Return to Transcripts main page


Americans Still Held Hostage in Egypt; England Calls in Military for Olympic Security; German City Has Separate Parking for Women; Northern California Wildfire; Lightning Strike Kills Two In Houston; Sage Stallone Autopsy; Kerry Kennedy Arrested; Springsteen And McCartney Unplugged; The State Of The States; The Bane Of Bain; Obama Heads Back To Ohio; Romney's VP?; Tearing Up San Francisco's Streets

Aired July 16, 2012 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome. Morning everybody. Our starting point this morning, those two Americans and Egyptian translator being held hostage in the Egyptian desert and threats more Americans could be taken. The state department is working with the Egyptian government to try to free all of them. Their captor is identified as a member of the prominent Bedouin tribe in the region. He wants Egyptian police to free his uncle from prison. And he told an Egyptian newspaper unless that happens he'll take more hostages or worse.

One of the hostages, Reverend Michel Louis, has offered himself up to spare the parishioners. Pastor Louis' children join me this morning, Reverend Jean Louis and Daniel Louis with me. Thanks for talking with us. Jean, I'm going to start with you if I can. What do you know is the latest about your dad, his condition and how he's being held?

REV. JEAN LOUIS, SON OF KIDNAPPED U.S. PASTOR, MICHEL LOUIS: Good morning, Soledad. I thank you for having us on this morning. And, Soledad, we're going to tell you what we've been telling all of the news media outlet's that has been interviewing us and we thank them also. The information that we're getting is trickling down and is information that people are getting from the internet.

We do have people that are working on our behalves via the U.S. state department and office of Senator Scott Brown, but again, information is -- we're getting as quick as you guys are getting it as other people are getting it. So actually the family has four people in it. We're just got some news so that's the reason why there's two of us that are not here. And the problem with hearing things from everywhere else, you're getting news that is not really true and you have to decipher which one is true versus which is not true.

O'BRIEN: It must be a very tough time for your family. I cannot imagine. You say your two sisters were doing the rounds with you earlier are not with you because they got news. Can you share what you're hearing?

JEAN LOUIS: Well, again, we've been hearing everything from he's been able to speak to his wife, which is not true, to the other woman is able to speak to her husband, which is not true too, to the fact that they are eating well. And we just got some news that he could have suffered from some diabetic shock.

So again, we don't know which one is true and which one is not true. So we're just trying to be in good spirits and good faith, and we are in good faith despite anything. Our faces might not look like it, because, as you can assume, physically it's taking a toll and emotionally it's taking a toll, too. But we believe in god and we believe that he's going to do what he needs to do.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question, your mom was also on the trip and we've been showing pictures of your mom and dad together. She was not one of the ones taken hostage. Have you had a chance --

JEAN LOUIS: She was not, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: She's still in Egypt, right, but she was -- she's not among those captured. What she has been able to tell you?

JEAN LOUIS: Actually, she they had left Egypt for security reasons and they are in Israel now. We speak to her constantly. We happen to have another member that's in our church that has a Verizon phone that is able to give us a point of reference on top of whatever else we have. And we speak to her. She's in good spirits, but, again, you can only imagine the toll that it's taking on her also, that the days are lingering and she can't speak to her husband. And you're hearing all of these type of news and yet trying your best to get pertinent news and trying to get exact news and can't get it.

O'BRIEN: There was a report that your dad had offered himself up to the captors when they surrounded the bus, and he said take me and free everybody else. Is that true? Was your mom able to confirm that?

JEAN LOUIS: And Soledad, like I told the outlet before that had requested an answer and that question, as close and as true to my knowledge as I spoke to my mom, she explained to us that, you know, I guess the gunman boarded the bus, and their intention for some reason, whatever the reason was, was to take the woman that they had taken. And everything was happening quick. And if you know my father, he's a leader and he really means well for a lot of people. So she said that he stood up and asked, you know, that he be taken instead of the woman, and they ended up taking him and the woman and the tour guide. She hasn't spoken to him since 2:00 Egyptian time Friday.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask your brother a question. That particular region is specifically a hot bed of activity, some of it illegal obviously. There's been State Department warnings about traveling there. Your dad has done this trip before, let me get your brother to weigh in, was he nervous about taking people this fourth time?

