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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Interview with Senator Bob Corker; Petition: Move Convention Out Of N.C.; Tennessee Passes Law Enforcing Abstinence-Only Education; R&B Legend Talks Cancer; Edwards Trial Enters Final Days; RFK Center Auction

Aired May 15, 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: Welcome back and good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin, sitting in for Soledad O'Brien.

And our STARTING POINT: It's still happening. New calls for stricter rules on Wall Street after JPMorgan's $2 billion disaster. The bank CEO facing shareholders bright and early this morning in Tampa, Florida.

Also, calls to move the DNC out of N.C. Should North Carolina lose the Democratic National Convention as punishment for banning same sex marriage? Remember Amendment One passed last Tuesday? We're going to talk to the guy who is heading up that online effort.

And holding hands, we all know what that leads to sometimes. But one state is punishing teachers who allow so-called gateway sexual activity.

It is Tuesday, May 15th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

BALDWIN: And there we go. Here were go, little Smashing Pumpkins for you. We like that, Christine Romans. Very nice. Christine Romans' playlist, here Smashing Pumpkins.

Hey, welcome, everyone.

Kerry Kennedy, welcome. Welcome this morning.

KERRY KENNEDY, PRESIDENT, ROBERT F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR JUSTICE & HUMAN RIGHTS: Great to be here.

BALDWIN: She is with Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

And also, Margaret Hoover, welcome.

MARGARET HOOVER, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM": Thank you.

BALDWIN: Author of "American Individualism," great granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover.

And Will Cain, columnist at TheBlaze.com.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let's begin talking JPMorgan, shall we? In just a couple hours, JPMorgan shareholders will confront the company CEO about that $2.3 billion it lost in a complex, very risky bet.

So, you are looking at live pictures outside of the building. That meeting is going to happen this morning at Tampa, Florida, right around 10:30 Eastern Time. We got crews on the ground watching that for you.

But shareholders will be voting on CEO Jamie Dimon's $23 million pay package along with a proposal for an independent head of the board that could displace Dimon.

So, all of that is happening this morning as Senate Banking Committee says it will be investigating the trade. A lot of questions here and now, the stunning loss by America's largest bank is really a reminder, lest we forget, the financial crisis of 2008. It's also shifting the spotlight on those new banking rules that were supposed to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening again.

I want to welcome Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee joining me this morning from Capitol Hill. He's a member of the banking committee. He's called for a hearing on JPMorgan $2 billion trading loss.

So, Senator Corker, good morning.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Good morning, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I want to begin with this series of financial regulatory hearings. Obviously you are talking JPMorgan. What do you really expect to get out of that? What do you expect to learn?

CORKER: Here's what's happened, Brooke, over the weekend we've been in lots of conversations with the regulators, and I think it's still questionable as to whether these trades under the new laws that have been created, once they are fully implemented are banned or not. We're seeking a hearing not because we want to jump on the Jamie Dimon/JPMorgan bandwagon. Look, the fact is this is a couple months of earnings to them. But the question is: are these types of trades, legitimate trades or not?

It is my belief that it's very questionable and to me what we need to do is have a hearing to understand exactly what generated these trades and what was their purpose. It's my belief that candidly these trades -- or the kind of trades that may well be OK per the Volcker Rule that was passed.

But I don't think any of us know that you have seen regulators backing off and saying that this is a very complex situation. They don't even know. So, I just think it's important for us as a nation and a nation that's just gone through the crisis we've gone through to understand what is legitimate, what isn't legitimate.

BALDWIN: Right.

CORKER: And I'm really surprised that there's been such a pushback from the banking committee to have a hearing on this. It's something we all need to understand.

BALDWIN: Well, you talk about the hearings. We know there are hearings that will involve Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Treasury Department.

But I want to play sound if I may, Senator. This is Sheila Bair. She was the former head of the FDIC. And she actually suggested to me that the Fed is really part of this problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEILA BAIR, SENIOR ADVISER, PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS: I think the structure of the Fed's regional banks is a real issue. The New York Fed is the primary regulator of these large institutions. They have industry people sitting on boards and that's true with other regional banks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So do you think anything could have prevented this? Do you agree with her?

