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Chris Christie's "Big" Problem; Talking Strategy; Obama To Visit Israel; Another Bitter Blast; Colorado Joins Suit Against S&P; Federal Pot Legislation; Vonn Suffers Horrible Accident; National Signing Day Is Here; "Manology: Secrets Of Male Mind"

Aired February 6, 2013 - 07:30   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You are watching STARTING POINT. In just a few minutes, we're going to be talking with Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, explains his new bill that would decriminalize marijuana on a federal level and set it up for tax code.

Then Reverend Run and Tyrese Gibson will join us to talk about the new book, "Manology, Secrets of Your Man's Mind Revealed."

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": A lot of pages in the book because as I said, it is very complicated.

O'BRIEN: You all are very, very dense. As Zoraida says, no, are you all pretty kind of simple although we'll talk to them about that straight ahead.

First though, a late-night joke has really turned very real and into a real concern for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. You might remember that appearance he made on David Letterman. It was very funny, happened on Monday night, made light of his much talked about weight problem. Here is how it went.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, CBS' "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": I made jokes about you, not just one or two, not just ongoing here and there. Intermittent, but --


O'BRIEN: That was so funny when he did that, really a great moment, but a lot of people in the aftermath are not laughing about it. A former White House physician says she is worried, seriously worried that in fact Chris Christie could die in office.


DR. CONNIE MARIANO, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN: I worry that he may have a heart attack, a stroke. It's almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before he runs to office.


O'BRIEN: In fairness, he has said that he has tried to address those issues. Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is with us. So obviously size is an issue.

He's talked a lot about that, but he also ticked off the ways in which he's healthy, right. He says his cholesterol is not high. He says his blood sugar levels are not high. You know, on those two fronts, he's healthier than me.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. That's true. However, you're healthier than him because you are thin. Just being heavy, even if your blood pressure is normal, even if your cholesterol is low does still put you at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

I mean, Governor Christie is the first to say that he knows that even though his blood pressure, et cetera, might be fine now, they might not be fine in the future. So we have no crystal ball. We don't know what's going to happen to him or any of us.

But we do have some data that looks at the morbidly obese and what their life expectancy is. So this is a well respected study that found that people who are morbidly obese, they have -- it cuts eight to ten years off their life expectancy.

So for a man that's about 76. It would cut it down to let's say about 66. That's on average. So there are people at both ends of the spectrum, comparable to the effects of smoking -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: OK, so here is what he to say about his weight. Let's play a little bit of that first.


GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: So far, up to 50 years old, I have been remarkably healthy. You know, my doctor continues to warn me that my luck will run out relatively soon. It's something I'm very conscious of. But in terms of people in the state being concerned about whether or not it prevents me from being able to do my job effectively, I think they have seen the results of that.


O'BRIEN: And he's got a point, right. I mean, there was no one who was at it more than Governor Christie certainly when you look at the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. How come he's talked a lot about what a struggle it is for him? You know, haven't they seen tremendous results with lap-band surgery and other surgeries for people who are morbidly obese?

COHEN: You know, I think sometimes those results we may perceive them as being greater than they are. So I spent last night speaking with weight loss efforts working with the morbidly obese. And they said, if he they can get a 300-pound person to have surgery and lose 45 pounds and keep it off for three years, they consider that a home run. That's how one doctor termed it a home run.

O'BRIEN: Forty five pounds?

COHEN: Exactly. That's what they said because what they said is they see people lose the weight, but then they tend to gain it back. So if they can get a 300-pound person down to approximately 250 and keep it off, they consider that a success. They said it's very unusual for someone his size to get down to what we would be considered a normal weight and stay there.

O'BRIEN: Such a struggle for him. All right, Elizabeth, thanks.

It's interesting how hard it has been for him and you have to think that the guy has been very successful. He might be able to tackle this problem.

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The time to lose weight is not when you are running for president. Can you imagine a more stressful time? It reminds of Obama when he had to quit smoking.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The constituents in New Jersey, and I one would rather he shrunk taxes instead of his waistline. That's what they are more concerned about. They really are concerned about taxes.

