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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Health Care Law Lives
Aired June 29, 2012 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody.
Our STARTING POINT this morning: the Supreme Court rules. The health care law stands. Could President Obama still end up losing the political war? We're going to talk to Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Democratic Congressman Steve Israel straight ahead this morning.
On a deadly path -- a monster Colorado wildfire has killed one person and destroyed close to 400 homes. We're live for you on the fire line this morning.
And the threat of more wildfires after this long heat wave is on the way. There are people who are desperate to stay cool with 100 degree temperatures, and hundreds of records already being broken.
Plus, sex, lies, and a baby to boot. Rielle Hunter is going to join us to share her side of the John Edwards affair with her new book. It's called "John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me."
It's Friday, June 29th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.
O'BRIEN: You know, those are people who know that I like gospel first thing in the morning. That is Mary Mary. This is viewer request Friday, of course. And it's "In the Morning" by Mary Mary.
I met them for the first time the other day and I was able to appropriately gush. Yes, they're really amazing. I digress though.
Let's turn now to talking a little bit more about the Supreme Court. A new chapter this morning in the debate over your health care after the Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health care law. The decision was 5-4, lots of aspects to this ruling to get to.
So let me introduce you to our guest this morning to help us put it all in context.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell is a supporter of the law. His state has voluntarily expanded their Medicare coverage. They did that back in 2006.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is CNN chief medical correspondent. He's been working around the clock on this one. He's also a practicing surgeon, worked in the Clinton White House.
Abby Huntsman is with us this morning. She's a political commentator. The host of "HuffPost Live.'
And Will Cain is an attorney, walked us through constitutionality what was happening. He's also a columnist at TheBlaze.com.
Nice to have you all with us. Lots to talk about.
The health care ruling is leading the Republicans to rally their base with promises of repealing the base. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think today's ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: We can, and we will, repeal Obama care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm committed to full repeal and replacement with patient-centered solutions.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O'BRIEN: Repeal, repeal, repeal. We heard a lot of that yesterday.
President Obama is trying to get in front of the attacks insisting that the court's decision to uphold the health care law is a victory for American people. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So the court's ruling may end the legal battle, but the contentious political battle, obviously, is far from over.
That brings us to Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Democratic Congressman Steve Israel of New York.
Let's begin with you, Congresswoman Bachmann. I know you have been one of the most outspoken critics of the law.
Walk me through how that decision came down and how that went for you. Tell me about it.
BACHMANN: Well, I was in the Supreme Court yesterday, Soledad, when the Supreme Court decision came down.
And at first, Justice Roberts read the decision from the bench. And he struck down the Commerce Clause and he struck down the necessary and proper argument. So two arguments said that the individual mandate would fail, and then he went to the taxing clause. So the courtroom thought that the individual mandate had been struck down.
And then on what was perceived as the weakest argument, the taxing clause, the law was upheld. And it was really a shock, I think, that went through the courtroom.
But of course the rule in the courtroom is that everyone remained seated and quiet, and everyone in the courtroom did exactly that. But across the country, America was shocked. And people have risen up and said that they are planning to take their voice to the ballot box.
The legal challenge is now over. Now the option left to the American people is the political one. And that means taking the White House and the Senate and the House of Representatives.
And you had Governor McDonnell on a little earlier. He called on the governors not to implement the current provisions of Obamacare.
Senator Jim DeMint and I and Representative Jim Jordan have written a letter. We have a number of senators and House of Representatives on this letter urging the states to not implement Obamacare before the election because we are very confident that after the election, we will repeal Obamacare.
O'BRIEN: So stay right there for one second, Congresswoman. I want to talk to Governor Markell who is our guest this morning as well.
When you -- these calls to go ahead and not implement something that has now been deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court, what kind of a legal morass would that put a leader of a state or a representative in?
GOV. JACK MARKELL (D), DELAWARE: It doesn't put us in any morass, and I have not seen the congresswoman's letter. But I will say we're going to move full steam ahead. We're moving full steam ahead, one, because it is the settled law of the land, whether the opponents like it or not.
And number two, the fact is that making sure that people with pre- existing conditions can get care, making sure that young adults can stay on their parents' policies, is good public policy. And I'm wondering if people who want to repeal the law want to repeal those provisions as well.
We've got lots of work to do. We started months ago. And we're going to continue with that work.
O'BRIEN: So, Congresswoman, back to you if I may. Walk me through your letter. Who did you send it to and what did you ask for in the letter?
BACHMANN: This letter is urging all of the legislatures and the governors to not implement the health care exchanges. There is no variation within the states. All these are are money collection aberrations where all of the money is collected and sent to the federal government, as well as a massive data collection as well that goes to the federal government.
