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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Interview with Senator Chuck Schumer; Interview with Congressman Mike Lee; Supreme Court to Hand Down Ruling on Health Care Law; Wildfires Continues to Burn in Colorado; Explosions In Central Damascus; Clinton To Attend Emergency Syria Talks; Colorado Burning; FDA Approves Weight Loss Drug; Smoking Vaccine?; NBA Draft Tonight; Decision Day For Health Care; New Superpac Ad Cites Bain Profit; WSJ: News Corp Board Approves Company Split; Peter Madoff To Plead Guilty; Fact Check: Health Care; Dyn-O-Mite: Comedian Jimmie Walker Reflects On Life And Career
Aired June 28, 2012 - 06:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: And welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, breaking news out of Syria. State TV is now reporting that a bomb has exploded outside the palace of justice in Damascus. We've got an update with some details in just a moment.
Also, one of the biggest decisions ever from the Supreme Court this morning. Justices will decide whether or not President Obama's healthcare law is constitutional, and the outcome will affect every American. We've got full coverage of the healthcare decision this morning.
CNN legal analyst, Jeff Toobin, is outside the courthouse. He's awaiting the decision. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us this morning to talk about the ramifications, as well. And CNN's Jim Acosta is live to talk about the politics.
Later this morning, Utah senator, Mike Lee, will be our guest. And also, New York senator, Chuck Schumer.
And more history in the making, the House will hold a contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder over the fast and furious program, the first time a sitting AG would be held in contempt and how much is political theater.
And a sea of red and orange, thousands of people running from this monitor wildfire in Colorado. Could calmer winds bring relief? It is Thursday, June 28th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.
Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning is the historic day for the Supreme Court this morning. At 10:00 eastern time we'll find out the fate of president Obama's health care law. It is a law that will affect every American in this country. We have coverage from all angles this morning. Our team Richard Socarides, the former senior advisor to Bill Clinton and worked for the administration when president Clinton was proposing his health care reform plan in 1993. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us, CNN's chief medical correspondent and also in his free time a practicing neurosurgeon at a public hospital and worked in the White House during the Clinton administration, and Will Cain is an attorney and columnist at TheBlaze.com and following the case closely.
This morning the Supreme Court will decide whether all or part of the president's Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Politically it is considered the signature legislation of president Obama's time in office, likely to be as well a centerpiece of the presidential election. Stakes are high on all sides. The most contentious part of the law is the individual mandate. That brings us right to Jeff Toobin live in front of the Supreme Court with what could happen today. Jeff, why don't you start by walking me through what the main issues are that are at stake here.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is really an epic case in the history of the Supreme Court because this piece of legislation affects so many different people. The heart of the dispute in this case is about what you call the individual mandate, the requirement that every American have insurance. Obviously most Americans already have insurance through their jobs. This law doesn't change that.
But 30 million people will get insurance according to the Obama administration if this law goes fully into effect. There is a requirement in this law that every American have insurance. If you can't afford it the government will subsidize it for you. That requirement that every American have insurance is at the heart of the controversy.
What the challenges to the law say is that Congress in passing that law exceeded the power that the constitution gives to the Congress under article 1 of the constitution to regulate interstate commerce, the commerce clause of the constitution. Is the requirement that every American have insurance outside Congress's power to regulate the intrastate commerce? That's the toughest question at the heart of this case. And when we know the answer a little after 10:00 this morning we'll know how much of this law if any will no longer be on the books.
O'BRIEN: And we will know the answer at 10:00. Let's walk through what the court can do. They could strike the individual mandate. They could strike the expansion of Medicaid. They could strike the entire thing. They could punt in a way and cite tax law for the punting. Where do you come down on that? What do you think is likely to happen there?
TOOBIN: Are you asking me?
O'BRIEN: Yes, I am.
TOOBIN: I think you left out one very distinct possibility, which is that they simply affirm the whole law. Most of the time when Congress -- when the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of federal legislation, they say it's fine. It's not the Supreme Court's job to decide whether law is a good idea, whether they would vote if they were members of Congress. The only job of the Supreme Court is to say whether a piece of legislation is so far outside of Congress' power that it is simply unconstitutional and cannot be allowed to stand. Based on the oral argument, however, I thought the most likely outcome is that they would strike down the individual mandate, the requirement that people have insurance, but leave most of the rest of the law intact. That's what I thought the main possibility was, but there are certainly many people who think affirming the whole thing is a distinct possibility as well.
O'BRIEN: All right, so let's walk through the implications of some of those legal decisions first of all. Let's say it is upheld altogether and nothing changes.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: One thing that's important so point out is a lot of the law has not gone into effect. So for a lot of people they may not notice a big change depending on any of the decisions you just mentioned because until 2014 some of the big provisions won't go into effect.
