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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Interview with Congressman Jason Chaffetz; Baldwin Brother On Faith; Washington Monument Continues Undergoing Repairs; Controversial Texas Voter I.D. Law Debated; Jon Huntsman Skipping GOP Convention; Cheerleader Saves Football Coach

Aired July 10, 2012 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Our STARTING POINT: politics and your paycheck. We are cutting through the talking points about the Bush tax cuts. What does it really mean for you?

Huntsman out. The former presidential candidate and former Reagan delegate skipping the GOP convention, saying he is disappointed in his party. Abby Huntsman joins our STARTING POINT team this morning. We'll talk to her a little bit about that.

And the mayor's tough call. His city is out of money. He slices city workers' salaries down to the minimum wage -- including his own, by the way. But was it really $7.25 an hour or nothing?

Plus, she's got spirit. She knows CPR. A cheerleader saves a football coach who collapsed on the field.

Plus, actor Stephen Baldwin is here.

It's Tuesday, July 10th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: That's from my play list. Ryan Lizza says that's a good song.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, "HUFFPOST LIVE": Too upbeat for Will Cain. I knew it would be.

ROMANS: Our STARTING POINT team, of course, this morning, Abby Huntsman, the host of "HuffPost Live"; Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker"; and Will Cain, columnist for TheBlaze.com.

Our STARTING POINT this morning: A new round in the tax fight, and its toll on your paycheck. President Obama is promising to veto any bill that extends all tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year. He's calling on Congress to only extend tax cuts more Americans making less than $250,000 a year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many members of the other party believe that prosperity comes from the top down. So that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that that will somehow unleash jobs and economic growth. I disagree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The Republicans want to extend tax cuts for everyone. Earlier I spoke with Congressman Steve King.

He says that the president's plan, quite frankly, would raise taxes on small businesses, and he says the fairness question is totally misplaced. That actually, the rich people are paying their fair share. It's just that there's too many people in this country not working and expecting the government to take care of them.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz is a Republican from Utah and member of the budget committee. He's also a surrogate for Mitt Romney.

Good morning, sir.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: Good morning.

ROMANS: Let's talk about the tax cuts, the president wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for 97 percent of all people. Explain to me why that 3 percent of small business -- people who make more than $200,000 a year, why would it cripple the economy to raise taxes on them right now?

CHAFFETZ: Well, to hear President Obama and the Democrats say it, we are just one good tax increase away from prosperity in this nation, that's not true. You don't raise taxes in times of such uncertainty. So we are saying let's keep the taxes the same.

And what Governor Romney is saying, let's actually cut the taxes for the middle class. Anybody who is making $200,000 or less as their adjusted gross income, let's take it down to zero, their income on dividends and interest and capital gains. Those types of things actually are pro growth, pro jobs, and that's why Governor Romney I think has the better case.

ROMANS: He also wants -- Governor Romney also wants to cut the corporate income tax. The president does too by the way. I mean, there's pretty much agreement from both parties, just as to how much and how to close loopholes to do it.

But what Governor Romney is proposing, how do you -- how do you square what the governor is proposing in terms of cutting taxes even more than they are now and also balancing our books eventually? How do you square those two goals?

CHAFFETZ: Because at some point, you actually have to cut spending. Federal spending is atrocious.

When President Obama took office, the national debt was about $9 trillion. And by the way, in order to get to $1 trillion, you have to spend $1 million a day every day for 3,000 years. So President Obama took us from $9 trillion in debt over to $16 trillion in debt.

If you're going to grow the economy, if people are going to have more income, you have to have stability in the marketplace. And one of the things that I think President Obama fails to recognize is that when he calls for the extension of taxes for just one year, it creates more uncertainty in the marketplace. Capital is resistant to making investments, and therefore creating jobs, when you have so much uncertainty -- uncertainty with health care, uncertainty with the debt, uncertainty with hey, we're going to raise taxes on the job creators.

ROMANS: To Ryan real quick. A lot of Republicans talk about how the president ran this up. I mean, there are wars in there that preceded the president. Bush tax cuts which preceded the president. And a financial collapse which the seeds were sown before this president.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, most of the deficit was inherited by President Obama.

But, Congressman, I just have one question that's related -- semi- related to taxes here. Yesterday, Haley Barbour, the former Republican governor of Mississippi, called on Mitt Romney to release his tax returns, or at least he said he should. What's your position on that? Should Governor Romney release all of those tax returns?

Right now, he is in a very unique position for a presidential candidate. He has only released one year and a summary of 2011.

CHAFFETZ: Governor Romney has paid 100 percent of his taxes that are owed. He has complied 100 percent with what the law requires.

LIZZA: I asked you if he should release the tax returns.

CHAFFETZ: I think he has released them.

ROMANS: More of them.

CHAFFETZ: No.

LIZZA: Should he release them or not?

