tv Starting Point CNN June 20, 2012 7:00am-9:00am EDT
in paris or berlin, that means that we're selling less stuff made in pittsburgh or cleveland. all of these issues, economic issues, will potentially have impact on the election. but that's not my biggest concern right now. >> democratic senator jack reed will join soledad to assess how important europe's future is to president obama's chances of re-election. in three hours, a house committee could hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress. a last-ditch meeting between holder and darrel issa failed to resolve a dispute over the botched fast and furious operation. that program allowed weapons to reach mexican drug gangs. he has been demanding holder turn over more documents. in 30 minutes soledad talks with elijah cummings who was at the meeting. in a few hours we'll find out in jerry sandusky will testify at his own trial.
sandusky is prepped and ready to take the stand today. the defense is expected to rest its case this afternoon. before that happens, lawyers for the former penn state coach will make a final decision about whether to let him face questioning. closing arguments in the child molestation case could take place tomorrow. a heat wave, brutal heat wave moving into the northeast today. let's get a quick check on the weather with meteorologist rob marciano. >> today is going to be the warmest air we've seen since jum of last year. some places may touch 100. these are the record highs for bosz ton, new york, philly, d.c., mid to upper 90s today and tomorrow, cooling off a little over the weekend. there's some humidity with this. that increases what it feels like as far as your body is concerned. heat indexes 100, 110 today. a dozen states from maine to the mid-atlantic under heat advisories or heat warnings. take care of your elderly
neighbors and your pets. severe storms and flash flooding potentially across the upper great lakes. 99 in d.c., want to cool off? come to atlanta, 89 degrees, kind of chilly down here. >> thanks, rob. >> so close they can taste it. the miami heat one win away from an nba title. lebron shook off a a leg injury to hit a three-pointer in the final minutes as the heat held off the thunder. james just missed a triple double. had 12 assists, nine rebounds, the win gives miami a 3-1 series lead that no team in finals history, soledad has ever blown. >> i wish you hadn't said that. let's just get through and win this game, come on. that no team has ever blown in ltd history of mankind. >> those stats are meant to be broken. >> all of my fingers are crossed. let's get to the developing news
out of egypt this morning. a day before we learned who's going to be the new president of that country, we're now getting some conflicting reports about the health of the former president hosni mubarak. a state news agency is reporting that the 84-year-old is clinically dead. his lawyer says he's in a coma. the military says mubarak's condition is critical but that he is still alive. all of this confusion is coming at a critical time for egypt. thousands gathering overnight in cairo's tahrir square protesting the military leaders who stripped major powers from the office of the presidency. you'll remember this was the place where the movement to overflow mubarak was born. thousands of protesters staring down tanks and risking their lives for something they now worry is going to be taken away. ivan watson is live in cairo. what's the latest? how crowded is the square? >> reporter: the square has thinned out, the crowd were gone by 3:00 in the morning local
time. and disbursed and the muslim brotherhood has indicated it did not want to participate in any kind of violent protest and wanted them to move on. that's despite the fact that some of the demonstrators were threatening to stage a sit-in until the military council that has run this country since hosni mubarak stepped down, until it carried out an unconditional hand over of power to a civilian elected government. that clearly isn't happening any time soon. soledad? >> ivan watson in cairo. thank you for that report. let's get right to daniel kurtzer, the former u.s. ambassador to egypt. when we hear reports and reporters saying that the gathering in the square is not because of mubarak and there is still conflicting information on whether he is dead or clinically dead or not dead. because of the movement as ivan reported by the military to minimize the power of the office of the presidency. are you seeing in some ways a
repeat of last year? >> well, in some ways it's a culmination or a continuation of last year. i think mubarak's health is not a factor at all in the decision-making of the egyptian masses. but they are concerned, number one is the possibility that the election that they just went through may be stolen from them by fraud by either side, either the islamists or the military. and second, that the military may not respect the outcome of the elections and hold on to a certain amount of power, even after they are supposed to be a transition. >> if mubarak lives or dies or die imminently, will be a factor at all on any of these protests? >> no, i think it's in political terms, it's not going to make much of a difference. a lot of egyptians would have liked to see him go to jail and suffer the punishment of the years of abuse but it has to do
with this tug of war between the islamists and the military. the election is going to be very close. it looks as though moresi has won, no one knows for sure. either way, it's going to be contested on the streets. that's what we're seeing now in tahrir square. >> they've been chanting, down with military rule, we're not finish -- we're going to finish the revolution. what would that mean? could you still have the military doing as we've seen them do, you mention many perceiving it as fraud, and still have a revolution that's not finished? >> well, there's been an argument that what happened last year was simply a decap tags, mubarak left office a couple of top officials left office, but the system remained in place with the military essentially replacing mubarak at the top. the revolutionaries in tahrir
square and islamists would like to see the military no longer having a role in formulating national decision-making as it were and having the military come under civilian control. for the tahrir crowd, that would be the real revolution. until now that has not happened. >> you mentioned speculation that morsi could likely win. what happens then come thursday? >> well, it will be most interesting both from the perspective of egyptians and perspective of washington. at least half of the egyptian population is concerned that morsi will lead egypt down a path of islamist that egyptians feel represents them culturally and religiously but they don't want to necessarily run under the strict tours of fund amou
amtallist islam. the peace treaty between egypt and israel and the strategic relationship between egypt and the united states, there's real questions that need to be answered should morsi win the election. >> daniel kurtzer, thank you for being with us. we appreciate it. we have more breaking news to get to out of france where four people have been taken hostage by a man claiming to be an al qaeda militant. jim bitterman is live in paris this morning. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, soledad, i think police are taking this more seriously than they might in a normal armed robbery because of the few of the details that have now emerged. basically what happened is that a gunman entered the bank a little before noon local time this morning. and one shot was fired. then the gunman took four employees of the bank hostage and been holding the hostages ever since.
he says that he's a member of al qaeda. that's one thing that has set the police on edge. another thing is that this is all taking place just a few hundred yards away from the home -- what was the former home of mara, you may remember, the young man that back in march killed seven people and then later died himself in a police shootout in toulouse, there is some indication to connect the two events and elite squad of hostage negotiators on their way to see if they can resolve the solution. >> are people very anxious? >> reporter: i think there's a great deal of anxiety in the neighborhood. there's been eyewitness interviews conducted and people are worried about what's happening around them. they will be especially worried if there is some kind of a link to this earl year shootout that took place.
the police have sealed off the neighborhood and told shopkeepers to stay inside and stay out of sight while this thing is being resolved. >> jim bitterman reporting from paris. thank you. we appreciate the update. let's take you to london where julian isassange is holde up in the ecuadorian embassy. can you update us on what's happening there? >> reporter: morning, soledad. it really is a watch and wait at the moment. we understand that the ecuadorian ambassador is heading to formally inform the authorities of what's going on since assange turned up and claimed asylum. sounds like it was as much of a surprise to people inside the embassy. one of the more high profile supporters put up his bail,
posted on twitter, she felt they was on the hook for the 240,000 pounds, a little under a million dollar bail, really trying to figure out what's happening next. assange had been told that he was able to go to the highest european court, the european court for human rights in strasburg as a final ditch attempt to avoitd the extradition to sweden but he didn't fancy his chanc. >> we'll continue to follow that story. we're going to stay on top of all of the breaking news we brought to you in france where the al qaeda militant has taken four people hostage. this morning, president obama is trying to accent wait the positive but will the ripple effects of europe's economic crisis hurt his chances for re-electi re-election. we'll chat with jack reed state ahead. sandusky's lawyer comparing the rape trial to the tv soap opera, you won't believe which soap he named.
