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Federal Government Official in Car Accident; Interview with Union President Leo Gerard; Apple Hosts Developers Conference; CA Official Resigns After Child Abuse Arrest; "E.T." Turned 30; Biden" Water Gun Warrior; Suing Over Voter Purge; Voter Purge Halted In Florida; Fifty Shades Of Popular Demand; Obama's Second Term

Aired June 11, 2012 - 06:59   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: And welcome, everybody. Our "Starting Point" this morning, two controversial comments, one from each side of the presidential race, President Obama says the private sector is doing fine. Mitt Romney says hiring more teachers and cops and firefighters is a mistake.

Who's more in touch with the American people? Why the candidate who wins that battle will likely win the white house, too?

And breaking news, the U.S. commerce secretary accused of felony hit-and-run. His name is John Bryson. He was found unconscious in his car. We have a very latest on what's happening in that case.

And our "Get Real" this morning, forget hop scotch and four square, one community wants to ban sidewalk chalk. You will not believe it when we tell you why.

It's Monday, June 11th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: And welcome, everybody. We begin with breaking news this morning. The U.S. commerce secretary John Bryson is in the hospital after being cited for a felony hit-and-run. Police say Bryson crashed into a stopped car over the weekend twice and left the scene, hit a second car. They found him unconscious behind his wheel. Brianna Keilar is live at the White House this morning. What exactly happened?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this happened in the Los Angeles area in about the 5:00 local hour on Saturday. According to the L.A. sheriff's department, Secretary Bryson, behind the wheel of a Lexus, allegedly hit a car, a Buick that was stopped at a railroad crossing. There were three guys in the car. According to this press release, he got out and talked to them and then went on his way. As he did so, hit the Buick yet again.

At that point the Buick tailed him and called 911 and the next time -- when police did find Bryson, he was in his car, this press release alleged and unconscious and apparently hit another car, a Honda accord. The first accident happening in San Gabriel, California in the L.A. area, and second in Rosemead. According to a spokesperson, a preliminary alcohol screening of Bryson was negative, and the result of the blood alcohol tests are pending.

I should tell you Soledad we're just now getting a statement from the Commerce Department. It doesn't say anything new but it is the first official reaction from the administration saying that the secretary was involved in a traffic accident over the weekend in Los Angeles and taken to the hospital for examination and according to this he has been released. We understand now that he's been released from the hospital.

O'BRIEN: Wow, that's so odd. Is there any expectation at this point? Did he have a stroke? Are they still going to see if they can figure out if it's drugs or alcohol in his system?

KEILAR: Sure, obviously there's more to be done. It sounds like there's initial testing to be done or at least processed when it comes to blood alcohol but at this point we're not hearing anything from the administration or from local authorities about what the cause may be if it could be a medical cause or if maybe it is related ultimately to alcohol or drugs. We don't know.

O'BRIEN: That's just weird. Brianna Keilar, thanks for the update.

Let's get right to Christine Romans, who has a look at the headlines.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The manhunt is on for a killer this morning, 22-year-old Desmonte Leonard, wanted in Alabama for allegedly killing three people and wounding three others in a shooting in an off campus party near Auburn University this weekend. Two of those killed were former auburn football players, one of the wounded is a current player. Police say they are looking for two people, two persons of interest in that case.

No hope of containment, that's the assessment from a Colorado fire chief about the high park fire burning near Fort Collins. It's already forced hundreds of families from their homes. It has grown from 2,000 acres to 20,000 acres since Saturday. The rain Colorado could use is pounding parts of Florida panhandle and coastal Alabama. They are under a flood watch after more than 20 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period over the weekend.

Opening statements begin in over an hour in the child sex abuse trial of former Penn State defensive coach Jerry Sandusky. And Sandusky could be confronted by the alleged victims today. He's charged with sexually abusing ten boys over a 15-year period, up to eight of his alleged victims could testify during a trial. It's expected to last three weeks.

Mega-church pastor Creflo Dollar arrested for battery and child cruelty after deputies say he attacked his 15-year-old daughter. She told deputies Dollar slammed her to the ground and choked her and punched her in the face and hit her with a shoe. Deputies photographed a scratch on the girl's neck. Dollar denies these allegations in his sermon Sunday.


