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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

Intruder Killed In Colorado DA's Home; Suicide Bombing In Afghanistan; More Drama In Jodi Arias Trial; President Obama's Gun Control Push; Remembering John Paul II; Wild Rush Hour Ride; Interview with Don Baer; Lakers Retire Shaq's Jersey; Nothing Stops The "Bubba- Craft"; "The Mountain Man" Finally Caught; Assault On Gridlock; Emergency Landing; Interview with John Robison

Aired April 3, 2013 - 07:30   ET

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


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- in the small town of Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado, say an intruder was shot to death Monday night inside the home of deputy district attorney and her sheriff's deputy husband. CNN's Jim Spellman live in Denver with the latest.

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, John. It appears at this point it was just before midnight on Monday night, when 911 operators there received a call from this deputy district attorney, saying that there was a stranger at their door acting erratically.

Then there was some sort of confrontation. Unclear at this point what exactly happened. But, within a few minutes right outside the door, this man was gunned down, not clear if he was shot by the deputy D.A. or by her deputy sheriff husband.

This was a man who only lived in this community about a week, had moved from Michigan, was staying with friends, apparently, looking for work. No idea at this point what he was doing at their door or what led to this confrontation -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Jim Spellman in Denver, our thanks to you.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Want to get some breaking news now out of Afghanistan. Christine Romans has that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, guys. This just in to CNN this Wednesday morning, six suicide bombers stormed government offices in the south western province of Farah this morning in Afghanistan. Two attackers were killed by Afghan security forces.

But two others were able to detonate their explosives, killing at least six people and wounding 72 others. The two remaining insurgents, we're told, at this hour, are still fighting.

Day 40 of the Jodi Arias murder trial providing plenty of drama. A juror has been thrown off of the case. She left the courthouse in tears and the judge denying a defense request for a mistrial. Arias' defense had argued the dismissed juror, a female in her 30s, jeopardized this case by making comments and exhibiting bias in front of other jurors. President Obama is in Colorado today making his case once again for Congress to take action on gun control. He'll meet with law enforcement and community leaders at the Denver Police Academy, not far from the site of the Aurora Movie Theater massacre. Colorado just expanded background checks for gun purchases and placed restrictions on gun magazines.

Pope Francis paying his respects to the late Pope John Paul II, the pontiff made a private visit last night to John Paul's tomb to mark the eighth anniversary of his death. The pope spent time kneeling in silent prayer at the tomb located in the Chapel of St. Sebastian. Pope Francis also prayed at the tombs of Pope John XXIII and St. Pius X.

All right, the next iPhone could be on its way. "The Wall Street Journal" says Apple will start producing a refreshed iPhone sometime this quarter. That could mean a summer release. Also a smaller, less expensive iPhone could be launched this year. There's demand for cheaper phones. Last quarter Apple's older iPhone models sold very, very well.

All right, a wild ride in a stolen taxi. A suspect fleeing from police in South Florida, 100 miles an hour through two counties in rush hour traffic. This whole thing started in Miami. The driver lost control on the Florida turnpike.

After losing control right there, kept going, and managed to hit over 100 miles an hour speeds. Chase on foot. There he goes, look at that and then the police finally caught him. They say they found marijuana --

Yes, it's never a good thing. None of this is good for this guy. They found drugs on him. This morning 33-year-old Lazaro Ricardo Castilen facing multiple charges, grand theft auto, aggravated assault on a police officer. Berman's been watching this on loop.

BALDWIN: Nothing like stealing a bright yellow car.

ROMANS: They're really lucky nobody was hurt because 100 mile an hour speeds. People are driving on a packed highway. They have no idea what's going on and all these cops behind them. They're really lucky nobody got hurt.

What a difference a day makes, got really wound up. After their friendly late-night duet, Jimmy Fallon has reportedly closed a deal with NBC to replace Jay Leno as host of "The Tonight Show."

That's according to Kim Masters from "The Hollywood Reporter." Leno is under contract until September of next year. But Masters doesn't think the network is going to wait that long. Here's what she told Piers Morgan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM MASTERS, "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": Well, I think they want to start him a little bit before then. I don't know if you're Jay Leno at this point, how long do you want the farewell to last? I think if you saw the video last night it seemed to me at the very end Jay Leno was kind of hinting that he's accepting this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: CNN has learned Jay Leno is a bit, quote, "bothered by how the process has unfolded." But he is upbeat and prepared for a possible change.