JEAN LOUIS: If you don't mind me interjecting, Soledad, before he says anything, yesterday we tried to answer that question and I think it was taken the wrong way. I said that he didn't know and of course whatever took the way he took it. I meant to express to the news outlets that this is a trip that my father does every year for four years now and to go to Jerusalem -- to go to Israel and they go through Egypt. And like you said, nobody is oblivious. There's been political unrest in Egypt for a long period of time of time. That doesn't stop people from traveling there. But again, when I said he didn't know, he didn't know of any imminent danger, notification that this area exactly where they were going had any issues and that's what I meant.

O'BRIEN: He's done that trip several times before. This was the fourth time I believe. Reverend Jean Louis and Daniel Louis, we wish your family the best of luck. I know lots of folks are working to get the hostages released.

JEAN LOUIS: We thank you.

O'BRIEN: Praying for you as well.

JEAN LOUIS: Thank you, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Let's get the rest of the stories making news today. Christine Romans has that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. Hillary Clinton is in Israel after a tense visit to Egypt. Earlier she met with the President Shimon Perez. This is Secretary Clinton's second visit to Israel in the last 22 months, the unrest in Egypt and Iran's nuclear program are on the agenda. Yesterday protester threw shoes and tomatoes after she spoke in Alexandria. We're told Mrs. Clinton was never in any danger.

International envoy Kofi Annan is in Russia this morning to try to block the diplomatic deadlock on Syria. He's meeting with Russians president and foreign minister to win support for a U.N. Security Council resolution against Syria. In meantime the Red Cross is now calling the violence in Syria a civil war. That means humanitarian law applies and both government and rebel forces can be tried for war crimes.

A desperate search in Iowa for two young girls missing since Friday -- eight-year-old Elizabeth Collins and 10-year-old Lyric Cook were last seen on their bikes. Some 900 volunteers joined the search. There's a $15,000 reward for the little girls' information.

Battleground Ohio, President Obama makes his eighth trip today. Mitt Romney will be there later this week. The president has been hammering Romney over his time at Bain Capital and says the campaign won't back down.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, we won't be apologizing. Sometimes these games are played during political campaigns. Understand what the issue is here. Mr. Romney claims that he's Mr. Fixit for the economy because of his business experience. I think voters entirely legitimately want to know, what exactly was that business experience?


O'BRIEN: The Obama campaign rejected Republican demands they apologize for suggesting Romney may have committed a felony if disclosures he filed about his work at Bain Capital don't accurately reflect his role in the company.

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner reportedly wants to get back into politics. The married New York Democrat resigned last year after he sent a picture of his privates to a 21-year-old college student. "The New York Post" says he's considering a run for New York City mayor or public advocate, another citywide office.

NBA star Jason Kidd in trouble with the law just days after reportedly signing a contract with the New York Knicks. Kidd was arrested in New York for driving while intoxicating after smashing his SUV into a telephone pole in the Hamptons. Kidd has also played for the New Jersey Nets and the Dallas Mavericks. And those stories, it's better a telephone than someone walking their dog.


O'BRIEN: Yes, it is. Christine, thank you.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, new concerns about security at the summer Olympics in London. Thousands of military have been called in at the last minute, the games say? We'll take you live to London coming up next.

Plus, a town's mayor is offering parking spaces just for the ladies. But you may not like the reason why. It's our get real this morning. We're back in just a moment.


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. "Minding your Business," will the Federal Reserve take action? That's what everyone wants to know. It will be a driving force in the markets this week. Ben Bernanke speaks in front of Congress for two days tomorrow, pressure launching to boost the economy because the indications are mounting we're entering a slower period in the economy.

The global interest rate rigging scandal gaining traction here in the U.S. The justice department is investigating criminal charges against the world's largest banks that worked together to set the LIBOR rate, the driving factor for tons of other interest rates for things like credit cards and mortgages and student loans.

And "Ice Age 4, Continental Drift" rakes in a cool $46 million in its debut weekend beating out "Spiderman." The four "Ice Age" movies made $2.2 billion worldwide. Wow. Soledad.

