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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Interview with Elizabeth Warren; Student In Critical Condition; Integration of Charter Schools Discussed; "SNL" Super Fan Interviewed; Saturday Night Live Super-Fan; Quizzing the Math Genius

Aired May 14, 2012 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning to you. I'm Brooke Baldwin, in for Soledad O'Brien.

And on STARTING POINT this morning: they lost $2 billion in a trade. And this morning, a lot of people at JPMorgan could be paying for it really with their jobs. Elizabeth Warren says there is a huge problem here with the company's CEO. He is Jamie Dimon. She's going to join me live to explain what she is calling for and really what this means for you and your money.

Plus, the frightening one here. This 24-year-old graduate student -- she's a fighter, loves the outdoors. She went zip lining. And now, she is the victim of a flesh-eating bacteria. She is fighting for her life and she also lost her leg at the hip and word her fingers could be next. We are going to talk to her parent live this morning.

And we are doing a little math here. Are you smarter than an eighth grader? I don't know if you're smarter than one specific eighth grader we're going to have on the show.

We're going to introduce you to the winner of a national math competition as we put him and perhaps a member or two of our panel this morning, surprise -- to the test. Yep, we are doing math.

It's Monday, May 14th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

BALDWIN: If only everyone could hear everyone mentioning what we think of everyone's song. This is the Chili Peppers. "Californication," very nice. I saw them recently live. Cleveland Rock and Rock Induction Hall of Fame, amazing.

So, welcome, everyone.

Ryan Lizza is a Washington correspondent of "New Yorker."

Abby Huntsman, political commentator.

And Will Cain, CNN contributor and columnist for TheBlaze.com.

Good morning. How are we this morning?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.

RYAN LIZZA, NEW YORKER: Flashback to my dorm years in college.

BALDWIN: Flashback to the symphony of our youth.

Welcome all of you. Let's move on and talk money, because our STARTING POINT here, a big shake-up for calls for congressional hearings this morning after JPMorgan reports a stunning $2 billion dollar loss. It happened actually last week when the financial giant revealed it has made this risky credit bets on the European markets. So, now, three executives are expected to resign and Bloomberg is reporting Morgan's really entire chief investment office in London could be let go.

The traders, they are raising some very, very serious questions here about whether the country's biggest bank learned anything from that financial crisis all of four years ago. Also we are asking, what happened to all of those laws, right? The regulations that were supposed to prevent something like this from happening.

Well, a lot of those rules created by the Dodd-Frank bill, they're actually still not in place some two years after passage. CEO Jamie Dimon acknowledging this new mess could give regulators, members of Congress more reason to tighten any loopholes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: Have you given regulators new ammunition against the banks?

JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: Absolutely. There is a very unfortunate and inopportune time to have this kind of mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Dimon sits on the board of the New York Fed which regulates the banks. We actually spoke with former FDIC chair Lisa Bair earlier on STARTING POINT. You have this to say when I asked her whether Dimon should resign from that board.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEILA BAIR, SENIOR ADVISER, PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS: I think the governance structure of the Fed's regional bank is a real issue. The New York Fed is the primary regulator of these large institutions, yet they have industry people sitting on their board.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I want to bring in Elizabeth Warren. She's a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. She's also leading this call for Dimon to step down, and she is a consumer advocate and credited with creating the idea for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Elizabeth Warren, welcome this morning to STARTING POINT.

I want to begin to the fact that you're now coming forward. You're calling specifically on Jamie Dimon to step down from his post on the board of the New York Fed. Why step down?

ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, this is about accountability. You know, the banks have been loading up on risk and they don't want to be accountable. And Jamie Dimon not only is CEO of JPMorgan Chase, he holds this position of public trust, advising the New York Fed on how to regulate risk for these large financial institutions like his own financial institution.

BALDWIN: Do you think that's a conflict of interest?

WARREN: It's not just conflict of interest. It's a real point about attitude here. And this isn't personal to Jamie Dimon. It's what has been going on ever since Dodd-Frank passed. There has been a guerrilla war out there in which the largest financial institutions have been doing everything they can to make sure that financial regulations don't get put in place. And if they do get put in place, that they are loaded with loopholes and not very effective.

You know, there's been a lobbying army hired by these financial institutions because they really don't want to have any oversight. They want to take on risks, however they want to take on risks, you know, and let the rest of us deal with the consequences if something goes wrong.

