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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Pride Over New Pope; New Pope To Inherit Church's Challenges; Obama To Nominate Libya Ambassador; Kansas City Restaurant Explosion; Girl Beaten In Classroom; Man Behind Romney Recording Revealed; Social Media Lights Up As Pope Is Introduced; Working Parents Are Stressed Out; Equality In The Workplace; China Names New President; Flipper Takes Manhattan; Dancing The "Bushwhack Boogie"

Aired March 14, 2013 - 07:30   ET

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


CRISTINA PUIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And also the largest concentration of Argentines are here in South Florida, believe it or not, in a little community known as Little Argentina in North Miami Beach. They are ecstatic, needless to say. Back to you, Soledad.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I bet they are today. Cristina Puig for us. She is in Miami Beach. Thanks for the update.

Pope Francis faces a growing sex abuse scandal that's plagued the church in recent years, a problem that many are hoping that he is going to address more aggressively than his predecessors have.

I want to get to Joelle Casteix. She is the western regional director of SNAP, which stands for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priest. She's also a surviving victim of abuse within the church.

It's nice to talk with you. So give me a sense of your selection of Pope Francis, considering the issues that matter to you within the Catholic Church.

JOELLE CASTEIX, WESTERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR, SNAP: Well, I really believe that for us to, you know, it's tough to predict. I'll make that a simple statement. What will really matter are what actions Pope Francis takes over the next 10, 15, 100 days.

When we see solid action to punish wrongdoers, when we see men like Cardinal Mahony admonished, that will true action and that is what will make survivors feel a sense of healing, feel a since of pastoral care by the pope and also will be an indication that children will actually become much safer in the Catholic Church.

O'BRIEN: Let me turn to my panel for a second. I think there are people who look at this issue on left hand and right hand. On one hand, he has picked the name of Francis of Assisi, which is telegraphing I'm a reformer.

On the other hand, if you look at the Pope Francis' history, there's not a huge indication that he's done anything in terms of leadership on this particular issue that certainly has been difficult for the American Catholic Church. What's the sense of what he will do or what he has to do on this issue? MONSIGNOR RICK HILGARTNER, U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: Well, not just the name Francis but his history and his work in Buenos Aires, being an advocate of the poor, being an advocate of those who have been victimized in the most broad context, I think is a great sign of hope.

And in many ways, even if he simply continues on the trajectory that Pope Benedict had started, but perhaps ran into some roadblocks in trying to accomplish in moving towards zero tolerance and moving towards more transparency in so many things the church in the United States has taken a lot of lead in that in recent years.

And it's a problem that other parts of the world are just coming to understand. And that's a frustration for us in the United States to see that the rest of the world, the church and other parts of the world hasn't quite caught up to where we are.

O'BRIEN: We get back to Joelle for a second. So, Joelle, you listed some very tangible specific things that you -- actions that you would like to see the pope do in order to prove to you that this is an issue that is front and center for him.

Often as you know these things start off as considerations, words put into speeches and remarks. What before direct action would be a hopeful sign to you as we start hearing the pope's first words and masses and messages?

CASTEIX: Well, we keep hearing a lot about Pope Francis' humility and I believe that is, if it is truly how he is, it is a great first step. Because we have found that in the sex abuse crisis, especially in the United States, there's been a great amount of hubris on the part of many of the bishops and cardinals who believed they were more important than the children that they had promised to protect.

But a sense of humility will go a long way because someone who reaches out to the poor and to the vulnerable who also ensure hopefully that the church within the Catholic Church remain safe and that survivors who are suffering all over the world can begin to heal and get some sense of justice, transparency, and accountability.

O'BRIEN: Joelle Casteinx is the western regional director of SNAP, which is the Survivors of Abuse Network. Thanks, Joelle. Appreciate your time this morning.

Got a bunch of other stories to get to this morning as well and John has got those.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Thanks, Soledad. President Obama nominating a new ambassador to Libya. Debra Jones spent three years as ambassador to Kuwait. She has worked in several Middle Eastern countries. The Libya Post has been vacant of course since Christopher Stevens was killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi last September 11th.

