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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Euro Tripping; Chicago Official Vs Chick-Fil-A; Report Indicates U.S. GDP Grew 1.5 Percent in Second Quarter; Pro Wrestler Hosts Fishing Show; Extreme Fishing; Back to Normalcy

Aired July 27, 2012 - 08:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Our STARTING POINT this morning: euro tripping. Mitt Romney taking a beating in the British papers and being called out by London's mayor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON MAYOR: I hear there's a guy -- there's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The candidate damage control mode this morning after insulting the British right before the Olympics.

Games on. The opening ceremony just a few hours away with a billion people set to watch. We're live in London.

Plus, fearing a slowdown, investors waiting to see how much the economy grew, how little the economy grew in the second quarter. That really important report and instant reaction this hour.

And really getting some really wild stuff. Pro wrestler Eric 'Showtime" Young is here. Why he's gone from the wrestling ring to extreme fisherman.

It's Friday, July 27th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

ROMANS: Little Fleetwood Mac to introduce our panel this morning -- our team as we call it.

Roland Martin is the host of "Washington Live with Roland Martin". Ron Brownstein, editorial director for "The National Journal, and our friend Will Cain, columnist at TheBlaze.com.

Welcome, everybody. Viewer request Friday. That's Fleetwood Mac, "Go Your own Way. (INAUDIBLE) our viewer @giveme0816 (ph). They are naming kids a lot different these days, aren't they?

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: Our STARTING POINT this morning, Mitt Romney doing damage control this London. He is there to demonstrate his statesmanship.

But so far, it's had the opposite effect. British media in an uproar after his comments about British security at the Summer Games. Prime Minister David Cameron hit back saying that security was a top concern.

Last night, CNN's Piers Morgan sat down for an in-depth interview with the Republican candidate and his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm delighted to see the kind of support that has been around the torch, for instance. I watched last night on BBC, an entire program about the torch being run across Great Britain, and the kind of crowds, I guess, millions of people had turned out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Piers is joining me now live from London.

Good morning, or should I say good afternoon to you, sir.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: It is good afternoon. It's 1:00 in the afternoon.

ROMANS: How unusual is it to have this many headlines from newspapers with varying editorial points of view, all agreeing that Mitt Romney had a very poor first day on the road?

MORGAN: Well, it was almost perfect really, because what had been happening for the last few weeks is that everyone in Britain had been complaining about the Olympics all day long, about the security, about this, about that. And actually we needed somebody to blame for all this that we were feeling. And along comes Mitt Romney, perfect.

Everyone can now blame Mitt Romney for not having enough enthusiasm, moaning about security and we are all now ignoring the fact that he was simply repeating what everyone in Britain has been saying for the last month.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Piers, isn't this sort of like when somebody talks -- comes to your house and they criticize something in your house and you say, look, you're not in the family. You can't criticize what's in our house. Americans do the same thing.

MORGAN: Exactly right. And it was just bad manners, I'm afraid. And I pointed this out to Mitt Romney when I interviewed him. You know, you've just got to talk up Britain when you're here. And I think he realized that.

I don't think he meant it the way it came across. He was asked a question because he had put on an Olympics himself. If you have been in Britain for the last few weeks, there has been wall to wall scathing coverage by the media of particularly the security shambles where they had this outside firm brought in to do security, and it was so shambolic they had to bring in the British army to make up the numbers.

So Mitt Romney was obviously hearing about this, and offered a professional view that he was a bit concerned about it. Actually, everything he said was completely true. But as you said, Roland, you do not march into somebody's house and tell them you don't like their wallpaper, even if they don't really like it themselves.

ROMANS: David Cameron, when you look at the politicians who have spoken out against him, it's interesting because it's not like -- I mean, they are conservative too. He should have had maybe, I don't know, more of a friendly reception from the politicians there.

MORGAN: Let's get one thing absolutely clear. This happened the day after Britain released its worst economic figures for a very long time, possibly my lifetime.

ROMANS: Fifty years.

MORGAN: David Cameron, the British prime minister, must have rubbed his hands in glee when he realized there was going to be a news story which was this bad American man coming in, telling us that our security for the Olympics wasn't up to scratch. Well, it hasn't been up to scratch, but it wasn't for Mitt Romney to say so.

But I really think you have to take this with a pinch of salt. Everything that Mitt Romney said was true. He just probably shouldn't have said it himself.

