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Out of Touch?; Sandusky Trial Starts Today; Six Year Old's Letter To Jacobs; High School Teacher Gives Controversial Commencement Address; Is the Private Sector "Doing Fine?"; Love at First Smell

Aired June 11, 2012 - 08:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning: who is more in touch with you and your needs? That is a question after two controversial comments, one from Mitt Romney and one from President Obama. Both campaigns will join us to respond this morning.

We're less than half an hour away from the opening statements in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse sex trial. Eight alleged victims could testify and Sandusky could come face to face with some of them today.

Plus, singles sniffing out their significant others literally. It's called the pheromone party. And apparently it's all the newest range. I don't know.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You put it in a bag and put it in the freezer to preserve the pheromone --


O'BRIEN: They have built a match-making business based on body odor. Hmm is all I can say with that.

Monday, June 11th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

Stop sniffing her, please.



WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They play that at every wedding.

O'BRIEN: That would be the Commodores, "Brick House." That is a good way to start the morning.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. That's a good way to start every morning.

O'BRIEN: The whole pheromone thing, you're not supposed to lean over. If we need to put up a plexiglass wall, let me know, Margaret.

MARTIN: No. She wants to sit next to me.

O'BRIEN: I am fairly confident she does not. She does not today. She does not.

Our team -- Roland Martin, CNN contributor, host of "Washington Watch with Roland Martin," Margaret Hoover is a CNN contributor and the author of "American Individualism". Will Cain is a CNN contributor and the columnist for

Welcome, everybody.

CAIN: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: We can play the Commodores all morning. But we won't.

We're going to talk political battles on who's more in touch with America's economic pain. The back-and-forth began after President Obama and Mitt Romney each gave the other's campaign political gift with statements that they made. Listen.


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

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


O'BRIEN: Well, not exactly a shocker. Within hours of those statements, President Obama and Mitt Romney's own words started appearing in the opposite person's attack ads.

Joining me this morning, Stephanie Cutter. She's Obama's deputy campaign manager. We're going to Bay Buchanan as well. You see her right there. She's a Romney campaign adviser.

Stephanie, we'll start with you if I can. You heard the president saying the private sector is fine. Then he had to back off of it and say, no, in fact, the private sector is not fine.

Which is it? Is the private sector fine or is the private sector not fine?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think American people understand what he was saying on Friday.

O'BRIEN: Which was fine or is not fine?

CUTTER: We have created 4.3 million jobs in the private sector, and the thing that's dragging us down are the continued layoffs of state and local workers. We even lost tens of thousands of police jobs, fire workers and that's dragging down our economy.

So the president was actually speaking to the American people on Friday with a solution of the things we can do to strengthen our economy and protect against some of the headwinds that arte coming from Europe. He's had a plan before Congress for nine months. Republicans in Congress have refused to take action on it. It's really to get teacher back to work, to get construction workers back to work because of the housing bust, back to work building our roads, bridges, and highways, giving tax cuts to small businesses for hiring and increase wages.

These are the types of things we need to do to move our economy, strengthen our economy. There are significant roadblocks not only in Washington but also our opponent's presidential race.


O'BRIEN: We'll play his comment and his ad. I think when the president says something fine and pretty much immediately afterward says, well, actually not fine, the opposite of what he said. And David Axelrod weighs in on, you know, that is going to appear in an ad. So, let's play a little bit of the attack ad that Mitt Romney put together and I'll ask you a question on the other side.


OBAMA: The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weakness in our economy had to do with state and local government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've seen layoffs, cutbacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it's all said and done, I'm making $200 a month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been looking for a job for two years, haven't found any.


O'BRIEN: So, clearly, the president is out of touch if he thinks we're fine and you see people who are clearly economically struggling, we're showing that he's out of touch. Do you thing that's a message that works and why not?

CUTTER: We'd be happy to have a debate about who is out of touch with middle-class Americans with Mitt Romney. I think that the American people understand that the president is trying to move this country forward. He's trying to strengthen or economy. He's the only one out there with solutions of how to do that.

Mitt Romney's solution of how to strengthen the economy: fire more people. He believes that if we fire more teachers, more firefighters, more policemen, we're actually going too grow this economy. Even Governor Walker in Wisconsin this weekend disagreed with him. He said Mitt Romney learned the wrong lessons of Wisconsin.

