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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Interview with Senator John Barrasso; Microsoft's New "Surface"; Interview with Chaz Bono; Interview with Author Dan Winslow; The Kings of Cool; Stealing the Show

Aired June 19, 2012 - 08:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody.

Our STARTING POINT this morning is ditching the dream. Florida Senator Marco Rubio abandoning his version of the DREAM Act, blaming President Obama for swooping in. One man with some tough words and strong actions on immigration is Senator John Barrasso and he joins us this morning.

Also, is this the iPad killer? Microsoft is now getting into the tablet business, throwing in a kick stand and a keyboard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A kick stand. OK.

O'BRIEN: The founder of Reddit.com is going to join us to give us one of the first reviews.

And a sneaker with ankle shackles. Kind of reminds you of slavery, doesn't it? Who thought this was a good idea? We're going to discuss it this morning.

It's June 19th, a Tuesday. And STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

O''BRIEN: That's Margaret's play list. That's the Foo Fighters, "Learning to Fly."

Today's --

MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: A tongue twister.

O'BRIEN: Not really. I just can't get it. But thank you for that.

HILL: I was trying to be nice.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I just look for alternative songs so you can --

O'BRIEN: I appreciate that, Margaret.

Margaret, of course, is the author of "American Individualism." Marc Lamont Hill is with us as well. He's a professor at Columbia University, also the host of "Our World with --

HOOVER: Smile.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: No, that's too much. There you go. Perfect.

Will Cain is with us, TheBlaze.com columnist.

Nice to have everybody with us.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good morning to you.

O'BRIEN: Our STARTING POINT this morning is Senator Marco Rubio dropping his efforts to draft a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act. The decision just days after President Obama announced a similar plan on Friday.

Under the new policy, the Obama administration will not deport most young people that have been brought illegally into the U.S. by their parents. In an interview, Rubio said he and other Republicans were not consulted about that plan, and criticized the move as an election year pander to Latino voters.

Here's what he said on FOX News last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Very significant issue that needs to be solved in a long-term way that's measured, reasonable, and balanced, and decided by edict but by fiat basically to solve in the short-term, which happens to coincide with the November election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Joining me this morning, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Nice to see you, sir.

Marco Rubio clearly makes it seem as if it's very political and very similar to what he was going to propose anyway. Would you agree with him? Are you disappointed and angry?

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: Well, I agree with Marco Rubio.

You know, the president said that in his first years in office, this would be one of his highest priorities to deal with the issue of illegal immigration in this country. The president failed to do that, pushing through a very unpopular health care law. He pushed his cap and trade program, raising energy prices for people. But yet, the president ignored this until just five months before an election.

And Marco Rubio was working in a bipartisan way, in a bipartisan way, Republicans and Democrats alike, to look for a long-term solution to one of the issues of illegal immigration.

O'BRIEN: Well --

BARRASSO: The president by doing what he did is basically I think delayed finding any kind of long-term solution and has actually made the problem worse.

O'BRIEN: Explain that to me. Why the delay? Because Marco Rubio, as you know, never had an actual proposal. So, why do you think that means a delay now with what the president has done?

BARRASSO: Well, Marco was working with Republicans and Democrats alike to come up with a solution for a concern that he has raised and he has worked with. And it's been a signature issue for him.

And yet the president by doing what he has done, by presidential edict, basically, deciding that the law of the land doesn't matter. That he as president chooses as one person to just have the law of the land not be enforced, is something that I think is -- is wrong for the country. It is not a way for a government to work, and excludes the American people and the decision making.

And the American people are involved in making the laws of this land, participating in democracy, electing people and then you go on from there.

O'BRIEN: It's certainly not the first presidential order. Will?

CAIN: You know, what's interesting. Let's hone in on Senator Barrasso's criticism here. It seems to be about the process by which the president pushed this legislation through, or push this edict through the executive office.

Senator Barrasso, I'm curious to know then, on the merits of the issue, on the actual merits of the policy the president seems willing to pursue, it seems to be largely similar to Marco Rubio's proposals. Do you support the merit of what the president is proposing?

BARRASSO: I'm not talking about yes or no on the merit. I'm talking about the fact that we have laws on the books, and the president side deciding as one person not to enforce the laws of the land.

O'BRIEN: I hear you on that. But I think will's question is, we gather that. But do you support the merits or not?

BARRASSO: I think we ought to enforce the laws of the land. Illegal immigration continues to be a major problem in the United States. We have people waiting to come here legally. And we should not be rewarding people who have come here illegally.

