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Interview with Congresswoman Michele Bachmann; Davis Dominates NBA Draft; National Intelligence Director Introduces New Directive to Plug Intelligence Leaks; Mitt Romney Promotes School Vouchers; Chaka Khan Salutes Every Woman; Mira Sorvino's Newest Role

Aired June 25, 2012 - 08:00   ET



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

Our STARTING POINT this morning: supreme decision. The high court could announce its ruling on President Obama's health care law today. We're talking to the lawmaker who led the charge against it, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Record rainfall already. Tropical storm Debby turns deadly, spawns twisters all before it makes landfall.

And history in Egypt. The country has its first freely elected president ever but can he keep a fragile democracy from falling apart.

Trying to stop the cascade of leaks, the director of national intelligence is taking some new steps to stop classified information from getting out. CNN has got exclusive details this morning.

A packed show ahead with Congresswoman Bachmann. We're also talking to the -- potential, I should say -- number one draft pick in the NBA. That's Anthony Davis. Chaka khan will join us. And actress Mira Sorvino is our guest as well.

It's Monday, June 25th. And STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: That's the Decemberists, "This is Why We Fight." I like it.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's why we're here. Monday morning. That's why we fight.


O'BRIEN: Margaret Hoover's playlist. Margaret Hoover, of course, on our panel this morning. She's the author of "American Individualism."

Marc Lamont Hill is the professor at Columbia University, host of "Our World with Black Enterprise."

Will Cain is a columnist at

Let's get right to our STARTING POINT this hour. The Supreme Court -- we just heard from Jeff Toobin who say, you know, maybe as early as today, they're going to rule on the constitutionality of President Obama's health care reform law. One of the key issues that the justices are looking at is the law's individual mandate which requires all Americans to get health insurance or face steep fines.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has been one of the most outspoken critics of the law. Her opposition was a key part of her presidential campaign earlier this year. Listen.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: As president of the United States, I will not rest until I repeal Obamacare. It's a promise.


O'BRIEN: She's been closely watching the Supreme Court's decision.

Nice to see you. Thanks for being with us, Congresswoman. Appreciate your time this morning.

BACHMANN: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: What do you think is going to happen? We know obviously in front of the Supreme Court, we just heard Jeff Toobin updating us, you know, it could happen today. What do you think the result will be?

BACHMANN: Well, we're all hopeful, of course, that there will be a full scale repeal of Obamacare because what we want to focus on is bringing down the cost for every American, making health care cheaper and more affordable and more accessible. And we know that's a real possibility if we can get rid of this law.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about the folks who don't have health care because this law would propose to cover them something like 49.9 million people, 7.3 million of them are children. What do you propose to do for those people who are not covered?

BACHMANN: Well, that is what we want to do because we know there are millions of Americans who are suffering without health insurance. There are some options that really can happen that are painless without a lot of cost. One of those would quite simply being letting every American buy any insurance policy they want anywhere in the United States of America. And today, Americans can't use their own tax-free money to purchase any health care that they need.

I think they should and then finally we could have true medical malpractice reform. If you implement just those three measures alone, Soledad, that would quickly bring down the cost of health care and, of course, as soon as you bring down the cost, then you have millions of more Americans that can access the health care.

O'BRIEN: You're obviously against the mandate and for many people would say, that's clearly what the Supreme Court is going to be digging in to this week. People say, listen, there are mandates all over the place. You've got, you know, we mandate people to pay tax. We mandate people to insure their cars if they want to drive.

Why are you against the mandate?

BACHMANN: Well, this is unprecedented. In fact, even the Supreme Court said that. This is absolutely unprecedented because government has never before at the federal level forced an American to purchase a product or a service just because that individual breathes. Every American is forced to buy a product or service that government says under Obamacare, which is essentially a tax because government has the monopoly, they have all the parameters and decision-making and Americans are forced to buy a very expensive product even if they don't want it.

That's never happened before in over 235 years of our country. This isn't the time to start that now, especially on something as intimate and personal as health care.

O'BRIEN: Polls show when they poll people about health care, 47 percent are against the law. But -- and 43 percent are for the law. So it's pretty close. But when you add to those who are for the law, the 13 percent who are against it, because they don't think the law goes far enough, that would add up to 56 percent.

Do you worry that your polling against what the populace want?

BACHMANN: No, because actually the polling shows about 70 percent of the American people, Soledad, want Obamacare either repealed or reformed. They want it changed.

So, this is a highly unpopular law. Probably no other law in recent memory has been as unpopular as the president's health care plan. And I think it's quite simply people realize government has called all the shots and the people pay all of the bills.

People reflexively don't want politicians making their health care decisions for them. People want to make their own health care decisions together with their doctors and I think that's something we can all embrace.