But none of this should be a surprise. He did this in Massachusetts. He did fire policemen, teachers, and firefighters. And what happened? Massachusetts plummeted to 42nd out of job creation.

So, this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. We've seen this before. Mitt Romney made big promises when he was running for governor of Massachusetts in 2002 with his private sector experience, big promise to turn the economy around and it didn't work.

The state of Massachusetts plummeted to 47th out of 50, wan wages went down when they were going up in the rest of the country, jobs left that state, a quarter of a million people left that state because they couldn't find jobs.

So, he's promising the same solutions right now. I think the more they see Mitt Romney's record, that it didn't work in Massachusetts and it's not going to work for the country.

O'BRIEN: There's a question they polled with this question. Did the stimulus help lower unemployment and 80 percent said yes and 4 percent said no and uncertain said 2 percent. These are 42 economic experts who were polled of this.

So, is the takeaway from this, the stimulus work, there be another stimulus? That would be a solution for the crisis that we're in right now or the slowly improving crisis we're in right now. What do you think?

CUTTER: Well, I think those economists said the stimulus worked in stemming off the economic downturn. The economic downturn, according to those economists was much worse than anybody predicted in the fall of 2008. But what the stimulus did is it protected us from going off that cliff. It protected us from falling into a recession and actually resulted in us saving and creating more than 3 million jobs.

But we need to do more. That's the message that the president was communicating on Friday. That we need to do more. We need to keep our foot on the pedal of this economy and continue do things to help it grow rather than put up roadblocks.

And that's the debated I think we're going to have on the campaign trail. President has solutions out there that would jump start our economy now, put people back to work. It's actually according to independent economists, a million jobs that are sitting on the table in Congress if they would move on the proposals.

O'BRIEN: Stephanie --

CUTTER: Unfortunately we need people to put the country ahead of politics and move those proposals forward and so far the House Republicans haven't done that.

O'BRIEN: So, let's talk with Bay Buchanan. She's a Romney campaign adviser.

Bay, nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us. So, heard Mitt Romney --

BAY BUCHANAN, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Good to be with you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: -- after President Obama stepped out with his private sector is fine, Mitt Romney sort of did his response as well, and that actually was fairly controversial too. Let me play a little bit of that for you.


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


O'BRIEN: Was that the message from Wisconsin? Cut back on firefighters and teachers?

BUCHANAN: I think if you had played his whole clip -- Soledad, if you played his whole clip, what Mitt Romney said right before that is Obama has no message. His message is the same as it always has been.

What has failed in this country, what he said is Obama wants more government, more government spending, to enlarge the size of government and the message from Wisconsin is, no, that is not the answer. We do not want more government and more reckless spending? What we want is responsible government.

O'BRIEN: But he didn't say --

BUCHANAN: If you look right before that, he says what Obama wants is more government, more government hiring, more government spending. That is the message.

O'BRIEN: So, he goes on to literally say, we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. So his definition of more government is more firemen, more teachers, more policemen, to the point where as, you know, Governor Scott walker had to say, actually that wasn't the message of the recall section of my state.

BUCHANAN: Listen. What we have here is a president who has failed America, who has crushed the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans, 8 percent -- more than 8 percent unemployment year after year. A stimulus that completely failed this country, reckless regulations that are making businesses, closing them, making them completely stagnant.

Listen, we have Americans suffering across the country. People 50 years and older --


BUCHANAN: -- will never see another job and this man says the public sector is fine. You tell me, Soledad. This president is completely clueless about what is going on in this country or he simply doesn't care. I want to know which one, because both are leading the country to fiscal ruin.

O'BRIEN: I'm not sure he would agree with that there's no option to that question.

Let me ask you about Mitt Romney for a moment if I can.


O'BRIEN: So he basically says he points to the firemen, policemen and more teachers as if hiring those are bad thing for the economy. Why are they not correlated with good economic growth?

BUCHANAN: Listen. Clearly every state and every locality decides on how many police, how many teachers, and how many firemen are best for their community. And the reason they can't maintain that number if they are not is because the economy, the overall economy, the money -- the businesses are not there. People are falling, people are unemployed.

That is raising the cost of local and state government. And so they're not able to do all that they want. The key to that turning around is a strong economy. This Congressional Budget Office has made it very clear last week that Barack Obama's policies have put us at fiscal ruin. We are facing fiscal ruin.


