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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Deadly Storms Slam Tennessee; Stakes High for New Jobs Report; Condition "Worse Than Believed"; Jobs Reports Indicates 80,000 Jobs Added to U.S. Economy in June; U.S. Unemployment Rate Remains at 8.2 percent; A Mother's Love for Her Daughter; June Jobs Report
Aired July 6, 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: And welcome, everybody.
We're coming to you live from New Orleans. We're at the Ruby Slipper Cafe in the heart of downtown New Orleans, where they have just delivered the food to our table. And it looks absolutely unbelievable.
We're going to be discussing the food, because Mayor Landrieu has joined us. And I'm planning to one or two of these dishes. We'll talk about that straight ahead.
First of all, I want to get to a very important story about deadly storms that are on the move, cutting through a national park in Tennessee. Reports say that two people have been killed. There are now power outages across that state. We'll have the latest on what's happening there.
Also, some breaks news on the health of the economy. There's a crucial jobs report we are expecting in 30 minutes. We'll tell you what it means for your bottom line.
And the jobs report comes out with the campaigns now in full swing. In four months, Election Day. We'll talk about the political fallout as the candidates are going face-to-face with their voters.
Plus, singer and actress and all-around superstar Vanessa Williams is going to join us with her hero, her mother. They've got a new book out that they have written together.
It is July 6th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.
O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. You're listening to Khari Allen Lee and the New Creative Collective. They are going to be providing the STARTING POINT playlist for our entire morning, coming to you live from the Ruby Slipper Cafe right in the heart of downtown New Orleans.
Our team has changed up a little bit. Mayor Mitch Landrieu is the mayor of this fine city, and he is joining us. It's nice to see you, sir.
MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU (D), NEW ORLEANS: Welcome to New Orleans.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
LANDRIEU: Can I get you breakfast?
O'BRIEN: You have gotten me breakfast, another round.
Jay Thomas is with us as well. Award-winning actor, and also Sirius radio talk show host, New Orleans native.
And also Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications, who is also president of People en Espanol. She was just a moment ago was filling us in on what's going to be happening at the Essence Music Festival, which is one of the real reasons we are here actually.
Our friend Roland Martin will be back in just a moment. He is of course with "Washington Watch".
We're going to start, though, of course, with breaking news. We're talking about those deadly storms that are on the move right now. Violent thunderstorms have been slamming into Eastern Tennessee, happened overnight. Reportedly two people are dead. Dozens of others have been injured.
Let's get right to Rob Marciano in our extreme weather center with an update.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Soledad. This is an area that is highly populated during the summer months. A lot of tourism in the area. Great Smokey Mountain National Park, and this storm tore right through the area across the front country.
So, you can imagine, RVs, tents -- they don't do a lot of good when talking about big trees that are falling down, because this complex of storms rolled through Knoxville, and Tennessee Valley, and just to the west of the Appalachians and kind of converged over this area right along the park.
Winds gusting at times 70 miles an hour. That took multiple trees down. Dozens injured. Two fatalities, and still some folks that are hurt there they are trying to get out.
Right now, it's quiet. Sun goes down. We lose the heat. We lose a lot of the heat and energy.
But later on today, the heat will build back up. And especially along this front which will be eventually save the East Coast as far as the heat is concerned. That's where we expect most of the severe weather. South of that, more heat and more humidity.
Two dozen states under heat advisories and warnings today. Dangerous heat and another record-setting day for places like St. Louis, Chicago, maybe even Pittsburgh. Places like that are going to see 100 degree plus temperatures, 91. That's pretty toasty in New York, 100 again in D.C.
We will cool down Sunday, Monday. But until then, a lot of red on the map.
Ninety-one degrees in New Orleans. That's cool relatively speaking, although it's kind of humid.
Soledad, back to you.
O'BRIEN: All right, Rob. Thank you very much. >
Let's talk now about the stakes being incredibly high as we wait for the latest jobs numbers we are expecting in just about 30 minutes from now. Economists who were surveyed by CNN money are predicting 95,000 jobs being added to the economy over the last month. Unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 8.2 percent.
Experts say this jobs report may be the most important of the last three years. It will have a strong influence on those undecided voters. It could actually decide the presidential election.
President Obama seems pretty aware of this. He is on a bus tour through some key swing states, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Both states are big manufacturing hubs. The president is making his pitch on how he's going to battle outsourcing and bring more of those jobs back home.
All of that brings us to Dan Lothian. He's live in Akron, Ohio. He's got details on exactly what the president is talking about.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And, you know, we are in a way from where we spend the night, all the way to our next stop, which is Poland, Ohio, which is the last stop for the president at least officially here in Ohio before he heads to Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, later today.