CHAFFETZ: No, I don't. I think he's been very successful --

LIZZA: Why shouldn't the American people see those?

CHAFFETZ: He's been very successful. He has released everything that is required to be released, including paying more than 16 percent of his income to charitable givings.

So I think it's a diversionary tactic. Most people don't care about this. Governor Romney has been very successful. Get over it. It's a reality. He's been successful.

That's the kind of guy I want to be president. He actually knows how to turn the economy around.

LIZZA: Is that why he's not releasing them, because he's so successful? What does that have to do with not releasing tax returns?

CHAFFETZ: He is doing everything that's required by law. He's had these things in blind trust for a number of years. He was governor for four years. He is one of the most well vetted people out there, and he has done everything required as possible.

LIZZA: But he hasn't done what previous candidates have done, which is release all his tax returns.

CHAFFETZ: No, I totally disagree with you. Let me go back to your first premise. The first thing that you said is that President Obama inherited all of this debt and deficit. That is not true.

Since Barack Obama took office until now, there are more than 133,000 additional federal workers on the federal payroll. The Democrats have had the House, the Senate, and the president for two years. That's why the debt has gone from $9 trillion to $16 trillion. That's why we pay $600 million a day in interest instead of that money going to something more productive.

ROMANS: Should we continue to hammer on the tax returns or not? Here's my question about the tax returns. To me, maybe -- they are going to show just how wealthy he is. They are going to show just how the tax code favors people who are very, very wealthy, and allowing tax experts to go over it and journalists to go over it and Democrats to go over it and opponents to go over it. It just raises more questions for this candidate. All legal, quite likely all legal, than just taking the heat for not releasing them. Don't you think, congressman?

CHAFFETZ: Well, he had the head of the IRS, the former IRS commissioner, actually reviewed the Romney taxes. Nobody has ever suggested that he's done anything other than pay 100 percent of the taxes that he's done.

ROMANS: I don't think anybody is suggesting that. I think they are showing that it would show the tax code in this country this big argument about the tax code favoring people with a lot of money.

CHAFFETZ: Look, Governor Romney becomes president Romney has said on day one, one of the things he wants to do is broaden the base, lower the rate, get rid of the corporate loopholes. He understands this as much as anybody.

The success of a Romney presidency is going to be on his ability to create opportunity and prosperity for the middle class. He's already been successful. We all understand that.

What I like about Governor Romney, he wants to create that success and those opportunities for the rest of the nation. That's not happening right now, and that's the difference between Governor Romney and President Obama.

ROMANS: Congressman, always nice to talk to you in the morning. Thank you for dropping by, sir.

CHAFFETZ: Thank you.

ROMANS: Have a good day.

Let's go now to Ali Velshi for the rest of the day's story. Hi, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: What? You're not going to ask me about my blind trust?

ROMANS: I want 10 years of tax returns, sir, by the end of the show.

VELSHI: I'll give you some letter, how is that?

Beating the record heat and torrential rains unleashing flash floods in the mid-Atlantic, stranding 30 cars on the interstate in Greensboro, North Carolina. The government now says the past 12 months were the hottest ever on record in the mainland United States. And that is not counting this month. More than 2,000 heat records broken or tied so far in July.

Let's get a quick check on the weather with Alexandra Steele in the weather center.

Good morning, Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you, Ali.

All right. We've got more records to talk about. Here now on the East Coast and the Southwest.

Las Vegas, 113 yesterday. Boise, 100 as well. So the heat is on. And the axis of the heat continues to be there. Departures from average, Las Vegas, 114. Seven degrees above average. Boise as we head toward tomorrow, 14 degrees. Spokane, 15 degrees.

That heat will push eastward, but the heat relief we're getting in the East courtesy of this front has now become stationary. So the stationary front, the lifting mechanism we have in the air, the unstable layer, the weak winds aloft, kind of a recipe for flooding kind of training right over this area.

So Virginia and North Carolina, similar to yesterday, will see one to two inches of rain today. Temperature department, boy, a lot cooler than it's been, a lot nicer, that's for sure. A lot more comfortable, 84 in Memphis, 93 in Atlanta.

Again, the heat is out West, and will continue to be for the next couple of days -- Ali.

VELSHI: Alexandra, thanks very much for that. We'll check in with you on the while.

A peaceful power struggle now unfolding in Egypt. Parliament convened overnight for the first time in a month. Now this comes after the newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, defied the military and the courts by overriding their decision to dissolve parliament.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is stressing the need for dialogue in Egypt, following more than a year of political turmoil there. Clinton says democracy is not just about elections.

Russia is suddenly distancing itself from Syria, and that could spell trouble for Syrian President Bashir al Assad. Russia's deputy foreign minister says his country would welcome a chance to host a meeting of world powers to try to stop the violence. The Russians also have agreed to stop delivering new weapons to Syria as long as that country remains unstable. Russia's foreign minister specifically pledged not to deliver three dozen fighter jets worth $520 million despite a signed contract with the Syrian government.

A makeshift memorial to slain teenager Trayvon Martin has been dismantled but all of the items have been preserved and moved to a museum in Sanford, Florida. The city consulted with Martin's family before removing the items from the subdivision where the teen was shot in a confrontation with George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman who is charged with second degree murder is again free on bond. He claims he shot Martin in self-defense.

Standing by their school. Penn State University reporting one of its best fundraising years ever, despite the stain of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Alumni and boosters helped raise more than $208 million in the latest fiscal year. That is the second highest figure in the university's history. A spokesman says despite the scandal, Penn State never lost the support of its alumni -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Ali Velshi, thanks.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, today's tough call, a city out of cash. The mayor slicing salaries to minimum wage saying it's all the city can afford.

Plus, actor Stephen Baldwin is here to talk about his latest movie.

You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: That's a great song. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Scar Tissue." It's just like a moment in time. Some songs, that's a beautiful thing.

All right. Actor, Stephen Baldwin became a born again Christian in 2001. His latest movie "Loving the Bad Man" centers around his faith. It's about a woman who gives birth to a baby conceived during rape and ends up on a journey of forgiveness. Baldwin plays the leader of a prison gang who meets the woman's attacker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN BALDWIN, ACTOR, "LOVING THE BAD MAN": Brother Tyler, you're my recruiter. Any thoughts about the new guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. I've got a few ideas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Stephen Baldwin joins me now. It's a tough subject. A controversial subject. You know, forgiveness in Christianity is something that -- I mean, it is -- it's hard, and it's critical.

BALDWIN: Well, on a daily basis, obviously, it's the most challenging, but it's really what Christianity is all about now, isn't it?

ROMANS: Right, right.

BALDWIN: And, yes, "Loving the Bad Man" was a lot of fun for me just because, you know, you have movies like "Fireproof" courageously doing well. "Loving the Bad Man" is a lot more edgy, a little more challenging. If you're looking for something more intense to challenge you in your Christian faith, then "Loving the Bad Man" is going to be a wonderful opportunity.

And I got to go out of the way to say that Christine Kelly, who's the lead actress in the film, her performance is tour de force.

ROMANS: I mean, when you hear -- tell me a little more about the story and the premise of the story, and what this woman and the other people in the film go through on that path to forgiveness.

BALDWIN: Before we started talking, you were saying how's it going, how's your life? I said, oh, I have two teenaged daughters. They're very attractive. Oh, how are you handling that, Stephen?

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Well, it's really kind of similar to the story of this film, you know? In the movie, the lead character is raped. She comes from a Christian family. She says, well, I'm going to keep this child, and then, on top of that, go back and meet my attacker and express forgiveness.

And actually, in Christianity, there are so many stories like this that are so true. I think that we have a lot of content out there today that's kind of relaxed and soft and safe.

ROMANS: What do you mean?

BALDWIN: Well, I just think that being a true Christian and living out your faith is something that according to the faith it's not about me. It's not about what I think is the right thing to do based on, you know, traditional Christianity.

It's about reading your bible every day, being in prayer every day, hopefully, hearing from the holy spirit inn such a way that you go and become a missionary in some third world country or answer the call that you know is coming from your God. And that's not for everybody.

ROMANS: Is this -- this film is for you?

BALDWIN: Oh, absolutely. This film -- you know, there's a line in the movie where she says, you know -- she says, you know, the Christian mom and dad say, you know, it will be OK if you don't keep this baby. And she goes, it's not an it, mom. You know, it's a baby. And I'm going to live out everything you taught me. You know, why are you going back on it now?

ROMANS: Do you feel like you can relate to the bad man? I mean, I know you've had -- you weren't a born again Christian until a few years ago. I mean, you had kind of a wild life in Hollywood. Is there a part of you that feels for --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Back to my two gorgeous teenage daughters, you know, the Lord has a sense of humor, so to speak.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Exactly. Exactly. My two pretty daughters are answers to all those pink tails I pulled in elementary school on gals such as yourself. But, yes, I can relate to the bad man, certainly, but I think there's a little bit of bad man in all of us, you know? Nobody is perfect. We all walk every day and try not to judge others in our mind.

HUNTSMAN: We all have a little Baldwin in us, I guess?

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Well, I think that's OK.

ROMANS: I want to be around the Baldwin dinner table when you guys are talking about politics and religion and all this stuff. Does it get fun, fiery, feisty?

BALDWIN: No.

CAIN: How is this? We do that on a daily basis here, right? I'm the resident conservative.

HUNTSMAN: No, you're not, Will.

CAIN: I'm not? Anyway, we have these debates on a daily basis, and we deal with it. Are your family reunions, your dinner tables like that or they're a little more explosive?

BALDWIN: No. They can get explosive. I mean, Alec and I and Billy and I, you know, we respect each other a lot.

ROMANS: But you're politically very different.

BALDWIN: Polar opposites. And mine is a result of my faith. And my brother has said things like, you know, Steve and I think was hijacked by the Republican Party and is confused about what it means to be a Christian and be a Republican. And none of that is true. Meaning, if you look at authentic Christianity, it aligns itself more with conservatism and things like that.

And listen, I have a voice in the platform, and I'm going to do all I can to speak out on those things that I believe in. So, I think that Republicans and conservatives are for more common sense logical. But that's just me.

CAIN: Do you think your brother should run for New York City mayor?

(LAUGHTER)

CAIN: Really?

BALDWIN: Listen, Alec is a very talented guy. Super smart guy. I think he'd be a great mayor. I think that obviously that comes along with all of the terrible mudslinging and dragging your personal life through the mud. And I think he's had enough of that. So, it's up to him.

ROMANS: You recently had a court case with Kevin Costner that went against you. BP oil spill, device to clean up after the oil spill. Have you talked to Kevin Costner? Is there a bad blood about that whole lawsuit?

BALDWIN: No. There's no bad blood in my mind. There's nothing personal about it. Kevin Costner's partner, the facts of the case are the facts of the case. Kevin's partner in that transaction did some very terrible, illegal things that are just documented throughout the case.

ROMANS: But you lost that case. You lost it.

BALDWIN: Yes. And there's some new stuff cooking about it as we speak.

ROMANS: Ok. New stuff cooking. So, we'll watch this phase . Stephen Baldwin, thanks. The movie is called "Loving the Bad Man." Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: You got it.

ROMANS: Ahead on STARTING POINT, the truth about tax cuts. The facts and fictions key claims on both sides.

Plus, a city that's out of money so a mayor makes a desperate move, cutting city workers' salaries to minimum wage. They have a choice? That's our "Tough Call."

Don't forget, you can watch CNN live on your computer, your mobile phone, while you're at work, all the time. Head to CNN.com/TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) VELSHI: Hey, welcome back. I'm Ali Veshi. You've been hearing about the Bush tax cuts for the last 24 hours. President Obama called for those tax cuts to be extended for everyone making less -- families making less than $250,000. And of course, there have been a ton of claims being thrown back and forth.

I want to breakdown fact and fiction here. Let's start by listening to what the president said when he made the announcement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many members of the other party believe that prosperity comes from the top down. So, that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that that will somehow unleash jobs and economic growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: OK. Listen to that. Will Cain, he said if we spend trillions more on tax cuts. What President Obama is talking about is spending money on tax -- on taxes. A little bit of fiction there. I'm throwing you a bone, Will.

CAIN: Thank you. Thank you.

VELSHI: First, it is obviously not yet the case. The spending of money, if you want to call it that, some call it raising money, only happens if the Bush tax cuts are extended for everyone. Something that the president has said he will not allow. Also, according to the White House, not trillions of dollars, it's not even a full trillion dollars.

The administration itself says it would save, or again if you look at it a different way, raise $968 billion over 10 years by allowing the Bush era tax cuts to expire for high earners. Now, let's go to the other side. Let's listen to what Mitt Romney had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOICE OF MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Small businesses are overwhelmingly being taxed, not at a corporate rate, but at the individual tax rate. So, successful small businesses will see their taxes go up dramatically and that will kill jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: OK. So, as he said, many small businesses use a system that means their income is taxed as personal income, not corporate income. Now, that's an entirely different discussion as to whether that can change, but will allowing the tax cut to expire for those earning more than $200,000 as individuals hurt small business?

There's some fiction in there as well. If the president gets his way and the cuts do expire for wealthy Americans, the vast majority of small businesses will not be affected. I'm going to say that one more time, because somebody told you otherwise this morning, Christine. The vast majority of small businesses in the United States will not be affected by the increase in taxes for those netting more than $200,000.

That is according to Congress' joint committee, joint meaning both parties' committee on taxation. Only three percent of small business owners would take a hit. Just separating the facts from fiction, not telling you to raise or lower taxes, just telling you both of these presidential candidates are not being honest with you, which goes along with the theme of both of these presidential candidates generally not being honest with you about the economy.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: News flash. News flash.

VELSHI: Yes.

ROMANS: Fact check from Ali Velshi. Thanks, Ali.

Time for our "Tough Call." And this one really is tough. Scranton, Pennsylvania making a tough decision to save money and jobs. The mayor, Chris Doherty, has cut the pay of 400 municipal employees, including himself, to minimum wage or 7.25 an hour. Guess that someone who was, say, a city truck driver saw their pay cut by 62 percent from $19.39 an hour to $7.25 an hour.

Another worker says his biweekly paycheck went from $900 to $340. Guess what, Scranton only has $5,000 in the bank and has a $60 million budget gap. The city council is outraged, but there's no alternative plan. I mean, you can't fix the blank just overnight. And the people who work there say, are you kidding me? Minimum wage? It's a tough call.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: They can also risk getting fired. I think, you know, he's doing what he has to do. A lot of cities are going through really difficult times right now. And, you know, the union works can't have it all, all the time.

LIZZA: Remember when the president recently said that the private sector is doing fine and that the real problem is government employees, right, the federal government changing jobs, cities and states are laying people off, because they don't have money. This is the -- this is at the heart of what is wrong with the economy right now.

And the president got in all kinds of trouble for pointing that out recently. But we're going to go through more and more of this. If Congress wanted to do one thing that would be anti-recessionary, more than anything that's up there, they would send some more aid to the cities and states.

ROMANS: So, you don't fix the economy by growing more government jobs. CAIN: So, the solution to our problem is to continue the problem. Municipalities and states, there are no doubts, have financial problems. You can go from Stockton, California filing bankruptcy, the state of California, to Scranton, Pennsylvania.

And I just don't understand how you rationalize it. It's a solution to the problem. Pension obligations, too many employees at the state and city levels, is to continue that.

LIZZA: Jobs are jobs. When the unemployment numbers come out, it doesn't care whether it's private sector jobs lost or public sector jobs lost. You know, when you have an economic crisis, a government or a private sector job is a job, right?

ROMANS: Now, it's a minimum wage job.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNTSMAN: The mayor lowered his wage, too. So, I mean, he's --

ROMANS: Well, he said after the financial crisis is over for the city, then they would return the salaries. But real crisis there in Scranton, P.A.

All right, guys. Ahead on STARTING POINT, tough luck for hundreds of thousands of tourists. The Washington Monument is about to undergo years of repairs and be covered in scaffolding. So, get out there and take your picture with the family today before the scaffolding goes up in months to come. We're live at the National Mall.

And former presidential candidate, Jon Huntsman, skipping the Republican convention. What does he want to see changed? We have his daughter and her commentary on the STARTING POINT seemed in a hot seat this morning to weigh in. Talk about dinner table conversation. Can't wait to hear that. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. In a few minutes, a closer look at a debate centered on race. Does the Texas voter I.D. law discriminate against minority voters? That's just ahead.

But now let's first get to Ali Velshi for the day's headlines. Good morning, Ali.

VELSHI: Good morning, Christine. A manhunt in Mexico, the feds now offering up to $1 million to find four fugitives in the murder of border patrol agent Brian Terry. Federal authorities unsealed the indictment Monday against five men. One of them already in custody. Terry's death is tied to the botched Fast and Furious gun running program. That operation allowed guns to cross the border and some were found at crime scenes including at Terry's shooting.

Staying with border stuff, nine U.S. border patrol stations will be shuttered over the next six months. Six of them are in Texas. The others in California, Montana, and Idaho. U.S. customs officials say the goal is to concentrate personnel and resources closer to the actual borders. The strategy is expected to save nearly $1.5 million, and some 41 agents would be relocated to stations of their choosing.

Veteran New York Congressman Charlie Rangel is closer to his 22nd term in Congress. His opponent has dropped his legal challenge. Espaillat originally conceded the Democratic primary race, then changed his mind and sued for a recount. A final count has Rangel ahead by nearly 1,000 votes.

President Obama is calling on Mitt Romney to come clean. The president insisting that his Republican rival needs to be more transparent with the American people. He and other Democrats demanding Romney's release his financial records, including more tax returns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that it's unpatriotic for someone to have a Swiss bank account?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think what's important if you're running for president is that the American people know who you are, what you've done, and that you're an open book. And, yes, that's been true of every presidential candidate dating back to Mr. Romney's father.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: In January, Romney disclosed his 2010 tax filings and an estimate of his liability for the 2011 tax year.

And the Washington monument may not reopen to the public until 2014. It's going to be covered in giant scaffolding to fix those cracks that shut it down after the east coast earthquake last year. This was the scene. You might remember this last August when the quake hit. You can see pieces of debris falling inside the monument as people run. Sandra Endo is joining us live from the National Mall right now. What's the reaction to it, Sandra?

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ali, I can tell you that the repair work is set to begin in the fall. And it is a massive project. As you were mentioning, because as you know, the Washington monument has been closed since last August when the 5.8 earthquake struck this area. After a thorough investigation, engineers determined this 555-foot tall monument will need extensive internal and external repairs. We're talking about sealing cracks, removing loose stone, repairing joints, and reinforcing beams inside as well. They say at least nine outside marble panels are cracked, so they will have to repair those as well.

This is high tourist time, and the national parks say over 700,000 tourists come here to go inside the Washington monument each year. They'll have to wait until 20142014 to get back inside. This is a big ordeal. It will take a lot of manpower. And of course the money -- it will cost an estimated $15 million to make sure that the monument is up and secure. And $7.5 million of that is from a donation from the co-founder of the Carlyle Group, and the rest is of course from government money.