And I'll continue to fight for that position. I support what Marco Rubio is working on in the sense that, you're right, we have not seen the final efforts. But he has been working in a bipartisan way with people to look for a permanent solution to one of the issues of illegal immigration, something that could pass the House and the Senate in a bipartisan way, with the buy-in (ph) of American people, and then would be the law of the land.

O'BRIEN: So you would support something if it were permanent, and that's what you have an issue with, because it sounds --

CAIN: And pushed through with the democratic process it sounds like.

O'BRIEN: OK. Let me ask you this. Back in 2007 when you were pitching a bill called the Barrasso No License for Illegals Bill, you said, frankly, this is just a small bite of the growing immigration national security problem. It makes sense to fix those thing that can be done right now. Meaning, you know, you tackle the things in front of you. It sounds a little bit in some ways similar to what's happening here. It's not?

BARRASSO: Well, that had to do with drivers licenses for people who were in the country illegally. I oppose giving driver's licenses to people who are in the country illegally. It is a form of identification. It is often viewed as an issue related to citizenship. I am opposed to that and will continue to oppose any efforts to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses.

And I raise this at the time when the then-governor of New York was promoting a piece of legislation -- it was Eliot Spitzer at the time, was supporting legislation to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. I do not think that should be done. And I think ultimately that was pulled back in New York state.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: But your point was -- forgive me for interrupting. But my point was instead of tackling the national reform with immigration was let's work on this small thing, this is just a small bite of the growing problem. It's what you said. It makes sense to fix those things that can be done right now. Ergo, we're going to focus on drivers license because this is a little piece we can handle right now.

It sounds like the young people, sort of the DREAM Act kids that people are talking about, would be that same little thing that you could do right now, which is what the had the president has done. Is that right?

BARRASSO: Well, the president has chosen not to enforce the law of the land. What Marco Rubio was doing with the legislation he was working in a bipartisan way involving Republicans and Democrats alive, House and Senate, he was working on fixing an area of concern that he was focused, which is not all of the illegal immigration, not the entire immigration issue, but this focused on a specific select group, just as I was doing with the driver's license law.

That's why what I think Marco was working on something that would pass the House, pass the Senate, and get signed into law is very different than a presidential edict (AUDIO GAP) I'm above the law. I get to decide what the laws will be and what laws that I will choose as president to ignore. And I don't think any president should do that.

HOOVER: Senator Barrasso, what would it take, Margaret Hoover, to actually get comprehensive illegal immigration plan through? Because as you know, President Bush and Senator Kennedy worked very diligently on a comprehensive immigration plan in 2006, 2007, and it went down in partisan flames.

So, you know, we can talk idealistic about a comprehensive immigration reform plan, but what's it going to take?

BARRASSO: Well, you just said it went down in partisan flames. I thought it went down in bipartisan flames. You mentioned President Bush as well as Senator Kennedy, who may have supported it, and others in a bipartisan way, opposed that proposal.

It's going to take an effort of people really addressing first securing the borders, making sure the borders are secure, and dealing with the issue of folks that are here now illegally, who have broken the law. And it's a much bigger debate.

But what Senator Rubio has focused on what I was focused on in 2007 is a component of that. And as you said, work on one part of that at a time, and that's what Senator Rubio is now withdrawn because of the divisive efforts of the president in this run-up to the election to try to go after a certain segment of the population.

O'BRIEN: Congress has been tackling immigration reform since 2001, and then 2007, and then 2010 twice. So, yes, it's going to be a long haul, I think.

Thank you, sir. We appreciate your time.

BARRASSO: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: You bet. My pleasure.

Got to get to Z, Zoraida Sambolin has got a look at the day's top stories.

Hey, Z.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Soledad.

At the G20 Summit today in Mexico, President Obama meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao. They are expected to discuss the economy and China's role in the talks over Iran's nuclear program. So far, the economic crisis has dominated the discussion.

President Obama and other world leaders are turning up the heat on Europe to solve its debt crisis. And that's triggering a war of words with the president of the E.U. saying European nations didn't come to the G20 to get lectured.

Jerry Sandusky's child sex abuse trial could go to the jury by the end of the week. But before that happens, NBC News reports prosecutors may introduce a potentially explosive unaired portion of the interview Sandusky did with Bob Costas. Listen for yourself as Sandusky seems to all but admit seeking out some young people for sex.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER PENN STATE FOOTBALL ASST. COACH: And I didn't go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I've helped. There are many that I didn't have -- I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The defense is expected to wrap up its case tomorrow afternoon. No word if Sandusky will take the stand.