PASTOR CREFLO DOLLAR, WORLD CHANGERS CHURCH INTERNATIONAL: I should have never been arrested. The truth is she was not choked. She was not punched. There were not any scratches on her neck, but the only thing on her neck was a prior skin abrasion from eczema.


O'BRIEN: Dollar claims the incident escalated from an argument but never intended to hurt anyone.

It's Broadway's best in show. The musical "Once" was the big winner at the 66th annual Tony awards, took home eight Tonys. Clybourne Park won for best play and Nichols won for directing "Death of a Salesman."

O'BRIEN: Thank you, Christine, appreciate it.

The battle over who is more in touch with the people and economy takes a new turn. During a speech last week, President Obama made upbeat remarks about the economy. Listen.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government.


O'BRIEN: Lots of people disagreed with that. When the GOP piled on, the president backed away from those comments. We'll play them in a moment. We want to introduce you to Leo Gerard, the president of the United Steel Workers Union. Thanks for being with us.


O'BRIEN: I appreciate that. Then the president's reversal was almost reversed by David Axelrod. I want to play everybody those chunks as well, listen.


OBAMA: The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak and too many homes under water.

DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SENIOR ADVISER: There have been 4.3 million jobs created in the last 27 months. We need to accelerate that, Candy, and we agree on that. The question is how we do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) O'BRIEN: Do you think the economy is doing fine or not doing fine?

GERARD: Well, let me say I think the president is doing fine. We've had 27 months of continuous private sector job growth. We've had more jobs created by this president by his policies than we did in the full eight years of President George Bush.

The economy could be a lot better. It would be a lot better if the Republicans were to pull their weight. Mitch McConnell said as soon as the president got elected that Mitch McConnell's biggest job was to make sure this president had one term.

So I think that the private sector is moving in the right direction with 27 continuous months of job growth. A large measure of that to be honest is because of the economic renewal plan he brought in early on and rebirth of the auto industry that if we had listened to Mitt Romney, he said let it die. He said if we save the auto industry, we would be sorry, I think he was more emphatic. I think the economy and the private sector is moving the right way.

And Soledad, the state and level of government has had more job destruction, they've destroyed the jobs of teachers, firemen and policeman, and snow plow operators.

O'BRIEN: Mitt Romney weighed in trying to get leverage off of what the president had said the first go around and here's what Mitt Romney said. Listen.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He says we need more firemen and policemen and teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time to cut back on government and help the American people.


O'BRIEN: What was your reaction to those comments?

GERARD: I was offended, to be honest, by those comments. When we're talking about cutting back on teachers, we're talking about larger class sizes. For a society that needs to make sure their education system responds to the needs of the citizens, that's the wrong way to go.

Wisconsin wasn't about that. Wisconsin was really the hijacking of the system by unbelievable amounts of private money that came in and tried to buy that election. And can you imagine a governor spending almost $40 million in an election? The people of Wisconsin maybe made the statement that we shouldn't recall for policy reasons, we should recall for maybe legal reasons. And this governor in Wisconsin has got everybody around him getting criminally indicted. I'm not sure what's going to happen to him in the next couple of months.

O'BRIEN: At the same time, when you look at the statistics out of that polling in Wisconsin, 38 percent of people who said they were from union families supported Governor Walker in the recall. How do you explain that?

GERARD: I think one of the issues, Soledad, and we maybe could have thought about it take little bit more, there's only been three recalls of governors in the history and the reality I think what citizens are saying, they don't want to have recalls over policy debates. They are willing to have recalls over legal matters as we have seen in the past, but they weren't interested in a recall over policy issues.

I think one of the things we have to worry about in this country is the unbelievable amounts of private money and secret money and billionaire money flowing into the electoral system. We can't put this democracy up for sale. When I hear billionaires talking about getting together and raising a billion dollars to campaign against this president, that just puts our democracy in a very, very tenuous position. I think it's wrong.

O'BRIEN: Do you get a sense in this day and age people are angry and maybe even hate is a strong word but maybe use that, people hate unions are angry at unions?

GERARD: No, I get none of that feeling at all. I can tell you that as I travel the country, I've had workers from nonunion shops say they wish they could join a union.