O'BRIEN: New concerns -- Christine, thank you. New concerns about the summer Olympics in London. Thousands of military personnel have been called in at the last minute now. CNN's Dan Rivers is live in London. Dan, what happened that they would need to call in the military? DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are saying this is all down to a software glitch. Let me take you back, originally this private security firm g4s, which does a whole load of government contracting and runs six prisons in the U.K., was asked to provide 2,000 guards for the Olympic sites. That then increased to 10,000 guards last September. They said at the time, we'll do it. Then we're told last Wednesday, the home secretary was told that in fact they can't do it because their computer systems are playing up and can't guarantee all of the guys will be credited in time and have the right training, even that they are going to be contacted in the right way to get to the right venue.

So it's an enormous fiasco, the government and specifically the army has had to step in at the last minute providing 3,500 extra troops on top those already involved in Olympic security. The firm in question, G4S, is pretty embarrassed. It's share price has been hammered this morning, again down more than six percent after heavy losses last week with many people saying other contracts with this firm should be reviewed as a result of this mess.

O'BRIEN: One would imagine that's going to be the case. There's always obviously security concerns around the Olympics. London must be more complex in a lot of ways, right?

RIVERS: It is, don't forget when London won the bid originally back in 2005, the next day we had the seven-seven bombings which underlined for everyone that security was going to be paramount, London is a target 365 days a year for Islamist terrorists because of its high profile nature because they can get more headlines and coverage. So it was always going to be a bit of a security nightmare, quite frankly.

But there are 17,000 troops that were already involved. We've got an aircraft carrier parked on the river here and jets flying overhead. There are missiles deployed on the tops of buildings. They've pulled out all of the stops for a show of strength really.

But this was all about the civilian guards who would literally be checking people's tickets and doing the extra scanners like you have at airports as they go into the stadiums. And they simply haven't been able to provide those numbers and so now there's going to be some element of soldiers doing those checks as people arrive to watch the games.

O'BRIEN: That would be a little bit unnerving, thanks, Dan, we appreciate the update.

Still ahead, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney and the sound of silence -- why their mikes were cut off when the two superstars got on stage together.

Easy parking spots just for women, because it's so hard for us to park. It's our get real. Our STARTING POINT team is heading in talking about all of that and more. Joining us this morning, former assistant to JFK Jr. Rosemarie, Ron Brownstein, and Will Cain, who has now shaved the mustache and beard off. WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right.

O'BRIEN: I like that. Looks good. You always look good. Will's play list, Willie Nelson, it must be will's playlist, "City of New Orleans, City I Love."


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. That's a track from my playlist, Beastie Boys, "Sabotage."

Someone placed a series of carpet tacks at the Tour de France. Race officials are asking French police to investigate.

Stop what you're doing and check out this amazing video of a landslide caught on camera. Boaters had just pulled from shore when a large mudslide rolled down a hill knocking down giant trees and dragging everything in its path into the water. The boaters got out in time and rode the waves.

O'BRIEN: That's lucky there. Christine, thank you.

Today's team, everybody have a nice weekend?

CAIN: Came back to find out the tacks weren't just thrown in Tour de France, but into our logo.

O'BRIEN: That's cute, I like it.



O'BRIEN: Will CAIN is back as always, clean shaven I might add. I was going to try to insta-gram your face up close so everyone can see it. You're on the fence about it.

CAIN: My beard?

O'BRIEN: You can't decide, has it, doesn't have it. Men and their facial hair.

CAIN: Comes and goes.

O'BRIEN: Rosemarie was a guest about her book a while ago. Nice to have you.


O'BRIEN: Ron Brownstein is with us, editorial director at "National Journal." Nice to have you back. We haven't seen you in a little bit.

RON BROWNSTEIN, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Been on the road. O'BRIEN: Our Get Real this morning, Triberg, Germany, you may not have heard of it because it has 5,000 people in it, new logo for Get Real. The mayor has now started designating parking spaces, some for men and some for women. The spots for the women are bigger, wider, and they are easier to get into and well lit. He says this is because men are better at parking, so he can put them in near pillars and between walls. Will Cain, I'll go to you first.


CAIN: I love this. They're wider and more well lit. We could stop the story right there and let the viewer discern why.

BROWNSTEIN: How do you enforce it? When the driver is gone, is there going to be a symbol on the car?