BALDWIN: So, you say, obviously change is necessary. You say it is beyond a conflict of interest.

You know, I spoke with Sheila Bair. We just played a little sound from here. I asked her, you know, is this a frightening deja vu for all of us. Have we not learned our lesson from the financial crisis that was 2008?

Take a listen what she told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BAIR: I think it does underscore that even with very good management, these institutions are just too big to manage and especially when they are dealing with very complex instruments, trying to hedge risk and very large securities trading books, even the best of managers can stumble. And so it does, I think, require -- suggest smaller, simpler institutions, ones that have more focused management on particular business lines.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Do you, Elizabeth, agree with her that these financial institutions are just too massive? Too massive?

WARREN: Well, you know, we were talking in 2008 when I was doing oversight work during the big crisis about how there was too much concentration in the banking industry and here we are four years later and there is more concentration in the banking industry.

You know, it's a combination -- the problem is a combination of size and attitude. They are too big. There's too much power concentrated in just a handful of institutions.

But it's also that they have the attitude of leave us alone. We will manage our risks internally, we will take care of it all ourselves and we will come back to you only if things go wrong and we need some help and we need a bailout.

We can't run an economy that way. We can't run a country that way. We have to stand up as a people and say no more of this. No more.

BALDWIN: So we stand up. We say no to the attitude, according to you and that these banks are too big.

I want to point out what Paul Krugman wrote in "The New York Times." Quote, "The key point is not that the bet went bad. It is the institutions playing a key role in the financial system have no business making such bets, least of all when those institutions are backed by taxpayer guarantees."

Does the Dodd-Frank -- does the financial reform and also the Volcker Rule specifically -- do you think that would have stopped this $2.3 billion dollar loss from happening? Would that do enough to protect our money, taxpayer money?

WARREN: Well, here's the key point: Dodd-Frank was itself a compromise. And, right now, the main provisions of Dodd-Frank, particularly around the Volcker Rule, have not yet been implemented. So, you know, this is -- we just keep talking about how to make it weaker and weaker and how to make it weaker.

And that's what it is that the largest financial institutions, led by JPMorgan Chase, has been fighting for all along.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: But do you think that would have changed anything? Because the Volcker rule goes into effect this summer. I know some of the regulations are still being drafted. But you think, had it been placed, we wouldn't be talking about this?

WARREN: Well, I'm going to put this way. The Volcker Rule would have helped. We don't know exactly the nature of these trades. But if the question is, is the Volcker Rule enough or do we need more?

Look, I'm somebody who believes we really should have boring banking. That banking should be the part that's about savings accounts, some checking accounts and our money system should be separated from the kind of risk taking that Wall Street traders want to take. That was originally what the Glass-Steagall Act was about. It was repealed in 1999. There was an effort to get it into Dodd-Frank in the 2010 bill. That effort failed.

I think we really do need that kind of separation. We need to go back to boring banking. The people who want to take risks need to take risks with their own money and do it somewhere else, not in the banking system.

BALDWIN: Potentially as a result of all of this according to "Bloomberg News," they are reporting this morning the entire London JPMorgan Chase, the chief investment office, may be dismissed. Obviously, Jamie Dimon could be at risk here.

But I imagine you would say that the problem is deeper than simply removing people from key positions. What is the root? What's the solution?

WARREN: Well, the root of the problem is the largest financial institutions don't want any government regulation. And Washington is a place where money talks. And Wall Street has plenty of money to spread around. They have hired an army of lobbyists to make sure the rules are friendlier to Wall Street than they are to the rest of the country.

As a consequence of that, it's basically a case of middle class families, you know, working families get nothing, where the taxpayers are the ones who are left behind to pick up. And, yet, the largest financial institutions are the ones who are wiring the laws. That's not going to work for us. It puts too much risk at the system and it risks our jobs, our pensions, our entire economy. We can't keep doing this.

BALDWIN: You're running for Senate of Massachusetts.

WARREN: Yes.

BALDWIN: You are running against incumbent Senator Scott Brown, who is calling your credibility into question with your claims recently of your Native American ancestry. So, I just want to quote him. Quote, "Her changing stories, contradictions and refusal to answer legitimate questions have cast doubt on her credibility and called into question the diversity practices at Harvard."