And the government is spending millions and still whiffing against Roger Clemens. A jury finding him not guilty on all charges in his perjury trial related to alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. The next jury he will face, the baseball writers, the men who vote for the hall of fame.

Earlier on STARTING POINT, his lawyer, famous Texas Attorney Rusty Hardin, told us earlier this morning the rocket is a hall of famer in his book.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSTY HARDIN, ROGER CLEMENS ATTORNEY: If he's judged in history by people in baseball as being a great pitcher, that's good enough for him. If the writers decide to put him in the Hall of Fame, fine. If they don't, that's their call. This guy is one of the best people who happened to also be a great pitcher that I have ever known.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: This is the second time Clemens faced a trial. The first one ended in a mistrial.

And Iron Mike is Broadway-bound. Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson teaming up with director Spike Lee for a one-man show called "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth." It's sort of an onstage confessional. Tyson says the show will be raw, filthy, and show his vulnerable side.

The show will have a limited engagement, six nights only. That is beginning July 31st.

Soledad?

O'BRIEN: That is fantastic. I would definitely go see that. That's going to be hard to get a ticket to.

Don't you think? You wouldn't you want to see that?

CAIN: Mike Tyson is always somebody interesting to watch.

O'BRIEN: On Broadway talking about his life?

CAIN: Complicated guy.

HILL: I always thought he was destined for Broadway.

O'BRIEN: I can't say I agree with you on that.

HOOVER: All the way along.

HILL: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning from Chastity to Chaz, Chaz Bono is going to talk about his transition to the person he says he always knew he was.

Plus, will you drop your iPad for the Surface? One of the first reviews of Microsoft's brand-new tablet is just ahead.

And Adidas apologizing for this, yes, sneakers with shackles. Is the outrage justified? Our tough call today.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: That's Mary J. I love starting my morning with Mary J. That's all I need. But usually, I start with "No More Drama," because I feel like it sets the tone.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Just take it down and notch everybody. The world is getting its first look this morning at Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPad. The software giant has unveiled its new tablet. It's called the Surface. And it comes with RT, Windows RT, which is Microsoft's own tablet software, and a few unique features, including a foldout cover that acts a full keyboard.

That part is pretty cool, I think. The announcement sent the tech world into a frenzy, because that's what they do, speculating how it's going to measure up to the iPad. The founder of Reddit.com is Alexis Ohanian. He is always our guest on the show. Nice to see you. So, you tried out the Surface yet?

ALEXIS OHANIAN, CO-FOUNDER, REDDIT.COM: I haven't actually gotten my hands literally on it.

O'BRIEN: OK. I know you've seen some of the, I guess, the perks of it. What do you think of it?

OHANIAN: Well, here's the thing.

O'BRIEN: Uh-oh.

OHANIAN: Microsoft has had an interesting history with hardware. There are great successes like the Xbox. I know. I can't live without it, many others can't. And then, there are others like the Zoom. They sort of failed mp3 player. It's too early to tell. I think it's somewhere in between.

I'm just not convinced that this is quite yet the thing to compete with consumers on the iPad. But, you know, enterprise is where Microsoft is still winning today. So, maybe, that's where it's going to end up having some success.

MARC LAMONT HILL, "OUR WORLD WITH BLACK ENTERPRISE" HOST: Shouldn't they just give up?

O'BRIEN: Oh, stop.

HILL: I'm serious. Really. I mean, it's not Apple, right? I mean, Apple will come out with an iPad 4 tomorrow and I'd buy it just because it's called the iPad 4 even if there was no difference. People will like it because it's culture. Doesn't Microsoft just have a reputation for not making cool stuff?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Xbox.

HILL: Other than the Xbox.

OHANIAN: There's a portion of that. You know, Steve Balmer (ph) said it sort of very famously, developers, developers, developers. You know, the reason for so much of Apple's success, you know, is in part, yes, the hardware, but also because it has great, great developers building great, great apps.

And we have yet to see -- now, Microsoft's got a ton of money. Whether or not they can use that money to encourage people to actually build cool apps for this platform, you know? That is yet to be seen.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Without that ecosystem of developers, it seems like what they do is perfecting Apple product by putting a kick stand on it or cover the flip sound (ph) to a keyboard -- I mean, I don't know how that sends the tech world into a frenzy

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: You know, they should put a picture of an Apple on it, on the cover.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: I'm just saying, man.

HOOVER: Maybe it's a price point issue. What's the price point? What's it selling for?