O'BRIEN: Good women drivers are welcome to park in the men's spots, but he's trying to help everybody out.

BROWNSTEIN: How would you know?

CAIN: He's working from the empirical data that as we all know, men are better drivers.

O'BRIEN: Hang on will Cain, insurance study of Americans, men are worse drivers than women. And 80 percent of all fatal and serious accidents are caused by men. Women are 27 percent less likely than men to cause auto accidents. Men are three times as likely for driver's license of drugs or alcohol. So you're wrong on that.

TERENZIO: They don't ask for directions ever.

O'BRIEN: It's interesting. I thought this town has 5,000 people. I started off disliking this mayor a little bit because I was outraged.




O'BRIEN: But then he said this, I've never expected this reaction, I've been on the phone all day. We hit a raw nerve in society, it's been a great marketing gimmick, they can see the town's attractions why here. Ding, ding, ding. No, he's a genius.


O'BRIEN: He has a little blip on the PR screen.

TERENZIO: And he'll have tourists coming to park and spend money in his little town.

O'BRIEN: All the way to the bank. Mr. Stroble (ph), I to salute you. We want to know what you think of our bigger stories -- BROWNSTEIN: There are bigger stories?


O'BRIEN: Yes, your end point, really my end point, but your end point and we'll play it at the end of the show. Go to our blog at point and submit your video and tell us what you think. If you agree with Will Cain, your stuff will never make air. I'm kidding. It will rarely make air. I'm joking, seriously.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, the man behind the wheel of this. This video has gone viral, 19 million people have been watching the driver Ken Block tear through the streets of San Francisco. We have other videos like it as well. He'll join us live to show how exactly they shot this.

Plus President Obama, Mitt Romney battling over Bain. The White House suggesting that Romney may have committed a felony, but team Romney says Mitt Romney's departure was heroic. We'll get reaction from Delaware Governor and Democrat Jack Markell. And here's his playlist, Billy Joel, "Piano Man." We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Let's get right to Christine Romans. She's got a look at today's top stories. Hi, Christine.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Soledad. It's a tough time for firefighters in northern California where a wildfire in a steep canyon is threatening dozens of homes.

The fire has destroyed one home and torched nearly 2,000 acres since it started Wednesday. Local reports say another 170 homes are in danger and this fire is just 20 percent contained. The California National Guard and nearly 2,000 firefighters are trying to put it out.

A deadly lightning strike in Texas, two people were killed Sunday when lightning hit a soccer complex in Houston. Police say it sounded like a bomb went off. The two soccer players sought shelter under a tree when that sudden storm rolled in. A third player suffered injuries and was hospitalized.

Let's get a quick check on the weather with meteorologist, Alexandra Steele in for Rob. Good morning.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning to you. All right, we've got classic July weather heat, thunderstorms and set against a worsening drought. This worsening drought of 2012 we're going to talk about throughout the morning.

Extreme heat, we've got it once again. Here through the plains. Kansas City, especially Rapid City, Minneapolis, Green Bay, temperatures there today about 100 degrees, a little less, heat indexes higher than that.

For tomorrow in the northeast, will be your extreme heat, D.C. again 100 degrees for you. Also today in New York City, there is a heat advisory, tomorrow New York, to Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Washington, and Baltimore.

Washington already had five 100-degree days this year and let's tack on another. Not for today, today throughout the mid-Atlantic, mid-90s for you and 93 in Atlanta Georgia, but still almost 100 today in the twin cities.

So here's that access of the heat today. It shifts eastward once again. We've seen this before. Now we're at 101 in Washington. But the difference between this and the last heat wave, this is a two- day affair, today and tomorrow.

Then we're going to see a cold front come through and cool those temperatures into much more comfortable territory so that's the good news.

The big picture around the country, here's where the heat is through the plains and northeast. A few scattered showers especially in Florida and the southeast.

Hot as well in the southwest. We've seen that with some storms up and down the mountains and the west. Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, thank you, Alexandra.

Now we won't know for sure what killed Sage Stallone for another 68 weeks when toxicology results come in. The L.A. County coroner conducted an autopsy Sunday on the 36-year-old Stallone. He was Sylvester Stallone's oldest son. He was engaged to be married and working on various film projects at the time of his death.

