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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Lance Armstrong Admits to Doping While Cycling; U.S. Air Force Evacuates Hostages from Algeria; Obamas Prep for Inauguration: New Portrait, New Bangs; Angie Harmon's New Role; CNN Hero 2012

Aired January 18, 2013 - 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. You're watching STARTING POINT. After years of lying Lance Armstrong is now admitting that he, in fact, did use performance enhancing drugs to win his seven tour de France titles. In his interview last night on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, he admitted to lying about doping repeatedly and he would relentlessly attack his accusers.

Erik Wemple writes for "The Washington Post," and Betsy Andreu is back again, and her husband and she were both attacked by Armstrong after she testified he doped. It's nice to see you. Thank you for being with us.

ERIK WEMPLE, MEDIA WRITER, "WASHINGTON POST": It's a pleasure.

O'BRIEN: What more does he have to say? We have a whole other show that Oprah will air tonight of this conversation. What would you like to hear in this part two, which is, of course, all part of the same interview?

WEMPLE: Perhaps a little more contrition, you know, just to say, yes, I really -- this is really dumb, this was really stupid, and I'm a fool a little more.

I think what people are still seeing is a very hardcore Lance Armstrong, and the demeanor that he's projecting if you just sort of a grasp a few different words on it, it looks like the same Lance Armstrong we've been hearing the vehement denials from for years and years and years.

In fact, one of the problems I think with the Oprah Winfrey interview last night was it didn't carefully document just how vehement, just how strong, just how airtight those denials had been for over and over and over for years and years. And, Betsy, I'm sure --

O'BRIEN: I was going to say, she knows a little something of that because you were, of course, the focus of some of those. There was last night I thought a very odd moment when he was talking about your conversation and the fact that he had many times called you a liar, called you much worse than that. Here's what he said to Oprah --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST: I said, listen, I called you crazy, I called you a bitch, I called you all these things, but I never called you fat.

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: That's one of the things --

ARMSTRONG: She said I thought you said you a fat, crazy. But, I said, Betsy, I never said you were fat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: I thought that was really odd. Explain that to me, what we just saw.

BETSY ANDREU, TESTIFIED THAT LANCE ARMSTRONG ADMITTED TO DOPING: Well, now you know why I was a b, look what I've been putting up with for all these years. I think he tried to inject a little bit of humor in there because this is such a serious thing, that's the only thing that I can think of. But as far as what Mr. Wemple said about the contrition, the contrition was heartfelt in our personal conversation.

Again, I'd much rather have it personally instead of in a public forum. I just think that he went about this in the wrong way. He should have met with USADA and told them everything from a to z. And then he could have begun the process. Because I think we're seeing some cherry picking, which is, well, I cheated every single one of these tours but --

O'BRIEN: Not 2009, 2010, that's essentially what he told Oprah. Do we have that clip? Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINFREY: So, when you placed third in 2009, you did not dope?

ARMSTRONG: No. And, again, the biological passport was in place and it was --

WINFREY: Does that include blood transfusions?

ARMSTRONG: Absolutely.

WINFREY: So, you did not do a blood transfusion.

ARMSTRONG: Absolutely not.

WINFREY: In 2009, you did no doping or blood transfusion in 2010.

ARMSTRONG: Absolutely, 2009 and 2010, those are the two years I did the tour, absolutely not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": He's so proud, he's so proud of 2009, 2010. We wouldn't be sitting here if it weren't for the comeback. The same thing, Soledad, you brought up the fat comment which is odd, because he parses the rules so much, I didn't say this, I said -- I didn't say the "f" word, I said "c" and "b." I never tested positive. It's all about what he got away with and it's not about remorse.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask a question, because there was someone who said, a sportswriter, who said if it's possible to hate him more after this interview, he succeeded because of not only the lack of contrition but sort of the out of body experience, I didn't think he was joking on the fat thing. I think he was parsing the details. They were wrong on that. What did you thing?

WEMPLE: He thought it would be an exculpatory element to his interview. The fascinating thing about the interview last night, looking at the twitter commentary and looking at how people took it in and myself as well is that we believed Lance Armstrong when he copped to doing something bad. We disbelief Lance Armstrong when he said that he did something, you know, honorable or right or clean. So, the point and the problem with these interviews is that Lance Armstrong is still such an illegitimate interviewee that we can't believe him --

O'BRIEN: He said that himself. Before he would say something, you are never going to believe this from me. Did that help his case or hurt his case?