But if the whole thing is upheld, essentially you have tens of millions of people who will probably now have access to health care, around 30 million probably they say, in part because either they will have to buy it, they can afford it right now, and now they will have to buy it or face a penalty. You have people who will get subsidized either through expansions of Medicaid and various states or through subsidies. And people will be able to buy this on exchanges as well come 2014. So you can see a dramatic number of people who have health care insurance then who don't have it now.
O'BRIEN: Let's say the individual mandate is struck down.
GUPTA: This is an interesting thing. The mandate if you think about that sort of as the funding arm if you will of this whole thing, so it helps pay for people who are sick you understand why you have to have it. I think there is another part, the psychology of it, saying, look, I will buy insurance when I need it and I know they can't charge any more money, so why would I buy it until I need it? I will get sick and then I will buy insurance. The car insurance analogy would be like I just got in a wreck and all the car insurance company and say I have car insurance now and they can't charge any more money. You could see where that is a problem and that is tried in various places at the state level. In Kentucky they tried it in the mid-'90s and said insurance companies cannot discriminate against people based on preexisting conditions
O'BRIEN: And did people wait?
GUPTA: People waited and everybody's insurance premiums went up by up to 40 percent. So even people that said I have no dog in this race and haven't paid attention, all of a sudden they saw their premiums go up as well and they started paying attention and eventually it was overturned.
O'BRIEN: Let's turn to Jim Acosta looking at the political implications because it is not happening in a vacuum. He laughs when I say vacuum of course. Walk me through what it means, what the risks, the upsides and the downsides for each candidate, and start with Mitt Romney for me, please. JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: For Mitt Romney obviously if this law is struck down today what the Obama campaign is going to say is that, wait a minute, when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts he passed a law that is almost exactly the same law the president signed when he was passing health care reform a couple of years ago. We have heard the president just in recent days go afternoon Mitt Romney on this issue because Romney has said if the Supreme Court does not rule this law unconstitutional and does not throw it out he will seek to repeal it on day one of the administration and what the president said in recent days is mitt Romney wants to take us back to the day when insurance companies could discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.
The Romney campaign says wait a minute, that's not the case. If Mitt Romney is elected president he will come into office and repeal what they call Obamacare and he will put in place a different kind of health care reform that does not have an individual mandate and that does cover people with preexisting conditions and that does provide some of those consumer protections.
And that goes back to what Sanjay was saying a few moments ago, which is, wait a minute, none of that stuff works without the individual mandate, so, Soledad, I think what we have here if the Supreme Court case goes down, if the president's law goes down today sort of a whole new stage of this campaign and that it is going to be over health care reform. Both sides will be asked what do we do now, because potentially there are millions of Americans who might be affected by all of this?
O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit, Will, about the centerpiece, the individual man at a time and really it is all about the constitution, isn't it?
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It is all about the constitution. Listen, Soledad, anybody watching this program knows that I have opinions and I am not hiding them. However, I also am an attorney and do understand this law and I want to explain to the viewers what the Supreme Court is debating, what the issue is at hand. If I do venture into the world of opinion, we have another attorney, one who worked for Bill Clinton and of course we have Jeff Toobin with us to pull me back into position.
ACOSTA: I am glad Jeff is here with me.
CAIN: In order to address whether or not Congress has the positive you are to compel Americans to buy insurance, the individual mandate, we have to turn to the constitution. The constitution is a list of enumerated powers. It is a fancy way of saying here is a list of things Congress can do. I want to focus on two of them. Congress has the power to tax and spend. This is right here at the top of the powers.
This, I know you can't read, it is old English script so I got it blown up. This is the general welfare clause, and it reads that Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, provide for the common defense and general welfare. Why is that important? We have had a ton of congressional laws passed through the taxing power, things like a government retirement program, aka Social Security, or health insurance program for the elderly and Medicare.
However, the taxing power is not the constitutional justification by most accounts for the individual mandate. Rather, Congress and the government went down a few lines to this line right here, what is called the interstate commerce clause. I have it blown up here. It reads like this, that Congress shall have the power to regulate with foreign nations and among the several states.
Now, again, this power has been read very, very broadly by the Supreme Court. It has been used to justify laws such as requiring that restaurants serve all Americans regardless of what race they are, the 1964 civil rights laws. Most of our federal criminal code has been read through the interstate commerce power. RICO laws, regulating medical marijuana, and labor laws as well have been brought to us through the interstate commerce clause.