More troubles for the Kennedy clan. Kerrie Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and former wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is due in court tomorrow to face dui charges.

State police says she admitted she took a sleeping pill before an accident with a tractor-trailer on Friday. Her spokesman says tests found no drugs in her system.

A local council in London showing Bruce Springsteen who's really the boss. Springsteen's Saturday night show in Hyde Park ended in a jam with Sir Paul McCartney singing Beatles tunes.

But concert organizers pulled the plug on the show right in the middle of "Twist and Shout," right in the middle, they cut the mic, why, because this three-hour show went past the curfew. I mean, can you imagine cutting the mics on those two guys?

O'BRIEN: Yes, they are like the curfew --

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: : They can't protect you on the Olympics, but they can protect you from Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney singing. O'BRIEN: We've got it covered.

BROWNSTEIN: We got the priorities totally in line.

O'BRIEN: Just a tragedy. All right, Christine, thank you for the update.

President Obama is campaigning up north in Ohio today. His eighth trip to that battleground state so far this year. Mitt Romney meanwhile is down south in Mississippi and Louisiana.

He's going to have his, well, what could be a potential VP pick by his side. Governor Bobby Jindal will be with him. Governor Jindal and his fellow governors have wrapped up their 104th annual meeting in Virginia this weekend.

On Sunday, Delaware's governor, Democrat Jack Markell was named the chairman of the National Governors Association. He is also a supporter of President Obama.

He joins us this morning. It is nice to see you, sir. Thanks for being with us as always. You were a guest here sitting next to me not very long ago. Now we're talking by a little bit of distance.

On the weekend talk shows, they were not talking as much about the governors meeting as they were about Bain and taxes. So let's talk about Bain first if we can.

Stephanie Cutter kind of kicked the whole thing off when she said that either Mitt Romney has misrepresented his position at Bain to the SEC, which would be a felony she said or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people.

She's with the Obama campaign. Earlier, I said the White House and that was a mistake. Here's what she said this weekend when she kind of doubled down. Listen.


STEPHANIE CUTTER, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: If you're signing an SEC document with your own signature that you're the president/CEO, chairman of the board and 100 percent owner of a company, in what world are you living in that you're not in charge?


O'BRIEN: And yet when CNN has talked to numerous analysts on the Democratic side and the Republican side, they all say he was not -- Mitt Romney was not running the day to day operations of the firms.

And that this sort of line of questioning and by the way, also not a potentially a felony in any case, is it a mistake for the Democrats to be digging this way and going this way?

GOVERNOR JACK MARKELL, D-DELAWARE: Good morning, again. I just want to make clear as we're talking about politics. I'm not speaking as chair of the National Governors Association since that's a nonpartisan role.

With respect to this issue, I think it's perfectly understandable that the American people are puzzled. That somebody says that they've signed documents saying the CEO or chairman whatever it is, and then they have nothing to do with the decisions that are being made.

I understand yesterday that Romney's surrogates said that he had retroactively retired. I never heard of retroactive retirement before. So I think the more that this gets out there and more people have a chance to truly to understand what happens.

It's better for everybody. Transparency is the most important thing here.

O'BRIEN: Is the issue, Will Cain, you think transparency or is the issue really like from a PR standpoint, the governor is in the kind of a tricky situation, right? He clearly is on a payroll. He clearly is getting money and says I'm not actually working for the firm and that sort of hard to justify?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You definitely summed it up well with your second stitch. He's in a very, very tricky position. How do you explain to the American people, that is complicated. That is not going to sit well with many, many people.

For me personally I look at this and go, I'm not really concerned whether or not jobs were outsourced while he was at Bain Capital. I'm not really concerned of what the tax rate does he pay as long as everything was legal and above the board.

The problem is that doesn't play well politically so he has to do this dance of what was and what wasn't.

O'BRIEN: There's a little bit of dance going on when it comes to taxes. Governor, let me play a little bit of what Mitt Romney said to Jim Acosta about his taxes.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've indicated that -- well, first of all we've complied with the law. The law requires us to put out a full financial disclosure. That I've done.

And then in addition to that, I've already put out one year of tax returns. We'll put out the next year of tax returns as soon as the accountants have that ready. That's what we're going to put out.


