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Investigation into General Petraeus' Resignation Continues; Speculation Surfaces of Nancy Pelosi Stepping Down as House Minority Leader; Interview with Congressman Steve Israel; People Sign Petition to Secede in Three States; Snowboarders Reunited With Their Families; Elmo Puppeteer Cleared; Meningitis Hearing; Doctor DWI; Gingrich Offers GOP Tough Medicine; Fiscal Cliff Looming At Year's End; Gingriches Have New Books Out; Inspiration In Our Nation's Origins; GOP Governors Gather In Las Vegas; Jackson Jr. Out Of Mayo Clinic; Marlins Blockbuster Trade; "Capturing Camelot"

Aired November 14, 2012 - 07:00   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. Our "Starting Point" this morning, the Petraeus web gets a little more tangled. From supposed flirtatious e-mails to an eyebrow raising 911 call, we're learning more about that woman there, she's the one who triggered the investigation. And find out what the Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, says about the scandal.

Plus, intrigue surrounding House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, as she prepares to address Democrats today. Will she stay in her role or will she be stepping down?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Forty- eight days until we reach the fiscal cliff, unless Congress and the president act. I'll tell you what falling off that fiscal cliff could mean for you and the greater economy.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A massive recall from Toyota. Millions of cars called in because of a steering problem. What you need to know?

O'BRIEN: Among our guests today, New York Congressman Steve Israel will be joining us. Newt and Callista Gingrich are our guests. Author Kitty Kelley, Pennsylvania Congressman Allyson Schwartz, Ret. Gen. James "Spider" Marks, Washington Senator Patty Murray is with us, and director Oliver Stone.

It is Wednesday, November 14th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.

Look at me, I'm whistling our theme song this morning. Good morning, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. The scandal, and it's spreading, is now engulfing two four-star generals. There are some new details about the woman who is at the center of it all. Her name is Jill Kelley. She is described as a Tampa socialite. She first reported she's anonymous harassing e-mails to an FBI agent friend, and that ended up triggering an investigation.

Those e-mails eventually turned out to be sent by Paula Broadwell. That would be David Petraeus' biographer and eventually turned out his mistress, as well. We mentioned it was a web, didn't I? And it is. The affair exposed General Petraeus and he was forced to resign as the CIA director.

Well, now the general, John Allen, who is the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is being investigated for trading alleged quote flirtatious e-mails with Ms. Kelley over the last couple of years. We're hearing from Ms. Kelley for the first time in a 911 call to Tampa police that happened over the weekend. She's complaining about crowds outside of her home and tries to claim protection as a citizen diplomat. Here's what she said.


JILL KELLEY, FLORIDA SOCIALIATE: You know, I'm, I don't know if by any chance, because I'm an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability, so they should not be able to cross my property. I don't know if you want to get diplomatic protection involved as well. But now it's against the law to cross my property since this is now like, you know, it's inviolable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. No problem. I'll let the officers know.

KELLEY: Thank you.


O'BRIEN: Meantime, the Senate intelligence committee wants to be briefed both by Petraeus and his replacement, Michael Morrell. CNN's Jill Dougherty is at the state department digging into some of this really confusing web I think it's fair to say. Good morning to you, Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Soledad. You know, let's begin with that honorary consul general. In Tampa, apparently, from what we can understand, Jill Kelley was totally a volunteer. She was a volunteer with an international organization that greets international visitors, and then also, in some capacity, she was helping to promote a trade agreement with South Korea. At least that is the understanding.

And in that capacity, the South Korean government, according to Yonhap News Agency, which is the official South Korean news agency, they gave her an honorary consul appointment. It has no legal standing. It is not a diplomatic post. It is totally voluntary. And has no rights. So when she is saying there, you know, my property is inviolable, it would appear at this stage to be, let's say, a gross exaggeration of what's going on.

But that doesn't mean that she didn't have contacts -- oh, and I should say that Yonhap is saying that the South Korean government says if this becomes problematic they would lift that honorary consul degree. But they are definitely the administration is sticking with General Allen, and I think we have a quick sound bite from Secretary Panetta, the defense secretary, saying exactly that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: No one should leap to any conclusions. No one should leap to any conclusions here. General Allen is doing an excellent job at ISAF in leading those forces. He certainly has my continued confidence to lead our forces, and to continue the fight. But his nomination has been put on hold as a prudent measure until we determine what the facts are. And we will.


DOUGHERTY: OK. So he continues, General Allen, continues in his post as the top NATO U.S. commander in Afghanistan. But that nomination as the supreme allied commander in Europe is on hold.

O'BRIEN: It's all a bit of a mess right now. Jill Dougherty for us this morning, thank you, Jill.

