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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Americans Held in Tokyo; Interview with Ben LaBolt; Interview With Rep. Adam Kinzinger; New York State Proposes Gun Re-Tooling Law; From Rap Star to H.S. Coach; Grieving Dad Helps Community
Aired June 15, 2012 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama and Mitt Romney trading some blows in the battle over the economy. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's been president for 3 1/2 years. And talk is cheap.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BREIN: We're going to get a response to that from President Obama's campaign press secretary, straight ahead.
Plus, hip-hop hype man Luther Campbell may be "2 live" to coach high school football. We'll tell you why school officials want him off the sidelines. He'll join us to talk about that controversy.
It's Friday, June 15th. And STARTING POINT begins right now.
O'BRIEN: That's Bruce Springsteen, "Dancing in the Dark." That's out of Ben LaBolt's playlist.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very dark this morning.
O'BRIEN: Of course, the Obama press secretary. We're going to be talking to him straight ahead in just a moment.
Our team this morning: Margaret Hoover. She's the author of "American Individualism." Will Cain is a columnist for TheBlaze.com. And Celeste Headlee joins us. She's the host of "The Takeaway."
Good to have you guys with me this morning.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning.
O'BRIEN: And it's Friday, the weekend.
Our STARTING POINT this morning, though, some breaking news on these two Americans who have been arrested in Japan. One is 19 years old, which makes him a minor in Japan. So, his name has not been released. He is suspected of murder, though.
Let's get right to Kyung Lah. She's live for us in Tokyo with some details on this case.
What happened, Kyung?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what happened is that Japanese authorities at least in the criminal investigation have decided to definitely take a step forward in the case with the 19- year-old. Previously, he had been held on a different charge. Not for murder. But today, he is now being held in connection with the murder of Nicola Furlong. She is a 21-year-old Irish exchange student.
Last month, she was at a concert with another Irish friend. Police say she met two American men. She and a friend met two American men.
Well, later that night, they ended up at a hotel. Furlong's body was found in a hotel room. Police say she had been strangled to death. And the only other person in the room that night was that 19- year-old American man.
But there's another American involved here. Twenty-three-year- old James Blackston. And the case against him progressed today as well.
Tokyo prosecutors have now officially filed in court charges against him. Not for murder. He is being charged for groping Furlong's friend that evening, that night.
Now, it doesn't sound like a very serious charge, but his attorney who we spoke to on the phone says it's a very serious charge. He will fight vigorously. He feels that it's absolutely baseless. But if he's convicted, Soledad, he faces six months to 10 years behind bars.
O'BRIEN: All right. Kyung Lah, updating that on this case this morning -- thank you. Appreciate that.
This morning, Mitt Romney is going to start kicking off a five- day bus tour in New Hampshire. President Obama is going to be in Washington, D.C. It is a day after they gave those competing speeches on the economy in the key swing state of Ohio.
Mitt Romney was arguing that President Obama's policies could send the United States into a tailspin. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: This president has put together -- he has put together almost as much public debt as all of the prior presidents combined. I will finally get America on track to have a balanced budget, and we will limit the size of government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Minutes later, President Obama, who was in Cleveland, acknowledged that the economy has made some progress but still has a long way to go. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Of course the economy isn't where it needs to be. Of course we have a lot more work to do. Everybody knows that.
The debate in this election is about how we grow faster, and how we create more jobs, and how we pay down our debt. That's the question facing the American voter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: That's true. That is the question facing the American voter. The president used a pair of star-studded fundraisers in New York City. Sarah Jessica Parker is hosting one, along with Meryl Streep to further his message last night.
Joining us now, the Obama's campaign national press secretary, Ben LaBolt.
Nice to see you. Thanks for being with us.
It was interesting to listen to the president's speech, because a lot of his message was trying to connect the policies that Mitt Romney has been talking about to the policies of George Bush. Do you think that's going to be effective and successful in terms of messaging?
BEN LABOLT, OBAMA CAMPAIGN NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the fact is Mitt Romney's outlined his so-called 59-point economic plan, but there are no points within that plan which would create jobs right now or outline a vision for how we create good-paying middle class jobs in a sustainable way for our economy. Instead, he's proposed $5 trillion tax cuts for the wealthiest that the middle class and seniors would be forced to pay for, and stripping back regulations from banks and polluters and assuming that the market would do the rest.
