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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Ravens Win Super Bowl; Super Bowl Ads Reviewed; President Promotes Gun Control; SEAL Sniper Killed; Child Still Held Hostage in Alabama

Aired February 4, 2013 - 07:00   ET

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


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Super Bowl XLVII, the night -- the lights went out. A 34-minute power outage stops Baltimore's power game, but only temporarily. The Ravens are NFL champions, but New Orleans has a lot to answer for this morning.

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SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome, everybody. Good morning. It's Monday, February 4th. Our STARTING POINT this morning: what a game. The Baltimore Ravens and their fans will remember Super Bowl XLVII for the team's kind of nail biting victory, 34-31. Most of us will remember it was the night the lights that went out in New Orleans during the big game.

A power outage in the Superdome stopped the game cold for 34 minutes. The blackout may have prevented a Super Bowl blowout.

CNN's Rachel Nichols is live in New Orleans for us this morning. Hey, Rachel. Good morning.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. No question, this was a huge embarrassment. I spoke to a Superdome official last night, and they had gone through a whole week with the stadium and city showing they could host an event of this magnitude again. But then they had a pretty serious power problem.

The power company here made it clear it was not a grid issue. Rather this was about a piece of electronic equipment that monitors the power feeding into the stadium. It sent what Superdome officials called it "abnormality." Then, really, it's just like in your house, when you have to go down to the basement and flip the switch again, that is what happened with the officials here. They had to flip everything back open. The lights slowly came back on.

As you said, 34 minutes. That was a big delay for the Ravens especially because right before that they had had a kickoff return for the touchdown. Right before that they had had the halftime show. And so their offense hadn't been on the field for more than 80 minutes. You could certainly see it affect the game. It became what had been a blowout, became a real nail biter. The Ravens managed to win. Here is the winning quarterback talking about his very unusual night.

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JOE FLACCO, BALTIMORE RAVENS QUARTERBACK: Unbelievable. It was just one of the things you have to deal with. You know, I'm sure down the road it will make for a better story.

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NICHOLS: Here is a statement for the mayor here. "The power outage was an unfortunate moment in what has been an otherwise shining Super Bowl week for the city of New Orleans." He said "In the coming days I expect a full after action report from all parties involved." He said "For us, the Super Bowl isn't over until the last visitor leaves town, so we're focused on continuing to show our visitors a good time."

And there will certainly be a lot of repercussions from this as New Orleans has been trying to get another Super Bowl. It had been 11 years since they hosted the Super Bowl. They had hoped to have it again in 2018. This will certainly put a damper on that bid.

O'BRIEN: Rachel, ultimately, since the Ravens may have lost, all we would be talking about is that today. OK, Rachel, thanks so much, appreciate it.

Some very smart advertisers took advantage of the outage. Oreo tweeted an Oreo with the words "You can still dunk in the dark."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This was free. I think the most memorable ad came for free from Oreo right there.

O'BRIEN: And the power outage inspired some interesting tweets. Joel Stein, he's been a guest on this show a bunch. He tweeted this, "Nothing bad happens at the Superdome without power, right?" I didn't like that one, because spending a lot of time post-Katrina, I thought that was too soon kind of thing. This one is funny. Darren Frenich, "This is what happens when Beyonce doesn't lip sync, satisfied?"

Ben Garvey, a popular technologist, wrote this, "Switching to "Downtown Abbey" where they still have electricity." And did we mention there was a game? And in the end it was a really good game. The Ravens hung on barely to beat the 49ers. CNN's Carlos Diaz has details for us this morning.

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CARLOS DIAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Usually you talk about a game being broken down by halves, first half versus second half, but this Super Bowl was truly broken down by pre-power outage and post-power outage. Before the power outage, it was all Baltimore Ravens. They built a lead thanks to Jacoby Jones 108-yard kickoff return to kick off the half. That ties an NFL Super Bowl record for the longest return in Super Bowl history.

Then the power outage happened, a 34-minute delay where the Ravens lost momentum and the 49ers staged an amazing comeback, at one point, cutting into the lead and going right from 28-6 to 31-29. A two-point conversion failed, and that's what Ravens needed. They added a field goal late in the game, and with the Niners within the 10 yard line, the Ravens defense stopped them on four plays and kept them out of the end zone.

A controversial call on the last down where it looked like Michael Crabtree, receiver for the 49ers was grabbed. The referee said no. Jim Harbaugh afterwards said it was definitely holding and pass interference. Joe Flacco, is your game MVP. Of course he is up for a new contract this year. Talk about great timing. He says he's a Raven for life.