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what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ? hello ?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello ? ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense. next week could be one of the most important weeks in the presidential race. next week in fact the european union is expected to announce major changes to its financial system, all in an effort to stave off the region's economic cris crisis. at the summit in mexico the president announced he supports
the formation of a european banking union that would help the unstable financial systems. there's one major problem, germany. angela merkel is not on board with an integrated banking system and against a big stimulus for struggling kunt countries. what the eu decides could have an effect on the election. let me read for everybody exactly what merkel said at the press conference, that a stimulus program could not be repeated and that president obama agreed with her and then she said this, the american president said and we on the european said, that doesn't work, talking about the stimulus, the debts are too high for that. do you think that that's true, that the stimulus would not work? >> the situation is europe is they adopted a strategy of
austerity and it's not working. she does recognize there has to be growth as well as responsible fiscal controls. i think the chancellor is trying to understand that there has to be growth in europe, worldwide growth. she has particular issues in germany so she's not as outspoken in terms of growth. the progress they made in trying to unify their institutions, banking institutions, a single hopefully regulator, discussions of ways they can moderate in some respects the conditions with regard to greece, with regard to other countries, those are positive signs and i don't think she's quite ready as she's indicated statements to clear a huge fiscal stimulus. the austerity is not working in europe. >> some people would be surprised by the fact she said the president agrees with her on that part though. >> i think that it's a matter
ever interpretation, i think the president has made it very clear, unless there's the growth short-term growth along with long-term imposition of fiscal discipline, that the europe is not going to be able to sort of work itself out of the problem. that's not a feeling shared uniquely by president obama, france and other leaders talking about the need to not only have common institutions but emphasize growth. the irony here and policies europeans ensued have not only caused significant unemployment but also widened the deficit and made their financial situations more precarious and weakened their banking institutions. it hasn't led to success and that is evidence is on the table. i think merkel, chancellor merkel understands it. politically, they have to find
an indirect way to provide support for the european economy. >> looking forward to next week, meetings in brus sells, how critical is what is happening in the eurozone to what is potentially going to happen in this country as far as the election? >> it's absolutely critical and it's not simply the euro zone, it's also china. we're in a global economy. the president shaz emphasized significant exports as a way to grow our economy. we've seen many, many months of private job growth but not sufficient to carry us forward and to reduce overall unemployment. so we have to have worldwide growth. and that is the new phenomenon in the world, 30 or 40 years ago we could do some things in the united states and get our economy back on track. now it's a global economy. >> senator jack reed, democrat from rhode island. nice to see you, sir. we appreciate it. still ahead, we're talking about terror in france, an al qaeda militant taking four people
hostage. we'll take you live to this breaking story straight ahead. jerry sandusky's defense attorney said what? while joking with reporters he likened the trial to the soap opera "all my children." is it an innocent mistake, poor choice of words? maybe both. we'll listen to it and let you decide. ♪ send a note stay informed catch a show. make your point make a memory
welcome back. i'm christine romans with quick headlines. in a newly released 911 call, rodney king's fiancee sounds distraught and desperate when she discovered king's body at the bottom of his pool. >> how old is he? >> rodney king, the guy that got beat by the police. >> how old is he? >> he's 47 years old. he's not moving. ee at the bottom of the swimming pool. i don't know. >> is he out now? >> yes, i was sleeping for an hour or something then i look over and went to find him. >> she told the dispatcher she tried to revive king by throwing
a shovel in the water and couldn't pull him out herself because she didn't know how to swim. a patdown at southwest airport turned to allegations of battery. that's former tsa worker carol price being patted down for two minutes last april by a co-worker. she was upset how it was done, she went to a supervisor to complain and appears to grope her to show her displeasure. she is also facing resisting arrest. secretary yat, a winner again, winning time has been changed to a stakes record 1:53. his 90-year-old winner always contended the time is wrong and new technology has proved that true. 39 years after he won it. >> wow. >> isn't that cool? >> that is really cool. >> pitted against this year's champion, comes out on top.
i didn't know that. >> let's introduce today's team since they already started talking. will cain and margaret hoover, author of "american individualism" and former senior adviser to president clinton and writer at the new yorker.com. our get real this morning is odd and this trial has been so crazy, the sandusky trial. yesterday joe amendola, sandusky's lawyer was joking with reporters and his wanter is raising eyebrows. a little contest, sandusky faces 51 counts of sexual abuse against ten young boys. when asked whether or not sandusky would take the stand in his own defense. he called the drama a soap ap ra, but not just any -- here's how it went. >> stay tuned. it's like a soap, you have to
wait and see. >> thank you. >> if you know the answers it takes the excitement out of it. >> "days of our lives"? >> i think it's "general hospital", actually could be "all my children." >> it was ha last one, it went back and forth and they are joking and he says "all my children". >> not so great. i kind of feel for this guy too -- >> amendola? >> this is a very tough situation and he's a good lawyer obviously, but the pressure outside that courtroom. i've been in similar situations as a trial lawyer, you weigh everything you say inside the courtroom. you're outside and someone shout are questions, obviously did not mean to say that and i'm sure he regret it's. >> david letterman or jay leno wouldn't even write a joke in such poor taste. >> i think it was something he said -- >> inadvertently. >> very unfortunate.
>> in the court of public opinion this is not going to help their case at all. >> no, it's really, i completely agree. it's interesting what you say about the pressure, you finally get outside and throwing stuff in the back of the car and finally don't have to be in the courtroom and -- >> i don't know, as it's coming out of your mouth, a switch would have been flipped and that's not what i want to be saying. >> stick with general hospital. >> still unclear by the way if sandusky is going to testify at all in his defense. we're going to take you live this morning ahead on "starting point" to france on the hostage situation we've been telling you about all morning. four people are being held by a man claiming to be an al qaeda operative. political battle about to reach crescendo on capitol hill, congress could finderic holder in context. we'll talk to elijah cummings live. we're back after this break. one of the best things about state farm is our accessibility.