VELSHI: I don't think a lot of people knew that the Washington monument had a sugar daddy. Thanks, Sandra. Good to see you.

(LAUGHTER)

VELSHI: Christine, remember that earthquake? You and I were in an office about 100 feet from here and we felt something shake. And you thought it might be an earthquake and I looked at you in that, sort of, come on, it's the subway.

ROMANS: I said, Ali, everything is moving here.

I'm like get over it. It's a city.

ROMANS: You're so jaded. Ali Velshi, thanks.

A hearing is underway to decide whether the Texas voting law will stand. It requires all voters to have a photo I.D. when they show up to the polls in person. Texas lawmakers argue it curbs voting fraud, but the Department of Justice says it violates the voting rights act of 1965 and would prevent thousands of minorities from voting.

During yesterday's opening arguments, DOJ attorney Elizabeth Westfall argued, quote, "At least 1.4 million registered voters in Texas lack any form of state-issued I.D. accepted under Senate Bill 14, and those voters are disproportionately Hispanic and black." Michael Waldman is an expert in voter registration law. He is the executive director for the Brennan Center for Justice, which is representing the NAACP against Texas against this case. Do you think it's purely a political law?

MICHAEL WALDMAN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF SPEECHWRITING FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, you know, in terms of the impact, it's going to be quite large in terms of keeping potentially a lot of eligible voters away from the polls. The way it was crafted certainly seems political in intent. When you look at it, we all want election integrity. We want people to be who they say they are. But this law was crafted very precisely to be a way that people don't have the I.D. In Texas, you cannot use your university of Texas I.D. as a government I.D. but you can use your concealed carry gun permit.

CAIN: A state issued I.D. versus the University of Texas I.D.?

WALDMAN: Well, the state of Texas runs the University of Texas. The way they did it hurts lots of minority voters and other voters too.

ROMANS: Let me tell you something that the director of the elections division said yesterday. He called a witness in this case. They said 17 counties in the state have more people registered than their voting age populations, 18 counties have more registered voters than their population. Also, in that testimony, in the May primary election, 239 dead people somehow cast ballots. That I say there's a voter fraud problem in Texas.

WALDMAN: Well, that latter point about the dead people voting isn't true. But what it is true is that in Texas and everywhere else, voter registration systems are kind of a mess. And that's a real problem. People showing up to vote claiming to be somebody they aren't, that's not a real problem.

The way to fix the problem of voter registration, which is that tens of millions of eligible voters aren't on the rolls but a lot of the names are wrong and there's typos, people die and they aren't taken off the rolls, is to modernize, use computers and modernize our voter registration system, not do something in a partisan way, where the politicians are trying to sort of slice and dice the electorate that keeps hundreds of thousands of eligible people from voting.

ROMANS: Yesterday, I talked to Texas Republican Congressman Kevin Brady. I asked him about data released by your organization. And I quoted him. I got so much just feedback from people who do not believe this number. I want you to listen. Your center says that 11 percent of Americans or 21 million people do not have a government- issued photo I.D. Here's what the congressman said yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN BRADY, (R) TEXAS: I don't think those numbers are accurate. In fact, there is a real question about whether the justice department is relying about Democrat --

ROMANS: So you think the Department of Justice is making that up?

BRADY: Yes. I think they are absolutely cherry-picking the numbers in the political groups they want to use for that data, and I think at the end of the day the court is going to realize that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALDMAN: I'm afraid he's wrong. First of all, about 11 percent, one out of 10 American citizens, don't have the kind of specific voter I.D., government-issued photo I.D., that a law like this includes. Look at Pennsylvania. Just this past weekend, the "Philadelphia Inquirer," not a partisan group, looked at their voter I.D. law and concluded the same thing, something like 700,000 eligible voters just don't have a driver's license. That's basically what we are talking about.

ROMANS: Is this the best we can do? Where is the middle ground? Why can't we give people options? Give them three things they can show. Like when you get hired for a job, you can show your passport, show your driver's license, or show your Social Security with an electric bill. Why can't we give people more options?

WALDMAN: You're exactly right. There are all different kinds of forms of I.D. that lots of people have -- social security, a utility Bill that comes to their house, a veterans card. That's not what the laws do. And we could easily have a law, like the help America Vote Act that says the first time you register to vote, you have to show I.D. But it's many different kinds of I.D. everybody has it. And there's no problem with fraud.

CAIN: Michael, we could point out 10,000 different forms of I.D. people can come up with. You were talking about utility bills to government-issued I.D.'s. But the basic question is this. Is it partisan and overly burdensome to have them show a government-issued I.D.? Is that too burdened? Just show an I.D. that the government issued to you.

