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Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien

Heat Wave Hits Parts of U.S.; Fires Continue in Colorado; Athletes Prepare for Olympics; Violence Continues in Syria; Iran Claims Missile Success; Tension Rising Between Syria And Turkey; Double Engine Failure Baffles Navy; Coffee Versus Cancer; Girls And Diet; Dude Trashes T-Mobile Store; Romney's Message Differs From GOP; Poll: Obama Better On Health Care; The Twitter Campaign; Murdoch And Welch Slam Team Romney; "Yes, Chef"

Aired July 03, 2012 - 07:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: It is Tuesday, July 3rd and STARTING POINT begins right now.

Good morning, our starting point is something that affects a lot of you. Americans from Nebraska to West Virginia, points in between, facing another frustrating day of brutal heat while utilities are struggling to bring power back to millions of Americans. At least 19 people have died since Thursday. That's when those deadly storms swept the nation. And about 1.8 million people still don't have electricity days after that storm.

Take a look at this. These are still all the states, waiting, waiting for the lights to come back on. And 410,000 customers in West Virginia didn't have power as of last night. Ohio, 400,000 folks in Ohio without, 340,000 in Virginia, same deal there. Power authorities and local governments say many of those people might be in the dark until this weekend.

And those people are going to have to deal with more soaring temperatures, 12 states under heat advisories this morning and the heat wave is forecast to last all week long. Sandra Endo is live in Arlington, Virginia, looks a bit of a mess behind you there. Do people there have electricity? I'm guessing not.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Not in this neighborhood, brook, it's been four days since the violent storm swept through this region. You can still see the devastation left behind. The power lines have downed because these toppled trees ripped the power lines from the tell phone poles and crushing car and strewing about debris all over the place.

This violent storm swept through this neighborhood. This area is without power as are tens of thousands of people suffering here in Virginia. And local authorities, residents are getting frustrating. They are really wanting these utility companies to try to hurry up to restore power to the communities. They are of course having a tough time with the sweltering heat and trying to move the debris by hand to get to these areas. Of course, there's priorities as well, helping the elderly and getting nursing centers and top priority areas up and running first. So clearly there's a lot of work to be done and residents here who are without electricity are just trying to cope.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a pool and generator, but a lot of these people don't have nothing. It makes you want to sit down and cry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been very, very hot. We're not getting no relief in the liquid form. And people are in dire straits really.


ENDO: And it's tough because in Fairfax County, Virginia, this storm wiped out their 911 system. That was only working at half capacity and they are really trying to figure out why the primary and secondary backup systems didn't work. So a lot of compounding factors when you think about how violent this storm is and the recovery process, this will all take. Brooke?

BALDWIN: This was a freak storm. Imagine if something worse happens in that area, can the city cope? We're going to talk to Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray who is fed up with what's happening there. Sandra, thank you.

In Ohio more than 400,000 people are still without power and electricity could be out in some parts until next Tuesday. Temperatures expected to hit mid-90s today. Now some towns are being told to boil water before drinking, that's how desperate it's getting in some places, local power companies are struggling to get the power back. They are bringing crews from out of state to hurry up the process. Nancy Dragani, I'm sure you're frustrated too. Nancy, 400,000 people without power. A lot of them are AEP customers. It's hot, hot, hot. How much longer will they be without power?

NANCY DRAGANI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OHIO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: I do know that AEP is working as hard as they can to get the power on. We had a high of million customers without power. We're down to just under 400,000 customers without power. It's a dangerous situation but we're working with local partners to make sure people are safe and are the resources they need.

BALDWIN: If we're not talking until next Tuesday, works as hard as they can, is that good enough?

DRAGANI: I think that we're being as proactive as possible. We can't change the power situation at the government level. What we can do is stay on top of the situation and make sure that if people need drinking water that they've got water available. We're working with water treatment facilities to make sure they've got power generators so they can maintain drinking water. We have a federal declaration. FEMA is working side by side with us. I think that we're responding as quickly and as hard as we can given the situation. And it is a dangerous situation.

BALDWIN: I want to get to FEMA and federal resources you all are getting. Is there any talk about underground power lines? All of this wouldn't be an issue if that were possible.

