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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Interview with Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming; Warning From CEO's Rick Santorum Endorses Mitt Romney; Governor Romney's View on Immigration Questioned; Interview with Suzanne Somers
Aired May 9, 2012 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Our STARTING POINT this morning is the attack dog, Vice President Biden, talking tough about Iran, saying America was the problem before President Obama took over. Republicans are angry that he would, quote, "blame America first".
And developing overnight: two new air scares, bomb threats to two Southwest airline flights.
And Suzanne Somers is going to join us to talk about her new book. It's called "Bombshell." She promises explosive medical secret that will redefine ageing. But I really just want to ask her about the thigh master.
It is Wednesday, May 9th and STARTING POINT begins right now.
O'BRIEN: Yes, I had a thigh master. Every woman in my generation has a thigh master. Come on.
MARGARET HOOVER, FORMER BUSH & GIULIANI CAMPAIGN STAFFER: It's a solid decade ago, right?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I am so much older than you are.
HOOVER: It's still part of your routine.
You're listening to Prince, "Baby I'm a Star." That's off of Roland Martin playlist.
Where the heck is Roland?
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right here.
O'BRIEN: Hey, Roland. I hear him coming in.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: My bad.
O'BRIEN: Roland, have a seat.
Roland Martin is on our panel this morning.
Will Cain from TheBlaze.com.
Any time, Roland, it's good for you, you sit down.
Margaret Hoover is with us as well. She's a former campaign staffer for President Obama and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and also great granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover.
O'BRIEN: No, a great one, that's fantastic.
We start this morning with the vice president. Joe Biden, kind of done it again while trying to put the blame squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush for the nuclear buildup in Iran, he blamed the United States. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When we took office, let remind you there was really no international pressure on Iran. We were the problem. We were diplomatically isolated in the world, in the region.
By going the extra diplomatic mile, presenting Iran with a clear choice, we demonstrated to the region and to the world that Iran is the problem, not the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: The Romney campaign quickly fired back with this statement that comes from policy director, Lanhee Chen. "All too often, President Obama and his administration has sought to blame America first, yet Vice President Biden's reckless statement today blaming America for all things the progress of Iran's nuclear weapons program has reached a new low."
Republican Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming is the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. He's also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and joins us this morning.
Nice to see you, sir. Thank you very much for being with us.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: Thanks so much. Thanks so much for having me, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: It's always my pleasure. Thank you.
Let's get your reaction what you heard from Joe Biden. I know you have been angered before by something he has said. What do you think this time around?
BARRASSO: Well, I think that the vice president ought to stop blaming America, ought to stop apologizing for America, and ought to focus on where the problem lies, which is with Iran. These are people who terrorize -- their leadership terrorizes their own citizens, threatens their neighbors and continues to be trouble makers in the world. That's where the problem lies.
O'BRIEN: You know, we were earlier talking about a number of the gaffes, the blunders, whatever words you want to use to describe sort of what Joe Biden occasionally does and I want to play sort of a montage of some of them and ask you a question on the other side.
Let's start with that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BIDEN: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.
REPORTER: Every 10 minutes, there's a shift in sort of what the strategy is.
BIDEN: Who gives a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
Stand up, Chuck. Let them see you.
God rest her soul. Although she's -- wait, your mom is still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O'BRIEN: How much of this, sir, is this sort of political game? Someone says something you leverage off of it because it makes its way through the cable talking points conversation. And how much of this is genuinely you feel the conversation and what he said about Iran is destructive and somehow hurts an international conversation?
BARRASSO: Joe Biden here seems to be the gift that keeps on giving when you listen to a number of his comments. You know, I served on the foreign relations committee both with the president, as well as with Vice President Biden. I don't know if he has selective amnesia. But in the last two years of the Bush administration, there were five different sanctions against Iran.
And what's happening now in the last three years, and even the president's own national intelligence director has said that things have continued it move in Iran with developing of nuclear weapons. We see that.
And if anything, it's actually the stubborn reality is that when Iran is doing is accelerating, so things are not getting better there. We see the a sanctions the Senate tried to offer and the president and vice president fought those when it was obvious we were going to get things passed to make it tougher on Iran, then the White House tried to weaken those sanctions.
We have great concerns about Iran with a nuclear weapon and even one nuclear weapon is too much in the hands of this destructive regime.
MARTIN: Senator, at no point that he did say, allow them to have a nuclear weapon. What he was saying is very simply, we should have been maximizing international pressure under the Bush administration.
