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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Jared Loughner to Plead Guilty; White Supremacist Kills Six in Sikh Temple; Interview with Olympian Dan O'Brien; Storms Threaten Gulf of Mexico; Small Planes Violate Obama Airspace; Smithsonian Parking Workers Arrested; Indiana Diner Hit By Bus In Tornado Reopens; Spanking In Public; Honesty Really Is The Best Policy; Reality TV Robbery; "Romney Hood"; Will Attacks Bog Down Election?; Fighting Rages In Syria; A Century Old Family Mystery

Aired August 7, 2012 - 07:00   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I am John Berman.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, John Berman. Haven't I seen you since the last two hours?

BERMAN: Nice to meet you.

BALDWIN: Nice to meet you. Let's do this. It's two more hours. You got me. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Soledad has the week off. You're stuck with us.

And our "Starting Point" here this morning, a White power past and word that Wade Page had been tracked for, not one, not two, 12 years. New details this morning of the suspected gunman who open fire on a Sikh temple.

BERMAN: And could there be a plea deal. Jared Loughner charged with killing six people and trying to assassinate Congresswoman Gabby Giffords last year may admit he's guilty today.

BALDWIN: Also picking up speed, there he is, tropical storm Ernesto brewing here, forcing evacuations already. The storm could intensify into a hurricane by tonight.

BERMAN: And overnight, a new catch phrase for the Obama campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And you can imagine this morning the Romney camp fiercely firing back.

BALDWIN: We're going to talk about that. A packed show ahead. Take a look at the photo, we have Joe Lieberman and Christine Todd Whitman, Olympic gold medalist Dan O'Brien and the infamous, is that the appropriate word? Honey Boo Boo from toddlers and tiaras.

BERMAN: STARTING POINT begins right now.

BALDWIN: Good morning, happy Tuesday to you and thank you so much for being with us.

BERMAN: In our STARTING POINT, disturbing revelations about the man police say is behind the deadly Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, including word that an organization that tracks hate groups had been monitoring Wade Page for 12 years. Police looking into the 40-year- old's ties to white supremacists, these photos of a page in front of a swastika are from Facebook and MySpace page that has since been taken down. He was the front man for a white power rock band. Neighbors say he was antisocial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like a recluse almost. He didn't talk to us. I would say hi and he would go --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was nice and when he moved in, she just changed. You could tell he was running the show. She wasn't as friendly anymore. She wasn't -- it was kind of like she wasn't allowed to like talk to anybody anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Our David Mattingly has been covering this story. He is live in Oak Creek, Wisconsin this morning. David, the Sothern Poverty Law Center said they had been tracking page since 2000. That's a long time. Was law enforcement involved at all?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, law enforcement wasn't involved because he wasn't showing up on the radar, not breaking the law. So he wasn't showing up in to raise any sort of interest for law enforcement.

What we're learning about him now is that he held a belief of white supremacy for at least a couple of decades, dating back to when we know of, when he was in the U.S. army. We heard from an army buddy who talked about how he would talk about a coming race war and when they would challenge him on where the beliefs were coming from, they said he would duck the question.

Then after he was discharged from the military, that's when he started showing up getting involved with rock and roll bands that are called white power bands with white power themes behind their music. That's when he sort of started being watched by the southern poverty law center with the hate watch organization. They were keeping tabs on him just through his involvement with these bands.

How these beliefs suddenly turned violent here in Milwaukee though, is something that law enforcement is now trying to delve into. They are clearly looking at this as a possible case of domestic terrorism, which does imply they are looking at the possibility that his beliefs did lead to this attack. But how that happened, they can't answer that question right now.

What is clear though, completely clear, is the history of the gun that he used in the shooting rampage. He purchased it at the end of July. There was the typical and legal 48-hour waiting period. It was all done legally. That was a 9 millimeter hand gun he used to carry out this deadly attack, John.

BERMAN: Some of the people wounded in this attack, including brian Murphy, shot on the scene, they are recovering this morning in the hospital. Any update on their condition?

