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Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien

Billions Lost; Interview with Congressman Steve Israel; Interview With Gov. Terry Branstad; U.S. Olympic Team Wears Uniforms Made in China; Interview with Dara Torres; Picking the Running Mate; Music from Recycled Material

Aired July 13, 2012 - 08:00   ET



SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Our STARTING POINT this morning, we are talking billions of dollars.

JPMorgan Chase releases its second quarter earnings after that big trading blunder. We'll tell you what that means for your money.

Also, seeing red. Listen.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Put them in a big pile and burn them, and start all over again.


O'BRIEN: Yes. Harry Reid is not kidding. Lawmakers fuming that team USA is going to be decked out in uniforms that were made in China.

States in crisis. The nation's governors getting together to talk about critical issues like health care and jobs. Will anything get done at their meeting? We'll look at that.

And one man's trash is another man's instrument. Garbage Men Band is here with their unique brand of rock. That show ahead this morning.

A packed show ahead this morning. Congressman Steve Israel, a Democrat from New York, will be talking with us. Republican Governor Terry Branstad is our guest from Iowa. Former U.S. Olympian and author Dara Torres will join us. And we're going to have the Garbage- Men Band. All that ahead this morning.

It's Friday the 13th. This is why I'm fumbling every word.


O'BRIEN: That's a good choice. That is. Keep playing that.

CELESTE HEADLEY, HOST, "THE TAKEAWAY": Whose choice is that? Oh, it's another viewer.

O'BRIEN: It's viewer request Friday.


O'BRIEN: This is Nas. We had him on the other day as a guest, (INAUDIBLE) playlist, "Count Your Blessings." Thank you.


O'BRIEN: Marc Lamont Hill approved.

HILL: I'm the music czar of the STARTING POINT.

O'BRIEN: Professor and music czar approves.

HILL: I've been appointed.

O'BRIEN: Celeste Headley also is here. Do you want to self appoint while we're here? Think about it. Don't answer right away.

Host of "The Takeaway," joining us this morning.

And Will Cain, columnist for He is also self- appointed to all kinds of things.

HILL: He is the beard czar.


O'BRIEN: You're getting just hammered about that beard. That scraggly little beard you've got.

HILL: Keep your mean comments on Twitter about Will's beard coming please.

HEADLEY: We don't like mean comments.


O'BRIEN: No, we don't invite mean comments.

HEADLEY: It's what we do.

HILL: Just the beard.

O'BRIEN: You know what I think about the beard.

HILL: I like the beard.


O'BRIEN: You lie.


O'BRIEN: Moving on.

CAIN: On to the news of the day, Christine Romans --

O'BRIEN: Yes, she does.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We can turn it over to JPMorgan and Jamie Dimon.

O'BRIEN: Yes, you would. Yes, you would.

ROMANS: Look, JPMorgan Chase out with its earnings. We now know the rogue trading loss at that company amounts to $5.8 billion so far this year -- losses in the first quarter and the second quarter. That is far higher than the $2 billion CEO Jamie Dimon estimated back in May.

Even before that, remember, he said it was a tempest in a tea pot, Soledad. It wasn't. It's now $5.8 billion. That's where that loss is, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: All right, Christine. Thank you for that. I appreciate it.

Let's talk about the growing outrage over the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms when they walk into London's Olympic stadium in two weeks. They'll be wearing a Ralph Lauren red, white, and blue ensemble made entirely in China.

Lawmakers are criticizing the outfit.

Harry Reid says the uniforms should be destroyed. Listen.


REID: I am so upset that I think the Olympic committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should be embarrassed. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them, and start all over again.


O'BRIEN: Another angry lawmaker is Congressman Steve Israel. He and fellow New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter to the chairman of the IOC saying this, "As American fans cheer for our Olympians, we should also be cheering for the American manufacturers and laborers reflected in the red, white, and blue on their uniforms. We look forward to seeing all of our uniforms saying made in America at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia."

Congressman Steve Israel is our guest this morning.

From this letter, it sounds like you're already looking toward 2014. Do you think it's not possible to make any changes? I mean, Harry Reid suggesting burning the whole thing.

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D), NEW YORK: Well, the letter is our minimal request. We actually believe this is the country that landed a man on the moon. We should be able to manufacture clothing for our Olympic athletes in London next month.

You know, you can go to Rochester. You can go to Buffalo. You can go to Ohio. There are companies and people waiting to make those uniforms. And we can have the job done and have those uniforms shipped in time for the Olympics in August.