How do you respond to that -- that criticism?

WARREN: You know, I'm proud of my Native American heritage. I'm proud of my family.

It's now the case that people have gone over my college records, my law school records, every job I've ever had, to see that I got my work -- got my jobs because I do my work. I work hard. I've been a good teacher.

But I think what this is really about is that the economy, middle class families, working families are getting hammered and Wall Street wants to change the subject, Scott Brown wants to change the subject, Washington wants to change the subject.

I think that's the real problem here. You know, this election really is going to be about a choice. And Scott Brown has been called by "Forbes" magazine, Wall Street's favorite senator. I've been out there fighting for working families. I've been fighting for some accountability on Wall Street --

BALDWIN: I understand.

WARREN: -- and some accountability in the financial system, and I think that's what this really is about.

BALDWIN: Elizabeth Warren --

WARREN: We need to talk about what kind of changes we need.

BALDWIN: I understand. Elizabeth Warren, as we mentioned you are running for Senate in the state of Massachusetts -- thank you for joining me this morning. I appreciate it.

WARREN: Thank you for having me here.

BALDWIN: Let's go to Christine Romans with some of the other top stories on this Monday.

Good morning, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning and thanks, Brooke.

Just four months after taking the corner office at Yahoo, the CEO Scott Thompson has left the building. But there may be more to his resignation than a scandal over padding his resume.

This morning's "Wall Street Journal" says before leaving, Thompson told the company's board of directors that he has thyroid cancer and beginning treatment.

Meantime, one of Yahoo's top executives, Ross Levinsohn, will be named the company's interim CEO to replace Thompson.

Ron Paul son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, taking criticism from his own party from a comment he made about the president's support of same-sex marriage. Listen to what he said Friday during a faith and freedom coalition meeting in Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The president, you know, recently weighed in on marriage and, you know, he said his views were evolving on marriage. Call me cynical, but I wasn't sure that his views on marriage could get any gayer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: That comment drawing quick criticism from the Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, as well as Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. But it got a laugh from that crowd.

Mitt Romney's son booed off the stage this weekend by Ron Paul supporters at a Republican Party delegate convention in Arizona. Josh Romney was trying to solidify support for his father's nomination but listen to Paul's supporters when he tried to tell them how to choose a slate of preferred Romney delegates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY'S SON: Make sure that it says paid for Romney and that it's green.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): Josh Romney's speech was interrupted several times by boos, and he finally had to cut his presentation short.

First, look at Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs. Kutcher is playing Jobs in an upcoming film. Here's the side-by-side comparison. Steve Jobs on the left and Kutcher on the right wearing the iconic black turtleneck. This was posted by TMZ. The picture is tentatively titled "jobs: Get Inspired." Schedule for release at the end of this year, Brooke.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hmm. When I first said Ashton Kutcher, I thought how, but, I kind of see it now, right?

ROMANS (on-camera): Yes.

BALDWIN: I kind of see it too.

ROMANS: Black turtleneck helps.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Yes. Exactly. Does it all. Christine, thank you so much.

Still head this morning here on STARTING POINT, what a story this is. She contracted a deadly flesh-eating bacteria after she cut her leg falling off the zip line in this accident. She now lost her leg, part of her abdomen, might now lose her fingers. Coming up next, the parents of this Georgia graduate student, her name is Aimee Copeland, they're going to join me live with an update on her fight to survive.

And, caught in the act. We have all seen and laughed at some people doing just stupid things while texting including walking in the fountains. Remember that viral video? New, one New Jersey town making it a crime. Good idea or bad idea? We're going to debate in today's "Get Real."

And we're going to go to break with my playlists. Washed out, "Feel It All Around." You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: This is a tough one. This morning, a 24-year-old graduating student trying to fight to survive after contracting this flesh-eating bacterial infection. Her name is Aimee Copeland. She's a master student of the University of West Georgia. Her world absolutely turned upside down just two weeks ago.

So, she was just out. She was zip lining with friends near Tallapoosa River. It's about 50 miles west of Atlanta, when her home- made zip line snapped and it left with a major gash in her leg. Emergency room doctors, they used 22 staples to close the wound. They sent her home.

But just after a couple of days of pretty intense pain, a friend carried Aimee back to the ER where doctors diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis. She is now sitting this morning in critical condition. She has lost her left leg, part of her abdomen.