MATTINGLY: The last update was late yesterday directly from the doctors at the hospital. They say all three are in critical condition. But that police officer, a remarkable story, shot eight to nine times, gone through a couple of surgeries already. He's said to be resting comfortably, on the mend. Everyone hoping that today when we get another update and we might see some improvement in the condition of the three that are still in the hospital, everyone pulling for them naturally as we move forward here. This community still trying to come together and to come to grips with what happened here.

BERMAN: David Mattingly on the scene in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Thanks very much.

BALDWIN: The six victims of the oak creek shooting continue to be remembered this morning. The family of the temple president, Kaleka, said he died a hero. His son said the FBI told his father tried to stab Wade Page before he was gunned down and may have given others just the time to run and possibly hide, including his own wife. She spoke about the terrifying ordeal just last night on "AC 360".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SATPAL KALEKA, WIFE OF TEMPLE PRESIDENT: Since I start closing my kitchen door, meantime he came in the kitchen and shot over there. Then two ladies got shot in the leg, in the feet. Then I grabbed everybody, said run, run, run to the pantry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: His father was proud to live in America and hung a large American flag in his yard to show he thought U.S. was truly a land of opportunity.

BERMAN: Moving on to the rest of the top stories this morning. The FBI is investigating a fire that burned in a mosque in Joplin, Missouri. It burned it to the ground. Just over a month after an arson attempt caused minor damage to the very same facility. The fire broke out early Monday morning at the Islamic society of Joplin. They say it is a total loss. It is the second time in more than a month the mosque was attacked. Surveillance footage from July shows a suspect approaching the mosque and throwing in kind of ignited object on the roof.

BALDWIN: Attorneys for Jared Lee Loughner changing their strategy. They are expected to enter at least one guilty plea this morning for the Tucson massacre suspect if a federal judge finds him competent to stand trial. Loughner had already pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him. Who could forget that January 2011 attack killing six people, wounded 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And coming up in over an hour here, 8:30 eastern time, we'll be joined by Mavy Stoddard. Her husband was killed in the Tucson shooting.

BERMAN: Back to back roundtable fundraisers at the exclusive w hotel this afternoon, right near the White House. At a campaign stop in Connecticut last night the president rolled out a new attack line against rival, Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: He asked the middle class to pay more in taxes so he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year. It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: You can tell he was practicing that one. The president claims Romney's tax plan will cost middle class families up to $2,000 a year in additional taxes. The Romney team of course says those claims are false.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney will be on the president's home turf in Chicago, pulling in $2 million to three fundraisers this coming weekend Romney kicks off a bus tour of crucial swing states in Virginia and heads south to North Carolina, Florida, and then Ohio next week. Some analysts wondering whether he might announce his running mate during this trip.

In the world of weather, tropical storm Ernesto could become a hurricane by tonight. Let's go to Karen Maginnis tracking the storm. Where exactly is he headed?

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Brooke, we'll be receiving another update from the national hurricane center in one hour. This is a compact system, however, there are plenty of feeder bans that will impact the Yucatan peninsula. As a system approaches the coast there, there's speculation already that this could reach hurricane intensity sometime later on this afternoon. And should make the impact greater felt all the way from Cancun down towards Belize City. It interacts with the land and doesn't have that sustaining moisture coming in from the water. As it emerges over the bay of Campeche, it will regain its strength before impact Vera Cruz, as we go into the next several days. So this is going to have its greatest impact in that it's going to be a very heavy rain maker, six to 12 inches of rain could cause mud and landslides, Brooke and John?

BERMAN: No good. We have amazing video to show you right now. Take a look at this. The first color pictures from the NASA rover curiosity's first full day on Mars. We're all space geeks today. Earlier photos showed the wheels on the ground and mount sharp in the distance. It is the destination on this trip. The rover is set to send weather data back to NASA today. We're looking forward to that.

BALDWIN: I love the fist-pumps from NASA, 1:30 in the morning, not that I was up but did see the video.

BERMAN: The most excited scientists in the history of the world, no doubt.

Ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, wrong place, wrong time, F- 15 fighter jets scrambling in the sky over long island. We'll tell you what triggered this frightening commotion.