DRAGANI: You know, and it is possible. In fact we had a significant power outage caused by ice in '04 and another power outage caused by hurricane Ike in 2008. And a lot of utilities have in fact as a result of that buried their lines. So this probably could have been much worse if they hadn't done that after those last two power outages.

BALDWIN: Back to the federal emergency, I know that's been declared in Ohio, 200 National Guard troops knocking on doors from Dayton to Columbus. What are their priorities one, two, and three today?

DRAGANI: Our priorities are to make sure that we're touching base with our vulnerable populations, not just in the urban areas, but reaching out and making sure we're touching base with our vulnerable populations across the state so the National Guard focus augmented, by the way, by university students that have been asked to support this effort, are focusing on areas where we know we have high populations of elderly and our senior citizens to make sure somebody is stopping. Do you have water? Do you have a contact? Do you need transportation to a cooling station?

BALDWIN: With the cooling stations, I know they are up and running in localities, we've been making phone calls to different centers. With the temperatures still in the 90s for you in Ohio, are you seeing issues with heat related illness and stroke?

DRAGANI: We haven't had any reported into the operation center, I do know in many cases hospitals are allowing those medically dependent folks that may not need to be hospitalized to come in and get cool in their facilities. So one of our priorities of course has been to look at nursing homes, hospitals, places where we might need to make sure they've got water and power generators so we have the cooling centers available.

BALDWIN: Nancy Dragani, of the Ohio emergency management agency. Good luck today.

DRAGANI: Thank you.

BALDWIN: This is a widespread problem and doesn't look like the heat is letting up just let.


BALDWIN: Let's go to Zoraida Sambolin with a look at today's top stories. Zoraida, good morning.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Brooke. New questions this morning about former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and whether he influenced school officials not to report an incident involving assistant coach Jerry Sandusky and young boy in a locker room shower. According to e-mails between former university executives, a decision was made to approach Sandusky and report him to child welfare officials and his Second Mile charity back in 2001. But it appears coach Paterno, who died in January, then had a conversation with former athletic director Tim Curley. Curley then e-mailed an official, quote, "After giving it more thought and talk teenager over with Joe yesterday, I am comfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I'm having trouble with going to everyone but the person involved."

Paterno's family is calling on Pennsylvania's attorney general and former FBI director Luis Free to release all e-mails and records related to their investigations.

A New York based human rights organization says the Syrian government has been carrying out a state policy of torture while simultaneously slaughtering thousands of civilians. The group, Human Rights Watch, has identified 27 torture centers based on testimony from more than 200 former prisoners and Syrian security officers who defected. One local activist group claims 25,000 Syrians are being held right now in those centers.

Mitt Romney will go to Israel this summer and meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The two men have known each other since the 1970s. Netanyahu is not offering up any endorsements. He says he has a lot of respect for both Romney and President Obama.

And 45-year-old swimmer Dara Torres will not compete in a sixth Olympics. Torres came up short, missing her chance to make the Olympic team after finishing fourth in the 50 meter freestyle last night. The 12 time medalist began her career at the 1984 summer games in Los Angeles. She told reporters, that's it when she got out of the pool last night, putting an end to her historic run as a member of team USA. She's going to spends time with her daughter.

We're few hours away from the weigh in for the Nathan's hot dog eating contest. The current holder of the mustard belt is Joey Chestnut. He scarfed down 62 hot dogs and buns last year, six less than the world record that he already holds. Gives me heart burn, Brooke.


BALDWIN: There's a whole method to the madness and how they do this.

SAMBOLIN: And celebration.

BALDWIN: No thanks, Zoraida.

Still to come, firefighting air tankers grounded after this deadly crash, a key weapon out of the picture as these historic fires are raging in the west.

And our get real, two kids try to swipe the Olympic torch. Yep, there's video. You're watching STARTING POINT.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. I'm Alison Kosik minding your business. Barclays CEO Bob Diamond is stepping down effective immediately after another high level executive resigned. Barclays was fined $450 million as part of an industry-wide investigation into interest rate manipulation.