Andy and Donna Copeland are joining me from the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctor's Hospital in Augusta, Georgia where their daughter, Amy, is being treated. And I'm so sorry to hear about this. Welcome to both of you. First, most importantly, how is your daughter doing this morning?

ANDY COPELAND, AIMEE COPELAND'S FATHER: Well, Brooke, we haven't seen her this morning. We saw her last night during the last visitation hour, and her spirits were strong. Actually, for the first 30 minutes, she slept very peacefully, and then, she woke, and as she normally does, she Asks where is she.

And she wanted to know how long she had been there. So, it's interesting. They give her medication to help her forget. And so, that's why we hear a lot of the same questions over and over, and that's to be expected at this point.

BALDWIN: So, Donna, does she understand what's happened to her? I don't know if she's in and out of consciousness. Your husband mentioned medication. What kinds of things is she asking for when she is awake?

DONNA COPELAND, AIMEE COPELAND'S MOTHER: As Andy said, she is repeating the same questions because she forgets from one time to the next. But her main question is, you know, it's scary to her where is she, you know? She doesn't understand. So, I guess, that's her main question is where is she and that she's thirsty. You know, just normal questions like that.

BALDWIN: What is the status on -- I understand it was her fingers, potentially, that would have to be removed. What's the status there?

ANDY COPELAND: Well, you know, that's something that's just being evaluated day-by-day. The doctors are doing the best they can to try to save as much of her extensions, her hands as they possibly can, and literally. Day-by-day or even hour-by-hour. So, I really don't want to go into a lot of detail on that, because the medical staff here are just doing everything they can for our daughter.

BALDWIN: I'm sure they are.

ANDY COPELAND: I do want to thank them for that.

BALDWIN: I know that you -- Andy have been blogging and calling this miraculous. How difficult, just as parents, I understand she's quite the fighter. She loves the woods, you know, study in psychology, in graduate school. How difficult, thought, is for you to watch your little girl suffer like this?

ANDY COPELAND: Well, you know, we really don't see the suffering side of it. We see the miraculous survival, and that is really, I think, where -- I think that's the story that's inspired us, that's the story that's inspired, I think, the nation at this point. And just to give you a little evidence of that fight that she has, last night, one of the things that she asked and she was really worried about her thesis.

BALDWIN: Her thesis?

ANDY COPELAND: She is -- yes, her thesis at the West Georgia University. When we told her how long she had been at the hospital, I mean, her eyes just widened in horror. She goes, I've got to work on my thesis! This is a lip reading exercise that we had to get from her.

And so, I assured her at that point that Dr. Rice at the university had put all of her course work, everything on hold, and that she would be able to complete it in due time, but there was one other thing that horrified her. After we assured her of that, her eyes grew big again, and we couldn't understand what she was saying.

And so, we called the nurse in who's a little better at lip reading and her nurse looked at her lips and look at us, and she said, I think she's saying job. And I asked her, I said, Amy, are you worried about losing your job? And she nodded her head, because she's not working. So, I want to tell all of the people at Sunnyside Cafe she's really worried that she's going to lose her job there.

We were actually speaking to a nice young man, Josh, I think, this morning, and he assured us she's going to have a job.

BALDWIN: Yes. Don't worry about the job. No worries about the thesis for now. We all just want to hear Aimee getting better. And quickly here, 30 seconds, is there any -- I mean, I've been on a zip line. Is there anything we can learn from this?

ANDY COPELAND: You know, I would just say, be careful. Don't go on a homemade zip lines. Only use professional zip lines. That's the only thing I can say. I've done a zip line before down in Costa Rica, but it was a professional zip line that actually even had a safety harness on it. BALDWIN: OK. No homemade zip lines. Andy and Donna, we thank you. We're thinking about Aimee and we wish her a quick recovery. Thanks to both of you this morning.

ANDY COPELAND: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Still ahead here on STARTING POINT, where you can now get a ticket for texting while walking. Yes, I said a ticket. It's next in our "Get Real." You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: All right. Time to "Get Real" this morning.

We know texting is, you know, a little bit of a dangerous distraction while driving, obviously. But police in Fort Lee, New Jersey, have set their sights on careless walking. This is what they're calling, careless walking. These are people with their faces, you know, like this, like buried in their smart phones. Not that we see that anywhere around CNN, right?