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welcome, everybody, we start with breaking news, a gunman is holding four people hostage inside a back in toulouse france. jim, what's the latest there? >> reporter: in fact they've evacuated a nearby school now basically telling parents come get their children and the entire neighborhood has been locked down as they wait for the
elite police force arriving there to start negotiating with the gunman. this apparently started as a bank robbery and went wrong. however, police are taking it a little more seriously than the average bank robbery because of the claim you mentioned, the gunman says he's a member of al qaeda and it's taking place a few hundred yards away from the former home of mohammed mara, a gunman in march killed seven people, including four school children. and then was killed himself in a shootout with police. he's become something of a folk hero in that neighborhood as grisly as that may seem. as a consequence, there's an inclination to link this event today with that event back in march. >> outside of the gunman saying he is with al qaeda, any other information about the gunman? >> reporter: no, in fact, one of
the things that the police source that we talked to said that it's not clear whether he really is a member of al qaeda or whether this is some kind of a fantasy that he might have just adopted when things start the going wrong in the bank robbery. but it's just unclear. there's not a lot of information at this point. it's been going on now for a couple of hours and the police of course are worried most about getting this hostage situation resolved. >> jim bitterman updating us. thanks, jim. let's get right to christine romans. >> no deal after two days of high level talks on iran's nuclear program. officials say a large gap remains between nuclear negotiators from iran and six world powers. they say the talks could resume if a technical level meeting in turkey finds enough common ground. iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and not to weaponize. president obama is back in the u.s. after making his case
to stop the ripple effects of europe's debt crisis. he encouraged leaders to focus on a long-term vision for the euro while making short-term economic fixes. he brought it back to basics explaining why troubles for europe mean trouble for the u.s. >> europe as a whole is our largest trading partner. if fewer folks are buying stuff in paris or berlin, that means that we're selling less stuff made in pittsburgh or cleveland. all of these issues, economic issues will potentially have some impact on the election. but that's not my biggest concern right now. >> eu leaders will have their own summit next week. grilled over risky business, jamie dimon defending how his bank publicly disclosed $2 billion in losses saying we
disclosed what we know when we knew it. it's the second congressional grilling that dimon has faced in the last couple of weeks. coming up at 8:15, barney frank, from the committee dimon faced i can't wait for that. eric holder could be held in contempt of congress in just a few hours from now, the house oversight committee is scheduled a 10:00 a.m. eastern vote on that issue. holder and the committee chairman issa met yesterday for 20 minutes over the documents connected to the botched fast and furious program. he wants more documents turned over that led guns in the hands of mexican drug gangs. holder hasn't done so and issa says he's going to move forward unless they give them all of the
documents. ee elijah cummings was present at that meeting. thanks for being with us. >> it's good to be with you. >> and you senator leahy were there and senator grassley. explain that meeting. was it contentious or nasty? >> it was not nasty and the cl that he has produced over 7,600 documents that he has appeared before the congress nine times in the last 16 months and that this incident that started with regard to the local atf office in phoenix allowing guns to go over the border without them tracing them properly and then one of those guns eventually ending up at the scene of the unfortunate murder of agent terry, you know, he explained that, you know, that as a matter
of fact he applauded mr. issa for bringing this to the attention of the public and to the attention of the higher ups and doj. he basically said, look, i'm willing to work with you. i've already provided all of these documents. i'll continue to do so, but you've got to give me some kind of assurances that this contempt situation will be taken off the table and basically what issa said was that, no, absolutely not, would not do this. so we're at a stalemate. but basically, you've got to understand, this thing has boiled down to initially the chairman issa was asking for documents that would have been unlawful for the attorney general to even produce. and like wiretap applications and documents that would threaten trials and prosecutions that are going on.
so last friday chairman issa took those off the table and now this simply boils down to a letter that was written in february of 19 -- of 2011, where the department said that there was no gun walking when in fact there was. we're basically boiled down to that. >> we're at the stalemate is what you're saying. >> yeah -- >> issa has said, no documents, at 10:00, which is roughly two and a half hours from now, we'll go into a contempt hearing. how likely is that? >> has quite likely and i expect it will come to a vote. i expect that it will be a vote on party lines. and i think that it will be -- i still believe this is an effort to try to embarrass the president. >> congressman, this is will cain, i'm curious then, you talked about the attorney general producing 7,000 odd documents. i know that congressman issa points out there were 80,000 he's asking and talking about,
the one from 2011 seems to be the point of focus. it your contention that the attorney general has complied with the subpoena? >> i think the attorney general has complied and continues to want to comply. this is an ongoing thing. they have had to review some 2 millions of e-mails, this is ongoing. and the attorney general says i'm happy to cooperate and give you what you want. i'm continuing to do so. as a matter of fact, senator leahy made it clear that every time he's been ever asked to appear before the congress, he's done so. but and he's basically saying, you know, give us some type of assurances that we are not going to have to be coming up here every week and taking the time of all of my employees to try to go through these documents. we're happy to give them to you. made that very clear. >> het me ask you a question you were saying a moment ago. you said you believe this is an effort to embarrass the president. what do you mean by that, sir? >> i believe -- and the attorney general said this himself,
anything that can be done to i think bring a negative light on the president, that's what -- i think that has a large part to do with it. this, the issue we boil down to is one that could have easily been resolved yesterday. we were on the 1 foot line and fumbled the ball. and i'm telling you, as a lawyer, i just think contempt is going far too far and very unreasonable. we've never heard an attorney general, that is the congress of united states never held an attorney general in contempt. >> congressman, am i correct that the situation here now has nothing to do with the original investigation? this is just about whether or not documents remting to the original investigation should be disclosed or not and how she should be disclosed? the issues related to the original investigation are not on the table? >> they were taken off the table on friday after the democrats
presented dissenting views to the original contempt citation. understand there was a contempt citation that was asking for documents that he could not legally produce. and so then last friday, mr. issa then took those off the table because he knew there was a flawed document and created another document, citation for contempt on friday. and then says to the attorney general, you've got to produce -- the attorney general says, look, i've already produced some of the documents that you're asking for. and i produce others voluntarily. >> senator, forgive me for interrupting you there. senator grassley said, i'm not going to buy a pig in a poke which is a quote my mom always said, i'm not going to make a deal about whether or not we're going to take this hearing off the table until we get the documents. that's what it seems like this over right now. >> that's basically -- that's
exactly where we are. and but, keep in mind, again, the attorney general has said, i have shown good faith and i produced a thousand pages of documents that you wanted, that is the -- basically what the mr. issa is trying to show is two things. one, he's looking for information to show that there was some kind of cover-up with regard to this letter of february 11th with wrongfully stated that there had been no gun walking. and two, he wants post february 4th letter documents to show that there was some type of effort to do harm to whistle blowers. >> maybe we can continue this conversation because it sounds like you're telling me in two hours and 20 minutes this will go into a contempt hearing. congressman elijah cummings, what do you think, we'll chat with you about this tomorrow? >> be happy to. >> thank you, ild hold you to your word on that. still ahead, a new gbiography i
