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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Suspect Arrested in Etan Patz Murder; Interview with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; "My Suffering Was Beyond Imagination"; Man Confesses to Murder of Etan Patz; Student Suspended for Making Anti-Bullying Video for School Project

Aired May 25, 2012 - 08:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans.

Our STARTING POINT: A detailed confession in the case of the first boy to appear on a milk carton. A suspect heading to court today 33 years to the day Etan Patz vanished.

Hurricane threat. Bud gets bigger. It's now a major storm threatening some hot tourists spots. Yes, it's hurricane season again.

And have video games and Internet porn rewired men? An author says a whole generation may be addicted to arousal.

It's Friday, May 25th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: I'm not hip. I just really like the Beastie Boys.

It's Friday. Ryan Lizza is here, "The New Yorker's" Washington correspondent, also Alicia Menendez, Democratic commentator and co- host of "Power Play" on Sirius XM, and Will Cain, columnist of TheBlaze.com.

We all like the Beastie Boys. We're agreed. Bipartisan choice.

RYAN LIZZA, NEW YORKER: I still recite every word from Paul Revere.

ROMANS: Yes. There you go.

There's big, big developments in the story that's really been a story that's been followed for a generation. There's no physical evidence here but New York City police believe they cracked the case of who killed Etan Patz 33 years ago today. This is him according to inside edition.

Fifty-one-year-old Pedro Hernandez. He will be in court later today. He was arrested after confessing to killing 6-year-old Etan Patz while the little boy was on his way to school. On May 25th, 1979, 33 years ago New York's police commissioner says they have a detailed, signed confession.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAY KELLY, NYPD COMMISSIONER: Hernandez described to the detectives how he lured young Etan from the school bus stop at West Broadway and Prince Street with the promise of a soda. He then led him into the basement of the bodega, choked him there and disposed of the body by putting it into a plastic bag and placing it into the trash.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: CNN's Susan Candiotti is live at the courthouse in Lower Manhattan.

Susan, without physical evidence or a motive at this point, why do police believe that this is their man after all these years?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a key question, Christine.

Police are saying they believe him based on the details he provided to them in his confession, which they said took 3 1/2 hours, an alleged videotape confession. And also based on the fact he told others about this, including members of his family and other people as well that he had, quote, "done a very bad thing" and killed a boy in New York City, mentioning this as far back as 1981 according to police.

But the fact of the matter is, we don't know everything that was in that alleged confession. We do know that authorities acknowledge that they are still deeply working this investigation and trying to find physical evidence if there is any and trying to also discover a motive because we have no information at this time that this man, the suspect in this case, Hernandez, had any prior contact with Etan Patz.

We know that he worked as a stock boy in that convenience store way back when and then he left but we don't know why and then moved to New Jersey, worked in the construction business, was living on disability, was married, had a teenage daughter about to start college. And people in his neighborhood say they are confounded to learn he may have done something like this.

We do expect him to be formally charged at some point and he might appear in court as early as today.

Back to you, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Susan Candiotti in Lower Manhattan -- thank you, Susan.

Let's get to Alina Cho now for the rest of the day's top stories.

Good morning.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christine. Good morning to you. Good morning, everybody.

Hurricane bud, the first major hurricane of the 2012 hurricane season. The storm right now is strengthening into a major category 3 and is now threatening Mexico's Pacific coast. There's a look at it there from space. Bud has maximum sustained winds of 115 miles per hour. It could slam some very popular tourist spots.

Meteorologist Rob Marciano tracking the storm for us.

Rob, good morning. So, when is it going to make landfall and how bad could it get?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It looks like tonight, Alina. And at one point yesterday, we thought it wasn't going to make landfall at all. We thought it weaken but it strengthened to category 3 storm. Now, it's the first major hurricane of the eastern Pacific season but earliest we have seen a storm this strong form.

There it is about 120 miles southwest of the Manzanillo coastline, moving in that direction, about 80 miles an hour, 110-mile- an-hour winds. So, it's weakened somewhat but not dramatically. The forecast is for it to be category 1 storm at landfall sometime tonight and then begin to dissipate and kind of weaken a bit. It's going to rain itself out for sure along the coastline, here especially in the mountains and that's the danger zone as far as flash flooding and potentially some mud slides.