BALDWIN: Also, time to separate the athletes from the warriors in London. The Olympic decathlon, and an American is favored for the gold. Former Decathlete Dan O'Brien will join us next from London. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: And welcome back to STARTING POINT. It is one of highlights of the Olympics, one of the grueling endurance testing competition. Tomorrow the men's decathlon begins, 10 events over two days, including the 100 meter dash, long jump, discus, they've got everything.

BALDWIN: You say that no big deal.

BERMAN: No biggy.

BALDWIN: American Ashton Eaton broke the world record earning 9,039 points. Until then Dan O'Brien held the American record for two decades. He also of course, won the gold medal in Atlanta at the '96 Olympic Games. And Dan, it is so wonderful to be with us. In the commercial break, you outed the fact you've never been to London before. Hopefully you're enjoying it. It's a lovely city. Let's get straight to the decathlon. All eyes are on Ashton Eaton, set this new world record as we mentioned. You walked up to him afterwards and give him this big hug. Bring us inside that exchange. What did you say?

DAN O'BRIEN, FORMER OLYMPIAN: You know, after Ashton broke the world record I happened to be standing by and it was one of those moments I had been waiting a long time for somebody to score high and break my American record and he was the man to do it. I knew it was a matter of time and what do you say to a guy who just did somebody nobody else in the world has done. Everybody needs support, not just in track and field but in all Olympic sports.

I'm proud to be part -- I'm proud to be part of Team USA and proud to be part of DeVry University, where people can go and set their own goals and get the support they need to achieve the things they want in life. So I'm just glad I was down there at the right time in the right place when Ashton broke the world record.

BALDWIN: I hear your support. Come on, did it sting a little bit, just a little bit that he took the record?

O'BRIEN: You know, when I was younger, the records were very important to me, especially in the first five or six years after I stopped competing, I liked having the records. Here we are 20 years later since I had that American record from Bruce Jenner, and I thought it's about time somebody scored high enough to get that record. I knew it was going to be him. Ashton was young enough and he didn't just beat it, he blew it out of the water. So it's gone now and I told my wife at the beginning of that morning, at the end of the day you'll be married to just a former American and world record holder. Is that OK with you?

BERMAN: We have politicians coming on in just a few minutes, and you gave a more astute answer than they can. How do you pace yourself over the next few days to get through the final event, which is the 1500? How can you make sure you have the energy to do that by the time you get to the end?

BALDWIN: Incredible.

O'BRIEN: It's all in the long-term training. And Ashton Eaton has a fantastic coach. It's about work and recover. You train your body to go 100 percent then recover from it. What gets guys off track is they get all excited in the first five or second hours and then they got five or six hours to go. These are going to be extremely long days, 9:00 a.m. starts and 10:00 p.m. finishes, not getting too up or down and turning it on when you have to and turning it off in the down time.

And there's a lot of down time. Sometimes you have to wait 15, 16 competitors in between the long jump and shot put. I kind of -- Dave Johnson, my rival back in the day used to say it was like a 24- hour driving marathon. You have to pay attention and be ready for anything.

BERMAN: You mentioned Dave there. What is the toughest event? What's the biggest pit fall. You famously had problems with the pole vault before the 1992 Olympics. What event do you have to watch out for the most?

O'BRIEN: For some reason it's the second day event the discus. You only get three attempts, is the first is poor, you worry a little bit and hold back and then you hold back. But it is all about movement and trust and staying in the ring. The discus seems to throw people off. He doesn't worry along those lines at the 1,500 meter. Weather could be a concern as well. We'll see.

BALDWIN: We'll look for Ashton to be a little concerned in the shot put and discus, we're looking at each other, like really? That's interesting. A lot of us have been following, you're a superstar, Michael Phelps a superstar, broke the medal count in terms of number of medals for any American. He says he's finished with swimming, do you think he should keep going?

O'BRIEN: Well, he's been to so many Olympic games and I'm not sure you get better as you get older. He seems to continue to win gold medals but it's probably about time that he wrap it up. It's so intense training all those years and years. And the interest being thing about it, he's doing it at the right time. He's going out on top, why not go out on top? This is all about -- and I think he's done a great job and been a great role model for o young Olympic athletes, and it's just a matter of time. I think it's a great time for him to go out.

