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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
"Those People;" Amanda Knox's Ex Tells All; Legal Analyst Writes Book on Current U.S. Supreme Court; Interview with Jeffery Toobin; A Dream Come True for Little Leaguer; Trouble & Triumph for Rapper T.I. Harris
Aired September 18, 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: Our STARTING POINT this morning, "Those people." GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney defending his comment that President Obama's supporters, "those people," are dependent on the government and they think they're entitled.
Big fallout this morning. We'll hear from his campaign. They're trying to change the message on this one, and it's hard to do.
Plus, it was a murder trial that shocked the world. Young American and her Italian boyfriend convicted of killing her roommate. They were then acquitted. Now that ex-boyfriend has written a new book, talking about what happened that night.
Plus, he's a rapper, he's a reality star, he's an actor, he's author. Tip "T.I." Harris. T.I. is stopping by our studios to talk this morning.
It's Tuesday, September 18th. STARTING POINT begins right now.
Good morning. Welcome.
Our team this morning: Richard Socarides, former special adviser in the Clinton White House.
Maggie Haberman is a senior political reporter for "Politico".
Jesse Ventura is the author of "DemoCrips and ReBloodlicans." Much better, right, this time around, Governor? Former governor of Minnesota joining us this morning on our panel.
STARTING POINT is Mitt Romney -- John Berman, you know, it's like we're brother and sister up here. I almost forgot to name him.
A hidden camera, Romney's hidden camera controversy this morning is what we're talking about. New tapes out.
We're going to go through them for you.
Republican candidate was secretly recorded at a private fund-raiser that happened back in May talking about Obama supporters. This is what he said about 47 percent of the nation, who depend on some kind of government assistance. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Well, the governor has since tried to clarify his remarks, saying they were off the cuff and not elegantly stated, but he didn't back away from them.
CNN's Andrew Spencer has more on that for us this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW SPENCER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one clip, Mitt Romney jokes about wishing his father's parents had been Latino.
ROMNEY: Had I been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico and he had lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.
SPENCER: And he goes off on Obama's supporters.
ROMNEY: There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility and care for them.
SPENCER: The Obama campaign issued a response, saying of a Romney presidency, quote, "It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."
In a news conference late Monday night, Romney said he could have spoken more clearly but said he was trying to point out the differences between the two campaigns.
ROMNEY: We have a very different approach, the president and I, between a government-dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams.
This is really a discussion about the political process of winning the election. And, of course, I want to help all Americans -- all Americans have a bright and prosperous future. I'm convinced that the president's approach has not done that and will not do that.
SPENCER: Andrew Spencer, CNN, Atlanta
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So, earlier on STARTING POINT, I spoke with Romney campaign senior adviser Bay Buchanan. And she had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BAY BUCHANAN, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: We'd just spent a week, everybody said Romney has had a rough week. Certainly, this is a bump in the road but we -- the campaigners, everybody looking at the campaign of Barack Obama. He has spent the last week with America watching as his foreign policy of appeasement and apologies has disintegrated. We have problems around this world, in all the Muslim countries where anti-American sentiment is unbelievable. And that's a good week?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So, she called it a bump in a road.
Maggie Haberman from "Politico", a bump in the road?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO: I think it is a --
O'BRIEN: Crater in the road?
HABERMAN: Perhaps a big bump in the road. At least she's acknowledging perhaps this is not the week they wanted.
Look, the Romney campaign yesterday, we had a story -- "Politico" had a story, Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen, that went up Sunday night about internal strife in the campaign. This is never a good story so far out from the election. It was sort of written almost like a pre- mortem and the people describing what's going on. We're doing sort of a pre-mortem.
This is still a winnable race for Mitt Romney. The fundamentals of the race are still not great for President Obama. This is what is very frustrating to Republicans.
So, the campaign was trying to do sort of a messaging reset. It wasn't that earlier that much of a reset but we're going to sell Mitt Romney better. And then this video comes out and this becomes what everyone was focusing on last night.
This is -- there was a way I think for him to deal with this, which is sort of either do an interview or speak more specifically or answer a bunch of questions about it. They did this press conference last night. There were three questions answered. One was still being yelled at him while he walked away.
This is why there will be questions about this today and tomorrow.
O'BRIEN: He didn't really end it?
HABERMAN: Right. It's another lost few days for his campaign and the clock is ticking.
O'BRIEN: And they're going to continue to put these little clips out piece by piece.