On the other coast, here's the Atlantic basin. The Carolinas, Florida, this storm or disturbance could become our next tropical storm, as well and this could affect everyone from Florida coastline, potentially through the Carolinas over the weekend. It shouldn't become that strong as far as winds go. It could be a good thing relieving drought. So, certainly folks in north Florida and in southeast Georgia hoping the moisture gets there.

But this could be our second tropical storm of the season, which hasn't even started yet, Alina. So, we're off to a fast start for sure.

CHO: That's right. It's going to be a busy one.

All right. Rob, thank you very much. Stay with us. Listen to this story. A Facebook friend request actually helped overturn a rape conviction of a former high school football star.

Here's what happened: Brian banks was 16 when he was convicted of raping high school classmate back in 2002. He spent five years in prison. His promising football career gone. Banks' accuser was even awarded $1.5 million from the school.

Well, last year, Gibson sent banks a Facebook friend request. He responded by asking her to meet with him. Their meeting was secretly recorded and Gibson admitted that she lied about the rape. Prosecutors say she is not likely to face charges.

The General Services Administration official who helped organize that $800,000 conference in Las Vegas now fired. GSA commissioner Jeff Neely was placed on administrative leave back in March when news of the lavish 2010 conference went public. Now, he's out. And officials want him to pay for a private party he hosted in his Vegas hotel room.

Officials say the Justice Department could also slap him with criminal charges.

And Arlington National Cemetery getting dressed for Memorial Day. Look at these pictures here. Soldiers are actually placing American flags at the graves of more than 260,000 service members. It's a tradition known as flags in that the Army has maintained for more than 60 years.

And a great tradition it is. It makes you realize, Christine, that Memorial Day is more than a day off from work and backyard barbecues.

ROMANS: Oh, yes. There's no question about that.

All right. Thank you so much, Alina Cho.

CHO: You bet.

ROMANS: President Obama holding a narrow edge over presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in three key battleground states. A new NBC News/Marist survey shows Ohio voters choosing president over Romney 48-42. In Virginia, a smaller advantage for Obama, 48-44. Identical numbers in Florida within the margin of error. A combined 60 electoral votes are at stake in those three states.

Joining me now, Democratic Congresswoman Deborah Wasserman Schultz of Florida. She's the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Good morning to you.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIR: Good morning, Christine. Great to be with you.

ROMANS: I want to start with this attack on Romney and time at Bain Capital. I mean, many see this as an attempt to disqualify Romney in those very battleground states so that lunch bucket Democrats have someone to blame for their factory closing. And the White House said this is their big strategy.

Will it play in those battleground states and if it doesn't, what's plan B?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, it's not strategy. What it is, is that Mitt Romney made his record at Bain Capital, his experience in the private sector which is almost exclusively at Bain Capital, the central premise to American voters that they should elect him president.

And so, as a result, it is entirely fair game as a result to have a close examination of how he executed practices at Bain and if you look at the record, if you look at the record in my home state with Dade Behring, if you look at the record with Ampads in Indiana, and across the country, there are literally thousands of workers who he laid off, companies that they deliberately forced into bankruptcy --

(CROSSTALK)

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And Mitt Romney and his partners made hundreds of millions of dollars.

ROMANS: I'll be honest with you. There will be ads that will show one company saying this is an ailing paper company that went under after Bain, and there will be another Bain ad that will say, no, take a look at this one company that we grew.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: But the point is it is fair game.

ROMANS: So, look, Anderson Cooper spoke to the Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt a few days ago and asked him about Bain and the strategy. I want you to listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So why is what happened at Bain so -- I mean, is it so egregious compared to other private equity firms?

BEN LABOLT, OBAMA 2012 PRESS SECRETARY: You know where the president stands when it comes to the financial sector. The fact is he passed Wall Street reform.

COOPER: But I don't understand, why it's OK for the president's private equity supporters to bankrupt companies and put people out of work, but it's not OK for Mitt Romney's equity firm to do that.

