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Bracing for Isaac; Ryan Crocker Charged with DUI, Hit and Run; Akin Raises $100,000 in Two Days; Corey Booker for New Jersey Governor?; Prepping for GOP's Big Party; Rick Scott Interview; Connie Mack Interview

Aired August 24, 2012 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Tropical storm Isaac gaining power this morning, heading right for Haiti where hundreds of thousands of people still live in tents after that devastating earthquake back in 2010. CNN's Gary Tuchman is live for us in Port-au-Prince. Meteorologist Rob Marciano is tracking Isaac for is. We'll start with Rob this morning. Fill us in on the forecast, rob?

ROB MARCIANO, METEOROLOGIST: This storm is big, got a big circulation but not terribly organized and strengthened a little bit overnight. That means we don't expect it to strengthen to a hurricane when it makes landfall across the western tip of Haiti and the southeastern tip of Cuba.

The bad news is it will still have a ton of rain and that's going to be the main factor here. We're looking at several computer models, each one of these lines depicts an individual computer. They are closely packed and later in the period we get, the more spread it is. The next round coming in will have the highest confidence. They flew an aircraft north of the system to take some measurements, and that will be fed into the computers and give us way in the way of high confidence. New Orleans, that's in the cone of uncertainty.

Here's the forecast track, looking at tonight. It's tomorrow morning, we start to see interaction with the landfall of Haiti and then it makes landfall again, the southeastern tip of Cuba. What kind of form it will be, we don't know, but it should strengthen after that.

So Miami, southern tip of Florida, including the keys, will see likely tropical storm conditions Sunday night into Monday. Then, again, here's a cone of uncertainty, anywhere from Tampa through the Florida panhandle, back through central south Louisiana is in this cone of potentially seeing a hurricane strike. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Rob Marciano continues to watch it for us. Thank you. Let's get back to Gary Tuchman. Last time I was in Haiti, still thousands living really in tents on the street in some ways.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Soledad, there are still an estimated 400,000 people who live in tents and are live in shanties, 4 percent of the entire population of this nation. There are 10 million people that live in Haiti and that's where the greatest concern is. Here's what we found out yesterday when we went to a tent city. We had to tell people a tropical storm or hurricane named Isaac was on the way. There was no incentive to live because they have nowhere else to go. There are hundreds of shelters in the country but it's the people with means, with TV sets and internet. People in the shanty towns don't want to leave because they are afraid someone will take their space and this is the only home they had since the earthquake in 2010. So there are going to be a lot of people in their tents with Isaac comes ashore.

O'BRIEN: That's so horrible. Thanks, Gary, appreciate the update.

In a couple of minutes we'll talk with Governor Rick Scott as Floridians brace for Isaac. First let's get to John Berman with a look at today's top stories.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad. Sports fans like me around the country woke up to a huge shocker this morning. Lance Armstrong is expected to be stripped of his seven titles after announcing he will no longer fight the U.S. anti-doping agency after charges he used performance enhancing drugs and they plan to impose a lifetime ban against cycling.

Armstrong issued a statement "I've been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage since 1999. The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and for me leaves me to where I am today, finished with this nonsense." Armstrong questions whether the anti-doping agency even has the power to impose the penalties and says he will sue. But the head of the agency said the international cycling union is bounds to recognize our decision and impose the ban.

And 21 years for killing 77 people. Anders Breivik, who admitted to last year's Norway rampage declared sane and sentenced just this morning Norway's maximum sentence of 21 years in prison. He's required to serve a ten-year sentence and it could be extended if he is considered a threat to society. Breivik killed eight people in a bombing in Oslo and 69 more, mostly teenagers in a shooting free in an island camp last July.

Prosecutors say Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes had been banned from the University of Colorado campus six weeks before the shooting rampage. In a report yesterday they asked the judge to give them access to Holmes records. Arapaho County prosecutor Karen Kirsten says that while a student there Holmes made threats that had been reported to police.

The Navy SEAL who has written the first inside account of the Osama bin Laden raid has been identified by two news organizations. Now, CNN will not reveal his name at the request of the Pentagon. The member of Seal team six who is not retired wrote the book "No Easy Day" under the pseudonym Mark Owen. This will be published on September 11th. The military is concerned identifying him could jeopardize his colleagues and his family. There is a lot to talk about on this issue. At 7:15 a.m., Soledad will discuss this with General Spider Marks.