WEMPLE: I don't think it did either. It was just a statement of the obvious. Credit him with that level of awareness that he knows this was a farce.

O'BRIEN: You were so upset last night when you were talking to Anderson. What is the next step? You get the sense -- he didn't answer Oprah's question of why he's there. What's the plan? What do you think his plan is? Overall, rehabilitation. But what is it?

ANDREU: It's going to be a long process. He knows he's hurt a lot of people. He knows he's done a lot of bad. He -- I don't know why he chose to do it in such a public manner, again, I think he should have met with WADA and USADA first and then he can go to Oprah, because you can't cherry pick what you're going to talk about.

BERMAN: Are you going to forgive him?

ANDREU: It's a process. It's not a light switch. This is a guy who used to be a friend of mine. It's not like I can -- and if I do forgive him, it's something personal and it's something I have to work through whether or not he's going to fully come clean on everything.

BERMAN: How hard has it been for you over the last several years when you were saying one thing and he was calling you crazy?

O'BRIEN: Or worse.

BERMAN: Or worse.

ANDREU: Well, how would it be if day in, day out you told the truth and somebody didn't believe you, and you were going up against a guy that the media love and you said, but, wait a minute, this guy's a fraud, but then this guy would talk to -- Lance would talk to journalists and the journalists would print whatever he wanted them to say. I would was being called vindictive, bitter, jealous.

Did the journalists call me? Did they ask me to refute those claims? No. And then what would happen, journalists are supposed to be arbiters of the truth so we listen to what the journalists say and you see the comment section and then get a phone call from his employer saying, why doesn't your wife just stay out of it? So, I was supposed to be a doormat and just let him smear me and let him get away with it.

O'BRIEN: You think of all the people for whom he had this relationship where he tried to attack them and take them out, he's got a lot of apologizing to do. I don't know what -- I'm dying to hear what he has to say to Oprah here tonight. Betsy, it was great to hear your side of the story over the last couple of days.

ANDREU: Thanks for having me.

O'BRIEN: Appreciate it.

We've got to get to other top stories this morning, and John has those for us.

BERMAN: Thank you, Soledad. Brand-new details on the hostage crisis in Algeria, defense officials tell CNN that an Air Force aircraft is in the process of evacuating foreign nationals and Americans involved in the standoff. They are being taken out of Algeria and flown to U.S. facilities in Europe.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live in the Pentagon with more details. Barbara, how many hostages are we talking about here being evacuated?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Right now, John, the U.S. military is deliberately being very vague because of the situation in Algeria. They say there are between 10 and 20 hostages that this Air Force C-130 is taking out of the area, out of Algeria.

This C-130, this is a medical evacuation essentially. The Air Force has a lot of experience in bringing wounded people out of the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Think of it as the same type of thing. They will have medical care for them on board the flight. They will be able to assess any injuries, provide initial trauma care if there is situations with bullet wounds, stabbings, that sort of thing. They will land in Europe and then they will work on getting these people back to their families, John.

BERMAN: So much about the condition of these hostages remains unknown. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had some tough talk. What's he saying now?

STARR: Well, he was speaking earlier today in London, and indeed tough talk. Secretary Panetta saying, quote, "The United States is working around the clock to ensure the safe return of our citizens." He went on to say that the U.S. would pursue Al Qaeda terrorists across North Africa. And the British prime minister, David Cameron, also echoing the same thing, and Prime Minister Cameron warning, again, that this situation in Algeria is not over. There are still people unaccounted for at the plant and the Algerian military is still pursuing some of the attackers.

BERMAN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon breaking the news of U.S. aircraft evacuating the hostages from Algeria. Thanks very much.

STARR: Sure.

BERMAN: The Manti Te'o believe it or not getting even more bizarre this morning. Te'o apparently mentioned his dead girlfriend twice in interviews after he supposedly found out she did not exist. The Notre Dame linebacker has been silent since the backstory has been shown as a fake. Te'o is holed up at a Florida training facility as he now prepares for the NFL draft.

Final preparations underway in the nation's capital for President Obama's second inauguration. He is officially sworn in on Sunday and takes the ceremonial oath of office Monday at noon at the Capitol. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend. We will be there, too. Our live coverage begins 5:00 Monday morning.