ROMANS: I want to listen to a little bit of the interview because there were so many great points you touched on.

But specifically just a little over a week after the horror in Aurora, you talked about gun control. Let's listen to that statement. That comment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I think that the effort to continue to look for some law to somehow make violence go away is missing the point. The real point has to relate to individuals that are deranged and distressed and to find them, help them, and keep them from carrying out terrible acts. Timothy McVeigh, how many people did he kill with fertilizer? With products that can be purchased legally anywhere in the world? He was able to carry out vast mayhem. Somehow, I'm thinking that laws against the instruments of violence would go away I think is misguided.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Although fertilizer is actually meant to grow crops and a gun is meant to shoot. But the point is, he's really right solidly in the line of his party on this.

MORGAN: Well, I mean, he is. But of course when he was governor of Massachusetts, he reinforced quite tight gun control laws, which would have outlawed the very assault weapon that this shooter used in Aurora.

And, you know, I find it very strange that there is such a political impasse about gun control in America, when you have a 24- year-old young man, clearly disturbed, but no history of mental health problems, no history of criminality, so he wouldn't have been flagged up by any warning, is able to go in and buy a high-powered assault weapon, then buy thousands of rounds of ammunition on the Internet, and full military style body armor, and all of this is perfectly legal, and it allows him to then go and commit the worst shooting atrocity in the history of the United States.

And even when that happens, nobody on either side is prepared to stand up really in any position of proper power right now and say enough. We need to do something about guns in America.

Look, in Japan, they have no guns really at all in circulation. They have the most stringent gun control of any country of the rich so-called civilized countries of the world. And guess what? They have very little gun crime. I think in one year in the last five years they have had two people killed by guns.

America now has as many guns as it is has people, 300 million. And guess what? You have between 10,000 and 12,000 gun murders a year. Something has to change, doesn't it?

ROMANS: Will's head is going to pop off.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, it's not going to pop off. But the key distinction in what piers just talked about is this not Japan. This is the United States of America, and we have a constitutional right embedded in the Constitution in the Second Amendment.

Now, that is a big threshold you must pass. When you ask yourself, do you make sweeping laws to create for situations that you can hopefully keep deviants from acting on, you have to balance that against what we have as a constitutional right.

MORGAN: Will, I hear you. But let's put one thing on the table here. If that is the case, why did Mitt Romney ban these type of assault weapons when he was governor of Massachusetts? What makes them more dangerous in Massachusetts than the wider America?

And in the end, what does any American civilian need with an assault weapon and a magazine gun that can fire of 100 bullets in one minute?

CAIN: Piers, I think you're confusing my point of debate with you. My point of debate with you is not to defend Mitt Romney. It's rather to debate the assertion you make that these laws are so necessary. And that we question what guns America needs.

I ask you this. If you're goal is, and we should define the goal, to stop instances like this from happening, you need to draw a common denominator, Piers. You need to go from Virginia tech to Norway to Colorado and say, is it the existence of strict gun laws?

No. Because those exist in Norway.

MORGAN: That's not -- Will, that's not the goal.

CAIN: What's the goal?

MORGAN: It's not just about stopping atrocities. There are always going to be bad people, mad people doing terrible things. Every country has them. Britain had one for example in 1996, the Dunblane massacre, where 16 or 17 young children, aged 5 and 6 years old, got killed. And there was such an outcry in Britain, it was such an unusual event, that even stronger gun control laws came in. And since then we have had very few incidents of this type occurring.

My problem about America is that I totally respect the Second Amendment. I totally respect the right to bear arms. I just dispute that when the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment -- wrote the Constitution originally, when they did this, they did not imagine that a disturbed young man would be able to buy a high-powered assault weapon or thousands of rounds of ammunition on the Internet. These things never entered their heads. They were talking about the musket era.

The answer to the worst shooting ever has to be at least some political leadership, doesn't it?

ROMANS: But I don't think because it's an election year, the lines have been drawn on this, and that's it, right? They are not going to do anything.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, you said before that Romney is in the main -- you know, with his party. In the 1990s, 38 House Republicans from suburban districts voted for the assault weapon ban. Almost 60 House Republicans voted for the Brady Bill. There was a regional division in both parties.

And what's happened since is the Republican Party has completely locked down. There is virtually unanimity now in opposing gun control. And the Democratic Party has concluded it's not a winning issue.