BALDWIN: Dan O'Brien, thank you so much.

BERMAN: Advice from one superstar to another.

BALDWIN: We were talking to Dan, Dave ads.

BERMAN: All right, we're going to check on the medal count now. China is in the lead with 64, but The U.S. is right behind with 63. Now Russia moved into third place with 42. Some of the big events today, the final day of gymnastics, Gabby Douglas trying for their third gold medal in the balance beam finals. We also have the finals of the men's high jump and women's 100 meter hurdles and the men's triathlon.

BALDWIN: Quickly, the women's soccer game, I flew in, you were telling me on the phone.

BERMAN: I'm screaming all by myself watching the game. So exciting.

BALDWIN: Still to come, do you have a Facebook account? You may want to make sure you do if you want to get a job? We're going to explain that.

BERMAN: And forget the long waits at baggage claim, the airline that's about to start a special suitcase delivery service at a price of course. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. A couple of today's top stories, the Mississippi church that barred a black couple from getting married last month is apologizing. In a statement the Baptist Church of Crystal Springs said the Hendersons and Wilsons never should have been asked to relocate their wedding. But the Wilsons call the statement an insult and misleading.

BALDWIN: If you opted out of Facebook or twitter, you could be hurting in terms of your job prospects. Forbes said many employers are suspicious of job candidates who do not use social media. They worry the person could be hiding something or that their account was deleted because of red flags.

BERMAN: You're told to be careful if you post on Facebook, if you erase it, they are suspicious too?

BALDWIN: Doesn't seem fair. Apple stock near an all-time high even after missing earnings estimates last month.

BERMAN: Alison Kosik joins us now. It's skyrocketing. Some people think it's a good value.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is. The ratio shows that Apple is trading at 14 times its expected earnings for this year. But then you look at stocks on the NASDAQ, they trade at 18 times when they are expected to earn. Apple at $624 bucks is still considered cheap.

You know when it's not considered cheap, $775 a share. That's when it not considered a bargain anymore. You look at shares in the premarket. You never think that Apple misses its estimates. It's trading $624 right before the opening bell today. Just shy of $644 all-time high, look at its done since the beginning of the year, it's up more than 300 percent in the past five years. Why didn't I own this think way back when?

Now, of course, the exciting is building over the iPhone 5. Rumor is is goes on sale in November. If you can't afford the new one coming out, there are great deals for older versions. Sprint over the weekend announced its offering a two-year contract for the iPhone 4s for $150 and Verizon is offering the iPhone 4 for $99. If you're an investor, it's good for you too, dividend payments to shareholders within the next week and there's chatter Apple may decide to split its stock and that means the company shares will be cheaper, more accessible to the average investor and makes it likely it could be a member of Dow industrials, it has a better chance of showing up in your 401(k). Right now because Apple is so expensive, it would single handedly sway the index on a daily basis. And split before --

BALDWIN: So with my iPhone 5, does that mean I hold out for the iPhone 5?

KOSIK: You do get a bargain for the old iPhone.

BALDWIN: I'm so embarrassed by this.

Moving on, we all get frustrated because we're paying more for x, y, and z and now we're talking off the plane pay more.

KOSIK: This is at the premium rate. American airlines is offering this. It starts this week and what you can do is pay for the service, either when you're making your ticket flight or just two hours before your flight, pay the top dollar there. That is the a la carte menu. If you don't have the time -- or inclination to wait five minutes, they'll deliver it for you. That's kind of expensive, but you pay for convenience. If you've got a lot of kids or a million bags --

BALDWIN: I guess if you have a bunch of little ones hanging on you, I might pay the $30.

KOSIK: The ultimate in laziness, come on.

BERMAN: If you're that family.

KOSIK: You can't wait five minutes for bags to come and pay that much money? BERMAN: I would be worried about the fact it would give the airlines another chance to lose your bags.

