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White House Accused of Leaking Classified Information for Political Gain; Interview with Bob Casey; Players' Families File Lawsuit Against NFL for Covering up Information on CTE; Search For Clues In Etan Patz Death; Jury Seated In Sandusky Trial; CT Scans Linked To Cancer In Kids; Autism Linked to Folic Acid During Pregnancy; Second Lady Talks Politics; Biden For President In 2016?; "Not Going To Do It"; Inspiring Young Girls

Aired June 7, 2012 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: -- one massive lawsuit accusing the NFL of hiding the risks of head injuries. We'll talk to the widow of a former star who took his own life.

In a STARTING POINT exclusive I'll talk to the second lady of the United States, Jill Biden, about her husband's possible 2016 run, his famous gaffes, and her new book. CNN STARTING POINT begins tarts right now.

Our STARTING POINT this morning is break news. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrives in Afghanistan unannounced. This is brand new video of the defense secretary's arrival. The defense secretary stopped in Afghanistan for a real-time update from NATO's top commanders on just how prepared allied troops are and Afghan security forces are to confront the Taliban as they gear up for the summer fighting season. Just yesterday, a twin suicide bombing in a market near Kandahar killed 22 people, 50 other people were injured.

NATO is under scrutiny after an air strike killed 18 people. That number includes women and children who were believed to be civilians. The U.S. is also saying that one of its armed helicopters was shot down by enemy fire and killed two crew members on board. Let's get right to CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom live in Kabul for us this morning.

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Surprise visit by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was his fourth to Afghanistan. He met with U.S. troops and U.S. officials. He acknowledged the uptick in violence the past few days and the concern about it, and that there needs to be an assessment in what all this means because of the coordination level in the attacks that have gone on. He also mentioned that pressure needs to be put on Pakistan, neighboring Pakistan because of the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist network that has been accused in the past of conducting cross-border raids, coming into Afghanistan and targeting U.S. troops. Here is more on what the secretary had to say.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We are reaching the limits of our patience here. And for that reason, it is extremely important that Pakistan take action to prevent this kind of safe haven from taking place and from allowing terrorists to use their country as a safety net in order to conduct their attacks on our forces.


JAMJOOM: Soledad, those remarks came in a joint press conference the defense secretary had with the minister of defense here a few hours ago. Now, Defense Secretary Panetta was meeting with him in order to discuss joint areas of cooperation and especially the security transfer. All this coming at a very critical time here in Afghanistan as more and more provinces and regions of this country are handed over to Afghan security forces so they can start taking the lead on the responsibility of security in this country. In light of these attacks the past couple of days -- yesterday was the deadliest day for Afghanis all year. There's concern about the readiness of the Afghan forces to take over security of this country. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Thank you, Mohammed.

Let's get right to Christine. She has a look at the day's top stories. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. The president waking up out west this morning with another fundraising breakfast planned in L.A. before he heads to Las Vegas. A pilot is being questioned after he flew a small plane into the president's air space last night. NORAD says an F-16 fighter jet intercepted that plane and followed it until it landed at an airfield in Camarillo, California. President Obama was at the Beverly Hilton at the time for a fundraiser.

The Navy says a vacuum cleaner may be responsible for the fire onboard a submarine that caused $400 million in damage. U.S. Miami's nuclear plant was not operating when a forward compartment caught fire two weeks ago. Investigators believe the fire was started in a vacuum that's used to clean work sites on that sub.

A chilling 911 call recalling the injuries suffered by San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in a vicious beating at Dodgers stadium on opening day last year. Prosecutors played the tape at a preliminary hearing for two men charged with attacking the bay area paramedic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this dispatch?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm off-duty paramedic. My partner here, who is also a paramedic, was punched from the side, didn't see it coming. Unconscious. Bleeding out of his left ear. No response to stimuli. We need an ambulance right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP) O'BRIEN: The beating left Bryan Stow with permanent brain damage.