Glaxo-Smith-Kline is agreeing to pay $3 billion in fine, in the biggest health care fraud settlement in history. It promoted Paxil and Wellbutrin for uses not approved by U.S. regulators, including for the treatment of children. It concedes it withheld data and made unsupported safety claims but its diabetes drug Avandia.

Bad news on manufacturing, that sector contracted last month, manufacturing has been a bright spot during the recovery showing growth for almost three straight years. But Brooke, a little glass half full here, one report does not make a trend.

BALDWIN: That's right. Keep it all in perspective, Alison Kosik.

We've been talking about the fires out best and the U.S. air force is grounding the C-130 planes after the fatal crash of the C-130 in South Dakota on Sunday. Family members say the victims were lieutenant colonel Paul McHale and master sergeant Robert cannon both from North Carolina. Another C-130 went down along the Sierra-Utah border. Until they find out what's going on, the seven C-130s will not be operating today. Jim Spellman is live with more here. How is the grounding of the C-130s, has to make tremendous impact on the firefighting efforts there?

JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Brooke, there's a lot of tools firefighters have in their arsenal, up to these giant C- 130 planes. They outfit them to drop 3,000 gallons in five seconds, it can cover a quarter mile stretch, 100 feet wide in the five seconds, it's definitely one of the big tools they use in a quickly advancing fires. They want this back in the arsenal as quick as they can. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are crucial in fighting every fire they go out on, because if the units go to a mission, that means that all of the other assets are either unavailable or fully tasked.


SPELLMAN: That's a tool, Brooke, that they'll want back in the tool box just as quick as they can. But they want to make sure everybody is safe before they are up in the air again.

BALDWIN: Do you know what specifically they are checking for and when they might get the C-130s back up?

SPELLMAN: We don't know yet. We hope to find out at the press briefing later this morning. But we really don't know what they are looking at. There are plenty of C-30s in the military. They want to look at the planes and the system they install in them to see if anything in there is causing this problem. Of course, safety from the firefighters on the ground up to the pilots in the air, it comes foremost when fighting these fires, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jim Spellman, thanks so much.

Coming up this morning, passing the torch but to the wrong people. How did two kids get past this team of security and almost ruin the Olympic relay? That's our Get Real. Our STARTING POINT panel heading in.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Some quick headline this morning. Police in Mexico City investigating the death of an Associated Press news intern whose body was found this week in an apartment elevator shaft. And the 22-year-old from Colorado went to Mexico after graduating college last month.

The CEO of the online gambling site Full Tilt Poker surrendering to authorities and pleading not guilty to running a Ponzi scheme. Players lost as much as $200 million when the government shut down online poker sites more than two years ago.

And no runoff after all. This photo finish was originally going to lead to a rematch for the final spot on the Olympic 100 meter sprint team, but Tarmoh dropped out yesterday conceding the spot to Felix. She said her heart was not in it. Such a sad ending there, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I know, but they are going anyways, they were qualified anyways.

SAMBOLIN: But not that individual competition.

BALDWIN: I think she didn't want to risk injury. Zoraida, thanks so much.

Today's STARTING POINT team here, Margaret Hoover, author of "American Individualism" and worked in the George W. Bush White House, Abby Huntsman, daughter of John Huntsman, and Ryan Lizza, Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker." Welcome.


BALDWIN: I got a good night's sleep, very important when the alarm goes off at 2:30 in the morning.

Some kids decided to play with fire on the Olympic level. This is Coventry England, you see the kids trying to grab it. Security saying, I don't think so. They got past actually for a moment these highly trained security teams to get to the runner holding the torch. They are thinking about it, thinking about it and bye-bye. You said this is exactly what your kids would have done, Ryan?

RYAN LIZZA, "THE NEW YORKER": They seemed innocent here. They weren't --

BALDWIN: Where were their parents?


BALDWIN: Of course they had no weapons.


BALDWIN: Being from Atlanta, you saw this coming into Atlanta and it's pretty well-oiled machine, you know.

HUNTSMAN: To be clear, Ryan, your kids are two and four.

LIZZA: Five and three, and they would have gotten the torch, I think. They would have gotten away with it.


BALDWIN: If this happened in the states, those kids would have been tased or shot or something. Hopefully they are not in too much trouble, don't do it.

