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President Obama Delivers Speech to Democratic National Convention; Democratic National Convention Wraps up in Charlotte, North Carolina; Obama's Goals For Potential Second Term; U.S. Ship Captain, Crew Held In Venezuela; Twitter Threats To Kill Obama; Airlines To Stand Trial In 9/11 Lawsuit; Chicago Teacher Strike Looming; Armstrong's Remains To Be Buried At Sea; Comedy Super Couple Splits Up; "Ask Bin Laden If He's Better Off"; Jennifer Granholm's Excellent Adventure; Arena At Capacity During Speeches

Aired September 7, 2012 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT.

Our "Starting Point" this morning, the President says he is all in.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But know this, America, our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place, and I'm asking you to choose that future.


O'BRIEN: That's the President accepting the Democratic nomination. He said he needs more time to fix the nation's problems. Did his speech hit the mark and did he make all the points that he needed to? We'll take a look at that this morning.

Plus, the Friday jobs report is out. It's being called the most politically important jobs report in history. There are only three left before the November election. What will we expect today?

And standing ovation.





O'BRIEN: That's the former congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, making an emotional return to the political stage, leading the pledge of allegiance bringing thousands of people who are watching her to tears.

Lots to talk about today, final day in Charlotte. Beau Biden is the son of Vice President Joe Biden will be our guest. Steve Israel is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He will join us. Illinois governor Pat Quinn is our guest, Congressman Judy Chu will join us, and Mitt Romney's foreign policy adviser is our guest. It's Friday, September 7, and STARTING POINT begins right now.

Hey, everybody, welcome. Our team this morning, Dana Bash is our senior Congressional correspondent joins us in the midnight diner. We've been given one plate of French toast among the four of us.


O'BRIEN: It is giant, but still one plate.


O'BRIEN: Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist and is joining us. Ryan Lizza again down at the end. He's a Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."

The stage now set for the final push to Election Day. President Obama accepting his party's nomination last night with a speech that some people say was great, others say wasn't a home run but a big hit with delegates in the convention hall. The President says unlike Mitt Romney his leadership has been tested and proven. Dana Bash has an assessment of how it went. The President is known for giving great speeches. This was certainly not considered to be a great speech.

BASH: Right. I think the word most people are using and it's accurate is "safe." It was a safe speech but he definitely wanted to come across as somebody who has been humbled by his four years and somebody who understands and wants the American people to understand it's not easy.


BASH: Barack Obama accepted his party's nomination with the kind of soaring rhetoric that got him elected four years ago, except home and change were replaced by a reality check.

OBAMA: I recognize the times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. Times have changed and so have I. I'm no longer just a candidate. I'm the president.

BASH: "Yes, we can," now a plea for patience.

OBAMA: America, I never said this journey would be easy and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer but we travel it together. We don't turn back. We leave no one behind.

BASH: But he still sprinkled in that familiar Obama oratory.

OBAMA: Our problems can be solved, our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder but it leads to a better place. And I'm asking you to choose that future. BASH: The Obama campaign ripped into Mitt Romney for not offering enough specifics at his acceptance speech last week. The President took that a step further.

OBAMA: They want your vote but they don't want you to know their plan. And that's because all they had to offer is the same prescriptions they've had for the last 30 years. Have a surplus, try a tax cut. Deficit too high, try another one. Feel a cold coming on, take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.

BASH: He offered new promises for a second term.

OBAMA: I'm asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country, goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security and the deficit.

BASH: Some specifics -- a vow to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs, cut growth of college tuition in half over the next ten years, and cut oil imports in half by 2020.

Vice President Joe Biden took on the role of eyewitness to the President while he made tough decisions.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you what I think you already know, that I watch it up close, bravery resides in the heart of president Obama and time and time again I witnessed him summon it. He has courage in his soul and compassion in his heart and spine of steel.

BASH: And Biden delivered the bumper sticker line he loves.

BIDEN: We can now proudly say what you've heard me say the last six months -- Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.

BASH: Though the night belonged to the President, the Democratic nominee from 2004 offered one of the most memorable one liners of the night.