This is obviously the second day of the president's bus tour. The focus will continue to be on the economy and those job numbers that are very important if they come out lower than expected. Republicans will continue to point at this being a big issue for the president, that after 3 1/2 years, he has yet to be able to turn around the economy.
We can expect the president to say how this is a bigger problem that cannot be solved overnight. It will take time.
But as he's been doing over the last 24 hours here in Ohio, pointing out that he has been making progress because of his economic policies, that things are getting better. Not perfect, but getting better. And here in this state that is heavy on manufacturing, and in particular the auto industry, the president has been talking about what he has been able to do in terms of bailing out the auto industry and how that has brought new investments back to the region and expanding jobs in the auto industry.
So we'll continue to hear the president talking about that. The next official stop in Poland, Ohio, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, Dan Lothian. Thank you, Dan. Appreciate the update.
We've got the mayor of New Orleans, Democrat Mitch Landrieu with us.
So, let's ask you a little bit about these jobs reports. As mayor of the city, do you follow them as closely -- I know in the media we sort of glom onto them every month. We do the minute-by- minute countdown.
Do you care about the national job numbers, or is it more important to you sort of what's happening within your city and that's much more important than what we're going to see in 30 minutes or so?
LANDRIEU: Both of them are very important. We have to focus on the area that they are responsible for. Unemployment actually in New Orleans is significantly low than the national average --
O'BRIEN: You're at 7.1 percent. Up a little bit from 6.4 percent in April.
LANDRIEU: Up a little bit. But I think it's a good indication. One of the things that's happening in New Orleans is, of course, it's been a great partnership between the federal, state, and local governments, the private sector, and the faith-based organizations as we rebuild from Katrina. And so, we've had really positive indications here.
The numbers on the national level concern us, because not only do we think we are in a national economy, we think we're in a global economy. And the things that are happening across the pond, as we call it, you know, have consequences for us as well.
So we watch it. We worry about it. And we always want to be going in the right direction.
One of the things I'm heartened about is the last 27 months, we've had, you know, positive growth. It's not what anybody wants it to be, but we are going in the right direction.
O'BRIEN: Can we talk about health care for a moment? I feel like we haven't covered health care enough since the Supreme Court -- a little bit of sarcasm.
LANDREIU: Nobody is talking about it.
O'BRIEN: You know, governor of this state, Bobby Jindal, has said that he will not expand Medicaid, which governors are able to opt out of that as you know under the health care act. That would leave 277,000 people, maybe really -- just under 278,000 people, who could have been covered not covered. What do you think of that move?
LANDRIEU: I think, you know, a lot of times we get stuck in political talk -- 800,000 people in the state of Louisiana in my opinion don't have access to affordable health care. We have the highest mortality rate from cancer in the country. We have a lot of people that get sick because they don't have the kind of health care that they need.
I haven't seen the individuals that say repeal and replace, I haven't seen what it is that they're going to replace for what President Obama has suggested, the consequence of which is making people healthier. We have 88 primary health clinics in the city of New Orleans if we don't institute that program. So I think the governor is mistaken.
On top of that, if he chooses not to do it, the ironic thing is the federal government is going to do it for him, because that's what the law calls for him to do. So I would encourage him to rethink that position. It's really easy for people to have access to affordable health care and to make sure they get healthy.
JAY THOMAS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The anger on my talk show and my friends that are more conservative than I am, we don't want to be forced to buy it. And so it's narrowed the 3,000 pages down to how dare you force me, I'm an American -- and so that's the battle. It's the mandate, and the anger.
LANDRIEU: The government forces you to buy car insurance.
THOMAS: Yes. But they say because of the liability of hitting someone else, right?
LANDRIEU: Exactly. So what happens in health care is that everybody is not participating in it. And this is the fallacy of the argument. If you wind up showing up in an emergency room, the emergency room has to take care of you, and then you pay for it anyway. So, it's a hidden tax.
O'BRIEN: But the argument on the mandate is really what the Supreme Court said, yes, in fact.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: To the mayor's point, I cover county government. I covered city hall.
I can tell you right now the biggest increase when it comes to the deficits in local government is dealing with the issue of health care. When you're closing community clinics and people are going to emergency rooms. And so what happens is when they have that gap, property taxes go up. So you are still paying for it. It's all there.
What bothers me the most when I hear Governor Jindal make these kind of announcements, when you look at the poorest states in America, I call them brokest broke, the brokest states, they are typically red states. It's Louisiana. It's Mississippi. It's Alabama. It's Georgia. It's Arkansas.
It's all of these states where you have Republican governors, and you're saying, wait a minute. Your places have the poorest people. You have the worst health care, and you're fighting something that could help the health of your state.
And when people are sick, then they can't work. They can't contribute to the tax base. So it makes no sense.
O'BRIEN: You have roughly 24 percent of the population here is uninsured. How does that come back to your bottom line as mayor?