One of the problems is the law, people may not understand if they are not involved in the labor movement or private sector work or organization, we have the worst labor law in the major advanced democracies on the planet. This is the only place where workers don't have the right to join the union without the boss injecting themselves into the process. If you think of the billionaires injecting themselves into our electoral process and trying to buy politicians, the same thing goes on in the workplace, where employers are allowed to bring workers in one by one, if you join the union, I'll close the plant. That's a pretty scary proposition. Every time you poll close to 62 percent say they would join a union today if they could. Let me make one --

O'BRIEN: We're running out of time.

GERARD: Let me one last point about the economy. The private sector economy has been creating jobs for 27 straight months. All of that as a result of this president's position on the auto industry, on the economic renewal, wanting to rebuild infrastructure and put people back to work. One of the difficulties is people like Mitt Romney, who have destroyed jobs. He closed a number of plants where our workers were there and walked away with hundreds and millions of dollars and members got two-tenths of one cent on pension plans, so he's not in a position to talk about job creation. He can talk about wealth creation.

O'BRIEN: Leo Gerard, thanks for joining us, we appreciate it.

GERARD: Thank you very much, enjoy your show.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

Still ahead, big news expected from Apple could mean new Mac books and HD Apple TV and much more. We'll take an inside look at the unveiling live from San Francisco coming up next.

A popular children's past time has been deemed too offensive for a neighborhood in Denver. Yes, that's it right there drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. We start with a play list by Luther Vandross. You're watching STARTING POINT. Back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Apple's new CEO Tim Cook is going to try to shoes of the late Steve Jobs today. On a very public stage thousands of the world's leading software developers are gathering this morning in San Francisco for Apple's annual developers' conference. Dan Simon is live for us in San Francisco. Good morning to you. How is it looking so far?

DAN SIMON, CNN SILICON VALLEY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the lines are pretty intense, kind of looks like a scene outside of an Apple store for an iPhone sold. This is the annual Worldwide Developers Conference, and it brings in 5,000 people from all over the world, people who design apps for both the Mac and for iPhones and iPads.

Let me tell you a little bit about what we're expecting today. We're expecting that Apple will preview the newest operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad and release a bunch of new products, mainly new computers and whole new slate of McIntosh computers. The question is could there be something else? There's been a lot of buzz about that.

We're not expecting to see it but this is a economy that is of course very secretive, you never know. There will be a lot of eyeballs on Tim Cook, the first time he delivers the key note address at the worldwide developer conference and this was the last time we saw Steve jobs in public at this time last year. Of course, a lot of attention on Tim Cook today.

O'BRIEN: I have to imagine it would be a tremendous amount of pressure, as much as he has been meeting the company, the walking around the stage that people associate the most with Steve jobs.

SIMON: No question about it. And we expect him to really talk about the company and its financial health then he'll start of pass the baton to the other Apple employees to deliver the product announcements, that's what he's done in the past and we expect to see that again today. Also, it's pretty interesting, 5,000 people are here and it paid $1600 a pop to get in. It will be pretty intense week. There will be a lot of different sessions to learn more about the Apple products. And we'll have more coming up as the hours progress. Back to you. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Dan, appreciate it.

SIMON: There is a new twist to tell you about in Florida's controversial plan to purge the voter rolls. Those plans are now on hold. Will they be blocked for good? The man who has been investigating voter purges for a decade will join us.

And our get real this morning, a showdown, believe it or not, over sidewalk chalk. We'll tell you why one neighborhood wants to ban children from drawing on the sidewalks. Our STARTING POINT team heading in this morning. Roland Martin, Will Cain. He'll be here. Welcome, everybody. Have a nice weekend?


O'BRIEN: Chaka Khan, love what you do and feel, Roland Martin's playlist. I saw Chaka Khan this weekend at this sort of event --


O'BRIEN: I did.

CAIN: Everything good back home.

O'BRIEN: Beautiful, beautiful weather and people. Chaka Khan, what a rock star, she looks amazing. I just love her. I like following her around.

CAIN: That makes two celebrity stalkers for you.

O'BRIEN: Guilty as charged. We'll introduce -- I always call your panel but our team. Margaret Hoover is the author of "American Individualism," and Will Cain is a columnist for, and Roland Martin will be joining us in just a moment. I'll start with you in the "Get Real."

