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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Chiefs Win After Belcher Suicide; Northern California Soaked; Will Justices Tackle Same Sex Marriage?; Deadly Tunnel Collapse In Japan; Rough Ride; John McAfee In Hiding; Residents Protest "Maternity Hotel"; Born In The USA; Sea World Scare; Notre Dame Alabama Showdown Set
Aired December 3, 2012 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back. You're watching STARTING POINT. California residents, some of them, are upset over what they say is a Chinese birthing center right in the middle of their neighborhood.
Straight ahead this morning going to talk to the spokesperson for that group, they are protesting now. The group is called "Not In Chino Hills. They say there's an anchor baby hotel that is open for business.
Anchor babies, of course, are babies that are born by people who don't live in the United States. They come and have a baby that then becomes an American citizen and then they leave, but their child has American citizenship.
We're going to talk to some of those protesters ahead this morning. First though, other stories that are making news. Alina Cho has those. Good morning.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. The Kansas City Chiefs play as scheduled and muster a win, but they're finding it hard to celebrate this morning. They took to the field just a day after police say their teammate Jovan Belcher shot and killed his 22-year- old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins.
Belcher then turned the gun on himself just outside the Chiefs practice facility right in front of his coaches and the general manager. He and Perkins leave behind a 3-month-old daughter. The Chiefs beat the Carolina Panthers 27-21 yesterday. Coach Romeo Crennel congratulated the team after the win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMEO CRENNEL, KANSAS CITY CHIEF COACH: You stuck together like a team like you talked about, helped each other, all right, family and friends, you relied on those people. You relied on your faith to help get you through this. All right, and we've got through it. All right, and because everybody made a contribution, everybody helped, OK? And that's what a team is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHO: It was only the Chiefs' second win of the season. Coming up in just about a half an hour, Soledad will speak to Jovan Belcher's agent Jo Linta. He had been his agent since 2009. His take on what could have been behind the apparent murder/suicide.
The rain just won't let up in Northern California this weekend the third pacific storm to hit the region in five days unleashed floodwaters and knocked out power to thousands of people from San Francisco, Sacramento and surrounding areas. There's rain in the forecast again tomorrow.
We find out in two hours' time if the Supreme Court will wade into the controversial issue of same-sex marriage. The court releases its list at 9:30 eastern. There's a possibility judges will decide to hear cases that challenge the Defense Of Marriage Act or California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as strictly between a man and woman.
A total of nine bodies have now been pulled from three crushed, burned out cars in a collapsed highway tunnel near Tokyo. Officials say aging bolts or concrete slabs may have caused the 200-foot section to cave in over the weekend. Emergency inspections of similar tunnels have since been ordered.
And take a look at this, 125-mile long traffic jam on the M-10 highway that's between Moscow and St. Petersburg, of course, it's in Russia. Most commutes look like a walk in the park if you have a look at that. It was caused apparently by dense fog after days of heavy snow. As of last night traffic was picking up to about, Soledad, get this, six miles an hour.
O'BRIEN: Going to be late, call in. All right, Alina, thank you.
John McAfee's name is synonymous with computer security with a man whose anti-virus software has saved many PCs finds himself in big trouble in Belize. McAfee has gone into hiding. He's claiming that the government there is out to get him, and pin a neighbor's murder on him.
CNN's Martin Savidge was the first reporter to track down and then interview McAfee on camera since it all began. He is in Ambergris Caye in Belize. Just getting that interview logistically, getting to that interview was shrouded in secrecy as well. Martin, tell us about it.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was, Soledad. I mean, it was really, this was something that was weeks in the making. Initially just trying to make contact with John McAfee is not easy. He is extremely paranoid and very cautious about who he talks to.
Then when we got here, it was like out of a spy movie. The first thing he said all right this is what's going to happen, stand in front of the American arrivals area, car is going to pull up, window rolls down and a man says sorry I'm late. Your response is to be, that's OK I'm waiting for a co-worker. A series of coded exchanges and that's to tell me that I've met the right person that can take me to John McAfee, would follow this crazy drive through the streets of town, switching vehicles, u-turns, switchbacks.
All sorts of confusing driving meant to not only confuse me but also to confuse anybody that might be following us. Then we meet John McAfee and he is a very nervous individual and he certainly feels like the walls are closing in. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Are you afraid?
JOHN MCAFEE, INTERNET ANTIVIRUS PIONEER: Wouldn't you be so?
SAVIDGE: And what have these weeks been like? It's been three weeks now.