And the fact is we tried those policies. We passed those tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. They were supposed to unleash growth and job creation, and they didn't. We saw the slowest job growth we've seen in half a century.
So the question is, why would we go back to those same policies that ended up being a house of cards that led to the economic crisis in the first place?
O'BRIEN: You wanted to jump in.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, $5 trillion in tax cuts, I think you're referring to the Ryan budget, which actually has less than actually that over 10 years. It's not that Mitt Romney is proposing $5 trillion in tax cuts. But since we're talking about growth and talking about the economy, and you guys talk about the 1 percent a lot.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Meryl Streep certainly aren't part of the 99 percent. How does President Obama's fundraising at star-studded celebrity homes last night help you guys get your message across?
LABOLT: Well, first of all, I was referring specifically to Governor Romney's tax proposal. But secondly, look, Citizens United changed the fundraising landscape in this country. We now have special interest contributing tens of millions of dollars, unlimited amounts, to try to buy the election for Mitt Romney. And we need to look for creative ways to get people involved who wouldn't be traditionally involved in politics contributing to the campaign. More than 2.2 million Americans have given to this campaign.
But we saw a donor give to Romney's super PAC, or announced that he was giving $10 million this week. So, Citizens United has certainly damaged the campaign finance system. And we're getting as many people involved as possibly to combat against that.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think what we're seeing here is clear from both of the campaigns. Mitt Romney wants this election to be about President Obama. And President Obama wants to make this a choice between the two men.
And as you point out, Soledad, he is attempting to connect Mitt Romney's policies to those of President Bush. So essentially you're choosing between President Obama and Mitt Romney/President Bush. And I have to ask you, Celeste, is that a strategy that you think is going to work to make this a choice the American people have?
CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST, THE TAKEAWAY: Well, at this point, are the American people paying attention to anything? I mean --
LABOLT: Good question.
HEADLEE: Trying to make the thing about economic vision is obviously very good for President Obama and for Mitt Romney to focus on this as a referendum of the last four years is good because the economy is still struggling.
But my question for you, Ben, is during the president's speech, this is first time we heard him talk about the stalemate in Congress and tell voters they had a chance to fix it. How much traction does he get about blaming Congress or even tying Mitt Romney's campaign to the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.?
LABOLT: Well, I don't think this is a matter of blame. The fact is what's going to be on the ballot in November is a choice between two very different economic philosophies. We agree on the need to grow the economy. So the question is, how do we do that?
The president believes that we should build from the middle class out, by investing in things like education and research and development to spur America to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world. That's how to restore economic security for the middle class, which should be the true test of our economy.
Mitt Romney has a different vision. He believes in giving special breaks to those at the top and that they'll trickle down. And that we should strip back regulations. And the market will do the rest.
The problem is we tried those policies before, and you know where we ended up in 2008.
O'BRIEN: So we are hearing Ben really say the vision, right, the messaging is now going to be the tale of two visions.
O'BRIEN: My vision versus his vision. I think we'll hear that from both candidates.
Margaret, I wanted to ask you a question before I get back to Ben. Do you think it's hypocritical to talk about the middle class and helping, you know, on the speech that both men gave, and then go to a big fundraiser? Isn't that just kind of the way it works?
HOOVER: It's not that it's hypocritical, but it's a question of optics. If you're fighting over the middle class and fighting over who has better policies --
O'BRIEN: Which they both are.
HOOVER: Which they both are. Just the punctuation of that evening with the star-studded celebrities, it's an optics question rather than --
HEADLEE: But Romney is talking about Barack Obama being out of touch and then having the announcement that his horse is going to be competing for the Olympics in dressage.
HOOVER: Or goes to a fundraiser with Donald Trump. They both have it. It just seems the day after an economic speech on the middle class.
O'BRIEN: So Mitt Romney said he was going to repeal Obamacare because it hurts growth, and he was citing this Chamber of Commerce poll, and let's play a little chunk of what Mitt Romney said in his speech first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: The president said the other day that he didn't know that Obamacare was hard for small business. Oh, really? The Chamber of Commerce carried out a survey, some 1,500 businesses across America -- 75 percent of those people surveyed said Obamacare made it less likely for them to hire people. Think of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Very rarely do we cite Chamber of Commerce surveys and polls. What do you take from that message from Mitt Romney about his strategy trying to connect Obamacare and small business?