KOSIK: That could make even more money --

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, forget Robin Hood. It's now Romney Hood. That's how the president describes Mitt Romney's tax plan and you'll hear how Republicans are firing back.

BALDWIN: It is now lie, how honesty can make you healthier. Pay attention. You're watching STARTING POINT.

BERMAN: We want you to join the conversation, tell us what you think about today's hot topics, send us a video of your end point, and you could see it on the show later this morning. Upload your videos at CNN.com/startingpoint. Do it now, we're coming back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. Let's get today's top stories right away here.

President Obama's campaign visit to Connecticut triggered a commotion in the sky. What you're looking at here is amateur video of two F-15 fighter jets intercepting a small plane that strayed into the president's air space over Long Island.

Half an hour later, another small plane was intercepted near New Haven, Connecticut. The Secret Service right now is investigating.

BALDWIN: Also this morning, federal prosecutors say three booth attendants at the Smithsonian Annex parking garage stole $400,000 in parking fees over three years.

They say these attendants, two women, one man, are caught on video, unplugging electronic video counters, which let them steal as much at $4,000 in one single day. The FBI and Smithsonian security arrested them over this past weekend.

BERMAN: A small Indiana town continues to bounce back from this spring's tornado. One of the most memorable images from the twister in Henryville was the sight of this school bus that slammed into Budroe's Cafe.

Get this, five months later, the crowds came out for the re-opening of the diner. It has since been renamed by owner Sherman Sykes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERMAN SYKES, OWNER, BUDROE'S BUS STOP: It was Budroe's bus stop, the bus pulled in here and stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: And a terrifying moment before the tornado, Sherman moved his workers and customers to the safety of the basement. No one was on the bus, but I love the new name of the diner.

BALDWIN: I know. In today's "A.M. House Call," nearly 25 percent of parents spank or use other forms of physical contact to discipline their kids in public.

Researchers from Michigan State University studied caregivers in these public settings, I'm talking parks, grocery stores and fast food restaurants, they saw more than 100 incidents involving parents or guardians spanking or using other forms of quote/unquote "negative touch" on their young kids.

BERMAN: All right, now, I have to say, this got my attention this morning. If you tell a lie, it could hurt your health. That's according to researchers from the University of Notre Dame.

They find the fewer lies people tell, the fewer health complaints they report. Experts say being honest could help ward off depression and increase self-esteem.

BALDWIN: You look surprised.

BERMAN: I am, I lie to myself every day. You look great. I say to myself every day.

BALDWIN: I love me. Also just this morning, it is the criminal version of candy camera two robbers. They hold up this pizza joint in Pennsylvania. This was Sunday. One of them filmed the crime on his cell phone and told the victims, still part of a reality TV show. It's called you got robbed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AUSTIN HARNISH, VICTIM: I thought it was a joke at first. I was like really, good joke, now you can let me go and real quick it was -- it got real, real, real quick. The guy filming grabbed me by the throat. There's my wallet, you can have whatever is in there, $20.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Those suspects were arrested and charged with robbery, assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.

BERMAN: Yes, the final chapter for their dumb reality show.

Moving on to politics now and I say, Mitt Romney is campaigning in Chicago today. President Obama had back to back fundraisers in Washington, D.C. and the president may have a new catch phrase to use tonight.

BALDWIN: Think he's going to use this over and over.

BERMAN: I'll bet you a jillion dollars. BALDWIN: That's a lot. He took a jab at Romney's tax plan last night while addressing supporters in Stanford, Connecticut, here he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He'd asked the middle class to pay more in taxes so that he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year. It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney hood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Romney's camp responded saying, quote, "President Obama recently said the biggest regret of his first term was not telling better stories. He is trying to make up for it now, but his stories just aren't true. There is only one candidate in this race who's going to raise taxes on the American people and that is Barack Obama.

BERMAN: Joining us now is independent senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman whose book, "The Gift of Rest," is available now in paperback.

Senator Lieberman, you just told us one of benefits of being independent is you no longer have to go to fundraisers.

SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: This is true, you don't have to go to fundraisers. I don't have to go to either party convention. I mean, think about the extra time I have to actually try to be a good senator and maybe a good family guy.