OHANIAN: Oh, it's comparable. I think where Microsoft can hopefully win is the fact that, yes, they still win the day in enterprise. Apple has, for lots of reasons, not even tried to touch all of those mega corporations that, you know, could see this as an entry point for tablets for their employees.

You know, I don't know about you guys, but I still just use my tablet primarily for things that are not work related. It's mostly games and browsing.

O'BRIEN: Not me. CNN bought mine. I use mine only for work- related --

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: I don't know what you're talking about. I actually think the keyboard would be a good thing. I think, sometimes, it's really hard, especially if you're going to try to do real work and write a document to have a keyboard that is one of those, you know, got to use one finger at a time.

CAIN: No doubt, but is it not enough to be an alternative?

O'BRIEN: For me, maybe.

HILL: No, because everyone know you don't have an I something. I'm telling you. It's all about culture. iStuff is cool.

O'BRIEN: Would you buy it -- buy it or not buy it?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

OHANIAN: But here's the thing. I -- for what it's worth, I still have the first generation iPad. So, I -- you know, the tablet -- you know, I've played around -- my girlfriend, of course, has the newest edition of iPad. I, somehow, ended up with the first edition still. But the fact of the matter remains --

O'BRIEN: Giving it a ringing endorsement, Alexis.

OHANIAN: This isn't -- yes, this isn't world changing.

O'BRIEN: You know when he starts, well, here's the thing.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: All right. Alexis, thank you. Appreciate it.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning --

OHANIAN: Thank you for having me.

O'BRIEN: So, take a look, would you wear these sneakers? Adidas says, just fashion. Others say, don't those cuffs, those ankle shackles remind you of something, say, bad in the nation's history? We're going to talk about that in our tough call segment coming up.

And don't forget, you can watch us on your computer, on your mobile phone when you're heading to work, CNN.com/Live. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Always good to have a little Shakira. I'm Zoraida Sambolin with a look at some of today's other stories.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): After seeing this x-ray, it is really hard to believe a South Florida teenager survived being shot in the head with a three-foot long spear. Sixteen-year-old Jazzer Lopez (ph) and a friend were getting ready to go fishing earlier this month when their spear gun accidentally went off.

Doctors say he may have problems with his left side and maybe some memory loss, but his prognosis is actually good.

Well, the force was with him. Mini Darth Vader, Max Page (ph), is out of the hospital after successful surgery to correct a congenital heart defect. Seven-year-old Page who was known for his starring role in the 2011 Super Bowl commercial for Volkswagen told reporters he is feeling great, and he looks really great, too.

And Arsenio Hall is coming back to late night.

ARSENIO HALL, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: I am returning to CBS to the exact place I did the "Arsenio Hall Show," and I'm doing the "Arsenio Hall Show" again.

SAMBOLIN: Almost 20 years after his late-night show went off the air, Hall made his comeback official on "Piers Morgan Tonight." Hall actually credits filling in for Piers with helping him get his new gig. He said his interview with Magic Johnson earlier this year got CBS' attention. That and winning the latest "Celebrity Apprentice." Hall's new show will debut in the fall of 2013.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: I love that.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): It will be nice to get him back

O'BRIEN: Yes. I Love That. I love that, you know, your career is never done, right?

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

O'BRIEN: He fills in, does an interview.

SAMBOLIN: Well, I certainly hope so, right?

O'BRIEN: Exactly. We're in luck.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: All right. Let's turn to today's "Tough Call." It's a new segment. We're going to debate a story of the day. This one is the Adidas shackle shoes. Everybody was tweeting about that yesterday. This was the Facebook page for the JS Roundhouse Mids.

You can see the sneakers have a bright orange cuff that many critics say remind somebody of, say, a bad time in our nation's history. That would be slavery. The shoes were supposed to come out in August, but after such enormous backlash, the shoe and the Facebook page, itself, had been pulled.

Adidas released a statement saying, "In part, the design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than designer Jeremy Scott's outrageous and unique take on fashion. It has nothing to do with slavery." Still, the company apologized if people found it offensive. Did you find it offensive?

HILL: I did, as a Black person

(LAUGHTER)

CAIN: Give us the Black perspective.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: No. I did find it offensive. But I don't think that he had a bad intention. But I think that's partly White (ph) privilege is about, not having to think about how a shoe design could impact other people. I mean -- and this also -- it also speaks to what happens when you don't have Black people around in corporate office.

I refuse to believe that there were Black people in those conversations, and they put up a shoe, a shackle -- and they didn't say, you know, this looks kind of slavey. You know what I mean? Like, this looks like a prison shackle. I mean, someone would say that if they were in the room. I think you need more people in the conversation.