But the reality is -- hold on -- the reality is that the public is now divided almost exactly in half on gun issues. The half that is opposed to it are the half that are beyond Obama's reach on anything. And within the Democratic coalition, within his coalition, if you look at people who say they are going to vote for him, it is still a 60 percent to 65 percent proposition.

So, it's a kind of an unusual issue, unlike gay marriage, unlike illegal immigration, unlike contraception and health care, where they are kind of bowing to voters preferences of voters outside of their coalition. They don't do that a lot very much in modern politics.

MARTIN: Real quick to Piers' point, he's not saying take away all of your guns.

MORGAN: No, I'm not.

MARTIN: Piers, what you're saying I agree with. Look, you can have a .9 millimeter, a .38, all of these guns. You're simply saying, ban the AK-47.

MORGAN: Yes.

MARTIN: For those people on the people who say I support the Second Amendment, don't even ban that one. Why can't you ban that gun?

MORGAN: Here's what happens -- Roland, here's what happens which I have a real problem with. I have no problem with Americans' right to defend themselves in their home to have a gun at home in case somebody attacks them. I totally get that right. I believe that is the spirit of the original Constitution wording.

However, where I have a real problem is where you have this kind of incident happening, and for political reasons only, no political leader is prepared to stand up and say, enough. We need to do something.

Look at this. What happened in the aftermath of what happened in Aurora? Forty-three percent spike in people racing to buy guns in Colorado. How can that be good? How can that be right?

What's happening is, the gun lobby tell everybody if everyone in that movie theater had been armed, this wouldn't have happened. So everybody goes out and buys a gun. Therefore, massively increasing the number of guns in America.

CAIN: This deserves a full debate.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: This is just a spiraling descent --

CAIN: We have to let Piers go, but I just can't let him go on in this interview without fully explaining what is shambolic, Piers. I mean, I have no idea what shambolic is.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: That means chaotic. It means when a shambles is when basically all the best laid plans collapse. You could argue that Mitt Romney's trip to Britain was a shamble.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: The Piers to American dictionary.

Quickly, Piers, a lot of people say about Mitt Romney that he is very private, that you don't know a lot about him. You know, we know about his public record. But how was he? Did he seem like he was warm? Did he open up?

Just your personal thoughts about how he was as a guy and a candidate.

MORGAN: Yes. I thought there were some very interesting studies. Quite a personal interview actually because we had Ann Romney as well throughout the interview.

And she is definitely a brilliant voting plus for him, because I think she is extremely warm. She was very candid with me. And she is very personable.

Mitt Romney is no doubt I think he feels slightly uncomfortable with interviews. He doesn't like being too personal. But in the end, they have a very touching marriage. They have been each others' only true love since they were teenagers. They have raised a family of five boys very successfully.

And there's a lot to be said that is very positive about the Romneys. I find it a fascinating debate, and I'm sure it will be the key debate when it comes to who you vote for, is whether you judge Mitt Romney's record at someone like Bain Capital or his political record. Do you judge a guy adversely in America because he worked hard and achieved and was successful?

Because that's the way that Barack Obama is trying to attack him. And it's the first time that I can remember an American politician being attacked because he was a successful business person. And it will be interesting whether the American public, who are suffering financially, sometimes in extremely dire ways at the moment, losing homes and jobs and so on, will they buy into the idea that Mitt Romney is a rich successful guy because he fleeced the system?

Or will Mitt Romney as he tried to do with me, he successfully argued there's nothing wrong with being a success story in America?

ROMANS: And who will the voter believe is going to make things better for them in November? That's so important.

Piers, it was a great interview. Thanks for giving us the time this morning. This afternoon, I mean.

MORGAN: My pleasure. Any time.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Piers.

Let's go to the other side of London now where we are just a few hours away from the opening ceremonies. Zain Verjee is live at Olympic Park.

Good morning, Zain.

ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Let's get this party started, Christine. (LAUGHTER)

VERJEE: We're only about less than seven hours away, and we don't want it to be shambolic. Everyone is hoping it's going to be absolutely wonderful, spectacular, epic. Can't get enough of those words, OK? You know, let me just give you a sense of what it's going to be like. We're going to be looking at a ceremony that will divide Britain, Britain's past, its present, and its future.

You're going to see scenes recreated of the idealic old Britain. We're going to see plowing of the fields and farmers. Now, I've got these numbers for you, Christine. There are going to be 70 live sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens, and nine geese. No partridge in a pear tree, though. That's just to recreate one era.