Ray Lewis ending his 17-year career with the Baltimore Ravens, going out on top, winning the Super Bowl after announcing at the beginning of January this would be his final run as a Raven and retiring at the end of the year. And, of course, you have the story of the two Harbaughs, John Harbaugh coming out on top of his little brother, Jim Harbaugh and afterward, Jim said the win was bittersweet. Guys?

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O'BRIEN: Carlos Diaz for us this morning. Then there was the halftime show with a surprise reunion and a dose of redemption for Beyonce. The superstar singer really blew the roof off the Superdome as she was performing live. An all-female ensemble, and her Destiny's Child band mates joined her as well.

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O'BRIEN: That doesn't make you want to run out and buy a little leather outfit with high heeled boots and lace on the side. She performed "Crazy Love," "Love on Top," "Baby Boy." She was awesome, I thought. Even the first lady tweeted, "Watching the Super Bowl with family and friends, Beyonce was phenomenal. I am so proud of her."

And then the lights went out. The tweets about Beyonce knocking out the power was hilarious. Beyonce and Destiny's Child weren't the only big performances, of course. J-Hud, Jennifer Hudson, kicked off the night with "America the Beautiful." She was accompanied by the Sandy Hook Elementary School Choir. Here is a little bit of that.

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(SINGING)

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BERMAN: The most dramatic pregame I have ever seen. America was choked up.

O'BRIEN: And then Alisha Keys sang the National Anthem. Some people thought it was slow, but I thought it was fabulous. She was great. Let's listen.

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(SINGING)

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O'BRIEN: Her version ran 2:36. Apparently they keep track of these things. Natalie Cole, previous record, 2:32, so four seconds over the old record. I'm not sure why that matters. We'll take a look at ads from the disgusting Go Daddy ad to the controversy with Volkswagen and the Jamaican accent ad to the Dorito ad to the adorable Clydesdale ad, to all the tweets and the hits and misses. Send us what you liked and what you hated @startingptCNN.

Some developing news about this deadly bus crash. It happened in the mountains of southern California, killed at least eight people. Dozens more injured in San Bernardino County, which is about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. Apparently the bus was heading down this narrow windy mountain road when it struck two vehicles and then rolled over. Paul Vercammen is on the scene. What's the very latest

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities are being extremely cautious Soledad. They tell us right now that they can confirm that eight people are dead, but they say that number is sure to change. Here is what is complicating their efforts. Right now, up the road behind me, on the scene, the coroner's office is going through this site. And you have a situation where not only are there body parts under parts but people under tarps, some very close together. Authorities are telling us they have to sort all this out. And they haven't been aboard the bus to try to see if there is some sort of passenger list on top of it.

What caused the crash? Let's hear what the CP says about possible speculation here, perhaps brakes failed. They aren't exactly sure.

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MARIO LOPEZ, PIO, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: We're getting witness statements and statements from the other parties involved. There is a possibility there might be mechanical issues with the bus.

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VERCAMMEN: We understand that the bus was registered to National City. That's right on the U.S./Mexico border. It's not uncommon for people in San Diego and Tijuana to go on trips together. When this bus crashed it was not on a very windy stretch of this road. It was going down a straightaway and pretty close to the bottom after this long journey. So there's a lot to be sorted out. The road sealed off. Eight dead, at least 27 injured. Soledad, back to you.

O'BRIEN: Paul Vercammen, thanks for the update.

Now, let's turn to this terrible tragedy in Texas where investigators are still trying to figure out why a 25-year-old Iraq war veteran allegedly killed a renowned former Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle, and another man who was with him. It all happened at a gun range. Eddie Ray Routh is now charged with two counts of capital murder. Joe Johns is in Texas for us this morning with more on that. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Eddie Ray Routh being held in jail on $3 million bond. A suspect in custody, but authorities still have a lot of questions about what happened at the gun range and why.

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JOHNS: Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who claimed a record 150 kills in Iraq, died at the hands of another vet, authorities say, allegedly using a semiautomatic handgun. What police don't know yet is why.

CAPT. JASON UPSHAW, ERATH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I don't know that we'll ever know. He's the only one that knows that. But at this point, he hasn't made any comments to law enforcement as to why he did.