O'BRIEN: You're talking about the -- if you're talking about the fiscal cliff from the CBO.


O'BRIEN: Having read that report it does not say that Obama's policies have done that. What they point out is congress has to get its act together or we're going to fall of the cliff.

BUCHANAN: Oh, my gosh. Please, Soledad. He's the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world. It is his -- he has to take some responsibility for the economy that his policies have created after 3 1/2 years.

Take a little responsibility. Show a little leadership and give us some answers instead of we're going do more of the same, more of the same. What's going to happen? Why do we think we're going to get a different solution unless he totally misunderstands how this economy works.

O'BRIEN: How much of a problem is it as people when they're going to turn this comment from Mitt Romney into a political ad that he's saying we need more firemen. The president says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.

Is that going to be a problem? Is that going to be something that comes back to bite him?

BUCHANAN: No. He obviously wanted states to be able to hire who they believe they need to take care of communities. Those three groups are critical to society. And don't get me wrong, Obama. Those groups are hurting as well. Their families and friends are suffering as well as well out there.

They know this economy is not working and they understand where it's coming from. So this idea that Obama has no responsibility, in the own ad, he really indicts himself. He says 450,000 local, state, and governments have been being laid off.

Why do they think they are being laid off, Mr. President? Do you not understand that when the economy is suffering. We are have -- the situation we're having today with the slow, slow almost no growth in the country sometimes that he is impacting, his policies are impacting what's going on in the state and local.

We need a man in the White House who understands how to turn this country around, how to put America back to work. And he proved that in Massachusetts.

Soledad, I want to correct something Stephanie said. When he was governor, Mitt Romney went into the office. The state was number 50. He took it to number 30 for job creation.

He went in there looking at a huge deficit. He had surplus. He balanced the budget every single year.

If Barack Obama could do half the job that Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts, this country could be thriving. He's, instead, running deficits, every single -- trillion dollar deficits.

O'BRIEN: Clearly this is going to be an argument that's going to continue for the next five months with everyone yelling on both sides.

Stephanie Cutter, thank you for being with us. Bay Buchanan, as well. Appreciate your time, ladies. Thank you.


O'BRIEN: Instead of an inspirational message, a teacher tells graduating high school students, yes, you're not that special. Was his tough love off base? We'll let you decide. You're watching STARTING POINT.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Opening statements in the trial of Jerry Sandusky begin in just about 20 minutes. The former Penn state coach faces 52 counts of child abuse tied to ten boys. At least one could take the stand today. Sara Ganim is a reporter for "The Patriot News" and CNN contributor as well.

She won the Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of this story and has a look what we can expect in court today.

SARA GANIM, REPORTER, THE PATRIOR NEWS: Soledad, as you can see behind me, members of the public are beginning to line up, hoping to witness part of Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse trial which does start this morning with opening statements. We also expect today to hear from at least some of the men who have accused him of abusing them over last several years.

Victim number four outlined in the grand jury presentment as having endured abuse for many years, who calls Jerry Sandusky a surrogate father who is abusing him. We expect here from him today. Possibly one more alleged victim, victim number one came forward and started this entire investigation in 2008.

So much of this case has to do with Penn State University because many of these men have alleged they were abused on campus. And that's important because more than half of the jurors that are going to hear this case have some kind of direct tie to Penn State University, either a retired professor, a current professor, one is that Penn State rising senior who works in the athletic department.

There are several who are either married to or have Penn State employees within their families. So, that's been something the people have been talking about. However, you go and you look at jury selection which only took about two days, and there were a lot of people in this community with Penn state ties.

And it's something the judge said that he just simply could not avoid because of the size of this community. Like I said, we do expect to hear from some of the men who have accused Jerry Sandusky of these crimes today. However, the court has gone to great lengths to shield their identity from members of the media and from the public.

They erected this tent structure last night where they can -- these witnesses can drive right up to the front and actually get into the courthouse without showing their face. It will shield their identity. However, the judge has ruled that when they take the stand and testify against Jerry Sandusky, they will have to state their name for the record.

For "Starting Point," I'm Sara Ganim in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you, Sara.

