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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Jerry Sandusky Trial Continues; Interview with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; San Francisco Giants Pitcher Matt Cain Throws Perfect Game; John Edwards Won't Be Retried; Bank Boss Apologizes For $2B Loss; Texas Man Guilty In Stand Your Ground Case; A Common Cure?; Female Docs Earn Less; Attempted Truck Robbery Caught On Camera; Russia Denies Sending New Helicopters; Pressure On Russia To Drop Syria; Fifty Shades Of Controversy; "The War At The Shore"

Aired June 14, 2012 - 07:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, Lance Armstrong suspended from ironman after being formally charged with doping. The legendary cyclist fires back.

And a war of words between the United States and Russia. Questions surround helicopters arriving in Syria.

Plus, baseball history in San Francisco as Giants pitcher Matt Cain pitches a perfect game.

STARTING POINT begins right now.

Good morning, welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning is day four of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse trial with three accusers set to take the stand. The prosecution is moving at a rapid pays. The state is expected to rest tomorrow. CNN's Susan Candiotti is live at the courthouse in Belafonte, Pennsylvania, this morning. Good morning.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Three more alleged victims are expected to take the stand today and tomorrow before prosecutors wrap up their case. Among them, we expect to hear from one youngster, back in 1 1988, her mother went to police after she discovered her boy had been showering with Jerry Sandusky. Charges were never filed in this case, but the mother said the little boy was naked, Jerry Sandusky had bear hugged him and she was worried he might have touched some of his private areas.

Charges never filed in this case, however, police did eavesdrop on Jerry Sandusky and they said he told them this, quote, "I understand I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead." That was what he said to the mother, according to police. Authorities told him not to take any more showers with any boys and Sandusky said he wouldn't. But, Soledad, as we heard from this testimony in this trial, he sure kept on doing it, it appears.

O'BRIEN: Some of this testimony has been so graphic and just so heartbreaking to see these -- to hear the testimony of these now young men crying on the stand. How are they coming across to the jury? CANDIOTTI: I think in a very credible way. All the jurors are almost literally on the edge of their seat. They're paying very strict attention to them. And one in particular they heard from was alleged victim number five. This is a young man unlike other Second Mile people we heard from, did not come from a broken home. As he broke down and testified, talking about how Jerry Sandusky had allegedly showered him with gifts, took him to football games, and allegedly exposed himself in a shower and said Sandusky had assaulted him sexually in a shower and the parents were listening in the courtroom and they, too, were crying.

O'BRIEN: I can imagine, sounds so awful. Susan Candiotti updating us on that trial, we appreciate it.

In a couple minutes, I'll be speaking with a young man named Thomas Day, a Penn State graduate who attend and worked with Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile foundation and I'll talk to him about this trial he's watching very closely. First to Christine Romans with today's top stories. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Breaking news this morning in the scandal over Lance Armstrong and new doping allegations. Ironman organizers confirm Armstrong is now banned from the Ironman competition. He was supposed to compete there June 24th. Armstrong firing back after the U.S. anti-doping agency formally charged him with doping, saying, quote, "These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and testimony, bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although the USDA alleges a wide ranging conspiracy over 16 years I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. I have never doped and unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed over 500 drug tests, and never failed one."

And a firefight unfolding in Colorado. The High Park wildfire swelling to more than 7,000 acres, more than 1,000 personnel working nonstop in 24 hour shifts to slow this fire down. More than 1,000 pre-evacuation alerts issued to people living on the west side of that fire, a warning to get ready to leave quickly if need be.

More violence in war-ravaged Syria this morning, a car bombing near a Shiite shrine in Damascus. This as a Russian official telling CNN the Russian government is not sending new helicopters to Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came down hard on Russia this week accusing them of sending combat helicopters to Damascus. However the Russian officials did not talk specifically about the helicopters Clinton was referring to. Over the past decade 73 percent of Syria's major weapons imports can be tracked back to Russians and Belarus, the other major trading partner. In our next half-hour Soledad talks to former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte about the deteriorating situation in Syria and what the U.S. should do about it.

