orders of chivalry. And that's also the Navy and (inaudible) and so members of the Order of the Barth, their children and grandchildren can be baptized there. Their children can be married there.

O'BRIEN: How many weddings would you guess you have done?

Hall: I never actually counted up. I must have done hundreds literally -- maybe a thousand. Quite a lot.

O'BRIEN: (inaudible) put you on the spot. Mr. Dean, it's nice to have you.

HALL: Wonderful to be here.

O'BRIEN: Westminster Abbey is such a beautiful spot location. I'm sure all the people who coming to London from America will be checking it out if they haven't gone to London as the Olympics take place this summer. Nice to have you sir.

Appreciate it.

HALL: Thank you very much.

O'BRIEN: "End Point" up next with our panel. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: In our last seconds, we're going to give John our "End Point" today.

FUGELSANG: Thank you. It's an honor to meet Meredith Baxter. What a thrill. And I just want to give a shout-out. I have an off Broadway solo show that I'm doing at the Orpheum in Phoenix this week, called "Guilt: A Love Story". My director --

O'BRIEN: "Guilt: A Love Story"

FUGELSANG: My mom's an ex-nun, my dad's an ex-Franciscan so it's about that. But my director (inaudible) just got a Tony nomination for best director for collaborating part of this so shout-out to her.

O'BRIEN: That's nice. Congratulations to her.

Thank you to our panelists this morning. We appreciate it.

Tomorrow on STARTING POINT, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's going to join us along with supermodel and cast off from "Celebrity Apprentice", Diana Mendoza. We'll see you at 7:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Let's get right to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello.