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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Left in the Dark; Interview with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray; Group of Nuns Tour Country Defending Government Anti-Poverty Programs; School Funding Shortfalls Discussed; School for Sale on eBay; Beyond the Battlefield
Aired July 3, 2012 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, good morning. Happy Tuesday. I'm Brooke Baldwin, sitting in for Soledad again today.
And our STARTING POINT here: sweating it out. Millions without air conditioning or power this morning as a record heat wave smothers more than a dozen states and it could be days before power is finally back on.
Also, what JoePa knew and what he didn't know. New emails suggest that the late Penn State icon had a role in covering up the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
And a story that might shock you. A condo owner who paid her monthly payments, followed all the rules, ordered to pay rent or leave -- left without a home, and a wrecked credit score. How in the world is this legal? And could this happen to you?
It is Tuesday, the 3rd of July. And STARTING POINT begins right now.
BALDWIN: I thought we should bring it back. A little Tone Loc from my iTunes library.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This is you. This is you.
BALDWIN: This is the song that you get a little embarrassed when you're having a house party and this one pops up. Whatever, I just thought I'd do it on CNN. It was fun. "Funky Cold Medina" for you on a Tuesday. Yes, we're going there.
Today's team -- I know you guys love it.
This is Margaret Hoover, author of "American Individualism."
Abby Huntsman, host of "HuffPost Live".
And Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent of "The New Yorker".
Welcome to all of you.
LIZZA: Brave woman.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
Good morning. Our STARTING POINT: Americans from Nebraska, all the way to West Virginia, and points in between, they are dealing with another day of grueling heat, while utilities are just struggling to bring power back to millions. At least 19 people have died since Thursday when those deadly storms swept the nation.
And about 1.3 million people still don't have power days after the storm. Could be more. Could be many more days.
Take a look at the states here. They are waiting for the lights to come back on, 350,000 customers in West Virginia alone didn't have power last night, 300,000 customers in Ohio, 278,000 people in Virginia. Same deal there. Power, authorities, and local governments say many of those people might be in the dark until this weekend.
And add this to that. It's hot. They are going to have to deal with soaring temperatures. Twelve states are under heat advisories this morning and the heat wave is forecast to last all weekend long.
Sandra Endo is live for us in Arlington, Virginia.
Stunning picture there. Trees down, what a mess. Good morning.
SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely, Brooke. Good morning.
We've been talking about progress, though. There was a little bit made because as you reported there is nearly 1.4 million people now without power across 11 states that. That is improvement from 1.8 that we were reporting yesterday.
But take a look. I mean, four days after the storm, you can see the devastation left behind still in many of these neighborhoods.
Take a look at these downed power lines here. In front of this home, toppled over trees, Brooke. And you can see this one massive big tree right in front of this house crushing that car.
So clearly, there's a lot more to do here. Residents and authorities here are kind of frustrated. They want these utility companies to come into their neighborhoods and try to get things up and running.
But clearly, there is just so much demand. And utility companies are overworked. The workers are also dealing with a sweltering heat. And in many cases, they have to clear this debris and downed power lines by hand.
So it's very difficult to make sure a lot of these places are up and running in the time frame that of course residents and authorities want.
And all of these residents without power in this deadly heat. They are getting frustrated. They are just trying to cope. But they are finding it harder as the days go by.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to just rough it the best way you can. You have to go buy water, if you can find it. Everyone was out of everything. No one had any water. No one had any ice. You were lucky if you could find a cold Pepsi somewhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENDO: And we spoke to one resident who came out here. He actually got a call from the power company, an automated call, saying hey, look, the power is back. So we came back thinking we could return home only to find this: that the power is not back on.
So, clearly, there's a lot of communication problems because of this emergency. And of course it's something local authorities are really going to look into, Brooke.
BALDWIN: OK. Sandra Endo, thank you.
In Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of people are without power.
In fact, just going off script for a minute. Ryan Lizza, you're one of them. You live in the district.
LIZZA: Yes. This storm was like nothing I have ever felt or seen. I was on to the top floor of my house when that thing came through.
LIZZA: I mean, 60 or 70 mile an hour winds.
My house is fine, but all around us, streets are closed down. Lines are down. We lost power for about 24 hours. Not as bad as a lot of other people.
BALDWIN: Let's talk to the mayor for a moment, which is to give people a little bit more perspective. So the utility company Pepco, they are scrambling right this very second to get the lights back on for those folks, bringing in screws actually from Florida, all the way, you know, to Canada, people are coming to help. But it still says that power could be out until Friday.
And D.C. Mayor Vincent Fo -- excuse me, Vincent Gray, says that's not good enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR VINCENT GRAY (D), WASHINGTON: How many times have we been through this before? Frankly, I think most would agree that Friday is just not good enough to be able to restore power. I think people are fed up with power outages. And we need -- we need a game changer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: We need a game changer, he says. Take a look at the temperatures. This is just for the Washington, D.C., area. So right around the 100 degree mark, Baltimore up there at 99 degrees.
You know there are multiple cooling centers. They are open again today. Summer schools have been closed, affecting thousands of students.
D.C.'s mayor, Vincent Gray, says that Pepco needs to move faster.
Mr. Mayor, good morning to you.
GRAY: Good morning.
BALDWIN: I don't know how much sleep you got. I was following your Twitter until late last night. And just to reiterate your message to Pepco, you're fed up. You know, they said the power would be back on Friday, and you said that's not good enough. What answer are you getting from them?
GRAY: Well, the answer we've gotten is that the power will have 90 percent of the people who are out restored by Friday.
And this has to be put in context. This is not the first time. This has happened repeatedly. We've had power outage after power outage in the District of Columbia. And the people are just fed up with it.
BALDWIN: You're included in that.
GRAY: Absolutely. I don't have any power in my own home. We've moved rapidly to try to get the debris out. And in some instances, we could have moved debris out more quickly if Pepco had come out and taken care of the lines that are entangled with the trees that are down.
So, again, we need a game changer. The areas of the city where the lines are underground, and that's what needs to be done. It needs to be a commitment by Pepco to say over a period of time, we are going to move to underground all of these lines in the city.
BALDWIN: How do you make that happen? It makes perfect sense.
GRAY: Well, they are going to have to make the capital investment. You know, how much money are we losing now with lost productivity, with the fact that people aren't going to work, that some businesses have had to close down, that in fact people have lost food? We don't even know the cost of that.
So you start to look at how much is already lost, and it starts to help close the gap on what would be required to make that kind of investment.
BALDWIN: And this was just a freak storm. If I may, Mayor Gray, I just want to read -- this is an op-ed in "The Washington Post" this morning. "Residents in the national capital region could only wince as they imagine what might befall them in more cataclysmic circumstances, a terrorist attack targeting not just population centers, but critical infrastructure for instance, and ponder the painfully evident lack of disaster preparedness."
What do you say to folks who are waking up yet again in Washington without power? This is just from downed trees.
GRAY: It is. And it says not ready. And, frankly, the city was ready. We've opened cooling centers. We have opened pools. We've extended time. We have gotten a lot of the nursing facilities back online at this stage.
And, again, we could have moved more of the debris out of the city. I was all across the city yesterday looking at the effort to get the trees, the limbs, off the street. And those that were down typically are those where the wires are entangled, and we couldn't touch them because they were live wires obviously and we would put workers at risk.
BALDWIN: Jump in.
LIZZA: Mayor Gray, it's Ryan Lizza with the "New Yorker". You know, I live in D.C. I lived in Washington since 1998. And, you know, like you say, these power outages are just -- they get worse and worse. We had a long power outage two years ago.
And, look, Pepco does not have the best -- Pepco is the local power company -- does not have the best reputation, is constantly rated on the bottom of lists nationally.
They have a rate hike that they want to institute. What's your position on that? Should D.C. consumers be paying more in power bills? And should have rate hike go through?
GRAY: Frankly, if it were based on the quality of performance, the consumers would be entitled to a rate reduction. I can't imagine giving a rate increase in the current environment. There needs to be an effort by Pepco to step up and say, look, here's how this is going to be different in the future. Not that we're going to get power restored more quickly.
That's what I mean by a game changer. We've got areas of the city where the lines are underground, and that's what we need to move towards.
BALDWIN: You'll stay on it and we'll stay on it right along with you. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, we appreciate you this morning and all of your hard work in Washington.
GRAY: Thank you.
BALDWIN: How long will the heat threat be around? Let's go to meteorologist Alexandra Steele, in for Rob this morning.
Tough situation for so many people.
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, and in the hardest hit areas, like Washington and Baltimore and Virginia. Straight through Sunday, temperatures will be between 95 and 100. So highs today, look for Montana to Memphis, all the way to Macon and Maryland, temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees.
As we head toward tomorrow, the hot gets even hotter, especially here in the Northern and Central Plains. Kansas City at 102. Minneapolis, what should be 84 this time of the year again tomorrow at 100 degrees.
So forecast for the Fourth -- again, northern New England, though, really seeing some nice breaks. We will see a few storms tomorrow from New York to Washington. Maybe during fireworks time or maybe just before.
Big picture, though, St. Louis, 104 straight through the weekend. Wichita. So Omaha as well. The center of the country really hard hit, and continues to see the heat through the weekend -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Alexandra, thank you.
Let's go to Zoraida now for the rest of the top stories.
Zoraida, good morning.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Brooke.
The Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs is 70 percent contained this morning. And officials report that the fire's growth has been stopped for now. Three thousand people who were forced to evacuate their homes are hoping to return home really soon. The fire has killed two people. It has destroyed 350 homes.
And a potential setback in the battle against those Colorado fires. The U.S. air force grounding all of its firefighting C-130 planes. That decision comes after the fatal crash of a C-130 in South Dakota on Sunday.
Family members say the victims were Lieutenant Colonel Paul McKeel (ph) and Master Sergeant Robert Cannon (ph), both from North Carolina.
Early last month, two pilots also died when another C-130 went down along the Nevada-Utah border. And until officials understand what is going on there, the seven remaining C-130s fighting the Colorado wildfires will not be operating.
And new questions this morning about the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and whether he influenced school officials not to report an incident involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and a young boy in a locker room.
There's a lot of information here so follow me.
According to emails between former university executives, a decision was made to approach Sandusky and report him to child welfare officials in 2001. But it appears that coach Paterno, who died in January, then had a conversation with former athletic director Tim Curley. Curley then emails a school official and says after talking with Paterno, he is no longer comfortable with their decision, writing, quote, "I am having trouble with going to everyone, but the person involved."
Paterno's family wants Pennsylvania's attorney general and former FBI director Louis Freeh to release all emails and records that are related to their investigations.
Going up again. Gas prices now $3.30, up 3/10 of a cent overnight, after 20 consecutive down days. The average price is down 79 cents from that record high of $4.11 that was back in July of 2008.
Forty-five-year-old swimmer Dara Torres will not get the chance to compete in her sixth Olympic games. Torres came up short by one spot, missing her chance to make the Olympic team after finishing fourth in the 50 meter freestyle. This was all last night. The 12- time medalist began her Olympic career at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
It's been so much fun to watch her.
BALDWIN: What an incredible woman. I can't wait to see what she does next.
SAMBOLIN: She says she's going to spend time with her little girl and then who knows, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Zoraida, thank you.
Next on STARTING POINT, forced to pay rent on a home you already own. A condo owner joins us with that story that I know will make you mad. Plus, could this happen to you?
And sorry, you can't come in here. You smell too lovely? Today's "Tough Call": Buildings banning people who wear perfume.
What are you listening to? Jane's Addiction from Ryan Lizza's playlist. "Had a Dad."
STARTING POINT back in a moment.
BALDWIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Owning a home is the American dream for a lot of people. But what happens when that dream comes crashing down? Teresa Fusco bought a condo three years ago in Reading, Pennsylvania. But last year, her building's owner went into foreclosure. Instead, the whole complex - sold the whole complex to a company that turned the condos into rentals. So now this new owner gained the majority of voting rights.
So Fusco and other condo owners were given an option: either you pay rent for the property on top of your mortgage payments or see you, move out. Fusco had to leave her home, and the process has left her really in financial ruin. And she joins me along with New York real estate attorney Adam Leitman Bailey. We want to just be clear: you're not Fusco's attorney but you have some knowledge of the situation. We're going to ask you some questions in a moment.
But Theresa, just to you. I mean, this was your apartment. You're forced to sell. How in the world does this happen to someone? How angry are you over this?
THERESA FUSCO, CONDO OWNER FORCED OUT OF HOME: Pretty darn angry that I wrote letters to everyone from the governor straight down to the representative Judith Shrank, who represents our area, trying to get some help. Chase Mortgage company doesn't want to help me.
BALDWIN: You had no heads up. This just up and happened to you.
FUSCO: Yes. I paid my mortgage on time. My taxes. I had a deed to my home. I paid my common chargers. And when we were told that our common charges were going to go up 100 percent, I was ready to pay that extra 100 percent -- up to $464, I believe. I was ready. I took on another job on Saturdays teaching quilting at a local quilt shop so that I could cover that extra money.
BALDWIN: OK. So Theresa, just stand by, because I just want to understand and try to wrap my head around it. I know our panelists were wondering the same thing during commercial break.
How in the world, Adam, can this even happen?
ADAM LEITMAN BAILEY, REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY: This is legal.
BALDWIN: This is legal?
BAILEY: She bought a newly constructed property. There was no one living there. So, she put a dot on a map. Only 10 people or 11 people bought it out of 97 units. So, then who -- they couldn't sell the others. Who will pay the utilities? Who's going to pay the maintenance? They did a bulk sale where one developer bought all the rest of the units. What's hot right now, what's the way to make money, the safe, best place to make money in the world is investment properties. Because rental -- the rental market is going through the roof.
This developer did that. And it leaves Theresa stuck. Why is she stuck? Because they can force her to sell her property at an appraised price. So she's forced to sell, but the appraised price she could have got the day before the developer bought all of the units is much different than the appraised price now. So, if she would have sold the day before the developer bought it, she probably would have done well. Paid off her mortgage, maybe made some money, and bought another home. Now she's stuck. It's almost worth nothing. She'll get very little. And now she's going to ruin her credit. She could ruin her credit and have trouble.