So, out with the old and in with the new at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House has just released a new official portrait of the president, a little grayer. It was taken in the oval office in early December. That is not the only thing being unveiled in Washington. This, ladies and gentlemen, very big -- the First Lady's office posted a picture of Michelle Obama sporting a new hairstyle. It is all about the bangs. I'm told that is, in fact, a very, very big deal, Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Listen, she's a beautiful woman. She can wear her hair any way she wants and still look great. John, thank you.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, she fights crime on TV, and now she's trying to fight child trafficking. The actress Angie Harmon is going to join us to talk about her latest passion ahead. We're back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Actress Angie Harmon is best known for her tough-talking characters in TV's "Law & Order" and also "Rizzoli and Isles". And now she's hoping to use her star power in a new role as a UNICEF Ambassador trying to raise awareness about child trafficking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGIE HARMON, ACTRESS/UNICEF AMBASSADOR: Five and a half million children are victims of forced labor and child trafficking all over the world. Their childhoods are being stolen. They work in exploitive, dangerous jobs, sell their bodies, miss out on an education and live in servitude.

To help these children, we need to see them. Join us and learn how you can help end child trafficking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: It's so powerful. And when I heard you say 5.5 million children, I had to go back and confirm that number. Because that is just stunning to me. And it's also here in the United States there's human trafficking; in all 50 states there have been reports of human trafficking.

So how do you tackle a problem that is that big and also clearly underground?

HARMON: I think that's part of why I'm here today is trying to obviously when you bring an issue like this, you bring a light to it. It's completely shocking and overwhelming, and I wanted to be able to come out and talk about the solutions. And obviously that is UNICEF, UNICEF is the only organization that is worldwide out of 190 countries, they're in 196 countries, they're in 190 -- 150 of them have child welfare programs.

And it's just -- it was one of those things where I was, like, how is this even possible and now how do we fix it. And it's -- and it's across the board what these children are being used for. I mean when you think about the children that -- just the ones that run away you know, are eight and nine years old and they're running from the violence in their own homes, young girls that are 11 and 12 and 13 years old, especially in this country.

You know these ones are -- it's those -- those pools of migration and mobility that the traffickers flock to and that's where they find these children and that's where they --

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: You have three children. Three girls.

HARMON: I do, I have three little girls, I do. So this -- this really is a -- is home -- it's just very close to my heart. You know and when you think about these children are already vulnerable, they're already out there on their own, as resilient as they are, they are going to be victimized because they're targeted. And so --

LEIGH GALLAGHER, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, FORTUNE: And they're children.

HARMON: And they're children, exactly.

O'BRIEN: So what can you do as a UNICEF ambassador now? What will you be able to do in addition to bringing -- you know just having a platform to talk about it?

HARMON: Well aside of the -- the in-field visits that you know I'll be doing and things like that, which I'm really, really excited about, I mean but it's -- it's coming here and being able to talk to you and put it out there. If you go to Unicefusa.org they have basically all of the information, all of the Web sites you know everything that you can go to, to find out, like, for example, our wine, our tea, our coffee, the bricks that make our homes, cotton and our clothes, find out who is making these. You know it just takes a minute, find out if the people that are making them are being exploited, if they are they in a safe -- in a safe environment. You know, if they are children, if they are underage, because it's everywhere.

It's not just prostitution that children are being put into. It's you know work environments. It's hard and grueling labor. It's -- and they're children. I mean --

RICHARD SOCARIDES, WRITER, NEWYORKER.COM : Taking advantage of many of these kids, right?

HARMON: Absolutely.

SOCARIDES: It's like all kinds of ways. What is it -- what is it in your personal background or life that drew you to this issue? I always find it's something right that draws someone to a particular issue.

HARMON: It is. You know I just think that, you know, children -- they need someone to fight for them, they can't defend themselves. So they need an advocate and you know, they are our future, they are who we have to believe in and support, and I think any healthy adult, you know, is -- is a healthy child, someone who knew they were loved, knew they were believed in, knew they were cared for, protected and all of those wonderful things that none of these children have.

I mean look at them. I mean they're horrifically abused from -- from the beginning.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: A kid in Haiti and -- and he was telling me the story of how he was -- he was bought for a little bit just about $10 U.S. and I remember thinking if you calculate just the number of orphans in Haiti alone is roughly 400,000, you know. Just to me, like how do we -- how do we as individuals help on a problem that just seems so massive?

HARMON: Well and that's why I got involved with UNICEF because UNICEF specializes in going in and addressing the violence that is happening at the source of the problem say, for example, in the children's homes or in the children's communities, things like that. What these kids are breaking out and running from.

