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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Gas Rationing In NYC, Long Island; Christopher Stevens Honored; Nesquik Recalled Over Salmonella Fears; Colorado Dognapper; Representative: Tea Party Statement Is "Crap"; Tea Party Fights Back; What If GOP Nominated Huntsman?; Totally "Pauly-tics"; CBO Warns of Fiscal Cliff; Tea Party Blamed by Some for Internal Republican Party Conflict; Many Still without Power in Wake of Super-Storm Sandy

Aired November 9, 2012 - 07:00   ET

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


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: A new warning from the congressional budget office. Christine has that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Soledad, about the dangers of going over the fiscal cliff. One Nobel Prize winning economist thinks we should just do it. What that would mean for your tax dollars.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And seven members of Navy SEAL team six punished after helping make a video game that some say is simply too realistic. Did they put national security at risk?

Lots to talk about over the next two hours. Keli Carender with the Tea Party Patriots will join us. Congressman Steve LaTourette is back. Comedian Pauly Shore with us. Former Navy SEAL Chris Heben, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Patricia Maisch, a Tuscon shooting survivor, will join us to talk about her experience, and Howie Kurtz, the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and his partner in crime Lauren Ashburn from "The Daily Beast" is with us as well. It's Friday, November 9th. It's Friday. STARTING POINT begins right now.

And good morning. Our STARTING POINT this morning, the U.S. is just 53 days to falling off that fiscal cliff. Today, President Obama is going to deliver a big speech about the economy. One of the main components of the president's spending plan is higher tax rates for the wealthy. That's something that House Speaker John Boehner doesn't seem to be buying. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: Raising tax rates is unacceptable. And, frankly, it couldn't even pass the House. I'm not sure it could pass the Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Without a budget compromise, drastic cuts automatically kick in. That, of course, could send the economy spiraling back into a recession. White House Correspondent Brianna Keilar is live for us this morning from Washington. John Boehner was the guy who said he didn't think a lame duck Congress could do big things. What can be done in the next, what did I say, 53 days?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, maybe finding some sort of stopgap measure. Some sort of framework on tax reform, Soledad. I think that's the goal here.

The fact is, House Republicans and president Obama and Senate Democrats, they don't really have a choice. They have to do something, and that became very clear yesterday when the CBO put out a report showing that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff you're looking at economic calamity. You're looking at unemployment ticking up, perhaps two points. You're looking at a recession next year.

So also listen to the conciliatory language that we're hearing from the hill and that we may be hearing from President Obama when he speaks here at the White House this afternoon. Listen to what John Boehner also said about being reasonable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: We can talk about all kinds of things we may disagree on. I'm the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington. The president knows this. He knows that he and I can work together. The election is over. Now it's time to get to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: So talk, Soledad, of working together. But you might say Speaker Boehner has said tax rates for the wealthy can't go up. They're at 35 percent right now. They're scheduled to go up above 39 percent by the end of the year.

And then you say president Obama said he will veto anything that does not increase tax rates on wealthy Americans. You wonder where is the middle ground there? The middle ground, it appears, and we don't know the details on this, would be moving towards a framework on tax reform. You know right now, even a lot of people who might fall under that 35 percent tax rate, income bracket, they don't pay that. That's not their effective rate. So if you simplify the tax code. Maybe some of the change comes out in the wash you could actually increase revenue, increase tax dollars without changing that tax rate. We don't know the details, though. And they really have to be worked out and this week is really the start of that process.

O'BRIEN: And the sound of that ticking would be the clock of the fiscal cliff clock that we're monitoring because it all comes to an end very soon. Brianna Keilar for us, let me ask you a question before I let you go. We were showing a minute ago a clip of the president who was wiping away tears as he was speaking to his campaign workers. It kind of a little bit shaky video. Sounds like it was shot by somebody in the campaign and not by TV crews, right?

KEILAR: That's right. It was. So this was an event when he went on Wednesday the day after the election to his campaign headquarters to thank volunteer and staff. We, the press, did not get a go. It was what we called closed press. This amazing moment, you can take a listen to this really emotional moment of President Obama's. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What you guys have done, and the work that I'm doing, is important. I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud, and what he has done -- what we have --

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: President Obama there, Soledad, clearly moved. I mean this is a side of him that we haven't really seen before. There were questions about whether he shed a tear because it was cold or because he was emotional at his last rally in Iowa. But this leaves nothing to question. He was definitely emotional the day after the election.