While the Petraeus drama is playing out while the fiscal cliff, remember that, inches closer and closer towards us. Just 48 days away. Brianna Keilar joins us from Washington, D.C. So, Brianna, I guess you have this fiscal cliff, that the administration is dealing with, at the same time you have this unfolding scandal. How is the administration, or has the administration really been dragged into the scandal?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's certainly been a distraction. If you watched the White House press briefing yesterday you could see almost all of the questions revolved around this scandal involving Generals Petraeus and Allen. So we know that, certainly. But, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, was downplaying this was a distraction, saying the president is still very much focused on the fiscal cliff. We do know, however, that this situation has taken some of the president's time, a limited amount of time, Carney said. But at the same time, we know that a lot of staff hours get dedicated to something like this kind of scandal.

Meantime, Carney said that president Obama still thinks very highly of general Allen. He said that he thinks highly of the job that he's done in Afghanistan, and of his service. Here's what he said yesterday. The first time that Carney had briefed after this scandal had broke.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He has faith in General Allen, believes he's doing and has done an excellent job at ISAF. And I would refer you to the Pentagon for the process under way with regards to General Allen.


KEILAR: Meantime, Soledad, President Obama will welcome dozens of business leaders to the White House today, some of whom support something he wants to do, which is increase taxes on the wealthy. Obviously the White House is hoping that maybe that will convince some House Republicans to budge on this a little bit, although I've talked to some Republicans who say, don't count on that. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: All right, Brianna Keilar for us this morning. Thanks, Brianna. CNN's special coverage of the president's news conference will begin at 1:00 p.m. eastern time. Wolf Blitzer is hosting that, and we will obviously carry that for you live when it happens.

I want to talk a little bit more about the fiscal cliff. Chief business correspondent Ali Velshi joins us. You heard Brianna talk about this meeting with CEOs about that. How much of that is PR and how much of that is really critical conversation?

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the very conservative leaders, and anti-tax leaders, have called the whole thing pr. They think it's giving the president cover. You see there the CEOs of Aetna, Xerox, American Express, Honeywell, Wal-Mart, GE, Dow, Procter & Gamble, Ford, PepsiCo. These are not people who are hostile to the president, so is it giving him cover? These are big employers. The president needs to discuss the fiscal cliff and taxes with them. What the allegation is that there are no representatives of small business there and no representatives who say don't touch taxes, the Grover Norquist U.S. chamber of commerce group represented there. That's a relationship the president doesn't have.

O'BRIEN: I think it could be you're right I don't know that all of them you put up that big list and showed all the faces. Not all of them are pro-Obama.

VELSHI: But they are not the most hostile bunch about the president.

O'BRIEN: And it is a sliding scale. Ali Velshi, thank you.

From the fiscal cliff to what is cliffhanger truly on Capitol Hill, the minority leader Nancy Pelosi, is she going to retire? She is expected to announce her decision later this morning. CNN's senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash is following some of those developments there. What do you think? Is it a yes or a no? What are folks saying?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know yet but you can barely turn a corner on Capitol Hill without hearing open speculation. Few people really know the answer. I'm told even Nancy Pelosi's own staff doesn't know. The people I'm talking to, who I suspect do know, won't give me a hint. Nancy Pelosi has been the House Democratic leader for 10 years. Four of which she was the speaker of the house. And by all accounts she leads her caucus with an iron fist. Now she left a lot of her democratic colleagues pretty shocked two years ago when she decided to stay on as minority leader when she lost the gavel. Now she really seems to be enjoying this intrigue about her future. Listen to what she said yesterday.


NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Let's see, what time is it now? It's 2:00 on Tuesday. I'll see you right here, 10:00 tomorrow morning. While I love you all very dearly I thought maybe I would talk to my own caucus before I shared that information with you. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now that meeting with democratic colleagues is in fewer than two hours, 9:00 a.m. eastern, then she has a press conference an hour later. I've got to tell you, adding to the intrigue, she will appear with house Democratic women. Now could that mean she will say, well, she wants to show why she wants to remain the highest ranking woman in congress? Or it could be that she wants to show how proud she is that there is a historic number of younger women or women in general who could potentially take her place? There are so many possibilities.

One that I heard is that she may be considering and now saying that she will stay on as leader until the end of her term in two years which would allow younger, newer leaders to position themselves to take over.

O'BRIEN: Wow. So we just don't know. We're going to have to wait for her press conference is what she's saying pretty much. Dana Bash, thanks, as always, appreciate it.

John Berman's got a look at some of the other stories making news for us.

BERMAN: There aren't many mysteries in Washington. That's a good one.