O'BRIEN: You know, when you look at the actual numbers, though, I think by some math, 98 percent of clothing manufacturing is done overseas. Why are you so mad about it when clearly Ralph Lauren, who is the designer, who has volunteered and is a sponsor for this, clearly makes his clothes overseas in China? What's the big deal, I think some would say.

ISRAEL: Well, this is a big deal. Made in America is not just a label. It is an economic solution. This is $1 billion divestment from manufacturing jobs in the United States to manufacturing jobs in China. And I think it's fundamentally wrong.

We've got 600,000 vacant manufacturing positions in the United States right now. Outsourcing this job to China just doesn't make sense, Soledad. These are our Olympic athletes.

Look, the Olympic Committee and all Americans appreciate the hard work, the dedication, and the skill of our athletes. They are inspiring. But I think the Olympic committee should appreciate the hard work, the dedication, and the skill of American manufacturers, which are not only inspiring, but in a demand economy need that contract. Need the ability to make those products and enable our athletes to march into the Olympic stadium in those products.

CAIN: Congressman, this is Will Cain. Listen, this seems to be -- there looks to be bipartisan outrage on this issue. Both Republicans and Democrats seem to think there's something worthy of outrage here.

But as Soledad points out, we manufacture so many clothes overseas. It seems to me you're asking the Olympic Committee and Ralph Lauren designing the clothes for them to do something economically irrational out of patriotism. In the end, I guess I see it as -- is there a little bit of political demagoguery going on here? Burn the clothes?

ISRAEL: We're not asking them to do this simply out of American patriotism, although this is a matter of pride. We are asking them do this as a matter of economic strategy. There's this kind of myth out there that America has lost its ability to manufacture clothing, and therefore that's why 98 percent of clothing is manufactured offshore. It is a myth.

We have 14 million people unemployed. And we are taking a billion dollars away from those people, and transferring that to China. It is just bad economics.

It's not only injurious to our pride. It's injurious to our economy.

O'BRIEN: I talked to the designer Nannette Lepore a little bit earlier this morning and here's what she said, this little piece.


NANNETTE LEPORE, DESIGNER: There would be so many factories that would be thrilled just to get the opportunity because they know it would lead to more work. So not only would designers be willing to work and to participate even if it meant free of charge, but factories and cutting rooms and, you know, pattern makers, they would all love the opportunity.


O'BRIEN: She basically said, listen, you'd be surprised how quickly you can turn stuff around, especially in a New York manufacturing floor, clothing floor. Is this something that you're going to continue to try to push to see if you actually could clothe the Olympic athletes in something other than Ralph Lauren made in China?

ISRAEL: Well, I tell you, anytime you can get John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi to agree on something, do it. There is bipartisan support for pushing the Olympic Committee to reverse this decision. One of my favorite movies in the world, "Field of Dreams" -- if you build it, they will come.

If you order the clothing, Americans will sew it and (AUDIO GAP) money on it and make sure when our Olympics go to the researches they will go to the Olympics not just representing America's pride, but wearing American products.

O'BRIEN: We'll see if that happens. Congressman Steve Israel joining us this morning, Democrat from New York, nice to see you, sir. Thank you for being with us.

ISRAEL: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Just about 20 minutes, we're going to talk to 12-time Olympic medalist Dara Torres. She'll weigh in on the controversy, also talk about her career ending. She is now retired officially.


HILL: I was rooting for her.

O'BRIEN: But first, we're going to check in with Christine Romans. Got your name right this time, Christine. I'm glad to say. She's got a look at all the stories making news.

Hey, Christine.

ROMANS: Good morning, Soledad.

A 14-year cover-up, shock, sadness, rage in Happy Valley this morning after a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh said Joe Paterno and officials at Penn State failed Jerry Sandusky's victims and hid critical facts. Last hour on STARTING POINT, , we ask the lawyer for Sandusky victim number five what the report means.


TOM KLINE, ATTORNEY FOR ALLEGED SANDUSKY VICTIM #5: My client is dramatic evidence. He was assaulted in August of 2001. My word. In February of 2001, we now know that the president of the university, the athletic director, vice president, and, yes, a coach of the team, all knew about Mr. Sandusky. Not in 2001.

This wasn't a wake-up call. This was a re-wake-up call for them.


ROMANS: Many now calling for the school to take down Paterno's statue outside Beaver Stadium.

The opposition reacting quickly to the president's claim that the biggest mistake of his first term was putting policy over story telling. President Obama telling CBS News he's been criticized for not keeping the nation informed about he direction he's going in and he believes that criticism is valid.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that's important. But, you know, the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.


ROMANS: Mitt Romney quick to jump on the president's remarks, suggesting he is out of touch if he believes that millions of Americans have lost their homes, their jobs, and their livelihood because he failed to tell a good story.