LABOLT: Well, first of all, I'd have to point out the irony of Mitt Romney saying he wants to kill Obamacare dead on the first day. Six years ago, in Massachusetts, he agreed with the president that we should take on rising health care costs and provide affordable, accessible health care to all Americans. He passed a health care reform plan to do so in Massachusetts, including an individual mandate. Said it should serve as the national model, and it did. It passed Congress, and the president signed it into law. Small businesses have the opportunity to opt out of this.
But, look, if this was, you know, Mitt Romney called the president out of touch on this, we welcome a debate with Mitt Romney over who's out of touch. A candidate who said he liked being able to fire people and just last week said that the solution to our economic challenges was fewer teachers. I don't think most Americans agree with him on that.
CAIN: Hey, Ben, this is Will. I want to challenge you on one thing you said earlier. I have heard this from the Obama campaign several times, that you want to grow the economy from the middle class out. I don't know that that's a fair characterization.
If we look at tax revenues, the vast majority comes from the top 10 percent of incoming earners in our society. So, the question seems to be, not where you grow the economy from, but who invested.
It seems to be your message is, use that income from the top 10 percent and have the government reinvest it towards the middle class, versus a vision from Romney that leaving that in the hands of investors or the wealthy and letting that, yes, trickle down is a better use of capital.
Isn't it a better question of who is going to invest our surpluses?
LABOLT: Well, let's take a look at a few key issues and break it down. On education, for example, the president has doubled funding for college scholarships, provided students with a $10,000 tax credit to pursue higher education. Mitt Romney has told students they should just shop around for cheaper tuition costs or ask their parents for money. Of course, some of their parents may not have the money to offer them.
When it comes to housing, the president has a refinancing plan that has allowed 5 million responsible homeowners who are struggling to pay their bills, many who might have been scammed by mortgage lenders, to refinance their homes.
CAIN: Those are good -- Ben, those are good examples.
LABOLT: Just like the foreclosure process hit the bottom so that investors can come in and make a quick buck. So we do believe -- I agree with you that we do believe government has a role to play here.
CAIN: And that's the debate. Is that fair? Is that fair how to characterize the debate? Government versus private sector on who's the better investor?
LABOLT: Well, the question is, Romney on tuition, for example, has told students that they are on their own. The president does believe that we should provide students with access to higher education and that the government has a role in helping them to achieve that, because that will help us grow the economy in the long run if we allow America to out-educate the rest of the world and ensure that the next generation has the skills required for the jobs that are available on the market.
O'BRIEN: Ben LaBolt, campaign spokesperson. Thanks, Ben. Nice to see you. Appreciate your time this morning.
Got to turn to Christine now. She's got a look at the day's headlines. Hey, Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
When the Jerry Sandusky trial resumes on Monday, the prosecution will rest its case. And the defense will begin. Sandusky's lawyers have their work cut out after jurors heard eight accusers testify in graphic detail about alleged sexual abuse by the former Penn State football coach.
Earlier on STARTING POINT, the attorney who represented Casey Anthony, Jose Baez, said the defense may be forced to put Sandusky on the stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You never know at any given point whether your client is going to testify. Normally, you put that decision off to the very end. But if things are being reported accurately, and that's a big if, it's looking pretty bad for Mr. Sandusky right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Among the potential witnesses for the defense, the widow of legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno and one of their sons.
Egypt's supreme constitutional court declaring the parliament dissolved. That means the former prime minister under ex-President Hosni Mubarak, he is now eligible for a presidential runoff election this weekend. The decision dealt a serious setback to the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood.
Texas billionaire Allen Stanford has been slapped with a 110- year sentence for pulling off one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history. The disgraced financier convicted of orchestrating a $7 billion fraud. His sentence, just 40 years lighter than what Bernie Madoff received. Prosecutors called Sanford a ruthless predator. Sanford is still maintaining his innocence.
Pop star Chris Brown attacked at a New York City nightclub. Sources say he and his entourage got into a fight with the rapper Drake and his crew over Rihanna. Both men have dated the pop star. Drake's rep admits he was at that club, but says Drake was on the way out when the altercation began.
Brown tweeted a photo of a nasty looking cut on his chin, but a source close to him says the fight did not start over Rihanna.
New York police say they are viewing both -- they are viewing Brown rather as a victim. He is currently on probation after pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna in 2009.
The NBA finals heating up. The Miami Heat went wire-to-wire last night, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 100-96 to even their series at one game apiece. Game three of the series will be Sunday night in Miami.