O'BRIEN: Usually you get some leaks on that, huh?

BERMAN: Three hours. Give it time.

Super-storm Sandy's latest victim is the head of the Long Island Power Authority. LIPA's Michael Hervey announcing his resignation effective at the end of the year. His utility has been under fire for a slow response to sandy. He's defended LIPA's action calling the task herculean.

Many New Jersey homeowners are already paying the price for hurricane sandy and they're about to pay a little more even still. Governor Chris Christie says residents of towns that require extensive rebuilding efforts can expect to see their property taxes go up.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: There's no magic money tree. But I think that most people in these towns will recognize that if they believe that the money is being spent reasonably and responsibly to rebuild their towns they'll be happy to do it. No one's ever happy with higher taxes. But the fact is what people don't want more than anything else is waste.


BERMAN: The state normally caps tax increases at two percent, but the law provides exceptions for emergencies.

New developments in the strange murder investigation unfolding in Belize. John McAfee, the man behind the popular McAfee anti-virus software says he isn't a killer and fears for his life. He's in hiding after his neighbor was found dead, shot in the head, in his own home. Police say McAfee is in no danger and urged him to come forward. McAfee did manage to get his side of the story out in an interview with


JOHN MCAFEE: That's all I know. I have had no speculation other than the first thing I thought about was, oh, my god, he's a white man, I'm a white man, someone's, you know, the government's finally decided to off me, they got the wrong white man, since we're, you know, we live almost next door. And that actually went through my mind and actually scared me for quite a while.


BERMAN: Three people have been detained for questioning in this case.

A small plane went down in Jackson, Mississippi, slamming into a house and killing all three people on board. One person inside the house escaped with minor injuries. The plane's owner says all three men on board the Piper PA-32, they were pilots, they were heading to an FAA safety conference in Raymond, Mississippi when their plane went down.

Some big news for car owners -- Toyota announcing a massive recall. Close to 3 million cars worldwide. Mostly 2004 to 2009 Prius models, and 670,000 of these were sold in the U.S.

O'BRIEN: I have a 2009 prius, what?

BERMAN: Listen very closely. Here it is. It's issues with the car's steering system and their electric water pumps. Toyota says, Soledad, there have been no crashes and no injuries reported as a result of this problem but I think everyone, including you, who owns a Prius model from 2004 to 2009 --

O'BRIEN: Call your dealer.

VELSHI: Actually even those of us who don't own Priuses are concerned with steering or braking problems. We'd like that fixed, too.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, some growing speculation about what Nancy Pelosi will announce today. You just heard from Dana Bash about that. We're going to talk with New York congressman Steve Israel. He works side by side with Nancy Pelosi. We'll chat about what he thinks is ahead for her.

And a dramatic car accident, oh, my goodness, caught on camera. We'll tell you why the woman behind the wheel is the last person that you would expect. That's ahead. Stay with us.


O'BRIEN: Will she stay or will she go? Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi has a news conference in less than three hours. She's holding it on Capitol Hill, of course. We're expecting to find out then whether or not she's planning to run for the House minority leadership position or if she's ready to hand over the reins.

New York Congressman Steve Israel held a separate press conference with Nancy Pelosi yesterday to welcome the new house Democrats. He's also the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It's nice to see you. So yes or no, what do you think? You think she's going to say in this press conference whether or not she's leaving and do you think she'll leave?

REP, STEVE ISRAEL, (R) NEW YORK: It's fundamentally her decision.

O'BRIEN: I know that.

ISRAEL: I hope she --

O'BRIEN: Come on --

ISRAEL: I hope that she decides to stay. The only person who knows for sure is Nancy Pelosi.

But look, here's why I hope she stays. She just helped elect 49 new Democrats who are problem solvers. Take a look at the footage from that press conference yesterday, 49 new Democrats who are diverse, the first democratic caucus, the first caucus in history that has a majority of women, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic- American. But more than anything else, she helped elect a class of problem solvers, people who are business people who create jobs, mayors who balance budgets, veterans who serve the country.

O'BRIEN: You're a fan. I get it. I get it. I'm trying to get some like inside deep secret information from you. You know, the Republican --

ISRAEL: You have to go to the CIA for that.

O'BRIEN: Oh. We did just go there. Maybe we'll circle back around to that in a moment.

There are some who said if you're in a leadership position and the Congress seems to be stuck when it comes to certain things, for example fiscal cliff, what was it 48 days and counting Ali Velshi. Yes he nods his head. Chris Christie said this about Nancy Pelosi. And other Republicans have said similar things. "She's a part a big part of the problem and any of the leaders up there are a big part of the problem if they're not trying to make the difference. You can't sit there and say well we're not talking to each other and you're one of the leaders. Then you have to make a difference." That's New Jersey governor Chris Christie. You know he's not the only Republican who said she's part of the problem and I'm going to get they're not going to shed a tear if she decides to step down.