NAN HAYWORTH, FMR. CONGRESSWOMAN: It would not affect my vote one way or another. There are too many other more important things to worry about.

BERMAN: For presidential candidates time in memorial, I mean, FDR, John F. Kennedy, it is an issue for a lot of voters and part of the political process.

CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": And I think it's kind of a subterranean issue. I don't think people who think they are egalitarian and would vote on other issues. It becomes an issue. It becomes one of those things that stirs into the stew.

O'BRIEN: We're talking about it, right?

BLOW: Even if you don't raise it, I think you stir it into the stew and think about whether or not this person is capable and able to perform the duties of the office.

O'BRIEN: I think he will be able to, I do. All right, John, you got other stories making news today.

BERMAN: Let's talk about the current president, President Obama, heading to Maryland today for a strategy session with Senate Democrats. The president hopes to enlist their help in pushing his second-term agenda, which includes tackling immigration reform and gun control.

Meanwhile, the White House says that the president will visit Israel this spring. He will also visit the West Bank in Jordan. He visited Israel as a presidential candidate in 2008, but has not been back since as president.

A scare in Central Park, two tourists had to be rescued after they ignored thin ice signs and tried to walk on a frozen pond, such a bad idea. They fell through. In the end, fire crews extended rescue ladders and one went in with a wet suit to get everyone out safely. Everyone did get out safely.

Meantime, parts of the northeast may soon get another blast of blistering cold. Meteorologist Indra Peterson joins us now to explain. Cold and maybe even some snow -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSON, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Looks like we're definitely going to see a potential nor'easter developing. I did want to tell you right now out here in Atlanta, we're looking at some delays due to low visibility about a quarter mile or less, actually about a tenth of a mile visibility.

We're watching some delays in an hour out towards Raleigh. Yes, I want to get to that. This is what we're watching, a low down near the south and another low that's going drop out of Canada potentially could merge. We're looking at a potentially good snowmaker here by the end of the week.

This is what we're watching as we go throughout the day. As we go through Thursday, heavy some showers producing in the south. Atlanta, heavier storms could be out there, but the good news, we're not seeing severe weather out there today. That's the great news.

Here is the big story, we can see this easily. It's all about where does this low go? If it stays close to the coastline potentially, you get six inches, even a foot of snow possible, but it's all about the placement. It's not just the placement of the low itself, but also that freezing line.

So here is one of the potential models that we'll be watching. Again, New England could see six inches to a foot of snow, farther down to the south. It's going to be rain or wind, and, again, all of that depending on how far south the cold air moves.

One of these models is bringing snow even as far south as West Virginia, even Virginia, but of course, strong winds will be part of this and even some heavy rain as well, lots to look into the next couple of days.

BERMAN: Yes, we're looking at that 12 plus smack dab over us. Indra, thanks very much.

Moving on now, Colorado is the latest state to join the government's lawsuit against credit agency, Standard & Poor's. It joins 12 other states and the District of Columbia in accusing S&P of falsely giving high ratings to some prime mortgage investments during the run up to the financial crisis. S&P denies any wrong doing.

So check out this incredible video of a really close encounter with a humpback whale. A couple vacationing in Hawaii, they were enjoying a regular canoe trip when a wale surfaced for a breath of fresh air right beneath the canoe. Everybody was OK including apparently the whale who swam off unharmed.

ROMANS: That's the time of year to sea whales off Maui, never that close however.

LIZZA: Impressive control of the camera too.

O'BRIEN: So as Washington State and Colorado work out all the details of how to handle the state's new cannabis legislation, there are two Democratic congressmen who introduced a pair of bills.

One would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, assuming that bill passed, the other one would set up a tax code to capitalize on it. A similar bill was proposed you might remember back in 2011. That was Congressman Barney Frank and Ron Paul.

But that died before a vote was held, but could shifting public opinion now be a little bit of a sign of new life for America's pot laws. Let's get to one of the Democratic cosponsors of the legislation is Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer.

It's nice to have you with us. Appreciate it. Is the goal ultimately to make money, tax it, make money off of this or is the goal to discourage buyers with a 50 percent tax? Is the way to do it? What's behind it?