O'BRIEN: I'm sorry. Did you just say that the Heat won last night?
O'BRIEN: I'm not sure I heard that. Is that what she said? Lebron had a great game? Is that what she said?
CAIN: Too bad it's a seven-game series.
O'BRIEN: But more than one, they're going to win. Come on, I got a lot of money riding on this.
HEADLEE: They can't humiliate them completely.
CAIN: You might hear from Kevin Durant again. You might hear from Kevin Durant again.
O'BRIEN: Talk to the hand.
O'BRIEN: Moving on, ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, the U.S. air force is confirming what some pilots have been saying for awhile now that the F-22 pilots are 10 times more likely to get sick when they're flying than any other pilot. The congressman who released those findings is going to join us up next.
And raising your kid just got a whole lot more expensive. Yes, I know. I know. I know. You're not going to believe how much it costs to raise a kid. You're watching STARTING POINT. We have to take a break. Back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: This morning, there are new concerns about planes that are making air force pilots sick. The problem could be worse than originally thought. The air force is now confirming that F-22 pilots are 10 times more likely to get sick in the air than pilots of any other planes. Pilots have said they've become dizzy, confused, and nauseated in the cockpit. The symptoms that seem to resemble oxygen deprivation or hypoxia.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger released this new information from the Air Force. He's also a military pilot, serving as a major in the air National Guard. Nice to see you, sir. Thank you for being with us. The F-22 pilots
REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R-IL) DEPUTY REPUBLICAN WHIP: Great to see you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you. Appreciate that -- 10 times more likely. That's a pretty stunning statistic, but still the air force says that it is statistically low. It sounds high to me. It's not a high number, you don't think?
KINZINGER: No. I think it is high. And, you know, look, the reality is every incident that happens per 100,000 hours that you see, it's something around 26 is what we figure, you know, that's each time you put a pilot in an airplane at a vulnerable situation, because potentially, you have a pilot who at the beginning stages of hypoxia like symptoms, really can't, you know, think things through, has a hard time making those judgment calls.
I've been hypoxic myself in training, and it's very significant.
O'BRIEN: What does it feel like?
KINZINGER: You really do lose your cognitive ability. So -- well, you do this to recognize your symptoms. Everybody has different symptoms. For me, actually, I start finding everything pretty funny. But then you have a hard time.
So, if you're given a very basic math problem, what's five plus six, you really can't think it through or you can't put, you know, a triangle piece in one of those triangle holes like those children's toys. So, it really begins to degenerate your cognitive ability until, you know, it's the beginning stages of passing out and ultimately dying.
O'BRIEN: So, they've become focusing a lot of the investigation on the vests that you have to wear in the pressure suits. What exactly are those vests? What do they do?
KINZINGER: Well, its purpose is basically to prevent overexposure of lungs in a high altitude situation in case of depressurization. And what they found in testing this, the navy dive unit, which is something both Senator Warner and I have asked for them to bring into the process, what we find out is, in many cases, those vests were actually failing in high G scenarios.
So, at this point, it seems like the most likely place to pursue. But the big thing we want to say is, you know, look, the air force needs to pursue all avenues of what could be causing this problem, because each fix is not a short, you know, thing to fix. It takes a while to get around to conclusion and implementation on all of these planes. And each time these go up, we potentially put our pilots and our assets -- these are American-owned airplanes -- at risk. And that's something that we need to really take seriously.
O'BRIEN: But how does it explain the folks on the ground? The ground crew also saying that they're these symptoms.
KINZINGER: That's a big concern I have because there are maintainers, I think, five that have become four and said they experienced the same symptoms. Pilots have experienced this without going basically up in the air. They've experienced that after take- off. So, that's where I'm a little concerned that we make sure that we're not pigeon holing ourselves in pursuing just one problem.
The Air Force has explained that these maintainers, you know, had symptoms, but they actually weren't related. I think it's very important that we take a deep look in that, because if they are related, then the high pressure, the upper vest suit, isn't the issue. And I think the other big issue, too, is maintainers and pilots have to feel comfortable to come forward and talk about their concerns.
Captain Wilson still has pending disciplinary action against him. And I think that's something the Air Force and the Air National Guard has got to back off on because it creates a culture and environment where these pilots are frightened to come forward and talk. But even since that piece on the news, we've had nine pilots come forward and say that they're concerned with this aircraft.
