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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

New Pledge to Prioritize Sandy Aid Bill; Interview with Peter King; Sexual Assault in the Social Media Age; Penn State Files Lawsuit Against NCAA

Aired January 3, 2013 - 08:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT everyone. A new pledge to make a Superstorm Sandy relief bill a priority in the new Congress after Speaker John Boehner abruptly pulled a similar bill late Tuesday night.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: That move had politicians fuming, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calling out his own party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: National Disasters happen in red states and blue states, and states with Democratic and Republican governors. We respond to innocent victims as natural disasters not as Republicans or Democrats but as Americans, or at least we did until last night. Last night politics was placed before oaths to serve our citizens. For me, it was disappointing and disgusting to watch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Peter King also a vocal opponent of what happened. He is a Republican representative from Long Island and the chairman of the homeland security committee. Mr. Chairman, good to see you. Good morning.

REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: Great to be with you, thanks.

BALDWIN: Let me just begin with the fist pounding on the podium from Tuesday night that we saw from you, and now it sounds like your anger and temper is much, much more subdued this morning over this whole thing. What happened?

KING: Bottom line is that we got the decision we wanted. What you saw Tuesday night was unplanned, unscripted. It was the way I felt at the time and I stand by everything I said. But the fact is yesterday, the speaker, we met with the speaker and majority leader and they said that the $60 billion will be brought up for a vote at the earliest time. It will be a $9 billion infusion into the flood insurance program tomorrow, we'll vote on that, and then the first legislative day is January 15th, and we'll vote on the remaining $51 billion. Obviously, I wish it had been done yesterday or the day before but we are going to have all of that voted on by January 15th. As far as I'm concerned what's done is done and now we go forward, make sure this does happen and we get the votes.

BALDWIN: Congressman, you made some strong statements. I want to run through a couple of them, and you can just give me a yes or no if you still stand by what you said?

You said that anyone who contributed one penny to the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee should have their head examined. You stand by that?

KING: I said based on what happened on Tuesday night, yes, if we had not gotten the aid, yes. As of now, in view of the speaker's decision yesterday, now we start over again.

BALDWIN: So the Republicans in Congress would have a hard time getting your vote. Where do you stand?

KING: I was saying was because what happened the other night, when you're in a political party, you give a deference to your party, give them the benefit of the doubt on certain votes with the assurance when you need help, your district needs help, the party will be there for you. Since the party wasn't for me Tuesday night, not for me, my district, my constituents, for the entire region, then I was going to look very skeptically at votes in the future.

BERMAN: So Congressman, you say you're over this now, but I guess my question to you is does it leave a mark? You weren't just upset as we say in Boston, you were wicked upset.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: So what kind of mark does this leave, any scarring?

KING: No, listen, I'm from New York politics. We're full of scars and bruises and broken bones, so that's all part of the business. I mean I've worked with Mario Cuomo, Ed Katz, some pretty tough customers over the years. It was a skirmish, very important but as far as I'm concerned it's over with.

John Boehner and I are friends and we shook hands yesterday. But when it comes to fighting for my constituents, I had an obligation to do it. And the danger was this wasn't just a delay of one day. What I was concerned being pushed over into the new Congress this could delay it for months. That's why the speaker yesterday agreed to expedite this and get it done. That was the most significant thing.

BALDWIN: When we talk about a delay and we heard this over from Chris Christie as well. Just to give everyone perspective, we have this graphic, when you see in previous storm disasters Congress and the White House managed to get aid bills signed within a month. Look at Katrina, 10 days, Andrew, 31 days. Double that time with Hurricane Sandy. What happened? KING: The House, we didn't get the bill until last week. The governor submitted very detailed statements. It took them I guess almost a month, and in fairness to them they wanted to make sure everything was documented so they came up with their request sometime around November 20th in that area, November 15th, November 20th, and then it went to the White House. And the Office of Management and Budget had to go through it. They submitted it to the Congress. The Senate voted on it I think right before Christmas and then we got it this week. So this is the first week we could have voted on it anyway, just by the procedure of the governor submitting the --

BALDWIN: Let me just jump in. This was Tuesday night, after the whole fiscal cliff debacle. Speaker Boehner could have stayed, it could have happened. Now it's sort of being said that he was saying it wouldn't look good, it wouldn't look good to do this vote that night. What do you make of that?

