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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Interview with Tim Pawlenty; Microsoft Going Hard At Apple?; "Nuns On The Bus" Rally Against Ryan Budget; President's Immigration Policy Creates Controversy; Buffett Cans CEO; G-20 Summit Aims for Economic Recovery
Aired June 18, 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: Welcome, everybody.
Our STARTING POINT this morning, open tryouts. Potential V.P. picks boarding Mitt Romney's bus in key swing states, including the former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty. We're going to talk to him this morning about what exactly goes on behind the scenes on that bus.
The Greek vote and your future. What's happening in Greece could affect your money in the stock market, your 401(k), and who is picked next to be president.
A sate representative barred from a debate over abortion after she refers to her vagina. Now she is planning something that could really hit a nerve. That story is in our new segment called, "Tough Call."
It's Monday, June 18th. STARTING POINT begins right now.
O'BRIEN: Yes, a little John Mellencamp for you.
Our team this morning: Margaret Hoover is joining us. She's a CNN contributor and author of "American Individualism." Celeste Headlee is the host of "The Takeaway." Will Cain is a CNN --
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's not going to work.
O'BRIEN: Oops! CNN contributor and TheBlaze.com.
Nice to have you all with us. Mitt Romney's bus tour is going through six key swing states and it continues today. Along for the ride have been some possible vice presidential contenders.
Today is -- Congressman Paul Ryan will be onboard the bus in his home state of Wisconsin.
Saturday was the former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's turn. He caught up with the campaign in the state of Pennsylvania. He's also the national co-chair for the Romney campaign and he joins us this morning from Minneapolis.
It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for being with us.
You know, earlier, Will Cain was calling this -- was this the "American Idol" of trying to figure out who your presidential pick will be. Is that a completely off the board way to describe that? Or does it feel like you are being vetted or being potentially a vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney when you're on that bus?
TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, you may be making more of it and you think, Soledad, as you go through the swing states of Wisconsin and Ohio and Pennsylvania and New Hampshire and others -- of course, you're going to invite the local senator or governor and those are on the speculated list of V.P.s.
For me, obviously I want to do whatever I can to get Mitt Romney elected president of the United States. I think he's going to be a terrific president. I think I could serve him best in positions other than V.P., so I've encouraged people to look at the other great choices he has.
But, obviously, anybody asked or considered would be an honor.
O'BRIEN: So, you demure a lot when you're asked to be -- I'm having a hard time speaking today which is bad in my job -- when you are asked if you would be interested in being a vice president, you demure a lot. Would you like to be named V.P.? And if not, what are the other positions you are talking about?
PAWLENTY: Demure, that's a fancy word, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: I can't speak but I have a good vocabulary, darn it.
PAWLENTY: Do you mean like I Duck, Bob, Weave?
O'BRIEN: A little, yes.
PAWLENTY: No, he's going to have great people to pick from. You mention the names. I think I can help him best in other ways and I'm trying to help him on the campaign. But anybody would be honored to be asked or considered. But I think I can help him best in other ways than V.P. and I've tried to communicate that in a variety of settings.
O'BRIEN: So, that's demurring, by the way, when you say I'd be honored to help in any way I possibly could.
Let me ask you, we heard that the governor might announce his V.P. pick as early as July, which would be early, right, before the convention. Maybe give him more time to prepare for debates, et cetera, et cetera, have that person be on the road for him.
Have you heard about that? Is that a discussion that goes on or the conversations and strategy sessions that go on on that about us? I mean, you're on there for hours and hours together, right?
PAWLENTY: Well, he gets asked about that a lot including on the bus, from the press traveling with him. We don't speak about the V.P. process in terms of timing or dynamics. There have been discussions about advantage or disadvantages to an early pick or not.
But, obviously, as Mitt says, we don't have anything for you on that score. It's something that we just don't talk about in the campaign. The V.P. process is something that will be kept under wraps, if you will, until he makes his decision and announcement.
O'BRIEN: So Mitt Romney sat down with Bob Schieffer, and I've sure you heard and see, and was talking about immigration, and the president's executive order. I want to play a chunk of what he said to Bob Schieffer. Let's play that, guys.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it would be overtaken by events, if you will, by virtue of my putting in place a long-term solution, with legislation which creates law that relates to these individuals such that they know what their setting is going to be, not just for the term of president but on a permanent basis.
BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS: I won't keep on about this, but just to make sure I understand, would you leave this in place while you worked out a long-term solution or would you just repeal it?