BALDWIN: So the question then is, where does he go?

ROMANS: I don't know.

BERMAN: Where does he go? Who replaces Jimmy Fallon at late night?

BALDWIN: The dominoes.

BERMAN: The intrigue continues.

BALDWIN: Christine, thank you. Speaking of intrigue --

BERMAN: Brace yourselves, everyone. Hillary Clinton speaking publicly for the first time since she left office, two months after stepping down as secretary of state, Clinton attended a Kennedy Center event last night in the nation's capital. Just hearing from the former first lady in public is stirring up new talks about a possible run for president in 2016. We couldn't resist.

CNN's Erin McPike is live in Washington. Good morning, Erin.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Well, all of the adoring fans waiting ready for Hillary signs outside the Kennedy Center last night certainly helped stoke that speculation. But Clinton stuck to the script last night talking about global women's issues.

But then, again, we'll be seeing a lot of her in the coming weeks talking about a range of issues, really and she's working about a book about her time at the state department. At the very least she's keeping her options open.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCPIKE (voice-over): Here she comes again. Just two months have gone by since Hillary Clinton left the State Department. Saying she wanted to finally enjoy life as a private citizen, but it didn't take long to get her out of the sweats and back into the spotlight.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We see too many countries where women still face violence and abuse.

MCPIKE: Clinton made her first official appearance Tuesday night speaking at the Vital Voices Global Awards ceremony, an event that honors women. On Friday, she'll headline a women's event in New York, and later this month, a housing event in Dallas. Her first paid speech for an undisclosed sum. In June, she heads to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids in Michigan.

PHILIPPE REINES, CLINTON SPOKESPERSON: I remember when she was a senator. She would get upwards of 100,000 requests a year for everything from speeches to appearances to press conferences, to interview requests.

MCPIKE: But her rollout as a private citizen has all the makings of an agenda, despite promising this, just weeks ago.

CLINTON: You know, I am out of politics right now and I don't know everything I'll be doing.

MCPIKE: But it seems like no one really believes her. Is it really a coincidence that around the same time she's making her first big outing, the ready for Hillary political action group launched this urging her to run? On staff is a group of fundraisers. Some who worked for her first presidential bid and others tied to her big donors.

(on camera): It looks like what was a definite, I'm not going to do this again, has changed, and she's 50/50, so we hear, from some people around her.

REINES: I think people aren't just getting ahead of themselves. They're getting ahead of her. It really, 60 days is in the blink of an eye. We're talking about an election that's 1,300 days away.

MCPIKE (voice-over): But the Clinton watch has left her potential opponents in limbo. Worried she would hog the limelight, the money, the enthusiasm. One of those potential opponents, Vice President Joe Biden, also came to Tuesday's event perhaps to size up her intentions as much as the rest of the political world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCPIKE: So, John, Republicans are concerned about a Clinton coronation in 2016 and they're starting early, too. There's a brand- new America rising super PAC that's starting now, gathering research on all of the potential 2016 Democrats.

And they intend to start defining and engaging Clinton in the next few months before she can put a campaign together, years before she can put a campaign together, that is -- John.

BERMAN: It is never too early. Erin McPike in Washington, our thanks to you.

BALDWIN: Thanks, Erin. Don Baer, a former Clinton White House speech writer and communications director, he is now worldwide chair and CEO of a public relations firm. Don, good morning. It may be 2013. As Berman said it's never too early.

I want to begin with last night. Because obviously last night that whole event was about politics, it was about women, but everyone is whispering, not really whispering as much anymore about Hillary in 2016. You know her. You worked with her. Do you think she's considering it seriously?

DON BAER, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE SPEECHWRITER AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I'm sure she's seriously considering it. But I'm sure she's also seriously taking her time and trying to get used to life after the State Department, and you know, more than 20 years in the limelight.

She's writing a book that I know she's going to be taking seriously because she always takes projects like that very seriously. I can remember being on this network 13 years ago, the day President Clinton actually left office.

And I joked then that when they were 85 years old, the media would be interested in whether the Clintons went to the early bird special for dinner or not. So there's some, you know, natural fascination with the Clintons in all things Clinton.

BERMAN: Whether she's going to the early bird or not, the fact remains that her ratings, her approval ratings are near record highs for her. I mean, take a look at this, "Washington Post"/ABC News poll in January found that 67 percent of people hold a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton. That's the highest rating she's received since people started asking the question about her, you know, 25 years ago. Why so popular now?