CORKER: Really, I don't think anything has happened here as it relates to regulatory capture or anything like that. I think there's a question. One of the authors of the Volcker Rule yesterday I understand was saying that he agrees with me that the proposed rule as it is written does not capture these kinds of trades.

So, I think what's really happened here is Congress in an effort to do something in a speedy way passed a piece of legislation that included the Volcker Rule. We had one hearing and that was it. It was really more of a personality-based hearing. We didn't really get into the depth that we needed to on this issue.

And my point is I think there's still just a lot of questions. Again, you know, I think it's legitimate for us to delve in and understand. Again, this is not something that's going to take a bank like JPMorgan down. The most important thing that we can do is make sure that banks are highly capitalized so they can absorb this.

BALDWIN: Yes.

CORKER: And understand the most risky thing that a bank does is actually make loans and regulation is not going to take all human error out. This is obviously a clumsy, not so good idea to do what they did. But we need to understand again more about the trade.

BALDWIN: Not so good and you eluded to speaking with one of the co- authors of the Volcker Rule. I don't know who you were referring to but I did talk to Jeff Merkley earlier this morning, and he actually suggested this to me. He suggested that JPMorgan was purposely masking this trade so as to not be covered by the Volcker Rule.

Here's what he told me last hour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: This is classic example of a large bank saying we're not allowed to be in proprietary trading or hedge fund business, so we'll hide it. We will take those same traders. We'll put them in our risk mitigation unit, and we'll pretend it's all about risk.

But if this is allowed, then the firewall designed as Volcker Rule that says if you want to be in hedge funds, go be in the hedge funds, don't be a bank, is meaningless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Do you agree with that characterization? Does language need to be tightened?

CORKER: Certainly we need to understand the language. I would agree 1,000 percent on that. Again, I just want to say we talked throughout the weekend with the examiner in charge at the OCC of JPMorgan. And throughout the weekend they said these trades are perfectly legitimate under the new Volcker Rule, which by the way is not implemented yet. So, they're not under that regime.

What this speaks to, Brooke, to me, this is something that again is our responsibility to understand what these types of trades are about. Are they legitimately hedging risk that they have or is this a prop trade which everyone agrees the Volcker Rule should prevent pure prop trading where the bank is really just sort of betting for their own profits.

I mean, I think we decided that's not what we want institutions like this to do.

BALDWIN: Right. The proprietary --

CORKER: We also don't want on the other hand to make them more risky because they don't have the ability to hedge their positions against turns in different directions.

BALDWIN: But, Senator, what about --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Part of the risk -- and forgive me for interrupting you -- but part of the risk is you have incentives. These big risks that lead to big bonuses, and I know "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that there may be some claw backs and some bonuses that's in the paper this morning.

Should these incentives be looked into?

CORKER: I was one of the authors of some of the claw back provisions that exist especially when a bank fails. Again, these kinds of questions and the kinds of discussions that we've had over the last several days to me point to the fact that we all need to sit down, understand what the motivation was for these types of trades, was it just masking proprietary trading or were these legitimate hedges against their portfolio.

I think the only way to find out is to have an understanding. Again, not to take somebody down or run them into the ground, but just as understanding so that we can make sure we get these regulations right. I think that's what we ought to do as a Congress. I think that's important.

BALDWIN: Senator Bob Corker, I appreciate it, Republican of Tennessee.

CORKER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And I know -- I can see you, Margaret Hoover, you wanted to step in. The president's taping on "The View" today and president was saying Jamie Dimon, good guy, smart guy, JPMorgan, great bank.

HOOVER: Well, yes, they do. I wonder from Senator Cooker, what the probably of actually having one of these hearings. You know, he's in minority in the Senate asking for these hearings up to the whole committee to decide.

I think here's also this impetus, the government -- the federal government loves regulating these industries. There's always a balance between bankers running their business and having the kind of regulation that doesn't hurt business.