BALDWIN: Does this make sense to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
HUNTSMAN: But what advice do you have for someone who is renting? Like if this could - you said it's legal. This could happen to them. What do you tell someone that is going through a similar situation?
BAILEY: Well, first of all, I don't ever recommend someone be the first person in a large complex to buy new construction.
BAILEY: I want to see -- I want to make sure -- and most banks will not lend until it's 50 percent in contract. I want to see proof that a lot of people have bought, that I'm not the only one in there, No. 1.
BALDWIN: So it's a safeguard.
BAILEY: Safeguard. You buy - even if it's the worst house on the best block, great, number one. Number two, make sure you're not the first one buying in. If only 11 people bought in, that's a problem to begin with.
HOOVER: Should she have known to sell early? Should she -- is there any way she could have known to get out before the developer purchased?
BAILEY: Yes. And she did know this was heading that direction. She should have sold that day if she could have. It would have been tough because word is on the street. The great thing about real estate is insider trading is illegal on the stock market. It's celebrated in real estate.
BALDWIN: Let me jump in because we of course did our due diligence at CNN. I know, I can see you're shaking your head, Margaret Hoover. We did our due diligence. We reached out to this group who owned this condo building. They didn't get back to us, but we do have a statement from the attorney. This is from Metropolitan Management Group. Quote, "Everybody has a misconception that this is an individual. These are businesses and entities that are acting in concert with the law." This is the Metropolitan Management Group attorney.
Theresa, where does this leave you?
FUSCO: I'd like to say something about that entity. That entity, businesses, are all the same person and his wife and his secretary because I looked into it. I looked into Hoya and Water Polo, and it was all his family and his secretary. So - so --
BALDWIN: Where are you living now, Theresa? Where are you now? Are you living in some other apartments?
FUSCO: I rent a house. I actually -- a friend of a friend of a friend let me live in their house in Minersville, Pennsylvania. And I do pay rent, yes.
FUSCO: It's an hour from where I was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Theresa, is there anyone else that was in that condo building that is in your same situation?
BALDWIN: She was one of 11, I believe.
FUSCO: Most people - most people, I would say, are in worse situations. I had put $22,000 down on my place. So, I had really cut into it where I didn't owe as much as other people. There is one person who owns it outright.
BAILEY: Can I give her some advice?
BALDWIN: Go for it.
HOOVER: And all of us, please.
BAILEY: OK. First of all, we already went through what already happened. Now she has to deal with now, what does she do today. She can get a short sale guarantee. Every bank is going to see this situation where they are not going to make money in this deal no matter what. So, she needs to be aggressive and get a short sale with the bank.
Secondly, because this is unusual circumstances, she needs to save her credit. So, she has already hired an attorney. The attorney needs to fight like hell to make sure that her credit is saved. And that can be done.
Then, she's going to rent for a while. Her credit is saved. She'll build up her equity again and build up. Save her money and then try this again. So, this isn't the end of the world.
Now, if she possibly can hold on and wait for this -- a year to go by and still stay in the unit because foreclosure takes a long time -- in New York, 23 months. In Pennsylvania, six to 12 months. She gets an attorney, could be longer. But if she can stay there a long time, she may be able to rent out this unit and pay all the expenses anyway.
So, it's a matter of fighting for the short sale or delay as a winner. And allows her to actually rent it out and make money again. So, there is -- this is America, and she may still have her dream.
BALDWIN: Adam Leitman Bailey. Some pretty decent advice. She laughs. I hope it's positive laughter, and I know it's frustrating. And I hear your anger. But best of luck to you, truly, Theresa. Best of luck to you.
FUSCO: Thank you.
And Adam Leitman Bailey, thank you so much for coming on.
BAILEY: Good luck, Theresa. Thank you very much for having me.
BALDWIN: Whew! Tough, tough situation.
FUSCO: Thanks very much.
BALDWIN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, if you are wearing cologne or perfume, please stay outside. Scents banned from public buildings. This is our tough call. That's next.
Plus, be careful what you tweet. Why a judge is demanding Twitter turn over three months' worth of tweets in a new investigation.
BALDWIN: For today's Tough Call here, we're talking perfumes. This is actually pretty good. Should fragrance use be guided by policy or courtesy? A number of public buildings, government buildings, talking hospitals here, asking people to stop wearing the stuff because fragrances, as Abby Huntsman is about to attest to, can trigger allergies, people affected with asthma, lead to respiratory infections. Total Oklahoma City Web site warns people that they will have to stay outside city hall if you are wearing fragrances.
Also Portland, Oregon banned city workers from using fragrances. That was so last year.