LANDRIEU: Well, it's a huge problem. If the federal government is saying to the state, listen, if you engage in this program, what we'll do is pay 90 percent of the health care, and you say no, I don't want to do that, the consequences, the person is going to go to the emergency room that you fully finance, and you're paying 100 percent of the dollar.
Now, if somebody offers me a deal and says, hey, man, look, I'll pay for 90 percent of it because it's important for the country, and you say I don't want to do that, really it equals two things. Either a service cut on the ground or a tax increase because all of that stuff rolls down to local governments. Or what it equals into is long lines in an emergency room where people are sitting there for 13 hours to get kind of regular care. That's not a good system.
Now, if there's a better way to do it, we ought to talk about it. But I haven't seen a better way.
THOMAS: They are totally against this.
THOMAS: The government in the first three or four years, and the states are going to -- poor states like you were talking about are going to have to take up the financing of it after a few years. And they are saying they will never be able to afford what the government program says in that --
LANDRIEU: Well, let me say this. One of the things that the other side never does is say we are completely committed to getting everybody in America covered. You never, ever hear them say that. What you say is what they have done work, and some people just need to get left on the corner.
If we're going to bring everybody, you know, along together and the country is going to be healthy and we're going to be a people that are going to be able to produce, everybody that has good health care and is healthy, will be in a much better position to do that. It's got huge ramifications to the rest of the country.
THOMAS: Explain this to the public. That's the problem.
O'BRIEN: No question it's not been a well articulated program.
O'BRIEN: I think that's very true.
All right. We're going to get to Brooke Baldwin. She's got an update on our top stories.
Hey, Brooke. Good morning again.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Soledad. Good morning to you.
Breaking news out of Syria this morning. A high-ranking commander and close confidant of President Bashar al-Assad has now defected to Turkey. This is what we're hearing. This is according to a senior western official.
Brigadier General Manaf Tlass is a member of Syria's elite republican guards and the son of a former defense minister. His defection, keep in mind, would be the first here from Assad's inner circle since the Syrian uprising began more than a year and a half ago. It could indicate Assad's hold on power is beginning to crack.
One million dollars bond and another million in collateral. The Florida judge setting George Zimmerman's new bail. But he says he fears the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin may have been plotting to leave the country. Zimmerman could go free at any time, but his defense team says it's going to be pretty tough for his family to come up with $100,000 cash. All the while arranging for this court mandated seven-figure collateral.
Meanwhile, Trayvon Martin's family is obviously watching these developments, these legal developments, very closely. Their attorney spoke just last night to CNN's Erin Burnett. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, TRAYVON MARTIN'S FAMILY ATOTORNEY: Trayvon's parents, and I am speaking on their behalf, would rather that the killer of their unarmed son remain in jail until the trial. However, they respect the court's order, and the fact that the judge sent a very strong message in his order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Zimmerman's original bail of $150,000 was revoked last month after the judge found out Zimmerman and his wife failed to disclose more than $150,000 in donations from the public.
The NFL Players Association is suing the league for suspending three players in connection with the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. The suit alleges NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is, and I'm quoting here, incurably biased and violated the league's labor agreement by suspending these three players, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and Anthony Hargrove. A fourth player Jonathan Vilma is suing the NFL separately.
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.'s condition is worse, worse than first believed. He has been on this leave of absence from Congress ever since last month. His office has released a statement saying Jackson is being treated for physical and emotional ailments that he's battled for a long time and will need extended inpatient treatment.
And what is the most popular teen magazine, "Seventeen" magazine changing its image. You heard about this? This magazine now vowing not to photo shop, not to air brush any photos, pledging only to show real girls and models.
This move here is in direct response to its petition by more than 80,000 people that claims altering photos gives teen girls an unrealistic perception of beauty. So, they're going to be showing real young ladies instead. Good thing. Soledad, back to you.
O'BRIEN: Yes. I totally support that. You know what, I actually don't allow beauty magazines in my house.
BALDWIN (on-camera): Really?
O'BRIEN: I have a daughter who's 10 and daughter who's 11. They don't need -- you know, no one needs to compare themselves to a photo shopped image. You cannot win on that one.
MARTIN: You allow "Essence" in your house?
O'BRIEN: Of course, for grown women, but not little girls.
MARTIN: I was just checking.
O'BRIEN: No. But not for 10-year-old and 11-year-olds, of course.
O'BRIEN: Anyway, thank you. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, so what is that foam that's in the gulf? There's a mystery substance some fishermen say is making them sick. We're going to talk this morning about their questions if it's connected to that massive oil spill back in 2010.
We're going to play you out with the music of Khari Allen Lee and the New Creative Collective. We're live in New Orleans, and we are back right after this.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're live this morning from New Orleans. And there is a mysterious new problem that's hitting this already hard-hit gulf region. The area is trying to recover, of course, from the BP oil spill that happened back in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.
Wrecked beaches from Florida to Texas led to a long and very difficult cleanup. And I had a chance to cover that in the aftermath as we were covering some of those stories. But take a look at some pictures that were taken just a couple of weeks ago. You can see this strange white material that kind of looks like some kind of foam on the water.
It was spotted in the Gulf of Mexico about 25 miles of the shore of Venice, Louisiana. Fishermen say low-lying planes were spraying what they think was dispersant in case of an oil spill, and they believe it turned that into a foam that they claim made their skin itch or burn. Bill Nungesser, he's the president of Plaquemines Parish. The foam has been seen off of his shores, as well. Nice to see you. Thanks for being with us.
BILL NUNGESSER, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: president, Good morning.
O'BRIEN: Tell me about this -- how you first heard about this. Someone reported a plane that was spraying some kind of material.
NUNGESSER: One of the planes that spots for the Kobe Plant (ph) spotted them spraying and called it in. We called the Coast Guard, and we're told they were spraying for mosquitoes. And then, when we pretty much told them, you don't spray 20 miles offshore for mosquitoes, they said they'd get back with us.
Two weeks later, we hadn't heard from them. And after we went with the story on TV, we were told they were spraying water as a test if they had to spray dispersants again. They would do and test it.
O'BRIEN: So, it was a drill for dispersant --
O'BRIEN: -- is what you've been officially told, if you will?
O'BRIEN: The fishermen had told you that it's making their skin itchy. What kind of complaints --
NUNGESSER: We had three or four fishermen coming and saying their face was burning, they were coughing. Same as the effects back when they were spraying dispersant. And from the photos we saw, that doesn't look like they were spraying water. There's something they are spraying out of that plane.
O'BRIEN: What do you think it is?
NUNGESSER: I don't know. You know, we've seen reoccurrence of light sheen oil in isolated out in the gulf (INAUDIBLE), and it surfaces different times after thunderstorms. So, I don't know if that reappeared out there and they were trying to spray it. We just don't feel like we're getting the whole truth.
O'BRIEN: So, the EPA has said that it's doubtful that that's dispersants because in order to spray a dispersant, you have to get approval first from the EPA, and you know, according to our affiliates, that they had not approved it. And it also doesn't create foam. So, it wouldn't be a dispersant.
NUNGESSER: I don't know. You know, it just seems people are still on edge about the oil spill. You know, to disclose if they're even going to go out there and spray water, we should be notified of anything that's going on out there. None of the parishes, the city, or the state was notified that anything was going on.
O'BRIEN: So, some of your annoyance is just, indeed, having to hunt down the reason for planes flying spraying something?
JAY THOMAS, NEW ORLEANS NATIVE: Is it BP?
NUNGESSER: Well, we don't know. You know, they say it's the marine response team. That's what The Coast Guard is telling us. We haven't got official word or spoke to anyone with BP or any of the oil companies.
THOMAS: Could it be governmental?
NUNGESSER: I don't know. You know, the non-profit marine response team is the one that they said, the coast guard said, was spraying. But we haven't confirmed that yet.
O'BRIEN: The last time you and I spoke, I think it was almost two years ago, we were talking about the BP -- maybe it was a year ago for the anniversary of the oil spill, two years ago now. Give me a sense, I guess, both of you, how is the city and how is the parish coming back in the wake of that?
REP. BILL CASSIDY, MD (R), LOUISIANA: Well, first of all, we're a little bit further away from it than Billy is. But the city of New Orleans seems to be bouncing back really well. It was very, very hard. The people in New Orleans are used to bouncing back from really tough stuff.
CASSIDY: It's working well. You can see now in the city we have a large group of people. Essence, by the way, is in town, so we have hundreds of thousands of people that are coming back, and they seem to be recovering, you know, fairly well from it. But it was a very harsh law.
And when you think about the chain, the food chain that's got to kind of be put in place for them to serve oysters in this restaurant, it's a long, long, long chain all the way back to the fisheries that are having a little bit more difficult time down in Billy's parish.
NUNGESSER: We still have areas that are still reoccurring all. It's isolated areas. You know, we want people to know the seafood is good. It's never been better. But we still have areas in our parish that where the oil was so thick during that spill, it still recurring, coming up from the bottom, and we're still seeing that oil in certain isolated areas. CASSIDY: Just last week, Congress passed the restore act where they are going to target a lot of those fines that BP has to pay down to restore the coast (INAUDIBLE). So, we're moving in the right direction, but it was a kick in the pants.
THOMAS: You would not expect after this horrible -- how many millions of gallons, we have to expect that it just didn't go away. It's not all hunky-dory. And my fear is that they -- whoever they are, know that it isn't all OK. And they have to make sure that it looks ok. Whoever they are.
