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Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff; Navy SEALs Sanctioned Over Video Game; Colorado Legalizes Recreational Pot Use; Interview with Tucson Shooting Survivor; Jared Loughner Sentenced to Life in Prison; Iran Attacks U.S. Drone; Trump's Twitter Tirade; Fighting the Invisible Wounds of War

Aired November 9, 2012 - 08:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody.

Our STARTING POINT this morning -- approaching that fiscal cliff, President Obama is going to give his first major policy speech since re-election. That's happening today. It's going to be all about the economy. Will we see compromise before it's too late?

And don't miss the moment when the president wiping away tears. We'll tell you why.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Don Lemon and actor Jonah Hill go toe to toe, a really tweet to tweet. We're going to ask Don what happened.

O'BRIEN: It's Friday, November 8th -- and STARTING POINT begins right now.


O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.

Our team this morning: Abby Huntsman is with us. She's the host of "Huff Post Live".

Ryan Lizza is a Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker".

Don Lemon, who's been in an angry Twitter battle with Jonah Hill.


O'BRIEN: Nice little Jonah Hill. Really? What?


O'BRIEN: We're going to talk about that a little bit later this morning. Of course, he is also the anchor of "CNN NEWSROOM" on the weekends. Our STARTING POINT this morning is that fiscal cliff: 53 days before we fall off that cliff.

Today, President Obama is going to be delivering a big speech on the economy. One of the main components of the president's spending plan was higher tax rates for the wealthy. And that is something that the House speaker, John Boehner, doesn't seem to be buying.

Here's what he said.


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


O'BRIEN: Well, without a budget compromise, drastic cuts automatically kick in. That could send the economy spiraling back into a recession.

White House correspondent Brianna Keilar is live from Washington, D.C. this morning.

Hey, Brianna. Good morning.

Could they actually come to some kind of negotiated agreement in the next 53 days with this lame duck Congress?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They may -- they would have to come to some sort of agreement of maybe frame work on tax reform and or an agreement to work on tax reform and obviously come to some sort of stop gap measure. And they really have to, Soledad. I mean, the CBO said yesterday that if we hit the fiscal cliff, that you would see unemployment jump about two points. We would go into a recession next year. So, they really need to do it.

And I know that when you listen to House Speaker John Boehner saying tax rates can't go up and you listen to President Obama say if tax rates don't go up, I'll veto something, it seems like there's no middle ground, but there might actually be. Listen to what John Boehner said about being reasonable, some rhetoric here that's very conciliatory.


BOEHNER: We 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. Now the election's over. Now it's time to get to work.


KEILAR: Now, the important thing that Speaker Boehner said, Soledad, was that increased revenue would be on the table. So that's the thing to tell you that there may be some middle ground. Of course, the devil is in the details.

The idea here, though, is that if a framework could be worked on, on tax reform, you may see deductions close, tax credits go away. Some deductions, some loopholes closed.

And, you know, a lot of people -- even if they're in that top income bracket where they're supposed to be paying 35 percent or that's the maximum they would pay, some of them effectively are not paying that. So, they still could be paying more in tax dollars. That could create more revenue. And yet the tax rate itself could not go up.

Complicated stuff, I know. And that's what they're going to have to be working out here in the next few weeks.

O'BRIEN: Complicated, I'm sure, is what that solution is going to be.

Let's talk about the president crying as he addressed some of his campaign workers. He is not usually a very emotional guy.

KEILAR: Yes, he is not a crier. We did see him, I'll tell you -- remember the last night before Election Day. He had his final rally in Iowa where it all started and he shed a tear. And people wondered is that because he's cold or is he emotional?

Well, on Wednesday morning when he was at his campaign headquarters, there was no doubt it was emotion. Here he is.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What you guys have done means that the work that I'm doing is important. And I'm really proud of that. I'm really proud of all of you. And -- and what you --



KEILAR: So, Soledad, a remarkable moment there. And we're just seeing this now, I should say, because this is video put out by the Obama campaign. His visit to his campaign headquarters in Chicago is not covered by the press. They were not allowed in. So, this is official video from the campaign.

O'BRIEN: Brianna Keilar for us in Washington, D.C. this morning -- thanks, Brianna.

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

Good morning.

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad.

It is another agonizing without power for hundreds of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey. They've been in the dark since superstorm Sandy hit more than a week and a half ago now, inflicting tens of billions of dollars in damage. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted the power companies for being, quote, "unprepared and badly managed" and called for an investigation.