And a medical center in Brimmerton, Washington (ph) asked employees and visitors to skip scents and bring less fragrant flowers. I could keep going, and I will in a minute. But -
HUNTSMAN: You have to get that away from me. I have a really hard time with it. I'm allergic to it. I'm allergic to it. So, I appreciate it. But I can see why people would be bothered by this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you can't wear any fragrances at all?
HUNTSMAN: No. I can't. And when I am around people that do, it's really difficult.
HOOVER: You know how someone walks by you, you're like whoa! Too much.
BALDWIN: So if I'm like this and like this --
HUNTSMAN: No, I can't. I can't. (LAUGHTER)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's going to go into anaphylactic shock.
BALDWIN: Love you, Abby! Love you, Abby!
HOOVER: It just seems to me that perfume is one of these outdated vestiges of the medieval years when people didn't bathe. And people needed to make themselves smell good because they didn't bathe. And we fortunately we have progressed a lot in Western civilization and in the world to an industrial -- at least in the post-industrial world. People bathe regularly. There's not a need to make yourself smell better all the time.
BALDWIN: But an outright ban from city hall because you smell good? Really?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do they enforce it? So you can't come in? Is there like a TSA style agent to sniff you?
BALDWIN: Do you pass a sniff test when you walk into city hall?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a dog? I do like the quotes in the "USA Today" piece from the fragrance industry -
BALDWIN: Oh, do tell!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: : -- who are, like, really concerned about this.
BALDWIN: You got a good one?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are saying that they -- well, they are saying - they're very concerned about this trend. It doesn't seem to me like --
HOOVER: It's a billion dollar industry! It's a billion dollar industry that we're digging into right now.
BALDWIN: Look, it's a slippery slope. What if - I mean, there are some guys with some very potent deodorant. I mean, can I say -- hey smell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, in some environments, you want that. You want to require it.
BALDWIN: Axe Body Scent. Thank you, Morall (ph).
HUNTSMAN: No, but there is alcohol in perfume specifically that causes this allergic reaction, and they don't have that in deodorant. So, I think it's specifically --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ah, so you're not allergic to all scents. So it's not all scents? HUNTSMAN: No, it's an alcohol that's in -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alcohol-based perfume.
BALDWIN: OK, here's what I hate. And I'm going to get off my soapbox in a minute. When you're on the treadmill and you're like, four miles in, and I'm glad they are cleaning the treadmills, but it's like somebody spraying the cleaner. It's just very smelly cleaner. And I just want to --
HOOVER: It's an excuse to get off.
BALDWIN: I know. I'm like, I'm done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What gym is this?
BALDWIN: It's a place in Atlanta. Anyway, thanks, guys. I'll get off now.
Ahead on STARTING POINT, Oxycontin is a powerful and addictive painkiller. So why does that company that makes it now want to actually produce a children's version for kids as young as six years old?
And the nuns on the bus. They arrive at their final stop in Washington, D.C. Why they have a beef with one Republican lawmaker. You're watching STARTING POINT.
BALDWIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Let's go back to Zoraida Sambolin for today's headlines. Hey, Zoraida.
SAMBOLIN: Good morning. Iran reports it launched a series of successful missile tests as part of three days of war games. The country said it tested long range missiles capable of hitting U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf. This is happening just as the European Union begins an oil embargo aimed at pressuring Iran over its nuclear program. The U.S. has moved reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to prevent Iran from attempting to block the strategist Strait of Hormuz.
The British drug maker Glaxo-Smith-Kline agreeing to pay $3 billion in fines in the biggest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history. Glaxo admits it promoted certain anti-depressants for uses not approved by U.S. regulators and concedes it made unsupported safety claims about its diabetes drug as well, Avandia.
A New York city judge is forcing Twitter to hand over three months worth of tweets sent by a writer during the occupy Wall Street protests last fall. The judge ruled that private speech is constitutionally protected but comments on Twitter, he says, are not. New York's prosecutors say writer Malcolm Harris' messages could show that he intentionally disregarded police orders when he and hundreds of other protesters occupied the Brooklyn Bridge.
And the son of a 68-year-old man who was shot and killed by police in suburban New York has filed a $21 million wrongful death lawsuit. It blames the city of White Plains and eight members of its police force for Kenneth Chamberlain's death that was last December. Here's what happened. Police came to Chamberlain's apartment to respond to a medical alert call. And family members say they forced their way in and then they shot him to death.
The maker of the highly addictive painkiller Oxycontin now reportedly wants to make a kids' version of the drug. "The Daily" reports that Purdue Pharma is now trying to get FDA approval to label it as suitable for use by children as young as six years old. Critics say it's leveraged to extend the company's expiring patent on the drug, which brought in $2.8 billion for Purdue Pharma last year. Brooke, back to you.