Battleground Ohio -- President Obama and Mitt Romney making a critical stop in the swing state today. The president in Cleveland to deliver an afternoon speech on the economy, and 250 miles away in Cincinnati, Romney will take the stage at the same time, to make his pitch on how to fix the economy. History made by the Bay last night, San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain tossing a rare perfect game. It's only the 22nd time it happened in baseball and the first time ever for a member of the Giants. Here's the final out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ground, from deep third, got him! That's a perfect game.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Cain struck out a career high against the Houston Astros. Hear the sounds?

O'BRIEN: The crowd goes wild.

ROMANS: The crowd goes wild.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

Let's return to our top story in about two hours. The fourth day of testimony will begin in Jerry Sandusky's sex abuse trial. So far, the jury has heard from five of the 10 alleged victims in the case. Sandusky met them all through the Second Mile charity, bring them to football games, overnight trips with them and let them spend time with his family. Thomas Day attended Second Mile as a kid and later as a mentor and has been closely following the trial. He's joining us from Chicago. Nice to see you. Thanks for joining us. You've been following it, because I know you hoped what you heard in the trial prove untrue all the allegations. What do you think of what you've heard so far in testimony?

THOMAS DAY, FORMER MEMBER, SECOND MILE FOUNDATION: I don't look at this as something I wish that would be undercut the prosecution. I hope very much they're able to secure prosecution. I hope that, you know, all these witnesses who have come forward are credible. And just based off of the reports I've been reading on the first three days of the trial, seems like we're well on our way to a conviction.

I'm very happy about that. I hope, once we've locked this guy away for good, we can then move onto the university administers who thought it was more appropriate to quote be humane to Jerry than protect children. We can lock them away, too, and then we can go on and rebuild Penn State and the community I grew up in.

O'BRIEN: You're a Penn State graduate and come from a long line of folks who graduated from Penn State. Do you think most people part of the Penn State family would agree with you?

DAY: Absolutely. Absolutely. When I initially heard about these allegation, there was a report a year and half ago they were investigating Sandusky. I didn't want to believe it. I knew it was two-year grand jury investigation. I suspected that they would not have gone to these lengths to investigate him if there were not some truth to that matter, to this investigation.

O'BRIEN: When you -- I'm sorry for interrupting you, I was going to ask you --

DAY: No, no.

O'BRIEN: When you heard the testimony yesterday of victim five and seven and 10, as they're called in the trial on the stand, they've been very consistent in what they say and their level of details, starting with the hand on the knee, sort of progressing to showering together and then literally crossing the line to a sexual assault, if you believe their testimony.

What was the perception of Jerry Sandusky? Were there rumors about Jerry Sandusky? He clearly was spending so much of his time one-on-one with young boys. Janitors knew something was up, had been witness is in some way. What was the rumor mill or was there one about Jerry Sandusky on campus and off-campus?

DAY: I had never heard of anything like that. Penn State university, of course, is a very big university. The Second Mile community was a very big community. That's kind of the point. It served about 1,000 kids around Pennsylvania. I was one of several hundred mentors.

Frankly, my experience with the Second Mile was a very good one. I was very proud of my volunteer work with the Second Mile. I understand the name the Second Mile is, you know, obviously permanently destroyed. But, again, we're talking about a very large community. And I had never heard any rumors about coach Sandusky. Of course, if I had heard anything I would have notified appropriate authorities. But I had never heard anything.

O'BRIEN: What kind of relationship did you have with him? It was interesting, I was reading about your time in the charity. It was very involved in your life. I know for a lot of the young men who are the victims coming forward in this particular case, they differed from you in that way. Not necessarily intact families, maybe more opportunity for someone who is a potential child molester. Tell me about your interactions with Jerry Sandusky?