BIDEN: Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than four years ago.

BASH: When it comes to lasting images from the convention, it is this moment, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords shot through the head last year and now walking without a cane to cite the pledge allegiance.


BASH: And of course conventions are inherently highly political events, but that, it goes without saying, was nonpartisan. Somebody who covered Gabby Giffords in Congress to see her do that was remarkable.

O'BRIEN: So sad in a way because she was struggling to get up there but on the other hand, what progress.

BASH: I love the ending.

O'BRIEN: For all, it was great. We'll check in with New York congressman Steve Israel to ask him that very question. First let's go to Alina Cho in New York with a look at the rest of the stories making news today.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. We're keeping a close eye in Wall Street. In less than 90 minutes, the labor department will release its jobs report and there are signs that hiring may be picking up. Economists surveyed by CNN money expect 120,000 jobs were added last month.'s managing editor Lex Harris joins me with a preview. The question is, will it move the needle on unemployment?

LEX HARRIS, CNNMONEY.COM: It almost certainly won't. As you said, the economists we spoke to are looking for 120,000 jobs. I've seen some estimates that are a little higher but to talk about a real recovery, you need to see 200,000 or more. 120,000 is not awful and continues this story of slow, steady gains.

CHO: Lex Harris, thank you very much. We're also following breaking news out of China, a series of earthquakes killing at least 43 people. The four quakes range from a 4.8 to 5.6. The earthquakes damaged more than 20,000 homes.

Hurricane Leslie spinning in place in the open Atlantic right now. But the storm still has its sights set on Bermuda. Leslie is a category one hurricane, expected to remain stationary through the morning, 430 miles east of Bermuda. Boaters and swimmers on the East Coast are being warned to look for dangerous swells. Leslie is expected to intensify and pass east of Bermuda on Sunday morning and it could be upgraded to a category two with 105-mile-per-hour winds.

Also new this morning, Prince Harry is now in Afghanistan for his second tour of duty. The news confirmed just a few minutes ago by Britain's ministry of defense. Prince Harry will serve for four months as an apache helicopter pilot. It comes four and a half years after his last tour and comes just a couple of weeks after the infamous pictures of Harry naked in Las Vegas surfaced. Coincidence this is happening now, Soledad? Probably not.

O'BRIEN: I bet they are happy to most past that. Alina, thank you.

Let's get back to the top story, the end of the Democratic convention here in Charlotte. Let's get to Steve Israel, our guest, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Also Charlotte's mayor, Anthony Foxx. Good morning. Congressman, let's get your reaction first to the speech.

STEVE ISRAEL, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: The President did what he had to do. Reminded the American people that he withdrew our troops from Iraq and be rejoined with families and made the decision to kill Osama bin Laden and did it. And he rescued the auto industry from devastation and depression.

O'BRIEN: It has been described as a safe speech, do you agree with that?

ISRAEL: It reminded the American people that he made them safer.

O'BRIEN: That's not what he said when they say safe.

ISRAEL: A choice, do we want to continue to build on progress or go back to the policies that got us into the mess to begin with.

O'BRIEN: A speech that was navigating direction versus being one of the aspirational, over the top. President Obama has given some amazing speeches.

ISRAEL: Was it the greatest speech in human history -- no. But the American people want to know what you've done and where you're bringing us.

O'BRIEN: The national journal wrote this about this speech. It was a great speech yet it fell short. Obama still has work to do with the vision thing. Convincing voters that he has a credible practical plan to turn the nation around is a process not a speech.

ISRAEL: Look, I don't think the American people are looking for a speech. They are looking to know what you've done to rescue us from a near depression and where are we going and what choices do we have? And that's what he laid out last night.

O'BRIEN: Was it a mistake to not have more about Obamacare. There were sort of references to it but no specific references to the ACA.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think there was a lot of references to it before Obama's speech. I think they laid it out. Bill Clinton spent a lot of time talking about health care. He did a lot of the dirty work for Obama and a lot of the heavy lifting for Obama. And I think that was one of the biggest challenges, not only was he competing against Obama from 2004 and 2008 but against Bill Clinton from the night before who set the bar very, very high for him.

RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORKER": I want to the speech looking for a very specific agenda this president wanted to pursue if elected. You're in Congress. I didn't get that from last night. I still don't know in January what he's going to tell you guys in Congress to do. He talked about very -- talked about goals in terms of manufacturing jobs and the deficit, but what is the President's legislative agenda?

ISRAEL: No matter what his legislative agenda is going to be, he's going to accomplish it if we continue to elect Republican majority that do nothing and stop the President from succeeding.

LIZZA: Let's assume you win back the House. What are you going to do?

ISRAEL: He talked about how you rebuild the middle class and create manufacturing jobs and retool the energy industry and more jobs in clean technology. We can no longer grow an economy based on industries that are no longer exist. We need to create and generate new industries, and that's what he talked about, 21st century economic agenda.

NAVARRO: President Obama spent time laying out the word compromise and talking about compromise, because we all recognize that's something the American people want. People are tired of what they perceive as a do nothing Congress and Congress in Washington, which is how the Congress has the approval numbers it has. But right after he talked about compromise, he gave us a long list of things he refused to do. Let me tell you, compromise and refuse are not happy words.

ISRAEL: We have compromise over and over and over. We are up against a Tea Party Congress, every time we want to compromise, they say "compromise" is a dirty word. The President talked about the things he hoped to accomplish and things he put on table to reduce debt and rebuild the middle class and start small businesses, the American people know he couldn't accomplish those things because you have a Republican Congress instead of focusing on how you create new small businesses, spent two years trying to shut down Planned Parenthoods.

So he had to describe the environment, but, more importantly, talk about what he's still willing to do. He made another offer, you have rejected compromise and slammed the door in the face of middle class. I'm still willing to talk to you and fight for middle class jobs and new technologies and protecting Medicare, helping senior citizens and waiting for a Republican Congress --

NAVARRO: I think you're making the case for him better than he did himself.

MAYOR ANTHONY FOXX, (D) CHARLOTTE: Let me say this, as a local government official who has to balance the books, I thought one message came through clearly, people are concerned how the country deals with the long-term fiscal issues that we face, the thing that came through in Clinton's speech as well as the President's speech, the Republicans are really throwing up a lot of rhetoric but they are not throwing up a plan that actually helps us address that issue. You cannot balance the budget on the one hand and promise deficit budget busting tax cuts on the other hand. They haven't shown that they have the ability to deal with the math. And I think that's a big issue with the Republicans.

O'BRIEN: Arithmetic is what President Clinton talked about. He'll take his speech, probably compress it a bit and take it on the road. How helpful will he be in doing what you need to do, elect more Democrats to congress?

ISRAEL: That's exactly right. This is a choice. The President I think is going to win this election. But he needs a partner in congress. There's a deep sense of buyer's remorse set in with the Republican congress. They wanted a rep Congress that would focus on opening new jobs. They got a Congress focused on opening up new opportunities for millionaires. They wanted a Congress that will talk about opening up small businesses at home, jobs at home, they got a Congress protecting tax breaks for corporations and shipping jobs overseas. That why when the President says that is a choice, he's absolutely right. It's a choice between policy that's create jobs at home and expand the economy from the middle class out or Republican presidential candidate that thinks you can expand from the top down.

NAVARRO: That doesn't answer your question. Bill Clinton on the road for Democrats will be I think very effective. He has completely rehabilitated and become a very effective surrogate, very strong like in my home state of Florida. I think -- I'm happy for Bill Clinton, because I know this was a sweet justice for a hurtful primary years ago.

O'BRIEN: And I'm sure he'll enjoy that sweet justice. Steve Israel, congressman from New York. It didn't take the Romney camp to respond to the President's address. Less than an hour after he left the stage, the Republican challenger released 15 new television ads that will run in each critical battleground state, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia, all considered to be toss-ups on the CNN election map. Each ad ends with a pledge that Romney will create new jobs in that particular state, a pledge ranging from 59,000 new jobs from New Hampshire and 700,000 new jobs in the state of Florida. Something like could be very convincing to voters.