ROMNEY: We'll look at that -- we'll look at that setting as we reach that, but my anticipation is I would come into office and say we need to get this done on a long-term basis. Not this kind of a stopgap measure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: The question is would you repeal the president's executive order. And I couldn't fully understand his answer there, even though there were certainly a lot of words in it. What is he saying? Is that a yes or a no?
PAWLENTY: Well, he said he would address that when the time came. He didn't provide a yes or no in that context, Soledad.
But more importantly, the whole interview featured these points on immigration. One is it's disappointing that President Obama, even though he had a Democratic Congress for the first two years of administration, promised the country and particularly the Hispanic community, that he would enact comprehensive immigration reform. He didn't do it when he had the chance, and now at the 11th hour, he comes up with this executive order.
Two is Mitt Romney's position is we should enforce the border and we should have verification of legality for employment. But when it comes to the issue of young children who have been brought here by their parents and through no fault of their own are in the country, we should find a reasonable way at the address that and not have it be a temporary or stopgap or band-aid. He's open to the idea of working towards a permanent solution on that particular issue.
As to the issue of leaving it in place while that permanent solution might unfold, he said he'll decide that when he gets to that point. He didn't say yes or no to that question.
O'BRIEN: So it sounds like you are saying -- are you saying that the president shouldn't have done it? If you are saying it's political, it sounds like it's political, done at the 11th hour, as you know since 2001, this particular legislation has been in front of Congress, so do you think he shouldn't have done it if it sounds political to you?
PAWLENTY: Well, it comes at the 11th hour of at least his first term. He's obviously given up working with the Congress on these issues apparently. On the eve of the election, the presidential race, it looks political.
But more importantly, it's a real issue. You have young children in this country who through no fault of their own are here and it's an important issue and it deserves to be addressed before the Congress -- and as Governor Romney said -- on a long term and permanent basis, so these young people don't have to guess whether their status is going to change depending on any given election.
O'BRIEN: So, it looks political but you think he should have done it. You know, as I'm sure you know, Mitt Romney said that if he were elected he would veto the DREAM Act, right?
PAWLENTY: There are a lot of things that had been labeled the DREAM Act, Soledad, so we've got to be careful about what piece of legislation you're talking about. What Governor Romney has said is when it comes to Senator Rubio's ideas about the DREAM Act that he would be open to that. That legislation hasn't been put in final form yet but Governor Romney said he would consider it or at least look at it.
He has said in other settings and times he would be willing to allow a pathway to legal status for children who are in this situation. For example, if they serve in the military and are honorably discharged.
So, as it relates to the issue of children and through no fault of their own are under that circumstance, he's at least said, I'm open to try to explore or consider a permanent solution and I think these a reasonable gesture on his part.
O'BRIEN: Tim Pawlenty joining us this morning. Nice to see you, sir. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.
PAWLENTY: Happy to do it. Thanks, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: You bet.
Let's get right to Christine. She's got a look at the rest of the day's stories.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again.
Financial markets, initial excitement over the Greek election results dwindling this morning. The pro-euro party New Democracy got a win by just 3.4 percent over Syriza, who wanted to leave the eurozone. That's the leftist group.
And with the world watching to see if Greece can form a coalition group, as the Syriza is announcing it will not be a part of the new government.
Matthew Chance is live in Athens this morning.
Good morning, Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine.
That's right. Negotiations now underway in the parliament building here in central Athens behind me, to try it to forge some kind of coalition because though New Democracy, this conservative party, which backs the austerity measures, wants Greece to stay in the euro won the election yesterday, it did it with just 129 seats that it secured. It needs 151 which means the former coalition. It's engaged in negotiations right now.
It's already had negotiations with Syriza, that party which wanted to turn its back from the austerity measures. They've rejected a national unity government. They said they will leave the opposition instead. So, what's happening now the party leader of New Democracy, Samaras, the new prime minister of Greece, is negotiating with the other smaller parties to see if he can attract their seats to his coalition in order to provide Greece with some kind of a stable government in this very volatile, difficult period, Christine.
ROMANS: All right, Matthew Chance.
In just a few minutes, Jamie Rubin, former U.S. assistant secretary of state weighs in on the Greek election fallout. And the latest as well on Egypt's election.
The G20 Summit is getting under way in Los Cabos, Mexico. Much for the focus for President Obama and world leaders there over the next couple of days will be the eurozone fiscal crisis and the fate of Greece. Today, the president will also meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin, this is the first time since Putin reclaimed the Russian presidency.
