tv Starting Point CNN January 31, 2012 4:00am-6:00am PST
straight ahead as "starting point" gets started right now. ft. ♪ >> tonight's the night, willi.am said he wrote this song new year's eve 2008, it was going to be a good year ahead. let's explain the music thing. we had a lot of very, very bad music for a long time. and then finally i just decided to jump in and try to fix it. so now we play music off my ipod and also all of our guests get to contribute as well. we want you to take this piece of paper, write down the list of things you would like us to play this morning. >> you have to go back to the archives. >> that's okay. that's okay. we like oldies but goodies. it's okay. the only thing i ask is it has to be a little bit fast so you don't put our viewers to sleep. will cain had a few moments last week.
forgiveness is a beautiful thing. we're going to steak suggestions for our free for all friday music so you can tweet me at soledad, underscore, o'brien and we'll get that on the air. i guess i could introduce the panel. will cain is back with us and maria cardona is back as well and the congressman joins us here. polls are just opening in the state of florida. florida you remember is a 50-delegate winner take allstate. 600,000 ballots have already been cast in the two candidates at the very toprolly have literally been ripping into each other right to the bitter end. listen. >> i don't believe the republican party is going to nominate a liberal who is pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-tax increase, pro-gay rights. the republican party base does not want to nominate somebody who represents the establishment of wall street in new york. romney refused to allow catholic hospitals to have conscience in their dealing with certain circumstances. romney cut off kosher food for elderly jews on medicare.
both of them have the same lack of concern for religious liberty. >> i know the speaker's not real happy, speaker gingrich. he's not feeling very excited these days. i know. it's sad. he's been flailing around a bit trying to go after me for one thing or the other and you just watch it and shake your head. it's been kind of painfully revealing to watch. >> what truer words have ever been spoken, painful. this is crazy to watch. we've got republican congressman allan west joining us this morning, of florida. he is in davey, florida. thanks for talking with us. we had a chance to chat in person last week in the state of florida. let's begin with a little bit of what that becomend forth has been. you have newt gingrich saying romney is a liar and against anything any conservative would believe, against catholics, against elderly jew it is you believe what gingrich is saying about mitt romney. romney says he's flailing, pathetic, essentially. it seems very ugly to me that the point. first, how ding this race is going to turn out tonight and, two, is it just getting
brutally, brutally ugly? >> i think it is quite brutal and it is painful to watch. of course here in florida we've been inundate with the radio and tv ads all over the place. i would hope much of the thing as we talked last week in person that they would have presented their vision. contrast between and quality of opportunities versus quality of achievement and allow the voters to decide who would be the best person to go into the arena against president obama. but it has somewhat degenerated into a very ugly food fight. i think people are starting to get tired of it and hopefully get back to discussing the issue. >> who do you predict will be the person who walk away with it tonight. the polls say mitt romney. do you grow with that? >> i think looking at the polls it seems to be mitt romney. when you look at the organization, the structure, the ability to get your message out across the tv, it is definitely going toward governor romney's side. now it will be matter of the speaker gingrich will be able to
stay in this race, at least up until march when we have the big super tuesday. >> one other question for you. if romney does win tonight, what's the take away? what happens, do you think? >> well, i think the take away is that florida ended up being a very pivotal point in this primary this time. florida is the fourth largest state in the union. very diverse from north florida down to south florida where i am and of course down into the keys. i think it shows a good indicator of the strength of a candidate as we move on. >> will cain, stand by for one second, if you will, congressman. so he's saying florida might be the best indicator so far. do you think that that's true? >> i think florida is a good proxy for the rest of the nation. it has representatives from all kinds of conservatives. that's the thing that we've had this debate about now for, what, now, six to eight months. >> feels like five years, by the way. >> a candidate that actually appeals to all different elements of con zef tichl. from tea party to establishment. social conservatism to economic
conservatism. this is a group that historically hasn't always been cohesi cohesive. ronald reagan is the guy who has brought everybody together. >> everybody has been saying his name. >> if you can win florida, shows real promise. >> let me ask congressman west another question. you were talking on saturday at the lincoln dinner, i want to play a chunk of what you said and then explain it to me of the other side. >> we need to let president obama, harry reid, nancy pelosi, and my dear friend, the chairman of the democrat national committee, we need to let them know that florida ain't on the table. take your message of equality of achievement, take your message
of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial ral will and spirit of the american people somewhere else. you can take it to europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the north pole, but get the hell out of the united states of america. >> i didn't get it. i don't understand what you're saying, telling obama and harry reid and nancy pelosi to get out of the united states? explain that to me. >> no, soledad. soledad, absolutely not. you know that. >> i truly, no joke. i'm not being facetious. i don't get what you're saying the thing is you should have listened to the entire speech. you didn't listen to the entire speech which talked about the contrast between equality of opportunity which allowed a young man born in 1961 from the inner city of atlanta, georgia, to now represent the highest per capita income zip code in the united states of america. that's the america that i love. that's the america that's dear to me. not the america where people sitting far away in washington, d.c. get to decide the winners and losers in the free marketplace or decide who pays a
fair share. that's not american values. that's not in concert with our constitution republic. if you can't understand that, please come down to south florida, you and i can read the federalist papers and go over the constitution and have a great chat about this. >> as fun as that sounds, the two of us seitting down, no, i'l stick to tv interviews with you if you don't mind. newt gingrich, we spoke about this the last time we were in person, called president obama the food stamp president. you have said also that he has increased food stamps 41%. and i know that you know that actually the bigger increase was under president bush. right? this is under president obama. but it went up 65% under president bush. so explain to me why the food stamp president thing is a strategy when really the percentagewise is bigger increase -- no one calls president bush the food stamp president, right? >> well, no one called him the food stamp president but i do remember people throwing eggs at
his inaugural car and they called him many other different names. let's be very honest. down here in south florida we have a high level of unemployment. the state of florida is 9.9% foreclosures. the amount of storefronts, our small businesses that are closing up. so it is very, i think, apropos to say that we have seen an increase in food stamp recipients. 16% to 17% of poverty roles as well. we're not going in the right direction, soledad. we is had an increase in our debt from president obama more than george washington right up to president bill clinton. almost $5 trillion. and yet we're not haring any plan of how to reduce the debt or deficit. you didn't even hear it mentioned during the state of the union address. the health care law is destroying our businesses. i sit on the small business committee. i talk to these business owners down here. that's what they're saying. i want to see a different vision for this country. >> you have said that roughly a third of african-americans are
conservative but when you look at where they vote or they put their political support, 90 plus percent are democrats. one of the things you're interested in is trying to get some of that black support to come over to the gop. what do you think the biggest challenges are in that? >> well, it's not so much get their support to come over. i just want to have the conversation as we did last monday at the conservative black forum, why do 33% of african-americans say that their values are conservative but yet 90 plus percent vote with a democrat party. i think we have to have that conversation. we have to look at how do we restore urban empowerment zone, economic zones. so i think the most important thing that we can do as a republican party, as a conservative black as myself is start to challenge people on those values and get them to see that there is a different way that they can diversify their political capital and spread it out across the entire spectrum and not just the one party. >> congressman allen west, state of florida joining us. thanks for being with us. >> always a pleasure.