In a landmark court decision a Massachusetts teen is convicted with homicide for texting and driving. Eighteen-year-old Aaron Devo will spend one year in prison and will have his license suspended for 15 years. Prosecutors say he was texting when he crashed head on into another car, killing the driver and seriously injuring another passenger. Devo denied he was texting before the crash. He said he was tired and got distracted.

NASDAQ says it will pay back $40 million to trading firms for losses caused by the trading glitches that delayed the opening of Facebook's IPO last month. NASDAQ says the exchange owes the industry an apology. The firms will be given about $14 million in cash with the rest coming from trading fees. The NASDAQ plan must still be approved by the SEC. And the New York stock exchange, the competitor, Soledad, says hold on. That's not fair. You can't go in and be giving lower -- they don't like it either. This story is not over.

O'BRIEN: No. No, it's not. Christine, thank you.

The FBI is now investigating whether the White House leaked classified information to try to score some political points. It's a claim that has the White House firing back. Here is Press Secretary Jay Carney saying this, "Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible." And then shortly after that, Senator John McCain said this. Listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: Well, I would expect nothing else from the White House. But the fact is that portrayal of the president in these stories is obviously nothing short of heroic. I don't think there's any doubt, according to Mr. Sanger, that dozens of administration officials who were involved in this.


O'BRIEN: Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is with us this morning. He is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the joint economic committee. Appreciate you talking to me. You just heard Senator McCain saying he thinks the administration leaking is very likely. What do you think?

SEN. BOB CASEY, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Well, that's a very serious charge that's been made against the administration. I think that the proposal that Senator Carl Levin has made, chairman of the armed services committee, to have a hearing in closed fashion makes the most sense. Any time you make a charge like that, it's very serious. We have to make sure that we're resolving this in the right way.

O'BRIEN: The FBI is investigating and if, in fact, they can figure out where the leaks are coming from, do you see potentially charges coming out of that? CASEY: It's hard to say. I'm not going to speculate. But this charge is made in every administration. Sometimes it's accurate. Sometimes it should lead to accountability and sanctions, but we're -- I think we're at the very early stages of this. I don't want to prejudge it.

O'BRIEN: When you look at a book like "Kill or Capture," we had the author on the other day. And he describes very personal accounts of experiences from Attorney General Eric Holder, the state department legal adviser, Harold Coe, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Do you think that that's what should be investigated, go through and sort of figure out who these reporters are talking to and see if those leaks are coming from those specific individuals and their offices?

CASEY: Well, certainly when someone writes a book and has information in it about national security or even potential breach of national security, that becomes part of the body of evidence. A book is like any other statement. It's an assertion, an assertion of fact, we hope. And that assertion has to be tested and closely examined.

So, this is going to be, as any situation like this is, an adversarial process to arrive at the truth. You'll have charges and countercharges. I think it's pretty early to make determinations based upon any book or even a series of books, because I think we need to be thoughtful about making determinations at this point.

O'BRIEN: What do you think the impact has been? If you look at the leaks overall, Yemen bomb plot was a big leak, details on that new underwear bomb, the administration's kill list, which detailed the targeting of terrorists, detailed account of cyber-attacks on Iran's nuclear program. That's sort of the short list. Here is what your colleague, Senator Feinstein, had to say. Listen.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA: I think what we're seeing, Wolf, is an avalanche of leaks. And it's very, very disturbing. You know, it's dismayed our allies. It puts American lives in jeopardy. It puts our nation's security in jeopardy. And if you look at terrorism, intelligence is fundamental to knowing what's going to happen and prevent it from happening in the first place.


O'BRIEN: What do you think the literal specific impact of those leaks has been or could be?

CASEY: Well, Soledad, it's difficult to quantify that. But every administration that has had leaks has tried to plug them and stop them and to mitigate the adverse impact. We don't know the extent of this yet, but it should be closely examined. It shouldn't be part of the usual political football in Washington. It needs to be fair and balanced so we can arrive at the truth. We can all have interesting debates in Washington but have to take this seriously and not just prejudge it. I'll say this. If someone working for me leaked information like this, I would make sure they were sanctioned severely.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question, turning to Wisconsin and the fallout for Wisconsin. What do you think is the message to Democrats from the governor's ability to keep his seat in the recall election?