A developing story this morning, new information on a late night emergency landing investigators now saying they found no explosives on a Delta plane. That plane returned to Kennedy airport in New York because of a security scare about an hour into the flight. It was on its way to Spain. Passengers were evacuated while the NYPD bomb squad searched the plane with bomb sniffing dogs.

Authorities say it was turned around after a passenger found drinking straws with wires stuffed inside them in the bathroom -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: That's scary. All right, Christine. Thank you.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT: the line drawn at the meeting of the nations governors this weekend. How it could affect health care for the uninsured. We're going to talk to Iowa's Governor Terry Branstad straight ahead.

And today's tough call, two chimps on a rampage. One ends up shot and killed. The other gets to go own. Do you think the owner should get her chimpanzee back? And why does she have the chimpanzee anyway?

And we leave you with "Glory to Glory to Glory" by Fred Hammonds and radical for Christ. It's viewer request Friday.

I can't see the name because -- oh, Monique -- Monique Evans from Facebook. Thank you, Monique. She knows a little gospel. She knew we'd get that on.

You can see our entire playlist every morning on our Web site,

We're back in just a moment.


O'BRIEN: I love Kirk Franklin. This is from @RFrey816. Thank you. He knows I like that one, too.


O'BRIEN: Can I keep it up?

Nations Governors begin their 104th annual meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia this morning. They're going to focus on several important issues, including Medicaid expansion. So far, the governors have been pretty much split along party lines. Seven Republicans say they won't expand Medicare in their state. Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Terry Branstad is the governor from Iowa. Nice to see you, sir. Thank you for talking with us. We certainly appreciate it. Your state's unemployment is low, 5.1 percent, I believe. Republicans have been very public in touting that seven out of 10 states with the best job rates are run by Republicans.

Do you think that the governors get the credit for that or shouldn't President Obama get the credit for that?

GOV. TERRY BRANSTAD, (R) IOWA: Well, all you have to do is look at the state of Illinois right next door. They're a basket case, and they raised taxes. They have the biggest public debt of any state. They have the most unfunded liabilities on their pension system, and they're $4 billion behind in paying their bills on time.

Surrounded by states like Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, all getting our financial House in order, reducing the tax and regulatory burden. There's a big contrast. You can look at California as well. $17 billion in debt. They're following the Obama plan. It doesn't work. You can't borrow your way to prosperity.

The federal government has a $16 trillion national debt. Forty percent of the money they're spending is borrowed money. There is no way this can be sustained. We need a change.

O'BRIEN: Yes. And some people say the change is not to go into austerity plans. The change is to actually invest money, get job creation going, and sort of reboot the economy. Why is that not a good change?

BRANSTAD: Well, that's what we, Republican governors, have done. We've done both. We've reduced the size of government, and we've also invested in things that are going to create jobs like STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math. So, you need to do both. But you need to unleash the private sector by reducing the tax burden.

This federal government has the highest corporate tax in the world. We penalize people who create jobs, and the president goes all over the country threatening the very people that we need to create jobs with more taxes and regulations. We've seen what the EPA has done to the coal industry. We see what the labor department tried to do to farm labor.

You know, we can't afford all these regulatory burdens. And that's one of the reasons why a lot of private sector money is on the sidelines instead of investing and creating jobs and growing the American economy. But you see in states where you have governors that are doing the right things, their unemployment is going down.

They're revitalizing the economy. And we need a president that's going to be in tune with us and working with us instead of working against us.

O'BRIEN: Yesterday, when I was talking to Steny Hoyer, he said, listen there are 30-plus jobs bills in front of Congress that cannot move forward, jobs bills, job bills in front of Congress. It can't move forward because of Republicans.

BRANSTAD: Well, it's just the opposite. The House has passed all kinds of jobs bills, and the Senate refuses to even take them up. The Senate hasn't even passed a budget the last three years. And every year, they're racking up a trillion dollar plus national debt. You know, this has got to stop. We don't want to be the next Greece.

We want to do like Canada has done. Canada has reduced their taxes. When I was governor before, we got all kinds of companies to move from Canada to Iowa. But now, the Canadian dollar is as strong as the American dollar. Their financial institutions are healthier than ours, and their taxes are lower. Just look to the north. They've done things right. We're doing things wrong. We need new leadership.

O'BRIEN: Gov. Terry Branstad joining us this morning, Republican from Iowa. Nice to see you, sir. Thank you for your time. We appreciate it.

BRANSTAD: You bet. Thank you.

CAIN: You know, I'd love to ask you guys a quick question and that is this. When this federal system states, federal government was once called little laboratories of Democracy, when you hear that the statistic, seven of the top 10 states are in job creation or economic growth are run by Republicans, how do you count for that? What is the reason for that?