Here is what they're debating today. There is argument this is a great leap forward. For the first time Congress is forcing you into commerce. It is requiring that you buy health insurance. That, according to those challenging the law, is the great leap forward. You saw several justices ask questions, essentially asking what this term, a limiting principle. What's the limiting principle? Recognizing that the constitution is a document of limited powers, if we allow you to do this, what can't do you? Where is the limit on this document?
Now, that's where questions came in like if we do this can the government require to you buy broccoli, or can the government require you to buy burial insurance? That's the debate.
O'BRIEN: But there are other instances, right, where the government does require you to do things. The government requires to you buy insurance or you cannot drive your car.
CAIN: The federal government does not.
O'BRIEN: No, but there is a state requirement to do so. So how is that different?
RICHARD SOCARIDES, WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM: First of all I want so say so far have you done a better job explaining this than I think the solicitor general did at the Supreme Court? I mean, remember, there was the argument where he seemed flustered.
But I think that's pretty fair. I think you have bent over backwards a little bit not to state a position. But I think that's pretty fair. And there are plenty of instances where the government can require you to do something. So especially when in an area like health care where it forms so much of the economic activity that we all engage in everywhere. It is like one-eighth of the total economic activity of the country.
CAIN: But Richard makes a good point. That's the question the justices asked the government. If you can do this, what can you not do and they had trouble answering that question. They had trouble providing a limitation. In the end the argument was this -- the health care market is different. It is just simply different. That did not sit well with a lot of the justices. In two hours, three hours we'll find out if they do see the health care market as different.
SOCARIDES: The one thing I would add to this, a lot of the argument around this that has taken place is how far -- how much of a stretch is this health care law in terms of how far is it stretching the present constitutional law? And most scholars believe when this law was going into effect that this was very much within the normal range of the activity that was regulated. So I think that we have seen, you know, the political here also coming in on the legal.
O'BRIEN: We'll talk about that this morning. Obviously this is all being done in a political context. We have all morning to talk about health care law and the specific implications that it will have for people that need health insurance or may not want to buy health insurance. We'll continue the conversation all morning long. We'll speak to Republican senator Mike Lee. I think I said he is from New York. He is from Utah. We're going to talk to democratic senator Chuck Schumer who is from New York. They will both be joining me live this morning.
First we have to get to breaking news. A massive explosion outside the palace of justice in Damascus. Christine Romans has an update for us.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Let's start with the breaking news out of sir a state TV reports a bomb exploded in Damascus in the parking area outside of the palace of justice being described as a terrorist bombing. So far no word on casualties. Stay with CNN for the breaking details. We'll have more pictures and news for you throughout the morning.
History on tap in the House today, an unprecedented vote on whether to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of congress. Holder was at the White House attending the annual congressional picnic. Republicans accuse holder of stonewalling on the fast and furious weapons program by withholding some documents. That program allowed guns to end up in the hands of Mexican cartels and linked to the death of a U.S. border parole agent. President Obama asserted executive privilege over some of the documents. Next hour we'll talk with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver about the possible walkout during the vote.
Hundreds of homes on fire, 36,000 people forced to flee as wildfires burn out of control in Colorado this morning. Take a look at these images from the "Denver Post" just showing the extent of damage the fires are doing. There is hope today that calmer winds will improve the situation, but this fight is far from over. Meteorologist Rob Marciano is live this morning in Colorado Springs. Good morning, Rob.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Christine. Winds are relatively calm now. That's what happens at night. But during the day yesterday what will probably happen again today, thunderstorms will kick up not necessarily dropping beneficial raining but enhancing the winds and making the fire behavior very erratic.
At times the fire fighters had actually to seek safe places and the picture that is we have seen come in, a terrifying night Tuesday night and a scary day yesterday as well and no official count and certainly well over 100, maybe 200 or 300 homes burned here just in the northwest suburbs of Colorado Springs.
This is the surreal part -- just over my left shoulder you see city lights and cars driving by and west of I-25 is where the subdivision took the brunt of the flames and that's the point in which they're trying to beat back the fire. Only five percent containment, over 18,000 homes or acres burned, and over 32,000 people have been evacuated.
Part of the reason the flames burned so hot, the heat and the dry air here, which is now moving to the east. And several states, over 20 states east now of the Mississippi are going to be affected by intense heat and some cases dangerously hot and humid conditions over the next several days. Chicago, Cincinnati, D.C., these are all cities that will see temperatures at times up and over 100 and maybe touching the 100 degree mark through the weekend. Christine?
ROMANS: All right, Rob Marciano in Colorado Springs. Also on the move, Debby. As Debby moves away from Florida, there is more rain in the forecast, scattered showers and storms across central Florida over the weekend. Some areas hit with 26 inches of rain this week, more than 5,000 people in several counties still without power. Officials in Florida say four people died in separate incidents.