O'BRIEN: Congresswoman, stand by for one moment while we discuss the politics with this with our panelists.

So, obviously, what we see is this debate in front of the Supreme Court but a bigger debate politically.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And the debate is going to move very quickly. The Republicans we've heard from sometime now have advocated repeal and replace. We need to focus soon on what that replace could be because if the Supreme Court goes the way we think it will, we're going to have to talk about what is next.

The congresswoman pointed out a couple of things that perhaps Republicans would be proposing. And that is allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, some kind of medical malpractice tort reform. I would suggest there has to be something done, about the length between employment and insurance.

We're going to have this debate very soon again. What is next?

MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Right. I think one of the other challenges is that even people for whom this is unpopular still like many dimensions of the reform policy. Right now in an election season, people don't want to feel like crucial things like being able to cover their children up to age of 25 and other things like are being taken away from them. I think we need concrete solutions.

O'BRIEN: So, let's talk about that back with the congresswoman. Do you worry about that in an election year that the Obama campaign could leverage, if it is killed, could leverage off of that and say this is a huge -- you know, use the killing of the law in order to get leverage?

BACHMANN: Well, I think because the law has been so widely unpopular, we haven't heard the president even talking about his signature piece of legislation during his presidency. Even go back to the State of the Union Address, the president didn't refer to it.

In all likelihood, that's because even by the government's nonpartisan own estimates, 4 million Americans are slated to lose their employer health insurance. Why? Because it's so expensive that employers, millions of them will be dropping the health insurance of their employees.

And so, there are so many negative ramifications that have already occurred. In fact, just this last year, health insurance premiums skyrocketed. They went up three times faster than in 2010.

Health insurance premiums spike to over 9 percent just this last year. That's part of the reason why it's so wildly unpopular and why I think you see the president not wanting to talk about his health care plan.

O'BRIEN: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us.

BACHMANN: Good morning.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. Appreciate it.

You know, but I think you have competing forces here, right? Because there are people who believe that people who are in poverty and cannot afford to buy their own health insurance should be insured in some capacity otherwise you pay for them anyway.

HILL: Exactly.

O'BRIEN: They just show up at the emergency room.

HOOVER: That's what you hear from Representative Bachmann. You'd hear that Republicans are not saying nobody should be insured. They're just saying we need to reform the marketplace so that everyone can afford the insurance rather than have a government mandate that requires people to buy insurance and then distorts the market.

O'BRIEN: But can you have -- when you talk about buying insurance that everyone can afford, there are certain people who will never be able to -- who are not saying, we just drop a little bit I could afford it.

HILL: Exactly. People opt not to do it. That's the problem with market-based solutions. They end up with winners and losers. The market can't always be the answer to this, and I think in this case, there are times when the government needs to protect those who can't protect themselves because, as was already said, we end up paying for it anyway.

CAIN: Those are very, vey fair points. We'll see from Republicans if they have an answer to it. How do you get as many people as possible insured? Do we lower costs? And what about the people that no matter how much you lower it, still won't?


HOOVER: It's not just about how Republicans respond to it. What are Democrats going to do? This will be a huge defeat for Obama either way, whether this is overturned or not, this is a political issue the president is going to have to contend with over the next five months and neither way is advantageous to him.

O'BRIEN: I disagree with you on that.

HILL: I disagree with that. I should think losing this could actually strengthen President Obama's momentum going into the election. And that's spinning.

I think it's a huge defeat in terms of the legislation, but I think it will look like Republicans did everything they could with a partisan Supreme Court to push the most aggressive piece of public policy.


HOOVER: That's the major argument you're going to see from the Democrats. Everybody, listen up. They are going to blame and vilify the Supreme Court for this decision rather than going the merits of whether it was constitutional or not.

O'BRIEN: I -- well, I think that ultimately it's going to be a very political, right? So, what's going to happen, it's just a leverage point. And I think if you can say they killed health care, they killed you, you have a child who's got a pre-existing condition, then you're going to see people hold out in ad, they killed health care. This child is no longer. I think it's very --

CAIN: That's the debate. It will be that, versus this guy's vision of government is so far out of the bounds of what's the Supreme Court is constitutional. That would be the balance.

O'BRIEN: All right. I got to stop. They yelled that in my ear.

Let's get to Christine Romans. She's got an update on stories making headlines.

Hey, Christine.


Let's start with this big storm, deadly before it makes landfall. Tropical storm Debby hammering Florida with extreme weather. And she's in no hurry. This slow-moving storm sitting off the Florida panhandle. The outer bands whipping up dangerous surf, triggering this huge waterspout off Juno Beach.

Debby also spawned a fatal tornado as it drenched the coast crossing the death of a woman in Venice. Two feet of rain could fall before it's all over.

John Zarrella live in Clearwater, Florida, for us this morning.

Good morning, John.