DAY: I didn't really have a lot of interaction with coach Sandusky. I met him a half-dozen times and was never alone with him. It was a big organization. Most of my work with the Second Mile was what was called the Second Mile Friend Fitness Program, a lot like big brother-big sister, except we took kids and worked out with them a couple days a week. I really didn't have a lot of interaction with coach Sandusky. I never sensed there was a problem. I don't want to overstate my relationship with Sandusky.

O'BRIEN: Last question, Mike McQueary was on the stand the other day. Before he took the stand, he had been heckled and death threats in the past. What did you think of his testimony?

DAY: I'm glad you asked that. Coach McQueary, as far as I can tell, did nothing wrong. I think that's tremendously important to recognize. This man has been, if not public enemy number one, maybe public enemy number two with this case. He followed the legal proceedings when he obviously witnessed what he witnessed. He notified Gary Schultz, the third guy indicted. There's Sandusky, the athletic director, and this other guy, Gary Schultz, who is top of the chain of command at the university police. So he went to the police.

He made very clear to the university administrators what he saw. He couldn't have made a citizen's arrest. He ended association with Sandusky. This guy deserves our praise and our understanding. He certainly does not -- he's certainly not a villain in the story. And I hope -- I know he's suing the university, probably understandably so, I hope, in time, that, you know, us as Penn Staters can welcome coach McQueary back in the family. I know he loves Penn State.

O'BRIEN: Thomas Day, a former member of the Second Mile foundation and Penn State grad. Thank you for your insight.

DAY: Thank you

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, mayors across the country gathering in Orlando, Florida. They have a message for Congress -- stop fighting, get to work. We'll talk to Los Angeles mayor who will join us next, right there.

Also, how much would it take -- how much would you pay to have someone take the burden of naming your baby off your plate? We'll tell you about how Groupon is willing to take $1,000 of your money to name your baby. That's our "Get Real" this morning. Here's our plain list, "Love You, Girl." You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Nearly 200 of the country's mayors are getting together this week in Florida for the 80th annual U.S. conference of mayor. They have different political backgrounds but have a message for Washington -- quit the partisan bickering and get to work.

Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa is the mayor of Los Angeles and also the president of the U.S. conference of mayors and joins us this morning. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate that. The conversation yesterday was about partisan gridlock in congress. Of course, it is an election year and the stakes are very high. I would imagine the pressure on both sides is very high. How do you fix realistically that gridlock?

ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES: I think you have to get Democrats and Republicans who want to work together and understand job number one is job creation, that when the economy is where it is today we have to work together on both sides of the aisle to get things done and put people back to work.

Here's an example, mayors across the country, democrat and Republican have called on Congress to pass the surface transportation bill. That's two million jobs we can put people back to work repairing our roads, highways, ports, airports. And what's happened? Absolutely nothing. When the president says that we can save 325,000 teacher, firefighter, and police officer jobs, what's happened with that proposal? Mr. Romney and the House leadership have said no to that. All we've seen from them is cut, cut, cut, no investment. And I think that's what this election is going to be about. It's not only going to be about where the unemployment rate is. It will be what we will do about in the future to make America's economy is strong again from the middle class up.

O'BRIEN: You mentioned what Governor Romney said. I want to play a little chunk from Friday where he talked about really the lessons from Wisconsin and targeting what president Obama had said about the private sector doing fine. Let me play a little chunk of that and I'll ask you a question on the other side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: So what do you make of the governor's remarks when he says, it's time to cut back on government, and he listed firemen, policeman, and teachers?

VILLARAIGOSA: The jobs the president is talking about is saving jobs, not adding jobs, one. Two, there's no question we have to cut programs and cut the deficit. The president proposed a $4 trillion cut over the next ten years. Mr. Romney talks about cutting the deficit and also proposes a $5 trillion tax cut for -- primarily targeted to the wealthy that we can't afford.