CAIN: Yes. I don't even know if it requires a Black person in the room. Not that that's a good thing. But I don't think it requires a Black perspective to realize, hey, that doesn't look cool. What's going on? I'm not even talking about stylistically. It's stupid looking. So much have said that. That's a stupid-looking --

(CROSSTALK)

CAIN: But to understand the slavery thing, it doesn't -- I think anybody gets that.

HOOVER: Isn't there a culture, though, amongst shoe designers that you always got to one up the next guy, you've got to outrageous, you've got to get attention, you've got a sort of push the edge. There was the black and tan that Nike did, remember, that the Irish found outrageous because the black and tan were the British paramilitary troopers that were -- they've executed Irish (ph) World War I.

Yes. A little than more obscure. I grant you that. But seriously, there is this sort of overdo it -- make it more outrageous than the last guy. HILL: I think people want to be cutting edge. I also think they want to catch up with Kanye's shoe, the Nike that just came out, the Air Yeezy, and people lined up down the street. I get that. But it has to be a line somewhat, because you're alienating the very people who you want to sell the shoe to.

O'BRIEN: And at the end of the day, you're a corporation, right? So, you have shareholders, you have -- when someone protests, you end up taking it down. So, you have to kind of navigate that. I thought the same thing. They need more people in the room who are like --

HILL: Yes, don't do that one.

(LAUGHTER)

HILL: Next!

O'BRIEN: Next.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk to Chaz Bono about his transition. Sonny and Cher's child talks to us about his gender reassignment surgery, and how he's feeling today.

Casting call. Who's going to play Mitt Romney in the mock debates with President Obama? Here's a hint. He's been down the road before.

And New York City's mayor is refusing to endorse a presidential candidate, but did he tip his hand? You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Let's get right to Zoraida for a look at the day's headlines. Hey, Z.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning, Soledad.

More homes reduced to ash now because of that stubborn Hyde Park fire. The massive fire has been burning just west of Fort Collins, Colorado, for 10 days now. Fire officials confirming eight more homes were lost, bringing the total to 190 homes destroyed. Close to 59,000 acres have been scorched, and that fire is just 50 percent contained.

Wildfires are burning throughout the western United States. Take a look at that map. California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah have all reported wildfires. And fires are also burning in Wyoming and in Nebraska.

A majority of Americans appear to support President Obama's immigration policy shift. The new policy stops the deportation of some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. According to a Bloomberg national news poll, 64 percent agree with the new policy, 30 percent disagree with it. The real test may be how it is playing with independent voters -- 66 percent are in favor of it, just 26 percent against, all within a margin of error.

And when President Obama begins preparing for his upcoming debates, the part of Mitt Romney will be played by Senator John Kerry. The White House confirming Kerry will mimic Romney's speaking style and will even answer questions the way they believe Romney will answer them so the president will be completely prepared for their face-to- face showdowns this fall.

And when it comes to endorsing a presidential candidate, New York city mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently plans to remain neutral. But he may prefer one candidate over another. "The New York Times" quoting two people who spoke to the mayor at a recent charity event, reports Mr. Bloomberg believed Mitt Romney would be better at running the country, but he cannot support him because of his opposition to abortion rights and to gun control, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Zoraida, thank you for the update.

The world first new Chaz Bono as Chastity, the adorable two-year- old daughter of sonny and Cher. But as Chaz grew up, he knew something wasn't quite right. He was angry, confused, turned to painkillers to deal with his personal struggles.

In his first book, which is called "Family Outing," Chaz writes about coming out as a lesbian. The next book, "Transition -- The Story of How I Became a Man," talks about identifying as a transgendered man. Now he is claiming his life as a man called "Transition -- Becoming Who I Was Always Meant To Be." Chaz Bono joins us live this morning. Thank you for being with me. We appreciate it. Of the three books, what was the most difficult and challenging thing to have to write about?

CHAZ BONO, AUTHOR "TRANSITION -- BECOMING WHO I WAS ALWAYS MEANT TO BE": Well, understand the last -- the paperback is just -- I added a new chapter from the original hardback version. And it's basically got a lot of great stuff about "Dancing with the Stars" in it. So if you're a fan of that show, go out and pick up the paperback.

O'BRIEN: Was that the hardest time? You took a lot of flak for that, you know, and then --

BONO: Oh, no. That --

O'BRIEN: Go ahead.