If you're planning to gas up in New York City and Long Island, take not of your license plate. And odd/even system of gas rationing now in effect and FEMA is now providing mobile homes to hard-hit areas of New York and New Jersey where residents were displaced by Sandy.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the gunman who tried to take her life face to face in court. Jared Lee Loughner sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences for killing six people in last year's Tucson rampage, 13 other people were wounded.

Coming up in about 20 minutes, we're going to talk to Patricia Maisch, who stopped Loughner from reloading that day of the massacre.

New video of Pakistani teen Malala Yousufzai, who is recovering in a British hospital one month after her attempted assassination. Her father says she is recovering well and that the thousands of cards, messages and gifts she has received helped her to stay strong. The girl's -- this is an education crusader, just 13 years old. She was shot in the head during an assassination attempt by the Taliban.

Veterans Day is coming up this Sunday, November 11th. The day honors men and women who served in the armed services. The day itself marks the end of World War I. It first became a national holiday, Armistice Day, back in 1938.

Some veterans who helped to storm the beach in Normandy on D-Day at World War II will be Camden, New Jersey, for a medal ceremony on board the USS New Jersey. And at Arlington National Cemetery, President Obama will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Well, seven members of an elite Navy SEALs team are being sanctioned for allegedly revealing secrets. The SEALs served as paid consultants for a video game without the military's permission. And they're not accused of spilling sensitive information in order to make that game more realistic.

The people playing the modern warfare themed "Medal of Honor: War Fighter" puts gamers in the boots of Special Ops around the world and the video is being promoted for its realism and its authenticity. Members of the famed SEAL Team Six, including one who reportedly participated in that raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year had their pay docked for two months and they have effectively been blocked from any future promotions.

Christopher Mark Heben is a former Navy SEAL commando, member of SEAL Team Eight, joining us this morning.

It's nice to see you. Thanks for talking with us.

So, I know that -- I don't want you, and you don't want to, and you will not reveal classified information. But give me the explanation of the kind of things that they revealed that make this is game more realistic but also dangerous to national security. CHRISTOPHER MARK HEBEN, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL COMMANDO: Well, you know, one thing people need to understand is that when you sign on the dotted line for your Navy contract or U.S. military contract, you're essentially signing a nondisclosure agreement. So did these guys disclose sensitive information to the extent that it's going to damage operational capabilities or their fellow SEALs in the line of duty or anyone in special operations command? I don't think so. What they did was they brought certain pieces of kit to fruition, to --

O'BRIEN: What does that mean?

HEBEN: They brought their kit and exposed it.

O'BRIEN: What does that mean, pieces of kit? I don't understand.

HEBEN: Pieces of kit like critical pieces of equipment, like advanced night vision optics systems. We're using 4-2 night vision systems now and Hollywood shows single tube, and double tube. These are four-tube which gives extremely expanded field of vision and depth perception is dramatically improved.

Now, Soledad, this is a piece of equipment that costs up to $100,000 to outfit each individual. So, not only is it cost prohibitive for any other country to acquire this, it's also controlled under what are called ITAR policies that prevent any military equipment or hardware from being exported to any other nation.

O'BRIEN: So is the issue that --

HEBEN: To the extent that --

O'BRIEN: So is the issue that they undermined national security or is it the issue that you're not allowed to do these kind of consulting gigs without going through us, the military, first, and that's what they're mad about?


O'BRIEN: Or is there real risk they've now put people in?

HEBEN: I think they're more upset they went at this without official command permission. One thing people need to realize is that back in 2002 when "SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs I" was released, the man that created that, that directed that, that drove that, was David Sears, who is now working with Soft Studios and Justin Bastian down in North Carolina.

David Sears had complete cooperation from the U.S. military, from the whole command at SEAL Team Three at the West Coast. They gave these guys weapons to fire so they could record the actual sound. They game them four or five actual SEALs, one or two are now currently at SEAL Team Six.

They gave these individuals and equipment to David Sears so he could make this game and have it be as accurate as possible. So, it kind of appears to me that they've just changed the rules all of a sudden. It's more of like a knee-jerk, hair trigger reaction to the Mark Owen book "No Easy Day" with the accounts of the bin Laden raid. So, I think they're trying to clamp down on the divulgence of information by guys currently on active duty.


