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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Obama Makes Case for Second Term; Interview with Beau Biden; Interview With Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart; August Jobs Report Indicates 96,000 New Jobs; Jennifer Granholm Gives Speech at Democratic National Convention; Will.I.Am's "Yes We Can" Message; August Jobs Report

Aired September 7, 2012 - 08:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The president says he needs more time to fix the country's problems. Did the speech hit the mark? We'll look at this that this morning.

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

And a crowd brought to tears with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D-AZ), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: With liberty and justice for all.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords makes an emotional return to the political stage as she leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

Joining us this morning, Beau Biden, he's son of Vice President Joe Biden.

Also, Governor Romney's foreign policy adviser, Mario Diaz- Balart is with us.

It's Friday, September 7th. And STARTING POINT begins right now.

(MUSIC)

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody.

Our team this morning, starting from the very end as she puts her microphone on, Dana Bash is with us. She's the senior congressional correspondent.

Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist.

Anthony Foxx is the mayor of Charlotte. We give him a thumbs up for the time here. We appreciate it.

And also we're joined by Beau Biden, who's the attorney general of the state of Delaware. But also we want to talk a little bit about the speech that you had introducing your dad. Very emotional as well.

Today, of course, is the first day of the rest of the campaign obviously. Team Obama eager to seize on post-convention enthusiasm, heading for three battle ground states this morning.

Last night, the president accepted the Democratic nomination, made his case for four more years, says he needs time to finish what he started.

Let's start with Dana on this speech.

Thumbs up or thumbs down?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that you're going to probably get that answer from this panel. But I think my personal view of it, as somebody who's covered a lot of speeches, is that it was safe. It was a speech that President Obama knew that he had to give to try to convince people that he is somebody who has had a tough go of it. He's had a tough economy. And he feels that he just simply needs more time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recognize that 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 at least to a better place. Yes, our road is longer, but we travel 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 in to 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 have 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. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regular races 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 10 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, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to tell you what I think you already know. But I watch it up close. Bravery resides in the heart of Barack Obama and time and time again I witnessed him summon it. This man has courage in his soul, compassion in his heart, and a 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.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.

BASH: And when it comes to the lasting images from this convention, it is this moment, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords shot through the head just last year and now walking without a cane on stage to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

GIFFORDS: Liberty and justice for all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And whether or not the president gets his wish that the American people give him more time could depend at least in small part on something that happens about 25 minutes from now, and that is a very, very important jobs report.

O'BRIEN: We'll talk more about that in just a little bit.

Less than an hour after President Obama left the stage last night, the Romney camp released 15 new television ads that are going to run in eight critical battleground states, in Colorado, in Florida, in Iowa, Nevada, in New Hampshire, in North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia -- all of those considered to be toss-up states in the CNN election map.

Each ad ends with a pledge that Mitt Romney will create new jobs in that particular state. A pledge ranging from 59,000 for New Hampshire or 700,000 in the state of Florida.

Other -- we're going to talk to the rest of our team in just a minute. First, I want to get an update on some of the other stories that are making news today. Alina has got that for us.

Hey, Alina.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Soledad. Good morning again. And good morning to you.

As we mentioned, in less than 30 minutes, the Labor Department will release its August jobs report. There are signs that hiring may be picking up, and economists surveyed by CNN Money expect that 120,000 jobs were added last month. We will have the numbers and what they mean for you and the presidential race at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Hurricane Leslie spinning in place in the open Atlantic right now. But the storm is veering toward Bermuda. Leslie is a category 1 hurricane, expected to remain stationary through much of the morning, 430 miles southeast of Bermuda. Boaters and swimmers along the U.S. East Coast are being warned to look out for dangerous swells.

Leslie is expected to intensify later today and pass just east of Bermuda on Sunday morning. And by then, it could be upgraded to a category 2 hurricane with 105 mile per hour winds.

Lab results now prove that oil found on Louisiana's beaches after hurricane Isaac did come from the 2010 BP oil spill. Louisiana state university conducted those tests. A 13-mile stretch of shoreline remains closed this morning. BP is promising to help clean up the mess. In fact, it says it was already working on cleanup in the area before the storm.