KING: I disagree with the speaker's decision. He knows that. After the whole day of all the confusion and fighting and tumult over the fiscal cliff, John Boehner made a decision without telling us that to then vote on another $60 billion of spending at that time could have caused more disruption. He didn't know what was going to happen, and he just decided not to go with the vote. I think we should have gone with it then, but what's done is done, and again I'm not the speaker but we are getting results.

BERMAN: Chairman King, the $9 billion sounds like it will pass fairly easily, but the higher number, the more money later this month, really, it's not a sure thing. And your colleague, Republican Darrell Issa, is calling this pork. Listen to what he said about the relief bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) CALIFORNIA: They sent us a bunch of pork and then left town, and that was just wrong. And I think the speaker has the support of the vast majority of Republicans that, if we're going to provide relief, we can't allow it to be doubled essentially with unrelated pork, no matter where the relief is. And the relief will come early next year, but it will come at the $27 billion level or I don't expect to be voting for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It sounds like you have some work to do here to convince your colleagues, sir.

KING: First of all, with all due respect, Darrell Issa is 1,000 percent wrong. There is absolutely no pork in the bill. There were some items that were added in the Senate involving Alaska, which is less than one percent of the bill. Even though it's only one percent of the bill, every one of those items was removed from the House bill.

And I wish Darrell Issa had learned that and looked into that before he went public and said that my constituents should not get their homes rebuilt, should not have the waste management plants rebuild, that Governor Chris Christie should not be given the opportunity to rebuild New Jersey and Governor Cuomo in New York.

Every dollar that Governor Christie, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg requested has been documented, the speaker will tell you that, the majority leader will tell you that. There is no pork and to somehow say that $33 billion is pork, Darrell Issa, with all due respect, is 1,000 percent wrong. I say that again 1,000 percent wrong. The speaker disagrees with him, the majority leader agrees with him, and if he wants to take it up with somebody, call Governor Christie.

BALDWIN: We hear you loud and clear, Mr. Chairman, this morning and we appreciate you coming on.

KING: Thank you.

BERMAN: Chairman King, nice to see you.

RICHARD SOCARIDES, WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM: It sounds like he's still kind of upset.

BALDWIN: I heard that in his voice.

SOCARIDES: I think one of the things about this even though it's good they have an agreement on a date that putting it over to the next Congress, then it will have to go back to the Senate and we're not done yet. They have a date for a vote in the house but it's not done.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If you're a northeastern Republican who cares about this stuff there's a regional split in the Republican Party. These guys don't have a lot of power, and for them to get something done, they have to do what Peter King did, explode on TV before they can get it passed.

REP. NAN HAYWORTH, (R) NEW YORK: They certainly, our colleagues made a tremendous noise about this, as they needed to. There is tremendous anguish and suffering going on here in the northeast, and Ryan makes a point that within the House majority there is a certain difference of opinion about how we plan out these things. But I think it was wise to, of the speaker to bring --

SOCARIDES: You are being incredibly delicate I think. I think there is a difference of opinion within the Republican caucus about how much help the northeast needs. And northeastern representatives on both parties need to get their act together because this is, you know, this is another disaster waiting to happen.

HAYWORTH: They need to have better coordination on these things.

LIZZA: Note to self -- don't ever piss off Chairman King.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: And with that, Christine Romans, good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Such language from Ryan Lizza first thing in the morning. Minding your business now, jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed will continue for another year with the fiscal cliff deal, but they won't last forever. We need real job growth. We just found out 372,000 jobless claims were filed for the first time last week according to the Department of Labor. And payroll processor ADP just reported 215,000 private sector jobs were added in December. That number more than expected. Tomorrow is the big government jobs report, all of these little pieces of information being used to see how strong the labor market might be. Mark Zandi says that 2012 ended on a strong note for jobs. So we'll see.

A very strong day for markets yesterday. The Dow gained 308 points, about 2.4 percent, and U.S. markets poised for a pullback, not a surprise. After a 3.8 rally U.S. stock futures are down this morning. Investor enthusiasm over the fiscal cliff expected to be short lived in part because we have all these little mountains to climb over the next few months.