NUNGESSER: Well, in the areas where we see it come up, doing (INAUDIBLE), it's called non-recoverable oil now, and I don't know what that means. But, although, you don't see those horrible pictures of birds covered in oil, it's still a sticky substances on that marsh grass killing the marsh grass. So, it's still going to be a problem we're going to deal with for years to come.
O'BRIEN: Bill, nice to have you.
NUNGESSER: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Stick around and have breakfast with us.
O'BRIEN: Hang out with us. We got to take a short break.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, kind of a chance to talk to some of the diners here at the Ruby Slipper Cafe in New Orleans. We're going to talk about some of the big political stories we've been assessing, health care, the economy. You're watching STARTING POINT coming to you live. We're back right after this break.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We're coming to you live from the Ruby Slipper Cafe here in New Orleans. And I'm just crashing someone's breakfast table. Good morning. Give me your name, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dominick (INAUDIBLE).
O'BRIEN: And your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Joan Ordon (ph).
O'BRIEN: All right. And this is your sister, is that right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Linda.
O'BRIEN: Let's start with you. Why don't you first tell me a little bit as we talk about politics. What are the issues that are most important to you? People seem to poll and say economy, economy, economy. Would you agree?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do. I've been teaching for 46 years. And over the years, I've seen the students change.
O'BRIEN: What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's a give me society now, you know? And a lot of them don't want to work. They just want the teacher to give them a grade. And of course, you can't do that. You have to have standards. So, we are hoping that this next election, there will be a real change. And people will start valuing work and doing what they suppose to do.
O'BRIEN: Do you think a presidential election can change that? It sounds like you're saying you'd like to see President Obama out --
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.
O'BRIEN: -- and Mitt Romney come in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, because he's successful. He knows how to make money. He's not living off of the people.
O'BRIEN: This is your husband, correct? No. That's your husband. Ok. I'm going to ask you about your brother-in-law. He says bringing in a new president could change the minds and hearts of students. Would you agree with that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think at this time we see more students who are vocationally oriented. And it would be nice if the federal government would give tax rebates to maybe American companies that would bring manufacturing back. One of the issues that's being discussed on our radio talk shows these days is the United States is purchasing all of our flags from China. What does that say about us?
O'BRIEN: And what do you think it says about us?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that we need to bring manufacturing back to this country, and buy American flags from American manufacturers. That gives jobs. It creates jobs. And we need jobs.
O'BRIEN: Do you guys have political fights and arguments at home?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes. That is true. Sometimes we do argue about issues because we are not strictly one way or the other. So every election has the people who are running for office, and each person has a fair shot in our home. And so sometimes we do discuss issues. But when we go into that voting booth, the curtain is closed, and --
O'BRIEN: That sounds very civilized. A family that votes together stays together.
Well, thank you for letting me crash your breakfast. I certainly appreciate it. We want to mention that we're expecting those job numbers in literally just a minute or so. We're going to bring them to you live when they happen. And we're back right after this. Stay with us. You're watching STARTING POINT. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. As promised, we've got those big June jobs report numbers. They have just been released by the Labor Department. It looks like 80,000 jobs have been created. That's 15,000 lower than some estimates we talked about this morning. Also, the unemployment number is unchanged at 8.2 percent. Let's get right to Poppy Harlow. Hey, Poppy.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Soledad. Not good numbers at all for the Obama administration. We'll hear what the president says a little later today. What came in from the government is that we created 80,000 jobs in the month of June. That is worse than expected. The estimate was 95,000. What we saw specifically was the government sector shed 4,000 jobs and the private sector, as we've been seeing this trend, adding 84,000 jobs. The unemployment rate stays as expected, as you said, at 8.2 percent.
Here is a real kicker here. Here is the problem. We have had anemic jobs growth for the past three months and that continues through June. Also some revisions to tell you about -- in April, we thought that 77,000 jobs were created. It was actually revised lower to 68,000 jobs. In May, we thought 69,000 jobs were added. It's been revised a little higher to 77,000 jobs. So no real net change there but some revisions to tell you about.
I also want to tell you, the only real silver lining in this report is that we saw an increase in jobs in one sector, and that is professional and business services. When you talk about the number of Americans unemployed, 12.7 million, that stays the same from the previous month.
And 5.4 million Americans, this is really critical, Soledad, are long-term unemployed. That means they have been out of work for six months or longer. It is harder for them to find work. That didn't get any better at all.
Let's talk about the politics of all of this. The Obama administration says, look, through the most of our administration, we have seen improvement, and that is what we're talking about here. Their real problem is they saw accelerated improvement into the fall, and since then we have seen a decline. This is the real problem here. You've got four more jobs reports, just four after this, until the election. This is critical. Soledad?
O'BRIEN: All right, Poppy Harlow walking us through some of the numbers. Thanks, appreciate it.