Still to come this morning on STARTING POINT, a new weapon in the fight against skin cancer. Mitt Romney and President Obama, when it comes to the health care law there is one thing that they see eye to eye on and it's a big problem for the Republican Party. You're watching STARTING POINT.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. In just a couple minutes we'll talk to the head of the RNC Reince Priebus to talk about what appears to be one big similarity between Mitt Romney and President Obama. But first lets go to Zoraida Sambolin for today's top stories? Zoraida, good morning, again.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you. A lot going on. Iran reporting a series of successful missile tests as part of three days of war games. The country reportedly tested long range missiles. It's happening just as the European Union begins an oil embargo that is aimed at pressuring Iran over its nuclear program. The U.S. has moved reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to prevent Iran from attempting to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad says he 100 percent regrets that his country shot down a Turkish war plane last month. Assad insists Syria did not know the plane belonged to Turkey until after it was hit.

Saying the jet was flying in an area previously used by Israel's Air Force. Syria's relationship with long time ally, Turkey, has been eroding in recent months. The Turkish government deployed troops along the border with Syria last week in response to the attack on its plane.

The FAA team that crashed into a Virginia Beach apartment complex in April was doomed by a freak double engine failure. An event so rare that the Navy has never seen it before, that is according to a new report released on the investigation.

It says that the jet's right engine stalled from a fuel leak in the first fuse, but seconds of that flight. The jet's left engine then malfunctioned because of a totally unrelated problem. The crew ejected and no one on the ground was killed.

Your "A.M. House Call," drinking coffee may help you fight skin cancer. A new report in the "Journal" Cancer Research claims drinking more caffeinated coffee could lower chances of developing basal cell carcinoma.

That's the most common form of skin cancer. Researchers study data from more than 100,000 thousand people. The key was drinking more than two cups a day. Caffeine seems to be the key. Listen to this, tea, soda and chocolate produced similar results. A lot of people are going to be happy about that.

A new data this morning showing that 80 percent of all 10- year-old girls have been on at least one diet. The study on eating disorders also claims that 53 percent of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies.

The National Eating Disorder Center backs up those numbers. It claims between 40 percent and 60 percent of children ages 6 to 12 are concerned about their weight or they are concerned about becoming too fat.

So we've all had cell phone rage, right? Maybe not like this. This video was posted on YouTube of a guy totally trashing a T- Mobile store in Manchester England. He starts tearing everything of the walls before he takes the fire extinguisher off the wall and hoses the place down.

He was reportedly upset when he was denied a refund and he was eventually taken away in cuffs. People outside are cheering him. He's so calm doing this -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: I can't believe people were cheering this on from outside the store.

SAMBOLIN: I can. People get so upset with their companies.

BALDWIN: Cell phone, cable company, people do get frustrated. Zoraida, thank you.

Mitt Romney's campaign and the Republican Party seem to be conflicting messages here about what happens when it comes to the specific issue in the health care legislation, this law here.

Romney senior campaign adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom recently contradicted the Republican Party's core line of attack on health care by calling the individual mandate to buy health insurance a penalty and not a tax. In fact, he says Romney is siding with President Obama on the mandate. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor does not believe the mandate is a tax. That's what you're saying?

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY SENIOR ADVISOR: The governor believes that what we put in place in Massachusetts was a penalty and he disagrees with the court's ruling that the mandate was a tax.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he agrees with the president that it is not -- and he believes you shouldn't call the tax penalty a tax. You should call it a penalty or a fee or fine?

FEHRNSTROM: That's correct.


BALDWIN: That's correct he says, but shortly after Romney's campaign followed up with this message. Quote, "The Supreme Court left President Obama with two choices. The federal individual mandate in Obamacare is either a constitutional tax or an unconstitutional penalty.

Governor Romney thinks it is an unconstitutional penalty. What is President Obama's position? Is his federal mandate unconstitutional or is it a tax?"

So this mixed message could really create a problem for Republicans who are trying now to demonstrate that President Obama did in fact break his promise not to raise taxes.

Reince Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Reince, good morning to you.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Hi, Brooke. Good morning.

BALDWIN: Let me just coming out of the gates and ask you this, did Eric Fehrnstrom just make your job a heck of a lot more difficult?