And the most coveted award at the MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year goes to --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The VMA, the Video of the Year Award, goes to Rihanna!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHO: I love that guy. That's funny.

Rihanna won for "We Found Love," sporting a fabulous gown and a short haircut.

The other night's big winners, One Direction with three awards, including best new artist. Rihanna's ex, Chris Brown, won two. Nicki Minaj and Drake were also big winners.

You know what, whenever I talk about this kind of stuff, it makes me feel old, you know? I've heard of some of them.

O'BRIEN: No, no.

CHO: It makes me feel old.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the dress. She looked fabulous. What I loved the most, when she won, then she does the turn to show the dress has no back. It's like, oh, did I win?

CHO: She is a smart girl.

O'BRIEN: See the whole dress before I walk up. Yes, very smart girl.

All right. Alina, Thank you.

CHO: You bet.

O'BRIEN: It was a very emotional moment last night for the vice president, Joe Biden, when the convention moved to nominate him for a second term. He choked up, he teared up. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a motion to suspend the rules and nominate Joe Biden by acclimation as the Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate. Is there a second?

All in favor of the motion say aye.

CROWD: Aye!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All opposed?

The ayes have it. The motion is adopted pursuant to the convention rules. Joe Biden has been invited to make an acceptance speech.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Joining us this morning, the man that made that motion, Joe Biden's son, Beau. He is also Delaware's state attorney general.

We also should mention joining our team this morning, David Frum. Hi, David. Good morning. And Ron Brownstein. Nice to have you guys.

Let's talk about your nomination. Your dad seemed so moved. And I thought his speech where he talked about, you know, Jilly, as he likes to call her, light of my life and love of my life and life of my love. I mean, it was really a wonderful speech.

What was different the second time around than the first time in the nomination? It seemed more emotional this time around, surprisingly.

BEAU BIDEN (D), DELAWARE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes. You know, the whole convention seemed more emotional to me. There was a great energy obviously in 2008. It was a whirlwind for our family.

We'd just kind of gotten the call. My dad had.

And talking -- my mom rebuilt our family. I mean, we had like every family, everybody up here has gone through something. And we went through something in 1972. My mom came along -- I have two moms now -- who came along in 1977 and rebuilt our family, and helped my dad rebuild our family.

That's why you saw my dad spent so much time talking about my mom who was so incredibly proud of, who if she had her way, she'd be a full-time teacher that she is, and helping raise my kids. She's an incredible mother.

O'BRIEN: His speech was a strong and fiery speech.

BIDEN: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Do you think he -- what was the goal in his speech? What did he have to accomplish, your dad?

BIDEN: You know, to give people an insight to what Barack Obama is all about, incredibly difficult decisions that he's made. But he's made those decisions at every moment thinking about what the average American thinks around their dinner table. And to give Americans an insight to his perspective on that, because no one has been closer to watching though decisions being made than my father.

And he picked two prime examples. One is authorizing the mission to go after Osama bin Laden and taking him out.

And two, is making a very difficult decision to save the automobile industry, which is more than just an industry. It's jobs. It's dignity. It's hope. It's hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of jobs.

As Jennifer Granholm really articulated --

O'BRIEN: Shouted.

BIDEN: -- shouted and connected at least in the hall and I think on TV. She is one of the best speakers I have ever seen.

O'BRIEN: Your dad gets some flak for some of the things he says that range from inappropriate to I think his opponents would say idiotic. And a poll says that almost evenly divided, 43 people interviewed said they would use the word good to define your dad, and 40 said they would use the word "idiot."

BIDEN: Just in the last three and a half years, my dad has travelled 37 countries, put over 500,000 miles in Air Force II, met with every world leader, respected by every one of them, respected by every leader in the United States Congress, Republican and Democrat.

Mitt Romney goes to our greatest ally, and within 24 hours he not only offends the prime minister but offends the entire United Kingdom.

So, you know, there's a lot of talk about -- you heard the president talk about the 24-hour news cycle and what's focused on.