ISRAEL: There's a big difference between the Republican talking points and what she actually said and what she actually did. House Democrats under leader Pelosi were willing to sign on to a compromise of $3 trillion in spending cuts as long as there was $1 trillion in revenues from people who can afford to do a little bit more. We want a compromise that is big, that is bold, that is balanced. Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic caucus was willing to sign on the dotted line to that compromise with John Boehner and Eric Cantor a year ago. We remain ready, willing, and able to compromise.

The American people have an unquenchable thirst for solutions. They have an unquenchable thirst for compromise and consensus. At that press conference yesterday it was Nancy Pelosi, notwithstanding what Governor Christie has said, it was Nancy Pelosi who said we remain ready, willing, and able to find a compromise to find common ground with Republicans to avoid the fiscal cliff. We need solutions and not sequestration.

O'BRIEN: Jonathan Karl did an interview with Paul Ryan, and what Paul Ryan said in this is essentially that, that the president doesn't have a mandate. Karl said he won some 300 some electoral votes, every battleground state except for North Carolina. Does President Obama have a mandate and, and he said no, I don't think so, because then Nancy Pelosi would be in charge of the House of Representatives. And she's not. Do you think that he's got a point?

ISRAEL: You know what has a mandate? Solutions have a mandate. This election was about solutions. People are tired of the gridlock. They're tired of a Congress that spent more time trying to shut down planned parenthoods and open up small business. Compromise has a mandate.

So we go into a new session of Congress and towards this fiscal cliff, again, having stated we want compromise. We want solutions. We want -- and by the way, in this election, most of the Tea Party generals, you know, the icons of the tea party, they ended up getting defeated in this election. And so that's the mandate we have.

O'BRIEN: So let's talk about solutions for a moment. I'm only asking this because I'm a Long Islander. What's going on with LIPA and who is in charge of LIPA and when are they going to fix the problems from LIPA? That's the Long Island Power Authority for people who aren't following this story every day. Three weeks almost without power?

ISRAEL: It's outrageous and unacceptable. My job was to try and elect a majority of the house, but my fundamental job is getting long islanders back in their homes and getting the lights on. Our utility, LIPA was a management disaster trying to manage a disaster. Now the head of LIPA has resigned. That place needs a top-to-bottom reform.

O'BRIEN: But he's the coo. There is no CEO of LIPA. Doesn't that mean that the governor is charge of LIPA so everybody's pointing fingers aren't the fingers going right back to the government?

ISRAEL: There's got to be accountability. The guy in charge of LIPA was Mike Hervey. The bus stopped with him. He's decided to leave. Governor Cuomo said this thing needs top to bottom overhaul. Here's what really went wrong. LIPA ignored the warning signs. We had a hurricane a year ago. LIPA knew another one was coming. They neglected those warnings signs. Too many people were without power. Too many people were without lights. The head of LIPA has now left LIPA and now we need to appoint somebody who is going to put that agency through a top-to-bottom reform.

We're not asking them to figure out how to get us out of Afghanistan or how to cure cancer. We're asking them how to keep the lights on, and they failed on that task.

O'BRIEN: You got a bunch of furious Long Islanders I've got to tell you which any politician knows is not a pretty thing. All right, sir, nice to see you Steve Israel joining us this morning, we appreciate it.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, if you want to secede from the United States, the White House is going to look into that for you. There's a number of petitions popping up about secession. Texas. I'm so glad Will Cain is on our STARTING POINT team this morning. We're going to talk about the great state of Texas.


O'BRIEN: Morning, welcome, everybody. Nice to have you with us this morning. We've got to introduce our team joining us, Richard Socarides is with us, a writer for, former senior adviser to President Clinton, person on prompter, back down a little.


O'BRIEN: I need his introduction. He is a political reporter for Will Cain is back, columnist for

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Follow the prompter.

O'BRIEN: You're an evil, evil man.

Since the president was re-elected last week the Web site has received 36 petitions from states that want to secede from the United States. The White House said it will honor its responsibility to review and respond to petitions from those crazy people who would like to secede as long as they get more than 25,000 signatures. So the state of Louisiana, the state of Texas, and the state of Florida have hit that mark. Texas has 94,000 online -- woo, a whole 94,000 signatures from the great state of Texas, that has 27 million people.

CAIN: When I put that petition together I never thought that I'd get so many people to sign on.