They also want to recreate the industrial era where they're going to the steel workers, and then, suddenly, you're going to see these five Olympic rings come up, and it's going to be set on fire. Also, 007. They're practicing the theme music of James Bond right behind me just seconds ago.

Apparently, according to reports, Daniel Craig is going to head off to Buckingham Palace, and the queen is going to send him on an important mission, which is going to be open the Olympic games, go over to the stadium, and apparently, parachuters are going to be coming down, as stuntmen and make that dramatic, what could be, possibly an opening scene.

So, lots to look forward to. Make sure you're one of the, oh, four billion people around the world tuning in.

ROMANS: All right, Zain Verjee. Thank you, Zain. Fun assignment.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, the fast-food chain front and center in the debate over same-sex marriage. What do the Chick-fil-A sandwich have to do with same-sex marriage? I'm going to tell you. We're going to talk live with a Chicago politician taking the stand and saying, no way to Chick-fil-A. STARTING POINT is back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Chick-fil-A facing opposition from several cities today after its president came out against same-sex marriage. San Francisco mayor, Edwin Lee, tweeted, "Very disappointed. Chick-fil-A doesn't share San Francisco's values and strong commitment to equality for everyone."

Boston and Chicago also say the fast food chain is no longer welcome in those cities. Chicago aldermen, Joe Moreno, is one of the officials trying to block Chick-fil-A from opening new stores in his city. He represents Chicago's first ward. So, you don't want Chick- fil-A to be in your ward?

JOE MORENO, CHICAGO ALDERMAN: Well, I've been working with them for -- first of all, good morning, Christine. ROMANS: Good morning.

(LAUGHTER)

MORENO: I've been working with them for about eight months and working on traffic congestion issues we have with the site, and then also with non-discriminatory policy that we've made some progress on, not a lot, but some progress on. And I hope to continue that. I want to be very clear.

I said from the beginning, it's not about what people believe or what they say. That's protected, and I would be the first to protect any of that. If those beliefs (ph) transfer into a policy, the discrimination, hiring, or in serving, then that's when I have an issue --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: But has there ever been a complaint against this company for -- this is a personal opinion of the president of the company. I mean, you could say that it was 9.4 percent -- wait a minute -- with 9.4 percent unemployment in Chicago, should you be stalling or denying any new jobs creator just because you don't agree with what the guy thinks?

MORENO: Well, your premise is incorrect. It's not about what I disagree with what he thinks. He used the language as a "we" and "we were going to do this" and "we're going to do this." That's more than one person. And, again, it doesn't matter to me about anyone's beliefs. They have the right to do that or what they say.

That's been mischaracterized in this discussion by some. The bottom line is that if the discriminatory policies are there or there are lack of protections that are there for a constituency that's very much alive and thriving in Chicago, then I have an issue with that, just as we have in our civil rights history.

CAIN: Alderman, I'm sorry. This is Will Cain. I guess, you're breaking news this morning, because I have never heard of an allegation of discrimination that Chick-fil-A has either in their hiring process or their serving process towards gay couples. Are you suggesting today that Chick-fil-A, in fact, has been doing that?

MORENO: Well, I would suggest that if you've never heard that, if you talk to the civil rights agenda, which is an LGBT group that's dealing with some issues just like that in terms of firing or being felt unwelcome and inappropriate in their hiring of individuals that are in the LGBT community. They're working on that.

CAIN: But Chick-fil-A specifically?

MORENO: You know, that doesn't make mass headlines -- excuse me, Will, yes, specifically. Again, I am responsible for a ward that's extremely diverse. OK? And I want diversity and I want people to be acceptable of all stripes and colors and thinking. And they can believe what they want to believe. Again, that's not the argument. CAIN: That's a different -- I'm sorry. You changed your message. Because yesterday, you specifically quoted, you said, "People's beliefs have consequences." You were speaking specifically to Chick-fil-A's chief executive officer. You said people's beliefs have consequences, and this is why a permit has been denied in Chicago. You, yesterday, had no allegation of discrimination.

MORENO: Again, Will, -- Will, again, there's no permit that's been denied. That's another thing. I'm not denying a permit. I don't have the right as an alderman to deny or accept a permit. We're looking at approving legislation for their traffic control and their business practices. So, again, there's no permit being denied.

You're incorrect in that. My point was with beliefs have consequences, if those beliefs turn into actions and actions of discriminatory policy or the lack of protections for LGBT people, that's the issue. It's not the belief. If their belief turns into action, there are consequences and I'll clarify my statement.