CAIN: You cannot regulate failure. As you just said, Jamie Dimon is known as smartest guy on Wall Street. He just made a horrible, horrible mistake. And by the way, a mistake that JPMorgan will pay for to the tune of $2 billion. Can we regulate away that failure? No, but we can try to keep from being socialized -- the failure of being socialized.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Kerry.

KENNEDY: The whole point of regulation is to stop that kind of failure.

(CROSSTALK)

KENNEDY: I don't know about that. I mean, $2 billion you ought to be able to regulate away that. It might be up to $3 billion. The point of this -- the real point of the regulation is to separate the casino from the bank. That's what's going on here.

BALDWIN: Do you think banks are too big?

KENNEDY: I don't think they're too big but they do need regulation to --

CAIN: The argument isn't that they don't need regulation, but that you can't have a religious affiliation to regulation to think you'll find a regulator smarter than Jamie Dimon who's going to catch this trade, keep this failure from happening.

Look, lemonade stands fail, banks fail. It's going to happen.

BALDWIN: Final word.

HOOVER: It's an argument. Do you believe banks should not be so big?

CAIN: I think if you're too big to fail, you're too big to exist.

HOOVER: Yes.

BALDWIN: So many people (INAUDIBLE) this very show. Thank you all very much.

To Christine Romans we go for other top stories.

Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

Some breaking news for you this morning, Brooke.

Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks criminally charged for her role in the U.K. phone hacking scandal. She's accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in that investigation of Rupert Morduch's media empire. Her husband, Charlie Brooks, has also been charged.

The couple releasing a statement a short time ago. The statement reads, "We deplore this weak and unjust decision. After the further unprecedented posturing of the CPS, we will respond later today after our return from the police station."

A brand new era in France. The country swearing in a new president just hours ago. The new President Francois Hollande is expected to push for new ways to deal with that economic crisis in Europe. Hollande has criticized austerity measures central to Europe's response to the crisis of the fast two years. Hollande is France's first socialist president since 1995.

New developments this morning in the Trayvon Martin case. We're getting a preview of never before seen evidence. Prosecutors filed an eight-page document listing potential state witnesses. The document also details new evidence including crime scene photos of the defendant, George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin's autopsy report, and video from the night of the shooting including video from the convenience store where prosecutors believe Trayvon went that night and another video from a clubhouse in the Twin Lake complex where he was killed.

President Obama telling ladies of ABC's "The View," why he came out in support of same-sex marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My Justice Department has said to the courts we don't think the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional. This is something that historically had been determined at the state level. And part of my believing ultimately that civil unions weren't sufficient.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you personally fight to repeal that act?

OBAMA: Look, Congress is clearly on notice that I think it's a bad idea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The ladies of "The View" also asked the president about the popular "Fifty Shades of Grey" book which some have dubbed mommy porn. The president says he hasn't read them but plans to ask Michelle Obama about that.

BALDWIN: Yes, I love how he said that. I never heard about that. I'm going to have to have a talk with Michelle. I don't know if Michelle is thumbing through that book. That's for another day. Christine, thank you.

CAIN: My wife asked me 20 times, have you read "Fifty Gray of Shades" yet? No, I haven't red --

BALDWIN: "Fifty Shades of Grey."

CAIN: Whatever.

BALDWIN: Apparently, he did know about Kim Kardashian, in the White House correspondents dinner, he made that Kim K joke.

HOOVER: But he didn't know that Britney Spears had a baby which is a tough pop quiz for the United States. He's getting important security briefings every morning.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Still ahead here on STARTING POINT, our get real this morning. A study that studied a study about too many studies -- only in Washington.

Also ahead, an online petition asking Democrats to move the DNC out of North Carolina after the state voted to ban same-sex marriage. We're going to talk to the man who launched that online fight. Here is Kerry Kennedy's playlist, Bruce Springsteen, "Highway Patrolman." You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: A growing number of people petitioning the Democratic National Committee more than 64,000 to move the convention out of Charlotte, North Carolina after the state voted to ban same-sex marriage last Tuesday. So, the petition says the convention should go to, quote, "A state that upholds values of equality and liberty and which treats all citizens equally."