O'BRIEN: "No Drama Obama" getting a little dramatic and emotional. Brianna Keilar for us, appreciate it.

The road to recovery from super-storm Sandy is agonizingly slow for so many in the New York area and the New Jersey area. This morning more than 600,000 people are still in the dark. Can you believe that? 600,000 people still don't have power.

BERMAN: We don't have power.

O'BRIEN: You still don't have power?

BERMAN: No.

ROMANS: We just got power then it went out again.

O'BRIEN: That's not just from Sandy. You still don't have it from sandy.

ROMANS: Correct.

ROMANS: Some people don't have it because the nor'easter came through and knocked down power for some people who got their power restored. New York City and long island have done what New Jersey has done, the odd/even system of gas rationing. It begins today in New York. And long island. FEMA trailers are now en route to areas of New York and New Jersey that were the hardest hit by sandy. CNN's Susan Candiotti is back at Asbury Park, New Jersey. How is it going there? Still no power for many of the folks there?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right a lot of people, hundreds of thousands of people here still without power in New Jersey. Let's start by talking about the gas rationing. There's nothing wrong with copying a good idea from New Jersey, because as you said, New York City now starting to copy the idea from New Jersey and starting gas rationing in the city using the same system of odd/even license plates, just like they've been doing for the past week here in the garden state. Governor Christy started that last week, as we've been driving around that is one good note. We haven't seen any long lines anymore for gasoline, and sometimes no lines at all. And so, with that in mind, the governor family says here in this state that he might take another look at whether to relax those rules. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: There's order, there's easy access to gas. We're continuing to use the National Guard to deliver gas to stations and counties that are displaying some type of still disruption in their supply lines. But I'm confident that by the weekend I should be in a position to re-evaluate the odd/even system and decide whether it needs to go forward into next week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: And of course getting gasoline really help this recovery get further down the road. We went back to one of the hardest hit coastal areas in New Jersey and looked at Pelican Island with a couple who lost their dream retirement home. The gentleman rode through the storm. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We rode out the storm until Friday morning. Friday morning I said I couldn't take any more, because they turned the gas off. When they turned the gas off, that was the end for me. I told my wife, I would walk across the bridge if I had to, but I was getting off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Now he, like so many other families, have to try to rebuild, obviously, very difficult days ahead for so many people on so many levels. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Just heartbreaking. That guy was a fire captain, a fire chief. I mean, you have to think in his career he has seen so many tough and horrible things. So, if he's crying I think it's a good indication of how bad it is for so many people there. Thank you, Susan. The full piece we showed a little bit earlier is amazing.

John Berman has got a look at some other stories making news today.

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad.

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the gunman who tried to take her life face to face in court. Jared Loughner sentenced yesterday to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years for killing six people in last year's Tucson rampage. Casey Wian is in tucson this morning. Casey, dramatic testimony in both Giffords and Mark Kelly are gun owners and they addressed U.S. gun law in the court.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right John, there were a lot of messages sent yesterday by victims of this tragic shooting when they had the chance to confront Jared Koughner. A lot of issues about mental health, many victims saying that this tragedy could have been avoided if Loughner had gotten the medication and the help he need many years earlier.

But, as you mentioned, gun control also being on the minds of many of these victims. Mark Kelly, the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, made a very strong statement criticizing lawmakers, particularly lawmakers in the state of Arizona, for being feckless on gun regulation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK KELLY, FORMER ASTRONAUT: It's really unfortunate, you know, that somebody won't, you know, take, you know, take the lead on this issue. You know, gabby and I are both gun owners. You know, we're supporters of the second amendment. But I don't really believe that that extends to high-capacity magazines, and extends to making it so easy to buy a gun in this country. We elect leaders to try to address those problems. And this problem really hasn't been addressed sufficiently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIAN: Even the judge wanted to send a message on this issue, saying he didn't want to get political but it's time for lawmakers to revisit this issue of high-capacity magazines. That can hold 30 bullets or more --

BERMAN: We appear to have lost Casey Wian in Tucson. Next hour we're going to talk with Patricia Maisch who survived the Tucson shooting as well and wrestled a loaded magazine from Loughner the day of the massacre.