ROMANS: And alderman, we, at CNN, have not substantiated any of the claims about the company actually in its hiring or in its serving practices putting this into -- you know, using anything discriminatory. We'll look at that. And you're saying if, if. So, let's play the if game, then.

If Chick-fil-A is not doing anything discriminatory in its hiring or in its serving, then you're not going to let the opinion of the president stop you from creating jobs in your district?

MORENO: Again, eight or nine months I've been working on this without any public exposure from me or from the LGBT group or from Chick-fil-A. We've been working on this.

They've already said to me, and I hope they put it in writing that they -- this is their words, not mine, they will no longer donate dollars to any organization left, right, or center that has a political agenda. That was one thing that we were working on.

ROMANS: Are you going to demand that from all companies that do business? I mean, because a lot of companies donate.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: -- if you're going to make everybody be completely apolitical and have no stand --

(CROSSTALK)

MORENO: -- that was not a demand -- let's be very clear. You're putting words in my mouth. I did not demand that of them. They offered that. Secondly, they are working on -- they put into the language that they are acceptable to everyone. They put it on their Facebook page.

I think that's a good step. Let's put it in their employee handbook and let's open up a Chick-fil-A in Chicago. ROMANS: All right. Joe Moreno, thank you so much for joining us. Nice to see you.

MORENO: Thanks.

ROMANS: I think this is really an interesting subject, because it's a free speech issue. It's a job creation issue. It's also a legal issue. I don't know --

BROWNSTEIN: And the question of what is appropriate -- consumers can make their own decisions. (INAUDIBLE) this week, gave $2.5 million to a pro-gay marriage and issued (ph) it in Washington. So, are people in Alabama going to want to boycott Amazon --

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: I mean, not everyone of the people in the district --

MARTIN: It's also the point I made yesterday. OK. So, then, what's next? So, for instance, Chicago has been trying to get a casino in downtown Chicago.

ROMANS: Right.

MARTIN: If Sheldon Adelson says, I want to build one, he gives money to candidates who don't believe in same-sex marriage. Are you going to say his casino can't come in here?

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: The reality is the battle -- I've been covering politics for, you know, 30 years. The battlefield is expanding. No one is an innocent bystander. Anyone who steps out and gets involved in one of these debates is now --

(CROSSTALK)

CAIN: I think the alderman realizes for some reason that he has walked out on very, very thin ice regarding the First Amendment. And now, the story is changing. But I would suggest he might have walked on to thinner ice this morning by suggesting there's discriminatory practice in Chick-fil-A that no one has suggested.

BROWNSTEIN: The response of consumers separate from a governmental (ph). And clearly, you're not going to deny someone permits because of the views of the leadership. But, consumers are different. And you are seeing companies being drawn into these political disputes once they step onto the battlefield. Look at whole foods and healthcare. Remember that.

ROMANS: He talks about "we." And, you know, the company, the company that goes by biblical principles. It doesn't operate on Sundays. You know, it is not a publicly traded company, right? It's a private company.

BROWNSTEIN: I don't know. ROMANS: All right. We have to -- she's yelling at me that we have to go.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: All right. It's 27 minutes past the hour.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: We're minutes away from the release of the new GDP numbers on the health of the economy. Investors bracing for bad news. We'll have those numbers to you and tell you what it means both for your wallet and for this election.

And why pro wrestler Eric "Showtime" Young is taking on extreme fishing. STARTING POINT is back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Just in to CNN, the latest GDP report. The U.S. economy grew at a 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter. That's a little better than we had feared in the markets. This is economic growth basically from 2001 to now, 1.5 percent now is what it really was, 1.5 percent. And there was also a revision, which is important here. The first quarter was changed to be two percent, so a little bit better than we had expected.

If you look in the trajectory of the economic numbers, you can see this is not as robust growth as we had hoped, but clearly a little bit better than expected. This is just to give you some perception, or some context, rather. Back to 2009, these are those horrible quarters when the economy was contracting and hundreds of thousands of people were losing their jobs. And this is the slow and painful attempt to recover to get to robust economic growth. What's clear is 1.5 percent economic growth is better than we thought, but it's probably not enough to be adding a whole bunch of jobs.

And Ken Rogoff has joined our team this morning. He is currently a professor of economics and public policy at Harvard University. Ken, I want to ask you, 1.5 percent economic growth, it's better than we thought, but not great, is it?