JOHNS: Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield and the suspect, Eddie Ray Routh, all drove to the gun range together in a pickup truck, authorities say. Less than two hours later, Kyle and Littlefield were dead. Routh had fled to his sister's house. He told her what happened. She called police, and Routh was eventually caught. Routh is an Iraq war veteran. He left the marines in 2010.

Kyle, who wrote the best-selling autobiography "American Sniper," talked about his duty to those he served with is KTVT last year.

CHRIS KYLE, FORMER NAVY SEAL SNIPER: My only regret is the guys I couldn't save. But every shot I took, I felt extremely justified.

JOHNS: When he left the military, Kyle became a fierce advocate for vets, starting a foundation to help those suffering from PTSD. Authorities say that may be why Kyle and Littlefield went to the gun range with Routh.

SHERIFF TOMMY BRYANT, ERATH COUNTY, TEXAS: Mr. Kyle works with people who are suffering from issues who have been in the military. And this shooter is possibly one of those people that he had taken out to the range to mentor, to visit with, to help him.

JOHNS: Kyle's friend, Travis Cox, says that's just the kind of man he was.

TRAVIS COX, FRIEND OF CHRIS KYLE: The man he was, when he came home, if I could describe him in any way, he was a servant leader. He served others. He was a humble, humble man. He had a vision to support veterans, and their needs, and he was fear unless in that. And he gave his life doing so.

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JOHNS: Bitter irony that a guy so deadly and elusive as Kyle in Iraq would get taken down by a comrade in arms back here in the state. "The Dallas Morning News" reports that Routh is on a suicide watch. Soledad?

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Joe.

In a couple of minutes, we'll speak with Eric Davis, a former master training specialist at the SEAL sniper school. He was the guy who personally trained Chris Kyle.

First, though, I want to get right to John Berman for a look at the day's top stories.

BERMAN: Thanks, Soledad. We're now in day seven of the hostage standoff in Alabama involving a five-year-old boy. Today folks from Midland City are mourning the bus driver who tried to save the boy. Victor Blackwell is following developments from Midland City, Alabama. And Victor, any reason for hope in the seventh day?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is certainly reason for hope. The people here hold a vigil every night. Faithful people in this community and they are praying that this five-year-old, Ethan, will be released and soon. Authorities have not told us exactly what Jimmy Lee Dykes, wants or his motivation, but they have told us what the five-year-old, Ethan wants. And it puts it in perspective if you don't have young children in your life, the priorities of a child. He requested a red hot wheels car and Cheez-it crackers. Those were delivered along with more food and medication yesterday.

And a first today -- some students in this community will go back to class. Some schools in this area have been closed since Tuesday when the bus driver, Charles Poland, was killed in the abduction. There were lots of students at his funeral yesterday, also teachers. Here's one of them, Theresa Holmes.

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THERESA HOLMES, OZARK CITY SCHOOLS SUB TEACHER: The children will be asking a lot of questions. I have seen some on the street. Some are afraid to get back on the buses, but we have to encourage them and uplift them in spite of what's going on. We have to let them know, you know, that they are here for an education and don't worry about that.

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BLACKWELL: I spoke with a local school bus driver and she says drivers in the district have met and will work on official safety procedures in the event a person gets on the school bus with a weapon. We're expecting the next official update at noon eastern. John?

BERMAN: Victor Blackwell in Midland City, thank you for keeping us up to speed on this ongoing story.

President Obama hits the road to promote his 35-point plan to combat gun violence. He's headed to Minneapolis for a speech this afternoon and he prepares to leave Washington. It's really buzzing about this picture of the president at Camp David. The White House released the photo to quiet critic who's questioned the president's claim that he sometimes shoots skeet during retreats at Camp David. Conspiracy theorists say it is a doctored photo already. Ridiculous.

On Sunday the president sat down with CBS News Scott Pelley for a live interview ahead of the Super Bowl. He was asked if he agreed with the recent announcement of the Boy Scouts of America that they may be lifting the ban on gay members. Listen to what he said.

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BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.

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BERMAN: The president addressed several other topics as well from women in combat to the economy.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, we remember Chris Kyle, considered to be one of the deadliest snipers. We'll talk to the man who personally trained Chris, the Navy SEAL who was killed at the gun range this weekend. That's ahead. We're back in just a moment.

