Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
August 27th, 2012
01:42 PM ET

Hope turns to disappointment for former Obama supporters profiled in 'The Hope and the Change' – director Stephen Bannon explains

A new film will premiere this week at the Republican National Convention. No, it's not a glowing profile of Mitt Romney. Instead, it's a stinging indictment of President Obama.

It's called "The Hope and the Change" and it highlights 4 Democrats and Independents who voted for Obama in 2008, and now they say they're disillusioned.

One woman says 'he didn't come up with any solutions, another says 'he didn't make good on any of his promises.' Yet another woman says 'he promised us change and we all got fooled.'

The film was produced by Citizens United, a conservative non-profit advocacy group.

Stephen Bannon, the writer and the director of the film, talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" about his motivation for the movie and why most people he spoke with felt President Obama didn't fulfill his campaign promises.

Filed under: 2012 Race • President Barack Obama
August 27th, 2012
01:10 PM ET

TIME Magazine's Joe Klein on what he says is the most 'vapid' presidential campaign in his career

The Republican National Convention begins today in Tampa, but it will be a short opening day. It's only going to last 10 minutes. The Republican Party chairman, Reince Priebus is going to gavel at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Officials are concerned about the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac. A shortened event could be a problem for Governor Romney who is embroiled in a particularly ugly campaign with President Obama.

"Time" magazine's political columnist, Joe Klein has covered the past 10 presidential elections and one of his recent articles, he had a scathing observation about the current battle between the President and Governor Romney.

"The missing piece is what each would do going forward," Klein writes. "You can't have a substantive debate without substance and this has been the most vapid, vaporous campaigns of the 10 presidential races I've covered."

On "Starting Point" this morning, Klein explains what he meant.

"There's no substance," Klein says. "The Obama campaign has been almost entirely negative and the Romney campaign has been almost entirely filled with platitudes, without any really - any real detail about what they would do going forward."

"We are a big part of the problem...we in the media," Klein adds. "Because we don't do substance very well, especially on TV.

See a clip from Klein's appearance on "Starting Point" in the video above, and see his interaction with the Starting Point panel when it starts to get feisty.

Filed under: 2012 Race • Politics
August 27th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

Mississippi Gulf Coast on the worst side of Isaac and could receive significant storm surge, State Emergency Management executive director Robert Latham tells Soledad

Mississippi Emergency Management's Robert Latham on how the state is preparing for tropical storm Isaac.

Filed under: Isaac • Weather
August 27th, 2012
12:26 PM ET

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas says Isaac preparations 'going to be orchestrated very carefully and in preparation before the storm'

New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas on the city's preps for Isaac after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Filed under: Hurricane Katrina • Isaac • Weather
August 27th, 2012
12:09 PM ET

Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa on his presence at the 'reinvention convention' in Tampa, says there's an 'effort to bring in Madison Ave. types to remake Romney/Ryan'

In Tampa this week, it's not just Republicans in town for the convention. Over the next few days, you'll see a lot of Democratic faces in Florida, dogging and counter-pointing the GOP's every move.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, national co-chair for the Obama Campaign and chairmain for the Democratic National Convention next week in Charlotte, is one of those Democratic voices in Tampa. He says his presence at the RNC is to remind voters what Republicans said during the primary season.

“I think there’s an effort to bring in Madison Avenue type ad people to remake Governor Romney and Mr. Ryan, and we want to set the record straight," he says. "I think it's important for people to remember what they said during the primary season, what [Romney] has done when he was in business, what he's done as governor. They talk a lot about job creation, and we know that he was 47th out of 50th, put more debt on the people per capita of Massachusetts during this time as governor than anybody else in the country.”

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Politics • Uncategorized
August 27th, 2012
11:29 AM ET

Former GOP Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich previews 'Newt University' at Republican National Convention, says Paul delegates will likely support Romney so as to not embarrass son Rand

The former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, talks with Soledad O'Brien on "Starting Point" this morning, live from Tampa at the site of the Republican National Convention. The former GOP presidential front runner is lending his support and his delegates to Mitt Romney.

Gingrich addresses one of the big questions at the convention, as to whether presidential candidate Ron Paul will release his delegates. Gingrich explains to Soledad that he thinks Paul delegates will be very supportive of Romney.

"I think the Ron Paul people have said openly they are going to be supportive on the floor and do not expect problems," Gingrich says. "I think they worked out some things in platform in auditing the Federal Reserve and other issues important to Ron Paul. Plus, Rand Paul has played a role and does get a speech. It's unlikely that Ron Paul will want to embarrass his son in that kind of a setting."

Gingrich also previews his Thursday speech at the convention, which he will deliver with his wife Callista.

"We did a documentary a few years ago on Ronald Reagan, so the campaign folks and convention folks wanted to do a tribute to Ronald Reagan and why elections matter. So it will be a terrific, very powerful short documentary and then Callista and I will talk about applying the principles of Ronald Reagan to 2012. We're looking forward it. It will be a lot of fun," he says.

As for "Newt University," he explains that it's an opportunity to hold seminars throughout the week on big topics.

