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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Bitter, Blistering Cold; Chicago Warehouse Fire; New Mexico Shootings; Sheryl Crow Opens Up About Ex-Lance; Guys Experience Labor Pains; Biden's "Aha" Moment; NRA Answers President On Guns; Helicopter Crashes In Phoenix; A Taxing Situation; Getting The Boy Bands Back Together

Aired January 23, 2013 - 07:30   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. In just a few moments, we're going to take a look at Gloria Borger's exclusive interview, part two, with Vice President Joe Biden. He'll explain why he is taking on the NRA.

And then later this morning, Kimora Lee Simmons, is going to join us. She has a new reality series called, "Kimora House of Fab" focusing on her new online business.

John Berman has got a look at some of the other stories making news today. Good morning again.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": So from the upper Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic to New England, we are seeing and feeling -- I mean really feeling, the coldest temperatures so far this winter. Some spots enduring the coldest temperatures they've seen in two years.

It feels like single digits in Washington, D.C., near zero here in New York City and well below zero out in Fargo, North Dakota. This arctic blast is reportedly blamed for at least four deaths so far.

We have to take a look at these images. More than 300 firefighters had to deal with the temperature of 7 degrees as they battled this raging warehouse fire on the south side of Chicago. The five-alarm blaze quickly spread from one building to another.

It took about two hours to get under control and you have to take a look at it right now. That's not it. It is better than the black. What happened, it was covered in ice. There it is. It looks like an ice castle. The water they used to put it up simply froze overnight in the freezing cold temperatures, amazing pictures this morning.

We have some new details this morning in the case of the New Mexico teenager accused of murdering his family, including his young brothers and sisters. He's now told investigators he wanted to go on a shooting spree at Wal-Mart and then die in a shoot-out with police.

The 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego was arrested Saturday night after deputies found the bodies of his mother, father, brother and two of his sisters inside their Albuquerque home. Griego told investigators he was frustrated with his mother.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN HOUSTON, BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF: Nehemiah had been contemplating this for some time. The information that Nehemiah had contemplated going to a local Wal-Mart and participating in another shooting there, is accurate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Griego allegedly used a .22-caliber rifle and an AR-15 semi automatic rifle in these killings. Prosecutors say he will be tried as an adult.

So she hasn't spoken out until now. Singer, Sheryl Crow, Lance Armstrong's ex-fiancee tells "Entertainment Tonight," that she is glad he confessed to doping.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERYL CROW, SINGER, EX-GIRLFRIEND OF LANCE ARMSTRONG: The truth would always set you free and to carry a weight like that would be devastating in the long run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Crow said she only saw bits and pieces of the interview where Armstrong confessed to Oprah last week.

So Carol Burnett once said that giving birth is like taking your bottom lip and pulling it over your head. Well, now there's a way --

O'BRIEN: It hurts worse than that. Go ahead.

BERMAN: Now there is a way for men to experience the alleged pain that women go through. This show called "Guinea Pigs" simulating childbirth with guys. Adhesive pads deliver shocks to their midsection in a procedure meant to simulate labor pains. The reactions speak for themselves. Who needs to go through this?

O'BRIEN: Please. The human race would die out if you all had to go through that, seriously.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: See how it is?

O'BRIEN: Exactly how it is.

MARTIN: That's how it is? That's fine. That's just cold.

O'BRIEN: It is. Let's talk a little bit about Vice President Joe Biden. It was so funny, he was really everywhere during Monday's inauguration festivities. He was waving. He was smiling. He was shaking hands, almost like he was running for office or something.

MARTIN: He is. O'BRIEN: Exclusive interview with CNN he talks about 2016, talking about running for office. Also tells Gloria Borger about his a-ha moment when he discovered that he in fact liked being vice president. Here is Gloria's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Just days ago, I met with Joe Biden to talk about his last four years as the president's right-hand man and his adjustment to the job.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If there was an "a-ha" moment whether the job was worth it was when he asked me to coordinate Iraq policy to end the war in Iraq early on in the administration.