Coming up next on STARTING POINT, he calls Mitt Romney an extreme conservative man who doesn't deserve the title of governor. We're going to talk to Illinois governor Pat Quinn. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment. Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.



OBAMA: So you see, the election four years ago wasn't about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens, you were the change.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. It is our final day in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the President laid out his vision for his second term last night. Illinois governor Pat Quinn spoke earlier in the week. Nice to see you.

GOV. PAT QUINN, (D) ILLINOIS: Glad to be here, great speech last night.

O'BRIEN: Some people said it was a safe speech. Do you think he had to deliver a safe speech?

QUINN: When I heard the quote from the speech, the highest office in a democracy is the office of citizen and I've known Barack Obama a long, long time. He understands that the power of our country, the most strong power is power of citizens banding together. That's what he was trying to get across. If we are going to change America, everybody in, nobody left out.

O'BRIEN: How does that play in critical rust belt states, where Mitt Romney has just released a number of ads at the end of those ads and various states and important critical swing states that say I'm promising jobs if you elect me? QUINN: I've lived in the Midwest. I've lived in Illinois, and our auto industry is alive and well and thriving. When I became governor, Chrysler in Belvedere, Illinois, had 200 jobs on the flat of its back. Today they have over 4,000 jobs. And I think over and over again we heard last night the importance of making things in America, especially cars. And the President really believes in manufacturing and that is the strength of our economy and what we'll continue for the next four years.

O'BRIEN: When you spoke on the floor on Tuesday, you said that Mitt Romney is extreme. I'll play a little chunk of what you said.


QUINN: There's something else the Republicans left out of their convention -- any explanation of why they call Mitt Romney Governor Romney. We already know this extreme conservative man takes some pretty liberal deductions. Evidently, that includes writing off all four years he served as governor of Massachusetts.


O'BRIEN: The Republicans came out and attacked you for that saying this. Governor Quinn, who like President Obama presided over job crushing tax hikes and fiscal mismanagement, is in no place to lecture anybody about extreme policies. That's a spokesperson from the Republican National Committee.

QUINN: I think you're pretty extreme if you don't disclose your income tax returns. George Romney, who was the father of Mitt Romney, when he ran for president he disclosed years and years of tax returns. As far as jobs, we've created over 140,000 jobs in Illinois and more than 40,000 manufacturing jobs. And I think that's what the President is talking about. We've just go to focus in on that.

And I think he said last night our job is to bring the troops home from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and use the savings that we have to invest in job creation, manufacturing especially.

O'BRIEN: Wasn't a lot of that money spent on the troops actually borrowed money? When people are doing a fact check on what the President let out, that's not money you can really take from troops and translate into economy. That money is debt basically.

QUINN: I think basically you want to invest in America and job creation and education. If you want to be pro-business in America, you have to be pro-education, the President said that over and over again. So did President Clinton in the day before and First Lady Michelle Obama. We understand education and investing in that pays great dividends for generations really.

O'BRIEN: Governor Pat Quinn, nice to have you sir.

Still ahead, we're going to talk about the Asian American vote, could be key in the battle for the White House. Judy Chu of California is coming up, the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress will be our guest. You're watching STARTING POINT live from the midnight diner in Charlotte.


CHO: Good morning, welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Alina Cho. The FBI is now investigating a shooting at the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican officials say one of their citizens was hit and killed Monday. And border patrol agent statements say that border patrol agent pulled the trigger, a statement from the border patrol rather says agents were being pelted with rocks from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande and that a weapon was fired.

Lawyers for former Chicago area police sergeant Drew Peterson insist their client did not kill his third wife Kathleen Savio. They do plan to fight the verdict from a jury that found him guilty of murder yesterday. Savio's 2004 death was considered an accident until Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy, disappeared back in 2007. Peterson faces a maximum 60-year prison term when he is sentenced on November 26th.

Lab reports show oil found on Louisiana's beaches after hurricane Isaac did come from the 2010 BP oil spill. Louisiana State University performed the test, and 13-mile stretch of shoreline remains closed and BP is promising to help clean up the mess.