Coming up next, a boy mailed the tire (ph) lifesaving $3.36 to an NFL star. We'll tell you reason. He gave Brandon Jacobs all of his money. You're watching STARTING POINT. Straight ahead.


O'BRIEN: So, the New York Giants may not have been able to afford to keep Brandon Jacobs, but one six-year-old boy was willing to spend his entire life savings, $3.36, to try to get him back with Big Blue. Joe Armento is his name. He was so crushed when he found out that his favorite running back, part of the two Super Bowl championship teams has signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Say it isn't so.

So, Joe sent Brandon all the cash from his piggy bank along with the letter that read this. "Dear Brandon Jacobs, if you could go to the Giants, here is my money, love Joe." Brandon tweeted out the photo along with the letter from Joe's mom, Julie. And then, Brandon later tweeted, "I almost cried. I'm trying to hold u it in. I may have to pay him a surprise visit."

So, joining us this morning to talk about, Joe and Julie Armento. Nice to have you. Thanks for being with us. So now, you must really, really, really, really, really like Brandon Jacobs, right?


O'BRIEN: Yes, you do. What do you like about him? What's so great about him?

JOE ARMENTO: Because he's fast running back.

O'BRIEN: So, just his athletic ability, you think he's just a good guy.


O'BRIEN: Well, you must have been devastated when he then decided he was going to leave the Giants, huh?


O'BRIEN: So, what you -- you gathered up your money and you told your mom, I'm sending it in. Did you really think that he might change his mind? What were you thinking?

JOE ARMENTO: I was thinking he might not change his mind, but I just send it.

O'BRIEN: Mm-hmm. So, mom, when he says, I need you to write this letter, help me out a little bit because you're six years old, that can be a challenging letter to write.


O'BRIEN: You mailed it in, where did you send it?

JULIE ARMENTO: Honestly, I sent it to Candle Stick Park. I did. I said Brandon Jacobs care of the San Francisco 49ers Candle Stick Park. There was I would get it. I told him. I don't think you're going to get it. I don't think he's going to get it, but I will do my best and send it off.

O'BRIEN: And he got it.


O'BRIEN: And he started tweeting about it.


O'BRIEN: Were you -- obviously, I'm going to assume mommy that he's not on Twitter, so someone read it.


O'BRIEN: So, what did you think when you started getting tweets back from Brandon? What did you think what he was saying? He wrote back a note. He said, "I almost cried. I'm trying to hold it in." He was so happy.


O'BRIEN: You thought that was pretty cool, right? Well, if you had a chance to talk to him right now, what would you tell him?

JOE ARMENTO: I would tell him that when are you coming and how are you doing?

O'BRIEN: Just check in.


O'BRIEN: A little friendly chitchat?


O'BRIEN: So, you know, Brandon is by phone. Would you like to talk to him? I'm not kidding. Hey, Brandon, are you there?


O'BRIEN: OK. Hi, Brandon. So, I've got my friend Joe here who I've just met who I think is a better your new best friend. Anything you want to say to him while he's sitting here at the table?

JULIE ARMENTO: Can you hear?

JACOBS: Joe, man, you are an inspiration. You gave me so much confidence and pride. You made me feel so much better as a football player as I should have been doing as I should have thought already, but you just gave me that extra effort to push that much harder to go to be great.

And I thank you, you know, for being such a great fan of mine, and I'll always have you in my heart. You'll never go anywhere. I've always got you.

O'BRIEN: Wow. Anything you want to say back while you've gotten him on the phone?



CAIN: Now's your chance. Tell Brandon to come back to New York. Tell Brandon, come back.

JULIE ARMENTO: You can say whatever you want.

O'BRIEN: Anything you want to tell him?

JULIE ARMENTO: Wish him good luck next season?

O'BRIEN: So, well, I guess this is a good question. What happens now, Joe? Do you start rooting for the San Francisco 49ers?


CAIN: Really?


MARTIN: So, your loyalty is to Brandon, not the New York Giants?

JOE ARMENTO: Yes in New York Giants.


O'BRIEN: So, you're going to cheer for both the New York Giants but also, specifically, for Brandon in San Francisco.


O'BRIEN: Yes. I say that sounds good to me. That might be a problem when they play each other, but other than that, I think that will be good. So, now, what happens next, mom? Are you going to have a chance to meet up? Are you go out to San Francisco to watch a game?