Here's the problem. Under current Obamacare law, if the state doesn't implement the health care exchanges, then the employers don't have to collect all of these Obamacare fines. So your state is actually a better place to do business if you don't implement these exchanges because this is what hasn't been talked about, Soledad, but it's very important. Because all across job creator boardrooms today, decisions are being made by millions of employers to drop the employer covered health insurance. Millions of Americans will be losing --
O'BRIEN: Right. So --
BACHMANN: -- their employer sponsored insurance because of Obamacare because they can't afford it.
So actually millions of people --
BACHMANN: -- millions of jobs are about to move out of the United States. That's why we're telling the states just stop, take a breath, because we're going to turn the economy around after November.
O'BRIEN: So, let me stop you there because there's a lot you've covered and we've got to go back through it. You say millions of people would be dropped potentially, and the idea of the exchanges would be to in fact fill that gap, though, right?
So let me turn to Sanjay Gupta who can give us the medical perspective on this. Walk me through what she's saying about the exchanges. She says people would be dropped. Those are the very people would go to the exchanges, through the states.
And what she's saying is she's urging everybody in fact do not create these exchanges.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESSPONDENT: I think what she is referring to is the idea that these exchanges basically are these within the states for the time being, and they are still being set up. I mean, a lot have not been developed as of yet, would create a more competitive marketplace for people to buy health care insurance.
I think what the congresswoman was referring to is this idea that employers who say, look, we are providing health care insurance for our employees. It's expensive. We no longer want to do that. We're going to send these people to the exchanges.
So the feeling is that are those people being dropped from their current health care programs and forced to go to the exchanges. That's where you get the millions of people number leaving their existing insurance programs.
No one knows for sure whether that will happen. And I will tell you in Massachusetts, again, the only state that really has an exchange, about 450,000 people became newly insured after health care reform, and about 1/3 did it through the exchanges.
So, I don't know that there was a mass exodus of people who actually had their employer-based health care program who left that and went to the exchanges. So, there's no precedent for that necessarily.
O'BRIEN: OK. Congresswoman?
BACHMANN: Well, we have had a number of studies that said literally there will be millions of American employers that are dropping the very expensive mandates because now government will decide what goes in insurance policies and what doesn't.
Those mandates are very expensive. We saw this year alone health insurance premiums tripled in price. Employers will be dropping their insurance. Employees will be without insurance. They'll have to go in the private market.
I'm a former federal tax lawyer. And one thing that many people don't realize is when they receive their employer-sponsored health care, it's tax free to them. When they are dropped from their employer and they have to buy their own insurance in the private exchange, they pay for it with after tax money. Very expensive money.
So, again, what we're going to see is the greatest outsourcing of jobs out of the country because the cost of business just went up for employers all across America. They'll be shipping literally unfortunately millions of jobs out of the country.
So a dark cloud is over any hope of economic recovery before November. That's why we're saying hold on, because once we change the politics, we'll turn the economy around after November.
O'BRIEN: I am confident that Congressman Steve Israel has lots to get on that. I don't know almost know where to begin. Let's talk about the ending, what she said, which is that millions of jobs through her description in fact would be leaving the country because of the exchanges that would not be set up because of employers who would drop millions of people, she claims, from their health care plans.
REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, let me go back to something else that Michele said. With all due respect, she said, after November, we will turn this economy around. Michele, where have you been since you took control of the House of the Representatives in January of 2011?
This is the problem. That instead of finding ways to work with us, to move the economy forward, you guys have obstructed through excessive partisanship, through every argument that you can find.
Let's not wait. We cannot afford to wait to deepen and strengthen this recovery. This shouldn't be about a political decision to wait until November. The American people want action now.
And quite honestly, you now have a Supreme Court decision that validates the constitutional argument that the affordable care act is constitutional. This is not a victory for Barack Obama. And it's not even a setback for Michele Bachmann.
It is a victory for the middle class that now retains those consumer protections that will allow their children to stay on their insurance, where no woman ever again can be told that her breast cancer cuts into the profit margins of an insurance company and therefore she can be thrown off that plan. This is a victory for the middle class, the consumer protections are intact. We can bend the cost curve of health costs.
And so, this is a big victory for the middle class. And it's time to quit the partisan politics, to quit the obstruction, to stop thinking about a political victory in November, and start thinking about the success of the middle class in this country.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit, sir, about the politics. The Supreme Court has ruled it a tax. And when we talked to Stephanie Cutter earlier, she said really it's a penalty. And I'm sure there will be more iterations of that.
But there's no question, politically, it is a challenge to run on a tax, right? That's hard.
ISRAEL: Look, Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts actually defended what he called a penalty. And not my words, Mitt Romney's words, were the free riders who chose not to get health insurance but shift those costs onto society need to pay their fair share.