HEBEN: This is an Article 15 charge, which is not a court-martial. Court-martial is usually indicative of criminal charges. This is what's called an NJP or non-judicial punishment. They get a reprimand, half a month's pay docked for two months, which is the maximum financial fine you can assess on an individual in the military.

LIZZA: Christopher, Christopher, isn't it a little unfair to these guys, considering how much the military these days cooperates with Hollywood, how much the administration cooperates with some of these films and journalistic accounts of what goes on in our military? Isn't it a little unfair for the guys on the ground who are doing this hard work who see that and want to set the story straight?

I mean, I read "No Easy Day", which is an incredible book. One of the things that drove that author was he saw what was being reported by the media. He saw what was being put out by the White House after the raid, and he said he wanted to set the record straight and tell an accurate story.

And as far as I can tell, he was very careful in not revealing anything overly sensitive.

So, it seems like the military wants to have it both ways on this stuff.

HEBEN: Yes. There is a fine line. And it's sort of -- they impose things based on convenience or based on the ability or need to do damage control. I would agree with your assessment of "No Easy Day." It was very factual. It was very accurate.

And you got to remember, too, that these guys are not going to give away tactics, techniques and procedures or TTPs that are currently in use. They're not going to do that because they will put their friends and comrades in jeopardy. They're not going to do that.

You know what? At the end of the day, too, the Taliban and al Qaeda is not going to use modern warfare war fighter as a training video, as a training aid or recruitment tool or recruitment aid. They're not going to use it.

It's still a reactionary game. There's no planning involved. You know, guys get killed they re-spawn and go through the room of the doorway again.

It's not telling you what tactics to use. So, it's a very reactionary game. And the way I look at it is this. A professional football player trains for hundreds and hundreds of hours for actually three to four minutes of physical contact during a game.

So, with these games, these video games, the players actually getting that three or four minutes of actual enemy contact. They don't get the training. All the man hours that have to go into acquiring these skills and these abilities and intelligence data, they don't get that. They just get the meat and potatoes. It's an exhilarating -- it's a fun experience, you know --

O'BRIEN: Christopher Marks Heben joining us this morning -- a lot of insight on that. Thank you for being with us. We certainly appreciate it.

HEBEN: Yes. You're welcome.

O'BRIEN: Thanks.

We've got to take a short break. Back in just a moment.

We're going to talk about legalized marijuana for recreational use. That passed this election. Is it a good idea? Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us with more on that.

And the Twitter war, Jonah Hill, Don Lemon got a little ugly.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, "HUFF POST LIVE": And he's tweeting right now.

O'BRIEN: We're going to talk about what happened. Maybe we can do a little kumbaya, bring them all together.


O'BRIEN: We're back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The governor of Colorado is reaching out to Washington, D.C., trying to get some answers about how his state's legalization of marijuana is going to play out. Gov. John Hickenlooper is reportedly set to sit down and talk with the attorney general, Eric Holder, later today.

Colorado and Washington State both voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Though, it's still illegal on the federal level, which is a giant conflict. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on this for us. Sanjay, good morning.


O'BRIEN: First, as a doctor, how do you feel about marijuana being legalized in those two states?

GUPTA: Well, you know, those two states you're specifically talking about recreational use. You know, as a doctor, obviously, we try to figure out the medicinal properties. And when you're asking that question, you want to find out if it's safe, obviously, if it's effective, and if it's more effective than what's already out there. That's the standard that you look at any medicine, really, in the medical community. From a safety standpoint, you know, there's been a lot of studies on it, showing particularly in adults and particularly if it's not smoked, it can be very safe. Effective wise, there's been a lot of studies of looking at its use in certain conditions like, nausea, emaciation (ph) associated with AIDS, for example, and it can be very effective.

What is interesting now is this idea that it could be more effective than some of the things already out there, particularly, with pain. There's a type of pain, Soledad, you may be familiar with. It's called neuropathic pain. It's nerve pain. It's radiating pain that sort of pins and needles like sensation.

And there's more and more data suggesting it could be more effective than a lot of the medications that are out there.

O'BRIEN: Yes, but we're talking about recreational use. Yes. I hear you, doctor, but I'm not asking at all about medicinal use. I am asking, as a doctor, is it dangerous -- is smoking pot dangerous for your average person who wants to use it for recreational use? What would you tell a patient who sat down and said it's now legal in my state, sir, and I want your advice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Asking for a friend.