JULIE ARMENTO: Oh, my goodness. I don't know about that, but, I have to tell you Brandon Jacobs gave us a phone call at our house. It was an unreal experience. Joe got to talk to him on the phone for a few minutes. And he just said that if he made it back to New Jersey that we would have a chance to meet him, and he would like to, you know, see Joe in person. So, that would be an unreal experience.

O'BRIEN: Will you do me a favor and tell me when that happens? I am dying to go watch that. That's amazing.

MARTIN: Is Brandon still there?

JACOBS: I am here. I almost put myself in third person. I am still here.

MARTIN: Hey, Brandon, curious. Is that one of the hardest things when you leave a team, when you have so many young fans who really love players like yourself, they wear your jerseys, and then, in many ways crestfallen when you leave?

JACOBS: There's so many different -- some people absolutely have to. I can't believe this is happening, you know? It's the best feeling. In this case, you know, dealing with, you know sports and business, that this kid was able to, you know, put something together to come up with the concept of our business, I thought that was special, you know?

And I can't, you know, say enough about, you know, him and his family. It's a testament to parenthood is what I think. I think Julie -- I think they've done a great job parenting, you know, and it shows.

JACOBS: We need more parents like that.

O'BRIEN: She's done a great job. He's just saying that because he's my biggest fan ever. Julie's done a great job. Thank you, Brandon, for joining us by phone. Joe, did you want to say something? What did you want to say?

JOE ARMENTO, SENT SAVINGS TO BRANDON JACOBS: I want to say that he doesn't have to play when they play the Giants.

O'BRIEN: So he should just not play at all? You don't want him to play?


O'BRIEN: OK. We'll see how that's going to work out. Joe and Julie, thank you for your time this morning, so great to meet you. Sorry the 3:36 was on the short side to hook that up. Thank you.

JACOBS: Thank you for having us.

O'BRIEN: We're taking a short break. We'll be back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Let's get right to Christine Romans. She's got a look at the day's headlines. Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. New this hour, we're hearing from the Obama administration for the first time since commerce secretary John Bryson was cited for a felony hit-and- run over the weekend in Los Angeles. Officials releasing a statement saying Secretary Bryson has been released from the hospital and an investigation is ongoing. Police found Bryson unconscious behind the wheel of car. They say he hit a stopped car twice and drove off and hit another car.

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 at an off campus party near Auburn University this weekend. Two of those killed were Auburn football players. Police say they're also looking for two persons of interest in that case.

No hope of containment, that's what a Colorado fire chief says about the High Park fire burning right now in Ft. Collins. The wall of fire has forced hundreds of families from their homes. The fire has grown from 2,000 acres to 20,000 acres just from Saturday. Meantime the rain Colorado could use is instead pounding parts of the Florida panhandle and coastal Alabama. They're under a flood watch this morning after more than 20 inches of rain fell in some areas in the 24-hour period over the weekend.

Thousands of the world's leading software gathering in San Francisco this morning. They're headed to Apple's annual developers conference for a chance to partner with the tech giant. Aside from apple's new iPhone software and some expected updates to their Mac Book, all eyes will be on Tim Cook as he attempts to fill the shoes of the late Steve Jobs. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Christine, thank you very much.

You know during most graduation speeches you expect to hear inspirational messages congratulating students on their accomplishments, preparing them for what is ahead as they go out into the greater world. But the graduations speaker at a Massachusetts high school had an unconventional and kind of unexpected message for his students this year. Take a look.


DAVID MCCULLOUGH, JR., WELLESLEY HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER: You're not special. You're not special. Contrary to what your soccer trophy says, your glowing seventh grade report card, that nice Mr. Rogers and your batty aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your paternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you, you are nothing special.


O'BRIEN: Well, everybody wants to hear that as they're about to head off into the world, you're nothing special. That's a Wellesley high school teacher David McCullough Jr. H went on to tell the students all the coddling and praise they've become used to will not last. It brings us right to Steve Perry. Of course he's CNN's education contributor. Did you like his commencement address? You can see it online, by the way.



PERRY: It's essential, because we project too much time projecting our own insecurities onto our children. What the parents are doing is overcompensating for things they didn't get. They make rules like no dribble basketball or no score soccer so no one feels bad and any time someone feels bad, the world is supposed to stop to make them feel better.