WALDMAN: If the government issued it to you. And there are tens of millions of people who don't actually have an I.D. that the government issued to them because they don't drive.

CAIN: I understand, but is it so burdensome for them to get some form of I.D.?

HUNTSMAN: I think There are 80 counties in Texas that don't have an office near them to get a photo I.D. It's difficult for the elderly, for people in these rural areas.

WALDMAN: Especially the elderly.

LIZZA: Will is such a city slicker.

(LAUGHTER)

CAIN: I'm from there. You have a hard burden to prove to say this burden is too much.

WALDMAN: For many people, it is a really hard of a burden. Our country was founded on the idea that all men are created equal. It's wrong and it's not only wrong, but I would argue it's basically counter to our American exceptionalism to suddenly start saying, oh, now a lot of people can't vote. That's not what America is about. And this really flies in the face of that.

ROMANS: Somehow it's gone from the sanctity to vote to your ability to vote. And there's no middle ground on this discussion. We'll keep talking about it, because the case is ongoing. Michael Waldman, thank you so much.

Just ahead on STARTING POINT, why is former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman skipping the Republican convention? We'll ask his daughter, Abby, next.

Plus, a cheerleader to the rescue after a football coach collapses on the field. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: It's a great choice before people who have to speak. No Doubt "Don't Speak" which is Abby Huntsman's play list. You can see our entire play list every morning on our Web site, CNN.com/StartingPoint. Former presidential candidate and Utah Governor Jon Huntsman says he won't be at the Republican Convention next month. He says the party needs to make bigger, broader, and bolder changes. Huntsman was a Reagan -- a Ronald Reagan delegate in 1984 and despite losing his voice, introduced a little known running mate named Sarah Palin four years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON HUNTSMAN, FORMER UTAH GOVERNOR: History -- history will be made tonight, and her name is Sarah Palin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

A. HUNTSMAN: I forgot about that.

ROMANS: I think that his --

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: Well, he was right. There was nothing wrong about -- this is your dad, well, this is when he watches that clip, does he cringe?

A. HUNTSMAN: Yes. That's one of his least favorite clips. He was -- he was deathly ill, if you can tell in his voice. He was not his normal self unfortunately.

ROMANS: What is -- what is the problem here for him and his party?

A. HUNTSMAN: Well you know, like -- like Ali Velshi said earlier, you know the candidates are lying about the economy, and that's not the case necessarily in what we're talking about. But I think he's frustrated with the party. They are -- like you said, they are not being inclusive. They are not talking about these big, bold ideas. And there are a lot of people that feel the same way that he does and it's because of the lack of leadership that we are in this position today.

And I think -- I am very proud of my dad, because I think he is standing up for what a lot of people feel is a problem today, this lack of leadership, this lack of boldness that is so desperately needed in the party. That is -- we don't have it today.

ROMANS: So do you think he is speaking for moderate Republicans?

A. HUNTSMAN: I think he's speaking for a lot of Republicans and you know Independents and Democrats even. This is about -- this above politics. This is about the country.

ROMANS: This is what he said to the "Salt Lake City Tribune". "I will not be attending this year's convention nor any Republican Convention in the future are you until the party focuses on a bigger, bolder, more confident future for the United States, a future based on problem solving, inclusiveness and a willingness to address the trust deficit which is every bit as corrosive as our fiscal and economic deficits."

A. HUNTSMAN: You know I would argue that's -- that's why he didn't do as well as a lot of people expected in the primaries because he is about boldness, he is about I guess standing up for what he feels is right, not throwing out the red meat because that's what people want to hear at the time.

ROMANS: We vote for our president that much of -- there are many GOP -- there are -- many in the GOP who are -- it's all about repealing this president. Your dad worked for this President.

A. HUNTSMAN: Right. He did because he always believes in putting country first and serving. And I think he's frustrated with the lack of ideas that are out there today. You know, like you said, you can say repeal this, repeal that, but where are the ideas? That's what's really lacking today.

CAIN: During the primary, I took the popular position of saying your dad was the best of the field, and he had some ideas that I thought --

(CROSSTALK)

A. HUNTSMAN: That surprises me, Will.

CAIN: -- enough, you've got to know me here. No but between his ideas from entitlement reform to tax reform your dad had some bold ideas.

But you know what I was often met with among conservatives? Skepticism over whether your dad was truly a committed conservative. I said the ideas bear that out but since he dropped out --

A. HUNTSMAN: He was probably arguably the most conservative governor of the reddest state in the country.

CAIN: Here is my question for you, since he dropped out of the race he's joined The Brookings Institute. He's not going to go to the Republican Party. Do I need to fear that my critics are going to be proved right that your dad isn't a committed conservative?

A. HUNTSMAN: No, he is a committed conservative. But what I think when it comes to social issues, I think he's a modern day Republican. And I think you're going to see the party move in that direction in time. I don't think we're there yet and I think there a lot of people that are disenfranchised.