My father has respect. He had respect we see here in North Carolina -- the mayor knows this in North Carolina. One of my dad's closest friends, Jesse Helms. That's not a name you necessarily talk about at a Democratic convention, but they got things done. They got things done like the Chemical Test Ban Treaty, paying back our debt to the U.N.

Just south of here in South Carolina, one of his closest friends, Strom Thurmond. My dad went to the Senate to continue the civil rights movement. Strom Thurmond ran as a Dixiecrat in 1938. But my dad eulogized Strom Thurmond in Columbia, South Carolina.

O'BRIEN: Is that hurtful to you and hurtful to him?

BIDEN: Oh, no. Because, you know, it's just the kind of the way it is right now. And the other part is, Soledad, they wouldn't be howling as much as they are, the other side, if my dad wasn't scoring points on Mitt Romney. They wouldn't be saying it if it wasn't cutting and scoring points. And that's why they say it.

Do you think they -- you know, the Bill Kristols of the world and John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are really trying to help the ticket? Why are they attacking him? They are attacking him because they know he is the most effective person to speak to the middle class and connect with the middle class and make sure that the president -- the American people know that the president has their back.

O'BRIEN: Beau Biden, it's nice to have you this morning. Thanks for talking with us.

BIDEN: Thanks, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

Still ahead this morning with STARTING POINT, you've heard President Obama's appeal to the nation. Now, Mitt Romney's campaign launching an aggressive Republican response. Up next, Romney's foreign policy adviser, Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. He'll sit down with us to talk about that.

You're watching STARTING POINT coming to you live from Charlotte, North Carolina. And we're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy.

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: But from all that we've seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly. After all, you don't call Russia our number one enemy, not al Qaeda, Russia, unless, you're still stuck in a cold war mind warp.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from the Midnight Diner in Charlotte, North Carolina. President Obama's speech brought Democrats to their feet last night, but already Republicans are on the attack.

Florida congressman, Mario Diaz-Balart, joins us this morning. He's on Mitt Romney's foreign policy and Hispanic committee . It's nice to have you with us.

REP. MARIO DIAZ-BALART, (R) FLORIDA: Good to see you.

O'BRIEN: So, assess for me how you think the president's speech was.

DIAZ-BALART: Great speech, but he's known to give good speeches.

O'BRIEN: I'm waiting for the but. But --

DIAZ-BALART: Well, look, you know, the president has had a lot of experience giving speeches. Remember, according to him, quote/unquote, "he's given speeches in 57 states." So, if -- but he gave a great speech in Cairo. And today, Egypt is run by the Islamic Brotherhood. Great speeches don't mean great leadership.

And, the question is, are his policies working for the American people? Are his policies working when poverty is up? When unemployment is eight percent for 42 consecutive months? When, you know, the cost of living is up, and gasoline prices are double what they are? So --

O'BRIEN: You heard last night to his speech -- Osama Bin Laden is dead. The auto industry was saved. Twenty-nine -- I think every single person in this diner could cite all of the numbers on the Republican side and the Democratic side. Is that ultimately what the undecided voters are going to have to go for?

What is the thing that's going to make someone pick Mitt Romney over Barack Obama now that these conventions are bit over?

DIAZ-BALART: Right. Look, I think quoting President Clinton, it's the economy, stupid. And I think people like President Obama. He's a very likeable person. But I think everybody realizes that his policies have failed. Look, he promised some very specific things. And he was very clear about it.

He said unemployment would be six percent now. He said that the deficit would be cut in half by his first term. He said that if he couldn't solve the economic problem in one term, that he wouldn't be re-elected. Those are his words. So, I think the problem is not his speeches. The problem is not what he says.

And it's not that he hasn't tried. I mean, I give him credit for trying. But he just has no idea how to create jobs, how the economy works. But he does give a great speech.

BROWNSTEIN: Can I ask you, congressman, about the challenge of creating jobs for either party?

DIAZ-BALART: Sure.

BROWNSTEIN: Because certainly, we're coming out of a period of very slow job growth even before he took office. You know, 10 years to the day after the Bush tax cuts were passed, there were fewer people working than on the day they were passed. So, why is there reason for optimism that another round of marginal tax rate cuts would do any better at creating jobs than they did in the previous decade?