But Democrats, they say, ah-ah, they're not budging. And this morning, for the very first time, we're actually hearing from the man behind the petition. Murray Lipp is the founder of the Facebook page Gay Marriage USA who started the fight. And Murray, good morning to you.

MURRAY LIPP, FOUNDER, GAY MARRIAGE USA: Hi.

BALDWIN: First, obviously, we know why you started the petition. Really, my question is, do you think you're going to have success in actually getting that convention moved out of Charlotte?

LIPP: Right. Well, you know, I think a lot has changed since I started the petition. And the day after I started the petition, President Obama came out the next day and expressed support for marriage equality. And I think, you know, based on the feedback that I received from a lot of people on the Gay Marriage USA page, my personal opinions about the petition have actually changed since it commenced.

BALDWIN: How so?

LIPP: You know, I think many of us recognize the reality that is unlikely that the DNC is likely to move the convention at this late stage.

BALDWIN: So, you do recognize that despite all your -- you know, the petitions and all the people liking your pages, that isn't going to happen.

LIPP: Exactly. Because I think what is more interesting is that 65,000 people feel so passionately about this issue. And I think it speaks to the anger and frustration that thousands and millions of people felt after what happened in North Carolina last week. I think that is what the key issue is here.

And I think, you know, the Democratic Party needs to look at this and what does this mean for us if we have so many people frustrated about this issue.

BALDWIN: Have you -- has anyone reached out to you other than simply social media, anyone from a Democratic Party? What kind of feedback have you gotten? Phone calls?

LIPP: I mean, no one has reached out to me personally. That may be in part because, you know, it's not that easy to reach me via Facebook page. The page has always been about the issue. It's never really been about me. And this is actually the first time that I've kind of come out into the open and said I'm the person writing this page.

BALDWIN: I was about to tell you, it's an unanimous, what, back last Tuesday. And this is the first time I tried Googling you yesterday, and I couldn't find you anywhere on the internet. And I think in two minutes, that's about to change.

LIPP: Right.

BALDWIN: But why come forward? Why show your face and share your name?

LIPP: Because I feel so passionately about the issue of marriage equality that, you know, I had to put aside my own, you know, anxieties about going public and think about the bigger cause. And, you know, I think there's a huge movement towards equality, and if I can help that in some way, I'll absolutely do that.

HOOVER: Murray, I have a question for you.

LIPP: Yes.

HOOVER: You worked for marriage equality here in New York, Freedom to Marry. Of course, the president lending his voice to it, to the issue, gives a lot of momentum to the direction of that, but do you think that if President Obama had come out and said what he said the day after North Carolinians went to the polls and wrote in a ban of all relationship recognition into their state constitution, had he, because he did --

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: He did -- he did it the day after.

LIPP: Right.

HOOVER: And if he had done it the day before or the week before or the month before, do you think that might have made a difference in the outcome of the vote in North Carolina?

LIPP: I mean, it's quite possible that it may have made a difference, but it's very difficult to say. Maybe, it wouldn't have made any difference at all. I think, you know, the terrible news that, you know, we heard last week in North Carolina may have been the final push that President Obama needed to make this statement and come out and support equality.

And perhaps, if that ban hadn't passed in North Carolina, and perhaps, he wouldn't have come out at this point and expressed support. So, I'm trying to focus on the positive and think about how is this advance the cause going forward. And I think, absolutely, hearing, you know, a sitting U.S. president say I support marriage equality, that is historical.

BALDWIN: But the impetus for the petition when the get go was to get this convention moved out of Charlotte. And I do want to play a little sound, because Soledad talked to the mayor of Charlotte just last week, Anthony Foxx. Here's what he told her.

LIPP: Right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR ANTHONY FOXX, (D) CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: Frankly, I think that North Carolina still has many, many positive attributes. And I would point out that Charlotte and the county in which it sits actually defeated the referendum by 54 percent to 44 percent margin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, given hearing the mayor of Charlotte now you say --

LIPP: Right, and that's the opposite side of the argument. And I think, you know, when this first happened on Tuesday, people were really angry. And when people are frustrated, they want to take action.