BAER: Look, it's a mark of her great leadership. She is one of the great leaders in the world. She has been a public servant for all of her adult life. And people recognize that and recognize, frankly, in a time when we need greater leadership in this country and in the world that she's somebody who can fill that void.

So there's no doubt that people are attracted to her, and the great work she's done, and the potential for the work she could do going forward, no matter what venue she does it.

BALDWIN: Don, let's talk about this love fest. Last night, between Hillary Clinton and another possible contender here in 2016, our vice president.

BERMAN: You may have heard of him.

BALDWIN: You may have heard of him, Joe Biden ring a bell? Take a look.

BAER: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I am delighted that Vice President Biden will be able to join us tonight. Vice President Biden and I have worked together on so many important issues.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There's no woman like Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton, that's a fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: OK, so again, tea leaves here, but how would this play out in 2016? Would they run against one another? Would he defer to her? What do you think?

BAER: Anything's possible, right? First off, they really do admire one another. They were great colleagues inside the Obama administration, worked together on many, many issues. They were great colleagues in the U.S. Senate. So I think that's genuine admiration and actual friendship that exists between them.

I know that's hard to believe in Washington, but I think it's actually there. What happens now in the next couple of years in terms of who takes on whom, is anyone's guess. We just don't know at this point. Vice President Biden has certainly made sounds as though he intends to be a candidate.

BERMAN: Don, just quickly, when does Hillary have to decide by?

BAER: I guess by the time she has to file for her candidacy, so you know, she's got a couple of years yet. There's no automatic date here. No one -- there's no rule book for this. We've never actually been here before.

BERMAN: A couple years for us to keep chewing it over.

BAER: Give you a lot to talk about here on the morning news.

BERMAN: All right, Don Baer, great to see you this morning. Thanks for coming in.

Ahead on STARTING POINT, the future of golf is here. Bubba Watson riding in just unbelievable style.

BALDWIN: What is that?

BERMAN: Take a look at that. That's next in our "Bleacher Report."

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BERMAN: Boy, what a night, so close to perfection, an incredible game for the Rangers, and Yu Darvish. Andy Scholes has that in today's "Bleacher Report." Hi, Andy.

BALDWIN: Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, "BLEACHER REPORT": Good morning, guys. He was facing the lowly Astros, but Yu Darvish was still incredible last night, almost unhittable. He was dealing through the first 8-2/3 innings striking out 14 batters.

He retired the first 26 before the Astros 9-hole hitter, Marwin Gonzalez, came up to the plate. Hit that one right through Yu's legs. That single ended the bid for perfection for Yu and the night, heartbreaker for the Rangers. But they still get the win over the Astros 7-0. Shaq was back in L.A. last night to have his number 34 jersey retired by the Lakers. During his speech, he reflected on some of his greatest accomplishments while poking fun of his lead role in the old movie "Shazam."

The fans gave Shaq one more standing ovation and showed their love for former Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson who was at Staples Center for the first time since stepping down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Thank you very much. I want Phil, too. Coach, I have a confession to make, you gave me a lot of weirdo books to read. I'd like to thank my good friend cliff notes for helping me read those books.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: The "we want Phil" chants had to make current Lakers Head Coach Mike D'Antoni feel a little awkward. When asked about those chants after the game, he said why wouldn't they?

Finally, if you're tired of having to drive around the pesky water hazards around the golf course, Bubba Watson has a solution for you, whoever craft. This isn't an April Fools' joke. This is real. This whoever craft golf cart can go anywhere on a golf course leaving relatively no trace behind.

You can head over to bleacherreport.com. This may change the game of golf as we know it. I know if I got to drive one of these around I'd probably go to the golf course and never even hit a ball, just have fun scooting around the course.

BALDWIN: I'd like one of those, please. Does a cooler fit in the back?

BERMAN: Who needs a green jacket, when you get a whoever craft on the golf course.

BALDWIN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, navigating the world of Asperger's syndrome. A best-selling author describes what it's like, not only to live with Asperger's, but to be in denial about his own son's struggle with the syndrome. That is next. It's 47 minutes past the hour. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Christine Romans. The survivalist known as the mountain man is behind bars this morning. Fugitive Troy James Knapp on the run for seven years finally tracked down by law enforcement teams in a remote area of Utah. He is accused of breaking into dozens of cabins in Central and Southern Utah over the last seven years. He faces 18 criminal charges in three Utah counties.