You mentioned it. You know, tornadoes, water spouts, power outages, flooding, coastal flooding, heavy rain. You know, just about the entire state of Florida has seen some effect or multiple effects from tropical storm Debby the past 24 to 48 hours.

Hillsborough County in Tampa, just south of us here, some heavy flooding in many areas around Hillsborough County in the Tampa Area, also in St. Petersburg area and to the north of us as well.

You know, and one thing, though, you can see the sun is out here this morning. And that is good news. At least for now it appears that the heavy storms, those heavy squalls have kind of died out in tropical storm Debby. It doesn't necessarily mean they won't regenerate but for now, a good time for people in Florida to kind of dry out and hope that this thing is weakening and weakening further -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. John is in Clearwater. Let's get the latest on tropical storm Debby's track from meteorologist Alexandra Steele in Atlanta.

Good morning.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you, again, Christine.

Well, John in Clearwater is seeing some clearing, because some dry air is kind of worked its way in. So, the problem with the stationary and that's the thing -- National Hurricane Center just coming out with its 8:00 advisory. Not a lot has changed. In essence, it is stationary, as is the movement.

Now, the problem with that is we're seeing this persistent onshore flow with the winds. Increased coastal flooding, flooding I really think would be the calling card with Debby in the end game. And also, we're going to see multiple high tide cycles, maybe four while this is still a player out there turning in the gulf.

Forecast rainfall totals now just in the latest computer model run is quite significantly less than what we saw just a few hours ago. Now here's where the heaviest rain will be, south of Savannah, along the 95 corridor but not an excess of 10 now. We're working between six and 10. So, certainly some changes, it is evolving.

We'll talk more about the bigger picture and what this really mean coming up in just a little bit.

ROMANS: All right. Alexandra, thank you, Alexandra.


ROMANS: One for all and all for Egypt. President-elect Mohamed Morsi calling for national unity as he begins to form a government. But the devil is in the details: while Egypt's ruling military recognizes Morsi as the new president, it's also taken control of many of the president's powers and dissolved parliament. So the extent of Morsi's authority remains unclear.

Convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky is being held in protective custody this morning. Sandusky's defense team now planning to appeal his conviction on 45 counts related to the sexual abuse of young boys.

Earlier Soledad spoke to Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly, whose department successfully prosecuted Sandusky.


LINDA KELLY, PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think that the commonwealth is comfortable that there was a fair trial, that was received by the defendant in this case, and that we will be successful on any appeal. We also believe that this case really turned on the testimony of the victims and that testimony of those victims was a paramount importance here.


ROMANS: Sandusky faces more than 400 years in prison.

The final beam is being installed this morning at the 4 World Trade Center. It will be the first building to open at the World Trade Center site. A ceremony will take place about two hours from now. The site's anchor building 1 World Trade already has been erected up to 104th floor, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thanks, Christine. Appreciate that. Looking forward to seeing that.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT: today's tough call, how old is too old to be behind the wheel? A big question as millions of baby boomers are getting up their age.

And out of the brow. Break out star of the NCAA tournament Anthony Davis is going to join us. The big man is heading into the pros. Is he bound for the Big Easy? He'll talk about that.

Nice to have you. Congratulations to you.


O'BRIEN: We're keeping our fingers crossed for Thursday. We're going to bring in a chair for you in one second. NBA fans are gearing up for the draft this weekend.


O'BRIEN: NBA fans are gearing up for the NBA draft this Thursday, and there is one player and one team who seem destined for each other. The New Orleans Hornets scored the first-round draft pick, and they're expected to go with 19-year-old Anthony Davis.

He's the star power forward for the Kentucky Wildcats. He was named the most outstanding player of the final four this season. Anthony is going to find out on Thursday if he becomes the new face of the Hornets franchise. Nice to have you with us.


O'BRIEN: Are you nervous?

DAVIS: Not really.


DAVIS: Not really. Trying to take it a day at a time. A lot going on.

O'BRIEN: You're 19 years old.


O'BRIEN: That's pretty calm for 19-year-old. You're going to leave school. You're a sophomore right now. Was it hard to make that decision about, you know, leaving?

DAVIS: Very, very hard. My mom wanted me to stay in school and get my degree, and my dad, he's got every single award. He won a national championship. Go to college to follow your dreams and his dreams of playing in the NBA. So, we had a kind of debate. But at the end of the day, it was my decision.

I felt it was a chance for me to go to the NBA and get drafted number one. To be drafted overall (INAUDIBLE) and I decided to go.

CAIN: So, Anthony, this is what they say about you, right? They say you are a can't-miss-prospect. In fact, Marc and I were talking earlier like he's --

HILL: I said you were a-can't-miss.