O'BRIEN: Wow. Wow, wow. So, Lockheed Martin, which is the manufacturer, now has a second contract to try and fix the planes. And why keep giving contracts to something that might be flawed by someone who may be making flawed planes?
KINZINGER: Well, you know, look, I don't know how that contract was awarded. I'll say this. It probably went to whoever was most qualified, knows the plane the best, and can implement the fix. And I think implementing that fix is the most important thing we can do right now as well as creating the safe spot from pilots to come forward and talk about their concerns.
Let's pull back the disciplinary action against Captain Wilson, and we'll be good going forward. So, you know, look, America owns these aircraft. It's the best fighter in the inventory anywhere in the world. We need it operating at 100 percent for our national defense posture.
So, I think it's very important we pursue all avenues aggressively. And Senator Warner and I are going to continue to stay on this as aggressively as we can until we get resolution.
O'BRIEN: Congressman Adam Kinzinger is a Republican from Illinois. Nice to see you, sir. Thank you for your time this morning. Appreciate it.
KINZINGER: Great to see you. Have a good morning. Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, are your kids running you into the poor house? Here's the short answer. Duh!
O'BRIEN: We'll tell you how much more expensive it is to raise kids these days.
HEADLEE: A lot.
O'BRIEN: You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: I think there's an irony. Good vibration. We look at Niagara Falls, and that little line -- that little two-inch wire. Nik Wallenda is going to have to walk across.
O'BRIEN: You don't want any vibrations. You want the whole thing to just go very smoothly.
CAIN: That's a good song. He's playing that in his head. He just concentrates. I can get it.
HEADLEE: He's agreed to put a tether on now.
O'BRIEN: Yes, he has, because the sponsors were like, we do not need to see anything bad things happen. Put a tether on, and it will all go fine. I think it's going to work out just fine. That's our playlist, by the way. You can find it online at CNN.com/STARTINGPOINT.
You can also follow me on Twitter if you're only going to send nice things, @Soledad_O'Brien. I have to say that every time. If you're going to be mean, don't do it. Say no.
Anyway, let's talk about the cost of raising a child. It's $8,000 more expensive than it was. The USDA says middle income families with a kid who's born in 2011 will spend $235,000 over 17 years, which comes to just under $14,000 a year per kid. 3.5 increase from 2010.
CAIN: And that's not even get them to college.
O'BRIEN: That's not even college. Yes. That's not even -- that's not accounting for inflation. That's not even accounting for college. They quote a woman who has six boys, aged three to 15. Can you imagine that?
HEADLEE: No. O'BRIEN: Six boys. They're just eating her out of house and home, those kids.
HOOVER: Do you think your costs go down if you have more kids because you can use clothes over?
HEADLEE: The diminishing return, I mean, --
CAIN: Margin of cost.
HEADLEE: In my kids, no one shares clothing. I mean, there's holes in the jeans. No.
HOOVER: Recycled clothes spare a little bit?
O'BRIEN: You can, but I just think it's just more expensive, right? More kids is just more. I think. I don't know.
HEADLEE: I agree. That's incredibly expensive, but does it include all the -- is it just necessaries or are we also talking about the iPhone they have to have and the Wi-Fi for their --
O'BRIEN: The woman they quoted, she has a total household income of $50,000. And she said, they home school, do hand me down clothing and tight budgeting because she's got six boys on that budget.
CAIN: She said, what, $14,000 a year?
CAIN: That's what you're investing per year for 17 years per child.
O'BRIEN: Right. So, don't mess it up is what I'd say. You're putting a lot of money in.
O'BRIEN: Like, look at some cost. You got to really invest in that.
HEADLEE: Tell your kids it's your decision whether this is an investment or a loan.
CAIN: It's a luxury item.
O'BRIEN: Very good strategy.
Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, a law that would help track guns, but does it unfairly focus on legal gun owners? We're going to hear from both sides in the debate straight ahead.
And parents brawl at a preschool graduation. This is a preschool graduation, people.
O'BRIEN: Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness! The video is just a hot mess. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We start with Christine Romans with a look at the day's headlines. Hey, Christine.
ROMANS: Good morning, again, Soledad. Slow steady progress with the massive Hyde Park fire in southeastern Colorado. But the wildfire is still giving firefighters headaches. It jumped a highway yesterday, forcing even more evacuations. It has burned 52,000 acres and is now 15 percent contained. Favorable weather conditions may help firefighters make some headway today.