>> he's in a tough fight because of the redistricting for his district. >> tough district anyway. >> but he's raised go o-gobs of money. i honestly didn't get what he was talking about. >> can i try to explain that because i do think when a lot of people hear that message -- >> i get it. it's out of a speech. i understand breaking down a speech into 30 seconds is a challenge. >> unfortunately a lot of people hearing that they think they're saying i think there's a black kenyan muslim president and should get out of the country when that's obviously not what is being said. this not the vision of america. >> explain it to us, please. >> look, america is built on a romantic idea of rugged individualism, risk takers, doers, pioneers. that's has a practical manifestation as well. short-term unemployment, weak social safety net. what that does is create an economy that is vibrant. barack obama in much of the left right now threatens that by putting in place society that is more dependent on entitlements.
this is what this debate is about. it's about the message. >> again -- >> go ahead, tom. >> this is a campaign you're going to hear a lot of red meat in this campaign thrown out and take with it a grain of salt at this point. >> we're tv news. we don't take it with a grain of salt. >> you hear it on both sides. >> hang on. let him finish his thought. no over-talking. don't defer to the lady on this. >> you have to put it in perspective. you're firing up the troops is a partisan speech to a partisan crowd. >> the congressman is one of the most caustic and divisive, allen west, he talks about wanting nancy pelosi and the chairwoman of the dnc wanting to get out of the country. >> i don't think that's true. i don't think he's the most cause tick and divisive. >> he's one of them and he used a lot of divisive rhetoric during his campaign. and congressman, you were head of the nrcc. i don't think you would ever have used that kind of language and have used the kind of language that the chairman of
the rnc yesterday comparing president obama to captain schettino. >> we're going to have an interview with republican senator marco rubio. curious to know if he really wants to be vp or sit it out and wait until 2016. i think he might. >> hang in there. >> hang in there. >> what does he mean? >> exactly. we'll parse through that. we have other headlines making news this morning. christine romans who turns 25 stod today is joining us with those. good morning, sunshine. >> nice of you to remember. thanks. u.s. drone strikes have taken out nine suspected al qaeda militants. they say the strikes were targeted in southern yemen and others taken over with links to al qaeda. secretary of state hillary clinton goes to the u.n. today to press the security council on a resolution condemning syrian president bashir al-assad and calling him him to step down.
clinton says it could destabilize the region more. this as the u.n. says more than 5,000 people killed in syria over the last ten months. security council will hear from the head of the arab league about their monitoring mission in syria. we're hearing for the first time dramatic 911 calls from the scene of that horrific chain reaction pile-up on i-75 in gainesville, florida. ten people were killed after heavy smoke from a brush fire left drivers with zero visibility. listen. >> okay. do you see any fire? do you see anything like that? >> no fire. we can't see. you can hardly even see your hazards. here comes another one. he's coming too fast. here comes another one. yep, see, there he goes. oh [ bleep ] that one is a bad one. i'm hearing people crying. on the other side that is northbound. >> investigators are now trying to figure out if that fire was arson. a pardoned mississippi killer may be coming back to face authorities in mississippi after police tracked down joseph
osmond in why eeming living under an assumed name. he's been served with papers ordering him to appear at a court hearing this week to determine whether his pardon was legal. mississippi's attorney general is challenging pardons granted by then governor haley barbour on his way out of office. rescued american aide worker jessica buchanan is on her way heem. the 32-year-old buchanan left italy yesterday. it's not known when she will arrive back in the states. buchanan and fellow relief worker were held captive for three months by somali kidnappers until they were rescued last week by an elite navy s.e.a.l. team. a prestigious california college caught cheating. clairmont mckenna college admits to inflating s.a.t. scores. official resigned after taking responsibility. investigation finds the school exaggerated scores for incoming freshmen by 10 to 20 points for the past six years.
clairmont mckenna is currently number 9 among the nation's liberal arts colleges. >> now it's number 30. but i'm kidding, probably not. thanks, appreciate, still ahead on "starting point," it is decision day. florida voters are lining up right now at the polls. will the outcome of the primary cement the gop nominee or do we just keep going and going and going? the head of the florida gop is up next. plus, take a look at this young man, high school student making a commitment to help cancer charity by growing back his hair. but, no, the school says, no, we have rules against that. and he is suspended. we'll talk about what he is doing when today's "get real" is ahead. goodnight, stuffy. goodnight, outdated. goodnight old luxury and all of your wares. goodnight bygones everywhere. [ engine turns over ] good morning, illumination. good morning, innovation. good morning unequaled inspiration.
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start your day. i'm going to have you as gospel convert by the end of the show, in one hour and 45 minutes. >> it's going to be a long show. >> you are going to be demanding marvin sapp on your ipod, i know it. welcome back. decision today, of course, today, the polls are now open in the state of florida. my next guest says whoever takes florida is likely to become the gop nominee. the chairman of the florida republican party, part of the reason why he says that. nice to see you, lenny. >> thanks for having me. >> you look at the polls and we have this thing called political insiders from each state. when cnn does the gop political insiders romney is winning, who will win the florida primary is the question, romney at 43, gingrich is 4. is there any reason in your mind to think that this poll is incorrect? >> all the polls that i have seen show romney up. there are varying spreads. but going into this emping it looks like romney has got it
based on polls. that being said, we've seen a lot of surprises and a lot of volatility this primary season. so we're going to have to wait. the game is played on the field, so to speak that will when the votes are counted tonight. >> i love when people use sports metaphors when talking about politics. when you look at the same poll on gop political insiders and talk about political obstacles on the two front-runners. biggest obstacle for newt gingrich in the state of florida, 63% say he doesn't have the right temperament to be president. look at the biggest obstacle for mitt romney in the state of florida. perception he has changed his view on keyer shus. to me that says some of the mug slinging is sticking among the electorate. do you worry about how ugly it's gotten? >> the negative ads have been running in florida now. i don't like the negative ads but they're not throwing anything at each other that the
obama campaign re-elect team will eventually throw at them. it will be old news by the time we get to the general election. >> let me ask tom davis this. it makes your candidate stronger is what he says. >> this is spring training. election is in november. memories are short. so it allows the romney campaign to make those adjustments, get your answers, see what sells at this point. >> isn't it different weight when your own guys are throwing them versus your own party? >> a little butting look, you have a long time to rrve. this race is an eternity between now and november. >> own you have the candidates going at each other, calling each other unethical, calling each other dishonest they basically have written the democrat ads for them and that is ultimately going to hurt the party. >> a couple weeks ago, soledad, one week ago -- >> just feels like a few weeks ago. >> gingrich was coming out of south carolina handedly in florida. i know we've all guessed over the past week what happened. but in florida what happened? what is oh we if you had to say
one thing, is it this message about fanny and freddie, that newt is tied to the housing bubble burst? what is it? a plethora of ads? the money? what happened in florida? >> looks to me like the spending advantage that romney had allowed him to get his message across a lot better than newt was able. >> lenny, why don't you answer both of those? what happened to newt gingrich and how much of that correlates to the amounts of money that romney shhas spent? >> what i've been saying all week is whichever candidate connects with the voting public in all demographics, makes the case for free enterprise and how families can basically have a better lot in life for their families in the next generation would win the primary. if i were to guess, i would say romney is make that case right now and connecting. who knows what will happen on the campaign trail today. look, i can't take sides. >> you always say that. >> i can't --
>> i know. i know. we know. we know. >> but i have -- i have to be able to rally all of our troops around our nominee regardless of who that is when we get to the convention. >> when you look, there's an article today in the "new york times" which is called, i think, "new tenor for the gop" and they say after florida you're going to have fewer debates. that gives a disadvantage to newt gingrich. there are, you know, focus on national polls versus state polls. that's going to give an advantage to newt gingrich. fund-raising, that's going to go great guns for mitt romney. you have to have amazing vision to see that graphic from here. delegate chase is going to give an advantage to newt gingrich, santorum and ron paul. do you think first of all that assessment is true, lenny, and do you think that -- so ends up being the victor out of that? >> i think that at some point we're going to have a person that clearly has a path to the nomination and all of these men
are statesmen. at some point they're all going to recognize they need to rally around a person. it's too early to see who that person will be. they understand the big goal is to take back the white house. at some point stop killing each other. >> $64,000 point and that was at some point stop killing each other. we've got to take a break. when we come back we'll continue our conversation as we look toward the state of florida beyond. still ahead, a teenage cancer survivor has been suspended from school for growing out his hair. the reason, he was trying to grow it to donate it to other cancer survivors. we'll examine that in our "get real" segment in morning. plus, freddie mac betting against homeowners, profiting only if they remain trapped in their homes. we have details on that story with christine romans straight ahead. when i grow up, i want to fix up old houses. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon.