ROMANS: How old is your dad? How old is he?

A. HUNTSMAN: 51, 52.

LIZZA: I was skeptical.

A. HUNTSMAN: He just made it on the "Sexist Man Alive" on the AARP. He is old enough to be in the AARP.

ROMANS: There you go. There you go, Abby. Thanks, guys.

Just ahead on STARTING POINT, take a look at Jessica Anderson, she's a cheerleader from Indiana and she is a life saver. How she came to rescue of a football coach on the field, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Now she is the type of cheerleader every team wants on their side. Jessica Anderson is being called a hero after saved a life during a minor league football game this weekend.

As the players took the field, Indianapolis Tornado's head coach Jerry Center collapsed, suffering a dysrhythmia in his heart. Anderson who was cheering for the team jumped to the rescue and she began performing CPR until Center was rushed to the hospital. He is now doing fine. He's up and talking.

And Jessica it turns not only a cheerleader -- there she is -- she's also a certified EMT and a firefighter. And is it true, Jessica, you just recently got off your night shift, right?

JESSICA ANDERSON, SAVED FOOTBALL COACH: I did. Yes, I just came off work this morning.

ROMANS: So that is -- now tell me a little bit about what happened. You were cheering for the team. And did you notice him collapse? Or you noticed the people in the stands had noticed something was happening? Something had gone wrong on the field. Tell me what happened.

Well, I heard that the players screaming to call for an ambulance. So I rushed over there to see what was going on. And saw the coach down on the ground. So I checked out the situation, and initiated CPR.

ROMANS: So you checked out the situation that means you checked if he was breathing. What you -- tell me what you did.

ANDERSON: Yes. I checked for a pulse. I checked to see if he was breathing and said his name a few times to see if he would respond. And he didn't. So we went ahead and started CPR.

ROMANS: I assume this is the first time you've ever done CPR in a cheerleading uniform.

ANDERSON: Absolutely.

ROMANS: And hopefully the last time. How's he doing now?

ANDERSON: From the reports that I've gotten, he is doing great. He's up and talking. And he's recovering.

ROMANS: It must have been a pretty dramatic moment. I mean your cheerleading coach told a local news outlet this. She said "The girl kept going when the crowd was going, 'he's gone', which really shook the ladies up. Jessica kept going at it, no matter what." Is that true? You just -- you were really in the zone, doing your job -- your EMT job while everyone around had thought that this was kind of a hopeless situation.

JESSICA ANDERSON, SYRENS CHEERLEADING SQUAD: Absolutely. I'm trained to do what I can and help people and try to save lives. I was doing what I was trained to do.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: Now did he come to -- at some point, he came to when you were with him there on the field?

ANDERSON: No. He did not.

ROMANS: He did not. So you just kept working on him until the ambulance got there?

ANDERSON: Absolutely. And then the medics showed up and took over patient care. And took him to the hospital.

ROMANS: He must be so grateful that you were there. You saved a little bit of time there.

Ok. Some quick points for me. I don't know CPR. Maybe we should all go out and get certified in CPR now, right?

ANDERSON: Absolutely. I think CPR is critical in situations like this. It's definitely a big key to know CPR. And, you know, be willing to give it to people who need it the most.

ROMANS: That's just great that you have the job, and then cheerleader by day, life saver by night. In this case, both of those merged together. Jessica Anderson, thanks so much for joining us.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

ROMANS: The "End Point" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: We're back. Time for our "End Point" this morning. We start with Abby.

HUNTSMAN: We were just talking about my dad boycotting the convention. I think this is such an important time for our country to come together. We are so divided as Americans, as Republicans and Democrats. And we're not getting anything done. That's the problem.

I think we need to rise above politics, and just start, you know, finding some solutions to the problems, to the taxes, to the voting laws, and start making a stand and change this country for the better.

LIZZA: Yes. there's an argument about whether the Republican Party, if Romney loses, will return to some of the politics that I think your dad represents. And I'm skeptical. I think parties do moderate the longer they are out of power. But I think it's going to take a few losses in a row for the Republican Party to get off the conservatism it's on right now.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA: I didn't say that. But it's moved far to the right. And for it to move back to the center, it's going to take a few losses.

CAIN: I'm not going to moderate. Let me tell you something. We are debating today the tax cuts for the wealthy -- they're not really tax cuts -- the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. And we're debating the concept of fairness. That's a political question we all must answer. What is fair? What's the appropriate burden. Should look at the percentage of taxes paid by the wealthiest in America. And ask yourself what's fair and what's not.

ROMANS: It's 40 percent, right.

CAIN: That will be one percent for the top 10 percent. 39 percent for the top one percent.

ROMANS: All right. My "End Point" is I'm tired of bumper stickers. If your position on something can fit on a bumper sticker, you need to do a little bit more research. That's my bottom line.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. Hi Carol.