Severe actions members for members of the Navy SEAL team six. They're accused of divulging classified information while working as paid consultants for the manufacturer of a video game called "Medal of Honor, Warfighter." CBS reports one of the SEALs involved took part in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. All seven SEALs had their pay docked and received a letter of reprimand which effectively ends their chance to get a promotion. This is pretty serious business here.

In the next hour of STARTING POINT we'll find out more about the punishment, and exactly what the SEALs are accused of divulging when we're joined by Navy SEAL commando Christopher Heben.

The sound of silence coming from Iran after Pentagon claims that Iranian jet fighters fired on unarmed U.S. -- on an unarmed surveillance drone in the Persian Gulf. It took place just days before the presidential election. Officials say the drone was in international airspace when it was intercepted by Iranian aircraft. The drone was not hit and it returned safely to base. The U.S. has told Iran that such surveillance flights in the Gulf will continue.

Check out this brand-new video of Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai one month after her attempted assassination by the Taliban. Her father says she's recovering well, and that the thousands of cards, messages, and gifts she's received have helped her stay strong. Malala is just 15 years old, reminded by that looking at this picture. And she has been a great crusader in the fight to get girls' education in Pakistan in

So Miami-Dade is done but a handful of Florida counties are still counting votes from Tuesday's election. Time is about up, though. Those counties have to report unofficial tallies in the state by noon tomorrow. The results will be certified November 20th. CNN has not declared a winner in Florida yet. But Democrats there have put the win in president Obama's column. And Mitt Romney's team in Florida told the "Miami Herald" their candidate lost the state. No rush, it's Florida. If they get it within a week that's still pretty fast for them.

O'BRIEN: They need to get their act to the. I feel like Florida, on the lines thing, on the counting thing. We are in the technological age. It is time to move and fix it. That's my editorializing this morning.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Let's go back to the fiscal cliff. We also should get a little counter for the fiscal cliff. 53 days. Christine's got an update on what it will mean if we hit it in 53 days.

ROMANS: A pretty alarming report out from the Congressional Budget Office about this. It said in the post-election report on the fiscal cliff, it will lead to a recession and a spike in unemployment to 9.1 percent. Congress, running out of time to prevent taxes rising for everyone and to prevent across-the-board eight percent to 10 percent cuts for agencies like the FDA, CDC, border patrol, education. The CDC director has said this, "The reduction will risk costly and deadly spread of disease, and failures to prevent tragic and expensive health problems." Every government agency is trying to figure out what these cuts will do to their ability to work for the people.

The CBO also found that raising taxes just on the wealthy would not meaningfully hurt economic growth.

Quick check of the market right now. U.S. stock futures are mixed. The Dow and the S&P 500 stock futures are down. NASDAQ futures up a little. Dow plunged more than 400 points in the two days after the election. President and also House speaker making public statements today about the economy and the fiscal cliff. So markets clearly waiting to see what those two gentlemen have to say about where we go from here.

O'BRIEN: Ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, is there a civil war brewing within the Republican Party? Some critics say the Tea Party is to blame. Up next we'll get reaction from Tea Party organizer Keli Carender.

And a new warning, what parents should know about Nesquik. That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Republicans are shaking off the presidential defeat, trying to decide what to do next with their party. Some have talked about a looming civil war, particularly with members of the Tea Party. Jenny Beth Martin, who is the national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, said this on Tuesday, "We wanted a fighter like Ronald Reagan. What we got was a weak, moderate candidate handpicked by the beltway elites and country club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The presidential loss is unequivocally on them. With the catastrophic loss of the Republican elite's handpicked candidate, the Tea Party is the last, best hope America has to restore America's founding principles."

Keli Carender is a national coordinator for that group and she is one of the very first people to organize a Tea Party protest. She joins us this morning. Thank you for talking with us.

KELI CARENDER, TEA PARTY ACTIVIST: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: Why do you think Mitt Romney lost the election if you had to list it in a nutshell?

CARENDER: In a nutshell the Republicans sat on their hands for four years. After 2008 you had Barack Obama who, and the Democrats, who left paid staffers in critical swing states and offices open and they were working to identify new voters. I think I heard it was 1.8 million new registered voters, likely Obama voters, that they managed to register in the four years in between the two elections. And I don't know what the Republican Party was doing. The Tea Party was just getting started. At one point they failed to do the part that the Democrats were doing for the last four years in campaigning.