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O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. I want to introduce our team this morning. Connie Mack is back. He's a former Florida Congressman. Roland Martin will join us in a moment. He is a CNN political analyst. And Chris John Farley is a senior editorial director of digital features of "The Wall Street Journal." And John Berman is here as well. Let's talk commercials. Would you give it a thumbs-up overall for the ads last night, or you think create 'til they were a little --

CHRIS JOHN FARLEY, SENIOR EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": I thought it was a mediocre showing. The game was better than the commercials, not what usually happens. People pay a lot of money for these commercials, $3.8 million for a 30-second spot. I thought the Oprah Winfrey jeep ad had some emotion. I think the "God made a farmer" pulled at the heartstrings. But nothing --

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CONNIE MACK, (R) FORMER FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN: I thought they were good. I thought it was funny. I think a lot of people tune in to the Super Bowl for the ads. I know that. You told us plenty of times that football is not your thing.

O'BRIEN: Rugby now --

MACK: I thought they were humorous, funny.

O'BRIEN: Some were good. Remember after 9/11? The quality of the ads was spectacular. There was so much emotion that they were tapping into. And it was really incredible. And I would agree with you. Some were funny, some were gross.

BERMAN: You are talking about the Go Daddy ad. Can we show that?

O'BRIEN: No, let's not.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sexy side representing by Bar Rafaeli, and the business side represented by Walter. Together, they are perfect.

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O'BRIEN: Oh, stop.

BERMAN: You can hear it, and I was watching with my two five-year-old boys.

O'BRIEN: I'm disgusted by kissing anyway.

BERMAN: I'm no prude as you well know, but I thought this was crazy and I couldn't believe it. I was so embarrassed.

O'BRIEN: It worked. People are talking about it.

MACK: And Go Daddy likes to push the envelope. You see their ads in the past, this was a good change for them. On the show, people talking about it. And Walter feels like the luckiest man on the planet.

O'BRIEN: Walter will be our guest later on this morning. I love the baby Clydesdale.

FARLEY: Another emotional ad.

O'BRIEN: I loved it.

FARLEY: But ads you had to tweet out, talk to friends about, nothing affected me in that kind of way, I have to call a friend, tell them about it. You have to see this ad.

O'BRIEN: I think are you a cynic.

BERMAN: They weren't particularly ambitious. It was a safe Super Bowl.

FARLEY: The Dorito's ad was funny, the girls. You can -- I relate as a father that has a 12-year-old daughter. I thought it was funny. I thought --

O'BRIEN: There were a lot -- past years, they were spectacular.

BERMAN: I thought Oreo had a fantastic night. The ad in the library, the cookie or the cream was the best part was fantastic. Then I thought the icing on the cake or the icing in the Oreo was the tweet.

O'BRIEN: That worked very well. Ahead, we'll talk about highlights and low lights from the Super Bowl. How did the Harbaugh brothers handle the rivalry? And then an ancient mystery slowly unraveling. Are we finally closer to knowing where King Richard III is buried? We're back right after this.

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O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everybody. Minding your business this morning, U.S. stock futures are down slightly right now. Later today we're going to get some key data on manufacturing. On Friday, of course, what a day that was. The Dow Jones industrial average finished strong, closing above the 14,000 mark for the first time in five years. Connie Mack is cheering about that.

It looks like Hyundai won big in the Super Bowl auto ad wars. It's commercial showed a young boy and his mother gathering up a group of friends in a Santa Fe SUV to confront a group of bullies. You saw that ad first here on STARTING POINT last week. According to Edmunds.com, websites about the car saw a 738 percent increase after this spot aired. The ad far surpassed the next car ad, the Audi A6.

As President Obama hits the road today to promote his plan to curb gun violence, the NRA refusing to back down. The group's executive vice president Wayne LaPierre tells FOX News the president wants to take America's guns away. Things got testy when LaPierre suggests that the president believe his children deserves armed security while others don't.

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WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA PRESIDENT: I wasn't picking on the president's kids. The president's kids are safe and we're all thankful for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They also face a threat that most children do not face.

LAPIERRE: Tell that to the people in Newtown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you really think that the president's children are the same kind of target as every school child in America?

LAPIERRE: I think --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's ridiculous and you know it, sir.

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BERMAN: LaPierre says he does not believe the president's demand for universal background checks will ever happen.

O'BRIEN: That was an interesting debate.

BERMAN: The ad, since the NRA put that ad out a few weeks ago, it has been controversial from the start.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, you are used to seeing food and car companies advertised during the Super Bowl, but what about a group that is promoting gun control? The ad everyone is talking about is coming up.

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