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♪ >> i like breaks where we're having good arguments. that is nirvana, all apologies. >> like mitt romney's book, no apologies. >> the book is no apology, it's a loose connection, go with it here. >> give the man a break. no apology, mitt romney saying the former marco rubio is being vetted as a possible running mate after a report that rubio was not being vetted. he looked uncomfortable when discussing this last night after romney moved to shoot the story down. take a look. >> the story was entirely false. marco rubio is being thor ougly
vetted. >> it's governor romney's process and i want to be respectful of that. all of us involved in politics should be respectful of this process. >> it's been an interesting day, hasn't it. >> we laughed because that was an authentic moment for marco rubio. >> and for governor romney. with all of the focus on the latino vote -- >> that's wh[mx this is about. >> not even the latino vote, florida -- >> if they weren't thinking about him yesterday, they are thinking about him today. >> people are saying it twob a huge mistake not to have him on the short list, number two, to have that information leaked would be a slap in the face in some ways. i think some are calling it because latino vote is so critical. >> governor romney's shop has not been a one with a propensity for leaks. it's one adviser who is vetting this entire process. it would be silly not to have marco rubio on the list. >> clearly it's not --
>> mitt romney was vetted by john mccain in 2008 and mitt romney says he doesn't want to vet anyone he is not seriously considering. the number one issue on the vice presidential issue, is are you ready to be president? there are sources that suggest inside of mitt romney's camp that marco rubio is young. >> no one is arguing that. the problem is the leaking of his name is bad for the campaign, because it's a campaign that doesn't leak and you don't want a high profile latino not even on the list. put him on the list otherwise there's bash backlash. >> he would be so good as a vp. >> you say that now. >> he's such an appealing figure. >> what? we take a short break. >> i like him. >> you do? all right. he's on list. >> i don't like any of them but -- >> up next, a new memoir is raising questions about president obama's own version of his own life. the author of this new biography
a new biography about president obama sheds a unique light on the president's past. it's generates lots of buzz because it questions president obama's history and his memoir, which is called "dreams from my father." the author of the new book is david maraniss. he traces several generations of the president's lineage from kenya to kansas and gives an unprecedented look at young barack obama's life before his career in palestinians ever began. here is a passage. barack obama was 27 when he reached harvard law school, an unpredictable jumble of skill and cheer luck would carry him forward from there. but the basic design had been set for his future. he knew at last who he was and had a sense of where he wanted to be. that really is where the book starts leaving off, because we don't necessarily go into president obama at harvard in this particular book. david maraniss, the author, is joining us now. nice to see you. thank you, soledad. >> was it interesting and fun to
research? did people want to talk to you? you talked to about 350 people. >> the least fun for me was trying to talk to politicians or people in the white house. i did not have to do that for this book. this book is about the world that created barack obama. and how he refashioned himself out of the jumble of his life. and so it really sets him up to the point where you see how he found himself, and how he figured out his background, and was ready for his political life. and that's the part that interested me. so it was great fun to travel around the world to trace his roots and to figure him out. >> he wrote a memoir, "dreams of my father." >> he did. and i'm glad that you sort of mentioned it in the beginning, the buzz about the book challenging his memoir. that's not the point of my book. i'm not writing it as a fact check checker. i'm writing it as an historian. people are pouncing on that part of my book, but in fact i'm trying to tell the truth. a memoir is far different from rigorous factual biography.
it's not as though i'm trying to say, aha, i got you, at each point, i'm just trying to present how i really found it, which in many cases was different from what he wrote. he wrote a memoir shaped through the lens of race, almost entirely. that led to composite characters, which he acknowledges, and compression of things, which i think we are more -- more had to do with substance than just trying to tell the story. and that's why i point it out. >> i think it's so interesting that you say, you know, you don't fault him for the distortions. but i think that, you know, in this political context, some of this will come up in the campaign, right? >> well, absolutely. and it's been fascinating for me. the right wing sort of is at once dismissing the book but cherry-picking every single negative thing in it to use against obama. it's almost why i didn't want to write the book. >> as a member of the right wing, let me challenge one of those assertions, and that is that -- >> i didn't know you were a member of the right wing. >> well, i'm holding down the right side of the table. >> literally the right wing.
>> but that could be an ideological question or criticism because i think it raises serious questions about what the role of a memoir is. is it truth telling or is it the ability to massage and composite characters? i think through your research it questions what the purpose of a memoir is and if it's fiction or nonfiction. >> we wrote it in his 30s before he was running for president. he had no clue that people like me would come along later and try to tell the real story. but it is a legitimate question about where the line is in memoir. my major point is, yes, there are discrepancies between what really happened and the way he presented it. i don't think they are veinal. i think he did it for reasons of trying to tell a story about his search for -- to find himself. i don't think he was trying to create a mythological character. many of the mythologies in the book were just passed along to him by his own family. >> and that's fair. >> but in terms of the disparities that continue, can you characterize them?
he is telling this narrative. there's a trend in the disparities as he uses his literary flourishes to tell a certain story. can you sort of amplify or augment the theme behind his -- the disparities? >> he seems to make up stuff about race a lot, right? i think the characters that are composites, regina is a black character but actually in real life a white woman. that's interesting to me. >> part of it is taken from one of his white classmates, but mostly regina represents michelle, who was in his life when he wrote the memoir but not during the period that he is writing about in the memoir. so that's the type of composite he is using. >> what's so interesting about your book is not so much what was different than what was in his book but what your book shows us and tells us about who he is today. >> that's what i hope the book is about. i'm not trying to whine about the way people are interpreting it, because i understand that. but i want to get -- >> what are the major insights? what are your major insights? >> i think that the central fact
about obama is that his life is essentially an effort to avoid traps. you know, he had the trap of being born on an island further than any land mass in the world. he had the trap of being biracial, trying to figure himself out. the trap of a dysfunctional family. and when people look at him today, you know, he is often seen as too cautious. >> very cautious. >> and i think there's a reason for that. and i think that when you understand his life from reading this book, you'll see how he acts the way he does. >> your book concentrates not so much on barack obama but the people that came before him, his father, grandfather, grandparents. how much do you think who your grandparents were informs who you are? >> well, you know, in a political year, that question is totally valid and raised. but i think if you examine any human being, you'll see that the forces that shape them come early. and, you know, i'm not trying to say that this is a book that should decide how you vote for president or what his issues
are. but if you want to understand him, and why he does what he does, i think that's vital. >> david maraniss, nice to have you. the book again is called "the story" by david maraniss, and it's really only the first part of the story. the book ends with him going off to harvard. lots in are to see maybe in another few years. >> maybe a part two. >> thanks, david. we'll take a short break. we'll update you on breaking news this morning, out of toulouse, france, where a gunman is holding people hostage, claiming to be a member of al qaeda. and julian assange holing u we'll update you on that story as well.y where is it ? it's gone. we'll find it. any day can be an adventure. that's why we got a subaru.