Boy band One Direction almost spoiled Rihanna' night until --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The VMA, the video of the year award goes to Rihanna!



CHO: He was a little excited. Rihanna sporting a new short haircut won the moon man for video of the day, the most coveted award for we found love. One direction took home three awards including best new artist. Rihanna's ex, Chris Brown, won two.

O'BRIEN: I'm guessing you were busy last night and might have missed that? I'm glad to see that. Glad you caught me up. I saw speeches last night.

CHO: That's right, so did I, watching you on TV.

O'BRIEN: Good to know, Rihanna won.

CHO: And she looks great.

O'BRIEN: Yes, fabulous dress.

One of the most emotional moments at the democratic national convention, Gabby Giffords recited the pledge of allegiance and led the crowd in that. Congresswoman Judy Chu who knows her well will talk with us. We're back in just a moment.



OBAMA: You didn't elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear, you elected me for me to tell you the truth.

And the truth is will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort and shared responsibility.

And the kind of bold, consistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.

BIDEN: We know we have more work to do and we're not there yet. But not a day has gone by in the last four years when I haven't been grateful as an American that Barack Obama is our president because he always has the courage to make the tough decision.


O'BRIEN: That was the President and the Vice President laying out the case for four more years in front of a jam-packed arena last night.

But one of the most emotional moments of the entire night came before those two speeches. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords walked on the stage to recite the pledge of allegiance. Here's the little bit of that.


GIFFORDS: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, invisible, with liberty and justice for all.


O'BRIEN: Democratic Representative Judy Chu of California is a friend of Gabby Giffords and also at the speech last night. Thanks for talking with us. It's nice to have you this morning.

Let's talk first about -- I thought that was such a high point, so emotional. You couldn't watch that and not be moved by the progress she's made and her determination to get up there and recite the pledge of allegiance. Tell me a little bit about how she's doing and how that came to be.

REPRESENTATIVE JUDY CHU (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, people gasped when she came out. It was incredible to see her and to see her struggle, but per severe in getting out on the stage was so inspirational. She is doing so well.

O'BRIEN: She wanted to do the pledge of allegiance I'd heard because doing something that required more adlibbing might be a little bit more of a challenge for her.

CHU: Exactly. She went ahead and did it and put that hand up even though it was difficult and she was able to complete it.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk a little bit about the speech overall. Do you think that speech resonated with your constituents in the state of California where you've had some serious tough economic times?

CHU: Well, I was very moved by it. I thought the President did a great job. He had to show his record accomplishment and layout his vision for the future and he have to fire up the crowd and he did all three.

O'BRIEN: He fired up the crowd that's for sure and probably fired up the crowd outside of the crowd. You know, the people who are already in the tents, but did he fire up the crowd of the undecided?

That little sliver that's estimated to be around 4 percent -- the picture they've drawn of that crowd is white, 35 and under, no college and living in these critical swing states. Did he fire up that crowd with that speech?

CHU: Well, he had to show that he could make the tough presidential decisions and he did. Look, Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.

O'BRIEN: That's a refrain from the Vice President's speech and that of course got a huge round of applause last night.

LIZZA: When I watched the speech, I saw a pretty serious mismatch between the rhetoric when he talks about FDR and the bold persistent experimentation.

I saw a mismatch between the choices he was laying out saying that the stakes are in this election are extremely important. What he was actually proposing, I didn't hear a specific legislative agenda for what he's going to do if he wins.

You're in Congress. What can we expect in January of 2013 from Democrats if he wins?

CHU: He actually has laid out what he's going to do one million more jobs in manufacturing --

LIZZA: That's a goal. That's an aspirational goal. That's not a piece of legislation. Is it immigration reform? What is he going to do on Medicare, on debt reduction? What's that specific legislative agenda that you're going to be ask to put forward if you come back to Congress with him?

CHU: Well, all those things actually do require legislation. I know because we've been in the midst of it and yes, doubling the exports, insuring that we have more manufacturing, stopping the tax credits for bringing overseas and bring them back here. All of those things require some legislation.