CASEY: Well, I guess I would leave it to the pundits to do most of the analysis. I think a lot of it, frankly, is wrong. I think in the end by Election Day this year, the main issue will still be jobs and the economy. That's why Congress needs to get the transportation bill out of the house, get the farm bill done, get some tax strategies in place to create job.

O'BRIEN: Right, but everyone looks at these elections and says, wow, there was a high turnout. The mayor said if there's a high turnout, I think I can win this thing. There was a higher turnout. He did not win. We're all analysts at some point at the end of the day, I think. What do you think is the takeaway message from this recall election?

CASEY: I really don't think there's one. What I hope people don't conclude is that somehow if you take away collective bargaining rights that that's somehow good for workers and the economy. That's one of the last things we need right now is to undermine workers at a time when the economy is in tough shape for a lot of working families. I think some of the analysis has been a little bit hyped. I think by Election Day in Pennsylvania, at least, and across the country, the number one issue, the number one concern is jobs. That's why they want us to come together in bipartisan ways to create jobs or at least create the conditions for job creation.

O'BRIEN: You have a hearing with the Fed Chair Ben Bernanke. It will be the first time since that dismal jobs report. What do you want to hear from him?

CASEY: I want to hear an assessment of where we are and some of the steps we could take to move the economy forward. I mentioned a few with regard to attack strategy, transportation bill and issues like that. But I think he provides a good assessment of where we are. We'll see what he says on some of the monetary policy questions, but I hope members of Congress don't just have kind of a lecture series on monetary policy. We need to do our job, come together as Democrats and Republicans, move forward an agenda that will result in job creation. That really right now is all that matters.

O'BRIEN: Senator Bob Casey, Democrat from Pennsylvania this morning, thank you for joining us.

CASEY: You bet.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, 2,000 retired NFL players and their families joining forces to sue the NFL today, accusing the league of deception and denial when it comes to brain injuries. We'll talk this morning to the widow of a former star who ended up taking his own life.

Plus, our "Get Real" proposal fail -- a romantic hot air balloon ride with a proposal involved ends up with everybody in the hospital. We'll tell you what happened.

Also actress, singer, model Mandy Moore is on a mission to help every young girl find their inner celebrity. You're watching. STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everybody. A massive new class action suit is being filed today against the NFL claims that the league knew for years that hits caused long-term brain injuries, that the league tried to hide the problem for both players and fans. It combines more than 80 lawsuits from more than 2,000 former players and their families, including Mary Ann Sterling, who is the widow of Falcons star safety Ray Sterling. You might remember he took his own life in April after he suffered from the symptoms of brain damage for more than 20 years. Mary Ann Easterling joins us this morning. What would you like to see come out of this lawsuit?

MARY ANN EASTERLING, FILING LAWSUIT AGAINST NFL: Good morning. I would like to see the NFL provide testing for players that are showing symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer's and ALS. The early symptoms that Ray displayed were insomnia and depression. I had no idea it was due to the brain trauma that he had suffered during football, didn't really know about it until 2010. And it was hard to go through for 20 years. He suffered greatly. And I don't want to see other players suffer. I want to see the ability to diagnose it early and to be able to treat them.

O'BRIEN: Is your big issue that the NFL isn't doing enough to help the players after they get out of the game, or is it they're not doing enough while the players are actually playing, or both?

EASTERLING: Both. I think the -- what can be done in the game can help the players to realize that they don't have to tough it out. They don't have to soldier on and pretend that nothing is wrong to even their family nothing is wrong. But I would also like to see the retired players get this treatment that is sorely needed. I would like to see the study that's being done now in Boston be funded even better so that they can diagnose CTE in living players.