HABERMAN: Correct. To be fair, President Obama had a problem with this in 2008, clinging to guns and religion private video from a fundraiser.
RICHARD SOCARIDES, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: What did Hillary say?
HABERMAN: I believe she said that you can't -- you shouldn't be able to offend voters something, in Pennsylvania, you're going to be offending Pennsylvania voters.
SOCARIDES: You can't win the election by offending voters.
HABERMAN: That's right.
SOCARIDES: I mean, the big problem for Romney now, I mean, as devastating as this is, I think we'll look back at this and say this is the moment where the election was no longer winnable for him. Up until now --
SOCARIDES: Up until now, I think you could make a case for him. But this is a problem because it reinforces a lot of perceptions about him at a critical moment.
HABERMAN: That is very true.
JESSE VENTURA, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: What troubles me they're always the economy, the economy. Our economy went bad under George Bush, with a Republican Congress backing him, because when you talk about the economy in 2008, when the recession began, you have to look at three to four to five years earlier, decisions were made. That's how long it takes.
O'BRIEN: But Republican messaging on that is -- he said 3 1/2 years to fix it and he has not fixed it in a way that everybody had hoped.
VENTURA: So we're going to go back to the guys who wrecked it in the first place?
O'BRIEN: That's the Democrats. That's the point of view on that.
VENTURA: You're hearing from an independent here because I'm an equally despiser of both parties.
O'BRIEN: So you did a very funny piece the other day that talked about -- you used the word distraction when it becomes a problem. In Bay Buchanan's interview, she used the word bump in a road, she used the words --
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Inarticulate. I mean, it's as bad as it gets when you have your own supporters saying bump in the road and inarticulate, that's about as big an indictment as you get.
And when I was watching Bay Buchanan to you and when I watched Republicans talk on TV overnight and I was messaging them overnight, they're exhausted. They're very, very tired right now dealing with the Mitt Romney fallout over the last week, between the statements about Libya, between the "Politico" article and between this. They're tired of having to respond to these process questions. They're trying to move on and reboot but don't get the chance to.
O'BRIEN: Bay Buchanan said something interesting, right? She's like, we keep talking about this. We should be talking about something else.
VENTURA: That's called spin.
HABERMAN: The thing I would say is that they have had a problem driving a message this whole time. It is not just because these things keep popping up. It's also because they have had a problem driving a message.
SOCARIDES: John makes an excellent point that -- you know, I've worked in these campaigns and you have stuff coming at you so fast. And when it's every day, day in, day out when you're on the defense, it's almost impossible to get back up on your feet.
HABERMAN: This is a very punishing --
VENTURA: You need to campaign like I do. Tell the truth.
Wait. When you tell the truth you don't have to have a good memory.
O'BRIEN: In just a few minutes, we're going to be talking with former governor, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He's the national co-chair of President Obama's re-election campaign. We'll see what he has to say.
But some of the things that Bay Buchanan raised that we're not talking about. But also, of course, some of these leaked tapes as well.
First, we want to get an update on some of the stories that are making news.
And John has got that for us.
BERMAN: Thanks very much, Soledad.
At least nine people are being killed in a pre-dawn car bombing in Afghanistan. The deadly attack taking place near the Kabul airport. A spokesman for an Afghan insurgent group with ties to the Taliban is taking responsibility. It says, this is in response to that anti- Islam film that's angered Muslims around the world.
The car bomber reportedly ram a small sedan into a mini bus carrying foreign aviation workers to the airport.
In Chicago, 350,000 kids will get yet another day off from school as striking teachers continue to look at the deal on the table to end their walkout. Meanwhile, parents are scrambling to juggle work and keep their kids out of trouble for a seventh day in a row now. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has gone to court to try to force the teachers to go back to work, but a judge won't look at that until tomorrow.
Convicted child rapist and former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky will know his fate on October 9th. That is when he'll appear before a Pennsylvania judge, John Cleland, the man who found him guilty of abusing 10 victims over 15 hears. He will also determine whether Sandusky should be classified as a sexually violent predator.
There was a security scare in New York's JFK airport. Authorities stopped two arriving planes yesterday afternoon after receiving a telephone threat concerning the flights. An anonymous caller said an explosive and hijacker were on board the two planes, FinAir flight from Helsinki and an American Airlines flight from San Francisco.
Now, the American pilot demanded to know what was going on outside his aircraft.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PILOT: We're surrounded by emergency vehicles. There's a reason for this. Somebody's got to give us a reason or we're going to evacuate the aircraft. We got 60 seconds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The FBI searched both planes and gave it the all clear. So, scary, but a nice ending.