From hop scotch to four square, sidewalk chalk, everybody loves that. What's not to love about sidewalk chalk? Could you pick a more innocuous thing? It washes off anyway, right? A woman moved into her neighborhood in Stapleton, Colorado and has a 3-year-old and it seemed like a nice place, like her daughter could color on the sidewalks for fun, wouldn't be watching video games all of the time or videos. The homeowners association in Stapleton says chalk art is offensive and distracting.

CAIN: Fascists.

O'BRIEN: They claim since the sidewalks are a shared space, anything that offends or interferes with peaceful enjoy, is not allowed. The Homeowners association says they've gotten complaints about the chalk and they let it go to a vote and let the neighbors decide.

O'BRIEN: I'm from Denver --

HOOVER: This is her neighborhood. O'BRIEN: I know this neighborhood because --

HOOVER: We didn't get enough of it. This used to be an airport and it was redeveloped into a family community and turns out my daughter is looking at buying there because he has small young children, and now you clearly have bureaucratic busy bodies on a power trip. If they don't want children drawing -- it's nuts.

O'BRIEN: You start with children's --

HOOVER: It's a little crazy. I'll have my brother look into it before he buys there.

O'BRIEN: You do that.

HOOVER: I'm glad you brought like to that.

O'BRIEN: It sounds crazy. First the 16-ounce sodas now sidewalk chalk. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we'll go back to talking about purging of voters. We kind of got into it. The Florida's governor wants voters in the state checked out before they go to the polls in November. Is it legal and what are the obstacles to that?

Also, government official caught on camera whipping his stepson. Did you see this? It is so hard to watch. He is literally whipping the kid over a baseball game. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: No fighting, we're going to get to the voter purge in just a moment. But first let me get to Christine Romans with a look at the headlines. Hey, Christine, good morning.

ROMANS: Good morning, Soledad. Former British prime minister Gordon Brown questioned about his relationship with Rupert Murdoch and News Corp Media empire. He has accused them of being a criminal media nexus. Prime Minister David Cameron testified on Thursday and John Major faces questioning tomorrow.

Speaking of the prime minister, it seems Cameron and his wife Samantha got their signals crossed yesterday and they left their eight-year-old daughter Nancy, they left her behind in a pub after having lunch with friends. They discovered their daughter was missing when they returned to their official country residence 40 miles northwest of London. It seems there was a mix up over who was taking the little girl home. The prime minister raced back to the pub to retrieve his daughter.

A deadly weekend in Chicago, six people killed and three dozen others wounded in a series of shootings across the city. The youngest victim was a 16-year-old boy who was shot on his front porch by a passing vehicle. Authorities believe that shooting was gang-related.

A California public official resigns after video surfaces appearing to show him whipping his stepson with a belt. The neighbor who shot the video claims county water director Anthony Sanchez started hitting the boy after he dropped the ball in a game of catch. That neighbor confronted Sanchez.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's enough. That's enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a problem with you beating of him because he won't catch the ball. I'm a father too.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Sanchez has been arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse. Let's get a quick check of the travel forecast. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele joins us. Good morning.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you. If you're watching us and packing the bag, it will be a slow day whether you're driving or flying. Here's the look at the radar.

You could see in Atlanta, all the way from Atlanta to Charlotte even towards Chicago and Kansas City, rain and thunderstorms throughout the day today. Of course, in the southeast, we've seen 10 to 20 inches of rain there.

The big picture, of course, from Colorado to New Mexico is the dry winds and heat, and of course, the prevalent wildfires there. It will be heavy rain in the southeast all the way up through the mid- Atlantic.

And a few storms could be severe in nature, predominantly strong winds and potentially from hail from Arkansas through Missouri today. Big picture, bank on a slow day, no question about it. Have a great one. See you in a bit.

ROMANS: All right, thank you.

E.T. phoned home 30 years ago, fans of the Steven Spielberg classic will be happy to hear several scenes, which were altered for the 2002 version are being restored to the original images, a newly re-mastered version of "E.T." will be out on Blu-Ray in November.

Super stokes and smiling, Vice President Joe Biden's annual media picnic turned into an all out war this weekend. Biden gave out water guns to the journalists' children and then the kids turned their weapons on the VP.