Webb Simpson is the U.S. Open champion. He shot a final round 68 to finish 1 over par and won his first major title by one stroke. Simpson's dramatic victory was followed by a bizarre incident during a trophy presentation when a fan interrupted his interview with Bob Costas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEBB SIMPSON, U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: I start but I knew that --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Just the look on his face.
As the man was taken away, Simpson said, enjoy the jail cell, pal.
It's the ninth consecutive golf major where the winner, Soledad, was a first timer.
O'BRIEN: What was that about? Do we know this guy who did the bird call? Was there some message that I'm missing?
CAIN: A couple of interpretations.
CELESTE HEADLEE: He made a message for the avian watchers.
O'BRIEN: Oh, not just the bird -- for the birds, you mean?
HEADLEE: I don't know what bird that is.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I understood what you are saying, though.
O'BRIEN: Huh, weird. OK. Or not.
Still ahead on STARTING POINT, the Muslim Brotherhood declares victory in Egypt but will the military actually let the new president lead. The former assistant secretary, Jamie Rubin, is going to join us this morning.
And she's not going down without a fight. A Democrat says she was barred from mentioning the female anatomy. She is planning a performance. Yes, it's our new segment called "Tough Call."
You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: That's the Beach Boys, "Good Vibrations." It's like a throwback this morning music-wise.
O'BRIEN: Oh, we got Cleaver playing it, of course.
We return to our top story this morning, the election in Egypt. Official results, though, aren't in and they won't be in until Thursday, and Morsi's opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, maintains that the votes still need to be tallied and, in fact, may not be the winner. Jamie Rubin joins us. He is the former U.S. assistant secretary of state.
So much to turn through on both of these stories, so let's start with the Muslim Brotherhood which is claiming victory, but as I say, won't really know until Thursday. The expectations by many, though, are that they could win. What will this mean?
JAMES RUBIN, FMR. U.S. ASST. SECY. OF STATE: Well, it's meaning less and less each day. What's happened here is that the -- if the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mr. Morsi wins, he will be president, but he will be president in an office that has been shrunk dramatically by the military government.
They've eliminated the main powers that Mubarak, the former president, used to have. They've eliminated the powers of budget, of oversight of the military, of any of the powers that we would associate with the presidency, and they've done that precisely because they're afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood president.
O'BRIEN: The Muslim Brotherhood says that's a coup. That's equivalent to a coup. Can the military and the judges all installed, obviously, by Mubarak? Can they do that?
RUBIN: Well, it looks like they will. Whether they can or not, they will. And I think the problem here is that from an American standpoint, we obviously want to see Democratic change in Egypt. All of us were very moved by what happened in Tahrir Square.
O'BRIEN: I sense a but coming.
RUBIN: And all of the developments that occurred towards Democracy and Egypt, but I think when the rest of the world looked in the eye, the idea of a Muslim Brotherhood president, much of the world went, oh, boy, is this such a good idea.
O'BRIEN: Moving from the Islamist -- moving from the secular government that's sort of there now --
RUBIN: To the Muslim Brotherhood government. And I think that's why it's going to be a very complicated response by the rest of the world, because on the one hand, there'll be a critique of this clear interference in the political process. On the other hand, I think a lot of analysts around the world, the U.S. government, were worried about a Muslim Brotherhood controlling not only the presidency but also the parliament and having the power to turn Egypt into an Islamist state.
I don't think that is going to be allowed to happen now, and that's what the real news is here. The military looked to this possibility of a Muslim Brotherhood running Egypt, and they said, no, we can't accept this, and they've done what they needed to do in an extra constitutional manner to stop it.
O'BRIEN: So, does that mean the U.S. just stands outside and does nothing --
RUBIN: Well, first of all, I think we've learned in the Arab spring that the limitations on American power here. This is not a situation where we can dictate the outcome. Yes, we give a lot of military assistance to the Egyptian military.
I think that's going to come under great scrutiny, the Congressional leaders who hold the power of that money to the Egyptian military are going to probably withhold some of it now.
CAIN: We're displeased with the outcome, right?
O'BRIEN: I was going to say, wouldn't the U.S. support that --
RUBIN: Well, I think the U.S can't support an outcome that has resulted in all this extra constitutional changes.
HEADLEE: Usurping the democratic process.
RUBIN: Exactly. But as I said, but, and this is the but, is that much of the world has been so uncertain about the direction of this evolution has taken towards a full Muslim brotherhood control that I think that will limit the extent of the criticism because people are confused as this discussion indicates.
It's a complex mess in Egypt. The democratic process has not really moved forward in an encouraging way.