O'BRIEN: I wish that were my pilot. He's like, listen, no joke. Something's going on. Tell me. I'm going to tell the people or I'm getting them off my plane. I salute you, sir.
SOCARIDES: He's fighting for his passengers.
O'BRIEN: Yes, yes. I support that.
All right. Thanks for the update.
We've been be talking, of course, about Mitt Romney's comments about the private fund-raiser back in May that have now been leaked online of the former governor calls President Obama's supporters "those people," writes off nearly half the country, 47 percent.
The Obama team and fellow Democrats are now pouncing, as you can only imagine.
Let's get right to Ted Strickland. He's the former governor of Ohio. He's also the national co-chair of President Obama's re-election campaign.
It's nice to see you, sir. Thanks for talking with us.
Earlier today --
TED STRICKLAND (D), FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: It's good to be with you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you. Appreciate that.
Earlier today, I was talking to Bay Buchanan. She was defending what Mitt Romney said as a bump in the road and as sort of inarticulate but she said really the bigger problem is that the stories that we're not covering. We're focused on something that's sort of a distraction and not things that she (AUDIO GAP) she said in our interview. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Is this not a story that one out of every six Americans is in poverty? Is that not a much bigger story, that 47 million Americans have to take food stamps to take care of themselves and their families? And that's because of four years of Barack Obama.
And then he has no new fresh ideas on how to put America back to work. That's what Mitt Romney is all about. That's what our campaign is about. That seems to be a whole lot more important than some comment that he made, inarticulately stated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Do you think she has a point? She listed a bunch of issues basically saying, economy, economy, economy is what we should be talking about, not some leaked videotape.
STRICKLAND: Well, it wasn't a bump in the road. It was a deep chasm, in my judgment. Quite frankly, what the governor said is very significant. It reveals something about his value system. For him to speak with such disdain about so many Americans, and he wants to be our president?
I mean, some of those people that he was talking about, Soledad, are soldiers that are risking their lives at this very moment in Afghanistan. Some of those people he was disdain -- talking about in such a disdainful way are older people.
You know, how can this man, who wants to be president, talk in such a disdainful way about half of the American people and then hope to pull this country together and to be our president?
O'BRIEN: As you know --
STRICKLAND: I think this is --
O'BRIEN: Forgive me for interrupting you there. But as you know, when he did his press conference on Monday night he said, listen, what I'm really talking about are people who don't want to -- who are not paying taxes, is what he is saying. And people who --
STRICKLAND: Oh, there again --
STRICKLAND: He's very sly. People who don't pay income taxes, that's what he said. Income taxes.
Many people don't pay income taxes because they're so poor they don't make enough money to be able to pay income taxes, but they pay payroll taxes. They pay state taxes. They pay excise taxes.
I mean, this man apparently feels if you're not part of his social class or his economic -- you don't have his economic status, that somehow you're a parasite. O'BRIEN: Yes. But, you know, Erick Erickson -- Erick Erickson, who you know say conservative commentator. He's a CNN contributor as well.
O'BRIEN: He tweeted this last night. "Seeing these undercover videos actually make me wish Romney would talk more about this issue on the trail."
I think what he's talking about is that 47 percent tax number. That now we're sort of breaking down and taking a closer look at, you know, who is -- and I guess also the sort of sense of big government, who is contributing to government and how much is government helping this large percentage of people. That seemed to be his perspective. And he thought that was a good thing.
Is there any way in which you could see this having a positive impact for some people who are Romney's supporters?
STRICKLAND: Sure -- well, you know, let's talk about Mitt Romney's taxes. He made, what, $20 million? He paid about 14 percent in taxes. For many years, we had no idea if he paid any taxes at all. He tells us he did. But he's unwilling to show us he actually did.
And for him to meet in Boca Raton with these really, really wealthy people and talk with such disdain about nearly half the American people says something about this man's character.
STRICKLAND: I'm sorry. I just think this is a very significant thing that reveals something very troubling about Mitt Romney's character.
O'BRIEN: But back in 2008 --
STRICKLAND: He seems to have --
O'BRIEN: Back in 2008, sir, right, when President Obama was running in Pennsylvania and he used the phrase "people clinging to their guns and their religion" -- you were the guy who defended it. You were the guy who said, listen, he was saying that to supporters. He didn't really mean it.
This is not what he means. When you talk in private, it's a different -- I mean, this is -- how come that same thing doesn't apply now for Mitt Romney when he's talking to people paying $50,000 per plate?