LABOLT: The president has support from business leaders across industries who agree with his vision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Are business leaders -- I mean, why is it -- let me say this clearly. Why is it not hypocrisy for the president to take campaign donations from private equity when he's attacking private equity making that an essential part of his campaign?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Because, Christine, it's not comparing apples and oranges, it's comparing apples and coconuts who --

ROMANS: Explain to me the coconuts.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Sure. Accepting a contribution from a particular person involved in venture capital and criticizing Mitt Romney who has made his record as a venture capitalist at Bain the essential focus of his credibility and qualification for being president are completely different things.

So Mitt Romney in a way that he ran Bain Capital, the companies that he deliberately drove into bankruptcy, the creditors that he left with less than pennies on the dollar in return and the thousands and thousands of people who he left on the unemployment lines while making hundreds of millions of dollars in profits for himself and his partners is an appropriate examination for a man who is saying that this is the reason we should elect him president.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: OK, Congresswoman --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Who contributes to Barack Obama has little to do with that because those contributors are not running for president and saying that they should be elected based on their record.

CAIN: Congresswoman, this is Will Cain. Let's compare apples to apples.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Hey, Will.

CAIN: It seems to me that the criticism you're offering is that Mitt Romney went into businesses and laid people off. But wouldn't the apples to apples comparison be that's exactly what Barack Obama did when he touts the auto industry as a feather in his cap, didn't the federal government, didn't Barack Obama go in and layoff thousands of autoworker industry -- to save that industry, he laid off workers.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I'm so glad you used that example. That's another key difference between the way that Mitt Romney would run this country and the way Barack Obama has been. Mitt Romney said we should have let Detroit go bankrupt.

CAIN: You're transitioning into -- with all due respect, you transitioned into that one. Didn't they lay off workers?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You asked me a question. I'm going to answer the question. I may not answer it the way you want me to but I'll answer that.

CAIN: I doubt that.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Surprise, surprise. Barack Obama made sure that we have an American automobile industry and saved 1.4 million jobs in the pipeline, all the way up, from suppliers to direct employees for those manufacturers and Mitt Romney would have let them go bankrupt. And this is why you see in that polling today that --

CAIN: That's my point.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- President Obama is ahead in Ohio.

CAIN: That's my point. He saved that industry. Did he not save that industry by laying of workers at the auto companies and didn't Mitt Romney --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No

CAIN: -- produce net job growth through all of the companies Bain owned, when sometimes he had to lay off workers at certain companies?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: First of all, Barack Obama was not, is not and never has been the CEO of any of those automobile companies. Mitt Romney was the CEO of Bain Capital, had direct control over decisions at those companies that Bain took over. He was directly involved in whether to invest or whether to drive those companies into bankruptcy.

He controlled. He was the puppeteer and people lost their jobs because of his decisions and creditors never got paid because of his decisions, and he and his partners made hundreds of millions of dollars at the expense of those individuals and creditors. That's what he says is the reason we should elect him. I think voters should have a right to examine that record.

LIZZA: Hey, Congresswoman. It's Ryan Lizza with "The New Yorker."

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Hey. How are you?

LIZZA: I want to ask you a question about the president's record on an issue that I think is going to be more and more in focus in this campaign and that is immigration. 2009, 2010, 2011, the Obama administration came out and bragged about the fact that under Obama, there was a record number of deportation, illegal immigrants being sent out of the country.

Is that something that this president is going to run on in this campaign as immigration becomes a more central issue?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, this is yet another dramatic contrast between the two choices that American voters have. We have a choice of Mitt Romney who literally has the most extreme policy on immigration of any presidential candidate in history and Barack Obama who is strongly supportive and has pushed for comprehensive immigration reform against the candidate who totally opposes it. We prioritize that we are deporting people who have committed significant crimes and put lower on the priority families.

LIZZA: There's a lot of anger from Hispanic leaders on the administration's deportation policy. I'm just wondering if that's something that Democrats are proud of.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, what we're proud of is that President Obama and the majority of Democratic office holders, particularly, in Congress are strongly supportive of comprehensive immigration reform of passing the dream act, of making sure that we can keep people in this country who are doing nothing more than trying to make sure that they can make a better life for their families while Mitt Romney's solution is to make sure that we just deport them all.