DIAZ-BALART: First of all, the president inherited a situation, there's no doubt -- a bad situation, but he's made it worse. Now, what Governor Romney is proposing is not just tax cuts, it's tax reform. It's entitlement reform. It's dealing with, you know, free trade with free nations. It's a myriad of different proposals. So, I think oversimplifying like that does not give credit to the entire plan.

It's a little bit more complex than that. Again, just like President Obama is more complex. President Obama passed 100 percent of his economic plan. Unfortunately, for the American people, it has failed. It's not for lack of trying. It's for not having a clue as to how the economy works.

Mitt Romney, you can criticize him for a lot of things, and that's fair, but he knows how the economy works. Paul Ryan knows how the economy works. And they have specific, concrete, more complex in what you're saying, plans that will create millions of jobs.

BROWNSTEIN: But certainly, there was a deregulatory posture in the Bush years. I mean, the EPA was not doing the kinds of things that it was doing -- it has been doing under President Obama. They were the marginal tax rate cuts. They were the capital gains cuts. And even in the best years, even before the downturn, we were seeing job growth at half the rate in the 1990s or the 1980s.

So, you know, the question is, is there reason to believe that this agenda is going to do much better the second time around? The key elements of it were there in place --

O'BRIEN: Meaning the Republican agenda.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I mean, either side at this point haven't answer -- I mean, looking at the polling and a lot of people who are dubious that either side has an answer to what has been a very tough 12 years of stagnant income and now stagnant job growth.

DIAZ-BALART: Well, you're right, but the reality is that President Bush is not on the ballot. It's Mitt Romney who's on the ballot. Look, these are the same statements and the same arguments that were made when President Carter was in the White House. It couldn't get any better.

The state of the malaise, unemployment, was going to be there forever. It took real leadership, a change of direction. So, President Obama wants to change America. I understand that. We don't need to change America. We need to change the White House. We need to change the leadership in the White House.

And it's very clear -- two things, that President Obama, who has tried, has failed, miserably has failed. Not because of lack of trying, he just -- he's clueless. So, Mitt Romney does present a totally different agenda. A person who understands how the economy works, who has specific plans that are not President Bush's plans. They're Governor Romney's agenda.

O'BRIEN: Two things I would add to that, right? Essentially, what you're saying is there's a philosophical similarity between the two. So to say, listen, President Bush is no longer even part of this is a little bit, I think deceptive, because there is a philosophical similarities that the Romney-Ryan team is looking back and grabbing onto, number one.

DIAZ-BALART: But I think they're more looking back at the Reagan years and at the Reagan philosophy more than the Bush years and the Bush philosophy. Case in point, you know, spending. I mean, President Bush, who I like, and I'm a big fan of, he spent a lot of money. I think the Republicans lost some majority, because we spent too much money in those days.

The difference is not -- again, the agenda that Governor Romney presents is a positive agenda of real economic growth and not only economic growth. Again, of making sure -- look, when Lech Walesa one of my heroes. You know, (INAUDIBLE) says that the United States now cannot be trusted. My God! How far have we collapsed as far as our international, you know, view of United States?

That's not me saying it. That's Lech Walesa. Now, you can disagree with Lech Walesa, but I hate to tell you, I think he's got a little bit of credibility.

O'BRIEN: We're out of time. Thank you for joining us this morning.

DIAZ-BALART: Oh, it's a pleasure.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, it was a star-studded convention here in Charlotte, James Taylor, the Foo Fighters, Marc Anthony, Mary J. Blige were among the stars. We'll tell you what Mary J. had to stay when we grabbed her for a quick one- on-one. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": Today, Scarlett Johansson, Kerry Washington, and Eva Longoria all spoke at the Democratic convention. Yes. This means Obama has all but clinched the crucial 13-year-old boy vote.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back. you're watching STARTING POINT.

Celebrities have been out in force this week at the DNC. The actor, Zach Braff, tweeted a picture of himself and the "Mad Man" star, Jon Hamm, on the convention floor. I was able to get a picture of Jared Leto. He's so cute. He has seriously beautiful blue eyes.