CAIN: You know, I got to tell you, I had this conversation last night, but the day after the presidential election I woke up and I was basically emotionally in the same state I was the day before the election. I'm a little surprised at the conservatives that are so distraught. American exceptionalism doesn't have anything to do with who is sitting in the White House. It has to do with the fact that everyone woke up the next day, thought about their families, their ambitions, got back to work and went on with their life. I can't stand the emotional freak-out. O'BRIEN: You're poetic and I agree with you on that.

BERMAN: This is similar to what liberals used to say after the election when they lost, that they're going to move to Canada. This speaks more about -- sorry about that. Canada is nice, sort of. When you're saying this, you're turning your back on America. I don't like it. I don't like it. A lot of Canadians always wanted to secede.

VELSHI: Quebec has just elected another independent party that is talking about secession. But at some point, and while the aspirations are very valid in Quebec, because they have language issues, the idea is that it gives you a little bit of political sway if it looks like it's real. It doesn't look like it's real in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

O'BRIEN: It's not going to happen. It's like New Orleans and Louisiana.

VELSHI: All three of those states have islands. So 94,000 people could just take an island.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: This is such a crazy conversation.

O'BRIEN: I know, which is why we're moving on.

SOCARIDES: Don't you think, Will Cain --

O'BRIEN: No, no, no.

SOCARIDES: -- that you did not feel differently because you were surprised by the election?

O'BRIEN: Moving on.


O'BRIEN: Will Cain, I like you best of anyone on the panel today. Ahead on STARTING POINT, a doctor of the year has been involved in a frightening car crash. We showed you the pictures at the end of our last segment. Take a look at this. That is unbelievable. Now she's in a lot of trouble. We'll explain what happened.

Then Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich are going to join us. They're talking about Nancy Pelosi's next move, the fiscal cliff, the scandal going on with the generals, and their new books. That's all ahead. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. Let's begin with John Berman. He's got a look at the top stories making news today. Hi, John.

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad. A couple of stranded snowboarders are safe at home with their families this morning after being stuck in Washington's Mount Rainier National Park for two nights.

They dug a snow cave against 70-mile-per-hour winds, whiteout conditions, and two to four feet of snow. They're lucky rangers say they see more people die on that range than anywhere else in the park.

The man behind Elmo cleared. An accuser who said he had an underage sexual relationship with Elmo puppeteer, Kevin Clash, is now changing his story. The anonymous accuser, now 24, has said he had a relationship with Clash when he was 16. But now, through his attorney, the accuser says it was an adult, consensual relationship.

Members of the House subcommittee and Oversight investigators will hold a hearing today on a recent deadly outbreak of meningitis. Tainted injections distributed by a Massachusetts pharmacy have resulted in at least 32 deaths so far.

The President of the New England Compounding Center will appear at today's hearing along with the FDA commissioner and state health officials from Massachusetts.

A Boston area emergency room physician is pleading not guilty to charges that she caused a multi-vehicle chain reaction crash while driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. This is a bad one. It was all caught on traffic cam.

Police say the Dr. Kristine Lines-Howard first struck a delivery truck. She then backed into a fence and knocked over a granite post that sent her car airborne.

She side swiped a tree before hitting another car, that vehicle struck a box trailer which was being towed by a dump truck. It's a bad situation in general -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Wow, that's awful. All right, John, thank you for the update. Those are dramatic pictures.

So a week ago, we were chatting with Newt Gingrich who gave us a very frank deconstruction on why Mitt Romney lost the election. Since then he's been telling his party it's going to take some tough medicine to realign with the American people.

We want to welcome back the former presidential candidate along with his wife, Callista, Newt Gingrich and Callista Gingrich. You both have books out.

Newt Gingrich's book is called "Victory at Yorktown" and this is a historical novel so it's fictional account, but it's based on historical facts.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Based on what actually happened.

O'BRIEN: And Callista's got a book called "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride." I was just combing through it and my kids would love this because it's a real walk-through, same thing, history of the 13 original colonies and sort of what brought them to be. But I want to start before we get to the book. We're going to keep you around for a bit this morning. I want to talk about the fiscal cliff because 48 days and counting, kind of like this big tic tac, tic tac going. How likely do you think that there will be compromise? Anybody can jump in.

N. GINGRICH: I think the odds are fairly high they will muddle through in some form. I just think the pressures will be great enough, they'll feel they can't go home without doing something. It will probably look inelegant, and nobody will be particularly happy. But we'll get to January, it's my guess.

O'BRIEN: If we don't, you end up having high unemployment, right? Predictions are 9.1 percent. You end up having --

N. GINGRICH: I mean, I think people need to be worried that we're going to have high unemployment no matter what we do because you have a European situation getting worse every day. You have Japan, which is the forerunner of this whole mess, has now been basically recession since 1989.