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we'll take you live to france just ahead. and the $2 billion question is this. >> jp morgan chase's six lines of business provide a broad array of financial products and services to individuals, small and large businesses, governments, and not for profits. >> that's jamie dimon facing a firing squad of sorts on capitol hill, and then committee members turned on themselves. heat is set to blast the northeast on the first day of summer. temperatures in the 90s. lots of big guests ahead this hour as we talk to congressman peter king, barney frank, and the first african-american head of the southern baptist convention will join us. it's wednesday, june 20. and our -- i call you panelists, but you're not really panelists anymore. my team. welcome back, everybody. let's get right to breaking news happening out of toulouse, france. four people are being held
hostage by an armed man in a bank. police say he claims to be an al qaeda militant. he is demanding a dialogue with them. toulouse of course was the scene of the deadly rampage in march when a gunman shot and killed seven people. jim bittermann has the latest for us from paris this morning. >> reporter: police have now sealed off the neighborhood where this is taking place. basically, a gunman holding four hostages, four bank employees, in their bank as well as the director of the bank is one of the hostages. apparently what was an armed robbery attempt at the bank failed or went wrong at some point. the gunman shot into the air. didn't hit anybody. but is now holding the hostages and has asked to see the elite police negotiating group. he claims to be a member of al qaeda. and for that reason and for another, police are taking it seriously. and the second reason is the fact that this is all taking place just a few hundred yards away from the home of mohammed mara. mara, who was shot and killed by
police back in march, was responsible for seven killings in the toulouse area before he himself was killed in the police shootout. jim bittermann, cnn, paris. let's get right to peter king. he is the chairman of the homeland security committee. nice to see you, sir. thank you for being with us. let's start with that report from jim bittermann. what do you know about the situation unfolding right now in france, and how concerned should we be if in fact this gunman is indeed part of al qaeda? >> well, obviously, our intelligence people are looking at this carefully to see exactly what they can find out. if he is al qaeda, it raises it to a new dimension because generally they have not been involved in these type of bank robberies. but it's really too early to tell. it could be he is just a bank robber who was caught and is now trying to use al qaeda as a shield to get himself into negotiations or maybe work a deal for himself. but again, it is a reminder that al qaeda is a presence and can be a deadly presence. whether this is al qaeda or not,
it's too early to tell. >> let's talk about what's being accomplished or not accomplished some might say at the g20 summit. when you look at what's coming out of that, especially when chancellor merkel does not seem to be 100% onboard, what do you make of that? >> i would say so far it's been pretty much nonproductive, starting with the side bar meetings with president putin. and then also as far as trying to come to an overall arrangement as far as europe's economic troubles. because those troubles, as the president says, definitely will have an impact on the u.s. so it's important for the president politically but more important more vital for him as president to try to work out a better arrangement with europe to have europe address its problems in a way which is not going to roll over onto the u.s. just from what i've seen of the summit so far, it did not seem to be overly productive. again, there could be agreements we're not aware of. as of now, it does not seem to be very productive. >> earlier this morning i was talking to senator jack reed. i want to play what he said about the global economy.
>> we have seen many, many months of private job growth but not sufficient to carry us forward and to reduce overall unemployment. so we have to have worldwide growth. and that is the new phenomenon in the world. 30 or 40 years ago, we could do some things in the united states and sort of get our economy back on track. now it's a global economy. >> how do you think that's going to play out in the presidential election, sir? >> well, the global economy is a factor but we also have to get our own house in shape. and the fact is that i believe the president's policies such as the stimulus, such as obama care, have not helped the economy. i believe we have to do more as far as controlling spending. we should not be increasing taxes. and i think the american people are looking also for a sense of confidence in the executive. right now i would say one of the problems that the president has with the overall economy is that people do not have faith in him or the direction which he is taking the country. yes, obviously, what happens in europe and asia, particularly in europe, is important to us.
but we can't just blame it all on europe. >> let me ask you a final question about the attorney general, eric holder. he could be in less than two hours held in contempt of congress. first, how likely do you think that is? >> well, right now, unless -- again, i'm not privy to what's going on between darrell issa and eric holder. but unless there's a dramatic change, i would think the committee would go ahead and vote a contempt citation. i heard elijah cummings saying it would be along party lines. i think he's right. and really it's an issue as to how many documents and what documents if any the attorney general has a right to withhold. darrell issa is very aggressive. eric holder seems to be somehow willing to make a deal, but then not really making the deal he said he would make. i am supporting chairman issa. he has done an outstanding job i think in driving this issue home, making it important for the american people to see what happened there. and, again, i think the attorney general would do himself and the
justice department a favor to find a way to turn over more documents and find a way to make this work. right now it just seems both sides are locked in place. >> congressman, don't you worry that the -- that this contempt of congress citation may back fire on the republicans? it looks to me a little bit like a campaign trick. >> no. first of all, i'm never one who is enthusiastic about going after presidents or cabinet officials. but i think in this case where there are real issues and where the attorney general does certainly appear from my perspective to be holding back. and this has been going on now for several months at least. and the attorney general knew this was going to be happening. and he seems to be digging in. again, there could be political consequences. i think the important thing here is to find out what happened with fast and furious. and if he's talking about handing over 1% or 10% of the documents, or 1% of the overall documents, that's just not the type of cooperation that the congress has to get from a cabinet official.
>> congressman peter king joining us this morning. i know one day he'll come and sit on the set with us. every time he's on, i ask, and he's like, no. >> i'll be there soon, soledad. >> appreciate that. take care. now to christine romans for a look at the day's top stories. following more breaking news this morning out of london, where there's something of a standoff between police and wikileaks founder julian assange. assange is holed up inside the ecuadorian embassy, asking for asylum as he fights extradition from england to sweden on allegations he sexually assaulted a woman. he is afraid if he is sent to sweden, he'll be sent to the united states where he could be charged for leaking hundreds of thousands of national security documents. jerry sandusky is prepped and ready to testify today in his child sex abuse trial. the defense is expected to rest its case this afternoon. closing arguments could be heard
tomorrow with the case then going to the jury. we'll have a live report from outside the courtroom in about 30 minutes. as soledad just mentioned, in just a few hour, a house committee will meet to a consider a possible citation for contempt of congress against eric holder. they want more documents on the fast and furious gun walking operation. a meeting with committee chairman darrell issa yesterday failed to produce an agreement. earlier on "starting point," we asked maryland congressman elijah cummings, the ranking democrat, what he expects to happen. >> i expect that it will come to a vote. i expect that the -- it will be a vote on party lines. and i think that it will be -- and i still believe that this is an effort to try to embarrass the president. >> congressman issa says the contempt vote can be averted if holder produces the documents. stock markets closed higher
yesterday. there are high hopes that the fed will announce more stimulus to support the economy. its current operation twist, a maneuver meant to prop up the economy, expires june 30. europe's problems are beginning to drag on u.s.ne businesses an the american consumer is starting to show stress. we're watching a heat wave moving into the northeast today. let's check on the weather with rob marciano. >> good morning. it started in chicago. record highs yesterday in nebraska and detroit. on the heat pump it's wrapping everything around towards the northeast and mid-atlantic. heat and humidity. not only today but tomorrow as well. and we'll see some record breakers in some cases. a dozen states, actually, 13 states, under heat advisories and heat warnings. with the humidity, it will feel well up and over 100. we may even have actual temperatures measured in the shade that touch 100. 94 expected in boston. 96 degrees in new york city. 99 degrees in d.c. and similar numbers expected
tomorrow. a slight cooloff over the weekend. try to stay cool. soledad, this is a forecast where you tell your neighbors check on your elderly friends and relatives. and make sure they can get to a cooling center if they need to. >> absolutely. this is the kind of weather our parents would bring us to the mall. our parents who hated the mall would spend the day walking around the mall because it's hot. thank you. still ahead this morning on "starting point," a bank beatdown. the head of jp morgan chase grilled over that $2 billion loss the we'll talk a little bit about what happened with congressman barney frank about the reforms that he drew up. is it going to stop something like this from happening again?