CAIN: If he can't miss, that means he's the first since, what, since LeBron. That means you're more can't miss than guys like Blake Griffin and Derek Rose. What kind of pressure is that on you?

DAVIS: A lot of pressure, but I just have to down play everything. Like I said, 19 years old. So, there's a lot of pressure. (INAUDIBLE) expected to put a team and all the franchise -- on my back and carry them to the playoff, essentially, and also to the NBA final. There's a lot of pressure, but I think I can handle it.


O'BRIEN: You also have like, I think, the draft today is much different or even just basketball. You're celebrities now. You know, it's just a much different game than, I think, it was 20 years ago.

DAVIS: It is. Guys are running up to the car, you know, at red lights trying to get autographs. Very weird.

O'BRIEN: Because, I mean, I know you're like a big deal Kentucky, but this is, you know, already just kind of out of control. Who do you surround yourself with for support to make sure that, you know, things don't go crazy?

DAVIS: Family and friends. Guys I can trust. Make sure they're always on my side - really small and tight and make sure that no guy just trying to come in just because now that I have fame. So, I just have to make sure everybody around me --

HILL: What are you doing to prep for the NBA? I mean, you have the height and talent, but you obviously aren't built for the NBA physically. What kind of stuff are you doing to get ready --

O'BRIEN: Protein shakes.


DAVIS: Actually, I am.


DAVIS: Protein shakes. Make sure I stay in the weight room. A lot of cardio going. Make sure I'm in shape. You know, NBA is a different level than college, so I'm just making sure I'm in shape and ready to go, so when I get to the NBA and making smoother transition.

HOOVER: What do you have on your device there?

DAVIS: This is a new NBA mobile app. With this app, fans can watch a live telecast of the NBA draft from their android phones. So, it's pretty nice app. You know, a lot of feeds. Highlights during the season.

O'BRIEN: So, you just give your mom and dad the phone and say they don't have to come to the draft, they can just watch the draft live.


O'BRIEN: Instantaneous and high quality, it will be great.

DAVIS: It is a nice app. I love it.

O'BRIEN: That's great.

HILL: When you get your NBA contract, you sign it, you get that big check, what's the first thing you'll buy?

DAVIS: I'm not sure. A white Bentley . That's my dream car, so --


O'BRIEN: No, no. No.

CAIN: -- he can get the white on white band.


O'BRIEN: Rent it. Lease it. Lease to own. Nice to have you. Thanks for coming and talk to us.

DAVIS: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: We wish you the best of luck. You know, New Orleans is my favorite city ever, so I'm excited for you to go there. I can go to the game and see you play there.

DAVIS: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Thanks for being with us.

DAVIS: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Got to take a break. Ahead on STARTING POINT, we love some Chaka Khan. The 10-time Grammy Award winning singer is with us this morning. We're going to talk to her about one of the project she's working on.

And how do you tell your mom or your dad it's time to put down the car keys? New debate raging about keeping baby boomers from getting behind the wheel. We're back in just a minute.


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans. "Minding Your Business" this morning.

U.S. stock futures trading sharply lower right now. Stocks are down in the largest stock markets in Europe, Germany, UK, France, that's because of worries about debt and banking problems in the European Union. Europe's top leaders are meeting in Brussels this week to talk about how to fix those issues.

Gas prices in the U.S. falling for the 13th day in a row, down now to an average $3.41 a gallon of unleaded. That's a 13 cent drop in these many days. And many analysts are saying, they expect to keep going lower if the world economy keeps weakening.

And Pixar does it again. Their latest film "Brave" was number one at the box office on opening weekend with more than $66 million in ticket sales, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: I love that movie. I'm dying to see that movie. That looks great. It's like Suzie really pro girl and fun.

CAIN: My wife and kids saw this weekend.

O'BRIEN: Did they like it?

CAIN: Liked it.


CAIN: Scary for the four-year-old.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Yes. everything is scary for four-year-olds. All right. Thank you, Christine.

Our "Tough Call" this morning, should drivers over the age of 65 be kept from driving? A "Newsweek" article by David Frum makes the case for keeping baby boomers and older generation folks from getting behind the wheel.

There've been several cases of drivers in their 80s going the wrong way. And from rights , there'll be even more incident soon. The number of Americans over the age of 65 likely to double to 90 million between 2010 and 2050.

And he argues that driving skills deteriorate as we age which, of course, increases the likelihood. So, interesting statistic. He said that drivers over the age of 85 are twice as likely to crash as a teenage driver.

HILL: Over the age of 85?

O'BRIEN: Yes. And there are some people who are over the age ever 85. (CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: But 65, I think, seems a little young to be taking away car keys.

HILL: Right.

HOOVER: This is not the only generational clash we have in our politics and our society, right? I mean, it's always -- again, the baby boomers.

HILL: Right.