Female stars had speaking roles. Scarlett Johansson got up and spoke, Eva Longoria, Kerry Washington, and an important message for young Americans, get out and vote was the message. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY WASHINGTON, ACTRESS: You may not be thinking about politics, but politics is thinking about you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Mary J. Blige was also part of the warm-up act for the president. She says Americans need to stand up to re-elect him. Here's what she told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY J. BILGE, SINGER: The 90 million people should absolutely get out and vote, because your future depends on it, your life. Everything, your child's life, your healthcare, your child's healthcare, every single thing depends on people getting out to vote. It is extremely, extremely important this time. I mean, it's always important, but right now, it's crucial. It is crucial.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Mary J. Blige adding her voice.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, just minutes away from getting that big August jobs report. Are more people getting hired? Ali Velshi will join us. He's CNN's chief business correspondent. He's standing by for those numbers right now. As soon as we have them, we'll bring them to you right after this break. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Breaking news to get to this morning. The key August jobs report is in just in to CNN. Chief business correspondent Ali Velshi has the numbers for us. Ali, what's it showing?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Not very good, Soledad. Just getting off the conference call now with the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate for the month of August has dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent. The bad news is that only 96,000 jobs were created in August.

Now, the consensus estimate had been for 120,000 to 125,000 jobs. We went into this report with President Obama 316,000 jobs short of being able to say that every job lost on his watch would be recovered. If you take the 96,000 jobs we got to this month for August, you add the revisions from the previous few months, he still has to make up 261,000 jobs over the next two months to get there.

But the bottom line is, we were expecting 120,000 to 125,000 created, and there was a lot of buzz because of some positive economic reports this week that the number would probably come in higher than that. There were some people estimating 170,000 to 200,000 jobs. So the 96,000 jobs, you can see on the right of the screen, that is going back all the way from 2011, January 2011, to now. On the right of your screen, we are expecting 120,000. We didn't get that. We got 96,000, and the last two months have been revised lower.

So all in all, always great to have created jobs as opposed to lost jobs. Most of them were in the private sector. There were 7,000 jobs lost in the public sector. But this is not the hopeful number that the administration and frankly the country was looking for. I would say that you would have to characterize this as the glass half empty, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Ali, thank you. Let's talk a little bit about the political implications, which is what made that number so important. What's the impact?

FRUM: The reason the unemployment number went down from 8.3 to 8.1 is because of people exiting the labor force. One of the things that is scary to keep track of is what percentage of Americans 16 to 65 are in work. And although you can get lost in the noise about the unemployment number, that number is way below the levels of the '90s and the 2000s. For the president's point of view and the president's party, when people give up on looking for work, they also give up on trying to vote. They become detached from society. And those are the people he needs to motivate. They have to at least have hope. And here they are demonstrating when they quick looking for work they are giving up on hope.

LIZZA: These numbers really reinforce my sense of where the race stands after both conventions. To me, it felt like neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama really demonstrated a second gear that would really expand their coalition beyond what they came in with. And thus the race seems poised for just trench warfare with each side fighting to move very small margins among their various constituencies. And these kinds of numbers point in that direction also, Soledad. This is not catastrophic enough to drop the bottom out from President Obama, but there no tail wind behind him at all and just setting us up for grinding trench warfare.

O'BRIEN: Is the strategy that you just try to get your base to turn out bigger numbers? Is this a different -- I could a related strategy, just focus on those undecided numbers who aren't necessarily well reflected, for example, for the Democrats, that's a challenge?

BASH: It is. Because I think Ron was saying is exactly right. There are so few undecideds that this just makes the strategy that we did see in both parties even more important. Like we saw particularly this week at the democratic convention, they did such an interesting job, I would say, of trying to pinpoint every single constituency of the party to try to get them out. But the other thing I would say, because this doesn't necessarily move the ball either way, it's a reminder of the history of this. And that president Obama would be making history if he wins re-election in these economic times. Because, again, no president has won re-election with these kinds of job numbers since FDR. And remember president Obama, once, maybe twice, last night harkened back to FDR talking about the need for patience. That was no accident.