Biden got drenched, but he wasn't the only one. He tweeted a photo of President Obama running around a pool with his water gun. There you go. Just another early summer weekend.

O'BRIEN: Just another summer day.


O'BRIEN: Florida's controversial plan to purge the voters list grows more divisive. County election supervisors have put the attempt to purge on hold now. They say they don't trust the accuracy of a list of nearly 2,700 potential noncitizens that's been identified by the state's elections office.

Meantime, civil rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a lawsuit to try to block the purge. That group claims it violates the Voting Rights Acts.

That accusation was also made by the Justice Department just about two weeks ago. Here to talk about all this is Michael Waldman. He is the executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice, which has been investigating voter purges for just about a decade now. It's nice to have you.


O'BRIEN: Just kind of walk through, the original one that I think people look back to is back in 2000. How does what we're looking at in 2012 compared to the 2000 purge, which really focused on a felony purge?

WALDMAN: Right. So in 2000, when it comes to messed up voter purges and messed up elections Florida is something --

O'BRIEN: Leading the way.

WALDMAN: People always say what's the next Florida when it comes to election messes and it always turns out to be Florida. So in 2000, there was a purge of voters who supposedly had felony convictions and it turned out that a lot of them didn't.

They were eligible voters kicked off the rolls and in fact, it was so many, it was more than the margin of victory in the presidential election in Florida.

O'BRIEN: What was the number? I've heard anything from 1,100 -- not the margin of victory, but the number of people kicked off the rolls.

WALDMAN: Yes, it was something close to 2,000 I think, but that was -- you know, the margin of victory --

O'BRIEN: Too much higher in many cases.

WALDMAN: Yes. So we want the rolls to be cleaned up. We don't want people who aren't eligible to vote to be on the rolls. The way this is similar is that this is a purge of voters. It was launched in secret. It's done too close to the election.

It's done without the kind of double checking and chance for people to get to say wait a minute, I'm eligible to vote. We know there's a high likelihood that eligible voters will be kicked off the rolls when it's done this way.

It's not a way to run a railroad and doesn't have to be this way to have fair and accurate elections.

O'BRIEN: So when I talked to the Florida secretary of state, he said a couple of things. He said, listen, we wouldn't have this 90- day problem if in fact the Department of Homeland Security had just given us access to the database that we needed. Tell me a little bit about that particular database that he is talking about.

WALDMAN: Well, we don't know for sure exactly how that database works, but what that database is, is some kind of list supposedly of citizens. It isn't necessarily up to date.

It doesn't have the identifying information that would enable a state to check its voter rolls against the federal list. It's not -- it's designed to keep our borders safe not to see who's eligible to vote.

O'BRIEN: So let me stop you there. I'll play with Eric Holder said in his testimony about that particular DHS list.


ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The database that I think Florida is requesting is not necessarily the answer to these problems. That database as I understanding, which is the DHS database does not contain on its rolls or within that database people who were born in the United States. That database will be flawed and could result in the exclusion of people from voting who are native-born Americans.


O'BRIEN: What is he talking about?

WALDMAN: Again, that was a list of people who came into the country. The question for who can vote, are you a citizen and are you 18 and that sort of things --

O'BRIEN: The request for that list is --

WALDMAN: Look, I'll be honest. To me this sounds like what Florida is saying with this list more like an excuse than an explanation. If only we had gotten this list from the federal government, we wouldn't be having this problem.

The fact is if Florida wanted to or if any state wanted to clean up its rolls, it would start it earlier. It would check it against other lists that would give people a chance to kind of say, wait a minute, I am eligible to vote.

O'BRIEN: So is there a list that says these are people, an updated continual, it sounds like it should be possible to do. I'm going to assume everyone around this table and everywhere only people who are citizen -- eligible to vote should be eligible to vote, should vote, right?

We all agree on that. So the bottom line is, what is the list then or lists that you compare to the voter rolls where you say this person is not eligible, this person is, done and done. Plus with computers these days, one would imagine that would be fairly fast?

WALDMAN: Look, we can do this. We have a long history of messed up elections and messed up election list in this country. I always like the former Governor Long, who said when I die I want to be buried in Louisiana so that I can stay active in politics.