Immigration and customs enforcement agents who oppose Obama's directives are suing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The policy allowing illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 meet certain criteria for a two-year relief period they can't be deported. The suing agents are being represented by Chris Cobat (ph), an informal adviser to Mitt Romney who worked on Arizona's controversial immigration law. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: John, thank you.

Back to our top story, we've been tracking tropical storm Isaac, it could be bearing down on the Florida keys as early as Sunday night. Most of the models have Isaac largely missing the city of Tampa, the storm is expected to affect the area with heavy rain and winds and potential tornadoes Monday night into Tuesday morning.

Let's get right to Florida's governor Rick Scott. Nice to see you. Thank you for talking with us. Walk us through your storm preparations. The Keys, we've talked about before, are the most immediately in danger for what you oversee. What exactly are you worried about?

GOV. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: Here's what we've done. Two days ago we did twice a day briefings with the RNC and federal officials, local officials and state officials to make sure everybody had the same information. Fortunately the storm has moved further west from Tampa. It looks like the keys -- when it hits the keys it will be a tropical storm. Now we've got to worry about Pensacola, the Pensacola area. It looks like a category one.

But we're going to get rain. As you know with Debby, we are still saturated with rain. That's our risk right now of flooding. We're keeping everybody informed. We're going to have a great convention. we got the National Guard ready so we're going to do the right things.

I spoke with Governor Romney yesterday.

O'BRIEN: Good, go ahead. I was about to ask that. Go ahead.

SCOTT: I spoke with Governor Romney yesterday to keep him informed, let him know that this is a state that we both know hurricanes and we both know hospitality. We're going to make sure the delegates -- alleviate concerns they have and make sure they have a great convention.

O'BRIEN: When you spoke to him, was the governor worried looking forward a couple of days to what is a big and important debut for him?

SCOTT: Well, I think he wanted to understand where we are what the state of preparations were and what concerns I had. I told him that we are ready. This is what we do. We even had an earlier this year, we did a simulation of a hurricane coming into the convention. So we're ready for this. We have our plans in place, if it did happen, we would put our plans right in place and act on it. But it looks like fortunately it's going to go further west.

O'BRIEN: So does that mean sort of the Florida emergency management people are overall kind of in charge, meaning if there's a hurricane or if it gets bad, they make the call and officials at the RNC follow the weather call?

SCOTT: Well, what we do, the convention will make its own decision, and Bill Harris is the CEO of the convention. He'll make the decision and local officials will make a decision on evacuation efforts. I'm responsible to make sure we leave the entire state effort. We have great state team, we activate our state emergency management agency yet and we work well together and work with FEMA. We already have -- we have 100 FEMA individuals in the state right now working on Debby and so they are and all of the briefings and we work very well with them.

O'BRIEN: We're glad to hear about all of those plans considering we're about to hop on planes and head to your fair state. Thank you for your time, we appreciate it.

SCOTT: I look forward to seeing you down here, soledad.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

Still ahead, out of the shadows, the Navy Seal who wrote a book on the bin Laden raid has been identified and military officials say he's putting his teammates in danger.

And a big get real to the TSA, why your shoes still have to come off at the airport. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I'm Christine Romans Minding your Business this morning. U.S. stock futures mixed this morning. The Dow dropped 115 points yesterday. Investors pulling a lot of money out of stock market right now, many opting for bonds instead. Last week $2.7 billion pulled out of stock mutual funds according to the investment company institute.

Bernie Madoff victims could get a check within weeks. A federal bankruptcy court judge ruled for the distribution of up to $2.4 billion to people who lost money in Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

Facebook out with a new faster app for iPhones and iPads after many users were complaining about how slow and glitchy the app was. Facebook tells CNN Money that the app is twice as fast and completely rewritten for Apple products. How Facebook expands its business in mobile is a huge part how they track investors. Company stock down under $20 a share, about half of what it was at that much hyped IPO. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: I'm surprised it took so long, because everybody has been jumping on trying to make their applications. That's kind of new --

O'BRIEN: It's designed for Apple products and should be better.