O'BRIEN: Sounds like you're saying --

CARENDER: And building their network --

O'BRIEN: That's what people would say to describe a ground game. When you have a good ground game you're doing all those things on the ground to organize voters. Do you agree with what Jenny Beth Martin said, which was her problem was with the candidate and the bigger problem was that the candidate was a moderate who was saying that he was a conservative? Do you agree with that?

CARENDER: Yes, that's the second part of the equation. That is we had a candidate who was forcefully the biggest issue of this election, which was Obamacare, on the table because he had Romneycare to deal with. And if we had been able to so as the center right coalition, if the candidate had been able to take Barack Obama to task for one of the most unpopular laws this country has ever passed, then I believe that we could have been successful in ousting president Obama.

Steve LaTourette said that he disagreed yesterday, when I asked him was that the problem was the conservatism of Mitt Romney, he said that the Tea Party's position on this was wrong. He actually said "crap," but I'll play what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE LATOURETTE, (R) OHIO: There's one more phrase we use in Ohio for that, "crap." That's nonsense. And, you know, if you look at what happened. We lost Charlie Best and Frank Ginta in New Hampshire. The Republican Party cannot be a national party if we give up the entire east coast of the United States and say that there aren't any -- we don't have any Republicans in New England. We don't have any Republicans in the mid-Atlantic states. We can't continue to dis the Latino voters.

And, you know, my wife is a Democrat and she was so close to votes for Mitt Romney. But then, you know, Mourdock and akin open their mouth and we send them running back to the Democratic Party, because they think we're nutty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Do you think, Keli, that there is this, this civil war that some people have talked about, that there is no room in the party for both moderates and Tea Party members, like you can't all fit under the same umbrella?

CARENDER: Remember, the Tea Party is about fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited governor and free markets. We don't take on social issues. So that's not under our umbrella. And the majority of Americans agree with us on issues. They think government is too big. They think government does too much. They think government spends too much. They think the deficit is a result of too much spending instead of not enough taxation.

O'BRIEN: But, but --

CARENDER: And so we are the center of America.

O'BRIEN: But people also want people to figure it out. I mean, you know, anecdotally and then also if you look at various polls from across, people want their elected officials to go and work it out. Not just to go to Congress and argue with each other. We need to have some kind of progress. Does the Tea Party in a way stand in the way, are, are you guys obstructionist --

CARENDER: Absolutely not. There's two things going on here. One, the voters sent a Republican Congress back. So they obviously do not want an unfettered second term of Obama. The second thing is, when you're driving off of a fiscal cliff, you're -- if you're going to go halfway off this cliff you're still going to fall off the cliff. The point is we have to stand for what's right, and we have to make sure that this country does not go off a fiscal cliff.

O'BRIEN: What does that mean? So let's talk about the fiscal cliff for a moment. I'm trying to understand what your pox would be. It looks like it's been described as some of the things that John Boehner has said, it looks like there might be a, a window, a window of promise in terms of closing some loopholes which would really raise tax revenue. Do you see that as a compromise that Tea Partiers would be comfortable with?

CARENDER: Tea Partiers are absolutely comfortable with flattening and simplifying the tax code. We for years have been saying it's too complicated. It's too big. There's too much room for social engineering and allowing politicians to determine our behaviors based on our tax code. The tax code was never meant to engineer our behavior.

O'BRIEN: What does that mean?

CARENDER: Think about it, it gives you certain breaks for acting in certain ways and taxes you if you act in other ways. And it shouldn't be about that. The tax code should be about raising revenue to pay for government services and infrastructure, and that's it. And there's too much social engineering within the tax code. So yes, absolutely, simplifying and broadening the tax code would be something Tea Partiers could get behind. Obviously the devil is in the details, but generally speaking, yes.

O'BRIEN: Keli Carender is a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots. Thank you for joining us this morning.

CARENDER: Thank you very much.

O'BRIEN: That Ohio congressman Steve LaTourette is going to be back to talk with us in just about 15 minutes.

Also ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a new article says that if Jon Huntsman, remember Jon Huntsman, he was, he really couldn't make it as a Republican nominee, but he, the new article says that a president would be out of office if, in fact, Jon Huntsman had been the nominee. Is the party to far right for its own good? We'll talk to Abby Huntsman, who wrote in a vote for her dad in this election.

And he became a household name with the movie "Encino Man." Pauly Shore is crossing over to a different kind of comedy. He calls it "Pauly-tics." He's going to join us live right ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Some top stories this morning. Florida A&M University is offering a $300,000 settlement to the family of Robert Champion. He was the marching band member who died after a hazing ritual. The family's attorney says that's an insult. They won't even consider it. They're suing the school for wrongful death.