FRUM: But the parallel is misplaced. Because although the unemployment number in November of 1936 was still quite high, in 1934 and 1935 and 1936, the U.S. economy grew at Chinese growth levels, nine percent, 10 percent a year.

BASH: Well, because they were much lower.

FRUM: But if you went to vote in November of 1936 and you didn't have a job, you think this is a matter of time. Things are getting better so fast. Nobody feels that now. You don't have that sense of rocket like ascent.

O'BRIEN: It all brings it back to Ali Velshi and these numbers and what it means for the middle class. It certainly hurt both the RNC and DNC. Middle class, middle class, middle class, right?

VELSHI: And remember that number that I told you the Obama administration wants to get to, recovering those jobs so they can say they have gotten back every single job since Obama lost office, even that doesn't matter that much because the quality of the jobs returning are significantly lower than the ones that were lost.

So that's part of the problem here. That we're not -- it's not a full rebuild of the middle class. Everybody talking about the middle class and the aspirational middle class, well, for every one of those jobs that's not filled, that's someone else available to take your job, which keeps your wages lower.

So you have to take the unemployment rate, the jobs created, the number of hours worked, the average weekly wages and put it all together, and add that to what David said, that at some point, it just continues to disillusion the middle class about what kind of a career they'll have. So this is just -- it's not a horrible number. It is not helpful. And you're right, this gets us back into that trench warfare. If this number came in at 150,000, 175,000, or 200,000 you'd be hearing a lot of crowing from the Obama administration today. I think you'll hear more silence than you would have otherwise.

O'BRIEN: Ali Velshi, thank you.

Coming up next on STARTING POINT, it was one of the most fiery speeches of the night. The former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm was flailing her arms around and literally shouting. Hey, hey, hey. We'll play that for you, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": The truth is the Democrats did not want the embarrassing optics of a half-filled stadium. And nobody wants to look up and see an empty seat. Just ask the Republicans.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Whatever you thought of president Obama's speech last night, it certainly blew up on twitter. It was a new record for a political event. More than 9 million tweets sent during his address. That's close to 53,000 tweets per minute. By comparison, Mitt Romney had about 14,000 tweets per minute.

Also, Jennifer Granholm's speech, wow, no surprise that blew up on twitter. I was tweeting about that. Former Michigan governor, flailing arms. Really I think she yelled through her entire speech. But it got the crowd in an absolute frenzy as she praised the president's decision to rescue the auto industry. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, (D) 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, auto is back. Manufacturing is rebounding. Why? You know why! Say it!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRUM: Isn't she Canadian? I thought Canadians were relaxed.

LIZZA: You can take Canada out of the girl.

FRUM: That is not Canadian.

LIZZA: It certainly is not Canadian.

BASH: That is the one thing about that. There will be no buzz about her running for president. Not because of her speech, but because of where she was born.

FRUM: Also Marsha McKluhan who is also from Canada. She said it's a very small box, close to people's face. Stop yelling at them. They do not like it.

O'BRIEN: They liked it in the hall. In the hall, it was amazing. And I think partly sometimes it's the --

FRUM: If women had been able to run in the 1880s, that would have been a perfect speech. But they have invented the microphone.

O'BRIEN: No. It really got the crowd --

FRUM: You shall not crucify mankind on this cross of gold.

O'BRIEN: Back to me. In the hall, it got the people in the hall. People stood for almost the entire speech and were really sort of waving their arms. And also --

LIZZA: Compared to Lily Ledbetter, who did that but was also very engaging on television for the audience, and kind of found that sweet spot, maybe a little --

O'BRIEN: I don't know. But it was fun, right?

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, Black Eyed Peas front man Will.i.am talks politics and the American dream with me. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're coming to you live from Charlotte, North Carolina, and we're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: This little girl took all pictures of herself. Do we have a picture of the salt shaker? I thought we were going to show that.

We're back at the -- at the Midnight Diner in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Well Dana Bash is sitting next to me, doing diner tricks with the salt shaker. Can you guys get a shot though? It's quite remarkable.