O'BRIEN: Let's hope so.

The Navy Seal behind the much anticipated firsthand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has been unmasked this morning. Several news outlets are posting his name. Here at CNN we'll honor the request from the Pentagon to not name him. Officials say the book, called "No Easy Day," could have some dangerous repercussions. The publisher says it provides a blow by blow on the bin Laden compound in 2011.

CNN military analyst General James Spider Marks is with us. Nice to see you, thanks for talking with us.


O'BRIEN: Good morning to you. The name has been revealed we're not revealing the name at the request of the Pentagon. What are the risks associated with naming this man?

MARKS: Soledad, clearly he puts himself in personal risk in that he was involved in the raid against Osama bin Laden and there may be elements that would want to try to exact some type of retribution, personal lip against him. He's a private citizen now and that puts him at greater risk. By association, you then have his buddies and those still in harm's way that may be put at risk as well.

O'BRIEN: The publisher has said no classified information was revealed but has also said kind of in the same situation, it's a blow by blow account of exactly what happened. Are those two things possible?

MARKS: No, clearly those are irreconcilable. There are things called an originator control. That means if an organization or an agency like the CIA classifies an operation, a piece of kit, an organization, a person, only the CIA can then declassify that. So a publisher has no authority at all to say what occurred is now declassified and we're going to reveal it in this book. That's the essence of what we're talking about right here.

O'BRIEN: I would think not only no authority but no clue at some point.

MARKS: Soledad, that's the point, absolutely. Why would they know any better than the organization that classified it? It now can be redacted and become unclassified.

O'BRIEN: A former Navy Seal, Brandon Webb was talking to ABC news and said this, "Operational security is at play regardless of whether or not any classified information has been disclosed in the memoir. It's not a good day for Seal team six. An individual has compromised our ethos and mantra, that the deed is more important than the glory." I have to say, I think many people found it really contradictory that someone who is a Navy Seal would do almost a think you would never think they would do, turn -- maybe that's an unfair phrase, to give details about your teammates and yourself about a mission, that seems almost completely contradictory to how Navy Seals operate.

MARKS: It's contradictory to the military and the Seals are at the top wrung. All military personnel are entrusted information. They receive the security clearances and in the specific case of the Seals, they probably signed a nondisclosure agreement that said you will not only be after your service to the nation, you still have an obligation to hold on to that information. I as a former intelligence officer, I still have information that's embedded in my cranium that is never going to be released because its classified and I would have no reason to believe that it has been declassified.

So it clearly is against the ethos and there is a legal ramification and that will be worked out through a number of investigations. There are really three stake holders. This was a CIA operation, with a Navy unit but under the fielding of SOCOM. So there are going to be a number of investigations.

O'BRIEN: So why? If it's going against the ethos of an organization and he's legally signed a nondisclosure agreement, why do it?

MARKS: That's a very personal conversation that will take place. He'll have guys knocking on his doors in an official capacity to investigate this. What were you thinking about, man? Why now? He might try to -- it's been indicated that the proceeds from this book will go to charity. That's wonderful and magnificent that he's doing that, but that level of al truism can't cloud the fact he is putting his buddies in harm's way who are still out there doing the bidding of this nation. I don't understand the connections between what his motivations are and what we're seeing.

O'BRIEN: I think a lot of people are interested in finding that out. General, thanks, appreciate your time.

MARKS: Thanks, Solead.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, the government spending millions so you can keep your shoes on in the airport security lines. One problem, you can't keep your shoes on. It doesn't work. The STARTING POINT team is heading in to talk about that and much more. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm John Berman with your headlines this morning. Authorities in California, a coroner says Rodney King's death was a result of an accidental drowning, but alcohol, marijuana, and PCP were found in his system and were contributing factors to this. Officials say King was in a state of drug induced delirium when he died back in June. King's fiance found at the bottom of the swimming pool.

Parole has been denied to the man who shot John Lennon. And 57-year- old Mark David Chapman's request was denied following a parole hearing on Wednesday. According to the New York State Department of Corrections, Lennon's killer can try again two years from now.