MCAFEE: It hasn't been a lot of fun. I miss my prior life. Much of it has been deprivation, no baths, poor food. Here we're in bliss, hot showers, a stove. So we're fairly happy right now.
SAVIDGE: How is this going to end? How do you see this coming to an end?
MCAFEE: I don't have a crystal ball. I'm going to continue to fight until something changes.
SAVIDGE: You won't turn yourself in?
MCAFEE: I will not.
SAVIDGE: So it will either be that somehow you get away or the authorities come and get you?
MCAFEE: One of those two. Get away doesn't mean leave the country. It means that, that number one they will find the murderer, and number two the people of this country, who are by and large terrified to speak out, will start speaking out and something will change. But I will certainly not turn myself in and I will not quite fighting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: McAfee denies any involvement with the death of his neighbor American Greg Fall. As I should point out, he was in disguise when we first saw him. He was acting as an old man with powder in his hair, using a cane, and then suddenly reveals himself to us in the hotel room. I've got to tell you, Soledad. We weren't fooled for a moment. He may have thought it was a disguise, but we knew who it was right away.
O'BRIEN: Wow, so bizarre. It will be interesting to see where this all ends with authorities sort of hot on his trail or trying to be. Thanks for the update. Martin Savidge for us this morning. Turning to California now where it looks like sort of a nondescript town home on the outside residence of Chino Hills is actually a Chinese maternity center on the inside. Now they're protesting saying that pregnant women pay thousands of dollars to come to the United States, and then give birth in that town home because it's a way for their children to have American citizenship. Now that in and of itself is not illegal, 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to all people who are born or naturalized in the United States.
Rosanna Mitchell is the spokesperson for the group of protesters called "Not In Chino Hills." She is also a candidate for city council in the neighborhood. She joins us from Los Angeles this morning. It's nice to see you.
First walk me through how you discovered that this home, in fact, was a maternity center?
ROSSANA MITCHELL, SPOKESPERSON, "NOT IN CHINO HILLS": Well, it's really interesting. Because what occurred is that there was actual investigation for about three to four months, a detective from the Chino Hills police had been doing surveillance for about three to four months, and they were concerned that there was actually human trafficking.
They had received reports from the neighbors that they have seen pregnant women coming up and down the driveway. And so, they did the investigation, that's when they found out and reported to the neighbors that, in fact, it was a hotel that was being run there for pregnant women.
O'BRIEN: So what is your issue with this happening? I've read some interviews and you see some of the protesters, they're holding signs that say no anchor babies. Some people have said they're concerned about the safety of the mother, which is it?
MITCHELL: Well, first and foremost I think there are different levels of concerns. Number one, first is the ethical and moral issue, as far as what's going on here.
O'BRIEN: How do you mean?
MITCHELL: -- essentially what's occurred. Well, they're anchor babies. What's happening is there apparently is a loophole where you can come down here from any country and have a U.S.-born baby get dual citizenship and essentially fly back to your country, and then get all the benefits that we get as U.S. citizens, like low interest student loans, free public education --
O'BRIEN: That's the 14th amendment, right, that says that anybody who is born in this country becomes -- is a citizen so, so --
MITCHELL: Correct. Correct. So essentially what's going on is they're buying their U.S. citizenship and these types of businesses are promoting that. They're marketing by putting up a website, if you want to look up at asianmchild.com. In there it clearly indicates that you know if you want to come here to have a U.S.-born baby come here to Chino Hills, make sure you conceal your pregnancy so you can get your visa, and then at that point they promote all the benefits that come with that of being a U.S. citizen.
O'BRIEN: So I heard they were given a cease and desist order and you guys are still out there protesting. Do you think it's not sort of done?
MITCHELL: It -- well it isn't done. There is no court order simply a letter that's been sent by the city council at this point. We don't know how long the process is going to take. It may take quite some time.
So what we want to do is get public pressure to Mr. Woo who is running the business to inform him we don't want this here in Chino Hills. We're a family oriented community. We welcome everyone who wants to be here, raise their family, and be part of our community. But this type of behavior we're not going to condone.
O'BRIEN: Would you support changing the 14th Amendment? As you know, that's a proposal by some folks in Congress?
MITCHELL: You know what? That's an interesting question. I think the biggest concern is we had individuals who will not be paying taxes, essentially, like we pay our taxes to live here.
Essentially they can be U.S. citizens, go back to the country, never pay one dollar towards taxes, and then come back, reap the benefits, and we as U.S. citizens are paying for that.