So, let's deal with what he said. Forget if we want to call it a gaffe or not. Is that true or not in terms of American leading an international effort to put pressure on Iran?
BARRASSO: This to me is an administration soft on tough dictators and tough on soft dictators. And what see is an administration that stood silent when there were protesters rising up in the streets of Iran this administration -- this president's administration.
MARTIN: That's not my question.
BARRASSO: Well, I said initially that there are five different sanctions brought between 2006 and 2008 with the United Nations against Iran. So, maybe the vice president has selective amnesia on those points. But those were things that have continued to go.
And what we know now is that Iran is now slowing down. We know that Iran seems to be at least in my opinion trying to just run out the clock as they try to develop this so-called zone of immunity where they have the enriched nuclear material. Fr a nuclear weapon, you need 140 pounds of uranium and ways to enrich it to 80 percent.
And my concern is they're going to get there sooner rather than later. They are accelerating their efforts to do that and what this administration is doing has not been able to stop that.
CAIN: I just want to underline something Senator Barrasso said because he answered your question, Roland, before you asked it. Set aside whether or not Vice President Biden's comments are offensive on their own merit. They are just simply wrong.
Iran has continued to move toward a nuclear program and in fact has accelerated it. So, there -- if we were the problem, which is offensive but more importantly wrong, what have they done right? This administration?
MARTIN: First of all, are you asking me or him?
CAIN: I think I'm asking you.
O'BRIEN: He's asking you and you can turn and ask the senator.
MARTIN: Yes, Senator. I think what Vice President Biden was talking about when you look at Iran's partners and you talk about Russia, when you talk about the impact they could have on the country, when you begin to talk about China as well, you begin to you talk about France, I believe what it was saying is us talking to those individuals saying, look, we need you to also put pressure on your partner of Iran just like we're talking about North Korea talking to China as well.
BARRASSO: It does look like Iran rather than bucking under and the sanctions and buckling other, they are saying, no, we're going to go to India. We learned that in the last couple days they are working their way around the sanctions through leadership with India. The secretary of state has even said that Iran working with China is attempting to break through the sanctions.
So, Iran is not in my opinion being impacted significantly to the point that they are going to listen to world opinion and stop their efforts to develop nuclear weapons. But the reality is, they're going to continue to work in an aggressive nature toward that, and it seems to me to be accelerating and not slowing down.
O'BRIEN: Senator John Barrasso, M.D., he's chairman of the Republican Policy Committee -- thank you for talking with us this morning, sir. Appreciate it.
BARRASSO: Thank you, Soledad. Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Let's get right to Christine. She's got a look at some of the other headlines this morning.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again, Soledad.
He's considered armed and dangerous. Police and FBI are canvassing two states to capture kidnapping suspect Adam Mayes and save two little girls. Surveillance video shows Mayes in a Mississippi convenience store just days after the alleged abduction of Jo Ann Bain and her four daughters from their home in Tennessee.
The mother and the oldest daughter were found dead in the backyard of Mayes' home in Mississippi. Now, his mother and ex-wife are in custody, accused of helping in that aggravated kidnapping. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to Mayes and the two girls.
The FBI investigating two different air scares this morning to find out if they are linked. Both were Southwest Airlines flight from John Wayne Airport in California, to Sky Harbor in Phoenix. The FBI says one flight was searched by a bomb squad and dogs before take off. Air Traffic Control is being very careful as it guided the plane to an isolated area.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, turn onto the run way and just taxi southbound and I will advise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just take your time and go all of the way down to the end of the runway and turn left.
When you're in the ISO area, at least remain this frequency in case I have some problems with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: The other Southwest flight was searched after it landed in Phoenix. Both planes were given the all clear.
The longest-serving Republican in the United States Senate will soon be out of a job. Dick Lugar of Indiana forced into retirement last night after a 36-year, six-term career. He was defeated by Tea Party-backed state treasurer, Richard Mourdock.
Soledad spoke to Mourdock last hour, he says if he wins Lugar's Senate seat in November, don't expect him to compromise with Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), INDIANA STATE TREASURER: You never compromise on principles. If people on the far left have a principle the want to stand by, they should not never compromise. Those of us on the right should not either.
Compromise may come in the finer details of a plan or a budget but the real principles that I mentioned about having government rolled back in size, lowering taxes, those are the principles that caused me to get in this race. They're what's motivated so many people to get out and work for us, and we are at that point where one side or the other has to win this argument.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Senator Lugar taking the high road after conceding last night's primary, saying, quote, "I hope that Richard Mourdock prevails in November so he can contribute to the Republican majority."