BALDWIN: But people are still angry. I was looking at your Facebook page today, they're not going to like hearing you say, oh, that's OK. You can keep the convention in Charlotte.

LIPP: You know, my view on all of this is that how do we achieve the best possible outcome for everyone. And I think, at this point, focusing, you know, wasting a lot of energy on trying to move the convention takes us away from the core issue here which is how do we advance the issue of marriage equality.

And I think that's where we have some leverage in arguing that, you know, marriage equality needs to become a permanent part of the Democratic Party platform, you know, rather than just talking about it. We need to formalize this.

CAIN: It's better to protest and kind of run from a debate or engage your opponents. And by being in North Carolina, you're engaging in a debate.

LIPP: Exactly. And that is what a lot of people on the Facebook page said. And I read their comments and I find it very useful. They said, you know, rather than walk away, let's face this head-on and what better place than to tackle this issue than in the state that just rejected equality.

KENNEDY: The big problem with that is that it legalizes bigotry. And it makes it much harder for teachers and parents to tell teenagers that they can't, you know, they can't tease and they can't bully and they can't go and tackle somebody because they think the person is gay.

And it also harms us when we try and do work in a place like Uganda which has legislation that would make homosexual acts punishable by the death penalty. It undermines our capacity to be effective on those issues.

LIPP: Absolutely. And that is the role of legislation. We need to support equality and that is why I started this petition on Change.org to express our frustration at this discrimination.

BALDWIN: Murray Lipp, thank you. Quickly, the official page is --

LIPP: Facebook.com/GayMarriageUSA.

BALDWIN: Murray, thank you.

LIPP: Thank you. Thank you.

BALDWIN: And still ahead this morning, today's "Get Real." The government spinning itself into a tizzy here in red tape issuing a study about a study on studies. You're watching STARTING POINT. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A little Beach Boys to get you moving and grooving this morning, "Wouldn't It Be Nice," courtesy of Mr. Will Cain. By the way, you can check out our entire playlist this morning as we pour over our music selections, I'm sure we all do. Just go to CNN.com/STARTINGPOINT.

And now, to the moment you've been waiting for. The "Get Real" segment. So, here's the deal. The Pentagon was so concerned that it was spending too much money on studies. So, what did they do? Our government issued a study to study whether there are too many studies. Let me say it again. A study to study whether there are too many studies. OK?

So, Defense Secretary Gates ordered the report back in May of 2010. Didn't end there. The GAO, the Government Accountability Office, studied the Pentagon's study of why there are too many studies. I know you're already laughing, perhaps, you are, as well, raising concerns that it and that 35-page study can only be found online. So, study about studies about studying studies.

CAIN: We're all studying.

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: Did stimulus dollars fund it?

BALDWIN: What do we go out on this?

CAIN: It's beyond farce. It's beyond --

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: You can't get rid of all the studies, unless, you have a study to study it. So, maybe, this is a pre-requisite to diminishing the amount of studies.

CAIN: You just confused me. You said study ten times.

BALDWIN: I know. I confused myself. It's like having a meeting about a meeting about a meeting. You know what I mean? I'm sure you've never --

KENNEDY: Not done that.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Never done that. Still ahead this morning, you're on STARTING POINT, strict bans on kissing and holding hands at school. Teachers being punished for even suggesting birth control to teenagers. Does one state's new sex ed law go too far? We'll go there next on STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: I like it. Thank you, Margaret Hoover, very nice this early Tuesday.

I know we've heard about gateway drugs, right? But what about gateway sex? A new education law signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam bans teachers in the state from even talking about it. The bill's sponsor defended the mandate on the Tennessee House floor just a few months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM GOTTO, (R) TENNESSEE STATE HOUSE: Abstinence has been on the books for a long time and what's supposed to be taught. And based on actual occurrences in the state it's being taught, but it's being taught in a manner that is very broad and encourages things that will arouse certain things and individuals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: That's quite a word to choose. OK. So we continue.

HOOVER: He's having some trouble with his language right there.

CAIN: He was vague when he said "certain things."