O'BRIEN: Your husband retired Friday football in 1979. You say it had been something that he really had a terrible struggle for 20 years.


O'BRIEN: What made you think, finally, that this was something that was caused by his job, football?

EASTERLING: I was online at a certain point and saw something pop up about a former NFL player committing suicide and that he had had an autopsy showing that he had CTE. The case studies that you can see online from Boston university will -- it lined up with everything that ray was experiencing. And a light went on. Sure enough, when he was given tests, given the PET scan, the MRIs, it showed brain damage. And it showed the cause for his symptoms, which were severe by that point.

O'BRIEN: He ended up taking his own life, and I have to imagine for you that some of your work in this lawsuit is to -- I hate the word "closure," but I can't think of another one, to kind of understand what brought him to that terrible point.

EASTERLING: I would like to see families not suffer and not be clueless about what is going on with the husband and their family, and the dad. It's very important for them to be able to see an end -- have hope and realize that there's going to be help in this situation. That's what I want more than anything else.

O'BRIEN: Mary Ann Easterling joining us this morning, part of that lawsuit against the NFL. Thank you for joining us.

EASTERLING: You're welcome. Have a good day.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. Likewise.

She said yes, but the hot air balloon proposal didn't really go all that well. It's of the story in our "Get Real." And the STARTING POINT team is heading in, Margaret Hoover, John Fugelsang, and Will Cain. We start with Margaret's music, REM. STARTING POINT returns in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Let's just take a minute to listen to that. I do love Prince. It's a good way to start the morning. Birthday today. How old is Prince?

JOHN FUGELSANG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Early 50s. I'm not sure how old he s he needs to do a rock tour, hardcore. People don't even realize, he has become such a better guitarist in the past 15 years of his career.

O'BRIEN: I saw him when he was at the garden. Starting team -- I'm struggling this morning. It's Thursday. STARTING POINT team is what I was trying to say, John Fugelsang, Margaret Hoover, author of "American Individualism," and Will Cain is a columnist at Our "Get Real" is kind of a shocker. You'll understand why I'm laughing. Thank you, will. Little late.

FUGELSANG: I just got it.

O'BRIEN: You did? They're never going to forget this engagement. It was supposed to be romantic. It sounded romantic. In a hot air balloon, the young man got the courage to ask the young lady. She said yes. That's when it all went bad. As soon as the air balloon landed, the grass was too tall. They had to go back up in the air and hit a power line. That shocked the pilot, knocked him out, unconscious. He fell on top of the young lady, who had said yes, the now newly engaged young woman. It gave her a jolt, too. The future groom had to perform CPR on the pilot, who was conscious. Thank goodness. The bride-to-be and the pilot had to be hauled off to the emergency room to be treated for burns. FUGELSANG: She said yes, he saved a guy's life with CPR. They all made it out. What's the failed part? It's like the most awesome proposal ever.


O'BRIEN: If you can get through that four minutes into your proposal, you can do anything in your marriage, it's all going to be good from that point on.

FUGELSANG: Like a scene out of a movie.

O'BRIEN: Could be. Could be.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, an uncomfortable moment for president Obama caught on tape. The president mentions first lady, Michelle Obama, in a speech. The audience, though, completely misinterprets the joke he's making. We'll show what happened straight ahead.

Also one on one with Jill Biden, the second lady of the United States. She weighs in on her husband's reputations for gaffes, including what she thought of the "SNL" skit that was hilarious and made fun of him. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Let's get right to Christine Romans. She's got a look at the day's headlines. Hi, Christine. Good morning.


Investigators are searching for clues at the New Jersey home of the man who confessed to killing Etan Patz back in 1979. Police removed a computer hard drive and other materials from that home.

Pedro Hernandez told police he strangled 6-year-old Patz and disposed of his body in the trash. Hernandez's wife speaking out for the first time. She says she doubts his confession because her husband has, quote, "suffered from delusions for years," she says.