O'BRIEN: As it is a complex mess in Greece. So, let's turn and talk about Greece, the new Democracy government won with sort of a very tiny, tiny margin, and now, there's a coalition government, and they have this looming deadline. And I think it's ten business days, essentially. Are they going to be able to meet that deadline?
RUBIN: I suspect so. Look, there were a few outcomes, and this is really the best of the few. They could have had a real muddy outcome with no clear victor, and there is a victor and that's encouraging. They could have also voted are for the anti-Euro party and I think that would have sent shockwaves around the world.
HEADLEE: A disaster.
RUBIN: A disaster as one way of putting it. So, this is the best of the three realistic outcomes. And I suspect that with the fact that this vote was so clearly a referendum on staying in the Euro and the opponents lost, the opponents staying in the Euro lost, I think that will give a lot of momentum towards a coalition. It doesn't get Greece out of its troubles. It doesn't get Europe out of its troubles --
O'BRIEN: It kicks the can down the road.
RUBIN: Well, it prevents them from a real disaster. That's all.
ROMANS: We've been doing about is , but I wonder, you know, has there been much leadership -- we're preoccupied with the presidential election in this country, has there been much leadership on the European front from this White House?
RUBIN: Well, there is a big meeting in Mexico. All the world's leaders --
O'BRIEN: What has to come --
RUBIN: I think the fact -- there's another little election we should focus on, the French president, who's really an ally for American, this situation, because he wants to see a situation developed that doesn't cause the gaps since collapsing Euro has just strengthened his power. So, it's a real complicated mess, I would say, that coming out of the G-20.
We want to see is that the world gets behind the idea that voters have prevented Greece from jumping over cliff. Now, the world needs to support that outcome with real power.
O'BRIEN: Jamie Rubin, always nice to see you.
RUBIN: Nice to see you.
O'BRIEN: I feel less confuse but just as worried as when we started --
O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, a lawmaker said she was silenced during a debate on abortion for mentioning her private part. Now, she's fighting back, plans to take part in the vagina monologue. (INAUDIBLE). Talks about that straight ahead.
Also, don't forget, you can watch us on CNN live. We're on your computer or your mobile phone while you're at work. Just head to CNN.com/Live. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans checking in on some other stories this morning.
ROMANS (voice-over): Microsoft keeping the PC versus Mac war going. The tech world is buzzing this morning about a secret event planned by Microsoft for this afternoon. Various media outlets believe Microsoft is going to unveil a brand new Windows 8 tablet to rival the iPad. If true, it will be the first time in 37 years Microsoft has released a computer of its own.
Just minutes from now at 8:30 a.m. this morning on the east, a group of catholic nuns in Iowa will hold a rally denouncing Republican congressman, Paul Ryan's, budget proposal. That rally is kicking off a two-week bus tour where sisters will spread their message that Ryan's budget will harm millions of poor Americans.
The so-called nuns on the bus will leave from Des Moines and end in Washington, D.C.
And on court temper tantrum by RG tennis star, David Nalbandian. Quick results in an assault charge. He bloodied a line judge after kicking over an on-court ad panel. Police in London confirmed to CNN that a complaint has been filed. Nalbandian was disqualified from the final of the Queens Club Tournament, a traditional Wimbledon warm-up, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Tennis players behaving badly. I'm stunned. I'm shocked.
O'BRIEN: Thanks, Christine.
Now, a time for our new segment called "Tough Call," a segment we're going to debate story of the day. Today's "Tough Call" involves a Michigan Democrat. Lisa Brown is her name. Lawmaker is planning a big protest. She was banned from speaking during a state legislative session. The reason she was banned, she made a reference to her private parts.
She used the word "vagina," while she was arguing against a proposal for tighter regulations on abortion. I teach my children to use real words for things. Nobody needs to blanch at the segment. During the discussion, she told -- people, let's be grown ups here.
She told the Michigan speaker she was flattered by everybody's interest in her female anatomy. So, today, she's going to perform "The Vagina Monologues" on the steps of the state capitol in protest of the ban.
HOOVER: Well, it's in protest of the ban, but also, apparently, it's in protest she is the first state representative in Michigan history ever to be censured for using -- two of them were censored for using the word, as you said, "vagina," on the state floor of the state capitol.
And so, instead of taking on the contents of the bill, this is a bill in Michigan that is very controversial that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, and this is clearly something that gets people very riled up.
People are very passionate about this. Instead of taking on the issue and the substance of the bill, she is doubling down and performing the vagina monologue on the state capitol steps with Eve Ensler , a very graphic play which acts out very sexually explicit acts.
