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Congress to Vote on Aid Package for Sandy Victims; Miss Montana Profiled; Interview with Congressman Mick Mulvaney; Even Celebrities Get the Flu

Aired January 15, 2013 - 08:30   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. I'm really struggling speaking today. You're watching STARTING POINT. In a few minutes we'll talk with South Carolina Congressman Mick Mulvaney. He says he is not going to vote for the $51 billion Sandy relief bill. And also Miss America Mallory Hagan joins us live.

John Berman first has a look at other stories making news. Good morning, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": I Can't measure up against Miss America, but thanks very much. Oprah Winfrey is talking about her new interview with Lance Armstrong. Oprah revealed that when he confessed he used performance enhancing drugs, he did it in a way she would not expect. As you might imagine, she would not characterize what he was like during the interview except to say he was serious. Oprah also said she's not going to cut down the two and a half interview set to air over two nights.

Travis Tygart from the U.S. anti-doping agency spoke about testing Armstrong samples.


TRAVIS TYGART, U.S. ANTI-DOPING AGENCY CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Six samples that were taken from Lance Armstrong were retested in '05 and they were positive.

ATTORNEY: In '99 was it reported there were negative?

TYGART: There were no tests for EPO at that time.

ATTORNEY: When you tested for them in 2005 you discovered --

TYGART: All six were flaming positive.

ATTORNEY: Flaming positive.

TYGART: Flaming positive.


BERMAN: Oprah says Armstrong was emotional during the interview and she was, quote, "satisfied" with how it went.

So despite some major changes in President Obama's Cabinet as he begins his second term, two members are staying put. Both Janet Napolitano, who is the secretary of Homeland Security, and Tom Vilsack, the Agriculture secretary, confirmed yesterday they will remain in their posts.

Former South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford announced Monday she is not running for Congress in that state. This avoids a potential face- off against her ex-husband, the former governor Mark Sanford, who says he is running. Jenny Sanford said Congress is too dysfunctional and she can be more productive being a mom.


JENNY SANFORD, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA FIRST LADY: The idea of killing myself to run for the seat for the privilege of serving under a dysfunctional body under John Boehner doesn't make sense to me.


BERMAN: She went on to say just being a mom is fine for me. Mark Sanford resigned as governor of South Carolina after admitting to an affair with a woman from Argentina. Governor Sanford is expected to announce his campaign for Congress in the coming days.

The mystery surrounding the death of actress Natalie Wood 31 years ago has now deepened again. A report by the Los Angeles County coroner made public yesterday changes the official cause of death from accidental drowning to drowning and other undetermined factors. It sights the presence of bruises on her body. She was found floating in the Pacific Ocean in 1981. Her widower actor Robert Wagner said she fell off their yacht.

So Lady Gaga is taking heat for performing her hit single "Alejandro" this weekend in Vancouver. She was wearing a machine gun bra. She first wore that in the music video for the single in 2010 but many are now questioning wearing it again since she did so exactly a month after the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

O'BRIEN: The point is as an artist she's edging and the timing I think in her particular case is very specific.

CHARLES BLOW, OP-ED COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": And actual machine guns are banned in America.



BLOW: Lingerie loopholes the gun laws allow for.

O'BRIEN: In other news, Miss New York was crowned this weekend as the new Miss America. She'll join us in a couple of minutes to talk about her story. Another inspiring contestant, Miss Montana, has a mild form of autism and competed. Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to Alexis Wineman in this week's "Human Factor."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Miss Montana surrounded by more than 50 other beauty queens on stage all hoping to become Miss America. For most of her early life Alexis Wineman spent her time alone.

ALEXIS WINEMAN, MISS MONTANA: I was quiet because I couldn't say anything right. I was picked on for the way I spoke. I really didn't have any friends.

GUPTA: Her parents knew there was something wrong but the small town of cut bank, Montana, didn't have the resources to figure out what it was. At the age of 11, after years and years of searching for answers, a doctor finally put a name to Wineman's division: pervasive development disorder, a mild form of autism.

Typically, children with autism are very intelligent but very quiet, socially awkward, and they don't respond appropriately to interactions with other people. Typically they don't end up becoming beauty queens either. But Wineman says one day she simply decided not to let her condition define her.

WINEMAN: I wanted to accept myself and my autism and I realized my autism isn't what defines me. I define what is autism.

GUPTA: She entered the miss Montana pageant as a way to prove to herself she could do anything she set her mind to.

WINEMAN: I fell in love with the program. Good thing because I won. I didn't expect to win, but it's funny how things work out sometimes.