He expects that 12 million undocumented immigrants are just going to deport themselves.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: I haven't heard him say 12 million people should be deported.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: He said 12 million people should be deported. The government should deport people or he has said --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Christine.

ROMANS: Yes?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: What he has said is that his policy would be that we should just create an environment in which the 12 million undocumented immigrants that are here would just self-deport.

ROMANS: If you deny a job, you deny the magnet for --

(CROSSTALK)

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It's an unrealistic expectation. It's an inhumane expectation, and it really shows how out of touch he is with the needs of this economy, because I can tell you, in Florida, that although, you know, undocumented immigrants are here, they are here making sure that while they're taking care of their families and doing nothing more than being law abiding people who are here --

ROMANS: -- something different between mass deportation and denying jobs, the magnet for illegal immigration.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Mitt Romney has repeatedly said -- he embraced -- it's been more than that, though. Mitt Romney's policy is to embrace fully the Arizona style immigration law that would actually let police round up people who are doing nothing more than driving down the street and asking them for their papers and then deporting -- putting them into immigration, reporting them to immigration based on simply existing.

I mean, that's why the Hispanic community across this country overwhelmingly supports President Obama. Battleground state, nationally, because they understand that Barack Obama is fighting for them. Mitt Romney wants to fight to kick undocumented immigrants out of this country.

ROMANS: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, congressman from Florida, thanks so much for joining us. Have a really nice weekend.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: Bye. Talk to you soon.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, activist, Chen Guangcheng, doing something he was never allowed to do in China, speaking freely, giving his first interview to our Anderson Cooper about being held under constant lockdown in China.

And a school bans a teen from wearing a marine corps T-shirt, a shirt he got from his brother serving in Afghanistan. Don't miss our "Get Real" this morning. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Chinese activist, Chen Guangcheng, speaking out for the first time since his dramatic escape from house arrest and his arrival here in the U.S. He sat down with our own Anderson Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I sat down with Chen Guangcheng yesterday, on Thursday. It was his first extensive interview since arriving in New York over the weekend with his wife and two young children. He was speaking out right now, because he's very concerned about the other activists who are left behind in China, who aided in his escape from his home province and helped him get into the U.S. embassy.

He's also particularly concerned about his other relatives, his mother, his brother, and his nephew. His nephew has actually been arrested, charged with intentional homicide. He allegedly brandished a knife against Chinese plain-clothed security officers who broke into his house while searching for Mr. Chen.

I talked to Mr. Chen about the years that he spent in a Chinese prison. He spent about four years and three months in a Chinese prison. And also, about the nearly two years that he was in home detention. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: When you were released, you were under house arrest. What was that like?

CHEN GUANGCHENG, CHINESE ACTIVIST (through translator): I want to correct one thing here. When we talk about my situation in the future, let's not use the word house arrest, but instead, let's use the term illegal detention. It's hard for me to describe what it was like during the time, but let's just say my suffering was beyond imagination.

COOPER: Did you feel like there was an end to it? Did it feel like it was just going to go on and on?

GUANGCHENG: I didn't see much hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Mr. Chen originally was arrested in China back in 2006 after filing a class-action lawsuit. He and his wife are basically self-taught attorneys.

His wife, because Mr. Chen is blind, his wife read to him from legal textbooks, and he kind of learned the law and filed this lawsuit on behalf of role formers and women, in particular, who he says were forced to be sterilized -- forcibly sterilized and also forced to have late-term abortions because of China's one child policy at the time.

I talked to Mr. Chen about whether he regretted speaking out, something he says he does not regret, and if he knew at the time what it might lead to. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: You say it's natural to want to speak out against evil, but many people remain silent. Why do you think -- you must be very courageous.

GUANGCHENG: I only feel it's a natural reaction from my heart. My nature wouldn't allow me to sit idly by and disregard what was going on. I think everybody should act that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Mr. Chen is in New York now. He has not sought political asylum. He's here on a student visa. He plans to study for one year at New York University. He does say he hopes to, one day, go back to China. Whether Chinese government will allow that is not clear, and whether he will actually choose that is not clear at this point.