HOOVER: Here they come. They're sort of impacting our society and is making a way that have gotten so expensive for us.


HOOVER: And now, they're on the road.


O'BRIEN: But 65 is young.

HILL: It is young. My father drove at 65. He's 83 now, but around 75, he became very dangerous.


HILL: And I would have liked to have a law. So, I could say, dad, look, I'd love for you to drive, but it's illegal.

CAIN: What's the standard right now in taking a driving test? Is it once you get a license, you kind of -- can't we say you must pass a driving test every, I don't know, four or five years?

HILL: You mean like, because it's dangerous and you need provisions.

HOOVER: Well, you really raise a great point because they actually test teenagers. If you're a teenager and you're going to get your driver's license, you normally have to past three rounds of tests.

CAIN: Right.

HOOVER: They don't do that for elderly senior citizens. They just do an eye test and then send them their driver's license in some state in the mail. And, it's greatly implementing these tests for the elderly, it's a cost. It costs more money. States have to beef up their budgets which they don't have right now. They're trying to use there money for other ways to plug --

O'BRIEN: Has anybody successfully sued because someone has been allowed to have a driver's license. I would think, if you get killed by an elderly driver, you could easily sue someone who has given that person a license to drive.


HILL: -- protect themselves.

O'BRIEN: I don't know. I don't know. Sixty-five is too young, but I'd say at 78.

HOOVER: We have retirement ages for people. Pilot, for example, FAA forces pilots to retire at 65 and 70. If you have to retire flying an airplane --


O'BRIEN: They can still fly.

HOOVER: They can't be commercial airline pilots.

O'BRIEN: Exactly, but they can still go out in their little plane and fly.

HILL: I say no concrete law because there's too many people who are still capable, but what you do is you have tests in laws to make sure the people are safe. The same thing I would say for guns. The same think I would say for anything.

O'BRIEN: All right. You bring the gun issue --


O'BRIEN: And we're moving on. And we're moving on. Still ahead on STARTING POINT -- yes, I know -- the director of national intelligence wants to make loose lips the thing of the past. We've got some exclusive details about what he's doing to stop classified information from being leaked.

And tropical storm, Debby, we're following this morning, bringing heavy rain, spawning twisters. It's not even set to hit land for a couple of days yet, and we are tracking that storm.

Plus, I love her, Chaka Khan. Chaka Khan. She's here. We're going to talking about her program. Mentors women who are in need. She started it right after she got the idea from doing a concert in New Orleans.

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


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Oscar winner Mira Sorvino is here. We're going to talk to her about her new independent flick called "Union Square." That coming up in just a few minutes.

First, though, a CNN exclusive, plugging the leaks -- the director of national intelligence James Clapper is expected to roll out new measures aimed at stopping government officials blabbing to the media. First there was that operation in which Osama bin Laden was killed, and then a terror hit list and a drone program. There was some information about a secret cyber war against Iran and now some leaked intel compromised an operation against Al Qaeda.

That brings us to Suzanne Kelly. She has exclusive details on this from Washington. Good morning.

SUZANNE KELLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. The intelligence community here in Washington is waking up to some pretty tough new directives from the director of national intelligence. One of them is an enhanced counter intelligence polygraph. These people who deal with classified information and are subject to this polygraph and will see a new question added whether they divulged classified information to a member of the media. That's one of the initiatives being implemented. They are having new teeth in terms of directing, detecting where those leaks come from. We'll have more on that.

One of the things driving this too and why it's so difficult, there's so many different government agencies that have access to this classified information. Clapper believed he had to do something in at least deterring people from talking to members of the media.

O'BRIEN: I'm surprised there wasn't a polygraph ahead of time. I would have assumed that question in the polygraph about whether or not you've been leaking things to the media would have been on there. How far will it go? Who is going to be under the umbrella of these new measures? All the way up to the White House?

KELLY: It's a great question. If you really understand the intelligence community, there are 16 different agencies and these new directives will apply to all of those 16 agencies that Clapper oversees. There are employees at the department of state, department of energy, department of homeland security, the White House that are not going to fall under these measures. So Clapper is throwing down the gauntlet and asking for his colleagues to do something very similar.

They will not cover the national security council which advices the president on issues of national security and as you know there are members of Congress who have been up in arms and some have pointed the finger at the White House and said they have intentionally put out information in order to make the president look stronger before the election, something the White House has emphatically denied, I'll add.

O'BRIEN: Suzanne Kelly with an update for us this morning on that exclusive story. Thank you, Suzanne.

Let's go Christine for an update on headlines. Hey.

ROMANS: Good morning, Soledad. Record rainfall before it makes landfall, tropical storm Debby drenching Florida as it sits just off the coast. Water surging in to the streets, tossing boats around in Sarasota. And it's nowhere near down. Alexandra Steele, our meteorologist is tracking the storm for us. Hi, there.