What Democrats and Republican mayors are saying is we have to do both. We have to cut some spending, no question about it. We have to make investments in infrastructure, transportation, in education, in helping us export when 95 percent of the new markets are outside the United States of America. We have to do things across the aisle, do things to make investments, but also make the cuts that we need.

O'BRIEN: Both the president and Mitt Romney are in the state of Ohio campaigning. There is a new poll out bad news for both. "Washington Post" poll talking about favorable numbers of the economic policy, president Obama at 38 percent and mitt Romney at 35 percent. You look at the margin of error, it's very close. You look at their unfavorable numbers, President Obama 54 percent among independents and mitt Romney at 47 percent. So terrible numbers for both of them on something that everybody has said is the most important issue in this election, which is the economy. What should they be doing? What should they be talking about?

VILLARAIGOSA: Well, I think both candidates have to talk about the economy, not just what's gone wrong but also what we're going to do in the future. I think the president has done that. He said, again and again and again, that he's willing to cut spending. But we also got to make investments. We can't continue to extend the Bush tax cuts and not make investments in education and transportation in the infrastructure. We have to do both. And I think the president has tried to extend the hand to the Republicans. But the House leadership has refused again and again and again. And in the Senate, if you recall, Senator McConnell said his number one job is to defeat the president instead of putting the country back to work.

O'BRIEN: Thanks for being with us. I think you guys have one more days of meetings today and we will find out how that goes as well. Appreciate your time.

VILLARAIGOSA: Thank you. Two more days.

O'BRIEN: Two more days.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, this morning, if you are struggling to name your baby, that is such a hard thing to do, you could pay Groupon to do it. But it ain't cheap. We'll tell you in our "Get Real" this morning.

Here's Margaret's playlist, "Vampire Weekend." I can say I've never heard that before.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: A good sign.

O'BRIEN: I like it, I like it.

HOOVER: Are you serious?

O'BRIEN: We'll take a short break. STARTING POINT is back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

O'BRIEN: That's Ryan's playlist. I'm being left behind.

HOOVER: No, you're not.

O'BRIEN: Our STARTING POINT team this morning, Ryan Lizza joins us, the Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker." Nice to have you in person. I like to be able to stop you by tapping you on the arm when I need to. Margaret Hoover is with us as well, author of "American Individualism," and Will Cain is a columnist for theBlaze.com. our "Get Real" this morning, naming your kids can be hard.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, especially the second.

O'BRIEN: I did, too. Sophia was our first, we thought Naomi and that didn't work. And we thought we would name ours Alexandra from college and that was a bad idea and then Jackson and Sam and then came out, you don't look like sam and named him Jackson. Now, Groupon wants to help parents like us and name your baby. The online retailer is offering a deal, charge you 1,000 dollars to bestow a name, one specific name upon your child, a specifically selected custom first name upon your infant son or daughter. The fine print says this, "It's not just any old name. The name is Clembough."

CAIN: Awesome.

O'BRIEN: No substitutions, no modification, they say, they insist this is the real deal. So far, we know six people have bought into it and paid to buy the name Clembough.

CAIN: Does that mean they paid a grand?

O'BRIEN: They don't give you $1,000, not a bad deal. You have to pay for it.

CAIN: You actually pay for $1,000.

CAIN: It makes no sense.

RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORKER": It does make sense. Groupon do a lot of facetious deals. The other day they had an employee who would come to your house and tuck you in for $100.

LIZZA: That sounded good. And then analyze your linen seams and pillow placement and tuck you in with a strategy and his well-groomed fingers --

O'BRIEN: Has anyone thought this could be a publicity stunt?

HOOVER: You know what it is, maybe. You know what it is, too, I think they're rethinking the coupon business model because the IPO has done so badly and we could have been naming kids all along making money, have a big profit margin and then our appeal would go way up.

O'BRIEN: They only had six.

HOOVER: You named your kids. What would you say was the most unusual name you picked before? Maybe Jackson, Cecilia?