So, yes, some change has to be made. I don't know exactly if it's a change in the 14th amendment or some type of legislation.
O'BRIEN: All right, Rossana Mitchell is with not in Chino Hills. Thank you for talking with us. Appreciate your time.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Got to take a break. Still ahead this morning, you know you look at these dolphins, they're graceful, they're beautiful, but take a look at some pictures where a dolphin kind of turns on a small child. We'll show you that video straight ahead.
And then we'll see what your must-get gifts are this year. Upload a photo of yourself or your loved one. You can submit your story graphic cnn.com/startingpoint. We'll show them here at CNN throughout the holidays. We're back in just a moment.
O'BRIEN: Well, you don't very often hear about aggressive dolphins, but it does happen. A family has proof on video. Parents got a little bit of a scare when one lunged and then grabbed their daughter's arm. Here's Evan Lambert of Orlando affiliate WKMG. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN LAMBERT, WKMG REPORTER (voice-over): The 8-year-old Jillian Thomas was living her dream, getting up close and personal with dolphins, her favorite animal the day before Thanksgiving at Sea World. Mom and dad had their camera rolling as Jillian and her brother were feeding dolphins at the popular dolphin cove attraction, but Jillian ran out of fish. In a split second her treat to feed the dolphins became a terror.
One more time the dolphin lunges out of the pool and goes straight for the tray of fish, taking with it Jillian's arm and dragging her toward the pool.
JAMIE THOMAS, GIRL'S FATHER (via telephone): We think that that attraction at Sea World is dangerous and it was traumatic for us to go through that event.
LAMBERT: The Thomases say the dolphins bite punctured Jillian's skin in three places and caused minor bleeding. But now she's doing OK. We asked Sea World about the incident and they told us in a statement nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests, employees and animals.
Educators and animal care staff are always on site in this area monitoring all interactions, and are committed to guest safety. And the Thomases say they were told repeatedly not to pick up the trays, but the 8-year-old just made a mistake.
AMY THOMAS, GIRL'S MOTHER (via telephone): She said she just forgot and as you see in the video, moved the plate to say she was done.
LAMBERT: Of course, we know the dolphin wasn't. The Thomases say they won't be back at Sea World and they hope others will heed their warning.
AMY THOMAS: We're not banking on Sea World changing that attraction. I'm, you know, I'm sure that's not going to happen, but perhaps we can change the minds of another parent or even an adult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Wow. The pictures, you can't imagine seeing your own kid dragged by the arm. Obviously, she didn't get that far thank God into the water. Do you think they should stop doing these feedings? They're live animals.
W. KAMAU BELL, COMEDIAN: They're animals. We've decided dolphins are adorable and cute they're hungry animals and we're holding food.
O'BRIEN: So then just kill the whole attraction?
BELL: No, I think just know that sometimes you might get bit.
O'BRIEN: She's an eight-year-old child.
BELL: I'm a parent. That's a story to me about bad parenting. It's not a story about dolphins.
BELL: And I'm not saying --
O'BRIEN: How is that about bad parenting?
BELL: Because --
O'BRIEN: They're little kids --
BELL: I feel bad for the dolphin is all I'm saying. They're getting blamed for being dolphins.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, maybe Sea World needed more cautionary signs. Maybe they needed more people up there, more staff interacting all the way up and down that line, but they are animals.
And I'm asking myself, when I look at that, I'm so sorry for the little girl and her parents but where were the parents. I hate to say, but in my day my mother would have been standing right there supervising me.
O'BRIEN: You get bit by animals it happens.
BELL: I got bit by a dolphin. Do you know how popular she's going to be in school now? The dolphin bite girl.
O'BRIEN: Exactly. Please don't encourage them. Still ahead on STARTING POINT, the battle for college football's number one now set and it's two legendary college football programs. Live to the campuses of Notre Dame and the University of Alabama. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back right after this.
O'BRIEN: College football fans are all fired up for the January 7th showdown between unbeaten Notre Dame and the crimson tide of Alabama. The winner will take home the BCS championship. Fighting Irish are top ranked in the nation. They're hoping to win their first national championship since 1988. Alabama is trying to become the first team to ever win back to back BCS titles.
Ted Rowlands is live for us in South Bend, Indiana this morning. Joe Carter, he joins us from crimson tide country in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Let's get the rivalry started on air live right now. Ted, get this started for me. How are the Irish feeling about this?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can imagine, Soledad, very excited. You know, tradition is everywhere here in South Bend outside the stadium here you see it. Inside you see all the national championship banners being hung.