I didn't call them free riders. Mitt Romney did.
Here's -- look, bottom line here, if you are covered right now, if are you one of the Americans who have health insurance, you don't pay anything more. But you have all those consumer protections. However, if you choose not to get health insurance, and you get sick, and go to a hospital emergency room, instead of shifting that cost onto everybody else, you're now required to pay your fair share.
I think that's fair. It's good for our economy. And that's one of the central elements of this act.
BACHMANN: Soledad, in the House of Representatives, we have passed bill after bill after bill, budget after budget after budget, 20 bills that we have sent over to the Senate, and the Democrat-controlled Senate has done absolutely nothing with them. They haven't passed a budget in over three years.
The problem with obstruction has been in the Democrat-controlled Senate and with President Obama. And to go back to the charges by Steve Israel, there is no fairness for Americans who are losing their jobs all across the United States because now the United States has the high --
O'BRIEN: Oops. It looks like our satellite just died. So we will see if we can get that re-established.
One of the things I think she was going to continue to say was trying to connect people to losing their jobs to jobs being outsourced. What is --
ISRAEL: And may I say on that that Michele Bachmann and the Republicans in Congress have voted consistently against Democratic amendments to quit subsidizing America's corporations to offshore those jobs.
Michele, you want to keep jobs in the United States, I challenge you --
BACHMANN: There will be --
ISRAEL: -- support our amendment to quit tax breaks for companies that are outsourcing those jobs.
BACHMANN: There is no greater outsourcer of jobs than President Obama. That's exactly what Obamacare is. You need to talk to the job creators, whether they are large or small business creators. They'll tell you, overwhelmingly, the number one reason why they aren't hiring is because of Obamacare. Now --
ISRAEL: Michele, that's just not true.
BACHMANN: It is absolutely is true.
O'BRIEN: Hold on second. Governor Markell, why don't you jump on this one?
MARKELL: That's absolutely not true. I mean, I have talked --
BACHMANN: It is absolutely true.
O'BRIEN: Congresswoman, hold on one second.
MARKELL: I talk to business leaders all the time. I mean, if they're not hiring, it's because they don't have demand. What they care most about when they're deciding where to hire is where do they have access to the greatest work force. I mean, these charges are just ridiculous.
BACHMANN: Well, they aren't ridiculous at all because I talk to business leaders, as well. And you need to look at what the Chamber of Commerce and what NFIB they are saying. And business leaders are looking at the cost of business.
O'BRIEN: But doesn't having a 26-year-old --
BACHMANN: They just went up dramatically yesterday, because of upholding Obamacare. That's why we're saying without a shadow of a doubt, millions of jobs are going to now leave America. People's lives aren't better when they lose a job and when they lose their employer-sponsored healthcare. That's exactly what's going to happen.
O'BRIEN: There is an argument that says when they --
O'BRIEN: Congresswoman, Congresswoman, there's an argument that says by allowing people, young people, to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26 actually improves the job market for them, right, because now business people want to hire those people. It's easier for them.
BACHMANN: Well, business -- the 26-year-old mandate is not impacting whether someone hires you for a job. Usually, there's employer-sponsored healthcare benefits associated with that job. That's what's changing now overnight. Trust me. I'm an employer. I started a successful company. Business owners all across the United States are gathering today.
They recognize this is a very expensive way to do business with Obamacare. And you're going to see massive numbers of people dropped from their employer-sponsored care. America changes because of this bill.
O'BRIEN: Hold on, Congresswoman. Stop for one second. Go ahead, Governor.
MARKELL: There's plenty of evidence that suggests over the last two years since the bill became law that premiums have not been growing at the same rate that they were growing before.
BACHMANN: Oh, that's just not true.
O'BRIEN: Congresswoman, one at a time, please. I beg of you. One at a time. Go ahead, Governor.
MARKELL: And I'm sorry. I just beg to differ with your figures. It's that simple.
O'BRIEN: Steve Israel.
BACHMANN: Well, they've tripled this year. Health insurance premiums have spiked over nine percent this year alone. That's triple what the increase was last year. It's totally devoted to the mandates that are in Obamacare.
O'BRIEN: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. Let's get Sanjay Gupta to weigh in on this for me. Go ahead, Sanjay.
GUPTA: These numbers are pretty clear, Congresswoman. They have gone up by about that much. But you can actually figure out how much of that is due to increase in healthcare costs, meaning they would have gone up anyways, versus how much is due to increased premiums due to the implementation, so far, of the Affordable Care Act.
And of that 90 percent, only about one to two percent, depending on whose numbers your look at are actually due to implementation. So, it's hard to rest all of that increase on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, so far.
BACHMANN: But when you have the new mandates that are contained in Obamacare, they don't come free.