PRIEBUS: No. You know, this is the problem, I think you have these conversations about a Supreme Court ruling that we all don't like, at least I don't like it. I don't agree with it.

But that doesn't mean even though I don't agree with it, even though I agree with a dissent of that opinion, it doesn't mean that the truth is not the truth once a Supreme Court speaks.

And the Supreme Court has stated that Obamacare is a tax and so since they have ruled that it's a tax --

BALDWIN: I don't know if that was the precise phraseology if you read it from the court, but it could be like a tax or power of Congress to tax.

But let me get to this. You know, you say you like it and agree with the dissent. President Obama and Romney say this is a mandate, not a tax. What is the RNC's position on this? PRIEBUS: Well, our position is the same as Mitt Romney's position, it's a tax, that's the only way the Supreme Court came up with the decision that it did in order to make it constitutional.

BALDWIN: But it sounds like camp Romney says it was a penalty. So I'm just asking you specifically, Republican National Committee, tax or penalty, which is it?

PRIEBUS: It's a tax and the reason why it's a tax is because the Supreme Court number one ruled it was a tax and number two, it's what Barack Obama's lawyer argued before the Supreme Court.

So here's the problem, Brooke, here's the crux of the issue. The crux of the issue is most Republicans and I think most independents don't believe that Obamacare should have been ruled constitutional or --

BALDWIN: I have to stop you there. I have to stop you there. I was talking to a Republican congresswoman yesterday and I have to point this out again, we have these polls, Reince. And I just want to show you this.

You have Americans reaction to the Supreme Court decision. This is after last Thursday, 46 percent agree and when you look specifically at independents, 45 percent agree. So let's just agree, can we move off that and I want to ask you this --

PRIEBUS: No, we can't agree with it because most polls, Brooke, show that most Americans by a wide margin over 60 percent don't agree --

BALDWIN: What polls are you looking at?

PRIEBUS: -- is good for the American people. What polls am I looking today?

BALDWIN: I'm looking at "USA Today"/Gallup.

PRIEBUS: -- NBC poll, we have Rasmussen polls, we've got Gallup polls. There are polls all over the map that show that over 60 percent of the American people --

BALDWIN: I haven't seen that poll. I would love to see that. Take a look at this poll. This is the poll we have, Reince.

PRIEBUS: Maybe we'll e-mail you a bunch of them.

BALDWIN: I have a lot of polls and I'm showing you the poll here. That was the Gallup/"USA Today" poll and that's 46 percent of Americans reaction.

PRIEBUS: If that's the case, then we would love to have an election on one issue in November and the question will be, if you believe that Obamacare should be repealed then vote for Mitt Romney, and if you think it should stay then vote for Barack Obama. And I would just love my chances in that question, Brooke. BALDWIN: We'll see come November. Meantime, whether we say tax or whether we say penalty, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi says it's going to affect 1 percent of the population. Take a listen.


REPRESENTATIVE NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: It's not a tax -- it's a penalty for free riders.


BALDWIN: So when we -- I want to be specific for our viewers, when you come up with this 1 percent number, the CBO says in its 2010 report projects in 2016, 3.9 million uninsured Americans will pay this penalty or tax is what you want to call it.

U.S. population 2016 expected to rise to 328 million people so you do the math, that's 1 percent. In addition, "Wall Street Journal" Steven Moore writes 70 percent to 75 percent of the tax.

So this 1 percent actually falls on those who earn less than $200,000 per year. So with that said, is 1 percent enough of a leg for the Republican Party to stand on to really make this a campaign issue?

PRIEBUS: Absolutely. Because number one, it's spending money that we don't have. I think that's an important issue in the debt and deficit and the projections in long term over a 10-year period, it spends almost $2 trillion we don't have.

Plus, Brooke, it affects small business's ability as well, not seen in Nancy Pelosi's numbers are all of the small businesses that are going to be forced into a program that either they can't afford or they don't want.

And that's why you see all of these waivers that have come into the White House. I mean, he's had hundreds and hundreds of waivers from companies that don't want to opt into Obamacare.

Now the White House had to stop that because it was getting to the point where there are almost too many of these businesses that wanted waivers.