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but unlike his testimony before the senate, his testimony was much more contentious. if you listen to this snippet, it underscores the two sides of the argument. the banks playing fast and loose with taxpayer money and are they too big to fail. >> you said you have a fortress balance sheet. that assumes there's something special about the way you are that made us have to worry about you. but we can't assume that's the case for every financial institution. >> but also we are profitable this -- >> that's not the question. please don't filibuster. >> oh, yeah. that got nasty. congressman barney frank is the ranking member of that committee which was questioning mr. dimon. nice to see you, sir. thank you for talking with us. you said you were disappointed in jamie dimon's testimony. what were you disappointed in? >> his failure to recognize that we need to change public policy, particularly with regard to derivatives. he acknowledged that the bank made a mistake, a pretty big mistake that will cost $3 billion or more. but he then said but change
nothing. in fact, he told us that he continues to support a bill which i believe we're going to be able to bock that the republicans have been pushing that would exempt the kind of transactions -- exactly the kind of transactions that cost the money from any regionulation over derivatives. he said my bank is very safe and we have a lot of capital. we can't legislate just for his bank. there are other banks that are less well done, other institutions that aren't banks that don't have the same kind of rules. so i was disappointed that he wants us to treat this as just kind of like somebody tripped on the curb and do nothing to make it less likely that there could be problems in the future. >> he was questioned about lobbying against dodd frank. let's listen to that. >> companies and their community it's. >> are you for dodd frank? >> that's a hard one to say. we had a major crisis, and we never denied that. the crisis unveils lots of flaws
in the system. we understand the need for reform. there are parts of dodd frank we supported. parts of dodd frank we didn't. >> he went on to say it's well within my rights, our rights to lobby against dodd frank. isn't that true? >> no one questioned it. actually, ms. waters said about lobbying, and he said i have a right to lobby. and she said quite eloquently, no one is questioning your right to lobby. we're arguing about what we think is in the best interest of the american public. i've never heard anybody in any way interfere with his right to lobby or hire people to lobby. what we want to get to is the substance. and the substance is this. much of what the bill does regulates derivatives in ways that hadn't ever been done as derivatives were developed. and derivatives were a major part of the crisis. aig in london was exactly the kind of issue that caused the problem that his bill that he supports would exempt from regulation. and that's the debate. should we go forward with regulation of derivatives or should we not. that's a legitimate debate. by the way, he says he supports some and not others.
i'm not surprised that the financial institutions whose behavior collectively i believe caused this problem and who will be somewhat restricted in their ability to do things that they think are good because they make money but we think cause too much risk, we didn't do this for them. we did it for the economy. >> he says, jp morgan, too big -- or not too big to fail, really is what he said in his testimony. >> right. >> let me play this and ask you a question on the other side of it. >> with jp morgan's size and capability and diversification in 2008, 2009, and 2010, allowed to us to continue to do the things you wanted us to do. we never stopped making loans. we bought bear stearns at the request of the united states government. >> so he is saying they are big, but not too big to fail. they are big so they can be helpful and stable. did you see contradiction in that? >> no, he's right. he did respond with regard to
bear stearns and wamu. those were responsible actions and the bank deserves credit for them. and they took on these things that could have been liabilities and managed them well. as to too big to fail, the point he was making is the point frankly he and i are in agreement and he agrees with the financial reform bill. what we are saying, and he said this explicitly, if any financial institution of great size got so indebted it couldn't pay its debts, it's put out of business. and it also says if that happens, nobody in the federal government can use any tax money to pay to get rid of it. they can advance the money, but every penny that's expended has to come back from an assessment on big banks. and the other point is that if a bank can't pay its debt, it fails under our bill. they are fired. the shareholders are wiped out. on that he is correct. it may be that a particular institution is so big that if it fails it will cause some
problems. we have some ways to deal with the problems or to guarantee that there's no cost to taxpayer. in 2008, when president bush was president, ben bernanke used a law to give money to aig and keep them in business. we repealed that law so there was no longer any possibility of any federal official using federal tax dollars in any permanent way. it can be a temporary loan but it has to be immediately repaid. on that one he is accurate. >> congressman barney frank joining us this morning. thank you for your time. >> thank you. still ahead on "starting point," lebron james just one win away from the nba title. he's got this leg injury. we'll see what happens with that. tonight forget you can watch us on tv or on your mobile phone while you're at work. go to cnn.com/tv. >> during the commercial break,
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welcome back to "starting point." i'm christine romans with a quick look at the headline says. new information about a russian ship reportedly carrying military helicopters to syria. it appears to have turned back for home this morning. but another ship loaded with weapons may be on the way. british officials report the original ship has changed course from the north sea off the coast of scotland and appears bound for russia. russian officials are not commenting, but pentagon officials told cnn the russians may be sending another ship carrying weapons, ammunition, and a small number of russian troops to syria to help fortify its naval base there as the
violence gets worse in syria. more evidence about a slowdown of the u.s. jobs market. the labor department says the number of job openings in april fell from march. there are now 3.7 job seekers for each job opening. that's better than the record high in 2009, but still far worse than before the recession started. hebrew national, the hot dog maker that's long claimed to answer to a higher authority, must now answer charges of false advertising. a class action consumer lawsuit against conagra foods claims hot dogs and other products sold under hebrew national plan aren't 100% kosher as advertised. the company denies the claim. the miami heat now just one win away from an nba title led by lebron james. the heat beat the oklahoma city thunder to take a three games to one lead to the nba finals series. lebron and company can wrap it up tomorrow at home in game five. it would be the miami heat's nba title but the first in lebron james's career.
and, will cain, did you find the pom-poms? >> i didn't find the pom-poms. but how many did lebron james promise to win? >> seven. >> not one, not two. >> i think it's seven. >> well, this would be one. check that off. move on to two for next year. >> almost. can we talk about hebrew national? what? n not kosher? >> what. >> i guess they say that's not true, but it will be interesting to see how that turns out. just ahead, jerry sandusky, is he ready to testify? will his lawyers put him on the stand today? and a first for the southern baptist convention. an emotional moment for this man right here. we're talking to the reverend fred lewder jr., the first african-american president of the southern baptist convention. you're watching "starting point." we have to take a break. we're back in a moment.