ABBY HUNTSMAN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Never done that.

BALDWIN: I've never done it at all. So, apparently, the fine here, the fine, if you are texting while walking, 85 bucks. Eighty- five bucks.

HUNTSMAN: I swear, though, I didn't look (ph), got taken down over the weekend.

BALDWIN: Taken down, Abby Huntsman?

HUNTSMAN: In New York City. I was walking, and this girl was on her cell phone. You actually deserve to get a ticket after that.

BALDWIN: Slap that ticket on her.

LIZZA: You got to get those new Google glasses, and they won't be able to tell, you know?

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Talk about distracting, though. You're texting and taking pictures and listening to music. Amazing. Yes. Let me know what you think. Give me a tweet @Brooke via CNN --

LIZZA: I think Jersey's got bigger problems.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Still to come at STARTING POINT, new information that our country's charters schools are very, very lopsided when it comes to race. Where are the White students? We're talking to Steve Perry next about that. And the man who's been to more than 600 tapings of "Saturday Night Live," the super fan now with the golden ticket is coming up live. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT here on this Monday. It's half-past 8:00 eastern. Christine Romans, tell me what is going on today. Good morning.

ROMANS: Well, authorities in Mexico, Brooke, are trying to calm the public, that's what's going on, assuring them civilians are not being targeted after the gruesome discovery of 49 decapitated and dismembered bodies litter along a Mexican highway. The bodies discovered just 80 miles from the U.S. border near Monterrey.

The defense begins presenting its side of the story this morning in the corruption trial of John Edwards. Lawyers for the former senator argued for a mistrial Friday. They claimed that prosecutors failed to prove their case. The judge denied that motion. It's not clear which witnesses will be called today, but Edwards is not expected to testify.

In this week's "Smart is the New Rich," Greece, a tiny economy about wig problems will hurt your 401(k) today. Greece this weekend failed again to form a government after elections a week ago and stocks in Europe down sharply this morning and so are futures here. The worry now is Greece could be force to do leave the euro zone and stop using the euro as its currency.

Back to the drachma? It would be fought with peril. Technically using the drachma would favor Greek exporters, but what good is that if the economy there is destroyed? The country would be deeply in debt still and the rest of Europe left to do business with Greece. It means uncertainty in your 401(k), and it means Europe's crisis is not over. The Eurozone the single U.S. fire of U.S. exports and it matters to American factories and workers and employers today. One member of the European central bank's board said of the possibility of leaving the euro, quote, "It is not necessarily fatal, Brooke, but it is not attractive." There you go.

BALDWIN: Christine, thank you so much.

Here's a question for you this morning. Are America's charter schools becoming segregated? Right now more than two million kids are enrolled in charter school, about 4.5 percent of the country, and it's an increase of some 13 percent from, you know, just two years ago. So among those students, they are 32 percent African-American. Think about it. That is actually just about twice as many are enrolled in regular public school and almost three-quarters of those black students attend a school 90 percent of the student body is nonwhite.

Steve Perry is our CNN education contributor and founder of the capital prep magnet school in Hartford, Connecticut. Steve, good morning, Steve. Wow. When you look at these numbers in this, is it a trend? Why is this happening? STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: One of the reasons it's happening is because the children who are typically choosing charter schools don't have the best education opportunities in a nearby neighborhood. They choose the schools they feel will give their child the best opportunity to fulfill what is their true potential. So many of the families choose charter schools and overwhelmingly they are people of color.

BALDWIN: I mean, you bring up the word multiple times, "choice," right? You have the word "segregation" but then you also have the word "choice" and a lot of these parents want what is best for their children and in a lot of cases in this country, that means charter school.

PERRY: Right. There is a fundamental difference between choice and segregation, meaning that someone can choose, a woman can choose to go to Mt. Holy oak or any of the other seven sister schools and we wouldn't consider that segregation anyone someone going to Morehouse College in Atlanta, a historically school for African-American men. However, segregation has as its core limit, meaning you don't have a choice and you don't have options. We at capital prep are magnet school and we are designed to integrate. We are designed to --

BALDWIN: You dealt with this firsthand. Was it last year? You had to reach a certain quota. You had too many young black girls and boys and you had to hit that 27 percent quota. Tell me about the efforts you had to go through to do that? Was it worth it? What is the benefit?