New information this morning in the cause of last month's deadly explosion that flattened a popular Kansas City restaurant. A contractor laying underground cable hit a two-inch gas line with a boring machine and an hour later natural gas vapors inside J.J.'s restaurant ignited. One person died in that accident, 15 others were injured in the blast.

We have a disturbing story now out of Colorado and it may be tough to watch. A 14-year-old Denver girl brutally attacked in her classroom by another 14-year-old girl. The incident was captured on this cellphone video while other students allegedly distracted the teacher.

Attacked the teen and pushed the victim down on the floor and just wailed on her repeatedly. The victim who does not want to be identified and her mother say the staff of Denver's Henry World Middle School knew about the bully, but didn't do anything to stop it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should like have somebody watch her, make sure she doesn't do anything because I asked for help all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They treated this situation like every other one they see and it was not the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It seems horrible. The school has apologized to the victim and her family. The attacker is now on a three-day suspension we're told and could be expelled.

O'BRIEN: -- charged, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a juvenile.

BERMAN: Absolutely, right. Hate for any kid to do through that.

Many political experts think that Mitt Romney's 47 percent comment was a key turning point in his campaign and now for the first time the man who recorded those comments has come forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT PROUTY, RECORDED ROMNEY'S "47 PERCENT" COMMENT: I had brought the camera and a lot of other people brought cameras, you know, like I said for thinking that he would come back and take pictures.

Clinton in the past would come back with the staff and take pictures and that was, you know, really my thought. I really had no idea he would say what he said. I thought it would -- he would say basically the same things he was saying in public. I had no idea it was going to be this big thing that it turned out to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Scott Prouty was tending bar at the Romney fundraiser last year in South Florida. He said he sat on the video for a couple of weeks and he struggled with the idea of releasing it. I think he has forever changed what phones will be allowed at events in political fundraisers.

O'BRIEN: And also thinking carefully that things might be off the record for the people in the room.

BERMAN: That, too.

O'BRIEN: Staff of people who may not think that off the record means off the record to them.

Sheryl Sandberg has a new book out. We've been talking about it all week. In the book she encourages women to become leaders in the workforce. She has a message though for men, too. We'll look at my interview with the coo and her controversial new book. We discuss it.

The president George H.W. Bush was expecting to do a regular photo-op but he got this instead. It was a flash mob, Texas students who organized what they called the "Bushwhack Boogie. That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning again. Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans. "Minding Your Business," it could be another high for the Wall Street. The streak continues and stock futures indicate a higher open. Dow, of course, coming off a nine-day winning streak that is something we haven't seen since 1996.

Because of improving economic data and, of course, the billions the fed is pumping into the economy every month. Yesterday's introduction of the new pope igniting a social media frenzy. Twitter says 130,000 tweets per minute were posted about the new pope.

Notable considering it wasn't a prime time event. For a short time every trending topic was pope related and only by 6:30 p.m. Eastern mentions of Bergoglio on Facebook were up by nearly 4 million percent.

O'BRIEN: Is he on Twitter?

ROMANS: I think he is.

O'BRIEN: Back up, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tweeted last night.

ROMANS: Yes, he did absolutely. A lot of people are following that. I think the last time we had a pope -- new pope so it wasn't even Twitter. This is a whole new phenomenon for Catholics to watch this news.

Meantime, incredible study this morning, more and more parents are stressed out. A new study from Pew Research said --

O'BRIEN: Wait a minute. Someone put money into a study. That's ridiculous.

ROMANS: More than half of working moms are stressed and dads are right behind them.

O'BRIEN: That sounds low.

ROMANS: That comes as parents take on new roles. More moms are working outside the home today with moms saying they spent 21 hours per week at a paying job. That's up eight hours from the 1960s and more men are taking on household chores and caring for children. Women are working more outside the home and men are working more inside the home and both of them are stressed out.