And you have, I think, a slowing of China and India in a way that is not helpful. So I think there's real pressure on the president and the Congress not just to muddle through for the next 45 days, but to think about what's our strategy for 2013 as a country, to try to get this country back on track?

O'BRIEN: Nancy Pelosi, stays or goes?

N. GINGRICH: It's entirely her call.

O'BRIEN: I know that, of course it is, but do you think she's going to stay or go? Everyone I've ask, well, it's up to her.

N. GINGRICH: Well, look, my hunch is, I know nothing of this as you can imagine, Nancy is one of the people who calls and says --

O'BRIEN: Let me run this by you.

N. GINGRICH: My hunch is that the president will ask her to stay and then she'll stay. But I think he sees a team he's worked with for four years. She and Harry Reid have delivered for him consistently, and my guess is he'll say to her, can't you stay a little bit longer, and my guess is she probably will stay.

SOCARIDES: She's really kept it secret.

O'BRIEN: I know, which is unusual, right, in D.C.?

SOCARIDES: I tried to find out myself and nobody knows. People who would know don't know.

O'BRIEN: Don't know or aren't telling you?

SOCARIDES: They don't know. They would tell me. N. GINGRICH: She may not know. She was waiting for the election results. I think had the election results come out the way we hoped they would, she probably would have retired. Who wants to serve with them?

Now that it's turned out very different I think she may be thinking, you know, I can be helpful so the president and be the big decisions to be made. I want to be a part of it. She's been in public life a long time.

O'BRIEN: I mention you're going to talk about your book. I don't want you to think we've forgotten about that. I want to ask a little bit about these generals. What's happening? You write a lot of historical fiction, obviously, you're a student of history.

N. GINGRICH: I think this is one of those random events that you -- I'm a historian and not a political scientist. I think anything which has lines is wrong because it's not how humans function.

You have to ask yourself, this is a human mistake on the part of Petraeus. We have no idea with Allen yet what happened, if anything in fact did happen. The strongest that I've seen so far is he used the word sweetheart, which frankly for some parts of the country is a reference to how you doing, love, with no meaning.

So we don't know about Allen. And Petraeus' case he displayed human weakness, but the amazing substory here is how can somebody at a four- star level, who has seen the national security agency, think that you can create a phony e-mail account, and then -- it's the idea that people do on Twitter, which was a congressman last year. Stuff people do thinking they're invisible somehow.

It just makes no sense. The army has a very, and I grew up there, my dad spent 27 years in infantry. They have a very rigorous culture about these things. And by the time you get to be four stars, four stars actually embody the army.

There's a very deep culture there saying look, every day you're out there. You have the same challenge with the general who is probably a very fine general who apparently was abusing his expense account and you have to say, guys, you know --

O'BRIEN: Yes, well, you know, there's been a rash of those stories. Rash is kind of a strong word.

N. GINGRICH: Rash is pretty strong.

O'BRIEN: Handful. I think more than three you're almost getting into rash, more than ten, more than three. So I do, it makes you wonder about the culture. Can it be overcome, Callista? Do you think? I mean, do you think people eventually move on beyond scandal and say there's another act in everybody's life?

CALLISTA GINGRICH, AUTHOR, "LAND OF THE PILGRIMS' PRIDE": I think we have to, but it's always very disappointing. These people are our heroes. Our children look up to these people. And so it's something we do have to overcome.

O'BRIEN: It's interesting. So the other side of this break we're going to talk about this book. We're going to talk about "Victory At Yorktown." Because I'm curious you think there are lessons today's politicians could learn from George Washington the fictional character.

And also why children should read "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride," which is a very cute book. I liked it a lot. Also we're going to talk to Kitty Kelley ahead this morning.

She's written about Oprah, Liz Taylor, the royal family, now she's got a new book about Camelot and really impressive photos that have never been seen before.

Send us your end point, 20 second video telling us what you think. We might include it at the end of our show. Go to Back in a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We're back with Newt and Callista Gingrich. Both of them have new books on the store shelves. Former speaker's book is called "Victory At Yorktown" and it's all about George Washington. It's a fictional book but based on historical fact.

Callista's book is called "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride." It's a book for children, particularly older children unless you're going to read to them. It's got a lot of facts about the creating of the 13 colonies, a perfect age selfishly for my children.

Let's talk a little bit about "Victory At Yorktown" first. How do you find time, actually both of you, to write a book when you're busy?

N. GINGRICH: Let me say first of all, I've written a lot of books. Watching Callista take the colonial period, figure out what to say about, say New Jersey or North Carolina --

O'BRIEN: In a paragraph.