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welcome back, everybody. you're watching "starting point." i want to introduce you to a kid named j.t. there on the right. student at madison academy in michigan. as a kid he surviveded childhood leukemia and now he's choosing to help others who are going through the same thing. he's growing out his hair to donate it to locks of love, a charity who maeks wigs for all cancer patients. my daughter did this. his school has suspended him because he's got long hair. long hair on boys is against school policy. his mother says this is a double standard. listen. >> female students sitting next to my son can grow her hair out and cut it and donate it, but yet the male student, or my son, can't do the same without being kicked out of school. >> sounds like a lawsuit to me.
but it does sound like really, really, really bad p.r. for this school. >> i agree. >> we looked at the student handbook for mahdison academy. boy's hair must be clean, neat, free of unnatural and disstrabting colors, off the collar, off the ears, out of eyes. but we say, get real. s that there's an online petition to change the school's policy. we roeceach out to madison acad. maybe they're reconsidering there. >> i'm going to sign that petition. >> they don't want your signature, sunshine. you don't attend the school and you're not a fund-raiser for them. >> start a grass roots movement in that community. >> that's a lot of bad p.r. for them. ahead this morning on "starting point," mitt romney is leading in the polls ahead of today's primary if . if he wins, what does it look like for florida? plus, would mitt romney get your vote on "american idol"? he did a little singing.
listen. ♪ america america god shed his grace on thee ♪ ♪ >> he gets points for the song no, points for the singing. >> that is no herman cain. >> yes, that's correct. we've got to take a short break. we'll discuss on the other side. stay with us. [ female announcer ] the best things in life are the real things. nature valley trail mix bars are made with real ingredients you can see. like whole roasted nuts, chewy granola, and real fruit. nature valley trail mix bars. 100% natural. 100% delicious. ♪ you and me and the big old tree ♪ ♪ side by side, one, two, three ♪ ♪ count the birds in the big old tree ♪ ♪ la la la [ male announcer ] the inspiring story of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. ♪ ♪ you and me and the big old tree side by side ♪ but if you take away the faces on the trees...
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will cain is with us this morning as well. we've got to add this to our list because congressman davis is giving me -- he's got elvis on here and steely dan, "ricky don't lose that number," i like that. jimmy clanton, never heard of that. bruce will, you take this? >> i'm aging myself here. >> no, no, we are all equal opportunity for everyone's musical tastes, unless it's low and then we won't play it. lots to get to this morning. headlines making news. let's get right to christine romans for that. >> tensions mounting in syria and at the united nations a world away. protesters flooded the streets in syria. conflict is mounting sharply since the arab league monitors pulled of the of the country. syrian opposition expects china and russia to block a u.n. security resolution for president bashar al-assad to step down. three americans taking refuge at the american embassy in cairo. the group includes sam lahood,
son of the transportation secretary ray lahood. they expressed concerns about their personal safety in egypt. u.s. officials say they felt threatened and afraid for their lives. minding your business this morning, stock futures trading higher ahead of the opening bell. optimism carrying over from the european union's decision to establish a permanent bailout fund for countries in the eu. world marths a s armarkets are on that news. as long as greece's debt problems remain unresolved, it continues. freddie mac is reportedly betting against struggling homeowners. get this, the reports say freddie mac placed multi-billion dollar bets that pay off if homeowners say stay trapped in their expensive mortgages with interest rates well above current rates. the trades give freddie a giant incentive to do exactly opposite of what freddie mac is supposed to do, make home loans more
accessible. it's essentially freddie mac betting against homeowners getting out of trouble. and in his last campaign stop before florida voters went to the polls, mitt romney led a crowd of seniors in song. ♪ oh beautiful for spacious skies ♪ for amber waves of grain ♪ for purple mountain's majesty above the fruited plains ♪ ♪ america ♪ america ♪ god shed his grace on thee ♪ and crown thy good with brotherhood ♪ ♪ from sea to shining sea >> there you go. not as bad as steven tyler, come on, all right? >> that's right. tlar that's right, christine. >> kudos to anybody who since out loud but they should stop
after ten seconds and save us all. thank you. after mitt romney's second place finish in south carolina he arrived in the state of florida armed with money and a strong organization. really what a difference. it's only been ten days. can you believe that? ten days since south carolina. he is now, mitt romney, that is, leading in the polls. the florida chairman for romney for president and he joins our panel. all good news for you. you must be pretty excited as you head into the results this evening. am i right? >> we're very excited about the possibility. everybody has worked very hard. the organization is in place. the infrastructure is in place. and that's what made the difference coming out of south carolina, to turn that momentum around. florida is a tough state. it's a diverse state. it's a big state. we don't know what we're going to see when the polls close but we certainly have a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the final number. >> newt gingrich has called your candidate a liar, the last rant that we played he said he was against elderly jews and i think against the catholic church. a long list of stuff that he's
called him. there is a theory that says he's made mitt romney a better candidate. do you agree? >> well, tough primaries do produce better general election candidates. the wild flailing that newt gingrich has engaged in isn't really helpful to him, to his opponents or to the party, but certainly tough substantive primary debates and tough primary fights do make that ultimate nominee a better person to take on president obama in the fall. >> congressman tom davis is with us. i know the two of you are friendly. i'm going to ask you a question, sir, first, and then bring in adam as well. what happens to independents? he said it's not doing such great things for the party. clearly playing to the base. but is there a risk that independents get this message of the candidate's a liar, the candidate is a flip-flop. that all of these things are bad? >> i say, adam, i think you probably agree. this is january. there's a long way to go between now and november.
memories tend to get short. >> people forget? >> yeah, they're going to get a lot more information between this. there's going to be a different context in november. we don't know where the economy will be. good spring train for myth romney because when he gets to the general election, there will be a billion dollars to spend against him. >> the strategy for the mitt romney campaign has changed. it's quite clear, you were running essentially run out the clock campaign, play from ahead, run out the clock. but you changed. you stopped talking about obama and started talking about newt gingrich. what happens after you presumably win florida? what's going to happen in nevada and colorado? which strategy are you going see, the one on offense right now but the one on defense two weeks ago. >> what does it look like in november for mitt? >> that's a ten-part question, adam. go for it. >> exactly right. >> he's used to it. >> florida is definitely romney country not only for tonight but also for the general election.
this is ground zero for the housing crisis. nearly double digit unemployment. this is just not friendly territory for the president even though he carried it four years ago he's going to have a hard time carrying florida again. mitt romney enjoys a lot of support among hispanics. there is not the gender gap among romney supporters as the other candidates. he's building the kind of base that will attract independents and crossover voters in the fall election. and so as we leave florida you will continue to see the romney campaign focus on closing the deal on winning the republican nomination and making the case to republican voters that he's the best candidate not only to defeat barack obama but also to take back our country. so you won't see the backsliding or the running out the clock type strategy but i think what we want to see is a pivot back to focusing on the real issues facing the country and making barack obama the issue here his lack of performance, his lack of success in his first term as president of united states.