welcome back, everybody. we've been following this breaking news all morning out of to you lew toulouse, france. jim bittermann has the latest for us from paris. >> reporter: police have now sealed off the neighborhood where this is taking place. basically, a gunman holding four hostages, four bank employees, in their bank, as well as the director of the bank. he came in and went in this morning. and apparently what was an arm the robbery attempt at the bank, that failed or went wrong at some point. the gunman shot into the air. didn't hit anybody. but is now holding the hostages and has asked to see the elite police negotiating group, hostage negotiating group. he claims to be a member of al
qaeda. and for that reason, and for another, police are taking it seriously. and that second reason is the fact that this is all taking place just a few hundred yards away from the home of mohammed mara. mara, who was shot and killed by police back in march, was responsible for seven killings in the toulouse area before he himself was killed in the police shootout. jim bittermann, cnn, paris. let's get right to christine romans for a look at the day's top stories. >> cnn has learned that former penn state football coach is prepped and ready to take the stand. jerry sandusky. whether he does won't be decided until later today right before the defense rests. susan candiotti live from bellefonte this morning. what are the chances that jerry sandusky testifies today? >> reporter: well, hard to say. i think we can compare this to a high stakes chess game where every move is risky. if jerry sandusky takes the stand, and as you said, his
attorneys have prepped him, he's ready to go, if he runs into trouble like he did with the bob costas interview, that could be a problem. but if his own attorneys are able to control the line of questioning, perhaps they might be able to blunt a tough cross-examination. but certainly yesterday the defense had its best day. they challenged, for example, investigators, attacked them for allegedly trying to coach the accusers in this case. and then of course dotty sandusky taking the stand. she defended her husband of more than 45 years. she said she never saw any inappropriate behavior with the boys. she never heard any yelling coming from the basement. and when -- she also accused one of the alleged victims of being conniving. and when prosecutors on cross-examination asked her, can you come up with a reason as to why all of these boys would lie, she said, i don't know. the question now is, will he take the stand? we'll soon find out.
>> all right, susan candiotti in bellefonte, pennsylvania. to cape canaveral now, where the atlas 5 is set to take off. it will carry a classified payload into orbit on behalf of the u.s. national reconnaissance office. its monday launch was theyed because of a faulty environmental control system duct. that duct has since been replaced. if you believe this sort of thing, there's only six months left until the world ends. with the summer solstice arriving today, it marks six months until the winter solstice on december 21. according to some readings of the mayan long count calendar, that's when the world will be destroyed. scientists and archaeologists have debunked the doomsday theory but it remains alive and well, of course. on that font of misinformation on the web. soledad? >> should i bother to clean my apartment out as i usually do at the beginning of summer? because if the world is going to end in six months, really, what a waste of time. >> the long count calendar. >> stop going to the gym.
just have ice cream every day. it's an historic day for the southern baptist convention as they have elected their first african-american president. the reverend fred luter jr. his election 150 years after the sbc was founded as a pro slavery church and 17 years after the church's apology for supporting white supremacists. reverend luter, congratulations and thanks for being with us. i can't say you're surprised. you ran unopposed. but still it's a tremendous honor. what's going to be your agenda as the new president? >> well, thank you, soledad, for being on the program. i'm very honored to be here with you and with cnn. it was a surprise that i was unoppo unopposed, particularly because it's a large convention and it's the year of a presidential election.
i was really, really surprised that no one stepped up and wanted to run against me. and then to see the support i got from the floor, it just brought tears to my eyes. i'll really grateful for that. my agenda first of all will be learning what i have to do. so i'll be meeting with the staff there at the headquarters in nashville. and talking to other former presidents and finding out, you know, specifically my duties and responsibilities. i know i'll be representing our convention across the country and across the world, but there are other things as far as working with our southern baptist entities and other churches and denominations across the country. >> you have said that you want to help solve the church's divisive civil rights history. what specifically would you do on that front? >> well, we cannot deny the fact that of our history. it's there. everybody knows about it. i'm sure by now they do. but one of the things i'm so proud about this is understanding the fact that every one of us has a history. i've got a history. you've got a history. everybody watching this program has a history. there's nothing we can do about
our past. but there's a lot we can do about our future. and so one of the things i like to do is first of all say to those outside of the sbc that this is a brand-new convention. yes, we started out as a result of slavery. but that's behind us now. and we have proven the fact through the years that we want to move on from there. and i think by electing me as president of this convention is exhibit a to the world that this convention is now ready to open its doors to different groups, no matter your background, your race, or your color. and so that's some of the things that we hope to put out there, that people will understand, that we need to learn to get together here. because if we don't get together here, we're not going to get together in heaven. >> some people might say, though, exhibit b would be what dr. richard land said not too long ago about the trayvon martin case. >> yes. >> and i think he said that the president poured gasoline on racist fires. then he did an apology, and then
a second apology after that. so it's not really, really history for some people in some ways. >> yes. you know, that's something that richard land -- if he can go back and do that over again, i'm sure he would. all of us. i know i've said some things in the pulpit and things in interviews, hopefully not this interview, about you in interviews that i have regretted that i have said. >> so far, so good. >> but you cannot deny the fact that there will be some, and there are some, who still has a problem with the skin. and i told folks yesterday that i was talking to, we don't have a skin problem in america. we have a sin problem. and until we deal with our sin problem, we will always have a skin problem. >> reverend fred luter joining us this morning, the new president of the southern baptist convention. >> reverend luter, your election is a huge triumph for civil rights. and i wonder pastor worley, baptist preacher in north carolina, has made headlines
recently. i wonder if your agenda will include a new civil rights issue, inclusiveness of gay americans. >> can you are repeat that? i didn't hear the last part. >> will you include gay americans, a new civil rights issue? >> well, no, no, no. i'm a man of the book. i believe in the word of god. i believe in the bible. and god has specifically spoken about marriage. marriage is between a man and a woman. you know, that's biblical. no president, whether it's a president in the white house, no governor, no mayor, no one can change that. god has already established a marriage between one man and one woman. so i will stand for that because that's what the word of god says, and that's what i believe in. we want to love -- i love all of us as believers. all of us love everybody. including those in the gay community. we're going to embrace them as far as who they are, but we are also going to stand on biblical
principles that the word of god has already established, that marriage is between one man and one woman. >> this puts you directly, sir, in opposition to president obama. >> on this particular subject, yes. i support my president. he is my president. i pray for him and michelle and his daughters on a daily basis. but on this issue, the president and i have two different opinions for sure. >> reverend fred luter, nice to see you, sir. congratulations again on your election. >> thank you, soledad. listen, thanks for all you've done for new orleans. we appreciate you. >> my pleasure. i'm going to be there this weekend. maybe i'll get a chance to run into you, sir. >> that would be great. >> take care, sir. >> thank you very much. >> he is inclusive up to a point. >> clearly, he is making it very clear that he is inclusive up to a point. "starting point" continues. exploring michelle obama's roots. the author of a new book reveals her family's complicated journey from slavery to the white house.
and olivia munn, her character is actually based on one of our own right here on "starting point." >> oh, thank you, erin. >> no, it is not you, will cain. >> wait until you find out who it is. >> richard's play list, carly rae jackson, "call me maybe." so overplayed. >> i love this song. ♪ do you see it ? there it is ! there it is ! where ? where ? it's getting away ! where is it ? it's gone. we'll find it. any day can be an adventure. that's why we got a subaru. love wherever the road takes you.