Let's get right to Republican Congressman Dr. Phil Gingrey of the state of Georgia. Nice to have you with us. Let's start first to your reaction to 80,000 jobs created last month.
REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: Soledad, that's pretty pitiful. You are talking about 77,000 jobs, the adjusted number from last month going up to 80,000 jobs this month, an increase of 3,000 jobs. This cup is not nearly half full. That is really bad. And where those jobs are created, probably people, professionals, helping people go through bankruptcy. No manufacturing jobs. And much less than what was anticipated. So this is bad news for the president. But more importantly, it's really bad news for the American people.
O'BRIEN: Earlier this morning, I was talking to Ken Rogoff, the world famous economist, and he said, listen, at the end of the day, it's not really correct to lay the blame at the foot of the president. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEN ROGOFF, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think no matter who had been president the last four years, we would have seen very sluggish recovery. It's normal after a financial crisis. But there is a question of where things are going from here. What are the job numbers going to look like the next four years, and I think that's what the debate has to be around. And of course there are two very different visions for the economy between candidate Romney and President Obama, between growth and perhaps more fairness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: He also went on to say that he thinks Congress could be doing more, that this stalemate in Congress is a big part the problem, which would include you, sir. What do you think?
GINGREY: Well, nice spin on his part. Good try. But we all know that it's about the economy. Who was it that said that, after all? President Bill Clinton said, hey, it's the economy, stupid. I think that was back in 1992. And he was absolutely right. The same thing back in the late '70s with President Jimmy carter. You know, the president can put all kind of spin on it. He's got a nice swagger, a toothy smile, shows lots of gum. But what the American people want now is a little bit more gumption, a little less gum.
O'BRIEN: Mayor Landrieu, he says that the president just smiling as some of these numbers coming out. What do you make of Congressman Gingrey's comments?
LANDRIEU: Well, I don't like them. I think those comments are unnecessary. I think the president is doing a good job. We have 27 months of consistent growth. And I think that the professor is right. This is an economy that the world has not seen in a very, very long time. We're in a global economy and it's really critically important that we all pull together.
One of the things that the economist said is that Congress has done nothing. It's easy to sit back and criticize. If you're not moving forward fry trying to find common ground, it makes it very difficult. It takes two to tango.
THOMAS: Look, it's bad. This is what I do. One, two, three. I mean, that wasn't a response.
O'BRIEN: Well, let me ask Congressman Gingrey another question. When you look at the Georgia unemployment rate, in 2009 it was 10.5 percent. It's gone down to eight percent. Isn't that an indication there has been progress within your state, and who gets the credit for that progress?
GINGREY: Who gets the credit, our CEO, Governor Nathan Deal. We have a governor that knows what he speaks about and knows about economic development, that keeps our taxes low, stimulates job growth in the state of Georgia. But this president has done nothing of the such. These gentlemen from New Orleans criticizing the congress, they need to be more specific about that. And criticize the Senate led by Harry Reid and Senator Mary Landrieu and not Steve bitter or some of my Republican colleagues from the great state of New Orleans. We have passed over 30 job creating bills, and they are stacking up on Harry Reid's desk like cord wood. And that's why Congress is not making any progress. Speaker Boehner is doing a great job. Leader Reid is doing a horrendous job.
GINGREY: Congressman, let me ask you a question. If unemployment is down in Georgia and down in Louisiana, why doesn't the president get the credit for that rather than the blame? Y'all seem to keep trying to have it both ways. And you blame him for everything and give him credit for nothing. In the city of New Orleans, the unemployment rate is well below the national average. And one reason is because President Obama, in partnership with the state and the city, have put a package together that's really working down here and working all over the country. And you want to bust him, you know, when things are bad, and you don't want to give him any credit when things are good.
GINGREY: I don't think Governor Jindal would agree with you there at all.
O'BRIEN: Well, let me ask you about the $5.5 billion dollars in federal contracts and grants and in stimulus money that your state actually got, right? That funded 193,000 jobs. Wouldn't that just be a clear sign that stimulus money helped your state a lot?
GINGREY: He gives with one hand and he takes away with the other. He has expanded Medicaid in the state of Georgia over the next 10 years by about 750,000 individuals. It will increase costs to the Medicaid program of over $5 billion. So what this program has done for Georgia has been a net negative, not a net positive.
O'BRIEN: A net negative, and yet your unemployment rate has gone down a significant number --
GINGREY: Thanks to a great Republican governor who served with me in the house for 18 years. He is a great CEO.
O'BRIEN: Congressman Phil Gingrey joining this morning. We appreciate your time.
GINGREY: Thank you. Glad to be with you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you. Still ahead this morning, actress, singer, and superstar Vanessa Williams will stop by with her mom. They have written a book together. We want to talk about that book. STARTING POINT is coming to you live from New Orleans. We're back right after this short break.