>> it will certainly be interesting if we do that. >> you've got to ask adam if that song was poll tested. if that version of "america the beautiful" sung by mitt romney was poll tested. >> soledad, it was not luther vandross, you're right. >> you know, i'm getting all teary because that man knows how to get to my heart. he mentions luther vandross' name. still ahead this morning, cnn exclusive, talk to florida gop senator and a short lister of the vip -- vip -- vip and vp to nation. marco rubio is going to be talking to us ahead this morning. also, michael reagan is going to be joining us. he says he thinks newt gingrich is the best candidate following in his father's footsteps. plus, this there is a new study who tells you -- listen up, wail cane with small children -- how you can improve
welcome back, everybody. you're watching "starting point." medical news. there's a new study that says if you are a nurturing mother that can making actual physical changes to your child's brain, that they can take with them over the long haul. elizabeth cohen is our senior medical koesht and joins us with more. my strategy has always been flinging cheerios into the crib to get the kids to keep it down. i'm guessing that's not the definition of nurturing. what is the definition of nurturing in this study? >> soledad, i hope i am not revealing too much and i have seen you with your children and you are, indeed, a nurturing mother. >> liar, but go ahead. >> the researchers assessed who
is a more nurturing parent than another. most of these parents were moms. what they found is that the children who were better nurtured when they looked at them years later and did imaging studies they found that those children had bigger hippocampi. so that blue area there is the hip hippocampus and that area governs a whole lot of things including memory and learning and how you deal with stress. it was bigger and in this case, bigger really is better. a bigger hippocampus does indeed make for a more intelligent child. >> what do they count for nurturing? >> here's what they did. this is actually kind of funny. as a mother you will appreciate this. they put the mom and kids, age 3 to 7, in a room and gave the mother a big thing of paperwork to finish. it was a lot of work. then they gave the child a present all wrapped up. they said to the child, monday
you can open this present when your mom is done with the paperwork. you can guess what happens, the kids were mommy, mommy, mommy. they wanted the mom to finish so they could open the present. and they looked at how the mom dealt with it. and some moms got grouchy and annoyed and tried to get them to be quiet whereas other mothers were more in ur churing, it will be okay and had a better response. this isn't a 100% fabulous way of measuring nurturing but in the study you have to come up with something. and this is what they came up with. >> i would have said, go ahead and open the present while i work on the paperwork. that's a -- >> you can't. you would be a rule-breaking mommy. >> that's why mommy gets kicked out of surveys all the time because i say that makes no sense. open the present, be quiet so i can do the paperwork. elizabeth cohen, we both have four children -- eight children between us. >> at the table. >> between you and elizabeth. i had a set of twins so i didn't rack actually, you know -- mine were not completely intentional. still ahead this morning --
that's too much. just kidding, kids. >> hopefully they're not watching. >> they know. twins, it was a surprise. come on. who is the best gop candidate to go against president obama come november? we're going to take a look at that. talk to alex, democratic nominee for governor in florida back in 2010. she lost by a smidge. we'll talk about her handicapping of the race. plus, this is will's ipod. rod stewart, "maggie." pretty good. >> old difficult. >> old difficult. you name it. i've tried it.
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your heart out, just like mitt romney. >> you can. yes, you're right, you can. >> you can, and no one has to hear you. yes. exactly. this morning we're talking to alex sync. she was the democratic nominee for governor back in the state of florida in 2010. she lost to rick scott by 1%. not sitting on the sidelines. she's been watching the gop primary race unfold in her state. she has insider view from the democratic side of the fence. nice to have you. thanks for being with us. we appreciate it. >> thank you, soledad. >> i would like you to start by handy capping the race for me. you lost by a narrow margin. who do you think is going to walk away as the winner? is it romney as all the polls show? >> absolutely. we've seen a big momentum shift. part of that is because he's outspending newt on the air waves. radio, tv, we've been inundated by romney messaging. >> you're the state's chief financial officer formerly. i want you to remove yourself
from the democratic hat you wear and tell me between newt gingrich and mitt romney who is better on the number one issue in that state, the economy? >> well, that's hard to say because all we've heard from both of these candidates is a lot of negative bickering back and forth. who cares whether newt was a lobbyist or a historian and romney seems to be talking a lot about -- mostly about big corporations. that's what his background s. here in florida we're a state of small business gs. i couldn't choose either one of them. i think the president just runs circles around them in terms of his focus on the issues of importance to florida's small business, florida homeowners. >> i knew you were going to say that. >> take that hat off. >> we thought maybe -- well, you know. >> the truth. >> they tend to run these interviews over and over again during campaign season. you may not want to be on the record on that. i get that. let's talk about president obama's challenge because you look at the economy where unemployment is at 9.9% overall.
i'm not even giving you the numbers for latinos or the numbers for african-americans which are significantly higher. for the nation that rate is 8.5%. half the homes we were talking about yesterday are underwater in the state. 25% of the homes in foreclosure in the nation are in the state of florida. aren't those just really devastating figures for president obama? >> well, they're devastating figures for the people of florida, and that's why we're paying a lot of attention to the choice that we're going to make in november. it will be a choice between president obama and what he's been able to accomplish in improving the state of affairs, which we do see improvement here in the state of florida, but more importantly, what's the vision for the next four years. we're going to be interested in hearing -- that's the thing that's been missing, soledad, is we haven't really heard much from gingrich or romney about their vision for the future. what is their plan for providing more health insurance to
americans? what is their plan for improving the economy, for bringing jobs back? they just seem to be engaged in this over the top president bashing, but the voters are going to have to go to the polls in november, and i truly believe that they're going to see what the president has laid out. he was very strong in his state of the union message. i've never seen the democrats so fired up in this state as they are right now. >> do you think that that, in fact, is the case? i'll start with you, tom. with all the negativity and the mudslinging that you're kind of missing out on opportunities to say the vision thing? >> they'll have plenty of time for vision. i will say the facts on the ground are going to determine who the next president is. if things are where they are today in november, it's probably going to be a republican year. if they improve, that's going to help the president at this point. presidents get held rightly or wrongly for what's happening. political scientists at harvard used to say if the shoe pinches, they'll look for a new shoe. the shoe is pinching. >> the fact of the matter is all the negatives for both mitt
romney and newt gingrich are sinking among independents. they need to speak to independents. i know that they have to win the nomination and they're not thinking about independents right now. i think it's going to have a long-term negative effect especially in a place like florida. >> they will have plenty of time. ten months is an eternity. republicans unite behind a candidate. >> i think alex has actually a fair criticism of the gop. i want to say that. that is right now the republicans are proving very good at saying where obama has failed. one place they need to improve is where they might have a positive vision, and that is on housing and health care. you can't always say what's wrong, in which case they're right, by the way, about what the problem s. they need to come up with a message on how you are going to solve the housing price sis. >> it could be a challenge if newt gingrich, rick santorum, and ron paul all continue to stay in the race. alex sink, thanks for joining us. we certainly appreciate it.
she is now the chair of the florida next foundation, which means to me she is teeing up for another run for the governorship. i'm not a political analyst, i'm just a girl who reads the research. moving on. coming up next on "starting point", a cnn exclusive. we'll talk to marco rubio. he hasn't endorsed anybody. we want to know why not. does he have something else in mind? also, newt gingrich claims that he's the heir parent to the reagan movement. we'll talk to ronald regan's son michael. he joins us at the top of the hour. plus team obama dogs mitt romney on twitter. you're watching "starting point."