O'BRIEN: Christine, thank you for the update.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we're going to continue our conversation about today's historic health care decision and we'll get insight from Senator Mike Lee of Utah. He used to be a clerk, a former law clerk for Samuel Alito. It will be interesting to get his perspective. He is convinced they will strike down all or part of the law. The right and left have lots to say about the law and usually on different sides, but what's true? What's false? We're fact checking both sides this morning. You're watching STARTING POINT. We have to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT everybody. We're going to return now to our health care conversation. In less than three hours the justices will announce their ruling, and, as we all know and have been talking about for a long time, this could change the entire frame of health care in this country.
Republican senator Mike Lee from Utah is a former law clerk to Justice Samuel Alito. He attended oral arguments in the Supreme Court's health care case. Nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us this morning. Which way do you think it will go? SEN. MIKE LEE, (R) UTAH: I think the court is likely to invalidate the individual mandate. This is something that for most Americans off fends their basic sense of freedom and not something they want. I think the justices understand this doesn't fall comfortably within any of congress's powers.
O'BRIEN: Some people have said and most notably Jeff Toobin if it is Roberts writing the decision, that signals something. What do you think that signals?
LEE: If it is Chief Justice Roberts writing the opinion I think it is likely an opinion invalidating the individual mandate. Chief justice Roberts was opinion at oral, and every time he expressed it I terms of the first person, you know, I have this concern and I have that concern. When he was expressing the other view point he would say some would say that we should uphold the mandate. I took that as a pretty strong indication as to which way he leans in this case. If he is authoring the opinion, he assigned himself the opinion, he is in the majority and means the majority opinion is likely to invalidate the mandate.
O'BRIEN: Let's say you're correct and the individual mandate is invalidated, what happens to the other things around it? Does the preexisting conditions clause, for example, if you can't fund that, what happens to that? What happens next?
LEE: I think it is very likely if the court does in fact invalidate the mandate that it also invalidates the community rating and guaranteed issue provisions because those really couldn't exist, they couldn't operate in isolation of the mandate without causing the whole structure to become unstable. That's why I think on the severability analysis at a minimum if it goes down so too does guaranteed issue and community rating.
O'BRIEN: Is there a concern politically now that if you throw out and we know that Boehner has said that basically the goal will be to try to overturn all of the different provisions of the law if in fact they can get the individual mandate thrown out, you lose a number. What's the number of children who are not covered, Sanjay, by insurance?
GUPTA: Yes, 13 million to 15 million probably.
O'BRIEN: You lose the coverage for preexisting conditions, have you a bunch of people who don't have health care and all of those could be I think for Democrats real issues in an election year over the next five months. Isn't that a challenge for you to kind of answer those charges over the next five months?
LEE: I think those will certainly be issues not just for Democrats but also for Republicans. One way or another we'll have to approach this logically and on a step by step basis so that we make sure we address the difficult challenges Americans face with health care.
One way or another what we have to move towards is a system in which Americans have more options and which Americans in consultation with the doctors make their own health care decisions rather than have them being made for them by government bureaucrats in Washington.
O'BRIEN: Will Cain, show the pressure on politically?
CAIN: I think that most of the pressure is on President Obama if, his signature legislation deemed unconstitutional and that will not play well politically. I do think it injects health care back into the debate. I am not sure health care is a debate mitt Romney wants to have now. I think he would like to have it exclusively on the economy
TOOBIN: That's a very important point. Obviously this is the president's signature domestic policy achievement and they would like to have it upheld very much so.
O'BRIEN: If it is not, it is just bad news.
SOCARIDES: It is bad news but there is always you never know unintended consequences in politics. You never know if something happens and you can turn it around and it may become a big issue that's a positive for the president in the election. I personally think they definitely want the best outcome for the White House would be to have the whole thing upheld which I think there is a strong possibility of happening.
GUPTA: And it is worth pointing out again that governor Romney knows about man dates. He did this in Massachusetts.
O'BRIEN: Senator Lee, the last question to you. There is an interesting poll that asks are the Supreme Court justices biased and 76 percent of the people asked said that the judges were influenced by personal or political views and only 13 percent felt that they make decisions based only on legal analysis, another 11 percent saying they just don't know. Does that concern you that there is a really big sense that the courts are partisan, the Supreme Court is partisan?
LEE: That poll is somewhat concerning. I also think it is inaccurate for whatever it is worth. If these justices do approach the law from their own different philosophical vantage points, that is not the same as saying that they're politically charged, that they vote according to the party of the president who appointed them. I think it is important for the American people to understand that we do have nine justices who don't always agree. We have nine justices who each approach the law from a different philosophical standpoint. But each of them is determined I believe to find the right answer in each case and I think that's what they attempted to do here.