O'BRIEN: I think there are other ways you could go with --
HEADLEE: There are, but would we be talking about it on CNN STARTING POINT if --
O'BRIEN: It's a PR.
HEADLEE: Honestly, look, this fight over this bill in Michigan has been extremely impassioned. It's been going on for quite some time. Many of the women in Michigan are very upset about this. But how many times has it been covered on national news until now?
HOOVER: Well, I would say is, you're not going to engender or gear people -- by acting out orgasms on the state capitol steps.
HEADLEE: No argument with you there.
CAIN: Well, that's what makes a good point. We're talking about it. She's drawing attention to what she believes --
HOOVER: Will Cain, are you in favor of this?
CAIN: What does that mean I'm in favor -- her doing the vagina monologues on the courthouse steps?
HOOVER: Yes. You're the contrarian. Come on!
CAIN: I am welcome -- I open the doors to free speech to this lady, and I think that she's welcome to make a fool of herself at anytime she likes.
O'BRIEN: I'm not sure she's making a fool of herself.
O'BRIEN: I'm always like pulling you back. I'm pulling Will back. I don't think she's going to make a fool of herself. I mean, I just think that -- I think that, right, if you have a platform suddenly, I thought the censure was very wrong. Obviously, if you look at the actual rules, there's nothing -- she didn't -- she kept decorum using --
CAIN: I think we're all in agreement that she shouldn't have been silenced on the floor of the House, but I don't know that her recourse is one we can all applaud.
O'BRIEN: God bless, America. It is her right to choose it.
Anyway, moving on, still ahead on STARTING POINT, if Mitt Romney wins the White House, would Rick Santorum take a job in the new administration? The former candidate weighs in on that question.
Plus, the fifth grade student gets a lesson in censorship but eventually gets the last laugh. We'll tell you what happened there. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Let's right to the top stories with Christine Romans. Good morning.
ROMANS: Thank you, Soledad. The Supreme Court is going to be busy the rest of the month as justices scramble to finish up 14 cases in the next week or so. Among them the president's healthcare reform law and Arizona's controversial crackdown on illegal immigrants. Opinion days are scheduled for today and Thursday so decisions could be handed down as early as this morning. We could learn more about what killed Rodney King. The "L.A. Times" reports his fiance called police after hearing a splash early in the morning. He was found at the bottom of a pool. Police say there are no signs of foul play. King became a national symbol, of course, of racial tensions after riots erupted when police were found not guilty in his infamous videotaped beating. Rodney King was 47 years old.
Not interested -- after a pretty nasty primary season, former GOP Rick Santorum is saying he wouldn't take a job in a potential Mitt Romney administration. Santorum telling our Candy Crowley it's pretty much a flat no even though he says he wants to help Romney become president.
A fifth grader getting a real-life lesson in free speech. Eleven-year-old Cameron had won the right to compete in school-wide speech competition became the subject of controversy after his principal told him to change topics or be banned from competing. Why? His speech was about same-sex marriage. The state department of education stepped in this weekend and Cameron will now be able to give his original speech today.
In today, your 401(k) and elections in Greece, Greek voters picked the pro-bailout party there has pushed markets up in Europe and Asia overnight. But that euphoria is down. Why? Serious questions remain about broader problems in Europe like Spain. U.S. markets have been jittery of late. The S&P 500 down about five percent over the past three months. Economists warn the economy here is very fragile.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN ROGOFF, ECONOMIST: We're still fairly weak from the deep financial crisis recession we had which, unfortunately, is typical. And now we might be hit by another hammer blow coming from Europe, from China. And already from Europe there's a lot of uncertainty. So even if you don't know that the meteor is going to hit, you are hiding, worrying about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: So how can you protect your money instead of just hiding from it? Check in on your investments regularly, allocated properly, and that you are taking the right risks for your age and rebalance periodically. Greece will be front and center today as world leaders meet for the G-20 summit there, Soledad. So we're just beginning. Believe it or not, after all this about Greece, we are just beginning the story about Greece's recovery.
O'BRIEN: It's going to be a long one. Christine, thank you.
President Obama's new immigration policy faces growing political opposition this morning. The new directive would allow some young, illegal immigrants to stay and work in this country without the threat of deportation. Opponents aren't just protesting the policy itself. They are also questioning how the president enacted the rule. They say they're frustrated because the president is bypassing Congress through an executive order. Republican congressman Blake Farenthold represents the 27th district of Texas. His state has the second highest estimated illegal immigrant population in the United States. Good morning. Nice to see you. What is your opposition to this policy?