Outside you have all of the coaches that won national championships. They all have a statue here. Bottom line, though, it's been 24 years since Notre Dame fans have enjoyed a national championship.
So as you can imagine, fans across the country who cheer for Notre Dame and students here in South Bend are absolutely thrilled at another shot at a title.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super excited. Campus has just erupted. Everyone's, like going nuts on campus right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone's worried about getting tickets to the game right now because they're doing a lottery. So it's going to be pretty tough to get tickets. We're all just worried about getting to Miami, I think.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Especially after coming back from Thanksgiving break. There's just so much excitement. You just hear so much about, oh, are you going to Miami? Yes, everyone's going to Miami whether they have a ticket or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROWLANDS: Those will be tough tickets to get. Notre Dame a ten-point underdog here, but this is a team that has persevered throughout the season. They're undefeated. They have a linebacker on their team. He's a Heisman trophy candidate. He lost his girlfriend to leukemia and his grandmother in a 24-hour period during the season.
The way that he has reacted to that, Soledad, has inspired people across the country. He's really one of those special players that does not come along very often and he is the rock of this team.
O'BRIEN: All right, let's turn to Tuscaloosa, now. Joe, tide, defending champs, how are folks there feeling?
JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Feeling great. I know Ted and I both wish we were in Miami right now because it's a little cold out here. We're standing in front of the stadium, the cathedral here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A 101,000 fans are screaming on the Saturday there and where we're actually standing is what they call the walk of champions.
What it is, is all the coaches over the years, over their storied program, that have won national championships. You've got five coaches here. They've collectively won 14 national championships. The statue that I'm standing closest to is the current Alabama head coach, and that's Nick Saban.
It's funny because it's the only one of the statues that dons tennis shoes and a golf shirt. Everyone else is in suit. Nick Saban is a much more casual coach. In his tenor he's won two national championships. The students here believe he'll win one in 2012.
They've written it in chalk. Students here say Alabama football is more than just a sport. It's a culture. It's a way of life. Fans we talked to last night, they start cheering for the crimson tide as a very young age.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Been an Alabama fan all my life. Matter of fact, my children. I've got a daughter, she's 30. She's been to 31 homecomings. My son is 21. He's been to 22 homecomings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's incredibly special Alabama earned the opportunity to play again. You know, I look forward to Alabama beating anybody, but particularly anybody that's not in the SEC.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: Alabama fans and this program certainly used to being here. This is obviously their third opportunity to win a national championship in four years. First time ever in the BCS era for a team to win back to back national championships, Soledad, you know what? It's a hot ticket already. Over 100,000 ticket requests have been put in for the national championship game and it's still 35 days away.
O'BRIEN: If you were reporting on it, though, you could go for free and not need a ticket. Are you guys -- are you rooting for someone? I mean, do you have like who you'd like to win? Go ahead, Joe, what do you think?
CARTER: You know, this is old fashioned football here. Two storied programs over 100 years apiece. Good old fashioned football that's going to --
O'BRIEN: Which means what?
CARTER: Two great power houses colliding. I would like to see -- I'm not going to pick. Notre Dame would be nice to have a new champion. A new champion would be nice.
O'BRIEN: Ted, you agree?
ROWLANDS: Absolutely. I've touched on Jesus staring me downright here outside the stadium so Notre Dame all the way for me.
O'BRIEN: All right, we'll see what happens. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a potentially explosive situation forces the evacuation of an entire town. We'll tell you the source of that danger coming up.
Plus, the story of the homeless man who received a pair of shoes from a selfless police officer, but now there's a twist. When reporters caught up to him, the boots were nowhere to be seen. We'll tell you why. That's straight ahead on STARTING POINT.
O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody. STARTING POINT, this morning, tragedy in the NFL. A player murders his girlfriend and takes his own life right before game day. Kind of make sense of the tragedy this morning.
Plus, the fiscal split in Washington, D.C. the Obama administration draws a line in the sand over tax hikes. The two sides now seem further apart than ever before and we have less than a month to go.
CHO: Soledad, a flood of trouble in the west. Widespread destruction as storms pound already soggy parts of Northern California.
O'BRIEN: Lots to talk about this morning. We'll have Joe Linta, the agent for Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher who tragically took his own life after he shot and killed his girlfriend over the weekend.
Also talking to Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack, California Republican Mary Bono Mack is going to join us as well. Also the former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is our guest, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber is with us in the studio. It's Monday, December 3 and STARTING POINT begins right now.