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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Interview with Senator Designate Tim Scott; Instagram Faces Insta-Backlash; Actor Brad Garrett Talks New Movie

Aired December 19, 2012 - 08:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. This morning, we've been talking about the fiscal cliff, the future of paying more taxes. All that still up in the air. House Republicans reportedly find the votes that would pass Plan B that would extend tax cuts for those who make under than $1 million. In the middle of all of this is Congressman Tim Scott.

He's been named by Gov. Nikki Haley as the new Senator from South Carolina. He received some very high praise from his outgoing predecessor, Senator Jim DeMint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM DEMINT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I can walk away from the Senate knowing someone is in this seat that is better than I am. That will carry that voice of opportunity conservatism to the whole country in a way that I couldn't do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: Congressman Tim Scott joins us this morning. Nice to see you, sir. Congratulations on your new position which I guess you'll take on January 3rd. You make history on a lot of fronts. You're the only black Senator right now when January 3rd comes. You'll be the first black Senator from the South since reconstruction, the first black Republican Senator in 34 years. Nikki Haley said this when she named you to the position. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. NIKKI HALEY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: It is very important to me as a minority female that Congressman Scott earned this seat. He earned this seat for the person that he is. He earned this seat for the results he has shown. He earned this seat for what I know he's going to do in making South Carolina and making our country proud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: When I was watching that, I thought, of course he earned his seat. You know, you have very steady, you know, conservative credentials. What do you think she meant by that and why say "earned" four times? REP. TIM SCOTT, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA, SELECTED TO REPLACE SENATOR DEMINT'S VACATED SEAT: Well, I would first say Feliz Navidad, Soledad. The fact of the matter is I think we want to make clear that this is an amazing nation. We have great opportunities. And if you work hard and you have faith, great things are possible.

And coming from a single parent household for me, I look towards the future and I say to myself, how can we impact this nation and keep the American dream alive for the next generation? And that's what we're trying to build, a better community for all based on our credentials and the way that we take care of the public trust.

O'BRIEN: You know, for anybody who knows your story, you have a remarkable story. You know, ninth grade you were getting out and dropping out of school. Now you really are the picture of an American success story. So I guess I didn't understand when she said, "he's earned, he's earned it, he's earned it." Is there some messaging that somehow because you're black you didn't earn it?

SCOTT: I would say ask the governor. I think the governor went through a very strong matrix to come to her conclusion. Perhaps she was just trying to re-emphasize the necessity of going through that detailed process to come to a conclusion. I'm simply excited that I have an opportunity to represent all of South Carolina and to have an impact on this nation.

O'BRIEN: Jim DeMint used to talk to us a fair amount on this show. So I hope you'll follow in his footsteps on that front for us, at least.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: Keith Boikin is a writer, and he said, trust me, "Tim Scott is not your grandfather's black Republican." My grandfathers weren't from this country. I'm not sure what he means by that. What do you think he means?

SCOTT: I haven't a clue. I know that my grandfather is 92 years old. And he has seen this country evolve in amazing ways. He looks at South Carolina and he says, wow, what an amazing state that we have the blessing to live within because of the evolution. South Carolina is a great place to be from. And we have an opportunity to continue to work together to build a better country. And that's what we should focus on.

O'BRIEN: Why do you think the GOP struggles so much with people of color? You know. I don't need to tick off what President Obama won in the recent election. If you look at what the GOP won, supporters mainly older and white and male.

SCOTT: Well, I think what we have to continue to do is make sure that we work through the process of marketing the ideas that we represent. I believe that America is still very much a center-right country. And so what we have an opportunity to do is walk into new places and new territories and simply say that the plan is clear, the way forward is clear, and market ourselves effectively in new places. O'BRIEN: You know, some people would say, well, the indication from the election would be that the nation is not a center-right country, and that, in fact, you know, marketing is not the issue. It's actually less about marketing and more about sort of the substance of some of the proposals. You know, what are specific proposals that you think are going to be things that change the game in getting more support from minorities across the board?

SCOTT: I think what we have is truthfully the start of the entrepreneurial spirit. It's worked incredibly well in South Carolina. We have lots of jobs coming into our state. I think if we look at the opportunity to build a better economy, we can ask the question and answer it well, how do you build a better economy? And the answers are the pillars beneath it.

Things like education is a part of it. We need to work on the ability to focus on the task at hand. We have to make sure that people understand how to create the business plan, how to put it together, how to put it to work.

As a small business owner for the last 15 years, when I think of what truly changed my life, it was my faith, a strong family, my mom did a really, really good job of encouraging me in very clear and discernible ways. At the same time, I had to go to work. I had to have the work ethic that was necessary. I believe Americans have a strong work ethic. We need to bring all the pieces together to form that opportunity going forward, because I think if we do that as a nation and as a party we will start winning the elections that are necessary to include the presidency in the future.