Better check your Twitter this morning to see if you are still in control of it. Hackers claim they broke into 55,000 Twitter accounts and posted the passwords online earlier this week.
Twitter confirmed this hack attack and said it was taking action but also kind of suggested it was a weak attempt, pointing out that half of the accounts that were stolen were spam or already suspended and that it is only a tiny, tiny percentage of the site's 140 million active users.
Check on markets this morning. U.S. stocks poised to open lower again. Dow futures down 70 points right now. Markets fell yesterday on concern that global growth is slowing. Twelve of Europe's economies, by the way, are already in recession.
Oil prices are down, too, about 9 percent over the past five days. That means you can expect lower gas prices over the next few weeks as a result.
Police in Austin, Texas, releasing dash cam video of a school bus running over a student last week. The young victim is OK, but a warning to you. You might find this video hard to watch.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
ROMANS: That student was flown several feet. He was not seriously hurt, unbelievably. The driver was placed on administrative leave and faces disciplinary action -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Oh my gosh! That is just horrible. That is so horrible.
You know, and as Will pointed out earlier, there have been so many times over the last couple days that we've shown videotape of someone being smacked by a vehicle and maybe even more stunning is that they are OK at the end. I think in every single case they've been OK.
CAIN: What did the driver do wrong?
ROMANS: It looks like it was a red light. If you watch that video again very closely, it looks like there was a red light. And, you know, we can't know for sure and there's an investigation of course. But it looks like that student was stepping forward, anticipating the walk and then boom.
We'll show you one more time. You can see the red light.
MARTIN: Anybody who is watching this, I tell folks all the time, forget anticipating. You wait until that bad boy is green and everyone is stopped before you get off that curb.
O'BRIEN: I'm with you on that. It's so true. People are distracted.
All right. Thank you, Christine. Appreciate it.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT: CEOs have a warning to the White House that the administration is going to do something that could stunt the growth of the entire economy. We'll tell what you it is.
And from the ditzy blonde on "Three's Company," to building an empire based on health. Suzanne Somers is going to join us.
Margaret Hoover's playlist Coldplay, "Lost."
You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: You're listening to Christine's playlist. That's Billy Joel, a great Long Islander or (INAUDIBLE) we didn't start the fire. What? You can see our entire playlist on our website every morning, CNN.com/STARTINGPOINT. Christine is with us this morning, talking a little bit about money, money, money.
Some CEOs, one of the biggest CEOs in the country speaking out saying a particular tax hike in the president's budget for next year could really hurt the economy and hurt taxpayers as well. They've written, really, specifically about taxes on dividends.
ROMANS: Right. And they've written a letter to the secretary -- Treasury Secretary Geithner saying don't raise taxes on dividends. These are 18 CEOs of companies that give out big dividends, pay off these dividends, and they're saying it would slow the economy, it would hurt investors, it would hurt senior citizens who invest and get this proportion amount of their income in these sorts of investment --
O'BRIEN: And the argument is because companies that give big dividends will stop giving big dividends, right?
ROMANS: Yes. What they basically say -- if you look, we even put a little screen together with some of things they say. If we don't give these dividends, it could spark a new wave of volatility in our financial markets and give a competitive edge to overseas corporations at a time when we need capital formation here in America to create jobs and expand our economy.
It's a big fight between people who believe that keeping a 15 percent tax rate on dividends and capital gains is something that's good for investing in companies, and it ultimately creates jobs and then the people on the left who say, no, it's just giving riches to companies and to already wealthy people at the expense of blowing up the deficit.
O'BRIEN: Let's run through some of the names of the people who've signed on. So, there's Mr. Pokes III from XL, Mr. Klappa from Wisconsin Energy Corporation, Windstream Corporation, Jeff Gardner, Lowell McAdam from Verizon, Gregory Ebl from Spectra Energy Corp, D. Scott Davis from UPS, Maggie Wilderotter from Frontier Communications, Edison International, Duke Energy Corp.
CAIN: UPS, Verizon, it's huge. These are huge, huge companies.
ROMANS: (INAUDIBLE) on here, too --
O'BRIEN: How much weight will they have? I mean, it's a letter to Geithner, but it's really an open letter, right, to everyone.