And catch this, the secret to a healthy relationship, pop for a DVR. A new poll says couples fight more over the TV remote than anything else. When asked which aspect of living together drives you most crazy, 36 percent of couples said fighting over what to watch on TV. That even beats out arguing over household chores, even sharing a bathroom, or hogging the bed. I personally think it's fighting over money, but apparently it's fighting over the remote control.

BERMAN: That's why I have such a healthy marriage. I go to bed at 7:30 and my wife can watch whatever she wants.

LIZZA: The secret to a good marriage is to not be together all the time.

(LAUGHTER)

LIZZA: This makes sense, right, because this is when you're together, right? This is what you argue about.

BALDWIN: As long as I can have somebody else unload the dishwasher I'm a happy camper.

ROMANS: My husband's DVR has so much sports I can't get so much on there because the sports takes up all the space.

BERMAN: Case closed.

ROMANS: They need more CNN.

BERMAN: That is for certain.

Just ahead we're talking about a really troubling and disturbing story.

BALDWIN: This is awful.

BERMAN: It's a case of two high school football players accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl, a teenager caught on videotape joking about this horrific crime. We'll have the details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A quarter until the top of the hour here. Welcome back to STARTING POINT.

We're getting our first look today at this nearly 12-minute video that could become key evidence in a rape case in a small town in Ohio.

BERMAN: Two high school football players accused of assaulting a 16- year-old girl. CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti is covering the details of this case. Good morning Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. The charges are stunning, a 16-year-old girl allegedly raped by two high school football players during end of the summer parties in the small eastern Ohio town of Steubenville. There are reports the girl was drunk and possibly unconscious. and now two special prosecutors appointed by Ohio's Attorney General Mike Dewine are just over a month away from trying at least two teens on rape charges.

But what makes this case stand out even more is talk about the alleged attack last August has been playing itself out through social media. Even Ohio's chief law enforcement officer says this case might never have come together a decade ago. That's because police in part found out about the alleged rape by piecing together outrageous tweets, a cell phone photo that claims to show the girl at the center of the alleged attack being carried seemingly limp by her arms and legs and at least one online video that shows young people callously laughing about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What if that was your daughter?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it isn't. If that was my daughter I wouldn't care, I'd just let her be dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm listening to myself fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In about ten years, I'm going to come back to this video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten years, my daughter's going to be getting raped and dead in ten years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Now that continues for about 12 minutes. He goes on to make offensive one-line comments about rape and talks about the girl as if she was dead, which she is not.

BALDWIN: You mentioned rape charges, it's rape but it's also more than that. CANDIOTTI: That's right. Two 16-year-old boys are charged with rape, one of the two is also charged with illegal use of a minor in nude material. Now the attorney general's office says they'll be tried by a juvenile court judge without a jury in open court next month. These two boys have been publicly identified by authorities. However, CNN is not yet revealing their names and because CNN's policy is not to release the name of alleged rape victims, we are also not reporting the name of the girl.

BERMAN: And we're talking about two high school students charged right now in these crimes. And my understanding is this was a -- a full night of a raucous rolling party. Is it possible there will be other people involved?

CANDIOTTI: It is possible. Ohio's attorney general tells me the investigation is not over. Authorities are still conducting interviews and he also says he's well aware of the online video and a photo and various postings, some were online months ago, then were taken down and some put back online again. So this is not over.

BERMAN: All right, Susan Candiotti, thanks very much.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Still to come this morning on STARTING POINT, the lawsuit that is trying to get Penn State sanctions in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case tossed out but guess what? It's not the school that's suing here.

Governor, Governor Tom Corbett joins us live to talk about why he has decided to sue. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Penn State University is distancing itself this morning from a lawsuit by the state over sanctions imposed after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Now it's the governor here, Governor Tom Corbett who is filing this anti-trust lawsuit against the NCAA saying and I'm quoting here "That it was overreaching and unlawful in how it punished the university".

BERMAN: The lawsuit asks the federal court to throw out all the penalties against Penn State's football program including a $60 million fine but the university still says it will comply with the punishment. Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania joins us right now. Governor, good morning.

GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning, how are you today?

BERMAN: Very well, thank you.

Listen, hoping you help us clear something up here because this appears to be a shift for you. When the NCAA first gave out it's sanctions, this was a statement from your office. You said "We have taken a monster off the streets and while we will never be able to repair the injury done to these children, we must repair the damage to this university. Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed today by the NCAA on Penn State."

