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Newtown Town Hall on Gun Laws; Manti Te'o Hoaxer's Startling Confession; Coca-Cola Ad Controversy; New Documentary Examines Jeffrey Dahmer; Wal-Mart Limits Ammo Sales; Patty Andrews Dies at 94; "Kid President" Inspires Nation

Aired January 31, 2013 - 08:30   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcoming everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. In just a few minutes we'll take a look at a new documentary that tries to find out how Jeffrey Dahmer turned into one of the nation's most notorious serial killers. We'll talk to a lead detective in the case and also the director of a new movie called "The Jeffrey Dahmer Files."

First though John has a look at the day's top stories for us.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Thanks so much, Soledad. That massive deadly 1,000-mile storm system moved through the Eastern U.S. New pictures coming in this morning of cars submerged in floodwaters in Maryland. We've heard of three cars in Maryland this morning alone, just more examples of how dangerous this massive storm has been. Adairsville, Georgia, 60 miles north of Atlanta, was among the hardest hit spots. One person died there, as did a man in Tennessee.

Parents of students killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School called for a town hall meeting in Newtown, Connecticut. Dave Wheeler lost his son Benjamin during the shootings. He told his neighbors the Second Amendment does not give people the right to carry around assault rifles.


DAVE WHEELER, SON KILLED IN NEWTOWN: The liberty of my person to have an assault weapon in high capacity magazine is second to the right of my son to his life.


BERMAN: That hearing lasted nearly six hours. Most of the speakers were in favor of new gun control legislation, but several Newtown residents who opposed such measures also did make their views known.

So the man behind the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax is going to spill the beans with Dr. Phil. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo appears in a two-part interview that airs today and tomorrow on "The Dr. Phil Show." Tuiasosopo claims he was the voice of Te'o's fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua. He said he fell deeply in love with the Notre Dame football star and explains why he put an end to their telephone relationship.


RONAIAH TUIASOSOPO: I wanted to end it because after everything I had gone through I finally realized I had to move on with my life and had to get, you know, my real me, Ronaiah, I had to start just living and let this go.


BERMAN: Tuiasosopo tells Dr. Phil he is "confused" about his sexuality.

Arab-American groups are criticizing this Coca-Cola commercial teaser, calling it racist for depicting an Arab walking through the desert with a camel. In the ad, he's competing with other groups to reach a giant Coke bottle. On the Coke Web site, people are allowed to vote who they think should reach the bottle but you can't vote for the Arab character.

One group is asking the soda giant to change the ad before it airs during the Super Bowl. In response, Coke said this to Reuters, "Coca- Cola is an exclusive brand enjoyed by all demographics. We illustrate our core values from fun and refreshment to happiness, inspiration and optimism across all of our marketing communications." Soledad?

O'BRIEN: So why can't you vote for the Arab character? Hmm. I guess that question remains. It seems odd, seems like it would be easily solved, people could vote for whoever they wanted to.

We're talking about a disturbing story in America's history. Jeffrey Dahmer you might remember, was one of the nation's most notorious serial killers, he murdered and dismembered 17 young men and boys, in some cases he ate parts of their bodies. In 1994, Dahmer himself was murdered while he was in prison, and there's a new documentary called "The Jeffrey Dahmer files" explores what seemed to be a very normal person became a serial killer.

That film features an interview with one of the lead detectives on the case, Patrick Kennedy, who described a rather chilling experience he had in Jeffrey Dahmer's home.


PATRICK KENNEDY, DETECTIVE, TRACKED AND ARRESTED JEFFREY DAHMER: On the door that I opened up, there was condiments, mustard, ketchup, A-1 sauce that kind of stuff. I will admit from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, everything in my body said you got to get the hell out of here.


O'BRIEN: Detective Kennedy is with us along with Chris James Thompson, the director of "The Jeffrey Dahmer files." why did it give you that feeling from the tip of your head down to your feet? KENNEDY: I worked homicide in a couple of years and seen many shootings and dismemberments and some gory things but to see a freshly severed head with the eyes and the mouth open in an empty refrigerator, the word "surreal" is used many times and you don't understand it, but it was. It was an irrational fear. Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested. He was handcuffed, he had two police officers in control of him and I had a partner there and I was armed with a gun so I knew I wasn't in any danger, but it was just an overwhelming almost irrational fear.