The jury is now seated in the Jerry Sandusky case. That trial expected to begin Monday. The jury made up of seven women, five men and four alternates.

They'll decide whether the former Penn State assistant football coach is guilty of abusing 10 boys over 14 years. And the makeup of the jury shows that the school motto rings true. We are Penn State.

Half of the 16 jurors and alternates have ties to Penn State, including one retired professor and one current professor, three graduates, two employees and one current student. Brand new evidence this morning that CT scans could increase cancer risk in children. A new study claims the radiation from those scans could triple the risk of leukemia and brain cancer in kids under 15 years old.

Still, researchers stress these CT scans can save lives, but they warn these tests should only be performed when absolutely necessary and with the lowest possible dose of radiation.

A new study of California mothers links autism with a lack of folic acid during the first month of pregnancy. According to this study, women whose children have autism recalled getting less folic acid through food and nutritional supplements during early months of their pregnancy than mothers whose children didn't develop the disorder.

Taking at least 600 micrograms per day of folic acid in the first month of pregnancy was tied to a 38 percent lower chance of having a child with autism or Aspberger's. According to a study published in the "Journal of Political Nutrition" -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Aren't there all kinds of flaws with these kinds of self reported, do you remember taking folic acid? How much broccoli did you really have? I think that --

ROMANS: And the autism, in particular, there's so many different studies trying to find what is the one or very many different factors that come together at that moment to trigger that.

O'BRIEN: My nephew is autistic. I remember my sister, like all of us, who knew folic acid was important, scarfing down folic acid all the time.

ROMANS: We just want a reason so we can talk about treatment and prevention.

O'BRIEN: And understand those shocking numbers. All right, Christine, thank you.

Campaign season under way and for second lady, Jill Biden, it's the 13th time that she is hitting the trail as her husband, Vice President Joe Biden, seeks his re-election bid with President Obama.

I had a chance to sit down with her to discuss politics, including maybe a Biden run for president in 2016 and also all of those infamous and kind of hysterical gaffes that he makes. Listen.


O'BRIEN: Let's talk about what's going on, on the campaign trail. I want to start with Wisconsin because, of course, big victory for Governor Walker.

There are many people who look at Wisconsin and say that is a metaphor for what could happen in the nation come November, which would be very bad news if, that's true, for the Democrats. JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Well, you know, we were disappointed by the outcome, but look what this administration has done. I think that's what sometimes gets lost. We have increased jobs. I'm an educator. Barack and this administration have done incredible things for higher Ed.

I'm a higher Ed teacher. Increasing the Pell grants and making education affordable for more Americans. And health care, certainly giving health care for all Americans. So I think we have to focus on what we've done and where every single day -- I mean, jobs are now the big thing and the economy.

That's what we're focused on every single day. I know that Joe and Barack are just -- that's what they're working on.

O'BRIEN: And the nation, too, focused on that as well.


O'BRIEN: Your husband has a reputation for making gaffes, big gaffes. I want to play a little chunk of "SNL," which parodied him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that have something do with the whole gay marriage thing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doy, that's not fair. I was the first one who said it should be legal, but now you're getting all the credit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes? Really? Then why are you all dressed up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to a gala with Lady Gaga and Elton John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See? That should be me. Vice presidents never get to go anywhere.

BIDEN: I hadn't seen that.

O'BRIEN: You haven't seen that before?

BIDEN: No, I hadn't seen that.

O'BRIEN: It's very funny. Parody is often rooted in some kind of truth.

BIDEN: Sure.

O'BRIEN: A lot of people wrote about the sense that the Obama administration was mad that your husband sort of got in front of an issue.

BIDEN: You know what? Joe and Barack are on the same page on this and they were on the same page. It's just as simple as that. As far as the -- "Saturday Night Live" you've got to be able to laugh at some of the things in politics.

O'BRIEN: Does he do that at home?

BIDEN: Yes, of course. You know. You have to have a sense of humor to survive it.