STRICKLAND: Soledad, there's a difference, because if you listen to his total comment, the president's total comment, he went ahead and said, but I've got to go to these people. I've got to reach out to them. I've got to take my message to them. He was not saying, I'm going to forget about them. They aren't important to me.
You know, I'm just going to write them off. What Mitt Romney said was 47 percent of the people in the country, he's not concerned about. And I think that's really problematic. And for a man of great wealth to talk with such disdain about hardworking Americans, and I repeat myself. Some of those 47 percent that he was talking about are risking their lives today for him and for me and for all Americans in Afghanistan.
Does he consider them -- I mean, are they victims? Are they dependent upon government? I mean, you know, he said I spoke inelegantly. No, he spoke from his heart. And that's what troubles me. If you listen to that tape, you understand that this man is speaking in the most casual, relaxed way with rich fat cats about a large portion of the American population that he has zero respect for.
O'BRIEN: Governor --
STRICKLAND: And that's what's important about this issue.
O'BRIEN: Governor Ted Strickland joining us this morning. Thank you, governor. Appreciate your time.
STRICKLAND: Thank you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: You bet.
Coming up next on STARTING POINT, the two were convicted of murder in a trial that made headlines around the world. Now, Amanda Knox's ex- boyfriend has a tell-all book. We'll tell you why he said yes, they did seem suspicious. He admits it. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to START -- look at this. Everyone is chitchatting.
O'BRIEN: Carrying on during the commercial break.
O'BRIEN: Yes, working. Working, governor. Working. Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend, as you remember, and Amanda Knox, were convicted and then they were acquitted of murder. Well, now, that ex-boyfriend is speaking out. He's got a new book out. He says they were innocent, but he does admit to some bizarre behavior.
The book is called "Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox." It's by Raffaele Sollecito. Joining us now is criminal defense attorney, Anne Bremner, and served as a spokesperson for friends of Amanda, a Seattle-based group of Knox family friends' It's nice to see you, Anne. Thank you for talking with us. Give me a sense of --
ANNE BREMNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nice to see you.
O'BRIEN: Thank you -- ex-boyfriend. When you -- you had a chance to meet him in Seattle after the convictions were overturned, what's he like?
BREMNER: He's lovely. He was grateful and he was humble. And, he had a group of supporters that met him out here. And really, somebody that was very impressive, very quiet, but very happy this was just all over with. But different than he was portrayed, of course, during the course of the trial and the media.
O'BRIEN: And he says some of that portrayal came from some odd behavior. And he said some of the behavior was he talked a little bit about how they were photographed kissing out. You know, they were in all this legal trouble and they were making out, you know, outside the courthouse, outside the crime scene.
They were shopping for underwear for Amanda Knox, like, I think people saw those things and thought this case is odd.
BREMNER: Yes. You know, but the thing is, is that when you -- maybe it looked odd at the time, but when you look at in retrospect in what was really happening, that picture of them where they're kissing that's so famous, the next frame they're comforting each other, looking very distraught, and that was never really shown.
Shopping for underwear wasn't a crime scene. They basically went out and did some shopping. It was said that they were whispering sweet nothings to each other in the store. The person who supposedly witnessed this didn't speak English, and they're speaking in English.
So, these were things also used by the Italian authorities for quote/unquote, "probable cause" to believe they're involved in a murder.
O'BRIEN: He writes this, "my poor memory seemed no ridiculous reason to throw me into an isolation cell and accused me of involvement in the crime, but the problems were with Amanda and the things she might or might not have done outside the house assuming she left it all."
Why not focus the investigation on her? Maybe she knew something. Maybe there was something she hadn't told me. But please, I thought, leave me out of it." What do you think when you heard that?
BREMNER: Human nature. And his family wanted him to distance himself from Amanda Knox. He says that in the book according to the excerpts that we've seen published. But the fact is he stuck with her, and the name of the book is "Honor Bound."
I mean, he went through thick and thin with her. He was (INAUDIBLE). He was the one that was never really in the press with the, quote, unquote, "she devil," you know, quote, unquote, "Foxy Knoxy" and also the, quote, unquote, "innocent abroad." But drew all of it.
And he had the best lawyer, arguably, in the case. A woman named Bongiorno. Through all of it, I think he was very loyal and I think he's very honorable and I think his story is one to be told. People are really interested in reading.