O'BRIEN: Hi and welcome back everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from New Orleans today.
Vanessa Williams. I don't even have to give you an introduction of Vanessa Williams. She is multitalented superstar, an actress, a singer, producer and now an author.
Back in 1983, you'll remember Williams became the first black Miss America and then had to survive a photo scandal. Was able to launch her successful music career. Had number one hits like "Save the Best for Last." I could sing a little bit of that for you if you like, but I won't.
She went on to star in TV shows like "Ugly Betty" and "Desperate Housewives." Doing Broadway all along, won several award nominations along the way. She says she couldn't have done it though without her mom, Helen. And the two of them later today are going to be talking at the Essence Music Festival about their mother-daughter relationship was a little bit rocky at times.
It's also the topic of their new book, which is called "You Have No Idea: A Famous Daughter from No Nonsense Mother." And how they survived pageants, Hollywood, love, lost and each other.
It's so nice to have Vanessa and Helen with me this morning. I love this book.
HELEN WILLIAMS, VANESSA WILLIAMS' MOTHER: Hello.
VANNESSA WILLIAMS: Hi.
O'REILLY: It was such a great read. Let's start with the how we survived each other part. Because the book is really blunt. I mean, I was surprise of how like you don't -- you don't play at all. You're -- you're tough on each other, and were tough on each other, and didn't always get along. Why don't we start with your mom first.
V. WILLIAMS: Ok.
O'BRIEN: Why did you think writing a book about a famous daughter was such a good idea?
H. WILLIAMS: Well, it wasn't my idea. It was her idea and then I just said ok. She told me you're going to do this and I said ok because I'm a (inaudible) mother. But there were times when she would -- we would talk about things and then incidents and things that had happened, and I would correct her and say that's not really what happened. This is what really happened. So that was kind of the idea.
O'BRIEN: Your perspectives are very different.
H. WILLIAMS: Exactly.
O'BRIEN: And you do go through the book setting up a chapter and you get to weigh in on each others' take on what really happened on the set.
V. WILLIAMS: She has a strong personality. And it's an opportunity to show my personality growing up and how I was influenced by her strict hand at times, me being defiant at times. And I really wanted to be able to talk about how I grew up on my terms.
O'BRIEN: Why did you start a book with the scandal, the photo scandal?
V. WILLIAMS: I knew people would go jump right to it and I wanted people to jump into the book and know that they're going to get an inside view. And I think people -- when they -- when they start reading the book, they say I can't put it down and they read it all the way to the end. And that's what I wanted.
O'BRIEN: You know, what's so interesting about the photo scandal. What you talk about when your daughter finally showed you the photos, you saw them and you heard about the scandal coming and it was going to derail the whole Miss America thing, you said you looked at her eyes in the photo that way you are looking at.
V. WILLIAMS: Yes.
O'BRIEN: And what you saw was really disturbing to you. What did you see?
H. WILLIAMS: Well, a lot of people looked at the photos and looked at the sensationalism of the nudeness and everything. But when I looked at them, I looked at her eyes and I saw that she was very, very uncomfortable. It was something that was not part of her being. And there was a sadness there. And I looked at the depth of sadness and sorrow in her eyes. And that's what I saw. And I understood, you know, where she was coming from.
O'BRIEN: You said at points you were not black enough for the black people; not white enough for the white people. How much of that has defined you and how much of that has changed over the last even 20 years?
V. WILLIAMS: That happens when you're a trail blazer. When you're the first, you've got to knock the door down and you're just up for scrutiny. And you've got to take it. And at 20 years old, that's what did and I look back and I see my kids, my oldest daughter just turned 25. And my other is 23. And my son is 19.
And I think of what I had to go through at 20 years old, and see how lovely their lives are and the struggles that they didn't have to go through and I thought wow, I really grew up fast. It was the school of hard knocks. But you know, you do your best and you are who yourself.
O'BRIEN: You remind me a lot of my mom. I'm sure people stop you and tell you -- that because you know my mom used to say to me, you know I don't play -- actually I don't play with my kids. Like I'm a mom who rolls on the floor and tickles with kids, I love to play with my kids. And she was much more of the tough like, I'm in charge. That's my job as a mom. And you sound like --
H. WILLIAMS: As a parent, as a parent, I always felt that as a parent I had to be a parent. And especially in the formative years, the growing up that you know, she had friends that were her friends and her peers. I was the parent. And I'm still the parent.
V. WILLIAMS: My dad did play, though. He was the one that would go bike riding with us, go skiing with us. Go fishing with us. You know, help us work around the house with him. Mow the lawn. So he's the (inaudible).
O'BRIEN: The book is amazing. I really, really love it.
V. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: We're going to be talking later this morning.