BERMAN: You heard the president last night near your hometown in the state of Connecticut last night using this new phrase, Romney Hood. What do you make of that? Do you think this campaign is getting too negative, too nasty?

LIEBERMAN: You know, the campaign has I think already set records for nastiness and negativity. It's exactly the opposite of what the country needs. I think part of what our countries needs now is a healthy dose of vision about what both of these candidates will do if they get elected.

Instead of scaring the rest of us of how terrible it will be if the other one gets elected, but that's exactly what we're getting now. I think it diminishes our confidence, which we need to get out of the recession and start growing jobs again.

And hope it changes. I hope this name calling changes to actual discussions about what they would do about tax reform and spending and entitlements and how they balance the budget.

BALDWIN: You know, Senator, we went digging just for some hard numbers in terms of these negative campaigns, we weren't quite sure how much, I guess, the uptick had shown.

Here's what we found from the West Land Media Project, 70 percent of campaign ads run up to May this year were negative, 70 percent.

Do you think as Americans go to the polls in November, it's more about who you don't want as president versus who you would like to lead the country?

LIEBERMAN: Yes, I'm afraid that those numbers are really interesting and they are important too because we're running the risk that most people, more than half of the people who go to vote in November will be voting against the other candidate instead of voting for the candidate.

BALDWIN: That's a problem.

LIEBERMAN: That's bad. First because it doesn't give you any confidence about what their candidate is going to do for the country. Secondly, you know, it's as if there were two department stores in a town.

And each department store has spent all its advertising budget attacking the other department store, the net effect would be that people would look for a third place to shop.

This is not a department store we're talking about here. It's the future of our country. So I -- it's part of why I'm not running again, honestly, campaigns, got too negative and much too expensive and much -- too much time spent raising a money.

BERMAN: Well, you have become something of a third place to shop, you're an independent now. But I want to put you on the spot here, up until this point you refuse to say who you will support in this election right now.

Some of the recent polls show that only 4 percent of American voters are undecided. It's hard for me to believe that you, Senator, who's been in public service since 1970 are truly undecided. Have you made up your mind who you're going to support?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I'm certainly decided that I'm not going to announce who I'm going to support, but I really am undecided. And the numbers of the undecided voters go somewhere from 4 percent to 10 percent.

I think that's an important number because I think it's going to be a close election. I'm honestly watching both candidates and listening because I'm not in elective politics this year for the first time in more than 40 years.

And I'm loving not being in an elective politics. I just decided that I'm going to take the opportunity to do what most Americans do and just vote in the privacy of the booth.

BALDWIN: But you are decided?

LIEBERMAN: I'm undecided. I haven't decided who to vote for.

BALDWIN: Really? LIEBERMAN: Really. We're doing eyeball to eyeball. You're giving me the cross-examination look. And I haven't because I can think of positives and negatives about both of these people in terms of the kind of president they would be.

I hope that during the rest of the campaign I'll hear some more positives about both of them and perhaps in their debates particularly, get a better sense of who I have most confidence in.

BALDWIN: What about this, because we all love to read in the political tea leaves. We know Mitt Romney is going on this bus tour and several names floated of course as potential VP picks.

You were reported by vetted for a VP pick for McCain. I'm curious what that experience is like if this future number two knows right now that he or she is the chosen one and has to keep quiet. What's that like?

LIEBERMAN: Probably doesn't know, I mean, you know, it happened to me 12 years ago today that Vice President Al Gore announced that he had asked me to run.

BALDWIN: Happy anniversary.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you very much. It's so full of so many memories. But no, I mean, up until -- we were led to believe it happened to be a Sunday night in August of 2000, the vice president was going to make the choice that night.

Interestingly, we were told mostly from the news media, it was down to John Kerry, John Edwards and me. And I actually got a call from somebody on my staff who heard from somebody inside one of networks, not CNN, of course, that it was John Edwards who had been chosen.

So my family was at my house, took out a bottle of wine, we said what a great country, we came this far. T oast America, go to sleep and wake up in the morning.