O'BRIEN: I want to is you a question about the NRA. You're a member. So I assume you're a gun owner. When they polled the NRA it was really interesting to see some things that people said. 74 percent of NRA members said concealed carry permits should be only granted to applicants who have completed gun safety training, and 68 percent said only applicants who don't have prior arrests for domestic violence, only granted to applicants 21 and older, 75 percent. The list goes on and on.

I'm curious what changes do you think should be made in the nation's gun laws if any? You have co-sponsored a deal that would keep the Department of Justice from knowing if someone bought multiple guns. You've co-sponsored a deal that would allow gun dealers to sell weapons across state lines. Where for you is the line, if there is one, for change that would, you know, keep something like Newtown from happening again?

SCOTT: Well, I think the solutions are not necessarily in new legislation. Perhaps the solution starts with us examining the mental condition of the person and the persons in the past that have had the desire to create the atrocities that we've seen recently. So mental illness should be a major part of the conversation going forward.

We should also look at an opportunity for us to engage this entire culture of moral decay and violence. So when we start looking for solutions as the response of a crisis, I think we're starting in the right place. If we draw conclusions quickly, we may draw flawed conclusions.

So my hope is that we'll give ourselves the opportunity -- and I know I've heard lots of conversations about what we'll be facing in the 113th Congress. I look forward to having that debate as we move forward.

O'BRIEN: Tim Scott joining us this morning. Congratulations on your new appointment. We'll be sure to be talking to you over the next year, but as a Senator. Thank you, sir. Appreciate your time.

SCOTT: Thank you.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The question was right on. What African-Americans and minorities can't stand is when you have to qualify. The bottom line is there was no need to say he earned it four times. Obviously he did. That's part of where the criticism comes from.

O'BRIEN: He has great credentials. It was like two "earned."

MARTIN: I know what that comes from. It's, OK, I need to convince you guys this black guy really earned it. Yes, he did.

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What I want to say, she was probably also responding to the comment or potential comment that you picked him because he's black, because the Republicans need a black face. She's saying, no, I picked this guy because he's extremely impressive.

O'BRIEN: She said no as a minority female myself, let me try to nip this in the bud and make it clear. But it's unfortunate you have to --

MARTIN: It happened one time. When you say he's qualified, he's qualified. It's unnecessary.

O'BRIEN: John Berman has a look at some of the other stories making news this morning.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Thank you, Soledad. A massive winter storm hitting Denver, Colorado, right now. This is a live look. You can see snow falling pretty hard right now. Storm stretching all the way from Colorado right there with the flakes blowing nicely through those Christmas lights all the way to the upper great lakes. It's expected to cause dangerous blizzard or near blizzard conditions today. Winds are the real problem. Forecasters expect six to 12 inches of snow. Those winds could reach 50 miles an hour in some areas.

Prosecutors says a terror suspect arrested last month planned to attack several New York landmarks. Prosecutors say the Florida man targeted Wall Street, Times Square and Manhattan theaters trying to avenge deaths in Afghanistan by U.S. drone attacks.

Senator Daniel Inouye will lie in the Capitol tundra tomorrow. Funeral services set for Friday. Inouye was a World War II vet who received the Medal of Honor and represented Hawaii for five decades died Monday at the age of 88. His office says the last word he spoke was "Aloha."

O'BRIEN: His life story is so amazing. People should literally go and Google that right now.

BERMAN: His Medal of Honor, he was in Italy. His arm was blown off. The hand was holding a grenade. He pulled the grenade out of the hand and then threw it. That guy is a hero.

O'BRIEN: Hard core.

BERMAN: Hard core.

All right, Instagram now responding to Insta-backlash over privacy terms that stated Instagram can basically use photos and ads and sell them without your permission. Facebook bought the picture sharing site for $1 billion back in April. Instagram now says updated terms of service will be out in 30 days. Yes, they will. They appear to be backtracking a tiny little bit.

MARTIN: Might not want to wait 30 days. Maybe 30 minutes.

O'BRIEN: People are leaving Instagram like crazy.

BERMAN: It's crazy.

O'BRIEN: And 30 days?

BERMAN: You have to look at these. She was caught red handed with the goods. Police in central Florida believe an eight-year-old girl is responsible for stealing packages left on doorsteps.

CAIN: Look at her sneaking up.

BERMAN: Neighbors in Claremont, Florida, annoyed they weren't getting their packages set up a sting to catch the thief. They were surprised to find out it appears to be this little girl. Now they want an apology from her and from her parents.

O'BRIEN: Wow.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: Where is she bringing the packages? Does she have a storehouse somewhere?

O'BRIEN: Could your eight-year-old bring a giant box of a UPS delivery?

MARTIN: She got a whole setup going. Fine.

O'BRIEN: Seriously, that's terrible. That's terrible. It's just terrible. You're right, the little creeping.