O'BRIEN: The net-net is everyone is freaking out.

ROMANS: I found it interesting though in that study also showed that both men and women say overall they think they're doing a pretty good job.

O'BRIEN: Of course, we give ourselves high points. Actually Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg talked a lot about that in her book, which is called "Lean In" and also in her interview making waves, this book is in a book about women in the workplace and leadership.

It's called "Lean In." It's number one on Amazon's best-seller list. No surprise there that happened the first day it went on sale because she has been everywhere talking about the book. She's been dealing too with some criticism for suggesting as some people perceive it that women are to blame.

She goes out of her way to say they're mot in the book. But she does talk about this ambition gap with men and women competing for leadership positions in corporate America. Her theory is men could actually help change things moving forward. Here's what she told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: When you talk about your mentors in the book, it's mostly men.

SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, FACEBOOK: I've never worked for a woman. I have been really lucky and had great mentors and part of "Lean In" is trying to help people find the right way to develop those mentors and sponsors and saying to every man out there it should be a badge of honor to mentor a young woman.

Not something you're afraid someone will assume something bad, but a badge of honor that you were willing to spend your time giving benefits of your experience to young women in the workforce. They need it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: You can watch more of my interview with Sheryl Sandberg on Monday morning on STARTING POINT.

Coming up next, my conversation with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York who was in the conclave to elect Pope Francis. We're going to take you live to Rome right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome to STARTING POINT, everyone. A quick look at some of the top stories this morning, so the pope is not the only person chosen this week to lead a billion people, China has a new president. Xi Jinping will head up the world's second biggest economy for the next ten years. He took over as secretary of the Communist Party four months ago.

So hitching a ride to Kazakhstan, one astronaut and two cosmonauts will right the Russian Soyus spacecraft back to earth tonight. The crew has spent 143 days in space. That seems like a long time. The station's first Canadian commander takes over the next mission.

Flipper takes Manhattan. Another dolphin spotted in the city, this one swimming in the East River. Wildlife officials are trying to figure out if it's healthy and all the sick dolphins died in a Brooklyn Canal earlier this year. So far this time luckily everyone seems to be doing just fine.

O'BRIEN: All right, thanks.

Told you this story yesterday when President George H.W. Bush was visiting Texas A&M, he wasn't exactly expecting this. Take a look. That's right. Started with one, it grew to two, very quickly, it became a flash mob. It was organized in part by students at the school.

The particular school at Texas A&M, which is named after the president, the Bush School of Government and Public Service who wanted to pay tribute to him. Casi Buch and Carly Hilley both helped to organize the whole thing and they are with us. It's nice to have you with us, ladies.

So Carly, let's start with you, first. Walk me through because that seemed clearly to be very coordinated and lots of planning. So where did the idea first come from and how hard was it to execute the whole thing?

CARLY HILLEY, ORGANIZED PRESIDENT G.H.W. BUSH FLASH MOB: Right. Well, we had gotten the idea because we heard that President Bush had never seen a flash mob before. And we as students, we always try to find some sort of way to honor him, to thank him for everything he's done for us, and so that is where the idea of the flash mob came.

We started working on it last fall. Got a group of students together, and really started practicing about a month and a half ago to get everything ready. We had a great support team. Our production was through Flash Mob America. The student, faculty and staff at the Bush school were just phenomenal. We had great support and we really enjoyed it.

O'BRIEN: Flash Mob America. I didn't realize they help with the space and organization. I thought those things just sprung up very naturally. It was very choreographed. It was really, really fun to watch, and fun to watch the president's look as he watched this flash mob happening.

Here's is what he said about it on NBC. It looks like we don't have that tape. It's worth hearing. I'll read it. He says, "Of all the flash mobs I have ever seen this was the best and Jenna says the best? He says, yes, the very best.

And she says, was this the only one you have ever seen? Really, really cute. You guys were in the front row. What was your reaction to his reaction? He was clearly charmed by the whole thing.