GUPTA: That's what I'm saying. I think the safety data is pretty compelling. I mean, you know, look, this isn't anecdotal any more, Soledad, is what I'm saying. People sort of just, you know, gave their conjecture on what they thought. But now, this is a studied substance. So, again, particularly in adults, younger than age 15 kids who are smoking are more likely to have long-term memory problems.

But if you start past a certain age, if you're not using this as a child but as an adult, the safety data is pretty compelling. Again, you know, smoking it can cause damage to the lungs, as smoke anything can. But if you don't smoke it, in particular, but you're still taking the entire substance, including the THC, there's not a lot of data to suggest that it's that harmful, long term.

BERMAN: What's so interesting about this, Sanjay, it's not just legalizing marijuana for recreational use. In a way, it's institutionalizing. The Colorado was talking about regulating and controlling and taxing this thing. I mean, they're talking about making a lot of money off of this. Does that present any ethical conflicts, Sanjay, from a medical standpoint?

GUPTA: Well, you know, and as part of that as well, John, they say that they will, you know, -- if someone is caught --suspected of driving under the influence, they can be tested for it. So, you know, I think, you know, from a safety standpoint, the idea that it's -- you know, people will know the product that they're getting.

They can be tested for it if they're driving impaired, for example. That could offer a lot of benefit from a pure safety standpoint.

LEMON: As someone who hosts the show on Saturday night on CNN, a lot of pot smokers watching, I'm sure.


O'BRIEN: How do you know that?

LEMON: Because every time we do a pot story and we're doing one this weekend to talk about, you know, people going on vacation to Colorado and to Washington state for pot. I think there's a movement in this country to legalize marijuana, number one, because it's not as bad for you as alcohol, quite frankly. People who smoke pot don't get in cars. So, to drive cars -- usually you just want to --


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We're a country that's addicted to a lot of things, and we're not any happier. We want more of everything. And just because cigarettes and alcohol are legal, it doesn't mean you can have something else on that makes people happier or healthier.

I mean, I think that we need to -- especially Sanjay, you know that the biggest cost to the government of any kind of health care cost is treating people who are addicted to substances, legal or otherwise.

O'BRIEN: Gateway drug.

LEMON: It is not a gateway drug.

O'BRIEN: Come on. Ask Sanjay.

LEMON: It is not a gateway drug.

O'BRIEN: You're not a doctor. I want to hear from Sanjay.

LEMON: If you are prone to addiction, no matter -- if you're not prone to addiction, nothing is a gateway drug.

O'BRIEN: Sanjay, is it a gateway drug?


LEMON: But if I did, I would rather my kid smoke pot than drink alcohol.

ROMANS: I would rather they didn't do either until they were old enough.

O'BRIEN: Stop for one second so I can ask a question. Stop! Oh, my God. It's out of control on Friday. Sanjay, yes or no?


O'BRIEN: Yes or no, is it -- shhh! yes or no, is it a gateway drug? GUPTA: I think, you know, the idea that it's an addictive substance and all of that, I think, again, you know, the data is pretty weak on this. I don't have a dog in this race like Don appears to, but the --


O'BRIEN: All right. Got it. That's all I wanted to know. Sanjay, thank you. Don Lemon, I'm going to kill you in the commercial break. We've got to take a short break.

Up ahead, we talk about this Twitter war with Don and Jonah Hill -- shhh. They battle it out on Twitter goes viral. We'll talk about that ahead. Oh, my God! What's wrong with you people?


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans, watching your money this morning.

U.S. stock futures are down sharply with about an hour to go until the opening bell. This is an indication that markets will open lower again this morning. The Dow was plunged more than 400 points in the two days after election. That concerns about Europe, global growth and, of course, the fiscal cliff, pushing markets down.

We'll have two key speeches today from House speaker, John Boehner and from the president about the economy and presumably the fiscal cliff.

Mortgage rates, by the way, still near record-lows. In the latest survey by Freddie Mac, 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.40 percent. The15-year rate is 2.69 percent. These are historic lows, folks. Thirty-year rats have been falling most of the year. Each leg lower on this chart that you're looking at is more money in homeowners' pockets, if you can refinance.

Speaking of that fiscal cliff, the Congressional Budget Office in the post-election report on the fiscal cliff says it will lead to a recession and a spike in unemployment in 9.1 percent. Congress is running out of time to prevent taxes from rising for everyone. And cross the board, eight to 10 percent budget cuts for government agencies like the FDA, CDC, border patrol, education.