L.A. is trying something new to fight gridlock, synchronized traffic lights. The city has sunk up 4,500 traffic signals around 470 square miles, very ambitious, but will it work? It's only been in use a few weeks so it's too soon to tell. There are some 7 million people on the road during peak rush times in L.A.

Drivers along US-27 in Fort Lauderdale got scare last night as a small plane was forced to land on the highway. The Aztec Airways Beach Craft 18 took off on a training flight around 8:00 last night from a nearby airport. For some reason, the pilot chose to abort the flight, landing safely on U.S. 27 north of I-75. The NTSB is launching an investigation.

BERMAN: Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BERMAN: So John's Robison's best-selling memoir, "Look Me In The Eye" exposed to the world to what it's like to live with Asperger's. Now Robison is out with a new memoir, "Raising Cubby," where he tells the story of raising his son, who also has Asperger's. Asperger's is an autism spectrum disorder and yesterday, it was at sixth annual autism awareness day.

BALDWIN: And John Robison joins us this morning with more on your book. Good morning to you and welcome.

JOHN ROBISON, AUTHOR, "RAISING CUBBY": Good morning. Thank you for having me with you today.

BALDWIN: I just want to first begin, as we mentioned, you wrote this first book about being an adult with Asperger's and here you talk about your son, Cubby and tell me, can you take me back to the moment when you first realized you had an a-ha moment, where you realized my son is following in my footsteps in terms of having Asperger's?

ROBISON: Well, every dad thinks his kid is following in his footsteps, and every dad thinks he taught his kid everything worthwhile he knows. When my son was little, we would sit down at daycare and I would think it would be like, you know, dropping a goldfish into the tank and go off with the all the other kids and Cubby didn't do that.

He sort of stayed by himself, and when I saw that, I remembered my own childhood and how I had written about being alone, looked me in the eye and I looked at my son and thought is he just like me? So I saw it right from the beginning, we were different together.

BERMAN: He wasn't officially diagnosed, I guess, until he was 17. Do you think it made you having Asperger's better or worse at raising him?

ROBISON: I think I remembered my own childhood as I saw him growing up and you know, I tried to give him practical advice. I think that's the important thing for parents. It's not so much that you say there is some specific thing about your kid. It's that you -- you pick him up and you say if you do this instead of that. That little boy will want to be your friend. Practical advice is what it's about for raising children successfully.

BALDWIN: I want to read part of your book here. You say, quote, "I always told myself that he had my gifts, but that he magically escaped the disabilities. I realized that was wishful thinking. The gifts and the disabilities of Asperger's go hand and hand. He has them both."

The gifts and the disabilities because it's sound like Asperger's, when we're talking in commercial break, your fascination was sort of mechanics, electronics, technology, building guitars for Kiss, for example. I mean, what about your son, are his gifts and at least could you -- have you embraced that part of him?

ROBISON: Well, my son got interested in chemistry. As a little boy, he is interested in model rockets and stuff, and he progressed from model rockets to rocket engines and then to making explosives from chemicals. He could scrounge around the house, and, unfortunately, the climate we live in, being what it is, it attracted the attentions of the ATF.

And you know the ATF said, you know, I had a brilliant young man and he could have a promising future as a government chemist, but the local prosecutor I think saw it differently. She saw a chance to get the name in lights and saw it differently.

BERMAN: You wrote about watching your son on the trial for this at the end of the book. What lessons do you think you learned about Asperger's and about society as you are watching this?

ROBISON: I think the lesson really isn't about Asperger's. I think the lesson is one for every family today. You know, your worst nightmare is that your kid will do something a little different and some public official will see what your kid does and seize a chance to build their career by destroying your family.

And we have to be so vigilant as parents because of this climate that we live in. We can't discourage innovation. People think explosives are scary, but look what Albert Nobel brought the world.

BERMAN: John Robison, you know, the book "Raising Cubby," it is a lovely account. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

ROBISON: Thank you.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, the pressure mounting on Rutgers University to fire its men's basketball couch, after a video shows him abusing players at practice and this video viral.

BALDWIN: Also Conrad Murray singing the blues from behind bars. Here's Anderson reacting to him sort of suddenly singing. We're going to talk about this. You're watching STARTING POINT.

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