N. GINGRICH: And how to say it, she was deeply affected by Dr. Seuss as a child. So she has this whole, it all has to rhyme. I mean, it has to be the right size words.

O'BRIEN: And historically accurate, too.

NEWT GINGRICH: It's ten times harder to write a children's history book than it is to write something like "Victory At Yorktown." We both launched what we called the American legacy book tour and people can Google it. We're in like 22 places.

C. GINGRICH: Between now and Christmas.

N. GINGRICH: And we did it because we think learning about America really matters. This is a unique country. It's a learn civilization. You can come from anywhere on the planet and become American.

O'BRIEN: What are the messages from this book? Because I think there is a great message about leadership. You look at George Washington, what could a leader today say, wow, George Washington did "x" and the takeaway for me is --

N. GINGRICH: This is my third novel about George Washington and the message in all three of them is pretty straightforward. We don't have giant problems right now. We have challenges. We have things we've got to get done in 2013.

But, Washington had giant problems. I mean, they were taking on the greatest empire on the planet, by the time you get to the Yorktown campaign they've been fighting for over six years. People are very demoralized. They're very exhausted.

British are sitting in Manhattan with the Royal Navy. Washington can't drive them out, doesn't have the military capacity to do it. And he knows he can't just keep sitting around, he knows people are getting really tired. And they're going to start saying why don't we cut a deal?

And so he takes a third of his army and sends it to the south, where they fight with General Corn Wallace, the British commander and gradually wear him out and Corn Wallace decides to go to Yorktown on a peninsula and wait to be rescued by the Royal Navy.

Our French allies show up and say, you know, the thing is when you march by foot and you pull cannon with horses, they said if you will move from New York to Yorktown, we'll come and help you. The French army, which is sitting on Rhode Island said we'll march over and join you.

Washington then brilliantly masked what he's doing. The British think he's still sitting here when he's already several days into New Jersey. Think about the moral courage.

Here's a guy who doesn't know what's happening, doesn't know if the French league will show up, isn't quite sure how it will all work and he's gambling the whole country. I mean, this is an act of enormous moral courage.

SOCARIDES: And risk taking. A lot of risk taking. Willingness to take risk for what's right.

O'BRIEN: Maybe that's a takeaway. I want to read a little bit about New Hampshire. Forgive me Dr. Seuss reading. In New Hampshire, the settlers had a very good rule. Each village in the colony could have its own school.

Ellis thought those kids went to school just like me, it's where they all learned reading math and history. And then you went on and talked about settlers and the Indians not necessarily getting along. What do you think the message is for young people, I think my kids age, 8 and 10 and 12. C. GINGRICH: The book is for 4 to 8-year-olds. I write this book, Soledad, because I love this country and I think we really are an exceptional nation. I think it's more important now than ever that our children realize why this country is so special.

In this book, "Land of the Pilgrims' Pride," Ellis learns how our country began as he discovers our 13 original colonies. I think it's vitally important that our kids understand how we began as a nation and the 170-year period of colonial America.

Because that is really the time when our characteristics and traits as Americans were shaped and so it's vital that our kids understand what colonial America is about.

O'BRIEN: A lot of history going on this morning on STARTING POINT. I'm a big fan of history. I love studying history and I think you're absolutely right it's critical. It's nice to have you both with us. Appreciate it this morning.

Still ahead, we're going to talk about another new book it's about Camelot. Kitty Kelley with rare access to the Kennedy family photos and the stories behind some of those photos. She's with us just ahead.


BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We're looking at some top stories this morning, potential 2016 Republican contenders, yes, you heard that right, 2016 Republican contenders, Governors Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal. They are among the high profile GOP governors meeting in Las Vegas for the two-day Republican Governors Association conference.

The Mayo Clinic confirms that Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is no longer seeking treatment there. Jackson checked in, in August for what his wife called debilitating depression. Jackson won a bid for a 10th term in the House last week despite zero, zero public campaign appearances.

And this story kind of has baseball fans everywhere outraged fire sale in Miami. Multiple reports claim the Marlins are about to dump three of their star players and their salaries for hardly any prospects in a deal.

The deal is expected to send short stop Jose Reyes, lefty pitcher Mark Beuhile and right hander Josh Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays. Marlin's manager Ozzie Guillen was fired at the end of the last season.

The scandal here is the Marlins have done this fire sale again and again and again and again. Their stadium is largely taxpayer funded and now they are selling all their best players virtually nothing.

CAIN: They have, John. They have signed all these studs so many times and then just sold them right afterwards when it hasn't panned out. It makes you wonder if you're signing with the Marlins, how long are you signing with the Marlins?