BASH: See?

O'BRIEN: There you go, that's hard to do. It's hard to do.

BROWNSTEIN: Wow. That is a Jersey girl.

O'BRIEN: That is a Jersey girl who spent a little time at diners.

BASH: Oh, yes.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. O'BRIEN: We're going to talk about President Obama and his acceptance speech last night at the Democratic convention. He stressed we're not going back, we're moving forward. Four years ago, this was the Obama campaign anthem. A rousing cheer that inspired music mogul Will.I.Am to lend his talents to the campaign. He created a really popular video that became a symbol of candidate Obama's message.

Well this week he continues to show his support. I spoke with him, asking him what today's campaign anthem should be?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL.I.AM, BLACK EYED PEAS, ACTIVIST: It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the best of a nation. Yes, we can.

O'BRIEN: If 2008 was "Yes, We Can". Is there a new slogan that you would put forth for 2012, or is it still -- it's still "Yes, We Can", take that message and go back?

WILL.I.AM: Today's message should be "We Are One. We are united. And we need to forge a whole new energy and American dream."

What is the American dream nowadays? Freedom? I can go to Holland and be a little bit more free in Holland. I can go up -- right up to Canada and live the same freedoms in Canada. And if I was a teacher, I'd get paid more money if I went to Australia.

So what is our dream? Because that dream that we made in 1940, we've got to remix that dream. We've got to remix America.

O'BRIEN: The -- the GOP at the Republican National Convention played your song, "I've Got a Feeling." Does that bother you? They've been a political party that you don't support, lending your music. I mean would you call up as others have done and say cut it out? Don't play my music?

WILL.I.AM: Why would I do that?

O'BRIEN: I don't know. I mean others have.

WILL.I.AM: So I practice what I preach and now I don't want to be a product of the division. If there's Republicans that listen to my music, there's families that come and bring their kids to see the Black Eyed Peas. You know, there's Republicans that I'm going to help and send kids to school. So am I going to get upset that they used my music to inspire them to care about their country? No.

If they choose to use my music for whatever reason, that's what it was made for, for people to listen to. I don't want to be selfish like, "Hey, you all can't play my music at your conference."

That isn't cool, because it's all for the same thing. We're trying to fix America. They have a different way. I have a different view. They want to support Mitt Romney. I want to support Barack Obama.

But in hopes that it's all for the greater good to fixing our country, that's cool.

O'BRIEN: The school you created last year, tell me a little bit more about that and the students who you're helping.

WILL.I.AM: I watched this documentary called "Waiting for Superman". And -- it broke my heart, because my mom went to Roosevelt High School and Stevenson Middle School. And the more I watched that program I realized that Superman wasn't going to come, because he is a fictitious mythological character with tights. And he isn't coming to my neighborhood, to change it.

So I was like, wow, maybe I'm supposed to be Superman. Maybe I'm supposed to go out and collaborate and connect with all the people that are doing good things and -- and ask them to bring that to my neighborhood.

So I met Lorraine Jobs, who has this program called College Track. I met Dean Cayman, who has U.S. First. And the folks over at NASA, then I met Discovery Education folks. We collaborated to bring a STEM skill set to my neighborhood. Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and coupling arts in that equation to create STEAM and encourage these kids and give them self-esteem to dream and become entrepreneurs.

So we sent a rocket to Mars, right? And then "Curiosity" beamed back my song. And then --

O'BRIEN: First time ever, from Mars.

WILL.I.AM: And only to inspire these kids to take interest in STEAM.

O'BRIEN: Has it been successful?

WILL.I.AM: Yes, because we just started. Starting is successful. You know and -- and success is 20 years from now, when I'm 57. I'm 37 right now. I'm a -- it took me 20 years to get out of the projects.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Will.I.Am.

"End Point" is up next. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. Before we get to "End Point" this morning, I want to just update something quick on the new August jobs numbers. 96,000 jobs created is what we are saying, unemployment rate dropping from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent. That number because fewer people are looking for work. We've -- they've left the work force. Another detail that we just learned -- 368,000 dropping out of that -- that's dropping out of the labor force in August. So 96,000 jobs created and that 300,000 plus of people dropping out of the labor force. The labor force participation rate is 63.5 percent, the lowest rate since 1981.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted his response to the report just out, and he said this. "Time is up, Mr. President. More of the same is not good enough. This isn't an incomplete. It's an 'F'."