"We have a lot of delegates and activists in the area. People interested in ideas and policy. Governor Scott Walker will be with us today for example. We'll be talking about reforming government and what he learned and what he's trying to accomplish," Gingrich says.

He adds, "I think there's a real effort to bring together smart people, really good spokespersons who are sort of models for the rest of us, and big ideas that are going to be central to this campaign.

August 27th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

Using lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina for tropical storm Isaac – Lt. Gen. Russell Honore on how New Orleans might fare against a hurricane

Tropical Storm Isaac could make landfall in New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. With the storm taking a very similar track to the 2005 hurricane, voluntary evacuations have been declared for 15 parishes in Louisiana with a mandatory evacuation in place for St. Charles and the east bank of Plaquemines Parish. Isaac could make landfall as a category 1 hurricane in New Orleans during the anniversary.

During that devastating storm in 2005, 1,700 people died in that entire area, and about 1,300 lost their lives in New Orleans. Neighborhoods were completely destroyed. At one point, 85% of that city was underwater. It was most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. history.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have spent approx. $10 billion trying to strengthen the defenses in case a storm like that should hit the area again. Isaac's landfall will be the first real test as to how well the money was spent.

Soledad delves into New Orleans's storm readiness with retired US Army Lieutenant Gen. Russel Honore, who was in charge of the Katrina disaster relief in 2005 and wrote about his experience in the book "Survival."

Honore says despite significant improvements to the infrastructure in and around New Orleans, even a category 1 storm could overpower the city.

"$14 billion of federal money was committed for the levee improvement," Honore says. "They've spent $10 billion. They have about $4 billion left to spend in improving and armoring the levees and completing improvements down at Plaquemines Parish. They also replaced all the pumps, Soledad. When we went into Katrina, the pumps dated back to 1936. We now have modern pumps and a quote from the Corps of Engineers. We have the largest drainage pump in the world on the west bank in New Orleans. It's functional and operational."

"All that being said," Honore adds, "people need to be cautious because anything built by man can be destroyed by mother nature. People still need to listen to local officials, if you're outside of the levee system, you need to be evacuating today."

Honore also says that a more active local government could also help steer the city from another widespread disaster.

"One of the issues of politicians get into is they start preaching category of storm and people go into the data bank say it's just a Category 1. Politicians coming out more and more and saying, this area will flood, you need to move by a certain time. People without rides, you need to go to this location and be prepared to evacuate. Evacuate your animals. If they are going to do a contra-flow out of New Orleans, they are telling people when that will start. So I think there's more specific information going out about the potential effects of the storm as opposed to just talking about category," Honore says.

"People need to listen if their area is projected to be in a flood zone or it will flood based on rain or from tidal surge. You know we lose more homes every year to flooding than we do any other event in America," Honore says.

Filed under: Hurricane Katrina • Isaac • Weather
August 27th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

FEMA's Craig Fugate on Isaac preps for Gulf Coast: We don’t wait for a storm to get there

As tropical storm Isaac heads to the Gulf of Mexico, FEMA has already started mobilizing their staff and supplies.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who briefed President Obama on tropical storm Isaac yesterday, says they've been moving supplies into the region since last week in anticipation of the storm's landfall.

"We’ve been moving supplies since earlier last week," Fugate tells Soledad O'Brien on "Starting Point." "We maintain supplies, particularly in Louisiana. So, we’ve been moving stuff to get ready for the impacts...We don’t wait for a storm to get there. We’re moving now, as we briefed the President yesterday. He wants to make sure we have what we need in place before the storm hits.”

Fugate also warns coastal residents not to ignore warnings from officials or coastal evacuations.

"This is a very big storm. The storm surge is first. People need to evacuate when the evacuation orders are given. But it’s moving slow, so we would expect a lot of heavy rain, localized flooding, and also potentially extensive power outages,” Fugate says.

Filed under: FEMA • Isaac • Weather
August 27th, 2012
08:39 AM ET

VIDEO: National Hurricane Center's Richard Knabb: 8a advisory shows tropical storm Isaac slowly strengthening, organizing

National Hurrican Center's Richard Knabb says latest advisory on tropical storm Isaac shows it strengthening slowly.

Filed under: Isaac
August 27th, 2012
07:00 AM ET

Starting Point live blog for Monday, Aug. 27th, 2012

NOTE: Click here if you're having trouble seeing the Starting Point live blog updates.

We've opened a live blog for "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" this morning, with Soledad live from the CNN Grill in Tampa for the start of the Republican National Convention. This morning we have the latest on Tropical Storm Isaac as it makes its way towards the United States and the start of the Republican National Convention. Soledad and our Starting Point producers will be moderating.

We encourage you to share your comments, ask questions, and maybe even record a webcam response to post to the feed.

A few ground rules:

* All comments and video submissions will be moderated, so please refrain from using any inappropriate language or gestures. We want to keep this a lively, interesting conversation.
* Any webcam submissions are limited to one minute long. Try to keep your responses short.
* By posting in this live blog, you agree any comments & content with your name and profile picture may be used by CNN, its affiliates and licensees in all media.


Filed under: Live Blog