And more trouble for the already embattled General services Administration, the agency in charge of saving the government money. A CNN investigation has found the GSA allowed an employee to telecommute for Hawaii even though he's based in the administration's Kansas City, Missouri office. It cost more than $24,000 for the business development specialist to travel to and from the mainland U.S. over the past year. He's among several hundred GSA virtual workers, a program that has cost the government millions of dollars over the past three years. Hawaii, Kansas City, not right next to each other.

O'BRIEN: People at the GSA have figured out the best kind of scams, I never thought I could telecommute from Hawaii.

BERMAN: Did you see the pictures we were rolling during the story. It's hard to fault the guy. It's beautiful in Hawaii. It's nice there.


O'BRIEN: It makes perfect sense. I just never thought it would be sellable to anyone, but apparently someone bought that idea. I'm working at the beach here.

Our team this morning, Ben Smith, editor in chief of "Buzz Feed," Bridgette Siegel is the author of "Domestic Affairs," and Will Cain is a columnist for Our "Get Real," I fly a lot, fly all the time. After giving the flying public hope we would be able to keep our shoes on at the TSA security checkpoints, hopes are dashed because they spent millions testing four different footwear scanners, it turns out the TSA is rejecting all four. They fail to detect explosives and metal. So one year, millions of dollars later, they are no closer to finding a solution to allow us to keep our shoes on as we go through the screening facility and try to fly. They let little kids keep shoes on. Why is that?

BERMAN: I certainly enjoyed that privilege.

O'BRIEN: Much worse than your own shoes is your kid's shoes.

BEN SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: At least feel they can trust the kids.

O'BRIEN: Why? That's profiling, isn't it?

BERMAN: That's the first step down the road a lot of countries have, you shave off groups of people who you think aren't that much of a threat.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And having this procedure kind of brought us together as a nation, makes more intimate and takes off the luster of authority than seeing everyone in their stockings.

O'BRIEN: Would you hold my belt? I don't know. It never really bothered me that much, but you did have to change footwear you wore.

CAIN: They'll figure it out.

O'BRIEN: Lace-up boots done. We want to know what you think about this story or any story, send us a quick video at a point you would like to make on the show. We're calling it "My Endpoint." We'll pick one in our end point segment. Go right to our blog, at if you'd like to submit your video. Still ahead this morning. Remember this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, thank you for coming. There's a two-alarm fire on state street and we have a car broking down on route 1 and a little girl has lost her cat in a tree.




O'BRIEN: "Booker." That's the spoof video that Governor Chris Christie made along with the New York mayor, Corey Booker. We'll tell you why the governor may regret doing it this morning.

Tropical storm Isaac gaining strength and heading on a path straight for Haiti. We'll talk to Florida. We'll also talk to Florida Representative Connie Mack about the concerns in Florida. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. In just a few moments we're going to talk to Congressman Connie Mack, a Republican from Florida who is supporting Mitt Romney. We'll check in with him about tropical storm Isaac as it threatens to crash the Republican national convention and much more. First though, I want to get right to John Berman. He's got the look at the day's top stories for us. Good morning again.

BERMAN: Good morning, Soledad. Tropical Storm Isaac is gaining power this morning as it heads right for Haiti.

Meteorologist Rob Marciano is tracking Isaac from CNN's Hurricane Headquarters. Rob, what's the latest?

ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, John. We'll start you off with a video from Haiti that was shot just yesterday of the preparation, which isn't much.

As you know, hundreds of thousands of people are still in questionable shelter there. The main threat is going to be heavy rain. There will be some wind, but mudslides certainly a possibility.

Across South Florida also, making preps today as the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew making landfall as a Cat 5 there. They are not taking chances in Miami and Homestead gassing up their vehicles and stocking up on supplies.

All right, let's talk about it, 45-mile-per-hour winds moving to the west at 15 miles an hour. It's roughly 200 miles south of the Island of Hispaniola and heading in that direction towards Haiti and it hasn't strengthened a ton overnight still 45-mile-an hour winds. But it's a large circulation so that's one thing we have to be concerned with. Tonight and tomorrow morning, that when it makes landfall on the western tip of Haiti and then shortly after that it will make landfall in the south eastern tip of Cuba, both of which have substantial mountains that will knock a little punch out.

