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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

North Korea Poised To Launch Missile Test; New Jersey Child Killed by Gunshot; Dorner 911 Tape; Elephant Hit In Drive By Shooting; Mitch McConnell's Office Bugged; Billion Dollar Donation; Lotto Surprise; "Be Bold, Be Courageous"; Expanding Background Checks On Gun Sales; Bubba Watson Breaks Down; Tiger Looking For Fifth Masters Win; UConn Wins Eighth NCAA Title; Memphis Soul Rocks The White House

Aired April 10, 2013 - 07:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. The world is watching North Korea very closely. A U.S. official telling CNN Pyongyang could test-launch a mobile ballistic missile at any time. The Obama administration is calling North Korea's harsh words rhetoric, but still taking precautions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In general, again, we are taking prudent measures in response to the stepped up rhetoric and actions by the North Koreans. Those have been reported on.

Some of the flights that we flew, the repositioning of missile defense assets, and the like, so those actions continue to be taken, and to ensure both the defense of the homeland as well as our allies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It now appears based on recent intelligence reports that Pyongyang has already completed the necessary launch preparations there. Ambassador Jack Pritchard is a former special envoy for North Korea peace negotiations. He's been to North Korea several times.

He was involved in Korean peace negotiations for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush. Thank you so much for being with us, Ambassador. Many people think this launch is imminent. It's bound to happen and it's bound to happen soon. So walk us through what happens when North Korea does fire.

AMBASSADOR JACK PRITCHARD, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY FOR NORTH KOREA PEACE NEGOTIATIONS: Well, there are a couple things to think about. Two, which could be very bad for the North Koreans, first, if they test- fire this missile which they're likely to do, now that they've fuelled the rockets, and if something goes wrong on the launch pad, it is a political failure on their part. Second, potential problem they might have is that they have an errant missile, which the United States believes is headed toward one of our allies or towards Guam, and take steps to intercept it. Both of those are very bad scenarios for North Korea.

But what we're seeing is the North Koreans for the first time trying to flex some muscle in this last 30-day period. Up to now, it's been very reactionary, a lot of rhetoric, bellicose behavior, but no particular actions.

When you contrast that to what the United States has done in moving the "USS Decatur," "USS McCain," repositioning missile defense assets, over flights of B-2s, et cetera, the North Koreans have -- are now attempting to respond with something tangible.

This being a first test of the Musudan missile, capable of flying about maximum 4,000 kilometers, it's a big deal for them, but it keeps them in the news. And I think at this point that's exactly what the North Koreans want.

ROMANS: That's such a good point, sir. Because what you've got is this untested, now testing leader 15 months leader of this country who sort of is backing himself into a corner. Where is the way out for him to ratchet down all of this rhetoric and all of this action?

Some saying what's significant here is that he hasn't provided an off ramp or way out. I want to read you an op-ed in the "USA Today." No one really knows what that will take, but giving in to his provocations would be no more productive than rewarding a teenager's temper tantrum. One way or another he'll have to learn that he can't have his way. Your thoughts?

PRITCHARD: Well, I think it's a good point. Normally, had this not gone on as long as it had, the North Koreans might expect a South Korean government to step up with some type of overture to bring things back to the -- to a more normal situation, however this has gone a little bit too far.

There's a new president in South Korea. She's probably not able to move quickly to repair the damage that's been done by the North Koreans. Nor should she want to, and nor should the United States.

So that point is exactly what we're looking at, is what's the off ramp, a lot of analysts suggest that the North Koreans are waiting for the end of the U.S.-South Korean military exercise so they can declare victory and hope for a return.

But that's not going to be likely to happen any time soon. There needs to be some space and time for the United States and South Korea before we reattempt any efforts to re-engage the North Koreans.

BERMAN: Ambassador Jack Pritchard, thank you so much for being with us this morning. Really appreciate it.

PRITCHARD: You're welcome. ROMANS: The man who has been to North Korea 11 times so he certainly knows of what he speaks. Zoraida Sambolin has the rest of the day's top stories. Good morning.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": Good morning. A tragic story this morning in New Jersey, a 6-year-old boy has died of a gunshot wound. That child was shot in the head by a 4-year-old playmate.

The boys were playing in a yard on Monday night when the 4-year-old went into his home and returned with a .22-caliber rifle. Police say he fired a single shot. They are now trying to determine if someone there should be charged.

And authorities in California have released 911 tapes from February of a Big Bear couple who were taken captive by former L.A. Police Officer Christopher Dorner. At the time, Dorner was a target of a massive police manhunt. You remember, Karen Reynolds was still tied up when she managed to call 911 on her cell phone. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: You guys were tied up?

KAREN REYNOLDS: Yes, well, I got it. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: OK, how long ago did he leave?

JIM REYNOLDS: Fifteen minutes.