O'BRIEN: He said a lot of the lack of memory was because they had been smoking marijuana the night, November 1st. He also said a police investigation, authorities found it easier and more convenient to take advantage of our youth and inexperience than to mount a proper investigation. Do you think that that's true on the part of Italian authorities?
BREMNER: I do. We called it, you know, (INAUDIBLE) forensics. We said that forensics were unreliable. They were inadmissible and they were tainted. Four years later, the court of appeals in Italy and the experts and the judge all agreed. And I think that they basically went into this as real innocents, as lambs to the slaughters saying, you know, we'll cooperate.
We'll talk. What they should have done -- Amanda should have been on the first plane to Seattle and Raf should have gone back home, because their cooperation is what led them and snowballed, really, into this prosecution. Odd behavior, statements they made, including the lack of, quote/unquote, "true alibi."
O'BRIEN: Anne Bremner is a criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor. There's going to be a book coming out by Amanda Knox -- $4 million advance. It will be interesting to read her version of what happened. Thanks, Anne. Nice to see you. Appreciate it.
Coming up next in our "Tough Call" this morning, well, the secret recording of Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser kill his campaign for the presidency? We're going to talk about that coming up next.
O'BRIEN: Our "Tough Call" this morning, our top story, Mitt Romney's campaign doing a lot of damage control after some new clips surfaced of him referring to 47 percent of the country who depend on government assistance as "those people." Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them to take personal responsibility for their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Lots of reactions this morning, including an op-ed for Bloomberg by Josh Barro who writes this. "You can mark my prediction now, a secret recording from closed door Mitt Romney fundraiser has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president. The really disastrous thing is the clip about victims and the combination of contempt and pity that Romney shows for anyone who's not going to vote for him."
"Romney is the most opaque presidential nominee since Nixon," he writes, "and people have been reduced to guessing what his true feelings are." The video provides an answer. "He feels that you are a loser." Do you think that -- I mean, you said earlier, it's not the math, it's the English in all of this is that victim word, is framing of this, less than -- is the 47 percent and what percentage of those are paying payroll tax, et cetera, et cetera? Explain it. BERMAN: I think that any time you're talking about the math of this issue, who's paying taxes, who's not, that's the discussion that Romney campaign wants to have today, but that was not the most controversial part of that statement. It was judging people saying that, you know, these people who aren't paying taxes, they don't have personal responsibility or care for their lives.
And that's what the Democrats are going to pick up today again and again. You saw the smile on Governor Ted Strickland, the former governor of Ohio. You saw -- you've seen the smile on Richard Socarides today. It is the Democratic Cheshire smile where you're just sitting there, grinning, because --
SOCARIDES: I mean, you know, I do think that there comes a time, a moment in every campaign where voters say, you know, I just heard something from the guy's mouth that says something about who he is.
And because this so reinforces the way -- you know, perceptions about Mitt Romney that he's -- you know, he's a rich guy, wants to cut taxes on the rich. I mean, the idea that he's talking about people who are not paying taxes when he won't show his own tax return -- we don't know even know if he paid taxes is kind of an amazing moment.
O'BRIEN: let me ask this question, governor, as our independent on the panel. And of course, independent is who -- everybody, in fact, is trying to get independence to win this election. Do you think he has killed his campaign or done severe, severe damage to the campaign right now?
VENTURA: First let me define independent. You're not an independent if you vote for a democrat or Republican. That just means you're just wishy-washy and you don't which way you want to go with each particular election. I'm an independent. I do not vote for Democrats or Republicans. I vote for alternative candidates and I've been doing it since 1980.
O'BRIEN: OK, so, given that, has he killed his campaign, as Bloomberg would say?
VENTURA: He has certainly done grave damage to it. Can they recover? Maybe. You know, I would give them maybe a 20 percent chance that they could somehow dig their way out of this hole by -- Bay Buchanan did a great job of spinning it to other things, taking it to different places and getting the focus off what the candidate said. But ultimately everything should come back to the candidate because the candidate is responsible for anything that happens in their campaign.
I think what we ought to be looking at -- how about open disclosure of all these billions of dollars that are coming in to these campaigns? I said before I think presidential candidates should be required to wear NASCAR racing suits so that they have patches on them --
O'BRIEN: Could you imagine?
VENTURA: So we as voters know who owns them.
O'BRIEN: Maybe just the disclosure and not the actual suit. That could be unattractive for some people.
The current Supreme Court is one of the oldest on record. Whoever wins the presidency in November could have a chance to shape the court for generations. CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin join us live coming up next. He's got a new book about competing visions between the president and the court.