The point of all of this is, Mitt Romney is going to do everything he can on day one to repeal Obamacare and we believe that that's an absolutely winning issue for us, Brooke, in November.

People don't want Europe in America and I think the solution to that is firing Barack Obama and putting Mitt Romney in office.

BALDWIN: If the law were to be repealed, Americans don't actually think Mitt Romney is the one to do it. And again, if I may, Reince, I have a poll and this poll here is, CNN/ORC poll, registered voters, who would better handle health care, Obama 51 percent, Romney 44 percent. Does that concern you?

PRIEBUS: You know, a snapshot always concerns me, but I mean, I also know it's a long campaign and I think at the end of the day, people generally and I'm convinced of this, Brooke, we don't agree today.

But I think generally people don't agree that Obamacare is good for America. People understand that Mitt Romney will get rid of Obamacare and obviously, people who don't believe that Obamacare or European health care is good for America, know Barack Obama is not the answer.

And he is the one that went to Supreme Court and made sure it got jammed down our throats. And unfortunately for us, the majority has spoken, Obamacare is a tax and Mitt Romney is the guy to get rid of it.

BALDWIN: OK, Reince Priebus, we'll see what happens in November. We appreciate you. I want to end and talk to the panel briefly. I read your piece in "The New Yorker" a couple of days ago where you wrote the likelihood of a repeal is not so likely.

LIZZA: Well, a lot things have to happen. Romney has to win. The Republicans have to take over the Senate and then their fate would rely on the parliamentarian in the Senate allowing them to use the special process of 51 votes to repeal it.

It's not easy and if you don't repeal the whole thing through that, you have a Swiss cheese law. But just one thing on what Reince just said. This is the problem with the Republican and Democrat response to this.

The dissent, the minority, conservatives on the court said it's not a tax, right? So most legal conservatives say that was right, it was not a tax. We wanted it taken down under the commerce clause. Reince is saying I agree with Scalia in the dissent not a tax but --

BALDWIN: But we're going to call it a tax.

LIZZA: On the left it's the same thing. The White House -- this law has been upheld because the government went to the Supreme Court and said it's a tax, but won't call it a tax.

BALDWIN: Do you think American people really care?

HUNTSMAN: I don't think they understand half of it. The 20 percent of like my generation doesn't even understand what happened in this vote.

BALDWIN: They want to know, what do I have to pay, if I opt out, what's the deal?

HOOVER: That's exactly right. What the American people are going to care about is are they going to be able to get affordable health care over the long term and how does it affect their bottom line? That's what Americans care about.

HUNTSMAN: But the problem with Mitt Romney is he doesn't have a plan here. He can say repeal Obamacare so many times, isn't it a talking point, Ryan? I mean, at the end of the day, then what?

LIZZA: He's got to come up with something and Romney -- look, I don't think it is going to go away, we're going to go back to the economy in a few days. Romney doesn't have an incentive to talk about this because it brings up Romneycare and it brings up the tax in Massachusetts.

HOOVER: Although it helps with fundraising.

BALDWIN: Totally. Guys, thank you so much. Good chat.

Still ahead this morning, Twitter all aflutter, two big time CEOs, News Corps' Rupert Murdoch and GE's former CEO, Jack Welch ganging up on Mitt Romney. We got those tweets that's next.

Also he is food's most fashionable man, celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson is piffling up the joint this morning. I can't wait. We're talking to him live about his brutally honest new memoir.

And here's one from Miss Hoover's playlist, Al Green "Here I Am Baby." You're watching STARTING POINT.


BALDWIN: I grew up listening to Boss Nova. Don't ask me why. This is featuring the Black Eyed Peas. Anyway, don't forget to send in your music request, "All Request Fridays." I love this idea.

You send them to our blog, or tweet it at startingptcnn@startingptcnn or on Facebook, go to Looking forward to playing your tunes this Friday.

The former GE CEO Jack Welch agrees with Rupert Murdoch, they are not both telling Mitt Romney, get some pros on your team. This all started a couple of days ago when Murdoch, a tweeting machine if you haven't noticed by now.