A nationwide manhunt is now underway for a man considered armed and dangerous. Dr. Timothy Jordan, a Buffalo, New York, surgeon, is suspected of killing his ex-girlfriend at the hospital where they both worked. And 33-year-old Jacqueline Wisniewsky was found shot to death in a stairwell at Erie County Medical Center on Wednesday. Police are now looking for Jordan, also a military trained weapons expert.
Smack in the middle of Florida's voter purge controversy, Governor Rick Scott revealing he was told he couldn't vote back in 2006 because he was dead. Scott said he showed his I.D. to prove he was alive and cast a provisional ballot. He hopes his stories will ease fir fears over purging noncitizens from the rolls in Florida, because if actual citizens in the state can be removed, they can still cast provisional ballots just like he did.
Watching your money this morning, U.S. stock futures are trading higher and markets rallied late yesterday on hopes the central banks will take coordinated action to keep money flowing in the system. That's right, things are so bad in Europe and around the world that, quite frankly, markets rally because they think that central banks will do something to try to save it. And the watching your money part of this story is that if Europe has more problems and the Greek elections go poorly this weekend, it could mean your 401(k) will take a hit. So we're at a very important moment right now in the global story with China slowing, the U.S. slowing a little bit, and still a big European problem.
A preschool graduation ceremony got more than a little out of hand earlier this month, and it was all caught on camera. The fight broke out between a group of mothers at a school in south Los Angeles. According to one mom, that organization was to blame for the brawl. There weren't enough caps and gowns so kids had to take turns wearing the graduation garb so parents could take pictures. Eventually things got heated between two moms and a fight broke out. The school district says one woman suffered a cut lip and no charges were filed. And, boy, that's a bad situation all around.
O'BRIEN: Do not make a mother angry over her preschooler. She will take you out in a hot second. Absolutely, there is nothing that will make a mother more mad than doing something wrong to her child.
ROMANS: You got it.
O'BRIEN: You're warned. Christine, thank you.
There is this technology that some people say could take crime fighting from the Stone Age to the Space Age. New York state legislature is set to vote on a bill that would require semiautomatic pistol makers to use new technology called micro stampers. Lasers engrave codes on the inside of the gun when it's made so when the gun is fired the codes are stamped to the shell casing. Police officers could read the codes on the casings, identify the gun, and track down the buyer.
The bill, though, is causing a pretty big controversy. Michelle Schimel is a Democrat in the New York state assembly, a sponsor of the bill. Brian Kolb is a Republican and is against the bill. We'll start with you, Mr. Kolb, if I can. Right now 69 local police departments have endorsed the legislation. Six law enforcement agencies have endorsed the legislation. Why are you against it?
BRIAN KOLB, (R) NEW YORK ASSEMBLY MINORITY LEADER: Well, first of all, good morning, Soledad, and good morning, Michelle, as well. Actually, there's just not enough evidence that this is a proven technology. And there has been independent studies done that have really said this is just not proven to work.
And so what we're really talking about in New York state is the state legislature mandating a process on manufacturers in New York state who have come out and basically said if you do this to us, we're taking our jobs and moving out of New York state. So really, ultimately, unless this technology is proven, which it's not, I think it's a waste of the taxpayers' time and money to promote a government mandate that basically will kill jobs right here in New York state. And certainly right now we need every job that we have. The industry has come out against this proposal. It's just not a great idea. And until the technology is proven, which I don't think it would be, to really work, I think this is really a bad idea that will only cost families in New York state a job. So really that's the most important thing we need to focus on.
O'BRIEN: So we'll talk about the technology in just a moment. But let's talk about jobs, because Remington is the company that you're referring to. They sent a letter. They says this "Remington could be forced to reconsider its commitment to the New York market altogether rather than spend the astronomical sums of money need to completely reconfigure our manufacturing and assembly process." So not even looking at whether or not this would be effective or the technology is proven to work, they are saying if you're going to put a burden on us, we're going to leave.
MICHELLE SCHIMEL, (D) NEW YORK ASSEMBLY: Well, I just want to say right off the bat that the taxpayers may take umbrage with the movement of Remington threatening because the taxpayers of the state have actually given tax breaks as well as grants to these companies to allow them to retool to the tune of millions of dollars. So when they are ready to leave, I think the taxpayers will have something to say about that.