We have a history here. The fact of the matter is, we're moving away from this kind of ram shackle election system, which is based on paper where if every state has a computerized voter list now.

If we took that list and said the state government, all of them have an obligation to make sure if you're eligible, you're on the list. If you're not eligible, you're not on the list.

They would check it against the DMV list. They would check it against Social Security and checked it against the Veterans rolls, there's a lot of lists the government has.

It's cheaper than what we've got now. It's more accurate. If people are worried about fraud, it helps solve that problem.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You also have an archaic system in so many different states where literally if you move next door in the same apartment complex then you're kicked off the voter rolls because your address has changed.

And so part of the problem we have right now with home foreclosures trying to figure out also where people have moved and also contributes to it. The bottom line is, many of these efforts, it is a solution in search of a problem.

OK, that's what it boils down to in many of these particular places. When you have so many folks who say I am a citizen, a World War II veteran, they say you're not an American and we have evidence to show it. Come on. Give me a break.

O'BRIEN: That they are able to then take the 30 days to go and prove their citizenship, right? He said there's a fix, you have a 30- day window to go prove your citizenship or you can cast a provisional ballot. That's what he said to me in our interview.

WALDMAN: But why should we be making eligible citizens allowing the elderly suddenly have to prove that they are eligible because some bureaucrat somewhere made a typo in their name. That's unfortunately the situation.

This comes on the heels, you know, after Florida also just passed and Governor Scott just signed a voter registration law that cracked down on voter registration.

It was so illegal my organization brought a lawsuit and federal judge just ruled it illegal. The League of Women Voters who we represented had had to shut down the entire voter registration --

MARTIN: They rock the vote.

WALDMAN: And rock the vote and the judge said no way. So there's -- you know, this is being done in kind of a political way. It doesn't have to be that way.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Is it all the timing, if they started this 180 days ago you would be fine with it?

WALDMAN: If they started earlier and would be more competent it would be better. But again, the problem is, so this list that they have, they say it's a list of 180,000 people I think who they are worried are noncitizens.

And 58 percent of the names on the list are Hispanic in a state where 13 percent of voters are Hispanic. That, you know, raises some real questions. And again, there's a way to do this that is not nearly as worrisome.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think that's not the ratio you should be looking at. The ratio you should be looking at is what percentage the noncitizens are Hispanic. That would be the one to analyze. We're not sure this proportion affecting Hispanics.

MARTIN: Actually you should be looking at that because the problem in 2000, many of those people who were kicked off were African-Americans as well. And so that was one of the issues.

The other piece is this here, they refuse to get approval for this effort as a result of the Voting Rights Act and they purposely chosen not to do it.

Even when a law was passed last time, Scott purposely did not get it certified by the DOJ so there's an effort to circumvent the Voting Rights Act.

If the folks like me, guess what, you have to protect that right to vote because of these kinds of Shenanigans.

WALDMAN: Yes, it's very much -- unfortunately, the changes in Florida's laws that we've seen over and over again seem targeted or at least have a bigger impact on minority voters. And again, that's not how it ought to be --

O'BRIEN: An overwhelming impact. I think it's fair to say. Michael Waldman, nice to have you. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

WALDMAN: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Got to take a break. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, he is facing an uphill battle. But in fact if President Obama wins re-election, what issue would he tackle? He has to choose one thing to focus on. Tell you what White House insiders say it could be that's coming up. And the bestselling book "Fifty Shades of Grey", pornography, some people say. A lot of libraries are refusing --

MARTIN: It is a ridiculous debate.

O'BRIEN: Who should decide, the libraries or the public?

HOOVER: The communities, the public.

MARTIN: Aren't they called public libraries? Just saying.

O'BRIEN: This is Michael's play list. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back. This is Dire Straits, "Money For Nothing." This song has been around forever. Off of Will's play list, by the way. Do you know how many times we talked about "Shades of Grey." I haven't read that book yet.

HOOVER: I almost bought it because I wanted to know what it was all about.

O'BRIEN: That book has been called mommy porn. It's also been cited for its exceptionally bad writing. Whatever you're going to say, "Fifty shades of Grey," which is by the author E.L. James, is a huge bestseller more than 10 million copies have been sold.