GUPTA: Win or lose, Wineman says it's been an amazing ride.

WINEMAN: I'm going to try to, try to win this, for anyone who has ever thought they weren't good enough.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


O'BRIEN: She was not the winner, of course, but what an amazing story, a remarkable young lady.

Ahead this morning, we're going to talk about a $51 billion bill from Superstorm Sandy relief. Some say they're not going to vote for that bill including Congressman Mick Mulvaney. He's our guest after this short break. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The House could vote today on $51 billion in federal relief for states that were affected by Superstorm Sandy. The debate is over a $17 billion package plus $34 billion amendment has exposed divisions within the Republican party and the fight over pork, conservative comfort growth announced it will penalize any lawmaker who votes for the package because they say it includes wasteful spending.

Congressman Mick Mulvaney is a Republican form South Carolina and he says he will not support the measure. Nice to see you, sir, thank you for talking with us. Tell me why you're not going to vote for this today if it comes up?

REP. MICK MULVANEY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: As of right now it's not paid for. I'm not one of the folks in the Republican Party and there are members of my party who think that this is not a proper function of the government. I happen to disagree with that. I live in a hurricane-prone area, lived through hurricanes and floods myself. I think this is a proper and appropriate function of the government. My difficulty with it, it is not paid for, we're borrowing this additional money and I think that's wrong. I'm hoping we can figure out a way today during the amendment process to find savings elsewhere to pay for this without adding to the debt.

O'BRIEN: You represent South Carolina, which has a history with hurricanes, and if you look at the damage from hurricane Hugo in 1989, $5 billion to $8 billion in property losses, 26,000 homes more or less were damaged. Hurricane Gaston in 2004, nobody offset costs by spending cuts. Here's what Chris Christie said this is a new plan, listen.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: New Jersey does not expect anything more than what was done for Louisiana and Alabama and Mississippi in Katrina, what was done in Joplin, Missouri, what was done in the floods in Iowa. We don't expect anything more than that, but we will not accept anything less. And if they want to make new rules about disasters, well, they picked the wrong state to make the new rules with.


O'BRIEN: Doesn't he have a point that this is sort of a different I guess standard for folks in New Jersey than everybody else, including those many folks in your state were given in the years past?

MULVANEY: I do think it's a fair point. I would encourage the governor and everybody else to consider the fact in 1989 and even as late as Katrina several years ago the debt was much, much smaller. You go back to 1989 it was $2 trillion or $3 trillion. It's five and six times larger than that today. We cannot continue to do what we've done in the past. That's how we arrived where we are. We have disasters every single year. We don't know where they're going to be, but we spend disaster money every single year, something for which we could budget.

Listen, I'm not against doing this but I think the days of just being able to say, OK, let's borrow money from China to do this and that have come and gone. The question is not whether or not we're going to do it. The question is whether or not it means enough to us as lawmakers to say we are going to pay for it, because if we don't we're saying our children are going to pay for it. I think that's a debate we need to have. If it's important enough to do, I believe it is, it's important enough for us to pay for it and not shift that cost on to the next generation.

FMR. REP. NAN HAYWORTH (R), NEW YORK: Mick, it's Nan Hayworth and it's good to see your face this morning. Good to hear your voice. Mick, as you've said you're anticipating that this relief Bill will pass. Do you think it will pass with the majority of Republican votes?

MULVANEY: I think certainly the underlying Rogers amendment, Nan, probably will. As Soledad mentioned it's been broken into two pieces, the first piece is $17 billion and Chairman Rogers has taken a lot of the pork from the Senate out of that bill. I think that will pass with the majority of Republicans. The question is the second amendment which contains all the pork the Senate put in the deal, the money for the Alaska fisheries, Smithsonian, trees planting and job services and legal programs, the question is the larger bill, the Senate Bill unaltered will pass with the majority of Republicans.

BLOW: Congressman, this is Charles Blow, sorry, we're battling, everybody wants to talk to you.

O'BRIEN: Go ahead.

BLOW: How do you counter the charge that we are now fighting about doing things that we always did before without question. This was part of the way that government functioned, that we raised debt limit because we already spent that money and we don't fight about that. If there is a natural disaster, that we come to the aid of the citizens who are impacted by that disaster and we don't necessarily fight about that. Put the pork to the side and assume that part will be taken out. We don't fight about whether or not we should come to the aid of other Americans and we deal with how we're going to deal with the paying for that on the back end, but we don't leave people out in the cold, out without any help from the government.