BALDWIN: Zoraida, thank you.
The nuns on the bus are back in Washington, D.C. The tour ended in the nation's capital after making stops in nine different states all to protest Congressman Paul Ryan's budget proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK: Congressman Paul Ryan. I mean, he is a faithful Catholic, but he's misguided. Many politicians offer deeply flawed justifications for the federal budget. They ought to get some theological help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: The nuns say it undermines catholic teachings because it cuts social services. And Sister Simone Campbell is the executive director of the network. This is a national Catholic social justice lobby that was recently accused of radical feminism -- she laughs -- radical feminism by the Vatican. Sister Campbell, welcome and good morning to you.
CAMPBELL: It's an honor to be with us.
BALDWIN: I was reading some of the comments from this tour. You said it was much bigger than expected. I understand you were treated like rock stars. What was it that touched the nation so profoundly do you think?
CAMPBELL: Well, I think there's a great hunger in our nation for a different way of being. We know as a nation that we belong together, that we're a community. And the work that we did was to touch the reality that community is the way forward. Community is the basis of our constitution. And being together really delights, I think, the folks that we met.
BALDWIN: Speaking to this community, I have to ask, since you just so happened to be on the road when that really historic health care decision came down from the Supreme Court last Friday, how did the community react to that? I know your stance is in direct contrast to the U.S. bishops who are a little irked with you. How did the community react around you that day? CAMPBELL: Well, we were on our way to Harrisburg when the news came out. And we had the honor of standing on the capitol steps in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and being with a whole cross-section of America that was so excited that finally 34 million people or more will actually have health care, and that from our faith perspective, it won't extend abortion, it won't extend -- but what it will extend is that folks who don't have care will have care now and won't need to die.
BALDWIN: So for the most part, you're saying that people you talked to on the steps of that capitol building, they agree with the ruling?
CAMPBELL: Oh, absolutely. Everyone we met agreed with the ruling. Some people are puzzled and concerned about the difference between us and the bishops' stance. The fact is, we share a faith but we have a different political analysis of the Bill.
BALDWIN: Go ahead, Margaret.
MARGARET HOOVER, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM": A question for you, sister. Since you're the spirit of your tour is about understanding and community, as you ended your tour in Washington, do you have plans to meet with Congressman Paul Ryan? Because I am sure that he would not agree with you that his budget is hurting the poor. And I bet there is a good understanding you all could forge if you sat down and talked about it.
CAMPBELL: Well, when we met with his staff in Janesville, we asked for a meeting. And just -- let's see. Since I've been back, I got a message that there is an interest. We have to set it up, work out the calendar. He's not in D.C. right now. But I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to talk with him.
BALDWIN: All right, so as we await that potential meeting, Sister Campbell, I know your group, the leadership conference of women religious, meet next month. The Vatican has been as we say pretty upset with you and your group and going off message, basically. Is it possible that your group might dissolve after this meeting next month?
CAMPBELL: OK. I need to explain that.
BALDWIN: Please do.
CAMPBELL: The network was mentioned by the Vatican document. We are related to network. We are friends with -- the leadership conference. And I'm only an associate member of the leadership conference. I'm not in the leadership of that group and I'm not a formal member.
What I understand is that the sisters in that group who are full members are engaged in prayer, reflection, dialogue, going forward. It takes Catholic sisters a long time to make decisions because it takes us a long time to pray and discern where is the spirit of god calling us. As they say in politics, I'm sure all options are on the table. But I don't know which one will be chosen. BALDWIN: OK. Sister Campbell, you all have anything else?
HUNTSMAN: Well, I was going to say there are four long months left in the campaign. Where do you go from here? You have a bus. You have a lot of people around the country excited about this. Do you have any plans to maybe take one more tour?
CAMPBELL: Well, they are urging maybe nuns in a van or nuns on the road. But the fact is this is way bigger than a political campaign. This is a campaign for the soul of our democracy. And what we need to be responsible as people in the United States is people of faith, but as all people in our country that we need to be responsible. We need to raise revenue and we need to protect responsible programs like we saw all over the country. We're going to find ways to lift them up. I'm a little tired still. I still need to do my laundry. I didn't get that done last night. But then next week we're going to make plans, what next.
BALDWIN: Sister Simone Campbell, we wish you luck whether you're on a bus or a van. We appreciate you coming on, the executive director of Network.
Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, forget car washes. We'll show you how one Pennsylvania high school tried to solve a $600,000 budget shortfall on eBay. Abby Huntsman playlist, Kanye West's "Good Life." You're watching STARTING POINT.
BALDWIN: We're talking in a second about this story, about one school facing big budget cuts, putting aside fundraisers and your traditional bake sales and raising money by hoping you will adopt it. The Learning Centers in Pennsylvania put itself up for adoption, or really adoption, on eBay to offset the steep budget cuts.