O'BRIEN: Doesn't he have a point, one, he's done what he has had to do and number two, you know, GOP strategists would say, if you put up five, they are going to ask for 10.

If you put out 10, they're going to say, well, really need 15. You could be doing this forever and it's part of a game. MARKELL: Well, first of all, I think I understand that George Will yesterday said something along the lines so he doesn't understand how when John McCain lost in 2008, you know, Mitt Romney knew he was going to be running for president.

And it seems that he would have, you know, figured all of this out. He offered many, many more years of his tax returns apparently when he was being vetted for vice president four years ago.

And I just think again, just get it out there. Let people look at it and ask the questions and be done with it. I think I don't understand why he wouldn't be disclosing many more years.

BROWNSTEIN: itt Romney is relying on his business experience as the justification for his campaign more than any nominee since Wendell Wilky in 1940.

He's basically argued that his time at Bain equips him to be the solution to the economy. The Obama campaign, all of this, the taxes, the outsourcing, the Bain, the leverage and pensions that were revoked, the factories that were closed, all of this is really about saying he is not the solution.

He is the problem, which in fact became explicit what was implicit became explicit as the tag line on their new ad yesterday. And Romney's problem is as I think as Will said, is that all of these things kind of suggest.

Many of these things suggest that he lives by a set of rules not available to average Americans who did not have bank accounts in the Cayman Islands or Swiss Bank account and also do not get paid six figure salaries whether they are extensively not involved at all in the management of a company.

So that is the challenge is to turn this -- you know, this is what we're seeing is sort of like Bush 04. Take the core asset and try to make that a liability.

O'BRIEN: A little bit of swift voting. People were suggesting last week from a PR standpoint, what would you suggest if that was your client sitting down? What would you say?

ROSEMARIE TERENZIO, AUTHOR, "FAIRY TALE INTERRUPTED": I think he has to come out and explain to the American people, he's running on Bain. He started running on Bain. He has to continue on Bain.

He can't go backwards. He has to go forward and explain to the American people exactly what happened at Bain and he has to release more tax returns.

O'BRIEN: Let's get back to you, Governor and talk a little bit about the governor's meeting. What was the number one achievement do you think out of this?

Because there was a lot of finger pointing and it seemed like it was really going down sort of partisan lines, two of your colleagues were on with Candy Crowley at "STATE OF THE UNION" over the weekend. They kind of went at it. Here's a little clip of that.


GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: I think the president needs to lead on this and get Congress back and do something about sequestration. Look, we need to cut spending.

We're $16 trillion in debt, $5 trillion more because of the president's lack of leadership. But we can't do it this way and sacrifice the United States military.

GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Remember, we have sequestration because of Republican Congress wouldn't reach back to the president on the balanced approach.

So when I hear about issues of leadership, remember it was the president who reached a deal with Speaker Boehner more than a year ago now, Speaker Boehner couldn't sell it with the Tea Party caucus back in the House.


O'BRIEN: Big take away from this?

MARKELL: My takeaway from the weekend not surprisingly is quite different. I mean, there were so many things that we governors, Democrats or Republicans, worked on together at the meeting.

There was a lot of talk about economic development. There are some terrific sessions on health care and recognizing that no matter where you are on the Medicaid expansion. There are lots of things we in the states can be doing.

Terrific conversation, bipartisan conversation with Secretary Arne Duncan as well about education so there are a lot of good work that got done.

I was excited to launch my own initiative. We're going to be focused on the issue of jobs for people with disabilities. You know there are so many people with disabilities across the country who are not working.

They would like to be. They have the time. They've got talent. They've got the interest in working. I think we can really move the needle on that issue.

O'BRIEN: Governor Markell, always nice to have you. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

MARKELL: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, the veepstakes are heating up. Mitt Romney says he's going to pick a running mate soon. So who will it be? We're going to take a look at the short list to see if we can figure that out. Also take a look at this. This is a stunt driver, Ken Block, 19 million views on YouTube. It's an amazing journey through the streets of San Francisco. He's going to be joining us live to talk about what was he thinking? That's all ahead on STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Mitt Romney is said to be close to choosing a vice president. Today, he's stumping in Louisiana with Governor Bobby Jindal and just named Ohio Senator Rob Portman to a top surrogate spot.