Dancing with the scores co-host Brooke Burke said she'll soon have to have surgery for thyroid cancer. Brooke told her fans in a YouTube video. Her doctors have assured her that she will be OK.

Attorney General Eric Holder says he hasn't decided yet whether he'll stay on his cabinet post for President Obama's second term. Holder says he wants to discuss his future with his family and the president, and needs to determine whether he has, quote, "enough gas left in the tank." Let the speculation begin. This is going to be the game for the next two months in Washington.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT this morning, you heard the Tea Party reaction to what Congressman Steve LaTourette told us yesterday, that they're creating problems for the GOP. We're going to talk to him about what he thinks about what they said. Then a thief caught on camera grabbing his loot. But you won't believe what he's stealing. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Morning. Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We're going to start with John Berman. Get the day's top stories. Good morning.

BERMAN: Happy Friday, Soledad. Gas lines have become a rule in some of these places in the northeast. Not the exception. New York City, Long Island, parts of New Jersey, and new odd/even gas rationing system takes effect in New York today. The following the lead of Jersey, which saw gas lines shrink after rationing was imposed.

The Pentagon is expected to announce more details regarding the time line of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in Libya as soon as today.

Last night, Dr. Ann Stevens accepted the common ground award on behalf of her late brother, Ambassador Chris Stevens, during a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton was on hand to pay tribute to Ambassador Stevens who, of course, died in Benghazi.

If you've got Nesquik in the pantry you may need to toss it. Nestle has recalled more than 200,000 canisters of the chocolate drink mix over fears of salmonella. The bad batch was made last month with an expiration date of October 2014. So far there are no reports, thankfully, of anyone getting sick.

Police in Arapahoe County, Colorado, are looking for a dognapper. No. He was caught on camera breaking into a pet store Wednesday night and making off with three expensive puppies. Shame on him.

Now the search is on for the dognapper and the missing puppies. A 10- week-old Yorkie and two 9-week-old bugs, which are a mix of Boston terrier and a pug. That's terrible.

O'BRIEN: That is so terrible.

BERMAN: That's for sure.

O'BRIEN: -- stealing puppies. It's just a bad day. All right, let's bring in our team this morning. Abby Huntsman is with us. She's the host of "Huffpost Live." Don Lemon is up from Atlanta. It's nice to have with us. Anchor, of course, of "CNN NEWSROOM" on the weekend. Ryan Lizza is Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."

It's nice to have all of you with us this morning. About time you joined our panel, Mr. Don finally. You know, yesterday we spoke to the retiring Congressman Steve Latourette about Mitt Romney's defeat.

And we were asking him about that statement that came out from the Tea Party Patriots that they were the last, best hope for America. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O'BRIEN: Is the Tea Party America's next best hope?

LATOURETTE: Well, listen to me. There's a one-word phrase we use in Ohio for that, crap. That's nonsense. You know my wife's a Democrat and she was so close to voting for Mitt Romney.

But then, you know, Mourdock and Akin opened their mouth and we send them running back to the Democratic Party because they think we're nutty. We have the right message on the finances.

We have to get out of people's lives, get out of people's bedrooms and be a national party and that's -- or else we're going to lose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: A few minutes ago we were supposed to be talking to Keli Carender. She is the national coordinator with the Tea Party Patriots who basically said no, we are all about financial issues, not about social issues.

The congressman, in her words essentially, was wrong. Congressman Latourette is back with us this morning. It's nice to see you, sir. Thank you for being with us.

You know, one of the things that Keli Carender said was that she agrees. She thinks that in addition to a good ground game by the Obama team that frankly you had a guy who was way too moderate in Mitt Romney to ever be able to succeed. Here's what she said about the Tea Party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARENDER: Remember the Tea Party is about fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets. We don't take on social issues so that's not under our umbrella.

And the majority of Americans agree with us on the issues. They think that government's too big. They think government does too much, they think government spends too much. They think the deficit is a result of too much spending instead of not enough taxation. And so we are the center of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: So she says she's the center of America. And if there's any kind of civil war it certainly doesn't involve the Tea Party, civil war within the Republican Party. What do you think of that?