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning, doctors still can't cure the common cold, but that may not be so bad. Research says the cold virus could lead to a new treatment for cancer. We've got details on that straight ahead.

The U.S. is putting pressure on Russia to stop the sale of arms to Syria. Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte is going to join us to talk about that crisis in Syria. You're watching STARTING POINT. We've got to take a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

ROMANS: Good morning, Soledad. All remaining charges against John Edwards dropped. Federal prosecutors say they will not retry the former presidential candidate.

After a jury earlier this month acquitted Edwards on one count and deadlocked on five others. The Justice Department has accused Edwards of using $1 million in illegal campaign contributions to hide an extra marital affair.

The JPMorgan manager is behind the bank's more than $2 billion loss. They might lose their bonuses. The bank's CEO Jamie Dimon told senators during a hearing yesterday. The bank's board may decide some employees have to return their bonuses as punishment.

Not clear if Dimon would also have to return his bonus. During his testimony, Dimon apologized publicly for the firm's loss. Next hour, we'll speak with former administration for TARP Executive Compensation, Ken Feinberg.

We're going to ask him about the bonus call back and whether JPMorgan will actually pay any of this money back.

He claimed self-defense in a fatal shooting citing Texas's "Stand Your Ground" law, but the jury didn't buy it. The 47-year-old Raul Rodriquez now faces life in prison after being convicted of murdering his neighbor in a dispute over noise at a house party. Rodriguez will be sentenced today.

In this morning's "House Call," could the cure for cancer be the cure for common cold? That's right. Researchers say beating the disease could be as simple as injecting the common cold virus into the bloodstream.

Britain's lead university and the Institute of Cancer Research discovered that after delivering the injections, the cold virus attached to red blood cells and triggered an immune response like a vaccine, killing off tumors. The treatment also left healthy cells intact.

Eight years of college, medical degree and still $12,000 short, researchers at Duke and University of Michigan found female doctors earn an average of $12,000 less than their male counterparts. The author blames subconscious gender bias that underestimates a woman's ability as well as female doctors' reluctance to negotiate higher salaries.

Like a scene from a movie, a daring band of thieves tries to rob a truck while it's moving. It happened on a highway in Romania. These guys may want to work on their technique.

The attempted score was caught on tape by a Romanian organized crime unit that was monitoring gang suspects. The truck driver probably never knew what was going on here.

One of the would-be robbers managed to get a look inside the trailer, but then decided to abandon this very dangerous mission. Not a movie, it really happened.

O'BRIEN: You have to have that truck full of gold before that would make that worth it, right? Like that's insane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't full of gold.

O'BRIEN: These are just TVs. Forget it, not worth risking my life today for it. All right, Christine, thank you.

Let's turn to talk about Syria this morning, new reports of violence there. A car bomb exploded near a Shiite shrine near Damascus and by reports, injured at least one person.

This comes as new questions arise about helicopters being shipped to Syria from Russia. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, spoke about that earlier. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: From time-to-time said that we shouldn't worry. Everything they're shipping is unrelated to their actions internally. That's patently untrue. And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria.

O'BRIEN: A Russian official tells CNN his government is not sending new helicopters to Syria and hasn't had a new contract in 20 years, but that official did say Russia refurbishes previously sold helicopters and it seems obviously that the secretary of state's statements are an effort to put more political pressure on Russia.

John Negroponte is the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, a former director of National Intelligence. He's now the vice chair of McCarthy Associates Consulting Firm joins us this morning. It's nice to have you with us.

Does it make a difference whether we're talking about old helicopters being sent back or new helicopters attack helicopters at the end of the day, does that nuance really matter?

JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: I don't think it matters too much. The important thing is that obviously the Syrian government is prepared to use force against its own people.

It's been doing that more than a year and number two, they have a friend in Russia, which has played the role of stalemating the efforts to try and find a solution to this very serious problem.