And turn on local news and the reporter before the -- let me repeat this very exciting story, the Associated Press is reporting that Al Gore has chosen our very own senator, Joe Lieberman, to be his running mate. You know, all heck broke loose.

BERMAN: You thought it was the wine talking probably.

LIEBERMAN: I did. I thought it was a hallucinatory hangover.

BALDWIN: But it was not.

LIEBERMAN: No, so I would say that the odds are that the person -- well, if Governor Romney has chosen a running mate now, that person doesn't know and probably won't know until probably the eve of or the day before.

It's a very singular exercise of power. It's really up to Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney alone. And obviously I hope he chooses somebody that we'll all feel is capable of being president.

He'll want somebody who may help him get elected and of course, there's a personal factor. Does he feel comfortable with the person? So it's a really interesting moment.

BALDWIN: A bold choice, a safe choice. We'll see.

LIEBERMAN: OK.

BALDWIN: Yes, again, happy anniversary.

BERMAN: If you hear the choices, let us know.

BALDWIN: We're a phone call away.

LIBERMAN: You'll be first call, believe me.

BERMAN: All right, Senator Lieberman, thank you so much.

LIEBERMAN: Take care.

BERMAN: All right, next on STARTING POINT, intense shelling in neighborhoods in Syria as the prime minister leaves the country. What his defection means to Assad's future.

BALDWIN: Also, if you left history, a family's decades' long mystery solved. What is this family heirloom, this piece of driftwood, was it from pieces of the Titanic?

The history detectives are on the case. They are going to join us live here in the studio on this Tuesday. Thanks for being with us. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Bloodshed in Syria this morning, reports of at least 11 deaths across the country in this amateur video showing bombs being dropped in Homs.

Right now CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of this video. This as fighting in the country's largest city, Aleppo, rages on with heavy artillery shelling.

CNN's international correspondent, Ben Wedeman is on the phone with us from Aleppo. Ben, is this shelling going on right now?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): (Inaudible) as the Syrian Air Force jet is dropping bombs on the old city of Aleppo, very near the ancient citadel and dropped two large bombs. And this is really just the latest in -- which started just before sunset heavy bombardment of civilian areas controlled by the Syrian Army.

It sounded like an incoming artillery round hitting an area very much in the frontlines between the Syrian Army and the Free Syrian Army or the rebels. The destruction of some of the areas is intense.

Earlier this morning, we were walking around the civilian area and watched about 100 people lined up for bread at the only bakery working in that particular district.

People say that they are sleeping on the lower houses, lower floors of the apartment building or in the stair wells, to stay away from possibility of shattering glass during the bombardment.

Many people also I see many store owners packing up goods on pickup trucks and taking them out of the city because the worry is the Syrian Army is about to launch an offensive to retake those parts of the city occupied by the rebels.

BERMAN: All right, Ben Wedeman live on the phone with us from Syria right now where you could hear some of the shelling going on in the background. Ben, please take care of yourself and we'll check with you later if we can.

BALDWIN: Fighting in Aleppo seems like it's been going on for about a week. It's the commercial hub of the nation, the biggest city in Syria. So we'll follow him, Ben Wedema. He is also on Twitter @bencnn.

Still this morning on STARTING POINT, this mystery from history solved. The origin of this family heirloom connected to one of the greatest disasters at sea. Don't miss this. You're watching STARTING POINT.

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BALDWIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT here. It could be a simple picture frame or a piece of history from the "Titanic."

BERMAN: It is a family mystery that begins a century ago in the dark waters of the Atlantic, an irresistible case for history detectives on PBS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always had a picture in my mind of my great grandfather in a rowboat reaching into the water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he pulled the wood out of the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he had it fashioned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Into this picture frame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Into this picture frame.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That ship was called "The Lusitania."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This ship was called "The Titanic."

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: And Rob Martorana brought the frame to Elyse Luray and her team on "History Detectives." So welcome and good morning to both of you. I know this is so exciting and we are going to give away just part of what's going to happen a little later on the show.

But let me just begin, Rob, with you. So you grow up and this piece of driftwood, this 2x4, basically collecting dust on your grandmother's shelf.