And no stranger to trouble, rapper T.I. will join us live, talking about his new book. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We begin with the day's top stories, and John Berman has a look at those. Good morning.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Soledad.
New developments in the case of those topless photos of Kate Middleton. A French court has just fined the French publication "Closer," ordering it not to distribute its magazine or the photos of the Duchess of Cambridge in print or online. An earlier this morning French prosecutors announced their opening of preliminary criminal investigation to determine whether "Closer" magazine breached the privacy of the royal couple by publishing those topless photos.
A sex abuse support group is calling on the Boy Scouts of America to throw out anyone in the organization who was involved in covering up child's sex crimes. The Survivors Network organized by those abused by priests are reacting to a report in the "Los Angeles Times" talking about secret so-called perversion files kept by the Boy Scouts detailing hundreds of child predators involved with the scouts from 1970 to 1991. They were never reported to police.
He spent two years in a bug infested prison in Nicaragua on drug charges that were later withdrawn. This morning, Tacoma, Washington man is back with his family in the U.S. And 35-year-old Jason Puracal tells CNN's Anderson Cooper thoughts of his wife and five-year-old son sustained him in prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON PURACAL, FREED FROM NICARAGUAN PRISON: It's an overwhelming joy. That's the only way you can describe it. It's such a relief to have my family in my arms and everybody together and hugs and kisses all around. It's still very, very surreal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Puracal still says he has no idea why he was arrested and jailed by Nicaraguan authorities.
McDonald's is bringing back the McRib. That's right. It will be back on the menu during the holiday season. I have to tell you, Supreme Court expert Jeffrey Toobin is sitting here beside me and said there's a strong case to be made for the McRib. JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There is. It contains no pink slime. I want to be clear about that.
O'BRIEN: No bones.
TOOBIN: No bones. It was a pig so long ago, like so many generations of food product ago. But, you know --
O'BRIEN: It's delicious and now it's back.
All right, one of those important issues coming up in the election that we rarely talk -- nothing came out there. Talk about -- the current Supreme Court is one of the oldest on record. The president could have a chance to shape the court for generations. Out with a brand new book, Jeff Toobin, it's called "The Oath, The Obama White House and the Supreme Court." It takes a closer look at what he calls the current competing visions between President Obama on one hand and the Supreme Court's Chief Justice Roberts. Nice to have you with us.
TOOBIN: Good morning.
O'BRIEN: At the very beginning, it went pretty awry. And you remember, of course, on inauguration day, standing hand on the Bible, trying to do the oath of office, and it went wrong. Let's play that first and we'll talk about the Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: I, Barack Hussein Obama still solemnly swear.
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Barack Hussein Obama still solemnly swear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOOBIN: And there's a reason for it. And that's why the book is called "The Oath," because I find out the story of what happened. John Roberts prepared like crazy. A lot people thought he blew it off, he forgot the oath. Quite the opposite. He prepared so much that his wife said to him at this point the dog thinks it's the president.
What happened was that he prepared a document, PDF of the oath where he was going to make the breaks. And his assistant sent it to his secretary at the joint congressional committee that runs the inauguration. The secretary never opened it or forwarded it to the Obama campaign. So Obama never knew what Roberts was going to do.
That's a scoop this my book. No one has seen that card before.
TOOBIN: That's the card. And Obama didn't know. You notice that first mistake is that he started to say "due solemnly swear" and -- the chief did, and then Obama interrupted him. O'BRIEN: The two of them are similar and also very different.
TOOBIN: Remarkably similar and different -- six years apart in age. Both products of the Chicago are area, both products of Harvard law school, Harvard law review. But fundamentally, in terms of what matters, incredibly different. One of them really wants to change the constitution, the other doesn't. And I think most people would be surprised that it's actually Roberts who is the candidate of change when it comes to the Supreme Court.
O'BRIEN: Tell me a little bit about the transformation. You talk about Justice O'Connor, who sort of feels disheartened and dismayed as she steps done from the court.
TOOBIN: One of the themes of "The Oath" is really the theme of American politics of the last few years, which is the evolution of the Republican Party. Think about the last three justices to lead the Supreme Court -- Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter, John Paul Stevens, all Republicans at one time, but they all left, completely alienated from the modern Republican Party, no one more dramatically than Sandra Day O'Connor, who was, of course, was the symbol of the Republican party for years, Ronald Reagan's first appointment to the court.