GUPTA: No, I'm just saying, you just said the premiums --
BACHMANN: They're very expensive. Someone has to pay for them. And that's included in the cost of the increase, because the insurance companies --
GUPTA: The people who will pay for them are the people --
BACHMANN: The insurance companies know they're the ones that are going to have to pay this money out. So, that's why you see the premiums going up.
GUPTA: No, I'm just saying, Congresswoman. You just said the price went up and you said tripled even I think was the number you first used because of what's happened so far with the provisions. That's simply not true. You'd agree with that?
BACHMANN: Triple over last year. What the insurance premiums were last year. They've tripled this year, and it spiked over nine percent.
GUPTA: Because of increased healthcare costs, which would have occurred anyway. It has nothing to do specifically --
GUPTA: You can separate out what was due to the provisions versus --
BACHMANN: But again, the most important part about healthcare, that all of us can agree on, the reason why people are having trouble to access affordable high quality healthcare is because the increase in costs. If there's anything that Obamacare has already demonstrated is that Obamacare is very expensive.
It's increased the cost of healthcare. When President Obama promised our health insurance premiums would drop $2,500 per household, they've spiked. And, we're already seeing the beginning of denial of care. That's the future under Obamacare. Denial of care. And that's --
O'BRIEN: Congressman Israel, you wanted to hop in. Go ahead.
ISRAEL: Yes. Let me -- this sounds like the Israel Family Thanksgiving Day dinner where I can hardly get a word in.
(LAUGHTER) O'BRIEN: Well, I'm not coming to your house ever.
ISRAEL: Let me say this. I think that the American people, particularly, after The Supreme Court decision, they want us to move on. Now, if Michele Bachmann and the Republican caucus are going to re-litigate healthcare and talk about a repeal, and talk about the fact that they want to remove these consumer protections from the American people and the middle class --
BACHMANN: No. We're going to bring the cost down.
ISRAEL: -- and inject more partisanship and obstruction into this economy, they do so at their own peril. I think that we have an obligation to find ways to work together and move on. This partisan obstruction, this incessant and relentless obsession with doing everything we can to make the president look bad, not worry about jobs for the American people --
BACHMANN: This isn't about the president. This is about --
O'BRIEN: One at a time, please.
ISRAEL: -- has to end. So, Michele, here's my challenge. Here's something we can work on together. You've said that you're concern about outsourcing, join us, the Democratic caucus in ending tax breaks for corporations that are outsourcing jobs. If you're that concerned, maybe this is something where we can work together, and I hope that you'll co-sponsor our bill.
BACHMANN: Listen, we have a whole deck of reasons -- of things that we can do to make this a better job creation climate in the United States.
ISRAEL: Will you do that one thing with us?
BACHMANN: Number one, what we can do is we can instead of being the highest taxed nation in the world for job creation. We can lower our taxes. But Obamacare is the biggest tax increase in American history. That's what Obamacare does.
O'BRIEN: It sounds like she's not going to answer your question. Congressman Israel, Congresswoman Bachmann, thank you for being with us this morning.
ISRAEL: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: We certainly appreciate the feisty debate.
BACHMANN: Thank you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Our panels, as well.
Still ahead this morning, the blog that got the healthcare ruling first. The founders of SCOTUSblog will join us after their busiest day ever in their history forever.
Also, from the bedroom then to the courtroom, Rielle Hunter is going to join us. She tells all in her new book. Have you read this book? Wow. Wow! Heavy on the details. She's going to join us live straight ahead. You're watching STARTING POINT.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans with breaking news into CNN.
ROMANS (voice-over): Peter Madoff, the brother of convicted Ponzi scheme king, Bernie Madoff, under arrest, is in the custody of the FBI this morning. They arrested him this morning. He'll head to federal court at 11:00 a.m. as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
Peter Madoff is expected to plead guilty to his role in the Madoff Ponzi scheme. He's the former chief compliance officer at the private investment arm of Bernard Madoff's business.
George Zimmerman is expected back in court this morning. He is asking a judge to free him on a new bond after his original $150,000 bail was revoked. Zimmerman admitted to misrepresenting his finances at his first bond hearing. Zimmerman is being held on murder charges in the Trayvon Martin death -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, Christine. Thank you very much.
When the Supreme Court's ruling on healthcare broke, a little known website which is called SCOTUSblog was the first to report that the law had been upheld at 10:07 a.m. The blog's live feed peaked at over 800,000 views during the coverage. Tom Goldstein and Amy Howe are Scotus Blog's co-founders, and they're joining me this morning.
Nice to see you. You were the first to report the ruling. Describe to me when you heard it come in how you felt. Were you stunned? Were you confused? What was it?