How do you counter that argument that we're now in a new kind of political dynamic where we are fighting about everything that we used to do and take for granted?

MULVANEY: It's a perfectly valid point but here would be my answer to that. What are we doing differently today? What we're really doing differently today is we're borrowing for everything else. Back during Hugo, back during Katrina we were paying for at least our basic operating costs, we are paying for the government, the deficits were -- they were surplus at sometimes but ordinarily deficits were fairly small and very manageable.

What's different today is not that we're necessarily talking about funding or not borrowing for disaster, we're borrowing for everything else and that puts us in this very new and quite frankly very uncomfortable position. If we had taken care of our underlying financial and fiscal needs and paid for the operation of this government without borrowing huge sums of money we wouldn't have to have this conversation.

We've -- we've undermined our own ability to see to our own people. Imagine the United States of America being in the circumstance as it is today where we have to go and ask other countries to lend us money so that we can take care of our own. That's an embarrassment to me.

And I'm not happy to be in this position. And it's not because of what happened in Sandy, it's because of what happened before we got to Sandy. And until that changes I think we can continue to have these conversations.

O'BRIEN: Congressman Mick Mulvaney is a Republican from South Carolina, nice to talk to you. It makes an excellent point at the same time. If you are a person who is affected by Sandy of course many folks in our state of New Jersey where you hear that, and you think oh, this is closing the door, the barn door after the horse has run out and not protecting the folks in New Jersey, you can see why Governor Chris Christie would be so furious as he is.

We're going to take a short break. Still ahead this morning we're going to talk to the new Miss America, she faced a tough question, should there be armed guards in schools? We'll talk about her answer and what her platform will be as the new Miss America straight ahead.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Alison Kosik in for Christine Romans minding your business. The U.S. stock futures are trading lower ahead of the opening bell. The big concern is debt talks -- debt ceiling talks in Washington.

Federal Reserve chief, Ben Bernanke said yesterday the debt ceiling law should be scrapped all together and outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said -- sent a letter to Congress urging action. He warned again that the Treasury would run out of extraordinary measures by mid February to keep the government paying its bills on time. The U.S. officially hit the debt ceiling set by Congress on December 31st.

And we're seeing some big moves in tech stocks rumors that PC maker Dell could go private, that's pushing the stock up in the premarket this morning Those rumors first reported by Bloomberg pushed the stock up 13 percent yesterday. Dell's been struggling for years, though, once the PC king, it failed to get into the tablet and Smartphone race.

And Apple shares they took a dived after reports that demand for the iPhone 5 could be trailing off. Apple didn't respond to those reports.

O'BRIEN: That's surprising.

BLOW: If you look at my friends everybody likes the bigger screen.

O'BRIEN: I thought you were going like a real statistics.

BLOW: Oh no, no, it's all about me.

KOSIK: It's about -- it's about Samsung, its everything to do with Samsung and less to deal about what the iPhone looks like.

BLOW: But something like the bigger, like people seem to like the bigger screens. And the iPhone is a tiny, tiny screen and that's the problem.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Can I get you on the record real quick the other point you mentioned, in the end, will House Republicans agree to raise the debt ceiling?

HAYWORTH: I think they will find a way to do it, let's put it that way and I would urge everybody to --

O'BRIEN: You're not in Congress anymore, come on.

HAYWORTH: No, I think --

BLOW: You are very moderate.

BROWNSTEIN: And will they -- and will they be able to get Obama to negotiate more spending cuts as the price of doing it or not?

HAYWORTH: I -- I think we need the President's leadership on that and that was an element that was missing in yesterday's press conference. I agree with the President, we have to pay our debts. That is true.

BLOW: Right.

HAYWORTH: However, the fundamental question is actually how do we address the mounting debt that we are accumulating now.

BROWNSTEIN: But they will raise the debt ceiling in the end.

HAYWORTH: I think they'll find a way and I urge everybody to read Keith Hennessey's blog. He's got some very interesting ideas about how to approach the mechanics of getting the debt ceiling. It's Keith Hennessey, I get his e-mails but Keith Hennessey, and he's a very interesting commentator.


HAYWORTH: And he actually has some ideas about how to maneuver this while still allowing Republicans to make the fundamental point they want to make.

BLOW: You're very clever, you're very clever.

BROWNSTEIN: She's slick.

HAYWORTH: That's the first time I've been accused of that.

O'BRIEN: He says that meaning slick in a great way.

"End Point" is up next. We're back in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

The flu bug has hit Hollywood leaving celebrities wary of over mingling with others. TV anchors are up in arms offering their arms for close-ups as they get their flu shots.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here's a scene for people who don't have the flu they find flu jokes funny.