Of course, I knew you can't walk away from something like that so you have to get control of it. But the initial shock of seeing of opening the refrigerator and finding the head with the guy's eyes and face looking at me --

O'BRIEN: Why tell that story now? It's been years and years, two decades since America was sort of living through the headlines about the Jeffrey Dahmer story. Why did you as a filmmaker want to tell that story now?

CHRIS JAMES THOMPSON, DIRECTOR, "THE JEFFREY DAHMER FILES": I grew up in Milwaukee and my parents got divorced and I was living between Milwaukee and Madison. People talked about it in Madison different than Milwaukee. Milwaukee they talked about it like a flood or hurricane, it was a disaster affected a lot of people. In Madison people talked about it like it was a movie coming out next Friday night, they were sort of more excited about it. I was curious how the effects had lasted and unfolded over a long time.

So I think for something that's this complicated and dense to look back 20 years later and see how pat and pam and Dr. Jenson, how does it sort of affect you over the long-term. Looking back, you have sort of some 20/20 you get to look at things a second time and sort of see how it unfolded.

ABBY HUNTSMAN, HOST, "HUFFPOST LIVE": It seems like those most devastated by this were the people that knew him and we talk often about the difference between a mass murderer and a serial killer, and that sometimes with the serial killer, the signs, you can't always see it early on. Is that why they were so disturbed by what happened?

THOMPSON: Imagine your next door neighbor killing 17 people, that would be tough for anyone to have to deal with. So I think it's interesting, Pat often says had I asked him to do this interview a year after it happened he wouldn't be able to talk about it.

O'BRIEN: How did it affect you? I mean, 20-some-odd years later, if you couldn't talk about it a year out, 20 years later does it still affect you? How has it changed you?

KENNEDY: I wasn't really allowed to talk about it until I retired in 2001, we were under a gag order and at the time, I was a young detective, it was 20 years ago so it was exciting. But the six weeks that I spent interviewing him eight to 10 hours a day, we had breakfast and lunch together. I was highly aware it was publicized and I didn't want to make mistakes. So I put all of my time and my efforts and I guess my whole life really went into that interrogation at the time, because that's all I could really do.

O'BRIEN: What did you take away from him? What did you at the end of all that time spent with someone who I think Americans were all trying to get into his obviously very deranged head, what did you walk away with?

KENNEDY: The thing I took away is how much we don't know about people, even the people we know and love the most, how much inner secrets that we can keep. He had created a whole world for himself that only he knew about, and he relished this world. And the more I talked to him, people would say, oh, you're looking into the face of evil, but you didn't see evil in his eyes there. People say oh, he was a nice guy. He wasn't really a nice guy, but he could be charming. He was intelligent. He was a product of upper white middle class. He was given all the resources he needed growing up. He knew how to talk to people in authority.

O'BRIEN: He could navigate the system very well. That's really what kept a lot of people from being able to be clued in to him.

The film is called "The Jeffrey Dahmer Files" 20 some-odd years later. It is a crazy story, it really is. Chris James Thompson, director and investigator Patrick Kennedy now retired, thank you.

KENNEDY: Thank you very much.

O'BRIEN: We have to take a break, but still ahead, we're going to talk to a nine-year-old boy with a pretty big message, the video is going viral. It's the kid president, Robby Novak will join us. we're back in just a moment.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans minding your business. U.S. stocks are on the verge of record highs. Stock futures down this morning after a mixed pause yesterday we'll call it, but records are within sight. The S&P 500 has more than doubled since early 2009. Why? Corporate earnings, Fed stimulus, investors are coming back. Will the jobs come back? The government reports its monthly jobs tally tomorrow. Economists predict 180,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent.

Ben Bernanke sitting down with Oprah, not really. This is a spoof, but listen a Schiff Report spoof on Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong with the Fed chief to propping up the economy doping monetary stimulus.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For now let's just start with simple yes or no questions. Yes or no, did you ever utilize risking monetary stimulants to artificially boost your central banking performance?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was one of those financial steroids and mortgage-backed securities?



ROMANS: It goes on like that, and if you're a nerd it's pretty funny.

Meantime, gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed since the Sandy Hook tragedy, so great for guns and ammunition. Wal-Mart is limiting how much ammunition its customers can buy. Starting today Wal-Mart says you can get three boxes per day. Wal-Mart it will reassess this policy once its suppliers have more inventory.