AMY HOWE, CO-FOUNDER, SCOTUSBLOG: We were a little bit surprised, actually. The Supreme Court was supposed to issue two other decisions yesterday, and we thought that they would come down, and we'd have a little bit more time before we got the ruling in the healthcare case.
But they issued the first decision and then issued a quick one sentence order disposing of the second case. And so, all of a sudden, we had news that there was the opinion. And so, we were quickly scrambling like everybody else trying to figure out what the court held and what its reasoning was.
O'BRIEN: Today, there are people who are analyzing why the Chief Justice Roberts did what he did. If you look at the "Wall Street Journal," they say the chief justice capitulated to the pressure, the political pressure they're talking about. It shows the court can be intimidated and swayed for its constitutional duties.
If you look at "Politico," they say, it appears to be the act of a chief justice ruling to cast aside judicial modesty in favor of playing to an audience. There are many people who are sort of doing -- assessing of what happened. Would you agree that what the chief justice did was stunning? And how would you describe the motive behind it, if you could?
TOM GOLDSTEIN, CO-FOUNDER, SCOTUSBLOG: I think our theory is apparently more radical, and that is he actually believed it. That he decided that the law was constitutional, that his job was to uphold a major piece of economic legislation if he could find a way. He didn't agree with the government's principle theory, but they had this back- up idea that it was a tax, and Congress can basically do whatever it wants under the taxing power.
And I think that's really all that's going on. It works incredibly well for the institution. It makes the Supreme Court look less partisan. It makes it very hard to criticize him and will make it very hard to criticize him for 10 years as being too actively and overtly conservative in moving the law.
So, it ends up really well for the court and for him. But I think the answer is that he thought that the government was right.
O'BRIEN: Your website, many people tell me, is a mainstay. If you're a lawyer, if you're a law student, and now, of course, a lot of people who are neither lawyers nor law students but just really wanted to understand the ruling who are suddenly going to SCOTUSblog.
You, usually, I think, are around 40,000 hits on your website. And now, you're getting something like three million. Is that right?
HOWE: We had nearly five million hits yesterday.
HOWE: And as you said, we had about 800,000 people following us on a live blog. On a good day, the last month or so when people were tuning in just in case there was a ruling in healthcare, we'd have, maybe, 3,000 people on the live blog. So, you know, it was exciting to look down and see the numbers, you know, skyrocketing in the bottom left-hand corner of the software.
But, you know, there was also sort of incredible tension not in terms of what the court was going to do or whether we were going to be able to get it right, but were we going to crash.
HOWE: And at the point probably, shortly, after the court's ruling came out, when we realized we were not going to crash, you could almost feel the tension deflating sort of in the room.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Now all you need is landmark, you know, decisions every six months to keep you there.
O'BRIEN: There you go. There you go.
CAIN: You guys did an excellent job. And truthfully, you have affirmative action. There are some stuff coming on affirmative action. There are some big Supreme Court cases coming up for you, guys.
O'BRIEN: I knew. When friends were calling me to say, are you looking at SCOTUSblog, I was like, wow! It's now in the zeitgeist. Thanks for joining us this morning. It's nice to see you. Congratulations on your huge success yesterday.
GOLDSTEIN: Thanks so much.
HOWE: Thanks for inviting us.
O'BRIEN: You bet.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the Colorado wildfires still growing, turning deadly. Is there any relief in sight? We'll take a look.
Also, Rielle Hunter is going to join us live talking about her new book. She says it sets the record straight about her relationship with John Edwards. You're watching STARTING POINT. We are back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Let's get right to Christine Romans. She has a look at the day's top stories. Hey, Christine.
ROMANS: Good morning. President Obama will head to Colorado today to survey the damage from the wildfires and to thank the fire crews. This as the out of control Waldo Canyon fire turns deadly. A charred body was discovered in a home. A second person is still missing. To find out how to help those affected by the wildfires go, to CNN.com/impact.
There's also fear more wildfires could spark as a result of a potentially dangerous heat wave in the Midwest and east coast. Temperatures could top 105 degrees in many cities today.
Ending the bloodshed in Syria is topic number one for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a meeting with her Russian counterpart. Russia has opposed any regime change in Syria. Tomorrow Secretary Clinton travels to Geneva for emergency talks on Syria.
He faces 400 years in prison for sexually abusing children, but Jerry Sandusky could still get paid. Even if the convicted sex offender gets life in prison, it appears he'll still collect his full pension from Penn State. That's almost $59,000 a year. The state's forfeit are you laws cover 22 separate crimes but felony child molestation is not on the list.
People scared out of their shoes at Madame Tussauds in New York City as a wax figure comes to life. Watch. The Knicks Carmelo Anthony playing a plank on tourists, standing in as his wax figure. The reactions were priceless.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, hey.