LATOURETTE: Well, I think her message, I watched her while I was getting ready and she's right. That when it comes to fiscal issues, the center right coalition in this country does believe government's too big.

We should tax last before we look at that as an option and we should figure out how to spend less money. But the difficulty is, and why I made the observation yesterday, and by the way my wife's mad at me, I can't talk about how she voted and I can't say crap on your program.

O'BRIEN: I agree with her on the crap part.

LATOURETTE: Yes, but let me tell you what happens is, when you get a candidate backed by the Tea Party sometimes, they may be right on, on the fiscal issue. But, they then veer off into other things.

I would argue that Ronald Reagan would not be backed by the Tea Party today. Ronald Reagan when he was shot at the Washington Hilton was giving a speech about how he favored prevailing wages for union workers.

And so it's -- it's when you get a Tea Party elect candidate, backed candidate like Mr. Mourdock in Indiana and Mr. Akin in Missouri, and I would argue the Republicans don't control the United States Senate today in the last two election cycles because these candidates have not been center right. They've been right-right.

O'BRIEN: So then Ryan Lizza, is there a civil war within the Republican Party in the reporting that you've done, I mean, or is that just overstating it?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's what we talk about in the press. But the story of the election is the GOP and what they need to do going forward. They can't win at the national level given their numbers with the growing segments of the American population.

And it sounds like the congressman is saying, I'd like to ask him, do you think on balance the Tea Party has been a net negative with the Republican Party?

I mean, the fact that you don't have a U.S. Senate because of the Tea Party-backed candidates in 2010 and 2012, seems like a pretty significant factor. What do you think of that, Congressman?

LATOURETTE: No, I think the Tea Party, if you look at what they did in 2010, the net positive. I mean, the energy that they brought to the 2010 election around Obamacare, around fiscal issues, was absolutely helped.

But with the disconnect is the Tea Party is not the Republican Party. And as we look, I talked yesterday about the poll that we commissioned, try not just to talk out of my hat, the poll that we commissioned with Frank Luntz shows that 69 percent of Americans, Republicans and Democrats, want the country to be center right.

And they're more interested in sending somebody to Washington who will find a way to fix our problems than to continue just to come and fight. And so, the Tea Party is spot on. They're good allies and so forth and so on.

But when you get a Senate candidate that says that, you know, a child born as a result of rape is a gift from God, that doesn't help move us forward in the minds of the socially moderate, fiscally conservative women, in particular, that we need to be successful at the national level. O'BRIEN: So -- no clapping. So, here's my question for one of the things we asked Keli at the end of our interview, is there room for compromise on this fiscal cliff, 53 days and counting.

You heard Boehner sort of it sounded like he was moving in the direction of there is something that could raise revenue if not necessarily raising taxes doing something that would in effect raise someone's effective tax rate.

Is that, and, and she sounded like the Tea Party, you know, when she saw the details, could be okay with that. Is, so that sounds like an area where, I guess that would require the president to do what he worked against.

What he said he would do in his election, right, which is raise taxes to be raised on the rich. Is there going to be any compromise that allows taxes to be raised on the rich, but the Tea Party and fiscally conservative Republicans would agree to?

LATOURETTE: Well, I think we're talking past each other because I listen to what she said and I agree with what she said. Increasing tax rates should be a last resort. But the model when we put Simpson- Bowles on the floor and what the speaker is talking about is not exactly Simpson-Bowles.

But it's Simpson-Bowles plus, that if you simplify the tax code and you put favoring rich taxpayers, by giving them all these tax breaks and so forth and so on, and say you're going to pay 25 percent or 27 percent or whatever it is, the models do, in fact, show, despite what the president said during the campaign that it's fixsy dust or fairy dust.

The models do show and it's based on what we did in the 1997 Balanced Budget Act with President Clinton, Republican Congress, Democratic president in fact, the revenue came in faster than we anticipated, the budget was brought into balance.

And so, there is a common ground here and that is you can create over $1 trillion over the next 10 years of new revenues to the government without raising the marginal tax rates, and if that doesn't work, then you have to go back to your tool box and say, OK, that doesn't quite work.

So now what do we have to look at next? I think that's what the speaker's talking about. He has my full support and if that's what the Tea Party position is, this should be a day at the beach next week.

O'BRIEN: Why do I think that it's not going to be a day at the beach next week, Congressman Steve Latourette. It's nice to have you with us, our apologies to your wife. Next time around we won't tell anybody how she voted.