He's going to be studying at New York University, learning more about the law, hoping to learn English, and he does plan to continue to speak out.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: All right. Chen is calling on authorities in Beijing to prosecute the, quote, "lawless officials who've harassed and abused him, his family, and his supporters.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, our "Get Real" for today, a teen wears a marine corps T-shirt to school that he got from his brother who was headed to Afghanistan and he's told, "hey, kid, wear that inside out."

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Really?

ROMANS: Yes. Wait until you see why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: P.Y.T. That's from Alicia's playlist. You can see our entire playlist every morning on our website, CNN.com/STARTINGPOINT.

OK. Now, it's time to "Get Real," folks, and it was a gift a marine gave to his little brother while he was on leave waiting to deploy to Afghanistan. It's a T-shirt with the United States Marine Corps mascot, a bulldog on it.

When the little brother, (INAUDIBLE) right in front, when the little brother, 13-year-old Jordan Griffith, proudly wore it to school, the staff told him he had to turn it inside out. Why? Well, they were uncomfortable with what was on the back of this t-shirt. You can see the bulldog was a little too anatomically correct for them.

The back shows the dog's rear and the words, "The view never changes." The point was, first, lead, or, if you're not leading, then, the view never changes, meaning you're seeing that from behind.

Anyway, the officials of South Jones Elementary Mississippi objected to the realistic view of the dog's private parts, apparently, and asked the student to turn the shirt inside out or have his parents bring him the new shirt. The boy's mother who is a proud military mom was so outraged she pulled her kid out of school instead of giving him a different shirt.

CAIN: OK. Is that picture right there, is that altered?

ROMANS: OK.

CAIN: OK. That's exactly how it appears?

ROMANS: Yes.

CAIN: You guys told me during the break that my outrage might have been a little premature once I see the back of the shirt. I've seen it now. I'm still outraged. What's so bad about that?

LIZZA: There are better celebrations of the Marine Corps on T- shirts than that. How old is this kid?

ROMANS: I think he's 13.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: I changed my mind. I'm with you.

ROMANS: This is better than like if your brother was in a frat in college and with some beer drinking shirt, right? You know, this is about leadership.

CAIN: It has a serious point.

ROMANS: Lead or you're just going to look at that.

LIZZA: You know, 13 year old boys talk about and do and that shirt is not --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: I know. That's coming up next.

CAIN: The shirt would have been OK if they neutered the dog.

LIZZA: That's kind of the implication.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: All right. So, we all say get real. That's what we say. There you go.

All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, a New York teen suspended for creating an anti-bullying video because it featured a fake suicide in her video. We're going to talk to 16-year-old Jessica Barva and her family, next. There they are.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back. Let's get to Alina Cho for today's headlines. Hi there, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, everybody. The man they say confessed to killing Etan Patz on this day 3 years ago is scheduled to make his first court appearance today and we're getting a look at the suspect. Inside edition identifies this man there as Pedro Hernandez. Prosecutors are expected to formally charge Hernandez with murder later today. Patz went missing just a block from his home back in 1979. Police say Hernandez has admitted to luring the 6-year-old boy to the basement of a store before strangling him and disposing of his body in the trash.

History being made in the heavens. The Dragon space capsule is about to become the first private spacecraft to link up with the international space station, maybe within an hour of contact, that connection marking a new era in commercial space travel. One where NASA depends on private business to shuttle supplies and astronauts to and from space.

More than 700 workers have now lost their jobs and three plants have been shut down since a lean beef product made by a South Dakota based company was referred to as pink slime by a government food inspector. Once that term was reported, beef products incorporated say restaurant orders dropped dramatically and plants had Iowa, Kansas and Texas had to be closed.

Mortgage rates hitting another record low, fourth week in a row for that. Interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage now under 3.8 percent. Last year 30 year loans average 4.6 percent. New homeowners can save $48 a month for every $100,000 they borrow.