How are y'all doing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: That is so funny. Thank you for making my day, Mr. Anthony.
O'BRIEN: Oh, my gosh. I love that. The guy who thinks like -- that was hysterical. He has a good sense of humor. Christine, thank you.
O'BRIEN: Well, this morning the right and the left are both aggressively spinning the health care ruling. Republicans pushing forward with a recall vote in Congress next month, and they are pouring money into their candidates' campaign. Mitt Romney was able to raise more than $3 million in the hours after the Supreme Court's decision. Democrats are trying to frame the debate, suggesting the ruling is the final word on reform, urging Republicans not to revive past political fights, and it's those fights that have turned many people off of politics, those very fights. The latest Gallup poll find that just 17 percent of people approve of the job Congress is doing, 79 percent disapprove.
Mark Penn is the worldwide president and the CEO of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, and he has a new poll that sheds light on Americans' views when it comes to health care and the direction of the country. He was also the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. Nice to see you. This poll that you're releasing is absolutely fascinating. I just want to run through some of the things that stick out to me. Your new poll shows that seven out of 10 people say they are losing confidence in America and its political system. Do you think that this decision maybe by the Supreme Court has a potential to change that?
MARK PENN, WORLDWIDE PRESIDENT AND CEO, BURSON-MARSTELLER: Well, I think the system may instill a little bit more confidence. I think that the court will look a little bit less political. I think the country looks a little bit less fractured. In our poll, seven in 10 think that access to health care should be something that the government provides for all Americans, and that actually has been growing over the years. So I expect that Americans will now take a second look at the Obama plan now that the Supreme Court has said it's OK.
O'BRIEN: But the question, will the Supreme Court be influenced by politics, 75 percent of people polled said yes. That's depressing, considering that justices have the position for life, right?
PENN: Well, I think in this poll people were pessimistic about the court, pessimistic about their politicians, pessimistic about Wall Street, and pessimistic about the economy. So the American mood across all of these counts and their values across all of these counts are really in one of the most negative modes they have been in quite some time.
O'BRIEN: Some good news. When asked the question, are you more -- are you more tolerant than their parents? And 62 percent of people said that they thought they were more open to new ideas, 53 percent said more tolerant to other people's or cultures. At the same time, when there was some really I thought depressing news about the way they felt America is going.
PENN: Well, I think if you're looking for some good spots, 70 percent thought that they could achieve anything that they wanted to achieve just through hard work. I think you saw a tremendous shift towards tolerance. You saw the tremendous change in acceptance of gay and lesbian lifestyles. You're seeing tremendous acceptance of kind of new lifestyles generally, and particularly with the younger generation. The older generation that was actually the Kennedy generation are actually in an increasing distance from younger people in terms of their moral values and younger people seem to be far more tolerant for far more open and far more liberal socially than their older peers.
GOV. JACK MARCKELL, (D) DELAWARE: Mark, it's Jack Markell. Very interesting poll. And I saw one of the things that people think that the values in this country have really deteriorated since the '70s. And I wonder to what extent that is, because it used to be in order to get famous, most people had to do something distinguished or they had to have a talent. These days people do some crazy stuff, they get famous, and then they turn that into a success in reality TV and everything else. And I'm wondering to what extent you see any kind of linkage there.
PENN: I think there's definitely a linkage. I think that celebrity-obsessed culture was one of the complained about things when we asked people why do you think values have declined -- corruption, problems with politics, doubts about the economic system, and the celebrity obsessed culture, too much materialism and money. So they don't like what they see in the lens of America as it's growing up, and they want to change it. And I think that's one of the key findings of the poll.
O'BRIEN: The poll is absolutely riveting. Thank you for joining us to talk about it, Mark Penn, great to have you this morning.
Coming up next on STARTING POINT, Rielle Hunter will join us live. In her new book which is called "What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me." She reveals lots of details inside that relationship. She is our guest up next. Here she is. Nice to have you. Welcome.
O'BRIEN: Back in 2008, "The National Enquirer" exposed the extramarital affair between John Edwards and Rielle Hunter and the child they had during their relationship. The drama that unfolded was like a soap opera. Edwards adamantly denied the affair and that he had fathered his daughter, Quinn. Instead he said a campaign aide was the father. Eventually, he'd come clean but the damage was done. Edwards' political career was over after accusations that he used money, campaign money, to support Rielle during the 2008 presidential race, and his marriage to then cancer-stricken Elizabeth Edwards was broken.
Rielle Hunter is telling her side of the story now. She has a new book called "What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me." Welcome. Nice to have you with us this morning.
RIELLE HUNTER, AUTHOR: Nice to be here.