O'BRIEN: It will be very interesting to see how this case comes down. Mike Lee, senator from Utah. Earlier I said New York, but no, from Utah. Thank you for joining us. Coming up in the next hour we'll talk to Chuck Schumer joining us live.
Also ahead, aside from health care another major story out of Washington, the house will vote on Mr. Attorney General Eric Holder should be held in contempt. Bill Burton, a former deputy press secretary for the Obama White House will join us to talk about that.
And the FDA approves the first new weight loss drug in the decade but is the potential danger of using it too high? Here is Mike Lee's playlist. Vampire Weekend, "A Punk." You're watching STARTING POINT. We're going to take a break. Back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Our special coverage of the Supreme Court health care ruling continues in just a few moments as we speak to Bill Burton, he is a former deputy press secretary for the Obama White House. He is going to join us live straight ahead.
And then remember the TV show "Good Times" and J.J. from "Good Times," TV icon, Jimmy Walker is going to be joining us. First though, let's get right to Christine Romans. She's got a look at the day's top stories. Hi, Christine.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Breaking news out of Syria this morning, two huge explosions have rocked the capital city of Damascus.
State run media reports two blasts have hit the parking garage outside the palace of Justice. It's just one day after seven people were killed when a pro-government TV station was bombed.
At least three people were hurt in morning's bombings, but at least 45 people have been killed in fighting across other Syrian provinces today.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with her Russian counterpart will attend emergency talks on the Syria crisis this weekend. U.N. envoy Kofi Annan called for the meeting to consider new proposals for a political transition in Syria after 15 months now of violence there.
Out of control wildfires in Colorado have exploded to epic proportions and the erratic winds fueling these flames are expected to continue this morning. The Waldo Canyon fire, which doubled in size has forced 36,000 people out of their homes.
President Obama is traveling to the state tomorrow. To find out how you can help those affected by the wildfires, go to cnn.com/impact.
Your "A.M. House Call," the FDA approving the controversial diet drug, Belviq, the first new prescription drug for long-term weight loss in over a decade.
It is designed for overweight and obese adults with one or more health issues, health issues like diabetes or high cholesterol. The drug works by fooling the brain so patients eat less and still feel full.
The consumer group "Public Citizen" though wanted the FDA to reject it. They're worried it could increase the patient's risk of heart damage.
Could quitting smoking one day be as easy as getting a single shot? Researchers at New York's Wild Cornell Medical College have successfully tested a vaccine in mice to treat nicotine addiction. The study showed levels of the chemical in the brain reduced by 85 percent after vaccination.
The NBA draft is happening tonight at the Rock in Newark, New Jersey. Kentucky's Anthony Davis, the man with the uni-brow is the consensus choice to be selected first by the New Orleans Hornets -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: I am so happy for him and I am so happy for New Orleans. And it was so interesting to hear Magic Johnson tells him surround yourself with your friends and people that will support you.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And trademarked the uni-brow.
O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thank you for the update.
Some major decisions coming out of Washington, D.C. today. First, the Supreme Court is going to rule on President Obama's health care law, decide if it's constitutional.
They could let the law stand. They could strike it down as a whole. They could rule on specific provisions like the individual mandate.
And then just across the street at the capital, the House is expected to hold an unprecedented vote against Attorney General Eric Holder.
They could hold him in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents concerning the failed "Fast and Furious" gun running operation.
Bill Burton is the former deputy press secretary for the Obama White House. He is now the senior strategist for "Priorities USA Action," which is an Obama "Super PAC."
It's nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us this morning. Let's talk first about health care legislation if we can. How devastating will this be if it is struck down?
The president spent three years working on this as the signature of his time in office. If it is knocked down, how bad is that for him?
BILL BURTON, SENIOR STRATEGIST, "PRIORITIES USA ACTION": Well, I think there are a series of outcomes that could happen here and they're probably not as clear cut as it gets knocked down or it gets upheld.
And I think no matter what we're in the middle of implementing what is very important reforms for the American people and what's been good about this whole process.
The silver lining for people that care about health care reform is that we've had a discussion about what are the parts of health care reform that will be affected if the Supreme Court acts.
The fact that now if you're under 26, you can stay on your parents' health insurance, that there is preventive care like mammograms through Medicare.
If you have a pre-existing condition like pregnancy, you can't be stopped from getting health care insurance so all of those things are on the table today.
It is helping to crystallize what the choices and the presidential race as well between the president who has this accomplishment, who's been pushing health care reform and Mitt Romney whose plan is basically just repeal reform.
O'BRIEN: Well, that's a really great way of spinning that, if this thing goes south and does not work out for the president, I think it is going to be bad for him. Don't you think?