The listing, we should point out this morning, has been pulled. But the starting bid was $600,000. And according to this tongue in cheek post, the winner wouldn't have owned the school. We want to be clear on that. But they would have won a naming opportunity. Obviously, you can get a free large pizza. You get the school coffee mug. You get to speak at graduation, the opportunity to really give a group of kids and education that they really so badly need.
The school is hoping to raise enough money to make sure it can remain open in the fall because its school district is facing this reported $2 million deficit. And Steve Perry is joining us from Hartford this morning. You know, we're clear it's an adoption. It's not a sale. But come on, now. Is this what we are coming to, where people have to put schools up for adoption on eBay, Steve?
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: I think it was an opportunity for them to get some publicity around a real issue. And the real issue is that the cost of running public schools has gone through the roof. It's inconsistent with the public's ability to pay. And quite frankly, the product is so paltry so often that even if we could pay it, we don't want to pay for it. I am a public school administrator. And the reason that the costs continue to go up is not because of the buildings because by the time the building is built, the building is already paid for. The reason the school costs is going up is because the labor costs won't go down. Organized labor has made it their business to ensure that their members keep getting raises regardless of whether or not the economy can support it.
BALDWIN: In these times, not as many people can actually afford, let's say, owning a home, so not as many people are paying property taxes, therefore not as many schools are getting the taxes from the local government that they so desperately need in terms of funding. So how do schools get funding, period?
PERRY: You hit the nail on the head. We get our money from tax revenue that typically comes from property taxes. Some cases as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of your local dollar and property taxes goes to your local school system. So if there are less people owning homes, there is less money coming in.
But organized labor is so far behind the 8-ball, they are operating in a time that we are no longer in, that they don't seem to have a problem with continuing to ask for more and more and more and more. And they are bankrupting the schools that -- that employ them.
LIZZA: And Steve, it does seem in this case that the principal is saying that it was the labor union's demands that have led to the financial straits they're in. So what would you do? What would you think -- how could the labor -- how could education and labor unions be reformed to -- to fix a situation like this?
PERRY: I don't know that the unions themselves can be reformed. That's like asking the defense attorney not to defend his client and to work with the prosecution. I think what they can do is they can begin to realize that they are in fact the financial problem. They are the -- they are the hand behind -- they are the one behind the curtain.
And we -- and what we've seen is whether it's Republican governors like Scott Walker, all the way out to the East Coast, and here in Connecticut, Democratic governors, like Dan Malloy (ph) the people have spoken. We can't pay any more money. We're out of cash. So we need to be able to run a more efficient school.
And sadly, we see that in our school, and I should say surprisingly in the same cities that we see these bloated failed schools, we also see very successful, lean-run schools.
That's where you look at some of the charters and magnets you look at some of the other organizations that are coming in and providing a high quality product at a fraction of the cost. That's what the rub is. The rub is that you're still getting an amazing product for less than what you're paying when you're paying the traditional neighborhood school teachers union wages.
HOOVER: So Steve Perry, Margaret Hoover here. What then is your recommendation for this school? It sounds like you're saying this $600,000 is just going to go to labor costs. Don't do it. Don't buy in. And what's your recommendation here in this case? The kids have their school up for sale.
PERRY: Well, the -- the sad thing is the only way they are going to get that money is by raising the taxes in that community. There is no other way because the unions have in many cases two to three-year contracts. And if they are in the middle of that contract, the city's got to pay or they've got shut the school down.
That going forward, though, what needs to happen is we need to have honest conversations about other academic options like vouchers, like other things that we see that we do in the post secondary and secondary level. We look at student financial aid. We look at one of the best voucher programs ever put forward was the GI Bill, which created an entire middle class.
See we support vouchers when we look at secondary education and post secondary -- I should say post secondary education. But we don't look at it in primary and secondary.
BALDWIN: Steve Perry, thank you so much. This is something we had never really seen before, a school putting itself up for adoption on eBay.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, another good reason to drink that coffee cup that you have in your hand here. It might be good for your skin in a very serious way.
And here's one from my ply list. Cut Coffee (ph), "Lights and Music." You're watching STARTING POINT.
SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. A few of the stories making headlines this morning.
Drinking coffee may help you fight skin cancer. A new report in the journal "Cancer Research" claims drinking more caffeinated coffee could lower chances of developing basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer. To get the positive benefits you have to drink more than two cups of coffee a day. Be a little wired in the morning.
And the World War II warship USS Mohawk has reached its final resting place 90 feet underwater off the coast of Sanibel, Florida. This is such cool video. It will now become a Veterans Memorial Reef. The Mohawk was the last to radio General Dwight D. Eisenhower that the weather was clearing for the D-Day invasion.