You know, he put this post up that said this, quote, "Met Romney last week, tough o Chicago pros will be hard to beat unless he drops old friends from team and hires some real pros. Doubtful."

Welch followed up tweeting, quote, "Hope Mitt Romney is listening to Murdoch advice, on the campaign stuff, playing in league with Chicago polls. No room for amateurs."

HOOVER: I would imagine if I were Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney has run lots of businesses and now he's run two presidential campaigns, I would say let Jack Welch and Rupert Murdoch run their businesses and I'll run my own presidential campaign.

HUNTSMAN: But they play a large role. I mean, like you said before, it's about the money. It's about how the media portrays your campaign. They are a big part of that.

HOOVER: Well, but they are not writing checks to Mitt Romney. Look, I worked on two presidential campaigns and I will say that my experience at least looking at Mitt Romney's team.

He has a very good balance of experienced loyalists and people he knows from Massachusetts and then experienced political campaign operatives and he seems to balance it well where competency is the highest --

BALDWIN: Would you really be reading other tweets from other people and thinking, Rupert Murdoch tweeted this, I better do this?

HOOVER: It's certainly doesn't play well.

LIZZA: I tend to think this idea that your staff is that important and if you just hired a bunch of new people. Who are the new people in the Republican Party that Romney's going to hire tomorrow and all of a sudden he's going to have some massive lead against Obama?

These guys got Romney through a very difficult primary, through a lot of hurdles. I think it's a pretty good team. I think most political experts --

BALDWIN: You think it's an all-star team, don't ditch him?

LIZZA: The proof is he won the nomination. People said the same thing about Obama for years. Get rid of the Chicago guys, get rid of Axelrod, get rid of Valerie Jarrett.

And now Rupert Murdoch and -- saying the Chicago team is open and strong --

HUNTSMAN: It's a much bigger story when you let someone go, what's going on in the campaign, something is wrong. I think that's a bigger issue here.

LIZZA: This happened to Bush in 2000 when you lost New Hampshire. Everyone said get rid of Karl Rove, get rid of your team. Bush hunkered down, kept them and they won the White House, won a second team.

BALDWIN: Rupert Murdoch, a tweeting machine, giving campaign advice. Who knew?

Still to come this morning on STARTING POINT, it is so hot the road is bending, extreme heat turning the highway into a ramp. We're going to show you one car this didn't notice it in time. Yikes.

Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson is here from humble beginnings. What an incredible story, advice on cooking for the president.

HUNTSTMAN: Where's our breakfast?

BALDWIN: I know, that chicken dish my friend looks amazing. The man behind the red rooster, this is Marcus's playlist, "As I Enter." You're watching STARTING POINT.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. A couple of quick headlines for you.

Highs expected to be 100 degrees as far north as Minnesota, this in the next two days. And check this out. It is so hot that the extreme heat warped the pavement in Wisconsin.

It created a ramp on Highway 29 that sent a car airborne. The person who took this video says everyone made it out OK. They have actually fixed that and everything is OK now.

Daddy, don't go, a touching moment at a photo op for the next crew of the International Space Station. A Russian cosmonaut's 6-year-old daughter can't stop crying during the send off. The rocket is scheduled to depart for the ISS on July 15. Poor little girl.

The God particle, finally discovered? Scientists are working at the large Headron collider and are expected to announce they have found the Higgs Boson, I think it's called. Its discovery would help complete the main theory of how the universe works on a sub atomic level. Got that, Brooke?

BALDWIN: Got it. Subatomic level. All over it. Zoraida, thank you.

We're so excited to have Marcus Samuelsson here. He is an award-winning celebrity chef, known for his restaurant, Red Rooster. If you want reservations, good luck.

Popular eatery in New York's Harlem neighborhood, but before he reached the top of the culinary world, he really did come from humble beginnings.

He was orphaned at the age of 3 in Ethiopia, raised by adoptive parents in Sweden and after apprenticing as a chef across Europe, he eventually settled in the United States in the early 90s.

At the age of 24, he became the youngest chef ever at the time to receive a three-star rating from the "New York Times." He went on to win Top Chef Masters even cooked as a guest chef at President Obama's very first state dinner.