O'BRIEN: So then what is the solution? It seems like it has to be a negotiations or some kind of diplomatic thing with Assad. Yet, you see the opposition isn't strong enough to overthrow the government. The government is not strong enough to put down the opposition. Is diplomacy the only way to go?

NEGROPONTE: No, I think that the time for pure diplomatic action may be running out. That people may have to start considering ratcheting up the use of force. It's already happening on the ground.

I don't think we can get the Security Council to approve it as long as Russia and China have the posture they do. The next best thing would be try to find some consensus with the other Arab countries, neighbors of Syria.

To see what kind of coalition of the willing might be put together to bring even greater pressure to bear on Syria government because I don't think diplomacy in and of itself is going to do the trick.

CAIN: Up until now I think Russia's role in this entire process has been described as you just did, stalemating it, making sure nothing happens on the world stage for Syria.

Is it almost fair to begin to look at Russia as not someone stalemating this process, joining this process and picking their side, a side opposed to the rest of the world?

NEGROPONTE: Yes. I think that's fair. You have to ask yourself why do they do that?

CAIN: Where does it go?

NEGROPONTE: Part of it is a contrarian spirit. They have a natural instinct to resist it, one thing. The other thing is they deeply want friends in the Arab world. Syria is one of the few friends they have.

O'BRIEN: Who is in the coalition of the willing?

NEGROPONTE: It would have to be certainly the Arab group of country, they're critical and Turkey. It's the neighbor next door without, which any effort to try to apply coercive pressure wouldn't be possible. You have to do it through Turkey.

O'BRIEN: What is ratcheting up the use of force?

NEGROPONTE: It's happening already in terms on the ground. So the question is sending in more weapons. The United States at the moment doesn't provide lethal assistance to the Syrian rebels. Others do, not certain I know which ones.

LIZZA: What do we know about the opposition. I talked to people at the White House that say as bad as Assad is, opposition could be worse. What do we know about the opposition and how concerned should we be about arming them?

NEGROPONTE: Well, it's almost inherent in situations like this, you don't know that much, certainly don't know enough. It's like Iraq. After the government repressed the country for 30 or 40 years, you didn't know what would come next once you remove Saddam. That is a little bit the same situation with respect to Syria.

HOOVER: Because the minority is the population, you would assume if the Kurds get in power they would be looking after interests of the larger party rather than minor majority.

NEGROPONTE: If you have this coalition of countries that work with the opposition, they're in a better position to influence later on. Should Assad leave, this is a country that will need external assistance. Thick this group of countries would want to be in a position to help that and also help shape the nature of the political evolution.

O'BRIEN: Fareed Zakaria told me that Syria looks like Beirut and that means 10 years of protracted fighting and maybe 250,000 people could die at the end of this. There's no short term quick solution to this.

NEGROPONTE: Sadly, I think what he says certainly looks true at the moment. There's certainly no immediate end in sight. As long as we have this still a made it situation we talked about earlier, I think it will continue the way it has.

O'BRIEN: John Negroponte is the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq. It's nice to have you with us. We appreciate your time this morning.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, it is a legendary fight between two heavyweights. I'm not talking about boxing. New details about the nasty turf war at the jersey shore between Donald Trump and Steve Wynn.

Plus, the book "50 Shades of Grey," we assigned this to the non-mommies on the panel this morning. Will Cain and Ryan Lizza were assigned to read this book and tell us what they thought. We're going to find out their verdict coming up next.

Here's my playlist this morning, "Usher, Just Got Us All In Love."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LIZZA: Is the - I'm a little uncomfortable now.

O'BRIEN: How can Marvin Gaye, "Let's Get It On" make you uncomfortable. I don't understand. Is this because of your homework assignment, gentlemen?

LIZZA: This is bordering on harassment.

O'BRIEN: Yes, get a lawyer. Are you turning pink because we asked you -- we assigned really -- assigned to you reading "50 Shades of Grey."

CAIN: I can't be embarrassed.