ALEXANDRA STEELE: Hi to you, Christine. You're seeing tropical storm Debby. Where is it? Not textbook but here's the center of circulation, so it is there. The center of circulation, 90 miles south-southwest of Apalachicola, but all the convection has been on the eastern side so it's lopsided, it's poorly organized. Not textbook but one thing we've seen and has been consistent its stationary and stationary is not good news. Not a quick hitter, not coming in and moving out. Potential for heavy rain we've seen record rain in places like Tampa.

Now, this is where the expectation is in the next 24 hours for the heaviest rain to be and you can see in southeast Georgia now, but now not in excess of 10 inches, between six and ten from Savannah to Jacksonville that purple denoting where the heaviest rain will be.

But, again, the problem is the track and there's just no strong steering currents right now, they are so weak, that it's not moving it one way or the other. The National Hurricane Center putting this out, this is the expectation where they think the track will go. But at this point kind of the final destination of the center of circulation less important than the impacts that we're seeing in flooding certainly will seem to be the biggest impact of this with all the rain that we've seen. Tropical threat still there. Tropical storm warnings posted for the gulf. We'll have more in just a bit. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: Out west they could use some rain, hot dry conditions providing the perfect fuel for wildfires burning across Colorado. About 11,000 people have been evacuated in and around Colorado Springs after the Waldo Canyon fire began there on Saturday. The nearby city is a ghost town. The biggest of the fires is 45 percent contained.

Two major decisions expected from the Supreme Court this week. Justice set to make a decision on the fate of president Obama's health care law. The Supreme Court could toss the individual mandate that requires almost every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty. The high court is also poised to rule on Arizona's controversial immigration law. That law gives police new powers to demand people show proof of U.S. citizenship if law enforcement has reasonable suspicion, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Christine, thank you. Education could be the next hot button issue in the presidential campaign. A new Gallup poll has American confidence in our public schools set at an all-time low of 29 percent. That's down 5 percent from just last year. Mitt Romney says he's ready to challenge president Obama over the issue. He's voicing his support for a voucher based system that will let many parents choose which school to send their children to. Listen to Mitt Romney speak at the Chamber of Commerce last month.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to give the parents of every low-income and special needs student the chance to choose where their child goes to school. For the first time in history, federal education funds will be linked to the student so that parents can send their child to any public or charter school of their choice. (APPLAUSE)


O'BRIEN: The founder of capital prep magnet school in Hartford, Connecticut, a school I know pretty well. Nice to see you, Steve. What do you think of Mitt Romney's, what he's announcing there, federal education funds that will be connected to the student and he doesn't use the word vouchers but that's really what he's talking about.

STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's phenomenal. I think when you talk to most educational reformers in the United States of America running the best schools in the country they would say the same thing. They says down with the notion you can go into a failed school, bring in this amazing principal and he or she will make sure everybody get on the same page in a reasonable time.

What Mitt Romney is understanding you have to begin to make education reform at the speed of children as opposed to the comfort of adults. What we've done so far is take the comfort of adults. How comfortable are we in reforming a school in five year, six year, 10 year plans next year your child can go to a school that's good. Right now in New York City there are 51,000 children on waiting lists to get into schools.

O'BRIEN: So the arguments against number one people point to what happened in D.C. and they say the statistics don't seem to bear out for that particular case. There are other states as well. And number two, Marc is like dying over here.

HILL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm about to beat my head into this table.


HILL: No, no. Here's my concern. One, I get that we need alternatives to broken schools. But I have yet to hear an argument that's compelling and persuasive to show vouchers provide an alternative particularly when every major ever done in Milwaukee and Cleveland show that they don't work.

PERRY: That's not true. When you look at the voucher programs in Milwaukee what you look at is insufficient voucher. You're looking at a voucher program in which they stay in their local public school they get approximately $12,000 per pupil. If they go to a charter school they get $6,000. It's not the same.

If you want to look at a voucher program that works look at student financial aid. Loups children to go to school like Notre Dame and Penn State and doesn't discern whether it's public, private or religious school. They get to go the best school for that child. We've seen vouchers work. Vouchers work throughout the public sector. Medicaid is a voucher. Any other public money that's used for private goods and services is a voucher program. When we finally start to look at vouchers for real that's what we get. O'BRIEN: Public money to fund private schools instead of public money that should be used to fix public schools, I mean I think ultimately --

PERRY: The schools -- the money is not for the schools, it's for the children. We pay our taxes not to keep this building open, but to ensure that the children within it get an education. That's the point. The point of receiving public money is not so that you can run a bureaucracy that you can make sure comfortable unions can stay in there and their supporters can stay in there being fake liberal, they look what children need.