O'BRIEN: I'm sure you do. You have said that you wouldn't rule out your husband running in 2016.

BIDEN: Well, look, I think Joe would be a great president. I supported him twice in 1987. I was out there campaigning. The last election I was out there campaigning. Of course, Barack must have thought he would be a good president, too, or he wouldn't have chosen him as vice president.

O'BRIEN: There is a poll out that talks about political polarization is at its highest level in 25 years. Anecdotally, I feel that. Do you feel that people are just angrier and everybody is in their own corner, own side of political lines today?

BIDEN: I think the parties are really disparate and probably the Republican Party has gone way far right than it has gone before. So, it certainly is not the Republican Party I grew up with.

O'BRIEN: Do you think it's -- that polarization, though, plays back into what potentially could happen in November? Do you think that that -- does that worry you?

BIDEN: I think voters will have a clear choice. I mean, I think that Mitt and Barack are on totally different paths. And, you know, you've got clear choices. That's what I think.

Of course, I think our choice is the best and what Barack and Joe have done for Americans. And I think that's -- you know, that's the path I hope that Americans choose.


O'BRIEN: Biden 2016. What do you think?

CAIN: Please, please, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New material, John. John is begging for it.

O'BRIEN: So is Will. He's like, yes, we love it.

CAIN: You asked the second lady, something about Joe Biden, what is he like at home as opposed to what we see? I think the answer for most politicians would be very different. What we see and who they truly are very different, but I would wager that Joe Biden is a little closer to the same guy you see.

O'BRIEN: Yes, sort of.

CAIN: I'm sure we get a somewhat deluded version, but a little closer than your normal politician.

HOOVER: Being vice president was the most inconsequential job in the country because none of your decisions matter, it's all about the president.

But I think when you're second lady, you actually have an opportunity to be a cheerleader for America, the heavy decisions aren't on you. You don't actually have the weight of being first lady and you get to do -- she's written this book about military families.

O'BRIEN: We're going to talk about that.

HOOVER: So I think it seems she's really enjoying her role. And I think Lynn Cheney did the same thing before her.

FUGELSANG: I think you'll see Anthony Wiener running for Democratic nomination before you see Joe Biden --

CAIN: Running or winning?

FUGELSANG: Running for it.

CAIN: You don't think he's going to run?

FUGELSANG: I don't think he's going to run for it all. No, I don't think he'll want to. I don't think it's his goal. I think you're going to see a Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren match up for the Democratic ticket in 2016.

HOOVER: Well, Elizabeth Warren is going to win and beat Scott Brown so much of assumptions there.

O'BRIEN: So many assumptions. As you mentioned, Margaret, she has written a new book, children's book. I was actually reading it to my kids last night. It's called "Don't Forget, God Bless Our Troops." It's really cute. We're going to talk about that and play a little bit more of our interview with Jill Biden straight ahead.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, Jeb Bush regretting that he did not run for the presidency this year and his strong stance on whether or not he is going to take the VP slot.

Also actress and musician, Mandy Moore, joins us. We're going to talk about her new project to boost girls self esteem. There she is right there. Mandy's on my playlist. Here's one of the big hits, "I Want To Be With You." You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush pouring a cold bucket of water on any idea that he may be Mitt Romney's VP nominee. He told CBS News flat out it's not going to happen. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to be asked. It's not going to happen. That doesn't mean I don't have a voice or enthusiastically support Mitt Romney. I'm doing that. I'm not going to be a candidate with him.


O'BRIEN: That doesn't mean he's not interested in a White House run eventually, but he says he might have missed his shot. Take a look.


BUSH: I've not made that decision. Although, I think there's a window of opportunity in life for all sorts of reasons and this was probably my time. Although I don't know, given kind of what I believe and how I believe it. I'm not sure I would have been successful as a candidate.


O'BRIEN: Why does he say that?

HOOVER: I think nobody understands better than Jeb Bush that weight of his last name and how that sits with the populous and having a third Bush, I think, come into the national debate.