The "Washington Post" editorial this morning looks at how the popularity of "Fifty Shades" is forcing libraries across the country to rethink their rules on erotica and porn.

And ask themselves is "Fifty Shades" suitable for library shelves. Should librarians decide? Should the public decide?

HOOVER: Traditionally, librarians have decided what a community library carries. But in an increasingly wired world where everybody online, I think the community has a larger voice in saying what the community wants to read.

And overwhelmingly communities have said we want "Fifty Shades of Grey" in our libraries and there are some librarians who are holding out saying, no, this is inappropriate material for our community.

O'BRIEN: I'm stunned --

CAIN: -- reflect the sentiments of community. I think the community has already spoken.

MARTIN: Look --

O'BRIEN: You would think you would want to get more people to libraries. They should be posting in the windows. MARTIN: Look, I had a library card growing up in Houston. How many of us still have a public library card? That's precisely my point.

O'BRIEN: More relevant, how many of your kids have them?

MARTIN: Right, this is one of those fake manufactured debates that is ridiculous because didn't we grow up seeing "Fabio," and all of these other folks on these kind of different books. They were all the same. Some idealists deal with it.

CAIN: My question, I'm genuinely curious about this book because it's such a cultural phenomenon. It's selling like hot cakes and I'm fascinated by that.

O'BRIEN: Tell us what it's about.

CAIN: From the Fabio books, from the Danielle Steel books, I'm curious what's different.

O'BRIEN: One has to read it and I pick Will Cain to read it and report on it on Friday.

HOOVER: There's a lot of adult behavior in it.

CAIN: I'm sharing those Daniel Steele and Fabio books.

MARTIN: Wait a minute.

HOOVER: Post feminist side to it because I think it involves many things that maybe traditional feminism might not --

CAIN: Bondage, that type of thing.

MARTIN: I'm just saying.

O'BRIEN: We'll leave it like this. Will Cain you are assigned to read this book. Apparently, you can read it like that.

HOOVER: We're going to have a book report by Will Cain on Friday.

O'BRIEN: By Friday we want a report on what "Fifty Shades" is all about.

MARTIN: That's work too.

O'BRIEN: We'll pay for that.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, if President Obama is re-elected, what would he focus on in a second term? Insiders say it could come down to just one of three big issues.

And "New Yorker's" Ryan Lizza will join us at the table. Got some digging. We'll tell you what he found next. A 6-year-old boy empties his piggy bank trying to lure the NFL star Brandon Jacobs back to the Giants. He's going to joins us and shares his story. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. President Obama will face an uphill battle going into the November election against Mitt Romney.

And if you look at past presidential elections, he may have a hard time getting a landslide victory. Since 1916 only seven presidents have won a second term and their margin of victory has been steadily declining.

Back in 1972, President Nixon won re-election by 23 points. In 2004, President Bush won a second term by only 2.5 points. So how hard will it be for President Obama to win a second term? What will he be able to accomplish if he's re-elected?

Ryan Lizza is a frequent CNN contributor and member of our STARTING POINT team. He's also the Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker" magazine and his latest article is out today.

Spoke to several White House insiders to get a look what a potential second term for President Obama would like look. It's nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us. Certainly appreciate it.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having me, Soledad. I miss you guys.

O'BRIEN: I know. It's weird not to have you next to me. So you talk about this sort of small margin of error. I have to imagine that when you come in with these declining margins rather a victory not margin of error, margin of victory, then that means it really shrinks sort of what you can accomplish in your second term. Is that fair to say?

LIZZA: I think so. And if you look at that trend, Obama, if he -- if he wins -- and this week probably it's looking less good than it has for much of the winter and spring, he will be the first president to be re-elected by a smaller margin than his first election in over a hundred years.

If he pulls it out, he's very likely to win by less than seven points he won by in 2008 and so that would be historically unique. It would be the first time it's happened since the start of the 19th Century.

So, you know, one of things I do in the piece is I just went back and looked at recent second-term presidents. What was their re- election campaign like, how did the campaign itself relate to what they were able to do after they were elected.

And what were the lessons from Nixon in '72 and Reagan in '84, Clinton and George W. Bush. One of the main things that comes out of that, Soledad, is how you interpret your mandate, how you view the re- election.