REPRESENTATIVE EARL BLUMENAUER (D), OREGON: Well, the goal is to try and rationalize America's marijuana policy. A drug that bizarrely is classified under federal law as something more dangerous than cocaine and meth and we are arresting 2/3 of a million of people a year for something that half Americans think should be legal and an overwhelming majority feel should be left to the states.

This would change that equation, be able to bring it out of the shadows and change ultimately a situation that is costing us billions to something that would save money in enforcement and collect money, much like we did with alcohol after prohibition.

O'BRIEN: So a 50 percent tax, you must have done the extrapolation on how much potentially you might be able to make off this. What do the numbers look like?

BLUMENAUER: Well, the estimates vary, $10 billion, $20 billion, $30 billion a year this is a gray area now. But the point is that it is a large market when -- up to 18 million to 20 million people use it illegally every month. And there are a million medical marijuana users approximately.

This is a significant area of revenue, and as I said, it would save money from enforcement and arresting. I'm confident that it would be a swing of at least $100 billion, but more important, it would get back to a situation where we are not doing something that most Americans oppose.

It would save money. It would collect tax money and it would eliminate the hypocrisy of suggesting that marijuana is more dangerous than meth or cocaine. O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to see how that vote goes. Back in 2011, it died early on. Earl Blumenauer, it's nice to have you with us, sir. We appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

BLUMENAUER: My pleasure.

O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, an Olympic skier seriously rips her knee in this terrible crash. Is Lindsey Vonn's skiing career in jeopardy now?

Then you want to know what men are thinking? I do. Tyrese Gibson and Reverend Run have written a book together. They're kind of the odd couple. They say they can help women understand men. They're going to join us live ahead.


BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman. A terrible, terrible accident for American skier Lindsey Vonn, it could keep her out of next year's Winter Olympic games. Bleacher Report Jared Greenberg is here with more -- Jared.

JARED GREENBERG, BLEACHER REPORT: John, unfortunately, we're starting with three letters that you never want to hear in a sports report, ACL or MCL and in Lindsay Vonn's case, she's torn both with a year to go before the start of the 2014 Winter Games, Vonn will now try to make an epic comeback in order to be ready, trying to win for a second gold medal.

Poor visibility, never a good phrase when you are on an airplane or in Vonn's case, attempting to come down a mountain. Vonn took a tumble yesterday at the Alpine Ski World Championshi. She was air lifted to a hospital. Vonn suffered what doctors are calling a complex knee injury, out for the remainder of this season. Stay tuned to see if Vonn can make it back for the Olympics.

Christmas in February for college football programs across the country. Today, marks the first day high school seniors who have been offered a scholarship to play on the next level can officially notify colleges that they are headed their way. Right now, several of the nation's top recruits are still uncommitted. It's certainly an exciting day for high school and college football programs.

Nothing like going to see your favorite team play, having them win and getting a souvenir, this one might not last too long though. Last night in Denver, Danilo Gallinari with a shot that would make a geometry teacher proud.

Gallinari helped preserved Denver's win over Milwaukee, however, more importantly the Bucket gave Denver its 109 and 110 points of the game meaning Nuggets fans get four tacos for a dollar at a local fast food chain today.

That was just a small sample of a wild night from the NBA. For more on all of the action from the hard court as well as everything else you need to know from the world of sports, check out

Well, Gallinari, an Italian native recently said and really this should be no shocker to anyone that the Italian food in Denver isn't as good as the original city that he came into the NBA with, New York City. Well, we'll have to find out if Gallinari is now a fan of tacos in the mile high city as we go back to the Italian food capital of America, New York City -- John.

BERMAN: Thanks, Jared. Whatever he is eating, it's working because that shot was sick. Lindsey Vonn, you know, she's come back from injuries before. So we're all pulling -- we hope she can get back for next winter.

GREENBERG: Absolutely, she'd overcome a lot, including illness. So she is a fighter.

BERMAN: Thanks, Jared.

O'BRIEN: He doesn't like the Italian food in Denver.