HEADLEE: Well, let me ask you something. How can we criticize the presidential administration for high unemployment but then go to the states that have low unemployment and say that the governors are responsible for that and not the president?

CAIN: You can't compare apples to apples, states to states.

HEADLEE: Well, if he's not responsible -- if he doesn't get the credit for low unemployment in Iowa, then he also doesn't get the blame for high unemployment in Illinois.

CAIN: That's not apples to apples. If unemployment is high in California, but low in Iowa, you have to tell me what's the common denominator? What's the difference?


O'BRIEN: -- we heard from Governor O'Malley, right? He believes the states that have more minerals, that's correlated to how well they do.


O'BRIEN: So, some states do well because they're just historically have done well. They have more minerals, et cetera. And by the way, four years ago, they may have had a different governor. I mean, you'd have to do an entire assessment of that.


O'BRIEN: So, I think it's an easy thing to say, and a little bit --

HILL: It's not complex.

O'BRIEN: Not complex, Will.

Still ahead on STARTING POINT, we're going to talk about animals attacking. Two chimpanzees on the loose, happened in Vegas, went on a rampage. One was shot and killed. But the owner is expected to get the other one back today. It's today's "Tough Call." We're going to talk about that.

And don't forget, you can watch us on your mobile phone while you're at work. Don't do any work. Just watch us on your mobile phone while you're at work. Go to We're back in a moment.


ROMANS: Breaking news now. JPMorgan executives say the traders responsible for the $5.8 billion trading loss no longer work at that bank, and they could lose up to two years worth of their past pay in a punishment known as Clawbacks.

U.S. stock futures trading higher this morning. China's growth slow down to the lowest level in three years, and markets are up on speculations. The Chinese government will move to boost growth with some sort of stimulus.

Watching your money, and it's attempting time to buy now. Mortgage rates on 30-year and 15-year fix rate mortgages fell to historic lows once again this week. Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year loan fell to 3.56 percent. That's the lowest since long- term mortgages began trading in the 1950s.

So, buy a house but don't fly. (INAUDIBLE) group says the price of airline tickets has risen 13 percent compared to a year ago. Airlines have been cutting flights and raising fares as a reaction to oil prices that skyrocketed, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Should I buy a house or should I fly?


O'BRIEN: Talking about your apples and oranges.

ROMANS: And try to have little money left over.

O'BRIEN: What should I do with that? All right. Christine, thank you.

Today's "Tough Call," escaped chimpanzee back in its Las Vegas -- you're already deciding?


HILL: There's nothing tough about this call.

O'BRIEN: OK. So, the two chimps, for people who don't know the story, they escaped from their pen. They're enclosure, went on a rampage, attacked cars. They're very worried because people came out to see the commotion. A lot of kids there to the residential area.

They had to shoot and kill one. The other was tranquilized and then turned back over to the owner who apparently had the appropriate permits. But, I don't know.


HEADLEE: There shouldn't be an appropriate permit. I mean, in this particular case, this poor chimp, who was probably terrified, many witnesses said they looked scared, and the reason that the female was only tranquilized instead of shot was because she was not aggressive. But the chimp paid for this.

The chimp paid for the irresponsibility of owning a wild animal in a residential area. Why is that legal?

HILL: Why are people so obsessed? What are you laughing at? Why are people so obsessed with owning chimps? I don't understand that.

CAIN: Because they watched "Every Which Way But Loose" and they think they got Clyde.

HEADLEE: You're showing your age.


HILL: But I mean, it's always weird people who then want to, like, personalize their relationship with the chimp beyond pet owner. Like, oftentimes, the woman in Connecticut was like dating a chimp before. I mean, she's essentially --

O'BRIEN: You can't date a chimp.

HILL: Not literally dating a chimp, but the chimp was in human clothes. She was very comfortable with them. And then when chimps attacked, everyone acted surprised.

O'BRIEN: How about the guy who had the lion or the tiger in his Manhattan apartment?

HEADLEE: Yes. There should be no permit for that.

O'BRIEN: Yes. I'm going to agree. Not a tough call.

HILL: Leave them in the zoo. Leave them in the zoo.

O'BRIEN: But the owner got the chimpanzee back.

HEADLEE: Or in the wild.

O'BRIEN: If you want to add your comments to any of our big stories this morning, you can send us a quick video, roughly 20 seconds. And when I say 20 seconds, I mean 20 seconds. Don't go long, Will Cain. if you want to point out anything about the show, we'll include it in our final "End Point." Your end point. We're calling my end point. You can send it at to submit your video.