BORGER: It was December 2011. Biden traveled to Baghdad with a message from the president.

BIDEN: So on behalf of President Obama -- and I was able to say to the American troops assembled, gentlemen and ladies, you are dismissed because you have done the job that you are sent to do and like all Americans you are going home with nothing, but your pride and the knowledge of a job well done.

I got off that stage. It was a moving moment for me. Went back, picked up the phone. I said, I've been kidding you about whether this job is worth it. Thank you. Thank you for asking me to do this job. It has made it all worth it.

BORGER: The job has had its up and down. Biden's infamous candor has often made him a punch line, even for the president.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And I say, settle down, Joe. I'm trying to run a cabinet meeting here.

BORGER: But here's why this team works. As much as President Obama dislikes the congressional drama, Biden thrives on it.

BIDEN: I have spent a lot of time in this town.

BORGER: Forty years, to be exact. That's one reason why he's running the president's effort on gun control, taking on the NRA.

BIDEN: You know, I've done this before. I'm the guy that passed the assault weapons ban.

BORGER (on camera): More than 20 years ago.

BIDEN: Yes. And because the so-called Biden crime bill had a life span of 10 years and had to be renewed during the Bush administration, there was no desire in 2004 to renew it. But that doesn't mean there's still not a consensus for a bulk of what we're proposing.

BORGER: So can you guarantee that the president will sign some form of general legislation? BIDEN: Look, I can't guarantee anything that the Congress is going to do, you know that. But I can guarantee you that the president and I are absolutely committed to take this fight to the American people for a rational gun safety policy in America.

BORGER (voice-over): And he is smack in the middle of a fiscal fight. Now he's ready for round two and predicts Republicans will be different.

BIDEN: They finally figured it out, all this bluster about they are going to renege on the debt, they will not, because there are more responsible people in the party than irresponsible. So it's not going to happen.

Now, will there be a fight how we finish off what we started to do, a grand bargain, we've said in the beginning, there is a balance here. The American people get this. This is not that complicated. Politically it's complicated but not mathematically.

So we ought to be able to, in the next three months, finish out that grand bargain to get us to the point -- I sound like an economist here, where debt to GDP is about 3 percent. Every economist left, right, and center says, when that happens, the economy grows.

BORGER: But where does Biden go next?

(on camera): Looking ahead four more years, you've made it clear in one way or another that you are considering a presidential bid of your own. Is there any reason you wouldn't run?

BIDEN: There are a whole lot of reasons why I wouldn't run. I haven't made that decision and I don't have to make that decision for a while. In the meantime, there's one thing I know I have to do no matter what I do. I have to help this president move this country to the next stage.

We're out of the God awful situation we were in the first time we were sworn in, two wars, the economy in the tank like it hadn't been since the great depression. We're beyond that. Now I've never been more optimistic in my life.

We are in a position where we are able to be to the point where we can bring this debt under control, a sound financial policy, energy independence in a way we've never thought about before. We're respected by the world again like we haven't been for the last 20 years.

BORGER: So are you ready to run against Hillary Clinton in 2016?

BIDEN: Look, I haven't made that judgment and Hillary hasn't made that judgment, but I can tell you what, everything that should be done over the next two years that I should be part of would have to be done whether I run or I don't run.

If this administration is successful, whoever is running as a Democrat is better position to win. If we are not successful, whoever runs as a nominee is going to be less likely to win.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Interesting to see Joe Biden clearly, like setting it up for the 2016 run.

MARTIN: It's a huge --

O'BRIEN: Roland Martin I should mention joins us.

MARTIN: It was a huge contrast between him and President Obama when it comes to loving politics. I mean, this guy works the rope line, the photos. He truly loves that aspect of politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, he is a guy trying to set a marker, I'm getting done. I'm the guy the president goes to get it done in Washington. I can work with Republicans. I can make government work and I think when you look at a guy like Joe Biden in four years, that's a good record to run on.