So what kind of shape it will be in when it gets in the Florida straits, we just don't know, but pretty good chances of it strengthening anywhere from Miami back to Key West.

At least tropical storm conditions expected there Sunday night into Monday and then get into the open eastern Gulf of Mexico that's when we think it will probably strengthen potentially to a Category One.

Everybody in play, still including Tampa, although a little bit further away from the ideal track. But now also includes parts of south eastern Louisiana and that would include New Orleans. John, back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Rob, thanks very much. We're all watching that closely.

Other news, former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker is now facing hit-and- run and drunk driving charges for an accident in Spokane, Washington earlier this month.

Police say Crocker crossed two lanes of traffic, hit a semi-truck and then drove away. State troopers say Crocker's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

He has pleaded not guilty. The long time U.S. diplomat retired as ambassador to Afghanistan. He has served everywhere. He cited health reasons for his departure.

(Inaudible) has been very, very good for Missouri Congressman Todd Akin. Akin's Senate campaign raised $100,000 in the past two days. This follows that remark about legitimate rape.

Those are his words ignited a political firestorm. Akin has defied calls from Mitt Romney and other Republican leaders to pull out of the Missouri Senate race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Some more politics now, Newark, New Jersey Mayor Corey Booker ready for a run at Chris Christie perhaps. The "Newark Observer" reports that Booker is considering a challenge to the incumbent governor in 2013.

He's been talking with Democratic county chairs ahead of the party's national convention and he's been talking about a possible gubernatorial bid.

Booker is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party and he is scheduled to speak at the convention in Charlotte. I think a lot of people have been circling the calendar 2013 for Corey Booker thinking that's when he would seek higher office.

O'BRIEN: That's interesting. The other thing about Akin's $100,000 considered a big win over two days for him, do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Senate race, that's different standards.

O'BRIEN: I realize that, but still it doesn't sound like cleaning up after the wake of a massive --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Money and politics has gotten so, mere $100,000.

O'BRIEN: Those ads are expensive, right? That can't buy you a lot of air time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I wonder what McCaskill brought in.

O'BRIEN: That's a good question. I think that we can figure that out. We'll look into that. Republicans putting the final touches on preparations for the convention that will end with Mitt Romney finally accepting his party's nomination for president.

With new swing state polls showing a small bump for the former governor since Paul Ryan's addition to the ticket. The GOP is certainly hoping for another boost.

We're going to be there all next week, rain or shine or hurricane. We will be joined by our next guest, Congressman Connie Mack. He is a Republican from Florida who is running for the Senate. He also supports Mitt Romney.

It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for talking with us as always. We appreciate having you on this show. Are you worried about the storm coming?

REP. CONNIE MACK. R-FLORIDA: You know, in Florida, you always worry about storms where they are in Atlantic approaching the state. This is a time when people are starting to put plans together about what to do in the storm hits Florida.

So you're always concerned about it, but you watch it and we know that these storms have a tendency to change direction. So everybody needs to be prepared.

O'BRIEN: So what's your advice for delegates? Because I think for people who are locals, you're right, you've been through this a number of times. But for people who are flying in to be part of the process may not have any experience with any hurricanes.

MACK: You know, I would tell them that they need -- they are going to be staying in hotels. Hotels are a place where a lot of people go who live close to the shore to get away from the surge.

So they are going to be in a good place. I would say, plan on staying in your hotel room or in the hotel for a day or so and you'll have to ride it out.

O'BRIEN: You have a couple of roles at the RNC. You're going to be delivering a speech on closing night if I'm not mistaken. Have you written it? Everybody I've talk to I'm on my fourth draft, fifth draft. What draft are you on and what are you going to be talking about?

MACK: You know, we're still writing it. You know, I want to deliver a message that talks about the hopes and dreams of American people because I think people right now feel like they are tired and they've had enough of this -- the economic worries and their own personal security.

I want to try to deliver a speech that's going to be uplifting that says the -- our brighter days are ahead and let's continue to work together. Let's not divide America, but let's bring everybody together.

BEN SMITH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, BUZZFEED: Senator, there was a poll out yesterday suggesting that voters in Florida are very concerned about Mitt Romney's and Paul Ryan's Medicare plan. Are you hearing that from voters at all? Are you worried that's going to drag you down?