BALDWIN: We're going to define certain things this early morning. The law easily passed in both of the state's chambers and imposes a fine up to $500 for teachers that condone these so-called "gateway behavior." But some critics say the language to your point is a little too vague and not effective. I want to bring in Tennessee State Representative DeBerry who supported this bill. Good morning to you.

STATE REP. JOHN DEBERRY, (D) TENNESSEE STATE HOUSE: Good morning.

BALDWIN: In the bill it defines as "instruction of the family life education curriculum may not promote any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with non- coital sexual activity." Sir, can I get you to define "gateway sexual activity"? What does that mean? DEBERRY: Sexual activity that we're talking about is defined in the code, defined in the criminal code. I think that any parent or any teacher would know exactly what they're looking at when they see it. The fact that we have sensationalized this issue and mislabeled this issue as the "don't hold hands" bill is really unfortunate. Considering what we're dealing with in society with dysfunctionality of the family and trying to keep kids safe. What we're talking about is activity, activity that leads to eventual penetration.

(CROSSTALK)

DEBERRY: We're talking about activity that leads to touching of intimate parts. We're not talking about holding hands. We're not talking about an innocent kiss between children.

BALDWIN: OK, but here's my next question then. If you're a teacher and you're a teacher in the school and hallway and you see kids engaging in this gateway sexual activity, we're not talking holding hands or kissing but more than that, what then happens to the teacher?

DEBERRY: Well, first of all, I think the teachers have been dealing with this for generations. Teachers know it when they see it and deal with it in an effective and affirmative manner. We have very good teachers in Tennessee, and if they see a boy and girl coming to school to do something other than learn. School is not a pickup place. They see these children and will know exactly what to do because they are responsible adults and will break it up. They will report those children I'm sure probably to their parents or whatever teachers do and have always done.

So for us to act as though we don't know this when we see this is not really being honest with ourselves. So when a teacher sees activity that's not holding hands or a tender kiss or innocent behavior and they see someone touching intimate parts and leading toward activity that will eventually go toward penetration, that teacher knows what to do.

BALDWIN: I read though that some teachers in some cases can face fines, yes?

DEBERRY: No. A teacher is not facing a fine for this. What we're trying to do is make sure that no outside agencies who might be contracted to come into the state of Tennessee to help and assist in our sex education programs, if they do things that are not proper and corrective and if they demonstrate devices that lead to various sensations, then the courts are places that deal with these issues.

BALDWIN: Let me ask you to your point about this is statewide legislation promoting abstinence in the state of Tennessee. It requires family life education curriculum promotes risk avoidance. We wanted to take a look at Shellby County in Memphis, and they've been promoting abstinence for two decades. Look at this, 66 births per 1,000, 15 to 19 year olds. That's twice the national rate.

DEBERRY: Absolutely. BALDWIN: Now that you look statewide and promoting abstinence, do you see that as a successful rate? Why not another tactic?

DEBERRY: The very point is this is a new tactic. We've had abstinence on the books but we haven't promoted abstinence. We've had it in the letter of the law but we haven't promoted abstinence as part of the law.

BALDWIN: They weren't promoting it in Shelby County?

DEBERRY: What we're saying, ma'am, is this, that it's time for a new approach. It's irresponsible for us as adults to put undisciplined immature children whose hormones are out of order, if you don't mind me saying so, in a place where there is no responsibility and no discipline and no accountability.

What we say the very statistics that you just quoted say that what we're doing does not work. Simply passing out condom, simply telling folks not to get pregnant, obviously that's not working. So what we're saying is change the behavior. We have to work toward changing behavior. Every law that we make as a legislature or any legislature across this country, every law we make is to change behavior.

What this bill does is say it's time that we stop simply talking about it and passing out condoms. It's time we work with training children and teaching them and helping them have self-esteem and helping them mature and become better people and helping change the behavior. I don't understand what the problem is with that approach.

HOOVER: Tennessee is in the top ten of all states in the country when it comes to teen birth rates.

DEBERRY: Absolutely.