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♪ busting out ♪ freaks like you and i ♪ could never go there >> it is a hot song. rick james. really we could just do a rick james best one day. that's rick james, "busting out." >> speaking of hot. >> speaking of hot. >> there's a particular glow about you today, christine. >> "the newsroom" premieres
sunday night on hbo, and aaron sorken says the hot and nerdy financial whiz reporter played by the gorgeous olivia munn is loosely based on our own christine romans. you went to the party last night. >> i went to the party and i went aaron sorken, and he told me none of these characters are based on anyone. except there's you in the olivia munn character. he said she'll grow out. and i said, am i not going to like her? is she crazy and socially inept? and he said no, no, no, she always goes back to markets and the money. how every story is about markets and the money. how people are trying to get the money. and he said i've been watching you for years, and that's what you always talk about. >> and you're a huge fan of aaron sorkenson. >> absolutely. >> how does the new show look? >> it looks good. jeff bridges did a great job as the anchor. and i watched it with a bunch of tv people. so we were really scrutinizing
the lead character. but i see no soledad o'brien resemblances. >> thank god. >> you wish. >> but there's a big love story in it too. and an e.p., executive producer that was very cool. and i remember one time a couple of years ago in the morning, one of the wardrobe people came through here and was looking around. and somebody said to me, we work for aaron sorken. what does an executive producer wear? and i thought, i don't know, we are all too busy trying to get tv on. i hadn't thought about it. they did a lot of work for a long time trying to understand how cable news works. >> i can't wait to watch. >> when you found this out, whether or not you read it in the paper or a colleague told you, and they said, hey, you inspired one of the characters in "the newsroom" and they told me who's played it, how many people did you tell oliver munn is playing me? >> first i googled her to make sure how cute she is, and she is really beautiful. >> she is. like you. >> thank you. i can't wait to see what her character is like. i'm a little worried. >> he said loosely based.
>> but everyone else is really a composi composite. >> i miss "west wing." i remember when i was at the white house they interviewed us when they were putting together characters for "the west wing." >> olivia munn, she's hot. still ahead on "starting point," the story of black, white, and multiracial ancestors of michelle obama. and margaret hoover's play list will play us out. it's u2, "beautiful day." you're watching "starting point." ♪ dude you don't understand, this is my dad's car. look at the car! my dad's gonna kill me dude...
president obama's history. we were just talking about a few minutes ago. but first lady michelle obama's family tree has largely been a mystery. back in 2008, then candidate obama spoke about it in a speech about race. >> i'm the son of a black man. from kenya. and a white woman from kansas. i am married to a black american who carries within her the blood of slave and slave owners, an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. >> the first lady's ancestor was little more defined than that until now. "american tapestry: the story of the black, white, and multiracial ancestors of michelle obama." the author is joining us this morning. nice to have you. >> thank you. >> how complicated and challenges was it to research this book? >> it's hard work. digging back into history. and i really try to trace her grand parents basically back as far as i can.
it's challenging because for phones who were enslaved, there simply isn't much in the historical record. people were barred from being able to read and write. there aren't letters and journals and diaries. and the census record didn't name people until 1870. >> often, unless the slaveholder himself kept good documents and good notes, you wouldn't necessarily know anything about the slaves. all this centers around a slave named melvenia, who was the great, great, great grandmother of michelle obama, right? >> that's right. and we were very lucky with melvenia, because she actually appeared in her owner's will. and that's why we were able to trace her from the 1850s to when she appeared finally in the census in 1870. >> it was her son who she had with you believe the white slaveholder that actually sort of really i think gave a lot of interesting branchs to michelle obama's family tree. tell me about that. >> basically, what we were able to do is michelle obama always
suspected that she had white ancestry in her family tree. and through dna testing and research, we were able to fill in those blanks. and the most likely candidate is the son of her slave owner. >> so you had a chance to go and interview some of the white relatives from the family tree. and what was it like when you came to them and said, you know, one, you might be related to michelle obama. and two, you might have black relatives in your family too. were they shocked? were they thrilled? >> it's a hard thing for people because on the one hand, being related to the first lady -- >> that could be the understatement of the year probably. but go ahead. >> that's pretty amazing. on the other hand, these ties date back to a painful time in our history. so you're telling someone you may be related to the first lady, but your family also owned her family. that's hard stuff. >> i also read where some people didn't want to be publicly identified when their ancestors -- when it became known that their ancestors might have been slave owners.
>> this was true. i interviewed many relatives, and some of them just didn't feel comfortable. they were afraid that people might view them as racist or that they might be forced to atone for their forebears. >> did the first lady help you at all? >> has she weighed in what she thinks about her own history? they could have competing books. his and her biographies. >> you know, the first lady has a policy of not doing interviews with books. but i did interview members of her extended family and briefed her staff. she had a book and her staff did ahead of time. so she's had a chance to read it. i don't know what she thinks yet. >> fascinating. >> you know more about her life than she possibly does. >> thank you. >> the book is called "american tapestry." we have to take a short break. "end point" is up next. [ male announcer ] count the number of buttons
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the revolutionary recharge sleep system from beautyrest... it's you, fully charged. get a free set of sheets when you buy a select beautyrest mattress. hurry, offer ends soon. it's time for end point. who wants to start? will cain? >> yes. i want to talk about secretariat some more. still the fastest times today, which fascinates me. swimmers, track stars, get taft faster every year. that time stands from the '70s. >> i don't know that everybody's performance is getting better because of artificial drugs. i do think our athletic training has gotten better. the nutrition is better. so that factors in. >> you would think it would be the same for horses. the breeding would be better and the nutrition and training.
>> it's been like ancestry day today on the show. we talked about the obamas and now the breeding of horses. >> it's all about where you are from today. if you own a little bit of secretariat today because of that news, you'd be a wealthier person. michelle obama didn't even know her own history until she got to the white house. and now this thorough jgenealog has been done on our family. >> how interesting is that that americans carry on their own history. comparatively. >> i don't think so. go to ancestry.com. >> there's not a deeply grounded identification that defines the course of your life. >> i think the book will factor big in the election. >> it is big already. >> i think it's going to be a very nasty election on both sides. i think there will be a lot of mud thrown. and i'll bet you that the republicans are going to talk a lot about this book. >> i'm going to agree with you on all of those fronts.
we evare done for the day. tomorrow on "starting point," eric holder on the ropes. republicans trying to vote him in contempt of congress. we'll talk about that. we're going to have congressman elijah cummings back with us to discuss what happened. that's ahead. see you tomorrow morning. >> he'll be here. >> yes, he will. he would not say it and not come. now to carol costello. happening right now in the newsroom, summer swelter. heat and humidity swamping the east coast. it will feel like 100 degrees in virginia and maryland, delaware, pennsylvania, and new jersey. and today is just the beginning. plus -- anger and rage. heckling in the battle ground states. mitt romney this morning saying he doesn't believe in his words unilateral disarmament. so is staged heckling here to stay? groped at the gate, but the tables are turned.