MACK: You know, what I hear from voters and not just Republicans, but independents and Democrats are they want us to fix the problem. Everyone knows that Medicare and Social Security are in trouble. They want us to solve the problem.

They want to make sure we save it for future generations. So that's the message that I'm hearing and you know, one of the things I think is going to be a problem for Senator Nelson and Barack Obama is with Obamacare.

And taking 700 some odd billion to pay for Obama care, I think that's got a lot of people nervous in Florida about the direction of health care with Obamacare.

O'BRIEN: You know, we've had that debate many times now on our air, $716 billion number and you know, is it a cut or is it actually a decline in future spending back and forth.

What you see in the polling though is in terms of who gets points for the Medicare message, which I think ultimately is what this conversation is all about, right, who's the party getting points?

The polling shows that it's actually the Democrats. It's Barack Obama who is getting more points for -- in the polls and I'll get those polls a little bit later, for the message of the saving of Medicare. That's what the fight is over, right, who's commanding the message on this?

MACK: I think again, I think the people in the state of Florida. I can't speak around the rest of the country, but the people in the state of Florida are saying to me, fix the problem.

In the district that I represent right now, it's one of the largest senior populations in the country. And after a town hall meeting after town hall meeting, when seniors come to our meetings, they say to me, fix the problem.

Solve the problem. They understand that Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt and they want us to fix it. They don't see any solutions coming from the other side.

O'BRIEN: I think some of our reporting shows they don't see solutions from either side and people are worried in an election year that fix the problem, often people want to in the abstract fix the problem.

When it comes to their own personal self-interest, don't touch the problem as it relates to me. I mean, that ultimately I think is the challenge for Medicare and any big third rail type issue, right? Wouldn't you say?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's absolutely true. We see poll after poll suggesting that Americans want to deal with the problem in the abstract as you just said. But it means actually touching their Medicare.

Not excited about it, which raises the question for Congressman Mack and Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, have you selected an issue you feel like you can win on here?

MACK: Well, look, we think that we have a solution to the problem. The very fact that we spend so much talking about it and you equate with it Paul Ryan and his budget shows that there is a solution on the table and the other side doesn't have a solution on the table.

O'BRIEN: That brings you back to $716 billion number though, right? Which you brought up first, that's $716 billion number is also in Paul Ryan's budget.

I mean, that is where some of the challenge is and where and others say the cut number for that number is inaccurate, it's incorrect spin on the issue. That's the Paul Ryan budget numbers in there.

MACK: Well, what I would say is they took that money to pay for Obamacare. And that is the problem that I think Floridians are having. They understand that there were changes made in Medicare, but they took that money to pay for a program that the people of the state of Florida aren't excited about.

They are not excited about Obamacare. And so, you know, we're going to continue to have the debate, but you know, I visited a small business yesterday up in the panhandle of Florida, Pensacola. And first of all, the people that work at this plant are passionate people who are excited about their work.

And the plant wants to grow and we need to create an environment where the small businesses can grow. There's another business in my district, 31 different permits and fees just to expand this business.

This is a government that's out of control. On one hand you've got the Democrats that want to tax more and spend more and regulate more. I want to put our faith and trust back in the people of the state of Florida in this country. I think that's going to be the defining issue as we move forward.

O'BRIEN: So let's talk about the people of the state of Florida for a moment because I have those poll numbers, which I was right. People who are asked the question, what should happen to Medicare? Stay as is, 62 percent. Change to Ryan plan, 28 percent. Don't know, 10 percent.

Those poll numbers would be a big problem as you pointed out when will mentioned Romney/Ryan plan, you know, that's what they are considering, those poll numbers would seem to work against that strategy.

MACK: And I noticed in the question that there wasn't what do you think of the Democrat's plan because they don't have one --

O'BRIEN: I would guess that's the stay as is, right. The 62 percent, what they got, which is Obama care at this point?

MACK: If you were to ask the question, ask the question, do you want to take $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, my guess is you're going to get a high number of people who say no. One, they are concerned what will happen to Medicare and two, they don't want Obamacare.

O'BRIEN: We will have to continue this conversation when I see you at the RNC, all things going well and our flights not getting cancelled or anything with this weather.