He describes his journey in his new memoir, it's called "Yes, Chef." Marcus, such a pleasure.

MARCUS SAMUELSSON, AUTHOR, "YES, CHEF": Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: Just picking up the magazines on the plane, I read about Red Rooster in Harlem. You're everywhere. It's a pleasure to meet you. You really do begin, in Chapter One, you talk about your biological mother and how you don't even know what she looks like in terms of no photographs or nothing.

SAMUELSSON: I have never seen a picture of my mother, and obviously, that's very, very rare. But my mother walked me and my sisters from a little village into the capital of Ethiopia to save us.

We got into a hospital. We survived tuberculosis, me and my sister. My mother passed away. And that's how we got adopted to Sweden. So, you know, life, "Yes,Chef," is so much about the journey of life. And my family has always been next to me, behind me, and supporting me and my sisters.

BALDWIN: Talk a little bit more about that journey from Ethiopia to Sweden and Switzerland and through Europe and in the United States.

SAMUELSSON: Our family is mixed. My parents are white. My two sisters, black kids in Sweden. My cousins were Koreans. Jewish aunt. So it was like the United States every dinner.

BALDWIN: The United Nations, yes.

SAMUELSSON: But also, you know, it taught me right away my love for cooking was really developed by my grandmother. My mom was not a good cook. What else you got?


SAMUELSSON: So I talk about my journey coming from, you know, cooking in Switzerland, but I always wanted to go to France. I had to write in France. Meet George Blanc.

And eventually came to America, became a three-star chef. And eventually I wanted to set up to really try to put my -- the restaurant that I always wanted to have in Harlem.

I always wanted to have a restaurant in Harlem and to be able to serve the Harlem community is something I am really, really proud of.

BALDWIN: I want to get to that point in a moment, but you've eaten there.

HOOVER: I have eaten there. I can do a testimonial actually for you. Unbelievable, it was so good. And what the Red Rooster has come to symbolize in Harlem is really the renaissance in Harlem and a renaissance in food culture in the United States.

But the new Harlem is a place where New Yorkers go from all over the city to experience the tradition of African-American culture and cooking at your restaurant.


HOOVER: How did you discover the love for the African-American tradition in food?

SAMUELSSON: Well, you know, my parents wanted to learn -- my mom always wanted to learn about how to take care of my sisters' hair. Or my father wanted to teach me about great African-American leaders like Martin Luther King and so on. And from my mom reading "Essence" and fixing my sisters' hair -- HUNTSMAN: Reading "Essence" magazine to learn how to do your sisters' hair.

SAMUELSSON: And my father giving me books and it was always centered around Harlem. So it was this place that I knew so well even before I came to New York. So I knew that one day, you know, I wanted to have a restaurant in Harlem, and we are having the time of my life.

BALDWIN: If I may, the last paragraph of the book, I love it. I spent so much of my life on the outside that I began to doubt that I would truly ever be in with any one people, any one place, any one tribe.

But Harlem is big enough, diverse enough, scrappy enough, old enough, and new enough to encompass all that I am and all that I hope to be. After all that traveling, I am, at last, home. So you found home.

SAMUELSSON: In Harlem, there is someone from every culture. It's an extremely diverse place. You have the east side when is Puerto Rican and a bit of Mexican coming in. You have the west side. And then you have obviously the large African-American culture. But it's evolving to be, you know, when you see Harlem, you see modern America, 21st Century.

HOOVER: Yes. That's exactly right.

HUNTSMAN: I can't wait to go.

SAMUELSSON: Got to go.

BALDWIN: President Obama's first state dinner. I had so many more questions. Quickly, Ryan.

LIZZA: Can you help me with some reservations?

SAMUELSSON: I got you.

BALDWIN: Busted live on air trying to get into Red Rooster. Again, yes, we are. His book is "Yes, Chef." It's a pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, Teresa Fusko owned her own condo. So why was she told to pay rent on top of or mortgage or get out? She will join us live to tell this unreal story. Could this happen to us?

Plus, a Pennsylvania high school puts itself up for sale on eBay, but this isn't just a goofy stunt. Why something is seriously wrong here.

This is from Ryan's play list. "The National." Very good. You're watching STARTING POINT. I love this.