O'BRIEN: When you have been doing this press tour, and I have been watching it on tape or watching it live as it's been happening, people have pummeled you. You're a home wrecker. You've said mean things about Elizabeth Edwards and they repeat those things to you. Why write a book that lays out all of this when people feel very strongly to some degree that you're the villain in the story?
HUNTER: Because I believe that people make judgments and assumptions based upon speculation, based on misinformation. And I think that we grow as people if you can see the full truth, you have more of an understanding. And I wanted to do that.
O'BRIEN: You write about how truth was really important to you. And it's kind of ironic, and I think you even point out the irony is that, you know, you're all about sort of open and being truthful, and 96 percent of the book is about hiding and lying and being deceitful in a relationship. How do you sort of keep those two parts of you together?
HUNTER: Well, I became someone other than who I am because I fell in love. But, ironically enough, I did influence John Edwards. He's living a different life now. So I went into this whole other world and compromised who I was, and I'm not interested in doing that anymore.
CAIN: (inaudible) you mean you influenced John Edwards. He is living a different life now. What do you mean by that?
HUNTER: He's very honest and authentic. He's changed.
O'BRIEN: You think that's because of you?
HUNTER: It has a lot to do with me and our relationship.
HUNTSMAN: Do you think there's any chance you guys can get back together or that you'll find love again? Is that something that you want down the road?
HUNTER: Yes, I want love. And yes we have a child together so there -- we will probably work on our relationship. We will work on our relationship whether we get back together or not because we did have a child together.
O'BRIEN: There are people who would say you influenced John Edwards but in all the bad ways. That his -- his presidential hopes were dashed and derailed. That his wife who was sick ended up kicking him out of the house. That really -- like his entire world was destroyed, ended up culminating in a -- in a court case. He's, probably fair to say, one of the most disliked people at one point.
I mean, watching that trial, I think people really, really hated him. And they would say that you affected him in that way, all the bad ways.
HUNTER: Well, it's funny to me that as people we don't really grow unless there's pain. I don't know why that is. But just as humans, we don't. And he's gone through a lot of pain. And a lot of suffering and it's changed him.
O'BRIEN: Why did you -- did you feel like you were being reckless in your relationship? When you first met him, you describe it a lot in the book and sort of how you then bumped into each and other it grew immediately into this intense connection.
But a lot of it is also described as reckless. You're not using contraception. You're having sex with a married man. Did you feel at the time like this was just reckless? What was it?
HUNTER: Adventurous is how I would describe it. But, yes, reckless is another way you could describe it.
O'BRIEN: Why? I mean, you're both grownups. I'm sort of want to get into the psychology.
HUNTER: Have you ever really been in love?
O'BRIEN: I have, yes. I really have.
HUNTER: It just -- it was -- it was just huge. It was --- I -- I don't know. Love. I mean it took over everything.
O'BRIEN: You -- what's your relationship like with his kids? Because of course your daughter, the daughter that you share, is just a little bit younger than his younger children by Elizabeth. And then he has an older daughter, Kate, who went to the courtroom with him every single day. Do you get along with them?
HUNTER: I think that they have a right to their privacy, so I don't want to talk about them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you write -- how did you write the book?
O'BRIEN: I was going to say they're in the book a lot actually.
MARKELL: What signal does it send to them -- what signal does it send to them, that, you know, that you say that they have a right to privacy but you've written this book?
HUNTER: I wrote the book about the story because from the beginning of the affair because there was so much information in the public domain already out there from the media, from other people, other sources.
So I wrote it from that section of our lives. And I would like to put it to rest and move on and not have -- be writing about the lives after that. But I did want to set the record straight.
O'BRIEN: It's kind of contradictory, though, right? Because I mean, if you talk about the privacy for them, and you say that really early on, the father had multiple affairs. You talk about it. You call Elizabeth -- and I know a lot of people have called you on this -- you call her terrible things in the book. You're very, very harsh to her.
And yet you're trying to respect their privacy. I think people would say like that does not make sense. That's completely contradictory. How do you explain that? It must be hurtful if you're a kid to read this book, I would think.
HUNTER: I think our parents as adults, my parents did a lot of stupid things and I'd rather know the truth about them than not know the truth.
MARKELL: But do you need to write a book for the whole public for them to know the truth?
HUNTER: For my daughter, I do. I do for my daughter --
MARKELL: You couldn't have done this as a letter for your daughter?
HUNTER: Well because people make judgments based upon misinformation. And my daughter goes to school with those people. And those parents have judgments about her mother and the whole story. And my daughter interacts with those people so I think that they have -- she has the right to have it in the public domain, I do, as a mom.
O'BRIEN: You -- you give in the acknowledgments, you mention the younger children but you don't mention Kate. Do you not get along with her?
HUNTER: I felt like she had a right to her privacy.