ROBERT MARTORANA, BELIEVES FAMILY HEIRLOOM IS FROM "THE TITANIC": It was on the wall forever.

BALDWIN: And you're thinking, what could this be?

MARTORANA: We were always told it was from "The Titanic." That's what I grew up. That was the story we always heard.

BALDWIN: When did it go from, we were always told, might it be the "Titanic"? Either way, it's very, very old, from 1915. What then made you take this question to this show?

MARTORANA: Well, my brother, Paul, Paul Martorana decided to look into it and see if the oral history of my family was true.

BERMAN: Now, you know, two pretty famous ships, by the way. You're dealing with like two of the most famous ships in the last 100 years, the "Lusitania" and the "Titanic."

But Elyse, let me ask you this, when they first came to you, you were pretty skeptical that this picture frame came from "The Titanic." Why?

ELYSE LURAY, HOST, PBS' "HISTORY DETECTIVES": Well, you know, family folklore is always abundant and it usually doesn't pan out. And we hear it over and over and over again.

And with the 100th anniversary of "The Titanic" this year, we were seeing a lot of people saying that they had things from "The titanic." So, yes, right and it's a beautiful picture frame. So if it did come from "The Titanic," why is it so beautiful?

BERMAN: That's the same thing I thought. Yes, right, "The Titanic."

BALDWIN: Whatever. No way, but then with the trusty detective work of yours, Elyse, you go to -- you basically start looking at the tree rings. You're really looking closely, you know, at this particular piece of wood. Let's just play one clip of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Using image scans of the frame, Colin measures the width of the tree rings. Each ring reflects the amount of growth in a year and the series of measurements create a pattern.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a better growing season, it will make a wider ring that will grow up higher. It a poorer growing year, it will make a narrower ring and it will be down below.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Colin compares our tree ring pattern with profiles for the Irish and Scottish forests drawn from the international tree ring databank.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So could you translate that for me? You know, when we're talking tree rings, right, how the heck did you figure this out?

LURAY: Well, it's actually done chronologically. We actually went to a specialist who he could figure out where the rings came from. Did they come from Scotland or did they come from Ireland?

Because that would determine which ship it actually would be from. One of the ships used wood from Ireland and one used wood from Scotland.

And through, you know, researching the rings, there shall able to tell that the wood actually came from Ireland, which ruled out "The Lusitania."

BALDWIN: The big reveal.

LURAY: It did rule out "The Lusitania," but it didn't rule out did it come from "The Titanic"? We still had to prove that. That was the very first step in the investigation. That's not even towards the end.

Because great, "The Lusitania" is almost ruled out, but is this really from "The Titanic"? That's the toughest part.

BERMAN: So Rob, when you did hear the ultimate conclusion, was that just an immense feeling of satisfaction or did some like vengeance on your cousin or something?

MARTORANA: No, nothing like that. I mean, my cousin, that part of it, there was never really any bad blood or anything about that. It was really just about the relief of hearing that it was really what we thought it was.

BALDWIN: From your great-grandfather, right?

MARTORANA: Yes, yes.

BERMAN: Pride, I would imagine, to know for sure you have something that historical, that significant in your house is going to be amazing.

MARTORANA: Yes, it's fantastic.

BALDWIN: There's even more. But we won't give it away, Berman, because they even found out -- correct me if I'm wrong, Rob -- they were able to find out where on "The titanic" this particular piece of wood was from. So that is why you have to stay tuned to the show, "History Detectives," tonight. Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it. It's amazing.

BERMAN: Very, very, very cool.

MARTORANA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: On your grandmother's shelf.

BERMAN: She just kept sugar packets she stole from restaurants.

It's 4 minutes before the hour now. Ahead on STARTING POINT, history will be made Thursday night when a woman takes the field as NFL's newest official, but not everyone thinks she's up to the job. Don't miss this morning's "Tough Call."

BALDWIN: Also, we are piecing together a clearer picture -- clearer background of this man, Wade Michael Page, the man identified as the Sikh temple gunman. Hear from the organization that has been tracking him for 12 years. You're watching STARTING POINT.

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