But the new justices -- Alito, Roberts -- reflect the modern Republican Party. And that split between the moderate vanishing species of Republican and the more modern conservative Republicans is played out in court.
O'BRIEN: What happens -- go ahead.
SOCARIDES: I was saying the book is fantastic. There's so many interesting things in the book and I heard your talk last week and learned so much.
TOOBIN: Thank you.
SOCARIDES: Right up to the minute on this health care stuff. You talked about how this health care decision got carved up and how the conservatives lost Roberts. I thought that was fascinating.
O'BRIEN: Or was it a win in a way?
TOOBIN: Well, it was a loss for the conservative cause. I don't think there's any doubt about that in the short run or the long run. But John Roberts, in addition to being very conservative, is also a strategic thinker, and he viewed the health care case as sort of the third stop in a trilogy -- Bush v. Gore 2000, Citizens United 2010, health care case 2012. If the five Republicans had again ruled against a Democratic goal, as in those two previous cases, I think Roberts recognized correctly that the court would be at the center of American politics and the center of this campaign we're going through, and Roberts didn't want that. Roberts wants a certain remove from the day-to-day politics of the Supreme Court. And so he surprised everyone, including me, by siding with the liberals.
O'BRIEN: That's right. You were not exactly right on the money. (LAUGHTER)
TOOBIN: Can I say in my defense --
O'BRIEN: Yes, you may.
TOOBIN: I was just totally wrong. I wasn't a little wrong. I was a lot wrong.
O'BRIEN: The fine student of the Supreme Court, he was right.
TOOBIN: He was right.
SOCARIDES: Linda Greenhouse predicted it.
TOOBIN: I am going to stick to predicting the past rather than the future.
TOOBIN: That whole predicting the future didn't work out too well for me.
O'BRIEN: The book is called "The Oath -- The Obama White House and the Supreme Court." Thank you for talking with us, appreciate it.
TOOBIN: It's great to be here.
O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, rapper T.I. is putting his life lessons in a novel, into a reality show, into his TV show "Boss." He will talk to us live, coming up.
O'BRIEN: Earlier this year, CNN reported on a little leaguer playing at the top of his game, in spite of unusual circumstances. Reece Holloway's idol Chipper Jones third baseman for the Atlanta Braves saw our story and wanted to meet the young man.
In this week's "Human Factor" Dr. Sanjay Gupta has an update for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He can hit, field the ball, even slide into home plate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good job, Reece. Give me five.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the way around the base.
GUPTA: Six-year-old Reece Holloway wants to play in the big leagues some day, just like his idol, Chipper Jones, who plays third base for the Atlanta Braves. When Reece was born, his parents were shocked to discover that he didn't have a left hand and baseball was the furthest thing from their minds.
They weren't sure if he'd learn how to crawl without a second hand. So they got him a prosthesis. But little Reece didn't want it. He did learn to crawl and walk. And then something remarkable happened. Reece taught himself how to hit a ball. He was just two.
MALOU HOLLOWAY, REECE'S MOTHER: He got plastic balls and he would hold them under his chin and drop it and swing the bat and he would hit the ball, no problem.
GUPTA: He's a natural. And he has been playing on a team since he was three years old. As far as the Holloways are concerned Reece doesn't have a disability.
R. HOLLOWAY: Out in door I like that.
GUPTA: And they try to never hold him back. So far they say the only thing he can't do is tie his shoes.
When Chipper Jones saw our story about him, he invited the little leaguer and his family to see the Braves play the Marlins in Atlanta. First came batting practice --
CHIPPER JONES, ATLANTA BRAVES: Nice to meet you Reece.
GUPTA: -- and then autographs.
JONES: There you go bro.
GUPTA: And then a private meeting with his hero.
R. HOLLOWAY: He signed my glove and my ball.
GUPTA: After this experience, Reece is even more determined to follow in Chipper's footsteps and make it to the big leagues.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Oh, I love that kid.
Ahead this morning, you know him as a rapper, actor, a reality star but T.I. is also an author. He joins us live with his new novel and what he hopes people get out of it. That's coming next.
Hey good morning.
TIP "T.I." HARRIS, AUTHOR, "TROUBLE & TRIUMPH": Hey, how are you?
O'BRIEN: Nice to have you.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O'BRIEN: He's a rapper, he's a reality star, he's an actor, he's an author. These days Tip T.I. Harris is doing literally everything. His popular "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle" recently launched its second season on VH1. You can check him out in the TV series "Boss". He plays a former gang member who has his eyes on a political career.