And when you think about just even that, like, an 8-year-old can say I'm not letting this happen to me anymore and I'm leaving and will take out -- just take off on their own into the world. I mean, it's -- it's unbelievable.

So UNICEF is the one organization that is there working with the government in all of these countries. They have the governments' ears. They sit down with these world leaders and these world leaders listen to what UNICEF has to say because UNICEF comes in, they're not bullying, they're not pushing, they're not shoving their point of view down anybody's throat.

It's all about this is what we know that works. You know train your police officers to understand that these are children, you know, they're not just street urchins. Because in a lot of different countries you know if you're not raised in the right house or if you're not brought up in a certain part of the country, that's what you are, you're trash. You're not a child.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: I see why they made you the Ambassador, Madam Ambassador we can see why you make a passionate advocate for these kids and congratulations and good luck for tackling what is a massive, massive problem.

HARMON: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

O'BRIEN: I appreciate your time. Our pleasure. Thank you for joining us.

We're going to talk a little bit about this five-year-high for some of the financial markets coming up next. We'll talk about that rally. Christine's got that when we comes back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans "Watching your Money" this morning.

U.S. stock futures are mixed. New this morning Morgan Stanley posting a profit in the fourth quarter, shares are up more than six percent for the bank in premarket trading. And General Electric earnings beat Wall Street estimates for the fourth quarter. GE's CEO says the company has quote, "Great momentum going into 2013".

U.S. markets had a great day yesterday. The S&P 500 five-year high, now at the highest since before the financial crisis. Now that's behind us. Getting a boost from positive reports on housing starts and jobless claims. The S&P 500 in case you're wondering has doubled since February 2009, doubled. The S&P 500 is the best indicator for stocks in your 401(k) and maybe that's why investors are pouring money back into stocks, now they're convinced. After the markets doubled they're convinced, in the first nine days of this year investors poured $8 billion back into U.S. stocks mutual funds that's according to the Investment Company Institute, the largest amounts since 2007 when they started keeping records.

Last year $150 billion is taken out of the U.S. stock mutual funds. So some investors missed a lot of this doubling of the stock market.

O'BRIEN: You know that's a good graph.

ROMANS: Jumping out as the market's going higher but now I'm jumping in.

GALLAGHER: That outflow has been a huge story -- that outflow of stocks and to see those numbers this morning I mean, that's pretty significant.

ROMANS: Yes we had the money going into ETF I think about maybe part of it, you know money coming out of traditional mutual funds and into exchange traded funds, but hedge funds we're out they sat out this week's rally and a lot of big individuals sat out the rally.

O'BRIEN: Coming up next we're going to start introducing the "CNN Heroes of 2013". First, though, we want to take a look back at a young woman from Nepal who captured the honor last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "AC 360" (voice-over): For 29-year-old, Pushpa Basnet 2013 begins on a high note. Basnet was named "CNN Hero of the Year" for her work providing a home for children of incarcerated parents in Nepal. I sat down with her right after the big moment.

(on camera): How do you feel? You just won.

PUSHPA BASNET, CNN HERO OF THE YEAR 2012: I think I'm dreaming. It's a big honor for me. I will never forget this night in my life.

COOPER: What was going through your mind when you -- when you were walking up on stage?

BASNET: We all are winners definitely. I see my dream come true.

Thank you so much. (inaudible) living in the prison. Definitely Mamu's going to take you out from the prison and you are coming to my place. And this is for my children and thank you so much for everyone who believed in my dream.

COOPER: And the kids call you --

BASNET: Mamu. Yes.

COOPER: What does that mean to you when you hear that?

BASNET: It means a lot to me. In reality I know that I'm not their original mother but I'm their so-called mother to give them a better life and better education that's for sure.

COOPER: What was the inspiration?

BASNET: I'm very fortunate to be brought up in the family what I was. I had good parents until now they give me everything. But there are some children, you know, whose parents have gone missing and they are also suffering and I said I should give it to them.

COOPER: And some of your kids were watching, what did you want to say to them? BASNET: Your Mamu did it. And I'm sure you are proud of me whatever I am doing.

COOPER: I'm proud of you, too.

BASNET: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Monday on STARTING POINT, John, Zoraida and I will be live on the National Mall with special coverage of the President's inauguration that begins at 5:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Thanks to our panel, we'll see you back here on Monday, or we'll see you from a distance on Monday. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now.