BURTON: Well, it is not just doesn't work out for the president, it doesn't work out for the American people. It is the American people who lose here if all of these reforms are stripped away. You know, smart people on both sides --
O'BRIEN: I am not speaking politically though. I am talking politically, so I'm talking about the two candidates. If in fact this is struck down politically speaking the president has spent three years working on this. This is bad for him, right?
BURTON: Well, I think if you look at just the raw politics. The NBC has a poll out yesterday that showed that on the issue of health care reform Democrats are trusted more than Republicans by 15 percent.
And that's because as we talk more about health care, it is clear that regardless of what the Supreme Court does, the American people know that the president and his allies in Congress are more dedicated to reform than Mitt Romney and the Republicans are.
O'BRIEN: How much of this is just bad way of managing the message? When you look at the polling on this, I think it is really interesting. You ask people about the Affordable Care Act requirement that Americans have insurance, 51 percent say they disapprove and 45 percent say they approve and 4 percent say they don't know.
But then when you actually go through the individual issues, you know, approve coverage of pre-existing conditions, 85 percent approve that, 77 percent approve allowing children up to age 26 to remain on their parents insurance.
So to some degree, is this just been really bad messaging out of the White House about what the health care act actually does?
BURTON: Well, I do think that has been a benefit of this conversation is that we are really talking about it and keep in mind that the opponents of health care reform --
O'BRIEN: The bad messaging has been a benefit?
BURTON: No, no. I am saying that the discussion has been a benefit. Keep in mind that the opponents of reform have spend over $200 million to try to stop reform, to repeal reform and do all of these things.
The mandate is actually a conservative idea. Conservatives pushed it. Mitt Romney, Republican governor of Massachusetts put it in his health care plan and it's what the president sat down and figured out with health care experts was the best way to make sure that everybody had access to affordable care.
Now if it gets struck down, if all of health care reform is struck down, it is a loss for the American people. I know that there are politics here.
I am convinced that the president is on the right side of the issue with the American people. But I just think that the people who lose are Americans who are depending on all of these reforms in health care.
O'BRIEN: "Priorities USA," you work with has a new ad. I want to play a little tiny chunk of that if we can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney bought companies and drowned them in debt and many went bankrupt and thousands of workers lost jobs, benefits and pensions. For every company he drove into the ground, Romney averaged a $92 million profit. Now he says his business experience would make him a good president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Here is what Bain Capital responded. They say Bain Capital does not make money on investments when our investors lose money. Any suggestion to the contrary is based on a misleading analysis that examines the income of a business without taking account of the expenses.
Also, when you look at the polling on this overall, people who say that Bain Capital doesn't make a difference or how they feel about it, you actually see that people say it doesn't make much of a difference, 24 percent.
People who feel more positively about it now, about the experience, Mitt Romney's experience at Bain Capital, 23 percent and you add that up, 47 percent.
Actually, you know, isn't that a bad issue to be trying to push at this point with five months to go before the election?
BURTON: Well, a couple of things. That poll that you're looking at there, the "Wall Street Journa"/NBC poll, if you look just in swing states where we're advertising.
The difference is a 10-point gap between people that think that Mitt Romney's experience in private industry is a helpful thing for him to be president and people who think it would be a hurtful characteristic for his presidency.
Now, the president isn't running against Bain Capital. He is running against Mitt Romney who says that his experience at Bain would make him a better president.
So that statement from Bain that you put up on the screen is completely misleading. If they want to say that this is based on a bad analysis, there are issues with the "New York Times."
Because the "New York Times" just this weekend published a report that showed that in seven different cases Mitt Romney made an average of $92 million when companies went under.
Now, the notion that they're not making a profit from that is just blatantly false. When the American people find out what exactly Mitt Romney's business experience was, how he made his millions of dollars, it gives them great pause.
It is not just me saying that. It is that poll when you look into it shows it is the Wal-Mart focus groups, the focus groups run by democracy core in Ohio. It is across the boards these ads are making a difference.
O'BRIEN: Let's stop for a second there. Let me ask Will a question. To some degree, you can read these polls and you can see people have moved on from Bain Capital. Do you think that is fair to say?
CAIN: No. I hope that guys like Bill are successful in forcing the Bain conversation back into the national debate because I think the Bain conversation is one as a conservative that is an absolute winner for us.
I believe that arguing over the efficacy and the proper role of private equity and capitalism and profits in society is one that is inherently and easily winnable.
RICHARD SOCARIDES, WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM: Well, I think the ad is a very successful ad, though. I think what Mr. Burton says is correct.
That in those states where they've use that ad, their numbers, the Obama numbers have gone way up. I mean, you know, they should have had that kind advertising for health care.