Because there are lots to dig into especially that number, which we have argued others and I have argued over in the past. We can through that line by line and pull out our CBO reports.

It's nice to see you. Congressman Connie Mack joining us --

MACK: It's nice to see you and thank you. Look forward to seeing you in Tampa.

O'BRIEN: Thank you, likewise.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Lance Armstrong's legacy, could it be gone in one stroke? He could be stripped of his greatest cycling triumphs after he has decided not to fight doping allegations.

Plus, Olympic gold medallist, Dana Vollmer in the house, has an awesome demonstration of how athletes are using the latest movie technology to try to improve performance. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: It's a dark day for an American hero, cycling legend, Lance Armstrong. He could be stripped of his seven Tour De France titles and ban from the sport for life after dropping his fight against doping charges.

Armstrong still insists he's done nothing wrong. He accuses the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency was conducting a witch hunt. That Armstrong says the toll, the ordeal that's taken on his family has finally led him to say enough is enough. Armstrong questions whether the anti-doping agency even has the power to impose the penalties. And he says, if they do, he's going to sue.

BERMAN: What's happening here is that the doping agency was about to hold an arbitration hearing on the issue of doping in Lance Armstrong.

And USADA says they have up to 10 former teammates of Lance Armstrong who are going to testify that he used performance enhancing drugs.

By just saying I'm out. I'm not going to concede anything. That testimony never happens so it could be that he's trying to save his reputation here.

CAIN: You know what's interesting. Beyond that court, beyond that arbitration, in the court of public opinion, Lance Armstrong has a couple of things on his side.

One, he's taken what some 500 odd drug tests and passed them all supposedly and he has all of our hopes and dreams for him. We want Lance Armstrong to be innocent, but working against him is the cynicism we all have at this point regarding all of professional sports, specifically cycling.

BERMAN: Just to be clear. There will be plenty of athletes being caught cheating who did not fail drug tests. Marion Jones never failed a drug test.

O'BRIEN: It's interesting. What a sad day, you know, you're right. I think the hopes and dreams part.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, movie magic in the swimming pool, Olympic gold medal swimmer, Dana Vollmer is in our studio live. There she is. She is demonstrating how Avatar's stop motion --

CAIN: That is the butterfly, not a belly dance.

O'BRIEN: She's demonstrating it out of the pool for us, but noticed she's covered in these sensors and that's the critical thing. We'll explain straight ahead. You're watching STARTING POINT.


BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman. We have some fun headlines to report right now. A new high def view of "Curiosity's" triumphant landing on Mars. Mission scientists releasing what they are calling a sky diver's helmet cam view of the descent earlier this month.

This video was taken by the Mars descent imager. A very small camera attached to the left side of the rover that points down. Mars the gift that keeps on giving.

Now talk about incredible video. A Boston area woman rushing to catch a train with her 4-year-old son fell onto the tracks with a baby boy in her arms. You just saw it right there. Meera Thakrar said she thought the train she needed was at the station. She was confused with one on the opposite platform. But here is the great part. Bystanders wasted no time at all to jump in and save them.


MEERA THAKRAR, FELL ONTO TRACKS: They were right there. They just didn't care like if trains are coming or what. We fell, and they jumped behind us. I got a new life as of yesterday. We just -- we are saved like it's a miracle.


BERMAN: Thank goodness for those brave people there. The mother and her son are doing fine. Now she says she doesn't care if she has to pay for parking. She will never take the train again.

Not nearly as happy a day for Yankee Manager Joe Girardi, he is a bit on edge after the slumping Bronx Bombers were swept by the White Sox in Chicago, and he took it out on a heckler right in the middle of a post game interview. You have to listen to this.


JOE GIRARDI, YANKEES MANAGER: Shut up. I'm doing an interview. He's got good stuff. He's a good fastball.


CAIN: He picks the interview right back up.

BERMAN: That is an angry Joe Girardi looks like, everyone -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: He takes out a heckler. He comes back, continues the interview. Thanks.

At the 2012 Olympics, Dana Vollmer won the gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly and broke the world record. Her journey though is not over. Of course, she wants to go faster.