It's a long list. The CBO also found that raising taxes just on the wealthy would not meaningfully hurt economic growth. In fact, it would hurt it by about a little -- maybe a quarter of one percentage point in economic growth, you guys.

O'BRIEN: Mortgage rates?

ROMANS: Mortgage rates near record lows, as I said.


O'BRIEN: So, here's what we've learned in the last ten minutes. I'd like to recap. Number one, Don Lemon is an emotional, committed, deeply, deeply committed advocate of pot smoking. (LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: We've also learned that he is a bit of a Twitter battle with Jonah Hill, the actor. So, here are some of the tweets. First one.

LEMON: Oh, Lord.

O'BRIEN: This is from Don, Said hi to @JonahHill in hotel. "Think he thought I was bellman. Didn't know his name till Bellman told me. A lesson to always be kind." To which then Hill responded, "I said hi. What did you want me to do, move in with you? I was in a hurry. Didn't realize you were a 12-year-old girl. Peace." Don --


O'BRIEN: Wait, wait. It gets worse. Don goes back, hardly. "You're not my type, but I know rude and you were." Jonah Hill comes back with, "I walked out of the restroom and found you waiting for me. Shook hands, said hi, and was on my way. Sorry if you found that rude." Wow! What's going on? What happened?

LEMON: OK. So, just to preface it. I'm not going to get sanctimonious. You know, it's a fun thing, for me, at least.


LEMON: Well, at first, when I tweeted, I just wanted to get it off my chest. It was kind of funny, he's a comedian. But I've just gotten back from covering the election. I'll go quickly. And I was stuck in an airport for six hours in Cincinnati because the cab driver wanted to take a picture with me as I was getting out of the car.

I missed the cut-off by one minute for my bag. And I'm not -- listen, Jonah Hill doesn't owe me anything. He may have been having a bad day, but Jonah Hill treated me like the help when I said -- I was basically wanted to say I like you. I think you're funny. I didn't remember his name. I was checking out of the hotel, waiting for my bags, and he walked by.

I don't know where he was going. And I said that he just kind of walked, just kind of like -- oh, and then like I was the help. And so, then, he walked back and I said maybe you misunderstood, I just wanted to tell you, I think you're really funny and he just kind of went like, you know, gave me the wet handshake like oh, and just like and walked away.

And so, the bellman looked at me and I looked at the bellman. And I said what's that guy's name? And he said Jonah Hill. And I went, "oh," and he goes, "oh, yes, right." And so, it normally doesn't bother me.

O'BRIEN: But you were done.

LEMON: But I was done because I had been taught by my mother to always be kind to people.

O'BRIEN: So, were you surprised that he answered back after you tweeted that he was rude?

LEMON: Yes. I was surprised the way he answered. Had it been me, I would have said, I'm sorry. I was really busy. Hey, man. How are you doing or whatever? Really sorry about that. Peace. But to say I think he's -- the way he treated me was in his response. What are you, a 12-year-old girl?

O'BRIEN: -- right? And you said, not my type and you went back and sort of said --

LEMON: Yes, because the idea that I am waiting for Jonah Hill outside of a bathroom is absurd. I don't have, first of all, the time for that. But I think when you're in -- anyway, for other reasons, but when you're in this business -- I'm not as famous as Jonah Hill. And I would imagine people all the time --

LIZZA: Twitter followers.

LEMON: But when you're in this business, you have to be -- you should be nice to people, because the only reason that you're here is because people go to watch your movies or they subscribe to cable because they want to see you. Otherwise, you would not have a job.

HUNTSMAN: But I have a solution.

O'BRIEN: Wait, wait, Abby has a solution.

HUNTSMAN: I have a solution, because he is a pot smoker. He is. He is. It's a well-known fact.


O'BRIEN: That's what I said. We could have this Kumbaya moment.

LEMON: I think as a journalist that we should really do the investigating and not be like we talk about the GOP and things in the past. There are some very good reasons that pot should be legalized and we should look into it. Christine said alcohol, we have issues with health care. Maybe alcohol should be the substance that's illegal.

O'BRIEN: You have moved us off my Jonah Hill conversation.

LEMON: Anyway, yes.

O'BRIEN: We'll see what he says. I'm interested to see if he says, I'm sorry. Kumbaya and everybody gets together.