O'BRIEN: It's considered to be mommy porn.

CAIN: It is considered to be mommy porn.

O'BRIEN: It is mommy porn?

HOOVER: Confirmed.

CAIN: You have not read it?

HOOVER: I bought it.

CAIN: You bought it, but you haven't read it?

HOOVER: Based on your book report, I may or may not make this my weekend readings.

O'BRIEN: Many libraries have banned the book, very controversial. It's huge sales though, especially among women and so.

LIZZA: After reading the book, I have now come out for banning it as well. Not because it's too pornographic, but because it's so bad.

O'BRIEN: Badly written? Badly structured?

LIZZA: The plot is terrible. I mean, just from a purely aesthetic point of view.

O'BRIEN: You're embarrassed. Put the camera on Ryan. He's turning pink.

LIZZA: One of the things you'd learn as a writer is don't include detail unless there's a reason for it to be in there. It's an awful up close detail of every move this 21-year-old makes. Not just talking about the sex scenes. I'm just talking about her --

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Back to you.

LIZZA: That aside, the writing is terrible. The plot is non- existent. The characters are one dimensional.

HOOVER: Come on. Come on!

LIZZA: Nobody is reading it for its literary value, obviously.

CAIN: Ryan's book analysis is fairly spot on. So it leads you to the question I asked early in the week. Why is this a runaway success?

After reading this book and reading about this book, it's not the first porn. There's been other, what do we call it, literary porn? Let's call it Fabio covered book.

Why does this success that other Fabio covered books haven't reached the same success? It's an e-book. Women can read this book safe from embarrassment, without that cover on the airplane.

O'BRIEN: A lot of the controversy --

CAIN: And librarians quit being prudes. LIZZA: It's being marketed as a more sophisticated version --

CAIN: It has a tie on the cover.

LIZZA: It has a tie on the cover.

HOOVER: I didn't even read this book and feel like you guys are massively underselling it. If there are 10 million copies sold, women around the country are reading it in a day.

CAIN: Because it is a massive incredible example of self-made success story of marketing not.

O'BRIEN: I will as well put out a request to anyone who has read this book, I have not and Margaret has not, I want you to tweet me at soledad_o'brien and let me know what you think.

Because the review I've gotten so far, the writing is terrible, plot is non-existent and characters non-defined. One review, thumbs down.

LIZZA: The serious point -- the narrator is a young woman insecure. Frankly, if you have a daughter, is the not someone you want looking up to.

O'BRIEN: She's not a role model.

LIZZA: Not a very heroic person.

CAIN: Do women down deep really want to be submissive? What this book is about is not about eroticism. It's about honestly we have to say it, about bondage and S & M.

O'BRIEN: And that's why it's selling so many copies as an e- book. All right, we move on. Thank you for the book review. It sounds like it was a tortuous assignment for you, Ryan.

LIZZA: I was up all night.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, one of the ugliest fights ever in Atlantic City history was a battle between Donald Trump and businessman, Steve Wynn over casinos on the jersey shore. We'll tell you how that turned out. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.

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O'BRIEN: It's going to go down as one of the ugliest fights in Atlantic City. I'm not talking about boxing. I'm talking about a turf war to build a casino on the jersey shore.

It was a fight between Donald Trump and businessman Steve Wynn. Here's what the battle sounded like back in 1999 when both men spoke about each other to CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: I don't know him very well. I played him at golf twice and beat him badly both times. And I think that probably had a negative impact on him.

STEVE WYNN, BUSINESSMAN: I don't think he likes me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's personal?

WYNN: I fear it may be. Imagine the awful consequences of Donald Trump not liking you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: It's all chronicled in a new book called "The War At The Shore." And joining us this morning is author, Richard Skip Bronson. He was there every step of the way as Wynn's point man, tasked with building a Las Vegas style resort on the Jersey shore.