And what's gotten second-term presidents in trouble throughout history is viewing the second term as some sweeping mandate and over interpreting the mandate from the voters.

O'BRIEN: Yes, but you also write that you can't be great until you're re-elected obviously and it also it seems like you can't be grade until you have eight years because it's very hard to get stuff done in the first four years.

LIZZA: Exactly right. I mean, we don't really remember the one- termers as terrific presidents. We don't remember Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, the last two one-termers as historic because you can't get enough done in four years.

And you really need that second term to consolidate and implement all that you did in the first term. For Obama, it will be health care and financial regulation.

And then a whole set of issues on foreign policy that really are just getting off the ground by the time you finish the first term. So if you want to be in the history books, you have to win that second term.

O'BRIEN: So walk me through what do you think are -- I mean, I assume you break it down by their domestic policy and foreign policy. So domestic policy front, what do you think he is going to tackle if -- and that's a big giant "if" as you point out if he's re-elected.

LIZZA: Really the weird thing about this issue, you get re- elected and you really only have those first two years to do anything significant on domestic policy. After that you kind of turn your attention to foreign policy and people sort of start ignoring the president after that.

As Bill Daley told me, Obama's former chief of staff, you know, after 2014, if Obama were re-elected nobody cares what he does. But we do have a very unique situation because of the so-called fiscal cliff or taxmageddon.

You know, December 31st, a whole range of tax and spending issues are coming up for renegotiation and so ironically, even though Obama may not -- if he wins, it will be by a very small margin, he does have this historic opportunity to weigh in pretty powerfully on the size and scope of government for decades to come.

Because we all -- I think everyone in Washington believes at the end of the year, they're going to have to put together some major, major tax reform and fiscal bargain to settle all those issues.

So that will be the first thing he'll deal with, no matter what. So this is a unique election in that we know the very first thing that Congress and the president are going to have to deal with after it's over.

MARTIN: Ryan, look, I think if it's a second term, the president has to -- in terms of history, has to get far more aggressive as opposed to the very centrist, cautious tone that he has taken.

Of course, folks on the right, they would never use the word "centrist." But let's just be honest. It's not like he's truly being old Mr. Left --

CAIN: I'm sorry. That was funny.

MARTIN: First of all, it was also true. Again, get far more aggressive, but here's the deal. You're going have a split Congress either way, and so he's still going to contend with the polarization in Washington, D.C.

LIZZA: That's right. And, frankly, Roland, I think, look, if the election were held today, Obama would probably win by a little bit. The Democrats would lose some seats in the Senate and quite pick up some seats in the House.

So under that scenario, everything in Washington would be a little bit closer. I don't think he moves left if he wins. I know on the right, there's this idea that if Obama win re-election, he will be unbound by another election.

So he will be the radical solid socialist that conservatives believe him to be. I think if you look at history, history doesn't really show that. History shows it's the first term, the first two years when you have a big sweeping victory that you can go play to your base.

In the second term, usually you are safe to ignore your base because you don't have a re-election. And just look at Reagan and George W. Bush. Reagan was very careful in interpreting his mandate in '84, even though he won a 49-state victory.

His aides actually told him don't go to the social right, don't be too far to the right on a number of issues and if you look what he accomplished, there were bipartisan successes on tax reform and things like immigration.

I think that's a much better model for a president whose re- elected than say George W. Bush who gets re-elected very, very narrowly in 2004. What does he do?

He tries to privatize Social Security. It ends in failure because no Democrats will go along with it and it sort of the beginning of the end of his second term, which he ends with like a 25 percent approval rating.

I think those two lessons are very important for someone like Obama if he wins.

O'BRIEN: Ryan Lizza is the Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker" magazine and his article is out today I believe. It's nice to see you, Ryan.

LIZZA: Thanks, Soledad. See you guys soon. O'BRIEN: Ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, we're following some breaking news. The secretary of commerce, we told you about this story. He's been involved in a felony hit-and-run. We'll have the very latest on what happened there.

And usually commencement speeches, I've given a few in my day. They're supposed to be uplifting and inspirational. One high school speakers, there he is, right there. He goes rogue, kind of a bummer speech. We'll tell you what he said. You're watching STARTING POINT coming up.