LEMON: I'm not mad at Jonah. It's funny. I love you. I saw a movie where you were -- he was the babysitter and driving the kids around. I thought he was funny. I just saw the movie so I recognized his face. I couldn't remember his name. He's a funny guy. But I just think that the way he treated me was rude. And I didn't care for it.

O'BRIEN: Now he knows because you're engaged in a twitter war.

LEMON: Not really.

O'BRIEN: Twitter spat.

Tension in the perfection gulf is what we're talking about this morning. Iran shoots at a U.S. drone. What happens next? We'll get right to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

O'BRIEN: And then witness to murder. Patricia Maisch was there when Jared Loughner opened fire in Tucson. She helped, actually, to disarm him. And she saw him yesterday again in court. She will join us to talk about how that went for her. That's straight ahead.


O'BRIEN: Morning. Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. Iran's military is responding to a claim that two of its airplanes opened fire on a U.S. drone over open waters. Let's get right to Barbara Starr, live at the Pentagon for us. Even though they failed to hit the drone, this is unprecedented, isn't it?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is the first time, Soledad, that Iran -- the U.S. says, has fired on a U.S. military drone. This raises tensions in the Persian Gulf, no question about it. The Iranian military this morning is saying it will respond to any aggression inside its air space, inside its waters. But the U.S. says that drone was flying in international air space over the Persian Gulf, 16 miles out. The national limit is 12 miles.

So the question is, if this happens again, what will everyone do? Would Iran fire? Would the U.S. respond? The Pentagon says it's going to continue those, what they call routine but classified surveillance flights off the coast of Iran. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: It's being released now. It happened November 1st, right? So before Election Day.


O'BRIEN: Is it as simple as that, before election?

STARR: That's pretty interesting. Why didn't the Pentagon talk about it? They have in the past talked very openly when there have been these incidents with Iran in previous months. The Pentagon says it did not talk about it because it was a classified surveillance flight. But let me take you a little bit behind the curtain. We here at CNN found out about this incident, went to the -- went to Pentagon officials and started asking them about it. At that point, they acknowledged it. They gave me some details about it. And then at a press briefing yesterday, in front of TV cameras, then they openly acknowledged it. They said it had nothing to do with politics, not trying to bring Iran up before Election Day but it was all about it was a classified mission.

O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you, Barbara.

STARR: Sure. O'BRIEN: The man who shot former congresswoman Gabby Giffords and killed six other people back in 2011 is going to spend the rest of his life in prison. Giffords was in court, in fact, when the judge sentenced Jared Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years without parole. Giffords stood next to her husband, Mark Kelly, as he read a statement, telling Loughner that they are, quote, "done thinking about him." Several survivors spoke at that hearing, among them Patricia Maisch, who wrestled a gun magazine off of him.

Thank you for join us. You sat in that courtroom. It sounded so emotional. When you look back now, how are you feeling about all that testimony?

PATRICIA MAISCH, HELPED DISARM JARED LOUGHNER: It is always emotional, especially when a number of us get together and gabby doesn't join us very often. So having her there amongst us was very touching and she looks great, making great progress. It's -- I was not injured, if you remember, that day. I didn't lose anyone. So I think it can be more emotional for those people who were wounded or lost someone.

O'BRIEN: But you get a lot of credit for --

MAISCH: It was a very emotional day.

O'BRIEN: I bet. You get a lot of credit for what you did. You were not injured but you helped wrestle the gun magazine as I think he was trying to reload. You were on the ground and he was on the ground and you wrestled with it. And then eventually you held on to his legs, right? Walk us through what happened.

MAISCH: That is correct. Roger Salzberger and Bill Badger were able to tackle him to the ground. I had dove for cover, and they essentially knocked him down on top of me. And when they said "get the gun, get the magazine," I was not able to get the gun because it was too far away, but I was able to get the magazine that he was getting out of his pocket.

O'BRIEN: Wow. So a lot of the -- big portion of this hearing was spent on gun control. Mark Kelly, Gabby's husband, stood up and talked to the judge about this. I want to play a little bit of what he said about, really, a lack of leadership is the best way to characterize it. Listen.


MARK KELLY, GABRIELLE GIFFORDS' HUSBAND: It's really unfortunate that somebody who won't take the lead on this issue. Gabby and I are both gun owners. 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.


O'BRIEN: Would you agree? What do you think should be done in the wake of this tragedy where really no change in gun laws?