He's got a new book. It's called "Trouble & Triumph: A Novel of Power and Beauty." And that is out today.
Will you stop stealing my books. As I lean over to grab my book, I'm like, oh where is my book? T.I., nice to have you with us.
HARRIS: Thanks for having me.
O'BRIEN: I didn't know you were an author. "Power and Beauty". Power is the male character.
O'BRIEN: Beauty is for the woman. Is it hard to write in the woman's voice what you do?
HARRIS: In a woman's voice?
HARRIS: No. I kind of -- I've heard a woman's voice for most of my life. So I kind of interpret the women in my life and the way they would say it.
JESSE VENTURA, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: T.I., I would like to tell you, you have a future. Because I'm a former ganger and I was a governor.
HARRIS: Oh yes.
HARRIS: Well, I'm never been a gang member.
VENTURA: Oh they say you were.
O'BRIEN: In his TV show --
HARRIS: No, no.
VENTURA: I was -- I was real life.
O'BRIEN: Maybe you should write -- maybe should be writing some novels, Governor. Because -- let me ask you a question, though. You do -- do you like writing the novel? Did you like -- do you like your reality show? Is it "Boss" that's where he plays a gang banger and who wants to --
HARRIS: An aspirational gang banger.
O'BRIEN: Exactly he got a little office.
HARRIS: Oh my God.
O'BRIEN: So which you know obviously a rapper, huge musical career, which -- which do you prefer?
HARRIS: Well, music will always be my first passion. Because I started that when I was such a youngster and you know, it is the way that all these other avenues have been created. But every other endeavor I find myself in, whether it's designing my clothing line or being an author or an actor, you know, it's a different -- it gives me a different sense of accomplishment.
O'BRIEN: It is when -- in the creative process? It's sort of another way to be creative?
HARRIS: Yes it's a different -- it's a different way to create, a different way to express myself creatively.
O'BRIEN: Can I play a clip of this, have you guys seen this reality show? Oh my God it's hilarious. Let's run a little bit -- your kids -- he's got six kids.
O'BRIEN: And they are hilarious in this show. Let's play a little clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Acting is not hard. I bet all you're going to do is get out and --
HARRIS: Hey, whatever I'm going to do, I'm going to be the best dad doing it that you've ever seen. You understand that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to look good doing it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't act better than him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't act better than him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Do you feel pressure?
HARRIS: I'm being challenged in my own home. Did you see that?
O'BRIEN: In your own home by your own children.
HARRIS: By the mouths I feed, the very mouths that I put food in just challenged me.
O'BRIEN: You're going to do Denzel. HARRIS: As Denzel -- where your dinner's coming from. That's what you do.
RICHARD SOCARIDES: It's so interesting though because you're a young man. You've had such an interesting career already.
HARRIS: Thank you.
SOCARIDES: I mean I'm wondering what advice would you give to young people who feel like they have a creative career in front of them, you know? And you've been able to do all these different things. What advice do you give to young people?
HARRIS: Well, I think that my philosophy has always been prepare yourself for hard work. Because there is no amount of success that's going to come without hard work and sacrifice. Most people see the glamour, they see the luxury. They expect for it to come easily. They don't -- they're not preparing themselves for all the blood, sweat and tears, the sacrifice and, you know -- just the things that come with the success.
VENTURA: Much like what Jon Wooden, the great basketball coach said, "failure to prepare is preparing to fail".
HARRIS: There you go.
O'BRIEN: Good word to end on.
HARRIS: There you go, right. on.
O'BRIEN: The book is called "Trouble & Triumph: A novel of power and beauty." And, of course, you're now on "Boss".
HARRIS: Yes, ma'am.
O'BRIEN: Great role in that show. Hysterical.
O'BRIEN: Nice to have you T.I., real pleasure.
We've got to take a short break. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.
We started this morning talking about some of these leaked videos from the Romney campaign. We talked a little bit about one that focused in on Israel and the Palestinian territories. Today, the Romney campaign, this morning they're responding with this. The video, an adviser says, campaign adviser consistent with the same or similar comments made before about the stated policy of the destruction of Israel being an obstacle to peace. That's according to the adviser.
Maggie, sounds like they want it all to end and now. Is it going to happen?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, that part might. I don't think that's what people are going to focus on. I don't think the 47 percent piece, which was what we were talking about earlier is going to go away and certainly not from that statement.
O'BRIEN: And certainly not today.
All right. Appreciate you guys being with us.
"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning for STARTING POINT.