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD, (R) TEXAS: There is a problem that needs to be dealt with. The president needs to come to congress. We couldn't pass the DREAM Act with the Democratic-controlled congress, couldn't get the 60 votes in the Senate, and now doing what the dream act said. We have a president. We don't have a king.
O'BRIEN: So earlier this morning I spoke to Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He says he supports it. He applauds the president for this. This is what he told me earlier. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. RICHARD LAND, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION: The president's action complicates the politics by but it reduces the urgency because it does keep these young people from the fear of being deported. These are young people that are a national resource.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Do you think these are young people that are a national resource as he does?
FARENTHOLD: Listen, these are innocent victims were brought across the border as youngsters against their will. In most cases we paid to educate them. In some cases --
O'BRIEN: Not necessarily against their will, right? They went with their parents.
FARENTHOLD: They had no say in it.
FARENTHOLD: I do think it's a problem that needs to be dealt with.
But there's a broad immigration problem in public debate. We need to be talking about things like this DREAM Act, but we need to also be talking about e-verify, broad border security. You get all of those together, you have enough -- you have enough momentum, you might be able to come up with comprehensive immigration reform. If you pick them up one at a time and do it not through copping but executive order, you are bypassing the way our founding fathers intended it to work.
O'BRIEN: But hasn't it been in Congress for a long, long, long, long time?
FARENTHOLD: Well, there's a reason for that.
O'BRIEN: And then in 2007, in 2010 twice actually, right?
FARENTHOLD: And it hasn't been able to pass. Congress elected by the people, the people's representatives have said no to this, and the president is saying yes to it.
O'BRIEN: Well, saying yes to -- no, he's saying yes to one provision of it which focuses on the very young people that just a moment ago Richard land called young people that are a national resource.
FARENTHOLD: Well, you are also talking about people that came over 16 years of age. At that point you had a say in it, and that looks more like amnesty. But you are looking at 12 and under people, it certainly looks -- I can understand that. We do a lot of case work out of my Brownsville, Texas, office for folks with exactly this problem.
O'BRIEN: You think a 16-year-old whose parents are coming across the border has a say in whether or not they are going to stay behind in their country?
FARENTHOLD: They're certainly in a position to have a conversation with their parents about it.
O'BRIEN: A 16-year-old is in a position to have a conversation with their parents about coming across the border, you think?
FARENTHOLD: Believe me, my 16-year-old daughter has given me input on everything -- pretty much everything the family wants to do.
O'BRIEN: Some people would say, listen, Congress hasn't done the job they have you had have been doing. If you lists all the times they looked into the Dream act, there was a filibuster, it was kill. They introduced it again in 2011 when it was reintroduced. Those who supported it in the past decided not to this time around. It sounds like Congress has had a lot of time with this bill.
FARENTHOLD: Soledad, one of the things Congress can do is say no. Our decisions are not necessarily always a yes. Sometimes when we look at the overall policy and law and everything associated with it, no is the right answer.
O'BRIEN: But there's been no policy -- you started the segment by telling me you think there needs to be some kind of reform, right?
FARENTHOLD: There does. I think it needs to be debated in congress.
O'BRIEN: Since 2001 this particular has been in front of Congress and nothing has been done. It has never been gone through, never been tweaked despite many attempts. Despite efforts of Congress too much the Bill in front of them, they haven't moved on it.
FARENTHOLD: And, again, I think it's the appropriate role of Congress to say now is not the time or this is not the way we want to do it. I don't think Congress is unwilling to take it up. We will take it up. The president should have come to us and said, hey, look, this is what I want to do. Here is a proposed bill. Run it through the regular order of things and we'll pass it or we won't based on the merits with public input. That's the way our founding fathers intended. Congress enacts the laws. The president enforces them. He doesn't have the right to pick and choose which laws he enforces and which laws he doesn't.
O'BRIEN: Blake Farenthold from Texas, nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us.
FARENTHOLD: My pleasure.
O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, Warren Buffett surely doesn't mess around. He fired one of his top CEOs for celebrating too much. You're watching STARTING POINT. Back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Who is this? Every time I listen to country, I like this song.
Guess who I ran into at the airport? Marvin Sapp. Just happened to. I'm a total fan, yes.
Let's talk about Warren Buffett this morning. He fired one of his CEOs for using company cash on a corporate junket. "The New York Post" reporting that Dennis Abrams, the former head of the paint company Benjamin Moore, was fired after he took some of his staffers on an island getaway to Bermuda. Apparently they went on a boat trip, had a dinner on a yacht.