ROMANS: It really is. And look, this is the first time in three budgets that the president has taken on the capital gains and dividends thing. Until now, it's been sort of like leave these where they are at 15 percent. The argument among people like this and among Will Cain is that this money has been taxed already, right?
So, look at Apple for example. There are $100 billion in the bank. They've already paid their corporate taxes on it. They're sitting in bank. What are they going to do? They're going to buy a company. They're going to do -- buy that grown stock with it or they're going to give it to their shareholders.
They're going to give it to their. Their shareholders, when they get that dividend, then pay 15 percent on it. So, the companies already paid taxes on those earnings. They're giving it to their shareholders as, you know, loyalty as in investment. They pay 15 percent. The White House is saying they should pay far, far more than that.
O'BRIEN: The White House is saying that it's a -- not necessarily. That they would pay triple that 15 percent, right? That number would actually be 45 percent.
ROMANS: That's right.
O'BRIEN: And I don't know that it's a one percent debate, because what this letter says -- let me just finish this point -- is that as much as they list, you know, obviously, people who own investments in these companies are also talking about retirees who get those dividends. So, if, at the end of the day, you're not handing out the dividends, you actually are affecting people who, I think, wouldn't necessarily fall into one percent.
HOOVER: It's not only the top one percent of Americans who have stock in Apple or any sort of investment in the stock market. That's what you're saying.
MARTIN: What I'm saying is, if you're the CEOs, you need to -- I believe you need to make a much stronger argument, because it gives the impression that you're having a typical conversation of CEOs saying we don't want any further taxes.
And I'm saying for the people out there who are facing potential cuts when it comes to the budget, they're not going to necessarily be saying I'm really hanging around you guys.
ROMANS: -- also tax certainties. So, there's also this uncertainty around this that they're concerned about, and tax reform, which is something we've talked about a lot. I mean, our tax code is crazy. I mean, I think that's not an editorialization. It is crazy.
O'BRIEN: It is an editorialization, but it's also true.
ROMANS: True. It's crazy. So, they would also like a simpler more understandable tax code, I'm sure, that benefits them and their business.
MARTIN: I think so.
ROMANS: But, that's part of it, too.
O'BRIEN: All right. Christine, thank you very much.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Rick Santorum puts on the sweater vest and shows up on late night.
O'BRIEN: Yes, I like that. It kind of has a lukewarm endorsement of Mitt Romney. We'll tell you how he's defending himself coming up. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: John Mellencamp. Will Cain's playlist this morning.
CAIN: Guitar and a guy, that means it's mine.
O'BRIEN: I notice that no one is playing anything of Monica (ph). Start suggesting more music. I'm getting no play whatsoever. Time to talk about papers this morning. Oh, it's all about the panel.
O'BRIEN: Well, then, carry on, panel. What's in the papers that you know? Margaret, we'll start with you as our newcomer's honor.
HOOVER: Well, I'm going "USA Today" below the fold. Thank, God. I was told to go light, by the way. But TV remotes are getting smarter, which means you'll have voice recognition systems, and then, you can talk to your remote control, you can fight with your husband.
You don't have to find the remote control that's under all those papers. There it is. But not that I fight with my husband about this, but God, it will be a lot easier.
CAIN: Here's a point out, her husband is a CNN contributor, John Avlon, so you folks at home can just picture that fight.
HOOVER: I stick by my principles. I don't need to compromise.
O'BRIEN: Roland Martin, what you got?
MARTIN: "Houston Chronicle." Police chief, Charles McClelland, he had three officers he fired for beating a teen. He said change the statute. They should be charged with felonies, not misdemeanors. So, for a police chief to say that, that's a very important thing, because, too often, the blue line laws protect themselves.
O'BRIEN: Interesting. Interesting. All right. Will Cain, what you got for me?
CAIN: "Wall Street Journal" page 3, the ABCs of beating obesity. It illustrates the growing obesity problem in the United States --
O'BRIEN: Which is terrible -- CAIN: -- and out of time when so many question whether or not capitalism works for everyone, I point out that everyone is getting fatter.
O'BRIEN: I'm not sure I understand the link at all, but OK.
CAIN: I can talk about it some more if you want.
O'BRIEN: Here is my choice, "The Washington Post," metro section. Risk of teens fatal crash rises with the number of kids in the car. This is really fascinating. Teenagers crash almost four times more than older drivers, but they started breaking it down. If they have, a teenage driver has one other passenger who's a teen, that means that it almost increases by half.