PERRY: We had to convince white people to come to a very good school in the hood. I mean, it's just that simple. We had to say we have a school that as good as any other. We had to work our behinds of to recruit white kids. It was just that simple, because what we are here to do is here to provide an integrated education.

Some would ask if your school better? If you ask us from a test score perspective has our school been better we become more educated? The answer is no. Are we better as a school because we provide a more rich academic experience, I would say yes.

BALDWIN: You want to be surrounded by people who are of a different ilk, who are different from you. You learn from those kids. You don't necessarily want to be sitting around with people that look just like you.

PERRY: One of the reasons why we have a school that is so largely African-American and Latino is because in Connecticut there are many segregated suburbs and many African-American families who moved out to those are the suburbs are one of only one or two families that African-American community. So when they see a school like ours as an option they choose to send their child to a largely urban school. So for them it's a choice as well.

We have to look more at the nuances around race and class and what it means to be integrated, because integrated isn't just a color conversation, it's a cultural and ethnicity and geographic and economic conversation. When we look at what it means to integrate a school, do my children who are African-American and come from an educated household integrate a low performing largely African-American school? I'd say yes, because both of their parents are educated.

BALDWIN: Bottom line, 15 seconds. Isn't what matters most the level of education that your child is receiving no matter where he or she is?

PERRY: I believe that it is. I believe that ultimately you have to decide what type of school fits your children's needs best.

BALDWIN: Steve Perry, thank you. Have a great rest of your Monday.

PERRY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, live from New York, it's Lewis Klein. Meet the "Saturday Night Live" super fan who has been going to show tapings, folks, since 1975. Now he has a huge honor from the show for his dedication. We're going to ask him what that is all about coming up on STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL FERRELL, COMEDIAN: Hey, I've been there. I've been there. I used to catch grief all of the time from president Cheney.

(LAUGHTER)

FERRELL: I would be in the oval office hooking up the Slurpee machine and settling into a "Charles in Charge" marathon, and that penguin would come waddling in and yell "Get your damn pants on, we are about to bomb blah, blah, blah."

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Classic Will Ferrell reprising his famous George W. Bush persona on "Saturday Night Live" just this past weekend. In case you missed it, one man at that show has seen "Saturday Night Live" in person more than 650 times. He is Louis Klein. He attended a rehearsal of the first-ever episode of "SNL" hosted by George Carlin in 1975. He has been going back nearly every single week since. The show appreciates his dedication so much they have now given him the first-ever permanent golden ticket, if you will. Louis, good morning.

LOUIS KLEIN, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" SUPER FAN: Good morning.

BALDWIN: I know you have to be counting. We keep saying more than 260. How many "SNL"s have you been to?

KLEIN: It's 665.

BALDWIN: I'm sorry, 665.

KLEIN: Yes.

BALDWIN: Why do you keep going back?

KLEIN: I love it.

BALDWIN: What do you love about it?

KLEIN: It's not out of something to do on a Saturday. I went to the first show and I tried the second week. It didn't work. I didn't get it on stand-by. I went to the third week and kept going each week. Everything was fine. I kept going in and it was a lot of fun to see. Everything is different. Every week is different, every week a different host. Fine.

BALDWIN: I've never been in person. Tell me what I'm missing. What is it you see that me sitting at home in my sweats on a Saturday night.

KLEIN: Believe it or not, the awesomeness of the studio. You see a hundred people walking on the floor in this maybe 100 by 200 area.

BALDWIN: It's small.

KLEIN: It's small. And what are they doing? They set up weekend update in about a minute.

BALDWIN: Wow.

HUNTSMAN: I actually was able to go twice and it is so fascinating to see how quickly the sets change and just how talented the actual actors are. They can jump from, you know, doing an impression from one person to the next so quickly and they kind of get in in that mindset. And it's true talent at its best and it's such an interesting experience to watch.

CAIN: Speaking of that talent, Louis. You've been there since the '70s and seen all of the live performances. Who is your favorite cast member?

KLEIN: Oh, boy. La Toya Jackson was the first one I really got in and met very nicely. She was a little skeptical of her parents on the show. She said -- she didn't like it at first. If she remembers me -- remembers me when I -- when she actually said that to me, I apologize to her for bringing it up.