What you know in life is there are two ways to make it. You can make a living or you can make a life, which is how you change lives. Too many people are making a living and not changing lives.

O'BRIEN: I agree. I absolutely positively agree with you on all of that. Is a graduation the place to have a tough love conversation? I think that's sort of a K-12 conversation. The last day when you're sending them out, you say they're not special?

PERRY: Absolutely, because what we're looking at is so many of them thing they did something amazing by graduating high school and getting into college. Welcome to the rest of the world, homey.


PERRY: We have to recognize more and more, you have to do more than show up to life. You have to have more game changes as opposed to fans.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's an amazing point Steve makes. We have this whole notion of American exceptionalism. We have folks walking around with an attitude, we're the best. You have to get there. You have to earn something. You have to take the time. I make the point. Colleges always say these are our graduates. Thurgood Marshall, Dr. King. Yes, but they got there after they graduated. Not what they did in life.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This has nothing do with American exceptionalism. This southbound the trophy participation. He's talking about the millennial generation, the 30 and under who feel like they can get a trophy for showing up. What I love, though --


MARTIN: You make it a political issue.

HOOVER: You brought up the political issue, Roland?

MARTIN: That's what I speak to, this whole notion everybody's exceptional. I'm saying you earn it.

HOOVER: I agree. You've got to earn it.

O'BRIEN: Ultimately, Steve, what do you tell your students? You're a principal. What do you tell them in comments to your class?

PERRY: I tell them --

O'BRIEN: Is it like that or inspiration.

PERRY: I tell them that I love them, but I love them because of what they will do, not because of what they are. When we hold them to a higher expectation they will respond. We send our children off with the expectation that they will change other people's lives. Our theme at Capital Prep is social justice, to whom much is given much is expected. We've worked our behinds off to create a world-class education. That we gave to them. The rest of it they're going to have to earn.

O'BRIEN: See, that's inspirational.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That graduation is the start of something, not the end of something. MARTIN: Tough love Steve.

O'BRIEN: Tough love from Steve.

This is the latest trend in dating. I think it's so odd but it's true -- pheromone parties, literally. You gather up t-shirts and see who's their match by sniffing their scent. I'll explain. You're watching STARTING POINT. Back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: We've been talking all morning about the controversial comment from President Obama that the, quote, "private sector is doing just fine." Christine Romans is here to fact check that statement for us. Hey, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. In this week's smart is the new rich, those six words that launched a weekend of politicking. The president and his team furiously backtracking. Let's forget the politics. Let's look at three gauges for health for the private sector -- jobs, profits, and business loans. The White House says the private sector has created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months -- correct. But economists say a healthy growing economy should have created more, and University of Maryland economist Peter Morici tells us we should have seen four to five times as many jobs created.

Also over the past two years the largest U.S. companies have added jobs overseas at three times the pace they added jobs here in the U.S. That's according to "Wall Street Journal" analysis.

How about profit? Corporate profits have risen 58 percent since mid-2009, so big companies are making money, but they're putting it right back into the bang, not back into the economy. But economists say a healthy growing economy should have created more and University of Maryland economist Peter Morici tells us we should have seen four to five times as many jobs created.

Also over the past two years the largest U.S. companies have added jobs overseas at three times the pace they added jobs here in the U.S. that's according to "Wall Street Journal" analysis.

All right, how about profit? Corporate profits have risen 58 percent since mid-2009, so big companies are making money, but they're putting it right back into the bank, not back into the economy. $1.74 trillion in the bank at the end of March that is twice what is normal.

And finally businesses need loans to grow. Bank lending has been at historically low levels since the end of the recession. Small businesses have bitterly complained that they can't get the loans they need to survive. The private sector, of course, is everything from the General Electric all the way down to your local electrician. There's unprecedented uncertainty mostly in the middle to the bottom end of that size range -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Yes so I think it's doing just fine probably doesn't quite to find that. All right, Christine thank you very much.

Ahead this morning if you need a date, you can just sniff one out. We're going to take you inside the world -- inside the world of pheromone parties. There is a world of pheromone parties, believe it or not, and there's a theory that says by that by smelling other people's scents could help you find your true love. Your pheromones match.

CAIN: Genuinely curious, just genuine.

O'BRIEN: I'm kind of grossed out.

You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment. It's a party.