MARTIN: I'm sorry. That's funny, Soledad.

(LAUGHTER) O'BRIEN: Ahead on STARTING POINT this morning, he played the disgruntled brother on "Everybody Loves Raymond." Now actor Brad Garrett is trying his hand at music, at least on the big screen. He's going to join us to talk about his new movie called "Not Fade Away."

You're watching STARTING POINT and we're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The creator of "The Sopranos" is back with a new movie called "Not Fade Away." It tells the story of a group of New Jersey teenagers who are trying to make it as a band during the 1960s.

Brad Garrett is the actor probably best known for his role as big brother in "Everybody Loves Raymond." He plays the producer, songwriter the band thinks can make them stars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD GARRETT, ACTOR: Those are two of 20. I want you to learn them. Play as many bars and coffee houses as you can. Ensconce yourself here in New York. Pay your dues. Make your living from it. Play seven nights a week, two shows a night, and then call me in six months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: The movie opens this Friday. And Brad Garrett's with us this morning. Nice to have you with us. Great to have you.

GARRETT: Yes, this is great. A little like an intervention.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: Al Roker. Up and down with the weight. You pick a number.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: I'm consistent. I'm consistent.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: How's the cliff? How's the fiscal cliff?

O'BRIEN: Fiscal cliff. Are you into politics?

GARRETT: Well, you know, I'm a big McGovern fan. Look, this is what I'm saying and I don't want to get political, because I can't fit in the booth. It's not that I don't want to vote but I get in the booth and the head's psychopath shower. But just -- the people, like all of you -- we all got a little dough. Just pay it up. Just pay it up and let's all go home for Christmas.

O'BRIEN: And you're like, we could wrap up this whole tax thing. GARRETT: I'm like, you know what? Let's help out. Look, they're killing us now with the debt. Let's kick in a little more. You got all Daddy's money. Never worked a day in his life. He just calls Mom every Sunday.

(LAUGHTER)

CAIN: Brad, I've been on this show for a year. You're the funniest yet. You are 100 percent the best.

O'BRIEN: Can I ask you a question? Do you prefer doing comedy? Do you prefer doing TV? Do you prefer doing movies? Is there a preference you have or just all of the above?

MARTIN: Which is a bigger check?

GARRETT: Whose show is this? Who runs this?

O'BRIEN: Thank you. Yes. Thank you.

GARRETT: This is unbelievable.

MARTIN: She says that every day.

GARRETT: Is he still a reverend? I love doing stand-up. I love acting. You know, as long as -- hand modeling. I used to hold the spoon for the Hungry Jack Breakfast. And sleep.

(LAUGHTER)

GARRETT: Soledad, what is that? Because I'm watching you backstage and that name is --

O'BRIEN: Maria de la Soledad Teresa O'Brien.

GARRETT: OK, we're ready to order. Anything else?

MARTIN: She has six names.

O'BRIEN: I got a lot of names.

GARRETT: What is that?

O'BRIEN: My mother's Cuban, my mother's Afro-Cuban and my dad is Australian.

GARRETT: Oh, that's a lot of drinking. People are hitting it hard there.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Both sides of the family on that. Tell me a little bit about the movie. You have "The Sopranos" creator and then, of course, James Gandolfini also involved and David Chase and Steve Van Zandt. So does that -- how did that go? GARRETT: I'll tell you how it went and I'm going to be very honest with you. The movie is wonderful. It's kind of semi-autobiographical about David Chase's -- are we going to commercial?

O'BRIEN: No.

GARRETT: OK, because I hear Nancy Grace yelling.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: I don't know what that - who's Kelly? But I'm going to be honest with you, Soledaddy.

O'BRIEN: You're not the first to call me that.

GARRETT: This interview --

O'BRIEN: Is going off the rails?

GARRETT: No, not off the rails. Fiscal cliff, I'm telling you. This is longer than I'm in the film, the screen time.

O'BRIEN: Did they cut all your lines? What happened?

GARRETT: They didn't cut all my lines. Reverend, tell her how it works.

MARTIN: Small check.

GARRETT: I'm grateful, you know, to be on it. It was just -- it was a tiny -- a cameo, you know.

O'brien: Would you like to do more, then? does that mean -- does that mean that you'd like to have, like, a starring role in a movie?

GARRETT: Well, you know, every time Mr. Gandolfini was on camera, I would just walk in front of him. I'm one of the few people who could eclipse the man. He's a big -- you're like his X-Ray. Have you met James?

MARTIN: Actually, we have met. We have met. But actually, I think that you could really do more than Vince Vaughn does. Because I think you're funnier than Vince Vaughn, so maybe you should get the same agent.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: You have a new show, right?

GARRETT: What does that mean?

MARTIN: My point is I'm trying to get you new roles.