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a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪ oooh, my turn. ♪ she was in paris, but we talked for hours... everyone else buzzed about the band. there's a wireless mind inside all of us. so, where to next? ♪ -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com so, where to next? good morning. i love when the panel is chitchatting away when i'm trying to start the show. you're watching "starting point." the candidates have had their say. the polls are open right now. mitt romney appears to be on a roll, plus this man hasn't endorsed anybody, but he is considered to be a prime pick for the slot of vice president.
florida republican senator marco rubio will be joining us. plus the president's letting secrets fly about u.s. drones during a google plus hangout. did you see this? kind of strange. now he's getting a little criticism about those loose lips. we're going to talk about all of that as "starting point" begins right now. ♪ ricky don't lose that number, you don't want to call nobody else ♪ ♪ send it off in a letter to yourself ♪ ♪ i do. yeah. you know? wow, steely dan. a big hit with the crew this morning. that was congressman davis's pick because we went right into his ipod. he picked better than you the first time that, i'll tell you that. as you know, we've been taking suggestions. our new strategy to improve the music. we've been stealing musical settings from people.
people, a little bit of tempo in the music so people don't fall asleep. you can tweet me at @soledad starting point. send us though things. we'reback with our panel, a congressman. we're talking about voting in florida. it's gotten underway in the last hour. the polls are showing mitt romney is up a lot in the sunshine state. and throughout the campaign he has been slowly improving. the last ten days from south carolina we've only seen improvement from his side. the candidates have mastered the art of name dropping. it is one name in particular, the name of former president ronald regan time and time and time again on the stump. here's what they say. >> i will every day assure you that i will fight to keep america as ronald regan so often spoke, keep america the shining city on the hill. >> i worked with ronald regan to create jobs. >> i was one of four in texas,
one of four members of congress that supported reagan in '76. >> when ronald regan came down here to florida everyone said, oh, no, you've got to pick this other guy. >> michael reagan is the author of "the new reagan revolution." he's also the former president's son. it's nice to have you. i read a count that said newt gingrich brought out your father's name 61 times in a debate. i think that that is an accurate count. why the dropping of the ronald regan name over the last few days as we head to the florida primaries? >> because he is the iconic figure of the republican party. i mean, you left out barack obama. he's dropped ronald regan's name many times himself. seems to be democrat, republican. absolutely. newt gingrich was there in the 1980s during the reg began revolution when my father took over washington in 1981 sworn in as the president of the united states. he was there. of those who are in fact
running, newt gingrich was there, ron paul was also there, but newt gingrich was there on the front lines, as he was in the 1990s when he led the republicans to their first majority in over 40 years. so he could talk about those times because he remembers those times. when you go around and you talk to republican purists, they all remember those reagan years and would love to get back to those reagan years, hence, everybody drops my tear's name. >> so in your estimation then it's newt gingrich who is the true holder of the mantle of ronald regan? yes or no? >> i'm the true holder of the mantle. you know? >> are you dropping your father's name? >> there you go. i'm not running for anything. as far as saying that he was there, he's allowed to be able to go out and say those things because he was there at the very beginning. he was the one fighting for tax cuts with ronald regan and what have you, so he can go out and say those things even though he
catches it from the other side. the truth is, he was there and so he gets away with it. >> all right. let me play a little clip of what nancy reagan had to say. listen. >> barry gold water handed the torch to ronnie and in turn ronnie turned that torch over to newt and the republican members of congress to keep that name alive. >> now according to nbc news sources close to nancy reagan say in that speech she was actually referring not specifically to newt but to congress in general, sort of the speakership in general, not specifically to newt. is that true? >> well, the reality of it was that newt was speaker of the house. newt is the one who gave us 54 republican congressmen, 8 senators, 12 governorships including george w. bush and got control for the republicans first time, as i said, in 40 years. so newt was the leader of that, hence, turn it over to newt and the republicans. so the republicans have that mantle on them to get back to those days. they've been arguing about it ever since. >> michael, will cain here.
soledad mentioned that newt gingrich had mentioned your dad's name 61 times. the way things are going in florida right now he should have used it 62 times. peggy newton had an article in "the wall street journal." your dad did so many things. he brought so many people together. she said in the end the main thing your dad was was positive. he had a message of building and newt gingrich seems to have the opposite message. he has one of destruction. don't you see an inherent tension between the two men? >> you can play that on all sides? come on, this is a campaign, this is a primary. i'll put this on newt gingrich's shoulders to say he is the policy of destruction and mitt romney's just the purist and wonderful person, but the reality is you look back at republican presidential contenders, when they have put up a moderate, bob dole, john mccain, what have you, they've taken losses at the presidential level. when they put up somebody who says they're conservative or
runs on a conservative message, they end up winning the presidency of the united states of america. so is it wrong for newt gingrich to bring those things to the forefront and remind sneem so when you have bob dole who's the one who sold my father on the three for one, $3 in spending cuts for every dollar in new taxes. my dad went to his grave waiting for the $3 in spending cuts he never got for the democrats. conservatives have that memory that, in fact, they don't get their side of the equation when they make deals. so to blame newt and say, well, it's newt that's the policy of destruction. yes, ronald regan as i talk about in my book, new reagan revolution, was a uniter. he brought all factions together. you look at this, newt gingrich when he was speaker of the house, he was speaker working with then democrat president bill clinton. what do they do? balance the budget four times. without a law, they balanced it. they reformed welfare. they worked together. so to say that newt's the man of
destruction, he's the only one that actually worked with the other side to make this place a better place during the 1990s. >> michael reagan joining us this morning. nice to have you. thanks for being with us. i appreciate it. i think maybe 6200 times would have been a little more helpful in the state of florida. >> want to get it covered. >> 61 didn't get it anywhere near covered. every single political strategist this morning has said, well, we'll have to see tonight. >> we'll have to see. we've got other headlines making news this morning. christine romans has a look for us. good morning again. >> good morning, soledad. the u.n. security council could take up a resolution condemning the bloodshed in syria and calling for the president to step down. the obama administration has said the security council must act. meantime, opposition forces report new clashes with syrian security troops in the suburbs of damascus. the horror of that massive pileup on i-75 in florida, it's captured in the 911 calls. ten people were killed after heavy smoke from a brush fire
left drivers with zero visibility. listen. >> do you see any fire? do you see anything like that? >> no fire. we can't see. you can hardly even see your hazards. here comes another one. >> oh, my gosh,'s coming too fast. >> he is a coming too fast. others yeah. oh, [ bleep ] that is a bad one. you can hear crying on the other side. that is northbound. >> investigators still looking into whether that fire was arson. with mitt romney poised to beat newt gingrich pretty good in florida, this could be considered piling on a lawsuit filed against gingrich's campaign for using the song "eye of the tiger" at campaign and other events without proper authorization. david axlerod, the president's chief re-election strategist, is using beau. how loving owners transport their dogs. it's, of course, a jab at romney for transporting his family dog
in a kennel on top of the family station wagon when his kids were kids. the obama campaign has launched a facebook page called it pet lovers for obama. >> it's going to be a ruff, ruff, ruff campaign and they're really hounding romney. >> yeah. it only gets better from here, christine. don't you wish you were sitting at this table? >> it's a dog eat dog world. sicircling the train this morning. there's some new questions about i guess you'd call it loose lips at the white house. first you had leon panetta revealing a key source for the hunt for osama bin laden. president obama did an online town hall and revealed what officials had been pretty careful not to reveal. the u.s. is using drones to go after terrorists in pakistan. >> we are able to pinpoint strike an al qaeda operative in a place where the capacities of
that military and that country may not be able to get them. so obviously a lot of these strikes have been in the fatah, and going after al qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain along the border between afghanistan and pakistan. >> let's get right to barbara starr. she's live at the pentagon. i have to tell you, barbara, when i hear this, it started with leon panetta talking about this doctor who helped in that raid, what's going on? is this intentional? i'm just not understanding it or is this literally making a mistake in a nationally televised chat or interview? >> reporter: yeah, you know, i think, soledad, that's a question everybody's asking themselves. it's like that old game of clue. you may know that the butler did it, but you don't really talk about it, you know? it's remarkable. the president openly admitting that they are conducting these lethal strikes killing militants, the u.s., inside pakistan. those strikes are conducted by
the c.i.a. that is not something you talk about. what he has done, whether it's a mistake, inadvertent, whether he's trying to pressure the pakistanis. in fact, he's back in pakistan into a corner right now because they, of course, do not openly acknowledge that they permit these strikes, that they have allowed these strikes to continue. they publicly in pakistan are against the move, the government there. now the president really leaves them no operating room to deny that these strikes shall happening. so it's going to be very tough from here on out. especially because it comes on top of what panetta said just a couple of days ago. acknowledging that a pakistani doctor had worked with the u.s. intelligence community on the bin laden raid and he acknowledged they believed they knew where bin laden was. we have say lot of loose lips around here. the question is is it just loose
lips or is there something else at work. >> all of that as they're pressuring the pakistanis to release that doctor. nice to see you, barbara, thanks. still ahead on "starting point." airlines forced to advertise your full flight fare, taxes and all. now there's some push back on that. could this be the government taking advantage of flyers. flyers taken advantage of? what? breaking news. florida voters at the polls right now. we'll tell you how it is looking for the two lead candidates, newt gingrich and mitt romney. florida republican woman, why the housing crisis in that state could decide the winner. we'll talk about the economy with her straight ahead this morning. stay with us. the employee of the month is...