MARTIN: Nice tune.

O'BRIEN: That's Young Jeezy, "My Hood." That's from Judith's playlist, the creator of what's called the pheromone party, which asked the question could we be attracted to someone of the opposite sex simply by their smell. People go to these parties and actually sniff for a love connection.

Here's how it works. You sleep in a t-shirt for three nights in a row, and then you have to freeze it each morning. And in the night of the party you put the shirt in a plastic bag and you label it with a number, guests then smell the bags. And if they like your shirt, they take a picture of it -- of -- they take a picture with their shirt.

HOOVER: With the shirt.

O'BRIEN: And if you find that person attractive, then you go and talk to them that's how the Pheromone party works.

Also with Judith this morning is Scott Thrift. He attended one of those parties. So Judith, I'm going to start with you. What? It's like, you know, seriously. What? What? What?

JUDITH PRAYS, CREATOR, PHEROMONE PARTIES: I mean it seemed like really obvious to me.

O'BRIEN: Really?

PRAYS: Yes. Do you want to hear how it started?


MARTIN: Yes, yes.

PRAYS: I did it before Christmas I did have this idea. I was on online dating pretty aggressively, and I was -- I kept getting into these very intense two-month relationships that would fizzle out. And like after a repeated amount of this happening, you know how they say if you want different results you should do something differently, right? So I went on date with someone I never would have chosen and we ended up dating for two years.

I was -- and the thing about him is that he smells amazing to me and I so I was thinking maybe I should be choosing based on smell because obviously when I think about it I'm choosing the wrong guys but if I go based on smell here we go I'm in love so --

O'BRIEN: So you started hosting these parties and you're like -- how many people come to a party would you guess?

PRAYS: Well, the first party was 40. The second party was 120.

O'BRIEN: Wow, wow.

PRAYS: So it depends on the venue.

O'BRIEN: So you went to one of these parties. And -- and did you -- did you think it was just crazy? Did you think it was --

SCOTT THRIFT, ATTENDED PHEROMONE PARTY: No. I think it makes a lot of sense. I think that we're attracted to people for reasons that we don't understand sometimes and I think I went to the party just for a laugh. You know Judy was a friend of mine. I thought it would be fun.

And there was a girl at the party that I was really into so I was like wow but I lost the power of speech. I couldn't speak to her. And I wound up leaving the party.

MARTIN: She was that gorgeous?

THRIFT: She was that gorgeous.

CAIN: Nice.

THRIFT: And I left the party and I actually did not do this, I didn't stand in front of the camera. But that girl actually did; it was wearing, holding my shirt. So a couple days later I see the picture, I'm thinking, oh, my gosh, that's the girl, can I -- can I please get in touch with her.


THRIFT: And then we wound up having a relationship.

CAIN: She found you through smell.


HOOVER: So this is the entity that you used to identify. Can you pass this so we can show people? So this is a shirt that somebody slept in for three days.

PRAYS: Yes, for the next party. HOOVER: For the next party and you have it in a ziplock bag so -- and so presumably there are pheromones in here. Will do you want to take a little sniff? You want to take a little smell? How does it smell?

CAIN: It's a -- I'm attracted to it. No, this is -- and how about you? Come it's a guy's shirt.

HOOVER: Oh, oh yes I'm married.

CAIN: Yes but -- and so am I.

HOOVER: Oh God that smells awful.

MARTIN: Ok now don't come near me with that.

O'BRIEN: I've been married way too long to be sniffing other people's pheromones which is even that alone sounds crazy.

So I mean, are people grossed out by it? I mean you hear the range of comments. In fact we can play it when the ask people what it's like to sniff people's shirts. Let's take a look.



FEYERICK: Confident.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One smelled like pizza.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It smells like car air freshener.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a summers' rain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It smell like freshener.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sort of feels like I'm at a wine tasting --


O'BRIEN: I like the one for summer's rain in Christmas, I think you could date that person and everything else you know pungent, maybe not so much.

So have you found great success for this? I mean, outside of sort of anecdotal. Are you seeing that you're doing a hundred and some odd people at the party? Are you seeing like real --

PRAYS: For me it was meant as an experiment and the success to me is the fact that it starts conversations, things that people will never talk about and other contacts.

O'BRIEN: That's certainly true.