HOOVER: So I know you are aware of this and what you're working on. But does the law deal specifically with language that educators are allowed to use and is this a question or question of talking about what behaviors are appropriate? And to what extent does the family's role play into this? Teachers are only around for eight hours a day and you've got a lot of homes, people go home to their parents and they listen to their parents and their parents as role models. So what role do you think that plays?

DEBERRY: The school is only part of the equation. The children are not supposed to be raised by the school. The children are supposed to be raised by parents.

The problem is we have breakdown by family in our society. It is irresponsible to talk about societal issues and we talk about economic issues and we talk about $5 billion to $8 billion we spend every year on teen pregnancies and unmarried individuals having babies. But then when it comes time to take a strong, bold approach to do something about it, people make jokes. It becomes stuff for comedians, because we have got to have the collective will to help the parents that when their children are out of their sights at the school, they understand that the school is a safe place where self-esteem is promoted and risky behaviors are taught to be avoided and where behavior changes are encouraged and that the school is just a part of the equation. The very statistics that you're quoting say that we have got to have change.

BALDWIN: I hear you Mr. DeBerry. I hear your frustration. I know this is something you don't want to be on national TV talking about your state but my only wonder is parents watching at home thinking, look, my kid is going to want to find out about sex and sex education. If it's not going to be at school, beyond a conversation I may have with my child, it may end up being Google. Do you want Google to be a sex ed teacher if they're not getting that information at school?

DEBERRY: That's where there's a misnomer in the law. That's where there's a misunderstanding of the legislative intent. We absolutely want this talked about at school. We absolutely want children to understand about their bodies, understand about sexual behavior, to understand self-esteem. We absolutely want these conversations to happen.

But we want these conversations to happen with the understanding that the goal, the goal is avoiding the risky behaviors. Avoiding the having sex.

You know, this is America. We're the greatest country on earth. The only thing a person really has to do to have a decent living in America is graduate from high school and not have a child before you're able to take care of that child. You need to be married and have a job.

KENNEDY: Is this a little bit out of touch with reality of what happens with these high school students? Abstinence works for middle school students but as kids get older and older, you want them to have the capacity to make good judgments and actually to be responsible. That's why you need to provide them with condoms --

DEBERRY: The question is how do we help them make good judgments?

KENNEDY: That's right.

DEBERRY: Do you do that by simply giving them -- what we've done is throw up our hands and cover our eyes and mouths and pretend we don't see what we see. We see statistics rising every year. We see STDs and all types of sexually transmitted diseases and statistics going up every year. But we keep saying the same old thing. Let them do what they want to do and let them grow and learn. We have to ask adults as responsible adults, we got to realize --

KENNEDY: Part of the responsibility isn't it training them to use protective behavior and use condoms properly?

DEBERRY: That's exactly what our program does. It trains them. It teaches them. That's exactly what it does. BALDWIN: Mr. DeBerry, we'll have to leave it there. We'll continue this conversation I continue through the commercial break. I want our viewers to send us tweets @BrookeBCNN. I know people have opinions on this. Thank you so much, sir. We'll follow-up and see if those statistics at all change as a result of this.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, she sat through the entire trial. Today John Edwards' 30-year-old daughter is expected to take the stand just minutes away here. We'll go there live to the courthouse, Greensboro, North Carolina. You are watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: If you are a fan of 80's soul funk, you will remember Charlie Wilson. He was the lead singer of the Gap Band. But as Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains here in this week's "Human Factor" things have not always been easy for this artist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Charlie Wilson is best known as Uncle Charlie, as a member of the 80's funk group the Gap Band and now a solo artist. But celebrity status he's also had its ups and downs.

CHARLIE WILSON, GRAMMY NOMINATED ARTIST: It got wild of course you know with success. Of course alcohol and drugs and -- and it just got unbearable.

GUPTA: At one point Wilson lost everything.

WILSON: I became homeless. I didn't have anywhere to go.

GUPTA: He did eventually get sober. Went back into the studio as a solo artist and made eight more hit singles but then in 2008 life dropped another bomb on Uncle Charlie. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

WILSON: I thought my career was over because the word "cancer" just scared me to death.