But it doubles if that teenage driver has two teenage passengers with them, and it quadruples the risk of crashing, quadruples, when that teenager driver has three teens in the car. It's big takeaway (ph), thank God --
MARTIN: How old your oldest?
O'BRIEN: My oldest is 11.
CAIN: Will a car be in his future or her future soon?
O'BRIEN: She lives in Manhattan. Of course not.
MARTIN: My dad solved that.
O'BRIEN: Learn to navigate the subway system.
MARTIN: My dad solved that. You ain't driving. He said, sorry.
O'BRIEN: -- with people in your car.
MARTIN: He said, you're not driving my car. That ain't (ph) going to happen.
O'BRIEN: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, another Etch-a-Sketch moment for the Romney campaign while they're pushing back on the candidate's stance on immigration. Is the former governor still deciding or does he have a clear cut opinion? We'll talk about that.
Plus, Rick Santorum on late night, finally, addresses that late night e-mail that endorsed Mitt Romney, 13 paragraphs in.
And Suzanne Somers goes from actress to building an anti-aging health empire. Some secrets on how you stay sexy. That's right. That's right. I'm going to take notes. We're going to leave you with "I'm Sexy and I Know It" from LMFAO. You're watching STARTING POINT.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back. We're following breaking news for you this morning. A Russian airplane has gone missing on a flight in Indonesia, 46 people on board, two pilots, 44 passengers. The plane took off from an airport in Jakarta. It was supposed to be a 30- minute long demonstration flight and then it was supposed to land back at that same airport. Officials say they have lost all traces of the plane. As it was making a descent from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet it vanished off the radar screens. Radio contact apparently has been completely lost. Officials say the plane should have burned up all of its fuel by now. An air search was called off after it got too dark. Crews are now searching on the ground. It is Russia's newest civilian airliner, and they're making a multination demonstrational tour. We're going to continue to update you on what is happening on this story as more news on this comes in.
Let's get to Christine Romans for a look at the day's other top stories. Hey, Christine.
ROMANS: Thank you, Soledad. The would-be bomber in a thwarted plot to blow up a U.S. airliner was actually an undercover agent working with Saudi Arabia to infiltrate Al Qaeda. The device they were going to use was similar to this one used by the so-called underwear bomber back in 2009 but much more sophisticated. Over the weekend a U.S. drone strike in Yemen took out a key Al Qaeda leader believed to be involved in planning this attack but the expert bomb maker is still out there. Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Anderson Ccooper that these leaks could jeopardize the investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: I've been briefed on this. As far as I know that has not been in any way declassified by the CIA or by the administration. And it's really to me unfortunate that this has gotten out because this could really interfere with operations overseas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That new Al Qaeda bomb is now at the FBI lab in quantico for analysis.
John McCain criticizing President Obama again for what he calls a lack of leadership on critical terrorism issues. The Arizona senator taking exception to how the president handled Osama bin Laden's death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I hope this isn't viewed in the wrong way, but heroes don't brag. Heroes don't brag and his continuous bragging about taking out bin Laden, you know, most of the guys I know would say let somebody else talk about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Just last week senator McCain accused the president of doing a, quote, "shameless end zone dance" to help himself get re- elected.
It's official, Michele Bachmann is bi-continental. The Minnesota congresswoman and former Republican presidential candidate is now a Swiss citizen too. She gained dual nationality through her husband who is native of Switzerland meaning Bachmann is eligible to run for political office in that European Union.
Another member of the not Mitt Romney club, Rick Santorum making a guest appearance on "The Tonight Show" and a chance to explain his less than enthusiastic e-mail endorsement for Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": You endorsed Mitt Romney last night in an e-mail. I thought you would be in bed at 11:00 at night.
RICK SANTORUM, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have seven kids. We don't sleep.
LENO: Why in the middle of the night? It seems kind of tepid.
SANTORUM: I met with governor Romney last Friday. We've been trying to work on a meeting. And I think we just needed time. We decided to put it out late at night so it would be the first thing people would see in the morning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Santorum presented Leno with a souvenir sweater vest.
O'BRIEN: I wonder if you can still buy that online. They were going like hot cakes.
MARTIN: You can make serious money that way. It was doing well.
O'BRIEN: I wouldn't say serious money.
MARTIN: They made serious money.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Tell me how sales are and we'll move on.