KEN ROGOFF, ECONOMIST, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It's not great. It's a touch better than it could have been. I was worried it would be even worse than this. And they upgraded what happened last quarter a little bit. So on balance, a slightly positive report in a gloomy picture.

ROMANS: And we know the futures are up about 50 points.

MARTIN: Ken, are we making a huge mistake when we continue to say, well, we are comparing it to this period in American history, when we're now living in a different world? We no longer have access to cheap credit. People aren't spending money. They aren't buying products, 70 percent of our economy is based upon consumer spending. And so Ben Bernanke said, this is going to take us a long time. When do Americans realize it's not going to be overnight, you're not going to find a silver bullet next month?

ROGOFF: Roland, I think a lot of Americans do realize that. If you've been looking for a job, we have long-term unemployed like we haven't seen since the Great Depression. Kids are having a hard time finding jobs out of college. Part-time work in the summer is really hard to find. I think people feel that, and it feels like it's going to last a long time. And I'm afraid it will. I think it could be the same again to really feeling normal.

BROWNSTEIN: When you look at this deleverage process, how far of the way are we through it? And how many more years do you think we have to look forward to slow growth?

ROMANS: Look forward?

BROWNSTEIN: Anticipate.

ROMANS: Complain about.

ROGOFF: You know, as you start to get further out in the future, this is a great economy. So there's stuff like the energy revolution that's coming that might actually bring manufacturing back. But for the next few years, what Roland said, people don't have good access to credit. They are nervous. They don't want to be as deep in debt as they were. They are deleveraging.

ROMANS: And that's a good thing, though. We can't be --

ROGOFF: Well, when everybody does it at once, it's a bad thing.

MARTIN: You say it's a good thing. We preached all that time, save, save, save. But when people save, they aren't spending. Our economy is driven by spending.

ROGOFF: Well, we live in a world that is slowing down. So when this happens to countries normally you get out of it by exporting a lot, other people buying your stuff. The dollar would go down a lot. But the whole world is feeling it. The whole world is slow.

ROMANS: We saw the U.K., the GDP numbers yesterday, and they were pretty ugly. And I have been looking at the economic reports, and all different kinds of companies are saying their European sales are slowing, and they can see Europe biting. How dangerous is that to the U.S.?

ROGOFF: Well, I think the European situation is this dark cloud hanging over the world. No one knows how it will be resolved. And it's really an existential risk, this experiment with trying to take these different countries and merge them and to use a single currency to accelerate that. And it could blow up. I don't think it's more likely than not. I think it probably won't. But if it does, it's really --

ROMANS: Is it a bigger risk to the U.S. than the fiscal cliff?

ROGOFF: Absolutely.

ROMANS: Europe is bigger than the fiscal cliff?

ROGOFF: The fiscal cliff is not going to happen. They are going to get there and they are going to do something. Europe I wish I could say for sure.

ROMANS: From your lips to their ears.

CAIN: Roland's question is we make a mistake when we make historical analysis because this time is different. You are talking to a guy who has made his career analyzing over long time periods. But I think it is a mistake to what you know of as recessions, the '80s, and the '90s. But this feels much more like the '30s.

ROGOFF: Or deep postwar financial crises like Japan had, some of the Scandinavian countries. And it's very slow. It's not like the typical recession.

BROWNSTEIN: And is there anything that can more dramatically accelerate the working through process?

ROGOFF: No. No quick fix. But I think you have to look ahead. You're not going to fix this in a year. Improve your education.

ROMANS: But you can make it worse.

ROGOFF: You can make it worse with panic reaction. I agree. But we don't experience this very often, so it's not like anybody knows what's going to work.

ROMANS: I keep saying that the politicians need to say it's either going to be bad, or really bad. Those are your two choices in the near term. But no one is very honest about it because you don't get elected that way.

BROWNSTEIN: That can be self-fulfilling too.

ROMANS: Ken, I know we'll talk to you later as well.

Next on STARTING POINT, from the ring to the rod, that's right. Pro wrestler Eric Young is going extreme fishing where he's even tackling sharks. He's joining us next. Very cool.

We'll leave you with "The Horse" by Chris Nobles from viewer Carl Strickland's play list. You're watching STARTING POINT. And there he is. You didn't bring your fishing rod.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: A little bit of The Who, right, from viewer --

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: I have summertime blues on my list for today.