DOBBS: But she clearly doesn't because she is in the book and you write a lot about her. HUNTER: I don't write about her at all.
O'BRIEN: But you write about her brother and sister and you write a lot obviously about her dad. So I find that sort of saying I want to protect her and keep her privacy.
HUNTER: Well because Kate, when she's asked about me, she says it's a private matter and I would like to mirror that.
O'BRIEN: But she's not writing a book about it. And she's not writing a book about it.
HUNTER: Wow. And I would like to set mirror that back.
O'BRIEN: It's interesting to me, you get offended when people ask questions of things that they think are contradictory.
HUNTER: No, I'm not offended. The manner in which you're asking them -- feels a little harsh.
O'BRIEN: It does? Ok well, I apologize for the harshness. I guess I'm trying to get a straight answer on things that I see as completely in conflict, which is how do you protect somebody and keep their privacy but write a book that is really detailed about their lives, some element of their lives?
HUNTER: Because that story is -- it was not a full story. And in order to have a full look at the truth from that time period, which is very, very public, I needed to put the full story in. I feel like some people are starving for authenticity. Some are offended by authenticity. And for the people who are starving for it, I gave that to them.
HUNTSMAN: Do you feel better about yourself now that the book is out? Do you feel like something has been relieved from you?
HUNTSMAN: Even though there's still been a lot of backlash from a lot that you've written about, do you feel like that was the right thing to do?
HUNTER: I feel like it was an extremely therapeutic process and a great learning experience, yes.
O'BRIEN: Has John told you what he thinks of the book? He stars in it. He does. He does. But I mean -- or co-stars maybe is a better way to put it.
CAIN: What's he think?
O'BRIEN: Did he help at all? Did he have any sort of say?
HUNTER: He lived this.
O'BRIEN: Yes but what does he think of it? HUNTER: You'd have to ask him.
O'BRIEN: Has he told you?
HUNTER: He has. And you have to ask him.
O'BRIEN: So he's told you. That part is private.
HUNTER: It is.
O'BRIEN: Everything else that he thinks over the last six years is in this book.
HUNTER: That's my point. From -- it ends at 2011. And everything else from that on is not -- is not -- you are not entitled to that one.
O'BRIEN: It's an interesting strategy I think. We wish you luck with the book. It's called "What's really -- "What Really Happened: John Edwards, our Daughter, and Me". Rielle hunter, nice to have you. Thanks for talking with us.
HUNTER: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: I appreciate it.
O'BRIEN: We are back in just a moment. Stay with us.
O'BRIEN: All right, "End Point". I've got a couple of seconds to talk about our -- our day-to-day. Health care I'm sure obviously. We'll let you start first Will.
CAIN: I'm going to re-emphasize what I think is going to be the news going forward regarding this health care case. Now that the Supreme Court has told us that it's a tax, I think we need to look out for these three issues. Number one taxes normally originate out of the House of Representatives. The health care bill originated out of the Senate. You're going to hear more about that.
The fact is that the tax is going to make it easier to repeal should the GOP senators win 51 as opposed to the need for 60 to pass as the reconciliation as a bill.
And finally, the political implications of is it a tax, is it not a tax. Not just for this election but going forward when laws are made.
O'BRIEN: Governor what do you think of the political implications?
MARKELL: I would agree that we have not heard the end, but I think what most people are going to focus on now is the actual implementation. And in the end, the politics will be driven by are people getting access to affordable, quality health care. And so those of us who are leading states and responsible for implementing it have to focus on the implementation as opposed to trying to fight yesterday's battle.
O'BRIEN: Abby, final word.
HUNTSMAN: You know, I'm going to rise above it as I usually do. The whole politics of this.
CAIN: What are you saying?
O'BRIEN: Will doesn't.
HUNTSMAN: I mean I think this is the time we need to really respect the highest court in the land. And they made their decision and we need to rise above that.
I mean our democracy was meant to be a process. And the checks and balances to ensure our freedoms. And I think yesterday was an example of that. And beyond that, I'm excited to read the Rielle Hunter book.
O'BRIEN: You may borrow my book. Yes, yes. But I'd like it back. I marked it up. It's a page turner.
HUNTSMAN: All right.
O'BRIEN: Thank you guys. We've got to take a short break. We're back in just a moment. We'll see you on the other side.
O'BRIEN: On Monday, we have a legendary newsman, Dan Rather; Beau Biden, who's the attorney general of the state of Delaware and the son of Vice President Joe Biden, will be our guests.
We want to thank our team this morning. Will, Abby, Governor, always nice to have you guys. Appreciate it.
HUNTSMAN: Always great to be here.
O'BRIEN: It's time to get to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. It begins right now.
I'll see everybody back here on Monday. Hey Carol.