Bill Gates weighing in on Washington's push for immigration reform. I sat down with him. He told me immigration reform is more likely today than it has been in years and he wants D.C. to allow more highly skilled immigration.


BILL GATES, CHAIRMAN, MICROSOFT: I'd love to see us solve illegal immigration, a tougher problem. The high talent immigration has kind of been held hostage to that broader problem.


ROMANS: You can check out more Sunday with "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: He does this annual report and the letter he sent out, that's why he's making the rounds.

Ahead this morning on STARTING POINT we're going to introduce you to a nine-year-old boy who is making a big difference. It's the kid president here to tell us why he's giving the nation a pep talk. You're watching STARTING POINT. There he is, come on in, Robby.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. John Berman here with a couple of other stories that caught our attention this morning.

Check out this mash-up image of late Apple founder Steve Jobs and actor Ashton Kutcher. Can you tell who is who? So it's Kutcher who is on the left, Jobs is on the right. Kutcher tweeted out the picture thanking the Sundance Film Festival for premiering "Jobs" a Steve Jobs bio epic in which he plays the Apple guru. The movie will be in theaters in April.

So their music was really the soundtrack of the World War II era.


BERMAN: Singer Patty Andrews is the last surviving member of the Andrews Sisters past away yesterday at her home in Northridge, California. She was 94 years old. The Andrews sisters sold more than 80 million records with hits of course like this "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B". Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Oh wow end of an era. All right, John thank you.

Well I think we all need a pep talk, those are the very words, the opening words from a video by "Kid President", that would be a 9-year- old third grader from Tennessee. His name is Robby Novak and his videos have been seen by more than five million people inspiring folks to make the world awesome and to be a party.

Here's a little bit of how he -- how he does it.


ROBBY NOVAK, "KID PRESIDENT": The world needs you to stop being boring. Yes, you. Boring is easy, everybody can be boring but you're gooder than that.

Life isn't a game people, life isn't a serial either, well it is a serial. And if life is a game aren't we all on the same game? I mean really, right, I'm on your team. You are on my team.

This is nice people, we got air we can breath and nose, the heartbeat. That means it's time to do something.


O'BRIEN: "Kid President" Robby Novak is with us this morning and his brother-in-law Brad Montague his co-creator of the videos joining us now. So signs for hello Gabbi and we love you Gabbi, tell me about Gabbi who are clearly sending a shout out too this morning. Who is Gabbi?

NOVAK: Gabbi is this girl who -- she has cancer, we're trying to --


BRAD MONTAGUE, CO-CREATOR, "KID PRESIDENT": Trying to give her the "Kid President" treatment.


MONTAGUE: A little encouragement.

O'BRIEN: So a little shout out, because you're Mr. Inspiration. You know what I really have always wanted to vote for a president who says "you're gooder than that", and I love that. Tell me a little bit Brad about how this whole video came together.

MONTAGUE: Yes well, we -- we've always done weird creative little things together, we've done some songs and just been goofy but it was just for our family and friends and the first video came with the question "What if the President really were a kid" and I think that would be interesting because he would be concerned about everybody's emotional well-being.

O'BRIEN: Their awesomeness. MONTAGUE: Is everybody happy? Is the world awesome? Oh we forgot -- we forgot this.

NOVAK: You're wearing makeup.

O'BRIEN: What's that?

MONTAGUE: He's making fun of the fact that I have makeup on.

O'BRIEN: I know we have a lot of makeup on here. Did you bring me a present, Robby?


O'BRIEN: You're -- you know what I am voting for you.

SOCARIDES: What did you get Robby?

O'BRIEN: It's from Magnolia Bakery. Robby, that's awesome. You really make my life good.

HUNTSMAN: You're a good president.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question, Robby.


NOVAK: Is it one for Gabbi.

O'BRIEN: You want for -- you know what do you want me to send one back to Gabbi? Can she eat cup cakes?


O'BRIEN: Does it matter which one I pick can I have the chocolate and she has that one.


O'BRIEN: OK, Gabbi can have that one. Oh, there's Gabbi right there. You see a picture we put up of Gabbi on the screen.


O'BRIEN: So Gabbi I'm going to have one cupcake and I'm going to send this cupcake to you and we hope that you -- you get better really soon.

HUNTSMAN: And she'll share it with all of us.

SOCARIDES: Can I ask you? Have you guys met -- have you met with the real President, do you know the real president?