BONO: That was fun to write about. I had such a great time doing that show. And I just -- you know, I really wanted to try to capture what it feels like to be on it, because I think there are so many fans and people are so into it. And I just wanted to give an inside feel as to what it feels like to be a contestant on it.

O'BRIEN: There were lots of people -- not lots, but a number of people who wrote in to the show protesting the fact that you were on it at all. Some people saying I'm disgusted, I'm going to kiss the show goodbye, really, really angry. And then you had the well-wishers who piled on the other side supporting you.

BONO: Right.

O'BRIEN: Was that a difficult time for to you to be in the center of the storm when you really just wanted to be on the show and dance?

BONO: No, not really. It's what I focused on, was just learning how to dance at that time. You know, it happened before I went on the show. So I really hoped that that would kind of blow over. And once I got on the show, people would kind of forget about all of that. And that's pretty much, you know, what happened. As soon as the show started, it seemed like all of that went away.

O'BRIEN: You have written a lot about your family's reaction to first coming out as a lesbian, and then identifying as a transgendered man, and then becoming a transgendered man. How is your family, overall, your mom, of course, the famous Cher, your stepmother, Mary Bono Mack, who we have had on this show a number of times, how have the conversations around these major decisions in your life, how have they gone?

BONO: You know, I think probably for everybody in my family, it was probably the hardest on my mother. And I think that, you know, would make sense, obviously. You know, but slowly, it's an adjustment for her. And I think slowly she's making that adjustment.

Mary, on the other hand, has been unbelievably supportive from the get go, and I absolutely love her for that.

O'BRIEN: You're an advocate now for transgendered people. What is the first on the list of your things that need to be done on that front?

BONO: Oh, well, I think --

O'BRIEN: Sounds like a big list from that sigh.

BONO: It's a big list. There are a lot of issues. But I think, you know, for the entire LGBT community, passing the employment nondiscrimination act is a really important thing. And then for transgendered people, you know, I would really love to see our treatment covered in health care. That's something that really is important to us.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Chaz, this is will. Are you happy today?

BONO: Unbelievably so, yes.

CAIN: Soledad pointed out you went through some hard times through this process, dealing with painkillers. And obviously, you have taken great measures to find yourself at a place where you hope you would be happy. And you're telling us successful, you're much happier. BONO: Yes. I mean, it's not -- I am 100 times more happy. But it goes beyond that. It's really -- I am comfortable and at peace and move through the world so much easier now than I did before.

MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA PROFESSOR: How do you -- what do you say to young people who are struggling with gender identity? What should the first step be for them?

BONO: You know, finding support for them and their family. I think that's probably the first step.

MARGARET HOOVER, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM": And what is the first place to go? And where do you get that support if you're not from a family that is as open or as accustomed to --

O'BRIEN: If your mom isn't Cher.

BONO: Well, believe me. I've met a lot of the parents who took it a lot better than my mom did at first.

HOOVER: But where do you go? Seriously. Where does somebody who looks at you and says they have done this transition, where do they go for support?

BONO: If you don't have the support of your family, that's really hard. You know, there's a ton of information on the internet. There's, you know, gay and lesbian centers in pretty much every major city at this point that if they don't have resources for you, they're going to be able to point you in the direction of it. In Los Angeles, we have a group that I am a very big part of called Transforming Family. And we work with families, teens, kids, and really try to add exactly that support for everybody.

O'BRIEN: Well, Chaz Bono, nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us this morning. Your third book -- another one in the works?

BONO: Probably. Not yet, but definitely ideas.

O'BRIEN: Good, good, good. Thanks for talking with us. We'd love to have you back on to talk about that as well. Appreciate it.

BONO: Thank you so much.

O'BRIEN: My pleasure.

Still ahead on "starting point," author Dan Winslow has a new novel called "The Kings of Cool," a prequel to his previous work, which is called "Savages" is now a new movie. Here is his playlist. He likes Eminem, "Not Afraid." You're watching STARTING POINT. Hey, nice to have you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ben went to Berkeley and double majored in business and botany.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the best cannabis in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we just struck gold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He takes 99 percent of the violence out of the business. The other one percent, that where John comes in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: That's a clip from Oliver Stone's new movie called "Savages," and it's about two drug dealing friends who must fight to save the woman they both love from a Mexican cartel. The movie itself is adapted from a widely praised crime novel written by Don Winslow. For more than a decade he has been researching and writing about the war on drugs and drug culture. To get the story, he worked as a private investigator and then for the State Department. He went on five stake outs. Is that true?

DAN WINSLOW, AUTHOR, "THE KINGS OF COOL": Yes. In my early books I was working as a P.I. and trying to write five pages a day, no matter what. Sometimes I would write on stakeouts.