I mean, their health care messaging has been a disaster, but that ad is a good ad.
O'BRIEN: Final word to you, Mr. Burton, do you degree it is a disaster in terms of advertising for health care and getting your message out on that front? BURTON: Yes, I think the Democrats and the allies of reform have been out spent by a tremendous amount. But even so the support has been fairly durable with 51 percent of the American people supporting it.
O'BRIEN: Bill Burton is a senior strategist for "Priorities USA." It's nice to have you. Thank you for talking with us this morning. We appreciate it.
BURTON: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: You bet. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the right and the left have lots to say, lots, so much to say about the health care law.
SOCARIDES: We have more.
O'BRIEN: I know you do. I know you do. What's true and what's not true. We're going to fact check both sides coming up next.
And it was one of the most iconic sitcoms ever. Jimmy Walker from "Good Times" is going to join us to talk about that. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. A look at some of the headlines this morning. The "News Corp" board of directors has approved a split of the company. According to the "Wall Street Journal," the move will divide Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate into separate entertainment and publishing entities both publicly traded. A formal announcement is expected later today.
Bernie Madoff's brother is pleading guilty to charges related to Madoff's huge Ponzi scheme. Peter Madoff is charged with conspiracy and falsifying records.
He's agreed to forfeit all his assets, all of his personal property. He's expected to get 10 years in jail for helping swindle up to $200 billion from thousands of investors -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, Christine, thank you. Our "Get Real" this morning is really more like get real facts, please. We're counting down to the Supreme Court's historic ruling on President Obama's health care law.
Wanted to take a moment to fact check a couple claims about health care reform and today's decision. The law has only been in effect for 828 days. It's been the subject of intense criticism since its very inception.
Congressional Republicans had been among the law's harshest critics. This morning, they are promising a full repeal of the law if in fact the Supreme Court lets the health care legislation stand. Here is House Speaker John Boehner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE SPEAKER: We made it pretty clear and I will make it clear one more time. If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what's left of it.
Obama care is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers. Our focus has been the economy and it will continue to be the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So first question is the president's health care law really driving up the cost of health care as Speaker Boehner was just claiming there.
It is not exactly clear what he is referring to there, but let's say for the sake of argument he means driving up the cost of health care premiums. Health insurance premiums did jump 9 percent from 2010 to 2011, an increase that Republicans blame on the health care law.
But according to fact check.org the law only caused about a 1 percent to 3 percent increase. The rest of the 9 percent increase is thanks to rising health care costs.
So Sanjay, what items fall under those rising health care costs?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, health care costs have been going up for decades. You know, it just costs more. There is more technology. We have more expensive ways to take care of people.
And you know, America is not particularly good at taking care of itself. I mean, nearly three quarters of adults are either overweight or obese and 1 in 5 smoke. Those things cost money.
We talk about that all the time, but there is a price tag associated with that. By the way, nobody in the world is terrific at reducing health care costs.
So this isn't a uniquely American problem. We seem to be particularly bad at it in terms of those controls.
O'BRIEN: Let's carry on here for fact check. That increase caused by the law as a result of increased benefits, too, for example, allowing kids to stay on their parent's policy until they're 26 or covering pre-existing conditions.
The second part of the speaker's remarks making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers. The fact is businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt.
And according again to factcheck.org, experts predict that the law may cause a small loss of low wage jobs, but will create an increase in better paying jobs in the health care and health insurance companies.
Will, do you think that's a compelling argument here, lose some, gain some?
CAIN: That it's a job killer? Do I find that's a compelling argument? I think it is a very nuanced argument, which is never a good political argument and that is this, the health care law has caused uncertainty in the economy.
A lack of not knowing what comes next among businesses, which makes it hard to hire and I think there is a correct argument to make there. Is it an easy one? No. It is easier to say it is a job killer, which fact check is I'm not wrong totally, right?
O'BRIEN: Before I get to you, Richard, they say you're not exactly wrong and not exactly right. Republicans though aren't the only ones stretching the truth on this. Here is President Obama speaking a little bit earlier this year listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So was it fair to say that --
SOCARIDES: Fact check, that's correct.
O'BRIEN: -- that the law was passed by a strong majority of democratically elected Congress?
SOCARIDES: He is right. He is correct.
O'BRIEN: No, he is not. It was passed along party lines with 60 votes. The Supreme Court has overturned laws before passed by Congress. So I am not sure what he meant by unprecedented, but that would be wrong also.
SOCARIDES: There's a lot of -- that word unprecedented comes up a lot in this debate, right?
O'BRIEN: But it is not a very nuance word, is it?
SOCARIDES: No, it's not a very nuance word.