NOVAK: Barack Obama?

SOCARIDES: Have you given the -- Barack Obama, have you given him some advice?

NOVAK: No, because he doesn't need it.


O'BRIEN: You -- you did a little work with Josh Groban I noticed. You're a fan of his, right?


O'BRIEN: And you wanted him to come on the show and you kind of had all your followers or people who -- who follow your videos some five million people or so sent a message to Josh. What did they tell Josh? What did you want Josh to do?

NOVAK: I wanted him to sing for me.

O'BRIEN: And you are a persuasive man because he sure did. Let's play a little bit. You can listen to it right now.


NOVAK: This one is called the pencil sharpener.

JOSH GROBAN, SINGER: Oh, I know that one.

NOVAK: The Internet just got served.


O'BRIEN: You might have the best laugh ever.

NOVAK: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: You're most welcome.

I know that you're wearing a cast today. What happened?

NOVAK: I broke my finger.

O'BRIEN: Ouch, ouch. I know you have, he has a -- Robby has a syndrome, right? A brittle bone syndrome.

MONTAGUE: Yes, he's actually had a lot of -- it's interesting because a lot of people noticed he's got braces and things in the videos and we try not to talk about it in the videos because it's really not who he is in the videos but -- but it's been encouraging that he is, has a brittle bone condition.

And it's called osteogenesis imperfecta and a lot of people refer to it as just O.I. And he's had over 70 breaks since he was born and the videos first caught on with our family and friends because it was a kid telling people to stop complaining and to dance more and it's coming from a kid who's -- who's been through so much and so that's inspiring. And one of the things in the new video where he's running, that's the thing that a lot of mothers who have kids with O.I. have really connected with, because --

O'BRIEN: You worry about them.

MONTAGUE: He's a kid who shouldn't run. So there's a poetry to the fact it's a boy who loves to dance.

O'BRIEN: Well, Robby, we are so honored to have you, Mr. Kid President. And I love that you're sending a shout out to your friend Gabbi. I appreciate the cupcakes.

HUNTSMAN: Hey Robby, you need a vice president. Can I be your vice president?

NOVAK: I picked one.

O'BRIEN: You picked one already.

HUNTSMAN: Oh, you already have one?

O'BRIEN: Oh, you have one anybody you want to share? With us?

SOCARIDES: You're going to make an announcement?

O'BRIEN: Mr. President, is there something you're announcing today on STARTING POINT?

NOVAK: My vice president is, what's his name?

SOCARIDES: Hysterical.

NOVAK: What's his name?

O'BRIEN: Joe Biden?


SOCARIDES: Hillary Clinton, what about Hillary Clinton as vice president?

NOVAK: I don't think I have a vice president.


SOCARIDES: What about Soledad O'Brien as vice president?


O'BRIEN: Right here.

MONTAGUE: Abby wants to be vice president.

O'BRIEN: Abby is really angling for it, so talk about it. Robby, it's so nice to have you. Thank you for visiting with us. Anybody who has not seen your videos, I have to tell you they're not only inspirational they're just hilarious. You literally have the best laugh on the Internet.

NOVAK: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: You're welcome. "End Point" is up next. We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: Time for "End Point". Why don't you kick us off?

SOCARIDES: I think your interview with Senator Grassley. I mean he's for nothing when it comes to gun control, no background checks, no research, no assault weapons ban. It was not hopeful for the gun control advocates this morning.

O'BRIEN: You can see why people are not so hopeful with what's going to come out of that.

HUNTSMAN: I mean Gabby Giffords hit the mark. I mean you could not help but feel the emotion yesterday when she was speaking out. And they're exactly -- they're doing exactly what they need to do. They own guns and they say exactly what needs to be said.

O'BRIEN: Final word.

KATHERINE ROSMAN, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": I know nothing about football except for the Super Bowl that Andy Muller played football with Jim Harbaugh at University of Michigan when I would sit in the stands with my family and Andy is now an offensive coach for the Ravens, I think.

O'BRIEN: And you're sending a shout out. I love it. I love it.

ROSMAN: I just -- they're all in the family.

O'BRIEN: We're sending a shout out to Christine Romans who is 25 today. Bring in the cake.

BERMAN: Happy birthday.

O'BRIEN: Your birthday, happy birthday, Christine.

We wrap it up and be back here tomorrow morning of course. "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. We'll see you tomorrow everybody.