Got to take a short break. Still ahead on STARTING POINT, going to talk about Jon Huntsman. Could he have won the presidency if he had been the GOP nominee? There are some people who say and not just his daughter, Abby, who is with us who say he would have been the better pick.

Also forget politics, it's really pauly-tics. Comedian, Pauly Shore will join us with his special brand of political humor after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: One of the very best tweets that we saw during the election cycle came from Abby Huntsman who tweeted this. Something pretty exhilarating about voting for someone you believe in. I'll sleep well tonight knowing I wrote in Jon Huntsman, her dad.

Some people are saying not just you, that Jon Huntsman would have been the better nominee. "The New York Times" writes this, if the Republicans had nominated Jon Huntsman Jr., they might have been the ones celebrating right now.

But he had no chance in the Republican primaries because primary voters are their party's worst enemy. Think that's true? That's the primary is what, what, what kills it for anybody who, who is a moderate in the Republican Party?

ABBY HUNTSMAN, HOST, "HUFFPOST LIVE": This time it was. I think that, you know, you can always think about what if. And of course, I'm going to be biased. We probably would have seen a different general election had my dad been the nominee. But, you know, if my dad were here he'd probably tell you that he comes from the Republican Party of Lincoln, of Roosevelt, and of Reagan.

Where you know, they -- they really were about big, bold ideas, about bringing people together, about solving some of the biggest problems that we're faced with. And the Republican Party that we see today is not that. It's one that is thinking too small.

It's not one that's inviting to these key groups like the Latinos, like women and that's something that's going to have to change. I mean, people talk about them moving more to the right and you say how much further right can the party actually go.

O'BRIEN: It's interesting in the aftermath of the election, there are some people who are doing soul searching, but there are others whose response was we should be more conservative. We should be more about the Tea Party. Keli Carender who we talked to was more like that.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Doubling down on it. I'm doing a piece this weekend on my show, is it time for an intervention for the Republican Party? Because, when you see this election, and I couldn't believe that, you know, they didn't think that the outcome was going to be the way that it was.

Because if you were on the ground and you saw those lines where people were voting early, there were people who were women, there were Hispanics, there were all types of people and you knew which way this country was going to go just from being on the ground.

It wasn't going to go extreme. It's not a party. It's not just about, quite frankly, old, white men don't decide who the president is going to be anymore. So I think unless the GOP becomes the GNP, which is the Grand New Party, they're on the verge of extinction because they're tone deaf.

HUNTSMAN: -- about my dad was that he was not an ideologue, but that was tough to get through the primaries this time. He was someone that put the country first. He wanted to come up with ideas that were best for the country.

LIZZA: The Democrats went through this in the '80s and '90s. They lost three elections in a row, right, '80, '84, and '88 and who emerged out of the chaos and the soul searching in the civil war in the Democratic Party, but Bill Clinton who went to the liberal base of the Democratic Party and said your way isn't working.

We need to moderate on crime and welfare and a few other key issues and he yanked his party into the future and he won, of course, in 1992 and served two terms. I don't see the Republican figure out there right now that's able to go to the right and make that case because to do it, you have to have credibility.

And with all due respect to Abby's father, who I admire a lot and think is a great guy, what he doesn't have is the -- he can't do like a Nixon to China. He doesn't have the credibility with the right wing to be able to tell them, your way isn't working, try my way.

BERMAN: I'm going to make a bold prediction. We will have another Republican president sometime in our lifetime. And I do agree, Ryan, I do think there are hypothetical candidates out there who could do it.

The importance is to have the credibility with the base, and then also, the credibility to move in the other direction. Look at Marco Rubio, in theory, to do that. I mean, the Tea Party loves Marco Rubio.

HUNTSMAN: Isn't that part of the same right? You have to ask that question. Is that just more of the same? Do you have to totally reinvent the party?

O'BRIEN: I'm confident there will be lots of conversation about this between now and 2016 for example.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, no politician is safe when Pauly Shore is around.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a tax thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you file your taxes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never done that before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your accountant --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you respond to me saying I've never done that before?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Pauly Shore joins us with his brand of political comedy. He calls it Pauly-tics. That's straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Actor and comedian Pauly Shore who rose to fame on MTV in the early '90s and of course, you remember some of those movies like "Encino Man," is now taking on politics. He's got a new show time special. It's called "Paulytics." He interviewed the political insiders like Herman Cain, that you see right there and Ralph Nater and Barney Frank and Larry King.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULY SHORE, ACTOR/COMEDIAN: Pauly-tics is definitely not politics as usual. It's some of this. Can I tie your shoe really quick? What's your husband's name again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim.