HOOVER: On Jimmy Buffett's boat. They very rarely fire people publicly the Berkshire Hathaway group. So the public firing is something they lost money over the years, the housing crisis. It began to come back in the first quarter of profits actually.
CAIN: Get on a boat, go on a cruise.
HEADLEE: He tells his CEOs to keep a low profile and not treat their companies as though they're a commodity, right? This is the advice he gives to his executives. You are not going to sell it or merge it but treat this like your house.
O'BRIEN: This is it.
O'BRIEN: And it seems like the celebration for some people, the yacht trip and the dinner in Bermuda seemed to be celebrating after they had really gotten there by firing a bunch of people --
CAIN: Well --
HEADLEE: Yes. Cut commissions.
O'BRIEN: Yes you know that's just really sad. CAIN: Five years of losses, one quarter of good times does not amount to a Bermuda trip and a cruise especially as you point out --
O'BRIEN: Frozen salaries, slashed commissions --
HEADLEE: Five years.
O'BRIEN: Layoffs for five years. So he's out of a gig.
O'BRIEN: He doesn't play around, huh? He's like "Hey, how are you, good-bye."
HEADLEE: They escorted him out.
O'BRIEN: That's never good.
HOOVER: You know every other CEO that's owned by Berkshire Hathaway is taking note of this.
O'BRIEN: Cancel the Christmas Party. That is so true. We laugh but it's completely true.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, President Obama joins other leaders of the G-20 summit with a crisis in Europe on everybody's minds. We're going to take you live to Mexico for an update on that.
Also, the NBA star who says he was hurt when Chris Brown and Drake's entourage tangled at a New York City nightclub. Well tell you happened.
You're watching STARTING POINT.
ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. Checking on today's other "Top Stories."
Fire officials in Colorado say the High Park Fire burning near Ft. Collins is almost 50 percent contained but there are still more evacuations. The blaze has destroyed at least 181 homes, the most in Colorado's history. The wildfire is being driven by a combination of high winds and extremely hot, dry conditions.
A new celebrity caught up in the Chris Brown-Drake bar fight. NBA star Tony Parker says he suffered a scratched retina in that fight. Parker now has to put off training with the French Olympic basketball team.
Also new, the New York City Club where the fight started has been shut down. Police say eight people were injured including singer Chris Brown. Witnesses told officers the fight started when Drake's entourage confronted Brown as he was leaving that club.
Call it "Top Chef Mars Edition" about 700 applicants to a space simulation have been whittled down to nine. Their mission, to cook food on Mars that is healthy and appetizing. Six of the nine participants will spend four months in a Martian like habitat on a Hawaiian volcano. The idea is to develop a strategy to feed a human colony on Mars.
O'BRIEN: I feel like they're rushing that a little bit. Why -- why are we --
ROMANS: Looking like (inaudible) advise.
O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thank you very much. So you have a present for me?
HOOVER: I do. Well, we have been talking so much about what culinarily works and you love chocolate and you love bacon.
O'BRIEN: I do individually.
HOOVER: And -- and I just thought you had to try most dark chocolate, it's a chocolate bacon bar Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Sixty-two percent dark chocolate with hickory smoke uncured bacon.
HOOVER: Right now we have McDonald's has its own version of this. It's delicious. Everybody who thinks that chocolate and bacon don't go well together Will Cain here you are.
CAIN: Did I say that?
HOOVER: I guess you were --
O'BRIEN: I don't think it goes well together. I honestly, it looks really nice but I bet it's going to be --
HOOVER: And so this weekend I was passing through the Chicago airport and I saw this -- I saw this on the stand and it's you know --
HEADLEE: Does it come with anti-cholesterol medication?
HOOVER: And it's dark chocolate, especially very good for you.
CAIN: With Lipitor.
O'BRIEN: I know it's just kind of weird.
HOOVER: It is kind of strange.
(CROSSTALK) O'BRIEN: It's like crunchy.
Celeste, you party pooper, take a piece of the bacon, come on.
HOOVER: Crunchy bacon in that.
O'BRIEN: Sweet and salty.
HEADLEE: What do you think? The verdict?
O'BRIEN: I don't love it, I don't hate it. I don't hate it as much as I thought I would hate it.
CAIN: Not enough bacon coming through.
O'BRIEN: Yes it's not like strips of bacon.
HEADLEE: You want more bacon.