O'BRIEN: The GOP wants to run against Joe Biden? I mean, would you say, great, he's running for the presidency?

CONNIE MACK, FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: I think there's a part of you that says, yes, we want to hear what he has to say. Because when he opens his mouth, you know, sometimes something comes out that you don't expect, that he doesn't expect, and that makes it fun.

BERMAN: Look what he did this week. He spoke to an Iowa group during the inauguration weekend. Who did he invite to his official swearing in -- the New Hampshire governor.

MARTIN: I tell you, Soledad, I was at NAACP Convention in Houston when he spoke and folks can get mad all they want to. But I'm telling you right now, he gave a more fired up speech that rocked that crowd that even President Obama has. Now people could say Roland you're nuts. I've been at both of them. He lit that place up.

O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to watch.

MACK: He is definitely a performer and loves to be out in front of the issues. I think it will be fun to watch.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it will be interesting to see if that performance aspect and authenticity that I think rates, does that translate to winning in 2016? Hard to believe we are only a couple of days into the new inauguration.

MARTIN: Don't forget all of the dentists that love him.

O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, the NRA launches an attack on President Obama accusing him of substituting his beliefs for principles of the constitution. We will tell you what they said that's straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. The executive director of the NRA, Wayne Lapierre, kind of mad at the president to his newly proposed gun control measures. He was at a hunting club conference in Nevada and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: He wants to put every private personal firearms transaction right under the thumb of the federal government. He wants to keep all of those names in a massive federal registry. There are only two reasons for a federal list on gun owners, to either tax them or take them. It's the only reason.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: LaPierre went on to criticize the president's inaugural speech, saying parts of it were an attack on the NRA and the second amendment. There was really no mention I thought in the speech of gun control. He referenced Newtown.

BERMAN: He referenced Newtown, named the town and the country, clear what he was talking about.

O'BRIEN: Right, but I mean, to say that's an attack on the second amendment and also the NRA, to me it seems like it's taking it a step further.

CHRIS FRATES, REPORTER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": They are taking such a hard line. Each speech from the outset of you should have guns in schools that will protect your children, to now talking about this idea that it's an attack to have a background check or have a federal gun registry list.

And it doesn't give the NRA any room to move. It doesn't give them ability to say -- to say yes to something, and it is I think for most Americans, a very, very difficult place to get behind. You know, everybody saying gun control -- in some way, something should happen. NRA says no to everything.

MARTIN: Playing good cop/bad cop. You see LaPierre, and then you see David Keene, much more calm. It's interesting when you look at the style and how they are playing it.

O'BRIEN: Here's what the president said. Let me just read it and then you can jump in. "Our journey is not complete," this is from his inaugural address. "Our journey is not complete until all of our children from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm." That doesn't sound like a rant against the second amendment and the NRA.

MACK: Maybe not in that speech, but clearly the administration is looking to do exactly what the NRA is saying, to create a national registry, and a lot of people and I believe that the government uses that information to intimidate people. You end up punishing law- abiding citizens and you're not really going to get to the heart of the matter.

O'BRIEN: What evidence -- hang on a second. What evidence is there of that? I mean as opposed to -- to me sometimes that just seems like a common-sense measure. Let's just know who is ordering lots of guns. A guy who was on -- Alex Jones on with Piers the other day, to find out that guy has 50 guns, that makes you stop and think for a moment.

MACK: We just saw a news outlet or blog or whoever it was, post the names of everybody who has a license to carry a weapon. You know, that's a form of intimidation.

And I think it's very important that people understand that these -- the laws that the administration is talking about doing won't stop bad people from getting guns and doing bad things. So you end up punishing law-abiding citizens.

O'BRIEN: How is that a punishment? This is what I -- I grew up with guns in my house. So I'm not particularly afraid of guns, but I have kids. So I wouldn't keep guns around my kids.

I think I have a relatively rational middle of the road take on it. I don't understanding who is buying ammunition, who is buying an AR-15 if that's a punishment? If you are a law-abiding citizen, why is that a bad thing?