I think he knows he can bring a lot of original things to the debate to the Republican Party, but I think he's very cognizant of his role in his family. I think he's sincere. When he said it's not going happen, I think it's sincere.

FUGELSANG: It's very sincere. I think that if he wanted to be a VP, he would have done more than having an op-ed to endorse Mitt Romney. He's never appeared next to Mitt Romney. He didn't show up to campaign with him in the primary season.

He didn't invest anything. I also wondered why doesn't he have a southern accent like his brother. They're both in the same part of New England. I think if Jeb Bush had been elected governor in '94 that he would have been the next president right now. So I think -- it really is close to home for him.

CAIN: Unless you're talking about tax reform, immigration reform, education reform, Jeb Bush for most conservatives has it just about right. If his name were Jeb Carpenter, he would be much more --

O'BRIEN: That's what I was asking.

CAIN: I don't know if that's what he was talking about, to be perfectly honest with you. I don't know if he is talking about his views fitting into the day and age of the Tea Party.

FUGELSANG: Product brand name awareness is the reason he has a problem right now.

O'BRIEN: Interesting. Who becomes VP?

FUGELSANG: Good question.

HOOVER: We were talking about this.

O'BRIEN: You want to take down the list, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie --

FUGELSANG: Portman makes Mitt Romney look like James Brown. That it's not going to be Chris Christie.

HOOVER: Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, a long list of possibilities.

FUGELSANG: Nikki Haley maybe. I don't think you'll see Bobby Jindal.

O'BRIEN: I don't think it will be Marco Rubio either.

HOOVER: He also adamantly says no, it's not going to happen.

O'BRIEN: I wouldn't say adamantly. Is he more of a --

HOOVER: I don't know.

O'BRIEN: I wouldn't put money on that.

FUGELSANG: I don't know. I think it will be a safe bet too. I think he actually be --

CAIN: No safe bets. It's a fool's game.

O'BRIEN: Wise old man at the end of the table there.

FUGELSANG: Michele Bachmann, bring her back. Come on. Herman Cain. Give comedians something to root for. Just be weird about it, Mitt. Get someone fun for us.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, she's an actress, singer and fashion designer. We're going to talk to Mandy Moore as she sits down with us. Talk about what she is doing to empower young women. This is from her playlist, Joni Mitchell. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: So Dove is known for trying to change the definition of real beauty through their ads that show real women as they are and not sort of made up and then photoshopped.

This weekend, they're launching a program that celebrates real women as positive role models for young women calling them real women who should be famous. Here is a look at one. Hip hop musician Toni Blackman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TONI BLACKMAN, HIP HOP MUSICIAN: Raise your head up, hold it up high whether you were sad or even when you cry you got to give it a try. You got to take a risk. That's what you will do or life you will miss.


O'BRIEN: The movement for self esteem and this Saturday actress and singer, Mandy Moore will introduce four remarkable women who are featured in the ad at the Girl Scout's Rock the Mall event in Washington, D.C.

Mandy joins us this morning. It's so nice to have you. We appreciate it. Do you think it is a crisis? Crisis is an overused word. Do you think there is a crisis about young girls and women about how they feel about themselves and their body and their self esteem? I have two daughters in that range and I worry about them honestly.

MANDY MOORE, SINGER/ACTRESS: I think the anxiety about the definition of beauty and what beauty is and what it means to us starts at a young age. I think if you have anxiety about it, it can certainly hold you back.

So that's why I think it's important to be -- I'm proud to be a part of this campaign that is really highlighting the importance of role models and real women role models in girls' lives.

O'BRIEN: This particular ad is taking people they call them who should be famous and highlighting sort of what they have accomplished versus what they look like. They look like great looking regular people. Is that a tough message to give to a preteen or a girl who is bombarded with images of photoshop sometimes and people we hold up?

MOORE: Sure. I mean, I think it is an important conversation to be having. I'm proud to be a part of starting this dialogue or continuing this dialogue. I think it is important for girls to have tangible role models.