However -- however, she said -- she said that she -- she didn't care too much for it because her schedules got cut. And later on that week, there's an "SNL" first.

BALDWIN: What was that?

KLEIN: Where the sixth game of the World Series between the Mets and the -- and the Boston Red Sox. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 1986.

KLEIN: Went into extra innings and with Bill Buckner made his error. And they called "SNL" to not be aired that night even though they started taping it at 1:00 in the morning.

BALDWIN: You were there that late?

KLEIN: This is -- this is already Sunday morning now. We watched the game. We watched the game in the studio.

LIZZA: I was actually at that baseball game in 1986.

BALDWIN: You were at that baseball game. --

HUNTSMAN: There's a -- there's lot of footage that -- that a lot of people don't see. Because my dad did it and they did -- I was able to go to the dress rehearsal and then I saw the actual show. And there's a -- there is actually a lot that they don't end up using -- a lot of great material that --

BALDWIN: That just gets cut, just for the time.

HUNTSMAN: Like commercials that they make that you think, oh I wish that many people could see this.

BALDWIN: Louis, I read you met your wife through "SNL"? Yes.

KLEIN: Yes. Through the e-mail. She started to e-mail me in 1999 and --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Over your love for late night funnies?

KLEIN: And she comes from the Denver area out in Colorado. And she e-mailed me and she asked me to do something.

BALDWIN: Yes.

KLEIN: She asked me to give a letter to a cast member. And I told her, well, I don't really do that because --

BALDWIN: Oh you made an exception.

KLEIN: I would be the post office for the cast and I really didn't want to do that. And I want to respect them too. And it turned out I read the letter and I tried to explain what she was asking Chris (inaudible) to do. That it probably wouldn't happen. That she actually asked him to call her. And I -- I figured she was a 16-year-old die-hard fan and then I found out she was a little older, she was 23 at the time.

And -- and because of my disability that I have and I found out later on that she was born without ears, but she hears well. It fascinated me also by watching, I say how can you hear me if you don't have ears?

BALDWIN: Well because of this -- but because of all of that you ultimately met and married. You had some "SNL" personnel at your wedding.

KLEIN: It was -- it was that, that link yes.

BALDWIN: That was the link that is amazing, enjoy your golden ticket and maybe if I'm lucky enough, Abby Huntsman will take me there also.

KLEIN: That link put as together also.

BALDWIN: Louis thank you.

KLEIN: So it became and then that brought us to New York in 2000.

BALDWIN: And the rest is history. I appreciate it, Louis. Let's keep talking through the commercial with Louis, the lifetime member of "SNL." It's nice to meet you, thank you sir.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT we've got to talk math. Are you smarter than an eighth grader? The winner of the National Math Champion gets to put to the test along with one of our lucky panelists. Look at him go he's practicing already.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: And the pressure was on for hundreds of middle school math students who took part in the highly competitive Ratheon Math Counts national competition. We're going to give you a chance to play along. Yes, I know it's early and a Monday. I hope you've had your coffee. Because we want you to play along with us and test your skills. Take a look here at the final question during this math bee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bag of coins contains only pennies and nickels and dimes with at least five of each. How many different combined values are there if five coins are selected at random? Ashwin?

ASHWIN: 125.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. That is not the correct answer.

Chad?

CHAD QIAN, NATIONAL MATH CHAMPION: 21.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 21 is the correct answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Chad Qian, so cool, calm and collected, eighth grader of Indiana took the top prize which included $8,000 scholarship. Chad congratulations. How are you?

QIAN: I'm fine.

BALDWIN: How were -- were you nervous?

QIAN: Yes. I was very nervous.

BALDWIN: Describe the nerves.

QIAN: Well --

BALDWIN: Heart pounding? Goosebumps.

QIAN: That was mainly heart pounding. I maintained like a calm facial expression. But my heart was pounding.

CAIN: To intimidate your opponents. Is that why you did that?

BALDWIN: You had your game face on?

QIAN: Yes.

HUNTSMAN: How long did it take you to -- to come up with 21? Because I would be here all day.

QIAN: Probably like ten seconds or something.

CAIN: Ten seconds?

LIZZA: What's the -- what's the answer? Is there an easy way to explain?