So that was July 23rd, you were willing to accept the penalties then. What's changed now?

CORBETT: Well and at the same time and I think a day later I talked about the severity of these and taking a look at -- at what was going to happen. What happen -- what's happened in the interim is my belief was that is if the NCAA is going to impose those sanctions they're going to impose them by the rules of the NCAA. And Penn State is a member of the NCAA so if you join an association you play by the rules.

However in further researching what's happened since then what we find out is the NCAA didn't follow its own rules in assessing penalties. Everybody knows that usually the NCAA goes through its infractions and rules committee to conduct an investigation to make a determination, and then to assess fines or penalties.

That was not the case here. In this case, President Emmert and an executive committee overstepped the bounds of the rules of the NCAA and imposed their own penalties without using the infractions committee. Thereby --

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Well Governor let me jump in --

CORBETT: -- let me finish, they did not -- they did not follow their rules so at that point in time I believe that they violated the anti- trust laws of the United States.

BALDWIN: Here's what the NCAA said in a statement yesterday, learning of this suit, quote, "We are disappointed by the Governor's action today, not only does this forthcoming lawsuit appear to be without merit, it is an affront to all the victims in this tragedy, lives that were destroyed by the criminal actions of Jerry Sandusky. While the innocence that was stolen can never be restored, Penn State has accepted the consequences for its role and the role of its employees and is moving forward. Today's announcement by the Governor is a setback to the university's efforts."

It appears that Penn State is not supporting you. They are complying with these sanctions. What kind of conversations have you had with the university, sir?

CORBETT: I did not have conversations with the board of trustees or with the president because I did not want them to be punished further by the NCAA for any actions that we took. I'm filing this on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, number one.

Number two, when it comes to the victims, nobody has done more in this whole situation of defending victims across their entire career than I have. And I will continue to protect the victims of crime, particularly the victims of sexual abuse, as I did throughout my career as a prosecutor.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Some people are --

CORBETT: The statement -- the statement of the NCAA, A, I believe was made before they even read the law. When we bring a lawsuit we have to believe that we have a good faith effort of winning that lawsuit and that's what the courts are for.

BERMAN: Sir, you are being criticized in some cases for the timing of this announcement. Christine Brennan who writes for "USA Today" noted that you said you waited until after the football season because you didn't want to take away from the momentum of the football team and this is what she said about that, she said, "If this weren't such a serious topic, if this weren't so pathetic and appalling it would be laughable. Who is running the state, Barney Fife?" Your reaction?

CORBETT: My reaction is she doesn't know what she's talking about. I held off, I didn't want to interfere with the momentum that the team had. Coach O'Brien had done a great job with the team. The final decision to go forward wasn't made until October. The lawsuit then was drafted, we went through many variations and at the end of the season was when I made my decision.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Did it make a case --

BERMAN: You waited -- you put football first, you put football if the case was so important why not bring it up when you're ready to bring it up? You put football first again which is one of the things with Penn State all along.

CORBETT: This is going to be a very long case and the start of that case could easily wait until after the end of the football season, which we did.

BALDWIN: Well obviously some folks disagree. We will watch --

CORBETT: Obviously.

BALDWIN: -- and follow the long case. Governor -- Governor, we appreciate it, Governor Tom Corbett, from the state of Pennsylvania, thank you.

"End Point" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Time for the "End Point". Swearing in today of the next Congress, outgoing congresswoman, final thoughts here?

SOCARIDES: Well you know Ryan and I we're wondering and thought we should ask Nan on her last official day in Congress if there's anything you would say today that you haven't been able to say up until now? HAYWORTH: Well, I do say as a northeastern Republican and we were just talking about the -- there is a certain regionalization of the party and its representation and as a northeastern Republican I think the -- what I hear from the folks I serve is that they really do embrace our positions on these fiscal issues in so many ways.

We need to have calm, long-term discussions and we need to value people's personal autonomy in terms of the way they conduct their personal lives. And I think if we could do that as a party more openly, we would have more representation directly in the northeast.

BERMAN: All right, Congressman Nan Hayworth, thank you very much for joining us.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Richard, thanks for the advice.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Victor Blackwell begins right now.