MAISCH: Well, I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, but I do not own guns. I do support people being able to have them if they want them, but not in the hands of criminals.

You know, the NRA has a stranglehold -- the NRA and the gun lobby and gun manufacturers, I believe, have the stranglehold on our legislators. And if you say anything about guns, you don't get elected because they have money that -- to help elect people who do support unlimited gun control -- unlimited guns.

And we like to call it violence, gun violence control instead of gun control. We want to mitigate some of the gun violence.

I think that there's -- last census, there was 310 million people in the United States, and 4 million of those people are NRA members. And recent polls by even conservative pollsters say that the majority of those gun owners -- not the NRA administration -- but the gun owners support background checks. And 40 percent of the guns sold in the United States do not have a background check. It's easier to buy a gun at a gun show than it is to buy Sudafed at Walgreen's.

O'BRIEN: Patricia Maisch joining us this morning. Thank you for talking to us about your experience in the courtroom yesterday. We appreciate your time.

MAISCH: Thank you, Soledad. I appreciate you talking with me.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, forget the election results. What about the craziness around the election? Karl Rove on FOX, did you see that? Donald Trump on twitter, calling for revolution on Twitter. Howard Kurtz and Lorne Ashburn will join us to talk about the fallout from the fallout. That's ahead.


O'BRIEN: So there was the election. We talked a lot about that. Then there was like the craziness around the election from Karl Rove on air on Fox, who is kind of flipping out to those projections are rolling in, especially around Ohio; to Donald Trump going nuts on Twitter.

Let's talk about all of that. Howard Kurtz is the host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" and Washington bureau chief for "Newsweek" and the "Daily Beast"; and Lauren Ashburn a contributor to the "Daily Beast" and editor-in-chief of the "Daily Download". I like to call you guys partners in crime.


O'BRIEN: Where to begin, where to begin? Donald Trump I think. So his tweets shall we? Here's what he tweeted and I follow it on Twitter, "He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country."

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": That's not true, by the way.

O'BRIEN: Right. Wrong, Donald.

ASHBURN: Don't be a journalist.

O'BRIEN: He removed, he deleted these tweets but we were able to capture them.

KURTZ: Oh he deleted all the crazy ones?

O'BRIEN: Well yes, yes. Not all the crazy ones --

ASHBURN: Trump's reality show is a great reality show. He should stop trying to make reality show about the presidency.

O'BRIEN: He called for a march on Washington, which I found that very interesting. "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty." He believed at this moment that --


KURTZ: Oh he believed that the popular vote --

O'BRIEN: -- the popular vote had gone to Romney and Electoral College --


KURTZ: But even if that was true, that's the way the system work.

LEMON: Yes, hello, Al Gore.

KURTZ: I covered that. He has always been kind of a colorful, deliberately outrageous guy. He is losing touch with any semblance of reality. And this really points to the larger point Soledad which is people who don't like the way politics is going in this country, they challenge the unemployment numbers, they challenge the polls. Remember, polls turned out to be right. And in this case, they challenged the legitimacy of Obama's election.

O'BRIEN: I was talking to Wendy Williams -- I was on her show yesterday, which was so much fun. And she said, she thinks it's a mistake to even talk about Donald Trump because it kind of makes his platform bigger. Let me play a little bit of what she said to me.


O'BRIEN: Election night into election morning were insane. It's insane.

WENDY WILLIAMS, TALK SHOW HOST: I don't think that Brian should have fed into it. Donald Trump --


O'BRIEN: He had to.

WILLIAMS: I like Donald Trump, but Donald Trump is like a junkyard dog. You know they fight, they fight like junkyard dogs style.

O'BRIEN: He has a platform.


O'BRIEN: He has a platform and he was saying things that weren't true.


O'BRIEN: She was talking about Brian Williams, who then got into this twitter spat with Donald Trump, who have been you know saying all these mean things about his show and about him personally.

LEMON: He said he was one exit past relevance or something -- that's what Brian Williams said.

O'BRIEN: That's what Brian Williams said.

ASHBURN: But I think the issue here Soledad is that Republicans really took this hard. That was like a stage of grief. You know the first stage in grief is denial, you know. You're denying the facts here. And the next stage is, you know, anger. And then people start to get really angry about what happened. But it's that whole denial of reality that concerns me.

O'BRIEN: Is that what was happening with Karl Rove who sat on the Fox set and just would not concede Ohio or really the election?