CAIN: Concerted effort to silence me here today.

O'BRIEN: It is. I'm really -- I'm sorry. I have been just completely picking on you today, and I want to sincerely apologize.


HILL: There was nothing sincere about that apology.

O'BRIEN: It was kind of sincere.


HEADLEE: He sincerely accepts your apology.

O'BRIEN: It's just the beard, everything. (LAUGHTER)

HEADLEE: It's Friday. Come on, guys.

O'BRIEN: It is going off the rail today.

OK. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, a stunning crash. This is amazing. Watch this car.

CAIN: Oh, my.

HEADLEE: Oh, my gosh. Is the driver OK?

O'BRIEN: Caught on surveillance. The car goes airborne. The driver did survive. But how? We're going to talk about that straight ahead.

Plus, 12-time Olympic medalist, Dara Torres, she's retiring from swimming after she just missed out on her sixth Olympic games. She's going to join us live to talk about her career. Let's talk about this manufacturing of the Olympic clothing story.

Here's Millie Small, "My Boy Lollipop." This is our Twitter user @L_Tux (ph). You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.

HILL: I like it.

O'BRIEN: You do?

HILL: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Really?


O'BRIEN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. In just a few moments, this band, the Garbage-Men Band, will be playing for us. They make their musical instruments out of recycled material. This song is called "Green Onions." They'll play for us straight ahead. Nice job, guys. Look forward to chatting with you in just a little bit.


O'BRIEN: Maybe that should be our theme song. Can I have that? All right, we'll talk about that later.

Lawmakers are criticizing the U.S. Olympic Committee and Ralph Lauren as well over U.S. -- Team USA's opening ceremonies uniforms. They were all made in China. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres is one of the many athletes who have worn Ralph Lauren's outfits before. She strutted in wearing his uniforms at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. At 45 years old, one of the fiercest competitors in the sport, setting three Olympic world records. Her domination in the sport might be over as she recently announced her retirement as she came in fourth at the 2012 Olympic trials. Thank you for talking with us. It was so close. You were so, so close. We were all rooting for you. You and I are the same age, so I was really rooting for you. Let's talk for a minute about the team uniforms and then we'll get to your career. Do you think it matters? You've worn Ralph Lauren before. There's a big hoopla over whether the uniforms should be made in China. Do you think it's a big deal or not?

DARA TORRES, FORMER OLYMPIC SWIMMER: You know, we all want to see the global economy do well. But here in the U.S., the economy is not too good either. So, you know, wearing the U.S. uniform, going out there and representing the United States, it would be nice it was actually made in the United States.

O'BRIEN: Nick Simmons, who competes in the 100 meters and is in London, he sent a tweet saying that "Our Ralph Lauren outfits for the Olympic opening ceremonies were made in China. So, uh, thanks, China, hash-tag, patriotism." Do you think that athletes should weigh in or should they be focused on what they are trying to do?

TORRES: Sometimes a distraction is OK. You know, I think athletes are fine to voice their opinions on what they feel. They are the ones who are going to be using and wearing the uniforms out there. And, look, Ralph Lauren did a great job of creating them. They look fabulous. I have seen them already. But it would have been nice if they were made in the USA.

O'BRIEN: I have to ask you about what Hope Solo has been saying about the Olympic village. Did you hear these comments? Oh, my gosh, wow. She says this.

TORRES: I know nothing about that stuff.

O'BRIEN: Hmm, you're denying it before I even read her comment.


O'BRIEN: Here is her comment from "The Daily News," "Athletes are extremists. When they are training, it's laser focus. When you go out for a drink, it's 20 drinks. With a once in a lifetime experience, you want to build memories, whether it's sexual, partying, or on the field." She says literally people were coupling and having sex everywhere. Is that true? Even in the Olympic village?

TORRES: Isn't that like what they say, what happens in the village stays in the village?


O'BRIEN: I'll take that as a yes. We can move to the next question. It must be kind of true. You could not be --

TORRES: Well, sometimes it's tough because the swimming events happen at the beginning, and everyone is pretty much laser focused, and getting ready for the events. And as a swim team and the teams I have been on, we're really, really set on what we're doing and our goals. But once the swimming is over, yes, the athletes tend to go out, and we have our curfews we have to abide by. We go out and have fun and make sure we are quiet enough for the other athletes who still have to compete. But it's not to say that little things don't happen here and there. You're in a village with the hottest athletes in the world and the most competitive. And they are top athletes in their sports, so some things are bound to happen here and there.

O'BRIEN: So that's a yes. OK, wow.

TORRES: I'm just saying it may happen.