Jon Huntsman a hottie? That's right, AARP says the former Utah governor and GOP candidate Jon huntsman is one of the 21 sexiest men alive over 50. Huntsman came in at number 20. That's 19 behind George Clooney. Our Erin Burnett asked the dreamboat about his new recognition last night. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON HUNTSMAN, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was shocked to know that I even qualified. And I did find out about it this morning. The first thing that came to mind was I now have new leverage over my kids. That's right. They think their dad is a dweeb.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: Who wouldn't be proud of that? That's high praise. Ladies, he's a married father of seven. If you had any crazy ideas, just put those to rest.

ROMANS: I would love to know what his daughters think about that. They talk about Chinese currency policy at the dinner table. Come on. On the hot list for AARP. Thank you so much.

Suspended for making an anti-bullying video and Facebook page that she hoped would raise awareness, 15-year-old Jessica Barba's video telling the story of a fictitious girl who is bullied at school and online repeatedly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Towards the end there's a caption saying the girl died by suicide. There's a disclaimer at the beginning and end of this video explaining these events are not real but when Jessica's school found out, she suspended her. Yesterday was her first day back at school. Jessica joins me now along with her parents. You did this as a school project to raise awareness for bullying and the school finds out through a parent who saw it on Facebook and they suspended you. You are back at school. Tell me a little bit about what happened here.

JESSICA BARBA, SUSPENDED FOR ANTI-BULLYING PROJECT: Well, I believe that everybody makes mistakes and the school made a mistake but in the end they changed a wrong into a right and I get to hand in my project and that's all I could ask for.

ROMANS: You hope to get an A. Why did bullying -- why is it so important for a school project to make this video?

JESSICA BARBA: I feel like bullying is a major world issue. As much as it's addressed, I would love to always have wanted to make a move in it and try to make my voice heard and how I feel about it as a kid myself who witnesses bullying all the time.

ROMANS: What did you think when the school saw this creative piece of art that your child did for a school project, saw this online and said she's out of school for five days, what did you do?

JODI BARBA, JESSICA'S MOTHER: We were very upset. We were called in and we spoke about it.

ROMANS: It's clearly not real. Haley Bennett is clearly not a real person. It's clearly a video.

JODI BARBA: It was very upsetting. Everything is all right now and she's back to school and she's getting so many praises from all over. We've even heard from people down in Australia that have spoken to her on Facebook. It's crazy. It's great.

ROMANS: How did the school explain the suspension to you?

MICHAEL BARBA, JESSICA'S FATHER: Well, I think what started it was with the Facebook parent had read this and didn't go far enough to read that it was fake. As adults I don't think we understand Facebook as much as children do. They must have got scared and they called it and school said it caused the ruckus, or commotion.

ROMANS: I tell you, raising awareness, has the ruckus from the school overshadowed what you were trying to do or highlighted in the end what you were trying to do which is to say bullying is happening in the hallways?

JESSICA BARBA: I think that it kind of highlighted it a bit because the parent who calls in and they're not to blame but they did what my video is intending, speak up and speak out. They called it in because they were concerned about a child who is being bullied and they did speak up and speak out.

ROMANS: Were your teachers aware you were doing this for school?

JESSICA BARBA: They knew I was doing a bullying video but not what procedures I was taking.

ROMANS: Do you see it in the hallways or do you want your generation to know that it's not accepted?

JESSICA BARBA: I see it in the media and hallways. When I see it in the hallways I do try to stop it as much as I can. In the news media, I just feel like for I have a little nephew and cousins, I want to try to make it a better place for them to go to school.

ROMANS: It's so great to meet you. I think that's so creative. Kids using Facebook, you know, to try to use your creativity for your school project is good stuff. I'm glad that the suspension has been wiped off, right. All done. Go back to school on Wednesday turning in the project. Let me know via Facebook if you get on a on that project, my dear.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, it's called arousal addiction, teenage boys addicted to their tech toys constantly creating a buzz. Video games and porn ruining an entire generation of men? You don't miss this one. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: When Haiti suffered a massive earthquake two years ago, many people responded by donating money. But this week's CNN hero, Jake Wood, responded with a Facebook, "I am going to Haiti. Who's in?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE WOOD, CNN HERO: In the military everyone's taught how to lead. They're taught how to follow. I solve problems. We pride ourselves on being ready and willing to go anywhere. I started in the Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

When I first saw the earthquake that hit Haiti, a lot of images, I felt like I had seen them before, driving through the streets of Fallujah or Afghanistan. I realized I could actually help out. So I went on Facebook. I said I'm going to Haiti. Who's in? Seventy-two hours after that we were on our way to Port-au-Prince.