I want to get right to our "End Point" this morning. Who wants to tackle that? Reince Priebus -- no surprise that he's going to immediately tweet. Everyone was waiting for this job number.

DAVID FRUM: If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was in January of 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11.2 percent. So what you have are people really losing hope. And that deflation of hope is just poison for everybody in the political world, but especially for incumbents.

BROWNSTEIN: You know this disappointing jobs report following a presidential speech that didn't quite hit the moment that have been set for him to me reinforcement is one of the essential dynamics in this race, Soledad which is that President Obama is going to win re- election only by convincing a thin sliver of voters who are disappointed in him that they would like Mitt Romney even less.

BASH: And the one thing I keep thinking about is that President Obama won in large part because he got young people who live in a fast food Twitter texting nation. And he spent last night mostly pleading for patience. And this is not a society that has a lot of patience.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: This is going to be a grind, I mean we are talking about grind.

O'BRIEN: I was going to say, what goes (inaudible), number one, they're going to have to figure out that tiny sliver of undecided, which some people have said is a million voters or less. We're suddenly going to see everybody is directing their message at that.

BROWNSTEIN: And it's probably going to be turnout even more than that -- even more than those undecided that were polling. It's going to be who can change the electorate and tilt it a little bit in their direction; 26 percent of the vote last time was minority. Nothing may be more important whether this time it's 25 percent, 26 percent or 27 percent.

FRUM: I think last night how Washington, the President found -- he was talking about government programs. What people want is a vision for the society, for the country, for the economy. The President is -- and this happens to you when you are in Washington for a long time. The walls are getting thicker and higher. And he's boxed inside. O'BRIEN: I thought the speech had a number of sort of a vision for society. I didn't think it was --

BROWNSTEIN: But (inaudible) Romney did no better at reaching beyond the people who are already kind of comfortable with his vision of the world. Neither one of them really were very expansive in their speeches. And as a result, I think you're kind of left with this kind of 50/50 divide, and kind of this trench warfare struggle.

BASH: We are coming off of two weeks of discussion about thoughts and ideas and facts and figures. But we are going to get to the point where the vaunted Obama organizing machine is going tested. We knew so much about it in 2008, with texting and emailing. Now they're using social media, and they are really going to step that up.

O'BRIEN: We know that President Clinton is going to be part of that ground game. Chuck Schumer told us that the other day. And they've now confirmed it that he says he was going to be brought out with his white board going through what his speech essentially -- that's what he'll be talking to voters in those key states.

Coming up Monday, on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk to Lynn Povich. She was my boss many years ago. She's the first female seniority editor of "Newsweek" magazine. She's going to be joining us. "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson will be our guest. "Covert Affairs" star Christopher Gorham will join us as well. That's all coming up on Monday on STARTING POINT.

We've got a quick programming note as well for you. Sunday night, 8:00 p.m., CNN profiles the Republican presidential nominee, "ROMNEY REVEALED: FAMILY, FAITH AND THE ROAD TO POWER", followed by at 9:30 "OBAMA REVEALED: THE MAN, THE PRESIDENT". That's on Sunday night starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time right here on CNN.

And guess what's coming up? Mark it on your calendars.

BASH: The debates.

O'BRIEN: Yes. Ding-ding-ding, we have a winner. President Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney have their first opportunity going head-to-head on the issues. The debate night comes to you live from the University of Denver in Colorado. And obviously, you're going to get a chance to see that on CNN.

Thank you. Big thank you to the folks in the Midnight Diner right here in Charlotte. We didn't get a chance to dig into any of the food this morning.

BASH: Oh, I did back there.

O'BRIEN: You did.

BASH: Yes. It was good stuff.

O'BRIEN: So now I'm going to get a chance too.

Time to get to Carol Costello with "CNN NEWSROOM".