And it looks like North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is relaxing some laws in a re-branding effort for his country. The plan will apparently let women wear pants and platform shoes and everyone will be able to use cell phones. Kim Jong Un has also endorsed previously banned Western foods like pizza, French fries even hamburgers. He's also a big fan of amusement parks. Disney on the way, Brooke?
BALDWIN: I know that was the first thing I said when I heard the story. I said there's an amusement park in North Korea? I had no idea. Zoraida, thank you.
I'm just curious what you guys think of that. That now ladies can wear pants and platform shoes.
LIZZA: I mean it just shows you how hermetically-sealed North Korea is and how insane the place is.
BALDWIN: Yes, absolutely.
LIZZA: When you have a guy in his 20s running the country and issuing these odd decrees. I wouldn't say --
BALDWIN: Wasn't it his father, who actually wore the platform shoes to make him a little bit taller, right?
HOOVER: You know, I mean, that's a tragedy in North Korea.
HOOVER: I mean there's massive shortages, people are not -- I mean, platform shoes is hardly the issue when people don't have enough food.
HOOVER: I mean you can't actually get meats or anything.
HUNTSMAN: And (inaudible) about an amusement park when people like you said don't even have food to eat.
LIZZA: No, no, no. He says he is a fan of amusement parks. I don't think they are not -- they are not --
BALDWIN: They are not bringing in the --
HUNTSMAN: It wouldn't surprise me though. But he'll probably put that in before anything else.
HOOVER: But hey, how about relaxing with the cell phones? Everybody can talk to each other, and wear skirts. Fantastic.
BALDWIN: How about it. There you go. There you go. The big news from North Korea this morning.
BALDWIN: Hey, it's the day before the country celebrates its independence and the sacrifices of so many brave soldiers who have fought on our behalf.
In today's "Human Factor" Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to just one of so many soldiers who has fought hard for all of us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Serving in the Armed Forces is a family affair for Army Major Dan Gade.
MAJOR DAN GADE, U.S. ARMY: My dad had fought in Vietnam. My older brother was a '94 West Point graduate. I'm a '97 West Point graduate, and my younger brother is currently serving in the Army.
GUPTA: But it wasn't until January 5th, 2005 when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb when he realized just how dangerous war could be. Three weeks after the incident Gade woke up in a hospital bed, recovering from many injuries and missing his entire right leg.
GADE: I'm laying there and I was just thinking, oh, my gosh, how much worse could this get?
GUPTA: He spent some time feeling sorry for himself, for sure. But it was his 2-year-old daughter who snapped him out of it.
GADE: She's 2, and she wanted me to play with her on the ground. I was in a power wheelchair with a broken pelvis and all this stuff. She said, "Daddy, can you play with me?" And I said, "No, baby, I can't. You know, I can't sit on the floor." She turned around and she said under her breath she said, "My daddy can't do anything." And I crawled out of the power wheelchair and I sat on the ground on my broken pelvis and played Legos.
GUPTA: Since that day, Gade has become an iron man triathlete. Competed in a 100-mile swim and just finished a relay bike race, across the United States, pedalling six hours a day with just one leg.
GADE: It's a neat ride because you kind of are going through the rural parts of America, and that's -- to me that's the heartland.
GUPTA: The ride was grueling, yet for Gade, it was about more than just finishing.
GADE: When you have a setback, and it could be something dramatic like the setback that I had when I got hurt in Iraq. The important thing is that you -- that you kind of find a new normal and that you go forward from wherever you are and do the very best with the things that God has given you.
GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
BALDWIN: Amazing. "End Point" is next.
BALDWIN: And before we let you go, I'd like to have some final thoughts. Let's begin with you, Mr. Lizza. You want to tell us --
LIZZA: So "End Point" I want to go back to Reince Priebus because there is some additional news this morning he made. There remains today a split between almost every Republican, including the head of the RNC, and the Romney campaign over this issue of whether it's a tax or a penalty.
And Priebus took the Republican position, not the Romney position. So the Republicans are going to have to sort that out.
HOOVER: That was pretty incredible. And I'm going to do an easy shout-out to my sister-in-law, who has the same name as me, Margaret Hoover. It's her 30th birthday today.
BALDWIN: Happy 30th. Happy 30th.
HUNTSMAN: And I want to wish everyone a happy 4th of July. I guess we can start early.
BALDWIN: We'll be in bed. Who's actually going to see the fireworks among the four of us?
HOOVER: We are going to be right here, tomorrow morning, 4th of July at STARTING POINT.
BALDWIN: Yes. Yes. That's right.
Well, thanks so much for watching us. We will be here bright and early for you tomorrow on the 4th of July.
Meantime, we want to hand things over to my colleague, Carol Costello, in the "CNN NEWSROOM". Carol, good morning. Happy almost 4th of July to you.