O'BRIEN: But isn't there a risk that indeed if they do leave, whether the taxpayers have something to say about it later or not, if they say we're going to pick up and move and you could potentially lose some jobs over this legislation, that's got to give you some pause certainly in an election year.
SCHIMEL: I have to tell you, as a former business owner, I don't think it's a good business decision to leave New York state. It's a very formidable market for guns. So I would -- I think it's just a threat. I would really -- they are just retooling. In fact, Remington just got a large defense department contract and they are actually building the factory up for that. So I -- I'm not sure that they are going to actually make good on their threat.
O'BRIEN: Assemblyman Kolb, there are studies on the efficacy, and I know you talked about that earlier because you say it's not proven to work. But a 2012 study showed that the stamping was legible just under 90 percent of the time, if it's a six-digit code specifically. At the end of the day, it seems like people would all support something that would help track guns that have shot or injured people or killed people in some capacity. I guess why stand in the way of at least trying to get to the point where the technology could eventually be better?
KOLB: It's actually not standing in the way at all. You know, really, I am an avid crime fighter and strong supporter of our law enforcement throughout our state and country. That's not it at all.
Really what we're talking about is you've got a government coming in with another mandate and technology that is not used unilaterally in any other state in the nation or throughout the globe. And that's, quite frankly, what we're saying. It just doesn't proven to be working right now. So why do this? Why do this now?
And I would also just suggest to the assemblywoman is to come out to New York City and travel to all of these manufacturers that are in New York state. I have manufacturers in my district. And actually go to their companies, meet the employees, talk to the people that actually are producing these products, and just don't sit there and think you know all the answers as to what they are thinking about moving, staying, not moving, because I do that. I come from the private sector, spent over 25 years in this state owning my own business and working for other companies as well. And the problem with New York state is we've got too much government, too much regulation, too much taxes, which are why people don't want to move here or stay here. And New York is never going to be open for business if you've got the legislature continually coming up with brand-new ideas to really make sure that they're not competitive with other states or other countries.
O'BRIEN: We'll watch to see if this does go through the legislature and continue this conversation. Thank you for being with us. We're out of time. We appreciate it.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a coach who is under fire. The former Two-Live Crew front man named Luther Campbell could be forced out of coaching football because of his past as a rapper. He'll join us to explain that coming up next.
O'BRIEN: Luther Campbell is best known as the front man for the '90s hip-hop group "2 Live Crew". And the controversial album "As Nasty as They Want to Be" became the focus of a First Amendment fight that ended up hitting Tipper Gore against Bruce Springsteen, believe it or. That case eventually went to the Supreme Court. "2 Live Crew" won.
Today, Luther Campbell is a high school football coach in Florida. And a role model for kids. Started a program 20 years ago that helps mostly poor kids in Liberty City to play ball.
But here is where the two worlds collide. A Florida Department of Education wants to remove him as coach because of what they call questionable moral character. Exhibit A, the lyrics on his album -- "Nasty as They Want to Be."
It's all in a new article that's been published in SportsIllustrated.com this week. Andy Staples is the writer of the article. Luther Campbell is his subject.
Nice to see you, gentlemen. Thanks for being with us. Mr. Campbell, how surprised were you that your past in some ways is coming back to haunt you as you try to continue what you've been doing for the last several years, which is coaching the football team in Miami?
LUTHER CAMPBELL, FORMER HIP HOP STAR, "2 LIVE CREW": I was very, very surprised because we're talking about things that were done 25 years ago, music that I played a role in 25 years ago. So I found it very interesting. And then after all the things that I have done in my community, as far as Liberty City, and some of the other programs.
O'BRIEN: So then tell me, Mr. Staples, the kind of things that you write about in your article about the things that Luther Campbell has been doing in his program, working with mostly poor young men in Liberty City, which is notoriously a tough neighborhood.
ANDY STAPLES, SENIOR WRITER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: Well, he's been coaching at the high school level for the last three years. He had coaching at the youth level and running a youth program and he noticed that there were kids that were kind of falling by the wayside once they got to high school.
So he decided to extend the program to high school and work at one of the local high schools. And he's worked at two different high schools on a temporary certificate. But in -- in Miami Dade County, you cannot be a volunteer coach. He has to get certified so he can get that big $1,200 a year stipend to be an assistant coach.