KAREN REYNOLDS: Fifteen minutes to a half hour.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Did he take your vehicle?

KAREN REYNOLDS: He took our keys.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: What keys?

KAREN REYNOLDS: (Inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: What color vehicle?

KAREN REYNOLDS: Like a purplish maroon color.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Very calm there. And after tying up Karen Reynolds and her husband, Jim, Christopher Dorner drove off in their truck. He later died in a standoff with police at a cabin in Big Bear.

And police in Tupelo, Mississippi, searching this morning for a drive- by shooter who pumped a bullet into a 39-year-old Asian elephant with the Ringling Brothers Circus. The animal is expected to fully recover.

She was being held in an enclosure outside that arena when the circus was performing yesterday morning when a bullet was fired into her shoulder, such a bizarre story. Police say their leads are slim and they don't have a suspect right now.

Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell has called in the FBI to investigate what he calls Watergate-type tactics by his political foes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: As I indicated last week, they were attacking my wife's ethnicity and apparently also bugging my headquarters, much like Nixon and Watergate. That's what the political left does these days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Secret tapes from a strategy session at McConnell's office revealed the minority leader was considering attacking then prospective candidate Ashley Judd over her religious views and battles with depression. The actress released a statement responding to what was said in the tapes calling it another example of the politics of personal destruction that embodied Mitch McConnell.

Cosmetics tycoon Leonard Lauder has announced plans to donate 78 rare pieces of cubic artwork to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Forbes values the collection at $1.1 billion. It includes 33 works by Pablo Picasso. Museum officials say the Lauder collection covers a period that is currently underrepresented in its current exhibit. Look at that, folks.

ROMANS: Because he owns it.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, there you go. Now everybody is going to get a chance to see it. All right, winning the lottery, what could be better than that? Maria Carreiro thought she won $40,000 in a Canadian lotto game. It turns out that her winning ticket was actually worth $40 million. One of Maria's two daughters crying there, she was simply overcome with emotion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANUELA CARREIRO, DAUGHTER OF LOTTO WINNER: This still hasn't sunk in. You know, that my dad works so hard and we've been struggling so much, and it's just -- $40 million! That's so much money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: But she's consoling her, right?

BERMAN: This is the best part.

SAMBOLIN: Mom is dancing a jig on the side. Maria plans on buying herself and her daughters new homes and brand-new cars. But first though, she is going to take the entire family to Disney World. That is one heck of a story, right? Forty thousand turns into 40 million. I bet you would love to advise them. ROMANS: I would. What I would say after they go to Disney World and buy houses and cars most important thing is to think about growing the money, not spending the money. When people win the lottery, they say how am I going to spend it? You fantasize how you spend it. Spending money makes your money get less. You want to grow your money. You can buy companies, you can do big investments. You can make it last.

BERMAN: You must be awesome at parties.

ROMANS: Yes. You're such a buzz killer.

BERMAN: I'd like to see more dancing.

SAMBOLIN: I know that was great.

BERMAN: All right, 39 minutes after the hour, everyone. Three months ago on the second anniversary of Gabby Giffords being shot, the former congresswoman and her husband, Mark Kelly, started "Americans for Responsible Solutions." The group's goal is to curb gun violence and act as a political counterweight to the NRA.

ROMANS: Dana Bash spent time with Giffords and Kelly at their home in Arizona and she has this exclusive look at their political efforts and her personal battle to recover. Dana joins us live from Washington this morning. Good morning.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and John. You know, Gabby Giffords still has a lot of trouble speaking. You'll see that that's very clear, but she's made considerable progress, especially in the last three months. Those around her tell me it's because she's re-engaged in public policy and politics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH (voice-over): The Sandy Hook shooting in December spurred Gabby Giffords and husband, Mark Kelly, to take a stand.

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, GUN CONTROL ADVOCATE: Sandy brook.

MARK KELLY, GUN CONTROL ADVOCATE: Sandy Hook.

BASH: The brain damage from Giffords' own gunshot wound makes it difficult for her to find words even Sandy Hook.

GIFFORDS: Sandy Brook.

KELLY: Sandy Hook.

GIFFORDS: Sandy Brook.

KELLY: Sandy Hook.

GIFFORDS: Hook.

KELLY: Sandy Hook Elementary. You know it's something we just can't -- you know, 20 first graders.

GIFFORDS: Just died.

KELLY: In their classrooms.

GIFFORDS: Awful.

BASH: The couple originally called for a ban on assault weapons and limits to high capacity magazines. Giffords made a dramatic plea to senators.

GIFFORDS: Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.

BASH: But they now admit there are limits on what is politically realistic.

(on camera): If you were to name the number one thing that Congress could do to prevent the kind of violence that you were the victim of, what would it be?

GIFFORDS: Background checks.

KELLY: Yes, certainly, without a doubt.