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i'm really featured finally. congressman, last week i could not buy a friend on this show. this week i can get all my songs on. >> having your name on the top of the show doesn't do anything. >> nothing. means zero. call me, we'll talk about it later. welcome back, everybody. lots to talk about, of course, because today is the day. it's florida's gop primary day. ileana ros-lehtinen has been campaigning. i've known her for years and years and years. >> i have the hardest name. >> you know? it's a little challenging. >> don't worry about it. i'll go to, hey, you. >> you know with a name like soledad, sometimes i go to, hey, you, also. she is also i should mention the most senior republican woman in the entire house. she has high hopes for -- >> i'm an old bag, old broad. >> that is so not what i said. i saw you minutes ago on cnn. >> i know what you were meaning to say.
i heard between the lines. >> nonsense. nonsense. i said the vibrant and experienced congresswoman. ileana ros-lehtinen. joining us this morning. >> we are excited today. >> okay. why? talk to me about the economy. every time we talk, hang on -- every time we talk we talk often about immigration, latinos in the state of florida which i don't think is inappropriate. every single time i get checked by the congresswoman who says, we want to talk about the economy. let's talk about the economy. you assume, i believe, mitt romney, who you're supporting, is going to win this primary race like most of the polls are showing. why do you think he's strong on the economy? what's the message? >> well, i think that he's got this message of private sector experience. i know that that's being attacked. i don't think that that's -- really resonates with the voters, that kind of an attack. he didn't inherit the wealth he's worked for it. he's got a good, strong economic package that resonates with the
voters in florida, especially south florida where we have been hard hit with this recession. our unemployment numbers are way higher than the national average. also, the tourism has slowed down. they're going to see mickey mouse in orlando but they're not making that last trek down to the beaches of south florida. so we've been really hit. we were in a real estate and construction boom here, and those industries have screeched to a halt. so the voters here in south florida especially are wanting to hear a message of lower taxes, less regulation, certainty for the small business owner so that he doesn't have more mandates from washington but let him be alone and be able to grow his business. that's the mitt romney economic message, and that's why he's doing so well in a distressed economy like florida. >> ileana, tom daifs, how are you. >> hey, tom. my colleague. >> yeah.
let me ask you, south florida last time, 500,000 vote lead for obama in palm beach, brow ward and dade counties? how do you see this if romney is the head of the ticket in november? >> well, i think that obama has to own this economic climate. he said if we passed the stimulus bill, which was such a horrid disaster, we would -- our unemployment rate would not go above 8%. we've had 36 straight months of terrible non-growth in terms of jobs. >> it's improved. let me stop you there. forgive me for interrupting you. if it improves, earlier we were talking about it's going to be a snapshot of where is it going? it is improving slowly. >> i want it to improve. >> if it ims proves, doesn't that help the president? >> i don't hope it gets worse. >> of course. >> even if it helps the president, i want it to improve. we want people to have jobs, but what we've seen is that he's doubling down on this failed
economic policy. we heard his state of the union speech. how many new federal programs was he creating during that speech at the same time that he's saying that we've got to quit spending money we don't have? that's the republican message. maybe he'll catch on to that, maybe he'll change his tune, but the programs that he's putting out are going to increase our debt, increase our deficit, and not put certainty for small business owners so we won't be able to create jobs. that's why mitt romney's economic message is going to resonate throughout the country, because president obama said if i don't approve this economic situation in three years, then this is going to be a one-term proposition. well, we're going to hold him account annual for his words. >> we'll see how it goes in the state of florida today. as you can see, congresswoman ros-lehtinen is a very strong romney supporter, obviously. thanks for your time. appreciate it. ahead on "starting point", cnn exclusive. we're talking to marco rubio.
would the gop have a better chance if he said yes to be vp. the fight over airline fares. there are new rules that force the airlines to disclose the entire cost of the tickets including the taxes and fees. lawmakers wants it overturned. we're going to talk about that. r how good they taste. get your free sample of quaker oatmeal squares on facebook.
welcome back to "starting point", everybody. okay, people. we're on tv. keep it down a little. trying to get to today's human factor. dr. sanjay gupta introduces us to a man who helps us realize food can be medicine. it's a story about a guy who is a chef but it's got a twist. take a look. >> reporter: hans rufert is a chef without a stomach or much of an esophagus. >> i've had 11 surgeries in the last three years. >> reporter: he was diagnosed with gastric cancer just after weeks of appearing in 2005 season of the next food network star. >> there was a tumor sitting at the junction of the stomach and esophagus. >> reporter: his treatment was painful. he had half of his stomach and
most of his esophagus removed. more operations, chemo, radiation. eventually he was cancer free. that's when the headaches began. >> they saw 10 to 12 lesions. i was told, this was it. you're on your way out. >> reporter: it wasn't cancer, but it was a serious brain infection caused by his newly constructed digestive system. >> i ended up springing a leak at that junction. that leak actually almost killed me. >> reporter: antibiotics got rid of the infection, but a year later a second one, worse than the first. both infections were so serious that doctors didn't want to risk him getting yet another one so in march the rest of his stomach was removed. even though his stomach is gone, he eats six healthy small meals every day, which now go directly into his intestines. >> the expression, you are what you eat, is so -- it's cliche as can be.
it's cliche because it's true. for me that really is amplified. >> reporter: he wrote a cookbook in the hospital after his first operation. for the last five years he's been teaching fellow survivors how to incorporate healthy, cancer fighting foods into their diets. >> it's power and it's energy and it's energy that our bodies can readily assimilate, even for a guy without a stomach. >> reporter: he says the six years have been difficult, but being open about his cancer and surrounding himself with family and friends has helped him overcome every challenge so far. >> somehow you just kind of find a little more strength just to keep going, keep going, keep going. here we are. i just had my six-year checkup. we're six years cancer free. >> reporter: dr. sanjay gupta, cnn reporting. and ahead this morning on "starting point", a big day in florida, the primaries. who's going to come out on top and why no endorsements from some key people, including senator marco rubio of florida. we're going to talk to him straight ahead. tsa workers suspended for
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♪ where's the champagne. i feel like we haven't left the club? >> we have rolled out of the club straight into the studio. that's from marie's ipod. >> before we get to the next round of interviews, i want to talk to you about your experience in congress. give us your perspective on how the race is going and really the run for independence, is it? >> it's all about independence. it's not going to be immobilization. 40% of the electorate are self-identified independents.