ROMANS: Oh, my. But it is our viewer Friday.

He's going from the wrestling ring to extreme fishing. Professional wrestler Showtime Eric Young is reeling in some big catches with his new show "Off the Hook, Extreme Catches." He promises adventures from the wild to the weird using nontraditional methods and nontraditional materials to catch fish. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC YOUNG, PRO WRESTLER: There's a shark on this line. And I am on to what paddleboard fishermen refer to as the Florida sleigh ride. Whoa. He is completely pulling me around. It's like an oxen. The only thing separating me from the shark is four inches of fiberglass, my shoes, and my despicable beard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: We like it. Welcome to the program. Nice to see you.

YOUNG: Nice to be here.

ROMANS: We are seeing the Greek letters on your hat is fish.

YOUNG: Yes.

ROMANS: Very clever. Tell me why you went from wrestling to wrestling fish.

YOUNG: It's something that I've done since I was a kid. My dad got me into it. The first thing he said to my mom after I was born was, "Finally, I've got my fishing partner."

ROMANS: Yes.

YOUNG: So yes he got me into it when I was a kid. And then I got into wrestling, and it kind of took me away from it. I did it here and there, not any time or money to do it for most of my life. And then when this came along, and I jumped at a chance.

ROMANS: You know the fishing shows that I grew up watching were not like this. The fishing shows I grew up watching was a guy in a bass boat.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: So how is this different?

YOUNG: It's different in the fact that even if you're a person from the fishing community, a lot of the stuff you haven't seen or haven't heard of. It's very fringe and American ingenuity.

ROMANS: Give me an example. It's like McGyver in a boat. YOUNG: Yes, paddle board fishing for sharks. We did oil rig spear fishing. We did a -- a real crazy technique was --

ROMANS: Two things Roland would neither do separately or together.

MARTIN: So is there like a don't try this at home like a label on the show?

YOUNG: Eric Young is not a stunt man and does stupid things and don't try this.

MARTIN: Don't try this at home.

YOUNG: They're right it's true.

CAIN: Eric, which one honestly scared you the most? I mean, was it paddle boarding with sharks? Was it jet ski fishing? What -- what -- which is the most extreme for you?

YOUNG: I think the paddle board for sharks was scary, because there's blood in the water. And you're standing on the paddle board.

ROMANS: Yes.

YOUNG: And if you've ever been on a paddle board, it's just a surfboard with a paddle.

CAIN: Right.

YOUNG: It's tippy. But -- and you could see the sharks everywhere in the water all around us. And we got a -- I caught a six-foot lemon shark from the paddle boat.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Wow. You see that long ago, let's go dance with some sharks in the paddle boat.

BROWNSTEIN: Usually people go in the opposite direction when they see the sharks.

YOUNG: Yes I mean, it's something about the adrenalin of it and the excitement of it. And a lot of people fish for that, for the adrenalin of it. And my favorite part of this is meeting these people that do this for a living. They you know, carve up this niche in the fishing community.

ROMANS: Yes.

YOUNG: And it's American ingenuity at its finest.

MARTIN: You can meet them on land, though.

YOUNG: Yes. But you can't really experience it that way. MARTIN: When I think of my father or fishing -- fish and adrenalin -- fishing and adrenalin are not usually in the same sentence.

ROMANS: Oh no yes but when you are catching a fish, I mean, you chase that first. I caught my first fish I think when I was 4 years old, an 8-pound northern. And I have been chasing that original high ever since. You know there's nothing like that.

MARTIN: That's true.

YOUNG: Some of the stuff is river -- like the sailfish. I caught a sailfish from a handmade raft. And I'm in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in this handmade raft that I built, with this pro fisherman, Ray Roadster (ph) and I caught a seven foot 70-pound sailfish. I'm like, I'll never forget that as long as I live.

ROMANS: There's another really kind of weird and unusual extreme moment with panty hose exactly.

YOUNG: Yes.

ROMANS: Let's listen to this.

CAIN: All right. Let's see.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG: I am looking for panty hose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Do explain. Do explain what panty hose have to do with the very masculine --

YOUNG: The leg I actually made into a lamp. And the panty hose are actually used for catching sharks. Sharks love ladies panty hose.

ROMANS: Why?

YOUNG: It's true. It's a -- it's actually it's been a technique that's been around for years. And I've never heard of it. I was really skeptical about it.