BASH (voice-over): Giffords has learned to navigate an iPad for e- mail with her left-hand, because her right hand is paralyzed. But most of her communicating with former colleagues, pressing them for new gun laws, goes through Kelly, mostly on the phone.

(on camera): It's been written that there's irony that you are such a good spokesperson for new laws to curb gun violence because you can't speak very well.

KELLY: Yes, I guess it's kind of, maybe -- maybe it's bad irony. I don't know. You know, it's something that --

GIFFORDS: Stinks.

KELLY: It stinks.

BASH (voice-over): There is no question that gun culture is deeply ingrained in Giffords. Even after her near-fatal shooting she still owns a gun, which her husband uses in target practice with her looking on.

(on camera): What's it like to sit and hear the gunshots go off? Does it -- does it startle you?

GIFFORDS: No. No.

KELLY: Well, I think that's because Gabby doesn't remember the gunshot going off the day she was injured. Right, you don't remember that?

GIFFORDS: No.

BASH: Do you hope to be able to shoot a gun again?

GIFFORDS: I don't know.

BASH: Not a big priority in your life?

GIFFORDS: Not really.

KELLY: Not at the top of the list.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Tonight including whether the 42-year-old Giffords who was going through fertility treatments when she was shot may still try to have a child of her own -- John and Christine.

BERMAN: It is just so amazing to see their daily battle, their struggle for recovery there, such an intimate look at that battle. Thanks so much, Dana. We have a question for you right now because you were one of the first to report that there may be a breakthrough on a gun control deal on background checks. At 11:00 today we're expecting a news conference, correct?

BASH: That's right. It's the very same thing that Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly were talking about, background checks. Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, Pat Toomey Republican from Pennsylvania, we're told by sources close to both of them that they feel comfortable that they have a deal.

And what this would be if this announcement as you said at 11:00 a.m. would be to expand background checks, which currently only happen at licensed gun dealers, to gun shows and to internet sales. So it's not universal background checks, but as they will say, it's baby steps.

And the other key thing here is that they would require the seller to keep records of the checks. That has been kind of a rub on this. So we expect to see that and the other thing I should say is that this is a very big breakthrough when it comes to those pushing for expanding gun restrictions.

But, it is not, you know, it is not everything. And so what's going to happen is the senate is going to take it up, this whole issue, on Thursday, tomorrow, and I was just also told that they're going to try to put this deal on the floor as an amendment first thing.

So we could see a vote on this at the beginning, but it is just going to be the beginning of the debate. We expect two weeks of debate on a whole bunch of issues, some of which will be very tough votes for a lot of Democrats, as well.

BERMAN: Not everything but Dana, a breakthrough indeed and probably one that can get 60 votes. Dana Bash, great reporting this morning. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: Next hour, CNN's Chris Cuomo is going to give us an inside look at what happens when you try to buy a gun when he makes his own purchase. And then we'll talk with Jillian Soto whose sister, Vicky, was a first grade teacher. She was killed during the Sandy Hook massacre as well as Chief Jim Johnson from Baltimore County, Maryland.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, the Masters gets under way tomorrow at Augusta National. Last year's champ already in tears, what got Bubba Watson so choked up? This is incredible video next in our "Bleacher Report."

ROMANS: It's all about soul. The White House honors the legends of Memphis Soul including Booker T. Jones. He comes up live next. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: One year later and he's still crying tears of joy. Masters champion Bubba Watson broke down yesterday sharing a personal story about what he did after winning the green jacket. Joe Carter has more in the "Bleacher Report." He was crying like a baby.

JOE CARTER, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: He was. I think to be fair here we have to state that he was crying because he was telling a story about his son. Last year, he became a new dad. You know, that's really why a lot of people like Bubba Watson because he's not afraid to be so real.

Last year, of course, we watched him win the Masters like a man and then afterwards cry like a baby. There he is gushing tears of joy with mom. One year later, he's back in Augusta. He is the defending champ and he's sharing a story about what he did with his infant son, Caleb, just after winning the green jacket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUBBA WATSON, DEFENDING MASTERS CHAMPION: I told him I was going to go home and wrap Caleb up in it, but I -- out of respect, out of honor, I'll -- I'll finish. Try to. Out of respect and honor for Augusta National and one of the greatest clubs we have, one of the greatest tournaments, out of respect for them, I didn't do any of my funny antics that I normally would do. The only thing I did was wrap Caleb up in it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARTER: That's a proud papa right there. Now Bubba is, of course, the defending champ so he got to pick the menu for the champions' dinner. Bubba went bubba, chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, Mac and cheese, southern comfort food, Bubba style.

Now, of course, Tiger Woods, he is a past champion. He was at that dinner Tuesday night. He has won the Masters four times before. This year he says he's feeling, quote, "very balanced with his life and very comfortable with every aspect of his golf game."