So if you ever wonder how to figure out which guy is a frog, metaphorically and which guy is prince charming, a new book from Tyrese Gibson and Reverend Run, kind of an odd pairing for this, offer a little insight into how to weed out the good guys from the bad guys. They join us next.


O'BRIEN: Don't you really want to know what men are thinking? Our next guests claim they can reveal the inner thoughts of a man's mind and help women and I guess, men, too, in their relationships.

This book is from R&B singer Tyrese Gibson and Reverend Run. It's called "Manology: The Secret Of A Man's Mind Revealed." It's nice to have you guys with us. You know, when I first saw the two of you on the cover of this book. This is interesting. How did you get together? You're so different in so many ways especially on the issue of women.

TYRESE GIBSON, CO-AUTHOR, "MANOLOGY": Well, I'd like to say that we appear to be very different, but he's just in a different season in his life, and you know, he's after rap. He's, not everybody's going to --

REV RUN, CO-AUTHER, "MANOLOGY": I'm the after rap, good one, Tyrese.

GIBSON: But you're still rapping.

RUN: I get that point. I know what you're trying to say.

O'BRIEN: But you're a man of the cloth, you've got six kids, love your wife, the whole show you did was all about the devotion and dedication. Chapter one of the book is like a long list of women you have been with, Tyrese.

GIBSON: Well, I believe in getting things out of your system before you finally settle down and land -- don't be laughing at me. I think before you could see the value in one, you must get things out of your system with whatever you feel like, whatever.

O'BRIEN: All right, let's get to the advice section. What do you think is the biggest mistake that women make? If you would give one piece of advice to a woman who would like to be in a relationship with a man?

RUN: Many women are trying to pull a man into their life before they have their own life. The self-love is what you need to have. Once you create the solve love then you can go out and find love. Many women get lonely or needy and I like to tell them that just because you're boyless doesn't mean you have to be joyless.

Once you create that life it's attractive. That's how Beyonce got Jay-Z, he was like whoa, look at her. She was like being busy and being feminine when she was with Jay, the book of rules.

O'BRIEN: Be someone who somebody else would want as opposed to being someone who is trying to grab someone in their clutches. You write a lot about --

RUN: The book is the same thing.

O'BRIEN: You write a lot about people who over share, in trying to get a new man exercise extreme discipline in controlling the amount of information you give them.

GIBSON: It may sound harsh but to the ladies, love you to death but when you first meet a man, shut up, stop spilling your guts, overexposing too much information about things you went through in the past.


GIBSON: Because I thought of you as A plus, and you going into the details about the dysfunction, the infidelity or love child or whatever your situation may be and this is our first dinner.

You stayed with him for seven years and caught him cheating 12 times you've devalued yourself because you feel the need to over talk and I just met you. I thought of you as an A plus. Now you are D negative, too much information.

O'BRIEN: The book is called "Manology." It has great advice for women who are looking to get a man in their life and good advice for men in understanding if they want a great woman what they could be doing.

GIBSON: It's out there now, just came out yesterday, definitely want you all's support. Here's something I want you all to know. Me and Rev have been best friends and he's my mentor, changed my life literally. You can't be this close to a man that is doing it the right way and not be influenced to do it better.

And we wrote the book because we had a problem with what women don't know, for the things that you do know, congratulations, but we want to be able to tell you what's around the corner before you get to and we worked really hard.

And last thing, if you have a weak stomach and you're uncomfortable with knowing the truth, this might not be for you because I go all the way.

RUN: Listen, everybody get the book. Please don't buy the book. Please don't buy the book. Come on, man. The only thing we got in common is we got the same barber.

O'BRIEN: Time for a short break. As we get to our next hour, gentlemen, work with me here.

GIBSON: Sorry, Soledad, I love you.

O'BRIEN: Thank you. Appreciate it. Boy Scouts decision day, whether or not they'll continue with the ban on gay scouts and leaders or if it will be lifted. Jennifer Tyrell dismissed for being a lesbian as a cup scout leader. That's in the next hour.


O'BRIEN: Welcome everybody. You're watching STARTING POINT. A crucial decision later today the Boy Scouts in a number of hours, they are expected to decide whether they will lift their national ban on openly gay members.