in '10 they came back for the republicans. they're very, i would say, unsatisfied voters right now. they don't like what they're seeing out of washington, out of their political leaders. they're gettable for the republicans but they're not there. >> are they more gettable by romney or gingrich? >> well, i think the conventional wisdom is more gettable by romney. he has less baggage. probably be more acceptable. >> when you look at the polls, they sort of look at the flip flopping issue. something like 63% of the people polled said that one of their concerns was the changeability on the issues. isn't that going to be a big problem for independents? >> flip-flopping hurts a little bit. it's worse to be an idea log. you're not willing to flip-flop and change. >> interesting. >> that's an interesting spin. really? >> interesting. >> i don't know. >> if you're on the wrong side of the issue, it's right. there's a certain malleability to governing. >> malleability. >> you have to compromise and the like. at the end of the day it's going
to be competing visions for the country. do they like what they see? i think they're willing to give romney and the republicans a look at this time. you need to make a sale. >> what did you get out of congress? >> well, first of all, i left undefighted and unindicted. >> congratulations, very proud of you. >> thank you. i was termed out as a committee chairman. you get on with life. i didn't have the -- >> do you miss it? >> no. do you miss high school? >> yeah, a little bit sometimes. occasionally. >> i don't miss it. >> move beyond? >> i've moved beyond it. i still love the guys up there. i keep up with them. good luck to them. >> but doesn't this say it all? okay. we're going to keep talking about that. there's a lot going on there. we have to get to some headlines today. christine romans has that for us. >> good morning to you, soledad. that's right, syria blaming armed terrorists for blowing up a gas pipeline and knocking two electric plants offline.
demonstrations and clashes have escalated. some reports put the death toll at over 100 yesterday. violence in syria has been mounting largely. syria expects china and russia to block a u.n. security council resolution calling for the syrian president, bashar al-assad to step down. >> the deadline has come for occupy washington demonstrators to leave two encampments near the white house. they were supposed to get out by noon yesterday. the pentagon temporarily suspending high speed to flight and ground operations of more than 15 f-35 fighter jets. there's a problem with improperly packed parachutes behind the pilot's jet seat. the f-35 program braces for a third restructuring in just three years. today house republicans will propose legislation calling for $260 billion in transportation
infrastructure spending. additional measures could be added including a plan to authorize the keystone xl oil pipeline despite opposition from the white house. at least six tsa workers have purportedly been suspended at newark liberty airport. they were caught stealing from passengers to sleeping on the job. the tsa confirmed to us that workers were removed but would not tell us exactly why. a new rule that forces airlines to include taxes and fees in their advertised prices coming unfire. one congressman from georgia is even promising to introduce a bill to overturn it. he's concerned under the new guidelines airlines can jack up fees and hide them from customers. and the los angeles clippers blake griffin channelling michael jordan last night. look at this monster jam. the dunk lit up twitter. even the king, lebron james tweeted. he tweeted dunk of the year. i guess i'm number two now. minding your business. developments in europe set to
give u.s. stocks a modest boost. they agreed on a deal to establish a permanent bailout fund which also comes with rules aimed at preventing european governments from running up huge debts in the first place. and bankrupt american airlines is meeting with its unions this week to discuss cutting costs. layoffs and pension cuts are likely on the table. american is more than 80,000 workers. when it filed for bankruptcy back in november it blamed high labor costs. let's get a quick check on weather. that's rob marciano joining us. >> good morning, christine. a little more snow across the northeast today. that will be the end of it. it's all in front of some seriously warm air. we had a decent amount of lake effect snow yesterday. just thought it would be snow showers. piled up to be almost three feet in fulton. buffalo seeing 4.5 inches. the heat pump is on from the gulf of mexico. a little bit of light rain across texas and louisiana with a little storm system developing there. most everybody, with the exception of maine and coastal california, will be way above normal today.
that trend will continue into tomorrow. 70 in dallas, 70 in memphis. a chilly day in new york city yesterday. where is the cold air? it continues to be in alaska where it currently is 26 degrees below zero, which is well below average in fairbanks, and snowing. that's where it's been all winter long. christine, looks like that's where it's going stay. >> all right. thanks, rob. back to you, soledad. thank you very much. florida, as we've been discussing all morning, is a big battleground state. in some ways it's kind of like a mini america. you have the panhandle. that represents and resembles parts of the deep south on the gulf side. south florida with the large hispanic population. who's going to be able to capture the most support and win today's primary. republican senator marco rubio of florida joins us. he's in washington, d.c. thanks for being with us this morning. handicap the race for me. what happens tonight? mitt romney by how much? >> well, i'm not going to
speculate as to who's going to win. here's what i'm comfortable saying. i think the winner of florida is in all likelihood going to be the nominee of our party. florida is a mini america. virtually every issue we want them to be conversant on is a discussion we've had in florida. we don't have an election day in florida, we have an election week. people have been voting in florida for more than a week with absentee ballots. >> it feels like a year having been down there a little bit. you have not decided to endorse anybody. en bush, former governor, has decided not to endorse anybody. the current governor noor rick scott has decided not to endorse anybody y. not? >> from my perspective, i can't speak for other people, i have known speaker gingrich for quite a while. he was helpful for me. i did a book called the 100 ideas for florida's future. later on when i was running for the senate governor romney came
to florida and campaigned on my behalf. . have relationships. the other thing is i try to stay out of the endorsement game most of the time. i think especially for president voters don't need you to tell them who to vote for. >> so you know there are some theories that go along with this, right? there's a theory that says you're just not passionate about either of the two candidates and that's why you don't throw your support behind one or the other. there's another theory that kind of goes with that that says you have your eyes on a run in 2016 so that's why you prefer not to endorse nin. any truth to either of those? >> that's just speculation. none of them are true. the reality of it is what i just said. i have relationships with two of the four candidates. i know them well. didn't want to get involved in the endorsement game. none of it will matter at the end of the day. my endorsement won't impact the outcome at the end of the day. voters will make up their own minds. >> before i continue on with you, sir, i want to talk to our panelists for a minute, which is saying what he knows. he is being considered for a
v.p. position. smart? >> i think he'd be a great candidate for vice president. >> you're saying that because he's listening in on this interview? >> no. >> why? take off for me. >> first of all, i think being hispanic is helpful. being from florida which is a key state is very critical for republican chances. he's generationally right reaching out to younger people. has great access to party base in the party. you get four in one. >> agree? >> i do agree. so you going to accept it, senator rubio? >> that's great. i'm flattered. thank you guys. >> we're just speculating. >> i'm not speculating. i'm asking. >> well, look, my answer hasn't changed on that. i've answered it repeatedly. i have i'm focused on my job in the senate. i don't think i'm going to be asked. i'm not going to be the vice presidential nominee but i'm platered by your words on the panel. we're going to tevo and show that to my mom. >> moms love me. that's my demographic. last week we were talking about some comments that you had made
where you said you were very disappointed in the negative tone. you wish had you spoken up earlier about the negative tenor of the conversation. let me play you a little sampling of negligent gativity of the candidates first. >> gingrich was paid over $1.6 million by the agency that helped create the crisis. >> i offered advice. my advice as a historian -- >> a historian, really? >> what kind of man would mislead, distort, and deceive just to win an election? this man would. mitt romney. >> those voices, the people that do the voiceover work, they scare me. what man will do. >> you'll never see their face. >> that's scary. so as you get closer and closer to today really it's gotten even more negative. do you see a break coming from that or no? >> well, look, i think that's been a part of every campaign. unfortunately, it's only gotten worse. no candidate in american history has ever run more negative ads than barack obama. i don't think that will change in 2012.
unfortunately people have to get used to it. i think voters see through that. this election is so important. those ads are interesting i suppose for people like us that cover and live in politics, but for the real world what they care about is i'm out of a job. i've lost my job or i'm making half as much as i used to make and working twice as hard. my kids can't go to college. my son just graduated from college and can't find a job. my home is upside down. these are the real concerns of real people around the world. at the end of the day the candidate that will win is the candidate that speaks to those aspirations and to those worries. i hope that'll be the republican nominee. i'll do everything i can and the rest of us around here will, i think, to make sure that that happens. >> i see why they want you to be the vp. we have to take a commercial break. aim going to ask you to stick around and we'll talk to you on the other side of that commercial break. marco rubio is joining us from the state of florida. [ female announcer ] fashion or food, it's all about taste.