There have been rumors swirling about Condoleezza Rice, three names. Here's what George Will said about Condoleezza Rice. Let's play that.


GEORGE WILL, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: Condoleezza Rice would inject tremendous excitement into the campaign and remove all suspense from the outcome. You would have such an uproarious convention in Tampa. You'd have perhaps a third party. You'd have a challenge to her on the floor. You've walkouts of delegations and he'd lose 40 states.


O'BRIEN: So let's across Condee off that list.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, look, there's a long history of floating names of people you don't really intend to pick as your possible vice presidential running mate as a way of kind of genuflecting your constituencies and the party.

And Condee Rice is the most prominent African-American woman in the Republican Party certainly would fit that bill. I kind of see Romney kind of looking at, you know, kind of two sets of choices, one are kind of safe do no harm governing focus.

Rob Portman, the senator from Ohio and Tim Pawlenty, the former governor from Minnesota then there are the ones who are kind of more wild card exciting. Paul Ryan would be one. Bobby Jindal would be another.

Ryan would be someone who would excite the Republican base, but would really sharpen the ideological argument. He is the author of the Republican budget that would convert Medicare from its current form into a premium support or voucher system.

Jindal is young and excites conservatives, but you know, there will be questions about whether he's ready for the top job. I kind of look at that way, Romney's personality, you kind of think in the end he ends up on the do no harm side, but I guess we'll see.

O'BRIEN: Will has been saying, do no harm. CAIN: Well, he should, I think that strategy ought to be doubled down on bland, but I would disagree with one aspect. You said I think Bobby Jindal might actually fit in that category.

You analyzed it what he bring versus what do you take away, I think you now speak what do you take away make sure no one. He takes away that means Rob Portman and I think possibly Bobby Jindal. He doesn't come with a lot of negatives, a lot of risk.

O'BRIEN: And Condeeliza Rice is not --

BROWNSTEIN: One thing about Portman, it is a fundamentally defensive pick. If a Republican nominee cannot win Ohio on their own that is a sign of political weakness.

Every Republican who's won the White House has won Ohio. Romney should be able to win Ohio given the demography of the state, but he is struggling there. So it would be kind of -- you know, it's more of a defensive and an offensive pick politically to pick Portman.

O'BRIEN: We're going to keep playing this game until he goes ahead and names somebody, won't we?

All right, still ahead this on STARTING POINT. He'll keep going after he names somebody. Putting the pedal to the metal, will you take a look at this video?

We've been watching this all morning. This is Ken Block. He's a stunt driver and he is doing this -- it's called a Gin Cana in San Francisco obviously. This is real.

BROWSTEIN: This is like Steve McQueen.

O'BRIEN: Also, tomorrow, on STARTING POINT, I go swimming with sharks and billionaire businessman, Sir Richard Branson. Yes, that would be me with a shark. That's a whale shark.

Yes, it took a little getting used to. I'll tell you that story coming tomorrow morning. We're going to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: The video you are watching is Ken Block. He is racing through the streets of San Francisco in a 650-horsepower race car performing a complex move. The video is called Gin Cana.

It has gone viral with more than 19 million views. Ken is also the co-founder of D.C. Shoes. It's nice to have you with us.


O'BRIEN: This video is so completely awesome. It's all real, isn't it? None of this is sort of -- yes.

BLOCK: No, absolutely. Everything is real. We pride ourselves as rally drivers to be able to do this type of thing with a four-wheel drive car and be able to create this sort of thing. We try to showcase everything as absolutely real as possible.

O'BRIEN: How fast are you going when you start off and going across the bridge?

BLOCK: Yes. That's the Bay Bridge. My car maxes out at about 110, 120 miles per hour. It's mainly meant to do tighter, tight maneuvers. So it is not the high speed we are really looking for, but a lot of fun having that bridge all to myself.

O'BRIEN: How do you get the bridge to yourself? Who gives you the bridge to yourself?

BLOCK: Luckily the city of San Francisco is great to work with. I have so many films. I have a great film commission. The city itself was great to work with. All the people there were more than welcome to have us there and doing what we were doing.

O'BRIEN: It is not one take, obviously.