LIZZA: Immigration reform, do you think he'll pursue immigration reform in his first year if he's re-elected? CHU: I do think that his act with regard to the deferral of students is a first step. Yes, he's already expressed that he is for comprehensive immigration form.

NAVARRO: I'm a pro-immigration reform Republican. I agree with the deferral action, but it was terribly political and terribly late. There have been a lot of dream act students that have gotten deported in the last three years.

And I think he didn't deliver on his promise. It was a big promise he made four years ago that he would pass immigration reform in his first year. He had a chance to do it. He had a majority in the House. He had a majority in the Senate.

He missed that window of time. So much in politics is about timing. He's going to go into a Congress now that if things are what we predicted is are going to be a Republican House, probably a very close much closer Senate.

He hasn't worked well with Congress. He hasn't even reached out to a lot of Democratic voters.

O'BRIEN: So if you're a Latino voter, I mean, you sort of teed up the issue. So if you're a Latino voter and now you've sat through the RNC and you've sat through the DNC, I mean, who has the better message for -- obviously that was a big theme in the President's speech last night as well, right, the middle class and Latinos I would put as kind of one and two there.

NAVARRO: They have better Latino singers. I can tell you that. Marc Anthony belted it out yesterday. If you're a Latino voter, I would tell you, do not focus on immigration because I don't think Barack Obama is going to have the political capital --

O'BRIEN: The list -- the issues you think the Democrats have failed on. So if you're a Latino voter and that matters to you --

NAVARRO: You have to look at the entire package. You have to look at foreign policy. You have to look at trade. You have to look at social values.

The one good thing about this election really and I think that was laid out by these two conventions is that the choice is starkly different.

And you've got -- you know, Latino voters and every American voter has to look at those two choices. Look at the full package and vote according to that.

FOXX: A couple of things, you have to look what this administration has done on immigration. They have taken steps and it's really interesting that when the administration takes steps they are not given credit for those steps.

You look at the state like Arizona where the administration has challenged the immigration law in Arizona, which is not an insignificant matter.

And on deficit reduction, the President does have a $4 trillion plan to balance the deficit that balances $2.5 trillion in tax cuts with $1 trillion in new revenue.

So I think the President has actually laid plans. This is not someone who is coming to the table new. He is someone who's got these proposals --

LIZZA: But one of the things he said last night is you elected him not to just tell you the truth and we all know if he goes and deals with the long-term fiscal crisis. He's going to have to make really hard choices on Medicare and Social Security. Let's be honest. He did not layout what he would do on those controversial things.

O'BRIEN: One could argue either did Mitt Romney so maybe voters at home are left --

LIZZA: Romney's speech was even less -- there was nothing in it.

NAVARRO: I think the convention speech is different than a state of the union. I don't expect the same level of detail, but he did have a lot more promises four years ago than he did this time.

LIZZA: Look, four years ago we knew specifically what he was going do. He's going to do cap and trade. He was going to health care. He was going to do financial regulatory reform. Right now, I think it's still a little vague.

FOXX: Well, there's another issue here too, which --

LIZZA: Soledad is getting very angry --

O'BRIEN: I am because I'm trying to hit a commercial break so we can continue our conversation. It will be interesting to see if your constituents in California thought that was a speech that would move them from the undecided category to the decided.

CHU: California is not undecided.

O'BRIEN: Those who are. Anyway, let's get right to Alina Cho. She's got a look some of the other stories that are making news today that don't involve politics. Hi, Alina.

CHO: Hi, there, Soledad. Great to see you again. Good morning, everybody.

Authorities in Venezuela have charge the captain of a U.S. cargo ship with arms trafficking. U.S. embassy officials say the captain and 15 crew members from the ship "Ocean Atlas" are being detained after three assault rifles were found on board the vessel.

A man who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, the site of the Democratic National Convention accused of threatening to kill President Obama on Twitter. The 21-year-old Dante Jamar Sims made an initial court appearance yesterday. According to the criminal complaints, he sent five tweets, including, quote, "the Secret Service is going to be defenseless once I aim the assault rifle at Barack's forehead."

The Secret Service says Sims told them he was high on marijuana when he sent the five tweets.