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when we were determined to see it through. here's an update on the progress. we're paying for all spill related clean-up costs. bp findings supports independent scientists studying the gulf's environment. thousands of environmental samples have been tested and all beaches and waters are open. and the tourists are back. i was born here, i'm still here and so is bp. of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest
may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust. take away the singing animals, and the storybook narrator... [ man ] you're left with more electric trucks. more recycled shipping materials... and a growing number of lower emissions planes... which still makes for a pretty enchanted tale. ♪ la la la [ man ] whoops, forgot one... [ male announcer ] sustainable solutions. fedex. solutions that matter. welcome back, everybody. you're watching "starting point." we are back with florida senator
marco rubio joining us. i want to ask you about this debate about english as the official language. let me play for you what both leading candidates have said on this front. >> i think it is essential to have a central language that we expect people to learn and to be able to communicate with each other. >> english is the language of this nation. >> okay. so isn't there something contradictory when both are saying english should be the official language of this nation but at the same time they're running ads in spanish in the state you're in hoping to court people who are much more comfortable in spanish? isn't that contradictory and hypocrite particular call? >> no. no one's talking about banning spanish. on the contrary, i think people should speak as many languages as they can learn. that's an advantage economically, culturally, etc. there has to be one language. >> why does there have to? we haven't. >> but in terms of government -- there has to be a unifying language. you can't have a nation where you speak 50 different languages. i think it makes sense. the vassileva st majority is e.
>> you know the reality would be, right, you wouldn't have ballots that have english and spanish and other things like that. >> that doesn't bother me as much. the ballots don't bother me. it's not talking about prohibiting that. my name is spelled the same way in english and spanish. you can confront that at the state level. they shouldn't ban spanish ballots. certainly voting is a fundamental right. is there going to be an official unifying language of our country? yes. it's the official language of florida and the world hasn't ended there. >> we haven't had an official language and the world hasn't ended. let's move on. i want to ask you about this poll that says -- can we throw that up on the screen? it's from abc un anyvision. people are more or less likely to vote republican if you are on the ticket. more, 42% republicans in the
state of florida if you're on the at this time. no effect, 31%. less at 20%. so when you see a poll like that, what kind of calculations are you doing in your head? >> it's irrelevant because i'm not going to do it. i have never made decisions based on polls. have you seen the number of polls that come out? >> god, yes. i live with the polls. >> these polls change literally overnight because something happens. number two, i'm not thinking about the vice presidency or anything of that nature. they'll be decided by people, a nominee on the republican side that will go out and say, look, this gentleman who's now the president of the united states has been in office for 3.5 years. he inherited a difficult economy, yes, he inherited high unemployment. he got everything he wanted the first two years he was president. it only made things worse. now he's asking for a four-year contract extension. does he deserve it? if not, it's time to try -- >> you sound like a guy who would say yes if he was asked to be vice president. would you? >> i appreciate you. no. i'm focused on the united states
senate. these issues that we're talking about are relevant in the united states senate where we're hopefully going to start debating some of these job creation issues. washington is a frustrating place. i fald a bill late last year. this bill had everything in it that republicans and democrats agree on. we can't get the bill to move around here. these are the things we agree on. >> it's interesting. tom davis is here he's nodding your head yes. he has left congress. you're nodding your head yes. did it feel lick that in congress? >> it was getting that way. it was getting worse. i'll say senator rubio may be a freshman, but he's no rookie. he's doing a great job and trying to work bipartisan. the problem is leadership and both parties don't want these things to move. i know it's frustrating. >> thank you. we appreciate your time, sir. >> thank you. >> let me know if you change your mind on the vp thing. i'd like to talk about it. he's like, no, no. >> i think there's a little space there. >> you think? you know what's interesting? that frustration, when you talk
about the leadership is the problem, how do you fix that? i think as an outsider, member of the electorate, that makes us mad. >> the caucuses, republican and democratic, are right and left. the leaders are elected by their caucuses. >> or doesn't work. >> most members now, their major race is their primary election, not the general. you don't get rewarded by your primary voters by working with the other side? >> hasn't that gotten worse by all of the tea party folks and a lot of americans think it was the tea parties and the republicans who were being obstructionists. >> you have media models that are polarizing. the way campaigns are financed now the money has moved away from the parties out to the interest groups between citizens united and campaign finance reform, which i voted against. the way these districts are drawn now, they're one-party districts. all of that has contributed. >> we've got much more to talk about ahead on "starting point." four-man race for the republican
nomination or could there be five? we're talking about this third party. what do we think? we're going to reveal who that could be. you're watching "starting point." while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives... that's smarter power today. until the end of the quarter to think about your money... ♪ that right now, you want to know where you are, and where you'd like to be. we know you'd like to see the same information your advisor does so you can get a deeper understanding of what's going on with your portfolio. we know all this because we asked you, and what we heard helped us create pnc wealth insight, a smarter way to work with your pnc advisor, so you can make better decisions and live achievement.
"starting point." in today's reveal there is evidence that donald trump is considering entering the race for the republican nomination. >> geez. >> no need to change your channel or check it. here's a first include. he was on "face the nation" this weekend. >> since republican against republican and yet the level of hatred i guess you could say. i mean, there's no other word for t. it's unbelievable. the question is are they hurting themselves? are they hurting the party? are they hurting the republicans? are they hurting their chances of winning an election against barack obama, and probably the answer is, yes. >> so if you need anymore clues, you can just look to trump advisor michael cohen who says he's been meeting with high level political operatives. cohen told abc news, quote, until the time mr. trump decides to endorse a candidate or run himself, i am exploring on his behalf the possibilities of
ensuring mr. trump appears on the ballot in all states and to develop a team of professionals who could ensure a potential victory. you know what's really interesting, i think, is in one of these articles they talk about the fact that it also has to do with the ending of "apprentice." that's played a role in his presidential aspirations because the planning calendar, i guess, is very, very critical. >> all about timing. >> let's be clear. during your little sound there maria cardona went like this, yes. >> absolutely. >> democratic strategist. >> another reason that obama will win this election. >> all right. leave it there for the moment. we have "end point" next. ♪ there's a place i dream about ♪ ♪ where the sun never goes out ♪ ♪ and the sky is deep and blue ♪ ♪ won't you take me american flight 280 to miami is now ready for boarding. ♪ there with you
fly without putting your life on pause. be yourself. nonstop. american airlines. of how a shipping giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust. take away the singing animals, and the storybook narrator... [ man ] you're left with more electric trucks. more recycled shipping materials... and a growing number of lower emissions planes... which still makes for a pretty enchanted tale. ♪ la la la [ man ] whoops, forgot one... [ male announcer ] sustainable solutions. fedex. solutions that matter.
♪ this is marie's ipod. the song is called "maria, shut up and kiss me." >> willie nelson. at the end of the show i don't mind a little willie nelson. let's get right to our "end point" this morning. congressman, this is how it goes. will cain will give you the 30 second version of what we need to hear. >> in the show you interviewed
michael reagan. his legacy resonates with republicans, largely old people. that's why it works in florida. his legacy will have diminishing returns with younger voters and republicans. it was 25 years ago. >> well, these candidates trip over each other to claim reagan, reagan gave amnesty, raised taxes 11 times. he would have been booted out today's republican party. >> your "end point", sir, as you wrap up your guest appearance which we appreciate. >> reagan was the father of the modern republican party. he took the old rockefeller eastern wing, defeated them after ford. put together a new coalition. it still stands. >> my "end point" is a question to our panel. we heard senator rubio say florida will pick the gop nominee. do you think that's true? where do we go from here? >> do i think it's true. >> if romney wins i think he's going to be the nominee. >> it's going to be very tough. >> are you punting? at the last final moments of our final -- what? >> he's drawing it out. >> it's important th