O'BRIEN: Did you just call somebody a fake liberal? Steve Perry I love arguing with you first thing in the morning. We have to bring him in in person. I want him in person.


O'BRIEN: We got to take a short break. Thank you, Steve. Still ahead on STARTING POINT, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, she's with us. She will talk how she's giving back to women. Thanks for playing that. You want me to rap for you?

HILL: Please do.

O'BRIEN: No thank you. Also ahead this morning, Mira Sorvino will join us. She's got a new film called "Union Square." You're watching STARTING POINT.



O'BRIEN: I love that song but I just asked Chaka Khan if she gets sick of that song. And she's like you know a kind of yes, we love Chaka Khan. We love her because she's a ten time Grammy Award winning singer with an incredible voice.

We also love her because she's helping women live their dreams. Last year she launched a mentoring program to help women in the New Orleans area with financial and employment needs. The Super Life Transformation Program helped a group of women to accomplish their goals from starting their own businesses and finishing school. And next month she's going to salute 33 women who will be graduating from the program at this year's Essence Music Festival.

She's back to update us. It's so great to see you.


O'BRIEN: I remember when you announce this last year at Essence.

KHAN: Yes.

O'BRIEN: And it was such a huge deal. Tell me a little bit about why you decided to pick a number of women to try to help them.

KHAN: Well, I went essentially to the Essence Festival last year to perform as usual.

O'BRIEN: Right. Right.

KHAN: And you know, every year that I've gone and the many years that I have gone you know New Orleans has this, you know, this undercurrent going on that's really solid and steeped in history and really fun.

This time, however, when I went last year, I felt some kind of glitch going on.


O'BRIEN: It didn't feel --

KHAN: It didn't feel right. There was like this --

O'BRIEN: People are still hurting there.

KHAN: Yes. Really in bad shape. And I was talking to a women in the hotel when I was on the way the room, checking in, and asking them what's going on.

O'BRIEN: What did they tell you?

KHAN: One woman told me in the elevator that she lost her whole family. Everyone but her sister, she lost her grandmother, her mother, excuse me and two aunts all in one fell swoop. So it's like floored me. And I said I'm coming here to sing and leave.

O'BRIEN: She wants to do more. So you're not coming to sing this year.


KHAN: No. So last year I decided --


KHAN: -- when I went that Essence and I need to make this and turn this Essence Festival into something that's going to benefit the community, you know, because there's so many women -- women were still living in their cars.


KHAN: Women and their kids living in their cars staying from friend to friend. (inaudible) and it was just really devastating.

O'BRIEN: So you've now helped 33 women who are going to graduate. Tell me a little bit about what the graduation ceremony is going to be like?

KHAN: Well.

O'BRIEN: Do you wear a cap and gown. Do you?

KHAN: No never the glove. But what happens is I went back this past April just to check on "my girls" I call them. And see how they are doing. And I found these women completely transformed --



KHAN: -- from a year before. I found women closing on houses, opening businesses. Businesses started already. One woman, for instance started an all girl rock band, I'll be performing with her.


KHAN: And her band. Just -- I didn't recognize them and they were completely different women.

O'BRIEN: Will you take on a new set of women this year?

KHAN: Yes. We'll do it -- the whole theme is to Super Life Transformation and the whole thing is to play it forward. So the women who graduate this year will become mentors for the next group of women.

O'BRIEN: That's great you've had some interesting life experiences. I bet you can put them a lot of --

KHAN: Oh tell me about it. Did you read the book?

O'BRIEN: You talk a lot -- yes, the book and you talk a lot about it in your concerts really openly about struggles and drug use and stuff.


KHAN: Yes, I do, yes.

O'BRIEN: So you turn a lot of what you've been able to overcome to these women.

KHAN: Yes, yes.

O'BRIEN: All right, I want to come to the graduation.


O'BRIEN: We'll be at Essence. We're going to take the show there. And also I want to hear you play with the rock band.

KHAN: Well, I'll be singing with them.

O'BRIEN: All right, I want to go see that. That's terrific nice to see you Chaka. KHAN: It's good to see you too.

O'BRIEN: We won't play that song anymore because you're sick of it.

KHAN: Thank you.


O'BRIEN: I love it. But you're sick of it.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino is going to join us to talk about her new movie right after the break.


O'BRIEN: That's from Mira's playlist, Incubus "Gig".

Mira Sorvino won an academy award when she was 28 years old for her work in the Woody Allen movie "Mighty Aphrodite." Her new movie is an Indie flick, it's called, "Union Square" because it takes place in Union Square in New York, she plays a woman with a bipolar disorder. Listen.


MIRA SORVINO, ACTRESS: We've got to forget everything that happened all right? Whatever you said, whatever I said, you got to forget it. Get over it. I don't want another three years to go by like this.

Oh, my God. Look at this place. Crazy, awesome. Oh I love this couch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't have a dog here.