The same movie magic technology that created those creatures in "Avatar" is now helping her improve her performance. Dana joins us this morning to demonstrate some of this new technology along with her advisers, swimming advisers, which is Milton Nelms.

And also the CEO of the company that developed the new technology, Chris Bregler. It's nice to have all of you. Thanks for being with us.

Dana, we'll start with you. You used the technology before the Olympics. How does it make what you do better, make you faster, and how do you expect it is going to help you?

DANA VOLLMER, 2012 U.S. OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: It's a different way to look at how I'm moving. And it's always been kind of abstract to describe the flows of water and quality of movement in my body. And this technology allows to us actually see that and look at the water flows and how my body connects to each other.

O'BRIEN: So you're really talking about body positioning, which, Milton, I guess is your job to give her a sense of where she is and how to correct her own position to make herself faster?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. I think the way Dana put it, is all of these terms like quality of movement or position of the body being kind of abstract.

And what we're seeing here is the display with the technology where you're able to see the display of what she and her coach have been working on. We can see the output side. We can see the change in the quality of movement in her body.

O'BRIEN: So when you say quality of movement, is it as simple as if you torque your shoulder a certain way, or do you know if you would do this with your hand that would actually speed you up, or this is what's slowing you down. Is that what you mean?

VOLLMER: I kind of interpret it is a lot of people, especially with butterfly, think of how much force or power they have. The harder you try, the faster you'll go.

And what we really discovered is almost the harder an effort that I put into the water, the slower I go. And it's more about the rhythm and my relationship with the water, and being able to hold onto the water. And different terms like that that I don't think people have really gotten a grasp of yet.

O'BRIEN: That's so interesting because I think people would think just power through. If you're stronger, you're faster. But that's not your philosophy, which brings us to the technology. Chris, walk me through how the technology works. It's taken from "Avatar" and movies, right?

CHRIS BREGLER, CEO OF MANHATTAN MOCAP: Right. So what you see here, this is a system by a company Licon. This is used in the movie industry when you have actors in a studio and they can put markers on like Dana.

O'BRIEN: She is covered in markers.


O'BRIEN: There we go.

BREGLER: And also we developed a new system at Berkeley that can go underwater. So that's sort of the new development, but here you see lots of cameras here.

We have over 16 cameras on the ceilings looking at her, and you see here this blue rays and the intersected. So when she moves up the hand, you see here the dots going up. If you circle around, the dots circle around. O'BRIEN: This is the motion that do you when you do the butterfly and then you can watch it here. So how do you take that motion and say, you know, what we're seeing on the screen, here's how we need to tweak it to make you faster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What this does is gives us a chance to look at the underlying structures in her body that you can't really pick up with the naked eye.

There are sensations that you can tweak out of the water, movements she can tweak out of the water, that change sensations and then Dana can make the translation into the water.

O'BRIEN: Give me a specific on that. Like what?

MILTON NELMS, DANA VOLLMER'S COACH: For example, if she moves her shoulders up in the air then it affects the movement inside this part of her body. It's a little more rigid. If her shoulders are integrated as part of her body, there's much more of an articulation.

O'BRIEN: A better flow.

NELMS: Right. And you can see it in the image actually.

O'BRIEN: And that's what you want?

NELMS: Yes, that's what she wants.

O'BRIEN: Because she wants to win. So how many athletes are you doing this for? It obviously isn't just for swimmers. It's for swimmers and I would imagine everybody.

BREGLER: Well, we did New York Yankees. We are here in New York, of course, baseball pitchers. We went to Duke University and had Abby Johnson and Nick Mccroix. They are divers from 10 meter platforms and three meters.

We used the system, but with Dana it was the biggest challenge. We had to develop an entire new system that is not used here, but you see where we can suspend over 32 cameras underwater.

O'BRIEN: Underwater in the pool.

BREGLER: And put them on her skin.

O'BRIEN: She is the gold medalist. It's clearly working. Congratulations to you. Thanks for coming in.

VOLLMER: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: It's really an amazing setup. We really appreciate it.

We got to take a short break. When we come back in just a moment, we're going to continue to update out on what's happening with what could be Hurricane Isaac as it heads toward the southern tip of Florida. It's tropical storm now. That and other stories coming up. We're back in just a moment.