SHORE: Sorry, I'm just doing this as a favor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jim will be glad you're doing that. He's always yelling at me.

SHORE: When you travel in the car do you wear a seat belt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the time.

SHORE: If you don't what happens? It goes ding, ding, ding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

SHORE: You're the one that's responsible for the ding, ding, ding. Did you even know that? What is the whole 999 -- the tax thing?

HERMAN CAIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you file your taxes.

SHORE: I've never done that before. Should you respond to me saying I've never done that before?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Pauly Shore is with us this morning. It's nice to have you with us.

SHORE: Check one, two. I feel like the Secret Service. I'm coming in, check. Can I do something really quick? Can I wear your glasses, please, just for a second?

BERMAN: Sure, absolutely. Yes.

SHORE: You're going to need -- I'll feel more like politico. There you go. No, no.

O'BRIEN: Are you a political junkie?

SHORE: You know what? I grew up in Hollywood my whole life, born and raised around comedians, big celebrities. I'm more excited to be around you people. I stare at you all the time. I stare at you. You're beautiful. I kind of don't know you. Seriously, I watch him all the time.

O'BRIEN: I'm not sure what that answer means.

SHORE: No, of course. I love it. I'm 44 now. I'm like I'm into it. When I was in my 20s you played the "Encino Man" clip, I was in my 20s. That's like a long time ago.

LEMON: Twenty years ago.

SHORE: And we were doing this, yo, bros. She wasn't even born back then.

HUNTSMAN: It's not even 9:00 am.

LEMON: How do you like that?

O'BRIEN: You went around in your special interview, we showed a clip of it, Larry Kings and Barney Franks, what were you trying to understand about American politics?

SHORE: When you guys speak political language, FYI, a lot of people don't understand it. You know -- but you were breaking down that Tea Party girl, which was awesome. Because she started saying things that no one understands.

Normal people don't understand this whole fiscal thing and blah, blah, blah. My motivation was to focus on the politicians and make them speak English, in a way that I can understand and humanize them as well.

When I was with Michael Steele, I was just trying to slow him down. He's so cool. He's like GOP, part of the Republican -- but every -- I just wanted to just --

O'BRIEN: You went suit shopping with him.

SHORE: Yes, I went suit shopping.

O'BRIEN: I think we have a clip of that. Let's play that.

SHORE: He's hysterical.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHORE: I don't want to come out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on out. Let's see.

SHORE: No. I don't want my friends to see me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go ahead.

SHORE: I'll be a staunch Republican, hated by the masses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I'll get you to the RNC convention.

SHORE: What's an RNC convention?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll talk. RNC convention is where they'll nominate Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHORE: Look at me there. Look at me!

O'BRIEN: Are you a Republican or a Democrat?

HUNTSMAN: Or a Tea Party.

SHORE: I'm definitely more -- I was born and raised on the sunset strip. You know, my mom started the comedy store with all these different comedians, Sam Kinnisson. I'm very much more Democrat than I am -- but I also have like a CMT audience, too.

My audience when I go on tour is Alabama. It's like all the people that voted for Mitt Romney. Did you guys notice what's really funny? The other day when Obama won they cut to Africa and everyone was dancing. They cut to Alabama and they were like, Jesus.

O'BRIEN: Democrat and Republican, you could definitely be a politician.

SHORE: I'm definitely more Democratic because I'm totally for guy marriage, stem cell research.

LEMON: Do you think younger people are that way? They don't really identify with a political party.

SHORE: I just think that you say the Republicans are too far to the right. I think they're too far to the white. I think that's the problem. They're very white.

O'BRIEN: Demographic studies in the wake of the election would prove you right on that.

SHORE: If you look at the Mitt Romney audience, they're all white people.

HUNTSMAN: Would you ever run for office?

SHORE: Yes.

HUNTSMAN: What office?

SHORE: First I would start off as mayor, in a small town, small southern town where they go like this.

O'BRIEN: Save America from that, please, I'm begging you. Pauly Shore, it's nice to have you with us.

SHORE: It's nice to see.

O'BRIEN: Looking forward to your special. Got to take a break, we're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)