And that's where the problem lies. The Department of Education keeps going back and saying, look, you know, you've got this history. You've got this past. We feel like you're working in the adult entertainment industry and that you shouldn't be around kids.
I thought it was really interesting because this is a place where not a lot of people just run in and help. It's also a place where not a lot of adults are very effective at helping. And he has been effective at helping.
O'BRIEN: So then let me ask you a question, Luther. What they said, the judge who believes that you should be able to coach but the Florida Department of Education really talking about your moral character was "The petitioner lacks the required good moral character to coach students."
They point to, you know, certainly a bit of a rap sheet. They point to some of the lyrics "2 Live Crew" usually would play someone's song when we introduce someone. I could not play this song on the air as you well know. Do they have a point that your moral character is in question?
CAMPBELL: As far as being in question, back then, yes, you would question it. But right now, when -- you know, people have a tendency -- people can change. And just like me. I can change in life. A person that finds God can change in life. I mean, when you say a person can't change and then they show the things that they've done throughout the years, we're talking about over 25 years of my service to my community.
You know, if you can't change and a person can't accept that you've changed in 25 years of doing the right things in your community, then who in this world can change?
O'BRIEN: Andy let me ask you a question, is the question ultimately as Luther frames that about you know who can change, or is it really more who -- who really cares about your past if you're doing good work helping young people in areas where a lot of people won't even dare to go?
STAPLES: Yes I mean that -- and that's the same.
CAMPBELL: That's what I think it is, who cares about your past if you can help.
COSTELLO: Go ahead, Luther.
STAPLES: Yes and that's the thing. Go ahead. Go ahead.
COSTELLO: I'm sorry. You guys are tripping over each
CAMPBELL: Yes and that's the thing. I mean, here's -- yes -- O'BRIEN: Luther, why don't you speak. I'm sorry, you guys, because of the satellite delay it's hard. We all trip over each other. Luther, I want you to get the final word.
I mean, well ultimately as I say, you know, we do think it's an issue of you can't erase your past, or do you think it's sort of it doesn't really matter what your past is as long as you're effective in the present?
CAMPBELL: Well I think it is about the past. But at the same time, what have you done for me lately? And when you look at what we've done in this community, me and my wife, you know, in the last four years, we probably put over 60 kids in universities, you know, by programs that we've done at these high schools.
Right now, my (inaudible) at Western we have over 50 kids right now at the University of Florida State getting ready for camp. These are things that have never been done in this community with these kids you know and you know, we've done them.
So when you take a person like myself, other people like myself, out of the equation, you know, then who's going to help these kids in a neighborhood where you've got to really duck down on a practice field because of gunfire right across the street. I mean, it's not peaches and cream area.
O'BRIEN: Luther Campbell and Andy Staples, thanks for talking with me this morning. Let us know how it ends up. We are dying to know what happens in your petition there.
We've got to take a short break.
CAMPBELL: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: STARTING POINT is back right after this.
O'BRIEN: Before we start Father's Day weekend, we want to share a story of a courageous father who wanted to protect kids in his community from under-aged drunk drivers after he had his own personal loss. Leo McCarthy is his name and he is today's "CNN Hero".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEO MCCARTHY, CNN HERO OF THE WEEK: October 27, 2007, was a beautiful autumn day. Mariah -- she was with her two friends. I didn't know the last time I kissed her would have been the last time. Later that night, they were walking down this path when an underage drunk driver swerved off the road and hit them.
Mariah landed here. She died that night. They were only a block away from my house. Mariah was only 14. And I'm thinking, how did this happen? It is so preventable.
My name is Leo McCarthy. I give kids tools to stay away from drinking. Our state has been notoriously top five in drinking and driving fatalities in the country. The drinking culture is a cyclical disease that we allow to continue.
Mariah's challenge is be the first generation of you kids to not drink.
In the eulogy, I said if you stick with me for four years, don't use alcohol, don't use illicit drugs, I'll be there with a bunch of other people to give you money and to go to a post secondary school.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promise not to drink until I am 21.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promise not to get into a car with someone who has been drinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promise to give back to my community.
MCCARTHY: I think Mariah's challenge is something that makes people think a little bit more, to say we can be better. Mariah is forever 14. I can't get her back. But I can help other parents keep their kids safe. If we save one child, we save a generation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: "End Point" next. Back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: We are out of time. We're going to send it right to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Kate Bolduan. It begins right now. Hey Kate, good morning.