This morning, "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" is live at 7am Eastern. Today, Soledad talks with panelists TheBlaze.com contributor Will Cain, Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill and political commentator Abby Huntsman. Our panel will be talking about the following top stories:
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[UPDATED 7:04am ET] CNN security analyst Peter Bergen says that the new Bin Laden files to be released this morning reveal that Bin Laden was aware that the Al Qaeda brand was suffering and extremely concerned about drone strikes in Pakistan, so much so that he advised his son to leave the area.
[UPDATED 7:19am ET] Former NFL player Jamal Anderson, who was friends with Junior Seau, says that there weren't any indicators that Junior was struggling emotionally and explains that the football legend was the type of guy that "if you met him twice, might call you to check on your family."
[UPDATED 7:31am ET] CNN reporter Stan Grant shares his interview with Ambassador Locke, who says that the United States took "extraordinary steps" and "undertook mission impossible" to retrieve Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng to bring him to the U.S. embassy. Locke also states that it "was clear all along that [Chen] wanted to stay in China as a freedom fighter."
[UPDATED 7:37am ET] Women's Rights Without Frontiers president Reggie Littlejohn, who has been leading the international effort to free Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, says that the U.S. has squandered a "golden opportunity to be a knight in shining armor and bring [Chen] to safety." Littlejohn thinks that the U.S. government wanted to get rid of the issue over Chen's presence in the embassy so that they could focus on trade talks and in doing so, caused "significant damage to its relationship with the Chinese people."
[UPDATED 7:46am ET] Auma Obama, President Obama's half sister, says that meeting her brother for the first time was like a "Christmas that didn't finish," explaining that the two "connected immediately."
[UPDATED 8:10am ET] When asked about how he'd respond to an offer to become Mitt Romney's running mate, Gov. Bobby Jindal says that he "has the job that he wants" but that he'll be support whoever the campaign selects. Gov. Jindal also stresses that he thinks the 2012 election will not only about the economy but also about the "proper role of the federal government."
[UPDATED 8:25am ET] Former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, who was recently kicked off of "Celebrity Apprentice," says that she's surprised that the racial slur aimed at her by fellow contestant Lisa Lampanelli is still used in the United States. Despite her troubles with Lampanelli, Mendoza asserts that she does not regret participating in the show.
[UPDATED 8:35am ET] Regarding the apparent suicide of NFL legend Junior Seau, retired NY Giants player Tiki Barber says that "there is a facade that sits around athletes that [they] are strong, powerful human beings" and that many players don't seek mental help because it has been characterized as "an indication that you're weak." Barber also says that safety is becoming the number one issue in the NFL and that it will be Commissioner Roger Goodell's legacy.
[UPDATED 8:50am ET] Actress & producer Virginia Madsen discusses her participation in WIGS, YouTube's first channel of all-original scripted content, which she characterizes as a "forum for women about their complex personalities and situations." Madsen says that the channel is about storytelling and that she appreciated the creative freedom offered by the medium.