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": This flu season is so bad Hugh Hefner is washing down his Viagra with Theraflu. That's how bad --

MOOS: Even he glamour of stardom can't ward off the flu. There was Jennifer Lawrence at the Golden Globes protecting Ryan Seacrest by not shaking his hand.

RYAN SEACREST, TV HOST: Thanks Jennifer.

JENNIFER LAWRENCE, ACTRESS: Thank you. I don't want to shake your hand.

SEACREAST: You have the flu, OK. If you fall, lean on me.

Three seconds later she forgot her scruples and latched on to the next guy who held out his hand. Stars, they're sick like us, spewing germs.

HUGH JACKMAN, ACTOR: Thank you, Hollywood -- sorry, I have tail end of this flu, and I was kicking myself for not getting the flu shot but it appears actually you don't need one. I feel great.

MOOS: Yes. But will Hugh Jackman's wife, be feeling great after that double kiss?

AMY POEHLER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Meryl Streep is not here tonight, she has the flu, and I hear she's amazing in it.

MOOS: At least Meryl Streep apparently had the sense to stay home. Jimmy Kimmel created a public service announcement aimed at workers who won't leave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you still here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take your sick (EXPLETIVE DELETED) and go home.

Go the hell home.

MOOS: If you do happen to be home with the flu, here's a Facebook app for you, "Help, my friend gave me the flu." The point is you feel really lousy so you want to blame someone for making you feel that way.


MOOS: The app tries to find which of your Facebook friends made you sick by examining their posts, perhaps they wrote of having symptoms before you says CNN Money tech reporter Lori Siegel.

SIEGEL: Evidence of sneezes, vomiting.

MOOS: This is ridiculous.

Ridiculous but fun.

SIEGEL: Oh my God -- Erica.

MOOS: But instead of pointing the finger, point the needle. TV people were quick to bare arms allowing their own arms to be shot while getting a flu shot. From CNN's Anderson Cooper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The light is glaring off your white arms.

MOOS: To the executive producer of "The Ellen Show".



MOOS: The award for most infectious may go to Jennifer Lawrence. Those little flu shot whimpers are kind of infectious, too.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


O'BRIEN: That piece says everything I feel about the flu as I was saying.

BROWNSTEIN: I'm moving move my chair over a little bit here. Everybody's spreading out.

HAYWORTH: If you're sick, you stay home.

O'BRIEN: Stay home.

So Miss America was supposed to join us to talk about her victory and some of the questions she had to tackle before she was able to get to victory, unfortunately she's had a little transportation issue. She'll join us tomorrow so we'll be able to just chat with her.

BLOW: Oh man.

COSTELLO: And congratulate her. I was know, gentlemen, I was looking forward to talking to her as well, however we'll have to just wait until tomorrow when she joins us.

HAYWORTH: And she's from New York.


BLOW: By way of Alabama.

HAYWORTH: There you go.

O'BRIEN: Exactly, there we go.

We have a just little bit of time for "End Point" so who wants to jump in first?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I guess, for me the takeaway this morning was Representative Thompson earlier basically putting his chips not so much on the assault ban but on banning assault style magazines and universal background check. That seems to be where the gun control debate may channel in the weeks ahead.

O'BRIEN: Harry Reid said it was doomed an assault weapons ban.

BROWNSTEIN: It's tough. It's always tough.

BLOW: I actually think that they need to stop talking about a global fix to the problem and talk about the gun issue in a different way and say we are now starting a conversation and starting moving in the right direction. And whatever comes out of this particular round should not be the end of our issue.

We should start with whatever we get, see how well that works. It will not solve all of our problems. There may, in fact, be another mass shooting but we move in a direction that gets us further away from where we are now which is not --


O'BRIEN: It would be interesting to think about Congress in terms of solutions as opposed to who won, who lost, right because we really frame it as well, they won and they simply -- now they're going to win, could they win? They're not going to raise that because they can't win as opposed to a team together trying to make --

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it's hard --

HAYWORTH: And It takes the public to drive that though, it always boils down to public culture.

BERMAN: On the issue of winning and losing on Lance Armstrong, reminder, there is honor in running a clean race even if you don't win.

BROWNSTEIN: There you go.

O'BRIEN: I can't believe, fewer lawyers involved always.


O'BRIEN: STARTING POINT tomorrow, newly-sworn Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is going to join us, one of the first female combat veterans in Congress.

First though, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. We'll see you back her tomorrow morning. Hey -- Carol.