GUPTA: With surgery and radiation he was able to overcome the disease and he quickly realized that talking about prostate cancer was his new life's work.

WILSON: I just knew that what I had went through was very scary and I -- I wanted to share it with someone.

GUPTA: So he's partnered with a pharmaceutical company Jansen Biotech and is a paid spokesman, he's helping educate black men about the disease.

WILSON: We're two times likely to die from this disease than any other ethnic group and that scares me.

GUPTA: For Uncle Charlie, the future continues to look bright.

WILSON: I'm 18 years clean and sober. And I thank God for my life and I think God for my wife. So here I am. Ready to take on the world again.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Still ahead here this morning on STARTING POINT, John Edwards' eldest daughter could take to the stand as early as today in that corruption trial. What does she know? What might she say? We are live outside the courthouse next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Defense lawyers for John Edwards still won't reveal if they plan to call the former senator to testify in his own corruption trial but what we do know is they do plan to call his daughter Cate Edwards to the stand as early as today.

Let's go straight to Joe Johns in Greensboro, North Carolina.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Brooke.

BALDWIN: Joe, when -- when might we see her and what might she know?

JOHNS: Not clear because there are a couple other witnesses that could come before her. But look, the thing about Cate Edwards and the reason why she's important at least one reason is because there's been a sprinkling of testimony throughout this trial that Elizabeth Edwards, the late wife of John Edwards was very interested and active in trying to control information about this affair and keep it from making the jump from the National Inquirer and the tabloids over into mainstream media.

That Elizabeth Edwards was very involved in that because she didn't want it to affect her children in any negative way. The idea was it's one thing to read this thing in the tabloids in the supermarket, it's another thing for it to hit your doorstep every morning in the mainstream media newspapers.

So why is that important? It's important that maybe Cate Edwards could shed light on it because this whole has been about the intent of John Edwards and now it becomes a question of the intent of his late wife, Elizabeth; a very different story that could help the defense. Hopefully when she gets on the stand, we'll hear a little bit about that -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Yes, I know. We've talked the past couple weeks and you've said how she's been emotional. We'll see how this goes for her if it happens today.

Joe Johns, we're going to be watching throughout the day here on CNN. Appreciate it.

And the "End Point" with our panel is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Our "End Point" today. We want to mention Kerry Kennedy, the reason really why she's gracious enough to sit here on our panel this morning. She's president of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, which is auctioning off some great stuff which is what had these guys talking all through the commercial break about what they want as part of this auction.

Let me run down just a couple of them. This is one of the ones I would love. Mr. Alec Baldwin -- you get to meet Alec Baldwin on the set of NBC's "30 Rock" -- love that show; meet President Bill Clinton in the VIP reception; play tennis -- tennis anyone -- John McEnroe can teach you.

Have your child play football with NFL great Brett Favre. Meet the cast of "Mad Men". I want you to please go to CNN.com/startingpoint where we have a link to the auction right from our site.

This will be the "End Point" today talking about why is this cause so important. I mean you're fighting for human rights around the world?

KENNEDY: That's right. And we do. We do human rights education on bullying and other issues here in New York and across the country and around the world. And you know, all of the funds from this auction go to promote justice human rights.

(CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: I'm going to do what Will called the boring one first. For -- given the cover of Newsweek this week and given all of the battles that are going on in marriage equality, the actual -- Governor Cuomo's actually copy of the marriage equality bill that passed New York. Largest state in the union to pacify a legislator. Republican and Democrats passed it. You can get his copy of it for yourself. That's a boring one but I thought it was pretty cool.

BALDWIN: 10 seconds, Will Cain. What do you want?

CAIN: I'm bidding on back-hand with Woody Harrelson. Kerry tried to talk us into putting coffee with us on the list. That would be embarrassing.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Thanks to our panel. I hope you join us tomorrow morning because tomorrow morning on STARTING POINT, New York Giants quarter back and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning on the show.

Plus the hit show, "Revenge". Actress Madeline Stowe. See you tomorrow morning.

In the meantime let's go to Atlanta. CNN NEWSROOM with Carol Costello begins right now -- Carol, good morning.