A federal judge ordering United and American Airlines to stand trial in a lawsuit that alleges negligence and subpar security led to the 9/11 terror attacks.

World Trade Center (INAUDIBLE) LLC was the holder of leases at the Twin Towers. They sued the airlines back in 2008 for $8.4 billion in damages. Just this week a judge dismissed the request by the airlines to throw out the case.

Chicago is bracing for a teacher strike, a walkout is scheduled for Monday with teachers and support staff in the nation's third largest school system still trying to hammer out a new contract in this 11th hour.

If they do strike, it would be first time in a quarter century. A walkout would impact 700 schools and just about 400,000 students.

The remains of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, will be buried at sea. A family spokesman has confirmed the news to CNN. Still not known where and when it will happen.

But we do know this, a public memorial service for Armstrong is scheduled next week at Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral. The legendary astronaut died last month due to complications from heart surgery. He was 82 years old.

And comedy super couple, Amy Poehler and Will Arnet, are splitting up after nine years of marriage. Arnet's rep confirmed the news, but wouldn't provide any other details.

Both are nominated for Emmys later this month. Poehler for writing and starring on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" and Arnet for guest starring on "30 Rock." They have two young sons together. Sad to hear that news. All right, Soledad, back to you.

O'BRIEN: That is sad news. I thought they would stay together forever. Alina, thank you.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, what you might have missed at the convention last night. One of the most fiery speeches of the entire night came from former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, so pumped up, the entire hall got on their feet. We'll show that straight ahead. Stay with us.



OBAMA: A new tower rises above the New York Skyline, Al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama Bin Laden is dead.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. One of the most popular convention speeches last night came from the man who accepted the nomination eight years ago, Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts, tore into Mitt Romney's foreign policy credentials while he praised President Obama's leadership. Here's how that went.


SENATOR JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It took the President Obama against the advice of many to give that order and finally rid this earth of Osama Bin Laden. Ask Osama Bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.


O'BRIEN: Senator Kerry said now is not the time to outsource the job of commander in chief. Jennifer Granholm, a former governor also brought the house down. She is former governor of Michigan. She had the convention crowd in a frenzy as she praised the President's decision to rescue the auto industry. Listen to this.


JENNIFER GRANHOLM, FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: In Florida, 35,000 jobs, in Ohio 150,000 jobs and in the great state of Michigan, 211,000 good paying, American jobs all across America. Manufacturing is rebounding! Why? You know what I'm saying!


O'BRIEN: The crowd drowned her out a bunch of time with chants of USA. I've interviewed her a number of times, I had never seen that side of her.

NAVARRO: This is one of those things that just -- I was in the hall as I think many of us were yesterday and saw it and it played very well in the hall. I'm watching it on TV for first time, boy, does she look like a female Howard Dean who had a lot of Red Bull. Little much on TV.

O'BRIEN: It was only a risk for Howard Dean, right, because he was running for president.

LIZZA: She's a TV personality now a days.

O'BRIEN: I think that job went to someone who could accept the risk in doing that. She's not running for anything.

LIZZA: She has a TV show now. This will probably get her a little attention --

FOXX: It's amazing.

NAVARRO: It might have even got her a cabinet position in say if Obama gets re-elected.

LIZZA: What happens is primetime speeches are so pitched towards the swing voters who are honestly are the least informed voters in the electorate because they haven't made up their minds yet. And so the primetime speeches don't really get the crowd always going so much.

O'BRIEN: That had the crowd completely going. I was really surprised.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, yes, we've covered what's going on inside the convention center, but what about outside on the streets of the city?

"Time" columnist, Joel Stein is back with us, closing night party rundown. We're going to hear that Kim Kardashian, I guess, flew here on a private jet last night for all of the parties.

Hi, Joel. Have a seat. You were hanging with Kim Kardashian last night? We'll talk about it -- I just advertised that.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. Time to clean up in Charlotte, the final night of the DNC wrapping up with lots of after parties. Joel Stein has been checking them out. This assignment of going to parties --

JOEL STEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": Am I the official CNN party correspondent?