(CROSSTALK)

YOUNG: You chop up the bait fish, you put it in, and it makes like a fish sausage.

ROMANS: Right.

YOUNG: And the blood and the oil, that's how you attract the sharks. They come in. They bite the panty hose. And you reel them in.

ROMANS: Tell us about your hand. You said you caught something with your hands.

YOUNG: Yes it's a couple of months ago, a 45-pound catfish.

CAIN: You went noodling?

YOUNG: Yes, yes. And well, in different areas they call it different things. I went with a girl (inaudible), a lady called Fastana (ph) and Britney. Super fun ladies and fearless. Like I was not looking forward to it at all. I thought, they are doing it. And I better get in there.

ROMANS: Wow.

YOUNG: So yes you just reach your hand into this hole and hope it's a catfish.

ROMANS: Oh all right, seriously? Eric Young "Showtime" Eric Young.

MARTIN: Seriously?

YOUNG: They bite your hand.

ROMANS: It's Animal Planet, "Off the Hook Extreme Catches." It's really nice to meet you.

YOUNG: Thank you guys it's cool to be here.

(CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: STARTING POINT is back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT.

Nearly a quarter of women in America have experienced severe violence at the hands of someone close to them. This week's CNN's Hero is helping survivors take the first steps back to normalcy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JO CRAWFORD, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: When I was 13, my dad was very violent and attempted to murder my mom.

Hi, baby.

It wasn't until I was 55 that I came to work in a shelter and met a woman who had fled Chicago with two young children. She had no documentation. She did not legally exist.

She said, "Can you help me? I need $40 to get all the documentation.": It is totally forbidden, but I gave her the two $20 bills, and I'm thinking I just changed three lives with $40. I had no idea that I had actually changed my life as well. My name is Jo Crawford and I ask women survivors of domestic violence to dream their best life. And I give them the means to accomplish the first step. This is what you want. And this is what you deserve.

The women are all out of a relationship for at least six months. They have to be free of alcohol and drugs. And they have got to have a dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go back to school to do social work. I want to be a social worker.

CRAWFORD: It's not a gift. She agrees to pay it forward to three other survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to be helping three ladies get their GED.

CRAWFORD: Thank you so much.

These women need to know that they deserve their dream and have the power to create it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got so much help which enabled me to buy a sewing machine. And that made me realize that I should be a person who not only receives help but also gives help.

CRAWFORD: I am so proud of you.

One woman can make a difference. But women working together can change the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right, "End Point" is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: And time for the "End Point." We want to revisit something former Minnesota senator and Romney advisor Norm Coleman said earlier on this program. We were talking about Mitt Romney's gaffe over the Olympics in London and his upcoming trip to Israel when Coleman told us this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NORM COLEMAN, MITT ROMNEY ADVISOR: Whatever happened yesterday in terms of headlines in British tabloids, put that aside. And then beyond that as the Governor moves to Israel, clearly which there's no -- Obama's ratings in Israel -- his approval rates I think are in single digits.

ROMANS: Yes.

COLEMAN: I think simply the presence there will be a strong nod (ph) that America has to be a stronger friend to America. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And that caught our attention -- the approval rate of single digits, it seemed low. We called Coleman's office a few minutes ago. They said they could not confirm that number. And according to the (inaudible) Center for Middle East Policy, President Obama's approval in Israel was at 40 percent in December 2010. It went up one year later to 54 percent in 2011.

MARTIN: Look they were saying -- good point. The reality is that a Likud government, Netanyahu, feels closer to Republicans. There is more tension when a Democrat is in the White House whether it's Clinton or Obama. But that is not necessarily indicative of the broad public.

And by the way, the great new book, "The Twilight War: the last 30 Years of U.S. in Iran", look at how Ronald Reagan dealt with Israel. How different it is from what is even possible to discuss today having an independent even at times confrontational point of view.

MARTIN: This is the problem when you try to measure what the political leaders in Israel how they feel about this President compared to what the people actually feel. We also have to make that distinction. And so to call him out on it, to say single digits -- 54 percent and single digits, that's a long way off.

CAIN: 41 percent is the latest -- but still a long way.

MARTIN: No, no. 54 percent is the new number.

CAIN: Either way, you're right. And I think the larger point is it's good that we don't let somebody get away with someone just throwing something up against the wall to see if it sticks.

ROMANS: Yes. All right. So thanks guys. Nice to see you today. Have a great weekend, everybody.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.