This thing is a page turner because of the craziness in the fighting between these two guys. Talk to me a little bit about the big personalities and what the fight was originally over.

RICHARD "SKIP" BRONSON, AUTHOR, "THE WAR AT THE SHORE": Well, Steve and Donald are both, you know, rather extraordinary businessmen. The fight was over the fact that Steve and I wanted to develop a casino resort in Atlantic City, and that was Donald's sand box. He had three casinos operating at the time. We thought it was a great idea, and obviously he didn't.

O'BRIEN: It got crazy at some points, the way they were both trying to undermine each other at every turn. Give me some examples of that.

BRONSON: Well, it got personal.

O'BRIEN: Fast.

BRONSON: Fast. We had to build a tunnel from the Atlantic City expressway out to this remote piece of property that the state had given us to develop a resort.

And in order to get that tunnel approved, we had to go through an entire political process. Donald and his cohort at the time, Arthur Goldberg, who was the chairman of Bally's, another casino company.

Just went out and did everything they could. Donald is a fierce fighter. You I have to be nice to him today because it's his birthday.

O'BRIEN: Well, let's say it wasn't his birthday. What would you say about his fighting technique?

BRONSON: He fights hard and he fights tough.

O'BRIEN: Dirty, fair? BRONSON: If you can't stand the sight of your own blood, don't get into a fight with Donald Trump. That's what I would say.

LIZZA: Is there any insights into Trump that would help explain his behavior over the last year with respect to President Obama and the campaign?

You know, he sort of defined himself in this political race as a conspiracy theorist who doesn't believe that the president was born in America. Is there anything from your experience with him that would shed some light on that side of this guy?

BRONSON: Well, he's passionate, and what's on his mind is on his lips and he doesn't hold back. Obviously, he has strong feelings about the president and he is not a shrinking violet, if you haven't noticed.

LIZZA: Is he smart?

BRONSON: He's very smart. And when it comes to developing real estate, which is really his principle business, not being a television celebrity. He is a very formidable developer. Just look at the skyline here in New York. You don't do that by accident.

CAIN: Steve, how is it that a city in the middle of the desert turned into this Shangrila of casinos and resorts, and a city an hour or two from the biggest city in the United States, has not turned into this wonderful gambling resort location? How did Atlantic City fail where Vegas succeed?

BRONSON: Well, in Las Vegas, all of the casino companies worked together and they had a common goal to bring traffic to the place and a stable political system. In Atlantic City, you had a very fractured political system. Several mayors went to prison. It's just been --

CAIN: Fights like this, what your book is about.

BRONSON: Fights like this. And in order to bring energy to a city, everybody's got to be on the same page. When people are fighting, it's a problem.

Coupled with the fact that recently they legalized casino gambling in Pennsylvania and roughly 50 percent of all of the traffic that went to Atlantic City came from the Philadelphia market.

And now you've got casinos in Philadelphia and Atlantic City has not yet figured out that it has to capitalize on its natural resources, the ocean, among others, to get people to come there.

O'BRIEN: How did the battle end up? Who won? Who lost?

BRONSON: The battle ended up where interestingly, we got the approval to build the tunnel. So you can argue that we won. We sold the company --

O'BRIEN: I sense a but coming. But -- BRONSON: But when they built the tunnel, Donald managed to get them to put the first exit from the tunnel right to his casino hotel.

O'BRIEN: The win with the loss. HOOVER: When you talk about him, you still have respect in your voice.

O'BRIEN: You're friends today, right?

BRONSON: Right. We're friends. We play golf together. The great thing about Steve and Donald, when they are in a fight, they are in a fight. But when it's over, it's over. They have the ability to put it behind them and say that's business. Let's move on.

O'BRIEN: The book is called "The War At The Shore." It literally is a page turner with political intrigue and legal intrigue, and kind of a hot mess in the middle of it all. Thanks for being with us. We certainly appreciate it.

BRONSON: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We have to take a break. We're back in just a moment. Stay with us.

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