V. WILLIAMS: Yes, totally.
O'BRIEN: At the festival for all the folks who are playing at the festival.
V. WILLIAMS: It's going to be exciting.
O'BRIEN: Have an entire plate of French toast, please.
V. WILLIAMS: I know.
O'BRIEN: That is not how you become Miss America. I will tell you. We've got to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.
Stay with us.
O'BRIEN: Hey, welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. I'm back with breaking news to get to. Just moments ago, the June jobs report number was released it. It shows that the economy added 80,000 jobs last month. That's a lower number than was expected. We were estimating somewhere around 95,000 jobs. The unemployment rate holding steady at 8.2 percent, a sign of weak economic growth.
And the report is not exactly the news that the Obama administration was hoping for. Austan Goolsbee is an economics professor at the University of Chicago. He's a former chairman of the President's Council of Economic advisors, joining us this morning. It's nice to see you, sir. Thank you for talking with us.
Give me your reaction to these numbers of 80,000 as opposed to the estimate 95,000.
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: It's great to see you again.
O'BRIEN: Thank you.
GOOLSBEE: Well, it's in the realm of expectations. They were pretty week expectations. I mean I think these numbers largely reflect that the economy has -- its growth has slowed down this year compared to last year. And whenever that happens, you're going to see that happen in the jobs numbers. This is actually a little better than I -- than I predicted it was going to be.
And I think a lot of these events in Europe just continue to drag on people's mind and drag on the markets. And you're seeing that play out in the jobs.
O'BRIEN: You know, I was talking just a few moments ago to Congressman Gingrey, and he was saying that even though his state is doing better, the President doesn't get credit for that. The Republican governor does. But that when you look at the jobs number, the President definitely gets the blame for that.
How far do you think does the blame go? Is it the President's fault? Is it Congress' fault? Who's to blame here?
GOOLSBEE: Well, in the overall picture, everybody would say -- every economic expert would say that virtually none of the credit or blame should go to any of the politicians. They are not the main ones doing the work here. It's the private sector that has either got to rise or fall.
If you look on the government side, the government job losses have been pretty extreme over the last two or three years. There have been no contributions from that side. So I think it's a little weird for people to be taking credit or blame.
Now, that said, we've got to get the growth rate up of the economy. I mean, that's totally clear that if we're only growing two percent or less than two percent, that we are going to have a string of jobs numbers that aren't very impressive.
Now, there's a lot of variability on any one month's report. But the trend for this year has been in this kind of meh (ph), middling sort of range, and that's what you would expect when the economy is growing at the kind of rates it's been growing.
O'BRIEN: And how likely do you think that is when you are in an election year, when you see a Congress that's in a stalemate really with the President, and -- how long should you expect that?
GOOLSBEE: Look, if you're waiting for the salvation to come from Washington, look, you can forget it. They are not going to do much it doesn't look like before the election at the earliest. I think the other big thing weighing on us is the threat of financial crisis that's coming from Europe. So I will say I'm a little pessimistic in the immediate term that we are going to be able to get the growth rate up. But, look, we've just got to keep plugging away. We ended a bubble. We can't go back to doing those things, over-consuming and building more houses. We've got to shift to more manufacturing, more exports, more investment, and that does take time. But that's the way we've got to do it. That's the only sustainable thing.
O'BRIEN: Austan Goolsbee is an economics professor at the University of Chicago. Thank you for your time this morning, sir. We appreciate it.
GOOLSBEE: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: You bet.
We have to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: You've been listening to Khari Allen Lee (ph) and the new creative collective. They have a new album out now called "Pompous Evolution". They are terrific, and we very, very much appreciate them.
We only have time for "End Point" talking about the Essence Music Festival. So I'm going to let you Michelle, take it away for us.
MICHELLE DAVIS, PRESIDENT, ESSENCE COMMUNICATIONS: Thank you, Soledad. For being here. We're excited about the annual festival.
The jobs report, health care, but it's really much more than that. It's about what is happening in our community. And we know that these issues actually hit black communities and black women harder than other communities.
So there will be important discussions. Roland will be there to join us for those discussions. And we'll be talking about what the vote is about this year. So we're excited about that. And then we're excited about the music as well.
O'BRIEN: Of course we are always excited about that.
Final word from you Mr. Mayor?
MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU (D), NEW ORLEANS: Essence is one of our great markers. We just adore having them here in the city. (inaudible) It's a great event.
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And a mayor with rhythm. He'll be line dancing.
LANDRIEU: We'll be together out there.
O'BRIEN: I insist (inaudible) with the line dancing. That I can't wait to see.
MARTIN: Have a good time.
O'BRIEN: We're out of time. Everybody have a great weekend. We'll see you back for "STARTING POINT" starting on Monday morning at 7:00 a.m.
I want to send you right now to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Don Lemon. Hey Don, good morning.