O'BRIEN: They get to keep the money, right?

BERMAN: Yes, the players do, sure. The fans don't get to keep a team to root for that's the problem.

O'BRIEN: That is the problem. All right, thanks. "Capturing Camelot" is the title of a new book, fabulous book. It captures legendary time in the nation's history, the presidency of John F. Kennedy in the early 1960s. And inside are some never seen before photos of the Kennedy family.

The book is written by the famous author, Kitty Kelley. She's known for her unauthorized biographies of Oprah and Liz Taylor and the Royal Family. She got more than 200 photos that appear in this book from her friend, the press photographer, Stanley Pritic. And she joins us this morning. It's nice to have you with us.


O'BRIEN: How did you get access to the pictures? Your friend obviously took a lot of the pictures.

KELLEY: He did. He left a vast archive. They're about 35,000 images of President Kennedy and his family. And I took care of Stanley in the last few years of his life.

He really was a wonderful friend and he left me his archive. He also left me his Marine Corps locker. I used to go to his house. He used it as a coffee table. I said to him once, Stanley, what do you have in there?

And he looked at me and he said nude photos and I -- I thought he did, because Stanley had a lot of women and so --

O'BRIEN: God rest his soul.

KELLEY: You know, that cut off the discussion right there. OK, so time passes. Stanley goes to the angels. The Marine Corps locker is delivered and my husband said, what's in there? I said nude photos. He said what? I said nude photos.

He said open it! I said, no. I said, I don't want to remember Stanley that way. He said, open it! So we opened the Marine Corps locker. There were no nude photos. There were letters from JFK, notes from Jackie.

There was the press schedule. There was the box with the Caroline airplane that JFK had given him. There were PT bow tie clasps, this cash of sentimental -- and then I realize Stanley probably thought I would just rag him so much.

You're so sentimental. You went into the tank for President Kennedy, so he never told me what was in the trunk.

O'BRIEN: He was not -- he took photos of the children, beautiful photos, but Jackie Kennedy was not a fan of having her children photographed.


O'BRIEN: How did those photos come about?

KELLEY: There was a law in the White House that no pictures -- and the picture of little John in the oval office was taken when Jackie left Washington and went to Greece.

As soon as she was out of town, the President said to Evelyn Lincoln, call Stanley and get him over here. The President gave Stanley four days of exclusive shots at the White House, in the Oval Office, at Camp David.

And that one photograph of little John sitting in the oval office at the desk was the only one the President wouldn't let Stanley use. He said, no. That looks like I disrespect the Oval Office.

O'BRIEN: There's a picture of the President pushing his wife's hair out of her eyes and, again --

KELLEY: Jackie told Stanley that that was her favorite photograph, of every photograph taken of the two of them, because it shows an intimacy and affection that JFK just never wanted to have photographed.

He did care about his image. He really did. He wouldn't let Stanley photograph him eating, combing his hair, playing golf. That was out, playing golf and anything to do with hats, anything corny, except for a workman's hard hat.

He would willingly put that on because he felt he was the son of one of the richest men in America and he felt if labor -- people that work with their hands were behind him, he was quite proud. So Stanley could get those.

But Stanley went after the Indian headdress when they were on the campaign and the president said, it isn't going to happen? And Stanley said, Senator, I think it's going to happen.

And they went back and forth and it did happen. It was an eighth of a second, Stanley said, but that's all I need to nail him.

O'BRIEN: The book is called "Capturing Camelot." Fabulous, I can't tell you how it feels.

KELLEY: It was a labor of love really.

O'BRIEN: It looks like it. What a great way to honor your friend.

KELLEY: And honor his friendship with the president.

O'BRIEN: Beautiful. Thank you for coming in to talk to us about it. We appreciate it.

KELLEY: Thank you very much. O'BRIEN: We got to take a short break. Still ahead this morning, Democrat Nancy Pelosi is expected to make a big announcement in a few hours. Everyone is wondering if she's going to stay in Congress or she will step down. We'll take a look at that this morning.

And the latest on a scandal that involves the former CIA Director David Petraeus, his biographer, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and the twin sisters from Tampa. Does that sound complicated? It is. We'll sort it out for you straight ahead.


O'BRIEN: Morning. Welcome, everybody. Will Cain, move out of my shot.

CAIN: Can't get enough camera time.

O'BRIEN: Our STARTING POINT this morning, will she stay or will she go? We're going to find out in a couple of hours if the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is going to stay in power or step down. We got a live report on that.

Plus, Petraeus web is getting more and more tangled and we're learning more about the woman, top right there on your screen. She is the woman who triggered the investigation that led the CIA chief to resign.