O'BRIEN: The Romney campaign is pushing back this morning on what some people are saying was a sort of Etch-a-Sketch moment. It started when the woman in charge of Hispanic outreach for the Republican national committee said that Governor Romney is still deciding his position on immigration. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETTINA INCLAN, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: I think as a candidate, to my understanding that he's still deciding what his position on immigration is. So I can't talk about his, what his proposal is going to be because I don't know what Romney exactly -- he's talked about different issues. And what we saw in the Republican primary is that there's a very diverse opinion on how to deal with immigration. So I won't -- I can't talk about something that I don't know what the position is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So that was Bettina Inclan. Then she tweeted "I misspoke. Romney's position on immigration is clear," and included a link to the former governor immigration's policy on his website. He says he supports legal immigration and will complete a high tech fence to keep illegal immigrants out and opposes amnesty.
And also this comes as a new plan to secure the borders has been unveiled. The plan moves away from emphasizing the entire border, identifies areas of greatest risk as they call it, and then devotes resources to those specific locations. The last strategy required patrolling the entire 8,600 miles of the border that surrounds the United States.
We want to bring in Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, a chair of the Congressional Hispanic caucus immigration task force, also an outspoken advocate of immigration reform, and Republican congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia. He's long supported tough immigration reform. Nice to see both of you, gentlemen. Thank you for being with us.
Congressman Gingrey, I'll start with you if I may this morning. You heard what Ms. Inclan who is regretting answering a question she ended by saying I really can't answer it, but she basically said he is still deciding. Is Governor Romney still deciding do you think, or do you think he has a firm position on immigration?
REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: I think he has a very firm position and what I heard you say just a second ago in regard to a secure border, whether we're talking about drones, motion detector, drones, infrared cameras, or fencing, that we need to secure that border first and foremost. You don't let the patient continue to hemorrhage. You stop the bleeding first. And in regard to the issue of amnesty, the next president of the United States, Mitt Romney, is not going to tolerate any amnesty. So I'm very much in favor of that. I think his position is solid.
O'BRIEN: So what exactly is his position on what Marco Rubio has been presenting as his version of the DREAM act?
GINGREY: Well, of course I have not seen Marco Rubio's version. It's not a Bill. It's certainly not law. I will look forward to hearing his proposal. But this idea of a DREAM act started back in the mid '90s, and I guess most prominent Bill that was introduced in 2001 by Dick Durbin, Luis Gutierrez, my good friend from Illinois, will speak of that. It hasn't passed the Senate and the American people are generally opposed to it. O'BRIEN: I'm always worried, Congressman Gutierrez, when someone says my good friend, because usually something will follow when you talk to elected officials that will be "but." Weigh in on what you think specifically on this version of the dream act that Marco Rubio would like to see become a bill and Governor Romney's support or lack of support he's been unclear of that. And I want to talk to you about president Obama and what's not been done on immigration that the president may have or should have or could have done in the first years in office.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ, (D) ILLINOIS: First it was regrettable that you have a brand new person out there doing outreach to the Hispanic voting community of the United States that doesn't understand the record. That's a very clear record. It's not one that evolving. Mitt Romney said everyone should just self-deport. And when he said it, it was like Senator John McCain was scratching his head, saying I don't think he really said that.
He said that he would veto the DREAM act in his current form. He said that he was against amnesty. I mean, best yet, he said that the Arizona law implementation of 1070 should be what we use and should be our model across the country. So he has a very clear position.
Having said that, I think if there are Republicans that are ready to come forward with proposals that stop deportation and allow people to integrate themselves as Senator Rubio has, we should give those proposals our consideration and our support if and when they make gains and progress on the immigration debate.
O'BRIEN: Talk to me about president Obama and some of the things that he has talked about. Here's a little bit about what Ms. Inclan - and I agree sounded like she's novice in the position listening to her voice as she answered some of these questions. Let's play a chunk where she talks about President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INCLAN: He talked about uniting families and all he's done is deport more immigrants than any president in American history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Assess for me President Obama's record on immigration?
GUTIERREZ: Sure. Number one, we passed the DREAM act in the House of Representatives 216-198. Only eight Republicans of the 216 votes, 55 members of the Senate voted for cloture. There were Republican members of the Senate who were cosponsors of the Senate who didn't vote for cloture. So clearly when the president attempted to pass the DREAM act, he got it done in the House of Representatives, got 55 in the Senate, and the Republicans simply stopped the movement forward.