SORVINO: Don't worry, he's a dog but he's not a dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you here? Since when do you come the city?

SORVINO: This would be perfect.


O'BRIEN: Oh this would be perfect and then she moves in. Mira Sorvino is with us this morning. Really it's about a conflict and lot of love between two sisters who have been estranged. Tell me a little bit about the story line.

SORVINO: Yes we are two sisters who haven't spoken in three years. There's a lot of family baggage, a lot of background and I am a little crazy but also very insightful. So at first you find me incredibly annoying and then you end up kind of rooting for me in a way. So you know they have a lot to work out. And they are both hiding huge secrets. And it's kind of an emotional whodunit in a way as you go through it. They keep peeling off layers and revealing some truth. Because they're basically lying to themselves and other people about who they are.

O'BRIEN: And you'd never knew they were sisters. I mean it takes a while before -- and then there was the big reveal, like oh, they're related. They're so different. You love those kind of things, those kind of characters who are sort of nutty and a little bit annoying and become very vulnerable and you fall in love with them. You don't know where the turn happened.

SORVINO: Yes. I worried that in the beginning of this movie you might find her too annoying because I'm having a break down in Union Square. And literally we walked through Union Square shooting it. And because we did it on a small camera people didn't know we were making a movie. And they thought that I was breaking up with somebody on the phone and having a public meltdown.

And people would come up to me and they're, "Are you all right?"


MARGARET HOOVER, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM": That's like having to get releases from many of those sort of accidental characters of the movie because you did --

SORVINO: We did. And there were plentiful areas. Like I got into an argument with a guy who was selling honey and I was asking for chia seeds because I'm trying to help my sister make Thanksgiving dinner and she's got a whole kind of vegan list that they're going to make.

And the guy got mad at me because I asked him for chia seeds.

HOOVER: And he was very clearly selling honey.

SORVINO: Yes, yes. Local, organic.

O'BRIEN: At Union Square.

SORVINO: Yes, it's very crunchy.

O'BRIEN: Is there a big difference between doing an Indie and doing a sort of a big, well-funded film?

SORVINO: Well, on a well-funded film this film would have taken three months to make. We shot it in 15 days.

O'BRIEN: Really.


CAIN: : And now without a big production it sounds like numerous people around and cameras. Obviously, you just said you were at Union Square with a small camera. Not, that people thought you weren't acting.

SORVINO: Right. Yes. I mean some people knew and some people didn't. And they would kind of offer comments to me as I went along.

CAIN: What did you do. Did you get like a little hand-held. Are you telling Margaret.

SORVINO: It's the Canon 5-D. It's an amazing camera. The picture quality is amazing and you can light it with a candle.

O'BRIEN: Is there something that frees you up when you do it that way. Did you like it more than the big three month production?

SORVINO: It was nice because we shot it sequentially. We shot it in order. So things changed based on what had happened in the last scene. And Nancy kind of rewrote some things as the story progressed because the story evolved in a different way than she had expected once she saw it played in order. And that's a luxury you almost never have in a movie that you play things in order.

O'BRIEN: Right, right.

Sorvino. Also she was very lovely with me, allowing me to improv a lot so there's a real spontaneous feeling to it and that kind of camera is very good for catching. You know, it's just it feels very fluid and like it's like another person just watching things.

O'BRIEN: You just had your fourth baby. How do you -- I guess it must be easier for you doing a 15-shoot rather than moving somewhere for a three month shoot. But how do you make all that work? I'm going to take notes when you give me the answer. I really want to know.

SORVINO: I don't work on as long jobs as I used to. I spend a lot more time with my kids. I'm very, very oriented towards them. I'm in love with them. They delight me so much. You know, I try and still keep my career current but I don't work all year long like I used to when I was -- you know right after "Mighty Aphrodite" I would do back-to-back-to-back, three or four-month movies and have three weeks off a year and I was just burned out.

So I'm happier now. It's not as busy.

HOOVER: Well, I'm very busy but just not professionally as you.

O'BRIEN: Mira Sorvino, the movie is called "Union Square". It's really terrific. I loved it.

SORVINO: Thank you very much.

O'BRIEN: Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it. It's great to see you.

SORVINO: You, too.

O'BRIEN: "End Point" up next. Back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Time for "End Point". We'll let you go Marc?

MARC LAMONT HILL, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: From health care to education all I keep hearing private, private, private; market, market, market. Wrong answer. We have to invest in the public good and not private interest.

O'BRIEN: All right. Thank you very much.

Chaka-lates, gourmet chocolates by Chaka Khan. A gift.

LAMONT HILL: She makes chocolates too. She got these for me.


O'BRIEN: Let's head right to "CNN NEWSROOM" and Carol Costello standing by. Good morning Carol.