O'BRIEN: It was a long yes, but it was a yes. Let's talk about your career. You're retiring. You're 45 years old. And I have to tell you, to watch you get back in the pool, it was three weeks after you had had your daughter. And you got out there and you won. There were, you know, moms everywhere who were just cheering for you. And just for the fact that you accomplished that. How does it feel to be officially retiring now?

TORRES: You know, first of all, I appreciate all the support. You know, the fans have been wonderful. My family, friends, everyone's been great. I thought I had a pretty decent shot of making the team. It wasn't as 100 percent as it was in 2008. So I knew I had my work cut out for me. I had lots of obstacles. I had major knee reconstructive surgery. My coach passed away a little over a year ago. So there were a lot of ups and downs. But I went out there and gave it everything I had. And the great thing, even though I didn't make it, I know that I left no stones unturned. There is nothing else I could have done. I gave it my best shot.

And I think what people don't understand is the people I did at these Olympic trials was faster than the Olympic trials in '88, '92, and 2000. So it wasn't that bad.

O'BRIEN: So they why retire? It sounds like you're 45 and you're faster. Maybe you missed it by nine-tenths of a second. But you certainly -- if you're faster, and you're 45, maybe that doesn't make sense to retire.

TORRES: Well, I'm also on the brink of menopause. So, you know, I --

O'BRIEN: Girl, call me.


TORRES: You know, yes, exactly. So not quite there yet. But my recovery isn't as good as it used to be. It really took everything I had just to swim this event three times. And to miss it by nine- hundredths, it was tough. But it's really time for me to move on. And let the young kids, you know, have their glory.

O'BRIEN: Well, we are so, so proud of you. Dara Torres is a former U.S. Olympian, now retired. And also the author of a book "gold medal fitness" a revolutionary five-week program which you're guaranteed to have her body after five weeks. It's amazing.


TORRES: Wait, wait. That's not what I said.

O'BRIEN: It's what I said.

TORRES: You have to remember I do it for a living.

O'BRIEN: You didn't say it. It's what I'm saying for you. Dara, thanks for talking with us.

TORRES: Thanks, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: You bet.

ROMANS: You're getting here in all kinds of trouble today.

O'BRIEN: I am. Now Christine has a look at our headlines.

ROMANS: We now know that the rogue trading loss at JP Morgan Chase amounts to $5.8 billion so far this year, far higher than the $2 billion CEO Jamie Dimon estimated in May. JP Morgan executives say the traders responsible for the loss no longer work there and could use up to two years of their pay. Important to note, JP Morgan chase still made $5 billion in profit for the second quarter.

George Zimmerman may have a little hero complex, but he is not a racist. That's what a Florida homicide investigator told federal agents after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Evidence released yesterday says that the investigator says that Zimmerman shot Martin because of his attire and previous burglaries in the community and not because of his skin color.

Scientists at the University of Texas have taken a unique approach to studying autism. They're using discarded baby teeth to look for clues to the mysterious neurological disorder. The teeth are ground up and made into a liquid and gas for a process that can reveal pesticides and medicines the child was exposed to in the womb and as they grew.

Blowing through the lights and going airborne, a spectacular crash caught on red light cam at an intersection in New Jersey. From the front and the rear, a car speeding through a red light is clipped by a cab and sent spinning through the air. According to a blog, the 29-year-old driver sustained minor injuries and was arrested for DWI but no one else was hurt, mercifully, no one else was hurt. Wow.

O'BRIEN: I have to tell you, wow, wow. I can watch that forever. Christine, thank you.

Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, VP chatter, a former cabinet member getting tons of buzz this morning. But is she interested in being Mitt Romney's running mate? We'll talk about that.

And they recycle and they rock out. The Garbage Men Band is going to jam for us on instruments they literally made out of trash. You're watching STARTING POINT. Back in a moment.


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. We've got a live look at new powerful flooding from heavy rains. We're taking a look at some of these pictures right now. We have taped aerials this morning from the flooding in Harris County, Texas. We'll tell you about all of that when we come back.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley wants government safety officials to look at sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles. He says whistle blowers have come forward saying that the agency's investigation may have been flawed. Toyotas have had nearly 10,000 cases of sudden acceleration.

You know the saying bad things happen in threes? Well, today is the third Friday the 13th in 2012, the most that can occur in a single calendar year, three in one year. And those three Fridays, January 13, April 13, and July 13 are 13 weeks apart.

CAIN: Oh, my gosh.

ROMANS: Let's go home right now. See you later.


O'BRIEN: All right, thank you, Christine.

So there's a new story from the "Drudge Report" says that Condoleezza Rice is a top choice for Mitt Romney's running mate, creating a lot of political chatter. But my guess is she's not interested. I interviewed here just a few weeks ago. And when I asked her that very question, was she interested in still being in politics and maybe a VP, she could not have said "No" faster.