MACK: It's a punishment that the government uses it as a form of intimidation.

O'BRIEN: How?

MACK: It's very simple because the government, this is the first step, Roland, this is the first step that the Obama administration wants to do. They want to go much farther than this, and there are a lot of people, including myself, that doesn't believe that the federal government should have this type of registry.

MARTIN: You know, state governments, if you want to conceal a handgun, you have to apply for it. That's a public record, that particular document there, and this is the argument that the NRA makes.

Let's not do any one step, because that could be the first step that leads to this, as opposed to saying, wait a minute, is this a logical first step and if someone wants to go further, we'll fight that. But trying to stop it before it even frankly --

O'BRIEN: I don't understand how it's intimidation.

MACK: I would say the first steps have already been taken this is a continuation of those --

O'BRIEN: How is it intimidation because I mean, are you a gun owner?

MACK: I do. I have shotgun.

O'BRIEN: OK, so do you feel like now that people know you have a shotgun --

MACK: If they publish my name and put is on a web site, my home address, and a picture of my house, yes I would feel intimidated. I would feel that that's nobody else's business. I don't just believe this on the gun issue. I don't believe that the federal government should be keeping these types of records on citizens. I don't trust that the federal government owning and keeping that type of information.

FRATES: Should there be any kinds of regulations in terms of guns in what do we do to prevent what we have seen happen. Is there, in your view, any way to do that?

MACK: My point is this, and I have said it many times on your show. Bad people are going to do bad things. You cannot pass a law that's going to stop them from doing bad things. Say we did something. But all of us know, sitting around the table watching your show that you continue legislate morality. You cannot legislate bad people to stop doing bad things.

O'BRIEN: I wonder if there is a middle ground where people who feel far on this side and far on that side -- I'm sure there is a middle ground of people who are trying to sort of -- I don't know what the answer is.

MARTIN: There is a middle ground, yes.

O'BRIEN: OK, so ahead, we're going to talk a little about some really light news, which is about boy bands getting back together for a massive summer tour.

In addition to the three of you and this pretty boy band, and there are others also getting together for a summer tour. We'll tell you who that is up ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. Some other stories we're watching this morning. You have to look at this video from our affiliate KTVK out of Arizona. Just a wreckage from a helicopter that crash landed just outside of Phoenix. The pilot experienced a power failure before going down. Luckily no one was injured.

So Tiger Woods is responding to fellow golfer Phil Mickelson's recent rant about making drastic changes because of rising taxes in California. Tiger says he understands and that back in 1996, he moved from California to Florida for that very reason. Florida has no state income tax. Mickelson apologized for his comments and he has a news conference today where he is expected to address the situation.

All right, everyone. Music fans get ready to scream with excitement. Come on, Roland, New Kids on the Block, Boyz to Men, and 98 Degrees, they are all hitting the road together this summer. Dony Walbergen and 98 Degrees (inaudible), they both confirmed it on Twitter.

O'BRIEN: Boyz to Men, I'm excited about that. MARTIN: OK, cool, so here is the deal, I'll go to the Boyz to Men, put them on first, so that way I can leave.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT. We're going to talk about the weather. It's cold and the pictures really tell the story this morning. A winter blast is rocking the country so cold in some areas. Buildings are literally covered in ice. We'll explain that.

And then unmanned drones are changing how we fight was and also changing how we shop for real estate. Filmmaker Peter (inaudible) will join us with an exclusive behind the scenes look at drones and their future. That's in our next hour on STARTING POINT. We're back in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning. It is cold. It's frigid. It's bitter. It's stinging. I'm doing my best to describe just how cold it is, freezing temperatures gripping much of the country right now even causing entire buildings to freeze over. Some say the worst is yet to come.

Plus it's the testimony that many have been waiting to hear in just an hour. The secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will testify under oath about the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: New this morning, a whole new take on sleeping your way to the top. Why getting a good night sleep could be good for your career.