CASI BUCH, ORGANIZED PRESIDENT G.H. W. BUSH FLASH MOB: It was really great. I actually didn't realize I was going to be dancing direct until front of Barbara. As soon as we started dancing, she pulled out her iPhone and started recording.

O'BRIEN: I love that. That's awesome. So he actually -- the president stayed longer, I know he was supposed to come in, what he thought was a photo-op, and he stayed a half an hour longer to hang out with students. I thought that was wonderful for you. What was that experience like?

HILLEY: Yes, they asked him if he wanted to go back upstairs, he didn't. He wanted to shake hands, which is pretty fantastic. I mean, that's one of the advantages of going to a school with the name sake of a living former president.

O'BRIEN: He visits the school a lot, right?

BUCH: Yes, as much as he can.

O'BRIEN: You guys are also going to give back. It's not enough to just do a flash mob. You are also going to give back as well in another tribute. Tell me about that.

BUCH: Yes, last year, we started raising money for Habitat for Humanity House in honor of the Bushes, so the students did all of the fund-raising, cost about $40,000 to build a habitat house. We broke ground the day after the flash mob.

O'BRIEN: Where will it be?

BUCH: Carly worked on that. In it is College Station, Texas. We have -- this family has been selected and they participate in the construction of the house.

O'BRIEN: That's so great.

BUCH: It should be done in the next couple of months.

O'BRIEN: I love that. Love the flash mob and a real tangible changing somebody's life in tribute to somebody who has obviously done a ton of the school. Ladies, thank you for being with us. That was really hilarious.

We watched it yesterday, enjoyed it thoroughly. Maybe not as much as the president himself did, but it was really great to watch excellent choreography, well done as well.

You bet. We'll take a break, still ahead on STARTING POINT, it's Pope Francis' first full day as leader of the Catholic Church. We'll look at who he is, and what we can expect with the papacy. We'll take you live to Rome, also to Buenos Aires.

And we'll talk to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York who was in the conclave. Then surviving a fall from the sky, a skydiver's parachute fails, but believe it or not, that man right there, he lived to tell the tale. That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, the first full day as pope for a man of firsts. Pope Francis is the first pontiff from Latin America, the first Jesuit, the first from the western hemisphere.

We'll take a look this morning at who he is and what we can expect from his reign. Also we'll hear from New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan within the conclave, he is live in Rome.

Is another Carnival cruiseship having trouble one month after "The Triumph" got stuck in the Gulf of Mexico? The ship called "The Dream" could be more of a nightmare for some passengers. That story, ahead.

BERMAN: Police say they've surrounded a suspect wanted for killing four people in upstate New York. We have an update on tense standoff in moments.

Then surviving a fall from the sky, a skydiver's parachute fails, but he lives to tell about this just terrifying ordeal.

O'BRIEN: It's amazing to think that he lives. It's Thursday, March 14th. STARTING POINT begins right now.

Rocking out this morning, Chris Frates joins us this morning. He is a reporter at "National Journal." Monsignor Richard Hilgartner is back with us. He is the head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship and Bishop David O'Connell from Princeton, New Jersey is with us as well. It's nice to have you all.

So today begins a new era with a new leader for the Catholic Church to mark his first day on the throne of St. Peter. This is new video of Pope Francis this morning, visiting the Basilica of Santa Maria Majori in Rome.

Later, he is going to hold a private mass at the Sistine Chapel. That will happen at noon Eastern with those cardinals who elected him. On Saturday, the new leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics is expected to meet with members of the media.

Tuesday, installation mass takes place, as many as 200 foreign delegations are expected to attend. We want to begin with CNN's Chris Cuomo. He is live for us in Rome this morning. He is with Cardinal Timothy Dolan who is the archbishop of New York who was in the conclave to elect Pope Francis. It's nice to have you, gentlemen, with us this morning.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It's great to be with you, Soledad. Here with the --