KURTZ: That's a weirdly compelling television moment. And you had to ask yourself. I mean he wasn't just challenging the liberal media he was challenging Fox's own projection. You have to ask yourself was he there as a Fox commentator or was he there as a guy who formed this Super PAC to get Mitt Romney elected? It's just -- he just looked --


HUNTSMAN: So what happens to someone like Rove? Right I mean, $300 million later people are upset. Has he lost all credibility? I mean what does someone like Rove's future look like from here?


O'BRIEN: Let's play a little bit of how it went on Fox, some of that craziness.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Do you believe that Ohio has been settled?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No, I don't. Look, I don't know what the outcome is going to be. But you should -- we've got to be careful about calling things when we have like 991 votes separating the two candidates and a quarter of the vote yet to count.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: It's great to have you guys here.



O'BRIEN: That was Megyn Kelly saying "That's awkward".


ASHBURN: What else is she going to say?

KURTZ: Why do you say it doesn't matter?

ASHBURN: Why do I say it doesn't matter --


ASHBURN: -- if he's a commentator or running a PAC --

KURTZ: And raising money for Mitt Romney.

ASHBURN: Because it's Fox. What -- are you expecting Fox at night not to be partisan?

O'BRIEN: Ryan Lizza.

LIZZA: Well, I think -- I think that is actually a legitimate issue. And it's not just on Fox, but we do have a lot of people who are involved with politics who are raising money for Super PACs who also play roles as TV you know contributors, strategists and commentators.

KURTZ: Which is obliterating the line between commentary and partisan --

LIZZA: I will say the most embarrassing thing I thought for Fox over this whole thing was he basically bullied the hosts into backing off a little bit from their call. These guys had called Ohio. And if you read -- if you read between the lines, the host didn't come back and say, "No, Mr. Rove, you're wrong. We have called this. We trust the opinion." They were bullied into going back, interviewing --


O'BRIEN: Rechecking their opinion.

LIZZA: -- their professionals on staff.


O'BRIEN: Megyn Kelly said it best when she said "awkward". And it was.

I've got to take a break. We're back in just a minute.


O'BRIEN: More than two million U.S. troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. An estimated 400,000 of them suffer from some form of depression that's related to their service. In today's "Heroes", meet an army veteran on a special mission with help from man's best friend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I got back from Iraq, I stood away from large crowds, malls, movies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't leave the house. Just didn't want to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Staying inside, windows are blacked out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really numb.

INGRAHAM: I didn't feel like I had a purpose anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nightmares constantly, flashbacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything to me is still combat zone.

MARY CORTANI, OPERATION FREEDOMS PAWS: Veterans with invisible wounds, we can't see a wheelchair, a prosthetic leg. They appear like you and I. But their suffering goes so deep it touches the soul.

I learned how to train dogs while I served in the Army. I knew that a dog can add a lot in your life. I realized this is what I was supposed to do.

My name is Mary Cortani. I match veterans with service dogs, train them as a team so that they can navigate life together.


When a veteran trains their own service dog, they have a mission and a purpose again.

Talk to them. Tell them they did good.

Dogs come from shelters, rescue groups. They're taught to create a special barrier and can alert them when they start to get anxious.

Are you okay? Are you getting overwhelmed? Focus on Maggie.

The dog is capable of keeping them grounded.

You're focusing on him and he's focusing on everything around you.

You start to see them get their confidence back. Communicate differently. They venture out. And they're beginning to participate in life again.

Being able to help them find that joy back in their life. It's priceless.



O'BRIEN: Merciful God, it's the end of the show. Our last 45 seconds go to Don Lemon. Don -- your "End Point"?

LEMON: My "End Point" is there are a lot of pot smokers out there on Twitter who are like, "We love Don Lemon." The other thing is people take Twitter wars seriously. It's not -- I mean Jonah is a good guy. We're just having fun. Relax, everyone. It's not that big of a deal.

O'BRIEN: Okay. Everybody have a great weekend. Thank you for being with us. There's so many calls for you to come back. I hope that you will.

LEMON: I will.

O'BRIEN: Got to get right to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. We'll see everybody else back here on Monday morning.

Hey Carol, good morning.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Don is a generous guy. I admire that.

O'BRIEN: I think he's making it up.

COSTELLO: Have a great weekend.

Stories we're watching right now in the "NEWSROOM".

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