And -- and we always ask elected officials who come through and ask them. But I would say her "no" was more solid and definitive than almost every other "no" we've gotten. She didn't do the, "Well, you know, I believe in serving my country so if I'm asked, I would." But no --


HEADLEE: Not having the tradition I mean --

HILL: Right, right.

O'BRIEN: She actually said something very funny too. She was reading the paper and she said the difference between being the Secretary of State and not being Secretary of State, she said, is when you read the paper you're like, huh, this is interesting.

She was hilarious.

HEADLEE: Yes. It could be -- I mean --

HILL: It would be a terrible pick for Mitt Romney.

O'BRIEN: Remember, it's not confirmed, right. This is Drudge Report, it's guessing --


HEADLEE: It was just a rumor at this point. But remember, she is pro choice, is she not?

O'BRIEN: She is.

HEADLEE: And Mitt Romney has said he will not choose --

HILL: He's already a liberal right. The last thing he needs is more liberalism.


HEADLEE: But did you call Mitt Romney a liberal?

O'BRIEN: He did. Yes, we noticed that.

HILL: It's only because it irritates conservatives.

O'BRIEN: Because it irritates Will.

HILL: Well, by conservatives, I mean Will.

HEADLEE: Is this pick on Will day?

HILL: That's every day for me and everybody is celebrating that.

O'BRIEN: So you don't think this rumor would be true?


O'BRIEN: Will Cain?

CAIN: I think she's fascinating and intelligent. I think it would be a really interesting choice, I think it's not true. I think the fact that she is pro-choice is an absolute deal killer.


HILL: I think Mitt Romney needs to pick a white man from the south who is ultra conservative. Anything else reeks of desperation. It feels like Palinism and I think it would sink him.

CAIN: I think we've seen a concerted effort by the Obama campaign over the last month I'd say to really define Mitt Romney in a certain way. But I think his advantage will be if he can pull off not being defined, by being bland. And if he can put a VP choice I think actually doubles down on that, maybe Rob Portman, I think bland is the thing to be this year.

HILL: Yes that's right, an old white conservative man and bland. O'BRIEN: Rob Portman is not old.

HILL: Oh -- but ok, not Portman. But I think -- I'd go older and I'd go more conservative.

HEADLEE: I like Condi. It would have been great if it were true.


O'BRIEN: Condoleezza Rice is -- she's very funny. She has a great sense of humor. And I asked her --


HEADLEE: She's smart. She plays the piano beautifully.

O'BRIEN: You know people all call her Condi. And I said do you find that offensive? People really don't often call her Dr. Rice. And I said you know like I refer to her as Condi and she said no, she loves it, it's ok. She's funny.

HILL: She is an awesome person.

O'BRIEN: She is -- she really is.

All right. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, rocking kind of a trashy sound. We're going to introduce you to a new band called the "Garbage-Man". Five high scores, instruments made of stuff that they literally pulled out of a trash. That's ahead.



THULANI MADONDO, KLIPTOWN YOUTH PROGRAM: -- there's no electricity. People are living in shacks. Growing in Kliptown (ph) makes you feel like you don't have control over your life. And many children drop out of school because they don't have the school uniforms and textbooks. I realized that the only way that Kliptown (ph) could change was through education.

I'm Thulani Madondo from helping to educate the children so that they can change Kliptown together.


MADONDO: We help the children by paying for their school books, school uniforms. Our main focus is our tutoring program that we run four days a week.

As young people who are born and raised here, we know the challenges of this community. We also do a number of activities. We've got to come together for fun while we also come together for academics. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This program gave me a chance to go to university. They actually paid for my fees. That's why I also come back and help out here. A little can go a long way.

MADONDO: What subject do we discuss? Math and science and English.

I did not go to university. But when you're able to help them, I feel excited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to be an accountant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to be a lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I am going to be a nurse.


MADONDO: The work that you're doing here is bringing change.



O'BRIEN: This band literally is a group of young men, high school students who started their own band made out of recycled household items. They made a guitar from a cereal box, a yardstick neck, toothpick frets. The drum is a trash can lid. Traditional percussion instruments using leftover glass bottles. Here is the band.

Hi guys, thanks for being with us. We appreciate it when I say your name I want you to step forward so everybody knows. You are Jack Berry.


O'BRIEN: Hey, Jack. Harrison Paparatto. Right there. Ollie Gray.


O'BRIEN: Evan Tucker. Austin Siegel. And did I get everybody? It's nice to have you guys with us. We certainly appreciate it.