CAIN: It worked out. I mean, you are a success. You dated the person you met through smell for six months.

THRIFT: I did and it was -- it was amazing because I didn't have to worry whether or not she was attracted to me. That was already done so, you know, I could get to know her intellectually, spiritually and I just knew all along that --

O'BRIEN: But you picked her because she was hot is what you told.

HOOVER: She picked him.

THRIFT: She smelled my shirt. She was attracted to me. So I really knew once I started dating her that it was like, ok, she's obviously attracted to me. So let's work on other things.

MARTIN: I have to add. So you don't sleep with clothes, what -- you guys bring the sheet in or something? What's the deal?

O'BRIEN: You need to wear a shirt.

MARTIN: Some folks don't sleep with clothes. I mean --


MARTIN: No, I'm saying.

O'BRIEN: You make an adjustment. You make an adjustment. This is a great experience for you that you would do it again. This is how you're going to meet all your prospective dates?

THRIFT: I don't think so.


THRIFT: I think it was a laugh. I really enjoyed it. I don't know. I haven't been invited back.

HOOVER: Are you going do more of these? Are growing to create a model or template so other people can have their own pheromone parties?

PRAYS: I'm taking it one party at a time. I'm still so surprised that it's so successful. I'm doing two more parties in L.A. And then based on my success, I might do a national tour.

MARTIN: This is America. Capitalism -- what is your business plan? What are your (inaudible)

PRAY: I'm looking for a business partner right now, actually.

O'BRIEN: I'm going to test this out. I have my T-shirt that I've been sleeping in. I'm going to put in a plastic bag. I want to see who my match would be. I'll ask my husband if he's ok with it -- for scientific purposes only. Yes, check to see who'd be your pheromone match. I could that. But I'm interested in seeing if that would be someone who I would, you know, want to be connected to.

CAIN: So you're going go to her next party. Is that where you're going to be?

O'BRIEN: Well, I'm going to -- sort of, basically, yes.

PRAYS: She's going to be a participant.

O'BRIEN: I'm a participant.

PRAYS: Is that all right with you.

O'BRIEN: I'm self inviting.


O'BRIEN: Thank you for bringing this idea to us. It's so crazy weird, but it will be interesting to see. When you have your first marriage you'll have to let us know.

HOOVER: I'm sure this is a great guy but not for me.

MARTIN: Have a deejay play James Bond. Make it funky.

O'BRIEN: She's like I'm married and I think it's short of stinky.

CAIN: Matthew McConaughey was way up front on this body odor thing.

O'BRIEN: Judith Prays and Scott Thrift. Nice -- thanks for coming in to talk to us. We appreciate it.

"End Point" is up next. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back. Time for "End Point". Who wants to start today -- Roland. You don't need to raise your hand.

MARTIN: I doubt they actually smelled each other but my parents, Reginald and Emelda Martin, yesterday, 45th wedding anniversary. So you do not have to smell someone's clothes to have a successful marriage that lasts.

O'BRIEN: I will tell you I do love smelling my children. I love smelling their clothes. I like --

HOOVER: The system works, yes.

MARTIN: But you either like to smell (inaudible) before you got here.

O'BRIEN: I do. I think I do like it. (CROSSTALK)

HOOVER: I'm not thinking clearly because the smell was so inadequately matched to me that I'm queasy now. What they don't tell you is when you get a bad match how it throws you off for the rest of the evening.

MARTIN: You're going be jacked all day.

O'BRIEN: Does it clear up your sinuses or something?

HOOVER: I need some perfume or something to get -- clean out my palate.

O'BRIEN: Will Cain, we'll give you a pass on this. Will Cain.

CAIN: Ok. This is what you call a deep tease. This Thursday, I have my book assignment. You have your book review on "50 Shades of Grey", along with fellow panelist, Ryan Lizza. This has been set up during the show. Ryan and I will both be on the show on Thursday, we'll read "50 Shades of Grey" in the coming days and tell you how great or bad that piece of literature is.

O'BRIEN: Excellent. We appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Coming up tomorrow on STARTING POINT, Jesse Ventura the former governor of Minnesota has a new book out. He's going to say why the political parties are just thugs in Brooks Brothers suits.

MARTIN: Work it. Work it.

O'BRIEN: Exactly. And much more.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello joins us right now. Good morning Carol.