He's got three wins so far this year. He's ranked number one in the world again and he's, of course, the overall favorite to win at Augusta. The annual par-three contest is this afternoon. It's always a family affair. Current and past players bring out the kids, bring out the grand kids. Rory McIlroy, he's bringing his girlfriend, tennis superstar, Caroline Wozniacki is going to caddie for him today. You can check out a complete guide to this year's Masters Tournament at bleacherreport.com.

Louisville Men's Basketball Coach Rick Pitino made the flight from Atlanta to New Orleans to watch the Lady Cardinals take on U-Conn in the national championship game last night, but the women's team did not fare as well as the men's team.

U-Conn dominated. I mean, dominated from start to finish. They cruised to a 93-60 win, the most lopsided win ever in a final. U-Conn and Tennessee now tied for the most women's national titles with eight each.

BERMAN: Go Huskies. Thanks so much, Joe Carter.

ROMANS: All right, ahead on STARTING POINT, it was all about Memphis Soul at the White House last night. The president honored music legends including Booker T. Jones. We're talking to Booker T. Jones next. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: That is the Memphis Soul rocking the White House. The president and first lady hosted an all-star concert last night, featuring Justin Timberlake, Cindi Lauper, Sam Moore, Queen Latifa and Brooker T. Jones.

ROMANS: The president walked out with Memphis Soul sang "Green Onions."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I just want everybody to know that it is now my second term so rather than hail to the chief, we're going with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: He can do what he wants now. Joining us now, the legendary Booker T. Jones, real honor to meet you. That must have been quite a night last night, I don't even know where to begin, a legendary night. Tell me, I mean, what was the highlight for you?

BOOKER T. JONES, CO-FOUNDER, BOOKER T. AND THE MG'S: My goodness, there were so many highlights, the highlight was having the president stand next to me and sing quietly where no one could hear him actually.

ROMANS: Really?

JONES: Yes. He was having a good time. He was grooving along there the whole evening, the whole family was, yes. BERMAN: Can I ask, sir, you know, we've seen the president sing before. We've heard him sing. We've seen him dance. You heard it last night. You're an expert in the field. How would you rate his musical abilities?

JONES: He's excellent. He does everything well. He's amazing. He's a good singer.

ROMANS: You are a biased source since he loves your music so much clearly. Let me ask you. The theme was Memphis Soul. Explain to us. Explain to our viewers what is Memphis Soul? What does it mean to you?

JONES: It's a unique feeling in the music that creates simplicity, and it's a really relaxed music that's not complicated and easy to feel and easy to have a good time with.

BERMAN: You are a trailblazer in this field with your music. We heard a small clip of the "Green Onions." I want to play a clip of what President Obama said about you and your contribution last night.

JONES: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Booker T. Jones and Steve Crawford who are both here tonight helped form one of the city's first integrated bands. They weren't allowed to go to school together. They weren't always allowed to travel or eat together, but no one could stop them from playing music together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So 50 years in this business, when you started, you couldn't eat together with your whole band. You couldn't travel together with the whole band. Now, you're performing at the White House together for a black president. What's that like?

JONES: That was an amazing experience. It was beautiful. It was glorious actually. You know, everyone was relaxed and we had such a wonderful time. It was just meant to be. It was one of those special evenings.

ROMANS: It's kind of interesting to think of the president starstruck. He must have been a little starstruck with that cast of characters.

JONES: You think so?

ROMANS: I mean, who was more starstruck, the president or all the performers?

JONES: The performers. The performers were really excited. Everyone was really anxious to meet not only the president, but the first family, and everybody was really excited. BERMAN: We're watching Justin Timberlake in the video behind you and everyone just jamming there. The president is the sort of the emcee of the jam session, it must have been something.

JONES: Yes, it was absolutely a great evening for us.

SAMBOLIN: I saw earlier somewhere else, they were showing that the first lady actually was singing and somebody put a microphone up to her. So we have her singing.

JONES: She was jamming the whole time. She was dancing along. Dancing, walking in, walking out, sitting in her seat and yes, she was having a great time up on stage. I was surprised to see her get up on stage. She never did that before.

ROMANS: Booker T. Jones, it's so nice to see you this morning even after what would have been a fun late night. Thanks for coming in for us this morning. Nice to see you.

JONES: Thanks for having me. Thanks for having me, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, ahead on STARTING POINT, we're continuing to follow the breaking news of two young brothers abducted to Cuba and back home on U.S. soil this morning. How U.S. officials were able to bring them back so quickly.

BERMAN: And a one-on-one interview with the unstoppable Richard Branson, the Virgin CEO celebrating kind of a huge corporate victory this month over major airlines. You're watching STARTING POINT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Welcome back. Good morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Our STARTING POINT this morning, while you were sleeping, two boys abducted, brought to Cuba by their parents, they are now home. We are live in Tampa with the developing details.