O'BRIEN: Yes, you are.

STEIN: My God, what a great job.

O'BRIEN: Tampa versus Charlotte. Be careful, the mayor of Charlotte is sitting next to you.

STEIN: I love Charlotte, everything about Charlotte.

O'BRIEN: All right, the mayor seems happy with that answer.

STEIN: The parties here were better. They really were.

O'BRIEN: What made them better?

STEIN: Well, more celebrities. Better bands.

O'BRIEN: Kim Kardashian flew in.

STEIN: I don't think she is really called KK.

O'BRIEN: I know, we did. As the new correspondent, you just coined a phrase.

STEIN: So KK was out last night with her new boyfriend.

O'BRIEN: You didn't see her?

STEIN: I didn't see her. No.

O'BRIEN: Who did you see?

STEIN: There were a lot of celebrities.

O'BRIEN: Like who?

STEIN: Jessica Alba who's famous.


STEIN: I kept seeing Jared Leto and some crazy beard.

O'BRIEN: I have a picture, yes. He's so handsome, though, even with a beard. He has dreamy eyes.

LIZZA: You should have brought Soledad with you.

O'BRIEN: I was asleep by then.

NAVARRO: These conventions, for the first time, you know, when I was young and I had a lot of energy, I couldn't get tickets to the hot parties. Now, I get all the tickets and I'm just too tired to go by the end of the convention. So this is not a happy --

STEIN: There was not one candidate who addressed that issue. It's a problem for all Americans.

NAVARRO: I think it is a huge issue. It should be a part of the platform of both candidates. I don't want to leave Charlotte without telling you I love the southern hospitality.

FOXX: Thank you.

NAVARRO: The people here were just so special.

O'BRIEN: Even when they were turning you down in terms of being able to get into the arena, it was like, no, ma'am, that's not going to happen.

STEIN: I'm not blaming you or your city, I'm blaming the party, the Democrats. I couldn't get into the Clinton speech. I got there two hours. I felt like there was a riot going to happen. The party clearly knew how many credentials they gave out.

NAVARRO: I don't think they do. That part of arithmetic they may not get. Obviously, more passes were given out than seats in the arena.

STEIN: I thought there was going to be a riot. But I think the problem is like with the whole Democratic Party, they can't say no. They knew there were a limited amount of seats, but people kept asking. They gave it out and hoped for the best.

O'BRIEN: I was there two hours before they locked it down. If you had gotten in earlier, it was more of the timing of the Secret Service. Plus, you know with President Obama coming, that was the Secret Service issue that was different so they locked it down.

STEIN: They had no idea the President might be there?

FOXX: They lock them down.

NAVARRO: Listen, the same thing happened last night. I can tell you, I was locked out for a while and until I pretended to be part of the entourage of a very helpful senator --

LIZZA: How did you get in?

NAVARRO: I'm not going to say who it was.

STEIN: Does he know you were pretending? I got real close to David Gregory. That's how I got in. Did they know you were pretending?

NAVARRO: Yes. There's something to be said for bipartisan friendships.

O'BRIEN: And we leave it at that so a thumbs up for the city of Charlotte.

FOXX: Thank you very much.

O'BRIEN: Thank you for having us.

STEIN: I will come back, if that's OK.

FOXX: Yes.

LIZZA: I think you should give Joel the key to the city.

STEIN: My God, I have never gotten a key. I am the correspondent for parties.

NAVARRO: Give him a key and some tickets.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, we're just about a half an hour away from a very key August jobs report. We're going to bring that to you the moment we get those numbers.

Also, the Vice President got emotional as his son nominated him for another term. Beau Biden will join us. You're watching STARTING POINT live at the Midnight Diner in Charlotte, North Carolina. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, Barack Obama says he's all in as he vies for a second term. Listen.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: But know this, America. Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place, and I'm asking you to choose that future.


O'BRIEN: The President says he needs more time to fix the country's problems. Did the speech hit the mark? We'll take a look at that this morning.

Also, the August jobs report is being called the most politically important jobs report in history. We're going to have those numbers for you. Tell you what they mean.

And a crowd brought to tears with this.