(CROSSTALK) O'BRIEN: Wait, wait. You have a new show coming out.

GARRETT: I have a new show on ABC called "How to Live with Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life." And it's starring the wonderful Sarah Chalk from "Scrubs" and Elizabeth Perkins plays my wife. I did my first frontal. And it didn't go great.

O'BRIEN: Wait.

GARRETT: Didn't go great.

O'BRIEN: Wait. What? What'd you just say?

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: First frontal.

CAIN: On network TV?

GARRETT: Of course, the black guy has to explain frontal. You know, the other side.

MARTIN: Brothers, we get it.

GARRETT: I know you do. I know you do. It's really a fun show. It comes out on ABC April 3rd after "Modern Family". I play Sarah Chalk's stepdad. It's a wonderful story about frontal. No. Sarah Chalk moves home back with her parents after going through an untimely divorce with her child. Elizabeth and myself, we really love our home life and our empty nest and we're the kind of parents that like what are you doing here? How long will you be here?

O'BRIEN: When are you leaving?

GARRETT: Yes.

MARTIN: Any black folks on the show? Just checking.

GARRETT: No. No. There's one guy who kind of -- yes. He's kind of like Soledad's color.

MARTIN: I'm just checking. Just to let all the brothers know to watch it.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: It just so happens we have brothers on the show.

MARTIN: OK, good.

O'BRIEN: OK, just checking. Just checking.

GARRETT: Don't you guys have enough? Really?

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN: No, actually, we don't.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: White guy in the paint.

MARTIN: No bath!

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Turning to professional poker. Turning sharply, like this, to professional poker. You just broke a record.

GARRETT: I need you to bring it down a notch. Unbelievable. I mean, who could he possibly be sleeping with? OK, all right, it's Oz. OK, Soledad. I like Soledad. Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Soledad. Don't pronounce the last d.

GARRETT: Soledad. But I say to myself, Soledad. I know what's happened to Tony, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: That's not bad. Not bad. All right. We will continue --

CAIN: Not going to talk to him about poker?

O'BRIEN: I'm actually have to hit a break. We're going to kick him around though.

GARRETT: Nancy Grace bumper? You can't give me 30 seconds?

O'BRIEN: Kind of, sort of. Yes. But we'll have you back for that 30 seconds on the other side. Back in a moment. You're not leaving yet.

CAIN: Stay, stay.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back.

GARRETT: That was the best massage. You have hands --

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Magic fingers.

GARRETT: You have hands like --

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: I've been trying for a few minutes to get a question in about -- you're a poker player.

GARRETT: I am. I'm not a very good poker player.

O'BRIEN: You just won $100,000 or --

GARRETT: No, listen, Soledad. You have to read the notes.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: And finally, you are a professional -- hang on. I'll read the notes. "Finally, you are a professional poker player holding tournaments for charity. You recently broke one record for you raising $100,000. How did you get to be so good at the game?"

(LAUGHTER)

GARRETT: OK. I have to tell you, she gave it a little Rosetta Stone. She started to -- she forgot she was on the mainland. But you said I won $100,000. I raised $100,000 for this charity that I started a few years ago called the Maximum Hope Foundation.

O'BRIEN: Oh, not by playing?

GARRETT: Well, no, what we did was people came and donated. And they had entries and we did it at the MGM Hotel in Vegas.

O'BRIEN: So you're a terrible poker player?

GARRETT: I'm not that good. I have a bad tell. Do you play poker? Who plays poker? I have a bad tell. How would you explain it?

BERMAN: A tell is when you know someone -

O'BRIEN: You reveal your card. You reveal how you're going to do.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: It's a tic. It's a wink. It's a scratching your face. That was a Sandra Bullock movie. When I'm holding good cards, I become incontinent. It's a bad thing.

CAIN: Like a happy dog, sometimes.

GARRETT: Like a happy dog.

CAIN: You're having a good time, I can see that.

GARRETT: So anyway, I play poker. I love it. But I'm not very good. But I do it to raise money for the Maximum Hope Foundation which is my passion, along with fuzzy things and shiny objects.

O'BRIEN: Well, it's nice to have you in to talk about your role in "Not Fade Away".

GARRETT: It's a wonderful movie and with James Gandolfini. He's in it most of it. I'm --

O'BRIEN: You're not bitter about that at all.

GARRETT: Not at all. He's fabulous.

MARTIN: You're barely in it but you're selling the hell out of it. GARRETT: Well, I'm proud to be part of it. You would love it. It's like -- you remember "House Party"?

MARTIN: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. I know the guy who actually directed it. Reggie Hudland. You want me to call him for you?

GARRETT: No.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: And we got to take a short break.

GARRETT: How can we be out of time? We didn't talk about my book.

O'BRIEN: For next time. Brad Garrett. Short break. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: We're out of time. See you back here tomorrow morning for STARTING POINT.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins now.