QIAN: Well --

LIZZA: No?

BALDWIN: That's a no, right? That's a no. We're doing live TV here.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I know look at this. Plus he pull out his calculator, totally cheating. When did you start loving math? How old were you?

QIAN: Well, I started doing Kumon which teaches you math and reading and when I was 5. I've been into Math (inaudible) in fifth grade.

BALDWIN: Ok, are you ready to bring it against this guy Will Cain who thinks he is pretty smart? We're going to test his knowledge.

CAIN: I'm not that smart.

BALDWIN: And we're going to test our viewer's knowledge as well. So let's hop up. CAIN: Here we go Chad.

HUNTSMAN: No cheating.

BALDWIN: Calm, cool and collected, we have our game face on. And I'm totally taking the answers because I don't want anybody to cheat. Ok Chad, here we go. Everyone play along. You walk over here in front of you. So here is question number one, Will Cain, are you listening?

CAIN: I'm listening.

BALDWIN: Are you nervous?

CAIN: Very but I'm not going to show it.

BALDWIN: Ok question number one. What is the tenth term in the arithmetic sequence 1, 4, 7? Oops. What is the tenth term in the arithmetic --

QIAN: 28.

BALDWIN: And ding, ding, ding. Ding, ding, ding.

CAIN: I was close.

BALDWIN: Oh you were close? You're still writing.

CAIN: It was getting there.

BALDWIN: Oh whatever. Nice work. Nice work, Chad.

CAIN: I got to 25.

BALDWIN: We're 1-0 Cain. We're 1-0.

CAIN: All right.

BALDWIN: Ok, question number two. And we can just show our work perhaps below it. I don't know how to erase this. Question number two. Three -- ok, I don't want you to see the answer even though you're totally going to get it.

Three congruent, co-planer circles overlaps so that each center lies on the other two circles -- you with me. The diameter of each circle is 8 centimeters. What is the area of the triangle formed by connecting the centers of the circles? Express your answer in simplest radical form.

Right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 16 root 3.

BALDWIN: Not 16 root 3.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was the radius? BALDWIN: The radius -- it was the diameter is 8 so radius is 4.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok. 4 root 3.

BALDWIN: 4 root 3. Can we get a shot of this. Give a shot of Will Cain. I cheated, 4 root 3.

CAIN: I had that in what -- like five seconds?

BALDWIN: I think I probably misspoke and I gave him like the diameter instead of the radius but whatever, Cain, we took you down. Nice job. Thank you so much. What is scarier? Live national television or a math bee?

QIAN: Probably live on national television.

BALDWIN: And there you go. Our "End Point" with our panel is next.

Nice job.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: 60 seconds here for the "End Point". Mr. Will Cain, the loser in the math competition.

CAIN: I was the loser. Chad was a bad dude. I did cheat. That's right. Only embarrassed by the eighth grader.

I want to turn to the segment about the weight of the nation -- the rising obesity problem in the United States. I just want to put this problem into context and say it might be a good problem, a problem of prosperity. The first several thousand years of human existence were marked by a search for calories, scarcity, starvation. And now the last 30 years we have arrived at a place where 68 percent of us are fat. We might put that problem into context.

BALDWIN: Abby.

HUNTSMAN: I want to talk about the JP Morgan loss. I mean we keep saying it's just another example of banks being too big to fail. But I think we should look deeper at this. Should we be looking at breaking up the banks? We have six big banks worth $9 trillion, that's 60 percent of our GDP. We need to look get -- looking at the bigger picture here, I think.

LIZZA: Yes. Even when have you one of these little back and forth with someone you interview and your head goes back and says what could I have pointed out that to help me in that conversation?

BALDWIN: Yes.

LIZZA: And the issue is racial profiling. Two of the things that were uncovered were --

BALDWIN: 10 seconds.

LIZZA: Including informants from reports on political speech at mosques and dispatching undercover officers to (inaudible) Muslim- owned businesses in Newark. So that's what that debate was about.

BALDWIN: Going back to the Congressman, we did make him laugh didn't we on this Monday?

CAIN: Again, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: We did.

Hey, nice to be with all of you. You're stuck with me the rest of the week as Soledad gets a much needed vacation. For now we're going to send it to Atlanta to Carol Costello where "CNN NEWSROOM" begins -- Carol, good morning.