O'BRIEN: How much in the books was really from stuff you were saying on the stakeouts or working as an investigator? Was the dialogue really ripped from what you were experiencing?

WINSLOW: You know, quite a bit of it. Later on, I wrote a book called "The Power of the Dog" which is a tome about the drug trade. And I did a lot of research on that. By that time, I had been done with being a private investigator. So I was just doing pure research at that point. Most of this comes from that research.

HOOVER: You worked with Oliver Stone pretty closely on this last one. How was that?

WINSLOW: You know it's an intense experience working with Oliver.

HOOVER: How is it intense, what's that mean? He yells?

WINSLOW: He's an intense guy. No I never heard him yell. You know but -- but he's serious about what he does. And it's intense.

HOOVER: Writing -- rewriting, did he rewrite any of your script? Or did he --

WINSLOW: You know we all worked together. There were three of us. And so we were -- you know we've met in person. We were on the phone. We exchanged emails. A lot of talking, we have a lot of discussion.

CAIN: And you're happy with how the movie came out?

WINSLOW: I am, I think it's a good movie.

CAIN: That's a leading question I just asked you.

WINSLOW: I didn't recognize it.

COSTELLO: Sometimes authors say that they are not happy. And then it's really interesting because there's like sort of a collision between the original book that they wrote and the way it turned out. But as the screen writer, I've got to imagine you get to help that transition from your book to what you actually see on the screen.

WINSLOW: Yes. It's an enormous change. You know earlier in my career, I adapted more or less that philosophy of take the money and run. You know, stand by the fence grab it and get out and before they catch you. That didn't work out so well.

O'BRIEN: How do you mean?

WINSLOW: Well, I had one film that was made from one of my books. And when I saw it --

O'BRIEN: You didn't love it?

WINSLOW: I didn't love it. In fact, I was surprised at how much it hurt to see it.

HOOVER: So is that part of what you did on this one, is that part of the deal was that you wanted to be part of the creation and making it into a visual component?

WINSLOW: Yes, ma'am. And you know, my partner, Shane Solarno and I, really discussed the world of film. How we're going to approach it in a new kind of way for -- for novelists. And part of that is having a real seat at the table. And that's all I've ever wanted, is a genuine seat at the table.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question, this is from your bio. It says for the State Department, he -- meaning you -- trained and led terrorist cells and kidnapped diplomats at prearranged events. What?

WINSLOW: Huh?

O'BRIEN: Yes. Really? What does that mean? What is -- what is kidnapping quotes mean?

WINSLOW: I was in-charge of hostage simulation exercises playing the bad guys.

O'BRIEN: Well, ok.

WINSLOW: And so I would form little terrorist cells of actors and ex-military types and we would go in and we would kidnap -- people knew some event was going to happen. And we'd take this people out. And then they would do the training for hostage negotiation release.

O'BRIEN: What did that teach you that you were able to put in books? "The Savages", and "Kings of Cools"; what does that teach you?

WINSLOW: Well, it teaches you infiltration. It teaches you military and sniper positioning. It teaches you all kinds of things. O'BRIEN: It doesn't teach you how to become a writer, though. How did you learn that?

WINSLOW: The long way.

O'BRIEN: Working at your craft.

WINSLOW: Working at your craft.

O'BRIEN: Now Winslow nice to have you. Congratulations on the movie which is coming out on July 6th.

WINSLOW: Right, thank you.

O'BRIEN: And then of course the new book, "Kings of Cool" which is coming out today.

WINSLOW: My pleasure. Thanks for having me. Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We appreciate it.

WINSLOW: Ok.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the infamous soda ban. Will Cain, you love the soda ban or you hate it?

CAIN: I hate it. I think I have made that quite clear.

O'BRIEN: I know, I know, well guess what? It's coming to another city. Moving, spreading from New York City, to another city that wants to adopt it. We'll tell you where and what their strategy is.

And in honor of Will Cain, here's his play list. Black Crows. "Twice as Hard." You're watching STARTING POINT we're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN HOST: I'm Zoraida Sambolin with a look at some of today's other stories.

Immigration officials say they won't deport former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi when he leaves jail later this morning. Ravi was convicted of spying on roommate Tyler Clementi with his webcam after Clementi brought another man into their dorm room. Clementi committed suicide just days after that. Ravi served 20 days of a 30-day sentence.