So let's get our gauzes, let's get our ChlorHex.

I'm going to go through and I'm going to number the beds.

We realized veterans are really useful in these types of situations.

I'm Jake Wood, and I want to help veterans transition to civilian life and help others in need.

Team Rubicon really started as a disaster relief organization and then we realized that we can help the veteran community as well. We bring these veterans together to be a part of a team once again. They are almost recharged.

When you get out, you kind of have that feeling of what are you really doing that's important in the world. Team Rubicon has just provided a great opportunity to just help people in need.

You need to pull your foot back as far as you can.

Most of the work that we do internationally is medical emergency triage clinics. We've gone to Chile, Sudan, Pakistan. Here at home we've been in Tuscaloosa, Joplin, doing debris clearing operations, search and rescue. We have about 1,400 volunteers, and about 80 percent of them are military veterans. Helping other people is part of the healing process.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't thank you all enough.

WOOD: There's really no limit to what veterans can do. We have the ability to help and we want to serve. I think it's a win-win situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Next on STARTING POINT, is an addiction to online porn and graphic video games ruining an entire generation of men? Can we do anything about it? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Some call it the end of the American man. The culprit, something called arousal addiction, instant gratification from video games and even things like online porn.

In the new book, "The Demise of Guys", author Nikita Duncan writes, "Boys' brains are being digitally rewired in a totally new way to demand change, novelty, excitement and constant stimulation. And their brains are being catered to by porn on demand and by video games at a flick of the switch or the click of a mouse."

Nikita Duncan joins us now. Thanks for being here today. Now this is different, you say, this arousal addiction, different from the traditional addiction to alcohol and drugs.

NIKITA DUNCAN, CO-AUTHOR, "THE DEMISE OF GUYS": Yes, it is. Essentially with traditional addictions you want more of the same thing. With alcohol or drugs, you want more of the same. But with arousal addictions, the idea is that you want novelty. You need novelty and constant change to reach the same level of stimulation.

ROMANS: So is it like you become addicted to heroin, you have more heroin, then you want more heroin and more heroin. This is you are addicted to online porn, for example, and you want different kinds of online porn and it starts to interrupt or interfere with your way to socially interact?

DUNCAN: Well, the personal consequences are a little bit different. If you watch excessive amounts of porn, you're going to find it hard in real life relationships because you're developing your sexuality independently of real people. And you're not going to be stimulated by them.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, CO-AUTHOR, "POWER PLAY": So --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, Alisha, go ahead.

MENENDEZ: I was going to play devil's advocate here and say, in your article, you reference how potentially excessive use of pornography makes it more difficult for men to then be in monogamous, real-world relationships.

But isn't there an argument to be made that having porn as an outlet for that type of variety in some ways actually makes it easier for men to remain monogamous in their real-world relationships?

DUNCAN: That's possible but you can't overdo it.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: And what we're talking about is too much of a good thing.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: We're talking here about -- we're talking about addiction here and arousal addiction and how that's different. We're also talking about young men. On this table, I'll tell you, we have seven children under the age of six. And -- I know, and -- all boys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not actually here (inaudible).

ROMANS: Seven young boys, all very young, and Alicia says she has a boyfriend under 30.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: So the question here is what does this mean for our kids? I mean, how do you keep your kids away from being this rewired, you said, young to need -- from video games and from online porn and from this sort of arousal-seeking kind of stuff?

DUNCAN: You know, the average kid is going to watch porn at about 11 years old. And that's when sex education starts in school. Unfortunately, sex education is pretty inadequate. So

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: (Inaudible) is almost throwing up, by the way, on the set -- at the age of 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a 5-year old. I see that right around the corner.