If somebody were to consider me a role model because of my job it is something I don't take lightly or don't take for granted. I have a lot of respect for being in this position.

But I think it is more tangible for girls to have women who are in their day to day lives be it a coach or their mothers. My mother was my role model growing up.

O'BRIEN: Who was your role model?

MOORE: Definitely my mom.

O'BRIEN: Why is she your role model?

MOORE: I mean, for a multitude of reasons she sacrificed so much for me. I mean, both of my parents did for me to be able to follow my dreams and sort of recognize this passion I had for music and acting. But also like for the simple things like growing up I'm 5'10" and went through the growth spurt early in life. My mom is 5'2". I remember feeling anxious and uncomfortable and awkward in my body.

And my mom sort of always reminded me that the grass is always greener and she sort of reminded me to stand tall with my shoulders back and be proud of my height and she was sort of envious of it.

O'BRIEN: Yes, Margaret and I would love to be 5'10".

FUGELSANG: Do you think we live in a culture that currently is mistaken hotness for beauty?

MOORE: Sure. Yes, I think there's a fine line between what beauty is and hotness, sexiness for beauty. Sure, absolutely.

FUGELSANG: Do you think that modern beauty magazines can have a negative effect on the self esteem of young women?

MOORE: Yes. Absolutely, I think they do.

HOOVER: Does it make you think this role model position you have taken as a spokesperson make you think twice about what you do in the public sphere. Many celebrity role models may not have made good choices. Does it make you think twice?

MOORE: I started I guess in this industry when I was 14. I'm 28 now. I feel like I have been doing it for a while now. I have always been lucky enough to sort of have been regarded as a role model.

It is something that I don't take lightly. It doesn't necessarily influence the decisions I make. I guess, I'm lucky that the choices I have made -- what you see is what you get.

I don't feel like I'm one person sort of off camera and another person in my professional life. It's just sort of worked out for me that the choices I have made are a reflection of who I am and it works out that way.

O'BRIEN: Talk about some of the projects you working on. "Tangled" was great for small children. I hear you may do a sequel of that?

MOORE: Potentially, I would love to. That was one of the greatest working experiences I have had thus far.

O'BRIEN: The film is great. I wonder when it is animated sometimes you are not acting.

MOORE: There is no correspondence. It was fantastic. I don't like anyone. I'm not social. It was fun in the sense that you are able to be a kid and go into the depths of your imagination.

There is no point of reference. They animate to your performance so you are in the sound box by yourself, but you get to be a kid and be goofy and make funny choices and noises.

O'BRIEN: And she's a girl --

CAIN: You have a new movie coming out.

MOORE: "Tron" is an animated series on the Disney Channel. I'm working on a record right now. I'm working with my husband who is also a musician on making another record.

O'BRIEN: What's your message for the Girl Scouts? You're a Girl Scout yourself --

MOORE: I was a Girl Scout, yes, I was daisy, a brownie and then a girl scout. I earned badges. Message for the Girl Scouts --

O'BRIEN: You'll be talking to them on Saturday and you'll be talking sort of about embracing their bodies. What is your message for them?

MOORE: I don't know what my message is specifically to them. I just want to be there to congratulate them on their centennial. It will be a huge sing along. There's going to be sing along on Saturday in D.C. and sort of telling girls to continue to be confident and secure and about friendship.

O'BRIEN: I love those Girl Scout events.

MOORE: I'm excited. I can't wait.

O'BRIEN: I was never a Girl Scout unfortunately, but they're amazing. They're really fun. Mandy Moore, it's so nice to have you. Thanks for joining us.

MOORE: Thanks for having me guys.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, accusations that the Miss USA pageant was rigged. Yes, a former contestant says the top five positions were decided before they even started. What the reigning Miss USA has to say about it when she joins us live.

And networking site LinkedIn and the dating site E-harmony apparently been hacked. We'll tell you how you can if your private information is at risk this morning. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.