O'BRIEN: All right, while you're eating I'm going to continue on. The world's most powerful heads of state including the President, President Obama, are meeting face-to-face this week at the G-20 summit in Mexico.
The immediate priority, of course, is to re-energize the sagging global economy. It brings us right to Brianna Keilar she's live from Los Cabos, Mexico. Brianna, the crisis in Eurozone obviously the key focus. What progress are they expecting they can make on that front in Mexico?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Soledad, the White House is downplaying that you will see really a solution obviously to the Eurozone crisis or really any concrete steps toward a solution to the Eurozone crisis.
But President Obama is here with a message for some of these Eurozone leaders, four of the 17 here at the summit. He wants to say to them get it done, send some signals that you are going to take some really necessary but also difficult steps to shore up the economic crisis because just months out from the election his re-election hinges on the U.S. economy and the U.S. economy hinging at this moment on what happens there in the Eurozone, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: So then the other thing he is probably going to do is meet with Vladimir Putin. That's expected. And it will be the first meeting, right, since Putin has been re-elected. How is that expected to go?
KEILAR: That's right. And it comes at this time of extreme tension, as you know, Soledad. He'll be meeting with President Putin later this morning. They'll be talking about Iran, of course. But the big thing they'll be talking about is Syria. And this is a major sticking point between the U.S. And Russia. The U.S. wants Bashar al Assad out.
Russia does not see it that way. They have financial interests in Syria. They have military interests. There's actually a naval base that Russia operates in Syria and there are two warships, as we speak, heading to Syria. Russia at the same time, even though they're at odds, is seen as key to the situation in Syria and also the situation in Iran.
But I think this is a meeting we'll be watching closely and it might just be a practice in awkwardness.
O'BRIEN: Yes. One would think, right? Brianna Keilar for us this morning. Brianna, thank you.
We've got "End Point" coming up next. Stay with us. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: All right. Time for "End Point". Who wants to start? Celeste, do you want to start for us today?
CELESTE: My take away would be from the vagina argument in Michigan, we could call ait tension to these kind of issues without having to be showboating about it. That would be my wish as a journalist.
O'BRIEN: Right. I would agree with you. I think it's sort of unfortunate you have to stand on the steps of the state house and do something because of something that's happened you want to make sure nobody misses it in the news. That's unfortunate.
CAIN: I'd like to clarify that for many conservatives on this immigration issue and I think I actually Representative the Blake Farenthold is going a good job of explaining actually how democracy works and what the problem with this executive order is.
O'BRIEN: Was that what he was doing? Explaining to me how democracy works?
CAIN: I really do, Soledad.
CAIN: I think the concept is not always to get something done. It is supposed to be hard to get things done and the go-around between --
O'BRIEN: Then Congress is doing great.
HOOVER: I know.
CAIN: You resolve if you don't like the way the democratic process is working is not to go the executive -- do it how you want.
O'BRIEN: This President -- what the President has done is not the first time it has been done, obviously. HOOVER: Executive orders are not an act of the constitution.
CAIN: Unfortunately this is the "End Point" but for me to explain the difference between this executive order and others is this the President has two --
O'BRIEN: The emancipation proclamation?
CAIN: Good point.
The President has two outs on executive orders -- on not enforcing democratic laws and that is the constitution and prosecutorial discretion. The constitution, emancipation proclamation, the President can look at it and goes that's not constitutional.
No one is suggesting that on immigration. On prosecutorial discretion; it's usually a case-by-case issue. He is invalidating an entire swath of immigration laws here. This is anti-Democratic and that is the problem.
Look, I like the Dream Act. If I were a legislator, I would vote for it. But the process here is a big problem.
HEADLEE: Well, it's certainly not unprecedented and is called for in our constitution.
O'BRIEN: Would you like to take your 20 seconds for "End Point" this morning?
HOOVER: You know what; I'm just going to go back to that bacon chocolate bar was delicious. But there are (inaudible) chocolate bacon bars out there. So now I'm on a hunt.
HOOVER: Now I'm on a hunt for the better bacon chocolate bar.
O'BRIEN: Have people send them to us. Here at CNN in New York.
HOOVER: Tweet us your favorite chocolate bacon bars.
HEADLEE: I've had better chocolate bacon.
O'BRIEN: Thank you for "End Point". we have to hand it off to "CNN NEWSROOM". Don't forget, tomorrow Chaz Bono is going to join us to chat about what's going on.
"CNN NEWSROOM" with Ashleigh Banfield begins right now. Everybody else, we'll see you back here at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Hey Ashleigh, good morning.