O'BRIEN: Either it's unprecedented or it's not.
SOCARIDES: I think the Republicans, the people who opposed this law have been extremely successful in convincing the American public that there is something unprecedented about this law. As we've said before, you know, I think it is squarely within the bounds of what's allowed under the constitution and I think that, you know, the fair argument that Republicans are not making.
But what is really at the essence of the argument against this law is that this is not the way Republicans like to do it. They like the free market to do it. They want the insurance companies to do it.
They want capitalism to run this. You know, I mean, I think that the election in 2008 was a mandate to the president that said you have to do something. Government has to get more involved in health care because costs are out of control.
O'BRIEN: We will see at 10:00 this morning what the Supreme Court says on that.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, I can't say this the right way. I hate to try. Come on, Will, help me out.
O'BRIEN: Pretty good. You remember. Good times TV icon Jimmie, J.J. Walker is going to join us to talk next. Here he is. Good morning. It's nice to have you. Welcome, welcome.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can come home any time you get ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would immediately be too soon?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be right on. Dyn-o-mite!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Trying to say it all morning. "Good Times" was one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1970s, ran from 1974 to 1979. It was a groundbreaking show.
You'll remember it was a story of a struggling African- American family living in a Chicago housing project. In its first full season, it was the seventh highest rated show, reaching 17 million households.
And the show launched comedian, Jimmie Walker into instant celebrity status with his famous catchphrase.
JIMMIE WALKER, AUTHOR, "DYN-O-MITE": It was a dynamite thing.
O'BRIEN: It's like the dynamite thing, which he says has an interesting back story. Now he's written a memoir about his life and the show.
It's called "Dyn-O-Mite, Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times." And Jimmie Walker joins us this morning. It's nice to see you. Do you get sick of people saying dyn-o-mite?
WALKER: I don't think people say it that much. I always tell the story, when 9/11 happened and you know, we had to take off for like whatever it was, two weeks.
And we were coming through the airport and nobody knew who was happening at this time, and people, you know, whatever, fans, and you're going through after they turn your suitcase -- not like it is now.
And one of the girls working behind the counter saw her and she said, look, Dyn-o-mite and security came out and took her away.
O'BRIEN: My goodness. You say that was an ad lib on the show.
WALKER: It was an adlib from me to John Rich who was our director and John Rich says, my goodness, we got something here. I went, what do we got? What are you talking about?
He says, I want you do the dyn-o-mite thing and he went out and got an ISO camera, did the thing, et cetera, et cetera. I said, Kohn, come on. A guy just standing there saying dynamite, people are not that stupid and he said --
WALKER: And he said, yes, they are.
O'BRIEN: Were you stunned that it's stuck and became really the catch for you --
WALKER: No because I'm a comedian. So you're trying for anything you can get. That's the key thing. You try, you try. You have to ad lib.
It is like you're talking about health care. Not just a constitution. You have to ad lib. You have try different things. so you try --
O'BRIEN: You're politically oriented, aren't you?
CAIN: He's debating me on health care during the break.
WALKER: Yes. You know, well, well, I worked in talk radio here in New York for like 10 years and then worked in -- on different places, whether it be OAI in San Antonio or LS in Chicago or KMJ. So we do a lot of talk. We do a lot of talk constantly.
O'BRIEN: You have called yourself the black sheep among black people. What do you mean by that?
WALKER: Well, you know, what happens sometimes is when you do something on a commercial level people are going to turn against you. This is the kind of business that people always think you stink.
There's nobody going to like you in this racket. If you have a soft ego, you're done here. You're going to get hate mail. People go you're horrible.
In terms of the black thing, we didn't work in the black market for a long time and our show took some hits from the black thing. You know?
So -- in terms of my concert stuff, which I'll be at the Broadway Comedy Club tonight -- thank you -- you lost some followers and that happens.
SOCARIDES: Are you happy with the reception of the book? The book is getting a lot of interest.
WALKER: It gets a lot of interest because of diversity of it. There's a lot of topics, political topics, my writing staff, which a lot of people are stunned that I have had.
The people that I've hired, but I was lucky to have on the staff were Jay Leno and David Letterman and Louie Anderson and Jack Handy from "Saturday Night Live," all those kind of people like that. So people are stunned that we had 31 people on the staff.
O'BRIEN: And you dish a fair amount of dirt, as well in this book. I was reading it last night. The book is called "Dyn-O-Mite, Good Times, Bad Times, Our Times, A Memoir." Jimmie Walker, nice to have you join us.
WALKER: Thank you and don't forget to get my app, Jimmie Walker original app, pick it up, 99 cents. Forty years I've been in business. I'm worth 99 cents. Pick it up.
O'BRIEN: We're going to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.