Having said that, the president can take more actions and we are. I am going to be next week in charlotte, North Carolina. We've got Mr. Sanchez who came here when he was 14 years old. He has two American citizen children. He's driving without a driver's license, and now he's being ordered deported from the United States of America. The president said that he had a new policy of discretion where there are American children concerned where haven't committed a criminal offenses and that he would prioritize drug dealers and gang members and rapists and murders and people who present a threat to the United States and not people who have long standing roots in the community and American citizen children that need to be raised.
O'BRIEN: Let me ask a final question, Congressman Gingrey. I want to talk about the new border policy. The emphasis not on the entire border but specific and problem areas if you will. Is this a better policy or a worse policy? What do you think?
GINGREY: This is a policy that doesn't even pass the laugh test. It's strictly political posturing. It does nothing. The fact is the policy would put in place by the Bush administration, and I'll commend President Obama for continuing the policy of utilizing technology and completing the 700-mile fencing so the apprehensions down from 1.6 million per year in 2001 to about 250,000 today. So the system is working.
And in regard to self-deportation, there was criticism there about Governor Romney in regard to that statement. That's working in Georgia because we passed an Arizona-type law, House Bill 87, and so the 465,000 illegal immigrants in the state of Georgia, more, by the way than Arizona, they are leaving the state of Georgia because we are enforcing the law. You enforce the law. You take away the job magnet by making companies abide by e-verify, then this problem can solve itself.
O'BRIEN: Congressmen, nice to see you both. Appreciate it.
GINGREY: Thank you very much.
O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, voters in key swing state make a strong statement against same-sex marriage. We'll tell what you this could mean for President Obama who has been put on the spot in the debate.
Also, some secrets for defying aging. Who better than Suzanne Somers to give us some tips. She'll join us up next. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Suzanne Somers, a blonde bombshell when she floated on to the TV screen back in 1977. She was a star on "Three's Company". My parents thought that was a very racy show. They would not always let me watch it. She has just --
SUZANNE SOMERS, AUTHOR, "BOMBSHELL": I'm sorry.
O'BRIEN: That's ok -- that's ok. She just turned to 65.
MARTIN: Now -- O'BRIEN: Exactly, 65 is her sexiest age. She spent years focused on health and fitness and her new book, which is her 23rd book, is called "Bombshell: Explosive Medical Secrets that will Redefine Ageing". It's so great to see you.
SOMERS: Thank you. You too.
O'BRIEN: I appreciate it.
SOMERS: I'm an admirer of your work.
O'BRIEN: I appreciate that, thank you very much. Well, we can just talk. We can just ignore all of it -- no, no. When did you make the turn from actress to really being knee deep, maybe neck deep in anti-ageing medicines, secrets, different alternative therapies --
SOMERS: Passion, be compassionate about it. When I got cancer. Strange gift.
O'BRIEN: What year was that?
SOMERS: Eleven years ago.
Even though I had been writing a lot of books up to that point that's when I realized what have I've been doing to play host to this disease? And when I looked over my lifestyle and diet habits, I thought -- of course you know the television shows -- I did 21 years of series. And there's always the craft table.
O'BRIEN: Yes we love them.
SOMERS: I call it the crap table. It's all bags and boxes and chemicals.
O'BRIEN: But have you been eating horribly? I mean --
SOMERS: Not horribly but not -- not valuing a good diet, not understanding the importance of vegetables and all these things. It all sounds like too simple to be important but I asked a Doctor Brzezinski out of Houston in this book how do we not get cancer? He said we've got cancer protective genetic switches that get turned off with diet and lifestyle.
I said, how? And so well there are five (inaudible), he said one gets turned off from toxicity and one gets turned off from food that is sprayed with poison or genetically modified, one gets turned off from lack of sleep, one gets turned off from not managing stress and the last one gets turned off from imbalanced hormones.
So most people who are walking around with all five cancer protective genetic switches turned off and no wonder it's such an epidemic. So --
O'BRIEN: You start at Chapter 4, I want to read this because I thought that was great.
O'BRIEN: You say that this is the Dalai Lama -- man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money, then sacrifices his money to recuperate his health and then he's so anxious about his future that he doesn't enjoy the present. The result being he does not live in present or the future. He lives as if he's never going to die and then he dies as if he's never really lived -- when he was asked about what surprised him about humanity.
And I think that kind of frames sort of even all of your books.
SOMERS: And how many -- how many of the sages throughout the ages have said exactly the same thing in different words? I liken our bodies to a Maserati. You would never put interior fuel into a Maserati. You would never wait until your car broke down completely before you took it to a mechanic and yet that's what we do to our bodies all the time.