ROMANS: Five and three, I know, 6, 4, and 2 for me.

(Inaudible)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've got a 4 and 1 and not to this problem just yet. But, Nikita, here's the deal. The novelty concept is what I'm having trouble buying, is what's new here? I mean, haven't men always been addicted to arousal?

DUNCAN: Well, yes, but it's never been this accessible before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Availability.

DUNCAN: High-speed Internet porn allows you to essentially be on there 24 hours a day and you can just click, onto the next click --

ROMANS: It used to be old tattered "Playboy" magazines hidden in the garage somewhere and you had to work at it. Now --

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: -- serious. I mean, I'm not talking from personal experience. Everyone around this crew is all nodding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) on the set.

ROMANS: I'm just saying, you know, I mean, it's a lot different now. And kids can be online and have access to porn without even knowing really what they're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, so it's more accessible and social cost of that is what, Nikita, that we as men are growing up with what kind of problem?

DUNCAN: You're going to be socially awkward with women and girls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She means you.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm kidding. Go ahead.

DUNCAN: You're not going to know how to interact with them sexually. I mean, what you -- the problem is when you don't educate kids, guys about porn, they're not going to recognize what they're seeing as caricatures and so they are going to think that's normal behavior.

And with porn, you go right to it. I mean, there's no communication. There's no foreplay, sensuality, there's no buildup. It's just right into the action.

ROMANS: Unrealistic, and OK, so what --

DUNCAN: Totally unrealistic expectations.

ROMANS: What are we supposed to do?

DUNCAN: Make yourself aware of some of the risks so you can avoid some of the downsides.

ROMANS: And lock your children in the basement for the rest of your life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get rid of Internet access.

DUNCAN: With kids, I mean, guys -- boys are always going to want to look at images of naked women and that's OK. You just have to let them know that what they're seeing in porn is not real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think we should talk about it.

DUNCAN: Talk to them about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, talk about it with kids. At what age?

DUNCAN: Definitely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how old?

DUNCAN: Whatever you think is right. Whatever you think is right. You know, when you start noticing that they are starting to pay more attention to girls, you know, have those conversations.

ROMANS: All right. Nikita Duncan, thank you. The new book is called "The Demise of Guys: Why Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It." An illuminating conversation from all of you and probably the most illuminating question actually from Alicia, but we'll get back (inaudible) --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: The "End Point" coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ROMANS: Yes, very good. Alicia Menendez (inaudible) "Pit Bull," featuring Chris Brown, International Love. Time for the "End Point". Ryan wants to (inaudible). We want to go back to this point we made about immigration. And Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said that Mitt Romney wants mass deportations.

LIZZA: Yes, the reason I asked her that question is because the Obama campaign believes that at some point Republicans are going to attack them from the left on immigration.

Obama -- a lot of people don't know this. The administration has been very tough. They've deported a lot of people and there are a lot of people in the Latino community that are not very happy with that.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: They are more worried about this president deporting people, not Mitt Romney deporting people.

LIZZA: Exactly, Obama. So I think at some point -- I don't think Romney can do it, because I think he went too far right on immigration in the primaries, but some Republican allied group is going to spend some money in this election in some of those western states where Hispanics matter, arguing that Obama has been too tough on illegal immigrants.

MENENDEZ: I'm going to piggyback on that end point and simply say that I do think Latino voters are going to the polls with a semi- difficult decision.

They've been hard hit by this recession but when they go to the polls, they are choosing between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who has said that he would like immigrants to self-deport, has said he supports Arizona's model. I think that then becomes a clear choice --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: He wants illegal immigrants to self-deport.

MENENDEZ: -- regardless of how many immigrants have been deported under this administration.

CAIN: That'll be a tough argument to make, Ryan. I mean, it's going to be very tough to attack Obama from the left, Republicans to do that on immigration. I think it's the reason you are seeing Bain attacks. I think it's tough to criticize Mitt Romney's governorship of Massachusetts from the left.

So I think these are tough arguments to make. I really wanted to talk about porn and video games some more, but you sucked me into immigration.

ROMANS: All right. Too bad. "CNN Newsroom" with Carol Costello begins right now.