At a Houston art museum a cell phone camera catches a Picasso vandal right in the act. You see a man walk up to a 1929 Picasso it is called "Conquer the Beast." He spray paints the word "Conquista." It is Spanish for conquer, or conquer, the man who shot the video said he confronted the vandal afterwards. The vandal reportedly told him he's an up and coming artist who said he did it to honor Picasso's work. The infamous soda ban bubbling up in brand new cities. Now Cambridge, Massachusetts, is considering one similar to the proposal in New York City. That one would impose a 16-ounce limit on sugary drinks sold in restaurants and at movie theaters. Cambridge's mayor says she is consulting the public health department before she decides specifics.

And maybe Jack Daniels' famous Tennessee whiskey is not from Tennessee after all. A Welch businessman claims he has found the original recipe for Jack Daniels old number 7 brand whiskey in a book of herbal remedies belonging to his grandmother. According to Sky News, Mark Evans was researching his family history when he found the book written in 1853.

And that's about the same time her brother-in-law moved to Lynchburg, Tennessee, with a famous distillery was founded three years later. The history of Jack Daniels is a mystery because the distiller's early records were destroyed in a fire.

O'BRIEN: I like a good mystery. Yes, all right. Thanks Zoraida I appreciate it.

SAMBOLIN: You're welcome.

O'BRIEN: Well, he stole the show during the "American Idol" finals with his pitch perfect voice and hard rocker attitude. And James Durbin overcame Tourette's and Asperger's syndrome to do it.

In this week's "Human Factor" Dr. Sanjay Gupta sits down with the incredibly talented 21-year old. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You lost your father at a young age.

JAMES DURBIN, AMERICAN IDOL: Yes I was about 9 years old.

GUPTA: And shortly after your father past away you were also diagnosed with Tourette's and Asperger's syndrome.

DURBIN: I had different facial tics and -- and made different sounds and stuff growing up.

GUPTA: It sounds like a -- a really rough awful childhood frankly. What does a 10-year-old James do?

DURBIN: Well there was things that I thought about doing.

GUPTA: You thought about taking your life?

DURBIN: Yes, it definitely crossed my mind.

GUPTA: You did find another way out, so to speak, of that darkness. And what was it that caused that?

DURBIN: It was music. It was music and theater.

GUPTA: When you're onstage, you know, and there's lots of cameras and there's nowhere to hide, so to speak, at that point, so what do you do then?

DURBIN: I feel in control, like something is going on. And I'm onstage, and you're down there. And I'm up here. I'm ok.

Just the physical act of being in that -- I mean you're onstage, you're performing.

DURBIN: Having to be social onstage with someone, even though you're just playing a role, you have to have chemistry. And so that opened up a whole new world for me.

GUPTA: You recently got married to the mother of your child. Tell me about Heidi.

DURBIN: She had dreams and goals and aspirations. And I just looked at myself and said, "I've got to change." Thank God for her, because she really helped me through it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Nice story. Good for him.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Time for "End Point". Who wants to start? Marc, I'm going to make you start today. What you got?

LAMONT HILL: Get off of Roger Clemens' back. He is a champion. He is a winner. He's the greatest pitcher --

O'BRIEN: Hall of fame?

LAMONT HILL: Hall of fame, yes. Put him in there. And put Barry Bonds in there.

O'BRIEN: Is it going to happen?

LAMONT HILL: Probably not.

CAIN: People don't care. It doesn't matter? The steroids, performance enhancing drugs, just doesn't matter?

LAMONT HILL: The whole league took him and they weren't on the banned substance list when they took them. And if you subtract those years from their careers, they still have better numbers than anyone else.

CAIN: I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just curious.

HOOVER: I hope that you feel the same way about Lance Armstrong. LAMONT-HILL: Lance Armstrong has never used a performance enhancing drug in his life.

HOOVER: Thank you. Thank you. As long as we're consistent, we're fine with that.

LAMONT-HILL: Yes. Right.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: All right. Will Cain, want to jump in? What have you got.

CAIN: You know, I thought it was a fascinating conversation with Don Winslow. And I'm in for "The Savages" and I'm in for "The King of Cool". I ask you if I can have these things. I'm excited to read these. We had a great conversation about the Mexican drug cartels during the break. He's an interesting guy.

HOOVER: One thing I did not know about Will Cain. He knows a lot of stuff about the illegal drug trade.

LAMONT-HILL: All research.

O'BRIEN: It worries me a little bit. All right.

Tomorrow on STARTING POINT, one of the world's best soccer players, Abby Wambach is going to stop by your studio, live. She's so good. Remembering watching her in the game?

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. I'll see everybody back here at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Hey Carol, good morning.