So how did you get the idea of starting a band but using all recycled materials? Because when I first heard this, I thought they are not going to be very good, but you guys are great. You're really, really good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a couple of years ago actually. Jack made a guitar out of a cereal box because he had nothing else lying around his house. So he automatically defaulted to that for some reason.

So he brought it to school and he showed it to everyone in the eighth grade, I think. And he showed it to everybody and everybody just loved it. So one day when he was at my house, I suggested we make an entire band out of instruments made out of similar materials like garbage and recycled sort of stuff.

O'BRIEN: Walk me through Jack's guitar.

BERRY: Well, the box is a Cheerios box. That's reinforced with a science fair project chord, the neck is made from a yardstick. The frets are made from toothpicks. And the winey bar is a toothbrush.

O'BRIEN: And I know the message is not just that you can create a band, but really that there is a message for other people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes we want to show people that there is more to recycling than just throwing your things in the bin. You can actually reuse things to make beautiful music.

O'BRIEN: Do you performances everywhere?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We -- we've mostly played locally in Florida -- Sarasota, Florida. That's where we're from. But we wanted to come to New York City to play for Times Square and some bigger audiences too.

O'BRIEN: And how did you get the funding for that? I've got to imagine bringing a band even if your band is made out of cereal boxes it's got to be kind of expensive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh well, the people in our town were really great. They, you know, help out with like donating money and that sort of stuff. So that was just a massive help. And we'd like to thank all of those people that helped us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saved up our tips from our tip jar and also had a Kick Starter project online.

O'BRIEN: You're able to raise some money of Kick Starter. What's your favorite kind of music to play? You have been playing some rock for us today. But could I request -- I like R&B and gospel actually. You could work on that and come back next year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We like to play things that everyone knows. Popular songs from the '60s, stuff like that. That's our favorite too.

CAIN: Look at that saxophone.

O'BRIEN: Yes. What's that saxophone -- oh, my goodness. I didn't even notice that. Walk me through the saxophone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The saxophone is I think the coolest instrument.

O'BRIEN: I have that toy at home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's made from my Fisher Price Corn Popper toy. And the way it works, it has this PVC pipe that has holes drilled in it. So that when Harrison covers different parts of it, it makes the pipe a different length which changes the note. And the reed is made from a balloon. And we didn't used to have this -- we just added this microphone that we made out of an iPod ear bud.

O'BRIEN: Wow. Well, congratulations on the band. Welcome to New York. We're excited to have you. And the folks at times square are going to love you guys. Jack and Harrison and Ali and Evan and Austin, thanks for being with us.


O'BRIEN: Garbage Men Band with us this morning. They are awesome.

"End Point's" up next.


O'BRIEN: Isn't it cool. "End Point's" up next. We're back in a moment.


"My End Point", If you want to contribute to our "End Point", feel free to tape something for us and send it to us. Just email it to us, 20 seconds or less please. Anything over 20 seconds we can't put on.

Same for you folks. Anything over -- I'll give 30 seconds. We can't keep on. All right. Who wants to start today?

HEADLEE: I'll start because I want to talk about Friday the 13th before people get spooked out. Unless you really suffer from triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, this just shows us how stats can be twisted any way because 13 is actually a very lucky number if you are a numerologist, if you live in Italy. If you worship the goddess perhaps. 13, very lucky.

O'BRIEN: And at the same time, no hotel floor has 13.

HEADLEE: But that's just a superstition -- silly superstition.

CAIN: What you got?

HILL: These kids who are amazing --

O'BRIEN: The Garbage Men Band.

HILL: They were talented. Yes, the Garbage Men Band -- they're incredibly talented, and they are a reminder of what happens when we support the arts and we support music. Instead of shutting down schools --


HEADLEE: Good on you.

HILL: -- we need to restore our faith in the arts and invest in young people everywhere.

O'BRIEN: I thought they were terrific --

HEADLEE: They were.

HILL: They were incredible.

O'BRIEN: -- and super talented musicians, in addition --


HEADLEE: So articulate and calm.

O'BRIEN: In addition to just having great resources.

CAIN: I'm going to revisit Dara Torres real quick.

O'BRIEN: Love her.

CAIN: She has retired a couple of times. There's a chance she comes back maybe. Olympics at 49. I can tell you this. My wife was a collegiate swimmer. I was a swimmer. There is a reason you also retire at 45. Because it takes too much time to practice. And practicing swimming is boring. I'm telling you from inside the circle.


HEADLEE: The beard slowed you down in the water.

O'BRIEN: We believe it.

All right. I appreciate that "End Point".

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. Have a great weekend. I'll see everybody back here on Monday morning. Hey Carol.