BLOCK: No, absolutely. You know, lot of the stuff is very difficult.

OBRIEN: Yes. We noticed.

BLOCK: Everybody needs a little practice. It's very difficult doing all that on really tight confines of city streets.

BROWNSTEIN: How do you -- can I ask you how you plotted it out? How did you plan this?

BLOCK: I had a list of different things that I wanted to do, lot of them based on San Francisco being able to jump over some of the tabletops and use the crests in different ways.

So I had sort of a set idea of what I wanted to do. Then gave that to the location scouts and then they found me, you know, 30 different locations.

And we went out and checked each one out and figured out what I could do there and how and how it would fit into a schedule to actually --

CAIN: So which move or which point in the course were you up at nights about before you ran this course? Which one was -- the one you were really stressed about?

BLOCK: Well, one there near the end where I jump up over a crest sideways and land in a street sort of backwards and -- we called that a jump trip. It's actually a bit difficult just because you don't have grip the entire time.

CAIN: I think we saw a clip there of you flying through the air sideway.

BLOCK: Yes, that where there is a part in there -- they just he hadn't been on a motorcycle since this time last year when he broke his ankle in X-games.

I was trying on get him to do something. He couldn't actually control the bike the way he knew it to because of that ankle. That made things quite difficult.

O'BRIEN: You didn't start driving, right, until you were in your late 30s.

BLOCK: Yes. I kind of went the opposite of most other athletes that I started a business first and then went into the athlete side. But I -- was a fan of rally racing since I was a little kid, went to a rally school in 2004. Just for fun and ended up being a lot better than I thought. I've been racing ever since.

TERENZIO: Do you -- do you map it out like a -- before you start? Is there a team you work with?

BLOCK: Yes. There are things in my head that I want to try and do with the car. And then I just have to figure that out according to what locations are given to me.

And then also we have to make it interesting as far as video is concerned. To try to make it so people don't get bored and it looks like a real course.

O'BRIEN: Are you insured? Seriously, I'm not kidding. Are you like -- who insures you?


O'BRIEN: You have three small children and a wife. Is she like totally cool with that, honey, I'm going to go out and shoot? You have a shot right on the edge. I know this part of town.

Hairpin curve and it goes over a cliff. People sometimes drive over the cliff going 45 miles an hour. This is it right there.

BLOCK: Yes. I mean, that's very standard for me as a rally driver. We drive on a lot more dangerous corners than that that don't have guard rails. So I was quite happy with that situation.

BROWNSTEIN: Many famous movie chases in San Francisco. "Bullet," of course, with Steve McQueen, were there any like moments you kind of did as an homage you had seen before?

BLOCK: No. The inspiration is something like -- so iconic as far as car chase scenes and you know, I just wanted to take everything that other people had done.

And sort of really showcase sort of what today's modern cars and drivers can do. That's really sort of my inspiration to take everything that's been done in the past and to try to do it much better.

O'BRIEN: This is the fifth. Are you going to do another one? What will different about the next one? How do you up the game after this one?

BLOCK: I don't know. I say that every time I do it. This is the absolute best I can do. Somehow we are able to go out and do something better. It actually makes it rather difficult, but that's the fun challenge of it, too.

O'BRIEN: It is awesome. I mean, really. Everybody should take a look at it. It's 10 complete minutes. It is absolutely terrifying and -- really great.

BLOCK: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Nice to have you. Thanks for being with us.

BLOCK: Thanks for having me on.

O'BRIEN: What are you selling in the video?

BLOCK: Well, the -- it is basically a very long commercial for D.C. Shoes.

O'BRIEN: We do see a shot of the shoes. For one second you see the shoes.

BLOCK: We see them in the end in the credits. That's the nice thing about this. We are able to showcase products and make this sort of icon I did nowadays and be able to put it up somewhere on the internet where people can enjoy.

O'BRIEN: It awesome. Thanks for being with us. We appreciate it.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, one Democrat says Mitt Romney is running from his tenure at Bain Capital like a scalded cat. Former New Hampshire governor and Romney's surrogate, John Sununu will respond at the top of the hour.

Also should the statue of former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno be taken down after that program's sex scandal? Our tough call that's coming up as well. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.