So when I say cancer was a strange gift, I don't even think of it as cancer survivor. I don't even enjoy that term. It's just something I had that woke me up and -- and then I realized I have an opportunity that most people don't. I have visibility and fame and I used it to get to the best and brightest doctors and the doctors in this book kind of blew my mind.
O'BRIEN: It's a series of interviews that you have.
O'BRIEN: One thing you do not cover in this book, before I let you go and I want to ask you. We're going to keep you through the commercial break.
O'BRIEN: Did you use the Thighmaster? Did it really work? Because I have to say I do feel a lot; it really didn't help me very much. I know, I used it a lot.
CAIN: Ask her one more time.
SOMERS: It's a -- it all started because I bought a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes for $565 and I didn't know how to tell my husband I spend so much money on these shoes. This is 20 years ago. And I was in my dressing room in my underwear. And I went out and I said how do you like my new shoes.
He said they're great. He said, great legs. And that's how we did the commercial. It built my house and then the house burnt down.
O'BRIEN: I guess it works for some people.
HOOVER: I fully understood what that meant.
SOMERS: I just do want to say this, of all my 23 books, I think that this is the most impactful. There are things in there about how to lengthen your telemeters, how to -- a new way to treat prostate cancer that is not going to put men into the kind of horrible situation they're in now, how to not get cancer. How to balance your hormones --
O'BRIEN: You're not a doctor but you interviewed a number of doctors and medical experts.
SOMERS: I am -- I'm you in my books. I'm a curious passionate person and I get to them by being Suzanne Somers.
O'BRIEN: I'm really hot if she's me. If I'm Suzanne Somers that will work out very nicely.
SOMERS: Hey 65 rocks.
O'BRIEN: It's so great to have you.
SOMERS: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you for joining us this morning. I appreciate it.
SOMERS: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: "End Point" is up next with the panel. Back in a moment.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Zamburu are cousins to the Masai, they are pastoral people. They've got a few cows, they've got goats, camels. Their bees, it happens to be more aggressive than -- than ours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Zambura for millennia, thousand of thousands of years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of them they -- they still use the log hives and those hives they harvest just once a year because they are so high in the trees.
Their traditional method of bee keeping is to take a log hive, populated with bees, pullout all the honey and brood usually kill the bees and take the honey and eat it and that's not really beekeeping to my mind.
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O'BRIEN: Playlist? Literally everything she's put on -- I like. And I've noticed I got nothing on today. But she -- everything you put on -- fantastic. That's Joe Cocker, "Feeling All Right".
It's time for "End Point". We're going to start with Roland Martin today.
MARTIN: Suzanne Somers talked about improving your health and she said, stress is one of the issues. I'm a firm believer. If you just cuss people out on a regular basis, you will not have stress. It will open the pores up and you will feel better, blood pressure will be lower. It will be all good.
MARTIN: Yes, I am. You're not carrying a frown. You're not walking around on --
O'BRIEN: I'm fairly confident Suzanne Somers did not say that. Will Cain?
MARTIN: You move on. It's in the book.
CAIN: : Suzanne Somers says she can visualize her "End Point". I asked right, when the segment was over. When will your "End Point" be? How old will you be, Suzanne? She said 110 at least.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can get my mind around 110. Unbelievable.
O'BRIEN: I can get my mind around late 90's. I think I can get to 99.
MARTIN: I just don't want to lose my mind at that age. So it really doesn't matter.
O'BRIEN: All right. We're going to get to your "End Point" on the other side of this commercial break. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Before we let you, let's get to Margaret's "End Point".
HOOVER: Well, I think what we had is you know, -- you have the immigration dust up, the Mitt Romney potential etch-a-sketch moment again. But really there's a place in this narrative that Romney doesn't know where he is. But he does know where he's (inaudible) on immigration but that matters because of Latino votes. Can Republicans get back what Bush had in 2004, 40 percent win on Latino votes?
HOOVER: We don't know about it.
O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to see. And I think that is going to be a conversation as we go over the next long, long slog of six months.
HOOVER: That was quick, Roland. Really nothing? Nothing? Will?
O'BRIEN: Coming up tomorrow on STARTING POINT -- we're going to discuss it. Coming up tomorrow on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk to gold medal winner gymnast Shawn Johnson and also joining our panel the shock rocker Dee Snider. They're going to be with us. That's right.
"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. See you back here tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m.